Games Inbox: State Of Decay 2 microtransactions, Bethesda in Smash Bros., and Shenmue III defence
The evening Inbox tries to guess what Bluepoint’s new remake is, as one reader reports back from Football Manager 2140.
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I’ve just read with interest that State Of Decay 2 will not have microtransactions, even though it seems like exactly the sort of game that normally would. Considering that a lot of other games seem to be shying away from them, and loot boxes, since last year I wonder if we are actually seeing a kind of victory for gamers?
I’ve been playing Vermintide II since launch and while I agree the loot system is not the best thought out of things it doesn’t involve microtransactions, so it’s bad rather than greedy design. (The game is great otherwise though, I would recommend it despite the problems – which I doubt will last long before they’re patched out.)
I think that Star Wars: Battlefront II was so bad that it really did change the industry. So in a way EA’s greed had a positive result on gaming overall. You could even argue that The Last Jedi being so bad also worked out well for gaming as that probably put a dent in the game’s sales as well, sending a message that microtransactions and loot boxes are bad and they can actually cost a company money putting them into the game.
So whatever anti-consumer idea publishers are cooking up next, beware: your plans can backfire. The surest thing is just to make a good game!
PS: Also, you can get State Of Decay 2 ‘free’ via Game Pass, so it’s extra good value.
I know Konami and other Japanese companies are obvious first thoughts for the new Smash Bros., I’m surprised nobody has mentioned the more obvious third party: Bethesda. Nintendo have been very pally with them since the Switch came out and I could see them doing either the Skyrim guy or the Doom guy as a guest character. I’d prefer Doom guy personally, as he’d be very different to anyone else and he’s a proper iconic character – even if he doesn’t have a name.
Other obvious ones that I don’t think I’ve seen mentioned are Rabbids, following the success of Kingdom Battle. Don’t care for them myself but I could see it happening. I can also see Nintendo try to get the Champions from Zelda: Breath Of The Wild in there, but I’m not sure how. Just picking one or two seems a bit random, but I don’t see how you get one character switching between them. Unless it’s Zelda invoking their ghosts or something. Which might work as she doesn’t really do anything all game.
The other issue is what to do about Ganondorf, as he doesn’t have any appearance that in Breath Of The Wild that is either similar to previous Smash Bros. or which seems like it could turn into a new character. I honestly don’t know what they do with him, other than either take him out or go old school and make him a pig guy.
So I see the news that the Bluepoint Games, who did the excellent Shadow Of The Colossus remakes are working on a new remake. They won’t say what it is or give any clue, except that it’s apparently ‘bigger in scope than Shadow Of The Colossus’. So what do we all think it could be?
Looking at their previous work almost all of their remaster work has been with Sony games, the only exception being Metal Gear Solid. So I guess that means the most likely options are another Sony game or Metal Gear Solid 1?
Problem is what they mean by bigger in scope. Shadow Of The Colossus is actually a fairly small game really, so most are bigger than it and they could be talking about anything from Demon’s Souls to Syphon Filter. Personally, I hope it is a PlayStation 1 or 2 era game as I think they’re the most interesting to see updated with new graphics. Silent Hill would be great or Dino Crisis, something that is almost unplayable today because of how dated the graphics are now.
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Football Manager 2140
Well, my most played game of all time is Football Manager 2010, which I still play to this day.
I find it to be the perfect management sim. I have tried more recent additions, on and off, but I’ve never been able to get into them like I have Football Manager 2010. I managed to get to year 2140 in one playthrough (though a handful of seasons were simed when I was between jobs) before the save file died. Now currently in the year 2042.
It’s scary to think how many hours have been sunk into the game, thousands. Easily.
The game I have put most hours into must be Roller Coaster Tycoon on PC when I was a youngster, it must be hundreds of hours as I used to play it pretty much every day for a couple of years, along with the Loopy Landscapes expansion. I’d put my alarm on early just to get an hour in before school. I loved that game so much, which was why I built a gaming PC just over a year ago for Planet Coaster. Which is by the same developers in everything but name. They have done a sterling job but for some reason I’m just not as eager to play it like I was Roller Coaster Tycoon and have actually found myself looking at Roller Coaster Tycoon 2 on Steam, considering a purchase which is odd as I think Planet Coaster is the better game.
Part of it must be due to not having as much time to get invested in a game like that, but I also think nostalgia plays a part. Shout outs also to the various Football Manager games and DRIV3R, purely for one mission called chase Catalina in Istanbul which took me and my pal playing every Saturday for a year and a half before we eventually beat it.
trukkurt (Steam ID)/Angry_Kurt (Twitter)
The Microsoft Identity
I found irve’s Reader’s Feature pretty interesting. It’d be great to see Microsoft living up to their potential and spearheading their game development the same way Sony and Nintendo’s internal/second party studios do. Sea Of Thieves is a brave step into uncharted waters, whilst Ori should have no problem being the indie darling the original game ended up being.
I feel Microsoft’s biggest problem, however, is that they lack any sort of meaningful identity. Sony have their cinematic experiences with games such as The Last Of Us, The Last Guardian, Uncharted, God Of War, Days Gone, and many others. Nintendo has their strong IP such as Zelda, Mario, Pokémon, Smash Bros., Fire Emblem, etc.
As consumers we know what we are getting from these companies when we invest in their hardware, and I don’t see the same happening with Xbox One. They’ve never seemed to push for consistent and quality new properties on their systems. They’ve tried with titles like Ryse, Project Spark, and Quantum Break, but they never hit the marks that Microsoft needed. I can’t see these ideas being revisited in the future.
It’s not all doom and gloom though. Microsoft put a lot of emphasis on their racing games every year at E3, plus they do still have the likes of Halo and Gears Of War. Their Game Pass deal provides great value for money, and the fact that other companies can offer their own subscription services allows for a very open platform. The real issue is that these aren’t enough by themselves. Games sell consoles, first and foremost, and without a compelling identity people can associate with the system, the uptake on Xbox One isn’t likely to increase anytime soon.
E3 will be very interesting this year. I hope Microsoft can turn their fortunes around.
I totally understand why Sony won’t do cross-play from a business point of view, but it is so frustrating. Most of my friends went from Xbox 360 to PlayStation 4 but not all of them, and I miss some of them that are left on Xbox One.
I mean, it’s their own fault for not listening to me but you can totally see why Sony wouldn’t want to make it so their ‘bad’ decision didn’t count. They want them to think they bought the wrong console and go out and get a PlayStation 4 instead. Microsoft on the other hand just want to still be seen as part of the same race.
It’s nasty stuff but it’s just business.
Having followed the game closely, I’d like to shed some light on the Shenmue III concerns expressed in Dieflemmy’s article at the weekend:
1) The funding. I agree that the messaging was mixed on the day of the announcement, but the rough financial breakdown was clarified as follows: Sony would assist with marketing and making the game available on PlayStation 4. Shibuya Productions, as the biggest private investor, would contribute more towards development and assisting the PC version. And the rest of development would be covered by Kickstarter backers. $2m was never going to be the entire budget, and they were open about that.
Also, the scale of the game was to be dictated by stretch goals: raising $2m on Kickstarter would have ensured fans got a continuation of the story (something many had begged for in even manga form), while $10m would have allowed all the bells and whistles. Crowdfunding reached over $6m, and since then, investment from Deep Silver as publisher has allowed the game to achieve the full open world that Suzuki had been aiming for.
2) The graphics. Suzuki explained in multiple interviews on the day that facial animations had been removed from the teaser video at the last minute due to a temporary bug with how they behaved on the latest character models. Shortly afterwards we were shown a perfunctory demonstration of characters’ faces being animated in a test environment, so it’s not as if those emotionless visages in the teaser, which was labelled as work-in-progress, are representative of the final game.
3) Modernising the combat and QTEs. Suzuki has spoken many times about his intention to advance both elements, and as the guy who pioneered 3D fighting and has yet to be equalled in his popularising use of QTEs (he even coined that name for them), I see no particular reason to doubt him until we see what he comes up with.
I think that covers all the worries mentioned in the Reader’s Feature, so hopefully the enjoyment of looking forward to the kind of polished trailer we’d be seeing as a first glimpse if the devs didn’t have the constant curiosity of Kickstarter backers to satisfy can now resume!
Dynamite Headdy (@2Tweet2BeSour)
GC: We think you’re hand-waving away concerns about the graphics a bit too quickly there. Even the new screenshots the other day looked very odd, so we’re not surprised some people are worried about them.
Valve’s first big new game in years is… a card game? Ugh. I swear that company is just being run as one big troll to fans now. And apparently the card game is a Dota 2 spin-off? Who cares?!
Is it ironic that a man that threatened to wipe out an entire country with missiles is blaming video games on violence? What was he playing?
GC: It’s ironic, but it’s not funny.
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
New Inbox updates appear twice daily, every weekday morning and afternoon. Readers’ letters are used on merit and may be edited for length.
You can also submit your own 500 to 600-word 4Player viewer features at any time, which if used will be shown in the next available weekend slot.