Ask Me Stuff

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We did this last week to great success. So let's do it again. This is your chance to ask me anything about the games industry. Just pop your question in the comments and I'll reply - at some point today - with an answer.

I'll be leaving this post open all day today and Thursday as well. Oh, and enjoy another image from Far Cry 2.


    Which would you prefer to have handy in a street fight - Twice the Mega Power of a normal man or Blast Processing?


    As long as I'm Arcade Quality and Sideways Compatible, I'll be OK.

    What do the goggles do?

    How does the hosting work with multiplayer games?

    Killzone 2 i can get 32 & Resistance 2 I get 60.
    But with Warhawk i can only host 12.



    What gameplay elements do you think are missing from the traditional "Beat 'em Up" gaming genre? What do you think could be introduced to make this a viable genre for developers?


    Josh beat me to it.

    haha, that line is genious


    These are design decisions rather than technology issues. The developers of those games felt that these player numbers would provide the best experience. It's something of a pet hate of mine actually that some gamers feel that the higher the player count, the better the game. When really it's a choice a developer makes based on what is most appropriate for the type of experience they wish to create. I'd much rather play a well-designed 4-player deathmatch than a poorly-designed 60-plus-player game.

    Hi, not to be rude but don't you feel the gaming journalism is filled with lots of cookie cutter scripted 'coverings'?

    Would you prefer the ability to be brutally honest about a game/company without them blacklisting you from content/announcements/exclusive coverage etc?


    Do you really think there's only one senator that opposes the R18 classification?

    Far better to push one forward and save the others the infantile abuse heaped on by gamers who cannot see that the R18 debate is small compared to the real problems inherent in the system.

    Do you think that BETA testing is hurting sales figures?

    The reason why I ask this is Little Big Planet on the PS3 didn't sell as well as sony had hoped. This got me thinking why? It was such a hyped game... even if you weren't in to gaming chances are you have heard about it.

    Little Big Planet were very generous with the amount of people they gave access to the beta over in the states, could this be linked to the low sales charts?

    Now I for one loved the game, but I have to admit I got over it fairly quickly and started searching for something else to play. I dare say that a lot of the beta testers got their taste of what LBP had to offer and decided to not purchase the full game.

    Do you think that Sony need to reduce the amount of beta testers in order to ensure better sale figures?

    From my understanding a beta isn't there to spread the word, thats what demo's and marketing is for. From my point beta's are in place to iron out some bugs that they may not have detected. Spreading the word of a game is all to do with marketing and advertising.

    Another thing... when you get that many Beta testers there, you would think that upon release you would have a game that works fully out of the box which is hardly the case anymore. There is often a patch within the first few weeks of the release.

    So yeah, Do you think the generous distribution on Beta keys are giving people the opportunity to play the game for free and therefore hurting sales figures?

    @Miguel Koldlabia

    More Mega Power would be a good place to start.

    Serious answer: I assume you're talking of beat 'em ups in the style of the old side-scrollers like Streets of Rage or Double Dragon. We've seen two notable attempts at this genre recently: Castle Crashers and Watchmen. The first succeeds through its art style, its online co-op, its sheer variety, its simple RPG elements, its exuberance and sense of fun. The latter fails, despite some solid combat mechanics, due to its bland environments, mundane enemies and predictable pacing.

    Beat 'em up developers should look at the likes of God of War and Devil May Cry and bring some of that over-the-top action, along with online co-op and perhaps some of the other elements from Castle Crashers (where appropriate), to the genre.

    I have noticed that much DLC when downloaded is as small as 100K... for entire new levels, multiplayer levels, characters, planes (Ace Combat - I'm looking at you), etc. It seems clear that this content was on the disc when I bought the game and that I'm really just buying an unlock code...

    Should this really be called DLC or should a "spade" be called a spade - DUC (Downloadable Unlock Code)?

    Should developers come clean that this is not additional content available for "download", that it was pre-existing, there the whole time, and are just grabbing for more $$$ when I've already paid far too much for the game in the first place?

    "Games journalism isn't real journalism; your job is trivial. Go get a real job and make an actual contribution to society."


    @Danny Zucho

    It's true that most games coverage these days involves a PR person acting as gatekeeper between developer and journalist. Journalists rely on PR to invite them to heavily stage-managed press events. PR people are the ones sending us preview and review code of upcoming games. If we want to interview a developer, we typically need to speak to the PR person first. Often there'll be a PR person present during the interview, whether in-person or over the phone. If the interview is conducted via email, a PR person will see the questions before they go to the developer and see the answers before they're returned to the journalist. And yes, I'm aware of tales of publications being blacklisted by games publishers over the years, but it usually only lasts until the next big game.

    Of course, none of this is unique to the games industry, nor is it going to change.

    But it doesn't mean a journalist can't do his job properly and honestly. You can attend a press event and write your own take on what was being presented. Just because there's a PR person sitting in on the interview doesn't mean you can't ask hard questions. And if they're not answered, you should write that. Although my first preference is always for a phone interview, I've agreed to a number of email interviews recently where the replies have read like a press release laced with marketing-speak. I've chosen not to publish them as a result. What the journalist has to do is always remember their responsibility is to their reader, not the PR person or developer.

    @Evil Otto

    I suspect the QLD, WA, NSW and NT Attorneys-General are waiting for the public consultation period to take place before determining which way to vote. Certainly they don't appear to be as heavily invested in opposing an R18+ category as Mr Atkinson is.

    What do you think about the current state of contribution towards the general video games industry from developers based in Australia?

    Hey Wildgoose

    I have no question, I'm just saying Hi. I remember you from your pcpp/hyper days.

    Keep up the good work.


    Interesting. And what do you think will happen when the public consultation begins? Play it out.


    It's a little naive to think that beta tests are solely for network stress testing and quashing bugs. They're right there in the marketing plan alongside that web-exclusive teaser trailer and that billboard ad campaign. Halo 3's beta was smartly done, as was Call of Duty 4's; both of them were calculated to generate hype and leave participants hanging for more.

    I doubt if LittleBigPlanet's perceived low sales were due to over-exposure to the beta. The word-of-mouth form the beta was some of the most positive I've ever heard. There were probably other issues at stake there, more closely related to the type of game it was, but we'll leave that discussion for another day.

    Where's my bio father?

    Ahoy broadly in relation to the gaming industry, and with the job rush that Australia is currently facing, namely people trying to get solid long term employment, I was just wondering what your opinions of a game based career are. and the best way to get involved. Having completed my degree in Psychology (I graduated last night) I am torn between looking for a career in a games related field, and seeking more mainstream employment working in say HR or marketing. Realistically speaking I know Perth, where I reside, is not a great place to be getting a start in a game related career, but I am not quite ready to sign my life away to be a boring office worker dealing with a subject material I have no love for and little interest in. wondering about your thoughts, thanks.

    Hey David, what Xbox games are you currently playing? Shoot me an e-mail and lemme add you to my XBL gamer list. :)


    Simple: If it's on the disc, it should be already accessible as part of the game or be unlocked for free at a later date. There's no excuse a developer or publisher could make to convince me otherwise. To be honest though, I think most of them have learned that this isn't the way to release DLC.

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