Peter Molyneux has gathered a reputation as a bit of a whacky guy in the industry. As much as the guy makes grandiose promises and far-reaching claims, it’s hard to deny the charm behind a man that dares to dream the impossible for every new game he tries to make. People make fun of him a lot, but I have always admired that Molyneux is trying to explore and innovate, even if it does kind of blow up in his face every now and then.
On the subject of making games in the aftermath of leaving both Lionhead and Microsoft, Molyneux spoke with Gamespot about the state of the industry and what he sees as the future. In an interesting conversation that covered everything from social gaming to future tech and smaller developers, one bit in particular stood out to me: the idea that development never ends anymore, and that this can be problematic for the industry.
“I think that we as authors of stories and entertainment, we have to stand by our decisions and justify them and take the rough with the smooth. If people don’t like it you can’t just go and change it because if you have any sense of authorship, you’re playing through a plan. That being said, nowadays there is no end of development anymore. You used to release a game and that was it, you were done. It was in the box. Now, you release a game, and there is this possibility and technology that allows you to change it.”
In an age of endless DLC, it’s easy to see what he’s talking about. While I do agree that sometimes things just need a good ol’ fixing, it would be nice to let developers make a game and then move on. I know that publishers invest so much in games these days that they want to keep making more money from their products, but it also seems like they would benefit from turning around and working on new projects once one gets out the door. That would certainly keep developers from having to lay people off once the huge project is done, if they’re a one-game studio.
What do you guys think about this? Is Molyneux off his rocker again? Or does he have a point about the endless development cycle? Go!
One of the most anticipated games of the fall just happens to be one we had no idea about until just a few months ago. Bethesda and Arkane Studios’ newest property, Dishonored, promises to bring stealth and action gameplay in the vein of Deus Ex while adding an atmosphere and magic system more akin to Bioshock. The mash-up of all these things is something that is certainly exciting, and something that I’m looking forward to like crazy.
Lucky for us, then, that Bethesda has just released a couple of videos detailing how a player can tackle the same section of the game through various means. The stealth video features choke-outs, body possession, teleporting to sneak around your targets and all kinds of other goodies. Meanwhile, the action video features time-stopping, brutal knife kills and whirlwind-attacking targets straight through windows. So yeah, they’re kind of cool. Check them out.
It’s a good day to be a Valve fan as we’re being treated to two new releases from everyone’s favorite gaming company. First is Meet the Pyro, which finally takes us behind the mask of the mysterious flame-spewing class…kind of. It’s not the strongest of the Meet the Team videos, but it has its moments.
Gamers, why you gotta be so mad, bros? At least that’s what Nintendo seems to be wondering if this interview with Reggie Fils-Aime over at Kotaku seems to be any indication.
With E3 (and Nintendo’s baffling parade of press conferences) behind us, most of the negative fan reaction has been forgotten about, but the bad feelings towards Nintendo’s showing still lingers. We’ve known for a long time that we’re a hard bunch to please, but this little quote from Reggie kind of puts it in a publisher perspective:
One of the things that, on one hand, I love and, on the other hand, that troubles me tremendously about not only our fanbase but about the gaming community at large is that, whenever you share information, the perspective is, ‘Thank you, but I want more.’ ‘Thank you, but give me more.’ I mean, it is insatiable.
And so for years this community has been asking, ‘Where’s Pikmin?’ ‘Where’s Pikmin?’ ‘Where’s Pikmin?’ We give them Pikmin. And then they say, ‘What else?’
For years, this community have said, ‘Damnit Reggie, when you launch, you better launch with a Mario game.’ So we launch with a Mario game, and they say, ‘So what’s more?’ I have heard people say, ‘You know, you’ve got these fantastic franchises, beyond what you’re doing in Smash Bros., isn’t there a way to leverage all these franchises?’ So we create Nintendo Land and they say, ‘Ho-hum, give me more.’ So it’s an interesting challenge.
While I think that Reggie is right on the money with a couple of his comments, you can’t deny that Nintendo rightly deserves some stick for a lack-luster E3 press conference and following it up with some big WTF announcements like a new, bigger 3DS. What do you guys think? Are Reggie’s comments justified? Are we really that hard to please or is that the vocal minority talking for us again?
One of the most bizzarre crossovers of this year is Pokemon Conquest, a game that mixes up the creature-catching RPG with the tactical turn-based strategy of Nobunaga’s Ambition. If Pokemon in Feudal Japan sounds like your kind of game, then I’ve got good news for you, because apparently this title is pretty dang awesome.
I haven’t played it personally (yet) but this crossover got me thinking about what other games have blended two genres or universes and got away with it. Thankfully, Games Radar was thinking along the same track as me and put together a list of 15 of gaming’s most famous crossovers. There are a couple of obvious ones like the Capcom VS fighting titles and Kingdom Hearts, but there are a few in there that I’m puzzled over how they got the green light.
How many of these mash-ups have you played? Are you going to try Pokemon Conquest? What crossovers would you like to see in the future?
After a couple months of silence, BioWare has finally dropped the release date for the Extended Cut DLC for Mass Effect 3, and in a pleasant surprise it will be coming out next Tuesday.
So, what does the Extended Cut DLC contain? You can check out the Mass Effect website to get the whole lowdown, but here’s what you need to know about the DLC.
The Extended Cut expands on the endings of Mass Effect 3 through additional scenes and epilogue sequences. It provides more of the answers and closure that players have been asking for. It gives a sense of what the future holds as a result of the decisions made throughout the series. And it shows greater detail in the successes or failures based on how players achieved their endings.
So, just to clarify, the Extended Cut does not change the current endings, but just fleshes them out, which is something that they could benefit from. The Extended Cut is a whopping 1.9GB as well, making it the largest chunk of downloadable content for the Mass Effect series to date. The best part is the price tag, which is zero dollars and zero cents.
Next Tuesday will determine whether or not the Extended Cut actually changes things for better or worse, but what do you guys think? Are we in for another wave of disappointment? Will we have to re-retake Mass Effect? What do you want to see in the Extended Cut, bearing in mind that it just builds upon the established endings? Go!
A couple of days ago, one of gaming’s greatest franchises hit a very special milestone — Final Fantasy turned 25 years old. It’s hard to believe that a quarter of a century ago, series creator Hironobu Sakaguchi released what he believed to be his swan song, the game that would end his career as a game developer. Much to the delight of millions of RPG fans, that turned out not to be the case.
Even though the series sometimes gets a bad rap because of its current direction and its sometimes head-scratching missteps, it’s hard to argue that Final Fantasy as a whole hasn’t changed gaming for the better. Because of this series, developers dared to bring sweeping, epic stories of magic and empires, rogues and princesses to gamers everywhere. I know that in my own life, Final Fantasy is responsible for some of the more profound moments of my adolescence, from seeing the crumbling urban setting of Midgar to the rolling plains of Ivalice.
Say what you will about where RPGs stand today, its longstanding themes of camerederie, friendship and redemption were uplifting then and still are today, in a way that most modern games fail to tap into. Those kinds of experiences rank among what I miss the most about the games I played a decade ago, and I’m still waiting for the Final Fantasy experience in today’s generation.
So here’s a salute to Final Fantasy — happy birthday, you old devil. Feel free to share some of your favorite memories and moments in the series. Go!
A yearly release schedule is a tough notion for any game, let alone one as deep and time-consuming as Assassin’s Creed. We were all pleasantly surprised to get Brotherhood so shortly after Assassin’s Creed 2, but the prospect of Revelations seemed to burn a lot of people out.
Focusing on the later years of Ezio Auditore’s life, the game moves out of Renaissance Italy to Constantinople where Ezio tries to find the keys he needs to get into a secret vault built by Altair, the assassin from the original game. Throwing in new gameplay concepts and an upgraded multiplayer mode, does Revelations deliver or does it fall flat like so many missed Leaps of Faith? Continue reading Review: Assassin’s Creed: Revelations
Oh, Diablo 3, will you make it out of the strange lands of WTF-dom? Blizzard’s massively popular RPG may be a success with critics, but the design choices being made even after launch have left players more than a little outraged.
The new Diablo 3 patch 1.0.3 has changed many things for the game, but one of the new side-effects is that purchases of Diablo 3 through Battle.Net will take up to 72 hours to process. Yes, you read that right: copies of Diablo 3 bought online will restrict players to the Starter Edition of the game (limited at level 13 and Act One to the Skeleton King, no Auction House and no online play with owners of the full edition) until the transaction is processed.
Blizzard has tried to do some damage control saying that it will normally take less than 72 hours for the majority, but this turn of events is incredibly strange. It’s not made clear why exactly the purchasing process has to go down this way, but one thing is certain: people are not happy.
What do you guys think about this move? Most of us already have Diablo 3, but what about those of you who are holding out? Will this affect your purchase or is it not really a big deal? Is 72 hours too long a wait considering that you can get to the Skeleton King in a few hours?
Everybody’s scrambling to get aboard the SS MMO these days, abandoning ship from traditional single player titles. Even franchises that are considered hallmarks of single player gaming such as Final Fantasy, KOTOR and Elder Scrolls have dropped their former identities, opting instead to join the seemingly lucrative temptations of the MMO genre. After the success of WoW in the mid-2000s, everybody’s been trying to recreate that same money-producing machine, with mostly mediocre results. Most end up going free to play eventually, which is something that even TOR is having to consider.
So here’s the burning question, then: why has nobody been able to follow in WoW’s footsteps? Because, GameSpy’s Leif Johnson argues, we’ve simply outgrown MMORPGs. In this article, Johnson does a nice job of laying out the state of the industry and digital connectivity in the past and now, and shows why trying to copy the WoW formula for modern games is just developers trying to turn the clock back on gamers. He believes that in an age of instant gratification, social media, mobile and more, it’s just going to take something more casual to be a runaway hit.
This is a question I’ve actually been wondering about myself. I think it’s so interesting that developers consider MMOs to be such a surefire hit that they’ll invest millions and millions into production, when so few have even done well to begin with. Yet new IPs are considered inherent risks? If only one MMO has had the kind of longevity that developers really want, then why does everyone keep trying to do this? What convinced everyone that the WoW formula was the way to go, even almost 10 years later? One glance at the paltry Elder Scrolls MMO shows that it’s just another WoW clone, even when that seems like a surefire way to fail. I guess dollar signs are hard to ignore.
What do you guys think about this? Have we simply outgrown the MMO? Do developers need to find a new way to make MMOs work for a new generation? What’s the new way to do MMOs right? Go!
EA’s E3 2012 press conference seemed prime for backlash, what with the DLC-promoting intro and the stale showing of some of the games, but the negative reception that surprised me most was directed at Dead Space 3. That franchise has kind of a soft-spot in my heart and I felt that many other gamers shared my affection but after the co-op footage showed off a new direction for the game, things kind of went south in the public’s eyes.
Visceral Games just put out a whopping 20 minutes of Dead Space 3 gameplay footage, so you can decide for yourself on whether or not Dead Space 3 is changing for the worse.
One thing that most shooters gloss over is the fact that guns are fiddly little things, prone to failure as often as function. There’s more that goes into the operation of firearms than your average FPS player would suspect: it’s not just point-and-click, there’s a whole myriad of things you need to check before you can start cappin’.
As part of the 7 Day FPS Challenge, indie studio Wolfire Games created Receiver, a cyber-punk game where it’s just you and your trusty 1911 A1 versus a swarm of robots as you uncover a conspiracy. Maybe I’ll just let the walkthrough explain:
For a game created in seven days, the depth of the gun mechanics is pretty impressive. A bit more work would have obviously helped polish the game but as it stands right now it’s a pretty cool take on the FPS genre. The way that the gun commands light up as you progress through them really helps you learn how to get a gun ready and I appreciate all the small details such as being able to do a brass check. What do you guys think of Receiver?
One of the big “news” topics today is the fact that Bethesda’s upcoming steam-punk game Dishonored can be completed in around 12 hours, according to the developer. This takes into consideration that the player is trying to do the game as quickly as possible, and more considered playstyles will naturally lengthen the hours.
For me, 12 hours is a pretty good length for a single-player campaign. I don’t really have the time to invest in multiple 100+ hour games, and like the Bard says, “brevity is the soul of wit”. Of course, whenever this type of news comes out, people crawl out of the woodwork and complain that the game is too short. Games shouldn’t really have an hour formula that covers all of them; each genre is better suited to its own style. Why else would all current FPS games be under six hours long? There are a lot of reasons, but I imagine one of them is that it’s hard to make that style of play interesting for more than a half-day at best (there are exceptions, of course).
The Mass Effect games have taken me around 40 hours each to complete, which is perfect for those games. You get out as much as you put in, and it sounds like Dishonored will be the same. I don’t get the impression that the game is an entierly linear experience, so it sounds like the ability to put in a fair chunk of time is there. Just because a game can be beaten in 12 hours doesn’t mean that it has to go down that way.
I know a lot of this sentiment comes from a game’s price tag and people want a good investment for $60. I can understand that, but at a certain point this griping gets a little out of hand. So what say you? Is 12 hours too short? Does game length matter that much to you?
My relationship with Battlefield 3 has been rather tumultuous ever since the game’s release in October of last year. More than once before the first big patch I declared that I was done with the game, but BF3 has been changed in so many ways from its original inception that it’s not really the same game anymore. There are a lot of similarities, but DICE continues to tweak it, something that I wish they had been given more time for before launch.
If Battlefield 3 still played like the game it was a few months ago, I wouldn’t have even considered picking up Battlefield Premium and getting early access to all the DLC. Now that the game is much more playable, I’ve been dumping a lot of time into it, and the new expansion, Close Quarters, has been occupying my time ever since it dropped early for Premium members last week.
A common sentiment about the DLC is it’s “better at Modern Warfare than Modern Warfare” and I’d say that this statement is pretty accurate. The maps in Close Quarters bare a strong resemblance to Call of Duty’s multiplayer arenas except that you can tear them apart with your weapons; like all Battlefield 3 maps, it’s great fun to see how much a map can change from the beginning to the end of a match. Continue reading Battlefield 3 Close Quarters DLC Impressions
Hardcore games on the Wii have been few and far between lately. Despite Nintendo’s proclamations that their next system will focus on hardcore games before casual, it still took a massive online campaign to get the Big N to release Monolith’s epic JRPG, Xenoblade Chronicles, in the United States. Now that they have, was it worth the wait? Continue reading Review: Xenoblade Chronicles
Guys, I feel like I’m drowning here. As much as I enjoy being a brand new dad, it goes without saying that my free time doesn’t look quite the same as it did before. While I still am taking plenty of time to do some personal writing, not every hobby is created equal, and gaming has suffered a big hit. In the last few weeks, I think I’ve played maybe just an hour or two of video games. This is probably going to be my situation until our newborn starts sleeping through the night a little more, which I hear should start happening in a month or two. Fingers crossed.
The thing is, I don’t really mind not playing video games all that much for the reasons you might think. Sure, they’re fun and I love hopping into games of Mass Effect 3 multiplayer with the GS guys, or catching up on some Diablo III with my one of my brothers. I love wrapping my mind around Fez’s twisted puzzles and aiming for new times on Trials: Evolution. But the thing I’m finding out I miss the most? The way gaming calms me down.
There’s just something about playing video games that relaxes me after a day of stress at work. Even if it’s just 30 minutes, taking that time to apply my brain to something that isn’t seafood menus or billboards unwinds me in a way that almost nothing else can. That’s what I start to miss when I’m not gaming.
So what about you guys? What do you miss about games when you’re not playing them? Go!
The timing worked out pretty well this year with Episode 50 being both the Drunk Cast and our E3 predictions show and Episode 51 as the book-end for both of those events. Sadly, a lot of our guesses about E3 2012 were off the mark, but that’s all right, I’m sure our next-gen console predictions will come true some day.
We start this cast of with a nice game of Grades, bringing back Anthony’s famous “GAME TIME” clip for the first time in a few shows. We talk about the Big Three conferences and then dip into the various games that we saw and what intrigued us. We fit in a little industry news at the end too, just as a special treat.
I’m sure that you know the drill by now, but listen, rate and enjoy the podcast. Don’t be dicks to each other and we’ll see you soon.
0:00 – 3:10 Intro
3:11 GAME TIME (grades)
3:12 – 15:30 Microsoft
15: 31 – 26:11 Sony
26: 12 – 38:48 Nintendo
38:49 – 43:47 Watch Dogs
43:48 – 47: 22 Star Wars 1313
47:23 – 52:35 Tomb Raider
52:36 – 56:03 Dead Space 3
56:04 – 56:39 Assassin’s Creed 3
56:40 – 57:00 Gearbox Studios
57:01 – 57:20 Need for Speed
57:22 – 57:53 EA are jerks
57:54 – 58:25 New old-school Final Fantasy
58:26 – 1:00:42 Jason Rubin trash-talks Saint’s Row
1:00:43 – 1:02:36 Outo
Civilization games are famous for taking a long time to complete, but even your most hardcore marathon doesn’t compare to Reddit user Lycerius’s ten year slugging match between his communist Celtics and the Vikings and Americans.
In the year 3991 A.D., the remaining super-powers have weathered over 1700 years of war and are huddled in dilapitated cities surrounded by infertile marshes and radioactive wastelands.
The stalemate comes from the fact that Civ 2’s late game is perfectly balanced and the Vikings attack every round regardless of cease-fires. Every nation is 100% comitted to war manufacturing as any attempt at peaceful rebuilding means that your nation will be crushed by the other armies. Late-game building units are used only to build roads that take units to the front lines and then rebuild them when the infrastructure is destroyed.
While it’s cool that this guy managed to keep a save file for ten years, The Eternal War is also an awesome post-apocalytpic tale. Commie Celts? Spies slipping nukes into cities? Ice caps melting and reforming 20 times? Sounds like a recipe for a good novel.
Franchise fatigue? Ubisoft’s never heard of that, apparently. With Assassin’s Creed 3 on the way, Gamasutra sat down for an interview with Ubisoft North America executive director Laurent Detoc, in which he insisted that the idea that there can be too many sequels simply isn’t true. So does that mean we’ll see Assassin’s Creed 8, 9 and 10?
“I hope we will,” says Detoc. He goes on:
“I also hope we’ll be able to branch out from within the franchise. It’s very simple to me: There’s no such thing as not being able to annualize a franchise. If it’s good, people will come.”
I get that this guy is talking from a business standpoint. Obviously, a game studio head wants to crank out yearly sequels for a profit – but surely, everyone remembers what happened to some of Activision’s franchises recently, yes? People do get fatigued and move on from franchises. We’ve seen it time and time again.
It seems like some of these studios should worry more about how to offer something new and less about how to crank out the same thing every year. The reason some are excited about Assassin’s Creed 3 isn’t because they’re dying to see what happens to Desmond — it’s because the game finally represents a shot in the arm for the franchise, after several years of re-hashing some of the same ground.
What do you guys think? Is this WTF worthy? Or am I just overreacting? Call me crazy. Do it. Go!
It’s already June, Sushians, and you know what that means: another installment of What Are You Playing, the recurring post where you get to tell us what currently occupies your PC or console and what you think of it.
May saw a couple big releases, namely Max Payne 3 and Diablo 3, but given that we’re also in somewhat of a draught from now unti September, this is also a good time to catch up on your backlog.
Personally, I’ve been getting back into Battlefield 3 a whole bunch, especially since it’s just had another huge patch which has fixed some of the glitches that the last patch brought on and has tweaked some things that needed it, like suppression and a number of weapons. It’s nice that DICE is committed to upkeep on their game, but this just shows how unprepared Battlefield 3 was when it launched in October of last year. The game has changed in a lot of fundamental ways and I expect it will continue to do so with all the DLC coming out over the next year.
Enough about me though, what are you guys playing? Something new, or maybe catching up on the backlog?