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    • CommentAuthorFlabyo
    • CommentTimeAug 25th 2013 edited
    It's not just small developers with no dedicated writing department. In general only the very largest do. Square have full time writers for example, but even places like Eidos don't (yes, I appreciate they're the same company, but I'm talking at developer level rather than publisher level).

    It's one of the great failings of the games industry at the moment, this belief that you start the game off, and at some point you bring in a writer to 'polish up' the plot the developers came up with originally.

    Story only works in games if your writers are in at ground level and can help you work every aspect of the game. The most successful example of it being done 'right' in recent years is probably Deus Ex Human Revolution. Multiple writers, on board from the start, and writing not just the games plot but working on all the side things like item descriptions etc...

    The problem isn't just that we treat writers poorly (and we do, oh boy we do) but that game development doesn't work like other media. In general, the absolute worst thing you can do when designing a game is to come up with your story and then try and build a game to fit it. That almost always ends up awful. Both the game design and the story have to be able to evolve alongside each other organically, and that is a really expensive proposition.

    We'll get there. But right now we're a very long way away from where I hope we can be.
  1.  (11106.2)
    The best game endings are those where the last level is the game's completion. Osu Takate Ouendan, for example. The game has a concept rather than a story and in both it and the sequel they save the ultimate expression of that idea for the very last level. Rez would be another example of this, with level 5 being jaw-dropping at the time.

    It's still odd that some of my favorite video game stories are from the 16-bit era. Final Fantasy III SNES and Lunar/Luna 2 on Sega CD are still what I consider perfect RPGs, blending the talking and the fighting in a proper ratio and ending the stories of each in a very satisfying way. None were exactly Shakespeare, but they knew what they were and were perfectly happy to be that thing, instead of trying to be deeper and more meaningful than the writers had the talent to be.
    • CommentTimeAug 25th 2013 edited

    Yeah, I was a bit scatterbrained when writing that, should've elaborated what I meant about the writing departments, but I think I saw a squirrel. But it definitely is as you say, the story is still the redheaded stepchild in game design, although things do seem to be getting much better. Even with the shortcomings and weird lapses of some titles, my totally subjective vibe is that the most interesting game storytelling is currently coming from indie or semi-indie (in the vein of Telltale Games) side of the business. There still seems to be a whole lot of "but the fratboy might not get it" mentality with the big publishers, directly comparable to the Hollywood studio way of dumbing films down. The latter is something industry sources have been starting to talk about more and more, but most of the stories I've heard from the games side have been told one-on-one, and they are quite comparable to the studio film stupidity. Of course, an AAA game is a big investment and a big risk, but still... sigh.

    Nevertheless, it's a good time to be a gamer, and especially a gamer who likes a good story. Overall things are looking up.
    • CommentTimeAug 25th 2013
    The last level of Rez was indeed amazing.
    • CommentTimeAug 26th 2013
    If anyone ends up playing the FF14 relaunch, I'm on Midgardsomr. Character's name is Hammerface Odinson.
    • CommentTimeAug 26th 2013
    Recently sold our 360, and got a PS3 instead. Mainly because paying for XBL just to watch Netflix was getting old, but the XBox One is still not looking like the console for us. Might as well cut ties now.
    So far all we have is Arkham City, the Ratchet and Clank collection, and Fallout: New Vegas.

    The joy of starting NV all over again is one I treasure.
  2.  (11106.7)
    I got to play this at the Indiecade booth at E3 two years ago. After the closing bell the Indiecade booth just kept on going, because they weren't in the primary E3 halls, so there was plenty of time to sit and chat with people. It was a lovely end to the year with a lovely game prototype, and I've been keeping an eye on this ever since-

  3.  (11106.8)
    2DS announced

    The thought of a cheaper 3DS with a 2D screen is actually a good one. Not so sure about that bulky form factor and unprotected touch screen, though. at least the Vita has those thumbsticks to keep it from scratching if you drop it (which I was thankful for in the airport the other day).

    Speaking of the Vita, Spelunky is out for the PS3 and Vita. Buy it for one of them, get the other version for free, allowing for adhoc play between the Vita and PS3. In-house multiplayer Spelunky, yo. I hadn't played it before, but it is a lot of fun so far.
    • CommentAuthorFlabyo
    • CommentTimeAug 28th 2013
    While it's a decent idea, it shows that even they know the 3D wasn't much of a game changer. They're also going to have to really carefully manage the marketing message, there's still people out there that don't know the WiiU is a different console to the Wii...
  4.  (11106.10)
    I still enjoy the 3D aspect of the 3DS. It makes the games pop. Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D sells it well, and when I turn the 3D off (necessary in some of the more hand-wobblingly hectic bits) I miss it.

    Game-changer, though? Naw. Which is why the 2DS is a good idea. It's just... That form factor is a bit, um... Let's just say that I hope they made it that way for ergonomic purposes.
    • CommentTimeAug 28th 2013

    You had better have some gangsta-ass pockets for this thing.
  5.  (11106.12)
    It's a kids' toy version of the 3DS. Cheap and with fewer breakable parts, like a hinge. Pretty well designed for its market, I'd say, although I'm not sure how large that market will end up being. I can't imagine giving up the roominess of the 3DS XL screens, though.
  6.  (11106.13)
    @James Cunningham

    Honestly, that was the only issue I saw with the 2DS as well, in terms of whether or not I would buy it if I didn't already own a 3DS XL. The 3D, while fun, is a battery killer and typically unimportant in terms of gameplay, so losing it isn't an especially big deal.

    A good point has been made that it's releasing near the time of the new Pokemon, which while no longer my cup of tea, is still a money maker for Nintendo, and a console that is cheaper than the 3DS and released well into the time when the game actually has titles worth playing, is going to get a lot of 3DS games sold this Christmas.

    I might not agree with everyone of Nintendo's strategies in the modern market(F-Zero and Star Fox as dead franchises are like knives in my heart), they seem to continuing to hold onto their handheld market dominance.

    Now give me another goddamned Advance Wars.
    • CommentTimeAug 28th 2013
    I pretty much always play with the 3D off, but once again I find myself feeling sorry for old man Nintendo. They'll make money off of this, sure, and releasing this alongside the new Pokemon game is a smart move, but it feels like another small admission of failure.
  7.  (11106.15)
    The 3DS is actually very successful, it's the Wii U that's the problem. A gigantic fat huge problem that the 2DS does nothing to address, other than provide a different hardware revenue stream. It's going to be marketed as the budget Nintendo handheld, but if I had to guess I'd say it only exists to prop up the bottom line rather than cover a market Nintendo felt wasn't being properly addressed. Now if they can just figure out how to save the Wii U, they wouldn't have had to do this.
    • CommentAuthorFlabyo
    • CommentTimeAug 29th 2013
    They've made some very shrewd decisions with the 2DS though, which I like. It's clearly targeted at a younger age group (those who can't use the 3D of the normal device, it has a lower age limit for health reasons), it comes out when Pokemon does, it's a much more robust a piece of kit without the hinged section...

    And this morning it emerges that it's actually only one screen, which will make it waaaaay cheaper to manufacture than the normal 3DS is.

    Basically, it's not 'for us', but aimed very squarely at a gap in the Nintendo portfolio.
    • CommentTimeAug 29th 2013
    Now if they can just figure out how to save the Wii U, they wouldn't have had to do this.

    They could try making games for the damn thing. Oh look! another Mario reskin! Oh Look! Party games!

    That being said, Windwaker HD is a thing I'm looking forward to, but their game schedule for the rest of the year is like 6 games, and that includes a Marvel Lego game and that Disney Infinity game
  8.  (11106.18)

    The only reason I'm not picking up a Wii U right now is that I've got too many other games to play for the systems I own already. I do aim to grab one when Smash Bros comes out, though, for the multiplayering. However... Wonderful 101 is supposed to be one darn good game. Pikmin 3 is also supposedly brilliant. And I hear really good things about Lego City Undercover. So that's, uh. Three games. Heh.

    Just like anything Nintendo since and including the Gamecube days, the Wii U is one to pick up just for those rare gems you don't get to play anywhere else. Though, granted, the Gamecube at least did pretty well in the multiplatform department.
    • CommentTimeAug 29th 2013 edited
    I own Lego City, and it is fun, but not as fun as the other lego games which support co-op. Lego City is incredibly deep and huge, but i miss the local multiplayer quite a bit. We rented Pikmin 3, as i was a HUGE fan of the other two and my wife enjoyed the Pikmin mini game in Nintendoland. It was a great Pikmin game and looked gorgeous. But again-I'm using it more for classic Nintendo games/indie games than anything else. There's just not a library to support the system. Many titles that would kill on the Wii-U (I'm looking at you, Fire Emblem, Final Fantasy, anything Pokemon) They're releasing purely on handhelds.
    • CommentAuthorFlabyo
    • CommentTimeAug 29th 2013
    They're doing a version of the next Smash Brothers for 3DS, and I already have one of those, so I suspect the WiiU will be the first console I've skipped since I bought my PS1.