Diecast #6:
Not-PAX, IGN, and the Rocketeer

By Shamus Posted Tuesday Mar 26, 2013

Filed under: Diecast 128 comments


Yes, we’re putting up a Diecast on Tuesday. Not sure if this is a permanent move or not, we’ll see. We record on Sundays. Given the transient nature of news and the fact that we’re already discussing things that have aged a few days, I figure the less time between recording and posting the better. Also: The browser-specific auto-play issue should now be fixed. Let me know if it isn’t.

Direct download (MP3)
Direct download (ogg Vorbis)
Podcast RSS feed.

Show notes:

00:30 What’s everyone playing?

Shamus is playing Tomb Raider, Dustforce, and The Bridge.

Rutskarn is playing Jet Set Radio

Chris has been making Errant Signal: Tomb Raider and playing Dead Space 3.

Josh is playing Shogun: Total War. He’s even dropping hints that there might be another entry in his long-dormant but still-popular series. It’s even possible that such a thing might appear tomorrow. He’s also playing Natural Selection.

18:00 Announcement:

We have an email. Squint at the banner up at the top of this post. If you’re bad at squinting or you forget how to scroll: diecast – -at – shamusyoung dot com.

Also, the forums exist and I give the address. I just want to stress that the forums are very much an experiment and could be nuked at any time if they negatively impact 1) The performance of my site 2) My productivity 3) The blog comment threads. We’re just testing the waters. The goal is to create a space for people to do something different, not to move the community from here to there.

19:15 IGN BioShock Infinite 4 Day exclusive!

IGN got permission to publish their review 4 days before everyone else, and it was a fluffy, puffy, sophomoric gush piece with no analysis and little context. These two facts look very bad when juxtaposed.

Good news: Since the time of this recording BioShock Infinite has been released and it’s looking like it really is a genuinely good game.

29:00 IGN Bro-verload

Here is the Bro-verload marketing page.

40:50 Prospective Publishers Wanted a Male-Centric Remember Me.

Can you imagine looking at this game and going, “Meh. Replace the protagonist with a man or it’ll never sell.”

52:00 John Rocketeer leaves EA

This entire discussion intersects with my column that went up today about EA’s ongoing problems.


From The Archives:

128 thoughts on “Diecast #6:
Not-PAX, IGN, and the Rocketeer

  1. Rutskarn says:

    A heads-up:

    Through some fluke of circumstance, I was completely brain dead this Sunday. As a result, my participation in this podcast is negligible and, when present, incomprehensible.

    With this experience behind me, I went ahead and skipped SW this week. So that’s why I won’t be in this week’s episodes.

    See you guys next week, is basically what I’m sayin’.

    1. Stephen says:

      Get well soon Rutskarn. Those puns won’t make themselves.

      1. They dribble into his skull through the ritual tattoo he keeps hidden under his hair, pledging his sense of humor to Hastur the Unspeakable.

        1. groboclown says:

          I guess I’m not hip to the lingo – to whom does he pledge his humor (or humors)?

          1. Dragomok says:

            To Hastur the Unspeakable.

            But don’t you dare us to say “Hastur the Unspeakable” agai–


          2. Scott Schulz says:

            The half-brother of our next president.

    2. Katesickle says:

      Does that uber-difficulty setting for Mount&Blade cause actual physical damage when you get trounced in fights? Because that might explain your problem.

  2. Muspel says:

    Regarding Dustforce, I’d argue that it’s not really an artsy game, or at least not as I understand the term. To me, “artsy” generally means that the creators of the game want to make you think about what you’re doing (such as the last level in Braid), but Dustforce doesn’t really try to do that, at all. There’s no story whatsoever, and the game is entirely focused around the fundamental platforming mechanics. Yeah, it has an art style that’s somewhat similar to some of the more artsy games out there, but I don’t know if that makes it artsy on its own.

    I guess that what I’m trying to say is that if it’s artsy, then most of the old console platformers like Super Mario Brothers are also artsy.

  3. Phil says:

    Bro do you even review?

  4. Artur CalDazar says:

    I’d just finished last weeks shamecast yesterday and was going to post some comments in the old post. Kinda seems silly to do so now if a new one is already up.

    Your endless stream of new and interesting content is messing up my scheduling!

    1. An endless stream of shame? :)

  5. Isy says:

    Beyond Good And Evil is sort of the go-to game for “was a good game and had a female protagonist and no one played it”. I haven’t any idea what the marketing on that thing was like, so maybe that was somewhere that they dropped the ball.

    I’ve generally suspected the lack of women protagonists to be a function of creative inertia. Men have always been protagonists, so a protagonist has to be a man.

    1. krellen says:

      I’m not sure Beyond Good and Evil had the marketing behind it.

    2. Irridium says:

      What happened with Beyond Good and Evil is that Ubisoft released it with little-to-no marketing at the same time as Prince of Persia: Sands of Time, which had a much larger marketing push. The results were, well we all know the results. PoP went on to be a success while Beyond Good and Evil went on to be a cult classic.

    3. Thomas says:

      Beyond Good And Evil also belongs to the subsection of new IPs that were brilliant and no-one played anyway though. Along with Psychonauts, Okami and God Hand

      EDIT: Forgot ICO and Shadow of the Colossus

      …actually that’s a women, two children and a dog maybe there’s something in this =D (Pretend I didn’t mention God Hand or SotC)

      1. Irridium says:

        At least ICO and Shadow of the Colossus got an HD re-release and did well enough.

        Still waiting for The Last Guardian…

      2. Dragomok says:

        I’m pretty sure I’m not speaking for majority, but Psychonauts was really, really hard – and in absurd ways, too. On the easiest difficulty, the tutorial chewed me up pretty badly, using Dowsing Rod required me to mash a button faster than I am physically capable of, and I barely beat SuperCensor. So, when after that boss-fight all textures vanished, including the ones that made up menus, and I couldn’t save, I ragequited and subsequently uninstalled it.
        (FYI: I got it from that famous Polish ~5$ gaming magazine.)

        Speaking of IPs that were brilliant but not enough people played them: Supergiant Games, AKA team behind Bastion, released a trailer for their next game, scheduled for 2014.

        1. Why do you say that not enough people played Bastion? It was widely popular among both my friends and the gaming circles I follow online. It sold well enough to enable Supergiant to bring the same crew back to make Transistor, while still maintaining their independence. I think it was a complete success.

          1. Dragomok says:

            Well, the very fact they’re making a new game should be enough of a signal for me that it sold well enough. And a very perfunctory reveals it sold half a million copies in the first year and 1,7 millions in total.

            Ah, silly me. Thanks for correcting me.
            The world seems like a bit better place now.

      3. anaphysik says:

        I really don’t think I can call Beyond Good and Evil brilliant, at least not if we’re speaking of the game ;P.

        Certainly, though, Jade was HARDLY the problem with BGE.

        (Of the others on your list: I didn’t really like à”kami; good visuals, dull everything else (so dull that I just flat-out quit the game (I’ve no idea how far through; a little bit after the boss in the tower, I think) as I’d basically experienced everything of interest (i.e. the visuals (and also that one snarky monster you had to race against in the tower))). Have Psychonauts on Steam but haven’t played it. Couldn’t find a copy of God Hand at a reasonable price back when I was shopping for PS2 titles.)

        1. Thomas says:

          Yeah, of the ones I named, I’ve actually only played SotC to completion and liked it. Beyond Good and Evil I own but haven’t tried and the rest I tried and didn’t complete (not necessarily because they were bad though)

    4. Aldowyn says:

      Mirror’s Edge? That certainly didn’t sell well. I suppose Faith wasn’t that visible, but that’s the example I think of. Perhaps because I wasn’t paying attention to consoles too much when BG&E came out.

      1. Viktor says:

        Mirror’s Edge suffered from not being very good. The demo was basically all there was to that game, everything else was pretty bad.

        1. Lame Duck says:

          Fie upon you and all who think like you! Mirror’s Edge was flawed but it was still great. I class it and Assassin’s Creed together as games that were new and interesting and cool, but were frayed around the edges and had a lot of untapped potential. They both really, really deserved proper sequels.

          1. Dragomok says:

            Out of curiosity, what’s wrong about Assasin’s Creed‘s sequels, aside from – reportedly – gut-wrenching level of stupidity in the plot, putting in more and more mini-games, moving the series out of sprawling metropolises into forests and ocea- forget that I asked, nevermind.

            1. Fleaman says:

              Hey, I’m super excited the series is moving into forests and oceans, since the last one gave us two sprawling metropolises that were Exactly The Same.

              Anyway, linearity is what’s wrong with the Assassin’s Creed sequels.

        2. Zukhramm says:

          It also suffered from the worst tutorial ever made, making me quit the game right there and never picking it up again.

        3. Exetera says:

          I’ll readily acknowledge Mirror’s Edge’s occasional mechanical issues, but I’ve honestly got to class the game among my all-time favorites. While there are obviously problems, they tend not to come up that often – basically the only irritating mechanic that shows up often outside of the tutorial is the vertical pipe. And, of course, the art design is more than good enough to render all its mechanical problems forgiven. Of course, it helps that I’m now long used to beating the frustrating sections… It’s a lot easier to love on the second playthrough than the first, I think.

      2. False Prophet says:

        Mirror’s Edge sold okay, and a sequel was being discussed, when Modern Warfare ushered in the bro-shooter era.

      3. Peter H. Coffin says:

        Two or one million copies (depending on whether you’re listening to Edge or EA respectively) sold is “That certainly didn’t sell well” now. That makes me sad.

  6. Prof Goldfish says:

    As the target demographic of the “Bro-Verload” this hurts me. No other feelings than just pain…

    1. Dragomok says:

      Wait, is that because they call you “bro” and post an article in the open where they treat as something to make money of, or because you’re afraid the site will be flooded with oversexualised ads for stupid people, or because you used the words “target demographic” in a different sense that I thought and are, let’s say, a 0-17/36-115 female?

  7. Zoe M. says:

    I sort of can’t blame them – if 68% of their audience are male, it makes some sense to go after the larger portion.

    Still, they could at least feature 33% female-targeted advertisement.

    1. Lame Duck says:

      Focusing exclusively on one demographic isn’t necessarily a bad idea, it can be very efficient and is especially useful when the product you’re selling is advertising, which is all about demographics. The problem is that it leaves you very vulnerable to any changes in the behavior of that demographic and it also means you have a very hard limit on your ability to grow. Although (I really have never followed the fate of IGN, so correct me if I’m wrong), from the sound of them dismantling a bunch of websites it seems like they’re more interested in just stabilizing than growing right now.

      But anyway, focusing on one demographic isn’t really problematic at an individual level, but when a whole industry is doing it, it’s a lot more of an issue. Not only are there hard limits on your ability to grow, but now everyone is competing over that limited pool of customers. Plus, from what is supposed to be a creative industry, it shows a remarkable lack of creativity.

      What I find weird on an individual level about the Bro-verload is that this is supposed to be their corporate face where they attract advertising partners, so why the hell are they using words like “Bro-verload”?

      1. Dragomok says:

        I think they think that a single informal word will catch the eye of potential investors as something different.

    2. There is a flaw in the idea that targeting the “68% male audience” automatically means male protagonists. I’m very much the standard target for gaming (male, 20-30s, middle-class, white), and I crave more diverse protagonists. I bought Tomb Raider because it had a well-done, non-white male hero. I loved XCom and its diversity in both gender and race. More of that please!

  8. Frankenstein says:

    For whatever reason this did not appear on the front page for me. I had to go to the “Podcast Autoplay” article page.

  9. Humanoid says:

    The early Diecast ought to brighten the drudgery of my working week nicely. In an effort to at least maintain a veneer of altruism, I’ll also say it ought to also lead to a more active and temporally relevant comments section (pending forums impact).

    Aside, I find it interesting (in a good way) that phpBB’s default language is British English.

    1. Dragomok says:

      […], I'll also say it ought to also lead to a more active and temporally relevant comments section […]

      Well, I’m posting a fourth comment today, so I say it’s already doing its magic.

      (And I didn’t even listen to a single Diecast so far.)

  10. Blake says:

    I approve of Diecasts earlier in the week, my Fridays tend to be busy enough as is.

  11. Paul Spooner says:

    Although I agree that J. Rocketeer’s methods aren’t working, I think the call for “find someone who plays/enjoys/loves games” is not quite to the point. It’s possible he just really enjoys spending money? J.R. wants more microtransactions and DLC because spending money is the reason he plays games! Isn’t spending money fun?
    Really, what your asking for is someone more like you, that enjoys games for the reason that you enjoy them. This is fine, but it’s not quite the same thing.

  12. When I read “Rocketeer” I thought maybe it was about the old movie.

    Which, by the way, was nowhere near as cool and noir as this early teaser trailer led my childhood self to believe. I still love that trailer more than the actual film.

    1. Ciennas says:

      That movie still has one of the best female protagonists. Not only did she never succumb to the ‘I am the obligatory female, I am helpless’ cliche, she actively did her best to kick that cliche’s stupid ass.

      She was a believably badass woman doing incredibly badass things, even staring death in the face. She was just as important to the plot as the lead, and got to develop her character arc.

      They should really have more like her in scriptwriting land.

      1. Very true. I just wish there hadn’t been a nightclub shaped like a dog in it. It’s not like it’s easy to maintain a mental level of “this is cool” when it competes with “how is he not burning his butt off?” and then the dog-building shows up…

        1. Ciennas says:

          Give the movie another try. They explain the lack of severe burns (it’s a cold fire propellant.) And the building is real.

          It was a real trend from around the time the movie is set. That particular one was one of the few still in service at the time the movie was filmed.

          (They were shaped like all kinds of things.)

          If tvtropes is not mistaken, you can go and order a greasy spoon sandwich this very moment from it if you drop in.

  13. Menegil says:

    After thinking about it, I think Josh is the Slenderman.

    No one can see his face. No one. Ever.

    Because I am terribly off-topic.

    1. BeardedDork says:

      He is shamed by Rutskarn’s manly beard, Mumbles’ too for that matter.

        1. BeardedDork says:

          Deep into non sequitur territory, I’m more than a little amused by an icon of the 26th president scolding an icon of the 20th.

          ~Text based communication being what it is I apologize for any wholly unintended actual offense that may have been given.

    2. Dragomok says:

      You know there actually is a photo of him, on this very site?

      1. anaphysik says:

        Indeed there is, and indeed it is even more damning: http://www.shamusyoung.com/twentysidedtale/images/pax2012_josh2.jpg

        Also, there’s this computer reconstruction/cardboard cutout: /twentysidedtale/images/pax2012_josh6.jpg

        1. Menegil says:


          Keep him off the playgrounds!

  14. Aaron says:

    portal (1&2) had a female protagonist and antagonist, but it was a silent protagonist and and being female was not really the point of the character…and maybe that’s the best way to build a character…and the games are old i guess (i don’t feel those years so the games shouldn’t either)

    1. Another female protagonist was “Anne” in Jurassic Park: Trespasser. There’s still some love for this game, though what I’ve seen on YouTube makes it look really bad, but in an “at least they tried something new at the time” kind of way.

      But the female protagonist’s street cred was rather severely undercut by your health meter being represented as a heart tattoo on one of your breasts.

      1. Aaron says:

        wow a Jurassic Park game from 1998, i don’t really think that time frame can really look good (visually)

        unfortunately i was not much into gaming outside of nintendo until 2000 so i cant say if it was good either…also not going to do research on a 15 year old movie tie in game :P

        1. Your loss. You should look at the LPs on YouTube. It’s hilarious. I can’t locate it at the moment, but if you go into third person view, you’re basically a floating pair of breasts with one arm. The arm is a physics object that’s supposed to simulate flailing (melee) when you move the mouse, but wound up like basically using a rubber chicken as a limb.

          Some madmen are trying to remake the game in both the Unity and Crysis engines at the moment.

            1. Aaron says:

              ok now watching that instead of old spoilerwarning series…hope they dont stop making them do to low viewership now

    2. Bubble181 says:

      Portal 2 counts as “old” already? I own it, but my computer can’t run it so I still haven’t played… As I’m still going through my backlog of old games to play :p Uh-oh.

      1. Aaron says:

        ok, i guess portal 2 is still pretty recent, i guess i just haven’t purchased/played any new games in a while…like skyrim while

  15. TraderRager says:

    Fair Enough about the game looking better on PC, I guess.

    1. Jokerman says:

      Nearly all games look better on the PC, should all have a 0.1 difference in score?

      1. Sagretti says:

        Surprisingly enough, many (if not most) multi-platform games do receive tiny variations in scores on websites like IGN. Usually, it’s either for slight differences in graphics or the control scheme. I guess they just want to look thorough, but it really just reinforces the notion that reviews are too obsessed with graphics sometimes.

  16. The Rocketeer says:

    CHRISTOPHER FRANKLIN!!! Present yourself and receive blame!

    The title of this Diecast nearly made my heart stop. I leapt right to 52:00 to find out what the crap. The rest of the discussion made me feel inexplicably guilty and timorous. Every single time I heard my coincidental appellation uttered, I flinched like I was being called to the head of the class. “Oh God. I’ve finally gone and done… it. Something, I’unno. They are throwing the book at me as hard as they can. Or maybe… the effusive praise I’ve always suspected I deserve!”

    I’ll forgive you- this time- once my heart rate goes back down, but only since you’re such a charming and amiable person who’s never actually done me any wrong.

    … Seriously, John Riccitiello? It couldn’t have referred to ANYONE ELSE?!

  17. Bryan says:

    Do not taunt Super Happy Fun Ball?

    1. As an old internettizen, I always liked the similar phrase that came from an old Fark photoshop: “Do not taunt the dynamite monkey.”

    2. Steve C says:

      Super Happy Funball was a Saturday Night Live skit. It’s on youtube somewhere. Sidenote- I feel old because the reference is likely older than you.

  18. Vagrant says:

    As far as the ‘We’ve only ever made Male Centric games because Male Centric games are all that people have ever bought’

    Henry Ford apparently once said, “If I asked what my customers what they wanted they would have asked for a faster horse.”

    1. scowdich says:

      Nobody realized they wanted to play Portal until Valve announced Portal.

      1. Fleaman says:

        which was a game where you play as a woman and engage a woman robot in passive-aggressive combat by jumping through yonic symbols.

        “Not male-centric” is what I’m saying.

  19. Nick says:

    Tried to sign up to the forums, it hung there for well over five minutes with nothing happening after I clicked submit so I gave up.

  20. ACman says:

    On the autoplay issue: recently had a bunch of unmuted audio banner ads play on your page. Also porn banner ads…. (Which may be a result of cookies)

    I turned adblock off on your page because you asked nicely but some scary lady is yelling me about moisturiser when I visit your page while other ads suggest that I look at even more naked women than I currently do.

    1. sofawall says:

      You’ve got something else serving up those sites, likely some sort of malware. All I see is fairly innocuous ads about stuff like IE10 and Hondas.

    2. Bubble181 says:

      As Sofawall said….I have never seen a single porn ad or sound ad on Shamus’ site. I have had all ads I see replaced by porn and noisiness before, but that was malware I got from a porn site, so…..

  21. Daemian_Lucifer says:

    Curse you Shamoose for announcing the forum now!Now my whole day will be gone while I adjust myself there.

  22. Daemian_Lucifer says:

    You guys say how theres nothing wrong when an online only game is online only,but when a single player game is burdened by an always on drm,thats when people complain.

    And yet plenty of people,even you guys,complain about diablo 3.But diablo 3 is not a single player game.You can play it alone,yes,but you can play TF2 and WoW alone as well.That doesnt change the fact that neither one of those revolves around the single player experience.

    1. Shamus says:

      “But diablo 3 is not a single player game.”

      People WANTED a single-player game. They were EXPECTING one, because, you know, it’s Diablo 3, and the first two were offline. People played this multiplayer game like a single-player game. They didn’t want or need those other people, and the addition of those other people brought no value to the game for them. The previous version of the game was functionally identical, except it could be played offline.

      WoW is a completely different beast with different gameplay and assumptions. It’s a persistent world where you can see and interact with other players all the time. You don’t invite others to enter your own copy of the world, you enter the world with everyone else.

      I really don’t see why this is so hard to grasp. I can understand you enjoying D3 and being glad for the online requirements, but it should be pretty easy to see why it doesn’t please everyone.

      1. Daemian_Lucifer says:

        No,I get it why it doesnt please other.I had the same reaction back when world of warcraft replaced warcraft 4.Or how many people reacted that fallout 3 wasnt isometric anymore.But the thing is,those are all directions in gameplay,and yet when I see someone complain about diablo 3,they talk about it as a drm,which it is not.

        1. Bubble181 says:

          Since Diablo III ha been confirmed for consoles, playable COMPLETELY OFFLINE, I don’t see how it’s anything BUT DRM. that, and checking against bots/hacks/etc for the Auction House, of course. I fully understand and accept you need always-on in a game with an auction house. I do not accept that it’s integral to the actual Diablo gameplay, or the technical background.

      2. Hitchmeister says:

        Blizzard had some crossed-up marketing research that suggested the majority of the players liked the idea of increased security of transactions in a first party auction house and elimination of cheats, hacks, and item duping that would come from the always online requirement.

        Of course a lot of this was probably because if a market research firm is good they can tailor their questions to give pretty much any results they want.

        But I still believe that Blizzard (wrongly) thought they were delivering a product most people wanted.

    2. Neko says:

      I played Diablo 3 largely in single-player mode because I found it impossible to enjoy / follow the story when my friends were (accidentally) skipping dialogue, or were at different parts in the plot than I was, or when there was so much crap flying all over the screen that it was difficult to really follow what was going on.

      Solo, I was able to take my time and follow the (pretty awful, really) plot and generally enjoy myself. I did have a few fun moments in multiplayer, but I kept putting off a full co-op run of the game until “after I’d finished the game solo at least once” so that I wouldn’t get so frustrated at missed dialogue.

      Of course, by the time I did finish it, I’d kind of lost interest in playing it further (and my friends had beaten the game 3x over). So the online-only requirement was pretty superfluous to the game *I* was playing.

      1. Daemian_Lucifer says:

        So when Shamoose was playing lotro and champions online by himself in order to write about it,he was playing a single player game,and not an mmo?

        Just because you can play a game in one manner,doesnt mean that it was designed to be played primarily like that.Diablo 3 is primarily a co-op mmo.The fact that you can enjoy it by yourself doesnt change that it was designed as a co-op game.

        1. Ciennas says:

          You’re kind of on touchy on this subject.

          What exactly are you trying to argue for, here? Online only gameplay is fine and dandy, but only if it actually adds something.

          When the servers for Diablo 3 go down, than everybody who liked the game loses- even though it still could be played, theoretically.

          What astounds me is how the older games are offering a superior product- with none of the required infastructure, I can always play that which is older than 2004, even if companies would prefer that I couldn’t.

          1. Daemian_Lucifer says:

            I mostly avoid online only games precisely for that reason.But I also avoid other games,like sports games,yet I dont go around saying how those games are just pointlessly grabbing names of real world sportsmen in order to sell better.

            And the reason why Im harping on this subject is because there is a big difference between a game that can function perfectly well on a single computer,yet requires constant checks with the server as a drm,and a game that cannot function on a single computer because it was designed to partly be on the server.Diablo 3 is the latter.Mmos are the latter.The fact that you can play them alone doesnt change that.Even if you can hack them and play them on pirate servers(like WoW),that still wont change what they were made as.

            1. Ciennas says:

              Completely true. Badly designed and poorly thought out longevity systems are as much a part of the final product as the hacking and the slashing.

              In essence, Blizzard deliberately designed a game to be a terrible single player experience in a shortsighted effort to make themselves extra money.

              And that’s terrible. Not the attempt at extra money- ya gotta try as a business, after all. But the attempt cost them a whole lot more money, the kind they can’t measure. Like customers who want nothing to do with a company that indulges in such blatant money grubbing.

              Tell me- does Diablo 3 have plans for an expansion pack? Does it have a place for the players to do non hacky slashy gameplay? Like a pool hall or something?

              If not, that’s why WOW was so successful- a lot of variety.

              Further, the lack of expansions or alternative gameplay means it stagnates really fast, before you could start profiting on the in game auction house, (which was the only reason online only came about.)

              If I’m wrong, then that’s great. Let me know.

              1. Daemian_Lucifer says:

                Im not saying that the game was a success,or a failure.Nor that it was good or bad.Thats all a different discussion.Im merely saying that it is not a single player game.Whether it is good or bad to release a third game of the series as a co-op focused multiplayer game when its predecessors were singleplayer games is irrelevant*.

                *Though I do think its bad to do so.See also dead space 3.

                1. Ciennas says:

                  So… what are you saying then? Why are you so fixated on the multiplayer/singleplayer distinction?

                  (Sidenote: Diablo 3 cost a couple million to produce. Tying it all to a system that immediately guts its longevity seems a bad decision, especially if your stated goal as a company is to turn a profit.

                  Diablo 2 could still be purchased today and played no trouble, thus generating additional income a full decade after it would be expected to be profitable. The only lost money is merely in printing a new disc and shipping it, and that’s negligible.

                  But D3 has that cost, plus maintaining a full server, and the server is counter to the goal; you always have to sink money into it in many different aspects, and you’ve squeezed your player base down to the very few remaining people who are willing to put up with it. You’re losing money no matter what forever. I just can’t see the justification for the final product as it was built.)

                  1. Daemian_Lucifer says:

                    “So… what are you saying then?”

                    That unlike simcity,diablo 3 didnt have always online as drm,but it was built as a mutliplayer co-op game.

                    And yes,I do think that was a poor decision on their part.But nevertheless it was their decision to make.

                    As for why Im so adamant about the issue,because proper distinction is required if this problem is to go away.

                    1. Ciennas says:

                      As others have pointed out, the Auction House and all that goes with it was not integral to the gameplay.

                      But they sure did treat it like it was, didn’t they?

                      Oh well. Alright, say I never went near Diablo because of the always online requirements, DRM or no. Hypothetically. If it’s co-op designed, then the levels should reflect that, right? Like how L4D needed four sets of eyes to be playable without getting swarmed.

                      So, did the levels support co-op? Was there a point that said in some way in the gameplay portion that these were designed with two or more players in mind?

                      And it should have probably been implemented in a new IP rather than force their increasingly disloyal fans to go along with it.

                      (Sorry I tangented by the way. Bad habit of mine. Glad to see that I spent all that time preaching to the choir.)

                    2. Shamus says:

                      Ah! Thank you so much. This has been bugging me.

                      Generally when I see a conversation get nasty like the one between Raygereio and Daemian_Lucifer (regular visitors who have proven they are not trolls or crazy people) it’s due to some frustrating misunderstanding either of language or concepts. I didn’t know what to make of this one because I couldn’t spot the problem.

                      I think that’s it. It’s the auction house. Always-on is REQUIRED if you want the auction house to work. Always-on is NOT required if you want to click on monsters and take their stuff. So when someone says, “The server is actually required for the game[play] to work” there’s the problem of defining what we mean by “gameplay”. If we consider the AH to be a core component, then of COURSE we need servers. Blizzard just decided to make a different type of game this time. If we move the AH over to the “useless” side of the equation with the server itself, then of COURSE we don’t need the server.

                      And of course, devs have every incentive to make this distinction as blurry as possible. Just like EA claiming that the SimCity servers were doing important game-logic type stuff when they were barely involved except to muck things up, devs can confuse things very, very easily. In the case of EA, we caught them easily because EA PR is filled with drunken half-wits. But in a smart company? It would be super-easy to add a real, honest-to-gosh feature that nobody really wants but which requires a server to operate. Then they can let us bicker among ourselves over where to draw the line while they trollface.jpg all the way to the bank. (Or so they assume.)

                      Damn it, Shamus. Stop writing articles in your own comment threads.

                    3. Zukhramm says:

                      I don’t see how the same could not be said about Sim City. What exactly are the distinctions?

    3. Raygereio says:

      I can boot up Diablo 3 and play it without any multiplayer interaction.
      Just because you may focus wholly on Diablo 3’s multiplayer aspects, doesn’t make the fact that the game has singleplayer magically go away.

      1. Rick C says:

        “I can boot up Diablo 3 and play it without any multiplayer interaction.”

        And, of course, you can’t play it without continuously saying “Mother, may I?” even in soi-disant single-player mode.

        I played the demo, and didn’t find it compelling enough to want to buy, so I didn’t have to wrestle with my conscience.

      2. Daemian_Lucifer says:

        Yes and I have played counter strike against the bots.Does that mean that game was not designed with multiplayer as its primary shtick?So whats your point?

        1. Zukhramm says:

          Costner-Strike is clearly a multiplayer game while Diablo 3 is a game in a series that has had single player, and Diablo 3 doesn’t seem to have anything making it more “multiplayer” than the previous entries other than the auction house.

        2. Shamus says:

          The fact that the line is blurry doesn’t mean the line doesn’t exist.

          Blizzard SAYS it’s not designed to be DRM. People don’t trust them and assume the whole server system is just an excuse to exert control over paying customers. We can’t prove one way or the other, but given recent examples (at the time, Ubisoft protection) it just smelled bad.

          I don’t insist that it was done out of a desire to add DRM, but I will say it was a very cynical move that compromised the game mechanically.

        3. Raygereio says:

          Counterstrike, WoW and Team Fortress have multiplayer at the core of their design. If there is a singleplayer aspect to these games, it’s pretty much just an afterthough (such as playing a counterstrike map with bots) and not a fully fledged singleplayer mode.

          Unlike the previous games, Diablo 3 is a singleplayer game with multiplayer aspects such as co-op, PvP and trading. Again: some people focus wholly on those multiplayer aspects. But that does not change the simple fact that if you were to ignore those multiplayer elements, you still have a game that offers a full singleplayer experience.

          If you want to make use of D3’s multiplayer aspects, then you have no business complaining that you need to have a continuous connection to Blizzard’s servers. When you’re doing co-op, you need that connection for the co-op to function (though there could have been LAN-support, but that’s besides the main point here). There’s simply no practical reason for why you need to have a permanent connection to Blizzard’s servers when you’re not using any Diablo 3’s multiplayer aspects.

          1. Daemian_Lucifer says:

            Really?Because playing against the bots in counter strike is just as playing alone in diablo 3.You can completely ignore the multiplayer in counter strike and get just as much of a single player experience as wtih diablo 3.In fact,Ive played counter strike more against the bots than against people.But I guess that simple fact can be ignored because….reasons I guess.

            1. Zukhramm says:

              Not at all! Pitting two teams playing matches against each other is inherently multiplayer, killing things to pick up swords is not.

              1. Daemian_Lucifer says:

                And what if you put just yourself in one team?Also something I did.

                Or what if you play starcraft 1 against computer and give yourself an ally?Are you playing multiplayer then?Or how about the prince of persia where you are followed by that princess,is that a co-op experience?Etc,etc.

                Also,diablo 3 has companions that follow you around everywhere if you are playing solo,as a substitute for the humans you are missing.How is that different than the bots you get in your team in CS?

                1. Zukhramm says:

                  No, playing with a computer is not multiplayer. What does that even have to do with this?

            2. Raygereio says:

              So far you’ve managed to give no argument at all for your Diablo-3-is-not-a-singleplayer-game-position that I could spot. In that you’re actually no different from anyone else I’ve seen who held the same position.

              So let’s move beyond that and focus on something simple.
              Can you play Diablo 3 and completely ignore the multiplayer aspects?
              If you’re answer to that is “no”, you are wrong. The only correct answer is yes, because you can completely ignore co-op, PvP and the auction house. These multiplayer aspects are not required for the basic design of D3’s gameplay (hacking ‘n slashing up monsters and crawling through dungeons) to function.

              Having now established that D3’s multiplayer aspects are in essence optional, please answer the following question: What reason is there for me to have a constant connection to Blizzard’s servers when I’m not using D3’s multiplayer aspects?

              1. Daemian_Lucifer says:

                But I did show you that you can play CS completely alone.Even more than D3,because not one thing is being done on a remote server.And yet you maintain that CS is multiplayer.Why?What is the difference?

                But ok,the reason why D3 needs constant connection:The game was built with auction house as its core component.And sure,you can ignore it.But you can also ignore pistols in deus ex,control groups in starcraft,formations in fifa,porche in need for speed,etc.That doesnt mean those elements dont exist,or that games arent balanced with those in mind,that only means that your personal preference is not to use them.

                And for the auction house to be fair for everyone,you can either create two completely separate games,one where loot is used just on your computer(because without constant connection with the server you can mod the game in your favor),and one where the loot can be shared with others.Or you can just ignore the first of those,and just have the game constantly keep what you find in check.Blizzard chose the second option.Whether that was the right move is irrelevant here.The fact is that they chose to do that,and that alone makes this game geared primarily towards multiplayer.

                1. Even says:

                  It’s still not really a good reason to not separate single player and multiplayer. Moddability could actually be great for single player and potentially increase its lifespan by a sizable factor. Come to think of it, even having a separate option for multiplayer could be great for LAN games and such.

                  1. Daemian_Lucifer says:

                    With that I agree.The game sure wouldve benefited if it werent focused just on multiplayer.But alas,they thought it was better this way.

                2. Raygereio says:

                  And once again, you fail to provide compelling argumentation or evidence for your outlandish claim and instead demand that I defend the opposite.
                  Though I can’t help but laugh at how you equal a single car or gun to aspects of gameplay. It shows quite perfectly that you have no idea what you’re talking about. At least you’ve managed to entertain.

                  But let’s give you another chance and once more attempt to focus on something simple.
                  Can you play Diablo 3 and completely ignore the multiplayer aspects?
                  If you're answer to that is “no”, you are wrong. The only correct answer is yes, because you can completely ignore co-op, PvP and the auction house. These multiplayer aspects are not required for the basic design of D3’s gameplay (hacking “˜n slashing up monsters and crawling through dungeons) to function.

                  Having now established that D3’s multiplayer aspects are in essence optional, please answer the following question: What reason is there for me to have a constant connection to Blizzard's servers when I'm not using D3’s multiplayer aspects?

                  1. Daemian_Lucifer says:

                    So,you completely ignore what I wrote,and you ask me to repeat the same?And then I am the one that doesnt know what he is talking about?And yet,you claim how CS is a multiplayer game in its core,despite that fact that you can play CS completely ignoring everyone else by simply loading up bots,and it is so because…you say so I guess.Yet my claim is outlandish?Funny,I dont remember saying “Yeah,this game A that can be played completely offline by yourself is multiplayer in its core,but this game B that is partially on the companys server is just a single player game”.Yet you are saying that bit of nonsense,and expect to be taken seriously?

                    I think Im done with you.

        4. Steve C says:

          I disagree that Diablo 3 is primarily a multiplayer game. I believe that a primarily multiplayer Diablo 3 was what Blizzard was trying to make, they just failed at it. Diablo 3 is just too easily contrasted to Diablo 2 and you can see all the holes in it’s design too clearly as pointed out by Zukhramm above.

    4. burningdragoon says:

      The way I tend to look at it right now is like this: If you let them actively play alone (ie private games, not just ignoring other people around you) then you should let them do so offline.

      A second part of that is if you’re going to make a change to a more servicey online MMO, then maybe think about doing something more than just increasing the number at the end.

  23. Matthias says:

    “Chris has been making Errant Signal: Tomb Raider and Dead Space 3.”

    A: That’s very impressive!
    B: You’d think he would like the game more if he made it himself ;-)

    1. Shamus says:

      Whoops. Fixed, thanks.

  24. wonch says:

    just as a nitpick, SC II has increased its custom map limit to 10 and then 20 by now :p

  25. Syal says:

    Wow, fifty comments and not one mention of ‘Bioshcok’. We’re slipping, people!

    1. Shamus says:

      I’m very disappointed in you, commenters. If you can’t point out all my mistakes then I’m just going to have to find an audience that will.

      1. Paul Spooner says:

        You’ve got an unnecessary comma there.

  26. RTBones says:

    This is perhaps a little off-topic, but still relevant to the Diecast at hand. A suggestion – now that the Diecast has become a solid addition to your site, could we get a ‘link block’ on the right hand side (similar to Lets Play A Game, Comics, Spoiler Warning, etc.) It would be a handy place to link all the episodes.

  27. AEG says:

    With regards to BioShock Infinite reviews, I’m interested in reading more female reactions to Elizabeth. Unfortunately, of the 43 reviews on Metacritic, 39 are from male reviewers, 3 are from unnamed reviewers, and only the Lazygamer review is from a woman.
    Hopefully more will come out of the woodwork as more people get to play the game, but the fact that the initial on-line set of reviews is almost exclusively male is off-putting to me.

    As a separate comment, you might consider a topic of discussion asking whether or not Elizabeth would have been stronger as a POC than white, particularly in a game with the theme of racism.

    1. Fleaman says:

      Of course all the reviewers are male, this is a game for men not women, didn’t you see the box art?

      We went around to these, like, frat houses.

    2. Dude says:

      Why, though? Are you looking for whether or not the female character in the game is portrayed “properly”? If so, no female reviewer is better equipped to handle that subject better than any male reviewer. They’re as well equipped as you, the reader, the player, the observer.

      For example, saying Lara Croft is a well written female character in the new game, as I’m seeing everywhere is doing disservice to her, and the writer. She is a well written character, period, if you consider her well written (I don’t completely agree). We’re in for a deluge of female-badass-game-protagonists in the next two or three years as a result of this misconception, when what gaming fiction really needs, as and when it allows it, is what all fiction needs: good characters, whether female, alien or Englishmen.

  28. Zukhramm says:

    I just don’t get what about Super Meat Boy would require a controller. There’s no analog movements, so the buttons on a keyboard work just as well as those on a controller, it makes literally no difference. In fact, the game continuously insulting players for wanting to play however they want is part of what made me drop it.

    1. Keeshhound says:

      Console gaming master race…? Frankly, I think it would have worked perfectly with WASD bound to movement and mouse 1 and 2 to jump and sprint respectively.

      It took me five seconds to think of a better control scheme than Team Meat, and I didn’t need to insult my customers either.

    2. Duneyrr says:

      I have a buckling spring keyboard, so I can honestly say keypress travel time is an issue (I can only play Super Hexagon with the mouse).
      Also, if one has grown up with platformers on consoles (Mario/MegaMan/Sonic) rather than PC (Commander Keen/uhh… Jazz Jackrabbit?/Something else, let’s say Cosmo’s Cosmic Adventure) you may have an easier time with a console controller.

      1. Zukhramm says:

        Yeah, but those keyboard times hurt every game requiring speed. Shooters and fast paced strategy games as well as platformers.

        And being used to one set of controls doesn’t make it inherently better for certain genres, it just means you’re used to it.

    3. Thomas says:

      Does Super Meat Boy have variable acceleration depending how far the analogue stick is pressed? A little disappointing if it doesn’t

  29. impassiveimperfect says:

    “If erection lasts for more than four hours…please get your parent or guardian…”

    Damnit Chris, you can’t make someone laugh for that long like that.

  30. Any hope of getting a proper RSS feed for the podcast? I’ve tried using the full website and Yahoo pipes, neither of them getting something my podcast app can understand. This means listening to the Diecast is outside my normal podcast flow, and thus I don’t listen to every episode.

  31. Exceptional post however I was wondering if you could write a litte more
    on this subject? I’d be very grateful if you could elaborate a little bit further.
    Many thanks!

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