Rumor Killers: Too Human 2, More Dead Space & Wii Movie Channel

More Nordic Diablo? More Resident Evil in space? More movies on games consoles? It could only be Rumor Killers, this week with Jennifer Allen.

Too Human 2 on the way?

Last week Too Human developer Silicon Knights posted up an advert on the Gamasutra jobs board, looking for a game designer who is adept at delivering game elements such as “combat, UI, inventory, progression, levels, NPC actions, play balance and reward schemes”. It also mentioned the need for familiarity with fantasy and science fiction, as well as the role-playing genre. Ring any bells? It sure has for me, as well as for the rest of the Internet rumor mill.

The original Too Human had quite a hard time upon its release; it had been hyped up to ridiculous levels of expectation after being delayed over and over, and the game never really stood a chance. Now, I’m happy to go on record and say that I didn’t think it was too bad. Sure, it had a lot of flaws to it, and was nowhere from being a game of the year, but I think its main crime was simply being overhyped, and just not as good as the hype made it out to be. It’s a problem that’s afflicted many games, and mostly everything from Lionhead instantly to mind. I suspect Denis Dyack, founder and president of Silicon Knights is secretly Peter Molyneux in disguise. They both seem to have very similar ways of hyping up their product to ridiculous levels, both bringing hype to the point where players just can’t help but be disappointed by how the end product turns out, bringing about the inevitable backlash (also, have you seen Dyack and Molyneux in the same room, ever? Didn’t think so – Ed.). Having said all that, all credit to Dyack for fighting the NeoGAF onslaught against Too Human.

Supposedly Too Human achieved a huge number of pre-orders, but ultimately sold quite badly, likely causing the loss of a number of jobs at Silicon Knights not long after its release. So is a sequel to Too Human really possible? Well, a Canadian press release suggests otherwise, claiming the new title from the developer to be Sirens in the Maelstrom. Whether this is a subtitle for Too Human 2, or even accurate, is still in question, but Too Human 2: Sirens in the Maelstrom is certainly one possibility. But would customers want to risk $60 on a sequel to a game that got lambasted from nearly all corners? Also, the first game had huge backing from Microsoft, including huge adverts to putting screenshots on the back of Xbox 360 console boxes, but I cant’ see Microsoft doing that again, given that they would probably rather brush Too Human under the carpet and concentrate on their more popular exclusives and strong RPG line-up.

Despite these concerns, I suspect it would be riskier for Silicon Knights to come up with an entirely new IP and try to sell it than to make a Too Human sequel. It’s a tough one to call, but as to whatever the developer has up its sleeve, it has to be good to make up for the shame of Too Human. Many avid fans would love to see another Eternal Darkness title, the developer’s best game to date, but I can’t see that happening; it’s been too long, and I wouldn’t have thought it would be the financial success Silicon Knights unfortunately needs. If it is Too Human 2, I implore Silicon Knights not to call it that; it sounds just like the sort of name you’d make someone try to say 100 times very quickly. Plus there are just too many mentions of two or too, and that’s just in this sentence alone.

TGR says: Possible… but not probable.

Plethora of Dead Space games coming soon?
Dead Space garnered both critical and mainstream success, selling a very respectable 1.4 million units worldwide, not to mention Visceral Games boss Glen Schofield’s suggestion that the true number was double if used game sales were factored in. Considering Dead Space was released in October, one of the worst times for global finance last year, even the most ardent of cynics should admit that this game did well. In somewhat typical Electronic Arts style, it now looks like that as well as the arrival of Dead Space 2, there may even be another sequel on the horizon. Back in May we learnt through the LinkedIn profile of EA’s Technical Director that the company is almost certainly working on a sequel, but now Variety, the famous film tome, is reporting that there appears to be a third instalment on the way. In a piece discussing the appointment of D.J Caruso as the director of the Dead Space film, mention is made of EA working on a second and a third instalment of the Dead Space series.

We already know that Dead Space: Extraction is being made for the Wii, so there’s a chance that it was being referred to, possibly with some confusion over what constitutes a sequel. Even if that’s the case, the piece still confirms a Dead Space 2, if not a third game too. Given the respectable sales figures, and that it’s EA who we’re talking about – if there’s one thing EA love to do, it’s milk a franchise for all it’s worth – Dead Space 2 is certainly possible. It was hugely refreshing to see such an original IP like Dead Space picked up by EA, but is it now time to use that IP to its full ability? After all, EA have flung the net wide for the Dead Space franchise already; you can watch the animated film, read the prequel novel and comic books, get the figurines, soon see the film and, well, you get the idea. Of course, it’s a whole different debate as to whether this is actually a good thing or just blatant profiteering from a popular game, but whichever it is, you have to hand it to EA for their ability to make so much so much from just one game. As such, it makes perfect sense to have a sequel to sell alongside the film. I would say the second game is extremely likely, and I wouldn’t put it past EA for the third one to be in the works too, especially if the franchise continues to sell.

TGR says: Very likely


Wii Movie Channel?
Lionsgate, the rather hiouge film distributor, has suggested in a recent interview that they expect a movie store to be launched very soon. It’s a very fair comment, too. All three of this generation’s games consoles are desperate to establish their place on TV stands as more than being just games systems. They all want to be media systems, enabling streaming of photos, videos and music, and a whole host of other features too. Despite the Wii’s non-existent HD capabilities at the moment, owners can already view their personal photos from the system, as well as go online via its Internet browser, an adapted version of the Opera browser. Most notably, its’ all very simple to do, even for the most ardent technophobe. Companies around the world have adapted their sites to ensure they work well with the Wii Internet Channel, hoping to capture another audience who are much more likely to browse online from the comfort of their living room sofa. YouTube and, in the UK, BBC’s iPlayer service can both be accessed via the Wii, making it equal to the PS3 in terms of online browsing capabilities. Plus there’s already a video service in Japan, Wii-no-Ma, which will surely end up going global eventually. As such, it would be a great advantage for Nintendo to support making it arguably equal to its two rivals in terms of online rentals and streaming – and it wasn’t all that long ago that there was the rumor surfacing from a survey Joystiq dug up, suggesting Netflix being available through US Wiis.

Despite Lionsgate optimism regarding the Wii movie store, something doesn’t quite add up. Is movies on Wii something Wii owners really want? As the console isn’t high-definition, what would it offer people over simply renting a DVD? Plus, it’s a harsh cliché but the Wii is most popular among families and the casual audience. I can’t really see typical Wii owners that I know caring about streaming movies through it. They like it for its simplicity, I just can’t see them even thinking about using their Wii in such a way. At worst, some families might even worry about leaving their children in front of a supposed family console that could enable them to download such Lionsgate hits as the Saw series of films, although presumably effective parental control measures would be put in place. Even so, for now, I think the Wii will be staying on a games system primarily, not as an all-singing, all-dancing media hub. However, this could be a great sign of things to come for the Wii 2. It would be great to see Nintendo ensure their next console has HD capabilities, media functions, and hopefully a full movie streaming service, as well all those Nintendo classics we all love so much.

TGR says: Unlikely, at least for this generation.

Author: mark_fujii