Tag Archives: Breakpoint

Multiple rulers

We have a ruler at times. A ruler so we can see whether the size measures up to the setting we held ourselves to, and a size to what we hold others. We are all like that, and sometimes we use more than one, it is almost like we set a standard metrical and then another one to get the inch setting. There is one stage we avoid; not on purpose, but the stage we set because we did not think of it. That is the stage that I found myself in this weekend. Anyone who has a Playstation 4 (or better) has either been playing the Last of us part 2, or has been contemplating playing it. There might be the smallest group that did not (and that is fair) but that group is really really small. It started in 2013, a (small) player named naughty dog, famous for Crash Bandicoot and a few other titles, had an idea and made that game, that game was titled The last of us, we might not have realised it at the time but gaming history was written that very moment. They made the game that heralded the end of the Playstation 3 on a high. The game was graphically, musically and technically at the very top of gaming, do not take my word for it, the game got over 200 game of the year awards, which is a record by itself, so when it was remastered for the Playstation 4, I did not hesitate to get it, now there is the second part and what I have seen so far is blowing my mind (again). It als gave me the idea to come up with the two ruler rule. So far the only three passing that standard are Naughty Dog, CD Project Red and Bethesda. This does not mean that others are not good, some are great. Yet to fit this measurement you need to be better than the best. I believe that those makers could have turned their game into a movie and it would be as groundbreaking and as appreciated as the game. As I see it CD Project Red did that by getting the Netflix the Witcher made. OK, they cheated by getting Superman to play the lead, but still they got it done and it is every bit as amazing as the game was. Excellence is transcendental (or so I believe) and I feel certain that the Last of US (both 1 and 2) would make amazing movies/mini series. I played part 2 to some extent and then I remembered (I thought back to the first one) and I decided to play it again. Even now, 7 years later, the first game is as overwhelming as any new game is, yes, the second one surpasseds the first one by a fair bit, but both of them leave most others in their wake, the games are that good. This is not bad for the others, there will always be rocksteady, there will always be rockstar and they will endear the gamers in their own way, there is no doubt about it, yet when we see the bullet point memo people at EA and Ubisoft, they are done for. The few franchises they hide behind will not help them, even now, their games at 70%-80% reduced rate are a debatable buy and that is not a good place to be in. When a two billion company like Ubisoft gets passed over by what some regards as small studios, we need to realise that gaming has been on the fringe of technology since the 80’s. Some people decided to give the thought that gaming too is iteration (like every year an Assassins Creed game), some exploited other means, some good and some bad, and before some think that Ubisoft is all bad, they did bring us Assassins Creed 2 (and brotherhood), Far Cry 3, AC Origins, Watchdog 2, The Division and a few others, when we look past the iteration, we see that they make good games, if only they were properly tested and vetted before release, it is the largest flaw that Ubisoft brings us today. And it is getting noticed more and more as we take notice of games like The Witcher and The Last of Us. Wecan add games like Elite Dangerous and Subnautica and the remastered edition of System Shock (hopefully 2020), we see that the original ideas are still there and they are wiping the floor with the iterative wannabe’s. You see the stage is changing and gamers are not completely aware.

We see the created hypes and we see how Microsoft is hiding behind the marketing cry ‘the most powerful system in the world’, yet they got defeated by the weakest system of them all (Nintendo Switch) and as Microsoft hides behind the hype screen we are all missing the larger point. As 4K gaming hits the front yard of many gamers this holiday season, they tend to forget that the games will be twice the size and so will the patches. In this situation consider that in places like Greece and Turkey a Ubisoft patch will take up to a day (estimated), a day per game downloading a patch. The UK, Ireland, Germany, Belgium, Italy and a few others have better connections, yet in these places in Rural areas their internet is not great, so the long term view of the approach that they are currently holding is that they will not be in a great place. Yes, France, Spain and Scandinavia the connection is well above decent, yet is that the same in rural areas? In France it is not and I just set the pulse point on millions of gamers who will be in an extremely agitated state soon enough, yet not if Ubisoft continues as it currently is. And we need to review that too. A game might seem amazing, yet in the 4K life, patches will be increasingly larger and larger. So what do you think will happen when a patch is not 38 GB, but 70 GB? How long until gamers lose their shit over this, because the second time it happens might already be enough for the gamer to demand a refund, and with some places having the 7 day purchase option in place, that cooldown will be enough to end the lifespan of places like Ubisoft, Electronic Arts and Activision. Yes, I get it, others will be in a similar place, but consider keeping a list of all your games and all the patches that come through, who will win the patch race agitation list? 

Yes, we get it Bethesda will also be in a bad place, yet RPG games like Skyrim are too great and will always have patches coming their way, yet overall when I look back at the games like Oblivion, Skyrim, Fallout 3, Fallout 4 the amount of patches have not been overwhelming. As I see it one breakpoint patch has had more to download then the sum of nearly all Bethesda games, that is the station we see, yet we forget that the station we face is nothing more than a small way station, the stations we are about to hit are proper terminals with larger needs. We need to measure what was and what will be to a much larger extent and use two rulers, the size of the game and the size of the patches, whilst we tally the number of patches. Breakpoint was regarded by gamers as the most disappointing game of 2019, 38GB of patches later and it is still up for debate, as I see it, they no longer have any freedom of movement, gaming will change but not in their direction, the games will need to be better and their infrastructure is not ready, the patch notes give a clear indication of that. So yes, we will see a console war, but we will see a lot more than that. Santa Monica Studios, Naughty Dog and a few others are ready and they make Playstation games. The people at Microsoft are not ready for the issues that sme games bring and their Azure cloud is useless at this stage, it is about innovative gaming, the iterative clowns have no place being here. We are about to see a console war and Microsoft could soon end up in 4th position, so when we consider the big three, who else will surpass them? Their marketing hype of the most powerful console for sale, and they forgot that they still needed good games to stay in that place, with less than half a dozen exclusive games, the pickings are slim for Microsoft, to see that you needed an additional ruler, a different stage of measuring. Just like the measurement of power, there are two ways of measuring it, all whilst the elements for both formulas were readily available, too many players were looking at one formula and forgot about the other one, and that is what the limelight will show at the end of the year and when that limelight shows bright, we will see that some players are done for, one ruler would not have shown it, they all focussed on the revenue and they forgot that revenue is hindered by the resistance that patches bring, these players forgot or basically ignored the danger of large patches and now that they are 26 weeks away from a new standard these players will panic, they will panic more and more and let marketing do the fight of the public arena all whilst it will merely stop activities for a few days and some patches required months. Now, we accept that both Sony and Microsoft have that house of Pox looming, but as I see it, Sony has more alternatives and in this fight, the one with alternatives is the most likely to win. In all this there is strength to any marketing endeavour, but its flaws are there too and once your board of directors start to earnestly believe the stories they tell, they have already painted themselves into a corner. 

 

 

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To knowingly intentionally ignore

There is a state in any person’s mind to ignore anything that does not fit the need of the receiver. This is not a bad thing (at times), and we can ignore all we can, yet to deceive ourselves that it does not exist is another matter. 

To look at the station we need to look at the consideration of two settings. The first is ‘an organized effort to gather information about targer markets or customers’ this is the foundation of market research. After this we consider the second part, which is ‘the process or set of processes that links the producers, customers, and end users to the marketer through information used to identify and define marketing opportunities and problems’, as I personally see it, some do not see the difference (or ignore that there is one), or as I would imply, to knowingly use one as the other. The first difference is the population. In market research we investigate a population and we set our hypothesis based on the station of it. We dabble, we slice and dice this population, and we draw conclusions. The problem is that some hide behind the slicing and dicing, calling it the arbitrary process. For the most I have no issues with it, or better stated I do not care one hoot about some of these analysts. Yet lately I see the impact of decisions and business processes and I wonder if the people accepting the marketing stories whether they are in the dark, they do not care or if they are clueless. 

It started with Microsoft, then Ubisoft, after that there was a stage at Apple as well as a stint in the US administration. All acts based on what some would call ‘a market research into the people and the impact of view’ yet it seems like the marketing research of passing a bitter pill to the extent of surviving the action. That is clearly how it feels and the first act on my side was remembering a previous conversation, a conversation I had roughly 20 years ago. The premise was that a board was cutting expenses and setting the stage of having the environment where they stopped getting a 90% approval on their product and settling on an 80% approval. It is a dangerous and slippery slide. Yes it seems cheaper and it might in the beginning be cheaper, yet the station as we see it is dangerous as the degrees of freedom diminish (intended pun). As a product drills down in different areas, the 10% shift implies that on three fields the danger grows that the overall approval rate is optionally down to 60%, especially if the 20% missed rate hits any consumer 3 times. This is where Ubisot is at present and that is where Microsoft was in the last few years. In that stage we see “to develop technology that will enable them to stream games to whatever piece of tech a person is holding – be that a smartphone, console, or something yet to be invented”. It is the Ubisoft statement and that is fine, yet with the testing and inadequate versions over the last two years alone gives the consumer (the player) a much larger lag, especially when these players are only relatively happy and get hit again and again with downloads that tend to exceed 20 GB, how long until the player has had enough?

It is nice to drill down unto a group of satisfied players, yet the larger issue is that the non players are too often disregarded making the story told one that is largely built onto a shallow base of shifty sands. My view is supported by one small detail, as the PS5 was viewed, we saw an absence of Ubisoft games, the station of that 20% is now growing is it not? One of the largest software makers in history had no business not being present at this Sony show, whether they are going forward on both systems or not. It seems to me that this is not a small part, this is a much larger part and it seems to me that the predictions that I gave last year is slowly coming to fruition. 

Could I be wrong?

Absolutely! I cannot state that there is certainty, that would be short sighted on my side, but the symptoms are there, the lack of excellent gaming, dozens of updates that are several GB in size, there is a lack of testing there is a lack of listening to the gamers and the ones setting the stage of listening are rolling the dice which they optionally loaded themselves. They look better that way, yet the consequences for Ubisoft seem better, until the gamers move away, when you set the stage of a non-assassins creed game to call it that, something they did once before, the stage changes. Even as we were given last year “Ubisoft didn’t provide numbers, but said that it had made a “sharp downward revision” in the revenues expected from both games, which it blamed on a failure to differentiate Breakpoint from its predecessor, an overall lack of interest in sequels to live games, and excess bugs for the game’s failure.” (source: PC Gamer) There are two parts in this, the first is that the game sucks, the basic failures seen only yesterday by myself give a larger rise to that Ubisoft has much larger issues at present. The fact that I ended up with the game at 20% of the full price only 6 months ago, and the fact that to start the game I needed a 38GB patch shows that the issues are close to massive. It is not ‘to differentiate’, but to ‘properly code’ a game that is at the core of it all. The difference of Market research where Ubisoft investigates their game against ALL gamers, to a stage of Marketing research where Ubisoft merely investigates the Ubisoft players is part of that optional setting. When anyone hides behind the message and not behind the quality of product, we have a much larger issue and in the next console war, it would optionally set the deck to a very different stage. 

This is not about Ubisoft, Apple and Microsoft have shown similar failings for too long, and the stage where the US administration is in shows similar flaws, even as it is not a product, trust is, and it is faltering on several levels in the US. We can blame several stages in this, but it is not the blame, it is the investigation into the analysts and the conclusions drawn seems to be a much larger stage of marketing research, not market research. One optional stage is the way evidence is rejected and optionally completely ignored. We might look at the Coronavirus, it is not the point, that element merely brought it to the surface faster. Huawei is the first one that matters, no evidence was ever brought to light, it shows a stgs where the US is close to economic collapse, at that stage we see the greed driven marketing research where the actions are at disposal to the US assets, not the US citizens. This matters because it shows that the slicing and dicing of data is not getting the attention it is due, it is happening on corporate and political levels and elements like ‘How Austin Tech Is Democratizing Data’ might seem nice in theory, yet the larger issue is that some views are now seemingly solely supported by the topline makers, not actual academics with the education required to make some conclusions based on data, not the presented views that those in charge of governments and corporations would like it to be. So when we learn that “Imagine business analysts, marketing teams and even the C-suite having the power to interpret data without the help of the entire IT department”,consider that we are now in a phase where those who have are about to decide the fate of those who have not and those people are in for a massive rough ride, or so they believe. When we see the corporate players like Ubisoft and Microsoft folding on strategies as they lose larger and larger market shares, we will see destabilisation of a much larger degree and there the game is up for grabs. Even as some resorted to terms like data democratization, it is a much older principle, it is the discrimination between those who matter to some, against those who do not. Corporations will find out the hard way what their choice brings them, in politics it is a different story and the impact there is nowhere to be seen. We cannot predict it until it is too late and there I expect (or is it dare I expect?), is the stage larger, even as places like YouTube is flooded in some positive light, the negative impact is much larger. The US riots are merely a consequence to part of what happens in data, it is not the cause but there will be much larger and much more defining then we ever expected, the problem there is that after the fact, repairing damage is close to impossible. You see it is not ownership of data, it is the fact that decisions are made on a level where too much data is disregarded. Hiding behind entrepreneurial action is close to a farce. The largest danger of misinterpretation and as the sources are less and less trustworthy and that is disregarding any ethical consideration, or to make it slightly more simple, as data democratization moves forward, the essential part of comprehensive information will be filtered and optionally disregarded too often, a such a full view is not available, implying that the decision makers are merely looking at a limited scope and consider that action when it is done by a billion Euro company. 

We are only seeing this because the surrounding scope was pushed to the forefront, as such those reacting are doing it too late having to disregard increasingly larger consumer markets. When was the last time that such an action was an actual benefit to that company?

 

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Between fact and speculation

There are two parts in all this. The first is fact, the second is speculation, the facts come from what we know and have seen. First fact given by the BBC is that the PS4 has so far sold 108 million worldwide, the Xbox 49 million, which is 3 million less than the Nintendo Switch, The PS4 and Xbox both started in 2012. The Nintendo in 2017, surpassing the Xbox in half the time. As such, that so-called strongest console was surpassed by the weakest console and in 4 hours we get to see what the new PS, the PS5 will bring us. In all this there is no surprise for me, I saw this coming in 2016, and as the Xbox One X showed us the face of Microsoft and their short sightedness, I saw how they would lose the market more and more, even as Microsoft is trying to create hype after hype, selectively giving us missing information, the consumers are waking up to the colossal error that Microsoft has become and I firmly believe that it is about to get worse. If it was up to me I would direct Google and Apple towards alternative paths making Microsoft the system in 4th or even 5th position. I am that mean at times. 

Speculation

Speculation is another path, yet that is not about the hardware, that is set to the business practices of Activision and Ubisoft. To give you the example, I have been an Elite fan since its release in 1985, In 2016 it was on early release on the Xbox and it was pretty much the ONLY reason I got it. The game is still fantastic and since that point, over 3 years, the game has had a speculated 53 updates, the last one 3.4 GB, Ubisoft released AC Odyssey in 2018 and has a speculative 54updates, the last one 24 GB, almost 800% of the Elite Dangerous one. Activision seems to have a new record, Call of Duty has seemingly a 85 GB patch. That is way too massive and games on the PS5 will end up being larger, a lot larger. Under that given situation, the entire patch system needs to change. Ubisoft especially (Breakpoint 38 GB, AC Odyssey 2 GB) is a setting that gamers will no longer accept, it is a little bit ridiculous that Ubisoft cannot properly test its games. The AC series especially has shown a lack of proper testing, yet that will dwarf in both the PS5 and Xbox X series life. Under the new setting, the makers can hide behind ‘everyone has broadband’ and ‘there is unlimited download’, yet it is clear that rural Germany and France are not on the big internet page and the entire Coronavirus work at home part with congestion all over the place, in the same setting whilst players like Netflix is pushing 4K series more and more, the entire mess of congestion will only increase. Players like Ubisoft will not survive the quality they have brought so far and there is no doubt in my mind that both Sony and Microsoft will have to protect their player sooner rather than later. This is the speculative part and we will hopefully learn more in 4 hours when Sony gives us the works on the release of the PS5. The time of  release is nearing more and more. As I see it, it is a mere 22 weeks away and some will have to save up for both a 4K 125Hz TV as well as the PS5. As I see it, Sony is extremely likely to have a massively great 2020 soon enough and an even better 2021. None of this matters to Nintendo, it will work great on the new TV and they have already surpassed Microsoft, who will need the largest part of 2021 just to break even with the weakest console. They are not in a good place and whatever hype they create, it will not look good, yet that is still speculative of me and I hope to be proven right no later than March 2021. 

Gaming is about to change and we are only hours away from seeing it ourselves. 

 

 

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30 cents to the dollar

Yes, we all have moments where it is about the discount, and I had a promise to keep. So when I noticed that Breakpoint was available for less than 30 cents to the dollar from opening night 7 month ago, I decided to give it a go. There was a good point and a bad one. The bad was the bug I noticed last october, was still not fixed, it is seemingly part of the system, even after the 19GB patch (which was to be expected 7 months later) the game still has a lot to be desired. The bug I saw was that when you enter a bunker in the first mission, it immediately leaves you 4 hours later, it is suddenly late morning daylight. A lot of the reviews still applied 7 months later, and to some extent it is to be expected, but let’s be fair, do we need a mission for every bloody handgun? It is my personal expectation that I will still be able to end the lives of a lot of people with a trusty HK Model 23 (1991), that handgun 29 years later will still correctly end lives, it has a laser targeter (I never used one) and it also has an excellent silencer. So going onto missions to find some HP USP, even if it is 2 years younger, does not really load my canon. Now, I get the option that soldiers (non military) have their own preference to what is the most deadly solution (if they can aim) and YES, this is a video game, but Ubisoft could have thought it through. Some reviews of ‘they added everything, so you end up running for nothing’ and it applies to this game. I get the loot part, I get the lets look fun part, but a game that has more chopper and drone support then the entire US army had in both Afghanistan and Iraq is a little over the top. Oh, and the amount of opposition outnumbers the US army as well, as such there are more questions, but this is a game, I get it. 

The good

The good are the graphics and the environment, yet the game has its share of glitches (I personally only experienced non essential ones) like winelines in midair (a meter above the ground), yet that is a non-essential glitch. The graphics are pretty good and I felt like I was in the middle of nowhere shooting people I never cared about, just like some people in real life. Th sounds were good, yet debatable, if soldiers talk that loud for real, they deserved to get themselves killed #Justsaying. So, the area was brilliantly selected (read: designed).

The Irritating

Yves Guillemot, you bloody idiot, every time I got killed in action, I got the ‘join and invite people’ yellow blinking part. You idiot, I don’t like others joining me, I don’t want to join other players either! It is a personal thing, learn and switch that bloody part OFF! The second irritating part is the Ubi Club redeem part, especially as the Ubisoft server was apparently not working, even though I was online. There was the issue of redeeming in game perks and for some reason that jut did not work, so when we consider that some published 16 hours ago ‘Ubisoft Making Accessibility Part of Company DNA’ all whilst I cannot redeem Ubisoft club points, clearly lost the plot. In the light, I reckon that David Tisserand needs to clear his speaking points with the Ubisoft internal IT department #JustSaying.

The past

Yes, we have seen the references to other games from within Ubisoft, yet the island made me remember the 1989 Rainbird achievements Midwinter. I keep on remembering this game towards that game. One review did give me that Wildlands is a much better buy than this game, but I felt it essential to try this game, especially as I reviewed parts of it on someone else’s dime (it was their game), so whilst I see the point that some reviewers made (boring and repetitive for example) I see that the biggest issue is that it had to be released to a closed circuit of testers and after that look at the final version, I personally believe that the Marketing non gaming department at Ubisoft has too much power. This game required 4-6 months more of testing and development. The second part (which was nice) was the gunsmith, yet in the middle of nowhere, there is no space to improve my rifle, add a silencer on a rifle I took off a dead person (headshots are an effective way to remove hardware that a person will no longer care about). I would have limited the gunsmith part to the base between the waterfalls, but that part did look pretty awesome. For me it was an interesting two days, but in the end, there is a stage where I accept that the game is optionally not for me, others will like it, I get that, but when I like a game mode and I see that there is still a dubious level of acceptance even at 30 cents to the dollar, the game has more than flaws, it has essential issues, especially when you get to a wharf and you are suddenly surrounded by 3-4jeeps, all with heavy miniguns and around 10 opponents, all triggered by talking to a person about a boat, we see the oldest flaw of all, event triggers, all whilst the army needing that much to stop one person (optionally four for someplayers) has a lacking trust in their own army. 

Conclusion

In the end the games has good and bad sides, there is just that feeling that it still has too many bad sides and the fact that it is at 70% discount does not take that feeling away, that’s just sad (read irritating), I personally believe that Ubisoft should have done a lot better, it angers me because the stage of an open world of this size should have been more inviting, it makes me sad. And yes, I get it, I might be accusing their marketing department on a personal feeling, but where is it stated that Guillemot needed the money desperately enough to let a game be released before it was ready is a much larger nightmare than we would like to consider. Half a dozen games and all of them released before they were ready, that is how I see it, look at CD Projekt Red, they merely keep people waiting until it is ready and the perfection that Witcher 3 brought is still heralded 5 years later, that means something and it is time for Ubisoft to catch on, preferably before they waste every bit of IP they have. 

 

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Feel free to disagree

I stumbled upon an article bashing Ubisoft this morning, it was an article that got published by CCN on January 18th (at https://www.ccn.com/ubisoft-finally-realises-how-bad-most-of-their-games-are/), yet as I was reading it, there was also this nagging feeling that I did not agree and I felt, especially after all the bashing (which was fun mind you) to partially disagree with this article. 

Even as today is all about ‘Ubisoft has acquired a majority stake in Kolibri Games‘, the people behind all the idle click games, we need to see that there are two sides in all this and even as bashing Ubisoft is high entertainment, it should be done for the right reasons.

It starts with the headline ‘Ubisoft Finally Realises How Bad (Most Of) Their Games Are‘, they aren’t that bad, even some of the franchises that are hit with all kinds of issues, I see that their basic problem is the lack of proper testing, in addition to that, I fear that marketing within Ubisoft is too powerful forcing release of software before it is ready (like the day one patches that are 7GB or larger), it is at times a time management issue and as we see that CD Projekt Red is stating that Cyberpunk 2077 is delayed, the gamers do not mind (they are a little upset) that is because they know that the final product of CD Projekt Red delivers, they always have. 

Then we get 

  • Ubisoft’s most recent games have suffered from some pretty bad reception.
  • Their editorial team is getting a much-needed shakeup to help fix the lack of variety in their line-up.

The first is very true, bugs glitches and a total iterative way of playing has that effect on people (Ubisoft buying Kolibri) implies that iterative gameplay will continue for some time. Then we get the second part ‘the lack of variety‘, I cannot agree to that, we can see that there is a repetition within a franchise, yet For Honor, Assassins Creed, Far Cry, Watchdogs and the Division are different. If it is about lack of variety because the Division, Ghost Recon and Rainbow Six are shooting games, then we need to see that this is what buying consumers wants.

When we look at Assassin’s Creed and that in the past there was too much ‘Prince of Persia’ chase sequences than I would to some degree agree and other games have this crossover to some degree. Yet I feel that ‘lack of variety‘ is a bit of a stretch.

This is easiest seen in Far Cry, when Primal came, it was a larger surprise, and yes we know that it was based to some degree on the Far Cry 4 map, but I did not have an issue with that part (and the game is different enough to not notice it to the degree that some claim. The game (as many others) is largely repetitive and preventing that is a big issue, yet in Far Cry Primal getting a bird fly over going ‘Squeek Squeek Squaaa’ and then attacking almost every 5 minutes gets to be tiring real fast (Far Cry 4 had that down the road as well). Such an event was also the case in Far Cry 4. Then there is the collection part, I like to get an almost complete set of achievements, having to empty loot boxes in Assassin’s Creed Syndicate is nice in the beginning when you have nothing, but consider, if this is the Victoria age, would you really find a £50-£500 in almost every chest out and abounds? You gotta be kidding me, I think that there are around 25 per region and there are 13 districts? (I forgot how many there are) but it amounts to running to 300+ chests for the achievement. And lets not forget that this game was an improvement to AC Unity and the Guardian still gave it only 2/5. That is the behemoth that Ubisoft fights, that and to some extent massively shody testing (see Breakpoint for that).

Then we get: “The fact that 100 Parisians basically controlled their entire output for years in the first place seems like a poor move“, I completely disagree with that, Ubisoft has had great achievements (AC2, AC Brotherhood, Far Cry 3, AC Origins, For Honor, Ghost Recon, and Splinter Cell Blacklist), for the most decent games, if only that pesky part ‘testing’ was properly done and a testing division that can override the word of Ubisoft Marketing that would be nice too.

Then we get “Ubisoft games are pretty rubbish these days. You might think that a blanket statement like that needs qualifying. Honestly, their games are all so similar that it barely feels like I’m talking about multiple games. Over the past decade, they’ve managed to homogenize their entire catalog into the same murky paste” in the first they are not rubbish, but they are at times too much below average. then we get the one statement that is true as I see it “they’ve managed to homogenize their entire catalog into the same murky paste“, I believe it comes from a feeling that they imbued during one of their E3 events ‘This game will please everyone!‘, I believe that this expressed feeling is their greatest flaw. If you create a game that pleases all, you end up with a game that pleases no one. I believe that to be true. I can see the brilliance of For Honor, but I personally dislike multiplayer games and their single game campaign was lousy. So it is not a game for me, do I care? No, they had other franchises, and I did recognise the brilliance that For Honor delivered. They also reinvigorated the AC franchise with Origins (and then screwed it up with Odyssey, for me that is), yet Origins is a piece of brilliance and the differences to the previous AC line makes you want to play the game. also the first game in 4K was overwhelming too.

This is a stage we recognise and to see other games become the ‘same murky paste’ is to some degree true when we see Far Cry, Ghost Recon and the Division as one (they are not) but they have too much of each other and that gives a consideration to a larger degree (especially when you have all these franchises). a Franchise needs to distinguish itself from all others, not hand out to each other. That is perhaps the larger flaw at Ubisoft, iteration never goes anywhere, it merely holds you in place. 

Personally I agree with “While we’re at it maybe follow Sony’s lead and do a game without any online elements either“, although for the most many games allow for that, you do not need to play AC online (unless you want 100% achievements), in Black Flag I never needed the online element, but for the blue chests it was essential, I had mixed feelings but not one of pure negativity. However, having strangers jump into my game of Watchdogs 2 and screwing up my stealth part by shooting all the cops in the neighbourhood is something I could have done without.

I am not certain whether shaking their editorial team fixes things, As I stated, it is the testing that is a larger problem and even as we accept that the editorial team will come up with the story and adjusts the programmers perception, the issue of repetition needs to be adjusted as well, I believe that too many fans have complained about those parts in the past, as such I hope Ubisoft listens. We see Watchdogs:Legion and what we got to see is a huge step in another direction, yet that is optionally not a bad thing, I merely hope that it gets properly tested and in the second part, I hope that Marketing does not push it before it is ready, a hype on a flawed game is a lot worse then an early hype on a delayed game for all the right reasons. CD Project RED showed us that part.

If Ubisoft does go under, it is by embracing the flaws they had and not taking a larger effort in fixing things, when we consider that the AC III, AC Black Flag, AC Unity, and AC Syndicate have certain issues that repeated over the games (like the AI, the control glitches you face and the repetitiveness) all whilst there was no real fix until AC Origin, we see a much larger failing and I have always stated that it was on the desk of Yves Guillemot (that is why he gets the big bucks).

And AC is only one of a few franchises that had issues. And for a gamer I have the weirdest mindset, when I see a 60% game that could have been an easy 80%+ game by fixing the issues I feel sad, because if I saw it, the bigger wigs at Ubisoft saw it too and they did not speak out when they could. It was a sad state of affairs!

So as such, Ubisoft might be in a predicament, yet I had some issues with the CCN article and I just could not resist taking it into a corner and bashing it a little.

 

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Changing the headline

It started (for me) around 6 hours ago when Emma Boyle at Techradar gave us ‘Ubisoft is aiming to create more unique games with an editorial shake up‘, which sounds nice, yet the initial problem for Ubisoft will be to make proper games, an initial essential requirement. As I see it, Ubioft lost their edge and now they are using PR and marketing to make it into ‘Ubisoft is aiming to create more unique games with an editorial shake up‘ (at https://www.techradar.com/au/news/ubisoft-is-aiming-to-create-more-unique-games-with-an-editorial-shake-up), proper games are made not merely by innovative designers and thinkers, but it requires a team of methological thinkers to properly test the game, they need a few wild cards to make sure that ‘stupid choices’ are optionally caught. We are now all about the results of The Division 2 and Ghost Recon Breakpoint, yet the fuming disasters of Assassins Creed Unity are still not forgotten. All whilst Far Cry 4 was more of the same (not a flaw and not the worst idea), yet the short sighted impact of Ubisoft needs to be seen where the bungle of a title is best prevented, at the very top (Yves Guillemot). I have had my issues with Yves Guillemot, yet he does have a proper business instinct and that is something that Ubisoft needs as well. The eyes are now all on Watchdogs: Legion which is approaching release and the idea, concept and work on it is pretty amazing. It takes Watchdogs in another dimension, one that we have not seen before (as far as I know) and it could make way for an entirely new Cyberpunk line. Yet the story is merely one part, it is the release and the initial feel that matters and to be honest, with previous blunders, I would feel more relaxed if they delay it to fix things BEFOREHAND, than give us some lame excuse afterwards, because that is marketing for you, get the money first. 

Consider the fact that I was able to initially ‘design’ a new Watch Dogs 3 (playing in Okinawa) in less than 8 hours, setting the initial stage for close to 50-100 hours of gameplay and with the setting of optionally 4 storylines, all set in hypermodern (slightly futuristic) Japan. Each of the storylines was different and a separate play through of the city with other approach options. Taking lessons from past successes and failures to give the people a new experience. And I got there by ignoring the storyline and setting a free roam stage where you could fall into choices. 

Yet Polygon gives on the 17th (at https://www.polygon.com/2020/1/17/21071083/ubisoft-editorial-team-changes-paris-serge-hascoet-yves-guillemot) ‘With all its games looking the same, Ubisoft shakes up its editorial team‘, there we see the words of CEO Yves Guillemot “blamed on a lack of differentiation in consumers’ minds“, it is actually simpler than that, when you try to build game that pleases all, you end up with a product that pleases none, as I see it, it is really that simple. And as I personally see it, the quote: “Ubisoft chief creative officer Serge Hascoet will remain in charge of Ubisoft’s editorial group, but that he will be given more subordinates and they will be given more autonomy, so that he is able lead from a broader perspective rather than directing individual projects himself” sounds nice, but will it work out that way? It is merely internal marketing of another kind (I am not laying blame on Serge Hascoet). Ubisoft is in a difficult place and this preemptive setting is merely good for the stage if Watch Dogs: Legion misses out too much, if this goes sideways (which I will not initially expect), the value of Ubisoft will diminish 30%-60%, which would scare the shareholders to no degree.

That this is all marketing (to some point) is seen with: “Guillemot said Breakpoint had “been strongly rejected by a significant portion of the community” and that it “did not come in with enough differentiation factors, which prevented the game’s intrinsic qualities from standing out.”“, how about the fact that it was littered with bugs? There is a reason why people are happy to wait 12-20 weeks and pick up the game for 75% less, bugs are a main reason. The lack of quality has driven the massive day one release buy to a soft interesting week 5 or later buy. You can only remain with a setting of special editions with optional additions when you do something about the quality, and that had remained absent. As such I hope that the Watch Dogs: Legion delay is also so that it can be properly tested. I also oppose to some degree the statement “the company needed to leave more time between the launches of its live service games so that they aren’t cannibalizing one another’s interest and audience“, yet too many games at the same time is an issue, but it is not merely about Ubisoft, the game designers ALL want to capture the audience, even as they all know that the consumer in this day and age can only afford one new game, the stage is still set to getting them all. So as we then get into comparing Breakpoint against Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, we saw how Activision kicked the hell and nearly all life out of Breakpoint, that danger would have been a lot less if it had been properly tested. Activision also took a stand, as we take notice of “Modern Warfare’s single-player campaign focuses on realism and feature tactically-based moral choices whereupon the player is evaluated and assigned a score at the end of each level” (source: GamesRadar). Making of forcing a choice is not debilitating, bad testing is, that simple truth hit Breakpoint at least twice over, and as such if became the failure it is (as I personally see it). In all this, the power of better testing will enable ALL games from Ubisoft and making sure that the release date is not what marketing it makes out to be, but when development states that it is ready is a second part in all this. They forget that in the end it is the gamer who wants it and as CD Projekt Red has proven twice over, it comes when it is ready, and as I see it their 93% rating proves them right, which opposes 57% from Breakpoint and it sets a different precedent, it makes the gamers wonder if Ubisoft is still a AAA developer, a question they never really asked before, as I see it Watch Dogs: Legion will push that question to a larger degree in a much larger population making the 60% loss more and more direct, in this I am trying to remain an optimist, the losses could be larger.

The clear message becomes, that Ubisoft better get it right with Watchdogs, if that fails several franchises could be up for grabs for very little, because that is also the curse of shareholders, they will sell, as long as they break even in the deal and for now, that is not the case.

I for one would be a little sad, Ubisoft is a French company, to see a non American (or Japanese) company be this successful was an interesting side, it opened others to the idea that good games did not need come from either two countries (CD Projekt Red also proved that) in all, France has too much on the anvil and they could win and remain or lose a lot, it is not a great place to be, but the two elements I gave out could limit losses to some degree and there is no fault or damage to shift a release date, that is just junk others thrown into the mix. 

And it is not over for Ubisoft, as we see how top title after top title is making an impact on Nintendo Switch, there is a lot from Ubisoft that does have a massive following and they could again. Consider FarCry III on Switch, and even as some are already on Switch, they were not the greatest Assassins Creed games (I still do not regard Assassins Creed IV an AC game). More important, as we see Witcher III on Nintendo, where is AC Origins? It was a masterpiece, could that not be transferred? It is easy to look at transfers, but it is also the cheapest way to repair a software house (and it optionally gives low cost and high yield revenue). In addition the setting where a games might take up to 100 hours, yet the main story take no more than 20 hours, making it an unbalanced equation. Set that against a speed run on Witcher 3, which is not my favourite game mode by the way, taking a player no less than 25 hours. As such we should take notice that there is an optional shortfal in some Ubisoft games (not in AC Origins, or AC Odyssey though), as such there is a lot more that Ubisoft can do, especially in Watch Dogs: Legion and as I personally see it, they better do that BEFORE the game is released, not as some lame DLC excuse (free or not). All this is coming to roost at Ubisoft even before that new Microsoft contraption and the Sony PS5 are released. It shows just how much Ubisoft needs to get fixed and not in a marketing way. They actually remained in the game longer than I anticipated, but as far as I (and others) can tell, they are running out of options, so whether we see an obituary of Ubisoft in the coming year, or a revitalisation is up to the big chair, the quality of games is not something they can short change the gamer on again, they have done that too often (as I personally see it) and the entire “but we fixed it” will not hold water, not this time, there are too many competitors at present.

Their first-person shooter is up against Activision (80%), their RPGs are up against Guerrilla Games  (90%) and CD Projekt Red (92%), and several other games are up against Santa Monica Studio (94%). It goes on and Ubisoft needs to see that they are not alone and that others are winning the gamer share that Ubisoft once had, it is the direct result of sub-standard delivery on quality all that whilst we see that there is no other group that is so into gossip like gamers, mistakes like this become the setting of failure within hours of day one sales and there is a larger group no longer running out on day one, they are largely becoming week 2 buyers (at best)  when it comes to Ubisoft games, as I personally see it, when a gamer gets to spend their cash once on a new game twice a year, that new game better be really good. 

That is the setting that Ubisoft faces and marketing will not save them this time. As to what the new headline should be, I leave that up to the reviewers who took over from me, I looked at games for 13 years, I gave a view of games to two generations and even as I still love games, it had become time (in 2000) for others to take over, yet I never stopped looking at games with a critical eye (yet enjoying them became my number one priority). No matter what story you see published, Guillemot must be realising that his time is over, I will admit that even as For Honor was never my cup of tea, it was unique and amazing as a title, even as it was a multiplayer title, Ubisoft outdid themselves that time around. I recognise that there are plenty of games that are not my cuppa tea, yet that does not stop me from admiring excellence, for Honor delivered, and they are not alone. 

As I stated, changing the headline would give us the real issue and I think the headline should be ‘If we had only given more time to testing out product‘, it might end up being a lousy obituary, but the truth tends to be that, lousy and hard hitting. In the end, we will need to wait until later (after Q2) 2020 to see where Ubisoft is going and what the optional gamer will buy from that point onwards. Yet this is all happening whilst some of the others are solely focussed on getting their one games out. So no matter how we personally see it, Ubisoft is in a vice and they basically put themselves there, considering that AC Origins was a 2017 release. When you get articles on ‘Here are the best (worst) <insert title> bugs‘, you have an actual problem and with 2 years of bugged titles, something should have been done a long time ago, especially as I personally see it that this issue has been around since 2012 to an increasing degree (I will abstain from the ‘to a larger degree’) expression. I understand that NO GAME is absent of bugs, Ubisoft merely has too many of them and for the most they are all over the web and YouTube, so it is not merely my view, as per illustration have a look at the funny parts (at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ykcA3yKPolY), it is merely the tip of the iceberg and we all know what happened to the Titanic when they wanted their drinks on the rocks.

 

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And the laurels go to

It is that time of the year, with 13 days to go and no new titles in sight it is time to look at what I consider to be the best games of 2019. This year I particularly look at value, graphics, sound and gameplay still matter, yet in the past value was underrated, in my mind the re-release of Tomb Raider is still the cause of this, a game that is truly a Tomb Raider game, yet way too short, the graphics the sound it was all sublime, yet I am not paying $99 for a game I finish in under 10 hours in hard mode, that is just not on. The makers made a massive miscalculation there, whilst the feel of the game was great. As such value needs to be a massive factor nowadays, it is also the reason why I never touched any of the sequels.

Resident Evil 2 (Remake)

I had a few issues with adding this title, I played the original on the (very first) Sony Playstation, as such I wondered whether it should be allowed to go in, yet the changes in the game, setting up barricades, having limited resources and the fact that you always need to look behind you made a jittery boy out of me, I believe that some puzzles were easier (to get into), but the overall need in the game makes it a Resident Evil Plus edition, it rips your nerves whilst you play, and I personally advise you not to play that in a dark room, especially if you brothers and sisters in the house playing a game of let’s give that player a heart attack, you will piss your pants (believe me you will). The atmosphere is coming with an attached level of graphics and decent music, the sounds are amazing (or awful pending on your point of stress). Capcom outdid itself when it decided to re-release the original Resident Evil 2, you can play as either Clair Redfield or Leon Kennedy and they are basically two games, there are some changes and the two issues that bothered me the most is limit of ammo and managing your inventory, which by the way is the central issue in survival, so it works out nicely for all you survival fans. Considering that this is a remake of a 20 year old game made me realise how perfect the makers had the game in the old days and I never appreciated it to that degree, even as I gave it one of the highest scores in those days. Resident Evil 2 (remake) is pretty much a must on every PS4 (pro), if you like the genre, if not keeping it around to give your dad a try into gaming (and a heart attack) is a solid second reason. 

Sekiro: Shadows die twice

I had a go when it came out and I loved it, yet budget reasons made me leave it off my ownership list, now that the game has been made a GOTY title it becomes an uppassable need to own, the graphics are great yet it feels very non-western, crouch walking in the shrubs gives it stealth and the setting where we attack from behind also gives the edge to the fight, I like the entire stealth part, yet the idea that I was 50% above the shrubs whilst no guard saw me was a little unsettling, the game is actually more than that, the gameplay is very much intuitive and makes for a much better experience, there is also the feeling that I missed a few things on every level IO played and comparing that to time played gives rise that value is well set. The fights themselves from the very first level give rise to a larger stage where the button mashers will not live long, not even after the second attempt make the game more testing and keeps it closer to a Bloodbyrne experience, but let me tell you now not to compare them, the same with Nioh, they are all set around a tactical approach and Sekiro fits in there nicel, so those who loved any of those games will see a fight style they love, you are at times (quite often) attacked, and even whilst you can not avoid them, you can dodge them and you will have to if you want to stay alive, the game relies on counter attacks and second actions to give you the upper hand, a stage I found refreshing compared to Nioh and Bloodborne, Sekiro feels more tactical that way, the choices you make have impact, the considerate and cautious fighter tends to win, seeking out WHEN you make your move is important and Sekiro has gone to great lengths to make it close to utterly perfect, so good luck finding some AI flaw and exploit it. Breaking the oppositions posture and position tend to be winning choices and there are several bosses, all very different in how they attack, each a puzzle in its own right. Oh and it’s important not to lose your focus in this game, I did so once (my phone rang), that one second was enough to get killed, Sekiro is unforgiving that way and for me that was half the appeal. This game is near perfect and one hell of a journey (as far as I got). 

The outer worlds

I am in my heart an RPG lover, I never made any secret of that and this game delivers. I am not making any attempt to hide my discomfort regarding that one person who made a 12 minute YouTube on how to get the game done in that time, any person who sees that as a solution is not really an RPG lover, it is like running all over No Man’s Sky, a real RPG lover looks at where he is and takes in the views he /she is offered and the Outer Worlds does not disappoint, I personally believe that too many views are colour tainted or look too non-terran for the impact and that is a little sad, but in the story it all makes sense. I did like the steampunk feel the game had, it was fun to be in that world (too many RPG’s stay away from the steampunk vibe). The game has humour, good looks and decent ploys in the game, there are often more than two actions you can take and even as you forget option number three, it could be the one placing you in best position. Important is that this comes from the makers of Fallout: New Vegas and their fingers are on the button often, you see and feel that yet what you often forget is that this is not a main development house, a B-level maker that is giving you a AAA game that is much better than a house like Ubisoft has given us in the last few years. That part matters, because when we see graphics, value, sound, music and gameplay, we see that Outer Worlds passed a test unlike any, I regard it as a beautiful game, I personally like the fact that the game adjusts and appreciates the stealthy player (me) and there were some nice benefits there, overall the Outer worlds is a good game for RPG fanatics and actually a decent game for those who never dabbled in RPG, the learning curve is good that way and the game seems to like all kinds of gameplay. 

Those are the three titles for 2019 hat I found worthy of being a game of the year, I will say here that I have not looked at Death Stranding yet (budget), and there are a few more titles out there, as some papers give you a list of 20, I personally do not regard some as they were either not on console, or I merely looked past them, these three titles are well above board and well above gaming standards to stand out. Even when we look at last year we see a small drop in new titles, I get that, there is every chance that the large houses are focussing on the two new consoles, apart from Ubisoft releasing such a disappointing game, a AAA releases an actual bad game, the 40% rating that it got is a specific one, yet there was also a 3/10 and metacritic had a mere 55/100, Ubisoft had dropped the ball to THAT degree. The fact that this game is supposed to have actual DLC is laughingly inappropriate, it shows that there is a new wave of gaming required and I hope that some of the Indie developers take up that challenge. 

Nintendo has always been the odd duck out, yet they gave us two/three games that should be in this list. 

Pokemon Sword/Shield

Pokemon Shield/Sword are the first two. For anyone that has played a Pokemon game there is a joy of changes and adaptations coming their way, the Switch was pretty much maximised for that experience. using the switch to lob balls at the Pokemon, the graphics look larger and the 3D view we see make for a much larger experience and all that whilst the game did not change its core. Now as we see the pokemons in the grass and the environment, we can avoid random fights, we see what is coming our way and we can search for the specific Pokemon in the location, a massive plus, the entire region you see in 3D is still a lot larger than before, so we have more to travel, the fights are like the Gamecube Colosseum had, which is really nice, all that and new pokemons too? Yup, so there is a lot to look forward to, the entire experience made it more fun to play, the initial feeling that we get when we try another Pokemon game (like Ruby in 3DS) was not here, the look and the game was different enough to feel invigorated to play this game, from the very beginning this feeling comes across the experienced pokemon player, so there is that to look forward too. I found the overall look and feel comforting and there is no beating the value of a Pokemon game, even as some might be able to finish the game in 30-40 hours, we see that these people are running to the finish line missing the point that every Pokemon game has had since I started on the Gameboy Advance (sapphire), the game has more than a mere quest and missing out on any side quest because it is not the main quest means that you limit your options and miss approximately 40% of the game. I was especially surprised on the amount of Pokemon’s I had never seen before. Yet another point of consideration to get either of these games. In light of all the enhancements that this game has, it is an absolute must for anyone with a Switch.

Luigi Mansion 3

Another must for the Switch players (and my persoal favourite of the year) and here Nintendo does not (has never) disappointed its players when it comes to sequels, here humour takes a large limelight in this game and even if it does not play in a mansion (its a hotel), even as I missed the second game, I did get the original one the Gamecube and this game is a lot (really a lot) larger, as well as a much larger combination of puzzles and other options once you use a person named Gooigi, the man is too much of a scaredy cat to be a ghostbuster and still this game is the best ghostbusting game I ever saw, the approach to humour in this game is often practical and is without a doubt a setting where this could be the funniest game that Nintendo ever released (crazy bunnies eat your heart out). It is without any doubt in my ghost stricken heart that this is an absolute must for any Switch owner, and I almost forgot about the graphics, they are good, above good. It is like playing a pixar animation game, the switch outdoes an Xbox in no uncertain ways, each floor having a theme look on it and the game took it to a new level, basically a level you have never seen before in this kind of game. In addition the setting where it does not take you to THE next floor, but from level one you go to level 5 for example gives it a nonlinear feel and there is more to find, so like the Mario odyssey game you will revisit places. If there is one part that I missed is the option to upgrade my vacuum ghost sucker. Overall this is an amazing achievement every time I think of this game I want to run home to play it for an hour or so, that level of addiction in gaming is one I have not felt for a long time and needs to be accentuated as well. Nintendo still knows what makes us gamers tick and they show it.

There are two sides to all this, there was no intent, let’s be clear about this, yet the titles I illuminated on consoles have two PS exclusives and the Nintendo exclusives are there too, with this in mind, we see that Microsoft seemingly stayed away from all this, now there might be a clear reason as they are now in the final year before their next console comes out and there is every chance that they want to rule it (which is fair enough) and whether that is the actual reason is not for me to say, but it seems that 2019 was ruled by Nintendo and Sony, which is partially sad and partially just the way it seems to be. Yet overall 2019 was not a great year for gaming, yes there were 5 great games, there was also Jedi: Fallen order and Call of Duty Modern Warfare, which is an alternative that kicks Breakpoints ass. I did no consider either as best game yet they are not bad games and worth consideration, especially when you are a Star Wars fan. I found 2019 to be a little disappointing when it comes to gaming, I accept it as the two new consoles are now a year away and it implies that both Sony and Microsoft are taking the new consoles serious, which implies that release day games on either should be interesting. 

What was your choice in gaming in 2019?

 

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In further news

Yes, I used a title that applies to the next two stories, more apt, I am reflecting on a few matters, after a week of intense sickness (I survived for the weirdest of reasons) it is time to reflect on a few matters. The first is in gaming. You see Forbes is not known as an insider in games, but they do get it right most of the time, this time however they decided to wield a sledgehammer when they gave verdict on Ubisoft’s Breakpoint. With “I have seen Breakpoint, a just-released fall game, listed at anywhere from $30-35 in many Black Friday sales, but what these deals do not tell you is that this is one of the worst major releases of the year and is probably not worth picking up even at a 50% discount. Breakpoint has a 57 on Metacritic, when most big games these days score between a 75 and 85, and it’s been such a disaster for Ubisoft that the company pretty much delayed its entire slate of new releases for a while in order to make sure they didn’t have another repeat disaster like this one. If your video game release knowledge is limited, just know that despite the box art, this is not a replacement for Call of Duty, and should be avoided at all costs“, so not only is it a disaster as a release, the fact that the game scored 57 whilst anything up to 80 tends to reflect as passable, it ended up lower than that, a lot lower. News keeps on hitting the wires ‘Ghost Recon Breakpoint makes Paid content free‘, ‘Ghost Recon Breakpoint players want AI teammates put in ASAP, want tiered loot and The Division 2-esque gear score stripped out soon‘, more and more news showing massive let downs and let downs that were programmed into the system, all whilst the system itself was flawed. I still like the issue that within a bunker the outside light is better than when you were outside the bunker. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6YmB1tJ-MhM) at 8:30 gives you an example and it is not the only one. Issues that could have been prevented to some degree by having it tested, an option that Ubisoft seems to feel an aversion to. Yet the larger issue remain in play, the fact that a game of this size and with the positivity they had created is now under fire, all whilst a player like Forbes, even in a moment where the commerce gives great discounts we see the advice not to buy, that is more than a coffin nail, that is the stage where a game ends for a game, it also needs to fit the bill that Breakpoint is the first game that is no longer considered to be a AAA game, the latter part will obviousle not find support (within Ubisoft) for te mere reason that as a story and backfeed to investors it would be optional suicide for Ubisoft to make such a move, but there it is, in light of what ailes Breakpoint and what needs to be done to breakpoint, as well as a score of only 57, this can not now or ever be regarded as an AAA title. Such is life.

From make believe war, to an actual aftermath

Yes, when we are sick and tired of setting the stage towards virtual war, we should take a moment to watch the real deal. The Guardian yesterday (at https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/dec/01/failure-to-end-civil-war-in-yemen-now-could-cost-29bn) gave us the small inkling in the shape of ‘Failure to end civil war in Yemen now could cost $29bn‘, I particularly like the application of ‘now could cost‘, yes after months of ‘the worst humanitarian crisis‘, ‘the humanitarian disaster in war-torn Yemen was getting worse‘, and these are november quotes, the same quotes have been dropping into the newspapers on a global scale for well over 6 months, some go back a year and at no point did we get additional news that it was getting worse. The accusatin go back even more but the guardian does something stupid (this time around). They add to this with “The warnings are partly directed at Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates” the act is stupid because politicians all over the world have been instrumental in continuing this war. Instead of choosing sides they set a stage where hindrance to Saudi Arabia was given at every turn, prolonging the Houthi terrorist offensive. At some point the Guardian decides to quote David Miliband, president of the IRC and former foreign secretary. Yet the truth of the matter is that undecided actions and prolongation was the coffin nail to the event. And the article does something even worse, it takes events and does somthing stupid, it ignores the support that houthi forces have had from Iran, the most devastating issue prolonging this war is ignored by the writers of this article and by people like David Miliband, Iran had the bigger part to play and is left on the table, like they were an influence that was dabatable or in dispute, all whilst for well over 18 months there was no doubt of their involvement, as well as the involvement of Hezbolah, yes two elements that prolonged the entire war by well over 150% and they end up not being mentioned. So as we (again) see the same materials that we saw 6-12 months ago “Houthi rebels appear to be ignoring key elements of the ceasefire agreement in the Red Sea port of Hodeidah and the WFP is battling to maintain control over the distribution of food from the rebels“, my message to David Miliband, president of the IRC and former foreign secretary would be “Stop being a wanking twat and give the people the lowdown on the failures here, which includes Iran and Hezbolah“, the issues in Yemen are not stopped, until the Houthi forces are dealt with this will continue, by hindring the Saudi and UAE forces, whilst at the same time remaining silent on Hezbollah and Iran is the largest fuck up we have ever seen in politics.

So here is the word of the day, in part it was virtual, but we added some real life famine just for jollies, there is a balance in the universe. Because the world is a seesaw and we all get to play, it merely matters on what is seen as the seesaw and which problem is the larger one, in that game perception is everything.

 

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Can you figure it out?

Let’s play a game, let’s play the game called ‘Can you Figure it out?‘ In this case a very numbers worthy game has been called to attention twice before, so let’s have a look especially with Black Friday coming up (in about 4 weeks). Let’s play it shall we?

Breakpoint, normal PS4 edition is $37.88

Breakpoint, Steelbox Gold edition XB1 $95.68

Breakpoint, Gold edition PS4 $59.56

Breakpoint, normal edition XB1 $62.77

Breakpoint, XB1 digital code $59.99

 

Can you figure out the 5 prices? And they all come from the same vendor, Amazon! This is a game that had the enormous flaws, the design weaknesses and the discussion issues, Having two bare prices would have been enough, one for XB1, one for PS4, although they too should have been driven across the fold, and what is that about a code for downloading? Why is it priced differently? OK, that latter part is fair enough I think, yet it shows just how unremarkable the Microsoft download is. A game that should be 100% prices until the end of the year no longer is and it will be getting worse up to Black Friday, now 4 weeks away.

I expect Breakpoint to go down a few notches in price, the initial price setting has become that much of a debate, with Ubisoft it has become a buyers’ market, they decided not to learn. Then there are the lightning errors, to see through the window of a bunker has a better light differential, then to just be outside. There are a few more that I noticed, but there could be an alternative approach to events, so I keep my cool.

However, one of the posters on YouTube gave an interesting view (for PC) that he had to lower the resolution to 1080p to deal with the performance of the game, so this game might not be actually playable (on any decent resolution) on anything but a PS Pro, or a Xbox X version (mere speculation by yours truly).

And still, beyond all the facades, beyond all the versions and mapping issues, this as well as the later far cry versions are as close as a playable version of Midwinter as this is going to be. Yes, for some that title is a revelation, but it is what it amounts too, a version that is as close to as the original in a version that is as crazy as possible. Yet in all its shape and all its flaws it is what the player is willing to pay for it, that is the game that Ubisoft invited, that is what ‘failed to complete‘ enticed. An AI that is esteeming below what an AI should offer, and that is merely in game vision, apart from that the colliding parts of one person against simple events like a barricade, or a wall.

In the end, the game that should have been a whopping 75%-90% was merely a 56% by metacritic; PC Gamer (probably because of the resolution issue) gave it a mere 40%, that is the consequence of not properly testing a game before release, if the entire Call of Duty path is part of their decision, the entire matter becomes a larger hoax. And that is not even the largest issue, the larger issue is that we stopped anticipating a 85%-95% game from Ubisoft, so any Ubisoft game will have a lower expectation, from the lower starts of -10% to a maximum of -15% away from the 100% of a near perfect game should be regarded as. That is what they are now fighting for, with Watchdogs: Legion being a game with a rating no more than 70%-85%, the revenue that it should promise will abstain, people will wait for the 50% discount, that is what Ubisoft will be fighting. The eternal fight against average, in case of Ubisoft it will be most likely a rage against average and avarice. For a lot of ‘fans’ it is a rather large problem, I was looking forward to Legion, so the anticipation of that game being within certain levels (an 80%+ game) is rather important and I am considering that Ubisoft will try to make it a game that is over 75%, the problem is that to understand this slide of quality is to expect us to figure out what Yves Guillemot will do.

No matter what their decision will be, it will be out of our hands and in the hands of a reacting population of gamers that have had enough and that is the part that is still willing to consider Ubisoft and do not go directly to Activision’s Call of Duty.

From this point until the end of the year will be intense for Ubisoft, but they did this to themselves, no one can tell us any different on that.

 

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The news was there, but was it?

It seems that Ubisoft made some noise in the last 12 hours and that has come across as ‘Fixing it news’, the news will not let up around it today, so it is only fair that I take a look at it. Polygon brings us the latest one hour ago stating: “the developer announced a long-term plan to fix the game’s biggest issues. Those updates include previously announced features, like the addition of AI teammates, plus an overhaul of the game’s survival elements that will deliver a “more radical and immersive version of Ghost Recon Breakpoint.”” I see this translated into “there is a long-term plan to fix the game’s biggest issues. like the addition of AI teammates, plus an overhaul of the game’s survival elements that will deliver a “more radical version of Ghost Recon Breakpoint.”” It means that Breakpoint will become Breakpoint minus one. A fun response was “One of the key elements of our vision for Ghost Recon is to immerse our fans in a gritty and authentic military experience,” so please tell me, how do we level soldiers to 150 in the war theatre? How does a sniper rifle learn to ‘negate armour‘? Or perhaps the funniest part in this, is the response ‘authentic military experience‘ whilst weapons are set to levels? For example, I noticed the TAC 50 to have .338 ammo, the actual Mac Millan TAC50 has an effective firing range of 1,800 meters and at 11.8 Kg it is a heavy fucker, I prefer most .338 as they weigh less, also ammunition will become a weight issue, so there better be a nice setting for me to use the TAC50, yes it has a .50 bullet, but consider the 17 KG (Weapon +2 additional clips) it will be a drag on your mobility, Oh and the version in the game has a suppressor (they be bulky too). So in all this the response ‘authentic military experience‘ is just too perky to ignore.

And that is only the sniper rifles looked at. If we weigh the entire matter on available weapons, it becomes a rather hectic issue. Then there are the extract a person mission, who is firing at you, which could make sense, but how to disable the person. Watching a YouTube where shooting a person in the leg does not hinder (yes I said ‘does not’) his mobility. So what about ‘authentic military experience‘ in that case? I saw people getting hit in the chest and they kept on walking, even with a vest that is not as authentic as ‘authentic military experience‘ is likely to give you.

We get a few more items to look at when we look at venture beat (at https://venturebeat.com/2019/10/28/ghost-recon-breakpoint-prepares-to-recover-from-rough-launch/), there we get to see “The publisher released a post today detailing Breakpoint’s future. This includes fixing the game’s bugs, post-release content, and fixing the in-game economy.” Its the ‘in-game economy‘ that is the larger smirk (I guess), a soldier has no economy, a soldier has value. Now this is a game, and I get that, so we need to allow for a larger field of view. So what gives? Acquired Weapons sales? Consider having to drag weapons for sales, and perhaps I am looking at it all wrong, perhaps your value goes up by the damage you post to enemies. The bugs? Well they need addressing and I saw a few whoppers in the game, but I am distancing myself from that as I am unaware with the versions some were playing on, it could be beta materials, yet the fact that idle standing ignored the walls of a building is not a good thing, also slamming your weapon in to a wall tends to be rather stupid on a few levels.

If I had to grasp the futility of Ubisoft, then it would be that in the first they were not ready, some of the things I saw should have been alpha or beta fixed, some of the issues should not be appearing at all, the entire weapon caliber I noticed whilst the video made no mention of it at all, could be wiped away, yet if it alters perception due to ammo needed and the carrying weight of additional ammo is also incorrect, it is a larger issue, all this seemed to have been part of the fight because of Activisions Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, So the blundered twice, once in regards to a game that is poorly placed against someone who was better and better prepared, it is not the only time Ubisoft made this mistake, but I feel certain that because of the costs involved it is unlikely to be repeated. No one can waste millions like this and not get to get their hearts handed to them, fair is fair.

 

 

 

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