Weekend Confirmed 109 - Prey 2, Trials Evolution, Fez, God of War: Ascension

By Garnett Lee, Apr 20, 2012 11:00am PDT

There's no two ways around it, the run to E3 has started. Big news leads off this episode of Weekend Confirmed with Sony announcing a new God of War game in the works for PlayStation 3. One of last year's E3 surprises, Prey 2, also finds its way into the news with word of a delay as rumors swirl around its development. Screen Tear host Carlos Rodela joins the two Jeff's and Garnett as they tackles these stories along with more love for Fez and plenty of enthusiasm for the finger-melting action of Trials Evolution. There's even some board game love worked in there before Finishing Moves brings it all home.

Weekend Confirmed Ep. 109: 04/20/2012

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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 00:00:36 – 00:27:42

    Whatcha Been Playing Part 1 00:28:07 – 00:55:48

    Whatcha Been Playing Part 2 00:56:49 – 01:24:50

    Listener Feedback/Front Page News 01:25:45 – 01:56:53

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!

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Garnett Lee @GarnettLee

Jeff Cannata @jeffcannata

Jeff Mattas @JeffMattas

Carlos Rodela @onawa

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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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  • I think Jeff kind of missed the point in the discussion about story this week. "What we're talking about is the best of the best in these other mediums, kind of are head and shoulders above the best of the best in our medium." So the major issue I take with this assessment, is that I've never seen a horror movie that was quite as tense to watch as the original Resident Evils or Silent Hills were to play.

    Jeff seems to be using circular logic, and making a contradictory point. Basically what his logic amounts to, is that if you were to sit passively and watch a game played through for you from beginning to end it would be way worse than a movie---which is true. But that is not what a video game is.

    If Uncharted 3 were made into a film, yes it would not be an A-grade Oscar contender, but it would certainly be as good as like National Treasure or The Mummy. It would certainly be better than many summer blockbusters, like Transformers.

    Now if you took the game Journey and adapted /that/, it would make a /terrible/ film. It only works because there are game mechanics attached to the experience, and the metaphor of a game is the only context in which these inane, indistinct cloaked black blobs of avatars works. Which isn't to diminish was Journey accomplishes---its just to recognize the reality of assessing story in games.

    "Has there ever been a game/could there be a game that didn't have a sort of base line activity that it goes back to. That literally each section of the game plays completely differently and you never return to that."

    So to me this is kind of a telling and bizarre question. It suggests a lot about where we've come as a "medium" and an industry, because I think the games I grew up playing were about giving you different things to do from "level to level." That's why there /were/ different levels. And today we have this idea of a 30 second "compulsion loop" thanks to Halo, and to a certain extent that has completely demolished our ability to be imaginative game creators.

    However, I do have to few examples in mind that point to what this idea is getting at.

    One of the singular game play highlights of this generation for me was the Three Leaf Clover mission in GTAIV, which uses police blockades to temporarily create a linear urban cover shooter in the GTA context. Likewise there are in fact car chase missions in GTAIV, that create certain cinema like scenarios. So I mean there is the inherent mechanical fluidity that sandbox games offer, but there's also a degree of special architecture that can be built in individual missions.

    Another example that strikes me, is just the whole ending of Metal Gear Solid 3 (and by extension MGS1), where you are manning a turret within a really dynamic chase scene on a jeep.

    What this reminds me of on a broader level though is an interview with Jeremy Blaustein, who was the voice director and translator on Metal Gear Solid, before Kris Zimmerman took over the franchise---which I think is on YouTube. In it he kind of derided MGS as having "no core gameplay." He said it was just a series of mini games. To me, this is the exact thing that Jeff was getting at with that idea. In MGS1 the core mechanics are basically running and wall hugging, however the game is constantly creating specific scenarios for the player.

    Knocking on the walls in the basement level to find where the soldiers have cemented over a passage way.
    Smoking to see the security lasers
    Using the Nikita missiles to destroy the electrified floor's battery
    At one point Meryl telepathically knows where a series of mines are laid out from having been possessed by Psycho Mantis, and you have to follow her foot prints to avoid them.
    In the communications tower you have to run up a spiraling stair case for like 5 minutes straight while constantly shooting down soldiers.
    Changing the temperature of the nukes' security card by sitting in different environments.
    There's even a quasi platforming section in the "furnace" area where you have to use Snake's wall hugging mechanic to cross a narrow ledge (under which there is a pit of lava, kind of reminiscent of Joker's hide out in Arkham City) and duck under moving machinery.

    So, MGS has these basic mechanics, but it keeps subverting them over and over, creating unique instances in the gameplay designed to serve the story. In a way, its not different from how a game like Super Mario Galaxy is built constantly giving you new gameplay ideas with every level or planet. It is really a classical game design philosophy in which a story can be skillfully implemented. Not like this avaunt guard approach for the /purpose/ of story.