Sunday, December 29, 2013

The Face of Gaming

Note to game developers: how a character looks matters. Next year’s Wildstar is already having its own mini-crisis on the ‘sexualization’ of some of the races in the MMO by Carbine studios. Call of Duty developer Infinity Ward made headlines earlier in the year by announcing that it would allow female avatars in the multiplayer section of its game for the first time. Mass Effect 3 had a firestorm of controversy for allowing fans to pick the face of ‘FemShep’. Accusations flew that BioWare was rewriting history and sexualizing the female version of Commander Shepherd. And the list goes on, gamers have a great deal of emotion in the way the characters they play are portrayed and made to appear.

Monday, December 16, 2013

The End of an Era

Everquest Next
2014 may see the last great year of the Post-World of Warcraft era for the MMO genre. Ever since the success of WoW the MMO market has undergone a massive upheaval. In a genre that was once satisfied with 300,000 subscribers just a decade ago, the industry now looks to the million subscription minimum, as a watermark for success. It was never sustainable and it is impressive that it lasted as long as it did. Certainly while the subscription landscape may go back to near Pre-WoW levels, the F2P market appears ready to thrive. It’s a market that will never be very stable, its very existence is predicated on highs and lows, but with more realistic expectations game developers should be able to weather the storms ahead.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

A Drink in the Desert

The drought is coming. Because of game delays, system launches, and bad planning there is going to be about a three month window where nary a game will be launched. The PS3 has GT 5 and a few JRPG's in the pipeline and the Nintendo 3DS has Bravely Default, but by and large its going to be until the end of February until we see some high quality games again.

So what do you do to pass the time but also keep some money in your wallet? Sony and Microsoft both have free games programs to go along with their subscription services on their consoles and handhelds respectively. And while Sony will not have its Gaikai service up before the drought ends for the PS4 (It is tentatively scheduled to launch Fall 2014), their flagship PS3 console is the most fruitful Sony system is terms of old, new and digital-only titles.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Waking the Nightmare I

The Secret World is a frightening place. I say that with a smile on my lips, but its true. There isn’t a single MMO I’ve ever played that gives off the sense of danger as well as Funcoms' third MMO does. You are never safe, and that feeling of danger permeates every facet of the game. From word ‘Go’ you are going to get killed in The Secret World. Maybe you aggroed too many monsters, or a big named monster snuck up behind you, maybe you just got a little cocky after grabbing that shiny new piece of gear; the moment you think you’re safe, that’s when you’re not.