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new batman game may be on the horizon

A New Batman Game Might Be On the Horizon

Batman GameWe recently celebrated the caped crusader from Gotham City on September 21, 2019, on Batman Day and it turns out our celebrations might not be just for the day. Naturally, WB Games tweeted as well to show their support for Batman day however their tweet was a little more than that. The tweet might have hinted at a new Batman game as most of the fans are also sure that a fourth Batman game is bound to arrive soon.

The short video shared by WB Games on their official Twitter appears to be a simple celebratory video which showed a normal Bat Signal on a building however the video at specific frames showed specific symbols which only appeared as a flash on the screen. If you pause and watch these symbols, they represent the demons and owls. A reference that we can all point towards the Court of Owls and Ra’s Al Ghul easily.

This is not the first time we are seeing these references as well. Back in December 2018, we saw an employee of the studio tweet a picture of herself with a shirt that showed the logo of Court of Owls and the employee saying ‘best DevTeam EVAR’. This time again, its Warner Bros Montreal showing us similar signs in their tweet. You can check out the short video the studio tweeted over the weekend below.

 

Thanks to another Twitter user ChrisHeartnet, he took snaps and shared it right below the official tweet. You can check out the symbols below.

 

For all we know, WB Montreal could be working on the next Batman game and it might be well ahead in development at this point. However, one thing that remains to be seen is when the game comes out with the current generation nearing its end. The best possible release window on the current generation is within Fall 2019 or Spring 2020. Otherwise, the next Batman game is most probably coming out on the next generation of consoles.

To celebrate Batman Day, Epic Games Store is also giving away six Batman Games for free. Make sure you add them to your account while they are still available. This is the best way to celebrate Batman Day this year.

What do you think about the latest tweet by WB Montreal and do you think that we might be getting a new Batman game soon? Let us know in the comments section below.

http://bytesizeimpressions.com/

Byte-Size Rumor: Phantom Pain In February?

Byte-Size Rumor: Phantom Pain In February?

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A couple of months ago, TheGuardian.com mistakenly ‘revealed’ a release date for Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain – March 17th, 2015. In a matter of moments, the date had mysteriously vanished, replaced with a far more vague ‘early 2015′. Couple that with Hideo Kojima promising a release in 2015, and what do you get? Well… nothing. Rumors are just rumors and should be treated as such, ESPECIALLY when Kojima is involved. Believing a release date from that man is like expecting Guns ‘N Roses to hit the stage at their slotted time, despite knowing Axl’s penchant for going on ‘whenever he feels like it’.

That said, I’ve received information from a reliable source- who is currently employed by Sony and has recently spoken with a Konami rep – that could lend some credence to the once dismissed rumor: Not only is Q1 of 2015 possible, but The Phantom Pain could appear on retailer shelves as early as this coming February.

While I’m pleased to report rumors as they come in, I’d like to reiterate that this is the sort of thing that everyone should take with a huge grain of salt. The ‘February’ time frame was more of a ‘slip of the tongue’ by the Konami rep, and shouldn’t be treated as conclusive ‘evidence’ that February is, indeed, the actual target date. My work on this site is about maintaining transparency between consumers and the industry, and it would be a disservice to you, my readers, if I didn’t disclose the ‘less than concrete’ nature of what the rep stated.

If this turns out to be true, it’s going to be a busy month for sure, as February already has Bloodborne and The Order pegged for release.

http://bytesizeimpressions.com/

Nintendon’t Supply… Why?

Nintendon’t Supply… Why?

Nintendon't Supply

When it comes to video game hardware, there probably isn’t a more divisive name in the industry than Nintendo. On one side of the fence, there’s a number of gamers who would say this company has lost touch with reality, likely citing the lack of third party support, as well as their inability to effectively market the Wii-U as a standalone device. Some would go as far to say that they produce little more than kiddie games, and who wants to control a cutesy pink marshmallow when you can hollow cranial cavities in the latest installment of CoD? On the other side of the fence are the fans, of course. They’re happy, proud, and loyal – some to a fault – mainly because they respect the big N for staying true to their vision. These fine folk understand that while the nearly photorealistic graphics on competing machines are impressive, it all amounts to spit if the gameplay isn’t fun. Me? I guess I’m fated to straddle, because I love video games of all sorts. It doesn’t matter where they come from or what form they come in; as long as there’s fun to be had, I’m a happy guy.

But my position atop that fence – where plenty of others reside, by the way – comes with its own set of frustrations. While I’m free from the squabbles of ‘mine is better than yours’, that freedom also allows me to easily see things that are unfair, or flat-out bad for most consumers. , I was disappointed to see Nintendo resort to selling trinkets and DLC. The latter especially, considering Mr. Iwata and Reggie Fil-Aime are both on record stating they didn’t want to take that route.

Unsurprisingly, my opinion wasn’t viewed in the most favorable light. Believe me, this wasn’t a surprise. I expected people to roll their eyes and say, “Oh great, here’s yet another Nintendo hater that just doesn’t get it.” And yet, that couldn’t be further from the truth.

Objectively speaking, yes, I think Nintendo are a terrible company… but I don’t dislike them. I know that probably makes me sound like I’m chasing my own tail here, but overall, I think they’ve done some wonderful things in this generation of gaming.

Over the last year or so, a majority of my time has been spent bouncing back and forth between my PS4 and Xbox One. The games were fun, problematic as they were, but the machines themselves were a constant headache.

My PS4 would only save game clips on occasion, and it’s still missing at least one core feature that was promised months before launch (suspend and resume, which the Xbox One does exquisitely well). The rubber on my DS4 sticks were showing signs of wear after mere months, certain ‘stability updates’ have caused my disc eject button to be unresponsive (it’s since been fixed), and let’s not forget that PSN has been nothing short of a joke.

My Xbox One WANTS to be my ease of access terminal, but… oh, wait. Why isn’t this thing working right? Damn it. I guess I’m going to have to do a hard reset. Just give me a second, alright? Actually, better make it five, because I have to hold the power button down. 1… 2… 3… 4… Ah, there it goes! Alright, time to turn it back on. Pressed the power button, it’s lit, and… aaaaaaand… Guh. This thing takes a while to boot! Once the console is actually fired up, what do I have to look forward to? A user-interface that has trouble handling all that it’s supposed to. One of the only things I actually snap is Twitch, and every time I do it’s a blasted nightmare.

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But oh, my Wii-U. It just works. I’ve never had a problem with the gamepad, the user-interface has never been sluggish, and games run like a dream. And speaking of games, I purchase them with unparalleled peace of mind. When it comes to Nintendo, I KNOW my games are going to work as intended. No day 1 multiplayer struggles, no patches or updates, nothing. Oh, and it’s backwards compatible, too. Regardless of their faults, this company STILL provides the quintessential ‘pop in and play’ experience. It’s sad that I can’t say the same for Sony and Microsoft.

At the end of the day, the most important gauge for enjoyment should ultimately be how much fun we’re having, and in my humble opinion, Nintendo is the undisputed MVP of the industry.

Which is precisely why my love/hate relationship with them is so frustrating.

From a consumer standpoint, I’m constantly rolling my eyes. Take, for example, the Wii-U’s gamepad. It’s a great piece of hardware, but the battery it’s saddled with lasts a paltry three hours. That’s two gaming sessions for me, tops. Fortunately, Nintendo sells a higher capacity battery… but not in stores. You have to get it from them directly, which is fine, but it sold out shortly after release and wasn’t restocked for months. Want to know the real kicker? If you unscrew the gamepad’s rear compartment, a large, empty slot’s been carved out specifically for this battery. All signs point to them shoving a weak battery down our throats, only to shake us down for the better one later… so, why has stock been so sparse?

There’s also a situation with the Amiibos. These bits of DLC posing as figurines only saw the light of day two months ago, yet diehards are practically drooling over the fourth wave and beyond. In the meantime, average consumers have been discouraged from getting involved with the collection whatsoever. March from Fire Emblem, Villager from Animal Crossing, Wii Fit Trainer from Wii Fit, Pit from Kid Icarus, Captain Falcon from F-Zero, Fox McCloud from Star Fox, and Little Mac from Punch-Out!! are rarities now… but why? I mean, if these things are meant to accentuate your experience in various 3DS and Wii-U games, why should ANY of them be collector’s items so soon after launch?

Super Smash Bros. for the Wii-U kicked off on the same day as the Amiibos, and with it, a Gamecube controller adapter. That’s right, if you’ve been used to the Gamecube controls for over a decade, Nintendo has encouraged you to stick with what works. Unfortunately, a short while after launch, the $20 adapter was nowhere to be found. Well, you COULD get it through Gamestop’s website, but they required you purchase no less than FOUR Gamecube controllers with it (for a grand total of $140). Fortunately, a third party has stepped up with their own adapter.

The Legend of Zelda has also been a pawn in the game of ‘too bad, so sad’. On January 6th, without any prior notification, pre-orders for the Limited Edition of Majora’s Mask 3D – which includes a Skull Kid figurine – went live at about 8AM EST… and sold out in a matter of hours. Yes, HOURS. There wasn’t even a release date yet, and the Limited Edition was GONE. That means a good number of people on the West Coast were still nestled in their beds when this went down. They didn’t even have a CHANCE to pre-order before the well went dry.

Additional stock appeared in drips and drabs after the fact, but they’d disappear in a matter of minutes.

and its gone

On January 14th, the same thing happened with the Majora’s Mask themed New 3DS XL. It was announced during a Nintendo Direct, which began at 9AM EST, and had sold out less than an hour later. Best Buy had some on their website in the evening, but all were spoken for within half an hour.

And that New 3DS is a source of controversy in-and-of itself. People were genuinely excited to get their hands on Nintendo’s latest handheld, especially the smaller model, as it features swappable faceplates. So, naturally, Nintendo confirmed only the LARGER handheld would be available in North America. They still haven’t reversed their policy on region locked hardware, so importing isn’t much of an option.

Understandably, North American consumers are upset. Some didn’t like the original 3DS XL because extended periods of use would cramp their hands. Some argue the XL wasn’t as portable, which defeats the purpose of a handheld. Regardless, the real kick in the teeth comes from the fact that every other region WILL have both versions of the New 3DS, while for some reason, North America is to be left in the cold. I’m not affected by this personally, as I prefer the XL for my massive gorilla hands, but that doesn’t make it any less a slap in the face to Nintendo’s fans.

That aside, I think the biggest problem – one the rest of the world has been familiar with for some time – is that the New 3DS doesn’t come with a charger.

No need to do a double take. You read that right: No. Charger. Their reason? It costs them money. How much? Less than two bucks.

How have they been allowed to get away with this? That’d be like Microsoft selling the Xbox One without a power brick.

I guess the answer is, unfortunately, consumer complacency. That’s why I said some Nintendo fans are loyal to a fault: It’s because no matter what this company does, all is forgiven. Wii-U gamepad has a shit battery? “It’s no big deal. Charge while you play!” Amiibos hard to find? “I pre-ordered mine. If people wanted them bad enough, that’s what THEY should have done!” Gamecube adapter missing-in-action? “The hottest game of the Wii-U JUST launched, and it’s the holidays!” Limited editions sell out in a matter of hours? “Well, it’s not limited if EVERYONE gets it!” Nintendo stops providing charges? “Doesn’t everyone have one of these by now? If you don’t, they’re only $10!”

It boggles the mind.

I mean, what’s the first thing a company like Nintendo should do? Get their products in consumers’ hands, right? Right. They’ve clearly dropped the ball in this respect, and HARD… but people are so consumed with ‘want, want, want’, they’ve not stopped to ask, “Why?”

Some have accused Nintendo of intentionally limiting stock to increase demand, and I agree. When people are forced to scramble to get this, that, or the other thing, a panic induced awareness will spread like wildfire. It’s an effective way to sell product, sure, but it also neglects the core Nintendo fan. Now, people who wouldn’t have paid the Amiibos any mind are snagging them left and right, hoping to turn a profit. That means escaping your 9-to-5 in search of that rare item is probably going to be a fruitless endeavor.

I’ll go as far as to say Nintendo couldn’t care less. Don’t get me wrong, though. I don’t think they’re playing the ‘evil corporation is evil’ card. This company has hemorrhaged money for a long, long time. As a result, I think they’re simultaneously pinching their pennies AND capitalizing on the collector’s mentality.

While a higher concentration of product would benefit consumers, it would probably hurt Nintendo. The ultimate goal for ANY business is to sell their merchandise, and sell it quick. If the amount of product exceeds demand, the excess won’t sell. If the excess doesn’t sell, then it’s a waste of money for the company that produced it. After having ‘fell on the sword’ this time last year, I can see why the minimalistic approach is so attractive to them.

Still, there’s such thing as playing it TOO safe. When it comes to business, you have to consider a certain amount of calculated risk, but Nintendo want nothing to do with that.

Simply put, they’re no longer above nickel-and-diming us.

Think about it. Where are the ‘best’ consumers in the world? North America. Is it a coincidence that this is the only region that HAS to buy the larger, more expensive model? Probably not. As far as the ‘we’re not including a charger’ move… Nintendo owns the handheld market, and they know it. This has given them the confidence to say, “If you need one, you can fork over an extra ten bucks. But, don’t forget to play our new freemium Pokemon game after you do! That’s right, we’re in the microtransaction game now! Give us your money!”

Despite not willing to make calculated financial risks, I hope they understand they’re testing a far more dangerous one: The loyalty of their fans. Again, Nintendo were respected for sticking to their guns, and not conforming to the bullshit we’ve come to expect from Microsoft and Sony. Unfortunately, that dividing line is getting blurrier by the week, and the longer their fans feel neglected, the easier it’ll be for them to walk away.

Gaming shouldn’t feel like joining a club. It should be all inclusive, and NOT a designation for the scalpers who couldn’t care less.

The Assassin’s Creed Flu

The Assassin’s Creed Flu

 

Have you ever had the flu?  You feel awful.  Your head pounds, your muscles ache, and all you want to do is sleep.  Everything you try to do is harder, and you’ll never be able to fully perform at anything when the malaise sets in.

Video game development cycles have become a source for the proverbial ‘flu’ I’m referring to.  I feel like the games themselves are good at their core and obviously had a lot of care put into them, but suffer from a much larger problem:

A flu that has made games feel broken and unplayable in the same way symptoms of the flu make you feel like you’re dying.

Assassin’s Creed: Unity was a game that suffered from the flu.  A game that, no matter how hard it tried, could not overcome the illness it had succumbed to. It just couldn’t perform anywhere near to the best of its ability.  It was slow, sluggish, and glitchy, and each of those symptoms have mostly been, over time, cured. Patch by patch; dose by dose.

It was one of my game of the year contenders last year, and while some people would call that crazy due to the issues, I would argue that I am being asked to disregard a game due to its illness.  I fully admit that the issues with the game overall, like micro transactions and app integration, are detriments to the overall package, but the game itself – that is, how it plays as an Assassin’s Creed game – is one of the best in the series to date.  The city is gorgeous, the crowds are immense, the story finally places more emphasis on the Assassin’s Order, and the assassination missions are a refreshing callback to when the series focused more on the assassin and less about the assassination.

The disconnect when talking about this comes down to where people put the blame, or where that flu comes from.  We’re so caught up in the symptoms that we’re not focusing on the bigger problems of companies putting unrealistic expectations on development time frames.

We, as a community, have the power to influence how the industry we love operates.  If we don’t influence the sources of these issues, then  they will  persist.  We have all heard crunch time horror stories where developers have  dealt with horrific hours in order to meet deadlines, so we have to be aware that the developers are dealing with terrible conditions as well.  Demanding they work harder to hit goals is not the solution.  That’s what is essentially being said, when you take into account precision of language with these companies.  They hear that the goals to hit need to be more stringent, not that the developers need to be able to finish the game.

The obvious retort is that the game should have been delayed.  The problem with this lies with marketing.  You can’t realistically market a title while simultaneously being willing to push the release date when issues arise.

If a game from a AAA publisher is being announced, it means that they have already determined when to start marketing the game, as well as planning on the purchasing habits of consumers for the time frame listed.  They will then get in touch with retailers so they can start setting up their materials for that date, who will then usually start advertising and even taking pre-orders.  This all involves a lot of money for a lot of different parties, and when one needs to change the agreement due to something like a delay, the other parties must be compensated.

Furthermore, they have also already factored an estimate of returns into yearly finance reports.  They have to give projections to the people invested, and losing out on that projected money hurts the company.  They’re in it to please the stockholders and grow the product, and having to sacrifice money in order to make the game a better, actual finished product at launch is not something that reflects positively on paper, regardless as to how much it matters to hardcore fans.

People were going to buy Assassin’s Creed: Unity regardless of problems, because it’s a behemoth of a franchise.  Especially with an annual franchise, companies are more concerned with  hitting that release date for the droves that will buy it regardless, so that they can at least make part of their projected return… and therein lies the problem.

We can’t just demand that they delay games, because it doesn’t make sense to do so at the higher levels.  It’s hard to comprehend that a broken game makes fiscal sense, but according to a company like Ubisoft, that’s something for the PR team to figure out.

We’re in a situation where the underlying problems – actual development time vs. what it takes to structure a game – are affecting developers and customers alike, but our cries to fix it are ignoring the bottom line for the companies actually putting up money to get these games made.

Basically, we’re crying out to fix the symptom when we should be looking to deal with the illness.  While we have a right to be pissed, we also have the power to influence change, and should use that anger to fuel a look into how games are developed and what the developers need to make sure this doesn’t happen again.  Because believe me, they knew there were problems, and the people actually making the games would never have wanted them shipped that way.

The good news is that we do have power to influence change in the industry.  We were able to turn the tides on Microsoft’s original plans and even convinced them to launch a website for user feedback for new features.  We’ve gotten EA to update their return policy on Origin due to the state of games on launch, and it stands as the best company for digital returns.

We were able to do this because our rallying cries do not fall on deaf ears.  When a company can fix a PR problem while simultaneously hitting their projected goals and plans, then they will gladly look into it.  We just haven’t been able to come together to focus on the root cause of the flu-like symptoms we’ve been seeing, because we’ve been focusing so much on the symptoms being taken care of.  We need to let these companies know that fixing problems is what we expect now, but more communication during the development process, and more realistic development times are what we expect in the future.  We need transparency from publishers on actual progress, instead of just bullshots and buzzwords.

We need to let them know that we’re refusing to pre-order because their actions result in broken games, and not the broken games themselves.  It’s unfair to blame the effects of the flu on the game that’s sick when it’s capable of being a great product when healthy.

Why Do You Play Video Games? A PBS Game Show Response

Why Do You Play Video Games? A PBS Game Show Response

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Why do you play video games?

That question seems a bit absurd, I know, but I ask because every once in a while, I find myself in the thick of a quantity vs. quality debate. It’s an important conversation to have, for sure, as countless games have been padded to manipulate our perception of value. However, these discussions often take such a disheartening turn, that I can’t help but feel like I’ve wandered into an alternate dimension, one that could only befit an episode of The Twilight Zone. Expectations of gaming are going to vary from person to person, sure, but there are certain arguments I’ll just never be able to wrap my head around. Jamin Warren, host of the PBS Game Show, is my latest source of bewilderment, because he’s making the case that video games are too long.

I was intrigued to see if Mr. Warren could produce a reasonable argument in his video segment, but it took less than a minute before my eyes had rolled to the back of my skull.

To showcase the extreme amount of time we, as gamers, have to invest if we’re to play through today’s hottest games, he begins by pointing a finger at Forza Horizon 2, which takes about 10 to 15 hours to complete. Personally, I wouldn’t classify that as a long game, but to each their own.

Next, he brings up the considerably longer Grand Theft Auto V remaster, which boasts at least 30-35 hours of gameplay. Acknowledging he’s already played through the last-gen iteration, he’s still willing to tackle the lengthy heist drama once more.

Now, this is where my head begins to spin. Not because he’s willing to invest up to 70 hours on a single title, but because he’s already invalidated his opening argument. A 15 hour game is, apparently, too much to handle… yet he’s justifying a 35 hour game – twice, no less – merely because he likes it.

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Of course, in the same breath, he has to go that extra sensationalist mile with Dragon Age: Inquisition, as he says the prospect of its 40 to 80 hour campaign made him ‘weep inside’.

So, one 70 hour investment is fine, yet the other is not?

But then things get interesting:

“Games are, far and away, on average, longer than any other medium on the planet. For example, during the 276 hours that this Tumblr user spent playing Call of Duty, I could watch every movie on the AFI 100, finish the works of Tolstoy, and listen to most of the major works of 20th century pop music.”

He goes on to explain that while video games are a wonderful way to spend our time, it’s hard for a responsible adult to squeeze in such drastic minimum completion times, as we still have to juggle family, friends, work, etc. As a result, at least according to him, this is why only 10 to 20 percent of people ever complete their games. I’d like to respect the correlation he’s making, because there’s undoubtedly a link between completion rate and the amount of time people have in their day-to-day lives, but I have to wonder how sincere his ‘games are fine’ asterisk is when he follows up his train of thought with:

“So I can’t help but notice when I feel like games are wasting my time.”

He immediately goes into some explanation about how other forms of entertainment don’t require your undivided attention. You can simultaneously listen to music and read a book, for example.

Subjective.

I’ll agree that music can be more liberating than other media, but it depends on the person. There are plenty of people who don’t just use music as background noise, but as something to become immersed by. As far as books go, some can deal with distractions, while others can’t. Also, the pace at which each individual reads should be taken into consideration. According to my Kindle, I still have 13 hours left on a Stephen King novel I’m reading, but I’m sure there’s people who could probably knock it out in half the time. Film and television are also ingested in a variety of ways. Point is, no one person is alike, so blanket statements need to be left out of the equation, here.

He then states that the medium is experiencing a ‘crisis of audience’. Games now appeal to most age groups, and naturally, they all carry a different set of expectations based on their lifestyle. They all want different things.

That’s a crisis? We’ve reached a point in time where games aren’t seen by most as children’s toys… and that’s a crisis?

Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore.

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There has ALWAYS been a great deal of diversity amongst video games. You could seek what lurks in the dungeons of The Legend of Zelda, or collect fruit in the preciously adorable Bubble Bobble. Enter a castle dripping with atmosphere in Castlevania, or hop on a pogo stick as ‘Unca Scrooge’ in Ducktales. Get your face hacked off by Jason in Friday the 13th, or roam around in Disney’s Magic Kingdom. Regardless of what someone sees through their rose colored glasses, there was a variety of gameplay at the ready, and not a single game was beloved by everyone. But, because video games have only become more diversified over time, there is something for everyone.

But, you know, that’s apparently a BAD thing.

Mr. Willen even goes as far to suggest that games come equipped with a story slider – very much like the ones we use for graphics and difficulty – to reduce or extend a game’s narrative. This would allow for any given game to adapt to what WE require, and not the other way around. For example, those who are turned off by the beefy Dragon Age campaign would now have reason to play it.

Now THAT’S a slippery slope if I ever heard one.

Let’s say they did this. Let’s say Dragon Age: Inquisition offered a ‘story slider’. If you abridged the story, you’d have to alter the game mechanics too, wouldn’t you? I mean, how could that even be done? The entire game would have to be re-invented multiple times to suit multiple types of gamers. Keep in mind the devs spent at LEAST three years to bring this game, as is, to retail. To ask that they retool EVERYTHING to appeal to whatever YOUR schedule dictates, would seemingly add a lot of unnecessary time – not to mention cost – to the development cycle. That means MONEY, Mr. Willen. Where would the cost of extra time and resources get passed down to? You guessed it. The consumer. Do we really need to give publishers another reason to inflate the overall cost of games?

Now, as far as game length is concerned… well, that’s nothing new, either. Many classic platformers can be beaten within a couple of hours, and there wasn’t much accommodation. Many of these games had no saves, no passwords, nothing. Just you, the controller, and whatever the game had in store. But we also had Final Fantasy VI (Final Fantasy III on the SNES), in which the primary quest could take 35 hours. Including side quests, you could easily have a 40 to 50 hour game on your hands.

Superghouls

And besides, even the SHORT games could chew up lots of time. I mean, you can technically beat Super Ghouls ‘N Ghosts in less than 2 hours, but personally, I’ve NEVER been able to beat that game legit. I still play it to this day though, and I’ve probably invested well over 100 hours of my life to it.

So, who cares if Dragon Age takes 40 or even 80 hours?

I understand that life doesn’t leave much time for gaming. Most nights I only play for an hour or two, and sometimes not at all. Does that mean developers should compromise their vision to appease me? Absolutely not. It’s no secret that Dragon Age, or many of the other lengthy games out there, require a substantial investment. If you don’t want to invest the time, then don’t. Don’t buy a game if you think it’s too demanding for your lifestyle. That’s the beauty of having so many diverse experiences available in the marketplace. If one game doesn’t meet your needs, there’s plenty that will.

As a side note, despite my lack of time, I still play really long games. If I want to play it, I see no reason to skip it. Sure, it’ll take an extremely long time to beat them, but I’m fine with that. I mean, what’s the rush anyway? To get it out of the way so I can move on to the next? Personally, if a game is fun enough, I’ll see it through to the end. Know when I will step away? When it stops being fun. Otherwise, I’ll be content knowing my $60 investment could last for MONTHS.

Anyway, Mr. Willen argues that even if you DO have a lot of time on your hands, it’s still a precious commodity that shouldn’t be wasted on side quests.

Again, subjective.

Who’s to say what should constitute a waste of time for ANY of us? Some people really like the side stuff, and for a variety of reasons, at that.

One person cannot judge how valuable a game’s content is, or isn’t, for anyone else. Same goes for our tastes in books, music, and film. Some think The Lord of the Rings – as written by JRR Tolkien – is a literary masterpiece. Others believe it’s needlessly padded with an overwhelming amount of detail. Some people prefer listening to single songs, while others prefer the experience of a complete album. You can’t please everyone, right? Right. So, let the artists bring their vision to the table, and let the consumer decide what’s right for them. There doesn’t need to be a ‘one size fits all’ approach. Choice is the spice of life, after all. But, hey, if that’s what you want, guess what? There’s plenty of games that already do that, and more are on the way.

Which reminds me that Mr. Willen conveniently ignores something else, though. If quick satisfaction is what you need, there’s already an entire market dedicated to you: Mobile gaming. If you own a tablet, phablet or cell phone, the options at your disposal are almost limitless. There are games that cater to those with only mere minutes to play. If you like the episodic style of Telltale Games, their titles are compatible with virtually every modern device. If you want truncated versions of major AAA console titles, mobile has that, too. Dead Space, Mass Effect, Battlefield, Hitman, Madden, Call of Duty, and Batman have all made the jump to smaller screens.

So, let’s address the elephant in the room: Is Mr. Willen even all that interested in gaming anymore?

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying he needs his ‘gamer card’ revoked, or anything like that. But, what’s the most important part of any game? The gameplay… which is ironic, because this PBS Game Show host no longer seems to care about that aspect of the experience. No, he just wants to get in, get out, and walk away with a satisfying narrative… which is fine.

What’s NOT fine, however, is that he’s asking for a complete overhaul of the industry mold, and he’s doing so without considering the repercussions. I mean, let’s say developers around the world began catering to the ‘short and sweet’ crowd en masse. Polygon’s Ben Kuchera – who tends to agree with most of Mr. Willen’s argument – implies this could lead to consumer savings:

“A shorter game can be made for less money which leads to lower prices which means more people buy it… and so on.”

But does that even remotely echo reality? Mr. Willen’s specifically addressing AAA console games, but would publishers like Ubisoft, Activision and Electronic Arts REALLY reduce the price of their games if they cost less to produce? Of course not. One needs to look no further than Call of Duty, an annual franchise featuring 5 hour campaigns and a minimal multiplayer experience out of the box… unless you buy a season pass, of course. And yet, this game has the same MSRP as the time-consuming behemoth that is Dragon Age. If anything, I think these companies will stick with the $60 price tag regardless, and bank their savings from development to improve profit margins.

And since we’re talking about money, EA’s fiscal 2015 third quarter earnings call held some intriguing info about Dragon Age: Inquisition… You know, the game allegedly too daunting for the masses:

“Dragon Age: Inquisition captivated fans and critics worldwide as it launched in November, and it quickly became the most successful launch in BioWare history. More than 113 million hours have already been spent exploring the depth and detail of the single-player experience in Dragon Age: Inquisition, and more players are joining each day. Named “Game of the Year” by 32 media outlets around the world, including IGN, Game Informer and the Associated Press, Dragon Age: Inquisition is a true masterpiece from the team at BioWare and a game that is sure to be played for a long time to come.”

“In particular, Dragon Age: Inquisition had by far the most successful launch in BioWare’s history, exceeding our expectations. In addition, game sales for last-generation consoles were also much stronger than we had anticipated.”

“Outperformance versus our outlook was driven by the record-breaking Dragon Age: Inquisition performance.”

Not that there’s a strong correlation between game sales and game quality, as hype can go a long, long way… but Dragon Age is a well-established franchise. The devs themselves even more so, thanks to their success with the Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, Baldur’s Gate, and Mass Effect series. People knew what they were getting into.

More than anything, I think this shows that Mr. Willen doesn’t truly understand what gamers want… just what HE wants.

So, in retrospect, maybe the question isn’t why do YOU play video games – since we see the kind of a response that elicits – but why do WE play video games? As I’ve gone through painstaking detail to point out, there isn’t a simple answer for that. Never has been, never will be. We ALL have our preferences, and as we grow and mature, those preferences are likely to change. As a result, self-inventory should take a large role in our internal conversation, especially if you’re echoing the sentiment that games are too long, wasting your time, and find yourself rushing through them ‘just because’. Games should not be, as Mr. Willen puts it, a chore. Yes, some games are needlessly padded, but this happens across all mediums.

At the end of the day, it’s up to the INDIVIDUAL to decide what’s best for THEM.

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