Weekend Confirmed Episode 35

By Garnett Lee, Nov 19, 2010 12:20pm PST

Thanksgiving might be a week away but the new release feast is in full swing. After a couple of quick follow ups to last week's Black Ops coverage, Garnett, Brian, and Jeff serve up Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit, 007: Blood Stone, and Donkey Kong Country Returns as the main dishes in Whatcha' Been Playin? The reactionary commentary of ESPN's 1st and Ten cast in response to Kobe's appearance in the Black Ops ads starts off the Warning. Your thoughts on shooter fatigue, urgency without a ticking clock, and more take the conversation right up to the Front Page. October's NPD sales numbers and Bizarre Creation's uncertain future headline a full slate of news.

Weekend Confirmed Ep. 35 - 11/19/2010

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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: 00:31:07

Whatcha' Been Playin and Cannata-ford a New Game: Start: 00:32:10 End: 01:03:58

The Warning: Start: 01:05:08 End: 01:37:16

Music Break featuring "Never Get 2 See U Again": 01:37:16 End: 01:40:30

The Front Page: Start: 01:40:30 End: 02:11:14

NFL 'Tailgate': Start: 02:12:15 End: 02:20:42

Music Break this week features "Never Get 2 See U Again" by Beta. Chris Contreras aka Beta is an emcee and aspiring filmmaker hailing from Southern California. The Hip Hop culture and movies have made a huge impact in his life, and to his work. Beta is also an avid gamer. "Never Get 2 See U Again" is a collaboration between Beta and his brother Brandon Menace (who is currently in the military stationed in Japan). He has known and worked with Tak/Ribkat from the acclaimed groups Fort Minor and Styles of Beyond, for many years. For more from Beta, keep up with him on Soundcloud, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.

Original music in the show by Del Rio. Get his latest single, Small Town Hero on iTunes. Check out more, including the Super Mega Worm mix and other mash-ups on his ReverbNation page or Facebook page.

Jeff can also be seen on The Totally Rad Show. They've gone daily so there's a new segment to watch every day of the week!

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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See All Comments | 58 Threads | 298 Comments
  • I liked hearing the part about "what I'd like to see in a Modern Warfare 3", especially the main 3 things that you guys wanted: more open-world-esque segements, better NPC AI, and more HUD customizability to do things like turning off the waypoint indicator after you've basically memorized the generic route, or if you want a more "go forth and explore" play experience, instead of "follow waypoint X".

    However, I really don't see the Call of Duty franchise fulfilling any of those requests, for the following reasons:

    - AI is a complex thing to code, especially AI that does complex analysis of what the player is doing, and isn't just a simple "run script X and follow behavior Y after the player has crossed trigger brush Z" routine. There are a relative few FPS games noted for their good reactive AI, and the Call of Duty series isn't among them. Even the few less-linear levels in the series (the first Hill 400 level in Call of Duty 2 where you're clearing out the houses, and Safehouse in Call of Duty 4 where you're... clearing out the houses) are heavily triggered to spawn enemies when you're drawing close to a region.

    - Creating open levels in FPS games is apparently pretty hard to refine. I'm not a developer, so I don't know firsthand, but I'm guessing that there's more elements to worry about, more playtesting to perform, and so it would make the development cycle longer. Far Cry had some great "open objective-oriented" levels that let you explore around while still trying to head to point B, but it also had some levels that ended up being duds (particularly the Dam level).

    - Apparently, developers have been taking too much pride in their UI design to consider allowing for customizability. I like the "compass at the bottom of the screen" system of CoD4 better than the "HUD dot right in your view saying 'Follow' over Brooks' head" approach, but there's nothing I can do about it, because I don't believe there's a setting for it in Game Options. It would be pretty hard for me to adjust and test my mouse sensitivity with a slider buried two levels deep in a game menu (once upon a time I could pop down the console, query for the current sensitivity, type in a new sensitivity, and test it right there by moving the mouse). None of the sliders show their numeric value (possibly because the developer doesn't want you to know the range of this value).

    - Call of Duty's dev cycle is written in stone as 2 years. It's what Activision has been doing since the first game sold so well back in holiday 2003. They want to deliver one Call of Duty title each year, so they can't let any of their developers take an extra year on their title, as that would mean a year without Call of Duty. Therefore, they've focused on the Bruckheimer-Baysplosion genre of heavily-scripted shooters without much AI and with small, streamlined corridor maps interspersed with railshooter vehicle segments. Those are relatively easy to develop within 18 months while making enhancements to the engine tech, and following up later with DLC map packs. But apparently, things are changing around a bit with the IW shakeup and Raven rumored to be helping out with post-release content on Black Ops (that rumor was back in the late spring, so we'll have to wait and see if it's valid). Sledgehammer's pinned as having the "Call of Duty space" title, but they've only had one year to break ground and start working on a title that's probably coming out in holiday 2011.

    Like I said before, I don't think 2 years is enough development time to make a game that goes beyond what the Call of Duty series delivers, which I think is rather good, but always seems to be missing that extra something to make it excellent. Valve has Valve Time, and Steam to bring in revenue, so they have the luxury of refining longer.

    Thread Truncated. Click to see all 2 replies.

    • Well if 'COD in Space' does release Holiday 2011, theoretically MW3 will release Holiday 2012 giving Infinity Ward a 3 year dev cycle.
      With the amount of money and resources at Activision's disposal, I think it's inexcusable that the SP hasn't really evolved in the last 5 years. Some might say that not enough players finish the SP to warrant a huge investment in improving it, but that's exactly why they should improve it. Build in a cooperative story with great AI, a character driven narrative that isn't about the set-pieces and smart non-linear level design and then see how people react.