So much has happened this week, let's talk about ALL THE THINGS!
This week I’ve mostly felt like a kid with a bag of candy in one hand and a Mountain Dew in the other. There’s been so much going on it feels impossible to sift through it all and be left with a coherent thought on the other side.
With that in mind, we’re going to play a game I like to call ‘Talk About Many Disparate Subjects Then Try To Link Them Together With A Pretentious Conclusion’. Or TADSTTTLTTWAPC, since I know how much MMORPG players dig those acronyms.
Half Life 3 Confirmed at GDC! The joke that never gets old could finally get its punchline. Using Half Life as a flagship for a new kind of gaming experience would fit Valve’s MO. While my personal experience with VR (specifically Oculus Rift) has been awesome, I’m still skeptical that creating a critical mass with this kind of expensive peripheral is possible. Luckily for all of us, there’s a metric ton of money being bet against me, so fingers crossed it works and we’re all living in the nightmare dystopian future of Ready Player One by 2020. Or, put another way, within the natural lifetime of MMOs currently in development.
PAX East is happening as I write this, which means many of you are having fun without me, playing GW2: HoT and cheering announcements from Blizzard in real time. I’m happy for you, I really am! The tears as I scroll through my twitter feed are tears of joy. What am I doing this weekend? I’m working, thanks for asking.
Green eyed monsters aside, bringing Hearthstone to mobile is fantastic news for everyone who likes games. Such a big, polished title coming to the most democratic of platforms could be the herald of legitimacy for mobile as a platform. Not that mobile really needs the help, but more cross-pollination benefits everyone. As I’ve said many times, I’m in favour of anything that allows more of us to play together more of the time.
It’s a bit of a stretch, but it does make me think of Monster Hunter 4U on the 3DS, the game that anyone who wanted a Dark Souls-style MMO should be playing. Not because DS and MH4U are comparable, I just wonder how long it will be before we see a AAA mobile MMO. I’m talking full-on 3D open world MMORPG in your pocket, everywhere. It’s only a matter of time.
Something else Blizzard did that caught my eye was the introduction of a new character to the Overwatch lineup called Zarya. She’s a lady who’s a bodybuilder, and shaped like one. She’s proved to be a massively popular addition, and I’m personally very pleased that the designers are willing to make bold design decisions with their characters; it’s a step in the right direction. She’s big and tough and wears hot pink nail polish, because that’s an option, just like all these were options. In contrast, there was also a grizzled cowboy (who I don’t remember the name of because who cares?) He even has ‘BAMF’ on his belt buckle, I couldn’t work out if it was some kind of joke, like one of his abilities was crying when no-one was looking.
One can only hope this forces other designers to look at the choices they make and think "my word, how thoroughly dull."
In not-so-positive news, Storybricks announced they’re shutting down and moving on. It’s a real blow to storytelling in games that such a fresh approach never got a fair shot. Hopefully their work can live on in EverQuest Next and others will be compelled to pick up the torch and run with it.
Speaking of EQN, there’s been an update to the Landmark Blueprint for the first time since the layoffs at Daybreak Game Company, and thankfully the long term goals of the game seem to be intact. There’s a bit less detail to the more recent iteration, so it’s difficult to judge how much of a slowdown we can expect – or how much may be lost altogether. As I’ve said before, we’re in the realm of proving negatives, so I choose to look forward to what’s coming and judging it on its merit rather than my expectation.
As I explained last week, I can totally get behind narrowing scope and I think it’s something that could benefit a lot of games that didn’t have to make that choice, but I’m happy and relieved that the core of what Landmark is will remain. It’s an idea that’s so far outside the box full of brown shooters and men-on-a-third-person-quest-for-vengeance-via-unlocking-quick-travel-points (MOATPQFVVUQTP) that the industry usually draws its ideas from, I can’t help but want the best for it and for EQN.
While we may stumble along the way, interesting things continue to happen and progress continues to be made. Making ‘safe’ decisions is how we end up in a rut; it takes a bold and challenging perspective to make meaningful change. Assuming that everything is fine the way it is—or better the way it was—is a pretty good summation of the conservative mindset and, all personal politics aside, it’s a mindset that is utterly poisonous to creative endeavour.
Well, we talked about different subjects and ended with a double dose of pretension, with plenty of acronyms along the way. Hopefully there was enough of a link for all of this to seem worthwhile, and that you’ve enjoyed this TADSTTTLTTWAPC. Maybe we’ll do it again sometime.