Author Archives: RedSwirl

“Games As A Service” Is Still Winning

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Ubisoft’s latest sales report (PDF) might seem like a cold splash of reality after all the conversation we’ve had these past few months about what games are “winning” on consoles.

From my perspective at least everyone was talking about Persona 5Yakuza 0NiohNier AutomataHorizon: Zero Dawn, and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild as if that’s all anyone was playing. Turns out, the top-selling game of 2017 so far is Ghost Recon Wildlands with For Honor right behind it. Two western blockbuster games mainly built on multiplayer and online communities towering over a bunch of lower-budget classic-style singleplayer games, mostly from Japanese developers. Who knew. Continue reading

Call of Duty: World War II Will Probably Be Just Another Call of Duty Game

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Generally, I don’t really think Call of Duty going back to World War II is a good or bad thing. I don’t think the setting by itself is going to affect the game much at all in terms of its sales performance or really how the game itself plays. Activision has stuck to a formula for the series through many different settings.

That said, I’m still a bit disappointed at what seems to be an extremely safe path for Activision and Sledgehammer games to take. Obviously not much can be said at this point because as of this writing we’ve only seen the game’s advertising, but I just think some potential for new stories and settings is being left on the table here. Continue reading

Guardian Interview Illuminates Microsoft’s 1st Party Game Strategy

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The Guardian ran an interview with the head of Xbox which I think is pretty informative of Microsoft’s gaming strategy and why it has or hasn’t done certain things. It lends a more vivid picture to things I’ve already been suggesting about Microsoft’s approach to games. Continue reading

On Brash Games, Tips For Beginners on Volunteer Writing. What Does “Experience” Really Mean?

I wanted to get to this a while ago, but even though the whole controversy surrounding Brash Games has faded from the headlines I still think it’s an opportunity to hand out some advice. This is for anyone currently trying to get into writing about video games who is doing it for free or thinking about doing it for free. Continue reading

Scorpio And The Windows User

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Last time I talked about what Scorpio may and may not do for Xbox, talking about Microsoft’s strategy being oriented around creating a better gaming service. Scorpio might not affect me personally all that much though because I do most of my gaming on a pretty decent gaming PC. From my perspective what matters most is what Microsoft does with Windows.

I guess Microsoft bringing Windows into its service strategy has been beneficial in some ways. I like how the Xbox app integrates my PC games into the Xbox Live community. Finally having games like Gears of War and Forza on PC is great too, and I would certainly buy the new Halo shooters if they showed up on Windows. But Good God is there room for improvement. Continue reading

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How Microsoft Got Here, Where Scorpio Might Take It Next

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I’ve been pretty busy this past week so I’ve only just now gotten to put down any thoughts about Scorpio now since we got a clearer picture of it. This really ties into the post I made in early March comparing the first party game strategies of all the console manufacturers. Scorpio plays directly into Microsoft’s service-based strategy, but I don’t know if it’s going to improve the company’s market share against Sony or if it’s even an attempt to do so.

Microsoft is trying to fight this with beefier graphics, but I’m not sure beefier graphics is what’s going to help. I guess a good way to examine Microsoft’s struggles in this console generation would be to look at what worked for the Xbox 360 before. The problem is it’s not entirely clear what boosted that console the most. Continue reading

The Necessary Decentralization Of Steam

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I’ve already done a couple posts about the way Valve handles what it lets onto Steam and how it manages the store, but Valve seems to want people to know some major changes are coming. I’m also still trying to figure out how I even view Steam as a store and a platform at this point. Continue reading

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What Cooking In Zelda Breath Of The Wild Gets Right

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I haven’t had free time to do much else but play Zelda: Breath of the Wild so I guess I can talk about something else in it this week, like why I enjoy its cooking system so much compared crafting systems in other games.

When I start up a new blockbuster game, particularly a role-playing game, one of the things I dread being introduced to is the crafting system. Seemingly every game has to have one these days but the majority either feel like a needless stop on game progress or something I can just completely ignore. Mainly, Breath of the Wild does two things to make its cooking system, which is basically a crafting system, more enjoyable and rewarding. Continue reading

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What Q1 2017 Means, And Zelda’s Use Of Geography

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My time over the last few weeks has been taken up by Zelda and a few other relatively big things going on in my life. I guess I can take a moment though to at least say something about my time with Zelda and look back at what has been an uncommonly good first quarter of the year in video games.

It almost feels like a fall release schedule in that there has simply been too much new stuff for any one person to play thoroughly, between Gravity Rush 2Yakuza 0Resident Evil 7NiohNier: AutomataHorizon: Zero DawnMass Effect: Andromeda, and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. What’s interesting to look at though is that it has been an uncommonly good quarter for console games. Of what I mentioned, only RE7, Nier, and Andromeda have PC versions. If I’d been able to play these games I would have actually gotten some use out of my consoles. Possibly more important though is that this quarter likely signifies 2017 as sort of the year Japanese console games came back. Continue reading

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My Reactions To Different Weapon Durability Systems

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Undoubtedly the most divisive feature in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild has been its weapon degradation system. The discussion over it has gotten me looking back at how I’ve reacted to weapon degradation in previous games only to find it hasn’t been a uniform reaction at all.

In short, weapon degradation is one of those things that in the context of game design is just a tool to be used in different ways. Different developers may use it to different effects for different kinds of games. Like open-worlds in general or quick-time events or whatever else, I don’t believe weapon degradation is universally good or bad. Continue reading

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