Diecast #179: The Game Awards, Mass Effect Andromeda, VR

By Josh
on Dec 5, 2016
Filed under:
Diecast

143 comments

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Hosts: Josh, Rutskarn, Campster, Mumbles. Edited by Josh.

Shamus is out this week to prep for the trip he’ll be taking next week. During which he’ll also be out. You know what that means? It’s time to throw a Shame-less party! (Please don’t kill me for writing that Shamus.)

Incidentally, we talk about this show as if it’s a lot longer than it actually is. Turns out without Shamus we’re bad at keeping track of time.

Show notes:

0:00:45: Geoff Keighly’s The Game Awards
So that happened.

0:20:45: The Last of Us Part II Trailer
I suspect no one is really surprised by this announcement. Naughty Dog has been hinting they might continue the Last of Us story for years, and given it’s a probably even more beloved franchise than Uncharted, it seemed only a matter of time before a sequel was properly announced.

0:29:45: Kojima’s Happy Ending is Death Stranding
A second trailer and we still know absolutely nothing about this game – except that Kojima has clearly been wanting to go way weirder than even Metal Gear would allow. And even though we don’t know anything about it, for some reason I really want to play this game.

0:32:40: Mass Effect Andromeda’s long awaited Gameplay Trailer
Hey, Shamus isn’t here this week and suddenly we’re talking about Mass Effect. Hmmmmmmmmm.

0:52:20: I am crazy and bought a Vive.
And it’s actually really cool. That and a sometimes-vomit comet.

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From the Archives:

  1. ColeusRattus says:

    Welcome to the exclusive Vive owners club. Quite curious on what you have to say about the experiences and games. Also, if you need a fellow player for some MP shenanigans, hit me up!

    Also, try out destinations and google earth. The latter actually allows you almost feeling like being places without going places…

  2. Leocruta says:

    They’re designing the single-player experience based on how people play multiplayer? I’m not convinced that’s a sound design strategy.

    • Charille says:

      I sometimes visit empty multiplayer maps of older games. Can confirm dm_basebunker is haunted as fuck.

      • Phantos says:

        I am one of those guys who buys the DLC packs for bro shooters and then just wanders around the new levels, admiring the details and such.

        Of course, that started back before I had the ability to play with other people. And when offline bots were phased out in order to get people to buy an Xbox Live subscription or something.

  3. Shamus says:

    Also, here is the Podcast Mumbles put together:

    https://www.patreon.com/posts/mass-effect-7410447

    If you’re sick of my whining about how great Mass Effect 1 is, then you should give this a listen for sure. The cast has lots of different perspectives.

  4. Rayen says:

    It’s not like a sequel cheapens the original.

    And yet the star wars prequels destroyed your childhood.

    • Rutskarn says:

      I’m not sure if this is literally directed at me, but I don’t care about the Star Wars prequels. And, I mean, they WERE my childhood. I was eight years old when Phantom came out.

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      A sequel* does not influence the original,that is true.But it does influence future projects.And if you care for a franchise,you want more good stuff to come from it.So while you can always enjoy the original as much as ever,a bad sequel will (usually) mean that for a long time you will not be able to enjoy anything new connected to it.

      *Or a prequel,or a midquel,or whatever

    • Echo Tango says:

      I don’t think the Star Wars prequels could really be said to have ruined anyone’s childhood. I mean, they’re bad movies, but I can still go back and watch the journey of Luke, from farmer to hero, and enjoy it. If it helps, think of bad sequels like comic books* – there’s a tonne of bad Superman and Spiderman stuff out there, but the good ones are still good. Just ignore the junk. :)

      * Since there’s simply so many comic books that have been made, you have to come to this realization much sooner than movies or games.

      • silver Harloe says:

        Comic books, yes. That’s how you had to learn to enjoy Star Trek, too. Just ignore the bad episodes. If you were also a Trek or comic book fan, then you had to learn to skills to make the prequels not ruin your childhood Star Wars memories. (Not that other people couldn’t or didn’t learn the skills, also, but being a Trek or comic fan helped). No, to ruin your childhood memories, it took Lucas mucking with the films and putting that terrible face onto Vader’s force ghost at the end.

      • Sleeping Dragon says:

        It’s probably a part of the reason why I kinda gave up on at least the big names (Marvel, DC) comic books. Too many character inconsistencies, too many continuity reboots, too many resetted arcs… nowadays I tend to keep to series that have tighter arcs and are trying to tell more of a specific story.

    • Matt Downie says:

      I think sequels can spoil earlier things in the series if you care about the canon. Maybe it reveals things about the characters that make a nonsense of their motivations in the previous movie (like the Casablanca sequel they nearly made where it turned out Rick was working as a spy all along), or it could just ruin a happy ending by revealing that everything immediately went bad after that (like Alien 3).

      • silver Harloe says:

        Then you block the sequel from your headcanon, and the proper character motivations return and the happy ending becomes happy again (see Highlander).

        If we’ve learned anything from comic books and Star Trek and Star Wars, it’s that “what is canon?” is a useless question with a different answer for different people and which can and will be changed without notice. So stop worrying about it.

  5. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Wow,Shamus hasnt even properly left,and these guys ruin everything in the first couple of minutes.

  6. Wide And Nerdy ♤ says:

    I can understand Chris’s gripes.

    That said, I don’t want anything in the game world to ever become as self important as the Oscars. I’m not sure if its even possible but there is nothing else in the world that has such a high self congratulation level relative to its actual contributions to the world.

    I’d also prefer that gaming stay with a T-shirt and Jeans attitude rather than try to shift to coffeehouse mentality or to an Oscar mentality. So some tackiness and lack of class is actually reassuring.

    But Chris is right about the award categories. They’re stupid, even to a guy like me.

    Some of the categories Chris described seemed designed to be won by specific companies.* That is B.S. by any standard.

    *I couldn’t tell you which ones, they just sound THAT arbitrary.

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      I hate how people praise the oscars.The idea in the beginning was really good,but what it is now,and what it was for a long time,is pretty bad.There is a reason why “oscar bait” exists,and its not a particularly flattering term.And lets not kid ourselves about commercialism.They may not have the shaving mascot on the stage,but there are plenty of movies that will slap “oscar nominated movie” or “has an oscar nominated actor” just to sell more copies.

    • Henson says:

      This is why I like The International, Valve’s Dota 2 tournament, so much. It’s a big-money, big-production esports event, but it’s not nearly as formal or banal as you would find in a typical NFL sportscast. The ‘casters and the community and everyone involved love what they do and take it seriously, but not so serious that they can’t roll up their shirtsleeves and play a prank or two. Gaming communities should be themselves, and not emulate the paradigm just because it came first.

      …of course, if they are being themselves, then it’s clear this is a section of the community I don’t much care for. And that’s fine.

    • Benjamin Hilton says:

      I can understand not liking the Oscars, but having a serious awards show for games would help make the argument for games as art.
      Whereas while some people may see the Game Awards as harmless, I think they actually hurt the medium as a whole, perpetuating negative stereotypes. Sure those of us in the hobby, know the awards are silly, but for people outside of it this kind of thing could cement in their minds preconceived notions they have about the culture and immaturity of the medium.
      I mean hell, games issues come up in politics for violence and freedom of speech all the time, and I don’t think it will help our cause if the majority of people not in this hobby, but still have an equal vote on the subject, just connect gaming to Mountain Dew and Doritos. I mean can you blame them for thinking games are only for kids with that marketing scheme?

      • Wide And Nerdy ♤ says:

        I can blame them for thinking its for kids when so many of the most prominent games are so violent.

        . . . would help make the argument for games as art . . . cement in their minds preconceived notions they have about the culture and immaturity of the medium.

        That’s their loss. We’re not trying to impress them nor should we. Its our thing. Games are already as much art as they need to be. We have our artsy wing and its mostly art by way of adapting/shoehorning older art into our medium graphically and/or conceptually. The more we obsess over being comparable to these older art forms, the more “art” in games is going to look like this and we’ll join them in the death of our spark that much faster.

        We stand to lose much if we adapt games to please the arbitrary standards developed by people, who don’t know or appreciate games, specifically for other media. Better that people who know development and appreciate games look to each other.

        • Benjamin Hilton says:

          I agree, accept like I said this stuff makes it’s way into politics where everyone, including those “who it’s not for” get an equal vote on the matter. I don’t think it’s a matter of conforming so much as….treading carefully.

          • Wide And Nerdy® says:

            Do you want games to be art or do you want them to tread carefully?

            EDIT: I guess you’re talking about with kids. I think we’ve done everything we can in that department. Its usually very obvious what you’re getting with your typical AAA game.

            If there’s violence, its going to be splashed all over the commercials, if there’s sex appeal, the marketing team will make sure you know. If its simply heavy, we still have the rating system.

            They lost this battle. Parents have to actually take some responsibility for what their kids play if they want that control. Games have rating systems. There are websites specifically to inform parents. Consoles have password protection. Parents today should know how to pick a decent password.

          • Syal says:

            In the US it was ruled unconstitutional for government to restrict sales of violent video games to minors. At least here, anyone trying to vote against video games has a wall to climb. No particular need for careful treading.

            • Felblood says:

              Get ready for a very different Supreme Court Tho’.

              The future is a crazy place and nobody has seen it.

              • Syal says:

                This might be cutting into politics, but…

                Even if enough of the Supreme Court changes that they’re willing to overturn a constitutional interpretation on no new grounds, the last case took six years in the courts to be decided, and every court that saw it declared it unconstitutional. There’s nothing in politics that can’t change, but that wall is a long climb regardless.

        • Ninety-Three says:

          That’s their loss. We’re not trying to impress them nor should we. Its our thing.

          That’s a very shortsighted approach. If we want the medium to grow, it has to become more people’s thing. If games were as widely accepted as movies, the industry would be making five times as many of them which benefits everyone, especially people who already game a lot.

          • Leocruta says:

            I disagree with your assumption that the games industry growing would be a good thing. We here at twentysided aren’t exactly the intended audience for a lot of AAA games these days. That’s due, at least in part, to games becoming a lot more common with the general population, who vastly outnumber us. This results in developers and publishers making and supporting games designed to be easily accessible and visually impressive, possibly following a formula of some kind.

            Personally, all of my favourite games from the last few years have been either indie games, or old games I only recently acquired. The last AAA game I really enjoyed was probably the Witcher 2.

            • Ninety-Three says:

              A rising tide lifts all ships, if five times as many people suddenly started buying videogames, some of that extra money would swell the indie market.

              • Leocruta says:

                Possibly. It’s entirely likely that it would merely continue the current trend of there being more indie games rather than better ones.

                • Felblood says:

                  More indies games is better, becasue it means that the right indie game for you is out there, and it’s devs are more likely to make enough to make a sequel.

                  Have you even known that particular kind of wistfulness that comes from seeing someone want to make a game that is totally your jam, but knowing that they’ll never find a large enough audience to fund it?

                  It sucks. We need less of that.

              • Felblood says:

                Yeah, but real growth takes time and follows long-term trends. It requires a world full of customers who know what “right-click” means.

                The kind of base manipulation you’re talking about is more likely to create unsustainable bubbles, and meddling investors and publishers who know nothing about the businesses they are buying into.

                See also, the tragic fate of Dark Sector, and the way a meddling publisher nearly killed Digital Extremes by trying to turn their metroidvania-ish, 3rd-person, sci-fi, stealth shooter into a GTA3 clone and a Modern Warfare clone at the same time.

          • Wide And Nerdy ♤ says:

            That’s a very shortsighted approach. If we want the medium to grow, it has to become more people’s thing.

            Its already out there for tons of people. But I was talking about the cultural gatekeepers, the high brows. We don’t need to impress them. That should not be the goal, to be legitimized by these people who don’t get us and at this point don’t really want to.

            I’m not sitting here talking about excluding people. There’s a wide gulf between that and begging the so called cultured crowd to let us into their little clique. We have nothing to gain from trying to wrangle our medium into a form they’ll recognize as art.

            If they can’t recognize us as such, then its they who are behind the times. They should be asking us to acknowledge them at this point.

            • ehlijen says:

              You do appear to be assuming that there are no high brow, culture crowd, gamers, that all gamers want nothing to do with that. I don’t think gamers are nearly that monolithic (games certainly aren’t). And even if they are, I wouldn’t consider that to be a good thing.

              You say you are not excluding people, but you define an entire category as being outside of gaming already. You keep using conflict language, us vs them.

              There is some desire coming from inside gaming to be something other than The Game Award Show. This isn’t about gatekeepers or appealing to them, it’s about not everyone wanting to be what this image presents ‘us’ as.

              The conflict, if there must be one (I’d prefer the term difference of opinion), is within gaming. Some gamers like the Game Award Show. Others dislike it. Some play games for a good story, others skip the cutscenes even on the first playthrough. Some play one or two AAA titles a year, others wade through dozens of steam greenlights a month.

              Talking us vs them is not very useful if the ‘us’ is this poorly defined.

              • Wide And Nerdy® says:

                You do appear to be assuming that there are no high brow, culture crowd, gamers, that all gamers want nothing to do with that. I don’t think gamers are nearly that monolithic (games certainly aren’t).

                I was responding originally to essentially these parts of another post.

                I can understand not liking the Oscars, but having a serious awards show for games would help make the argument for games as art.

                And

                but for people outside of it this kind of thing could cement in their minds preconceived notions they have about the culture and immaturity of the medium.

                The people he is referring to in these quotes are the ones I don’t care to impress.

                Admittedly my argument did get a bit muddled as a mixed together two points, the first being more directly relevant as I list them now.

                1) We shouldn’t being trying to “clean up” to impress this group of people who still apparently see us as childish hobbyists in a non artistic medium. Anybody who is actually paying attention, certainly any ostensible authority on art, should be able to see that games are or can be art. If they don’t see that, they’re behind the times.

                2) We shouldn’t be trying to make games seem like art by shoehorning in the conventions and trappings of older art. Its both ill fit for this interactive medium in many cases and besides recycling old conventions isn’t going to impress art critics anyway. They’re hoping to see new things and video games are the new thing.

                If anything, trying to prove we’re art in that way is going to make us look more childish than anything. We’ll look like kids playing dress up. Instead, gaming is art when we look ahead. We’re not bound by the old rules and we should be reveling in that, not running back to the comforting familiarity of those structures.

                • ehlijen says:

                  I partially agree with your disagreement on the second point you quoted, but not the first. Games should be what works for games, and I don’t think we’ve scratched the surface of that, yet.

                  On the other hand, games are most visibly represented by the yearly churnout of sports game and multiplayer shooter sequels and whatever Nintendo releases that year. The first two rarely even attempt to be art and Nintendo aggressively courts the toy look. The indie and art game scene can be quite hidden for anyone without a steam account or following gaming news (ie gamers).
                  A more high brow awards show could make the elements of gaming that are already there in the shadows of the AAA industry more visible and thus let people know that gaming has more to offer than that.
                  This isn’t about changing what gaming is, it’s about celebrating more aspects of it.

                  • Wide And Nerdy® says:

                    Nintendo may court the toy look but what they make is art. You just have to actually play their games to know that.

                    Their secret is doing what they think is right and not caring if their product is perceived as kid stuff. If your brow is too high for a Nintendo game, its too high.

                    Especially true when so called artists think strewing trash around a bedroom or flipping a light switch on and off counts as art. Nintendo puts tons more work and thought and care into their art than so called actual artists.

        • Leocruta says:

          We stand to lose much if we adapt games to please the arbitrary standards developed by people, who don’t know or appreciate games, specifically for other media. Better that people who know development and appreciate games look to each other.

          I strongly agree with this. Changing games to please someone’s standards strikes me as censorship. I despise censorship.

          • SyrusRayne says:

            Choosing to change a thing is not censorship. Listening to feedback and changing something is not censorship.

            If developers want to appeal outside the standard ‘gamer’ label, more power to them. The more people gaming reaches, the more new ideas and different perspectives there will be. The idea that this will somehow taint the well has always felt insane to me. As Rutskarn said, gaming has started to feel recombinant. You don’t change that without looking outward- whether it’s fresh meat or fresh ideas.

          • Chris says:

            TIL censorship is spurning a man dressed like this

            • Shamus says:

              Oh man. The word censorship is all but ruined now. It means several different things to different groups, so that whenever it comes up we end up arguing about the word itself instead of the (alleged) censorship.

              I favor the firm original meaning that Chris is using here: Censorship is when the stormtroopers show up to burn all your copies of Fahrenheit 451.

              I don’t know when the definition started to unravel, but I THINK it was during my lifetime. Some advocacy group would show up and protest something. Maybe it was a parent’s group protesting rap music with profane lyrics, or a group protesting violent videogames, or (like in my hometown back in the 80’s) a bunch of busybodies hassling an adult bookstore into closing its doors.

              You can see the temptation to use the word “censorship” here. From the perspective of the target, you don’t really care if the people who show up are from the government or a bunch of angry scolds. If they can exert pressure to make it impossible (or just really unpleasant or impractical) for you to run your business, then you’re being forced to acquiesce to the whims of others.

              I think the big problem is that we don’t really have a word for this concept of “being silenced by people who are not the government”. So we started using it in situations where it wasn’t 100% accurate. Pretty soon censorship was when a bunch of angry parents picket your record store so that you can’t do business. After that it was having the parent’s group threaten to picket you. And from there it was a brisk ride down the slippery slope.

              So now censorship is whenever people shout at you that they don’t like what you say, and the word is ruined. And I am sad.

              • Wide And Nerdy® says:

                I think we can start to call it censorship once a large institution bends to that angry group of scolds.

                If I can no longer buy the game I like at Wal-Mart, especially when I live in a small town where Wal-Mart is pretty much the only place I can hope to get that game, then that starts to look like censorship.

                If you’re getting banned on a major social media platform, same deal, especially if you didn’t actually violate any of the defined terms of service. Society is congregating where you aren’t allowed.

                Its not the same severity and maybe it needs a different word but its the same sort of wrong. In a way its worse because its a sort of mob rule.

                That said, I think the above poster was taking a big leap from what we were talking about to censorship. What he’s talking about is more like peer pressure.

                But mass media and later the internet have created this new type of thing that needs a word.

              • Daemian Lucifer says:

                You are missing a key phrase there:
                “being silenced by people who are not the government and arent your consumers either

                Having the consumers of your product tell you why its wrong,and why they want you to change it is fine.They want to buy it,and of course they care for its quality.But having people who never cared for your product in the first place preventing you from selling it to people who do care about it,it may not be the dictionary definition of censorship,but its pretty close.Especially if said people also demand from the government to ban you as well.

                Of course,applying the word censorship to people deciding to change on their own in order to have more appeal is going too far.If someone cares about their image so much,thats their own decision.Even if its a radical shift just to appeal to people who werent interested in them before.

                • Shamus says:

                  That is a really good distinction.

                  On the other hand, it’s another thing that can get pretty murky. They claim to be your consumers, but are they? They claim they would be more interested in your products if only you would add this one thing. Would they, or would they just complain about something else?

                  Even if they ARE your consumers, do they really matter? A week ago I wrote that article saying that Titanfall 2 could be much better if they paid more attention to the story. I actually bought T2 with real money, which makes me a customer. I think all of my criticisms were valid, but I also think EA is perfectly safe to ignore me.

        • SyrusRayne says:

          I’m going to take issue with something you’ve said. “It’s our thing.” Who is “our”? Who makes up “our,” exactly, and why is it that they have possession over a means of expression?

          Moreover, who defines when something is “as art much art as they need to be”? Where has this need come from? Was there a council meeting, because I seem to have missed the memo.

          It all smacks of gatekeeping, to my mind. We lose nothing by inviting others in. Violent games aren’t going anywhere.

          • Wide And Nerdy ♤ says:

            I’m going to take issue with something you’ve said. “It’s our thing.” Who is “our”? Who makes up “our,” exactly, and why is it that they have possession over a means of expression?

            I understand that there was this whole other discussion in our community about who is and isn’t allowed. I wasn’t talking about that. Casuals, yes. Women and minorities and whoever else, yes. If you actually like games, lets find you a game you want to play and if we’re having trouble finding one, lets see if there’s a few games we can tweak a bit for you.

            I was talking about bending our medium to be anointed by the cultured artsy crowd as art. I say we do our thing and if they don’t get it, that’s on them. If they come to us and say they want to play games and they start having input, that’s a different thing.

            If some indies out there want to chase the dream of creating a game that is regarded as high art by the old guard, fine. But I don’t think its necessary for us to try to structure our entire culture to meet some external perception of what our culture should look like just to gain their acknowledgment.

            They’re behind the times. They need to catch up with us. Not the other way around. And if they approach it with an open mind, lets show them whats already awesome about our medium.

            I just don’t think that getting our new medium to meet these old standards is going to move us forward. Lets move forward by actually moving forward, coming up with actual new ideas of what art and/or games should be. If we focus on genuine expression without inhibition and stop worrying about making something that’s “Art”, we’ll make better art.

            • Benjamin Hilton says:

              I can understand that, but I also see where SyrusRayne is coming from. I think it comes down to language. I’m sure you didn’t mean to be confrontational, but using words like “ours” immediately draws lines. It makes debates harder because the language puts the person you’re talking to on the defensive from the get go.

              • SyrusRayne says:

                This, exactly. From your clarification – and re-reading your original post later, with your clarification in mind – I see what you mean, and I don’t disagree. It’s a different medium, so its art will certainly be different from ‘artistic’ films or music.

                After the events in “games culture” the past too many damned years that possessive language is something I find pretty galling, and it’s not something I expected on 20s so it put me on guard. My apologies!

      • Sannom says:

        “I mean can you blame them for thinking games are only for kids with that marketing scheme?”

        Unrelated, but a magazine I read made a piece about a video game expo in Europe and you could hear the sarcasm in the legend for the “junior space” of the event.

  7. SlothfulCobra says:

    VR as it is currently being developed, is really great for giving experiences or immersing you into a setting, but it really doesn’t enhance gameplay itself at all. Most of what we know games today for is not conducive to VR and vice versa. VR is harder to develop long experiences of or even play for long stretches at a time. Controls are harder to use when you can’t actively see the controller. The first-person perspective has even been on the downswing in videogames lately, as the bulk of games out on the market today have been third person.

    That’s not to say that VR is a dead end, but whatever it is, it seems like something that is separate and different from videogames as they are now. You can’t just stick VR in every videogame and have it work (even without the technical issues involved), it is a transformative thing to the media. To some extent, most people wouldn’t even want to do the same things in VR as they would with most videogames. It’s something else.

    • Joe Informatico says:

      Agreed: VR should just be considered a new and separate medium. Maybe there are gaming experiences that can be tailored for VR, maybe there are other kinds of interactive narrative or gameplay (e.g. ARGs) that can make use of VR, maybe it can be applied to some kind of immersive social media, or even more linear narratives. Surely it can eventually have some kind of application for training (police and medical simulators), education (like museum or art gallery walkthroughs) and probably already is. And maybe some games–but not most–built for more traditional gaming platforms could also be adapted for VR. Like how you can adapt comics or novels for film and TV–you have to acknowledge the things that work and don’t work in the different media.

      But I don’t think VR should be considered the next evolution of video games. People didn’t completely stop playing board games or card games or tabletop roleplaying games when video games came along (even if they probably lost market share to them); some of those even got more innovative or better. “Traditional” video games can and will continue to exist; but VR can also exist and even thrive if it really embraces the fact that it’s a different thing.

    • rabs says:

      With current VR technology there are some interesting stuff that we can do nowhere else, but an usual monitor still have a lot of advantages.

      In 10-20 years or more, headsets will be able to display the same density of pixel/degree as current average desktop monitors, with partial pass-through (AR) and stuff like that.
      So we will be able to totally replace them, at least to do the same thing the same way. But hopefully with display and interaction improvements.

      It explains part of the interest for VR. As it starts to develop, companies want to establish themselves in the market, because technology will only improve. But maybe it will be a kind of “too early” bubble.

    • ColeusRattus says:

      I have to disagree there. There are several things VR improves in traditional games other than the immersion, which itself is a huge step up.

      Flight and racing simulations benefit greatly from the improved field of view and awareness you get from being able to look around and judge distances more accurately.

      FPS games also benefit from the awareness, and when motion tracked, from quicker and more precise controll of your gun to the ability to use cover more naturally.

      And any multiplayer game that uses room scale and motion tracking has the huge benefit of more means to communicate, emote and interact than mere voice and text chat.

      But I too thought of VR as a mere gimmick until I tried it out in person.

      • Matt Downie says:

        What VR FPS are you thinking of here? The only one I’ve tried (Brookhaven Experiment) requires you to stand in (typically) the middle of a corridor junction where you can get attacked from any direction and then you have to survive without using cover.

        • rabs says:

          Popular FPS with some kind of simulated locomotion are
          – Onward : team based military simulator, with trackpad/stick locomotion
          – Raw Data : wave shooter in big rooms, with teleportation/dash and coop mode
          – H3VR : realistic weapons shooting range, and a kind of rogue-like “meat grinder” mode, implementing all possible locomotion modes with many options. And the dev video logs are awesome.
          – RBDOOM-3-BFG by Codes4Fun : fan made fork to adapt it to VR, with hand control and trackpad/stick locomotion. It’s feature complete now.

          There are many other “room-scale” (no virtual locomotion) and “on-rail” wave shooters otherwise. I especially like
          – Space Pirate Trainer : room-scale with the need to move a lot to dodge things and control crowd of enemies, with randomized waves. Only one stage, but a lot of mechanism to master.
          – Serious Sam VR : traditional wave shooter with fixed waves that needs to be learned/perfected, with high production value. Some narration and multiple stages (with others incoming).

        • ColeusRattus says:

          Basically what rabs said. Especially onward. It scratches the verym itch I didn’t know I had until the very first Rainbow Six game in a way that cannot be described in words.

  8. Haven’t had a chance to listen to the ‘casts yet, but I did watch the Andromeda Trailer, and wow, did the PC fall into the Uncanny Valley and land on her face?

    • Christopher says:

      I don’t think Bioware will ever make good faces. I was watching the Until Dawn season, and then watched that trailer, and wow was I in for some serious whiplash. I’m vaguely aware that Bioware base at least some of their faces on real human models, too. They’re probably all attractive, handsome people. But in-game, most all of them look awful.

      That’s probably the reason why the faces are actually bad, right? There’s nothing uncanny about Jade Empire faces really. Or all of the aliens in Mass Effect. Their realistic human face-tech is just so poor, and like their animations, it stands out even more now that the environments are pretty.

    • Echo Tango says:

      A little bit, I guess. It definitely has someweirdness with her eyeballs, especially when she looks out of the corner of her vision.

      Personally it’s bothering me more that the game is trying to be photo-realistic, when non-realistic aesthetics would suit the game better. I think a space-opera, pretty-serious game like this would be better suited to a sketchy semi-cel-shaded style like the Telltale games, XIII, Okami, or the Afro Samurai game. Or make it more firmly cel-shaded. Or if you wanted to go high-budget, you could do the whole thing in a shader that makes it look like a multi-color charcoal-art thing, like these owls, this rendition of David Bowie, or any of these (black and white) works. Hell, make it look like some heavily inked portrait cross-bred with a water-color painting.

      This game could be Star Trek, Lost In Space, Farscape, 2001, The Xeelee Sequence, or Ringworld. Instead it’s just looks like something that a photograph would do better. :S

    • Echo Tango says:

      Dangit. I shouldn’t have linked so many images to make my point, when Shamus isn’t around to moderate stuff. TLDR: I would prefer something not photorealism for my Mass Effect games. ^^;

    • Nessus says:

      They’re also still doing the “female main character uses the male animations” thing, which was an issue in Mass Effect.

      I’m almost hesitant to bring it up, because it seems like every time I’ve seen someone griping about it with Mass Effect, they were complaining about Femshep not sashaying like a supermodel. Whereas the legit issue was that some of the animations implied a very different weight and center off mass than was reflected in the female model. A lot of animations looked fine, but the ones that didn’t REALLY didn’t. The running/sprinting animations in particular were just surreal.

      You can see it happening again the Andromeda trailer. It’s not as bad, but it’s still there, most noticeably during the bits where she’s walking around in what I’m guessing is her non-combat space suit (like that cutscene bit in the middle where she’s meeting with a criminal boss type). She’s got those uncanny valley proportions that devs are forced to go with when they want to use the same animations for a slim character as a meatslab character (hands are cartoonishly huge, and the shoulder joints are too high and wide relative to the torso).

      • Humanoid says:

        I’ve been watching Mumbles play DA2 and Ms Hawke’s running animation is some of the worst I’ve ever seen. I’ve never seen Mr Hawke run, but I imagine it’s not shared, but if this is their standard for gender-specific animations, they’re probably doing us a kindness by not attempting it again.

      • Echo Tango says:

        Man, I didn’t notice it until you pointed it out, but now I cannot stop myself noticing it. Female Protagonist from Andromeda totally looks like she’s moving around a huge mass of shoulders, like a beefy wrestleman or something. i.e. How her head/shoulder/spine wobbles off of vertical a *lot* (in my layman’s, totally never been to art-school or studied kinesiology opinion).

  9. Joe Informatico says:

    So my knowledge of ME Andromeda is limited to the handful of trailers they’ve released. So correct me if this is wrong, but that last trailer makes it look like there are humans and turians and krogan on your side but also belonging to different factions. Did the passengers of the Ark break into different factions before landing, Civilization: Beyond Earth style? Were there multiple Arks sent to Andromeda?

    I’m all for keeping the rich world-building of the original ME trilogy, but it strains my suspension of disbelief if they’re just going to copy-paste the social and political dynamics of the old game onto a completely new galaxy millions of light-years away. I really hope they’re saving the new stuff for later marketing or the game itself.

    • Wide And Nerdy ♤ says:

      It strikes me as Bioware’s writers writing themselves a blank check.

      After Inquisition, ME3, and seeing what Bioware has become, I’m not inclined to stick around to watch them cash it.

      They’ve given themselves permission to change essentially everything to do whatever they want and if its this team doing it, Mass Effect is dead. Time to find something else to play.

      • Cinebeast says:

        Time to find something else to play.

        But what? Everyone makes this argument, but I have yet to see anything that aims for the same target that Mass Effect does.

        • Wide And Nerdy® says:

          Normally I believe that argument is made by fans to shoo off whiners. I’m a whiner shooing myself off.

          And if there’s nothing else trying for the kind of world building we got in ME1, I’ve got other things to play. Frankly, games I want to play are coming out faster than I can buy them. I get to be picky. I still haven’t even bought Tyranny, the new Deus Ex or Dishonored 2 yet. I can wait till someone wants to step up and make a proper successor to Mass Effect.

          • Mike Munroe says:

            I get what you’re saying, and all those games are good in their own way, but none of them scratch the very specific itch of a grand space opera combined with Bioware-style buddy adventuring. Tyranny is too dark, Deus Ex is too grounded, and Dishonored is too impersonal.

            Maybe I’m just picky…

            • Humanoid says:

              Saints Row 5.

              Yeah I know that sounds like a stretch, but I feel it’d probably be the type of game that scratches that same itch, but better.

              • Wide And Nerdy® says:

                And it feels like Bethesda picked it up with Fallout 4. Nick Valentine, Codsworth, Cait, Hancock, Curie* were all at least well designed and they made a pretty decent stab at the buddy system which they’ll hopefully go back and rework because I think it goes well with what they seem to want their Fallout games to be.

                Pillars of Eternity had a couple of good companions, Eder and Aloth.

                New Vegas had Raul, Cassie (Rose?), ED-E.

                Child of Light could have had that vibe going if the writer hadn’t insisted on writing the whole damned game in iambic pentameter.

                Saints Row 4, I’d argue, is almost like taking all the best Bioware companions and putting them in the same game (though I’d love to see what Mordin would be like in that gang). They don’t get hung up on being important or dramatic or romantic and it ends up being more genuine. Its like all that stuff actually gets in the way of the buddy appeal in your typical Bioware game.

                And I say that having only had one game to bond with them whereas I had two to three games to bond with the Mass Effect crew.

                *Yes I’m leaving out Piper. Screw Piper. She was one perpetual radiant quest away from being Preston Garvey only even more self righteous and at least if you put up with Garvey for a little while, you get a castle and some artillery.

    • I thought the trailers showed how they’ve ruined the premise of exploring a new galaxy. Galaxies are friggin’ huge places. If they hadn’t mucked up the ending to ME3, nothing I’ve seen couldn’t have happened in the Milky Way.

      That said, what we appear to have is a brand new galaxy! Oh, wait, the races from the other games are already in it and have set up housekeeping? Why are we talking to an Asari crime lord that’s totally not Aria and isn’t even sitting in the exact same dismissive way Aria did on Omega if this is a completely new galaxy? What was the point of leaving the old one?

      • Wide And Nerdy® says:

        Exactly. They’re doing it because the new team wants to have their cake and eat it too. They want to reap all the benefits of being in control of this property, all the hard work done by predecessors, without any of the responsibility that comes with it. None of the upkeep or adherence to the rules of the setting.

        So they’re moving it to a new galaxy to reap the benefits of not being bound by all that pesky lore and world building, but by all appearances, they’re shirking the heady responsibility of actually building a vast strange new galaxy to explore and essentially are cribbing from the work of their predecessors to build their own fanfiction remake of Mass Effect.

        Well the jokes on them. Nothing I care about in the Mass Effect franchise is being moved to the new galaxy. These races divorced from their original history and context are essentially stripped of nearly everything that makes them interesting. So as far as I’m concerned, they’re starting from scratch. Their work will have to stand on its own.

        • Humanoid says:

          I haven’t watched the trailer, only saw the thumbnail for it, and the location depicted may as well be Earth judging from how it looked. We travelled 2.5 million light years for this? You could probably drive 2.5 hours out of town and see something similar.

    • Christopher says:

      I’m sorry I forgot what the source was, but as I recall it they sent the Nexus(the new Citadel) in advance. They set up shop while the traveler ships carrying the bulk of the people arrived later. There were four different arks I believe, each with one primary species. I don’t know if they’re just abandoning the others or there’s a small hanar group on one of them for instance.

      The group on the planet were explained to me as criminals the Nexus booted off their space station.

      • That still doesn’t help the premise. If you have enough resources for an organized criminal element to not only have their own base, small army, and economy, then that kind of takes the edge off of the concept of being alone, cut off from home, having to start over, and being on any kind of frontier. They basically made Omega II out of thin air. Why would we even need new aliens and a new galaxy? Why did they throw Aria with a new paint job (still blue, but a slightly different shade of blue) into Andromeda than having, now hear me out, a brand new character representing a new faction?

        Heck, they could even have some people from the ark signing on with them for various reasons, but making it exactly like a character from ME2 is shamefully lazy.

        • Christopher says:

          Why did they throw Aria with a new paint job (still blue, but a slightly different shade of blue) into Andromeda than having, now hear me out, a brand new character representing a new faction?

          You mean like, metaphorically, right? The new Aria(Kelly Sloane, I believe) is a black human woman, not another asari.

          Anyway, I was just answering his question. I also think it’s pretty boring to journey for hundreds of years through space only to find the same shit. Considering a lot of the staff were old fans this time around according to interviews, I wonder if they have their own voice to bring to the table or if they’re gonna make a universe of copies of old characters they love. We’ve seen this girl act like Aria, but it’s not impossible that she’s dead a scene after this, or a party member. You never got to point a gun at Aria, after all. They could be doing their own riff on the same tropes.

          • Mike Munroe says:

            It was rather refreshing to see that the new crime boss lady didn’t get an extravagant minute-and-a-half cutscene showing off how totally awesome she was supposed to be. But hey, the game’s not out yet, maybe they still have time to correct this oversight.

  10. Benjamin Hilton says:

    I totally agree with Rutskarn on Bioware characters. I mean I love New Vegas, but there always comes a point in a play through when I’m watching all my companions dodder around my base wishing they would at least acknowledge each others existence, let alone have some sort of relationship.

    • Humanoid says:

      They could even borrow the code to do so from The Sims! It’d be dynamic but weighted by their personality traits so two people playing at the same time might see companion relationships evolve in totally different ways.

      • Mike Munroe says:

        They could have random scripted conversations similar to the Overwatch pre-matches. Or the elevators in ME 1. Different ones could be set to specific variables: player actions, game progression, personal quests, ect. Boone opens up to the others after his personal quest is resolved, Arcade selectively reveals his Enclave association to the ones he thinks he can trust, Lily mistakes them all for her grandchildren, Veronica grills Raul on what pre-war world was like.

        It’s so simple and effective that I wouldn’t be surprised if the devs hadn’t already thought of it, but couldn’t set aside the time or budget.

        • Wide And Nerdy ♤ says:

          Part of the problem with Fallout is you can only take one companion. Dragon Age might establish characters in cutscenes but you bond with them on the road. And the party banter does great double duty breaking up the grind and bonding you to the characters.

          The other part of it is, Fallout is more open than Mass Effect. So the plot can’t hinge on your NPCs as much as it does in a Bioware game. Fallout 4 actually does that better than any prior game in the series, requiring you to grab specific companions at different points on the critical path.

    • Volvagia says:

      As far as “building a whole party dynamic” goes, and I think I’ve mentioned this before, but I’d say NO ONE has done it better than the Tales Series and the “Skit” system.

      • Benjamin Hilton says:

        YEEEEEEEESSSSSSS! that system is so great. I love how it intuits who you like more based on who you talk to first. I’m not a huge jrpg fan, but Tales of Symphonia is one of my favorite games ever.

  11. rabs says:

    Another Vive user here. I mostly play small action/sports-like games with well tuned gameplay and score. But I also spend about 5-10 hours a week shooting a real bow at the range, so this is my kind of things.

    For narrative experiences, you should try Robot Repair and the Hidden Shop in The Lab (all the other stuff).
    Most VR games are kind of short and have some rough edges.

    A Chair in a Room is my favorite narrative experience (with horror/tension). I liked the atmosphere and thriller side, I hope they’ll push that more than horror in their next products. Graphics are not very high quality, and some puzzle/triggers were a bit wonky.

    The Gallery had some good sides, but I didn’t like it as much. Though it’s still worth doing.

    Accounting is great and have varied ideas. It’s short but free, though I wouldn’t mind to have paid 10€ for that.

    Another great demo is “Quanero VR” where you can replay a scene over and over from different points of view. There are some rough edges again, but it’s really great to be able to navigate a scene and understand little by little what happened.

  12. Ivan says:

    “and we still know absolutely nothing about this game” – said everyone, about No Man’s Sky, a while ago.

    • Josh says:

      Indeed. I would argue that the difference here is that No Man’s Sky was promising (or being hyped to promise) everything, to the point where no one had any idea what the game would actually be about. By contrast, Death Stranding is as yet promising nothing, aside from Kojima turning the Weird dial up to 11.

      • Christopher says:

        He did tweet a lot of vague stuff about the stick and the rope as tools of man(sticks as in guns, ropes as in tying things to you), as well as how Metal Gear was an action game with unique mechanics(stealth) added onto it. I wouldn’t call it promises, but at this point the vague rumor image I have about Death Stranding is an open world action game that involves cooperation and adds on a new mechanic to the gunplay.

        Which sounds good to me, Metal Gear Solid V played greater than ever and had some awesome freeform mission design. The story was also lacking and involved a very silent, very expensive actor, though. I’m hoping they repeat the good gameplay and don’t repeat their storytelling. I don’t care about actors much to begin with, but if you’re getting names like Mads Mikkelsen, at least let him act a lot. The trailers so far haven’t had a single line, have they? That’s the part that kinda has me worried.

        But who knows, man. For all I know his new mechanic is a Helper Mode mechanic where one person plays the baby and controls a cursor of some kind while the main player steers Norman Reedus around. Or maybe it’s a Dark Souls-style invasion/co-op system, I know Watch_Dogs already tried something like it. There was a mechanic like that in MGSV where you invaded other people’s mother base too, or defended your own.

        It’s fun to speculate!

  13. Benjamin Hilton says:

    On the subject of the Mass Effect Andromeda conversation system: I feel like I’m missing something. Granted I haven’t played the Dragon age games, but having a response labeled with “sarcastic” or “Professional” etc is exactly what the recent Deus Ex games have done and everyone loved it.

    • Humanoid says:

      I don’t know how Andromeda is doing it, but Deus Ex was applauded not for the labels, but for showing the (mostly) complete text when you hovered over an option, something Bioware up to now (and Bethesda too) have completely failed to do.

      • Benjamin Hilton says:

        I suppose. It just sounded odd to me that the casters seemed to be treating the idea of Tone defined responses as inherently a bad idea.

        • Nessus says:

          Think of how they reacted to the Fallout 4 system. Fallout 4’s system was all parenthetical, no dialog snippet at all. The same terrible communication as Mass Effect’s carnival game wheel of half-assed paraphrases, but from the opposite direction. That’s what they’re worried about.

        • Syal says:

          They are a bad idea, unless the tone is so specific that you can infer exactly what a character is going to say. Much better to give the dialogue and let the player guess what tone it’ll be, than the other way around.

          Take Professional. Are you accepting in a professional manner, touting your credentials, turning them down diplomatically, discussing preliminary stuff like setup and payment? There are several ways it could go, and you’re guessing at what the writer thinks the Professional tone means.

          • Benjamin Hilton says:

            What I mean is that Deus Ex showed that it can be done. The point is that no matter what method you use, its not showing exactly what is said that is the issue. If that was done then paragade, tone, whatever, they would all work.

        • ehlijen says:

          If tone is your only choice with no information given as to the actual content of the answer (as the diecast cast fears), then the implication is that all responses will lead through to the same outcome. That means fewer or even no branching conversations or quests, which means less choice which means less replay fun.

          If the content actually differs, the player will need to be told or they’re picking answers at random, which means save scumming.

  14. Ninety-Three says:

    So I agree with Campster that the Game Awards are crassly commercial in the worst way, but despite that I think the Razor Robot was a very good thing. It is crass commercialism going too far, something that literally no one can take seriously. The Game Awards aren’t going to get better (because they aren’t interested in being “better” to us), there needs to be some kind of revolt here. Especially flagrant bullshit like Razorbot is how the common man gets incensed enough to go out and seize the means of production.

    So basically, the worst part of the Game Awards was actually good because maybe it’s so bad it will burn down the Game Awards. At this point I don’t even need them to be replaced with anything, a complete absence of major award shows is better than TGA.

    • Echo Tango says:

      Man, I just image-searched for what everyone was talking about and…it’s a super-hero-costume esque man, with a friggin’ multi-blade razor instead of a head. Don’t forget your Ovaltine, kids. Yikes!

      • Nessus says:

        It’s just begging to be turned into a South Park style running wordplay gag.

        “The awards this year were so full of Schick. Seriously: there was Schick everywhere. It was plastered all over the walls, on the stage, everywhere. The presenter kept interrupting the show to talk Schick with this Schickhead robot. They even had game that was all about playing with your own Schick.”

        See how many ways you can do this while still coming off like it’s totally innocent. Take it to twitter, see if you can get someone official flustered.

    • Chris says:

      I dunno if they can (or even should) be burned down, per se.

      Like, if you want a technically focused industry awards show, there’s the Game Developer’s Choice Awards. If you want industry-focused indie awards there’s IGF. If you want actual prestige there’s the BAFTA awards. If you want a Slamdance style indie alternative festival there’s Indiecade. So most of the venues for game awards are already covered.

      What The Game Awards offers that the rest well and truly fail to deliver is a scope and size of audience. The Game Awards are on Steam and YouTube and Twitch and other networks, and unlike the awards I mentioned above are watched live by a fair number of your average gamers. It’s the largest platform for recognition games have.

      So I dunno if we want to burn them to the ground. I think it might be beneficial to rehabilitate them. Like Rutskarn suggested, we may be decades away from earning a proper black tie event. So if we’re stuck with an MTV Movie Awards caliber event, we might as well make it as respectable as the MTV Movie Awards rather than crossing an infomercial with a SpikeTV show. Let’s celebrate games in a corny, pop-culture, kinda trashy way. But I think we can do that without utterly debasing ourselves or whoring ourselves out to, of all things, Big Razorblade.

      • Daemian Lucifer says:

        Somehow I cannot process “mtv” and “respect” in the same sentence.Except for “mtv has lost all respect a long time ago”.

      • Volvagia says:

        Beyond the commercialism stuff? Their “performance” category is way too broad. NPC performances should not be competing with player characters, and they should probably be split on gender lines as well. Four categories (Two for Player Characters, two for Non-Player Characters), not one.

      • Ninety-Three says:

        Responding very belatedly, I’m also not sure they can be burned down, and I would like to have something mainstream that existed at the level of the MTV awards. The reason that I fantasize about burning them down is that I’m skeptical TGA can clear even the low bar of MTV awards. They’re permeated with commercialism in such a deep way that if it’s even possible for them to be rehabilitated, they don’t want to be, because they clearly care about milking maximum sponsorship dollars at the cost of all else, and a rehabilitation would interfere with that strategy.

  15. Hermocrates says:

    Josh, it’s not exactly a walking simulator, but Obduction apparently came out with a VR patch recently, so there’s that.

  16. Cybron says:

    I’ve always had mixed feelings about the whole Dorito Pope/Razorbot nonsense. As crass and stupid as it’s been in execution, Keighley’s policy of pursuing advertisers outside of video games is a pretty good idea. Sometimes, I wonder if the problem is just that Keighley and the like are too afraid to leverage their access to the apparently desirable gamer demographic and secure some less blatantly awful advertising.

    • Ninety-Three says:

      I think they don’t care to secure less awful advertising. TGA is a fundamentally commercial endeavour that exists entirely because of advertising. It’s funded by advertisements and its goal is to make you watch different advertisements. Razorbot is the worst of the commercialism, but commercialism is the skeleton, muscle, flesh and clothing of TGA. The people turned off by Razorbot would not come back if the only thing that improved was the nature of the ads.

    • Chris says:

      It’s a complicated topic. Keighley is producing this entire affair on his own, so outside investment/advertising cash is almost inevitable. I don’t envy him his position as someone who is simultaneously Just One Guy and yet also someone who wants to make this major awards show work.

      My guess is that if the show doesn’t have blatant commercial BS then there is no show, and by Keighley’s calculus that means that it’s better to have a guy running around in a Schick Hydroman suit while handing out a “prestigious” award to Hideo Kojima than there simply being no awards. It’s not “money hat” stuff, it’s straight up “no one wants to finance this” stuff.

      That said, I’d disagree with Keighley’s assessment and argue that it hurts games more than it helps.

      • Benjamin Hilton says:

        I’ve actually felt sorry for Keighley for a long time. He always struck me as a guy who really loves the medium and wants to further it, but because of circumstances, (his own and where gaming culture is at right now) ends up having to “whore out” to get stuff done. And to put salt in the wound, a lot of gamers ridicule him for it.

  17. Christopher says:

    Bioware games are sort of frustrating to me. I wish I could feel good about them like Mumbles does. I’ve played through Mass Efect 1-3, Dragon Age Inquisition, Jade Empire, about half of Dragon Age Origins and two hours of Dragon Age 2. At the end, I either liked the main story(Jade Empire, ME1) or some individual characters and side stories(ME2, ME3, Origins, Inquisition), but the experience is soured by all the other stuff. The visuals are janky, the music is undistinct and forgettable. The gameplay is just not fun for me, and pales in comparison to other action-RPGs. Contrast and compare these two boss fights I had in Dragon Age Inquisition and Dark Souls 3 this year. That’s the difference in entertainment between them for me, and as much as Biwoare changes combat systems, it’s representative of how I feel about all their other systems too(I hear the shooting in ME3 is good, but in that case I maybe don’t like cover shooters, because I’m not having a good time).

    I have to swallow a lot of stuff I don’t like to get to the Iron Bull, is my point. I do still manage to get through most of their games because I really want the Iron Bull, but at some point I wish they either made the path to the Iron bull much more solid and entertaining or just cut out the Iron Bull and put him in a dating sim that’s all about the Iron Bull.

    Adding jetpacks to it probably always help, though.

    • I enjoy some. Mass Effect never really grew on me–I played the first one, played the intro to 2 only because it was FREE with Dragon Age 2 and gave up.

      I really like Dragon Age, though, but I think that’s because it’s their only game series with an actually interesting and complex society, although very frequently it’s more HINTED at than actually a SIGNIFICANT PART OF THE GAME.

      My prediction is that Andromeda will be shockingly familiar to Fallout 4, with a lame, half-assed base establishing and building mechanic that wishes it could be the settlements from Fallout 4.

      I detest “boss fights” most of the time, anyway, fortunately there’s usually at least one class or build in any Bioware game that lets you completely cheese your way past everything.

      • Christopher says:

        Dragon Age Origins drew me into the world in a big way! That introductary chapter and the slow start at Ostagar is pretty good at establishing where the world is at, to the extent that I occasionally would do a little roleplaying instead of my character being my avatar. I had to give up on it after some particularly boring dungeons, but between the worldbuilding and your party, that game probably had the most story I liked in that first half I played. Even if I didn’t care too much about the main plot thread of orks attacking. The immersion made me pretty invested in that setting, and Inquisition benefited from that. I remember thinking Blackwall had to have been some kind of retcon because he wasn’t there in Origins, but I gave them too little credit.

        Inquisition didn’t do it for me in the main story department, though. Lots of complex factions, and then everyone is either being tricked, corrupted, possessed or impersonated by demons and Tevinter mages. I wouldn’t mind too much as long as the villain group was interesting, but I can’t remember a single name besides Corypheus. It kinda seems like they’re going for the ancient evil again with Andromeda, and I’m hoping very hard that they can manage to top him. It wasn’t that great the last time.

        • potatoejenkins says:

          Dragon Age: Origins and the follow ups are very different games. There will not be a Dragon Age: Origins ever again. It was their way to introduce people to the world, the lore and the races (“Origins”). DA:2 and DA:I want to tell a story within the world, not about it.

          Gaiders tumblr was deleted ages ago so I can’t link a source. But that was kind of the explanation for the differences between the games.

          Apparently the good stuff is hidden away in the books. I just hope we don’t get another Kai Leng.

  18. Ninety-Three says:

    I feel like Mumbles is this podcast’s representative of the common mangamer. Everyone else talks about how they dislike AAA games being, well, AAA-ish, then Mumbles comes along to be uncritically positive about them. It always feels somehow like Mumbles is going off-brand, because the rest of the crew are definitely on the opposite end of a spectrum from the genuine mirth of It’s-ya-boy “Oh and there’s jetpacks, jetpacks are cool!” Mumbles.

    Personally I come here for the on-brand cynicism and deeper critical consideration, so I don’t much care for what Mumbles is doing. But I think the above realization has helped me understand why there are commenters who say “Yay, Mumbles is back this week, she’s my favorite!”

    • Mike Munroe says:

      Just because her perspective is more (um…conventional?) doesn’t mean it’s not important, especially given the dispositions of the other Diecast members. If someone isn’t there to provide a more optimistic counterbalance, the rest of them can devolve into a self-feeding quagmire of cynicism, even elitism, that downplays or ignores any good qualities that these games have. There’s analysis, and then there’s mindless pessimism, which is only marginally less irritating than mindless optimism. The end of the Mass Effect 3 Spoiler Warning is a good example; they were fortunate that the end of that game actually was bad enough to justify their attitude, or else it would come across as excessive.

      A Mumbles in a group of Mumbleses might seem like a drop in a bucket, but a Mumbles in a group of Shamuses can stop things from going too far in one direction. A Shamus in a group of Mumbleses can do that too, provided that they’re respectful.

      • Ninety-Three says:

        That’s an oddly defensive reply to “Personally I don’t care for it but I understand why others like it”.

        • Mike Munroe says:

          Not trying to be defensive, just trying to explain the appeal. If it was redundant, then I apologize.

          • Ninety-Three says:

            I already said I understood the appeal, so you proceeding to explain the appeal came off weird, yeah. Plus some of it was probably in my head, thanks to Mumblo Drama where comments got locked, I was walking on eggshells trying to say a negative thing about Mumbles without coming off as aggressive.

            No harm done, understandings clarified on both sides.

      • Ninety-Three says:

        There’s analysis, and then there’s mindless pessimism, which is only marginally less irritating than mindless optimism.

        This is the heart of what makes Mumbles feel off-brand to me. It’s not that she’s optimistic on a show full of cynics, but that she feels mindlessly optimistic on a show full of analysts. I feel like Mumbles often stops at “This is cool” where the rest of the crew would continue with “because ____”.

        I understand the idea of a balancing optimistic force (though I’m not sure it’s necessary in practice, we have plenty of Mumbles-less episodes that prove the crew won’t just spiral into infinite complaining), I guess I just don’t like Mumbles’ particular flavour of optimism.

      • Daemian Lucifer says:

        If someone isn’t there to provide a more optimistic counterbalance, the rest of them can devolve into a self-feeding quagmire of cynicism, even elitism, that downplays or ignores any good qualities that these games have.

        I disagree.They quite often talk about positive stuff when there are positive stuff to talk about.Thanks to Chris’s praise of the american nightmare,Ive tried and quite enjoyed that one.Heck,even during me3 they talked about positives quite a lot,the improvements in gameplay,the companions,resolutions to genophage and the quarin war,etc.You make the wrong assumption that the horribleness of its ending justified their bile,while its actually the reason they had so much bile in the first place.

        The only real problem is that Chris takes so much convincing to voice his opinion.He should speak more.

  19. Christopher says:

    Is it the Vivv or is it the Vaiv? I’ve heard both now. And I personally used to think it was the Viveh too.

  20. “The Pathfinder”? Why do they have to keep giving the protagonist a stupid title?

    This one is worse than usual.

    I have yet to see ANYTHING that actually makes me want to give this game a try. The cut scenes I’ve seen were stupid and bombastic and could have been yanked whole from any generic space opera. Gameplay is never a draw to Bioware games ANYWAY.

    The generic protagonist looks like a 17-year-old kid. While there’s nothing inherently WRONG with 17-year-old kids, if I have to watch this teenage movie protagonist lookalike in every bit of marketing from now until release, imma skip it, thanks.

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      Gameplay is never a draw to Bioware games ANYWAY.

      Funny thing is,thats the only reason I think this one will be worth checking out.The story,I dont care for at all after the mess of the previous two,but the gameplay may actually be pretty good.

    • ehlijen says:

      The title is so that the voice actors can address or refer to the character by something without the game having to prescribe a name. This was lamp-shaded in Dragon Age Origins in the dwarven arena, actually: the announcer would ask you your name, and no matter what you said, he’d say ‘bah, who can pronounce that human babbling? I’ll just call you grey warden’ (which is what everyone does in the game, anyway).

      And I don’t actually recall Bioware games giving characters a title as opposed to a partially prescribed name that often.
      Grey Warden, Inquisitor, Bhaalspawn vs Shepard, Revan, Hawke (I’m not sure which jade empire did)

      If you add non-bioware sequels, I guess, you add shardbearer and exile to the first list.

  21. IFS says:

    I’m tentatively excited for Andromeda at this point, my expectations for the writing aren’t super high but there’ll probably be some fun companions and its a good sign that they’re just sidestepping the ME3 ending problem entirely. The gameplay drawing from the ME3 multiplayer (the only good part of ME3 imo) is another good sign in my book, I spent entirely too much time in that multiplayer and it had a huge variety of builds and tactics available to players including both highly aggressive and very defensive approaches.

    On the subject of the dialogue system yes they should definitely at least have an option to see the full text before you pick it, but I’m not opposed to having the tone options there as well. I would actually really like it if they repeated some of what they had in DA2 where if you pick a certain tone enough it affects how your character acts in cutscenes, it helps give the character some of their own personality and while I understand how it can feel shackling to some imo it allows for your character to change over the course of the story. My Hawkes often went from snarky to diplomatic in the last act, unable to keep joking around while trying to keep the city together.

    The new Mako is a point of contention for me, I liked the Mako in ME1 for all of its awkward controls but I’m concerned they’ll do the same thing they did in Inquisition and just fill planets with MMO fetchquests (the inclusion of crafting also does not fill me with confidence). Could be really cool, could be easily ruined.

    Finally jetpacks are rad. If they let you vanguard charge while having a jetpack then that’s even cooler.

  22. Volvagia says:

    Okay, the Game Awards. At the very least, Performance needs to be split into four categories.

    PC Performance, Male
    PC Performance, Female
    NPC Performance, Male
    NPC Performance, Female

    Nominees?

    PC Performance, Male:

    Nolan North as Nathan Drake, Uncharted 4
    Alex Hernandez as Lincoln Clay, Mafia III
    Joe LoCicero as Luca, Battlefield 1
    Rich Sommer as Henry, Firewatch
    Crispin Freeman as Winston, Overwatch

    PC Performance, Female:

    Cara Theobold as Tracer, Overwatch
    Chloe Hollings as Widowmaker, Overwatch
    Agni Scott as Zara Ghufran, Battlefield 1
    Melissa Fahn as Neptune, Megadimension Neptunia VII
    Jules De Jongh as Faith, Mirror’s Edge: Catalyst

    NPC Performance, Male:

    Troy Baker as Sam Drake, Uncharted 4
    Rick Pasqualone as Vito Scaletta, Mafia III
    Jay Acovone as Sal Marcano, Mafia III
    Shawn Baichoo as Wrench, Watch_Dogs 2
    Darin De Paul as Samuel Hayden, Doom

  23. Volvagia says:

    And NPC Performance, Female, to clear things out:

    Abby Craden as Olivia Pierce, Doom
    Erin Matthews as Olivia Marcano, Mafia III
    Emily Rose as Elena, Uncharted 4
    Cissy Jones as Delilah, Firewatch
    Erin Cottrell as Delilah Copperspoon, Dishonored 2

  24. Phantos says:

    ME: “Hey, this new Mass Effect trailer looks like it could be alright. Maybe they hired someone who can write scenes or dialogue without it sounding like the dumbest thing ev-”

    *characters start talking*

    ME: “Oh no. Oh nooooo! NOOOOO!!!

  25. potatoejenkins says:

    Whenever I hear/read the name Kojima on this site I quietly wish for a MGR: Revengeance season. Just a little bit.

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