Jimquisition: Guns Blazing

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To be a "bit" fair to Namco... I'm part of that weird cross over market who would buy Dark Souls 2... if it had an Easier Mode...

I wanted to like Dark Souls... but I found it too fucking hard to be fun and I gave up.

But at the same time, I wanted to play a dark, creepy fantasy game with brutal combat not a Skyrim clone.

Mick P.:

Mick P.:
Is it just me or is Escapist (magazine: is it a magazine?) experiencing technical difficulties today?

Excuse me, but I feel it incumbent upon me to use this opportunity to assure the passive video gaming populace (no offense; just saying) that this problem is being worked on. I know it sucks to always be on the receiving end of a relationship, but know that we got this genre covered (http://www.swordofmoonlight.net/)

PS: Also Dark Souls is a pretty unmanageable slash unenjoyable game by all but contemporary (lets be honest, could the bar go any lower?) standards. Its spiritual predecessor of its spiritual predecessor (King's Field) got the controls right. It's the standard by which all 3D first person games will be played as soon as we kick our collective "AAA" dependency...

Believe it or not it's actually possible to do everything any game does with 3 buttons and two thumb sticks (the unbuttoned variety) which when you think about it, is plus or minus a finger all you have to work with. Provided both hands and all fingers are in working order. Accessibility v. the video game industry Jim?

I'm just going to quote myself and tell you guys that its time to grow up and start making games for yourselves (just like opensource software) or shut up. You are never going to get good games ever again. Much less games that are accessible, standardized, open, p2p, good, respectful of your intellectual caliber, etc. etc. etc. Something like Kickstarter is the only way that niche demographics are ever going to get served and paid for at the same time... but at the same time don't discount people just doing things for themselves for the love and joy of it.

The only reason games were ever any good at all is because they were being made by amateurs that didn't have a clue what the hell they were doing. That forces you to be creative. To this day the only games that demonstrate any degree of self awareness are Ico and Shadow of the Colossus. And where is the third game? I guess we can wait decades for one half decent game to maybe appear now. Why not. Every other game is a demonstrated fluke, like Star Wars. A broken clock is right once in a while. Or aliens beam ideas into our little incy wincy pea brains once in a blue moon.

You get what you deserve. Quit supporting indie developers, and start supporting open platforms. Open standards in gaming. Open content. Can you imagine what browsing the internet would be like without open standards? And public domain resources. Can you imagine how many movies would get made if every prop had to be created from scratch? Including the actors. Only one movie per actor. Games are a medium that has yet to begin. Stop the idol worship. The games are not even good. Remember that hoop and stick was once the pinnacle of gaming technology.

One day people will make games. Like people make books. An author, maybe a co author, hopefully an editor. Leave it to the marketing corporations to make hit or miss adaptations for the thick among us. And let them take their earnings and pump into people with proven track records just to see if they implode or make a respectable big budget feature that will be remembered 50 years hence.

PS: I like the post that imagined gamers raising the rubber fist. You guys need revolutionary rallying cries to get this century on the right track. Art is the highest purpose of life, and video games are the highest purpose of art. Act like you mean it when you standup for these things.

"Let's see you do better" is, and has always has been, the mother of all cop out arguments.

I want to kidnap every high-ranking exec of EA, lock them all in seperate rooms with no way out, and nothing in them but a chair, TV, DVD player, and DVDs of every episode of the Jimquisition, and tell them all that they're not being let out until they're done watching them all.

I can dream, can't I?

Here here. Good rant... As a Dark Souls fan I agree 100%.

image

Dark Souls - I also felt - was a step in the right direction. Avoiding the temptation to go AAA. Going against the formula, and being its own game. If more developers were to follow this lead, it could solve the biggest 2 problem with the industry right now. Being innovative while making money.

Mick P.:
There is going to be an open technology revolution before the current industry reaches self apocalyptic annihilation. You going to have everyone on the planet making video games. There will be 1000s if not millions of flowers blooming. I can only liken it to the relative ease of writing a book. Not necessarily a good book of course. But all you need is pencil and paper. That's a standard. You get 1000s of people making games, and you get a lot more experimentation, a lot more diversity, a lot more self serving (ie. personal) games, and a lot more niches being served.

We already have this with the indie industry. We have tons of "retro" games all over the place, and the standards are all over the place.

It takes a long time and the collaboration of a great deal of people to make a good and good looking game. You can't do this in your basement.

You can always tell Jim is angry if the video looks like an episode of "The Raccoons".

Nice hat Jim

erttheking:

Mick P.:
http://www.swordofmoonlight.net/

"Let's see you do better" is, and has always has been, the mother of all cop out arguments.

I am doing better. Just encouraging everyone to be less submissive. I am tired of everyone acting helpless. Begging the "game industry" to listen instead of just moving on. We represent enthusiasts. If you feel like you are not being served on such a colossal level. Then there is only one appropriate response.

This is a thread about Dark Souls. Unless the series suddenly gets a whole lot better. We will make better games in the same vein. With From Software's own RPG maker software, and From's blessing. It's going to be one of the first open source games in the new era.

He whines hard, and he is jumping into a debate that is already occurring (and has been going for some time), but I don't think he gets how good dark jrpgs can be, and I don't think they will fuck it up, just because of a press release in the news speak he hates.

The game is mostly done, some clips are out, it looks a lot like Dark Souls 1 and Demon Souls, and not uncharted or COD.

Be at peace my son.

PedroSteckecilo:
To be a "bit" fair to Namco... I'm part of that weird cross over market who would buy Dark Souls 2... if it had an Easier Mode...

I wanted to like Dark Souls... but I found it too fucking hard to be fun and I gave up.

But at the same time, I wanted to play a dark, creepy fantasy game with brutal combat not a Skyrim clone.

For dark souls, there is a time after you give up, that you can come back to it, apply yourself and then really get it. I was the same, so was a friend. You give up, then you come back and really learn, now with a stronger spirit.

Dark Souls 2 is not looking like a skyrim clone from what is out already.

You would think they would learn about basic math in Game-making school.

If there are 5 million people that played your first game and everyone who liked it ended up playing it, it doesn't mean that if you change it to attract new people it will attract new people and keep the original 5 million.

What publishers need to learn:

We like specific games not specific IPs.

CrossLOPER:

Mick P.:
There is going to be an open technology revolution before the current industry reaches self apocalyptic annihilation. You going to have everyone on the planet making video games. There will be 1000s if not millions of flowers blooming. I can only liken it to the relative ease of writing a book. Not necessarily a good book of course. But all you need is pencil and paper. That's a standard. You get 1000s of people making games, and you get a lot more experimentation, a lot more diversity, a lot more self serving (ie. personal) games, and a lot more niches being served.

We already have this with the indie industry. We have tons of "retro" games all over the place, and the standards are all over the place.

It takes a long time and the collaboration of a great deal of people to make a good and good looking game. You can't do this in your basement.

Yeah I don't know of any indie or "retro" games that can be described as classics. I hate to discourage indie people, but as near as I can tell they are just aping their industrial scale counterparts. Independent film really doesn't mean anything. Independent game developers are the same. Smaller budget. Small risk for potentially big payoff. Same game.

Also there are no standards in games. After 30 years standards should be the default. Experimentation should happen behind closed doors. People write books and screenplays in their basement all of the time. That's why they are the basis for good movies. Games are more complicated, but we have the technology and infrastructure now. It's just a matter of time and demand.

I have to say: This whole rant mirrors my own fears for this game. I really don't want them to change any of the mechanics at all. I'm cautiously optimistic that they won't, but we will see what happens. The Souls games are two of my top 5 games of all time. I don't want them dumbing it down. I don't want them changing the controls, the combat, the customization... Basically, take the previous games, put them on new maps with new enemies and new weapons and armor... and the same 2 million people will keep fuckin' buying them. The secret, as Jim points out, is to not spend so much fuckin' money on it that the 2 million guaranteed sales won't be enough. Namco/Bandai are pretty fuckin' stupid though.

It is a rant mirroring fears, (we dark souls fans worry), but it is not yet substantiated by an actual bad game.

Some news speak may indicate they have lost their way, or it could be total bull to try and speak to the western gaming industry in their own language. Alas AAA are mostly shit now, but do they know it?

Here is hoping they don't lose themselves.

CrossLOPER:

Mick P.:
There is going to be an open technology revolution before the current industry reaches self apocalyptic annihilation. You going to have everyone on the planet making video games. There will be 1000s if not millions of flowers blooming. I can only liken it to the relative ease of writing a book. Not necessarily a good book of course. But all you need is pencil and paper. That's a standard. You get 1000s of people making games, and you get a lot more experimentation, a lot more diversity, a lot more self serving (ie. personal) games, and a lot more niches being served.

We already have this with the indie industry. We have tons of "retro" games all over the place, and the standards are all over the place.

It takes a long time and the collaboration of a great deal of people to make a good and good looking game. You can't do this in your basement.

Also; I don't know who you are kidding. Dark Souls is a "retro" game. Whether they realize it or not that's what people like about it.

EDITED: For years now From Software, Atlus, only a few companies have been making video games, more or less the way they were, before companies found out there was a mainstream audience with disposable income that dwarfed the original audience for video games. This mindset was fully dominant well before the PS2 generation. I don't think From' will cave on an in house franchise. But if it does that might be the time to officially declare the golden age of games over.

I should stress that "niche" is pronounced "Neeesh", not "Nitch".

I am not sure widening the net and being hardcore or niche are necessary exclusive. Starcraft was a niche game and a AAA one directed at the masses, so is LoL.

Will be disappointed if NAMCO ends up betraying the Dark Souls experience (whatever that means) to try to get Skyrim players, but so far I wouldn't freak out.

That said, throwing money into a project and hope to God it works out... lolz, that alone is enough to think their whole management is totally retarded.

That was perfect bliss. Exactly my problem with the state of the industry now. This video should be linked to every producers website in every possible way, it should flow through the twitter feeds of every person who has ever touched a video game in development.

PedroSteckecilo:
To be a "bit" fair to Namco... I'm part of that weird cross over market who would buy Dark Souls 2... if it had an Easier Mode...

I wanted to like Dark Souls... but I found it too fucking hard to be fun and I gave up.

But at the same time, I wanted to play a dark, creepy fantasy game with brutal combat not a Skyrim clone.

This is part of the issue though. They refused to make an "easier" mode. They instead decided to go with what they thought was the core gameplay and went about trying to generalize it. If they really want to reach out to a new audience all they have to do is keep the core experience the same, then implement an easy mode. That damn easy. Yet everyone will bitch and moan that if they make an easy mode they will have sold their souls to commercialization, and go down the road that skyrim went. Meanwhile sticking their fingers and their ears yelling "la la la la" ignoring any form of sense being spouted in their general directions.

I completely agree with your concern. I was worried as fuck about Dark Souls losing its focus to appeal to new audiences after that article compared it to Skyrim, of all things. And I still fear straightforward lore, cash-grab DLC or other tack-ons. However, having seen the interview with Tanimura, he seems like he knows what needs to happen. The innovation he's talking about is interesting level design. Other than that he seems to be all about enhancing what was already good and keeping challenge and difficulty intact. The article beforehand was worrying, but I am a little reassured by Tanimura, and it didn't even seem like damage control, he might just genuinely get Dark Souls.

Looming_Shadows:
As a shattered I just loved the Podtoid reference

Podtoid is quite possibly my favourite thing on the internet. If you like that then the Flixist (of the same site network as Destructoid) podcast was awesome till Alex Katz got a job a Disney or whatever.

I'm glad to hear in a recent podtoid episode that the Flixist contributor Matty Shoestring (Mattias Sjostrand) is a contributor to the Podtoid Wiki.

I encourage Jim to perhaps look Matty up and offer to read some of his.... fiction on the podcast. I'm sure Jonathan Holmes will love it.

Annihilist:
I should stress that "niche" is pronounced "Neeesh", not "Nitch".

I know right? It was starting to get a bit annoying.

Annihilist:
I should stress that "niche" is pronounced "Neeesh", not "Nitch".

From the French - Nicher:- to nest.

Worse is 'buoy'. It's pronounced 'boy' Americans, its short for buoyancy. What the fuck is a "boowy"?

Language evolves though. I get annoyed by the way that Americans pronounce herbs, Post 19th Century RP English pronounciation aspirates the 'h' but in Colonial American English (and the original French) the 'h' is silent.

Mick P.:

Also; I don't know who you are kidding. Dark Souls is a "retro" game. Whether they realize it or not that's what people like about it.

I used "retro" ironically. It's a really dumb term. It generally implies that developers in the past didn't put any effort into detail.

Where's miniature fantasy Willem Dafoe?

Other then that another great episode that I agree wholeheartedly with.

Jackel86:
I have never understood that mentality. My CEO always says, "If you're not growing, you're dying." What? In what world do these people live in? It's just like that idea that everyone can be rich. No, that's not possible. We live in a world of finite resources. There is only so much money, only so many customers, and only so much marketshare. Is Wal-Mart dying if they don't increase their customer base this year? I doubt it.

That is a very easy to understand statement. The fact you think it means this is almost insulting. What it means is that if a company isn't growing(attracting new clientèle) then the company will die (eventually the audience you have will go away and you will have nothing.) That is all it ever meant, and the fact you didn't understand just shows this disconnect with business and gamers I have been seeing for so long.

To answer your question, if Wall-mart doesn't increase the number of customers to replaced lost customers, then yes, Wall-Mart will die.

Holy cow, Jim. Take a chill pill. I've seen toddlers throwing tantrums with more dignity. (Unless you're being a damned fine troll showing up the self-called Hardcore gamers.)

From what I see of games developers and their parasitic publishers, everyone is losing money hand over fist. As such, any sucesses are going to get the "bigger and better or bust" treatment. However, I grant you that it doesn't often work out mostly due to the law of diminishing returns. Surely there's nothing wrong with trying to make a sequel bigger and better than it's predecessor in any case?

So what if From software want to make the game a little more like Skyrim? If I recall correctly, you couldn't tear yourself away from Skyrim for weeks after it. Dark Souls or Skyrim are just as deep as one another. Both have a Adventurer see, Adventurer kill type gameplay but in a world with a whole ton of lore almost hidden in the background of the game.

So what if it has difficulty settings for novices - I'm a novice who bought the game but could never finish it. The Tomb of the Giants was just too difficult for me. (Which will probably get me tons of "Learn to play, noob" type flak.) If I got difficulty settings to turn down to let me finish the game - I'll be all the more grateful for them. Conversely, if I were a complete masochist, I'd turn them up.

If you are so sure the game now sucks, may I ask if you have actually played it yet? I'd imagine not.

Try to avoid gleaning every little bit of information about the game and play it - it only builds up unrealistic expectations of the game on your part. It's bad enough publishers do it, but I'm sure the developers don't need the same behaviour from us gamers too.

Know about the game, but let's not obsess over it. After all, it's only a game.

Jim expressed how I felt about what EA did to Dead Space 3 perfectly, or least what the people behind the series did.

I'm tired of Triple A games now. Not because they suck- or that they're unoriginal.. it's just the fact they're being sold in the poorest tactics a company can go with thus their elements are to 'mixed' for it to stand out. What made Dark Souls amazing was that it's a REALLY challenging game not meant for everyone and it focused on what it wanted to be. Taking that away just to widen the audience is going to alienate your loyal fans thus what if the newer fans don't like Dark Souls 2? Now you're in a huge jam.

This has happened to many especially with people now being more and more aware of the problems in the gaming industry. Hopefully developers stop trying to be greedy (or trying to hard to please everyone) and stick with what's 'best' for their game and everyone will be happy. Sadly I am unhappy about Dead Space 3 thus haven't felt the need to even get all the achievements like I did for DS 1 & 2.

DVS BSTrD:

canadamus_prime:

DVS BSTrD:
He's getting really anal about homogenization and unrealistic expectations.

Don't misunderstand me. I agree with everything he said. What I meant was that he must be getting sick and tired of having to say it because Publishers refuse to listen.

Yeah, it's really gotten out of... hand.

You really had to reach deep for that one.

erttheking:
"Let's see you do better" is, and has always has been, the mother of all cop out arguments.

"That surgeon left tools in their chest cavity!"

"Well yeah...but I mean...let's see you do better before you go criticizing them."

"But he died!"

"Sure, but I mean, you have no right to be upset about it."

Redd the Sock:
Welcome to modern capitalism. It sucks.

It sucks for the consumer sure (some of them anyway), but I'm not sure I agree with Jim's point. Take his example of Dead Space, was DS2 really such a failure? I don't know the sales figures but the developers know that the people who liked the original will buy the sequel anyway, so you might as well market to a broader audience. You might fail to appeal to them but you won't sell less than if you aimed for the niche again. And sales is what it's all about. Jim needs to elaborate what he means by "failure", any why. I didn't know whether this piece was about marketing, the business of game publishing or gamer satisfaction or a mix of all three.

Really hoping that (since that was a quote from the PR guy) that he simply meant more money will be spent on marketing it. Of course as Jim said its a niche game and people who like that kind of game likely already know and will tell any friends that might be interested. If that is all he meant then I just hope they don't spend more on marketing than they can realistically make back.

And of course, "hope to god that it works" should never ever be part of the business plan.

Yeah, I must admit that I'm a bit bummed out by those statements... and alarmed.

Just the other day, I went back to play Demon's Souls, it's been a while. After being under the vague impression that Dragon's Dogma and Bioshock Infinite took bits and pieces of what I liked, nay, loved, from the Souls games, I needed to give my infinite loop of perfection on Dark Souls a break so I picked up Demon's Souls again.

And I have to say that I miss the daring beauty of Demon's Souls already. I still love Dark Souls, it was so new and shiny when I first got it. But compared to the original, Dark Souls has so many more issues and imperfections. I love how I can just navigate an environment in Demon's Souls once I got it all mapped out in my mind. In Dark Souls, I can't get up the tiniest of ledges, when I'm overburdened I might encounter some very deadly issues just stepping onto a plank that's half an inch higher than the ground it rests on, sending me plummeting to certain death. In Demon's Souls, I now find it even more impressive, radical, poetic... everything I do, everything that happens in the game. The way I can choose how to engage the boss demons, if at all. One has a bird on his head that tells him where to come lick me. One can't see and smashes everything to bits. One isn't even a boss, but he'll BBQ your ass anyway. Another one just commits suicide because she knows that all you want is that soul.

I've been holding back for quite a while now, but nothing I've seen or read or heard makes me believe that the folks peddling Dark Souls II (bad name) to me have understood one single bit about it. And that's a shame.

Jesus, no wonder gaming isn't taken seriously as an industry no matter how much it grows, the administration in general of the companies is apparently controlled by amateurs who don't know shit about neither games nor administration. i say this because the clusterfuck they create is simply too HUGE too OFTEN.
Dark Souls and Skyrim attend different audiences, the fact that both are fantasy and have dragons do not put them on the same page. Bandai can create the BEST Dark Souls game ever, if it's focused on the Skyrim public they'll say "SHIT! Pretty nice game, it reminds me of Skyrim" as in "it's a copy, a good one, but it's a copy" they'll finish the game, and then they'll get back to waiting anxiously for the next Elder Scrolls, Dark Souls will be their "cannon fodder". All the while, that might also hinder the classic Dark Souls experience, thus it will ALSO drive away the original fans.
There's a reason Harley-Davidson does not produce smaller CCs bikes, there's a reason we don't see a "popular Ferrari", just the same McDonald's and Burger King have cheap prices: THEY ALL KNOW their target audience, they know what they want and what they expect of them. In my opinion, the gaming industry is looking at gamers as whole, it's failing to cross the line between the expectancy of each "group" of players, and that is crushing their knees when they act amateurishly and the real amateurs (indie companies) grasp this concept with ease and gain the loyalty of so many.

As one of the people who played Skyrim and could not possibly care less about the Dark Souls franchise I have to say that you are absolutely, without a doubt, correct in your assessment that no commercial - however epic in its design and creation - could make me care about a franchise I know from hearing the people who are super-enthusiastic about it talking around here about it all the time does not appeal to my gaming interests, style, play expectations, or general enjoyment criteria.

I am not saying it's a bad game either! I'm simply saying that some people like certain games and some other people like certain other games and only occasionally will those people end up liking the same game and there's nothing the industry can do without homogenizing itself out of existence that will make that change into "all players will always like all games."

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