Today’s news sees the debate rage on how essential story is to video games. In other news a possible international Final Fantasy XIII release is forecasted, Batman: Arkham Asylum is set to receive free downloadable content next Thursday, and Sonic sees a return to his side-scrolling glory days.
BioWare Argue Story In Video Games is Essential
How vital the story is in a video game is a debate that has existed for over a decade now. BioWare has brought new life to the contest, with Mike Laidlaw, lead designer of Dragon Age: Origins, claiming a good story is crucial. “I think good writing is honestly essential, because as we see the technology curve start to slow down, we're kind of past that exponential two-year gain that we used to have” Laidlaw said. He points out a good story is what keeps people coming back to the game many years after release.
“So in terms of how important it is I'd say it's vital. A game that forces me down a single path and has no options or any sense that I'm actually affecting the world leaves me a little bit colder than a game that actually has some sort of interaction.” BioWare are recognised as having some of the best writers in the industry, so of course they would take this approach. Some developers are content to let the gameplay speak for itself, while presenting a poor or flawed story. Resident Evil anyone? [Destructoid]
Final Fantasy XIII Western Release Hinted
Following the announcement of a Japanese release date for Final Fantasy XIII, Square Enix dropped a hint on when it will be hitting the rest of the world. At the Final Fantasy XIII Premiere Party, company president Yoichi Wada pointed out that he’s aware worldwide releases often taken a while, something he wants to change. “In the past, it's taken a year or half a year to release our games abroad,” Wada said, “but this time we are aiming for an international release this spring.”
With the Japanese release date slotted in for December 17th, a worldwide spring release looks quite unlikely. On top of all the localization work that has to take place, the game must be ported to the Xbox 360 for western audiences. While it’s certainly good news Square is at least attempting to shorten the gap between releases, it looks like Wada will soon be eating his words. [Kotaku]
Batman: Arkham Asylum DLC Available Next Thursday
The start menu of Batman: Arkham Asylum has been promising free downloadable content for a while now, with no word on what this DLC will actually be. The message has now been updated to promise new DLC in only 8 days. While this doesn’t bring us any closer to knowing what this extra content will be, this hasn’t stopped people from guessing. A new challenge room, or more Riddler riddles have been speculated, but it looks like we’ll have to wait until September 17th to find out. [JoyStiq]
Sonic Returning To 2D Roots
Sonic hasn’t been good for a while now. In fact he hasn’t been good since 1994. Perhaps Sega have finally realized this, with the announcement of “Project Needlemouse”, an apparent return to Sonic’s 2D glory days. “Old-school sonic fans have long asked to see Sonic return to a more 2D style of gameplay” says Sega of America's Ken Balough.
“Project Needlemouse is that critical first step that brings Sonic back to his 2D roots.” Balough confirms this game will be a brand new Sonic adventure, and not just a retro-remake. With a release date of 2010, it’s likely this will appear on XBLA and PSN rather than as a fully-fledged game. [Kotaku]