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Spoon
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"Shadows of the Damned" , posted Fri 24 Jun 02:23post reply

Who's gotten a chance to play this?

My experiences with it so far:
- eclectic music is good
- writing and voices are ridiculous/funny
- graphics are solid
- shooting is alright
- loading screen music is really good
- the progression map that looks like something from Castlevania/GnG is lovely

The game is mechanically and technically sound, but it doesn't feel instantly astonishing the way Grasshopper games usually come across to me.

Something about the gameplay feels... solid but mediocre. On one hand there's the RE4-esque jumping out of windows, but it doesn't have all the RE4 environmental movements (climb over fences/kick down ladders/etc.). Some of them don't belong in the game (your guy is a badass here to kill everything, not a guy ostensibly trying to survive a zombie nightmare), but the reference is there and it makes me compare. The enemies react well when hit, but they aren't terribly interesting to fight. The game has little bits of crazy, but is not nearly as entertainingly mad as other Grasshopper games.






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"Re(1):Shadows of the Damned" , posted Fri 24 Jun 07:41post reply

How much of SotD is a Suda51 game and how much of it is a Mikami game? Everything I've seen of SotD makes it look like a solid but unremarkable third person shooter in the manner of Vanquish but without the rocket scooting. Maybe I was expecting a crazier plot or something more original in the gameplay department or whatever but the game looks more like a bad Nicolas Cage than anything. I honestly hope I'm wrong, but I have yet to see anything that suggests this is an awesome cult title that I can't afford to miss. If it wasn't for the creators behind SotD I doubt I have looked twice at the title.





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"Re(2):Shadows of the Damned" , posted Fri 24 Jun 18:12post reply

quote:
How much of SotD is a Suda51 game and how much of it is a Mikami game?

I remember hearing that Shadows of the Damned is much more of a SUDA51 game than a Mikami game, with Mikami's only main input being playability feedback from him testing out the game every month or so. Which makes sense given that SUDA is the director and Mikami is the producer.

The whole "mechanically solid servicable game that set in a visually crazy world with funny referential minigames & dickjokes" is really just business as usual with Grasshopper (The same could apply to El Shaddai). At first I just feared that fairly normal Unreal Engine 3 look might just make the game boring, but I am now glad to see that that's not the case after seeing some recent videos, especially after I read a while back that Grasshopper were basically told by EA to reign back the crazy visuals for a more "orthodox" look.

Oh and a final note, I just noticed that this yet another shooter game where it stars some dude with a funny name voiced by Steven Blum spouting dick jokes.





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"Re(3):Shadows of the Damned" , posted Fri 24 Jun 19:16post reply

Since I don't like western shooters, you consider this a good game even for haters of the genre?

If this had a "japanese feel" or visuals I would have at least tried it, but to me is the same as other gears of war wannabe. Crazier, but the same thing again. Am I wrong?





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"Re(4):Shadows of the Damned" , posted Fri 24 Jun 20:41post reply

quote:
Since I don't like western shooters, you consider this a good game even for haters of the genre?

If this had a "japanese feel" or visuals I would have at least tried it, but to me is the same as other gears of war wannabe. Crazier, but the same thing again. Am I wrong?



As a reference, is that how you feel about Biohazard 4 and 5?

I can't speak much for Shadows of the Damned. It's right on my desk...I can put it in my mouth if I want, but I just don't have time to play it.





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"Re(5):Shadows of the Damned" , posted Fri 24 Jun 21:50:post reply

quote:

As a reference, is that how you feel about Biohazard 4 and 5?



Liked 4: good mix of quick puzzles, exploration and action.
Didn't liked 5: too heavy oriented towards shooting anything, countless enemy waves, boring bosses. A friend of mine told me that multiplayer experience is way better, but I was not so excited by the game to make me try it.

To an extention, the only western shooting games that I enjoyed are Half-Life 2, Bioshock 1 (both for the storyline and background, and the focus on "exploring the world and blasting asses around" than giving the player binary rails of infinite spawning enemies) and the first Resistance on PS3 (the enemy are well implemented and organised, and that keeps you continously vary your strategies and weapon uses).
Also liked the Metroid Prime series, but I consider it a trilogy of first person adventure games rather than shooters.





[this message was edited by Nekros on Fri 24 Jun 21:51]

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"Re(6):Shadows of the Damned" , posted Sat 25 Jun 00:12post reply

Game is extremely linear. It shows a Castlevania-style progression map for a reason. In a given zone you might have to go here and there to get the key you need, but the extent to which you do so is limited.

It is definitely not as experimental/deconstructionist/mechanically insane as previous Suda titles. It does take a cue from Killer7, in that the nonsensical keys needed to open doors are things like strawberries/demon brains/etc. that you have to feed to the demons locking the doors.

Combat notes

Movement in combat:
- basically Dead Space, which was basically RE4 with movement while aiming.
- dodge button which makes you dive in a direction and be momentarily invulnerable

Shooting things:
- basic grunts are aware of when you are drawing a bead on them, and if you linger for too long they will juke/duck/etc. It's a small movement, but it's fast enough to evade your aim and require you to quickly re-aim. This is a good subtlety.
- basic grunts can don masks which hide their glowing eyes, allow them to stay in lamp-lit areas, and protect them from headshots in a limited fashion.
- headshots are rewarded, some big enemies have big weakspots, but the game is not one of constantly picking for weakspots
- enemies coated with "Darkness" need to be hit with a lightshot/barrel explosion/lamp lighting before they can be hurt
- enemies react well when hit

"Darkness"
- some areas have "Darkness" that you can't see into, and when you enter your life starts draining and it's crazy town. Sometimes the Darkness is situated in a small part of the current area and it doesn't seem to warp you to somewhere crazy. Enemies that enter Darkness gain the Darkness coating. Some puzzle things require you to enter the Darkness and shoot at something outside the Darkness.

I really can't say that the game is bad. But then again, I'm still a ways from beating it, so I can't honestly tell you how good it is, either.





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"Re(1):Shadows of the Damned" , posted Sat 25 Jun 01:19post reply

I'm enjoying this recent trend of game heroes that sound like Triumph the Insult Comic Dog.






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"Re(4):Shadows of the Damned" , posted Sat 25 Jun 20:01post reply

Spent a few hours with the game. If you're not pumped about it just by looking at it, or you're not a Suda fan, I wouldn't necessarily recommend it...? (also, I second everything Spoon said)

It's a decent shooting game with a great wrapping. The world is fun, the sound design (not just the music...everything) is top-notch and it's funny. For a point of reference I thought both No More Heroes games were on the bad end of mediocre, but I played through them for the "wrapping". This game is better than NMH.

The only really good shooting game I can think of that I've played is Vanquish. This is not nearly as good as Vanquish, but the total package appeals to me much more.

I was delightfully surprised to be reminded of my favorite manga, Dorohedoro, while I was playing. Some of the enemy designs use a really similar aesthetic.

I dunno, I'm just rambling. The bottom line is, the game delivers what it promises and it was a very enthusiastic purchase from me, which I certainly do not regret.





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Spoon
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"Re(5):Shadows of the Damned" , posted Sun 26 Jun 13:33post reply

quote:
Spent a few hours with the game. If you're not pumped about it just by looking at it, or you're not a Suda fan, I wouldn't necessarily recommend it...? (also, I second everything Spoon said)

It's a decent shooting game with a great wrapping. The world is fun, the sound design (not just the music...everything) is top-notch and it's funny. For a point of reference I thought both No More Heroes games were on the bad end of mediocre, but I played through them for the "wrapping". This game is better than NMH.

The only really good shooting game I can think of that I've played is Vanquish. This is not nearly as good as Vanquish, but the total package appeals to me much more.

I was delightfully surprised to be reminded of my favorite manga, Dorohedoro, while I was playing. Some of the enemy designs use a really similar aesthetic.

I dunno, I'm just rambling. The bottom line is, the game delivers what it promises and it was a very enthusiastic purchase from me, which I certainly do not regret.



Wasn't the author of Dorohedoro also the author of the manga for Maken X?

I remember the manga for Maken X containing much, much more organic/fleshy-stuff-everywhere imagery than the game did.

I beat the game just now.

Spoiler discussions


Spoiler (Highlight to view) -

I actually think that of the boss fights, the first boss fight is significantly better than the Stinky Crow and Justine. Then again, I have to wonder if the Stinky Crow is glitched, because there is one phase of it where it just hovers in place and does nothing while you shoot the chain mantle off it. The last of the Grim Sisters looked the coolest, but felt the least interesting to fight. The first one I felt like I had to discover how to beat her, the second felt like she had a trick that set her above the first one, and the last one is just about shooting the red spot... and then shooting the red spot.

While I guess it fits the generally nicer and more whimsical style of the STG levels, I'm really surprised that Garcia seemed to just walk away from Justine after the boss fight. Is it out of character for him to spare demons, or is it out of character for him to violently kill beautiful women?

Paula is nuts and I have to wonder if I'm going to be thinking about her when I get to playing Catherine. Still, I'm glad in a weird sort of way that Fleming made good on his promise that in the place where he rules, he would make her suffer and die over and over again, and Paula quite reasonably gets a bit crazy over enduring such literally inhuman amounts of suffering. At first you just get the impression that the Paulas you see are disguised demons, but when it sinks in that it really is Paula getting ripped apart or whatever else over and over again, it adds an interesting dimension to the experience. It's kind of like the opposite of RE4, where you were constantly infuriated at babysitting the president's daughter and just wished she would be dead; here you can't do anything to help her, while she does like a video game character and dies constantly.

I do wish that we got to learn a little more about Johnson.

The final chapter can be construed in a funny way as Garcia downs tons of liquor while beating some sense into his girlfriend.


End of Spoiler



I do agree that the game has to be taken as a complete package, as Suda games tend to be. That said, it is not a terribly long game, and there really isn't a whole lot of incentive to replay it.





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"Re(6):Shadows of the Damned" , posted Tue 28 Jun 18:10post reply

Damn, I called it. Q Hayashida did design the bosses. Talk about a dream team.

And yes, she did do the Maken X manga, which strangely was re-released just recently with a radical new cover.





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"Re(7):Shadows of the Damned" , posted Tue 28 Jun 23:15post reply

quote:
Damn, I called it. Q Hayashida did design the bosses. Talk about a dream team.

And yes, she did do the Maken X manga, which strangely was re-released just recently with a radical new cover.



The way the boss characters are kitted prior to their transformations definitely looked like something straight out of Dorohedoro... though there aren't any women with manly shoulders/backs like Nikaido or Noi.





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"Re(7):Shadows of the Damned" , posted Wed 29 Jun 02:01:post reply

quote:
Damn, I called it. Q Hayashida did design the bosses. Talk about a dream team.

And yes, she did do the Maken X manga, which strangely was re-released just recently with a radical new cover.



This is the second time this week that I've heard someone I respect compare Shadows of the Damned to Maken X and Dorohedero. This game has become a must purchase!

Regarding the art style, I think it's easy to initially pass it off as just another gritty undead shooter. But a quick glance will show you that it's much WEIRDER and more worldly looking than most games.






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[this message was edited by nobinobita on Wed 29 Jun 02:04]

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"Re(8):Shadows of the Damned" , posted Wed 29 Jun 02:34post reply

quote:
Damn, I called it. Q Hayashida did design the bosses. Talk about a dream team.

And yes, she did do the Maken X manga, which strangely was re-released just recently with a radical new cover.


This is the second time this week that I've heard someone I respect compare Shadows of the Damned to Maken X and Dorohedero. This game has become a must purchase!

Regarding the art style, I think it's easy to initially pass it off as just another gritty undead shooter. But a quick glance will show you that it's much WEIRDER and more worldly looking than most games.



There's one chamber inside the bottom of Fleming's castle where the walls are red/fleshy and enormous, gaunt figures are hunched over holding electrical/heating equipment. Though the first boss, the ghouls, and a lot of the environments are gothic horror, the biomechanical horror and bits of contemporary/vintage stuff here and there in the game really do give the game a bit of flavour.

I sometimes think that if Suda's games which are tributes/analysis to/of games so intentionally contain so many elements from vintage/retro games, that a game that is designed to be much more realistic-looking instead draws bits and pieces from vintage real-world things, like the light-ringed posters, the 70s style trumpet blares in Big Boner, etc.





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"Re(7):Shadows of the Damned" , posted Fri 1 Jul 16:20post reply

quote:
Damn, I called it. Q Hayashida did design the bosses. Talk about a dream team.

And yes, she did do the Maken X manga, which strangely was re-released just recently with a radical new cover.



Thanks for reminding me that Dorohedoro exists. I just found out that Viz is publishing it in the US. Instant purchase!






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"Re(1):Shadows of the Damned" , posted Sun 3 Jul 04:57post reply

I think it's a decent game, although I can't help but feel that while there are numerous talented individuals involved, it has a kind of designed by committee feel... the creative director is an Italian, Massimo Guarini, and while I'm sure he's a talented, capable dude, I have to wonder if he's thinking in the back of his mind, how can we live up to the expectations of a Suda game? Is it weird enough? Have we made it solid enough for EA?

It feels a little too safe for me... there's nothing really unexpected in the gameplay. I would say that as a consumer product it's more even than the original No More Heroes, but it's so much less interesting... which I think is a similar tradeoff with No More Heroes 2. Coincidentally, I'd heard from someone who worked on NMH2 that Suda had much less direct involvement with the sequel than the original, which is clearly the case here. On the other hand it's no where near a game like Vanquish in terms of playabiliy, polish, or feel.

I don't mean this to sound insulting, but I don't play a Grasshopper game to play a solid, polished piece of software, I'm looking for fucking punk rock, which, when you clean it up, invariably becomes much less interesting. I'd rather have it raw, thanks.

Will this kind of approach lead to international success? Maybe it will help Grasshopper to move a bit closer to pop (I meant to drop the music analogy, oh well), but this just isn't what I wanted to see, I guess. Again, not a bad game by any means, but I'm somewhat disappointed.





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"Re(2):Shadows of the Damned" , posted Mon 4 Jul 01:50:post reply

Finally picked this up and played a bit last night. I enjoyed myself, although I really stink at third person shooters and therefore struggled a bit. I like the atmosphere of the game, and the character design, and there are a lot of real WTF moments that were fun. Like previous Suda51 games, it's really linear, with no side-areas or secrets to be found-- at least not that I could find. Which is fine with me since I sometimes get so caught up looking for such things that I can't move on.

In short it feels a lot like a Suda51 game without being trapped in the style established by Killer 7 and No More Heroes-- don't get me wrong, I would love more of the strange kind of atmosphere of a game like those but I also don't want just more of the same (which was I really thought NMH2 ended up being). The only thing I miss is the weird-ass voices of some of the characters from those games. I don't mind the voice acting so much but I haven't loved it especially. While the dialog is corny and therefore pretty funny, it's a little... I don't know, maybe overacted?

I'm surprised that no one has mentioned the level select screen homage to Makaimura! The music used for the load screens is pretty great as well. [EDIT]: Also, the whole game is pretty much a Makaimura reference, now that I think about it!






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[this message was edited by karasu99 on Mon 4 Jul 01:54]

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"Re(3):Shadows of the Damned" , posted Mon 4 Jul 04:15:post reply

quote:

I'm surprised that no one has mentioned the level select screen homage to Makaimura! The music used for the load screens is pretty great as well. [EDIT]: Also, the whole game is pretty much a Makaimura reference, now that I think about it!



So would you say this game consciously harkens back to the 80s and 90s when Japanese developers were making games inspired by American pop culture that actually turned out to be the weirdest, most punk rock games ever? (Contra, Final Fight, Splatter House, ESWAT etc)






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[this message was edited by Nobinobita on Mon 4 Jul 04:16]

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"Re(4):Shadows of the Damned" , posted Mon 4 Jul 10:39post reply

quote:

So would you say this game consciously harkens back to the 80s and 90s when Japanese developers were making games inspired by American pop culture that actually turned out to be the weirdest, most punk rock games ever? (Contra, Final Fight, Splatter House, ESWAT etc)



So which Japanese developer was the equivalent of ABBA (some other country's view of Americana which created something that harkened to America but was most definitely not American but was loved by all the world over in a cross-over, fluffy pop sensation), then?

I also like sentences where the parenthetical contents exceed the non-parenthesis parts.





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"Re(5):Shadows of the Damned" , posted Mon 4 Jul 11:43post reply

quote:

So would you say this game consciously harkens back to the 80s and 90s when Japanese developers were making games inspired by American pop culture that actually turned out to be the weirdest, most punk rock games ever? (Contra, Final Fight, Splatter House, ESWAT etc)


I think on some level, yes, but really it is as much a take on grindhouse films and even Italian horror of the 70's and 80's (like Dario Argento, Bruno Mattei, and so on). I think that has a lot to do with Suda51's predilections, if his earlier games are any indication. Plus Garcia is a lot like a 'cool' Travis Touchdown. Speaking of NMH, I think it is a lot better of an example of a punk rock 80's badass Japanese game like Bad Dudes or Final Fight. It's almost abstract in a lot of ways, like with save points being in the toilet and wrestling masks giving you additional moves. I think Suda51 did that intentionally-- look at the totally self-conscious old-school looking indicators the game uses. In this respect SotD is almost too arty, weirdly enough, even though it's got baby head gates that have to be 'paid' to open and strange puzzle elements. But I totally understand what you're trying to say about that generation of games; I think the limitations of hardware and software and shitty translation standards back in those days contributed to the games being like extended fever dreams. The problem is, we can never really return to those days of gaming, where there was some disconnect between Japan's understanding of the US and vice versa. For that matter, we can't even return to the days where there were Japanese games that were completely off the radar of American gamers, like in the mid-90's.

In conclusion, buy the game. It's not FANTASTIC, but it's very well made, it's funny, it's seriously weird in a lot of ways, and Fleming, the main bad guy, is very well designed.
quote:


So which Japanese developer was the equivalent of ABBA (some other country's view of Americana which created something that harkened to America but was most definitely not American but was loved by all the world over in a cross-over, fluffy pop sensation), then?


That's a good question! A lot of games like Contra are pretty much Japanese takes on American movies like Rambo and anything by Schwarzenegger. Look at the guys in Forgotten Worlds for example, as strange as that game is. Plus, I think average Americans look at a lot of Japanese games as examples of American pop culture, strangely enough. I'd be curious to find out how many people who have heard of but never played Street Fighter think it was made by an American company, not a Japanese one.
quote:

I also like sentences where the parenthetical contents exceed the non-parenthesis parts.


I have to be careful with that kind of thing too. When I first read your post, I thought you were talking about me!






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"Re(2):Shadows of the Damned" , posted Thu 7 Jul 02:56:post reply

quote:
How much of SotD is a Suda51 game and how much of it is a Mikami game?



hello!
probably about 20% of each? Then about 45% a massimo guarini game (he directed it) and about 15% a tim rogers game, who did most of the preproduction design, some of which was not changed.

this is just speaking of creative vision here, of course, a lot of other people did the majority of the work.

Oh, and just to reach 110%, there's a 10% bit that's akira yamaoka's awesome music, with some jun fukuda contributions.

[edit]
I should also note that this shouldn't really be treated as a "japanese game" if that's what you're looking for. yes, it has some of the clunky controls and charming mishaps that modern japanese 3D games are known for, but if you read the credits it's very clearly about a 50/50 western/eastern team, which is an impressive feat in itself. It doesn't feel like a "japanese" game, it feels like a game. Which is for the best! But, you know, it's still people trying to catch up to Epic.

I think the dumb humor is amusing to some degree, and it certainly has the best voice acting ever in a GHM title. And a fair amount of swearing in mexican spanish. The protagonist is a barely-literate macho guy who loves two things: killing demons, and his woman. It's a pretty decent characterization.





[this message was edited by exodus on Thu 7 Jul 03:00]

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"Re(3):Shadows of the Damned" , posted Thu 7 Jul 06:12post reply

The core people behind the FIFA series are Japanese. Should we consider FIFA a Japanese game? Serious question. I am not sure how these things are supposed to work.





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"Re(4):Shadows of the Damned" , posted Thu 7 Jul 06:24post reply

quote:
The core people behind the FIFA series are Japanese. Should we consider FIFA a Japanese game? Serious question. I am not sure how these things are supposed to work.



I think the question becomes: do you (the hypothetical you, not the chaz you) love japan? do you want everything from japan to be cool? then it should be considered a japanese game, and so too should shadows of the damned. Otherwise they should all maybe just be considered games, good and bad.





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"Re(3):Shadows of the Damned" , posted Thu 7 Jul 06:50:post reply

quote:
hello!
probably about 20% of each? Then about 45% a massimo guarini game (he directed it) and about 15% a tim rogers game, who did most of the preproduction design, some of which was not changed.

this is just speaking of creative vision here, of course, a lot of other people did the majority of the work.

Oh, and just to reach 110%, there's a 10% bit that's akira yamaoka's awesome music, with some jun fukuda contributions.


Awesome breakdown. Thanks for the info!

quote:

It doesn't feel like a "japanese" game, it feels like a game. Which is for the best!



Well said. Games is games. From my own perspective, I was asking if Shadows of the Damned felt at all like the Japanese games of yore cos well, I really liked those arcade games.

To elaborate on my question, I'd like to know if the game is self referential or if it's straightforward with its weirdness. One thing I really like about old arcade games is they tend to play it straight. Shadows of the Damned seems a bit more ironic, but that's fine by me if its fun and has good characters.

The fact that Shadows of the Damned had an international development team doesn't phase me one bit, in fact I think that's pretty damn cool!

It's difficult to discuss matters of cultural identification and texture in person. It's almost impossible to discuss it over the net. But why not give it a shot anyway?

It seems as if some members of this board have dealt with gamers who look down on non Japanese titles. I've actually dealt with quite the opposite for most of my career. I know many people in the field who hesitate to play any Japanese games becuase they're "no longer relevant." They get angry if a game asks them to "press start" at the title screen! I don't get it! But we're still great friends.

I guess the difficulty in discussing cultural identity in games is that people tend to fall into one camp or another (East vs West--FIGHT!). That or they assume that others must fall into those camps.

But I don't see very much of that on this board, which is one of the reasons I love it so much.

Just above, someone mentioned that perhaps we don't have so many flame wars cos this is a very international board with few Americans.

Does anyone find any truth in this?

I've found that when I go to Europe or Asia, people for the most part don't seem to have a "East vs West" mentality when it comes to consuming media. Most artists I know from France are not embarrassed to say they love Japanese animation, but many of my American colleagues hesitate to mention such things, and they feel obligated to qualify that love with statements like "but I love Pixar too." That's kinda funny right?

Why are so many Americans so polarized on enjoying Japanese things? So many people are either fiercely defensive, or overly apologetic. This stuff keeps me up at night! (not really, but I think about it on the bus ride home)






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[this message was edited by nobinobita on Thu 7 Jul 07:01]

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"Re(4):Shadows of the Damned" , posted Thu 7 Jul 07:02post reply

Well, this game absolutely does not play it straight, but it's more interested in referencing movies than other games. the whole thing is a goofy slop-fest, but is definitely not the sort of "this is weird but we're pretending it's not" scenario you used to have.

So unfortunately if you're looking for that (I like it as well) it's not here. It does create an interesting world to wander around in though.

regarding the japanese/western thing, obviously I grew up with japanese console games being the best. western games were a joke. now the roles have completely been reversed, unless you like nintendo games, which I generally do not.

and indeed, most of my friends grew up the same way, and had to learn to like western games. Now most of us do, as much as we can, but the magic is really gone on the whole. partially it's because we're older now, but partially it's because a lot of mainstream western games don't deal with magic or whimsey or fun, they're all about grit and realism and being serious. this sounds funny considering I don't like nintendo games, but really I'm more talking about what you're saying - taking something very seriously that's actually rather silly.

I would have to agree with your friends that most japanese games frankly aren't relevant now, as they're basically just trying to catch up with where western games have gone. Rather than playing catch up, they should figure out what they can do well! Most of the japanese games I enjoy now (that aren't on handhelds) have to be enjoyed with a caveat. It's really a shame, but I don't think others are going to make the kinds of games I want anymore - so that's why myself (and others) strive to make them over here. We'll see how it goes...





nobinobita
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"Re(5):Shadows of the Damned" , posted Thu 7 Jul 07:14post reply

quote:
...I don't think others are going to make the kinds of games I want anymore - so that's why myself (and others) strive to make them over here. We'll see how it goes...


THAT'S GREAT.
Maybe I'm just optimistic, but I think that will be the prevailing theme in the best games of the next decade.

What will the Super Nintendo generation create?

This conversation is getting too engrossing for work! Peace out!






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exodus
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"Re(6):Shadows of the Damned" , posted Thu 7 Jul 07:28post reply

quote:


THAT'S GREAT.
Maybe I'm just optimistic, but I think that will be the prevailing theme in the best games of the next decade.



no, I totally agree.

though I consider myself the PC Engine generation. haha! it's the right timeframe, but I didn't own a super nintendo until I was 17 or so, because I was a weirdo (and had poor parents).





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"Re(7):Shadows of the Damned" , posted Thu 7 Jul 10:31:post reply

It's often said that Japan has become a Galapagos Island when it comes to cell phone technology and video games. Stuff that sell overseas doesn't sell in Japan, and stuff from Japan doesn't sell overseas. It's falling behind but evolving in its own sort of odd way.

Analog TV ending this month in Japan may bring a boost to PS3 sales as a Bluray player for LCD screens. But it's very doubtful that console systems will gain popularity as it once did in the 90s.

The basic thing I hear a lot from players here is that PSP games are more fun than PS3s.. and for Japanese developers, the handheld is obviously their main target platform. It'll be interesting to see things when the Vita comes out.





[this message was edited by Professor on Thu 7 Jul 11:10]

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"Re(6):Shadows of the Damned" , posted Thu 7 Jul 21:47:post reply

quote:
...I don't think others are going to make the kinds of games I want anymore - so that's why myself (and others) strive to make them over here. We'll see how it goes...

THAT'S GREAT.
Maybe I'm just optimistic, but I think that will be the prevailing theme in the best games of the next decade.

What will the Super Nintendo generation create?



The point is the market. Market changes gaming styles and games (take Wii as an example, both Sega Megadrive Activator and Playstation EyeToy tried the same way but failed the mainstream audience), as it does culture and general attidute towards things. FPSs are most popular nowadays not only due to technology of the home consoles but to some so called "interest" that people have in war and fire weapons. Western developers comes with much realism and advanced graphics engines that applies universally on every system, while japanese are stuck with old concepts with good ideas but not with technological improvement. This is the way videogames are seen today, for the most part. Because people tend to see only aestetic, appearance (see: graphics) and because we're living in a society based on images and phisical appearances.
The graphics don't make the game, a simple concept and a great art direction are all that Japanese develpers have and what kept them above westerns in the past decade. As you mentioned before, Japanese are focused in not losing the market simply following what leads it, not trying to make something different with their best traits and possibilities.





[this message was edited by Nekros on Thu 7 Jul 21:48]

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"Re(6):Shadows of the Damned" , posted Sat 9 Jul 07:33post reply

quote:
...I don't think others are going to make the kinds of games I want anymore - so that's why myself (and others) strive to make them over here. We'll see how it goes...

THAT'S GREAT.
Maybe I'm just optimistic, but I think that will be the prevailing theme in the best games of the next decade.

What will the Super Nintendo generation create?

This conversation is getting too engrossing for work! Peace out!

Is this the first generation of game creators to be inspired by the culture of games? I'm coming at this as an outsider, but it seems a lot of creators in the 80/90's were looking to movies or cartoons or whatever for inspiration. This was done for several reasons but one of the main factors was that games were so new that there were no ground rules for what a game was. Now, however, there are creators who aren't looking to popular culture for the primary influence on their games but are instead are looking to other games and the emotions they invoked when they were played. Will this critique and expansion of what has come before help to deepen and enrich game culture, in much the same way that previous movements in art influences the current generation of artists? Or will it cause games to become self-referential, insular and really, really full of themselves? Guess we will have to wait and see.





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"Re(7):Shadows of the Damned" , posted Sat 9 Jul 07:48post reply

quote:

Is this the first generation of game creators to be inspired by the culture of games?



I did not want to go to far into the topic, but this is my personal explanation for many current issues with contemporary game design.
I think, in a few years, we'll digest game culture into new games better than we do now.





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"Re(3):Shadows of the Damned" , posted Tue 12 Jul 02:42post reply

Decided to rent this game and I absolutely love it.
I've been feeling depressed lately in the sense that I can't enjoy most games anymore. I try hard to enjoy new AAA titles but in the end I just find them dull.
Started SotD and even though its simple and lineal I absolutely loved it. Character design is amazing and only a one character failed to impress me (the singer/dancer lady boss).
I really liked the music and sound design also.
Even though the controls and gameplay feel like RE4/5 I can't stop playing this game.
Only gripe I have with the game is that I know that I won't be able to carry my upgrades into a new game. I would love to play more of this game but unfortunately there is no replay value whatsoever.
SotD might be simple but it actually took me to my Makaimura years and made me enjoy a game again.





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exodus
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"Re(8):Shadows of the Damned" , posted Tue 12 Jul 03:47post reply

quote:

Is this the first generation of game creators to be inspired by the culture of games?


I did not want to go to far into the topic, but this is my personal explanation for many current issues with contemporary game design.
I think, in a few years, we'll digest game culture into new games better than we do now.



yeah, I could write a whole article on this, but people are *too* influenced by other games, I think, and not looking far enough out for inspiration, which is part of what gets us to the bro-game situation we're in now...

certainly it gets us to the lack of imagination we often see.





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"Re(9):Shadows of the Damned" , posted Tue 12 Jul 04:45post reply

quote:

Is this the first generation of game creators to be inspired by the culture of games?


I did not want to go to far into the topic, but this is my personal explanation for many current issues with contemporary game design.
I think, in a few years, we'll digest game culture into new games better than we do now.


yeah, I could write a whole article on this, but people are *too* influenced by other games, I think, and not looking far enough out for inspiration, which is part of what gets us to the bro-game situation we're in now...

certainly it gets us to the lack of imagination we often see.



I always think it's interesting how a lot of people who work in the industry say that they don't have much time to play games (especially if they're married with kids). A lot of us say that, even though we manage to find times to play them anyway... I think that it's just not a lot compared to how much we used to play, so much so that we say that we aren't playing much of anything when that's really not the truth.

It turns into this weird situation where you'd think that people that need to do things other than play games claim that they are, when in fact they aren't. It's kind of schizophrenic and generally bad in that the bulk of the experiences you hear referenced in the office wind up coming from a shallow pool of game experience (because we aren't playing "much" games), and a shallow pool of real life experience (because we aren't doing much of not-games), and the net result is a whole lot of not much.

Ideally you should have people that play little/no games and people that play outrageously excessive amounts of games together on the team. Sometimes it seems that people set to task on making games are the ones whose lives are as a result least conducive to it.





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"Re(10):Shadows of the Damned" , posted Tue 12 Jul 06:24post reply

quote:

I always think it's interesting how a lot of people who work in the industry say that they don't have much time to play games (especially if they're married with kids). A lot of us say that, even though we manage to find times to play them anyway... I think that it's just not a lot compared to how much we used to play, so much so that we say that we aren't playing much of anything when that's really not the truth.



yeah, I'm not married, nor do I have kids, and I do play a fair number of games, especially when sick, which I am right now!

I think that when I stop commuting to work via public transit it might be a different story, as about 60-75% of my game playing is done on trains.

but in the last two weeks I've played: shadows of the damned, duke nukem forever (ugh), dungeon siege 3, monster tale, ghost trick, vanquish, plants vs zombies ds... obviously there was a fair amount of catching up going on there!





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"Re(10):Shadows of the Damned" , posted Tue 12 Jul 07:00post reply

quote:
I always think it's interesting how a lot of people who work in the industry say that they don't have much time to play games (especially if they're married with kids). A lot of us say that, even though we manage to find times to play them anyway... I think that it's just not a lot compared to how much we used to play, so much so that we say that we aren't playing much of anything when that's really not the truth.

It turns into this weird situation where you'd think that people that need to do things other than play games claim that they are, when in fact they aren't. It's kind of schizophrenic and generally bad in that the bulk of the experiences you hear referenced in the office wind up coming from a shallow pool of game experience (because we aren't playing "much" games), and a shallow pool of real life experience (because we aren't doing much of not-games), and the net result is a whole lot of not much.

Ideally you should have people that play little/no games and people that play outrageously excessive amounts of games together on the team. Sometimes it seems that people set to task on making games are the ones whose lives are as a result least conducive to it.

Well, I definitely play fewer games these days, now that I work on games, than back before I did so. But I also play less than I did before I bought my house and had to do things like mow the grass and fix the fence. But to some extent I view it as a natural part of my game playing cycle-- that is, periodically I play very little or only the occasional game, and that can go on for months. Then eventually the games start to creep back in as I miss them.

I've always connected this sort of cycle with fluctuations in quality and style of games that are being released, seasons (often game I like or want get released in the autumn, it seems like), and most of all changes in my income. Another thing I'll note is that my consumption of handheld games has stayed high, even as my console game consumption has declined.

Before I started working on games, a lot of people suggested that I would end up hating games, since I get to play them all the time, but that much at least has not come to pass, thankfully. If anything it's made me more thoughtful regarding the games themselves.






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"Re(9):Shadows of the Damned" , posted Tue 12 Jul 22:17post reply

quote:

yeah, I could write a whole article on this,

I'm certain there could be any number of fascinating editorials -or ranting blog posts with an axe to grind- written on the subject. What does surprise me is that this an issue that those in the biz have been thinking about. I wonder how much of that is because it is a trend that is affecting the industry and how much of it is because the game industry has become self-aware and is much more willing to analyze itself.





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"Re(10):Shadows of the Damned" , posted Wed 13 Jul 01:24post reply

quote:

yeah, I could write a whole article on this,
I'm certain there could be any number of fascinating editorials -or ranting blog posts with an axe to grind- written on the subject. What does surprise me is that this an issue that those in the biz have been thinking about. I wonder how much of that is because it is a trend that is affecting the industry and how much of it is because the game industry has become self-aware and is much more willing to analyze itself.



There's this line between building off of and learning from prior work, which is true for every field, and intellectual inbreeding. Choosing not to learn from what else is out there and not sharing your knowledge with everybody (including your competitors) is what Inafune cited as a problem for Japan. Still, I don't think that there's ever been a shortage of me-too or genre cash-ins from any hemisphere of the world.





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"Re(2):Re(10):Shadows of the Damned" , posted Wed 13 Jul 14:49post reply

quote:

There's this line between building off of and learning from prior work, which is true for every field, and intellectual inbreeding.



quite so! the former is necessary, and the latter is dangerous. Unfortunately it can be difficult to see the forest for the trees when you're waist-deep in a project and looking for a solution. but I think we'll all get there...





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"Re(3):Re(10):Shadows of the Damned" , posted Wed 13 Jul 19:43post reply

I think ideally you do things like Chahi, just ignore games for a period of time, go study volcanoes for a few years, then come back and go, "OK, I wanna make a game now."

Although lately there are many smaller games breaking the cycle, we had a good few years of just... the same thing over and over (even within those smaller games, I'd argue).

quote:
It's really a shame, but I don't think others are going to make the kinds of games I want anymore - so that's why myself (and others) strive to make them over here. We'll see how it goes...


But to Brandon's point, yes, there are very few games out there now that I feel really attuned to. I mean there are some, but I don't get amazingly passionate about stuff like I used to. I guess I'm getting old.

So the solution is, make your own! Then lots of other problems pop up, but that there is life, my friends.





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"Re(4):Re(10):Shadows of the Damned" , posted Sat 16 Jul 05:22post reply

quote:
I think ideally you do things like Chahi, just ignore games for a period of time, go study volcanoes for a few years, then come back and go, "OK, I wanna make a game now."



Sounds like a sagely method, actually... live in a cave like a hermit, meditate on life and the world, then emerge to create something truly great.

I think it's possible to pay attention without being corrupted though. The nature of games as a consumer product and companies ultimately chasing profits is a big issue, I think.

quote:

So the solution is, make your own! Then lots of other problems pop up, but that there is life, my friends.



Also a nice sentiment. Cheers dude and good luck with your project.





/ / /

chazumaru
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"Sales of the Damned" , posted Sat 16 Jul 11:26post reply

Not to piss on the parade of happy new world gaming communist thoughts but NPD estimates for US sales came out this week and "Shadows of the Damned managed to sell 24,000 copies, combined, on PS3 and Xbox 360". Although Shadows of the Damned came out at the end of the month, this is very low. It is even less than Child of Eden (34,000 copies estimated).

It is happening the same (slow) week that sees Media Create identify 4 Western-developed titles in the 4 first places. Golden Eye is still in the Top10 as well, meaning half the top 10 was developed in the West. However, if you consider that six different Japanese developers contributed to Wii Play Motion, the Japanese industry is still way ahead!

Will be interesting to see the sales of Just Dance in Japan.





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"Re(1):Sales of the Damned" , posted Sat 16 Jul 12:27post reply

quote:

It is happening the same (slow) week that sees Media Create identify 4 Western-developed titles in the 4 first places. Golden Eye is still in the Top10 as well, meaning half the top 10 was developed in the West. However, if you consider that six different Japanese developers contributed to Wii Play Motion, the Japanese industry is still way ahead!



I'm avoiding posting the same opinions I've posted 100 times about the Japanese game industry, but I do think that good Western games being recognized over there is a positive thing. It might shake things up! A lot of Japanese companies seemed to be locked in a dated way of thinking. Also, it's a shame to see a good game from any place in the world sell poorly anywhere.





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Amakusa
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"Re(2):Re(10):Shadows of the Damned" , posted Sat 16 Jul 16:03post reply

quote:
Before I started working on games, a lot of people suggested that I would end up hating games, since I get to play them all the time, but that much at least has not come to pass, thankfully. If anything it's made me more thoughtful regarding the games themselves.


No, I'd say it goes like this: you don't ever get tired of playing your own games (whether it's due to pride or money), but you get tired of playing other peoples' awful games. Recreation time becomes so much more valuable the older you get the Crappy Game Filter goes into overdrive.

quote:
Sounds like a sagely method, actually... live in a cave like a hermit, meditate on life and the world, then emerge to create something truly great.


It's much faster to go out there and make some really dumb mistakes that you won't make again (that preferably don't cost you your job).





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Mosquiton
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"Re(1):Sales of the Damned" , posted Sat 16 Jul 16:22:post reply

quote:

It is happening the same (slow) week that sees Media Create identify 4 Western-developed titles in the 4 first places...


It's CARMAGEDDON in Los Angeles and now that I've been outed as a member of the Happy New World Gaming Communist Party, and I've been drinking fine cognac (well, VSOP, so maybe "pretty good" cognac), I feel liberated to speak candidly here.

Firstly, although I'm not a huge EDF fan myself, I get a kick out of seeing the Western-developed EDF riding high on the J-charts. That team must be high-fiving the shit out of one another, and deservedly so. I have a feeling that Ninja Theory won't be facing the same situation with their DMC, unfortunately. Rebirth is a way tougher prospect than cloning, and I'm not sure people actually want them to succeed.

Progressing through the alphabet... regarding DMD's sales, if Platinum Games can't create a true global hit with their incredible talent, I'd honestly be a bit disappointed (or at least kind of befuddled) if an EA-funded attempt to repackage RE4-style gameplay (or Dead Space gameplay, more accurately) with second-hand Suda-style eccentricity and admittedly S-Rank Yamaoka music were to become some sort of runaway success story for international game development. I think the game deserves to sell a bit better as an objet d'art, though. I'm sure the team was composed of many cool, hard-working people that deserve to get paid. And EA itself isn't even that evil these days.

Speaking of Platinum, and being depressed at the state of the Japanese game industry and its collective sense of not knowing exactly what to do or vaguely how to do it, I'm reminded of the time Shinji Mikami addressed me as part of a crowd and literally apologized for being responsible for a commercial failure like God Hand, describing himself as selfish for making a game he wanted to make. He claimed he had been given too much freedom in the past and he threw poor, beautiful Vanessa Z. Schneider under the bus as well. I wanted to jump up on stage,grab the dudes collar, and scream WHAT ARE YOU SAYING MAN? FOR CHRIST'S SAKE GET A GRIP!

And before I forget, speaking of Jesus Christ, JC walks into a hotel and hands the innkeeper three nails. Then he asks, "Can you put me up for the night?"

I'm watching The Crow. Man, I am really missing the 90s right now.

But anyway back to Mikami, I feel like he (along with his crew of dudes known as Tango) has a solid chance to do something great with Bethesda now, who seem to be fairly gracious and progressively-minded corporate overlords... or at least a company that's willing to spend some cash and take some risks in the interest of ascending to the position of MegaPublisher.

I hope someone there sits him down and says, hey dude, don't worry too much about trying to please Joe Western Global Gamerson Gearslover McModern Warfare the Third, Esquire... just take this incredible wealth of funds and make something you think would be fucking awesome. Then I hope he does it.





/ / /

[this message was edited by Mosquiton on Sat 16 Jul 17:49]

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"Re(3):Re(10):Shadows of the Damned" , posted Sat 16 Jul 16:38:post reply

quote:

It's much faster to go out there and make some really dumb mistakes that you won't make again (that preferably don't cost you your job).



That's why sages are normally philosophers instead of game designers, I suppose.

I'm not advocating the method, necessarily, and I'm not speaking literally, obviously, but maybe it works for Eric Chahi,

I'd recommend reading his post-mortem on Out of This World, which he begins with "I hadn't coded for two years and my last experience with C language was a disaster... It was really depressing almost," which isn't quite living in a cave, but it's clear he was a little bit removed from development. It's quite an interesting read, anyway, and the game itself is pretty remarkable. If From Dust ends up half as good/interesting, I'll be happy.

EDIT: Chou-Uppah! Double! I feel tacky for posting twice in a row, but it's already done.





/ / /

[this message was edited by Mosquiton on Sat 16 Jul 17:22]

exodus
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"Re(4):Re(10):Shadows of the Damned" , posted Sat 16 Jul 17:28post reply

man, I still haven't gotten the new EDF. do people like it? the developer that made it is total trash, and has never made a good game before, so I was pretty devastated to see the license being handed to them.





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"Re(5):Re(10):Shadows of the Damned" , posted Sun 17 Jul 02:16post reply

quote:
man, I still haven't gotten the new EDF. do people like it? the developer that made it is total trash, and has never made a good game before, so I was pretty devastated to see the license being handed to them.



According to the developer, they were given two mandates when making the game: make it fit "Western" tastes, and make it work online.

Because the game is built around always having 2 teammates that can be revived and needing to work online, a lot of things in the game have been dialed down: weapon effects are much weaker, enemy corpses disappear extremely quickly, there are fewer enemies and enemy generators, and enemy durability is higher. Weapons are also unlocked through a combination of point spending, random drops, and levelling up. There are also character classes, which restrict weapon loadout.

Because you always have 2 teammates, there are much fewer instances of getting those AI EDF dudes that die almost instantly that also fill the airwaves with chatter. So that part of the EDF feeling seems greatly reduced.

Because weapon unlocks are so much more confined to classes and fixed in their progression, you have the benefit of working towards a goal in the distance, but you lose the joy of seeing an entire page of names of new toys, and giddily reading all their descriptions. Of course, you also lose the frustration of seeing an entire page of not-new toys.

One of the really distinctive things about old EDF was its love of retro sci-fi. You can see it expressed in the highly specular, shiny chrome UFOs and in the EDF soldiers themselves. EDF IA is a distinctly less shiny, more grimy-looking game: all of the EDF guys wear armor that is scuffed and scratched and rugged looking, as opposed to the curiously outdated looking EDF soldiers wearing ultraman science patrol helmets. The classic retro high-pitched modulated sound for UFOs was also prominent in EDF 2017, and isn't found in EDF IA.

EDF is this incredible pastiche married with Sandlot's giant-robots-blowing-up-cities technology and terribly sensible design. EDF IA wants to be a more even and sound game that still retains some of the EDF goofiness, but overall the experience feels diluted.





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"Re(6):Re(10):Shadows of the Damned" , posted Sun 17 Jul 06:26post reply

quote:
EDF is this incredible pastiche married with Sandlot's giant-robots-blowing-up-cities technology and terribly sensible design. EDF IA wants to be a more even and sound game that still retains some of the EDF goofiness, but overall the experience feels diluted.

Playing the latest EDF did inspire me to go back and rewatch the movie Them! so it has that going for it. No matter how much you try to tailor a game for a wider audience shooting giant ants is always going to be kind of goofy.

The news that the latest EDF had managed to sell all over the world makes me hope that D3 will now produce an international Onechanbara game that will run rings around Ninja Theory's DMC reboot. This is easily the dumbest thing on my video game wish list but stranger things have happened.





Mosquiton
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"Re(7):Re(10):Shadows of the Damned" , posted Sun 17 Jul 12:41:post reply

quote:

The news that the latest EDF had managed
to sell all over the world makes me hope that D3 will now produce an international Onechanbara game that will run rings around Ninja Theory's DMC reboot. This is easily the dumbest thing on my video game wish list but stranger things have happened.



D3 contracts Valhalla Game Studios? They'll have to get Devil's Third out of the way.

That's not really international though, huh. What western studio would you like to see taking a crack at it?





/ / /

[this message was edited by Mosquiton on Sun 17 Jul 12:49]

chazumaru
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"Re(8):Re(10):Shadows of the Damned" , posted Thu 21 Jul 05:45post reply

Massimo Guarini has created a new "studio", or more likely, a new creative project that will eventually turn into a studio:
http://www.ovosonico.com/





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