The Fryer, Vol. 17
Microsoft, Sony execs trade passive-aggressive barbs after price drops
A recent meeting between Sony and Microsoft gaming executives seemed amiable enough on the surface, but actually contained a subtext of barely restrained mutual loathing.
The Fryer was on hand at the annual Electronic Device Producers Dinner, where Microsoft's Corporate Vice President Shane Kim and SCEA President Jack Tretton struck up a somewhat reluctant conversation after reaching for the same piece of bacon-wrapped shrimp on an hors d'ouevres tray.
"I just love the new PS3 Slim," Kim said after the pair exchanged pleasantries. "The new, thinner profile is a perfect fit for Sony's ... respectable library of exclusives. A great way to match the hardware to the software there. And the new price ... got tired of selling exclusively to a handful of millionaires, eh?"
Tretton thanked Kim for the compliment before bringing up Microsoft's own price drop. "It's just such an original, daring move," he told Kim. "I know you'd never show weakness by reacting so quickly and brazenly to our own lowered price, so the timing must have been an incredible coincidence. Oh, you guys must have been so embarrassed when you realized that your price drop came so closely after ours."
"And that new, lower price for the Xbox 360 includes everything the player needs, right?" Tretton asked, not missing a beat. "Oh, how silly of me to ask. Of course it does. After all, it would be incredibly rude and disrespectful to expect consumers to shell out extra money for things like Wi-Fi and online gameplay. How gauche."
"Well," Kim replied, icily, "I'd think people would be happy to pay a small fee to experience a robust, fully functional, working online network that they're actually excited use, as opposed to something that seems hacked together haphazardly by a brain-damaged marketing team. By the way, how is PlayStation Home doing?"
Tretton narrowed his eyes briefly at this question before mumbling something about a phone call and walking off.
Next: new Batman game announced...
Warner Bros. announces Batman: The TV Show: The Game
In the wake of surprising critical and sales success for the new Batman: Arkham Asylum, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment announced today the development of a new game based on the campy 1960s "Batman" television show.
"Arkham Asylum provided a compelling vision of the Dark Knight that works perfectly in the digital entertainment realm," said WBIE Head of Product Development Pete Ryerson. "But it's far from the only compelling vision of Batman out there. With Batman: The TV Show: The Game, we plan to revive the madcap spirit and zany action that made the original show a cultural icon well past its three seasons on ABC."
At a press conference, Ryerson showed pastel-heavy screenshots from the game and explained the gameplay, which would be broken up into a series of distinct episodes that each included multiple play types. "Players will get to drive the Batmobile to Commissioner Gordon's office, look for clues to the true super-culprit outside a crime scene, and even use Quick Time Events to escape certain-death cliffhangers, just like in the show."
Ryerson went on to say that each episode will conclude with a zany, choreographed fight sequence, complete with screen-filling comic-book sound effects that will be integral to the gameplay. "You see that 'Boff!' sound effect over there?" he said, gesturing towards one of the screenshots. "You'll actually be able to pick that up and throw it at an enemy! It's these kinds of gameplay innovations that we think will really set Batman: The TV Show: The Game apart."
Adam West and Burt Ward will reprise their roles by providing the voices for Batman and Robin, Ryerson said, and the development team has a plan to fill in for other actors from the show who are now unavailable. "We wouldn't dream of besmirching the memory of Eartha Kitt's Catwoman, Burgess Meredith's Penguin or Cesar Romero's Joker by hiring new voice actors," Ryerson said. "That's why the team is working to digitally remaster and sample their original voices from the TV show, so they can craft those actual voices into new situations for the game."
Ryerson said a game based on the "Batman" TV show has been discussed in the past, but that the publisher decided now was the time to strike. "With the 'Dark Knight' movie and Arkham Asylum, we just thought the market for a dark, gritty Batman was getting a little bit saturated," Ryerson said. "We think players are ready for a Batman that's a little lighter, a little bubblier, a little less serious."
Next: Diablo III mystery class revealed...
Exclusive: Halo's "Spartans" to appear as Diablo III's mystery class!
An anonymous source has apparently unraveled the mystery behind Diablo III's still-hidden fifth and final class, reporting exclusively to the Fryer incontrovertible proof that the Spartans from Bungie's Halo series will be appearing in the game.
The source, who sent in a tip via e-mail and asked to remain anonymous because his mom doesn't let him share personal details online, said he's been following the development of Diablo III "closely" for months and picked up his information via careful study of the clues provided so far by Blizzard.
"It's so obvious," our source writes. "I mean, what would be cooler than taking out a horde of orcs or goblins with an energy sword. It'd be like Neeeeow, Neeoow, Veet, Veet, Blergl, ARGH! Plus a dark character class like the Spartans would be a perfect way to address the constant complaints about the new, brighter look of Diablo III. And it'd be a great way for Microsoft to improve its relationship with Blizzard, which could lead to games like StarCraft II and World of Warcraft on the Xbox 360, which would be totally awesome. Of course, then you'd need a keyboard and mouse that worked on the Xbox 360, which is a just good idea anyway."
We were still skeptical, until our source noted some interesting quotes from Diablo III designer Jay Wilson that seems to lend credence to the Spartan theory. "[Wilson] said in an interview with MTV Multiplayer that 'There's a lot of people on our team who aren't happy with our class choices,'" our source noted. "Hmm, what kind of new character would make the team unhappy? Hmm, how about a character from ANOTHER FREAKING COMPANY that has FREAKING GUNS AND ENERGY SWORDS in a sword-and-sorcery fantasy environment. Yeah, I think that would be contentious."
Not only that, but our source also pointed us to a Game|Life interview where Wilson mentioned the team has "had this class for four years, and it?s not as exciting to us as it used to be. It had actually become a chain around our necks." As our source convincingly notes, "four years ago, Halo 2 had been out for less than a year. Coincidence? I don't think so."
Blizzard didn't respond to our requests for comment, but Microsoft's statement in response to our questions offered some intriguing hints. "Microsoft does not comment on rumors surrounding characters like Master Chief," the statement read [emphasis added]. Why is that interesting, you ask? Well, we didn't ask about Master Chief specifically. We asked about the Spartans, the class of futuristic warriors that Master Chief happens to belong to. Why would Microsoft mention Master Chief specifically unless he's actually going to make an appearance in Diablo III?!?!
Given this mountain of evidence, we're 99.99-percent certain the Spartans are coming to Diablo III, but until Microsoft or Blizzard confirm this blockbuster news, we'll officially call it a rumor for now.
Editor's note: These stories are 100-percent satire. Yes, Kyle Orland made it all up.
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