What do you think? Can Wii dominate on price alone? More importantly are you going to buy one?
Once they vacated we knew one day we would get a letter and Brian and I would have to pick up and move the physical infrastructure somewhere. Well that day came sometime in March. We were like OK. We shopped around, but XO gave us a good deal. From that point forward it has kind of sucked. While planning the migration XO informed us that the insurance requirements have changed and they will not let us into the facility without proof of insurance. I tell them, "OK. No problem, but it will take a little while for us to get with an insurance broker to get the General Liability or whatever they needed." Yesterday I am told that they will let us move in as long as we promise to meet the insurance requirements later. Great.
MobyGames is headquartered in Chicago. That is where each of us are originally from and where MobyGames was born. Since then I have moved to New York City, Los Angeles, San Francisco and finally back to New York. Brian lives in Colorado. In order to move the servers and network gear while at the same time maintaining uptime I told XO we will need a week or two to plan and coordinate the move since it is a little more complicated than packing up and moving a few books and a desk lamp. Well today XO told me we have to move by May 31. The facility is being torn down and a new tenant if moving in June 1.
Great so now we are scrambling. We have plane tickets, equipment has been purchased and orders expedited. Brian and I arrive on Monday. We had hoped to use Monday to move in the "swing equipment" and set it up. So that on Tuesday we can cut over with a minimum of interruption of service. Normally the facility has 24/7 access, but you need key cards. XO neglected to send them to us. They very helpfully said we could pick them up on Tuesday. A day too late.
Well I am not overly happy with XO. I guess I should of been more on top of this. Oh well. Hopefully there will be little or no downtime. Of course MobyGames may flat line for a few hours ... or god forbid even longer.
What do you think?
Nintendo DS Lite press release
I also got to see Infernal by Metropolis Software. Its a mediocre type 3rd person shooter with a few neat gimmicks in the form of demonic powers you have. It plays like a cross between Resident Evil 4 in terms of camera and control, but also has various supertype powers associated with it that you can use.
I hit Activision too and checked out the Special Effects and Stunts expansion for The Movies. It looks really neat and seems to fix the big problem with only allowing for the preset camera angles by adding a free moving camera. It also adds a multitude of sets, props, and costumes in addition to the free camera and a bunch of new scenes with special effects added in. For fans of the original - it makes a good game even better, but I can’t help but still feeling burned by the initial game not having the free camera.
I also checked out the booth for Supreme Commander and while the scale of the battles and the interaction is neat - I saw nothing of story. This is troubling considering how many other games seem to be able to do both great gameplay and a good story.
Haze was another thing on the show floor I got to checkout and it seems very much in the vein of F.E.A.R. It’s a first person shooter centered around a company that produces all sorts of pharmaceuticals and defense technology who forms a military task force to deal with tricky situations. It was a pleasant surprise considering that prior to the show I hadn’t herd of the game, but it was very cool looking with its use of lighting and the organic feel of the jungle setting. It’s created by Free Radical - the same guys responsible for the Timesplitters games and has a heavy focus on story. The demo I saw went through a sequence that showed how the enemy AI works together and your team squad AI also moves in conjunction. It also will have support for coop so people can jump in as the other members of your team. The very last scene points to a member of your squad murdering a man in cold blood who tries to surrender and makes it seem as if maybe the company you work for has something to cover up. Its coming to the PS3 and 360 and is being positioned for a release next year.
Bioshock! is more or less System Shock but rebuilt as a new intellectual property. Replace scary space ship with crazy ai, mutant monsters, and dead people with crazy 1930ish underwater city (called Rapture) and a mystery as to what happened, different mutant monsters and dead people. Much of the gameplay elements from system shock have returned such as the hacking of security panels and the ability to use vending machines, to the use of audio logs to try and piece together the game’s story. If you’ve played system shock you really have an idea of what to expect and who better then the guys who created system shock 2 to reinvision the same style of game.
If I had to place a finger on the one real impressive part of Bioshock!, it’d have to be the water. The water reflects the world around it, is transparent enough to to see through while refracting the things below it’s surface, and also scatters light as it drips and pours off walls. It even interacts with characters by moving around them and splashing off as it drips onto them, it was really impressive.
So far - so good. Tomorrow I’ll get to see what EA has to offer as well as hopefully more information on what Konami will be bringing to market soon.
The best news about neverwinter I think is that they kept a lot of stuff the same, that is to say they aren’t trying to reinvent the wheel. They took what bioware gave them and added things on, updated the rule set, and spent time expanding what the game could do. This will get passed onto people in the form of an updated neverwinter toolset with the ability to shape the land however you want.
While Neverwinter is more of a game where you want to consider your actions carefully and the different ways you might approach a situation, Dead Rising is a game about hitting stuff. You play a photojournalist who goes to a mall in a zombie infested area to take pictures and it would appear figure out what is going on.
It doesn't take itself too seriously and really kind of does its own thing by allowing you to pick up things in the gamespace... that is to say, just about anything... potted plants, benches, baseball bats, apples, even a sickle. You can either hit or throw any of those things at your enemies. And those are just some of the items... It really focuses on an interesting type of sandbox because your limited to what appears to be 3 days of real time to do everything you can and make it back to the helipad. Its an interesting mechanic that could pay off in being unique or annoying because you’ll have to start over to do all the cool stuff you want. I’ve never seen so many people laugh at zombies getting destroyed in various ways (My personal favorite was when I hit a zombie in the face with a cream pie. Apparently pie is also a zombie killer.)
Bethesda had three games they were showing that weren’t out - Star Trek Legacy, Star Trek Tactical Assault, and Pirates of the Caribbean : The Legend of Jack Sparrow. The trek games bode well for the license, but its interesting that for the first time its the interactive entertainment that's driving the franchise and they’re are no Trek movies and no Trek TV series. That being said - All 3 games look like lots of fun. Legacy is pretty early on, but looks like it’ll be a fun space ship combat strategy game. Legacy is being made by Mad Doc software - who is responsible for Star Trek Armada 2 so they’re not new to the license. They’re currently working on getting the captains of the trek series to do their voices for the game and given Bethesda’s relationship with Patrick Stewart on The Elder Scrolls Oblivion - my guess is that he’ll be in it at the very least.
Tactical assault looks like its a bit further on and will be out in september. Anyone who was a fan of the Starfleet Command games that were released that were based on the starfleet battles stuff will be happy to know that Quicksilver, the company who made those games, it developing Tactical Assault. It plays with a lot more of an emphasis on action - but fits well as a hand held game.
Legend of Jack Sparrow made me do somewhat of a double take as I knew the license to the 2nd movie belonged to someone else and that there was a game being made off that. When I asked, it turns out the license is split, Bethesda has the rights to the first movie and the universe - so what they did is build a game that is based off the adventures of Jack Sparrow in between the two movies as well as the first movie (although its worth nothing the events from the first movie are told from his point of view so they’ll have an interesting slant on them. The game is for the PS2 and PC and both versions will have co-op support (one person as Jack and the other as Will). It looks like its shaping up really well and will be out in the next couple months.
I did get a chance also to checkout Dead Rising and Neverwinter Nights 2 and I’ll post my impressions in the next post in a few hours. For now - I’m off to speak with 2k Games. Remember - Post if you want me to take a look at something and I’ll do my best!
As well, the final model has been released for the PS3. It does not look much different form the original. In fact, it has the exact same controller, with the exception of a motion sensor ala Wii. Good job ripping off the competition Sony, now try ripping off the price.
Copyright infringement is the highest form of flattery...
More info: Joystiq Article
After that, I doubled back for my meeting with Warner Bros. Interactive which was interesting and I got to speak with them about Justice League Heroes. Heroes, which is done by Snowblind Studios, the same company responsible for Champions of Norath. But the bigger story was Dirty Harry, which didn’t actually appear in playable form... in fact didn’t really appear in any form. I went to a limited screening of a trailer for the game, which was a pre-rendered video with the in-game assets as a demonstration for what the game should look like. However, I left with an impression of not knowing any idea of what the game would actually play like or even what type of game it would be. You would think that a company would realize that even a little bit of what the game actually looks like would be better then any pre-rendered mockup, but I guess not.
LoTR does have one real interesting feature that D&D Online doesn't which comes in the form of battles that happen in the main world. D&D Online is exclusively instanced based combat - you get a quest - you get whisked away to where the quest takes place with your party - you do the quest isolated and you get returned. In LoTR, there are some quests with the same sort of mentality, but there are also quests where the major locations are layered based on your completion of certain quests. You might play a quest where a town comes under attack and half of it is burned to the ground. Every time you go to that town afterwards - the damage will still be done - but you’ll be able to interact with other players normally in the same game space rather then it being an isolated instanced area. They’re still figuring out the specifics - but this means that in addition to other regular instanced quests - they could also do major game world events that involve more then a small party of players.
I also had a quick chat with someone over at Turbine’s booth. D&D Online will be getting another free content update soon and will feature additional solo play and a new race playable online, the drow. It seems like D&D might be worth checking on a longer term basis and they also told me that there is a plan for a full retail expansion some time next year.
I decided to head to the South hall to check everything else out, but got sidetracked when I saw midway was having demos of both John Woo’s Stranglehold and Unreal Tournament 2007. While neither game really deals with new original gameplay, I was impressed by Strangleholds attention to the destruction of the environment. If it plays as good as it looks, it should be a fun romp.
On the 360, I got to checkout Crackdown for a bit and Ken Lobb at Microsoft walked me through a bit of it. The game’s visual style is pretty interesting and its fun to play. It has a sort of serious cell shaded style for the characters and a kinda of semi-realistic environment. That combined with a wild sort of sandbox GTA style game makes it kinda neat. Its like Mercenaries in terms of the idea that you can go anywhere and do anything - but this seems much more open in terms of the order you can do the missions.
So far I’ve checked out all sorts of stuff like Chromehounds, Super Robot Taisen, Guitar Hero 2 and I’ve just scratched the surface of south hall. I’ve also got a meeting with Warner Bros. Interactive in about 30 minutes, which I’m looking forward to.
If you’ve got a question about a game or want me to most my impressions of something - post a comment and while I make no promises, I’ll attempt to get you answers and post my impressions.
This seems like a real good move on Microsoft's part and will make developers more accountable for releasing good games. This just makes me realize how much of an important innovation Live actually is to the 360 and really puts pressure on Nintendo and Sony to really have their act together with their network infrastructures. Does anyone think that Sony or Nintendo could survive without some sort of Live-esq service for their new systems?
Sega announced a couple days ago that there would be sequel to the 360 title ‘Full Auto’. The big news that the sequel, Full Auto 2: Battlelines, wouldn’t be on the 360, but instead would be PS3 exclusive. Now, today Voodoo Extreme released screenshots for the sequel and all I can wonder is ‘why change platforms?’
I seriously don’t think it looks all that different from the 360 version and therefore it must have just been Sony throwing money at Sega. If Sony’s going to come out of this thing on top, it won’t be through stealing Microsoft’s mediocre 360 games and releasing them on the PS3.
In theory, the Wii’s controller acts as an extension of your hand into the game world. This makes for many interesting game play scenarios in different games. The topic of Red Steel came up as that’s truly the only formally announced title came up and everyone began to talk about how great the idea of aiming with your hand was.
This prompted me to stop and think about this. If the main body of the controller is your hand… and the nunchuku is your ability to strafe and move forward and backward, then how do you turn? If you aiming control doubles as your look control, your control might be awkward.
But if the nunchuku is turning and moving forward and backward, then pc gamers will balk at the lack of strafing ability… Striking the right balance of control is going to be clutch for Nintendo even more so then just about any other aspect of their games on the wii because (and this even true on current gen systems and other next gen systems) bad controls kills good games. And on the wii, with even more power to give a greater level of control and more creativity is the bigger chance at people putting out games that have terrible control and therefore aren’t any fun to play.
Hopefully this E3 will clear up some of these questions (especially the Red Steel control questions), but Nintendo is going to have to do an awful lot to sell people on this controller (IE figure out a way to get people to actually try it) to really have a shot at coming out of this system war ahead, but if they pull it off, it’ll be in a big way.
- Abandoned Games
- Games that go : Part 2
- Why there are so many bad cell phone games ... or ... Adam Smith is a bastard!