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Video Games- Game of the Year

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5 hours ago, Werthead said:

Metro 2033 is today's free game on Epic. Well worth it, although for maximum effect you need to play it in Russian with appropriate subtitles and have a bearded Russian man bring you vodka whilst playing.

Ditto this. It captures the feel of the scale of the Moscow metro system incredibly well. (Also, seeing familiar sights like ВДНХ got me right in the feels and made me instantly homesick.)

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My girlfriend and I have been playing Hollow Knight together, which has been fun and cute, if unforgiving.

By myself I’ve been replaying Subnautica. I’ve not got there yet, but I’m going to try using the cyclops this time, which I didn’t use at all in my previous playthrough (I just built a second, smaller base and found the cyclops to be redundant). Given that I know exactly what happens and what lives where, I’m taking a very methodical approach, but I’m still really enjoying it. The game has such a brilliant atmosphere that’s unmatched by any other survival game I’ve played.

9 hours ago, Lightning Lord said:

I like diving, so hopefully Subnautica doesn't freak me out too much.

I love diving, but it still terrified me! It might just have been that knowing that harmless actions in the game, like a short hop down to 100m, would be extremely dangerous in real life so it made me unnecessarily nervous. Or maybe I’m just a coward. :D


 

Sorry for the font formatting, not sure what happened there.

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18 hours ago, The Anti-Targ said:

How have I not heard of this before? That is a game description that will probably keep me inside this summer so much that I will start to suffer from vitamin D deficiency.

Apparently Cyberpunk has sold 13 million copies, and that's taking into account the refunds. I would like to think that the company would take some of those hundreds of millions in profit and give a $100,000 compensatory payment to every worker who was subject to crunch conditions during the making of this game. Somehow I doubt they will do that. I understand the workers will be getting their contracted bonuses, but I wonder how much that is, $1000? $5000? Not enough IMO, and I call the $100,000 a compensatory payment not a bonus, because it would be to compensate for the pain and suffering of being crunched for an extended period.

CDPR's compensation scheme is 10% of their income is divided between the staff, so depending on the retail/company cut and the currencies involved, it could very easily be in that wheelhouse. The bonuses they got last year were apparently very healthy, and they didn't even have a new game out that year.

There are a few companies - I think Gearbox and Supergiant are among them - have similar schemes and their developers were able to go out and buy houses outright from their cuts from previous games.

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Tropico 5 is today's Epic free game. Pretty good, lightweight city-builder with a fun campaign.

The Homeworld Remastered collection is 90% off on Steam, and is perennially worthwhile at that price (it doesn't include prequel Deserts of Kharak though). Desperados III is also 50% off, and its only marginally weaker forebear Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun is down to about £5.

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This might end up being the first big Steam sale in years that I don't buy anything. I only have a handful of indie games on my wishlist right now, I'm only marginally interested in any of them and none are more than 25% off. So that's not enticing. And I already own all the big steam games that regularly go on sale. Maybe I could dig into the sales and find something interesting, but I'm just not that motivated.

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34 minutes ago, Corvinus85 said:

I just bought Kingdom Come: Deliverance. 60% off.

I got that when it was free on Epic last year. Still not got round to playing it.

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3 hours ago, Werthead said:

CDPR's compensation scheme is 10% of their income is divided between the staff, so depending on the retail/company cut and the currencies involved, it could very easily be in that wheelhouse. The bonuses they got last year were apparently very healthy, and they didn't even have a new game out that year.

There are a few companies - I think Gearbox and Supergiant are among them - have similar schemes and their developers were able to go out and buy houses outright from their cuts from previous games.

Good to know thanks. It would be nice to get that kind of bonus without the pain and suffering of crunch, but hopefully there was some solace in knowing that a large bonus was likely to be coming their way.

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9 minutes ago, The Anti-Targ said:

Good to know thanks. It would be nice to get that kind of bonus without the pain and suffering of crunch, but hopefully there was some solace in knowing that a large bonus was likely to be coming their way.

CDPR's crunch is something that does need looking at a bit more as well. It's not really the same thing as American crunch. EU legislation restricts overtime to one day of hours extra over the course of a week, so the maximum number of hours you can theoretically do in a week is 48.

Of course, there aren't police wandering around enforcing that, and if people want to work longer than they they can, and in theory shady businesses can make people work longer than that, but it's very risky (because the pay receipts leave a paper trail that can be used to expose that, and the liability for that is quite expensive).

It's not a US situation where a company can basically force someone to work 60 or 75 or 90 hours a week for months on end without extra pay (which happened in Rockstar's US offices when RDR2 was coming to an end, whilst the UK offices had considerably greater protection). Workers have significantly greater protection in Europe. Polish workers are also guaranteed 4 weeks holiday a year (20 weekdays+associated weekends), which is not the case in the US.

Edited by Werthead

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14 minutes ago, Werthead said:

CDPR's crunch is something that does need looking at a bit more as well. It's not really the same thing as American crunch. EU legislation restricts overtime to one day of hours extra over the course of a week, so the maximum number of hours you can theoretically do in a week is 48.

Of course, there aren't police wandering around enforcing that, and if people want to work longer than they they can, and in theory shady businesses can make people work longer than that, but it's very risky (because the pay receipts leave a paper trail that can be used to expose that, and the liability for that is quite expensive).

It's not a US situation where a company can basically force someone to work 60 or 75 or 90 hours a week for months on end without extra pay (which happened in Rockstar's US offices when RDR2 was coming to an end, whilst the UK offices had considerably greater protection). Workers have significantly greater protection in Europe. Polish workers are also guaranteed 4 weeks holiday a year (20 weekdays+associated weekends), which is not the case in the US.

If that's the kind of "crunch" that CDPR had to deal with, people should stop whining about it.  Just blame the shittily released game on it being shittily released. 48 hours a week? My god the horror.

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48 minutes ago, Werthead said:

CDPR's crunch is something that does need looking at a bit more as well. It's not really the same thing as American crunch. EU legislation restricts overtime to one day of hours extra over the course of a week, so the maximum number of hours you can theoretically do in a week is 48.

Of course, there aren't police wandering around enforcing that, and if people want to work longer than they they can, and in theory shady businesses can make people work longer than that, but it's very risky (because the pay receipts leave a paper trail that can be used to expose that, and the liability for that is quite expensive).

I remember reading that they were using different types of contracts and such to get around the protections that apply specifically only to some kinds of full-time employees.

31 minutes ago, Slurktan said:

If that's the kind of "crunch" that CDPR had to deal with, people should stop whining about it.  Just blame the shittily released game on it being shittily released. 48 hours a week? My god the horror.

Though even if all their staff were "only" having to work 48 hour weeks for the past uh... <checks notes> year then it's still incredibly shitty. And, no, I'm not buying the "working conditions are way worse in north america so that makes it ok" argument.

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Replaying RDR2, about to do one of the five best missions in the game. Death to the Braithwaites! 

Edited by Tywin et al.

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43 minutes ago, Poobah said:

I remember reading that they were using different types of contracts and such to get around the protections that apply specifically only to some kinds of full-time employees.

Though even if all their staff were "only" having to work 48 hour weeks for the past uh... <checks notes> year then it's still incredibly shitty. And, no, I'm not buying the "working conditions are way worse in north america so that makes it ok" argument.

To be clear, no-one's saying it is okay just because Americans have it far worse. A 40 hour work week on one project for eight years should be more than enough time to get it done anyway without resorting to enforced overtime. If it isn't, that hints at poor project management or inexperience (having done one big massive open-world game and two more linear RPGs before than, CDPR don't have that excuse any more, and having done eight, Rockstar had no excuses whatsoever).

There's also the fact the crunch doesn't actually seem to be that effective: games launched at the back end of a lot of crunch seem often to be buggier and have more problems than those games launched without any.

Edited by Werthead

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47 minutes ago, Werthead said:

There's also the fact the crunch doesn't actually seem to be that effective: games launched at the back end of a lot of crunch seem often to be buggier and have more problems than those games launched without any.

I'm not sure about that. I don't think crunch makes games better or worse, it just gets them done faster. Naughty Dogs was crunching terribly on The Last of Us Part II, and Rockstar crunched on Red Dead Redemption 2.

Crunch is bad for what it does to the employees, but I don't think it makes the games themselves buggier.

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I think crunch is driven entirely by the effort to meet release dates, which become increasingly important the bigger a game is supposed to be. I also don't think crunch really says anything other than deadlines have to be met and the game is sufficiently complex that there are a lot of moving parts needing polish.

The more ambitious the game, the likelier crunch is going to happen. 

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2 hours ago, Werthead said:

There's also the fact the crunch doesn't actually seem to be that effective: games launched at the back end of a lot of crunch seem often to be buggier and have more problems than those games launched without any.

Years ago - id Software had a release motto of "when it's done".

It strikes me as the sanest approach there is. Why more companies don't adopt this I just don't know.

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28 minutes ago, IlyaP said:

Years ago - id Software had a release motto of "when it's done".

It strikes me as the sanest approach there is. Why more companies don't adopt this I just don't know.

I feel like that was the approach of a lot of studios, but games have become so big and expensive now and you've got companies that are publicly traded and have to appease shareholders and so you get games pushed out before they're ready, before they're finished (hell, we have an entire new category of games for that in "Early Access"), or in many, many, many cases before they are properly optimized.  

I also think that the ability to patch games easily and often factors in.  Thirty years ago, if you released a broken game, there was no way to reasonably fix it for most of your user base.  Twenty years ago, download speeds were slow as fuck for most of us, and consoles didn't have hard drives anyway, so patching games was difficult.  Now, you can patch a game five times in the first two weeks like CDPR has done with Cyberpunk because every console has a built in hard drive with a shitload of storage space and basically everyone has high speed internet.

And so it's more feasible to release a game that has a lot of issues but is still functional and fix it in the ensuing weeks/months.  You appease shareholders by getting the game out in a timely fashion and it's been proven time and again that gamers don't give a fuck about how many times they've been burned...they'll pony up on day one for the next great but kind of broken open world game.  They'll bitch when parts of it don't work, but they'll be right back in (a metaphorical) line when the sequel drops.

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To me at least the issue with Cyberpunk isn't that it's buggy or janky, it runs fine on the Geforce now service for me. I just can't believe they released it on last-gen platforms in the state it was in. It should have been a PC now, next-gen consoles next year deal. 

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Well, on a more serious note https://www.nzherald.co.nz/lifestyle/kfc-confirms-release-of-kfconsole-as-rival-to-playstation-5-xbox-series-x/R2HB2EVYIZ54Q5ETCOAYHVHFIU/

Quote

KFC confirms release of KFConsole as rival to PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X

The ONLY reason I see this not working out very well is that because consoles sit by TVs, and gamers sit walking distance from the TV it means you have to get up from your couch to grab your chicken. And who wants to do that?

A KFPC on the other hand...

In even more serious news, according to IMDB Tom Holland's Uncharted movie is now in post production. Unless they decide it's a hot mess and needs major re-shoots what we're going to get is now in the can with just the polish needed.

Edited by The Anti-Targ

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7 hours ago, Fez said:

I'm not sure about that. I don't think crunch makes games better or worse, it just gets them done faster. Naughty Dogs was crunching terribly on The Last of Us Part II, and Rockstar crunched on Red Dead Redemption 2.

Crunch is bad for what it does to the employees, but I don't think it makes the games themselves buggier.

 

6 hours ago, Ran said:

I think crunch is driven entirely by the effort to meet release dates, which become increasingly important the bigger a game is supposed to be. I also don't think crunch really says anything other than deadlines have to be met and the game is sufficiently complex that there are a lot of moving parts needing polish.

Crunch means that employees get massively overworked, often for months on end. Overworked people are less productive and tend to make more mistakes. As such, crunch, apart from being an indicator of fuck-ups at the management level, also means more mistakes are going to be made by the developers themselves, resulting in more bugs that need to be fixed. And since crunch usually comes about through bad management setting unrealistic deadlines while refusing to provide the proper resources to actually hit that target, crunch almost definitely leads to a buggier release than games that are released after a competently lead, sane and healthy production time.

In many ways, crunch is self-defeating and I dearly hope that the developers subjected to its terrible conditions at least have really good overtime compensation schemes. Many probably don't, and I'm increasingly unwilling to reward corporations who exploit their labour force in such a fashion.

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