A few days ago, a friend and I were discussing the venerable Tim Rogers, an opinionated games writer if ever there was one. Here's the fun thing about Rogers, though: If you were to shuffle one of his reviews in with those of ten other game reviewers, his piece would stand out like the Batman in daylight, foremost for one obvious reason -- it'd be really, really long. Rogers meanders all over the place, delving into each aspect of a game, as well as many things seemingly unrelated, which he then acknowledges as seemingly unrelated. Sometimes, after noticing that 15 minutes have ticked away from your life and your web browser's scroll bar thing is only half-way down the page, you just wish he'd get to the point.
Rogers, as far as game reviewers go, is an anomaly. People don't want a novel; they want pros, cons, and a numerical score, because they'd rather be dashing someone's virtual brains against the pavement than learning. So I guess it kind of makes sense that games generally exist on the flipside of that reviewing stereotype.
Take, for instance, Resident Evil. Find the red lion, blue tiger, and green goat to form a key so that you can crank open the Voltron door. Sure, your gun-toting pyromaniac of a hero probably could've written a book titled "101 Ways To Pop A Door Off Its Hinges," but where's the fun in that?
Oddly, even though we constantly quip about padded-out sequences or pointless sidequests in our favorite games, we sound the sirens on the whaaambulance when those elements finally take a hint.
So which do you want? Games that toss in chores and fetch quests in exchange for that ever so marketable "60 hours of gameplay!" bullet point, or masterfully designed experiences -- like Portal -- that leave you hungry for more?
Well, today's Roundup, described by some as a "masterfully designed experience -- like Portal -- that leaves you hungry for more," hopes to satisfy all comers. Caged within, you'll find stories about a bill of rights for PC gamers, a new race for StarCraft II, and free gas! You heard me -- free gas! It's all after the break.
“As an industry, we need to begin setting some basic, common sense standards that reward PC gamers for purchasing our games,” stated Brad Wardell, president and CEO of Stardock Corporation. “The console market effectively already has something like this in that its games have to go through the platform maker such as Nintendo, Microsoft, or Sony. But on the PC, publishers can release games that are scarcely completed, poorly supported, and full of intrusive copy protection and then be stuck on it.”
It's a fairly sound list, and I'd love to see other publishers adhere to it.
You know, if Microsoft would actually throw some weight behind Games For Windows, maybe it'd have the power to leverage something like this on a larger stage.
But then, Microsoft will only give GFW a cash infusion once the PC becomes an industry darling again -- possibly as a result of this bill of rights.
"If you look at Demigod, it's still wildly state of the art -- in our trailer, people asked if that was prerendered or from the game, [and] it's all in-game. But it's scalable; there's level of detail [adjustment]," said Gas Powered Games' Chris Taylor.
He pointed to the latest influx of gamers as inspiration for his new movement.
"We go from 10 million and 20 million people to 200 million people. Where were those 180 million people? They were there all along, waiting patiently, so they could join the fun. Now we have no excuses, we have to recognize that."
In WoW's wake, many publishers have decided that subscription-based games are the PC's only hope. Really though, I think Taylor has latched onto a very underrated aspect of WoW's design. It's playable on most every system, kind of like a -- wait for it -- console game. Of course, there are limits to these things; don't fear that you'll soon be choosing between high, medium, low, and Zork settings in your favorite games, but do support devs who create truly scalable titles. They bring fresh blood into the industry, and they're easier on your wallet. Win-win.
“Gearbox is really excited about the changes we’ve made to our Platform department in-line with finishing Brothers in Arms: Hell’s Highway in order for our platform engineers to support the multi-platform launches of Aliens: Colonial Marines, Borderlands and an un-announced big-ticket game."
So obviously, Gearbox's "big-ticket" title can't be Halo 4. Why? Because Halo isn't multiplatform.
Don't expect Wrath of the Lich King, though, folks. You'll probably get your money's worth out of these upgrades, but with expansion #1 clocking in at $9.95, don't expect any earth-shattering changes. The expansion, titled "Entrenchment," launches in December.
“We don’t have the resources or time to add a fourth race to the launch of StarCraft II, but I’m sure in the event that we decide to do an expansion set it’s a feature that’ll come up for discussion,” the company boss told VG247.
Amazonian women? Space pirates? What sci-fi cliche will StarCraft mine next?