Although it’s already starting to become cliche just how many people are using Kickstarter to fund any damn thing in the world (why do people need $30,000 to produce a podcast – seriously), every now and then a project will rise above all the noise and show us something very cool.
On the heels of Double Fine’s Adventure game, The Banner Saga, by Stoic, promises us a Strategy RPG title, made by industry veterans, which happens to feature a mature story and some truly breathtaking art. Seriously, just the visuals alone were enough to sell me on the project, before even reading any of the impressive facts about it. I’ll let you watch the trailer.
The game is scheduled for release in June 2012, and just $10 nets you Chapter 1 of the game. I have to say, the whole thing really has impressed me, and I’ll probably be throwing some support their way – plus, it’s based in Texas, which is awesome.
What are your guys’ thoughts on The Banner Saga? How do you feel about the new fad of putting everything on Kickstarter? Go!
If you’re like me and you played the original Borderlands on the PC then you were probably disappointed by how much the game reeked of “console-itis”. The signs of a hasty port were everywhere and the game suffered for it. With a new Borderlands on the horizon, Gearbox decided to kick their PC support into overdrive and threw up a love-letter from everybody’s favorite (sarcasm) robot Claptrap, listing the features that will be in the PC version of Borderlands 2.
While this is a very nice gesture on behalf of Gearbox (and I hope they carry all this over to their other release this year, Aliens: Colonial Marines) it just strikes me as how odd it is that features that should be included on the PC SKUs of games like FOV sliders and offline LAN support are now considered to be extras by the developers. If anything demonstrates how far down the chain PC gaming is in terms of priority these days, it’s this.
Sure, a lot of the items on the list are things that PC gamers take for granted, but we just don’t get that kind of support these days. Usually these things are added in by mods, so at least Gearbox is taking the time to add that to the game.
What do you guys think of Borderland 2′s promised PC version? Does it get your engine running? What do you think of these features now being considered “bonuses” of a kind? Go!
We’ve all got our quirks, even in video games. Or at least for some of us, especially in video games. I tend to be an obsessive compulsive searcher/hoarder/stealther. I’m not sure if some of the searching obsession comes from the days when JRPGs didn’t mark every item for you or make them obvious, forcing the player to run around mashing buttons in the hopes of finding some potion or other piece of loot. But even in Mass Effect 3, which marks things for you via omni-tool, I’m still running around mashing buttons in the most random corners, searching every last avenue before moving towards the objective. I almost can’t help it.
I’ve also documented multiple times my obsession with stealing in open world games and how I like sneaking around in stealth games. It borders on unhealthy, and tends to totally hamper the first portion of both of those types of games. Deus Ex: Human Revolution combined both of these things into one package that forced me to actively re-think the way I approach these situations, just to keep my sanity.
I’m bringing all of this up because 1UP has a fun article going on at the moment called You’re Not Alone, which takes a look at different quirky gaming habits from readers and staff alike. It’s kind of hilarious to see that there are other gamers just like me who hoard special items until they’re practically useless, or who hate to use healing items if there’s an inconvenient method to do it for free.
So what about you guys? What are your gaming quirks, ticks and obsessions? Go!
In the wake of the recent Mass Effect controversy and all of the other game-design related outcries, I sometimes wonder if gamers would take games to court if they could. 1up recently put up a feature about six game design choices that should be punishable by law, and it’s a pretty good read.
Sure, it’s humorous in nature, but there’s no denying that I feel like I need compensation for the pain and suffering caused by some of their examples. The slow-moving text in Skyward Sword is a great one, and it’s something that a lot of Nintendo games, from Pokemon to Mario, are guilty of. Sure, you can hold down the A button or whatever to speed up the text, but it still crawls pretty slowly. Ninty seems set on doing this and a lawsuit just might be the only way to get them to change their ways.
Personally, I’d like to sue someone over the Journal design in Mass Effect 3. I can get around bad quest logs, but the one in ME3 is just plain unhelpful. Main quests, side-quests and fetch-quests are all lumped together and the damn thing doesn’t even update when you’ve gathered one of the items necessary for your eavesdropping side-business on the Citadel.
I could probably also make a case against some of the things in Battlefield 3, and maybe for the extreme time-loss caused by Skyrim, but I’m pretty sure I have Stockholm Syndrome where that game is concerned. What did you guys think about the article? Are these choices worth going to court over? What games would you get litigious against?
We should really start taking points or placing bets on the things that we spitball on the GamerSushi Show. Eventually, we’d make ourselves some money or score some major Internet achievements or something. As it is, it’s nice when news comes out that we’ve already discussed.
The particular news item I’m referencing at the moment would be that of the rumored Valve gaming console, which has taken tech and gaming sites by storm over the weekend. The Verge wrote of this rumor just the other day, when writer Joseph Topolsky reported that Valve has in fact been working on a game machine for the living. While some are calling this a “console”, it actually sounds more like an affordable PC gaming rig, with Steam at its core.
Sometime last year I made the promise to myself that I would stop trying to consume every piece of promotional material put out by the publishers. This included trailers, developer diaries, screenshots and anything else that came out of the hideous maw of the PR beast. It’s been a tough endeavor so far but I think it’s been worth it.
One of the main reasons I stopped partaking in this circus is that most trailers and screenshots for video games actually contain some pretty significant spoilers. You don’t realize it at the time because they’re out of context (and just a bunch of clips cut together), but you could be watching a really cool moment or a crucial plot twist. Movies are the same way, but games are so much more of a time investment.
With the price of games on the rise, so too have a series of complaints risen around the idea that longer games generally mean better games. In particular, RPGs are expected to be bloated to colossal lengths, from the Elder Scroll series to Mass Effect and even Fallout 3. Gamers want more game for their money, more world to explore, more weapons to collect, more foes to conquer and more time to invest. But is this always a good thing?
In a rather interesting (if somewhat controversial) review of the game Dark Souls, Slate writer Michael Thomsen wonders if 100 hour games are a waste of time for gamers instead of a boon to their hobby. Even though I haven’t played the game, and always hear the opposite of his assessment of it, I do have to say that I find his prodding question to be thought-provoking. Honestly, there’s so much that people can accomplish in the amount of time it would take someone to clamber through all of Skyrim – but does that mean that it’s pointless for the person that enjoys it?
It seems that Thomsen would argue that yes, it is. In his view, it’s never necessary for a game to take 100 hours to tell its tale, and that many games have done better with far less time. When put that way, I do have to agree: some of my most favorite games have accomplished what they did in around 20 hours or so, without ever overstaying their welcome.
So, while I’m not sure I’m on board with everything this article states, I did want to kick the question to you guys: are 100 hour games just a waste of time? Go!
While there are a number of troublesome trends in the video game industry (as many of you have noted in the Mass Effect 3 DLC discussion), every now and then someone just gets it right. I think because of the anti-consumer nature of the industry at times, it becomes that much more potent when a company does something on our behalf, or something that goes against the grain.
Today, Sony launched a totally free version of Killzone 3′s multiplayer mode for download on PSN. Yes, Killzone, one of their staple franchises. You can play the game with friends, kill random strangers, and even rank up – although past a certain point you’ll need to pay money for continued experience and trophies. Again, that’s hours of entertainment for the grand total of free ninety-nine.
To me, this is a bold and brilliant move by the company that just a few years back tried to tell us their Heavenly Sword player was worth a staggering fee of $599 with a straight face. This is basically the equivalent of Microsoft announcing that Halo: Reach’s multiplayer was going free to play. Obviously, the business side of this is that Sony hopes that it will encourage gamers to buy DLC packs, maps and so forth, but I think the results will be interesting to watch. A number of MMOs didn’t become profitable until they went free-to-play, so I can only guess that this will have a positive effect for Killzone 3 as well.
What do you guys think of this decision? Would you like to see other companies pull something similar with their big franchises? Go!
Welcome back to the GamerSushi Show, ladies and gents. Due to some scheduling and life stuff, we’ve gotten a tad behind on releases, so this episode was recorded a few weeks back – on Anthony’s birthday, no less. Because of that, Mr. Taylor skipped out to go celebrate getting a year closer to death, while the rest of us drank things and talked about video games.
The main topics we discussed were the Mass Effect 3 demo, fixing the Zelda franchise and great endings. Beyond that, we play a game of Buy/Sell about topics like Team Ninja, Apple gaming and more – all of which result in my inevitable and recurring victory, as always.
I was on the fence about posting an article about the whole Mass Effect 3: From Ashes brouhaha, but an article I read over on Forbes’ website changed my mind. The article is called “Why the Exploitation of Gamers is Our Own Damn Fault” and in it author Paul Tassi examines the recent trend in DLC which, instead of being an expansion pack model, seems more like content cut from the complete game and dolled out piecemeal after launch.
While he makes a couple of statements I don’t particularly agree with, he is right in saying that we’re to blame for current DLC. As he points out, everything that’s happening with post-launch content is an economic experiment. As much as we complain about being “exploited” people are still buying products, so once again money is trumping our outcry.
The title of the article is more than a little sensationalist, but the message underneath it is sound. EA only cares about money and they’re testing us to see how far they can go. For every person who buys From Ashes on day one, that’s another chink in the armor of the old-school method of selling games.
I think pinning the blame on BioWare is unfair, but there you have it. Two different opinions regarding this whole debacle. Personally, I don’t see what the big fuss is about From Ashes. It’s extra content for people who have paid an extra 30 dollars to get the Collector’s Edition of Mass Effect 3, and it’s available for people who didn’t, or couldn’t given the rarity of the CE, pick one up.
So what do you guys think about From Ashes? Who’s right, Paul Tassi or Total Biscut? Are you boycotting Mass Effect 3, or is this whole thing being blown out of proportion?
Welcome, friends, to Episode 41 of the GamerSushi Show, in which we say silly things about video games. As opposed to the rest of our podcasts, which are only super srs in nature. This thing was actually recorded all the way back on February 9, so you can listen to it with amusement and think about how wrong and naive we were all those weeks ago. Oh, the things we’ve learned since then. The places we’ve been. The games we’ve played. It was a different time.
Anyway, you’ll hear a couple of the technical difficulties that we had throughout this cast. Namely, that our Internet connections were goofing with the Skype call, making us sounds like robots every now and then. In addition, I had nearly a whole bottle of wine throughout the recording, so I just gradually transform into a troll over the course of it.
When we’re not robots, however, you’ll notice a number of sweet gaming topics, which range from Kingdoms of Amalur to the Double Fine Kickstarter to Final Fantasy XIII-2 and more. After all that, we play a game of grades in which we act all high and mighty about the whole industry. True story.
So yeah, check it out, everyone. And don’t forget to rate!
With Mass Effect 3 on hot approach, it seems that related articles are crawling out of the woodwork. While I wouldn’t go so far as to say that’s we’re prone to sensationalism here at GamerSushi, there’s no denying that we’re jonesing pretty hard for that game.
Much like the Zelda article I posted a couple days ago, this essay on Mass Effect has been making its rounds today. It’s not about fixing the series, though, but rather examining why Mass Effect is the greatest science-fiction universe of our generation. It’s a very long read, but just like the Zelda article, it’s worth it. The author, Kyle Munkittrick, picks apart the many facets of Mass Effect and analyzes everything from the medium it’s presented on to its messages and philosophies.
One of my favorite parts of the article is where the writer touches on my favorite conversation from Mass Effect one, and maybe the whole series: the point of Virmire where you encounter Sovereign and realize that Saren is merely a pawn in this living, almost god-like, ship’s plan to destroy all sentient life in the universe. That’s part of what the philosophy of Mass Effect is, according to the author: the universe is large and uncaring, and what place does humanity have in it. By extension, what place do you as Shepard have in humanity?
I really like the recent surge in quality video game essays recently, ones that take a look at our hobby through a more refined lens. It proves that there’s more to video games than just explosions and scantily-clad women, so I hope this pace keeps up. What did you guys think of the article?
When I first started playing multiplayer games, the realm of online gaming felt like a vast, unexplored world — one that needed conquering by my mighty hands. As the intrepid explorer, I imagined I would venture out into the far reaches of that vast pasture of frags and k/d ratios, seeing everything there was to see. It didn’t matter if I was alone, I could do this for hours on end, slaying the multitudes of faceless, anonymous players that populated each server.
Somewhere along the way, things changed. At some point, I began to need a buddy to help me tackle the vile denizens of multiplayer. This became especially apparent to me over the last week, as I played through the Mass Effect 3 multiplayer demo and Battlefield 3 (for the first time) with fellow GamerSushi writer, Mitch. You see, with early access to the Mass Effect 3 demo, I could have very well jumped into a multiplayer match with total strangers, fighting alongside them against waves of Cerberus bots. But that prospect just didn’t excite me. The same thing was the case with Battlefield 3, a game I’ve owned for over a month but didn’t want to play until I had someone to enjoy it with.
Honestly, I can’t even say why or when this change took place. I’m not sure if it’s because this whole “life” thing forced my gaming time to be more precious or because there are more social gaming options now than ever before, but at some point my tastes shifted. The main point of this was to ask you guys whether or not you tackle multiplayer games by yourself, or if you need a friend with you to truly enjoy it? Maybe you guys can help illuminate some of the reasons why we game the way we do in that regard. Go!
If there’s any game series crying out for a fresh interpretation, it’s the Legend of Zelda. While this belief is a little incendiary, many people feel that the series hit its zenith with Ocarina of Time and has been in steady decline every since. That’s not to say that the games are bad, necessarily, but they are formulaic and in need of a shot in the arm.
During my travels on the dusty roads of the World Wide Web, I stumbled across an essay entitled “Saving Zelda” by one Tevis Thompson. In his piece he runs down what he sees as the problems with the current version of Zelda and where the series went wrong. His comments on how the game world is just a series of locks (and how the items you collect can be equated to a jangling keyring) struck a particular cord with me, and this is by no means the only point he makes. He examines everything from the games’ visual styles to the design of the over-world to the re-treading of the same story over and over.
His article is a bit lengthy, but it’s well worth the read, especially if Skyward Sword left you wanting. The comments about how modern Zelda games do not respect the player is in step with how I felt about Skyward Sword, and the analogy of game designers being helicopter parents was almost too perfect.
I really urge everybody to take a break from their day and read this; you may not agree with every point but it’s a great argument against the staleness of modern Zeldas. What did you guys think of the article? Did the author make some good points? Where do you agree and disagree?
In preparation for the glorious release of Mass Effect 3, gamers everywhere are enjoying a taste of the game’s demo tonight and throughout the rest of the week. With an offering of both single player and multiplayer, it’s giving everyone a chance to see what all the hype (and in some cases, the fuss) is about. To join the Shepard spirit, we thought we’d debut a new feature, a brainchild of the good sir Anthony Taylor. Because he’s cool like that.
This feature, titled Renegade/Paragon, is a look at the video games industry through the brutal cut-and-dry scope of the Mass Effect universe. Here, we grade certain entities and rate them as either Paragons — bastions of light and purveyors of all that is good and true — or Renegades — bringers of gloom, doom and every corridor of evil in between those two. Afterwards, you get to make your own calls on the situations.
Let’s get started. Who are the current Paragons and Renegades in the industry?
Everyone’s got some kind of idea about where the future of videogames is heading. But beyond the kind of hardware we’re looking at or what kind of input players are using to interact with their screens, what really matters are the actual design trends set forth by developers. Whether it’s cover-based shooting, leveling up in multiplayer or a rush of side-scrolling platformers, every generation sees a number of these defining trends.
So where do the actual developers of today think they’ll be tomorrow? PopSci took a stab at finding out by interviewing some notable talent in the video game industry. In a cool piece that covers Epic’s Cliffy B, Super Giant’s, Greg Kasavin, 343′s Scott Warner and others, these developers talk about the innovations that they’re the most excited about exploring. This includes everything from the wacky — playing trackpad-based games with your nose — to making sure that everyone is connected via the Internet. Regardless of the methods, there are definitely some thought-provoking answers in the bunch.
It’s always cool to see what’s bouncing around in the heads of some of the creative leaders in the industry. I’m sure that a few years back, none of these same guys could have predicted where we’d be today, and what kinds of games we would be playing. Where do you guys think the future of game design is going? Do you agree/disagree with any of these developers? Go!
This podcast is just a tad late this week, but I figured we’re doing good if we managed to get it up early in the weekend. Hey, at least it’s better than leaving you guys podcast-less for almost half a year, right? That’s what I thought. Also, Mitch and Anthony start things off with an extra special intro they worked up for all of you. It’s fairly entertaining.
In this edition of the GamerSushi Show, we chat about the Mass Effect 3 Co-op trailer, Final Fantasy XIII-2 and Saint’s Row 3. On top of that we play a game of Fill in the Blank, where we grade a variety of topics like Miyamoto taking a backseat at Nintendo, no next gen consoles in the near future and Zynga’s supposed shady dealings (on which this podcast derives its name). All in all, it’s a pretty decent show, and hey, we even fit in 6 more minutes of Resident Evil 6 talk – because why the heck not?
In next week’s podcast (which we recorded last night), I drink through most of a bottle of wine while we talk even more about Final Fantasy XIII-2, Double Fine and Kingdoms of Amalur. Stay tuned, gents and ladies.
Apparently this is the week where all of our wildest gaming dreams come true. OK, that might be stretching it a bit, but at least a few of our gaming wishes seem to be coming to light. Between Battlefield 3 rumors, Double Fine’s Kickstarter Adventure and Notch talking Psychonauts 2, we’ve got kind of a lot of things worth salivating over. But that’s not all!
You see, DICE 2012 is underway right now, featuring a number of sessions from well known people in the field of interactive entertainment, including none other than Skyrim boss Todd Howard himself. Last night, Todd Howard gave Skyrim fans the world over a bit of a tease, something to get their heads spinning as we look forward to future DLC.
The Skyrim Game Jam is a week-long project where developers at Bethesda were challenged to come up with and implement one feature that they’d love to see in the enormous open-world RPG. While Howard cautioned that some of these things are just tests and might not ever see an actual release, the possibilities are enough to keep people excited about where the game could possibly go. Howard showed a reel which boasted all the things that the developers came up with in just one week’s time, ranging from mounted dragons (!) to seasonally changing foliage. Go ahead, see for yourself.
Although this power gets abused quite a bit, it’s still pretty cool that we live in a time where developers can retroactively incorporate fresh new additions to gameplay that might need some polishing. So my question to you guys is this: which of these features would you actually want to see in the final game? Also, if you could add a reel of features like this to any other game, what would you do? Go!
Man, even though we’re already over a full month into the year 2012, it still weirds me out to see the number written up there. Scandalous, almost. I don’t know if it’s because I’m old and full of rage when things change, or if that nerdy part of me feels like I should be in the future and my brain can’t reconcile the differences. Either way, 2012 is already shaping up to be a pretty fantastic year for games.
As such, we thought we would kick off the first Would You Rather for the year, one that will hopefully leave you all begging for mercy because of the difficult choices that await you. For the Would You Rather newbies out there, the game is easy: we ask and you dish out your response. Give as much or as little explanation as you want for your choices, but we all know that we like to see the reasoning behind the madness.
Don’t let your answers suck, though. I will personally come to your house and unleash a devastating Krav Maga attack on you. For real. OK go!
People have been mocking Final Fantasy XIII-2, the newest installment in Square’s as-of-late troubled ongoing franchise, as “the great apology”. In an attempt to make up for the many grievances that fans had with Final Fantasy XIII, Square-Enix brought a new tale to Lightning and company, one that supposedly addresses all the complaints leveled against it.
With all that’s being written about this game, it was hard for me to get a bearing on just how excited I should be about more from Final Fantasy XIII’s universe. Even though I (eventually) enjoyed the game despite its many missteps, I wasn’t quite sure if I wanted to revisit Gran Pulse and Cocoon. But now that I’m in the middle of playing FFXIII-2, I have to say that my response to the game has taken me totally by surprise: I love it.