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Angry the Clown

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Everything posted by Angry the Clown

  1. I wish I could enjoy the surround mix. I had to make do with my noise cancelling headphones so I could still appreciate the sound on some level and feel engaged in the experience. My heart was racing during the run near the end (the coordination of everything happening in that shot is mind boggling). I think it has good repeat value, @NickC, which isn't always something that can be said for war films. It hit all the right emotional notes, and at two hours it actually feels lean, thanks in no small part to the extraordinary way they shot and edited the film. It's nonsense to dismiss the "one shot" illusion as a gimmick as it serves the story 100% (as if Deakins would ever agree to a stylistic approach on any other basis!). It's easily my favourite Mendes film next to Road to Perdition (I so wish we could get a UHD release of that).
  2. Pleasant surprise to see that Hamilton is 4k/Dolby Vision. I wonder if there's hope for a disc? That'd be a good opportunity to get it out uncut.
  3. I thought it was excellent. First chance I have had to see it. If the story and setting appeals then I'd go for a blind buy as I did. Very much looking forward to going over the special features too (particularly the Deakins commentary).
  4. Spent the afternoon watching 1917. The disc is an absolutely stunning presentation.
  5. I had it running in the background so wasn't paying attention to the timestamp. Yes, nothing explicitly was said, but I read between the lines and...... Oops. 😆 Oh well. I had my suspicions. It's a good question. I’m certainly interested to know when the perception of game’s value shifted from the quality of its gameplay and design to its length/number of levels. Equally I wonder whether that shift is, in part, a generational thing because thinking back to my childhood and teens I don’t honestly remember being disappointed by a game for any other reason than it not being a particularly satisfying experience to play. Indeed, there were games I didn’t even finish from the 8-bit and 16-bit era that I still got a sense of value out of, simply because I enjoyed playing them. The same is still true today (if The Impossible Lair gets the better of me, so be it. I still enjoyed the core levels of gameplay a great deal). So length never really entered into the question of value for me, but as videogame commentary has evolved with the internet, and grown beyond the realms of professional journalism and into social media and streaming, this almost dismissive language with regards to a game’s length, and that length being a primary factor in defining its apparent value, now seems commonplace. I do get a sense from people of a certain age that they might struggle to define, even recognise, what true value is (with regard to a lot of things in life, not just games), and so they might be eager to quantify it in rather arbitrary terms. That’s most likely through no fault of their own however, but a knock on effect of how products are pitched and the manner in which things have been sold to them throughout their entire lives. I don’t want to point a finger and go off on blaming “those damn kids” though, because fans of all ages move in the same circles and we’re all equally exposed to the way products are pitched and sold today. I can guarantee that I’ve made, or responded favourably, to glib remarks like “that’s a Playstation Plus game” or “leave it for Gamepass” and, yes, I have surely remarked about a game’s length in relation to its price too (though I personally have always preferred shorter games, but that’s beside the point). I know we’re focusing on the value of big games here when it comes to the discussion of price increases, but bear with me as I feel it’s all related. Indie games have always been floating around, but I feel I'm right in saying that they didn’t really penetrate the console space until Xbox Live Arcade, and I think in many ways it's things like that which began to sew the seeds for how we’ve come to perceive the value of one game compared to another in recent years. Many indie devs, then and now, can tell stories about how making their game nearly ruined them, taking years of their life at great financial cost, but if the platform offering a place for their work was turning to them from the very beginning like “well, OBVIOUSLY we can’t charge $50-60 for your game,” then not only is the developer’s perception of value for their own work set (and potentially diminished in their own mind) by the powers that be, but so too is our perception as the consumer. I think there’s a great argument for raising the prices on indie games, but once that lower price precedent has been set, it’s hard to roll back on, and whatever precedent XBLA set has been perpetuated via PSN, Steam, Humble Bundles…etc. In effect, the gallery has placed the price on the artist and the value of their work, and the industry has defined two standards of quality and expectation as a result. Circling back to [JimSterling]”AAA”[/JimSterling] games though, and the question of how much responsibility we have for the dominance of these expensive productions in the marketplace, I’d say no more or less than we do for the dominance of big budget movies at the cinema. Which is to say… probably not that much? The problem isn’t really that lots of people like these things, it’s the presumption on the part of those making them thinking that it’s all we want, or at the very least the presumption that only mega budget releases can best guarantee a return on investment (there may even be truth in the case of the latter, but I'll get to that). With the movie industry, it wasn’t like demand for mid budget films disappeared, it’s more that it was eroded by the domination of blockbusters with ever expanding budgets. We're talking about productions so costly that it’s barely become feasible to produce and promote any other kind of movie anymore because studios decided that’s what the bulk of their spending is best put towards. If something’s not on the menu, what else are we going to choose? The exact same mentality has effectively seeped into the games industry over the past ten/fifteen years as it has become bigger and bigger, and Mike Bithell has an anecdote right there in that podcast that highlights this, telling a story of pitching a low-medium sized game and a publisher saying they’d only back it if it’s “five times the budget and four times the length.” It’s a twisted world, and all these entertainment industries try to do is second guess the consumer, but the reality is nobody really knows anything (by which I mean, nobody can really be sure what’s going to be a hit and why). EA spent an age harping on about how the single player experience was dying out while Last of Us, Horizon, God of War and Spider-man waved from high up on their hill… then EA made Jedi Fallen Order which has since sold 8million+ copies. How about that? Audiences like what they like, and often what they like is something they hadn't even anticipated themselves. With moviegoing, the costs have also risen tremendously which has been turning a lot of customers away, and in turn leaves them being a lot more choosy about what they get a ticket for. Much like a typical studio decision to throw the majority of their spending at huge budget releases that have the highest potential for ROI, in a funny way cinemagoers are forced to make a similar decision on their own terms, so they're spending their hard earned money on expensive cinema tickets on something they can be almost certain they will enjoy. There's no doubt some spillover from that consumer behaviour to how and when we're choosing to buy games too. So maybe there's a case that, as far as consumer responsibility to where we are with big budget games is concerned, there's something of a chicken and egg scenario in how we respond t the market and the market responds to us. I don't really like having to be as thrifty as I am with my approach to game spending these days, but it's the only way I can afford to continue to enjoy the hobby at all unfortunately. Getting back to the big question though, it's really the fact publishers are reporting not just huge profits these days, but record breaking profits, that should give anyone serious pause for thought when they start talking about "having" to raise prices. I think Sterling is spot on in saying that these biggest names (EA, Activision, Take Two...etc) simply haven't earned the right to raise prices. Their greed over the past decade has made them so blind to how best their monstrous profits could have in fact been better distributed to improve the way in which they operate, and the quality of the products they ship, that nobody should feel that a price increase is suddenly going to have these companies waking up like Scrooge on Christmas morning. A need to cover the cost of cross-gen upgrade handouts doesn't hold as a particularly compelling argument. I'm a socialist when it comes to many things, but charging buyers of a next-gen game more to give current-gen owners a leg up to upgrading to the next-gen version for free.... isn't one of them. 😀 More importantly, cross-gen upgrades aren't going to be a thing forever, and that's the shady trick behind the (on the surface) reasonable sounding excuse isn't it? Because these publishers sure as shit aren't going to then reduce the prices again when they go next-gen only after having allowed $70 to become the norm. I do have to ask though, where has this expectation that any of us should be given the next-gen upgrade for free even spawned from? Is it Microsoft and Smart Play that set this precedent? As consumer friendly a concept as it seems, I do wonder if it in fact plays to my thought that modern sales and marketing has a lot to do with why people's ability to recognise the true value of something has diminished. I think, on a base level, expectation should (naturally at this point) be for backwards compatibility, that our PS4/XB1 discs and digital downloads should run under the PS5/SeriesX/Lockhart exactly as they would on their native systems. The second tier of expectation would be running those games via backwards compatibility, but with the potential for frame rate and resolution enhancements that the superior hardware could unlock. PS4 Pro and XB1 X set a precedent for offering those kinds of improvements for free, so it'd be a challenge to suddenly start asking money for that now. When it comes to actual, full on next-gen edition upgrades though? I don't think it's unreasonable to charge for that, whether it's a nominal fee or leaving people to buy the game over again. Ray tracing and all that jazz is, as I understand it, not at all cheap for developers to implement, so if they want to charge for that level of extensive work then we should let them. I know they've said it's all going to be free, but with the knowledge that PS4 and XB1 copies of Cyberpunk will run better than they do on PS4 Pro and XB1 X when played on PS5 and SeriesX, if CDPR wanted to charge those owners a $15 fee or whatever to transfer over to the actual next-gen edition in 2021, then I don't think that would be unfair.
  6. That's extraordinary. Great commentary too (certainly comforting to hear developers talk about how they're not even good at finishing their own game. 😆).
  7. 120hz also confirmed for the PS5 release. Just having 60fps be more common next-gen makes me happy enough, but it's a shame I won't be able to test 120 out on my older TV. I'm very interested to see what graphical features 120hz modes require games to give up/scale back on on the new systems.
  8. Not as yet, no. I probably will at some point. I know the first half very well now to know the obstacle layouts and timings, but again one mistake gets me flustered and triggers several more. Hopefully taking a break from it for a couple of weeks will help too. With a max of 42 bees I feel I'd like to be getting to the second half with a minimum of 37. Right now my best is getting to part two with 29, which I know just isn't going to be enough to see me through to the finish as getting as far as I've got only registers as 44% completion.
  9. He and I certainly seem to be ranting from the same hymn sheet, though for whatever reason I refrained from mentioning that these companies are also colossal tax dodgers. Worth remembering as they cry about games being so expensive to make whilst they boast about their record breaking profits. I really don't see any reasonable argument for software price increases. As sterling points out, IF the corporate behaviour of these publishers was vastly different, there might actually be good grounds to do it, but it isn't, so there's not.
  10. Gradually approaching the point where this simply isn't much fun anymore. One small mistake seems to lead to a half dozen more, and I'm not always finding the game's behaviour to be consistent (sometimes I don't latch on to the greenery fences when there's no reason why I shouldn't, and there's a segment in the first half with four spiders and these little monsters coming toward you gnashing their teeth, and I can bounce on the head of a monster between spiders and not get caught, but then bounce on another without ever having moved the stick left or right and a spider takes a bee from me. 🤷‍♂️). It's a particular nightmare if you have a co-ordination disorder. I'll keep trying periodically, but it's time to shift focus to something else in my backlog.
  11. It auto prompted the update for me OK. I did have to free up some space on my SD Card though. The swimming and diving is so cute. I caught half a dozen new things and met Pascal (I don't know if he'll always appear in the same place or not). Caught five new bugs in quick succession during my play at lunchtime too. There's a big influx of new bugs and fish this season. https://animalcrossingworld.com/2020/06/new-bugs-fish-in-july-for-animal-crossing-new-horizons-northern-southern-hemisphere/
  12. Thought I should look it up and Jesus shitting Christ. Here's Take Two's quarterly report from May: https://finance.yahoo.com/news/two-interactive-software-inc-reports-200500243.html?guccounter=1&guce_referrer=aHR0cHM6Ly93d3cuZ29vZ2xlLmNvLnVrLw&guce_referrer_sig=AQAAAAkWumsQAEv6urKdVvYWF51dliUKmwBVMEq-EKfpoUB6neQm8UzPOtJUQ1eKpq7BRwg22Hizi7W8FImFwou7BRxyzSwE4k-2yQIzUXW5R4HhCj6NKRk5nO3Uv9TdL-8wFdTNT-GHaKYQPSaYkO207iK-kB1T_mI-qfWWifcoooJE
  13. Purely from a personal perspective, it was honestly so rare that I purchased games at launch on the PS4 this gen that it's not really going to affect me. I've almost always left games for sales these past seven years and will likewise treat the PS5 and SeriesX similarly (while the X will also serve a high percentage of its purpose as a Gamepass Box for me, the value of which will only feel greater if game prices are to rise). The potential for higher prices is another reason I felt people should not be so quick to dismiss the optical drive model of the PS5, since the physical market is invariably one of greater competition than digital, paving the way for greater opportunities for discounts and of course giving people the option to re-sell/trade any purchases. If players don't take kindly to the higher prices and feel less compelled to purchase titles at launch, then physical retail will eventually react accordingly. I weirdly don't possess a fear of missing out with games. Selling my PS4 over a year ago tested my resolve in that respect, but I haven't felt remotely sad about being left out of conversations surrounding RE2, Death Stranding, Last of Us II...etc. All I hope is that I can avoid spoilers. In a lot ways I feel as though I've greatly benefited from coming to such big games many months after hype and/or discourse has faded. I'll catch up when I can, and indeed, when I please. Stepping back from whether any of this affects me personally or not, I'll continue to cast a shady eye over talk of how necessary price increases are however, particularly when a company like Take Two is first out the gate in rushing to do it. I'll certainly continue to be angry with a high priced major release that still put emphasis on dlc/expansions to sell a "complete" experience, and the half dozen special editions the likes of Ubisoft love to vomit out. The price of certain games already exceeds $60 when you factor all that crap in, so to think of those practices continuing on top of a higher off the shelf price is rather gross, but we know it will. Likewise, these enormously (ENORMOUSLY) profitable developers/publishers continuing to allow unhealthy and unsafe work environments to fester makes me apoplectic with rage. If a rise in prices were to put money back into these companies addressing many of these failings in the workplace then I'd welcome it, but let's face it, it's not going to. Maybe this will finally be the generation that we'll see a lot of these shady practices collapse under their own weight of greed because none of it is going to be sustainable forever.
  14. From a consumer point of view, I don’t disagree at all. I’m merely thinking back to things indie devs have said in the past about Sony losing interest in engaging with their community like they used to, while Nintendo had apparently taken up that space, and from a development point of view the Switch and its portability, as you say, seems to be something of an ideal platform for a lot of indies to right now (hence the “darling”). I feel like Nintendo’s own degree of openness has its downsides though. They’re getting better at seeking out good stuff to acquire and promote (be they exclusives or timed exclusives), but there also seems to be an unusual amount of shovelware allowed to flood the eShop, I assume to help perpetuate the boast of “x number of games on Switch!” Right, and that ruffled my feathers really as it echoed Microsoft’s past behaviour closer than I’d like. It pays in the long term on multiple levels to constantly keep a close eye on fresh talent, to engage with it and champion it wherever possible. So, to go from that very serious dedication to head hunting talent for several years, then around 2017 openly admitting that it was no longer something they needed to pursue so deeply struck me as arrogantly dismissive. That level of engagement may have no longer be of as much value to a major console manufacturer at a moment in time, but you’d think it consistently valuable to developers. Now, low and behold, we’re on the cusp of a new generation and here we are with a fresh push of the Indie Initiative because they’re going to want to lean on a lot of new talent again for the next few years (though probably not nearly as much or in quite the same way, again due to how saturated the indie market is across so many platforms these days, and also on account of how many studios now operate under SCE to help roll out major releases). Of course, it’s not like the Initiative was terminated either, it’s always been chugging along in some fashion as far as I’m aware, but its strength really did seem to be determined by the personalities of a few key individuals at SCE at the time, which even I as a mere consumer really appreciated seeing. I’m hoping that, for as long as someone with Yoshida’s degree of passion is heading the project, that the cycle “we love you! We need you!” to “ehhh” will not repeat itself by 2023. Definitely, everything you summarise in the three points you outline would be encouraging way for the Initiative to re-establish itself, and it certainly could be a good thing if PS Now proves to be a decent incentive for Sony to keep the ball rolling in the years ahead. I had it in my head that there was one other well regarded name at Sony who also left around the same time as Boyes, and it was Nick Suttner. Eurogamer actually did a great piece about them and Playstation Indie Initiative as it existed back in 2015: https://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2013-04-27-sonys-indie-initiative-how-the-hardware-giant-is-courting-small-team-talent
  15. No doubt. I had tuned out of Xbox so much over the years that little about ID@Xbox registered with me even when they got that up and running, but certainly I remember the absence of any kind of Xbox Live Arcade initiative being felt, and Sony being the only one to show genuine interest the the time the current systems launched. In Sony's case though, I'm also thinking back a few years when Jim Ryan openly admitted that indies were less relevant to them, at least ones that were not developing for VR, and as you say that's probably much to do about the changing landscape where the Switch was becoming something of the new indie darling, the birth of some dedicated indie game publishers and so on. Perhaps they even felt burnt giving too much of a platform to No Man's Sky. Who knows... Still, it was sad when some indie devs began talking about how closed off and un-engaged Sony had apparently become in the community a few years ago, and that's really what I mean by their investment. There was a definite sense that something was lost when Adam Boyes left I think, even if it was just the loss of someone keeping tabs who who was who, and who was making what, regardless if it lead to any assistance or deals. A little good will goes a long way, and many of these little devs could be developing something huge in the years to come after all. If part of Yosp's brief is to fill that role Boyes vacated after however many years it's been then that's good news, as we know how passionate and approachable a personality he is. Again, it's really a sense that that personal investment, via way of a certain few personalities within the company, has escaped SCE in recent years more than anything. Maybe I'm also a little thrown by what they're doing here on account of them tooting the horn for a new Worms game as part of this initiative. I'm not sure a well known franchise from a thirty year old developer and publisher quite fits the mould of needing this kind of amplification, so from that perspective the angle feels a touch different to where they were in 2013/2014 (which isn't to deem it the "wrong" thing to be doing by any means. The landscape has changed as you say).
  16. I still never had the chance to play 2. Missions carrying over probably suits me quite well in that case. It''l be quite tempting to pick that up, and perhaps even buy the first one again, if I get a SeriesX before PS5.
  17. I hope they do Band of Brothers and Deadwood + the movie some day. I’d still love even a bloody Blu-ray release of Angels in America, let alone a UHD.
  18. Gotcha. These were all coming so thick and fast that I glossed over Creaks. This doesn’t seem like quite the level of investment in indies Sony had in the early years of the PS4 then? Just new means to amplify a select few.
  19. I had assumed all of these would be PS console exclusives, at the very least timed exclusives, but Recompile was also announced for Series X.
  20. In fairness when is Sony ever not announcing another damn camera? 😀
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