Resident Evil 6 Aims to Leave Everyone Unsatisfied; Pledges Thirty Hours of Indecisiveness
Like survival horror? Check out Resident Evil 6! Like third-person shooters? Check out Resident Evil 6! Like melee based action games? Check out Resident Evil 6! This is essentially the message that Capcom wishes to disseminate among the gaming public in a bid to win back lapsed Resident Evil fans, while retaining gamers that were introduced to the series with Resident evil 5 and presumably attracting former Devil May Cry fans to boot – in short growing the pie for Capcom. Capcom have previously broached their intention to provide three discreet game scenarios for players to sink their virulent zombie fangs into; a survival horror scenario focusing on series favourite Leon S. Kennedy, a high octane shooter scenario centred on the boulder punching beast, Chris Redfield, and an action scenario based on series newcomer Jake Muller – each of which will allow for cooperative online play (welcoming back Capcom’s own special brand of AI partners for single-player gamers).
On top of this Capcom have revealed this week that each campaign will run gamers a solid ten hours a piece – claiming that players will experience a good thirty hours of content before even touching the game’s extensive ‘Mercenaries’ mode. Granted, total game time rarely meets publisher estimates, and there will be large areas of overlap in the second half of the game scenarios when players are transported to a fictional Chinese city based on Hong Kong, but if each scenario can run a solid seven hours (the length of Resident Evil 5) it will represent a breathtakingly ballsy value proposition for gamers who prize a game’s duration over the minute to minute experience that it provides.
While a project which constitutes such a pro-consumer value for money is to be lauded, one must wonder at the quality of a game which promises to do all things for all people. One must consider the refinement of gameplay systems and enemy AI that is possible when staff must divide their attention between what are essentially three different games. One must also question the wisdom of allowing co-op play during the game’s survival horror scenario, when co-op does precisely nothing for survival horror, and in fact substantially undermines it along with player efficacy and patience – as was the case with the sadly broken Resident Evil 5. At any rate, one supposes that it is better to shoot for the stars and fall than it is to to cruise along doing the bare minimum.
Cliffy B. Gets Oxymoronic
This week Cliffy B., a man famous for insisting that an 8/10 score was not good enough for his game, oxymoronically labelled on-disc DLC an “unfortunate reality”, before proceeding to defend the practice – a practice which is rendered nonsensical by its very definition.
As Bleszinski puts it “When you’re making a game, and you’re getting into a ship cycle, there’s often three or four months where the game is basically done. And you have an idle team that needs to be working on things, and often for compatibility issues, day one, some of that content does need to be on-disc. It’s an ugly truth of the gaming industry. I’m not the biggest fan of having to do it, but it is one of the unfortunate realities.”
It would seem that the fantasy that Cliffy B. is trying to peddle to gamers is that on-disc unlockable content (not DLC) is justified due to the fact that most games spend the better part of a half year in a state of stasis after going gold (in reality six to eight weeks is the norm), and so the developers must work on DLC during this period of time, and include it on the disc to achieve day one compatibility(?!). Never mind the fact that six to eight weeks is probably not enough time to produce and product-test a piece of substantial in-game content, the very reason that a game goes gold over a month before release is to give the console holder enough time to certify the content, produce the game materials, and distribute the end product. Bleszinski’s claim that a company can just continue to produce on-disc content right up to launch is the worst kind of lie: an easily falsifiable one. The window of time between the point at which a game goes gold, and the point at which disc production is initiated would scarcely be enough time to craft a piece of horse armour, much less the beefy roster of bonus characters belonging to Street Fighter X Tekken. In short, most on-disc content is exceedingly likely to have been completed within a week or two of the game proper going gold. All of this notwithstanding, it is quite mystifying as to why locked content must ship on the game disc in order to be compatible at launch, nor indeed why the content must be available at launch as opposed to a week, fortnight, or month later.
Perhaps the most amusing aspect of Cliffy B.’s spirited defence was his disingenuous description of on-disc DLC as an “unfortunate reality”, a phrase which one finds to be rather reminiscent of the term “facts on the ground” in its use. “Facts on the ground” is a euphemism favoured by the State of Israel in order to justify their stealing of another State’s land as inevitable. Funny then that Cliffy B. should deploy a similar euphemism to paint the bilking of consumers as a necessary inevitability.
Bleszinski finishes: “If we get to fully downloadable games, then you can just buy a $30 horror game and just have it, and that stuff will thankfully go away.” Funnily enough, Epic Games’ Bulletstorm was available as a fully downloadable game upon its PC release, one fancies that it was not available for $30.
Epic Games Blames PC Pirates For Poor Bulletstorm Sales
So, apparently video game piracy is a big threat to the PC market. How big a threat? Big enough to ensure that Epic Game’s Bulletstorm had disappointing sales, or at least that was the assertion of Mike Capps when he this week explained the decision to shelve plans for a sequel to the lasso based trick shooter.
Capps contends that “From a sales perspective it was good, but not amazing. I think EA was hoping we’d do better. We made a PC version of Bulletstorm, and it didn’t do very well on PC and I think a lot of that was due to piracy. It wasn’t the best PC port ever, sure, but also piracy was a pretty big problem.”
When Capps says that the PC version of Bulletstorm “wasn’t the best PC port ever”, what he really means is that it was a PC port so famously bad that it prompted Ars Technica to pen the article How to ruin your PC port in five easy steps. The game did not allow for gamers to access some of the most rudimentary settings, whilst also shipping replete with severe graphical bugs, so when Capps mentions quality as being a contributing factor to the game’s poor fortunes, one is inclined to believe him. What is unclear though, is to precisely what extent piracy can be blamed for the game’s poor sales when the port was so poorly handled. Conventional thinking dictates that not all people who pirate games would instead purchase a copy if denied access to the product through piracy. It also stands to reason that fewer people will be inclined to purchase a game if they feel that a developer has snubbed their demography by producing a low quality product, in which case it could be argued that Epic Games has actively promoted piracy by releasing a game that was not worth paying money for (though .11 million PC gamers did just that).
At any rate, it is highly unlikely that the success or failure of Bulletstorm was ever contingent upon the PC version of the game, and PC pirates certainly cannot be blamed for the title’s lack of success on the consoles where the bulk of game sales would have been expected to occur. Therefore it is more than a little disingenuous for Mike Capps to attempt to deflect blame for the failure of PS3 and XBox 360 versions of the game (which sold .37 and .88 million units respectively) onto PC game pirates. The sequel to Bulletstorm was scrapped due to the disinterest of gamers across the board, and Epic Games would do well to recognise that fact instead of attempting to scapegoat one of the most commercially marginal platforms in gaming.