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Game News 2.0



  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Arts Moderators, Computer Games Moderators, Entertainment Moderators Posts: 27,775 CMod ✭✭✭✭ johnny_ultimate

    The fact that Microsoft first-party studios have given us Pentiment and Hi-Fi Rush as their last two exclusives is a very positive sign - two wonderful, creative games that probably wouldn't have been facilitated without the need for a supply of Game Pass 'content'. They're precisely the sort of smaller, quirkier games Sony doesn't support anymore (the very rare but welcome exception like Returnal aside, and even that was a full-price, highly-polished game), but always did in the past.

    My only concern is that Microsoft clearly want big, splashy AAA games as well to compete with Sony in that respect. I hope the push towards that doesn't come at the expense of these smaller - and almost certainly better - games. I'm not sure even a game as good as Hi-Fi Rush is the sort of game that crosses beyond an enthusiast audience, and I think a wider, casual audience is the one that MS really wants to court. Encouraging at least to see Hi-Fi Rush proving a decent hit on Steam though.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,795 ✭✭✭ McFly85

    Microsoft have done an excellent job on making Gamepass a service with a wide variety of different experiences, and it’s always a really nice surprise to find out when an indie game you’ve been following is day one there. For me, most big name Xbox titles hold no interest, and I would love a cheaper tier of GP that excluded them(which obviously isn’t going to happen).

    But, given the amount of studios at their disposal, their production of new IP has been really poor. The upcoming AAA games are games that had been in development prior to the takeover from Bethesda, and a new(and seemingly delayed) Forza game.

    Sony might play it safe with their big franchises(Open world story driven with RPG lite mechanics) but they manage their releases in a much better fashion, having a couple of big releases each year that they market very well. No reason why Xbox can’t do that itself, really.

  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Computer Games Moderators Posts: 48,395 CMod ✭✭✭✭ Retr0gamer

    They're the kind of games Sony used to make and champion on their systems. Now they just pump out generic triple A games, something that is already well served by the third party eco system. Sony used to plug the gaps in their library with quirky titles that gave the PS1 and PS2 a universal appeal. The PS4 and 5 in comparison just feel laser focused on the 'gamer' market. Their destruction of their Japan studio was a really bone headed move but Nintendo are reaping the benefit as they actively set out to hire as many former Japan Studio members for their internal teams and monolith soft.

  • Registered Users Posts: 25,355 ✭✭✭✭ TitianGerm

  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Arts Moderators, Computer Games Moderators, Entertainment Moderators Posts: 27,775 CMod ✭✭✭✭ johnny_ultimate

    And Bethesda is a first-party Microsoft company :) It was certainly deep into production before the acquisition was completed, but is exactly the type of game many people - myself included - want to see first-party studios making.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 31,208 ✭✭✭✭ Penn

    I know, I just mean that it's not one of the big franchise games from their big teams that they've bought, but instead a smaller studio (within Zenimax) that they were able to give the resources to to make a new, unique game just for them. I'd rather if MS focused on helping to build up smaller studios, either just signing them up to make a few exclusives for them or even buying the smaller studio, and build those studios up into their own version of Naughty Dog/Insomniac/Santa Monica, rather than just buying Zenimax/Acti-Blizz to make their previously multiplatform franchises exclusive to Xbox.

  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Computer Games Moderators Posts: 48,395 CMod ✭✭✭✭ Retr0gamer

    I really don't see any difference between the Microsoft acquisition of Bethesda and what Sony or even Nintendo do other than the scale. I keep hearing the 'Sony nurturing smaller studios' line from a lot of the Sony faithful trying to make out that somehow Sony is different and took a chance on smaller companies when these were quite ruthless buy outs of either massive established triple A studios or purchases of studios to fill gaps in their production line such ad Gaikai and Nixxies. I mean Microsoft have a bad record of mismanaging purchased studios but lets not pretend Sony are some kind of benevolent patron of the arts when they ruthless closed down/mismanaged the likes of Liverpool Studios, Evolution Studios, Zipper, Manchester Studios, Guerilla Cambridge and of course Japan Studios.

  • Registered Users Posts: 27,248 ✭✭✭✭ CastorTroy

    I know it's more a rare thing these days but without the push from Sony and being given on Plus, I doubt Stray would've got the reaction it did.

    But I do miss games like Concrete Genie and Rain.

  • Registered Users Posts: 31,208 ✭✭✭✭ Penn

    I definitely don't dispute the management of studios or closure of same by Sony. Regardless of whether Sony or MS tried to build up smaller studios and let them made what they want, that often doesn't work out and results in such closures (or mismanagement by Sony causing same through unrealistic expectations etc). Even Days Gone not hitting the heights Sony wanted it to and now Bend are being pushed onto something else rather than being given a chance to make a great sequel is a disappointing move on Sony's part.

    My point is just that MS are trying to use Sony's first party studios/exclusives as justification for why they're buying large existing publishers/developers, but Sony did build up those studios/exclusives over a long period of time, whereas MS are trying to buy existing ones to make those big franchises exclusive to Xbox (where those games mostly would have been on their platform anyway). I just would have been far more interested in MS getting studios to make new exclusives/franchises for them and show us new games, rather than just say "Fallout 5 is now Xbox exclusive", because personally that doesn't make me interested in Xbox.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,795 ✭✭✭ McFly85

    There is a clear difference between working with a studio to create a new IP and buying a publisher that owns hugely popular IP that has up until now been multi platform.

    There’s nothing stopping MS from working with smaller studios to create new IP and they’ve done it pretty well recently with the Ori games. But from a big, system seller perspective they’ve relied too much on years old IP that hasn’t really changed that much apart from a boost in graphics.

    I don’t think anyone is calling Sony a saint but when it comes to working with developers on creating exclusive games for their platform, they seem to be miles ahead.

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  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Computer Games Moderators Posts: 48,395 CMod ✭✭✭✭ Retr0gamer

    Who says Microsoft won't work with them to create new IP? It's also not like Sony fostered new ip with these companies for artistic merit. Naughty dog was bought to produce a mascot platformer. When mascot platformers fell out of favour they were tasked with making a game to rival gears of war. Same with insomniac, bought for R&C and the resistance franchise. Guerilla bought for killzone (there was a big push by Sony to try to compete with halo and gears during the ps360 era. Sony pushes for new ip when the original IP the studio is assigned to falls out of favour. Have Sony's latest ip really strayed that far from the third person shooter, open world monogame formula to really be called original anyway? They've been chasing trends.

    A lot of people also forget the original games and IP that Microsoft pushed for in the Xbox and 360 period (before quickly abandoning it). Phantom Dust anyone? Gears of War? Lost Odyssey?

    I just think the white knighting and revisionist history around Sony is pretty disingenuous. These corporate acquisitions are usually bad but Sony is just as bad as any other big multinational.

    I could see it maybe said about the Japan studios side of things but they're a thing of the past and the new western driven Sony are just chasing trends and profits just as much as Microsoft.

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,079 ✭✭✭ Markitron

    Headline: 'New technology developed by Sony has effectively cured cancer'

    Retr0gamer: Yea but the first PS3 controller didn't even have rumble.

  • Registered Users Posts: 31,208 ✭✭✭✭ Penn

    Agreed. The simple fact is The Last of Us was never on Xbox. Uncharted was never on Xbox. God of War was never on Xbox. Horizon was never on Xbox. Sony built up those studios to make those franchises for them. With MS buying Zenimax/Bethesda/Acti-Blizz, they're taking a lot of huge games/franchises which have always been on Playstation and making them Xbox exclusive.

    Sony have definitely done questionable things such as paying for exclusive content for multiplatform games, like Destiny (though they've now bought Bungie), or having Spider-Man be PS exclusive in Avengers. Same with my point about MS, I'd rather Sony put the money for that into bringing some smaller games to PS Plus (such as Death's Door & Hades) which MS were able to have on Gamepass.

    Both can definitely be sh*tty for a variety of reasons. I just think in this instance MS are going in the wrong direction, I presume just because of the time it would take to start building up their own new franchises to the level of TLOU/GoW etc. Easier to just buy Fallout/CoD etc and take them off Playstation.

  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Arts Moderators, Computer Games Moderators, Entertainment Moderators Posts: 27,775 CMod ✭✭✭✭ johnny_ultimate

    There are some acquisitions that seem more reasonable than others - Sony acquiring Insomniac (which was only a few years ago) / Bluepoint or Microsoft acquiring Playground Games seems like a fairly natural step, since those studios had become de facto first-party studios anyway... the occasional Sunset Overdrive aside!

    The problem with the more recent acquisition spree is companies just buying up successful independent developers/publishers to withhold games from other platforms. Microsoft obviously took this to an extreme, but I hope Sony doesn't pull the same trick with Bungie. It's one thing actually spending years supporting a studio's projects before acquiring them... but just flashing the chequebook seems like a much more brute-force technique to getting some exclusive games or filling in a gap.

    While Microsoft clearly has a comfortable upper hand in terms of smaller, more diverse titles at the moment (and that's before we hear about new games from the likes of Double Fine), I remain curious about what Team Asobi have coming up next - they've been the most playful and experimental of the Sony first-party teams recently, even if it's a damn shame that's come at the cost of wider Japan Studios efforts. Also curious what Housemarque has planned, and whether Bluepoint have something original in the works or are stuck in the big-budget remake beat. Also would love to see Media Molecule make another game in the vein of Tearaway - I admire Dreams, but there's not much long-term appeal in the 'creator game' for me.

  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Computer Games Moderators Posts: 48,395 CMod ✭✭✭✭ Retr0gamer

    Similarly Sony did the exact same thing as Microsoft with regards to FF7 Remake, Street Fighter 5, Crash Bandicoot remakes, Final Fantasy 16, Dragon Quest 11, Dynasty Warriors 8, Kingdom Hearts rereleases, Nier Automata, Tales of series.

    All Non-Sony exclusive properties kept off xbox with Sony money.

  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Computer Games Moderators Posts: 48,395 CMod ✭✭✭✭ Retr0gamer

    Are Asobai even a thing anymore? Pretty sure they've been disbanded with the Japan Studios cull and there's a lot of the astro bot staff gone to Nintendo.

    Pretty sure Bluepoint are working on a new IP which will be interesting. Not been a fan of their more recent ports, the art changes seem way off the mark, but I think they are a good enough studio to strike out on their own with their own ideas.

  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Computer Games Moderators Posts: 48,395 CMod ✭✭✭✭ Retr0gamer

    Just had a look at Team Asobi and their jobs listing is pretty much everyone on a development team. Could well be for a second team but from the rumours I heard they might be rebuilding from scratch.

  • Registered Users Posts: 31,208 ✭✭✭✭ Penn

    I'm not disputing or defending those things, but I also don't think they're wholly comparable. Sony bought timed exclusivity for the Crash remakes (considering those games were only on Playstation anyway). MS are trying to buy Acti-Blizz and therefore the rights to the Crash franchise. Sony bought timed exclusivity for Deathloop and now MS have bought Bethesda.

    Again, of course both Sony and MS do sh*tty things for sh*tty reasons, sometimes it's to benefit themselves, and oftentimes it's to hurt their competitors.

    Ultimately, I want a good enough reason to buy an Xbox. I want great games on Xbox that I can't get on Playstation. I want games and franchises on Xbox that excite me the same way as Sony first-party exclusives do. I think that's what would lead to the best competition between Sony & MS. My criticism of MS buying huge studios/franchises rather than build up their own new studios/franchises is based on disappointment that MS are just making existing multiplatform AAA games/franchises exclusive, rather than give us something new. It's not a defence of Sony.

  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Arts Moderators, Computer Games Moderators, Entertainment Moderators Posts: 27,775 CMod ✭✭✭✭ johnny_ultimate

    I don't know all the ins and outs, but apparently, they've increased staffing substantially since being spun off from Japan Studios in 2021, are working on a bigger game than they've worked on so far, and maintain an R&D team to experiment on possible next projects. A quick google suggests a lot of the key creatives are still there too. They're very much still a thing one way or the other, unlike the broader Japan Studio.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,795 ✭✭✭ McFly85

    I didn't say that they won't, I just said they aren't. And I don't think artistic merit really comes into it with either company(and is, in any case, entirely subjective).

    Absolutely Sony went to try and compete with the 360 titles during their disastrous PS3 years, but they did it by creating their own IP. It didn't work so we haven't seen anything of those franchises in years, but I think they learned a lot from that time, from working with studios, tools support, marketing etc. I do think there was a big push to win back developers after the PS3 era, and the PS4 had pretty consistent(if fairly similar) new first party releases throughout its lifetime. Regardless about what you think of those games, they're polished, they review well and it's been a financial success for them(to the detriment of their smaller titles which is a shame).

    Microsoft have had some great games in the last few years but not that many considering the amount of studios they have, and their big-hitters haven't really set the world on fire. Buying successful franchises seems like a cheap way out - not growing your own market share, just limiting everyone else's. Sony does love timed-exclusives which is crap(maybe this is something to do with being the market leader as I recall MS doing similar with Bioshock), but I don't think you can argue that buying a franchise and keeping it off other consoles is just the same.

    Lastly - I really don't think arguing that a company has done something well can be considered revisionist or white-knighting. It's perfectly reasonable to discuss a certain subject without bringing up the entire companies history. All of the major gaming companies are profit driven machines that don't care about you, but just care about extracting as much out of your wallet as they can.

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  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Computer Games Moderators Posts: 48,395 CMod ✭✭✭✭ Retr0gamer

    R-Type Final 3 Evolved coming to PS5

    It's confusingly named because it's actually R-Type Final 2 with all the DLC included (which is very substantial, the DLC increased the amount of levels in the base game three fold). It's all being rebuilt in Unreal Engine 5 as opposed to Unreal Engine 4 of the original release.

    Annoyingly there's also 7 new levels (so about a whole R-Type games worth of stages) exclusive to this version. I say annoyingly because this is being advertised as exclusive to PS5.

    So a bargain for PS5 users. A bit of a slap in the face for everyone else and people that crowd funded R-Type Final 2 and don't own a PS5.

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,210 ✭✭✭ quokula

    But this is kind of the point - if MS hadn't bought Bethesda HiFi Rush would still exist and would almost certainly be on all platforms right now instead of only one. They're not contributing anything to the industry with these acquisitions, just taking away. Unlike Nintendo and Sony who have spent decades nurturing and building their own studios and creating their own IPs that never would have existed without them.

    We've still not seen anything worthwhile come out of any of the major acquisitions, just games that were already in development getting released on fewer platforms than they would have been otherwise, and other games getting delayed or stuck in development hell. The only real quality release I can think of that's come out of any of the acquisitions that was developed entirely under MS is Obsidian's Pentiment, and even in that case the game lead Josh Sawyer shared anecdotes with the press that his team developed it for nearly a year in secret before letting MS know about it at a point where it was quite well developed, as he believed it never would have been greenlit otherwise. I'm glad Obsidian haven't lost their identity because they've always been a great studio, but it's not a great sign that they have to deceive their owners in order to keep it that way.

    MS have continued to do a great job getting third party stuff onto Gamepass, albeit engaging in the usual tactics of paying to keep all sorts of games from Tunic to Powerwash Simulator off other platforms for timed exclusivity. But deals for third party timed exclusivity is small fry compared to taking competition out of the market entirely with big acquisitions, which is why regulators are interested in one but not the other.

  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Computer Games Moderators Posts: 48,395 CMod ✭✭✭✭ Retr0gamer

    PSVR2 off to a bad start it seems:

    Not sure what went wrong here. It's a very expensive add on to hardware that kind of hasn't come close to the saturation of the ps4 install base. Could just be a reflection in the lack of enthusiasm for VR games after the novelty wore off.

    I don't see this being a good thing. Despite the annoyance that the Sony stuff remained platform locked including VR exclusive modes, psvr was one of the few places to get bigger budget VR games.

  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Arts Moderators, Computer Games Moderators, Entertainment Moderators Posts: 27,775 CMod ✭✭✭✭ johnny_ultimate

    I don't disagree, as I said in other posts. I think buying up existing studios is a 'cheap' (well, not financially!) tactic to bolster up a lacking game catalogue.

    But a lot of the studios Microsoft has acquired are fairly scrappy, non-AAA ones. I'm curious to see how they fare and whether they can create interesting projects. It's too soon to see the fruits of that, so it could go either way. Regardless, I don't think it's controversial to say that games like Hi-Fi Rush and Pentiment are much more interesting and unique projects than anything Sony has put out in the last 18 months or so (by a fair distance, I would say). But whether that'll continue when we start seeing projects that commenced post-acquisitions... I dunno.

  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Computer Games Moderators Posts: 48,395 CMod ✭✭✭✭ Retr0gamer

    Yep, could well be that Microsoft 'nurture' some fresh IP in these developers. They've only just been acquired a few months ago.

    There is a danger though that Microsoft due to their structure will have their games division come under new management and shift focus and these studios will be forgotten about or destroyed by restructuring.

    Sony games studios on the other hand are more their own entity and more like Nintendo on that videogames is all they do. They're the only real standout part of the Sony business ecosystem in terms of profits so are less likely to have a change in management scupper everything the way Xbox did with the Xbox one.

  • Moderators, Computer Games Moderators, Recreation & Hobbies Moderators Posts: 9,484 Mod ✭✭✭✭ CatInABox

    VR has always worked best with word of mouth though, or better yet, experiencing it first hand when a mate brings it around. Despite the restrictions, I'd say this will be the same, but it'll just take some more time than they thought. The worries about the worldwide economy must be weighing on peoples perception of it as well.

  • Registered Users Posts: 31,208 ✭✭✭✭ Penn

  • Registered Users Posts: 7,109 ✭✭✭ Grumpypants

    There are prob a few mitigating circumstances. It's January and everyone is broke.

    It's €550. That's not a spur if the moment splurge.

    Sony tend to drop support for hardware with a small install base.

    Most people that got into VR on the psvr/oculus level, either found its now being left on the shelf so they are unsure of dipping in again. Or they loved VR so much they upgraded to the valve Vive headset.

    Another issue here is that you can only buy it in GameStop.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 31,208 ✭✭✭✭ Penn

    Servers for Rumbleverse shutting down. Looked fun, but just seemed like it was trying to be Fortnite with wrestling instead of guns.