RAB: The Social Contract, A Lack of Mystery, and the PS5

I discovered something very interesting today.  My boss put me on a “project” (something that she didn’t want to do and I got roped into doing) which had me reviewing stuff about highway safety.  It was tedious, but there were some points that genuinely stuck out to me.  Did you know that there are no official rules about right-of-way at a 4-way stop?  No joke, there is nothing in law, outside of giving pedestrians the right of way and to yield to whoever has the right of way.  But nothing says who goes first.  Which means that the rules about whoever got their first being able to go first is all just something that people adhere to.

That’s called the “social contract.”  A set of behaviors that people agree to in order to facilitate societal cohesion.  Like how you never ask a woman her age.  I found it so fascinating that one of the big things about driving that I have been taught my entire life is just something that people obey because of a social contract.  That’s wild!  Makes you wonder what other activities that people take part in that have no basis in written rules of any kind, but are followed by the public at large.

Another thing that has been on my mind is the fact that there are a lot of games that I am really stoked for, but don’t feverishly look up anymore because there’s no mystery about them.  I don’t mean that the game is spoiled, but there’s nothing to ponder about.  I know when Cyberpunk 2077 is coming out.  Same with Death Stranding.  Before I did, I used to look up both games every day, wondering if there was anything new revealed.  Now, I know when both of them are dropping so I can just sit back and wait.

Don’t get me wrong, I am so eager for them.  You cannot believe how much I want them.  But it’s just a waiting game now.  Doesn’t help that my waiting is done at a job where I am done with everything in an hour and then have to find something to do to pass the time for the other seven and a half.  Each day is slower and more tedious than the last.  Back before I knew all this, it would be looking at the latest news.  Something leaking or an interview.  Still wonder how CD Projekt Red managed to keep the fact that Keanu Reeves plays a major role in Cyberpunk 2077 a secret.  I joked with a friend that they must have signed a contract stating that if anyone leaked that, CDPR was going to hunt them and their families down like wild animals.  Or sue them into oblivion.  In the age of endless leaks, it’s hard to keep anything under wraps.

That’s not to say there’s nothing that I am not filled with mystery about.  It’s all but confirmed now that The Last of Us: Part II is dropping in 2020, but the date is still a mystery.  There’s also Ghost of Tsushima, which has had precious little talked about it.  I get the feeling that Sony is going to do something big in the not-too-distant future.  They skipped E3, so they have to be planning something absolutely massive.  It will probably be the unveiling of their latest console.  I’m hoping that they also drop some stuff about their latest games.

Sony said recently that they want to focus on big AAA-titles with their next console, since that is scoring them HUGE sales figures and critical acclaim.  Hit after hit, without a single exception.  It’s understandable.  So if they come out of the gate of their next console debut with nothing but exclusives for them, it would score points.

Though, the PS5 is going to be a huge thing everyone is wondering about.  Specs info is leaking, which is leading people to think that this console is going to be both very powerful, and very expensive.  Here’s the thing – the big question is about backwards-compatibility.  It’s already been confirmed that PS4 games will play on it.  But the rumors about this console going further back persist.  If that’s true, and this console can play games from all its eras, Sony is basically printing money.  Expensive console be damned, they would be printing money.

Maybe there is more to have mystery about.  Still, the wait is long, and I am not a patient man.  If I had a job that wasn’t so easy and time passed quicker, maybe I would be.

Until next time, a quote,

“Oh summer child…” – Old Nan, Game of Thrones

Peace out,

Maverick

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SIONR: Sony Admits to Censoring Sexual Content in New Games

Something people have been talking about for a long time now, and it’s finally been verified.  And it’s something that pisses me off.  Why?  Because now we have a major gaming platform that has openly admitted that it is going to censor the free expression of those who make gaming content.  It’s bullshit.  Weapons grade bullshit.  It will stifle creativity, and what’s more, I think it is going to fuck up one of the games I am most excited for.  I’m talking about Sony finally admitting that they are censoring sexually explicit content in gaming.  Here’s a link to an article, now let’s talk about it.

In a statement to the Wall Street Journal, Sony said that they are placing a strict limit on the sexual content that comes to games that go to the PS4.  Why?  Why do you think?  Because of all the #MeToo bullshit.  I should have seen this coming.  I really should have.  When Spider-Man: Homecoming had Mary Jane be SJW-tastic, I should have seen this coming.  Of all the movies that are basically Social Justice: The Movie, they seem to oscillate between Disney and Sony.  But now it’s finally come to their console.  It pisses me off.

I mean, why?!  Oh right, because they don’t want to “inhibit the sound growth and development of younger players.”  What a crock of shit.  But the source I cited did point out that the reason for this is almost certainly because of the fact that the PS4 is so big on streaming.  It’s a key part of the console’s features.  So naturally, young people can see games with naughty naughty things in them.  You know, because parents exist now just to put their kids in front of screens.  So the social justice gaming journalism circle-jerk has certainly written about this ad nauseum.  They’ve been trumpeting this shit for as long as I’ve been alive.

The source I cited definitely is pro-social justice.  They make a point in a positive that Sony is “taking a critical look at how game’s content portrays women.”  Yeah, because these digital women who don’t actually exist in the real world need to be protected, right?  Because fuck a developer’s creative freedom.  We have Sony being puritans.  This is such bullshit.  I wonder what would happened to Quiet in Metal Gear Solid V on their console if the game had been released now.

What’s more, Sony acknowledges that devs don’t like this, but their response – deal with it.  That’s just brilliant.  Creative freedom?!  Fuck that!  Artistic expression and not stifling the artist?!  But women, Lucien!  And I can already hear the social justice wankers response – if you don’t like it, don’t play it.  You know, maybe yeah.  I’m a console pleb.  Been all my life.  It’s easy.  You just buy a game, put the disc in, and play it.  That convenience has always been valuable to me.  But now I have my console of choice telling me, flat-out, that I can’t trust what they release anymore.  That now everything that comes to them goes through a puritanical censor first.

The reason this makes me so upset is that one of the games that I am most stoked for this year, Cyberpunk 2077, has already said that they are going to have explicit content in the game.  You can date, hook up with character in the game.  There’s also the fact that it’s a violent world where bad things happen to men and women.  Like in that demo where you see the naked bodies in the bathtub and you have to pull one of them out.  Guess that’s out in the game!  Same with scenes where if I choose to foster any relationships, I guess I get the neutered version of any intimacy.  It’s all such bullshit!

I like games where I can build relationships with characters.  It’s a big part of why I game.  So the fact that we have a company who has said that this new project, that looks so fucking awesome, also has that factor and even has it that you can grow relationships and get intimate?  That’s cool!  Wish I got to see Shepherd and Garrus hook up in the Mass Effect games.  Femshep was my girl, and Garrus is the coolest bro ever.  The thing that will never be.

One developer rightly pointed out that if you stifle the creativity of developers, you just push this stuff into niches.  And they will.  And people will go there.  Whether it’s to get their pervvy fix, or to get a game that isn’t afraid to go physical with stuff.  They will go to where the content is.  It’s funny, but people have defended game companies kowtowing to social justice by saying that they don’t want to lose customers.  I guess Sony is cool losing revenue too.  Because how much money will they lose on people going somewhere else?  Fucking Nintendo is letting explicit content onto their console!  Nintendo!  They are the family friendly icon, Sony!  What the fuck is your excuse?!  Oh right – Wahmen.

Creative freedom is looking more and more uncertain in the years to come.  I don’t like that.  I believe that all ideas and expression belong in the open marketplace of ideas.  But I know that I am in a minority on that.  A real shame, but whatever.  In the meantime – you fuck with my Cyberpunk 2077, Sony, and there will be Hell to pay!

Until next time, a quote,

“Won’t somebody PLEASE think of the children?!” – Helen Lovejoy, The Simpsons

Peace out,

Maverick

SIONL: Death Stranding is Gonna Explode

The Tokyo Game Show just happened, and we got to see a new trailer for Kojima’s latest project, Death Stranding.  While morons are going to say that they don’t understand (seriously, I saw a trailer where someone outright said they watched the trailer three times and still didn’t understand it.  What was so fucking complicated?!) what this is, I couldn’t be more stoked.  In this age where everyone wants to have all their questions spoon-fed to them with all the creative mystery of a ham sandwich, Kojima is keeping all his cards close.  And praise that man for it!  The mystery has my anticipation so fucking high.

Sony has been on such a massive winning streak lately with their exclusives.  This year has had three, and all three were massively successful.  And good.  God of War was an engaging narrative and a beautiful story of a father and son.  Detroit: Become Human was David Cage doing his thing, and while it isn’t for everyone, for those who can appreciate his craft, it was pretty awesome.  Finally, we got Marvel’s Spider-Man.  Easily the best game in its genre, and with three pieces of DLC that the devs have promised are not just busy work but substantive story expansions, it isn’t done yet.

Last year, we had two major exclusives from Sony, both of which were so good that I had the hardest time ever picking which was my favorite.  My favorite and second-favorite games of last year, they were – Persona 5 and Horizon: Zero Dawn.  It seems that Sony is really banking on great exclusives now, and hot shit!  There is some of the best quality material I have seen in YEARS coming from them.  And more is coming.  This year at E3, we got to see three major gameplay demos from three of their biggest upcoming projects – Ghost of Tsushima, The Last of Us: Part 2, and Kojima’s latest project, Death Stranding.

I have no reason to believe that the first two listed are not going to be amazing.  This tactic of showing demos specifically to get people to see what the quality they can expect is brilliant, in my book.  Sure, fast-paced trailers with big, bombastic set-pieces are fun and all, but that’s not my jam.  I like a trailer that feels like I am diving in and seeing what I am getting for my money.  Already I can hear people typing, asking why I am taking Kojima’s shtick of giving very little substantive info in his trailers.  Well, that’s a different kind of charm.

Here’s the thing to know – anyone who knows videos games knows that Hideo Kojima is something of an insane perfectionist.  If a game doesn’t come out to the exact quality he wants, he won’t release it.  The only reason MGSV released half-finished was because of the fallout with Konami.  So his continual teasing, making the urge for nerdgasm so strong just titillates me so much. And with the most recent trailer, there is no doubt in my mind – this game is going to be unbelievable!  It will be a hallmark game that will define this latest console generation, along with the new direction Sony is taking.  While Microsoft scrounges in the dirt for exclusives, and Nintendo keeps remaking the same games, over and over again with the fewest tertiary changes, Sony is giving massive budgets to developers who want to do amazing things.  And it’s working!  It’s paying massive dividends.

At the beginning of the year, God of War smashed sales records.  Just recently, Marvel’s Spider-Man did as well.  Perhaps gamers are figuring out that Sony’s new direction of amazing exclusives is churning out some of the best games in generations?  A thought.  Meanwhile, in the case of Death Stranding, I am certain beyond any doubt that this game is going to explode.  Just explode.  The new trailer shows so much.  For starters, Troy Baker is back!  Anything with him in it, at his A-game, I immediately know is going to be amazing.  He is easily my favorite male voice actor right now.  He can pretty-much do no wrong.  But as the YouTuber YongYea figured out, Stefanie Joosten, of Quiet fame from MGSV is back as well!  The cast for this game couldn’t possibly be anymore set.  On name recognition alone, this game is going to sell.  We have Norman Reedus, who will appeal to Boondock Saints fans, and The Walking Dead fans.  We have Guillermo Del Toro who is only donating his likeness to the game, but that will appeal to fans of his films.  We have Lea Seydoux, who will appeal to fans of French films.  She’s a crazy talented actress.  We have Mads Mikkelsen, who will appeal to Casino Royale fans.  Lastly, we have Kojima himself as the creator, who will appeal to Metal Gear Solid fans.  With this much weight behind it, this game is almost certain to set some sales records.  It will premiere to massive numbers.

This couldn’t have me more excited.  Knowing that Troy Baker is back, as a villain who has a kind of asshole charm to him, this game is bringing so much to the table.  And the mysteries keep piling up.  So, what is this weird fluidic substance, and it’s connection to the other world?  How can certain people control it?  What are these monsters that wander the landscape, some of whom can be seen, and other can’t?  What is Mad Mikkelsen’s connection to it all?  The panel said that he is the main villain of the story.  All the questions I could ask for.

But the real beauty of it all is that the wait won’t be much longer!  Kojima has said that there has been no delay in the game.  Some time ago, he said that his game was going to be finished before the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.  At first I wondered if that was a reference to something I figured he might, but wrote that off.  But at the end of the panel, he confirmed my suspicion.  He said that the game is going to be finished to correlate with the date that the legendary anime film Akira was set.  Know what that means?  2019 confirmed!  I couldn’t be more excited.  I can feel it, the next trailer is going to have a release date.  This will be the one.  I cannot wait to get my hands on it.

Until next time, a quote,

“Well shit, I had a special surprise prepped and everything, but it looks to me like your hands are full.  It’s no biggie.  We can always tweak the rules a bit.” – The Man With the Golden Mask, Death Stranding

Peace out,

Maverick

SIONR: Venom is NOT Going to be R-Rated

I couldn’t believe it when I saw the headlines.  News outlet after news outlet confirming my worst fears.  A movie based on one of the most violent anti-heroes in the Marvel comic book universe is going to be PG-13.  Oh, I’m sorry, it’s going to be “hard PG-13.”  Fuck that noise!  Yeah right!  That’s bullshit meant to try and appease the fans who actually were expecting legitimate violence.  You know, like the comic book character has.  But nope!  That is all a lie.  A depressing, corporate lie.  Calling it right now, this is not going to have a single thing that risks anything when it comes to their latest work.  Because why take any risks, when you can make more money down the road?!

The success of films like Deadpool, Deadpool 2, and Logan really has seemed to slip the minds of Hollywood producers.  Instead of thinking that there is a market for this stuff among old-school comic book nerds, they choose to completely turn a blind eye.  If that were actually the case.  I think we all know the real truth here.  Sony wants to get some of the sweet MCU cheddar.  It’s pretty clear that, while they say they are going to be going away from Marvel for their next Spider-Man films, they obviously aren’t.  No fucking way.  Homecoming was WAY too much of a success for them not to notice that these people got it going on.  So instead of doing something that is an ACTUAL risk, they choose to play it safe and market on risque.  Well fuck you, Sony!  I see through your tricks, and I’m not biting!

Not much to say here, really.  All of that potential.  You have Venom talking in the trailer about killing people and brutally dismembering them.  Now we know, don’t we?!  It was all talk!  The actual film is going to have PG-13 violence.  PG-13, bloodless, “tasteful” violence.  What a waste of a fucking concept.  Is this all that Hollywood can do at this point?  That’s not me just trying to be an asshole.  I actually want to know.

I talked in a previous post about how Hollywood is going so far out of their way to make movies that are safe for marketing in China. As I am to understand it, both Deadpool and Logan were not.  So, despite them being smashing successes here in the US, they died overseas.  And because all Sony film studios know how to do is to tow whatever line they think will make them the most money (and has produced some of the biggest piles of shit in recent memory), we get to see a good concept be given the finger.

Well I’m not playing, Sony!  Fuck Venom!  I’m not seeing it.  At least not in theaters.  Maybe I’ll Netflix it when it comes out.  And all of you shouldn’t either!  If you pay money to see this dumpster fire in theaters, you are tacitly admitting to Sony that if they do this, the fans are just going to accept it.  Go ahead, fuck what we love up the ass!  We’ll still pay for it!  That’s what you’re saying when you do that.  I refuse to be a part of this chicanery!  You all do what you want, I’m not playing.

There was real potential here.  A Venom movie about all the offspring of the titular character, culminating in Venom v Carnage.  Now THAT is a fight I can go for!  So long as Carnage has a body and guts count that would make the Saw movies blush!  That’s his character in the comics!  But instead, we have PG-13 violence.  More of that Hunger Games kinda violence.  That’s the Venom you all get.  Are you satisfied.  If you give Sony your money, then that tells them that the answer is yes.

Oh, and all the shill movie news websites saying this is a good thing – fuck you!  Fuck right off with that crap.  You all want the precious advertising money.  We’ve seen how Sony will try and manipulate the public through the media.  Just look at all the YouTube personalities that who came out saying that Ghostbusters (2016) was funny!  It wasn’t!  It was a giant pile of shit, just like pretty much everything else that comes out of your talentless studio!  It is so patently obvious that you are doing whatever you can to try and make it out to be less shit than it will be.

Like I said, not going to see it.  Not doing a review on it.  This movie is dead to me, unless the voices I trust come out with reviews that say that this movie beat the fucking odds in a spectacular way.  But they won’t.  It’s going to suck.  Thankfully, one news magazine had the right thoughts on this.  I’ll close out with that.

Until next time, a quote,

“Right now, Venom is shaping up to be one of 2018’s biggest disasters, and it’s not just because the “turd in the wind” line is what’s sufficing for humor in the movie.” – Matt Goldberg

Peace out,

Maverick

SIONR: I Don’t Think Venom Will Be An R-Rated Movie

I really don’t, and it’s bugging me.  There was a new trailer released today.  The CG is polished, the character is definitely looking the part.  We see our villain, the Riot symbiote, and we get to hear Venom have very violent talks with people.  All of that stuff should be excellent to think about.  But there is something that keeps dogging on me.  Something that I can’t get out of my head, and at this point it is REALLY starting to eat away at me.  It’s the culmination of a bunch of things I have seen that got me to this sudden realization – I don’t think that this is going to be the R-rated movie we were promised.

The first clue was Tom Hardy saying that he got into this role because of his son.  Which means that he intends for the kiddo to see this movie.  Which means that he feels it is kid appropriate.  That doesn’t give me much confidence.

Next up was the trailer itself.  There are a number of things that caught my attention.  First, we keep being told about violence, but we never see any.  In fact, some of what we see contradicts the violence that is alluded to.  Example – we have Venom talking to a dude about eating his organs.  That sounds like fun!  Let’s see some violent action!  Oh wait, you see a couple seconds later him throw the dude.  It’s so fast that I didn’t catch it the first time, but I tend to rewatch things over and over.  It’s a bad habit.  It’s why I should avoid trailers, probably.  Especially since modern trailers tend to ruin the whole damn film.

Then there is a scene where Riot is letting loose with its giant clawed arms.  It is slashing outward at everyone who is directly in front of it.  Awesome!  Oh wait, it shows everyone being knocked over.  What?!  You would be dismembering everyone in that room!  Where’s the blood?!  Why is there not a single drop of blood in any of that?!  That scene in-particular really is rubbing me the wrong way.  The bulk of the people in that room should be headless, or mutilated in some horrible way.  But they’re not! You can see that they’re not!  No blood.  No gore.  No nothing!

Finally, we have this bit where Venom is accosting what I presume to be a robber or something.  He is talking about how he is going to rip his arms and legs off, then his face off and roll him down the street like a turd.  That line, by the way, was pretty great.  That’s Venom!  But as he’s biting down, it cuts away.  Okay, fine.  This is a trailer for all audiences, so that makes sense.  Here’s the problem – if he actually did this, there should be blood everywhere!  Just, everywhere.  That woman at the check-out stand should be horrified, with blood all over either her register or that and her.  It would make Tom Hardy’s line there trying to play it off that much better. Because he just did this horrible thing, then says “bye, Mrs. Chang!”  Like how in Deadpool you have Colossus grilling the titular character about his violent methods, and him trying to play it off, only for a dude who was splattered all over the billboard to come crashing down.  That was funny!  Making it a little more grotesque would still make that work.

You know what this movie needs, if it is going to sell how violent it is?  A Red Band trailer.  Now more than ever.  Because I am convinced that all the people who think this is going to be a crazy violent superhero film was duped.  I’m one of them!  I genuinely believed the articles talking about this.  But now I am almost positive that that isn’t what is going to happen.  This movie is going to be mass-market appeal.  The nerds who like Venom for the violent bastard he is?  Fuck them!  Gotta make a family feature!  Yay….

I am happy that they aren’t just jumping right into Carnage in this movie.  It’s taking the comic story of all the offspring of Venom.  That’s kinda neat.  I am also really liking the design of this character.  Clearing up the voice to show that it is Tom Hardy is also really great.  It kills me that I am so reserved, because it’s clear that Tom Hardy is genuinely trying in this film.  Nothing in the trailer tells me he isn’t putting his all into this performance.  But this movie has been marketed as another entry into the violent superhero genre, and now I am almost dead-certain that that isn’t how this is going to play out.  That bums me.

Does this mean that the film will suck?  No.  But fucking with people’s expectations is going to REALLY hurt it in reviews.  If Sony is just blowing smoke about the violence in this movie, I think they should come out now and make a statement about it.  Better to get this expectation tempered before the reviews come out and crucify the film.  Head it off.  Otherwise, put out a Red Band trailer.  Let the adults who are expecting this to be violent get a little vindication.  Just a thought.

Until next time, a quote,

“So many sacs, so little time.” – Venom, Venom

Peace out,

Maverick

The Death of Nuance in Gaming Culture

Everywhere I look, I feel more and more at odds with the nerd culture.  E3 was the best example.  Sony’s press conference had me getting to see some pretty awesome trailers.  Their choice to make their four biggest draws into not trailers but full on gameplay demos was fantastic!  It had me on the edge of my seat.  First there was Ghost of Tsushima.  A game that looks like the perfect homage to samurai culture.  I’ve been DYING for a game like this for so long.  Ever since a brilliant artist did an idea for an Assassin’s Creed game set in Japan.  Now it’s happening!  Except not tied to that franchise.

Next up there was The Last of Us: Part II.  Here’s where I felt my experience waver.  See, I know that Neil Druckmann has this HUGE chip on his shoulder when it comes to social justice.  He takes what Anita Sarkeesian says very seriously.  I’ve been replaying Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End, and it’s there as well.  But that doesn’t stop him from writing good stuff.  It’s a balancing act in my eyes.  See, I don’t hate something with a social justice bend so long as the narrative is engaging and the characters are good.  And since this is a sequel to one of my favorite games of all time, the pressure certainly is on here.

So when I saw this game had a LONG opening segment that goes all post-apocalyptic 90210 on me, it rubbed me the wrong way.  Especially when the trailer has all the diversity of a college campus.  And the girl that Ellie starts sucking face with is more and more reminding me of Sarkeesian herself.  Which has me wondering if this character is written so he can fanboy all over her.  That’s…weird, and off-putting.  It keeps taking me out of the moment of actually liking the trailer.

Then we get to the gameplay stuff and hot damn is it back to form!  Granted, the person playing is a fucking idiot who should be dropping their enemies to keep them from raising the alarm, but whatever.

We then get to the trailer that had me really at odds with everyone in nerd culture that I follow on Twitter – Death Stranding.  I really loved that trailer.  It showed me the world, elements of play, and gave me some neat insight into the characters.  I got to see new characters be introduced and I learned about the world.  Then there was that tense bit with the shadow creatures that reminded me of The Sorrow boss battle and I was stoked.  But that’s not what I saw online.

Person after person bitching and moaning about how this trailer told them nothing and how they don’t know how to feel.  I fucking lost it.  Where is the appreciation of nuance with these mother-fuckers?!  Oh my god, they didn’t spoon-feed how you’re supposed to feel about this new game!  Say it isn’t so!  You actually have to think about it and come to your own conclusions!  The horror!  Fuck me! People posting on Twitter mocking both the trailer and Kojima himself because they weren’t given something that told them everything.

Everyone seems to believe that this game is giving them another Metal Gear type of game, and if they don’t get it then they are sad.  But it might not.  Kojima has said that this game doesn’t start a super-badass action hero.  It stars a normal man who is in way over his head in crazy circumstance, but he stays a normal man.  It strikes me that because of Kojima’s reputation, everyone is hoping for something and not being open to what this game may end up being.  It may be a game where you do little to no fighting at all.  You may have to hide.  Or it may be a narrative-focused game where the goal of gameplay is in exploring the world.  But the mystery is there, and it’s part of why I am still super stoked.  Because this could be anything and I think that’s exciting.

But it seems I’m in a minority on that.  Everywhere I look it’s people wanting to be spoon-fed.  Or they just want something to get them pumped.  Having to think about something critically?  Fuck that!  I want my nerdgasm!  Part of me wishes Sony had chosen to end on that, just so all the troglodytes in there got to walk out feeling like someone had pissed in their coffee.

So many people screaming Bethesda’s praises from the hills.  I am not among them.  The only thing in their little conference that even appeals to me is the sequel to the excellent DOOM game.  That has me pumped.  Everyone else was dead weight in my eyes.  Then Nintendo takes the stage and it’s “SMASH BROS!  YAY!” all over the goddamn place.  I…I don’t care about that.  I stopped following Nintendo pretty closely a long time ago.  I can only play the same game but with more shit so many times before I start to realize that their formula doesn’t ever change.  But I guess that’s what people want.  If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, I guess?  I’m sure there’s some nuance there that people will accuse me of missing.

“They’re not the same games!  The new Legend of Zelda was open world!”  What’s that?  So Wind Waker just didn’t happen?  Okay.  “But Lucien, more characters!”  Neat.  That looks interesting, I suppose.  But it’s the same game.  New characters, new stages, but that’s it.  I guess it’s supposed to be a system seller.  I can see that.  Nintendo seems to have enough fanboys around.

I just feel like I’m missing something here.  Like, everywhere I turn I see myself at odds with what the prevailing thought is.  I was more engaged with Sony’s offerings than anyone else’s because the games looked interesting and they took the quality over quantity approach with their big hitters.  I wanted to see big demos that showed off and they delivered.  But there’s everyone hating it.  Bethesda releases trailers that are basically just nerdgasm fuel, and everyone loses it.  Sure, I felt myself getting kinda pumped for the DOOM sequel.  It’s on Earth now, which is fun.  Though that does leave me wondering what happened back on Mars, since the guy told me at the end he would be seeing me again.  Still, cool, I guess.

Maybe this is me getting older.  I just don’t feel the draw to hype fuel.  I’d rather see what I’m getting into and really feel some sense of attachment to it.  It’s how I can stomach the 90210 shit in The Last of Us: Part II trailer, because I know that Neil Druckmann might have a chip on his shoulder but he still can write good stuff and I want to know if he does it again.  I game for stories.  It’s all care about.  Sure, if the gameplay sucks, I can’t get into it, but the story is what everything hinges on.  I don’t care how good the gameplay is, if the story sucks, I hate it.  It’s why I REALLY didn’t like Rise of the Tomb Raider, even though its gameplay improves upon the previous game.  The story was boring and the villains were stupid.

Or perhaps it comes down to me being the analytical type.  I love to dissect things, both what I love and what I hate.  I could go on and on about the things I like for hours, or how much the things I hate suck ass.  It’s part of the fun for me, because when things are good, I mean really good, it gives me such a healthy appreciation for the craftsmanship that goes into them and being able to revel in that final product.  Or if there is something that is really good but still has its flaws, it gives me a greater appreciation for what it does right and I can laugh at the parts that don’t work and think about how it could be improved upon.  Over-thinking is something I am guilty of, but that’s part of the fun in my eyes.

But I’m starting to realize that I am in a minority here.  A very lonely minority.  I see nuance and get excited over mysteries.  I don’t like to be spoon-fed things and come to my own conclusions (another part of why I hated the 90210 shit.  Because it felt like Druckmann was trying to score SJW points since their opinion matters to him).  I don’t get the nerdgasm anymore.  Now I get the more reserved sense of excitement wondering what I’ll learn next.

What do you all think?  Let me know in the Comments

Until next time, a quote,

“The worst thing to be is all alone with other people.” – Quinn Pierce

Peace out,

Maverick

Lucien’s First Take: Death Stranding – E3 2018 Trailer

Finally, we get to the piece that I would say is the most controversial in that it still has people guessing.  This game has had a very strange hype cycle around it.  Everyone is wanting to be told everything about it, and I think that’s unfortunate.  It’s a Kojima game, so of course he’s going to play things close to the vest.  During the Sony press conference, I saw person after person bitching about this.  It was unfortunate, because when I saw this trailer, I was genuinely curious.  A lot like all the other trailers, it opens the door for more questions, but that’s not a bad thing.

Why is it that everyone wants everything spelled out for them?  We asked for gameplay, and we got it.  It’s just that the gameplay is as enigmatic as the story.  It always bugs me how everyone is looking to be spoon-fed everything.  When people were talking about the old Metal Gear Solid games, people had no idea what the first one was until they started playing it.  Even the box was enigmatic.  It had the title on a white background.  That told you nothing.  People who know Kojima know that this is his MO, so they why is everyone shocked that he doesn’t hold your fucking hand?  I swear, gamers are some of the biggest babies.

A lot like the last trailer, we’re going to be asking some questions, which I think is what this trailer was shooting for, so all of the good.  Let’s take a look.

 

Okay, so the first thing we see is…a baby’s ass.  This is how you know Kojima knows what he’s doing.  He did that deliberately to fuck with us.  People think that he doesn’t plan this stuff out, but you couldn’t be more wrong.  Baby gives us a thumb’s up and we’re off to the plot.

We have some chick and Norman Reedus talking about things that are a little vague.  At the very least, we learn that there are levels to what people who examine this world have, and that some people have the ability to see the creatures in the shadows, while our main character can feel them.  The chick offers him a job, but he turns her down.  There is some implication that what she does is dangerous, and he prefer what he does so he doesn’t have to be in that.

Now we get to the gameplay, and just like all the games I’ve talked about, the visuals are breath-taking.  We have Norman Reedus walking through a giant grassland that reminds me a lot of Scotland, for whatever reason.  You also see these spires going into the sky.  Landmarks of objectives?  That’s smart, given how you have this HUGE open area to traverse.

After more traversal of the landscape, we see Norman Reedus in a bath, washing away what appears to be blood from a lot of scrapes.  To me, this says that this world is dangerous as it is, and that’s why Reedus isn’t looking to get with the chick for her job when it is going to put him in even more danger.  He has his own problems.  Then we get to one of the weirder things – him carrying a corpse.  That’s kinda weird.  Why do they harvest bodies?

Then we see a destroyed metropolitan area.  This has me wondering if there was some kind of cataclysm and now the people in this world are having to survive in what’s life.  Kind of a post-apocalyptic sorta deal.  Lots of questions, which has me even more excited. More traversal, and we see Reedus pulling something really gross out of his foot.  That was so eww.  But has me wondering even more.

As he gets to the top of a ridge overlooking what appears to be a camp of some kind, he pulls out a gun.  Does this mean that there is fighting for resources?  More interesting questions.  I dig it.

Now we get to the various screens telling us things, and I think we get to the juicier stuff.  Like Norman Reedus trying to get a picture, but there is a weird shadow entity that seems to be walking on its hands, and wherever it presses down, grass grows.  That’s is surreal and creepy on a whole lot of levels, and it’s pretty clear that our main character is terrified of it.  As he tries again to get the picture he was going for, a hand grabs his, and we see…is that Lea Seydoux?  I remember her from Blue is the Warmest Color.  There’s a hard turn.  She’s dressed in pretty hardcore gear, so what is her deal?

Something I noticed about the scene after she arrives – did you catch that music?  Did that style not seem a little familiar?  Call me crazy, but since Kojima was originally intending to make a Silent Hill game with Norman Reedus and Guillermo Del Toro, and now he is basically doing the same collaboration in this game, it got me thinking.  Didn’t that music sound like Akira Yamaoka’s style?

We then get a bombshell thing that most people seem to have missed.  She says that she’s headed into town.  So there is SOME kind of infrastructure to this madness?  Is her logo on the outfit a faction?  This trailer is so good about giving us more and more questions, all of which I cannot wait to answer.  Next up we hear people on the radio talking to him, and it implies that whatever these creatures are, there is method to what they are doing as well.  Lea’s character alluded to as much as well.

Then we see that the baby that this dude carries around serves a kind of function.  The part of the machine that can detect the shadow creatures is contingent on using the baby.  That’s neat.  What follows is a genuinely tense scene where we see the shadow creatures above in a way that almost looks like The Sorrow boss fight from Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater.  Kojima couldn’t get away from the stealth gameplay, but that’s fine by me.  If the dude knows his shit, no sense telling him not to do what he’s good at.  The umbilical cords connecting the creatures implies some kind of mother organism.  That’s another neat clue that people don’t seem to want to pick up on.

After trying to dodge the creatures, they sight him and pull him into the ground.  Since I know that death in this game means being sucked into the much more violent purgatory realm, I figure that he didn’t actually fail in that section.  We also get Lea Seydoux eating a bug.  That’s gross, and weird, but she says that the eating of them is beneficial.  Dying to know why.

Finally, we get introduced to a blonde chick that seems to have some connection to Reedus, but he doesn’t know who she is.  Well dressed, but seems to exist in the purgatory universe of the game.  I wonder what her deal is.  So many questions.  It’s great.

Most people I talk to hate this trailer.  I love it.  Something that gives me more questions than answers while showing me the game is always for the better.  Do we want trailers that just spoil the whole damn thing?  I don’t.  Between movies and video games, so many trailers tell us everything there is to know and leave no room for interpretation.  Kojima loves him some intrigue and likes to keep gamers wondering right up to when we see what it is.  That’s what I like in his games.  You never truly know what to expect.  If all I had with games was the same shit over and over again, I would get bored very, very quickly.  Why is that what everyone wants?  It makes no sense to me.

Initial Verdict
Can’t wait to see what comes out next

Peace out,

Maverick