Jimquisition: Damn Fine Coffee

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canadamus_prime:
I don't even like coffee.
Anyway it's a sad day when the madman is talking more sense than anyone in the industry.

It's not sad. If you set the bar low enough by design you can make anything look Brilliant.
Granted that bar is in fact EA,

and yes Jim sterling on his nuttiest worse day will always sound, look, and possibly even smell better than EA. he will be more likeable.

Crap your lowest internet troll (cough Ben yahtzee) could pull that off. it's not sad.. it's obvious.

canadamus_prime:
I don't even like coffee.
Anyway it's a sad day when the madman is talking more sense than anyone in the industry.

I don't like it either. Never drink it.

Also, there is a joy in being mad that only madmen know about.
Give it a try everyone! ;) Ya might like it.

Thank God for Jim.

Okay, I'd never even heard of Overstrike before, and I usually don't even like shooters of the 1st or 3rd person variety but...Holy Crap, I would have played that. It was an interesting style you don't see very often, it had the goo balls weapon from The Incredibles.

I would have played the hell out of that.

But now it's...Fuse? ...That?

...I'll pass. Thanks Jim.

First off, in regards to EA's latest clusterfuck that turned Over Strike into Fuse, I'd like to offer the following statement...

Second, I've only had french vanilla from the college coffee machine only when I needed to keep warm during the winter months and that was on rare occasions. If I need a caffeine fix, I'll stick with soda. no energy drinks or that 5 Hour crack substitute for me, thank you very much.

Third, FUCK the majority that focus groups aim for. If there was any group of people that need to be shunned for life, its the over-indulged, selfish, sexist, fratboy douche-bags whose only useful purpose I could think of is being used as human meat shields in the next war this country gets dragged into. No guns, no body armor, just give them a clean pair of underwear and paint giant bullseyes on their chest and face.

Just as Jim (perhaps the few sane madmen in this insane world we live in) stated at the end, focus groups are a tool that can be used properly or abused by the worst individuals in society. For those that use this tool wisely, thank you for practicing common sense and best of luck to you.

To the worthless fuckwits that abuse focus groups, please take the following example to heart...

I've played every game Insomniac has developed since the PS1-era, if one thing I noticed while playing FUSE over the past week it's the total absence of feeling/looking like this was made by Insomniac...

The dialog and story is generic as a generic third person shooter can get, complete with terrible attempts to be humorous. Another thing I noticed is the lackluster arsenal of (unique) weapons (one of Insomniac's wheelhouses)

FUSE to me is now the poster child of making a creative studio develop generic, homogeneous games that is restrained by narrow-minded focus groups...

Social desirability bias? It doesn't happen to me. I prefer to say what I really mean. More people should try it. I think it's more respectful to tell the truth than to simply say what you think people want to hear.

It's strange, I much prefer games with female protagonists, either because they characters are more interesting, or because I love to look at a good piece of ass...... yeah, I'm a guy, get over it.

It always surprises me that I'm supposedly the minority that prefer female protagonists.

Anyways, I agree with Jim Sterling. I remember some people here giving me slack because I said it wasn't worth paying full retail for an online version the 10+ year-old Darkstalkers game (including The Escapist reviewer), and yet, so many people won't even likely play that game online all the time. Because there are so many other fighting games, everyone has their favs, and they return to them soon after.

I like mine black with no sugar. Beyond that I don't have a clue.

One thing I think is worth mentioning when it comes to games with "tacked on" multiplayer is that 9/10 the multiplayer is supported terribly. It's not just that people claim to want it when they don't, it's that when they hear people want it, they don't seem to grasp that simply having multiplayer isn't going to miraculously make the game good. The multiplayer itself needs to be worth actually playing.

A lot of smaller games that include it (for example re-makes or games that in the olden days would have been played split-screen or in the case of fighting games, just on the same TV) tend to have terrible connection problems, or many other technical faults because they haven't put in the effort to make it work properly.

Even games such as Assassins Creed failed to get it right. Finding a working game without either getting kicked out for no reason, or being split up from your party without any warning was a rarity in almost all of the games that featured it.

Or larger games often tend to get incredibly uninspired versions that are literally a copy and paste of what countless other games have already done. The difference is that those games have already mastered it, so why would they want an inferior clone?

People can complain about Halo and COD as much as they like, but nobody can honestly deny that they don't put a hell of a lot of effort into making their multiplayer work. Both on the technical side and the game side as well.

Speaking of focus testing, it was this kind of attitude that irritated me with Gears of War 3. The previous games were primarily focused on single life game-modes so tactics, positioning and skill played an important role. They then decided to make a standard death match their primary game-mode, which basically turned into any other reflex shooter.

Once again a fun Jimsterling production I can whole-heartedly enjoy without blowing any of my anti-whatever fuses. Splendid.

Oh, do get this:

"Fuse is actually the least changed of all of our IPs." Ratchet and Clank was originally a third-person, M-rated adventure game called, simply, "Girl With a Stick."

- Ted Price, CEO Insomniac

It can be accessed over at: http://www.joystiq.com/2012/09/12/ted-price-on-how-insomniacs-overstrike-became-fuse/

and it's from Sep 12th 2012. It's about the time I gave up on Overstrike and decided I didn't fancy Fuse very much, t'a.

That is a cool fucking mug. Also, thanks for ruining my anticipation for Fuse. Granted, I had totally forgotten about it since that teaser originally premiered, but I think I was looking forward to it subconsciously. Now it will never exist :(

Magog1:

canadamus_prime:
I don't even like coffee.
Anyway it's a sad day when the madman is talking more sense than anyone in the industry.

It's not sad. If you set the bar low enough by design you can make anything look Brilliant.
Granted that bar is in fact EA,

and yes Jim sterling on his nuttiest worse day will always sound, look, and possibly even smell better than EA. he will be more likeable.

Crap your lowest internet troll (cough Ben yahtzee) could pull that off. it's not sad.. it's obvious.

That's true too. I certainly can't argue with that.

Imp Emissary:

canadamus_prime:
I don't even like coffee.
Anyway it's a sad day when the madman is talking more sense than anyone in the industry.

I don't like it either. Never drink it.

Also, there is a joy in being mad that only madmen know about.
Give it a try everyone! ;) Ya might like it.

Thank God for Jim.

I'm not saying their isn't, it's just sad when madmen make more sense than so-called industry "professionals."

Gotta say, Jim, another brilliant episode, as has very much been the case recently. So, bravo, "madman".

And I'm really disheartened about Overstrike becoming Fuse again.

Focus testing shouldn't be used on a creative aspect because creativity depends on independent thought. There are plenty of more concrete places when a general barometer is a good idea before you're in too deep. Like "does this control scheme suck?", or "was it too vague". That last point actually reminds me Extra Credits did an episode a while back where the optimum approach wasn't what the testers said, but very carefully observing how they reacted.

Jimothy Sterling:
*depression be here*

Frat boys and 12 year old boys? ...REALLY!? That wasn't an exaggeration or anything? Because that's exactly what I've been saying for the last 3 years; it seems to be the only people the industry is really targeting anymore, at least in the triple A department. Last year the only triple A games I bought were Halo 4 and Borderlands 2, because they were the only ones I could stomach. This year? Nothing, and probably going to be nothing out of "the big releases" before the year ends. Though I am happy to hear game sales are down across the board. But that brings me to my real question.

Tell me Jim, do you think sales will eventually get so bad publishers and devs will realize this is unsustainable, and finally break themselves of the cycle? Or do you think they will stubbornly 'stay the course' until we have another crash?

Headdrivehardscrew:
Once again a fun Jimsterling production I can whole-heartedly enjoy without blowing any of my anti-whatever fuses. Splendid.

Oh, do get this:

"Fuse is actually the least changed of all of our IPs." Ratchet and Clank was originally a third-person, M-rated adventure game called, simply, "Girl With a Stick."

- Ted Price, CEO Insomniac

It can be accessed over at: http://www.joystiq.com/2012/09/12/ted-price-on-how-insomniacs-overstrike-became-fuse/

and it's from Sep 12th 2012. It's about the time I gave up on Overstrike and decided I didn't fancy Fuse very much, t'a.

It's funny that Ted would say that since the code name for the Resistance 2 private beta was titled Girl With a Stick...

Still have the save data for it on my PS3 for (lack of a better word) sentimental purposes

Funny thing about Coke, and focus-testing, actually.

In April 1985 the company briefly replaced the familiar Coca-Cola formula with one called "the new taste of Coke". This new formulation was not well received and after a few years was withdrawn from the market, replaced with a slight variation of the old recipe (the primary difference was that cane sugar was replaced with high-fructose corn syrup), briefly identified as "Classic Coke" before returning to its identity as simply "Coke"

( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coca-Cola_formula, skip down to "New Coke" )

This was a pretty deliberate switch, though, driven by money. The short of it was that "New Coke" was designed to fail so Coke could win points / free publicity by pretending to cater to fans when it switched back to 'Original Coke', while disguising the change in taste that came from shifting from cane sugar to HFC. Coke needed to make that change because sugar was two to three times as expensive as HFC. Apparently the initial focus testing showed that without the intermediary, and deliberately foul, New Coke, customers would not endorse the new taste.

FWIW, the New Coke wikipedia entry lists this as a conspiracy theory ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Coke#cite_ref-Oliver183_41-1 ), which for some reason amuses me. The one or two people still reading this post may be interested in "The Real Coke, the Real Story" by Thomas Oliver ( http://www.amazon.com/The-Real-Coke-Story/dp/0140104089/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1370278175&sr=8-1&keywords=The+Real+Coke%2C+The+Real+Story )

As an athiest who am I to thank for Jim when he descends from the mountain to deliver his truth?

Strange joking aside good episode Jim.

Call of Duty has a soul and is made from the heart...Jim, you're gonna need this.

image

Also it kinda feels like you're stagnating a little. This feels like a retread of the pasta sauce video, and while I liked that video, it feels like the same thing here worded differently. Maybe you could make videos about things you really like in the industry to spice things up. You've already got countless videos saying "don't do this," a few videos saying "do this instead," would be a nice compliment.

MEANWHILE, IN EVERY AAA PUBLISHER'S BOARDROOM...


OT: This is just sad. Even leaving out the fact that I hate fratboys and dudebros with a passion, while would you want to cater to just them? There are so many other markets with more money to spend on your products, and the fratboys and dudebros are already satisfied with their yearly dose of spunkgargleweewee.

Oh, and... Insomniac, I am sad for you that your game got turned into what it is now by EA, but honestly what made you think signing up with EA was a good idea?

Voltano:
In defense to focus groups (Which Jim did well at the end), I think they can be useful as a way to listen to the community. Being creative all the time is hard, but what fills creativity is inspiration and/or ideas. Getting ideas from a focus group could lead to a potentially great game, or take a familiar genre of games and add a unique spin on it to make it unique.

But it sounds like publishers are only allowing a niche audience of gamers that are the "Call of Duty" fans into the group, rather than a diverse group of females, "Dark Souls" fans, and middle-aged gamers for testing. Plus it sounds like the output from these focus groups is used as a base-line for a game, not as a way to get feedback from the community. Of course these games are going to be bland and repetitive to "Call of Duty", because you are just making a mediocre "Call of Duty" game to meet the "Call of Duty" fan boys expectations.

Although the discussion on how a person's opinion is influenced by the group is interesting, and unfortunately does lead to poor results. Are these focus groups meant to give their answers as a group or individually?

Exactly this.

Everyone wants to be Call of Duty and all they do is ask Call of Duty fans how to improve their shitty clone, ironically, so that in the end, they don't buy it because they already have frakking Call of Duty.

Game publishers are looking for a magic silver-bullet that will magically make massive profits as a result of no, or, at best, extremely minimal, effort on their part. Unfortunately for them, no such bullet exists.

EDIT: Corrected "not just" to "no such". Can't believe I didn't catch that the first time.

So let's assume I'd get into a focus testing group and all their questions would be coffee-related and in their feedback form to fill out I can't just tell them "I don't even like coffee! Give me hot chocolate and black tea!" except in the 2 lines space at the bottom that nobody will read anyways...
yeah, my answers would probably disregarded or their coffe would range from mediocre to horrible.

I think that developers and publishers should sit down together and ask eachother: What would be fun?

What will make this game more enjoyable to play?

Magog1:
Jim did you seriously talk about beating a dead horse while bitching and moaning about EA?
Seriously Jim? Your teaching the same lesson with a new spin every week now.

Dear God man Diversify.

Not saying it sucks, not saying it's bad.. it's an awesome lesson... And i like reputation Lord knows i play diablo 3,

But come on man Just a little something else. I swear to God we won't all start magically respecting EA 1 week later if you shelf bitching about them just a little bit.

Pretty please?

So a new game comes out and in almost no way resembles the game it was at the beginning of the development process. Jim goes on to explain why this is and gives us an excellent look at how focus groups and companies chasing the almighty dollar are generifying gaming to death. And all you got out of this was that Jim is bashing EA. Seriously if anyone here is narrow mindedly obsessing over something, I don't think it's Jim.

Jim seems to be confused regarding why games are made and what focus groups are for. Games aren't made because a company thinks it will be cool to make this game but because they want to make money. So it makes sense for the developers to talk to a focus group made up of their target audience to see what these people are willing to spend their money on. No matter how well made a game is or how much fun it was to make if it doesn't appeal to enough people if will fail. A good example of this is Psychonauts, which for years had poor sales because it simply didn't appeal to most people.

Jim's complaints that focus groups are bad because they aren't diverse enough is deeply flawed. Given that Jim complained about games being changed after feedback from a focus group made up of the people a company is trying to sell their game to I'd hate to think how much he'd complain if a game was watered down to appeal to men and women of all ages.

Finally the problem isn't so much with focus groups but the way the people in these groups are asked what they want. Indirectly trying to find out what people like is an effective way of determining what will be popular.

Things have gotten so insane that the madman makes sense?

That has to be one of the most poignant(sp?) things I have ever heard. A sad truth, but still...

That's the sketchiest, coffee clubhouse I've ever seen. The kind where attempts at 'brewing coffee' yield low purity piles of MDPV.

I'm just kidding. I know it's just a picture of a crappy shed, but it's a welcome addition the regular rollodex of shrimp, kids halloween costumes and meat.

Headdrivehardscrew:
Once again a fun Jimsterling production I can whole-heartedly enjoy without blowing any of my anti-whatever fuses. Splendid.

Oh, do get this:

"Fuse is actually the least changed of all of our IPs." Ratchet and Clank was originally a third-person, M-rated adventure game called, simply, "Girl With a Stick."

- Ted Price, CEO Insomniac

It can be accessed over at: http://www.joystiq.com/2012/09/12/ted-price-on-how-insomniacs-overstrike-became-fuse/

and it's from Sep 12th 2012. It's about the time I gave up on Overstrike and decided I didn't fancy Fuse very much, t'a.

Wow... that just makes Insomniac sound like complete idiots who simply get lucky with each franchise they put out. I suddenly feel much less respect for them.

erttheking:
Call of Duty has a soul and is made from the heart...Jim, you're gonna need this.

Jim's right. Call of Duty is about the only franchise out there that isn't trying to be like anyone else. They have their target market and they make very specific games that cater to that market. Because of that they are successful. It also means that the developers don't have to suffer the wrath of useless focus testers and they are free to make the god damn best explodey shootey grey shooter they like.

You may not like COD personally (neither do I) but it does what it does to a high quality and that means that someone somewhere cares about what goes into the game.

image
It hurts. It hurts so much.

This is like a reverse-Borderlands; a generic, realistic, dirt-brown shooter that was turned into a quirky, bizarre, stylized loot-a-thon. Only this went from a quirky, stylized, interesting-looing game into a dull, generic, forgettable flop.

The thing is, we KNOW Insomniac is better then this. They've proven it over the past decade and a half. "Overstrike" looked like a breath of fresh air in a sea of lifeless, violent, gritty, dull shooters, and it instead became one itself.

Shame.

I always love to name Dark Souls in this perspective (even though I haven't played it....yet). The Lead Designer made decisions based on what he would love to see in the game and look what it got them.....SUCCESS! Who would've imagined?

I don't like coffee... consequential I crossed "Overstrike" from my "that could be interesting" list when it became Fuse.

Entitled:
I think, in a certain sense, the online community circlejerk also has it's own social desirability demands.

What do *you* want from games? "Innovation" seems to be a popular demand, that makes us all sound refined and knowledgeable, but it's one of those cases where the word ounds good on paper, but in practice, most of us would rather play a comfortably familiar genre with nicely fine-tuned mechanics, and slightly curious setting, than something with no familiarity at all.

I can only speak for myself, but I know I mean it when I say I want innovation in games. Some of my favourite games of all times are (in no particular order) Magicka, Hammerfight, Hotline Miami, Mount&Blade, Portal, Braid, ... What all these have in common is that their core mechanics were different from other games, and exploring these mechanics was half the fun. And it's really about these different game mechanics for me. I didn't care much for Braid's "artsiness", if that's a word, but I loved the game beneath it. And I enjoyed the humour in the Portal games, but that wasn't the most important reason why I enjoyed it. That doesn't mean I can't enjoy a well made game in a more classic genre, by the way, but usually (not always) they're more forgettable.

As I said, I can only speak for myself, but I'm not sure you're right. In my perception, there are more people on the internet complaining about poor graphical fidelity or bad storylines than about gameplay stagnation (though I'm not sure, this may be biased). There may be people who, after playing a poorly made CoD clone like MoH, claim that they want innovation without actually meaning it; but I think that, for every such person, there's three people that just say "lol, not as good as CoD", without pretending they want anything else.

As part of my studies in computer technology, one of my classes was about designing interfaces. A good chunk of my final project consisted in putting together a study of an app I designed which involved putting together a focus group. This consisted of running a survey with general questions about their use of mobile apps and the current situation that I was looking to solve with an app. It also included a test where the user gets to try the app. However, instead of telling the user what to do, we would let him/her use it freely for a few minutes. The purpose of this was to study the manner in which the user used the interface and his reactions to it. Was the user frustrated? Bored? Did he notice any problems?

Of course, the purpose of the test was to make the interface as simple and straightforward as possible to use without compromising its functions, which is what any user would want. The only way this test can be done with a game is to test the controls and functionalities. However, when it comes to subject manner of a game, it's very counter-intuitive to assume that data and charts can determine the tastes of people. In an ideal world, developers and auters would be able to express their vision in a game without having to resort to catering to the industry's current common denominator (the COD audience) and combine that with an intuitive and functional interface, which is what focus groups in the game industry should be focusing on.

I remember being so excited about Overstrike (though the name was crap) when I saw it at E3. I'm not normally excited about new shooters coming out, but this game looked fun. It had a sort of saturday morning cartoon for adults vibe, with a tongue in cheek sense about itself. Plus it was designed with co-op in mind, it looked like the kind of game you want to play with your friends so you could spend the whole afternoon laughing your ass off and blowing shit up.

Then it became Fuse and lost all it's character and all of my interest.

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