Sony yields on crossplay

This is big, for a long time Sony claimed they weren’t committing to crossplay for so many stupid reasons: “content quality”, “because PlayStation is the best place to play”, and “it’s not as easy as flipping a switch”. All of which people have torn down from the moment their PR dude spewed it. Sony pretending that content and community is why crossplay just isn’t an option is just foolish. How does crossplay affect a community when ‘Playstation is the best place to play’ if that’s true it shouldn’t matter that crossplay is enabled or not.

Yes, I’ll concede that crossplay isn’t as simple as a button they can push. What I won’t allow is the false pretense that crossplay is a deep-seated technical issue that needs a lot of attention. If that was the case, Fortnite wouldn’t have accidentally activated the feature the way they did last year. Again, I refuse to believe that this is some egregious labor that required the whole of Sony’s concentration.

I like that such a big move is finally being made. Fornite is the start, but who knows; next could be CoD, Battlefield, Destiny, Siege, really any of the powerhouse multiplayer games. This is a big step toward the gaming utopia we all want. Props to Sony for finally giving way to the inevitable future of gaming we’ve been heading toward since online gaming became a thing. But where there are props, I must give drops; and pretending this was a big deal and dragging this out is one of the more pathetic moves done by a company so far in the lead when compared to the other major players.

The future is bright lovelies, hopefully, big things lie ahead.

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Bait and Switch

Bait and Switch: “a sales tactic in which a customer is attracted by the advertisement of a low-priced item but is then encouraged to buy a higher-priced one.”

May I introduce to you, the new bait and switch. Lure you in with the shiny new console, you purchase said console, only for the mid-generation version to come two years later if that. To me, it seems like a really stupid business practice. Be it Sony or Microsoft who started the trend, I don’t care. Nintendo following suit is bad because now our big three have kind of committed themselves to this terrible idea. Why get everyone to buy your new console, only to be confused when the newer version doesn’t sell well. And it won’t sell well, damn-near everyone that would’ve bought the new Switch already has ya know THE ORIGINAL SWITCH.

Me? I’d announce the first console, remind everyone that there will be continual releases (Zelda, Mario, Smash, Splatoon, etc). However, in two/three years time the SwitchPro or SwitchX or what the fuck ever will come out and it will have xyz specs. Nintendo and the other guys really fuck themselves out of potential buyers when they do this. So many people I know are genuinely hoping this new and improved Switch isn’t a thing because they can’t get it. Why? Because they bought the first one like…idiots…? I mean sure with Microsoft and Sony setting the trend, we as consumers probably should’ve seen that coming. That doesn’t make it any less shitty.

“Why isn’t anyone buying our fancy new console?”

Because the Switch original has already saturated the fuck out of the market. People couldn’t stop buying Switches for a good while there. Yeah I might jump at the chance to buy this upgraded version but so would’ve a fuck-ton of people that now can’t.

Eh, it just doesn’t make sense to me.

Your favorite Pub/Dev is shady

I spend a lot of time dragging Publishers like EA, Activision, Ubisoft, and others. As warranted and deserved as it is, we can’t become too dreamy-eyed even in the cases of our favorite faces in gaming. So with this post, I wanted to take a rock to the stained glass windows of your favorite companies and some of mine. In the words of Run the Jewels “Kill your masters”.

Bethesda

Creation Club is one of the biggest issues beyond the more notorious faults of the infamous Bethesda. Creation Club is paid mods. I don’t care what Pete Hines says, when you pay money to modify the game it’s paid fucking mods dude. This is a direct encroachment on one of the best and most pure aspects of PC gaming. Modding turns games into different experiencing, fixes the bugs that a lot of their games ship with and never get fixed because it’s “part of the charm” or “just works”. Which brings me to my next point: Bethesda is the only studio in gaming that gets away with this every single time. Ubisoft put out AC Unity and was grilled for months after release about facial texture issues and whatnot. Everyone gets railed while Bethesda gets a pass every time. Also, can we talk about how one year ago from this E3 Bethesda was waving the single player flag as high and hard as they can? Only to bring out Fallout76 and it’s an online shared world game. I have no problem with doing things differently or moving in a different direction for a non-main title game. Perhaps maybe you should’ve held off on this for another year or two? Made it less of a surprise? I think a lot of fans will come around to this title but the sharp pivot is understandably jarring and Bethesda maybe should’ve anticipated that.  Alongside the mighty shitty practice of pre-ordering for a beta code….what the fuck kind of “money now” bullshit is that. That literally defeats the purpose of a beta for a lot of people. Getting to test out this wildly different experience is important to people that care about the franchise but just aren’t willing to pay for something they aren’t sure they’re going to enjoy. A reasoning that is perfectly understandable in my opinion. I love Bethesda but holy god do they get away with murder without so much as a strange look from the majority of people.

Microsoft

I’ll get the obvious issue of console exclusives out of the way. This is straight up disgraceful the way they do the loyal fans of Xbox. Sea of Thieves, State of Decay 2, Forza Motorsport 7, Halo Wars 2, and Cuphead. Remove Cuphead from that list and it’s a little pathetic especially considering some big name exclusives they had for the 360 (Saints Row, DoA4, Fable 2, Lost Odyssey, N3). The Xbox One’s initial reveal and release state were woefully tone deaf. A sad attempt to pander to gimmicks that shouldn’t be the focus of a console: motion sensors and television streamlining. Yes, they eventually corrected that mistake but to even consider such a poor decision was clearly a poor attempt to reach everyone but gamers. This entire generation was a bit of a misstep, unfortunately, outside of the impressively powerful Xbox One X there is next to nothing for Microsoft to actually boast about outside of the new console benchmark. What games have they contributed to their fanbase and loyal customers? This aspect isn’t so much shady as it is dumb. From the release of the One X with no games. To the games they backed so fervently only for them to flop hard. It’s clear they’re working on it given the recent studio acquisitions and the shift in focus some studios are going to be making. Why they had to forsake an entire generation for this to happen is simply beyond me.

Nintendo

Between their online service and the interesting terms/ conditions of said service. The shitty pre-orders they offer for said internet service which is one of the most insane requests of a company I’ve ever heard of. Can we talk about the vice grip on their content/IPs? Ever notice you don’t see much Nintendo content on YouTube? Seriously look up anything Nintendo and the new games many videos don’t feature unique gameplay. I’m not saying there aren’t any videos but it’s known that Nintendo can and will take down any video they see fit. Yes, it’s well within their rights as a company to do so. However, when Nintendo is doing it to fans, people who are trying to celebrate and appreciate what they’ve done, it comes across as wildly ungrateful. Especially when ya know, they wouldn’t be anything without the wildly enthusiastic customer base. Prime example: a YouTuber recreated the Bomb-omb Battlefield stage in Unity. It was nostalgic, beautiful, and kind of funny. What did Nintendo do? They order a DMC Takedown on the video. A harmless recreation video this wasn’t even any kind of playable game and wasn’t going to be. What was the point of this? Who benefits? They could’ve capitalized and got to work on a remake, tell me that wouldn’t sell. Instead, they insist on hurting fans for what boils down to free advertisement. I think Nintendo is so focused on being Nintendo that they’ve lost what it means to be…Nintendo. If that makes sense.

Sony

Sony has been hacked so many times I genuinely think Paul Blart runs their cyber security department. Sony needs to get their shit together in this area of their service ya know the cornerstone of the console in the modern era. Alongside that, Sony is very pressed on keeping their system and IP, and everything about it very isolated. Xbox and Nintendo are down for cross-play and Sony is sitting in the corner arms crossed not wanting to join in. When they know damn well that’s where all this is going anyway. Not to mention their strange aversion to modding on titles that lead to strangled communities in games like Skyrim and Fallout4. I’ve also already talked about PSNow v GamePass and how much better GamePass is despite it coming out years after PSNow. Yes this section is short but the problems are very big and potentially damaging to Sony and their reputation. They need to get on the ball or find themselves in Microsoft’s position come the next generation.

Take-Two Interactive (Rockstar and 2k)

TTI as a publisher is deceptively devious. They lay low and in the background unlike EA making sure everyone knows when a subsidiary works on a game that it’s also theirs. Take-Two owns two very prominent developers in the industry (2k and Rockstar) and they know it because at every turn they are monetizing them. GTA 5 is amazing, GTA online is a pay to win crapshoot. Planes costing an upwards of 20 to 40 real-world dollars. The in-game currency is difficult to earn in massive quantities required to pay such exuberant price tags. The shark cards were so well implemented it made GTA the most lucrative entertainment franchise of all time. They were so successful that games like NBA 2k and Red Dead Redemption 2 will feature them. Games that do not need them at all and only make the games a lifeless money hole. RDD2 isn’t out but the publisher already stated that monetization was going to be a focus on their games from here on out.

Resurrection Protocol

In the past couple of years, a lot of games have seemingly come back to life in the hopes of capturing a new audience and perhaps even reinventing themselves. Okami HD, RE4, Yakuza 3, Shadow of the Colossus,  and now RE2 are all “older” games that have recently gotten graphical and sometimes control face-lifts or are being revisited and renovated entirely. I have been kicking around the idea back and forth for the better part of a couple months now. RE2′s announcement really kicked me in the ass and made me iron out my thoughts despite it’s stated that this is a reimagining and less of a HD remaster.  I’m going to look at both sides and hopefully come to some kind of resolution to quell these annoying voices.

Fantastic, the younger generation needs some of these games. RE4 is often hailed as one of the best games of the console era and even of all time. The unfortunate truth is, most people have Xbox One’s and PS4′s. The older consoles become almost pointless to own unless you have the time and money to hunt all over your local area/ internet for the console and games. Okami and RE4 released for $20 which is decent enough if you ask me, I still think they could be a little cheaper but when I look at Shadow of the Colossus for $40 I can’t really complain.

On the other hand, this is fucked, these games should be damn near free if not free. A lot of these games are already owned by a lot of people, and on top of that Xbox has proven that backward compatibility is something that can be expanded upon in the lifetime of a console. So why not offer the free update for those that own the copies of said game; and for those that want the physical copy, are free to go out and buy one. It’s arguable that the fact that some of these games are so old that charging at all is unfair and consumer-negligent.

With full on remakes like RE2 coming, I’m sure there are so many more “reimaginations”, or whatever you’d like to call them, coming fairly soon. I just hope they remain tasteful and ambitious, not hollow and lazy. Expand on the ideas that were limited by the technology of the time, don’t just splash around in the puddle of the past. Turn that puddle into an ocean.

Microsoft to focus on AA games

I shit on Microsoft a lot and bet your ass they deserve it fight me dawg. They just announced they have no intention on continuing Alan Wake or Quantum Break. What? I loved Alan Wake on my 360 that was something I enjoyed despite its blemishes. According to many, Quantum Break was very much along the same lines as far as an experience for players. Something that had its very visible marks but was still worth enjoying. So for them to say “nah we through with that”. Is really disheartening especially in the face of their already shallow pool of exclusive IP. *insert “great job” gif*

This, however, isn’t about the typical blunders of the big green monster. This is about a very good recent shift in focus that could mean great things for the company and its users. Microsoft has taken a beating this generation despite the overall healthy sales of consoles and still hold a decent share of the market as far as units sold. I do, however, think that this solid third place is the catalyst of this pivot in the type of games they’ll be making. This isn’t an overhaul of their IP and games by any means but this is something more for the future generation as a means to supplement the blockbuster titles Microsoft are known for. This works out for their favor in every way possible. Allow me to explain through the means of a totally hypothetical situation: Ninja Theory is sitting around and all of a sudden someone says “What we made a game…” Meanwhile, at the Compulsion Studios building, someone jumps out of their cubicle with an ‘ah-ha!’ moment for another concept. The Initiative is already working on a game their writing team and artists finally pressed out the concept for after years of work. Rare decides to pull their heads out their asses and make good games again. All of a sudden you have a bunch of Xbox exclusives in the works and lining up to satiate the starving masses. This is exactly what Microsoft needs to do and it’s about damn time they did it.

Unfortunately, I see a tear in this tapestry. Ninja Theory is a legitimately good grab by Microsoft, that is undeniable. Hell Blade alone only makes me salivate at the possibilities this studio could explore. Where my problems lie is in the very unproven Compulsion games, We Happy Few has been in development for a looong time now and it’s their only game outside of the unknown and stylistically similar Contrast (2013). Playground Games has done nothing but Forza games…and Fable Legends. The Coalition has made nothing but Gears games which is a good foundation and it appears they will be the studio to handle GoW despite me wondering what they’d do with something else. Only three studios were added and the ones that have hung around aren’t exactly exciting. Microsoft has the biggest dev team beneath them when you look at total number of studios. Now they need to make something of it, otherwise, it’s just more wasted potential and I hope these studios aren’t doomed for wanting to grow and see a larger audience.

E3 and other worthless superlatives

After a fairly underwhelming E3 I still wanted to take stock of what we saw and what was talked about. Maybe give out some “awards” to the worthy and some unworthy.

Best Show: Microsoft

At first, I was going to give it to Sony who, though they didn’t show anything new, were somehow able to get me hyped all over again for the games to come. In the end, I was forced to give it to Microsoft despite not achieving much in my opinion their news was the biggest with the announcement of many new studio acquisitions that should boost their first party development. Microsoft pulled the same “release exclusive” or “world premiere exclusive” bullshit they did last year. When they know damn well that isn’t what their players want. The rest of 2018 is essentially gonna be a bust for Xbox players. So why am I giving Microsoft “Best Show”? Because when I look around at Sony and Nintendo, Sony didn’t show us anything new though it did expand on interesting titles. Nintendo was a Smash fest in the most family-friendly of ways with not much outside of that. So in the end, Microsoft had the most promising of the conferences with the coming years sure to hold something of promise for fans of the console. Hopefully, they can close out the Xbox One generation strong.

Worst Show: Square Enix

Mother of god it’s like companies were competing for who could do a worse job. Sony’s was poor as far as set up and lack of new games. Nintendo was similar in the focus being Smash Bros and a child’s handful of other games. EA almost got it, but in the end, I needed to give it to Square Enix. Square not only showed games other companies were showing, they didn’t even show new footage! They literally showed the same footage for Tomb Raider, Kingdom Hearts 3, and announced 2 minor titles as well as obscurely teasing a new Platinum Games title. Only for Sony to feature a totally new KH3 trailer the following day. What in the shit? If you didn’t have anything to show you didn’t have to come Square damn, anyway enjoy your turd trophy.

Best Trailer: Ghost of Tsushima

Mother. Of. God. IF that trailer was gameplay, which it looked like it was, holy shitfuckingcockgobblers that looks like an old-school samurai movie come to controllers. The combat seems stiff but not in a bad way, the way a samurai must move, concise and thoughtful strikes. Maybe stiff wasn’t the right word. He takes out a dude in one swing! OnE! There appears to be a real sense of strength in the way it’s all framed ontop of what is clearly a focus on cinematography and scenery. I haven’t even talked about the surroundings, the absolutely gorgeous environments that seemed to react and shift to the forces and events that take place in combat. Just. Wow. Please watch it if you haven’t. I almost gave it to Last of Us 2 but I honestly can’t be told that trailer was gameplay. The cynic in me won’t allow it.

Surprise of Show: Microsoft’s exclusive CyberPunk 2077 trailer

*sensually rubs self in the corner* I am very very excited for this game. That teaser all those years ago and the subsequent news that trickled in as time passed wasn’t nearly enough. Which is a good thing. Finally something longer than a snipper and a boatload of information compared to what was parcelled out last time. CDPR is really trying to push the limits of gaming with this title and this is a studio that brought us one of the best games of all time in both quality and value. This new venture is the shining light in gaming for me, in a world where microtransactions hide behind every corner; there’s CDPR doing their damndest to make a good game worth our time and money. First person perspective doesn’t concern me, neither does the potentially gun heavy gameplay. it’s one of the few instances where I can say any change they make I’m confident it’s to make this game the best it can be. The vertical slice is described by many Youtube personalities who were there and they were all floored. If the vertical slice of gameplay was any indication this will be a game for the ages. My point is, others have let us down, I’ll wait for CDPR to do the same before I start to doubt them.

Game of Show: Spider-man

Holy god this is entirely bias because I am pidermanfanboy big time. This is the second year Spider-man is taking E3 as Game of Show for me. I went to E3 last year and sat in on the first gameplay trailer. I had goosebumps the entire time and my best friend who had come with me was forced to deal with me blabbering on about it from the moment we left the showing theater. That was a lovely taste that showed off a little of what you’d be able to do. They did just enough to give us the information we would want without revealing all that much. This year was important because it’s the last chance to get the PS4 gaming sphere excited before it’s big marketing push. They capitalized, big time, in the form of a new and lengthy trailer that showed off more combat, traversal, and some beefy reveals. If this goes well it will do for the wallcrawler what the Arkham series did for Baman. In which case…gimme…gimme now.

Honorable Mentions: 

These are interesting titles that caught my eye in general but didn’t necessarily earn any awards.

Gears 5: Microsoft’s answer to God of War and that’s just my personal opinion but it looks like this will be a good diversion from typical Gears fashion not that I’ve been involved with that franchise since I had my 360. It does, however, appear to be trying to pivot this title in a different direction something that seems to be more story-driven and less combat driven. Not that I think it’ll be combat light, it’s Gears people. I do think this will try and tell a more compelling story than the initial premise of this series. I’m prayin for ya Xbox owners.

Control: I genuinely thought this was a Quantum Break sequel and I’m glad it’s not because I really want to get my hands on Control as a PS4 player. Heavy modern sci-fi and psychological motifs worked in as gameplay aspects. A third person shooter that really appears to be separating itself. Even if the graphic design appears to be the exact same from Quantum Break so… guess that’s moot. Regardless! I’m excite and this really looks like it’s putting for the effort, so I’ll at least listen.

Dying Light 2: Very rarely does a game come along, it flops, and another studio takes that idea and really brings it to fruition as an idea. Dead Island, buried deep beneath layers of shit and issues, is a potentially fun game. It’s problems both infamous and numerous. I really think it’s failure gave way for Dying Light. Techland absolutely made the most from their own mistakes and made a bit of a cult hit in Dying Light. How many times does that happen?? This sequel looks like another firm step in the right direction, rooting itself even deeper in story and the consequences of our actions as the protagonist. One of the writers co-wrote Knight of the Old Republic so I’m interested to see what someone so accomplished can contribute to a franchise looking to avoid a sophomore slump.

Death Stranding: Kojima really keeping the lid tight on this one. The trailer showed, told, and revealed next to nothing despite it being one of the longest looks at the game yet. I understand that’s just how complex (read convoluted) this story is going to be. It consisted mostly of walking and conversations between the main character and some new faces. It’s gorgeous, wholly and completely but god damn it better be more than a walking simulator. Which I’m sure it will be, he just hasn’t specified any gameplay aspects whatsoever and I’m hopeful he will in time. With most developers it’s a given but this is Kojima people, stay on your toes.

Microsoft’s E3

– I’m glad to see KH3 coming to Xbox along with Nier. Claps. That’s gonna be a great game that everyone that wants to play, should be able to. Switch port?

– Forza Horizon looks wild as hell, I honestly can’t believe such a driving game is coming about.

– Microsoft announces the acquisition of numerous studios (Compulsion, Ninja Theory, and a handful of others). This is a very good move by the company but it’s very late in the game. How long are these games gonna take to come out? What do you have coming out this year? 2019? Don’t say Crackdown cause I’ll literally shit my pants right here.

– Crackdown 3 raised its skirt a little to remind us it’s been pushed back again. Coolbeans. Great to see Terry in the game though, love him.

– Microsoft has another year of “world premiere”s and announcements for games that have come out for PS4 or will also do so. Where are the exclusives Microsoft, the ones your fans need sooner rather than later?

– Obligatory Game Pass press, a little masturbatory and unnecessary. We know it’s amazing it’s the cornerstone of your console. Essentially letting us know the service still exists and runs and will continue to do so. Announcements of The Division, ESO: Tamriel Unlimited, and FO4 are now on Game Pass….cool…

– Indie highlights seem to permeate this presser much like the EA conference did (Ashen, Waking, Planet Alpha, and many more)

– Shadow of the Tomb Raider… who cares if it’s enhanced. Why is this supposed to be a big deal for you Microsoft? My point is: why wasn’t this released during the Ubisoft conference?

– Session is a console launch exclusive, I hoped it was SKATE but…whatever…

– Black Desert, a popular action mmorpg is gonna be Xbox and PC. The action does look good and the art style is interesting. I hope it turns out to be worth playing. Where the console exclusives are I’ll never know. I have seen a handful of gameplay and it really looks like a different kind of online experience.

– Devil May Cry 5 looks fucking wild, it was a lot of theatrics but also a handful of what really could’ve been gameplay. Light-hearted and dark all at the same time, this looks like another highflying white-knuckle ride. Another premier, not an exclusive.

– World Premieres (because this is getting ridiculous, again these are announcements, not exclusives): Jump Force, Dying Light 2, Battle Toads (potential exclusive?), Just Cause 4, Gears of War Pop (mobile game), a Gears/ XCOM rip off, Gears of War 5 (how old is Marcus at this point srsly),

– They announced Gears of War mobile game before even talking about GoW5…wow you guys are fucking stupid. GoW5 looks like their shot at God of War (GoW for GoW looky) but it does look like an interesting and different direction for the franchise.

– Halo Infinite was revealed with a teaser that told us next to nothing about the actual game itself. Saw a lot of wildlife tho. More to come in the coming weeks/months I’m sure.

How wildly underwhelming, Microsoft I’m sure you’ll get away with this like you usually do but if I had an Xbox I’d be upset. Again. Old games, launch exclusives, world premiers, and projects far beyond the horizon. Come on Microsoft, the people deserve better. It’s clear they’re focusing on software.

Also, that CyberPunk trailer…fuckymiyissplz