Diecast #335: Fallen Order, Prodeus, Aurora

By Shamus Posted Monday Mar 8, 2021

Filed under: Diecast 147 comments

People have been telling me for years that the Persona series is brilliant and that I would love it. So then last week Persona 5 Strikers came out. Is this Persona 5 with some extra DLC? Is this a spin-off title? If so, is it anything like the core games? Normally you can read the webpage and it will answer these sorts of questions, but I did, and it didn’t. Can anyone tell me what this thing is?

Then again, some dumbass put Denuvo Anti tamper on this thing, so maybe I don’t care.

Hosts: Paul, Shamus. Episode edited by Issac.

Link (YouTube)

Show notes:

00:00 One more thing about Fallen Order

This was supposed to be a part of my Fallen Order Series but it got lost in the edit.

05:32 Kids and Skill Games

Kids are a bunch of scrubs.

11:44 Prodeus

Link (YouTube)

20:03 WandaVision was great! (No Spoilers)

I like the part where punching and magic.

23:41 Mailbag: Aurora

Shamus and Paul,

Are either of you familiar with Aurora? It’s a space-based 4X that is probably best described as somewhere between Masters of Orion, Dwarf Fortress and Microsoft Excel. Personally, I like it enough to have written a 14-part tutorial (starting here), but it’s not for everyone.

Best regards,


Please ignore my snark in this section. I wasn’t really trying to dump on an hand-crafted labor of love from an individual. I was just caught off-guard by the amazingly retro approach on the website.

38:15 Mailbag: KOTOR Combat

Dear Diecast,

A few weeks ago another listener asked about a possible new Kotor and whether there was a place for it today. I think there is broadly speaking, but the combat would have to change, right? I personally love Kotor’s combat, but I don’t think you could do a big budget, mainstream Star Wars game with only turn based stuff anymore. What do you guys think?

What kind of combat would you want out of a modern Star Wars RPG?

Stay healthy,


43:08 Mailbag: VR Stress

Dear Diecast,
Shamus once mentioned that he disliked the act of playing Half-Life: Alyx due to certain activities, like crouching. But do you think these kinds of physical gimmicks will be even more present in future VR games?

On the one hand, it looks very impressive, so from a marketing point of view, it could be a great thing, exclusive to this type of medium. On the other hand, it sounds annoying as hell and could be very distracting. Permanent destruction of my knee joints would ruin the immersion.



From The Archives:

147 thoughts on “Diecast #335: Fallen Order, Prodeus, Aurora

  1. Doctor Beat says:

    Not listened yet, but I think I can answer your question. Persona 5 Strikers is a sequel to Persona 5, but made by Omega Force – doing another of their Warriors games type spinoffs (think Hyrule Warriors). From what I’ve heard, Strikers actually keeps a lot of the narrative elements of Persona, but with a combat system more like Omega Force’s other titles. I’ve also heard you should really play Persona 5 first, if you want to know who any of the characters are.

    1. Thomas says:

      Strikers also removes the time management life sim aspect, which is a big element of the main line games.

    2. Daimbert says:

      I have to admire Team Persona’s willingness to expand their universe into different types of games, and not necessarily the ones you’d think or to try to chase fads necessarily. They’ve already done dance games with the “Dancing” series and fighting games with “Arena”, and now are branching out into something different again.

      1. MerryWeathers says:

        I for one would be very interested in Shamus becoming a weeb from playing Japanese games like Joseph Anderson.

      2. Thomas says:

        I both enjoy it and find it kind of hilarious how they weave legitimate plot continuations into their spin-offs, for whatever hazy definition of canon exists in the Persona multiverse

        1. AdamS says:

          From what I understand, there’s very little (if any) crossover plot between different numbered games in the main line, but Strikers is unusual in that it is basically Persona 5: Part 2.

    3. Grimwear says:

      I had the same problem as Shamus. I saw strikers release on Steam and thought it was maybe a GotY version like Persona 4 Golden. And the page is freaking useless. So I did some googling and turns out it was a…continuation? A kind of sequel maybe? I thought this would be an attempt to finally play Persona (I didn’t get 4 Golden because it was initially designed for handheld?) but no it’s a waste of time. Why the heck can’t they say that this isn’t Persona 5 on the Steam page? Let me know what the product is!

      1. Ander says:

        Persona 4 Golden is an expansion of a game released for PS2. Which is to say, I wouldn’t consider being released on a handheld to be a strong limiting factor. I experienced Golden with a Vita hooked up to a TV the entire time, with no sense of “This was a handheld game.”
        This was my experience, and I’m not saying the game wouldn’t feel limited or isn’t affected by having been on handheld. But for what it’s worth, the game was on a console first.

        p.s. The questions about Strikers seem to have been answered well already. My two cents is that the game would make very little sense without having played Persona 5 or its game-with-expansion Persona 5 Royal (both still PS4 exclusive) first. Without the life sim aspect, it wouldn’t be capturing a large part of why people recommend the series.
        Shamus, I do not recommend picking Persona 5 Strikers up to see what Persona is about. I suggest getting Persona 5 Royal for PS4 or Persona 4 Golden on PC instead.

        1. Grimwear says:

          Wait so P4 Golden is an expansion? So is it the base game + extra content or is it just extra content like Strikers? Also Persona 5 Royal? Is Royal the GotY edition of P5 then? Why can’t they just call it stuff that makes it easy to understand.

          1. Boobah says:

            For the Persona games, each number is a sub-franchise. Since Strikers stars the cast of Persona 5, it gets that as part of its name.

            Persona 3: FES, Persona 4 Golden and Persona 5 Royal are all expanded rereleases of one of the flagship titles. Not much in the way of consistency, especially since they all now have side story/sequel games to muddy the waters.

            1. Rariow says:

              The way to see the “GotY” editions of Persona games (Persona 3 FES, 4 Golden and 5 Royal) is like the third editions of Pokemon games (like Crystal, Emerald and Platinum). They’re basically the “definitive editions” of games – they contain the base game, make improvements to combat, and add extra story content throughout, most significantly a new dungeon and sometimes new characters. There’s little to no reason to play the vanilla games, though there’s some people who really dislike the story additions in P4Golden specifically. P4Golden despite being originally on PSVita is almost identical in presentation to the PS2 original, and is in fact a very slight graphical upgrade.

              Strikers is a weird victim of its gameplay. There’s probably an alternate universe where it’s called Persona 5 Part 2 or something, and people are mad because it’s an action game instead of a JRPG, way shorter, and removes the series trademark time managment element. In our universe its title muddles up the waters by making its status as direct do-not-play-this-first-under-any-circumstances sequel unclear and by also confusing people who see there’s a Persona 5 Royal. It brings up questions like is that a different sequel? Are they both expansions? Is one a sequel and another an expansion? Do you need to play Persona 5 before Royal? What’s the difference?

              Also, my favorite thing, a move seemingly designed to make everything as obtuse as possible: Persona 5 Strikers is a sequel to ONLY vanilla Persona 5, NOT Royal. The new character from Royal who becomes part of the team is nowhere to be found and is pointedly never mentioned.

              1. tmtvl says:

                I dislike P4G, maybe because P4 was my first introduction to the series. I like Tracey Rooney’s version of Chie and really can’t stand how forced the motorcycle (scooter? minibike? I don’t know what’s what) subplot is.

                Also P3P exists, which has different bonus content and mechanics from FES. Personally I love P3P, but I understand that it may not be for everyone.

                1. Rariow says:

                  I definitely share a lot of those complaints with P4G, especially Chie’s voice actor change (I think we had a brief interaction about this on another post, maybe?)

                  I didn’t want to get into P3P because that’s a whole extra layer of complication on the whole thing (having two enhanced editions is sort of a nightmare), but it’s one of those games I keep meaning to get around to. I really hate combat in P3FES because you’re not allowed direct party member control and the AI is dumb as a brick – I’m playing through the game right now, and last night I lost an hour’s worth of grinding because my party kept healing instead of finishing the last enemy who kept knocking me down and skipping my turns, which I don’t remember being a particularly rare occurence in previous playthroughs – but such a big part of these games’ appeal to me is presentation that I don’t know if I want to play it over FES. I’ll probably play through the female main character’s route (which is a super cool addition – I love that it’s way more than just a character model switch) after I beat FES and have a chance to take a breather. My past year or so has been me deep in Persona fever, and I might finally take the plunge into the pre-3 games. I hear the 2 duology is brilliant, but I’ll definitely miss Social Links.

                  1. Daimbert says:

                    I’ve had some problems going back to P3 without having the direct control, but I’ve always played it on “Easy” anyway so that’s not much of an issue. I do think that in FES you can give them tendencies which could avoid a problem like this, as you could set the character that is better at combat than healing to prefer combat and so rarely heal you. The biggest issues I’ve heard about were having Mitsuru cast Marin Karin — a charm spell — instead of an attack repeatedly on bosses that were immune to it (and where it wouldn’t have really done much good even if it HAD hit).

                    I liked the female protagonist in P3P. I feel that she actually has a personality as opposed to the P3 male protagonist who is far more of a cipher.

                    As for the previous two, I played P1 and one of the P2s (Innocent Sin, I think; the one that doesn’t have Maya as the main character) and had issues with them. I mostly finished P1 but the very, very last dungeon suddenly jumped up in difficulty so I was going from easy wins to party wipes with no save points, which eventually made me abandon it. For P2, the random encounters were too frequent so I got bored and stopped playing it. So just a heads up on those.

                2. Daimbert says:

                  I do like P4G, although I agree with you about the change in voice actress for Chie, especially since Chie was one of my favourite characters. I don’t mind the scooter subplot, mostly because for me it seemed to be pretty short and really only there to allow the characters to get places on their own — the beach, for the beach event, for example — that they couldn’t have gotten to easily otherwise, and also for a bit of humour. More people — not me — were bothered by the concert addition since that makes no sense whatsoever.

                  Also, there is P4 the anime and a couple of others, I think, for P3 and P5 that I haven’t been able to get for anything like a reasonable price yet. I think P4 the Anime was about as good a conversion as you could expect.

                  1. Rariow says:

                    It’s not as much just the scooter subplot for me as how much new fluff there is. I think vanilla strikes a pretty good balance between the silly “just the investigation team having fun doing goofy things” scenes and the serious “catching a murderer” scenes. Golden adds the scooter plot, the concert scene, the beach scene, the Halloween scene, the ski trip, (the hot springs scene, I think? Not sure) and a bunch of other small scenes. None of them are that bad by themselves (and in fact I absolutely loved the ski trip, that was really great), though most are worse than the base games’ content but I think cumulatively it really pushes the game’s tone into way more silly territory than the original. Persona games since 3 feel like decently serious anime that have occasional goofy anime shenanigans. Persona 4 was already by far the lightest of them (which is not a bad thing – it’s possibly my favourite one), but Golden makes it feel like a goofy anime shenanigan game that occasionally dips its toes in a dark murder mystery. It’s about striking a balance.

                    The anime adaptations of these games have mostly been failures, in my opinion. I really like Persona 4’s because it does an amazing job with the main character. It gets so much great comedy from making him into this mostly quiet weirdo stumbling his way into being everyone’s best friend, but it also gives him a good deal of genuine personality. Persona 3 got four movies as an adaptation. I barely stomached the first one and dropped them. They’re just worse retellings of the games’ story, and makes the protagonist of this game whose signature mechanic is literally the power of friendship into an antisocial nihilist who literally doesn’t see anything wrong with letting himself and his friends die. I get that it’s setting up an arc, but the guy’s such an unlikeable caricature I can’t deal with him. I’ve not seen the Persona 5 anime, but its reputation is dire and I’ve seen enough clips to vouch that it often looks worse than the in-game graphics. Just look how they completely butchered the all-out attack animation, which they reuse every episode. Just seems like a really bad looking series for a game that’s famous for its impecable style.

                    1. Daimbert says:

                      I’m pretty sure the hot springs scene was in the original game, but yeah I can see how those additional scenes could be annoying since they are all pretty much all humour. I like the slice of life stuff better than the serious stuff in Persona 4 — although some of that is really, really good — so I didn’t mind it as much.

                      It’s a shame that the other Persona animes aren’t all that good. I might keep an eye out for them, but probably won’t make a real effort to get them. I should re-watch the P4 ones sometimes soon.

          2. Ander says:

            I meant to address the “handheld” concern primarily; sorry for muddying the waters.
            The above “They’re GotY editions that largely make the base game obsolete” comment is right on. Persona 4 Golden is a fine way to play Persona 4. Persona 5 Royal is a fine way to play Persona 5. Persona 5 Strikers is *not* a way to play Persona 5.

  2. MerryWeathers says:

    WandaVision was exactly the kind of stuff I was hoping Phase 4 was going to tackle, a lot of people were saying they were jumping off the MCU train after Endgame/Far From Home but I stayed on and was even more interested because I felt the franchise was starting to be brave enough to start doing the really fun, unique, and weird kind of storylines from the comics rather than just sticking to the formulaic “superhero origin story involving saving the world/city”.

    So yeah, I thought WandaVision was a consistently decent series up until the finale, which devolved into the generic superhero dragon ball fights that I wanted the MCU to stray away from, the focus on action led to some plotlines falling too conveniently into place and the ending to the Wanda and Vision storyline lacked any emotional resonance because again, the focus on punching and shooting magic balls instead of character development made it feel empty. The show rejected the ambitious fan theories in favor of a more personal story about Wanda and her grief but I don’t think it even lived up to that at all.

    Saying goodbye to Vision and the kids was sad, but Wanda doesn’t really learn or grow from her grief in any way, positive or negative. It just sort of happens. I don’t get the feeling that she’s starting to move forward in a healthy way, and the post credits scene points to her doubling down on using her powers to get the twins back (which, if she’s learning from the “book of the damned”, can’t be a good thing). So she doesn’t outright turn into a villain (which could’ve been a potential interesting ending for the show) but she isn’t put on a more heroic path. She just sort of… flies away.

    Lastly, I think people have the right to be upset over Fox QS. Marvel knew perfectly the expectations they were creating when they cast Evan Peters. If it was really just to parody the sitcom trope of recasting characters without explanation then at least he should have never reappeared after episode six and Agatha should have just explained that he was an illusion she created instead of baiting the audience by having the characters constantly bring up the question of his identity and leaving his exact nature open or better yet, don’t cast Evan Peters in the first place and just bring back Aaron Taylor Johnson. It all just comes off as a cheap move by Marvel to bolster the ratings by hyping up the speculation.

    1. Chad+Miller says:

      I mostly agree with you about the finale, but regarding the other thing: I could swear that not only did they explain it, but in fact used the exact explanation you wanted. Agatha remarks at some point that she couldn’t get Quicksilver quite right because she’d only seen him on TV at a distance and didn’t entirely know what he looked like

      1. Pax says:

        That other thing again: I didn’t mind QS thing at all. I thought it was fun and a nice call back and that’s it because I desperately DO NOT WANT the Fox-Men being brought into the MCU. I want it to rebooted and recast and redone in the same way that the MCU has been so we can have a much comic accurate and respectful version. After years of things like “That character has purple hair! I guess it’s Psylocke! Who even cares?” I’d like my favorite series to get the good treatment too, please.

      2. MerryWeathers says:

        No, Agatha coudn’t use the actual Quicksilver because his body was all the way back in Sokovia (guess the Avengers just left it there after Age of Ultron) so she had to mind control some random Westview citizen to play the role of Pietro Maximoff

        Fietro was not an illusion at all leading to the now infamous Ralph Boner joke

        1. Vinsomer says:

          I’d guess either his body was lost in the battle and buried under the rubble, or formally buried in Sokovia anyway. If it’s the latter then I guess Agatha could have dug him up, but if it’s the former, then it’s probably lost forever.

          1. MrPyro says:

            There’s a scene in Age of Ultron where Hawkeye drags QS’s body on to the Helicarrier (I mostly remember it because in the gag reel Jeremy Renner drops the body then starts pretending to smother him); Wanda wanting him buried in Sokovia seems eminently reasonable though, and Agatha would have no idea where the body was buried (or he could have been cremated – it’s not like we know a lot about Sokovian burial traditions).

    2. MrPyro says:

      Regarding your first spoiler point:

      I did think the initial sections of the final confrontations were weak; person A throws energy beam at person B – then quick cut to person C throwing energy bolts at person D – but I did like how both the main confrontations were determined by something other than brute force in the end; Vision using philosophy and Wanda using that one weird trick she’d just learned.

      Regarding the post-credits scene; it’s not clear to me whether Wanda is deliberately seeking knowledge to find her children, or was just seeking knowledge in general and was interrupted by the call from the kids

    3. Lino says:

      Regarding this entire show:

      Thank you all for being so considerate for those of us who haven’t seen the show yet! I’ve been meaning to watch is one of these days, but since it’s been out for some time, it’s getting harder and harder to avoid spoilers! People like you are the reason I’m still spoiler-free!

    4. Vinsomer says:

      I guess the interconnected-ness of the MCU is both a blessing and a curse, because while the ending showed us very little of a post-Hex Wanda, you can be sure we’ll see more of her in the future. Maybe Wanda didn’t learn from (I’d argue she did, at least she learned to embrace her grief, confront it, and to not retreat into a fantasy) but I don’t think characters always have to ‘learn’ something, as in progress towards becoming better people.

      The final two episodes seemed to swerve away from the central question of the rest of the season, ‘do you accept the cruelty of reality, even if it means being alone?’ and more into ‘can Wanda control her powers?’ which, to me, is much less interesting, and that’s a big part of why the finale didn’t hit as hard for me — bigger than the overdone action and special effects. I never really felt like the Hex was a problem of control, and Wanda seemed to know it existed and deliberately maintained it, even expanding it, so if the final episodes were going to focus on control then earlier episodes needed to establish that as a key tension in a way I don’t feel they did. But it’s also how I read the post-credits scene: she’s finally fully taking control of her powers. Not merely using them for Hydra, or the Avengers, or by being tricked by Hayward or Agatha. But that her power is her own and she’s using it for herself. It’s an interesting contrast to Iron Man, who kind of had that mentality beat out of him by Iron Man 1 and Age of Ultron/Infinity War, but the crucial difference is that Wanda doesn’t have any of the pretensions Stark had, and her powers are a part of her in a way Stark’s tech never was.

      I also don’t think anyone should have thought that the 20th Century Fox X-Men becoming part of the MCU was a possibility for a number of obvious reasons:
      1. A lot of the big names are dead: Wolverine, Professor X, Cyclops. Worse, Hugh Jackman is too old to really reprise his role as Wolverine so even if you contrive a way for the character to come back, you’ll have to recast him anyway. They’ve also spent some of their best villains, in some of their worst incarnations. Dark Phoenix (twice), Apocalypse and the Hellfire Club come to mind.
      2. The timeline of those movies is a mess. Continuity is a big thing for the MCU, so willingly introducing a
      3. They don’t tonally fit with the MCU.
      4. Most of those movies are average at best and maybe only 3 of them are up to the quality you’d expect from the MCU.
      5. It completely screws with the Scarlet Witch character, who they already changed to not be Magneto’s daughter. Reversing that change would be bad.
      6. The last movie was a bomb. Disney don’t need to worry about them competing with the MCU.

      1. The+Puzzler says:

        Wait, Wolverine and Professor X are dead? Do you mean they died in Logan, which I thought was supposed to take place in the future which means they have to be alive in the present, or in one I haven’t seen?

        1. Vinsomer says:

          They died in Logan but it’s unclear exactly how far into the future that is, but it’s clear that Logan was not a post-Endgame movie.

          Professor X also died in the Last Stand and in Days of Future Past IIRC, so that puts his death count at 3.

          1. MerryWeathers says:

            Logan is set in 2029, six years after the ending of Days of Future Past.

      2. Baron Tanks says:

        The thing that bugs me most is that there is a definite morally wrong aspect to putting a hex on people against their will. How you specifically feel about this (where you end up and ‘how bad’ it really is) will vary from person to person and is something worth exploring. I feel like the show continually teases this conundrum and Wanda’s accountability and responsibility. However, in videogames contain no politics kind of style, we end up with a The Division esque move where the question is put center stage and even some characters lightly call Wanda out, yet it never progresses beyond this. Now I can see that with the whole PG-13 (teen? I never know which rating systems belongs to which medium) targeting that some of these conversations would be inappropriate or best saved for a different type of audience. This is perfectly acceptable, I just detest the whole have your cake and eat it approach where an issue is raised and even build up, then quickly moved past without taking a stance*. If this is what you are ultimately going to do, I’d say it’s vastly preferable to write a different story or bury your head even more and not raise these issues through supporting characters (Vision) and villains (Agatha), who start to call Wanda out and don’t follow through. Notably, even Wanda doesn’t offer any kind of defense. I don’t come to my MCU entertainment to have a thought exercise on agency, violation of personal integrity and whether the ends justify the means. It just leaves me with a bad taste in the mouth to do these things half heartedly.

        *a stance does not even have to involve coming out on either side, it could ultimately just be the conclusion that no one in the situation is fit to make a proper assessment and judgment here.

        1. The+Puzzler says:

          But wasn’t it an entirely one-sided issue anyway? Wanda clearly did not have the right to treat people like that. Once she understood and accepted exactly what she was doing, she had a moral duty to stop doing it, even if this meant basically allowing her entire family to die.

          I guess the question remains whether she should be punished for doing it (beyond the incredible emotional suffering she’s been through already), but that’s seems more like a problem for the legal system – both technical (what laws did she break?) and practical (who could enforce these laws?)

          1. Baron Tanks says:

            Right, as far as I’m personally concerned she was in the wrong and violating people and as Vinsomer points out so rightly below, they specifically built a moment into the show where Wanda loses her last plausible deniability. As I had an immediate creeping feeling “This is very wrong”, I was curious to see if the show would realize and deal with this. From that point it raises the issue, calls Wanda out and removes any shred of plausible deniability. From there there’s only two options left (especially in a comic book / adaptation). Either Wanda realises what she’s done to the point where she realises it’s something unforgivable and she can try to make amends but she can never wipe the slate clean properly*. Or she decides otherwise, making her a villain, especially in this larger than life context.

            I was curious up to the finale, while simultaneously dreading they’d gloss over this. The only time this is called out in the final episode (correct me if I’m wrong) is when she has a conversation with Rambeau, who only says she understood why she did it (on a motivational level), practically excusing Wanda. While that is not unrealistic or impossible, for me it feels that Wanda was let off the hook (wrongly). Again, I don’t think they do this issue right and if this is how you resolve it, might as well leave it out. They even have the perfect character in show (Vision) who’s shown at times that while there’s tons to learn, seems to have a strong moral compass that appears in universe only second to Steve Rogers. Again, they even did the setup (when he confronts Agatha in the car among other moments), but there is no payoff at all. And this is a type of issue where if you don’t pay it off, you sell it short and it’s better avoided at all. Just my two cents :)

            *this is okay, there’s even an in universe equivalent with Black Widow who refers to certain things in her past as unforgivable, I forget what term they use. Black marks in her book or such?

            1. MerryWeathers says:

              The show acknowledges that what Wanda was doing was wrong but it doesn’t actually hold her accountable, it might have even been implying through Monica that we, the audience, and Westview were supposed to just forgive her because in her own words, “They’ll never know what you sacrificed for them”, which really annoyed me because it was essentially playing Wanda off like she was a hero who redeemed herself by taking down the Hex and sacrificing her family for them but that doesn’t warrant appreciation because taking a whole town hostage and inflicting mental torture on them shoudn’t have been a thing in the first place.

              I feel like this is a symptom of modern shows where as a consequence of rushing through storylines and character arcs, they have to sweep a few things under the rug to make a redemption possible for a character who had done some genuinely horrible things.

              1. Daimbert says:

                I feel like this is a symptom of modern shows where as a consequence of rushing through storylines and character arcs, they have to sweep a few things under the rug to make a redemption possible for a character who had done some genuinely horrible things.

                I can’t speak for WandaVision, but in general it seems to me that the issue is more that in modern shows the writers don’t really get how the audience is likely to react and so think that they’ll be more willing to forgive them than the audience might be. They really do seem to think that we won’t care about those things that they handwave away.

              2. Vinsomer says:

                I also think it’s a lot less interesting to have Wanda be affirmed as the good guy at the end, rather than her being a chaotic neutral.

                I feel like it’s a symptom of people wanting morally complex characters but also having them be unambiguous good guys. It’s been a problem in comic book media ever since the 80’s.

            2. Chad+Miller says:

              there’s even an in universe equivalent with Black Widow who refers to certain things in her past as unforgivable, I forget what term they use. Black marks in her book or such?

              “Red in my ledger”, which for those who aren’t familiar with the accounting metaphor, means “unpaid debts.”

        2. Vinsomer says:

          One of the things the show was weird about was: does Wanda know she’s hurting people? Because Vision and Agatha both raise the point that she is, but she never seems to really internalize that until the last episode. I think one of the big mistakes was in around episode 3 or 4 where Wanda leaves the Hex and tells Hayward to leave her alone, because before that point it doesn’t feel like Wanda is fully aware of the situation. But after that, continuing to keep people in the Hex (to Vision’s protestations) is a genuinely evil act. If she was less aware, until the inconsistencies in the Hex became too big to ignore, then I could see her as the good guy, but I think they dealt that card too soon.

          I don’t know too much about the comics but I do know the tragic line in House of M, where she tearfully reveals that she knows that the reality she’s created isn’t real. I think admitting, even to herself (but especially to Rambeau) that she knows, on some level that the Hex isn’t real should have been a more emotional moment than it was, which is weird because the show was full of emotional moments.

          1. MerryWeathers says:

            Wanda confesses to Fietro in episode six that she’s aware that she’s hurting people and Fietro lampshades this by pointing out how she tried to alleviate this by giving the citizens of Westview better jobs than the ones they had in real life, keeping their personalities mostly intact, and keeping the children dormant so they woudn’t have to suffer (although she still brought them on for the Halloween episode to keep up the pretense). So yes, what she was doing was messed up for while she didn’t intentionally create the Hex and may have not been initially aware of what was going on like Vision was, she later did realize what was going on but still stayed complacent in what was happening just to latch on to her fantasy.

            1. Vinsomer says:

              I think she was just trying to have it both ways. I think she was trying to not hurt them, but hurting them was inevitable because of the nature of the Hex.

          2. Baron Tanks says:

            The only thing I’d add to your comments is that, regardless if she’s hurting them or not, the way she overwrites the individuals programming (basically) is wrong regardless*, even if she would make their life inherently better. These were previously existing human beings with lives and souls and what not, it’s distinctly different from creating something out of nothing. She didn’t conjure a puppet show out of nowhere, she just overwrote an entire town of people. Oddly enough we recently had a similar example in Wonder Woman ’84 (which I thankfully haven’t seen, but has been thoroughly picked apart online) where Diana wishes to bring her love interest Steve back but in stead of him being magicked out of nowhere, they basically search and replace an existing person and that’s that. I almost feel I’m going crazy thinking the writing rooms just not realising how disturbing this is, as if they’re from an alien species…

            *another example that came to mind is the Matrix. Wanda basically took a town of people and plugged them in whether they wanted to or not, which is quite different than Cypher being asked to be plugged in. And even if you were requested to do this, I’d say it’s still quite dubious if you can do that and keep your hands clean morally speaking. But to do it on a whim, no matter how hurt you are, crosses the moral event horizon thoroughly as far as I’m concerned

            1. Geebs says:

              I just wanted to say, when Paul asked Shamus “was there anything else you enjoyed” I heard the reply as “long division” and took a good few minutes to catch up to what the conversation was actually about”.

              Also I’m curious to find out whether anybody is reading all of the stuff in spoiler tags. I’m not because the ‘click to un-spoiler’ thing doesn’t work on my phone.

              1. kincajou says:

                i’m reading them all, also its not a click to unspoiler but rather a highlight to un-spoiler :)

            2. Vinsomer says:

              Another example is Fantastic Beasts and the Crimes of Grindelwald. It’s even worse, because one of the key plot points is that Lestrange was evil because he essentially kidnapped, brainwashed and basically raped a woman for years. And yet they have an earlier scene where Queenie uses magic on her muggle boyfriend to control him and keep him in the relationship and it’s played off as a lighthearted, almost comedic thing… given JK Rowling’s views, this doesn’t surprise me, but I don’t want to break the no politics rule.

              As for WW84, I definitely think the movie should have been more ‘WTF, hero?!’ but there are three important things to remember that make it a less egregious example: the first is that Diana only wished to have Steve back. She didn’t wish for Steve to overwrite someone. The second is that she willingly renounces her wish. And the third is that perhaps the biggest theme of the movie is that the stone grants wishes, but it always takes something in return. That’s literally the villain’s plan, to abuse that to gain power, and it’s also something that affects Barbara as she loses her goodness while gaining the power she wished for.

              In Wandavision, I also want to point out that heros don’t always do the right thing right away, and a lot of stories would be less intersting if they did. Wanda’s decisions come out of a place of grief, which is why her sons are so important: she starts making decisions based not on avoiding her grief but to protect what she has. I can accept that a protagonist might make bad, even evil decisions if those decisions come from a place of deep emotion, just like I can accept Frodo failing to destroy the ring or Romeo killing Tybalt. My problem isn’t that Wanda made that decision, it’s that the show seemed to flit between it being a knowing decision and an unconscious decision and that undercut Wanda’s choices as a character.

  3. Steve C says:

    I couldn’t get into Wandavision. I bounced pretty hard off the first episode. I did give it a chance though. I wanted to like it just based on the MCU. I even fast forwarded to see if the Bewitched stuff transitioned into something substantial. Yes, yes, she’s slowly realizing there is something wrong the world… (yawn). Pleasantville did it better and didn’t waste so much time.

    Please please I rather not read replies to this comment saying ‘I should stick with it because it gets better later!’ That reason always seems to bypass the fact that something is unpleasant right now. I’m not even convinced that would be true for me. I don’t find “lets all be amused at the old TV tropes and conventions from past decades!” amusing nor charming nor entertaining. Which seems to be a major draw for others.

    1. Chad+Miller says:

      Please please I rather not read replies to this comment saying ‘I should stick with it because it gets better later!’

      I’m really sorry for doing the thing you said you didn’t want done, but I want to specifically note why this is an exceptional case: Disney mostly released this series one episode/week to make it more like a TV show than something people binge. I say mostly because the only exception is that they released episodes 1 and 2 at the same time, and especially having watched the entire series I’m convinced they did this specifically because Episode 1 was slow.

      FWIW this is not a generalized “you should watch it until it gets good” so much as “the show didn’t really set its hook until Episode 2,” which I will openly agree is a flaw. I almost didn’t continue after Episode 1 either. Put another way, if someone wasn’t interested after Episode 2, I’d be more likely to think they’re just not interested period, while not being interested after Episode 1 may be a reaction to the slowness of the opening.

      1. The+Puzzler says:

        I’d argue that you could skip straight to episode four if you’re not interested in parodies of old sitcoms. (There’s still some of that later on, but it’s much less prominent.)

    2. Dreadjaws says:

      Please please I rather not read replies to this comment saying ‘I should stick with it because it gets better later!’

      Look, I 100% agree with this most of the time, but this is really an exceptional case. It’s not just that the show “gets better later”, is that the show actually starts later. In fact, the whole “being amused at the old TV tropes and conventions from past decades” is not the show’s purpose, that’s merely a distraction to make the later reveal more shocking. The first episode contains merely one or two small clues that show that not everything is as it seems, and those clues get progressively more prominent, until the third episode turns the whole thing around.

      Yes, it seems that Disney banked on people’s general appreciation of sitcoms to keep people interested until the real hook came in, which no matter how you slice it wasn’t going to satisfy everyone. I just want you to understand that what you believe is the show’s actual purpose is not it.

      I think Disney would have done better by releasing the first episode as a standalone “Episode 0” that wasn’t required viewing to understand the real plot of the show.

      1. tmtvl says:

        I wonder if there are people who have the completely opposite opinion. “Yeah, the show started off great, but after episode 4 or so it really took a dive off the deep end.”

        I don’t watch shows, so I have no opinions either way, but it could be funny.

        1. Chad+Miller says:

          “It started out as something unusual, then devolved into more MCU capeshit” is indeed a somewhat common opinion, although most such people I’ve seen are really complaining about the last 1-2 episodes.

        2. Ottack says:

          I’ll be honest here. That’s the precise point that I started to really dislike the show.

          Basically I was enjoying it playing with old sitcom tropes while slowly dropping hints about the wider creepy situation, but I felt that when the fourth episode hit it dropped that slow build-up and kind of spoon fed us all the answers…

          After that I’d kind of hit the point of story collapse so I didn’t really care that much about anything that happened later.

          It didn’t help that the entire SWORD plotline was just thoroughly boring and generic. Oh no a evil military boss dude is trying to use Vision as a weapon and just generally being a jerk. Monica disagrees with him and wants to help Wanda because… they’re both good guys? Or some weird thing about them both going through grief even if Monica never seemed to show much sign of that?

          Then she seems to forgive Wanda brainwashing and abusing an entire town full of people? (seriously the stuff some of the townspeople say when they’re released is downright horrifying) The FBI guy looking for evidence at the end is hilarious what are the townspeople going to say other than: “Wanda forced into this horrifying nightmare… Who? No it was all Wanda? She’s the one that did it all!”

          It just struck me as a really bad case of the good guys being good… because they’re the good guys, not because they’re actually good…

          Sorry that was just what I think most bothered me in the final episode. The thing is that the problems started way sooner than that. Like Game of Thrones while people are realising they’re coming away disappointed, now that it’s all over, I think the problems started earlier in the series.

          Also I will note if you enjoyed the show, cool! If the later episodes were more what you liked that’s totally fine. They just weren’t for me.

      2. Steve C says:

        The first episode contains merely one or two small clues that show that not everything is as it seems, […] to make the later reveal more shocking.

        Oh come on. I figured that out immediately from just 10mins of mostly fast-forwarding. There aren’t one or two small clues. There’s a giant neon sign constantly flashing CLUE CLUE CLUE. There was zero chance of that being shocking to me. Hence the “yawn” above. Wanda is The Scarlet Witch. Being surprised she’s bending reality is like being surprised Superman can fly. But even if it was a brand new character, it would still be blatant from the genre tropes and that neon sign.

        As for purpose, there’s premise, plot, and hook. These are not the same and not the only parts of a story. If one of those is weak, it can certainly be carried by the others. However if someone actively dislikes one of those elements then it doesn’t matter how good the other elements are. The thing that they hate destroys the good parts they like. It’s the turd on the cake. It doesn’t matter how good that frosting is, I’m not going to eat it.

        It’s fine that other people like Wandavision. I’m happy the MCU had another successful show. From all the praise Wandavision has gotten I’m sure whatever it set out to do, it did it well. Yes, it’s pretty obviously the show starts later. Except I don’t like it when stories do that. Spending an hour getting to plot while fluffing about is a turd to me. And a hook involving a retro-TV aesthetic is a second turd to me. (Apparently four episodes of both? -shoot me now.) I just want you to understand that whatever the show is actually about, I don’t care because I’m not going to stick around through the stuff I find unpleasant. It lost me immediately. It simply doesn’t matter what comes after. I’m not going to eat around the turds. Explaining to me the turd cake is not actually chocolate, but (twist!) it is really vanilla… fundamentally misses the point of why I’m not eating the cake.

        If a show is a musical, and you don’t like musicals then doesn’t matter if they stop singing halfway through. What’s important is that you don’t like musicals. There is no exceptional case.

  4. Chris says:

    Just a general question, but it seems to be the timestamps do not perfectly line up with when a new topic is introduced. Its either a few seconds early, or sometimes even a minute. Is this intentional or does this happen because of shifting time when processing it?

    Also persona 4 golden is on PC now, so i would play that to see if you enjoy persona, also an advantage is that you avoid getting used to new P5 mechanics that are absent from persona 4 and get annoyed.

    1. RamblePak64 says:

      I dunno, Persona 5 Royal was my first Persona game (though I had put in about ten hours into Shin Megami Tensei IV on 3DS, which was a slight/mild introduction to the Evil Pokemon elements of obtaining demons, fusing them, and the different emphasis on vulnerabilities in combat than other mainline JRPGs). I found it to be quite enjoyable, and while I’ve heard many gripes from long time fans, I think the biggest improvement was the nature of the dungeons themselves. It’s the first JRPG in a while where I really enjoyed exploring and navigating the dungeons, whereas Persona 4 Golden looks like your average “string of corridors littered with combat encounters” due to the somewhat procedural nature of it.

      We don’t even know if Shamus would enjoy any of these games at all, so telling him to play one that may actually be less enjoyable for beginners to the series just so he can better appreciate it later is kind of putting the cart before the horse. I’d recommend Persona 5 Royal, then if he enjoys it enough see about Persona 4 Golden.

      1. Daimbert says:

        Well, I think the main suggestion here is that Shamus can get the game for the PC which is what it seems he most plays on, and it would give a pretty good idea of how the games work overall so that he could see if he likes it. This is important because Persona isn’t just or even primarily a dungeon-crawler, so it’s important to see if the school sim, Social Link and combat aspects work for him as well as the dungeon-crawling aspects. Combining those two considerations really makes Persona 4 Golden the best choice for an intro for Shamus.

      2. Chris says:

        I would recommend P4G since it’s on PC which makes it easy to set up, it has most of the core principles that are going on since P3, and it is probably the most straightforward one. I dont think that P4G is so old that it struggles with playability issues.

    2. Paul Spooner says:

      The timestamps are generated manually, so it’s probably an accident if they are off. I just checked the video and the web player, and the timestamps line up perfectly there. And I double-check the timestamps when I make the video, so I’m surprised an error slipped through.

      But then I played the download mp3 in VLC, and sure enough the times are offset a little. No idea what that means, or how it is possible, especially since the total durations line up, and the offsets are inconsistent. Here’s what I’m getting (timestamps from the .mp3 in VLC in parenthesis), if anyone else has incorrect timestamps, if you could post what you’re getting that would help to troubleshoot the problem:
      00:00 One more thing about Fallen Order
      05:32 (05:30) Kids and Skill Games
      11:44 Prodeus
      20:03 (19:50) WandaVision
      23:41 (23:24) Mailbag: Aurora
      38:15 (38:10) Mailbag: KOTOR Combat
      43:08 (43:00) Mailbag: VR Stress
      48:21 (48:07) Wrapping Up
      49:03 (48:49) Outro
      50:21 Secret Stinger

      1. Chris says:

        I used windows media player and i got

        6.02 Kids and Skill Games
        12.20 Prodeus
        20.29 WandaVision
        24.11Mailbag: Aurora
        38.50Mailbag: KOTOR Combat
        43.41Mailbag: VR Stress

        1. Paul Spooner says:

          Well, I just tried WMP in 64bit Win 10 Home, and the timestamps are perfect. Even better than VLC. Tried Groove Music and got very similar results (though there was a few seconds offset either direction).
          Just one more piece of inscrutable black magic to baffle and astonish future generations. I’m really at a loss to know how this can even happen! It’s got a constant sample rate, right? Finding the time in seconds should be as simple as dividing the sample index by 44100! Getting minutes from that is integer math as well! Math is all computers do!

      2. Simplex says:

        Hey Paul,

        How do you edit/add timestamps to the audio version of the podcast? This is something I am struggling with.

        1. Paul Spooner says:

          Sure! The trick is to have the first timestamp be 00:00.
          Here’s the google help page, YouTube calls them “chapters”:

          1. Simplex says:

            Hi, thanks for the reply!
            I thought you are adding them to the actual audio file (embed it somehow). The youtube system I do know :)

            Or maybe when you add the timestamps in the youtube description and then you download the mp3 form youtube, the downloaded file has them included?

            Basically, I am making a podcast and I use “mp3chaps” tool to embed chapters but it’s cumbersome. I thought there’s a better way.

  5. bean says:

    Correction on the Aurora discussion. NPRs fighting does’t interrupt the auto-turns. The problem is that it can lock you into very short turns (2 minutes or less) for a very long time. Auto-turns will get you through it, but you’ll basically need to go do something else for a while.

    1. Paul Spooner says:

      Okay, thanks for the clarification. It really does seem like a fascinating game, and I wish I had DF time these days to sinking in and playing a few rounds. Ahh well; You were inspired to write the tutorial, and I was inspired by your take on it. Good work all around!

  6. Ninety-Three says:

    Given that Bioware switched Dragon Age from turn-based to a primarily action game, I wouldn’t hold out hope for KOTOR going the low-budget indie RPG route. Especially because it’s Star Wars: that license is expensive (the EA exclusivity deal that fell through recently had them paying hundreds of millions of dollars per game) and you don’t drop big money on the rights only to hand the production off to Obsidian.

    1. Lino says:

      Yeah, back when KOTOR came out, I think you could argue that genre was AAA. Nowadays, unless it’s an RPG, it’s a pretty tough sell. And, as you said, the license fee just doesn’t make sense for an indie- or AA-budget game.

    2. John says:

      While I don’t think that you could successfully pitch a really big-budget Star Wars game with turn-based combat, I don’t see why you couldn’t successfully pitch a smaller game with that feature. There used to be plenty of smaller Star Wars games. There easily could be again, and I suspect that there eventually will be. Disney doesn’t like leaving money on the table any more than LucasArts did. Actually, I’m not sure that there’s anything that Disney likes less than leaving money on the table.

      The problem with combat in Knights of the Old Republic–to the extent that there is a problem, which I think is debatable–is the dissonance between the mechanics and the presentation. Combat is turn based but depicted quasi-cinematically in what appears to be real time. To a certain extent this is a hold-over from Bioware’s previous game, Neverwinter Nights, which worked that way because it was a Dungeons & Dragons game designed primarily for multiplayer. Knights of the Old Republic uses a modified version of the Neverwinter Nights engine and even a simplified version of its D20 rule set.

      The solution, therefore, is to eliminate the dissonance. I admit that you could do that by switching to real-time action combat. But you could also do it by getting rid of of the quasi-cinematic real-time presentation. No one complains about turn-based combat in, say, Divinity: Original Sin. Characters more or less stand still until it’s their turn to act, and that’s fine. It works because there’s an obvious one-to-one relationship between the player’s input and what happens on the screen, just as there would be in real-time action combat. Contrast that with the presentation of combat in Knights of the Old Republic, in which a character may be depicted as firing several blaster shots per round when a review of the log indicates that he in fact took only one.

      1. Ninety-Three says:

        Disney more than any other company I can think of is notoriously careful about managing the brand identity of its IP (e.g. Disney won’t let you make a Star Wars game with saber dismemberment). I don’t think we’ll ever go back to the Wild West of the Star Wars Expanded Universe, at least not until Disney has some really high-level shifts in how it manages its properties. They will absolutely leave money on the table if the alternative is taking the Games Workshop approach to spreading their license far and wide with little quality control.

        1. John says:

          I dunno man. You are not the first person to tell me this, but I have my doubts. Specifically, I have Disney+. I know first hand that Disney is not too good to make a bunch of low-budget shlock. But even supposing you are right, I’m not suggesting that we’ll necessarily see the wild west again. It’s perfectly possible to make a relatively low budget game that is nevertheless of high quality. It’s just a matter of good project management, scope control, and choosing an appropriate genre and art style. There is no reason that Disney could not do such a thing if it were so inclined and if it partnered with the right developer.

        2. Daimbert says:

          What I’d like them to do is something like was ultimately done with the megaseries in line with the MCU, where they create a bunch of small series that they bring together into one big storyline. The somewhat Wild West of the EU worked well to generate a lot of different characters and stories that fit together pretty well in New Jedi Order, and that’s what was responsible for the success of the MCU, so it’s something they would want to try.

      2. Jennifer Snow says:

        You could do it as a mobile game tho.

    3. Rho says:

      If that was a per-game, it would explain why EA failed to produce much. Every game would have had to be a smash hit supported by lots MX just to break even. However, I would want to see some evidence because that is a brutal license scheme, even for Disney and Star Wars.

      1. Ninety-Three says:

        I’m having trouble digging up my sources now that the Google results are a flood of “Exclusivity deal expires”, but with the profit numbers EA is reporting for the Star Wars IP, it’s not an obviously crazy deal. Supposedly the brutal nature of the deal is what led to them putting out so few Star Wars games this decade: when you have to pay an additional nine figures to publish the game, it starts to look pretty appealing to cancel 1313 at the first sign of trouble.

        1. Sleeping Dragon says:

          If you do find that source I would love to see it. I can find some articles dating back to 2013 when it happened but all they say is the details of the licensing agreement are “undisclosed”.

    4. GoStu says:

      Wow. That is practically extortionate – hundreds of millions just to license the brand? No wonder EA didn’t make many games, they’d practically never turn a profit.

      It makes me wonder who’s dumber – Disney for setting the price that ridiculously high, or EA for agreeing to pay it? After a bit of thought, I think it’s EA who should have told the Mouse to get bent: if EA was willing to pay it a couple times then that’s just cash in Disney’s overflowing pockets. Still, I can’t help but feel like that ended up with Disney under-using the brand; had they gone for some kind of percentage deal there might have been more games and ultimately more money for everyone. Maybe Disney was concerned about the kind of creative accounting that leaves EA paying $fuckall in taxes?

      To me it points to EA management being a pack of goons who don’t understand their own market. Sure, a game probably sells more because it’s STAR WARS but does it clear an extra “hundreds of millions”? For the price of that licensing fee you could green-light a half-dozen other games and just enjoy ALL the revenue from those. It’s not like they’re hurting for IPs.

      1. BlueHorus says:

        I’m definitely going with EA being the dumb ones there. Disney managed to charge an arm and a leg for something…and someone paid for it!

        Also, seconding your other point: EA is infamous for destroying big IPs, right? Find a competent studio, resurrect something that you own like Dungeon Keeper or Command and Conquer, and get them to make a new one. “X Is back, new and improved!”
        It’s a risk, sure, but it’s not one that costs you hundreds of millions of dollars.

  7. Lino says:

    Is this Persona 5 with some extra DLC? Is this a spin-off title? If so, is it anything like the core games? Normally you can read the webpage and it will answer these sorts of questions, but I did, and it didn’t. Can anyone tell me what this thing is?

    So, a video game analyst, familiar with most major gaming franchises went to the trouble of reading your sales page, and he still wasn’t able to answer these basic questions? Yup, sounds like Sega, alright! Seriously, their store pages are so poorly made that unless you’re very familiar with the series of games in question, there’s just no way of knowing what you’re looking at.

    There was a really cool GDC talk about making a Steam store page, and it was based on observing a how small sample of people typically browse Steam. There was a really funny example of a guy looking at the sales page for Total War: Three Kingdoms. He had obviously never heard of the franchise, and even though he spent quite a while on the store page, he wasn’t able to figure out what the game was even about :D

    1. RamblePak64 says:

      To be fair, they probably aren’t expecting someone to be interested in the game unless they already are a Persona fan.

      1. Lino says:

        Why shouldn’t they? The high sales generated from fans are surely to push the game up in other people’s Steam reccomendations. A big chunk of those people probably won’t be familiar with the series (seeing that it’s never been on PC before). Shouldn’t the store page try to do its best to sell the game to those people?

        The purpose of a store page is to explain to people what your product is, and convince them to buy it. In my opinion, that store page fails on both accounts.

      2. King Marth says:

        As a Persona fan who read the full description, looked at all the screenshots, watched the first video, and even skimmed several user reviews… I still have no idea what the game is like or about (I knew going in that it was a spinoff, and that’s still all I know). The quips suggest it’s a story-sequel, and reviews point out that there’s no Confidants, but I’d need to do research elsewhere in order to determine what’s being offered.

        Getting people interested and sending them elsewhere is what you do with advertising, when the ‘elsewhere’ is the place where you buy.

    2. tmtvl says:

      Now I kinda want to make a series of blog posts “explain this game like you would to your non-gaming grandfather.”

      Forget about words like “soulslike”, even the term Action RPG would need explaining. That may be interesting and challenging to do.

  8. Thomas says:

    Even at the time I thought KOTORs combat was really basic – and I hadn’t played many games back them. It was a passable way to waste time between conversations, but that was about it.

    I think it probably has to be an action game of some sort. But I’m very wary about mixing hack and slash mechanics with RPG mechanics. I know if works for Dark Souls, but I don’t think it really works in things like Nier: Automata. The best hope would be an action game where you level-up moves (force power or combat) and social skills, but not straight up HP and damage. The Mass Effect 3 / Deus Ex: Human Revolution of hack and slash

    The other option is to go down the Persona Strikers / Final Fantasy VII route which is the action/turn-based hybrid you guys were talking about, but is surprisingly fun and beloved by old fans and new fans. It would be a bold move, but still better than whatever Dragon Age Inquisition was trying to do.

  9. John says:

    I am old and out of touch and I cannot keep up with you kids and your crazy internet slang. Even Paul’s vocabulary sometimes eludes me. Nevertheless, I have been paying some attention and I have come to the conclusion that “boomer” now means approximately “anyone older and wronger than I am” rather than “someone born in the decades following the second world war”. But linguists tell me that language is a constantly evolving thing and that I am not allowed to get mad when people change the definition of words on me. I dare not disagree. That would make me a boomer.

    I’ve seen the term boomer thrown around most frequently in reference to certain old-school fighting-game fans. (This is a reflection of my interests rather than the cultural more generally.) An FGC boomer is apparently someone who will tell you (i) that the games were better twenty years ago, (ii) that the players were better twenty years ago, and (iii) they may have lost, but it’s everything’s and everyone’s fault but their own. I personally wouldn’t call someone like that a boomer but I can certainly understand the impulse to call them something because the first point is debatable, the second point is almost certainly untrue, and the third point is just sour grapes.

    1. Bubble181 says:

      “Boomer” (as opposed to “baby boomer” which is of coruse where it comes from) has just more or less replaced the “grandpa” or whatever at the end of that kind of insults. “Sure thing, boomer” is the same as saying “sure, gramps”. “Someone old and out of touch”.
      I think it’s a pretty ridiculous use of the word give nthat the vast majority of people being called “boomers” are not, in fact, baby boomers these days – the boomer generation is (finally, slowly) having to hand over power to a next generation. but I suppose this is intentional – someone from 1965 will feel old and insulted when being called a boomer, whereas they may just accept and wear a “Gen X” title.

      It’s a minor annoyance, I guess. I’ve been called a boomer and considering I was born in 1984 that doesn’t really strike home :-)

      1. Echo Tango says:

        Yeah, you and me are apparently Millenials / Generation Y. My mom and dad are / were Boomers, so I guess that’s why I could never remember what generation I was. (Because of the gap.) ^^;

      2. Kyle Haight says:

        As someone from the heart of GenX, this really grinds my gears. I strongly dislike the boomers. My generation has spent its entire existence living in their shadow and now that they’re finally, *finally* starting to die off a bunch of kids want to lump me in with them?

        Fuck that.

        1. Ninety-Three says:

          I regret to inform you that complaining about what the kids are doing definitely makes you a boomer.

        2. Echo Tango says:

          I think I’d phrase it more as “living with the consequences of”. :E

      3. Ninety-Three says:

        “Sure thing, boomer” is the same as saying “sure, gramps”. “Someone old and out of touch”.
        I think it’s a pretty ridiculous use of the word give nthat the vast majority of people being called “boomers” are not, in fact, baby boomers these days

        Most people being called “gramps” are not grandparents, is “boomer” any more ridiculous?

        1. Steve C says:

          Yes. Yes, it is more ridiculous.
          Problem is that’s part of the point. It is intended to be a troll after all.

      4. Biggus Rickus says:

        It’ll be out of use within five years and to call someone a “boomer” will be to reveal yourself as one. The internet is terrible.

  10. Ancillary says:

    Of all the games I never expected to appear on this site, Aurora 4X has to be near the top of the list. I had a blast with that game colonizing and terraforming. My main issues (that aren’t UX/UI-related): I wish the game delved a little deeper into the economy and scaled back the complexity of its military R&D mechanics, and I wish the civilian space traffic was abstracted a little bit more. The latter makes the game unplayable after 100 years or so, when each five-day increment takes minutes to calculate thanks to the thousands of freighters, colony ships, and luxury liners flitting about. You have the option to turn them off completely, but that just introduces a level of micromanagement in shuttling resources around that I don’t care to contemplate.

    Ah well, I can’t complain. It’s one guy’s vision of the game he wants to play, and the rest of us can take it or leave it.

  11. AncientSpark says:

    So to expand more on what to play out of Persona.

    Persona from 3 onwards have the original games (Persona 3, Persona 4, Persona 5), and then rereleases with additional content (usually a major last chapter) (those being Persona 3 FES, Persona 4 Golden, Persona 5 Royal). Persona then has a bunch of spinoff material that are canon. Basically, if it doesn’t have one of those 6 titles and isn’t Persona 1 or 2, then it’s a spinoff.

    Because the rereleases include all material from the original games, you can safely play the rerelases and skip the original games. However, if you’re looking just to play it on PC, then the only one currently available out on PC out of the main Persona series is Persona 4 Golden.

    1. Daimbert says:

      Also note that Persona 1 and Persona 2 are both very, very old and have a fairly different structure than the games from Persona 3 onward (most importantly, the S-links aren’t present there and fusing Personas works differently). If someone wants to know what the modern fuss is about, starting from Persona 3 or later is recommended.

    2. Syal says:

      Haven’t specifically played Golden, but assuming it made the mechanical changes I think it did, that’s the best one to start with; 3 doesn’t let you manually control your allies, and 5’s story is basically an inverse of 4; works perfectly fine to start there, but you’d miss out on some references and twists.

      Then 1, 2, and 2* are significantly different games.

      1. Daimbert says:

        P3P on the PSP let you manually control your allies if I recall correctly, and is the only game to let you choose the gender of the protagonist. It would be difficult to find, though …

  12. Echo Tango says:

    Meta: the youtube link for today’s podcast is missing the video-ID. It just ends in ?v=, and you aren’t actually taken to the video.

  13. Dreadjaws says:

    I thought WandaVision in general was serviceable, but not fantastic. It’s this weird thing where the show starts slow, gets progressively more interesting until it peaks and then devolves into generic, boring superhero fare. I know people say that fans are angry because Disney didn’t pay attention to our theories, but the real problem is that in lieu of those theories they gave us nothing interesting. It’s like how some people like to excuse Mass Effect 3’s ending saying that “it was never going to live up to players’ expectations”. But people aren’t complaining about that. They’re complaining about the end product being lazy and convoluted.

    Look at, say, The Dark Knight or The Empire Strikes Back. I know for sure people had lots of crazy theories about what was going to happen in those movies, and I also know those expectations weren’t met. Yet the movies still managed to be universally popular, and that’s because they still cared about presenting an interesting product. In WandaVision it feels like the writers were either replaced in the last two episodes or just woke up with a hangover and didn’t want to put the effort.

    1. Gwydden says:

      As someone who doesn’t care about the MCU, I found the parts of the show I liked least were those that reminded me that, oh right, this is a Marvel production. Overall, I’d say it was fine; not amazing, but fine. The last episode was indeed the worst of the bunch, and to add insult to injury it could not even stay away from the MCU mania of constantly promoting future stuff. I don’t get how people haven’t gotten bored of this franchise already.

    2. Daimbert says:

      I know people say that fans are angry because Disney didn’t pay attention to our theories, but the real problem is that in lieu of those theories they gave us nothing interesting.

      As soon as I read one of the directors saying that people will be disappointed because their personal theories will be busted, my immediate thought was that what was more likely going to happen is that the theories the fans came up with were just going to be SO much better than what they actually came up with. I felt that this was a major flaw in Agents of SHIELD, where there were some interesting arcs that could have led to interesting revelations and a big deal was made out of the mystery, but then what they actually did with them was far less interesting than what the fans built out of it. So it was less a flaw in the fans that they were disappointed and more a flaw in the writers who couldn’t come up with something cool that would have made most of the fans oooh and aaaah even if their own personal ideas didn’t make it in.

      1. Thomas says:

        I haven’t seen Wandavision (yet) so I believe you and my friend said the same. Particularly if they were mixing in famous comic storylines.

        But as a related topic, as a general rule of thumb I find following the discussions on a show built around twists of any sort never leaves me satisfied. Either the twist is guessed by the fanbase and stops being a surprise, or the twist isn’t guessed and it’s either so ridiculous it’s not satisfying or it’s not as good as the stuff the fans came up with. It’s really hard to beat the crowd.

        The only exception for me that comes to mind isn’t really even a twist but it was learning about the Korrasmi shipping in Legends of Korra on the old forums here. That was fun because I didn’t believe it would actually happen and then it did. But then I learned it was no fun for anyone who didn’t read Korra discussions because it came out of nowhere for them.

        1. Daimbert says:

          I haven’t seen Wandavision (yet) so I believe you and my friend said the same. Particularly if they were mixing in famous comic storylines.

          I haven’t seen Wandavision either, but was just flashing back to Agents of SHIELD and figuring that they were going to make the same mistakes with their twists as they did, but were trying to forestall it by talking about disappointing fans by not giving them the twist they thought of.

          Yeah, one issue is that the crowd has more time and a lot more input to come up with cool stuff than the writers do, so I think it’s vital for them to come up with a good answer and execute it well. The fans, I think, only really get disappointed when the twists are uninspired at best and/or aren’t executed well.

          1. Dreadjaws says:

            Yeah, one issue is that the crowd has more time and a lot more input to come up with cool stuff than the writers do

            I’m not sure that makes much sense. The writers have literally months to work on a script, while the audience has, at most, a few weeks. And, in the case of an adaptation, writers have access to all the supplementary material from the source (in this case, the comics), while the audience, even the superfans, have only a fraction available to them.

            I know it’s easy to think the audience has an easier job, with the benefit of hindsight, but these people have much more time to work on it and they’re professional writers. If the audience is doing a better job, then the writers are simply not putting the effort. It’s not like they write the script and then they have to film it without giving it a second thought. If they’re doing that, they’re doing their job wrong. They’re supposed to write, read, re-read, re-write, edit and produce several drafts of a script before it’s properly ready to film.

            It’s like the whole deal with Wonder Woman 1984. The problems with the film aren’t the product of some rabid superfans finding some obscure information that puts a bump on the plot if you spend a few weeks overanalyzing it; the problems come from stuff that should have been painfully apparent on a second read of the script.

            1. Daimbert says:

              I’m not sure that makes much sense. The writers have literally months to work on a script, while the audience has, at most, a few weeks. And, in the case of an adaptation, writers have access to all the supplementary material from the source (in this case, the comics), while the audience, even the superfans, have only a fraction available to them.

              Well, using the traditional week-to-week model, the audience watches an episode that raises a mystery and has an entire week to speculate on what it might mean, and has the input of potentially hundreds of people on multiple forums in the Internet era. And then the next week they have ANOTHER week just to speculate on what happened in those TWO episodes. And so on. And also while the fans might have a fraction of the supplementary material available to each of them, that fraction might be different for different fans (someone might know the older comics while someone else might know the newer ones, and so on). They also have the benefit of hindsight as you mentioned as they can see how things were actually filmed which the writers don’t have, and so can do things like pick up a nuance in a performance and speculate about what that means for the outcome (whether or not it was intentional). And finally, they don’t have to do anything ELSE but speculate about the mystery or twist as well, whereas the writers have plot and character arcs to build and develop and the entire structure of the show to worry about.

              So the fans have the time to deeply analyze each individual episode and have the input of a wide variety of people who are all outside of the writer’s room and so aren’t locked into the idea that the writers came up with and so can speculate wildly. That IS a pretty big advantage when trying to come up with really cool and interesting ideas.

              That being said, I will agree that most of the time the outcome is due to writer failure, but submit that that’s more that they don’t implement their own ideas better rather than being able to come up with the radically cool theories that the fans come up with.

            2. Philadelphus says:

              I’m not sure that makes much sense. The writers have literally months to work on a script, while the audience has, at most, a few weeks.

              Right, but the audience is much bigger, numerically—if you look at the number of person-hours available on both sides of the equation, I’d reckon it’s massively weighted towards the audience. And of course, the more people you have, the more likely you’re going to get new and different ideas, so the audience has that advantage as well.

              (I haven’t actually seen Wandavision and have no particular opinion on its twists/lack thereof, just wanted to make this observation.)

          2. Bubble181 says:

            One thing to remember, though, is that most viewers, EVEN of a show like WandaVision, are NOT major fans.
            There WILL be people for whom WandaVision is their first foray into the MCU (even if this seems like a REALLY bad place to start). There WILL be a LOT of people who have seen…the Avengers movies, and maybe two or three other random MCU movies, and then watch this. There will be plenty of people who have seen all MCU movies, but have never opened a comic. And so on.
            What I find is that, very often, and especially around the MCU (though the same could be said for some of the fan theories around Game of Thrones by the end), is that fan theories are so much more convoluted/dependant on people remembering things from 6 seasons ago/remembering things from 3 different movies in a different setting released 10 years ago that, for the vast majority of the viewing audience, they’d be completely out of nowhere at best, utterly incomprehensible at worst, contradictory to expectations almost certainly.
            WV got a crap review in a newspaper here (after 3 episodes I think) for being neither interesting for the “true” fans, nor for the “casual” fans. I think that’s more or less true, especially in the beginning.

        2. Dreadjaws says:

          Either the twist is guessed by the fanbase and stops being a surprise, or the twist isn’t guessed and it’s either so ridiculous it’s not satisfying or it’s not as good as the stuff the fans came up with.

          It’s funny because both of those things happen in WandaVision.

        3. Dotec says:

          This is what happened to me with Westworld S1, although it didn’t actually bug me much. There’s still a fun and gleeful sensation that comes with being able to say “Ha! I called it!”. And the twist was not the finale itself, so there was still interesting territory to mine for the remainder of the season’s run. (Overall, I think S1 was fantastic. The show then quickly lost its way.)

          This dilemma regarding “twists” in television programming continues to reaffirm why I think the third season of Twin Peaks was so special and without peer. Show me any popular TV series with a Major Unexpected Turn of Events and I’ll point you to its local subreddit that already cracked the code well in advance. TP was the only show I’ve seen in the last decade where attempting to “call it” became frankly impossible after the dozenth try. I don’t think I saw a single fan theory survive obliteration. But instead of the usual fan sourness one anticipates when expectations aren’t met, the show managed to maintain its mystery and allure all the way through the finale. About halfway through the season I had to instruct myself to give up trying to figure everything out, and instead just sit back and see where this bizarre odyssey takes me.

          “Oh… is this guy the new ‘Leland Palmer’ character?! Ah. I guess not…”
          “Oh oh… is this our new ‘Laura Palmer’ victim?! Ah. Apparently not…”
          “OH OH OH. Audrey is back! Is she the key?! Does Cooper need to rescue- Oh my god, what have they done?!”.
          “Why is driving in silence on a dark road the most emotionally wracking experience I’ve had watching TV?!?! It wasn’t supposed to be like this!

          1. Daimbert says:

            While I didn’t care for that season for other reasons, I will say that this would be more the result of people actually LIKING the unexpected resolution that they came to because it was implemented fairly well. This is going to be especially true for someone like Lynch since both his non-linear approach and the oddness of the second season finale mean that he can go in any direction he likes and if it doesn’t really make sense then, well, what else did you expect?

            1. Dotec says:

              I don’t disagree. “Subverting expectations” has become a bit of a dirty meme at this point, but only because it feels like there was a rash of creators lately that treated it as an endpoint unto itself, and a condescending explanation for why “It’s actually great, you just didn’t like it because it’s different”. As if they forgot that the subversion needs to come with a payoff (or a trade-off?). At the end of the day, TP didn’t leave me in a grumpy mood and TLJ did, and I’d reason a part of that is because the former gave me a takeaway that the latter didn’t.

              Don’t get me wrong. There were parts of S3 that absolutely felt like the show was teasing and jerking me around, causing some frustration. But I came around to appreciating those sections in hindsight because I felt they eventually justified themselves or ended up moving in a direction that pleasantly surprised me. Insert sex metaphor here. YMMV, of course.

              You’re also right that the ‘rules’ of a show like Twin Peaks are kinda different from others, and probably affords it a lot of latitude that another show can’t have. A series like Lost – for whatever reason – can’t get away with endless enduring mystery in a way TP can, even though mystery is a central part of both shows. A commenter here a while ago said it’s probably because Lost was always promising you answers. Whereas Lynch… well, Lynch is Lynch.

              1. Steve C says:

                “Subverting expectations” has become a bit of a dirty meme at this point, but only because it feels like there was a rash of creators lately that treated it as an endpoint unto itself, and a condescending explanation for why “It’s actually great, you just didn’t like it because it’s different”.

                I’ve never ever understood why creators think that. Or even try going down that road without an insanely well crafted and bulletproof story. The only time it works is when subversion the *entire* point of the story.

                Like LOTR is a pretty good story. It would not be better if (surprise!) Sauron wins at the end. And most stories are like that– they suck with an unexpected resolution or subversion at the end. A good story is building towards something. That something should happen. The biggest twist should still be obvious in retrospect.

  14. RFS-81 says:

    About the (lack of) cartoonyness in Fallen Order: With the whole live-action (or “””live-action”””) trend going on in Disney, I’m wondering if mainstream-culture as a whole doesn’t want cartoonyness.

    1. Thomas says:

      You do get people who say ‘I don’t see the point of watching cartoons’. And when I play some beautiful indie game I often get non-gamers ask me why ‘this one doesn’t look as good’. I’ve heard both of those in 2021 from flatmates

      When I was young I remember seeing terrible 3D-rendered web comics and thinking like they looked like the best thing in the world. ‘Look at all that shading and extra detail!’. For the indie game comments sometimes I think it’s a similar phenomena happening

      1. Nimrandir says:

        Indeed, some folks are not fans of stylized art as opposed to the chase for photorealism. I remember playing Team Fortress 2 with a friend who drifted into the Calls of Battlefield specifically because the graphics were more realistic.

  15. Olivier FAURE says:

    Completely unrelated to the mailbag because I just like this place as a forum:

    Did anyone watch Raya and The Last Dragon? If so, what did you think?

    I really liked the art design, especially the different nations. The story was meh.

    I thought the part where Naamari blames Raya for Sisu’s death especially weak. Like, you can’t shoot humanity’s last hope with a crossbow and then tell the person who tried to stop you “This is your fault because you wouldn’t trust me!” You gave her a very good reason not to trust you, dumbass.

    1. MerryWeathers says:

      It was a very basic and serviceable movie, the setting apparently is pretty interesting from what you can read about it on the official website but most of it is barely in the film itself.

  16. Sleeping Dragon says:

    At work and can’t listen to the show so not sure what was said on the topic.

    I wonder how viable having “accessibility options” for movement would be in VR games. I don’t have personal experience with VR but are there cases where they allow for switching whether certain movements need to be “performed” or can be replaced with a gesture or some kind of button?

  17. Rick says:

    Is it possible to play Starbound with a controller? It looks like there’s unofficial controller support.

    One of my kids is fine on a keyboard but prefers a controller, the other only uses a keyboard but primarily uses their index finger for WASD. I have really tried to get them using it “properly” but they can play Minecraft well enough as-is that they don’t want to change. It’ll be hard, but they can re-learn later.

    Anyway, a gamepad/controller might help a little if it’s an option.

    1. Gautsu says:

      If you find an answer to this let me know please

  18. Sillyus Saurus says:


    What a small internet it is.

    I hope everything is well in Battleship-land.

  19. EOW says:

    Persona 5 has two versions:
    vanilla (ps3 and ps4) is the original game. It’s a mixture of dating sim + jrpg. You have to manage a calendar and each activity costs time, so you gotta plan what you wanna do (don’t worry, there’s no actual timer, time moves on when you progress with an activity). It’s a pretty engrossing series, but if you don’t have a PS4 i suggest you play Persona 4 Golden (updated re-release of the original persona 4) on steam, it’s 20 bucks and it gives you a pretty good idea of how the persona series plays.
    Persona 5 Royal is the re-release, exclusive to ps4 only… and yeah, it’s basically the same game with some gameplay changes, a new playable character and a longer story mode (basically there’s an extra post game). There’s no reason why it couldn’t be a dlc, but no, you had to buy the game full price a second time to get it. Honestly, it’s the best version of Persona 5 if you have a ps4.

    Persona 5 Striker is a sequel and the game is a musou and there’s also Persona 5 Dancing, which is a… well, rhythm game. If you don’t know what a musou is, it’s an action genre that’s all about using flashy moves to slay hordes of helpless mooks. If you’re curious persona 4 had two fighting game spin offs. It’s a series that loves its spinoffs.
    Honestly i played and loved Persona 1, 3 and 4 but i’ve yet to finish persona 5 royal. Why? i got so many goddamn spoilers online i basically lost all interest since pretty much all emotional payoffs have been spoiled to me.

    Also, now that i’m here might as well tell you about persona 1 and 2. 1 is usually regarded as a bad starting point (i’d suggest to just read the manga) since the series really got it’s gameplay from 3. The first two personas are dungeon crawlers with no real social elements. The first one is rather clunky and old and the ps1 version was full of early american jrpg adaptations. They changed characters race, cut content and generally americanized everything. PSP version is faithful and has much needed qols, but also changed the ost (ymmv on that). Persona 2 duology is generally regarded as the best written in the series. Yes, duology. The first game is Innocent Sin, the second one is Eternal Punishment.

  20. TLN says:

    Strikers relies enough on the player having played Persona 5 first that it is extremely weird that they’d even bother putting it out on PC since, you know, Persona 5 is NOT on PC.

    1. Rariow says:

      This is the weirdest thing for me. I’m happy about it, since I would much rather play games on PC than on any console, but considering how much of a strict sequel it is it seems bizarre. My hope is that it’s an indication every Persona game released from now on will come to PC, especially considering the P4G rerelease apparently sold like hotcakes. I wouldn’t put it beyond them to port Persona 5 Royal as well, which I’d be semi-annoyed by since Persona 5 is half the reason I own a PS4. Would love to not have to buy a PS5 or whatever for Persona 6, though.

      1. Daimbert says:

        For the amount of hours I tend to put into Persona games, it’s actually easily cost-effective for me to buy a console literally just for those games. P5 is the least right now with my having played it for only 240 hours so far and having a console and two versions for it, but the only reason I’m not playing it more is because I don’t have the spare time right now.

      2. Ander says:

        Wouldn’t worry for a few years, if the amount of games they got out of P4 is any indication.

      3. TLN says:

        There were a lot of rumors when P4G came out on PC that they were doing the same for P3FES, but I’m not clear on if those rumors had any basis in reality or if people were just wildly guessing. I played Persona 5 on PS4 and I also played Persona 5 Royal on PS4 and honestly for JRPGs of that length I generally prefer playing on console. For Strikers though, I’m not sure what the scope of it is exactly so I haven’t decided yet if I want it for console or PC, but since it’s both a pseudo-sequel AND sort of a niche game in the first place, it hardly seems to be even worth it to put it out on PC.

        I do wonder if Persona 6 will be for PS5 only, or if it’ll be for lastgen consoles as well like the last two games in the series, or if they’ll finally just go ‘to hell with it!’ and put it on PC at launch.

  21. The Rocketeer says:

    I was surprised to learn that Persona 5 Strikers wasn’t a spinoff soccer game. Don’t tell me people wouldn’t play it.

    1. Thomas says:

      I was really disappointed to learn it wasn’t.

      Then that disappointment drove me to try the Captain Tsubasa demo, which was a mistake I will never be repeating.

      1. The Rocketeer says:

        I’ve seen that Captain Tsubasa had “mixed” reviews on Steam, which generally indicates either significant technical problems/bugs/crashing/incompatibilities, or a very low quality game. Is it that bad?

        1. Thomas says:

          It made me realise how much effort goes into making something like FIFA or Pro Evolution Soccer work.

          The camera is locked in a position that doesn’t let you see the pitch and none of your AI teammates move in interesting ways when you have the ball, so you just have to repeat the same simple strategy over and over and over again. It was like playing that Simpson joke about football.

          I remember FIFA 97 being more technically sophisticated

          EDIT: also, instead of being physics driven, all the goals and saves are cutscenes.

    2. Retsam says:

      This is still what it is in my mind, and I won’t have anyone tell me differently.

    3. tmtvl says:

      The only soccer game I like is Touhou Soccer, and even then only for the in-jokes.

  22. RE: Kids with Games

    I’ve had a lot of experiences with that over the years with introducing new players to DDO (I made a guild that welcomes newbies) and also with MYSELF because I decided to see if I could play DDO with one hand so I could dualbox, so I went out and got a mouse with just a billion buttons on it and some foot pedals and OMG was I just SO LOUSY at playing ANYTHING for SO LONG. It doesn’t help that I’m one of those people who is particularly slow to learn physical tasks, so it takes me many, many more repetitions before I can reliably hit the correct key on demand than it does for most people.

    I estimate it took me a full YEAR of practice before I’d grade myself as being roughly as competent playing with my one-handed scheme as I was playing with keyboard and mouse.

    But wait, there’s more!

    See, people who study learning have found that the more you learn about something, the more you CAN learn about it. So it’s not just a matter of repetition teaching you how to play a single game and incidentally carrying over to other games. Learning how to play ANY game makes it fundamentally easier for you to learn NEW games of ANY kind, because the pathways that process that kind of activity are all stronger, faster, and more developed in you.

    So a true newbie isn’t just behind on practice with a PARTICULAR game, their BRAIN literally is not yet developed toward LEARNING this particular skillset. Your brain has to learn how to learn something before you can even start becoming proficient.

    This is why it takes such enormous discipline to pick up new things later in life–you’re busy, you have settled habits, and you have to force yourself to take an enormous amount of time, way more than you think it should take–to go back to this INCREDIBLY primitive version of your brain where NOTHING comes easily and, by brute force and repetition, make your brain reconfigure itself so that it can learn how to learn a new thing.

    The real equivalent for a true newbie to gaming as a whole isn’t the state of a long-term gamer picking up a new game. It’s more like someone who had a stroke and has lost all dexterity and has to re-learn it from scratch.

    1. I guess the takeaway here is that if you want to REALLY play with a total newbie (like a child), force yourself to play with an unfamiliar controller or something that completely interrupts your gaming-related habits.

  23. Re: KotOR today

    I think anyone seeking to make a modern KotOR could stand to learn from DDO (and not just because I’m a fan of DDO), but because DDO does basically what KotOR would probably have to do–take a turn-based system and turn it into an action-y but not FULLY action game that is still pretty fun and preserves a lot of the “feel” of the original, yet can appeal to modern audiences.

    So, what would I boil it down to:

    1. Keep the “die rolling” aspect for melee and ranged combat–you target the enemy, your character plays an animation, and then die rolls determine whether you hit and how much damage you do. However, this is still subject to collision detection, facing, and you can freely move around without any “turns” while this is going around. So basically you have the skill element of pointing your character at the enemy and navigating the terrain. In addition, the game needs to be much more 3D, with lots of up/down and jumping and traversal of terrain. KotOR was fundamentally a 2D game that just had 3D models and a perspective you could rotate, but there was not actually any third dimension to moving around. That needs to change.

    2. For spells, use simple aimed targeting to determine whether they land or not. No friendly fire (the game is too fast-paced for this to be viable, although you can build in a toggle for hardcore nuts to blow themselves up with if you like). Many spells also use “real” projectiles that can be physically *dodged*, not just ignored via die roll, so situational awareness is still important.

    3. Environmental hazards/traps that are “real things” that can be dodged/timed/navigated, not just a glowing circle or “zone of trappiness” that cannot be dealt with in any way other than having the skill points that flip the switch. You can still HAVE the skills and the mechanical off switch (this is what DDO does), but if you don’t have an off-switcher skill person in your group, you can still get through the trap via gameplay skill in DDO. Environmental hazards also do friendly fire and can harm enemies.

    4. No or very little expectation that you run your entire party simultaneously. You run YOUR CHARACTER, the AI runs your party members. You can give them a certain number of orders (such as “pull this lever” or “attack this target”), but you don’t have to give them commands for basically every action more complex than “auto-attack”. An action-y modern game does not work with the expectation that you will babysit all of your party members. And “real-time with pause” is a shitty gameplay style that needs to die. NOBODY likes it. No one has EVER liked it. People either want full real-time or full turn-based, and if they don’t get one or the other EVERYBODY is going to complain and whine and spend the whole game fighting the interface instead of enjoying the game.

    4a. Optionally, you can have a secondary game mode (like a mass combat system) that is fully turn-based. This has the value of bringing in something to appeal to your turn-based lovers and giving them something that is not so stuck on twitch reflexes. Develop both halves of the gameplay fully and allow people to overcome obstacles that they find tiresome/obnoxious/whatever in one mode by playing a bit more in the OTHER mode, and you may manage to make both your old-school and new fans happy at the same time. The way this would work is, say at this point in the story you need to gain entrance to an ancient temple. There are two ways to do this: rush in yourself with your party, hack down all the guards, do jumping puzzles and environmental challenges, and be an Action Badass. OR, you can take to the strategy table and develop a base nearby, make decisions about where to get resources and how to develop it, fight a few overland battles, and conquer the area that contains the temple. Then you go to the temple and the guards are taken out for you, instead of a jumping challenge there’s now a bridge, etc. As long as both routes have a similar degree of gameplay complexity and challenge, EVERYONE is happy. You can mix and match different degrees of this so that the game becomes self-scaling and people can choose how much to do via Action and how much to do via Strategy–and how to build their character stats toward those options. Basically, you can play the game as Han Solo, OR you can play as Princess Leia if you prefer–or some combination of the two at different times.

    5. Don’t lock everyone into playing as a Jedi or Sith.

    6. Don’t try to make the game into an open world crafting survival game. Have an actual complex plot that goes from A to B to C to D. There’s nothing wrong with having your players do things in a SPECIFIC ORDER.

    1. NOBODY says:

      And “real-time with pause” is a shitty gameplay style that needs to die. NOBODY likes it. No one has EVER liked it.

      There are dozens of us, I say! Dozens!

    2. Sleeping Dragon says:

      Please yes on RTWP. I’ve finally made a call to restart my Pillars of Eternity playthrough, rather than hope that the knowledge of where I was, what I was doing and how to even play the game is going to descend upon me, and I won’t lie, the mechanics is a struggle. I don’t mean to yuck anybody’s yum but I think the reason why so many people look back fondly at this mechanic is that they remember the games rather than the gameplay. I know when I replayed Planescape:Torment a few years back I loved it but it was despite RTWP, not because of it.

      Also, I’m trying not to get into another game that requires regular commitment so stop trying to lure me into DDO!

      1. DDO is about the lowest-commitment MMO out there from what I can tell. Or, alternatively, it CAN be the highest-commitment MMO I’ve ever seen depending on whether you go insane and decide to do All Teh Past Lives or not. But you can play heavily for a week and have an endgame-ready character (er, depending on what your definition of “endgame” is–it’s a weird game for an MMO) or lightly for a month or so.

        It really is a strange game that occupies a peculiar space that no other game really does.

        1. Sleeping+Dragon says:

          Yeah, see, I’ve looked a bit at the wikis about the reincarnation system and to me that is what the game is, I’d definitely want to get All Of The Things from that. Anyway, should probably stop hijacking Shamus’ comment section like this…

      2. RTWP is and always was a crude, ugly hack to enable you to run an entire party of adventurers at once with an appallingly awful interface. Having played some more modern turn-based games, I’d say either go real turn-based or real real-time and chuck the awful clunky broken hybrid.

  24. Mr. Wolf says:

    Related to “Kids and Skill Games” is “This Game I Used to Play is Way Harder than I Remember”

    Logically speaking, as we grow we develop better coordination and reflexes. So why are the games we played as kids so much more frustratingly difficult today?

    The answer is simple: as we grew more skilled we also grew less tolerant of their bullshit.

  25. Geebs says:

    I think we’ve missed an important topic here in the comments, which is that Prodeus is really fricking good. Waaaaaaaaay more fun to play than Doom Eternal.

    I think they’ve used 3D polygon models and then made them look like 2D billboards, which is admirably odd.

  26. Simplex says:

    Hi, I’m late again to the discussion.
    Half Life Alyx is a very accessible game, you can play sitting and I think you can even play one handed! (but I am not 100% certain). Also you do not have to crouch, or kneel at all – your gravity gloves allow you to force pull objects from a distance.


  27. Confanity says:

    This is a very late and tangential addition to the discussion, but about sleeping in separate beds: it’s real. My dad’s parents did that (they were in the pre-Boomer WWII generation), so it’s definitely a real thing. But setting it aside, I’ve been in discussions on various websites where people say that they do it even now, because it simply lets them sleep better than when they’re next to someone who moves a lot, snores, etc. It may no longer be expected or “normal,” but it wasn’t just a TV convention made up to avoid the scandalous implication that married couples might have sex or whatever.

  28. Confanity says:

    Re: randomized tech trees (in around the 35th minute) – Civ VI has actually added an optional mode where you can randomize the tech and culture trees, which shuffles their order and dependencies within a given era. Clearly, a veteran player will still know what they need to do to get their boosts, and sometimes it can lead to weird technological imbalances in your civilization, but it does add some spice in that you no longer know ahead of time what order you’ll be doing everything in or when a given thing will be available.

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