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Videogames : Cyberpunk Samurai edition.

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Big thing the last couple days has been the Final Fantasy 7 remake demo leak. A lot of material -- some of it unfinished -- was lingering in the demo's code, giving a pretty detailed portrait of the game's characters, script, and chapter list. 

As someone who played the original back in '97 and remember keenly how historic it felt & the general hype, I feel some tangental interest, but I am not a fan of the splitting the game into multiple installments. In this day and age of massive, complete games being released multiple times a year (notwithstanding buggy, unfinished games, of course) -- this just reeks of exploitive nostalgia monetization. I may check it out in 5-6 years when the project is done and a complete edition is available; paying $180-$240 for a game I played twenty years ago, and thus know the main story beats, themes, etc. -- not going to happen.

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17 minutes ago, kuenjato said:

Big thing the last couple days has been the Final Fantasy 7 remake demo leak. A lot of material -- some of it unfinished -- was lingering in the demo's code, giving a pretty detailed portrait of the game's characters, script, and chapter list. 

As someone who played the original back in '97 and remember keenly how historic it felt & the general hype, I feel some tangental interest, but I am not a fan of the splitting the game into multiple installments. In this day and age of massive, complete games being released multiple times a year (notwithstanding buggy, unfinished games, of course) -- this just reeks of exploitive nostalgia monetization. I may check it out in 5-6 years when the project is done and a complete edition is available; paying $180-$240 for a game I played twenty years ago, and thus know the main story beats, themes, etc. -- not going to happen.

Yeah, exactly. It's not even on my radar until the project is done and released in one reasonably priced package. I still have a bad taste in my mouth from Final Fantasy IV: The After Years.

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Started playing Frostpunk. It is punishingly brutal and I've had to restart three times, but it's pretty solid with some really good mechanics once you get to grips with them.

Quote

 

In this day and age of massive, complete games being released multiple times a year (notwithstanding buggy, unfinished games, of course) -- this just reeks of exploitive nostalgia monetization.

 

As has been pointed out before, FF7 Remake isn't really a remake but more of a structural reboot. It's more like taking a movie from years ago and converting it into a multi-season TV show, two hours to 30 or 40 (or in this case, 30 hours up to well over 100), with vastly more effects, production values and expense. That doesn't mean it might be good - diffusing FF7's story (which already kind of goes for a wander mid-game) across such a huge amount of time may not be wise - but it is certainly a huge project that has cost Square hundreds of millions of dollars. This may be up there with the Destiny series, Star Citizen, GTA5 and RDR2 as one of the single most expensive video game projects of all time. It dwarfs the investment ever put into any Bethesda game (probably three times over) or even Cyberpunk 2077.

Those massive, complete games are also usually open-world games, which use a lot of procedural generation or cut-and-past repetition to present the illusion of being huge whilst not really being so. 100-150 hour single-player JRPGs costing the better part of half a billion dollars to make are very much not being released multiple times a year, or even decade.

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It's down to the consumer to decide whether they want to pay for several installments of ffvii vs waiting for a "complete edition" in a few years. Squareenix aren't forcing anyone to buy them all.

It's not a huge leap from games that have DLCs or annual sequels to me. Similar to telltale games but admittedly more expensive.

I'd probably buy the first installment at £25-30. If i don't like it I won't bother with future installments.

I understand the reservation of those not wanting to buy something that might never be finished. The catch though is that it might never be finished if they don't start recouping some money. Like wert says it is a very expensive production so maybe this is necessary at this stage?

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I've signed up to preorder, but I am also less than happy about the decision to split the game.  I still feel burned by StarCraft 2 and their promises of annual releases.  None of the games felt like an entire game the way the original SC did and in the end, it just felt needlessly stretched out.  I worry that this will be the same.

In the end though, I had those same feelings of nostalgia that @kuenjato had.  I remember those scenes with the train and that first large view of Midgar City.  It really felt like something I'd never experienced in a video game before.  I sat in my dorm room racing and breeding chocobos for many more hours than I should have.  :lol: 

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The Old World Blues mod for Hearts of Iron IV, which takes place in the Fallout universe during a similar period as New Vegas, is pretty good. There has been a tremendous amount of work done - placing every faction in their proper place on the map, re-inventing the technology tree from scratch to make it fit the Fallout universe, re-imagining the resources, adding a huge amount of artwork, and writing a unique focus tree for every major faction, with different leaders and branching decisions. The last one is especially impressive, considering the fact that even with all their resources, Paradox Interactive still hasn't written unique focus trees for major countries like Spain more than 3 years after release, or improved the abomination which is the Soviet focus tree (grumble, grumble).

The only drawback is that, since mod creators had to fill a lot of empty spaces on the map (currently stretching from Alaska to Honduras and from Pacific to Texas) with new factions which don't exist in Fallout games, and some of them are a bit... hit-and-miss. I'm currently playing as Desert Rangers, but there's a bunch of other interesting factions I want to try: NCR, Caesar's Legion, New Vegas, New Reno, Vault City, Great Khans, Western Brotherhood of Steel, Mojave Brotherhood... and some of the new factions also look interesting.

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3 hours ago, Rhom said:

I've signed up to preorder, but I am also less than happy about the decision to split the game.  I still feel burned by StarCraft 2 and their promises of annual releases.  None of the games felt like an entire game the way the original SC did and in the end, it just felt needlessly stretched out.  I worry that this will be the same.

In the end though, I had those same feelings of nostalgia that @kuenjato had.  I remember those scenes with the train and that first large view of Midgar City.  It really felt like something I'd never experienced in a video game before.  I sat in my dorm room racing and breeding chocobos for many more hours than I should have.  :lol: 

The nostalgia is definitely strong. I remember the shock at the death of a playable character as being a genuine "game-changer".

Hopefully they don't overhaul it to the point the gameplay is no longer recognisable.

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1 minute ago, red snow said:

The nostalgia is definitely strong. I remember the shock at the death of a playable character as being a genuine "game-changer".

Hopefully they don't overhaul it to the point the gameplay is no longer recognisable.

I was really worried about that, but the videos I've seen where you can choose the more traditional play style gives me hope.  The new game is gorgeous without a doubt.

Speaking of FFVII, a couple months ago I bought the Grandia 1 and 2 HD remix for the switch.  I had played Grandia 2 on the Dreamcast long ago and loved the gameplay in that, but never really played the original.  I had seen some things long ago that claimed Grandia was a real challenger for best RPG to FFVII at release on the PS1.  I've been playing the game and it is fun for what it is, but it is not close to being in the strata of FFVII.

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What I wonder about with the FFVII remake is really what happens after you leave Midgar.  I can see making the Midgar sequence as a tight narrative for a "standalone" game, but once the game really opens up after leaving the city I just don't see how you make a tight game from there.

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38 minutes ago, Rhom said:

What I wonder about with the FFVII remake is really what happens after you leave Midgar.  I can see making the Midgar sequence as a tight narrative for a "standalone" game, but once the game really opens up after leaving the city I just don't see how you make a tight game from there.

Well, the second game is probably about five years from now; so they've got plenty of time to figure it out.

One option (which I'd welcome) would be to focus the narrative so that things don't open up, and do deep dives in each area you do go to. Don't be open world and cover travel in cutscenes; have Kalm/the flashback, Junon, Correl/Gold Saucer, and Cosmo Canyon/Nibelheim be the four big sections of the game. Each of those areas can be large, self-contained sequences; and the game would have a nice tie together of starting and ending with the Nibelheim reactor.

If they want to cover more than that (anyone know how many games this is supposed to be?), that would make things tricker though. 

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Posted (edited)

What a year for games that we have coming. Cyber Punk (my number 1), Vampire the Masquerade returns, Last of Us 2...jeez, I'm working on my phd over here, don't they know that? I think I can put FF7 off until it's all released in 10 years, but the rest of it is looking busy.

Edited by Simon Steele

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3 minutes ago, Simon Steele said:

What a year for games that we have coming. Cyber Punk (my number 1), Vampire the Masquerade returns, Last of Us 2...jeez, I'm working on my phd over here, don't they know that? I think I can put FF7 off until it's all released in 10 years, but the rest of it is looking busy.

LoU2 is definitely my most anticipated game.

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5 hours ago, Werthead said:

Started playing Frostpunk. It is punishingly brutal and I've had to restart three times, but it's pretty solid with some really good mechanics once you get to grips with them.

As has been pointed out before, FF7 Remake isn't really a remake but more of a structural reboot. It's more like taking a movie from years ago and converting it into a multi-season TV show, two hours to 30 or 40 (or in this case, 30 hours up to well over 100), with vastly more effects, production values and expense. That doesn't mean it might be good - diffusing FF7's story (which already kind of goes for a wander mid-game) across such a huge amount of time may not be wise - but it is certainly a huge project that has cost Square hundreds of millions of dollars. This may be up there with the Destiny series, Star Citizen, GTA5 and RDR2 as one of the single most expensive video game projects of all time. It dwarfs the investment ever put into any Bethesda game (probably three times over) or even Cyberpunk 2077.

Those massive, complete games are also usually open-world games, which use a lot of procedural generation or cut-and-past repetition to present the illusion of being huge whilst not really being so. 100-150 hour single-player JRPGs costing the better part of half a billion dollars to make are very much not being released multiple times a year, or even decade.

My worry about FF7 being a reboot is that some of the things that the extended FF7 universe retconned become even worse in this game. For example, when I was a kid playing this, I thought two certain characters were romantically linked (and that's totally up to interpretation of how you play it), but the expanded games take all notion of that away. I truly hated that. When I saw they added a new villain, I was pretty much checked out of it. I'd rather just get a HD remaster at this point.

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Against my initial idea I was going back to Elite Dangerous yesterday evening, if only to look how its combat worked for an hour. Yeah.... Come to think of it, it was my impatience of getting to blow stuff up that of course had been my undoing.

Since I had already outfitted my Python as my space miner, I opted for the other medium tier all-rounder, the Krait Mk. 2 (yes, by now I've gotten Horizons in their last sale for five bucks). I outfitted it with the best stuff I could get at the station I currently was (really bad idea) and put a bunch of Plasma Accelerators into its hardpoints because they are good against both shields and hull. Then I accepted a rank-up mission for the empire to kill a single pirate.

So I jumped into the the system with my Krait, got immediately interdicted by my foe and turned (very slowly) to face him. My enemy was in an Eagle. For the love of god, I couldn't get a lock on him as my Krait turned like a freaking whale. Sure, I didn't have the best boosters installed, but still. It was awful. It was made even more awful by the painful projectile speed of my (fixed!) plasma weapons. In that entire engagement I was able to only hit him once. That was enough to strip his shields away and do 50% hull damage, but still. Only once. And then my kill was stolen by the sector police and the empire chalked this up as a failed mission because of that. Crap.

I skimmed some more guides about the combat and found one that was recommending using a Vulture to learn how to fight. Therefore I bought a Vulture and damn, getting to work with its pitiful generator is a hassle. But then I took once again an assassination mission and arriving in the target system noticed that my opponent flies a Cobra. Here my Vulture actually fly like a breeze and I managed to easily stay behind him. Unfortunately I then realized that AGAIN I accidentally put fixed weapons on my ship, so no auto-aim-correcting for me with my Pulse-Laser. Still, despite my crappy flying, I still somehow managed to keep him long enough in my crosshairs to knock his shields down, only for then to wonder why my clicking of the right mouse button didn't fire my railguns. Oh! You have to keep the button pushed for more than a second while it charges up a single shot? What the hell is wrong with all the weapons I have been choosing?!? Is there nothing in this game that just makes pew pew when you pull the trigger?

In any case, I kept on my target, fired my railgun and noticed it punching spectacularly through the enemy's hull. Just a few more hits and he exploded. Okay... that was actually kinda impressive. Especially since my guns are still one size smaller than they could be. If not for that crappy generator...

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Won my first game of Stellaris finally. The endgame scourge spawned in my borders and I took out their scouts before the main force even arrived and that was t it for them. Kinda anti-climactic but whatever. 

So I started Dragon Quest XI and played for maybe an hour or two and now I think I have to start over. The main character doesn't have a default name, so I used my name, Erik. Then I get my second party member and he introduces himself as....Erik. In all my years of playing RPGs that has never happened to me before. Part of me wants to press on but I worry it'll be too confusing. 

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8 hours ago, Werthead said:

Started playing Frostpunk. It is punishingly brutal and I've had to restart three times, but it's pretty solid with some really good mechanics once you get to grips with them.

As has been pointed out before, FF7 Remake isn't really a remake but more of a structural reboot. It's more like taking a movie from years ago and converting it into a multi-season TV show, two hours to 30 or 40 (or in this case, 30 hours up to well over 100), with vastly more effects, production values and expense. That doesn't mean it might be good - diffusing FF7's story (which already kind of goes for a wander mid-game) across such a huge amount of time may not be wise - but it is certainly a huge project that has cost Square hundreds of millions of dollars. This may be up there with the Destiny series, Star Citizen, GTA5 and RDR2 as one of the single most expensive video game projects of all time. It dwarfs the investment ever put into any Bethesda game (probably three times over) or even Cyberpunk 2077.

Those massive, complete games are also usually open-world games, which use a lot of procedural generation or cut-and-past repetition to present the illusion of being huge whilst not really being so. 100-150 hour single-player JRPGs costing the better part of half a billion dollars to make are very much not being released multiple times a year, or even decade.

 

Look, I respect you, been a long -time reader n all that, but you're being dangerously apologist for a pretty shitty monetization process here. That total cost is obviously not invested yet, it's hedging on the 1st being a success. The 1st, that reboots r. 20% of a game released 20 years ago and requires $60 entry, with more "on the way" at some uncertain date, for a complete experience that may run $250+ and, frankly, doesn't need to be any more than a single game to begin with. The story and most of the cardboard-JRPG character tropes of of FFVII doesn't justify 100-150 hours. Given that the original game is around 35-40 hours in length -- with a significant chunk of that is grinding/random enemy encounters -- and Midgar can comfortably be completed in around 5 hours, it seems a smarter choice to just build a solid 30-40 hour game (which is not unusual, see below) and use it to jumpstart a fairly tattered reputation towards the main series again. It's telling that it's been two years from FFXV and there's still nothing on FFXVI. This is desperate flailing for geek/genX wallets after the franchise stumbled down the spiral post-2006.

Still trying to parse that last paragraph. Let me put it that way:

2015:

The Phantom Pain

Witcher 3

Pillars of Eternity

2016:

Final Fantasy XV

Witcher 3 - Blood and Wine (as long as a regular game)

Yakuza 6

No Man's Sky

 

2017:
 

Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Horizon Zero Dawn

ME: SoW

Assassin's Creed Origins

Nier Automata

2018:

God of War 4

Spider Man

RDR2

Assassin's Creed Odyssey

Shadow of the Colosssus remaster

2019:

Days Gone

Death Stranding

Jedi: Fallen Order

Sekiro

 

...These are all examples of open-world (or -ish) games released multiple times a year, just off the top of my head. And all are complete experiences, buggy (days gone) or not. Why the fuck should I or any discerning consumer spend the same amount of money for 20% of a story that I already know & experienced 20 years ago? No, my money is going to TLoU2, Cyberpunk and Ghosts of Tsushima, and saving for the PS5.

For the record, SkillUp over at youtube claims the game looks great and plays great. But there's no reason for this to be three games, or even two. None.

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2 hours ago, Simon Steele said:

My worry about FF7 being a reboot is that some of the things that the extended FF7 universe retconned become even worse in this game. For example, when I was a kid playing this, I thought two certain characters were romantically linked (and that's totally up to interpretation of how you play it), but the expanded games take all notion of that away. I truly hated that. When I saw they added a new villain, I was pretty much checked out of it. I'd rather just get a HD remaster at this point.

The Remako Edition of the game is fantastic, and well worth playing. It uses AI to dynamically smooth out all of the video cut scenes and backgrounds to HD standards (or almost) and includes new 3D character models that are much more detailed, both for the character movement and in-game. It's pretty amazing, and works with both the stand-alone version of the game and the Steam version. It also fixes the old minigame clock rate issue (where sometimes the minigames lock their frame rate to the CPU clock speed, which was fine in 1998 but with modern PCs it means the minigames last about 3 microseconds).

The mod only works with the PC version of the game though.

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1 minute ago, kuenjato said:

Look, I respect you, been a long -time reader n all that, but you're being dangerously apologist for a pretty shitty monetization process here. That total cost is obviously not invested yet, it's hedging on the 1st being a success. The 1st, that reboots r. 20% of a game released 20 years ago and requires $60 entry, with more "on the way" at some uncertain date, for a complete experience that may run $250+ and, frankly, doesn't need to be any more than a single game to begin with. The story and most of the cardboard-JRPG character tropes of of FFVII doesn't justify 100-150 hours. Given that the original game is around 35-40 hours in length -- with a significant chunk of that is grinding/random enemy encounters -- and Midgar can comfortably be completed in around 5 hours, it seems a smarter choice to just build a solid 30-40 hour game (which is not unusual, see below) and use it to jumpstart a fairly tattered reputation towards the main series again. It's telling that it's been two years from FFXV and there's still nothing on FFXVI. This is desperate flailing for geek/genX wallets after the franchise stumbled down the spiral post-2006.

That's a valid position to take. However, it's also not acknowledging what Square wanted to do with FF7 Remake. What they wanted to do was remake the game as if they were making it again for the first time in 2020, and if they were doing that they would make the game much bigger, have a lot more going on and have it appeal to a new generation of players, a vast number of whom weren't even born when the original came out. Because of the scale involved with these old games, turning them into 3D titles is a monstrous undertaking: see also a lot of the attempts to mod the Infinity Engine games into proper 3D titles, which collapse because 3D games simply can't afford to have the sheer number of bespoke environments those games had. 

If you just want to replay FF7, you can just do that via the current console download versions or the Steam/Square version. And if you have a PC version, you can fire up some mods which make it look fifty times better than it did at launch. Square's calculation was that simply making FF7 with better graphics wasn't going to do justice to expectations for the game, and the fairly restrained attention paid to the fairly comprehensive FF8 remaster (or the lower-key-but-still-notable FF9 remaster) seems to bear that out.

I'm also not sure how it can also be a shitty monetization scheme. If they wanted to do that, they'd just spruce up the graphics and release the game again for $60 knowing full well that hundreds of thousands of people would pay that. They wouldn't sink $200 million and over five years into just the first game (or first 1/3 of a game if you're so inclined).

I get the StarCraft comparisons, mainly because the story ended up being too thin to carry three games, but OTOH the three StarCraft II games ended up containing 76 missions totally around 40 hours of gameplay, compared to the original game featuring 30 missions totalling around 12, obviously all at a far higher level of production value. The arguments that the game didn't need to be split into three for story reasons were valid, the argument that there was insufficient content to justify the price were not.

Also, Square would probably have been perfectly happy to have rolled into FFXVI by now, but fans had been screaming at them to remake FFVII for 15 years by that point, and they decided to listen to them.

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20 minutes ago, Werthead said:

Also, Square would probably have been perfectly happy to have rolled into FFXVI by now, but fans had been screaming at them to remake FFVII for 15 years by that point, and they decided to listen to them.

I actually think they are working on FFXVI. About 9 months ago, Naoki Yoshida, the guy who lead the team that saved FFXIV, announced that he also was lead producer on another large Square Enix game that was leaving pre-production and entering full production. All he said about it was that it wasn't an MMO because FFXIV was doing so well (and he said that he would continue to lead FFXIV at least through another full expansion cycle after the Shadowbringers expansion cycle, which means at least another 18 months from now).

Now obviously this could be anything, but Square Enix doesn't have any large currently announced games that would've only gone into production 9 months ago. So it's something unannounced. Also, Yoshida had said many times in the past that he was interested in making a high fantasy game. It doesn't mean that's what he's actually getting to work on, but he has a huge amount of leverage at Square Enix these days (and is on the board of directors now) so I think he probably isn't working on anything he doesn't want to work on. And if he is making a high fantasy game, I think that means its FFXVI. He isn't going to be lead on Dragon Quest XII, because that's always Yuji Horii, and I just can't see Square Enix okaying an original IP for a high fantasy game while their original fantasy series languishes.

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