Weekend Confirmed 149 - Nintendo Direct, Strike Suit Zero, The Cave, THQ death-rattles

By Jeff Mattas, Jan 25, 2013 11:00am PST

On this week's episode of Weekend Confirmed, Garnett and the two Jeffs are joined by indie developer Brendon Chung of Blendo Games (Flotilla, Gravity Bone, Thirty Flights of Loving, Atom Zombie Smasher). With Nintendo Direct in the rearview, the crew breaks down the resulting news and announcements, followed by some gaming talk about a host of games ranging from the Far Cry series to the more recently-released indies Strike Suit Zero and The Cave. Some talk about the end of publisher THQ and the sale of its studios and IPs is unavoidable, before things get wrapped up with another batch of Finishing Moves.

Weekend Confirmed Ep. 149: 1/25/2013

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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 - 00:00:34 - 00:28:56

    Whatcha' Been Playin Part 1 - 00:30:17 - 01:02:43

    Whatcha Been Playin Part 2 01:03:21 - 01:31:41

    Listener Feedback/Front Page News - 01:32:30 - 02:15:30

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Weekend Confirmed @WeekendConfirmd

Garnett Lee @GarnettLee

Jeff Cannata @jeffcannata

Jeff Mattas @JeffMattas

Brendon Chung @BlendoGames

Catch up with Brendon and Blendo Games on the official website. Info about the XBLIG version of Flotilla that was discussed on the show can be found here.

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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.

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  • So, call me a total troll/critical asshole but how come this girl is the most stereotypical brat contrarian xbox-gaming girl I could have seen from a mile away. Not liking Ni No Kuni, 'meh'-ing the PS announcement, and of course contradicting herself at every turn by name dropping tens of hours long games that are 100 times more popular than Ni No Kuni. How predictable can someone's gaming taste be? Gross.

    On a kinder note, I hate this podcast because all I want to do is TALK TO YOU GUYS when I hear you talking. I seriously love the education and understanding you guys bring to the stuff you talk about, and it's so rare to get out of another person. Without getting an eye roll or a quick change of subject.

    Anyway, great job guys. Nicole is grating my ears though. I guess you need to cover all your demographic bases.


  • I actually really really liked Jeff's comment about the Elders Scrolls online trailer this week. I think that's one of the great underdeveloped conversations in video game culture, and its one of the reason's I find GameTrailers.com as a site to be so wrong headed. Like GT.com often regards game "trailers" based on the arbitrary self interest of "a video that generates hits." Its also one of the many reasons I think the Spike Video Game Awards or w/e are completely disastrous. Because even though the notion of using an awards ceremony as an E3 esque press event is kind of ok, the trailers at that event are typically canned animations that have as little to do with the games as possible. It becomes almost like this really weird film festival where all the films are actually like 30 second commercials for products that may or may not even exist.

    Like I think all the examples raised in the conversation are good and bad for different reasons. On one hand you have the PS3 hype trailers, like the one for MotorStorm. There the big lie was really the fidelity, however if you compare the trailers to the final games, the original trailer is actually fairly representative of the game substantively. Its basically the equivalent of the early PS1 days where every game regardless of genre had a mini CGI film before the title screen, just because CGI was so cool and new at that point.

    But, that said you then have way back in the day a game like Final Fantasy VII, which had a commercial built entirely on the CGI that's actually used in the game to help tell the story. So in effect it kind of betrayed audiences because the in game graphics were so incredibly primitive compared to the CGI, but the CGI was legitimate in game content. That kind of goes to one of the great virtues of Hideo Kojima as a designer, which is that he does all these incredibly directed cinematics based strictly on the game engine.

    I actually remember MGS2 being criticized because the character models didn't have the animation capacity to convey crying well for instance---but that's sort of missing the point, because the great thing about Kojima's team is that they put so much effort into realizing a virtual world where everything is created not just for technical competence, but for sort of believability. It kind of goes to that idea of DMC being a "venue" for gameplay, vs. having a real story to it.

    On a base level, I think the reason Devil May Cry 4 seemed like a death knell for the franchise is that in the HD generation Dante had been reduced to such a cartoon character. It wasn't just that he didn't have character, it was literally his aesthetic design. He was almost like Capcom's "red" character to Mega Man's "blue character." Really the whole idea of DMC1-3 was meeting the challenges great 3D action gameplay. When the original came out I remember people commenting about it filling the void of a 3D Castlevania in a way---which was much derided on the N64.

    So the other example brought up about game trailers was of course Blizzard's CGI, which is of a similar style to the one shown in Bethesda's trailers. But the really important distinction WoW CGI and ES CGI in this respect is that Blizzard has actually done the legitimate work of building a world to hock. If you look at Warcraft 3 there were like 6 different CGIs introducing and cap stoning each race's campaign. They actually conveyed story translated from what you did in the levels, and they added to the experience, because like Starcraft, WC is an isometric rts with tiny character models.

    Blizzard can't do with Warcraft what I was talking about with Hideo Kojima (and I think this is was Uncharted has taken the mantle up on in the modern era) by nature of the kind of game they're making. If the task is to create a virtual game world where character models aren't just gameplay devices, but attempt to convey humanity as well, it becomes very difficult in an isometric title where the characters are like 3 inches tall.

  • Ok, I know I'm super late to the party on this, but I need to gush over Journey for a minute.



    It's impossible to say all the things I want to say about this game without sounding douchey and hyperbolic, but it really is the most emotionally touching experience I've ever had playing a game.

    And I didn't even play it!

    I sat down with my wife, thinking she might enjoy playing it for 10 or 15 minutes. She proceeded to play through the entire thing from start to finish (took her about 2 hours). My wife was in tears by the end, and I wasn't far behind her.

    I think the visual and audio presentation goes a long way towards creating such a powerful experience. It gets under you skin real fast, because it looks and sounds so beautiful.

    I also think the pacing is masterfully done. I loved how often the designers would say "just go play and explore" rather than directly guide you or throw endless hazards in your path. It shows a confidence in their mechanics as well as the world they've crafted.

    But above all else, I think the multiplayer mechanic is what takes Journey above and beyond other games.

    For my wife, having people play with her was a huge part of what made it so emotional. Some players would just come and go, but there were two in particular who she really bonded with.

    They learned to communicate with each other, gave each other signals so they could move together and avoid hazards. At one point, she failed a jump and fell way down the mountain. Rather than ditching her, the other player jumped down after her so he could help her all the way back up again.

    They got back to the top and she failed the jump again. The other player followed her down again and said goodbye to her before leaving. It sounds silly, but in the moment it was very touching.

    There was another player who helped her through the last half hour of the game. She got very attached to him because he was really helpful with avoiding the monsters towards the end. My wife gets stressed easily while playing games, so having someone with her was really comforting. They made the climb together through the blizzard, and collapsed side by side. Going through this section with another player was very distressing: watching not just herself, but also her friend die in the cold, and not being able to help him.

    As the next sequence began (the final flight to the top) my wife and her friend were seperated. She fell and watched him continue flying onwards towards the top. It was a really upsetting, yet also uplifting moment. Knowing that she couldn't catch up and would never find him again was painful, but she was happy to see him succeed.

    It just makes you feel things that other games don't. It has also killed any desire to play anything else for the time being.... how could any other game live up to such an experience?

  • Great shiw guys. It was a lot a fun.

    3 points :

    On DMC. I'm one of those gamers - and we are many - who refuses to play DMC no matter how great the game is. I don't want to play as an androgyne hero. Capcomhas to deal with it. I come back to the series - as many foks outhere - when the "proper" Dante is back. That Dante new look turned me off completely on the game.

    On Nintendo.
    THIS is what we wanted. A ROADMAP !!! It's about time Big N.
    I still can't believe a new Mario 3D will be playable, I mean that thing is going to be EPIC : Mario 64, Mario Sunchine, Marip Galaxy 1 & 2, Mario 3D Land, that's a "pretty good' record for the 3D Marios until now. I just can't even imagine what those guys can pull off on Wii U when we see waht they did on Wii with the Galaxy games... And if the "X" game is any indication, we can dream BIG !

    I will leave the excitement that has already been echoed by all the Nintendo fans outhere to focus on 1 really interessing developement : the Crossovers. Will this be a new trend for Nintendo ? We have project X Zone coming later this on 3DS and we have the Shin Megami X Fire Emblem game coming on Wii U. Iwata hinted as other similar annoucement. This could be REALLY cool.

    Far Cry 2
    THANKS, at least some love outhere for Far Cry 2. I absolutely love that game and I'm not really interested in Far Cry 3. I wish Far Cry 3 was just Far Cry 2 without the issues. But unfortunaltely they took a different direction. I really echo that letdown from some Open Wrold games that are too guided. I'm playing Kingdom of Amalaur right now and I wish there was more freedom.

  • Regarding Fire Emblem x SMT

    I was as baffled as everyone else when this was announced, but then I realized something. The characters of the main series Megaten games are dull as paste (subjectively speaking), but what those games do have is a HUGE bestiary oh demons and incredibly elaborate charts of their elemental strengths and weaknesses.

    Then I remembered, Megaten has, in fact, made strategy games using this roster of demons in the past.

    So there are some precedents here, at least. I would dare say that this crossover game is at least potentially more justifiable than some of the others.

  • Regarding games causing violent behaviour.

    I absolutely think it's possible. I think any artistic medium can evoke powerful reactions. We are emotional beings and we are unable to consume media from a totally disconnected position. Like a sponge, we absorb a little bit of everything we come in contact with. To suggest anything else undermines the entire medium.

    We can't have our cake and eat it too. We want to believe video games can make is laugh and cry and feel powerful emotions, so why can't anger or violence be one of them? I really believe the interactive power of video games makes it am extremely potent medium. Through video games, my mildly autistic son has made leaps amd bounds in his writing through spelling games and my wife has kept fit through Kinect, I have had a glimpse of the horror of World War 2. Games have made me happy, depressed, educated and they've made me search my soul. They've even helped me forge life long friendships on the digital battlefield. We want to shout from the rooftops the positive ways in which video games have spilled over from the TV to our real lives, and we simultaneously want to deny the opposite of that occurring.

    I don't think games cause school shootings. I don't think COD can make someone an efficient killer any more than Guitar Hero can make someone a musician. If video games cause massacres then, by the millions of copies of COD sold alone, our world surely would have torn itself apart with gun violence. They're just a gateway into other realms. They're not powerless to inspire anger or violence, on the contrary I think they're quite potent. And I also think that like books or movies, they're an extremely healthy way of exploring the human soul.

    Video games can make us feel a plethora of powerful expressions, and that's a good thing.

  • Had a couple of thoughts on Jeff's Nintendo segment.

    First of all, I think you guys are overthinking a voice for Link. If each Link is supposed to be a different person, why should there be one definitive voice? Should the Wind Waker Link sound like the Twilight Princess one? Hell, in one game you'd need two different voices for the same Link: the young and adult versions in Ocarina. Perhaps this is one of the reasons Miyamoto is so adamant about not giving Link a voice when Mario has one. He might think it would be confusing for people to always hear a new voice.

    And in regards to the Mario Wii U game, if Nintendo were to make it Galaxy 3 it would likely be perceived as a big failure. The first Mario game for all of their consoles have always had something to really set them apart from their predecessor. Mario World had the big world map full of alternate paths and secrets, 64 had 3D of course, Sunshine the water pack, and Galaxy the, well... galaxy.

    Especially with people criticizing the New Mario Bros. series for being repetitive, the last thing Nintendo needs is to have the main Mario series lose its creativity.