Let’s face it: this generation has been one of a kind. Some of the best quality games we have ever seen. And some of the worst service and disasters we have ever seen. As consoles have become more complex, there is a lot more room for errors and I don’t think any opportunities for screw-ups have been missed. But…the games, man! They are so good! But are they enough to overcome the PSN Hack, the Red Ring of Death, the terrible DLC debacles, the DRM nightmares, constant patches due to broken games on release day and the countless other crap we suddenly have to deal with now?
I mean, Uncharted, Gears of War, Bioshock, Call of Duty, Assassin’s Creed, Mass Effect, Dragon Age, Portal and the Arkham series, just to name a few, are all amazing new franchises that stand with some of the best all time. But is the high quality of the product enough to call this the best generation? Or is the terrible state of things for us consumers too much for these stellar games to overcome? Hit the poll and then hit the comments!
Admittedly, I’m probably not the best person to debate the merits of transferring video game franchises into an animated format, but I guess that Halo: Legends sold well enough to encourage other publishers to take a crack at it.
EA and BioWare recently announced that they’re teaming up with FUNimation to bring Dragon Age to home video with a feature length film. You may know FUNimation from their long career of importing Japanese cartoons to North America, most notably the Dragon Ball series. Of course, any video gamer worth their salt knows of Dragon Age, the epic medieval fantasy RPG that was lauded by critics and players alike as the premier RPG of 2009. The game has already seen a novel tie-in and a comic book deal, so an animation project really isn’t that far fetched.
While Halo: Legends may have soured me on this kind of endeavor, the fact that this is a full length film instead of several shorts may address some of the things I found lacking about Legends. What do you guys think? Anyone on board for a Dragon Age anime?
JRPGs vs. WRPGs seems to be a hot topic as of late, thanks to comments from a Bioware employee that Final Fantasy XIII is not an RPG. This is the stuff fanboys crave, which, in political terms, is called “red meat”. It stirs up a nice frenzy and everyone pontificates on what an RPG is exactly, but nothing ever gets accomplished. Just like Congress.
Well, I’m here to take a small look at the differences between the way Bioware and Square Enix approach their respective video game franchises. These two, I think it is safe to say, are the biggest RPG powerhouses on either side of the Pacific, so it turns out the little controversial comments mentioned above were a perfect jumping off point for me.
Continue reading Bioware vs. Square Enix: An Unbiased Analysis
One phrase that we have been hearing a lot lately from the videogame industry is the idea of making our current gaming stories more engaging in terms of emotion. Doing something like this seems to be one of the last great barriers in the minds of game makers, considering what the technology of their platforms can do.
Specifically, Bioware is the company speaking about this most of all. In a recent interview with Kotaku, company manager Ray Muzyka shared Bioware’s vision statement. Namely, to “create, deliver and evolve the most emotionally engaging gaming experiences in the world”. The article goes on to talk about character development and progression, and how Bioware aims to create these feelings in all of their franchises.
The problem with this? As good as Mass Effect 2 and Dragon Age: Origins were, I don’t know if I ever felt “emotionally engaged” at any point of the stories. Sure, there were characters I was crazy attached to, and moments that took my breath away or dropped my jaw- many of those, in fact. But I wouldn’t say that there was any point that hit me like moments of Final Fantasy VII, IX, X, or Shadow of the Colossus, and those are all from previous generations. To me, it’s odd that developers are still trying to hit this, but to me it comes down to the writing.
So what about you guys? Do you find that games are emotionally engaging enough? What games have you played that have done that for you?
Some people, if faced with the opportunity to do nothing all day, would probably freak out and have some kind of nervous breakdown. Me? I would just play video games. And I still might not have enough time to play everything I want to.
I don’t know if you have been feeling this way recently, but I know that for me, my free time is getting more and more limited (a job, house, wife, Web Zeroes and writing a novel will do that to you). As a result I’m finishing far fewer games now than I ever have before. In the immediate future I’ve got Brutal Legend waiting for me, assuming I don’t do any repeated playing of all the games I’ve bought recently.
A new GameSpy piece by comedian Michael Drucker covers this very topic, and is making a simple request of the videogame industry: stop making games for one year. His point? There are simply too many great games coming out to keep up. While it is meant as a mostly humorous piece, there are parts of it that ring ridiculously true, such as when he notes that a Legend of Zelda game was maybe the 10th best game of last year. 10 years ago, that thought was absurd. Anyway, the article is a great read, and made me laugh out loud a few times, so I’d definitely recommend checking it out for yourselves.
How many of you guys have felt this way lately? Right now, I’m a little disappointed that I’ve had too move on past great titles that warrant more replay time (Borderlands, Dragon Age, Modern Warfare 2 to name a few). What games are on your backlog?
It’s the New Year’s Edition of What Are You Playing, so let’s get to it.
I know that many of you dudes are probably cackling like mad and experiencing all the new gaming loot you got over the holidays, so I’m curious to see what the responses have been here. I know that Anthony has been playing the junk out of Uncharted 2, Modern Warfare 2 and Dragon Age: Origins, which I’m sure is true for others as well.
As for me, I’ve been playing a lot of Assassin’s Creed 2 and just loving it. While the first hour or so of the game starts off terribly awkward and almost clunky, the rest of it has been a blast. The game really opens up once you get your villa, and I can’t wait to see what else lies in store for Ezio and the Assassins. It’s one of those things where I’m getting more hooked to the game the more I play it, which doesn’t happen very often.
What about you guys? What are you playing? Go!
I think that we can all agree that piracy sucks. The worst aspect of this type of digital high seas shenanigans is that companies are forced to punish legitimate customers to make sure that their games are harder to pirate. Most recently, EA tried to regulate piracy by forcing all copies of their games to include SecuROM, possibly the most draconian form of copy-protection currently available (with the notable exception of the Sony BMG CD copyright scandal).
The most infamous of the SecuROM stories was that of EA’s Spore, Will Wright’s procedurally-generated creature creator simulator from last year. The digital lock-down on Spore enforced a three-install limit upon the game, much to the lament of the internet savvy. As a result of this heavy-handed maneuver, Spore ended up being the most pirated game of 2008 with over 1.7 million downloads.
So, what did the games industry take away from this horrendous back-fire?
Continue reading BioWare Weighs in on Video Game Piracy
So right when you walk onto the exhibit hall at PAX, you come face to face with what looks to be a huge dungeon erected right in the middle of the hall. This ambitious construction belongs to none other than Bioware, makers of Baldur’s Gate, Mass Effect and one of my favorite games of all time, KOTOR. And inside, they were showing off their next PC game, Dragon Age: Origins.
Continue reading PAX: Inside Bioware’s Dungeon