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We seem to be in a lull here with gaming news. It’s there, but less frequent as we’ve become accustomed to. Outside of anything unexpected breaking between now and E3, this seems to be the norm.

What we do have this week is the very little info we got on a new Star Wars game along with the seemingly never-ending talk of the Epic Games Store. It isn’t much and it isn’t territory we haven’t already covered, but there was an aspect of it I hadn’t explored before. And that’s the two way street of a business deal. Blame is put on Epic for these exclusives, but that’s just one side. They only make the offer. Someone else has to accept, and I see very little outrage towards those signing the deals. And to be clear, we don’t see outrage needed for either party. We’re perfectly fine with what Epic is doing, in some ways, at least. It’s all explained, we hope, in this week’s episode.

 

It’s always a great thrill to have Rand Miller on the show from Cyan Worlds. He’s enthusiastic to talk about the games he’s working on and working on games in general. It’s also fun that he isn’t tied to any sort of PR where he has to stick to the script.

That’s why I was eager to ask him about the whole Epic Games Store stuff and get his take on it. And his take is what I imagine a lot of indie devs feel about it too. It also gave me a perspective I’d not yet taken into account. While I’d spent most of my time trying to figure out why consumers has issue with it, I’d completely overlooked the developer aspect of why they are so excited about it. Long story short, it makes them excited because they can continue to make games when offers like these come their way.

But Rand is much better at telling that than I am, because you can hear it in his voice when talking about it.

This was Rand’s fourth visit to our show and we hope to have him on many more times. He is an absolute joy to speak with and we can’t wait to talk to him again soon.

 

I still, for the life of me, cannot figure out this whole hate against the Epic Games Store. It boggles my mind and I can’t find a single straight answer as to why some people hate it. No one can say, “Because it’s not Steam and I want Steam!”, or whatever seems to be the real reason.

Next week we welcome back to the show Rand Miller from Cyan. They’ve got a new game on Kickstarter and he’ll be on to tell us about it and answer our questions and YOUR questions. If you have any, by the way, tweet us, leave a comment, send an email and we’ll ask him!

 

As I sit here writing this, I’m using something Google based to post the video of the show and Google based to actually write this. At one point I used to use something Google based to compile video game news, but Google got rid of it. We also used to have a space on something Google based, but Google got rid of it. There’s been a few things we’ve had a presence on that was Google based.

Until Google got rid of it.

Google does this. A lot. And they easily have data to show that people use the thing so I’m not sure why they suddenly shut it down and for what reason, but it happens. And it is still happening (goodbye g-chat). Now Google has a new thing, or at least probably will be the end of the year.

Game streaming isn’t a particularly new thing, but it’s never been implemented very well. Google’s trying to change that and from my time with Project Stream, I’d say they succeeded. But only that they can pull it off and if your connection is good enough, it works beyond what you might think. But not everyone’s connection it good enough and not everyone has an unlimited cap on bandwidth. Google’s venture into gaming doesn’t feel revolutionary or awe-inspiring or whatever. There’s no sense of “breakthrough” here, but there’s also a slew of questions left to be answered and even then, how will the public embrace it?

And for those that do, how long will you be able to embrace it before Google decides to get rid of it.

 

We’ve discussed pricing of video games before. And I’m not talking about the current pricing of newly released titles where you expect the usual sixty bucks. We’re talking about older games and what you feel something is worth. And really, that’s the end of the argument, right there.

What do you feel a game is worth to you?

There’s no rules in that question or that answer. Well, aside from the fact that you have to pay something for it – you can’t say free. Given that, every single answer anyone gives is pretty much the right one…for them. It doesn’t matter the length of the game or the age or how it looks or anything like that at all, unless those factor into your answer and that’s perfectly fine if they do.

This whole point comes up again as we see the Halo series getting a PC release. It doesn’t seem like it’ll come in the form of a collection – pay one price and get it all. No, they look to be serving it piecemeal. But they’ve given no word on what it’ll cost us. Will they all be the same price or go up and down depending on the age of the title? Will they offer it in some bundle where you pay a price now and get all of them as they release? We don’t know. At least not yet.

It feels a bit like an infomercial cliche, but looking back over the Halo series and now getting them on PC…what would you pay for this lovely collection of games?

But wait, there’s more…

 

I’m going to talk about a game I haven’t played outside of two different beta sessions. It’s also a game I certainly have no intention of playing anytime soon, as well.

Anthem is having issues. Lots of them. The game cannot catch a break in the gaming press. Every single article posted is another strike against it and it’s hard to find anything good to say about it. And it’s also kind of sad too given the long, and nearly spotless, history of the developers. Yeah, they’ve stumbled, but here it is, round 2, and they’ve stumbled again.

I don’t blame EA, but I could. As we’ve learned from interviews with Amy Hennig, EA pretty much forces the developers they own to run the same engine with everything they do (the Frostbite engine). It was one created for FPS, and Anthem is a 3rd person shooter. So there’s an excuse there. Sort of. Other problems with the game have absolutely nothing to do with the engine and just the overall design choices. Then there’s bugs, loot issues, lack of eng game, and everything else that plagues what games like Anthem are trying to do.

Almost everything that’s broken in the game can be fixed and things that aren’t broken but otherwise just…odd choices, can be changed. We know this. We’ve been through it with Destiny. What’s out there now doesn’t have to be and probably won’t be what’s out there a year from now for Anthem. But EA isn’t known for being patient. If they can hold, I honestly feel that Bioware can right the ship. At least I want them to.

Still, it was good to hear from at least one person enjoying the game despite its faults.

 

Have I talked about Spider-Man? Let’s talk a little about Spider-Man. I say this in the show and I’ll say it here as well: the game deserves every bit of praise it’s gotten over the 7 or so months it’s been out. Yes, it’s taken me that long to get around to not only playing it but finishing the main story. However, I have a few nitpicks but they really get on my nerves when developers do this.

There’s a lot of “padding the story” in this game. There’s honestly a lot of that in almost every game, but one of the ways done in Spider-Man really got on my nerves. The secondary stuff is…whatever. It’s an open world game, you’re going to have side tasks and challenges. They annoy me (especially Taskmaster and, now, Screwball), but whatever. No, my biggest gripe for the game is the times when you AREN’T playing as Spider-Man. And, to be clear, the Peter Parker aspects of the game are fine, but any time you aren’t playing as Parker/Spider-Man are just plain annoying. I’ll give a bit of a break for the Miles segments, at least one in particular, because it feels like a bit of character development and you’ve got to go through this event with him and put yourself in his shoes. But the rest of it is just fluff.

Again, I know WHY they do this in games, but man I can’t stand it in some cases. Even now, while working on the DLC stuff, they keep throwing in fluff and it gets to the point I stop playing and come back later. It’s the kind of annoying that actually makes me turn off the game.

Stop doing that. Please.

P.S. Everyone else, please stop timed missions, escort missions, and everything else I personally don’t like.

 

We didn’t really stick on one single topic for this episode, which makes finding something to write about here a little bit difficult. We had a lot to catch up on with the week away from last week, but nothing to really give much focus to. Unless you count that whole Steam Store vs. Epic Store situation in the middle there.

But I’ve written about that before and my opinion is easily covered in this episode when brought up. Bottom line, if it helps the developers and doesn’t screw the consumers, I’m all for it. Let me be clear, however, I’m not talking about pre-order exclusives – where buying from a certain retailer gets you a different bonus when the game launches. I’ve only ever seen that as a publisher benefit and it breaks the rule of screwing the consumers so yeah…that’s a load of crap.

 

Apex Legends. So this is battle royale? It’s my first time stepping into the world of this genre and I’m left wondering….why? The rewards here are purely cosmetic and serve no purpose to give you any kind of advantage on the field. At best your card gets to show others how well you’ve done, but that offers nothing of value once you’re in the arena. You are on the level with everyone else.

Unless I’m wrong and missing something? And I very well could be.

Still, saying all of that, I jump right back into it every match. Playing a round again and again and again. I wonder with each time if I’ll do better than the last round, but no…it never seems to get better. At best I can survive a very long time because I never see any enemies. Usually when I do see them, my game is over within seconds.

And then I start the next round.

 

Okay, campers, rise and shine, and don’t forget your booties at the following link.

I used to think playing a PC game on any other service besides Steam was annoying. I can’t remember why I felt that way. There was no benefit of using Steam. Sure, it was all there with the rest of my games, but it provided me nothing, really. This was about the time EA came along with Origin. And the Ubisoft with Uplay. Then GoG and so on and so forth.

I felt like it was this big deal having my games scattered across different services.

I grew out of that. I guess. Or just came to the conclusion nothing was ruining my experience of the games I played on whatever service I played it from. It was all still on my PC. That was it. Sure, there’s trophy hunters and what not. People who want to up their “score” on their profile of what they’ve done in games on that service, and maybe to those people I can see the issue.
But I really don’t care where a PC game shows up. I’m going to go where ever it’s offered at the best price or deal or bundle for me.

I pretty much do the same thing on consoles.

 

We’re making horrible hole jokes at the following link.

We love it when you call into the show. We like hearing what you’ve been playing and the types of games you enjoy or what system you’re currently spending time with or even if you have questions about games or systems or PC stuff – doesn’t matter. Point it, we love it when you call. So keep that up. Make it a regular thing. Call in, tell us a game your playing and give us a quick review on how you like it. We can’t play everything out there so that’s why we like hearing from other people playing other games.

Speaking of other games, I’ve put some time in with the demo for Anthem and I give a few of my thoughts on it during the show, but something I forgot to mention isn’t so much a complaint with it as it is just something no one else is able to do – the shooting. I remember having this issue before and it’s just something I’ve had to come to terms with. Bungie, with Destiny (and Halo before that), has completely spoiled me on the shooting mechanic in video games. They do it better than ANYTHING else in their game. It’s the reason I would still play it even with nothing else to do – the shooting is just too much fun. Anthem isn’t like that and it was never going to be. It’s just something, again, that I’ll have to come to terms with.

Not everyone can be Bungie. And that’s actually a really great thing. We’ll talk more about that in the next episode.

 

We’re not taking Matt’s suggestion of music anytime soon at the following link.

I barely touched any game all week long. And that’s not fun for me. Destiny pretty much provided me with nothing to do. But it was the game I went to a few times during the week. I logged in as I regularly do in order to make some advancements that took no time at all, but that was it. I spent a total of MAYBE 30 minutes in the game. For the whole week. I logged into Assassin’s Creed on Project Stream and made sure I had my hour of play time logged so I could be eligible for the free copy of the game two weeks from now. I spent maybe 5 minutes in the game.

That was it. I didn’t play anything else. It’s currently Sunday as I write this and once I’m done I’ll usually check some other sites and eventually fire up Destiny and that will be my Sunday. All day long all on Destiny. But that’s not going to happen today. I’m going to post this and then go play Spider-Man or Red Dead or Hitman or anything else.

Course, there’s also that saying of announcing your plans…

 

We totally landed on the moon at the following link.

First, an apology. There’s a phone call in this episode that went a little off the rails for us, and I didn’t feel it was handled as well as it could have been. It’s my job to do that, and it wasn’t done, so I apologize.

Second, here’s my quick take on the Bungie and Activision split: whatever. I play a TON of Destiny, but when I play it, when I think about it, when I talk about it, when I buy it – I’ve never considered Activision in the mix. My complaints with Destiny, my quibbles, my frustrations, my nitpicks – none of them lay at the feet of Activision. And for that matter, my praises of the games and the reasons I keep coming back – everything I know of this game is on Bungie. So it doesn’t matter to me that they now fully own and self-publish their game. It may speak a lot to the upcoming content, perhaps, but it’s still not gonna tighten up the graphics on level three. That’s a Bungie thing and nothing that Activision was keeping them from doing.

If the team at Bungie is happy to be free of that company, then I’m happy for them, sure, but do I feel like some wave of gaming improvement with Destiny is about to wash over us players? Not a bit. If anything, the machine will just keep going. They’ll make more game, and I’ll happily keep playing it.

The cycle continues.

 

We’re starting off our 13th year at the following link.

We’ve been away for two weeks and what did we miss? Apparently, a lot of people wanting to get money from Fortnite cause of dancing. Never an issue with it being in games for years and years since, but Fortnite has seemingly crossed that line.

Speaking of Fortnite, that game was a beast in 2018 when broken down in numbers. We do that in this episode and it’s just overwhelming how often it shows up in the top spot or close to it.

Even with all the numbers and press the game is getting, it still triggers nothing in me. I’ve heard other people talk about it, I’ve seen it, it’s a huge presence at conventions I attend, but still…nothing. It triggers not a single response in me to have any desire to play it. And that’s fine. I’m not saying it should or that it should have that same effect on everyone else. Not at all – when you find a game you love to play by all means play it and don’t worry what others say or think about it (side glance to Destiny), but for me, there’s nothing.

New Year New You and all of that, but I still won’t be playing that game in 2019.

 

We feel like something is missing at the following link.

We always like to wrap up the year here with what we call our Christmas episode but it’s really just an episode that contains video game Christmas themed music. That’s pretty much the extent of it. So that’s what we’re doing here. Along with trying to find out if you can copyright a dance move.

We’d like to take this time to remind you that there is no show next weekend due to the holidays and we’d also like to thank you as well for your continued support of our little show. It means more than the world to all of us that you take the time to listen and keep listening week after week.

There is no show without you. It would not exist to begin with were it not for you and it will continue on for as long as we can, so long as we have you there with us.

As always, thank you so much for listening and have a very Merry Christmas.