The Red Herb Roundup: A Roundup Reborn


Why, hello out there!  I didn’t see you there.  Or, rather, you didn’t see me here because I haven’t committed to a Roundup for damned near weeks now.  First of all, sorry.  Second of all, kindly step off my dick.  Third of all, sorry for snapping at you.  Fourthly, if I had to be honest, you are kind of needy and I know you hate hearing that because more than one ex has tossed that word at you, but come on, seriously, you’re gonna chalk that up to coincidence?

…Fifthly, sorry again.  Video games.  I don’t know why you let me get sidetracked.  Welcome back to the Roundup, anyway.

This Week in Gaming Tech

  • I feel like I was just talking about virtual reality headsets and Valve plunging into the hardware market.  Well, marry that information into one to save room in your brain because Valve has revealed that they’re piecing together their own gaming headset.  The project’s lead, Michael Abrash, believes that while “credible augmented reality games” may be a few years off, headsets like Valve’s have the potential of arriving on market much sooner.  Of course, Valve is noncommittal when it comes to actually manufacturing the headsets en masse, not their style apparently, opting instead to keep their designs open for any company with the balls to take us where the Virtual Boy tried to so many years ago.
  • Just because Microsoft won’t talk about their new Xbox, doesn’t mean everyone else is falling suit, including internal sources claiming that a manufacturing delay may put a damper on the Big M’s plans for a September 2013 launch of the next-gen console.  According to the tech-heads at SemiAccurate, the new “Oban” processor at the heart of the Xbox 720 is facing a remarkably low yield, meaning only a miniscule percentage of chips per batch are even usable.  An AMD employee put it in perspective for the Herb recently saying that your target yield should be around 70% lest a company has to cork the champagne, curse loudly, and hit the drawing board.  Despite some slack in Microsoft’s scheduling, if production difficulties persist, a Spring 2014 launch may be more likely.
  • As you might have already gathered, the internet treats a business’ non-disclosure the same way a sewage worker treats a manhole lid: with a fucking crowbar.  Nintendo probably won’t officially confirm the Wii U’s price point(s) or release window until the 13th, but a leak from a major video game distributor (VPD) may have beat them to the punch by showing us three planned system bundles starting at $249, then another at $299, and finally a $349 box; speculation has it the pricier bundles may include combinations of a game and extra controllers (either another GamePad tablet or the eerily familiar Pro controller).  The leak even did us one better than a launch window – it gave us a November 11th release date.  Again, watch for confirmation on Sept. 13th during Nintendo’s New York press event.

This Week in Games

  • Darksiders II kicked August right in the ass, claiming the top sales spot just above the 3DS’ money-lust simulating New Super Mario Bros. 2Darksiders’ success didn’t stop industry analysts from bemoaning the decline in software sales, with every lost dollar inching us toward the video game apocalypse (but not the one portrayed in Darksiders – think of a more abstract, people-sneering-at-sales-figures-and-missing-car-payments kind of apocalypse).
  • Capcom has announced Phoenix Wright, virtual purveyor of justice and pointing, will return for Ace Attorney 5, exclusively made for the 3DS.  This is where stateside fans usually slump their shoulders and quietly make plans to import the sequel.  Well, FUCK THAT!  Sorry, first attempt, I meant OBJECTION!  Capcom confirmed Ace Attorney 5 is heading to the West, with firmer details in store at a later time.
  • Did you happen to catch that 11-minute trailer for Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes?  I’d be linking you to it right now, but even as a dinky little gaming blog, I have to abide by Konami’s request for websites to yank the eye-popping, FOX rendered footage due to a licensing dispute over a song playing in the background.  Konami hasn’t spoken on whether or not the gameplay reel will make it back online.  For those of you that haven’t seen the footage, do you feel that little tinge of annoying disappointment swelling in your stomach?  That’s what contractually served justice feels like.  Enjoy.
  • Ubisoft let loose that they’ll be doling out Call of Juarez: Gunslinger, a downloadable sequel to Techland’s first-person Western shooters, on Xbox Live, PSN, and PC in early 2013.  Sprinkling a fine coat of Dead Island’s stat system while also riffing Max Payne’s bullet-time for good measure, Techland wants Gunslinger to raise the bar of quality for download-only titles, changing how gamers perceive them.  I want to believe them, I really do.  But I played all of The Cartel.  I’ve seen how belligerent you get when you’re drunk, Techland.
  • EA’s head honcho, Frank Gibeau, burned some asses earlier this week with one bold statement: “We are very proud of the way EA evolved with consumers.  I have not green lit one game to be developed as a single-player experience.  Today, all of our games include online applications and digital services that make them live 24/7/365."  Gibeau cleaned up his proclamation after the internet clung to the mantra, "Single player is dead."  EA’s boss explained that games should be thought of as on-going services that continually provide content for customers rather than selling a finite experience, and forcing a social element into a title is their signature strategy.  Hmm, I’m getting that contractually served justice feeling and I can’t figure out why…

This Week’s Must-Watch Gaming Vids

  • Aliens: Colonial Marines: We’re close enough to the game’s February release to have Gearbox begin detailing their multiplayer modes.  Enter "Escape."  Four marines fighting for evacuation versus four xenomorphs fighting for a screaming meal.  Aliens fans, this is also your first look at some viciously cool new enemy classes expanding the xeno pantheon.
  • Halo 4: "A Hero Awakens” takes a closer look at how you tell a story where the lead becomes a hero when they’re already a hero.  Behind-the-scenes insights are provided by a multitude of artists, designers, and the actors working steadily to bring you one of this Fall’s Big Ones.  Loads of fantastic footage of the game in action gives a real sense at how damn big and how damn beautiful Halo 4 is shaping up.
  • The Last of Us: PAX Prime brought us a lengthy demo of Naughty Dog’s interactive tribute to the end of the world.  The video’s 15 minutes; I decided in about three that I’m going to love the hell out of this game.  You’ve been courteous to read this much, friend, but give into impulse and hit that damn link for your own good.

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