E3 2019: Square Enix, PC, Devolver Digital, Uplay+

By Shamus Posted Tuesday Jun 18, 2019

Filed under: Industry Events 114 comments

Our voyage through this orgy of excess and consumerism continues. This entry will cover Square Enix, PC, Devolver Digital, and part of the Ubisoft show. The next entry will wrap everything up. For real this time.

Square Enix – Final Fantasy 7 Remake

I'm not sure I'd want to see the Golden Saucer rendered at this level of fidelity. Feels like it would lose some of the charm.
I'm not sure I'd want to see the Golden Saucer rendered at this level of fidelity. Feels like it would lose some of the charm.

On the podcast last week I joked that Square Enix would chop up the original so that Midgar – the starting city in Final Fantasy 7 – would be an entire game all by itself. It turns out the joke’s on me, because that’s what they’re doing for real.

I should make it clear that I’m not one of the hardcare fans of this game. I played it sometime in 2005 or so, when I was in my mid 30s. Most of the fans played it in 1997 when they were teenagers or young adults. It had an enormous impact on them, and so this is a really big deal for those fans. For me, it was something I really liked, but for a lot of people it was a defining moment in their relationship with the hobby.

The new combat looks a lot like other modern JRPG titles. It runs in realtime, you’re free to move around, and you press the attack button to charge up your abilities. It looks fine to me, but I don’t know how it will go over with the fans.

It’s very pretty.

Most of the rest of the Square Enix presentation was a never-ending chain of JRPGs. This isn’t really my genre, so they all kinda blurred together in my mind. Let’s skip all that and jump right to…

Square Enix – Marvel’s Avengers

Look at Black Widow's hair. That looks like it belongs in Elder Scrolls: Oblivion. And this is supposed to be a cutscene!
Look at Black Widow's hair. That looks like it belongs in Elder Scrolls: Oblivion. And this is supposed to be a cutscene!

I’ve been saying for years that we need more superhero games. The genre feels so perfect for the medium. The Batman: Arkham Whatever games proved that you can make a really successful franchise if you’re willing to spend the money to develop a quality experience, and yet the vast majority of superhero titles end up being crappy shovelware movie tie-ins. Finally Disney has licensed a proper developer to make a proper Avenger’s game.

And it somehow looks terrible.

Maybe it’s mean to nitpick the graphics, but this was a 100% cinematic trailer with no hint of gameplay. When judged as pre-rendered footage, this looks like it belongs in a presentation at E3 2011.

The entire Avengers segment was fifteen minutes long. They showed cutscenes, interviewed cast members, and had presenters describe the game, but they couldn’t show us any gameplay? The game releases in exactly a year, so the gameplay systems ought to be in a presentable state by now. I think these visuals are drab and underwhelming, but I think most people would be willing to overlook that if it was part of an otherwise solid experience with good gameplay. But it’s reasonable to assume that they’re trying to show off their strongest content, and if these cinematic sequences are the strongest content then this game is in trouble.

Withholding gameplay at this point just makes me worry what developer Crystal Dynamics trying to hide. The game was apparently playable on the show floor, but there’s no footage available to the general public. Reactions seem positive, but they’re positive in an alarming way. Every reaction so far has praised the game for they way it “feels like God of War”The Thor stuff. and “feels like Anthem”Iron Man stuff., and how it seamlessly transitions between cutscenes and gameplay. Apparently a lot of those punching sequences in the trailer are actually quicktime events? Also, this whole “feels like X” design makes me worry that this game is going to be a hodgepodge of things lifted from other games while lacking that fine tuning and polish that made those mechanics such a success in the first place.

Wow. Looks like they put Grey Hulk in this one. Oh wait, that's just the shit color grading.
Wow. Looks like they put Grey Hulk in this one. Oh wait, that's just the shit color grading.

All of this this sounds like developer Crystal Dynamics at their worst. My big problem with Rise of the Tomb Raider was that the cutscenes were so constant and flow-breaking. Every couple of rooms, the designer would yank control away and make you quicktime your way through something. There was a huge focus on the story, and the writing wasn’t anywhere near strong enough to support that level of narrative focus.

This trailer doesn’t even have the fun quips and banter the movies are known for. At one point we get this dialog:

Black Widow: Thor, what’s your status?

Thor: There are humans trapped! And there are lots of small angry men.

Iron Man: Is that a joke? Did Thor just make a joke?

Shamus Young: No Tony, that wasn’t even close to being a joke.

The fact that the writer feels the need to self-consciously point out jokes makes me think we’re either in for a snooze or (worse) a cringe-fest. This cutscene was a full three minutes long. (Most Marvel trailers only run for two, and occasionally two and a half.) In all that time the game never made a case for itself. It was a bunch of loud action, flat utilitarian dialog, no drama, ugly visuals, and uninspired cinematography.

My Escapist column this week is going to cover this trailer in more detail. That should go live later today, and I’ll have a post discussing it tomorrow. So I’m not going to enumerate all of the problems with this trailer or I’d just be repeating myself.

I know the game has almost a year before release. But based on this trailer, I’m not seeing the creative spark that makes for a good game. Everything we’ve been shown is weak and the lack of visible gameplay is worrisome.

Devolver Digital Big Fancy Press Conference

The Devolver Digital is kinda what you'd get if a press conference was made by a B-movie / exploitation director.
The Devolver Digital is kinda what you'd get if a press conference was made by a B-movie / exploitation director.

I don’t know that there’s a lot to say about this show. Devolver Digital is mostly an indie publisher and their show every year is basically a long skit making fun of the big publishers. I generally like what they do, but the “gore, insanity, and severed limbs” jokes aren’t really my thing in terms of humor.

None of the games they showcased really interested me, but I’m glad Devolver is out there doing their thing.

PC Gaming Show

Left: Day9. Right: One of the dozens of developers that got a 30-second window to describe their game to the audience.
Left: Day9. Right: One of the dozens of developers that got a 30-second window to describe their game to the audience.

I don’t have a lot to say about this one either. I’m a fan of Day9, the perpetually positive presenter of this promotional PC party.

What I found interesting is that Epic Games did a lot of the funding for this event. Those guys sure are throwing a lot of money around these days. I think those Fortnite millionsCould it be billions? are burning a hole in their pocket. It kinda reminds me of those situations where a lower-class person wins the lottery and blows through the whole thing by impulsively buying random stuff.

I’m not saying that’s what Epic is doing, I’m just saying it reminds me of that sort of intense, unfocused spending. I’m glad they funded the show, but I’m wondering if they have a plan for when the Fortnite well runs dry.

EDIT: I have been reminded that Vampire: The Masquerade: Bloodlines 2: The Videogame is a thing that’s happening. This is pretty surreal. A decade ago I thought these sorts of talky first person open-world roleplaying games were dead. But now Deus Ex is alive again and we even have stuff like Prey. And Cyberpunk 2077 is coming. I suppose Dishonored might also count? Anyway, big-budget first-person games aren’t just for shooting military dudes anymore. I am 100% in favor of this trend.

Bloodlines 2 looks solid so far. The only downside here is that this game is scheduled for the early months of 2020, and those months are PACKED with other games. In any other year, this would be on my “buy on release day, play until 2AM all week” list, but next year? I’ve already got so many games fighting for that position I’m not sure what I’m going to do.

Again, this is not a complaint.

Nintendo’s Presentation

Nintendo's show is just premade promotional videos with no live presenter.
Nintendo's show is just premade promotional videos with no live presenter.

I don’t really have much to say about Nintendo, and I’m only listing it here because some people might worry I forgot. None of Nintendo’s properties land in my wheelhouse and I’m not familiar enough with all the non-Mario properties to have anything meaningful to say about them.

Although I’m happy to hear the Mario Maker is coming to the Switch. That’s a really good idea.

Also, Witcher 3 is coming to the Switch? I’m just thinking of the scene where Geralt finally tracks down Whoreson Jr. and finds the dismembered naked prostitutes on meathooks.  Does Nintendo know what they’re getting into here? I’m thinking this will be the first time something like THAT has shown up on a Nintendo system.

Ubisoft – Uplay+

Wow. They've really improved Uplay since the last time I checked.
Wow. They've really improved Uplay since the last time I checked.

You know, I’d like Ubisoft a lot more if they weren’t such massive assholes to us PC based gamers. Their DRM treats us all like pirates and Uplay is a useless irritant with nothing to offer the end user. I’m mostly not a fan of their open world collect-a-thon games like Far Cry and Assassin’s Creed, but I can at least respect those games on the basis of their loyal fans. They’re not for me, but people do love those games. But Uplay? Phone-home DRM? Nobody’s a fan of that garbage. It’s an anti-feature, and for years we’ve had plenty of evidence that DRM doesn’t help the bottom line. It’s all cost and no benefit, and if you’re running a billion-dollar publishing house then being ignorant of this reality is willful ignorance and negligence.

Even more annoying is that the company is completely deaf to the PC space. We scream at them that we hate their ridiculous destructive DRM and it makes their products less attractive while doing nothing to hinder the pirates. Then they reply with, “We need to do this to stop the pirates”, indicating they’re not listening, they don’t care, and they don’t even understand how piracy works. We hate on Uplay and they never respond, or notice, or change anything. Their entire approach on the the PC feels like it comes from a place of open contempt. “We’re willing to take your money because that’s good business, but we don’t care if you like our games and we don’t care what you think of us.”

So now they’re rolling out yet another game subscription service. EA’s Origin has one. Microsoft announced a similar service to predictable results. Discord has one. And now Ubisoft. Demonstrating their complete obliviousness towards the audience, they’ve named it after Uplay, their hated PC nagware / memory sink.

Do they seriously not know?

I’m sure I’ll try it when it launches this September, but only because I’m expecting it to be obnoxious and maybe I can get a column out of it.

I’ll finish this series up in the next entry, including talking about my favorite game of the show that doesn’t have “Cyberpunk” in the name. Warning: It’s probably going to be confusing.

 

Footnotes:

[1] The Thor stuff.

[2] Iron Man stuff.

[3] Could it be billions?



From The Archives:
 

114 thoughts on “E3 2019: Square Enix, PC, Devolver Digital, Uplay+

  1. Infinitron says:

    I don’t have a lot to say about this one either.

    B L O O D L I N E S 2

    1. Shamus says:

      Oh yeah. I forgot about that one.

      I’ll watch that segment again and amend the post with my thoughts.

      1. Infinitron says:

        There are a bunch of full-length gameplay videos of it out now too.

        This E3 rapidly and unexpectedly turned into one of the biggest E3s for story-driven RPGs in years (and amazingly neither of them is from BioWare or Bethesda).

        1. Shamus says:

          “and amazingly neither of them is from BioWare or Bethesda”

          And yet this sounds like a GOOD thing.

          “Oh no, an action RPG? Oh wait, it’s not by BioWare. Okay, we’ll be fine. Whew!”

          These are strange times indeed.

          1. Asdasd says:

            I went through the same thought process with Baldur’s Gate 3.

            I wasn’t so much happy that Larian was given it, as I was relieved it wasn’t Bioware or Beamdog.

            1. Ivan says:

              Are Beamdog the people who do the Enhanced Editions? Other than that, yes exactly.

              1. Hector says:

                I’m not sure what the issue with Beamdog would be, other than them being a very small studio. Is there an issue with past games there?

                1. Joshua says:

                  I have no idea what anyone else’s complaints may be, but the Enhanced Editions of games I’ve bought that were made by them (Baldur’s Gate and NWN) weren’t exactly revolutionary. Nothing like the Final Fantasy remakes which modernized older games with new graphics.

                  1. Hector says:

                    Well, yeah, but that was the goal. Its like criticizing a truck for not being a sports car. That critique can’t even be wrong, and its not what the customers wanted anyway, or we would have bought sports-cars in the first place.

                  2. Sleeping Dragon says:

                    I will point out that that was literally what they were supposed to do, spruce the games up, not remake them.

                    1. Zaxares says:

                      Having played through the EE’s, I will say right up front that the EE games themselves do not deserve all the hate that’s been shoveled on them. You can (rightfully) argue that the new content they’ve added is about the same quality that we’d get from mods, but even indie modders have a right to profit from their work. Beamdog has also tightened up a lot of things and backported a lot of QoL features from the later games that make the earlier games MUCH more enjoyable to play.

                      Now, all that said, I readily admit that Beamdog is not without flaws. I think that their forced bundling of the original Bioware/Black Isle games with their Enhanced Editions was highly objectionable, and they were originally a bit too heavy handed with the sermonizing in Siege of Dragonspear. (There’s a infamous interview with one of the writers who claimed that two of the female characters in BG1 were sexist stereotypes of women. This is TRUE, but if you look at the other characters, they’re ALL stereotypes. That’s kinda what D&D is like; you start off with stereotypes, then smooth and polish and refine through your adventures until you have a unique character. Very, VERY few D&D players will start off trying to create a completely original character.) They seem to have pruned this out of the game because I saw very little evidence of it when I played through Siege of Dragonspear about 2 years later, but it did occur.

                    2. Sleeping Dragon says:

                      @Zaxares

                      Isn’t there like a toggle to disable the new content in the EE games? It’s been a while since I’ve played so not sure.

                    3. Zaxares says:

                      Not that I’m aware of, but I do know that there IS a mod that allows you to cut out the new NPCs and their associated quests if that’s your preference.

                2. Distec says:

                  I think their EEs have been received well enough. It’s their originally-produced content that seems polarizing. Siege of Dragonspear was basically their fan-canon bridge between BG1 and BG2, and the reception seemed to be less than great. But who knows how good they’d be outside of the weird constraints of that project.

                  I’ve only played D:OS1 from Larian and found it to be mechanically great to play, although the writing is super generic and uninteresting. I’ll get around to it some day, but its sequel seems to have shored up that weakness considerably. And the fact that Larian now has two full-fledged and successful RPGs under their belt (instead of restoration projects) seemed to make them the no-brainer selection.

                  1. Infinitron says:

                    Siege of Dragonspear isn’t really bad, some questionable writing aside. It just sold poorly, which left the game easy prey to review-bombing when the developers foolishly stepped on a bunch of culture war landmines. A more commercially successful game could have survived that. It turns out there wasn’t actually that much of an audience for an expansion pack for a 15+ year old game.

                    1. Mattias42 says:

                      I donno. Titan quest is 13+ at this rate, and it’s gotten two brand spanking expansions within roughly as many years, and they seem pretty well-received with decent sales.

                      Dragonspear itself is currently (18/6-18) sitting at ‘Mostly Positive’ over on Steam, and a pretty decent 77% over on Metacritic. And the pretty rotten 33% user review score seem to be mostly from launch and talk about ‘massive bugs’ a lot, something that doesn’t seem that fair given that the last patch landed in May of this year.

                      Hell, and apparently they did all that via reverse-engineering because the assets are all gone due to the last known copy of the data being destroyed when one of the old devs garage flooded.

                      https://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/269510/To_build_a_new_Baldurs_Gate_Beamdog_had_to_reverseengineer_the_original.php

                      Given all that crud and the previous mentioned restraints of needing to bridge BG 1 & 2, I’d honestly really like to see what Beamdog could do with a project entirely of their own. Doubly so now that they’ve remastered the more technically advanced, actually in 3D, semi-MMO-thingy-RPG Neverwinter Nights and all of its odd, seen-once systems.

                    2. Infinitron says:

                      When David Gaider worked there in 2016-2018, Beamdog pitched several RPG projects to Wizards of the Coast including a new Planescape RPG, but they never got off the ground.

                      Now they’re making Axis & Allies Online. Not a promising trajectory I’m afraid.

          2. Chad Miller says:

            BioWare or Bethesda

            I think it’s sad to see a beloved WRPG developer go from a boring but critically acclaimed high fantasy game, to a new entry in their flagship scifi series with questionable quest design and an entirely incoherent plot, to a multiplayer-only PvE shooter that managed to bore its target audience while also having essentially nothing to offer the company’s longtime fans. But not nearly as sad as seeing it happen twice, concurrently.

            1. Joe Informatico says:

              When you lay it out like that…wow.

        2. Scampi says:

          This E3 rapidly and unexpectedly turned into one of the biggest E3s for story-driven RPGs in years (and amazingly neither of them is from BioWare or Bethesda).

          When was a Bethesda game ever worth talking about in relation to being “story-driven”?
          I totally get the point about Bioware, but Bethesda? Really? I’d be surprised IF Bethesda created a story-driven game at all.

          1. Mattias42 says:

            Think Bethesda deserves some ‘devil’s dues’ style accolades on at least trying with their stories, honestly.

            I mean, stuff like the sacrifice for, or turning your back on your father’s work at the end of Fallout 3. Or being able to find a secret loophole to kill a god in Morrowind if you bungle up the prophecy on how you were ‘meant’ to do it. Or even Oblivion where the protagonist can only watch as the actual Chosen One they tracked down over who knows how long, goes and finishes the fight in moments with powers they can never even dream off.

            In a… well, non-interactive medium like books or movies those would have all been some fairly gripping twists with gut-wrenching character moments.

            …But, well, they fall flat when the player’s this blank slate written by somebody else that just stands there, and instead of bathos/pathos only feel annoyed by not being able to pull out their Ûber-gun +12 and solve the problem instantly themselves because they’re character is a MAX Int genius that can do brain-surgery via air-soft gun from the next county, or whatever. Or, you know, worse, actually has that rad-suit in their pocket that a book character might have left behind for extra ammo in the final confrontation, or something.

            So, yeah, Bethesda aren’t perfect by ANY means and they’ve made many mistakes over their existence, but I’d still argue that their games still have story as one of their central ingredients.

            1. galacticplumber says:

              You can make a case for past titles attempting to have stories. Then Fallout 76 happened.

              1. Mattias42 says:

                Fallout 76 is hardly the first weird experiment Bethesda has tried, though, not even the first to crash and burn.

                Red Guard the adventure game and that Battle Spire thing spring to mind.

    2. Decius says:

      I’m distinctly unimpressed by the gameplay videos that exist of BL2. The combat-focused gameplay ignores the core thematic and mechanical elements of the source material(Masquerade and Humanity), the lack of consequences suggests that prolonged gun battles are common enough that the police no longer bother showing up, and the fact that the conversation trees haven’t been built up yet indicates that they weren’t a priority.

      If there’s room to play a Malkavian main (Auspex/Dementation/Obfuscate) or a Ventrue main (Dominate/Fortitude/Presence), it’s not indicated by the gameplay loop of ‘talk to people until a fight triggers, win fight, select resolution’.

      1. Adrian Burt says:

        Malkavian and Ventrue are playable Clans. In fact the game has three different social focused Disciplines: Dominate, Dementate, and Presence.

        Again you got to remember this is a sequel to Bloodlines 1. All of the combat shown happened in a combat area where you don’t lose Humanity from killing (you’re not killing Innocents), and you can’t violate the Masquerade. At no point did the player display obvious Disciplines or assault random civilians in Pioneer Square, which is a Masquerade zone. This is exactly how the original game functioned.

          1. Adrian Burt says:

            I also think people need to check out the gameplay demo footage from GameSpot and not base all of their expectations off the one IGN video. In the GameSpot video the player takes a less aggressive style than the IGN players (also fights better than the IGN) and ends up talking to Slugg instead of directly engaging in combat. After getting the data peacefully, the GameSpot player goes back to Elif and lies to her, saying he couldn’t find the data. The implication is that the player is basically going to double-cross Elif and hand the information over to the Nosferatu. Bloodlines 1 didn’t have this sort of mercenary angle to it, until really the last possible minuet in the story you were forced to work for the Prince and at best all you could do was bad talk LaCroix when he wasn’t around and tell the Anarchs, no really I hate the Camarilla too guys!

        1. Moridin says:

          Again you got to remember this is a sequel to Bloodlines 1.

          And Fallout 3 is a sequel to Fallout 2. Being a sequel doesn’t necessarily mean much beyond “this is set in the same universe as the previous game and shares vaguely similar thematics because we thought we could cash in on the name recognition” when the game is being made by different people working for a different company.

          Not that I expect Paradox to butcher things as badly as Bethesda did.

          1. Adrian Burt says:

            What I tried to say was that Bloodlines is not a direct one-to-one translation of the tabletop mechanics, it’s still a video game. So by being a sequel to Bloodlines, I’m asking players to temper their expectations and not go “well this is different from the tabletop game”. Of course it’s going to be different.

            1. Sleeping Dragon says:

              I’m actually really hoping it’ll be similar to the first game but smoother, ideally making the ending less combat reliant.

  2. Asdasd says:

    It’s hard to believe that Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3 looks so much better than the Avengers, despite being a lesser budget game on a relatively underpowered console. I think it backs up what you’re always saying about art style being just as important as graphical fidelity.

    In terms of industrial trends, over the past decade or so Nintendo has become a lot less squeamish about graphical violent and even sexual content in games released for their systems. Their first party output is still very family friendly, but you can find all sorts of mature rated content on their digital stores. In a bit of a role-reversal it’s now Sony, who built the playstation brand with a sort of laddish, anything-goes marketing targeted towards adults first and foremost, who have become more censorious and squeamish about certain kinds of content in their games.

    1. Christopher says:

      Comes and goes, I suppose. I dunno who got a new job at Sony and decided boobs were out now, but those devs have started putting their boobie games out on Switch instead.

      Relatedly, the Senran Kagura Huge Boobs Producer guy has quit the company partly because it got harder and harder to make the games they wanted because of that censorship. Last I checked he had joined an unnamed company to make a big RPG (Maybe the Cygames thing, Project AWAKENING?), so in that sense people might be okay with the tradeoff.

  3. Crokus Younghand says:

    Look at Black Widow’s hair. That looks like it belongs in Elder Scrolls: Oblivion. And this is supposed to be a cutscene!

    Maybe they’ll provide a couple of Sims Hairpack mods and Anime Hairpack mods too.

    1. DerJungerLudendorff says:

      Full steamworks mod support!

  4. Dreadjaws says:

    You’re probably going to mention this in the Escapist article, but the two things that irked me the most about the Avengers visuals are:

    a) the faces look like the work of an alien art student trying to draw humans from memory after only seeing them once in space spring break while drunk on space beer and
    b) everything from costumes to sets to tools to team roster is clearly based on the designs of the MCU (hell, even Bruce Banner dresses with the same shirt), but they didn’t fork money to pay for the actors’ likenesses.

    This wouldn’t be a problem if they had based them on the comics or used original designs like the Spider-Man or Arkham games did (well, I guess the faces would probably still look like rotten hobo ass), but they didn’t. They obviously used designs similar to the MCU’s to attract those fans. But of course, those fans are going to be turned off by what looks more like a game based on the Avengers porn parody. Meanwhile, fans of the comics are going to be irritated by the overuse of MCU paraphernalia. Trying to please both audiences they’re pleasing no one.

    Plus, the story is painfully derivative, even for comic book standards. How many times are they going to milk the Civil War/The Incredibles plot? It was already a tired cliche before the turn of the century.

    Also, it should be “Mario Maker”, not “Mario Marker”.

    1. Dave B. says:

      Also, it should be “Mario Maker”, not “Mario Marker”.

      No, that’s from the highly anticipated Mario/Dead Space crossover.

      1. Tizzy says:

        I’d play that.

        1. BlueHorus says:

          Jump on the zombie’s heads to kill them!

          1. Xapi says:

            Uhm, actually, you’re supposed to jump on their limbs.

            1. Scampi says:

              And I had imagined Mario being a outer space monstrosity of tentacled shroomy awesomeness, sprouting mushrooms from his severed limb-trunks. And the only person capable to stop him is Mega Man, applying all cutting and dismembering tools ever made into weapons for robot masters.
              Sadly, it will never come true sigh

    2. Baron Tanks says:

      I typed up the same bit as you on the Avengers but this got posted while I was still drafting. I’m sure this is the conclusion that many of us arrive at :) Just develop your own identity basically. When it comes to the story I’m always in the camp of wait and see. Games have a pretty terrible reputation of course but even in comics, while there are many gems out there the hit to miss ratio I think is still fairly terrible, considering the mountains of dross that has also been published, often by the same companies. Nothing shown so far inspires a particular confidence things will be different this time.

      1. Chad Miller says:

        I’m sure this is the conclusion that many of us arrive at

        Initial reaction: Thor looks like a Thor cosplayer.
        Follow-up: Wow, Tony Stark looks even more like a Tony Stark cosplayer.
        Looking at other comments: Yeah, it seems like people are largely on the same page here. This bodes well.

    3. Cubic says:

      “I guess the faces would probably still look like rotten hobo ass”

      It would admittedly be funny if those faces are from hobos found near the game studio. Not impossible.

      1. Mr. Wolf says:

        Eli Vance, is that you?

    4. Jeff says:

      The biggest problem to me is the body shape/proportions.

      Look at Captain America, it’s like the devs have no clue what physical fitness looks like. There’s really no excuse, even the actual actors look more like superheros than the weird bodies they have going there.

      1. Cubic says:

        Thor looks rather barrel-shaped too (offseason in Asgard, I suppose) while the Hulk has some sort of twisted hunchback.

    5. Agammamon says:

      Captain America has a ‘dad bod’ and Ironman . . . isn’t human shaped under that armor.

      1. Scampi says:

        I wouldn’t exactly call it a dad bod, but it looks kind of deformed imho, a bit blobby, but not in the sense that he’s “fat” or anything, just that he kind of just “fills” an unelastic and badly tailored uniform.

  5. Ninety-Three says:

    Fornite millions (could it be billions?)

    It is.

  6. Baron Tanks says:

    Avengers: It’s being said all over the internet but I really want to echo that the problem is not necessarily the potato faces in general, but that the rest of the design choices (the almost exact costumes, the photorealism) deliberately invokes the Avengers as we know ‘m on the screen. It just had to find a style, any style, to differentiate itself. That would take away about 50-75% of the public headache surrounding this game. We’d still be left with the gameplay pacing potential problems Shamus highlights, the live-service model, content roadmap… yada yada yada. But at least it wouldn’t look so much like Avengers: Stunt doubles assemble or a poorly produced Chinese rip-off.

    Epic:

    I’m glad they funded the show, but I’m wondering if they have a plan for when the Fortnite well runs dry.

    The dots here are not that hard to connect. Epic’s post Fortnite plan is very blatantly the Epic games store. They’re trying to turn the incidental (incidental being a waterfall of cash over 3-5 years) revenue into recurrent revenue (store). Along with their licensing business they’ll have a sustained, potentially eyewatering amount of steady revenue coming in. Which of course is no guarantee that the shareholders will be satisfied. The reason I think this is especially BECAUSE they seem to be spending the money so hard and so fast. Even Epic is not entirely sure how long the Fortnite train will keep rolling and they are obviously deathly afraid to miss the boat on a chance to establish their future now. A cursory glance shows that in April 2019 Fortnite generated $300 revenue (that’s obviously not the same as profit). So they’re funneling (a fraction of) the gains from a single pipeline (Fortnite) into someting that is more broadly sustainable (a store). It’s basically a risk reducing strategy.

    Uplay: This is an interesting one. I feel Uplay is not as draconian as it used to be and what appears to still inform a lot of Shamus’ opinion. It does however appear to be entirely superfluous and not bring anything to the table. The thing I’d add to this discussion is that, much like with the uproar of the Epic store, the proportion of people that speak out and display their grievances with something like Uplay might be significantly smaller than those that shrug and put up with it (or not bothered by it in the first place). I have recently started to pick up a bit of Rainbow Six Siege which I actually bought only on Uplay (because I found a good deal on a grey market key, go ahead, judge away). That game is huge and sustaining itself in terms of audience and I’m sure there is a good portion of that audience that doesn’t give a hoot about wider trends in the industry. I also shook my head at the announcement of this Uplay pass or whatever, but if it for example includes the new season pass for a game like Siege, a lot of people may look at it and go, I’m spending this money anyway, this way I get access to the rest of the library of Ubisoft games. Although they may not interest me, there is no monetary difference and this gives me a wider access. I don’t know if this is true but I’m just trying to illustrate how from our side (people on Shamus blog) something can appear baffling while there is a ‘silent’ majority out there that this makes sense for. As long as these companies don’t tell us why they do something and show the data it’s based on, it’ll always be just a guessing game.

    1. Geebs says:

      For me, the only important quality of life* feature a store/game launcher needs is a function to limit download speed. By this metric, Uplay is objectively better than a fair number of shop fronts, including the Epic Store.

      I still maintain that the reason Shamus bags on Uplay so badly is that he’s never tried VivePort. That thing makes the Windows Store look like a functional piece of software.

      *literally. In my household, hogging all of the bandwidth is a serious offence.

      1. Moridin says:

        You might want to check if your router supports QoS so you can stop worrying about hogging all the bandwidth.

    2. Hector says:

      I dislike Uplay because it materially harms the games using it, in at least two ways but often more. Uplay still has this weird thing where they give you in-game rewards for achievements, but in the most intrusive way possible. First, they have annoying achievement notifications which are irritating in immersive games and foul up dramatic moments. Then rather than have organic rewards or loot or content, they’ve carved stuff out of the game but it magically shows up in you inventory or world once you exist the game and ‘buy’ it from a menu. This, of course ignores any stability or performance issues of the Uplay platform itself.

  7. Joshua says:

    “for a lot of people it was a defining moment in their relationship with the hobby.”

    For me, it was Final Fantasy VI which came out the Christmas in my Senior year of High School. While not that special today, it holds a warm place in my heart for how much it revolutionized video game RPGs at the time. Still, despite the story feeling more or less complete, the game always tends to come across as an unfinished demo to me, because they introduced SO MANY subsystems, spells, character abilities, items, etc., without enough game to fully utilize them all. Maybe that’s just Final Fantasy in general?

    Also, it’s bad when you make Black Widow look like Dave Mustaine….”You take a mortal man, five him superpowers he can’t control. Watch him become a god…”

    1. Asdasd says:

      I think for a lot of people their first JRPG, like their first anime, is remembered with disproportionate fondness. For me it was Breath of Fire II. At 13 I found it an incredible experience but it’s one in which I suspect many would struggle to find anything noteworthy. I have a suspicion that it’s because Japanese storytelling relies so heavily a small number of endlessly recycled tropes, which are intoxicating at first encounter but diminish with repeat exposure.

      1. Hector says:

        BoF2 wasn’t my first JRPG, but it’s a pretty good one, and still worth playing today. It has a surprisingly tight challenge curve, quite a few secrets to search out (and a couple of absurdly annoying ones) , and it doesn’t drop all the interesting content early. The characters are broadly drawn, sure, but they’re fun and likable with very distinctive silouettes and color palettes. It’s also quite bit more respectful of your time than modern games.

        1. John says:

          Breath of Fire II was my second JRPG (the first being Breath of Fire I). While it’s a huge improvement over the first game in terms of art and story, it’s still a long slog, packed to the gills with mindless, tedious random encounters in which you spam your characters’ most powerful attacks until the random assortment of enemies are all dead. There’s a lot that a like about the game–the town-building, the shamans, the fusion mechanics–but I have zero desire to ever play it again and would never recommend it to anyone who isn’t already a big JRPG fan.

        2. tmtvl says:

          It’s also quite bit more respectful of your time than modern games.

          You’ve played the GBA version, haven’t you? The SNES version has such a tedious grind requirement due to the absurdly low experience reward enemies give you.

          Personally I loved BoF IV. The setting is interesting and unique, the story is gripping, the battle system is fun,…
          So of course THAT’S the one they don’t re-release. Don’t get me wrong, number 3 is also a good game, but seriously.

      2. Joshua says:

        I disagree with this slightly. I had played Final Fantasy IV before this (1 on the NES as well, but not the same thing) as well as Secret of Mana. Both of these games were JRPGs but much more derivative of standard Fantasy tropes at the time, and Final Fantasy VI had a whole new set of expansive gameplay story mechanics. Of course, maybe that’s what codified the tropes you’re talking about after that point.

        1. Zaxares says:

          I’m sort of in a similar boat. Secret of Mana was the first JRPG I played that I REALLY enjoyed, and a couple years later, Chrono Trigger remains THE best classic JRPG that I have ever played.

          Yet despite that, FFVII still holds a special place in my heart. I can’t really explain why. I’m extremely disappointed that it’s a PS4 exclusive, but the original FFVII used to be a PS exclusive too, so who knows, maybe it’ll make its way onto the PC in a few years.

      3. Jeff says:

        My first is actually FFX, even though I’ve been a longtime gamer and cut my RPG teeth on things like Wasteland and Ultima Underworld. My fondness at the same time is more for the experience of playing it in shifts at university with friends, though. We actually seemed to have more fun with Kingdom Hearts, which we played after FFX.

    2. Geebs says:

      Also, it’s bad when you make Black Widow look like Dave Mustaine…

      OH GOD IT’S TRUE

      (Actually that explains the weird knock-off appearance of this set of Avengers. Black Widow has had all of the original Avengers re-recorded to avoid royalties)

    3. BlueHorus says:

      “For a lot of people [FFVII] was a defining moment in their relationship with the hobby”

      It was for me…but then I changed my mind. Weirdly it was Bioshock that did it: ‘Wait, so a game can have a thoughtful story, a message – AND gameplay that isn’t a repetitive dull chore?’

      Now, when I look back on FFVII, my most vivid memory is the sinking feeling I got whenever the screen blurred for a random battle.
      Well, that and the way Cloud, Sephiroth (and some others) kept just not finishing their sentences. The story was in essence very simple (save planet from obvious bad guys), but needlessly obtuse and took ages to get to the point.

      Also, I hope they let you use a Phoenix Down on Aeris this time. Though presumably we won’t know until the third game/episode.

      1. Joshua says:

        “my most vivid memory is the sinking feeling I got whenever the screen blurred for a random battle.”

        I just bought Final Fantasy IX for our Switch last weekend and have been playing it for a few hours. The transitions for battles are horrendous, with a pause, a zoom to the battlefield, a pan around the battlefield, and finally after about 15 seconds you’re allowed to start. This is inexcusable for random encounters in a game where grinding is expected. If there’s a way to stop or reduce this, I’d appreciate someone letting me know.

        1. BlueHorus says:

          IX? I know there’s an option to cut down the length of summon spells (after VIII featured an infamous and unskippable one-minute-forty-seconds-long summon animation for the most powerful GF) in the options menu. But that’s it, as far as I can tell…

          1. The Rocketeer says:

            They pull a real dick move in FFIX: you can set the summon animations to “short,” but they become less powerful.

          2. Joshua says:

            Just browsed around online, and my issue is one of the number one complaints about the game: the annoying camera pan and scan and just general slowness of the battles. Apparently, it was used back in the day to hide loading times(?) due to PS 1 Hardware limitatoins. Weird how a modern re-release doesn’t fix that issue since there should be no issues with the hardware.

            1. Thomas says:

              If that’s true, it’s an especially bad omission as the FFXII remaster came with a fast forward feature.

            2. Asdasd says:

              Still not sure how the PS1 won that generation with those awful load times.

              1. galacticplumber says:

                That generation was more of an apple/oranges comparison. Systems came with game genre specializations.

          3. tmtvl says:

            You wouldn’t want to skip the summon animations in FFVIII, as you can get your Guardian Forces the boost skill which allows you to mash to increase their damage output.
            Eden was the only one where you could reasonably get 255 without a turbo controller. (And was also the one that could do more than 9999 damage.)

            1. BlueHorus says:

              Personally, I hated the Boost ability. Not only does my Summon spell show me the the exact same loooong animation every time, but it comes with a bundled-in QTE to add optional damage? Ack, no thanks.

              And it wasn’t necessary. Like almost every Final Fantasy I’ve played, the final battle was a matter of finding the right ways to break the system. With VIII it was combining the spell that guaranteed a Limit Break every turn (Aura I think?) and turning a playing card into 100 mega-elixers so healing damage was laughably easy.

        2. Chad Miller says:

          I’ve played every Final Fantasy from I to XV, mostly in order. IX’s random encounters (both the frequency and the time taken) were heavily criticized even when the game was new and even though we all bought it anyway.

          (FWIW I do think VI and VII were standouts both at the time and in retrospect. X was the best since VII and it’s mostly been downhill since then. I do plan to pick up The Zodiac Age remake of XII though)

      2. shoeboxjeddy says:

        You hope that they undo the plot of the entire back half of the game? Or that they attempt to use one on camera and establish a reason that it will not work? The latter makes a lot more sense to me…

        1. BlueHorus says:

          I was making a joke, primarily.

          But actually, I wouldn’t object to undoing/changing the plot. Not that I’m likely to play the game(s) either way, but it always struck me as odd that they had a character with a full game’s worth of Limit Breaks etc to learn, a fairly specialized role within the party (spellcaster/healer) that no-one else had, and then they just abruptly killed her off a third of the way through.

          I mean, the other party members include a ninja in an arm cast; a talking spiky …tiger, I think?; and a crown-wearing megaphone-wielding cat robot riding a giant…marshmallow…thing…after all.

          My point? It’s a JRPG; logic simply doesn’t apply. The only reason you CAN’T raise Aeris is that the writer says so.

          1. Supah Ewok says:

            The point is that it was a meta-twist; even up to today, characters scripted to be killed off in RPG’s usually have a mechanical tell, such as they don’t gain experience, you can’t control their inventory, they don’t have a list of abilities like the other playable characters, etc. Aeris being a fully designed character was what made the twist work.

            The confusion with Phoenix Downs is that original RPGs called fallen characters dead; the language specifically calling them dead was dropped by the time of FF7. “Downed” characters still act in cutscenes and clearly aren’t dead. Being “downed” is just some abstraction for being incapacitated, which Phoenix Downs cures. Dead is still dead.

            1. Chad Miller says:

              The language specifically calling them dead wasn’t entirely dropped though; the Death spell existed in the game and made characters “downed”. And what are Phoenixes known for again?

      3. Syal says:

        They’ll make Aeris’s death extremely gory and brutal this time around so there won’t be anything left to use the Down on.

  8. Xeorm says:

    I wonder how much of Ubisoft’s craziness regarding the PC market comes from them being a French company and the different attitudes there compared to other companies.

    1. Infinitron says:

      PC gaming is supposed to be more important in Europe than in the United States (although I’m not sure about France specifically).

  9. Christopher says:

    The Avengers gameplay was leaked via dodgy phone footage, for what that’s worth. You mostly see the character you’re controlling but it’s pretty clear for Widow’s boss fight against Shamus’ favorite Spider-Man character, Taskmaster.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3kpVD83Cr04

    It seems like a generic Money game, you know. Cinematic, shallow, trying very hard to make it not seem “gamey”. Marvel’s Spider-Man wasn’t exactly action experience of the century either, but there was an immediate sell with the web-swinging mechanic But With Money. That sell is not there for these guys ’cause they demand such different gameplay styles that the only thing anyone can imagine is a series of brawler levels where they do a bit of their unique stuff as part of their moveset or in setpiece levels, rather than a separate sandbox for hulk smashing and widow sneaking or whatever. And this is besides their art style being The MCU But Not The Actors We Love. And the Avengers Assemble-level banter. The Arkham games did well to have the cartoon voice actors, ’cause Batman TAS is legendary. Avengers Assemble isn’t even good.

    It was bummer of the show for me, ’cause I quite like these characters after a decade of MCU plus the occasional cartoon and comic. I wanted a really great version of them, not Game MCU.

    1. Hal says:

      I’m not concerned about the art style. It’s very obvious that they wanted the MCU look without the actors’ prices; it’s unsettling, but I suspect you can get past it after a while.

      What seems like it will be a higher hurdle to overcome will be the divergent gameplay each hero represents. They have very different power sets, very different power levels, and thus each will affect a level and the player’s approach very differently. Maybe you have it so the players have to use a specific character each level. Players might resent that, especially if you’re going from one they favor to one they do not. It’s the Spider-Man problem all over again; nobody really appreciated going from power-fantasy Spider-Man to sneaking around as Miles or MJ. Now imagine flying through the air as Iron Man, blasting bad guys, only to get stuck as Hawkeye. Lame.

      The alternative would be to let the players freely pick the heroes, but that sounds like an awful exercise for the developers. Two of the characters can fly past everything, one can just steamroll through everything (and if you can’t smash through walls, people are going to complain). And everyone is going to have the hero they want to play exclusively.

      1. Decius says:

        Give the worst of both worlds: Make the player decide how the team is going to split up to handle a situation, and then make them control each hero through the portion of the environment that they sent them through.

        1. Dan Efran says:

          That actually sounds like a cool gameplay concept.

      2. shoeboxjeddy says:

        Hawkeye could actually be really well off! Bow gameplay has been a staple of shooters for a long time… including one that this very company made and was successful with (the Tomb Raider reboot). Black Widow might be the harder character to get a handle on.

    2. Volvagia says:

      A great Avengers game that isn’t trying to be “Ultimate Alliance, intensive graphics edition” and a great Sonic Adventure remake need the same thing: Multiple talented developers working on a single character each. In Sonic Adventure’s case…? Maybe cut Big. But everyone else? Yeah, a single developer, each.

    3. Scampi says:

      And the Avengers Assemble-level banter. The Arkham games did well to have the cartoon voice actors, ’cause Batman TAS is legendary. Avengers Assemble isn’t even good.

      I know it’s very likely not even a contest in general opinion, but I have to say I never, and I really mean never got the hype around Batman TAS (about the same way I felt about Star Wars and some other assumedly legendary properties).
      To me, it seemed very generic, I can’t stand the art style in the least, I could just not bring myself to ever finish watching the entire series, despite (still) having access to the entire show. I believe I got stuck somewhere in season 3…but, and that’s what makes this especially strange, I can’t even nail the season where I got stuck, even less a specific episode. More, I could barely ever remember where I had stopped watching, because it seemed so forgettable to me. BTAS just never worked for me in the least.
      At the same time, while AA wasn’t a great show, it at least managed to keep me focused enough to finish watching all seasons to date and know what had happened before most of the time.

      1. Shamus says:

        I know it’s usually REALLY rude to ask how old someone is, because it carries the implication of “You’re young and you don’t know what you’re talking about!”

        Can I very politely ask your age, just for my own curiosity?

        As a member of GenX who was born at the start of the 70s, Batman TAS was AMAZING. I grew up with the garbage animation of Hanna-Barbera and the deluge of ghastly minimum-effort animated shows of the 70s. The 80s were better, but there was still no craft to any of it. Nobody thought quality mattered, because “Hey, it’s for kids and kids can’t tell.”

        The one-two punch of Batman TAS and Animaniacs represented a huge shift in children’s programming. I was already in my 20s, and I thought both shows were clever and totally watchable as an adult. I was jealous of my little brother and sister who got to grow up with that stuff instead of Sid & Marty Croft’s wasteland of creepy shows and uncanny valley B-movie children’s programming.

        Animation is pretty solid today, so I can understand why someone that grew up with the Cartoon Network would think that Batman TAS wasn’t a big deal.

        (Loony Toons actually made fantastic stuff all through the years, but by necessity they didn’t make a lot, and they made it slowly. So by the time I was 10 I’d seen every possible Bugs Bunny / Road Runner toon dozens of times.)

        Anyway, maybe you’re older and just have a different perspective. I’m just curious.

        1. Kyle Haight says:

          I was also born at the start of the 1970s and my experience with children’s programming essentially mirrors what Shamus says here. The 70s were a wasteland. Things ticked up a bit in the 80s with adapted Japanese imports like Star Blazers and Robotech, and the GI Joe and Transformers cartoons, but it was still pretty clearly ‘kids stuff’. Animation today is an order of magnitude improved. If you didn’t live through the before times, the contrast is almost impossible to understand.

          Also, Kevin Conroy just is the voice of Batman. To me, now, anyone else in the role just sounds wrong.

        2. Scampi says:

          Of course you can ask and I’m not offended at all. I’m in the age of 30+, an early 80s kid from Germany. My family didn’t have cable TV in my childhood, and American networks usually licence their shows to German channel thus I might have missed the time window to suffer the horrible animation of 80s cartoons, because my mom knew her ways to prevent me from getting into contact with what she thought was stupid and useless pseudo-entertainment until I was well into my teen days, but I never actually caught up on older shows for contrast.
          I don’t specifically have any issues with the BTAS animation, just with the art style, which was never really to my liking, as characters in the kind of typical DC animation style seem kind of overdrawn to me. Also, for unknown reasons the show never managed to get me involved in the first place. I tried revisiting it only a short while ago and still couldn’t get myself to really care about the show.
          There have generally been few DC animated shows that impressed me with their style of drawing characters. I was drawn more to the even at the time imho superior art style of the only little younger Spider Man TAS, even though I always thought its Peter Parker looked way too well built for a nerd. It also connected its plots better, as far as I remember, creating themed arcs over its run instead of seeming very “villain-of-the-week-ish”.
          On top, in my circles, Marvel and Manga (and, as implied by Kyle, some cases of amazing animation of Japanese origins) were way bigger and DC couldn’t really convince anyone to “jump ship” when Batman movies in the 90s didn’t exactly make a case for their source material. I guess sometimes no movie at all is a better advertisement for an IP than really stupid ones.

      2. RCN says:

        Before Batman TAS action-oriented cartoons were very condescending stuff that either by law or by laziness exclusively talked down to its audience.

        GI Joe, Transformers, Super Friends, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, its many (MAAAANY) clones one cheesier than the other, literally hundreds of celebrity-based animations that usually launched when the celebrity in question had already faded, coupled with literally hundreds of Scooby-Doo ripoffs that didn’t dare to have the same somewhat grounded narrative of the original nor its genuinely spooky art style (Scooby-doo ended ripping off ITSELF by having Hannah-Barbera doing spin-offs of much lesser quality that focused more on the antics of the insufferable new characters than the mystery itself). This is what TV animation was before Batman TAS.

        Whenever a studio actually tried to do something more interesting, mature or nuanced, they ended up bogged down by low budgets that made every fight the same because they were literally REUSING the same animation cels for every battle and sometimes even over the same backgrounds (He-Man, Herculoids, Space Ghost, Johnny Quest, etc…). Other times, it simply couldn’t tackle the mature themes as they’d like or have proper action scenes thanks to direct censorship (the Dungeons and Dragons cartoon, where swords were allowed as long as they were never used to stab anyone, only to shoot energy beams that always missed, meanwhile the main characters were turned into bland stereotypes because the FCC required that the good guys always be perfect and the bad guys always irredeemable, but it did manage to sneak a bit of nuance in).

        Batman was revolutionary in western animation because it had the budget to have proper action and I’m not sure if the censorship had become more lax, but they managed to get more nuance out of the characters by exploring the tragedy of the insanity of the villains. Before TAS Batman’s rogue gallery were just a bunch of criminals without higher purposes or drives, it was TAS that pushed for Arkhan becoming a centerfold of his rogue’s gallery and the insanity a motif among them.

        1. Joshua says:

          You may already be aware, but the creators of the D&D Cartoon complained about the FCC requirement of the time that “The group is always right, the complainer is ALWAYS wrong”. Such awful regulation.

          1. RCN says:

            That cartoon was immensely more popular in my country, but the censorship is very obvious these days.

  10. Christopher says:

    FF7 looks sick. I wasn’t a playstation kid growing up so I don’t have a lot of personal history with the series, but it’s hard not to know these characters through osmosis. Advent Children, Smash Bros., countless Tifa fanarts, iconic music, even though I’ve never played the original game it feels pretty great to see these guys remade in such high fidelity. It’s maybe a little bit bizarre. Nintendo are remaking Link’s Awakening, and they aren’t turning that into some trilogy of modern Zelda games based on part of the game or anything, lol. I think FF7 could’ve just had a neat little remake of the same old rpg with a cute art style. But it is really nice to get a big, beautiful action RPG with these iconic characters anyway. I’d be into it even if it wasn’t based on anything, same as the Resi 2 remake.

    Nintendo killed it at E3. Banjo in Smash is… How do I put this in a way Shamus relates to? Like, say there was a grand PC crossover fighting game that you loved, that had included the various big names from beloved PC games you’ve played over the years. It started out as just a Valve thing. It’s got Gordon Freeman. Dr. Breen is there. It’s got the Heavy, it’s got Chel. There’s a playable Headcrab, which is very popular in casual play although not very viable competitively. Then, Super Valve Smashers started to get bigger. It included a crossover with Tracer all of a sudden. And from there it started to include Kerrigan, Doomguy is here, it’s got Ghandi from Civ, it’s got Cate Archer and it’s got Cave Story’s Quote. Corvo is here, and he has his daughter Emily as an echo fighter. It recently got Sans Undertale, and Diablo, long awaited, was just announced to be coming this summer. But you’ve always been asking, wondering:

    “When’s that ship from Descent??”

    And BAM there’s the ship from Descent, decades after its first appearance, after such a long time away. And it’s got the music, it’s got a stage based on the location, and it’s coming this fall. Arrow through my heart, couldn’t have sniped me better.

    I had to message my brother just to let him know, and he was just as ecstatic.

    1. Narkis says:

      it’s got Ghandi from Civ

      God, now I want this game so bad.

      1. Boobah says:

        No guesses as to his final smash.

  11. Tholmir says:

    I’m thinking this will be the first time something like THAT has shown up on a Nintendo system.

    Well, have you heard of MadWorld, on the Wii?
    It’s very bloody: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-2MYPmbgrI0

  12. Confanity says:

    “…those situations where a lower-class person wins the lottery and blows through the whole thing…”

    Given how “low-class” is also frequently used as a pejorative, this might be better phrased as “a lower-income person.”

    1. Kyle Haight says:

      I read it as contrasting with ‘middle’ and ‘upper’, i.e. as a purely economic descriptor, but I guess I can see how you could interpret it differently. Interesting ambiguity in the language.

  13. Mephane says:

    Re: Ubisoft, don’t forget how they have been adding P2W-ish systems into their games more and more in recent years, even single player games. For Assassin’s Creed Odyssey they sell stuff like an XP booster that you’d otherwise find in a F2P mobile game.

  14. Crimson Dragoon says:

    I’m not as annoyed by the first part of FF7 taking place entirely in Midgar as a lot of others seem to be. Having recently replayed the game, those first few hours in Midgar stand out as the strongest part of the game. The setting is great, the cast is smaller and more focused, and a ton of the most memorable moments of the game are from that section. Only issue is that its about 5-6 hours long. But if they can expand the city and give a full game’s worth of material, this could be really great.

    1. BlueHorus says:

      Kind of agree: after Midgar the plot starts to get a lot more muddled and meandering. So more Midgar could be good buuuuuuuuut…

      …’could’ is very much the operative word. How much do you trust the writers at Sqeenix?
      (So I by no means think that FFVII’s story is ‘sacred’ or anything, but quite often when one writer attempts to add to another’s story, it doesn’t work well.)

    2. Chad Miller says:

      It’s also the part of the game that left the greatest impression that there was all kinds of cool stuff just out of the player’s reach. The early cutscenes (including the introduction) and exposition all do a great job of selling the idea that this is a massive city and you only ever see a tiny slice of it (there are 8 sectors to Midgar, it’s so huge Barret complains that it blots out the sky, and you only ever set foot in three of them, if we’re being generous). It’s really easy to imagine someone being able to extrapolate some more adventures out of it.

      1. Thomas says:

        I’ve always wished you could see more, so I’m looking forward to it being expanded.

        It’s how they chunk everything else up that worries me. Can they make the plot fit to the episode beats? What are they going to do outside of Midgard. I don’t want to spend a whole game in Cosmo Canyon!

        They don’t sound like they’ve figured that out either.

        1. tmtvl says:

          The second gawe will be the flashback in Kalm. They don’t even have to write anything new to fill an entire game with it.

          1. Volvagia says:

            They said 3 games. If that’s true, I’d say Game 1? Midgar, with heavy expansion, possibly giving Tifa more of an arc and a broader understanding of the entire mega-city. Game 2? Kalm, including flashback, to Cosmo Canyon. Corel Prison is basically Barrett’s climax and the Cosmo Canyon exposition is kind of his denouement. Game 3? The rest, which is where Cloud’s arc and issues REALLY take centre stage. Before Nibelheim, he’s more “cagey audience surrogate” than full character.

  15. trevalyan says:

    I’m surprised you’re surprised, Shamus. Dragon Age: Inquisition picked up GOTY less than a decade ago, and Wild Hunt blew it out of the water in every conceivable way. RPGs without microtransactions and live service can be immensely profitable and influential, if you’re a company with talent and passion. Bioware is obviously no longer that company.

    Bloodlines 2 may be good, but after the purge at White Wolf I am not optimistic. Waiting for the reviews to come in first. But I like the Cyberpunk bonuses enough to preorder. Let me get some sweet discounted swag.

  16. Christopher says:

    On the topic of the Avengers’ faces, Thor looks super similar to Hank from Detroit Become Human, who has the likeness of Clancy Brown. Which is bizarre. Thor’s a handsome longhaired dude. Don’t get someone who looks like a fifty year old drunken loser.

    Black Widow doesn’t look like any human I know, but she looks eerily similar to Mary Jane from Marvel’s Spider-Man.
    https://cache.escapistmagazine.com/2019/06/18091222/jVsBdTcfTcrFfJ56EsjGSj-1200-80.jpg
    https://vignette.wikia.nocookie.net/spidermanps4/images/e/e0/Mary_Jane_Watson_from_MSM_screen.jpg/revision/latest/scale-to-width-down/350?cb=20180913205417

    Laura Bailey is the voice of both of them, so maybe they also modeled both their faces lightly on hers? I don’t really know, but wishing no offense to whoever the face model is, she’s no Scarlett Johansson.

    I have no issues with their Hulk lol

  17. Thomas says:

    I’m placing my bet on Watchdogs: Legion being the game Shamus is going to talk about.

    Although the Assassin’s Creed comment does make this a long shot. That map is going to be covered in collectibles when they unveil it

    1. Hal says:

      Was Fable 4 at E3 this year? That’d be my darkhorse candidate.

  18. eldomtom2 says:

    Also, Witcher 3 is coming to the Switch? I’m just thinking of the scene where Geralt finally tracks down Whoreson Jr. and finds the dismembered naked prostitutes on meathooks. Does Nintendo know what they’re getting into here? I’m thinking this will be the first time something like THAT has shown up on a Nintendo system.

    From memory L.A. Noire got onto the Switch uncut, so as long as it passes the ESRB I don’t think Nintendo has problems.

  19. Agammamon says:

    It kinda reminds me of those situations where a lower-class person wins the lottery and blows through the whole thing by impulsively buying random stuff.

    OMG. It would be so hilarious to watch, after all the money spent to ‘break Steam’ and even more money to try to mitigate the reputational damage they’re causing themselves in the process of ‘breaking Steam’, they end up folding because *still* no one will use their store.

  20. Gordon says:

    I like the FarCry games. Sure the plots are insipid and the collect-a-thon a bit annoying and I’m always wishing someone would go back to the grim dark FC2 concept. But the actual gameplay is fairly solid, the running, shooting, sliding and driving, they have something too them. But I haven’t touched the last 2 because of UPlay. And I’m in the “please get over it already” camp when it comes to EGS, so for me to not buy a game I like cause of the store / launcher is something.

    Also please please Shamus do a plot tear down on a FarCry game, if only for the lolz. These things are dumpster fire bad. The games would be significantly better if they just skipped the whole having a plot thing. And then there’s FC4 which despite it’s dumpster fire bad plot somehow manages to have a touch of interesting meta commentary.

  21. Taxi says:

    I won’t play any Ubisoft PC game (nor any other DRM-filled PC game including Steam, Origin, Epic etc.) but when it comes to Ubisoft, you have to give them one thing – they tried.

    Back in 2009 I think, they released 3 PC games on discs with no DRM whatsoever: HAWX, PoP and some strategy game I think. Apparently they were pirated to oblivion and didn’t sell all that great. I bought one of those second hand later and after failing to find a crack and realising it doesn’t need one, I bought another one of that trio. Had I known they aren’t protected, I might have bought both on release, which I never do. But alas it wasn’t widely appreciated.

    On the other hand, Splinter Cell Chaos Theory was uncracked for something like 3 years IIRC and was a best seller despite having the destructive StarForce CP, so Ubi actually has at least SOME data relating sales to DRM. I mean THAT was a game I bought on release so I guess I was part of the problem.

    As for Uplay, while again I’ll never use it, what’s really the difference between one DRM filled big brother repression (Steam) and others (Uplay, Epic, Origin)? Steam showed back in 2004 that non-pirate people will put up with ANYTHING so no, nothing will change.

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