As you may know, Naughty Dog’s upcoming post-apocalyptic tale The Last of Us stars a pair of main characters: a grizzly, bearded man named Joel, and a teenage girl named Ellie who bears a passing resemblance to Ellen Page. However, as the developers do publicity and interviews in preparation for the game’s upcoming release, it’s becoming more and more clear that Naughty Dog had to fight to keep Ellie in the spotlight. I find that particularly interesting because Ellie is by far the more memorable and striking of the two characters.
For example, in a recent interview with The Escapist, Naughty Dog’s Neil Druckmann explained that “the research group wasn’t planning on focus-testing female gamers – it’s something we had to specifically request”. This paired with the fact that they also had to insist that Ellie be included on the cover of the game paints the state of game marketing in a particularly dispiriting light. Apparently the going wisdom is that women don’t play videogames, so they shouldn’t focus test them, and men won’t buy games with women on the cover.
Hey look, a post that’s not about Bioshock Infinite… for now. I actually finished Ken Levine’s masterpiece (and yes, that word is appropriate for Infinite) this weekend, and the game certainly lives up to the hype in terms of what a sheer breathtaking experience it is — even if it’s sometimes lacking in the gameplay department.
One thing that I found disappointing about the game, for all its wonders, was the fact that the game was almost completely on rails. Mighty fine rails, mind you, but still, I’m the kind of guy that likes a hub, or a home base of sorts, where I’m free to weigh my options and pursue them at my leisure.
Welp, time for another Bioshock Infinite post. I’m sure you guys are getting sick of these by now, but I suppose you’ll have to suffer through our praises of this game for just a little longer.
As I already noted on Monday, Bioshock is a gorgeous game. The worldbuilding and the design of Columbia are enough to take your breath away for the first few hours, and everything begs to be explored. But what happens after that? You get sucked into the story, and soon you’re rocketing along faster than skyrails.
Every now and then, I find myself trying to slow everything down, though. Not in a bad way, like the game is moving too quickly. But more in a way that I want to appreciate everything instead of tackling it at a breakneck speed. Certain story games prompt me to blast through them and enjoy the ride no matter where it takes me, but with Infinite I find that I’m trying to pull back just long enough to remember the experience and make it matter more.
So my question for you guys is: when is the last time a game did this for you? Do you try to take your time with games, or just push through them as quickly as possible on your first playthrough? Do you pace yourself? Go!
One of the next big releases on the gaming calendar happens to be the release of The Last of Us in May. Developed by Naughty Dog, this game is set to be a new IP for the PlayStation 3, just in time for the end of this console cycle.
The release of the newest Red Band trailer for The Last of Us shows off even more of the story and the world than ever before. In this trailer we see more than just Joel and Ellie, we see communities, other survivors, some of the infected and different locales as well. Early trailers just showed off bits of the overgrown city, so it’s cool to see that the game opens up in a bigger way, with what looks to be a crosscountry trip of sorts.
What do you guys think of the new trailer? While I’m not completely sold on the actual game yet, I do have to say that Naughty Dog’s storytelling abilities are almost unmatched in the industry at the moment, so I’m excited to see what kind of journey they have in store for us. Some of the thematic stuff looks like what the Walking Dead show tries to tackle but constantly fails. Tell us your thoughts in the comments.
Hype. It has been the pitfall of many a game and it can appear at anytime from any number of sources. An amazing trailer, such as Dead Island. A genius auteur, like Hideo Kojima and his Metal Gear Solid series. A storied franchise, like Final Fantasy. All have been the focal point of an intense wave of hype and anticipation and all, at various points, have failed to live up to the near-unattainable level of quality that the gaming masses expected.
The almost-ravenous desire for Bioshock Infinite stems from all three of the sources mentioned above. At E3 in 2010, a clever trailer brought the world’s eye upon the game for the first time. Ken Levine, the man behind the first Bioshock, itself heralded as one of the greatest achievements in gaming, was back with a brand new game, set in a brand new world with promises to blow our minds as thoroughly as Andrew Ryan did in Rapture. Then the reviews started to come in, garnering some of the most lavish praise ever bestowed upon a video game. The hype was out of control. Surely there is no way a game can live up to this kind of fervor. Bioshock Infinite is going to disappoint us just like so many of the ones that came before.
You guys should prepare yourselves, because I’m guessing a lot of our upcoming posts for the next couple of weeks will have to do with Bioshock Infinite in one way or another. Not only is it just a hot commodity right now in terms of gaming news, but the thing is just really damn good.
While we’ve already talked about its design and storytelling on the most recent podcast, one thing that’s stuck out to me as I traverse through Infinite’s floating Americana utopia of Columbia is just how gorgeous of a place it is. Bioshock Infinite might be one of the most beautiful games I’ve ever played. I don’t mean that from a graphical fidelity standpoint, but more in terms of the game’s design.
There was a shocking amount of things to talk about this week on The GamerSushi Show, with what might be the most high-profile game release of the year hitting this week. BioShock Infinite takes up a good chunk of the cast, along with the latest entry in Gears of War series (which is actually pretty fun).
For news, we break down the trailers that came out this week at GDC and the fact that Square Enix’s CEO stepped down. It’s a righteous cast, and we hope you enjoy! You know what to do: listen, rate and we’ll see you next time!
0:00 – 3:51 Intro
3:52 – 18:12 BioShock Infinite
18:13 – 24:59 Gears of War: Judgement
25:00 – 30:56 Counter-Strike: GO and Mass Effect on PC
30:57 – 40:44 Square Enix CEO Yoichi Wada Steps Down
40:45 – 53:36 Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain
53:37 – 1:01:41 Battlefield 4
1:01:42 – 1:04:47 Outro
In an era where ever game is so self-serious, it’s kind of refreshing to see a title that basks in whimsy. Level 5 and Studio Ghibli’s Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch is such a game. It fairly oozes with clever environment design and goofy, pun-filled dialogue.
Traditionally, I don’t truck with JRPGs. Not because I actively dislike them, or anything, but they never really clicked with me. That said, Ni no Kuni is an experience that wrapped itself around me like a warm blanket and drew me in. Let’s get down to specifics, though, shall we?
GDC is going on this week, and apparently Konami and EA were bursting at the seams to announce their games and couldn’t wait for E3 to roll around. Both Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain (a combination of the previously announced Ground Zeroes and, of course, The Phantom Pain) and Battlefield 4 were revealed with accompanying trailers. Metal Gear Solid 5 is just below, with Battlefield 4 after the jump.
It’s been two years since gaming’s finest detectives took their cases, but now they’re back. This time, their beat includes Grand Theft Auto V’s hype (or lack thereof), Richard Garriott’s comments that “most game developers suck” and Hideo Kojima’s newest antics with the Phantom Pain. Naturally, they tackle these with all the integrity and tenacity that you’ve come to expect from your favorite gaming gumshoes.
Since you haven’t seen them in a couple of years, here’s how this feature works: GameCop is a sensible gamer, looking out for your best interests. LameCop is your average forum troll, causing havoc for the lulz, while PsychoCop should be locked up for everyone’s safety.
We talk a lot about backlogs here at GamerSushi, as some of us (mainly me) have an annoying tendency to buy games and then let them sit on the shelf for weeks and months at a time as we get distracted by something fresh and shiny. It’s funny because gamers complained for years about the Fall Onslaught of games, but now instead of a sudden rush, we have a year-long trickle that makes finishing a game before the next one you want comes out tough, not to mention making a dent on the backlog.
This is something I’ve been confronted with since I received Ni No Kuni on my birthday back in February. My goal was to put a dent in it until Simcity came out and then play Simcity until Bioshock Infinite was released. From there, I had no real idea what I was going to do after I beat Bioshock Infinite; likely go back to Ni No Kuni and split time with that and Simcity until Ni No Kuni was completed and I was sick of Simcity.
After a short break from the cast, we’ve got a whole crew on for this edition of The GamerSushi Show! That’s right, Nick joins us for the entire cast. We were pretty excited when we saw him pop up on Skype.
As for what we talk about during the cast, we have a fairly restrained conversation about SimCity, discuss John Riccitiello leaving EA and what that means for the company, and Jeff breaks down why he thinks Tomb Raider is awesome. Anthony then has an unscheduled rant about Final Fantasy Versus XIII reportedly being turned into Final Fantasy XV for the PlayStation 4. It’s fairly entertaining.
So, you know what to do. Listen to the podcast, rate it up on the iTunes with all the stars you can muster, and be nice to each other. Seriously, find a gamer and give them a hug. We’re an angry group of people that just want to be loved.
0:00 – 2:04 Intro
2:04 – 21:00 SimCity
21:02 – 28:24 John Riccitiello Leaves EA
28:25 – 46:20 Tomb Raider
46:21 – 54:55 Pre-Ordering Games and BioShock Infinite
54:56 – 1:05:24 – Final Fantasy Versus XIII Goes Next-Gen/Anthony’s Square Rant
1:05:25 – 1:08:38 Outro
You’ve been there before. It starts out as a trickle. A game that wasn’t even a blip on your radar, or maybe one that you had never even heard of before, suddenly shows up. Maybe it’s in the form of a review, or positive buzz from gaming sites. Soon, the trickle gains some steam as overwhelming praise starts to sound from corners of the web. Then a friend plays it and loves it. Then multiple friends play it and sing its praises. And before you know it, love of this game has become an avalanche, ready to knock you from your footing of carefully budgeted gaming purchases.
This is my story right now with the Tomb Raider reboot, especially after our most recent podcast (which will be up on Sunday), and Jeff’s stellar Tomb Raider review. Whenever this happens, I tend to panic. I start checking the game’s price on different outlets. I find myself stopping at Redbox stations to see if the game is available for rent. I wonder what I might stop playing in favor of it. The really silly thing about doing this with Tomb Raider is that I’ve already got an impressive backlog, and I’m in the middle of a Ni No Kuni playthrough. As a scholar once said, ain’t nobody got time for that.
Has this happened to you guys recently? Do you try to avoid the avalanche when a new game comes out that you weren’t expecting to be great? Do you just give in, or wait? What games have done this to you? Go!
As the announcement of Battlefield 4 draws every closer (seriously, they just teased the reveal trailer on Twitter), the last piece of DLC for Battlefield 3, End Game, has hit. With dirtbikes, Capture the Flag, and Air Superiority, End Game is throwing a lot at the wall. Does it all stick? Luckily for you, I’ve made a video summarizing my thoughts on End Game. Give it a watch, will you?
It’s not exactly the best way to close out Battlefield 3, but it’s not awful, either. As a final piece of DLC we could have gotten much worse. Unlike Armored Kill, I could see the maps from End Game easily slotting in alongside the Aftermath, Karkand, and vanilla maps. Has anyone else been playing End Game on PC? Any YouTube experts want to give me some constructive criticism? Go!
Between Sim City, and the new announcement of Assassin’s Creed 4, I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the way gamers set and manage their own expectations when it comes to new games.
The disappointment for Sim City comes from knowing that a ridiculously good game might be lying beneath the surface of some extremely frustrating mechanical issues. From the servers not working (I was put into a 20 minute queue last night in the middle of a session) to the ancient-feeling social interactions, and some of the really odd rules of gameplay (too-small cities and some unhelpfully helpful Sim guides), I’m disappointed because Sim City might be a masterpiece completely stepping on its own feet.
With Assassin’s Creed 3, I felt a little lured into a game that was ultimately a total bomb. From carefully selected vertical slices of gameplay for hands-on previews to unbelievably cleverly edited trailers, Assassin’s Creed 3 looked set to put the series back to what it was with Brotherhood, while simultaneously striking out in a bold, new direction. What we got instead was a total mess, and it made me evaluate the way I take in my gaming news, which I’m already pretty strict about to begin with. Needless to say, I won’t be excited about AC4 anytime soon.
So I figured for today’s poll I’d ask you guys where you derive most of your expectations for upcoming games. Hit up the poll, and then the comments!
Time for another edition of Random Encounters, where I share my thoughts on a variety of subjects that are currently on my mind:
1. I have no proof and only baseless Internet speculation, but I can’t help but wonder if Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag was originally a side-story like the Ezio trilogy and was rebranded as a numbered sequel in order to take people’s mind off the bitter disappointment that was Assassin’s Creed 3. It just seems odd that the AC 4 is in roughly the same time period and is a prequel, which means it might not even forward the Desmond story set in the future. We will have to wait and see, but if that is the case, it’s kind of disgusting, akin to Square Enix allegedly releasing Final Fantasy Versus XIII as Final Fantasy XV.
With Dead Space 3 firmly in our rear view mirror, Anthony and I thought it would be a good idea to give the series a send-off in podcast form. This is something we’re looking in to doing more of as a site where we dedicate an episode to our favorite games or series, so let us know what you think.
Fair warning, as we’re talking the Dead Space series as a whole, this podcast will contain a ton of spoilers for every game in the franchise, so beware if you haven’t played them yet. Also, I’d like to apologize up from about the stress my microphone put on my “s” sounds. What you’re hearing is after I’ve tried to reduce the noise, so you can image how painful it was at first.
Anyways, listen to the podcast, rate the podcast and be sure to leave any parting thoughts on Dead Space if you wish. Until next time!
After six years and hundreds of over-taxed PCs, the Crysis series is coming to a head with its third installment. Running on a new version of the CryEngine, the latest entry in the franchise takes you back to New York to finally unravel the mystery of the Ceph and the nature of their connection to the main character, Prophet.
With a new weapon, better graphics and even more maximum powers, does Crysis 3 wrap everything up?
Seems that this last week has been pretty slow for gaming news, so we only have the premier trailer for Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag to show you today. While it’s all pre-rendered, as is the way with Ubisoft’s announcement trailers for Assassin’s Creed, it does get me hyped for the game against my better judgement. In Black Flag, you’ll be playing as Edward Kenway, father of Haytham Kenway from Assassin’s Creed 3 and protagonist Connor’s grandfather. In the trailer, infamous pirate Blackbeard gives us an introduction to our new assassin.
This seems a little odd for the series, as pirate and assassin don’t really mix, but I’m down for it. Apparently the game world is an open ocean with a few major ports and a lot of little islands to explore. So far I’m down with Assassin’s Creed IV, but I’m definitely waiting for a bit after release before I buy it. What say you? Are you on board with Assassin’s Creed IV? Did the trailer work its magic on you?
I promise I’m not trying to make weekly videos a theme, but it was hard to resist the idea of showing you guys these two music-themed videos. And seeing as how one is related to Bioshock Infinite, a game that many of you are pumped about, and the other is related to Journey, which I feel has one of the best gaming soundtracks of all time, I didn’t think you all would mind.
The first video is a brief clip of two of Bioshock Infinite’s actors, Troy Baker and Courtnee Draper, singing an old spiritual song that appears in the game, Will the Circle Be Unbroken. This is a classic song, and I love the time period that it establishes Columbia in. It’s a lovely duet, and it’s pretty cool that it appears in the game.