Bioshock Infinite PR #3

Finally…the last blog over Bioshock Infinite PR. After controversy over the chest size of the main female protagonist, the announcement of delaying the game and even claims that the game is fundamentally un-American. Join me as we seal the deal on Bioshock Infinite and its release just a few days ago.

            After the advent of a delay, the developers at Irrational Studios were undoubtedly feeling the pressure to release a quality game on time. Unfortunately for Irrational, there would be no rest for them. On August 8, 2012, two developers working on Bioshock Infinite team left and were promptly replaced by veterans of the series who had worked on the original Bioshock.

            Creative Director Ken Levine commented on the matter via his twitter, stating “Scott Sinclair, art director of Bio1, back in the art director’s chair for Infinite to bring it home. Can’t wait to show you what’s cooking.”

            The day following the announcement, another announcement was made that a developer from Epic Games, the developer behind Gears of War, was moving the join the Irrational crew. In addition to the news, it was announced that two modes that offered multiplayer were cut from the game. This news was received almost as a blessing to the fans of the games because the multiplayer from the last Bioshock game was not well received.

            After a couple of months of standard activity within the office, more bad news was discovered within Irrational. On October 15, 2012, two more developers were cited as having left Irrational. This additional set of high-profile departures gave even more cause for fans of the series to grow hesitant of the release of the game. Unfortunately, when Irrational was reached out to shed some light on the event, they only responded with “no comment,” which we all know is just about the worst thing you can say in any situation.

            Unfortunately, it is time to close up the blog. While this may seem like a bit of an awkward ending…that’s because it is. With that being said, let it be noted that this will actually not be the last blog about Bioshock Infinite! I have realized that there is quite a bit more to go over, and hopefully we can cover all the material left over in just one more segment. Join me next week as we go over the new face for Bioshock Infinite, and what it feels like delaying a game a second time!

Bioshock Infinite PR #2

          In the last blog, we had sort of an introduction to Irrational Games and their ambitious lengthy project “Bioshock Infinite.”  In this week’s segment we will cover two crucial events that took place in the pre-release of the game.

            After the first trailer was released for the game, their came a growing outcry from the community that highlighted the focus of the female, Elizabeth, and the amount of attention that was given to the size of her breasts. Creative Director Ken Levine leaves this comment to respond to the community, “In terms of her body type, I think certainly people on the Internet have spent way more time thinking about Elizabeth’s chest than I have. It’s something I’ve barely thought about. “We sort of evolved her over time, and that’s the challenge when you show stuff early on – you’re still in the creative process and you’re still evolving the creative process. I’m sure Elizabeth may evolve a little bit more over time because until it’s out, I haven’t made the definitive statement on it… so I certainly don’t spend as much time thinking about this issue as the Internet does, and I’m not sure what that says about the Internet but, you know.”

            As time has moved on, it is very apparent that Elizabeth’s character design has changed very much such its original appearance in the trailer, and some speculate that this is largely to do with the communities’ outcry (which Levine denies).

            While this isn’t directly related to company driven PR, I feel it is worth mentioning that Ken Levine was nominated on Time’s “100 most influential people of 2012.”

            On May 9, 2012, Ken Levine announced that Bioshock Infinite (which was a game that was already announced extremely early in its production) would be delayed from October 16, 2012 to February 26, 2013. Levine then announced that they were basically not planning on releasing any additional information on the game until right before its release.

            This decision was met with some very mixed emotions from the fans of the series. While there were some fans who understood that a hard decision had to be made, many were upset and cited that the company did the exact same thing with the first Bioshock. Levine swiftly attempted to deal with the warmongering by stating that the reason Bioshock was great in the first place was because they took that extra time to take care of it and polish it up.

            Regardless of the criticism, Bioshock Infinite has endured and has already received its first review of a 9.5 on PC from ign.com. Keep tuned in text week as we talk about the woes of Irrational as they lose developers and delay the game even further.

Bioshock Infinite PR

As one of this year’s most anticipated games (if not THE anticipated game of the year) Bioshock Infinite has come extremely far from its origins in the past three years and Irrational Games responded to customer feedback in order to cater this game to its most loyal audience. In this blog, we take a look back at the beginning of Bioshock Infinite and look to see some of the steps it has taken to get to where it is today.

When the game was announced on August 11, 2010, the world was aghast as they learned that the new Bioshock game wouldn’t take place in the infamous underwater city of Rapture, but rather a floating city in sky named Columbia.  Ken Levine, the creative director of the game, offered up some time to do a Q&A about why he had made the decision to completely change the formula for this hotly anticipated sequel. Out of this interview arose a joking, yet almost serious question about why Ken Levine why he hates America. Levine deftly handled the question by stating that he was always interested in America at the turn of the century, and enjoyed to convey some of that exceptionalism, even though it portrays America in a bad light.

Although just the tip of the iceberg in terms of PR from Irrational Games, we have to cut today’s blog short, but be sure to join us next time for the second part of Bioshock Infinite PR spotlight, and don’t forget to reserve your copy of the game before it is released on March 26, 2013!

SimCity Sadness

Welcome to EA games, a place where we hate customer service and release dates mean nothing. Or at least that’s what I assume EA tell newcomers.

Enter SimCity, a hotly anticipated game created by Maxis and published by Electronic Arts. Somewhere in the development of this game, EA decided to include DRM upon the release of SimCity. DRM stands for Digital Rights Management, and basically requires a product to be constantly connected to the internet at all times in order to work.

Electronic Arts is notorious for releasing nearly all of their games with this internet requirement (even games that don’t utilize online play in any way) only to have them fail consistently upon release. Needless to say, SimCity has not let anybody down in that regard. Three days later, and the game is still unplayable for some.

The EA client that runs the games, Origin, stated yesterday that they refused to issue refunds for their recently released product, stating that it does not offer refunds in general. After a firestorm of public outcry and frustration, retailers such as Amazon have stopped selling some of their copies of the game.

Today, a number of developments on the issue have cropped up.

The first major advancement was a petition that appeared on the Whitehouse website to require products with DRM to function at 100% upon the day of their release. This petition has received about 1,160 signatures on its first day out of the required 10,000.

Next up on the chopping block was the decision by EA to pull all marketing for the game. The decision came this afternoon as EA has received increasingly heated amounts of backlash regarding their decision to not offer refunds.

A few hours after the announcement to stop all promotions, Maxis released a public apology stating that they had an unprecedented amount of people logged on, and they weren’t ready to receive such as large number. Maxis announced that they have increased server space 120% since the release three days ago, and log on issues are down 80% as well.

On top of the apology, Maxis announced plans to offer victims of the games horrific release a free EA game by the 18th of March.

As this drags on, we will see just how devastating as effect this PR crisis has on the already very low consumer satisfaction of EA. I just hope that all those gamers out there will be able to play a great game before the weekends is over.      

The Hobbit PR Part 2

In last week’s blog, we talked a bit about some of the PR issues that The Hobbit project found itself in. With public outcry involving the decision to turn the movies into a three-part epic and the claims of animal rights violations on set, The Hobbit was quickly sinking in to hot water.

                For this segment, I would like to talk just a little bit about a minor detail I forgot to mention last time: the departure of Guillermo Del Toro. Upon the films conception, Guillermo Del Toro was slated to be the director of the film, but as pre-production dragged on, he realized that he could not commit the time to a movie that was looking less and less likely to see the light of day (an occurrence known as “production hell”).

                As time dragged on, Del Toro left the film as he realized he was being asked to stay much longer than previously intended. As Del Toro left the set, many fans speculated that while scheduling was an issue with his part in the film, the primary reason Del Toro left was due to his unwillingness to have his name of the project any longer.

                Now back to the more recent.

                As The Hobbit came closer to its red carpet release, news leaked about Cushla Norman being banned due to her consistent negative coverage of the film.  Reports stated that Peter Jackson was “mortified” at the idea of Ms. Norman attending the release, and that he personally dealt with preventing her appearance.

                Unfortunately, as the movie came to be released, the Tolkien estate was reportedly suing Warner Bros. for some released content they deemed “highly offensive.” The material in question was an online slot machine game that utilized the appearances of The Hobbit characters. The $80 million lawsuit has yet to be settled.

                As is per usual with any material Tolkien related, The Hobbit has suffered from a large amount public relations issues and it is truly a blessing that this film survived the box office to meet its brothers in the high grossing film heavens.