GWJ Conference Call Episode 296

Conference Call

Dragon's Dogma, Diablo III, MLG Spring Tournament, Jeff Cannata Joins Us To Talk About E3, Your E3 Twitter Questions and more!

This week Totally Rad Show's Jeff Cannata joins us to talk about E3, how we feel about the event and what we liked.

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.

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All Things Jeff Cannata
Dragon's Dogma
Diablo III
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Show credits

Music credits: 

Intro/Outtro Music - Ian Dorsch, Willowtree Audioworks

Freestyle - SGX - http://sgxmusic.com/ - 24:49

A Meal for a Whale - SGX - http://sgxmusic.com/ - 1:06:36

Comments

Your weekly CC rundown, made possible by the charitable folks at the People's Academy for the Promulgation of Dialectical Materialist Thought with Chinese Characteristics Co. Ltd.:

00.01.59 Dragon's Dogma
00.03.43 Diablo III
00.09.33 MLG: Anaheim (League of Legends)
00.17.33 Colosseum
00.22.29 Vita game releases
00.25.18 Let's Talk E3!
01.07.02 Your E3 Twitter questions

Keep the Cannata comin'! This should be a fun listen.

Jeff Cannata just sold me SimCity.

Just curious: has anybody on this episode of the Conference Call played I Am Alive? It's got its fair share of problems, but it does touch on a lot of the sentiments about "violence taken seriously" that were mentioned during the discussion of The Last of Us*.

* It may also be worth noting that the E3 trailer for this mature, thoughtful game ended with the protagonist shooting an unarmed man in the face, point blank, with a shotgun.

The gameplay descriptions scared me off of I Am Alive. Sounded like it got old pretty fast.

* It may also be worth noting that the E3 trailer for this mature, thoughtful game ended with the protagonist shooting an unarmed man in the face, point blank, with a shotgun.

Same sequence has been shown to journalists where they stealth through the whole thing, so there's lots of user choice happening there. Marketing doesn't believe in stealth, ask Hitman.

DeathSpank is the previous Ron Gilbert game that you guys couldn't remember.

nivek wrote:

Jeff Cannata just sold me SimCity.

This is the second time I've heard Jeff gushing about it, and his comments are very persuasive. Regardless of how much I want to play SC5, I will not be buying it, because I refuse to support always-on DRM, especially when applied to a single-player game.

To the question of "will I drop off of Diablo when I hit 60 and inferno." I found the difficulty spike going to Act 2 on Inferno so ridiculous that I have not continued playing. It seems really obvious that I am supposed to go to the auction house and spend real money if I want to advance which is a huge turn-off. Curious to hear how others feel about that act.

Also, if something behind the scenes at Nintendo failed a week or two ago, I would think they would have edited the E3 script to not say "we are leaving you with this: "

MeatMan wrote:

I refuse to support always-on DRM, especially when applied to a single-player game.

Why is it that some of the most appealing games are stuck with some of the worst DRM? You'd think they'd get more purchases based on merit or brand alone.

To be honest I derived more amusement from GameSpot's E3 stream coverage where the stream monsters were blowing up the live chat than the actual event itself. I shouldn't have enjoyed watching it go down, but I did.

Even if it wasn't meant for us, you'd think an event would be able to be more exciting (at least from the parts that I watched).

I've just gone from no interest in SimCity to no interest, but I might look over my wife's shoulder when she inevitably buys it

OzymandiasAV wrote:

Does that really have to be true? You mentioned Metal Gear Solid 3 on the podcast; take a look at the trailer that they played for the game's reveal at E3 2003

I don't think that was true in 2003, but E3 wasn't being broadcast on cable television in 2003. It seems that a demo like that isn't something anyone is willing to do in a big press conference anymore. Times have a'changed.

Certis wrote:

Same sequence has been shown to journalists where they stealth through the whole thing, so there's lots of user choice happening there. Marketing doesn't believe in stealth, ask Hitman.

Does that really have to be true? You mentioned Metal Gear Solid 3 on the podcast; take a look at the trailer that they played for the game's reveal at E3 2003:

There are explosions and gunfire at times, sure, but there are also extended segments that emphasize the game's focus on stealth and survival.

Marketing in gaming doesn't have to limited to sex and violence. It's all about showing off your best assets and, in the case of something like Hitman: Absolution or The Last of Us, I'd hope that ultra-violence isn't ultimately the game's calling card.

Certis wrote:

The gameplay descriptions scared me off of I Am Alive. Sounded like it got old pretty fast.

The combat encounters do tend to unravel a bit near the end, right as the designers apparently decided that they should become more prominent, but I found the first half of the game to be very compelling, especially during traversal "puzzle" sections where your character has to climb over the ruins of an interstate bridge to get across a river or scale a blown-out building to retrieve medical supplies. Those sections have a bit of a Assassin's Creed vibe to them, except that there's a stamina mechanic that limits how long you can climb, which can add a bit of tension and danger to seemingly simple ascents.

I Am Alive isn't for everybody, but I think you (specifically) might dig some of what it's trying to do. The XBLA/PSN demo gives you a pretty good glimpse of what the game has to offer, so I'd recommend giving it a spin at some point.

@Ozymandias Not a lot of E3 stage demos are going to get as much time as that MGS3 video!

Dyni wrote:
OzymandiasAV wrote:

Does that really have to be true? You mentioned Metal Gear Solid 3 on the podcast; take a look at the trailer that they played for the game's reveal at E3 2003

I don't think that was true in 2003, but E3 wasn't being broadcast on cable television in 2003. It seems that a demo like that isn't something anyone is willing to do in a big press conference anymore. Times have a'changed.

No, I disagree with that, strongly. I don't accept that at all.

E3 is their show, it's their platform for all of the major publishers and platform-holders to present the best of what they have to offer to public consumption. They set the tone, they control the messaging.

I don't dispute the point from the conference call that it's primarily a trade show to position their wares for big-box retailers, but it's also an opportunity to reach a larger audience through that cable broadcast, a much wider span of demographics than they would normally be able to hit through most gaming-specific marketing channels. There's no obligation for bloodlust here at all.

drew327 wrote:

Not a lot of E3 stage demos are going to get as much time as that MGS3 video!

Yeah, I disagree with this as well. You don't have to look far to find counter-examples - the Black Ops 2 stage demo in Microsoft's conference was virtually the same length (eleven minutes). Even the stage demo for Watch_Dogs, a brand new IP, took up ten minutes at Ubisoft's presser.

Again, it's their press conference -- the publishers, the platform-holders -- and they get to dictate the terms, with absolute control over what is seen within the timeslots they've been provided.

And that means they get to carry the responsibility for the imagery that's presented as well.

If this show is partially for retailers, and they need violence to convince/excite retailers to purchase games, then what does that say about the portrayal of games in the mass media?

This isn't a sarcastic question, but a true one. What if they showed retailers a bunch of these games beyond the ultra-violence? Would retailers then shrug and say "meh, no one cares"? Do they really believe people who play games cannot get excited for anything beyond the two spectrums of "shoot sh*t and blow their brains out" and "cutesy wutesy Simlish"?

How depressing.

I do actually find it interesting that a lot of journalists I've seen and read have actually been happy with E3 this year. Might be that I just recently listened to Weekend Confirmed and Jumping the Shark, where the hosts were all excited (and Jeff Cannata was on one), but it seems that the real judge of the show is the floor itself, and most folks are judging by the press conference.

OzymandiasAV wrote:

Just curious: has anybody on this episode of the Conference Call played I Am Alive? It's got its fair share of problems, but it does touch on a lot of the sentiments about "violence taken seriously" that were mentioned during the discussion of The Last of Us*.

* It may also be worth noting that the E3 trailer for this mature, thoughtful game ended with the protagonist shooting an unarmed man in the face, point blank, with a shotgun.

I actually find it interesting and depressing that I Am Alive was a similar idea first, but failed to achieve so many of its goals. Granted it switched development teams halfway through, and a troubled development often leads to such end results. However, I feel that I Am Alive shall always be overshadowed by coming short of its goals while The Last of Us carries through with very similar.

Nonetheless, I, too, enjoyed I Am Alive.

They showed 11 minutes of BLOPS2? Isn't that like half the single player campaign?

EDIT: Just noticed Jeff was also on TWiT this week. Looks like I'm getting a double dose today.

Does anyone remember what book Certis recommended during the Audible commercial?

padriec wrote:

Does anyone remember what book Certis recommended during the Audible commercial?

The Blade Itself. Great series.

Certis wrote:
padriec wrote:

Does anyone remember what book Certis recommended during the Audible commercial?

The Blade Itself. Great series.

Seconded.

Demiurge wrote:
Certis wrote:
padriec wrote:

Does anyone remember what book Certis recommended during the Audible commercial?

The Blade Itself. Great series.

Seconded.

The quality felt like it dropped off a bit after an *amazing* first book, but still, very worth reading.

Tanglebones wrote:
Demiurge wrote:
Certis wrote:
padriec wrote:

Does anyone remember what book Certis recommended during the Audible commercial?

The Blade Itself. Great series.

Seconded.

The quality felt like it dropped off a bit after an *amazing* first book, but still, very worth reading.

Hater.

Certis wrote:
padriec wrote:

Does anyone remember what book Certis recommended during the Audible commercial?

The Blade Itself. Great series.

Thanks. Added the Kindle edition to my wishlist. Amazon owns Audible so the ad worked, right?

Who are these guys kidding? Everyone of them will buy a WiiU at launch. Every.One.of.Them.

Entire Abercrombie series is good stuff. Also check out The Heroes which takes place in the same world, after the events of the first series.

karmajay wrote:

Who are these guys kidding? Everyone of them will buy a WiiU at launch. Every.One.of.Them. :)

Isn't this the truth? I was greatly amused at the comments said...

Well, I wouldn't say every single one of them.

I went a year and a half before I picked up a Wii. Still don't have or have any intention of getting a 3DS. I'm pretty comfortable saying that unless something big changes, I'll wait at least for one or two price drops.

Tanglebones wrote:
Demiurge wrote:
Certis wrote:
padriec wrote:

Does anyone remember what book Certis recommended during the Audible commercial?

The Blade Itself. Great series.

Seconded.

The quality felt like it dropped off a bit after an *amazing* first book, but still, very worth reading.

Maybe, but Abercrombie is one of the few fantasy writers out there who actually knows how to write an ending. I would stay with the series just for that experience.

kazooka wrote:
Tanglebones wrote:
Demiurge wrote:
Certis wrote:
padriec wrote:

Does anyone remember what book Certis recommended during the Audible commercial?

The Blade Itself. Great series.

Seconded.

The quality felt like it dropped off a bit after an *amazing* first book, but still, very worth reading.

Maybe, but Abercrombie is one of the few fantasy writers out there who actually knows how to write an ending. I would stay with the series just for that experience.

True dat!

The podcast made me reconsider my solid console-only gaming habit. Can I continue to game another two years on aging consoles or should I begin trying to talk my wife into letting me pick up a $500+ gaming rig? Seeing the Last of Us trailer on the PS3 makes me think I should just wait.

It pains me to hear you guys call DeathSpank "forgettable." DeathSpank is the funniest game I've played in years -- second only to Portal 2. I have high hopes for The Cave.

ccesarano wrote:

If this show is partially for retailers, and they need violence to convince/excite retailers to purchase games, then what does that say about the portrayal of games in the mass media?

This isn't a sarcastic question, but a true one. What if they showed retailers a bunch of these games beyond the ultra-violence? Would retailers then shrug and say "meh, no one cares"? Do they really believe people who play games cannot get excited for anything beyond the two spectrums of "shoot sh*t and blow their brains out" and "cutesy wutesy Simlish"?

How depressing.

How many people in retail, even at a corporate level, do you think have high opinions of the members of their target market?

Elysium wrote:

Well, I wouldn't say every single one of them.

What if they offered a Packers-themed case?