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Videogames: All Valves on Deck


IlyaP
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1 hour ago, Werthead said:

Excellent article and interview with Jeff Vogel, the one-man (with some spousal help) operation behind Spiderweb Software, which has been releasing intricate CRPGs for a quarter of a century.

I've refused to check it out, I want my first experience of HW3 to be the single-player story mode, as it was 25 years ago. Also, this is really the NG+ mode (the idea is you use the SP campaign to learn the units and tactics and then play War Games afterwards), so releasing this first seems like a dumb idea, as the reviews seem to be confirming.

The writeup claims that you can unlock ships and artifacts (whatever those are) that you can then use in the campaign when the game releases. Or are those assets you would use in the campaign anyway, and unlocking them by playing War Games makes the campaign easier?

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On 2/6/2024 at 8:49 PM, Ran said:

I have such a nostalgic feeling for Super Mario back in the day (by back in the day, we're talking NES and SNES), that the only time I ever feel a pang of regret over not having a console is basically not going for a Switch to play games like Mario Wonder. It does look really fun, and just gorgeous artistically and musically, from videos I've seen.

 

18 hours ago, Argonath Diver said:

 

Anyway, Mario Wonder looks so amazing that I've also considered the Switch simply for that and Zelda games. I have managed to quell my drive to burn money I don't have by intermittently watching a full playthrough of Wonder on youtube. I watch enough Twitch on my second monitor that it's not vastly different since I'm not a chatter regardless.

 

 

It's pretty mad that Nintendo went from a decade of soulless New SMB games (and not-quite soulless, but still tending towards clever-over-charming imo, 3D Land games) into something as bonkers and joyful as this. 

 

Great online system too. Just people helping each other out. 

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22 hours ago, Kalbear said:

...other than playing the games on Xbox that are only available there?

I don't understand this at all - there are a ton of xbox-only gamepass games (especially all the 360 ones) and there are games only on PC gamepass that aren't on Xbox.

Add to this that a whole lot of people don't have a computer to game on or don't want to game on a computer and...wha?

 

For me the worry is that if all Xbox games go to Playstation as well, then it means Microsoft is probably abandoning their hardware sooner rather than later. Which would mean fewer people buying XBoxes (as it's viewed as a dying ecosystem) and less incentive for other studios to release games there.

I also do worry about the effects of an essentially Playstation monopoly in the console space. Obviously Nintendo will still be there, but they do their own thing.

Anyway, we'll see what Microsoft actually announces next week.

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Indeed, polishgenius, joyful is a perfect descriptor for Super Mario Wonder. I think my favorite bit in the game is the repeated meta commentary from the little flower fellas, nearly breaking the fourth wall. Something the wee'uns aren't going to pick up on, but a bunch of us that grew up holding NES or SNES controllers in small hands are delighted by.

My best friend has 4- and 6-year old daughters who are absolutely beloved to me. I asked him how old he would let them get before buying a Switch. They play educational iPod games but he hasn't let them fully nerd out yet. I think I have him sold on my incredibly glowing description of SM:Wonder. The younger is far too wild to have the patience to learn hard levels, but the older is a brilliant young nerd, defiant and proud, and she's gonna absolutely kill that game once I tell her how many secrets there are to find.

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Started replaying Baldur's Gate: Enhanced Edition with some "despecialising" mods and a stone skin mod to make it look and play as close to the original as possible. It's such a wonderfully chill, low stakes game. Chillax, take your time, the weird iron crisis will get sorted over time.  Go to a fair, hang with a bard, read some books, rob everyone blind in Beregost, it's cool dawg!

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Career mode in BattleTech (aka Game of Thrones meets Pacific Rim) is a lot of fun but the upgrade path to get better mechs is pretty damn slow. It was relatively fast to move from an all-Light to all-Medium lance, but it took forever to eke out some Heavies. Although then I got a couple of "chase down an Assault mech" missions, so weirdly I have 2/3s of a Highlander Assault mech despite only having a half-Heavy, half-Medium lance elsewhere*.

The lack of story in this mode does make it a bit dull, and you can't even tackle the Flashpoint mini-story campaigns for a while because of how weak you start off, but I've got to the point where I can start doing them, which is fun. Actually starting to get a hankering to do the main story again, as it is pretty good, but I might do that with the BattleTech Extended (BEX) mod, which adds a lot more fan-made missions and events to the game (most of them pretty good from the sound of it), tweaks the UI, improves the stodgy responsiveness from the base game and extends the timeline to incorporate the arrival of the Clans and their super-advanced mechs. 

*In the BattleTech/MechWarrior universe mechs are divided into four size classes: Light, Medium, Heavy, Assault. An Assault can basically step on a Light to destroy it, and it's pretty tough going to get Assaults early in the game, but not impossible.

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Dear Tomb Raider fans, I love you

Quote

That sure didn't take long. Tomb Raider 1-3 Remastered is out today, delivering a very nice graphical update to Lara Croft's original three adventures along with some other niceties, including modern controls and high framerate support. Within hours mods for the remaster were popping up on the Nexus page, most of the initial wave seemingly focused on adding the classic graphics into the remastered graphics mode so they can be appreciated with the updated lighting and added environmental details. It also took less than 12 hours for someone to upload a topless Lara mod, because, well, of course.

Installed this last night, and between visits to the vet for our elderly doggo, this has been getting me through a rather wretched day.

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This is flat-out barking mad.

There's a fairly substantial amount of material here as well, and it's just a free update for MS Flight Sim.

 

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How the hell is Deathloop still so buggy and crash-prone? Ended up asking Steam for a refund as the game caused several system lock-ups in the first two hours of the game - not sure if it's graphics- or sound-related either. Very frustrate. 

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On 2/6/2024 at 6:54 PM, Ser Rodrigo Belmonte II said:

But if the rumours are true and they stop making Xbox/PC exclusive titles and start releasing them on the PS5, why will anyone continue buying Xbox ? Seems like a weird move from MS(if true)

Just want to point out that the rumors were emphatically not remotely true, that the people freaking out were doing so without any real idea of what's going on, that Starfield and Indy are not going to other consoles any time soon, that Xbox is not going to stop making consoles, and that a total of 4 titles that have been xbox-only for over a year are going to go to other consoles.

I still don't understand why the existence of game pass means that xbox was forever going to be doomed, but I guess I'll not be getting an explanation for that jump in logic. 

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39 minutes ago, Kalbear said:

 

I still don't understand why the existence of game pass means that xbox was forever going to be doomed, but I guess I'll not be getting an explanation for that jump in logic. 

Cause it’s hurting the sales of some of their biggest IPs like Starfield when it’s already available Day 1 on game pass, it’s like the theatrical vs streaming issue. 

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1 hour ago, Ser Rodrigo Belmonte II said:

Cause it’s hurting the sales of some of their biggest IPs like Starfield when it’s already available Day 1 on game pass, it’s like the theatrical vs streaming issue. 

And if your goal is to sell consoles that can play that...how does that matter? 

Like I get how if could hurt the games sales, but I don't understand for a second how something that is only one one console would kill that console.

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On 2/15/2024 at 8:17 PM, Kalbear said:

Just want to point out that the rumors were emphatically not remotely true, that the people freaking out were doing so without any real idea of what's going on, that Starfield and Indy are not going to other consoles any time soon, that Xbox is not going to stop making consoles, and that a total of 4 titles that have been xbox-only for over a year are going to go to other consoles.

I still don't understand why the existence of game pass means that xbox was forever going to be doomed, but I guess I'll not be getting an explanation for that jump in logic. 

Yep. This was a reminder (which I really shouldn't need at my age) that rumours on the internet are just about worthless. From the sounds of it, Microsoft is just going to be porting a few games out, probably their AA games like Pentiment, as they've already done with games like Ori. I see it making sense as a strategy: Pentiment is not going to convince someone to buy an XBox, so now that it's been out a couple of years, you might as well sell it on other platforms, make money, and get your branding out there.

Anyway, I'm relieved that they're still committed to their hardware, if only because I just bought an XBox this year.

As for their longterm strategy with Gamepass... I see what they're going for, but it's hard to know how successful it will be, especially if console sales plateau. But then again, it looks like the video game industry in general is in trouble right now, aside from Nintendo. Although PS5s are outselling XBoxes at a huge margin, even Sony seems pretty subdued. AAA Video game development simply takes too much time and money and it's getting riskier and riskier. I know Bioware is its own special case, but I still find it incredible that we got three Dragon Age games in five years and now it's been ten since the last one. Or you can look at Rocksteady: three Arkham games in six years, and then nine years to release Kill the Justice Squad, which seems to not be doing so hot. We may be headed for a general crash soon.

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I think it's just very simple maths: you can't turn a decent profit releasing your games on one machine, unless that machine is mega-cheap and uses older technology (hi Nintendo), or unless 90% of the people buying the console buy that one game. Platform exclusivity is simply cutting your nose off to spite your face at that point.

What Sony and Microsoft are doing now is simply moving around to a point where that is doable and in an effective way: Sony waiting two years to release their games on PC seemed like a reasonable way forwards, although apparently the huge success of Helldivers 2 as a simultaneous PS5/PC launch is making them reconsider that, and future Sony exclusives might move onto PC even faster.

Microsoft arguably need to do this even more, given the smaller install base of Xbox, but they also arguably need good exclusives more than Sony does, given their comparative rarity. That's why there's all the grousing about this potentially marking the beginning of the end of the Xbox platform.

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IGN doing a deep dive on the state of the industry.

They note the problems are being caused by a combination of problems: the COVID over-expansion is one, but it has been overblown. Another problem is the number of gaming execs who fell in love with NFTs and blockchain and assumed they'd be the next big thing, and in some cases made multiple investments in initiatives that failed, then came back six months to do more and these failed as well. In some cases CEOs seemed enraged that crypto technologies weren't picking up as they'd expected and, rather than acknowledging they'd made the wrong bet, kept doubling down. When these costs blew up, they fired completely unrelated staff to reduce costs.

Epic, in particular, seem to keep making expensive mistakes, including losing millions on the Epic Store and spending millions and millions more on Tim Sweeney's obsession, the metaverse, which again most general users seem to have zero interest in. When people at the company voiced concerns, he told them that Fortnite would simply pay for everything. Then he fired 800 staff, so obviously not.

Others report pretty obvious issues, like the fact they invested massively in games that had zero buzz and nobody gave a shit about.

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1 hour ago, Werthead said:

IGN doing a deep dive on the state of the industry.

They note the problems are being caused by a combination of problems: the COVID over-expansion is one, but it has been overblown. Another problem is the number of gaming execs who fell in love with NFTs and blockchain and assumed they'd be the next big thing, and in some cases made multiple investments in initiatives that failed, then came back six months to do more and these failed as well. In some cases CEOs seemed enraged that crypto technologies weren't picking up as they'd expected and, rather than acknowledging they'd made the wrong bet, kept doubling down. When these costs blew up, they fired completely unrelated staff to reduce costs.

Epic, in particular, seem to keep making expensive mistakes, including losing millions on the Epic Store and spending millions and millions more on Tim Sweeney's obsession, the metaverse, which again most general users seem to have zero interest in. When people at the company voiced concerns, he told them that Fortnite would simply pay for everything. Then he fired 800 staff, so obviously not.

Others report pretty obvious issues, like the fact they invested massively in games that had zero buzz and nobody gave a shit about.

It’s not nice to hear about people losing their jobs but there is some comfort in seeing that horrible horrible ideas like NFT and blockchain games and metaverse nonsense did not take off. Those ideas deserve to burn in a pit.

One part that wasn’t mentioned but I imagined seemed relevant because it seems relevant to other digital industries is just the investment landscape in general.
Coming out of an era of extremely cheap borrowing and almost free money, companies were pumping it into crazy ventures on the hope 1 out of 10 might make a return. I assume gaming was part of that. That all seems to have dried up because there is less money floating around and costs are just generally higher. 

Feels like the last few years were a blip.

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I was so pissed off about the spoiler footage I saw from Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League that I decided to play a game that actually respects the Batman character. So I started the Telltale Batman game and damn that was a good choice.

They make some controversial decisions regarding some of the characters but overall it captures the Batman world and characters so well. Went straight onto the sequel after and am making my way through that.

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