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Single-player games are dead, once again: the silly meaningless nonsense is now stated by Cevat Yerli, CEO of a more than well known developer (Crytek) that would like to spend the rest of his life making free-to-play games and always-connected titles even when you play alone. The idea is ludicrous, of course, and the dumbasses ready to repeat stupid things hoping that someone believe them will always be forced to deal with a reality of wrong design choices, merciless hacks and disastrous launches.
The next generation of home consoles debut is approaching fast, and according to Tim “Mr.ZZT” Sweeney PS4&company will be a substantial leap over the current seventh generation. After the words of Epic founder follow the actions with the introduction of new, amazing demos of the Unreal Engine 4 (alternate video link), a 3D engine capable of doing wonders even for indie projects like Primal Carnage (video) and Heavy Gear Assault. Because graphics isn’t everything but it still is an essential asset, for Epic and for all the others as well.
This post was initially planned for January, then the blog restarted on February therefore my dense backlog of articles and things to do postponed it at the end of March. It happens, when you are erratic and discipline-less like me, and it doesn’t matter anyway: the post topic, ie my will to fill 2013 with many nice retro-video games and above all to play them all, is still valid for another 9 months at least.
This is a period when Valve Corp. seems to be everywhere: the software house which gave birth to the best game of the decade is seemingly busy in every sort of secondary project bound to video games and the PC architecture, from the infamous Steam Box to biometric sensors and mobile consoles. What Valve clearly isn’t interested in is to give a worthy conclusion to the Half-Life saga, so much that the appearance of old projects - now aborted - about the series is the only novelty in this regard of the latest… years? Bah.
Trust in your antivirus software is important, especially if you have willingly paid to purchase and install it on the PC. When the antivirus starts to sell some sort of advertising message shown after an automatic update as security, however, the aforementioned trust begins to leave place to delusion and you ask yourself who is dumber: you paying to be mocked or the genius that decided to turn a protection software into a carrier of cheap marketing.
The past December edition of the Spike Video Game Awards assigned the game of the decade title to Half-Life 2, and I couldn’t agree more: the sci-fi world created by Valve continues to be one of the utmost peaks of video games now as in 2004, even if it has been a long time and the new gaming experiences worth mentioning aren’t that rare after all. The industry wouldn’t be the same without Half-Life 2, and neither without Hideo Kojima and his gaming amusements suited for a troll.
The incoming future of video games will not be streamed, in the cloud, or in social games available on-line for free, and this is a fact that I have tried to explain before. The topic of this post, conversely, is the series of positive novelties that the success of digital delivery as a supplementary tool for releasing games has brought to the industry, the developers and to whom must purchase these games in the end. In that sense, the lack of a physical copy of the gaming software is widely repaid by a greater range of choices for everyone.
Today’s myth to debunk is the death of single-player games, a type of gaming interaction that the big publishers would like to dismiss in support of an extreme monetization of on-line games and that unknown developers of casual/social shits dare to define a “gimmick” with no future. And this is why the single-player game Dishonored sold much more than expected, that the long anticipated BioShock Infinite will not have a multiplayer mode and so Metro: Last Light as well. Single-player games are dead, unfortunately the idiots that don’t know what they are talking about are pretty much alive.
Who writes is strongly persuaded of the fact that digital delivery isn’t the only possible future of video games, and I already said this some day ago. But the release of games in digital format has its advantages too, and waiting for a short in-depth post on the topic it is worth to report the Project Eternity case: Obsidian Entertainment and important names of the RPG-flavored game design have crushed every record for crowdfunding, overcoming the Double Fine adventure for the most funded game on Kickstarter (+some other bits through PayPal) with more than 4 million dollars. Eternity will be an RPG for PC, and the PC as a gaming machine is clearly dead. As usual.
There is recurrent thinking going for a while, within the video games world, a thinking that sentences to death the “traditional” way of selling, playing and doing business while serving a completely changed audience. The future of gaming will be streamed, that thinking says, it will be “social”, “free-to-play”, purely and simply in digital delivery. So let’s try confronting what certain interested thinkers describe as clear trends with some factual data of the videogaming business.
The PC will live forever, and that’s a fact clear by itself. The most open, affordable, accessible and powerful computing platform is here to stay, and from the gaming standpoint the revenge against the harbingers of doom is daily, steady, unquestionable: games with artificial technical limitations can have a second youth on the PC thanks to modding, and sooner or later the most interesting titles of the indie scene are ported on the PC including the zombie platformer Deadlight. I foresaw it (well: hoped for), and it happened. Because: PC.
If Epic talks about “philosophical” improvements to development for its next-generation 3D engine (Unreal Engine 4), Crytek thinks primarily to stun the industry with an impressive and multiform sequence of graphic technologies that will be part of the CryEngine 3 engine. Which isn’t so bad, after all, because a framework capable of taking advantage of the latest generation PCs is always a good news for me. A lot less good, nay terrible is the news about the shutdown of Sony Liverpool: I’ve discovered the beauty of Wipeout late, on the PSP, yet I can’t help but feel sorry for the disappearance of a historic developer like the ex-Psygnosis. So long, and thanks for all the games.
Gaming machines of this generation are soon to be retired, I was saying the last time, and who is working on the “next-gen” technologies thinks about “philosophical” improvements to development besides the predictable evolutionary jump in the graphics department. Waiting to test the effects of this greater focus on design in triple-A titles, the following post is mainly about indie games in development that don’t necessarily need the Unreal Engine 4 to have their say or engage players.
The gates of Hell have been opened wide, and the Diablo III Starter Edition is finally open for everyone. The previously published guide has been updated where due, what I wrote is still sound except for a difficulty level that in the first phases of the full game seemed higher compared to the demo. Maybe it’s because I’ve started anew after having installed the Collector’s Edition? Anyway, Diablo III continues to be updated but the numer of players remains constantly low. And who developed this “on-line gaming service” is a complete idiot.
Sir Arthur returns on these pages after a vacation that lasted for too long, and he’s back (as usual) trying to make up for the time lost on the ruthless flowing of news in the computer world. Let’s talk about video games, to begin, and in particular about the many titles shown at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) 2012 held during the first days of June. Nintendo, Microsoft and Sony showed their novelties for a generation of gaming machines next to retirement, while the PC continues to represent the only platform capable of surviving and adapting to the technological changes of the industry. And of foretelling them.
UPDATE (09/14/2012): The guide has been updated after Blizzard decided to let everyone access the Diablo III Starter Edition. Furthermore, I have verified without doubt that the extreme and casual slowdowns I talk about in the post are ascribable to the software configuration used to test the game and not to the game itself (or to my hardware, luckily).
Yeah, I now, I’m late as usual: Diablo III was released two months ago, and I have already talked enough about the almost complete failure of the launch period. So why devoting a post to the demo version of the game when almost everyone has already read, seen and done what there was to read, see and do in the cursed lands of Sanctuary? For two reasons, the first of which is that after having extensively played the Starter Edition I have a weight on my chest that I need to let go.
The most important gaming event of the past month surely was the launch of Diablo III, a title that will be remembered as a turning point for the industry because of its permanent Internet connection needed to play - even in single player mode. RPS says that the problem isn’t Diablo III but the subsequent branch of “always-on” games and suggests to stay angry about the issue, conversely I am angry for Diablo III above all and I’m more and more persuaded of the fact that the measly compulsory multiplayer experience isn’t for me. Will I be forced to change hobby because of Activision-Blizzard?
A log time ago, in a country far away placed at the center of the Mediterranean Sea, there were three different animal breeds: the wolves, the donkeys and the sheep. The sheep were the majority, 60 million docile and obedient specimens always in search of a shepherd to entrust with the administration of the entire national herd. Differently than the sheep, the wolves were a puny minority that just wanted to devour, consume, exploit the sheep and the country resources to eternally secure the status of superior beasts.
A late but due update on the lasting consequences of the failed upgrade to the laptop CPU: after two processors (X9100 and T9900), two memory banks, a fan and a cooling mat, that unfortunate attempt to install a 3 GHz dual-core cost me the replacement of the PC power battery as well. The battery was in fact replaced at the end of the past year, after months spent waiting to have a bit of extra money to put on the purchase.
As I wrote a few weeks ago, everything changes in the video gaming world. In the last months in particular a change occurred in the way independent developers and old lions decided to fund their projects, with a true Cambrian explosion of crowdfunding through the Kickstarter platform: Tim Schafer began with Double Fine Adventure (more than three million dollars donated on trust for an old-style adventure game!), then Al Lowe and Larry Laffer, Shadowrun Returns, novelist Jane Jensen and many others followed. Just a warning: one always has to watch over against the risk of a scam or EA’s morbid caresses - EA is evil, always.