mtmckinley's forum posts

#1 Posted by mtmckinley (123 posts) -

I've been a big fan of Assassin's Creed since AC II, the debut of Ezio Auditore's story. The gameplay really grabbed my attention, and I really enjoyed the premise. Plus, the parkour elements are amazing. With each subsequent game, I've continued to enjoy it, despite the limited evolution of the gameplay. When AC: Brotherhood was announced with the addition of multiplayer, I wasn't interested at all. I used to be much better at multiplayer games, such as the old Unreal Tournament days. But with the console generations, I've lost my touch. I can't work the Playstation or Xbox controller nearly as well as I could a mouse and keyboard, so the multiplayer aspects of games like Call of Duty and Halo just never appealed to me.

So, when I heard the word "multiplayer" in association with AC: Brotherhood, my brain immediately hit the "ignore" button and I just played the single player game and enjoyed it very much!

I recently got AC: Revelations and, again was prepared to ignore the online aspects altogether and just enjoy the single player experience... which I did. Then, one day, purely on a whim, I thought, "why not?" and logged into AC: Rev's multiplayer and started playing.

I freaking love it! I'm not the greatest at it, rarely ranking any better then 2nd or 3rd if not 6th, but just the fact that I *can* rank in the top 3 sometimes without having to worry about my atrophied FPS skills, makes the AC multiplayer experience a breath of fresh air! I just wish I had started back when the game came out so that I could have experienced the game with a much larger community. Even so, for a 6 month old game, the community is still large enough that I'm able to find matches and I'm enjoying it immensely.

If any of you are like me, and love Assassin's Creed but felt like ignoring the multiplayer, I'd ask you to give it a try. You might be surprised. My new admiration for this gameplay has me chomping at the bit for AC III even more! I can't wait!

#2 Posted by mtmckinley (123 posts) -

Added some info on the ESRB experience with SAW.

#3 Posted by mtmckinley (123 posts) -
@Redbullet685 Yeah after the SAW games were all done that movie came out. We weren't impressed :)
#4 Posted by mtmckinley (123 posts) -

@HaltIamReptar: No, I wasn't a fan, actually. I'm still not! When I first started working on it, I had to take a few days and watch all of the movies up to that point. Ugh! ;) I do think the first SAW movie is pretty good, and the 2nd, while not as good, isn't terrible. But after that, they start going down hill quickly.

Thanks for all the comments, guys! Wow, I wonder if the SAW creators really were trolling us? That'd be a sucky thing to do. I've always just figured they were clueless when it came to games.

#5 Posted by mtmckinley (123 posts) -
@ShaggE
Thanks! I'm glad some people liked the game. I just wish it could have been a more meaningful experience. Saw II is a better game in many ways but also takes a few steps backwards too, which sullies the overall experience in my opinion.
#6 Posted by mtmckinley (123 posts) -

Thanks for the comment! I'll probably write up a post one day about what *I* would have done for a SAW game. I just felt going into that project that the game could have been so much more then it ended up being. I imagine a lot of games go that way though.

#7 Edited by mtmckinley (123 posts) -

I think SAW has been out long enough that I feel comfortable getting into some of the behind the scenes of the making of that game. I talk a lot about my experiences with it in previous entries to my blog, so I'll try not to retread topics too much. But there are a few interesting things about it that I wanted to talk about.

Original SAW Creators' Input

The first thing that was done when it comes to SAW: The Game (hearafter just referred to as SAW) was to approach the film's original writers/creators. We wanted the story to be authentic to the SAW universe so it made obvious sense to go directly to the source. We paid Leigh Whannell and James Wan (the original creators of SAW) to come up with a story for the game. What we got in return was simply... atrocious. Not only was it awful in general, but it also did not fit with the films in any way. Here were some of their contributions that had us scratching our collective heads:

  • A giant Billy the Puppet robot boss battle.
  • People being controlled by Jigsaw through microchips in their brains.
  • The headless ghost of David Tapp's partner following you around.

I won't continue, but regardless... this stuff was just incredibly, amazingly bad. We felt that, in order to stay true to the franchise that people have come to know and love, we had to completely disregard their work and come up with something on our own. I won't claim that what ended up happening was good, but at least it wasn't a complete slap to the face of SAW fans!

Doctor Gordon

Over the course of the film franchise's installments, a running mystery thread has been what happened to Dr. Lawrence Gordon? Gordon was the main protagonist in the first SAW film played by Cary Elwes who famously cut off his own foot and crawled away. Nothing was ever spoken of again regarding his fate. Since it seemed like the films had disregarded the character and since our story took place between SAW 1 and 2 (so we couldn't, for example, kill Jigsaw) the story we eventually came up with (after cutting out the creators' version) was to have Dr. Gordon play a significant role and have his fate be revealed at last.

We were about 90% through production when we suddenly received the mandate that we could no longer use Dr. Gordon in the game because the film developers wanted to keep the opportunity to use him in later films. This was quite the blow for our story as, up to now, everything about all of the clues and story bits and hints and innuendo that had been developed and already recorded and voice acted had been completed! We had to scramble to come up with something different in a very small amount of time. This resulted in our using Melissa Sing, a character that we had already completed, as a rushed replacement.

We didn't have the opportunity to record more lines to explain this change and were instead forced to strip out all references to Gordon from the game and had Melissa's mouth suddenly become conveniently sewn shut after your initial encounter with her. The reveal that she was the game's ultimate bad guy was... to say the least... underwhelming to all of us on the game's development. I'm sure it was equally so to any SAW fan who made it that far.

Original Publisher

Before Konami took the publishing reigns on SAW, it was originally Brash Entertainment. Brash was a mediocre publisher who made a business model of snapping up movie licenses for games. Some of their gems included Jumper and Space Chimps. When Zombie started developing the idea, however, Brash seemed to perk up a bit and realized that it could be an actual good game. They were putting all their eggs in SAW's basket and wanted it to be a flagship title for them. Unfortunately, this also brought with it a ton of executive meddling. Some of their mandates were things like:

  • Multi-player. While not a bad idea on its own, it's so time consuming and resource intense that it soaked up a lot of bandwidth before the jump to Konami allowed us to cut the feature completely.
  • Pighead Bosses: The Pighead character is a more minor staple of the SAW franchise and we had our own version of the Pighead. However, Brash wanted a LOT of Pigheads to act as bosses in the game. So, we literally created about 8 different Pighead characters with different themed costumes: Policeman Pighead, Soldier Pighead, Cultist Pighead, Business Suit Pighead... all of which had their own back stories and so on. We were glad to cut them out once Brash was out of the picture.

When Brash went out of business and we effectively lost our publisher, we were hit hard with the layoff stick at the studio. Luckily when Konami picked the game up, many of use were hired back, myself included, but we lost several people who could have definitely made the game better who never came back for one reason or another.

Danny Glover

Not a big story, but a minor note that we actually modeled and textured a Danny Glover head based on his SAW character very early in development. However, it became apparent as time went on that Brash was not going to pony up the money to get the likeness rights to his face, so a more generic looking character had to be created to portray David Tapp in the game.

ESRB

Trying to get an M rating for SAW was very difficult. I mention this a bit in a prior blog of mine, but what it came down to was the violence and gore. If you were to look at the gore in SAW, however, you'd find it not that shocking. Especially compared to something like Dead Space or Resident Evil. The actual problem is that the universe of SAW is our universe. There is no magic or fantasy creatures. This is like GTA4 or Heavy Rain. Those games aren't very gory at all, despite the violence. Because of that, SAW was judged very harshly.

One interesting tidbit is that the content of the European version of SAW is more graphic then the North American version. For the 2nd attempt at getting an M and Pegi 17 rating, SAW passed in Europe but failed in America. Rather then changing the content for both to meet the needs of North America, the content locked for Europe and then continued to be edited down for North America. I'd be interested in seeing a side-by-side comparison to show people the difference.

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If any other interesting tidbits about the game's development comes to mind, I'll update this post. But I thought that this might give a little insight into the goings-ons of the making of a game, even a small game. Feel free to ask if you have any questions about anything!

#8 Posted by mtmckinley (123 posts) -

Added Riven. :)

#9 Posted by mtmckinley (123 posts) -

Added Chrono Trigger to my list! :)

#10 Edited by mtmckinley (123 posts) -
I think that it's due to the ending being a "press one of three buttons to get your ending" deal. This same set up seems to happen a lot in games (Deus ex: Human Revolution not that long ago) and for Mass Effect, for those who had played it since ME1, this was a real let down, myself included. The actual endings themselves didn't make me hate it. It was the "pick your own ending" element that really chapped my bass. That, and the whole "Mass Relays blowing up thing" didn't make a lot of sense to me, seeing as it's been said that destroying the relay of a system destroys that system. Doesn't that mean Earth is destroyed now? And if it's not... why did the Batarian system get destroyed then? *shrug*

But no, for me, it was the nature of the ending scenario more than the endings themselves. That and the fact that the main three endings are practically identical.