When we first learned of an official Firefly MMO announcement happening at Comic Con, our inner Browncoats got the best of us—visions of a reunited crew, space piracy, and ship warfare in an MMO-verse danced in our heads, despite best attempts at checked enthusiasm. Then, the announcement came, and well, it pretty much checked all our enthusiasm for us. Fortunately, Firefly Online wasn’t the only gaming news coming out of Comic Con. Our very own Theresa DeLucci walked the floors and returned with tales of pirates, ships, ancient Rome, and cunning hats.
Where to start with Firefly Online? Firstly, with adjusted expectations, as it was quickly revealed that the game would be launched on mobile platforms only, to start. The developer assigned by Fox, Sparkplug Games, is a relative unknown—their previous work includes a mildly successful iOS puzzle game and a licensed Dairy Queen title. Secondly, while the goal of the player is to customize a ship, hire a crew, and seek jobs and survive in the ’Verse, original crew members/voice actors are nowhere to be found. While not unexpected for a game of this scope, still a disappointment. Also, this officially spells the end for prospective fanmade game, Firefly Universe Online, which has undergone various states of planning since 2005. Firefly Online will launch Summer 2014, but you can create an early account now to keep tabs on the game over at keepflying.com.
In other Firefly-related SDCC news, knockoff Jayne Cobb hats were causing quite a stir, especially after Fox sent out cease-and-desist letters to a number of vendors in order to funnel consumers to the officially licensed hat over at ThinkGeek. Some obeyed; others slapped on the label “cunning hats” and kept right on selling.
Checking in on some other games, the Electronic Frontier Foundation was excited about Watch Dogs’ preview at San Diego Comic Con, and Ubisoft looks to have another smash hit on their hands. (Bonus video interview with Cory Doctorow that ties in thematically with the game itself.)
Pirates in the more traditional sense were also big at Comic Con, with Ubisoft scoring another big SDCC win via their epic booth—an actual pirate ship with working cannons parked in the marina behind the convention center to promote Assassin’s Creed IV.
Featuring three floors of demos, pirate memorabilia and… shaving stations (insert your own neckbeard joke here, scallywags.) There was also a fancy VIP party and male booth babes. (Male booth babes appeared in various stages of (un)dress at Starz’ own pirate-themed booth for Black Sails, as well. The pendulum is slowly swinging from days of conventions past.)
The demo we previewed in the hull looked deeper and more interesting than Assassin’s Creed III, and definitely got the entire crowd pumped for some sailing, looting, and shanty-singing when the game launches in late October. For a more in-depth peek at Black Flag, check out the SDCC panel in its entirety.
Another popular demo at SDCC was Xbox One’s Ryse: Son of Rome. A talk with producer Mike Read revealed that it’s definitely more for fans of Rome fiction like Spartacus: War of the Damned and 300 than actual Roman history. The gameplay was already featured at E3 but it was nice to see it running on an actual console on the exhibit hall floor. While our opinion of the next-gen console is muted, Rome-related anything is pretty cool. We really miss Spartacus.
In other gaming news this week, Outlast scares up a release date, the Bioshock universe returns to Rapture, and IGN takes an early look at Arkham Origins’ multiplayer.
- Bioshock Infinite fans received a pleasant surprise this week as 2K Games announced the game’s first substantial DLC, Burial at Sea, will send Booker and Elizabeth to Rapture on New Year’s Eve of 1958—the day it all went to hell in the first game of the series. No release date has been set but 2K indicated the return to Rapture will span 2 DLCs, each costing $15. Alternatively, both are included as part of the game’s Season Pass deal.
- In more immediate Bioshock Infinite news, the game’s first DLC, Clash in the Clouds, launched this week and provides a new combat arena along with new Voxophones and Kinetoscopes.
- Developer Red Barrels has carefully cultivated a massive amount of buzz for their upcoming asylum horror venture, Outlast, which places gamers in the role of a reporter investigating mysterious goings-on at an abandoned asylum. Not the most original of premises, but it’s all in the execution, right? This past week, they announced the game will launch September 4 for the PC, with a PS4 version to follow later.
- IGN takes a first look at Arkham Origins’ multiplayer mode, which entails a 2 vs. 3 vs. 3 format—Batman and Robin taking on two separate criminal gangs who are also taking on each other, led by Bane and Joker. The early returns sound promising…
- Finally, in our “Disgusting Sexist Behavior by Gamers This Week” Award, let’s take a peek over at the comments section after a female gamer reviewed the controversial Dragon’s Crown on Polygon. Or not. Your call.