Weekend Short-Takes: 5/10/13

EA and Disney team up for Star Wars games

Simon Wu:
That didn’t take long. For those of you keeping track at home, it’s been a month and a week since Disney put Lucasarts out of its misery. The prospects for this partnership are manifold, but I see grave danger in EA taking charge. If there is a mythical Battlefront III, will it live up to our now messianic expectations. No. It may be Frostbite 3 and look amazing, but additional maps will be DLC with a season pass, multiplayer will have an online pass, perhaps the Galactic Conquest mode where you bought powerups, units, and fleets with in-game earned money might be supplemented or replaced with actual money. Without it, like the F2P model, you’ll be left with the base infantry unit and one fleet.

Max Gruber:
What in the actual f*ck? I’m not even the slightest bit surprised that EA have taken the lead role to pump out Star Wars titles. In fact, I would have been more surprised if someone like Ubisoft or Bethesda took the licensing for Star Wars. But, sadly, we’ll probably never see a Battlefront 3, unless EA also takes intellectual rights to the name Battlefront, which could be a good thing or a bad thing. I can just see what it’ll be like on the day of release: Day 1 DLC, DLC locked on the disk, tons of microtransactions—which is the exact opposite of how to do a “F2P” model—that few people will ever use. It’s not considered Free to Play if your audience has to pay $60 to play it, and then expect your customers to pay up through your shitty microtransactions. I’m not even in the slightest bit a Star Wars geek, and I’m already being turned off by this decision from EA to, once again, squeeze the last drop of milk from the cow’s udder.

Jonathan Tung:
All I want is Battlefront 3. Powered by Frostbite 3. Using the same materials and assets from Free Radical’s version of the game. But then again, this is EA that we’re talking about, so there’s a pretty high chance they’re gonna mess it up with Day-1 DLC and online passes. Still, I’m not so sure if this is going to help out EA in the long run, but given their track record with licensed video games in the past (including 007: Everything or Nothing, Emperor: Battle for Dune, and The Lord of the Rings games), I have really high expectations coming into this.

Alex Miller:
I just want to start off by saying I am happy about this. Surprising? “Oh Alex, why would you ever be happy EA is making Star Wars games?” I’ll tell you why: because anyone is making Star Wars games. Real ones, not cheap mobile cash-ins. For a little while there after Disney bought Lucasfilm we had no idea if we would even see another Star Wars game at all. So happiness that we are getting any Star Wars games aside, I’m still happy EA got this deal, or rather I am happy EA run studios got this deal. Imagine a Dice made Battlefront 3 on Frostbite, blowing up a building in Mos Eisley to find the one jawa inside would be awesome! And don’t forget Bioware, the creators of possibly the best Star Wars game ever made. Then theres Visceral, who if we are lucky will turn back towards proper horror gameplay. We haven’t seen much of that in the Star Wars universe (except for books like Death Troopers or the Galaxy of Fear Series) so it could be an interesting new direction. While the EA name may be all over this, just think of who is really making the games. Then you will know why I am going to be cautiously optimistic about these projects.

jeuxactus.com


 

New Star Wars Games from DICE and Visceral Are Powered by Frostbite 3

Simon Wu:
The next games will be visually arresting, as they must be to grab people’s attentions. I want to see a Battlefront 3 map or Republic Commando 2 arena with exponentially better graphics and realism, and to further increase the scale of gameplay. I want 64 or even 128 players on a simply gigantic Battlefront 3 map, built off of Battlefield 3. I want Republic Commando to recapture its dark and gritty edge with some slight tinges of survival horror from Visceral. However, I do need to stress that at this point, it won’t be very hard to blow away the previous entries in these series, seeing as they entirely skipped over the 360 generation. If they ever exist.

Max Gruber:
As I wrote earlier, I’m not a Star Wars fanatic, so my knowledge of any Star Wars game is more or less lackluster. I do like the idea of a Star Wars game being made with the Frostbite 3 engine, because it will provide us with some amazing gameplay mechanics that haven’t really been conceived since KotOR, especially the destruction tools that were brought up with the first iteration of the Frostbite engine. In addition to that, you also have the unbelievable lighting engine that will bring some gorgeous visuals, something that didn’t really come to fruition, considering that most of the Star Wars games were, generally, more cartoonish than realistic.

Alex Miller:
This is potentially great news for gamers. As I said before, I am cautiously optimistic about these new Star Wars titles and this is one of the major reasons why. The Frostbite engine is amazing, looks amazing, and can do quite a few things. That both of these new games will be using it is nothing but a good thing. If we could see a new Battlefront as I described before, or a Republic Commando game from DICE with the writing style of the original Bad Company, I would be overjoyed. As fun as that game was, the interactions between the Commandos made it so much better. And If I could shoot Battle Droids that would realistically blow apart or demo a tree that would fall on and destroy a spider droid, so much the better.


ucoz.hu


 

AC: IV: Black Flag to be 'more open and free than ever before'

Simon Wu:
Can I say that I now actually yearn for the days of AC1 and 2, where there was less nonsense for me to do? I’m probably going to be introduced to even more ship combat and probably treasure hunting, maybe they’ll even throw in a sailing simulator for me to sail from island to island in the Caribbean. The series needs to trim the fat and get back to the original premise and mechanics that made it great, although given the other news about Ubisoft this week, there is no indication that this will happen at all.

Max Gruber:
Yay! Less assassinations, more Homestead missions!! Who doesn’t love this?! Seriously, it’s getting to a point where they’ve moved way too far away from what made Assassin’s Creed “Assassin’s Creed.” They may as well just change the name to Homestead Creed, if they really want to stick with this idea. And I acknowledge that these are improvements over the first two games, but it’s token improvements at that. The game is no longer about being an assassin; it’s about the story of your ancestor, who was a world renowned tailor for a tailoring shop in the middle of nowhere. I’m still looking forward to the day that they make a game set in China, but this is a warning sign that we’re not going to have a game about assassins anymore.

Alex Miller:
Well, at least with a new console generation there is some hope that the game will actually be “more open and free” just because of the new resources available. However, I agree with the others that it seems to be moving away from its core. Its kind of like that guy who started saying YOLO to be ironic, but after focusing on it more and more it becomes a thing for real. Hopefully we will be proved wrong and AC: IV drops the YOLO#SWAG and instead returns the focus to tracking, hiding and assassinating. On the deck of a ship though I’m not sure how you would do that (I’m now imagining a sailboat tiptoeing behind another one...great).


onpause.org
 

Wolfenstein: The New Order revealed

Simon Wu:
So Bethesda is commissioning another title in addition to The Evil Within. As I write this the last installment in the Wolfenstein series, a reboot in 2009, has a 72 on Metacritic, which was poor enough to warrant mass layoffs from the developer Raven Studios. Now the series has been picked up by Bethesda, who is clearly right now trying to broaden their base away from just RPGs and towards other genres, now including FPS and survival horror. Maybe they’ll make a strong narrative that we finally find compelling; they are quite good at adding entries to sci-fi franchises, after all.

Max Gruber:
This is very interesting for two reasons: One, the Wolfenstein franchise has been, for the most part, published by Activision, notoriously known for the publication of the Call of Duty franchise, World of Warcraft, and their now derelict franchises Guitar Hero and Tony Hawk. The rights to the name Wolfenstein now belong to Bethesda, who are renowned for publishing The Elder Scrolls and Fallout games, Dishonored, and their upcoming game, The Evil Within—a survival horror title. Second, because this is being published by Bethesda, this is not going to be another RPG from them; it’s going to be an FPS, much like Brink, only less futuristic and, hopefully, less shitty.


Alex Miller:
It is becoming abundantly obvious that ZeniMax is trying to broaden the mass appeal of their Bethesda brand. With the developer they used to rely on for shooters, Id Software, now becoming more associated with its engine than its games it looks ZeniMax is trying to shift more projects under the well known (though RPG focused) Bethesda umbrella. Hopefully MachineGames can do a better job for Bethesda Softworks than Raven did for Id, but its interesting to see ZeniMax shuffling their cards around like this. The Id tech engine lost a lot of ground to the Unreal engine due to the long development time for Doom 3 and it has yet to really recover that ground. Combine that with the now 5 years of waiting for Doom 4 to showcase id Tech 5 and you wonder if ZeniMax is starting to lose patience with a once top of the table developer.


 

Ubisoft Fires Assassin's Creed Creator Patrice Desilets

Simon Wu:
Generally when the original creative director of a series is fired from the company, it’s not a good sign. When Patrice Desilets is blasting Ubisoft for pulling the rug out from under him, that’s probably a sign of insurmountable creative differences over what direction Assassin’s Creed is taking. AC3 was already spread too thin over far too many different aspects, and such insurmountable differences might be over spreading it to include even more ancillary elements, further diluting the story and stuffing in more action, or moving further away from the original essence of the first games that so captivated me. And that does not have me enthused one bit about what Assassin’s Creed 4 is going to be like.

Max Gruber:
Well that was quick... Seems like Ubisoft had different plans for Assassin’s Creed IV, which Patrice Desilets was trying to tell them of. But, sadly, they didn’t want to see reason, and instead fired him because their brains were pouring out of their ears like Niagra Falls. He was giving you a sign, a clear message that what you’re doing to the franchise is wrong. It shouldn’t be that hard to listen to criticism like that, especially if it will net you more money in the process. You’ve got to listen to your customers—and your directors—if you really want to be making more money, because what you’re doing is completely wrong.

UPDATE: Another Ex-Assassin’s Creed Dev, Jean-François Boivin, has been fired from Ubisoft.

Jonathan Tung:

TWO WORDS: Franchise milking. If you realize that the creator of a popular video game no longer wants to assist in your vision of making endless repetitive sequels of a popular video game that you helped make, then prepare to get yourself handed a pink slip: you’re gonna get fired. Such is the case with the current situation: Patrice Desilets has been kicked out of Ubisoft Montreal over “creative differences,” coming at a time when the company itself has been criticized for pulling all kinds of things on their own developers, such as the Rayman Legends fiasco regarding how the game was delayed at the very last minute in order to make it a multi-platform release instead of a Wii U exclusive. Here’s hoping we don’t see this with Watch_Dogs.

Alex Miller:
This is unfortunate. Obviously any time a person loses their job it is a sad day, but this is not the first time Mr. Desilets has not been at the helm for Assassin’s Creed. He left during development of Brotherhood, but was at Ubisoft the whole way through for both Assassin’s Creed and Assassin’s Creed II. I think it is telling that people generally agree the series reached its high point then. Unfortunately I believe this only lends further credence to the fears expressed above, that the Assassin’s Creed franchise will become too spread out. In the the words of Mr. Bilbo Baggins, it looks like the game may become “like butter scraped over too much bread.”

gamefm.com

Nintendo Confirms E3 2013 Presence

Simon Wu:
I don’t think Nintendo was ever planning to drop E3 entirely; to do so would have been to admit failure and restructuring on a massive scale because of the growing embarrassment that is the Wii U. Rather, they only partially admitted a problem by not booking a press conference, and as more developers decide not to make games for the console, it’s pretty easy to see why: they’ve got no big games around to get the faithful excited for. Rather, I expect that they’ll use this time to try and justify the console’s existence to the public and demonstrate it’s features again... and be completely blown by when demoes on the Durango and PS4 get shown off.

Max Gruber:
As Simon mentioned, there’s no chance that Nintendo would opt out of E3 this year, since it would spell disaster for them if they did. This is probably their last chance to properly market the Wii U and give people a reason to get one in the first place. However, when compared to the PS4 and the yet unveiled Durango, the Wii U is nowhere close to what these devices can muster in terms of graphical processing and a much more compelling lineup of titles in the coming months of their release. I’ve said this in a Short-Take long ago that they’re just grasping at too many straws, but this time, the Wii U may become their Achilles Tendon if they don’t do something big with it.

Alex Miller:
If Nintendo thinks sticking with the WiiU is the way forward for them, this is the only action that really makes sense. As said before, they have no big games to show off, so a full press conference would have been an embarrassingly awkward waste of time. However, they can’t completely ignore E3 either. By going with this smaller, “hands-on” approach, they can try and selectively show off all the best aspects of the WiiU in the best light while also guarding against any of its many failings. I can’t see a way this manages to grab anything near a fraction of the headlines that both Sony and Microsoft will be getting in June, but its Nintendo’s only hope trying to keep the WiiU relevant.

Red_Baron2011's picture

I do remember a month ago seeing a developer interview with one of the lead creators of AC4 saying how they were making a very conscious effort to apply the model of AC1 into AC4. My suspicion is that it will feel like a very polished and improved AC3 experience but with more of the in depth assassinations from AC1 which will probably include deeper and improved investigations and methods of assassination and approach and hopefully more focus again on SOCIAL stealth. I'm all for an expanded and an IMPROVED naval system, but it will need social stealth to balance it out, and if they pull it off, I think the franchise will get some life breathed back into it, which I think we all want, so let's cross out fingers and respective hidden blades.

Joe Harris's picture

I want to see a new Jedi Knight game and a new Bounty Hunter game, then I can die happy.

RareDaniel46's picture

Not very happy about the AC creed Creator getting fired i wonder where they will go from know on downhill or uphill?

Solifluktion's picture

EA's gonna EA. No surprise there. Still kinda sad.