Here is a quickie, after watching all the press conferences for this year's e3 there is one thing that stood out to me that Ive seen way too few people mention.
[b]Live Demos are boring![b]
Live demos are great to showcase gameplay, but they need a commentary! To many live demos were utter silence while someone played the game. Im not watching e3 to watch LPs of new shooters, I want to know why I should buy your shooter. Have someone talk about what they are seeing, point things out that distinguish your game from the hundreds of similar games coming out. Do something to make it stand out of the crowd. Or showcase specific parts that sell you game to us, and then tell us why it was special. This should especially be true for the plethora of FPS games coming out. They market is over saturated with them, making it more important to do something special to catch our attention, otherwise they all just sort of become an indistinguishable blob of shades of grey.
Conversely you can end on the opposite spectrum making the demo just as boring, if not more so. This is when you explain every little detail during a demo, which slows down the gameplay and draws out the explanation. This was the shortcoming of the Luigi's Mansion demo during Nintendo's press conference. It was like being taught how to count to 10 in a calculus class.
The one live demo I liked and though the balanced gameplay with commentary nearly perfectly was Rayman Legends. He talked about what you were seeing for the first half, then introduced the last segment and stayed quiet for no more than a minute while showing off something that made their game completely unique, thats how you do a good live demo.
I have no reason to believe anyone will actually read this blog entry, but alas I still want to give my 2 cents on the subject.
Like many I was initially underwhelmed by Nintendo's press conference and this is partly due to my own expectations. Nintendo though has mentioned they were only talking about games coming out in the launch window. Which usually is within 2 months of a new system's launch. Knowing this the more I think that the WII U has a KILLER launch lineup of titles, which Ill cover one at a time (Looking ONLY at titles exclusive to the Wii U).
Pikmin 3: Ill be honest, I have never played any Pikman title and will probably skip this game as well. But a lot of people seem genuinely excited about this game so Ill mention it.
New Super Mario Brothers U: Sure its been done before, but its almost a guarantee that you know if you'll like it or not right now. And regardless of personally choice its going to be a well designed game.
ZombiU: This is easily my most anticipated game at the moment. Every video I see makes me want to play this game more. Hopefully Ubisoft can deliver on there promises with this title. But if they do this could be the killer Wii U app at launch. Which would be amazing as a 3rd party on a Nintendo platform. If that precedence can be set at launch we will see far more core titles for the Wii U than we did for the Wii.
Rayman Legends: Looks really fun and challenging, I just wonder how the Single player experience will work.
Scribblenauts Unlimited: The best part of scribblenauts was always "Look at what I did!" And this simply expands on that and could make the game far more compelling because of that.
P100 (Working title): It baffles me that this was not unveiled in their press conference. Platinum games is a GREAT core developer with a ton of critical acclaim, but sorely lacks commercial successes so far. Most likely due to them almost exclusively creating new IPs (until MGS:R as far as I know)
Lego City: Complete wildcard, could be great, could be terrible. Currently I have no interest but that would change with review scores down the line.
Nintendoland: This is a difficult one. From what Ive seen the minigames do seem more throughout and robust than most minigame collections, but it is still a minigame collection. One issue the Wii never overcame was its label as a "Wii sports" machine. And I think Nintendo wants to avoid that label again. They are still deciding if it should be a pack in or not (as discussed at the round table) and I think they don't want it to become the "Nintendo Land" machine as well as want to keep the cost of the Wii U down as much as possible. My personal prediction is they do not bundle it, but sell this game at a budget price like $29.99 to encourage purchases.
This is honestly a pretty stellar launch lineup of exclusives, far better than the Wii, 360, or PS3. The other problem the Wii had was game droughts, since most games that sold well were exclusive to the Wii and made for it. Almost no one would buy the Wii version of call of duty. Because the Wii is at least on par with the 360 and PS3 if the rumors are to be believed, then its likely many of these cross platform games will be fore the wii u as well.
The final point is the online system. Nintendo has kepts their descriptions of the online system "Miiverse" rather vague, but from what Ive heard this makes me incredibly excited. My friend's Zombie's invading my game of ZombiU? Usernames? Game specific user boards you can only post in if you have the game integrated into the miiverse? Achievements showing up next to my friends picture were they got them? Open web API for accessing it anywhere? These all are very exciting features of the Miiverse, the question though is how will actually online play in an online game be handled. We don't really know yet, but so far it seems like a lot of the Miiverse features actually leapfrog the competition. Let's just hope it delivers on its promises.
So after the presentation my immediate thoughts were that of disappointment, but the more I actually think about what the Wii U has going for it this holiday, the more it excites me to buying one when it launches.
I often see some misleading hyperbole in the titles of many articles here, often at tabloid levels of exaggeration. I completely understand that wanting to grab the attention of someone browsing headlines and instantly pull them in, but I believe a line has been crossed here.
Game developers don't hate PC gamers, Console games, casual games or any other kind of gamer, they hate pirates. Any kind of gamer can be a pirate. PC gets a bad reputation of being worse than the other platforms due to its long history and relative ease to pirate for the end user, so even those pesky casual gamers can pirate games if they know what a torrent it.
I am a PC gamer and proud to be one, Im also a software developer and can understand the hatred of a platform because of security issues. I am sure many developers hate the PC platform due to these security issues, and its leading more towards harsher and harsher DRM, understandably upsetting the base of paying customers, including me.
We shouldn't suffer because of a few fucktards that abuse the system, but regrettably we do suffer. I don't know what the solution is Jim, but giving the finger to all PC gamers and saying "Fuck you, you don't get our games now." is simply not the solution. I love the open nature of the platform, I love the plethora of free user generated content for us PC gamers, and I love having the choice between my control scheme. Console gaming is still at least a generation behind PC in these respects, and due to the closed nature of the companies behind the consoles they may never have the same aforementioned PC gaming aspects.
I don't know what the solution to fixing piracy in general is, but instead of ranting about how much a class of gamers don't deserve games because of a few assholes. Maybe you should hold a round table discussing possible solutions would be a better use of time. Analyze what has worked and what hasn't, but don't just remove the problem by removing the platform, I pay for my games and can't control what those fucking pirates do.
Hell if you're at pax east of another convention, hold an open round table discussing this issue. I will be attending PAX East and would gladly join such a discussion as I am sure many other developers that attend these events would as well.
Hope you read this Jim and understand where I am coming from.