I’m a little late in posting this, so my apologies to Nick, who edited it, and all of you that are no doubt going into the shakes from desperation. Like you do. I know that’s how much you like hearing us chat about games and acting the fool.
We recorded this episode back in Star Wars week, so the big portion of the beginning is all about that fair series, and what games we loved that came out of the beloved Star Wars universe. We have a pretty lively discussion about it, and I’m sure you’ll enjoy the nerdery.
Other topics of the podcast include the Mass Effect 3 delay, Assassin’s Creed 3 and more. Nick drops in with a game of grades, where we rate some of the goings-on around the industry. So yeah. Typical podcast stuff.
Before you click on the link I supply, there are spoilers. It ranges from basic information like map numbers, mission locations, to story plot details. That’s your spoiler warning.
It seems Kotaku got its hands on some juicy details of the upcoming third installment to the Modern Warfare series. Details about the game range from the number of multiplayer maps to spoiler details of the storyline itself. The article over at Kotaku’s website reveals a lot about the upcoming game. Some of the non-spoiler details include information such as the game having 20 multiplayer maps, though its unclear if this is before or after DLC map packs. Other information confirms the game will take place where Modern Warfare 2 left off and will consist of multiple locations across the world. The article also includes some early views of the game and a release date: November 8, 2011. A big question to be raised from this leak is whether a leak of this magnitude is acceptable.
This information could be potentially damaging to the game and to its players. For a game franchise that has been very hush hush about its upcoming heavyweight, this plethora of information could spell disaster for the title. With serious competitors like Battlefield 3 looking to take away Modern Warfares crown, this information could hold consequences. Check out the article and tell us what you think. Do you think this information should have been shared to this magnitude? Does this leak dull that excitement or build it up?
I’m going to forgo my traditional jokes about Portal 2 and instead go right into the meat of this thing because it’s just too damn cool. We all know that Valve are a tricksy bunch, so the fact that Portal 2 has some crazy Easter Eggs shouldn’t surprise you; what should surprise you is how nuanced and intricate all of these are. Games Radar put together a list of 30 Portal 2 Easter Eggs that you may or may not have known about. It should be fairly obvious, but there are spoilers abound in this list.
Some of these secrets I already knew about thanks to the game’s achievements, but a few were new to me, and they’re really indicative of how much Valve wants to reward the diligent player. It’s true that you can play the game and enjoy it without searching for Rat Man’s dens or finding a secret berth, but all of these things really add a nice layer of complexity to what many people probably brushed off as a “puzzle game”.
While most of the fun with Easter Eggs is finding them yourself, sometimes it’s just as interesting to read the collected info all in one place. Have you guys found any of the Easter Eggs, and which ones were they? Are you going to go hunting for some more of them? What’s the craziest Easter Egg (Valve-related or not) that you’ve found in a game? Go! Feel free to get spoilery in the comments if you want to, but be warned if you have not beaten Portal 2.
Yup. You read that right. Legendary Counter-Strike map de_dust is now a healthy preteen. Dave Johnston, who created the iconic multiplayer map (plus its counterpart de_dust2) posted about the birthday yesterday on Twitter. He later went on to amend that first tweet (in which he claimed that it was 13 instead of 12) with this follow-up correction.
Johnston currently works as a Senior Level Designer for Splash Damage, creators of the newly released FPS Brink. Kind of crazy to consider the fact that he made such a hugely popular level (and really, one that stands among the greatest of any multiplayer mode) at such a young age. Makes me wonder what I was doing at 16. Oh yeah, playing video games.
So let me be the first here to say happy birthday to Dust. I’ll always remember de_dust as being one of the things I saw the most in college. For me, it’s practically synonymous with the time I spent at school, locked away in my room, trying to gain some epic headshots. It was actually my introduction to online gaming as a whole.
What about you guys? What memories do you have of de_dust? Go!
Every hero has an origin story. Every journey has a first step. Every Bible has a Genesis. And every game made today was influenced by a game made yesterday. But which games are the ones that are truly influential? Sure, even the most average games can have some decent new concepts, but of all the games of yesteryears, which are the ones that today’s hits owe a genuine debt to?
Thankfully, I didn’t have to ponder this myself, (I probably would have said Final Fantasy and leave it at that), but 1Up compiled a list of the 60 Most Influential Games for me. Their criteria for the list is unique and pretty strict, which means they didn’t just pull games out of thin air and add it to the list. Personally, I think you might be surprised by some of the games in the upper echelons, such as Space Invaders coming in at #3.
Take a look and let us know: what games do you think influenced other games the most?
The Achilles’s Heel of gaming, at least from the perspective of a serious contender as an artistic medium, has always been the lack of decent storytelling. While there are a few great examples here and there that highlight exactly what video games can accomplish if they have ample development time and a strong writer in the design team, gaming has sort of let this facet slip away.
In a recent article on The Escapist, Jonathan Davis digs a little deeper into this issue and points out a few games that have successful narrative structures, mostly through their adherence to Joseph Campbell’s concept of the “monomyth”, or Christopher Vogler’s famous “The Hero’s Journey”. Mr. Davis makes a strong argument that the reason games lack narrative punch is because most gaming protagonists don’t have an internal conflict that needs to be resolved, cutting out the all important step of “Resurrection” where the hero overcomes their personal demons and solves the external conflict.
Since most of the characters we control only confront external obstacles, there’s very little room for development, leaving even the coolest action scenes feeling hollow and uninvolved. Games like Ocarina of Time, BioShock and Braid are all singled out for having stories that actually matter to the player, mostly because they have a satisfying resolution to the hero’s issues.
The whole article is really well thought out and examines video games through the lens of a very tried and true structure that most developers ignore. While we’ve taken a look at the issues games face from a similar standpoint, this gives us a new way of thinking about things. If only game designers would consider this in the future, then we might get some titles with a better focus on what matters story wise. What do you guys think about this? What games do you enjoy that follow “The Hero’s Journey” and are stronger because of it? Go!
Just because I’m a huge nerd, I’ve been wanting to try Dungeons and Dragons for a while, especially after attending a demo during PAX Prime last year. I do tend to restrict my gaming to electronic devices, but I have dabbled with Warhammer 40,000 in the past and a few collectible card games here and there.
Even though I’ve given up getting together a group of friends locally to play D&D, I’ve joined a game with one of my friends and a few of his guild mates from World of Warcraft. Using a program called Vassal, we’re able to replicate the D&D experience to a tee and it’s been a lot of fun. We haven’t really gotten that far in our adventure (and I almost got killed by wererats) but I’m looking forward to making the game part of my weekly routine.
It’s nice to mix things up once and while and playing D&D is a far cry from my typical gaming sessions, even if I am using a program on the PC. As a nice side benefit, I’m finally getting to experience the game that influenced generations of game designers, so I feel like I’ll come to appreciate video gaming a little bit more because of that. What about you guys? Do any of you play table top games, and if you do, which ones do you play? Dungeons and Dragons, Warhammer, or something different?
I’ll unpack that, but first I’m going to apologize up front for a couple of things.
For starters, I’m going to sound like a crotchety jaded gamer. I may only be 27 years old, but as a gamer that practically makes me ancient, someone that grew up with gaming’s hallowed yesteryear, raised on the classics and growing up right alongside my favorite hobby. Such a thing can be said about few other mediums.
Secondly, I’m not going to say anything wholly original. This has all been said before, and probably in much better, prettier, or funnier ways. I’ll probably come across as some kind of gaming elitist, or the equivalent to the guy that sits on his porch with a bum leg and says “back in my day,” but I’m OK with that.
I’m not trying to be a troll or anything, but this one really gave me a combination of laughs and head-scratching. You remember all of that fuss last year, back when Fallout: New Vegas had its buggy launch? Well, so does Obsidian, and they are none too pleased, thank you very much.
Here’s what Obsidian CEO Feargus Urquhart had to say about his company’s reputation for releasing buggy games in a recent article with Play Magazine.
I think it’s fair and unfair at the same time, because in the same conversation that I hear how buggy KOTOR and Alpha Protocol were, I also hear how great they were… Now in the case of Fallout: New Vegas, we made a gigantic game, and I’m proud with what we were able to do but I wish it wasn’t as glitchy when it came out. The criticisms people had are fair but it’s difficult to get a game the size of New Vegas bug free. But that’s an excuse and it doesn’t matter when someone’s paid $60 for a game. It’s something we need to work on.
He goes on to pump their new game Dungeon Siege III, but that was the meat of it. Maybe I’m reaching a bit here, but in my mind, if you’re the CEO, why don’t you do something to ensure that the games don’t go out the door with so many bugs? You’re in charge, last I checked. Delay the game if you have to, or work with your managers to get a better schedule for release so your developers aren’t cramming like crazy. On the flip side, it really is nice to see a CEO being open and honest about this kind of criticism, rather than just brushing it aside. So kudos for that.
Uncharted 2 was widely considered one of the best single-player games of all time. But the multiplayer, while not quite reaching that level of greatness, was nothing to sneer at either. From the enjoyable standalone co-op levels to the cover/platform based versus modes, it was a surprise to many that Naughty Dog had done such a great job on their first time out.
One new feature is something called, “Power Plays” which allow a trailing team to get back into the game, if things aren’t going according to plan.
One of those power plays is called “marked man,” during which one or two members on the leading team get marked, and if the trailing team can kill them, they’ll get three points for that kill so it can help them catch up. It’s a very interesting dynamic because as soon as someone gets marked, the opposing team can all see exactly where he is and the leading team gets to defend him, so it changes the experience for this short little burst.
Personally, that sounds kind of awesome to me. I like that the dynamic of a game changes quickly, forcing you to react and adapt, instead of playing mindless deathmatch all day long. Wells goes on to say that they are working hard to ensure this feature doesn’t cause Mario Kart-esque “rubber banding” and irritate gamers.
So what do you think about a feature like this to liven things up a bit? Nathan Drake demands your answer!
Alright nerds, it’s time to get real around here. When I’m not busy slamming beers and stealing your girlfriends, I sometimes play video games. As a guy who really knows his stuff, I thought I’d do all you dweebs a favor and tell you which of these upcoming games are worth your time and money. I’ve been convinced by the other dudes around here to use the grading scale to rate these games, so let’s pop those collars and get down to business. This is gonna be boss. Continue reading Bro Game Reviews
Now that we know all about Assassin’s Creed: Revelations and its place in the series as the conclusion of Ezio’s story, people are starting to wonder what the future settings of Assassin’s Creed will be. Judging by your comments on the article, we’re all a little sick of the Renaissance (and the annualization of the titles) so which time period should the games visit next?
This has been investigated a bit over at IGN, who can turn out an interesting feature when they want to. They suggest four unique settings that haven’t really been explored in the gaming space outside of a few recent titles. While a Wild West Assassin’s Creed would end up being unfavorably compared to Red Dead Redemption, a post-World War 2 (that conflict being a period the developers wanted to avoid) game focused on the hunting down of Nazi war criminals who escaped prosecution would fit rather well into the existing fictional framework as well as provide players with a relatively fresh setting to discover.
One of the most appealing things about Assassin’s Creed has always been, at least for me, the dedicated recreation of parts of our history not usually explored in video games. While I’m practically gagging for an AC game set in feudal Japan, a post-WW2 or Industrial London game would be tip top as well. What do you guys think will be the setting of the next Assassin’s Creed? Will it be another slice of the past, or will we finally get to see Desmond steal the spotlight? What would make for interesting multiplayer arenas? Go!
The biggest reason I would never get an Elder Scrolls game for a console may be going out the window with the upcoming installment, Skyrim. This news is huge and is something that would change console games dramatically. Todd Howard, Bethesda’s executive producer, was spotted as saying user created content may come to the consoles.
The Creation Kit, part of the development engine used to make Skyrim (Much like the Construction Set used for Morrowind and Oblivion) will be available to users on the PC to create their own content. This feature allows users to mod the game and extends gameplay beyond what even DLC can do. Todd Howard was quoted with the following
“It works on all the consoles,” he said. “As far as the 360 and PS3, right now there’s not an avenue for us to make that available, but we’d very much like to find a way. We have talked to Microsoft and Sony, and so there’s a chance it might happen one day, [but] I don’t see it happening for release.”
He also makes mention that there is no problem with content made on the PC running on consoles. Apparently 90 percent of Elder Scrolls gamers use consoles; meaning only 10 percent gets to see the wonder of modding. Hopefully this will be a feature that is extended into Skyrim and will allow the console world to enjoy the extended gameplay that the Elder Scrolls series has to offer. So what do you guys think about this news? Are you worried this will blur the line too much? Does this change what platform you will get Skyrim on?
It looks like Valve has added replays to Team Fortress 2, along with a fancy new machinima contest of sorts. The Saxxy Awards are designed to let users explore all of their filmmaking abilities in a Thunderdome fashion, where awards will be handed out based on YouTube views and all manner of categories such as “Most Pwnage”, “Most Epic Fail” and “Best Team Costume”. Basically, you have until May 19th to submit your awesomely edited piece and receive your lootz. They’ve got a Saxxy trailer up (see what I did there) which will tell you all you need to know.
In addition to all this, Valve tucked a TF2 comic into the update called Meet the Director, and I have to say I’m intrigued. Perhaps I’m looking too deeply into this, but it seems to be pushing at the universe of TF2 and giving us a cool new story to go on. Not to mention the art, which is fantastic.
Anyway, this will probably make me jump back into TF2 a little. My last PC could only barely run it, and I imagine it will sing on the new one. Who knows, maybe I’ll dabble with some machinima. Old habits die hard, after all…
What about you guys? Is anybody excited about this? What do you think of the comic? Go!
We’ve talked about video game endings multiple times on this site, but I just had to bring the issue back up after reading an excellent article about today by Christian Higley over at Digital Hippo about How Video Games Fail to End.
In it, Higley explores the idea that many games fail at a very basic level of storytelling: narrative structure. While stories typically have a first, second and final act, most games end the game right after the second act, before the real conclusion can actually set in. Red Dead Redemption is one of the few games I can think of that actually gives gamers a third act (and does it to great effect), in that Marston is allowed to return home, and the player spends time winding the story down before its sad but powerful conclusion.
While that’s not a new argument, the writer goes a step further by pointing out that most games are even missing the first act, choosing instead to thrust players right into the second act. The more I thought about it, the more I realized how true it is: games typically begin at the “inciting incident”. It’s the equivalent of starting A New Hope at the very moment Luke’s aunt and uncle are killed. Or in many cases, even after that. Continue reading GamerSushi Asks: Do Games Fail at Endings?
So Portal 2 is awesome, and all you guys love it. Well, I don’t like it (as much), and all of the other GamerSushi editors are pretty sure the reason is because Portal 2 is not a “bro” game (e.g. Call of Duty, Halo, Gears). Well, thankfully, some kind soul has cooked up an amazing Forge World creation that puts the reality-bending mechanic of Portal in the dudetacular world of Halo: Reach.
Pretty wicked, no? I was surprised that the Halo: Reach teleporters actually transfer momentum as you travel through them, so hats off to the creator x 7revorBlack x. What do you guys think of this odd mash-up?
How do you guys feel about the Renaissance? I hope you’re not sick of it yet because Ubisoft just announced that Ezio Auditore will be back for another adventure this fall in Assassin’s Creed: Revelations. VG247 has the whole wrap up about Revelations, but for conveniences sake here’s the juicy part of Ubisoft’s PR blurb:
In Assassin’s Creed Revelations, master assassin Ezio Auditore walks in the footsteps of his legendary mentor, Altaïr, on a journey of discovery and revelation. It is a perilous path – one that will take Ezio to Constantinople, the heart of the Ottoman Empire, where a growing army of Templars threatens to destabilize the region.
In addition to Ezio’s award-winning story, the acclaimed online multiplayer experience returns, refined and expanded, with more modes, more maps and more characters that allow players to test their assassin skills against others from around the world. The latest chapter in the Assassin’s Creed saga also includes revolutionary gameplay, allowing players to manipulate the construct of Desmond’s memories and the Animus to decipher the mysteries of his past and gain insight into the future.
So there it is, fellas. Looks like Revelations is shaping up to be a Brotherhood type sequel. Not necessarily the worst thing in the world, but I think this is probably the last time that Ubisoft can get away with this. I’ll obviously play it, but as Eddy told me in chat this morning, if it has gimmicky blue and orange robes it is an automatic hate. Here’s the first screenshot of Assassin’s Creed: Revelations, showing Ezio (with a grey beard?) climbing a tower in Constantinople.
So now that we know a bit more about the next Assassin’s Creed chapter, what do you guys think about Revelations? Sick of Ezio? Where do you want the series to go next?
Well, it was only inevitable that when we all finished Portal 2, the next podcast would be mostly dominated by that discussion. So, Episode 27 is the fruition of that idea. In it, we chat for a very long time about Portal 2, and then we move on to other big topics from the last couple of weeks, including Nintendo’s Project Cafe and the crazy huge hack of PSN.
After all of that tomfoolery, we jump into an exciting game of Fill in the Blank that was extremely well-played by myself. Trust me, you’ll want to hold onto your butts from my amazing vocabulaciousness. Anyway, be careful of the Portal 2 section, which makes up the first half hour, because the discussion comes complete with single player spoilers. If you’re not wanting to hear those, feel free to skip about 30 minutes ahead, as indicated by the time chart below.
Since I’m positive the majority of you are somewhere near the same level of nerdiness as myself, I’m going to go ahead and assume that you all are happily aware that today was Star Wars Day. I thought there was some deeper meaning behind it besides the “May the Fourth be with you” pun, but a Wikipedia search tells me that I am dead wrong about that.
All the same, though, happy Star Wars Day! My love for Star Wars is something I can barely even put into words, because it’s such a huge part of my childhood and my desire to tell awesome stories with fun characters for a living. To me, Star Wars represents the best part of the magic only a good story can conjure, with tales of good and evil, joy and woe, sacrifice and spaceships. It’s such a hard thing to describe all the ways it helped shape me when I was little, and the way its universe continues to do so today.
Anthony sent this around in an e-mail today, and I thought I would post it here, too. Think of it as a Star Wars survey of sorts. Who says all we have to do is talk about video games? Hit the jump to check it out. Continue reading GamerSushi Asks: Star Wars?
Well, it looks like the first of the AAA delay casualties has struck, and boy if it isn’t a big one. It was only a matter of time before one of the many gaming titles threw up the white flag for 2011, and it looks Mass Effect 3 is the first. Today a Bioware employee posted a quote on the Bioware forums from Casey Hudson, Executive Producer of the Mass Effect series, announcing the delay.
Today we have confirmed that Mass Effect 3 will be released in the first three months of 2012. The development team is laser focused on making sure Mass Effect 3 is the biggest, boldest and best game in the series, ensuring that it exceeds everyone’s expectations.
Pretty standard delay business, really. Honestly, I’m not too surprised, seeing as how the turn around time between ME2 and ME3 seemed to defy all logic anyway. We can only hope that this makes the game better in the long run. In the short term, my wallet can breathe a little easier this fall.