Jimquisition: Irrational Decisions (Or Freedom In Chains)

 Pages PREV 1 2 3 4 NEXT
 

Look at all those emotions! I'm blown away.

Drummodino:

Ultratwinkie:
Its like art or craftsmanship, you can't force it. You can't just have cookie cutter effort. Its what the AAA is doing now.

Look at Arcanum, that had a story that blew the biggest hole in the idea of an afterlife and made suicide seem like a good idea. The kind of game that plainly insults your religion at its basic level. That had meaning. Same as planescape and other games.

None of them cost that much. Hell, even the TLOU and Bioshock infinite are shallow compared to what other mature mediums like books can do and even these older games can convey.

Good craftsmanship =/= expensive to make.

AAA merely means a lot of money being spent, and good stories and good art doesn't have to cost that much to make.

Or are you going to ask Picasso how much his "million dollar" paint costs? Because it isn't the paint or money that makes the art.

TLOU and Bioshock are not praised for graphics or even gameplay, they were praised for their story. And other games with even more complicated stories show that a good story doesn't cost a thing.

Its only the graphics and gameplay that costs money, story doesn't. Stanley Parable kinda proved that too.

I agree that you can't force art. However, there are plenty of people out there with ideas that would make for great games and great stories. If these people had a AAA budget, I'm sure we'd see some fantastic games come out of it. Problems occur when AAA titles are not made with that in mind, when publishers and investors demand the inclusion of whatever is popular at the time. See the inclusion of multiplayer in Spec Ops: The Line - a work of art if I ever saw one.

http://www.joystiq.com/2012/08/29/spec-ops-the-line-dev-brands-games-multiplayer-a-waste-of-mon/

I also agree that games can have great, deep and/or meaningful stories without a million dollar budget. Bastion, Limbo, To the Moon, The Walking Dead, Katawa Shoujo - these are all examples of that. What is more difficult however, is creating a game with a good story, impressive graphics and terrific gameplay. It is possible (Portal), but very difficult. Striking aesthetics can mitigate the lack of graphical power, yet that is not an easy feat to accomplish either.

Also I have to disagree that Bioshock Infinite and The Last of Us were shallow - that is a subjective opinion. They may have felt that way to you, but for many people (myself included) they had great and interesting stories. Personally, I found The Last of Us's story fantastic, and while it didn't really do anything new, it did everything so damn well, I rank it up there with my favorite stories of all time (not just games).

They also were praised for their graphics and visuals, not just their stories. Both games are beautiful and this was reflected in many reviews:

http://au.ign.com/articles/2013/06/05/the-last-of-us-review
http://au.ign.com/articles/2013/03/22/bioshock-infinite-xbox-360ps3-review

Their gameplay received less universal praise, opinions tend to polarize quite a bit on that. Some people loved them, some people hated them, some people found them only okay. I enjoyed both (although for different reasons respectively).

All in all, I agree you don't need massive budgets to make great games, and many AAA are indeed crap. Publishers and investors can ruin games with their demands, and sometimes things just don't work out. In contrast, many smaller titles can be stellar, even when they're made on a shoestring budget. However, I definitely don't want to see AAA single player titles disappear, that would sadden me greatly. I love titles like TLoU, Bioshock Infinite, Tomb Raider etc, etc, and I hope that we continue to see similar quality of them in the future.

I say shallow because of how far it goes.

Bioshock's dimensions were safe. It did nothing actually new in terms of ideas. It was also not offensive.

TLOU was more about characters. The idea of a post apocalypse and humans being assholes is not really new either.

Destroy the basic foundation of every religion? In front of gamers who can be anyone? That takes balls.

Similarly, having a game where your choices are ridiculed, you are mocked, and the entire concept of gaming is one big farce. All the while having gamers love it and pay money to be insulted. That also takes balls.

The stories may be well written, but without a meaning its shallow. That's what I mean. It all comes down to how far a game takes itself.

I go by how far a game goes in its message. Safe stories and safe messages don't really elicit a lot of praise from me. They are loved for their story because publishers don't care for it. Its a rare thing to come out of the AAA genre.

So yes, there are games that take even bigger risks on their stories. They just aren't AAA, TLOU and Bioshock however are, and that makes both of those games special in that sense since AAA is normally seen as more mindless cash grab sequels. People didn't expect that.

I also can't say for graphics on console because I am so used to PC graphics that console games just don't do it for me any more. Even GTA V on the ps3 didn't "wow" me because I'd been spoiled by the likes of Metro Last Light on ultra on 1080p. Its also the same reason the order on the PS4 doesn't look impressive to me, since that level of graphics has been around for a while now.

The people that would care that much for graphics would have gone PC by now, because raw power is too expensive to jam into a console. So now we are stuck with a real limit in our power, and we haven't seen that in a long while. There was a time when we would be progressing in power with regulated pace, and now we hit a financial brick wall because hardware companies have better things to do now.

Then again, this is coming from a PC gamer, and I have less to lose than a console gamer when AAA inevitably goes broke since indies have taken it by storm.

I can kind of get where you were going with that joke, but I can't even believe that you passed up that opportunity to mention David Cage was getting a freaking medal from France for whatever the hell he's doing.

lassiie:
Well, you can blame AAA publishing as much as you like for wanting to make money, but all in all, it is us, as a gaming community that continues to support them by purchasing clone after clone after clone. Unfortunately, game theory teaches us that we will never make the choice that would benefit everyone, instead choosing the selfish choice that actually hurts us.

There is that mentality of going off chasing what you *think* sales which is how you get MP shoved into a game where it makes little to no sense.

IMHO, it is chasing after the next big thing some one thinks will sale that is more responsible for the clone-o-rama then what actually sales; one only has to look at the MMO market and marvel at all the Warcraft-want-a-bes that have gone F2P to see an example of that.

Drummodino:
Honestly? I am lamenting the decline of narrative driven, single player, AAA games. Many of my favorite titles of the past few years have fallen under this banner and the possibility of losing these deeply worries me. Don't get me wrong, I certainly enjoy plenty of indie games with smaller budgets and artistic freedom, the likes of Don't Starve, Limbo, To The Moon etc.

However if the day comes when all the AAA scene pumps out are competitive multiplayer games like Titanfall (even though I seriously enjoyed the beta), and we no longer see big budget blockbusters like Bioshock Infinite, The Last of Us and Tomb Raider... I will be immensely disappointed.

Also why would studios not want to make games like these? Yea they cost a lot to make, but the good ones sell like hotcakes and receive massive critical acclaim. Again I point to Bioshock Infinite and The Last of Us, these were mega popular titles and I can't see why people wouldn't want to make more in the future.

Now there we disagree... to me, "Bioshock Infinite", "The Last of Us" and "Tomb Raider" are symptoms of exactly what's WRONG with the industry. I mean, I can ignore "Call of Duty" if I don't want it - and I don't. But when my favorite developer makes a game like "Bioshock Infinite" then there is something SERIOUSLY wrong.

These are games that I felt treated me like a child. Scripted event after scripted event after scripted event. No exploration possible, every experience you will have will be pretty much the same, and they cost as much as a game like "Fallout: New Vegas" or "Skyrim". Which, whatever their faults, are games that you can pretty much do whatever you want with.

Now I'm not saying that every game needs to be open-world, or that following a specific storyline is "bad". "Bastion" absolutely nailed how to do a narrative-driven story but give the player control over the pacing of it, have the narrator refer directly to the player's actions, and give the player enough choices that the player has freedom of HOW to play the game - all of which mean it has a lot of replayability. "Tomb Raider" and "Infinite" and "The Last of Us" DIDN'T DO THIS.

They put you in charge of unlikeable characters following scripted events that you couldn't alter. Your decisions are meaningless in those games. It's like they're saying to you: "We have a vast well-designed world, but we're not going to allow you to alter it in any way! It's ours! All we're going to allow you to do is fight stuff! And stuff that has no bearing whatsoever on the plot of the game!"

No. No. No.

We need less of this crap, not more. And we need reviewers to be honest about what's going on with these games, because honestly the love-in for "Bioshock Infinite" - with all apologies to Jim here - made me feel a little ill. Not that it's a BAD game, but it sure as hell ain't a great one and it's Ken Levine's weakest (I will once again reiterate, as if I haven't done so enough already, that Levine made my all-time favorite game). THAT'S why I'm excited to see Levine set sail for pastures new, so to speak.

Thanatos2k:

TheMadDoctorsCat:

themilo504:
If all of the creative blood keeps disappearing from the aaa market then it's going to crash, nothing can survive without innovation and evolution.

Or new blood comes in to replace it. If the old guard leave, I suspect there are plenty of new designers who'd be quite happy to take their place. The best-case scenario is that the publishers realise that working under "marketing constraints" might be unfeasible and give the new bunch a bit more freedom and creative control. Leave the marketers out of the creative process, and let 'em do what they're good at instead: working out how to publicise a game when they have more of an idea of what the developer's vision is and who it should be sold to.

The abolition of some "big-name" game designers doesn't mean that the AAA games industry is heading for meltdown. Hell, I think it would probably be a bad thing if it did. D'you think I want to miss out on the next big single-player "Fallout" or "Elder Scrolls" game just because somebody dropped the ball with "Call of Duty"? To get games like "Skyrim" made, you NEED the big investors, you NEED the money and the voice actors and the rest.

Problem is that "new blood" is only making mobile games. The crash is coming, and thank god when it does.

That's a bit of a generalisation! I doubt that ALL of the new developers want to only create content for mobile for the rest of their lives. Some might be satisfied with that, but others won't.

My point is, there's a trade-off involved with AAA development. As Jim correctly points out, it's a particularly bad trade-off now, driving some of the talent out of that part of the industry. That doesn't mean that it'll stay that way.

If the AAA industry practices don't change at all then I'd agree with you - AAA is doomed. The question is whether or not it has the flexibility to do that. This is an open question, I feel. They've certainly displayed a lot of flexibility in SOME ways (as the recent "Dungeon Keeper Mobile", published by EA, proves), but probably not the ways that'll do them any good in the long-term!

Doomsdaylee:

TheMadDoctorsCat:

Doomsdaylee:
So, back on topic, the industry NEEDS to crash. It'll clear out these dude-bro Halo/CoD casual gamers that've been hanging around like a wet fart, dismantle the big, billion dollar method in place now, and leave the more indie studios, the ones more interested in making games than making billions. (I'm not saying designers SHOULDN'T be interested in making money, but not to the point of killing their games over it (*COUGHFFXIIICOUGH*)) I, for one, welcome the inevitable flaming doom of the industry. I'll bring the marshmallows.

Nah. Don't agree with this.

I have no problems with the CoDs and Battlefields, even though I'm not into them myself. If people enjoy them and want to keep playing them, what's the harm? Where I agree with you is that their success shouldn't stop other interesting projects from being made and sold by the AAA games industry.

But do they? Maybe to an extent, but the last time I checked, there was plenty of competition to the likes of "Call of Duty" that I could choose instead if I wanted an interesting gaming experience.

I agree, there is no problem with the CoD's and Battlefields, if the industry existed in a vacuum.
It's the games themselves I have an issue with, it's the fact that "These are lower cost to make games, that pull in a wide market." The industry sees that, and floods the market with online FPS games, focusing far to much on that, leaving those of us who don't like online FPS', or even just don't like unimaginative FPS's to sit on the wayside with our thumbs up our ass.

Again, no problem with the games themselves. I don't even dislike CoD (I've played a free weekend or two, it's...adequate, Not good, not bad.) But the fact is that the market sees this success and wants to copy it, instead of taking the risk of going into a market that hasn't been tapped since the late ninties/early aughts, due to the big budget nature of the industry now-a-days.

The problem with the industry isn't the "flooding of the market" with multiplayer games. It's that the so-called "risky" games have become more and more simplistic. See my writing a couple of posts ago about "Bioshock Infinite", "Tomb Raider" and "The Last of Us".

I mean, everybody sees the problems with CoD. But a lot of people don't seem to understand what's happening with the other titles, and why the trend that they display is a very very bad thing indeed.

TheMadDoctorsCat:
Now there we disagree... to me, "Bioshock Infinite", "The Last of Us" and "Tomb Raider" are symptoms of exactly what's WRONG with the industry. I mean, I can ignore "Call of Duty" if I don't want it - and I don't. But when my favorite developer makes a game like "Bioshock Infinite" then there is something SERIOUSLY wrong.

These are games that I felt treated me like a child. Scripted event after scripted event after scripted event. No exploration possible, every experience you will have will be pretty much the same, and they cost as much as a game like "Fallout: New Vegas" or "Skyrim". Which, whatever their faults, are games that you can pretty much do whatever you want with.

Now I'm not saying that every game needs to be open-world, or that following a specific storyline is "bad". "Bastion" absolutely nailed how to do a narrative-driven story but give the player control over the pacing of it, have the narrator refer directly to the player's actions, and give the player enough choices that the player has freedom of HOW to play the game - all of which mean it has a lot of replayability. "Tomb Raider" and "Infinite" and "The Last of Us" DIDN'T DO THIS.

They put you in charge of unlikeable characters following scripted events that you couldn't alter. Your decisions are meaningless in those games. It's like they're saying to you: "We have a vast well-designed world, but we're not going to allow you to alter it in any way! It's ours! All we're going to allow you to do is fight stuff! And stuff that has no bearing whatsoever on the plot of the game!"

No. No. No.

We need less of this crap, not more. And we need reviewers to be honest about what's going on with these games, because honestly the love-in for "Bioshock Infinite" - with all apologies to Jim here - made me feel a little ill. Not that it's a BAD game, but it sure as hell ain't a great one and it's Ken Levine's weakest (I will once again reiterate, as if I haven't done so enough already, that Levine made my all-time favorite game). THAT'S why I'm excited to see Levine set sail for pastures new, so to speak.

Um... I hate to break it to you buddy, but there is nothing wrong with a linear game. There's nothing wrong with scripted events. There is nothing wrong with a game that sets out to tell a story that you have no say over. Not every game needs player choices, not every game is about YOU as the player. Skryim, Fallout etc... they are about YOU. YOU are the protagonist and that is great, I love some of those games. But I also love some linear games that are not YOUR story, they are the character's story. The Last of Us is Joel and Ellie's story, Bioshock Infinite is Booker and Elizabeth's story. Tomb Raider is Lara's story. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.

If those are not the kind of games you enjoy, that is perfectly fine. They just don't suit your tastes. But just because you don't like that style, it doesn't make it something "WRONG" with the industry. They're just a different style of game which many people enjoy. If you don't like them, don't buy them. But don't begrudge other people for liking them just because you happen not to. Video games are subjective, I for one think Bioshock Infinite is a great game. You don't. Neither of us are wrong, it's just our personal experiences and enjoyment were different.

Vivi22:

hermes200:
Sorry, but no.

I agree with your assessment of the AAA industry, but while I think Levine has every right to leave in search of greener pastures, I think you and many people are missing the point of his actions and forgetting the other side; the real victims of personalities closing mega-studios in search to narrow their reach are not the gamers that want more high budget RPG and less modern shooters, its the hundreds of talented people that busted their asses to give us one of the best games of last year, and collaborated a whole lot to its success, even when not in the spotlight, finding themselves without a job one day because their master and commander decided to jump ship and left them with nothing but an empty office and a few lines in a resume.

I don't see how arguing that one side of the coin is a good thing means that Jim or others are missing the fact that a lot of people lost their jobs. Thing is, the video isn't really about Ken Levine. It's about him and other big names moving to smaller studios so they can be more creative.

It is a shame that he didn't mention this because, let's face it, Levine did this in the dumbest and most insensitive way possible. But it's also not really relevant to the points Jim is making. And is it even a point that needs making? Are there really a ton of people out there that don't realize that when you cut a major studio down to 10-15 people it means everyone else lost their job? I'd think that's pretty obvious.

I don't really share that perspective. The video is in great part about Levine, and his actions and consequences in the industry. During a big part of the video Jim defends the guy that left, and stands to justify his actions and (presumed) reasoning for leaving. At the very least, Levine is the trigger for the subject and the most prominent example used. Jim only goes to name further examples later on as if they were analogous.

And my point is, that they aren't. There is a world of difference between them... I understand the reasoning and even celebrate the cases of Bleszynski, Carmack and Jaffe, that left their (relatively secure) jobs in search of new, more personal challenges, while they were not in a crunch, and the world just kept spinning. However, the way Levine and 2K handled the situation was insensitive, impersonal, selfish and destructive; and while I can think of more political ways for 2K to handle it, can't fairly put those labels in a faceless corporation (because 2K is a corporation, so it is faceless, impersonal and selfish by nature) that probably reasoned that without Levine there was no point keeping the studio open instead of putting it under new management, rename it or even merge it with other studios, I sure can put those adjectives on a person that took the decision of closing it without considering or informing the people that implicitly trusted him with their future and where left behind.

It is cool when Carmack decides to resign Id in order to help a few garage geeks with a low level project. It is cool when Jaffe leaves a secure job to create small downloadable games on his own. I can applaud that. I can not put on the same level the decision of Levine to leave hundreds of dedicated and talented people on the street without much further notice (right after finishing the final DLC for BI, I might add) because he wanted to pursue a different venue. On a personal level I can understand his motivation, but I still think the way he handled it makes a world of difference. In most cases where someone prominent leaves a job and takes some people with him, they don't close the building, they put it under new management, they may change the name or split the workforce among other studios, and they definitely notify the employees. I can't know all the particulars, but I am fairly sure the decision of Levine was not impulsive, so the consequences were a shared responsibility between him and 2K.

So I can't really celebrate the indie scene for "scoring one more for our side" just yet. And while I am curious to see what games come out of this situation by the hundreds of people that were forced into it and the handful that weren't, if that was the point Jim was trying to make, he made a disservice of it by going with that example.

I stopped caring about AAA games way back in 2011! It was when I played Modnation racers and was so bored I could barely think straight all week.

hermes200:

I don't really share that perspective. The video is in great part about Levine, and his actions and consequences in the industry. During a big part of the video Jim defends the guy that left, and stands to justify his actions and (presumed) reasoning for leaving. At the very least, Levine is the trigger for the subject and the most prominent example used. Jim only goes to name further examples later on as if they were analogous.

And my point is, that they aren't. There is a world of difference between them... I understand the reasoning and even celebrate the cases of Bleszynski, Carmack and Jaffe, that left their (relatively secure) jobs in search of new, more personal challenges, while they were not in a crunch, and the world just kept spinning. However, the way Levine and 2K handled the situation was insensitive, impersonal, selfish and destructive; and while I can think of more political ways for 2K to handle it, can't fairly put those labels in a faceless corporation (because 2K is a corporation, so it is faceless, impersonal and selfish by nature) that probably reasoned that without Levine there was no point keeping the studio open instead of putting it under new management, rename it or even merge it with other studios, I sure can put those adjectives on a person that took the decision of closing it without considering or informing the people that implicitly trusted him with their future and where left behind.

It is cool when Carmack decides to resign Id in order to help a few garage geeks with a low level project. It is cool when Jaffe leaves a secure job to create small downloadable games on his own. I can applaud that. I can not put on the same level the decision of Levine to leave hundreds of dedicated and talented people on the street without much further notice (right after finishing the final DLC for BI, I might add) because he wanted to pursue a different venue. On a personal level I can understand his motivation, but I still think the way he handled it makes a world of difference. In most cases where someone prominent leaves a job and takes some people with him, they don't close the building, they put it under new management, they may change the name or split the workforce among other studios, and they definitely notify the employees. I can't know all the particulars, but I am fairly sure the decision of Levine was not impulsive, so the consequences were a shared responsibility between him and 2K.

So I can't really celebrate the indie scene for "scoring one more for our side" just yet. And while I am curious to see what games come out of this situation by the hundreds of people that were forced into it and the handful that weren't, if that was the point Jim was trying to make, he made a disservice of it by going with that example.

This is how I feel as well, just better put then what I was trying to say.

There are a couple of separate problems at work here.

The AAA games (or indeed film) industry is often unwilling to take risks as their budgets make failure difficult to stomach. This leads them to tend towards caution and what has worked in the past. To much uncontrolled controversy is also scary for a big company often.

The Indie market failures when they get budget are usually a completely different problem, they seem to lose the control they had previously, possibly as the bigger numbers blind them. Its possibly linked to the way quite so many lottery winners and even sports stars manage to go bankrupt, once the numbers get past a certain point its easy to spend as if you can't run out, making it far more likely you will. Perversely the lack of the control that a publisher imposes, which is an indies greatest strength is also a potential fatal flaw if it makes it to big to quickly.

The AAA industry has a higher quality average per release than the indie, it does often seem otherwise as the indies we notice are the ones that have got there through being good. The AAA market is like mountain, its big, abut we see pretty much all there is to see, the indie market is like an iceberg, looks small, but theres a vast amount under the surface we can't see.

LysanderNemoinis:
Dear God, I've finally talked with someone about Dead Space...and they're not utterly bitter about it/hate it. I suppose I was a bit too strong in my opinion though. If there's going to be more Dead Space, I'd sort of prefer it if they rebooted the series with a whole new main character in a different timeline/reality because the series from the motion coming to Awakened feels complete to me, and I'd prefer they didn't try to squeeze more into it.

While Awakened does exist as a quasi-cap for the series, it also leaves it open for at least one more game as Isaac fights one last battle. I don't want to see it end here because while grimdark, it also copy-pastes Mass Effect 3 with gigantic Lovecraftian aliens destroying Earth. I'd rather the series ended on a different note than that.

I feel there's a lot to this that could be touched upon and new directions it can go just by throwing a monkey wrench into the intended direction. On top of this, however, I just don't like seeing a good series die on a downer ending. That's my opinion.

SnakeoilSage:

LysanderNemoinis:
Dear God, I've finally talked with someone about Dead Space...and they're not utterly bitter about it/hate it. I suppose I was a bit too strong in my opinion though. If there's going to be more Dead Space, I'd sort of prefer it if they rebooted the series with a whole new main character in a different timeline/reality because the series from the motion coming to Awakened feels complete to me, and I'd prefer they didn't try to squeeze more into it.

While Awakened does exist as a quasi-cap for the series, it also leaves it open for at least one more game as Isaac fights one last battle. I don't want to see it end here because while grimdark, it also copy-pastes Mass Effect 3 with gigantic Lovecraftian aliens destroying Earth. I'd rather the series ended on a different note than that.

I feel there's a lot to this that could be touched upon and new directions it can go just by throwing a monkey wrench into the intended direction. On top of this, however, I just don't like seeing a good series die on a downer ending. That's my opinion.

I completely understand, and I have a feeling you're in the majority here. For me, considering Isaac and Carver almost died fighting a fledgling and incomplete Brethren Moon, and there's at least seven more out there, I don't think the two of them are going to win out against over a half down more (especially with EarthGov toppled and the Unitologists winning). Plus, I like the downer ending. It's a lot more like real life. It's just, "Fuck you, the bad guys win." It's honestly refreshing, because it seems wherever I go in real life, that's what happens, and all the happy endings or at least hopeful endings are starting to get annoying.

Yes and no, we are on the cusp of a new age where AAA devs have become 2ndary to gaming.Indie needs more time to mature into something more while AAA devs find out less is sometimes more IE MP/online games become better for them than big budget single player. And on a side note fuck Levine, BS was BS a dumbed down shooter for the masses. Now maybe he can make something better but I doubt it.

This is now my second favorite show on The Escapist (up from third, ZP has been slipping a bit as of late). Brilliant episode and keep up the good work!

Drummodino:

TheMadDoctorsCat:
Now there we disagree... to me, "Bioshock Infinite", "The Last of Us" and "Tomb Raider" are symptoms of exactly what's WRONG with the industry. I mean, I can ignore "Call of Duty" if I don't want it - and I don't. But when my favorite developer makes a game like "Bioshock Infinite" then there is something SERIOUSLY wrong.

These are games that I felt treated me like a child. Scripted event after scripted event after scripted event. No exploration possible, every experience you will have will be pretty much the same, and they cost as much as a game like "Fallout: New Vegas" or "Skyrim". Which, whatever their faults, are games that you can pretty much do whatever you want with.

Now I'm not saying that every game needs to be open-world, or that following a specific storyline is "bad". "Bastion" absolutely nailed how to do a narrative-driven story but give the player control over the pacing of it, have the narrator refer directly to the player's actions, and give the player enough choices that the player has freedom of HOW to play the game - all of which mean it has a lot of replayability. "Tomb Raider" and "Infinite" and "The Last of Us" DIDN'T DO THIS.

They put you in charge of unlikeable characters following scripted events that you couldn't alter. Your decisions are meaningless in those games. It's like they're saying to you: "We have a vast well-designed world, but we're not going to allow you to alter it in any way! It's ours! All we're going to allow you to do is fight stuff! And stuff that has no bearing whatsoever on the plot of the game!"

No. No. No.

We need less of this crap, not more. And we need reviewers to be honest about what's going on with these games, because honestly the love-in for "Bioshock Infinite" - with all apologies to Jim here - made me feel a little ill. Not that it's a BAD game, but it sure as hell ain't a great one and it's Ken Levine's weakest (I will once again reiterate, as if I haven't done so enough already, that Levine made my all-time favorite game). THAT'S why I'm excited to see Levine set sail for pastures new, so to speak.

Um... I hate to break it to you buddy, but there is nothing wrong with a linear game. There's nothing wrong with scripted events. There is nothing wrong with a game that sets out to tell a story that you have no say over. Not every game needs player choices, not every game is about YOU as the player. Skryim, Fallout etc... they are about YOU. YOU are the protagonist and that is great, I love some of those games. But I also love some linear games that are not YOUR story, they are the character's story. The Last of Us is Joel and Ellie's story, Bioshock Infinite is Booker and Elizabeth's story. Tomb Raider is Lara's story. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.

If those are not the kind of games you enjoy, that is perfectly fine. They just don't suit your tastes. But just because you don't like that style, it doesn't make it something "WRONG" with the industry. They're just a different style of game which many people enjoy. If you don't like them, don't buy them. But don't begrudge other people for liking them just because you happen not to. Video games are subjective, I for one think Bioshock Infinite is a great game. You don't. Neither of us are wrong, it's just our personal experiences and enjoyment were different.

"Bastion" was a linear game, and I loved it. Many older platformers were linear games, and I loved some of them. If you don't see what's different between them and games like "Bioshock Infinite", then either I've done a really bad job of explaining myself, or you're just not getting my point. And look, I've gone into what's wrong with "Infinite" about five times over in other threads, I'm not going there again; suffice to say, it has zero replayability and isn't worth the forty quid I wasted on it.

And there is plenty that's objectively wrong with scripted events - or at least, having EVERY important moment play out in a scripted event, which is what "Infinite" and its ilk do. Aren't they primarily what people hate about the single-player campaigns of games like "Medal of Honour: Warfighter" and "Battlefield 4"? These are games with practically nothing BUT scripted events. And from what I'm seeing from supposedly more "in depth" or "adult" games like "Bioshock Infinite" now, a large section of the gaming industry is now using that as their model.

I mean, every opinion is subjective, etc. I absolutely understand why people liked "Bioshock Infinite" more than I did, at least more than I understand why people liked something like "FEAR", which had atmosphere and some nice visuals but literally nothing else going for it. But honestly... if you think a developer of the talent and calibre of Ken Levine should be making games that ape the gameplay of Modern Military Shooters, which is basically what "Infinite" does... then I'm sorry, you've lost me. Subjective opinion it may be, but it's one that I cannot see any sane man disagreeing with. It'd be like saying that a roast dog turd is better eating than prime fillet steak or something. I'm sure SOMEBODY would agree with that statement, but don't ask me why.

LysanderNemoinis:
I completely understand, and I have a feeling you're in the majority here. For me, considering Isaac and Carver almost died fighting a fledgling and incomplete Brethren Moon, and there's at least seven more out there, I don't think the two of them are going to win out against over a half down more (especially with EarthGov toppled and the Unitologists winning). Plus, I like the downer ending. It's a lot more like real life. It's just, "Fuck you, the bad guys win." It's honestly refreshing, because it seems wherever I go in real life, that's what happens, and all the happy endings or at least hopeful endings are starting to get annoying.

I think that given humanity invented planet-cracking, and the necromorphs are small moons, Isaac would have one last hand to play. Imagine the Ishimura and its fellow planet-crackers ripping them apart? That'd be a sight.

Yeah, downers and real life. Well that's where our opinions different. If I want downers, I'll watch the news and hang out in real life. If I want to pick myself up, I play a video game where I can shoot my way to a happy ending.

And let's go into the question of "subjectivity" here, because I seem to be accused of it whenever I criticise a game that other people like, no matter what my reasoning is.

I don't like sports games, others do. My not liking them has nothing to do with the objective quality of the games. That's subjective.

I find certain mechanics in certain games off-putting (especially third-person viewpoint in a 3D game. Yeah, I still can't get used to that for some reason.) Completely subjective - although I might hold it against a game when there's no first-person OPTION in it for no apparent reason (especially given how many games do give you options like that nowadays).

I demonstrate that mechanics in a game don't work, or don't synergise with other mechanics, therefore limiting the enjoyment I had with the game - NOT subjective. The enjoyment that I had is a subjective point, relevant only to me. The mechanics not working is not. That's part of the game itself.

I don't begrudge people who enjoyed a game that I didn't. I'm glad that they had a good experience with the game and that they didn't waste their money.

I DO, however, insist that they don't, just because they enjoyed the game more than me, insist on the game being "perfect". Holy crap, I spent 200+ hours with Skyrim and I don't think it's anywhere near perfect! You guys can bitch about the AAA games industry stagnating into MMS's and their ilk all you want - I don't agree with everything you're saying, but that's why we have debate.

*

I think - this is my opinion - that the movie-fication of gaming is a pervasive and insidious problem that's affecting more and more games in a negative way. When this happens to the guy who created "System Shock" then honestly it feels almost personal... I grew up with Levine's games. Obviously I don't want to see him reduced to this. So obviously there's a lot of personal feeling in there. Which doesn't in any way invalidate my point.

Games are becoming less and less "interactive". "Bioshock Infinite" has a fantastic world and a great story, the trouble being that you can't DO anything in the world and you can't affect the story! The actual gameplay feels almost tacked-on. It would work better as a movie, and DID work better as a novel. (FYI, it's called "Bloodstone" by an author called David Gemmell. Seriously, read it. Besides being almost beat-for-beat the exact same story as "Infinite" until the penultimate chapter - the ending is different - it's a fantastic book.)

We now have the technology to create massive, overwhelming, immersive worlds (Levine's been doing it for twenty years now). This is GREAT. So why, if given the choice to play a game where you can influence the world, make decisions, etc, or a game where you basically follow someone else's story with no control over it whatsoever... why would you choose the second option? Aren't you just paying forty quid for a movie with some shooting sections? And what happens to replayability?

I guess I just don't "get" it anymore. If you have a world as good as "Infinite"'s, I would think you'd want to be able to actually DO stuff in it. To shape things, to influence events, to make your own story. I just don't see how the lack of this could ever be a good thing.

Drummodino:

TheMadDoctorsCat:
Now there we disagree... to me, "Bioshock Infinite", "The Last of Us" and "Tomb Raider" are symptoms of exactly what's WRONG with the industry. I mean, I can ignore "Call of Duty" if I don't want it - and I don't. But when my favorite developer makes a game like "Bioshock Infinite" then there is something SERIOUSLY wrong.

These are games that I felt treated me like a child. Scripted event after scripted event after scripted event. No exploration possible, every experience you will have will be pretty much the same, and they cost as much as a game like "Fallout: New Vegas" or "Skyrim". Which, whatever their faults, are games that you can pretty much do whatever you want with.

Now I'm not saying that every game needs to be open-world, or that following a specific storyline is "bad". "Bastion" absolutely nailed how to do a narrative-driven story but give the player control over the pacing of it, have the narrator refer directly to the player's actions, and give the player enough choices that the player has freedom of HOW to play the game - all of which mean it has a lot of replayability. "Tomb Raider" and "Infinite" and "The Last of Us" DIDN'T DO THIS.

They put you in charge of unlikeable characters following scripted events that you couldn't alter. Your decisions are meaningless in those games. It's like they're saying to you: "We have a vast well-designed world, but we're not going to allow you to alter it in any way! It's ours! All we're going to allow you to do is fight stuff! And stuff that has no bearing whatsoever on the plot of the game!"

No. No. No.

We need less of this crap, not more. And we need reviewers to be honest about what's going on with these games, because honestly the love-in for "Bioshock Infinite" - with all apologies to Jim here - made me feel a little ill. Not that it's a BAD game, but it sure as hell ain't a great one and it's Ken Levine's weakest (I will once again reiterate, as if I haven't done so enough already, that Levine made my all-time favorite game). THAT'S why I'm excited to see Levine set sail for pastures new, so to speak.

Um... I hate to break it to you buddy, but there is nothing wrong with a linear game. There's nothing wrong with scripted events. There is nothing wrong with a game that sets out to tell a story that you have no say over. Not every game needs player choices, not every game is about YOU as the player. Skryim, Fallout etc... they are about YOU. YOU are the protagonist and that is great, I love some of those games. But I also love some linear games that are not YOUR story, they are the character's story. The Last of Us is Joel and Ellie's story, Bioshock Infinite is Booker and Elizabeth's story. Tomb Raider is Lara's story. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.

If those are not the kind of games you enjoy, that is perfectly fine. They just don't suit your tastes. But just because you don't like that style, it doesn't make it something "WRONG" with the industry. They're just a different style of game which many people enjoy. If you don't like them, don't buy them. But don't begrudge other people for liking them just because you happen not to. Video games are subjective, I for one think Bioshock Infinite is a great game. You don't. Neither of us are wrong, it's just our personal experiences and enjoyment were different.

Ok, I'm gonna post the last bit of my last post here because you probably won't see it otherwise...

We now have the technology to create massive, overwhelming, immersive worlds (Levine's been doing it for twenty years now). This is GREAT. So why, if given the choice to play a game where you can influence the world, make decisions, etc, or a game where you basically follow someone else's story with no control over it whatsoever... why would you choose the second option? Aren't you just paying forty quid for a movie with some shooting sections? And what happens to replayability?

I guess I just don't "get" it anymore. If you have a world as good as "Infinite"'s, I would think you'd want to be able to actually DO stuff in it. To shape things, to influence events, to make your own story. I just don't see how the lack of this could ever be a good thing.

TheMadDoctorsCat:
"Bastion" was a linear game, and I loved it. Many older platformers were linear games, and I loved some of them. If you don't see what's different between them and games like "Bioshock Infinite", then either I've done a really bad job of explaining myself, or you're just not getting my point. And look, I've gone into what's wrong with "Infinite" about five times over in other threads, I'm not going there again; suffice to say, it has zero replayability and isn't worth the forty quid I wasted on it.

And there is plenty that's objectively wrong with scripted events - or at least, having EVERY important moment play out in a scripted event, which is what "Infinite" and its ilk do. Aren't they primarily what people hate about the single-player campaigns of games like "Medal of Honour: Warfighter" and "Battlefield 4"? These are games with practically nothing BUT scripted events. And from what I'm seeing from supposedly more "in depth" or "adult" games like "Bioshock Infinite" now, a large section of the gaming industry is now using that as their model.

I mean, every opinion is subjective, etc. I absolutely understand why people liked "Bioshock Infinite" more than I did, at least more than I understand why people liked something like "FEAR", which had atmosphere and some nice visuals but literally nothing else going for it. But honestly... if you think a developer of the talent and calibre of Ken Levine should be making games that ape the gameplay of Modern Military Shooters, which is basically what "Infinite" does... then I'm sorry, you've lost me. Subjective opinion it may be, but it's one that I cannot see any sane man disagreeing with. It'd be like saying that a roast dog turd is better eating than prime fillet steak or something. I'm sure SOMEBODY would agree with that statement, but don't ask me why.

Well colour me insane, because Bioshock Infinite is my favorite Ken Levine game and I thoroughly enjoyed the gameplay (more than the gameplay of the original Bioshock definitely).

You explained yourself perfectly fine. You don't like how the games have a lot of scripted events and the lack of exploration and player influence over what happens in the story. This limits the game's replayability as it makes every experience of the game more or less the same. This is a valid criticism of a game and any reviewer should mention this - yet not everyone finds that a bad thing. I for one don't mind it all that much, indeed I quite enjoy a lot of scripted events. This is why I'm a fan of the Uncharted series for instance. They can certainly be overdone, and there should be a good ratio between gameplay and scripted scenes - too many and I may as well just watch a movie.

In regards to Battlefield 4 and Medal of Honour, I can't really comment as I haven't played them. I did watch some Battlefield 3 singleplayer, and the problem with that game for me wasn't that it had scripted events, it was that the writing was terrible.

You also think that Ken Levine should be making what you consider to be "better games" than Bioshock Infinite since you dislike how the gunplay is similar to modern military shooters.

What I'm trying to say is that just because you feel this way, it doesn't mean everyone else does and that is not a bad thing. Let's take another example, I do not like racing games very much. Games like Forza and Gran Turismo bore me to tears. The gameplay is incredibly repetitive and I lose interest very quickly. Yet some people love these games dearly, and that's okay! We just have differing tastes. I don't think there's anything wrong with liking them, and they're not symptomatic of a problem in the industry. They are just not my kind of game.

Oh yeah, sure we can say that all we want. Sounds good to say it but we are all hypocrites. AAA gaming got itself into this mess, but don't pretend we didn't encourage them with gusto to go down that path. It's already alive and well. The fucking resolution watergate was the dumbest shit on the planet, yet it mattered so GODDAMN much.

Any person in any artistic field can tell you that limitations breed true creativity, but lord forbid a console or another system comes out that's the "weakest" and more limited than it's competitors. Then comes devs complaining about it being too restricting like they are using a fucking NES or Dreamcast, and there are always backed up by fellow gaming compatriots that will say "yeah outdated tech shit restricts devs! this is next gen!"

So I'm not buying it. We all deserve the shit that we are getting today.

Nobody told these people to make 100 million dollar games. We all contributed. Don't try to wash your hands clean like we had nothing to do with it.

SnakeoilSage:

LysanderNemoinis:
I completely understand, and I have a feeling you're in the majority here. For me, considering Isaac and Carver almost died fighting a fledgling and incomplete Brethren Moon, and there's at least seven more out there, I don't think the two of them are going to win out against over a half down more (especially with EarthGov toppled and the Unitologists winning). Plus, I like the downer ending. It's a lot more like real life. It's just, "Fuck you, the bad guys win." It's honestly refreshing, because it seems wherever I go in real life, that's what happens, and all the happy endings or at least hopeful endings are starting to get annoying.

I think that given humanity invented planet-cracking, and the necromorphs are small moons, Isaac would have one last hand to play. Imagine the Ishimura and its fellow planet-crackers ripping them apart? That'd be a sight.

Yeah, downers and real life. Well that's where our opinions different. If I want downers, I'll watch the news and hang out in real life. If I want to pick myself up, I play a video game where I can shoot my way to a happy ending.

Ha! I can't believe I never thought of using the planet crackers against them. Though since the Moons could go from wherever the hell they were to Earth in a matter of hours, I think it might be hard to set the planet crackers up. After all, just cracking Aegis 7 took months to set everything up.

Drummodino:
Well colour me insane, because Bioshock Infinite is my favorite Ken Levine game and I thoroughly enjoyed the gameplay (more than the gameplay of the original Bioshock definitely).

You explained yourself perfectly fine. You don't like how the games have a lot of scripted events and the lack of exploration and player influence over what happens in the story. This limits the game's replayability as it makes every experience of the game more or less the same. This is a valid criticism of a game and any reviewer should mention this - yet not everyone finds that a bad thing. I for one don't mind it all that much, indeed I quite enjoy a lot of scripted events. This is why I'm a fan of the Uncharted series for instance. They can certainly be overdone, and there should be a good ratio between gameplay and scripted scenes - too many and I may as well just watch a movie.

In regards to Battlefield 4 and Medal of Honour, I can't really comment as I haven't played them. I did watch some Battlefield 3 singleplayer, and the problem with that game for me wasn't that it had scripted events, it was that the writing was terrible.

You also think that Ken Levine should be making what you consider to be "better games" than Bioshock Infinite since you dislike how the gunplay is similar to modern military shooters.

What I'm trying to say is that just because you feel this way, it doesn't mean everyone else does and that is not a bad thing. Let's take another example, I do not like racing games very much. Games like Forza and Gran Turismo bore me to tears. The gameplay is incredibly repetitive and I lose interest very quickly. Yet some people love these games dearly, and that's okay! We just have differing tastes. I don't think there's anything wrong with liking them, and they're not symptomatic of a problem in the industry. They are just not my kind of game.

See, I agree with you on a lot of things here. Even your position on racing games. I don't find them fun either, but I certainly don't think that there's any problem with them as a result, or that there's a larger point to be made because of it. That - UNLIKE the point I'm trying to make about "Infinite", which extends to other games - is a purely subjective issue. It doesn't seem to me to have any wider ramifications.

I have absolutely no problems with the fact that you enjoyed "Infinite" more than I did - and again, I thought it was ok. It was certainly a HELL of a lot better than "Tomb Raider", which I couldn't even get through. (I think NerdCubed put in his review what was wrong with this game better than I ever could, so let's not go into that.)

What I'm trying to express here is that the problems I personally have with "Infinite" are not JUST things that I dislike about this one game. They're issues that I'm finding more and more with games which really shouldn't have those problems, and they seem to me to be symptomatic of a trend in the industry that, if left unchecked, is going to have a worse and worse effect on it. And while a lot of people liked "Bioshock Infinite" and even "Tomb Raider", this trend of having protagonists whose decisions you can't affect, worlds you can't interact with in any meaningful way, and stories that you have zero control over or responsibility for AS the protagonist, is going to be a blight on the industry.

People will stop buying these games, simple as that. Different people have different sticking points, but in the end, everybody values SOME degree of interactivity. As for me, I've obviously reached mine. Will I buy the next Bioshock game? - not a chance! Not unless I'm convinced that it actually has replay value. "Bioshock Infinite" is not worth forty pounds. ANY game that's a sixteen-hour experience with zero replayability will not be worth forty pounds. I'd make a beautiful movie, but that's all.

Now obviously you disagree with me on this game - but will you disagree with me on the next one, where the interactivity is reduced even further? Because that's the direction that we're going in. It's like the publishers think we're looking for experiences that are exactly the opposite of, say, "The Stanley Parable" - a game in which all you could do was walk around, and yet one in which every single decision you made had meaningful and entertaining consequences. It's becoming standard practice to include gear, progression systems, upgrades and all of this fancy shit in games; but it means nothing, because you can't DO anything with it. You can't affect the world around you in any meaningful way.

And when people really start regarding these types of games as too much of a "risk", y'know what the publishers are going to fall back on? The CoDs and the Battlefields of this world, that's all. They KNOW those games are going to sell like hot cakes, almost regardless of quality.

So when people complain about Modern Military Shooters being what's "wrong" with the industry, take a step back and look at why that is. As they slowly reduce the value of big single-player AAA games, less people will buy them, and as a result less people will MAKE them. "Tomb Raider" didn't meet its targets in terms of sales, and for good reason - a lot of people, including me, disliked it for trying to turn what was previously an open-world platformer into a linear "movie" experience, and doing a piss-poor job of it. (Did anybody want to hear whiny-voiced Lara complain about the brutality of it as she casually puts an arrow through the face of the sixtieth guy she's killed today? 'Cause I sure as hell didn't.) This kind of thing will happen more and more as people find they're unwilling to settle for less and less. And when that happens - BANG. No more big-budget single-player games. Gone. Too much of a risk to put the money into.

LysanderNemoinis:
Ha! I can't believe I never thought of using the planet crackers against them. Though since the Moons could go from wherever the hell they were to Earth in a matter of hours, I think it might be hard to set the planet crackers up. After all, just cracking Aegis 7 took months to set everything up.

True, but they were taking it slowly. Maybe they have a faster solution for when you just want to crack open the surface like peeling an egg-shell. Isaac and a big group of fellow humans land on the surface of the necromoon, racing against time to implant and activate some kind of seismic cutters/tethers, then just call in the planet-cracker to latch onto the tethers and pull the moons apart.

All opinions aside, it is a bit unfair to make assumptions based on nothing but pure speculation.

The only facts we know for sure, is that about 70 developers are currently out of work, and that is upsetting. But their dismantled establishment is still sticking together in order to make sure they all make it out relatively okay, and that seriously cheers me up.

It still sucks, given that they were just finished making a fantastic game, but I think they have proven enough talent in Infinite to ensure that they won't be short of any job offers any time soon. And I'll still be looking forward to whatever pretentious stroke of genius Levine thinks up next.

Drummodino:
But I also love some linear games that are not YOUR story, they are the character's story. The Last of Us is Joel and Ellie's story, Bioshock Infinite is Booker and Elizabeth's story. Tomb Raider is Lara's story. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.

At least me, I prefer to read a book in such a case, because my imagination isn't limited by visual input in such a case. If I feel as a player that I have no agency in the plot, then, well, I'll grab a book instead. Or hell, play the game, WRITE the book and THEN read it, and give myself a pat on the back.

Though, my main problem with modern entertainment (not just games, mind) is how seriously it tries to take itself and failing to realize it doesn't have to be M-rated to be mature, it doesn't have to be hammy to be engaging, that it doesn't have to be edgy to be deep, and that in focusing on the former, it so often fails to achieve the latter.

I've been actively looking forward to the collapse of the AAA industry before it was cool =D

Also I would hardly call Outlast "uncompramising." Remember the psych ward for female patients that was COMPLETELY empty? Didn't it feel like they wanted to put stuff in there, but hastily removed it because.... reasons? Reasons like the internets recent shallow fascination with certain social justice movements? Maybe just a little...

Anyway, insert lyrics from Let It Go (from Frozen) here. Particularly "I don't care what they're going to say" which was always a favorite of mine. In fact someone mash together Let It Go with Defying Gravity and cause an Idina Menzel gasm of musical awesomeness and apply it to this situation, it'll retain thematic relevance I assure you.

Jim, can you tell us what games we saw in your video there? Especially at 2:00 and 6:00. They looked interesting.

TheMadDoctorsCat:
Subjective opinion it may be, but it's one that I cannot see any sane man disagreeing with. It'd be like saying that a roast dog turd is better eating than prime fillet steak or something. I'm sure SOMEBODY would agree with that statement, but don't ask me why.

It's more like saying that prime fillet steak done medium rare tastes like a roast dog turd to you, compared to prime fillet steak done medium well.

chikusho:

TheMadDoctorsCat:
Subjective opinion it may be, but it's one that I cannot see any sane man disagreeing with. It'd be like saying that a roast dog turd is better eating than prime fillet steak or something. I'm sure SOMEBODY would agree with that statement, but don't ask me why.

It's more like saying that prime fillet steak done medium rare tastes like a roast dog turd to you, compared to prime fillet steak done medium well.

To make clear what I'm complaining of here - it's a triple-A game with LESS interactivity and replay value than many other games I've played, at much lower prices, that are not AAA. I honestly cannot understand why anybody would pay more for less, unless all you're interested in is graphical fidelity. (I'm discounting the story and world because, again, as great as these are, you don't actually get to influence either in any meaningful way.)

At its simplest, what I'm complaining about is paying more money for less of an experience. Again, experience is subjective, but if a game actively limits what you can experience in it by an over-reliance on scripting and gameplay mechanics that you have no control over... how the heck do you argue that it's worth the money you're paying for it?

TheMadDoctorsCat:

chikusho:

TheMadDoctorsCat:
Subjective opinion it may be, but it's one that I cannot see any sane man disagreeing with. It'd be like saying that a roast dog turd is better eating than prime fillet steak or something. I'm sure SOMEBODY would agree with that statement, but don't ask me why.

It's more like saying that prime fillet steak done medium rare tastes like a roast dog turd to you, compared to prime fillet steak done medium well.

To make clear what I'm complaining of here - it's a triple-A game with LESS interactivity and replay value than many other games I've played, at much lower prices, that are not AAA. I honestly cannot understand why anybody would pay more for less, unless all you're interested in is graphical fidelity. (I'm discounting the story and world because, again, as great as these are, you don't actually get to influence either in any meaningful way.)

At its simplest, what I'm complaining about is paying more money for less of an experience. Again, experience is subjective, but if a game actively limits what you can experience in it by an over-reliance on scripting and gameplay mechanics that you have no control over... how the heck do you argue that it's worth the money you're paying for it?

On the contrary. A game that actively limits what you can experience have much better control over what you actually do experience. Control over what you see, do and feel at any given point in the narrative.
A game without scripting and open ended gameplay mechanics require you to invent your own experience, which holds no guarantees for an enjoyable one.. Also, while the environment, world and story is smaller in games like Bioshock than other games, it has the opportunity to be more densely packed. I've personally gone through bioshock infinite three times, and I notice new cool stuff about the story, the characters and the world every, which actually enhances my first playthrough.

I think the mistake you are making is assuming that 15 minutes on a rollercoaster is an experience that is worth less than two hours in a bouncy castle. Or that walking through an art gallery is less of an experience than making finger paintings.

chikusho:

TheMadDoctorsCat:

chikusho:

It's more like saying that prime fillet steak done medium rare tastes like a roast dog turd to you, compared to prime fillet steak done medium well.

To make clear what I'm complaining of here - it's a triple-A game with LESS interactivity and replay value than many other games I've played, at much lower prices, that are not AAA. I honestly cannot understand why anybody would pay more for less, unless all you're interested in is graphical fidelity. (I'm discounting the story and world because, again, as great as these are, you don't actually get to influence either in any meaningful way.)

At its simplest, what I'm complaining about is paying more money for less of an experience. Again, experience is subjective, but if a game actively limits what you can experience in it by an over-reliance on scripting and gameplay mechanics that you have no control over... how the heck do you argue that it's worth the money you're paying for it?

On the contrary. A game that actively limits what you can experience have much better control over what you actually do experience. Control over what you see, do and feel at any given point in the narrative.
A game without scripting and open ended gameplay mechanics require you to invent your own experience, which holds no guarantees for an enjoyable one.. Also, while the environment, world and story is smaller in games like Bioshock than other games, it has the opportunity to be more densely packed. I've personally gone through bioshock infinite three times, and I notice new cool stuff about the story, the characters and the world every, which actually enhances my first playthrough.

I think the mistake you are making is assuming that 15 minutes on a rollercoaster is an experience that is worth less than two hours in a bouncy castle. Or that walking through an art gallery is less of an experience than making finger paintings.

Who the heck brought BIOSHOCK into this? It's the second sequel I'm complaining about. I've completed Bioshock three times! (I've completed "System Shock" only twice, but still regard it as my favorite game ever, just for the experience it gave me... I also completed "System Shock 2" at least twenty times, and probably a good deal more.)

Again, I don't want to rain on anybody else's enjoyment of a game, and plenty of people obviously did enjoy it. BUT here's how your "bouncy castle" analogy holds up.

So let's say you go onto the bouncy castle. You've gone onto many other bouncy castles made by the same people before, so you're expecting a certain... standard.

But let's say you get on the bouncy castle, and all of a sudden, you're not allowed to put your arms or legs out when you jump - and landing on your butt is a definite no-no. You'd be pretty brassed-off, wouldn't you?

THEN let's say that the person operating the castle (do bouncy castles need operating?) told you that you HAD to make certain movements. Maybe you had to smash your head against the floor, say. Don't want to smash your head against the floor? TOUGH. Do it or get off. At this point you'd probably be regretting your purchase.

"Infinite" is smashing your head against that damn floor time and time again. The two-weapon system not only renders the weapon upgrade system redundant (since it uses the exact same currency as the ammo dispensers - which none of Ken Levine's other games have done, by the way, so it baffles me why he's done it here - because you can't buy ammo AND upgrades) but also means that you have to use whatever weapons the game deigns "worthy" of you at any particular point. The vigors not only don't fit the world (there's maybe two enemies, total, who use them, despite some of them being on sale at a children's fair - including the one that makes you commit suicide, by the way!) but the game starts you off with so few "salts" that it's basically not worth using anything BUT the "possession" vigor. Why use any of the six offensive vigors when you can just use whatever guns you manage to pick up instead?

But as frustrating as the gameplay can be, in the end even these are side issues. The problem is that there's a fantastic world there, but I don't feel that I can influence it in any way. There's a great story (albeit one ripped from one of my favorite novels almost beat-for-beat) but what I do has no effect on it whatsoever. This wasn't the case in any of Levine's previous games. In "System Shock", "System Shock 2" and "Bioshock", I mostly felt as though I was driving the action. "Bioshock" had enough scripted events, but there was a POINT to them, and they still felt driven by my actions.

In "Bioshock Infinite", I felt like I was watching the game instead of participating in it. A movie that kept getting interrupted by annoying shooting sections that had nothing whatsoever to do with the story I was supposed to be participating in.

"System Shock" is twenty years old now, yet I could do INFINITELY more on Citadel Station than I ever could in Floating Columbia or whatever it was called. (Jeez, this is how much impression "Infinite" made on me... I can't even remember the name of the damn city!) I mean, holy crap, in "System Shock" you could FIRE A GIANT LASER AND DESTROY THE EARTH. It might be asking a bit much for EVERY game to include this feature (although honestly I think a lot of 'em would be improved if they did) but c'mon, give me a little freedom to wreck some stuff?

Captcha is "Gone dolally". Feels appropriate!

TheMadDoctorsCat:
"System Shock" is twenty years old now, yet I could do INFINITELY more on Citadel Station than I ever could in Floating Columbia or whatever it was called. (Jeez, this is how much impression "Infinite" made on me... I can't even remember the name of the damn city!)

...but you did remember the name of the city, it was Columbia, you just added "floating" to the start which is something it does.

Also, you missed the point of the bouncy castle analogy. Infinite is supposed to be the roller coaster, something that generally does have pretty close restrictions on what you can do. The bouncy castle is supposed to be a more open ended game where you make your own fun. The point being that sometimes the restrictive experience is enjoyable too in it's own way. Personally, the two-weapons system never even entered my mind as a problem, I certainly didn't feel like I was getting "less game" or "less experience" than I got in Bioshock 1 because of it.

Anyway, I don't think the AAA single player game will die forever and I hope it doesn't. I think the current idea of "everything needs multiplayer" is coming to an end as developers realise that they're flooding a market that can really only support a handful of successful multiplayer shooters, much as they realised a little while ago that we had completely gone past the saturation point with MMOs. I mean if you look at titles like Dishonoured or Bioshock they've managed to do quite well with just single player. In fact, all 3 of the big 2013 games (Bioshock Infinite, The Last of Us and GTA 5) were very much single-player focused (I know the latter two had multiplayer modes but most of the attention was on their single player campaigns).

I kind of hope that Titanfall represents a trend of where the industry will start to go with multiplayer games actually just being their own games rather than stapled on to an unrelated single-player campaign and then single player games can exist and do quite well separately.

I really don't want it to be the case that all the creative or interesting games are independent though. I like indie games as much as the next guy but I still like to have big, polished AAA games to balance it out, just as I enjoy watching independent films a lot but still want to see well-made star studded films with big budgets too, and those totally exist. I kind of feel like it's making baby steps to an auteur-type attitude and that's what we need. If there are some creative directors or teams out there who can just reliably turn a profit then publishers can just give them a bag of money and not interfere with marketing and focus-group mentality. Stuff like that is the reason film directors like Martin Scorsese or David Fincher or Christopher Nolan can keep making interesting films and it would be nice if we had some people like that in our industry. That's pretty much what Naughty Dog get from Sony and I think it's kind of how Valve are seen by a lot of people. They just consistently put out games that are popular enough that they will make their money back, even if it's not Call-of-Duty sales, it's still reliable.

TheMadDoctorsCat:

Who the heck brought BIOSHOCK into this? It's the second sequel I'm complaining about. I've completed Bioshock three times! (I've completed "System Shock" only twice, but still regard it as my favorite game ever, just for the experience it gave me... I also completed "System Shock 2" at least twenty times, and probably a good deal more.)

Again, I don't want to rain on anybody else's enjoyment of a game, and plenty of people obviously did enjoy it. BUT here's how your "bouncy castle" analogy holds up.

So let's say you go onto the bouncy castle. You've gone onto many other bouncy castles made by the same people before, so you're expecting a certain... standard.

But let's say you get on the bouncy castle, and all of a sudden, you're not allowed to put your arms or legs out when you jump - and landing on your butt is a definite no-no. You'd be pretty brassed-off, wouldn't you?

THEN let's say that the person operating the castle (do bouncy castles need operating?) told you that you HAD to make certain movements. Maybe you had to smash your head against the floor, say. Don't want to smash your head against the floor? TOUGH. Do it or get off. At this point you'd probably be regretting your purchase.

"Infinite" is smashing your head against that damn floor time and time again. The two-weapon system not only renders the weapon upgrade system redundant (since it uses the exact same currency as the ammo dispensers - which none of Ken Levine's other games have done, by the way, so it baffles me why he's done it here - because you can't buy ammo AND upgrades) but also means that you have to use whatever weapons the game deigns "worthy" of you at any particular point. The vigors not only don't fit the world (there's maybe two enemies, total, who use them, despite some of them being on sale at a children's fair - including the one that makes you commit suicide, by the way!) but the game starts you off with so few "salts" that it's basically not worth using anything BUT the "possession" vigor. Why use any of the six offensive vigors when you can just use whatever guns you manage to pick up instead?

But as frustrating as the gameplay can be, in the end even these are side issues. The problem is that there's a fantastic world there, but I don't feel that I can influence it in any way. There's a great story (albeit one ripped from one of my favorite novels almost beat-for-beat) but what I do has no effect on it whatsoever. This wasn't the case in any of Levine's previous games. In "System Shock", "System Shock 2" and "Bioshock", I mostly felt as though I was driving the action. "Bioshock" had enough scripted events, but there was a POINT to them, and they still felt driven by my actions.

In "Bioshock Infinite", I felt like I was watching the game instead of participating in it. A movie that kept getting interrupted by annoying shooting sections that had nothing whatsoever to do with the story I was supposed to be participating in.

"System Shock" is twenty years old now, yet I could do INFINITELY more on Citadel Station than I ever could in Floating Columbia or whatever it was called. (Jeez, this is how much impression "Infinite" made on me... I can't even remember the name of the damn city!) I mean, holy crap, in "System Shock" you could FIRE A GIANT LASER AND DESTROY THE EARTH. It might be asking a bit much for EVERY game to include this feature (although honestly I think a lot of 'em would be improved if they did) but c'mon, give me a little freedom to wreck some stuff?

Captcha is "Gone dolally". Feels appropriate!

First of all, it's infinite I'm talking about, which I mentioned in my post. Second of all, blowing up the earth in System Chock is also just a scripted event. You're talking about the discovery of a game world as finding buttons to press, whereas I'm talking about discovery in the sense that the story and world becomes richer through finding the care and effort that the artists put into the smaller space.

 Pages PREV 1 2 3 4 NEXT

Reply to Thread

Posting on this forum is disabled.