: Ben's Week In Review: July 14

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Ben's Week In Review: July 14

The closer we get to the launch of the PlayStation 4, the more excited I become. :)

Is it possible that Japanese devs are intimidated by Western game makers?

There's no doubt that the Gran Theft Auto V gameplay premiere was impressive. I still don't like the idea of multiple protagonists, or switching between characters during missions, but the game is almost certainly going to rule. The level of achievement and overall quality seems obvious, so it makes sense to hear praise from other developers. However, when Hideo Kojima said it actually "depressed" him a little, it got me wondering: After all these years of a declining Japanese video game industry, during which time they've all had to watch the Westerners tearing it up, is it possible that even the best Japanese designers are feeling...outmatched and intimidated?

This isn't just some random dude. This is Hideo Kojima. A renowned perfectionist and visionary who always demands the best from himself and anybody he works with. Those comments he made weren't just respectful, they actually sounded awestruck. They almost sounded as if even the great Kojima is feeling outmatched (as if that's realistic). Remember, too, that he's one of the major devs who stepped up and said that Japanese designers need to...well, step up. I have every confidence that Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain will be something special, and I'm sure Kojima expects it to be, too. But it sounds as if deep down, he thinks he can't compete...and that's shocking to me.

I've got no interest in "photorealism"

I've never been much of a graphics junkie to begin with, although I always appreciate excellent visual achievement in this medium. I believe this hobby is about escape, about letting off some steam, about relaxing and even recuperating after a long day. I've got zero interest in controlling human beings that actually look like human beings; to the point where my brain has difficulty differentiating between reality and fiction. Not only do I consider that to be extremely dangerous, I also think it completely changes the nature of interactive entertainment. I think it becomes something insidious, something that can actually change the way we behave and interact with others. After all, this is "interactive entertainment" and when it starts to mirror reality, we really need to worry.

Therefore, if Tim Sweeney is right, and video games are "absolutely photorealistic" in less than 10 years, I'll be done. I'll spend my time playing old games. I'm sure I'll have plenty, and I'm also sure I can go back and find a great many I missed, but always wanted to play. I think games are getting too close to true authenticity now and I have serious reservations about the future. I've always said I'll be gaming until I die but given the anticipated changes, that may not be true. Well, in terms of new games, anyway; like I said, there will always be "old" games to play.

Personal gaming update

In my zeal to put off finishing the latter part of The Last Of Us, I've finished my run-through of Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, once again remarking at its timeless greatness. I'll probably finish Naughty Dog's awesome title now, and then it's on to...well, I suppose I could go back and finish Hitman: Absolution or God of War: Ascension, but I'm still on the old-school kick. Furthermore, after seeing that SD/HD Final Fantasy X comparison video, I wanna play a FF. It's either going to be FFT or FFVII; I have a tremendous urge to replay FFX but obviously, I want to wait. I don't care enough about sports games anymore, so NCAA Football 14 is out.

I'm not really all that interested in playing anything until GTAV and Killzone: Mercenary on September 17, even though Saints Row IV in August could be mildly amusing. Or, I suppose I could indulge in Hotline Miami again. That game is just soooooo much fun. ;)

7/13/2013 Ben Dutka

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Comments (22 posts)

WorldEndsWithMe
Saturday, July 13, 2013 @ 10:55:26 PM
Reply

What I've noticed about Japanese games is that they really aren't THAT far behind. They just need to add physics to their games, you can't just execute scripted animations anymore, it feels generic. Also they need to stop with the invisible walls and let you be a part of the world. Koji doesn't need to fear GTA, his games are better.

I don't think photorealism will be a problem, even if we reach that point in 10 years it's not like every game will just suddenly lose all art direction and stylization and make everything look like real people in real settings.

More than anything I'm looking forward to Tales of Xillia this summer for some good old fashioned JRPG zen. Currently planning to finish up Remember Me, Crysis 2, and Ni No Kuni. I also bought Borderlands 2 for $13.99, you guys better be right about that one. :P

Also, Sony stole $10 from me because I took their stupid 30 day free Music Unlimited thing and even though it said it would expire it renewed itself, f*ckers.

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Temjin001
Saturday, July 13, 2013 @ 11:20:04 PM

THey do the same thing with PS+ so watch out. They set your service to automatically renew to avoid any inconvenient disruptions in service. What? Inconvenient as in taking 1 min to log onto the PS Store to renew manually? Scratch that. Logging into the PS Store takes 2-3 min these days, it seems. Longer if the store needs to update itself (!)
Anyway, not saying PS+ isn't worth it. Just saying it renews automatically.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Sunday, July 14, 2013 @ 12:11:28 AM

yeah I knew about that one at least but thanks.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Sunday, July 14, 2013 @ 1:22:54 AM

I think one of the most obvious examples of the Japanese lagging this generation is in the acting. I mean...it's almost always mediocre. It's only average even in the best productions, usually. It's one of the most glaring gaps I can think of.

Take The Last Of Us; it's all professionally done, clearly with real actors. I'm not sure why we don't get the same level of performance quality in many Japanese games. The JRPGs are especially atrocious.

Last edited by Ben Dutka PSXE on 7/14/2013 1:23:40 AM

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Jawknee
Sunday, July 14, 2013 @ 3:31:41 AM

Call them. That happened to me and they offered to refund of money.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Sunday, July 14, 2013 @ 11:15:53 AM

Though not a JRPG Catherine did a great job with voices. The voice acting in the Atelier and Hyperdimension series are high quality efforts, people tend to just find them annoying and label them as bad. If that's the case you can put the Japanese voices on and they are good too.

Jawk, which number do I call?

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Jawknee
Sunday, July 14, 2013 @ 12:25:15 PM

(800) 345-7669

It may depend on who you get but just explain to them you were under the impression it would renew and that you didn't want to continue service. It didn't take much asking for the guy to offer a refund when it happened to me. I called because I honestly didn't know what the charge was for.

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Jawknee
Sunday, July 14, 2013 @ 4:38:48 PM

It wouldnt* renew

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Sunday, July 14, 2013 @ 9:43:43 PM

Catherine did have good voices.

But trust me, the vast majority of JRPG performances are terrible. They just are. I know there are cultural differences, and differences in how those types of characters are portrayed, but the acting is still mediocre at best.

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Temjin001
Saturday, July 13, 2013 @ 11:09:57 PM
Reply

Photo realism and gaming I think is all about context. Some games or experiences may benefit, others not so much. I won't create any boundaries in the sand for myself there. Sports games, or games by David Cage, really push and benefit from photo realism. Sonic The Hedgehog and Mario or Street Fighter do not. I also think Grand Theft Auto strives for photo realism in it's art direction as well.

PGU: It's pretty darn awesome that over 6000 of the world's greatest gaming athletes ;) are attending EVO 2013. Fighting games are the ultimate example of 1 vs 1 mad skills and intense competitive play. I'm glad my favorite genre appears to be growing in passion. I look forward to watching finalist rounds. But COME ON 3D Fighters! You need better representation. Don't let 2D play own the scene forever.
I finished Sonic Generations. It was great. The last boss pretty much sucked and the game was a little on the short side but it left me happy. I'm looking to get Sonic Colors now. It's praised by Sonic fans as being one of the franchise's best entries.



Last edited by Temjin001 on 7/13/2013 11:16:59 PM

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Temjin001
Saturday, July 13, 2013 @ 11:23:20 PM

oh yah, been 3D modeling a lot and stuff. I listen to all kinds of music while doing it.
Marty Friedman owns the guitar playing house with Valley of Eternity.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Crrnqc03Gjs

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Tim Speed24
Sunday, July 14, 2013 @ 7:19:57 AM
Reply

I'm not worried about photorealism. If I was I would have stopped watching movies a long time ago.

I believe photorealism will just enhance the immersion and escape-ism, bring it on!

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mick
Sunday, July 14, 2013 @ 8:28:16 AM
Reply

Ben I may have missed where you stated it in an earlier article - why do you not care for the idea of multiple protagonists, or switching between them during missions? At first I thought it was gimmicky...but after hearing a bit more about it, I like the idea that I can put the two that are going to be AI controlled where I want them - in other words, if I want Franklin to cover me from a certain area, and Michael to be somewhere OTHER than where the game positions them prior to an event, I like that option for more control. While I've decided that I'll most likely play mostly as one of the main characters, I also am starting to like the idea of "switching out" every so often just for a change of pace...as in the heli escape, if I get tired of flying, I can switch character and shoot for a while.

Getting long winded here, but could Hideo have just been expressing deep admiration, and somehow that was lost in translation of either context or wording? Didn't see/read where he originally stated his thoughts...

Last edited by mick on 7/14/2013 8:29:25 AM

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CrusaderForever
Sunday, July 14, 2013 @ 9:17:16 AM
Reply

It sounds like Kojima is just showing peer respect. Rockstar is amazing and I am sure all devs feel the same way as Kojima. He just said publicly what everyone else is thinking. I am sure Rockstar looks back at Kojima with similar admiration.

Ben.....give up gaming because it's photo realistic!????? I cannot believe I read that. I am sure not all games will be carbon copies of real life. Also, it's the story and game play that really matters. Marrying everything you love now about game with photo realism and it sounds like Utopia to me. I am all for photo realism. Hopefully it doesn't take 10 years.

PGU: I beat The Last of Us on Friday night at 3am. It was truly an emotional ride. Can't say much except that I truly enjoyed myself and I am hoping for an Uncharted 4 announcement soon. Naughty Dog the gaming drug lords! Need my next fix sooooon! Wow, I have been thinking about The Last of Us and I am just amazed at what they created. Masterpiece is the only word that comes to mind.

I have moved on to Assassin's Creed III. Oh man, this game reminds me of ACIIIL but with more polish and better graphics. I loved ACIIIL and I am really excited to get into ACIII more. Kenway is amazing and I think I heard he is in ACIV Black Flag. I am really stuck in a conundrum now because ACIV may be a D1P for me. I don't know how I am going to afford all these games.

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homura
Sunday, July 14, 2013 @ 9:19:54 AM
Reply

Hideo? a little depressed? Okay I'm a little excited if this will become a source of inspiration/challenge for his new project. I hope something crazy will be born in his mind because of this little depression.

I finally got The Last Of Us just the other day. But just a few minutes in the game my PS3 got the red blinking light. What a killjoy. So now I have to wait for a week until it is repaired. Damn It!

But before that I tried to play Skyrim and in just an hour or two I quit, I'm just not motivated by the early scenes to play it. And the open world just reminds me of RF Online which I used to play in my MMORPG days and it made me feel tired. I guess I'm just tired of open world without a gripping story and just a nonsense of leveling up.

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Beamboom
Sunday, July 14, 2013 @ 11:42:20 AM
Reply

For me, not wanting to play any game with photo realistic graphics is as strange as not wanting to see any movie unless it's animated.

PGU: The Steam Summer Sales is upon us, and I have practically HARVESTED good deals this week. But there's not been much time actually gaming. Summer is short here in Norway, so it's better to save them for darker evenings!

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WorldEndsWithMe
Sunday, July 14, 2013 @ 12:18:30 PM

Animated movies are pretty cool though.

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Tim Speed24
Sunday, July 14, 2013 @ 12:55:19 PM

Congratulations on bountiful harvest....is there any sweeter fruit than digital awesomeness?

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Beamboom
Sunday, July 14, 2013 @ 3:33:41 PM

@World; Seen "Animatrix" - the collection of short animations from the Matrix universe? omg they are great! I love both animated and "real" movies - and I got a strong feeling I will feel the same about games. :)

@Tim; It's sweet indeed! Especially when you don't pay more for the games than one might pay for a mobile app.

I see it's -75% on the Lara Croft reboot, considering getting me that one.
The ultimate edition of New Vegas for a mere five euro is tempting too, or just get the main game for 2.5 euro... Even though I got the PS3 version already.
Or Hitman Absolution for six euro... Or.. Or... Omg, the temptations. They're stacked!


Last edited by Beamboom on 7/14/2013 3:36:21 PM

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WorldEndsWithMe
Sunday, July 14, 2013 @ 7:09:36 PM

yeah I saw animatrix way back, it was pretty badass. I especially liked the one with the kid that jumped off the building (who turned up in the third movie) and the one with the runner who wouldn't sit tight in his wheelchair when he became aware of the matrix.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Sunday, July 14, 2013 @ 9:44:38 PM

Games and movies are completely different, Beamboom. You know that.

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Beamboom
Monday, July 15, 2013 @ 4:05:57 AM

@Ben; Of course, but I really don't see how one would not want any photo realism in one of them - it simply is not understandable for me.
Especially when considering how high you rate LA Noire and Heavy Rain - possibly two of the games who to the greatest extent tries to be just that. One tries to be a thriller movie while the other tries to mimic real life facial expressions. Both reaches as far as they can towards photorealism, within the limitations of the hardware. They'd both greatly benefit from an even higher level of realism.
I mean, you're obviously free to be of any opinion you want, by all means, all I'm saying is that I don't understand that stance.

@World: Ah yes - excellent works indeed.
I also really love that sensual sword fight. It's just so amazingly gorgeously elegant.
They are all perfect examples of how good animated movies can be - I would not have wanted them any other way!

Last edited by Beamboom on 7/15/2013 4:13:45 AM

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