Weekend Confirmed Episode 51

By Garnett Lee, Mar 11, 2011 12:00pm PST

Though they're missing PAX East, the Weekend Confirmed crew can't complain about the amazing SoCal weather, and Shacknews's Xav de Matos is up in Boston to cover the show. EGM's Sterling McGarvey joins Jeff and Garnett in the studio for this week's show. There's still plenty of leftovers from last week's GDC along with new releases to fill Whatcha Been Playin? The highlights include Fight Night Champions, Dragon Age 2, Lord of the Rings: War in the North, and Alice: Madness Returns. GDC panels and your comments on apologizing for Bulletstorm get the Warning going strong. And news in the Front Page includes several game announcements, sales records for Kinect and Pokemon, and cloud save game backups for the PS3.

Weekend Confirmed Ep. 51: 03/11/2011

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If you're viewing this in the GameCenter application, you can play Weekend Confirmed Episode 51 directly.

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 Part 1: Start: 00:00:00 End: 00:30:43

  • Whatcha' Been Playin Part 2: Start: 00:31:28 End: 00:58:20

  • The Warning: Start: 00:59:27 End: 01:33:28

  • Featured Music "Spirit" by Tabernacle MCz: 01:33:28 End: 01:36:46

  • Front Page news: Start: 01:36:46 End: 02:13:57

This week's featured music is the track "Spirit" by Tabernacle MCz. The Genesis for this new Aquarian Gospel comes in the name of Tabernacle MCz Featuring Panama Redd a.k.a Deacon Dwindle Ducketz, Shaheid known as Father "BreakYoSelf" Tithes, and the Apostle Born Allah alias Sweet Daddy Grace. These ministers of the Aquarian Gospel are backed by “The Get Dat Money Boyz Choir”, also called the Choir Boyz. You can keep up with them at Facebook, ReverbNation, BandCamp, and Twitter

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!

Remember to join the Official Facebook Weekend Confirmed Page and add us to your Facebook routine. We'll be keeping you up with the latest on the show there as well.

Click here to comment...


  • Relating to the Bulletstorm content discussion:

    I think gamers (including myself) are incredibly capable of looking past subject matter that they may not particularly care for, simply because they appreciate the other elements that go into the cumulative experience.

    Whether that's embracing the fun shooting mechanics and scoring system in Bulletstorm despite the juvenile tone, or looking past weird Japanese cultural touchstones, or excessively sexualized women. None of those things really bother me, but I know people that they might bother who look past them because they appreciate and enjoy the game design.

    I think onlookers, like John's wife, may find it more difficult to appreciate the sum total of a game's appeal going off of quick looks and sound bites, simply because they don't or can't appreciate all the other elements that make a game enjoyable.

    The same way that movie buffs might look past some relatively shallow plots simply because the appreciate the skill or style of the cinematography (Robert Rodreiguez, I'm looking at you).

  • Ok, so I'm going to actually attempt this now... For me a AAA game is a game that's trying to convey a complete reality. If you look at the scope of video game evolution, it has really started with pixels themselves, and evolved to pixels that form 'nouns' that we're actually familiar with like cars, people, guns, etc. To me, a non-AAA game is something that restrains its attempt to convey a whole reality for the sake of game mechanics. Something like Tetris or even Mario, the later of which just sort of uses psychedelic imagery in a generalized way. While these games can be fun, and even more pleasurable than "reality" games, they're not attempting to completely suspend our disbelief. So, I think the theory of AAA games, is that we don't just play to exercise fun mechanics, but to believe we're in (a)nother world. We sacrifice mechanics to some extent, to exploit technology and use stimuli that makes an experience virtual.

    I guess I'll also add, I think the standard to which we hold a game's success in conveying a "complete reality" depends on the technology available to the developers on their game's platform. So, you can argue that a game is or isn't AAA on the PC, Wii, or iphone.

    Also, I do think different traditional game genres fall into the AAA fold---ie even though racing games don't even show you the person driving for instance, because the mechanics are only driving, it can be considered AAA. However, I think those kinds of "focused experiences' status is conditional based on how much they exploit the technology. So, Mario Kart may be more fun than Gran Turismo, but it's not AAA because its merely exploiting the idea of racing to create a sense of "fun."

  • The price of games and the price drop of Homefront

    It seems over the last year, more and more games are getting a $10/$20 gift card when you pre-order. Then, after the game is released it seems it’s taking less and less time for games to be discounted to $50 and less. Take Bulletstorm and Dead Space 2. Both were on sale on Amazon for $40 within a week of it’s release.

    It doesn't make much sense to release games at less than $60 since gamers are willing to pay it day one. Once sales start to slump, they drop the price $10-$20 for a week. Then after about two months $40 is the retail price, then drop another $10 after another month or two. The only exception to this seems to be big “AAA” releases like Call of Duty, and first party exclusives.

    Just this week we saw Homefront discounted to $42 on Amazon and Walmart the day after release. I saw a lot of people claiming this was because of low review scores. Even the stock of THQ dropped. However, if you pre-ordered the game from Amazon you probably paid $57 and got a $15 credit to use at Amazon.com. That works out to paying... wait for it... $42. The price on Wednesday was virtually the same price everyone was pre-ordering it at. I buy a lot on Amazon and it's quite common for the price to drop to after launch to match the pre-order price with the store credit.

    I don’t think the quick price drop on Homefront directly had anything to do with the bad review scores. If anything, both retailers had an abundance of stock that wasn’t selling to their expectations. The other thought is that maybe THQ wanted to get Homefront to a quick million unit seller and was subsidising the $40 price tag of the game somehow if retailers sell a certain number of copies.

  • Homefront. If I were writing a review for the game I would say here a great example of a game that was obviously focused tested out of it's original intent. As clued in as I am to the comings and goings of most of the games on console and PC I was surprised to learn this game had multiplayer. To add to that I was even more surprised to learn that the multiplayer was probably the focus of the game. The single player campaign at times teases you into believing that the game would be the serious take on war and US occupation that the trailers show but every time it gets there it slips into a COD moment. OMG!! I'm so pissed lets kill all these guys despite the fact we're heavily outnumbered! Seriously why the fuck does every publisher believe that what we want is for every game to be COD. Hey publishers, if I wanted more COD I would just pop it in or buy the next one. Anyway Homefront is my most disappointing game of the year. I fell for the ads and really believed this game would be different. I truly hope this game is a colossal failure so devs and publishers can wake up to the fact that not every fps has to be COD.

  • In regard to your discussion on "middle of the road" games, I don't think Jeff realized what a blanket statement he was making when he said a studio putting out a AAA game at $40 was incompatible.

    One of the biggest lessons learned this gen is from the downloadable games. Is Jeff suggesting that if the creators of Limbo had any confidence in their game being AAA, they should have boxed it and sold it at $60? I think it's perfectly reasonable for a game like Homefront to have devoted all resources to single player and come out at $40, and still attempt to be AAA.

    I need to agree with Sterling saying legendary edition buyers last gen enabled the $60 games, and even take it a step further, since in my opinion, the response to $60 games has been pretty apathetic. Honestly, I think it's because of the internet. Not the technical part but the sociological one. Marketing has got us so wrapped around their finger, that when, for example, L.A. Noire comes out in May, you're gonna have to buy it then, because all podcasts, websites and message boards are going to be talking about it. If you get it in September, who will you discuss it with?

    It sounds completely illogical, but I think people almost feel a sense of loneliness if a big game comes out and everyone on their favorite website is discussing it, and they don't have an opinion to spew. It's amazing that peer pressure can exist with people that don't know each other.

    I've essentially gotten this gen at half price by trailing a few years and never buying a game for over $30. You guys are completely right that patience pays, and more than willing to wait. This month I am going to start playing Fallout 3 GOTY, which includes $110 of content. I just bought it on Ebay for $25. And guess what? It's the same code that many of you played in 2008. I don't feel like I missed a thing.

  • I got to play a lot of Section 8: Prejudice at PAX East this weekend. The game is shaping up really well. Great mix between Tribes, Battlefield, and Halo. I was very surprised then to discover that Section 8: Prejudice is being released as a $15 XBLA game. It's scope and production value are far beyond anything I've seen in an XBLA game before. It made me wonder if we are seeing the very beginning of the shift we've been asking for; a new price point for big games?

    I spoke quite a bit with the development team, and they said that they are building the game as if it were a $60 box release. They recognize that the "Section 8" brand can't go toe-to-toe with Call of Duty or Halo, so they hope that a $15 release will help get their game into more hands, and build their fanbase.

    Personally, I'm super excited about the game. It was a lot of fun. Being a show floor demo, it was difficult to see just how much "scale" the game really has, but what I got to see was very impressive.
    I really do hope more teams and publishers follow this approach.

  • Hey guys I'm new here and I thought this place was great to have a real discussion about video games in a grown up matter and bigger issues other than this game is great or not. So then,

    In the past year or so I've tried avoid using gamer lingo such as AAA, Hardcore, or Casual gamers. I'm doing this because I feel really silly when I do use those words. It does not best describe what I want to talk about.

    Anyway, when someone usually explains what a AAA game is you usually get the description of High Budget, Looks Amazing, Controls are tight (FPS), Lots of great dialog or branching stories (RPG), detailed world with lots of things to do (Open world/sandbox). To me AAA is just a promise from the developer/publisher that this game will be awesome and have lots of money behind it.

    For Hardcore/Casual I feel silly calling myself hardcore for anything. I would consider myself straight edge (Don't drink/smoke/etc...) but just saying that just feels awkward and I would not say that about myself if I was talking to someone.

    (I played this game on Very Hard) As for Bulletstorm I really liked all of it, not a popular opinion on here, I know. I liked how dumb it was. I have not played a game in a while that is just dumb low brow fun. I'm not gonna say that the writing was brilliant but it was self aware once or twice.

    I feel like there was much hyperbole from the press about the vulgar level in Bulletstorm. Maybe it was because I died a lot but there was a long time where the characters did not say anything. If you are someone that does not enjoy low brow humor than I can understand why you would not want to be near this game. The only thing I didn't like was that it got ridiculously hard from Act 5 onward so I had to turn down from Very Hard to just Hard.

    Also I'm looking forward to Duke Nukem Forever, maybe it is just because I'm in college so that is the audience these games are geared towards.

  • As far as the AAA and middleclass games debate goes I have to completely disagree with Cliffyb. AAA in my opinion is all about a standard of quality not content. Bulletstorm for me is the definition of a middle class game compared to Gears of war to use two examples from Epic.
    AAA has to have a pedigree behind it. Games shouldnt be labelled AAA unless they earn it from previous history. The example i am thinking is Half Life Episode 3. When this is announced it will rightly be called AAA.
    There are also lots of examples of middle class games. I consider Vanquish to be one. Homefront possibly another. Vanquish has none of the bulletpoints on the box that Homefront has but to use Garnetts analagy 'they punch at the same weight'.
    Where would you put sports games, racing games, mobile games et al in this generalisation?
    Sorry cliffy your looking at this from a shooter perspective and your wrong.