Weekend Confirmed Episode 27

By Garnett Lee, Sep 24, 2010 12:00pm PDT After a couple of far-flung weeks with shows from PAX and the International special, Garnett, Brian, and Jeff reunite in the studio, and just in time too because they've got a whole lot to cover. Whatcha' Been Playin? gets things started with some mopping up from TGS including The Third Birthday, Ni no Kuni, and a couple others. Valkyria Chronicles 2 and the upcoming 3 which was also at TGS get some love. And all three of the guys have tales of global conquest from late night Civ 5 sessions. The Warning poses the question of whether the quest to westernize has become a distraction to Japanese game development and, of course, your Gran Turismo 5 responses get their due. Lara's continuing co-op struggles, the apparent cancellation of Milo, and naturally some Halo:Reach news highlight the Front Page to wrap it all up.

Weekend Confirmed Ep. 27 - 09/24/2010

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Weekend Confirmed comes in four segments to make it easy to listen to in segments or all at once. Here's the timing for this week's episode:

Whatcha' Been Playin: Start: 00:00:00 End: 00:34:27

Whatcha' Been Playin and Cannata-ford a New Game: Start: 00:35:53 End: 01:04:20

The Warning: Start: 01:05:30 End: 01:45:06

Music Break featuring Ongaku's "Good Times" Start: 01:45:06 End: 01:47:30

The Front Page: Start: 01:47:30 End: 02:23:31

Music Break this week features Ongaku ("music" in Japanese) from Lisbon, Portugal, with the track "Good Times". Influenced by Yellow Magic Orchestra, disco, heavy funk, and synths, he's currently focused on making some tracks and finishing a degree in animation. For more check out Ongaku on MySpace or Soundcloud.

Original music in the show by Del Rio. Get his latest single, Small Town Hero on iTunes and check out more at his Facebook page.

Jeff can also be seen on The Totally Rad Show. New episodes come out weekly on Tuesday.

Our Official Facebook Weekend Confirmed Page is coming along now so add us to your Facebook routine. We'll be keeping you up with the latest on the show there as well.

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44 Threads | 215 Comments*
  • Hey! Long time listener (1UP Yours days), rare commenter, in training games developer.

    Just a quick comment on the whole; shooting is a binary, primitive interaction. I was thinking that for shooters to move on as a game genre, we (humanity) need to create innovative ways of solving conflicts that may or may not involve violence. A problem can only come down to the right solution or the wrong solution. Yes or no. No middle ground. A compromise only causes more conflicts and may seem to be like the right solution, but really it is the wrong solution just made to sound like it is the right solution.

    In a shooter, the conflict can only result in one of two solutions being the outcome, I die or the enemy dies. This interaction between both parties can be broken down to; who has the faster reflexes? Or who has the bigger gun? Which leads me to ask; can shooting be changed as a conflict solver when our basic primal instincts are deeply imbedded in the fundamentals of the interaction? Our ancestors fought over some “thing” that they saw someone else doing or in possession of and tried to get it for themselves. Either be fighting for it or simply taking that “thing” away from the other person. An example of this is two children. One has made something impressive for their age using blocks and another child witnesses this. They have only a few options with dealing with this: Destroy it out of jealousy, try to fight over it out of jealousy or tell someone significant (i.e. adult) that the other child isn't letting them play with the blocks, again out of jealousy. This emotion of jealousy comes from the 2nd child’s inability to replicate this structure. Either the child can build it or they can’t build it. Yes or no.

    A shooting mechanic, being the basic form of interaction and conflict solving, therefore cannot be removed or altered from the genre and forever will be binary and primitive, since this form of interaction can be traced back through early development and our (humanity) past.

    Keep up the excellent work you all do at Shacknews!

  • On the release timeframe topic, I think that longer is always better. For example, a 3 year gap between each Halo release in the trilogy was perfect for me. When each game is of such a high quality, I'm very ok with the developer taking all the time they need to produce another triple AAA product because I will be playing their current game for many years. However, if a developer's sequel isn't moving the gameplay of the series forward enough then there really shouldn't be a sequel (unless of course it's a gameplay mechanic that is timeless; 3D Mario platformers for instance, yet Nintendo still add a lot to each iteration) and no amount of time is excusable.

    On a side note, I would gladly wait 10 years (until Bungie's tenure with Activision is over) for Bungie to make Halo 4, no offense 343 Industries.

  • The issue of Halo Reach online co-op not working without a hard drive got me thinking.......

    *** Conspiricy Theory Time ***

    I'm an admitted Halo fanboy, so I read A LOT of news on bungie's website, including listening to all their podcasts. Back in 2008, while interviewing one of their tools engineers, the topic of harddrive requirement came up.

    The Halo engine for the original X-Box was built on the foundation of having a built-in harddrive to run from.... the entire game was constructed around this. Every Halo game since runs on that same engine.... sure, it has been overhauled almost beyond recognition, but it is still the same bare engine.

    Back to the podcast: the bungie guys were talking about the lead-up to Halo 3. Bungie's opinion was that they know how to make a game that runs off a hard drive, so they should make Halo 3 in the same way. It was Microsoft that put their foot down and said: "No, Halo 3 needs to be able to run without a hard drive".

    This is what lead to a lot of the technical shortcomings of Halo 3, such as the lower screen resolution.
    The Halo engine is constructed in a way that works best with a hard drive. Halo 3, ODST, and Reach have all been built to run without one. Even though most of us have harddrives, Bungie hasn't been able to get the most out of their engine because they build the game to work without one.

    Cut ahead to Reach.

    Leading up to launch, Bungie was strangely mysterious anytime the topic of campaign co-op was raised: in particular, how many players would it support? Joseph Tung was asked this question directly by Gamespot, and his response was "we're not talking about that yet?".

    Back during the Halo Reach Multiplayer Beta, one of the playlists was called "Network Test 1". This playlist was running a "Generator Defence" gametype, running on Halo's co-op network model, opposed to thier standard multiplayer network model. The generator defence playlist supported..... 6 players.

    It didn't take a genious to figure out Bungie was testing their co-op network model for 6 player co-op.

    Now, the game has shipped, and only 4-player co-op is present in the game. It could simply be that Bungie tested 6 player co-op, and figured it would be too much for their network model to handle.


    It could be that Bungie decided "we can make it work, but only if we take full advantage of a hard drive."
    This would mean players without hard drives wouldn't be able to play on-line co-op, explaining the current situation.

    Garnett said "there's no way they would do that" reffering to the possibility that this could have been done on purpose. I disagree. I think Bungie absolutely could have made this decision. I could also imagin Microsoft reacting to this decision by saying "Don't tell anyone about this because we don't want to lose a single sale". Microsoft has jerked Bungie around on the PR side before. They told Bungie to change Halo: Recon to Halo ODST, then made Bungie sell it as a full $60 release instead of an add-on as it was designed to be. They even pulled Reach gameplay footage from Bungie's own website in the weeks leading up to release, claiming Bungie didn't have the rights to show new footage.

    So, we know co-op matchmaking is being added to the playlist options in the middle of October. My personally long shot theory: 6 player co-op will roll out at the same time, and on-line co-op will still require a hard drive. Even if the 6 player co-op doesn't end up happening, I think Microsoft is playing dumb on this as long as they can, when it was by design the entire time. If it truly was some kind of mistake, Bungie would have made mention of it in an update by now, but so far they've pretended the issue doesn't exsist. I'd bet money Microsoft told them to keep their mouth shut on this one.

    Ok. Rant over. Discuss.......................... I'm tired now.

  • Everyone seems to lose when it comes to the Kotick/EA/Tim Schafer war of words, but I do feel like one major point has been hit upon that could be Kotick's Achilles Heel. Activision seems to mostly be coasting on the success of CoD and Blizzard, but their other cash cows truly are suffering from a major slump, and they are not getting much traction when trying to extend their grasp on the music game genre.

    I know that Activision's Bobby Kotick is pretty much universally reviled by gamers, but in the end he answers to the Activision board and investors. This makes me wonder; How low will Activision's stock and reputation have to sink for Kotick to get ousted?

    I think Kotick will be golden through this year. Black Ops looks like it is not just riding what MW2 offered and while it isn't a revolution, it is distinctly its own beast. Does everything depend on what happens with CoD next year, or is Kotick the video game industry's version of herpes?

    What do you guys think? Is Kotick and evil genius, just a genius, or a leech? Will he keep his job no matter how bad he makes the company look, or is he on borrowed time as head honcho of Activision? Lemme hear what you think!

  • Youll be happy to know my love of this podcast and its general banter has gotten me to post on here finally.

    In regards to the NFL speak, it does seem a bit out of place; much like jeffs talk about boardgames seems a departure from the normal banter and medium of the podcast. Do it in the post show thread? But ultimately you guys can decide on what you'd like to broadcast.

    To 1suggest a few things else you could implement instead : a maandatory angry videogame related rant (to spark conversation on here), or throw it over to del rio and your producer lady to have a spot/get some lighthearted end of show banter on.

    As some topics of discussion:

    As an australian-living gamer, whilst I import cheaper english versions of asian pacific games, the vast majority of the veryactive videogame community here is accustomed to a much more expensive pricing for games then when compared to the US. New release games customarily sell for $90-100AUD (85-95$ US), before inevitable discounting will usual result in drops to $50 then sub 30$. Whilst it is hard to compare the economic realities of such things as living costs and minimum wages between our countries, it does tie in with a point you have been discussing in episodes regarding price. What would it take/would a game haveto do for an american to pay +80$ for a standard edition of a game?

    Will new games that come out released concurrently on all major platforms ever be playable in multiplayer on all platforms concurrently? I.E perhaps a future call of duty have a server containing PS and Xbox patrons simultaneously? (Pc gamers unallowed to participate in FPS duels with consolte counterparts obviously :P)

    What games did you treasure playing at the time, but now only enjoy the nostalgic memories of, unable to play such games for whatever reason now? Aesthetics or maturity levels?

    Given the popularity of sequels, is there a game that you believe has reached its apogee(no videogame pun intended :P) , and could not be furthered improved upon with a modern day reiteration or sequel?

    Ill ramble less, sleep more next time.

  • On the subject of game prices, Garnett said this at about 1 minute 25 seconds: "We're completely in a layered system now of 'you're either a $60 boxed game, or you're a $15 and under, probably digitally distributed... game.'"

    Well, that's the way the megapublishers run things. More accurately, their "price tiers" seem to be these:

    $60: Main, full-scale development video games
    $15 and under: DLC for main titles, "mini-game" marketing efforts
    $20 to $40: scattershot shovelware (e.g.: Activision Value titles)

    In the meantime, we have independent developers on PC pricing throughout the $10 to $40 range for their titles, partly out of necessity for value proposition, and there's also the need for huge sales to generate buzz. There were some very notable indie titles last year, like Trine, Aaaaa!!! - A Reckless Disregard for Gravity, VVVVVV, Gratuitous Space Battles, etc.

    I don't think we're going to see the megapublishers offer games like Bioshock 2 or Singularity for $40 on launch. But right now, months after their release, Bioshock 2 (PC) is $35 at GoGamer, and Singularity (PC) is $38. Therein lies an answer for the gamer who wants to save their money: wait four to eight months.

    On a side note, what happened to Singularity is sad. I got it for PC for $50 after hearing the Bombcast and Weekend Confirmed discussions on it, as well as seeing gameplay videos (via Giant Bomb and Youtube), and deciding that I liked the gameplay I was seeing. It's a fun game, though it's essentially a console game sitting on the PC that has very good mouse controls and a less stellar keyboard binding; I haven't bothered with multiplayer at all. The game had a few reveals years ago, and then it went completely dark until release, and then aside from a patch to fix the texture streaming problems on PC, no announced future supportability, no hope for mod tools, nothing. It seemed almost like Raven tried to foster this internally grown IP into something big, but maybe it took a year or two longer than optimal, and now they just want to leave it be after release and patching. Raven is currently working on multiplayer maps for Call of Duty: Black Ops, as well as at least one unannounced project.

  • I have sympathy for wanting GT5 right now...but as someone waiting for certain other sim games (Storm of War: Battle of Britain, 1C Maddox's Korean War sim, and the DCS A-10 Warthog/Thunderbolt II sim)...those do take a fair degree of time to make (Battle of Britain has been in development for over 5 years now I think).

    Also as a flight sim guy, I can sort of see the importance of seemingly small less important details like weather or wind. I remember when IL2: 1946 (or was it Pacific Fighters) incorporated engine torque and that was a huge deal...and those sort of things appeal to the hardcore niche that sims are often aimed at...when IL2 Sturmovik came out originally...the fact that my plane could get hit in the wing and I could look over and see a huuuge scary hole (with cables and everything visible) blown in the wing and have my whole handling really affected by that loss of wing surface (and thus loss of lift) really made it that much more immersive. I can actually understand sacrificing some performance for simulation if you're making a hardcore game like that...flight sims regularly require beefy machines to handle all the systems they're simulating.

    I kind of think that maybe GT5 needs the ability to turn things like that off...to reduce realism like a flight sim on things like weather if people want more performance...but I can also understand the sort of idea or artistic integrity and wanting people to experience that stuff. GT5 kind of is in this weird place because it straddles the line between game and simulator...and I respect that (tbh, I suck at racing sims and tend to like Burnout...but I've started to get into Forza 3 with my brothers crazy Porche wheel and its really satisfying to race properly and not just ram and rewind my way through the game (my previous approach that yielded mixed results)). GT5 is kind of where Rainbow Six or GRAW is compared to an ARMA...its nice to have these levels of realism vs gameyness and I like having something like Sega Rally Revo on one side and then some crazy Papyrus style thing on the other end so I have choice. Hell, I'd like to have a little more on the crazy side in FPS games...but we're seeing sort of a resurgence in that of late with Bulletstorm, and Duke...and there are some neat things going on in the open source side of things with stuff like Quake2world and xonotic and nexuiz...that are coming from the Quake engines that Carmack has very kindly let loose...hell I'm working on a Q3 mod that is still being developed (has been in development for like almost 10 years now)...and I'd love to dabble in making a standalone thing sometime...holy shit I got side-tracked there. I'll just stop typing because I can't remember what point I was making anymore.

  • Love the show and the enthusiasm the three of you bring weekly to the podcast.

    I didn't see anyone bring this up so I thought I would to see what your thoughts and the communities would be.

    This last episode I heard throughout the podcast sneering remarks about the PS3 and it's fans. Things like 'We would only play the 360 version, not PS3' and 'we don't play PS3 games.' These things were said in a sarcastic way, yes it was obvious, but why say it at all in such an inside joke sort of way? If you listen to the Joystiq, Rebel FM or a few Podcast from 1up you have heard this over and over again.

    I feel you three are better than that and shouldn't go down that road. I can only speak for myself, but as a PS3 fan who appreciates all consoles and PC games, I find it frustrating that a few web trolls bring out such a negative energy on the podcast. I would have thought if you guys had an issue with trolls, you might have a segment on the show talking about that, instead of letting the trolls win by bringing it up in such a destructive way.
    I'm just ranting because it's such a downer on the Joystiq and Rebel FM podcast when they spend a few minutes of every episode lumping all PS3 fans into one group of trolls. Please don't do that.
    Then again, I'm just one guy who likes listening to people talk about games, what do I know?

    Keep up the great work and thanks for putting in extra time to do the show every week.

  • I know people usually jump to movies when they're making a comparison between media but games are a lot more like books than movies. Like books they have one form of revenue and also like books they usually get re-released in different packaging for a cheaper price. Think paper back and soft cover. Like games a lot of the revenue goes to "Licensed" or familiar franchises. Compare Call of Duty to Harry Potter and Madden to the James Paterson books. Licensed products and very popular franchises. Also like books there's a lot of 'hey if you like this book you might want to read mine to'. When Harry Potter was big a lot of similar books were released at the time. I know that Twilight shit is utter garbage but young girls are into it now and usually in that section you find a lot of other vampire themed books. I think if you guys payed more attention to that market you would see that they're a lot more like books than movies.

  • GOTY right now would be a hard call for me. Starcraft 2, Stalker: Call of Pripyat, Red Dead, and BF:BC2 (for MP) are all strong contenders for me, and I haven't had a chance to try Civ 5 yet...but that one could very definately be GOTY for me as well.

    I've played some Reach...and I guess I'm just not a Halo guy...its not bad playing the campaign CO-OP with my brother, but alone it just really doesn't do it for me and even in CO-OP its not my GOTY. I respect Halo Reach and I enjoy it...but its just not a game I love.

    I have a hard time calling BF:BC2 my GOTY this year even though its my favorite multiplayer game to come out in 2010...it had a lot of issues and the SP just isn't there...if I were to break it into MP and SP...BF:BC2 would be my MP game of the year unless CoD:Black Ops takes the crown for me (it'd basically have to be CoD4 but better...I didn't much like MW2 and it didn't have any staying power for me, but I loved the hell out of CoD4 and played it until BC2 came out). That having been said SC2 was an amazing MP experience as well.

    Stalker:CoP and Red Dead are both games that I keep coming back to...much like Farcry 2, they are like places that I constantly visit...alternate realities that I go to live in sometimes, they're deeply engrossing and I love them both. Stalker:CoP may have a slight edge just because of some of the crazy emergent experiences I've had and the fact that the game is so stark and crazy...it may have some rough edges...but its not broken like the first two...its just a little rough and I'm ok with that. Just between those two its a hard choice for me, and there are many many games that aren't those two.

    I love SC2 because its this return to this thing that used to be made. People gripe that it didn't innovate or that it didn't adopt "advancements" introduced by other games...and I think this is the wrong attitude because it assumes that theres this linear correct path of progress and advancement for games. I actually think more games should at least examine older gameplay paradigms to see if those are more fitting for what they're trying to do. Too often I think that developers and gamers alike fall into this trap of "this is the sort of game we're supposed to want/make now because its been pre-ordained: people want Counter Strike/CoD/WoW/Halo now so thats what we're supposed to make" and whole styles of gameplay get discarded because "well we aren't doing that anymore" and I think its limiting just as much as the hesitance to do new things is limiting. People bashed SC2 because it was a peon based RTS and "they don't make those anymore...those have been done" and I think thats to SC2's credit...if they don't make those anymore, then why not and isn't that all the more reason for someone TO make that. Its no different than what Capcom did with SF4...which helped to revitalize a whole genre. Hell I'd love to see more companies do that...I'd love to see someone try to bring back the old school fast paced movement trick oriented deathmatch FPS with really fucking powerful weapons into the modern day. I'd love to see some really awesome Space Combat Sims come out. Just because something is old-school or doesn't follow the current trends everyone is focused on doesn't mean its wrong...we have room for variety and those things are part of having said variety.

    Holy shit that last point I fucking got waaaay off on a tangent with. And I just realized that I never even thought of Super Mario Galaxy 2, SSF4, Bayonetta, or others that I consider to be contenders even though they might not be the most obvious picks to me (though SMG2 was fucking great, and SSF4 was a solid game that I've had an insane amount of fun with).