Atlus has become one of my favorite video game publishers over the past few years. Not only do they localize almost every role-playing game they develop, they always show a willingness to take risks on crazy ideas—something that is very rare in the gaming industry.
That's why it's more than a little disconcerting to see Atlus USA's Twitter account acting as a spam bot, sending canned messages about the publisher's upcoming Game of Thrones RPG to anybody who tweets about the television show.
"Watching Game of Thrones this is pretty baller," one Twitter user writes.
"You know what's even more baller? #GameofThronesRPG! Think it might be right up your alley!" Atlus responds, sending over a link to the RPG's trailer.
I don't know whether to laugh or cry. Or both.
I reached out to Atlus for comment, but they haven't yet responded. We'll update this post if they do.
Update: Atlus contacted Kotaku this afternoon to tell us
to check out the Game of Thrones RPG that this is part of a campaign to get the word out to as many Game of Thrones fans as possible. Since they're up against two other huge games with the same May 15 release date (Diablo III and Max Payne 3), they certainly have their work cut out for them. And winter is coming.
A restructuring in light of steep losses for the quarter ending today means that a lot of people at Sega of America lost their jobs yesterday. But rumors that the entire division is shutting down appear to be unfounded.
Some Sega of America employees, on their Twitter feeds and via this post on Reddit, wrote of being called into an 11 a.m. meeting and being told of the widespread layoffs that they interpreted as a full shutdown. Sega Sammy Holdings, the parent company based in Japan, released a statement yesterday to investors that identified a "reduction of number of titles," that are targeted to the U.S. and Europe, listing four that seem to be protected. Work on anything else is likely terminated.
"We conducted detailed reviews of earnings projections for titles targeted toward the U.S. and European markets and decided to narrow down sales titles from the following period and after to strong IPs," Sega Sammy wrote, "such as Sonic the Hedgehog, Football Manager, Total War, and Aliens, which are expected to continue posting solid earnings. In accordance with this, we are canceling the development of some game software titles."
In a statement published by Joystiq, Sega of America re-named those four series and confirmed the layoffs. "As a result of the SEGA Sammy Board decision to consolidate the business, many of our internal functions will be re-structured and this could result in a number of redundancies within the publishing business across the Western organisation," it said.
IGN reported that QA for North America has been completely shut down, with Sega Europe taking over its functions. Positions in functions like marketing, social media and design also got the axe, IGN says, citing unnamed sources.
The reduction of Western publishing will surely kill off a significant chunk of Sega's portfolio here. In addition to the four franchises named above, western consumers have seen titles like Virtua Tennis, Virtua Fighter, Bayonetta, MadWorld and The Conduit published by Sega over the past three years. No word yet on what this means, specifically, for HD re-release plans for Jet Set Radio. But it probably kills rumors of a similar re-release for Shenmue.
Amazon's 3-for-2 deal expires today, so if you have a couple titles in mind—any platform—this is a good day to use all of those bonus credits you've piled up by being such a consistent reader of The Moneysaver. For example, one is now being offered on the next Ghost Recon game, though it is cheaper in whole dollars through NewEgg. That plus another 60 deals await in The Moneysaver below!
• Last day for Amazon's "Buy 2, Get a 3rd FREE" sale with 1,000+ titles available over all platforms, including most new releases. A solid PS3 combo: Mass Effect 3, MLB 12: The Show, and Armored Core V for $119.98. Separately their best prices would add to $169. [Dealzon]
• May 22 release Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Future Soldier (360, PS3, PC) is $47.99, free shipping from NewEgg through Sunday. Next best deal on 360 and PS3 is $60 plus $10 bonus credit from Amazon, elsewhere $60 no bonus. Buy.com has PC for same price, elsewhere $50. [Dealzon]
• Street Fighter X Tekken (360, PS3) is $48.79, free shipping from Amazon. Next best is $55. [Dealzon]
• April 1 release Binary Domain (PC download) is $32 from Green Man Gaming. Next best is $40. [Dealzon]
• Crysis 2 (PC Download) is $8.95 from Green Man Gaming. Next best is $25. Last great deal was $9.99 for one day only in late January. [Dealzon]
• Final Fantasy XIII-2 (PS3, 360) is $34.99 plus $5.14 shipping from Toys 'R' Us. Next best is $50. [Dealzon]
• Devil May Cry Collection (360) is $38.99, free shipping from Buy.com. Elsewhere $40. [Dealzon]
• Goldeneye 007 Reloaded (360, PS3) is $29.99 plus $2.99 shipping from GameStop. Next best is $50. [Dealzon]
• uDraw Gametablet with uDraw Studio (PS3) is $25.88, free shipping from Amazon. Next best is $40. [Dealzon]
• El Shaddai: Ascension of the Metatron (360, PS3) is $14.99 from Amazon. Next best is $20. [Dealzon]
• Front Mission Evolved (360, PS3) is $9.99, free shipping from NewEgg. Next best is $17. [Dealzon]
• Mario & Sonic at the London 2012 Olympic Games (3DS) is $29.99, free shipping from Amazon. Next best is $38. [Dealzon]
• Syndicate (PC) is $34.90, free shipping from Amazon. Next best is $59. [Dealzon]
• Assassin's Creed Revelations (PC Download) is $24.99 from GameStop. Next best is $42. [Dealzon]
• Assassin's Creed 2 (PC Download) is $4.99 from GameStop. Next best is $20. [Dealzon]
• PS3 Slim 160GB Console (Refurbished) is $199.99, free shipping from Buy.com. Next best is $250. [Dealzon]
• Creative Labs Sound Blaster Tactic 3D Omega Wireless Gaming Headset is $129.99, free shipping from Amazon. Next best is $150. [Dealzon]
• Logitech Driving Force GT PS3 Racing Wheel (dented box but new) is $89.99, free shipping from Logitech. Next best is $100. [Dealzon]
• Xbox 360 Wireless Headset is $29.99, free shipping from NewEgg. Next best is $35. [Dealzon]
• Plantronics GameCom 367 Gaming Headset is $21.99 from Amazon. Next best is $33. [Dealzon]
• Samsung 23-inch C23A750X 1080p 2ms LED Monitor (Refurbished) with Wireless Docking Station is $185, free shipping from Ebay Deals. Next best is $219. [Dealzon]
• OCZ 128GB Octane SSD is $114.49 after rebate, free shipping from NewEgg. Next best is $170. [Dealzon]
• HP Envy 17 3D 17.3-inch 1080p laptop with Quad Core i7-2670QM, 8GB RAM, Blu-ray, 3-D Glasses, Radeon HD 7690M 1GB is $1,239.49 after coupon through Sunday from HP. That's cheapest ever by $56 and $83 off last week's price. [Dealzon]
• Lenovo IdeaPad Y570 15.6-inch laptop with Quad Core i7-2670QM, GeForce GT 555M, 8GB RAM is $779, free shipping from Lenovo. That's cheapest ever by $20. [Dealzon]
• HP has a HP Elite coupon code for 25% off their elite series desktops which makes lowest ever prices on all the high end models. [Dealzon]
• Refurbished Alienware Aurora desktop with Quad Core i7-2600K, 6GB RAM, GeForce GTS 450 is $899.96 plus $56.42 shipping from TigerDirect. That's cheapest ever by $100. This desktop in new condition usually sells for $1,450 and up. [Dealzon]
The following listing of digital download bargains are grouped by distributor. For more, see Deals4Downloads' roundup.
• Jack Keane is $13.99, save 30 percent.
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Kotaku thanks our coupon partners for providing these and other great deals. Be sure to bookmark and search their Kotaku hashtags (#dealzon, #deals4downloads and #dealtaku) for updates throughout the week. Further, to our friends across the pond and north of the border, check the #ukdeals, #europedeals and #canadadeals hashtags and be sure to flag any deals you might have with that.
As always, smart gamers can find values any day of the week, so if you've run across a deal, share it with us in the comments.
It's Edgar Allan Pokémon! Get it? Every battle is just a bunch of fiendish ravens clawing and poking each other's eyes out, while Edger Allan Poe jots his observations down in the form of poetry. I would very much like to read those poems.
I stumbled on this week's image over on Reddit. Nintendo: new character? We've seen Ash way too many times now. No Pokémon fan would be upset by that transition, right?
Moving on to our Best Of content this week, we kick things off as usual with a comment from the community.
If you want to see the list of nominations (and other random conversations) you can head to my most recent nomination post that goes up every Friday here.
Want to suggest an article, comment, tweet, or any other content on Kotaku to be featured for a weekly Best Of nomination? Drop me a line at email@example.com with the subject line of "Best Of Nomination." Or any other subject line that will help me sort through and search for them. I'm not too picky.
The first was a bit of an inside joke:
Wii U Wii U Wii U Wii U!
The second is a riff on Angry Birds Space with a reference to Top Gun:
I refuse to play any of the Danger Zone missions unless there is a highway leading up to them.
Zac Gorman draws a motion comic to summarize his an experience in the beautiful, serene game of Journey. More »
Stephen Totilo lists 50 things about the upcoming Assassin's Creed game that you should know about. Assassinating bears is among them. More »
Evan Narcisse wants to see some cool black people featured in games. More »
Luke Plunkett gives us the details of the rumored Orbis, Sony's next PlayStation console. More »
Kirk Hamilton shares his opinions of the new SimCity after checking it out in San Francisco. More »
Kotaku readers asked Mike Fahey about Guild Wars 2, and Fahey delivers the answers. More »
Luke Plunkett shares the positives and negatives of Total War: Shogun 2: The Fall of the Samurai. More »
If a Hunger Games game is going to be made any time in the future, Kirk Hamilton has some suggestions for it. More »
This week was the 3DS' birthday, and Jason Schreier takes a look its progress so far. More »
Stephen Totilo investigates what the future generation might feel towards video games. More »
Keeping in mind that the next generation of consoles may not play used games, Jason Schreier gives us five reasons why that may not be a bad thing. More »
Luke Plunkett tackles the opposite side of the argument on used games. More »
Owen Good challenges the standard after making the cut as a female amateur golfer at The Masters. More »
Brad Wardell, president and CEO of software company Stardock, explains how Windows 8 can really cripple PC gaming. More »
Lisa Foiles changes the endings of a few other games. More »
Jason Schreier explains why many JRPGs don't make it over to the U.S.More »
China's Tencent Games is releasing a new MMO called Age of Guns. The game features a dual wielding hero that looks like he was plucked from the Japanese character design reject pile.
Much of the Age of Guns trailer looks familiar. Like stuff I could have sworn I've seen before back when this clip was called the DMC announcement trailer. But that's not the only thing Age of Guns swipes from...
Ninja Theory, the developer behind DMC, doesn't seem pleased and even pointed out the similarities on its Twitter page.
The trailers are in the above gallery. Judge for yourself.
But then, I have something of a soft spot for Alan, for some reason. The original game sticks with me more than I thought it would; it's the sort of game that I think of more fondly while I'm not playing it than while I am. That's in part because while I'm not playing it, the repetitive combat and endless wandering through the woods don't seem as interminable, and the game's best aspects don't feel as spaced out.
While the game itself does have some highs—that heavy metal concert blowout among them—the narrative setup is also something I really dig. I like the setting, which still feels fresh as a place to put a video game. And while Alan himself can be a bit of a drip, I like that he's a novelist, and dig how the game experiments (usually unsuccessfully) with that by using the scattered manuscript pages to flesh out characters and provide foreshadowing.
But how close is the game to accurately portraying the life of a writer? Alan wake isn't some internet writer like certain people I could name; no, he's a tweed jacket-wearing, typewriter-using capital-W Writer in the mould of Stephen King. Or actually, as I've always maintained, Dean Koontz.
Game designer and writer Matthew Burns, who in addition to being a fantastic writer is always good for a laugh, looked into this very question on his blog "Magical Wasteland" back in 2010, and the post has always stuck with me. First, Burns wrote the tongue-in-cheek "An excerpt from the novel 'Departure' by Alan Wake." Key bit: " I was relieved. As the twisted forms evaporated into slivers of light, I realized that my kill count with the flashbang had reached fifty. A sense of achievement washed over me.").
After that, he decided to see do a further investigation (tongue still firmly planted in cheek) of what Alan Wake gets wrong, and right, about being a writer.
Butns turned to who else but Tom "actual writer" Bissell for an interview on the subject. Is Alan Wake an accurate portrayal of the modern American novelist?
"I read that this fiction writer protagonist could sprint for only about ten feet or so," Bissell says, "and I thought, 'Yes! They've done their research!'"
Personally, I'm not sure I ever bought Alan Wake as a realistic writer. I grew tired of his plodding writing style, though I do like the theory that his manuscript pages are something of a joke, a commentary on how bad writers become famous every day in America. Burns brings up this question and Bissell mentions Dan Brown, who despite his huge success you may have heard is a fairly terrible writer.
I did like how Wake's writing improved noticeably between the first game and American Nightmare. Apparently, he's been working on his craft between games. And given the fact that he can finally run for more than a few seconds without running out of breath, I guess he's been hitting the gym, too.
What Alan Wake Gets Wrong, And Right, About Being A Writer [Magical Wasteland]
The game I played most was Mortal Kombat, which I was so excited to finally own in some capacity (I didn't have either a Super Nintendo or a Genesis, so I'd never had Mortal Kombat at home.)
My memory of the game has always been fairly rose-tinted. So when I fired up the video above, I was unprepared for just how truly rough it actually was. Particularly, the audio. Good god, the thing sounds like a joke version of "bad video game music." The punches sound on par with those one-off portable LCD games you could buy at the toy store in the airport for $5.99.
It's so piddly and terrible. I almost feel as though I am obligated to pick up Mortal Kombat for the Vita in May, just so I can finally play a version of the game commensurate with the version that exists in my memory.
Its multiple gag endings are now a classic bit of cinema history. But every time I've watched Clue, it's been either on DVD or on VHS, and so I saw all of the endings one right after the other, but during its 1985 theatrical run, Clue was presented with the same multiple endings we all know and love, but each theater only got one.
Film critics at the time didn't quite know what to make of it, nor did many audiences. In his review, Roger Ebert calls the multiple endings idea "ingenious," though he didn't like the movie enough to recommend people actually go around to multiple theaters to see the endings.
From Ebert's review:
"'Clue' is a comedy whodunit that is being distributed with three different endings, which is sort of silly, since it doesn't make the slightest bit of difference who did it. That makes the movie a lot like the board game which inspired it, where it didn't make any difference either, since you could always play another game."
Despite being an ardent fan of the film, I'd never thought of the parallels before. Here we've got a movie that has multiple endings, each of which combine to tell the viewer "Actually, nothing that happened in the movie really matters! It's one of these endings, but who cares which one?" Sound familiar?
Yes, Clue had a few things in common with the ending to the Mass Effect trilogy, and more broadly, to any story-based game with multiple outcomes.
Clue's multiple-theaters-multiple-endings stunt was a flop, and most people weren't interested enough to actually go to multiple viewings to see multiple endings. But think if they had—it wouldn't have been all that different from those of us who do multiple playthroughs of BioWare games like Mass Effect just to see the various endings we can get.
When he reviewed the film, Ebert gave this advice: "Since this movie is so short anyway (88 minutes), why doesn't the studio abandon the ridiculous multiple-ending scheme and show all three endings at every theater? It would be more fun that way."
Apparently Paramount agreed, since the film's video release did just that. By packaging the movie with all of the endings stacked in a row, it became clear that really, despite the "real" ending embedded here, there was no actual true ending.
I'm not suggesting that Mass Effect 3's ending would be improved if BioWare strung all of the possible outcomes together with the jaunty Clue theme music playing.
However, I am suggesting someone else do this and post it to YouTube. Because that would be pretty funny.
Here, from around the internet, are some things that you might enjoy reading and gabbing about.
And that's that. Have good chatting, and a great weekend!