The Friday Inbox is confused as to why New Pokémon Snap got an update but not Animal Crossing, as one reader wonders how litigious Konami is.
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Missing the Call
I’m sure I’m not the only one shocked by what’s coming out about Activision Blizzard at the moment. It takes a lot to surprise me but that photo of the Blizzard guys with the photo of Bill Cosby, like he was their idol, is just… and then that excuse that it was because his jumpers looked like the carpet of a completely different hotel? Or maybe the Blizzard boardroom, except probably not? I’ve heard five-years-olds come up with better excuses than that.
For some reason I imagined Blizzard were fairly forward thinking, especially given how diverse the roster is in Overwatch. But I guess, like anything else in business, every decision made is simply what will make the most money.
Which bring us to Call Of Duty. Could we really be seeing a delay and the first year without a new entry since the franchise hit it big? Between the coronavirus, the success of Warzone, and this PR disaster (which I doubt is finished yet) I think we really could.
EA will be rubbing their hands with glee if it happens because they’ve got Battlefield 2042 primed and ready and it looks good. And for once I’m cheering them on, especially as there’s been no talk about them having much of a toxic environment.
If Call Of Duty is delayed this year because of the fallout from the whole Cosbygate business then there’s a chance that something might actually change. Because clearly money is the only thing these publishers care about. As others have said, Ubisoft is just as bad and if EA aren’t they’ve plenty of other issues. Although I’m willing to bet they’ve had an emergency HR meeting this week, to make sure everything is in order.
It’s not just games companies of course, but there can’t be that many other industries who have such a naturally low number of women working at them, which makes the ones that do natural targets for bullies and worse. I don’t know what you do about it either, because no woman reading about all this is suddenly going to be encouraged to enter the games industry.
It’s no wonder that almost all the women developers I’ve ever seen, in videos and so on, are at indie studios. When you look at how entitled and just plain aggressive many gamers are online, even in ordinary circumstances, it’s no wonder that EA want to abandon the name. I wouldn’t be surprised if gaming starts to have a major recruitment problem in the future, at least for anyone that’s not a sex pest.
Saved by friends
My friends and I were looking forward to The Ascent as we were getting slightly bored of our usual biweekly (virtual) meet-ups.
Your review score did not fill me with any confidence as I returned home this evening to play. After some early fumbling with a locked door, the revelation that we would have to hold ‘B’ for five seconds to dismiss every… single… pop-up… tutorial… and a VERY basic first ½ hour of combat, the game opened up options and as a squad of four it started to come together.
It was mostly mindless blasting but against certain sections and bosses some players would stay back behind cover and we would coordinate our limited abilities in quite creative ways.
As a co-op game it almost helps that we skip past cut scenes and the story doesn’t matter, but the site of the four of us striding into this alien bar looking like a colour coordinated Village People tribute band, mission locations such as The Grinder niteclub and side missions with names like ‘Balls Deep’… what can I say? For a bunch of immature 40-year-olds we haven’t laughed as much in years.
I’m not writing to dispute the score, but to underline your point that company elevates almost anything. Though I would take the Ascent over washing up and tiddlywinks.
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Nothing to see
RE: Twigglypuff. The resolution does differ more than that at times. Doom Eternal has a fairly large resolution difference between the two platforms. The maximum on PlayStation 5 is 2816 x 1584 pixels (1584p is a total of 4,460,544 pixels) Xbox Series X is 3200 x 1800 pixels (1800p is total of 5,760,000 pixels). That’s 1.3 million pixels less approximately, or approximately 25% of total pixels the PlayStation 5 is displaying.
That’s a large amount in terms of percentage of pixels. It’s also a lot more than the reader’s maths the other day suggested. Digital Foundry described it as noticeably more blurry in their analysis.
Now I find the reality is, it’s a little softer to naked eye but only if you’re sat close to a large TV or staring very closely at close up shots will you really notice much difference.
Upscaling techniques have vastly improved, dynamic resolutions are often in play, sharpening filters are used, temporal anti-aliasing helps with jaggies in motion (one of the most obvious signs of low resolution) etc., etc.
Resolution is still important, but not in same way it used to be. There’s just so much more to image quality than resolution now.
GC: If you can’t notice the difference under normal conditions what does it matter?
That SSD is very expensive. I mean at the moment you get 825GB in an out of the box PlayStation 5 but you only get about 600GB to use, so if you buy a 1TB SSD at least 250GB will be saved for PlayStation 2 use, that means for £200 of your hard earned cash your only getting an extra 200GB if your lucky. That’s a total rip-off.
I thought the Xbox SSD was a lot but that’s now looking like a deal of the year. I know it’s brand new tech but that is wrong. I was going to upgrade my SSD straight away. Don’t think I’ll bother, I’ll wait at least a year before I even think about getting one. I was going to get a 2TB SSD but I’ll have to wait and see when prices come down before I get one, that’s if I do.
GC: It’s more expensive because it’s faster. It’s a completely inessential luxury that isn’t even made specifically for the PlayStation 5, so how does that count as a rip-off?
There has been a lot of discussion about the pros and cons of easier difficulty options in FromSoftware games recently, and although all opinions on this are understandable and valid, I have to say that I think the games are perfect as they are.
I’m currently playing through the Demon’s Souls remake, which I think is absolutely spectacular. I had never played it before, since I didn’t own a PlayStation 3, and the atmosphere is incredible. The graphics, art design and sound all create a uniquely terrifying and immersive experience. I have found the difficulty level very high, despite having platinumed all of the Dark Souls games and Bloodborne.
I take the point made earlier in the week, from the reader who wanted a save anywhere option, but even though this would be far more convenient, the nerve shredding experience of playing through the game on the edge of your seat would be lost.
I’m fast approaching 50, with a full time job and a relatively young family, but still wouldn’t change a thing about the games to make them more accessible for me. There is something really special about FromSoftware games, the design is so accomplished and intelligent that altering anything about them would compromise their creative vision, resulting in an experience that would not be anywhere near as unique or satisfying.
We often criticise companies for creating games ‘by committee’ which can result in bland, tedious experiences that try to please everyone while being utterly self-conscious about offending no-one. It’s therefore refreshing to play a game which is so uncompromising!
Roll on Elden Ring next year!
ameisa (PSN ID)
Maybe I misunderstood the purpose but did that reveal of the Halo multiplayer not seem a bit underwhelming to anyone? I thought they were going to make a big show of it but it was basically just minor details that only super fans would care about. It took me a good couple of minutes to even remember what assassinations were.
You can say it doesn’t matter, because it’s on Game Pass, but there seems to me a serious lack of buzz about Halo Infinite. Presumably there’s some kind of story campaign preview blowout played for later in the year, so I hope they put a bit more showmanship into that.
Easy on the Soul
After I’d finished Dark Souls on Switch, my friend helped me unlock an easy mode for another playthrough. Once I’d got to a point where I could summon another player, he appeared in my game and dropped a load of things for me. Boss souls, end game weapons, and equipment, all geared towards a magic build. I could quickly level up my new character and one-hit most enemies and do massive damage to bosses.
I still died though, mainly through over confidence but also because of how slow magic casting is and the tendency of those homing spells to fling all five shots at one low level enemy. I will say that having the game be easier did not make it a lesser experience for me. I don’t particularly feel that the struggle in Dark Souls is intrinsic to appreciating it. It often feels reductive to only focus on its difficulty and ignore everything else that makes it a fantastic game.
I originally played Dark Souls on the Xbox 360, got as far as the Capra Demon and quite understandably gave up in frustration. However, watching the Prepare To Try series on IGN encouraged me to return to the game when the remastered version came out and I beat it, probably because of the advice on the game mechanics and lore Daniel Krupa gave through that series.
If there was an easy mode that didn’t rely on a friend dropping by with a pocket full of boss souls it may remove some of the frustration the series can engender. But I don’t think it’d be hugely detrimental to the fundamental atmosphere of the game. People have completed Dark Souls with a dance mat, with bananas and many without ever levelling up their character. Have they taken away from the experience for other players? If someone else plays it with an easy mode, why would I care? It’d just me one more person who could share Solaire theories or reminisce about Siegmeyer.
Plus, once someone has completed it on easy mode they’re probably more likely to try again on the harder ‘normal’ mode just as I gave the game another chance after watching it being finished on Prepare To Try. FromSoftware may never want to add an easy mode, but I can’t see any reason why any of us should object if they did.
GC: That hasn’t really been the argument; what people have objected to is the idea that From could be compelled to add an easy mode when they don’t want to. Although, suggesting that the struggle isn’t intrinsic to a Soulsborne’s appeal is certainly a first.
Are Konami a very litigious company? Because these Abandoned developers really seem to be asking for trouble. I know it’s made me less likely to buy their game than not though, as they really don’t seem trustworthy. Can’t wait for them to pretend they’re making a Castlevania next.
That New Pokémon Snap update sounds really good. But, like GC said, how come that happen but nothing for Animal Crossing?! Everything in that update sounds far more complicated than to do than almost anything in Animal Crossing so I just don’t get it. Do Nintendo even know the game is one of their biggest sellers ever? Maybe they mixed up the sales numbers or something.
This week’s Hot Topic
The subject for this weekend’s Inbox was suggested by reader Olliephant, who asks what is your least favourite video game genre?
No one likes every type of video game so which ones do you automatically avoid? Was there a particular game that put you off them and how many have you tried, to know you don’t like them? Given modern games often include elements from multiple genres do you ever avoid them too, if they have too much of the genre you don’t like?
What’s the closest you’ve come to enjoying the type of game you don’t like and is there anything simple developers could change in order for you to enjoy it more?
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The small print
New Inbox updates appear every weekday morning, with special Hot Topic Inboxes at the weekend. Readers’ letters are used on merit and may be edited for length and content.
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