Posted by John on February 5, 2012

Ask 411 Games 02.06.12: Building Cities, Patching Skyrim, Sir Roderick, More!

Ask 411 Games 02.06.12: Building Cities, Patching Skyrim, Sir Roderick, More!

Posted by Mathew Sforcina on 02.06.2012

Who took the initiative to get Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance? Is the PS3 version of Skyrim playable yet? Why is there no sequel to Jade Empire? And whatever happened to Sled Storm? All this and more covered this week in Ask 411 Games!

Hey there, welcome to Ask 411 Games! I am your QA Guru as I am constantly referred to as by some people, Mathew Sforcina. I must admit that this week in my gaming was interesting. I got stuck into Soul Calibur V and am now on a title collecting spree (although what the hell is with that story mode? I’ve seen flash games with more depth than that. At least gimme an arcade story mode…) and… I honestly didn’t expect to be playing Simpsons Arcade this week on my Xbox, and yet here we are, it’s finally out. So you can all stop complaining.

Shame it wasn’t a HD update thought, that would have NO, BAD MATHEW!

Anyway, enough about that, let’s get back to the important stuff, your questions.

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Remember, questions can go in the comment section, or, better yet, to ask411games@gmail.com.

We begin our questions (since complaining about my grammar isn’t a question. And if you could point out actual examples, then I might actually do something about it.) with Mr. Ace Crusher

One the question front:
How many games include a town-building element like Dark Cloud or ActRaiser? Are there any modern ones?

I’m going to take a wild stab and say that any game built solely around town building isn’t what you are after. I mean, if you don’t know what SimCity is, welcome to the Internet. We have cookies, spam and porn.

You’re more about games that have a city building element as a side part, a part of a bigger game experience, yes? Like, for instance, DD Stronghold in 1993.

The game was mostly around building the city, but there was a RTS element as the city would be attacked, and thus you had to build an army and defend the city, using the DD rules. The inverse of this, where the game was mostly about attacking and defending and the city building was secondary would be in the game Stronghold from 2001, oddly enough. Stronghold has had many sequels and spin offs, with some variations from the genre.

The City Building/RTS is the most common double act, the ActRaiser/Dark Cloud style of game is rarer. You find more games like 1998’s Anno 1602: Creation of a New World (1602 A.D in the US, Canada and Australia) that mix city building and RTS than a game that mixes city building and action gaming.

The game was followed by Anno 1503 and then Anno 1701, and then Anno 1404 and finally Anno 2070 last year… So a nice neat clear order there, huh? Plus there’s a bunch of expansions just to confuse it further.

Games that have city building and RPG elements do exist however. The two biggest in the past few years came out in 2008, both via digital distribution. Hinterland was for PC and came out on Steam and the like…

And Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: My Life as a King which came out on WiiWare.

I suppose you could argue that Black White games fit the bill, but their city building elements are fairly weak and small compared to the rest.

And then there is the huge amount of Facebook ‘games’ that have city building components. You can find those easily.

So there’s a few. And I’m sure the readers will add more.

What was the reason Capcom stated for abandoning their traditional 2 punch, 2 kick, 2 assist button scheme for the ‘Guilty Gear’ button scheme for Tatsunoko vs Capcom and Marvel vs Capcom 3?

The button scheme was Tatsunoko vs. Capcom was designed to be simplistic for a design choice and a logistics choice. Logistically, the game’s arcade system was designed about a Wii-type board, so the control system was inspired, in part, by the Wii’s control schemes of complex actions from simple controls.

But from a design point of view, TvC was intended to be part of a 1-2 punch, Capcom wanted to rejuvenate the fighting game, to bring it back into the mainstream. And while Street Fighter IV was the ‘serious’ game designed for the Hardcore Figthing Fans, TvC was intended to appeal to a more wider demographic, with a quote ‘slightly lowered barrier to entry’.

Likewise, when they began work on MvC3, they wanted to appeal to as many people as possible, they didn’t want just fighting nerds to buy it, they wanted everyone to get it. And so, they gave it a simple control scheme to (again) quote “knock down the wall of complicated controls and open up the field of strategic fighting to all comers”.

And their wallets.

Basically it was to broaden the appeal of the games.

and finally, did Platnium games approach Kojima Pro to do MGR Revengence or did Kojima ask Platnium to help them out?

Kojima went to Platinum.

Kojima Productions had the game image and story in line, they were moving along, but they just couldn’t get a grip on the cutting dynamic. Not so much as a shift in tone or a radical change to the MGS game concept or anything, just physically working out how to program and handle the cutting dynamic in game. There were lofty goals in mind, with the ability to cut practically anything, any how. But they couldn’t get to grips with it, and Metal Gear Solid: Rising was quietly cancelled in late 2010.

Hideo Kojima, who had been somewhat hands off since he was focused more on MGS: Peace Walker on the PSP, did consider moving off shore for the game’s production, but felt that a Japanese company was better suited to do a ninja action game justice.

Clearly not a fan of Mortal Kombat then.

So anyway, in early 2011, Kojima approached Platinum and asked if they had interest in restarting the cancelled project. Platinum agreed, starting the game from scratch, and doing everything except the cutscenes and story, which would be done by Kojima (who reworked the story to make it set after MGS4 so that the enemies could be mostly cyborgs and thus get around Japanese ratings issues about cutting up people. They don’t like it.).

And the rest is… well not history since the game’s not out yet. Current affairs?

Guest#4525 hates bugs.

You want to talk bugs? Try Elder Scrolls Skyrim. There are so many bugs in this game but still playable and does anyone know when the patch will be uploaded for PS3 (or consoles)?

We sorta covered this last week. The game is patched to 1.3 so far on all platforms, and 1.4 is out on PC. PS3 and 360 is waiting on Sony and Microsoft to approve. It does say, in the long list of what it’s fixing, ‘Long term play optimizations for memory and performance (PS3)’. So it’s been about a week or so since it went live, so any day now it’ll patch.

Hopefully.

And then it’ll be all beer and skittles as the game works perfectly and is awesome.

Hopefully.

Guest#7120 goes from mountains to… Snow.

What ever happened to Sled Storm 2? The game was originally announced for the PS2, but instead became IIRC a remake of the first game. Also, what are the chances EA develops a true sequel of the game?

Fun fact: I had never heard of this game before I looked into this one. So yay for honesty.

Sled Storm was released in 1999 for the PS1 by EA, the game is unique in that it was one of the first snow racing games, as well as being one of the few racing games on the PS1 to offer 4 player gaming, via a multi tap of course. It sold well, and was a critical success. So, naturally, a sequel came along 3 years later for the PS2.

Confusingly it kept the same name. But the game was somewhat different. Although the first game did take some of it’s inspiration from Road Rash, it was fairly realistic. Sled Storm for the PS2 on the other hand was basically SSX with mobiles rather than boards. It was published by EA Sports Big, and the courses got more and more insane as you went. Plus there was an attack button, and the game was basically Sled Storm gone loopy.

It wasn’t a remake by any stretch, although the titles are the same. It was just that by the time the sequel was made, EA had a division built for ‘arcade sports’ games, and it fitted more with that franchise than a realistic one.

Now, will there be a sequel? I would say that it all depends on how well SSX does. Not the original one, the new one due out this year for PS3 and 360.

Could we please pass a law banning games doing this? Seriously, if you use a name, you shouldn’t be allowed to reuse it again. Grrr.

Anyway, if SSX ‘12 does well, I would wager than a Sled Storm ‘13/’14 will come out. Probably just called Sled Storm again. But yeah, if SSX does well, then there’s a market, and it will probably be made. If SSX does poorly, then probably not.

The last question this week comes from dgrampm and is about a game I have played and do love.

What’s the deal with jade empire? Why no sequal I loved the first one

No, I don’t have time to dig it out and play it. No sir.

Uh, anyway, Jade Empire was an action RPG made by Bioware for Microsoft for the Xbox and PC in 2005. The game was set in a mythical version of ancient China, with combat based on martial arts. The game had an involving storyline, a playstyle similar to Knights of the Old Republic, and is the home to John Cleese’s finest video game role as Sir Roderick Ponce Von Fontlebottom the Magnificent Bastard.

I don’t like the guy narrating, but he picks the right thing at the end.

Anyway, the game is pretty cool, and shares some aspects with past and future Bioware titles, with the style being KOTOR and aspects such as it’s mortality system playing out more like Mass Effect. But what of a sequel? Well teasers have been put out while Bioware is firm that there are no plans for a sequel. The last comments on the issue were in September last year by 2 of BioWare’s 3 founders, Ray Muzyka and Greg Zeschuk at a European Game Con. They said that, And I Quote,

“We’ve been talking a lot about that actually on and off over the years, It’s an IP, it’s a setting that we’re really passionate about, and we still are. [We're] big believers in the IP. We’re just looking for the right way to deploy it. We have a lot of different projects now on a lot of different platforms, and you might see some of that [Jade Empire] in the future. You never know. We don’t have anything to announce on it right now, but it is a franchise that’s near and dear to us.”

Given that EA owns BioWare now, I’d imagine a game would come out sooner or later. Just hopefully not some PopCap made casual game about the shooter minigame.

Actually that doesn’t sound half bad…

Remember, questions can go in the comment section, or, better yet, to ask411games@gmail.com. Join me next week. If I’m not deep in The Way Of The Closed Fist…


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