Weekend Confirmed 171 - Xbox One, The Last of Us Spoiler-Cast

By Ozzie Mejia, Jun 28, 2013 11:00am PDT

With Jeff Cannata absent, host Garnett Lee is left to discuss the beginning of the summer doldrums. He welcomes in "Indie" Jeff Mattas and Nikole Zivalich to discuss any final Xbox One thoughts before shifting to Borderlands 2's Assault on Dragon's Keep DLC and discuss the pros and cons of the Season Pass model. Shacknews' Andrew Yoon joins the show for the latter half to help briefly discuss Company of Heroes 2, before ending the normal part of the show a little early with some Finishing Move. That paves the way for a special Spoiler-cast, as the final half-hour of the show is fully dedicated to discussing The Last of Us and its many twists and turns. If you haven't finished the game yet, bookmark it for the future. If you have, enjoy the discussion!

Weekend Confirmed Ep. 171: 6/28/2013

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If you're viewing this in the GameFly application, you can play Weekend Confirmed Episode 171 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 - 00:00:35 - 00:30:14

    Round 2 - 00:31:41 - 00:56:59

    Round 3 - 01:03:58 - 01:31:17

    The Last of Us Spoiler-cast - 01:31:49 - 02:02:07

Follow the Weekend Confirmed crew on Twitter, too!

Weekend Confirmed @WeekendConfirmd

Garnett Lee @GarnettLee

Jeff Cannata @JeffCannata

Andrew Yoon @scxzor

Jeff Mattas @JeffMattas

Nikole Zivalich @NikoleZ

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. Check out his latest music video, I Brought It Here, featuring cameos from Jeff Cannata and Christian Spicer on YouTube. 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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Comments








  • Why is it still accepted to claim that voice commands are a feature of Kinect? Voice commands are 99% software and the remaining 1% is a microphone that is good at picking up the frequency of the human voice ... so 99% of all headset mics.

    Sure the Kinect SDK may very well make it easier for developers to use voice commands, but there is no reason for the device to be used.

    So stop claiming voice commands as something unique to Kinect. If MS wanted to promote them, they could have just packed in a headset or even the mic used in the Kinect as a standalone (would most likely have raised production costs by less than 5$). Voice commands are not exclusive to Kinect just as they were not exclusive to the iphone 4S ...





  • Any chance we can see some activity on the youtube page again or if there will be any activity for daily questions answered through video?

    Maybe a video podcast to test the waters again?

    Anyway, as a long time listener; I think it would be great to change it up a bit in the drought parts of the summer for some rapid fire trivia portions of the show to see how well the guests can answer video game trivia that can date back to the early Atari days.
    I know making the show is hard enough as it is but I think a trivia segment could SPICER things up!

    (pun intended)






  • Garnett,
    Thanks for reading this comment (as I know you have to read a lot of them). Gaming has been my most beloved hobby for decades now, and I am ashamed to admit that I only recently discovered Weekend Confirmed (about two months ago). I've never been much of a podcast guy, but let me say that I enjoy just about every minute of your show each week. You and your guests always talk about gaming in a way that doesn't come off as snobbish, elitist, or simply giving off the "we are IN the industry - bow to our wisdom" vibe. On top of all that, all of the commentary is intelligent and thoughtful. Just wanted to say thanks for putting on this show. I can't claim I'm a Weekend Confirmed veteran, but I can claim that I'm hooked and have yet another reason to look forward to each Friday.

    For the July Q&A show, here's a comment followed by my question: For my money, The Last of Us and Bioshock Infinite are the best two games that I have played in years, and most likely this generation. I have played both of them through multiple times, and cannot for the life of me decide which game I think is superior. While both are different experiences, they both nail just about everything I want in video games today. My question for the panel would be, which one of those two games would you put above the other. I look forward to the controversial discussion (should my question reach the show). Thanks for a great show, man.




  • ................LoU spoilers...............

    On the Hospital Sequence/AK47/ludo-narrative/blahblahblah naval gaze:

    Garnett is obviously applying a 10,000 foot concept of morality to what a specific character's psychology. Tess says "We're shitty people Joel its been that way for a long time." Joel says "No we're survivors." So where as Tess is sort of a willful badass who lives with her actions, his cognitive dissonance runs so deep, that in his mind killing is like taking out the garbage. But beyond that you have to consider the fictional context of the entire world, and how Joel's trauma was specifically triggered (no pun intended...).

    A huge theme in the game is the military's usurping of society. Humanity has endured a pandemic, but it is more presciently suffering under a military state. If you look at films like Children of Men and 28 Weeks Later, it is a common in these kinds of genre stories. In the later of those two films, most people die because of military's retaliation rather than the outbreak itself. Just look at the whole mansion scene of 28 Days Later---it is very similar to when Joel and Ellie escape the Boston museum, right after Tess' death, even visually.

    So in terms of the story telling cannon LoU operates in, revenge on the military, is a totally central conceit. If you look at LoU specifically, you can infer that since Sarah's death (and in the game) Joel has had to scrape by without many resources. His means of life along with Tess was of all things a guns trade. In his world, guns equate autocratic power, as well as actual currency.

    Now if you go back to his cognitive dissonance about killing and what incited his trauma, his daughter was killed specifically by a hail of bullets from an AK47. His original sin as a person, was not being able to protect her. And he didn't only fail to protect her, but by being in his arms, she absorbed the gunfire and effectively saved his life. His only way to reconcile his pain and guilt, with the state of the world, is that death is simply a way of governing the infected world's chaos.

    So combine the context of militarism, and Joel's personal stake in that oppression, suddenly the hospital sequence has a whole other meaning. Joel acquiring that AK47 isn't just an upgrade in his arsenal---it has symbolic value because it is the weapon that killed his daughter, and the symbol of political oppression. He's not just going Rambo, he's leveling a paradigm that destroyed his family and made his life a living hell for 2 decades. Its kind of the classic horror film reversal, where the victim gets ahold of the prod, or whip, or whatever the assailant used to control them.

    On gameplay/the infected:

    Despite all that narrative relevance, I wanted to drive home the point that you can actually skip the combat in the hospital sequence.

    When the gameplay starts out, or when it starts in basically any "encounter" (as the game's menu dubs them) Joel is hidden. Therefore your gameplay objective is pretty explicitly not to fight your enemies directly. In the final hallway before the operating room there's like 15 Fireflies maybe, with make shift barricades and what not, but there's a whole series of offices that running parallel, so you can easily sneak around them.

    This goes to Garnett's complaints about the infected "combat" as well, and Jeff saying that the clickers have "terrible AI." Like, the clickers aren't supposed to have AI. Obviously that is the entire point of them being clickers. They have an on and off switch, and it is up to the player to decide when you flip that switch, or better yet how to avoid flipping the switch. I don't see how it would be merited to just make them another brand of video game mutant/alien that the player shoots through indiscriminately.



  • So I have heard NO ONE talking about this in regards to the ending of The Last of Us and it has been bugging the shit out me.

    Why does everyone automatically assume the two options at the end are Ellie lives or the world is saved. Why is everyone so quick to trust this 20 years removed medical team branch of a hastily put together paramilitary organization? Why do people automatically have perfect confidence in Doctors just because they say they are Doctors. They have no idea nor do they probably have the tech working to prepare for all the bullshit that could come from trying to mess with that.





  • My question is regarding pre-orders for the next generation consoles.

    tl;dr: Where should I pre-order my next gen consoles?

    Many retailers partner with publishers to offer incentives for buying games through their particular service or outlet versus a competitor. As much as this trend annoys me for the concern I might find a better incentive AFTER I make my purchase, it does make me wary about pre-ordering the upcoming consoles just yet. Should we expect to see the same types incentives crop up for the PS4/XBox One, or will this trend remain relegated only to content offerings?






  • Hey first post and it's long.

    I wanted to address the dlc conversation and the specific question regarding value. This isn't an excuse but rather some explanations for the way it works based on my experience and conversation with others.

    Garnett suggested (paraphrase) "If I spend $40 on dlc I expect to get equivalent value to a $60 game."

    I totally understand this notion but I'd like to extend a metaphor. If buying a $60 game is like buying an entree at a nice restaurant, then dlc is buying the $15 cocktail-- or in Garnett's case, three cocktails. ;)

    I'll elaborate.

    Borderlands 2 was a $60 game with a $60 game budget, ie probably too high. They made a good product and got a little lucky and sold 5 million copies. However, this alone isn't enough to be a successful product, for lack of a better number lets say 4x profit (though given Gearboxes other games it likely needs to pull more weight).

    Gearbox uses the high value in Borderlands 2 to get people in the door. Now they have to sell "cocktails."

    Of that 5 million people somewhere in the 10-20% would buy a single piece of dlc let alone $40 worth. With each subsequent dlc release the potential number dwindles. Now marketing can boost that number, and this takes us to another economic reality; fixed costs.

    Garnett was right saying that the dlc could leverage the engine reducing the overall cost of dlc development. Technology is not the only fixed cost; cert. fees, platform holder fees, the building costs, energy, HR and other support staff. These are fixed costs that apply to both the $60 game and the $40 worth of dlc. However, the $60 game amortizes those costs over the entire $60 game budget and 5 million sales, while the $40 has a much small pool. Basically, as a ratio fixed costs : sale is much more present in the dlc side.

    DLC is intended to be a hyper profitable "cocktail" used to justify the large upfront production costs of a $60 game.

    DLC still has considerable fixed costs. It's likely that DLC person hours are less efficient vs $60 game person hour.

    DLC has potential audience is a fraction of the original $60 product.

    What does this add up to?

    DLC is a premium product, a $15 2 shot cocktail with a dumb name. Most consumers will get more value spending the $40 elsewhere. The select few that REALLY love the game will spend far more then most think is reasonable, and if it's a tasty drink, they'll go home happy.

    p.s

    Season Passes are a Prix Fixe menu. Buyer beware.


  • *** THE LAST OF US SPOILERS ***

    Just a few responses to some of the points made during the spoilercast (which was great, by the way)

    I think Joel's motivations throughout the end of the game felt consistent with the character. At one point, Joel tell's Ellie that "you have to find something to hold on to". For the past 20 years, Joel has held on to "survival". His need to survive was his anchor, and the basis for his moral compass. In other words, he was willing to do anything to survive, and feel okay about it.

    But by the end of the game, survival is no longer what he holds on to; Ellie is. Ellie has become the one thing that he basis all of his decisions around. So in his mind, anything that protects her is justified.

    I think this is a brilliant development for the character, because it shows a sort of return to humanity, while still be completely selfish (he saves Ellie so he won't have to go through losing her, he hides the truth from Ellie out of fear that it will cost him his relationship with her).

  • In regards to Joel and what kind of character he is, Garnett you are completely wrong and here's why(spoilers below):

    Joel makes comments throughout the game that give hints as to what kind of guy he really is. Sometime after you and Ellie are ambushed after you get your truck Ellie makes a comment about how people could do that and she then asks Joel if he has ever killed an innocent person before. He basically responds that he has ambushed people exactly like how they were ambushed and he's killed plenty of innocent people because they needed to survive. I would say the last part of the game is very "gamified" but it felt contextually appropriate. Joel is in that survivor mode where he's "seeing red" and all he can think about is that another daughter is going to die and he cannot take that.

    I think the ending of The Last of Us was very hitting, at least to me personally. I literally had my jaw on the floor as it ends so appropriately and doesn't feel the need to make a large speech or give us a rather out of context and bombastic cutscene. Joel is not a bad person. Clearly his emotions were where they were because of the area they both just reached. Joel is literally a product of his environment, whether or not we feel that way. This game is linear and is meant to tell us a story. The only thing we have control over is the ability to get extra information in the optional dialogue. Other than that we are getting fed a story by Naughty Dawg, so it doesn't matter how we interpreted his character or how we felt he or Ellie should be at the end. He is who is he and we are given ample evidence through the intro and other stuff (especially dialogue) about what he is: a survivor.