Weekend Short-Takes: 10/18/14

Halo Master Chief Collection Day-One Patch Weighs 20 GB


Simon Wu: 

First, I would like to apologize to any disappointed viewers of last week's stream. We were really excited about trying to make it work, but it's clear that some content and technical changes need to be made. We'll be working those out with John over the next couple of months, but most likely not in the form of another stream for some time. Second, with regards to the article at hand, I'm glad that I decided to wait for a console with a 1 TB hard drive. We first heard about updates of this nature when Microsoft dropped a 13 GB patch for Dead Rising 3. Now, before we can even play the game, Halo MCC needs a 20 GB patch? Sure, Microsoft seems to be suggesting the benefits of digital pre-ordering, since that will allow you to get going immediately, but it also confirms that 500 GB is far too small a hard drive. Recall that only 362 GB are usable, and that the MCC is over 65 GB. Without any further DLC, which is inevitable, that means less than six games of this type can be played at any time, to say nothing of apps or other media. 

Alex Miller: 

Just to briefly echo Simon, we are sorry the first attempt at a stream didn't go quite to plan, but we look forward to giving it another go in the future. As for the issue at hand, I think this is another chance to point out the terrible state of Internet infrastructure in much of the developed world. If more countries had internet like South Korea, whose SK Broadband is soon to unveil 10Gbps service, this would only be an issue of hard drive size as Simon pointed out. However, because many in the USA and other countries still get minimal, barely defined as "broadband" speeds, such as 5-10Mbps, this download is a major barrier to people being able to sit down and enjoy their games. One of the biggest benefits of consoles over PCs is the ease of use, being able to insert a disk and start playing. We are finding that, as these day one patches increase in size, this is not the case. Personally, I think that is one of the biggest failings of this new console generation. 


Do short games equal lost sales? One dev discusses the risks of brevity


Simon Wu: 

I actually would like a smaller, shorter game that is succinct and punchy for around $10 to $15. I can't list the number of games that I haven't finished because I just didn't have the time to dedicate to them. Far Cry 3, Fallout: New Vegas, and Dishonored spring to mind as unfortunate and regrettable casualties. Something I did complete, however, was Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon, because it was crazy, funny, cheap, and most importantly, short. Too often, I jump back into a game I'm approximately 43 percent through a month later and ultimately stop because I just can't bring myself to pick up all the aspects I left off. 

Alex Miller: 

I'm sorry, but reading this article I just can't help but completely disagree with Mr. Chielarz. He points out that people are perfectly happy with a AAA, full retail game being only 13 hours. If a full price game has no multiplayer, no additional content and I can get through it in 13 hours, I'm honestly going to feel ripped off. Just because things have been moving in a direction where games are getting shorter does not mean we need to be happy with this. I feel like games, as a medium, just don't fit the one sitting format as well as a movie. I think they are more easily equated to a TV show, where it takes longer to work yourself into it but with potentially more entertainment. And for those games that do fit into the one and done role, I feel they have to fall into a less expensive price bracket by default. People expect to get the most for their money. Telling them they are wrong to expect less is just dumb.


CoD: Advanced Warfare Dev Says "You've Never Played Call of Duty This Way Before"


Simon Wu: 

I would like to quote verbatim the co-founder of Sledgehammer Games: "I think that was really what that extra year gave us, the chance to break a few things." Ok, sorry, I took that out of context. It probably isn't broken, per se, but let's see here... the killer feature is an exoskeleton suit that gives the player extra abilities and motions heretofore unseen in Call of Duty? I have no idea what this could possibly sound like? (Hint: it may or may not be somewhere in the first story.) Or Titanfall. That too. 

Alex Miller: 

Ok, so they had three years to play around with the whole concept of Call of Duty, to give us something we have never seen before. So why exactly do we have something that seems to be exactly what we had before. They said they "push[ed] boundaries further than people were comfortable and then pull[ed] it back if we went too far." They could not have gone too far, so deep are the ruts this franchise is stuck in that anything they might think is too far I think would probably just be a good start. As Simon points out, it sounds like they have innovated all the way into the other half of clichéd shooters and yet somehow not changed anything. It's so frustrating watching this once-excellent series being wrung dry. You have to wonder, if this game continues Call of Duty's current downward trend, will Activision finally wake up to the state of the series? One can hope. 


Ubisoft "does not constrain its games"


Simon Wu: 

Ubisoft is understandably defensive about artificially constraining the performance of its games after the graphics debacle behind Watch Dogs. It's still clear, however disappointing, that was an odd fluke with the release delay and new console launch. They've since reaffirmed their commitment to making a graphically sound game by purposefully splitting the next Assassin's Creed into two different titles so that Unity is unconstrained by the holdover from the 360 and PS3. And that brings us to the whole 1080p/60fps debate. I agree with the statement from Unity's creative director Alex Amancio: "Is it the number of the quality of the pixels that you want? If the game looks gorgeous, who cares about the number?" Who cares about an arbitrary number, indeed, if the game is immersive, responsive, and truly looks great?

Alex Miller:

While I generally agree with Simon that the quality of a product is in no way defined by some arbitrary number, I do feel that as we are getting further into this new console generation, we should be seeing more of the fruits of the transition. 1080p shouldn’t be a massive thing to ask, it's been the standard HD definition in the movie industry for years, so how come this standard (soon becoming the minimum as 4K becomes more and more popular) is somehow unreachable? I understand that these new consoles have pushed what has been possible (draw distances and NPC density are at all time highs for consoles, for example), but I really don’t think its too much to ask for it to look nice as well, especially since we are presumably stuck with this hardware for the next half a decade. That I'm not being wowed by graphics yet is, admittedly, a little concerning.


Whiplash's picture

And here I thought the Dead Rising 3 update was ridiculous...

The whole obsession with 1080p is predicated on the irritatingly stubborn trend on overemphasizing graphics over gameplay. But it seems that we've either reached a final destination for graphics or we're still pushing even harder towards more realism. I can't wait for the day when games just turn into movies with little to no actual gameplay.

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