Diecast #238: Farewell 2018!

By Shamus Posted Monday Dec 31, 2018

Filed under: Diecast 46 comments

This is it. In this extra-long Diecast we’re cleaning out the mailbag. All questions are answered. I can’t promise that they’ll be answered correctly or even coherently, but you will get some form of mouth-noises in response to your inquiries.

Also note that we spend the first half of the show looking back on 2018, which means I’m sort of spoiling my end-of-the-year retrospective a tiny bit. That series begins tomorrow!

Hosts: Paul, Shamus. Episode edited by Issac.

03:21 Fortnite

I realize I sound like an old man, but I don’t get it.

07:22 Shadow of the Tomb Raider


12:48 Fallout 76

I don’t think anyone has gathered all of the negative press and PR failures into a single timeline just yet. That would be a big undertaking, but it needs to be done sooner or later. I couldn’t find the Checkpoint episode discussing people getting Fallout 76 nuclear launch codes via brute force, but here’s one talking about the PvP:

Link (YouTube)

17:29 Stocks are down, EA is ruined?

Link (YouTube)

25:32 Marvel Infinity War

I sorta-reviewed this game back in May, and my opinion hasn’t changed much since then. I don’t think the movie really works, but I’m open to the idea that it might work better once we’ve seen Endgame.

32:56 Festival of the Spoken Nerd

Link (YouTube)

It’s so good.

38:54 The Hosting Nightmare

Remember how bad the site was last summer? Looks like the nightmare is over. This is the best the site has ever been. At least, this is the best it’s ever been in terms of performance.

44:50 Mailbag: Carmack and Influential Developers

Deary Diecast,

Shamus occationally brings up John Carmack when talking about influential game developers. I was wondering if any other specific developer, old or new, was influencial for you? For example, Michael Abrash, who worked with Carmack on Quake, wrote many articles in Dr. Dobbs Journal about their research.


50:55 Mailbag: Game Producers vs. Movie Directors

Dear Diecast

Why is the authorship of games usually tied the studio rather than the director like in movies? Both are collective endeavours so why are games referred to as Rockstar or Ubisoft games while we have Quentin Tarantino and Christopher Nolan movies?



In this segment I said I thought Will Wright left the industry. Not so! He’s apparently making a mobile game. Hm.

57:52 Mailbag: Can’t keep up with all these new games!

Hello, Keepers of Castle Diecastle.

It hit me that even though I haven’t played every game I want to play yet, I still feel like I have a rough idea about what most games are about. Compare this to every other medium, where I only know about the really popular stuff and have no idea where to even begin finding something of quality that’s lesser known.

With gaming being such a young medium, it’s in this unique position where many people alive today grew up alongside it. But with the indie explosion underway, my grip on gaming just isn’t sustainable.

What do you think the march of time will do to the discourse when we’ll have more and more adults who haven’t played games released before the year 2000 and you can’t even fool yourself into thinking that you can keep track of everything that’s popular?


1:04:20 Mailbag: Will VR rise again?

Hello Diecast-Team

I belong to the early adopters of the Occulus Rift Release Edition. Between the first few month and the release of the motion controllers tho goggles lay low and had dust set on.
With the Motion Controllers my interest was once again awaikend for 3-4 month and now 8 month of inactivity.
The best games in all the time were those Occulus gave out for free (Farlands, Robo Recall). I also bought a few games, but mos of them weren’t much fun. (Except Project Cars with a driving wheel)
Shamus had the DK2. Have you had a similar experience? Have you ever considered getting the full version or PS VR?
What could possibly rise the interest again?

Wish you well


1:13:18 Mailbag: Best project of 2018?


End of the year question for podcast. So, out of all the things you published/done this year, which makes you proud the most? And the least?

Best regards, DeadlyDark

Allow me to take this opportunity to plug my book. Also, I created a static page for my book here on the blog. Every post or page is given a unique ID. You can see it in the URL. This post has an ID of 45232, which is why you see /?p=45232 at the end of the URL. By random chance, the page for my book wound up with the ID of 45100. This is the first code given to the player in System Shock 2, and serves as the 451 callback for the game. I began my transition to writing with my first book, which was a novelization of the first System Shock game.

So by random chance the ID of the page of my latest book matches the door code in the videogame sequel to the game that inspired me to become a writer in the first place. I realize this is just a very minor coincidence, but every time I see that 45100 at the top my brain starts screaming at me that ALL OF THIS MEANS SOMETHING.

If it does mean anything, it probably means I need to get out more.

1:18:16 Mailbag: Unity Dev Series

Dear uncle Shamus,

I have recently come upon this reddit thread with links to Lucas Pope’s updates on developing Obra Dinn and wrestling with Unity to bring his vision to life.

They are not terribly in depth, but I figured you would find them interesting regardless.

Wasting your time from Italy,

That’s it for 2018, everyone. Be safe. See you next year.


From The Archives:

46 thoughts on “Diecast #238: Farewell 2018!

  1. Joshua says:

    Curious to see why you didn’t think Infinity War “worked”. I’m normally pretty nitpicky on plot details, but considering the job involved setting up plot arcs for 20+ characters, I gave it a lot of slack.

    Except for the BS line about “Strange only saw ONE way” that I see pop up in forums all the time. I think that’s an idea they really didn’t pay off, because there’s no explanation in the movie about why anything else they tried wouldn’t work, except for Visions un-suicide.

    Said this elsewhere, but I think it would have worked better for Thanos to have gotten the Time Stone naturally, and from that point on there was only one way to win because in all other scenarios he would just rewind time like Strange did with Dormammu.

    1. Daimbert says:

      This is one of those things, though, that is deliberately set to pay-off in Endgame. The idea is that we’ll know why no other solution would work once we see how this way of stopping Thanos does work. We already know — or at least suspect — that Stark has to be alive for the plan to work, and there are only so many ways for that to happen at that point when Thanos is pretty much just about to kill Stark when Strange offers him something to not kill Stark. There aren’t that many other things that Strange can offer Thanos that he would want.

      I can also see it working out that one thing that was critical to the only way to solve the issue was for Thanos to have the Time Stone. And, perhaps, having to have to do the Snap before he could be stopped. At any rate, it’s not really an issue that IW didn’t pay off all of these scenarios because we are SUPPOSED to wonder why they wouldn’t work until Endgame pays all of that off.

      Now, if only Endgame can manage to pull that off …

    2. evilmrhenry says:

      Personally, I didn’t like it all that much specifically because it needed to set up plot arcs for 20+ characters. It seemed like half the movie was “introduce a character, give them a scene, then repeat”, and that gets old fast. This didn’t leave much time for the actual plot or character development.

      As for having the bad guy win at the end, I’m going to go with Shamus here, and state that it’s not what I want out of a Marvel movie.

      1. Lanthanide says:

        “Personally, I didn’t like it all that much specifically because it needed to set up plot arcs for 20+ characters. It seemed like half the movie was “introduce a character, give them a scene, then repeat”, and that gets old fast.”

        Well there really isn’t a storyline in this movie. It’s basically just a string of fight scenes as Thanos and his minions go about collecting the stones.

        IMO people are praising this movie because it was a villain done properly – their motivations and ideology developed and explored in detail. But really I think that’s the only way this movie could be done properly without it being a flaming wreck. Thanos is the only character that actually got any development or semblance of a storyline, but the other characters didn’t need any development since they’ve all been in previous movies, and a lot of them are pretty 2 dimensional anyway.

        1. Joshua says:

          Well, Thanos is being described as the main character of the film. He’s still the antagonist, but all of the other standard Marvel characters are secondary to him.

  2. Joe says:

    I liked Infinity War. Though if you don’t like cliffhangers, I can see how it would be annoying. I’m not saying I like them either, but I was raised on classic Dr Who and have built up a tolerance. I’ve actually skipped a few of the recent MCU movies. If I don’t like the trailer, I can tell it isn’t for me. My vision for a Thor Ragnarok movie was the second half of Rogue One meets Vikings, not a buddy comedy.

    So Paul initiated a project, then outsourced the rest of development, but claimed responsibility for the final project? Maybe I’ve been reading too much Shadowrun recently, but that sounds like prime corporate exec behaviour. Yet he at least gives the appearanace of having a soul. Maybe he’s just good at faking it.

  3. Mephane says:

    Not related to anything particular about the Diecast, but this seems like a good place to vent and rant about some things that annoy me a lot about games in this day and age. We are on the end of the year 2018. Almost two decades into the 21st century. And yet we still have to struggle with various bits of technical hassles that should long since have been solved entirely.

    1. Basically all PC games start in full screen mode at reduced resolutions for the first time. Seriously, what the hell? The least, the absolutely tiniest little least a game could do is take the desktop resolution and default to exactly that. I cannot even remember the last time I would remotely entertain the idea of ever running a game at anything but the exact native resolution of my screen.

    2. As an extension of point #1, games should also default to borderless window mode. The performance loss from doing that over full screen mode is negligible, and the hassle introduced by full screen mode is massive. (If your game does not support this mode at all, you have no business releasing any games whatsoever in this age.)

    3. Peripherals have evolved, and many gamers have more than a standard 2-button-mouse and keyboard. I’ll be generous here and ask that games should at least support any extra mouse buttons beyond the standard two and the wheel.

    4. PCs are these awesome multi-tasking machines, and it is a normal thing to alt-tabout of a game (see also point 2 regarding borderless window mode) at multiples points for a large number of reasons, from checking your emails, uploading screenshots, to ordering a fucking pizza. Here is a list of things a game should not do upon alt-tabbing out or back in: crash; interpret a click on the unfocused window as an ingame interaction; treat the alt and/or tab key as permanently pressed (I am looking at you, Prey, specifically); auto-pause (I am able to manually pause if I so deem, I don’t need to be babysitted). Just be a proper well-behaved application that just happens to be a game and otherwise interacts nicely with the operating system functions for multi-tasking and changing the window focus.

    5. Sort out your sound volume. When I set up my machine, I put the system volume at 50%, then adjusted the speakers to something comfortable based on a variety of widely common sources; I even made sure to buy speakers with a real on/off switch instead of a volume knob that doubles as the off-switch at 0% volume, because I have no desire to fiddle with the volume levels again every. single. day. And why 50%? Well, because some games apparently have to be boosted higher to reach any useful levels of sound volume. One particular extreme case is The Witcher 3, which requires me to boost the volume up to the 90% level. (Bonus rant: Netflix is also guilty of this.)

    P.S.: Dear NVidia. Please add a feature to the NVidia Control Panel where I can override any game to the native desktop resolution and borderless window mode. I wouldn’t bet on game devs to get wise in this regard any time soon, so this has a much greater chance at solving the problem.

    1. Echo Tango says:

      The problem with this stuff, is that it’s not game-breaking, but just annoying. All kinds of software (and many real-world consumer goods too) suffer from the same problem – companies will look to cut any corner they can, and if their customer base doesn’t care enough to boycott those products and/or company, then the products remain as-is, without the companies having to improve them. Just look at how slowly most websites load up – I’m on high-speed internet, capable of streaming 1080p video, but loading an article to read *text* (for the Fallout 76 launch codes) took fifteen full seconds. Heck, even the non-video part of Youtube takes at least three seconds to load (on an average day for me), and its job is just to be a box to hold the video and comments, after they’ve loaded!

    2. tmtvl says:

      For those first two points, how do you propose we handle that in a way that works well across different display servers, with different graphics drivers, with potentially multiple monitors of which one or more of them may not only have different resolutions, but they could even be rotated?

      If it was simple it would’ve been fixed already.

      1. Mephane says:

        Windows has a concept of a primary screen, so a gentle way would be to take that one and display there on native resolution and borderless. The nature of a borderless window is also that it isn’t disruptive, so it’s much less of a hassle to deal with than full screen (which afaik sets secondary screens to just black when switched into).

    3. AndrewCC says:

      What resolution are you running? I have double FHD monitors and I’ve never had a game released after 2010 not auto-detect my monitor’s native res and run at that.
      As to point 2, some games do suffer massively from borderless. Fallout 76 for example has 30 less fps in that mode.

      1. Mephane says:

        Fallout 76 is not a good example. That mess of a game suffers from performance issues even on high end machines in general.

        And I am running at a 1920×1200 resolution. Some games do auto-detect and use that, but many do not.

    4. Redrock says:

      “Give me borderless or GTFO of game development” is exactly the kind of attitude that makes developers lukewarm towards PC ports and PC gamers, unfortunately. I’ve been a PC gamer for years now and never was I bothered by the absence of a borderless option or seen fullscreen as such a huge hassle. Same with alt-tabbing. Sure, it’s nice, but hardly necessary.

  4. DeadlyDark says:

    Finally playing Dragon Age Inquisition. Bought GOTY for ten bucks. Beginning is underwhelming, but somewhere along the way, I’m actually starting to love this game. Way better, than I expected, in story department. Shame, that DA2 killed my curiosity towards DAI, so I thought it would be DOA. Glad to be proven wrong.

    One thing I’d like to see gone, is a dialog wheel. That thing has no place in Dragon Age

  5. Ninety-Three says:

    I hated Infinity War like I hate all the modern Marvel movies (circumstances continue to arrange for me watching them despite this), but I read a short post that kind of argued me into liking it as art, in a “this is the opposite of what the movie’s author intended” kind of way. Highlight:

    It’d be a kind of mediocre superhero movie if it pulled its punches. It will be a kind of mediocre superhero movie when it gets retconned next year into having retroactively pulled its punches.

    But that’s a year from now and right now it stands on its own as a story where we have heart but we don’t have enough ethical reasoning skills, impulse control, advance planning and coordination, and so trillions of people are dead. It’s a story where we lose. It’s a story where we lose because we weren’t good enough. It’s a story where we could have won if we’d had our act together, and a story where no amount of eleventh-hour heroism can let you evade trolley problems and save everyone (or at least everyone with a name).

    1. Olivier FAURE says:

      It *would* be pretty awesome if *Endgame* end with the heroes only being able to bring back a small number of people (eg Spiderman & co) and the rest of the universe has to live with the consequences of the Avengers fucking up forever.

      Plus I really want a Netflix story exploring the world post-snap.

      1. Ninety-Three says:

        Well now I have to share this, a short story about the heartbreakingly dark post-Snap episode of Sesame Street. I love it not just because it’s good, but because it looks at literally the worst tragedy in the unvierse and takes it seriously, more seriously than a popcorn superhero movie ever will and damnit I’ve watched too many of these to not feel that pent up demand.

        There is no way in a million years that they’ll run with it, not in the same cinematic universe that glossed over “Aliens did super-9/11” in three different shows set in New York, but it’s fun to imagine anyway.

        1. John says:

          I’m cool with MCU TV shows mostly or even completely ignoring the first Avengers movie, possibly because I’m used to this sort of thing in comics. Those shows aren’t about the kinds of things that Avengers is about, and they shouldn’t have to deal with Avengers-related shenanigans. Honestly, Avengers is like one of those annoying, intrusive, “this changes everything (but not really)” company-wide crossover events that Marvel and DC editorial staff whip up from time to time in order to spike sales. They have a tendency to interrupt and derail interesting ongoing regular story lines in normally unrelated books and I don’t care for them at all.

  6. Kylind says:

    Can someone tell me how I can get these in a podcast app on my phone?
    The RSS feed just gives me the post and I still have to download separately.


  7. Mintskittle says:

    If you’re looking for a timeline on Fallout 76 nonsense, Yongyea usually summarizes the events that have happened before talking about the latest round of screw ups.


    It’s just a quick and dirty summary, and you’d probably need to back through his other FO76 vids for a more complete picture. Also, it doesn’t include the latest round of questionable content, what constitutes a bannable offense.


  8. MadTinkerer says:

    Part of the reason why people have so much faith that Endgame will pay off everything set up in Infinity War is that it really has been planned out for years. Some things have been tweaked here and there (five years ago they had no idea they were going to get the rights to Spider-Man in time for IW), but the broad strokes of the plan remain the same.

    There’s layers of backup forshadowing and alternate macguffins and all kinds of stuff. Like how the Tesseract was retconned to be an Infinity Gem Stone because originally it was clearly a Cosmic Cube if you know the comics, but that’s okay because the Space Gem is a cooler macguffin than the Cosmic Cube. That’s an obvious one.

    One less obvious one is how a couple weeks ago fans noticed a connection between the end credits scene of Ant Man 2 and a throwaway line in Thor The Dark World that could retroactively make that scene be foreshadowing the time travel macguffin in Endgame. That’s still a fan theory at present, but the Thanos Snap at the end of Infinity War (instead of the beginning) was also an educated fan theory that turned out to be 100% on the money. That’s why I knew going into the movie that Thanos was probably going to win, and why it didn’t bother me.

    (Mom was mad at me because I was pretty sure the ending was going to be a downer and didn’t tell her. But I was pretty satisfied by what happened even though I had a pretty good idea what was going to happen. I did not expect them to kill off Spider-Man. I did and still do expect time travel shenanigans in Avengers 4 as soon as that happened.)

    Let’s face it: while it’s not a great time to be a fan of the comics right now, it’s a great time to be a former fan of the comics who is excited for the movies.

    1. Ninety-Three says:

      For the record, I am cynical enough about Marvel movies and their lack of planning (see all the character arcs thrown away or outright reversed between movies) that I am willing to bet money on just about any possible objective permutation of “Infinity War will not do the smart or thematically engaging or obvious-question-answering Thing X fans are imagining”. I mean that, I trust the regulars in this comments section and I’m willing to put up to $100 betting against Marvel (sent via I dunno, Paypal, Steam Gifts, whatever).

      I make this offer partly because I am confident and like winning money, but partly because I subscribe to the belief that betting is a tax on bullshit: If I post this offer and no one takes it, that proves something about how much people really believe in Marvel.

  9. John says:

    Why is the authorship of games usually tied the studio rather than the director like in movies? Both are collective endeavours so why are games referred to as Rockstar or Ubisoft games while we have Quentin Tarantino and Christopher Nolan movies?

    I think it’s due to the fact that AAA videogames are the work of immense teams, are almost always designed by committees to fit neatly within existing genres, and are almost always sequels. We don’t attribute them to a specific person because there’s absolutely nothing personal or distinctive about them. The only obvious exception I can think of is Hideo Kojima’s Metal Gear series, which is distinctive enough and, importantly, consistently distinctive enough that everyone thinks of it as Hideo Kojima’s work rather than Konami’s.

    Otherwise, I think videogame authorship is (at least some of the time) tied to individuals rather than studios if we look at older or indie games produced by smaller teams rather than contemporary AAA games. Sid Meier’s name is attached to every Civilization game because the first Civilization was very nearly a one-man game. Sid wasn’t just the producer or the lead designer, he was very nearly the sole designer and programmer. Apart from Bruce Shelley, who playtested the game and provided feedback to Sid, no one else worked on the game until it was almost finished. Then, as Paul mentioned, there’s Zach Barth, the lead designer at the aptly named Zachtronics, a notable designer of puzzle games. Zachtronics is an incredibly small studio with, if I remember correctly, just a handful of people including Zach himself. Zach’s work is distinctive enough that some people (mostly Rock, Paper, Shotgun) have taken to calling his games and games similar to his “Zachlikes”. Incidentally, Paul, the latest Zachtronics game, Exapunks, was released back in October.

    1. Geebs says:

      What about David “SEAAAAAAAAAN” Cage? He’s not the auteur we need, but perhaps he’s the auteur we deserve.

      1. John says:

        Completely slipped my mind, but I’m comfortable calling him an auteur. I’m not comfortable calling him good, but he nevertheless seems to have a very specific vision and I think that all of his games are distinctive and easily identifiable as David Cage games.

      2. galacticplumber says:

        Deserve? I wouldn’t wish him on my worst enemy.

      3. Redrock says:

        I often think people are too hard on David Cage. The man is pretentious as all hell and a pretty bad writer, but the games, well, they’re okay. Not great or even very good, but okay. I have found that Heavy Rain and Detroit are very appealing to people who aren’t really into gaming or geek culture. The whole branching narrative thing is pretty impressive at times.

        1. Geebs says:

          I completely agree with the okay-ness of Cage’s stuff, although I’ve only played Heavy Rain and Two Souls. In terms of auteurism, I’m not sure that much of the okay-ness can really be attributed to Cage; a lot of it is down to the animators and performers managing to be good despite the script.

          The really odd thing about Cage-as-auteur for me, though, is that he doesn’t seem to understand the (mostly cribbed from cinema) stylistic devices that he uses. For example, the time-jumping stuff in Two Souls was perfectly easy to keep track of (I’m not sure any of the people who complained about it being confusing have ever seen a movie), but it doesn’t serve any actual purpose in terms of the plot. There aren’t any clever reveals, character moments or plot twists that depend on the narrarive structure; stuff just happens out of order.

          He is spectacularly good at repeatedly getting huge budgets out of Sony, though, which I think makes him some sort of Auteur Producer.

        2. shoeboxjeddy says:

          People are hard on Cage because it is the stupidest parts of his games that he seems to be specifically responsible for. He used Ellen Page as an example of his LGBT street cred, despite the fact that his frat boy company ruined their relationship with her by having some pervy renders of her created contrary to very precise language in the contract. There’s also interviews with the actors from Detroit: Become Human where they take credit for improvising fan favorite scenes that Cage himself did not like.

    2. Asdasd says:

      I never really liked auteur theory as a concept. Directors don’t even have that much creative control; they might give direction as to their vision and have final say over a lot of creative decisions, but they’re often still selecting between and relying on the work of others placed in key roles such as casting, scripting, camera work, lighting, sound, costume, set design and probably a few dozen other things, some of which only people in the industry are even aware of.

      If you change the people in those roles you change the work produced and thus the film, and the director would have no way of making the same film from the differing work of different people. The same goes for games and all kinds of other collaborative creative work. Beyond that, it just seems distasteful to make invisible the contributions of the often hundreds of people who work on a project besides its creative lead.

      1. John says:

        I don’t dispute anything you say, but I think it’s reasonable to talk about a film or a game, even big one that lots of people worked on, as, say, a Michael Bay film or a Hideo Kojima game as long as the film or game features a sufficient amount of the distinctive elements commonly associated with that person’s work.

        It’s funny, because as much as I think that Sid Meier is one of the all-time great game designers, I’m not sure that I could tell you what a Sid Meier game is like. I mean, I know what Hideo Kojima and–thank you Geebs–David Cage games look like because they tend to repeat themselves. They’ve got themes, mechanics, and genres that they return to again and again. (Also cutscenes. Lots of cutscenes.) Meier’s output, on the other hand, is all over the map, and it doesn’t help that Micropose and Firaxis have both slapped his name on games in which he had only minimal involvement. Meier’s catalogue includes (but is not limited to): flight sims (so many, many flight sims), strategy games (Railroad Tycoon, Civilization), mini-game collections (Pirates!, Covert Action), and wargames (Gettysburg, Ace Patrol). The flight sims are arguably in the line of work-for-hire games in the sense that he made them mostly for commercial reasons, but from approximately Railraod Tycoon on, or about 1990, he’s been in the enviable position of being able to more or less work on whatever he likes. Meier almost never repeats himself. He’s made just two Civilization games, the original and Revolution, and two Pirates! games, the original and the 2004 remake. (I’m not counting Pirates! Gold because that was essentially a graphical update of the original, whereas the 2004 remake changes quite a bit.) There might be some kind of through-line that links all these games, but whatever it may be it is non-obvious.

        1. Asdasd says:

          The thought of anyone making flight sims for commercial reasons is kind of nostalgic.

          Also, fair point. The connections between a director’s work, be they technical, aesthetic, thematic or what have you, are often worth exploring. If for no reason other than to give critics something interesting to talk about, and us to read. :)

    3. Paul Spooner says:

      Oh, yeah! I meant to pick up a copy of Exapunks, but I haven’t gotten around to it yet. It looked a lot like Shenzen IO (which I still haven’t quite beaten either).

    4. Syal says:

      I think grouping movies by director only applies to live-action movies, as well; animated movies are Pixar movies, or Dreamworks movies, or Disney movies.

  10. Echo Tango says:

    I just read a Kotaku article on the Fallout 76 launch codes, and couldn’t believe the stupidity of the codes. I mean, even if you want to have the codes spell out some word or whatever, why not just make the game check that you actually do still have all the in-game tokens? This should be literally impossible to brute-force, but they went ahead and built a system, which allows out-of-game knowledge to bypass the check. Yeesh!

  11. This was the year that never ends!

    Yes it went on and on my friends!

  12. evileeyore says:

    “..well a lot of games are based on gameplay systems, and I, I kinda feel like, one of the things you get with the gameplay, regardless of what the story does, when I buy a Batman Arkham game it’s because, I want to see gameplay these, these central gameplay systems, or when I buy a Battlefield game, there not gonna come out with another Battlefield game but this one is going to be turn-based…”

    Tell it to Fallout and X-COM.

    1. Echo Tango says:

      I don’t think those are as good examples as you think they are. I mean, yeah, Fallout turned from turn-based isometric to 3D action-game stuff, but it only did that once (of the main-line titles anyways), and it’s stuck with that ever since. XCOM on the other hand, started as a turn-based squad-game fighting aliens, and it’s still a turn-based squad-game fighting aliens. There was a few single-character games, but weren’t those considered spinoffs? I think all of the main-line games were all in the same genre / ballpark of gameplay.

      1. Sleeping Dragon says:

        You’d be mostly correct, technically X-Com Apocalypse offered a choice between turn based and real time tactical missions. For the record the spinoffs that I can recall off the top of my head were:
        -Enforcer, a third person arcade’y shooter;
        -Interceptor, a hybrid of a Wing Commander style space shooter and a geoscape’y strategy game on the galaxy map;
        -Bureau, a third person cover based shooter, with some squad management.
        Far as I recall none of them were particularly well received.

        1. MechaCrash says:

          None of them were well received, no. Enforcer was kind of boring and not that good and its only tie-in to X-Com was the name and some enemies. Interceptor is the kind of game I’d dig, but it’s such a super buggy mess that I wouldn’t want to touch it without dousing it in some Raid first.

          Bureau is exactly the phenomenon being discussed, though, since money was laid out to buy the X-Com name, only to produce a game that had absolutely nothing to do with X-Com mechanically or thematically. The turn based game was a bone thrown to angry fans, and its performance is why I think Jake Solomon should have been hoisted on a palanquin made of money and paraded around outside the Bureau offices.

  13. Geebs says:

    Re: VR

    PSVR is easily the most user-friendly of the available systems; although it’s pretty low resolution, in some ways it’s actually nicer because the screen door effect is actually insignificant compared with the vive and the rift, although there is a lot of colour inconsistency.

    The tracking isn’t anywhere as good as the Vive but for seated VR it’s pretty great. Astro Bot, Rez, Statik and Doom VFR (using a controller) are a blast. Wipeout looks amazing. Tetris Effect had reviewed fantastically although I’m damned if I’m going to pay £35 for Tetris, no matter how fancy it is.

    Beat Saber is great on the vive but might not translate well to the PSVR. Skyrim is amazing on the Vive.

    You can use TrinusVR to use the PSVR headset with your PC via SteamVR. Trinus is decent even if it’s sometimes like having a middle ear infection. I had a lot of fun with Everspace using the PSVR headset and TrinusVR. You’re not getting roomscale VR with that setup though.

    PSVR is about $200 these days I think? I’ve found mine to be decent value. Given that the Vive and Rift are starting to show their age a bit, in many ways the PSVR actually feels less obsolete due to better ergonomics and lacking that ‘ol HTC jank.

    Windows Mixed Reality headsets are also a thing, although the only really good one costs way more than a Rift.

    Basically; if you’re really jonesing for some VR, the PSVR isn’t astronomically expensive and has some really solid games.

  14. Echo Tango says:

    The price of VR headsets is coming down. albeit slowly. One headset that’s on the cheaper end is the Oculus Go. It’s only chair-scale VR and not room-scale VR[1], but it’s also only $200 USD for a complete-system VR headset. i.e. You don’t need a separate computer or smartphone, to play games on it.

    [1] It tracks head rotation but not you walking around.

    1. Lars says:

      Prices go down, yes. The Oculus Rift including Touch controllers is at 350$ on amazon.com. To do room-scale with Oculus, you need a third sensor for 60$. And a lot of HDMI expansion cables.
      The HTC Vive is still at 800$.

      Gaming Hardware prices (like graphic cards) go down as well. So for the full experience it’s not 2500$ anymore, but at least 1500$. Still a lot of money.

      The other complain was about not enough VR-games at the moment. That is definitely not true. There are tons and tons of different VR-titles, but nobody talks about them. The “professional” press does not and even youtube is mostly silent. It is really hard to record VR titles and give a good show at the same time. As a consumer it is very hard to figure out, which title is worth it and which is cheap scam. Positive Steam reviews with half an hour of gameplay do not help.

      My pile of shame on VR-titles is rising slowly. My lust to play them is not. Damn steam sales.

  15. Redrock says:

    Aside from weak plot, too many characters and the fact that a lot of those characters behave in silly ways, I think a big problem for both Infinity War and Endgame is the high level of awareness of the meta stuff. Even people who aren’t that much into following film industry news know that a new Spider-Man movie is coming and a third Guardians of the Galaxy film is coming, for example, so the Snap doesn’t really work all that well. Endgame will be affected by this as well. We already know that a lot of the old Avengers are going out in this one, if only because Downey and Evans have explicitly stated how goddamn tired they are of doing that stuff. So however dramatic their sacrifice is plmade on-screen, there will probably be a lingering nagging feeling that all of this is happening in large part because of behind the scenes stuff.

  16. Moridin says:

    “EA… crapped all over several game studios”

    SEVERAL? I’m pretty sure that’s been a core part of their business model since early 2000s.

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