The Sunday Papers

By Jim Rossignol on July 21st, 2013 at 9:17 am.


Sundays are for considering how lucky you are. Or are not. Consider it, and then move on to make things better in either case. Because only so much of what happens can come down to luck. Like this:

  • Future Publishing, in its ailing wisdom, has put an end to the PC Gamer podcast. Fear not, though, for something else has sprung up in its place, sounding a lot like a PC gaming pub: The Crate & Crowbar. It’s happening weekly, and features former and present PC Gamer UK staff, as well as Sir, You Are Being Hunted illustrator Marsh Davies. Have a listen.
  • Kotaku quote Rock, Paper, Shotgun as they make the case for scepticism about the new Thief game: “I recall the guards being dumb, too. I recall guards in just about any stealth game I’ve ever played being dumb, so I don’t know how badly I can knock the execution, as much as I might regret the gap between that and the intention.”
  • A Kane & Lynch retrospective: “Kane & Lynch doesn’t ever humanise its characters, and that’s not just because the script is lousy. Instead it plays on that expectation an audience has for this kind of emotional reveal. Kane & Lynch never do anything heroic, never mind charming, but that doesn’t mean you don’t expect them to. In its own way it’s a kind of setup, and one that takes aim at another ever-present trend in games with cinematic ambitions – one that most often finds expression in that ultimate of red herrings, the moral choice.”
  • I’ve never seen Twitter light up with as many rejections of a premise for an article as I did when this appeared.
  • What is a good death? “Unfair is the floor dropping away to spikes without warning. Unfair is the boss using his screen-filling ultimate attack five times in a row out of sheer randomness. Unfair is enemies spawning behind you in an area you’d thoroughly cleared. Unfair is really annoying. The ‘perceived’ part is equally key, although less obviously so. Players don’t play the game as it exists in the development notes, they play the game in their heads. The big signpost marked “Warning: Spikes” counts for naught if the player never bothers to read signs.”
  • Kieron “Writes Iron Man” Gillen remembers Edge magazine.
  • A post-mortem of The Swapper: “The goal of challenging people’s preconceptions regardless of what they were provided plenty of substance for the story. We knew we needed a way of representing these different points of view without bias, and we knew that however the Swapper device itself was involved in the story its use would have to reflect the deep-seated epistemological and metaphysical problems that face those two points of view. You can almost see how the whole story logically arises from those few initial premises.”
  • Gamasutra on the Skyrim mod, Falskaar: “Velicky is gunning for a job at Bethesda, and the 19-year-old is hoping that Falskaar, his recently-released mod for The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, will impress enough to earn him a look-in at the company.”
  • Tim Rogers squeezes all the words out of his time with The Last Of Us: “When the story beats hit, they hit with ferocity. The story lands as punctuation every so often between great lakes of slow, quiet geographical progress which zombies or psychos see fit to interrupt with frequency. This is a story about — no spoilers — a middle-aged man and a young girl walking across the United States of America, on foot. By the end of the game, they’re just barely talking to one another about topics more diverse than “Oh my god”. Yet as it takes place between long periods of silence and horror, this minimal character development at last comes across as wise, sad, and sublime.”
  • Movie plots as maps/flowcharts.

Music this week is Pretty Lights’ My Only Hope.

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101 Comments »

  1. Sheng-ji says:

    Theres a difference between the intentionally and hilariously stupid guards in thief 1,2+3 and poor AI.

    • phenom_x8 says:

      Absolutely, my standard aren’t too high though.
      Enemy AI like in Tenchu (the 2nd series especially),MGS or in the 1st Trilogy of Splinter Cell are more than enough for me. I dont yet know any other stealth game that make me have so much fun (and not being frustrated) with the AI more than those three game.
      Any suggestion maybe ??

      • Sheng-ji says:

        You basically need them to be predictable – in great stealth games, you get to know how guards will react to various situations and you plan accordingly.

      • Friendly_Taffer says:

        I have a suggestion for you – The Dark Mod mission Old Habits Rebuild (has to be downloaded seperately on their forums). It is a mission with improved AI from standalone 2.0 version which is yet to be released. Play it and be impressed. And if you want damn fine missions with not-so-perfect AI, play In The North and Lich Queen’s Demise. True next-gen Thief right there.

    • bill says:

      Exactly. Thief guards were ‘dumb’ because it fit their characters and because the game would be impossible if they weren’t.

      The Kotaku article seems to be worried about the game for totally opposite reasons to Nathan. Nathan thought it wasn’t that Theify, and the writer seems to think it’s too stealthy and that’s dull.

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        RedViv says:

        Not that surprising in a world where a survival horror game is criticised for shooting bad guys not getting you all that far in it.

    • AngoraFish says:

      It’s a fine line between stupidity and predictability, however for a good stealth game to be fun, guard behaviors need to be regular and readily comprehensible so one can come up with the foolproof sneak past.

      It’s just not fun having your brilliant plan come unstuck because one of the guards, after sitting half asleep at the security desk all night, picks the exact moment you’re creeping past to stand up and head in your direction on the way to a cigarette break.

      • phenom_x8 says:

        Yeah, maybe thats one of the factor.
        For example, in Tenchu 2, when you are approaching enemy and they spotted you, they will be very surprised and give you some time to ‘fix’ your mistake by giving you possibility to execute them (and even sometimes rewarded you with special killer moves or your enemy mutilated body parts)
        While what I’m very much like in SC is how we can utilise the environment to knock out our enemy.Grab and interrogate them, bash them with the door,stab them from behind the paper door, knock them out from top,or simply make them fell into our traps by shut the light off.
        Man, I miss those game very much

    • Michael Fogg says:

      Guard AI in Thief one was AMAZING for it’s time. It was 1998 FFS! They could chase you relentlessly around the level and would look at the place they saw you last. There wasn’t anything like that on the market at the time, QII and Unreal had nothing that sophisticated.

      The charachterisation for ‘Benny’ was more to highlight how clever the player/Garret is by comparison, not to make it fit the AI.

      • povu says:

        It was amazing for its time and even today I find it one of the most solid stealth AI systems.

  2. Premium User Badge

    Keirley says:

    Jeez, can we stop with the ‘geniuses are always difficult bastards’ talk?

    But I do love the idea that the personality traits that cause Phil Fish to be horrible to people on Twitter are equally responsible for making him spend years developing games.

    • Ny24 says:

      I guess this way of thinking is part of the “Great Man” or “Trait” theory. Too bad they became outdated in the twenties.

      • Jumwa says:

        Amen.

        Any healthy adult is capable of moderating their own behaviour. A lack of impulse control doesn’t necessarily mean anything, and even if their spouting rudeness online is linked to the same traits that allow them to obsess over a game project, they have the power to adjust one behaviour and cling to the other.

        People do this all the time, whether because they desire to do so, or because their income and livelihood is on the line. But when the community around them praises them, and invents excuses for them to not bother being respectable human beings, then why should they? No impetus to do so.

        It’s like gaming is trying to create it’s own class of superstars who act however they wish without repercussions. (Emphasis on trying, I realize being rude online is a far cry from running down and killing someone then getting off with it because you’re a rich and famous rockstar.)

        • Sparkasaurusmex says:

          The big, important word in your post is this- “healthy”

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      Gap Gen says:

      Or rather there’s a line of asshole that it doesn’t really matter about. Sure, I’d feel uncomfortable playing the game of a neo-nazi or homophobe, but someone who shouts at people who tweet them? Eh.

      I accept the argument that a personality disorder doesn’t necessarily make a better designer, of course.

    • Dances to Podcasts says:

      Meh. Still waiting for the first game dev to cut off an ear or carve ’4 REAL’ into his arm.

    • SkittleDiddler says:

      “But I do love the idea that the personality traits that cause Phil Fish to be horrible to people on Twitter are equally responsible for making him spend years developing games.”

      Everything I’ve seen/read about Fish’s behavior seems to indicate that he’s suffering from some kind of social anxiety disorder, so it makes sense that he’d rather spend time indoors making video games then deal with the rest of humanity on a person-to-person basis.

      Of course he could simply be an asshole, but as I can personally relate to his obvious discomfort around others, I don’t hold that against him.

    • MadTinkerer says:

      Indeed, you are correct. Because thanks to the internet, nerds no longer exist. Being good at technology = good at communication. Always. Because internet = technology = communication.

      There are no nerds anymore. We have erased them. Only “geeks” and the Goddamn Hipsters who worship them are left. If you build your own robot from Legos and custom 3D printed parts you must be a silver tongued god among men. You have to be. You are clearly a geek, and the new definition of geek means that you are good at social media. There is no longer anyone who is both smart and bad at socializing.

      So if you seem bad at socializing you must be evil because you’re obviously doing it on purpose. You’re smart enough to know better. Clearly. There are no more nerds anymore, so you don’t have that excuse, geek. So stop being socially inept! You’re too smart for that!

      • SominiTheCommenter says:

        I was a socially awkward penguin before it was cool.

      • drvoke says:

        I’m not the least bit impressed by the excuses people come up with to justify treating others shabbily. I may feel like an alien among hu-mans sometimes, but it doesnt prevent me from having empathy or compassion or moderating my own behavior. The severity of anxiety involved in making someone totally overwhelmed by the thought of treating others with respect and dignity would basically make such a person non-functional. And they should probably stay off twitter and other social media, save to announce whatever creation they are producing if they literally are unable to be decent. You may not be able to control having a poisonous attitude, but you can control whether you expose others to it. And if you choose to expose others knowing that you will be an asshole, it’s exactly what you are, and no it isnt cool or laudable. It’s psychopathic.

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          drewski says:

          I don’t think there’s any excuse for it either, but I also don’t think we need to ignore the output of the uncivil on the grounds of their behaviour.

          I don’t think being nice makes your art better, essentially.

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      drewski says:

      I don’t think that’s the point Ben’s making; rather that *some* artists are bastards and *some* bastards are artists and that’s ok because sometimes those bastard artists make cool games.

  3. DiamondDog says:

    The article Sneaky Bastards wrote on Thief is probably the most revealing I’ve read so far. And the most troubling.

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      Stellar Duck says:

      Oh, wow. I’ve not really been following Thi4fzorz lately, but that sounds… well, troubling, as you put it, though that’s a bit of a mild phrase.

    • bill says:

      Case in point (no pun intended): rope arrows. Previously, Garrett’s rope arrow stuck to any wooden surface, after which a climbable rope would unfurl from its point of impact. Here, rope arrows only attach to specifically marked anchor points that have been placed by level designers – anchor points that seemed to exist when the only way forward was through the use of a rope arrow.

      Oh good lord no. That article is pretty worrying.

    • Prime says:

      After reading that I also feel ill.

      ‘Thief’ sounds like it’s being made by middle managers who fear shareholders, don’t understand why people love the property they are trying to adapt, and who cleave to concepts of everyone-friendly, lowest-common denominator game design that are constantly made to look ridiculous by games like Dark Souls and Minecraft.

      Fuck QTE’s. Fuck UI hand-holding. Fuck being unable to solve problems that Looking Glass solved 15 fucking years ago, with 1000s of times less computing resources available to them. To suggest that a one-click-to-progress solution is the only way to avoid messing up your narrative is not just the stupidest thing I’ve heard a game designer say but also damned insulting to our intelligence…oh, I guess a lot like your new game will be.

      If you’re trying to please people who ‘feel good’ by pressing x and watching a scripted action take place, then you’re part of the fucking problem that’s ruining gaming. What’s more ultimately rewarding: learning how to play a piano or pressing a shiny button that makes it play itself? Games need skill to be interesting. Remove it, remove the player agency for any reason, and you may as well be making films. I wish people like this would just fuck off out of the industry, I really do, before they sanitise it to mass-market death. The indie/kickstarter revival we’re seeing, and the slow decline in AAA output, is precisely because of these fucking morons stripping out everything that made games great fun and selling their empty-but-shiny corpses. People are abandoning the production lines in droves, looking to recapture what makes gaming great, while this idiot trundles along with his simpering butchery of a classic franchise.

      Either do it properly, Eidos Montreal, or don’t fucking do it at all!

      /irate Thief fan

      • Infinitron says:

        What’s bizarre about this is that with those design principles, Eidos Montreal wouldn’t even be able to create Deus Ex: Human Revolution today. Their own game from just two years ago is no longer “contemporary”, according to them.

        Of course, I shouldn’t be surprised – the exact same thing happened with Bioware and Dragon Age back in 2011.

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          FriendlyFire says:

          I think the Thief team and the DX team are largely separate. This would explain the really bizarre divergence in design.

          I think the heads of the studio need to have a good hard look at who the hell is messing up with Thief, because that’s going to tarnish their reputation hard.

          • povu says:

            So they put all the good devs from Human Revolution on Tomb Raider’s multiplayer mode and Deus Ex: The Fall instead of Thief? Nice work, Eidos.

        • bill says:

          I haven’t played DX:HR, but I have read a lot of complains that it didn’t’ actually have much freedom, jsut the illusion of freedom. That instead of giving you a sandbox level it gave you a level with a stealth path and a combat path.

          Maybe they are hoping to pull off the same kind of illusion with this one.

          Then again, lots of people loved DX:HR, so maybe they are right, or maybe those complaints are wrong/

          • Guvornator says:

            My experience of it was basically the same gameplay as the original. Yes, there tended to be a sneaky path involving hiding in vents or a direct route, but that was the same as the original. The city hub felt very real. My only complaint with freedom was the end of level rewards seemed to reward a stealthy approach more than a combat approach – I didn’t appreciate being coerced into a style of play. Oh, and the boss battles were arse…

    • michaelfeb16 says:

      Sadly, I had already made up my mind not to play Thief around E3. That article just reinforces that feeling.

    • DiamondDog says:

      It’s mainly the clash between player freedom and the narrative that started alarm bells ringing for me. The setting, story and characters were all there as flavour and atmosphere in the first two games. I’m not really interested in a Thief game that tells me a story or has dramatic set pieces. It was about figuring out a level, overcoming the puzzle. I guess my hopes for a new Thief were always about the possibilities of a new engine creating even bigger and more complex levels to beat.

      But if they feel like they have to compromise on level design to service the narrative then I’m not sure it’s going to be the Thief game I was hoping for. I suppose it’s just the current trend for AAA games to be story focused, which is fine if people get something out of that. But it’s not really what I was looking for in a new Thief.

      • malkav11 says:

        And they were fantastic atmosphere and I wouldn’t have been interested in Thief if they weren’t there. But it would also lose a great deal if you were led by the nose to all of that stuff. Ugh.

        I maintain that there’s a place and a role for linear, spectacle-intensive narrative in gaming. I quite enjoy it, when it’s well delivered and done in the appropriate context and price range. But Thief certainly isn’t the right place for it.

      • bill says:

        I, on the other hand, loved thief as much for its story, characters and setting as for its gameplay.

        Yet that doesn’t make me want a thief with a great linear story at the expense of that gameplay. (especially as the original trilogy totally wrapped up all those plot lines, and as i suspect the new plot and characters won’t appeal half as much).

        I find it interesting that we always used to complain about the contrast between cutscenes and gameplay. We used to say ‘why is all the cool stuff in the cutscenes, why can’t i do that’.
        Well, it seems that developers listened and tried to put all the cool stuff into the gameplay, but the result is much more controlled illusive cinematic gameplay experiences.

        Turns out it actually worked quite well to separate out most of the story and characters into the cutscenes, and allow the levels to focus on great gameplay. Who knew.

    • Sheng-ji says:

      Dear ex-Looking Glass Studio devs.

      I have one word for you, kickstarter. Please oh please consider it,

      Love,

      All fans of the thief franchise.

      • DiamondDog says:

        Yeah, these were defining games for me. How come everyone else gets their nostalgia kickstarter, but Thief fans are stuck with this shite!

      • Mman says:

        Even if you got some Looking Glass/Deus Ex Ion Storm people together I don’t think it would really work. In retrospect, looking at how ridiculously far ahead of their time they were (to the point that games are arguably still playing catch-up), I think they were the epitome of lightning in a bottle; the perfect people in the perfect place at the perfect time. While they’ve worked on some great games (well, mostly *cough*Warren Spector*cough*) none of the higher-profile Looking Glass members have really replicated their Looking Glass success (in terms of consistent pure game quality) since. I think the only chance of something like Looking Glass happening again is the perfect set of new designers coming together.

    • Wedge says:

      Good to know I can completely stop paying attention to or having any hope for what I already figured was going to be a huge let down.

    • bill says:

      I found the insight into level blocking interesting, and not just in terms of Thief.

      Consumers these days demand such high graphical detail and density that they have to use all these tricks to get it all in. They have to use barriers, blocks and illusions to give the impression of a big level with a high density, when in fact it’s a series of tiny levels at high density.

      A lot of the complaints about things in CoD, such as always having to wait for your teammates to open the door, seem to come as much from these hardware limitations* as from the requirements of gameplay/atmosphere/storytelling.

      *not exactly hardware limitations, as hardware now is much more powerful than hardware that could manage much larger areas – but given the requirement for much higher density, the hardware hasn’t improved enough.

      • cunningmunki says:

        “Consumers these days demand such high graphical detail and density…” The main problem is that you’ve hit upon is the key misconception that AAA game studios have about it’s consumers. The popularity of lower-res indie, free-to-play, mobile and tablet games proves this.

        It’s not consumers who demand the high graphical detail, it’s the fucking marketing departments of the joyless, talentless studios who finance the games.

        But the tide is slowly turning. Just a little too late for Thief 4, unfortunately.

  4. AngoraFish says:

    The “Twitter light up” article (Why you want assholes to make your video games) seems to confuse borderline aspergers with enthusiasm, commitment and focus (and great ideas?).

    Sure, an obsessive-compulsive personality-type dev can occasionally get lucky (eg Dwarf Fortress/Tarn Adams?). Far more often, however, I’m guessing that they miss their mark by miles, and if not, after an initial success fail spectacularly on their second attempt (TBC: Minecraft/Notch? edit: GalCiv/Brad Wardell also springs to mind).

    I’d like to think that someone who has a genuine interest in how others interact with their games might have a far more successful career over much longer period.

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      RedViv says:

      Automatically classifying people with strong-willed public personas as assholes is really quite the grab for attention. Not that this is anything new, just like the equally utilised “crazy people doing good stuff” rhetoric, which is only ever so slightly less stupid than the image of the pained and troubled artist.
      Dedication doesn’t need to be pathologic. That only feeds this kind of mysticism about people strongly liking things all having to be suffering from various mental illnesses, thus lowering the visibility of what could be seriously troubling for folks who really do have them.

    • bill says:

      The article seems to be a response to internet commenters who tore a developer apart for having strong ideas about what he wants to develop. In that context it seems pretty spot on.

      I don’t think being an asshole / being a genius are particularly related. But I don’t think having strong viewpoints is bad either.

      • unangbangkay says:

        Not quite, because Kuchera was missing the point when he penned his response. The first article was about Dan Teasedale not wanting to making games in fantasy/sci-fi/nerd-friendly settings, and saying so in a somewhat vocal manner.

        Commenters took issue not so much with his views but that Teasedale and his new studio had nothing to show. No new projects, games or anything, just Teasedale and his personal philosophy, and it came across to readers as empty mouthing off, which they didn’t appreciate.

        Kuchera read the response as nerds being mad that someone doesn’t like what they like.

        • bill says:

          Ok. I’ve now had a chance to read the original article, and i’m now nonplussed about what all the fuss was about. It’s a bog standard interview with a guy who just started a new studio. What he says is pretty rational and logical and not said in a particularly strong way (other than the use of the word ‘nerd’, which i guess is what triggered the nerd-rage attack).

          I don’t see why he got attacked. I don’t see why he needed to be defended. I don’t see why he was defended by an article about ‘assholes in the games industry’ as he doesn’t come across as being one.

          Kuchera’s article is right about wanting people with strong visions, but i don’t get why he got sidetracked by something about assholes and Phil Fish, etc..

          • unangbangkay says:

            Indeed, you’re correct in concluding that there really wasn’t anything worth fussing over in what Teasedale actually said, or even that much in the way he said it. Fish, Blow and other people have said far worse, and in general “love the art, not the artist” is a fine philosophy to live by (as far as is reasonable at any rate). But hey, nerds on the internet overreact.

            So yes, Kuchera in turn misread the reaction and assumed nerds were once again angry that someone isn’t worshipping at the same altar, and then went off on tangent to play the apologist for assholes.

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            drewski says:

            I think the Penny Arcade audience does need to be reminded from time to time that it’s OK for people to not like the things they like, which is all Kuchera was really doing.

            The whole internet didn’t need it, but clearly the comments on the first article indicate that the insular little PAbots did.

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            Malibu Stacey says:

            nerds on the internet overreact.

            Pretty much sums up about 90% of anything which is presented as “news” in gaming.

    • AngoraFish says:

      Also relevant to this discussion: the myth of the lone genius.

      • Jim Rossignol says:

        I am a lone genius, and so is everyone I work with.

      • LionsPhil says:

        We’re sorry but this site is not accessible from the UK as it is part of our international service and is not funded by the licence fee. It is run commercially by BBC Worldwide…

        Bwuh? So stick some banner ads on already or whatever it is you do to make Johnny Foreigner “pay” for it. Why on Earth would you block it this way around?

        • Pockets says:

          Those bits are the BBC Website version of those adverts-disguised-as-fluff-pieces you get in newspapers, I think. They’re certainly disproportionately filled with “Why Country X is a Great Place to Do Business Now!”, “Why New Technology Will Be Great!”, type stuff plus the usual “10 best X” clickbait and the like.

    • MondSemmel says:

      Possibly the best example of a commercial failure by a dev with a true obsessive-compulsive personality disorder is the Obsessive-Compulsive Development: Retro/Grade Postmortem (34 min): http://www.gdcvault.com/play/1017963/Obsessive-Compulsive-Development-Retro-Grade
      It’s the common “I need to write an entire engine for my indie game” story taken to an utterly absurd extreme.
      (FYI, the game is 75% off on Steam for another 30 or so hours, if you think the game sounds interesting or if the story of its development sounds sufficiently pitiful.)

      • AngoraFish says:

        Fascinating presentation!

      • GameCat says:

        “I need to write an entire engine for my indie game”

        Do not ever do that, unless you need very specific and unique features. I’m making game with a friend now. It was supposed to be for some last year summer contest. We didn’t even finished engine yet and this is just a frickin platformer.

      • SiHy_ says:

        That was really interesting. I can see a lot of those potential problems emerging in myself. Time to rethink how I’m going about development, I think. Thanks for sharing.

      • Noviere says:

        That was heart-breaking.

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      FhnuZoag says:

      I don’t think it’s very wise to characterise individuals by the games they make. Didn’t we hear that the dwarf fortress people are surprisingly normal in real life? And Notch is far from an arsehole, at least that’s my impression.

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      Malibu Stacey says:

      Brad Wardell’s attempts at games design seem to work better at the second attempt rather than the first.

      Galactic Civilizations II is a much better game than the first. May be due to the patching & expansions though.
      Fallen Enchantress is an actual game worth playing compared to Elemental.

      He’s still a complete dick but I don’t think that’s related to his skill at games design in any way as he works with a large team of people not as a solo developer.

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    DrScuttles says:

    Those movie plot maps are wonderful to look at. Makes me wish they’d used a few more standalone films rather than mine the majority from the same (admittedly very appropriate) source.

    • phenom_x8 says:

      Love Open TT very much, never played the original though.

    • LionsPhil says:

      A mobile remake of Locomotion, mostly developed by an external company. :/

      I liked him better when he was a bedroom coder with just a contracted artist and composer.

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        RedViv says:

        I’m more excited to see he hasn’t vanished from games completely, without leaving a notice. Which means he might actually do something else after this. Or maybe not. But at least he didn’t just so disappear.

  6. Ansob says:

    The Kane & Lynches were flawed games, but from a writing perspective I thought they were pretty fantastic. Both protagonists are horrible, horrible people, and the games do their best to make that absolutely obvious. It was fairly refreshing playing genuinely terrible people with little remorse for once (the only one who has a tiny bit of it is Kane for his daughter, and that’s it).

  7. Jabberslops says:

    IO Interactive decided to make Kane & Lynch instead of making a sequel to Freedom Fighters. Their failure as a development studio is their own fault for making garbage and then expecting people to buy it.

    • trout says:

      you know, i actually rather liked the Kane & Lynch series – i realise that mechanically, it was just another sub-par third person shooter, but i really enjoyed the fact that the protagonists were essentially bad people, with little to no redeeming features, and the games didn’t try to justify their actions, or humanise them, or anything like this – it produces less cognitive dissonance than other more popular shooters, where the player character is framed as some noble hero, who has murdered scores of people in their quest for x story macguffin. also, the final “boss” battle of K&L2 was pretty daring and novel i thought.

    • DXN says:

      I really, really enjoyed Kane & Lynch 2 (or appreciated it at least) for pretty much the reasons explained in the article linked above — although explained better in the ActionButton article that that article is pretty much copying.

  8. DXN says:

    Tim Stone is one of those people where the first time I encounter his stuff, I viscerally and frothingly hate it in a way I know will eventually become niggling doubt, then grudging admiration, then slightly-tempered respect, until finally they basically make me feel like this every time I encounter their work.

    And then that does happen.

    EDIT: HOLY BALLS I MEANT TO WRITE TIM ROGERS NOT TIM STONE. See below comment explaining about how I meant to write TIm Rogers, not Tim Stone.

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      Tim Stone is the greatest practicing games journalist.

      • Sparkasaurusmex says:

        His writing is just fine, but I can’t say I like his taste. He seemed to think Omerta was a great game :/

      • zachforrest says:

        Almost no interest in war games or sims, but Tim on a Friday afternoon is a total pleasure

        Edit: in playing war games or….

        I should say

      • DXN says:

        HOLY BALLS.

        I did not mean to write Tim Stone.

        I meant to write Tim Rogers.

        I MEANT TO WRITE TIM ROGERS.

        I could never think a bad thought about Tim Stone. I doubt anyone could.

  9. michaelfeb16 says:

    I really enjoyed the article on “good death” other than the fact that it constantly reminded me of Call of Cthulhu and the way that game pissed me off to no end. I “checkpoint”d furiously there. The saving was too much work to do every battle, yet that was my desire. My natural lazy response was to only save when I was done playing the game; I have no doubt you can guess where that got me.

    In the end, I uninstalled a game that, for the most part, I was really enjoying. I’ve also dissuaded a friend from making the purchase because “you’ll love the game, but hate that they punish you for playing it”.

    • Sparkasaurusmex says:

      Isn’t that a rogue like game where you basically “finished” when you die? Like, story over, the character died. I don’t know, but only in those types of games (with a lot of random variety) is it fun to start over every time you die.

      • michaelfeb16 says:

        There is next to no random variety in the game. The deaths I complain about come from your old RPG standard random encounter grinds.

        To better state my complaint, the game makes me feel like I need to save after every battle, and, while I have the ability to do so, it is too much of a hassle. The feeling I walked away from the game with was something like “if you wanted me to save every time I won a battle, why didn’t you just save it for me?

    • cunningmunki says:

      A bad death is when a QTE springs out of nowhere and expects you to use a key that you rarely use, completely out of the key’s usual context, and then you die (see: all QTEs).

  10. BooleanBob says:

    A late entrant, but here’s an interesting article in the Sunday Express about the deleterious summer that Hollywood is enduring at what is supposed to be their most lucrative time of the year. Budgets have spiralled to studio-threatening heights, and the big stakes thinking has effective killed off the middle tier of movie entirely. The parallels with AAA gaming have a penchant for self-portraiture; i.e. they draw themselves.

    Important disclaimer: I don’t go out of my way to read the Express, but given that my staff canteen offers a choice between it and the Daily Mail.. well, now you understand. And Fitzherbert, to give him his due, is a reasonably talented film critic.

  11. Bhazor says:

    God “PA reports” is becoming the Fox news of game journalism.

  12. vondas says:

    I agree with the article in question (the one that most people are discussing here) and do not comprehend why it had to be phrased in that particular way. Having a strong opinion does not make you an asshole; it does make you insufferable to those with different opinions and little patience, but that’s just going to happen anyway. People with strong opinions and the works that they make are simply a lot more interesting and challenging to investigate than people and works that are inoffensive, even though the latter can certainly be an advantage in and of itself.

    That being said, while it’s true that not all great artists are jackasses and not all jackasses are great artists, enough great artists have been jackasses for the old stereotype to make sense. If you remove everyone you might parse as an asshole from art history, you’re going to lose some very big names, even though, naturally, no human being is irreplaceable.

  13. Zekiel says:

    Love that the Kotaku article still appears to have a placeholder text which wasn’t fixed before publication:

    “That… sounds positive, yeah? This sounds like a textbook case of getting something back on track, of cutting the fat, of _____ [cliche/metaphor that means a mess is being turned into the opposite of a mess].”

    Oops.

    • Sparkasaurusmex says:

      WTF, less cliches please! Just delete the blank and the sentence is better than if you fill in the blank. In fact, that whole sentence is worthless.