Tag Archives: Ubisoft

It was tempting

Yup, there it is, my option to consider another part of IP, or talking about the console war. There was temptation for a few reasons, but the console war won. In the first we look at Notebook Check, here we see “Convincing PlayStation 5 price leak and latest IGN poll all but confirm victory for Sony and the PS5 in the first battle of the next-gen console war”, which is certainly one way if losing at the situation, we could also include “if the figures are genuine then gamers planning on pre-ordering either a Blu-ray console or Digital Edition model are likely to be satisfied. Another IGN next-gen console poll shows huge popular support for Sony’s devices, regardless of the recent appearance of the Xbox Series S”, we have a start and it would b e quite the start, yet I believe them to be merely side reasons. You see, the real reason is also the reason why I dumped my Xbox One and all the games, I have no further faith in Microsoft, who is not ruled by deeds, but by marketing hypes. Microsoft through stupidity on the Xbox One, lost me at least twice over, and as I personally see it, there is no coming back from that one in the near future. Consider that I would be more hyped to get Super Mario 3D All-Stars free at $69, then whatever that new console will cost, so consider, I am more interesting to get a remade Mario game on the Nintendo Switch, then the new Microsoft console, their credibility is THAT low. 

I have written about these issues in the past and this is not a reuse issue, so lets get back to the article (at https://www.notebookcheck.net/Convincing-PlayStation-5-price-leak-and-latest-IGN-poll-all-but-confirm-victory-for-Sony-and-the-PS5-in-the-first-battle-of-the-next-gen-console-war.493457.0.html), where we see “An IGN poll asking Twitter residents the question “Now that we have more info on some next-gen console prices, which do you think you’re most likely to buy first?” has now closed, and perhaps unsurprisingly it has been a convincing win for Sony.

The PS5 attracted 55.3% of the votes, followed by the Xbox Series X on a respectable 23.5%, PS5 Digital Edition on 12.9%, and Xbox Series S on 8.4% (out of 138,045 votes)”. It is here that we see the 138 thousand people gave large support to the PS5, 55% to the full edition and 12.9 to the digital version, as such 2 out of three select Sony, the rest selected the other brand, yet I feel certain that Microsoft would be hurting a lot more if the Nintendo Switch Pro was part of the question. I personally have a little issue with the phrase ‘respectable’ but OK, I’ll let that slip. Microsoft only has itself to blame, it did NOTHING to listen to their fanbase, they hype and twist, but the two largest issues were not resolved for 8 years and nw they get to pay for that. The idea that many would select the Nintendo Switch Pro over a Microsoft console is something that they will have to deal with in 2021, but by then there is every chance that they are more nervous of Google or Apple sneaking up on them from 4th position, than the next Nintendo system, especially as Nintendo is already in sec and place in the console war. A good system does that and the fact that its users are looking forward to a $69 game a lot more than the next Microsoft console is a warning to the size of: ‘Careful what you wish for Microsoft!’, for them it doesn’t get much more painful, but they achieved it anyway. Oh and I do believe that pricing has nothing to do with it, if the PS5 would start at $699, I would still take it over whatever a Microsoft console goes for, I want a good game, not an exporting console, the lesson Microsoft never learned. 

Tom’s guide also gives us a forecast, in this it looks good but I am not sure if I could agree, even as Sony is a little lower, Microsoft will be a lot lower, all because of Nintendo and either Google or Apple (that fight is nowhere near settling). I think the consumers are forgetting that these two will influence the field. It leaves Sony optionally impacting 3-7 million systems up till 2024, Yet there is every chance that Microsoft will equally be impacted between 6-12 million systems up till 2024. It is a personal speculation, but there are plenty who take the PS5 next to a Nintendo, the rivalrous setting of Microsoft is a lot less so and the Nintendo Switch pro with 4K will impact the Microsoft a lot harder. You see, the Xbox Series S will be around $299, there will be a drive that is a lot harder that people think, instead of this, I can get a Nintendo Switch. Weirdly enough, they will have the Nintendo and a PS5 on the side (reversal of fortune), don’t ask me to explain it, I cannot, but I always felt that a Nintendo is welcome next to a Playstation, whilst Microsoft has aways about ‘Its only us’ and that ill hurt them a lot more then you think. 

And I am giving you this a day before Sony unleashes internet hell with their presentation, I believe that there are a few surprises for all of us, yet I do not care, I have made my decision, I made my bed and I will snore like a sawmill. I believe there is a lot more to come early 2021, but it depends on how competitive Apple and Google will get, if they decide to unite Microsoft will be done for, if it becomes a fight between the to (most likely) I feel that on personal grounds Google will win, but that is NOT a given, more of an expected vibe. In this either has a chance to push to third leaving Microsoft on 4th position and basically in the dirt, it will be the harshest lesson they ever received in 15 years. And that is merely the opening setting, there I more, but the waters are fluid and it involves Ubisoft, I wanted to go all out here, yet after reading some of the CNN stuff, I get the feeling that Ubisoft is not getting a fair shake, and that offends me a little, do not get me wrong, I’ll happily make fun of Yves Guillemot at the drop of a hat (any hat), but I have always been fair and based on things I myself can corroborate, not on expected whims lacking evidence, that is merely a no-go for me (it sucks having principles). 

Still, Ubisoft is important here, if Microsoft loses out (which is a lot more likely than you think) it will hurt Ubisoft as well, they are on all platforms, but now we get to the quote I had two days ago. With “What if we use the power of Sony and for example Google Stadia to the max what that system can give? Will the gamer not end up with a much better experience? If you doubt that, consider Metroid Prime 1 and 2 on GameCube, a game that is still mostly unsurpassed on Xbox One and PS4 11 years later, an entire generation later”, there was method to my madness and as Microsoft loses foothold, players like Ubisoft will lose massive foothold too. Their position can only be held if the systems are on equal footing and that has not been the case of at least 5 years and as one system slips behind Nintendo, the fault line becomes at least unnerving. 

So as we see Sony’s intent this week we muster the coins we have, because preordering early is massively needed. And in 2021? Well, I merely wonder how many will choose the Nintendo Switch Pro over a Microsoft console, because that too will happen more and more. And if the docking slot with an extra game slot is true, I will be on board as soon as I can. It is just too tempting.

 

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The console stage

I made a claim last week and I forgot to follow up (my bad), and here it is. I was watching on the games out there in the past and games that might have a lovely return. First is the Sentinel. It caught my eye on the Atari ST in 1987, I played it them and I got the remake in my fingers on the PC in 1998, complete with the addictive music by the one and only John Carpenter. I believe that this game would be a nice asset on the Google Stadia (or Sony/Nintendo console), it is a game that you can play, put down and play again when you feel like it. Each of the systems can outdo the PC 1998 graphics without impeding on playability. I believe that the Ultima RPG games, but now with a Elder Scrolls first person look would be another game that could rise to fame (again), the important part is that games 4,5,6,7a and 7b would be one great game, a station that evolves as you play and they set a much larger stage that has not been achieved EVER. As such each of these systems could bank on a million fans almost overnight when properly transferred. And that is only the top of the chart, the state we see when we take the games that were not entirely at the top of the charts (like Paradroid) and we tweak those, we get a whole new range of games that would be out there for a renewed chance of more and more gamers. Another setting is seen in Mega-Lo-Mania, the game was good, not great, but it is set on too limiting a setting. It should be improved on, especially as RAM and hard drive are no longer an issue. The same could be said for forgotten Ubisoft gem Conquest: Frontier Wars, there are a few tweaks suggestions, but for the most, the skirmish part is all that is needed to give thousands of gamers fun for many many hours, and it could be ready for Google Stadia, Nintendo Switch et al quite quickly. I reckon that the Nintendo is especially interesting as it has no real space management games of that magnitude and it allows people to play by themselves and online against one another. Two stages that are easily achieved, Ubisoft does have the knowledge to run out to those fields (and they can use any win possible). In that same stage, who could forget 1989 addictive game Archipelagos, made by Astral Software? I reckon that in its original shape it is slightly too dull and too shallow, but the stage was good and when we consider other games from that era and we can spice things up a bit, the stage changes it from better than average to really good. It is not really a fair setting, because the original was better than ‘better than average’, but it was a game designed on a system lacking resources and as such improvements and additions are an option, yet there is a stage where we see that the 80’s and 90’s gave great creativity on the lacking stage of hardware, and as such we see that there is a whole range of games that can be revived on these systems. 

Yes, we all want new IP, but lets not forget that great IP remastered is still a good place to start and a lot of it is up for grabs and for those not up for grabs, the original makers could get a new lease on life and an additional pay check for the IP they know really well, gamers and game makers both seem to forget that part.

A stage that is in motion, and could set the console wars to another stage, the actual and factual stage where it does not matter how powerful your system is, it becomes a setting on who offers the most fun and that part has been forgotten to the largest extent, I wonder why?

For me, I still remember the many hours I rejoiced playing Fur Fighters on the Dreamcast, the PS2 version sucked, but the Dreamcast edition was massive fun and I still wonder why that game never made it to PS3 or XB360, now that most of the games can make it to a wider selection, I wonder if anyone will pick up the treasure trove before it is too late. Or perhaps the original makers will consider the larger stage that is now open to them.

2021 could be a great year for gaming and not just the new IP, golden oldies could be a genuine important stage for all systems willing to step into that mix.

 

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Tickle me this!

I got an award today (who by remains confidential), it is an award many man want, but alas, I got there first (for the ward that is), I am getting the 2020 award for impregnating Laura Vandervoort, don’t get me wrong, we never had sex, we never had a date, but there you have it, I got the award none the less. That is the situation we see today when GamesRadar gave us the Gamescom 2020 award winners.

Best Action Adventure Game: Watch Dogs Legion, Ubisoft
Best Sony Playstation Game: Cyberpunk 2077, CD Projekt RED

There were more, but these two stood out. The games are not out yet, the games are not released, so how did they win? Now personally I would agree with the Cyberpunk 2077 win, but if I hols one to a higher station, I need to hold both to a higher station. Cyberpunk is currently set to a 19 November 2020 release date. Any further delay and it would not apply to any 2020 win. The same could be set about Watch Dogs Legion, which is set to a 29 October 2020 release date. Some of the other nominees are coming out in November and now, on the 29th of August they have already won? How is that even possible? So if they get to make that statement, I get the Knock Up LV award. I had little choice, in my Freebie top 5, she is still the only one not married (as far as I know), so there you have it, the stage is set.

And there are more awards to come, yet will they be set to the right station?

We can argue that: 

Best Simulation game will be the Microsoft Flight Simulator (there is no substitute).
Best Sports game has three options, but the EA games are not coming until later this year.
Best RPG is up in the air, but Cyberpunk 2077 has a good chance if it comes in 2020.

Best Remaster? Best PC Game? I have no idea and I have no real setting of what will come in 2020, but to award it to a game that is not yet pleased is insanity and folly, but it made me dream of the most unlikely of all encounters, me and Laura Vandervoort, apart from the situation that she is on the other side of the Pacific river and that is merely the first of many factors in place and in this we see the larger stage, Gamescom wanted to count, it wanted to be the captain of industry, Covid-19 be damned and I get it, but it is not right. That the award are given to the games released in the previous year, makes sense, or even over the last 12 months, but to give them out to unreleased games is folly.

And this has nothing to do with my sentiment towards Ubisoft, I believe that in this case the game I am yearning for is in the same mix, as such the game should not have won until it was released. Some will agree, some will not, but the stage of so many awards and they are optionally based on unreleased games is wrong.

It is a stage where we see more and more events set to timely publication, for them Covid-19 must suck and I get it, but to set the stage to award games not yet published is getting a bit weird. It is merely my $0.0325 on the matter (my 2 cents with adjustment) and feel free to disagree.

 

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Jealousy

We all have it and I am no exception. Yes, I am keeping the IP I have to myself (for now), and I have been involved in video games since 1985, so when I see ‘EA Executives Blocked From Receiving “Exorbitant” Awards’ (source: Kotaku) all whilst we see “Earlier this week, investors shot down EA’s proposed payment plans for their executives” in the same frame when I proposed a version of Mass Effect that would undo the damage the previous one did and give the players a 400% boost in exploratory gameplay is set on a slippery slope. When a group of people getting millions of bonuses for making junk why would I bother helping them? (slightly miffed me), yet when we see the list of games coming out, we see a drove of remastered games (now also coming to Nintendo Switch), with a huge spoonful of sport games, which was always their core business, yet there is now a hole, even as we accept that there is a border to Sims, there is an edge to the Medal of Honour and there is a life expectancy of Dead Space, EA had good games and that is merely in the near past. Especially now in the Google Stadia stage, they seemingly forget Populous, Populous 2, Seven cities of gold. Yes, we get it these are old games, but so are a large group of remastered games. EA has a large opportunity, Google needs fuel for its stadia, EA has a whole range of games that likes players and with Ubisoft the way it is now, EA has the advantage. We might see the temporary influx of a gem like Battle Chess and we all see it, yet it became a game that was (for a while) liked and optionally loved by a whole range of people with zero interest in chess gaming. So what happens when the tutor part of Battle Chess increases a lot more, what happens when a whole new generation of players can get into chess, optionally with the added play online, set groups of players and so on. A categorical side of Elo, the chess rating. There is still the option to add Battle Chess 2, yet the question becomes how many people warm up Chinese chess (different pieces, different moves). When we accept that we are willing to engage into the side of puzzles that need solving, chess puzzles are there for all and in the stage that Google Stadia finds itself in, there is a larger need to get the gaming fuel going and the fuel they are all forgetting about is the fuel that is out in the open. And it is not about the identical port, but it is about what more the games could offer and these games have plenty to offer, all whilst the IP is still in the hands of EA (most of them anyway). EA has a massive advantage. Even as there is a lot of anti-EA people, the quality of games was never below the par line, not like the par line Ubisoft waves anyway. There is also the stage to grow, a game like Shadow Caster was not the great game it could have been then, but the stage now could lead to a lot more gaming and dare I say it a higher quality level of gaming? And they are not alone, Ian Bird created a game called Millennium 2.2 31 years ago. A game that I still remember playing on the CBM Amiga, The CBM Amiga had to deal with 512KB of RAM and a disc holding 880KB of storage, Any system can surpass that now, so we could see a setting where this game could be restitched at the tailor giving us a new style of clothing, in new colours with more versatility. That is the stage that I feel the most on with Severn Cities of Gold. Ubisoft makes us chase in game loot boxes, yet the origin of this comes from discovering things and Seven Cities of gold delivered. Nowadays it does not hold up to our needs, but what happens when we set the stage to a much higher level, yet the original idea was sound. Yes, I know, we hear all these people with ‘I can do this much better’, but where are they? Where is their product? 

I am not claiming to do any better, but I see what is and what can be and they are merely mulling it over with their ‘improved product’ and not showing anything. It is a shame because there is a stage where Google Stadia can surpass Microsoft and I have a vested interest in showing them how wrong their approach was, treason to gamers is a stage I take very seriously and I am driven to see them fall, if only to show them the error of their delusional stage of self preservation. OK, I admit that this is a little over the top, but to see them having to swallow their words ‘We have the most powerful system in the world’, letting them surpass themselves by the weakest system (Nintendo Switch) and optionally set the stage of the Google Stadia surpassing them as well is a nice notch on my 6 shooter. The fuel for gamers is games and adding a whole range of games that entice, reward game time and let them feel the joy of gaming is rewarding to me. 

And the stage of setting loose on the gaming world of amazing games is just icing on the cake. In this EA is a good start, they had excellent games, no denying that and a package deal there would be a larger win for Google. I believe that the games that enticed the previous generation can still entice the current generation when we upgrade and adjust the game to what we expect in today’s environment. Let’s not forget that most games were created in a pre controller age, as such the quality of game play will go up a lot, and I believe that this stage is one that Google Stadia as well as Apple Arcade would want to pursue. They cannot beat Nintendo or Sony, but they can catch up with marketing driven Microsoft and optionally surpass them, I would see it as a personal achievement. A setting where bullet point driven executives are shown the door by the gamers they set up to milk. So I admit, there is some jealousy when my evangelical approach to gaming is not rewarded and the inferior approach to gaming is, on the other had, they delivered a product and I do not deny it, I merely wonder why some products (the non-sport games) aren’t better, yet I also recognise that the umpteen versions of Sims allow for jewels like Unravel to make it, one hand washes the other and we let slide the disappointment that was Mass Effect 4, especially as there is a stage where the mistake can be undone. All whilst those who love the Sims get another influx of juice, Jedi juice is you like.

We can channel our jealousy, we can ignore our jealousy or we can deny it, it is up to you to decide on your view, your choice and perhaps your drive. I will leave it with you, and to give a little shot to your drive, gaming revenue represented $120 billion in 2019, if you want a slice of that, get to work.

 

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A day of rest

Yup, we all have them and to be honest, not because it is Sunday, but because I wanted to contemplate that I had finished my 1500th story on Saturday, to be honest, I never thought I would get that far. So today I relaxed and considered things, at some point I ate 2 dozen King Mackerels and I also at 3 dozen people (playing Man Eater on PS4), a game that was a lot more fun than I expected it to be, and lets be fair, who wouldn’t want to be a shark, I wanted to be one since June 20th 1975, I don’t think the Steven Spielberg had that in mind when he made the movie, but we all have triggers and the VIC-20 brought out a few dark sides in me too. The game is fin, I have put aside Jedi, Fallen order for a week at present, it is not a reflection on the Jedi game, because it looks good and I enjoy the game, it is to show just how much fun Man Eater is. There is a growing sense that games like JFO are losing ground. It is not their fault, they did nothing wrong. It seems that with the stronger systems the option growing in players that we are all seeking a more sandbox approach. Dying Light, Alien: Isolation, Gotham Knight, Shadow of War, all games that are doing better because of the open game approach, even if it merely seems to be the case. Now with the PS5 (and the Microsoft alternative) we see the drive to open gaming. Still, we need to be careful what we embrace, because it is a dangerous step. Even as some embrace Second Son, a Superpunch creation, the game lost out as it was too linear, a game that had the setting to be legendary, because slightly better than average, not because of the graphics, not because of the story, but the execution needed work, the fact that I was able to complete the game in a little over a day in hard mode is in support of that view. It gave me the idea to come up with Infamous: Adulthood, a game that continues on Second Son, sets it in a much larger stage of Seattle (as that was where the previous game was). I took a different avenue (because that is how I roll), I like deployability, a game is not something that you play once, but there must be a drive to do that, taking a page from another design, I set the game map to a 900% of the previous one, so if the map was 3 miles each side, it would not be 9 miles each side. From 3 by 3 to 9 by 9 is quite the change. But the map is merely the first part. The idea is to continue a generation later (because the game was nicely set), Delsin Rowe is now an older man, he met a girl Dyani and she was a conduit too, she had the same ability that Delsin had and ended up with different powers they settled and had a family. This is the first tier choice, you can choose boy or Girl, the boy will be named Reggie, the girl will be named Betty, yet the powers with which they get (only two) will be set to a stage, the first power will be one of one of 4 random the boy gets it from the father the girl from the mother, the second power is 75% from the gender parent 25% from the other one. So here is the first reason to replay the game, you get different and new powers. The story will set the stage where the player gets the other 2 powers. To this stage the story doesn’t change, yet how to go about it does. I wanted to add the stage that the other two powers will be depending on whether the person has a good or an evil karma, so the offensive power of fire is for Evil, the power of water will be for good (just a thought, fire is not evil, the flames told me so themselves), The second one is in the air, I wanted to set a larger stage again. To avoid the linearity of the game, I wanted change, so we still might want some linearity to make things easier, but I wanted to avoid that cleaning a region gives you enough power to upgrade to the max from the beginning. To this effect we see a new stage, the good cannot destroy CCTV, as such the police can be a much larger stage to deal with. The evil choice gets additional criminals attacking them, whilst the police attacks them too, The storyline will be a larger challenge, I needed to consider missions that can be adjusted for the powers available. An idea is that as the powered are free, some are criminals, some are not and others are living in silence hiding their abilities. As such missions for 4 additional powers needed to be created. (2 good, 2 evil), optionally one will be neutral, but that is the stage. I had the idea of creating a storyline that is slightly more dripped in ambiguity than previously considered. So when considering the powers, we need 4 for Dyani and 4 that are optionally gained. I came up with Fire, Water, Acid, Air, Paper, Glass (the last two were mentioned in Second Son), and beyond the elemental is time, telekineses and projection. There might be more, but there is no stage to set it yet. The danger is that in Second Son the first power was cool, it can across as creative and it had limitations, Laser (second power) was too strong, basically when I had it, I only used that one for most of the game, so I wanted to make sure that each power had a serious setback, making relying on one power a bad idea. There is the idea to add powers like Flight or teleportation, but the powers that were in the game and climbing to the top was not overly negative. Then there are the positive parts, the spray can option was awesome, it was original, and looked great, but I do not want repetition, I considered that both good and evil had options, so the idea of the paper power allows the player to set posters to illuminate issues, yet if the person does not get that power, we need an alternative in Smoke (charcoal image), Laser (Draw), Video (override transmission) and Concrete (sculpt). In addition there is the need to create passive abilities, even as we see the stage where we use one power, or the other power, we could be actively using one power, whilst the other power passively works too, it is a harder stage, but it feels more real for the player. For the same reason where we didn’t get to use the concrete power, I want to make sure that the stage of all powers is there and an application of practical use too. 

To set that stage we need to create a sort of infrastructure, just like a normal real city, we have regions, the police has a city and area setup, but so do criminals and they are not the same, in addition, we see the approach of others (not trying to give away too much) and they to have their own maps and infrastructure. Setting a city in such a stage makes a linear approach much harder and optionally not possible. A setting where a region can be ‘cleaned’ but not until all 4 powers are there, and in some way, the stage needs to be that some issues cannot be solved (not the right power) and as such, the only thing that the player can do is limit damage, a stage we often forget. Yes, we all understand that there is a line we walk on when we play a game, but what happens, when that line is intersecting and the player gets the option to turn left or right? Sandbox games tend to have a much better realisation to make that happen and I believe that in next generation systems a push towards sandbox approach will give the player a much better and more entertaining approach to solving the puzzle giving them. Even as we all push towards the a game like Prototype and the need to drive a tank over the masses to get the 65,536 kills, but long before you get to the 40K cadaver mark, the grinding set in and the fun diminishes. That is the other side of sandbox gaming. When a game stops being linear there are more issues to consider, more options for glitches and an optional bug or two, so there is more to consider and isolation in programming tends to be a non-option. Isolation has benefits, but there is a much larger stage of other issues hitting the environment, there is more to consider programming and that is where the rails tend to come off. This is not a good thing, but I focus on the creativity, not on the technical stag of the game, I can create, I suck at programming (beyond standard stations of it), as such the re is a stage where my idea of creation will surpass programming, but that is good, when you skate on the fringe of technology magic is created, Go back in time and see the games that truly broke the mould, they all surpassed what was imagined to be possible at the time (Minecraft with the obvious exception), we all see what is possible and a game will expand the mind when it is in a stage where it seems impossible. Guns of the Patriots and the Last of us are the examples that set the stage of the PlayStation 3,  MGS4: Guns of the patriot did so in the beginning of the console and set unparalleled borders with several critics giving the game a 100% rating, and the Last of Us repeating the same setting at the end of the PlayStation 3 lifecycle receiving even more 100% ratings. That was not because it was cool, it was because the game was as close to a game that should not even exist on that console, to surpass the boundaries of what was possible, soon we will get a similar setting on sandbox games, creating the near impossible making the player skate on the edge of what is possible in gaming and it is a hard sell, even as we see “Within seven days of its release, The Last of Us sold over 1.3 million units”, it ended up selling 17,000,000 units. There is a reason why Ubisoft is at present with the consideration of ‘At best unremarkable, at worst unplayable, Ghost Recon Breakpoint is 2019′s worst game’ (source: Washington Post), It all starts with creativity and imagination, then we get proper programming and testing, as I personally see it Ubisoft failed 4 times over, as such it is important to set the bar of creativity as high as possible, a stage too often underestimated. So whilst Ubisoft still seemingly hides behind “There are five AC Valhalla editions available”, with the optional extra “Each one of the Valhalla editions offers a different pack of bonuses and additional perks on top of the base game”. We need to remind the makers that we need one game and an optional collectors edition that could have art, noise (soundtrack) and doohickey (statue), I am not opposed to a season pass, yet in my personal view it is that some of the makers see this as an excuse to deliver a 85% game and charge additional for the 15%, whilst I see it that the season pass would be a setting to add to the game giving us 115% of gaming. In this I need to reflect on the Desperado 3 limited edition, it is awesome (I do not have it), I got the game when I could and I love it, but the collectors edition ($80 more) gives a music box, with the five playable figurines interchangeable, an art book, the soundtrack and postcards. It looked really cool. Some will love it, some will not care, and I get that, but in what universe should we diminish playing quality? I also get that some will give out skins as a premium for some preorder and I am fine with that, yet they should become available for all and games like Gotham Knight offered just that down the line as free downloads. It seems to me that these game marketeers are all about creating hypes aiming towards what they call “For the most loyal and fanatic fans of the franchise”, whilst they have no issue charging well above 300%, all whilst they are currently in a stage where they have not proven that they can deliver a game that is worth 100% of the charges of a normal game, Breakpoint took care of that rather nicely. Metacritic gives Ubisoft a present an average career score of 69%, and we do need to distinguish that AC Odyssey is set to a mere 60%, Breakpoint got a mere 58%, so am I wrong? I believe not, although Ubisoft could have avoided a lot of issues by properly testing the games before release. Different games, different ratings, but the stage is set with the creativity of the person thinking up the game. Getting another Second Son game is not the worst plan, but it needs to deal with linearity, it was the biggest drawback in the game. I think that overall that is not a bad setting to have, The game is said to have sold over a million copies which is good, yet when we set this against the two legendary games, one selling 17 million copies, I believe that there is room to wow the people, I am not underestimating the realm that MGS had already created, but the Last of Us was a totally new IP, I believe that a near perfection driven SuckerPunch has more to offer and I can’t wait to see what they come up with in the PS5 era, if Ghost of Tsushima is anything to go by, I say that we haven’t seen anything yet. So let the PS5 and the good times come. And in the mean time, I will focus my creativity a bit more.

There are limits to a day of rest, the walls at present look good enough to eat. 

 

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Light of creativity

In creativity we normally see a theme, or perhaps better phrased, some (like me)( are thematically driven, it might change per project, but in me there is a drive to think thematically, it is how I set the the stages of Elder Scrolls VII: Restoration, Watchdogs 4: Refugee,  and Far Cry 7: Timing

In this I have spoken about the Elder Scrolls and Watchdogs before, but not too much about Far Cry, in this game the stage is a little bit different. The game has two sides, a day side and a night side, yet that is not really made clear in the beginning, The game is stages in Japan on the Island of Amakusa, the man is in the city as it is today, yet when he falls asleep he becomes the boy or Girl named Sage. For the kid its 1945, for the adult its 2010, and the stage is different, the man learns skills that the boy has when he falls asleep, the kid finds things and places (and avoid US troops) the difference is that this is a game without guns, the US troops have them, but the boy/girl cannot fire them. The man learns to be better and more apt with knifes, and it helps the other one, but is only deadly to animals. The story starts in 2010, the man is evicted, he lost his job in the meltdown, he is making it on his own and when he gets to an abandoned house, he finds an engraved phalange, and as he holds it, he falls asleep. 

At that point it becomes morning 1945 and the boy takes over. 

It is the foundation of the game, in this we see the entire island twice, once as the boy in the midst  of an American occupation, with lose combats against the Imperial army, we see the game starting in one stage in July 1st 1945 and July 1st 2010 in the other stage. The idea of having two stories that intertwine is interesting, the 2010 story sets the stage of what knowledge is gained in 1945. This stage is depending on stealth, that is often not important in 2010, as we try to gain the treasures and rare items to pay the debt, as that unfolds, we see two stories unfold as well as two needs to be scored in a single night, and as the stage unfolds more and more we get to see a WW2 story from a Japanese side, yet the Americans are not shown too evil, but they are scary to a 11 year old child. 

That is merely the beginning of the setting and it took no more than two hours to come up with it. So when we see “a small team at Visceral also worked on a pirate game code named Jamaica. That game wound up being canceled when Ubisoft announced the pirate-themed Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag, and EA wound up with a bigger a bigger priority for its “genre” studio: a Star Wars game”, a quote a mere three days old, yet I was able to (semi)create three games in a week, so where is their creativity? I came up with the setting of the game Evolution which was came from an Idea I had when I was playing the game Mercenary on the CBM64 and was based in Amsterdam, The centre of Amsterdam was completely mapped and I came up with a map change which I got from the documentary Zero Hour, as I see it, the lack of creativity from some of these large software houses baffle me, it really does.

Well, its fine as I see it, I came up with 6 games (completely) original in its foundation, as such the entire stage of ‘being canceled when Ubisoft announced the pirate-themed Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag’ passed me by completely. And in that regard, we see that even their version is not that original, Sid Meier set that stage with Pirates, as such I wonder what they will create next, and beyond that, which of them will actually make it to the consoles, because that is another setting.

As we see all over the place ‘Apple clashes with Microsoft, Google, and Facebook over cloud gaming’ no one is asking the question, who will hand us original games? In this the setting that only Sony and Nintendo remains is not the weirdest idea. So as the others are fighting on how to gain the largest slice of pie in the GaaS game, some will focus on originality and make the largest gains. 

So what games will you play and which system will focus on original games? Is that not important too? 

 

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Standing by my point of view

I have looked at games for almost 30 years, and so far in the mode of gaming I have been in, I tend to stand by my position. It has nothing to do with stubborn, or with some kind of elevated sense of correctness. Time has proven me right again and again. Even now as SuckerPunch is regarded as the gospel of gaming  (these things happen), I tend to see how things fair and so far I agree with the many voices, but this too made me realise that there is another path. To see this, we need to go back to 2014, a new Infamous was launched. Now, I still stand by my original view, is was above average, but it had failed to be great, even as all the elements were there. Two massive elements influenced it. The game was almost tediously linear and after the final fight you do not get to use the concrete powers to the degree I had expected. These two parts make the game good, but not great and that was a shame. Yet that is not the issue, I reinstalled it today to play it again for a few hours, even as I had completed it 100%, and in almost record time well over a third of the game had been done. This is not due to memory, I had forgotten most of it, it was due to linearity, but that was not the surprise, I know I had updated the game on day 2 or 3 and now another update was there. Over 6 years the game had seemingly seen 7 updates (It installed 1.0.7), the final update and the only one I had to install was less than 4 GB, for a PS4 game that is decent, and here we see the first issue, Ubisoft sets games to dozens of GB’s per game per update and this game from the early days does a mere fraction of this. I personally see this as proper testing was done at Sucker Punch, and Ghost of Tsushima shows this again (and again and again). A good developer will always win and innovation in gaming (a thing Sucker Punch has shown a few times) will always beat iteratively thinking Ubisoft. 

Even as I still stand by the view I had, the game was still as enjoyable as the first time I finished it. That is the power of a decent game and this game if not hindered by the two flaws might have remained on the legendary games list. Still, this does not stop Sucker Punch from creating a decent game, an innovative game and this is the issue, no matter how I see this game, I recognised it as innovative gaming, when I revisit this old game, I see just how powerful innovative thinking is in gaming. And whilst we consider just how correct I am, Google Search is filled with all the game magazines that are trying to use Sucker Punch as much as possible, Forbes even states ‘‘Ghost Of Tsushima’ Is The Game Of The Generation’ and it is hard to disagree. They also give the additional text “I am more glad than I expected to be to have a game like Ghost of Tsushima. Rather than giving us innovation, Sucker Punch has given us care and craft with the things we already know. It is a comforting thing to have, here in a moment when my country is still grappling with its failure to contain coronavirus and when the future seems less predictable than it ever has before.” In this I am not sure if I completely agree, I personally see this game as innovative, as such I partially disagree with ‘Rather than giving us innovation’, yet when we look at the separate elements, Forbes might have a case, it is the ‘Sucker Punch has given us care’ that is true, but proper testing tends to get us there (often enough), no matter how we see it, we see that compared to a player like Ubisoft it is a mere dwarf, a dwarf that creates titans, so whilst the news is full of all the things going wrong at Ubisoft, I have stated (for some time), that they have bigger issues, and perhaps these events we see hit the news now is a consequence of stress and taking it out internally. And even as we see the news on all kinds of statements and promises, we see that Ubisoft has a rather large problem, one that Sucker Punch never had, or fixed well over a decade ago, properly testing games. That is the heart of the matter and they do know how to do that. No matter how I see Black Flag, it was near perfect and so was Origins. So as such, I cannot fathom why they cannot hold the rudder right, Sucker Punch shows how it can be done and they have done so for a very long time. 

These two players need to be shown for the mere reason that one player relies on hypes and marketing, all whilst the other does not and gives us great games. So whilst I am getting a little weary of messages like ‘Ubisoft teases us with…’, I would rather see that they cleaned their company from top to bottom, because no matter what we see on certain people, the failings there go to the very top. It angers me, not because of whatever, the fact that they had good games and they wasted 2-3 franchises is a real drag, all whilst the products show that there is graphical talent and the music as applied is close to legend. As a gamer, does that not upset you? And even as I remain cautious on Far Cry 6, does it not sound like something we played before? Now, this is speculative so do not treat this like gospel, but what the internet gives us is apparently nothing more that Far Cry 4/5 in a Far Cry 3 setting. I hope that I am completely wrong, but Ubisoft does not have the greatest track record when it comes to innovation, all whilst my idea on WatchDogs 4 is a setting that is completely innovative and I wonder if all that innovation would fit into a new console (I just do not know) but is that not the foundation of gaming, to be on the edge what is possible and see if it can be done? MGSIV in the beginning of the PS3 and the Last of Us at the very end show me to be correct, In that same view Black Flag in the beginning of the PS4 is in that same foundation, so why are these franchises developed too short for their own good? 

Even now, games like Breakpoint might ‘sell’ high end graphics, but it lacked joy, joy that a GameCube game (Metroid Prime) had in abundance. Even now 8.5 years later, I can still find joy in Skyrim (originally released 11.11.11), apart from AC Origins, what Ubisoft game released since 2017 has that (I am personally not considering Rainbow Six as that is not my kind of game). When you see how short that list is and how many games Ubisoft released, we see the flaw of iterative game releases. And this is not merely Ubisoft, how many think fondly back to the Mass Effect Andromeda, after the release? All issues that proper testing could have avoided and it took less than one day to come up with Mass Effect based IP that surpassed Andromeda, it is that flawed and we need to get angry, because a life of good gaming depends on it, for all of us. 

Even as we need not worry on Sony and Nintendo, a Microsoft pushing boundaries would keep Sony innovative, that too is a given, when there is no competitor the remaining players tend to relax, history has shown that part a few times, so I prefer that Microsoft wakes up fast, but reality is not in my favour, as such here is every chance that after the PS5, the PS6 might not be as advanced as we hope (unless Nintendo really changes the game). 

If we look at the past, many have heard of Melinoe and the nightmares she brings, but who remembers Makaria? When we consider Makaria and according to the scrolls of Nikolaos of Damascus her meeting Ares, what was the result? When we see all these greek god based games, we tend to see the big three and the direct dependants, but what of some of the others? With the exception of series like Xena (PS1 game) all based on Lucy Lawless and her formed fanbase of life under greek god reign, nowadays we see covers of ancient greek books, but we forgot to pick them up and read them. Yet the foundation of RPG and sandbox games is larger than that and I see a lack of grasping the unexpected by many developers. 

And this is not some console war, a game war can be fought on many fronts, as such the setting of google Stadia versus Apple Arcade is not over, not by a long shot and these systems have limitations, it matters, because the days of the CBM64, a system with 38Kb of RAM, a 64Kb system showed an entire generation how cool gaming could be, 10-17 million units sold and 99% bought it for the games, no matter what excuse, like ‘I want to learn to program’ they gave (I was one of them). Innovation comes with limitation, and that is where true treasures are found. I feel certain that browsing through the Amiga 500 list, I will find at least half a dozen that will make it and become successes on a system like the Google Stadia, in this, even Ubisoft has a few titles, neglected titles that would be a good match to the iPad, a system at times forgotten for the games it can play and if it does it there, it will be wanted on the Google Stadia and the Apple version. Even later than that, anyone who remembers the Microprose titles would instantly try them on these systems in a new jacket, games born from limitations and they could be upgraded to fit a whole new generation (and please the previous generation as well). 

I stand by my point of view and as I see Ubisoft buckle and Sucker Punch become one of the most revered software groups, I see the options of games and how they can be on several systems between now and 2023. Time has proven me correct a few times now, I wonder when some developers wake up, as I see it, they have little time left.

 

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Second ride to the other place

Ubisoft has released a non-leaked first view edition and it is only fair that I take a look at it. It does look a little better, yet I still fear that Ubisoft has taken its Assassins Creed franchise and put it in a casket and the grave that is where it is headed. 

In the first, no matter how it is dressed, it is no longer an Assassins Creed game, they had the option of making an optionally powerful new franchise, but Ubisoft clearly waged against it. What we see does look good, the graphical section of Ubisoft always knew what it was doing and they moved on on this trip towards excellence. Yet I see more things, and more options that make sense in one way, and seem overly pushed for in another. The fear that I had that some is a trial to push Far Cry elements into this game is not gone, but it was slightly diminished. Yet there it was, chasing tattoo sheets, just like Black Flag chasing songs, or was it the almanac pages in the third game? More of the same, trying to appease all makes for a stage that pleases none. 

The second part is yet to be proven, merely as I had to download more for Breakpoint, I decided to delete it, the patches are well over 50Gb (in total size), and I started the game late, so I missed a few patches, that is the darkest moment that this game faces. The large comments of the video poster seems to indicate the idea that was left with me. It is an RPG that has a lot towards Witcher 3, there is an attempt towards the older AC games, but I was not satisfied from what I saw. Some parts are familiar and you have done it before, some seem new and surprisingly so. The entire station is upgraded and the lack of tools are perhaps felt, but there are skills that are there now. There are feelings in me, but Ubisoft destroyed the faith to it. It seems to me that there is no questing to the degree of the past, as you need to discover events by exploration, AC Odyssey hinted at the route, but I will await a more complete edition. In shadows of ignorance, I would see this as Witcher IV, the UK travels, and that is how it looks and feels, yet it is not a CD Project Red game, it is not a Gerald of Rivia game, but the sandbox feeling is better done now than it was in AC Odyssey. The game has new parts, or basically vastly altered applied parts. Skills and inventory are the ones that stand out. Weapons and armour are not merely altered, they have been vastly upgraded. Weapons does not merely have a damage part, there is speed and impact as well, so the choice of a weapon will be more towards the gameplay and chasing the right weapon and sticking to it will matter. Armour had elements like weight and evasion, so what looks cool might not be efficient. It is an essential upgrade that matters, so do the skills, there are major and minor upgrades there and it is shown in a new light, as such, the game will have new and improved sights on this, yet this is Ubisoft, so how many patches will it require? There is no way to tell, the game is close to 3 months away from completion, but unlike the leak, this does show me that Valhalla is not an auto fail, Ubisoft might have lost a lot of credibility, there is a decent chance that this game is a game changer not unlike AC Origins was and that was a breath of fresh air, as such Valhalla might be another one, time will tell, yet that would enable Ubisoft gain some essentially required credibility. I hope that they will all it off, I might have been opposing some of their actions, but I do not hate them (hate is useless, always). 

I will advice all to take another look and not rely on the leaked part, there are a few videos out there and most will give a similar view. I personally do not go for those making a ‘my honest opinion’ approach, for the simple reason that a sandbox game is too large, and the game relies on a much broader taste in gaming as such, it applies to more and everyone has their own playing style, in the AC games for me it was stealth, which is why I found AC Odyssey disappointing. I did like the overall adaptability of Valhalla, yet I felt that the stealth part is lacking, which makes it not an AC game, but let’s be fair, when did we consider ANY viking to be a person who understood the concept of stealth? Yet the game looks impressive, there is no denying that. Yet how many patches will it face? A setting that keeps on nagging in the back of my head. 

Time will tell, but I do feel it is important for anyone taking the ‘leak’ as gospel to take another look as the leaked video is definitely selling the game short.

 

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Project One Fiver

We all have the setting in our heads, we have an idea and we partially roll with it. It is there where we get the problem, some see problems, some do not. I am the one in category two, yet I also have flaws and they show themselves rather quickly. I am the entire opposite of those, I am one who quits as the challenge is gone. It is a basic law, it is stupid, but in 1989 there was a different stage, the BS artists were in charge, I was new, I knew nothing, but I had my 

Nantucket clipper compiler and a book on how to program and within weeks I was ahead of a lot of people.  I was asking container programs, admin programs and I loved it. But it came with an inner flaw. Someone in the cinema world asked me for a solution, I was not thinking like a consultant, because I was self trained, I rejected the offer, not because it was hard, but because it was easy. I had in my mind set the stage and developed the solution in an hour, I saw what was needed and my mind set the stage in minutes. The shows, the cinema’s the date’s, it was the simplest application of Clipper and dBase 3, as such I saw the premise that I was doing all the work and getting almost nothing for it, because people would state that it was too easy, and in those days the rent was due. I leaned a lot over time and I went in a different direction, but the ability to see solutions remained in me. 

So as I am watching the Battlestar Galactica series (again) an idea came to mind, what if the premise of the RPG is changed? What if the game is not one game, but 15? All linked into one massive game, into one large game that is in part driven by the parameters of other gamers? Not just that, but your achievements will be an added parameter for them? Over time your stage will be the overbearing one, but you are not one voice, you are one of a choir and over time you are the choir. As far as I can tell, that has never been done before and even as my idea grasps some idea’s from others, the stage of philosophical drives, the stage of a limited stage is not new. Other games programmed around it, I am considering it to be part of the game. And over that stage we see the ability where we intersect in a much larger stage. Yes, it sounds confusing, me talking about stages, about parameters and about requirements, yet games are like that and we fill in the blanks in stages, the stage of where we play, the stage of where a character is and we have the ability to set a much larger field of play in a  game that could set a new record in gaming in the next console war. 

A stage that has several planets, a stage that is set where we have a formula that creates 15 planets, and you have no idea where you are. This is not for the weak of mind, or those walking around in Minecraft, this is Elder Scrolls Oblivion on a scale that is 15 planets big and we do not set out to gain a flag or to kill a monster, we set out to create a dynasty and that is never a clear sailing premise. I see the solutions that other greats did before this, There was the Ultima series an RPG by Richard Garriott that is something that still drives me and why it was never refurbished in a new coat with new graphics still puzzles me. But they were not alone, there were others, to some perhaps forgotten, but with gems in its coding. Hopefully we will see a remade System Shock soon, yet it was not alone. Whist Ubisoft is all about triggers and respawning enemies, the stage is out there for a different kind of RPG, I believe that the PS5 will open up more options and different sets of games. The problems is not the game, the issue will become where is the IP, who owns it and how can it be staged in different ways. We see series like Westworld and we wonder how it can become a game. There was someone with the Westworld Shelter approach, I never saw it, I would have liked to have seen it, but it was removed before I could see it. This is not a random phrase, the question becomes that in the age we face, sources are limited, so how can we make a game enjoyable, repayable and original without it becoming a mesh of Minecraft and Animal Crossing? Whilst Ubisoft showed us how not to do it, w still need to do it and we need to do it right. It needs a hand that looks outside of what coders look at. We need to consider the creation of a strategy guide before there is a game, so that we can ensure the long term existence of the created game. And to be there for the long term you need to look with different eyes, to see in a different scope. I saw the option of scope when I created the foundation for Elder Scrolls VIII: Restoration, I saw the option of views when I considered Watch Dogs IV: Refugee, it also gave me the idea to set different dimensionalities (there was was an example in System Shock), yet the combining of elements is a much larger stage and it is a different stage. It is not like we go to the theatre, it is the entire block around the building that houses the theatre as well. That is the stage we work from, because when the surroundings are there, that is when we give size to the stage in that theatre. It has always been that way, yet in the past the computers could not deal with that stage, computers are finally catching on and even as the remade Pirates (Sid Meier) was betrayed into a diminished stage and labeled Assassins Creed: Black Flag, does not mean that it was so, we had no reason to give up on a time honoured classic, yet that stage was burned before it flourished. I wonder what we can get done when that is ignored in a future project, what happens, when we have a planet making program like we see in No Mans Sky and we prepare 15 codes, 15 places with enhanced detailing, 15 stages where the plant is the stage, where we are a person in a much larger field and we get to set up the stage of history, I reckon that it has never been done before, not to this degree and not to this reference of options, a stage much larger than ever before and to the degree where we at the end of 200-600 hours want to play it again, so far only Bethesda and CD Project Red have come anywhere near that stage, there is off course GTA5, no one denies that, so out of 2300 game developers, only 3 only got that near, would it not be the right challenge to be one of 10 ever to get that near? It is not a hard question to answer. 

I’ll let you simmer on the question and the questions that will be in your mind at this time.

 

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Picture this!

Yup, we all have these moments, I whilst facing the jabberwocky of insomnia ended up facing a new bout of creativity and I thought of sharing it right here, it can use the benefits that 5G brings but is not reliant on it, it is an altered way of looking at pictures. It is however a little more, ad to be honest, the issues at Ubisoft brought them forward, with an undisclosed part that is depending on certain pats that might come up in WatchDogs 4 (if Ubisoft still exists by then).

OK, to get you there, this needs to go in stages. 

Digital picture frames. We have all seen them, the cheap solutions in some asian setting that allows for some resolution and has some memory to show pics at 480dpi, not the greatest resolutions, but for the family snaps it is OK. There are more expensive versions, that have much higher resolution (and are more expensive), some will allow for an SD card to keep the pics and that is what they display.

The second stage is a new stage, what if the picture frame is whatever you need it to be? Now we move from the family snapshot to the presentation gigs. There are versions that call themselves ‘Clear 3D Rear Holographic Projection Screen film’ solutions and they are good for the usual presentation that are in a preset stage, but presentations on trade fairs tend to be anything but preset. Trade fairs tend to be dynamic, consider E3, ECTS, Horecava, Efficiency Trade Fairs, it is you against the world and sometimes that is quite literal. What if the display technology is adaptive?  Consider the projection screen film, it is a great option for some, but is depending on rear projection and that is not always a solution.

So what happens when we change the equation? What is the film is triple layered and the plasma technology is not set to dimensions? So whatever you screen you cut with scissors, has a determined point 0, but the size at that point allows to become whatever we need it to be? That sheet can placed in whatever frame we need it to be in and at that point we attach the thingamajig (technobabble for Display engine with embedded projection core). And it has what it needs to start the display, it needed a point 0. The rest can be set in the stage of side 2. So we have a sheet, it has two attachments, one with point 0, one with point Y, after that the image can be presented. Any image when one side is known, the rest can be made, no matter the size. If the size grows beyond a stage the engine needs to reflect display technology to deal with the matter (different subject). The issue is only partially solved.

3. The leaks that Ubisoft shows, is also a larger need to keep things confidential, so what happens at trade shows? So what happens when these displays are all set with a Micro SD card that has the cloud encryption so that a player like Ubisoft can keep its presentation on a Paris server, or Microsoft on their Seattle PCXT, IBM on their, you get the idea, marketing HQ keeps their presentations under wrap and the presentations would not be able to get leaked. 

4. The displays are merely part of the solution, there would be SD/MicroSD options to reflect that, but the larger stage is that not merely in trade show, in EVERY shop, the location can decide what display format fits them best. Almost like a TV to fit your exact size and that is where we go with this. 5G will allow for that approach and not all requires the internet. Mobile 5G stations can present whatever they need. Like the Schwarovsky Rose presentation is saw a few years ago, the option to localise whatever you need to present, a stage absent of one of the most important parts, heavy TV’s monitors, whilst most of that device is never used, a stage where we overthrow the part we require to be left with the part we need. 

A TV that is set to size using a pair of scissors, I wonder if we see that in Cyberpunk 2077, I might just have given a few idea’s to the technical nerds on planet internet.

 

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