Wednesday, November 26, 2008

your penguin has slowed you down

Thunderforce VI is a shooter (R-Type type of shooter, not Quake style of shooter!!) has released for PS2 in Japan, it's been nearly 1 month. This was one of my favorite series of games in one of my favorite genres of games, and it's been.. about 10 years since the last iteration released. I guess I only was a big fan of the first two, but I still enjoy the music and aesthetics of those series to this day. that might sound weird, a little, but if you know the games, you know what I mean. I am tempted to plunk down the dough for an import, or an ebay, but i might wait till i can find it sub-$50 - especially since it doesn't sound like the perfect "return to form" that some might have hoped, or expected it would be. I guess I have to be supportive either way, and it does sound fun, but honestly I have a billion gazillion other games i can keep busy with any event. If they touted it truly as a must-have then that would be one thing, anyway I know better than to expect to see high-tech shooters from anywhere in the world these days that are any kind of SERIOUSLY competent.. that's okay, they're a pretty forgotten game, and at least i will have the oldies always kicking around. Anyway, makes me feel old, sigh.

Though if Compile spat out something like a decent followup back from the grave, I would have to pay attention I suppose...

I downloaded the demo for the new Tomb Raider Underworld 360 - gorgeous game, in this post-Uncharted world I guess it would pretty much HAVE to be. Not as charismatic as that title from hat i could see, but geez - breathtakingly gorgeous. These games have raised the bar, this is history right here. We won't see too much able to measure up to game like this, at least aesthetically, not much more this generation I am sure (just because - is it truly worth the dev time/cost yet?) I am not saying I wouldn't love to see more beautiful games of this nature, I am just saying it's not what you could consider cost-effective, ad if someday we reach the point where that's the rule rather than the exception to maintain such a level of quality, then the industry will be run markedly different, I will say that.

Picking up with LittleBig here and there, a remarkable game - NOT without it's issues for certain, but a fine entry nonetheless and I don't think you could find anybody, really, who hasn't been piqued by it. Yeah, it's definitely NOT for everyone, and in fact I think it's one of those titles which both alienates it's target audience (cumbersome community system, heavy difficulty, tricky play controls) while those who would truly enjoy such a thing are probably turned off by it's cutesy aesthetic. Also the editor (for the meat of the game - the designing aspect), while powerful and capable, is kind of wasted somewhat due to the fact that most people just DON'T WANT POWERFUL EDITORS WITH WHICH TO DESIGN STUFF. They really just want to be spoon-fed things that are fun off the bat and play them right then and there. I guess it is one thing if there's not a ton of other worthy titles demanding the average gamer's attentions at the moment. Personally, I am excited to play with the editor some more, I have a few ideas I would love to play with, but at this point my time is kind of precious and limited for such things, but hey - i am in no hurry, it's not going anywhere.

It boils down to the notion that i would love to design some 3D platforming of my own, but as mentioned above "i am always too busy" - still considering my career choices, i think this would only do me a good service, and I intend to get on with it. At some point!

I picked up a Wii game, Shawn White Snowboarding - unusual for me in many regards, but we have a balance board here and interesting Wii games (especially of this nature) are certainly few and far between. Still this one got a good bit of press, and it sounded like it might be worth a look for a few reasons. Like anybody with half a brain I enjoyed SSX back in the day (though A. never got terribly far with it and B. never really moved on from there so much) but after skiing in Wii Fit, I was interested in going a little further via the motion-control setup for such a sport-game.. Wort picking up, though I must say after being Tony Hawkified those aesthetics and "story" trappings are kind of a drag for me - it's pretty downplayed so I can't really complain. I just miss when the Japanese games did this stuff all weird and differently styled (jet grind radioooooo) and Nickelodean style just doesn't measure up the same.

Things are alright up Obsidian - always a few things to say about that place! They got out a genuinely cool trailer for Alpha Protocol about a week ago, I believe it's at Gamespot or somewhere. Also we got a cover story with PSM that is currently on the stands. Nice to see it getting a little bit of press here and there, the things not been announced a whole year yet - I look forward to when they start letting the substantial stuff release a little more and how that all gels.

Aliens is going along, we are pretty quiet across the board and I am gonna keep mum as well. Suffice it to say I am happy on this project, one thing that must be mentioned is that I really like my team here as well. The people are really nice, friendly, patient.. it feels good to get good feedback as well, and I feel my work/capabilities mesh well with the rest of the folks over there...

Lots more to say as usual, I hope to update this thing much more often in the coming year. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

no, no, no.. november...

hullo, and welcome to the column. It's a busy busy season, so let us jump right in. The irony is that I perceived this fall as being a pretty dull season, last spring (and even into summer) - I guess I was being a bit clueless then, as it is one of the absolutely fullest schedules on record! I thought last year could not be beaten, between Halo and Mario and Ratchet and Clank and Crysis, Portal, COD, a bunch of other things - man was I wrong! Right now we are looking at Rock Band 2, Guitar Hero IV, Resistance 2, Gears of War 2, Left for Dead, Saints Row 2 (to a lesser extent, but still!, Mirror's Edge, LittleBigPlanet, of course the new WOW expansion is out in a couple of days, I believe a new C+C just released. The new Tomb Raider game is looking fine as well. Motorstorm if you like that genre.. Whew. If you are a gamer, you are a busy guy right now. It sorta sucks that all this stuff releases at the same time, in some ways..

Surely there's a couple more I missed in there, but ya get the drift..

As for what I have been up to, well I did manage to get my hands on LittleBigPlanet, honestly the only game I have really had my eye on for some time. It's a hot little game, a very powerful engine in there and I think we are going to see some wonderful product from the fan community. So far much of the user-created stuff I have looked at has been pure drivel, but I can suspect that some amazing stuff is coming down the tubes. Myself, I have not made it terribly far through the tutorials, but what I have messed with has piqued my interest - when I get some time to do so, I will put it trough the motions. I will tell ya, as my job already is somewhat close to design, it is a bit hard to wanna come home and start cracking the book with this thin, though - but geez. What a canvas. My mind keeps racing, how I would have loved this toy when I was a kid, that would have been IT for me. Every aspiring game-maker owes it to him or herself to pick up this masterpiece! I mean, it's definitely limited, but they could certainly use this for college courses at the high-end, and prototyping at the low end...

I downloaded the mirror's edge demo on PS3, a gorgeous game - some things are off about it, but I appreciate the balls to put out a game like that. Hopefully it will fare well in it's reception. As with most things of it's ilk, I had enough from merely putting in some time with the demo, but I would say it's worth looking at, some very very good looking shots in that game. I'd like ot see them use it as a springboard, use that tech and those ideas to get away from this clean sterile city, make it alive and rich. Kind of swing halfway between this and a tony hawk game, or something - just a playground that you can pull amazing, adrenaline-dripping stunts out of, get that wonderful rhythm going.

Work is going alright, as usual there's a billion things going through my mind about Obsidian these days. I am on the Aliens project about 6 weeks now, I have learned so much in the brief period - getting chances here and there to express that, it's coming faster now. I have said it before, it is truly like working at a completely different company since I've migrated from the previous title, in some ways..

That should do for now, lots on my mind gaming-wise but as is often the case, I will have to get into it later...