Season 16, Episode 27

A few weeks back I nostalgically spoke of the console wars. The ol’ Microsoft versus Sony thing we all did way back when and what some still do. It was always a clash, but it was one that took place in a court of public opinion or one we measured with sales and popularity or game titles available or even to the point of comparing the guts of the machines to who was better.

Side note: just to be clear on this, the one that is better is the one you pick. Nothing else matters. That’s the one you wanted for the reasons you wanted it and it’s the best and we’re all in agreement.

What we rarely had and almost never get are these companies actually calling each other out. Apparently, it took something like “Call Of Duty” to make that happen. We go over the whole thing here in a segment of the show and it’s rather long and PR/Boardroom speak, but the gist is there: Sony’s afraid Microsoft’s ownership of Call Of Duty and its likely appearance on GamePass will hurt Sony’s console sales. Microsoft argues otherwise but also goes on to point out that Sony’s deals for exclusivity with third party developers does the same thing. Sony has yet to respond to that (as far as I know), but I’m curious what they will say if they do.

I know I’ve said that competition like this is only good for one group of people and that’s you and me, the consumers, but unless this forces a hand of some sort on either side, it’s just two companies sparring in released statements that likely will result in…nothing.

By the way, I don’t think Sony has an argument here. I’m not saying either side is right or wrong, but I think when your competition finds an advantage or opportunity, then you’ve got to adjust to counter it.

Better yet, whoever gets Ubisoft to make another Splinter Cell game is the winner in my book…because it has been 3,273 days since the last Splinter Cell game (non-animated series or guest spot in another game franchise, remake, or VR exclusive).


Season 16, Episode 26

The sky’s the limit..

Been quite a while since I’ve started something new. On a large scale, I suppose. I’ve poked around some small indie titles here and there or played some demos but haven’t really set off on a large scale new game in awhile. And while No Man’s Sky isn’t new, it is to me. Also, it’s probably considered indie as well. Hmm…maybe this isn’t any different.

It’s really weird starting something like this. The game kinda throws you in the deep end right off the bat, but if you don’t like where you start, you just start over. It’s all completely random. It feels like Space Minecraft. And while Minecraft is vast and huge and random, you’re stuck on the world you start with. I mean, if you don’t like it you can start fresh on a random new world, but with No Man’s Sky, if I don’t like the planet I’m on I can restart, sure, but I can also get in my spaceship and fly to another planet.

And while Minecraft has a randomly generated playfield, the things that inhabit that playfield are the same as any other. No Man’s Sky randomizes EVERYTHING. There’s a 99% chance the animals and plants I’ve discovered on my planet will never show up again on any other planet. Course, I’m only 3 hours into the game so maybe I’m completely wrong, but I think that’s how it works.

We could do a full commercial-free 2 hour show on this one game alone and its history. It’s kind of an amazing thing and maybe one day we’ll run down the timeline of how this game launched, failed (to meet expectations), and redeemed itself.

Here I am explaining a game that came out in 2016. Strange how new it feels.

Speaking of 2016, the last Splinter Cell game was released 3 years prior to that…Ubisoft it’s been 3,266 days since the last Splinter Cell game (non-animated series or guest spot in another game franchise, remake, or VR exclusive).


Season 16, Episode 25

Begun, the console war has…

I don’t remember when I stopped caring about the “Console Wars”, but at some point I did. Likely when I was able to afford all the systems so I could cover all grounds of whatever was released. I can remember as a kid in school getting the magazines that covered E3 months after it took place. Before then, you could only rely on that one friend who had a cousin whose brother had an uncle who “worked for Nintendo”.

I never really cared who won E3. It was all marketing, anyway. In the end, the consumer won. And that was due to competition. So yeah, while I don’t care for console wars anymore, I’m more than happy to let the companies enjoy that battle. It only means better things for us, as players.

I don’t know where the future of our hobby is going in relation to the consoles. I feel like something modular may come along. Something PC-ish. You buy the base and then add-on and remove for upgrades and stuff. Game development takes a long time (the big stuff, anyway), and it seems as of late we get one game from a franchise per generation. That wasn’t always the case but the more advanced we get in our games the longer these things take to make. Not even speaking of the money and people involved in making them happen.

You might think companies wouldn’t switch to a format that actually saves the consumer money, but I don’t know if that’s the drive anymore. I mean, yeah, they want our money but they want it over and over again. In a shorter period of time rather than once every 5 years or so. They know asking for $500 every year is a hard get, but if they space it out over time, maybe we’ll pay.

Not sure how that’ll work.

Anyway, I’m going to go see what’s new on Gamepass and PS+ Extra Premium.

Speaking of getting a franchise once a generation/decade/century…Ubisoft it’s been 3,259 days since the last Splinter Cell game (non-animated series or guest spot in another game franchise, remake, or VR exclusive).


Season 16, Episode 24

Sometimes…well, most times, really, games will get a lot of hype, then release to some very underwhelming reception from reviews, the public, or any number of different things. Point being, it doesn’t live up to the hype. Maybe it gets patched. Maybe things get fixed, but the taste has already soured and there’s little hope for redemption until the studio makes a new game or they release a sequel.

Then there’s No Man’s Sky. A game with a tremendous amount of hype and promise that absolutely failed on release. The backlash from everyone was tremendous and, at the time, I’d say it was warranted. And to be clear, I don’t mean the hateful backlash – the kind involving death threats and just the horrible things thrown their way for not being the game that was promised. I’m talking about the criticism of the game and even to the point of comparing the talking points given from the developers to what was actually released.

Except, if you did that now, you’d be underselling the game. They brought in everything they promised and a whole big bag of things they never even mentioned way back when. No Man’s Sky is now the game the developers always wanted it to be and even more so, it continues to grow and evolve.

It is one of the more impressive redemption arcs in gaming that we’ve probably ever seen. Given the flak, they really shouldn’t have survived but they kept going and, even better, the audience received them. They didn’t abandon the game and with the quality of life changes and improvements made, they brought in more people. Even now they are being compared with something like Starfield – a massive game from a major studio with likely hundreds of people working on it and being compared to this little studio of less than 50 people who made a game 6 years ago that still impresses, improves, and, apparently, inspires.

What’s not inspiring? Well…Ubisoft it’s been 3,252 days since the last Splinter Cell game (non-animated series or guest spot in another game franchise, remake, or VR exclusive).


Season 16, Episode 23

Somehow we managed to hit every single news story we’d planned on this episode and that’s pretty surprising since we mostly don’t stick to that with how far off track we get. Not something we mind, really.

I do realize, however, that given we did that, it makes writing these a bit tough since we don’t stay on a topic too long.

I decided to pass on getting the Steam Deck. My invite has expired by the time you read this. As said in the show, I love the idea of it. I love what it does and I’m even more in love with what it has the potential to become. And that…is what I’m waiting for. I understand that with all things PC related, waiting is somewhat futile. There will forever and always be something better not too far down the road so if there’s a Version 2 of this thing, that’s likely when I’ll jump on. As it stands now the thing isn’t broken, but I feel like there’s a lot of room for improvement with another iteration of the device.

The Nintendo Switch is the closest comparison I can make to owning a portable gaming system and…I just don’t use it. Granted, my PC library far outshines my Switch library and likely always will. Not to mention the Steam Deck will most likely have massive backwards compatibility, right? I mean, it’s a PC. Anyway, I’ll wait for the next version or get one used with a steep discount if I’m unable to wait or they just never make one (jury’s still out on that one with their hardware history).

Speaking of a company making a follow up product…Ubisoft it’s been 3,245 days since the last Splinter Cell game (non-animated series or guest spot in another game franchise, remake, or VR exclusive).


Season 16, Episode 22

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before.

Ubisoft recently showed more of Skull & Bones. It’s their very-late-to-the-party grasp on one of the best parts of a previous Assassin’s Creed game – being a Pirate. Thing is, they showed this to us 5 years ago, or at least announced it. Most of the news we got after that showing 5 years ago was…nothing. Most considered it dead. I think we may have gotten reports of it being completely scrapped and then starting over. Who knows?

This week they finally showed us more of the game. I don’t think it’s bad. I don’t really have anything to compare it to from what we were shown years ago, but something feels off about it. Maybe that 5 years was enough to come down from the hype or something. Maybe Sea Of Thieves scratched that itch (even with the very short amount of time I put into it).

But something…isn’t there.

If you go back even further, Ubisoft sort of did something like this before but in reverse. WatchDogs had an amazing teaser reveal at E3. Then we got delay after delay with nothing really to show for it. When it finally did show back up many many more months later (maybe it was a year, I can’t remember), the game had drastically changed just from the appearance. Gameplay had been tweaked a bit from what was shown and, in general, it was going backwards rather than forwards in all manners of development.

I’m not passing judgment yet on Skull & Bones. There’s apparently more video of gameplay out there that I have yet to watch and likely more to be revealed later on too, so I’ll give it more time. I’m anxious to see more and I really want to like it, but it’s not there yet for me.

Speaking of being anxious to see more, Ubisoft it’s been 3,238 days since the last Splinter Cell game (non-animated series or guest spot in another game franchise, remake, or VR exclusive).


Season 16, Episode 21

It’s been tough for a lot of people these past few days. And it’s only the beginning of just how tough it is going to get.

This little show seems awfully trivial given the way of the world right now.

We hope you’re okay.

E3 Episodes

Season 16, Episode 20

Too much is not enough…

I remember when I was younger I had it in my mind that more was better. If the movie trailer was longer it was great cause you saw more of the movie you wanted to see. If the TV program was longer you got more of the show you wanted to see. If this company’s E3 presentation was scheduled for 2 hours instead of 90 minutes then you got more games to see.

What I didn’t notice then but do now, is that the longer your show is, and we’re strictly speaking of video game reveals and stuff here, the more I’m going to forget than remember. There’s probably some study about memory retention and how it all works in the process of marketing but the more they showed this past week, the more I forgot.

And to be clear, you can have a 90 minute presentation and show a good chunk of maybe 7 games or so, and I’d be fine with that. I can probably hold onto about 7 titles. But as it stands with Microsoft, I can tell you maybe 3. Possibly 4, I guess, but the shows of other studios and publishers start to mix in and I can’t remember what I saw where. Devolver Digital was, I think, maybe 45 minutes. I can tell you almost ALL of their reveals.

This isn’t an argument for or against the old E3 to come back or to keep it the way it was this year. Nothing like that. E3 or not, I like the idea of companies doing their own presentations and scattering them across the months. The State Of Plays that Sony does is a good example of this. As are the Nintendo Directs. They usually have a focus and they keep it concise with usually about a 30 minute runtime and you see maybe 5 to 7 titles. It works, and I’m usually pretty good at remembering what was shown.

Like that one time Ubisoft showed off Splinter Cell Blacklist. Yeah, it’s been 3,224 days since the last Splinter Cell game (non-animated series or guest spot in another game franchise, remake, or VR exclusive).

E3 Episodes

Season 16, Episode 19

Life moves pretty fast…

This whole Summer Games Fest and Not-E3 thing has kind of surprised me. Well, it’s mostly me, I think. It seems to have come and gone with very little fanfare that I can tell. But, again, maybe that’s me just not paying attention. But it feels like the hype train was little more than a hype trolley, I suppose. I’m not sure, but it feels like there was very little leading up to this (it came kind of out of the blue for me thinking it would be later in the summer or AFTER the Microsoft thing), and there was also very little to come after it.

This isn’t a call for E3 to return, even though I know it will. Just…something felt off about it this year. Lack of leaks, lack of big reveals and more just giving us extra information of things we already knew were coming. It’s not a disappointment, really, because I had no expectations, but what we got seems…slim. Small. Nothing has built up hype.

That isn’t to say we didn’t get some looks at some interesting titles. There were a ton of games thrown at us over the course of a few days with more to come, and what I’ve seen so far is some great stuff. Most of that comes from the indie side of things with the smaller games showing off some big swing for the fences type of innovation or creativity. I’ve seen quite a large number of puzzle games and platformers along with a whole slew of life sims (Stardew Valley, Animal Crossing type games) that have all caught my eye. Not so much with the AAA titles. Yes, they look good and are sparking my interests but you’re not showing me much of the game it seems, and by that I mean actual gameplay.

We’ll likely be back here again next weekend saying more of the same depending on how next week (and specifically today, Sunday, goes with the Microsoft presentation). I guess the good thing about not having an E3 means it doesn’t contain itself within a few days of one single week in June. Now, we have all summer for ANYTHING to pop up. Companies can do their own thing whenever they want.

In that way, it’s almost always E3.

E3 or not, we’ll still be disappointed because…Ubisoft, it’s been 3,217 days since the last Splinter Cell game (non-animated series or guest spot in another game franchise, remake, or VR exclusive).


Season 16, Episode 18

We all have our styles we like when it comes to many different things such as movies, music, entertainment of all kinds, really. And it’s the same with video games. Racing, Puzzles, and adventure type games are my thing. Fighting games, shmups, Souls styles are in RJ’s wheelhouse.

I’ve never come away from a Final Fantasy game trailer with excitement or interest. They aren’t my style. And there’s 16 of those things (or will come next year). But here I am after seeing the trailer for the 16th game in the series and I’m extremely excited to see more. But I’m skeptical. Final Fantasy was never a genre or series or whatever that I’ve ever been interested in. It’s never taken hold. I’ve tried a few in the past but those only interested me because there was nothing else at the time, or everyone else was enjoying it so I gave it a try, but yeah – nothing ever stuck.

However, this is the first time I’ve looked at one of their trailers and had interest for more. And having watched it again during this episode, I’m still cautious. I need to see more. Gameplay mostly because I can’t tell what’s gameplay and what isn’t from the trailer but it’s got me hooked. I need more. I understand it might throw me off this hype train or suddenly kill my interests but…that’s kind of what I’m aiming for. If this is genuine, then I need to see as much as I can to make sure, warts and all. So I’ll be looking out for more media of that game. And there’s plenty of time for that to happen since we have a release of “Summer 2023” according to the trailer from this past week.

Want to know what IS NOT coming out in the “Summer 2023”…Ubisoft, it’s been 3,210 days since the last Splinter Cell game (non-animated series or guest spot in another game franchise, remake, or VR exclusive).


Season 16, Episode 17

Wish in one hand…

It sucks to know there were TWO opportunities to get something you wanted from a developer, and from both you end up getting nothing you were hoping for.

It’s early as hell to pass judgment, I suppose, but Gotham Knights isn’t pulling me in so far and Suicide Squad has been off my radar since the first showing (and subsequent showings haven’t helped). Both games come from studios that did previous Batman games and both studios are working on DC/Batman properties but NOT the way they previously did. I mean, I’m all for new things because maybe it gives us something else that’s great, but both games looked to have missed that mark for me. Watching both of them and all I’m left thinking is that at least ONE of these studios could have given us just another Batman game.

It’s a tough call. Developers are a creative bunch and working on the same thing everytime a new project comes their way has to get boring after a while. As soon as you finish the first game, you come back to work ready to work on the second and then third and forever how long it goes. Which is why I’m also fine when another studio comes in to work on that second or third game in the series while the main team works on new stuff.

I suppose I should just be grateful that Rocksteady, who did three Batman games back to back to back, didn’t come back to work and Warner Bros. said to get to work on the next Batman. Cause that would have been an easy rut to get into from them and it was making WB the money, so kudos to them for being able to break the chain (even though they’re still stuck doing DC character games).

Regardless of what we get in the future, I think a return to the Batman style games will be a lot shorter than the 3,196 days since the last Splinter Cell game (non-animated series or guest spot in another game franchise, remake, or VR exclusive).


Season 16, Episode 16

If I had 300 million dollars…

We’re only 4 months into the year (working on our 5th) and studios are getting bought and sold A LOT. Maybe this goes on a lot and it’s not as big a deal or it’s smaller companies that it happens to, but this year has been a bit different with the big names buying the big names. Sony and Bungie. Microsoft and Activision. And the thing about these acquisitions are the price tags. It’s in the billions. Lots of billions.

Then Square Enix sells off 3 development studios with a pretty big caliber of franchises under their belts (also thrown into the sale as well) and it’s 300 million! Do you know just how many opening titles I’ve come up with for this post on this premise alone. Nearly 300 million. Because in a corporate world of billions being thrown around, this 300 million price tag is the sale of the century.

As interesting as that price tag is, it’s more interesting to me that something great may come of this. Square wasn’t doing anyone any favors with how they looked at success. We never could figure it out ourselves but they made 3 Tomb Raider games while feeling like the first one was a failure. How we ever got 2 more (great games, by the way) with another on the way, I’ll never know. But now that franchise and others are in the hands of a different company. Who might actually do something with their properties. And one of those, my friends, is the Legacy Of Kain series.

300 million for a new Legacy Of Kain? Sold.

Somebody buy Ubisoft, it’s been 3,182 days since the last Splinter Cell game (non-animated series or guest spot in another game franchise, remake, or VR exclusive).


Season 16, Episode 15

I still miss the blade UI.

Sometimes nostalgia gets me. Most times, actually, but that depends on the subject. Gaming almost always works, though. Be it through rose tinted glasses or a scowl of regret, I have memories of things being not as bad as I remember them and others that make me wonder why I was so drawn to it to begin with.

The subject this time was the old Xbox Live Arcade. It was a different time then and we waited with anticipation of what would hit the Arcade shelf next. We’d get rumors of a remaster or just some old game being ported to the Arcade and we were there for it. In the early days of the program there wasn’t a single one of you there that didn’t play UNO for hours. And then again when the webcam came into play. Then it was poker and 1 Vs 100 and old arcade classics or sequels to them. Not to mention a few board games that were ported to the arcade and became weeknight traditions in some circles.

We couldn’t wait to shell out the $15 or so most of those titles cost back then. Today I don’t think we’d consider paying $5 to enjoy them. Can’t put a price on nostalgia though, right?

In any case, we’ve moved on to wondering what old game we played back in the day will be offered to us free through Gamepass or, now, PS Plus Premium Plus Plus Extreme (the other topic idea I had for this post).

Meanwhile…Ubisoft, it’s been 3,175 days since the last Splinter Cell game (non-animated series or guest spot in another game franchise, remake, or VR exclusive).


Season 16, Episode 14

Did you just double-dip?

I recently picked up the three Rocksteady developed Batman games for the Xbox. Hey, WB, Arkham Origins could use a remaster release or something. It’s a good title amongst the three and well worth being included in the “trilogy” (which wouldn’t make it a trilogy, I know).

Anyway, it brought to mind the subject of double dipping. We’ve talked about it before. Either it’s just a game you want to revisit and need to get it on the current console you may have (my reason for these Batman games) or maybe it’s just to show support (all the Burnout copies I own on all systems).

Depending on your collection of games, it may be hard to figure out what you have and what you don’t. But, not only that, WHERE you may have it also. Is it on PC or console? And if it’s on console then which one and which version of that one. In looking at these Batman games I remembered I never actually owned them on an Xbox system (unless it was included in the free games with gold thing). I picked them up on PS3 for some exclusive content and just stuck with that system through the games.

So, here’s my question to you in this post: is there an app, website, etc, that can help keep track of your gaming library? I’d imagine something where you can log into all of your gaming accounts and it can pull from there on what you have played at least so you’d know, at one point, you played that game on that system.

If there isn’t one, there should be. And just make it easy on us. Some of us are drowning in game titles from over the years (thanks mainly to Steam sales, and free games from the console side of things).

Meanwhile…Ubisoft, it’s been 3,168 days since the last Splinter Cell game (non-animated series or guest spot in another game franchise, remake, or VR exclusive).


Season 16, Episode 13

In The Not Too Distant Future..

I used to love speculating on what might be coming out in the future as far as video games are concerned. It was fun to think about what might be shown during E3 presentations or any of these Nintendo, Sony, Microsoft streams that only tell you WHEN they take place but not what they’ll show you.

I kinda stopped that a long time ago, however. Now, if they give hints or something, sure, that part is fun. But just being vague or what not, I don’t really think about it that much. Even for this show, I’ll come across a headline saying something like “Sony’s scheduled a stream for X date.” Well, okay then. I may let you know that’s happening but usually I’ll just wait until it does to talk about it. More information to work with at that point really and you aren’t throwing rumors out there to the audience.

Then you have things like the Nvidia leak we talk about near the end of this episode. Someone has already done the speculation for you in this case. And that’s fun to think about and now even more fun considering some of those things have actually come to pass in the recent months (and just last week in the case of Kingdom Hearts 4).

Most of the time things like this just feel like fan service. Take a game and put a number at the end of it (or the word “Remastered”). There you go, a rumor is born. None of it means much of anything though until it’s announced and that’s usually where I point my attention.

Announce it, and then we’ll talk. Otherwise, we’re just disappointing ourselves wondering when we’ll get the next Splinter Cell (oddly enough NOT on the Nvidia leak, by the way).

Which brings me to…Ubisoft, it’s been 3,161 days since the last Splinter Cell game (non-animated series or guest spot in another game franchise, remake, or VR exclusive).