GWJ Conference Call Episode 350

Conference Call


State of Decay, The Last of Us, Wargame: Airland Battle, Gunpoint, Crusader Kings 2, The Consoles That Fit Into Our Lives, Your Emails and More!

This week Julian, Cory and Elysium talk a whole mess of games and how consoles will fit into their lives in the future.

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.

Chairman_Mao's Timestamps
00.02.12 Crusader Kings
00.13.13 Fist Puncher
00.17.47 State of Decay
00.21.25 Gunpoint
00.24.57 Airland Battle
00.27.33 Primeworld: Defenders
00.31.14 The Last of Us
00.35.28 This week's topic: The Consoles that Fit into our Lives!
00.56.36 Your emails!

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Show credits

Music credits: 

Intro/Outtro Music - Ian Dorsch, Willowtree Audioworks

Lonely Organ - Broke for Free - http://brokeforfree.com/ - 35:00

One And - Broke for Free - http://brokeforfree.com/ - 56:07

Comments

A very fine game discussed on the show that's missing from the Links section is Gunpoint.

I was one of the people disappointed that Microsoft reversed course last week, but I think Elysium changed my mind. His observation that Microsoft should have approached these changes in a much more incremental fashion as opposed to rolling out a complete shift in how we think about consoles all at once was really, well, smart.

If I can buy digital versions of games on release day at launch, that's a good first step. If somewhere down the road Microsoft enables family sharing or the option to not have the disc in the drive if you opt-in to a "once every 24 hours" check, then great. They could have had everything they wanted if they weren't in such a hurry to redefine the console experience.

At least that's what I took away from Elysium's comments.

Yup, that's the core of what I was driving at.

+1 to the Scott Pilgrim game being awesome. So much so that I have no attachment to the franchise, but love the game.

mrtomaytohead wrote:
+1 to the Scott Pilgrim game being awesome. So much so that I have no attachment to the franchise, but love the game.

It's brilliant. Everything I would have wanted out of a River City Ransom successor.

Worth noting, Combit Studios is working on an actual River City Ransom sequel that should be out for Windows (!!!) in 2014.

Great podcast.

I'm also watching The Last of Us as a 'Let's play' series of videos. I won't be getting a PS3 at this stage. This is it. There is no commentary and it's nicely done. Naughty Dog are quite good aren't they. Definitely another tick in the PS4 column if they stay exclusive.

Just felt the need to point out that the comparison with Steam is not entirely apt even given the caveats you pointed out in the conference call; you miss out the key difference that Steam has competition (GOG, Origin, buying directly from developers etc.) whereas if you buy into a ps4 or xbox180, you have zero alternatives to procure content digitally other than what Sony and Microsoft offer you. That makes any policy choices that could be considered "threatening" much, much more so.

In the Last of Us section, there was gameplay spoiler that came up. If you are spoiler sensitive, you probably want to fast forward through the discussion between 31 and 32min.

Demiurge wrote:
mrtomaytohead wrote:
+1 to the Scott Pilgrim game being awesome. So much so that I have no attachment to the franchise, but love the game.

It's brilliant. Everything I would have wanted out of a River City Ransom successor.

Worth noting, Combit Studios is working on an actual River City Ransom sequel that should be out for Windows (!!!) in 2014.


oh reaaaaallllyyy? Is there any real info on it yet?

Demiurge wrote:
Worth noting, Combit Studios is working on an actual River City Ransom sequel that should be out for Windows (!!!) in 2014.

I thought the sequel to River City Ransom was called Yakuza.

you miss out the key difference that Steam has competition

This is a very good point. In my mind, I made this point as well, but apparently it never actually got out of my mouth and into the conversation.

Elysium wrote:
you miss out the key difference that Steam has competition

This is a very good point. In my mind, I made this point as well, but apparently it never actually got out of my mouth and into the conversation.

I made the point last week, that counts!

I'm just going through the episode now (awesome as always), but f*ck YES MECHANICAL KEYBOARDS. I'm typing this on an original IBM Model M keyboard, of which I have 3-4, because these truly are the best keyboards to ANYTHING on.

I just wish there was an affordable version for the Mac so I could use one at work. Sigh.

You totally read my email! Yay!!
Thanks guys, it was very nice to hear your opinion.

Veloxi wrote:
I'm just going through the episode now (awesome as always), but f*ck YES MECHANICAL KEYBOARDS. I'm typing this on an original IBM Model M keyboard, of which I have 3-4, because these truly are the best keyboards to ANYTHING on.

Yes they are!

a) Mechanical keyboards are the best. People who don't get that don't use one (as Sean pointed out).

b) I loved the CK2 talk. CK2 seems to be Paradox's break through game, at least in the sense of bringing more people who have been put off by their earlier games. I think EU3 started that trend but, as pointed out on the CC, CK2 is a more personal game that can resonate with more people. One of the things that has kept CK2 going so string a year plus on is the fantastic DLC that has been released (the other is the frequent sales). Aside from a couple of mis-steps (Ruler Designer, Sunset Invasions), each DLC makes the game play differently for the faction that it adds as playable. Muslims play differently from Northern Europeans who play differently from the Merchant Republics, etc. Paradox has kept, as they usually do, honing the game, adding systems, making it deeper and more fun to play.
I don't necessarily agree that watching 3+ hours of Youtube videos is a prerequisite for playing this though. I can understand that there is a lot to take in when starting a game and there can be this feeling of doing things "wrong". But, really, there is no real "right" way to do things (more optimal, yes, depending on what you want to do in the game, but not more "right"). I think the best way to learn is to dive in and go. However, I have played all the PDS games from EU1 on, so I may be a bit tainted in my outlook.
Also, I thought Julian was a bit dismissive of the game, which surprised me enough to want me to comment on it. This is one of the best grand strategy games to come out ever, I think, and to hear one of the best advocates for strategy gaming seem to be quite lukewarm on it was a little weird to me. Not sure if I heard it as intended or if there are some negative waves going on there.

Sorry for the CK2 dump; it is one of my current passions and I enjoy talking about it a lot.

I'm still in the "really MS - you recanted?" camp. I know I've said it before, but if they had done the messaging way different - focusing on how these tech changes will make better games, not just the "its our console, and you've gotta play by our rules (oh, and tons of TV bullsh*t!)" message that they've been spouting.

I want direct digital downloads, I want Steam-sale-esque discounts on consoles, and I want to see what crazy shenanigans developers can add to their titles thanks to always-connected and a high-fidelity Kinect.

I think we really have no idea how the consoles will change this next generation. Remember, when Xbox 360 launched, it introduced Achievements for the first time - something that the PS3 originally did not have but were later patched in. I'm sure these consoles are flexible enough to make adjustments as needed.

Cory humming Double Dragon or RCR music at the end of the show?

Speaking of which, there's also another RCR (or at least Kunio universe) game coming out for 3DS in August. However, no word on an English release yet

Aristophan wrote:
I think we really have no idea how the consoles will change this next generation. Remember, when Xbox 360 launched, it introduced Achievements for the first time - something that the PS3 originally did not have but were later patched in. I'm sure these consoles are flexible enough to make adjustments as needed.

If the leak that the sharing mode was nothing more than a timed demo of the full version of a game is true, then al that was really lost was the ability to play games without a disc. And that can be had by just buying digitally.

Of course, buying games on discs at competing retailers would have provided a better chance at buying them on sale or a discount. Under the current set-up, I don't think Microsoft will be as willing to undercut their retail partners. Hopefully this will get patched back in as an option to install to play either with or without a disc. Without requires the check in, with doesn't.

I think Elysium had the right of it. Microsoft was smart to walk back as much as they did. They can then add in the features that we wanted, and hopefully do so with a much better explanation of value to the consumer. But if they had held on, I have to believe they were in danger of being outsold by the Wii U this holiday season.

In terms of what I expect from console, it's now just an entertainment device. When my DVD player died, we never replaced it. I record TV on my Tivo, and the rare times I rent a DVD, I use my 360. Voice search is good enough that I often use it to show Youtube videos to my wife instead of the iPad.

Anything that makes the consumption of media easier or better should make its way to our consoles. They are that hub that can make it all go in a plug and play environment.

shoptroll wrote:
Cory humming Double Dragon or RCR music at the end of the show?

I've never played Double Dragon, but I'm pretty sure that was Girl From Ipanema

Not done with the episode yet (my wife and I are listening to it as we drive about in the car) but...

We're "giving Valve a free pass" on compatibility issues moving forward? I disagree.

My gaming PC is my Mac Pro video editing box rebooted into Windows. I used to agonize over which version of a given game I should buy. Do I get the Windows version for earlier access and maximum performance, or do I wait and buy the Mac version for more convenience? Is it a game that I'm going to want to play when I'm in Windows for a serious gaming session, or am I going to want to pop in for a few minutes while I'm taking a break from work? What if I'd rather play it on the Mac side but don't know if it'll be ported?

Now the choice is easy: I buy the game through Steam as soon as it comes out and enjoy the best of both worlds. Not sure if a Mac version is coming? If it does com to OS X it'll show up in my Library on that side automatically (I'm installing XCOM as I type this, and I didn't even know it was coming out for the Mac). If I feel like trying out Linux? My cross-platform Steam games will be there waiting for me.

Does Valve guarantee that my games will always work regardless of what OS or processor shift comes in the future? No. But they have done more for me than anyone else has on the cross-compatibility front and as such have legitimately earned my trust here.

McIrishJihad wrote:

I want direct digital downloads, I want Steam-sale-esque discounts on consoles, and I want to see what crazy shenanigans developers can add to their titles thanks to always-connected and a high-fidelity Kinect.

Well, you will have digital downloads, but as for steam-sale-esque discounts, I'm not sure that was necessarily going to happen in any case. The always-connected and kinect things are not something that is necessarily gone. I mean, it's not like there aren't already games that require an online connection and kinect is being bundled.

Valmorian wrote:
The always-connected and kinect things are not something that is necessarily gone. I mean, it's not like there aren't already games that require an online connection and kinect is being bundled.

And this is where I feel like there's a giant disconnect. I already have an always-connected Xbox! If it weren't for the fact that we have three primary users, it would be automatically logging me in to my XBL account every time it boots up.

I know there's stats out there saying that some large minority of Xbox360 consoles have never gone online, but if MS had taken a "gamers first, developers second, entertainment third" approach with the XBONE reveal and follow-up E3 keynote, they could certainly crank that dial. If developer's build it, I strongly believe that the gamers will come (and plug their XBONEs into the internet).

McIrishJihad wrote:
I know there's stats out there saying that some large minority of Xbox360 consoles have never gone online, but if MS had taken a "gamers first, developers second, entertainment third" approach with the XBONE reveal and follow-up E3 keynote, they could certainly crank that dial. If developer's build it, I strongly believe that the gamers will come (and plug their XBONEs into the internet).

The problem I see with that is that it seems to be coming from the perspective that inevitably everything will need the internet, and I think that there's always going to be things that won't. An experience like Portal is not made better by an internet connection or being social. I'd like to note that's not the same as saying "everything must be offline".

Scratched wrote:
The problem I see with that is that it seems to be coming from the perspective that inevitably everything will need the internet, and I think that there's always going to be things that won't. An experience like Portal is not made better by an internet connection or being social. I'd like to note that's not the same as saying "everything must be offline".

I totally agree with you, that not everything will benefit from, let alone need, an always-connected console.

But look at Fable 3, where you could have the orbs of other players from around the world show up as you play, allowing you to interact and trade. It doesn't affect the narrative, but it's still a very interesting thing.

Or the bells ringing in Dark Souls, signifying that somewhere, some other player has achieved something and you're hearing about it in your game.

Or Journey, where the point is the anonymous and muted play with another person.

Or Borderlands 2, where anyone on my friends list can just drop into my current session.

I'm primarily a single player kind of guy, but these are all examples of the single player experience being enhanced by the nature that the device and game are already connected.

I'm not saying that an always-on console will be the death of single player games, but I am excited about the prospective of what can be added to gameplay when always-on is expected and universal.

McIrishJihad wrote:

I'm not saying that an always-on console will be the death of single player games, but I am excited about the prospective of what can be added to gameplay when always-on is expected and universal.

The point is that FORCING online only doesn't add anything. Every example you gave is in use right now on systems that don't require an always-on connection.

If MS is insistent that the vast majority of its user base is always connected, there's absolutely nothing stopping developers from assuming that if that's what they want to do for their game. They'd lose no more customers than they would have if MS had kept to their original "forced online" plan.

Valmorian wrote:
The point is that FORCING online only doesn't add anything. Every example you gave is in use right now on systems that don't require an always-on connection.

If MS is insistent that the vast majority of its user base is always connected, there's absolutely nothing stopping developers from assuming that if that's what they want to do for their game. They'd lose no more customers than they would have if MS had kept to their original "forced online" plan.

Not quite. The issue is that by focusing on "North America / Europe", they're eliminating several classes of customers, particularly military, other regions, and people who don't have/want always-on. Who gives a crap about live TV pass through? There's few enough in the US, but that feature on supposedly a globally marketable product, they might as well say the XBO is only going to be sold in 110-volt configurations.

McIrishJihad wrote:
I'm primarily a single player kind of guy, but these are all examples of the single player experience being enhanced by the nature that the device and game are already connected.

I'm not saying that an always-on console will be the death of single player games, but I am excited about the prospective of what can be added to gameplay when always-on is expected and universal.

It's occurred to me that shared libraries could be the death of single player games or even purely single player portions of games. If I had access to other people's games I'd play all the single player campaigns for free and buy the multiplayer (if, as explained, there was a restriction on playing at the same time as the owner.) If a game had single player and multiplayer portions I'd probably play the single player section and move on. To stop players having an endless buffet of free single player the answer would be to have multiplayer in every aspect of a game.

No one knows what the sharing was going to be, but I never thought it was going to be as wide open as people have interpreted it. I always expected sharing to be tied exclusively to accounts tied to your console. I always thought that was pie in the sky thinking.

At best, I expected to use a couple of the 10 accounts an XBL subscription will give you to let people play games I own by giving them the password to that account. I never expected that I could just find nine friends and let them play my games on their own accounts.

But once everyone flipped out about calling home, the ability to play any game you own on any Xbox became impossible.

Jayhawker wrote:
No one knows what the sharing was going to be, but I never thought it was going to be as wide open as people have interpreted it. I always expected sharing to be tied exclusively to accounts tied to your console. I always thought that was pie in the sky thinking.

At best, I expected to use a couple of the 10 accounts an XBL subscription will give you to let people play games I own by giving them the password to that account. I never expected that I could just find nine friends and let them play my games on their own accounts.


A random thought, even if it wasn't that great, I wonder what the backlash after release would have been like when people were expecting this great sharing capability and then find a weaksauce version. I remember threads of people organising themselves and plans to spread out game buying. Better to nip that in the bud.

I also seem to remember some comment from someone at MS saying they thought it was great people were arranging themselves into 'families', presumably they thought because people were getting involved in the new features rather than as game sharing clubs.