Open-world games are hugely popular. Ever since Grand Theft Auto III, it seems most franchises try to take a stab at it at least once, with mixed results. The masters of the genre are the ones that give you so many things to do that you become paralyzed by the freedom of choice. Although sometimes this can be a good thing. If everything is fun, then maybe you just do whatever is nearest to you, until eventually you have done it all.
The point is, there are many ways to approach open-world games. Grand Theft Auto V is drawing close and I will be anxious to see if they are able to give us enough tasks to keep us busy, as they failed to do in GTA IV. I am currently playing Fallout: New Vegas in the meantime and I am taking a slightly different approach to the game than I have in the past. When I play Skyrim, Oblivion or Fallout 3, I tend to avoid the main quest as much as possible, doing all the side tasks that I can until I am suddenly weary of the game and then I race through the main story as fast as possible before the game drives me insane. Continue reading An Open-World Game Draws Near! Command?
I’m not trying to be a troll or anything, but this one really gave me a combination of laughs and head-scratching. You remember all of that fuss last year, back when Fallout: New Vegas had its buggy launch? Well, so does Obsidian, and they are none too pleased, thank you very much.
Here’s what Obsidian CEO Feargus Urquhart had to say about his company’s reputation for releasing buggy games in a recent article with Play Magazine.
I think it’s fair and unfair at the same time, because in the same conversation that I hear how buggy KOTOR and Alpha Protocol were, I also hear how great they were… Now in the case of Fallout: New Vegas, we made a gigantic game, and I’m proud with what we were able to do but I wish it wasn’t as glitchy when it came out. The criticisms people had are fair but it’s difficult to get a game the size of New Vegas bug free. But that’s an excuse and it doesn’t matter when someone’s paid $60 for a game. It’s something we need to work on.
He goes on to pump their new game Dungeon Siege III, but that was the meat of it. Maybe I’m reaching a bit here, but in my mind, if you’re the CEO, why don’t you do something to ensure that the games don’t go out the door with so many bugs? You’re in charge, last I checked. Delay the game if you have to, or work with your managers to get a better schedule for release so your developers aren’t cramming like crazy. On the flip side, it really is nice to see a CEO being open and honest about this kind of criticism, rather than just brushing it aside. So kudos for that.
Gamers come in all sorts of different flavors, and I’m not just talking about casual and hardcore. There are some who don’t play single player, some who only play single player, and then there are the kinds that give game designers of any type nightmares. I think I’m probably in the last category, specifically when it comes to Western RPGs. Given that games in those genres these days have branching stories, multiple conversation outcomes and more hidden bonuses than you can shake a stick it, it tends to drive OCD completionists with a lot of time on their hands (e.g. me) crazy.
That’s when I turn to the most forbidden of texts, the horrible tome know as the “FAQ”. Deep within the dark recesses of the Internet, I find my brethren, people who restart dungeons because they missed one chest after defeating whatever horrible creature inhabits that cave. These are the people who don’t play RPGs for the story or the characters or the experience, but rather to accrue every possible trinket and stat bonus the game has to offer. We can leave no stone unturned, no party companion un-romanced, and we do so by exploiting the game to its maximum. Not through exploration or discovery though, but by distilling it down to the most bare bones, no frills, maximum return type of experience. This is how I’ve come to destroy any Western RPG I’ve played. Continue reading How I Ruined RPGs with the Internet
Howdy, gents. I hope that this post finds all of you starting the holiday gaming extravaganza that this time of year is typically known for. As I said, we’re mostly taking it easy for the next couple of weeks, but because I like you all, I thought I’d share a post with you that I found.
Over at the Moving Pixels blog at Pop Matters (one of my favorite gaming blogs), a recent article goes over the idea of owning the open world in single player sandbox games. Taking a look at new games Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood, Fallout: New Vegas and Fable III, they study the recent trend in game design that pushes players to control major portions of real estate and owning/converting as much of the game world as possible. It’s interesting to think about the idea that in many of these games, the players tend to want to set the main storyline aside in favor of getting invested in the world itself, which I guess is the case with many RPG’s as well, even apart from owning land.
I think this gets to another interesting issue as well: does this mean that the stories in those games aren’t actually all that compelling? If we are willing to set them aside to do everything else but the stories, is there a problem with the design there? In addition, most of these games almost seem to require a fair amount of exploration and sidequest upgrading in order to stand a fair chance in the proper endgames.
So what do you guys think? Do you tend to set aside single player campaigns in favor of sidequests? Do you like the idea of controlling game worlds, or do you just focus on the stories when you play? Go!
Video games, how I miss thee. Over the last several months, I’ve been swarmed by all kinds of things that have been taking away my gaming time. Some of these distractions fall into the realm of that general nagging living life thing (working, broken down vehicles, etc), and others are chosen (Krav Maga, personal writing).
Needless to say, I’ve been itching to play some games. When I’m not overwhelmed by these non-gaming nuisances, my time is being thrown into the following: Angry Birds and NBA 2K11. A basketball game may seem like an odd choice, but NBA 2K11 has already given me hours of sporty goodness. My brother and I have played countless games against one another, talking trash and throwing down sick jams all the meanwhile. If you’re into sports games at all, I’d suggest picking it up. On my radar are Fallout: New Vegas, Black Ops and Dead Rising 2 in the near future.
What about you guys? What are you playing this weekend and this week? Go!
Fallout 3 was probably the best game of 2008, its massive, interactive world allowing players to explore the ruins of an alternate reality Washington DC destroyed by nuclear war. I personally must have spent at least 100 hours roaming the Capital Wasteland, and I’m pretty sure that I still haven’t done everything in the game. The DLC added a lot more to do, but eventually the font of encounters was going to run dry. As good as Fallout 3 was, gamers wanted more.
Bethesda tapped the infamous sequel team Obsidian (known for Knight of the Old Republic 2 and Alpha Protocol) to deliver on a follow up. Their answer is Fallout: New Vegas, which hearkens back to the original games by way of having several members of Fallout 2’s team on staff at Obsidian. Making the trip back to the American West, New Vegas puts players in the boots of the Courier, shot and left for dead in the Mojave by Chandler Bing (Matthew Perry, for those of us who never watched Friends). Was putting Obsidian in charge of the sequel a good gamble considering their previous offerings? Continue reading Review: Fallout: New Vegas
I kind of love these Fallout: New Vegas developer diaries that have been appearing recently. I know that we’ve been humming and hawing about Obsidian and their track record (which is strange, considering that Knights of the Old Republic 2 was like crack to me), but these videos show me that they have a really good understanding of Fallout and what people expect from it. This makes sense considering that Chris Avellone (Senior Designer at Obsidian) worked on Fallout 2 back in the day. Check out the video to get your run down on the three main factions you can side with in New Vegas:
It’s a nice option being able to choose sides, especially considering in Fallout 3 your options were basically “join the Brotherhood of Steel or not”. Personally, I’m leaning towards the New California Republic with Mr. House in a close second. Fallout: New Vegas comes out really soon, October 19, so you’ve got a little bit of time to plan out whether you’ll support once faction or go for total anarchy.
One of the most imaginative franchises in gaming is Fallout, envisioned as an alternate future where the art-deco mind-set of the 1950s dominated the design of everything from home computers to robots. However, this retro-futuristic setting was destroyed be a devastating nuclear war, and humanity is still trying to rebuild itself during the series. While the game is fairly imaginative and speculatory, it still has to have a reality behind it. Where the Science of Games comes in is that point, where the fictional meets the factual. How well does Fallout stand up under the microscope?
I personally really enjoy this series, and in the past they have covered games such as Mass Effect and Star Wars and have explored whether or not the fantastical gadgets in those games are feasible. What did you guys think of this particular segment? What games would you like them to cover in the future? Personally, I’d love to see a Left 4 Dead or Dead Rising themed one, exploring the realities of the zombie apocalypse.
Fallout’s biggest hook, at least for me, is the technology, envisioned as an extension of the 1950’s wistful imaginings of the future. All the computers are big, bulky and full of vacuum tubes, and the guns fire iridescent blobs of green plasma. It’s got a sort of innocent charm the belies the often brutal nature of post-apocalyptic survival, and the team at Obsidian is kicking the technology up a notch for New Vegas. While the game has the typical range of conventional weaponry, new types of energy guns will be included, like the Recharge Rifle, which replenishes its internal battery instead of requiring ammo. Pretty neat, if you ask me. Take a look at the most recent New Vegas Developer Diary for some other changes, including a look at the game’s sound design:
I tried the grenade machine gun during my hands on time with New Vegas at PAX 2010, and it is just as fun as it sounds. I also like they way Obsidian is taking the desert environment into account with distance being factored into how you will perceive sound. Despite some reservation on this title due to the fact that it is in the hands of Obsidian (no offense, but they don’t exactly have a stellar track record), New Vegas is shaping up nicely. Any opinions on the weapons and the auditory goodness in New Vegas? What system will you play it on? Fallout: New Vegas will be out October 19, 2010.
In what some may consider to be a surprise, especially considering the bad taste this same feature left in gamer’s mouths when Fallout 3 was released, Fallout: New Vegas will end when you beat the game. That’s right, you don’t get to keep playing and complete all those side-quests you left unfinished.
Game director Josh Sawyer of Obsidian explained to 1UP the situation, confirming earlier reports:
“We put a lot of effort into the ending slides — we know those slides are really popular with people so we want to make sure there’s a huge amount of variety and reactivity with that stuff. We weren’t really focused on new features so much as to add a really rich sense of reactivity to the players and the choices they make.”
It does seem that you will get a warning before you pass the point of no return and you can always do what we did in the old days, which was reload your final save and keep playing that way. Some might speculate that this will be changed during the inevitable DLC onslaught, but from the article, it doesn’t sound like there are any plans to add such a feature.
On an unrelated note, I had no idea the ending slides were “really popular” with anyone. They were okay, but didn’t exactly rock my world.
Does this affect your outlook on the game? Would anyone not buy this game now?
After Fallout 3 consumed my life with its cornucopia of post-apocalytpic goodness, I’ve had my eye peeled for anything pertaining to a follow up to that excellent title. As luck would have it, Bethesda contracted Obsidian studios to craft the spin-off, and for all intents and purposes, it looks like it’s shaping up to a worthy successor. A new trailer for the game hit the internet to lead into E3, so let’s have a watch, shall we?
One thing I really like is the juxtaposition of the cheerful swing tune with the bad-ass combat that’s happened on screen. Another thing I like? Slow motion walking in front of explosions. What about you guys? Are you going to go all in on this one, or will you fold?
One of the premier titles of 2008, Fallout 3, was well received for its large game world, memorable denizens and its slow-motion auto-targeting system, VATS. Knowing that a game this popular deserved a follow up, Bethesda studios, creators of the popular Elder Scrolls series, enlisted Obsidian Entertainment to take players back to the Fallout universes’ post-apocalyptic setting. What’s being changed from the 2008 title, and what can fans expect to return?
The first thing wasteland-aficionados will notice is that the setting of the game has changed from Washington DC in Fallout 3 to, rather obviously, the areas around Las Vegas. While previewers weren’t given the option to travel to the titular gambling town, they were allowed to try out the reformatted VATS system and fool around with the new weapon customization options. Continue reading Fallout: New Vegas Info Hits the Internet
Well dudes, it looks like we finally have confirmation of a new Fallout sequel in 2010, courtesy of Bethesda. The next Fallout game will take place in a post-apocalyptic version of Las Vegas, and is another story told in the same universe we already know and love, much like The Pit or Anchorage.
While Fallout: New Vegas isn’t a true sequel to Fallout 3, it’s nice that a full game is coming, and the idea of a Las Vegas setting is super intriguing to me. Another interesting tidbit is that Obsidian, creators of KOTOR 2, are going to be working on this sequel with Bethesda, which should theoretically free Bethesda up to focus on other things- Elder Scrolls V, anyone?
So, who’s excited about the announcement of a new Fallout game?