Games to look forward to!

Griffith

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I feel like this is Half-Life 3, for all intents and purposes. Gabe Newell has said time after time that they wanted each iteration of HL to be a leap forward, and VR is a leap forward. Even without the magic 3 in the title, any gameplay / tech ideas Valve has been dreaming up over the past 10 years since HL2:ep2 is probably going to make it into this game. The only thing missing is of course the continuation of that story, which is indeed a black eye as far as I'm concerned.
Well, that's the rub, is this basically the next canonical Half-Life game, or another way to avoid treading that ground? The fact that they haven't already released it in the past 10 years doesn't project, or inspire, confidence they have major breakthroughs in store other than their spin on VR (which could be enough for a great game, I'd just be more bullish if they weren't seemingly playing it safe).

The worst, worst case scenario:

Anyway, as I've said before, I've been waiting for a great excuse to jump into VR. I've had a Quest in my cart off and on again since it was announced. This is just the push I needed to finally bite the bullet. So I don't think of it as $400 just for HL.
Well, then I couldn't think of a better entry point for you. Maybe Spelunky VR? =)

Imagine if Nintendo went full VR when they were basically toying with all the elements on Wii and 3DS. Then they just move on to something else.

Nah -- if Aaz didn't care or was against it, he'd never have raised it for discussion :void:
It goes to his personal motto, "If you don't have anything nice to say..." :guts:

There's a couple different things at play. The first is that a good VR game can't just be a port that works both on flat screens and in VR (as a VR game, RE7 isn't very good). That's because the beauty of it is in the interactions. You have to physically grab a magazine and insert it in your gun, you can quickly open a door, throw a grenade in and then close it again, you hold onto a ledge with one hand while shooting at enemies with the other, etc. While the immersive view is obviously a great part of the experience, the real deal is the hand-tracked controls. It's a bit hard to describe, honestly, but if you check what we saw in the HL:A trailer, those interactions are impossible to replicate with keyboard and mouse; it would have to all be automated, and then what would be the point?
These are random examples, but they're what makes VR special in an FPS. No more pressing R to reload, E to interact, F for flashlight, G for grenade, C for crouch.
Could they theoretically port a VR game to a regular version without sacrificing much from the traditional experience (depending on movement I guess)? Because regular games assign everything to button presses anyway, so even though you're destroying the interactive elements, it could still be as good as a regular FPS in that regard.

Now about Half-Life: Alyx specifically, the thing is that it started as a VR experiment before developing into a full game. They're not outright saying it, but until now no one there had the balls to even attempt HL3 anymore. And even if they did, it would have gottten shot down because of internal politics or something. Like Walter said, VR is enough of a step forward technologically that it allows them to do something special. And they've said HL:A is as big of a game as HL2 and meant to be a full entry in the series, and possibly something that will lead to HL3. As Gabe Newell put it: "VR has energized us".
That's the most promising thing I've heard, that they came upon this, and it grew, organically. So yeah, maybe they learn enough from this to feel like the next time they can make something worthy of Half-Life 3 (there's an obnoxious arrogance/lack of confidence in that too; hey guys, better games than HL2 have come out since then, it's ok to try, it's not The New Testament you're tasked with making =).

Oh I'm just acting blasé for no reason, I'm actually excited for it. :guts:

Well, there is a reason I guess: I know few people care for VR, and I don't think any single game will change that.
It won't ever replace traditional video games, but as far as I'm concerned it's a great new frontier for them.
I guess my main question is really if there's a viable 3D film model to follow, at least with FPS games, where that becomes the standard release model of the genre but doesn't wholly replace standard gaming of course.
 
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Walter

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Well, that's the rub, is this basically the next canonical Half-Life game, or another way to avoid treading that ground? The fact that they haven't already released it in the past 10 years doesn't project, or inspire, confidence they have major breakthroughs in store other than their spin on VR (which could be enough for a great game, I'd just be more bullish if they weren't seemingly playing it safe).
I got the impression re:HL3 that Valve didn't want to release "just" another FPS campaign unless they felt they had something major to contribute. And that led to a series of delays, and combined with the way Valve handles project management (people can choose which teams they want to work on), it seems they never had the right crew together to finish the work on a standard "ep 3," despite documented evidence of them creating assets, story, etc. Still, even speaking as a big HL fan who likes the story in those games quite a bit, I don't see it as a prerequisite that they continue that particular story for it to be a great game.
 

Aazealh

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Could they theoretically port a VR game to a regular version without sacrificing much from the traditional experience (depending on movement I guess)? Because regular games assign everything to button presses anyway, so even though you're destroying the interactive elements, it could still be as good as a regular FPS in that regard.
In theory you could, and I'm sure modders will attempt it as soon as the game is released. It would make for an odd experience though. If you look at the trailer, having Alyx move around boxes to grab ammo, then put it in the gun, then cock it, then shoot... All of this would have to be automated instead of the player doing whatever they want (which could be 10 other things). There's also the problem of aiming. In VR I can aim anywhere I want and it's not relative to the position of my head. That would be tough to replicate with KB&M. From what I understand, this game was specifically crafted to take advantage of VR as a medium, with a focus on fine interactions, so the question becomes whether it would be worth it to play it without all that. Personally I don't think so, but we'll see when it's out.

That's the most promising thing I've heard, that they came upon this, and it grew, organically. So yeah, maybe they learn enough from this to feel like the next time they can make something worthy of Half-Life 3 (there's an obnoxious arrogance/lack of confidence in that too; hey guys, better games than HL2 have come out since then, it's ok to try, it's not The New Testament you're tasked with making =).
The whole deal with them not releasing HL3 is that they didn't want it to be just another FPS among a sea of them. That's why they got interested in VR in the first place (at least as early as 2013). And I mean, Half-Life: Alyx has been in development since 2016, so it's not like it's just some week-end project. That said I mean I agree, it's not like this is a messianic event or anything. But it looks like a really cool game.

I guess my main question is really if there's a viable 3D film model to follow, at least with FPS games, where that becomes the standard release model of the genre but doesn't wholly replace standard gaming of course.
I don't think so honestly, because it would require some serious compromises (gameplay-wise) for both experiences. The overwhelming majority of video games as they currently exist wouldn't work in VR, and a good VR game has to be designed with VR in mind from the get-go.
 

Griffith

My posts are better.
I got the impression re:HL3 that Valve didn't want to release "just" another FPS campaign unless they felt they had something major to contribute. And that led to a series of delays, and combined with the way Valve handles project management (people can choose which teams they want to work on), it seems they never had the right crew together to finish the work on a standard "ep 3," despite documented evidence of them creating assets, story, etc.
Now they've kind of put themselves in a no-win Duke Nukem Forever/Chinese Democracy scenario where nothing they do can be worth the wait, plus, as those examples demonstrate, long delayed projects usually are so for a reason and tend to be objectively disappointing anyway. Maybe this is their way of circumventing that, even if they end up doing HL3 after this. It can be the follow up to this project instead of HL2.

Still, even speaking as a big HL fan who likes the story in those games quite a bit, I don't see it as a prerequisite that they continue that particular story for it to be a great game.
Oh, the chances of greatness could even be improved without those expectations and baggage, though I don't know that leaning back into Alyx is productive, at least to that end. There's also the factor that many fans simply want another great, or maybe just another, Gordon Freeman game that does build on HL2's scenario.

In theory you could, and I'm sure modders will attempt it as soon as the game is released. It would make for an odd experience though. If you look at the trailer, having Alyx move around boxes to grab ammo, then put it in the gun, then cock it, then shoot... All of this would have to be automated instead of the player doing whatever they want (which could be 10 other things).
So, it'd basically be like the latest God of War, RDR2, or any AAA action game? :troll:

The whole deal with them not releasing HL3 is that they didn't want it to be just another FPS among a sea of them. That's why they got interested in VR in the first place (at least as early as 2013). And I mean, Half-Life: Alyx has been in development since 2016, so it's not like it's just some week-end project. That said I mean I agree, it's not like this is a messianic event or anything. But it looks like a really cool game.
I'm already seeing takes complaining that this Half-Life VR game is VR only! Maybe I'm underestimating the riot making HL3 a VR exclusive would cause without a little, um, foreplay or priming of the pump. Maybe HL3 VR-only wouldn't be the best VR PR despite the statement that would make. :ganishka:

I don't think so honestly, because it would require some serious compromises (gameplay-wise) for both experiences. The overwhelming majority of video games as they currently exist wouldn't work in VR, and a good VR game has to be designed with VR in mind from the get-go.
Yeah, it's not as simple as visuals, but I feel like starting with the VR game and reverse engineering back to a traditional experience gives you the best shot of doing both justice. But then it would come down to the effort put into the conversion, and doing it well could take so much change and work that'd be like a different game anyway.
 
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Walter

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Yeah, it's not as simple as visuals, but I feel like starting with the VR game and reverse engineering back to a traditional experience gives you the best shot of doing both justice. But then it would come down to the effort put into the conversion, and doing it well could take so much change and work that'd be like a different game anyway.
I don’t think they’re really interested in doing both. I mean, why didn’t Nintendo do this?

 

Griffith

My posts are better.
I don’t think they’re really interested in doing both.
Evidently not, but I'm just thinking how one could approach a dual release in a way that was relatively equal rather than doing a shitty port of a non-VR game. This couldn't be the norm obviously, but a company like Valve could pull it off, especially if they were interested in championing VR without alienating everyone else, and making something special in the process. Hell, have a separate non-VR team that handles translating all the VR interactions; maybe they'll discover some immersive middle ground that also innovates regular gameplay.
 
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Walter

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Evidently not, but I'm just thinking how one could approach a dual release in a way that was relatively equal rather than doing a shitty port of a non-VR game. This couldn't be the norm obviously, but a company like Valve could pull it off, especially if they were interested in championing VR without alienating everyone else, and making something special. Hell, have a separate non-VR team that handles translating all the VR interactions; maybe they'll discover some innovative middle ground.
It probably could be done, but it likely wouldn't be pretty. The end result would be a corner-cutting version of the game's original intent. More importantly, I think sweeping the legs from their exclusive game would be counter to Valve's broader business interest—expanding the VR customer base. And that goes for companies other than Valve, too. Just like every other media company these days, a reliable way to motivate people down your particular pipeline is to make something exclusive. Offering an alternative would dilute that appetite.

Anecdotally, I do think there could very well be some pussyfooting from Valve afoot by wrapping their first big exclusive around a "prequel." If they announced "Half-Life 3" as a VR exclusive right out of the gate, without fully testing the waters of the market with one of their prized IP, it could backfire. Instead, Alyx gives them an opportunity to prime the market, and prove the worth of the platform, making an eventual HL3 as VR exclusive potentially more palatable.

That's quite a long con though... Which is why I think they're just focusing on one big VR game at a time. After all, it could very well be that Alyx leads Valve not back to more Half-Life, but to wholly new VR games. And as long as they're doing great stuff, fine by me.

BTW, for anyone who missed it, the bones of the "script" for what was likely Half-Life 2: Ep 3 was released by Mark Laidlaw shortly after he departed Valve 2 years ago. He masked the names of characters and locations (Gordon Freeman = Gertrude Fremont; Borealis = Hyperborea; Combine = Disparate; Dr. Breen = Dr. Bree, etc.), but if you want to see where they had intended to take that story, you can squint and experience it through this thing. It's among the reasons I'm okay with the direction of Alyx, despite the gaping, unfinished hole they left back in 2007.
 

Aazealh

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After all, it could very well be that Alyx leads Valve not back to more Half-Life, but to wholly new VR games. And as long as they're doing great stuff, fine by me.
They did in fact announce a while back that they were working on three VR games. HL: Alyx would be the first of them.
 

Griffith

My posts are better.
More importantly, I think sweeping the legs from their exclusive game would be counter to Valve's broader business interest—expanding the VR customer base. And that goes for companies other than Valve, too. Just like every other media company these days, a reliable way to motivate people down your particular pipeline is to make something exclusive. Offering an alternative would dilute that appetite.

Anecdotally, I do think there could very well be some pussyfooting from Valve afoot by wrapping their first big exclusive around a "prequel." If they announced "Half-Life 3" as a VR exclusive right out of the gate, without fully testing the waters of the market with one of their prized IP, it could backfire.
Yeah, that's what's creating the dissonance for me. They're fully committed to a Half-Life VR game obviously, which is good, or at least much better than a half-assed port, but they're not going ALL IN and just making it Half-Life 3 and unapologetically saying, "Half-Life 3 is a VR exclusive game because that's the best we can make it." My guess is that's basically what they're doing without the controversial mission statement, and it's obviously creating enough controversy anyway.

BTW, for anyone who missed it, the bones of the "script" for what was likely Half-Life 2: Ep 3 was released by Mark Laidlaw shortly after he departed Valve 2 years ago. He masked the names of characters and locations (Gordon Freeman = Gertrude Fremont; Borealis = Hyperborea; Combine = Disparate; Dr. Breen = Dr. Bree, etc.), but if you want to see where they had intended to take that story, you can squint and experience it through this thing. It's among the reasons I'm okay with the direction of Alyx, despite the gaping, unfinished hole they left back in 2007.
Okay with it because you got that closure, or okay because it was nothing to cry about? =) I didn't even play HL2: Eps 1 & 2, so I'm really not invested in HL3 and might be a better candidate to enjoy this than a hardcore fan. Like what if it's the best FPS, or game, for VR period and/or arguably the most advanced FPS ever in general? This is plausible to me, though I have to say the trailer looked like what I remember Half-Life 2 looking like; same designs, tone, lighting choices, etc. It didn't exactly blow me away in that regard considering how much HL2 content and spinoffs already exist.
 
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Griffith

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As expected, but exciting to see nontheless. Looks to be in keeping with RE2make in that the designs look top notch but not wholly satisfying to the originals (even Nemesis looks a little too smooth, and was he always covered in caution stickers? =). Also, Carlos, man, look at that hair; Umbrella has like no dress code for it's paramilitary forces, no wonder these guys are out of control doing whatever they feel like!

The cool thing here is that RE3, while still classic-ish, isn't sacred ground like RE2. This one could be even more fun, action-packed, and modernized/augmented without the constant meta commentary running through my head comparing it to the original (I think Aaz will be the only one with a discerning eye toward whether they fuck up the portrayal of Nikolai or something; ok, I will too =). Though, they basically turned Mr. X into Nemesis already, so it'll be interesting to see how they appropriately differentiate him and raise the stakes other than the bazooka. Having to take him down to get rid of him is a gimmie. No safe zones either, maybe? My favorite idea would be a dynamic environment he could fluidly alter; basically, make it so he could come at you from anywhere, through any floor or wall(s)! Now, while they probably are going to want to keep the map intact in some instances, RE3 has many single serving environments and little backtracking, and most of that is outside where it wouldn't matter anyway. Imagine being on the third floor of the police station and Nemesis bursts through the floorboards and pulls you down to him, and then follows you room to room by running straight through the walls! :magni:
 
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Griffith

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There's a trailer:


Well, that was fast, and looks like it will continue to be so as this one will be out about a year after the last, so they're not wasting any production time this round. I just hope that reflects they already did the hard part with 2 so didn't overthink this and it'll be fast, loose, lean and mean like the original... and not a ripoff/gloried RE2 expansion. Kind of the same production concerns as the original though, but I prefer this to waiting 3 years for not much more. Hopefully they don't start developing a Code: Veronica side by side with it. =)
 
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Griffith

My posts are better.
D00M Eternal


The lady angel-bot with the generic scratchy voice is kind of lame, but I'm just here to shoot Doom monsters, so I hope I can finish before April because... He's coming:


Won't be long now, and we have some answers to my questions on how Nemesis will distinguish himself from Mr. X: he'll have range, the ability to immediately close it even if you're running away, and I imagine weapons galore based on that flamethrower. I don't know if "looking forward to it" is the right phrase. :magni:


Also, not news but still something to definitely look forward to:


I don't know how I'll like the changes to the graphics, though it's fun to think of it as Shovel Knight's SNES/GBA successor, and especially gameplay via another developer, but if it has a modicum of the fun of the original it's at least a must try for me.
 
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Griffith

My posts are better.
Welcome back to Griff's Game Blog, another story to aggregate for you, dear readers:

Fucking lame, almost anybody with a PS4 is using it with an internet connection so this makes no sense and stinks of self-importance of one sort or another (maybe I just have a chip on my shoulder =). Understandable if current working conditions make it impossible to finish on time, but that's not the reason given. At least they didn't say they didn't want to hurt anybody's sensitive feefees due to the coincidentally relevant content, but I suspect that's partly the case and they're heroically looking for any excuse to keep delaying because it's that important to launch your game the right way or some shit. Don't want to rush their latest masterpiece at the wrong time, especially if they can't sell it to mouth breathers at a brick and mortar store during a pandemic quarantine. Anyway, I'll be happily playing the dumbed down version in the meantime. Speaking of coincidence, RE3's would-be cheesy throwback opening is CRAZY under the circumstances.
 

Aazealh

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Fucking lame, almost anybody with a PS4 is using it with an internet connection so this makes no sense
I don't know about that. I think retail sales are still pretty big for this type of AAA game and given how strategic of a title it is, Sony won't risk a half-assed launch. Of course you're right that they might also feel that launching it during a pandemic is in poor taste, but I don't think you can discount the business side of things here (when can you ever?). Case in point, they're also delaying "Iron Man VR" indefinitely.
 

Griffith

My posts are better.
I don't know about that. I think retail sales are still pretty big for this type of AAA game and given how strategic of a title it is, Sony won't risk a half-assed launch. Of course you're right that they might also feel that launching it during a pandemic is in poor taste, but I don't think you can discount the business side of things here (when can you ever ?).
Of course, when it rains sales go down, and this is like nuclear fallout economically, but them's the fucking breaks for everyone right now and this ain't going to the movies or a ballgame, they actually have a viable sales platform to make the best of this, Doom Eternal is selling, and NOT arbitrarily punish their consumers that are stuck inside looking for entertainment they could provide because they want to brag about their PS4 exclusive launch numbers down the road. That's presupposing down the road looks any better! They're not going to look so smart when the world economy fully collapses and they put out the game while we're all living "the last of us." =)
 

Walter

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They're not going to look so smart when the world economy fully collapses and they put out the game while we're all living "the last of us." =)
Even before this announcement I was wondering whatthey’d do about this game in light of the current world atmosphere. At this moment, tonally it would be about as welcome as a fart in an elevator.
 

Griffith

My posts are better.
Even before this announcement I was wondering whatthey’d do about this game in light of the current world atmosphere. At this moment, tonally it would be about as welcome as a fart in an elevator.
Well, it depends on one's point of view and what you consider escapism; I was still looking forward to it, perhaps moreso, precisely because of its exaggerated parallels to our current situation. Exploring something scary in a fictional, exaggerated but ultimately safe way can be therapeutic and exhilarating (this is pretty much the basis for any dark material), and frankly it makes the game far more relevant than it has any business being, perhaps to your point. The opposite, of course, can be just as reasonably so for someone, and one shouldn't play this if it's going to give them a panic attack, or they lost someone and it's too close, but let each decide for themselves. It's not like this will blow over in a month and it'll be a better time when hundreds of thousands of people have died, and I don't think the material should essentially be shelved indefinitely to make people that aren't going to play this under the circumstances anyway feel better somehow. Plus, if that's the case, they should just say that and stick to it.

Also, and maybe this is just me, or human nature to make connections, but every major release this year seemingly parallels this pandemic somehow; whether it directly touches on deadly infectious disease (RE3), quarantine zones (HL:A), mass deaths worldwide (Doom), or all of the above (Last of Us 2), every game is seemingly a commentary or allusion for this. I hope the new Animal Crossing doesn't have a heavy disease element.

I mean, check this shit out that released just today:


It definitely raised my eyebrows more than a cheesy stupid Resident Evil game intro ever should.
 
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Griffith

My posts are better.
Capcom is crazy and I love it. :guts:
Yeah, they didn't get the memo about taste, I think Capcom would have released this as is during the actual zombie apocalypse; I've never been so genuinely riveted by a retro live action intro cutscene. All that's missing is:



There's more surprises to the game's opening too, they're being more experimental here than RE2 and also successfully make Jill's story feel like the REAL one. She's at the end of her rope, man, she's gotta make her... Final escape!
 

Aazealh

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Yeah, they didn't get the memo about taste, I think Capcom would have released this as is during the actual zombie apocalypse; I've never been so genuinely riveted by a retro live action intro cutscene. All that's missing is:

There's more surprises to the game's opening too, they're being more experimental here than RE2 and also successfully make Jill's story feel like the REAL one. She's at the end of her rope, man, she's gotta make her... Final escape!
Haha, even though I was disappointed by RE2 in the end I just have to get this one. <3 Jill forever (despite her Keira Knightley redesign).
I've got to get through Doom Eternal first though. But maybe just a little more Half-Life first... :schnoz:
 

Griffith

My posts are better.
Haha, even though I was disappointed by RE2 in the end I just have to get this one. <3 Jill forever (despite her Keira Knightley redesign).
They should have brought back the secretly long locked original version:



I'd like to be the meat inside that Jill sandwich. :carcus:

I've got to get through Doom Eternal first though. But maybe just a little more Half-Life first... :schnoz:
Then Final Fantasy VII, Last of Us 2 assuming it's coming, Cyberpunk 2077, maybe even Elden Ring (ok, maybe not =). It's a great time for every good video game this year to come out... and that's about it.
 
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