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ampersandrew

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ampersandrew, (edited )
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Do they sell a good product at a fair price? Do I know what's in it and get what I'm paying for? Is it future-proofed such that what I bought won't disappear if the seller turns off their servers? Does it refrain from using shady tactics to manipulate me into buying something I don't want?

If the answers to all of those questions are "yes", then it doesn't bother me. For instance, Paradox games. Lots of people seem to feel like they need all of the content for a given game, but I don't understand it. They released what they had for a full game at launch, and then while a large portion of that team can move on to prototyping their next game, a smaller team remains behind to come up with some goodies that you can modify that base game with to keep it fresh, if you're interested. It's low cost for them to improve the game at a systemic level, and if what they put out isn't good enough, you can just not buy it and still play the game you already enjoyed. It isn't any less complete just because they decided to attach more game to it, and this is far better for both parties than selling a sequel every year that's the same as last year's but with a tiny bit extra.

When it comes to cosmetics like Mortal Kombat's, it doesn't bother me that they exist. They're horrendously overpriced, so I never even consider buying them, because they're terrible value. There's also the shop timers that would fall under "shady tactics to [attempt to] manipulate me", so that's not cool. Far worse though is how much of that game is arbitrarily tied to server checks, including a couple of unlocks in the base game. Also not cool is that they replaced Krypt with Invasions. The Krypt was a metroidvania-esque dungeon crawl, and while it too was designed to get you to grind a bunch or spend a bunch of extra money, it was actually fun to solve. Invasions is just bot matches but worse, and it's tied behind server checks, because people like me used Cheat Engine to bypass the Krypt grind in MKX rather than spend $20 on Kombat Koins. I really enjoy MK, but they're stepping right up to, and sometimes dancing over, the line.

ampersandrew,
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I can tell you from experience that you'll have a better time with plenty of old Assassin's Creed games by not having the DLC in the picture to affect your opinion of the total package.

ampersandrew,
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I know my resistance probably doesn’t accomplish much

It does. Besides not giving that game your time and money, you're instead putting it in some other game that's making what you want, and they probably need your time and money more to keep doing that.

ampersandrew,
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I just started typing in common video game title words in Steam's search, and I found several games just called "Void". We can extrapolate that scenario out and say maybe a new game is the first one on Steam to be called Void, but maybe there was an old DOS game called Void that came to Steam later after rights issues have been resolved. There's also the very common situation of a remake and its original version both being available on Steam, and maybe different companies own the rights to each one, like Star Wars: Battlefront. Perhaps these and other reasons are why those checks don't exist, but maybe they will now if these sorts of scams become more common.

ampersandrew,
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This deal happened because Embracer is shedding debt, and this is how you shed it. They just listed their debt a few months ago as 2.12B, so this and Gearbox will go a long way toward getting it down to a level they can actually afford. Meanwhile, it's very hard to track what they still own, but one of those things is Tomb Raider. They'll also have tons and tons of smaller bets. Alone in the Dark, Titan Quest II, and Gothic look to still be under their control, for instance.

ampersandrew,
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No, as per the article, this is a person pulling strings.

ampersandrew,
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It sure sounds like the money spent on those deals makes less and less sense, so I'll bet we see less of them going forward. Already the exclusivity period for this game is down to only about 3 months.

ampersandrew,
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But can't you see the other comments in this thread? Clearly this encourages piracy for some reason and is worse than EA somehow.

ampersandrew,
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It has been the beginning of a paradigm shift. This is just to lay people off without paying severance.

ampersandrew,
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On the other hand, maybe they took a look at Helldivers and decided to keep going down that route anyway.

ampersandrew,
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Maybe if emulating the game wasn't often better than playing it on the only hardware the game is made for...

ampersandrew,
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Not relevant enough? Valhalla made Ubisoft $1 billion. It's one of those games that sells to the type of person who only buys a couple of games per year alongside sports titles and Rockstar games.

ampersandrew,
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Assassin's Creed has just been doing numbers basically since forever, which is why Ubisoft turned into a machine that puts out one of those games every year. Valhalla was no exception. Mirage, however, is the exception. Ubisoft showed their lack of confidence in the title by pricing it lower. It was no secret to those who followed its development that it was spun out of a DLC for Valhalla, and reviews reflected the amount of effort Ubisoft put into it.

ampersandrew,
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On a Game Mess Mornings (yesterday, I think?) it was something like $600M profit on a $7B investment, which are some thin margins, and things are trending in the other direction, which means it's not sustainable. Anyone looking at $300M budgets for a Spider-Man game and $200M for Horizon could wager a guess that it's not sustainable. The blame still lies at the feet of Sony for stretching themselves so thin in the first place and then axing these people who potentially uprooted their lives to take these jobs, but it doesn't make sense to keep throwing money at things like PSVR2 games or live service schemes that won't make their money back.

ampersandrew,
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I think the new management at Sony agrees, but what that means is that people get laid off.

ampersandrew,
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If only costs, personnel, and risk could be divided that easily.

ampersandrew,
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Long-term, it is in fact cheaper to not pay 900 people than it is to pay them.

ampersandrew,
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So many businesses operate on debt and investments. "If you're going to gamble, do it with somebody else's money." A lot of opportunities to acquire funding for developing video games have just dried up.

ampersandrew,
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The publishers acquire funding this same way. Sony, 2K, and Bandai Namco have all operated as the publishers for their games, and they're all publicly traded companies. They pay the upfront cost for development that both partners in that deal wish to make a return on, and right now, the publishers or other investors (which may still exist regardless of a publisher deal) are scared of throwing money at lots of game pitches these days.

ampersandrew,
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What I said was that the developer may have other investors in the studio or the project even if they have a publisher. Immortals of Aveum, for instance, was published by EA but largely funded by venture capital.

ampersandrew,
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I also have a hard time wrapping my head around it, but I don't think it's a 3D vs. 2D thing. I think it's a Tekken thing. In 2D games, you can generally block low and then react to overheads, and then you'll have a few universal system mechanics. In Tekken, you block high by default and react to lows. You can't crouch-block mids, but you can create a whiff punish opportunity by ducking highs or sidestepping vertical moves. Okay, those are some cool tools to use. Except some moves hit low that look mid. Some moves hit mid that look high. Some moves that look like they can be sidestepped will actually just track your movement. I desperately tried to find some rules of thumb that would help me actually play defense in this game, but the answer I kept getting was that I just had to know what those moves look like and memorize those properties for each one. That's not a skill I excel at, and it's not a hurdle I'm interested in grinding to get past, which is a bummer, because this is most I've ever understood or found a taste for Tekken.

ampersandrew, (edited )
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I'm going through some more of The Outer Worlds. Still really enjoying it. It's got a good pace to it.

Palworld is still my second screen game for podcasts and such. It needs some tweaking in the progression, but I'm at the point now where I can expand to additional bases.

I picked up Penny's Big Breakaway. It feels great to play. The boss fights are really interesting. This could and should have been one of the best platformers I've ever played, and maybe it still is, but some bugs and jank occasionally get in the way. If you're swinging from your yo-yo and hit a wall, you're supposed to do a small climbing animation, but it doesn't always work. Sometimes when riding your yo-yo, you'll kind of just skip and jump off with poor feedback for why. Sometimes you get stuck in a wall. The design for air dashing by pressing the button twice can often get eaten by other inputs, and that doesn't feel great. The bugs and jank are not the most prevalent part of the experience, but they happen enough to bring down my opinion of the game a peg or two. I'd highly recommend this game, but maybe wait a few months for a couple of patches.

My friends and I beat the main campaign of Quake II in co-op. It's much faster in co-op and with the compass feature than they intended, but I wouldn't have it any other way. Next we'll move on to the expansions.

Still labbing some stuff in Skullgirls for my Combo Breaker grind. It's painful going through replays for my losses, but it's necessary, and I took good notes.

I had been dipping my toes into the waters of loot games with Titan Quest, and I think I'm at the point now where I can say I see the appeal with the genre and I'll stick with it. For this game in particular, I do wish the bosses were more involved, because they don't really hit a crescendo that a boss fight should have. Due to what defensive options the game gives you and doesn't give you, they often just end up being running away from the guy in a circle until you can land some hits. Still, it's fun. After this game, I might check out the sequel, Grim Dawn, or V Rising.

ampersandrew,
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That game is worth putting up with its jank. You may not know exactly what the character is going to say, but each option is always channeling either James Bond, Jack Bauer, or Jason Bourne.

ampersandrew,
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I did finish it. Liked it, really enjoyed the presentation. There was a bit of abstract in the ending, which isn't really my bag, but I'm on board for the sequel.

ampersandrew,
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No worries. I was not really able to deduce any more depth out of the combat, really. There were some defensive options that seem to always cancel into offense options to feel snappier, but I think it was really a matter of what the game bothered to teach me and what I needed to do in order to make it through the game. If they want to make it a priority on the sequel, I trust them to know how to do that.

ampersandrew,
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For the author and everyone else. If they're not throwing away their entire tech stack and workflow for how they build this sort of game and starting from scratch, they're making a huge mistake. At least start with what Obsidian built for Avowed and work from there.

ampersandrew,
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I've got to say...both of those sentences are an absolutely wild perspective. The first on the history of the medium, and the second for thinking that Bethesda will make anything other than the type of game they've always made for the past 30 years.

ampersandrew,
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Did you play Starfield? It's definitely got plenty of ideas. It just chickened out of some of them and wrote checks it couldn't cash for others. (Also, I think you meant astronomy, not astrology.)

ampersandrew,
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We just got Baldur's Gate 3 last year, and Persona 5 is a mega hit. Turn-based RPGs are very much still alive.

ampersandrew,
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It's a real time game, but if you try just mashing buttons, you will die quite quickly.

ampersandrew,
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I don't see a technical debt problem getting any better by ignoring the problem for longer. No better time to start than when they've got Microsoft's war chest to help aid the transition.

ampersandrew,
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I would absolutely trust Obsidian to handle the NG+ angle that Bethesda was aiming for, because they would have known that the right way to do it is to not let you do every faction's quest line in the same playthrough.

ampersandrew,
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On the other hand, an alternate perspective is:

  • The average action game today has more going on in its story department than point and clicks did 30 years ago, and that's not even accounting for games with a much larger emphasis on story like an RPG.
  • Baldur's Gate 3 and the last two Legend of Zelda games are great examples of actually thinking outside the box, not thinking of explicit answers that were hard coded into old adventure games as valid answers. Those types of games back then got a reputation for "moon logic" for a reason, and I'm not sure we're better off with games that give you a soft fail state for missing an essential item in an early area like old Sierra games.
  • What you might call "handholdy", others might call "better UX" in a lot of cases, though there are certainly plenty of games that are a reaction to more guided designs; not just the above examples of Zelda and Baldur's Gate but also the likes of Elden Ring, Factorio, Dwarf Fortress, and Outer Wilds.
  • People's attention spans didn't necessarily drop, and it's even harder to show that people are largely less educated than they used to be, but even if both of those things were true, neither would be demonstrated by the types of video games that came out over the past 40 years. People have built entire functioning computers inside of Minecraft, and Red Dead Redemption II certainly, without question, is doing more with its story than any adventure game from the 90s or earlier.
ampersandrew,
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But this isn't a film. People replay systems-driven games all the time, because you can tweak the variables and make it feel new. RPGs have done this plenty of times. Interacting with a separate quest line that occasionally intersects with things you did in one of your previous timelines is something that there is absolutely a way to do, and Obsidian has made exactly that type of systems-driven RPG plenty of times.

ampersandrew,
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The thing that Obsidian has done plenty of times is system-driven reputations. The thing that would be new is bending that into new playthroughs on NG+ that interact with your past playthroughs.

ampersandrew,
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I don't know how worth it is to try to explain my idea of what a hypothetical better version of Starfield is, but the short answer is:

  • only let you do one faction quest per playthrough
  • those factions' quest lines already, in the real Starfield that exists today, intersect with one another
  • change how different factions react to you and those other factions based on a system similar to the type of reputation system Obsidian has done before, not unlike Levine's "Narrative Legos" video, but it doesn't even have to be that advanced

It wouldn't involve grinding. If I still haven't articulated it well enough, don't worry about it, because that game doesn't exist anyway.

ampersandrew,
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I don't mean to sound rude, but it seems strange to pine for something lost that not only isn't lost but also you don't seem to have looked very hard for. There are some high profile turn based RPG hits all the time. Pokemon games are still turn based RPGs, and that's the most successful entertainment property of all time.

ampersandrew,
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Your best bet is to just go on Steam and start filtering by tags. You can click on a search and search for both "JRPG" and "Turn-based combat" tags, and that will give you a good list of games in the ballpark of Phantasy Star.

ampersandrew,
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When it first launched, the biggest departure from Rainbow Six was a guy who could revive people by throwing a syringe at them.

ampersandrew,
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I know they're aware that they made a game that's nothing like old Rainbow Six, and that's the part that sucks. If they want it to outgrow its legacy, they ought to call it something else and make an actual Rainbow Six game again.

ampersandrew,
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Honest question: can you name an asshole gaming community that isn't tied to a live service game? Because I feel like the shitty community comes from expecting everything to be continually improved, and lots of those improvements are subjective, so someone's improvement is someone else's regression. I'll happily revise my hypothesis with some good counter examples though.

ampersandrew,
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So perhaps the updated hypothesis is all asshole communities are tied to live service games, but not all live service games have asshole communities?

ampersandrew,
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Helldivers 2 is still selling tons of copies even though everyone is saying that the servers can't handle the capacity. No one seems to care over there, so I can see why the Nightingale devs thought no one would care with their game either. I thought we were recovering from live service, but Helldivers shows we haven't.

ampersandrew,
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This is the kind of exceptionalism that bums me out. It's still a server that no one in the community can control, which means it will still have downtime while the game's making money and will disappear entirely when it isn't making money. It still means you arbitrarily can't play if you're in a situation where you have no internet, like on a train or in a cabin in the woods, and it means that your session will get interrupted with no workaround if something happens like Steam's matchmaking servers go down for maintenance for 15 minutes on a Tuesday; or when PSN gets hacked again. It means this game won't even be playable in 10 or 15 years for as excited as people are about it right now, and that's why I'm disappointed to see people making an exception for it that they didn't for all sorts of other live service games, because if Helldivers 2 shows that this stupid business model still works, companies will continue throwing money at it and making more of them.

ampersandrew,
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Congrats! Yeah, lots of tricky fights in that game are solvable by just observing statuses and such. The game exposes almost 100% of its information.

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