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Quick Look: Aurion: Legacy of the Kori-Odan

Austin travels the lands unlocking his inner strength and his inner DBZ.

Sit back and enjoy as the Giant Bomb team takes an unedited look at the latest video games.

May. 15 2016

Cast: Vinny, Austin

Posted by: Vinny

132 Comments

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hassun

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This was the Unpro Fridays game right?

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EthanielRain

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@hassun said:

This was the Unpro Fridays game right?

Yep

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crelio

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Meh, the movement looks off. Cool style

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UltimAXE

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@crelio said:

Meh, the movement looks off. Cool style

Yeah. Animation is super choppy/needs more frames. Game seems like it's probably a'ight, though.

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Phuturist

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Edited By Phuturist

Not a lot of racial diversity in this game, even though it's a fanatsy setting, just like Witcher 3, eh Austin?

Edit: Taunting tone of my comment aside, I really think this game should get the same critique as Witcher 3 in that regard, which for me is "A culture made their own game about themselves and neighbors, cool!". I'm interested in hearing your explanation for why they are not the same, if you think that way.

Another edit: Watching this, this game even shares the "cool world, questionable combat" aspect with w3.

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Irishranger

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Yeesh! The random game name generator broke itself on this one!

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Edited By TanookiSuit

OK...I enjoyed the UPF segment that Brad DREWBERT did. I was on board with this game, until that lack-luster world map came up. The rest of the game, despite some of the animation stuff, seems pretty great, but it needs quite a bit of turtle wax to make it a stunner.

To be fair, given the budget, it looks good cool, but not a game I'd typically be into.

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two_socks

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Being able to see what the parts of the city look like when you pull up the map is a pretty cool feature. It'd make it a lot easier to remember where things are (if there are shops or side quest NPCs or whatever) by looking at it and saying, "Oh, they were by the 2 giant statues, I know where that is." Pretty neat!

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Edited By ed5061

Sure it could use a bit more polish, but I think it looks pretty damn good for a game whose budget was only $56k. That was like a third of the cost for that Skullgirls character.

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Jellybones

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Well these comments took a turn, and quick.

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OurSin_360

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Not a lot of racial diversity in this game, even though it's a fanatsy setting, just like Witcher 3, eh Austin?

Edit: Taunting tone of my comment aside, I really think this game should get the same critique as Witcher 3 in that regard, which for me is "A culture made their own game about themselves and neighbors, cool!". I'm interested in hearing your explanation for why they are not the same, if you think that way.

Another edit: Watching this, this game even shares the "cool world, questionable combat" aspect with w3.

The criticism of witcher 3 was more along the entire genre's lack of diversity, also Witcher is a AAA big budget game this is an indy game for 20 bux made by a small team in Africa.

That said, i also feel the Witcher criticism was a bit unfair given the cultural context of Poland and Polish mythology. But trying to compare that to this just shows why diversity in gaming is a such a big deal. Would a big budget game like the Witcher 3 but with the cast of Aurion ever get made? Probably not.

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glots

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Well these comments took a turn, and quick.

While those few comments (the other one at least) are pretty terrible, I kinda enjoy(?) the idea that someone's so worked up over something that they'll take the first possible chance to write a comment like that. Video games, man.

That said, this looks decent for a budget game, but not really my to my taste. Better than Garshasp at least!

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epidehl

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This looks pretty cool, definitely something I'll pick up if I have the time/money.

The combat/style reminds me a lot of Dust: An Elysian Tale crossed with an old 2D Tales game (the UP+Y, Down+Y, Left/Right+Y is IDENTICAL to Tales), which is something I could totally get behind.

And a kind of clichéd "good people trying to do good things" story/moral doesn't really bother me. Hell, with how cynical it feels like most stories have gotten I'm pretty okay with it.

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dougfunk15

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I'll say it for you Austin, "This is Enzo! He's a Certified G and a Bonafide Stud."

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chuck_schwarz

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Edited By chuck_schwarz

Really like this games aesthetic/setting - not many games like it.

Does look a little rough around the edges though!

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Edited By Phuturist

@oursin_360 said:

The criticism of witcher 3 was more along the entire genre's lack of diversity, also Witcher is a AAA big budget game this is an indy game for 20 bux made by a small team in Africa.

That said, i also feel the Witcher criticism was a bit unfair given the cultural context of Poland and Polish mythology. But trying to compare that to this just shows why diversity in gaming is a such a big deal. Would a big budget game like the Witcher 3 but with the cast of Aurion ever get made? Probably not.

Alright let me address this.

It's fine to say you are not interested in a game because it's similar to others in it's genre, it's wrong to say a game would be better if it was not like others in it's genre. That's just my opinion though. I think a work should be able to be judged on it's own in a vacuum. But I get that some people see it different.

Wether a game is big or small doesn't matter. To make the game more diverse they simply had to change the base color value of a few characters, it would have been very easy, the indie argument doesn't apply here imho.

And Witcher 3 is the only whites only AAA fantasy game made in the last 5 or so years. Every other game includes diversity. Some are very proud and vocal about this, like the direct competitor DA:I. So Witcher 3 is the exception, not the rule, and I won't complain about the AAA African game that's sure to come out in the next 20 years either.

@grulet said:

While those few comments (the other one at least) are pretty terrible, I kinda enjoy(?) the idea that someone's so worked up over something that they'll take the first possible chance to write a comment like that. Video games, man.

I'm going to assume I'm not "the other one" [that's terrible], and yes, some people such as the staff of this website Austin Walker are that worked up over something that they'll take the first possible to chance to write a blog like that. Video games, man.

Is it bad to be worked up over this? Maybe it should bother me less, but any "you can't have or do this, but others can" rhetoric does really work me up. Hey at least I'm being civil and while my frustration is clearly obvious if you go through my post history, it's not manifested in actual shitty behavior.

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bathala

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@tanookisuit: Drew always getting buried during UPF.

it's Drew who played this on UPF

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glots

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I'm going to assume I'm not "the other one" [that's terrible], and yes, some people such as the staff of this website Austin Walker are that worked up over something that they'll take the first possible to chance to write a blog like that. Video games, man.

Is it bad to be worked up over this? Maybe it should bother me less, but any "you can't have or do this, but others can" rhetoric does really work me up. Hey at least I'm being civil and while my frustration is clearly obvious if you go through my post history, it's not manifested in actual shitty behavior.

Fair enough, my apologies if my post seemed snide, I usually try to stray away from personal commenting. Lately I've just seen way too many comments similiar to the other one (twitter, UPF live chat, whatnot...) that I had a moment of weakness and had to reply.

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This looks neat. The animation is a little strange, but I imagine that's something you'd get used to pretty quickly.

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Phuturist

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@grulet said:

Fair enough, my apologies if my post seemed snide, I usually try to stray away from personal commenting. Lately I've just seen way too many comments similiar to the other one (twitter, UPF live chat, whatnot...) that I had a moment of weakness and had to reply.

Yeah I bet this comes up a lot, with that game. No harm done. I had a moment of weakness as well and had to make my comment less obnoxious.

A lot of people want to talk about these things and a lot of people want a lot of people to not talk about these things and then here we are, all pissed off. You have a good one though!

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Edited By dreiszen

@phuturist said:
while my frustration is clearly obvious if you go through my post history, it's not manifested in actual shitty behavior.

It actually is though? Like, read your first comment, dude. You literally describe yourself as taunting Austin. The entire pretense of your accusation is disingenuous because you're baiting someone into defending a position they never took (specifically, that this game has no diversity issues, but also through oversimplifying Austin's stance on The Witcher), assuming that the circumstances are equal across the board and framing any perception of difference as prejudice or bias. If you really can't see how this is actually a really bad way to start a conversation, then I legitimately feel sorry for the commenters who plan to continue it with you.

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deactivated-5e60e701b849a

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I understand that this game is made from a limited budget but the UI design is killing me. The colors they used don't look good together at all.

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Phuturist

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@dreiszen said:

It actually is though? Like, read your first comment, dude. You literally describe yourself as taunting Austin. The entire pretense of your accusation is disingenuous because you're baiting someone into defending a position they never took, assuming that the circumstances are equal across the board and framing any perception of difference as prejudice or bias. If you really can't see how this is actually a really bad way to start a conversation, then I legitimately feel sorry for the commenters who plan to continue it with you.

Sometimes you write a weak comment first and then edit it. Like you just did, only you deleted the first one. Also I meant at least I don't insult or harrass people, while I may not bring the happy good times with my comments, I obey the rules, I believe. Not that I'm proud of this or it's an achievement for me, but still it's not terrible. That was all.

I don't even fully understand your third, huge phrase there. Those sure are some nifty words, but I don't see how they apply to my post. But yes, I believe that the circumstances are equal across the board and I believe any perception of difference to be prejudice or bias, but that's not what I stated to be truthfact, I asked Austin to explain how I'm maybe wrong in that assumption, which is a whole lot less aggressive than what you seem imply I did.

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Looks pretty cool.

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I really think this game should get the same critique as Witcher 3 in that regard, which for me is "A culture made their own game about themselves and neighbors, cool!". I'm interested in hearing your explanation for why they are not the same, if you think that way.

Austin's article was less about the Witcher 3 specifically and more about the state of AAA-games industry, which, like Hollywood, has been stagnating in a white-centric morass for decades now, with very few exceptions.

Aurion is not JUST "we made a story about our culture". It's "we made a story about our culture, and until now we would have never been able to publish it because Western developers keep telling themselves that games like this would never make money despite years of research and data to the contrary". The problem with AAA games like Witcher 3 is not that it's a bad game or bad story or overtly racist, it's that the story of Witcher 3 has been told countless times before, which the stories of some other non-Western, non-white cultures have never been told before because publishers slam the doors shut in the faces of the developers who want to tell those stories.

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@dasakamov: If you think the story of Witcher 3 has been told countless times before, you did not actually play the Witcher 3.

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I think I would be way more interested in a game in this setting if it wasn't filtered through anime. Might still give it a chance though, it looks interesting enough.

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There are a shitload of white characters in gaming. There needs to be more diversity.

So even if this game doesn't have any white folks, it really isn't as big of a deal since there are many, many games out there that completely outweigh the balance.

Also, it's kinda funny to me how there are pretty much no brown people (Indians, Bangladeshis, Pakistanis, etc.) in gaming. Oh well, at least diversity is only now being addressed in gaming and movies. Hopefully there'll be more fellow "desis" in the future.

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@dasakamov: If you think the story of Witcher 3 has been told countless times before, you did not actually play the Witcher 3.

Setting aside that I don't think that's what he actually meant the story of the Witcher 3 is not very unique it's just very well told.

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oh cool. a game set in a fantasy Africa made by Africans. Hmm, that jumping really is a bit floaty, but I like that it has a different feel and look to it than anything I'm playing right now or have been exposed to lately. (a lot of medieval fantasy and eldritchian dark-place themes) Style wise it reminds me a lot of the Avatar universe (with some street fighter thrown in there) and I like that, this was a good playthrough of it. I got to see a nice chunk of how it plays. it doesn't look perfect but I'll definitely add it to my steam wishlist. hopefully I'll get to lay it before the year's over.

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Edited By dasakamov
@bicycle_repairman said:

@dasakamov: If you think the story of Witcher 3 has been told countless times before, you did not actually play the Witcher 3.

Actually, I did. It was a great story. But, yes, everything was told before -- and I'm not talking about specific story details, but in general, the beats are all familiar to a Western, predominantly white middle class audience:

Man finds his world changing, and his place in it made obsolete. Check. Seeking personal fulfilment, he heads off in search of a long-lost love. Check. Despite trying to leave his past behind, circumstances and third parties conspire to draw him back into the life he tries to leave behind. Check. Victorian-era political intrigue whirls on in the background while monster-slayer must slay (or negotiate with) monsters. Check. Also, old ladies are usually witches. Check. The Big Bad is somewhat sympathetic in that its actions, while evil, are done to preserve its own way of life. Check.

If you strip away the well-written characters and story, you come away with a very familiar, very generic-otherwise story that will Western audiences say, "Oh, I know what to do in this situation; I've done it before in other games".

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Austin's article was less about the Witcher 3 specifically and more about the state of AAA-games industry, which, like Hollywood, has been stagnating in a white-centric morass for decades now, with very few exceptions.

Aurion is not JUST "we made a story about our culture". It's "we made a story about our culture, and until now we would have never been able to publish it because Western developers keep telling themselves that games like this would never make money despite years of research and data to the contrary". The problem with AAA games like Witcher 3 is not that it's a bad game or bad story or overtly racist, it's that the story of Witcher 3 has been told countless times before, which the stories of some other non-Western, non-white cultures have never been told before because publishers slam the doors shut in the faces of the developers who want to tell those stories.

Witcher 3 and Aurion are financed, created and published by the studio making the game with no additional publisher having any say. You argument about publishers slamming the door shut is entirely invalid.

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@phuturist : You completely missed the point where I said "up until now, we would have never been able to publish it because Western developers keep telling themselves that games like this would never make money despite years of research and data to the contrary."

The ability to self-publish (and crowd-sourcing venues such as Kickstarter and Steam Greenlight) are the reasons why we're finally getting a more diverse offering in terms of video games.

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It's cool that self publishing channels made this game possible, but that also doesn't make it very good.

While you're all bickering about cultures and diversity, I see a game that has a really floaty jump, an awful world map, and an art style that isn't great. The core gameplay looks average, at best.

Hopefully they can improve on their next venture!

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Edited By Efesell

This is not even a Witcher 3 situation, by the way. There are totally other groups represented among the various townsfolk.

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Edited By Phuturist
@dasakamov said:

@phuturist : You completely missed the point where I said "up until now, we would have never been able to publish it because Western developers keep telling themselves that games like this would never make money despite years of research and data to the contrary."

The ability to self-publish (and crowd-sourcing venues such as Kickstarter and Steam Greenlight) are the reasons why we're finally getting a more diverse offering in terms of video games.

You're right I didn't argue against your point. Because you are right. My point is though, that what applies to Aurion also applies to The Witcher 3. The Witcher 3 is only possible because they could publish it themselves. You can't truly believe a big, risk averse western publisher that's scared of bad press and rep would greenlight the only big all white game of the last ten years, right? Just like they wouldn't publish Aurion, as you said.

I maintain that arguments about diversity apply to both games the same way.

@dasakamov said:
Man finds his world changing, and his place in it made obsolete. Check. Seeking personal fulfilment, he heads off in search of a long-lost love. Check. Despite trying to leave his past behind, circumstances and third parties conspire to draw him back into the life he tries to leave behind. Check. Victorian-era political intrigue whirls on in the background while monster-slayer must slay (or negotiate with) monsters. Check. Also, old ladies are usually witches. Check. The Big Bad is somewhat sympathetic in that its actions, while evil, are done to preserve its own way of life. Check.

If you strip away the well-written characters and story, you come away with a very familiar, very generic-otherwise story that will Western audiences say, "Oh, I know what to do in this situation; I've done it before in other games".

Now that's just an arbitrary check list. I can do that too, look:

MC is nobility and born for great things. Check. Last heir of family. Check. Betrayed, ambushed, exiled stripped of power. Check. His brother in law is evil. Check. You rebuilt your power by forming connections to other forces by helping them out. Check. You need to save the kingdom. Check. The game questions wether the noble class deserves it's power or is needed at all. Check.

If you strip away the well-written characters and story, you come away with a very familiar, very generic-otherwise story that will Western audiences say, "Oh, I know what to do in this situation; I've done it before in other games".

There you go, I can do this too, and no actual argument was made by doing this.

@efesell said:

This is not even a Witcher 3 situation, by the way. There are totally other groups represented among the various townsfolk.

And Witcher also has other groups with Germans, Swedish, a weird celtic/viking mixture and in the next expansion french. It's like Witcher.

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Edited By Efesell

@phuturist: Given that the argument was to someone claiming that Witcher 3 was clearly a very unique story I think that does work quite well? It's not trying to compare quality.

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@dasakamov said:

@phuturist : You completely missed the point where I said "up until now, we would have never been able to publish it because Western developers keep telling themselves that games like this would never make money despite years of research and data to the contrary."

The ability to self-publish (and crowd-sourcing venues such as Kickstarter and Steam Greenlight) are the reasons why we're finally getting a more diverse offering in terms of video games.

You're right I didn't argue against your point. Because you are right. My point is though, that what applies to Aurion also applies to The Witcher 3. The Witcher 3 is only possible because they could publish it themselves. You can't truly believe a big, risk averse western publisher that's scared of bad press and rep would greenlight the only big all white game of the last ten years, right? Just like they wouldn't publish Aurion, as you said.

I maintain that arguments about diversity apply to both games the same way.

What are you even talking about here. Witcher 2 was regarded as a financial success, of course a publisher would jump at the chance to publish Witcher 3. You`re vastly overestimating how much a publisher cares about `bad press` when there`s money to be made. Oh, and Atari published the first Witcher game.

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OurSin_360

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Edited By OurSin_360

@oursin_360 said:

The criticism of witcher 3 was more along the entire genre's lack of diversity, also Witcher is a AAA big budget game this is an indy game for 20 bux made by a small team in Africa.

That said, i also feel the Witcher criticism was a bit unfair given the cultural context of Poland and Polish mythology. But trying to compare that to this just shows why diversity in gaming is a such a big deal. Would a big budget game like the Witcher 3 but with the cast of Aurion ever get made? Probably not.

Alright let me address this.

It's fine to say you are not interested in a game because it's similar to others in it's genre, it's wrong to say a game would be better if it was not like others in it's genre.

Who said this?

That's just my opinion though. I think a work should be able to be judged on it's own in a vacuum. But I get that some people see it different.

I agree

Wether a game is big or small doesn't matter. To make the game more diverse they simply had to change the base color value of a few characters, it would have been very easy, the indie argument doesn't apply here imho.

Of course it does, honestly it's the only thing that does matter IMO. When you think about diversity and representation in a media nobody looks to a small indy developer, filmaker, or an underground musician, they still aren't' represented in the mainstream which is the entire point. And No changing base colors does not add diversity, skin color is not the main thing that makes us different or unique. Which is my issue with games like Dragon Age. Painting Geralt black doesn't make him african and vice versa, there is an entire lineage and culture behind people that make them diverse.

And Witcher 3 is the only whites only AAA fantasy game made in the last 5 or so years. Every other game includes diversity. Some are very proud and vocal about this, like the direct competitor DA:I. So Witcher 3 is the exception, not the rule, and I won't complain about the AAA African game that's sure to come out in the next 20 years either.

Dragon Age Origins was all white, and painting a few faces black or asian in Inquisition didn't make that ok to me or explain why they were omitted in the first place. I think dragon age should get more criticism than the witcher but that's just personal feelings so lets not dwell on that. I for one never criticized the witcher, but I also understood the context of the culture it was made in and their relation to other cultures in that region that were later deemed "white". I also understand the broader culture that it was released into, and how it could be seen as just another case of under-representation. And lets be real, sure they've added a few non white faces to a few games, but they are still 90% white. I mean honestly, did you even notice the witcher was 99% white before anybody brought it up? I know i didn't, and i honestly didn't think twice about it until it was brought up probably because the difference between 90 and 99% isn't really all that big. And that's from somebody who is not white in the slightest. Now i don't need to ask if you noticed Aurion was 99% black, because obviously you did and so did I(and I still don't know if it is since we've only been shown a few segments, there could very well be later segments full of other cultures and races) My guess would be it's probably because it's never seen outside of maybe some stereotyped GTA clone of menace to society movies(which i fucking hated btw). Anyway, in my opinion true diversity would be when the racial, gender and cultural make up of a game (or any form of media) gets to the point that no matter who makes up the majority of that cast we collectively don't notice because there is no more minority in who gets major representation across said medium.

@grulet said:

While those few comments (the other one at least) are pretty terrible, I kinda enjoy(?) the idea that someone's so worked up over something that they'll take the first possible chance to write a comment like that. Video games, man.

I'm going to assume I'm not "the other one" [that's terrible], and yes, some people such as the staff of this website Austin Walker are that worked up over something that they'll take the first possible to chance to write a blog like that. Video games, man.

Is it bad to be worked up over this? Maybe it should bother me less, but any "you can't have or do this, but others can" rhetoric does really work me up. Hey at least I'm being civil and while my frustration is clearly obvious if you go through my post history, it's not manifested in actual shitty behavior.

Criticizing something isn't denying you or anybody any right to have anything, it's a criticism and just as valid as yours. Pointing out that the Witcher is 99% white and collectively games are probably 99% white, isn't saying you can't make a game that is 99% white or saying that you are evil or racist for making that game. It is pointing out that fact that the rest of us are not represented in the medium at nearly the same level and that saying "you know maybe that should change?"

Anyway, those are my thoughts on that subject. I feel like i didn't actually comment on the game at all and i think it looks cool and will maybe give it a shot when i get done with some other games. I also guarantee the whole human trafficking segment was inspired a lot by the boko haram insanity that has been going on in that region, which could explain the way they explored the subject as it is definitely a reality over there.

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@efesell said:

@phuturist: Given that the argument was to someone claiming that Witcher 3 was clearly a very unique story I think that does work quite well?

Sure, but the person I then argued with argues that Witcher's story is less original than Aurion's because Witcher's story is white. And my point was more that you can make this rhetorical trick with every story.

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@oursin_360:

I'm not going to quote because it's already getting messy. Still trying to address you:

To "who said this?", Austin straight up said that The Witcher 3 would be better with brown and black people. My grievance comes from him not applying the same to this game. This is what it boils down to for me. All his arguments, his "Are you really saying the game would be worse with black people?" for example could be made in reverse.

I think I agree with your next big text block, but I'm not sure where your indie argument is going. They could still add "Yo I'm a merchant from China or Russia, want my wares?" to some random merchant, which is along the lines of what people wanted Witcher 3 to have. Indie studios can do that much even with little ressources.

At this point I should emphasize again that I love Yakuza for being all Japanese, potentially this game (though the budget shows) for being all African and Witcher 3 for being all eastern/northern European. I have no problems with Aurion and I sincerely hope they succeed.

To some of your next points: And Dragon Age Origins came out in 2009. That's a long time ago.

I think you are saying that DA:I has a very traditional European world but with Northern American ethnic make up without explaining this and with no consequences? I guess I could agree.

I'm sorry but I have a hard time following what you said next. I quote:

"Anyway, in my opinion true diversity would be when the racial, gender and cultural make up of a game (or any form of media) gets to the point that no matter who makes up the majority of that cast we collectively don't notice because there is no more minority in who gets major representation across said medium."

Are you saying that you want a world where every ethnic group has more or less the representation as they have on Earth? That's...difficult. It would mean that by far the most games about Asia and Africa would come out of the western world, because Africans and Asians have far fewer opportunities to pursue something like game development. Do you want that though, or do you want authentic, heart felt and culturally rooted games? I prefer the latter.

Let me add one more thing: I heard about the racism in Witcher 3 before I played it, so the question wether I noticed it or not is mute. What I did notice though, and what I did not expect, was that Witcher 3 had aspects, references, and details that remind me even of my home and background, which is German, way more than the, well, generic fantasy world of Dragon Age. There are at least 3 references to Grimm's Fairy Tales in Witcher 3 and I actually grew up with them as a kid outside of disney movies. Architecture felt way more familiar than Dragon Age, and most of all, mood and atmosphere. Maybe I'm imagining these things, but even as just a side group in Witcher 3, as a German I felt more at home in this world than in any other video game I played. Talk about representation, I have yet to have a Main Character of the same background or open world that I know to explore. Nazi shooters don't count for obvious reasons.

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Not sure I would enjoy playing this game, but there seems to be a lot of really cool ideas going on here.

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it's very funny to me that there is a guy in the comment section of this video who has been arguing for 4 continuous hours that this game should have white people in it

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Edited By Phuturist

@snorkel_the_dolphin said:

it's very funny to me that there is a guy in the comment section of this video who has been arguing for 4 continuous hours that this game should have white people in it

I'm not, it shouldn't. I also did things in between but I like to respond when talked to or about me.