Archive for May, 2007

Are You Listening, Microsoft?

May 26 2007 Published by under Uncategorized

Valve shows that it gets the obvious:

“You buy the product, you get the content,” Team Fortress 2 designer Robin Walker told us. “We make more money because more people buy it, not because we try and nickel-and-dime the same customers.”

“[In multiplayer games] the content you’re playing is being created by the players you’re playing against, so the more people that get into the game, the more content you’re going to have,” Valve’s Charlie Brown concurred.

Valve’s marketing director Doug Lombardi admitted the company had “pretty strong opinions” about how to handle post-release content. “Our philosophy there is, if you buy the product, we put more content out to keep the game interesting, we sell more products.”

“Counter-Strike is number one and has been since ’99 because we kept the game interesting, not because we tried to charge people more, and that’s come back in sales of Counter-Strike,” he added.

Sure, the interview ends with Valve’s confessions that they’re dipping their toe into the pool of in-game advertising. But if two wrongs don’t make a right, I’m sure one of each cancels themselves out.

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Some thoughts on Condemned 2: Bloodshot

May 21 2007 Published by under Uncategorized

When Sega announced they had green-lighted a sequel to Condemned: Criminal Origins. I jumped up and down with the enthusiasm of my kid former self on Christmas morning.

I love to be scared. I’m a big horror fan, I used to explore dilapidated buildings at midnight to scare myself. You get the drift. Condemned served my adrenaline fix, level after level as I brawled with hobos, investigating clues to prove my innocence. Forget about F.E.A.R, Condemned will have you screaming like a schoolgirl.

However, Sega’s press release describes a lot of new fluff which looks like an attempt to reverse on its predecessor’s poor sales at the cost of its unique style:

As Ethan, players will engage in visceral combat using a variety of firearms, blunt instruments and an all-new fighting system complete with defensive and offensive combo chains.

Condemned 2: Bloodshottakes the series to a whole new level by introducing a variety of thrilling online multiplayer modes including deathmatch, which promises to deliver the most brutal hand-to-hand combat experience the first person genre has ever seen.

Bad idea, why speed up the gameplay at the cost of what works? One of the reasons why Condemned was so scary was because it was paced itself very slowly.

Suspense piled up on your shoulders like a heavy sack, your mind wandered scaring yourself and your nerves went into overdrive, thanks to the thick and creepy atmosphere (click the above links for a taste). Now it sounds like Monolith is almost going for Max Payne lite with a combo system.

If changes need to be made to the weapon / fighting system, how about more diversity in both weapons and their attributes? How about the ability to drop weapons from player or AI by repeated strong blows? How about a parry system, similar to Soul Calibur 2? Some polishing to improve fluidity would be a welcome addition, too.

And of course, the online mode looks thrown in without any real thought or respect for Condemned. Online play has always been lacking in the plot department. Condemned is largely driven by its plot and here this feels like another attempt to woo buyers at the cost of gameplay.

That being said, I do remain optimistic as details are sparse; perhaps two player co-op is in the works? Imagine the tension as you communicate with your equally scared partner, exploring together and shitting yourselves when spooked by scripted events exclusive to co-op multiplayer?

Or imagine in one level, getting separated and later on witnessing a scene between your partner and the killer that gives the impression that they’re a turncoat? Use online as a plot device to further the psychological drama in ways that couldn’t be achieved during single player. That’s how you incorporate Xbox Live while persevering what made Condemned chilling.

Are you listening, Monolith?

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