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Season 17, Episode 41

Another awards show in the books for gaming.

Another lengthy list of issues but also game reveals as well. We give you a pretty good run down in this episode, not that you likely haven’t already seen the highlights. Or maybe read the complaints as well. We try to cover all of that as we usually do, but at this point it’s becoming the old broken record playing the same song over and over.

If they actually did an awards show for gaming that was the length of this thing and never showed off a single new game and just gave out awards, I would still be glued to it and taking notes. With likely a lot more positive things to say than negative as is the case when they keep doing it this way.
Honestly, they’ll never get it right as long as they keep trying to be two things at the same time. A place to showcase new games/reveals and an awards show. Mixing the two doesn’t help either one. Though it isn’t an equal mix by far. Near 90 to 95 percent is game reveals and trailers. And don’t think the other 5 to 10 goes to the awards because there’s also ads and music performances.

Look, having anything at all is better than nothing, I guess. I just wish that if you’re going to have the word “awards” in your title that there actually be awards. If you’re going to tout celebrating the creatives of the industry that you actually do that. Otherwise, just call it Winter Games Fest and move on.

Speaking of moving on, I haven’t. I’m still waiting for a new Splinter Cell. Ubisoft, it’s been 3,744 days since a new Splinter Cell game (non-animated series or guest spot in another game franchise, remake, BBC radio drama, or VR exclusive) was released.

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Season 17, Episode 40

Brace yourself…cringey awards and a MASSIVE amount of game reveals are happening this week. Including GTA 6, finally. Honestly almost feels like a snub to that awards show happening two days later. I’m curious how much thunder it steals.

As for this week, we’re not really going over our Black Friday hauls because there were none. It wasn’t the greatest of deals to be had out there, and that’s overall. Not just for our gaming tastes.

While these past two weeks may have been somewhat sparse on news stories, I refer you back to the opening of this post as to what’s in store for next week’s episode. There’s only two shows left in the year!

Sure would be really nice to get a Splinter Cell reveal at the game awards. We won’t, but it sure would be nice. Ubisoft, it’s been 3,737 days since a new Splinter Cell game (non-animated series or guest spot in another game franchise, remake, BBC radio drama, or VR exclusive) was released.

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Season 17, Episode 39

As a reminder we will not be doing a show next week due to the holiday weekend here in the states.

Speaking of that holiday weekend, Black Friday this year seems to have been a bust. Between the end of this episode and this post going up, Target released a few more BF deals but most were quickly gobbled up and are currently awaiting a re-stock.

The bust I’m talking about isn’t that everything is already taken but that the deals this year haven’t been great. Not where gaming is concerned. I haven’t really looked over much else. Movies have a great discount and there’s some HDD/SSD deals here and there be it for your PC or console. Also, if you’re looking to get a Series X console then you’ve got some really great options. Overall, however, it’s been lacking in really great deals for just the games themselves. Maybe the steam sale will freshen things up a bit.

We hope you have a great holiday weekend and as this one is about giving thanks, we’d like to thank all of you for so many years of continued support. You keep showing up to the live shows, keep watching the videos and keep downloading the podcast. We really do appreciate you more than you could ever know.

We’d also really appreciate it if Ubisoft would finally release a new Splinter Cell game. Ubisoft, it’s been 3,723 days since a new Splinter Cell game (non-animated series or guest spot in another game franchise, remake, BBC radio drama, or VR exclusive) was released.

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Season 17, Episode 38

I was surprised by the Steam Deck refresh. Well, not surprised by the fact it exists, but just how…out of nowhere it came. Seems Valve is REALLY good at keeping their own stuff under wraps. It’s also not a bad upgrade.

I remember the Deck being compared a lot to the Switch initially. But I don’t think anyone is making that comparison anymore, but if I could – the Deck, like the Switch, got a mid-generation upgrade (even though it feels way too early to say this is middle anything for the Deck) by adding in an OLED screen. Just like the Switch. But that’s where the comparisons end. The Switch just changed out the screen and maybe one or two tiny little differences. The Deck, on the other hand, changed out the screen but lowered the weight, increased the battery life, updated the WiFi, improved the audio, etc. It feels like a better 1.5 than what the Switch did. In fact, it’s a better mid-gen refresh than most anything of what the consoles do.

But I already own a Steam Deck. And I’m fine with that. I’m glad this new version exists and it’s a good sign for whatever’s to come from Valve when they get around to the Deck 2. Although, given how surprising this was, that might be next year, who knows?

I’m almost certain, however, that whenever the Deck 2 releases, we’ll still be waiting on Splinter Cell. Ubisoft, it’s been 3,716 days since a new Splinter Cell game (non-animated series or guest spot in another game franchise, remake, BBC radio drama, or VR exclusive) was released.

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Season 17, Episode 37

First let me say that we had a technical hiccup just before we took our first break. So there’s a hard edit there in the audio and video around 26 or 28 minutes in.

As for the content: it’s mainly about the situation at Bungie that took place this week. I know I don’t play Destiny anymore but missing your expectations by 45 percent is a MASSIVE miss. You miss 10 or 15 and it’s mentioned but not a big deal. You miss nearly half and that raises some eyebrows about how you kinda valued yourself and where that went wrong.

Given what we’ve learned about the whole thing, I’d say management is where it all went wrong. But, unfortunately, management doesn’t get to suffer those consequences.

I don’t know how they’ll go about turning things around. We know the next expansion for Destiny has been pushed to summer of next year while Marathon got moved into 2025. That’s a long way off with near nothing to show in between the time. What will be shown is if Destiny can build the player bases back up and enough that they have something to show, numbers wise, soon after that expansion is released.

I’m not saying the future of Bungie relies on Destiny 2’s performance, but that performance will likely give us some insight on if whatever they’re doing corrected the course of the ship. Even still, just to keep the ship reference going, I doubt it’ll be smooth sailing.

Marathon still has to generate sales and extraction shooters aren’t really blowing up the gaming world like they once were.

Meanwhile, still waiting on Splinter Cell. Ubisoft, it’s been 3,709 days since a new Splinter Cell game (non-animated series or guest spot in another game franchise, remake, BBC radio drama, or VR exclusive) was released.

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Season 17, Episode 36

It seems we’re in a rare area where some games are great no matter where you play.

If you’re on the Switch, you’ve had Zelda most of the year but now Super Mario Wonder is doing amazingly well in sales and the reviews are through the roof. If you’re on the PS5, same thing with Spider-Man 2. If you’re on PC or Xbox or PS5, Alan Wake 2 is there pulling in great reviews also.

Granted those games may not be to everyone’s liking but we just don’t normally have that many heavy hitters so close together where they are all getting such high praise.

As for me, I haven’t played any of them and not sure when I’ll get around to it – I will, however, get around to it though. Especially with Mario Wonder and Spider-Man 2. Not yet sure on Alan Wake 2. I liked the first game but this second one seems to steer further into survival horror – not a genre I’ve had the best of luck with. But that story and storytelling aspect is something I’m looking forward to experiencing so…who knows?

Regardless, I’ve got games to look forward to for later and even beyond given everything that’s out now and I’m still trucking along in Cyberpunk. At this point time and money are my only enemy to gaming. The money to buy them all and the time to play them.

It is honestly a wonderful problem to have. And without Destiny 2 to distract me anymore, I’m looking forward to facing that problem head on.

Maybe this new backlog will take me right up to the release of the new Splinter Cell, whenever that will be. Ubisoft, it’s been 3,702 days since a new Splinter Cell game (non-animated series or guest spot in another game franchise, remake, BBC radio drama, or VR exclusive) was released.

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Season 17, Episode 34

It hasn’t happened to me in a long time, and I can’t really remember the last time it did.

The anticipation for a game’s release being completely shut down just days prior. It might have been Arkham Knight that this last happened but that goes so far back that I’m sure it’s happened between now and then.

I’m speaking of Cities Skylines 2. It’s coming out this week and I’ve been really looking forward to it. Except, well, it might not run so great and reviews already released aren’t raving all that much about it. There’ve been some choice decisions the developers have made – no Steam Workshop mods, and no delaying the games release. They’ve openly come forward to say this thing is probably not going to run well for you but we’re gonna get it out there anyway.

I’m all for transparency, but I’m not sure it was smart to say that but still decide to release. The reviews out now are skewing your aggregate score. And the word of mouth from that and all the news articles about it really aren’t helping.

If the devs give this game the proper love and support they gave the first game, I think we’ll be okay. I just won’t be picking it up until like, 6 months down the road.

City builders are an ever evolving game you play. You start a city and work on it over weeks and weeks and months. As you expand or unlock different building types or services or features, you have to go back and kind of clean up a bit of what you’ve done before. There’s a lot of work and thought that goes into a really well designed city in these games. And if the thing is only half complete or even just 90%, it’s not enough to put all that time into it without the full support of the game behind it.

I take my city builders a bit seriously, in case you can’t tell.

Anyway, I’ll be looking at more reviews and performance vids along with reading a ton of player opinions on forums and what not. I can wait it out – but when the game that pretty much saved the city building genre gets a sequel, hopes are high and the anticipation to play it is great.

But like anything in life, I suppose, patience pays off.

Must mean that the next Splinter Cell is gonna be a banger. Ubisoft, it’s been 3,695 days since a new Splinter Cell game (non-animated series or guest spot in another game franchise, remake, BBC radio drama, or VR exclusive) was released.

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Season 17, Episode 34

Usually, it’s the big fish eating the little fish and that holds true but it feels lately like it’s the big fish eating the big fish. Or at least it’s what we pay attention to.

And I don’t mean us as a show. We always bring it up when studios get bought by other companies or even just close their doors. But this was Microsoft buying Activision. A deal that finally, once and for all, closed this past week. I mean, it’s hard to call them a small fish. And easy to see given it took Microsoft almost two years just to go through the courts to make it happen. Also, 65 BILLION is not money you pay for a smaller fish.

I bring that up because my attention turns to Disney. The really big fish with really big ears is looking to stake a claim in gaming. And why not? They’ve stuck it in pretty much every other medium at this point. And yeah, reports are that the advice being given on how to do that is apparently to make a big splash with a big fish (This fish this is apparently something I’m going to run with here).

And a splash I think they eventually will make. I just don’t know how big it’ll be. Buying someone like EA would be that big splash. Rather than buying a bunch of smaller developers, they could just buy EA and that’ll bring in all manner of developer studios that make all type of different games. You’ll have sports covered, your battle royal covered with Apex Legends because of Respawn and that’s already opened the doors for single player stuff (they’ve already licensed out Star Wars to EA anyway). EA has a lot of studios that would cover a wide spectrum of gaming.

I’m not saying it will or won’t happen, but it wouldn’t surprise me to see Disney make that big splash.

They could always look to buy Ubisoft, but even then I don’t think it would speed up getting a new Splinter Cell. It’s been 3,688 days since a new Splinter Cell game (non-animated series or guest spot in another game franchise, remake, BBC radio drama, or VR exclusive) was released.

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Season 17, Episode 33

Cyberpunk in the sheets and Starfield in the streets.

Pay no attention to the above, I just needed an opening line. So far I’ve spent 15 hours in Starfield and only near 4 in Cyberpunk. And with both I’ve not even begun to scratch the surface of what’s on offer.

Still, I can’t see myself really comparing the two games. And I’m not sure why a lot of people do. They play entirely different, to me. Starfield is a SLOW burn of a game. A walking rpg with some shooty bang thrown in from time to time. Cyberpunk feels the reverse of that (again, so far. It’s early yet for me in both) where you don’t really get the freedom of Starfield but a lot more of the shooty bang.

The only other way I can compare them and it’s on a strictly personal level – I’m having more fun so far playing Cyberpunk than I did playing Starfield. But Starfield’s a whole mood. Like a good cigar and a drink – you plan to be there a while and take your time to soak it in and enjoy. Cyberpunk is…I’m not sure the opposite of that. But it’s go-time all the time in Cyberpunk. And I’m good with that right now. And when I’m not, then Starfield will be there for me.

What isn’t there for me is a new Splinter Cell game. Ubisoft, it’s been 3,681 days since a new Splinter Cell game (non-animated series or guest spot in another game franchise, remake, BBC radio drama, or VR exclusive) was released.

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Season 17, Episode 32

It feels a bit like this year really only got going around May as far as game releases are concerned. It’s early yet but we were thinking of what we might be looking for come the Black Friday sales in November and…it wasn’t a big list?

Looking back at the year it only really seemed to start in May with the Zelda release (but Nintendo doesn’t really do discounts – big ones – ever, much less during the holiday). By the time we get to where we are now there doesn’t seem like there will be many big titles on sale this season.

Nevertheless, we’ll still go over whatever might be offered. Feels like it’s going to be some new but mostly last year titles returning for possibly steeper discounts.

Unless you’re playing on PC and then you just have to roll the dice on something in a steam sale. PC titles do not enjoy the kinds of discounts the console titles get around the Black Friday season. Usually, anyway.

Something that won’t be on sale (because we’re still waiting for it) is a new Splinter Cell game. Ubisoft, it’s been 3,674 days since a new Splinter Cell game (non-animated series or guest spot in another game franchise, remake, BBC radio drama, or VR exclusive) was released.

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Season 17, Episode 31

Last week I wrote that I was merely thinking about picking up Starfield on PC but later on that very same day I wrote that – I bought it.

I’ve sunk 7 hours into the game so far and I’m still on the first moon. I’ve hardly touched the main questline. In fact, I haven’t at all. Once given my first ship, I went to that first moon they send you to and I haven’t touched the main quest there until recently. And even then, I don’t have to finish it or continue on when I do. I can still just…explore. This is something I’m enjoying, so far. It’s far too early in the game to think this will be a rinse and repeat process as I go further, but I’m hoping it isn’t.

Even if it is, Cyberpunk is calling my name. As will many other games still to come this year.

That leak from Microsoft seems to easily confirm what we already knew: Bethesda games will likely be exclusive to them from here on out and if not all of them – the big ones will be. And given Microsoft’s ambition of dream acquisitions, I’d expect that to be the case with all the big studios they buy up. However, I can’t imagine them doing anything any time soon after everything they went through buying Activision. Another big get, by the way, and almost assuredly something that will eventually be exclusive to Xbox & PC. They’re just gonna wait it out before pulling that trigger. And probably look towards a better battle plan for the next company they look at buying. Some of the names on that list, I would imagine, will be a tougher sell for them to own in the eyes of the FTC and what not.

Also, I’m still banned from Destiny.

We’re all banned, however, from playing a new Splinter Cell game. Ubisoft, it’s been 3,667 days since a new Splinter Cell game (non-animated series or guest spot in another game franchise, remake, BBC radio drama, or VR exclusive) was released.

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Season 17, Episode 30

So I put the smallest amount of time into Starfield on Xbox. Turns out I’ve lost any and all skill at first-person shooter games. I mean, the combat was bad for me (combat in game is fine, I just suck at it), but it didn’t even matter if it was combat. Just trying to get the prompt to pick something up or inspect it was terrible for me. The point I’m getting to here is that this will work better for me on PC. And I’ll eventually get there. I just don’t know when and it’s something we discuss in this episode.

Same with my Destiny ban. It’s still there, unlikely to be going away any time soon. I honestly would like the ban lifted, even if I don’t return to the game. It kinda sucks to know you’re “marked” as banned from any game but especially the one you devoted so much time towards. Still, this is probably the best way to break that cycle, I suppose.

As for the news, Nintendo and Sony had some good presentations this week. Regardless of content, I like how they do these things. All games, no filler.

And then there’s Unity. I don’t follow developer news too much. I’m not in that world to know what people use and like and how it all works but their decision to change policy like they did this week seem so out of left field for them. They were one of the good ones, right? See, I don’t know. I just know a LOT of indie devs used them. A lot who can’t afford what this new fee will do to them. The whole thing starts out a bad story and just goes downhill from there, but I highly respect those devs who are calling this out and threatening action if the policy doesn’t change.

I doubt it’ll change until management does.

Something else that never changes – Ubisoft, it’s been 3,660 days since a new Splinter Cell game (non-animated series or guest spot in another game franchise, remake, BBC radio drama, or VR exclusive) was released.

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Season 17, Episode 29

Brooks was here.

I guess a lot can happen in two weeks. We hardly touched on anything that really came about during those two weeks but we did give some time to Starfield. And we’ll likely give it more time in the weeks to come.

In other news, I’m in an interesting position as far as my gaming habits are concerned. I somehow got banned from Destiny 2. I’ve filed an appeal as it is the only action I can actually take in the matter, but I’m sort of stuck. I knew that at some point in the future I would be done with the game. That point was only about a year away really, and it was unknown as to just how it all would end and if I might continue on depending on what was offered after this whole saga wraps up. But now, well, it feels kind of weird not having that available to me anymore. In some ways freeing and in some ways lost.

Yes, I know we’re talking about a video game. That’s part of why I’m not in some sort of rage or sadness over it. If it’s done, it’s done. If they reinstate my account, also good. Not sure I’ll come back if they do, but that all depends on time, I guess. For now, the world’s my oyster with video games, and there’s a ton out there for me to experience.

I will miss it, though. Not so much the game, but playing it with my clan. I think all games that invite teamwork can, over time, build a community and within that community grows relationships and bonds. Helpful strangers become years-long friendships. Moments remembered. Milestones achieved. Over a long enough amount of time, that all becomes a bond. Destiny 2 encouraged that, almost in spite of how horrible a job it did within the game itself. And that brings me back to the community that was born of it. So if there’s sadness or rage, it comes from the loss of that aspect. Not from NOT playing the game. But from missing playing and talking about the game with my friends.

There’s no interesting segue to the signature close of this show post. I can’t and honestly don’t want to connect the two. It’s simply been 3,653 days since a new Splinter Cell game (non-animated series or guest spot in another game franchise, remake, BBC radio drama, or VR exclusive) was released.

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Season 17, Episode 28

I love Max Payne 1 & 2. Absolutely love them. The first was fantastic and the second took it exactly where it needed to go and pulled it off near flawlessly. Then came Max Payne 3.

I just finished that before doing this episode and while I’m not sure the setting and story were Max Payne worthy – the dialogue was spot on near perfection. Just one liner after one liner to the point I wanted a soundboard so I could play a random clip of dialogue from the game to convey whatever I might be feeling at the current moment.

I’ve been having a run on noir-style games at the moment with Max Payne 3 and doing a replay of The Wolf Among Us. Not sure where I’ll go next but the next season of Destiny is right around the corner. For better or worse.

Then comes Starfield.

To quote Max Payne – Time was a luxury I couldn’t afford.

Speaking of time – Ubisoft, it has been 3,632 days since a new Splinter Cell game (non-animated series or guest spot in another game franchise, remake, BBC radio drama, or VR exclusive) was released.

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Season 17, Episode 27

The backlog is on the fire and we are cooking!

I don’t know why that was the first line to come to mind, but…there it is. Point being, I’ve been going back into some old games recently and enjoying them very much. Mostly, I don’t remember playing some of these games. Max Payne 3 I have a few memories of and sometimes during my playthrough it’ll trigger and I’ll have a momentary flash of recognition. It doesn’t last long.

Same with Wolf Among Us. I have one distinct memory of that early on in Episode 1 and…that’s it. Some parts of it seem like a memory or a confusion between other games, but nothing has stuck, really. And the same goes for LA Noire. Near a total blank there and I actually wrote a review of the game way back in 2013. Or earlier.

It’s fun to revisit old games that you enjoyed. And even more so when your memory is so shot you sort of experience them again for the first time – a second time. Then again, there’s plenty over the years I haven’t played and I’m looking forward to those as well (I’m looking at you Control & Titanfall 2).

But I’m absolutely not looking at Red Dead Redemption’s Switch/PS4 port.

Speaking of old games – Ubisoft, it has been 3,625 days since a new Splinter Cell game (non-animated series or guest spot in another game franchise, remake, BBC radio drama, or VR exclusive) was released.