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IncGamers 2009 Year in Review Part 2

31 Dec 2009  by   Paul Younger

Welcome to part two of our annual Year in Review where we’ll look at the months of July to December. You can check out part one of the article here.JulyThe NewsJuly was the month in which Activision, now seemingly aware of its big-boy status, decided to kick sand in the face of the competition. Following Bobby Kotick’s comments in June about threatening to pull support for the PS3, Sony hit back with fury (kind of) and Bioware called him “silly.” We would have gone with “fat” or “weird looking.” Activision then threatened to break EA’s sports dominance while Tim Schafer and Double Fine defied the publisher’s attempt to “kill Brutal Legend.” The spat of the month award went to the UFC’s Dana White who tried to put EA flat on its back. Amid all the entertainment, however, was some sad news as Midway Newcastle closed its doors after failing to find a buyer.The GamesIt was rich pickings for gamers in July with Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood proving to be a quick draw, Monkey Island SE providing a bit of nostalgia while Wii Sports Resort and Battlefield 1943 brought the fun. And then there was Infernal: Hell’s Vengeance which was precisely as bad as the title suggests.AugustThe NewsAfter Microsoft’s E3 success, Sony had some serious work to do and at Leipzig’s GamesCom event it finally showed its hand. Revealing the price cut everyone had been hoping for and a new PS3 Slim, Sony put Microsoft on the back foot. Unveiling Fable III at GamesCom, Microsoft followed it up with a price cut of its own, one so fiendishly clever that when you looked closely you realised it wasn’t much of a price cut at all. August also saw some admirable but misguided optimism about the current financial situation as news of the UK market rising in July was heralded as the proverbial light in the tunnel. We suspect Ghost Recon developer Grin wouldn’t agree as it was forced to close and the US industry’s July performance was hardly impressive.The GamesWith Watchmen, GI Joe, Ashes Cricket 2009 and Wolfenstein on offer you could be forgiven for thinking August would be a terrible month for games and then came Batman: Arkham Asylum.SeptemberThe NewsA supposedly leaked document from a Sony marketing meeting proved to be the source for the month’s biggest news with the rumour that the motion controller will be out in Spring 2010 and reports of a spat between Alpha Protocol developer Obsidian and marketing man Michael Foster. Also in September, new MMO player Aion proved too popular for its own good but the juiciest story of the month surrounded a bizarre three-way slanging match between Activision, Courtney Love and Jon Bon Jovi in which it seemed as if the aging rocker (sorry, must clarify: Bon Jovi) failed to realize he’d just been served a nice warm plate of his own ass.The GamesA pretty good month all in all with IL-2, DIRT 2, Section 8, Need for Speed: SHIFT and The Beatles Rock Band all turning out very nicely indeed while WET and Cursed Mountain failed to reach their potential and Raven Squad failed to meet anyone’s most basic standards.OctoberThe NewsDedicated servers became the new battleground for the PC vs Consoles war as both Codies and Infinity Ward announced the PC versions of Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 would not support dedicated servers. In the ferocious reaction that followed, you’d be forgiven for thinking Codies and IW had personally taken a shit on every PC gamer’s doorstep. Amazon was fiendishly swamped with negative customer reviews for both games in a spectacular (ly pathetic) act of revenge and developers began shouting their love for dedicated servers from the rooftops. In weird October news, we learned of EA’s revisionist approach to Jack the Ripper and reports that a Modern Warfare 2 collector’s edition could lead to the Government needing a bigger sex offender’s register.The GamesThere’s almost too many titles to discuss in October- as publishers rushed to get games on the shelves before Modern Warfare 2 – so we’ll just list the best: Halo 3: ODST, FIFA 10, Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising, NHL 10, Brutal Legend, Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, Borderlands, Football Manager 2010.
NovemberThe NewsPredictably, November was the month of Modern Warfare 2 as Infinity Ward’s hugely anticipated sequel scored some excellent sales figures. Not a day seemed to pass without a new MW2 story, whether it was about a rumoured spin-off or a film adaptation. However, while one studio celebrated, another commiserated as news of the Pandemic closure came in. To be fair to the Mercenaries developer, its last title The Saboteur was its best by far and we loved the Office Space-inspired farewell video in which the team destroys a printer to a gangster rap soundtrack. November also saw Microsoft and Sony competing in the entertainment wars, as the autumn dashboard update added Twitter, Last.FM, Facebook and the new Zune video service to LIVE while Sony debuted its own European video service.The GamesIn a mostly fantastic month for games we were treated with Dragon Age: Origins, Torchlight, Tekken 6, Modern Warfare 2, Left 4 Dead 2, Ratchet and Clank: A Crack in Time and New Super Mario Bros. Wii. On the downside, there was SAW.DecemberThe NewsDecember’s biggest news was that EA, in a surprise move, has decided to revive the Medal of Honour franchise. Now set in Modern Day Afghanistan, the game follows real life military badasses the Tier One Operatives. EA then stated its intention to take back the shooter crown from Infinity Ward in a move that was either ballsy as hell, or a bit silly. We’ll leave it up to you. In other December news, EA pledged to stick by golfing sex machine Tiger Woods and then we heard the terrifying rumour that Simon Cowell plans to bring his unique brand of creativity to the games industry.The GamesIt seems the publishers were a little spent by the time December came around with only Pandemic’s The Saboteur, The Legend Of Zelda: Spirit Tracks and King Arthur: The Role Playing Wargame worthy of note. And, no, we weren’t fond of Avatar.There we have it, a look back at some of the more memorable stories of 2009 and the games that were being talked about. Roll on 2010!

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