GWJ Conference Call Episode 170

Conference Call

Darksiders, Bayonetta, Borderlands PC, The Hunter, Our Amazing 2009/2010 Predictions, New Music By Ian "Podunk" Dorsch, Your Emails and more!

This week we shake things up a bit for 2010 with new music and some format tweaks! Brace yourself as Podunk rocks your face off. If you want to submit a question or comment call in to our voicemail line at (612) 284-4563.

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. You can even send a 30 second audio question or comment (MP3 format please) if you're so inclined. You can also submit a question or comment call in to our voicemail line at (612) 284-4563!

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Show credits

Music credits: 

Intro/Outtro Music - Ian Dorsch, Willowtree Audioworks

"Washaway" (Ian Dorsch) - www.willowtreeaudio.com - 0:36:12
"Carving Away Stone" (Ian Dorsch) - www.willowtreeaudio.com - 1:10:39

Comments

Ian, excellent work on the new intro track. I'll miss the old one though. Like Pavlov's bell it was to me.

Yeah, the new music is great. I just recently found out about this show, and I'm hooked. Thanks!

My WoW prediction for 2010: Cross-server Auction Houses! Now let's talk about WoW.

Nice to hear that someone on the podcast got some enjoyment from Bayonetta, although the game does tend towards getting tougher at the end if you aren't well versed in the mechanics, although I guess that is what Easy mode is for if you really just want to have the experience.

I don't think that many games from five years ago have aged especially well visually. The games mentioned in the show - Half Life 2 has lots of high detailed texture works for example and so it still looks reasonable, but its the mechanics that mean that it's still playable. The God of War series is another exceptional series that was really pushing the hardware at the generation but those are the games that one revisits and plays because they are still good - the majority of games from that era don't up hold so well. Ico and Shadow of the Colossus hold up because they weren't designed to look hyper-realistic. Games that sill look good after a number of years are usually games, like those, with a really well defined art style that doesn't rely on graphical power, much like WOW or even Ratchet and Clank. That's why the likes of TF2 will no doubt look great a few years down the line. However I do agree that for the future it's most likely that things like A.I. physics and so forth.

A symphony game for me would have to be X-Com : UFO Defence. Which I only got into because of that forum thread and now it's sucked away my life. Before then I couldn't get into the game because it seemed so punishing and complicated.

Jexhius wrote:

I don't think that many games from five years ago have aged especially well visually. The games mentioned in the show - Half Life 2 has lots of high detailed texture works for example and so it still looks reasonable, but its the mechanics that mean that it's still playable. The God of War series is another exceptional series that was really pushing the hardware at the generation but those are the games that one revisits and plays because they are still good - the majority of games from that era don't up hold so well. Ico and Shadow of the Colossus hold up because they weren't designed to look hyper-realistic. Games that sill look good after a number of years are usually games, like those, with a really well defined art style that doesn't rely on graphical power, much like WOW or even Ratchet and Clank. That's why the likes of TF2 will no doubt look great a few years down the line. However I do agree that for the future it's most likely that things like A.I. physics and so forth.

Two words: Art style. If you can display your world the way it's meant to look then it will never look old, as opposed to trying to emulate reality which is always a Red Queen's race to keep up with the latest tech. The other consideration is getting the right amount of detail in the right places, it's pointless putting detail in a place noone looks at or at a higher resolution than can be displayed on most people's TV/monitor.

I'm with Rob. I think Cory had way more fun than he's letting on in 1 vs 100. I do see his point, though, when he said, "This is how I spent my Friday night?"

It is super fun, but only if you've got no other plans.

Also, the first voicemail was incredible. It was pretty humbling.

Speaking of beards, I always picture Billy Mays when I hear Elysium's voice. Just saying.

Too much change! New intro and emails throughout the show!?!?! My head just exploded.

I'll be the first Darksiders advocate! I was up until 2 this morning playing as I'm in the final stretch, and I'm still very much under this game's spell. Yes, it is a big bubbling cauldron full of pieces of other games and sometimes the implementation isn't spot on, but as a whole it's easily the best game I've played in quite awhile.

A lot of the complaints about being lost without a clear indication of what to do next are just a failing of the genre. I think I was lost in that way a lot more in Twilight Princess, and judging by my progress so far I'm much more likely to actually finish Darksiders (keep telling myself I'll go back to TP someday).

It's not perfect and those damned portal puzzles will inevitably inspire a frustration quit or two, but I'm definitely looking forward to a sequel. Isn't this the first game Vigil developed? If so, doubly impressive.

aphesian wrote:

It's not perfect and those damned portal puzzles will inevitably inspire a frustration quit or two, but I'm definitely looking forward to a sequel. Isn't this the first game Vigil developed? If so, doubly impressive.

Hey, that's exactly where I stopped. I was weary by the time I got there.

And yes, this is the first game Vigil has done and they are certainly to be commended for the quality of their product. I'm just with Certis on this one. It isn't quite for me. I need something to stick out for me to continue to be interested.

harrisben wrote:

My WoW prediction for 2010: Cross-server Auction Houses! Now let's talk about WoW.

That would be interesting, for MMO's in general.

I wonder if that would be a trending towards some of the things Eve does.

Comment in re LittleBigPlanet. I don't think Julian's prediction was quite right, but I also don't think Cory's assessment is entirely correct either. Media Molecule didn't put out a ton of content packs for LBP, but they did put out a PSP version and repackaged the PS3 version with a GOTY edition (with all the extra content). I think the PSP version most likely took resources away from the development of more content packs. Also, if you look at sales of LBP, it began to trend upwards again this past year, but definitely spiked with the GOTY edition, so I would argue more people were brought in, just not consistently.

Cory is spot on with the extra emphasis MM put on the community.

(Oh, and Armored Core 5 has been announced.)

Great show again, guys. Good luck with the slightly altered format. I can't wait to see how it works out in the coming weeks.

For the record, I miss Rabbit. I hope he finds a suitable retirement home and comes back to the show really fast.

Dr_Awkward wrote:

Ian, excellent work on the new intro track. I'll miss the old one though. Like Pavlov's bell it was to me.

Axiomatic wrote:

Yeah, the new music is great. I just recently found out about this show, and I'm hooked. Thanks!

Thanks, guys.

So this episode is to the Conference Call what Cataclysm is to World of WarCraft? New music, new format, Rob enjoying DLC?

Aye Podunk, awesome work on the new track; always love your music!

(Edit: Argh! Another forum sig I have to change!)

And do you guys watch television anymore? Have you seen the Sony commercials with Generic Commercial Guy trying to push PS3s on families? How about the Microsoft ones starring what's-her-name from Glee hanging around with a random family playing Rock Band and streaming Netflix? They've tried, but they obviously hadn't gotten any traction.

alingis wrote:

Aye Podunk, awesome work on the new track; always love your music!

Thanks man, I appreciate it!

I'll second that. I love the new tune. I have all the musical talent of a 4th grade band-student, but I love me a groovy baseline.

Also, I will second that Rob enjoying DLC is somewhat creepy given the bonafied tirade about Dragon Age's outta-the-gate DLC.

The Mechwarrior series was hardly the only big player in mech sims, at least at the time. The Earthsiege games had just about as many in the franchise, and of course they spawned the much loved Tribes games. I never even got into the MW games until a couple of years ago; my first love was Earthsiege, moving on to Starsiege. HERCs > Mechs

Someone needs to do lyrics for the Intro/Outro music. I can easily imagine someone singing "Gamers with Jooooooooooooooobs!" in tune with a few sections.

Rat Boy wrote:

Someone needs to do lyrics for the Intro/Outro music. I can easily imagine someone singing "Gamers with Jooooooooooooooobs!" in tune with a few sections.

Looks like you just volunteered.

The curse of the double post strikes again! Someone get the crosses and the garlic!

Having not listened to the podcast, I'm going to say Rabbit is completely wrong about 2010.

HAHA, that was awesome that you included the misdialed drunk voicemail intended for DGR. On DGR's podcast last week, they played a voicemail from the same guy, and he mentioned that he thought he accidentally called GWJ to leave a drunk dial. At the time, I was thinking if he really did, it would be cool if you guys played it on your show. By now I had forgotten about it, but thankfully, he DID call your phone number, and you DID play it. Well done, sirs.

I'm sure you guys get tired of the same old format week after week, so I don't blame you for trying to mix it up a bit. That said, I'm not a fan of spreading emails throughout the show, unless one of them happens to be a good lead-in to the show's main topic. I'd prefer to have them all in the same segment, but feel free to do the email segment at a different time, like right after "games you play now". Anyway, just giving some feedback. The main point I want to make is that I really like having "games you play now" as the first segment.

Also gotta give some love to Podunk. Like everyone else, I grew to really like the old theme music, mostly because it was so connected to the GWJ podcast, but I can say without a doubt that this new track is an instant hit and a definite improvement. I love it.

Peronthious wrote:

Discussion of new, high end magazines and no mention of Kill Screen? It may have been referenced, but something with writers of that pedigree deserves a direction mention.

This is the first I'm hearing about it. $20 for one issue . . . wow.

Peronthious wrote:

Discussion of new, high end magazines and no mention of Kill Screen? It may have been referenced, but something with writers of that pedigree deserves a direction mention.

I'd have mentioned it if I could remember the name while we were recording. Thanks!

Allow me to explain the reasoning behind my "insane" prediction in excruciating detail, so that it's all the more painful and embarrassing when it turns out to be completely wrong six months from now.

Twitter[/url], I originally]BioShock 2 will be much, much better than people expect, but FFXIII will underperform critically and (in the US) commercially.

So, BioShock 2.

Maybe I'm misreading public opinion, but it seems to me that BioShock 2 has been thrown to the wolves by nearly everybody, due to its proximity to the first game, the way that first game ended, and the lack of involvement from The Ken Levine.

While I feel that these reasons have some validity, they seem to be tied to a central contention that the first BioShock was unimpeachable and that any attempts to recapture its magic or improve upon its stunning majesty are futile. This is where I part ways with the Conference Call crew, I think.

I see BioShock 2 as the 2010 analogue to Uncharted 2: a quick sequel to a decent game that thrived more on storytelling and atmosphere than mechanical ingenuity. Both BioShock and Uncharted cribbed bits of gameplay from other games with varying degrees of success. Both sequels include multiplayer modes that, at first glance, seem completely unnecessary, due to the single-player focus of their predecessors.

BioShock 2, like any sequel, gives the developers an opportunity for refinement, a chance to go back and approach suboptimal aspects in a new way or simply remove them from the game plan altogether. And, even though Levine isn't manning the helm, there are still very competent people still in the crew, people that helped create that first game that was so adored.

I'm not saying that BioShock 2 is going to have the same impact as BioShock; the player's introduction to Rapture is probably a trick you can only do once.

I'm saying that I feel like BioShock 2 has a pretty good shot at exceeding the remarkably low expectations that it has received so far, so much so that it might even sneak into a Game of the Year discussion or two. (At the very least, a Most Pleasant Surprise of the Year conversation.)

Please tell me you have a shorter explanation for Final Fantasy XIII.

Well, as far as Final Fantasy XIII is concerned, I think there are multiple factors at play.

1. Some of the initial Western impressions (Kohler, EuroGamer) of the game have been very mixed.

The game has been revealed to be very linear -- not just in plotline, but in the gameplay as well -- and that seems to be at odds with what people are looking for in RPGs these days.

2. As insane as it sounds, I have some concerns about the Final Fantasy brand itself. Consider the releases that have carried the Final Fantasy name over the last five years:

[size=9]

  • Dirge of Cerberus: Final Fantasy VII ('06)
  • Final Fantasy XII ('06)
  • Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of the Lions ('07)
  • Final Fantasy XII: Revenant Wings ('07)
  • Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Ring of Fates ('08)
  • Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: My Life as a King ('08)
  • Final Fantasy Tactics A2: Grimoire of the Rift​ ('08)
  • Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII ('08)
  • Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Echoes of Time ('09)
  • Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: My Life as a Darklord ('09)
  • Final Fantasy IV: The After Years ('09)
  • Dissidia: Final Fantasy ('09)

[/size]

There is a ton of games right there, releases in different genres (shooters, brawlers, strategy, fighting) beyond the core genre (RPG) associated with the brand...and a good number of these games are mediocre at best, eye-bleedingly-terrible at worst.

To me, this seems like a parallel to the saturation of the Mario brand in the early 90s. Some of those games were good (Super Mario Kart), but there were a number of digressions that just didn't pay off and, in the end, almost sunk the Mario brand.

3. Cory mentioned on the podcast that a game doesn't have to be good to sell well...and I agree with that, but only to a point. Mediocre games can sell well, but other conditions surrounding their release (brand loyalty, competing games at release, position in the console lifecycle) have to be just right.

Consider Final Fantasy VIII. At one point, FFVIII was the best-selling Final Fantasy game ever and, in fact, I think it still stands as the fastest selling game in the series. The actual game itself is one of the most divisive games from the Playstation era, but it still ended up selling extremely well because brand loyalty was at its absolute peak (due to FFVII's successes) and the Playstation platform was red hot (due to an influx of iconic games like FFVII, Symphony of the Night, Metal Gear Solid, and Gran Turismo).

Final Fantasy XIII, by comparison, doesn't seem to have as much going for it. As I explained above, I think there's a good opportunity for brand fatigue to set in, if it hasn't already. This console generation has already been somewhat bearish on JRPGs, though some of that probably speaks to the quality of those games. And the previous entry in the series, while successful, joins FFVIII as being a very divisive game that directly spat in the face of many of the established conventions of the series.

Ultimately, I think there's a very good possibility that Final Fantasy XIII could very well end up being another mediocre Final Fantasy release...and I'm not sure the brand is strong enough to drive sales by itself anymore, given the conditions and expectations of the current gaming marketplace.

I haven't read any of that, but I applaud your use of bullet points.

Discussion of new, high end magazines and no mention of Kill Screen? It may have been referenced, but something with writers of that pedigree deserves a direct mention.