GWJ Conference Call Episode 579

Horizon: Zero Dawn, Spintires: MudRunner, Wolfenstein: The New Order Replay, Hand of Fate 2, Beat The Game, Mario Odyssey, Is The Winter Season a Bummer For Games? Your Emails and More!

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This week Shawn, Julian, Amanda and Elysium look at the franchises launched in 2007 and see where they're at now.

To contact us, email [email protected]! Send us your thoughts on the show, pressing issues you want to talk about or whatever else is on your mind.

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Show credits

Music credits: 

Electric Joy - Cryonaut - - 34:40

The Voyager - Cryonaut - - 51:24


00:01:42 Horizon: Zero Dawn
00:06:30 Spintires: MudRunner
00:11:50 Wolfenstein: The New Order
00:20:07 Hand of Fate 2
00:25:09 Rimworld
00:27:04 Beat The Game
00:30:21 Mario Odyssey
00:34:41 Is Winter the Worst Time of Year for Games?
00:51:25 Your Emails

I wonder if the winter is now a “bummer” for video games because I’m now in a different finically position than I used to be. Not being able to afford to buy a game is just no longer a thing for me any more (while not having time to do so is). So when I was young I’d get games for Christmas that were six months old but they were new to me, and that just doesn’t apply.

Evidently I'm the only one that chose the boring guy because I had Jimmy Hendrix in the hideout. Didn't realize it was something you could miss out on in The New Order, in fact.

I actually love that Super Mario Odyssey eliminated lives, and I didn't realize it until I was maybe halfway through the game having lost maybe 80 or 90 coins to this one obstacle course I was working on getting through. I still feel punished, at the very least by being set back and the rhythm and flow being interrupted, so the typical "growl argh casual gamers raaaaaugh" argument against it is pretty silly. I feel punished, but I don't feel frustrated because I know I'm free to try until I get it.

It isn't a choice for all games, but it certainly works perfectly for Mario Odyssey.

In regards to the Holiday Season, it's kind of like how last year was kind of mediocre for movies. There wasn't much in 2016 I enjoyed, but here in 2017 there's a lot that I've liked in theaters. In a lot of ways, I kind of felt the same about games last year in terms of the overall quality, but if you look at last holiday season there was a lot more of something for everyone. Sure, you had your gratuitous holiday release of Call of Duty or Pokemon, as well as the Ubi-world Watch_Dogs 2, but you also had releases like Dishonored 2, The Last Guardian, Final Fantasy XV, and Titanfall 2, not to mention the less broadly appealing releases like, say, Paper Mario: Color Splash closing the WiiU's life (of exclusives) off or Total War: Warhammer hitting PC's. This is nothing to say of the landing of PSVR.

In contrast, 2017 is just... it feels like the holidays are a bit "by the numbers" this year. While Super Mario Odyssey is a great game, even Nintendo is a bit "by the numbers" by saving it and another Pokemon for holiday season. Meanwhile, earlier in the year we already got Breath of the Wild, ARMS, Splatoon 2, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe and Pokken Tournament DX.

I think one of the big changes is akin to what Hollywood discovered with Deadpool: you can make money and be a success outside of the conventionally accepted timeframe of greatest success. For Hollywood, it's all about the summer blockbuster, and while it still is there's a lot of companies willing to shift schedules in order to avoid competition. Well, after a number of game studios risked a delay into February, before the close of the fiscal quarter, they discovered that the beginning of the year can actually be a good time to release as well.

I still feel like almost no studio wants to release in the middle of summer (which younger me finds baffling because kids crave new entertainment during summer vacation), but we're seeing more releases spread out through the year in order to avoid competition with the sure fire hits. Why compete with Call of Duty when you can release in August or September?

So while I think this particular holiday season is a bit crappy, I think it's a combination of two things: this is just a bad year for AAA's in the holiday season and that a lot of publishers have learned to spread games out better.

I enjoyed the discussion of how games are made (ie crunch) and how that may be reflected in game mechanics & quality.

It's the kind of inside baseball stuff I like to hear about, I think the way something is made affects the thing itself and the culture surrounding it.

Myth: The Fallen Lords ruined Diablo for me.

I played Myth endlessly in single and multiplayer. I loved the variety and complexity that commanding a small squad of soldiers, archers and dwarves gave you. I'd heard that Diablo was a great game so, itching for another game like Myth, I installed the demo. I was less than impressed when I found myself clicking ahead of a character to steer him around a simple isometric dungeon, occasionally clicking on skeletons to kill them and then clicking again to pick up gold.

Woo, Flame Over got a reference! Thanks, DT.

And why haven't they made a good straight up 3D Mega Man game. It's a freaking shooter game that has multiple weapons a basic progression mechanic. I've never played a legends, game, but I just want Mega Man 11 or X(insert whatever number that series is on) as a 3D 3rd person shooter.

I think I’m able to artificially create “holiday excitement “ by purposely waiting to buy some cool looking game until Christmas. This year we are getting the kiddo a Switch so I’m very excited to play Mario and Zelda.