GWJ Conference Call Episode 233

Conference Call


3DS Impressions, Crysis 2, Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP, Dragon Age 2, Hothead's David Heron Joins Us to Talk Swarm, Your Emails and more!

This week Cory, Julian and Shawn are joined by Hothead's David Heron to talk about developing Swarm!

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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Hothead Games
Nintendo 3DS
Dragon Age 2
Shogun 2
Swarm
Rock Band Pro Guitar

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Show credits

Music credits: 

Intro/Outtro Music - Ian Dorsch, Willowtree Audioworks

Swarm trailer - http://www.swarmites.com/ - 0:42:12
3DS Mii Maker music - http://www.nintendo.com/3ds - 1:13:37

Comments

I can relate to the idea of playing through select character-driven RPG games multiple times (as opposed to doing so just to play as a different character class), even if the final outcome isn't that different. I did so with the original Mass Effect. I did so with Infamous. I will probably do so with DA2. I find it fun, like Carla, to role play through the different nuances of various kinds of personalities and choice to see how it affects things; to explore different sides of myself, in effect, through the choices these well crafted games with intricate stories and character relationships offer me.

I can also, sadly, relate to the idea of playing through a bad game for spite. Partly due to the expense of buying it and partly because I am very competitive, I slogged my way through Dante's Inferno, despite pretty much hating every moment of it beyond the first hour.

As always, thanks for a great podcast!

My favorite episode in a while. The segment with David seemed longer than usual (I mean that I didn't time it, but the whole show was an hour and a half, so something was longer), but I was completely engaged the entire time.

I hope Ashely Gibbs-slapped Cory for trying to impress a kid and not her.

David Heron's talk about Swarm was REALLY interesting. One of my favorite developer "interviews" yet.

Speedhuntr wrote:
David Heron's talk about Swarm was REALLY interesting. One of my favorite developer "interviews" yet.

I agree, which is why I think it's odd that the front page has been so quiet. Guess there isn't enough controversy over what they talked about.

What am I saying? David totally called out Ken Levine on the show. It's time for a fight!

garion333 wrote:
Speedhuntr wrote:
David Heron's talk about Swarm was REALLY interesting. One of my favorite developer "interviews" yet.

I agree, which is why I think it's odd that the front page has been so quiet. Guess there isn't enough controversy over what they talked about.

What am I saying? David totally called out Ken Levine on the show. It's time for a fight!

Sometimes everything "just works out."

I'm pretty sure low comments mean everyone agreed with me.

Best guest in a while, David was awesome. I enjoyed his involvement in the emails section where guests tend to get quiet.

Unless Swarm sees a PC release I'm unlikely to play it any time soon, but credit to a game producer willing to stand by a decision to potentially lock out gamers by making the game challenging. I don't often play games that I know to be hard, I'm scared of Super Meat Boy for example, but sometimes challenge and mastery is enough of a reward, that 'f*ck yeah!' moment is very sweet. Well done to Hothead for waning to provide this rare experience to players.

*edit*

Oh, and Shawn's casual, 'When did you play because I cleared your scores out a couple of hours ago?' was a wonderful smackdown for poor rabbit.

MrDeVil909 wrote:
Oh, and Shawn's casual, 'When did you play because I cleared your scores out a couple of hours ago?' was a wonderful smackdown for poor rabbit.

Got a few strange looks when I busted out a good laugh or two at Port 'o Subs at that part.

On the subject of playing through games again, I am playing through Mass Effect 1 again for the 8th time. But the reason I am choosing to do so is kinda strange. I am playing through it for anticipation of Mass Effect 3, and I want to have the perfect choices. It will be interesting to see how games that have choices which carry over, change this issue.

MyNameIsHunter wrote:
On the subject of playing through games again, I am playing through Mass Effect 1 again for the 8th time. But the reason I am choosing to do so is kinda strange. I am playing through it for anticipation of Mass Effect 3, and I want to have the perfect choices. It will be interesting to see how games that have choices which carry over, change this issue.

That's most definitely not a strange reason around these parts. Everyone I know has done the same.

Solid episode.. No real complaints.

To be honest I dislike playing choice-driven RPGs again. The reason I haven't replayed the Mass Effects is that I know the plot won't rally change, and I'm worried it'll cheapen my time with 'Taco' Shepard.

How did nobody ask David what swarmite death animations the ESRB made them remove?!

"The door of the transport falls down, and then you get hit with a chair." Best line of the show.

This was a really good episode. I enjoyed the "Saving Private Ryan" humor.

I liked the part where David was interviewing Cory.

garion333 wrote:
Speedhuntr wrote:
David Heron's talk about Swarm was REALLY interesting. One of my favorite developer "interviews" yet.

I agree, which is why I think it's odd that the front page has been so quiet.

A side-effect of proofreading all the Front Page posts is that I need to take notes on comments to post later. I'll try to up my spamminess!

+1 on David Heron as a good guest. Good voice, informative, articulate, and not afraid to talk during other sections of the show.

With regard to hedgewizard's email about content for games being scattered across multiple platforms, what immediately came to my mind was the Dead Space franchise. From the very beginning, it was planned as a multimedia experience with the full storyline of the Ishimura scattered across games on multiple platforms, movies, comic books, and novels. For the most part, the folks at EA and Visceral have done a fantastic job of keeping each piece of the story self-contained: you can play Dead Space Extraction or watch Dead Space Downfall and not feel as though you're missing out if you haven't played Dead Space itself.

However, the recent add-on for Dead Space 2, Severed, seems to have broken with that. It features characters from Dead Space Extraction and expects you to be familiar with them to some extent, and it has a plot twist that, based on reactions here and elsewhere, doesn't make a lot of sense if you haven't read one of the novels.

Leaving aside the question of bonus weapons and armor that you guys focused on in the show, there's a real possibility that story content scattered across multiple platforms and media could degrade the quality of storytelling in individual games. And Lord knows there's not enough there to begin with that it can be degraded too much.

I get the sense that cross-platform gaming (for want of a better name) is something that developers have been trying to do for a while, but is just now taking off.

I don't remember Nintendo's Gamecube-GBA integration going over very well, and the iOS Spore game was well-received but didn't connect to other platforms -- now, though, there's some movement.

Microsoft has started doing some interesting cross-platform gaming with Windows Phone 7. In addition to franchise tie-in games like Crackdown: Project Sunburst, there are two games (Full House Poker and Fable Coin Golf) that let you earn currency for their Xbox 360 counterparts. Fable Coin Golf is certainly a more fun way to earn gold than playing Lute Hero for hours.

Thanks for all the positive feedback. After recording I was a little bit nervous that I would be subject to standard internet haters. I really should have more faith in the GWJers.

I listened to show and realized I misspoke when I credited our Art Director with 'Homefront' when I meant the far superior 'Homeworld.'

Thanks again. Looking forward to the next time I'm on the show.

David Heron

Great show. I think Rabbit just sold me on Swarm by comparing it to Tony Hawk 2. I admire the decision to limit the potential audience in order to preserve the overall creative vision. Although, it's probably important to note that I am part of the intended audience.

Zip_Zap_Rap wrote:
I listened to show and realized I misspoke when I credited our Art Director with 'Homefront' when I meant the far superior 'Homeworld.'

And now my interest in Hot Head has increased exponentially.

Really enjoyed the guest and the episode as a whole. A good combination of funny and fun, and the teaser for a DA2 spoiler show is revving me up to finish my playthrough. Looking forward to that episode.

I really enjoyed this one, and I enjoyed hearing from David.

With respect to my poorly worded question, the aspect that most concerned me (and I think concern is too loaded a word) is when publishers extend or flesh out the story that exists in the major body of work. If I want to see a complete character arc, I think I'd prefer to have a contained arc in the main piece, and then accessory characters/world content can be described elsewhere.

ClockworkHouse wrote:

However, the recent add-on for Dead Space 2, Severed, seems to have broken with that. It features characters from Dead Space Extraction and expects you to be familiar with them to some extent, and it has a plot twist that, based on reactions here and elsewhere, doesn't make a lot of sense if you haven't read one of the novels.

Precisely my concern. There's a line (fuzzy I think) between expanding the universe, and spreading core story elements across distributed platforms.

People will always want to dive deeper down the rabbit hole for content they love, but what happens when key motivations and back story are only delivered in other ways?

Great episode. Loved the guests insights and as a result I downloaded the Swarm demo. I'll try it out this weekend and, as David suggested, buy if it's something I enjoy.

In regards to the "Multiple Playthrough" discussion. Besides Punch-Out, I don't replay many games but the Mass Effect series is an exception and very deserving. With lots of games the choice may be a binary good or evil but, to its credit, not with Mass Effect. Renegade Shepard is just that, a Shepard that lives outside standard practice.

For instance, on Omega during the Archangel mission Shepard has the opportunity to tase an engineer working on a gunship. Tasing is the Renegade course of action but given the circumstances it's also a pretty wise thing to do. I have difficulty doing outright evil things in games too but in Mass Effect renegade is not evil and often very fun.

You guys owe yourself another journey through Mass Effect 2. Starting over with all the DLC makes the game better than ever. Suggestion: Get Kasumi as soon as you can.

Sorax wrote:
You guys owe yourself another journey through Mass Effect 2. Starting over with all the DLC makes the game better than ever. Suggestion: Get Kasumi as soon as you can.

Not sure who this is directed towards but from what I remember the podcasters (and the site in general) are all very glowing in their love for that game.

Just thinking you're preaching to the converted.

So... where's the PS3 demo?

It doesn't show up in the PSN store for me. Not under newest demos, and not under S.

What gives?

It has to be an odd moment explaining to a fellow airline passenger why Isabela has such ridiculous breasts. "Yeah, those give her an armor class bonus. Plus, distraction and misdirection is important for a Rogue."

I was enjoying Crysis 2 right up until I died and was forced to replay a 15 minute segment. I quit the game and just shook my head ruefully. Damn shame.

Speedhuntr wrote:
Just thinking you're preaching to the converted.

Certainly, but the context was Multiple Playthroughs. The bulk of my comment was establishing why Mass Effect deserves to be revisited, I had thought. That's why I pointed out ME's Renegade options do not equate to Evil and are often just pragmatic and, most importantly, fun. But it seems I failed to communicate.