Talk about anything and everything Squad-related here -- what you've been playing, what you're looking forward to, and how big your Pile of Shame has grown after that last Steam sale...
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Re: E3 2015 - Squad Thoughts

by Angry Jedi » Wed Jun 17, 2015 5:01 pm

New Nier. That is all.
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Re: E3 2015 - Squad Thoughts

by Elanzer » Wed Jun 17, 2015 5:50 pm

Very impressed with the AMD/PC Gamer show and much of what was featured there, I wasn't sure what to expect but they really stuffed it full of some great reveals and interviews without any of the boring bombast of the console/publisher exclusive events.

Not owning any of the latest consoles I can't really comment on much of the above, but for what it's worth:

Spoiler: show
SOMA - Spooky. I love everything I've seen from Frictional about this so far, but I'm a little confused why it has taken so long to deliver. Meanwhile, they've been critical about every other horror game to come along since Amnesia, including Alien: Isolation which stands to be one of the greatest horror games I have ever played, so they had better deliver.

No Man's Sky - (Unpopular opinion) Continues to disappoint as it has from the first reveal. Sheer scale hiding cheap procedural generation. Potential Spore 2.0. Even at best, not quite sure what the appeal is, what do you actually do in this game? Every activity looks as if it is better delivered from another franchise. Why aren't these people playing with Space Engine instead?

The Last Guardian - I actually bet on this making some sort of appearance this year, sadly not enough. Something seemed a little off about it though - Why is it on PS4 exactly? Visually, it doesn't seem like it's advanced a whole lot since we first saw it.

XCom 2 - Everything YES. Except the graphics, what was up with that? For those visuals it's hard to take it being PC exclusive seriously, expecting a console drop afterwards.

That New Xbox Controller - (Unpopular opinion) Many multiplatform games best played on PC over consoles are even better played with a 360 pad over a mouse/keyboard. It has native support in Windows for all its gimmicky functionality. That price though.

Arma 3 Expansion - Expecting this to be very interesting for Arma fans, as the terrain is unlike anything seen officially and throws a spanner in the usual setup. Any vehicles beyond amphibious APCs will be useless (and with the current state of AI, probably not even those) and the hint of many factions suggests perhaps a focus on irregular infantry CQB and proper jungle business. Will DX12 and an imported DayZ renderer finally solve the game's performance issues as well? Let's hope.

American Truck Simulator - Absolutely surreal seeing a trucking game announced on stage alongside Total War and Killing Floor 2 and getting equal hype. I'm glad it's here, but time will tell if it manages to match that comfy feel of Euro trucking. Maybe I'm biased but they've always given off very different vibes and I'm not quite sure American matches up with that made Euro so popular.

Rising Storm 2: Vietnam - Glad to see that mod survived and has been officially adopted by Tripwire. Excited because more Red Orchestra 2 is awesome, but not sure it will differ so much from regular Rising Storm in actual gameplay. I do have a soft spot for 'nam though, anyone else around here play an old shooter by the name of Vietcong? I've been waiting for something to fill that hole ever since, if this manages to fill it I don't think I'll need another competitive multiplayer shooter for another decade.

Dishonored 2 - Say what you like, Dishonored was not just inspired by Thief, it IS the best candidate for this generation's Thief.

Awaiting Paradox later today. Hoping for Hearts of Iron 4.


Beige wrote:Oh look, the AAA space got the memo about female protagonists. To my great surprise women suddenly equal or outright outnumber the men when it comes to new single player IPs (Tomb Raider, Recore, Horizon, Mirror's Edge) and most other AAA IPs like The Division, Assassin's Creed, CoD, Halo and Gears (?!) are going co-ed now. Ashen and indie stuff too. Let the wailing and gnashing of teeth from the GG crowd begin.

That's some shonky bait right there mate. Normally I know better, but I'm in the mood for a piece of this worm:
Spoiler: show
I always find it amusing how the people most opposed to the existence of GG are the people who continue name dropping and shoehorning it into conversations where it doesn't really hold any relevance, as demonstrated here. It's even more frequently brought up by them than GG supporters themselves, it's like some kind of compulsion.

No, far from "wailing and gnashing" over the reveals at E3, GG has by and large been supportive, with many applauding the games on show and the female characters on offer. Instead of being harassed, insulted, or driven away there is agreement by many men and women of the movement that they would actually prefer to play as a woman over a generic man. Most gamers are aware of this phenomenon.

Of course, we're all smart people here and I find it hard to believe anyone who has done even a modicum of research on GG to know this, and to know GG's "issues with women" stem mainly from forced quotas and hamfisted moralising criticism - as a certain well-known AAA developer on Twitter put it - "divorced from aesthetic and ludic concerns". For example, a certain notorious critic suggesting recently in regards to Dishonored 2 that Emily Kaldwin being an equally playable protagonist alongside Corvo and offering players the choice of who they wish to play is a bad thing and that Corvo should've been removed entirely to prove a point - A "criticism" so ludicrous even followers had to double take and publicly question it.

More to the point of this reply, a staple in these discussions is pointing out the study from back in 2012 of nearly 700 games in the action, RPG, and shooter genres that came to the conclusion that around 45% featured playable females, and to be fair, 4% exclusively female - the same source of a figure you may see the certain aforementioned critic plying her trade with that I agree is far too low yet not far off being representative of the unfortunate reality of the actual number of female gamers if you exclude mobile and social games like any sensible person not looking to pad stats on the kind of core gamers these discussions are all about should.

So really, half the games being shown having playable females is certainly not news, and barely comment-worthy. It's not my place to tell you your business since I'm a nobody around here who contributes precisely nothing (and if the presence of someone like myself who refuses to hop aboard the "GG = terrorists" train makes anyone uncomfortable, I'll happily leave without issue), but I honestly struggle to believe that someone in their 40's who has been breathing videogames since before I was even born is capable of being either this bigoted or this blind. You're well aware your examples of Tomb Raider and Mirror's edge have always featured female protagonists and that continuing to do so demonstrates nothing at all, and you're well aware your examples of Assassin's Creed, Halo, and Gears have either previously featured exclusively females or the choice for either sex in the past, again demonstrating nothing at all. At best this is desperate confirmation bias on your behalf, and at worst pointlessly name dropping to further perpetuate the Big Lie surrounding GG that would make Goebbels proud.

Final point. There's also interesting discussion in a few circles about the opposite entirely - Far from AAA studios spiting GG by adding playable females (oh how terrible!) like some rags are claiming, they are actually exhibiting tacit encouragement by refusing to come out against them explicitly, allowing the "corporate" games press to quietly adopt and publicise the various ethics policies and added disclosures requested of them as they have at little skin off their teeth, while the "indie" games press remains super thirsty for anything they can spin to make GG look bad and resorting to things like badgering the head of ESA now 10 months later about why they're not condemning GG more in an attempt to legitimise themselves and their misrepresentation of perceived ideological opponents - all the while losing their E3 passes, becoming laughing stocks in comment sections across the entire internet, making fools of themselves begging for money on twitter, etc. removing a pesky thorn in the side of AAA studios who frankly, just want to do what they do best and milk reliable profits by satisfying their core fans without having to suck up to cultural critics for approval or worry about repercussions from activist pseudo-journalists for not meeting arbitrary quotas. It's not what they intended of course, but GG in a roundabout way could certainly be interpreted as working in their favour. Not necessarily something I believe, but worth a thought.
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Re: E3 2015 - Squad Thoughts

by RedSwirl » Wed Jun 17, 2015 7:57 pm

No Man's Sky
The way I see it, it's Elite but they finally tried to make it for people who don't like complicated-ass PC controls and realistic flight models. And it's making the first push into on-foot surface exploration. I don't know if you have Elanzer, but I see a lot of people being confused about NMS who basically just haven't played Elite or any other space exploration/trading game because those games basically don't exist on consoles. It's effectively a new genre for the PS4 owners paying attention to it, so they can't fill in the blanks with pre-conceived notions like they can with any three-minute trailer for a first person shooter. I didn't really get it either until I downloaded and tried to play Elite 1 and 2. I like those games a lot. They're a very different gameplay loop from anything else I've played, but the scale, sense of freedom, and different systems going on make them continually playable if I could just not suck at the damn controls.

The closest thing I see people comparing NMS to is Proteus or Dear Esther or something, but if it's anything like what I just described it'll probably come out feeling more like GTA or the pirate gameplay of Assassin's Creed IV... just without any linear main story at all. You'll be able to mine or and stuff for money to eventually buy a better ship which will get you to more dangerous places with better ore. Or you might blow up ships and engage in battles to get bounties which will also let you eventually buy more powerful ships that'll let you engage in more dangerous battles. Or maybe you choose to just buy and trade resources for profit, hopping from one space station to another along trade routes to eventually afford bigger ships and become some kind of space trucker. I think they also confirmed there will be "illegal" goods to trade too which will turn NMS into some kind of Han Solo game. Or you could just explore different places, gather information on them, and upload that information for money and so on... Reddit's been pretty on top of listing all the confirmed features from various sources.

Yeah I understand the two real dangers here are 1) How good will the action controls be? And 2) How good will the procedural generation be?
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Re: E3 2015 - Squad Thoughts

by Calin Kim » Wed Jun 17, 2015 8:01 pm

Elanzer wrote:
Beige wrote:Oh look, the AAA space got the memo about female protagonists. To my great surprise women suddenly equal or outright outnumber the men when it comes to new single player IPs (Tomb Raider, Recore, Horizon, Mirror's Edge) and most other AAA IPs like The Division, Assassin's Creed, CoD, Halo and Gears (?!) are going co-ed now. Ashen and indie stuff too. Let the wailing and gnashing of teeth from the GG crowd begin.

That's some shonky bait right there mate. Normally I know better, but I'm in the mood for a piece of this worm:
Spoiler: show
I always find it amusing how the people most opposed to the existence of GG are the people who continue name dropping and shoehorning it into conversations where it doesn't really hold any relevance, as demonstrated here. It's even more frequently brought up by them than GG supporters themselves, it's like some kind of compulsion.

No, far from "wailing and gnashing" over the reveals at E3, GG has by and large been supportive, with many applauding the games on show and the female characters on offer. Instead of being harassed, insulted, or driven away there is agreement by many men and women of the movement that they would actually prefer to play as a woman over a generic man. Most gamers are aware of this phenomenon.

Of course, we're all smart people here and I find it hard to believe anyone who has done even a modicum of research on GG to know this, and to know GG's "issues with women" stem mainly from forced quotas and hamfisted moralising criticism - as a certain well-known AAA developer on Twitter put it - "divorced from aesthetic and ludic concerns". For example, a certain notorious critic suggesting recently in regards to Dishonored 2 that Emily Kaldwin being an equally playable protagonist alongside Corvo and offering players the choice of who they wish to play is a bad thing and that Corvo should've been removed entirely to prove a point - A "criticism" so ludicrous even followers had to double take and publicly question it.

More to the point of this reply, a staple in these discussions is pointing out the study from back in 2012 of nearly 700 games in the action, RPG, and shooter genres that came to the conclusion that around 45% featured playable females, and to be fair, 4% exclusively female - the same source of a figure you may see the certain aforementioned critic plying her trade with that I agree is far too low yet not far off being representative of the unfortunate reality of the actual number of female gamers if you exclude mobile and social games like any sensible person not looking to pad stats on the kind of core gamers these discussions are all about should.

So really, half the games being shown having playable females is certainly not news, and barely comment-worthy. It's not my place to tell you your business since I'm a nobody around here who contributes precisely nothing (and if the presence of someone like myself who refuses to hop aboard the "GG = terrorists" train makes anyone uncomfortable, I'll happily leave without issue), but I honestly struggle to believe that someone in their 40's who has been breathing videogames since before I was even born is capable of being either this bigoted or this blind. You're well aware your examples of Tomb Raider and Mirror's edge have always featured female protagonists and that continuing to do so demonstrates nothing at all, and you're well aware your examples of Assassin's Creed, Halo, and Gears have either previously featured exclusively females or the choice for either sex in the past, again demonstrating nothing at all. At best this is desperate confirmation bias on your behalf, and at worst pointlessly name dropping to further perpetuate the Big Lie surrounding GG that would make Goebbels proud.

Final point. There's also interesting discussion in a few circles about the opposite entirely - Far from AAA studios spiting GG by adding playable females (oh how terrible!) like some rags are claiming, they are actually exhibiting tacit encouragement by refusing to come out against them explicitly, allowing the "corporate" games press to quietly adopt and publicise the various ethics policies and added disclosures requested of them as they have at little skin off their teeth, while the "indie" games press remains super thirsty for anything they can spin to make GG look bad and resorting to things like badgering the head of ESA now 10 months later about why they're not condemning GG more in an attempt to legitimise themselves and their misrepresentation of perceived ideological opponents - all the while losing their E3 passes, becoming laughing stocks in comment sections across the entire internet, making fools of themselves begging for money on twitter, etc. removing a pesky thorn in the side of AAA studios who frankly, just want to do what they do best and milk reliable profits by satisfying their core fans without having to suck up to cultural critics for approval or worry about repercussions from activist pseudo-journalists for not meeting arbitrary quotas. It's not what they intended of course, but GG in a roundabout way could certainly be interpreted as working in their favour. Not necessarily something I believe, but worth a thought.


Well, this sure is a thing...

I don't think Beige said anything that was particularly out of line. He certainly didn't insinuate that anyone was a Nazi, which you did. That's not only a shitty thing to do to someone, but it's also the rhetorical equivalent of knocking the checkers pieces on the ground and walking away. So maybe, you know, don't do that if you want to have a conversation...

You very obviously want to have a conversation, though, so let's talk about the substance of the post.

First, if you could not refer to women as "females" that would be super. I don't know where this has come from, but I've seen it more and more in the past few years, and it's not cool. It's really dehumanizing and gross when used as a noun. Just something to think about.

I'm not going to even broach the whole "someone made a ridiculous claim about game x" thing, because there are all sorts of people saying all sorts of stupid shit on Twitter. I have no doubt that we could play "who said the dumbest thing today" game for hours and find all sorts of awful things that GG and anti-GG people have said. Let's not do that...

I would like to see where you got your numbers from in your fourth paragraph. I also think that discounting mobile games is fairly ridiculous and runs right into "no true Scotsman" territory. Does it not count as a real game if I play Final Fantasy on my phone? How about if I play Candy Crush on there? What about when I play Persona Q on the 3DS? Are the 3DS and Vita exempt from the no mobile thing?

Tomb Raider has always had Lara as the protagonist, but the public's perception (and the game's portrayal) of Lara is vastly different from what it once was. Faith has always been awesome, but Mirror's Edge isn't exactly a franchise. The original came out in 2008, and it's still one of the games I would point to if someone asked me for a game that let you play as a woman and wasn't skeevy. It's been seven years...

Assassin's Creed has only ever had a woman as a playable character in a spin-off game, I think. Which, yes, that technically counts, but it's not the same as if Ezio had been a woman. Halo and Gears featured playable female characters only in multiplayer (or in modes where you created your avatar). It's not quite the same thing as getting to play Ellie in The Last of Us or playing as Faith in Mirror's Edge. I don't think it's arguing in good faith to say that Gears of War, a series that didn't let you play as a woman until the 3rd game, and then only in multiplayer, is some sort of arbiter of gender equality.
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Re: E3 2015 - Squad Thoughts

by Rampant Bicycle » Wed Jun 17, 2015 9:06 pm

My $0.02:

It is indeed relatively common for many games to allow players to choose a female appearance for themselves, and it's always nice to see that when it happens.

However:

A female avatar is not the same as a female character.

An avatar is a skin, something for the player to step into as a means of interacting with a game world.

This category includes my hunter in Monster Hunter and those female avatars in Call of Duty, along with most RPG protagonists - yes, even Commander Shepard; all of these are expressive vehicles for the player controlling them.

Avatars can be excellent tools for personal self-expression at times, and can help a player feel truly immersed in the world they're visiting. But they do not have much "life" beyond that which the player projects into them during play.

A character is an entity that has an inner life of its own - not so much a skin one steps into as a role one assumes.

To play a character is a subtly different experience from selecting an avatar: the character might well make their own decisions or have their own feelings about what is happening to them that are distinct from yours.

This is one of the strengths of characters: one can be challenged by the differences between character and player, surprised by the similarities, or find that through playing the character they are able to step outside their existing perspective and into something different.

There is a difference between giving me the option to choose to assume the physical appearance of a woman and giving me the character of a woman (or girl) to play.

The former is done much more often than the latter, but I think the medium as a whole could benefit from a wider range of actual protagonists, of any number of combinations of gender, race, age, etc.

And it is this latter option - actual female characters that function as more than the representation of my "body" in the game space - that I find to be somewhat thin on the ground. There are worthwhile stories to tell in all genres with persons that encompass all of humanity's many and various permutations. I'd like to see more of them.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled E3 discussion.
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Re: E3 2015 - Squad Thoughts

by RedSwirl » Wed Jun 17, 2015 10:00 pm

Didn't notice AI's Shenmue response. I have more if anyone cares.

The more I think about it the more I start to come up with reasons Shenmue didn't jell with some people. One obvious reason might be that you couldn't play it in Japanese in the US vesrion, and the dub was late 90's anime quality.

Other than that, it just tried to be an adventure game and "life simulator" on a console which usually doesn't go over nicely in the North American console market. I think Yazkua was better received because you spend a lot more time in that game beating people up. Yakuza has some superficial similarities to Shenmue -- it tries to faithfully recreate real places in Japan and make you familiar with them, but in a way more similar to a traditional JRPG.

Shenmue went much deeper in terms of trying to create a simulation of a world. It has around 300 unique, named NPCs that have their own schedules. According to the guide and a now-undoubtedly-defunct SEGA website they all even had their own little stories and histories that informed what you saw them doing every day. Like there was this one Chinese dude in a suit who'd sit on a corner in front of the local chapter of the Yakuza every day, and presumably he'd get up and walk to wherever he slept every night. You can talk to him and even walk into the Yakuza HQ, but I don't think you ever actually did anything important with the guys in there. One guy who looked like a boss had a few lines of dialogue that came off as advice to the main character. In-game they never even outright tell you they're Yakuza. That's just the implication. There are a lot of places like that in Shenmue. But mainly, the part that weirded everybody out was how you spend a lot of time decided not beating the shit out of people. It allows you to dig deep into the mundane normalcy of Ryo's life in-between the bits of action that occur whenever there's a break in the mystery he's solving.

You know that part in True Detective when Rust and Marty talk about how solving a case takes weeks of following leads as a montage plays passing the days by? The first Shenmue tried to be that, but actually drawn out in real time.

Come to think of it, I don't think Shenmue has a mechanic to wait or auto-pass time like most open-world games to today. That's a huge difference now that I think about it. It forces you to find something to do with all your time. You might figure out that you have to check out a bar after 8pm to find a lead, but it's noon, so you gotta decide if you wanna spend that time taking care of a cat, practicing Ryu's Karate, collecting capsule toys, or playing Space Harrier at the arcade. I didn't realize this until years after Shenmue came out, but Ryo actually owns a Sega console of some kind, and he can go to the store and buy games for it. Implementing things like that on a console game in 2000 was mind-blowing.

Compare this to Skyrim. Skyrim tries to simulate a world, but in many ways you're kind of divorced from what normal people would have to do in it. You can wait or sleep literally whenever you want which by itself separates you from the "cycle" of every character in the game. In Shenmue, Ryo WILL start to get sleepy after around 1pm or something (I think he just automatically returns home) and WILL wake up around 6 or 8am or something like that. Maybe that lack of total control over how you experience time is what made it boring for some people. Persona's kind of the same thing but truncated since it isn't a real-time system. People used to games that give you all the action right now aren't used to, well, life simulation.

Edit: Missed the recent responses to Elanzers post. Pretty much what I wanted to say. I'll just add that I don't think it's about "quotas" or anything like that.
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Re: E3 2015 - Squad Thoughts

by Bowley » Thu Jun 18, 2015 1:25 am

Rampant Bicycle wrote:And it is this latter option - actual female characters that function as more than the representation of my "body" in the game space - that I find to be somewhat thin on the ground. There are worthwhile stories to tell in all genres with persons that encompass all of humanity's many and various permutations. I'd like to see more of them.


Ok, but who is the onus on to create those characters? It's fine to ask for that, but you're not assuming any of the risk, and there is significant risk involved, especially if we're talking AAA level, which I think we are.

A question I also find myself asking, reading the above posts, is whether or not the video game industry is generating female characters out of genuine desire, or if it's doing so to mollify powerful, high profile critics that could cost them money. The first is awesome, the second is a problem.

If you set out to make a game and you want a man to be the star because that's the game you want to make and you're doing all the work, but you're brow beaten into including female options that take away time and resources from the game you wanted to make, is that a good thing?
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Re: E3 2015 - Squad Thoughts

by Beige » Thu Jun 18, 2015 2:31 am

Re: Bowls - I like to believe it's the former. Devs taking a look at themselves and deciding they'd like to do it for their own reasons.

I'm pretty sure that the cold logic of AAA development would say that the commercially less risky road would still be the correct choice if the passion wasn't there.

It's not like the bean counters have ever given a shit about academics or cultural critics before. People ascribe way too much power to some sort of phantom cabal. Last time I checked it was still the businessmen, not the academics, who signed the checks.
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Re: E3 2015 - Squad Thoughts

by Beige » Thu Jun 18, 2015 2:36 am

I've now watched both the Nintendo and Square conferences, though I don't consider myself much wiser.

Popular opinion seems to be that Nintendo shit the bed somewhat with their offerings, though I'm not sure I particularly agree with that assessment. Unimpressive by comparison perhaps.. which is too bad considering that they kind of snuck in a win last year with Splatoon and whatnot.

I'd say that Starfox is guilty of the crime of failing to excite, but that's hardly a capital offense. There was a hell of a lot of J in that presentation so Pete at least should be pleased -- good to see Yokai Watch (the hyphen is unnecessary) and Fire Emblem represented. Animal Crossing Designing Spaces is... certainly something! I think teasing Metroid and then delivering what amounts to Metroid Party wasn't a smart move either from a social media perspective, but what do I know? Apparently you have to be a muppet to understand the minds of Nintendo execs these days.

I also feel that if you're going to go whole hog and consumate the profane work of commerce and plastic that is the Skylanders/Amiibo union then the logical option would be to lead with Wario as the representative mascot for the initiative -- Bowser would be a distant second.

I am ready to admit that Mario Maker is potentially a big deal but I feel the same way about it as I do about Little Big Planet: Smart on somebody's part definitely - not for me.

Square's goofy. Just Cause = Just Silly. I realize this is the whole point but eh -- too many games and too little time for this kind of unstructured underpants mayhem. Kingdom Hearts includes Disney rides which is neat I guess... but as Square said themselves they are struggling under the weight of their own history here and I'm not sure there's any way out for them.

Relative to the above, World of Final Fantasy looks like a weird bandaid solution that won't actually fix the core problem of Square having too much history and not enough differentiation between its properties. I have no problem with adorable chibis but the fact is plain that the company is now now so bloated with character chaff that getting up to speed quite literally requires something like 500+ hours of retroactive play.

It's not like the Square characters even have tons going on under the hood personality-wise compared to their Disney counterparts. Most actual character-character Square hero/herione would be... who. Yuna? After that... Kefka? The best you can say about someone like Cecil or Rinoa is that they were adequate stand-ins for the time. The entire cast of FF XIII is now a vaguely crystal shaped blur. It's going to be a hard row to hoe to get anybody to give a damn about Rosa or the guys from V.

I see this problem as well for FF VII, AKA that "not in the top 5 final fantasies" Final Fantasy. It was a big deal for its time no doubt, but I think that they'll have to pull a Mad Max Fury Road if they want to make it work effectively in 2015, which is to say go back to the well entire. What people want isn't actually Final Fantasy VII, it's the memory gestalt they summon to mind when they recall FF VII across 20 years of distance. They want high school, sitting up late into the night with a PS1 thinking about highschool age girls while Boyz to Men plays quietly in the background. In the biz, if you can actually pull off this feat of Total Recall it ought to be called "Pulling an XCOM".

As for female protagonists, let me keep it brief: I think Lynette made the point for me, but yes - what I was saying about female protagonists boils down to the difference between Dragon Age vs the Witcher - ie. games where you create an avatar of your choosing (which can be whatever you want) as opposed to games where a character is created for you by the developers.

I am personally more a fan of the later approach than the former approach, unless you're playing something like Dark Souls in which case your character might as well be a bucket for all the objective difference it makes.

In my mind a character like Geralt is going to trump a cypher like the Dragonborn every time -- you only have to play Planescape Torment to understand why. Saying that female models and skins are growing in number (while true) misses the point i was making about the riskiness of specifically casting a woman as the Character Character in your AAA game.

Naughty Dog wasn't allowed to even put Ellie in center stage on their box art and we know this sort of thing has a track record of being commercial poison as oft as not thanks to bad marketing, insecure manchild consumers or just straight up not going entirely whole-hog when it comes to making a AAA game the best it can be (historically) if it stars a woman. Remember Me sheds a single tear.

I believe it's good to see this objectively visible change in the industry equalizing the scales. If you need a reason, imagine you are a father with 2 young daughters (as Alex is) or are a woman who grew up loving video games but who now feels increasingly alienated and shouted into the margins by the virulent and toxic attitudes of a boys only club (as my Wife regularly does) or simply is a person who lived through the 90s when a love of video games equated to public shame and dating poison in the world of High School romance. It doesn't have to be this way. These aren't quotas on the part of publishers, they are steps in the correct direction if what you're interested in is games being taken seriously as a medium by culture at large outside the gaming ghetto.


Now, that other bit:
Spoiler: show
I have a friend who believes that the central problem facing the world today is the fact that Internet bubbles / social networks now allow a person to exist 100% safely insulated from ideas that they don't already pre-agree with. As a result he feels we have lost our ability to debate like intelligent people with people who don't share our views -- all our diplomacy cells atrophy as we sink into simple 140 character shit flinging at each other.

There is only one time in the history of the Squad when I've come close to actually going "Goebbels" on anybody - 10 years of archived memories will attest to the exchange of free speech here at the Squadron of Shame. In case you're curious, the time in question was fairly recently when Lynette mentioned to me that she no longer felt safe posting on the boards where she'd been a member for YEARS because of the amount of malice that her relatively polite postings were bringing down from a vocal few noobs.

Rather than cause a perceived ruckus in a place that she believed others were currently enjoying, my wife simply shut her mouth, bottled her words and more or less disappeared from the boards entirely -- which, if you've been paying attention is kind of the problem with the entire goddamn culture in the first place and wasn't exactly conducive to the kind of Squad I wanted to build.

Watching this made me furious, and I did indeed have the ban hammer at the ready at that moment, ready to wield it against my Squad Brothers. But in the end cool heads prevailed. I didn't evict anybody and I'm not likely to throw anybody here off the boards in the future as long as we keep things within the realm of the civil. Lynette can stick up for herself, but it's shit that it came to the point where this was even an issue.

On the subject of GamerGate - I loathe it of course but it's not like this is a deep secret or anything - 10 seconds on the boards will confirm this. I've deleted more pages of Beige Posts on the subject than any of you know.

...BUT I've always tried to hold to the idea that the Squadron of Shame is not Beige's Place To Do What He Likes With but OUR place, with the emphasis on the Our. While I hate the hashtag I also know that you fellows are smart people with thought out opinions on things and I don't claim to speak for one and all. If you want to make the case about specific grievances, I'm willing to meet you halfway with as open a mind as I can muster. I'm not likely to change my mind, but it's not necessary that I do for us to have a civil culture.

In the absence of any kind of overt Squad mission statement vis-a-vis "Forgotten Games of Shame" (which is kind of archaic in 2015) I believe that this club represents a sanctuary of sorts for people to just talk intelligently about games in a civilized way.

All of you are my friends, and yet some of you have GamerGate sympathies or are apologists in some way for the quote-unquote movement. If you're genuinely curious I'd be more than happy to enlighten you about my reasons for hating GamerGate, but I haven't dropped that Beige post yet because honestly nobody asked for it. The short answer is twofold:

a) As a movement it has disgraced "gaming"on the public stage so utterly that it's set the whole perception of medium back a generation or more, just when we were getting solid footing. A simple office poll at work revealed that the entire web department had ceased self-identifying as "gamers" simply as a result of the drama though we all still talk videogames all the time.

b) Its appearance on the cultural stage has driven a deep and potentially ubridgable wedge between me and a number of very close and dear friends, which ***I cannot stress enough** is ***heartbreaking*** to me. I make friends slowly and value my friendships deeply and so I curse this blight for bringing an unwanted brother-on-brother divide to my world, even though I realize that it was the culture wars writ large and not GG specifically that summoned the schism. It was a question of when, ultimately -- but this fact makes me bitterly sad as I feel it illustrates the absolute worst facets of a culture I believed we'd grown beyond as a people.

The Squadron of Shame is one of the few avenues I have left at my disposal to demonstrate that there may be hope for the dream of the Farmer and the Cowman being friends. If there isn't room for civilization here, there isn't room anywhere. Ergo, no bans yet -- which isn't the same thing as saying anything goes. If there is a morality here, let it be an aggregate of the sentiments expressed by the board's members. If this environment gets too bitter for me to handle or if I stop recognizing myself in the sentiments and style of argument being expressed in this place I'll be the one to leave -- but I promise that I won't burn the place down on my way out for those who want to stay.

Nobody shouts at the Squadron of Shame - nobody harasses or demeans one another. Everybody listens. Even if your politics don't match mine -- or, hypothetically let's say you play weird and questionable games that make the average layperson uncomfortable to look at, you have a right to say and do what you please here as long as you make a case for your ideas in front of your peers and back up your reasons with something approximating a legitimate argument.

My goal with the Squad has always been a collective of people who try to dig deeply into the stuff we discuss here - I trust you guys to bring quality grist for the discussion mill. I stood by you all when we played Katawa Shoujo together even though that one mission split the squad in half, for chrissakes. Shit like Song of Saya is worth talking about.

You don't have to couch your words in metaphors and side-glances and wink-winks at the Squadron of Shame -- just don't expect me to sit back and smile if you identify vocally as a Death Eater or something. This is my home too, and I won't have fucking Visigoths bringing the property values down. Sincerity, honestly, intelligence and humanity. Surely we can agree on that much.
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RedSwirl

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Re: E3 2015 - Squad Thoughts

by RedSwirl » Thu Jun 18, 2015 5:25 am

Nintendo Conference
*shrug* ...the games look fun to me. I think I feel this way though because I don't own a Wii U yet but plan to get one, and when I do I'll have a bigger backlog of Nintendo's games to play than I'll have time for. I'm not feeling the same drought I felt back in the days when I only owned an N64 or when I only owned a Gamecube. Hell, I've still got Wii games I haven't touched or finished yet that totally deserve the time. I just didn't feel the need to see hype from Nintendo's conference. Not the same kind of hype Microsoft and Sony try to bring out anyway.

Just Cause
I started JC2 a little while ago and it is dope. The sense of scale and freedom of approach it gives you is unrivaled in some ways today. It did the "see that mountain? you can go there" thing back in like... 2009? It is the ultimate explosion sandbox and now we're seeing it next-gen-ified. With all the open-world games coming out in 2015, JC3 could be a dark horse among them.

FFVII
Beige is pretty much right when he says what people want isn't what FFVII actually is, but the change it represented to people in 1997. What they want is the sudden shift from cartoon fantasy to mid-90's anime steampunk, the shift from simple text dialogue to flowing CG cut scenes, and the impact it all had on them when they were 13 years old. I feel like a new "Final Fantasy VII moment" would have to be an entirely different game that presents a whole other quantum leap of its own, not FFVII. Maybe what they just want is the story they remember, rendered in today's graphics, but that presents its own problems. Most people who wanted this don't even think about how such a remake would play assuming it's a 1:1 scale game like Final Fantasy X or XII or XV. They want FFXV with Cloud, but how are the story's more goofy moments, mini games, or world map going to fit with VII's original design? How many people will be pissed off if Square Enix decides not to keep turn-based random battles? I feel this could very easily turn into another Twin Snakes, caught between modernity and memory.

Here's what I think Square should have done: Go the Resident Evil 1 remake/Pillars of Eternity route. Instead of full 3D environments with realistic rendering and all that crap, render brand new 1080p CG backgrounds. Instead of characters that look like Advent Children, render them all in a cel-shaded art style that actually looks like Tetsuya Nomura's 1990's drawings. Keep turn-based random battles, keep basically all the original game design but re-code it and perhaps add some balance-related surprises for fans.

And give me a god damn HD Final Fantasy XII.

Game characters and stuff.
Developers should ask themselves why the main character is this or that, what it adds, etc. That should be obvious right? I don't think males dominate the pre-written character space simply because they fit better for the stories developers or writing, or maybe it's because the kinds of stories developers are writing are limited in range. On GAF there was a pretty neat thread a few months ago digging for examples where playing as a white dude was completely justified and correct for the story. I think they came up with maybe three or four main examples. One was Red Dead, James Marsten being able to see his environment from all the angles he did. Another was Max Payne 3, a story about Max being a fish completely out of water in a foreign land. And before you bring up "write what you know," writers can do research. They already invest a shitload of energy into writing dragons and elves. A white American man was able to write Memoirs of a Geisha.

Honestly, the real reason I'm on this is just because I'm bored of video game characters right now. It's been a while since I've played as a character with a background that felt different or exotic.
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