The follies of publisher THQ was easily my favorite story of 2012. It started way back in January when their stock fell below $1 and faced delisting on NASDAQ. It continued through May when they reported a loss of nearly a quarter of a billion (with a B) for the previous fiscal year.
And then there was June – oh, was there ever June. They turned over their UFC license to EA, which was followed by a very public mocking from UFC President Dana White at EA’s E3 conference. The same day as EA’s conference, THQ tried to quietly announce massive layoffs – and quickly netted us the most hits we’ve ever had on one story in a single day. And in the same month, THQ took on multiple lawsuits, all stemming from overconfidence in the uDraw game tablet.
After June, news died down but still remained interesting. They got their shareholders to approve a 1-for-10 share swap to avoid delisting. They tried to partner with Humble Bundle – and created the Humble THQ Bundle – to try to raise $50 million to avoid defaulting on a loan. And, just to put an exclamation point on it all, on December 19th, THQ filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
Sadly, none of this made our list for Top 5 Moments of 2012. However, we have come up with a rather solid Top 5 for moments that defined the year for us here at Oprainfall. We’ll get to those soon enough but here a some of the stories that, just like THQ’s fall, were interesting but just didn’t find enough favor.
- EA sues Zynga: Zynga, the minds behind several Facebook games that end with “Ville,” is no stranger to lawsuits. But usually, these come from smaller companies that they “borrow” ideas from. However, with the launch of The Ville comes a lawsuit from one of the biggest publishers, Electronic Arts. EA has claimed that the game infringes on copyrights for The Sims Social. Zynga responded by saying that SimCity Social had a striking resemblance to CityVille. No result has been determined.
- Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate Announcement: Sure, Monster Hunter Tri was a success when it was localized on the Wii and was even updated for a 3DS port in Japan. But it didn’t stop our excitement to see Nintendo’s regional Presidents announce MH3U for the Wii U and 3DS. Expect to hear a lot about this game from us before and after it releases.
- Nintendo plays with their food: Whatever your opinion on Nintendo’s E3 presentation, you can’t deny that they did some things that made you say, “Wow, that was unique.” Nothing was more odd than when, coming back from a poorly acted video of a family, Nintendo’s President Satoru Iwata was shown holding bananas, causing massive laughter. But the shtick wasn’t over yet as Bill Trinen, one of Nintendo’s top translators, got into the act during a Wii U pre-launch video holding an orange. And it didn’t stop there, as “Lego” Iwata appeared holding a Lego carrot in the last Nintendo Direct of the year. Hopefully next year will be an equally fruitful one for the Big N.
- Non-Specific Action Figure: We couldn’t talk about Nintendo’s E3 presentation without mentioning this little guy. Starting with a supporting role in the pre-E3 video before the conference, Non-Specific Action Figure became a sort of unofficial mascot for Nintendo during E3, appearing at the 3DS showcase and with Iwata, Miyamoto, and Reggie at the end of the Expo. What’s next for him? Only Nintendo’s marketing team knows…
- Sony Sues “Kevin Butler”: In one of the more interesting moves of the year, Sony filed a lawsuit with Bridgestone and Wildcat Creek over the use of Jerry Lambert in a commercial that featured a Nintendo Wii. Wildcat Creek is a company run by Jerry Lambert. Jerry Lambert is also the actor behind Kevin Butler. So, in essence, Sony sued Kevin Butler.
- The OUYA: A little console that came from almost nowhere, the OUYA went on to set records on Kickstarter, being funded nine times over. The project was also able to garner support from Renegade Kid, Square Enix, Namco Bandai, and even gaming service OnLive. The system also promises to be hacker friendly and even encourages people to hack it. Expect to see the OUYA early next year.
- Europe’s RPG Coin Collection: Sure, NOA may not have brought all three games over or even publish the games that came over but NOE sure showed the love for Xenoblade Chronicles, The Last Story, and Pandora’s Tower. Just check out David Rawling’s unboxing video to see what I mean.
- Capcom’s On-Disc DLC for Street Fighter X Tekken: Whatever your opinion on used games, it was evident that publishers were becoming more “creative” with combating it. One of the more “creative” was Capcom’s On-Disc DLC for Street Fighter X Tekken, which expectedly found plenty of criticism and even an investigation from the Better Business Bureau. Capcom claims that the practice was done to save Hard Drive space.
- The “I am not a gamer” ads: Whatever your position on Nintendo’s ad campaign, we know that you’ll have quite a bit to say about the subject. We certainly did.
- Itoi teases Mother project: The latest addition to this list, Mother series creator Shigesato Itoi announced that he’s working on something related to the franchise. Whatever it is (it’s not Mother 4), we’re excited about it.
- Hash Tag Contest Controversy: The contest at the Games Media Awards was the last straw for writer Robert Florence as he posted one of the more memorable pieces of literature regarding the state of video game journalism. Unfortunately, this lead to his dismissal from Eurogamer amidst a libel suit from Intent Media, the GMA organizers. The article was edited but has been re-posted in full in multiple forums.
- Dark Souls 2 VGA Reveal: Dark Souls 2 was revealed at Spike’s Video Game Awards – and there was much rejoicing. The game is expected to release next year.
- Bayonetta 2 Reveal and Backlash: The sequel to the original Bayonetta was announced as a Nintendo published exclusive, shocking the world and nearly causing a gaming riot. Our view: If Nintendo wasn’t going to back it, no one would have. Embrace that it is coming and stop complaining.
- Miyamoto surprised that fans want a new F-Zero: The grandfather of modern video games was puzzled when a French magazine asked him about a possible F-Zero game on the Wii U. David Rawlings sure had a lot to say on that.
THE LAST TWO CUT
- Mass Effect 3 Ending Backlash and Result: The initial ending left millions of people scratching their heads in befuddlement. The campaign for a better ending was massive. The theories were interesting. And the free DLC that came afterwards left people with mixed emotions. All for a game that did so much right for nearly 30 hours before its final 30 minutes.
- New Smash Bros. Co-Developed by Namco Bandai: What happens when you bring together the teams behind the Tales, Tekken, and Smash Bros. series’? You get a lot of excited nerds. That is precisely what happened when Nintendo announced that Namco Bandai would be helping develop the newest Smash Bros., with Tales director Yoshito Higuchi and the Tekken development team joining series director and Kirby creator Masahiro Sakarai. This was mostly done so that the next Smash Bros. could be done in a timely manner but I’d imagine that something awesome will come from it.