Infinity Ward working on new IP

Call of Duty 4 screenshot

Infinity Ward is about as synonymous with Call of Duty as Valve is with Half-Life or Bungie with Halo. Okay, Treyarch did make Call of Duty 3 and will be alternating with Infinity Ward in making CoD titles now, but nobody seriously cares about them. Sorry, Treyarch. 🙁

Now, while Call of Duty is all fun and all, we’d like to see a little something different from Infinity Ward, and things seem to be on the right track. Talking from his blag, Robert Bowling, the Director of Communications at Infinity Ward announced that they have decided to reup their publishing contract with Activision, which kickstarts their future project, “a unique new IP” that they will have “complete control over”.

Since Bowling isn’t very willing to divulge any details on this “unique” new project, we’re guessing it’s going to be a long while before we actually find out what happens of this. I would be surprised if we get an announcement by February next year! Still, it’s great to know that Infinity Ward is up to something creative and not abother war shooter (which they are pretty good at anyways).

On a pretty loose guess, I’m thinking it will be a typical dystopian/space sci-fi shooter that will probably involve either zombies or aliens or alien zombies. What do you think of this? What is Infinity Ward up to?

Variety offended by Sid Meier’s Civilization IV: Colonization

Screenshot of Civilization IV: Colonization

You’d think the mainstream media might one day appreciate video games, but that is seemingly never the case. Over at Variety’s blog, we read hate all over their post, whose author has been offended by a game as meek as Sid Meier’s Civilization IV: Colonization.

The Sid Meier game merges the Civilization IV franchise with the relic Colonization, a Sid Meier classic that we all knew he would remake some day. As you can guess, the game is about leading one of four European powers into the New World and starting a colony, eventually working your way to declaring Independence and all.

The author of the post, Ben Fritz goes on about how offensive colonization is, and how it has always been about racism. He disagrees with Colonization‘s viewpoint of being a European who goes on to colonize, as it has usually brought about disastrous consequences upon the natives. He finds it apalling that you get to play as this oppressive power. I wonder if the fun-loving crowd at Firaxis ever thought of something like this.

I disagree with Ben completely. To start with, I am a Civilization IV addict, and I wonder if Ben has even played the original game. That being said, it should be noted that Civilization IV is a world-building strategy game first, where you take control of a civilization and lead it through the millennia of human history into glory.

Colonization is a stand-alone expansion to Civilization IV, that appears to focus on the Colonization aspect of the game. In the game, players get to trade, fight, negotiate, explore and do pretty much all that. Ben appears to be concerned by the “fight with natives” part. Now I’m not a member of the dev team, but if I know anything about Civilization IV, I know that fighting is almost always optional. I say ‘almost’ because there is always the possibility that these natives end up attacking you first and you have no choice in the matter.

Regardless, the game also does not seem to imply that it has a penchant for showing native tribes and peoples being exploited, nor do I see any themes of racism (although according to Ben’s equations, Colonization=Racism). Examine:

And “conquer[ing] and rul[ing] the New World” is inherently about engaging in the racist practice of exploiting and abusing native people.

That is strange. What form of “conquering and ruling” does not involve expoiting and abusing native people, racist or not? It pretty much happens all around the world, regardless of what race you or your conquerors are. Using a more poetical meaning of the word “conquering”, the game might also be implying that you “conquer” the world by diplomacy and economy rather than racially exploiting and abusing native people.

A game about colonization that’s entirely about controlling the settlers can either force the player to do horrific things or let him avoid doing it and whitewash some of the worst events of human history.

Come to think of it, wouldn’t that be the case with all historically set games? Are we trying to whitewash human history when you build the Eiffel Tower in Beijing after a war with the Malinese Empire in Civilization IV? Are you in the mindframe of a tyrannical feudal lord when you command unfailingly obedient villagers in Age of Empires?

(And I’m not even getting into the offensiveness of using uncritically using the phrase “New World” in the marketing material.)

And say what? America? That’s what America was called before it was named, The New World. Wouldn’t changing that make the game both historically inaccurate and whitewashed to remove offensiveness?

I hardly think that a game about colonization, especially one as darned gamey as Sid Meier’s Civilization IV: Colonization is worth getting worked up about. Fritz says “If there was a major movie coming out that uncritically told the story of Europeans colonizing America, there would be a major furor, and rightfully so.” I don’t think so. Neither would a movie with sex, violence, prostitution et al: because movies have the “art” and “conceptual approach” defences.

When will the world learn?

David Jaffe: Marvel games need story; I agree

Spider-man!

David Jaffe may not be a household name, but just so you know, he’s the genius designer behind the Twisted Metal series for the Playstation and is also known for God of War. On his blog over here, he was seen criticising the guys who make games for Marvel’s movies and their comics, too maybe. Now that he mentions it, who makes those games anyways?

Man speaks the truth as he opens his blog post with the following lines:

Please stop putting Spiderman games in big open sandbox environments where you swing around and do oh so slight variations on 4 pretty dull mission types (chase/race/collect/etc) and then once in a while toss in a boss fight and/or a somewhat unique mission.

I mean seriously, we get the point: we get to swing around and stuff, but please; more emphasis on the stuff and less on the goddamn swinging.

Jaffe demands that Marvel’s comics are ace, but the games are terrible and the biggest problem here is that they are “POWER-BASED” and not “STORY-BASED”. Marvel’s comics are known for their great stories and scripts, as he mentions the big man Stan himself. You’d wish the games would follow suit, but they have to be ridiculous affairs that throw you into this huge story with repititive missions and lack of any sort of direction whatsoever.

Check out the post!

Google to launch knowledge-sharing service, “Knol”

Google Knol

Google, the internet giant that was originally a humble, but powerful search engine has now manifested into one of the most important corporations into the world. In its goal of encouraging spread of knowledge, Google now has an e-mail service, an online office suite, a social networking site, two of the world’s largest video sharing sites, the largest blog hosting site, and so on.

Now Google is turning to the knowledge-sharing section of Web 2.0 with its under-development service titled “Knol” (supposedly a “unit of knowledge”). This appears to be a weird cross of Facebook, Wikipedia and Instructables, and I can already foresee it going big.

Unlike Wikipedia, though – Knol will emphasize on authors, as opposed to topics. Everyone will have a cute profile, and will be rated by the community depending on how good their articles are. The goal of the project is, as you might have guessed, to encourage people to open up about a topic they know a lot about. While good in theory, this may not exactly be the best thing out there.

YouTube sounds good in theory – a video sharing site. Browse through now and you’ll see some of the worst and most banal videos the internet has ever known. Since Google has stated that they will in no way directly serve as moderator or editor to Knol, there’s perfect chance that Knol will be ruined by the millions of teenagers who think they know a lot about something.

The site will host anything from outlines of a topic to in-depth articles to how-tos and just about anything that educates the reader. Google also hints that authors will also be able to use Google AdSense to generate money from sharing knowledge. This reminds me that Knol may just end up to be a pseudo-blog site with people posting on how to manage girlfriends, instead of a long, emo poem on how their girlfriend dumped them. Best community website ever? I don’t think so.

Then again, since there is so much of an emphasis on authors, there’s perfect chance that a lot of real talent can be highlighted here. If you ignore the unwashed masses, you might just find a few geniuses worth listening to (try YouTube as a comparison).

What do you think of all this? Is Google really doing good with this, or are they just money-hungry executives masquerading as internet geeks, monolopolizing the Internet? Love Google’s idea? Think it should be different? Post it all into the comments!

Blog Nothing Day

 

Blog Nothing Day

If you run a blog be aware that Blog Nothing Day is tomorrow November 26th! This isn’t necessarily an official blogger holiday. The “founder” wants to show his support for the writers in Hollywood by not blogging on his blog and he asks that other bloggers follow pursuit.

Will StuffWeLike follow the crowd? No, not intentionally. We’ve practically already taken a vacation from blogging over the Thanksgiving break and now things are finally getting back to normal.