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  • Avatar for UnskippableCutscene UnskippableCutscene 1 days ago

    I think you guys that want "follow the arrow" mission-to-mission gameplay without a hub world are going to be left in the cold, unfortunately.

    An open world sandbox is probably just how we're going to do games now, going forward. Games ten years ago often opened with a cutscene and then a brief tutorial and then gave you a series of objectives to follow, sometimes numbered with a chapter number or something, but that's quickly becoming over and done with. It was done that way first because of the limitations of early systems, but also as a consequence of every game expecting you to add a story.

    At some point after the 16 bit era, the emerging success of JRPGs among other factors led to an expectation for many developers for an in-game story to be communicated to the player somehow, and a lot more games began adopting the RPG trope of yanking control from you and babbling about their fiction. Some games, obviously, don't need much of a story. Mario games will probably rarely have them. But even Mario 64 has the Peach's Castle hub world, and in games like BOTW etc these large 'open world' sandboxes effectively do the same thing, it's just less blatantly visible. And, for whatever it's worth, people loved the N64's early hub world mission design.

    The "linear" design is largely mimicking the feel of motion pictures. A story is already in motion as soon as you push start and you're just a starring actor going through set pieces and playing your part. Call of Duty, FF10-13, the God of War and Resident Evil series are all big name games that followed this example. Considering how much people seem to enjoy exploring a world and finding their feet, as well as the generation that is growing up enthralled with sandbox gaming (the Minecraft players, essentially), I expect a large sandbox world that acts like a mission hub to basically be a thing from now on, at least in real time mission/objective-based genres. Similar to how smartphones stopped using skeumorphic UIs a few years after most consumers figured out how to interact with a touchscreen, this is just how gaming works now, and it will be the defining feature of gaming as a medium just as the cinematic storytelling of the previous era was defined by movies.Edited 2 times. Last edited Yesterday by Unknown

    Posted in Farewell Visceral: The Push Toward the Destiny Model Claims Another Victim

  • Avatar for UnskippableCutscene UnskippableCutscene 2 days ago

    @swamped I'd say "linear" became an insult over time largely because people got tired of walking through what are obviously 3D rendered Disney rides. Some single player games managed to avoid this (how Shadow of the Colossus pulled it off is a miracle), but a lot of these campaigns are basically just going through the developers hallways and corridors, interacting with some set pieces and watching them do the thing they're coded to do, and then moving on to the next one. The feeling of being an active player stuck standing around, dancing back and forth, while NPCs go on their scripted walks and flap their lips to the sound of the voice lines played when they reach their directed points, it just felt so... robotic.

    The nail in this sort of thing really was Bioshock, since the plot eventually turned around to say, "gee, you really aren't allowed to give much input in this game, huh?" The sequel, though it did an amazing job of world-building, hit that same nerve with the force of a sledgehammer: a number of stages were literally based around the stagecraft and technique of Disney's dark rides, wandering between two-dimensional cut-out figures and leering at audio-animatronics in case they might make a move at you.

    Someone upthread commented on if RDR will include game-as-service, I fully expect it will have a successor to GTA Online because Rockstar has sold so much DLC for that thing that it probably generated as much money as a tentpole release while costing far less than one. But I do expect RDR will have a thorough single-player experience, because games like GTA don't feel as linear. They don't feel like theme parks. There are missions, and they are story driven, and your ability to veer off the rails and do something spontaneous are somewhat limited, but Rockstar litters an open world that feels alive and makes the player feel small with a number of missions, mandatory and optional, and it makes a more lasting impact than the next game trying to do the Half-Life thing of making you ride a scripted monorail ride for 3 minutes while the dialogue talks and the scripted vehicles and scripted people do their scripted routine.
    @catymcc I guess we have fundamental disagreements, then. I don't think "open world" is a problem, it's a solution the feeling of the "Disney ride as game" feeling I described above.Edited 2 times. Last edited 2 days ago by Unknown

    Posted in Farewell Visceral: The Push Toward the Destiny Model Claims Another Victim

  • Avatar for UnskippableCutscene UnskippableCutscene 2 days ago

    I knew an article like this would likely be published once I saw all the fretting on Twitter, so keep in mind when I vent I'm not venting exclusively at Caty or this story but just the meme going around online today. All I can say is: Seriously? EVERYTHING is going multiplayer? The year where Horizon, Zelda, and Nier are likely to clean up the GOTY awards? When a Shadow of the Colossus remake was announced? Really?

    "The big guys in the industry largely just don't make games like Uncharted 2 anymore."
    Those 'big guys' are working on a Last of Us sequel, and promoting it on the back of it's story.

    First of all, the conclusion that the game was canned because "it wasn't Destiny" is a really hardcore example of jumping to conclusions and scapegoating.

    "Game as service" is kind of a flimsy term for something that's been around longer than most people realize, but I bought the first Quake and it was some of the best gaming money I ever spent in that I spent a lot of time playing free maps and online mods like TeamFortress, Headhunters, etc. That game was an original game-you-never-had-to-quit, and efforts by a then-unified FPS community to keep providing new stages, new rulesets, new ideas (someone even managed to hack in an arcade racer) was like nothing I'd ever seen before or since. I bought into Quake 2, 3, then Unreal Tournament for years afterward. But these games never really "got in the way" of enjoying a lot of great games on the PS2 and Dreamcast, where online support could be described accurately as 'niche'.

    The games largely being targeted here have a few trends in common: western developers, and PC/Steam support. I think one argument is, multiplayer authentication servers are the strongest DRM there is. The kerfluffle over Sonic Mania woke the mainstream press up to a small number of cracking groups who are breaking Denuvo Anti-Tamper, but going back to Valve's authentication servers for the first Half-Life, to Blizzard picking it up for StarCraft a short time later, gating multiplayer behind an anti-piracy check has usually been a pretty golden way of limiting the amount of fun pirates get to have. Making the multiplayer experience an increasingly crucial element that can't be ignored even when playing alone is simply the next step in that. If you're the kind of person who turns up your nose at piracy and proudly boasts that you support the industry, try talking to someone with hundreds of gigabytes of ISOs of the games you paid for sometime. They'll tell you that even when the copy-protection is cracked, multiplayer is inaccessible. There's a couple odd games where that hasn't been the case, but the biggest was probably Borderlands 2.

    I absolutely think single player campaigns with little to no multiplayer options will continue, but it's going to be very focused on console exclusives (where paid multiplayer demands an offline mode, and piracy is largely not an issue), and Japan focused titles (because consoles). As PC gaming becomes a bigger part of western AAA development, you're going to see a focus on two things that the console developers and Japan won't: graphical effects that will put a $500+ GPU to work,
    and multiplayer-based features that turn the online and offline players into have and have-nots, respectively.

    Fortunately, there are other ways. There is a game with a very compelling single player experience that is wholly improved by multiplayer that doesn't ruin the single player at all. Unfortunately, if I remind you what it is, a hundred eyes will roll. (It's Dark Souls.)Edited 3 times. Last edited 2 days ago by Unknown

    Posted in Farewell Visceral: The Push Toward the Destiny Model Claims Another Victim

  • Avatar for UnskippableCutscene UnskippableCutscene 3 days ago

    Expected this to happen any day now for the past 13 years, since noticing that the last one looked a little too much like the Enron logo.

    Posted in E3 Exits the Dinosaur Age of 1995 and Finally Gets a New Logo

  • Avatar for UnskippableCutscene UnskippableCutscene 6 days ago

    Link To The Past was probably the first one. FF8 could have done it if only it hadn't launched here the same day as the Dreamcast.

    Since then there's only really been three: Doom 3's engine demo at Macworld 2001 was a blurry video full of promising new ideas, though by the time an alpha of an actual game appeared the next year it looked worse. Half-Life 2 at E3 2003 was an incredible development in adding lifelike properties to the world and materials in a game, and the subsequent leaked data from that demo that confirmed it could run on my machine and look just that awesome. Finally, although GTA4 gives me mixed feelings for it's themes, it felt like it took the physics and realism of something like Half-Life and applied the kind of immersive world-building that appealed to me in Shenmue.

    I still have that feeling now playing GTA5 on the PC this year. It's not because it's has cutting edge technologies that kick my GPU in the gut, it's because it has working traffic signals and legible menus outside restaurants and hundreds of unique buildings instead of stock pre-fabricated ones. I remember when colored lighting and curved surfaces were new concepts in 3D polygonal gaming, but my admiration of graphics today is less a reflection of the ability of hardware processing or engine features and more about displays of incredible talent working untold man-hours to create something so carefully considered that it feels like I'm transported to a place, and not simply the starring character running through a bunch of stagecraft.Edited 6 days ago by Unknown

    Posted in USgamer Community Question: What Older Game Did You Think Had Graphics That Would Never Be Bettered?

  • Avatar for UnskippableCutscene UnskippableCutscene 8 days ago

    I don't understand the press. Overwatch already has esports divisions and tournaments, even Blizzard organized ones like Pacific League, with the usual organizations and players people are accustomed to. OWL just seems to be doing the same thing, shaped horribly to the skewed American viewpoint of professional sports (notice that many major American cities have a franchise yet South Korea only has one). The whole thing seems geared to people who still pay cable for ESPN and have never watched a LAN event of any size online.

    People with hundreds of millions of dollars are looking an esports, a business largely run by entrepreneurs with hundreds of thousands of dollars (except in China), and going "hmmmm, I could easily become top dog in this space if I invested in it now." And OWL is Blizzard waving it's arms up and down and going "HERE HERE DUMP THE MONEY HERE"

    Posted in Inside the Launch of Blizzard's Ambitious New Overwatch League

  • Avatar for UnskippableCutscene UnskippableCutscene 20 days ago

    @CK20XX Yeah, this is what I was going to post. It's already made difficult to see any benefit to non-live content not because of Nintendo, but because of YouTube's arbitrary bot-driven "advertise appropriate" filter that apparently is heavily tuned to avoid anything violent or related to war footage, which trips up a lot of game videos since it apparently can't tell the difference between Assassin's Creed and a real political assassination.

    The pervasive themes of violent, war-like settings in video games is killing their ability to be monetized online. Ironically this means that Nintendo COULD be in a stronger position due to their lack of such things, but instead let's do this and possibly anger the Smash community.

    Posted in Video Creators Under Nintendo Creators Program Can No Longer Live Stream Nintendo Games

  • Avatar for UnskippableCutscene UnskippableCutscene 21 days ago

    I guess I'll have to play it myself some day, but I'm amused at how much of the criticism comes down to lore. Lore is the last reason I go to Nintendo games.

    I'm that guy that cringes and shies away from Zelda conversations when they go from "which boomerang did you like best" to the timeline (or worse yet, the timelines). In my head, Nintendo is still run by an ancient Lich-Man who thinks stories in video games are for nerds who should be reading books, and Howard Phillips is still inventing not-quite-canon explanations for glitchy game mechanics like Koopa shells that get kicked offscreen and never come back. Even the internet seems to understand, having birthed an inside joke of exalting "the rich, deep Super Mario lore" and obsessing over the details of Cappy and New Donk City.

    Suffice to say, story elements have never been Nintendo's forte, so people online have made a meme of ironically analyzing it to ridiculous depths. However, this particular Metroid is the first time I've ever seen a Nintendo game get docked THIS many points for dialogue and plot direction. My understanding is they attempted to give background shading to Samus, a character with very little dialogue outside of the Super Metroid opening, and it didn't align either with people's headcanons, old supplemental materials like Nintendo Power comics, etc.

    I dunno. Metroid fandom is just my least favorite part of Nintendo fandom. This is not saying the games are bad! Just the fandom is occasionally toxic as we've seen with Federation Force's debut, and I guess it's because they have the same issues of Zelda fandom (basically wanting more world-building from a company that spent two decades being rather non-committal about crafting a fiction and sticking to it) but with the added fanaticism that occurs when fans approach each new game in the series as the last one that they're going to get to play in their lifetimes. Metroid is always seen as this passion project that's eternally on life support, which makes the players take ownership of it even harder.

    As for the opening question, whether a first-party Nintendo game ever fell from grace so quickly, do you even have to ask? StarFox Zero wasn't even that long ago.Edited 2 times. Last edited 3 weeks ago by Unknown

    Posted in Metroid Game-by-Game Reviews: Metroid: Other M

  • Avatar for UnskippableCutscene UnskippableCutscene 22 days ago

    @Funny_Colour_Blue "if someone uses your I.P. and you don't defend it, if you don't protect your rights to it - the incident can later be used against you when retaining those rights to said I.P."

    That's not true. That's only the case in trademarks, where if you don't defend your trademark then you lose the claim to it. This is actually a problem for companies with brands that have become so ubiquitous that they fill in the blank for what they do. For instance, if Microsoft promoted Bing as "a google-style search engine from Microsoft" then it would deteriorate Google's trademark. Kleenex would be another example, "Uber" as a catch-all term for ride sharing being the latest socially common one.

    There's games out there that encourage a lot of fan work and aren't at risk of losing their IP (the guy who made Undertale is not at risk of losing his IP rights because of fanfiction), and in the case of this emulator there's a strong legal argument that the mention of Persona would be protected speech under the first amendment. If simply mentioning "this emulator works well with Persona 5" is against the law, then so is this news article on USG talking about it.Edited 4 weeks ago by Unknown

    Posted in [Update] Atlus Issued a DMCA Takedown on a PS3 Emulator Patreon Over Persona 5

  • Avatar for UnskippableCutscene UnskippableCutscene 22 days ago

    It always seemed to me to be pretty obvious that they wanted to give the family proceeds after covering what ever tax obligations they would take on in doing so. The vague details on international purchases is as simple as "tax laws around the world is a really complicated issue."

    Posted in Warner Bros Issues an Apology for Confusion Regarding Forthog DLC