From my time

As a sort of indirect follow up to my last posting regarding unfinished games, I wanted to give a bit of professional perspective to things.

Now, one of the big complaints about a lot of games these days is the lack of QA. Now, for those of you not in the know, QA is Quality Assurance. Every game goes through different levels of QA testing. Be it compliance (making sure that the release meets the standards of the specific platform Sony, Microsoft, etc), localisation (compliant with language standards of the region it’s being released in) and functionality (making sure, you know, that the game works and all).

I used to do QA testing for a living. And before people start getting all “wow playing video games for a living? AWESOME!” It’s not as cushy as it sounds. Don’t get me wrong, the company I worked for is definitely my favourite that I’ve worked for to date, but there is a lot to be said for the actual job. I’m not going to get into this now. If you want to know more, I’m happy to answer questions in comments or you can e-mail (theegogames@gmail.com) or tweet me.

What I want to focus on is how some of the issues we’re seeing become predominant in gaming arise.

The biggest issue, at least in my opinion: not enough time. The last big project I worked on was a AAA title for the PS3. Now, this game was a sequel and what I can tell you is that the original time from from start to release was approximately two years. The development cycle for the game I worked on: Nine months…Now, there are some things to take for granted like the fact that an engine doesn’t need to be developed for the game the second time around. But, where as the first game had a little over a year for testing/development, this one didn’t have anywhere near that kind of time. This one had about six months. Now, as a tester, you’re expected to find tens of thousands of bugs over the course of the project. Which, given how many builds a game goes through, isn’t really a challenge. But it is a challenge for the devs to be able to fix everything. There comes a time in a project, especially when they are rushed, that choices have to be made to decide whether or not it’s worth the time to fix said issue. Now, there are going to be a lot of small things that your average player won’t run into, the issue is when those things you don’t have time for, end up in the forefront. Like it did in AC: Unity, ME: Andromeda, etc.

The other big issue I ran into was devs butting heads with testers. Like any time you’re dealing with other people, you’re going to have clashes over decisions. For me, I can remember a series of what I considered extremely obvious bugs (one being a game breaker if you play like me) just being flat out denied (ignored too, but consciously) by the devs. I had to watch one of them play out during an E3 demo. There seems to be some level of animosity between the two stations, with the devs often feeling superior due to their more “prestigious” placement in the scheme of things. Sometimes the end result of a bug going un-dealt with is simply a matter of opinion or (sometimes) pig-headedness. One such instance I faced, having a background in writing/editing, I pointed out and corrected a number of text issues (grammar, spelling, etc) where rather than just copy/pasting my corrections (as emphasised by my supervisor and the functionality manager of the company) they chose instead to leave the mistakes in place.

Well, that’s a small glimpse behind the curtain and a bit of my experience. It definitely doesn’t answer all of the questions, but I hope it sheds a little light on things.

– The Ego

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Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hype

So I’m trolling through the various gaming media outlets and creators I follow on Twitter and I came across this article on Gamesradar. The best upcoming games of 2017 and beyond (for those of you who don’t want to read the link).

Now, in principle, I don’t have an issue with talking about the upcoming games. But best upcoming games? I mean, come on. First off, this is total speculation. More than half of the games on the list are still TBA release dates. Which, in and of itself isn’t a big deal. You know, if the games had a substantial amount of info already released to the press or public, then one could at least make an informed decision on what’s available. But with the majority of these games, there is so little announced that one could barely interpret what to expect out of a tutorial…

I’m going to pick on Destiny 2 for the majority of this post. Why? Well, because it’s the easiest target.

Didn’t we learn anything from Destiny 1’s pre-release hype and subsequent launch? I mean, I would hope that the media at least would have the sense to treat everything about Destiny 2 with a grain of salt. But, nope. Here we are with this game already making the list of best upcoming games for 2017…

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Now, I don’t hate Destiny. I bought it. Hell, I even bought it for both platforms because my friends insisted I play with them on X-Box, and they paid the lion’s share. But what Bungie promised on Destiny 1 and what they delivered were worlds apart from each other.

Now here we are again: Bungie is making some big promises. So far I’ve seen promises of bigger, more diverse worlds that will feel substantial and different from each other. I’ve seen richer story with developed characters.

A lot of that sounds really familiar. I remember when Destiny promised to bring us total exploration. The ability to go anywhere you can see on the planet. How’d that work out? I also remember hearing about a big universe full of stories. Well, we did sort of get that, but definitely not in the game. And all Destiny really added was a bunch of really expensive expansions that didn’t change the overall play space.

So why are people getting themselves all revved up already? Why is the media leading people by the nose again? Fool me one, shame on me and all that.

Is the hype, the possibility of that sequel or that new game being exactly what we all want it to be worth the eventual disappointment? Because let’s all be real for a moment: Nothing is ever as good as what we build it up to be. I look at games like Insomniac’s Spider-Man and the new God of War game – and I know that those games are being made by studios who I have a lot of faith in. And I have yet to be disappointed by a God of War game. But the truth is: speculating and talking about how great they’re going to be without a shred of tangible evidence – well, that’s just begging for a let down.

Now, maybe I’m wrong. Maybe part of being a fan is buying into the hype. I don’t know. But what I can say for myself is that there is only so much I’m willing to buy into. I can anticipate and look forward to a new game. But what I won’t do is start telling the world that it’s going to be the best game of 20XX. From time to time, I’ll even buy into the hype. I will get more excited than I should. But there is still a vast difference from personally buying into the hype and selling it to the masses.

As always, you can find me on Facebook and Twitter. Let me know what you think in the comments. Is the hype worth the risk? Am I just being too hard on Destiny?

– The Ego

Christmas Wish-list

With a ton of great games already slated for 2017 – games like Horizon: New Dawn, Red Dead Redemption 2 and of course the Nintendo Switch – and with that being said this list is not about that.

What I want to get into today is to talk about the things I would love to see (at least announced) in the next year.

1)  Resident Evil 7 to be a solid game: I played the demo and I admit I’m impressed. The game looks great and it plays in such a different way than the last few that I played. I can only hope that this is a return to the glory that Capcom once was known for.

2) A new Darksiders game: This series has been something that I have loved for a long time. I bought Darksiders for Xbox 360, then again for PS3 and of course the collector’s edition of Darksiders 2 and both remasters on PS4…With Nordic games taking over the franchise – and then subsequently re-branding themselves as THQ Nordic – one can only hope that their re-masters are just a first step towards furthering the IP. I know everyone else who loves this series is waiting for the same thing – a four player co-op with the last two Horsemen.

3) A story expansion to Overwatch: Arguably the games only real failing is the lack of a some kind of campaign mode. The game is amazing and Blizzard is doing a great job at supporting it. And yes, we have gotten some insight from the character videos, but nothing on the level of really showing us what is going. Blizzard has shown the ability to create some PvE content – so if we can get Junkenstein’s Revenge and the Mei Snowball Fight – then we can get some classic battles from the early days of Overwatch. Let’s see the Omnic Crisis, etc. If Injustice can do it – surely the Game of the Year from Blizzard can accomplish something better.

4) A release date for Kingdom Hearts 3: Final Fantasy XV is finally out. And the team who had been working on that project are now free. So how about letting us know when to expect KH3 Square Enix? I know that 2.8 is due out very soon after the new year, so hopefully that means an announcement is likely to follow soon thereafter. But I’ve had this game pre-ordered since 2013 – so I’m eagerly anticipating this game coming out.

5) More Marvel: So we’re getting an Insomniac Spider-Man. That’s a huge step for the Marvel Universe. It’s the first (hopefully) of many towards having a series that’s equivalent to the Rocksteady Batman games. But now we need to expand it. Iron Man, Dr. Strange, Daredevil – there are a ton of great characters to choose from who would adapt themselves well to video games. And there are a ton of great developers who could make them: Insomniac is a great start. How about Sucker Punch, Bethesda or Gearbox? Sucker Punch already showed they have the chops with the amazing Infamous: Second Son. And, while we’re at it…

6) How about another Infamous game: Second Son was so amazing. And frankly – it has been one of the flagship titles of the PS4. They proved with Second Son that they could put in a completely new protagonist, take it out of the game world already created (to an extent) and placed it in the real world (again, to an extent) and still produced a successful game in every way. So, with that in mind – where are we at?

7) World of Warcraft for consoles: I know this one is a huge stretch. But a lot less than it ever would have been. Blizzard has taken IPs like Diablo 3 from the purely PC world and put them on consoles. And no one ever thought it would work, but it did. Some would even argue that it’s better on console.

Well that’s my list. Tell me yours in the comments or hit me up on Twitter or Facebook. Till next week my faithful readers.

– The Ego

Prey for me

I know from time to time we all get at least a little excited – delve into the hype so to speak – over a new game. One of those games for me was Kingdom Hearts 3. When it was announced, I was going absolutely nuts. Waiting for it though, has softened that blow a bit in the interim. But Kingdom Hearts isn’t what I want to talk about today.

Today I’m going to talk about my new hype wet dream: Prey.

Before I get into it, if you haven’t watched the new footage released by Arkane Studios, do it now:

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Arkane Studios is one of those up and coming game makers – well that may be under selling them a bit. Having released both Dishonored and its sequel – I think they’ve made it. But what I mean is – they haven’t got a lot of titles under their proverbial belt. But everything they have put out has met critical and financial success and has been extremely well received by fans.

And in comes my newest obsession: Prey. Now, when they released the first trailer at E3 last year, it piqued my interested. And, in my spaghetti against the wall method of pre-ordering games, Prey was one of those games. I mean, worst case scenario the game turns out to look bad or I lose interest, I cancel. But I can say right now – this is a day one buy and play. And, saying that about any game for me is basically the highest praise I’d give it. Even if I hadn’t pre-ordered it at a discount, I would happily buy this at full price on day one.

The game seems to carry with it tropes from a variety of different and amazing games. The one that strikes me the most from the onset is how similar it looks to Bioshock. And, given that Arkane did assist in the development of Bioshock 2, I suppose I shouldn’t be too surprised. I digress. The similarity in level design and the HUD, play style are all great things. Arkane may end up turning Prey into the same giant success that Irrational Games was able to do with Bioshock. Of course, the story of Prey will determine whether or not it is able to reach those same heights. Prey also seems to be going along the same sort of upgrade RPG path as games like Deus Ex – using body modifications to upgrade the protagonist’s abilities. Of course, neither Bioshock nor Deus Ex had cool features to their RPG upgrades like Prey is currently boasting. As you’ll see in the video – using the alien mods  too often can bring about, shall we say, uninvited guests.

The thing that interests me the most about Prey is that even though it seems like a game we’ve seen before, it’s still showing that it has it’s own unique spin. There is still something that separates it out from the rest of the FPS and RPG games. And I don’t know if it’s the graphics or the style, but there is something about Prey. Maybe it’s the ingenuity it provokes the end user to employ to find creative solutions to progressing through the game. But it has that special quality that only truly great games possess.

Now, will it live up to the hype? That’s always the question that one has to wait out. Games like No Man’s Sky have proven that going too far down that road is extremely dangerous and leads to ethical and legal issues (despite being exonerated). Though, Arkane is good about letting just enough slip about their games to keep the appetite whetted but not enough to gorge ourselves on. And, like pretty much all Bethesda released titles, it will almost certainly be worth the wait.

As always, if there is a topic or game you’d like to see covered, let me know here in the comments or on Twitter or Facebook. Until Monday, enjoy your weekend and game like it’s your last.

– The Ego

Best and/or Brightest

The new. It’s something I, and I assume others, struggle with. Always wanting that new thing. The latest and greatest. This mantra seems to apply pretty evenly across a bunch of aspects of the industry. From the latest consoles – which even seems to apply several times across a generation now, to new fads like Virtual Reality and even to updates in games like new characters. And that’s where I want to start.

I exist inside of paradox where I both understand and am baffled by people’s desire for the new. So let’s start with the small stuff.

As I’ve said a lot lately – I’ve been playing Overwatch again. And, in Overwatch, Blizzard has recently release a new character: Sombra. Now, I get that everyone, to an extent, is always going to want the new characters and everyone is going to want to play that character. But come on guys. Like everything – there is a time and a place. This is one of those paradoxes I was talking about. I understand wanting to play as a new character after a year of playing with the same 20. But at the same time, playing it in competitive mode where ranks are decided and team composition is important, is not the time to learn how to play the new character.

VR. That’s a big one for this generation. The proverbial toe in the water. VR is fancy, and it’s new. And, as such, carries a price tag that matches its status. But is it really that exciting? Or, I guess the real question to be asked is: Is it worth 700$ plus the applicable taxes to find out? It’s an interesting foray into an undiscovered medium – I’ll grant it that. And I think in time it will prove to be the next major leap that games take: Total immersion. I mean, we’ve seen it in science fiction in books like Neuromancer and TV shows like Star Trek’s Holodeck. It’s the logical progression.

Lastly – consoles. Now, in the past – and we don’t have to go back that far to see it, the PS3/360 generation had it – we’ve had multiple versions of consoles be delivered throughout the life cycle. PS3 started fat, with a small hard drive and it was backwards compatible. Then we go the slim, which offered a significant improvement on design, HDD size, over all size of the console and better functionality (i.e. less burnout). And the 360 saw several iterations of the same concept. But they were all effectively the same system. More or less, anyway. But this generation is funny. We’re being “treated” to several versions of the console, some with “vast” improvements.

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Now, how vast that improvement is is definitely based off of what kind of tech you have supporting the console. If you’ve got a 4K TV and you’re fully set up with the next rung of Blu-Ray discs, then consoles like the Xbox One: Scorpio are definitely what you should be aspiring to. Now, that’s to say, if you don’t already have a console from this generation. Because, if you do, and you have all of those supporting pieces of tech, the reviews are pretty underwhelming. Anyone with a good 4K TV will tell you, the upscaling that the TV does, regardless of whether or not you’re running the PS4 Pro, Xbox One: S or (granted this is an impression at this point) the Xbox One: Scorpio, is going to provide a significant improvement in graphical quality. Of course, the rest of the tech specs and in the case of Microsoft, the added 4K Blu-Ray player is something to consider I suppose. At least until things are developed in native 4K.

But I leave you with the question – is newer always better? Does it have to be the latest and greatest to keep you happy, or are you good with what you’ve got?

Sound off below or hit me up on one of the social media platforms that I’ve linked below.

Twitter. Facebook. YouTube.

– The Ego

Just when I thought I was out…

What’s enough to bring you back to a game. And I don’t mean a franchise. I covered Second Chances on Monday. I mean, you’ve got a game, you probably bought it a year ago, but it’s being published by one of those good studios who keeps giving you content (for free no less). But it’s been sitting on your shelf for the better part of the last year. So what kind of content is enough to bring you back?

Take Diablo 3 for example. Now, Blizzard is renowned for constantly updating and providing new content for all of their franchises, and Diablo has been no different in this respect. Here we are nearly four and a half years later and they are still giving us the goods. Recently at Blizzcon, they announced a new playable character and a new mode.

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Yup, it’s the Necromancer from Diablo 2.

So is that enough? I know it’ll be enough for me to dust off the game. And frankly, if I’m willing to, I bet a lot of others will be too. I got the platinum for the regular release on PS3 and I got the platinum for the re-release on PS4. So suffice it to say, I’ve dropped hundreds of hours into the series already.

And it’s not like I don’t have other games to play. But I’m curious. Plus I feel like when companies go out of their way to provide free content and support after this long – I owe it to them to at least check it out. Plus the idea of playing the old Diablo on my flatscreen should be pretty cool. I wasn’t privy to the original Diablo games because I didn’t have a PC that could run any kind of games when I was growing up.

Rockstar and GTA V are another good example. Now, I have friends who play GTA Online and only GTA Online. Granted – it can be pretty fun. There’s a whole slew of things to do there. But after a while, I feel like greener pastures are calling. Playing the same sorts of missions against/with the same sorts of people gets dry and requires a break. But then they release major updates like Heists and Bikers. Again – for free.

With major updates to the game the likes of Bikers (giving you the ability to form a Motorcycle Club and buy and manage illicit businesses, run MC missions and purchase your own clubhouse) it’s a real game changer. And, again, something worthy of blowing off  the dust and popping the game in for another run.

Then again, there is also examples of games like Destiny. Where the running joke seems to be “People still play Destiny?”. They seem to be putting out a combination of free and paid updates to the game, and it seems to be a harder and harder draw towards maintaining and bringing back their player base. Though, that probably has more to do with the initial offering than the applicable content.

But is that enough? Is new content a good enough reason for you to come back or is playing the game while it’s new and fresh the only joy that can be derived from the medium? Especially in this trade and play culture that we have set up all around us. Once beaten, does it get dropped off for something new and shiny? What about when it’s not free? Are you likely to pick a game back up if it requires you dropping another 24.99$ to access the content and play with friends? Where is the limit as far as price goes?

You can sound off in the comments below, I always respond. You can also now find me on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. So please like, subscribe, follow, etc. Everything helps. And as always, if there’s a topic you’d like to see covered here, just let me know. The new plan is to release content on here every Monday and Friday. This will allow me consistency.

– The Ego

Second Chances

So Watch Dogs 2 came out this week. And, frankly, I haven’t paid it too much attention.

Actually, I haven’t watched much other than the “Before You Buy” video from Gameranx. As an aside, if you haven’t checked out their videos, Gameranx and Jake Baldino are pretty fantastic.

So I have a pretty vague impression of the game so far, but what I do know very well, is how Watch Dogs 1 performed. So the question I ask today is: Do you give second chances to franchises that seriously under preform?

To start: This is Ubisoft. They have a track record of new IPs that stumble start, but end up being pretty fantastic. I’m of course referring to the Assassin’s Creed 1 and 2 debacle. For those of you un-aware of what I’m referring to: Assassin’s Creed 1 was an amazing concept with an incredibly flawed delivery. When Ubisoft came around to releasing 2 (and subsequently the whole Ezio saga…which was re-mastered and released this week) they took the concept and fixed all of the problems.

The problem with Watch Dogs, I think most people would agree, was that it was incredibly over hyped. We’ve seen a lot of that lately

The game itself was okay. I didn’t hate it, but I definitely didn’t love it. The hacking could be pretty fun. And the online aspect, having the ability to infiltrate someone else’s game and mess with them was incredibly fun. But the rest of the game was monotonous at the best of times. The description of Aiden Pearce as a “revenge man” is apt. He was one dimensional and so was his struggle. The gameplay was lacking in most areas – especially combat and the driving was a poor GTA imitation.

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Okay, yea, I’m being pretty hard. But to be fair, it was a pretty big let down. I’ve always liked Ubisoft as a company, and for that reason, I gave them the benefit of the doubt by buying their games at release, instead of waiting till Christmas time like the deal-hunters and watching the game drop 2/3 the price.

So, do you give second chances? If a franchise is really bad from the get-go, how do you handle it? In the case of Assassin’s Creed; I did give the IP a second chance because the conceptual stuff was so spot on and really hit a niche of my interests that it was worth it for me. And in that case – Assassin’s Creed 2 paid off. (Aside: We’ll forgo commentary on the current state of the series until they comeback with their re-worked game.)

And I know this isn’t a blanket moratorium on second chances. Because let’s face facts, giving something a second chance doesn’t always mean it’s going to work out. I recently started eating a lot of vegetables I hadn’t eaten since I was a kid – but I’ll be damned if you think I’m going to eat eggs.

I ask myself, and you dear reader, what does a game have to do to redeem itself in your eyes? Does it have to go the route of Assassin’s Creed 2 and completely fix all of its mistakes before you’ll give it another chance? Or is it a burned bridges sort of scenario?Once ruined, the earth has been salted.

I think the biggest thing I look for is a company’s willingness to hear out the fans and the critics. If they demonstrate the ability to take in criticism, and at least strive to make the changes the people playing their games ask of them – then I am generally willing to give them another shot. And, as I write this, I’m looking up reviews and articles on Watch Dogs 2. If I see it – that spark – the touch as light as butterflies wings that shows developers heard the issues and worked to correct the direction the series was taking, then I will likely grab Watch Dogs 2 and give it another try.

If you have topics you’d like covered, hit me up on social media.

– The Ego

We built this city

No, not on rock and roll, but on a mountain of backlogged games. No, I’m not going to drone on for 600 words about how I’m backlogged to all Hell and how life is busy, etc. No, today I think I’m going to talk about what I am playing. I’d like to know what other people are playing. Are you staying current? I know I’m not. And frankly, till someone starts paying me to do this, I don’t foresee myself catching up. So here’s where I’m at:

Overwatch: Yup, I’m still playing this. I had taken some time off of it after the first competitive season – which kind of broke me. I just don’t understand why people who are terrible play competitive. Well, I do. There’s an exclusive item involved. Part of the problem with Blizzard games is that they’re grindy. You see a guy with a crazy high level and your normal reaction is to think “phew, someone who knows how to play” but really all you’re seeing (with exceptions, of course) is someone who dumped (likely) hundreds of hours into the game – win or lose.

Rant aside – it’s still a really fun game. I like putting myself to the test in games like that. And I like that there are over 20 characters for me to choose from. And I’ve taken to the most unlikely character too – Zarya. She’s a challenge to play well. Ever since I read the article about the Korean girl who ended the career of two pros, the character intrigued me. I even picked up this awesome print from Johnni Kok at a comic con:

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If you like that, you can find his page here.

All in all, it’s one of Blizzards best games. Definitely crushed poor Gearbox’s Battleborn. Like Blue Rodeo said – just bad timing I guess.

GTA V Online – I played a bit of this when the game first came out. Played more when I upgraded to the PS4 version. But since they released the Bikers update – I’ve been all over this game. Like many, I’m a huge Sons of Anarchy fan. And I’ve always had a soft spot for bikes. Runs in the family and I’m just waiting for the day I can buy my own and ride it across the country. I liked the Heists update. They are REALLY fun – at least the actual final missions anyway. The lead-ups are pretty tedious. Well, most anyway. But the Bikers expansion finally let me dress and ride like I have been trying to for the length time I’ve been playing this game in the first place. Plus the buying and running of the illicit businesses hearkens back to the good old days of Vice City. Now, they businesses aren’t as clandestine, or as “fun”, because you just straight up own a weed farm or coke lock-up, but it’s a fun addition nonetheless.

Lastly, I’ll drop a demo in here:

World of Final Fantasy: Played through the whole demo, and I spent some time just running around Grimoire trying to check out all of the monsters. At first – I didn’t get it. The whole stacking thing threw me off. But in the end – I loved it. It’s one new game that I’ll push my backlog back for. I’m a sucker for a good Final Fantasy game. Admittedly, it’s a bit too cutesy for me. But the core game and the mechanics are solid. I watched the IGN “review” just for giggles. I don’t disagree with everything – but their reviews are generally pretty bad. At least with the video version, I didn’t have to suffer through the typos…

Now – if only Amazon had the foresight to, I don’t know, ship my game ahead of time instead of making me wait till the end of the week. If I had it in hand, I’d be writing a review of it, instead of the demo. So, I guess once I sink a few hours into it, I’ll give you something more in-depth.

– The Ego

Just a few days behind

Red. Dead. Redemption. 2.

YES. OH MY YES.

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Sorry, I’ve got a hold of myself now. The funny thing is that the reaction isn’t even based off of the trailer. Which, granted, was pretty exciting though incredibly brief as per the Rockstar usual. But it just looked so amazing. Waves of nostalgia just swept over me. Back to the end of the first game and that heartbreaking moment and for the first time I saw GTA V.

And yea, I know this came out a few days ago, and I’m just getting to it, but I wasn’t writing then, and I am now. So lets talk RDR2:

Watching a true current-gen offering from Rockstar is like watching Cirque de Soliel for the first time. It’s beautiful, unique and stirs up a million questions. What can we expect? Unlike the majority of the articles that are kicking around the web, I’m not as concerned with the whole “Is it John Marston?” debate. Whether or not it ends up being him, or if the game focuses on a new/series of protagonists, is secondary in my opinion. What I want to know is: What has Rockstar got up it’s sleeve this time? How, pray tell, could the possibly out do themselves this time around. I mean, Red Dead Redemption is iconic. There are few games that have come out in my lifetime that are so universally loved. The only other series that has generated that kind of universal acceptance and admiration is the Elder Scrolls series.

So what can they add? The online was prolific for the time. It was one of the first online games I actually engaged in. The range of activities was pretty vast, and of course had the standard “oh look, there’s another person, I better just shoot them”. So, I’m not sure what they can add to improve it. I mean, I’m sure they’ll have something new in the offline game that will translate over to the online. My big concern with the online side is that they go the same was as GTAO has. Where only the online aspect of the game gets all of the DLC. And this is coming from someone who actively plays the online in GTAO. And given the extremely high quality of the DLC for Red Dead. Undead Nightmare – despite being yet another zombie DLC in a time where that had sadly become the norm – was incredible.

So far the single player looks like it’ll be true to form. The hunting will likely return and looks like they’re putting a greater emphasis on it. Of course, everything at this point is speculation. More of the same would really hit the spot. I trust in Rockstar. I know a lot of people have gone down the path, likening Rockstar to companies like EA and Cashcom – only being about the moolah via micro transactions. But it’s not the case. I mean, I know GTA hasn’t gotten any single player DLC like they did for GTA 4. That being said – every piece of GTAO DLC has been free. And let’s face facts – they haven’t disappointed so far. I haven’t played a Rockstar game since GTA 3 that wasn’t good.

The one thing I hope for is more fun little things like some of the trophies and the horses of the four horsemen. Dastardly  was probably one of my favourite things in the entire game – and that’s not just because I always root for the villains in the movies. Hunting the Chupacabra, tracking down the pale horse – also pretty damn awesome. I always find it’s the little things that make Rockstar games great. Like when you realise that Donald Love is a cannibal in GTA 3.

So this week past begins the countdown to fall 2017. That’s the one thing they do that I can’t deal with – tease (in the most literal sense) a game a year in advance. It’s hard enough waiting in between releases, but it’s worse when they give us just enough.

– The Ego

 

Last ditch Switch

I know the title implies a pretty negative connotation to what I’m about to lay down – but trust me – it isn’t.

I haven’t been this excited for anything Nintendo since the N64 released Pokemon Stadium! I mean, I’ve bought every Nintendo console since the dawn of time…Or, you know, had it bought for me. Not a lot of disposable income in 1987 being that I was 4.Though, admittedly, both iterations of the Wii were giant flops. Not just for me either and I don’t need to go through the list either. If you read through my previous posts, you know how I feel about the Wii (U).

But the Switch holds a hell of a lot of promise for Nintendo. If they handle this right – they could completely turn their company around. And just in time too. Because if this doesn’t take, well, see the title. Time to hang up the ole’ spurs.

Here’s what’s on my mind:

Nintendo, for a long time, has been a much better software developer than hardware. And, frankly, that’s been true since the N64. Things have been going downhill since then. I’m sorry Gamecube die-hards, but you know I’m right. But one thing Nintendo does extremely well is make hand-held consoles. Vita who? Sony, you really shouldn’t have bothered. But the 3DS is doing, and historically has done, really well. Now just think of it – a home/hand-held console. The lack of divergence in R&D, both teams working towards one end – that’s a winning idea. And the promise that holds – oh boy. We may get what we’ve (read me) been asking for for a long time – a fully 3D rendered Pokemon game! Of course, all of this is operating on the premise that there won’t be a heir to the 3DS throne. Since 3D is a fad of the past, one can only hope that the successor will be the Switch. I mean, it only makes sense to focus all of the effort on one machine.

Now, I’m sure a lot of you are skeptical, and I understand. So am I. I’ve been burnt twice too. I bought both of the last consoles at full retail and regretted it. But, like many of you, I will be in there in March picking up my switch.

I also know a lot of you are reading this, saying: “But Ego, how is it going to compete against the PS4 and Xbone?”

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To you I say: It doesn’t have to. Nintendo has always exited in a curious niche of the industry. The gimmick niche. And I think that the Switch will continue to exist there as well. But if they can put out an offering that at least matches the visuals of the generation (I’m not talking PS4 Pro and Scorpio) – I think that the Switch will have a lot to offer. The hardware difference has never been a real deterrent for people buying Nintendo consoles anyway.

Now, this is the part where I talk about the meaning behind the title. In my ever so humble opinion – this is it for Nintendo. This is their absolute, dying on the vine, last ditch effort at being a hardware developer (outside of maybe sticking to just handheld games, but I really don’t see the point of that). If the Switch doesn’t succeed – take my advice -hang it up. Do yourself (and your investors) a favour and become a software developer. That is something Nintendo does very well. License your titles to Sony and Microsoft. Let them shoulder the burden on losing money on consoles. You’ve proved you can win on platforms other than the home console – look at Pokemon Go. Hell, strike an exclusivity deal with Sony or Microsoft and let them take Mario, Luigi, Link, Zelda, Donkey and Pikachu under their umbrellas and just watch the truckloads of cash pile up. With the winning franchises you’ve created, you don’t need to make the system to play them on too. It worked for Sega.

– The Ego