Posted by: adrianwerner | October 18, 2009

While the pilots soar high, the infantry grunts fall into dirt

Talk about mixed emotions.

The past few years have been really incredible for fans of simulation genre, a genre once all but extinct is now enjoying a resurgence in all it’s sub categories. I might get into it in a more detailed way later on (it’s too big and too glorious to fit as a side note in this rant), but for now let’s stick to recent news:

Members of Flight Simulator’s ACES team are back with a new studio

Microsoft closing down ACES studio was a huge blow for both sim gamers and pcgaming community as a whole. It marked the end of the longest running simulation franchise as well as the end of Microsoft as PC games publisher. Of course even with Flight Simulator being dead there was still X-Plane to play and the add-on for Flight Simulator kept on coming. Still, nobody can deny that future looked a bit grim. Not anymore though! Just like with other subgenres where new teams started to provide fans what they’ve been starving for, the same is now happening to civilian flight sim subgenre. First Aerosoft, one of the biggest developers of Flight Simulator add-ons has revealed that they are seriously investigating the development of a new simulator, directly aimed at replacing FSX and now ex ACES guys are back with new studio which of course is working on new simulators.
Rick Selby, who was a Creative Director at ACES wrote that ““If you love simulations, the news is going to get better and better” and I don’t think anyone can disagree with that statement.

Mad Otter Games has acquired all Red Baron 1-3 rights

The last couple months have been simply incredible for fans of WWI flight simulators. The last good game of this type (Red Baron 3D) was released in 1998 and for eleven years fans of this genre survived on this game alone, modding the hell out of it to create something that’s easily one of the most impressive cases of fans keeping the game and genre on life support all by themselves. And after eleven years came 2009, which first saw the release of Over Flander Fields Phase 3, a WWI add-on to Combat Flight Simulator 3 (the game is mediocre at best, but the add-on is so good it’s worth buying it just for it). It started as a mod, but phase 3 went commercial and delivered something truly spectacular. Then we saw the release of Rise of Flight, a great brand new WWI flight sim. After so many years fans could actually choose between new games from their beloved genre (although every fan of simulation genre, not just WWI ones should buy both of them anyway 🙂 ).
The good news just kept on coming though. First guys from Red Baron team at Dynamix got back together to form Mad Otter games and started to work on Ace of Aces, a WWI arcade sim for Instant Action’s browser gaming system. And recently the same company managed to acquire all rights to Red Baron franchise. This resulted in all three Red Baron games getting re-released on GoodOldGames and we can expect a new Red Baron game somewhere in the future too.
Eleven years of starvation followed by months of feasting and it looks like the chefs aren’t done yet, so unbuckle your belts guys 🙂
One thing I really like about ActivisionBlizzard as opposed to Sierra is that they’re willing to sell their old IPs, so we’ll be seeing the return of old beloved PC franchises in the future, something that was impossible with Sierra, which prefered to sit down on the IPs despite having no intention to actually use them.
Rights to Evil Genius, Ground Control and Empire Earth were purchased by Rebellion, GarageGames bought Tribes IP and now Mad Otter has Red Baron. Do I dare to hope Jane Jansen might be able to get Gabriel Knight rights back?

Of course as Rocky Balboa said the world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows, so we had to get this bombshell dropped on us:

No dedicated servers and mod support for Modern Warfare 2

P2P and no user modifications on servers essentially spell doom for any form of clan gaming or even more… for  any dedicated long lasting online community for PC version of Modern Warfare 2. I can’t really understand why would Infinity Ward do that. Especially since MW2 runs on updated MW code, so recreating the system from CoD4 wouldn’t be extremely easy, while introducing this P2P nightmare surely took a lot more time and effort.
So now not only do we PC gamers get no collector’s edition, but also we’ll be forced to suffer through laggy P2P, get over a much higher than normal game price, but they also expect us to accept small player limits, no mods, no clan gaming etc Is there any reason to switch from Call of Duty 4 to Modern Warfare 2? For PC gamers I don’t think there’s any to be honest and this will definitely cause a lot lower sales for PC version.

The less hardcore PC gamers might not care enough to stop themselves from buying the game, but they only bring the initial sale numbers. PC games tend to obtained their sale numbers in long term and CoD has been loosing more and more PC sales with each new entry. World at War already is far less popular than CoD2 is and with broken MP there’s little reason to buying MW2 aside from singleplayer and I fear to many gamers MW2’s singleplayer campaign will be only worth pirating, instead of purchasing
Previous CoD games reached their PC sales through years, by having huge and very active online community that lasted for a very long time, as it is now…MW2 looks like it will die out pretty soon. I just don’t see MW2 aproaching sale numbers previous Call of Duty games (at least those made by Infinity Ward) had on PC. What’s sad is that if this turns out to be true I can bet somebody from IW will come out and start to blame piracy for this.

Personally I’m not a big fan of CoD, I’m more of a tactical shooters person and the most fun I had with CoD4 was when Insurgency was down for few days and it’s community switched temporary to CoD4 on hardcore mode. I have my Insurgency and now Arma 2. I spice it up with NeoTokyo and American Army 3 and I’m waiting for Red Orchestra 2. But what will other non-tactical gamers do? Will you stick to CoD2, CoD4 and Counterstrike? Will you get into Battlefield Bad Company 2 instead of MW2?

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  1. […] regular lists of PC game releases, bar none. He also sporadically talks about other topics and in this piece looks at simulations as a game genre, weaving together recent industry developments and their […]


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