Weekend Confirmed 118 - Spec Ops: The Line, Lollipop Chainsaw, Magic 2013

By Garnett Lee, Jun 22, 2012 11:00am PDT

On this week's episode of Weekend Confirmed, Lead Designer of Spec Ops: The Line joins Garnett and the two Jeffs to talk about the upcoming Heart of Darkness-inspired shooter. There's also some more Diablo 3 discussion surrounding the new real-money auction house, as well as some impressions of Lollipop Chainsaw, Ghost Recon: Future Soldier, and Magic: The Gathering - Duels of the Planeswalkers 2013, before the crew wraps things up with some Finishing Moves.

Weekend Confirmed Ep. 118: 06/22/2012

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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 – 00:28:29

    Whatcha Been Playing Part 1 00:28:59 – 00:56:55

    Whatcha Been Playing Part 2 00:57:31 – 01:27:45

    Listener Feedback/Front Page News 01:28:31 – 01:58:18

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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Weekend Confirmed @WeekendConfirmd

Garnett Lee @GarnettLee

Jeff Cannata @jeffcannata

Jeff Mattas @JeffMattas

Cory Davis @Snak3Fist

2K Games @2K Games

You can also check out the 2K Games YouTube Page to see some Spec Ops: The Line videos.

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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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  • Thank you Jeff Cannata for Finally standing up to Garnett this week!

    The main reason this show has gone way downhill for me over the past year as well as a Huge reason I feel this show is not nearly as good as the old 1up Yours shows is the amazing lack of respect that Garnett shows his co-hosts (on top of Garnetts constant failed attempts at trying to be funny). I can appreciate that Garnett likes to consistently play devils advocate towards what everyone on the show is enjoying, but over the past year Garnett just comes across as your random internet troll trolling games he has barely and sometimes even Never played.

    It is also not a discussion most of the time but just Garnett talking over his co-hosts, cutting them off, or not letting them get a word in, which is not good discussion, it is just Garnett being a verbal bully and it seems that people are afraid to stand up to him because it is Garnett's show. It was a breath of fresh air this week for Canatta to not just sit and take Garnett's crap and stand up to him. Still I would much rather Garnett treat his co-hosts with more respect and play devils advocate in a way where he doesn't come across as a random internet troll, but I feel that the Garnett from the 1up days has probably been lost to current Garnett's massive ego.

  • To add something to the conversation over violence in games, I actually think games like The Last of Us and Dishonored might make games LESS violent. The realism, brutality and shock in these games makes at least me want to try and NOT kill people, and try and sneak around instead. I haven't played The Last of Us, but right now it seems that I would put more effort into surviving in the game, rather than killing people. If I have to strangle someone or bash their head in with a brick, I would be doing it to out of need, and not out of enjoyment.

  • If it wasn't for inferno, I would agree with Jeff that the simplicity of Diablo 3 is better. Unfortunately, the design choices completely unravel on the inferno difficulty.

    Act 2 and 3 Inferno are so difficult (still) that min/maxing is required to simply progress, leaving only a small handful of builds that are viable. Gear becomes even more important. However, it's very rare to get a drop that will be better than what you can afford from the AH. The difficulty combined with the lack of quality drops forces the player to go from being a treasure hunter to an investment banker..

    When exposed to the fires of inferno, these design choices melt to a system that minimizes in-game player choice and instead emphasizes min/maxing with a healthy dose of random numbers.

  • So I've spent the better part of a week thinking about what happened to Dead or Alive 5 and why no one cares. Here's what I got.

    What made DOA cool/great graphics, reversal, hard hitting slams, and this is the key part environments. Multi tiered stages sure it had the arenas, but nothing was like knocking someone through a wall or off a cliff, down some step. What happened was 2 made this huge jump and now 3, 4, and 5 haven't gone much further. The tricks lost its appeal, so DOA needs more environmental interaction. Example it should look more like a Jackie chan flick than a jet lee flick. Say a grocery store stage where you kick the cart into your opponent or knock the shelves onto them.

    But my opinion is no one cares anymore because DOA was a one trick pony so to speak and the trick got old.

  • My biggest problem with games trying to become more cinematic is that in doing that, they're losing what makes them a game, or to be more specific, what makes them an interactive experience where the player has an influence over the outcome, short-term or long-term, in a gameplay mechanic system. That system may be as simple as "press X to not die" (see: Dragon's Lair), or "watch this character's performance and judge them based on your thoughts" (I haven't played LA Noire, but this is what it sounds like the gameplay mechanic is, with the "Truth / Lie / Doubt" mechanic).

    The mechanic that I personally enjoy the most is real-time action, primarily in first-person, whether it's a shooter (the first time I saw Doom in 1993 was when gaming really took off for me) or a racing sim (I was playing so much GT5 Prologue at the BMW Welt in Munich in 2010, I finally decided to save $400 worth of expenses on my vacation, and get a PS3 and Prologue). I could take any car in GT5 or Forza 4 on a single car time trial, and have a blast playing around with vehicle dynamics; other people would feel imprisoned by that experience since there aren't any AI or multiplayer cars to try and beat, but I love focusing on the engine's simulation of each car's dynamics, which have a real-life analog. However, for shooters, they seem to be getting far more constricted, with ultra-agressive gating and setpieces shoving players down corridors, penalizing "lollygagging" with QTE deaths, not letting the player into larger arenas where the AI routines can have enough entropy to create an experience that varies between gameplay sessions. This is the main reason why I've soured away from the Call of Duty experience: because the single-player campaign is a $60 6-hour movie that you've memorized after playing through 3 times, and the multiplayer is the same stuff we've been seeing since Call of Duty 4 in holiday 2007.

    Treyarch claim to be shaking things up in Black Ops 2, and are going ultra-aggressive with press events and interviews, since this is that part of their PR cycle. CVG released a puff piece with the title "SET TO CHANGE THE FACE OF SHOOTERS FOREVAR!!!" ( http://www.computerandvideogames.com/354958/previews/black-ops-2-set-to-change-the-face-of-shooters-forever/ ), but it looks like all the same mechanics, setpieces, and turret sequences we've been seeing for the past 5 years, only with a few "do this or do that" branches in some levels, which don't seem to be creating any "arenas" that would allow first-person gun combat to become dynamic. After reading that article, I still wasn't bought into the promise, since it sounds just like every previous post-E3 timeframe Call of Duty preview article that's been released before.

  • Hi guys,

    Great show !

    And I'm really excited by Specs Ops. Since I saw the VGA reveal few years go, that game has always been on my radar. Day 1 for me.

    On the japanese games issue. I can't agree more. They have to stop westerizing their games. Ninja Gaiden is one of my favourite game of all time. Ninja Gaiden 2 was still a great game. But with Ninja Gaiden 2, they completely ruin the franchise. Resident Evil 4 was the blueprint for this gen, it's the sad that japanese dev don't have that freshness and innovation anymore.

    On the violence issue. I have to disagree with the 2 Jeff on the Last os Us. That game is more violent that ANY other game. We should rate violence by the level of blood spilled all over the place, but by the impact of violent scenes on the gamer.

    Let me explain.

    In Gears of War or Lollypop Chainsaw there is a natural disconnect with the violence, because it's unrealistic. You know you will never be in that situation. You don't project yourself in the main characters.

    In the Last of Us, it's different, the main characters are very similar to us. We are projected in a more realistic environnement. We see ourselves in the position of the characters and it makes the experience more violent than any other game. That's a dangerous territory for videogames. We're going there with Tomb Raider. We've been there with the Airport scene in Modern Warfare 2.

    Videogames are a medium where the gamerz are more involved than moviegoers with movies. So we should pay attention when we enter more realistic violence situation a la Last of Us.

    I think we should all reflect on Warren Spector comments...

  • Thinking about games trying to offer deeper, more complex experiences...

    I wonder if games are having a hard time crossing over into areas other than mindless fun because by there inherent nature. What I mean is that it is difficult to convey a wide range of emotions (the way a movie can make you uncomfortable or a book can make you angry) when there is this need to have the core mechanics be "fun".

    Using military shooters as an example: Every single mechanical element in a game like COD is designed to make running, aiming, and shooting feel fun / rewarding / satisfying. It is built from the ground up to pull nothing but positive actions from the player. Suddenly throwing the player into a narrative scenario that clashes with the "fun" of the mechanical gameplay is a big problem for me.

    It's a kind of disconnect that has made me put down the controller and stop playing games like Medal of Honor... not because the narrative hit me in a powerful way, but because I felt a little sick about the fact that I was supposed to be experiencing the horrors of war, but I was having a blast the entire time.

  • Since Jeff talked about Magic this week, I'll take that as license to talk a little Magic (but I'll tie it back to video games, I swear).

    Garnett, to address your question about Magic design, the custodians of Magic do a couple of things very, very well to keep the game fresh:

    1. They have what are called "core sets" every summer. These sets are specifically constructed to be simpler than the other sets so beginners can have a spot to jump in, but they also usually have more powerful cards to keep serious players invested.

    2. They tell a new (and generally interesting) story every year through the card sets they release.

    3. They are constantly generating new mechanics or recycling old mechanics year over year for each new collection release.

    4. If there is a variation on the rules of Magic that you enjoy (there are a TON of them), the designers will have made or will make a card to support it.

    5. If a card makes the game less fun or ends up removing the variety of the game, they ban it (or they can unban cards, which is less common).

    Which leads me to my video game tie back: What game mechanic (not genre) would you ban to change the face of the industry? Or, does the industry have a "core set" kind of game that has wide appeal and gets newcomers hooked on video games?

  • The discussion of the potential of loot farming just to make money selling items so you don't have to pay for games was sickening.

    There is a reason its called "farming": Its boring. End of discussion! Speaking of human psychology, one of the most iron laws of psychology is called habituation. That means people always find the 2nd exposure to a stimulus less interesting than the 1st. This applies to animals, babies, and gamers. Each time you farm a boss the interest level decreases. Back in DaoC I farmed items for money, I powerleveled characters for money. Does ANYONE think they will ever look back on that kind of experience as some of their FONDEST GAMING MEMORIES?? Hell no! Its a cool way to make money, its NOT anywhere close to the best games have to offer.

    In my experience fond gaming memories only come from deeply moving and engaging stories/levels/puzzles/strategy, conquering challenges together with friends, or smashing other people in multiplayer. Loot farming is only a means to an end, not an end in itself.

    Yes it can be the mcguffin that drives the experience, the excuse to keep playing a great game, sure, but it cannot be more than a small gameplay piece.