Escapist Podcast: 020: Linear vs Sandbox & Changes in Sequels

020: Linear vs Sandbox & Changes in Sequels

This week, we talk about Uncharted 3 and linear gameplay versus sandbox. We also discuss major changes in sequels, Grand Theft Auto 5 speculations and your questions.

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Maybe it won't be so bad... I mean if the multiplayer is optional then it shouldn't affect the outcome of the story itself right.

Then again the last game BioWare gave us we ended up going to the SAME ****ING CAVE over 9000 times!

Funny you saying that someone listens to this while playing LoL, wasn't me as the original poster but... guess what game I've been playing with this in the background?

Yes yes yes!
As a history nerd shows like The Tudors are just painful! Even if I like them as shows, I can't help but get angry at the blatant inaccuracies.
The classic example is Catherine of Aragon's hair. She was a Spanish Princess, but the Spanish monarchy traditionally had brown, blonde and red hair. This is due to the inbreeding among royalty, and her generally pure lineage going back to a Frank and a North African princess. Because the non incestuous couples were with other European dynasties, the North African part disappeared. Her mother was blonde, her father was brown haired (they were second cousins by the way), and she had reddish brown hair.
This sounds like random facts but a simple google search would show paintings of her and therefore the colour of her hair. As such there is no reason to make an unnecessary design choice.

Oh, man, those little inaccuracies on shows are just painful. Or the odd things they need to do for legal reasons, like that time Aqua Teen Hunger Force showed up on CSI with audio from a bad Looney Tunes knockoff.

The scary thing though is the news media. They're no better. Take my father, for instance. He tagged along to a meeting of a political party with someone he knows who is a party contributor. He asked the party leader (and federal election candidate) one question throughout the entire afternoon, but happened to do it when a news crew was filming. So he got on TV described as an advisor "discussing campaign strategy" with the candidate.

Rumour has it that the resource mining will indeed be making a return in ME3, even though the developers know it was universally loathed. Apparently they've changed it up a bit, but I've no idea how.

I loved this podcast. Definatly better then last weeks. The way Mass effect 3 was talked about was mature and exactly how I felt about the multiplayer idea.

Pooor mushrooms and broccoli :(

But, but, but Susan... I'm a girl and I loooooved the Mako!!! =( All it needs is stronger thrusters, a more powerful engine, and greater traction, and it would be just perfect!

Regarding preference in the Mass Effect series, this is really timely, because I'm finishing up my latest ME1+ME2 playthough, so it's nice and fresh. I'm of two minds on this, because I absolutely loved ME1 for its story, for the inventory management (yes, I like the inventory, and tweaking everybody's armor and weapons, call me crazy), for Kaidan (yes, I'm a total fan girl, so sue me!). I also greatly enjoy ME2, because, as you guys mentioned, the pace of the story and missions is improved (honestly, one of my annoyances with ME1 is the absolute lack of urgency of the main quest, not so aptly named "Race Against Time"), the cast is greatly expanded... Both games have their strengths and weaknesses (did I mention that I hate mining with a vengeance?), and in my mind, a perfect ME3 would be a hybrid of both games.

Also, the wandering mole was not on the "King" in Robin Hood: Men in Tights, but on Prince John! =D And about accuracy in TV shows... You said "half the medical stuff is probably wrong". Half? Only half? Try 95%!! XD It drives me absolutely insane, I can't watch any of them anymore!

It was interesting to hear the question regarding the casual versus hardcore gaming issue. I agree 100% with what was said. I don't think any of us gain anything in promoting the medium by belittling other games. Tastes vary, not to mention the amount of free time, and different people are going to game differently, that's just unavoidable.

A great podcast, as always, see (or rather hear?) you guys next week!

I would just like to state for the record that I love mushrooms.

maxben:
Yes yes yes!
As a history nerd shows like The Tudors are just painful! Even if I like them as shows, I can't help but get angry at the blatant inaccuracies.
The classic example is Catherine of Aragon's hair. She was a Spanish Princess, but the Spanish monarchy traditionally had brown, blonde and red hair. This is due to the inbreeding among royalty, and her generally pure lineage going back to a Frank and a North African princess. Because the non incestuous couples were with other European dynasties, the North African part disappeared. Her mother was blonde, her father was brown haired (they were second cousins by the way), and she had reddish brown hair.
This sounds like random facts but a simple google search would show paintings of her and therefore the colour of her hair. As such there is no reason to make an unnecessary design choice.

I find it interesting that of all the retarded historical inaccuracy of The Tudors its the colour of Catherine of Aragons hair pissed you off the most...as apposed to say, that the show could have been set on mars and still been a better depiction of 16th century England than it was.

I'm suddenly reminded of a Lore Sjoberg joke where he ran through the tech levels of comics. I don't remember the middle levels (though the NCIS kind of thing fit into it) but the bottom level was written by technological illiterates, where the punchline can simply be "I bought it on the Internet!", while the top level was written by clever technological illiterates who just used jargon puns without needing to understand them. The example was two guys standing in front of a door and one says "It's push technology."


Ethnicities in games. Most amusing example I can think of is Project Firestart. All the characters seen in person (as opposed to over monochrome viewscreens) were dark-skinned and no one made an issue about it. The reason was actually just that the Commodore 64's color palette was better suited to darker skin tones.


Ewoks: I prefer them in the cartoon. Seriously, the battle between Morag and Logray at the end of Sunstar vs. Shadowstone was AWESOME. Scared the pants off my 7 year old self, and it's still pretty good. How many fights in the Star Wars universe have the Dark Side* represented by a lava elemental? Screw fighting on a lava planet, go fight the lava itself and see how many limbs you can sever with your little glowing butterknife NOW!

( *Assuming you buy into the "magic is just a different expression of the Force" theory.)


Eleima:
But, but, but Susan... I'm a girl and I loooooved the Mako!!! =(

Nope, sorry, you're a boy now. If your biology doesn't match up, it just means you're a sleeper agent.

Eleima:
All it needs is stronger thrusters, a more powerful engine, and greater traction, and it would be just perfect!

So if it was a completely different vehicle, you'd be fine with it?:)

(The sad and slightly sexist thing is that seeing Mako equated with being male and then called underpowered makes me feel oddly inadequate, a mild version of disappointing lover inadequacy.)


image

Susan Arendt:
I would just like to state for the record that I love mushrooms.

They're great on a pizza and essential for proper homemade spaghetti sauce, though I don't like 'em by themselves.

I do, however, love moeshrooms.


Eleima:
Also, the wandering mole was not on the "King" in Robin Hood: Men in Tights, but on Prince John! =D

Stoneface:
the show could have been set on mars and still been a better depiction of 16th century England than it was.

What I've learned today is that there's a fundamental lack of concern for dead monarchs.

I wonder how long it will be before George Lucas decides to give Ewoks in EP.6 subtitles? I think before the end of the decade.

While I appreciate the enthusiasm guys, next time you're allowed to only answer my question once. some people, (not me) but some people might get sick of hearing about Mass Effect multiplayer.

Zhukov:
Rumour has it that the resource mining will indeed be making a return in ME3, even though the developers know it was universally loathed. Apparently they've changed it up a bit, but I've no idea how.

They probably reversed controls and turned the probe launch into a quick time event, it's what I would do just to really mess with people.
And then make a PR statement how users couldn't possibly complain because they wanted complexity :D

Susan Arendt:
I would just like to state for the record that I love mushrooms.

I second this. Mushrooms rock.

Greg

Stoneface:

maxben:
Yes yes yes!
As a history nerd shows like The Tudors are just painful! Even if I like them as shows, I can't help but get angry at the blatant inaccuracies.
The classic example is Catherine of Aragon's hair. She was a Spanish Princess, but the Spanish monarchy traditionally had brown, blonde and red hair. This is due to the inbreeding among royalty, and her generally pure lineage going back to a Frank and a North African princess. Because the non incestuous couples were with other European dynasties, the North African part disappeared. Her mother was blonde, her father was brown haired (they were second cousins by the way), and she had reddish brown hair.
This sounds like random facts but a simple google search would show paintings of her and therefore the colour of her hair. As such there is no reason to make an unnecessary design choice.

I find it interesting that of all the retarded historical inaccuracy of The Tudors its the colour of Catherine of Aragons hair pissed you off the most...as apposed to say, that the show could have been set on mars and still been a better depiction of 16th century England than it was.

Because to understand 16th century britain is difficult and I am willing to give them a lot of leeway because they are entretainers, not historians. However, the hair colour requires an image google check, not in-depth research. Its just so silly that it burns. Its like making Elizabeth I a blonde.

I wholeheartedly agree about Uncharted 3. The control is awful! There's no adjustment for sensitivity makes it worse. The platforming is alright, it wasn't Assassin's Creed, but I didn't expect AC level of free running or platforming either.

Greetings to the Escapist Crew:

One thing you talked about during the podcast about the snobbishness/elitism that often is associated with certain tastes in gamming. The comparison with eating and preferences in food was very apt. Though, as some who use to love the now nearly defunct genre of adventure games, I think there could also be a sense of desperation when you really enjoy a game type/style that is not as popular. More so with the FPS genre in particular is seems that popularity has become so overwhelming that the game style and method is bleeding over into everything else. Fewer a fewer games are being released that do not at least have a FPS section to it. Adventure games (What is left of them) are now generally action/adventure and the action is likely to be gun play in the style of FPS.

I would be hardly surprised if the next professor Layton game had a "puzzle" where you had to use you pen to "shoot" bad guys while dogging your own character around as they try to shoot you. But I digress.

My point is that I'm not sure it is truly elitism so much as fear that if things continue to progress as they are, all games will be FPS with the exception of maybe one or two thrown out every few weeks. Of course we all know that isn't going to happen, because in a few years everything will be casual games.

I kid of course. Still text based games and adventure games (not action/adventure) have all but died out. What is left of it is poorly funded or genre blended to get some expanded market. However there are 35 new FPS every given hour, some with 100 million dollar budgets. So, to some degree I think, we make fun of FPS players and even casual game players, not because we truly think we are better than them, but because we fear that if we can't cut the tide of them somehow, there will be no room left for us. Space Quest, Kings Quest, Evil Genius, Zork, Dungeon Keeper, Black and White, Poor fallen, laid at the feet of Modern Warfare and Halo.

*EDIT* Oh and yes mushrooms are fairly good. Particularly creamy mushroom sauce.

*****EDIT**** *
Also as one final point. FPS is so popular that many people associated them as gaming and get the impression that every game is an FPS. To be frank if looked in one light FPS are very unpleasant they make a game of war and the objective is generally to kill as many of the "other" side as possible. Well so what, it isn't real and life/death situation are more engaging, but it is where non gamers get the idea that gamming is for war made people who like to "virtually" train themselves to be killers.
However, when I say I am a gamer, I rather someone think of "the longest journey" than "duke nukem" and it isn't a matter of snobbishness so much as a matter of identity and perception.

Mr.K.:

Zhukov:
Rumour has it that the resource mining will indeed be making a return in ME3, even though the developers know it was universally loathed. Apparently they've changed it up a bit, but I've no idea how.

They probably reversed controls and turned the probe launch into a quick time event, it's what I would do just to really mess with people.
And then make a PR statement how users couldn't possibly complain because they wanted complexity :D

Of course failing the quicktime event will mean that your ship explodes and you have to restart from your last save.

Or better, resources mining will now be a "mission". First you'll use the same interface to find the resources, but before you can mine them, you and two of your mates will have to land, distroy all the robots in the area, fight a few sandworms, then lay claim the the resources (aka ME1), but it won't stop there, you will also need to setup a mining plant and then defend it from 2-3 waves of attacks. Once all this is done, you'll get +1 of whatever the resource is. Of course resource will be crucial not only to leveling up, but to restoring the health of all characters. So you will need to do this a lot. Further there will be 2,000 planets and 1% of them will have a special resource on them that is critical to the main plot and that you need to find all of before you can progress the game. There will be no hints as to which planets will have the resource.

Soon you'll forget if you are playing a space opra RPG, or a FPS/minning game.

On the topic of GTA 5, speculating on trailers can result in important information. Does anyone remember all the MW2 trailer analysing? There was a lot of information extrapolated from that one announcement trailer. It's fun to speculate too.

I wish I could be a player like Susan Arendt to appreciate a super linear and simple single-player like Uncharted 3, but I'm not. $60 for an interactive movie is hard to justify for me. I need a deep single-player experience for $60.

The only times I'd pay $60 for an interactive movie, or "interactive drama" is Heavy Rain where it's a lot more ambitious, choice-driven, and revolutionary with its storytelling never giving you a game over, but letting characters die and continuing the story. Or if not that ambitious, to have unique characters and stories in a gaming space with some unique gameplay, like Max Payne or Alan Wake, instead of feeling too cliched and predictable which I think Uncharted is to me with the movies it cribs from. When every plot twist and character development can be predicted from watching movies, I feel less engaged in the fiction of Uncharted.

You mentioned that shows get facts about gaming wrong and then go on to use NCIS as an example, but isn't all surface information sort of flawed in the eyes of the enlightened? I cringe each time somebody enhance a photo at the press of a button and my nurse friend laugh her ass of when watching hospital shows. The information in these shows are seldom targeted at the group in question but at the masses who only have surface knowledge, and doesn't care if the info isn't up to snuff.

Edit -> [Sorry should have listened to the end you reach these conclusions on your own]

I enjoyed the podcast, but I disagree with your example of FFXIII as a betrayal of its players since it seemed to imply that FF is always and only one sort of rpg. Main series FF has always mixed up its gameplay and thematic elements with each new iteration, and I don't really think that it's fair to S-E or the fans who expect and enjoy that sort of thing to call it a betrayal. Frustration with specific changes is perfectly fair, but as you essentially point out later in the podcast, it's not the same problem.

"they are just being a dick." lol.
Too true. I never liked the post apocalyptic theme (the only PA movie I ever really got into was Delicatessen) but Fallout 3 is still my favorite game from this gen. If I blew it off just because of the theme, I would've missed out on that.
People who don't play a certain genre of game will screw themselves over.

As for the gta5 trailer, I think all the speculation is springing from the fact that we have had a lot longer wait between gtas lately. Even someone like me who didn't really like gta4 that much and kind of liked RDR (but not as much as everyone else, not into westerns either but that wasn't why it dragged for me) want to pick apart the new trailer for speculation because someone like me is hoping that this one will be more like San Andreas.

Linear gameplay is fine; I just like to be able to explore a tiny bit, or have multiple paths to the same destination.

Even small choices in a linear game can make the difference, like in that section of Half-Life where you're trying to burn the Tentacle with the rocket: you need to activate the fuel, oxygen, and power, but I'm pretty sure you can do those in any order you choose.

I didn't have any issues with ME 1's UI in terms of who gets what. It wasn't perfect, because I could only see what my party was wearing. THAT needed to get fixed. Dragon Age had the same problem, unless you were at specific points and couldn't have a party, then you could look at everyone.

I haven't played Dragon Age 2 yet. I'll probably start tomorrow, after I finish the DA:O DLC.

QUESTION! (for the podcast disscussion :)) I have been wondering why don't game companies ever publicly defend themselves from attacks from media circuits that have stories are unfounded, untrue and/or just plain wrong?

I remember not one ever correcting Fox news about GTA:SA's 'Hot Coffee' accessibility. They clearly said that it can be accessed with code you input into the controller. Yes, Rockstar should of removed it completely to avoid hackers (or are they called modders...mmm...?) but saying it like anyone has ready-made access should have someone calling foul.

Perhaps Fox News were told, said sorry and so on but there was no follow by anyone's part to tell the viewers that you can't access it, it was never meant to followed, etc. I bring up this point because once it's out there, a public image is created that is just unfair and wrong.

I know that Rockstar can/did/always will (hopefully) won't have any problems with media bashing but considering the past year's news story bashing we have had, I am worried that public option may get a overall bad image to the industrity (which I'm properly overthinking at this point)

ANNNNYYYYYWAY! Sorry for the long post! How do you all think? Also, keep up the great work! Love your podcast. Will always listen to them, new or old.

Sorry, forgot to post this link. It's a list of all silliness of world media. Yes, it's a facebook group *cough*Minereally*cough*, but it's better to link that than have link wall you.

http://www.facebook.com/groups/165566563501539/

 

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