I forget when something qualifies as “over the hill”, but I think at this point the podcast is probably there. As benefits our advanced age, this week’s show is full of ramblings; without Nick on the cast to rein us in with a game we tend to go off on any tangent we feel like. Like episode 48, the result is a shorter podcast but I think that we have some pretty good discussions.
What do we discuss, you ask? We talk about a large variety of things all the way from EA removing official Battlefield 3 servers to Diablo III’s launch day woes and even how BioWare is floundering with the relationship they have with their fans. There’s also a couple of Day Z stories, some ranting about how we’re all too old to enjoy longer games, and whether or not games can (or should) qualify as art.
So! You know the drill, friends. Listen. Rate. Be fruitful and multiply. See you next time on our big five-oh shindig!
0:00 – 3:00 Intro
3:01 – 8:35 Diablo 3 launch day woes
8:36 – 10:30 EA removes official BF3 servers
10:31 – 13:44 The new new EA
13:45 – 18:13 Diablo 3
18:14 – 27:03 The future of Dragon Age
27:04 – 33:07 Padding games and getting old
33:08 – 36:51 Minecraft xbl
36:52 – 39:36 Walking Dead episode 1
39:37 – 49:29 Day Z stories
49:30 – 57:00 Should games be art?
57:01 – 59:04 Outro
It was only a matter of times once things started going south at 38 Studios earlier this month, but it appears that the employees at both that studio and Big Huge Games have been laid off.
Ever since 38 Studios bailed on paying employee salaries to pay back their debt to the state of Rhode Island, the company had been looking for outside funding but apparently they failed to find it in time. Without another loan from the state, 38 Studios shut its doors today with this unceremonious email:
The Company is experiencing an economic downturn. To avoid further losses and possibility of retrenchment, the Company has decided that a companywide lay off is absolutely necessary.
These layoffs are non-voluntary and non-disciplinary.
This is your official notice of lay off, effective today, Thursday, May 24th, 2012
The trouble apparently stemmed from the fact that Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, the studio’s first published game, did not sell nearly as many copies as hoped. Reckoning sold 1.2 million copies but needed to move 3 million to be considered a success. That’s a rather high target, especially for an unproven IP with very little marketing from EA’s part.
What do you guys think of 38’s mass layoff? What’s you opinion on the situation in general?
Diablo III will probably go down as having one of the most successful launches of the year sales wise. Even if Blizzard’s server farm probably melted during the initial 24-hour rush, there’s no denying that a lot of people wanted to play the new hack-and-slash RPG. What’s curious about this is that Diablo III hit the streets with no launch day reviews.
While it can be argued that Blizzard, along with Valve, could get away with not needing day-one reviews, the case can still be made that the rush to review is damaging to both the industry and the consumer. It’s something we’ve talked about before here on GamerSushi, but VG247’s Patrick Garrat takes another look at this concept from the perspective of Diablo’s launch.
As games are becoming increasingly reliant on an Internet connection, pre-release review events are done in a controlled environment so things like latency, server issues and all sorts of errors don’t crop up. Games like this are reviewed in a vacuum and that harms the consumer’s impression. Launch-day reviews can be damaging in this case. Remember Gears of War 2, and all of its great scores, none of which mentioned the horrible net-code that plagued users for weeks? Remember any of the Battlefield games that launched with no connectivity, effectively killing the only reason people bought the game? This is stuff that doesn’t get addressed in a pre-release review session.
The big presence behind all of this is Metacritic, where a studio’s future is made or broken. There’s been a couple cases for breaking away from using Metacritic as a measure of success, but Diablo III is the first step towards actual change. If Blizzard was willing to distance themselves from this model, maybe other publishers will follow suit.
So what do you guys think? Does Diablo III’s successful launch mean that we can eventually move away from Metacritic or is this a case of Blizzard being Blizzard? Do you think that day-one reviews are a detriment to a game’s success? What do you think about the article in general? Go!
We gamers are fools for nostalgia. There has to be some established connection between the parts of our brains that remember video games and the parts of our brains that process adolescent emotion, because it’s staggering how big of suckers we are for the games we played in our early years. There are some titles where just seeing a screenshot or hearing a few bars of music can instantly transport me back to the first time I played a game – that sense of wonder, that yearning for discovery.
Sadly, we can’t really get those first times back, short of some memory-erasing Men in Black contraption that makes everything old new again. But man, what if we could? Lately, I’ve been listening to the Final Fantasy 7 soundtrack and thinking back to the summer I first played it. How my brother and I spent hours trading the controller back and forth, playing it through the day and late into the night, and how sucked in we were by the entire saga. I know it’s cliche, but sometimes I long to experience it all over again for the first time.
I feel the same with a few other titles such as Suikoden III or Knights of the Old Republic. And even though I’ve played all these games multiple times and loved each playthrough, there’s nothing quite so magical as that inaugural one, the one that creates and cements all those wonderful memories.
What about you guys? What games do you wish you could play again for the first time? Is there anything you would do differently in your playthrough? Go!
It seems that Bioware is in hardcore recovery mode these days. As much as I am still in love with this studio, it’s hard to deny that they haven’t made some missteps as of late — and have taken their share of lumps as a result. From the puzzling changes of Dragon Age 2 to the controversial end of Mass Effect 3, this once untouchable RPG producer is now back against the ropes in terms of their relationship with fans.
So it looks like the next step for them is to stop and take stock of Dragon Age and what it means to fans of the franchise. Bioware is going to take a few months to ask a number of questions about where they would like to see the series go — what places they’d like to see in Ferelden and beyond, what races they want to know more about and what kinds of things they’ve been dying to explore.
While this just appears as normal community management from Bioware’s perspective, it also seems like a bit of damage control after the reactions that the company has gotten over its last couple of titles. Although Dragon Age: Origins saw much critical acclaim, Dragon Age 2 is generally regarded as a step backwards in terms of the franchise’s scope, setting and themes. I know I’m just speculating here, but it really looks to me like Bioware is floundering a bit in terms of the direction it wants to take Dragon Age in the future. Obviously, what they’re doing here isn’t amounting to gameplay or story promises — but I do prefer artists to have a much more clear vision than they’re putting on display here.
What do you guys think? Does it look like Bioware is struggling here to reconnect with its fans? Or are they just doing their due diligence to make Dragon Age 3 as good as it can possibly be? Go!
In a situation where many publishers would have left their customers twisting in the wind, Blizzard has once again proven why they’re one of the most respected studios in the business.
Bad news struck potential Australian Diablo III players yesterday when GAME announced that they were going into administration and wouldn’t be handling any copies of the long awaited hack-and-slash RPG because of payment issues with their shipping companies. This left a lot of angry people with pre-orders than were good for nothing.
For a while it seemed that nothing would be done about the pre-orders that were now lost, but Blizzard stepped in and announced that they would be honoring all Diablo III pre-orders from GAME dated before May 15. Yes, eager to help their fans stare at a menu screen along with everyone else, Blizzard posted on their forums that if people affected by GAME’s closure bought Diablo III off Battle.Net before May 21 and sent Blizzard their pre-order receipt before June 20 they will be refunded the whole amount for the game.
Pretty decent of Blizzard to step up and offer a solution instead of just letting all those unsold copies of Diablo III sit around. At the end of the day they’ve got their money and people have their Diablo, so it’s a fair trade, I have to say.
What do you guys think about this turn of events? Pretty impressed with Blizzard? Anyone on here affected by the GAME situation? Go!
Mass Effect is a series that took all of us by storm, drawing us in with its unique, deep sci-fi world and the hook of making your own Commander Shepard with your own story. The first game had a few issues but BioWare kicked Mass Effect 2 into overdrive, giving us a competent shooter/RPG hybrid that garnered numerous Game of the Year awards.
The third game in the series has raised the stakes, bringing the series big bad the Reapers into the galaxy, plunging every race into a war for survival. You’re tasked with bringing together all of the different races under one banner and taking the fight to Earth. Does Mass Effect 3 manage to tie everything together? Continue reading Review: Mass Effect 3
The long-awaited day is here, Sushi-ans! After 12 long years, the wait for Blizzard’s epic hack-n-slash dungeon crawler is here, and Diablo fans all over the world can slay the minions of hell together. Diablo 3 is upon us, which means that some of us are sitting at work itching to play.
My plans is to get home tonight, purchase Diablo 3 and start all the pre-loading business as soon as possible. And who knows, maybe I’ll have a chance to hop in for some co-op with my brothers before bed. In terms of characters, I fully intend to roll a Monk. After my time with the beta, that class seems to be what I prefer over the others, and gave me the most satisfying skills/gameplay combination.
What about you guys? Who out there plans to pick up Diablo 3? What character are you going to roll? Go!
Mass Effect 3’s multiplayer was a surprising success, something we’ve been going on about ever since the demo for the game dropped way back in the grey blanket of February. A horde mode experience at heart, Mass Effect 3’s co-op mode drew on the backstory set up by the single-player games and gave players the opportunity to take control of the various alien races we’ve been interacting with as Shepard ever since Mass Effect one.
It’s this sort of legacy that gives the co-op in Mass Effect 3 its longevity, at least according to Rowan Kaiser over at Joystiq. He says that, because we’ve spent so much time with Urdnot Wrex and his krogan brethren, seeing and using a krogan in multiplayer taps into the narrative investment we have in those characters.
The multiplayer mode is an extension of Commander Shepard’s mission in the main game: uniting the various alien species of the Galaxy to take the fight to the Reapers, Cerberus and the heretic geth, throwing it in together as one force. While the multiplayer mode itself is very light on story, there’s such a link between the visuals and everything that we’ve learned about the universe of the game that we create all these threads in our mind that gives the co-op such gravitas.
The article goes a bit more in depth about how the mechanics work into the equation but the part about the aesthetics creating a bigger impression of the mode is definitely true for me. Mass Effect is so well designed from a fictional standpoint that every little thing has meaning for me whether it’s a krogan Vanguard charging into a mess of Cannibals or doing a biotic combo in conjunction with another player. What do you guys think of the article? Are you hooked on ME3’s multi and is the universe a big part of that?
With Skyrim recently continuing the trend of giving Bethesda the Game of the Year award it makes sense to assume that The Elder Scrolls franchise really has what it takes to produce some truly amazing games. The single player RPG world has captivated players since Arena, taking you into a deeply immersive world of Tamriel. While The Elder Scrolls series is one that has been a smash hit as a single player game, the question always came up about how it would fare as an MMO, leaving some fans drooling over the prospects of exploring the lands with a party of their best friends. Well today it’s official, Game Informer has released an article teasing readers about the June cover article which features a first look at The Elder Scrolls Online.
The game is being produced by Zenimax Online Studios with MMO veterans such as Matt Firor, whose previous work included Dark Age of Camelot. The game is set a millennium before the events of Skyrim, and players will deal with the Daedric prince Molag Bal trying to bring Tamriel into his realm in Oblivion. Matt Frior told GameInformer:
“It will be extremely rewarding finally to unveil what we have been developing the last several years, the entire team is committed to creating the best MMO ever made – and one that is worthy of The Elder Scrolls franchise.”
Tomorrow morning there will be a trailer from Zenimax and Bethesda Softworks, with screenshots coming later in the evening. All of the information going onward can be tracked at Game Informer’s own Elder Scrolls Online hub, which will be giving out exclusive content multiple times a week.
As a major fan of The Elder Scrolls series, I meet this news with an open mind, but a cautious approach. I have always wanted a way to play around the world of Skyrim or Cyrodiil with friends, but the full-blown status of an MMO is something I have debated before. This could spell great success for the series, but a different production studio and a new feel to a game that has made all of its success as a single player RPG could spell trouble. I’ll wait to see more information before I give final judgment, but this news has to have many gamers foaming at the mouth. So what do you guys think? Is it good that The Elder Scrolls is going online? What’s your opinion on the game being produced by Zenimax? Lets hear it!
These two bits of news are kind of small so I’m smushing them together to get a decent sized post out of them. Hope you don’t mind.
In news that will surprise no one, Activision has announced the existance of Call of Duty: Black Ops 2, which will finally make the long rumored jump TO THE WORLD OF TOMORROW. More like 10-15 years down the line, but still. Yes, this Call of Duty will take place in the future, as the second Cold War makes its way to Los Angeles. There’s a trailer tonight airing during an NBA game but the leaked screens show tiny quadrotor remote control helicopters and a trooper in a full-face helmet with a big old gun (looking very Battlefield 2142 to me). Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 will apparently be out November 13. The trailer is out now:
Freddie Wong is at it again, but this time he takes his hijinks to the wonderful world of Skyrim. Imagine if the game allowed you to pull off some sweet finishing moves, dragon headshots and dap it out with your foes. Basically, if the game allowed you to be a badass. I really shouldn’t introduce it anymore. You should just watch it.
As you guys know, I’m really not a huge fan of the viral video/effects showcase formula, but Freddie Wong is on a different plane than everybody else trying to do it. He’s clever, fun, produces tons of content and knows how to keep the gags simple and sweet without overstaying his welcome. In short, he’s awesome, and this is one of my favorite sketches of his yet.
What are your thoughts? Is Freddie Wong a Skyrim badass? Go!
Ahoy, gents and lasses of GamerSushi! I’m writing to you from the ridiculous world of fatherhood, some bizarre alternate reality where the universe felt that I was somehow fit to be entrusted with the care of a little girl’s life. It’s just a bit of an adjustment, which is why I haven’t been posting at all this week. In the meantime, Mitch and Anthony (and Jeff!) have been rocking it out with some great content. I’ve found the tiniest bit of equilibrium over the last couple of days, and hope to be producing more of that myself shortly.
But first, I wanted to draw your attention to the newest batch of reviews. In the GamerSushi update post, I promised that we’d been awaiting the debut of our new grade chart to post a few outstanding reviews, and for once I wasn’t a dirty liar. Here are the reviews we’ve posted in the last week, with more coming all the time:
So far, I’m really liking the way the updated review system has translated into actual grades. It seems a bit more balanced to me, and doesn’t give us quite as many A and S scores. Other reviews coming soon: Journey, Twisted Metal, Portal 2 (that one is super late), Final Fantasy XIII-2 and more.
What are your guys thoughts on the new review system? Have we completely lost our minds? Go!
What’s this? Two GamerSushi Shows in a row? We must be getting back on track or something. This podcast might mark Eddy’s last appearance on the show for a few weeks so I hope you enjoy basking in his video game knowledge and hatred of my silent treatment.
Yes, on this episode of the GamerSushi Show I was overcome with a fit of shyness and basically stopped talking and participating around the time when we start chatting about Max Payne on the iOS. When it came time to do the game Eddy was getting understandably frustrated with my lack of vocals and you can hear that creeping in at a few points, hence the title of this cast.
The coming of an Elder Scrolls game is always a monumental occasion in the world of video games and the release of Skyrim was no different. Hype for this game was incredibly high and it even knocked Counter-Strike: Source off the top-played list on Steam for a short while. It seemed like the entire world was waiting on baited breath for Skyrim, but does it keep up the legacy of the Elder Scrolls or take an arrow to the knee? Continue reading Review: The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
Good news everyone, the infamously hard follow up to Demon’s Souls will be making its PC debut this August according to a German game magazine as confirmed by the fine folks over on NeoGaf. The PC version of Dark Souls will pretty much be a 1:1 port of the consoles, except for the obvious keyboard/mouse stuff and the addition of two new bosses.
I said during our lightning round on the GamerSushi Show that if Dark Souls ever made the jump to PC I would give it a try and it looks like I’m going to have to live up to my statement. I think that the precise commands of a keyboard/mouse setup will be beneficial for the trying world of Dark Souls but I imagine I’ll give my Xbox controller a shot if the game comes with support for it (which it probably will).
Considering the new release lull that we’re getting in to this is a great boon for me and the many other PC gamers on this site who have been intrigued by the challenges of Dark Souls. So, veterans of this game in its console forms, do you have any tips? Should we start making obeisances to the gods of gaming right now? Are you guys excited for this game to make the jump to PC? Go!
In a move to placate fans after the uproar about the ending, BioWare has announced that it will be releasing a free “Extended Cut” DLC for Mass Effect 3 this summer. No specific date beyond the season has been announced, but the DLC will offer additional scenes that the developer hopes will help clarify the end of Shepard’s journey.
The Extended Cut DLC will not change the ending to the game but rather will contain “additional cinematics and epilogue scenes” which will be tacked on to the existing ending, according to a post on the BioWare Blog. The author of this post for BioWare was very cut and dry about the motivations behind the Extended Cut DLC as well:
So there you have it. Are we proud of the game we made and the team that made it? Hell yes. Are we going to change the ending of the game? No. Do we appreciate the passion and listen to the feedback delivered to us by our fans? Very much so and we are responding.
This DLC has apparently been re-prioritized by the staff at BioWare to help address the problems people have with the ending of the game. Will this satisfy the “Retake Mass Effect” people? What do you guys think about the Extended Cut? Is BioWare making the right move?
Sometimes, nothing paralyzes me more than a wealth of options. Sure, having to choose between one or two extremely difficult questions can tie me up the same as any other man, but the thing that really makes me stop dead in my tracks is when I have more options than I even know what to do with. Rather than being happy about all the tantalizing options that are available to me, I stare at all of them in some kind of mute trance.
This is usually the problem I run into whenever I get put face-to-face with a character creation tool (pun entirely intended). A tool that is now more prominent than ever due to the rise of customizable RPGs, the character creation tool allows you to design an avatar in any way, form and – quite literally – shape. My problem with this kind of robust feature set is that I often have no clue what to do with it.
For the most part, I tend to stick with the default character, which is what I did for the Mass Effect series. In fact, I’m so used to the generic Shepard that when I see other Shepards in clips on YouTube talking with my Commander Shepard’s voice, I get kind of weirded out. In other games, I tend to make my characters look like Cortez Cardinale, from Leet World. This is a bit silly, yes, but it helps me make the character my own without having to go too crazy. I very rarely break from this trend, although I recently designed my Saint’s Row 3 character to look like Walter White from Breaking Bad.
All of this thinking about character creation got me wondering how other people make their own characters? Do you design them to look like you? Do you make them look like somebody famous? Do you stick with the vanilla presets? Share your heroes!
Somehow, I feel like I’ve stepped into a time warp. I’m not really sure how or when it happened, but gaming has taken me back about 12 years or so. I look a little bit older, I know only a couple of more things, I’m about to be a father, but the mouse and the keyboard still feel the same: every satisfying click fires another round, sends another SCV, marks another target or claims another piece of loot.
April isn’t exactly the greatest month in the world for gaming, but we’re right up at the edge of it, and we’ve got to play something, right? As for myself, now that I’ve completed both Mass Effect 3 and Journey (both of which I loved), it’s on to a few other odds and ends.
For one, I spent quite a bit of time playing the Diablo III Beta last night, and I have to say that I’m surprised at just how much fun I had. It’s not that I didn’t expect the game to be great or anything, it’s just always been one of those games that I knew I would be playing, so the specifics of the gameplay never really mattered that much to me. I know that might sound strange, but some games are just such a given you don’t even spend that much time getting excited about them, and instead focus on things releasing ahead or behind. I rolled a monk, and in no time at all I decided that it’ll be my main class when the game drops in May. It’s hard to quantify just how joyous it was to pummel hordes of undead creatures and other ghouls in that good ol’ hack-n-slash style. It’s just been too damn long, you know?
In terms of other things I’m playing, I could rave on and on for an entire post about the beauty of Journey, which so captivated me in my one-sitting-playthrough that it’s already in contention for game of the year. The game affected me in a way that’s hard to put into words, which is weird because I consider myself a writer. In short: just go play the thing.
When I’m not Journey-ing or fighting minions of Diablo, I’ll be catching up on MGS HD, Battlefield 3, Mass Effect 3 co-op and anything else I can get my hands on – at least until my daughter arrives in just a couple of weeks’ time.