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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
This is a pretty weird period for the gaming industry: the old Japanese stronghold is described as dying and closed on itself, the PC platform - that should theoretically be already dead ages ago from a gaming standpoint - is pointed at by the Epic veterans as the ideal place where to start developing new games, the renowned Smithsonian museum opens the doors of its long-awaited exhibition on the industry. Everything changes, even if it isn’t always for the better: “playing” with Dragon Ball Z on Kinect (Xbox 360) seems more like a wet nightmare than a dream come true…
The new installment of my beloved/hated Videogames highlights (let’s call it “installment of the hopefully regained normality”) almost seems a first person shooters fair. Personally I would prefer to devote much more attention to the Half-Life sci-fi universe, but Gabe Newell says that it isn’t the case to stir things up too much before the time has come. Right: Half-Life 2: Episode 3 should be out just for Christmas 2007, so there is still room for rumors on improbable Steam consoles, BAFTA awards (Portal 2) and other niceties. Never mind, it means that I will spend time with Diablo III (coming out on the next 15th of May)!
Finally the videogames highlights (pain and delight but mostly pain of this blog) return to their ordinary format, hoping that in the future I won’t have to torture my nights swimming in an amount of links and trailers well beyond the verge of tolerable. Before starting here is just a quick note about the Interactive Achievement Awards, given by the non-profit USA organization Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences during this year’s D.I.C.E. Summit: Skyrim, as predictable, ruled the show.
Here is the second part of the Videogames highlights special covering the last 7 months of 2011. In this case too, skimming of links and games collected in a so large period of time left out a good amount of nice things and other awful ones (Duke Nukem Forever, oh god…) but the final result pleases me anyway: there is so much good stuff to enjoy, gaming events to remember (Fus Roh Da! :-P) and little gems that in my opinion are worth all the attention they can get.
And after much waiting and trepidation (especially for myself), even the videogames highlights return on these pages with a maxi-update covering the last 7 months of 2011. While thinning the huge amount of links and games collected during the aforementioned period I’ve tried (as usual) to partly follow my personal tastes and partly listen to the industry ballyhooing horns, which have been able to stun the world anyway with events like E3 and related press conferences by Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo, Tokyo Game Show and the introduction of the PlayStation Vita console. There is so much stuff to digest, so now I close the intro and start discussing the single games pronto.
With this new May installment, Sir Arthur’s Den video games highlights should finally return to their traditional monthly serialization. And even though it’s really just accidental, the choice my twisted mind made for the past month’s games pleases my hardcore PCist gamer’s nature: all things considered PC as a gaming platform always performs WAY BETTER than the industry windbags and the specialized “journalists” state, the DRM issue can be resolved with a bit of good will and the classics never go out of fashion. On the contrary.
So here is the second part of the videogames highlights spread over a too much long time frame to be allowed to happen again on these web pages (yes, it’s a promise; mostly to myself :-P). The titles featured below should represent the highest technological peak reached by the video gaming industry thus far, and among those there are games capable of excelling, for a reason or another (graphical resolution and clearness, superior controls accuracy), on PC rather than on console. After all the top grade developers say that too: the PC is a generation ahead of Xbox 360 and PS3. Crytek, don’t be shy: let’s say two
A Video games highlights installment covering video gaming stuff (trailers, in particular) released during a seven-month timeframe? Why not… Besides letting me be on par with the news, the ride wiil be useful to clear the backlog while waiting for the E3. Furthermore I will divert my attention from horrors like the stratospheric evaluation of Zynga - a company developing “casual” shit with the aim of milking the idiots wasting their useless life on Facebook - compared to developers worth of the name. The installment has been conveniently split in two parts to be more manageable and smooth for reading - a solution I intend to use again in the future.