Weekend Confirmed 104 - Mass Effect 3, Diablo 3, GDC remainders

By Garnett Lee, Mar 16, 2012 11:00am PDT

Mass Effect 3 tops everyone's list. There's no way the Weekend Confirmed crew couldn't talk about it, but there are no spoilers... hell, Cannata's not even finished with it yet and we wouldn't want to do that to him. It's no secret, though, that the game's ending has rubbed a lot of fans the wrong way. What we want from game endings and the difficulties faced in putting a conclusion on a story we've invested so many hours offers a lot to consider. We also take a first look at some of our impressions from the game being careful to not give anything story-related away. Other things are happening as well. There's the Diablo 3 release date announcement, finally, and we've got a bunch of stuff left over from GDC last week as well. It's a non-stop ride to Finishing Moves.

Weekend Confirmed Ep. 104: 03/16/2012

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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:

    Show Breakdown:

    Round 1 00:00:30 – 00:27:07

    Whatcha Been Playing Part 1 00:27:42 – 00:57:22

    Whatcha Been Playing Part 2 00:58:15 – 01:26:09

    Listener Feedback/Front Page News 01:27:08 – 02:00:11

Jeff Cannata 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!

Follow the Weekend Confirmed crew on Twitter, too!

Weekend Confirmed @WeekendConfirmd

Garnett Lee @GarnettLee

Jeff Cannata @jeffcannata

Jeff Mattas @JeffMattas

For our listeners in or near Los Angeles - Double Jump (The show Christian Spicer and Jeff Cannata are putting on) is at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre on Saturday, March 24th. Check our show notes for more info and the link where you can purchase tickets. People can get tickets online at:

http://losangeles.ucbtheatre.com/shows/view/3042

The first 10 people that say "Weekend Confirmed" at the door get their money back! The show is all ages and should be awesome!

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Original music in the show by Del Rio. Get his latest Album, The Wait is Over on iTunes. Check out more, including the Super Mega Worm mix and other mash-ups on his ReverbNation page or Facebook page, and follow him on twitter delriomusic.

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Comments

  • I want to explore the concept that there is a one definitive version of a game that we bought with our $60. Aren’t some of us complaining that the developers/publishers are breaking up this definitive version into DLC? First of all, how many entities that we purchase have this well defined version? I cannot think of many examples. And with the specific cases that do, I think it is more likely a default of the limitation defined by the medium. We don’t have such a thing when we buy a car. Each make of car have different trims and accessories that we can add. Buying a house was brought up one time in one of the thread. Anybody ever buy a new home? Those builders can nickel and dime you with tons of feature. You want the cheap countertop or granite? Do you want the house to come included with plain refrigerator or the bigger one with stainless steel exterior? It is only when we buy used cars or used house that we have fewer choices. Most physical objects that we buy have wide gradation of pricing based on quality, features, and perceived demand.

    How about artistic entities such as literature or movies? We don’t expect Pride and Prejudice to have a DLC to further expand on one of her sisters’ exploits do we? Literature and movies are normally limited by the fact that they are linear. Without making the consumer experience the story from the beginning to the end over again, it is hard to add or remove elements. With games, however, it is possible since gamers have the freedom to get off the linear path and explore sidequests. Whether the sidequest is “integral” to the main story can be rather grey like case with the infamous DLC in ME3.

    Videogames used to be available in one version because we did not have the ability to get the DLC. The NES and PS1 games were stuck with that one version burned into the disc or cartridge. The consoles did not connect to the Internet at its infancy. The publishers did not have the ability to add stuff to the game. So that concept of adding stuff afterwards did not even exist. Why do we cry foul when a game element created before the game is published get held back for DLC? This was never done before mainly because this concept did not exist. I know all of this sound elementary or obvious. It was not because the publishers were "moral" or that the concept were somehow sacrosanct that these "violations" did not exist before. It simply was not practical. What other things we buy in the world follow these “rules” which we are placing on videogames?

    Now back to the comparison to literature and movies. The concept of definitive version is probably going to change for these mediums too. How many versions of Star Wars do we have? Do we want the theatrical release version or the director’s cut? Even before the digital age, some literature can exist with no illustration, color illustrations, deluxe binding, special appendix, or comments by the author. Now books are going into ebooks which connects to the Internet. Contents of a book can be updated frequently. When these mediums can be changed afterwards, there will be more ways to “break” the convention and new ways to tier the pricing. Is this a paradigm shift or violation of some immutable principal?






  • *** MASS EFFECT SPOILERS ***

    I wanted to talk about the ending of Mass Effect 3, but not in the way that everyone else is talking about it. I actually quite liked the final moments of ME3, but what dissapointed me was the entire final mission that lead up to that point.

    My favorite game ending of all time was Mass Effect 2.... and when I say ending, I'm not just refering to the final reaper battle (which was just a boss fight). I'm reffering to the entire final mission, that had you and your crew fighting your way through the collector forces.

    The entire final mission in ME2 was brilliantly constructed. I was making tactical choices the entire way through, all of which were effected by the choices and decisions you had made throughout the game leading up to that point. I had to carefully weigh all my options every time I needed to send a crew-member to accomplish a specific task. Who has the best abilities to accomplish the task successfully? Who is the most likely to survive, based on their motivation to succeed?

    I felt the weight of the entire journey squarely on my shoulders. I was nervous for my crewmates survival, but also nervous that they performed their tasks successfully. And I was fighting for my life the entire time.

    Now cut to Mass Effect 3.

    I found the final mission to Earth to be very exciting and well designed from a pure mechanical action/shooter point of view. However, it also lacked any form of tactical decision making or consiquence. There is one stand-off firefight that I guess is effected by your "Galactic Readiness" rating, but that rating is set in stone before you begin the mission. You just sort of walk into the encounter and deal with whatever you are going to deal with based on that rating.

    To me, THIS is the weakness of ME3s ending. Not the plot or story choices, but the lack of true envolvement on the level of ME2.






  • Posted this about Journey last week, but it didn't really get a lot of traction, cause it seemed not many people had the chance to play it yet. Hopefully a few more of you have jumped in. :)


    Is anybody else absolutely loving Journey?

    I jumped in for the early access since I had Playstation Plus. I didn't get to play as much as I would have liked in the extra week I had, but I thankfully had the chance to put some good time in this weekend when I needed a break from Mass Effect 3.

    Hearing about the game, I didn't know what to expect. The notion of only having one other player in multiplayer, having it be a stranger, and not being able to talk to them at all seemed kind of weird. But it works. Very well.

    The best analogy I can make comes from personal experience, jamming with friends. I play the guitar, some of my friends do too, and two others play bass and drums. When we sit, and chill, and just start playing, there's very little actual chatting. We don't say 'I'm going to play in this time, or 'I'm gonna switch it up'. We just go... we do our thing, and then everybody follows suit.

    We riff on each other. Hear what the other person is doing, and decide how to react and compliment them. It feels remarkably similar in Journey. If I see another player walking in certain direction, or trying to jump to a specific part of the environment, or whatever, then I try to follow suit, or help, or get their attention and pull them in the direction I want to go.

    Just riffing.

  • Having to do with some of your comments about Max Payne 3...First off, the noir genre didn't originate in New York, it was actually LA. Next,you guys were talking about wishing they kept the graphic novel story scenes in the game....really? That would not work today for a game. The original games simply had them as a workaround for Remedy not having the man-power, or budget to create fully animated cut-scenes. Believe me, if you could get away with doing something like that today Alan Wake would of had them. Max Payne 2 came out in 2003, it really needed to be updated to compete with what is out on the market now.

    You guys should really go watch the design and technology videos Rockstar has put out. You will then see they are doing incredible things with player control and animation, enemy AI, and new interesting ways to tell a compelling story while still keeping the player immersed in the action.

    Game is going to be awesome. GET HYPED!! It's a Rockstar game for god-sakes!!!



  • I feel like the From Ashes DLC was likely initially meant to be similar to the Catwoman deal with Arkham City.

    I would agree with Cannata's opinion of the DLC if the DLC was not so interwoven into the single player campaign that it seems odd to not be there. Especially given that this sequel has less characters to choose from than part 2 and just one new (non DLC) character seems very odd. It seems to me like this character was meant to be a free DLC incentive for those who bought the game new (like Catwoman was), but they decided to charge for it at the last minute.

    I usually have no problems with DLC when it is a story that takes place after you finish the game because your initial play-though of the game is not hurt at all. This DLC is more problematic because like Catwoman, you feel like you are not getting the full experience, and worse than Catwoman, it is not free for those who bought the game at release.


  • Well I've been listening to guys from the beginning (Garnett even longer), and feel a true need to chime in about the on disc DLC debate.

    I can agree with Jeff Canatta about content like From ashes or Catwoman having a premium, but I feel that what Capcom is doing with SFxT is unforgivable. From Ashes and Catwoman, to me, feel like truly "bonus" content and at least some of the content had to be downloaded. This gives the consumer a better sense that this was extra and in turn deserves a little extra scratch.

    The fact that the "DLC" fighters for SFxT are already preloaded on the disc means they were done and certified before the game went gold, therefore to me, I just feel like it added any extra work or cost to the production cycle of this particular game. I also feel the fact that some or all of these charaters appear for free on the PS Vita version just screams money grab, or at the very least Capcom saying you did buy the right version pay $20 bucks more. Maybe it is just a pay at home tax ? I just cant see 12 extra fighters making a XBox 360 or PS3 disc worth $80.....

    I hope you guys come back to this topic....





  • I'm a long time listener, first time poster. First of all I wanna say I love the show guys, every week I look forward to starting my weekend off with weekend confirmed, and don't know what I'd do without it. Keep up the great work.

    So I just felt the need to chime in about mass effect.

    I'm not rich by any means, but gaming is my main hobby and realize it comes at a price sometimes which I'm totally ok with. It just so happened that Ive been behind about a year with the mass effect series up til 2. I mean, I played mass effect 1 when 2 came out and then bought 2 later last year when it was 20 bucks. I'm glad I did because I bought all the dlc which I felt 85% of was absolutely amazing and enriching to the story and universe. It was my intention to buy mass effect 3 the week it came out, but then started hearing the grumblings about the ending, character face import problems, and the dlc controversy.

    I have to say the dlc pushed me to not purchase ME3 at this time. I will be waiting to either buy it on sale, trade with someone, or buy used. I understand Jeff's point about how the dlc was included into the whole plan for the game and it was ready when the game went gold so they put it on the disk. However as a consumer, I feel that it's a greedy move. I realize bioware may not even be at fault for this, it's probably EA's decision. I'll just say this: If I was making a game, I'd want it to be the most amazing experience it could be out of the gate, and the general consensus is this dlc is very good thus adding to the whole mass effect 3 experience, and it was ready for the game's launch, I'd want to put it in the game. But since I have to pay a premium to get it, it seems like a greedy move.

    I don't support this, which means Im voting with my dollars, or lack of. If I purchased ME3 right now I'd feel like I have to get this dlc too and right now 70+ bucks for one game up fromt is not in my gaming budget.

    This whole thing is a little frustrating and disheartening. For the most part, I feel that dlc is being used wrongly and is just another way for companies to make more money. Done right, it can add to the experience. I just wish that devs would use dlc as a "hey! Our game is done, let's put it out and while everybody is enjoying the full product lets make something extra really cool for the fans". Rather it seems like its a money making scheme, which it is, but a greedy one. Does that make sense? I'm all for my favorite devs making extra cash for the games and content I love, but not this way.


  • Just played the trilogy back to back as one game.

    I just played the entire trilogy back to back for the first time this month and have to say while I liked the story of the first game, I thought the overall arch of the stories of 2 and 3 were pretty lame. Mass Effect 2’s story is pretty much a generic Bond villain has you build a team to take on a laughably bad final boss (which seems almost irrelevant in retrospect given how most of these characters are barely in part 3). Then 3’s story is about a group of aliens that should be capable of wiping out earth in a just a few days somehow takes over a month to give you just enough time to fly around the galaxy getting all alien races to help you build the intergalactic “I Win Button”.

    Mass Effect 2 and 3 do have much better character development, game play, and subplots that are much better than the main plot. To me the consequences of your choices in the Mass Effect have to do with how attached you have gotten to the characters and how you feel if you lose them. Mass Effect has it’s flaws, but this was also the first time anyone tried a game trilogy like this and I am sure Bioware and the game industry as a whole has learned a lot from it. I am very excited to see how games and their sequels evolve from what Bioware has started here, especially over the next generation

  • Just finished the ME3 part of the podcast.

    The problem with the ending was at the end of Mass Effect it was left up to our imaginations to think of what was going to be important in the game we just played. When we did Mass Effect 2 again we were left to speculate should we have saved the reaper tech, or destroyed it? Was the illusive man really evil? At the end of three we find that the ending I get is exactly the same as everyone else. The journey to get there might be different, but in the end there is no reason I should have been a paragon, no reason I should have saved Wrex, no reason to destroy the reaper tech. The scene for Conrad Venner was longer than the ending.

    Also they didn't have the ending planned, according to that iPad/iPod app they were still trying to figure it out in November, brainstorming things on paper. That was not addressed in the Podcast.

    Personally I was looking for a reason to play Mass Effect 1-3 again. However, since no matter what my choices will be, I will still get the same ending (maybe with a different color) I can't bring myself to do it.

    I do not feel entitled to another ending, however I don't feel I want to continue on in the Mass Effect Universe as a result of the current ending. I don't know if they can release any DLC at this point that I would want to play, and as a result, I will probably be trading me LE copy in this week.




  • Thank you for being realistic about the way things are and have to be in games. Unfortunately I have a feeling this is going to keep on happening until we go completely digital and people have no longer have discs to get mad about. I honestly think that a majority of the people who have a huge problem with these things are kids and students who don't have enough stuff to do. I've got work and family, I don't have the extra energy to get mad about a few more dollars or the last 5 minutes of the game. And when was the last time people got nearly this mad about an ending - The Sopranos? Lost? It boggles my mind that people would lose their everloving minds about the last few minutes of an experience that lasted over a hundred hours. Apparently everything that came before is now worthless. I guess it's no wonder that Stephen King never sells any books because he sure as hell can't write an ending.


  • I find the couching the discussion only in terms of DLC is limiting. The truth is this content was part of the bonus content from Collector's Edition. Instead of giving those consumers useless items or a physical statue Bioware gave those people a meaningful piece of content.

    With movies they release the theatrical version of a movie then usually six months later they will put out the Unrated/Director's version of the movie. The only thing Bioware did was to put out both versions of this model at the same time with an upgrade path for people who bought the theatrical version.






  • From Bioware's Casey Hudson:

    "There's been a lot of discussion and debate about the conclusion of Mass Effect 3, so I thought I'd share my perspective with you here. I'll avoid outright spoilers, but I'd still recommend finishing the game and experiencing it for yourself before reading this.

    For the last eight years, Mass Effect has been a labor of love for our team; love for the characters we've created, for the medium of video games, and for the fans that have supported us. For us and for you, Mass Effect 3 had to live up to a lot of expectations, not only for a great gaming experience, but for a resolution to the countless storylines and decisions you've made as a player since the journey began in 2007. So we designed Mass Effect 3 to be a series of endings to key plots and storylines, each culminating in scenes that show you the consequences of your actions. You then carry the knowledge of these consequences with you as you complete the final moments of your journey.

    We always intended that the scale of the conflict and the underlying theme of sacrifice would lead to a bittersweet ending-to do otherwise would betray the agonizing decisions Shepard had to make along the way. Still, we wanted to give players the chance to experience an inspiring and uplifting ending; in a story where you face a hopeless struggle for basic survival, we see the final moments and imagery as offering victory and hope in the context of sacrifice and reflection.

    We've had some incredibly positive reactions to Mass Effect 3, from the New York Times declaring it "a gripping, coherent triumph", to Penny Arcade calling it "an amazing accomplishment", to emails and tweets from players who have given us the most profound words of appreciation we've ever received.

    But we also recognize that some of our most passionate fans needed more closure, more answers, and more time to say goodbye to their stories-and these comments are equally valid. Player feedback such as this has always been an essential ingredient in the development of the series.

    I am extremely proud of what this team has accomplished, from the first art concepts for the Mass Effect universe to the final moments of Mass Effect 3. But we didn't do it on our own. Over the course of the series, Mass Effect has been a shared experience between the development team and our fans-not just a shared experience in playing the games, but in designing and developing them. An outpouring of love for Garrus and Tali led to their inclusion as love interests in Mass Effect 2. A request for deeper RPG systems led to key design changes in Mass Effect 3. Your feedback has always mattered. Mass Effect is a collaboration between developers and players, and we continue to listen.

    So where do we go from here? Throughout the next year, we will support Mass Effect 3 by working on new content. And we'll keep listening, because your insights and constructive feedback will help determine what that content should be. This is not the last you'll hear of Commander Shepard.

    We look forward to your continued support and involvement as we work together to shape the remaining experiences in the story of the Mass Effect trilogy.

    Thanks for taking this journey with us."
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