The Sunday Papers

Sundays are for screeching around the internet, gathering the best games writing of the week. Then they’re for eating as many roast potatoes as we can contain.

  • At PC Gamer, the always wonderful Chris Livingston tried playing Fallout 4 with only charisma and luck.
  • The two goons see Chuck’s drawn gun and immediately stop what they’re doing. This is thanks to Intimidation, the 10-star Perk that was immediately available to me after maxing out Charisma. It gives me a chance to pacify human enemies who are lower level than I am. In fact, the goons are so intimidated that when I demand they give me their money, they immediately do. How does it feel, jerks?

  • While at the same site, James Davenport does the important work of pitting Fallout 4’s Dogmeat and MGSV’s D-Dog against one another.
  • Dogs. Who are they? What do they do? Where do their barks really come from? While we can’t answer the oldest canine questions, we at PC Gamer know a thing or two about which dogs are better than others, especially in PC video games.

  • At Eurogamer, Christian Donlan played Call of Duty: Black Ops 3’s campaign backwards, which is possible now that every chapter is unlocked from the start.
  • I like the idea of playing Call of Duty backwards. You ease in with a climactic gunfight and maybe even a hectic race through a burning installation of some kind. You travel onwards, ducking endless monologuing hypervillains and navigating artfully scattered thickets of betrayal until you eventually get to meet the people who have just betrayed you. And then, at the very last moment, as the wreckage thins out and the music starts to suggest impending doom, somebody finally teaches you how to crouch. Game over.

  • At the Guardian, Will Freeman interviewed Sebastian Alvarado about how scientific reality can help players suspend disbelief. Not that realism is essential or that fantasy is bad; just that garbage made-up science is more likely to be spotted and to pull the player out of the fiction.
  • A player is more informed on their media than they have ever been before, and developers want to engage them with their best ideas. While accuracy isn’t the most critical part of our work, suspending disbelief with plausibility is. We carefully pick parts of our scientific discipline to facilitate this engagement.

  • Sticking with the Guardian, George Osborn’s review of Football Manager 2016 is good. I agree with its points but not its conclusion.
  • The same interpersonal side of the game – where you manage conversations like some kind of footballing version of Mass Effect – is also recognisable. Though there are more interactions available to you when you’re speaking to the press, geeing up your players or talking tactics with your coaches, the new options exhaust themselves fast. Very quickly, the limited set of familiar well-worn comments and responses become an unintended satire on footballing discourse.

  • Criminy, how did we miss this. Californium is a game inspired by the works of Philip K. Dick. Ars Technica has more.
  • To accomplish this, they sought out a French illustrator named Olivier Bonhomme, whose art teems with vivid colours and psychedelic imagery. The team also actively wanted to move away from what Roubah describes as the “classic, rainy, dark, Philip K. Dick” style and return to what the author put into his novels which, coincidentally, was very much coloured by his history with recreational chemicals.

  • At FemHype, Rachel W. looks at what Read Only Memories has to say about identity and inclusivity. I enjoyed ROM’s demo but haven’t had time to play the rest.
  • The game even makes sure that the player is involved by asking them to chose their own pronouns; she, he, they, ze, xe, or you can set your own by using the custom settings. Read Only Memories highlights that it is not only essential, but also that it is easy to be inclusive of identities—and you can even get playful with it. At one point, Turing questions their own gender and if the concept of gender can be applied to a machine. They allow ‘he’ for convenience because they are blue, but ultimately, they don’t mind.

  • At the New Statesman, Phil Hartup does the easy but important work of dismantling in-game lore which explains why women are naked.
  • We’re assured that she manifests as a nearly naked hologram rather than a clothed one like the others for a very good reason. According to the developers, “she does it is to attract and demand attention. And she does it to put people off so they’re on their guard when they’re talking to her and that she has the upper hand in those conversations”.

  • I missed this, but just before the release of Fallout 4 Alex Wawro at Gamasutra spoke to developers of previous Fallout games about the lessons they learned and the challenges they faced. An interesting note inside about team sizes, in a world where Ubisoft throw hundreds and hundreds of people at their own open world games.
  • Todd Howard once estimated that roughly 80 people worked on the team that made Fallout 3, and studio follow-up Skyrim boasted a team size of more than 90. By comparison, the original Fallout was developed by a team of one for months — at its height, the game had a total team size of roughly 30 people, according to Cain, who recalls the game costing “about $3 million” to develop — nearly $4.5 million in 2015 if you account for inflation.

  • Cool Ghost’s Subterfuge diaries continue and continue to be excellent with part four.
  • Music this week is Grimes’ new album, because what else? I like the whole album but here’s the easiest starting point.

    116 Comments

    1. Premium User Badge

      zinzan says:

      I read this…..
      “Californium is a game inspired by the works of Philip K. Dick”
      My mind went NOW, PAY MONEY, I NEED TO SEE THIS.

      Guess the alien tech used by the shadowy overlords to get stuff ignored, missed a beat then.

    2. amateurviking says:

      I didn’t realise the Gideon was a big FM guy. Although the more I think about it the more I imagine that would be the kind of game the Chancellor would dig.

      • Premium User Badge

        zinzan says:

        Hmmmmm Guardian review tempts me nearly back into footy manager, BUT I am a mature near-adult now.

        Anyway despite appearances I love my family and would like to keep them.

        So No Sale :(

    3. ribby says:

      what’s ‘ze’ and ‘xe’? And how could someone be a ‘they’?

      • JFS says:

        Oh no. This type of discussion tends to escalate quickly.

      • Peter Milley says:

        Language doth evolve, sirrah. Be thou not a prescriptivist.

        • RedViv says:

          It’s not even that they as singular would be a new thing. Has been done since Chaucer and Shakespeare.

        • onionman says:

          There’s a legitimate descriptivist argument for using “they” as a gender-neutral singular personal pronoun.

          There is no similar reason to indulge the Judith Butler fanclub.

          • Peter Milley says:

            I wasn’t aware of Judith Butler; she sounds fascinating and I’ve been looking for some more non-fiction to add to my book queue.

            • onionman says:

              Gender Trouble is wrong, but it is wrong in interesting ways and it is readable (a virtue not shared by the rest of her oeuvre). I’d skip the rest; the big ideas are all in Gender Trouble anyway.

            • PikaBot says:

              Best of luck to you; I didn’t take the graduate seminar dedicated to making sense of her writing when I was doing my Master’s in English, but it was almost unanimously agreed by everyone who did that it was the hardest course on offer.

      • Blastaz says:

        Someone can chose to be a they because they want to.

        And others can call them a they out of politeness/decency.

        And others can call him a he out of trollishness/biology/morality.

        And that’s about it.

        • onionman says:

          I sexually Identify as an Attack Helicopter. Ever since I was a boy I dreamed of soaring over the oilfields dropping hot sticky loads on disgusting foreigners. People say to me that a person being a helicopter is Impossible and I’m fucking retarded but I don’t care, I’m beautiful. I’m having a plastic surgeon install rotary blades, 30 mm cannons and AMG-114 Hellfire missiles on my body. From now on I want you guys to call me “Apache” and respect my right to kill from above and kill needlessly. If you can’t accept me you’re a heliphobe and need to check your vehicle privilege. Thank you for being so understanding.

          • Peter Milley says:

            This contemptuous mockery isn’t any more impressive in this context than when it’s used to compare gay marriage to beastiality. And ultimately I expect history will view it about as favorably.

        • Michael Fogg says:

          I have not yet seen an actual ethical argument which would explain why there should be a general obligation to accept a person’s arbitrary or made-up pronouns or to take into account fanciful aspects of a person’s self-identification. I’m afraid ‘being nice to others’ is not a satisfying explanation.

          • Stellar Duck says:

            Go on then. Make the ethical argument for why we should not show consideration?

            I assume there is a sound ethical argument?

            Christ, you people.

            • Michael Fogg says:

              But surely the burden of proof is not on me, but on the people who require a change.

              And the argument against would be along the lines that people’s self-identity is completely subjectivist and non-verifiable. There surely has to be a line somewhere on what we take into account. Do you honestly think that people who think they are ‘multiple systems’ (many people in one body, supposedly) should be issued ID cards which list all of the persons living in the body, for instance? The accepted rules of grammar might as well be that line when it comes to pronouns.

            • Stellar Duck says:

              This isn’t about burden of proof.

              I’m not the one who required a bloody essay to outline the ethical arguments for maybe being nice is a nice thing.

              If you cannot understand how preposterous your post was I don’t really know what to say.

              But as I said, since you seem to believe that being considerate of our fellow humans is not required, I’m sure you can line up the ethical argument for that being the case?

            • Buggery says:

              Sorry, but being nice to people does not compute. Beep boop. Gender binaries, bio-truths, need reward center tickled in order to not be a dick.

            • Michael Fogg says:

              @Stellar Duck but you’re dodging the question how exactly considerate should we be. There are those who claim to be ‘non-binary’, a proposition not actually accepted in mainstream current biology or even psychology for that matter. Others claim they are not human at all or in fact multiple individuals. It’s commonly accepted that the liberty of a person is delineated by the liberties of others. Answering the question how far should we go allowing people’s unilateral self-identification affect our behaviour is unfortunatley not as straightforward as you make it out to be, and it’s not solely about being considerate of your fellow human, sorry.

            • Buggery says:

              @Michael Fogg – that’s an awful lot of words that don’t really mean anything. If someone doesn’t feel comfortable being called he or she, then the effort required to just go with their alternative preference does not require some sort of voting process from society at large. In short: “don’t be a dick” should not require this much debate. If you don’t accept that, then don’t call them that. Be aware that you will appear to be a bigot to most bystanders.

              Also equating gender self-representation with multiple personalities and confusion of self is at best a spurious link and at worst offensive.

          • MiniMatt says:

            “Being nice to others” is about a complete an answer to the meaning of life that one is ever likely to find.

            “Being nice to others” is a perfect life philosophy because the alternative is unpleasant.

            • Michael Fogg says:

              Maybe, but ethicists spend their time trying to establish an ethical framework and look for structured, rigorous arguments in relation to superficially obvious questions, such as ‘why is it bad to steal’ or ‘why you shouldn’t say naughty things to mom’. The idea that we should be considerate of others doesn’t explain this fully. So when I ask for an ethical argument I’d expect to be provided one, or a link to one, not to be told by, like, 5 posters, that I shouldn’t be asking in the first place, thanks.

            • Buggery says:

              @Michael Fogg – you got a real bugbear with just calling people what they want to be called.

              What’s your opinion on nicknames? Do you get flustered when people ask you to call them by names not listed on a public record?

            • Michael Fogg says:

              @ Buggery (that’s a nickname that gets me flustered BTW) – there is no need to assume that I would not respect the wish of any person I met online or in real life to be adressed how they wish, okay?. This is not about me though, I am asking in general and you’ve still not told me straight which ethical norm I’d be violating if I refused to take into account how a person self identifies. Because there is a glaring contradiction between ‘gender is a social construct’ and ‘my gender is how I feel deep inside’, while both of those idead are often proclaimed at the same time in progressive circles. Also do not conflate ethics with simple etiquette and ‘being nice’ and respectful to others.

            • onionman says:

              @Michael Fogg

              I just want to say, thank you for expressing this position so clearly and thoughtfully. I know it is a thankless task to be a voice of reason about this issue (because I have been similarly dogpiled in your position myself), but you’re not alone.

            • Punning Pundit says:

              +1
              Cosigned.
              Full agreement.

          • Josh W says:

            I did a big chunck of one, and got a wordpress notice that the comment was too long to post, I think you’re looking for a 6000 word + essay.

            What I will say though is that logical ethical arguments are not actually very compatible with the idea of a “burden of proof”; creating ethical justifications for present behaviour implicitly assumes that all possible behaviours could be ethical, and seeks to give sufficient reason for one behaviour over another.

            This means that we are not talking merely about why we should accept people’s self-identifications, but about the nature of identification at all.

            That’s why it takes so long. What is a name, what is a pronoun? Why do we use them, what function do they serve, are those functions justified, and what do the requirements of the justified functions say about the nature of the names and pronouns, who chooses them etc.?

      • Fomorian1988 says:

        “Ze” and “xe” are gender-neutral pronouns used by gender non-binary people. And “they” has been used as singular prounoun since at least Shakespeare.

        • Crane says:

          “Ze” I’m fine with, but I’ve always objected to “xe” on the grounds that words starting with ‘x’ seem deliberately constructed to annoy. Do you pronounce it exactly as you would “ze”? Or do you pronounce it “cksee”?
          I saw one new pronoun once that started with the letter Edh (ðe), which is definitely a bridge too far. I’m happy to respect your gender identity, but I’m sure as hell not typing Alt+0240 every time I have to refer to you in text.

          • Kitsunin says:

            To be fair, if you look at all English words beginning with x (xylophone, xylitol, xenon), you can see that they all have a Z sound. So the pronunciation is obvious when you go out of your way to research it. Which is totally silly.

          • drygear says:

            To me that comes off as someone wanting to be a special snowflake and is very off-putting.

      • Turkey says:

        I get they, but ze and xe just immediately invokes images of being in a dialogue wheel with some kind of Mass Effect alien. I guess that makes me a bad person.

      • GWOP says:

        As someone who is used to having gender-neutral pronouns in his native tongue, I can’t explain just how annoying English can be in that regard.

        • Naum says:

          As someone in whose native tongue (German) basically everything related to people is gendered, with not even a good equivalent for singular “they”/”them” in sight, I can assure you that English is still a relatively minor offender in that regard. ;)

        • Kitsunin says:

          In Chinese, when spoken, the third-person pronoun also doesn’t differentiate. Sadly, when written, you have forms for he, she, it (plant or object), it (animal), and he (god) which are all pronounced the same. But there doesn’t seem to be a genderless written pronoun for a human. I’d be interested to see if there’s a similar debate over the language and gender conformity among the Taiwanese.

          Interestingly, gendering of the written language only occured within the last century.

          • Premium User Badge

            FhnuZoag says:

            Language log had an article up about defining a new gender neutral written pronoun in Chinese, using the romanization ‘ta’.

            link to languagelog.ldc.upenn.edu

            Which is neat.

            • Kitsunin says:

              That’s definitely not what I expected, but it is pretty neat. My first thought was that it couldn’t catch on due to being so weird compared with the rest of the language. But then “QQ” has endured well enough as a term meaning “al dente” that it has become overused to refer to just about anything chewy.

        • Blastaz says:

          English does have them. “It” “it’s”

      • PancakeWizard says:

        Don’t worry about it. In 10 years it’ll all be forgotten and an embarrassing mistake.

    4. Premium User Badge

      Andy_Panthro says:

      While I haven’t played Fallout 4 yet, Dogmeat in the other games was a fragile and annoying companion. D-Dog on the other hand is an amazing companion, and only occasionally wanders into the line of fire. Are there any other dogs that come close?

      • gabrielonuris says:

        Dante, from Shadowrun Dragonfall.

      • Turkey says:

        Shadow in Dead to Rights is basically a murder machine on 4 legs. Especially in Retribution, where it regularly rips people’s throats and testicles out.

      • Fomorian1988 says:

        Apparently Fallout 4’s Dogmeat is an immortal, so now it won’t die as easily.

        Also, Dragon Age: Origins and Dragon Age 2 had dog companions (though DA2 required a DLC first).

        • Premium User Badge

          DelrueOfDetroit says:

          When Dogmeat takes too much damage he will squat on the ground whimpering until you give him a Stimpack or he’ll get back up after a bit, usually once you have exited combat mode or you walk a certain distance from him.

        • AngusPrune says:

          Of course the fact that Dogmeat was more or less fated to die was exactly the thing that made him memorable in the first place, while other followers like Ian and Tycho are mostly forgotten about.

          Bethesda seem to assume that they can just copy and paste the elements from previous Fallout games to make their games just as memorable, hence the ridiculous out of place super mutants, the vast packs of ghouls and everything else that they assume make up the iconic ballcap of Fallouts 1 & 2. It’s why all their games are bland nothings that are forgotten in a year or two.

      • PikaBot says:

        You can never go wrong with a Top Pomeranian.

      • LionsPhil says:

        Fie upon all of you who didn’t have the dedication to canine safety to keep Dogmeat alive until the end of Fallout 1.

        (And fuck that the FO2 manual makes it canon that he died in the Military complex laser forcefields. *shakes fist*)

      • Premium User Badge

        gritz says:

        Dog in Arcanum was arguably the best combat companion in the entire game.

        Also, DOG/GOD in Fallout: New Vegas Dead Money was pretty great, but not exactly the same category.

    5. Jakkar says:

      Why are you linking Hartup’s article on nudity at all? It’s utter stupidity ._. Cortana’s character is inherently that of someone who enjoys throwing people off-guard, brazen, forthright yet playful in her casual superiority as a post-human AI. Her implied nudity in her simple holographic form is precisely what I’d expect from her character, if I’d read her personality before seeing her depicted visually.

      Quiet, meanwhile? Metal Gear Solid has always been a work of over-the-top satire, hypersexualising the simplest thing in a manner I’ve always found to be in mockery of the industry at large.

      Whoosh go the points over the writer’s head ._.

      • LennyLeonardo says:

        The article is not about whether these characters should be showing skin, it’s about the contempt their creators show us by making fake excuses. I don’t mind nudity or sexualisation if it makes sense in context; I do mind being treated like an idiot, and that’s the case with both these examples.

      • MiniMatt says:

        You know I had a boss like that once. Staggeringly clever, she occasionally took wry enjoyment from unleashing that superiority over suppliers who foolishly took her for an easy mark (“the network manager…A LADY PERSON!?!” – still all too common).

        I never one saw her come to work naked though.

        • pepperfez says:

          Just think of how rich and powerful she’d be if she went about conveying power the right way.

      • draglikepull says:

        Kojima openly said he made Quiet “erotic” because he wanted to see cosplays of her. To read it as satire is, I think, being generous to the point of gullibility. (Not to mention that satire always has an argument to make. A “satire” of sexualised women in games would have to somehow be making the point that it was in opposition to that treatment, which Quiet pretty obviously isn’t.)

      • Premium User Badge

        DelrueOfDetroit says:

        The point is they are making these characters naked and then working backwards to justify that decision.

        People criticized Geralt from The Witcher for being a mostly stereotypical gruff, emotionless, stab all the bad guys machine. “Oh! But the trial of the grasses!” you say. Right, the author took an archetypal character and then invented a ceremony that turns people into that archetype. He decided he wants his characters a certain way and then chose a way to make them like that.

        • Fomorian1988 says:

          I never felt that witchers were emotionless – even before Sapkowski added Eskel, Lambert, Vesemir and Coen (who only appears in the novels), it’s clear that the lack of emotions is a hateful stereotype or occasionaly a pose that is taken by the witchers when dealing with people. The only time Geralt is the closest to being an emotionless killer is in the first short story.

        • Slaadfax says:

          People who are unfamiliar with the series may offer that criticism. At face value, sure, he’s got the swords, the murder, and the low n’ gruff voice, but even in the games he’s a very nuanced character.

      • Premium User Badge

        FhnuZoag says:

        Uh, that is really not my impression of that character at all. Look at Cortana’s role in the games – she’s as far as I can see/played, primarily an advisor or a military technical operative. What part of her role is served by giving the male human crew she serves with a boner? When fighting alien enemies, what does being naked serve?

        Heck, it’s not like manipulative/arrogant AI with female like personalities is a new idea. Shodan and GladOS aren’t nude. It would have injured their respective games if they were.

    6. gabrielonuris says:

      I knew it that the New Statesman’s post would say something about Quiet, and I’m happy it did; the reason behind Quiet’s clothes (or the lack of it) is so ridiculously insulting, that I can’t believe people actually fell for that. It’s immature beyond comprehension, as if the developers themselves felt constrained about their own work.

      • Somerled says:

        Which is odd for team Kojima, which has always been a little brazenly indulgent and unapologetic when it comes to sexualization. Maybe putting it front and center this time took even themselves off guard.

      • Geebs says:

        Given Kojima’s proven genius for fourth-wall trolling, it’s entirely possible that he just figured out that giving a transparently terrible excuse would get people really pissed off.

        • Baines says:

          That’s what I figured, when he played up how amazing the explanation would be.

          • Kitsunin says:

            Damn, I feel like an idiot for not realizing this. I mean, I didn’t really think much about the topic, but I still assumed it was just tripe.

      • PancakeWizard says:

        The mistake was feeling like they had to justify it all, IMO.

    7. PikaBot says:

      The New Statesman article puts me in mind of Jack from Mass Effect 2. No particular justification is given for it but holy Hannah, just look at that.

      I’ve long said that it would be a thousand times better if she were actually topless. Not because I particularly want to see polygonal boobies, but because it wouldn’t be so insulting and stupid-looking, and given how little she’s sexualized by the camera (in contrast with, say, Samara) the improbably positioned straps if anything just (perversely) draw attention to her casual nudity.

      • Geebs says:

        I think it’s entirely consistent with Jack’s personality that she would wear stupid and impractical clothes just to piss everybody off by proxy. It’s the aggro punk equivalent of maliciously wearing a geometrically shaped soul patch.

      • GWOP says:

        Not to forget, ME2 also gave conversationss with Miranda’s (lovely) arse, and a wise, ancient Justicar who doesn’t understand the difference between a neckline and a waistline.

      • Baines says:

        Actual nudity might bump the game to Adults Only in the US and cause outcry, while “improbably positioned straps if anything just (perversely) draw attention” are considered more acceptable.

        • PikaBot says:

          It wouldn’t be the first M-rated game to feature topless women in recent years (although none quite so prominently as Jack would be), but yes, this is almost certainly the reason. But honestly, if that’s a concern for you…don’t design her that way in the first place. Put a fucking shirt on her.

      • Turkey says:

        I actually think she looks worse in ME3 even though she’s wearing more clothes. It feels like they safed her up and made her more hetero normative.

        • PikaBot says:

          She does look worse in ME3 but it’s nothing to do with her clothes. That hairdo doesn’t look good on ANYONE.

    8. Premium User Badge

      zapatapon says:

      Re: science accuracy and suspension of disbelief, one thing that never fails to jar me in FTL is that laser weapons aren’t beam weapons. Wot?

    9. Rumpelstiltskin says:

      I don’t think ‘cheap’ excuses for nudity are a result of the devs not willing to admit the truth. Rather, they are clever postmodern soft 4th wall breakers. Hard 4th wall breakers just kick you out of the game immediately, so they are as effective a narrative device as closing the game would be. A soft breaker, in contrast, is something that leaves you in the game, but transcends you above it (by making you realize its obviously artificial nature), like living a life knowing it’s just maia, an elaborate illusion. Or having a lucid dream. It’s a perfect state to reflect on the nature of life, agency, and, ultimately of the notion of self.

      ..Here, would it work as something less insulting to the players’ intelligence? Because I’d rather have naked women stay.

      • lyje says:

        I think that’s giving rather too much credit. Kojima said that we would be ashamed of our words and deeds when we found out the reason for Quiet’s nudity; not that we would be “softly broken out of the game to levitate above it while still being part of it”.

        • Rumpelstiltskin says:

          I was actually a tiny bit ironic.

          • lyje says:

            Ah, sorry! I generally pride myself on my Poe’s law detection…

            • GWOP says:

              Don’t feel too bad. In a world where the Israeli prime minister tries to argue that Hitler wasn’t that bad (and gets reprimanded by the Germans for it), even Poe himself would be confused.

            • Rumpelstiltskin says:

              it’s actually pretty easy to confuse him, since apparently it’s not “that” Poe, but some modern-day dude (yeah I googled it)

        • Kitsunin says:

          Yes, I think that Rumpel was himself intentionally creating an after-the-fact excuse in the same way as Kojima et al. Certainly a better one than they did.

      • pepperfez says:

        This is very, very good.

      • HERP DERP NANOMACHINES says:

        Haha no it’s not fucking clever.

    10. Elliot Lannigan says:

      I say this as a particular fan of neither franchise, but maybe if Bethesda invested in more employees their games wouldn’t release as such buggy messes as they do. If an Assassin’s Creed game had released with the level of bugginess and general unpolish as Fallout 4, it would have gotten absolutely destroyed in the press; it’s obvious that the same standards don’t apply because people have so much extra goodwill towards Bethesda. But even in Assassin’s Creed Unity, the most lambasted title in the series, the launch bugs and issues were nothing compared to what we’re seeing in Fallout 4. There’s a reason for all those employees…it’s so that each and every aspect of the game gets polished and perfected as much as the development cycle allows for. Ubisoft’s mistake is not having too many employees but trying to release too many games too quickly. If one of their teams had been allowed 6 years on an Assassin’s Creed game we’d be talking about it as the greatest game of all time for its genre. But, who cares really, everyone will go on worshipping Bethesda and mocking Ubisoft because that’s the “cool” thing to do.

      • Premium User Badge

        Grizzly says:

        Assassin’s Creed: Unity was worked on since Brotherhood, so 4 years, which is quite a decent time. Ubisoft is able to release so many games each year because they have many teams working on rotation.

      • malkav11 says:

        Bethesda gets surprisingly little stick for their bugs compared to, say, Obsidian (whose games are significantly less buggy, in my experience). But I don’t know that Assassin’s Creed is a fair comparison because those games are significantly less systemically complex.

        • FriendlyFire says:

          I have to genuinely ask: what makes you feel Assassin’s Creed is mechanically less complex than an average Bethesda game?

          • Philomelle says:

            I strongly recommend playing the Alone mini-game in Watch_Dogs because it showcases how primitive the gameplay design in Ubisoft games is. It’s basically the Ubisoft stealth gameplay distilled down to its raw core, with all the attention-grabbing ruffles like people wandering around, collectibles and noisy cutscenes removed. It also happens to be on about the same level of complexity as original Metal Gear Solid, if not simpler.

            I tested the systems I was exposed to while playing Alone in all other Ubisoft games starting with AC1 and ending with Black Flag and Far Cry 3, and they all consistently work. The enemies are completely blind unless you wander into their very rigid sight cones (which are so narrow that you can stand to the side of a random guard without them seeing you) or make moves that register as noisy (which make them abandon their patrol routes to investigate), and their patrol routes are extremely primitive and boil down to walking in a preset circle.

            Combat AI is extremely primitive as well, boiling down to brainless hyper-aggression + occasional use of the same defensive tactics the player can use in order to make it look slightly smarter than it actually is. The game gives you a lot of tools to make you feel powerful, but you can actually beat all engagements in AC games by spamming the counter button + using ranged weapons on rooftop archers.

            And unlike Bethesda games, they don’t have countless branching questlines that run the risk of conflicting with each other via variable responses. They boil down to clicking on an interaction node in order to trigger a cutscene or a guard layout in a specific area.

            You can say what you want about Bethesda games but their sheer size and number of variables make it harder to catch out every single bug in the environment. Modern Assassin’s Creed games are basically Cookie Clicker with a 3D map and a very basic Metal Gear Solid mini-game. Their gameplay systems and AI algorythms haven’t evolved at all since 2007 and it shows.

            • KenTWOu says:

              Dude, your post is full of hasty generalizations. You diminished Watch Dogs to its simplistic mini-game, threw away all in-game mechanics, all game systems and then tried to make conclusions about its overall complexity.
              It’s possible to apply your logic to Bethesda games as well. Fallout 4 is so simple, so basic it doesn’t even have cars or multiplayer modes or co-op. Boo! Shameless hacks!

              Also if you want to discuss stealth AI in Ubisoft games, next time check Splinter Cell: Blacklist. It’s way more complex, because it isn’t open world game full of crowd (AC), animals (FC) or vehicles (WD).

        • Jenks says:

          I can’t recall a Bethesda gaming missing the last quarter of the content, to this day on one platform and fixed by fans on another. Could only hear “yeah but the publisher-” for so many Obsidian games before it became funny.

      • Urthman says:

        The AssCreed games are big, but they aren’t trying to do nearly as many different kinds of things at once that a Bethesda RPG is trying to do. It’s all the same basic action gameplay in lots of locations, with no persistent objects in the world, to pick one obvious difference in complexity.

        There are some kinds of projects where just throwing more people at it makes the job harder, not easier. An army of artists can churn out an enormous amount of nearly flawless scenery. An army of quest designers seems like it would lead to more bugs, not fewer.

        • Blackcompany says:

          “It’s all the same basic action game play in different locations.”

          This is the definition of a Bethesda game. And their environments aren’t even that varied.

          So why the pass for Bethesda and not for others, again? And please don’t cite the whole “complex rpg” thing because Bethesda games are a lot of things, but complex rpg really isn’t one of them.

          So full of wonderful potential, constrained by ancient tech.

          • gabrielonuris says:

            Exactly. IMO Fallout 4 is just a glorified, unnecessary long shooter; when I see Bethesda’s fans saying their games has complexity, I’m not really sure of what kind of complexity they’re talking about. Animation? Nope. Voice work? Nope. Graphics? Nope. New gameplay mechanics? Definitely no. Characters and quests depth? Jeez, No. Maybe they’re talking about hoarding cuterly and junk to crafting and building settlements, but even that is being made by hundrends of Early Access “survival” titles, and the only reason for it being there is for the sake of being fillers. But it’s Bethesda’s idea of “fun”, who am I to talk ill about them…

            • malkav11 says:

              None of those things are systemic complexity. Whatever issues you may have with Bethesda’s game design, they are still simulating giant worlds full of scheduled NPCs with names and inventories and who die permanently if killed, many of whom are attached to questlines, and physics objects that the engine tracks and remembers the location of, and wildly varying terrain that the player and other game entities all need to traverse, etc etc. Assassin’s Creed’s objects consist primarily of collectibles that are removed from the game space once collected. Most NPCs are generic and cosmetic, immediately spawned or despawned based on the player’s location without any long term impact, and with few needing to do any sort of terrain traversal. Etc. It simply isn’t doing anything like the level of simulation that Bethesda’s games are, and so there’s much less to test and much less that can potentially interact in an undesirable way.

            • Blackcompany says:

              Fair point, Malkav11. Bethesda games do have some technical complexity to them. Not enough to excuse the technical problems as a result of the complexity, but they do have some hidden layers on the technical side.

      • Turkey says:

        I think the thing people give Bethesda extra credit for is that they don’t feel like they’re designed by committee, which is pretty rare in AAA studio games these days.

      • Ejia says:

        Uplay is cause enough to mock Ubisoft.

        I wonder if the reason Bethesda doesn’t get as much hate is because people automatically expect them to have huge bugs anyway. I know I do, which is why I tend to wait until they’ve squashed the obvious game-breaking ones.

    11. Dr. Alaskian says:

      It seems like the attack in Paris may provide a topic for discussion here on RPS after all:
      How Paris ISIS Terrorists May Have Used PlayStation 4 To Discuss And Plan Attacks

    12. Michael Fogg says:

      The PCGamer article about charisma-based F4 makes it seem that the game is quite flexible and supportive of different playstyles and char builds. Definitely a Good Thing. I especially like that Bethesda seems to have implemented a system that allows you to attempt to pacify/intimidate any npc by pointing a gun at them. That’s legitimately new.

      • LionsPhil says:

        To their games, perhaps. It could certainly stand to be copied more—too many non-lethal/steath games still lean on easy tranquilization.

        I’m more pleasantly surprised by this claim:

        I like that having my Charisma maxed doesn’t strictly mean I’m silver-tongued or intimidating: it can sometimes also mean I’m just annoying enough to get my way.

        …given the usual quality of Bethesda writing is rock-bottom.

        If you read to the end of the article, it’s not turning out viable, though. Which is back to unsurprising.

        • Premium User Badge

          teije says:

          I was really hoping a non-combat play of Fallout 4 was viable – too bad that it seems way too combat heavy. Don’t think I’ll play it then, despite my love for the Fallout setting.

          One thing I really enjoyed about Age of Decadence was that a pacifist play through was not only viable, but very enjoyable given the opportunities for deception and persuasion to accomplish your objectives. Good thing too, as the combat is brutally unforgiving.

      • Baines says:

        Read the article and you will find that the writer says that it *doesn’t* look like it is viable. Too much of the game demands combat, and the writer gets tired of repeatedly dying.

        Reader comments take it a bit further, pointing out that you could manage such playstyles in Fallout 1, 2, and New Vegas. That it is Bethesda’s Fallouts (3 and 4) that are so limited.

        • Geebs says:

          That’s assuming that you don’t have Dogmeat give you away and cause everybody to attack you at the end of Fallout 1 because apparently cultists don’t have dogs.

          Fallout 2 is a pain to play as a diplomat, too.

    13. pepperfez says:

      If some people prefer to be referred to as “trollself,” I think we should go ahead and do that.

      • pepperfez says:

        That was of course a reply to someone carping about pronouns above.

    14. Philopoemen says:

      I find it interesting in the Gamasutra article that Feargus talks about learning not to rush games to hit release dates, when that has been the biggest criticism of Obsidian and Troika’s work to date.

      It’s telling that he learnt that from FO2, and it still happens. And I *love* Obsidian!

      • pepperfez says:

        Wasn’t the issue for Obsidian that they were always doing contract work so they couldn’t control their own release dates?

    15. guygodbois00 says:

      Sundays are for being preoccupied with other people businesses and miss to comment, and then comment on Monday about absence of Michael Radiatin’ adventure part 2. But the day is yooung…