So I was looking around this past weekend, as I had a little money to burn and wanted to see what was coming up in the gaming landscape. My hope was to maybe catch something to pique my interest for a bit until the things I really want can be done. Below is what I’ll call an official Christmas preview of a few games that caught my eye. Sadly, none of the info I have is exclusive, as that would imply some kind of journalistic capability way beyond this site. All news and info below is readily available on the internet. But, consider this a decent primer for these games if you didn’t know anything about them.
Titanfall is being produced by the makers of Call of Duty, and it is being touted as a revolutionary two games in one. You play as a pilot, who can go around and shoot stuff up and then you get to climb into your Titan (I like to call them Mechs) and go around massively causing awesome death and destruction everywhere. I’m not sure how revolutionary this is. I mean I was doing the same thing with Metal Warriors on the Super Nintendo back in the day (complete with jet-pack pilots too), but okay Respawn. You’re revolutionary. You go guys.
So Titanfall is set in the far far future and I’ll give them this. The game looks beautiful. Combat is fast and fluid and looks fantastic. There are two different factions you choose to fight for and off you go. I hope they managed to mix races up a bit. Call of Duty and a lot of other games like it in the genre have a bad habit of deciding that your job is to play the heroic white people who’ve got to save the world from the generic dark brown people who are threatening everything. Given that it’s an imaginary future, you’d hope they’ll avoid this, but we will see.
It also concerns me how much the devs go on and on about how much effort they’re working on to make this a story-based game, as though none of the games they ever made before ever had one. Which come to think of it, would explain a few things. Regardless, when you’re trying so hard to convince me that your story is great, I’m pretty sure that means your story is crap. Better have something to fall back on.
Titanfall isn’t due out until the Spring of next year, so there’s nothing for me to throw my money at anyway. But even if there was, I wouldn’t go near Titanfall with a 10 foot mecha-carried pole. You see, Titanfall is a first-person shooter. And I hate FPS’s. Not because I think they’re bad or anything, but because I’m bad at them. No, not bad. Terrible. On FPS teams I’m either the easy kill, or the bait, depending whether or not we’re on the same side. And sometimes what side I’m on doesn’t matter either.
So, no Titanfall for me. What else is out there?
Star Citizen is a space ship flight simulator being developed by the creator of Wing Commander. It’s been a long time since we’ve seen one of these and the crowd funding money has been flowing to this like crazy. Over 33 million dollars in crowd funding through Kickstarter, Paypal, and a host of other methods already used. The game isn’t out yet, but a virtual hanger has been built so you can log in and look at the ships (or ship) you’ve bought. They’re promising a combat simulator sometime this month and the actual game up and running early next year.
The game is super detailed and if you read through the list of stretch goals they’ve already blown through on their site, some of them are hard to believe. Out of ship combat, exploration, 100 star systems to explore, Occulus Rift support. It’s crazy how much they’re promising. Still with 33 million and climbing, it’s little wonder that they’re offering the moon and stars. You’d normally need a triple A game to command that kind of money and they seem to be bent on using it all.
Ahhh, money. That’s where the real rub lies. You can pledge right now if you wish right on their website to help them reach their new stretch-goals. The mouse pads are currently going for 35 dollars. Yeah, that’s not a typo. While the ships are incredibly detailed and there’s a wide variety available for purchase for you to own as soon as you start playing the game, average starting price of any given ship is around 70 dollars, maybe even higher. And that’s your basic starting point to get into the game. You have to buy your ship. No signing on to someone else’s freighter until you have the cash you need to break out on your own. Not really all that shocking, how they got to 33 million now, is it?
The game has a lot of potential, and I mean a lot. But right now I think I’ll sit it out and wait to see if the used ship yard comes up with anything reasonable in the future. Anything else?
So here we have Sony and the first part of their multi-pronged strategy to wrest the Fantasy MMO genre back from WoW. They have a very solid offering with Everquest Next coming up, but sadly this that game. You see Everquest Next is the MMO that they’re developing. Everquest Next Landmark is just Minecraft on steroids.
Or voxels as the case were. Voxels are the building blocks of the Everquest world and Landmark is the map making tool that Sony is releasing to the public as a way to build buzz around the actual game. What I find interesting about Landmark is that it’s touted as a fully playable MMO right out of the gate, and building is only one component of the game. There’s even talk of being able to create instances within the map you create, which is very Mission Architect like, for those of you who remember City of Heroes.
So it’s a giant map making system designed to let you tool around with the world you’re going to inhabit before the game actually comes out. It’s not a bad idea, and I like the potential involved here. The downside? Alpha is scheduled to start on February 28th and if you want to get into the Alpha, all you have to do is give Sony, lots and lots of money. 60 dollars buys you Alpha access to play to your heart’s content.
Except that it’s alpha. Not BETA. Alpha. This is a problem. Most MMO’s at launch suffer from what I refer to as the Freeze Warning rule.
When MMO’s launch, that’s when the beta truly begins. The first year of an MMO’s life is spent figuring out who it’s players and player base are, what it’s really like to play the game, and how it should really be balanced. This can cause radical shifts in what the game is and offers. A real change in the weather, that can come at any moment. After about a year, the Freeze Warning gets rescinded because the game is pretty much settled into what it’s going to be and decent weather is on the horizon. But in that first year, watch out. You can get wildly varying changes to gameplay and mechanics that can be more unpredictable then Earth with Climate Change.
This means that when an MMO is in an actual Beta stage, it’s really in Alpha. And the alpha stage is little more then just developer unit testing, if you get my meaning. And Sony wants me to pay them for the privilege of playing their game when it’s not in the Freeze Warning state, but actually still frozen solid and likely broken as all hell. Well that sure sounds like a great idea. For them.
Ahhh well. I probably shouldn’t be blowing money I don’t have on myself anyway. Those damn kids are going to want food AGAIN at some point. Maybe I’ll just mess around with something easy…ouuu what’s this? Steam has Arkham City on sale for 75% off???? I can dress like a bat and punch out bad guys for $7.50??? Merry Christmas, indeed!