Tag Archives: Heroes

The path overlooked

Yes, we all overlook paths, options of choice, you, me, we all do it. It has nothing to do with intent. Most of the time we forgot that the option was there. Yet this time around it becomes an essential part, you see 2021 will offer a larger stage, a stage where Microsoft has an advantage (Bethesda, Bioware, EA), they might be in denial and some will make carefully phrased denials or reconsiderations with last November “PS5 will still get Bethesda games — but they’ll be ‘first or better’ on Xbox”, now, the first part is fine, Microsoft paid $7,500,000,000 for that privilege, it is the ‘or better’ part that I have a problem with, as such I set out and designed (conceptual design) of a new RPG to be used freely by Sony in previous blogs, but that is not enough. There is every indication that Mass Effect might not make it to PS5 either and that too is fair, it is a Microsoft stage and I worry, because Mass Effect remastered will contain Mass Effect 2, which is pretty much one of the best games in history, anyone denying that is nuts. So I need to have to be creative and set the stage for Sony too. Now, Sony has its own stage of exclusives and they are way good, but to set the stage that an independent software house can freely use for a PS5 exclusive is not the worst idea, I am a writer, not a game programmer. Intelligence and business intelligence yes, games no, I am a simple guy (to some extent). 

As such I started to work and after half a dozen ideas (that looked too much like something that existed already), and after I had set the stage of a completely redesigned Murder on the Zinderneuf (optionally now with a different title) and a completely new approach to Seven Cities of Gold, I found the setting I forgot about (all whilst I also made an approach towards Fallout Shelter, yet not the same game, but now set on a space station called Babylon 5) I found the solution in this in an approach taking a coin from the TV series Smallville. Yet this is not a game about Superman, Superboy or Tom Welling. Consider a city, I would say Any city and perhaps that is apt, you see there will be 4 towns, the size of Lancaster, PA. In these towns (you get one randomly assigned at the start of the game). We have a town with 12,000-18,000 NPC’s, we will also have events that impact the town (not unlike the TV series Haven), but not the same, anyhow, you start as a boy (or girl) as a sophomore and you will have abilities and there you can make a directional choice. But here the complication starts, the powers you have have limitations, they drain after use and take almost a full day to recharge, yet as you use a power, you make the power stronger and as such it can be used faster (up to 3 times a day) and as you use one power new options will evolve. 

SO you need to be wise in its use and also consider the option of being clever and find another solution. This will not make it easy, but that is the challenge, get to the end of high school and win all challenges. We have seen a partial setting in Buffy, Angel and Smallville, but no one considered to make a game out of it. 

So why will it work?
I believe it will work as the game maker needs to evolve the NPC part of the game way beyond Ubisoft ever achieved to do so. You need to keep track of up to 18,000 people and their family, if one person will not make it, it will affect at least a dozen people and as you fail to save people, there is a chance that the police will start to investigate you as an optional criminal. 

It sets a new stage where you need to plan your steps ahead, it is no longer fly by the seat of your pants, it becomes fly by wire and you are the Boeing 737, as far as I can tell, it has never been done before and if the makers pulls it off, it is the setting for an almost legendary achievement. And let’s face it, these series have had its settings of antagonists, in this we get the setting that we make some of these antagonists heroes. Some of them have been unfortunately in that regard.  A nice example is Sandman (Spiderman), Alicia Baker (Smallville), Amy Madison (Buffy), Sylar (Heroes), the list goes on and on and no one considered to set this approach of abilities in another frame and not merely there, there are a few more settings. 

Why this path?
Well, we can have another run through the story games like there are so many, but games like Spiderman (PS4, PS5) are successful, not merely because they are perfect, but because they offer choice, we get to go into the game in whatever direction we want to take it. We know that at times we need to follow the main story, but the large stage of freedom is why these games are so adored and replayed. We never considered to take that stage and evolve it. Yet we must also see the path of originality, which is why I merely gave examples. I saw ‘inFAMOUS Second Son’ as an average game, not because of the start, the start is pretty fantastic, a smoke ability? The issue becomes that the game based in Seattle becomes linear way too soon, so as you mark of all the missions per district, as you clean up each segment, you end up with enough power-points to immediately upgrade whatever power you unlock, the stage of choice is great, but always per district and always linear, that is why it is not a great game, but a good game, and the concrete power at the end is not used to the larger stage. Laser power is too powerful. All stages of near hits, but still an original game. A 90%+ game that ended being a mere 80% game, such a shame, such a waste. In my mind I am setting  stage that avoids that, and a stage where the town becomes the sandbox and the NPC’s are the triggers that starts missions (optionally puzzle inclined), and as I do this, I am wondering what happens when we remaster Soul Reaver to a new stage, enlarged, interacted and also take away the weakness the first one had (repetitive and a little shallow). Sony has great IP, I wonder who was sitting and considering what they hd only to fall into the same trap Microsoft is in (it needs to be new, it needs to be cool), and all that time, Sony has access to IP 20 years old that was regarded as an original game. It needs work, no one denies that, but it is something Microsoft does not have, as such we need to consider it, because the more exclusive games, the less chance Microsoft has and we need to acknowledge that the Bethesda deal gives them an advantage, not enough, but why give them that much leeway in the first place?

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Events that matter

A small first line, I started writing this roughly 20 minutes after the news David Bowie had passed away, the story remains the same, but I added a few things, so at times the timeline reads a little awkward, my apologies for that!

We can take a look at so many things, first there is ‘Making a murderer’, the Netflix show that is creating larger and larger waves. In addition, we see that the State of Wisconsin is keeping access hard. Even though court records should be available, even as today’s world allows for instant creation of PDF files, one Australian woman who requested all documents can do so for the mere $6000. Yes, six thousand dollars. The Wisconsin office has one person full time assigned to this. Can anyone explain why those records are so hard to be gotten at?

It only fuels organisations like the innocence project and this mess is not going away any day soon.

We could take a look at how the UK Watchdog is going soft on banks, which is not even close to the truth. The fact that PwC seems to have been granted support in keeping its tainted name out of nearly all publications and was allowed to keep a low profile is a mystery that will not be solved any day soon. In addition, http://www.accountancyage.com/ has just diminished the 3 billion value loss from Tesco in a mere statement regarding James Chalmers “The last year has not been without its challenges for PwC’s head of assurance. The firm lost the audit of Tesco after 32 years with the embattled grocer following an accounting scandal of its overstated half-yearly results. But that appeared a blip in a year which saw assurance fees rise 9% to £1.1bn, while the firm continues to dominate the FTSE 100 with 40 clients, almost double the number of nearest rival KPMG at 24“, greed is eternal, nothing else seem to matter, making Tesco mere collateral damage in all this. I admit that the former high ranking heads of Tesco started this, yet someone at PwC has been signing off on it whilst the accountancy firm has been charging millions for the years that these events played. The prosecution parties at large do not seem to care, PwC is too large and too powerful. This would imply that nowadays being a mere tool for organised crime might grant a person more integrity.

There are a few more things playing, places like Greece, but for me none of that matters. I just heard that David Bowie died. That is the only news that matters today. I heard it 30 minutes ago and my world stopped. I remember it all. It was 1975, I was in High School and ‘Fame’ was released. It was my first Bowie record (in those days a black disk that you had to rotate ¾ of a turn per second to hear the music correctly. One of those hits that changes things. I had to look it up, but that song got as high as 4th position in the Dutch charts in those days. After that I got to the Album Low, Heroes, Stage (which was on yellow Vinyl), Lodger and the list went on, it was only after Black Tie White Noise that I started to look at the earlier albums I had missed out on (they were re-released on CD). For a while things went a little silent, there were of course other performers. It was ‘Heathen’ that re-sparked his music in me. In the end, his music never stopped amazing me, for 40 years his music rocked my world without fail. There have been other makers of music, and more will come in the future, yet at this moment, I lost a music giant who remained original until the very end. Not many can achieve this, the bulk will not even make the two decade mark, which does not reflect badly on them, it only shows how remarkable David Bowie was.

So perhaps we will see a new Space Shuttle named the ‘Major Tom’ be launched, perhaps we will see the life that was Bowie on the Silver Screen and we will see an explosion of his hits soon enough, I think back to those naughty evenings on a beach with a topless woman, trying to find out what else fits and listening to the hit Cat People, or going to the ‘the Glass Spider tour’ in Rotterdam.

So as we see another giant exit the stage, we realise that his music remains. I also just realised that I lost a bet with a friend, I wagered the equivalent of $2 that Both Johnny Rotten (John Lydon) and Iggy Pop, would be long dead and forgotten by the time David Bowie would shed his mortality, a bet I made in the early 80’s, it turns out that I am wrong on both counts and weirdly enough all three became legends in their own rights and even as John Lydon is no longer the ‘performer’, he did end up moving into another venue of the arts as he published ‘Anger is an Energy: My Life Uncensored’ in 2014, it is not impossible that the music gene will hit him once more, I wonder if performers like that can truly stop being musicians, just my thoughts on that. In that regard Iggy Pop has not shed his performance gene, so as one of the legends of a previous generation, Iggy can proudly raise his torch of achievement showing us all who failed to see his strength and stamina. The fact that he created a few hits together with David Bowie only strengthens him as a person and signifies in addition my bad call on his early ‘demise’.

Even as Bowie fought a long battle with cancer, he remained active and he was still with us when his last album Blackstar was released on January 8th, with this David Bowie redefines the old expression ‘he died with his boots on’. He did that, whilst leaving pretty much all his fans breathless with the power of the song Lazarus, many saw it and only two days later the song would hit most of us like a sledgehammer, surpassing the impact of many of his musical milestones. Our idol bestowed one more gem on us.

I feel no sadness, other than for the family and friends he leaves behind, I feel no negativity; I just stare at the massive list of albums he created the dozens of albums he left us and the many dozens of hours of music they represent. Today that is the news that truly matters, we do not mourn what we lost, we rejoice for the music he left us. I admit, it sounds selfish, but it is not, for the simple reason that whenever I saw of him, I saw him celebrating life. We should honour that, so listen to a song or album, watch him in a movie where he played a role in (bonus points for those who watch Labyrinth) and remember that whomever gets to do a mere 20% of what he did will end up having a pretty stellar life.

So tomorrow, more likely one day later I will look at the issues many ignore, but for today it is about saying farewell to a person whose musical presence I thoroughly enjoyed.

 

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