Saturday!

7L: United Airlines Commercial 1990 "Speech"

The Electronic Entertainment Expo (or E3) kicks off on June 12th. Like, Tuesday.

Once upon a time, this was unqualifiedly the biggest industry event of the year for video game and video game adjacent industries. When I say “industry event”, I’m talking “not open to the public”. You had to be In The Biz to go to it or have press credentials.

Well, in the days of the internet, “press credentials” became less and less unobtainable. Bloggers started getting press credentials and it went from bloggers at sites like IGN and Gamespot getting press credentials to bloggers at… well, I don’t want to say vanity sites… but, yeah, significantly smaller sites run by enthusiastic amateurs getting them and the companies who were spending millions and millions of dollars on booths complaining that E3 did not return decent bang for the buck. The booths were the industry reaching out to retailers and For Real Journalists who would write stories for huge audiences who might include retailers. Nothing wrong with the folks who would go on to buy the products from these retailers, of course… but E3 wasn’t *FOR* them. It was for the industry. So they went from being, effectively, open to the public to being an industry show again.

Well… the internet just blows *EVERYTHING* up. Penny Arcade figured out that there was a hunger for something like E3 that catered to fans rather than to the industry and HOLY GUACAMOLE there is now PAX East, PAX West, PAX South, PAX Australia… and there were a lot of little companies that found out that going to someplace like PAX is a great way to do stuff like bypass retailers and For Real Journalists and take it directly to the audience who would be buying the games.

And so, in 2017, E3 went open to the public again… but they’re only letting 15,000 or so public into the venue to dilute the show and they’re not letting those people in until lunchtime. The first three hours or so are for industry and For Real Journalists only.

Which seems a good compromise.

The reason to be excited is that there are a *LOT* of companies that still see E3 as the appropriate time to make the big announcement. Bethesda announced Fallout 4 at E3 2015 and it was in stores that November. If you’re going to be releasing The Next Big Console? You want to do that at E3. If you’re going to be introducing a new peripheral (like the Kinect!), you want to do that at E3.

And, most importantly, if you’re the CEO of CD Projekt and you’ve said something like “We’re impressed with Fallout 4’s rollout. They came on stage and said ‘It’s here, it’s real, and it’s coming out on this date.’ We’re going to do something similar. We’re going to wait until we can show off a very meaningful piece of it.”, you want to make that announcement at E3.

So… what are you hoping to hear is announced somewhere between Tuesday and Thursday?

(Picture is HG Wells playing a war game from Illustrated London News (25 January 1913))


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Jaybird is Birdmojo on Xbox Live and Jaybirdmojo on Playstation's network. He's been playing consoles since the Atari 2600 and it was Zork that taught him how to touch-type. If you've got a song for Wednesday, a commercial for Saturday, a recommendation for Tuesday, an essay for Monday, or, heck, just a handful a questions, fire off an email to AskJaybird-at-gmail.com

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33 thoughts on “Saturday!

    • Cyberpunk 2077. I’m so excited I’m vibrating and the vibrations are creating harmonics within the house.

      I know that the possibility exists that it’s not coming out this year but will be coming out next year… but Marcin Iwinski telegraphed that if we’re going to find out this year, we will be finding out at E3 this year.

      But then I look at CD Projekt’s career page… If it’s coming out in November, why would they be hiring almost five pages’ worth of people? They should be hiring one page of people! Like, community managers and Twitter people and people whose job it is to post funny memes to the Reddits. And that makes me say “it’s 2019.”

      A million years ago, I talked about how they got a loan from the Polish Government to add features and the paperwork talked about when the project is expected to hit the shelves and that paperwork talked about early 2019. How long ago that seemed!

      And now I look at that jobs page (those jobs *PAGES*!) and think about how you’re allowed to ask for extensions.

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    • I’m waiting to see what Fallout 76 is. If it’s a Rust clone, I’m pretty meh. A straight up MMORPG and I’m really “meh” (I’m pretty much one with those. Destiny is the closest I’ll play, and that’s just to do 4-person co-op shooters with friends).

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      • Could it possibly be Civilization:Fallout?

        At the very least, they confirmed part of it is in West Virginia.

        No, not Country Roads – there’s very little of the Blue Ridge Mountains and Shenadoah River in West Virginia. John Denver must have been sitting in Harper’s Ferry when he wrote that song. But there’s the New River Gorge Bridge at 1:18

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        • Okay. Looking at Google Maps, that’s smack dab in the middle of the state.

          According to Todd Howard, we should buy Skyrim again and 76 is four times larger than Fallout 4. In Fallout 4, you could go from Walden to Fenway and that’s about 20 miles…

          Fayetteville is about 60 miles from Charleston…

          Man. I shouldn’t make myself this excited.

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  1. Bethesda just tweeted this:

    Introducing the Construction and Assembly Mobile Platform – or C.A.M.P.

    Build where you want and move it where you want. It’s the perfect way to make an impromptu home for you and your friends.

    And there’s a small gif.

    The interesting part of the tweet is “you and your friends” though.

    Me and my friends. I don’t know that that necessarily refers to the NPCs travelling with me…

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        • It’s still not entire clear to me if 76 will be multi player only, but the fact that their Starfield announcement says

          Welcome to #Starfield, our next-generation single-player epic, and first new franchise in 25 years.

          does strongly suggest that this is where their single player flag will be flying.

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          • FO 76 announcement has been a mess. You have a guy on stage saying “Oh, you can solo the whole thing” (although whether that means “you can play single player like it was an offline game” or “you don’t have to group to do anything” nobody knows).

            The video was heavy on MP (that’s the new feature, I get it) — I saw clear PvP and co-op. And of course you can “build anywhere”.

            But….nobody actually laid out the game design or philosophy, which is irritating. It’s like someone trying to sell you a car and they say “it’s got wheels, an engine, and doors”. Well duh, is it a truck? SUV? sedan? How many people does it seat? Mileage? Dear god, why can’t you give me basic details?

            So it this Destiny? Big open instanceswith large numbers of players, with smaller instances for 4 person groups? Or is this co-op Mass Effect, where you can play the game co-op and do PvP on the side? Is this an MMORPG? Is this Minecraft, where you can basically decide who can join your Fallout game — everyone, no one, friends?

            Last I checked, someone had asked about dedicated servers and Bethesda couldn’t answer which is a pretty critical question.

            Can I play pure PvE, or will I be forced into PvP? If I build a camp or a settlement, do I only have to worry about animals or other players? Can I just play with friends, or am I forced into a world with randoms?

            These are the sort of questions you’d think they’d answer. It worries me a lot that they either can’t or won’t. Won’t says “You won’t like the answers” and “can’t” says “We’re still not sure”, in which case why are you demoing anything?

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      • I really, really liked it for the first settlement you come to: Sanctuary. It’s a real treat.

        There’s also another settlement called “The Castle” that is kinda fun.

        The rest of the settlements (and there are dozens… seriously, I am not using hyperbole) are less than awesome. They’re nuisances. You’re doing a quest and you find yourself interrupted because you have to help one of your settlements. You’ll find yourself shuffling your settlers around the various settlements just to make sure that only three or four of your settlements have people in them (and they’re maxxed out with 20 people) and the rest are empty.

        You can defend settlements with turrets and traps and whatnot but it’s easier to just build 3 or 4 big ones, defend the heck out of them, and just have the rest of the settlements be ghost towns.

        Of course, there are a handful of people who *LOVED* the settlement thing and so they scoured the wasteland for every little thing they possibly could to make sure that their world was teeming with life and settlers.

        Me, personally? I was happy with two big settlements and letting the rest go to heck.

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          • Would you like to see one of the straws I am grasping at?

            Here it is.

            I trust it as much as I trust any greentext.

            But, golly, it’s like the person who wrote it knew just how to lie to me in the best way that would do the most harm to me when I found out the truth, didn’t they?

            Fingers are crossed.

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              • Two?

                The problem is that I know that Todd Howard loves this stuff. As much as I enjoy making fun of him, I know that, deep down, he wants to make games that he wants to play.

                I’m also pretty sure that he was paying attention during Bioware’s… whatever the heck it was that happened to them. They switched from making games that sold hand over fist and got lambasted by the critics for rehashing the Hero’s Journey *AGAIN* to… well. Mass Effect: Andromeda had all of its DLC cancelled. Anthem is seen as a make or break game for Bioware now and I’m not sure that the world has been thirsty for Bioware’s take on Destiny.

                Maybe I’m wrong… but if *I* know this, I’m pretty sure that Todd Howard knows this.

                I mean, after EA got rid of that Star Wars singleplayer game, Todd Howard started the #SavePlayer1 hashtag. Surely he knew that multiplayer in his games had to be something you did in addition to the main story rather than being the main part of the game if he did that, right?

                Surely he’s not so stupid that he’d start that campaign and give us Rust…

                Right?

                He can’t be that stupid. Surely not.

                (But I remember when I started up Mass Effect 3 and my face didn’t import, my first impulse was to say “oh, wouldn’t you know it, I happened to find the *ONE* combination of facial features that didn’t translate from Mass Effect to Mass Effect 3!” rather than “uh-oh…”. I hope that I’m not doing that again. Surely I’m not so dumb that I would do something like that again…)

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                • Well, there’s this exchange here:

                  @bethesda @BethesdaStudios @Fallout @DCDeacon What happened to #SavePlayer1??— Echo the Wolf (@EchoTheWuff) June 11, 2018

                  We just showed a bunch of them— Pete Hines (@DCDeacon) June 11, 2018

                  I think, maybe, they realize that if they don’t have a large single-player experience in Fallout 76, they’d best get the DLC teams on it pronto lest they experience something akin to Star Wars Battlefront’s microtransaction controversy. Now, I don’t know that EA could have possibly handled that any worse than they did… but surely Bethesda knows that they want to avoid situations that they have to handle with finesse. Surely.

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  2. Huh, now I see looking at the twitter links that Bethesda went for a triple play and announced a new Elder Scrolls and the Starfield thing thats been talked about.

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    • Part of me says “Starfield? You mean Skyrim in space?” and then I think about typing a whole bunch of Ls and Os over and over again but my hand is stayed by the fact that I would love to play Skyrim in space.

      I mean, like, I’d go out of my way to Pre-Order it.

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  3. I fear Fallout 76 isn’t going to be my cup of tea. It immediately brought to mind Sea of Thieves. In SoT, you can solo (or group), but you’re on a server with X number of random players that can grief you mercilessly. The defining feature of that game is the lack of content. They depended on “emergent gameplay” to do all the lifting.

    F76 will have quests, but the radiant variety in FO4 are no better than SoT’s generic quests. The bestiary, at least, will be better and it already seems to give us more entirely new creatures than FO4 did (thought what’s up with the Deathclaws and Super Mutants that shouldn’t be there?) And, of course, there’s the building. It wasn’t my favorite part of FO4. And if they’re still using the Creation Engine, which I fully expect they will be, it’ll have many of the same quirks.

    And if we’re forced to play on Bethesda’s servers, that likely means no mods (at least none that aren’t the paid Creation Kit variety). Modders have long helped fill in the gaps on Bethesda games, especially with the interface on PC, which has been serviceable but clunky since Oblivion.

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    • All of my confirmation bias sensors are useless in this situation so I can’t tell if the response is general excitement from real fans peppered with complaints from trolls or if the response is concerned fans peppered with praise from mindless fanboys who would cheer if they came out with a Very Special Edition of Skyrim.

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      • Here’s why I suspect the worst: It was unveiled at E3, and nobody can tell you what genre the game is.

        That’s like someone selling you a vehicle, and all they’ll tell you is about the paint job and how great the tires are, but won’t tell you if it’s a truck, SUV, motorcycle, or what. Even as the people they’re selling it to act very confused, and keep asking “So is this like a car, or a truck, or what?”

        This isn’t “Hey, we’re going to make a game and clearly we’ve just got some fuzzy ideas” — this is “We’re really far along, we have gameplay footage, and we’re just not going to tell you”.

        Refusing to define what sort of game it is, refusing to release basic details of gameplay is suspicious. Bethesda’s marketing department has not been struck by an outbreak of total idiocy, so they’re being vague and careful with their wording on purpose.

        And the most likely explanation is “Because we don’t think Fallout fans are gonna like it”.

        Here’s what I think: This is basically Rust: Fallout Edition. Everything they’ve said, and all the things they aren’t saying but should have point to this. (Especially that bit about how everyone you meet will be a human! So no NPCs, no quests, emergent gameplay based on what, exactly? Oh wait, PvP. No matter what it starts as, it’ll end up PvP).

        But admitting that means a crap-top of Fallout fans tune out. “Screw it, not interested”. Which means your word of mouth dies. There’s a ton of cheap or even free survival crafting games. Getting people to pay Triple-A prices for one, on an IP known entirely for being a RPG? By a company known primarily for RPGs?

        Rust and DayZ gamers do not have a huge overlap with Fallout gamers.

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  4. No more thoughts on Fallout 76. It’s about Cyberpunk 2077 now.

    Lifted from ResetEra:

    Cyberpunk Info from GameSpot Stream:

    Game is FPS perspective
    FPS perspective made to feel more personal
    RPG with Shooter Elements not a Shooter with RPG elements
    Multiple different progression systems (Skills, Perks, etc.)
    V, protagonist – urban merc/hired gun.
    Full character creation system (Gender, Looks, Lifepath/Backstory)
    You DO NOT pick classes in the beginning, class system is fluid based on choices
    Dystopian Cyberpunk future shown in sunlight on purpose. Full Day/Night Cycle. Noir themes bleed through environment and aesthetic
    Characters from Cyberpunk 2020 lore will appear
    Netrunner Techie and Solo are main focused classes
    You can combine classes
    Optional classes exist (like Rockerboy and Corporate) and you can pull perks from them to add into your own custom class
    Story and quest system from Witcher 3 is implemented into Cyberpunk similarly.
    Choice and consequence is HUGE. Emphasized that the game is an RPG first and foremost
    Story is personalized by player choice.
    Combat – Ranged combat and Melee combat. Learned lessons from Witcher 3. FPS Melee combat.
    Weapons – 3 branches – Power Weapons (heavy hitting/stagger), Tech Weapons (penetrating through cover), Smart Weapons (tracking/following)
    Vehicles – Motorcycles, Cars, hinted at flying cars.
    V is a fully voiced character. Both Male and Female completely voiced.
    V’s personality is shaped by player. Backstory and interactions shape V’s personality.
    Cyberpunk is a dark dystopia in the same vein as Witcher 3 being Dark Fantasy
    Details of the world – everything has a purpose. World design was a huge focus in setting the tone.
    Night City – in between SF and LA (fictional city). Inspired by both cities.
    6 unique districts in the city. Each area has its own feel on top of the base Noir feel
    Exploration is encouraged.
    Witcher was horizontally huge, Cyberpunk is vertically huge.
    You can enter buildings, Mega Buildings exist as well with multiple floors and multiple areas to explore within a single building.
    No level scaling. 2 forms of XP – Core XP – Main Missions and Street Cred – Side missions
    Higher Street Cred opens new exclusive vendors and fixers (new jobs)

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    • I’m guardedly optimistic about Cyberpunk 2077. Its tabletop predecessor has been one of my favorites since I discovered it in middle school, I’ve been a huge fan of its namesake genre for a little bit longer (indeed, it led my to the RPG), and it’s obviously fertile ground for gaming.

      I think it’s both awesome and a great sign that CD Projekt Red has involved Mike Pondsmith, the creator of the original game.

      So my expectations could get out of control.

      But, well, I’ve played the Witcher games. The first was not great but promising.

      The second one was superb IMO.

      The third… I had overwhelmingly high hopes for, and I only kind of liked it. It was just so stuffed full of open world stuff that I ended up getting exhausted before I could really get into the game.

      So there’s a lot of potential but I really want to avoid getting too hyped. Even if they’re doing everything they can to break down my willpower with trailers like this.

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      • I can’t wait to be that exhausted.

        I would rather pay $150 for a game that entertains me for six months than $50 for 3 games that entertain me for 2 months each. There are only a handful of games that come close to doing that sort of thing: the Fallouts (until 76, anyway), Mass Effect 1 & 2 (pretty much every Bioware game until Dragon Age 2), the Batman Arkham series…

        Looks like Cyberpunk 2077 is a game that will be able to pull that off.

        It’s been a long time.

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