This Thursday brings us news of big stars appearing in a budget game, Activision announcing a trimmed down Guitar Hero schedule for 2010 and yet another expert getting some free publicity by blaming computer games for ruining today's children.
NPH and Felicia Day will Rock the Dead
Cult actors Neil Patrick Harris and Felicia Day are slated to provide voiceovers for Rock of the Dead, the upcoming hybrid rhythm/shooter game from Epicenter. Both starred in the viral musical 'Dr. Horrible's Singalong Blog', which gained massive popularity thanks to its superior scriptwriting (and the fact that it debuted in the writer's strike). NPH is best known for his roles in Doogie Howser, Starship Troopers and How I Met Your Mother; and Felicia Day is famous for her starring role in The Guild as well as the cancelled Dollhouse series.
Rock of the Dead will blend guitar hero peripherals with classic lightgun gameplay, requiring you to nail particular riffs and solos to kill the undead as they lurch towards you (not unlike Typing of the Dead, but much more badass). The tone will be intentionally tongue in cheek and campy; featuring glam rock covers of famous classical music and the aforementioned stars playing starcrossed lovers caught in a zombie outbreak.
Securing world-class voice talent may well transform this budget release into a killer app. Look out for Rock of the Dead on the Wii this summer! [IGN]
Activision will scale back Guitar Hero this year
Activision has announced that it will only release 10 Guitar Hero SKUs this year in light of 2009's declined peripheral and music game sales. This may still sound like a lot, but bear in mind that this number also includes each console for cross-format titles... and is compared to the 25 released last year! During Activision Blizzard's Q4 2009 Investor's call yesterday, spokesman Dan Amrich tweeted, "[We] looked at last year's Hero slate and agrees with you -- too much. This year, just two games: a new GH and a new DJ. AMEN." This implies that we'll only be seeing the single main cross-format title this year (bringing the SKUs up to 6- suggesting that a portable version or Band Hero title may also be in the pipeline).
This can't be a bad thing. Hopefully we'll start seeing a few Guitar Hero games with huge, epic setlists rather than a constant stream of unremarkable, mediocre tracks.
Supernanny slams violent games
Violent media has always been an easy target for precious, overprotective people. After all, parents were probably blaming William Shakespeare for teaching their children bad language back in Elizabethan times! Popular childcare specialist Jo Frost (better known as Supernanny) is the latest expert to take a swing at computer games, who organised an experiment on Channel 4 to demonstrate the desensitising effect caused by playing Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2.
According to her 'research', playing a violent computer game for 20 minutes causes kids to remain calm and composed when subjected to shocking or gory situations (in this case, a horrifying news story)- whereas playing FIFA causes their heart rates to soar. Also, apparently virtually killing a load of Russians with a UAV missile makes you less likely to help someone pick up a bunch of pencils. Someone should probably tell her that she's only proved that FIFA makes children anxious!
Seriously, you couldn't even make this stuff up. Why not watch the episode and let us know exactly what you think of it in the comments!