Weekend Short-Takes: 3/29/13

Scrolls, the next game from Minecraft dev Mojang, launches in beta next month

Simon Wu:

I’m really liking Mojang’s audacity to break out of the mold established after it’s first big hit and not simply making more games in the same vein (of coal) as Minecraft (read: Rovio). They really started the concept of a discounted beta which, as we will see in the next article as well as what we saw last week with Steam Early Access, the industry is rushing to check out. Also, I’m hoping that the indie spirit sticks with Mojang and more of the smaller developers out there by telling venture capitalists and the like to kindly GTFO, so they can make a game that might be more niche but no less good, something that I would sincerely like more of the gaming industry get behind (read: Dead Space 3).

Alex Miller:

I think the last couple paragraphs were the most insightful and also he most inspiring of the entire article. Paraphrasing, because Minecraft is the success it is, there is no pressure to make something that will make tons and tons of money. Instead Mojang can focus on making what hey say hey want to make, which is excellent. I have a friend who is a huge Joss Whedon fan and once told me a quote of his: "I don't make anything that anyone likes, I make things that people love." This is the freedom that Minecraft has given Mojang, their games don't have to appeal to a wide audience, they instead can make something very, very good for a niche they want to target. Hopefully we see this quality over quantity mindset more in the future.

polygon.com

Sony open to buy-in alpha games for PlayStation platforms

Simon Wu:

My interpretation of how this is going to pan out: Sony will let you buy the alpha for full price, and then you will get updates thereafter. I can’t physically fathom Sony having the guts to actually let you get the full game for much less than the final retail price. I’d like to be proven very wrong on this. In addition, I’ve noticed in more peripheral news this week something that’s troubling: Nintendo’s detailing updates for both platforms, Sony’s trying to catch up here and showing off more controller, and Microsoft? Well, any news is going to be a month later than we thought. Great.

Jonathan Tung:

First Steam copies Kickstarter, and now Sony is doing the same thing. I’m seeing a trend here.

Alex Miller:

Given the at least nominal integration between Steam and PSN, it does not surprise me that Sont is following Valve's lead here. While I agree with Simon that there is almost no way full retail games will be priced any lower than standard price, I don't think those games are the aim of this. Instead, this might be an attempt to boost the sales of "arcade" games while at the same time giving them a better, more flexible pricing structure, something ladking on the Xbox that Simon and I have both been complaining about for a while now.

digitalspy.com

EA announces 'Battlefield 4' with a 17-minute gameplay trailer

Simon Wu:

I seem to be sighing deeply and resignedly a lot these days, and EA is the biggest cause. It’s visually arresting, yes, but all the textures in the world will not compensate for a game that is fundamentally the same as a certain game that will be less graphically intense but far more popular. The story is the same, and graphics alone aren’t going to win over legions of fans anytime soon; the next gen console arrival will make sure of that. Instead, it’s absolutely got to be content. Look, I’ll even appeal to EA on a business level here: take on CoD in its weakest spot: exploitation. See that 1600 MSP 3 map pack? Make it 5 maps for 600. See that subscription fee for Call of Duty: Elite? Make one that costs less or is free. Engage them in their strengths as well. See those star power commercials? Double them, or mock them. I personally thought the Bad Company parody ads were great.

Jonathan Tung:

After watching that 17-minute single player demo, I’m starting to get the feeling that EA is simply attempting to turn the Battlefield franchise into nothing more than a generic Call of Duty clone. In fact, some of the set pieces that I’ve seen are reminiscent of certain ones from Black Ops II in addition to some moments deliberately copied from Medal of Honor: Warfighter, which came out last year. As of now, I am not so sure if I should get the next Battlefield game, especially since there are much better titles that I am looking forward to on the horizon (I’m looking at you, GTA V). And speaking of GTA V...

Alex Miller:

Like that stunning to look at but empty to talk to model, CoD prides itself on being the envy of all other shooters. Battlefield, once the sweet girl next door that you used to play with all the time, tries more and more to shape and starve itself to be just like that model, and in doing so loses what really made it special. Battlefield has always been about team/squad based multiplayer, far different to CoD's lone wolf camping setup. Hopefully this reveal trailer was just focusing on how they will improve single player and the real multiplayer exposé is yet to come, because if Battlefield loses that, then it has truly lost everything that once made it special and unique.

Sunsets, Seas, Skies, and So on...

Simon Wu:

I currently seem to be in a satire phase, so for right now I’m more enthused about the sheer oddity and spectacle that is Saint’s Row 4, but I am also very excited for GTA V. I simply can’t wait, though, because I’m continually amazed by the mechanics that developers keep dreaming up just to add more variety, and also how good these photos look, because they are from current gen hardware. It looks like they’ve pulled in the full gamut of environments, and I could just spend a couple of hours driving around checking out the scenery while occasionally forcing a rival gang out of existence. Then of course, I’d go back to Saint’s Row and whack people senseless with a giant... yeah.

Jonathan Tung:

Rockstar Games recently released a series of screenshots for the upcoming GTA V that appear to confirm a number of things, among them the return of special weapons such as the Minigun, advanced weather effects, snorkeling, skydiving, and even epic car chases and so on. From what I am guessing, this is probably going to be the true GTA sequel that we have all asked for, specifically, one that happens to play almost exactly like San Andreas. This is a good thing.

Alex Miller:

Looking at these screenshots I'm ready to call a travel agent and book a holiday in San Andreas n the spot. These pictures make the game world look alive and fun. If GTA IV was a stark, cold, yet realistic game, these pictures seem to give some hope that this game will be every bit as realistic and beautiful while also returning the true fun to it. I look forward to Rockstar's latest offering.

rockstargames.com

Telltale's Fables is Called The Wolf Among Us

Simon Wu:

Again, going back to my comments on Battlefield above, while the next generation of consoles will give developers more latitude with graphics and performance, that alone will not carry the day. Innovative gameplay and intriguing stories will, and many of these games won’t even utilize the full extent of the new consoles’ processing power.

Jonathan Tung:

With The Walking Dead out of the way for the time being, Telltale appears to be going after a different comic book franchise, this time, one that I have never even heard of until quite recently. As long as this game has decent voice acting and plays a lot like The Walking Dead, The Wolf Among Us could become the next big thing in Adventure Gaming.

Alex Miller:

Telltales own style of immersive, descriptive gameplay seems like it will lend itself well to this title. After doing wonders with the last comic book world they interacted in, it will be interesting to see how similar this game is to the Walking Dead. Will it be the same car with a new coat of paint, or will they switch things up, maybe add in more active gameplay segments or other mechanics. With the job they did last time, my hopes are high to see something interesting come out of less known territory.

ign.com

Phantom Pain + Ground Zeroes = Metal Gear Solid 5

Simon Wu:

My comments above, once again. I’d also like to add that whatever is up with this quasi-dual game situation, I hope it’s more of the prequel-DLC type than some unholy hybrid of two games. Unless Kojima has something really innovative up his sleeve, but I wouldn’t exactly count on it. Also, isn’t the waking up tutorial one of the biggest cliches in video games? I want to see innovation on that front. Perhaps start a game by free-falling out of a plane and having to learn to pull the parachute within 10 seconds?

Jonathan Tung:

It looks like all that hype and rumor on the internet has finally paid off today after Hideo Kojima announced Metal Gear Solid V during a panel at GDC in San Francisco. While this comes as no surprise to anyone (save for those folks who rarely venture onto gaming sites), I am a little disappointed that David Hayter will not be reprising his role as Big Boss in this game. However, I did hear Keifer Sutherland in the trailer, so at least we get something better.

Alex Miller:

I agree with Simon that the dual game question needs to be answered as soon as possible. While some sense of mystery and question is probably a good thing as it is all too rarely gaming these days, the potential to turn people away from the aging series, or rather an inability to draw in a new audience due to the confusion, may be very bad. Hopefully this will be resolved soon, preferably with the pre-DLC then game option the route that is taken.

ign.com

Solifluktion's picture

At first I wanted to like the BF4 Trailer.

It's very cinematic and obviously the graphics are pretty great. However pretty soon the video  drifted into complete Call of Duty bullshit.

A chopper firing from 10 meters away at the marines without hitting any of them, the worlds sharpest knife and the stupid gl vs chopper action just seem out of place and would probably be too crazy even for Call of Duty. But then again I'm a big cynic what BF4 is concerned....after all BF3 ist still pretty fresh so there won't be any big changes to the multiplayer. But I guess we'll see how it turns out...a new Bad Company would be better imo.

Whiplash's picture

I'm sorry, but the graphics for BF4 look exactly the same as BF3. I don't see any distinct differences between the two whatsoever. Not only that, but now it's a CoD clone, with the over-the-top scenes and the overdramatic acting. Why can't they do what Spec Ops: The Line did and make it real and not a Michael Bay movie? People are waiting for a new one, and we will not tolerate this BS.

And I have to completely agree with Solifluktion. Another Bad Company would be great.

Solifluktion's picture

@Whiplash

Hey there is nothing wrong with looking exactly like BF3 since BF3 had some great graphics.but yeah it looks exactly the same and kinda feels more like a standalone expansion.

MarioDragon's picture

I still think Battlefield 3 is Bad Company 2 but with a different name to an incredibly popular sequel resulting in it's instant success. Battlefield 4 looks like Battlefield 3 which looks like Bad Company 2, and I don't know why I would want the same game twice. At least Bad Company has a decent FPS storyline.

LenZeppel1n's picture

I've never been a huge fan of the Metal Gear games, but I do admit that I like the trailer.  Appropriately batshit insane, and a really good song to boot.

Create New Account or Log in to comment