Closings, Alarums, Excursions And Wetsuits

Shane Kim, head of Microsoft’s Game Studios division, let slip during an interview during DICE that, yes, Marvel Online is dead, again. Because, well, there can be only one.

When we first entered into the development and agreement of the development of ‘Marvel Universe Online,’ we thought we would create another subscription-based MMO. And if you really look at the data there’s basically one that’s successful and everything else wouldn’t meet our level or definition of commercial success. And then you have to look [and say]: ‘Can we change the business model for that? Is that really viable given how far we are in development? And so forth. Does Marvel want to do that?’ There’s a whole bunch of factors.”

surfergirl.jpgIf you believe anonymous gaming rumor-mongerer/ Obama supporter “Surfer Girl”, well, LucasArts believes there can be only two, and since they’re working internally, according to her, on an MMO based on their OMG THIS WILL BE THE BEST VERSION OF STAR WARS EVER NO REALLY WE KINDA GOT IT WRONG WITH THE GUNGANS AND ALL BUT THIS TIME WE KNOW WHAT WE ARE DOING REALLY upcoming intellectual property (a term that becomes ever looser with Lucas the more Star Wars movies come out), and well, they already have this MMO, see, except, well:

Star Wars Galaxies will shut down within a year after the release of the new MMO. The Artistic Lucases think that they have the only IP that can pose a serious challenge World of Warcraft and find that the setting of KOTOR is too niche to be a threat. They apparently expect the new Star War MMO to have at least three million subscribers by the end of the first year.

My immediate, visceral response is that if the NGE didn’t kill SWG, it literally cannot be killed. No, really. Don’t try. Trying to unplug the servers will result in SWG, its hour come at last, slouching towards San Francisco to be born.


But all is not lost: we here at Broken Toys are all about responding to our readers and people following referral links!


Cyb0r Warfare

This weeks’ proof that some people read Snow Crash too literally comes via the WaPo.

“Unfortunately, what started out as a benign environment where people would congregate to share information or explore fantasy worlds is now offering the opportunity for religious/political extremists to recruit, rehearse, transfer money, and ultimately engage in information warfare or worse with impunity.”

The government’s growing concern seems likely to make virtual worlds the next battlefield in the struggle over the proper limits on the government’s quest to improve security through data collection and analysis and the surveillance of commercial computer systems.

Virtual worlds could also become an actual battlefield. The intelligence community has begun contemplating how to use Second Life and other such communities as platforms for cyber weapons that could be used against terrorists or enemies, intelligence officials said. One analyst suggested beginning tests with so-called teams of cyber warfare experts.

“Intelligence community” — now more an oxymoron than ever.

OK, You Can Has Boobs

Whoops, apparently Funcom had a wardrobe malfunction when they shipped the game off to be certified: it turns out that the US will be getting the EU Socialist Paradise uncensored version (rated M for lots of immaturity). The Age of Conan forums exploded with joy (we hope it was joy, anyway) at the thought of censorship being defeated and totalitarianism being driven back.

Funcom apologizes for this small error (or maybe two small errors.)

Good to know the CM is taking this precisely as seriously as such a grave matter deserves!

No Boobs For You

What is the best thing about Conan? To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and hear the lamentation of your lawyers.

Please note this isn’t a design decision or something we can reverse. It’s a legal (or as good as legal) requirement to sell the game in that particular territory.


With that said:

The US version is rated M for Mature by the ESRB. If you buy the US version, you will not see nipples.

The German version is rated 18+ by USK. The German version has full gore, but will not have decapitation, dismemberment, and over-the-top type fatalities.

The “elsewhere in Europe” version is rated 18+ by PEGI and is unchanged.

This is complicated. Thus, I will help you with a simple chart.

Neo-Berlin and surrounding territories The Holy Christian States of America The Free European Socialist Paradise of Brussels
VIOLENCE NEIN! Sex is cool. SEX CAUSES COOTIES Blood is great, though We’re a bunch of degenerates. We can take anything.


Just To Pile On…

…in case you weren’t sure, darling, that University of Maryland study quoted in Fox’s “Sexbox” squib isn’t exactly what it was advertised to be.

This study didn’t involve thousands of young children. It didn’t even involve “real life experience” or even if they knew the difference between real life and fantasy. The Washington Post, in their story Students See Video Games As Harmless, Study Finds is more accurate, but not much more. The post still sensationalizes the issue by claiming that 14-year olds, who are filled with wrath, consider themselves “immune to mayhem.”

I Did It All For Teh Lulz

Julian Dibbell in Wired on the wide world of griefing (including figures all too familiar to loyal readers of this blog such as Prokofy Neva, 4chan, Goonswarm and its parent Something Awful).

Asked how some people can find their greatest amusement in pissing off others, ^ban^ gives the question a moment’s thought: “Most of us,” he says finally, with a wry chuckle, “are psychotic.”

Meanwhile, 4chan/b gets political and decides that Scientology’s pool has been closed.