Ask Me Stuff

Ask Me Stuff

Every Wednesday I ask you to Ask Me Stuff. If you have a burning question about the games industry, leave it in the comments and I’ll do my best to answer it this afternoon.

I’ll be doing this every Wednesday.

Now, fire away with those questions.


  • Hey David,

    Would be interested in your take on what is happening with the Infinity Ward/Activision situation. If this is a disagreement over say a creative standpoint or where IW they wanted to take Modern Warfare 3 but Activision did not, do you think it was necessary to sack West and Zampella? I know it is all guess work atm but if you could take the example that it was a creative argument/disagreement between IW and Activision then do you think that there might be a mass exodus of IW to follow West + Zampella?

    • You’re right, we’re just guessing at this stage.

      But if it’s true that IW management would only speak to certain people in Activision management, then it’s clear that their position was untenable. Activision had no choice. However, you’ve got to wonder how they let it get to that point in the first place.

      Regardless of whose “fault” any of it really is – and undoubtedly there’s responsibility on both sides – both IW and Activision have mismanaged the entire situation.

      I’d expect to see some IW staff leave over the coming months, in all likelihood to join a new studio with West and Zampella. In a dispute over independence, it looks like all parties will get their wish…

  • Hey David

    I’m buying a PS3 today. How bout that huh?

    I already own the collector’s edition of Heavy Rain (yes I bought it prior) and I see most of the backlog PS3 games are all under $50 now. In your opinion, what’s the first 3 PS3 games I should buy? I have a list ready to go but I was just interested in your view.

    P.S. I already own Far Cry 2 on 360.

    • If you own a 360, I would assume you’ve played most mutli-platform games. So I’ll list the PS3 exclusive games you should play, in no particular order.

      Uncharted 1 & 2
      Resistance 1 & 2
      R&C:Tools of Destruction, Quest for Booty and A Crack in Time
      Killzone 2
      Heavenly Sword
      Metal Gear Solid 4
      Motorstorm 1 & 2

      Most of those you could find for less than $50 these days, with the exception of a few newer titles.

    • In terms of PS3 exclusives:

      * Demon’s Souls is a staggeringly good, if hard as nails, action-RPG. You’ll have to import it though.

      * Valkyria Chronicles is a constant delight, a smart tactical RPG with a wonderful cast of characters.

      * LittleBigPlanet is essential if you have at least one regular co-op companion available.

      I’d also recommend the PSN catalogue, especially Flower, Shatter, Trine, Super Stardust HD and the Pixeljunk games – Monsters, Eden and Shooter.

          • Come now, that’s abit harsh, the first one is worthy of a playthrough, sure it might look alittle dated now… but Insomniac did a good job with it…

            Resistance 2 was alittle forced though and not as great as it should have been…

            Also Yakuza which will be hitting stores next week. Though alot of the games are already mentioned… one that wasn’t and should be… WipEout HD/Fury… pick it up at JB Hi-Fi, should be under $40 also…

          • You can find the first one so cheap now that at that price I think it’s worth a play through.

            You’re right about the second though. Absolute garbage – Stay awawy.

  • I’ve always wanted to know how a professional game review works. Do you actually finish the game?, play it on hard mode?, use cheats?. Also how long would the average pro spend with a game before reviewing it?

    • Totally depends on the game. For the average 10-hour single-player game, a reviewer would typically complete it before writing the review. For MMOs and other multiplayer games, you can’t really finish them so the reviewer has to make a call on when enough is enough. Although often that’s complicated by the difficulty of even testing these prior to release and how quickly they can change once they’ve launched.

      As for difficulty levels, a reviewer would likely play it on the default first but later go back and check out how different it feels on a higher difficulty.

      There are no hard and fast rules though.

  • I had one more question, do you know of any way I can take screenshots from my PS3? or perhaps the TV?, I know a few games have this feature but I want one to work on everygame.

  • Hey Dave,

    Whats your take on the entire Ubisoft DRM situation?

    It seems a bit crazy for a company like Ubisoft to intentionally alienate an entire portion of their customer base.

    Do you think they just made a huge mistake? Or is there a grain of truth to the idea going around that Ubisoft might be encouraging players to move to consoles?

    • I don’t think Ubisoft want people to “move to consoles”. If that was their plan, they simply wouldn’t release PC games. The fact they are putting resources into PC DRM would suggest they are still very interested in doing business on the PC.

      Ubisoft tried the no-DRM route with Prince of Persia. Obviously they felt that didn’t work for them, so you can understand why they are now looking at alternatives. However, the DRM they’ve invested in is, frankly, absurd.

      The fact remains: in many cases the pirate has a better experience than the legitimate consumer. As a result, DRM should be based on the principle of providing a better experience to the paying customer. If I’m forced to be connected to a Ubisoft server for the entirety of my play experience, then reward me for it through extra content and other incentives. As it stands, legitimate consumers are being inconvenienced and gaining nothing in return.

  • Yo Dave I’ve tried asking a few times in these threads for your advice and guidance in relation to a potential career change into the games industry, drop us an email sometime if you could. Thx mate

    • The whole point of this post is for you to ask me questions, so don’t be shy!

      Also, I’ve answered this question many times. Take a look back over the previous Ask Me Stuff posts.

  • Hey David, I had an idea… you know how we’ve got the reader review competition thing, what do you think about some sort of reader ‘retro’ review comp? …like we review a game that’s five years or older. I was thinking this firstly because there are a lot of very underrated older games that people could spread the word about, and secondly it could be a hilarious AVGN type dealio where you go to town on the shitty games that people should avoid at all costs. Lol, just a thought :p

  • Heya David,

    Just a general query, which I hope hasn’t been asked before (I used to be in the UK so I’ve not followed these ‘Ask Me Stuff’);

    What are your thoughts on the state of the Games Industry in Australia?

    As far as I can see there are barely any heavyweight studios (Other than Creative Assembly’s 2nd studio, but StormRise didn’t improve it’s heavyweight status), and there seems to be zero support for the industry in the country. Should all of us aspiring to get into the Industry go elsewhere, if we can?

    • The local development community seems to be in a very precarious position. We saw several studios close last year, and many more forced to lay off employees.

      International publishers are feeling the pinch due to the global economic situation and, as a result, they’re putting the squeeze on independent developers. There is simply less work out there for developers and what work there is right now is bringing in less money than it was.

      Australia is also struggling to compete with cheaper development in Asia and Eastern Europe.

      I’m afraid there’s not much positive spin I can apply given the current circumstances. However, 2K Australia worked on both BioShock games; Infinite Interactive has had great succes with Puzzle Quest; Krome have done well to secure work on Microsoft’s Game Room for Xbox Live; and in Flight Control Firemint have one of the iPhone’s best games. It’s not all bad.

  • Hi David,

    I asked in a prior post a few days back but have not checked for a response (soprry if this is doubling up).

    There was a US article a few days/week ago talking abotu the breakdown of price at the retail outlet to the price the publisher, system owner, retail chain etc gets.

    Any chance of getting this for Aussie retail. I am interested as it seems that if in the US the console maker only gets $7US, then with the exchange rate being so high at the moment, who gets any additional profit made here

    Or, does the exchange rate not come into play and are the distribution and manufacturing costs just soo much higher in AUS?


    • I’ve been trying to put together a similar breakdown for the local market, but it’s difficult to get the necessary info. I’ll keep trying though.

      One thing to bear in mind is, as I’ve said many times, you cannot compare the AU price to the US price. As part of our PAL region legacy, an Australian distributor will purchase stock from its European head office. Neither the US dollar nor the AU-US dollar exchange rate enter into it.

  • Do any Australian retailers sell the 3rd party controllers for consoles?

    I’ve often seen the reviews here, but when I’ve had a look around for the controllers themselves I can’t find a shop that keeps them.

  • We’ve all gone and done out duty and made our submissions on the R18+ Discussion Paper……..umm….. soooo, what happens now?

    • We wait. And cross all our fingers and toes. And then wait some more.

      Seriously, the AGD has not set a timeframe on this and, given the sheer number of submissions, I can’t imagine we’ll hear anything any time soon.

      • yup and then some politician will go hmm these results i do not like

        results are now classified RC along with the NBN practicality report

  • Dave! i was hoping on getting my platinum trophy for Bioshock 2 today (only needing to finish on hard) but alas I lost my unsynced rank 40 “choose the impossible” trophy due to mondays apocalyPS3. So I’m rank 40 on bioshock MP server but don’t have the trophy, do you think Sony or 2K games can/would rectify this at all without me having to rank up all the way again?? Would it even be possible to start over? Uni is back and I don’t have the time :'(

  • any chance the ‘ask me stuff’ picture is going to get a mass effect 2 update? im sure heaps of people have asked this already but i can’t see it this week.

  • Which game’s looking like it’ll nab the best of 2010 soundtrack (obviously a bit early to say). Really liked the mass effect 2 soundtrack.

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