SEGA has announced that multiplayer servers for Xbox 360 game Chromehounds will close on 6th January 2010.
SEGA and FromSoftware will be releasing some free downloadable content for Chromehounds at midnight tomorrow night (GMT) to make up for the server problems the game experienced around launch.
Those of you with long memories and Bill Gates CEO Microsoft press badges might remember an exciting clip shown off a couple of E3s ago from a SEGA-published From Software title called Chromehounds. This is obviously that. And that was, it turns out, the intro movie. It's looping in the background as I type - busily telling the story of a bitter conflict between mercenaries of the future, who dart through crumbling cities in nimble but heavily armoured walking robots doing war on each other. Some scout, others clash and others still assault the enemy from the bylines - the barrels of their monstrous sniper rifles peering out of what used to be the windowframes of a bustling industrial complex. A year ago, the trailer stood out - even amongst Fighters Virtua and Hedgehogs Sonic. A year on it stands out again - against the plodding nonsense of the game it portends.
The story the game tells is of a supposedly complex fictional situation on a futuristic Eurasian landmass; where diverse nations form uneasy alliances and said giant mercenary robots flog their services to the highest bidder. Any similarity to any person or presumably robot living or dead is entirely coincidental, the game warns us, before proceeding to talk about America and the USSR and insurgents and oddly named middle-eastern countries like Tarakia, and how it all descends into war because the higher-ups want it to.
It's all themes of valour and home and "something's telling me this little incident isn't going to go away quietly", and each of the six story arcs that play out in the single-player game explore this stuff through the medium of shoddy dialogue about crumbly warriors fighting to protect their own interests. It's classic old-days, "I don't know why I'm telling you this, mercenary, but it's presumably something to do with the plot," and it's wretched, really. And what's up with all sentences...
SEGA has released a demo of Chromehounds on Xbox 360, and the Americans don't get to play it! Hahaha!
When they say that show floors are a rubbish place to cast judgements around, they're thinking about games like Chromehounds. If ever something's destined to have its point missed by sweltering SEGA-heads, it's FromSoftware's ambitious multiplayer mech game. Because while on the surface it's Armored Core crossed with MechAssault, a few minutes with a demo isn't going to tell the whole story - of a game with similar aspirations to the ludicrous multiplayer war of Steel Battalion: Line of Contact, trying to be unashamedly hardcore without alienating everyone.
SEGA's moved back Chrome Hounds' Japanese release date by a month from May 25h to June 29th, the company announced on Friday.