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.


  • 1. Did Silent Hill: Shattered Memories actually come out on March 5 as planned? I’m not seeing it anywhere…

    2. With the announcement of Rock Band 3, you think we’ll ever get a decent explanation as to why we never got Rock Band 2?

    3. If they put black holes in Far Cry 3: Awesome Space Adventure, would they work better as hazards to avoid or waypoints like bus stations?

    • 1. I think it was delayed a week or two. Checking with the distributor now. Also, it’s not being stocked by EB and (probably) JB, so you might have to hunt around, or order online.

      2. Nope!

      3. What if they were both, but you never knew if a black hole was going to transport you or kill you? What do you mean that’s a terrible idea?

  • ok david, i’ll play.

    Is ubi’s overly draconian DRM driving away more paying customers then what they would have lost to piracy anyway?

    Is the xbox 360 starting to show it’s age? late last year MS dropped the requirement for 720p and now the FFXIII (is that enough I’s?) 360 version is running at a lower res then the ps3, or is that more to do with it being a port of a ps3 game?

    • It’s too soon to tell on the Ubisoft DRM front. The reaction has been understandably negative, but whether that translates into sales, we don’t know at this stage. One thing I can guarantee, Ubisoft isn’t going to change its mind on this: all their future PC releases will require an internet connection. They need to work out how to make it attractive to the consumer rather than their bottom line.

      The FFXIII issue is all to do with it being a port. If Square had built it from the ground up to be on 360, this wouldn’t be an issue. To cite it as an example of the 360 showing its age is ridiculous. (Is the PS3 showing its age because BioShock 2 or Bayonetta look considerably worse on it?) So, short answer for me is: no. But then, I’m never one to focus much on technical prowess. As long as 360 games continue to display inspired art direction and innovative game designs, it’ll remain relevant.

      • i was thinking the same thing, but we all knew the ps3 versions of those games you mentioned were sub-par because they were ports 😉

  • Hi David,

    In the past week or two I’ve noticed a decrease in the web sites performance, specifically in loading the main page. Has this been identified and is it being problem solved or am I just imagining the issue?

    • I’m having that issue too, from at work on IE, to home on a Mac with Firefox, to my iPhone with Safari. Always the main page or iterations of it (page 2, 3, etc) but not the articles themselves.

      • I think this has to do with the flash ads. One of them locked up my browser so bad (at work, shit computer) that I would have to shut it down and hope I didn’t get that ad again.

  • Why is it that most game companies ask for someone with experience and wont give a graduate a chance? Even Indie companies have this same catch 22. Is there any way around it?

    • Experience doesn’t strictly need to be paid experience. For instance if you were involved in a reasonably well made mod for a game that would be a good selling point on your skills. Maybe even a simple game of your own from scratch. Build up a portfolio of things you have done.

      Basically you want to show that you can actually ‘do’ stuff. Uni is a good place to learn if that is your goal, but people can scrape through whilst learning very little just for the piece of paper at the end. This is unfortunately why experience is often asked for, not just in the games industry.

    • Zwa and Raf have done a good job answering this question already. As an artist you need a portfolio to prove your talent, and most likely some sort of game demo to be able to demonstrate you can do the job.

      I think many Australian developers tend to be quite small and understaffed. In this situation, it’s difficult to find the time to train up junior employees, and as a result they look for more experienced people to hit the ground running.

      So, my advice: 1. Get your portfolio together 2. Find a graduate programmer who’s in a similar position and collaborate on a project 3. Send both to every development studio in the country.

    • GfK has not released a new chart since the end of January. Apparently they are changing their reporting systems. Or something.

      I’d love to keep publishing charts and I’m looking at alternatives.

  • Do you have any word on the AFL 2010 game that was supposedly coming out this year on PS3/360? I know in all likelihood it’ll be shit, but I’d still like to play it.

  • This depends on whether you have an iPhone…

    So, under that assumption. What are your top 5 iPhone games, paid or free?

  • Hi david.. Big fan… (I mean I am a big guy who stands in the corner waving my arms around in circular motions cooling my co-workers down… sorry)

    Couple of questions:
    1. Do you think the 505/Natural Motion Gridiron game Backbreaker will see an AUS release in May 2010

    2. I am in the market for an Elite xbox 360. Any good deals around OR can you let everyone know if any come up (I think you do already). Best I have found is $388 at kmart with avatar, Bolt, lego batman and pure but i don’t want these games…

    3. Do you think Heavy rain will EVER come out on XB. I am a HUGE farenheit fan and loved that game and am so upset i cant play HR (cant afford/dont want a ps3 also. (Please no fanboys here, XB’s are just better… lol)

    Cheers and have a good day mate.

    • 1. Haven’t heard anything about a local release but I’ll find out for you.

      2. There doesn’t seem to be many great console deals around at the moment. $388 for an Elite seems pretty good to me, regardless of the pack-in games. (Lego Batman and Pure are both good though, unlike Avatar and Bolt.) See if you can find one of the older Halo or Gears of War bundles floating around somewhere.

      3. It is extremely unlikely Heavy Rain will come to Xbox 360. For one, it is published by Sony. Two, even though Quantic Dream is an indepedent developer, it is unlikely they own the rights to the Heavy Rain IP. Three, even if they did I’m sure their contract with Sony stipulates some lengthy period of exclusivity. The only realistic prospect of you playing Heavy Rain is to buy a PS3 or borrow a friend’s.

  • Hey David,

    Odd question to be asking in mid-March, but given how stacked the release schedule was for the past 10 weeks I’m comfortable with asking: game of the year so far?

    • I have really enjoyed VVVVVV, Call of Pripyat, Mass Effect 2, BioShock 2, Heavy Rain and Chime this year. Don’t make me choose yet!

        • Do you like open world games that let you explore and experience unpredictable, emergent situations? Or do you prefer more tightly scripted games that strive to ensure every player has the same experience?

          Call of Pripyat gives plenty of the former and little of the latter. That’s why I enjoy it.

          • Do games like Fable, Infamous, Red Faction, Just Cause and that sort of game count. But I do like a sence of direction in my games, I haded that STALKER Drops you in the world with no real clue what your purpose is and what the controls etc are. It just made it feel like an old PC game, not a good game for a predominantly console gamer to get into PC games with. Even though I never loved the game (have a draw to go back lately though) Fallout 3 at least gave a great introduction, gave a basic understanding of the game and made sure people knew what was going on before they escaped the vault.

          • Describing it as “an old PC game” is accurate. It offers nothing like the amount of hand-holding and direction you’ve seen in inFamous, Red Faction: Guerrilla and the like. To me, that’s a refreshing approach – it’s nice to have to think about where I’m going, how I’ll get there, what I’ll need to be prepared for. But if you’re used to having a big arrow pointing you to the next objective, it’s obviously going to be confusing. (Not that there’s anything wrong with big arrows! It just suits more action-oriented games like inFamous and Red Faction.)

            My advice: stick with it, take things a bit slower than you’re used to and really pay attention to the map and your surroundings. It’s a great world to explore if you can find yourself immersed in it.

          • I plan to keep trying with it. one really big gripe i have with the game is that until i came across it in a review, never did it tell me how stupid i was to try and get into the other 2 areas. Also the fact that a quicksave is needed so often is slightly irritating in a world filled with checkpoints.

            Im not saying it has to loose its PC charm, I just think if someone is new to the STALKER series that it isnt very accommodating and doesn’t seem to mind if looses players early.

  • Why is it that Microsoft has this fancy-pants streaming technology for the video marketplace, but doesn’t use it for the Inside Xbox features?

    Poor chumps like me with crummy internet connections have to wait ages for it to load, and it still pause every minute or so anyway…

  • How come Kotaku news posts are only ever made on the hour or on the half-hour? And at the exact minute (eg, 9:00AM exactly, 11:30AM exactly). This is bewildering me – most other sites post their news when whenever, but you guys like waiting an hour. Why is that?

    • They have the ability to post news on the minute, but from what I’ve seen they schedule articles to be posted for a number of reasons.

      The main reason is simply for getting it’s readership to check back into the site every few hours. No use is posting all the news at once and then nothing for the rest of the day?

      The other ability ties in with the above, David goes out to places for future stories and the like, so he can queue up all the stories for the rest of the day, go out and party, knowing that the site will still publish as if it was on auto-pilot.

    • oggob pretty much nails it. We – and this applies to the US and AU teams – want content appearing throughout the day at regular intervals so that the site is never “dead”. Also, we need to work in advance to ensure the above actually happens. And so we can work around the numerous events we’re obliged to attend and get in some time to actually play some games.

      Of course, if a big story does break, we do bump scheduled posts to make way for it.

    • If you can send me one that has dialogue options as appropriate as those in the ME1 shot above, I’ll use it.

  • Two questions.

    1. Gametrailers recently did a top 10 most disappointing games list – giving the number one spot to a star wars MMO game I’ve never played. What’s your most disappointing game?. For me it’s none other than Squaresoft’s “The Bouncer”. It was the very first game I got on PS2, and the fact it was made by Square gave me high hopes. But it was too short, lacks substance and was generally a horrible introduction to next gen.

    2. Have you heard anything about a game called “Eyedentify”. Sony showed a trailer at E3 2005 as one of the launch trailers for the PS3 and I haven’t heard anything since.

    • 1. Ultima VIII and Ultima IX would be right up there.

      The former for taking my favourite RPG series in a direction I really did not want it to go, while at the same time destroying everything interesting about the Avatar and the virtues she embodied.

      The latter for promising a return to Ultima tradition but failing miserably through some misguided technology and design choices.

      2. I think someone’s asked me about this before. Nothing has been seen nor heard about Eyedentify in over four years. I suspect it’s been cancelled.

  • Why do all the pages on this site set to reload every 15 minutes? It can be annoying if I’m reading a page when it happens.

  • Hey David, I’m probably late to this, but here’s an industry question. I’ll ask it next week if I missed it.

    I’d like to ask about the elephant in the room of game reviews.

    I’ve been suspecting, as with the half the other web savvy, gaming community, that the bigger, ‘out of 10’ review sites like IGN, Gamespot etc. give review scores and opinions ‘for hire’.

    I say this because I’ve been, a lot of the time, buying games based on those reviews and its becoming clear that there’s a lot of misinformation, conveniently unmentioned issues, inconsistencies, and blatant untruths being thrown around. In short, a lot of games being given high scores that don’t deserve them.

    So my question is, do you think, in gaming media, there are media outlets that accept payments for positive review scores? Do you as a gaming journalist ever suspect this, or have you ever encountered this?

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