It's been two years since their trip to Montana; since then, both Billy and Joe have graduated. While Joe enjoys his last summer before college, Billy, in a state of desperation, applies at Walmart.
masterbedgood's forum posts
Yesterday, when I was browsing the game sites I frequent, I eventually came across the Konami Pre-E3 Video over on GameTrailers. Some fascinating stuff in there, but the most exciting news comes in about 30 minutes into the video where it's revealed that Hideo Kojima is working on HD remasters of two of his most well-known franchises: Metal Gear Solid and Zone of the Enders.
Mega 64 was brought on to unveil this exciting news as well as a new feature coming to PS3/PSP cross-platform titles: Transfarring. Transfarring will allow gamers to transfer their PS3 and PSP saves across both platforms when playing the same title in order to truly bring your gaming experience everywhere you go. From this, it's easy to infer that this feature will only be available to titles that are built to run on the PSP and given an HD upgrade for the PS3, so it's likely not going to be something we see across a wide library of games for a while.
Perhaps the most exciting part of these reveals is the announcement that both HD collections are also headed to XBOX 360. This will be the first time since Metal Gear Solid 2: Substance that a MGS title will be available on Microsoft's XBOX branded home consoles with a current release date set for November 2011. The HD collection of MGS titles will include Sons of Liberty, Snake Eater, and the former PSP exclusive Peace Walker (Transfarring will be exclusive to the PS3 version... obviously). Being primarily an XBOX gamer, this news is welcome to me and might just sway me from picking up Snake Eater on 3DS simply because I'd rather play it in HD on a big screen. That's just me, though (I'm also broke... the less times I buy a game, the less money I spend!).
The Zone of the Enders HD collection is scheduled for a vague 2012 release for both XBOX 360 and PS3 (Transfarring is also enabled exclusively on the PS3 version), and is likely to cause fans of the series to regain hopes for a new entry in the franchise. I haven't played the Z.O.E. games, but I'm looking forward to changing that with this upcoming re-release.
Some information was also divulged about the upcoming, Raiden starring MGS: Rising with Kojima stating that it's still planned for a 2012 release.
To me, it's a little bit disappointing that the first Metal Gear Solid title won't be included in the HD collection (unless it's hidden in there somewhere); I have 3 copies of it (the original PSX release, the greatest hits PSX release, and the PSN release), though, so I'm not really needing to play it elsewhere. I think it'd also be neat if the first two Metal Gear MSX2 games were available in the HD collection... but that might be a long shot. Regardless, this is exciting news and I'm eagerly looking forward to the releases of these HD collections.
If you'd like to watch the Konami Pre-E3 vid, you can do that over on GameTrailers .
Recently, rumors have been floating around about Alan Wake 2 being in development (due to a LinkedIn post of someone who apparently worked on it). As a big fan of the fictional fiction writer and his otherworldly adventures, I was more than a little excited to hear about the potential future the Remedy game has for franchise development. Today, Joystiq received a response regarding that rumor.
According to Remedy’s enigmatic reply, the project in development is neither Alan Wake 2 nor DLC, but they promise that more Alan Wake is coming and that it will give fans of the brand (such as myself) as well as newcomers something to sink their teeth into.
Looking over their letter, it’s clearly stated, “…this next Wake installment will not be Alan Wake 2.” Their wording, not mine. This certainly leaves some room for interpretation… for instance, they could mean that it’s not a sequel,or they could mean that the sequel will not be titled so crudely (maybe something like Alan Wake: Season 2 (so much more class, I know), Alan Wake’s Arrival (if you haven’t completed the final DLC, you wouldn’t know), or Alan Wake: A Subtitle Goes Here). If not a sequel, it might be a spinoff of sorts—a companion piece installment that takes place parallel to the events in the first game (or maybe after them…) or something along those lines.
Another guess is it might be something along the lines of a re-mastered re-release of the first game including all the DLC and running on an improved engine and sporting Remedy’s new facial capture tech. Alan Wake: The Complete First Season. Have it include all the DLC released (The Signal and The Writer) as well as some fancy new content and special features to entice fans to come back and play some more, the improved engine and facial animations to give the graphic buffs something to talk about, and end it with a confirmation that Alan Wake 2 is really, really coming.
According to Joystiq, Remedy states that we’re likely to see this in its entirety in fall 2011. With E3 right around the corner, it’s very likely that we’ll become better informed about this project during that event. Given that Microsoft has a publishing contract with Remedy for Alan Wake, I wouldn’t be surprised (but I’d be more than happy) if we see something regarding this project at the Microsoft press conference.
Whatever it is, I’m looking forward to seeing what Remedy has planned and will, no doubt, be picking this up once it becomes available. Alan Wake was an absolutely fantastic experience with some of the best writing in any entertainment medium; I don’t doubt the folks at Remedy’s abilities to deliver a truly groundbreaking experience.
Recently, it seems as though game developers and publishers are spending more effort in increasing profits than releasing a product worthy of its extravagant price tag. Over the years, I’ve come to accept the $60 standard (this doesn’t mean I like it, it just means I’ve come to terms with what is and have no say in the matter… it’s the final stage of grief after shock, disappointment, outrage, forum trolling, and punch dancing), but it seems like we’re getting less for our money now than we did just a few years ago—we’re now subjected to cash shops filled with pricy digital attire and weaponry for your avatars and constant waves of DLC (don’t get me wrong, I like DLC… when it expands the game, not provides content that could/should have been in the initial release—I’m wholly opposed to day one DLC (you know, the kind of crap that the devs say wasn’t ready before the game went gold, so they decided to charge you extra for it)) and the $60 we’re paying has become more an entry fee than an all-access pass.
I’ll get back to DLC in a minute, but I really want to discuss the recent craze of cutting costs in packaging. Most of the games you buy now come in “green” cases (you know, the ones with the holes cut out… the ones that don’t actually protect your discs… the ones that make it easy for the box art to get creased and torn… the kind of cases that I, as a collector and someone who likes my discs to not be scratched, despise), and Ubisoft and EA (perhaps some other publishers… I’m not really in the loop right now) have been making a move toward paperless manuals. The new cases and smaller/nonexistent instruction manuals might not seem like that big of a deal, but those are some major costs that have been cut—shipping crates have significantly reduced weight (seriously, pick up one of your “green” cased games and pick up something like The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion and tell me you don’t notice a significant difference), which means it costs less to ship, and the digital manual titles cut costs in both weight and printing fees. These publishers are saving considerable amounts of money through cutting down on printing and shipping fees by giving customers less stuff for the same price. As a collector, my tangible goods are important to me—I like my instruction manuals and I like my box art—I can understand a more “environmentally friendly” approach to game distribution, but that doesn’t mean I have to like it… my biggest concern with all of this is that we’re not benefiting from the savings.
My concerns also come into play with digitally distributed games. Sure, Steam has some great sales, but that doesn’t change the fact that digitally distributed titles are releasing at the same prices as their retail counterparts—you know, the ones that were printed, packaged, and shipped. Digitally distributed titles should never cost as much as a physical copy. Ever.
Downloadable content is becoming more common and more costly recently. I’m going to pick on BioWare (A Division of EA) first because they piss me off the most. I loved BioWare—they were a community-focused developer who never delivered an unfinished or substandard product; they focused on making great games and treating their fanbase right. Now they seem more focused on pushing out a game as quickly as possible to capitalize on the success of its predecessor and giving you ¾ of a game for the price of a full one. Dragon Age II had two pieces of DLC available on its release day totaling an extra $17 on top of the game’s $60 entry fee… that’s just wrong. I don’t give a flying Frenchman’s toot if that content “wasn’t finished” when the game went gold; if that were the case, I don’t think the gaming community would have cared too much if BiowEAr pushed the game back a week or two so they could get the full experience of the game they paid for.
The countless weapon and costume packs are also bogus—you pay 2+ dollars for a hat or a gun in a videogame. You paid $60 dollars for a game, and you’re going to waste money playing dress up and encourage publishers to exploit your stupidity by making weapons and clothes—stuff that could have been included in the game—DLC?
I firmly believe that DLC content to cost should equal that of the “full game.” When you pay $60 for 80 songs in Rock Band or Guitar Hero but you have to pay $2 per song when it’s DLC, that’s hardly fair to the consumer. When you pay $60 for a 30-40 hour game, it shouldn’t cost $7-10 for another hour or two of content. All the systems that make the “expanded content” are in place, it’s less work to make and they’re charging you more to buy it.
When production costs go down, the cost to the consumer should follow suit. This encourages an increase in the customer base and allows the companies to continue to turn a profit. We’re not seeing any of the savings these companies are benefiting from with the lighter cases and less printing costs. We shouldn’t be paying more for less.
I’m sorry if this post was just a rant, but I feel like the industry I helped to make great is trying harder to increase profits than provide worthwhile gaming experiences. I don’t have the money to spend $80+ in order to enjoy the whole game… but that’s my concern, not theirs. Game companies make games. Gamers like games. Games cost money. Game companies like money. That’s the order of things and there’s nothing we can really do about it other than bend over and say, “Thank you.”
Sega is in my blood. I grew up with the blazing blue ball of speed that is Sonic The Hedgehog, spent countless hours in the phantastic worlds of the Phantasy Star phranchise, dominated in Virtua Fighter and Fighting Vipers (seriously, if you want to play a great fighting game… check out Fighters Megamix), and hailed the Dreamcast as the greatest videogame console ever made. I loved the Dreamcast, the awkward cable placement on the controllers, the pretty graphics, and all the games… especially Shenmue.
Shenmue really surprised me when I started playing it over a decade ago by presenting a world that felt alive. I love a good adventure game (and Shenmue is a great adventure game), but (especially back then) they rarely ever created such an expansive world that allowed the player so much freedom. Yu Suzuki broke the mold of the conventions of gaming with Shenmue and crafted something beautiful and innovative.
The story of Shenmue is a tale of revenge as Ryo Hazuki sets out to find the man who killed his father and uncover the secrets of his father’s past. It’s a simple enough premise, but it gets deeper and more involved as you progress and encounter more interesting revelations... and then it ends with “To Be Concluded.” The last we heard of Ryo Hazuki and his epic tale was 2002 on the original XBOX with the North American release of Shenmue II, and the game… just… ends. I was initially excited when I saw that because it meant that I’d be playing Shenmue III someday, but that day has yet to come and I have grown to realize that cliffhanger, “To Be Continued” type endings suck because of this decade-long letdown.
Since the release of the second installment, there has been little news and much disappointment with the Shenmue franchise—Shenmue III was never announced or released, Shenmue Online was canned, and then we heard news about a new Shenmue game and got all excited only to find out that it’s a mobile phone title. Most recently, Yu Suzuki has been playing with our emotions again by teasing us with possibilities that the Shenmue franchise might have a future, but I know better than to get my hopes up too soon.
But… what if? Wouldn’t it be nice if Sega was actually letting Yu Suzuki work on the final installment of the classic adventure series? Wouldn’t it be nice if the mobile game and all this teasing is to increase the buzz around the franchise so they can release to more success than the Dreamcast and XBOX games did? I think a great way to even better increase that buzz (and provide players who have never experienced some of the greatest games ever made a chance to do so) would be to re-release the first two installments and end them with a sincere promise that Shenmue III is coming.
With all the HD re-releases these days, it would be nice to see Shenmues I & II get a fresh coat of paint and another chance to shine in a new age of gaming. I mean, Beyond Good & Evil (another underperforming adventure title from the past) was just given a second chance on XBLA recently, so why not Shenmue?
Shenmue holds a special place in my heart—as I’m sure it does with many gamers out there—and, for all of us who experienced (yes, experienced… you don’t freaking play Shenmue, you experience it), we have been waiting patiently to find out how the story concludes. I would be more than willing to buy the Shenmue games again, and I’m sure there are many, many people out there who feel the same way. Sega, if you have a heart, please… please make this happen (and give us Shenmue III, dammit!).
If you’re anything like me… you’re probably a pretty awesome person… but you probably also have a thing for a well-crafted JRPG (not the garbage that Square has been crapping out for years since Hironobu Sakaguchi left to form Mistwalker).
In my humble (but also true) opinion, Lost Odyssey felt more like a true Final Fantasy game than the abomination that was last year’s Final Fantasy XIII (seriously, if you liked that game, gtfo because it was awful)—a beautiful soundtrack from Nobuo Uematsu (the man who created the Final Fantasy sound), a wonderfully emotional story from Hironobu Sakaguchi (the mind that gave Final Fantasy its start), and traditional, turn-based combat like JRPGs were meant to be played. Lost Odyssey stands as one of my favorite games this generation and my favorite JRPG of all time—I love the game! Blue Dragon was a solid title, too, but Mistwalker really sunk their claws in me with Lost Odyssey and I’ve been longing for their next console release since then (I’ve been begging for a Lost Odyssey 2, but that doesn’t seem to be happening), and finally a new console release has arrived! … in Japan.
The Last Story (yes, we all know how much the title resembles Final Fantasy. No, you are not clever for pointing it out), Mistwalker’s latest release, seems to be a bold new direction for the developer with more real time, action-based combat than their traditional RPGs… but it’s a combat system, from what I’ve seen in videos, that actually looks good! None of that lazy, self-playing crap featured in FFXIII, but a strategic approach to action combat that looks fun and innovative. I can’t speak from personal experience, since I haven’t played the game (and I don’t speak Japanese, so I can’t really understand the videos I watch), but I would really, really like to have the opportunity to experience this game.
Being a Mistwalker game, it’s bound to have a story worth experiencing (Sakaguchi-san knows how to craft a brilliant tale) and a beautiful accompanying soundtrack, but the game also manages to look beautiful on the limited hardware of the Wii. Sure, I would have liked for it to be released on an HD system, but I think releasing on the Wii was actually a smart move for the developer. Their previous games haven’t really received the sales they deserve and development costs for a non-HD system are cheaper (and the Wii has the largest install base of all the consoles). So, I really hope that Mistwalker can find financial success with this release… but if they’re really looking for more sales, why not release it over here in North America? I would buy it!
This might seem like a non-article, and it kinda is, but I was thinking about The Last Story yesterday, so I tweeted that it’d be nice if Mistwalker would release it over here, so I’m sure someone else out there does, too. Mistwalker replied to my tweet saying, “Thanks for your tweet. More info to come.” So, I have hope that we’ll be hearing some news on a The Last Story North American release… I just hope it’s not, “We have no plans to release The Last Story in North America.”