The Mass Effect 3 Wish List

Mass Effect 2

I’ve made no secret of my favorite titles of this great gaming year of 2010 so far. Red Dead Redemption, Limbo and Mass Effect 2 are all currently gunning for “game of the year” status in my eyes, with an especially close race between those first two. We’ve said it a million times around here – Mass Effect 2 is spectacular and simply must be experienced for its storytelling, choices and Bioware’s original universe.

Naturally, there are several gamers out there gunning hard for Mass Effect 3, and already giving thought to certain qualities the title should possess. In fact, GamesRadar has put together a list of what they want to see in Mass Effect 3. Without spoiling too much, I think it’s a really great list of things that would be awesome for the next edition, particularly the idea of the “Dark Shepard” clone, gunning around the galaxy and ruining your good (or bad) name. This could easily work, seeing as how we know that Cerberus has Shepard’s DNA. I also like the idea of making Shepard’s backstory a more central part of at least one major sidequest.

For me, I would love to see bigger parties but also a few momentous and game altering choices in more moments than just the big ending mission. Something that Dragon Age: Origins nailed was a few “holy crap” moments sprinkled throughout the game, rather than bunching them up at the end the way Mass Effect 2 did.

Anyway, what do you guys think? What are some things you’d really like to see in the next Mass Effect game?

Source – GamesRadar

Off to PAX Prime!

pax 2010
As we’re probably all aware, being fans of video game culture and what not, PAX Prime 2010 is set to kick off this Friday down in beautiful Seattle, Washington. Since I live about four hours and one country away from Seattle, I thought I would take this opportunity to finally go to the Penny Arcade Expo, something I’ve been dying to do for a few years now. It’s actually kind of funny that GamerSushi started off with Eddy and Smooth Few Film’s Daniel (who is not Anthony), going to PAX with Leet World DVDs in hand.

Since I’m going to be reporting diligently on all the news and cool stuff coming out of PAX, I thought I’d take this opportunity to ask you, the community, if there’s anything in particular you’d like me to keep an eye out for. Halo: Reach and The Old Republic are a given, but are there any other games you’d like me to try and get hands-on time with? I’m bringing down a camera as well, so I’ll try and upload pictures of the show floor and the various cosplayers. So, do you have any requests? Put them in the comment section below.

The Digital Future?

PSN LogoA new development over the last few years for the gaming industry has been the advent of digital distribution on a large scale basis, beyond just downloadable bonuses. Through platforms such as Steam, XBox Live and PSN, games are being delivered to us entirely differently than they were even just a short decade ago. So what is the next decade going to bring?

Back in 2006, former Sony exec Phil Harrison was quoted as saying that he would be surprised if the PS4, the next iteration of the Sony black box, would have a physical disc drive at all. That comment caused some interesting conversations in its wake, but current Sony exec Kaz Hirai has recently weighed in on the matter as well. In an interview with MCV, Hirai had this to say:

“We do business in parts of the world where network infrastructure isn’t as robust as one would hope… There’s always going to be requirement for a business of our size and scope to have a physical medium. To think everything will be downloaded in two years, three years or even ten years from now is taking it a little bit to the extreme.”

I know that there are differing opinions on this issue out there. On the one hand, the idea of an all digital future at some nebulous point down the technology timeline is an exciting prospect, with instant access to all forms of entertainment. On the other hand, there is a part of me that likes physical copies of everything I own. To prove that I, you know, do in fact own it. There’s also the risk of things like the recent debacle with the PSP Go, where adopters of hardware without physical disc drives run the possibility of getting screwed.

So what do you guys think? Are you looking forward to an all digital future? Or do you prefer to keep a physical copy of what you own? I think this question is already answered in many ways for PC users who download via Steam, but go ahead and jump in anyway. Would you do this for all of your entertainment, based on your experience with Steam? Go!

Source- MCV

Today’s WTF: Xbox LIVE Prices Going Up

Subscriptions are a tricky thing, especially in the video game industry. Thanks to World of Warcraft, $15 a month is now the standard fee for MMOs, but the console market is a different story. As of right now, only Microsoft has a mandatory subscription service (the PS3’s PlayStation Plus is optional), so they can pretty much price it however they want. Ever since the service launched back in 2002, the average price for a yearly rate was $49.99 for Americans, but as of November 1, 2010, this price is going up. The prices and the plans they affect vary across the board, but the US, UK, Canada and Mexico are seeing increases in all areas. The breakdowns are as after the jump: Continue reading Today’s WTF: Xbox LIVE Prices Going Up

Review: Limbo

Limbo Xbox Live ArcadeLimbo is an XBox Live arcade game, part of the Summer of Arcade that saw a slew of quality releases for the platform over the last couple of months. I remember leading up to the game’s release, I actually knew nothing about it, but kept hearing some buzz as people grew more and more excited. And even then, once I decided to look at a few screenshots, it was hard to get a sense of what people were so juiced up about. I remember people saying the same thing about Braid when it was released, and while I thought it was a good game, it seemed a bit overhyped and not as incredible as others made it out to be. In fact, I didn’t even finish that one.

However, after several of my friends raved about the short experience of Limbo, comparing it almost to Portal in its profundity and fun factor, I decided to give it a try. I downloaded the trial game, ready to play it and then toss it aside, never intending to click on that “purchase full game” option on the dashboard menu. But then I played the demo, and something happened. I was entranced by an atmosphere, thick and heavy and foreboding. I was lured by the puzzles and the platforming. And as soon as the trial ended, I didn’t hesitate to upgrade.

So what’s the big deal? Continue reading Review: Limbo

Game Music Face Off: Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic Vs. Donkey Kong Country

I don’t think I could have picked two more completely opposite games for this week’s music post, but hey, random can be good, right?

Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, hailed by many as the greatest Star Wars game of all time, had a rousing score that didn’t merely insert old John Williams tracks, but tried to re-create the feel of the original movies soundtracks. I think it succeeded admirably and I chose the main theme to demonstrate.

Donkey Kong Country was the revival of the original Nintendo platformer, but updated to reflect the (at the time) modern aesthetics of the 16-bit generation. It’s not as pretty to look at these days, but the music was always memorable and just hearing the theme song got my nostalgia working into overdrive.

Which theme song do you like better?

Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic – Main Theme

Donkey Kong Country – Theme Song

Which song do you prefer?

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Half-Life Movie Would Come Direct From Valve

half_life_movieThe transition from a video game to a movie is a tricky one, a notion that we have explored in the past on our sweet podcast. It seems that the only people who are capable of making a movie based on games are the developers themselves, but they lack either the necessary components or the capital to make a feature film. Valve Software, who we all know as the studio behind Half-Life, Team Fortress 2 and Left 4 Dead, has stated that they’d like to try their own hand at making a Half-Life movie, saying that they were approached by a bunch of Hollywood types with horrible interpretations of the Half-Life saga. Here’s part of the quote given by the man himself, Valve’s CEO Gabe Newell, on what happened with the Half-Life movie:

Where we got into this direction was after Half-Life 1 had shipped. There was a whole bunch of meetings with people from Hollywood. Directors down there wanted to make a Half-Life movie and stuff, so they’d bring in a writer or some talent agency would bring in writers, and they would pitch us on their story. And their stories were just so bad. I mean, brutally, the worst. Not understanding what made the game a good game, or what made the property an interesting thing for people to be a fan of.

Sound like typical Hollywood, doesn’t it? So, if Valve didn’t want Half-Life handed off to a big studio, they would just have to do it themselves. Gabe also explained that the Team Fortress 2 “Meet the Team” shorts were a small part of the build-up to a full-fledged film.

That’s when we started saying ‘Wow, the best thing we could ever do is to just not do this as a movie, or we’d have to make it ourselves.’ And I was like, ‘Make it ourselves? Well that’s impossible.’ But the Team Fortress 2 thing, the Meet The Team shorts, is us trying to explore that

Valve has been stating for a while that they would like to get into the business of comic books and movies, and recently they’re been taking a lot of steps in that directions. The Meet the Team shorts are getting longer and bolder, and almost every Team Fortress 2 update has had a comic associated with it. What’s your opinion on Valve’s stance towards the Half-Life movie? Do you think they could pull it off? What sort of stuff would you like to see come from Valve in the future?

Source: PC Gamer

PSP Go Owners Have (Kingdom) Hearts Broken

The much criticized PSP Go has just given the naysayers another piece of ammunition against it with the news from Square Enix that the surprisingly normal sounding Kingdom Hearts: Birth By Sleep will only be released on UMD and not the Playstation Network’s PSP Store. This means, of course, that owners of the PSP Go won’t be able to play this blockbuster game at all.

The PSP Go was Sony’s reaction to the rampant piracy that plagued and still plagues the original PSP, thanks to relative ease of ripping information off UMDs. Now, Square Enix is the one who “currently has no plans” to launch a digital release of the game, but it stands to reason that Sony would want to work with them to ensure all of their customers get a chance to play this game.

What do you think about this? Should Sony step in? Do you own a PSP Go and will this affect you at all?

Source: 1Up

Assassin’s Creed:Brotherhood Walkthrough Confirms Flag Collection

The closer we get to November, the more I know in my heart that I will not be able to refuse the siren’s call of Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood. While I do have my doubts about the quick turn around time, everything I’ve read about the game, from the single-player to the multiplayer, seems to paint it in a good light. I’m especially willing to give it a go after I watched this video, which details some of the single-player mechanics along with how you will be managing your Assassin’s Guild.

Pretty neat, no? Originally, I thought that confining the game to just Rome would severely limit the scale, but it turns out that I might be wrong. Sending my Assassins all over Europe to start riots and kill targets sounds like a lot of fun, and bossing people around is always a good time. What do you guys think of the video? Are you anticipating Brotherhood? Also, as you may notice by the title of the article and the little snippet in the video, the much maligned flag collecting is back. You may commence your complaining (or celebrating, if that’s more your thing.)

Today’s WTF: Before Left 4 Dead, Valve Worked on a Fairy RPG

Tinkerbell BraaaaainsYes, you read the title of the article correctly. You know, some daily WTFs are so absurd sounding that they practically speak for themselves.

Earlier this week in an interview with PC Gamer, Valve honchos Doug Lombardi and Gabe Newell let slip some rather interesting information about what the famed developer was doing just before they embarked down the path that helped them create the zombie sensation Left 4 Dead. This little exchange occurred when PC Gamer asks them what they think they’ve failed at:

Doug Lombardi: There were a few failed starts to build Left 4 Dead.
Gabe Newell: Well, there was the flying fairy game. Is that the one you were referring to?
Erik Johnson: That was just a different game that, when we stabbed it… (everyone laughs)
Doug Lombardi: … It turned into Left 4 Dead!

Huh? Apparently, this fairy RPG required mouse gestures to cast spells and such. Newell later went on to say “it was so clearly dumb that it made us say, ‘OK, what are we actually good at that we can do instead?'” However, sometimes you have to fail to learn truly valuable lessons. They went on from there to figure out that the focus should be on AI and the co-operative experience. Well, thank goodness for that little revelation.

Honestly, as ridiculous as this is, I wish more developers would take about the genesis of some of their greatest ideas. I’m sure that Valve isn’t the first studio to start down a really bizarre path only to fail and then find those gems worth polishing. It’s interesting because with movies we’ve gotten so used to special features that walk us through every step of the process. I wish we had more material like that when it comes to games, because the whole thing seems so mysterious to us outsiders.

What do you guys think about this? What games would you like to hear more development stories about? Go!

Source – PC Gamer

Two Years of GamerSushi

portal-cakeThere’s an old saw that I think we all know that goes “time flies when you’re having fun”, and I can’t think of anything more fun than video games. Seriously, it’s hard to believe that it’s been two years since GamerSushi started, because it doesn’t seem like it’s been that long. Granted, I’ve only been posting on the site since last year, starting with the Battlefield 1943 PC delay, but I was commenting on the site before that.

I’m sure most of us came here from Smooth Few Films, but I don’t think that any of us could have predicted the cool community that would have grown around a few dudes talking about games. Honestly, this site has had some of the best discussion on the theory around gaming that I can think of, mostly because we take the time to read each others thoughts and we don’t get buried in a sea of fanboy-centric comments. We may disagree at times, but we’re all united in a love of gaming.

So, thanks to you guys for sticking around for two years, and thanks to Eddy, Nick, Jeff and Anthony for starting this website and keeping it going. It’s been an awesome ride so far, and there are definitely cool things on the horizon!

What about you guys? Any awesome discussions you remember, or a post that you really liked? Keep in mind that this is our birthday, so you’re allowed to shower us with praise.

Final Fantasy XIV and the Experience Cap

Final_Fantasy_XIVOne of the problems plaguing MMOs (and indeed all level-bases online games) is that players who have more time to dedicate to the game will outpace those of us who can only spare a few hours a week. This leads to some disparaging situations where overpowered players wipe the floor with other users in Player versus Player servers since they have the best gear and the stats to match. While some may decide that this is unfair, there’s really nothing the players themselves can do about it. Final Fantasy XIV, the upcoming fantasy MMO for the PlayStation 3 and the PC, is hoping to address this issue with the idea of diminishing returns.

The main way you progress in a Role Playing Games is through experience points, or EXP for short. It’s been this way since the dawn of gaming, and it’s not going to change any time soon. The more time you spend playing, the quicker you get points and the quicker you level up. With Final Fantasy XIV, this is going to change somewhat by limiting the amount of hours each week that you can earn one hundred percent of your experience. Basically, for eight hours of the week, you’ll get the full amount of EXP for quests and killing monsters. After that, though, your gains will start decreasing, eventually reaching a grand total of zero at the fifteen hour mark. This is on a weekly timer, so the experience clock resets every seven days. According to Square Enix, the idea behind this is that, in real life, no one could train at something for hours on end without reaching a plateau. Imagine lifting weights for eight hours a day? Eventually you’d run out of steam, and probably hurt yourself.

Naturally, this sort of artificial barrier is annoying MMO players, most of whom are dedicated to the point of playing more than eight hours a week. Think about it, if you played two hours a night, you’d be at the eight hour threshold before your knew it. An average World of Warcraft dungeon can take upwards of four hours, so this might be a problem in the making. The good news is that the EXP earned during the extra hours are banked as a surplus, but as of yet the developers don’t know what to do with them.

What do you guys think about this? I know we don’t have a lot of MMO players on the site, but as a former Star Wars Galaxies/World of Warcraft player myself, this limiting of player progression seems like it could hurt the game in the long run. I feel that, if you’re paying a subscription, you should play as long as you like with full returns, other players be damned. What do you think?

Update: I’ve read that this only affects up to fifteen hours of each job class, so it’s not an account wide restriction. Definitely better than the heavy-handed maneuver it seemed to be.

Source: FFXIV Core

Rumor: Brad Pitt, Meet John Marston

Brad Pitt Jesse James

For the last several months, Red Dead Redemption has been the buzz of the gaming world, and rightfully so, in my opinion. I thought the game was artfully made, and it’s going to be one of those titles that I get nostalgic for in years to come. It was both critically and commercially acclaimed, and stands as one of the best selling games of this year.

It’s no surprise, then, that a Hollywood adaptation is being considered. After all, with no space marines or alien invasions to simulate, it seems that the game could quite easily make a big screen transition. What is a surprise, however, is the newest rumor for who is being considered for leading man John Marston: Brad Pitt. I can’t say that Brad Pitt would be my first choice for the role, but then again I’ve never seen the Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, which is supposedly a wonderful western.

Beyond that, I’m not sure I’d love to see a Red Dead Redemption movie. I’m not trying to be a downer or anything, and I’m not saying it couldn’t be good… It just seems like one of those titles that is so immersive and already cinematic enough in its own right that stripping it down to a 2 hour snapshot of the experience wouldn’t hold the same kind of impact.

My inconsequential opinion about a random rumor aside, what do you guys think? Could Tyler Durden make a good John Marston? Do you have any other suggestions? What would you think of a Red Dead Redemption movie? Go!

Source – Showbiz Spy

GamerSushi Asks: What Are You Playing?

Tomb Raider Guardian of LightIt’s been a few weeks since we’ve asked you all how your gaming minutes are being spent, so I thought we were about due for another helping of “What Are You Playing?”

For me, I’m trying to get through a little bit of the dreaded gaming backlog and all of its horrors, but I keep getting interrupted by Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light, which I am completely in love with at the moment. If you’re unaware, it just released on Xbox Live Arcade last week, and is due out on the PC and PS3 next month.

I’ve never been a fan of the Tomb Raider series, but what they’ve done in this game is turn it into more of a top-down co-op Diablo style game, complete with puzzles, platforms and loot. It’s almost like Diablo meets Resident Evil 5, if that makes any sense at all. While the game doesn’t have online co-op at the moment, it will when it hits other systems in September. I’ve been playing the co-op locally with my brother, and we’re having a blast solving puzzles and doing the platforming. I can honestly say it’s already one of my favorite co-op experiences of this gen. If that’s not a glowing recommendation, I don’t know what is.

In addition, I recently completed Alpha Protocol, am moving to 3D Dot Game Heroes next, and hope to tackle Crackdown 2 before Halo: Reach drops on September 14th. Whew. Anyway, now it’s your turn. What are you playing? Go!

Chrono Cross Game Blog Part V: A Magician, A Dancer and A Frenchman Walk Into A Bar…

Welcome back! To refresh you, we are in Termina, searching for a way to break into nearby Viper Manor. We already met Guile, a Magus-reject in a bar and are now looking for other possible allies in our effort to penetrate (Insert Beavis and Butthead laugh here) the fortress-like mansion.

Heading left, we come to the Termina docks. We meet a human overseer…overseeing the work of demi-humans. Ah, slave labor exists in Another World. How quaint. Seems this is a prerequisite for most fantasy/sci-fi. There are signs everywhere for a festival coming up and I climb aboard a wooden ship docked nearby. Apparently, Miki and Nikki, two popular musicians, are going to give a concert on the ship. But Nikki is, you guessed it, missing! Miki has been searching for him, but to no avail as he disappeared into the Shadow Forest. How foreboding! Continue reading Chrono Cross Game Blog Part V: A Magician, A Dancer and A Frenchman Walk Into A Bar…

Halo: Reach Live Action Trailer is a Blast

Halo 3 set a precedent for using live footage to pimp a game, and now it seems like every new title has a live-action commercial to go with it. Halo is still the king with the excellent short called “Landfall” by Neill Blomkamp for Halo 3 and the “We Are ODST” video for the half-expansion cum sequel Halo 3: ODST. By rights, Reach should have an awesome trailer depicting Spartans kicking ass and taking names. However, all we’ve had are people on the planet Reach standing around talking, but that changes right now. Take a look at Halo: Reach’s live action trailer:

While I did enjoy the video of civilians before the fall of Reach, something about Spartans in combat just gets me even more excited for the game (if that was possible). It also helped that the video reminded me a little of District 9, which might have been intentionally done to link it back in with the Blomkamp shorts. What did you guys think of the trailer? Actually, what do you think of the current trend of using live-action commercials for games?

Game Length: Does Size Matter?

Red Dead Redemption Bonnie

For some reason, game length has become an issue that people have really started talking about only in the last few years. I’m sure there are a variety of factors for this, so it’s not necessarily an easy thing to dissect. Maybe people have only really started noticing how long games are because they’ve gotten more expensive? Or perhaps people are only more aware of it in this hyper-informational age where we build hype and wait through long development cycles, so we expect more hands-on playtime? Really, it’s hard to be sure.

There was an interesting article about the very topic of game length the other day on GamesRadar, discussing the issue of how long is too long when it comes to video games. The point that the author makes, and one that I think totally hits the nail on the head, is that it all comes down to pacing. If a game is paced well, its shortness or length doesn’t feel as such because the pacing and the experience itself was satisfying.

For instance, Red Dead Redemption, while a fantastic game, has a few pace issues around Mexico (and some would say towards the end of the game). By contrast, Limbo or Portal are only about 3-4 hours long, but don’t feel short because of how well the creators balanced the progression. One of my only complaints about Arkham Asylum is that it’s too short, but I think it might be that the game’s final act wraps up almost too quickly, with pacing that is erratic at best, which didn’t quite hit on all the right cylinders as it winded down.

Anyway, I think it’s an interesting topic, and one that I’m curious to hear your thoughts on. Is there a such thing as a perfect game length, or does it differ from game to game? Can games be too long? What games do you feel have pacing issues? Go!

Source – GamesRadar

Why Can’t This Sonic and Knuckles 3D Level Be Real?

Oh Sonic. Your franchise, along with Sega, have become quite the punching bags in the gaming industry of late. You used to be so spinny, so fast, so fresh (and bright + vivid), but now you’re just a retro-gen has been. As much as it pains me to say it, it’s true. It’s so true in fact, that every time we get a glimpse of how good you could be, we get a little weepy, and mourn for the Sonic that we knew and loved.

Take this video mock-up of Sonic and Knuckles 3D. It’s a re-creation of the Mushroom Hill Zone level from that game, done in widescreen and updated graphics. Sadly, it’s not playable, but gives a great sense of that old school Sonic flavor. Sega, I have to ask you an honest question: why have you been unable to pull this off? This game should have come out years ago.

Who else wishes they could play this?

GamerSushi Asks: Leaks and Spoilers

modern warfare 2It’s a sad fact, but the early theft of video games is becoming more and more common in the industry. Giant games such as Modern Warfare 2 and Halo: Reach are being picked apart and distributed far ahead of their street dates, with spoilers running rampant. For example, Modern Warfare 2’s “No Russian” level was leaked about a month in advance of people getting hold of the game, and many argued that the reveal of such a controversial mission spoiled the plot. Even larger gaming sites got in on the leak, making such videos a front-page deal, drawing even more attention.

So, we have a question for you, the community. When video games break their street date either through piracy or simple error, do you actively go hunting for spoilers? If you’re the sort of person who likes to stay pure, does it irk you to see gaming websites posting videos that give away elements of the game?

Gaming Pop Quiz, Almost Fall Edition

The Gaming Pop Quiz is back! Last time, we did a pre-summer edition to start the lazy sunny days off right, and now we return in anticipation of the gaming to come. Seriously, I can barely contain myself for Halo: Reach. It’s weird, because while I don’t really consider myself a Halo fanatic, few games make me more excited than the Halo games do. There’s some kind of mystique around the whole event that really gets me going.

Anyway, because I have nothing better to do than to clear out my backlog and play the incredible Tomb Raider: Guardian of Light (seriously, go play this), I come bearing a few questions for you dudes to answer. As always with our getting-to-know-you type games, feel free to answer with as much or as little as you like. Obviously, some of these things you might not remember, but answer to the best of your ability. Go!

1. What game always seems to elude you on your backlog?

2. What game mechanic do you think is underutilized (cover systems, destructible environments)?

3. If you could turn a portable game into a full-fledged console game, which one and why? And vice versa.

4. Would anything make you consider boycotting a game?

5. What game would immediately inspire you to upgrade to spend money on a new PC/console?

6. What do you feel like you’re still waiting to do in a game that you’ve never done before?

7. What game changed the way you view video games?