Depressing Realities Surrounding Next-Gen Gaming

Oh hey, guess what folks? The ‘true’ next-generation game systems arrived last month, but unlike most people who are absolutely convinced these are the best systems EVAH, I’m going to put out some more depressing realities that we could face. After all, didn’t you all like my last one?

No? Well shit.

Reality #1: Despite the fact Next-Gen are (supposedly) easier to develop for in comparison to their predecessors, games are getting more expansive due to the fact they HAVE to be prettier just because.

Look at that pipe, isn’t it sexy? Too bad it’s just an unimportant pipe that doesn't have anything to do with the gameplay.
Look at that pipe, isn’t it sexy? Too bad it’s just an unimportant pipe that doesn’t have anything to do with the gameplay.

There is a Destructoid fan blogger known as The Bowels of Trogdor that has caught my interest recently thanks to one of my Twitter followers GranaBanana. The page in question was about how Sony was flirting with death and why Death was showing interest. You can find the article here. Now, this reality focuses on another one of his posts, which was him praising the developers of Dynasty Warriors over doing graphics right. In short, what they did right was focusing on things you would be looking at, not shit that isn’t part of the gameplay.

Now the pipe in question I posted above the previous paragraph comes from a PS4 exclusive called The Order: 1886. Developer Ready At Dawn is pretty proud of this amount of detail they achieved on that pump. So too were the close-minded awful zealots of NeoGAF. Yet there is a major problem with this pump; it’s a pump, it’s a background object that has nothing to do with the gameplay. They are wasting million of dollars and computer memory to make a pump look good, when it should be used to make the gameplay less of a Gears of War clone and more of an original game.

And this is due to the fact the extra power that the PS4 and Xbone come with are not being used to improve experiences; things have to prettier because they just have to, according Killzone: Shadow Fall’s lead designer…

“The architecture is really cool because it’s easier to develop for, you get more memory, you get more hard drive space, you get more processing power so the architecture is easier,”

“It’s also a lot more demanding, because the production effort needed just to make a next-gen title now is not doubled; it’s quadrupled.”

“That’s because everything needs to look that much better.”

……

Yes, the budgets are getting bigger because things have to be prettier and not, you know, unique in its game design. Props to From Software though, Dark Souls looks pretty but at least it didn’t bankrupt them since the game isn’t a huge seller.

Reality #2: Developers will continue to ape off Call of Duty/Gears of War and its flaws because CoD/GoW design is the norm and well received by game critics.

bioshock-infinite-cover-art

Despite having very nice production values, Bioshock Infinite forgot that it was suppose to be a Bioshock game. The previous two Bioshock games were good at being Metroid Prime games (without the Metroids), and according to Bill even the second one, which wasn’t even developed by the same team, improved upon the first. For the life of me, I can’t get why Infinite, which supposedly had a majority of the same team, had nice production values but such anal game design choices. According to him, it had typical spawn rooms, linier design and bullet sponge enemies that were not fun to fight.

Those things are why most third/first person shooters aggravate me.

This is Half Life, from 1998. It’s a FPS that doesn't make me hate myself.
This is Half Life, from 1998. It’s a FPS that doesn’t make me hate myself.

This trend of stupid unfun game design started becoming an ugly trend around the year 2006/07, with games like Gears of War and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare getting sequel after sequel of games that don’t change things to make them better. People complain about Mario being over-used, but the difference between Mario and Call of Duty is that while Mario’s first adventure wasn’t flawless, the later games ironed out the issues (and they are mostly anal about spin-offs). Call of Duty and its ilk are not these series; instead of using technology to improve the user experience, we’re getting this:

Coming soon: Exploding Helicopter Collapsing Building Festival 4.
Coming soon: Exploding Helicopter Collapsing Building Festival 4.

How exactly does this help fix problems? It doesn’t, its pretending to be a summer Hollywood blockbuster and not, you know, a video game. I know they like using a lot of browns to make it realistic, but when it makes the enemies blend into the environments, and those fuckers clamor to you to make you a bullet sponge, and you get to only carry two weapons at a time…

goldeneye64

You become less fun then Goldeneye 64, one of the first notable FPS console games. Think about that.

Reality #3: The DRM fiasco currently rearing its ugly head on PS4 and Xbone could be a major reason WiiU isn’t getting third party games.

I called it. Even if they said they wouldn’t, I knew for a fact they would break because bowing down to scum for the sake of profit and relevancy is a disgusting reality. Now we all know WiiU had a pretty bad dry spell with hardly any third party support during most of 2013. Most of the excuses are as follows: not a big user base, and developers just can’t figure out that Game Pad, also low sales because hey, 3DS didn’t turn out to be a success, right?

Indeed person I do not know.
Indeed person I do not know.

Why wasn’t Nintendo, who bent over to publisher/developers with WiiU before launch (and to an extent 3DS, they withheld Ocarina of Time 3D from launch after all), getting the games? It was proven that porting to the WiiU wasn’t that expansive, and hey, it has some pretty robust control options. Well, if our third party wall of shame proved anything, third party publishers and their goons are incompetent fuck wits who will blame failure on not just you and me, but Nintendo, because clearly the poorly ported WiiU titles were our fault and we didn’t buy them because we are worthless Nintendrones. They blamed us for not buying the game and Nintendo for not doing enough to appease them.

Maybe not appeasing them was a good thing in the long run, because a little something happened at E3 2013.

Microsoft single-handedly screwed up Xbone’s chances of appeasing people with its DRM policies, the few smart people soon begun to realize that maybe, just maybe, Nintendo was onto something with their relations with third parties; the battle with used games is a war third party publishers are waging this entire generation because it hurts their profit margins. Every single major publisher has said something or done something to keep people from buying used games or selling games.

Online/Season passes, day one DLC promotions. Would you be able to get these if you bought the games that used them second-hand? Probably not, but maybe, just maybe, this wouldn’t be a problem if they actually made games worth keeping in the long run.

Allow me to present an example.
Allow me to present an example.

Here’s a fun fact, Sony was considered the ‘winner’ of E3 this years because they made a condescending video making fun of Microsoft’s DRM policies. It got even more condescending and little scummy when it turned out Sony wasn’t really that accepting of used games and in fact had a DRM system IN the PS4 for third parties to use in place all along. Want to sell that over-priced game not worth sixty buckaroos? Too bad, you need Papa Sony and its third party distant cousins permission first.

Now, put two and two together. WiiU’s lack of third party games, and PS4/Xbone’s getting tons of support WITH the knowledge of DRM systems in place. Its bad enough when 3DS, which is successful now but considered ‘doomed’ back in 2011 is still being ignored in favor of iOS development which isn’t even that profitable to begin with.

Reality #4: Nobody except Nintendo gives a shit about Platinum Games anymore.

Pretty swell company. Fuck Vanquish though.
Pretty swell company. Fuck Vanquish though.

Platinum Games is composed of former Capcom developers, many of which made up Clover Studios which produced awesome games nobody gave two shits about. As Platinum, they produced some awesome games that sold a bit better, but so far their only million sellers are Bayonetta and Metal Gear Rising: Revengence. Key word: Million.

The internet went into rage mode after it was announced Bayonetta 2 was be a WiiU exclusive published by Nintendo. Platinum’s fanbase had a melt-down because Nintendo was in their eyes evil and didn’t deserve a game like that, and to this very day there is still port begging. Kamiya, the director for the first game, had to go on a Twitter rant because the amount of idiots demanding Wonderful 101 and Bayonetta 2 be multiplatform just kept on going and going. Atsushi Inaba, executive director for Platinum and Bayonetta 2’s producer, even stated that without Nintendo’s help Bayonetta 2 wouldn’t even exist in the first place.

Accurate description, really.
Accurate description, really.

Another key element most fans ignored was when Inaba said “they were looking for a partner to help them develop and grow Bayonetta.” Platinum obviously wanted to see more Bayonetta action, but the big issue was SEGA, the original game’s publisher. You see, near the end of 2011 SEGA had suffered a major financial breakdown that caused them to heavily scale back on developments, one of those rumored to be Bayonetta 2. Not only that, SEGA delayed Anarchy Reigns from June 2012 to January 2013 (originally March) without any given reason, when the game in its original Japanese form was fully localized in English, voice acting and all.

So SEGA was out, so who else could’ve published a game on the scale of Bayonetta? EA, Activision, UbiSoft, Take Two/Rockstar, Bandai Namco Games, Konami, and even Sony and Microsoft. That is eight publishers on can think of on the top of my head that could fund and publish Bayonetta 2.

They didn’t. It was Nintendo, and right now Platinum is more than pleased with their partnership with Nintendo, as they are a company that appreciates their creativity and ability while offering advice where needed.

But what about Konami? While I thought Metal Gear Rising was good, the fact of the matter is that it is a rescued project that may have suffered meddling in its original form from the Michael Bay of video games: Hideo Kojima. Not only that, it had a shorter development and smaller budget then Wonderful 101. At least it shows Platinum is good with its money.

FINAL THOUGHTS

It was bad enough when my last list was proving me right with news of developer closures and Rayman Legends tanking at retail, but this one? Who knows, the outcome could be either on the mark or wrong. I’m just going with my gut, and if my gut tells me one thing, I’ll have people bitching about this on Twitter because it doesn’t fit their fantasy narrative. But hey, I got Bioshock 2 for a good used price, if I got a PS4 now I could play it since PS4 has–…oh wait.

11 thoughts on “Depressing Realities Surrounding Next-Gen Gaming”

  1. I see Nintendo and Platinum’s relationship getting better over the years. I think Nintendo should take Kamiya up on his offer to make the next Star Fox game. If it’s OK with Platinum, Nintendo should just buy them. Having a great talent like Kamiya join Nintendo permanently would make them even more legendary that they already are.

    Like

    1. platinum games have said they do not wish to be “bought”; they enjoy having freedom and it supports their creative factor (source: iwata asks)

      Like

  2. Another great article if I must say so myself. Yeah, it clicked on me a while back that sales aren’t what keeping 3rd parties away from Wii U. The 3DS, for all its current success, has virtually no relevant third party support save for junky licensed games. Clearly third parties don’t want to waste their time developing on a system that can’t force you to buy new games and has first party support that makes your offering look like a joke. It’ll be interesting to see how well PS4 and XB1 do once of the Christmas hype fades. Last I checked, both got droughts going right to March, just like Wii U. I am especially worried about the XB1. A $500 system that bungled its E3 and has no killer exclusives does not a success make in my eyes. We’ll have to see.

    PS: Interesting how you mentioned The Bowels of Trodgor because he’s actually told me that a lot of the stuff he said on that post took from posts I made on PlayerEssence. I go by timg57867 there.

    Like

  3. Regarding #1… I do like that the big internet reaction to Hyrule Warriors (well, after the usual ‘this ruins Zelda!’) is complaining about “sub-PS2 graphics”… which makes me wonder if they’ve actually played a sub-PS2 game lately…

    Like

  4. “Despite the fact Next-Gen are (supposedly) easier to develop for in comparison to their predecessors, games are getting more expansive due to the fact they HAVE to be prettier just because.”

    You’d think that with almost 10 years of console HD experience , developers can make HD graphics faster and cheaper. Yet somehow games now need to charge beyond $60 (DLC, season passes, micro transactions) to break even, let alone make a profit. I know if I’m doing the same job for a decade or so, and I’m working at a pace like its my first day on the job, I need to find something else to do.

    “Reality #2: Developers will continue to ape off Call of Duty/Gears of War and its flaws because CoD/GoW design is the norm and well received by game critics.”

    With CoD Ghosts being the bubble burster, its time to chase the new hotness. Titanfall is a few months away, with Destiny calling in fall of 2014. Will these two be the next thing to shamelessly rip for the next 5-7 years?

    “Reality #3: The DRM fiasco currently rearing its ugly head on PS4 and Xbone could be a major reason WiiU isn’t getting third party games.”

    After 30 days since the launch of PS4/Xbone, it is at 2 million and some change in hardware sales. It appears that the people are:
    A) ready to be monetized to high hell with season passes and over the top DLC and Microtransactions.
    B) Fixing to play cross gen ports, even though Nintendo was getting these ports it before it was cool 😉

    “Reality #4: Nobody except Nintendo gives a shit about Platinum Games anymore.”

    I’m going to claim ignorance here, I don’t remember the hype for the original Bayonetta. Though it seems that after the sequel was announced, and after the hardcorez got done with their death threats and threats of suicide, have gone to indifference, apathy, stating that this game didn’t need a sequel, etc. Pssst, your hypocrisy is showing….

    Like

    1. After 30 days since the launch of PS4/Xbone, it is at 2 million and some change in hardware sales. It appears that the people are:
      A) ready to be monetized to high hell with season passes and over the top DLC and Microtransactions.
      B) Fixing to play cross gen ports, even though Nintendo was getting these ports it before it was cool 😉

      I think I puked up some eggnog upon reading this.

      I’m going to claim ignorance here, I don’t remember the hype for the original Bayonetta. Though it seems that after the sequel was announced, and after the hardcorez got done with their death threats and threats of suicide, have gone to indifference, apathy, stating that this game didn’t need a sequel, etc. Pssst, your hypocrisy is showing….

      We’re both in the same boat, really. Granted, it sold a million copies, but people were only majorly butthurt because its Nintendo published and they (like third parties hur hur) already wrote off the WiiU. They only NOW changed their tune because the PS4 and Xbone reared their ugly heads with DRM and that stupid DLC policies.

      Like

  5. It’s interesting to me how software companies are so willing to embrace Sony and MS when the two of them are actively hostile to the concept of creating a market where software can be made in a stable, safe, and sustainable manor. Instead they throw out hardware that THEY want rather than what the market can support in a healthy way (since games are little more than a means to an end for them) and then encourage developers to fight amungst themselves in hopes of receiving a reprieve (money hat) from the same companies that they allowed to put them in this precarious position to begin with.

    Is it possible for an entire industry to have Stockholm Syndrom???

    Like

  6. Well at least another company showe interest in Platinum Games (Microsoft). I think they are trying to leverage that to get into the Japanese market, but I don’t think it will work.

    Like

  7. Hi, sorry my ignorance but I have been out the loop for the PS4 and Xbox One, anyway, to point #3, what DRM policies has been used/discovered for PS4? Or what is exactly this point reffering to?

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s