Next-Gen: The First Party Contingent

Come to think of it, for me the most interesting console games coming out this fall are first party. Part of it is first party studios not willing to compromise on hardware in order to make cross-generation games I guess. Three in particular seem to stick out for me right now.

Y’know, I’m actually pretty impressed with what I’ve seen of KillZone Shadow Fall so far. The first three main games were pretty okay but nothing outstanding in my experience, so I have no reason to be hyped just because it’s a KillZone game. But a couple times before I’ve noted interest in how Guerrilla Games seems to be approaching the design for the campaign.

Sony just released some videos showing different approaches to a particular event in Shadow Fall, and Revision3 released an interview with Guerrilla on that (above). Basically, they’re trying to do what I’ve wanted first person shooters to return to for a while — a game design style built around choice and really “playing the game” instead of following the developer’s script. The realization of this immediately makes Shadow Fall’s advertised game mechanics more interesting.

When I first saw the “OWL” thing Guerrilla’s pushing — a flying drone companion, I thought it would be some kind of gimmick scripted to do things at specific trigger points. Shadow Fall’s proposed sense of freedom however means I can choose where I actually want to use the OWL’s tools. All of a sudden I have a rappel rope I can use to jump down from any ledge I want and a distraction I can deploy at any time. At first going into slow motion while breaching a room looks the same as when you automatically do it in Call of Duty, but then I realized the slow-mo is actually a resource you can simply choose to use in such situations, possibly rewarding smart use of the mechanic.

I don’t even know if Shadow Fall is gonna have level design to match the likes of Perfect Dark 64, the first Crysis, or dare I say even Thief. Even if its levels fall short of those games in terms of size and complexity, at least someone making a AAA shooter is trying to head in that direction. All that remains to be seen now is if Shadow Fall will have enemy AI to match that level design.

If I were going to buy a console game this fall though (and owned a Wii U), that game would be Super Mario 3D World. The trailer above is the one trailer I’ve seen this fall and thought to myself “I want to play that. Now.”

Maybe it’s because I still have that loyalty to Nintendo from all the years I only owned their consoles. I know the Wii U is a light year behind modern hardware in terms of graphics, but finally seeing 3D Mario game make its first true graphical leap in a decade is still extremely exciting for me. Things as simple as seeing Mario walk around the world map freely instead of on rails is enough to make me gasp. It’s probably no more significant than the features I balk at in Battlefield 4 or Infamous Second Son trailers, so this is probably what fans of those franchises feel like when watching them.

It could also however be because Super Mairo 3D Land is one of my favorite 3DS games. It’s a game I actually wish had DLC since I finished all the special stages. From it and the Galaxy games all I can say is Nintendo EAD Tokyo is one of the most talented studios around when it comes to fun platformers. And a surprising amount of 3D World looks genuinely new in terms of gameplay mechanics.

I think I also need to give props to Forza 5 after the most recent gameplay video from GameSpot. I was just lamenting the dearth of direct feed footage of the game when this came up, and this is probably one of the most effective advertisements I’ve seen for an Xbox One title.

Other than the multiplatform stuff confirmed to be headed to Xbox One, I haven’t seen a whole lot of games simply using straight footage to push the Xbox One brand. The closest I’ve seen until now has been the Ryse: Son of Rome story trailer. I guess you could cont Titan Fall, but what’s there to push Xbox One at launch? I guess there’s the expectation that Call of Duty fans will “naturally” upgrade from Xbox 360 to Xbox One.

Then comes this Forza video with nothing but clean, 1080p, 60 frame-per-second gameplay jazzed up with orchestral music. I think this is the first time I’ve seen what is indisputably the Xbox One (there is no other version of the game) being allowed to speak for itself by being seen running a game. That’s what I’ve always been asking Microsoft to do — just show us the software.

 

I don’t think there’s some kind of inherent boost in quality a developer gets from being first party. Call of Duty: Ghosts is still gonna sell a ton, Battlefield has a pretty devoted fanbase, and Titanfall has some serious pedigree behind it. I’m just pointing out how the unique position first party studios are in seems to once again be giving them a leg up around launch time (or in Nintendo’s case, first post-launch holiday season).

BULLETS:

  • A clean shot of the Arkham Origins main menu. Nice wallpaper size. – bit.ly/1dq5k8k
  • Another. – bit.ly/16zktNc
  • New “So Well Spoken” podcast – bit.ly/18hQVDn
  • New screenshots from Stage 2 of Odallus: The Dark Callbit.ly/1alYP3k A free demo is at the website.
  • “Remember that you as editor are like a surgeon; you heal with the knife.” – bit.ly/1aiRhyg
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4 thoughts on “Next-Gen: The First Party Contingent

  1. It’s going to be about Forza 5 for me. And Crimson Dragon. And Killer Instinct. Microsoft is doing streams of Xbox One games, you should check them out.

    Meanwhile, the PC version of The Pinball Arcade hits on November 1st. If the PSN version is any indication, you should certainly get this. You’ll become a pinball fan very quickly.

  2. Anon says:

    “Perfect Dark 64”

    I think you mean Perfect Dark. Not all N64 games end with 64.

    • RedSwirl says:

      I just do that to differentiate it from Perfect Dark Zero without having to type out “The original Perfect Dark” or “Perfect Dark on the N64” all the time.

  3. Things have certainly come on a pace since in that case.
    Thee player who can push the “B button” fastest wins.
    Battglefield followers have been eagerly awaiting the release of this subsequent stage in the Battlefield seris due to the fact 2008
    and have high anticipations of it being the finest FPS ever.

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