@sammo21: pretty much exactly what @brodehouse said. Furthermore, do you remember how unrelentingly serious the first game was? The sequels (at least the Ezio ones) were full of little gags and humerous exchanges, but that first one, Christ was it straight-faced and miserable. I liked that about it quite a lot.
@brendan: I'll admit that I did consciously place myself in that camp to make my point, as exteme as it turned out. I think your fast food analogy is spot on, especially thinking back to how uncompromising the original AC was.
Listen to the commentary in any Valve game, and they describe how they test every aspect of every puzzle and feature and dialog and everything for years. The quality shows in their end product, without becoming sterile, homogenized, or sacrificing a drop of the "vision" that the OP is trying to argue is the only outcome of this process.
In other words, finding out what's bad in your game will probably make it better.
That would be a fine thing to say if it accurately represented what I was writing about. Valve's penchant for testing their games to perfection is quite legendary for good reason. It is certainly true that they focus test almost every aspect of their games before they are released to ensure everything holds up to very heavy scrutiny. That though, is before the games are released. Valve make games they want to make and then ask other people if those games play well. Then they improve upon things with that feedback. They don't go in with Narbacular Drop with a mind to create Portal, only to change it to a third person points-based shooter because they are more popular with focus groups, do they?
Tightening, tweaking; anything along those lines is great, necessary even, but that's not what that survey was asking at times. "What do you reckon to that Uncharted, ey?" went one of the questions, "wot would you fink if we made an Assassin's Creed game like that? You'd buy it, yeah?" It's grubby in my eyes - hence the cockney type - and is in no way the same thing as testing your design to its limits while you're making the game.
@walkertr77 I had it rolling at all times but I still managed to get through a fair few titles a month, so the value was still rather good. I am kind of surprised anyone can turn a decent profit from rentals though, I'd imagine for love film that it was a lot more expensive to run than their disc-based film rentals. Netflix
@pedanticjase Netflix certainly does beat them hands down for content, especially if you can trick the internet into thinking you are in America. No one does terrible reality TV like the Americans! Do you still rent games? I moved over to Boomerang as soon as I could and while they aren't great with older games (3+ years) they are super reliable when it comes to new releases. It works out a bit cheaper as well as long as you can't get through more than four games a month.
@yukoasho: A game like Flower could exist with almost any control configuration, but as I said, I liked the lazy pace of it and I think the fluid imprecision of the sixaxis added a lot to the player embodying the wind.
Mostly full of shit is fine @geraltitude, at least I'm not completely damned. I do play a fair amount of games, but I'm spouting off specifically about new console launch titles, most of which offer very little over previous generation titles and rarely have. I understand that hardware is only finalised, dev kits are only delivered etc on a pretty tight schedule and this doesn't create the optimum conditions for making huge leaps in game quality. At the same time, however, as people who follow and are invested in the industry, we're barraged with rhetoric ramming it home that these new boxes are the shit, without there being many actual products that confirm this. It seems that we all appreciate - or at least somewhat understand - that first year games are going to be sub-standard and that we'll have to wait a while for the truly new experiences, though very few people are willing to acknowledge it out loud. As for the CoD aspect; I'm perfectly happy for people to like it lots - I'm pretty sure I was rather apologetic when I used it as an example anyway - when I only like it a bit. If my 'bigger/better' argument falls apart then all we're really left with is a 'let's tweak it a little and call it a day' situation, which I personally find even worse.
I'm glad you seem to appreciate where I'm coming from a little more, @wewantsthering , maybe I was just a little heavy-handed with my moaning. I'll certainly be waiting this go around, because time and time again I've seen first years/eighteen months to be lacklustre, while titles do keep getting better the longer teams have with hardware. I just find it strange that the people who shell out the most money for a box get somewhat shit on ever cycle, yet are happy to pick apart my very general - if a bit too much so - complaint, looking for contradictions and holes in my knowledge or understanding of Video Games In General. Communities were up in arms about a load of 'problems' this time, complaining about genuine improvements in hardware and consumer experiences; yes, Id've been fine with always on if I didn't need discs. I find it fascinating that it is these things that people rally around and moan about, but games that often offer very little in the way of improvements for a year or more aren't considered problems. Maybe it all boils down to people not liking their changes to occur too quickly full stop. I played the SP mod, though haven't had the time to get to any of the full titles you mentioned. I probably should before I air any more of my grievances in public.
@yukoasho: I completely agree with you on the Super Mario World angle, but that sort of mechanical improvement - in that a fair amount was meaningfully added/tweaked - doesn't happen quite as often these days, even in marquee titles. I'm not sure if he was trying to be funny or just dryly scientific, but Geoff's review of CoD Ghosts was hilarious reading for me. That the first third of the piece was just a run down of the little changes made to the multiplayer rules, without anything meaningful seemingly coming about because of them, is kind of emblematic of what I'm trying to say. Though maybe I'm just reading it that way because I've not been keeping up with the series myself, so don't really see the merit of all the tinkering like I would if I played it year on year.
As for Flower, I disagree that it's entirely an aesthetic experience, though it might be less effective if it weren't quite as pretty. I've not played Proteus yet, but I gather they're a little similar in their contemplative, exploratory nature. While it is undeniably a game about beauty, I also really liked its lazy pacing and ham-fisted 'technology bad, nature good' didacticism. For me, the act of being the wind and the mechanics associated with it are what I found the most rewarding. Clearly though, that game couldn't exist without the technology inside the PS3 and a sixaxis; so maybe I've been a little too selective with my reasoning!