Today, Game Informer confirmed that Thief 4 is this month’s cover story.
The series, which has been dormant since 2004 with the release of Thief: Deadly Shadows, is often credited with being one of greatest and most influential stealth franchises of all time. Many of the games that allow us to be all sneaky-like draw immensely from the steampunk/fantasy stealth gameplay of Thief. The developers of two of my favorite games of 2012 alone, Mark of the Ninja and Dishonored¸ have said that the Thief was one of the inspirations for their stealth gameplay mechanics.
Last week Greg Zeschuk, one of the founders of Bioware who recently retired, made some interesting comments about the super publisher EA. He said this in an interview with Polygon:
“I think one of the reasons that we survived and succeeded within EA was that our company was mature enough and there was enough good people throughout to handle the EA bear hug — something that is well meaning but vigorous. We needed to be strong to survive that and I think we did and you evolve from that as well.”
Many gamers, maybe rightly so, seem to have unbridled hate for EA. EA is blamed for a lot of the gaming world’s woes it seems, including the “broification” of games series they bought, DRM, and the trend of over-milking of series. And while I think that there is a good level of truth to the hate that EA gets, I don’t think that they are the pure-evil corporate headed by Mondus from the new DMC (expect a review soon, Yay!!!)
I think that EA still provides some good to the gaming scene and Zeschuk’s comments kind of confirm that feeling. He said that the “bear hug” from EA comes with good intentions but can consume a developer. I interpreted this to mean that while EA does have a large influence on the developers they publish, they provide the money and marketing power to boost a product. I remember the large amount of marketing and the sharp increase in production values that came with Mass Effect 2 and I’m not sure it would have been the same game without EA swooping it. Now you may not like what ME 2 was compared to 1, but myself and many others liked it more than the first and in part we have EA thank for that. At the same time, I think that EA’s push to get ME 3 and Dragon Age 2 out the door is in part to blame for some of the problems with those games (either that or Casey Hudson took some acid before writing the Mass Effect finale) so I in no way love EA, I just understand them. They’re a company and like any other they want to make as much money as plausible which leads them to push out titles and make them more mainstream to get a wider audience. Still without EA I’m not sure if Dead Space or Crysis, two games I really enjoyed, would have had the same success.
What do you think about the doctor’s comments? How do you feel about EA in general? Let me know below
Playing new games is overrated. Here’s a review of something I played semi-recently instead. Check it out. Or don’t. Read on to find out.
As much as I want to, I can’t play every game series. That’s the harsh reality of my life. So it goes. Every so often I’ll see internet-goers talking about a series I’ve never played and take notice, make a mental note to look into it, and go about my business. Certain niches of the internet are quite fond of the Atelier games, a series I was completely unfamiliar with. So next time I browsed a game store and saw Atelier Rorona (and later Totori) for $20, I figured “what the hell?” and went for it. After sitting in my pile of “Games to Play Next” for a few months, I finally dove into the Atelier series.
Recently I put up my thoughts about how too many fantasy based games, from both the east and west, center around traditional European troupes. While I was looking for a serious RPG that was built around another culture’s mythology, in some way a small downloadable title from the new developer 17-Bit Studios may fill that void. Skulls of The Shogun may not be an RPG or serious in any way, but it does draw its inspiration from Japanese lore and looks like it’s hella fun.
Lately I have noticed what I perceive to be a troubling trend in the design of WRPGs and JRPGs set in fantasy worlds. Think about the major titles from both of these genres: Dragon Age, Final Fantasy, the Tales series, The Elder Scrolls, The Witcher, Dragon Quest, all have one major design element in common. They all draw inspiration from European medieval folklore to create their fantastical worlds. Castles, knights, trolls, dwarves, elves, and medieval weapons are staples in these games and it’s starting to get a bit tiring.
I feel like WRPGs developers can receive a bit of a past for the continual use of these troupes. After all, in all likelihood a good amount of the people work
When you start up Bioshock, you’ll know in the first 10 minutes of the game how you’ll feel about it. The plane crash and subsequent discovery of Rapture is one of the most impressive opening minutes of any game out there today. If the underwater ride through the Any Rand inspired city gone wrong doesn’t captivate you and urge to want to explore all of what the game has, you may not hold Bioshock in the same esteem as the throngs of people, like myself, who do.
The Dead Space series has been one of my favorite new IPs this generation. Dead Space 1 was one of the first games I purchased with my PS3, picked up on a whim due to its low price tag, and ended up being a great surprise (that and Valkyria Chronicles, great way to start out). The second came out a year or so later and was among my favorites of 2011. I worried a bit about the shift to a more action-y presentation with a more vocal Isaac, but after I had played it through I was more than satisfied. While not exactly “scary” in a traditional survival-horror game sense, the Dead Space series creates a superbly tense atmosphere, keeping you on edge and alert as you progress.
And now we have Dead Space 3. I know EA has always been involved with the series as the publisher, but many of the games they’ve been involved with recently have rubbed fans (including myself) the wrong way. I have some concerns for the series I’ve become so attached to, but there’s always still an optimistic (or naïve) glimmer of hope lurking in my mind. Here’s how I’m feeling about the next entry to the Dead Space series.