Diecast #64: E3 Dustup, Watch_Dogs, Steam Summer Sale

By Shamus
on Jun 23, 2014
Filed under:
Diecast

117 comments

Here is an hour of four people talking about videogames. I don’t know why you like this sort of thing, but it’s not my place to judge.


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Show notes:

01:00 E3 Wrap-up.

We say we don’t have anything left to say about E3, but then we talk about it for ten minutes. And since we brought up both Anthony Burch and panels, that gives me an excuse to link to Dying is Funny, Comedy is Easy, a presentation by Burch on why more games should embrace comedy.

10:00 Watch_Dogs is a tone-deaf narrative with hackneyed characters.

Chis and I talk about the game at length. Spoiler: It’s not our Game of the Year.

19:00 Let’s talk about something else.

Like the terrible Watch_Dogs gameplay.

38:00 Somewhere along the line we lose the plot and talk about Ubisoft and Elder Scrolls.

We didn’t even plan to discuss Elder Scrolls this week. It just happened.

50:00 Steam Summer Sale!

Actually, while we were going to talk about the sale for this segment, we just wound up talking about what we’re playing. Go figure.

Chris is playing In the Kingdom and Killer Instinct.

I’m playing Risk of Rain. Also Revenge of the Titans from Puppygames. In this segment I said I had all the titles from Puppygames. Not so! They now have Droid Assault, which is part of the Steam sale at the moment. So NOW I have all the Puppygames.

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Footnotes:



A Hundred!17117 comments. Quick! Add another to see if this message changes!

From the Archives:

  1. Horfan says:

    yes evening saved

  2. Daemian Lucifer says:

    So,did you like ROR more than FTL?Or less?

    • Shamus says:

      Oh, I liked RoR WAY more. I really enjoyed Risk of Rain at first, and I can still dig the first twenty minutes or so of running around and blowing stuff up. Really, if the guns packed more punch I think all of my gripes would melt away. It’s not even that it’s “too hard”. I don’t think it needs to be easier. I just think you need to do more damage. (You could balance this with less player health or more foes to keep the difficulty around the same level.)

      • WILL says:

        Unlock the Glass artifact (either by finding it or ini editing here), it does exactly that 500% damage and 10% initial player health.

        The game is practically unplayable without it for me.

      • Daemian Lucifer says:

        Youll get a different experience with different guys though.For example,the second guy,with the shield,is all about position,not dodging.He can rend through almost anything in front of him when his shield is down,but he cant turn then and is really slow.

      • Daemian Lucifer says:

        Oh,one more thing about RoR:You dont have to be “the right level” in order to beat the run.You can rush it and rely on your skill to get the boss(which is doable if you have good reflexes),OR you can grind every level and rely on luck* to get the good items(and skill),OR you can just cheese the game and enter the secret level where you can grind until you are like unto a god,OR you can play it with friends and rely on their skill to offset your suckiness.

        *Not completely though,because the more items you have unlocked,the greater chances youll have to get something you really need.

      • Ysen says:

        I had the same issue with RoR – it’s a neat idea, but chipping things to death with your peashooter gets old. It doesn’t help that as the game goes on faster enemies appear, which means less time shooting and more running back and forth… back and forth…

  3. Dragomok says:

    Droid Assault (*) link has a quote from TotalBiscuit. That has a little bot in the corner representing him.
    That has a tophat.
    A tophat with Terran Republic logo.

    I have been laughing for five minutes now and I still have no idea why I find that so hilarious.

    (*) I think Shamus might have switched up the word order in the blog.

  4. Zukhramm says:

    Everything from indie3 is supposed to go up here. Specifically the one Rutskarn’s on is not up yet, but it should be sometime.

    I got a trailer on there by sending one single e-mail. Even if there are indie games at E3, it’s not that easy to get there. Sure, with just over 170 games shown there might be too much noise to get some great marketing but that’s still some 600 viewers seeing the game and it got me like 4 followers on Twitter. Definitely worth the 30 seconds the e-mail took.

  5. Why would Ubisoft need to “get paid” to dumb down their games? By not doing it, wouldn’t they be eliminating or at least reducing sales on XBone and PS4?

    • Alex says:

      No. Honestly there would be little to no effect on console sales. People have already decided what platform they were going to play it on before it got released. The people that got a ps4 don’t necessarily have the rigs to run games. Buying a new gaming PC because a game doesn’t look as good on a machine that you have already dropped 400 dollars, doesn’t make sense. Deciding not to buy a console because a game that you were excited for looks a bit worse on it, than on a rather powerful PC, is also kinda silly because buying a PC require either effort(buying the parts and building it) or a much larger wallet. The people that are going to buy a console in this cycle will do it for the convenience, exclusivity, and/or price. Not because of the graphical parity with the PC.

      • Trix2000 says:

        To be fair on PCs, they have the advantage of being useful for other things aside from gaming (and I don’t just mean media).

        Plus, even a low-end cheap PC can handle a LOT of games out there… though obviously to have something that can handle everything reasonably well still requires a bit more investment than the consoles (though that gap has shrunk).

        Doesn’t really change the situation much, though. I’m lucky enough to have the resources to multi-dip, but even I balk from buying more than one or two consoles.

      • You really don’t have to build a PC anymore these days. Places like Dell Outlet or other suppliers often have PCs that don’t cost much more than buying the parts and putting it together yourself (within reason and making sure it’s upgradable) plus the time you’d spend doing it, plus the assembly has a warranty.

        Also, from the reports I’ve read, Ubisoft didn’t really optimize their game, though the “restored” version runs much better than the standard one. Yes, they’re releasing patches, but this really is game development at its worst.

        And you can’t really say you wouldn’t buy a console because ONE game looked bad on it. However, I’d say that if this is a sign of things to come, it would factor very heavily in my decision-making. If, for example, you liked the Dead Rising franchise or (for sake of argument) the Ghostbusters video game, you probably wouldn’t be satisfied with the versions made for the Wii.

        Perhaps my view on this is a little different as I grew up when there were vast differences in games depending on which platform they were released.

        I’m also really surprised this story isn’t sparking more rage after the fiasco that was Aliens: Colonial Marines. They were lambasted for, among other things, showing E3 gameplay footage that wasn’t reflected in the final product.

        • Alex says:

          Mostly because Colonial Marines was just a terrible game. From what I hear WD is just meh. That why no lambasting is occurring.

          I’m not saying that PCs are incredibly overpriced or that they take forever to build. Just that even a modicum of effort is, still more effort than it is on a console. Also the exclusives are an incentive(not a fan of these). At the end of the day graphical parity(to a pc not to other consoles) is irrelevant in the buyers eyes. Some of them haven’t even seen the glory of the master race ;) .

          • For me, I’m not too concerned about graphics as much as I am about gameplay and consoles are a really sore spot for me on this. I’d happily keep whatever “current-gen” graphics are for Bethsoft-style RPGs if it meant open-world games like Fallout or Skyrim weren’t sectioned off into smaller areas, if NPC populations were huge, if large-scale battles could take place, etc. without having to sacrifice such content for the sake of the limitations of console hardware.

            If this is a sign that we’re still going to have this as a problem (especially if resources are allocated to graphics over other gameplay elements), then I guess things will continue to suck a bit more.

            And the E3 footage thing for Colonial Marines was considered a big enough deal to warrant a class-action lawsuit.

  6. Nimas says:

    Downloading now. Been waiting for Watch Dogs rant for an entire week, too much suspense for me :D

  7. Daemian Lucifer says:

    The way I understood it,the graphics “hack” isnt really a hack at all.You just have to manually tweak the settings(change the settings file).So its there,they just removed it from the ingame menu.

    • Narkis says:

      Yep, it’s exactly that. The “mod” download is just a settings file, a few kilobytes large. You can do the exact same thing by following instructions and manually editing the file

  8. Joshua490 says:

    The “dying is fun, comedy is easy” talk is really great and very link-worthy. I wish I had known about it 10 months ago I probably could have attended it.

  9. Aruges says:

    As to your question about the Elder Scrolls games and Gamebryo now that the engine is defunct, this shouldn’t be a problem. Gamebryo went under back in 2010 and Bethesda more than likely got the permanent right to their current drop of Gamebryo code as a result. It’s a not uncommon feature of 3rd party code. But they also may have just reimplemented the services Gamebryo provided. Notice that there are no Gamebryo logos or licence info in the credits or box covers. Gamebryo was essentially just a scenegraph and a renderer, and they more than likely had already so heavily modified them that it was practically their code anyway.

    • Alex says:

      Note that they also have their own little middle ware company called id now. Not saying that they will use id Tech 5(?) but they can rather easily get a pretty big dev team on a new engine.

      • Aruges says:

        That is very true. And if Doom 4 isn’t a success, I’d lay odds that Id gets reorged as a tech team. They’ve been on a cold streak for a while.

  10. Daemian Lucifer says:

    I think you may have cut the episode a bit short.I didnt hear what Josh was saying about dark souls in the end.

  11. Jokerman says:

    How spoilerific is that watch dogs discussion? Still planning on getting it at some point.

  12. Wide And Nerdy says:

    Please just not Elsewyr. Anywhere but Elsewyr. I want to be able to actually purchase Elder Scrolls 6.

    I really like the idea of the next one being the Thalmor. I really felt (being a noob to Elder Scrolls) like Skyrim was building up to a Thalmor DLC where the war was rejoined. Now I know better but if the next game just let me beat the snot out of the Thalmor? Bring it on.

    • Zukhramm says:

      Here’s my prediction about Bethesda doing something lazy: The next game will be about the Thalmor. But it will be set in Skyrim and Cyrodiil.

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      Would you rather the game be set nowhere?

    • Isaac says:

      I’d like Black Marsh or Hammerfell to be locations for TES VI. Somewhere different, y’know?

      • Wide and Nerdy says:

        either of those would be interesting. only thing i think might hold it back is that the popularity of the series really escalated coinciding with the more western tolkienesque aesthetic. campster called oblivion bog standard fantasy at one point but skyrim is even more bog standard tolkien because of its distinctively nordic elements.

        Hammerfell on the other hand has curved swords. Curved. Swords.

    • Jeff R. says:

      I’d sort of like to see Elswyr, in theory. But probably not going to happen any time soon, since I don’t think that they’re going to have the time to fully art up all 57 varieties of Catpeople that are supposed to be there. (or think that they could get away with wiping most of them out offscreen.) Or handle the moving city, for that matter. Or make a game where almost every NPC isn’t humanoid. So we probably won’t see Elswyr or Black Marsh until they go for a full-on-entire-continent-spanning game. Which is probably a “late in the console generation after this one” kind of thing.

      So it’ll probably be Hammerfell.

      • Daemian Lucifer says:

        “Or make a game where almost every NPC isn’t humanoid.”

        Wait,who else is elsewhere other than human kitties?

        • Jeff R. says:

          Just the kitties. But a bewildering array of them, all technically the same species (including some that aren’t fully sapient). Depends on your birthday whether you get to be a person, a steed, or furniture. (Only one variety of the people cat people ever leaves home, apparently.)

          Kajiit lore wasn’t particularly well thought-out with any regard to ever putting onto a screen…

          (There’d also be a fair number of Thalmor around, I guess. But as few or fewer of any other race than there were Argonians in Skyrim…)

          • Humanoid says:

            You’d imagine induced births would be pretty popular in Elsweyr then.

          • Ciennas says:

            I don’t remember ‘furniture’ as one of the occupations.

            And yeah. I think the single variation present on screen thing is more the designers wanting the race list less cluttered.

            Design a few variations though, and make sure the ones that aren’t play tested are totally non playable without modding.

            It’d be cool to hire a steed that will display something more than blind rush kill destroy. Like rent the services of a big battlecat that will ditch your butt if you insist on trouncing through death on a maze, or a housecat that can cast some of the highest level spells, but is physically weak, what with being a housecat and all.

            It would at least justify when horses report a crime.

            Used properly, the Khajiit thing would make for some awesome design and flavor to the world, and make it feel familiar yet alien- just like Morrowind did.

            But I doubt they’ll go for it. Elder Scrolls 6 will probably be super safe to recoup what was spent on ESO.

          • Daemian Lucifer says:

            “Just the kitties. But a bewildering array of them, all technically the same species (including some that aren’t fully sapient). ”

            But then they are all humanoid,right?Or are there a bunch that walk on all fours?

            • Humanoid says:

              Yeah, would you get things like four-legged tables, or three-legged bar stools? Only having two-legged furniture would be pretty limiting.

              (But in all seriousness, a commenter on a previous post mentioned that some were indistinguishable from housecats, which might make things awkward for visitors.)

            • Ysen says:

              There are at least five types of Khajiit which are quadrupedal, ranging from the Alfiq (sapient housecat) to the Senche-Raht (sapient elephant-sized tiger thing).

      • syal says:

        There’s 57 varieties of Khajiit?

        Are you sure that wasn’t just a Catsup joke?

        • Jeff R. says:

          It was a joke. The number is in that general area, though. (There’s a different type for each combination of moon phase and something else (month? phase of another moon? constellation? day of the week? Don’t remember which right off hand.)

          Plus super rare types for eclipses. (Which I think included their King/Messiah type thing. So induced labor would also give them civil wars all the time…)

      • Ciennas says:

        Actually, they probably could MAKE the moving city. they’ve been practicing for it for the last decade with roving caravans.

        Cut it a big swath for predictable movement- let the player be able to track the moving city.

        (In fact, there are a large number of Dwemer Airship mods from Morrowind on, with real moving action, which I imagine would be handy for the base layering of idea.)

        Make any players clever attempt to tip the city fail- like how tanks in Saints Row III handle any vehicle of lesser size.

        Give it a big strict movement schedule, and allow a lower resolution version of the world be visible as it scrolls by (Naturally, the city would have to be high up to account for letting the player drop back down to the overworld.)

        Or, say that a dragon ate the city’s only set of keys, and they haven’t moved in the years since whatever event sounds plausible.

        (But seriously, I bet they could totally make a mobile fortress, and it would be awesome. Halo 4 had a mobile base as a level set piece that was pretty cool. Something like that?)

        • IFS says:

          The thing is with the lore in Skyrim the moving cities have stopped moving for unknown reasons since the Oblivion crisis. Call me cynical but I really think that bit of lore was inserted deliberately to make it easier for them to base the next game in Valenwood. Personally its one background detail of lore that I hate because I would love to see how moving cities could factor into an open world game.

          • Ciennas says:

            There we go. that’s at least a bet hedging.

            What would be cool, would be a part of the quest structure of the game would be devoted to making them move again.

            As the last three games have had ‘The magic goes away’ as a background theme, I would be all for ‘The magic was pulled back out of the ether, sucka!’ as a primary goal of the next game. and the threats could grow organically from that.

            (The villains, if they insist on making a villain faction, would get stronger as you brought magic back, because bandits randomly hurling fireballs at you is a problem.)

            I know they can make the cities move. And with the new horsepower budget, I bet the game world wouldn’t be any smaller than Skyrim.

            How big could they make these games if they wanted, anyway?

    • IFS says:

      The Thalmor have taken over Elsweyr I think, so you could be kicking them out of Elsweyr. Personally I’d love to see Elsweyr for the same reasons as others have detailed below (Khajiit lore, culture, and various subraces could be really interesting to see in a game and the khajiit are my favorite race in TES) though I feel like Bethesda would probably make it blander in some way or another out of laziness. Personally my money is on the next game being in Valenwood since in the background lore they made the moving cities stop moving, which would make their job of making it a region in a game easier.

      • Wide and Nerdy says:

        Yeah but that would mean a game filled with furries and annoying accents. I hate the Thalmor and enjoy purging them but doing so to liberate cat people would seriously undermine my enjoyment.

        • Ciennas says:

          Thankfully, the actual furryness of the population is always variable.

          Go boot daggerfall. select the khajit in character creation. notice how it’s just a person with cat ears.

          Besides, we just went through two games where the human types are the dominant local population (Morrowind had elves as the predominant.)

          I guess we could go back to daggerfall. The Bretons live there, right?

  13. Octapode says:

    In Watch Dogs, is there any hacking that isn’t primarily interacting with things via the physical world? I haven’t played it, but from everything I’ve seen all your hacking is based on interacting with the external world and not actually doing anything with the computers running it, which seems kind of strange for a game about hacking.

    • Chris says:

      There are some pipedreams games that gate progress from one physical node to another? Like, you’ll hack a computer, then to get to the mainframe you’ll need to play pipe dreams to gain mainframe access, then play another game of pipe dreams to open a door or whatever.

      So… Not really, no. You don’t like, remove files to clear your prison records or mine for data about who your next target is or anything like that. It’s all more or less physical.

      • Octapode says:

        Speaks to how tacked on the hacking is really. It would have been really cool to see a game where the physical running around is mainly support work for the digital shenanigans, especially if the two worlds stacked off each other, like you blackmail the desk guard for a password so you can set the door codes to get access to the servers containing what you are actually trying to steal.

        • Chris says:

          I touched on this in the podcast, but Watch_Dogs had absolutely no business being an open world game.

          In a game like Deus Ex, which knows exactly how open it wants to be and why provides you that freedom, you can do things like that. You know, write in a guard character on the side door to the building you need to get into. Maybe he/she’s super hard to combat physically but if you socially engineer their name by asking around and then hack some computers to find their file you might find out a secret that they’re hiding from the courts in a custody battle or whatever. Then maybe you could blackmail them with that to let you in, or offer to erase that record in exchange for access. A totally optional, scripted, but still mechanically based solution to a problem. Neat!

          But nothing in Watch_Dogs is like that. Watch_Dogs has no idea what it’s doing with its openness. It switches back and forth between a shallow open world game and a linear corridor shooter with hack-magic to unlock doors or trick guards. When it’s open everything is procedural – you’ll randomly get told to arrest a criminal near by, or see that the person on the street’s name is “%LASTNAME%, %FIRSTNAME%” and they make “$%MONEY” and have “%RANDO DESCRIPTION%”, but the game doesn’t really take advantage of openness as a *concept*. You can’t chart your own course like in Skyrim, you can’t approach a problem from a million angles like in Deus Ex, you don’t feel like it’s a vibrant and lived in city like in GTAV, and you can’t choose from a myriad of activities on every corner like in Burnout Paradise. Those games all knew why they were open. Watch_Dogs is open because it’s Ubisoft Game #4983, raised in the clone vats and watched over by They Who Would Homogenize Everything. It’s open because Assassin’s Creed and FarCry are open and they make a hojillion dollars, and Ubisoft execs think they have found a magical money making formula by offering B-grade GTA worlds (and unfortunately they’ve yet to really be proved wrong).

          The potential in Watch_Dogs’ ideas is fundamentally opposed to an open world game about shooting and stealing cars because Big Data isn’t about bullets or drivin’ places. The potential is for a game about characters, a game about secrets both personal and professional, a game where your access to knowledge is simultaneously a tremendous source of your power and a deeply corrupting force. Can “Big Data” and algorithms be trusted? (Watch_Dogs presupposes they’re perfect, that’s why it’s okay to shoot dudes who are 86% likely to commit a crime). Is it ethical to know secrets about people who are otherwise anonymous to you? (Watch_Dogs gives every NPC a procedurally generated secret and lets you decide how you feel about that). Who should have this power? (Watch_Dogs feels pretty confident that while everyone who has this power will abuse it, it’s pretty effin’ awesome stuff, so why judge too harshly, you know?).

          Of course I probably shouldn’t be too surprised that the game is rubbish when writer posts stuff like this. What’s with Ubisoft and hiring really crappy writers for all of their projects? Gearbox gets Burch, Valve gets Wolpaw, and Ubisoft has to settle for writers who want to watch their NPCs get abused or actually believe FarCry 3 was a misunderstood satire?

          Ugh. If I didn’t have a week left to get a short out (and if it wasn’t the lamest thing I could do) I’d just rant about Watch_Dogs for 10-15 minutes.

          • bloodsquirrel says:

            In fairness, Far Cry 3 was satire, it was just really awful satire that spent every single story mission shooting itself in the foot.

          • Daemian Lucifer says:

            “I touched on this in the podcast, but Watch_Dogs had absolutely no business being an open world game.”

            At least it lets you do stuff in the open world.Remember mafia 2?Now that was a game with absolutely no business being an open world game.

          • Ringwraith says:

            So, in conclusion: just watch Person of Interest because it does the whole ‘everyone’s details are online and are being monitored’ angle better?

          • somebody says:

            Whats the context behind that tweet? Whats the it thats out there?

            • Chris says:

              He’s the lead writer for Watch_Dogs, and the “it” is Watch_Dogs itself (May 27th was when the tweet was made and also the release date for the game). He’s excited that the game’s finally out in public hands and looks forward to seeing what people do to their NPCs.

              • somebody says:

                Ok so there’s no specific scene or anything he’s referring to. Is it his enjoyment of random GTA/Saints Row violence you object to? Do you not like the “drive down the sidewalk and run over everyone” aspect of GTA or suplexing old ladies in SR? If you don’t then fine fair enough, that ends this conversation.

                Is it because he enjoys an aspect of his game that he probably had zero control over? Just two posts ago you call Watch Dogs a clone ordered up by Ubisoft high command, which kind of implies that the writer wouldn’t be able to say “Guys this doesn’t mesh with the story, lets not make it open world” and be taken seriously.

                Maybe you dislike him because the plot by itself is shit. That would again be fair enough but his tweet is about an aspect of the openness and your post is about openness, at least until you suddenly get to “UGH fuck this guy for not caring enough about LASTNAME FIRSTNAME”. It’s late where I am, maybe I’m misreading, but it really seems like this man offends you because he worked on something you don’t like. And the last thing gaming needs is more pointless angry finger pointing.

              • arron says:

                I think that’s horrible. If I had written watch_dogs, I would have given people the option to do good things for people you find information about – you might find out that someone is badly in debt and needs money despite working three jobs – so you could make a donation to their account. Or through hacking and linking together several people, you find out that they’ve got some common family issue that you could help with to re-conciliate them.

                I know it detracts from the GTA shooting and car-jacking they wanted as the prime mechanic, but I feel the more you find out about people, the good person will be driven by compassion to help from the shadows if he can to aid the unfortunate..rather than just stealing money and beating up the odd drug dealer.

        • ET says:

          Yeah, I too, was hoping for a full-on hacking game. Like, one where you try to avoid combat most of the time, and usually don’t even have a weapon.

      • arron says:

        I felt that Uplink style hacking had the right idea – there’s no “pipe dreams” game to overcome but you have to set up network routine to slow detection and once you’re in (a simple use of drag and drop password crackers) you find what you need to take/delete/change, get out and clean up the logs to prevent being traced.

        Obviously this mechanic can be simplified for what is a console game, but it’s that sense of breathless excitement of trespassing inside somewhere that you shouldn’t be which is what hacking machines is all about. watch_dogs reduces that process to operating a TV remote control – point, click and watch something happen.

  14. Bloodsquirrel says:

    According to the interwebs, Skyrim was made on Bethesda’s in-house engine.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Creation_Engine#Development

    • Wide and Nerdy says:

      i’ve also seen a video that claimed to be a demo of the engine that will be used in Elder Scrolls 6. i’ll try to find the link later.

    • James says:

      The Creation engine is basically a almost fully modified version of Gamebryo, which is why all the old scripting commands still work. they MIGHT be able to still use it i’m not sure. or they might get a new engine, or make there own and this is why we havnt heard anything about TES6 of Fallout4 yet

  15. Henson says:

    When Shamus was talking about how he’d be cool with a Steampunk Elder Scrolls and how it could be about the conflict between this new/old technology and the old magicky ways, I wondered if he has ever played Arcanum. Because that’s basically one of the main plot threads of the setting right there.

    Too bad combat in that game sucked balls. And it has so much of it, too.

    • Ithilanor says:

      I was thinking about that too. If Bethesda just adapted the story of Arcanum and made the mechanics better, I’d be entirely fine with that.

    • Humanoid says:

      Yeah, I tried to replay* last year or thereabouts, and after telling the starting NPC to bugger off, I repeatedly was mauled by wolves and was unable to get out of the starting area. Yeah….

      * Never finished it back in the day either.

      • Henson says:

        Arcanum holds the unfortunate distinction of giving players an impressive number of playstyle options, and then making only a few of them viable. Stealth and Thievery characters are a great time in cities, but are forced to run from everything in combat. Tech skills are fascinating and fun, but also absolutely useless in higher levels (not to mention that intelligence requirement). I’ve tried multiple times to do a firearms playthrough, only to find that it takes way too many skill points to use guns and isn’t terribly powerful anyway.

        If anyone ever wants to explore the game without having to deal with any combat whatsoever, make a mage. Learn Harm. Win.

        • IFS says:

          Alternately make a dumb as bricks half-ogre with max (human) strength to start and proceed to murder everything in melee for most of the game. Honestly of all my playthroughs of Arcanum (none of which have ever been successful due to a mix of bugs and losing interest) that one was the most fun. Having low int leads to some hilarious dialogue, a particular favorite of mine being returning a stolen painting, being accused of having stolen it myself, and breaking down sobbing about being yelled at causing the woman to apologize and give me the reward.

        • GiantRaven says:

          Oh good lord, those Dwarven Mines. They are the stuff of combat-heavy nightmares.

          A remake of Arcanum in the style of New Vegas has been the top of my videogame wishlist for a long time.

          • IFS says:

            Oh god yes that would be amazing, just keep the dialogue and story the same, improve the leveling and combat (since leveling up in Arcanum never really felt satisfying to me, though I did really like the idea of the master trainers you could seek out) and throw in a few more locations to fill it out as an open world and it would be fantastic.

            Who owns the license for Arcanum at this point anyways? It didn’t sell that great if I remember right so its not surprising that no one has done more with it yet, but it would certainly be interesting to see someone try.

      • Cyndane says:

        I love Arcanum as a game. I’ve played it many times. Something I learned is that your Beauty stat (or whatever it’s called) determines initial NPC reactions, and not just from humanoids. As a thought experiment once, I created a PC that was very pretty and told Virgil to bugger off at the start. I literally could walk around that entire starting area without anything attacking me because all the wolves were neutral.

        The problem is, of course, that if you bring Virgil along, everything will attack him because he is not nearly as pretty. I’ve heard that with sufficient Beauty and social skills that you can talk your way through the entire game except for the final boss fight, but I’ve not tested it. Maybe I should. Of course, such a game is very lonely because you can’t bring anyone along with you. And why would you do that when you can Disintigrate anyone in one shot. Well, not the final boss in the game, but anyone else.

  16. Canthros says:

    In regards to Ubisoft attempting to make more games faster by throwing people at the problem en masse, that seems to be the approach everybody who doesn’t understand that software (or engineering, or creative enterprises, etc) isn’t like an assembly line.

    Which is to say that, in my experience, it’s basically the way everybody that doesn’t do software as their product does it (business programming, let’s say). It’s depressing, but not all that shocking to find a clueless games megacorp taking the same stupid approach (even if they are, ostensibly, producing software as their product).

    • ET says:

      But if you throw X times as many people at the game, it will be X times better, duh!

      • Canthros says:

        Or deliver the same game in 1/xth the time. This sort of thinking assumes that all tasks on a project are infinitely separable and 100% independent. This doesn’t really work out. In practice, almost all tasks of any large project are dependent on one or more other tasks, and, at best, are only separable to a point. That is, you probably don’t get very far trying to have two artists work on the same texture to deliver it in half the time, though the classic example involves trying to get a baby from conception to birth in 1 month using 9 pregnant women.

        This means that communication is required to properly coordinate tasks among individuals and groups within a large project. The amount of communication required seems to grow according to the square of the size of the team, so a team can spend all its time on communication pretty quickly as it grows larger. (These problems are further magnified when people are working in multiple physical locations and timezones, speaking multiple languages, etc.)

        Fortunately, there are ways to mitigate at least part of the communication problem, or no large software project would ever get off the ground (and any AAA game seems to be a large project). Mostly, this seems to amount to splitting the project up into loosely coupled, independent sub systems managed through separate, smaller teams, limiting communication between teams to the management level. Obviously, this has its trade-offs.

        Shamus suggested that they’d be better off pipelining games, so they could deliver a game every year but still let a manageably-sized team spend a reasonable amount time building it, which is an idea other companies have used with great success: EA springs to mind, but so does Microsoft, where there have been at least two different Windows development teams alternating releases for years.

  17. Retsam says:

    Oh hey, Diplomacy was mentioned in the Diecast. That’s an awesome game. Really hard to get a non-electronic version of the game going, though, since you need exactly 7 people and something like 7 hours.

  18. hborrgg says:

    Setting for the next elder scolls game: pick the most interesting place from the lore, the place that you absolutely want to see above all others and it’s going to be that, only made as bland as humanly possible.

    Also the plot is going to be a lot like game of thrones, only none of that matters and you need to kill an evil wizard to save the universe.

  19. Thomas says:

    The random invasion Shamus quit the game over because he haven’t had any tutorials, is the tutorial to the online pvp.

    Also relevant for the WATCH_DOGS discussion here is the new “Ubisoft Game” review http://games.on.net/2014/06/ubisoft-game-the-review/

  20. Narkis says:

    For the next ES game, just hand over the reigns to Michael Kirkbride. It’s guaranteed to be… memorable.

    • IFS says:

      Personally I think it would be very amusing to see Rutskarn put in charge of an entry to the series. We’d probably get TES6: The Pun Scrolls though :P

  21. Naota says:

    I’m surprised Ruts didn’t mention this when it happened, but what Chris is describing at around 46:10 is quite literally the plot of Chapter 2 in Unrest.

    Now, Unrest is not Skyrim – you’re not building up a warrior through skill, level, and item systems to fight things in a sandbox world, and you’re certainly not doing it to billion-dollar triple-A production values – but nonetheless you are given the goal of sustaining yourself and a multitude of ways to go about accomplishing it which define your character.

    You are a starving slum inhabitant; you need food; you have to get it to survive and inevitably find yourself weighing the consequences of how you’ll accomplish this. To me that’s a goal a thousand times more interesting than saving all of Tamriel from evil time-dragons by way of traveling to (far too) many places and killing everything there.

  22. ET says:

    Has anyone tried downloading In The Kingdom yet? I threw down my five bucks, and the download links broke. :C

  23. Bryan says:

    Gearbox gets the rights to HL3… uh, so, like they did with the HL1 PS2 port, and Opposing Forces, and Blue Shift?

    :-P

  24. TMC_Sherpa says:

    *Sigh* I had high hopes for Watch_Dogs when it was announced but the more I saw the less excited I became. This really should have been Ubis LA Noire/Mirrors Edge moment but it looks like people bought this….thing?

    I wonder if Interplay still has the license to Neuromancer, anyone else willing to chip in a dollar to take if off their hands?

    Edit: PS Does anyone else remember the story included with Virtual Realities? I know it was in the 1st edition Shadowrun supplement but I have no idea if it was included in any of the other editions. I wouldn’t say it was an amazing piece of writing but the concept was good.

  25. Paul Spooner says:

    Oh man! Revenge of the Titans was super fun! I beat it to the end a few years ago… back when it was still under development. Haven’t played since, but I suspect it could only have gotten better. Those guys at Puppygames know how to make ’em!

  26. Nalyd says:

    . . . How did these guys manage to talk about Risk of Rain without mentioning the huge variety of very different and creative upgrades and classes? Those upgrades and classes are the majority of what determines your gameplay.

    • Chris says:

      Easy – I never unlocked any of them. I’m not sure how you even do it, really. I did a few runs that lasted 3+ levels, collected a buttload of items, got a lot of money… never did anything that got me a character. It’s actually sort of frustrating, because I know some of them alleviate some of my frustrations with the combat… but their unlocking is as far as I can tell random and/or impossible.

      • ET says:

        Not impossible, but sort of like Easter eggs. For example, one of them is literally hidden in a room off to the side of the map, which is normally not even visible to the player, which needs them to run through a tunnel filled with lava/acid/I-can’t-remember, and fight a hard mini-boss in said secret room.

        The ones who don’t feel like Easter eggs, generally need you to grind achievements. This would be OK, except they don’t even say what achievements you need to get, until you’ve already got one of them in the list. (Or something like that.) So, it’s basically hidden information, until you’ve already played the game a lot.

        Actually, the only character which is reasonably obvious to unlock, is the slime monster. On the underwater level (stage 2 or 3?), at the top of the map, where it’s above-water, on the far right, you’ll find a shipping crate thing, with prison bars and a lock on the front. It’s shaking a little, like somebody’s trying to get out. Smash open the crate/lock, and then he busts out. I think you need to beat him in combat, but he’s only about s hard as a medium-size enemy. After that, you can play him. Honestly, he’s the most fun (for me anyways), and his abilities are actually good enough, that it’s not so frustrating to play through the game. :)

    • Shamus says:

      I unlocked 3 characters. While all of them feel different, none of them really fixed my core problems with the game. My weapons were still ineffectual, they were just a different flavor of ineffectual.

      • ET says:

        Yeah, all of the characters have weak guns, and some of them even have underpowered/useless special abilities. Like the space-cop – his riot-shield ability is barely useful in the direction he’s pointing, and then he’s completely vulnerable from behind and slow as a snail. The only characters I found, who could actually kill anything and stay alive, were the ones who are made to do damage while running around like an idiot: normal guy, engineer, and slime-monster. Of those three, the only one I found fun, was slime guy. So, yeah – the game needs an overhaul to actually be fun, since most people will probably give up before even unlocking a character they find fun.

        • IFS says:

          I’d disagree with this, the sniper has a really powerful gun that can even one shot some early bosses though other than that the guns do tend to be relatively weak. I personally find that advancing as quickly as possible tends to hold off this problem for a while and makes it more manageable by the time it occurs.

          Also one thing I do love about RoR is how the different classes have fundamentally different playstyles. My favorite is probably Acrid who just runs past all the enemies while steadily killing them through disease and acid as he explores the level, though Huntress and Engineer are close seconds.

          • ET says:

            I will concede that sniper is probably better than I remember. However, it’s worth pointing out that our favourite characters are the same. Therefore, he’s objectively the best character in the game. Other opinions are just wrong. :P

        • Daemian Lucifer says:

          “Like the space-cop – his riot-shield ability is barely useful in the direction he’s pointing, and then he’s completely vulnerable from behind and slow as a snail.”

          Thats completely untrue.He is my favorite class,so I know that is untrue.You just have to position yourself correctly(put your back to a wall),and then you can rend enemies with ease.It improves your fire rate significantly so your shotgun rends through enemies with ease.Those few that reach you will be unable to harm you,and your shield slam and stun grenades are enough to deal with the few melee enemies that manage to go behind your shield.

          The thing is that every class has to be played very differently and needs some getting used to before you get how to use all of your skills effectively.

  27. The discussion about how awful a person Aiden Pierce is makes me think that he was either originally conceived as a superhero or someone who desperately wanted to shellac a superhero veneer over him was in charge.

    The “don’t do it” being supplied by his sister is usually a superhero’s internal monologue about putting their loved ones in danger, but the plot and/or villains often REQUIRE the hero to keep putting on their costume and fighting crime. Sometimes the hero is the only one with the powers or abilities to combat the coming evil, or they see that even more people will die if they don’t act, etc.

    But Aiden is, as was stated, narcissistic. One might argue that this game, down to having only hats and trenchcoats (his “uniform”) represent his madman’s view of the world where he envisions himself as Rorschach from The Watchmen.

    I almost want to see a Spoiler Warning season on games like this where the cast creates new, alternate narratives for games that explain the unreal “reality” you play through. :)

  28. Oh, and 47:40. We might need to add to the Diecast drinking game (surely there is one, right?) when Rutskarn pronounces “fiat” as “f-eye-aht” instead of “fee-aht.”

    I hope he doesn’t try to buy any Italian budget cars… :)

  29. Cybron says:

    I had the exact same problem Shamus had with Risk of Rain. Like pelting dudes with styrofoam. Just so tedious past a certain point.

    Liked Chris’s segment on fighting games. Another game that plays a lot like that (even though some people will complain if you call it a fighting game) is Super Smash Brothers Melee. I find that sort of play really interesting, where you get to interact with your opponent mid-combo.

  30. Steve C says:

    I finally finished watching Burch’s talk that Shamus linked to. It is really good. It’s 2 hrs long and worth it. Highly recommend it.

  31. Phantos says:

    Funny how the game everyone was really excited for last year, the one “new and interesting” game, the crown jewel of the previous E3 turned out to be the gaming equivalent of a fart in the wind.

    Of course, maybe if everyone stopped buying Ubisoft games like some uncontrollable Pavlovian response, they wouldn’t get away with such substandard muck.

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