Sloppy Seconds

By Alec Meer on August 15th, 2008 at 5:55 pm.

Like a PC game, but not

A lot of people – both outside and inside the games industry – seem to forget that we’re a PC blog. Which is understandable, as so do we on occasion, and Walker still finds any opportunity to post about Phoenix bloody Wright games.

So there’s certain console stuff we occasionally feel a yen to mention here, but we can’t really get away with it, unless we couch it in excuses and straw man arguments. Similarly, we’ll get a tip-off about something neat or a press release about a promising game, and it’s of no use to us. Doubly confusing are those games that logic would suggest will inevitably make their way to PC, but publisher paranoia (and Xbox-is-all mentality) precludes them from confirming it. GTA 4‘s an obvious example – clearly we were all playing it when it was released, and clearly too it’d turn up on PC before too long, but writing about it here seemed too much of a stretch. Plus, hey, the entire rest of the internet wouldn’t shut up about it, perhaps making RPS something of a respite from Bellicmania.

There are others, most specifically – to our minds, anyway – Fable 2.

As far as I can establish, no-one’s said the RPG sequel isn’t coming to PC. We also get sent press releases about it from Microsoft unbidden, and occasional requests that we mention some cool feature/event associated with the game. Which could be their forgetting about our PCiness (we like to think we’re so vivacious and colourful that we shatter folks’ stereotypes of PC gaming. Though clearly it’s actually because our content is so very random), or could be their subtly attempting to create some hype amongst a PC audience – your guess is as good as mine, and mine’s probably wrong. Our counter-requests that they confirm a PC release if they want us to post about it didn’t pay off, unfortunately. It’s hugely frustrating – would it really damage its Xbox cred if people knew a PC release was happening? Similarly, where’s the harm in putting us out of our misery and saying it’s definitely not coming to PC? It’s not faiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiir!

So really, we shouldn’t talk about it – which sadly means we couldn’t give Kieron’s big preview feature for OXM its own pimp here – but that it will arrive on PC seems like a foregone conclusion. Fable 1 made it over – in an expanded form no less – and moreover I can’t think of any big 360 exclusives that haven’t crossed the divide after a little while. I’m sure an Angry will be along to correct me on that in painful detail before too long, but certainly we’ve had Gears of War, Mass Effect, Viva Pinata. We do tend to pick the best of the Xboxian fruit eventually.

Halo 3′s the notable exception, and that too is a game a lot of people are presuming will see a PC release. That one I’m actually not so sure about – Halo 2′s too little too late PC release suffered middling and occasionally hostile reviews and didn’t appear to set the charts on fire. As well as that, Halo 3′s extensive and impressive multiplayer tools – the editable replays and the level editor, that kind of thing – strike me as being a fearsomely big job to port over to PC, especially if the perceived audience isn’t massive.

What else? Well, both Kieron and I have been reviewing Too Human (in fact once set to be a PC game, I believe, but it’s changed much since its original announcement in 1999) for Other People of late, and teamed up for some of the co-op. Repeatedly, we lamented that it wasn’t on PC, as there’s a ton of stuff (good and bad) we’d absolutely love to discuss here. It’s very much in the Diablo vein however, traditionally a PC thing, so again there’s this reasonable chance it’ll turn up here – and possibly sooner rather than later, as anyone wanting to release that kind of game would be insane to go head-to-head with Diablo III in the release schedules.

Gears of War 2 seems like a dead-cert, though Epic were recently lamenting its lower review scores on PC so I guess there’s a chance they’ll get all stroppy and spurn us. Resident Evil 5, presuming the whole racist scandal thing doesn’t stop it from getting out the door, might turn up eventually – but let’s hope it’s a better port than the messy Resi 4 PC if so.

In terms of PS3, PC ports seem a lot less likely. While I know I have no hankering for a Resistance: Fall of Man or Heavenly Sword to foul our proud doorstep, it’s telling that they haven’t. Which rather suggests that Little Big Planet, the game I’m hoping will justify my drunken purchase of a PS3 last year (it’s really good as a media streamer, thank God), won’t ever walk this way. Which makes me sad, as its Spore-via-Garry’s Mod ethos seems perfect for us PC-folk.

What else could/should make the leap betwixt console and PC, you lot?

And no, we’re not even slightly considering going multi-format. That we’re specifically PC remains very much our major strength (apart from our record-breaking ugliness.) It hasn’t, doesn’t and won’t stop us from mentioning stuff that we think is peripherally relevant to PC, however.

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44 Comments »

  1. rob says:

    Phoenix Wright had that Flash demo going on so that officially makes it fair game.

  2. subedii says:

    Subtle plug there Alec. Well done.

    As for the complaints about Gears getting a lower score, I’m not surprised (err, about the score that is). Gears was a good game, but the thing is on the 360 it was the first really heavy duty title they were getting whilst the platform was looking for a Killer App. Halo 3 was still a ways off and nobody else had filled the void. Couple that with the huge hype and of course it was going to get massive scores. Gears probably sold a load of 360′s just on its own, the 360 finally had a killer app to showcase the platform.

    Next shift it over to the PC. The core gameplay’s the same, but now the hype’s subsided and people are looking at it with a far more clinical and dispassionate eye. If he’s complaining about the game getting 80′s instead of 90′s though he’s just plain whining. Glancing at Metacritic the difference was high 80′s as opposed to low 90′s, with a massive seven percentage points separating the two versions.

    Honestly, I feel the guys behind DMC4 have a right to complain about the unnecessarily low scores they got loaded down with arbitrarily. This? Well, he’s free to complain about what he wants I guess.

    It’s no secret that cross-platform games usually score lower by the time they’re ported over from their home platform. Heck, the same happened to Half-Life 2.

  3. Noc says:

    So much of a strength, actually, that RPS needs to routinely reaffirm that it’s not, in fact, talking about all the things that it’s not talking about.

    RPS is totally in the console-curious closet. It’s okay, RPS. You can come out. We’ll still like you. It’s okay to experiment with multi-platform coverage when your website’s still in its formative years.

  4. EyeMessiah says:

    Sloppy seconds?

    I mean really.

    Also, don’t ever go multi-format. I don’t earn enough to buy an awesome PC AND three consoles every generation. Don’t taunt me by speaking about games I will never play!

  5. reiver says:

    “my drunken purchase of a PS3 last year (it’s really good as a media streamer, thank God),”
    Heh, that sounds familiar!

    The only console game i’ve played on the PS3 that i’d have been sad to miss out on was Drake’s Fortune. It’s a pity it seems to be remaining an exclusive as i think it deserves a wider market.

  6. Heliocentric says:

    advance wars pc. I would om nom such an impossible title.

    Nintendo are currently stuck in a pit of money however.

  7. Diogo Ribeiro says:

    but the complexities of a role-playing game take attention and polish.

    So, it still fails to recognize player’s actions in the gameworld unless they buy chicken hats and titles that aren’t representative of what they imply? :)

  8. UncleLou says:

    ” publisher paranoia (and Xbox-is-all mentality)”

    It’s so silly, isn’t it. “We’ll try to con you into buying one of our consoles, but if you are stubborn, we’ll at least earn some cash with you a few months later.”

    I wish all these exclusivity shenanigans would stay firmly in console-land. Here I am, cash in my hand, ready to buy your game, now spill the beans.

  9. Frosty840 says:

    One of the things that’s getting to me at the moment (and there are so very, very many of them) is that I still haven’t wrapped my brain around the idea that a console-to-PC port might, in fact, not be shoddy as all fuck.

    I’ve had perfectly up-to-date PC systems brought to their knees by quite frankly shite-looking console ports over the years, and ideas like, say, the fact that Devil May Cry 4 has probably been the best-looking, best performing game I’ve played on this PC (Crysis gave me the choice between beauty and a playable framerate. I took the framerate) still haven’t found a comfortable perch within my mind.

    Of course, now that I’m getting to grips with the idea, some well-received, obviously-designed-for-the-PC console port will come along next week and run like a… Well, there’s a simile I’m not going to use… “and run slowly”, thus further eroding my faith in gaming, but that’s life, I guess.

  10. Dan (WR) says:

    It’d be nice if Star Wars: The Force Unleashed would make it to the PC. As far as I know, it’s only planned for console release so far. I’m heading to the BFI movie-con this weekend, so hopefully I’ll get a chance to playtest it :D

    I’d love to know what you thought of Too Human. I played the demo and it was absolute hate-at-first-sight for me. I slogged through it with my mouth curled open in sneering disgust.

  11. cyrenic says:

    Warhawk on PS3 looked like a title that would have been right at home on a PC; I certainly would have checked it out had it done so. No idea if it was actually any good or not, but it looked interesting :P.

  12. Jim Rossignol says:

    RPS is totally in the console-curious closet. It’s okay, RPS. You can come out. We’ll still like you. It’s okay to experiment with multi-platform coverage when your website’s still in its formative years.

    Heh!

    We’re a PC site *precisely because* everyone else covers console gaming. Alec is being a little over-explanatory, granted…

    So I will be too: the point of the site is to give PC gaming some fair and focused coverage, because the true glory of the big box was being neglected. Or it was being boiled down onto MMO sites, or RPG sites, or Indiegames sites. That didn’t sit well with us, having worked on PC Gamer and so forth – magazines which take a truly omnivorous approach to the format.

    We all own consoles, all play on them, but the point of what we’re doing here is to highlight what we think is interesting about a single platform: the PC.

    That doesn’t mean we’re ignoring what’s happening on other platforms, because gaming is gaming, and it’s all relevant. We’re just not covering it here in any detail or with any editorial specifics. Except when we do, obviously.

  13. Noc says:

    Oh, I get it. I used the wrong metaphor.

    Don’t break edge, RPS. Don’t break edge.

  14. Jim Rossignol says:

    It was an excellent metaphor.

  15. elias says:

    Can you direct me to a RPS that isn’t PC-only? I don’t come here because it’s PC-only (I’m much more of a console gamer anyway), I come here because I like the stuff you guys write.

    Of course I’ll still read it the way it is.

  16. Pseudonym says:

    Not at all Angry, but I guess it’s time to give up hope of ever being able to play Dead Rising on the PC, isn’t it?.

  17. sinister agent says:

    Not at all Angry, but I guess it’s time to give up hope of ever being able to play Dead Rising on the PC, isn’t it?.

    Of course it isn’t. Give it a couple of years and we can all play it on emulators!

    Re: Uncharted. It’s fun and utterly gorgeous, but really nothing special. You’ve probably played a better shooter in the past 24 hours. Crackdown on PC would be far more fun and have more potential for some excellent mods.

  18. Pidesco says:

    Dead Rising is one game, and another one is Ninja Gaiden.

  19. Erlam says:

    “In terms of PS3, PC ports seem a lot less likely. While I know I have no hankering for a Resistance: Fall of Man or Heavenly Sword to foul our proud doorstep, it’s telling that they haven’t. Which rather suggests that Little Big Planet, the game I’m hoping will justify my drunken purchase of a PS3 last year (it’s really good as a media streamer, thank God), won’t ever walk this way. Which makes me sad, as its Spore-via-Garry’s Mod ethos seems perfect for us PC-folk.”

    How about SOCOM: Confrontation? Not that I work on it or anything…

    I am almost entirely a PC gamer. Mostly because I like the controls better, I like the flexibility better, I like not having to by a 5000 dollar TV to get ‘the most’ (read: not Standard Def.) out of my games, and I like the fact that any PC game created, ever, will run on my computer.

    That’s quite a catalogue.

  20. Cian says:

    Really looking forward to Fable II here, I loved the orignal to bits and despite everything I’ll still let Peter Molyneux whip me up into excitement.

    Oh, and I really appreciate RPS being PC only. So long as John Walker posts the occasional DS review on Eurogamer all my needs are met.

  21. PleasingFungus says:

    @Heliocentric: YES

  22. Noc says:

    “It was an excellent metaphor.”

    Yeah, but the “Straight Edge” one is more accurate. Do you get them over there? I don’t know.

  23. Dot says:

    PC gaming-related news are precisely the reason why I keep reading RPS, the thing is, as it was already pointed out, going to any major gaming website will paint a complete picture of console gaming already, and honestly, it’s not that interesting to me.
    Even the sites 100% oriented at the PC gaming crowd, like VE3d or Blue’s News keep tabs on console developments in easily digestible daily linkdumps, so feel free to neglect console gaming all you like. :)

  24. eyemessiah says:

    Jim: “We all own consoles…”

    Showoff.

  25. spd from Russia says:

    And no, we’re not even slightly considering going multi-format.
    thank you!

    I want Okami on a pc… And Ratchet&Clank games. And Jack&Dexter. And I want sony dead for dropping ps3 backwards compatibility with ps2 :(

  26. cannon fodder says:

    @Noc

    Yes we do get them, but they’re thankfully quite rare.

  27. Darth Benedict says:

    The PC gaming focus is a big part of why I read this blog. I don’t own any consoles, so reading about games I will never play isn’t too interesting.

  28. Jonas says:

    Fable 2 looks scha-weet. I tend to never keep playing an open-ended game when I finish its storyline, even when I promise myself I will. Perhaps Fable 2 will break the trend. Think of the mansions!

  29. Octopus says:

    Nice article. I’m in the fortunate position of having both a decent PC and a 360 so I don’t have to wait for these exclusive titles. I can imagine MS would prefer people like me to buy the 360 version and the stick is the wait for the PC version. Also piracy is not really an issue on the 360 whereas the situation on the PC could lead to less sales on the 360.

  30. Radiant says:

    @noc we do get them here.
    I went out with a straight edger once.
    We went to a bar and she told me she didn’t drink. Then later on she told me she doesn’t shag either.
    I was like “But my pants are off and I made it all the way to the bed…
    I’m just a man damnit I’m not Jesus”

  31. ape says:

    Still waiting for the Darkness to come on PC, which will never happen apparently. I mean Escape from Butcher Bay did and it was one hell of a game.

    Anyways, one day in the distant future there will be no such thing as a console… I hope.

  32. Quinns says:

    Before anyone looks forward to Fable 2 they should definitely know to what degree Peter Molyneux has lost his mind.

    Fortunately Gametrailers has made that nice and easy for us with this video. And here are parts 2 and 3. It’s really, really worth watching all of them.

  33. Jae Armstrong says:

    @Heliocentric

    Depending on your tolerance for mecha-musume and your ability to coax obscure games out of obscurer websites, there is a PC Advance Wars. Well, a fanclone, but fuck it it’s nearly identical and just as addictive from all accounts.

    Name of Gadget Trial.

  34. Dorian Cornelius Jasper says:

    Noc: I wasn’t sure we still had Straight Edgers here.

    Since you’re referring to the UK as “over there,” I assume we’re talking about the same “here.”

  35. Heliocentric says:

    but is it online multi player? Ideally though advance wars on the pc wouldn’t be a clone but rather a pc version. With a higher level of control. Maybe directional cover. Essentially a turn based, grid based company of heroes.

  36. Esha says:

    I used to consider myself primarily a PC gamer, but I’ve recently picked up a PS3 because there were some titles I just couldn’t ignore.

    I used to call myself a PC gamer primarily because of the mod scene, the indie scene, and so on. However, with indie titles moving ever more towards consoles (I love you, Everyday Shooter, even if you are pretty much everyday), and some titles being moonlighted on the PS3 long before the PC (Bionic Commando: Rearmed was one of my sins, I could not wait), the console landscape is changing. Things are beginning to merge, and the lines today blur between consoles and PCs more than ever.

    This is a good thing.

    Actually, one thing my roomie said to me yesterday really made me think. Not just the “Blimey, he has a point.” kind of thinking, but more the “That’s an epiphany I feel bloody stupid not to have had first.” kind of thinking. Quoth the layabout; “Today we see the rebirth of an era, one where absolutely crazy and potentially unmarketably quirky games are now granted funding.”

    It’s not that hard to see, all I have to do is look at the likes of Mirror’s Edge, Bionic Commando: Rearmed, and LittleBigPlanet and all I can say is… well, stone me, he’s right… isn’t he?

    Moreover, this isn’t just happening on the PC (which was where non-oriental quirky games used to go to die) but it’s happening on consoles now, and in the mainstream. I feel like I’m beginnin to step into the 80′s again, and it’s absolutely bizarre. I look at my collection of trailers and things I’m looking forward to, and I realise that I haven’t seen this much imagination in a line-up for a long, long time.

    It’s hard to ignore consoles these days, one of the titles I’m most eagerly anticipating is LittleBigPlanet, and that’s a PS3 title.

    For the longest time, the most heinous crime I’ve seen gaming commit is the macho bubblehead accompanied by the female action-hero who’d prefer to stable bits of cloth to various bits of her far-too-bloody-exaggerated body as opposed to actually wearing clothes. For the longest time I absolutely despised consoles for doing that to gaming, and robbing us of the strong characters we had in PC games before they came along. But to be honest… the console of today is doing much to heal those old wounds.

    It doesn’t surprise me that I’m not the only one who’s gone through this particular evolution.

  37. Kieron Gillen says:

    Esha: I’ve got a sort of Op-edy take on that I want to do if I get a chance. It’s based upon me wondering what this year’s end of year lists will look like.

    KG

  38. SwiftRanger says:

    “And no, we’re not even slightly considering going multi-format.”

    Good. :) Like you said, I don’t see much reason to cover consoles anyway except for possible PC-links later on. The rest of the gamessites seem fine with mostly ignoring the real good bits about PC gaming, don’t mess up RPS with the same kind of laziness and general sucking-up/making-silly-sales-comparisons to/of the ‘big’ three.

    That’s not to say I wouldn’t like some console games to show up on PC of course (The Darkness especially). Endwar is coming over some time after its console release apparently (might be a nice WiC-clone), maybe the newly revamped Chronicles of Riddick finds a home on PC as well with a new publisher, and who knows what other titles will make the jump to PC? Still, we’ve got enough PC(-exclusive) games to look forward to even without those possible ports and that’s the important thing to remember.

    2008 is about to kick off for real in the coming weeks… ;)

  39. Thiefsie says:

    Ico and Shadow of the Colossus deserve much wider audiences too! (along with Dead Rising and MGS)

  40. Noc says:

    I know they’re about, Dorian, because every so often the group of friends that’s into that sort of thing comes back with stories about roving bands of different cultural subsets running into each other at shows, and ensuing violence. And Straight Edgers are apparently one of the recurring opponents.

    I sit and listen, and think, “Man. Now I know how to explain EVE to people.”

  41. malkav11 says:

    Mm. I bought a 360 precisely because a lot of games I really wanted to play hadn’t and clearly weren’t ever going to come to PC. The Darkness, for example. I was so convinced that that had been announced for PC originally, but apparently I was making that up, and it sure hasn’t shown up in the interim. Then there’s things like Culdcept Saga and Earth Defence Force 2017, and hell, even the console Far Cry – which I like much better than the PC version due to the introduction of a trap system and “feral powers”. Also – JRPGs. I know a lot of PC aficionados don’t like ‘em, but I sure do, and while the news that a couple upcoming titles from Squeenix are going to hit PC (The Last Remnant, say) is excellent, I doubt the same will be said of things like Eternal Sonata and Lost Odyssey.

    Then there’s Dead Rising, of course – though I still can’t play that one, not having an HDTV. In general a lot of 360 games seem to have squintily small, nearly unreadable text on SDTV, and Dead Rising pushes it over to completely unreadable. *sighs* And there’s Crackdown…

    With a couple of predictable exceptions – Mass Effect, GTA IV (to a slightly lesser extent) – the games that *have* been seeing ports are mostly the ones I don’t care that much about. Gears? Meh. DMC4? Well…it might be fun (more fun than Gears, certainly), but I suspect it’s better played on 360. Or at least 360 controller. Viva Pinata? Eh.

  42. Jetsetlemming says:

    Dead Rising and The Darkness. One because of zombies, the other because Starbreeze studios won me over explicitly with the PC version of Chronicles of Riddick.

    Also, good on you for being about PC games. There’s a million and three multiplatform or console focused sites out there, we don’t need another. RPS is fine just the way it is. ;)

  43. Frida K says:

    I sympathise with elias – RPS has some (well, most) of the best games writing anywhere on the internets, which deeply saddens me as pretty much a console-only gamer. I’d love to know your thoughts on Crackdown, Echochrome, Braid, Halo 3, Too Human, Fable 2 and so on.

    Still, most (all?) the RPSians write for Eurogamer, and lots of great console games are great PC games at the same time or in a short while. You don’t have to go truly multiplatform (obviously) but you could certainly allow yourselves to post rants, deconstructionism, thoughts and comedy links about console games once in a while. Fable 2 is a perfect example; if Molyneaux had announced it would port over his dead body, you’d be prevented from linking to Kieron’s (fascinating) preview. Which people would have missed, which is a shame ‘cos it’s, well, fascinating.

    What about a stance of “We’ll cover anything on PC if it’s relevant to PC gaming as a whole, and stuff on consoles if it’s relevant to gaming as a whole”?

  44. Alex says:

    You guys just keep doing what you’re doing – all PC, all of the time.

    Specialisation is the only way forward, these days!