Dropping the Difficulty


I’m hardcore. At least, I consider myself to be. As such, I usually play games the first time through on at least normal, never dropping to easy mode unless I am just interested in the story, which is a rare occasion at best. But with games that I’ve played before, such as the newly released Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary Edition, I wanted to challenge myself and play it on Heroic. So that’s what Eddy and I did.

Until some technical SNAFUs got in the way. We were playing co-op, breezing through the game and right at the very end of the level “Assault on the Control Room” when we were suddenly disconnected from Xbox Live. Thanks to the games archaic checkpoint system, we lost our progress and would have been forced to replay the whole level again, if it wasn’t for the fact that we rage quit for a week.

Finally, this weekend, we got back on the Halo horse and started kicking ass again. Until it happened again…in The Library. Rather than race to trade the game in, which was my first instinct, Eddy suggested we drop it to normal and just beat it quickly. And so we did. And what an enjoyable experience that was. We were so tired of the game that we just wanted to race right through it and be done with it.

Has this happened to anyone else? You suddenly lose all concern for your hardcore cred and just want to BEAT THE FREAKING THING and move on with your life? Sound off!

Game Budgets Versus Industry Innovation

Halo Anniversary

I won’t presume to speak for the gamer population at large, but one of my recent concerns about the trajectory of the video game industry would have to do with the lack of innovation. I try to keep my griping about “shooter fatigue” to a minimum around these parts, simply because at the end of the day, I still like playing shooters, even if I would like something to come along from time to time to mix up the monotony.

But what exactly is the cause behind the predominant trend of shooter saturation over the last few years? Have gamers changed? Have developers changed? Is the idea of a shooter the most immersive form of game design? Hardly, says Saber Interactive CEO Matthew Karch. He believes that out of control budgets for AAA titles are what’s causing the innovation funk. Here’s what the studio head behind Halo: Anniversary had to say on the matter in a recent interview:

Publishers will spend so much money to make a game. It becomes so bloated that you can’t innovate, because if you’re spending $15 million on something, you want to make sure that it’s a safe bet so you can’t take those risks.

Ultimately you end up with the fourth or fifth sequel of a game, which really is a tried and true formula without much innovation… I think there are so many things fundamentally wrong with the way the games industry is run that need to change.

I really think the solution is coming up with ways to give people smaller, more varied experiences for less money. A perfect example is LA Noire. Here’s a game that people like to play for the first couple of hours, then it got repetitive and by the second or third hour they were done with it. So why not give them a two or three hour experience for 10 pounds instead of giving them a £50 game? Why not give them a smaller, bite size experience?

While the studio’s track record doesn’t necessarily help them (Halo: Anniversary isn’t exactly breaking the mold anymore than their previous title Battle Los Angeles), it’s nice to note that some game studio heads are thinking this way. As much as I’m excited about the many sequels that are coming out this year, I can’t help but think that I’d love to see something new.

What do you guys think about the idea of game budgets getting out of hand? Do you think something needs to shift in the gaming industry? Go!

Source – CVG