The morning Inbox asks if free-to-play Sea Of Thieves is the future, as one reader wonders if he helped shape the Nintendo Switch.
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Best of the generation
So with all this talk of remakes and remasters lately I got to thinking about what was the best looking game of the last gen, on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. I initially started thinking it must be a Sony game, probably either The Last Of Us or Killzone 3 or God Of War 3. They are fantastic-looking games, no doubt, and I’d say Killzone 3 is probably the best of those (although ironically by far the worst as a game).
But the I started going over what the Xbox had and the obvious Halo and Gears Of Wars. But I think the answer is actually Alan Wake. Again, it’s not the best game (although good, and I think a little underrated) but if you go back to it it is a phenomenal looking game. I don’t really understand why they haven’t reissued it it because it would great compared to even current games.
The forests look amazing and the use of the light I think probably still hasn’t been beaten. I think that helped that it was part of the gameplay, so they had to make it look good, but it really was amazingly realistic looking. I don’t have an Xbxo One so I haven’t played Quantum Break, but it never looked as impressive, just… good. Frankly I would’ve preferred another Alan Wake, if it had the same sort of graphics it could’ve been a killer app.
I’d almost be surprised if Red Dead Redemption II didn’t have a Battle Royale mode at this point. I think it’s just a matter of how quickly these companies can put the option in, which is basically limited to how much experience they have with large open worlds. If Battlefield V doesn’t have it then DICE are sleeping on the job, and if I were EA I’d make Star Wars: Battlefront II’s big comeback be the addition of a Battle Royale mode (although that game already has less players than Battlefield, so maybe that’s not technically possible).
If Rockstar manages to be the first major existing franchise to have Battle Royale then that won’t be because they’re ahead of the curve it’s because the others are just too slow and if I was an exec or whatever I’d want their heads if they weren’t ready to jump on the bandwagon.
I’m not usually one for copycats but Battle Royale is such a great way to play I’ve completely lost interest in deathmatch and all the usual modes. I know we’ll probably be burnt out on it in a year or two, but that’s all the more reason to get while the getting’s good.
The next step
With all the success of Fortnite at the moment I don’t think it’s necessarily Battle Royale that publishers will be looking to copy (although I’m sure they will do that as well) but the fact that it’s free. The whole free-to-play thing seemed to take a rest a few years ago, at least for console games, but I think we’re going to see a flood of them now seeing how much Fortnite has blown up.
The next big multiplayer game that I think could become massive is Sea Of Thieves and if you subscribe to Game Pass you could argue that it is free as well. There probably won’t be a mobile version (poor old Windows Phone!) and it definitely won’t be on PlayStation 4, but otherwise I think it could be big enough to go up against any of the Battle Royale games.
Free-to-play obviously needs microtransactions to play for itself but if they’re kept cosmetic-only, like Sea Of Thieves is, I think that’s fine. Games Pass is a good idea but for me the logical extension of that is to have all games be completely free, even the consoles, and just pay with cosmetic features. That would’ve seemed laughable a few years ago but I reckon it’s getting pretty plausible.
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I think there is a good chance the new Sony remaster is Demon’s Souls. It’s not something I think From would have the time for at the moment and the original was pretty poor from a technical point of view, so would need a lot of rejigging.
I also don’t get the impression Bloodborne 2 is ever going to happen, so this would given the PlayStation 4 another exclusive SoulsBorne game at a relatively low cost. I really don’t see what it else it could be that would be large scale. Does anyone really care enough to remaster inFamous or Resistance?
Demon’s Souls actually has some of my favourite bosses in the whole series, and I’d love to see the Tower Knight, Storm King, and Old Monk again and I’m sure the majority of fans haven’t see them before. Or no can they proper now, seeing as the servers for the original game have been turned off. I hop I’m right, Inbox magic make it so!
Characters, not mascots
All the rampant speculation about Smash Bros. (I’ll put my money on a Bethesda character and rabbids) it’s made me think again how difficult a similar game would be to make on Xbox or PlayStation. Sony tried with PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale but you ended up with the problem where almost all their well-known characters where just white men and all the actually famous ones you associate with the PlayStation don’t belong to Sony. Smash Bros. is the one that got Cloud Strife, while Sony missed out on Crash Bandicoot, Lara Croft, Spyro, Chris Redfield and basically all the iconic characters.
It’s no wonder Microsoft hasn’t even tried, because who have they got? Master Chief and the Gears Of War guys. I’m not necessarily knocking either company but I think it shows how Nintendo are able to stay in the game even when they make terrible mistakes like the Wii U. You think of Nintendo and you think of great games and great characters. With the other two it’s mostly just the great games and the characters are just kind of an either just ‘people’ or they’re unnamed avatars that are meant to be you.
The other limitation is that it’s also harder to create spin-offs like Mario Kart and the sports games. Although I am surprised they’ve never tried with something like Tomb Raider. There are plenty of Resident Evil spin-offs but they’re all more or less the same gameplay. Only one I can think that switches genres is that awful Tekken game with Nina. Maybe that put everyone off?
PS: Secret admission: I would still like a PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale 2
Four good guesses
So everyone seems to be guessing who the new Smash Bros. characters will be and I’d like to add my personal guesses/preferences to the mix:
1. Phoenix Wright – he’s only ever been seen on a Nintendo console apart from his appearance in Marvel Vs. Capcom and it’s frankly crazy that he wouldn’t appear in a Smash Bros. game considering his history with Nintendo. I have some serious objections if he isn’t…
2. Dorothy from SteamWorld Dig 2 – she has a grappling hook, jetpack, pickaxe, and can shoot missiles. A SteamWorld-themed level would also be excellent. The developers also seem to have a special relationship with Nintendo, so makes it all the more likely.
3. Rabbid Peach – the recent success of Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle makes this one quite likely I think, and Rabbid Peach is the rabbid with the most ‘personality’. This could also open the door to more Ubisoft characters. Ezio anyone?
4. Rex from Xenoblade Chronicles 2 – this is surely a given due to the game’s relative success and having included Shulk previously? A Xenoblade stage could also work quite well in my opinion.
Whatever happens I hope they are making a whole new game rather than just a remaster, although I think the fact they didn’t reveal anything other than the logo and some character silhouettes means that could be the case. Can’t wait to make or break some friendships!
God of questions
Very interested to hear impression on the new God Of War from your preview, GC. I know you can’t say anything yet but I still don’t feel I really ‘understand’ the game. Like, is the combat the same as the old one or is it completely new? How open is the world and how much dialogue is there? Is Kratos nice to people at all and how comes he has a son? (And who the hell would be Kratos’ wife?!)
For such a huge game I’m very surprised at the level of secrecy, and while I’m fairly confident it’ll be good I long ago gave up pre-orders just based on being a sequel. I might get one in quick if the verdict is good though. When is the embargo, and how long did you get to play the game?
GC: The embargo’s early next week, and we got a good two hours on the game.
I remember Nintendo frequently contacting me as a Wii U owner. I’m sure they emailed me a few times and when I registered a game to their now defunct rewards points scheme they also asked me to fill information and give input about what I liked about the system and the games I’d purchased on their system. As a long-time fan I gave them a good point of view of what I liked and disliked. They even offered me an ambassador’s 3DS and I’m sure that was only because I was a Wii U owner giving input. Could be wrong I guess.
They gave me Pikmin 3, free, when I originally bought Mario Kart 8 on the Wii U under some kind of rewards scheme. I think this was the first sign that they were failing on the then current system and they were asking us why… The fans. It’s the way I saw it and still see it now. Maybe we as fans did shape things and maybe they did listen to what we were saying to them.
I know you often say we can’t predict Nintendo and I totally agree that we can’t. But I’m sure they listened, as the Switch is what every fan’s dreams were made of. Smaller (bigger?), better (much better, more of the best (they gave us the best iterations of Zelda and Mario!).
Would just like to mention the new rewards scheme is now benefitting downloaded games more than physical games as they offer rewards of 5% bonus on downloaded material and just 1% on physical games. It says to me Nintendo are also looking at a digital future. I love my Switch but am still sat firmly in camp physical copy, rewards or not. There’s still too many unanswered questions regarding data storage cards and the size of cartridges to come on the system.
Nick the Greek
GC: Companies are more influenced by gamers than realise, as the reaction to Star Wars: Battlefront II illustrates.
I think the new Super Smash Bros. is going to be a ‘sequel’ in the style of Splatoon 2, which I’m totally okay with. If it’s a games as a service like that I won’t be upset either, Splatoon 2 is the gift that keeps on giving.
My hope for Black Ops 4 is that it’s just a straightforward modern day anti-terrorist game where I get to shoot some bad guys and save the world. No sci-fi, no shock tactics, just big dumb action. Am I shallow to hope for such a thing?
This week’s Hot Topic
The subject for this weekend’s Inbox was suggested by reader Mesomex, who asks who is your favourite female video game character.
Which female character do you think is the most interesting, and why? Are they the main playable character in the game, and if not how do they compare to those that are? Would you have preferred them to have a bigger role and what do you think of their dialogue and voice-acting?
In general, what do you think of the representation of women in video games and how have things changed in the last decade or so? What further change would you like to see in the future and what major franchises do you think need more prominent female characters or options?
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The small print
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