Taking The Pith

By Alec Meer on December 20th, 2007 at 1:53 pm.

This is a metaphor.

Slightly unsettling news: the apparently awful Juiced 2: Hot Import Nights only supports Xbox 360 controllers (as confirmed by angry Amazon user reviews). That’s the PC version of a racing game, and thus something that really needs a gamepad (or a wheel, if you don’t mind your PC desk looking like a nursery), not the clunky, binary inappropriateness of a keyboard.

So, anyone who buys the game pretty much has to also drop around £30 on a 360 controller. Which is about as obscene as the topless picture of himself Gillen inexplicably sent to his friends to demonstrate his new beard a while back. The horror, the horror.

I note it’s a THQ game, and they’re a publisher who’ve always been pretty big on Microsoft’s ludicrous, pointless, benefitless Games For Windows branding program (not the broken, obnoxious Live thing, just the badge on the game box that makes vague promises of quality and compatibility).

Anecdot-o-interlude: I met one of THQ’s US staff on a press trip a while back, and he wouldn’t say “PC game” no matter what. Just “Games For Windows”, again and again – “this is a new Games For Windows title” and suchlike. It’s a really odd thing to hear a person say from their mouth and not just in an email – I did ask him why he kept trotting it out, but he wouldn’t divulge whether or not he was following a directive from above or saying it of his own volition. That’s not a criticism of the guy, incidentally, merely an observation of A Strange Thing, and possibly A Strange Thing we might hear more of, should Microsoft ever manage to ram this silly program down other publishers’ throats.

Anyway, does THQ’s ongoing support for GFW explain Juiced 2′s cruel support for only an official Microsoft controller, and not the proud pantheon of painfully-shaped third-party gamepads that fit just as snugly into a USB socket? Could be. Or could be just that the game’s an incredibly lazy port from its 360 version. Either way, our spies reveal that the game’s a bit of a horror and y’all should steer well clear of it. STEER. LIKE IN A CAR. Do. You. See. What. I. Did. There.

Let’s hope this isn’t the start of a trend, at any rate. Know of any other games that do this, readers? I seem to recall that the Steam version of Geometry Wars was similarly fussy, but a few other pads turned out to work in the end.

Edit – I’m informed that Kane & Lynch only supports 360 pads, which is another reason to hate it. Of course, you’d want to play it with a keyboard and mouse anyway, but it’s the principle of the thing, innit?

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27 Comments »

  1. Feet says:

    I bet the extra cost drives people mad.

    ..

    Eh? EH?

    *cough*
    ¬_¬

    Anyway, I seem to recall that PoP:SoT would only ever work with a Thrustmaster pad. Since I had a PS2 pad USB converter thingy I was left to play with the keyboard instead. Which wasn’t the end of the world but still, it’s relevant.

  2. Piratepete says:

    ALec are you sure the THQ guy wasn’t just hypnotised to say Games for Windows. Did his eyes glaze over when he said it.

    Did he start chanting “One of us,one of us” at you

    Or did he just point his arm straight while gurgling incoherently.

  3. Mike says:

    Kane and Lynch is the other big GFW release that only supports 360 controllers. If you want to play the split screen co-op, you need to buy the pad. The difference of course is that the best way to play K&L (if you must) is to use mouse and keyboard so it’s only a small portion of the game you’re missing if you don’t own the pad. Juiced, on the other hand, is essentially unplayable on the keyboard.

    Oh and, for the record, I played PoP:SoT with a Saitek pad.

  4. Incognito_gbg says:

    Its the same thing with Sega Rally. But since they couldn´t get a working demo out despite trying twice, you wouldn´t bother with it anyway

  5. Zeno, Internetographer says:

    If this were an important game, I’d say that it’d be cracked to support other gamepads in a week’s time. But since it’s just some apparently awful race game, maybe only the dedicated, rich, or those who already own 360s will buy it.

  6. Kismet says:

    Tu quoque THQ? With SEGA in the GFW party as well, I’m pretty scared at the idea of a future with a Live! Gold account required to play RTS games in multiplayer. Or more in general evil corporations trying to control The Only Free Gaming Platform.

    It’s time to stand up and fight, while we’re still in time. Where are you miss Kroes when we need you the most? Trusty mail client, I’ve got a special assignment for you, load up, now!

  7. Cruz says:

    Kistmet:

    The bad news is that both Conquer the World and ranked matches are only available to Games For Windows LIVE Gold members — an additional $50 investment for features that most PC gamers are used to getting for free. Even worse, this type of gamer apartheid can affect players in-game. “Medals” gained for participating in ranked matches and getting certain Achievements can be slotted to provide bonuses to things like armor and production rate. Since medals are tied to Achievements and it requires a Gold account to pick up the more advanced medals, anyone holding a Silver account is essentially playing a crippled version of the game.

    Taken from the Universe at War review at Gamespy (I know, I know, but I can only hit refresh on RPS so many times before I hafta check out the other rags on the webs).

    I know this article focuses on just the GFW brand, but I just wanted to point out another example of this horrible set of programs that Microsoft is trying to push on us.

    Seriously, someone reassure me this (GFW+GFWL) is gonna fail.

  8. Cruz says:

    Sorry about misspelling your name Kismet.

  9. Hitchhiker says:

    Devil May Cry 3 worked, pretty much, only with Logitech Rumblepad 2 (refused to work even with my Cordless Rumblepad).

  10. Dan Forever says:

    If you want GFW “authentication” for the game you’re currently working on and want to support gamepads, you have to include support for the 360 controller or microsoft will not allow you the GFW branding. On the other hand, you can choose to not support any controllers at all and get GFW branding.

    It’s why you’ll see a lot of console ports with specific support for only the 360 pad as the developer and publisher are probably rushing to get the game out the doors as fast as possible if it’s a game cash-in like Juiced 2:HIN.

  11. Dan Forever says:

    Thought I’d just add a reference:
    Games For Windows Technical Specification

  12. Nick says:

    I was just noticing the other day that RS6: Vegas has a checkmark box for “Use XBOX 360 Controller” in the options. I can’t imagine they would have bothered implementing any support for other gamepads (or that anyone will ever use the 360 gamepad either), but I haven’t tried it.

    The mouse and keyboard work just fine, of course.

  13. malkav11 says:

    Honestly, I can’t say as I care especially – I have a 360 controller, not because I have a 360, but because the controller’s really a pretty decent one and a lot of games nowadays will directly recognize and support it where other gamepads (like my PS2 controller on the USB adapter I have for it) have to be manually configured and don’t always work properly.

    Plus Juiced 2 isn’t something I want to play.

  14. DigitalSignalX says:

    A work around the 360 only issue is to use JoyToKey (freeware) as a Mouse and Keyboard emulator for game pads. You set the game controls to mouse and keyboard, and the app uses your game pad and sends mouse and keyboard commands basically, bypassing the controller restriction.

  15. Mike says:

    DigitalSignalX, this solution may be acceptable in games where analogue control isn’t needed, but in driving games it’s become basically a requirement.

    How hard can it be to support the use of Windows’ standard game controller axes and buttons when you’re coding the game? No harder than getting the thing to recognise inputs from a 360 controller, I’d wager. I doubt this is simply laziness in porting.

  16. WCAYPAHWAT says:

    Heh. I just use the wonderful mass of duct tape, USB cable and Xbox control I stuck together. So official support for me? I think not.

  17. Stuart White says:

    Can we see the photo of Kieron?

  18. jim says:

    stop your whining and either play and DON”T complain, or DON”T play. . . Nobody likes a whiner, . . . whiner.

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