Stolen Pixels #257: The Electronic Artists

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And here my friends is the Truth about how ALL VIDEO GAME DEVELOPERS SEE THE CONSUMER.

The first picture (frame?) made me really LOL

But honestly Shamus, IMHO you're (intentionally?) misunderstanding what EA and Bioware have been saying. It doesn't sound to me like ME3 will be any less of an RPG than ME2 was. But time will tell I suppose.

Actually Shamus, you're a bigger asshole drawing conclusions without any conclusive facts leading to said conclusions.
It comes off as a fanboy crying because they think they can't have their favorite ball.
I honestly wouldn't have any problem with this if you didn't immediatly pass judgement before thinking things through (kind of like a certain article you wrote on ME2's story where 95% of the things you wrote were wrong).

Warachia:
Actually Shamus, you're a bigger asshole drawing conclusions without any conclusive facts leading to said conclusions.
It comes off as a fanboy crying because they think they can't have their favorite ball.
I honestly wouldn't have any problem with this if you didn't immediatly pass judgement before thinking things through (kind of like a certain article you wrote on ME2's story where 95% of the things you wrote were wrong).

That's a bit harsh. Are you actually trying to incite moderator wrath?

I read that article on ME2's plot. Shamus did make a couple of mistakes but I thought the gist of his article was spot on. Just saying.

Ephraim J. Witchwood:
Still gonna be great.

Quit crying, people. At least until you've actually played it.

If the developers of Max Payne said Max Payne 2 would not focus on story then I would be pissed and rightfully so.

In E.A's defense, I don't believe by shifting I.P they are rewriting it for mass appeal, rather finding existing elements they can use to bring in a wider audience, I.E : This plot is cool, it would make a great novel we don't have time to address in a full on game.

The whole shooter/rpg thing is also too much of a blanket statement. You're viewing shooter and rpg as too very separate, disparate things, black and white as games.

I believe Mass Effect is striving to create something new which isn't a shooter or rpg, but has elements of both. From what I've read of three, they are bringing the A.I up to the level of other 3rd person shooter titles. The changes to customisation seem unique in a way which won't turn the game into a under the hood numberfest with your character needing to loot every level for your inventory.

It's a long shot, but from reading the articles of those who have played it, Mass Effect 3 looks like it could redefine gaming.

Warachia:
Actually Shamus, you're a bigger asshole drawing conclusions without any conclusive facts leading to said conclusions.
It comes off as a fanboy crying because they think they can't have their favorite ball.
I honestly wouldn't have any problem with this if you didn't immediatly pass judgement before thinking things through (kind of like a certain article you wrote on ME2's story where 95% of the things you wrote were wrong).

Or you know it could come off as being really confused as to why a prominent RPG developer, one of the biggest as well, wants to start making shooter games the likes of which we have all seen a million times in favour of having RPG elements, has people in management LYING to either us or investors, making them liars either way and statements about trying to reacha wider audience, which at this point is stupid because by the third game your audience has already been firmly established, you won't get more.

But you know the fanboy argument works as well.... if your stupid

Gralian:

Er, no.

Let's start on the most basic, fundamental level. Those games are FIRST person shooters. Mass Effect is a THIRD person shooter. Got that? Good.

Now, please, tell me in what possible way any of those games can compare to the lore, story, characterisation and universe of Mass Effect? Are you seriously trying to tell me that Half-Life, Crysis and Brink (a game that doesn't even really have a single player component) can possibly compare to the world of Mass Effect? Good freaking lord.

You're basically saying that "You're not good enough to enjoy what we enjoy because you refuse to accept combat mechanics. Go back to more simplistic games, because what you want is trivial and less important than what we want." Does that not strike you as terribly self-centered?

Are you honestly trying to tell me that you didn't think the original Mass Effect's combat was cumbersome? The reason ME2 had to change to be more fast paced, is that you can't do it half and half. You either have to make it properly turn based or make it free fast paced action. Let me give you an example. Remember Knights of the Old Republic? Well, the way guns were handled in that, were that you would simply target the enemy to attack, and then your character would spend forever aiming and then auto-attacking with a single shot, and the enemy would do the same and it operated just like an MMO style fight, complete with skills in the hotbar for things like "rapid fire" which had cooldowns. That's great, i have no problems with that, because it's a one hundred percent RPG system. But if you try to mesh it with live action, it becomes horribly bogged down under its own weight. Pointless engagements that lasted far longer than they should because it's all based on numbers rather than specific tropes of location specific damage and damage types in the form of ammunition that was specifically useful in each given situation. Not only that, but regardless of your stance on the "Roleplaying Shooter", the inventory system was, i'm sorry to say, a terrible mess that was easily cluttered and far too reliant on the player to act as a janitor to clean out the junk every time you cleared a room. No-one wants to be doing that. Getting gear is nice, but it shouldn't be a chore to sort out your shit after every single engagement. With ME2, you had no junk, and the few times you did get a new gun or armour it felt like a meaningful upgrade and was readily accessible. No need to compare stats or sift through a lofty inventory with items that may or may not be useful.

I think you are conflating my distaste for RPG combat mechanics with other elements of the RPG genre such as narrative and storytelling and i think it speaks volumes about you if you think for one second that the story told in something like Mass Effect can even remotely compare to something as trivial as "homefront" and other games you listed and i think it says even more about you when you try to push other gamers away who are dissatisfied with certain aspects of other things they might enjoy and say "Why don't you entertain your simple mind with something else instead, this isn't for you".

Are you saying that uncharted doesn't exist or gears of war or metriod prime.
Half life 2 and brothers in arms had a better story than me2.
ME1 was perfect except two things. 1. The cover system was way too wonky. 2. Too much mako
ME2 took away choice. Imagine how powerful Jack would be if she wore armor.

ME3 has a chance to stand out and all you want it is be be like every other game out there.

Guy Jackson:

Warachia:
Actually Shamus, you're a bigger asshole drawing conclusions without any conclusive facts leading to said conclusions.
It comes off as a fanboy crying because they think they can't have their favorite ball.
I honestly wouldn't have any problem with this if you didn't immediately pass judgement before thinking things through (kind of like a certain article you wrote on ME2's story where 95% of the things you wrote were wrong).

That's a bit harsh. Are you actually trying to incite moderator wrath?

I read that article on ME2's plot. Shamus did make a couple of mistakes but I thought the gist of his article was spot on. Just saying.

I'm not trying to incite moderator wrath, I just hate it when people don't give something a chance because they've made their minds up before hand (for big offenders, see Movie Bob), the articles that were written talk about changing aspects of the game, and immediately people assume it is going to be changing into something else altogether without even giving Bioware a chance to show what they mean.
You're right in that I was too harsh, but I'd also like to point out I was no harsher than his article. I like some stuff Shamus writes, which is why I get extra disappointed when I see biased articles.

bootz:
Are you saying that uncharted doesn't exist or gears of war or metriod prime.
Half life 2 and brothers in arms had a better story than me2.
ME1 was perfect except two things. 1. The cover system was way too wonky. 2. Too much mako
ME2 took away choice. Imagine how powerful Jack would be if she wore armor.

ME3 has a chance to stand out and all you want it is be be like every other game out there.

I must have missed the RPG elements that drove HL2, Uncharted, and Metroid Prime, I must have missed how giving only the best of something available was a conscious player customization choice, I must have missed how "Every other game out there" was also a third person shooter that takes place in a galactic setting, with many races, interacting with one another in the face of an oncoming threat. (I won't go into story as that is more of a personal preference.)
Just because something is similar to something, in no way does that make it identical.

AsurasFinest:

Warachia:
Actually Shamus, you're a bigger asshole drawing conclusions without any conclusive facts leading to said conclusions.
It comes off as a fanboy crying because they think they can't have their favorite ball.
I honestly wouldn't have any problem with this if you didn't immediatly pass judgement before thinking things through (kind of like a certain article you wrote on ME2's story where 95% of the things you wrote were wrong).

Or you know it could come off as being really confused as to why a prominent RPG developer, one of the biggest as well, wants to start making shooter games the likes of which we have all seen a million times in favour of having RPG elements, has people in management LYING to either us or investors, making them liars either way and statements about trying to reacha wider audience, which at this point is stupid because by the third game your audience has already been firmly established, you won't get more.

But you know the fanboy argument works as well.... if your stupid

So we'd rather be having RPG's that we've already seen a million times before? Honestly, I liked Dragon Age, but it was really only the best generic storyline. I thought the whole point of the ME series was to make shooter games the likes of which we haven't seen before (which seems to be working well enough). It was already explained in a previous argument that you CANNOT have a halfway point between shooter and RPG, the closer you are, the less the gameplay will flow.
Also, it isn't under the control of a company if the company managing them starts lying about their game, and I wasn't using the fanboy argument, I just said you shouldn't jump to an immediately biased mindset based on very little information.

Am i the only one here who thinks mass effect 2 was an improvement from the first one
i have faith in bioware and Hudson as they're always talking about what the fans want
if EA try to make to much of a change, Hudson has just got to say NO

I'm not really seeing the appeal of 'gee, I wonder what happens when I add 20 to this skill instead of that one.' Weapon mods and ammo were kind of fun, but the way you got them was clumsy and boring. Having a million different weapons that all did essentially the same things didn't add anything to mass effect 1. It absolutely needed streamlining. Having a choice between disruption ammo and inferno ammo is cool. That's a cool choice. Picking up various qualities of disruption ammo 30 times and selling it or converting it to omni-gel isn't.

If "getting rid of meaningless stat upgrades" means they're taking away different ranks of abilities in favor of just having qualitatively (rather than merely quantitatively) different equipment or skills, then that's good. It also "makes it less of an RPG." But honestly, Mass Effect was never an incredibly interesting game as far as character-building and equipping. I'd rather have a selection of weapons that feel different (the various assault rifles in ME2, for example) than ones that feel pretty much exactly the same except for how much the hitpoint bars of targets move (and to a lesser degree, how fast inaccuracy grows with repeated shots.) Pistol or shotgun is an interesting choice. Rank 2 Pistol or Rank 3 Pistol isn't. Viper versus Widow is a very interesting choice-- 60 relatively weak (for a sniper rifle) shots that you can fire semi-auto versus 13 very high powered ones that require a reload each time. That's a much more interesting choice than "well, this one has 20 less accuracy but 9 more damage and 1.4 shots before overheating instead of 1.3". I have trouble understanding the kind of person who could prefer the second.

In the first place, Mass Effect has always been about telling a story. I wouldn't expect that to change in the third installment, and that's almost all that matters about it. If you could tell the same story except all the cover-based combat was replaced by flying the Normandy like you were playing X-Wing vs TIE Fighter, it'd still be just about as good a game. I think people just like speculating and complaining and, most especially, missing the point.

Seanchaidh:
...

Choices are cool. Character development is cool.

What we're worried about is getting a corridor shooter with levels loosely tied together by a shallow hub-world. (Mass Effect 2 already started us down that path, good though it was.)

Hide the numbers behind story elements, for sure. I've long been a fan of that. Removing the numbers altogether will remove the very thing that makes the game re-playable.

Punching the reporter always makes me laugh, I'm a horrible person.

At the end of the day, it's all about the money.

That's why so many people love Mojang (for now...)

rickynumber24:

I have real difficulty believing that your "Nu-Bioware fanboys" are any more vehement than the people who declare that nobody who plays a shooter would ever want to pay attention to the story and the people who want to play a shooter with characterization should go back to playing shooters without characterization.

Two big signs of fanboyism in this quote:

#1 Not being able to recognize the obnoxiousness of your own side. Fanboys often don't see the big deal with personally attacking people for criticizing their game/company. It's what makes them fanboys.

#2 Confusing being vehement with being rude and obnoxious. If you don't understand that you can be the former without being the later, you're probably the later.

Crimsane:
lulz. As for most of the rest of this thread... I don't see where Shamus said the game would be bad [because I don't read Shamus' posts regularly, where he very frequently talks crapola about games before there's anything more than a screenshot to show for them]. Not [several hundred bajillion times].

My comment wasn't about the comic. It's about the comments he puts in WITH it. Both here and on his website, he's stated multiple times that ME3 will be no good, and he will defend the stance that he can hate on it before it comes out. He did it yesterday on his site. Which is totally within his right. As it is within mine to call him on it for being STUPID.

Here is a direct quote from Shamus 7 months into the future:

"Now I've played Mass Effect 3. I think it sucked."

Do you see now?!?! Go visit his site if you don't believe me. Dude's a TIME TRAVELING HATER!

Anyway, the main thrust of my irritation with him is he misquotes frequently. The internet is a game of telephone, and the mutated beast that lands in his lap is often the one he uses; he doesn't bother to google his sources all the time. I don't think a comic can really be funny if the quotes it's based on aren't even accurate.

See the one he did on metacritic a few weeks back. I don't remember it offhand, but it's the one where the Homefront guy said games can't be boiled down into numbers, and that his game therefore couldn't be labeled as a 74. Shamus had the quote listed as him saying it was "way higher" than a 74 or something, and made a comic that relied on the accuracy of that quote. I don't care enough to look it up. Either way, the comic failed for me because it's making fun of the guy for something he never really said. Same situation here.

Wow, everyone is coming down hard on this. Really? No one was at all disappointed by Mass Effect 2's story or lack of depth? That whole business with Cerberus and the Collectors was a hackneyed, irrelevant mess full of plot holes that didn't advance the overarching story at all - I challenge you to make a case for how any of it was essential to the main conflict, even speculatively.

As demonstrated by EA's past behavior and the trajectory from ME1 to ME2, these things are probably only going to get more severe in ME3. As someone who fell in love with ME1 because of its gameplay depth and rich, cohesive story, I think Shamus' fears are pretty well-founded. When the first game came out, this series was about more than being able to shoot things.

silasbufu:
At the end of the day, it's all about the money.

That's why so many people love Mojang (for now...)

So you haven't played Minecraft, huh.

hehehe this was good
the contradictions coming out in press releases about ME3 are indeed hilarious.
Also the whole "it's just pandering to investors!" argument falls flat for me.
Like what, they are going to lie to their investors but tell the fans the truth?
I'm pretty sure the investors are the audience that they are MUCH LESS LIKELY to lie to.

Bioware's too big for two ongoing RPG franchises.

I'm just glad I got on board late with Dragon Age; Mass Effect 2 was a novelty and ME3 will probably be the same

mechanixis:

silasbufu:
At the end of the day, it's all about the money.

That's why so many people love Mojang (for now...)

So you haven't played Minecraft, huh.

Yes I have, so you probably didn't understand my post, but that's ok.

Sad to say, but Bioware is no longer a studio I want to buy games from.

Maybe they can sell more CoD clones than they would have sold if they made true ME sequels, maybe not. Though I have to ask, why play a CoD clone when you can just play CoD instead?
But EA think they can sell more if they makes these changes so that's what they are going to make.

Maybe 5% of the CoD market is more cash than 90% of the RPG market. I assume EA employs some analysts who think they will sell more this way and I can't fault a company for trying to make money; it's a business after all. You and I have no right to demand that people slave away for our own personal pleasure. They do it to make a living.

Still, not being a fan of shooters that means they won't make the money from me.
I might buy ME3 out of curiosity but only when it comes down to $5.

And the same is true of Dragon Age III.
DA:O was the best RPG I ever played by a country mile, despite that it was already slightly on the way to eliminating RPG elements. DA2 eliminated more RPG elements and while it certainly had more problems than that, it was that that really disappointed me about the game.

Between ME2 and 3 and DA2 and the things they and EA have said, it's obvious that all their games are going to go away from RPG and towards an action model. To think otherwise would just be deluding myself.

But is all this the end of the world? Nah not really.
So Bioware games won't be A list games for me anymore. Some newer studio will realize there's a market for old school RPGs out there and fill the gap. Those like me that don't want to play the new Bioware games need to stop looking to Bioware to provide the games we DO want to play and start to look for the new stars of the RPG world instead.

Long live the RPG!

BloodSquirrel:
#2 Confusing being vehement with being rude and obnoxious. If you don't understand that you can be the former without being the later, you're probably the later.

Perhaps I chose my words poorly. I feel like the shooter equivalent of "Go back to WoW" (I used to play EVE Online, and you'd see that from time to time...) very much qualifies as "rude", too. I think you should be able to recognize that as well.

As long as it will include Turian bartenders, I'm good.

But seriously, I trust Bioware to know what they're doing, I'll save my opinion on the levels of suck and awesome for when I've actually played it.

EA business model:
1. buy a successful company.
2. Mismanage it into bankrupcy.
3. ...
4. Profit

We need to eliminate EA, for the good of gaming everywhere, they must be stopped from turning good companies into junk. That's why DA2 is considered a failure, in the light of DAO it is though I don't hate it completely, it was horribly rushed by the money loving bastards at EA. Instead of an actual sequel we got a rushed cash in. Bioware devs, tell EA to go screw and let you do your thing, which will still be successful and probably come in cheaper than all the glitz they would have you shoehorn into a game.

My name is Commander Shepard and this my favorite episode in the citadel.

As long as I can dance and act like a jerk in ME3 it's fine with me.

edit: and of course dat ass, though maybe on another character...

So they are making MEIII for people who hardly have the mental capacity to be able to read let alone speak with some amount of panache. Well, that does away with the interesting things.
Hey! we're all reverting to mindless barbarism now! why don't we also get rid of party controls and give shepard a suit of Powered armor?
I hope this doesn't affect Bioware's storytelling. though I don't see how less RPG elements can make for a positive influence.
Why not a more fluid combat system that doesn't jump over cover you are trying to crouch behind, cams that don't look at a wall when you are trying to shoot people, and a mode of resource gathering that doesn't just amount to a worthless time sink (and a way to lessen the dificulty)? Also having the same amount of RPG elements would be nice. those who can't or won't think through them can bullshit it easily enough, no skin off their backs.

HankMan:
So has Bioware gone Renegade with the final installment?
Or will Mass Effect 3 be a Paragon of excellence in Gaming?
Only time will tell.

duchaked:
haha but anyway...why is it that the bottom dialogue choices are what I'd totally say?
oh wait, uh oh...
thinking, not saying heh

I'm going to go out on a limb and say...
cuz you're a dude?

umm...ya that must be it :p lol

which is prob also why renegade 'interrupt' options are always so appealing to do

You know, the minute Shepard hit the atmosphere at the beginning of ME2 was when I knew I should throw realism right out the window. I don't care how good that suit is, the only thing that would have been left of Shepard after reentry is atomic vapor. (And yes, if you watch the cut scene closely, you do see Shepard falling into the planet. It has enough gravity to walk normally on also, so don't give me the "it's got low gravity" excuse.) It's hard to suspend the disbelief when I'm watching Shepard fall into a planet, only to be completely (with memory intact) two years later. Where the hell was his/her brain?

You also can't destroy a Mass Effect Relay with asteroids. I'm sorry. The Mu Relay (or however that's called) got blown out of position by an exploding sun. Any competent engineer would design the relay to be able to withstand impact from asteroids. They would. Why? Because asteroids would be one of the most common dangers, it's like designing a plane that can't take a bird strike. It's moronic. Yes, the asteroids were very large, but that's still not good enough. If they could not stand getting hit by asteroids, then it's likely the Mu Relay would have been destroyed when the sun exploded, or other Relays would have been destroyed when they were hit with other asteroids or the occasional moon. It happens. It happened to Earth, the Moon, Uranus, etc. If it can happen that often in one solar system... well, you think about that.

I'm a curious person, I like to know how things fit together. It's one of the reasons I read books, watch movies, and play video games. I don't like it when I'm told to "sit back and just accept". I can accept plot holes, really, I can, it's just that there are so many of them. I like Dragon Age II for crying out loud. But there I get to joke about "boneless women flopping through the streets" and all is forgiven. If Bioware let me be a sarcastic bastard with Shepard instead of a brick, I might like the game better. But it doesn't. It's story is unnecessary, it doesn't advance the overarching plot at all, it's the middle point of a trilogy that feels like busy work. It's why I haven't played any of the DLCs. I have to say, I'm not tickled at the idea of being told "you made these choices" when/if I play Mass Effect 3 (blew up the asteroid, helped Liara become the Shadow Broker) when I specifically chose not to pay for those DLC or play them.

Personally, I feel that if choices like you being on trial for blowing up a solar system, kick off the third game, they should be as a direct result of what you did in that game, not DLC. I should not have to buy or rent or borrow the godawful Mass Effect novels to find out who TIM is and why this Cerberus business supposedly makes sense. (It doesn't let's move on.) `

For the record, I don't want my Shepard to have helped Liara become the Shadow Broker. This game is supposedly about choice, I get where I have to fight the Reapers and the Collectors (not work with Cerberus) but why do I have to help Liara on her vengeance quest again? Even if I chose not to play it?

dogstile:
I still think people should stop acting like idiots about the whole thing.

Meaningful effect on combat guys. Remember how you all whined about that? I reckon that'll just make it so its actually worth farming planets this time. Dear god, I could barely notice the difference in ME2.

If they could stop it, then they wouldn't be idiots.

So much... ignorance here.

Shepard's body was protected by mass effect field. You know them, right? They only have the FREAKING NAME OF THE FRANCHISE. They generate so much wonky with the physics as we know that basically, yes, Shepard body was able to be salvaged.

An asteroid may not be able to destroy a relay on normal circunstamces. An asteroid at relativistic speed is not a normal circustamce. It doesn't matter how tough a relay is, it will crack.

edit: Also, Seamus, your complaints would be better put in your comics, if you didn't used a reporter THAT DISTORTS THE TRUTH AND USES LOGICAL FALLACIES.

cant Bioware stick to making RPG's??

I agree change is good, but only when it comes to making a better RPG, not copying whats already available.
ME1 to ME2, there was a big drop in RPG elements. ok the shooting elements were improved, but there isnt exactly a shortage on shooters, there is a shortage of good RPG's

Same with DA:O to DA2, there was a drop in RPG elements. in this case I didnt even feel combat was improved, just turned into hack n slash. Not exactly a shortage on hack n slash either, there is still a shortage of good RPG's

Not scared of change, I dont wanna be playing the same game with a new skin every time Bioware release a new game, but I do want a strong RPG, can anyone recommend a developer??

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