When you look at the list of games cancelled using the James Bond IP, you can’t help to think for the most part they would have been amazing games and much better than what we have gotten over the past few years. From Activision, a publisher which during its rein on the IP published four titles in the series. While their first game Quantum of Solace was released based on the movies of this era, the rest of their published games primary focus on reimagination of other games and movies in the series.
The COD based design which attributed to many of their 007 titles was received well by some, but overall hindered the end product which resulted in Activision removing the titles from digital distribution platforms earlier this year, and revealing they no longer wish to create licenced games. This action lead to rumours that the licence was revoked and not freely given up, which still hasn’t been cleared up by both parties, and probably never will.
Their final game 007 Legends was an interesting concept however poorly executed. However like Blood Stone has a small following, and also like Blood Stone was the developers’ final game before closing their doors. In theory all the right movies where picked, and all the right scenes, however overall it was very liner, with long loading screens and poor “checkpoint” placement.
Legends is also interesting for another reason, it is the only 007 game so far to be based around Skyfall. With the central plot based around everything been a dream situation during Skyfalls climatic opening sequences ender.
Now the Skyfall missions are interesting, there is of course the Istanbul opening and the Shanghai mission as DLC. I’ve posted the videos of these sections in this article, you can notice the badness of the game, especially with the section before the “take the shot” scene, which Bond is just punching the bad guy and it doesn’t really seem like its doing much or going anywhere, it just seems like its filling in time, and its surrounded by a gimmicky idea of showing up where Bond will punch if you hit a certain button.
I’m not writing to pick on this game, no I’m writing today to say something magical and special, that is if Skyfall got a proper game, and it was done well (not this shell of a quickly released COD clone), that it would be better than Goldeneye. Not the horrible Goldeneye released a few years back. No the original one which is loved by many and coated in nostalgic spoof.
While the 007 Legends levels are not 100% trueful to the magic of Skyfall, it does give a sense of what the world would be like. Something much better then Goldeneye if done right. For example when they capture the bad guy? That would be an epic fight, also the hold up at the end in Bond Manner, it would be amazing. Oh and an awesome roadtrip as well. Perfect.
Posted on May 15, 2013 in Games by Trent Petronaitis.
Who remembers last E3? I know I do, for one specific game which was announced. It wasn’t a sequel of an existing game franchise, no it was something new and unexpected. Presented at the end of the Ubisoft conference, on came a game which as soon as the trailer started there was one permanent prominent connection which had been created, and something many people to this day still equate with the title. While its unknown if the game will be anything like the TV show Person of Interest, until then Watch Dogs has a high fan base created by the familiarity of the elements shown in the game, as well as the graphics and world which has been created some similarly built on the premise of Person of Interest.
While Watch Dogs has no Machine, it does have a world filled with interconnectivity similar to that of Person of Interest. So simular in fact, the question has been asked why isn’t there a Person of Interest video game?
Let’s put logistics aside as to who would make the game, if Ubisoft would be so kind to licence their amazing new engine to said developer or whatever. Two things I want to talk about, one the power of licenced games in this day and age, and why they are in that sort of bargain bin world, as well as in general how the game would work.
Firstly, licenced video games. The nighties was an amazing time for licenced titles in the video game world. If you grew up in the 90s, heck even if you didn’t, look through your video game collection, no doubt you will see titles which are licenced titles in your collection. For me two standout licenced games are of course Goldeneye on the Nintendo 64, and a GBC Speedy Gonzales title (Aztec Adventure).
Okay I admit Speedy Gonzales released in 2000, and wasn’t that highly reviewed. But overall it did have a solid platforming experience while been I guess an easy title for children in some respects. But I was a child dam it! And it did present some interesting ideas, such as the speed boat levels. But whatever.
I guess this doesn’t really help the argument that the 90s was filled with quality licenced titles, which while I haven’t started debating that point yet, it is a solid point. That the 90s did represent a good line of good licenced titles, however it did also have its bad licenced titles.
The point is they were plentiful, magical, unique experiences. Which while titles were been made which where new IPs in these genres, these licenced titles are what made the period a magical success. They complemented the industry.
It is the good titles which made licences an attractive proposal, and of course a more expensive proposal. Especially for not so good licences. This resulted in of course a decline in licenced games. Which is interesting because as an industry licenced material isn’t as common as it once was, while if you look at movies, comics have been licenced into movies for quite some time, and are still popular. It is interesting to see that while those comic movie adaptations do get a few games, there really the only major driving force for licenced material in games.
We haven’t really since seen licenced titles for a while which take a fresh look at the IPs they are licenced from. Which is a bit sad, we had Injustice recently, but that wasn’t really as big of a bang as it should have been. It had its issues, but it wasn’t a title which would sour people on licenced games, and an amazing adaptation of the Justice League world. However we also had the fizzle out of the James Bond licence for video games, with what possibly looks like Activision losing the IP, not giving it up. The titles it created at the various studios it intrusted with the IP had major issues.
I would like to see an Inception video game for example. A unique take on that in the video game world could present a very interesting story with a fresher take on what the movie provided by been able to tell it in an interactive medium. However these sort of games will never happen, primary due to costs. With the publishers which can afford these IPs more focused on making the guaranteed deals, someone will always be making Star Wars for example (EA just closing a major deal with Disney), as well as no doubt the 007 licence will be presented to someone else in a nice little bow. These are titles which will always be released one way or another, but it seems publishers are more concerned with these safe bets, I don’t blame them. But these safe bets are not necessary ones which relate well into the video game environment and medium. I suggested Inception in this article, with the collation the IP has with memory and life, it could be presented in a numerous number of genres and be a solid experience still truthful to the story. However we have things like 007 which while it could work in a visual novel title genre for example, it never will, because it doesn’t translate well into that medium for the maximum exposer. There are so many other IPs out there which are imagining in recent years which have the power to become major sellers for video games, even if their original adaptation is long gone, or long forgotten.
My point seems to be, however badly articulated is that there are big horizons in licenced games far beyond what they have been become in recent years for the video game industry. Many ideas have been presented in other mediums which would be a benefit for the video game industry to take those ideas and create their own experiences on the respective medium.
Now you ask, if that is the case that Watch Dogs reminds you ever so much of Person of Interest, isn’t it the same world really crafted into a video game which mimics its style enough to be a game version of Person of Interest. Or something to that effect you ask as you scan down my article trying to figure out what my point is.
Well I say, in response to that of course. Watch Dogs isn’t the world crafted in Person of Interest. That would be plagiarism, and really the worlds are pretty far apart. Despite the connection been there. In Watch Dogs you’re a badass hacker who hacks electronic items. It is the interconnectedness which links back to Person of Interest which the AI behind the whole world is like, the only time a Person of Interest game would play like Watch Dogs is during the 24 hour period of complete admin control the characters had in the latest season. (Not a spoiler, I didn’t say who or what happened with that control, and it was mentioned quite a lot through the season it’s what would happen, so sssh).
Though the point of using an already create IP, is one because it’s already know by the public. Secondarily as well because in some cases, especially this one, the world and ideas created can’t be matched by mimicking the style presented in the series. By using what is presented you create a good solid interpretation of the presented material, and in this case Person of Interest as a video game is what the industry needs. By using licenced material, it creates a solid fresh output sometimes, especially in times of Call of Duty and Mario. There needs to be a hero, and that is John the bullet to the knee shooting sociopath and his trusty tech nerd.
The brilliance of a Person of Interest game would be that the world, this interconnected world which is present in Watch Dogs would be present in Person of Interest, but under everything. It will be an amazing leap forward in what technology allows, as well as what a gamers general expectation of video game is. It will entangle the game the player plays with the back end logic so well it would be an explosion of actions and AI which happen.
And it’s not like they don’t want to licence out Person of Interest, after all there is an anime in the works apparently. So maybe a game would happen, it could already be in development, you know how things like that work.
However I think a later announcement and development would be good for the game if it happened. The world is so entangled with many little bits of information, a complete outlook of how that works in the grand scheme of things would allow them to pick and choose events and stories to craft a unique world using what has been set out while been cannon.
I think the overplayed idea of everything having to be open world, would do amazingly well for a Person of Interest game. With a sandbox mode which is in vain of how in Watch Dogs you can wonder off and help people been an interesting approach as well. Remember the numbers keep coming, so while the main story might focus on Elias, you might be seeing side “missions” popping up relating to other people who have appeared in episodes, such as one of my favourites from the newest season, Dr. Nelson, who gets poisoned (and they are too late because of the machines virus) and it’s an amazing episode from a character development point of view. But anyway.
Scratch the whole sandbox idea, it’s played out. Something magical could be made by restricting the world and making it more story based. Maybe episodic titles which cover a few episodes of the television show each release. Something which can retell the stories in an interactive manner, and of course retain the deep and meaningful ideas. Though sandbox could work, and would probably be better for an IP which would be deemed a risk, something magical could be made by looking into other genres and presentation styles for the title. Especially if for example if you go back and one of the major episodes (if we are doing episodic content, which in this scenario is the thing), the machine with the virus has already been established so episodic wise starting with Dr. Nelsons episode (In Extremis) and doing the final two episodes in the season (which essentially I’m saying do the final three episodes in the season if episodic as a major episodic title thing). Which makes common sense really, but the episode In Extremis makes the characters week really, and not been there to save the P.O.I sets up the rest really nicely. It would be an amazing episode in an episodic based title.
So essentially in summary, episodic content in some kind of mini world which still retains the in depth sandbox style of Watch Dogs would result in amazing bite size titles which can cover the key points of the season and wrap up the story in a good way for video gamers.
Posted on May 13, 2013 in Games by Trent Petronaitis.
I am living in an alternative reality where EA has just announced that they have recalled the retail version of Sim City. Why? Because in this reality they are just following my master plan to restore the both the brand, and fix the game.
You would have to be living in a cave to wonder why such a thing would be required. Over the past week, which I call launch week, the game has launched in a wild variety of locations with the fundamental problem been caused by always on DRM.
Firstly, let’s look at what EA has publicly said they are doing during this period of time to relieve stress on the servers. They have released a patch which removes some features such as achievements, region score board and of course removing the ability to speed up the game, the lovely cheater speed has taken a rest.
Of course logically they are fixing the servers, or at least preforming some kind of maintenance or releasing more servers for the game or something as well. Right?
EA has also allowed people to request refunds, which is great. But they have also went back on that promise straight away, which is bad.
Currently there are petitions online which request that the always on DRM is removed from the game, as well as any future game EA produces. While an appropriate action to get them to notice fan rage against this particular matter, I do not believe the petition will work. As many petitions are ignored for one, and for two always on DRM does provide EA with money. However it does hurt their public image.
Which brings me back to my original statement, by recalling the game from retail shelves, this will send clear message that they know there are issues with the game. This will turn off the retail sales of the game while the current owners of the title can use the title still. EA can use this current install base to test patches and essentially bring the game back into beta for a period of time, while giving gamers who bought the game continued access to the title.
So what will be patched out? Primarily the DRM, particularly the game downloader launcher.
A few things will also need to be introduced and should be introduced once this reliability on the servers has been removed. For one, the game shouldn’t need server access just to play single player. With the ability there if a gamer wants a friend to play, allow them to host the region Peer to Peer, dedicated, or find a server from the list they can “upload” their save data to and use, then “download” it to take the server offline and make it a single player game once more.
During this forced beta, further optimisation of the game can happen as well as the second biggest complaint right now with Sim City, which is the city size, can be fixed. Even as far as reintroducing terraforming. Allowing players to create their own regions by terraforming the region, then dragging city limits into the region and then putting in the main transportation links.
Also new features in general, like subways would be nice.
These changes if introduced for free, and as soon as possible, will generate good will towards EA as well as the game in general.
Regardless of what happens, hopefully the fundamental issues with server satiability will be fixed allowing more players to play the title.
I think it should also be mentioned that mainstream media has picked the server issues up as a news item.
Something I’ve been doing quite a lot of, of late is playing The Sims 3. I pretty much have all the expansion packs for the game now due to countless Steam sales, I also essentially had all the expansions for many of the other versions in the series. Now something has struck me as I get the house building craze and let my Sims run around in the house before making them die in the pool (you also need to build a wall around the pools now, you can’t just remove latters. Wah), is that the games expansions and the game overall just doesn’t feel as complete as the previous versions. With the reboot of Sim City coming up, and Sims 3 starting to feel stretched out, is it time for its own reboot or Sims 4 to arise?
I think my main issue with the series has always been the games are never the definite version as more get released. Yes there are some nice new features added, but for the most part the original Sims Complete Collection is still the best version. It also comes down to another main problem which each Sims game gets the expansions essentially remade for them.
I’ve made a list of expansions which really should be in the main game. However I’ve avoided stuff like Livin’ Large which is an old school proper expansion game. Where that game essentially added more levels, characters, etc. Instead of major expansions feature wise.
Expansions which should be included in the basic package should be:
House Party (1), Hot Date (1), Night Life (2), Late Night (3); The addition of a last night activities and club life as well as house parties and flirtatious fast paced life should be default in the game.
Unleashed (1), Pets (2), Pets (3); I have to say it, but why is the pets expansion made three times, always late or in the middle of the expansion cycle and offers nothing really expansive outside the inclusion of pets. Pets are a staple in many homes, and a simulation on life itself should include pets right out of the bag.
Superstar (1), Showtime (3); The celebrity based Superstar expansion was my favourite of the original game. I liked creating the movie studios and stuff which goes into the community lots in Superstar, and the simple fact that these expansions added celebrity status options to your Sim which gave the various jobs a much more interesting appeal.
University (2), Open for Business (2), Free Time (2), Apartment Life (2), Ambitions (3), Generations (3); these life expansion/hobby/educational/work based expansions which were quite often from the second generation of the Sims need to be in the base game.
Seasons (2), Seasons (3); I think it’s self-explanatory. In this day and age Season features, as well as Weather features in a life simulation should be included in the base game.
Overall the rule for base game inclusions from expansions should be if it is in direct coloration to everyday normal life in this day and age, as well as in general what a gamer expects from a new release in the series, (and in general what might need to be done so it doesn’t feel stale at launch- which was an issue with Sims 3) it should be included.
Expansions which make sense as Expansions:
Primary the Expansions which make sense are the ones which add a different flavour of life and mythology to the series. As well as the more story driven injected aspects to the game.
These include Makin’ Magic (1), Supernatural (3) for one. The magic based and supernatural based aspects while I’d love to inject into the main game, feel more of an addition rather than a feature which has to be there.
Also Vacation (1), Bon Voyage (2), World Adventures (3); essentially life exploration in different worlds or holidays, it should be an expansion. As an expansion it should also add additional ideas to remain fresh such as maybe, I don’t know, the ability to stay at people’s houses in different parts of the map you live in? Also more story. Expansions need story and purpose.
Expansion Strategy needs to change full stop:
Overall we have reached a time when EA just replicates the expansions again and again. Just look at the list I’ve included of what should be in the default game. For the most part, many of those expansions were done three times. So in all three of the games, the expansion in some way or another has appeared. Not one of these has only appeared in one version, with the rest been replicated in at least two of the series.
Something which started primary in Sims 2 and especially in Sims 3, is the expansion Stuff Packs. These are not inherently bad, but at the same time in their current form and price are.
For The Sims, EA’s store idea is a good idea. The ability to buy items for the game from an online store. However so much of the execution is forceful and overpriced it doesn’t make sense for the consumer to invest in these options because of this. The store should be their primary outlet for Stuff Packs, which should become cheaper along with store items. When a full set can cost almost as much as an expansion, there is something wrong. You do save if you buy more points, but who wants to pay $160 for the top amount of around 30,000 points? Yeah that is a considerable saving, but the content use isn’t there. 1000 points = $10 otherwise, which means with most sets over $10 complete, that is crazy, especially when expansions come in at around $20 now the game has gotten a little older.
So once the prices are considerably cheaper, EA should use the Sims store as the only way to provide extra content when it comes to this DLC style stuff, and not true expansions. There is no reason a stuff pack should be on Steam or Origin, when its content obtainable from the store for example.
Expansions themselves should also come in at a must cheaper price. In Australia for the most part an expansion launches at RRP wise half the price of the full game when it came out. Which doesn’t seem bad. But in practise is a considerable chunk of cash. Especially when expansions usually expand the game at all, outside of one or two unique features and then a considerable amount of essentially reskinned clothes or items.
Expansions should appear on other services, but they should also be cheaper then they currently retail for at launch. The main output and direction of an expansion should change to offer more story based missions or objectives users can complete with their Sims in the various locations.
The main problem is what has become of the community lots in Sims 3:
Community lots for the most part in The Sims 3 should just not exist. As they consist of premade placable building structures, and if you wanted to build your own there isn’t much you can create yourself on a community lot.
There is this nice feature which I’ve noticed (it seems new probably from one of the expansions I recently got), which is the blueprint option for building houses. This annoying community feature could be less annoying, and in fact useful if it was functional with the blueprint aspect. Which means buildings retain the more traditional building aspects which the original titles had in their community lots, and the customization returns, with the addition if the user wants to use premade structures there by using blueprints.
Scale back social. It is a curse of the late 00s:
I don’t know about you, but reading social status updates about The Sims is quite boring. There latterly is no purpose for Twitter or Facebook integration, even The Sims own social profiles in the title when it comes to sharing what you are doing within the game. It just seems so boring to read, and unless an amazing glitch happens or your sharing your house (which can be done by other means) there is not much feedback or communication which can happen socially using the social network aspects of the title. In fact this is a curse for all games coming out of the late 2000s which includes social media additions. It was a shark they jumped on, without releasing there wasn’t much point.
For me, for social networking to work, it has to be social. Which means posts have to be from directly from the user. Achievement announcements are nice, but they clog up the list, which makes them overally annoying unless they appear only on the games social page or digital distribution platform. Social integration in games, breaks gameplay when it has to be a post which the user has to make within the game. If this is taken away and its automatic, then it isn’t very social and limits the users interaction with the social networks, unless they specifically go to them to reply to it. So if it is a social interaction which is desired during the game, it is impossible without been overally annoying with promotes etc. telling the user that someone else has replied etc. Which The Sims 3 already has a range of annoying tutorial messages and promotes it shoots out which easily becomes a backlog. So in short, social is pointless in The Sims, even though it seems like the perfect game to use it.
A reboot is needed, which needs to expand on what has already been laid down, and including the majority of the expansions without becoming stale. Additions to the games building mechanics should be worked on by maybe working with building groups etc. So they can work out what is doable in certain positions etc. Homes these days are completely different, with domes and other objects becoming common instead of squares.
Also the world should no longer be some static map pregenerated. What about some unique generation algorithm which users can include and add things into the map etc. to make the experience as different and as unique as possible. Or use Sim City 5 maps?
In short, The Sims has become stagnate as a series, and while it still sells well. If EA continues down this path they have it will become more and more casualised and less and less profitable in the long run, without a massive halt to the series then a reboot like Sim City. Even then, the always on Online and other additions, seem anti customer and many feel it could have been left alone.
The original has so many different features which have since been left out and not expanded on, which should return. (Such as the badass robot butler).
Posted on December 27, 2012 in Games by Trent Petronaitis.
If you read one Game of the Year article this year, make it this one which I’m currently writing, and is no doubt finished, and you are no doubt reading it on my blog. You know this one. That one which the poor writing makes your head explode because I’m trying to be clever with, you know that one.
So what games have I found this year which tickle my interest and are good games?
None. Zero. Zilch. Nothing.
Well not really. There are a few games I’ve found interesting, so I’m going to go over them for you.
This year I will go over a few categories; AAA budget or publisher Winner, Indie Winner and of course Australian Winner. Then a few shout out to some upcoming titles of 2013. The ones which make you want to buy games and play them. Not the kind which you hoard in your Steam collection. Wasting way GBs on your hard drive.
AAA Budget or Publisher Winner: Sleeping Dogs
And of course the overall winner.
Because I finished the game.
Me finishing a game is a very rare thing you see. Let’s use an example of one of my favourite series Zelda. The majority of these titles I’ve only gotten to the end section. Otherwise most I haven’t gotten far in at all. But that aside.
I finished the game, and I loved every moment of it.
The reason why I bought the game was because it was cheap at the time presale on Green Man Gaming. Seriously, that is the only reason why. At some stage I was interested in the game prior to release, but for the most part the game wrapped itself around my head and became one of those titles you find something wrong with, then start thinking maybe you could forget about it, then you forget about it, your interest fades in it, then you forget it even came out until you look on your Steam list and you see the game glittering there in its dimmed out state.
However at some point before launch I got on the hype train, and while I questioned it, the game itself was very enjoyable. Overall I thought it was just that same old GTA style sandbox game, however when I played it, it had a soul, it wasn’t some dimly lit game derived of all personality, it was an amazing game which the story, the gameplay, everything worked together. Even the DLC is amazing, it adds a sort of quirkiness of a Saints Row 3 vibe to it with the randomness to the DLC, it’s the kind of DLC games should have, especially ones like Sleeping Dogs where the story can’t really be expanded on much post game.
Speaking of the story, and the overall game. There’s this point where, I’m going to spoiler it. You see the main character is obviously undercover, to the point he’s gone way to deep and forgotten pretty much the cop side of his life. But enough about that, this guy is at the point where people are starting to find out about him, and of course at the same time, the story is at a stage where it just seems like it’s going to continue the way it was. It wasn’t heating up, it was in some ways, it was interesting, but nothing major. Then there is a fucking torture scene essentially, and it’s fucking epic. Then your drugged, the protagonist weak as all shit because of the torture and the drugs, and you have to fight your way out of this building before your friend gets fucked over….EPIC. Then the rest of the story around that point just gets really dam fast paced and fucking crazy.
The best part is the ending. It’s like some kind of zen moment where the new person in charge of the whole outfit recognises that you exist, but because of all the stuff you did, she’s going to just let you be. It’s awesome, then you can play the game from that point like any other sandbox game and mow some people down in your car or shoot the shit out anything.
There is also so much to do and collect, to the point I almost 100% the whole game. Now I hope to god my save exists somewhere either in the cloud or on the old hard disk somewhere, because I played that game so much. Oh it was grand. That is why, it wins out right. That is why, if you haven’t played it and I just spoiled it, you should play it (the story is much more intertangled and interesting then what I described anyway. Oh it isn’t perfect, I’m not saying it is, but its dam close to everything you want in this type of game.
Indie Winner: Little Inferno
You know those games which you double dip on, either because you own it on Steam and you think they have too much power these days and want a DRM free version. Or because you long since realised you don’t own it on Steam at all and it’s super cheap during one of those sales. Oh my.
This is one of those games which I did double dip on, preordering the title before release, then picking up the Wii U digital version. (Oh and cheating to 100% the Wii U version). You know this is one of those kinds of games which should be on the top of everyone’s lists when you buy more than one.
So from one of the creators of World of Goo, then that guy who made that weird DS game which was a puzzle game on the bottom screen and a platformer on the top. You know Herry Hatsworth or whatever it is. You know the game I hated to shreds.
Those people made Little Inferno. Which means clearly that alone it’s a winner.
The simple idea of the game is you burn things in a fireplace. With a sinister overlay of you been a little kid all alone burning your toys and various packages you somehow can afford locked up inside just keeping warm during the winter. Some weird parallels acquitting to that’s what gamers do on their computer screens, and other weird environmental things. Oh even the developers saying it’s meant to be a rip at Zenga somehow. Don’t ask me, because that reference went over my head, I think.
Oh the music, it is amazing. That is also something which needs to be said.
So in summery the indie winner is Little Inferno because burning dangerous stuff while relaxing in the boiling hot summer of Australia and having a beer is the best way to play a puzzle game.
Australian Winner: EscapeVektor
While at the time of writing the upcoming complete version of the game for 3DS and Vita digital shops hasn’t come out yet. The game still takes the crown because of previous experience with the title in form of Chapter 1 which released on the WiiWare service a year or two back. I can’t remember. The point is, the game came out in some form. Which means it can win before I even play it. Logical isn’t it?
I wont say much about the title, mainly because its getting late and I want to finish this today, otherwise I’ll procrastinate and this article will never be finished. That and I still have three other games to write about. In the end the game can be summarised into “Pacman if it was some futuristic game popped up on steroids”.
Cause you go from line to line filling in the zones, avoiding the monsters, collecting things if they exist, finding the exit.
Upcoming Titles of Note AAA Budget or Publisher: Watch_Dogs
So the best part of E3 this year, was I decided to watch the conferences because I can. One of the ones I watched live was the Ubisoft one. Which had the surprise of Watch Dogs, or as it’s known in some circles for some reason Watch_Dogs. Which as the trailer was playing, all I could think of is “fuck this is essentially a Persons of Interest meets GTA video game”.
You see I had been watching quite a lot of Persons of Interest, which is a TV show where the two main protagonists go around with some crazy machine which links together all digital data and eavesdrops to create a database of threats and allows them to do awesome stuff with electronics and personal interlinked profiles of people. It’s interesting. It’s awesome. It’s what Watch_Dogs looked like in my tired state and still does.
No doubt it won’t be 100% like Persons of Interest and for that I will hate it but still, every time I watch an episode of the TV show I just slam my head as to why there isn’t more games or shows like this on the market, and remember Watch_Dogs and go “I hope this releases on the Wii U cause this will be one of the games were the tablet will make some sense”, oh and the whole “Watch_Dogs = Persons of Interest if it was a game like GTA” thing.
In summary, the most hyped game for me this year, is a game I relate to something else, and no doubt will not be like that something else.
Upcoming Titles of Note Indie: Prison Architect
Who remembers Theme Hospital? I do, so when the people behind Darwinia (lol that isn’t there most known game, but dam it I’m making you work for my knowledge…(that and its my favourite outside of PA)…) decided to make this Prison Architect game, that is all I thought of.
Also unlike Watch_Dogs which so isn’t going to be like Persons of Interest. Prison Architect will be so much like Theme Hospital. The whole game is currently in Alpha and it expresses a world which has some crazy simulation gameplay around Prisons, as well as some amazing story design for the main campaign even though for now it only is used to present itself as a tutorial.
This is something I’ve been playing quite a lot of, and will continue to do with each improvement. Simulation games are one of my favourite genres. So buy this game dam it!
Upcoming Titles of Note Indie: Don’t Starve
Like Prison Architect the game is already available by buying the Alpha. Which is available on Steam and from the developer’s website. The title is available for browser (Chrome specifically) or PC download for now.
I’ve praised this game in the past for it been one of the many games which have been slowly trickling out more survival inside them. Survival games are good. The more games with survival elements the better. Until I get sick of them and boot up some ancient console and play Space Invaders.
So you go around collecting stuff which you can use to craft various items. Oh it also has some weird science system and crazy creepy monsters. Oh and pigs which help you fight spiders. Fun.
Posted on December 16, 2012 in Games by Trent Petronaitis.
So I was playing this video game called Don’t Starve recently, it is a game which to put it simply you run around collecting various natural elements so you can build stuff and then use that stuff to hunt, as well as gaining research to get more stuff to build. It is, essentially the type of game I want to see more of.
I’ve talked about the rich lush pastures which can be explored in survival games before, from my praise at Minecraft been a title which can essentially be whatever you want it to be, to my passion for the Survival Kids (Lost in Blue) series by Konami. With the disappointment that goes by each E3 when there is no 3DS or Wii U sequel announced for the series since the horrible experiment style Lost in Blue trilogy and its Wii version.
I believe after the success of Minecraft games are splitting off to capture the survival aspects of the title, in return heading more and more towards the lost series of survival games in vain of Survival Kids (Lost in Blue), with more upgraded gameplay.
The methods of merging native items to create an object isn’t an old gameplay mechanic. In fact, the series I’ve mentioned twice already by Konami has seen this idea even in the original Survival Kids title. What the future holds and games like Don’t Starve are showing, is that these systems are still common desirable features in video games, and that the evolution of user interaction will develop better ways to communicate these features to consumers who are picking up and playing the titles.
With games like Tokyo Jungle and I am Alive emerging creating more choice for consumers in general, and as well as honing in on expanding the genre, I believe the next big genre clearly is survival. Whether it is in vain of Survival Kids or expanding the ideas into already established genres, the future holds more survival aspects in all our games. Just look at ZombiU with its one life policy, while not a unique feature, it is a breath of fresh air into the genre which is hardly used. A sign of the times, as we move towards experiences which are immersive and critical to stay alive.
Posted on November 21, 2012 in Games by Trent Petronaitis.
Every so often the industry decides a genre is worth investing billions of dollars in and creating millions of sequels based around a flagship IP in this genre. First Person Shooters are always popular, but the military shooter is a creation of resent which has spawned a billion dollar market for these type games. So what will be the next game which starts the genre fuse which explodes the market? I believe it is Survival, and the game to start this fuse has already happened, it was Minecraft.
Minecraft was released a few years ago, the game having an amazing aspect to it that it could be anything the player wanted it to be. Essentially an amazing video game LEGO world. However it did have a strong survival theme to it, which I believe started developers and publishers alike thinking “gamers want this”.
Since this fuse was lit, we have started to see more games with survival based aspects in them. While many of the games are not directly survival games, it shows the diversity of the games in which the genres principles could be applied to.
For me however, I’ve always liked survival based games. One of my favourite series been Konami’s Lost in Blue (Survival Kids). The handheld based series which has appeared on Nintendo platforms giving while giving a nice solid approach to the genre. The only down side has been that the later games, specifically the DS games have felt like experiments as the developers learn the new device and start to think how they could adapt the game to the device in general. This effect clearly been seen across the market, as the games didn’t do well and has resulted in Konami once again abandoning the series. I believe simular games are to come at some point, as the survival direction is explored by developers and I believe Konami shelving the series again will affect them, especially considering the series has a solid devote amount of fans and brand recognition.
We are already starting to see these survival influences starting to push out more serious survival games. From I Am Alive and Deadlight which both released on Xbox Live to even games like DayZ. These influences are starting to shine through and show there is a market for these games. The only downside is these games are created quite poorly, which in return will leave gamers hungry for a series survival game, and sour to the IPs already established.
While DayZ is quite messy right now, I believe it will kick start another flame which burns for the survival genre in video games. Once the standalone version is out, I believe it will be taken much more series by gamers and designers alike. Which means more eyes on the survival genre, and more survival ideas injected into other series.
There are so many ideas which could be explored survival wise, from simple basic lost on an island survival which Lost in Blue offers, to post-apocalyptic starving for supply style games like I am Alive and even games like DayZ which injects Zombies into the formula. There are even other ideas which are not really shown in modern games, maybe survival from a point of view of an animal. The amount of diversity in the survival genre which can happen, should happen. It isn’t about why, it’s more about when.
Posted on August 12, 2012 in Games by Trent Petronaitis.
The movie industry does it, the music industry and book industry also do their own sort of reboot thing as well. Why not video games? Well while they do happen they are never good, and they are also pointless and soulless.
At some point there were rumours Nintendo wanted to reboot Zelda, or maybe that was just a wet dream of many fan boys produced based on the resent performance of the series and the overall desire to make it something it isn’t. At the end of the day the series has core elements such as a strong mythology, exploration and puzzle system which is the series strong suit.
One such Zelda title which had the best mythology and legend was Majoras Mask. It came off the back of highly successful critically acclaimed Ocarina of Time. It was also very much story driven as well, which means reading between the lines and the ability to construct the title over and over again would be much more plausible then Ocarina of Time, and its surprising that the series backbones have come from the later more than Majoras Mask. Because its more story based, it makes interpretations and call for a reboot like the following more possible without distorting the legacy the title built and the legends included.
Link is broken. He has lost his soul and has somehow transverse to a world which never exists again. It raises questions if it even did exist, especially when the mythology presented in the world is drastically different to Hyrule legends. Then on top of this drastically different mythology the people and places have a homey feel to them. Somehow the more you remember and think back to the times playing the title and think that yes Link is broken, it starts to make you wonder- is this just his mind? After all Links Awaking, was clearly either his mind or a giant fishes mind which conjured a land for him to set his adventure in. LA also had the goal of freeing as a major theme in the title, just like Majoras Mask. The game has strong themes of trying to move on while still hanging on to a strand of the past, with Link having to move on while battling through and saving the land.
Clearly Majoras Mask was created from Links head, he has gone crazy and his mental breakdown has created a similar world which at the same time is so drastically different. Just like in Links Awaking. Both times these simular games have appeared, timeline wise something drastic and unexpected has happened to Link. In this case the events of Ocarina of Time, has had a mind altering effect on Link.
The song variety is drastically different and the majority of the songs are of sorrow. The Song of Time links back to Zelda and tries to establish a connection with a world gone by. This song takes Link back in time to a time which the world still has hope, and more importantly still when Link had some shred of hope left.
Majoras Mask has themes which exist and could be amplified which can be likened to the game been what an American McGees Alice would be like if it wasn’t Alice in Wonderland but the The Legend of Zelda. However for the most part the game isn’t like Alice where her struggle is the front and centre, instead Links struggle is behind the scenes and the people in the world are the key focus. Most importantly many of the characters have issues, which means clearly each character represents someone Link knows and the issues he is facing.
Now these ideas are in your head you can’t help to think if Majoras Mask was remade to increase these themes stronger, would it be the same game? If you have decided it will be the same game, will it be better or worse?
Posted on June 28, 2012 in Games by Trent Petronaitis.
Video games need to evolve their publishing methods, already other industries have changed, but for the most part Video Games are stuck in the stone ages. Yes we are seeing digital distribution on the rise for the most part, but it’s not been embraced as much as possible, especially when the idea of a physical copy is still a strong contender in swaying purchases.
One such industry which has made waves changing the way their products are published is the emergence over the years of on demand publishing for books. While digital distribution has been catching on this hasn’t really affected physical media for video games yet.
On demand publishing for books has been applied for the most part to self-published books, however this approach could increase the life span of consoles by allowing continued publication of older titles. Which means as well that older games will have increased value because of the on demand method been applied to the production.
This on demand logic already exists across other industries and the video game industry in the form of digital distribution. However it hasn’t expanded outside of self-published books to expand industry momentum in other areas. The video game industry could benefit from this method of publishing as the retail sector becomes less viable and margins tighter.
This model however would work with more central on demand supplier in the following example. Picture this your shopping online and you can’t find a game anywhere, it’s out of print and anyone which does have it are dodgy websites or preowned titles. Without on demand publishing as a backup supplier, many games which would get extra sales are lost to pricy or not even considered further by the gamer. As they can’t obtain the title, the title is essentially lost especially when digital distribution for many older titles and retail games (bar PC) is minimal even by the companies who push those services the most.
In a world which there are on demand suppliers as a backup purchase option, gamers can obtain games which are no longer in print. While no longer in print sounds like “old generations”, it can also mean “current generation titles” with many new titles unless they are dudebro shooters ending up no longer published a short time after they are initially published. This system will allow gamers to obtain those titles, as well as even resent titles on demand, it will also allow prices to be more efficiently slimed down while at the same time limiting the need for excessive discounts for on demand purchases. If a title covers the manufacturing costs as well as a reasonable percentage to developers and publishers etc. The system would appeal to gamers as a viable way to obtain games. It also combats other legal and illegal avenues for published games.
Posted on June 13, 2012 in Games by Trent Petronaitis.
So E3 while still going on, could essentially be over right now. Watching the conferences streamed over the internet, the only real difference in experience is that I can’t get to play the games I am disappointed about.
Some companies could get away with what they showed, Microsoft and Sony for example. They are near the end of their respective consoles lives and should be keeping most of their big guns in reserves for next year. Nintendo however has no excuse.
Things looked amazing for Nintendo at the start when they revealed that there would be a Nintendo Direct, followed by a major conference dedicated just to Wii U, then lastly the 3DS software presentation as well as some roundtables. That in itself sounds like a full out preventive strike against the competitors which don’t have consoles coming out this year.
Things started to crumble down when big publishers such as EA and Activision had nothing really to show in regards to the Wii U at their conferences and of course Nintendos. Ubisoft however came into the picture with their usual expect titles.
One of the biggest revolutions for Ubisoft which makes them win E3 according to many, was their combination of game sequels, Wii U support and of course the big surprise at the end- Watch Dogs. What I dub was essentially what a video game version of Person of Interest would be like. Which is pure gold, a statement echoed by many. It is unknown what platforms Watch Dogs was going to appear on until after their conference when it was revealed the game shown was a PC build, and that it would also be heading to Xbox 360 and PS3. As well as been a next generation title, which could possibly mean Wii U- but it doesn’t.
The Nintendo Direct show was possibly the most informative when it comes to the Wii U. It gave gamers an informative look at the Wii U controllers as well as the online architecture.
When it came to the conferences themselves, little new games were revealed at all. With the big hitter new games revealed coming from the Wii U conference (Nintendo revealed nothing new at the 3DS one), and these titles include; Pikmin 3, Nintendo Land (shown to death at the conference) and then Game & Wario and P-100 not shown at all, but still been new unique IPs.
Switching over to 3DS mode for a few minutes during the conference Nintendo slammed three Mario titles into one rolodex of what was to be expected from the 3DS conference. Which dam well should have been taken at 100% reality, because the 3DS conference showed little to do with any other Nintendo IP besides the Mario titles. With the fact that Fire Emblem is heading to the 3DS in America buried as after conference material. Also Animal Crossing wasn’t shown at all. With the main third party games as well been titles we knew since forever.
Nintendo messed up especially when they are meant to be reannouncing the Wii U because of how the announcement went last time, and as well as the fact its launching this year.
Oh and the biggest blow in my mind is Killer Freaks from Out of Space becoming a generic Zombie title. At least Ubisoft did include some interesting ideas such as perma deaths, but outside of that I feel the game was patched up as a Zombie game to quickly and loses most of the charm the original concept had.
So besides Watch Dogs, the big title for me was Sim City for PC. It looks amazing. But moving on.
Nintendo should of condensed the conference they had down (and really it felt very stretched out anyway) and using the extra time have enough time to announce other titles which they forgot, as well as trying to give a clear look at the Wii U after launch. It doesn’t need footage just “these IPs will also head to the Wii U in 2013”. Gamers need to know there is more to the Wii U after launch, and right now it doesn’t seem that way.
Also Nintendo should have revealed Watch Dogs. I’m not too sure if it is going to head to a Nintendo platform, but if it is it should have been at prime centre. After Ubisofts conference, gamers were in tuned with what Watch Dogs could offer, if Nintendo had come out at some point during the conference and shown off a trailer and said “this is coming to Wii U”, it would of left an amazing dent in the overall E3 appearance.
The 3DS half also needed some other titles besides Mario. Nintendo in panic mode is horrible, they just keep pushing out the same title over and over. Animal Crossing and Fire Emblem should have been there. Also Nintendo should of revealed some games coming in 2013 to spur the pot more.
It is amazing that for a games conference, there isn’t much games.
Posted on June 7, 2012 in Games by Trent Petronaitis.