Weekend Confirmed 137 - Halo 4, Assassin's Creed 3

By Andrew Yoon, Nov 02, 2012 11:00am PDT

Halo 4 is pretty darn good. And hosts Garnett Lee and Jeff Cannata have to agree. They talk all about the single-player campaign in this week's show. Then, Andrew Yoon talks about why Assassin's Creed 3 disappointed him, and special guest Christian Spicer talks about the Vita spin-off, Assassin's Creed 3: Liberation

Weekend Confirmed Ep. 136: 11/02/2012

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If you're viewing this in the GameFly application, you can play Weekend Confirmed Episode 137 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:

    Show Breakdown:

    Round 1, Part 1 - 00:00:26 - 00:12:36

    Round 1, Part 2 - 00:13:14 - 00:28:39

    Whatcha Been Playin Part 1 - 00:29:06 - 00:58:27

    Whatcha Been Playin Part 2 - 00:59:09 - 01:28:15

    Listener Feedback/Front Page News - 01:29:18 - 02:07:48

    Tailgate - 02:08:23 - 02:19:12

Follow the Weekend Confirmed crew on Twitter, too!

Weekend Confirmed @WeekendConfirmd

Garnett Lee @GarnettLee

Jeff Cannata @jeffcannata

Andrew Yoon @scxzor

Christian Spicer @spicer

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.

Original music in the show by Del Rio. Get his latest Album, Club Tipsy 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.

Click here to comment...


  • I'm a little late to the game here, so I don't know if I will bother to read a lot of the comments, but if nothing else I did want to say that this episode dealt with the PR/Advertising/Gaming Journalism topic with much more depth, and that's all I really ask for, and well that and not being insulting and dismissive when addressing an argument.

    Speaking of which, it's too bad that Jeff got pummeled, but not to sound mean or anything, but I kinda feel like he deserved it. You don't just generalize a wide variety of people, dismiss their arguments, and then insult them by calling them jealous or having nothing better to do with their time. That really is kind of asking for it. Regardless though I'm glad he was much more reasonable this time around.

    And I wanted to address one last thing. Even though I'm posting this way after the fact, for future elections, for the love of god DO NOT VOTE if you are ignorant about your local elections and ballot initiatives. Your vote makes little difference in the presidential election due to the electoral college (unless you're in a swing state), but it absolutely does matter for local issues. I just want to dispel the myth that higher voter turnout is unarguably good for democracy. We do not need more ignorant voters pushing buttons and pulling levers completely at random. We need more well-informed voters, and LESS ignorant voters. So please, either educate yourself on the issues, or don't vote at all.

  • Created a user account just to say this.

    Garnett I have been listening to you since the hay day's of 1up yours, and I have enjoyed every show. I have to point out though, that other than the occasional game review I have no other interaction with Games media. Just your show. Oh and retronaughts from time to time. I barely have enough free time in my life to actually play games, let alone argue about them online.

    That being said, this weeks episode and had me curious as to what the whole bucket of syrup was about in regards to last weeks Integrity in journalism discussion. So for the first time ever I came to this website and looked at the comments for last weeks show.

    I was thoroughly disgusted with some of the remarks.

    I want to write a rant about how people need to get their head out of their ass, get a life, and stop worrying about a show made for entertainment. Not to mention its a show about a subject that (in the grand scheme of things) doesn't really matter, and is given away for free . To personally insult someone you've never met, who your only interaction with is because they want to entertain you for free is asinine, rude, and over all pointless.

    I will instead say thank you for providing me with years of interesting and fun shows. I love all your guests, Andrea included, and everything you are doing is fantastic. To me you aren't "journalists" that I have to hold to some impossible standard. You're just some cool dudes that ride in my car and chat with me about video games.

    This will however be the last time I ever choose to waste my time with the show thread, or the rest of this "community".

    The rest of you, please, before you decide to rage on an internet forum, try donating blood, or volunteer at a children's hospital, or learn an instrument or something. Cause this whole thing that's happening right here, this is bullshit, and we only have so much time.

  • During the Games Journalism debate you mention that "anyone in this business has to have a formal relationship with the public relations teams, because the PR teams hold all of the materials".
    I understand that statement but I don't neccessarily believe that it is true all of the time.

    A very interesting example is that of Incgamers.com. Their Diablo fansite (formerly Diabloii.net and now diablo.incgamers.com) has been by far the most popular diablo fansite since before the release of Diablo 2. What is interesting is that they built this fanbase during the development of D2, at which point in time they had a close relationship with Blizzard North. In fact they were the first outside Blizzard to ever see the game.

    What is interesting with this example is that diablo.incgamers is nowdays completely shunned by Blizzard. They recieve no materials from PR, were never part of any of the fansite interviews conducted by Blizzard and so on. There are several reasons for this, one of the most interesting is that any other fansite that directly recieved materials from Blizzard during the development of D3 were forced to sign a contract where they promised to never say anything bad about the game. Incgamers, having an iota of integrity, refused to sign that contract and subsequently were shunned by Blizzard. In fact it has gone so far that they were sarcastically pointed out by blizzard employees as "paragons of objectivity" during the Diablo 3 David Brevik facebook scandal. This is of course ironic in itself because incgamers were in fact one of the few sites that were in fact fairly "objective" in their coverage. When other fansties did nothing but gush over the game, incgamers provided analysis and interesting commentary.

    All of this was done with absolutely zero access to the devs through PR. There are of course many differences between a game specific fansite like this and a general games outlet like shack, it is still an interesting reminder that perhaps we need not be as beholden to PR as might seem the case.

  • Halo Backstory Highlites

    With so many of us picking up Halo 4 tonight, I thought it would be a good idea to post a few key story points from Halo's extended fiction, since I have a feeling they will play directly into what happens in the games from this point on. Of course, these are some heavy spoilers for some of the Halo novels (primarily the Greg Bear Forrunner Trilogy).

    *** Regarding the Forrunners ***

    Forruners were obviously technologically advanced. They also had EXTREMELY long lifespans (tens of thousands of years, easily). But they were not as far above humans as we (gamers) originally believed. In fact, they were once at war with Humans, over 100 thousand years before Halo CE. They defeated humans, but just barely. In fact, it is theorized that Humanity might have actually won the war, except we were ALSO fighting the flood at the same time.

    In order to control humanity, the Forrunners wiped us out to the brink of extinction. Those who remaned were genetically debased back to a caveman state.

    Forrunners themselves often wore advanced armor, each with its own built-in AI. This AI would often show itself as a small Blue Female. This ties in to the theory that Dr Halsey, the creator of the Spartan project, was deeply influenced by ancient Forrunner artifacts and technology that she had discovered. In other words, it is possible that Master Chief and Cortana are based very much on Forrunner technology.

    *** The Didact ***

    The Didact was actually introduced back in Halo 3, in the hidden terminals. He was the leader of the Forrunners armies, and helped them win the first war against humanity. Larger, stronger, and more powerful than most others of his kind, he is in a way the Forrunner equivelant of the Master Chief.

    He was actually directly opposed to the creation of the Halo rings as a weapon to combat the flood. He proposed the construction of Shield Worlds in which the Forrunners could protect themselves through isolation. Requium is believed to be one such shield world. Because of his opposition to the creation of the Rings, the Didact was forced into exile by his rivals high within Forrunner society.

    One more important fact about the Didact: There are 2 of him. Forrunner's version of "Puberty" involves a form of cross-mutation. A young forrunner will absorb the genetic imprint of one of his elders, taking on some of their memories, and even their physical appearance. Shortly before the initially firing of the Halo rings that wiped out most life in the universe, the Didact imprinted upon a young Forrunner named Bornstellar.

    The Didact's genetic code was so strong and overpowering (since it contained tens of thousands of years of genetic code and memory) that young Bornstellar was virtually absorbed by it. Essentially, just before the firing of the Halo rings, there were 2 Didacts running around, 1 of whom used to be a different person. It is unknown if both Didacts survived the firing of the rings, or WHICH one of them meets Master Chief in Halo 4.

    *** About AI ***

    Forrunner society put great emphasis on the creation and use of AI constructs. Their ships had AIs, their armor had AIs, their homes and cities were run by AIs. But there was one AI that dwarfed all others: Mendacit Bias. MB was created by the Didact. It was far more complex and powerful than any other AI in existance. It was so powerful that it began to develop a level of self-awareness that was not intended. At one point, MB actually took control of a recently constructed Halo Ring and went all "broken arrow" with it, attempting to use it for its own purposes. It was re-captured by the Didact. It is unknown what happened to it after that.

    So for Halo nerds like me, there is a clear mirror image beginning to develop between Humanity and the Forrunners.

    Both sides are eager to establish themselves as the dominant power in the galaxy. Then we have Master Chief and the Didact: champions of thier people, but both potential outcasts as well. Are we going to see Chief go through a similar exile as the Didact? Will he go through similar transformations? And how will the AI play into this? Cortana is clearly being set up to mirror Mendacant Bias. What will happen when she decides to take matters into her own hands?

    NERGASM!!!! :D

  • Garnett, Andrew, Jeff, Christian & Andrea

    I'm not attacking Andrea. Everyone makes mistakes.

    You invited us here to discuss this Issue of Integrity of Contributors to Weekend Confirmed, which was brought into doubt by Andrea's actions. There are those of us who have showed up to do just that. Are we wasting our time asking for clarification of the following Issues? If so Tell us now, we'll leave and forget about the podcast.

    Was Andrea Selling Advertising Space on Weekend Confirmed?
    If so how long has this been going on?
    and most importantly:
    What stance does Weekend Confirmed take on this issue?
    What action, if any is taken against those who do this?

    The nature of this message board means that people who are uninterested and dismissive of the issue can easily burry the concerns of people who are interested.

    This is my final attempt to get to the root of the issue. Garnett, I really feel for you. I have been listening to your vice for a long time and I'll miss the podcast but just like the election Integrity is an important issue.

    A few posters have asked to be brought up to speed so I'm going to do my best here to avoid further dilution of the issue.

    First there's this:

    This thanks to XbotUSA:
    I'll quote Andrea "It feels like they're almost trying to compete with Need for Speed in a year when Need for Speed looks really, really awesome"

    then Garnett: "I haven't had a chance to play much Most Wanted I mean the urban...."
    Andrea cuts him off (as she so often does) "IT'S REEEEEALLY GOOOD"

    This was shortly after she dismissed the issue as "bull-cocky". This is the most blatant hypocrisy and flagrant disregard for the audeince, which is backed up by her LOL reaction on twitter.
    Starts at 1:40 Ep 136 of Weekend Confirmed

    Andrea later mocked concerned listeners on her twitter feed but didn't deny any of this.
    I also found this: http://i.imgur.com/05AdG.jpg
    .While it's not a playstation 3 its still the same issue as the people who were tweeting to win one brought up in the Eurogamer article

  • Hopefully it won't be for quite some time until the games journalism 'debate' comes up again, considering how much of an undying beast this topic always seems to be (and seemingly with little to no evolving arguments).

    I personally treat the writing, editorial and investigative, similarly to how sports journalism gets covered.

    Player contracts and trades, punishments and fines, behaviours, etc. are often revealed through PR unless it was something that was dug out as a scoop, or something that was leaked by an anonymous source, in which case the PR response is inevitable, much like with gaming where the more certain rumors get thrown out, the more it is the PR responsibility to address it. This is usually pretty general stuff; stuff that most people are interested in first and foremost. Everything else that is beyond gaming/sports that specifically delve into personnel profiles and/or specific process to me falls under investigative/ background pieces. The pieces to me are not for those who only want the stuff on games/sports, but are an absolute bonus for those who are interested; providing it is done right. It is totally extracurricular for me, and you can take it or leave it.

    For investigative/ background pieces, the best analogy I can give for both the "how it should be done" and the "how to do it in the worst way" appeared in the ESPN magazine: Michael Vick issue, which came out last year. Apologies in advance if you're not a sports person, as this is the best analogy I can give (you can just look it up yourself to see the negatives). I'll start with the worst way first.

    So in the ESPN Michael Vick issue, one of the main controversial articles was based on "What if Michael Vick was white?". Not only was this uninteresting (and not to mention making him out to be a Vanilla Ice knock-off that even the original would be embarrassed to be associated with), but it was clearly baiting for controversy and not even informative.

    This would be like a hypothetical article about: "What if Itagaki didn't like boobs so much; How would Dead or Alive turn out?" Why on the surface the title is preposterous (and my generate some cheap giggles), what use could a (hypothetical) article like this have?

    Now for the positives. In the same Michael Vick issue, there was an investigative piece that focused on Michael Vick going into jail, his experience, and the aftermath of it all (from his friends and relatives). This now is something that is much more interesting as it humanizes athletes that we've deemed fallen athletes (who had risen, though it is debatable if he has fallen again based on this year). Not only that, but the article was written in such a way that it doesn't force sides for you to take. It doesn't ask you to take sides. All it did in a very good way, was present the facts and perspectives, and let that speak for itself so you as the reader could have an opinion.

    To me, this is very close to the piece ran a few years back (I think it was a Wired article) that covered the rise and fall of Duke Nukem Forever (this was before it was bought by Gearbox). All the facts were presented, most of the personnel perspectives were sought after. This was an absolutely compelling piece that illustrated so many hazards and lessons from behind the scenes. Again, while all this is really fascinating, you do not need to read all this stuff as companion to your gaming; but it certainly does shed light on certain things as a bonus, if you do read about it (i.e. most of the gaming experience and levels on Duke Nukem Forever).

    I loved that Garnett straight up addressed the notion of 'not being journalists, but maintaining journalistic integrity' (apologies if I paraphrased it incorrectly). Jeff was spot on with the reasoning for why Dan doesn't do movie reviews anymore (so THAT'S why he's never present...), nor review games that are sponsored by the company that made them (I remember AC: Brotherhood being the case, and Jeff reiterating all this). You write and present your views that informs people, and it is up to them whether they take it or leave it, as long as you do it with no conflict of interest. Again, why Ariel isn't on the show while she works at Sony(?), nor with past guests like Shane Bettenhausen.

    I also think this is where the notion of journalism confuses people; those that are knee deep in the hobby feel compelled to address the coverage and writing of gaming as something that should be much higher than it should be. Every time this sort of treatment comes up, I always feel that the 'hardcore' are just doing the impossible and forcing people to like what they themselves like, which to me is pretty insulting.

    Phew, that was long winded. Apologies in advance as I haven't been on the forums for ages, so I guess I blew my load in one big burst (hey yo!).

  • So after listening to this episode I thought I'd jump on the "don't worry guys, you are all great" bandwagon I was expecting to see in the comments. Clearly I don't come to this forum enough.

    To Jeff, Jeff, Garnett, Xav, Andea, the rare and elusive Ariel, and all the other regulars thanks for a fun and entertaining show every week. I think you're all great and that you consistantly put out a great and well produced show every week. As it's been stated, in this industry you are only as good as people value your opinions and your personality and I think (as well as I'd expect all your other listeners, otherwise why else are they here) that you are all above and beyond. Thanks for making it just that much more fun to love loving things.

    Peace, love, and pixeljunk!

  • And about Andrea specifically…

    I see some people have commented that they've been turned off from the show because of this whole Andrea situation, but it won't stop me from listening to the show. I do understand why some listeners are upset and feel like they've been duped. At the same time I think too many listeners/readers place too much importance on a critics/reviewer's opinions (in general, not WC listeners specifically). We should be forming our opinions based on as wide a sample of info as possible. Then, if one reviewer turns out to be a mouthpiece for a publisher, it's not that big of a deal. Do I think less of Andrea because of what she did? Most certainly, yes. But it doesn't have much bearing on me or my opinions about games because I would never put that much stock in one critic/reviewer. Sure, there are some games media personalities I like better than others and I follow their work. Andrea wasn't one of them, but even if she was and she disappointed me, so what? It's up to me to move on and find someone else to follow on the internet. And yes, I do get that's exactly what some people are now doing in regards to Garnett and his show. He disappointed some of you, and now you're leaving. I think that's GREAT, because you're voting with your lack of downloading, and in the end that's the only meaningful thing you can do to show your displeasure. I guess what I'm getting at is, Andrea's questionable behavior wasn't egregious enough to spoil all of Weekend Confirmed for me. Garnett and crew, I enjoy your show 95% of the time and I appreciate all your hard work.

    However, as far as having Andrea back on the show, I'd like the show better if you'd stop having her on as a guest (regardless of this integrity issue). I've tried to give her a fair shake these past few years. In fact I was even fine with overlooking the episode where she clearly had too much to drink and really disrupted the show (so many cringe worthy moments that made it hard to finish that episode). But I cut her some slack because I can remember being too drunk in inappropriate situations, and felt pretty foolish the next morning, as I'm sure she did. However, she's been on the show many times now and she hardly ever adds anything insightful or interesting to the discussion. To me, her opinions come off as flippant and not very well thought out. She's almost always the one responsible for derailing any episode she's on, and not in a funny way like Jeff C or Spicer will do from time to time. Also, I don't care for her voice, but I would never hold that against her. I mean, I HATE my voice when I hear it recorded, so I actually applaud her for rocking her Midwestern accent proudly. :)

    Anyways, thanks for the show. I look forward to it every week.

  • Hello Weekend Confirmed crew and community. I've listened to the various incarnations of Garnett's show since 07 (I think, or maybe 08?) and I'm a big fan of the show.

    *Also, I'm a pretty laid back guy that doesn't passionately argue over much and hardly posts on boards. So please read this post in the most mellow, friendly way possible, because in the end I'll care more about getting back to work than pretending my opinion is any better than yours.* :)

    As far as the topic of journalistic integrity in games media is concerned, I don't think you guys need to talk about it at length on the show again. Why? Two reasons; First, it's just not that entertaining. During this segment I found my self thinking, "Get back to talking about games" and I've almost never thought that while listening to your show. As Garnett stated toward the end of the podcast, this is an entertainment show and to me, that segment was far from entertaining. I get that some people like to hear all this "inside baseball" talk, and I don't mind it, to a degree. For some context, I work in the comic book industry and I LOVE to have some behind-the-scenes discussions about my field with anyone that's interested. But the majority of fans I talk to would rather talk about what they love in their favorite comic book, rather than talk about the technical details that I like to discuss with fellow comic pros. As a fan of WC, and if I had to choose, I would rather you guys/gals talk about games/gaming than the intricacies of your profession. I understand it's bound to come up from time to time, and there are times that you can't avoid it when talking about games. But taking a whole segment of the show just seemed like too much time devoted to this (somewhat boring) topic. Perhaps you just need another place to have this discussion? Like an industry focused podcast or set of articles?

    The second reason I'm sick of this conversation is, I feel like any time this topic has come up for the last five years on any gaming podcast I've listened to, not just WC, it's been nearly the exact same conversation over and over. That's not intended as an insult to any of the guests discussing the topic past or present, but more to point out that it feels like everyone has said all there is to say about journalistic integrity in games media.

  • So I'm listening to the rest of this weeks episode and felt the need to chime in here. Jeff Cannata, please remember that the loudest voices aren't always those of the majority. People in general love to publicly complain and point out their dissenting opinions more than they enjoy praising others.

    It kind of surprised me to hear how much all this gaming journalism gossip has affected you. That alone shows how passionate you are about what you do and this industry. You're one of my favorite critical 'voices' around. And sure, I don't always agree with you, but I never question your integrity. Just keep on doing what you do and take the internet banter in stride.

  • Regarding the discussion around the games industry a few brief observations before I crawl back in my hole for a long winter of discontent.

    First, apparently no forum exists for this discussion. Even sites who's members have been vocal on the issue on private blogs have been reluctant to host a discussion on the topic. That is sad to me. I don't think any of us are smart enough and unbiased enough to solve this on our own. Without a place for discussion from all sides I don't see how this gets resolved to suit all sides (though obviously not every person will be satisfied regardless of the outcome).

    Second, that we are not unbiased enough is evident everywhere I turn. Responses in this thread to your discussion make me sad to be a gamer. Unfortunately it's not just gamers. Civility and the ability to have friendly open discourse on the most trivial, which I'm not saying games are, subjects is gone from our society. How then are we ever going to have civil discussions on important topics.

    My third take-away is that the gaming press is just an enthusiast press, regardless of the level. I understand Jeff's point about wanting to be excited for things. I like to be excited for things as well. But part of what I get paid to do at a job is to do things that are not always exciting. I understand how bloggers and many podcasters who are doing what they do *solely* out of a love for gaming can be willing to not have these discussions. But even those who make their living at this seem to only want to talk about the content of video games, not about the "inside baseball" elements.

    The first two (and the second more than the first) are more serious and the third is merely a realization. I appreciate that you did at least have a discussion on the last two episodes even if it wasn't as full as I would have liked. I also thank you for the hard work you put into the shows - including TRS - and hope that this hobby we all love brings you more joy than sorrow.