Ben's Week In Review: March 9
Only a few more weeks and inFamous: Second Son will be here! Woo-hoo!
Should Sucker Punch try to branch out?
Speaking of Second Son, I think it's very interesting that developer Sucker Punch hasn't decided on their next project.
They make it plain that they still love the inFamous franchise (and rightfully so) but this team obviously has a lot of talent, so maybe they should try something new. And here's the thing: I know people will say Sony will "demand" another inFamous installment because the safe and familiar sells. It's true that publishers often give developers direction - and in some cases, outright demands - concerning new projects. I'm fairly certain Activision tells Infinity Ward, Treyarch and now Sledgehammer that yeah, you're working on a new Call of Duty.
However, we always hear from designers just how committed Sony is to new IPs and fresh ideas. It's the reason why PlayStation exclusives are often cutting-edge; not merely in terms of technical accomplishment, but also in terms of innovation. Quantic Dream raved about Sony's support during the development of Heavy Rain, for example, and Thatgamecompany had similar praise for the creation of flOw, Flower and Journey. Therefore, I think Sony would give Sucker Punch the opportunity to spread their wings.
The question is- do you want them to? Or would you rather see another inFamous?
I'm concerned for the future of "high-end games"
While I questioned Hideo Kojima's sometimes confusing comments concerning Metal Gear Solid V, I wholeheartedly agree with what he said about youngsters losing interest in "high-end games." I see it everywhere. Kids with smartphones and tablets, playing some new bite-size piece of simplified stupidity. Okay, maybe that's a little harsh but let's face up to facts: None of those games challenge you, from a dexterity or mental standpoint, in the way some of those aforementioned "high-end" experiences do. The problem is that in general, mainstream entertainment is getting lighter and faster; i.e., dumber and dumber. I'm not saying games like Angry Birds aren't viable; I'm saying they simply don't offer the same level of immersion or absorption.
Sure, many AAA blockbuster games are pretty darn stupid. But they typically require a huge amount of effort to produce, and if everyone opts to bypass that for the much lighter albeit much cheaper experience, Kojima's right. The industry could be in trouble. Why do I have such little respect for the mobile gaming explosion? Because I don't care what anyone says, there's an "immersion and depth-related ceiling" you will hit when dealing with a tiny screen and touch controls. And you know what? You'll hit that ceiling fast.
Personal gaming update
I really thought I'd be playing Thief right about now, but it just didn't turn out to be all that good. It's not bad but it's well shy of my expectations, that's for sure. And unfortunately, Basement Crawl was a joke. That being said, I do appreciate Bloober Team popping into the comments to say they acknowledge all the serious issues, and they're working to fix them. That's what I like to see from a developer: Roll with the punches, accept that you made mistakes, continue to believe in your original vision...just fix it. Here's hoping they can, because we really could use a decent Bomberman spin-off.
Other than that, I'm just lying in wait for inFamous: Second Son and the epic grandness that will be Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster. Oh man, can't wait!
3/8/2014 Ben Dutka