Dusty Welch of Red
Octane has an
interesting interview up on the Gamespot site. By interesting, I
mean it sounds like there's some definite good news that may soon be
coming along in regards to the Guitar Hero franchise. I also mean
that some bad news may be showing soon, assuming I'm reading between
the right lines.
On one hand, I do like
the fact that Welch is sounding pretty adamant about trying to get
the original Guitar Hero set list up as content (downloadable, of
course) for GH2 on the 360. This would be awesome, since I have
wanted to play co-op on the original GH soundtrack ever since co-op
was first announced for GH2. It will probably cost some major cash
to get these tracks (I wouldn't be surprised to see the total GH
library going for upwards of $30 over several download packs), but
it would be worth it to play them co-op...as I feel they were meant
to be played.
However, I can't help
but feel the overall direction of the GH franchise could be in some
major trouble. For one thing, the move to Neversoft is not a good
thing. While Welch says they have a good track record with such hits
as the THPS (and THUG and THAW) license, that's not really the
truth. THPS used to stand for a game that HAD to be purchased each
year. THPS2 was better than 1, and 3 was better than 2. It went that
way until THUG came along...then it just kept getting worse and more
twisted. Project 8 may have redeemed the series, but it's not like
the that makes up for THUG 1&2 and THAW.
That's not even
mentioning the simple fact; wasn't Harmonix a larger part of the
success than Welch is trying to pass them off as. They added some
"creative" input? That's it? I seriously doubt the developer of GH1
and GH2 was actually nothing more than creative input. That's like
saying that EA was behind FFIX because they published it for the US.
A publisher has some importance in some fields on getting a game to
the market, but the true skills of making a game will always lie in
the job description of the developer. To say otherwise only shows
the big gap between publishers and developers and explains why
companies like Valve have gone through they battles to eliminate the
publisher from the equation with services like Steam.
Also, the fact that so
many other potential GH spin-off titles have been trademarked leaves
me a bit frightened. With names like Guitar Villain, Band Hero,
Keyboard Villain, and all of the others, I have to wonder if this
franchise is going to be whored out as badly as Tony Hawk was and
is. The important fact in making a good game, as Nintendo has known
for a long time and Square Enix is starting to learn (with their
spin-off failures...Dierge of Cerberus anyone?) is not to become
your own competition. If you make ten games with the same world with
a similar launch date, you cannot expect all fans to buy all of
them, and you cannot put pure quality in all of them. Before long,
each will have to suffer a bit, and then you're left with a sad
truth; you have turned a sweet franchise into a stagnant
conglomeration of crap. Some quality will be in there, but the total
quality between all of the game would only make one good game...not
a half dozen.
I may just be in a
pessimistic mindset with this, but I have seen it happen too many
times before. Neversoft is the master of whoring out an idea until
no one is willing to touch the damned product. Let's just hope
Guitar Hero is not their next cheap trick.
Anyway, I'm still
playing Okami. I cannot begin to say how freakin' sweet this game
is. I can't believe that I passed it by when it first came out. I
also can't believe that it's probably another instance of Beyond
Good and Evil; a great game that will be critically loved and
ignored by the masses. You owe it to yourself to buy this game if
you own a PS2 and like the Zelda style of game play. This isn't
Zelda, by any means, but it falls into the same general genre.
I'm not about 12 hours
into Okami, and I think I still have a vast majority of the game to
go. It's just too addictive to start a battle, to explore the world,
and to look for people or animals who need my help. I just don't
have the drive to progress the plot until I know that I've taken
care of everything...it's just that much fun to be a completionist
in this game. No game before has made me desire such perfection
(except maybe Dark Cloud...until I got tired of it near the end of
the game) before, and I don't know if any will come along this good
Nintendo released Zelda:
Link to the Past on the virtual console yesterday. Nothing else, as
far as I saw when I hit the Wii Store looked new. So, I'm left with
a question; since there is a relative drought in physical (retail)
games for the Wii, where the f#@$ are the VC games to get us
through? I don't mean the games that have been ported several times
in recent years (like Sonic, LttP, and the original NES Zelda), but
rather the ones that need a new release but are not seeing any love.
Where is Majora's Mask, for example?
If Nintendo wants
to wow some gamers while the initial launch drought continues (as it
does for all new systems in the first 6-12 months), they need to
bring about some new games. Since new retail games won't be coming
along, new VC games should be simple. I can think of a dozen
(without any real thinking) games that need some love. Why have
Baseball (NES) when Tecmo is already onboard and thus we could see
Baseball Stars (best damned NES baseball game, ever!)? Why have only
one freakin' N64 game (Majora's, Ocarina, Jet Force Gemini, Smash,
and Mario Kart 64 all come to mind as candidates)? Why have so many
obscure titles when some of the greatest are ignored? Why not suck
up a little to Square Enix and bring us some NES Dragon Warrior or
some SNES FF love? Why give us so little to obsess over?
I think if
Nintendo wants to show that they are ready to take the gamers from
the "multimedia" console makers, they need to give us games. Each VC
game could count, but the VC is definitely getting a slow start. I
even have 2000 VC points (Christmas gift from my brother in
law...Thanks, Dibmonkey!) but there is simply nothing I would want
to spend it on.
I that note, I
also have one classic controller, and I have another good question;
Nintendo, what the hell are the little slots on the back of this
controller for? There's some sort of eject button to help something
go in and be removed from these slots, but there's nothing to use it
for. It seems like a good way to further hype the machine if they
simple would say what it's for.
Anyway, I'm still
playing Okami, and I am still obsessed with this game. I am also
still in the hell of finding a mortgage broker, and that's why I'm
going to keep this short today. I simply have nothing to talk about
since I spent all of last night talking about loan options (and how
close I am to finding a lawyer to sue a special someone's work place
for harassment...but that's not the subject at hand).
Civil rights, lawyers,
and home mortgage options...oh my! Sorry, but I have been less than
good in terms of posting and my mood because of these types of
things. It has also kept me limited on my ability to even play a
single damned half hour of gaming in a night. Sometimes you get the
bear, and sometimes the bear gets you (as said by the stranger in
The Big Lebowski).
Recently some new
information is always coming along about some favorite RPGs for the
more dedicated of RPG fanatics. I'm talking about the fact that
Fallout 3 is actually still in development, with Bethesda (and using
the Oblivion engine), and that Shadowrun is nearing completion. I
know Shadowrun is no longer an RPG, but I'm getting to that.
My complaint (or
Bitching) is about the simple fact that these staple game franchises
are being ass raped in every possible sense of the word (except the
literal sense, since they lack excretory systems). For example, with
how the Oblivion engine is being used with Fallout 3, are we even
going to see Fallout in this game, when and if it is released?
Fallout was all about the Special system and about tactical combat
on an isometric view. However, the most likely continuation of the
series, since Oblivion's engine is on board, will be the game being
warped into some sick first person RPG.
On top of that,
Bethesda, via Oblivion, has shown that they now like the thought of
streamlining RPGs to appeal to a wider audience. Fallout was never a
mainstream game, and that's why it had such an awesome following. It
was a niche game, and it was great to see the unusual sense of
humor, the overly developed character growth systems, and the wide
variety of combat options (such as weapons having different rates of
fire). You didn't even have to fight many battles in the game if you
chose for a diplomatic approach. Well, a first person RPG that is
probably going to be streamlined for more casual of RPG gamers will
have to do away with almost all of this beautiful set of game
mechanics. I think it's safe to say that, when it's finally
released, Fallout 3 will not be Fallout as us Fallout fanatics know
it...it will probably be Oblivion with a different setting and guns
instead of bows and magic.
On the other end
of the spectrum, Shadowrun is getting closer to launch. It looks
like a solid FPS for a multiplayer audience. However, this is not
what the complex rule set of Shadowrun is all about. Shadowrun is
about the wonderfully nuanced blending of cyber-punk and shamanistic
fantasy. It's about developing a complex character and being able to
have freedom in a world unlike any other. To put it in a multiplayer
only FPS setting is like turning D&D into a FPS. It makes no sense.
Actually, D&D would be more right to be a FPS just because the rule
set of D&D is more streamlined than Shadowrun ever could be.
I think the
Shadowrun 360 game should come out, but it just should not walk
around with this title. It could be named anything else and it would
be a much more offensive of game. It's just in bad taste to the fans
and the legacy of the classic pencil and paper RPG system.
I would normally
be really happy, especially with the lack of quality RPGs in the
works right now, to have both of these games coming back for the
modern console/PC gaming era. However, to turn them into what they
are becoming to like taking a shit on the graves of Shadowrun (I
know, Shadowrun is not dead...but you hopefully see what I mean) and
Fallout 1&2. A name doesn't make a game, but a name should not be
used on the wrong type of game. If Bethesda somehow obtained the
Zelda license and put Link in the Oblivion engine, and they called
it "Zelda", it just wouldn't be right. Shadowrun and Fallout 3 are
only seeing this happen because their licenses are both so much
smaller in popular opinion (most people who will buy Shadowrun don't
even know what Shadowrun is and the history of this awesome game
Blah! I just hope,
in some way, that Fallout 3 turns out as good as the first two and
is a strategy based RPG with a good level of non-first person
elements. I also hope, but know it will never happen, that Shadowrun
is later revisited for the RPG experience it deserves. It was once
attempted with the SNES and Genesis (and Sega CD in Japan) and it
wasn't all bad. Imagine it happening with the modern consoles and
with modern programming abilities. Anyway, I imagine I'll feel the
same when it's released in the next few months, but for now I'd like
to say I wouldn't touch Shadowrun (360) if I was given the game for
I remember when the
horrible Wing Commander movie came out. This movie only was able to
gain any substantial ticket sales because of one lame factor; the
first ever trailer for Star Wars Episode 1 (and the first big screen
glance of new Star Wars in nearly two decades). If it wasn't for
that preview, the horrible Wing Commander would've probably been one
of the biggest box office flops of all time.
I mention all of
that because the same thing is happening, but with video games. From
all that I've seen, Crackdown looks like a big steaming pile of shit
on almost all accounts. Every game trailer I've seen makes the game
look like it'll be as fulfilling as playing for all eternity on the
worst crime/police game stereotypes and with no substantial
mechanics to keep the player interested. However, the potential to
the Halo 3 beta is what will sell this game.
marketing, since it helps an otherwise worthless waste of DVD become
a potential big seller. However, it just seems wrong for the more
weak minded of gamers to fall for this obvious load of shit. A game
cannot sell off of a demo and still be considered a good game in the
end. It just doesn't happen. It's like when Tobal No. 1 came with
the FFVII demo on the PSX. That was all well and good, but the
majority of FFVII fans would not enjoy Tobal (and the sequel, which
never came to the US, was the only game that was worth mentioning in
that short lives franchise).
The same is true
of Crackdown. It's not the right type of game for many Halo 3 fans,
and it's not a good looking game on any account. I just hope this
type of forced hype doesn't make the game into a large seller.
Afterall, this is only a chance for a beta, and it's not like a
person cannot wait, no matter how much of a Halo fanboy they are,
for the real game. This is like paying twice, for the Halo elitists,
for Halo 3; once for the beta and once for the game when it comes
out later this year.
Anyway, on a
different note, I've just started to see this type of stuff;
hacked Guitar Hero 2. I wish I had the time and interest to get
into this type of thing...well, more than watching youtube.com
videos of it. I think it's awesome that the geek world is obsessed
with this game enough to show me my fantasies ("What would Metallica
look like on Guitar Hero?") coming slightly true.
It's about the
weekend, and I want to keep things pretty short today. I have not
had much time this week to relax and I've only scored about 3 hours
of gaming this entire week. So, I'll end by saying Okami still rocks
at about 33% done, and I want to play some more...after cleaning my
entire apartment, hanging with my in-laws tonight, looking at more
legal resources, and...well, I just want to kick real life in the
nuts and get back to the joy of being a white wolf statue brought to
life with a little perverted sprite thing as my sidekick.
Sigh...back when times (as in a week ago) were so much simpler.
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