Impromptu Hangout: For Honor — It’s Over!

By Josh
on Feb 10, 2017
Filed under:
Spoiler Warning

58 comments

So we decided to do a stream! And it’s Ubisoft’s man-slashing For Honor beta! Complete with peer-to-peer server problems! Check it out!

Thanks for everyone who tuned in, it was lots of fun. Especially after the game crashed.

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Footnotes:


20201858 comments. It's getting crowded in here.

From the Archives:

  1. Christopher says:

    Check in after the game crashed for an additional, free of charge Diecast on Mass Effect and Dragon Age Inquisition.

  2. Traiden says:

    Will the stream be uploaded to youtube as well? My internet is very poor and can’t handle streaming content. It can hardly handle 380p youtube videos but it is at least better than trying to watch a stream.

  3. Echo Tango says:

    More one-off / impromptu game sessions, please!

  4. Geebs says:

    Joined the “Josh Plays Foreigner” stream expecting the Spoiler Warning crew’s rendition of “I want to know what love is”. What’s with all the burly men and swords? Very disappointing.

  5. MRW says:

    Listened to the discussion afterwards about Andromeda and wait, it’s now unacceptable to have a science fiction story about settling other planets? :(

    • Viktor says:

      I wasn’t there for that so I won’t know what was actually said until Josh uploads it to Youtube, but: The US has in the past committed mass genocide in order to exercise our god-given right to live anywhere we want. We give massive honors to people who were so good at genocide that Hitler cited them as inspiration. We to this day use military force to push people off of their property if doing so will benefit us. So doing a game/show/movie about colonizers going somewhere and planting a flag is inherently a political act. The media product is either going to support that aspect of the US or speak against it, so the creators had better be conscious of that fact or else they’re going to stick their food deep into their mouths.

      • MRW says:

        So doing a game/show/movie about colonizers going somewhere and planting a flag is inherently a political act

        No, it really isn’t, and it’s kind of horrifying that someone would say that with a straight face. The attitude that every piece of art or even just casual escapist entertainment must be vetted and evaluated for how it may be even distantly related to a political issue — and not even a modern political issue! — is the death of creativity.

        If I can’t dance (or have my fun story about building a colony on another planet) I don’t want to be a part of your revolution.

        • Christopher says:

          Mass Effect 1 already had colonies anyway. Feros was a human colony. Eden Prime was a colony. Noveria practically was one, too. I don’t think Bioware is gonna make a triangle trade game just because you’re going out to discover planets to settle human colonies yourself this time. They’ve earned that level of trust at the very least.

          If we’re going by the Inquisition template(as they said they would for the foreseeable future), then you make small outposts out in the field andrevive unused fortresses or enemy strongholds and the like as your own bases and only change the major location you’re in depending on where the story goes. I wouldn’t be surprised if the villain from the trailers is some sort of galactic conqueror himself, similar to how Corypheus was a man out of place, trying to conquer a foreign land. Meanwhile, the new race you meet in what looked like a Tolkien Elf forest kinda environment seems like the perfect candidates for a bunch of dudes who would love to give humans an empty planet or two in exchange for some firepower to fight a galactic conqueror who would subjugate them all. You spend all of every Bioware game convincing people that you’re trying to do good and gathering their support, making everyone work together against some undisputed evil. There’s no reason to suspect it will be any different here.

          Well, we’ll all know in a month or two.

        • Daemian Lucifer says:

          Ah,but colony comes from the latin word colonus,meaning “from the ass”,which clearly makes it a political statement.

        • vvvvvvvvvvvv says:

          colonization isn’t distant or a “past issue” and yes, everything is political

          it’s not even bad to make a story about colonization, it’s bad to treat it as lightly and positively as bioware does. I recently watched a Q&A stream with josh sawyer, the director of Pillars of Eternity 2: deadfire (god bless obsidian) and one of the questions was about how much of a colonist you could be in the new game (one of the conflicts is between the natives of the land and the colonizers) and he said you could do some pretty evil stuff, even leopold II and columbus were mentioned, but the greatness of the answer was that it made clear the game wouldn’t shy away of those issues and wouldn’t present them in a good light like bioware is going to do to satisfy the player and make them feel good about doing some pretty terrible stuff, just like the conflict between the humans and the elves in the witcher games used the situation of jews in poland as an inspiration. if you want good writing (like obsidian and CDPR have) you can’t avoid dealing with explicitly political themes, politics are fundamental in the creative writing, john carpenter wrote they live as an anti-reagan polemic, george miller made mad max: fury road about property and gender politics, etc.

          • MRW says:

            it’s not even bad to make a story about colonization, it’s bad to treat it as lightly and positively as bioware does.

            Incorrect. You can make a deep work that explores the political and historical ramifications from all sides of the issue, or a work of propaganda that would satisfy the most hard-left black-armband-history college student in a blog’s comments section, or a light and breezy bit of fun entertainment that isn’t trying to say anything at all. None are inherently bad.

            • Lachlan the Mad says:

              The problem with “a light and breezy bit of fun entertainment that doesn’t say anything” is that it’s incredibly easy to fuck that entertainment up. From the perspective of the audience, all art is inherently political. Even if the author didn’t intend to take up any particular political view, the audience will read some kind of politics into it. Look at The Taming of the Shrew for example. Shakespeare probably wrote it as light entertainment, with no more complicated message than “Women, am I right?” — but now there are massive dissertations on whether or not The Taming of the Shrew (and, by extension, Shakespeare himself) was being sexist, and whether it was any more or less sexist than the Elizabethan standard. Or, for a more modern example, Stephanie Meyer probably didn’t intend for Twilight to be a polemic about her own sexual morality — by her account she was just trying to write a lightly fantastical romance story — but there have been massive dissertations on the subject of how the Twilight novels reflect the Mormon view of sexuality and morality at large.

              Analysing art is a natural part of viewing it, particularly in our modern post-postmodernist society where we’re implicitly allowed to delve into the motivations of the author rather than just the raw text of the work. Death of the Author theory implies that there are no invalid interpretations of a work (I don’t fully agree with this theory, but boy oh boy has it affected the way we view media). In that kind of environment, I’d say that going into complicated themes with a light and breezy approach is actually a bad idea. If you are going to make a story that is going to be seen as possibly colonialist, you’d better make damn sure that you’ve considered how people are going to view it, or you’re going to get one hell of a backlash.

              • MRW says:

                From the perspective of the audience, all art is inherently political.

                From the perspective of some of the audience, and likely a minority. Don’t make the mistake of assuming that your interests are everyone’s interests.

                Any backlash a work of art might get for not being political enough reflects badly on the people doing the backlashing, and no one else.

                • GeoG says:

                  Right – no quality can be inherent to anything if the presence of that quality depends on something external. If an outside perspective is the determinant, then we can’t be talking about inherency.

                  A work of art can always be interpreted politically, and maybe when it comes to discourse that, as a practical matter, comes to the same thing. But possibly the major difference between the two positions is that this latter formulation is more conducive to humility.

                • Viktor says:

                  Modern CoD-style FPSs would generally say they aren’t trying to be political, and most of their audience would say they aren’t political. Other people see games where you play a member of the US military mowing down faceless waves of dark-skinned terrorists as very political. Bioware wasn’t trying to be political by including 2 bi people in DA1, they just wanted to maximize the number of romances available in a single playthrough with minimal work on their part, but that was considered a political statement anyway.

                  All art has something to say. That’s part of what makes it art. People not paying attention to what that message is doesn’t change that it’s there.

                  • Daemian Lucifer says:

                    Id say theres a pretty significant chunk of art that has nothing to say.Its called schlock.Its easily recognized by how it slaps its elements together randomly just in order to be popular enough to be sold.

                    • djw says:

                      Are you trying to say that Dogs Playing Poker doesn’t have a political statement to make?

                      It was painted in the late 1800’s, so I suppose you could interpret it as a satirical statement on the free silver movement. Where else are dogs gonna get the cash to play poker?

                  • MRW says:

                    other people see games where you play a member of the US military mowing down faceless waves of dark-skinned terrorists

                    I’d have to dig up the link, but someone actually went through a large list of such games, classifying the enemies a while back, and this whole line of accusation was deeply unfair. The enemies were far more often Russians, or rogue US military, or evil corporations, or whatever, than “faceless waves of dark-skinned terrorists.”

                    (Also, if this is supposed to be about the Middle East, most Middle Easterners are about as “dark-skinned” as George W. Bush.)

                    All art has something to say. That’s part of what makes it art. People not paying attention to what that message is doesn’t change that it’s there.

                    Reminds me of that thing where Isaac Asimov took a class on his own writing and failed it because he supposedly didn’t understand his own subtext. Maybe sometimes people seeking messages are just looking for patterns in the clouds.

                • Christopher says:

                  Anyone can bring whatever they want to the table of analyzing, but if they want me to listen to them, it helps if they’re willing to meet a work half way. If you read, say, a part of Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure and what you take away from the work is “might makes right” rather than “it’s fun to have comics with fantastical, tactical fights with superpowers and trickery” then how can we even have a conversation? It’s not that everything is inherently political, it’s that you can view everything through whatever bloody lens you want. But not everybody is gonna care what Johnny Youtube has to say about Batman Arkham Asylum viewed through the lense of the current police issues in the US or whatever.

                  Part of the reason I’m here rather than a lot of other places is that Shamus tends to look at what’s in the game more than anything else. And even comparing this site and its let’s play to the audience of other let’s play stuff, the audience is not that big. I feel like the worst that’s gonna happen even if Andromeda does tread wrong with some metaphor is a minor controversy in a few game critic twitter circles, or a video in the vein of Campster’s Civilization video that looks at unintended implications of game design decisons.

                  • Viktor says:

                    http://68.media.tumblr.com/ebda143ea687a78f343d72a211c38f83/tumblr_ojp749FiAQ1qd838bo1_1280.jpg

                    That bit of reflection by Gary Larson seems key to me. When you create something, your audience is going to try to understand it. If you fail to keep that in mind when you create, then you will massively screw up your creations.

                    (I realize that may not be the best example, but I was just reminded of it, so it’s what I’m going with)

                    • Christopher says:

                      I agree that you should try and communicate with your audience. I draw comic strips myself, and it’s been a long lesson in trying to view my own jokes from outside my own head. There are a number of old ones that are incomprehensible even to me, just because I have changed or forgot what they were about.

                      But I also think there’s a difference between picking up what’s being put down and just reading into stuff. Communication isn’t a one-way street. Trying to figure out what the work is saying, or if it is saying anything at all.

                      Is Mass Effect Andromeda gonna be primarily a game about how colonization is right and fair or the difficulties of war refugees and the contries that have to take them in(or do they?)? Or is it a game primarily about spacefaring, lighthearted explorative adventure in a place that’s so distant from the previous games that they don’t have to retcon too much and can put in as much new stuff as they want? We can have a discussion about it when it’s actually out, but I feel like I’ve got a pretty strong suspicion personally based on their track record, trailers and interviews.

                      Edit: I can’t directly respond to your comment further down, so this is a rough way of having this conversation. Let’s talk more about it next time it comes up, or possibly, once it’s out and we know. I can imagine that some people might draw parallells to the refugee situation in the US, but I’m not convinced it would be an outrage or viewed as a metaphor for the situation either by a majority of the audience, especially with the awereness that the developers aren’t precognitive. But it’s not impossible, either. I remember Battlefield Hardline getting the worst of it when it came out. And Deus Ex, naturally, but that game was all about the racism metaphor.

                    • Viktor says:

                      Refugees are a very relevant topic in the US right now, and that’s not likely to change in the next 3 months. So people are going to watch the news, with lots of discussion of folks fleeing war and strife in their homelands with no possessions and the conflicts they face in the societies they encounter, plus the types of communities they form to protect themselves. Then people are going to play ME:A, where you are a band of refugees with no possessions fleeing war and strife in your homeland, facing various conflicts with the societies you encounter and forming communities to protect yourselves. People are going to make the connection, and unless the writers anticipate that and decide ahead of time what they want to say, they’ll end up sending messages they don’t intend, which is a good way of pissing off EVERYONE.

              • Syal says:

                …I’m morbidly curious to see someone’s dissertation on the Transformers movies and their stance on refugee policies.

            • Sleeping Dragon says:

              The problem is that every single person claims to be the best judge of where the “entertainment” should end the “serious discourse” should begin, this is even between individuals within the same society, not to mention different cultures.

              To give a personal example, some (many) years ago there was a flash game in the genre of top down shooters where the player was a hunter type guy with a shotgun and from the edges of the screen he was approached by who was supposedly gay men that he had to shoot before they got to him or else… well, there’d be a cartoony cloud. It was all very cartoony, very brief and clearly meant as a three minute distraction before the joke went stale. Do I think the creator of the game advocates for gays to be shot? Unlikely. Do I think people I knew (to whom I wasn’t out) who chuckled at it hate gays and would like to shoot them? Unlikely. Do I think the game was problematic in that it perpetuated the image of a gay man being always threathening to the straight guy? Maybe? Did it make me uncomfortable on a personal level? Yes.

              That said I’m pretty sure we’re at the very least threading the line on politics if not crossed it so I’m likely going to bow out of further discussion unless there is some point that I belive I can address safely.

      • Phantos says:

        When I first read about that regarding Andromeda’s setup, I was like:

        “Just what the Mass Effect property needed! MORE alienating controversy! :V “

      • Shamus says:

        I missed the stream so I don’t know what was said, but the people of Andromeda’s Tempest would make for a really shitty analogy for colonization.

        These people aren’t the vanguard for some larger, more advanced force. They don’t have the backing of the homeland. They couldn’t go home if they wanted to. They’re fleeting a galaxy that – as far as they knew – was undergoing total genocide. If you kill them, more aren’t going to show up. It’s unlikely they have any kind of meaningful tech advantage over this galaxy they’re supposedly “colonizing”.

        If anything, you could argue that they are much more like war refugees than colonists.

        BioWare doesn’t NEED to make this political. They just need to make this NOT stupid, clumsy, and tone-deaf. Maybe Our Side sees themselves as refugees (and as far as they know, the last of their species) fighting for basic survival in a hostile universe, but the Other Side does indeed see them as invaders. Or whatever. You could take this idea in ten different directions.

        Yes, it would be TERRIBLE if BioWare were to portray a galaxy of savage idiots waiting for us to bring them Milky Way “enlightenment”. But it would also be horrible if they went the other way and had a character condescendingly explain that “colonialism is bad” to the audience.

        They just need to have a story where the various sides are fleshed out with a certain degree of self-interest and pragmatism. That might be “political” in the sense that you could map various real-world historical events to the events of the story, but as long as the writer isn’t explicitly labeling everything then we’re not going to be yanked out of the story by a clumsy, brute-force message.

        • Sleeping Dragon says:

          Aaaand now I’m ever so slightly excited in anticipation of this “fleshed out” characterization… dammit Bioware, I am not falling for this again!

        • Daemian Lucifer says:

          Screw that,we are going to have some space titties and space junk!Let the slutfest continue !!WOOOOOO!!!!

        • guy says:

          I only saw the first trailer, but to me it looked like they’re going to be trying to settle uninhabited planets near the galactic rim, needing at least two because they need suitable chiralities for Turians/Quarians and everyone else, which will probably bring them into conflict with some of the natives who have penciled in those planets for future colonization or just think a band of desperate refugees centuries away from any help from their possibly-destroyed homeland look like easy pickings, while other natives will probably say, “Oh, welcome to the neighborhood. New planets? Well, G7B45 is a suitable Garden World but we’ve held off on colonizing it because the wildlife is really hostile. TNZ98 is theoretically claimed by NotBatarians but empty at the moment; no one formally recognizes their claim but they might decide to enforce it at gunpoint.”

          Early game looked likely to consist of setting down on various planets that seem uninhabited and finding out there’s a really good reason for that, probably ending with one that either is inhabited or looks perfect and then you get an angry call from a dreadnought battlegroup.

          • Christopher says:

            I wonder what’s up with the quarians. I haven’t seen them in any trailers so far, which makes me wonder if they were abandoned on account of being a race of people living entirely on their own spaceships. Not a lot of surplus quarians to go around.

            Also, I wonder if the Krogans are cured or not. They’re gonna need their own planets if they are, those guys can reproduce.

            • guy says:

              The Quarians were mostly on the Migrant Fleet for the Rannoch attack; there might be a couple who were on Pilgramage and didn’t get recalled, but probably they don’t make up a big fraction of the refugees.

              • ehlijen says:

                In which case, why are any quarians going? This is an ark project, isn’t it? If not enough quarians go to make up a viable starting population for a new colony (and let’s not forget they’re hilariously incapable of dealing with foreign microorganisms, so the odds of finding a suitable planet are nearly nil), all the quarians are going to achieve is to slowly die out in two galaxies (unless the reapers are defeated).

                So they’d have very little incentive to build their own ark, as they need every ship and soul in one place to survive. And everyone else has little incentive to bring some quarians along in their arks, as those would be crammed full with as many of their own people and supplies as can fit.

                I believe an absence of quarians from MEA would be logical.

                • Christopher says:

                  Yeah, and resource-wise it means they don’t have to model both the new races and all the old ones. It would reduce the world’s attractive female population from 3 races(Quarians, Asari, and charitably Bioware’s humans) down to just two, though. I guess if we’re romancing that female turian, it’s out of a lack of options.

        • Viktor says:

          Refugees are political, too, though. I’m not saying they need to be blatant about the politics of what they’re saying, but they need to be aware they’re saying it.

          Look at ME1. That was a game that went into genocide, biowarfare, appeasement of an oppressive regime, whether it’s right to kill innocents to save yourself, sexuality, gender identity, ethics of corporate power, and so much more. All of that was political, and it worked because the writers knew it and were careful about it. Do you trust current ME writers to be aware of the implications of what they’re writing and work carefully with it?

          • MRW says:

            All of that was political

            Not really, no! At the time, the reaction was “Look at all these interesting ethical choices you have to make, and this deeply thought-out backstory that they put together, full of complex societies that aren’t all good or all bad.” That has unfortunately been distorted in the current Crazy Years that we live in to be defined as “political.” Once upon a time, we just called it “good writing.”

            Do you trust current ME writers to be aware of the implications of what they’re writing and work carefully with it?

            Well, that’s the thing when I hear statements like this… what happens to them if they aren’t aware of the implications, or they just decide to be sloppy? Are they going to be criticized for writing shallow schlock when the audience was hoping for a deeply plotted sci-fi epic? Or are they going to be criticized for not being super respectful of every random Internet obsessive’s political hangups? I fear it would be the second, and the second is the death of art.

            • Viktor says:

              Call it what you want, I don’t see a lot of difference between the parts of ME1 I referenced and colonization/refugee aspects of MEA in terms of relevance to current social questions. The only difference IMO is that I expect the current writers to not think about the larger implications of those aspects of their work while the ME1 crew mostly did.

              As to the other part: I expect that if they screw up it will sell to the same mass of people who loved ME3 and they’ll learn nothing from it, because EA.

            • ehlijen says:

              I think there may be different definitions of the word ‘political’ muddling the debate here?

              Some people seem to be argue as though ‘political’ means ‘must be applicable to the current day mostly binary debate’, while others appear to argue as though it means ‘must be applicable to a major event in history that has contributed to today’s society’.

              No, art does not have to take sides in contemporary topics to be art. But I believe if art brings up elements reminiscent of historical events, then it will be analysed for a comment on said events by a large part of the audience at least. At that point, it doesn’t really have to option to not be about that topic any more, it already brought it up.

              So milky way colonists/refugees are showing up in Andromeda. Interesting story hook, it can go many places. But it’s going to bring about historical comparisons because colonisation and refugees travelling to new lands have been all over history. From Moses to Trump, all sorts of historical and political figures have been involved in those topics, so a story that contains those elements will end up saying something on the matter.
              And MEA wants this, it wants to evoke at least some of the emotions associated with those topics, or it would have picked a different setting.

              It doesn’t need to say which side of contemporary earth politics it falls on, nor does it need to frame the player’s choices on those matters. But if it wants to be Wild West in space, then it will be saying at least something about aspects that shaped the Wild West: colonisation, refugees, the power of violence.
              It can then also focus on the differences to the historic inspiration, and that’s going to be very interesting, too.

              But if MEA were to not care about what it says in regards to the very topics it is basing its setting off, it’s not going to hold together as a story and/or it’s going to accidentally say something. So yes, if you want to make art, you have to pay attention to what you’re doing.

              If they choose a complex topic and write a sloppy mess, then yes, they should be criticised for both being sloppy and not doing the topic justice. That’s what anyone who chooses to be sloppy gets.

              If the refugee/colonist status isn’t meant to be part of the game’s message, it can’t be a notable part of the story, either. They’d have to find and settle an empty world in the prologue and then the story moves on from there. Could still be fun, but it’s not what the trailers have been showing.

  6. Christopher says:

    I forgot, but Josh also totally says what the next Spoiler Warning is at the end. So that’s another hot exclusive I recommend checking the video for.

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