Activision Shuts Down Eight Years of Fanmade Game

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Whenever gaming fans decide to create something off of a popular property, the odds are usually good that the company that actually owns it might want them to stop. Even if the game is being made for free, it doesn’t matter as it “might dilute” the brand or whatever else that company may have planned…even if they sit on the name forever.

When several fans got together to create their own King’s Quest tribute game, The Silver Lining, they opened themselves up to this kind of request. Vivendi Universal had owned the rights to the King’s Quest series at the time and at first, sent a cease and desist letter to the makers after they had already put in four years of hard work.

But an outpouring of incredible support from fans eventually managed to impress upon Vivendi to change their request and allow them to continue making the game, which they did, by granting the makers a “Fan License”. The only requirement was the removal of the name “King’s Quest”, but the rest of the game remained intact. It was a surprisingly positive gesture on the part of a company like Vivendi when several others, such as Square or Fox, had simply chosen to shut down similar projects with threats of litigation.

However, as time went on, the IP (intellectual property) of the King’s Quest series changed hands…this time ending up in Activision’s who sent another cease and desist letter which ultimately killed the project. By that time, eight years had already passed, a demo had been released, and the game was on the verge of completion. The details of the request even go so far as to include shutting down the forums that they use to keep in contact with fans and team members around the world.

Why did this game take eight years to make? This was largely a volunteer operation by a group of dedicated fans sharing their time on a project that they loved, but to keep it going for eight years also says a lot about their professionalism. As an unofficial close to the King’s Quest series written and created by many of those that found themselves whisked away by Roberta Willliams’ world, it could have been great. I was looking forward to playing it being a fan of the series and having watched this project grow in recent years. It’s the fan story that would have stepped in as an ending that only they could write for their favorite series.

And now, we’ll probably never know.

Review: Call of Duty – Modern Warfare 2

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Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 is a one night stand of flying bullets, explosions and cool moments. It pushes you forward with guns blazing, hoping to God you don’t stop to realize how confusing it all is.

Because for all of Modern Warfare 2′s awesome action — and it is indeed deserving of whatever superlatives you can throw at it — the game also suffers from a disorienting absence of sense in its storytelling. You do things, but you don’t know why. All you know is that it all looks badass in HD.
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Angry PC Gamers are still irked over MW2 (and We Love Moon Gravity)

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Despite having one of the biggest launches in history and collecting over $300 million in one day, PC gamers are still upset over the feeling of being shortchanged on features, not that it’s going to tarnish the runaway success that MW2 is currently experiencing. This also sent Activision’s stock price surging allowing its controversial CEO, Bobby Kotick, to exercise his stock options netting him a cool $20 million plus in the aftermath.

And now that Amazon has officially opened its rating system, PC players have let their version have it. Surprisingly, several of the top entries lambasting the title make excellent points on why they don’t like it. Some sound as if they have even played it. There’s even a new petition out, although I doubt its success after the first one was basically ignored.

It’s hard not to think that MW2′s massive economic success has closed the door on whatever the PC crowd wants to bend Infinity Ward’s ear over with the game at this point. As upset as many are, it is a business and with that much money in tow along with the millions of sales made in one day for consoles alone, any complaints about dedicated servers will be marginalized.

Still, I’ve already seen posts talking about a tool that unlocks the console and several commands unavailable on the stock version of the title, allowing ways to kick players from games or change the field of view among others. On some days with Xbox Live, I wish I had the option to vote-kick certain players from a game, if only because of the sewage usually streaming across my headset when I take it off mute just to get a sampling of what it’s like to hear everything.

It’s only one game, though id is also considering to not include dedicated server support for their upcoming apocalyptic game, Rage. Whether others follow suit on the PC front remains to be seen, but it is clear that with MW2, Infinity Ward and Activision won’t be losing any sleep over dedicated servers.

Update 11.16.09: Those tools I mentioned earlier? Yeah, it appears that they work. Mind you, this isn’t the only thing that they’re meant for, but it does show off the kind of weirdness that having the freedom to tweak the online experience allows for. Ah, moon gravity…brings back the good ol’ days of beaching a destroyer halfway up Normandy in Battlefield 1942. Now if only they can get more players into the game…

Also, it’s not just one person doing this. Everyone on the server is affected by the rules set up by the admin, so its moon boots and unlimited ammo for everyone!