Poor, poor THQ. A series of catastrophic mistakes led to the 23-year-old company’s closure earlier this year. Among the more notable mistakes was the uDraw tablet, originally released in 2010 exclusively on Wii where it became a smashing success. Hoping to capitalize on the “next big thing,” THQ released PS3 and 360 versions of the device the following year. The result was $100 million worth of unsold uDraw hardware and associated software. Ouch.
In an interview with StrategyInformer, Volition producer Jim Boone described the immediate effect uDraw’s failure had on the rest of the company, and in particular how it completely negated the high sales of Saints Row: The Third. “[H]ere’s this game, we’re so proud of it, and it’s a huge success… but thats also the same time where the uDraw came out for PS3 & 360, and we lost about $100 million on days,” Boone states. “When you have a failure of that magnitude coupled with a success of that magnitude, I mean basically all our success was invalidated by that, it was tough to look at that and think, ‘Is it just business as usual then? Or did we just get dealt a death blow?’” Soon afterwards, Naughty Dog co-founder Jason Rubin became president of THQ, and Boone felt assured that Rubin could turn the ship around. Obviously, that didn’t happen.
Hindsight is 20/20 and all, but someone on THQ’s board had to have been wary about flooding the market with more superfluous peripherals. It’s yet another case that just because something worked on the Wii doesn’t mean it can work on the HD boxes. That’s no longer a concern, of course, but quite a few companies would have been wise to learn that lesson sooner.
THQ’s UDraw failure “invalidated” Saints Row: The Third’s success [StrategyInformer]
The 3DS is red hot again this week with Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon, and Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Gates to Infinity, which are both available on March 24th. Gates to Infinity will have a free DLC dungeon, the Poké Forest, available until April 30th — at which point it’ll cost $2.00.
In other 3DS news, the Pokédex 3D Pro app will be on sale for $9.99 for a limited time, as will Mutant Mudds, on sale for $5.99. The 3DS is also getting Lola’s Math Train and 50 Classic Games 3D today.
Let’s all hear it for the Wii U breaking out of its slump! It’s getting…one game today! Zen Pinball 2. The Wii virtual console is also getting The Path of the Warrior: Art of Fighting 3.
Club Nintendo is celebrating the release of Dark Moon with a sale that will run for the next three days, appropriately titled “Luigi’s 72 Hour Sale.”
Not everything is Luigi-centric though, so be sure and check everything on the site before you ignore him (poor Luigi!).
On a related note, my Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon review will be going up on Thursday, so be sure and tune in then to see what I thought. You can also catch the green goon later this year in his own version of New Super Mario Bros. U.
Luigi’s 72 Hour Sale [Club Nintendo]
Underneath my gruff exterior beats the heart of a kid obsessed with LEGO. Even now, if I see some of those little bricks, I drop what I’m doing, and start building, ignoring whoever else is in the room. With that in mind, it should come as no surprise that I’m pretty excited for LEGO City: Undercover, which drops this week along with a whole bunch of other games.
Set in an open world and story-based, it sounds like my cup of tea, especially since my favorite LEGO game has to be LEGO Batman 2. And come on, the hero is called Chaise McCain, the name I wish I was now blessed with.
Along with the tiny brick goodness, a slew of other games launch this week. Gears of War: Judgement is a thing, and will undoubtedly feature shooting and steroids; fighting giant monsters refuses to go out of style in Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate; The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct appears, and still looks terrible; and the Wii U gets a Need for Speed game. All this a more falls from the skies this week.
What are you grabbing?
The Disney Movies UK Twitter account revealed that Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two will be heading to the PlayStation Vita sometime this year. No other info was revealed, but we’ve reached out to Disney and will have more for you as soon as we know.
Quite peculiar that Epic Mickey 2 is getting a Vita release. The game didn’t review all that well, leading to very poor sales, and the inevitable shutdown of developer Junction Point.
The rare act of generosity aside, support for WiiWare has been reduced to almost nothing, leaving the platform to shuffle along until the earth swallows it up. How fitting then that one of its few releases in recent months would revolve around vampires hunting zombies — the undead preying upon one another is the perfect visual metaphor for WiiWare’s current status.
Vampire Crystals is but a modest twin-stick shooter in the vein of Smash TV. It actually does one better than the arcade classic by allowing up to four people to play cooperatively or competitively. Fun in small bursts for anyone who wants to shoot up rotting corpses on a Sunday morning.
And after about an hour or so, it becomes both painful and painfully boring.
Three more songs are being added to the Rock Band Music Store next week and they’re all special in their own way. “Jungle Boogie” by Kool & the Gang is the most important contribution to music of the bunch, but “Shout” by Tears for Fears isn’t bad. Last (and almost certainly least), we have “Diamond Eyes (Boom-Lay Boom-Lay Boom)” by Shinedown.
All three of these songs were released previously via Rock Band Blitz, which is the only way I was likely to have ever heard Shinedown and now it won’t leave my mind. All night long it’s “Boom-Lay Boom-Lay Boom, hrm hrmhmhm you need.” I could play the song in Rock Band 3 and fill in the blank spots in the lyrics, but then I would know all the lyrics forever. It’s one of those “Catch-22” situations.
Oh, and the songs cost $1.99 (160 MSP) each. “Jungle Boogie” also features Pro Guitar and Pro Bass upgrades for $0.99 (80 MSP). Boom-Lay Boom-Lay Boom.
The Wii U is getting a decent amount of full retail downloads this week, with LEGO City Undercover ($49.99, March 18), Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate ($59.99, March 19), Need for Speed Most Wanted U ($59.99, March 19), and Croods: Prehistoric Party ($39.99, March 19). Punch Out!! is also dropping March 21 for the Wii U Virtual Console for a cool $0.30 and a Chasing Aurora demo is now available to go along with its 50% off sale.
The 3DS is also getting some love, with Mega Man 3 (3DS VC), a Ketzal’s Corridors sale ($4.99), and a HarmoKnight demo. On the full retail eShop side of things, Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate ($39.99), Rayman Origins ($29.99), Reel Fishing 3D Paradise ($19.99), and The Croods: Prehistoric Party ($29.99) are launching.
DSiWare is getting Forgotten Legions and Goony — I really wish that last one was Goonies 2 for the NES.
Parents can be really awesome when it comes to cake. I remember for a birthday long ago, my mom made me a prehistoric landscape cake populated by dinosaurs, rough terrain, boulders, trees, and an erupting volcano. I thought that was just the greatest thing ever.
Super parents extraordinaire Will and Liliana like to make custom cakes for their daughters’ birthdays, such as this Super Mario Galaxy number for their youngest, Hannah. When Zelda fan Sydney turned 10, mom and dad constructed an impressive Skyward Sword cake. It’s technically more of a traditional diorama as a great bulk of the construction is inedible — only the temple on the Sealed Grounds is made of cake, while the archway is formed by Rice Krispies Treats.
But just look at the thing! There’s Skyloft floating above the clouds, Link atop his Loftwing, and Groose working on his catapult cart track. And to top it all off, many of the details are motorized! This is seriously great. Chad Concelmo would be proud!
Sydney’s The Legend of Zelda Skyward Sword Cake (10th 2013) [Will and Liliana's Web Page]
Next week, the Rock Band Music Store will be adding a couple of classic 80′s songs to the list of downloadable content. “Rosanna” from Toto will be available for purchase, along with Oingo Boingo’s “Weird Science.”
It surprises me that it took this long for Oingo Boingo to appear in the game, but “Weird Science” is as good an entry point as any. With the DLC winding down, hope this news would have given me for “Dead Man’s Party” (or, if we want to totally ignore reason altogether, “Little Girls“) has already been crushed, so I guess I’ll just take what I can get.
As ever, the tracks will run you $1.99 (or 160 MS Points) each and “Weird Science” also has Pro Guitar and Pro Bass upgrades for an additional $0.99 (80 MS Points).