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bigsocrates

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@shindig: I think Doom 2016, Hitman, and Destiny are all examples of more limited risks, though. Doom and Hitman were established franchises and they did do some risky stuff with those versions of the games, no doubt, but the fact that they had a franchise fan base makes it much less risky. Destiny was a big investment in a new IP but it was ultimately Bungie, the Halo guys, making first person shooters.

Compare that with something like Jet Set Radio, which was made by the Sega Rally 2 guys and was like nothing we'd ever seen before. It had the best cell shaded graphics up to that point but it was this totally new type of game that drew on some inspirations like Tony Hawk or whatever, but was much more out there than something like Doom 2016, which is ultimately a first person shooter with a bunch of cool new mechanics but still fits squarely in that genre (and even uses all the old tropes of Doom from the enemies to the arsenal.)

Or Seaman.

"What's this new game, Seaman?"

"Oh. You talk to a fish every day. Over time you kind of develop a relationship with it."

"Oh, so it's like a cute friend who lives in your Dreamcast?"

"No. It starts as a parasite that kills another fish and it grows into a hideous abomination who treats you like garbage. You need to buy a peripheral to be able to play it."

Obviously not every game was like Seaman, which was absolutely insane even for the time, but did you know that Leonard Nimoy was the narrator for that game? That's a time we'll probably never see again. A game premise that insane but with enough money behind it that it was technologically cutting edge (good graphics for the time plus voice recognition), had a peripheral packed in with it, and could afford to get freaking Spock to narrate.

Mainstream gaming used to be so much crazier than it is today. For good and bad.

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bigsocrates

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@shindig: The Dreamcast WAS risky. And it failed (though not necessarily because of the games.) But even with its short lifespan it left a massive impact on gamers because of how many risky and interesting games came out on it. It was a hotbed of creativity and had all kinds of crazy stuff, including the $20 NFL 2K game and a bunch of weird online console games for the first time. There was risky stuff on the PS2 as well, but the PS2 has such a massive library that you can use it to make any argument. You certainly won't see any major developers like Treasure making a game like Stretch Panic in 2020. If you want to go back a gen you can look at DMA Design, which made weird stuff like Space Station Silicon Valley and Body Harvest, then made Manhunt (which was a genuinely risky game) and since then has churned out nothing but big franchise entries. There are tons of other examples of this. Studios or publishers that did risky weird stuff when they didn't have to bet $50,000,000 on each game, and now maybe take one or two risks per generation.

I already acknowledged that for an individual developer an indie game may constitute a personal risk, but there's just not a lot of money at play, which severely limits what the game can be. Even for something like No Man's Sky, which was kind of risky, the development staff was super small and the initial launch showed it. A game like Space Station Silicon Valley had production values just short of the biggest games of the era, like Banjo Kazooie. It was risky but it was playing in the same space as the big boys. A game like No Man's Sky doesn't come close to looking or playing like a AAA release. As for something like Paper's Please, it could have been made in 1992. That doesn't mean it's a bad game (it's a great game) or that the developer didn't take a personal risk, but it's not a project that combines the production values of major game development with the weird auteur personal ideas the way some games used to. It's a different thing. There have always been individual coders and small teams putting a lot of blood sweat and tears into personal passion projects. Major studios used to also release very quirky and weird titles with production values and marketing behind them. The first thing still happens. The second happens incredibly rarely.

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bigsocrates

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@shindig: Those are extremely creative games, but not huge risks, mostly because they have almost zero budget compared to large games. They might be risky for the individual developer because they're putting a ton of personal time into them, but they aren't big financial risks by the standards of the gaming industry. They have budgets in the five figures for the most part (many times less than the catering budget for an Assassin's Creed title) and they reflect that with their presentation. That's not to say they aren't visually appealing games, because they are in their own way, and they're very creative, but they're of a different kind than the types of expensive 3D games that the big publishers make.

Big companies used to take pretty major risks fairly regularly. They might not do it with their biggest blockbuster titles, but one tier down they created lots of quirky and interesting titles that often didn't sell a lot but would occasionally break out into a critical or sales success.

One of the reasons the Dreamcast is so fondly remembered is that Sega took a bunch of really interesting risks on that machine. Jet Set Radio. Seaman. Rez. Space Channel 5. Those were all big games that had modern (at the time) graphics and presentation and were unlike anything else on the market (okay Rez is a lot like Panzer Dragoon, but with a totally different aesthetic.) Once in a great while you see games like that being made by the big publishers these days (Maybe the Nier series counts? You can make an argument for Splatoon, even though it's fundamentally a shooter.) It's much rarer though.

The truth is that budgets have gotten so big that basically every game is a risk these days. If a project doesn't come together or get any traction it can lose tens of millions of dollars easily. AAA game publishers can sell a few million copies and still lose money because of how expensive modern development is. But it means that there's a lot less creativity and variety in what's being put out by the big publishers. The days when a company like Namco would put out something truly insane like Breakdown are pretty much done (with a few notable exceptions sprinkled through the last decade.)

Games are just too expensive to make at that level these days. You get a lot of creativity in the indie space, but in terms of the truly weird and risky stuff that also has a pretty big budget behind it? It does happen, but you can count the number of titles like that on one hand most years.

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bigsocrates

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It's very corporate Microsoft, which is not surprising, and may be a sign that Microsoft continues to want to position the console as an all in one living room box rather than specifically a games machine, which makes sense and likely matches up with their data on how users actually use the device (I have a friend with an Xbox One who doesn't really play games anymore but still uses it to stream video.)

The problem with the Xbox One at launch was not that it offered lots of video apps, it was that it was underpowered for games and had the stupid Kinect and HDMI pass through TV stuff (is the TV stuff even still supported?) With Phil Spencer at the helm that's not going to be an issue again.

I kind of wish it was more "gamey" but it's not a big deal. Consoles are now aimed at middle aged people in addition to teens and 20-somethings and the boot screen stuff reflects that.

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bigsocrates

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@mattack: According to this interview: https://www.shacknews.com/article/117448/how-rogue-legacy-2-aims-to-go-from-a-castle-to-a-full-kingdom it's coming to PC first but they want to port to consoles later.

I think that's the same thing that the first game did. They say they are too small a team to target multiple platforms to start with, and that probably goes even moreso now when the consoles are about to change over to a new generation.

I wouldn't worry too much about it. You'll have to wait a bit but it will come to console at some point. A lot of indie games launch on PC first and then port later.

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bigsocrates

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NO! IT'S A LIE! I DON'T BELIEVE YOU! IT CAN'T BE TRUE!!!!!

I can't believe it's already been a decade. That's crazy. I loved both those endurance runs, they were amazing content.

RIP Ryan. It's still hard to believe this site has been around longer since he died than it was when he was alive.

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bigsocrates

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I really like the game but I also have a ton of gripes about it. Not being able to put turnips or recipes into storage is just stupid. I know that the turnips issue has been around for awhile and is presumably meant to give the stalk market an additional cost, but in this game where you can just leave stuff outdoors it just means that you have an uglier island (or home) and it's dumb. Storing recipes isn't necessary for a single player, but it's useful if you have friends who might want them but don't immediately know if they have those particular recipes already.

I think making the tools break was a huge mistake. I don't really mind the crafting in general (except that they need to batch in mass crafting) but the breaking tools just suck. They just suck. There's nothing fun or interesting about it, it's just a pain in the ass. Crafting in general gives more reason to gather materials each day so it fits into the series well. Breakable tools are bad.

I really miss Kapp'n and the island from New Leaf. His song was a highlight of New Leaf and the island in New Leaf was more interesting and fun than the islands in New Horizons. It's not just that I get the same fruit, it's that on the whole the islands tend to be more of the same. Same bugs, same fish, same everything. Having one unique island was better.

Bunny Day is bad and very boring. Fishing is like my favorite thing to do in AC, but catching all these useless eggs has pretty much stopped me from fishing. The bunny day items suck and even though you don't have to pop the balloons it's annoying to see a balloon, get excited, and find out it's just another stupid sky egg. It's bad enough when they drop like 5 clay or 1000 bells instead of some new item, but I have so many damn sky eggs.

I've put a bunch of time into the game so I clearly like it, but I'm also burning out, and all these issues are the reason why. There's a ton of great stuff in New Horizons but some of these decisions are just baffling. Especially the breakable tools.

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@sethmode: I think what "inspires them" is keeping the lights on. There's nothing wrong with that and I personally am excited to see what they do with this game. I liked Rogue Legacy a lot but I felt there were definitely places it could be improved and expanded so this should be neat.

Of course it's probably going to be years before it's released so I won't be waiting on the edge of my chair but I'll give it a shot whenever it appears.

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#9  Edited By bigsocrates

Don't forget FF VII remake, which is already out.

But yeah, I think that we're going to see a lot of delays including the new consoles. Not only is there no physical retail right now but everyone's going to be broke for a while even after the disease is under control. I'm also afraid we're going to see a bunch of developer bankruptcies. Obviously not the huge boys like Sony or Microsoft or Nintendo or Activision, but some of the smaller companies that were always kind of shaky are going to go under, consolidating the industry even further.

I don't really care about the game delays because I have a massive backlog and I'd be happy just playing those games for the next 5 years+ (not that it will be that long) but I'm pretty worried about all the developers. Naughty Dog will be fine as a company but we see lots of closures even during good times and these are not good times.

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@isomeri: They're probably going to re-open movie theaters before the end of the year so it won't stay in 2nd. It also lost a fair amount of the tail of its gross (especially internationally) to everything shutting down.

On the other hand if the theaters don't re-open then Jim Carey will get an Oscar nomination. It's not like the first couple months of the year were full of great performances.