Peter Molyneux - Godus Kickstarter

News Shelf: 11/23/12

If you’re not reading this from behind the curtains of the Wii U web browser, then one of two things is true: either you’re reading this from the Wii U gamepad, or you’re not a part of the biggest gaming story this week:

The Wii U launch

Wii U Box Release Date Price

Six years minus a day after the launch of its last console, Nintendo launched the Wii U to — well, a somewhat tepid response, at least where the gaming press was concerned. More mainstream sources like TIME, the New York Times and USA Today seemed marginally more optimistic about the console. If there’s any sort of consensus about the console thus far, it’s this: we don’t know if people will take to the tablet controller the way people did with motion controllers, but Microsoft and Sony had better have some kind of gimmick to show us or Nintendo could win by default.

The console has suffered its fair share of launch issues, including a massive day-one patch, reports of hard crashes during gameplay and confirmation that Nintendo Network accounts can’t be moved off the console they were created on, which brings up the question of what happens if your Wii U gets stolen or if you have to send it in for repair.


But the question you probably want an answer to is “can I buy one right now?” I have little for you beyond anecdotal evidence and these completed eBay listings that suggest a successful closing price of roughly $450 right now. So I’d say you have a decent shot of getting one without freezing in a cold line outside a suburban Toys R’ Us in February, not that I’d know about anything like that.

One more piece for you: Chris Plante of Polygon did a neat profile on Triforce Johnson, the first guy in line at the Nintendo World Store in New York City.

(Editor’s note: Dork Shelf’s Eric Weiss also weighed in with his own doubts on the Wii U in this week’s Thought Bubble editorial.)

Amnesia Fortnight goes public, destroys Veronica Belmont


Amnesia Fortnight

Double Fine’s been running Amnesia Fortnight for years now. The premise is simple: for two weeks, everyone at the company stops what they’re doing, splits into small teams, and works on game prototypes they’ve pitched to company founder Tim Schafer. The first one took place during the production of Brutal Legend, and Schafer credited the Amnesia Fortnight prototypes with saving the company. You may know some of those prototypes — Costume Quest, Stacking, Iron Brigade and Once Upon a Monster all started at Amnesia Fortnight.

This year, Double Fine’s taking the whole process public. Throw some money at them and their charity of choice, Child’s Play, and you too can select from the 23 pitches from the Double Fine team. The top four will be turned into prototypes over two weeks, and as with the company’s Double Fine Adventure project, the whole thing will be documented by the video crew from Two Player Productions.

Contributors to the project will eventually get to play with all four prototypes, and as a bonus will also receive the Costume Quest and Once Upon a Monster prototypes now (plus a third prototype if you pay more than the average — the Amnesia Fortnight package is a pay-what-you-can affair).

Czech Republic president asks Greece to reconsider detention of ArmA 3 developers


Czech Republic President Václav Klaus

Bohemia Interactive devs Ivan Buchta and Martin Pexlar were arrested by Greek officials in September for spying and accused of taking photographs of sensitive military installations. The devs have been held without trial ever since, and have been refused bail. This past Wednesday, the president of the Czech Republic, Václav Klaus, sent a letter to Greek president Karolos Papoulias in an attempt to speed up the Greek legal process.

In the letter, Klaus urged Papoulias to “follow this unfortunate affair with special attention,” noting the eyes of the world were on the case, and that the slowness of the proceedings could have implications for the relationship between the two countries.

While Bohemia’s next project, a follow-up to the ultra-realistic shooter ARMA II, does happen to include the Greek island of Lemnos — the place where Buchta and Pexlar were said to have photographed military bases — the company has said the two were on vacation, and not working on the game in any way. Furthermore, Bohemia’s statement defended the detained employees, claiming the two took the photos from a public road accessible to tourists.

Hot Stocks: THQ gets reprieve from Wells Fargo but loses a CFO, Sony’s credit rating labelled Junk



With game publisher THQ looking for new investors to prop up its financial strategy of “let’s get our announced games out before the doors close,” the company has some good news and some not-so-good news. The good news is that one of its creditors, Wells Fargo, has signed a forbearance agreement with THQ, meaning the bank will delay any declaration of loan defaults until January 15. In other words, THQ has a few extra months to get its financial house in enough order to show Wells Fargo it can eventually pay off its debts.

In the same press release, THQ announced the exit of its current chief financial officer, Paul Pucino, and that the company was in negotiations with a mysterious partner that could result in “significant and material dilution to shareholders.” In other words, the company could release a new round of shares, making the current shares in circulation worth that much less. At $1.10 a share on the NASDAQ as of the market’s closing for American Thanksgiving, there’s not much further for the stock to fall at this point.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the Pacific, Sony and Panasonic’s credit ratings have been slashed by Fitch Ratings. Citing significant issues with its television and camera divisions, Moody’s downgraded Sony to the lowest investment grade on November 9. Fitch’s outlook for Sony was also poor, saying that a recovery will be difficult due to high competition, weak economies in its biggest markets, and a rising yen.

Peter Molyneux is having a rough week


Peter Molyneux

Originally, this was going to be a piece about famous (or infamous) game designer Peter Molyneux getting into the Kickstarter game with Godus, a new take on god games from Molyneux’s company 22 Cans that blends elements from the landmark titles he created in the ’90s like Populous, Dungeon Keeper and Black & White. After one day, Godus has already made it to 20% of its funding goal of £450,000.

But apparently burned out from dealing with the growing pains of Curiosity, 22 Cans’ recently released mobile game of mystery and, um, chipping away at a giant virtual cube, Molyneux let it all out in an interview with Rock, Paper, Shotgun — figuratively and literally. As in, Molyneux actually cried during the interview when asked if his tendency to over-promise and under-deliver could influence the success of the Godus Kickstarter campaign. Later in the interview, Molyneux starts talking about his impending death as something other than an abstract notion, which frankly, sounds worrying.

At least, I’m worried about him. Peter, if you really feel that close to the brink, maybe it’s time to take a break and see someone about your issues. Video games and the internet’s raging love/hate for your body of work will still be here when you return. Get well, Peter Molyneux.