Ben's Week In Review: March 31
Depending on how fast we get things set up, this latter week should be the last that features articles only from me at PSXE. More news on Monday. :)
Been thinking about this whole Hayter/MGS thing...
So Hideo Kojima has finally announced Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain and with that unveiling has come several other interesting tidbits. Firstly, it appears that Ground Zeroes is actually a separate title; a prologue, in fact. Secondly, the one and only voice for Snake, David Hayter, won't be reprising his legendary role. Kojima has said it's because they're making a "new type of Metal Gear game." Some fans are downright pissed; they just can't imagine Snake having any other voice. Well, that makes sense; how many years has Hayter played that part? So yeah, I get it. But it got me thinking about the time when there was no voice acting in video games.
You can call it old-fashioned if you like, but I truly believe that in some ways, that was preferable. I see it as preferable for the same reasons that I never want to see a movie based on a book I love. I've already created those characters in my head; their look and their voices are already there. My imagination has them exactly as I desire them. In games, we already got the look (to some extent) but the voice was left up to our imaginations. I honestly never needed to hear what Cloud or Aeris sounded like and to be frank, I'm not sure I ever want to ("Advent Children" was jarring in that way). So there's a small part of me that wishes Snake never had a voice at all...my imagination would've been able to have its way.
...sorry. Just saw "Finding Neverland" again and that always gets me thinking philosophically about imagination. :)
Quality isn't necessarily the issue, Ubisoft
Assassin's Creed is coming back for the fourth consecutive year. Now, although each title has been in development for nearly two years or more, one still has to call this "annualization," do they not? However, developer Ubisoft Montreal doesn't see this as a problem; they say if the quality is there, the frequency of releases is irrelevant. This makes plenty of rational sense, of course. Why not continue to give us more greatness more often? After all, with the minor exception of Revelations (which was still a great game, just not elite like the others), all the AC titles have indeed been worthy of high praise. I don't expect anything less with Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag. Still, that's not really the point. Annualization may not directly impact a product's quality but it certainly hinders innovation.
That's the issue, Ubisoft. Not that the game will be good, but that freshness and original ideas can't be rushed. Originality doesn't operate on a timetable. Unique, bright ideas don't abide by any schedule. And even if they did, that schedule wouldn't operate consistently. We know you can make a great game. What we don't know is how far you can take such a great concept and that's what we want to see in the next generation.
Personal gaming update
I will not finish Halo 4. I was right at the end, and I accidentally fell. But I didn't fall all the way; I got stuck on a little outcropping of sorts. There was nowhere to go (and I didn't have a jetpack) so I'm like, "Whatever, I just saw a checkpoint a little while back." So I step off, die, and...I'm resurrected in that very same spot. Yeah, okay, I'm once again reminded why Xbox 360 games always feel dated in some way to me. I have never - not ever, mind you - completed any one of the 18 games I've finished on that system without encountering some massively annoying issue like this. So you know what? The game doesn't deserve to be finished by me.
And why should I deal with that when I've got awesome stuff like Tomb Raider and Bioshock Infinite? Irrational's newest is a really, really special game, as if you couldn't already tell from my review. Please do buy it if you haven't already; you're totally missing out if you don't.
Lastly, I would like to thank everyone who exhibited interest in becoming a PSXE contributor. I got around 25 messages of interest and I have to say, at least half of them were quite suited for such a role. It wasn't easy trimming that list down but I did, and now we'll have no less than five contributors that will help immensely in boosting the content (especially the original content) of this site. Those five know who they are and they should be introduced to you late Monday night. All five have been readers and active participators in the PSXE community over the years; that's the only hint you get. Or they might give themselves away ahead of time... ;)
3/30/2013 Ben Dutka