Gaming’s most bizarre decisions

Jak & Daxter: The Lost Frontier cozying up with PS2 instead of PS3

OK, so they’re not exactly one of gaming’s ‘hot’ properties anymore. But surely the series deserves better than rotting in the black hole that is PS2’s arthritic twilight years. Granted, The Lost Frontier is also out on PSP, but that’s hardly a worthy substitute for a full-fat PS3 sequel. Naughty Dog has understandably had its hands full cradling a million man crushes with Nathan Drake’s Uncharted games. But we’d have liked to think it could have found some time for the franchise <shudder> that put it on the map.

Above: Naughty Dog's once beloved duo have been ruthlessly shunted out of the spotlight by Drake

Was the decision defendable?

No. We don’t mind Naughty Dog handing the reigns down to High Impact Games, which showed admirable programming Ninjitsu with its portable Ratchet game. We just can’t get on board with the platforms the game’s been released on. Seeing the cinematic mastery just achieved with Uncharted 2, we’re now gagging for a bit of HD Jak. The development of Lost Frontier not only alienates PS3 fans everywhere, but it also shoves the series into further obscurity by failing to promote it on Sony’s premiere platform.

Above: We're sure PSP fans are pleased, but Lost Frontier makes our PS3s ultra sad

Microsoft buying Rare for all the money in existence

Alright, so the hefty financial fee Microsoft paid to buy Rare wasn’t quite every Pound, Rubel and Mongolian Tögrög ever amassed then stuffed into a Barbadian Dollar-branded bag. But the sizeable $375 million it did pay for a company, which had pretty much been in decline for several years, was still staggering. In fact, it was a record acquisition in the games industry at the time, during a generation where Rare had only made one console game. Clearly, the makers of the kinda alright Starfox Adventures was worth 400 million bucks though, right?

Above: Hang on…

Was the decision defendable?

At the time? Yeeeesssss… sort of. In Hindsight? All sorts of hell no. Rare was one of the most respected developers of the mid to late 1990s, no question. Sadly, that revered reputation could only last so long in such a cutthroat, fast-moving industry, especially when it released underwhelming fare like Perfect Dark Zero and Kameo. Banjo and Viva Piñata, while both decent games, were hardly system sellers, either. Realistically, Rare’s input has been nowhere near as significant as its contribution to Nintendo and certainly not worthy of Mircosoft’s initial titanic investment.

Above: He might be cute, but his game was never going to be a huge system-shifter

Nintendo sticking by standard def for Wii

Yeah, yeah. We all know Nintendo making their little white box as powerful as your waffle maker was a conscious decision. As Miyamoto stated shortly after the machine’s initial conception back in 2001: “Too many powerful consoles can’t coexist. It’s like having only ferocious dinosaurs.” While we can see the big Shigger’s point about raw polygon-pushing power not being everything, power and being able to output an HD picture aren’t the same thing.

Above: How the Shig views the competition, apparently

Was the decision defendable?

Perhaps. If the majority of the Wii’s consumer base was made up of hardcore gamers (most of which can be assumed own HD TVs), then it would be hard to make a case for this decision. Fortunately for Nintendo, its console is housewife and granny central, most of whom are more concerned with giving their dodgy hips a workout in Wii Fit than Mario Galaxy supporting 1080p. At any rate, we don’t want to be too hard on Nintendo, considering we suspect an HD Wii will be released in the next 18 months.

Above: The Wii keeping it real

PSP Go sticking a finger to a second stick

This really grinds our gears. If the PSP is going to consistently pursue PS2-aping experiences, then it simply has to have a second analogue nub. Some would argue the lack of UMD support in Sony’s slinky but superfluous handheld remake is a bigger deal. But personally, we applaud the company for attempting to pioneer an entirely new way to buy games. The second stick decision is baffling, though. The main critique continually levelled at every existing PSP model, you’d think it would be the first thing Sony wanted to address with the Go.

Above: The twin nub dream

Was the decision defendable?

No. Considering its little machine has already chewed through several iterations in its relatively short five year lifespan, the only way Sony could justify the Go’s existence was through a radical, and crucially beneficial, hardware update. Ditching UMD is radical, no doubt. But the only foolproof way to actually improve it as a games platform was to introduce a second stick for easier camera control and general comfort. As it stands, charging PS3 prices for a handheld without this feature borders on the unforgivable.

Above: Ooooh, tough one

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  • CandiedJester - December 21, 2009 7:44 a.m.

    *Agrees with iluvmyDS* I don't need a browser on my xbox. I have a laptop withing reach at all times anyway, I would never use it. Just like I never used the browser on my ps3, OR the one on the wii way back when I owned one. Unnecessary.
  • Nodoudt - December 21, 2009 5:29 a.m.

    Great Article GR! You sure know how to get us talking! Just thought I'd add my own opinion... First thing. Sharper's right, I'm on my damn laptop most of the day anyways. If the 360 had a browser I swear I'd end up living in my room. Also, I hate cartidges as much as the next guy. But really, how many times have we picked one up and just smiled, knowing that only a few years ago that was the one of the coolest things you owned. And another thing. I was a 100% Nintendo Devotee, all the way up until the Wii's launch (at the time I owned an Xbox and a Gamecube). Yeah Twilight Princess was all that but really, now, all my love for Nintendo has died. So, while my Wii is gathering dust, right next to it is my 360. But you know, I have to admit that most Xbox Game Developers (in my opinion, mind you) have too many "shock and awe" games. I mean, there are some amazing ones, no doubt, but beneath the gloss and the glamour there doesn't seem to be any heart in the games. And I sure miss that, because I remember playing older Nintendo games and knew those were labours of love. Now, I've never owned ANY Sony system in my life, but I'm really considering making the switch... reCaptcha: Wangle them Hmm...depends on who "they" are...
  • sharper16 - December 16, 2009 4:35 p.m.

    I can understand why including a browser on the 360 was a no brainer, but personally, I'm glad it wasn't there. If the option to browse the internet was available when I bought my 360 two years ago, my parents wouldn't have let me get it. I'm old enough now that it doesn't matter, but back then...
  • JustTheBoBreaker - December 15, 2009 9:17 p.m.

    @noobeater I'm pretty sure the author was talking about the new Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts n' Bolts on the 360, which didn't sell very well. I think we can all agree that Banjo-Kazooie on the N64 was an all-time classic
  • FriendlyFire - December 14, 2009 3:53 p.m.

    @noobeater: Of course, had you read it in context, you would've noticed they were refering to the latest game, Nuts & Bolts, which is arguably a correct but no extraordinary game. Nobody's saying anything about the original game. I too am rather surprised not to see the Nintendo-Sony deal though. Of all bad decisions listed here, I'd argue this one was probably the most costy of all, even further than buying Rare or releasing the Saturn without proper advertising.
  • metalgatesolid - December 13, 2009 7:53 p.m.

    Ahhhhhhhh three famous Raiden in MGS2. Lets be honest, if you could play as any character in the world, it would be Solid Snake!!!!!
  • deathrebellion - December 13, 2009 4:56 p.m.

    Sega's Saturn can go kiss my ass if they think that 32 bit junk can stop me frm seeing d TRUTH :D no offence to sega no more heroes wuz just the begining now deres MadWorld :-O
  • XxWrathxX - December 12, 2009 7:57 p.m.

    Best one was Raiden and Snake Haha Kojima always pullig our legs xD
  • Link555 - December 12, 2009 5:58 p.m.

    yeah mgs, that was a terrible idea
  • linkganon - December 12, 2009 4:39 p.m.

    you could have added that sony's newer models of the ps3 are not backward compatable with ps2 games, and the fixes for those games cannot be obtained. to extend solid's dominance, they should go for a metal gear solid 2 remake, but instead, YOU PLAY THROUGH THE GAME AS SNAKE and pliskin (his alias) and instead disarm explosives in shell 2. strange though that there are areas in shell 2 and all but one are inaccessable.
  • darklinkinfinite - December 12, 2009 7:09 a.m.

    I can't say I agree with some of the points of this article after all, everything is clearer in hindsight. For example, Microsoft purchasing Rare seems like a huge mistake now after its released so many mediocre to good games and nothing amazing like they have during their N64 games, but at the time the only game they'd produced on the Gamecube had been Star Fox Adventures and they had several projects in development. It wasn't so clear cut back then. Rare was still considered a great developer at the time, so I'd certainly say the decision was defendable. In hindsight it certainly wasn't the greatest decision. Also, putting No More Heroes on the Wii is more than defendable. Killer 7, Suda 51's previous game was just as quirky and just as niche as No More Heroes. The game was released on the PS2 and the Gamecube and despite the incredible discrepancy in the consoles' install bases and each of the systems' perceptions (the Gamecube was still considered the kiddy system and the PS2 the 'hardcore') system and the game still managed to sell more copies on the Gamecube than it did on the PS2. No More Heroes is a niche title that wasn't going to move incredible numbers regardless of the system it was developed for. Developing what was almost certainly going to be a bomb, sales-wise on either of the high-definition systems meant that they would have to spend far more on production costs and probably lose a lot of money at retail. By developing on the Wii, they save money on production and so releasing it at retail was a far less risky proposition. Considering the fact that No More Heroes has sold more copies on the Wii than Killer 7 did on the Gamecube, I'd say the risk was worth it. Simply releasing a "hardcore" title on the "hardcore" HD systems is no guarantee of success. After all, the 360 isn't really the place for bizzare Japanese imports. The closest I can think of is Beautiful Katamari, which has sold roughly half as many copies on the 360 than No More Heroes has on the Wii.
  • camelfro - December 12, 2009 12:23 a.m.

    man i loved no more heroes - shame hardly any1 new about it cant wait fo no more heroes 2 though
  • gamingfreak - December 11, 2009 4:18 p.m.

    If NaughtyDog doesn't make Jak 4 for PS3, I want them to make a Jak Collection with Jak 1, 2, 3, and X for PS3. Like what they did with the God of War Collection.
  • Unoriginal - December 11, 2009 3:43 p.m.

    If No More Heroes 2 comes out for all systems I am still going to buy it for the Wii (I also have a PSTripple) There were many things that made that game shine but one was the control scheme. How will the finishers be half as satisfying with random button mash/analog movement? I agree it doesn't make sense from a buisness standpoint but for the game to thrive as entertainment I think the Wii was the best system to choose.
  • Pumbli - December 11, 2009 3:27 p.m.

    Leaving out the Nintendo - Sony - Philips scandal GR? I'm really dissapointed. Otherwise a great article.
  • Cernunnos - December 11, 2009 11:39 a.m.

    xbox 360 not having a web browser is a great decision, and twitter is a giant froggy leap in the wrong direction. gaming consoles should be for gaming, if i want to converse with or flame metrosexual tweens on facebook or twitter ive got my laptop for that. kthxbye.
  • phgreat1 - December 11, 2009 8:19 a.m.

    I always defended playing as Raiden. Just think about it. How would you have felt about Snake if he was mind raped by the Patriots like Raiden was? Besides Snake is to sexy er.. I mean smart for that.
  • Cwf2008 - December 11, 2009 5:08 a.m.

    I almost believed that the picture for the PSP Go with a second stick was real...=( And @AggressiveMold: While we're bashing MS for overcharging stuff, how about that piece of crap i think 512 MB memory card that costs about $50 while nowadays you can buy a 2 or 3GB (thats right GIGABYTE) USB drive for like $10
  • Romination - December 11, 2009 3:59 a.m.

    I don't think that No More Heroes will get any sort of good press on the 360/ps3. It's a distinctly Wii experience, from the combat to the look and attitude of the game. And besides, those both have better games of a similar hack-n-slash style, so it would just get lost and beaten for not being Devil May Cry/God of War enough.
  • NanoElite666 - December 11, 2009 3:22 a.m.

    I'm going to guess that the main reason that J&D Lost Frontier wasn't on PS3 is because High Impact probably doesn't have the necessary resources for developing something for PS3. Their forté seems to be working on the PSP. If there's ever going to be a Jak game on PS3, my guess is that it'll be Naughty Dog who does it eventually.

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