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Black Designer Really Despises "Boring" Cover Mechanic

We've heard that ex-Black designer Stuart Black is now working with Codemasters on a secret game, rumored to be the spiritual successor to the PS2's solid FPS.

Well, they're still all "mum's the word" on details, but Black himself has given us a hint of what we might be able to expect from this new project. It has to do with shooters that feature a cover mechanic, which many - third-person and first-person - have embraced this generation. According to Kotaku citing an interview in the latest Official Xbox Live Magazine, Black spoke out against this idea, saying it's just too damn "boring:"

"There's a lot of cover-based shooters out at the moment But when a guy hunkers down behind something, you've just got to sit there and wait for him to pop his head up. Pops up, couple of bullets to his head, pops back down again ... and I'm waiting for him to pop back up again? F***ing boring. I can't be bothered hanging around like that."

Okay, so I guess we won't be seeing anything that strives for realism...a dude with a gun who doesn't ever take cover in a real firefight doesn't last very long. But at the same time, it's a nod to standard shooters of the past, like Unreal Tournament, where only speed, aiming ability, and reflexes mattered. Perhaps that's the central theme of this new project of Black's, but we'll have to wait and see what Codemasters releases in the way of info. What do you think about the cover mechanic in shooters? Yea or nay?

2/25/2010 10:49:34 AM Ben Dutka

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Comments (72 posts)

sonic1899
Thursday, February 25, 2010 @ 11:01:35 AM
Reply

I admit that shooters aren't my thing, but there's strategy involved in taking cover opposed to mindless spraying each other with bullets in the wide open.

Last edited by sonic1899 on 2/25/2010 11:01:52 AM

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Mr Bitey
Thursday, February 25, 2010 @ 11:01:45 AM
Reply

Cover mechanic is fun, but it seems like a lot of games have been using it nowadays.

What would be revolutionary is a FPS game that has a campaign that lasts more than 4 hours.

I loved Black, but if they go 4 hour campaign and online death match, I'll be passing.

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Highlander
Thursday, February 25, 2010 @ 2:22:04 PM

How about a shooter with RPG mechanics for skills and weapons capabilities? You could have a tactical overlay for each battle and decide ahead of time where to place your folks, then let loose.

Wait, that sounds almost Valkyria Chronicles like, only in complete real time, not turn based.

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Axe99
Thursday, February 25, 2010 @ 3:16:17 PM

Hey Highlander, MAG's not far off that - there's RPG elements for skills and weapons, although the spawn positions are the same. And there's a tactical overlay. And it's really, really good fun if you're into that kind of thing (team-based, objective shooters) :).

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Dancemachine55
Thursday, February 25, 2010 @ 11:09:09 PM

It's called Borderlands.

And I highly recommend it for shooting and RPG enthusiasts. Great game!!!

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Fane1024
Monday, March 01, 2010 @ 4:31:10 PM

Brothers In Arms.

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coverton341
Thursday, February 25, 2010 @ 11:02:26 AM
Reply

Another shooter? There have been some great ones and Black was damn good but come on. Aren't we a little flooded now? I know I'm personally a little burnt out on them.

Well, here's to hoping whatever it is it's at least good for whatever genre it happens to fall in.

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Shatterday
Thursday, February 25, 2010 @ 1:54:18 PM

No kidding... mix it up a bit.

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chedison
Thursday, February 25, 2010 @ 10:10:32 PM

I can see why everyone is burned out by them. Fortunately for me, I haven't really been buying games until last year so I'm still enjoying them.

Looks like I will still be hoping for something decent to come around...

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Dancemachine55
Thursday, February 25, 2010 @ 11:16:39 PM

This is why I love games like Shadow of the Colossus, or Heavy Rain, or Rock Band.

Because they are fun to play, you feel involved when playing.

I'm personally sick of FPS's. Killzone 2 and Borderlands are the exception, but Halo and CoD really need to give it a rest.

Does anyone else here think that FPS's inspire trash-talk online? Or unfriendly competition? I find games like Borderlands or Splinter Cell where you have to work together are far more fun to play with others. Deathmatch is just plain boring now, especially CoD deathmatches where you die every 5 seconds and all games are based on getting lucky if you spot someone before they spot you. No competition, just screen-cheating or luck. I hate games like that!!!

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IonHawk
Sunday, February 28, 2010 @ 11:43:33 PM

Oh yes, co-op is definitely more fun than Deathmatch. I would never have played Borderlands if not for being able to play coop split-screen (and online) with my friend. We ran through the entire campaign on co-op and it was the most fun I had gaming last year (apart from Uncharted 2 of course) :)
Even the only time I play Halo is when I get with my buddies and play some Firefight.

Last edited by IonHawk on 2/28/2010 11:45:00 PM

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BeezleDrop
Thursday, February 25, 2010 @ 11:27:34 AM
Reply

Mindless Western gamers generally cannot get enough of FPS.(Not all Western Gamers are Mindless, but quite a few are) I will admit I do enjoy a solid one, like KZ2. Now, as for Mr. Blacks comment, usually cover is necessary, it doesn't make a Shooter just some run-and-gun fest which can take away from strategy and realism from the experience. Snipers in this new FPS should be able to pick you off with more ease then ever.

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Jawknee
Thursday, February 25, 2010 @ 12:40:59 PM

I think mean "Mindless Western Xboxers."

You know they have the Xbox and its market share in mind when developing shooters.

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johnld
Thursday, February 25, 2010 @ 4:28:43 PM

@jawknee
i agree, they're playing halo right now. hahaha.
as for cover, i dont see any big deal by making it part of the FPS mechanics. because when i play with or without cover mechanics, i try to run behind walls so that bullets dont hit me. Those who just run out and gun are just another addition to my killcount. Even in MW2 people use cover although its not a one button cover. what bugs me is the campers that arent even close to the objective. I want them to implement a feature where if you camp for too long, you blow up.

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Jawknee
Thursday, February 25, 2010 @ 4:31:53 PM

Yea cover in first person shooters don't really need a cover button i think. i use cover constantly in Bioshock 2. I use cover in Killzone 2 as well but not the cover button.

For 3rd person shooters like Uncharted and Gears, i think its more suitable to have a cover button.

Last edited by Jawknee on 2/25/2010 4:38:58 PM

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Superman915
Thursday, February 25, 2010 @ 11:28:24 AM
Reply

the only reason i take his opinion somewhat seriously is because he made Black, the first FPS I could ever enjoy.

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Gabriel013
Thursday, February 25, 2010 @ 11:43:44 AM
Reply

Cover is the only way to go. Run and gun is just no fun for me.

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Blaiyan
Thursday, February 25, 2010 @ 12:07:14 PM
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If people do this is TDM online then yeah it's extremely boring and borders on camping.

I must be the only person who didn't like Black.

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Mysterio Spyder
Friday, February 26, 2010 @ 10:43:43 AM

no you're not, I never finished Black because it was BORING (funny the guy who made Black says cover is boring yet he made a boring game) and I don't know anybody who liked it either. Then again it's an arcade shooter like COD so basically you just run around spraying bullets with little to no strategy involved, THAT'S BORING

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Alienange
Thursday, February 25, 2010 @ 12:10:08 PM
Reply

Unreal Tournament? More like Modern Warfare. Obviously Mr Black knows exactly what fun is all about. It's not that taking cover is boring, it's the cover mechanic that he feels is dull and overused. He's probably right, but I thought it was fun as all hell in Quantum of Solace.

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NiteKrawler
Thursday, February 25, 2010 @ 5:31:32 PM

The cover mechanic is dull and overused? The genre is dull and overused.

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Karosso
Thursday, February 25, 2010 @ 12:35:40 PM
Reply

Did he just dissed on KZ2, Gears and Uncharted?
He better bring something new and exciting to the table with his new project.

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convergecrew
Thursday, February 25, 2010 @ 2:32:11 PM

I think its just a case of another crappy developer trying to talk big to get some attention for himself (like the AvP guy). This game will most likely be crap.

Let your game do the talking instead.

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ace_boon_coon
Thursday, February 25, 2010 @ 3:32:31 PM

this is just an excuse to be a lazy dev. ugh

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WorldEndsWithMe
Thursday, February 25, 2010 @ 12:38:38 PM
Reply

He does make a good point, but the way I see it is versus a poor AI opponent like in MW2 where that is exactly what happens, they pop their up then hide, pop it up, then hide. And yeah what else can you do but pop up and try to put a bullet in their froggish head.

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archs13
Thursday, February 25, 2010 @ 12:43:58 PM
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i guess he's making a new matrix game...

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Jawknee
Thursday, February 25, 2010 @ 12:45:18 PM
Reply

The only cover shooter i enjoyed was Uncharted. Don't even use the cover system in Killzone 2 and i couldn't stand Gears of Bore.

I see what hes saying but didn't the shooter Code Masters just release(Operation Flashpoint) flop? Did this guy have anything to do with that shooter? I wonder if this new title is a way to try and redeem themselves for releasing a terrible game last year.

Last edited by Jawknee on 2/25/2010 12:45:41 PM

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ace_boon_coon
Thursday, February 25, 2010 @ 3:34:04 PM

gears of war is a good game it's not better than uncharted or killzone 2 but it's still a good game none the less

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johnld
Thursday, February 25, 2010 @ 4:32:20 PM

i dont think you can even use cover in killzone 2 online so i completely forgot about it. but without cover, killzone 2 elite is just crazy. I did the no cover button thing on my last play through couple that with killzone 2 AI then its just a great experience altogether.

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Jawknee
Thursday, February 25, 2010 @ 4:35:33 PM

Gear is ridiculously over rated. The graphics and character designs are ugly, has frame rate, texture load in and screen tearing problems galore. It was all the rage when i bought my 360. played it once, sold it. never even picked up two. borrowed it from a friend gave up playing it. The game is just poorly made.

IMO its not a great game. its okay. Doesn't deserve the praise it gets from most journalists. Bioshock 2 is a better game then Gears. How is it that 2K better uses Unreal then Epic?

@Johnld

i never played through Killzone 2 on Elite. And your correct. The cover system is non existent in Multiplayer. Weird.

Last edited by Jawknee on 2/25/2010 4:43:42 PM

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ace_boon_coon
Thursday, February 25, 2010 @ 4:56:43 PM

@ jawknee


gear is probably so overrated cause the 360 doesn't have that many exclusive games. all they have are the usual suspects. GeOW, Halo, and Fable.

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Jawknee
Thursday, February 25, 2010 @ 5:11:18 PM

I would agree but i would also submit that most of the Xbots i know, insist it looks better then Uncharted 2. ha!

I don't hate the game. i just don't think its all that.

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ace_boon_coon
Thursday, February 25, 2010 @ 5:30:53 PM

better than uncharted 2? that's very laughable. well i know xbots can be very irrational i work with one so you already know.

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Hezzron
Thursday, February 25, 2010 @ 12:52:48 PM
Reply

I understand where he's coming from. Cover mechanics have a tendency to halt the game and turn it into a glorified Duck Hunt, stationary-like, shooting gallery that in many cases lasts too long. Some games over use the technique and it just comes across as padding and filler.

We'll see what he comes up with.

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Highlander
Thursday, February 25, 2010 @ 2:20:02 PM

Oh nos, he's taken cover behind that building.

Quick break out the grenades and RPGs, let's see if we can't nudge him into the open...

Solution found.

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CH1N00K
Thursday, February 25, 2010 @ 3:15:17 PM

The only problem with that is the online community... The "Elite" gamers of the online have a general consensus that RPG's are for people who don't know which way to point a gun.

Which after a few hours online, I have to kind of agree. Rocket launcher and Grenade launchers are great against tanks and buildings, but when they are used in close combat, nobody wins.

If they made games where you could only use the Rocket launcher if you could lock onto a target (Say a barred door, tank, or sniper building) then I'm all for it, but when you good some idiot running and gunning with an RPG? It gets frustrating.

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Highlander
Thursday, February 25, 2010 @ 3:44:16 PM

Well, what about some flashbangs or ordinary fragmentation grenades?

I read your first sentence and my first response was RPG - Rocket Propelled Grenade... As in I mis read your first sentence as a reference to role playing games...LOL!

Remember in the first Quake when you could lob a grenade and bank it off a wall to get the grenade around a corner? So much for cover then...

Last edited by Highlander on 2/25/2010 3:47:32 PM

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johnld
Thursday, February 25, 2010 @ 4:35:05 PM

@highlander
that or go the battlefield bad company 2 way, what cover?? also i always throw my grenades to bounce off walls. thats how you're supposed to do it instead of throwing them randomly in a general direction.

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Naztycuts
Thursday, February 25, 2010 @ 1:49:13 PM
Reply

I've disliked the games Codemasters has published so far, heres hoping Stuart Black can put out a Codemasters game I actually consider buying.

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coverton341
Thursday, February 25, 2010 @ 1:58:36 PM

Didn't Codemasters do Overlord? That was a decent game as was the sequel.

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Shatterday
Thursday, February 25, 2010 @ 1:55:55 PM
Reply

Taking cover is completely unrealistic.

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coverton341
Thursday, February 25, 2010 @ 1:59:21 PM

Well obviously. I mean in a firefight I would never do anything as dumb as hide behind something in hopes that the bullets would not hit me.

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Mysterio Spyder
Friday, February 26, 2010 @ 11:13:37 AM

"Well obviously. I mean in a firefight I would never do anything as dumb as hide behind something in hopes that the bullets would not hit me."

lol oh god that made me laugh. I know if I was in a real fire fight I wouldn't be going the way of Black and just run around.

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nogoat23
Thursday, February 25, 2010 @ 2:13:04 PM
Reply

I like the Ratchet and Clank style. Slow motion bullets that can be dodged, but there are so many of them that you can still get hit.

It took me a while to get used to Uncharted after playing Ratchet. I'd try to run and gun, but it turned into run and die.

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Highlander
Thursday, February 25, 2010 @ 2:18:25 PM

Oddly enough in Uncharted 2, sitting tight behind cover is ultimately useless too, you have to learn to be aggressive and not so much charge into the bullets but you need to take advantage of breaks in the pattern of fire.

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Highlander
Thursday, February 25, 2010 @ 2:17:02 PM
Reply

Um, hello? Grenades? RPGs? So what if victim 12,872 ducks behind a large crate blocking fire, lob a grenade over and await the mayhem. Or fire hot lead at that canister of gasoline behind the crate the fool is hiding behind. Instant enemy crispies.

This seems a very short sighted view. Cover provides an additional element that requires additional strategy when playing. If all I wanted to do was stand toe to toe with an opponent, wouldn't I be better off with a brawler or other fighting game?

Sorry, I don't see a problem with the cover mechanic in shooters (1st or 3rd person) and would miss it if it were gone.

If they really don't like cover have weapons that neutralize it. What if the first shot ruins the 'cover' object and the second one finds it's target? Boom.

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___________
Friday, February 26, 2010 @ 12:39:56 AM

yea grenades are great but there not exactly infinite are they?
you need some way to force players to leave cover and venture out, to spice up the gameplay a little.
same with the AI, as he says popping and shooting is not exactly fun.

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Highlander
Friday, February 26, 2010 @ 3:07:23 AM

Then have better level design so a player has a chance of flanking an enemy.

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Milonakis
Thursday, February 25, 2010 @ 2:36:29 PM
Reply

I don't like cover either. Timesplitters is one of my all time favorite games and it's just a shoot em up no cover game.

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NonProphet
Thursday, February 25, 2010 @ 2:55:07 PM
Reply

This is pretty vague, its hard to even say that there will definitely be no cover system whatsoever, he just said he "cant be bothered waiting around". Maybe there will be an effective solution to kill guys behind crates and stuff, like projectile mines or accurate grenade launchers.

There are a lot of shooters out now, but Black was quality so if they can evolve the original idea maybe it will be worth a purchase.

Last edited by NonProphet on 2/25/2010 2:59:56 PM

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SolidFantasy
Thursday, February 25, 2010 @ 3:38:25 PM
Reply

i vote for both! covering should be an option, but you should also be able to take a different route and sneak up behind the enemy. Use strategy if you so choose or run a gun or duct and cover. The best game has should never repeat one gameplay mechanic over and over. It's good for replay value.

Last edited by SolidFantasy on 2/25/2010 3:40:22 PM

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maxpontiac
Thursday, February 25, 2010 @ 3:49:39 PM
Reply

I really do not like seeing a developer calling unnecessary attention to themselves.

Let your product do the talking.

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___________
Friday, February 26, 2010 @ 12:37:56 AM

neither do i, but it seems the trend these days.
lets whip them out and see whose is longer, and ill make up a BS excuse as to why................
thats PR for ya!

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Lairfan
Thursday, February 25, 2010 @ 4:29:17 PM
Reply

So what this guy's saying is that games like Uncharted 2 and Gears of War 2 are some of the most boring games ever?

He'd better have a good game to back up that statement, otherwise he's going to look like an idiot.

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___________
Friday, February 26, 2010 @ 12:36:34 AM

no hes not.
if you cover camp in either game you will last roughly 20 seconds.
especially in gears 2 because you have tickers and those massive bastards with swinging grenades hunting you.
or in uncharted 2 you have the shotgun or pistole guys.
and he does have a game to back that up, its called BLACK and its the best shooter to ever grace a console!

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Alienange
Thursday, February 25, 2010 @ 4:34:00 PM
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I think the FMJ in MW2 is friggin kick ass. You can hide sucka, but I got you anyway!

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animalmother
Sunday, February 28, 2010 @ 8:20:47 AM

It depends where you have me as some walls will stop a number of type of rounds. But yes, my Famas specifically with FMJ will do the same, although i believe in camping.

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johnld
Thursday, February 25, 2010 @ 4:39:24 PM
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why does an image of a bunch heavily armored slow moving soldiers would be how team deathmatch in his game. no cover, just keep chipping away on his armor until he dies. that should be fun.

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hellish_devil
Thursday, February 25, 2010 @ 5:35:23 PM
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Killzone online didn't have a cover option, and it still was fun

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nogoat23
Thursday, February 25, 2010 @ 6:31:42 PM
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All this talk about using the cover mechanic in video games makes me want to go play whack-a-mole for some reason...

(No that's not a euphemism.)

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___________
Friday, February 26, 2010 @ 12:33:55 AM
Reply

"There's a lot of cover-based shooters out at the moment But when a guy hunkers down behind something, you've just got to sit there and wait for him to pop his head up. Pops up, couple of bullets to his head, pops back down again ... and I'm waiting for him to pop back up again? F***ing boring. I can't be bothered hanging around like that."

THANK YOU FINALLY SOME ONE WITH HALF A BRAIN!
this is why BLACK is THE best shooter out.
in fact GG need to suck up this guy and anyone who works with him pronto! he would be the perfect producer for killzone 3.
that is what ive been saying the whole freaking time!
thats what makes all shooters today BORING!
pop, shoot, pop, shoot, move forward rinse and repeat.
GOD WE NEED ANOTHER HALF LIFE!
VALVE WHAT IS TAKING SO GOD DAM LONG!!!!!!!!!!
tell gabe his not getting anymore donuts until half life 2 epp 3 is ready for release!

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smileylyon
Friday, February 26, 2010 @ 5:43:35 PM

If Valve does make it, which is unlikely, you won't see it on the PS3! Remember, they think the PS3 is too difficult to program for!

Killing Zombies on the 360 is all Valve is interested in.

Valve now = FAIL

LOL

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___________
Sunday, February 28, 2010 @ 6:33:59 AM

good, i dont want to see it on the ps3.
i want one game exclusive to the PC, just one game to show me why i spent 3K on the stupid thing.
and valve are making half life 2 epp 3, it was announced a few years ago there just taking their sweet time!

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animalmother
Sunday, February 28, 2010 @ 8:22:44 AM

No, he doesn't have a brain. You don't have to wait for "him to pop his head up". If you don't want to wait, you take a wide path around, one where he won't see you really going around and get behind him...then execute him if you can(i prefer a Pistol execution in COD as the Knife is somewhat personal).

Shooters without a cover system? Wow...real exciting game, everybody has more or less the same strategy and just runs around like a goddamn idiot, thinking their juiced up like Dutch. Note the heavy sarcasm. When you lack a cover system, you lack varying abilities to play. Just because a cover system is in place, it really doesn't mean you have to use it.
A perfect example of this is Rainbow6 Vegas, it has a very elaborate cover system and while it is useful even on highstakes, you don't need to use it.

Laslt believe it or not, the classic "pop and shoot" from behind a wall is also using cover and if you don't want to do this, then it seems you're too lazy to use any tactics at all. Thats good for you, but very few of us share the same fantasy minded principles

(This is directed at the nameless user)

Last edited by animalmother on 2/28/2010 8:26:58 AM

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totozero18
Friday, February 26, 2010 @ 6:02:38 AM
Reply

Man talk about grenades, I remember when I found out (by accident) how to cook grenades in CoD United Offensive (pc expansion) took my friends a whole week to find it out.

And the cover system doesn't work for me, I'm not saying that sucks, it's just that I'm always the first goddamn kamikaze that runs right into the middle of the fire fight.

@Ch1nook c'mon firing an rpg 2 feet away and taking somebody down along with yourself is pure fun.

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animalmother
Friday, February 26, 2010 @ 9:06:38 AM
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Ya...this guy watches too much Commando as much as i love that flick. REAL soldiers take cover.

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stemon
Friday, February 26, 2010 @ 9:41:29 AM
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at the guy who said borderlands ... u sir are correct :) no lame cover system in that it just lock n load woop, this is good news indeed .... black was and still is one of my fav FPS games

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smileylyon
Friday, February 26, 2010 @ 5:47:57 PM
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Black was good back in the day. But the bar has been set higher and gamers expect more. A cover system is essential to a shooter wherein your health regenerates when not taking fire. Pull the cover system, and you gotta add health packs. Otherwise you'll see this game plaguing the "used" or "pre-owned" sections of your local game store.

I don't care either way, just as long as everything works together.

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Id00urmomma
Sunday, February 28, 2010 @ 11:05:06 AM
Reply

I hate programmers that only make a game for themselves and not for what the people that will play the game want...Not buying Black obviously...I hate FPS that don't have any cover mechanism... Lets just run around and shoot each other over and over...loads of fun... reminds me of Quake or Half-Life. And the only cover mech that I am aware of this gen so far is Uncharted 2, and I think it flows nicely. Sorry Mr.Black, I just think your all sorts of wrong...

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animalmother
Monday, March 01, 2010 @ 9:30:37 AM

Ya...amen to that. I spent 70$ on UT3 for PS3 and while it was a solid game, its lack of any sort of covering or proning and the like just made its gameplay style simplistic like something a 6 year would love to play.

Running around and just blasting everything is soo boring.

I was originally interested in the first black cause of what i had heard but after reading this mans thoughts, i just saved myself 60$ cause i sure as hades want no part in this game. Im a shooter man along with sim racers and an occasional NFS street racer but even with my affinity for shooters, im not interested Mr. Black.

Last edited by animalmother on 3/1/2010 9:32:02 AM

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kraygen
Sunday, February 28, 2010 @ 8:27:12 PM
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Personally i'm usually anti-fps just due to the fact that they're all so ridiculously similar whats the point of having more than one?

However between the "run and spray" method versus the cover system i'd choose the cover.

Mgs4 was awesome because it wasn't just shooting it was sneaking and strategy and felt like a shooter where shooting was optional. I'm all about the options.

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animalmother
Monday, March 01, 2010 @ 9:32:35 AM

God gave us freewill, why would a developer deny us our free will to play how WE want?

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