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title="Permanent Link to The five greatest gaming controversies of 2012">Mass Effect 3 pose







Mass Effect 3's ending



On March 6 this year, a videogame trilogy ended, enraging thousands. The final ten minutes of Mass Effect 3 veered suddenly into unexpected territory and delivered a closing segment that left many baffled and disappointed.



Some of those people felt extremely angry and decided that Bioware needed to be held to account for underdelivering on the final 1% of their stomping 100 hour space adventure. Cue the Take Back Mass Effect Facebook campaign (tagline: DEMAND A BETTER ENDING), which has received over 61,000 likes.



They had valid complaints. Mass Effect 3's ending was really weird, but demanding a new ending from Bioware and then writing one for them perhaps went a little too far. "Fans of the Mass Effect trilogy have put far too much time, effort, and money into the game to be abandoned with such a fate," the group insisted.



"Bioware desperately needs to resolve this issue. New DLC (something long) to add a new, more satisfactory ending to the game, or even a full expansion based as an epilogue to the trilogy.



"Some possible ideas include Shepard retiring or settling down with his/her love interest, returning to work as a Council SPECTRE, or traveling the galaxy as an inter-species diplomat."



In addition to that, a poll on the Bioware forums requesting a "brighter" ending gained 68000 positive votes. Some folks even made a happy ending mod to bring the ending more in line with their expectations.



In April, Bioware responded by announcing a free extended cut patch that would add extra cut scenes and clarity to the ending without changing what actually happened. It was released in June, but by then it was all a bit too late.



Still, some good came out of it. A Child's Play protest drive raised £50,000, though as the BBC reported, Child's Play closed down the drive "after it emerged many people thought they were giving money to produce a new ending for Mass Effect 3."



Bioware mentioned that they are working on Mass Effect 4 in October. It will be built in Frostbite 2, it won't feature Shepard, and Bioware haven't quite decided whether it should be a prequel or a sequel.











Diablo 3 - ERROR 37



Diablo 3 proved more popular than Blizzard had really anticipated when it released on May 15. Huge numbers had pre-ordered, many more received a bonus copy as part of the World of Warcraft annual pass deal, and still more bought it on the day. Blizzard later said that 6.3 million people were playing in the first week after launch.



Diablo 3's controversial always-online requirement meant everyone logging in to play would have to successfully connect with Blizzard's servers first. Unfortunately, with a noise like a whoopee cushion in a wind tunnel the server farms melted into a steaming puddle of silicon and couldn't be coaxed into full operation.



Rejected connections were met with the now infamous "Error 37" message. Furious fans vented their frustration on a 19 page forum thread entitled "Epic Fail Blizzard." #error37 became a worldwide trending topic on Twitter



After a few very late nights and some emergency updates, Error 37 messages started to fade, but more controversy lay ahead. After several delays the real money auction house arrived in June. Patches hiked repair costs for high level players and put in the support pillars for a disappointing endgame.



That wasn't all. Players started discovering exploits after major patches, including one that let wizards become immortal and, as Kotaku noted, another that activated god mode for Barbarians.



Then there was the incident involving Diablo co-creator, David Brevik, who spoke out about Diablo 3 in August saying "some of the decision they have made are not the decisions I would make and there have been changes in philosophy and that hasn’t gone over very well. I think in that way I am a little sad." Diablo 3 devs vented their frustration on a less-private-than-expected Facebook thread in which game director Jay Wilson responded with the message "fuck that loser." Wilson later apologised in a lengthy post on the Diablo 3 site



"What I said was expressed out of anger, and in defense of my team and the game. People can say what they want about me, but I don't take lightly when they disparage the commitment and passion of the Diablo III team," he said.



Phew. Buried under all that hoo-ha it's important to note that Diablo 3 is a good game. Very good, actually, if you forgive the post-level 60 grind. Find out why in our Diablo 3 review. Blizzard are currently planning more updates and there should be some proper expansions on the horizon.











The Tomb Raider rape scene that wasn't



By the time E3 rolled around, there was already some concern surrounding Crystal Dynamic's new direction for Lara Croft. The only footage and screenshots released so far had shown her battered, bruised, bleeding in a state of permanent pain, fear or misery.



Then, two and a half minutes into the E3 trailer, amid the falling, impaling, shivering and screaming, an assailant groped Lara. The implied rape threat was clear to many, and a flood of opinion pieces were penned in response. Here's the trailer so you can see for yourself.







The situation wasn't helped by comments executive producer Ron Rosenberg made to Kotaku. "When you see her have to face these challenges, you start to root for her in a way that you might not root for a male character," he said. "When people play Lara, they don't really project themselves into the character. They're more like 'I want to protect her.' There's this sort of dynamic of 'I'm going to this adventure with her and trying to protect her.'"



Our Tom Francis got to play through the scene to its conclusion, deliberately failing (to his considerable discomfort) the quicktime events that enable her to fight back. In the end, her attacker merely strangles her to death instead. Oh, good.



Global brand director Karl Stewart told us there's “No sexual element. He doesn’t care who you are. He has got you cornered and you are female, so there is an element of ‘oh he’s creepy, and this is slightly intimidating’, but straight out it’s: bite his ear, kick him in the nuts and shoot him in the head.”



Regarding Rosenberg's comments, he said this: “Unfortunately someone mis-spoke, rather than was mis-quoted, and said a word that isn’t in our vocabulary and shouldn’t have been said… We’re not trying to create something that causes a stir, what we’re trying to create is something that’s still in a mature world but still feels real.”



On watching the trailer, it's hard to believe that those who cut the trailer together weren't trying to cause a bit of fuss. It's still too early to tell where the developers are taking Lara, and it certainly isn't the first time a marketing campaign has misrepresented a game. It's due out on March 5 next year.











Hitman: Absolution



Where to start? Square Enix' promotional efforts have provided some of the most painful "what were they thinking?" moments of the year. The graphic murder of a squad of hypersexualised, rubberised BDSM nun assassins in the May trailer was an impressively misjudged opening gambit that worked on precisely no level.



Game director Tor Blystad later apologised for the trailer, explaining that "there are a lot of movie influences in Hitman Absolution, like Tarantino and Rodriguez." But where Tarantino re-purposes influences from asian cinema and martial arts films to create quirky and spectacular pop-cultural mash-ups, the Hitman nunsassin trailer seems to take its cues from rubbish porn and Rambo. The resultant video was exactly the sort of peurile hyperviolent nonsense that gives videogames a bad rep.



“We’re sorry that we offended people” Blystad said at E3. “That was truly not the intention of the trailer.”



“We’ve been reading as much as we could of the articles and responses” he added. “We were surprised that it turned into such a huge topic. Something similar happened with our Sniper Challenge pre-order bonus. We just wanted to make something cool, it wasn’t the intention to stir up anything.”



IO Interactive subsequently changed the level that featured the nun assassins - a crack squad sent by the Agency to slay Agent 47 - to create more context for their appearance .



It was bad, but a mistake is a mistake, right? Those involved have apologised and will probably be more thoughtful about their marketing schemes in future. As long as they don't do anything else stupid then we can all get past - OH WAIT. Just a few weeks ago a Facebook stunt encouraged players to put "Facebook hits" out on their friends. Those taking part could select insults to throw at each other. You could put out a hit on someone for having small tits, bad hair, an annoying laugh or a small penis.



The campaign was pulled in the wake of a torrent of disapproval. Depressingly, the game proved disappointing, too, ditching many of the traits that made former Hitman games special in favour of a more directed, linear experience. Find out more in our Hitman: Absolution review.









The War Z



At the time of writing, The War Z has been plucked from Steam. Valve's Doug Lombardi told RPS that Valve have removed the game so that Valve can "work with the developer and have confidence in a new build." They're also offering refunds to purchasers who file a support ticket. The problem? This build of The War Z doesn't seem to match up to the promises its developers have been making.



Steam user Shock4ndAwe captured this image showing the original product description on Steam. It promised maps between "100 and 400 square kilometers." It claims you can create "private servers" and "gain experience and spend it to learn dozen of available skills." These features aren't in there yet. What's more, PCGamesN investigated the size of War Z's map and found it to be around 10 sq km large - far smaller than promised.



In an extraordinary interview on GameSpy, executive producer of The War Z, Sergey Titov attempted to defend the Steam listing, saying "I think there's difference between false claims and perception of the text."



When challenged on the "up to 100 players" claim (only 50 players could play simultaneously at the time), he said "let's be frank: when you read "up to 100 players" -- what does it mean to you personally? I mean, for me it doesn't mean that I will play with 99 other players. Really :) And yes game supports 100 players -- heck, it supports actually over 400 players per server as of today. Do we have servers launched with this number of slots? No we don't, because this is not what our players WANT."



The War Z creators, Hammerpoint, have since released a statement that blames players for expecting the features clearly labelled on Steam. “We also want to extend our apologies to all players who misread information about game features," they said. The Steam listing has since been altered.



Before The War Z was pulled, Kotaku reported that a patch had upped the respawn time to four hours and added microtransactions that would let players pay to circumvent it. Players took to Reddit to express their anger.



It feels like this story still has a long way to run. In other news, Bohemia Interactive continue to work on a standalone version of Arma 2 mega-mod, Day Z.
Kotaku





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I adore YouTube user Criken. I don't understand how he manages to break games the way he does. Here he is playing Hitman: Absolution, making me feel like I put too much effort into trying to be sneaky when apparently Hitman is more hilarious when you're sloppy about it.



I'll have to test this out next time I boot it up. Kirk Hamilton, who has actually beaten Absolution, assures me that the video isn't quite reflective of the game. Either way, it's flippin hilarious.


PC Gamer
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title="Permanent Link to Hitman Absolution launches, then pulls, offensive Facebook promotion">Hitman Absolution PR







Yesterday I was convinced that Hitman Absolution's Deus Ex DLC items would be among the stupidest promotional stuff we'd see for the game. Unfortunately, they weren't. A Facebook campaign that launched today - before being quickly removed after RPS spotted it - encouraged people to send a hit on their friends.



According the campaign's press release, “'Hire Hitman' was created to celebrate the best selling game Hitman: Absolution. The experience is another opportunity for fans of the series to immerse themselves in the Hitman universe.”



Here's the form that celebration took. After selecting the friend they wanted to target, users were asked to pick from a list of insulting “identifying” characteristics.



Female friends got to be called out on “awful make-up,” “annoying laugh,” “strange odour,” “muffin top,” or “small tits,” among others. Male targets, meanwhile, could be chided on their “bad hair,” “big ears,” “hairy back,” “big gut,” or “small penis.”



So that's intimidation, bullying and sexism. Another proud day in games promoting, folks!



Users would then choose a reason for elimination, at which point a message would be sent to their friend's wall, with a video that incorporated photos from their profile.



While Square-Enix are in “shut down everything” mode, removing both the site and the video that was promoting it, one YouTuber was quick enough to capture it before it disappeared.







The press release states that the campaign was created by the ad agency Ralph, who were nominated for an EMMY. It doesn't mention if that nomination was for Stupidest Bloody Idea This Week.
Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (John Walker)

Update: Gosh, that was quick. Before any other sites had even picked up on this one, Square have removed the app. Links from it now reroute to the main Hitman page, and previously sent death threats no longer work.

Update 2: Square have issued a statement apologising for the app. The full statement is at the bottom of the post.

Original: Square Enix aren’t having a brilliant Winter. With profits pointing downward, and Hitman a bit of a stinker, they surely must be on the phone with the Humble Bundle folks, trying to follow THQ. But everything’s going to improve with their latest marketing campaign for the disappointing baldie killer! “SQUARE ENIX,” says the email that’s just arrived in my inbox, “WANTS YOU TO PUT A HIT ON YOUR FRIENDS”. Ahaha! Threaten to murder your chums! And mock them for their looks, or the size of their breasts or penis!

(more…)

Kotaku

Hitman: Absolution Site Wants You To Threaten Your Friends With Really Tacky Insults [Update: Square Enix Apologizes] Look, it's already pretty clear that the folks at IO Interactive like a particularly adolescent style of joke-making, what with the closet-humping and all. But the latest effort at promoting the Square Enix published game invites you to fling their poor taste at your Facebook friends. It's pretty tacky.



As spotted on Rock, Paper, Shotgun, Hire Hitman is a site that hooks into your Facebook profile and lets you aim the series' lethal protagonist at your social network buddies. Not too bad so far, right? The icky stuff comes when you pick the reason you want Agent 47 to kill your friends' identifiable traits. In the drop down menu, nestled in with other rude observations, the selections include small genitals for men or small breasts for women. Classy, no?



Hitman: Absolution Site Wants You To Threaten Your Friends With Really Tacky Insults [Update: Square Enix Apologizes] Completing the selections generates a video that has the data you input popping up on Agent 47's laptop and pictures from your target's photo albums flit on-screen to represent flashes of their life passing before their eyes as they die.



Maybe you really like Hitman and want to get your friends to play it. Fine. But, it doesn't really seem like insulting them with bullying language is the way to go about it. And, sure, the defense might be that you and/or Square Enix are having a laugh in the spirit of their game. But the person on the receiving end might not be laughing at all.



Update: As of this writing, the Hire Hitman site appears to have been pulled down by Square Enix and previously generated hits redirect to the main Hitman homepage.



Update 2: Square Enix has sent along a statement that apologizes for their Hitman Facebook app:




Earlier today we launched an app based around Hitman: Absolution that allowed you to place virtual hits on your Facebook friends. Those hits would only be viewable by the recipient, and could only be sent to people who were confirmed friends.



We were wide of the mark with the app, and following feedback from the community we decided the best thing to do was remove it completely and quickly. This we've now done.



We're sorry for any offense caused by this.



PC Gamer
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title="Permanent Link to Hitman Absolution’s Deus Ex DLC augments Agent 47 (and makes him look ridiculous)">Deus Ex-Agent 47







Hitman Absolution seems set to become the next game to feel the full force of Square Enix's bizarre obsession with cross-game promotion. After shoehorning practically every one of their franchises into Sleeping Dogs, the company has now released Deus Ex DLC for Agent 47's sort-of-assassination adventure.



The Adam Jensen disguise and handgun microtransactions (purchases sold separately, batteries not included) add a silenced pistol and cyborg costume into Contracts mode. None of which is going to fix the many problems that Tom had when he reviewed the game.



It does make you wonder what's next in SE's tireless campaign to tie all of their games together in increasingly silly ways. I'm hoping that future costumes for 47 include the traditional Lara Croft tanktop, or that they look to one of their Japanese titles and dress him up as a miserable teenager with a giant sword and shit hair. Any better ideas?







Thanks, PCGamesN.
Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Alec Meer)

His head is too big

Why distort one beloved franchise when you can do two at once? The latest DLC for Hitman: Ablutions once again fails to add new missions, ideally in a Streets of Hope vein, but instead a new costume and gun which can only be used in the Contracts mode. This new costume is the kevlar’n'metal duds of one Adam Jensen, he of Deus Ex: Human Revolution fame. This happens due to Hitman and Deux Ex being publisher stablemates, of course. As far as I can tell there is no narrative justification for why Baldy McChoke would come to acquire the augmented form of a mopey, bearded cyborg from the future, but hell, if Ridley Scott can contrive to unite the Blade Runner and Alien universes then this is no less silly.

The DXHR togs do make 47 look a bit like Gunther, mind. (more…)

Kotaku

Hitman: Absolution lets players don a variety of disguises. And now, one of those outfits is the Deus Ex suit. Because if you want to blend into a crowd, what better way to do that than with a futuristic body suit!



The suit not only offers Hitman's Agent 47 better protection, and the "Zenith" gun from Deus Ex is also available as DLC, completing the whole look. Both the Deus Ex Suit and the Deus Ex Zenith are available on Xbox Live for 80 Microsoft Points each and on the PlayStation Network and PC for US$1.00 a pop.



Why stop at Deus Ex, Square Enix? Surely, Agent 47 wants to dress as Final Fantasy characters or even Lara Croft from Tomb Raider.


Kotaku

Backhanded Box Quotes: 'I Wish They Would Do a HD Remake of Blood Money'Welcome back to "Backhanded Box Quotes," a collection of measured, thoughtful criticism from the user reviews of Metacritic.



Coming to the end of the year's major release calendar, we still have no shortage of righteous indignation and implacable disappointment in the world of user reviews.



Hitman: Absolution


Released: Nov. 20.



Critic: monkeylion (Metacritic)

"My first review was just with a couple of hours of gameplay, now after finishing the game I can tell you that there are 3 or 2 missions segments that are old classic hitman style, the others however suck, and suck bad."

Score: 2



Critic: Raphael Johnson (Amazon)

"I wish they would do a HD remake version of Blood money!"

Score: 3 stars






PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale


Released: Nov. 18.



Critic: LesbianGoku (Metacritic)

"The campaign is dull and overscripted, the online is cheesy and full of 12 year olds screaming in the mic, and the game is still full of cheaters."

Score: 0



Critic: Ubifail (Metacritic)

"If CAPCOM did this Smash Bros clone, and made a small roster to sell DLC, you would have killed them. So WHY THE HELL would you support such a rip-off and distribute perfect 10's??? "

Score: 1 ("The '1' is for Nariko")






Epic Mickey 2: The Power of 2


Released: Nov. 18.



Critic: capthavic (Metacritic)

"I played for about 30 minutes before quitting because I was so mind numbingly bored with it."

Score: 3



Critic: wesker2012 (Metacritic)

"I wouldn't recommend anyone buying this game unless you want to be really pissed off."

Score: 0





Backhanded Box Quotes will be an occasional feature of Kotaku's Anger Management, unless it isn't.

Product Update - Valve
Square Enix, IO Interactive, and Nixxes are making a first patch (1.0.438.0) available for Hitman: Absolution on PC.

This patches provides the following improvements:

- Players using the Russian language will no longer crash as soon as they use the sniper rifle.
- Various issues that have been seen on specific configurations that caused the game to not be able to start up at all have been addressed.
- Problems with the Sniper Challenge Unlocks not carrying over into Hitman: Absolution have been addressed. On first starting the patched game you will receive your unlocks.
o Note that North American users that have been provided the Sniper Challenge by Gamestop will need a separate unlock key in addition to this. Gamestop can provide these.
- Problems with negative level-scores have been fixed. Newly accomplished positive scores will be needed to erase your incorrectly remembered negative scores.
- A problem with keyboard and mouse controls where users would accidentally melee attack a person next to them when they intended to throw an item has been addressed.
- Legal and Intro movies can now be skipped immediately on startup after the game, on all launches but the very first on a machine.
- DirectX 10 hardware can now enable the simplest version of the Depth Of Field effect.
- Problems with audio occasionally being muted after ALT-TAB have been fixed.
- Various localization fixes.
- Miscellaneous other stability and general improvements based on crashes we have seen coming in.

Note that the above is really just our first set of fixes. We are continuing to monitor things and expect to provide further patches in the future.

We hope this patch will help everyone enjoy Hitman: Absolution!

...

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