games / Columns

Ask 411 Games 10.22.12: Kickstarter, Heavy Rain, Glitches, More!

October 22, 2012 | Posted by Mathew Sforcina

Hey. This is what’s keeping me away from Minecraft now that it’s updated on my Xbox. Or, failing that, Mass Effect. Or, failing THAT, unlocking outfits in DOA5. So yeah, I got a lot I could be doing, but I’m here, trying to educate and entertain. So go me.

Or not. It’s not really up to me to say. It’s your job, dear readers.

So before we get to a recap of last week and then the questions, you know what comes first? A really awesome banner!

411 on Twitter!

Me On Twitter~!

Remember, questions can go in the comment section which you should sign up for, or, better yet, to [email protected]

So last week we took a look at what THE game will be for future generations looking back on the various consoles. Some people agreed with my choices, others didn’t. So let’s do a quick round up of the options listed.

Uncharted 2 for the PS3 is a good choice, that series does have a good shot at being THE series for the console. I tended to weigh the games that had slightly more wide cultural impact, in that I think God of War is slightly more well known outside of gaming circles. But I would be happy with that judgement.

Heavy Rain on the other hand, I don’t buy, simply because it’s not really a game. It’s an interactive movie. I’m not saying that’s a bad thing, or a good thing, it’s just a thing. And it lacks the replay factor that most other games have, due to that movie aspect. Uncharted is a game that treats itself like a movie but is still a game. Heavy Rain is a movie that pretends it’s a game at times. It’s just not the same thing.

Again, I’m not bagging on Rain, just not agreeing it’s THE game worthy. But if you like it, more power to you.

Little Big Planet… Is a selling point, yes, but Sackboy isn’t quite the mascot that some people think it is, I believe. Not that the game isn’t impressive,

Just that it lacks that little extra that makes a console’s top games list entry into THE game…

As for the Xbox being ‘almost exclusively’ a FPS console, I don’t think I agree with that, at least in terms of reality. Perception, that’s different. Because there are a big chunk of players who use it for Halo, Madden and maybe streaming and that’s it. I’m not going to deny that. But that doesn’t mean that’s all it’s good for. Just that a big number of people only use it for that. But regardless, Halo and the Xbox are so tied up with each other that THE game will be Halo, short a miracle. But I don’t want to start a console war here, just trying to clarify my stance.

Gears of War is the Uncharted/LBP entry for Xbox, I can certainly see the argument, and if it was chosen ‘officially’ I wouldn’t mind that much, my slight problem is that Halo is Microsoft. Halo IS Xbox. GOW is just on the Xbox. Slightly different.

But again, I wouldn’t argue against any of these (apart from Heavy Rain) too hard.

And now onto questions, beginning with Jason.

I do have a question. I notice that Dead Space 3, Tomb Raider (the reboot) and Bioshock Infinite are scheduled for release around February 2013. These are some major titles not getting out for the holiday season. Is there a strategic shift within the industry leading to games being withheld until they have less competition or is it just that they don’t want to put these titles out until they’re truly ready? In years past the early part of the year has traditionally been a major dead spot for blockbusters.

Obviously I can’t judge an entire industry’s strategy, because there is no such thing. The entire industry does not act as one, obviously, so trying to specify what a large group is doing is somewhat hard, since even they don’t know. However, I think this isn’t so much a permanent switch than it is a one off.

I mean, I’m sure the games do need some extra time to develop, but the end of the year isn’t just filled with big game releases like Assassin’s Creed III and Halo 4, but more importantly, Wii U is coming out.

A new console launch is a big deal, and so while if the Holiday period was just a few big games you’d see some more games coming out for the Xmas rush, a new console overrides that. The Wii U is a big deal, and so I think this one time, you’ll find the early months of 2013 will be more filled with decent games due to the major console release.

Of course, if these games all sell very well, if companies find that games released in the ‘dead zone’ actually sell, then you may well see a new paradigm, and games might well become released in that period of time more often. But we’ll have to wait and see.

So yeah, it’s a one off that may well become more permanent, if it works out…

Another question: When retailers like Amazon do Black Friday deals with deep discounts, are the publishers taking a hit at all or just the retailers? Just wondered if that has any impact on delayed releases. Thanks as always for all the work you put into this column.

Just the retailers as a rule. It might be different for some services (Steam for instance springs to mind) but as a rule, when companies discount on Black Friday, they eat into their own profits.

For instance, last year, Wal-Mart sold limited edition blue Wiis for US$99.96 as a loss leader. The hope was to draw people in to get the Wiis and then have them buy other things as well while they were there. Reggie “Body is Ready” Fils-Aime then said, afterwards, that Wall-Mart lost money on every Wii sold. Nintendo did not.

I’m sure some producers do end up losing in some deals, but it appears that the usual M.O is for the retailers to take a hit on some stuff to try and get you to buy other stuff they aren’t taking a major hit on. The developers seem to get the same, regardless.

Unless it’s pre-owned. Then they get nothing at all.


I demand all terms and conditions now be read by Bill Cosby.

Some more Joe Gagne’s Funtime Pro Wrestling Arcade!

This is funny, but for Tara’s sake, turn down your volume to the bare minimum before you press play.

Oh, what’s that, you’re not freaked out by that? What about this?

And finally, this is really cool.

Ace Crusher asks about a infamous accessory.

Did any other game use the Steel Battlion controller from the original xbox? Did anyone ever hack or create ANYTHING ELSE that you can use that controller for? It was just so immersive and awesome it would be a pity if Capcom abandoned it immediately after the disappointing sales for Steel Battalion. Did Capcom or anyone else ever use those controllers for use in an Arcade? Using that controller scheme for a Gundam or other Mech piloting game would have been money in the Japanese Arcades.

Actually I remember playing a game much like that back in the 90’s, in a giant arcade at a nearby shopping center, one of the really big ones where they had Virtual Reality boxing and a room full of pinball machines and all that… Man, I miss that place.

Anyway, that one sat you in an actual seated version, an enclosed booth deal, whereas Steel Battalion came with that large 50 button control system, that sold with the game. It was large, complicated, and the game was worse, with perma-death and issues with mechs turning, just like they would in real life.

The game supposedly broke even, but not a profit, as it was more to prove a point, to show what video games could do, rather than be an actual money maker. That’s part of the reason it was switched from the PS2 to the Xbox, although online play was removed due to the complicated issues that would cause.

That said, does the controller have more than one use? The original game came out in 2002, and in 2004 there was a sequel, Steel Battalion: Line of Contact. This game did use the same control set up as the first one, and was online only, and was pretty much more an online play expansion than a full game. It wasn’t bundled with the controller or anything, although now it’s useless as the campaign servers got taken offline in 2005.

There was a third game, Steel Battalion: Heavy Armor for the 360, but that uses the standard controller and the Kinect sensor to play, and its release in June of this year went by with little attention as the game apparently had issues with sensitivity, it being a prime example of a Kinect/movement based game that had issues reading and interpreting players’ inputs.

Anyway, did it work with any other game? Well, not on the Xbox, no. However, some bright sparks have worked out ways to convert the controller so as to use the controller on Mech games on the PC, such as Mechwarrior and Freespace, as well as just making it a generic 16 button joystick controller.

But in terms of official, proper usage, it’s just the online ‘sequel’ and that’s it, alas.

Rasher finishes up this week.

Hey Matt,

I believe that there is a kickstarter which is hoping to make a “wing commander” game but under a different name as they don’t own the rights. That’s probably as close as it’s going to get to a new one for now.

I could look it up and try to find the name… but i’m pretty lazy…

I would imagine that it’s Starlight Inception would be the one you’re talking about. And it did pass funding, so huzzah, in August 2013, we will hopefully get a space combat game.

I really shouldn’t look at this site without money. I mean, I could make quests in RPGs, and name a planet in a space trading game, or any number of awesome stuff that just requires money. So I’ll end it there, although by all means, if you have some money, consider supporting one of the many games on offer. There seem to be almost anything you could want on there. Except FPS games, I guess…

Remember, questions can go in the comment section, or, better yet, to [email protected] Until next week, always save-scum. It’s rarely a bad idea.


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Mathew Sforcina
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