Diecast #63: E3 2014

By Shamus
on Jun 16, 2014
Filed under:
Diecast

134 comments

This entire episode is dedicated to going over the news coming out of E3. For the record: Mumbles attended directly. Josh and Chris followed along from home. I missed most of it because I was programming.


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Podcast RSS feed.

Hosts:
Josh, Shamus, Mumbles, and Campster.

Show notes:

1:00 Talk about the headline press conferences: Microsoft, Sony, Nintendo, Ubisoft.

20:00 E3 is now streamed, so everyone can “attend”. How does this change the show?

29:00 EA had very little to show, and what they did show was odd.

36:00 Mumbles talks indies.

48:00 SHAMUS IS TIRED OF BORING VIDEOGAME TALK. GET TO TALKING ABOUT VR ALREADY.

57:00 The last half hour of the show is a quick glance at a bunch of different games. Dragon Age: InquisitionNOBODY EXPECTS etc, etc. Bloodborne, Witcher III, and others.

1:25:35 MAILBAG!

Strangely enough, all of the questions are for Josh. And all of them are oddly specific.

Enjoyed this post? Please share!

Footnotes:

[1] NOBODY EXPECTS etc, etc.



A Hundred!2014There are 134 comments here. I really hope you like reading.

From the Archives:

  1. XCLONG says:

    Probably one of the dozen people on this site that are excited about Halo: TMCC.
    I’ve dreamt of this day since I was in fifth grade.

    Also first.

    • Ciennas says:

      Oh, I’m happy they’re all together and the art has been unified. I’m a little sad they’re not porting Reach and ODST though. Then I could have all of them on one console, as soon as I could justify blowing $500 on a gaming console.

      And ODST used H3 assets anyway, so it shouldn’t have been a hard conversion.

      • Phantos says:

        The reason ODST and Reach aren’t involved is because neither involved the Master Chief. This collection is specifically named after games where he’s the main character(and I don’t have enough finger air-quotes in the world for the word character).

        It is odd. Microsoft is really banking on him being the selling point of the series lately, and not the gameplay, the setting, the multiplayer or the story.

        Which might be why Halo 4 was a complete disaster.

    • Phantos says:

      For me, what sealed the deal for me for buying a 3DS was the day I found out that “Lyn”, my favourite female Nintendo character, was playable in the 3DS Fire Emblem game.

      I am willing to spend a lot of money on something if it has a character I am emotionally invested in.

      My point being: the moment I heard Keith David’s voice in the trailer as The Arbiter, I think that’s when I knew I was going to save up for an Xbone.

      As much as I hate Halo 2, I love me some Keith David Arbiter.

    • Kana says:

      There is nothing that could be HDified that would tempt me more than Halo 2. Still my favorite game in the series, and I have so many memories of the multiplayer. Good times…

  2. guy says:

    @about hour mark

    Sounds like 40K, specifically the Daemonhunters of the Ordo Malleus.

    Also, what’s this with portals? Dragon Age has portals now? It was kind of important that you couldn’t just have freestanding portals to the Fade.

    Dragon Age 1 had a High Dragon, a demon-dragon thing, and the Archdemon, and Dragon Age 2 had one High Dragon. Also lots of baby dragons.

    • James says:

      well there was the Eluvians, though i don’t think they count really also the Veil is everywhere like the force so i guess portals are possible there was one in DA:O in the wardens tower DLC

      • guy says:

        Well, I looked it up on the Dragon Age wiki, and apparently there was a huge explosion presumably related to Red Lyrium (On account of that being a bottomless well of horror and despair) that’s ripped an expanding hole in the sky that’s raining demons and the player character.

        I have this feeling that the Inquisitor should carry around a sign saying “There is a hole in the sky raining demons” and just hold it up whenever anyone starts rambling about politics.

        • Wide And Nerdy says:

          That would seem to make sense for two seconds. Then the leaders would pat the Inquisitor on the head and say “Very good, you recognized the giant hole that rains demons. They’re terrorizing thousands of people in the lands we’re responsible for. Did you maybe have some suggestions on how to deal with it?”

          It was one thing with the Reapers where, before ME3, they were somewhat elusive and we killed the one reaper so its all good right? We’ll ignore this guy whose saying there’s a thousand more where that came from because thats just crazy talk. But in any game written with a modicum of verisimilitude, the lords and ladies of the land are not going to ignore a giant hole in the sky spewing demons.

          • guy says:

            Given that main plot threads in Inquistion apparently include the Orleasean civil war and the Mage-Templar war, I think the sign would get a lot of mileage. Particularly in the later.

            “If we don’t keep hunting the mages, they might summon demons!”
            *holds up sign*

            • Wide And Nerdy says:

              Kind of hard to ignore your enemies when they’re actively attacking.

              Besides the Templars are well justified to attack the Mages if Dragon Age 2 is anything to go by. Templars- 1 crazed extremist. Mages- necromancers, blood mages and abominations abound. They couldn’t be blamed if they looked at that hole in the sky and assume the mages did it. After all a single mage destroyed the Church in Kirkwall and he was supposed to be a good guy.

              • James says:

                The problem is both sides have committed some horrible things to the others, Plus the mages have been all but slaves for a few hundred years.

                yes the rank and file of each group is probably nice decant people. but as with all organised groups in opposition, there’s alot of dicks who hate the other dicks, and as the dicks look like the normal guys its hard to work out who is a dick or just a guy. but Bioware has issues making things grey, or at least providing that to the players (the books are better at this as they don’t have a protagonist to pander to, or to have a sign that read BAD GUY for incase people get confused), they prefer Black White or Blue Red morality.

                Something i hope they learned from CD Projeckt Red, however the Witcher games has the GOT issue of EVERYONE is a asshole.

              • guy says:

                I’m not sure if you noticed, but quite a lot of Templars are crazed extremists and Anders is such a terrible person he drove a benevolent Fade spirit crazy.

                • Wide And Nerdy says:

                  What do evil mages do? They dominate minds, restitch the dead into horrible perversions of life, and cause general mayhem and destruction all while animating your departed loved ones to slaughter you and the other towns folk. What do crazed templars do? They hunt mages. You gotta pick your crazy.

                  • guy says:

                    That’s a false dichotomy. Instead of siding with the Templars or the Maleficarium, you can side with Circle mages and Chantry loyalists and only hunt evil mages.

                    Plus, I honestly believe that the Templar order is counterproductive. See, any mage in the setting can up and summon a demon into themselves at any time. The thing is, mages are perfectly well aware this is an incredibly stupid idea. So it mostly happens when they’re desperate and panicky because Templar are trying to kill them. Granted, two of your mage companions are strictly speaking Abominations, but Wynne signed up with a friendly spirit on account of being dead and Justice was a swell guy when he was possessing a dead Grey Warden instead of Grand Mage Crazy Man.

                    I will grant that the Fereldan Knight-Commander was non-crazy; sure, he requested authorization to exterminate the tower population, but the situation had deteriorated severely by that point.

                    • Wide And Nerdy says:

                      I saw no evidence of these factions at the end of 2. Orsino went full retard, and I was under the impression that it was all mages versus Templars. I thought the Circle was now dissolved.

                    • Sleeping Dragon says:

                      Hey, I side with the crazies that let met set fire to people with my mind, I don’t care what else they do.

                      @Wide And Nerdy
                      This was something that pissed me off immensely in DA2. I don’t know if it was caused by the game being pushed for release* but the whole mages VS templars conflict is very one dimensional and suffers from “we can’t let the player miss this content” (particularly in the endgame). The factions and multiple viewpoints are never explored, alternative solutions are never presented. I was playing a super pro-mage apostate and still basically every mage that could turned on me and/or went abomination at a slightest provocation. The Orsina situation is particularly jarring.

                      *Haven’t we cut Bioware enough of slack for that particular excuse?

                    • James says:

                      @Wide and Nerdy

                      Yes in the book “Asunder” the entire Circle of Magi had voted to succeed form the chantry, effectively nullifying itself. then the Templar’s also succeeded from then Chantry as well so that they could KILL ALL THE MAGES IN THE UNIVERSE, the Seekers and the Inquisition are the only orders who havn’t suceeded. the according to the lore (i might be wrong) the Inquisition wasn’t really a force until the DEMON RIFT OF PAIN MISERY AND DEATH started killing all the people.

        • Humanoid says:

          It would probably also be slightly hypocritical as you carry the sign from place to place while solving your party members’ trivial daddy issues.

        • Or have a party member wearing a sandwich board saying that, dancing around while everyone else is having serious political discussions, perhaps occasionally doing the russian kicky dance or the can-can. Of course, that would make the discussions impossible to take seriously, but I have to admit that people arguing about mage rights or elf discrimination (or whatever political issues) is rather hard to take seriously when demons are jumping out of a portal.
          Ooh, and when someone says “well, yes, but what are we going to do about the demons?” your party member will turn around and on the back of the board is your 5 point plan to close the portal and kill all the demons.
          Edited to add: you could make it an option or a feat like the crazy Fallout 3 and NV ones, so that people who wanted SERIOUS could still have it. Also, I may have no idea what political discussions people in DA have, I have yet to play any of them (they’re on the list, I swear, but someone modded Icewind Dale and Baldur’s Gate into Neverwinter Nights 2 and well, I can finally play those in a system I actually understand!)

          • Sleeping Dragon says:

            “but someone modded Icewind Dale and Baldur’s Gate into Neverwinter Nights 2”

            Wait, some tme ago I heard about something like that being in the works with BG but not finished at the time… you mean it’s done? And ID too? Excuse me, I’ll be back in a week or two.

          • Bloodsquirrel says:

            “I have to admit that people arguing about mage rights or elf discrimination (or whatever political issues) is rather hard to take seriously when demons are jumping out of a portal.”

            Problem is that the mages and elves take it very seriously, since it’s something that immediately and seriously effects their wellbeing, and you can’t expect them to stop taking it seriously just because you have a bigger problem.

            If I was a mage I’d tell you to go to hell for expecting my help when I’m busy trying to keep the Chantry from imprisoning or mudering me for something I have no control over.

            • guy says:

              Perhaps a map will clarify why the situation is highly relevant to all sides in both the Mage-Templar War and the Orlesian Civil War.

              Admittedly, it’s a better reason for the Templars to back off as opposed to the mages, who could reasonably hold that they don’t especially care who kills them.

    • Zombie says:

      You know what I would Kill for? A 40k single player RPG where you can play as a Space Marine, Commissar (Because who DOESN’T want to be Ciaphus Cain in an RPG, right?) or Inquisitor, and you just go around a couple of star clusters and fight all kinds of Xenos while unraveling a mystery revolving around something plaguing the systems. And I’d want Bioware to do it, mainly because they make good characters when they want to. And there would be no romance subplots, none, zero, zilch.
      (Sorry to be kinda off topic, but that popped into my head when I saw the comment about Inquisitors)

      • C0Mmander says:

        Personally I’d prefer some kind of empire builder set in 40K where you make a star system prosper while balancing its needs and those of the rest of your faction or sub-faction of choice. This is something that doesn’t exist even in the tabletop games or the pen and paper RPGs.

      • Klay F. says:

        Oh man, Bioware mixed with 40k GRIMDARK would be so freaking hilarious.

        Also, I would so love an RPG where you play as a Commissar. There is only ever one choice to make and that choice is “HERESY! *BLAM*”

        In all seriousness though, this is GW. They are absolutely terrified of losing the status quo, so nothing of the sort will ever happen. :(

      • 4th Dimension says:

        They have a name for such a person that has a retinue of vierd and varied individuals that is fighting to uncover some old plot against the Imperium. And that guy is an INQUISITOR. So yeah, playing Inquisitor could be fun.
        So you cna have your crazed psyker, dogmatic battle nun (that of course hates the psyker), an unkempt null, a rougish rouge trader couple of ex Guardsmen that consider Rambo a pussy, and a Comissar to keep the Guard in line. An Astartes would be a bit of a gamebreaker though.

        Also as long as no named characters of lore die, all that happens in the game can be filed as happening in some two bit no name sector in segmentum obscuris or ultima sector.
        Seriosly, Imperium in 40k is so large that loss of clusters is barely felt.

      • Bloodsquirrel says:

        >>And I’d want Bioware to do it,

        >>And there would be no romance subplots, none, zero, zilch.

        DOES NOT COMPUTE.

        DOES NOT COMPUTE.

        The game you’re describing sounds really fun, but I don’t see how it plays to current Bioware’s “strengths” at all. Bioware’s first thought when they hear “Warhammer 40k RPG” is “Bisexual romanceable Space Marine companion”.

        • One of the reasons I like BioWare games is that they do have romances (even if they are stupid and awkward at times), the number of games that have romances in them are very few (porn games and visual novels do not count in this case) where you also have a strong RPG and a world to explore.

          To this date I find the male Shepard and Tali friend to romance arc in Mass Effect trilogy to be one of the best so far that I can recall in any game/game series.
          Second best would be in Dragon Age (I) if male and romancing Morrigan (with all the DLCs that extend that story/romance.)

          I like that kind of spice in RPGs, and best of all, those interested do not need to bother with it. (Though it’s kind o stupid if romances can be “accidentally” triggered, that is just poor testing in my opinion).

          Something like 40K sounds like a bro shooter. Although, wasn’t there a 40k game that had some hint at some relationship between a male and female character?

          Heck even StarCraft II had something. But again, that is part of the story told and not part of the players story, which is a key difference in my mind and is what separate a RPG from a non-RPG.

          • Klay F. says:

            40K, when its true to its fluff, is about as far from anything bro-related as you can possibly get. As long as the devs aren’t like “HURR DURR SPIRITUAL LEIGE ROWBOAT GIRLYMAN.” *cough*Spacemarine*cough*

            I think focusing on the Guard would be very interesting. Though I think someone like FromSoft are the only ones capable of portraying that kind of despair and bleakness with any sort of quality.

            But yeah, romances would have absolutely no place in a 40k story.

  3. hborrgg says:

    Linka and Prince Zeld?

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      Id play that.

    • C0Mmander says:

      I’m sorry but when I hear Zeld I imediatly think douchebag. I’m sure it’s offenssive to someone but that is the first thing that pops in my mind.

      • ET says:

        I want to play this! Arg, Nintendo! Experiment! Get outside your box! :S

        • Nidokoenig says:

          Nintendo’s fundamental philosophy has always been that the name on the box is very important, and it’s important because the people who bought the previous games are supposed to be a big part of the customer base, or at least the people building hype and giving the game to younger relatives at Christmas or whatever. As much as this limits them in experimenting with existing IPs in the mainline, it’s far preferable to them rebooting Mario as a cover-based TPS. Although they could easily split it off as a variant of the series, like how they have the Twilight Princess/Squidward Sword games and the Toon Link games covering different ground in parallel, or how Mario games use subtitles to doing whatever the hell they please.

          Anyway, isn’t Zelda with a girl already being made and called A Hat in Time? I’ve seen some argue that Super Metroid takes a fair few game design cues about non-linearity and progression from the original Zelda, too, so given how that series has progressed, it might be safer for fans to make their own Zelda if they want a woman as the lead, rather than Nintendo.

          • venatus says:

            a hat in time is a completely different game made by an indie studio and has nothing to do with the Zelda franchise. though it does look interesting.

            and I’m not sure I buy your argument about Nintendo, maybe they’re like that in recent years but in the era of the N64 they took a lot of risks and new direction with their big IP’s (Metoid Prime ocarina of time, Mario 64) and even on the GameCube they made a game were Mario cleans up graffiti and bowser Jr is claiming to be peach’s abandoned son, plus they turned link into a cartoon sailor.

            then both the Wii and the Wii U were risky decision. Nintendo seems willing to take risks, even with their big IP’s just not the kind of risks people generally ask for.

            • Nidokoenig says:

              The point about Hat in Time is that it’s a Zelda game about as much as Might Number 9 is a Megaman game. There are great ideas like Clockwork Empire out there that could be great game for indie studios if they just file the numbers off and make it on their own rather than waiting for Nintendo to take the particular risk they’re looking for. With one or two games per console generation, that could be a long wait.

              Prime and 64 are both results of translating existing series from 2D to 3D, though, when keeping them 2D would have seemed far bolder at the time. The Prime series has also been treated as subtitled spin-offs with Other M acting as a new “main series” game. Sunshine wasn’t fundamentally different from N64 in Merios basic moveset, the point of FLUDD was to allow for some variety in play for a game that lasted a lot longer than any of the 2D Marios.

              The Wii and the WiiU aren’t exactly out of character. They’re pretty sane compared to things like ROB, the Virtual Boy and the N64 controller. Remember that Nintendo’s primary business before they got into video games was toys, things like the Ultra Hand and Ten Billion Barrel, so the idea of just making a little PC in a box doesn’t fit their MO.

              • Kristoffer says:

                How is A Hat in Time a Zelda game? It’s a 3D platformer inspired by Super Mario 64 and Banjo-Kazooie. They even hired the latter’s composer. It’s an entirely different genre. Mighty No. 9 is a spiritual sequel by the original director in the same genre, made in collaboration with people who have been making Mega Man spinoffs on the GBA and DS for years. Also, Metroid Prime was a generation after the N64.

                If Nintendo ever decides to make Zelda the main character in a Zelda game they are making, I hope they make her her own thing. She’s been cool in the other games as a princess, a ninja, a ghost possessing a huge armor and a pirate. She shouldn’t just wear Link’s clothes, she’s a different character.

                Mind you, if they decided to make Link a girl next time around, whatever. He’s already a pretty, androgynous elf who wears a skirt in most incarnations. They would only have to ask his voice actor to pitch it up a bit and maybe trim the model’s eyebrows.

      • Wide And Nerdy says:

        I’d play this if A) this wasn’t explicitly a Zelda franchise role reversal (i.e. its just a video game about a female battlemage adventurer and a male prince) and B) he wasn’t explicitly crediting her with inspiration for this.

        She has already gotten way more attention and credit than she deserves. I’m not going to buy something explicitly designed to make a statement.

    • Phantos says:

      Although the androgynous trailer person has since been confirmed to be Link, I do enjoy wondering what would happen if Nintendo grew a pair and genderbent the characters.

      Maybe an alternate dimension, where a female Nogandrof is the hero fighting the evil Elzad and Prince Klin?

  4. Bloodsquirrel says:

    I was hoping there would be Wolfenstein talk. I just finished it, and holy crap is that game ripe for a total breakdown.

    Hell, I’ll suggest it for the next season of SW.

    • C0Mmander says:

      I think you might be disappointed cause Shamus said he actually like it. With that said he did say it wasn’t the best game ever just a good one. And Campster said it was weird. So the what I assume they are saying is that it still has problems but they liked it nonetheless.

  5. I’ve just started listening to this episode, so I apologize if this is mentioned later, but if someone wishes to snark more on Ubisoft, hold on to your butts:

    A modder has discovered and unlocked all the shaders/explosions/etc. in Watch_Dogs as seen in E3 presentations in ’12 and ’13.

    And yes, it’s Reddit, but here’s the Reddit thread where I heard about this. It sure looks like Ubisoft realized how amazing the Glorious PC Master Race’s capabilities are… for marketing, then will happily dumb down the resulting game for consoles, even “next gen” ones.

    • ET says:

      I’m hopeful that some time down the line, there will be a patch that enables this and improves the performance enough that it’s enabled on more than just monster machines. :)

      Too bad you can’t as easily patch gameplay… ^^;

      • Actually, it seems this restoration improves the game’s performance, even on less-than-current hardware, leading many to speculate that they threw out whatever optimization was done for their E3 demos/videos, too.

        Someone should lose their free soda privileges over this.

        • Humanoid says:

          GPU vendor-driven performance sabotage has been a thing in the past. Crysis 2 notoriously had some not just excessive, but outright useless tessellation of surfaces being done where doing so would be counterproductive (tessellating a concrete barrier which is meant to be flat) or literally invisible to the player (tessellating the ocean underneath the level geometry).

          So why was this done? Well, NVidia hardware at the time was more efficient at tessellating than equivalent AMD hardware. Crysis 2 was an NVidia-sponsored game. The logic at work here would be that the unnecessary work being performed would hurt both products’ performance, but it would hurt the AMD card’s by more, therefore increasing the NVidia card’s performance in relative terms.

          It’s like choosing to cripple one of your own legs in order to cripple both your opponent’s legs. Your absolute performance is down, but you’re now in a better position relative to the opposition than you were earlier.

          • ET says:

            That’s disgusting. Never mind the fact that it’s a sleazy way to hurt a competitor. Just imagine how much extra heat peoples’ computers are throwing off, just because the game is unoptimized. Are the game devs or Nvidia going to be paying customers’ air conditioning bills? :|

  6. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Games are our generations action figurines,never to be taken out of the original packaging.

  7. Mumbles: “Have you heard about Elite: Dangerous?”

    Nobody on the panel? Nobody? Not even Shamus? Really?

    This should’ve been a reverse-trolling question, like asking Mumbles, “Hey, have you read Batman: The Killing Joke?”

    IT’S JUST THE REVIVAL OF THE SPACEFLIGHT SIM THAT DEFINED THE WHOLE SPACEFLIGHT SIM GENRE BACK IN THE DAY! THAT’S ALL, NOTHING IMPORTANT!

    Kids these days…

    • Unhidden says:

      Indeed. I’ve wasted a whole summer vacation on that game.

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      Space the what now?Is that some kind of subgenre of flight simulator games?Ive never heard of it.Must be a niche thing.

    • MichaelGC says:

      RIGHT ON COMMANDER!

    • Ilseroth says:

      Yeah, I was genuinely surprised that wasn’t a reverse troll. I didn’t even play the original Elite, but I saw some trailers and gameplay and am fairly hype for the game. Especially since its primary competitor is Star Citizen which honestly; hasn’t really impressed gameplay wise yet.

      The concepts of both games are really cool, it really just comes down to one of the two games actually executing it well.

    • Lisa says:

      I admit I thought that Shamus would be all over it with the procedurally generated universe type thingy.

      • I would’ve thought he’d played the original on a long-gone computer platform, like all healthy and normal people.

        • krellen says:

          I’ve never played Elite, and don’t really care to. “Space flight sims” aren’t my bag, unless it’s TIE Fighter.

          • I’m not sure if you’d get much out of it, but it was a really great game. You had multiple galaxies full of planets that were a mix of various kinds of settlements (industrial, agricultural, etc.) and you made your fortune by mining asteroids, destroying other ships and getting salvage and/or buying/selling commodities between worlds. On the way, you outfitted your ship with better systems, dabbled with being a criminal (dealing in illegal items), and probably cursed everything and everyone until you could afford docking computers to let your ship automatically land in the starbases as opposed to slamming into the entrance (WHY was it shaped like a rectangle??!) 9 times out of 10.

            There were other mechanics like ram scoops, mining lasers, police trying to capture you, etc., but the fact it wasn’t ONLY combat made it really unique.

            • Daemian Lucifer says:

              So,like 90% of space sims in the past decade or so.

              • Matt Downie says:

                But this was in the early 1980’s, in 3D, on machines with less than 32K of usable RAM, when everyone else was making simple platformers and Pac-man clones.

                Which doesn’t mean the new one will be any good. Still, the previews are looking very positive, especially with Occulus Rift.

              • In the same way that Wolfenstein 3D has the same elements as 90% of all FPS’s since forever, if you’re going to be like that about it.

                • Daemian Lucifer says:

                  Well yes,it does.Thats why I was not excited for any of the new wolfensteins.

                  • Were any of the original Wolfenstein dev team involved in the latest iterations?

                    And while the FPS genre has exploded to the point of being so standardized you could practically make a browser interface out of it, the spaceflight sim has only recently seen a revival in interest beyond fly-n-gun games. Again, as stated, the original was an amazing and well-executed idea, especially for the technology of the time. The fact that nobody on the Diecast seemed to have even heard of the original is like someone not knowing about Asteroids or Zork.

    • Humanoid says:

      I played and finished Privateer and the Righteous Fire expansion over the last month and am now all the hype. HYPE HYPE HYPE!

      Never played Elite though, which is more or less as old as I am.

  8. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Remember kids:If you dont talk to Mumbles,you are an asshole.

  9. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Wait,dinosaurs fucking in front of you?They are already making sex games for vr?Well that was fast.

  10. I truly hope BioWare lampshades the Monty Python skit by doing something like:

    “Character: I was expecting you!”
    “Inquisitor: You where?”

  11. In reference to Chris’s “Everyday I’m hustle’in.”, that phrase always reminds me of:
    Katt Wiliams performance in GTA IV, part of the act is rewritten to reference Liberty City etc.

    Oh yeah. GTA V PC huh? Well there goes my fall.

  12. Ilseroth says:

    I didn’t know about the crusader kings playthrough, can I get a link so I can read up to where josh is so I can get anxious and unsatified when he never actually wrties a conclusion?

      • James says:

        speaking of CK2,

        I decided to start a game as one of the Heathen Invaders (Sons of Lodbrock) as i have most of the DLC, i customised my ruler and named him after my first DA:O character Jarmir de Cousland, ‘cus i wanted to.

        as of right now i’m taking a break from CK2 but i was, after a few generations, Emperor of Britannia (which controls atm England Scotland Ireland and Denmark) i will admit to save scumming abit to extend some lifespans so i could secure some key titles to avoid the realm being divided and so i could kill a son who is a moron. but i excuse that ‘cus i’m bad at the game, my plan ATM is to press into europe and perhaps reform the Norse faith as well as begin killing ALL the french, or perhaps taking Norway and Sweden from surprisingly my Uncle.

        special note as i could take concubines my Family got HUGE i mean astonishingly huge, i think most smaller Jarldoms in my relm are my family as are several kingdoms elsewhere, which actually is more a hindrance because EVERY time succession happens there is at least 1 civil war. also being a Pagan in what was a Catholic country i’m slowly converting has caused no less then around 16 or 18 religious uprisings.

    • Just keep reading until he meets the Knights That Say Ni, personally I’m a fan of the Black Knight though.

  13. I hope Dragon Age 3 will get a better hub/city than in Dragon Age 2, at times the city felt like a silly place.

  14. IFS says:

    A bit of a nitpick but I think Mumbles confused the Grey Wardens and the Templars in DA. The Templars were the ones who hunted down mages and demons and such, and consumed lyrium to do so in order to improve their ability to resist magic (though its speculated that the lysium doesn’t help that much, and rather is used to control the templars as it eventually addles their minds). The Grey Wardens specifically fight the Darkspawn and need to drink the poison blood stuff to be able to sense them and kill the archdemon, and because no one (or at least not many) would join if they knew the joining ritual could kill them (or reduce their lifespan to around 30 more years, with reduced ability to procreate and other wonderful side effects) they keep the details of the ritual a secret from most.

  15. Paul Spooner says:

    We need links to the things that Mumbles was talking about. That stuff sounds awesome!
    Tree, Port of Call, Nazgath? Hard to search for this stuff. Hook us up Mumbles!

    Also, nothing can be ruined forever. Monty Python is fading into the past. The word “inquisition” has had enough of a rest to be valuable again as a concept.

  16. Adam says:

    “Tune in next week to hear Shamus and I complain about Watch Dogs.”

    Oh boy oh boy, I can’t wait!

  17. Akuma says:

    I’m not usually one to have a big moan, but sometimes a good moan is good for the soul.

    I think I’m pretty done with Bioware. The last game of theirs I played was ME2 and I stopped the series there cause I could feel the stupid, even before the ME3 stuff came out I already knew it was gonna be stupid. I’ve lost my tolerance for Bioware’s writing shenanigans.

    Thematically the whole demon sky gate thing is basically a rehash of the Blight storyline, which was rehash of the reaper storyline. Bioware’s insistence to create a big bad guy in the midst of these political issues is lazy writing. I honestly think the first game would have been stronger if it was a purely political story, the nuance of that would force your writers to come up with something interesting instead of falling back on the old “Oh no, ancient evil you guys!”

    It doesn’t help that after the first game I sat down with the DA lore a bit more, and to my surprise discovered the demons are kind of lame. They lose a bit of their edge once you realize they basically all have daddy issues.

    Bioware games do still have their good points, but I just don’t think I’m willing to wade through the bad to get there anymore.

    • I tried playing DA:O, but after Fallout 3, I found their player character dialog presentation… weird.

      Fallout (and Skyrim) having a silent protagonist worked fine for me, I discovered, as they didn’t SHOW me not talking; All I saw was the NPC I was having a conversation with. Dragon Age used a 3rd person mode for conversations, and everyone else had voiced dialog while I was this staring mannequin with text floating around them. I felt like I was being portrayed as a telepath or something.

      I’m not saying they should’ve fully-voiced my character like Mass Effect, I just wanted a different, less off-putting presentation of it.

      • Daemian Lucifer says:

        But the whole dragon age(and mass effect)is in third person,so having a voiced protagonist makes sense there.You arent really you like in a first person game,you are just borrowing the body of the character.At least thats how I see third person games.

        • Right, but switching to a 1st person camera, or adjusting the angle so when I “spoke” I wasn’t in frame, would’ve been preferable to what they gave me.

          At least, that’s my opinion. I never finished the game, as I found the combat to be wonky and unsatisfying.

          • Sleeping Dragon says:

            I think it’s one of those personal things where it bugs some people more than others. I actually liked that they showed the face of my character every once in a while as opposed to only seeing their back through the whole game.

            • That can be good, giving you a chance to see your character (though I was playing a mage and the “best” equipment I could find made me look REALLY goofy), I just think it’s better that you NOT see your avatar when you’re supposed to be “talking,” since your lips don’t even move. You might as well be holding up cardboard signs.

    • Neil W says:

      This is their fall back solution to trying to present a story while allowing you to choose to be the white hat hero, the ruthless operative or even the self-centred asshole. No matter which of these you play as, the threat of the Reapers/Blight* etc. will wreck everything, so you have to step up and do something about it. What you get to choose is the style you approach the existential threat.

      Which is not to say that a more politically centred game wouldn’t be better, but without the urgency and importance of the outside universe-threatening bad guys, it makes playing the anti-hero a bit weird. “Hey there’s this injustice going on!” Hero: “I’m on it!” Anti-hero: “I don’t give a damn. Deal with it yourself.”

      * See also the similar position in the plot taken by Darth Malak/Emperor Sun Hai; they are after you because of who you are whatever happens. You have to fight them; what you get to choose if you’re light side or dark side

      • Bloodsquirrel says:

        There’s also the revenge angle.

        Really, though, it’s partially due to Bioware’s unwillingness to let the player off of a highly controlled path. Bioware is about setting you up for a big, dramatic binary choice that doesn’t actually affect anything afterward except maybe a companion will die. If Bioware makes a more political game then, oh god, the player might actually want to join the other side!

        Compare it to Skyrim, where the player actually *can* decide not to bother with the big apocalyptic main quest and just decide to help either the Stormcloaks or the Empire instead. The civil war could have easily been the main quest in that game. That’s something that isn’t in Bioware’s possibility space because it means giving up too much of their authorial control.

        • syal says:

          The thing is, the same things that stop you from joining Darth Malak or the Camonna Tong can stop you from joining a political movement, or at least siding with a particular leader of it; you might like them, but they don’t like you.

          • Bloodsquirrel says:

            That assumes that a large amount of pre-railroading has already been done, at which point the threat being political kind of losses meaning. Darth Malak is certainly more apocalyptic big bad than Ulfric Stormcloak or the Emperor of Tamriel.

            And that’s a fairly simplistic political plot. Look at Fallout: New Vegas. How would you do that Bioware style?

            The fundamental nature of political plots is that they focus on characters making decisions. If the player can’t actually make decisions then your political plot is just going to be set dressing to justify your dungeon crawl.

            • Sleeping Dragon says:

              “Look at Fallout: New Vegas. How would you do that Bioware style?”

              The Enclave, who can’t be negotiated with and are half-to-completely insane cyborgs spouting creepified ameripatriotic phrases, wants to destroy the Hoover Dam because of reasons, possibly with a nuclear detonation, which will flood a few towns and the other will be destroyed out due to lack of critical power and/or nuclear fallout.

              Now, addmitedly simplifying a whole lot:

              Jade Dynasty style: The PC goes through a lot of adventures where they repeatedly need to choose between a more or less humane options, which ends up siding them with NCR or Legion and totally isn’t a choice between good and evil, which changes very little in the actual gameplay resolution but changes the outro, the companion epilogues and possibly one companion defects.

              ME3 style: The PC can still choose between NCR and Legion (who are notably less “evil”) with an additional option of negotiating some kind of agreement between them for more ending credit. Along the way they can resolve conflicts between BoS and Boomers (both hoarding some technology), as well as raider gangs and “native” tribes (both rejecting life in towns) by siding with either of the two sides or forming an agreement.

              I think the “big enemy that can’t be negotiated with” part is the most crucial really, and as someone who used it as a GM I will admit it’s a crutch.

    • Bloodsquirrel says:

      Technically, I like everything I’m hearing about DA III. The problem is that I have a hard time believing any of it.

      Some of it is because it’s old, recycled marketing that they’ve failed to deliver on for half a dozen games now. More grey moral choices? Wow! You’ve been doing that since Jade Empire. How about you give me some *fun* choices instead? What’s that? Our choices will have major consequences? Haven’t heard that one before…

      The other half of it is that it feels less like they’re making design decisions because it fits with their vision and more like they’re grudgingly trying to appease fans after their last two games caused shitstorms. Their games seriously need to be more open-world, but how half-assed is it going to be? How can a developer deliver on something the audience wants when they don’t really understand why their audience is demanding of it and are actually kind of bitter that they aren’t getting to do what they really wanted to do with the game?

      I’d just be much more excited if I felt like Bioware was actually passionately motivated to make this kind of game, but it feels a lot more like some executive barged in the office and said “Holy crap, look how much everyone loves Skyrim! Make a game like that!”.

  18. Another E3, another year without any new Katamari games.

  19. Adrian says:

    The Nosgoth game is based on the Legacy of Kain games.

  20. Jacob Albano says:

    I don’t imagine anyone will see this comment since it’s so late, but you guys do realize that the Occulus has a calibration mode, right? You can change the size of the lenses and move them closer together or farther apart. There’s nothing about the default configuration that requires people to match the developers’ configuration.

    • Bloodsquirrel says:

      You assume that the users who have been experiencing problems understand the root cause of those problems such that they know how to calibrate them away.

      If narrowing the eye gap solves the problem then the task still remains to educate the users on how to do so.

      • Jacob Albano says:

        The Rift comes with a wide array of lenses and a simple to use calibration mode that takes less than five minutes to set up. Shamus and Chris seem to be saying that it’s a one-size-fits-all rig, and that’s not anywhere close to the truth.

        If the reason people are having trouble is because they don’t understand how to set up the device, I hardly think that’s the fault of the developers.

        • Bloodsquirrel says:

          Yes, actually, it is the fault of the developers. They made the thing. It’s their job to provide the users with the information needed to use it.

          It’s absurd to expect a user to independently discover why certain settings have certain effects on them when these are issues that the entire development community has had to experiment with to work out.

          • Jacob Albano says:

            You do realize it comes with a manual, right? It doesn’t even come with a set of lenses inserted by default.

            • Bloodsquirrel says:

              And that manual specifically tells women that they will probably need to adjust the eye gap to be smaller, since it’s very important to not getting motion sickness?

              • Jacob Albano says:

                I’m trying to keep this discussion friendly and level, but you’re being kind of antagonistic here.

                No, I’m sure the manual doesn’t explicitly say “women in particular need to do such and such”. Why should it? If you have a legitimate reason that women in particular need different instructions than men, I’d love to hear it.

                • Bloodsquirrel says:

                  No, I’m not being antagonistic. Some of your statements have been flatly wrong and/or completely off-point, and pointing that out is perfectly reasonable.

                  Case in point:

                  Women should receive different instructions because providing such will improve their experience. What reason is there for *not* giving women a set of instructions that will allow them to better adjust the product for their use? What does anyone gain by holding back that information?

                  I’ve read a lot of manuals over the years, and the difference between “has a manual” and “adequately informs the user” is vast.

        • Shamus says:

          I’m well aware that the rift comes with lenses and such. I NEVER said it was one size fits all. I DID say that some women get sick, that incorrect pupil settings can make you sick, and I was suggesting that perhaps these two facts are related. Additionally, a lot of the people trying the Rift these days are doing so in the context of a convention show floor, and it’s pretty easy to believe that these aren’t the ideal conditions for making precise calibrations.

          “If the reason people are having trouble is because they don’t understand how to set up the device, I hardly think that’s the fault of the developers.”

          It doesn’t matter who’s FAULT it is. All that matters is that the problem exists. I didn’t say the Oculus devs were bad people or that the Rift was crap. All I did was point out an existing problem.

          • Jacob Albano says:

            Alright, fair enough. I misunderstood what you guys were saying. I didn’t mean that you literally said “it’s a one-size-fits-all rig, how dare they”, it’s just that you never mentioned any of the settings that might be involved, so I didn’t realize you knew about them.

            For the record, I don’t disagree with any of your major points. I’ve been to conventions where the Rift was on display, and they definitely don’t size it up for each visitor (except maybe at official Occulus booths), so that’s definitely a potential problem.

            As far as “fault”* goes, I wasn’t trying to say that anyone was being malicious or anything like that. I meant it more like if somebody were to say that Toyota was biased against women because the car seats were adjusted with men (stereotypically taller) in mind, it would bear mentioning that car seats can be raised or lowered to accommodate the driver, no matter who they are.

            * quotation marks used for quoting, not sarcasm

            • Wide and Nerdy says:

              I’m guessing that you, like me, are getting a little weary of certain accusations that have gone around the gaming community lately. i’m kind of getting used to every little thing being read into and its getting so i can just hear the squawking before it happens every time something gets released. Really wish we could just talk about games.

  21. Taellosse says:

    I hate to be THAT GUY, but Josh, you were kind of talking out of your ass on Dragon Age there a little bit. The first game has you able to fight one High Dragon, one mage that turns into a High Dragon, the Archdemon (a super-duper high dragon gone evil), and, in Awakening, a ghost of a High Dragon. Plus a whole bunch of baby dragons and smaller, non-flying male dragons.

    Dragon Age 2 also has a fight with a High Dragon (plus you get flown to safety by the mage that turns into one right at the beginning, and bring her back from the dead in the first act later on, so there’s that too). Plus, again, plenty of juvenile and male ones. Then, in one of the DLCs, you get to take on 2 wyverns, which is a dragon cousin that’s just about as bad, though they don’t actually fly.

    It’s worth noting that, save for the archdemon in the first game, all of the high dragons are optional – they’re either in DLCs or side quests you don’t have to complete. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t there.

    Inquisition is going to have, apparently, a bunch MORE dragons than that, but the previous games were hardly lacking in them as it was. Go ahead and bitch about the disappointing ending, the overly simplified combat with improbable waves, or the endlessly repeating 3 dungeons of DA2; or the formulaic plot, plodding character movement in fights, or shallow world building of the first one if you want (valid complaints, though I don’t mind them all as much as some) but don’t complain about the dragon quotient – they had plenty already, you just don’t remember or managed to miss most of them.

    • Josh says:

      Yeah I knew I’d misspoken the second the words left my mouth but I didn’t get the opportunity to correct myself.

      What I meant to say was that dragons don’t play nearly a large a role in Dragon Age (despite the name) as they do in games like Skyrim, where they’re everywhere. This is probably a good thing, as all the dragons in Skyrim sort of cheapen the concept. Hell I think even Dark Souls had too many dragons; you can fight up to six in the game, with three as proper bossfights.

      I get that it’s a gameplay demo, but blowing the sort of fight that – in the first Dragon Age – was the sort climax of the entire combat system to show off the gameplay before release doesn’t necessarily strike me as the smartest decision.

      • Taellosse says:

        Agreed on not overusing dragons, but I’m not sure they’re doing that with Inquisition. There were some complaints about DA2’s core game having only a single, optional high dragon fight when the game first came out (which is why I think the Mark of the Assassin DLC features a couple wyverns, in part), and I think the fact that there’s going to be several (still mostly optional) dragons in this installment is a response to that. But everything I’ve heard suggests that taking on the dragons that are in this game is meant to be sort of end-game material – fighting one too soon is likely to just get you killed. They have also said that the dragons aren’t just in one particular spot – you can run across them as they roam a region. But you can also run away from fights you can’t handle, apparently, so sometimes you’ll get attacked by a dragon you actually can’t survive against and have to flee.

        Assuming what Mumbles saw was the same demo I watched online, the dragon fight was featured at the very end of an extended sequence of gameplay that was intended to show off multiple aspects of the game, including the scope of the world, different kinds of combat, the changes to conversations, the way decisions can alter the locations you visit and the path of the plot, and so forth. The whole thing was, like, 20 minutes long, and the dragon fight was about 3 minutes at the end, and it didn’t show the whole fight, just bits of it.

  22. JackTheStripper says:

    I’m kinda pissed nobody knows about the Legacy of Kain series and why Nosgoth is a goddam outrage to fans. Nosgoth might turn out fine and people might really enjoy it, but the series it’s based off of has always been a powerful story driven single player game.

    Now I don’t mind them trying new things with the franchise, but it is insulting when the overarching story (of which all other games are based from) is not continued. And it’s especially infuriating when the last installment, which left the story unfinished, was released more than a decade ago.

    After all this time, after people have waited so long for the next installment in the series that furthers the overarching story from all the games, the one game they deem worthy of release is a Team Fortress 2 style multiplayer game.

    Note that, this next clip is the kind of narrative and dialogue that the series is known for (then imagine it now devolved into catch phrases like “gotcha!” and “I’m the best there is” from the multiplayer matches):

    • Taellosse says:

      Sadly, I think this is why the series died a generation ago – while those of us that played it loved it, it never managed to achieve wide appeal. It’s a cult classic, with all that entails – wild enthusiasm in its fan base, but a very small number of people that actually consider themselves fans. I think Eidos and Crystal Dynamics (and SquareEnix after them) decided that fan base just wasn’t big enough to make another game profitable, especially if it were done on what was then next-gen consoles (the PS3/360 generation).

      Personally, I kind of wish they’d just let the series lie rather than try to resurrect it like this. But, on the other hand, maybe if this Nosgoth abomination takes off, it’ll create an audience large enough to support more Legacy of Kain games in the future. I don’t know if we’ll ever get a proper sequel to Defiance (with Amy Hennig gone twice over now, Tony Jay dead, and most of the old team having moved on, I’m not sure I want a sequel now), but a reboot or reimagining of some kind might be possible. It might not even suck.

      • JackTheStripper says:

        There’s been a couple of attempts to continue the franchise that don’t pan out for some unknown reason. Dead Sun is the one that got the furthest in development before it got cancelled. There’s several pictures showing concept art and a few of them even show 3D assets as well.

        Anyway, my point is they’ve started development more than once, and I understand Eidos and Crystal Dynamics might’ve not had the bank to fund a big project, but Square Enix doesn’t have that excuse (especially after all all the mergers and acquisitions). They’ve gone for other lesser known titles like Deus Ex and Thief, yet they sit on this franchise doing nothing.

  23. SlothfulCobra says:

    I’ve been playing through Dragon Age: Origins recently, and there’s sort of a recurring theme of fantasy transhumanism throughout. There are all sorts of ways that people sacrifice themselves in some way to gain access to more power and become sort of living biological weapons.

    Half of the main party has somehow compromised their “humanity” somehow in order to get more power. Alistair and the main character doomed themselves to early deaths in order to tap into the Darkspawn communication network, Shale’s a golem, Zevran was part of a training program where slaves are bought in bulk to be processed and few even survive to become full-fledged crows, Wynne’s bonded with a spirit, and Morrigan’s ma is a demon who transfers herself between bodies. There’s also the Templars who are kept on a leash by illyrium addiction, blood mages who literally trade life force for power, demons that grant powers at great cost, Darkspawn turn captives into living factories for creating more of their kind, and the Dwarves turned people into golems.

    Giving up part of yourself in order to even have a chance at power seemed like a running theme.

    • Mike S. says:

      And of course it’s all poisoned chalices. (Sometimes literally.) Giving up your humanity has consequences ranging from merely dying young to madness to personal destruction to becoming a WMD. The only reasons to do it are malice and desperation, and more than half the time the latter will lead to making things far worse. (One scared kid became a village-level threat. Two ostensible good guys combining forces sparked a multinational conflagration.)

      But it’s not possible to just opt out either. Without Gray Wardens the Darkspawn ruin everything, and the same seems to be true below ground without golems. No one gets a choice about whether to be a mage, and it seems that every mage is about one bad day away from some horrific decision or other no matter what tests and restrictions are laid on them.

      (If anything, those raise the their desperation level and the associated risk. It’s like trying to decide what to do about Bruce Banner– let him wander around, and he’ll eventually Hulk out and smash up another city. Restrain him, and that’ll probably push him into Hulking out. Good luck.)

      And without something like the Templars, non-mages are stuck in a Tevinter-style magocracy.

      All paths to power suck (political power not excepted, as we see with the maneuvers around the crown of Ferelden). But having no one trying to wield power responsibly generally sucks more. One gains a certain sympathy for Isabella’s “Bugger all this, let’s go be pirates!” approach to life. But of course that’s not a choice open to one of Bioware’s indispensible (wo)men.

  24. Steve C says:

    I officially want more mailbag questions in every Diecast that make Diecast members swear in exacerbation as the only response. Those are perfect to end on.

  25. postinternetsyndrome says:

    I’ll just nitpick a bit about Battlefield.

    Hardline does not remove the explosives. There are less ‘splody things, but both sides still have both RPG:s and hand grenades. Which is ridiculous in a game ostensibly about cops and robbers.

    While it’s a matter of taste of course, I very much disagree that the gunplay in battlefield sucks. I (and many others) find the small arms combat in BF3 and 4 very satisfying and interesting, in part thanks to the quasi-realistic ballistics, the way the weapons differ from each other in small but significant ways and how you can mod the weapons to fiddle with their handling and efficiency.

    In BF3, the most popular maps were infantry-only. Of course there were plenty of people who lamented this, but personally I often found the vehicle gameplay chunky and disconnected, while the real thrill was in infantry combat. (The vehicles did provide an excellent dramatic backdrop though.)

    That said, I completely agree that Hardline is dumb. Partly for the reasons Chris mentioned, but also because I find the subject matter a bit distasteful. Which is perhaps gratuitous of me since vanilla BF is hardly a realistic reflection of military operations either, but I think it’s because the police theme hits a bit closer to home. There’s real problems in many countries with trigger happy policemen, and reskinning a BF game (and a reskin is what it is) to this theme is practically guaranteed to not result in anything reasonable at all. (I’m not specifically ‘murica-bashing here either, we’ve had a lot of unpleasant incidents in Sweden too the last few years.)

    I would much rather have seen something along the lines of a special ops-themed* BF game. The game modes and new mechanics (grappling hook, zipline) in Hardline could easily have been adapted to such a theme, and not caused nearly as much ludonarrative dissonance (drink).

    It remains to be seen whether the singleplayer component of Hardline is more interesting, but I severely doubt it.

    *Yes, I know there was such an expansion for one of the early BF games, but that was before I was an active player of them, so I missed that.

  26. Phantos says:

    “E3 is not PAX!”

    In the same way that a car convention is not a KKK rally.

    • Shamus says:

      What? Why are you likening PAX to a KKK rally? You’re just looking to make broad, accusatory statements about large sections of the gaming population? I attended PAX a couple of years ago, and I’m pretty sure I managed to do so without burning any crosses or oppressing anyone.

  27. TMC_Sherpa says:

    I was re-listening to this episode and forgot I didn’t post this link to

    The History Teachers

    Perhaps future web historians will read this far down and find The Spanish Inquisition set to the tune of Fascination amusing.

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