Tag Archives: Ubisoft

A company for an apple & egg

This is the setting I find myself in today, I have been harsh on Ubisoft for several reasons and after Watchdogs: Legion, I thought they had learned their lesson, but no, they never learn and I reckoned 1-2 weeks ago in my blog that if Yves Guillemot would run off with 10 cents on the dollar he would be lucky, the negative setting of AC Valhalla is however adding up and up and up. Its reliance on questionable reviews, NDA’s until day 1 of the game and a misrepresented setting of ‘early release’ is adding fuel to the fire that I see Ubisoft degrade it value to a mere 250 million company, for a firm that used to be valued at 2,000,000,000 a mere two years ago, this is quite a leap and not a positive one, even as Elon Musk is set to twice that, all whilst his value will soon rocket to 1,200,000,000,000 soon enough, Ubisoft goes in the other direction, it goes from bad to worse if we connect ‘Ubisoft’s newest game in Japan censored’ (at https://www.mccourier.com/ubisofts-newest-game-in-japan-censored/) a week ago. There we see “Ubisoft responded, stating that removing blood stains was essential for the game to be validated by CERO (Computer Entertainment Rating Organization), which is responsible for classifying video games. However, CERO declines all responsibility for this choice and confirms that it has not been consulted by Ubisoft”, I am not judging here, but it seems that either CERO or Ubisoft is misdirecting the gamers and if it is Ubisoft, that is a really bad move, in light of squandered options, especially in light of ‘early release’ all whilst the bugs and glitches are adding up, Ubisoft missed its target by miles. Even as some claim that “Cloud saves have also been renamed to Manual Save Cloud to differentiate them from standard offline saves. A notification has been added as well for when cloud saves fail to be pulled from the server”, whether fixed or not, it is again shoddy testing by Ubisoft, will they never learn? A save game is the gospel and bible of the long term player, not properly testing that is an issue , and when we go from a level 0 issue to the several levels of glitches, one so hilarious (unless you are the player), where a Drakar (a Viking boat) is flying and put flying in a video of dragons, that is the stage Ubisoft find itself in, they have regressed towards the level of joke and it will hurt Google as well, its stadia is depending slightly too heavily on Ubisoft games with its new Google Stadia, in that stage with not enough alternatives it could find itself in all kinds of hurt, giving the Apple Arcadia a massive advantage over Google, something they will not be happy about.

And when we see “Visual bugs relating to Eivor’s cloak have been addressed, while player and NPC animation problems have also been improved. Audio, lighting, and texture clipping issues could also crop up, which Ubisoft said it’s addressed. For PC players, shadow resolution set to high will now work as intended”, we see a possible return to the age of AC: Unity. Is that what Ubisoft has regressed to? 

A stage of failure after failure, improper testing, hype creation, boasts and non-delivery. Each of them a massive hurt by themselves, combined they are the nails in the coffin of the cadaver once known as Ubisoft. And they had created an optional safe harbour with Watchdogs: Legion, what a day a software company can make. 

I am not happy, I am actually a little sad, from a decent company, they moved unto legendary, only to squander it away with massive failures, so as I see “a successful start for Ubisoft, but it hasn’t been without its problems. Users across all systems have reported problems with corrupted saves, performance issues, and other in-game glitches”, I see the hand of Ubisoft marketing, a set stage that could only fail over time and now that they think they got a reprieve, I am here with the personal view that it has ended for Ubisoft, all whilst the owners of PC and consoles they are all looking forward to a 45GB patch, I had to download a 50GB patch for Miles Morales, but at least it came with a second complete game (I had the Ultimate edition). So how many games and patches will it take for rural players (which add up to millions) to use up all their bandwidth? We all seem to focus on the cities with unlimited downloads, but consider that Rural France, Rural Germany, non metropolitan UK, Rural Australia, a stage with tens of millions of players, they will feel the brunt, merely because Ubisoft refuses to learn its lesson? How is that for value of software? And this was merely the day one patch, for the latest, optionally fixing your save games you will need to download 4GB more.

Yes that was the early release of AC Valhalla and as I see it a CEO that cannot contain its marketing needs, a sad situation for any firm and those around them are hurting, merely because (as it seems) hypes seemingly creates the need of Ubisoft, not excellence, and when did we applaud mediocrity on that? So whilst McCourier gives us “In light of what CERO said, Ubisoft seems to have underestimated the tolerance of the Japanese authorities. Ubisoft has also apologised to Japanese players, and a corrective patch should address this issue in the coming days or weeks”, gamers will see another patch and optionally more glitches coming their way, I wonder how much more a gamer needs to download before they realise that Ubisoft is done for?

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8 missed opportunities

Yup, we all miss things at time, You, me, we all do. At times it is for the simple reason that we were unaware of issues (or opportunities), at times it is because we cannot get bothered. This latter part is not that simple. We cannot get bothered, because we lack certain skills, which is fair enough, and there is the stage where a person does not understand the opportunity missed, which is also fair enough. There is no blame in either case, now consider Google, they have been at it for a year trying to flog their console to the world, Sony taught them long ago that the power of a console is games. They did and proved that on their PS1, PS2, PS3, PS4, PR4pro and they will do it again on the PS5. So when I see Google waste options on the Google Stadia, several with optional micro transactions, I wonder what they are up to. A person can miss some signs, to miss 8 opportunities takes effort, even for a team it takes effort to miss that much, so what gives?

There is an optional chance that in 2021 the Amazon Luna could surpass the Google Stadia especially if their teams waste opportunity, I wonder if that will happen. Apple Arcade will continue regardless, it almost fuels itself and these so called AAA developers (Ubisoft, Bethesda, EA et al) will flog their games that are on every system, but the power of a console is finding something their that none of the others have, Sony explained that to them, didn’t they?

As such I wonder what Google is up to and if they are taking their Google Stadia seriously, it is not a shame if they do not, but that takes them out of the race soon enough. Luna, the Amazon Luna will love that, Apple will like it too, but they have other concerns soon enough. So, we will leave them alone. As I see it, Google optionally missed 8 opportunities, 8 times they could have had something the others did not, I wonder why that is. 

So as we consider the stage, I saw that someone rejected (or abandoned) their option, as such I see opportunity. Then there is the stage where I had a small go in one direction and I see transgression from concept to optional design stage and there is the stage where we see a rejected idea that could be redesigned into something workable. All stages that go somewhere, will they go towards a finished product? That is not for me to state, I merely see the development of what could be, that is at present all I can do. Oh and that I before we consider a stage that we never looked at, it seems an unworthy jab, and it is not meant to be as such, but who knows the lists of games of Microprose? Covert Action, Knights of the Sky, Silent Service, Masters of Orion, 4 titles, often overlooked, but games to make a difference for players, a long term difference to a large number of players over time. Now, I am not aware of the rights and where they are, yet who investigated this? Were these titles investigated? The list goes on and on, and there are two elements to consider

  1. Reinventing the wheel is often easier (as well as cheaper if there is no locked IP)
  2. These games are 30 years old, they can be made better, more inviting and optionally keep people entertained longer. 

We look at what is cool, we look at what is now, but the Google Stadia cannot compete with the PS4, PS5 or these new Microsoft consoles. So they cannot rely on things that are out there too. But they can make a difference and get a larger advantage over Amazon Luna and Apple Arcade, yet it seems that they are at present not doing that, I wonder why.

It is not the stage where they have a lot of time, the moment Luna or Apple get traction, that might  become the end of Google Stadia, is that what they are aiming for, if so, they are doing a decent job of it. 

The fact that my mind redesigned three games in a day and Google shows us the same list for Google Stadia games, oh and that is before you consider the congestion on 4G, it might not matter in the cities, but all over the EU and commonwealth (the US too), rural players will get massive amounts of internet congestion, when you realise that Google Stadia will see an expected larger issue with Cyberpunk 2077, Watchdogs: Legion, AC Valhalla, Destiny 2, Red Dead Redemption 2, Fr Cry 6, AC: Odyssey, Division 2 and a few more, so when we take non metropolitan France, non metropolitan Germany, non Metropolitan Italy, and several US *and Canadian) states out of the equation, it does not leave the Google Stadia a lot to work with, they needed to set a very different focus, especially as they knew the congestion issues would be a much larger part of the equation. I merely wonder why there was no adjustment made on day zero, as such this was a decently clear setting on November 18th, 2019, Covid merely enhanced that flaw, so why were there no visible actions taken? I understand that some of the games are not the high killer resolution, but a game you can play still beats a game that is stopped through congestion, and when we consider that Fallout Shelter has well over 150,000,000 downloads, as such over the last 3 years well over 100,000,000 played the game, does it make sense that the Google stage should not be limited to the high resolution games? I have played Fallout Shelter on EVERY system I own, it was never dull on any of them. As such I hope that Google takes a page out of the Sony bible and takes a look at the Nintendo Bible, neither is regarded as gospel, but they are the ruling systems, so ignoring their views is a bigger no-no than you imagine. 

I wonder what happens when Google misses 11 opportunities, will there be cake? They say that 11 is a karmic number and as I see it, some spiritual awakening and awareness would not go amiss at 1600 Amphitheatre Parkway, Mountain view. Yet, that is merely my view on the stage of missed opportunities.

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Cursed by choice

It is a setting some will remember, some fondly, some less so. It is a state where you have too much options. Let me try to explain this, for example, your iPod you find after a year and you see hundreds of songs you have not heard for some time, but you cannot decide, or perhaps a choice of 5 RPG games and you have select one to play. The inability to seek between good options if you want.

It is a setting the reflects on to situations. The first is the one, the only, the musk (Elon to insiders). BBC reports “Tesla’s share price surged about 14% in New York following the news it was being added to the index. Given Mr Musk’s 20% stake in Tesla his net worth rose to $117.5bn, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. His wealth has jumped $90bn this year as Tesla’s share price has continued to rise”, I look at the setting differently, some say he has the Midas gene, he can anything he touches to gold, I reckon like Steve Jobs and a few others, he has the ability to turn generic outliers into commercial successes. We can go from the fact he knows what is useful, we can go with he knows where to push, who to push and how much to push. We can look at it in different ways, but in basic “Tesla’s share price surged about 14% in New York following the news it was being added to the index. Given Mr Musk’s 20% stake in Tesla his net worth rose to $117.5bn, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. His wealth has jumped $90bn this year as Tesla’s share price has continued to rise”, and that is before he realises (perhaps he already knows) that he is optionally sitting on an additional $1.2 trillion (meaning $1,200 billion) and the wired has seemingly no caught on, I had a few ideas in support of that, but the IP is already his, so why bother, he will figure it out. And that is before he goes to space, there he might make a few coins more. 

It is one setting and the opposing view is seen when we look at the lovely youthful youngling known as Taylor Swift. That BBC view (at https://www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-54969396) gives us “Writing on Twitter Swift said it was “the second time my music had been sold without my knowledge””, here we want to answer in anger, yet the article also gives us “Swift signed a deal with record label Big Machine in 2004 granting them ownership of the master recordings to her first six albums in exchange for a cash advance to kick-start her career”, as such if there is no clause with a mandatory first option to buy back, I wonder if Scooter Braun did anything wrong. The news gives us that she signed over ownership on her first 6 albums, so I understand that she is not happy, but did Scooter do anything wrong? She is not the first, I learned a lot later in life that Paul McCartney has lost ownership of Beatles songs. I actually never knew that. And he is not alone, as such, and especially as we know and have seen that Taylor is very intelligent, why she learned her lesson the hard way. As one is cursed by many options, the other one was forced by a lack of options. The most dangerous part in all this is doing something expecting them to act in another, when we see “US entertainment magazine Variety first reported on Monday that Braun had sold the rights – known as masters – to an investment fund. It said the deal is thought to be worth more than $300 million (£227m)”, I wonder how much the songs were bought for, as such still, one third of a billion is a whole lot of money, I would not sell my IP for that (I would set it to a percentage of the patent value), yet overall I could be tempted. And there is a setting switch, it is about awareness, how many people in the music industry have a real grasp of IP and what it is worth nowadays. Games, movie, TV series, they are all in need of music and there is so much one can compose, it was perhaps one of Ubisoft most brilliant moments in all this, get well known songs or well known artists to support the IP, Imagine Dragons is perhaps one of the more known artists, it propelled the game, not merely the graphics, the music was a large part of it and Ubisoft was exceedingly clever there, they might not own the IP, but they knew a good deal when it was there and musicians need to catch up, especially in this age of Netflix and streaming. Now this is not an attack on Taylor Swift, this might have been her only option, yet the stage remains, what kind of legal advice did she get? I do not know, I am merely asking. So when I see (according to the BBC) “When his company, Ithaca Holdings, paid $300m to acquire Swift’s former record label last year, Swift saw it as an act of aggression that “stripped me of my life’s work”. She accused Braun – who also manages Ariana Grande, Justin Bieber and Demi Lovato – of “incessant, manipulative bullying”” we see a lot of emotion, but the stage is did Scooter Braun do anything wrong or illegal? We might say immoral and unethical but neither is a crime according to law and that is the setting we need to see and perhaps Taylor should have appealed to Elon Musk who has well over 3,000 times what she apparently needed, it is merely food for thought, although, I reckon that Elon gets a dozen of these attempts to contact an hour, and optionally when he figures out where his optional missing $1.2T is even more.

Such is life!
There are two groups cursed by choice, one group has too many, the other has (far) too few. Which one do you belong in? And what makes you think that you are in one or the other, because that contemplation tends to be a solution in itself at times.

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I see dead people

There is a stage we all see and we all think we seem to know, I am very set on the ‘seem to’ part. I stumbled upon a 5 years old article by TechCrunch, it is about Peter Molyneux, a person I personally know, so I was curious. It was the beginning that got to me. With “the British game development hero that spearheaded famous studios Bullfrog and Lionhead, but who also always had a reputation of being fluid with the truth. Molyneux was the guy who made Populous and led the studios that created Theme Park, Dungeon Keeper, Syndicate, The Movies, Fable, Black and White, Magic Carpet and many others. But Molyneux was also a teller of tall tales, a maker of wild promises in interviews that had little chance of being realised” the game is on, you see it is about the games, and Bullfrog let by Peter delivered again and again on CBM64, Atari ST, Amiga and PC. I still miss some of these games. They opened the mind, the made us creative and it pushed us to think different. So when we get to ‘a teller of tall tales, a maker of wild promises in interviews that had little chance of being realised’, we are b being misled on two fronts. The first is that (as far as I know) Peter has always been in the business of pushing gaming boundaries. It is hard to prove this, but I have an example, in those days I had a mouthwatering PC, it had all the bells and whistles and it would make coffee for me if it had hands, so here I am with a high end graphics card that can do anything with was, so even as Black and White is fun and amazing, it was that merely fun and amazing, about three months after the game releases there is a new graphics card and I install it, I had nothing real to do and I restart Black and White, so when the temple is built and I walk inside my mouth drops, it blew me away. Black and White was the first game that was ready for the nextgen graphics, it was the first time this would happen to me. Even now I still hope for a remaster of Magic Carpet on the new consoles, a rerelease of dungeon keeper, and only team bullfrog can deliver on that.

The second part is the one TechCrunch does not mention, in the early 90’s, the media was on gaming like nothing you ever saw, the journo’s at the ECTS were renowned, worse than paparazzi and always looking for a sound-byte, an exploit and that part is not mentioned, also the words of Molyneux have been pulled out of context more than once, he did something other gamer makers did not achieve, he surpassed the boundaries of systems. That can be seen if you compare the reboot of Syndicate with the original, the original remains vastly superior 20 years later. The reboot got a mere 66%, it is vision that get us games and Peter Molyneux had just that. Then we get a part the is hard to dispute and most likely correct “The other reason Molyneux thrived was that his team delivered. There are, and will forever remain, disputes over exactly how much he was involved with some of the titles to his name (Glenn Corpes, Sean Cooper, Demis Hassabis and a variety of others deserve their credit) but what was inarguable was that Molyneux had managed to create an environment in which great games happened”, yes Peter was not alone and we all get that, but Peter made it happen and it is undeniable, great games happened at Bullfrog and Lionhead. The titles are still revered and people still yearn for another fable, another dungeon keeper and another theme park, even now, even 20 years later, that is gaming at the edge!

Then we get a gem “He would combine those ideals to form an exciting story for what a game might be, often road testing a certain phrase or image with you before using it with the press. This, I gather, is not unlike the way Steve Jobs seems to have been”, the man was part visionary and could recognise visionaries in coders, that is part why his games were so great (the original concept is part of that), until Bullfrog, who had considered being the bad guy in Hero quest would be entertaining? And that is the foundation of great gaming, bel to turn the equation upside down and get another nugget of gold, he had this. I particularly like the end of the article “Ambitious design, big ideas and bold visions are what propel the games industry forward. When all is said and done, create-a-cash-engine mentalities are only ever temporary, but it’s the ambition that makes video games forever. I for one hope that Molyneux rises from the ashes one last time to teach us this lesson again”, it is all the parts Ubisoft forgot to be, it is all the sides the spreadsheet driven BI executives at EA and likeminded companies are dumbstruck on. I hope that he gets a few more notches on his 6 shooter with new titles on nextgen, optionally Google Stadia too. Consider the titles we saw at the beginning and consider that those who knew the games still remember them and love them 20+ years later, that is an achievement only Nintendo has been able to equal. 

So when it comes to Bullfrog, its staff and the man behind it, I tend to see dead people, it is the press behind it, not the makers of games, they have proven their grit, they did it several times. 

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I gave them a chance

Yup, at times we have to give others a chance, not because they are nice, not because they are working on it, or even if they are considering moves, sometimes you do it so that you are not the caged junkyard dog released from the chain. It is a civil act, but one that you do merely to please yourself. I am kind of that person. Ubisoft had been in a stage of near death for a time and that was not because of the issues in their firm, it was merely set towards their product. As I see it, before the end of the year Yves Guillemot is lucky to get out, find a nice house in France, bring half a dozen women to please him and I reckon if he does it for $369,000,000 he is lucky. You see at this point the company is worth 10 cents to the dollar. I watched close to a dozen of videos on gameplay on Assassins Creed Valhalla. Some have a sense of humour ‘Odin would be bored here’, ‘continuing mediocrity’ and a few more of those jabs, they are funny. I saw issues with guards running in circles, I saw a guard hit by a row, flying off like Yoshi getting kicked by Mario. And these videos all had different issues and glitches. One had a boat getting stuck on a small branch and the boat went 30 degrees like it was stuck under a stone bridge, the issues go on. Even as Watchdogs: Legion had a few issues, they were nonsensical, small little glitches that do not upset the gameplay (there were a few), but this stuff is what I feared and Ubisoft had their chance, and ever as they went live early this now bites in the other direction. A franchise destroyed by short sightedness, it is too infuriating. I did not like AC3 much, but it was on the mark, even as some bugs showed up that would pester the franchise for at least 3 games, then they released a good game which I still do not regard to be a real AC game, it was Black Flag, after that mediocrity, bugs and shortcomings hit the franchise until AC Origin came and that was on the mark, it was a bulls eye. Yes it had bugs, but none spoiled the game, it had a few issues, yet the larger gameplay was never affected. And that is the end of it, even as some ‘official’ reviewers say that it is the best they ever saw, it seems that I get a clear picture who butters their bread. You only need to search for ‘AC Valhalla rants’, or ‘AC Valhalla issues’ and the videos come streaming. It is hard to stay neutral and focussed, but try it is worth it. Some give us the lack of some parts but in the story it seems to fit and in those days not everyone had a hammer, or a knife. Iron was for the people with money, it led to health. All the people you slaughter and not one had a decent weapon? Chests (in bird planes at times) with resources, books of knowledge (which is actually a good thing). The game has taken leaps in one direction and forfeited looking behind itself, like really properly testing a game. 

The videos show a game with really good moments, an good graphics and some of the glitches tear it down in a rather nasty way, so I reckon that the gamers are promised patches upon patches in a time when the PS5, Xbox series X and PC have 4K capabilities, so these patches will be larger than before (with Breakpoint being the way it was, it will be a speculated nightmare).

Some will also come with positive things and we need to take notice of them too, one gives the right tone rating that this game is not for everyone, if AC Odyssey did not grab you, than this game will not either. I specifically like the mention towards a movie called the 13th warrior, I liked it, it showed a time that seemed pure and it seemed direct, the is a good mention for AC Valhalla, as I stated in the past, I will steer clear of this game, unless it will be for sale on Black Friday at 30% of the price, then I might c consider it. So here we are, Ubisoft, with in my personal opinion one decent hit (Watchdogs: Legion) and one clear fail (the other title). Two fails would mean the end of Ubisoft, now? I reckon they will limp towards what comes next, but if the does not include original IP and a really really good game they are pretty much done for. A carcass for other hungry game studios to poach, because the graphic people are good, the sound people are really good, so they will get poached soon enough. When those seeking a slice of $135 billion revenue cake that is online gaming (2020-2022), they will wise up fast which merely makes the end of Ubisoft sooner, not later. 

Yet at this stage I do not feel righteous, I do not feel superior, and I do not feel happy, I feel sad, because Ubisoft was a giant, it did bring original IP and it did make us happy. Like a junkie I would want to feel like that one more time when a Ubisoft game arrives. I reckon that 2020 was a bad year for a few reasons, I do not think the any gamer will be happy to see the end of Ubisoft, but the is just the way the cake crumbles at times.

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Reality helps out gaming

Yup, it happen, it is a little rare, but not unusual. So as I was setting the stage of a post apocalyptic game in Sweden, I was a little stuck. Yet reality was there to help me out. Yup, the Local SE newspaper gives us (at https://www.thelocal.se/20171101/why-sweden-is-home-to-65000-fallout-shelters) ‘Why Sweden is home to 65,000 fallout shelters’, we assuming that this is partially true, because 65,000 is a bit much, but it is something to work with, and as such we now have shelters, a lot of them, so the game is still in concept stage, but with that many shelters, the idea is starting and in this, Norway is helping out, they apparently have the Sentralanlegget (read: Central Facility). As such we now have a start and I am not one to be the minor, so I am setting the map stage from Alesund (Norway), to Sundsvall (Sweden) and the map is everything south of there, so it is a huge map. Instead of travelling everywhere, the stage would be that you get to chose the top of person you are and from the you wake up in a place (somewhere), and that age is the beginning. I have a few twists in mind, but it will include seeking strawberries on Gotland (the Swedish readers will get this). 

I will not give away the whole enchilada, because the gamer needs a surprise or two, but I want to set the stage where permadeath will make the game a lot more challenging (yet not essential), in addition to that with Oslo, Goteburg, Malmo and Stockholm in play, we have a lot more to see and to do. Yet it all started with one shelter and as we have no idea where we are, the sage is set for RPG, mystery and a whole dose of challenges. 

Wow, that took mot of the day to think this through, but I was hindered by the fact that Fallout is a really good product and I wanted to avoid the overlap, it cannot be completely avoided, but it can be minimised to the least and that is how I went to work. 

In this, the stage was about setting a new game based on a foundation that we have seen dozens time over from the C64 up to the current generation of consoles. 

So the news in the Local dot se was really a nice find, they give us “The country is home to around 65,000 bunkers, fit to host seven million people in the event of war, and an official report has now advised the government to start building more, following a 15-year pause”, implying that every bunker is for around 100 people, that is something we can work with. If the bunker is too big, it might not be operable with one person, with 100 that is still a risk, but a lot less likely. With that starting point, the stage is set for a story, because as I said before ‘the story is everything’, and in that resetting stage we see a larger need to find, to travel and to achieve. 

And the timing is right, some sources are confirming the fears I had regarding AC Valhalla, I will not give them here, because I would merely be repeating their reviews (read: rants). I have not seen it, and mot of the evidence has (as I suspect) been based on previous (pre gold edition) alpha’s and beta’s. So I will wait and take another look in 32 hours when the game becomes available. I know a person who is getting the game and I am not willing to spend a nickel on it (at present), I can wait for Black Friday and get it at 25%-50% of retail value. The other thing is that I am still playing Watchdogs: Legion. Now, that game has a few issues, but it is definitely a step up from one and needs you to engage in more sneak than number two demanded. It can be a good thing depending on your view on what hackers do. Yet there is little to no question, Watchdogs is a decent hit (it is better than a lot of other Ubisoft titles), even as Eurogamer gives us ‘Watch Dogs Legion review – a bleak and buggy retread of Ubisoft’s formula’, I particularly liked “Legion is too terrifyingly real, and just a tad too grim. I doubt the very real climate in the UK is helping much – which clearly isn’t Ubisoft’s fault – but I usually play games to escape the ills of Westminster, not to be smacked over the head by them. I appreciate that terrorist attacks and food banks and too many homeless people add a frosty layer of authenticity to this fictional vision of the capital, and I know this isn’t Ubisoft’s fault, either, but good grief, it’s depressing to recognise so many signs of a fictional dystopia from your local real-life news reports”, perhaps after the American President events it is a little too real, but that too adds to the positive, the hackers and their need to act. The ‘frosty layer of authenticity’ is as I see it positive, not negative. It is about hackers for a reason. Yes the game has issues, but nothing that will break the bank or glitch into reset. In some cases a better description (read: rant) might have been the solution, but such is life. 

Overall, after playing for a while, I do not disagree with “it will eventually grow stale as missions rarely deviate from this template”, yet as a hacker I signed up for the, did I not? Not to get shot in the face when a hacker should have far too little firearms experience against Albion special forces. So the article (at https://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2020-11-03-watch-dogs-legion-review-a-bleak-and-buggy-retread-of-ubisofts-formula) is good, yet I feel that there is a setting that is partially overlooked. Yet I do understand and like the words Vikki Blake give us “Watch Dogs Legion is dark and unpleasant in more ways than one, and it doesn’t matter how many protagonists a game boasts if you’re unable to care about a single one of them”, it is an eye of the beholder view, agree or disagree, it is up to you. That part matters, because Ubisoft got a small reprieve, if AC Valhalla is near perfect they get a shot to survive, if not they might end up being part of Microsoft too. Microsoft is unlikely to pass up on 23 houses with fps experience, especially if they can get it for 5 cents on the dollar and lets face it, they spend most cash on Bethesda anyway. 

So here I aim handing out free Sony exclusive materials because that is the guy I am (when pissed off an absolute nightmare), and I did have some fun designing a way to sink the Iranian fleet (we all need hobbies). As such setting my fingers into a post apocalyptic games was also essential, you see it was an actual snow globe that gave me the idea on how to meltdown Bushehr 1 (a still untested concept), and that side might actually help me to design a few missions for the Swedish post-apocalyptic game which I aptly renamed ‘glödande godis’, and we all need candy, whether we glow in the dark or not. Ah well, such is life.

So even as reality can help out a gamer, we need a fair amount of indiscriminate imagination to get it all to work and lets face it, at present only the Japanese know what life in a post-apocalyptic setting has been (small reference to August 6 1945).

So whilst we will get to know what is the truth around AC Valhalla in a little over a day, the stage of finding an alternative to fallout will take a little longer than that.

In the mean time we will sit back, relax and enjoy the Trump show (as he is getting fired), for me it means that we can enjoy a more global version of the news in 1-2 days and that has been sorely lacking at present.

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Rule of thumb

It started with me wondering what else I could do. I have been involved with gaming since 1984, I started testing and reviewing games in 1986, so I have been around for a while. I met the giants in gaming. Sid Meier, Richard Garriott, Peter Molyneux and a few others. They and the games they made formed the views I have on gaming, there are of course more others too. 

My normal job was in technical support and teaching, as such I had a firm grasp on technology. I learned to teach, teach software and technology and as such, my life was a decently happy one. 

Still, I wonder what else is possible, you see only the delusional ones think they can do everything. I agree that any person can do anything and if they are given, committed and enthusiastic, they become good at it. I believe that to be true for everyone, no matter gender, race, religion or age. 

It kind of intertwines with the elections in the US, after 4 years we see a shift and now I wonder if anyone in the media has the balls to set an image of Donald Trump tomorrow on page one, with the text “You’re fired!”, providing Joe Biden gets the 270 he needs. I wonder when that stage will be reached, and if it will be reached. They all claim that Biden will win, yet there is a decent. Chance that Pennsylvania will remain in camp Trump, with 89% counted and 20 votes, the advantage of 2.6% there is no given that Biden will win and even if he does, the difference is too small, so a recount is inevitable. In Arizona the roles are reversed, yet here only 11 votes are up for grabs, giving us the optional score of 254 for Biden and 234 for Trump, it is a setting weirdly close and like the old series the West Wing, two states might set the end and at this point President Trump has the lead. Those three sites are Georgia and North Carolin with 16 and 15 votes. I am careful not to set the stage of what might be, I am Republican minded, but I am definitely no President Trump fan. So as I take notice of ‘Stop the count!’: Angry Trump supporters amass at counting centres’, I wonder just how stupid Trump fans are to call for an end to democracy. A vote is a vote and they should all be counted, that is how democracy works. And this is where the brain started to twist. Whenever we are in any RPG, it is about our actions, it is about what WE decide should happen. It matters not what the RPG is, that is how the game is set.

But what happens when we change that, what happens when we sign up for a game with a political stage? What happens when our actions becomes pro or counter RPG government? You see, when I initially designed the idea of Elder Scrolls VII: Restoration (before they gave their soul to Microsoft), I had not considered it, yet in MEA 1+2 and optionally Citadel: Incursion (I had to give it. Name), that stage becomes a larger issue. Politics is at the fibre of any stage and we ignored it in RPG to a larger extent mainly because of system limitations. The new systems will have computing power in abundance, so it becomes less of a hindrance and setting that stage to a proper foundation, especially in a game like Mass Effect Andromeda is has an influence, because as we unlock more and more pods to wake up, the political stage on a station like the nexus will also alter, it sets a larger stage, a larger application of what we need to do. Even as the stage is not always on what we need to achieve, the general direction will alter and so fr no game took this into account (as the systems weren’t powerful enough). 

This changes what gaming provides, yes we like to make decisions in our RPG and that does not change, but there is the greater good and the larger picture to consider, it becomes even more interesting if that picture is not available to the player, the story could take a few interesting twists along the way. To illustrate that, we can look at a TV-series called Babylon 5. When we were in season 1, we see the Narn, Centauri, Minbari, Humans, Vorlon and others. Yet the Narn and Centauri are arch enemies, so working for one makes the other off limits and that is a mere extreme example. If we decide to act alone, we might side with one group and optionally piss off another, it is the nature of the game and gaming will become less black and white and more grey tones. It is also a lot harder to program. For example it is not like in the old The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, you could only buy certain houses when certain fame levels are reached.   Yet what happens when fame and infamy are more fluidic? What happens when missions are only offered to the infamous (or famous) and above certain ranks? It will not change the game, but it will colour the stage to some degree, that same stage will be influenced when we colour a governmental stage, like the US, Blue, Red and Green. We see a larger stage where working for the ‘other’ party is allowed, but at that stage, we gain infamy a well as political points. See it as a new complexity level in RPG gaming. There is no doubt in my mind that this is where we are heading, mainly because it os now possible to do just that, and as we see the need for games with a larger value to replay a game, the setting of another level of complexity is pretty much a guarantee. We might want to lean back and reach back to the original D&D rules of thumb rulings, but I reckon that console gaming has surpassed it a few times over. Even as Ubisoft stated in a game ‘Cull the herd’, that stage is one we seemingly walked away from. We do not oppose the eradication of the horde (it’s an Orc thing), but it also leaves us open to eradication as well. And as such we need to set the stage to a larger frame, because that is what we do.

Extremes are nice to colour the stage, but it is the blending of values that give a larger appreciation of any story, there is plenty of evidence out there and as I see it, there is a much larger stage to fill it up, how it is done is up to the gaming visionaries.

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Can You tell?

That is the setting that I am faced with, a setting where we get the news and whether it is a story or a setting of wishful thinking (some might say fairy tale), when we cannot tell, is it on us, the lacking credibility of the news or something else? I have been to some degree Apple minded for over 20 years, I had hits, I had misses, and I was confronted with blunders (by Apple), yet overall, the Apple feeling is good, steering towards decent. That is set in a few stations, first is the iPod, when it came out I got the 20Gb and it was heaven, at some point I had to upgrade and I got the 80Gb classic, I still have it today, it never stopped working for close to 13 years, that is the setting I crave. I also had other Apple stuff, first the question mark, I had to get an Apple (partially for work and on the edge of Powermac, I ended up with the Performa 630, part of me was unhappy that Powermac was not compatible, yet the Performa did its work and it did it well. I learned a lot in those days. That was until the new updates were no longer helping me, but I could still use it to surf the web and a few other things, I was not unhappy. The next one in my route was a clear miss, the G4 MacBook, I was happy as anything the moment I had it and it did it work and got me through my Unix classes, but after 15 months the display had one line, then 5 then 30 lines and I had no Apple care, the laptop ($5,200) had cleaned me out and when the bad setting hit it was too late for me, I think I still have it somewhere in the box, it was a sad day for me. It was after I got the G5 Mac Pro which was an absolute delight, it still works (I think), it was one of the first 68020 and it never let me down, it could edit photos (25MP ones) in a heartbeat. So here I am now, listening to Jean Michel Jarre on my iPod, whilst typing on my MacBook, which is outdoing most of the expectations I have on it. I actually got some naughty 4K footage and the display was unbelievable, I don’t really have it for that, but I wanted to see if it could hold its own and it does. So here I am looking at Reuters giving us ‘Apple’s late iPhone launch temporarily wiped $100 billion off its stock value’ (at https://www.reuters.com/article/us-apple-results/apples-late-iphone-launch-temporarily-wiped-100-billion-off-its-stock-value-idUSKBN27E3FP), so is it wishful thinking? Let look at the quote “Since 2013, Apple has delivered new iPhones each September like clockwork. But pandemic-induced delays pushed the announcement back a month, with some devices still yet to ship. Even as booming sales of Macs and AirPods boosted overall revenue and profit above what analysts had expected, iPhone sales dropped 20.7% to $26.4 billion”, in this where am I? Well it started with the entire Coronavirus part and the fact that we were allowed to get some of our retirement funds early, I got the first one, but not the second one. It paid for a truckload of bills and there was enough left to get the iPad. You see, when I went to get my two graduate and master degrees, I treated myself to the iPad, the very first one and it has been working 24:7 since I got it in 2010. I got the 64GB version with cellular and I was happy, in classes as I watched everyone run to a powerpoint, my iPad got me my notes and I was happy. Even as most options will not work because support stopped for it long ago, some basic usage was working and earlier this year when I started to wind down more and more, I was sad, so with the cash, I went for an iPad Air in may 2020, my iPad would have worked 10 years a achievement well worth it. And that is where I am now, still waiting for my iPad Air, I had to resubmit the order, but the basic setting is that Apple cannot deliver, now the latest (partially unconfirmed) is that I will receive my iPad this coming month, after 6 months waiting (and not just me, others have this issue too). So as you might figure, the headline Reuter gives a warped setting. Is it true? The setting might be worse, in July I got a hold of information that the delay was ONLY the iPads with cellular, I have no decent sources to confirms that, but that would indicate a chip shortage, if that is so the iPhone has additional issues, as does any Apple mobile device with cellular. So when we see “But the flagship iPhone 12’s announcement was delayed until Oct. 13, several weeks later than usual, meaning no opening-weekend iPhone sales are included in the fourth-quarter results” and when we realise that some devices that were supposed to come out in the beginning of October are still not here and optionally not until the 15th of November, the damage is larger and worse. If there is a chip shortage (still unconfirmed), we are looking at a 4th quarter where it sucks to be an Apple (not that oranges have a better chance). Yet in all the hundreds of advertisements on the new iPad Air, who has seen any kind of article anywhere that these iPad Air are still delayed? When we seek it in Google, ‘iPad Air’ gives us 31,000,000 hits and the first few hundred links give nothing on delays, so why is that? And when we get to “Apple said revenue from its accessories segment was up 20.8% to $7.9 billion, compared with analyst estimates of a 13.5% rise to $7.4 billion, according to Refinitiv data. Mac and iPad sales rose to $9.0 billion and $6.8 billion, compared with estimates of $7.92 billion and $6.12 billion, according to Refinitiv data”, the question shapes. I paid for my device, I just haven’t received mine yet, so where are they? As far as I was able to tell, here in NSW there were 85 outstanding orders, so how many are missing and if they are all the cellular versions, what chip shortage is Apple facing and when we learn that part, how come Reuters did not have the goods (or pretty much any other newspaper). In this, I wonder what else we get to learn before the year ends and if that delay is the cellular chipset, where will we be when the year ends. Fortunately, my mobile is Android driven and for now I am in a good place for most matters technology based. And my mind goes on racing, even though it is more for the movies than real life (as one might hope), I just had an idea where the Fitbit could be part of a detonator, but then so could a Wear OS device, I merely need to test if I can silently ping the device, oh the inhumanity of it all. I got the idea as I was considering another chapter in my Rama story and when “This type of sub-dermal implant usually contains a unique ID number that can be linked to information contained in an external database, such as personal identification, law enforcement, medical history, medications, allergies, and contact information”, it is not merely that, the Fitbit has a similar path and when it is close enough, boom (big badaboom). Although the setting has been seen in the movie Wedlock, the implementation does not need to be that visible, you just need to person to pass the box and the result is gained (might be that Ubisoft Watchdogs Legion) got my devious side up and running, yet the station is there. And how does this affect Apple? It got to me whilst I was remembering the Guardian who gave us in 2018 ‘Fitness tracking app Strava gives away location of secret US army bases’, yet it does not need to be that simple, simpler settings are enough. Someone gives us “Find My Fitbit finder app for iOS and Android helps you find your lost Fitbit in minutes not days”, yet the setting of minutes lies with the provider, one app adjustment and we see seconds instead of minutes, now the only thing we need is the proper app. 

I am willing to bet that the CIA (and its counterpart on 2 Bolshaya Lubyanka Street) already have a version, and that is if we think simple, 5G allows a setting that is worse, it is targeted fund relief, lets face it kids love the big badaboom, the rest prefers the ka-ching sound, and why does it matter? You see when you help out a person like Jeff Bezos with the weight of 154,667,332 dollars in his wallet (one of his Credit-Cards), people will find you, unless you were never there, as a silent drone can be placed on that path to release a specific person of a number represented by 28 bits, we see that the Leo’s are at a loss, it is not their forte, yet the technology is already here. The thought of that made me create my dumb-smart device, but this stage is a lot larger than I gave it credit for, and as governments are bitching on what big-tech can do whilst they have larger issues than Section 230, it is time for them to smell the instant Waco, it is almost like coffee, but set to gunpowder tea (yes that really exists). 

So as we see the Apple setting, it is more than a see chip shortage, the question becomes, who has them and how can they possibly be used. All whilst you are thinking you have a cool foldable phone, I see it for what it is, it is a personal data server and I found three additional uses you were never aware of. So, how cool is that?

So when you run and you hear a large boom, it is not some explosive, it is the other shoe dropping.

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The BS from players

When is a gamer a player? One could argue that many players are gamers, yet not all gamers are players. It is looking at a set of collections with two unknowns, yet the media to a much larger degree will not care. The BBC shows this with ‘Cyberpunk 2077 delayed until December despite developer crunch’, they also give us “A letter from the developers said there would be “many emotions and questions” about another delay, and asked fans to “please accept our humble apologies”” and here we get the first setting: ‘Why?’ My setting is given in a station where we see that their last project was The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, a project that was rated at 100% by some, others gave it ranging between 91%-95%, only the Nintendo Switch version did slightly worse, but the largest range was overwhelmed with the perfection of gaming offered, only GTA-V had a rating on that level. When we look at the best ratings EVER, on the PS4, it is on 13th position, on the Xbox One it is on 10th position, and on PC it got 18th position, so when CD Project Red thinks it needs more time, we should just give it to them, Witcher 3 was so lose to gaming perfection that we should accept it and when we see players like Boss Hunting giving us “Referring to what we’ve filed under “Tweets which have aged like unrefrigerated milk”, CD Projekt Red promised that Cyberpunk 2077 would face no further delays earlier this month. But delayed they have, and now, like an absentee father during the summer holidays, a promise has been broken; and everyone is sitting on the curb with their swimmers on”, so let them sit on the curb, actual gamers will accept that it will be ready when it is ready, the entire BS game of flaming whilst these same players were too often silent when it mattered. 

I will grant you that I was looking forward to playing the game, yet I would much rather wait until late January for a game that is near perfect, than a game that needs the amount of patches Ubisoft treated us to lately. I get it, most do the perfect game does not exist, not games this big, yet we can limit the issues and that is what we see now (at least I hope it is). A YouTuber MrMattyPlays gives a decently good view on the delay (at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jYU1lv8WqWk), but he does more, as we see the game play on the screen, the driving, the actions, the choices we get to make, we see something that is so much better than anything presently released, yet CD Project Red sees an issue and delays. MrMattyPlays mentions ‘perception’ and that is true, yet anyone having issues is off their rocker (as I see it), the only mistake MrMattyPlays makes (as I personally see it) is the fact that he compares CD Project Red to Ubisoft, CD Project Red is a relatively small player, especially compared to $2 billion Ubisoft with well over 18,000 staff members and over 14 Ubisoft locations. Not to forget the fact that they produced the worst game of 2019 (Breakpoint), I admit that it is not overly fair to have a go at Ubisoft, but we need to accept that CD Project Red at present is the creator of one of the most perfect RPG games ever (in 2015) and that achievement has over the last 5 years not been broken, will it? We will see, but that milestone give es them credibility and we better acknowledge that part in the equation, and it has nothing to do with John Wick being in the game, I’ll take him on with a pencil if need be (the John Wick fans will get this).

Is there an upside? Yup we are only 12 hours away from the official release of Watchdogs: Legion and so far it seems that they made a amazingly good product (Watchdogs: Legion), so I get more time on that (and Pikmin 3 too).

Yet the larger stage is not the makers, it is the media, always hounding for half a sound byte, half a quote, and then when the stage fumbles, play the blame game. We saw this with the non stop hounding of Hello Games and No Man’s Sky, even christian digital media were implying release date knowledge, begging like little bitches for clicks. The media is the larger problem, they want to ‘appease’ the avenues needs of gamers, but cold consideration is not on the table. And as such we get a warped expectation, yet in all this no one will hold the media to account will they? Just like the BS wave of flames around loot boxes, I am no fan of EA, even less now that I cannot buy a physical copy of NHL 21, as my favourite team is on the cover now, so I am in a ‘Fuck EA’ mode, or is that mood? Yet the setting of loot boxes is seemingly misreported, how many free loot boxes can be earned? How many packs a day are given free, how many milestones are rewarded with packs and cards? None of the media reports on this, I had a truckload with NHL 19,  I do not know how it is now, and even as several sites clearly reported on the free packs that FIFA 19 (or FIFA 20) had, I see no reporting on the FIFA 21 part, so will the gamers get an actual real view? I doubt it, it is seemingly not in their interest to cater to EA, but it seems that opposition of EA is catered to, I wonder why. It is the simplest stage of players versus gamers and as I personally see it, a lot of these players have never gamed on any decent level.

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Deadline or death line?

I said it before, and I stick to my view, Ubisoft is in a large stage of near death, they might be denying that part, but their setting is not good, or is that was not? Let’s be clear, today I went through Watchdogs: Legion and I am decently impressed, it is an absolute jump forward from Watchdogs 2, To be fair, this looks really good and after an hour, it still looks good and plays well. As I stated, the next two games define the future of Ubisoft and at present it seems like they got this one right. I saw issues in earlier editions, but as this was before beta, it does not count and I have every intention to take another look. No matter how we try to slice it, a few things show up, first of all, those angry (read: anti) game reviews are not as present as before, some people had plenty to bitch about Watch Dogs 2, yet I enjoyed most of the game (a few weird parts), the story was decent and the intro to WD3 is a lot better than the second one, the game has a few issues as I spotted them in WD3 that is, but it is not a disabling one, some of the conversations are really too unreal, but that could be a US view on British accents, I do not know, but it flaws there, yet two elements, the first is that this is a video game, second any voice can be regarded as flawed, it is how you look at it and does it hinder the game? I think not. One review I liked can be seen (at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_9kEuTyKufo). It gives a few things away, but not too much. In light of my earlier statement (regarding Ubisoft), it is important to note that this game shows a first sign that Ubisoft is addressing the stupidity we saw in earlier releases. I believe (at present) that AC Origins is still the best game that Ubisoft has released in the near past and this game is making a serious approach to breaking that achievement, something we had not seen for much too long. I might add more on the weekend as I progress through the game, yet so far I have to admit: “Well done Ubisoft”, which in light of my earlier views of other games is important to notice. 

I have nothing on AC Valhalla, What I saw earlier turned me off, yet I will admit that it was an early beta version, so lots to fix and even as some parts seem nice, there is a more apparent stage of addressing, which I believe is flawed, but it is based on incomplete views, as such I am refraining of actual criticism against the game at present.

Even as I still believe that Ubisoft is optionally on its last legs, the fact that the systems that WatchDogs: Legion is released on the big two consoles, with additions to PC and Google Stadia should not be underestimated. At present it indicates that Ubisoft could get its footing back and if the game turns out as good as it seemingly is (I honestly cannot say at present), the fact that a title like this is making it to Google Stadia as well is important. It could end up being a desired taste for EVERY Google Stadia player and that is important to Ubisoft as well. For Google it matters as it is not out on the Apple Arcade (as far as I can tell), and that will matter to Google in this upcoming race. It actually got me to one (small and insignificant) flaw at present, if I am wrong, I will be the first to apologise. When you consider that this game is in London and it was made by Ubisoft Toronto (that village in Canada), it suddenly dawned on me that the game is lacking NPC backpackers. London is filled with them, you know people with backpacks speaking in a Canadian, American and Australian accent (and plenty more dialects), they could have made that into a game achievement ‘Getting around: possessed a backpacker from every commonwealth nation’, just something to consider down the DLC road. Still, the fact that I am thinking of things to add, is important, as I am not thinking of things that required essential fixing. I might be too early in the game, but I have not felt this invigorated since AC Origins and that is a good feeling to have, Ubisoft is seemingly getting it right, if I attack them, I must also acknowledge that they are doing the right thing, it feels important to do that too.

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