Escapist Podcast: 092: Star Wars, Electronic Arts and The PS Vita

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092: Star Wars, Electronic Arts and The PS Vita

This week, the Escapist crew discusses Electronic Art's exclusive contract with Disney on making Star Wars games. We also discuss Penny Arcade's recent Kickstarter campaign for their podcast and our experiences with the PS Vita.

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Stop making Friday's come so quickly! I don't have enough time in the week to listen to all your great podcats!

Also analogue buttons: if it ain't broke, don't touch screen it.

To Mike Wehner: Man, if you fall asleep during Michael Bay movies in the theater, you probably have sleep apnea. I now I have it, and had this same problema before treatment. Sorry to impose, but it fits the part.

This might be the Lord of ring game you were talking about

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Lord_of_the_Rings:_The_Third_Age

In regards to penny arcade using kick starter. It is not wrong to use it and if fans want to give them money fine. It is just really obnoxious that a successful company is using a structure intended for the small timers who have no starting funds. Imagine if it was Disney or Microsoft in the story instead. Would you feel the same way?

Loved Thomas Was Alone. Narrator made the game. Blocks having more character than some major triple A titles is awesome. Very much recommend the game as well.

EA with Star Wars titles.. please be good, please don't screw them up! Please be good, please don't screw it up! Learn from your mistakes! Don't rush the games! Just.. so much hope versus so much cynicism. End of the day, hope for the best, but wait for the reviews.

Young Jedi Knights! Loved those! Jacen, Tenal Ka, Lowbacca, Zekk, Jaina! Was awesome teen reading candy as I was growing up. Exciting, great stories, very relatable. Could read an entire book in under four hours, but still great.

Always forget this podcast comes up on Fridays, it is a lovely little surprise. Enjoyed the show, will be back next week.

Hate to say this, but I still play TOR and actually like it a lot because you are allowed to NOT play a force user, and your story isn't about Jedi and Sith but rather the Republic and Imperials, but you occasionally can shoot a Sith or Jedi to death just to prove a point. In fact most people I play with agree that playing a Bounty Hunter or a Smuggler is WAY more fun than someone who uses the Force. It's not the best MMO by a long shot, but it DOES have that perk.

Ashoten:
In regards to penny arcade using kick starter. It is not wrong to use it and if fans want to give them money fine. It is just really obnoxious that a successful company is using a structure intended for the small timers who have no starting funds. Imagine if it was Disney or Microsoft in the story instead. Would you feel the same way?

I can only speak for myself, of course, but it wouldn't bother me in the slightest, because no matter who's doing the asking, it all comes down to the same thing: You have the choice to give them money or not. If you don't think Disney needs the help, you don't contribute. Others feel differently, I understand, and I don't think they're crazy to find it obnoxious, but it doesn't bother me at all.

Susan Arendt:

Ashoten:
In regards to penny arcade using kick starter. It is not wrong to use it and if fans want to give them money fine. It is just really obnoxious that a successful company is using a structure intended for the small timers who have no starting funds. Imagine if it was Disney or Microsoft in the story instead. Would you feel the same way?

I can only speak for myself, of course, but it wouldn't bother me in the slightest, because no matter who's doing the asking, it all comes down to the same thing: You have the choice to give them money or not. If you don't think Disney needs the help, you don't contribute. Others feel differently, I understand, and I don't think they're crazy to find it obnoxious, but it doesn't bother me at all.

My only issue with the Kickstarter itself is it undermines one of the website's rules. Kickstarter doesn't take your money at the end of the crowdfunding run unless the project's goal was met. But here we see Penny Arcade set an extremely low and frivolous amount just to throw it up there, and Kickstarter didn't have a problem with this. This could be exploited a LOT. Someone could use this to start a project, set an unrealistic low goal, meet it but still not have nearly enough to make the project, but pocket your money anyway.

I don't mind PA doing it only because it only takes a few grand to start a 6 month podcast, and they were gonna get that easily. But say setting a $10k goal to make a video game that clearly needs at least a few hundred grand to do right, that project should have bullshit called on it without the project handler giving clear reasons why the goal is so low.

Is this the game you were thinking of? Its like battle front in Lord of the Rings if I remember right.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Lord_of_the_Rings:_Conquest

Relating to the kickstarter, I hadn't heard about this but when you said it my first thought was that they did it to see if people wanted it back.

Quiotu:

Susan Arendt:

Ashoten:
In regards to penny arcade using kick starter. It is not wrong to use it and if fans want to give them money fine. It is just really obnoxious that a successful company is using a structure intended for the small timers who have no starting funds. Imagine if it was Disney or Microsoft in the story instead. Would you feel the same way?

I can only speak for myself, of course, but it wouldn't bother me in the slightest, because no matter who's doing the asking, it all comes down to the same thing: You have the choice to give them money or not. If you don't think Disney needs the help, you don't contribute. Others feel differently, I understand, and I don't think they're crazy to find it obnoxious, but it doesn't bother me at all.

My only issue with the Kickstarter itself is it undermines one of the website's rules. Kickstarter doesn't take your money at the end of the crowdfunding run unless the project's goal was met. But here we see Penny Arcade set an extremely low and frivolous amount just to throw it up there, and Kickstarter didn't have a problem with this. This could be exploited a LOT. Someone could use this to start a project, set an unrealistic low goal, meet it but still not have nearly enough to make the project, but pocket your money anyway.

I don't mind PA doing it only because it only takes a few grand to start a 6 month podcast, and they were gonna get that easily. But say setting a $10k goal to make a video game that clearly needs at least a few hundred grand to do right, that project should have bullshit called on it without the project handler giving clear reasons why the goal is so low.

Still comes down to choice, though. We as consumers aren't completely helpless here. We choose what projects seem trustworthy enough to spend money on.

On another note, and I don't remember who in the podcast said this, but where in the Kickstarter rules does it say that it has to be a last resort to get cash for a project? It doesn't, so stop preaching that as some sort of gospel.

*Susan hates 'Ocarina of Time'*

OH JESUS CHRIST, ABANDON SHIP!!!

Also, I find it easier to sleep with familiar voices like Escapist peeps and Jontron, its soothing... sort of.

PunkRex:
*Susan hates 'Ocarina of Time'*

OH JESUS CHRIST, ABANDON SHIP!!!

Also, I find it easier to sleep with familiar voices like Escapist peeps and Jontron, its soothing... sort of.

Ah yes, the soothing sounds of "ECH ECH!" and "EEEEEERRRIIINNN!!!"

Last week I made a comment about the sound quality of the podcast and this week the sound was perfect. Susan clearly listened to my "complaint" and rectified the problem.

You're welcome. :D

when i heard Justin say rpg about bunnies the first thought that came into my head was that someone made a water-ship down tie in video game that would be awesome i can see the tag line now, scaring a whole new generation of children for life.

I recently got a Vita and have been using it mainly to play old PSP games I never got.

Good Podcast guys. I was so excited when I heard Bioware and dice were going to be given star wars titles. my mind immediately thought "Yes Bioware make KOTOR 3, and Battlefront 3 in the frostbite engine F*** Yeah!".
And then I realised this was EA and there's so much that could go wrong with that.

so susan is the air-travel equivalent of the people who type obscenities at you in DOTA because you are new? except probably not with language quite as colorful

regarding star wars: i don't mind the jedi and sith but they don't need to be the centerpiece of everything, if a jedi or two show up in a story where they are not not the main characters i would be fine with that. even having old sith artifacts and suchs as plot point is something i would really be OK with, just don't try to turn every story into a "ultimate dark and light struggle for THE UNIVERSE" because that is boring as fuck.
i also think it would be smart for disney to introduce force users independent of the jedi or sith (think jolee(?) from KOTOR) so can have people swirling around lightsabers without involving the whole ancient order of warrior monks.

Ashoten:
In regards to penny arcade using kick starter. It is not wrong to use it and if fans want to give them money fine. It is just really obnoxious that a successful company is using a structure intended for the small timers who have no starting funds.

This factoid about Kickstarter's supposed "intended purpose" is getting so obnoxious, that Kickstarter itself came out explicitly denying it:

http://www.kickstarter.com/blog/who-is-kickstarter-for

"We're a tool available to anyone (in the US and UK, currently) to fund and build a community around their creative project. Big or small, established or indie, serious or fun."

Quiotu:
Hate to say this, but I still play TOR and actually like it a lot because you are allowed to NOT play a force user, and your story isn't about Jedi and Sith but rather the Republic and Imperials, but you occasionally can shoot a Sith or Jedi to death just to prove a point. In fact most people I play with agree that playing a Bounty Hunter or a Smuggler is WAY more fun than someone who uses the Force. It's not the best MMO by a long shot, but it DOES have that perk.

Imperial Agent. I've actually been meaning to maybe get back and try to burn through the core agent storyline just so I can finally see the end. Got the first two planets done during the last beta weekend thanks to a friend, haven't managed to get there since due to lack of time.

PunkRex:
*Susan hates 'Ocarina of Time'*

OH JESUS CHRIST, ABANDON SHIP!!!

Also, I find it easier to sleep with familiar voices like Escapist peeps and Jontron, its soothing... sort of.

Jesus: Okay, not that big a deal... *gets out and stands on the water* Better?

OT: Susan -- you gain many respect points from me!

Susan Arendt:

Ashoten:
In regards to penny arcade using kick starter. It is not wrong to use it and if fans want to give them money fine. It is just really obnoxious that a successful company is using a structure intended for the small timers who have no starting funds. Imagine if it was Disney or Microsoft in the story instead. Would you feel the same way?

I can only speak for myself, of course, but it wouldn't bother me in the slightest, because no matter who's doing the asking, it all comes down to the same thing: You have the choice to give them money or not. If you don't think Disney needs the help, you don't contribute. Others feel differently, I understand, and I don't think they're crazy to find it obnoxious, but it doesn't bother me at all.

Exactly.

darknight910:

PunkRex:
*Susan hates 'Ocarina of Time'*

OH JESUS CHRIST, ABANDON SHIP!!!

Also, I find it easier to sleep with familiar voices like Escapist peeps and Jontron, its soothing... sort of.

Ah yes, the soothing sounds of "ECH ECH!" and "EEEEEERRRIIINNN!!!"

I SAID SORT OF MUTHA-LICKER... eccch!

Entitled:

Ashoten:
In regards to penny arcade using kick starter. It is not wrong to use it and if fans want to give them money fine. It is just really obnoxious that a successful company is using a structure intended for the small timers who have no starting funds.

This factoid about Kickstarter's supposed "intended purpose" is getting so obnoxious, that Kickstarter itself came out explicitly denying it:

http://www.kickstarter.com/blog/who-is-kickstarter-for

"We're a tool available to anyone (in the US and UK, currently) to fund and build a community around their creative project. Big or small, established or indie, serious or fun."

eh? well then maybe it is time for someone to form a indie based funding group that only allows small timers to put their projects up.

However this really ignores the underlying problem. I easily foresee this becoming a trend for companies to habitually preorder all their products to the consumers. Now this may well be a model that works(if the corporations set reasonable goals) but will most likely allow for corporations to make you the consumer risk your money to develop a product that has not been made yet meaning they do not need to risk their own private fortunes. Meaning that quality assurance and time scales goes right out the window.

The reason kickstarter makes sense as a business model for small independents is because they usually do not have any money to risk but a good product that they have made a prototype of. It also means that their goals for production and fundraising are going to be more in line with the particular audience they are trying to reach.

Just to be clear my personal sentaments about Penny Arcade have to do with my own frustrations that people willingly ignore the spirit of the thing because it is technically a moral thing for them to do. Never mind that Penny arcade has their own web site in place they used Kickstarter because it is popular and guaranteed to get attention.

Additionally the name Kickstarter does imply the purpose of the system is to help people kickstart a product that they otherwise would not be able to. If they want to be normal greedy big industry types then maybe they should be politly asked to change their name to "Preorder funding anyone or anything".

Ashoten:

eh? well then maybe it is time for someone to form a indie based funding group that only allows small timers to put their projects up.

Good idea. Maybe call it "Hipstarter". Their slogan could be: "No mainstream need apply"

Ashoten:

However this really ignores the underlying problem. I easily foresee this becoming a trend for companies to habitually preorder all their products to the consumers. Now this may well be a model that works(if the corporations set reasonable goals) but will most likely allow for corporations to make you the consumer risk your money to develop a product that has not been made yet meaning they do not need to risk their own private fortunes.

What risk? Assuming that the games actually get made (and as scammy as big publishers can get, they rarely take preorder money and run away with it), the worst risk that consumers are taking would be the same that they are taking with preorders now anyways, and even with released games (after all, you always risk that you might not end up liking it).

In turn for that, the fact that enthusiastic fandom-driven games are more likely to get funded than media juggernauts that actually most of it's players are "meh" about, would be a pretty big improvement on it's own. The fact that it would be for a studio to finish a game without needing publisher's approval, would be even better.

The real risk that studios would avoid, wouldn't be something that they place on the players, but something that's automatically eliminated by unprofitably unpopular projects failing before they could even get started.

Ashoten:

The reason kickstarter makes sense as a business model for small independents is because they usually do not have any money to risk but a good product that they have made a prototype of. It also means that their goals for production and fundraising are going to be more in line with the particular audience they are trying to reach.

On the other hand, the smallest indies can actually run out of KS money if they still misjudge it, and they rarely have a proven track record, so you are taking more risks with them than with established studios. Quid pro quo.

Ashoten:

Just to be clear my personal sentaments about Penny Arcade have to do with my own frustrations that people willingly ignore the spirit of the thing because it is technically a moral thing for them to do. Never mind that Penny arcade has their own web site in place they used Kickstarter because it is popular and guaranteed to get attention.

Morality is not technical. And using the more popular way to get atention, is not immoral. PA is not harming Kickstarter by being there, it's not "taking away space". I don't see anything wrong with grabbing opportunities to catch attentions with your fundraising projects.

Ashoten:

Additionally the name Kickstarter does imply the purpose of the system is to help people kickstart a product that they otherwise would not be able to. If they want to be normal greedy big industry types then maybe they should be politly asked to change their name to "Preorder funding anyone or anything".

The name could just as easily refer to projects as to creators. If you are backing PA, or Obsidian, or Zach Braff, you are still "kickstarting" a project, that is, you are paying the profits that it would need to earn anyways, except that you are kicking it at the start of the production process, instead of at the end.

Origin-dependent Star Wars is my nightmare, and part of me hopes EA goes bankrupt before 2014 so that the exclusive deal becomes voided.

I'd really like to see an X-Wing / TIE-Fighter redux / continuation, whatever.

I'd really like to see more Republic Commando. More non-Jedi action adventure.

I'd really like to see more Jedi Knight with physics and destructible objects. (And no, Force Unleashed doesn't count).

I'd really like to see a good Star Wars based space trader game.

But none of these on Origin. Never, ever, ever Origin.

I are sad. All the sads.

238U

Oh and... if you are interested in seeing a Star Wars-esque version of Seven Samurai / The Magnificant Seven, check out Battle Beyond the Stars (1980) one of the decent knock-offs from the orignal 1977 Star Wars craze.

238U

Ashoten:
Additionally the name Kickstarter does imply the purpose of the system is to help people kickstart a product that they otherwise would not be able to. If they want to be normal greedy big industry types then maybe they should be politly asked to change their name to "Preorder funding anyone or anything".

No, YOU are putting those values into the name. I don't think the name has those implications. The name implies that this is a service where users can help kickstart a project, any project. Stop putting your own exclusionary values into this, please.

1:27:00

So... what I'm getting from that is that it's Susan's fault that Mass Effect 3 was a better fish feeding simulator than an RPG?

He he he he I'm joking...
At least I hope I am...

Using kickstarter does feel manipulative and disingenuous to me when used like this. Pennyarcade doesn't need it, but their using it anyway, and the logical explaination for why is because they know they'll probably make more money through a kickstarter than without one.

Okay, I could be wrong about this, but I get a feeling people are more likely to donate money to something on kickstarter than if the creators ask for money on their own site. In fact it seems like using kickstarter, if you're already a well known entity, is basically a guarantee of significant donations. kickstarter is just really popular right now, and has a very positive, grassroots brand identity to it, and that, whether consciously or subconsciously, affects peoples' willingness to support things through it.

So by using kickstarter, PennyArcade, which is not a grassroots organization by any means, is taking advantage of a system never designed for causes like theirs and reaping the benefits, while kickstarter's image as a place for humble monetary requests from people who actually require the money, is slowly eroded away.

Next thing you know every AAA developer and industry leader has their own kickstarter page requesting money for whatever project they have coming up because they know it'll help them reap some extra profits on the side and soon the whole point of the site goes down the toilet.

Kickstarter is more about marketing now. If PennyArcade just put a donate button on their website only fans will see it. If they put it on Kickstarter and the entire industry goes apeshit over it like you guys did, then everyone knows about it.

Parakeettheprawn:

Quiotu:
Hate to say this, but I still play TOR and actually like it a lot because you are allowed to NOT play a force user, and your story isn't about Jedi and Sith but rather the Republic and Imperials, but you occasionally can shoot a Sith or Jedi to death just to prove a point. In fact most people I play with agree that playing a Bounty Hunter or a Smuggler is WAY more fun than someone who uses the Force. It's not the best MMO by a long shot, but it DOES have that perk.

Imperial Agent. I've actually been meaning to maybe get back and try to burn through the core agent storyline just so I can finally see the end. Got the first two planets done during the last beta weekend thanks to a friend, haven't managed to get there since due to lack of time.

Not to spoil things too much, but the reason why I really love the Imperial Agent storyline, and why most people do... is because the storyline actually has ending options where you're not good or evil. There's endings for being neutral, and you can almost literally become the Batman of the Imperials. It's AWESOME.

Quiotu:

Parakeettheprawn:

Quiotu:
Hate to say this, but I still play TOR and actually like it a lot because you are allowed to NOT play a force user, and your story isn't about Jedi and Sith but rather the Republic and Imperials, but you occasionally can shoot a Sith or Jedi to death just to prove a point. In fact most people I play with agree that playing a Bounty Hunter or a Smuggler is WAY more fun than someone who uses the Force. It's not the best MMO by a long shot, but it DOES have that perk.

Imperial Agent. I've actually been meaning to maybe get back and try to burn through the core agent storyline just so I can finally see the end. Got the first two planets done during the last beta weekend thanks to a friend, haven't managed to get there since due to lack of time.

Not to spoil things too much, but the reason why I really love the Imperial Agent storyline, and why most people do... is because the storyline actually has ending options where you're not good or evil. There's endings for being neutral, and you can almost literally become the Batman of the Imperials. It's AWESOME.

I actually sort of was already spoiled on some of that, but with a severe lacking in terms of context. I look forward to seeing it play out for my Imperial Agent, although I really did prefer taking a lightside/neutral approach to matters. She hated the Sith, and I intend to keep that as a common thing for her.

There seems to be this implication that using Kickstarter "the wrong way" is damaging for "the littte guy" but reasearch shows that the big name Kickstarter has multiplied the amount of funding that goes to smaller projects. Kickstarter is clearly working, and the high profile projects aren't dreaining the market, they are fueling it.

What I really want to know is if you guys found the Pazaak app for iOS. Seriously. I managed to find the Android App that Greg was talking about, but when it comes to an iOS Pazaak app, my Google Fu fails me. And if it doesn't exist, someone should get on it.

I was gifted Thomas Was Alone by one of my friends here on the Escapist a couple of weeks ago, and boy did I give him an internet hug with cookies. I LOVED Thomas Was Alone, I thought it was incredibly charming, witty, the characters were endearing (which I didn't expect from a bunch of rectangles and cubes). The gameplay was just perfect in its simplicity, and the puzzles had a healthy balance between hair tearingly complex and gorgeous simplicity. Susan had the right of it, there was one puzzle in particular that was driving me insane (as in smash my head against the keyboard frustrating). Stopped playing, went back to it the next day, made it on the first try. Baffling! :D
The only thing that bugged me was that I felt the end kinda left me hanging and craving for some sort of resolution. It definitely felt a bit abrupt to me.

About the whole Penny Arcade on Kickstarter thing... I really don't know what to say. I blame the Penny Arcade guys for using Kickstarter, I blame people for throwing their money at them... In the end, I feel that Penny Arcade could've used some other means of raising money (there are just so many other means to do a fund-raiser). But what's done is done.

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