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And now we’re on the other side of E3 with…well, not much to show for it. At least not until Spring of next year it seems. We open the show talking about this, but there was VERY little shown of gameplay or games that are coming out this actual year. Thankfully Nintendo was there at the end of the press conferences to just have a knock out performance of a presentation.

I’m curious of some alternate universe where Sony was at E3 this year and what, if anything, would have changed. Probably nothing, if I think about it. Just more footage of games coming out next year, but Sony’s usually way more involved in showing actual gameplay – pre-recorded if not live even.

We don’t get around to nearly everything we’d planned to talk about coming out of the week that was, but we’ll carry it over to next week. Can’t pass up talking about that whole Shenmue 3 exclusivity situation, now can we?

 

As it is every year at this time: Happy E3!

The conferences start today, Sunday, and will continue on into Tuesday when E3 starts proper. Though who cares about that? We want our press conferences and our game trailers. What we REALLY want is gameplay and dates and prices. What we’ll get are teases, CG trailers, recorded demos that are “played live”, and tons of cringe. Don’t forget the cringe.

That’s maybe a jaded way of looking at it, and an exaggeration as well, but it happens. Things feel a bit different this year without Sony. Not that it makes it any less exciting, but there’s a gap to be sure.

We’ll see you next Saturday on the other side of E3.

 

We had a lot to catch up on from the past two weeks and we apparently get to every single thing we wanted to cover in the show. That’s good, because next week is the Pre-just-right-before-the-E3 show. Seriously, we do the show Saturday and press conferences start on Sunday.

Speaking of E3, they’re doing panels this year? I’ve only suddenly come to realize this and I actually love the idea. I don’t know that it’ll do anything to help E3, but it can’t hurt. And live streamed panels are a fantastic way to get word out from smaller developers and publishers, plus I can revisit them if I can’t catch them live – which is almost always since E3 is in the middle of the week. We’ll see how it pans out, but I’m actually kind of looking forward to that aspect.

I also look forward to Ubisoft disappointing me, YET AGAIN, with a Splinter Cell no show.

 

I kind of feel guilty when I talk about Destiny. Mainly because I talk about it so much already on the show. Even in this episode I spend more time than I would have liked discussing the changes they’ve announced. But when you put all that time into a game and then start feeling like you’re done with it, you kinda wanna talk about why. Because this isn’t a “it’s not you, it’s me” situation. This is totally on Bungie and what they plan to do for the next season.

I mean look, I’ll still play it after the changes. Mainly to see if what they’ve done is something I could still play through. And if it is, then congrats to them for changing my mind. Because right now my mind is set on leaving this whole thing if these changes don’t work out.

I’m understanding now what others have said before about leaving the game because all the fun was drained from it. These changes look exactly like they saw people enjoying the game at a rate they weren’t comfortable with and over corrected.

If something is being used so much in the game (and have been for well on over a year now or close to it), it isn’t because it’s overpowered, especially not in the PvE aspect of the game. It’s being used so much because people are having fun using it.

Instead, Bungie the fun police want you to play the game THEIR way. Not your way.

 

It’s those slow weeks leading up to E3. News trickles. Or at the very least, things get announced or teased with the promise of more to be revealed at E3.

Ubisoft opened the doors on a new Ghost Recon. In my dreams they did this to save room for a Splinter Cell tease at E3, but…that’s why they call them “dreams”.

The schedule has been set for E3 press conferences and it seems a little less each year. No EA and no Sony, but yet, we’ve been promised gameplay and more for the new Star Wars title, and Sony has to push Last Of Us 2 and other things they’ve teased in their “Days Of Play”. When and how is up in the air, but this year will feel different. And I wonder if it will again change next year as more and more studios and publishers realize that E3 just doesn’t work anymore.

Gone are the days of video game magazines (yes, a select few still exist), and even other ways of getting our information since then. It’s immediate now. There’s no need for something like E3 anymore. Things like PAX, sure. But events like E3, where the public is, for the most part, blocked off from attending – that’s dying. And I’m speaking of the show floor. A lot of people relate E3 to the press conferences and those ARE NOT a part of E3. With the show floor itself you’re going through a third party to get your information to the public. You don’t have to do that anymore. You can get it DIRECTLY to the public and do it immediately.

You don’t need E3. We don’t need E3.

 

I’m just gonna apologize right now for the majority of this episode. Well, the second hour anyway. I think I went on a little long with my rant on the future of free to play and games as a service type of stuff. I looked way ahead into a future I’m pretty sure is coming eventually, but went on WAY too long about it. Still, it’s bleak AF.

Epic did another thing to really ruffle the feathers of gamers this week. If you are a PC player of Rocket League, I’m really curious as to your thoughts on the matter. We had no one call in about it and I’ve really spoken to no one I know who plays it on PC that has an opinion on this issue, but I’m extremely curious of how you feel about the situation. For me, having no dog in the fight, it’s a pretty big business move and it makes me wonder what other moves Epic has in store for…their store.

As someone in my 80’s once said on Monday night…everybody’s got a price. If you’re someone against the Epic store, what’s your price? What game exclusive do they buy that makes you eventually give in and use their store?

 

Just so you know, we get it out of the way up front at the beginning of the episode but I’ll also say it here. We don’t talk about Avengers Endgame in this episode. We mention it in the beginning only to say nothing will be brought up. Even if we did, we wouldn’t spoil anything but just to be VERY clear, we don’t talk about it. At all. You’re safe.

What you aren’t safe from, apparently, is tuberculosis. We never played far enough in the game or did things right to have that happen to us. But, as our caller informs us, it can happen and even with tuberculosis, it’s still a great game. You may already know the game we’re talking about but we’ll leave it to you to find out.

While I know in this episode and previous I’ve only really ever had one game to mention that I’ve been playing, that changed after this episode and even today. So be prepared for something different next week when that topic comes up.

 

What’s old is new again. Actually what was dead is now alive. Fitting for Easter, I suppose. Even when talking about a video game. In case you weren’t aware, City Of Heroes was a BIG, and I cannot stress this enough, BIG impact on every one of us on IGC. Not just the current cast but from the past as well. We all played it. And we all played it together. For me, it was my first MMO. And it fit right into my wheelhouse of comic books and superheroes.

Earlier this week the world found out the game was still running for a small number of people. Then, the unthinkable happened, the people playing that game opened it up to anyone and everyone. And for the first time since 2012, I was playing City Of Heroes again. Only for maybe 5 minutes before the server shut down for a reboot, but I was there. And I can go back.

And I will go back. Not trying to capture the lightning once more, but just to visit an old friend and place we once called home.

 

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.