Hi! I'm Matt and I'm currently a college senior at a major university in the United States. I'm a big fan of the gaming industry, games, and the people in it. In the past, I have written for gaming web sites and have had the pleasure of attending a E3 and the Sony/Microsoft press conferences in 2009.
I left those sites and took a hiatus due to the fact that I didn't approve of the mindset and how they were being run. Basically, they sucked the fun out of gaming for me. Since then I've gone to college, made lots of new friends, and new hobbies but gaming is still up there for me. I've created this blog and another personal one on Tumblr to talk about my interests in gaming and life, and to start writing again.
I will share a quick personal story that relates to Destructoid. In 2009, when I went to E3 the hotel we were staying at also happened to be the one the entire Destructoid crew were staying at. I ventured to the site before but wasn't a regular user. After meeting the likes of Nick Chester, Niero, and others from the staff I started venturing over more and more. Actually went to their pre-E3 party underage and got drunk (sooo smooth move on my part). The staff was truly one of the most genuine group of people and gamers I met at E3. They were also so enthusiastic and upbeat, while others looked at E3 as a chore.
I hope to share some interesting thoughts and I hope my writing isn't rusty (probably is)
PS (Gaming Related Stuff):
First System: SNES
Favorite Game Series Growing Up: Final Fantasys on the PS1 (Fuck you Square Enix)
Favorite Game Series Now: Tie between Uncharted and Mass Effect
There are TONS of gaming podcasts out there, and a lot of them are great. Every major and minor gaming outlet has their editors speak about gaming news, reviews, and general industry discussion. This is great, but most of the information is regurgitated. The same shit from the different people. Don't get me wrong, I love hearing new opinions but after a while it basically comes down to the fact that I'm listening to a fan talk about the gaming world.
What I really want in the future is a podcast that features a group of different developers every week coming in, and talking about their games, their favorites games, the industry, and more. I want to hear from the makers themselves on why they are doing what they are doing for a living.
I know many game companies have their own company run podcasts, but that's not what I'm talking about. I'm talking about a podcast run by one host (not a game developer) who invites any group of 3-4 game developers on to a weekly show. Basically, think of E3 podcasts like the Giantbomb Podcast and how they invite multiple game developers onto the show to discuss E3 and to delve into their day to day life as developers.
It can be anyone from any studio. A programmer, a artist, someone in the sound department, etc. from AAA studios to iPhone gaming studios. Sit them down and ask them about what they're doing, what projects in the past were like, what they are excited for, and other random topics. Just get a group of creative minds together and have them share thoughts.
I just think it would be exciting in a perfect world to have something like a podcast that includes: David Jaffe, Todd Howard, Cliffy B, Ken Levine, and Ted Price on a all-star podcast. Obviously, that would be a rockstar lineup, but on a more regular week have a designer from Insomniac, a programmer from Valve, a artist from That Game Company, etc. Not always all-stars.
I just think it would be a cool new twist. I love hearing these minds share their thoughts and not just be bound by pumping their games to the media.
Was kicking back tonight with some TED videos playing on my iPad as I type this on my computer, and thought I would make a new post. Was thinking about what to write about, and was hitting blanks so I decided to just share my five favorite developers. These guys are the people I almost always buy games from and enjoy. These may not be the five best or most talented developers, but I think they are all in the Top 15 for sure if we were just going by overall. This is just my opinion and why...
Naughty Dog Have loved them since I was a kid. Crash Bandicoot blew my mind as a 10 year old. I was used to playing Mario, but when I got washed up on the beach in the first Crash game I was sucked in. I couldn't get enough of the game, and I wasn't even good at it. I wish games nowadays were that fun for me as they were back then.
Then of course there is grown up me and the Uncharted series. Easily, a top 5 franchise for me all-time and if they continue to make a few more it may be my favorite of all-time. Beautiful graphics, interesting stories, engaging characters, and fun gameplay. It's hard to believe they were capable of such a deep and intense game after their previous ventures. They are artists. Their set pieces are phenomenal. I didn't even pay too much attention to Uncharted 3 at E3 because I knew it would be amazing, and I don't need to be convinced.
That Game Company Shooting, fighting, blowing shit up. These are usual for games nowadays. There is a norm, and after a while I get tired of this as a gamer. TGC refreshes me with all of their games. While they are only two games in with Flow and Flower, both those games were amazing in their simplicity. They hit another nerve, and brought a breath of fresh air to gaming. I'm not following the familiar formula when I play their games. I am playing something unique and engaging.
I cannot wait for Journey and to go on another emotional and new experience all for under $20. The game looks fantastic and I can't say why. Maybe it's the music, the aesthetic, or maybe there is just something so beautiful about something so simple. That's why I love them; beauty in simplicity.
BioWare Mass Effect, KOTOR, Dragon Age, Jade Empire, SWTOR, and many more. That's all I need to say. This developer is the king of WRPG's, and hopefully will soon be the king of MMO's as well. There games all have such high quality, and engaging stories. Their characters all have life to them. Many games have characters that seem plastic or fake, but that cannot be said about a BioWare game.
More times then not they try to innovate, and succeed in doing so. True action gameplay in a RPG (Mass Effect) or a fully voiced MMO (SWTOR). Nothing is too big of a risk for them when it comes to making the perfect product. I'm always excited to see what they have in store.
Kojima Productions Production value. That is what I think of when I think of Kojima. His games are like works of art. Yes, they have great gameplay, but the amount of time that goes into the rest of the work is what really makes it stand out. The music in all the games are very memorable, and I think the level design is some of the best in the business.
Some people call their stories too convoluted and cut scenes too long but personally I think they have always been done right and have always been killer. The MGS series has always lived up to expectations and been fantastic.
DICE Gonna make this quick because I'm getting sleepy, but I think that Mirror's Edge is the biggest sleeper of this gen. Yes, the game wasn't perfect, but it was a great new experience with some great gameplay. I wish they would make a sequel.
The Battlefield series is obviously what they are known for and it's a personal favorite of mine. Battlefield 1943, Battlefield 2, and the Bad Company series are all great games. The amount of focus they put into their engines and destruction are the future of gaming, and honestly Battlefield 3 is my most anticipated game of the Fall. I need a change from shooters.
When, I'm bored I try to think of video games that I would actually to see. Usually, I keep these ideas in my head, but now that I'm writing again I'm gonna mark them down when they come to me. Some ideas may be good, some may be bad, but I want to mark them down. These are very rough ideas, but very general.
The first one I want to write about is a open world action adventure game where you fight as a middle man between heaven and hell. The game starts off where you are just an ordinary business man in San Francisco with a wife when a man comes to you one night and tries to kill you. Before that can happen a light shines down and the man is destroyed.
You find out that the Devil wants to take over the Earth, cause the Day of Reckoning, and use the army of the Dead to take over Heaven. You are the key to it all as you are the Devils son, but your mother was also a Angel. You are the key to it all. You are the only one with the power to stop this. When God found out about your birth, he took you and hid you from the Devil and only God's most trusted angels knew of your existence. Unfortunately, one of those Angel's betrayed God and told the Devil of your existence. Thus, the Devil tried to kill you because he knows of your potential.
Throughout the game you meet allies, but your main focus is to gain power and learn new powers. You find out more about mythology, why the Devil turned on God, the original war between the two sides, and you make new relationships the connect you to the character.
Basic gist of the story. The game takes inspiration from movies like 'Constantine' and 'The Devil's Advocate'. The game is open world and throughout you have to make choices on what you want; the end of worlds or to be Earth's saviors. The basic fighting concept would be comparable to inFamous and Mass Effect. You have access to projectile magic, and enchanted weapons (guns/melee) etc. By midway through the game you will be able to run through the city by running on walls (think Prototype), epic battles on the top of skyscrapers, and fights in the sky.
The game will not be based on any specific religions mythology. There will be no mention of previous messiahs. Though it will strongly favor Christian mythology in popular culture. Try to not insult the religious people of the world as much as possible. Make as many religious mentions as was mentioned in the movies above.
I would like to have a comparable score to something like Hans Zimmer with a strong focus on string instruments and heavy bass. Have most of the game set in the night with some in the day. Make the game classy and have most characters were suits. Think along the aesthetic of 'Inception' when it comes to the style of characters.
Have a level up system and chat wheel (think Mass Effect). The choices you make determine what skills you get and what relationships you make. Angels or Demons, angelic light spells or fiery destructive ones.
Some interesting ideas I had along with it are:
-Main character has a girlfriend at the beginning of the game. One of the main evil characters though is a female. At a point in the game; likely the end when you have picked your side (good or evil) will decide which love interest you end up with.
-You fight the devil at the end of the game no matter what. If you pick the good side then you save the world and all is well. If you pick the evil side, then you take the control of the underworld and the game ends with you and your army approaching the gates of heaven.
-At the beginning of the game you are trained by the angel who saved you in the beginning. If you pick the good side then throughout the game you are trained by him throughout the game. If you pick the bad side then midway through the game you fight, and kill him and get trained by a new master in the ways of darkness.
-I also have many ideas for individual scenes. Like jumping through a mirror to see the hidden side of the world. Fighting on the side of a building, defying gravity. Fighting in the sky on clouds as lightning is coming down around you. Tons of rain throughout the game.
My basic thoughts on the game. Let me know what you think, good or bad.
I wasn't a big gamer as a kid. I played SNES and PS1, but I was far from a hardcore gamer. I went by cover art and what people bought me on holidays as what I played as a kid. Fortunately, I was lucky and got good titles like Mario, Zelda, Final Fantasy, Crash Bandicoot, and the portable Pokemon games growing up. All solid gaming experiences, and all helped lay a solid foundation for a future hardcore gamer.
Fourteen years later, and it's 1 A.M. and I'm currently listening to a Giant Bomb podcast, checking out stories on Destructoid, and am writing this with The Tonight Show on in the background. I wonder sometimes, how and why I got to this point in my fascination with gaming? Was it a single game, a console, or did it develop over time? Honestly, when I look at the reasons why I love gaming it comes back to a very simple reason: creativity.
I'm an extremely creative person. I love movies, books, art, music, and of course games. The beautiful thing about gaming is that it combines all my favorite parts of creativity and puts them into one interactive product. I can put myself into the shoes of a warrior, a hero, a solider, a villain, a normal civilian, a god, or even a flower. I can play out a story myself and feel a personal experience with the story and characters.
I'm grateful for the artists at major studios like Naughty Dog, Sony Santa Monica, Epic Games, Rocksteady, Bethesda, id Software, Valve, Bungie, DICE, Infinity Ward, Irrational Studios, That Game Company, etc. who put years into a single product of pure creativity.
Gaming brings out passion in fans not seen in any other industry. Dozens of podcasts, hundreds of fan run websites, thousands of blogs, and millions of users. You can always find an opinion on any topic in gaming.
I'm an information whore. I learn everything I can about gaming. I don't go to one website for my gaming news, I go to 8 on a regular basis. I listen to over a dozen different podcasts, and I follow developers on Twitter. Don't think that gaming is an obsession because it isn't; it's a passion. Yes, the final game product is important, but even more fascinating to me is the entire process. The pre-planning, the art/story development, the engine development, the press and marketing releases, and the final release are all an exciting journey for a gaming fan. The amount of detail and creativity and passion that go into these projects are really fascinating.
Innovators like Ken Levine, Todd Howard, Ted Price, Cliffy B, David Jaffe, and others are just fascinating to listen to. They start with a simple idea and core concept and inspire dozens to hundreds of people to invest their creative soul into a project. God of War started with Jaffe's passion for Greek Mythology and from that we got fascinating characters like Kratos and Zeus, a beautiful soundtrack, great project art, and the top tech in the industry.
Why did I fall in love with gaming? I fell in love with the process. The first game I loved was Final Fantasy VIII. Not a classic like Final Fantasy VII or X to many, but it helped solidify a core fascination in me when it came to gaming. The music, the CGI, the graphics at the time, and the story caught me. I was used to side scrollers, but not worlds with adult stories and themes and grown up art styles.
Another amazing thing about the gaming world is the passion among its fans. Yes, many can be annoying and biased but that can be said about any hobby. The great thing is the passion of people to post on message boards, blogs, twitter, and more. The humility of industry professionals to post direct information to fans, and share their thoughts on the development process. Journalists who are just fans who can also write. The gaming industry is a sharing industry, and a social industry. While many people say that gamers are anti-social, I say it's quite the opposite nowadays. Online forums and multiplayer gaming bring the entire community together.
Why do I love gaming? I love it because it never stops. Creativity is always growing and changing. Information is always being released, and it's not a small community of people but the largest hobby in the world. A hobby that brings technical people, artists, sound designers, and others into one group to bring out one product that can be beautiful so many levels.
The Wii U has been announced. Personally, I wouldn't consider this the next gen in home gaming, but who the hell am I? Personally, I believe that when Sony and/or Microsoft announces their next home console is when we will see gaming technology reach the next level.
Now most people are excited to see better textures, lighting, dust effects, water effects, etc. Now, don't get me wrong all of those thing are important to me, but not as important as they have been in the past. Look at games like Uncharted 3 and Battlefield 3, right now. They look incredible, but what really gets you excited about them? Yes, they are a notch above the other games visually, but the really incredible things about them are the environment effects.
Destructable, interactive, and cinematic environments are the most important things to me in future games on the next consoles of gaming. All games should have engines comparable to Frostbite 2 when it comes to destructibility, especially shooters. Open world games should be fully-interactive. Imagine GTA V, with every building being accessible, being able to buy a home in over hundreds of places in a GTA world, and being able to interact with hundreds of NPCs. Then there are cinematic environments, like the train scene in Uncharted 2. Interactive, cinematic scenes where the level is constantly moving, changing depending on how you play the scene. Train scenes, boat scenes, plane scenes, etc.
While an upgrade in textures and lighting will happen and will be great. Let's remove invicible walls, glitches, non-believeable environments. If I throw a grenade at something on next gen games, no matter what the game is I should notice some wear and tear effects. Instead of playing an Assassin's Creed where I am limited to just a handful of interactions and buildings. Open up the world to be fully explored.
The future of video games are not perfect visuals, but rather believeable worlds. Worlds where I can have a impact on it and the people living in it, and not a predetermined effect but something I do naturally through gameplay.
This is going to be a rant. A rant from a former Square Enix superfan. Back in the PS1 and early PS2 era they could do no wrong in my eyes. That all went out the window as soon as they got rid of Sakaguchi, and decided that making direct sequels to Final Fantasys were a good idea. Oh yeah, and that Final Fantasy MMO's should be included in the number series.
So let's go back to the 90's and Squaresoft. Ah those were good times. A new Final Fantasy every two years, awesome graphics, beautiful sound design, and an amazing story. These were all staples. The games were just filled with imagination and took you to worlds you could never imagine anywhere else. The characters were goofy, but that didn't stop you from getting absorbed into the universe. We're the games perfect? No, but they were really good and consistently came out.
Let us fast forward to today. Final Fantasy XIII took 4 years to make, was average, and hey we're getting a sequel! Kingdom Hearts fan? Well, hopefully you weren't looking forward to Kingdom Hearts 3 anytime soon, but hey if you have PSP and DS then you can buy the 32 spinoffs that have been released since Kingdom Hearts 2. Fan of MMO's? Well, then I'm sorry because Final Fantasy XIV just sucked dick.
Then comes the biggest "WTF" game. Final Fantasy Versus XIII. 6+ years in development and two gameplay trailers later and we still have no clue when this game is coming out. Come on Square, it was E3 2011 and the Sony show was lacking. Is the game really that far behind that we couldn't get a brief new gameplay demo or even a stage demo?
Obviously, TGS is probably going to be very important when it comes to information being released on Versus XIII but they can't keep withholding information from the public; especially the Western public. This game should be their most important project at the moment. It is a major console release by their most talented studio group.
The company is losing money, and talent. Back in the 90's, Squaresoft was one of the most talented studios that was at the forefront of video game tech. Now they are just a average of the pact Japanese developer that has lost what originally made them great. They are focusing too much on portable games, Sequels to Final Fantasy games, and for the love of god stop with the MMO's. The worst part are the new franchises they have tried to create recently. They have gone for shooters and hack-n-slash games, but have failed miserably.
They were smart to acquire Eidos and get franchises like Tomb Raider and Hitman, but the problem lies at home. Their Japanese studios have continued to fall back with the times instead of looking at where games are going today. Enough with the Dissidia games and focus on getting Versus XIII, Kingdom Hearts 3, a true sequel in the Chrono series, or even Final Fantasy XV out. Focus on what built up your brand. If you want shooters or action games then let Eidos and the Western developers work on that. If you want core Japanese games for all audiences then focus on what made you great. Great single player RPG games.
Versus XIII should be out by now. It was first shown at E3 2006. To show how long that has been, in 2006 I was a junior in high school. Starting next Fall, I will be a senior in college. If my dumbass can get a college education before this game comes out then something is wrong. 3 Gears of War Games, 5 Call of Dutys, and 4 Assassin Creeds will be released before the release of Versus XIII.
The last great game from Square was Final Fantasy X, and they had to try and ruin that with X-2. Instead of releasing XIII-2, they should release Versus XIII, start work on Kingdom Hearts 3, and get to work on XV. Include towns, a deep storyline, interactive combat, and get used to the times.