TotalRoundTable: Resisting the Uncharted Waters of Insane and Deadly Descents
Heading for the hills in the fallout from the Spike Videogame Awards “megatons.”
Published: December 13, 2010
Sam Bishop, editor-in-chief:
Honestly, Sony is completely set when it comes to 2011. Nothing really needed to be added with all the stuff that's hitting from third parties too, and I'm going to pull back on my desire to just drop liiiistsssss and concentrate on the obvious, but (and I say this every year), 2011 is seriously the best year in gaming. There's just so much stuff happening that's building on the momentum, tech, and experience of previous games in the franchise.
The best part is just how familiar devs are with the hardware. Obviously, this is going to be a longer generation than probably any previous, and that just means more time to really dig down to the metal and code games that wring every last ounce of oomph out of the HD systems to keep 'em going. This is the same point (relatively) in the hardware cycle in previous generations where we saw the most impressive games – stuff that made the launch titles look like they were on completely different hardware – so I'm pumped.
After years of abuse, though, I swore off actually watching the VGAs, and I've never been happier about it. Getting the trailers a few hours later is so much easier and re-watchable, and I think I've watched that Uncharted 3 trailer about 20 times now. The first time, I was afraid it would yet again just be something of an in-engine-but-pre-rendered teaser, and then they finally started showing short snippets of gameplay when the release date reveal happened (which was really, really well-done). I'm a graphics whore, and seeing whatever voodoo Naughty Dog is up to to push the bar again is just... mind-blowing. I don't know what else to say other than being completely giddy for November.
Two months before that, though, we'll actually get to see Resistance return to what it should have been. Insomniac's tech no longer looks like iterative updates across a pair of franchises; it looks like it's really working the PS3 – back to the level of first-party studios that Insomniac was so good about in previous generations. All the stuff they've been talking about, like a weapon wheel and deep exploration of the States as the resistance builds up and the tide might actually turn, looks like an incredible close (I would guess?) to the series. I'm pumped, and I'm glad Insomniac was able to give the game enough time to really shine, which it looks like is paying dividends.
The rest of the stuff, I was a little iffy on. Mass Effect 3 is totally happening on the PS3, and that's great, but I've sheltered myself knowing ME2 was coming and haven't even finished the first, so I have no idea what was happening. I guess in a way, that's kind of a good thing, as I'll be like the poor PS3-only saps that never got to play the series, and given how much I was completely sucked into the world with the first, I can't wait to get a double dose of awesome in one year. Sometimes it pays to wait, I guess. That trailer was epic, though. Absolutely effin' amazing.
The rest of the reveals weren't quite as surprising. SSX didn't really need a Dark Summit treatment, but so long as it plays well, I won't complain. After Blur and On Tour, though, it seems EA wants to tinker too much with a formula that felt perfected with SSX 3. We'll see how it plays, of course.
Skyrim is still using Gamebryo, and I'd kinda forgotten how bug-prone that engine is until my roommate played through Fallout 3 recently and complained about bugs. Hearing from Aram on the New Vegas review's progress seems to reveal that's not really an issue of the devs, but the engine. Granted, they have a ton of stuff to fill a world with, and it's going to be impossible to crunch all the problems when the scale is that huge, but I really wanted Bethesda to leverage the id Tech they now have access to. Neat teaser, though. I can't wait for the proper reveal.