The Tuesday Inbox looks back at some of gaming’s strangest TV ads, as one reader struggles with RSI and video games.
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So most rumours seem pretty certain that the PlayStation 5 reveal is early June, just a few weeks from now and before Microsoft’s big Xbox event. I’m not sure I believe it purely for that reason but assuming it’s true, and it’s got to happen at some point, what does everyone think will be the launch games?
The only one we know about for sure is Godfall and I guess whatever Ubisoft games are coming out this Christmas, like Assassin’s Creed Valhalla and Watch Dogs: Legion. The main Sony exclusive though? I’m going to bet Horizon Zero Dawn 2. Guerrilla Games have been quietest the longest, are the most tech-heavy studio, and have made launch games before, they seem a perfect fit.
Then you’ve got the rumours of Bluepoint’s Demon’s Souls remake, which still seems weird to me, but everyone seems pretty adamant about it. Maybe there’ll be a surprise like Gran Turismo 7, which we also haven’t heard about in years, but although everything else seems to have leaked out many times before I don’t remember hearing anything convincing about that.
Add in free games like Call Of Duty: Warzone and Warframe and you’ve got the bones of a pretty decent launch line-up. Although it does kind of depend on the quality of Horizon Zero Dawn 2, or whatever the main game is. That’s the lynch pin for the whole launch. If it’s only so-so and Halo Infinite is a classic then I wouldn’t say that’s necessarily going to be enough. With luck we’ll, finally, get to see next month.
Hell on Earth
Just viewed all The Last Of Us Part 2 videos (official ones only, no spoilers here) after not seeing any since the opening one of 2016 with Ellie playing the guitar.
Yes, this games has been in production for at least five years and looks like Hell on Earth, the level of violence is extremely high from the expressions on the characters’ faces to the feeling of dread I felt just watching it; not to mention the realism of the gore is exceptional. It feels like a massive step up from the original and the sound of effects amazing. But I think younger players and people with a disposition may find the game overwhelming.
Me, myself I don’t mind this type of immersion but after viewing the videos I felt unsettled because some people in real life face this kind of violence. Just hope they find the target audience and no underage gamers.
bigboss1960 (PSN ID)
Eight years later
With the lockdown still ongoing, it’s finally given me the time to catch up on a backlog of games that’s been building up for some time. While I’ve felt a little bad sat in front of a TV while the sun was shining outside it’s also given me a chance to enjoy some classics that I’d previously overlooked and return to some games I never finished.
In and amongst these was SSX (2012). While it was never the greatest game it was still fun and I recall enjoying it eight years ago when it was first released. However, I never managed to beat Griff down that final course. Fast forward to 2020 (and several frustrated evenings later) and I did it!
It’s probably the eight years talking here, but while it’s hardly the most challenging boss I’ve encountered I can’t recall ever being as pound of myself for finishing a game before. This includes torturous bosses such as Sigrún (God Of War) or games I’ve invested months in (such as Zelda: Breath Of The Wild).
This could be because it’s taken me eight years to complete it (by far the longest its every taken me to finish a game) or just the self-reassurance that that 30-year-old me is a superior gamer to 22-year-old me! Either way I was pretty pleased with myself!
Perhaps the question of ‘What is your most satisfying gameplay moment or accomplishment?’ could be a future Hot Topic?
GC: We’ve done it before but it’s probably about time for it to come round again.
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I mainly play and review VR games on my YouTube channel and podcasts and missed out on playing Shenmue 3 at release even though I have been waiting to play it for 19 years or so.
Anyway, I decided pick it up for PC in the Epic Games Store sale for just over £12, so I didn’t have to open my PlayStation 4 limited run edition, and have got about an hour into it.
Wow, it looks just like the Dreamcast games graphics-wise, which I am happy with, but story-wise it’s off to a pretty slow start. I will persevere with it over the next few days and hope it’s not 19 years until the next episode.
Stay alert people!
Really Stressed Internally
So I was hoping to ask the GC community for some advice. I’ve developed the dreaded repetitive strain injury over my time gaming. It started small but as the years have dragged on it’s become something I really can’t ignore anymore. I’m taking a self-imposed three months off the games and I’ve reduced my typing at work as much as possible. I’ve got a bunch of exercises to try and rebuild the strength in my tendons but I was hoping to get some advice from anyone who’s suffered something similar.
I’ve seen a couple of comments about it and I was just hoping there were some readers who might offer me some advice. If you don’t fancy writing in please contact me via my gamertag.
Has anyone at GC suffered from RSI? Have to imagine between the gaming and the typing you might have some advice.
GC: We don’t, thankfully, but perhaps a reader can help.
Having owned a Sega Saturn back in the day I thoroughly enjoyed Commodores Fan’s Reader’s Feature this weekend. In addition to giving me those sweet nostalgic feels it genuinely filled in some details I was previously unaware of regarding the missteps Sega made at the time.
But the reason I’m writing in is because of the embedded Saturn TV adverts that I’d never seen before. They were utterly bizarre and I’m at a loss as to how they could possibly have been considered as likely to compel viewers to buy the console.
Having said that, it was far from the only console advert to try the surreal and a touch disturbing approach. Do any older readers remember Sony’s Mental Wealth and the Third Place efforts? Or Life is Short for the original Xbox? I hadn’t even seen the terrifying baby advert for the PlayStation 3 until now. I understand that if an advert gets people talking it’s working, but still. Was the completely bonkers approach an attempt to try and shake gaming’s image as a childish past time?
Maybe reader’s favourite surreal and/or funny video game adverts would make a good future Hot Topic? In any case here’s a little gem to lighten everyone’s day, wikki wikki wick indeed!
Free or thereabouts
I hope GC and readers are staying safe and well during these troubling times.
Just saw a good bargain on the Switch which will help alleviate the lockdown blues, with NBA 2K20 on sale for £2.49! I believe it’s £3.99 on PlayStation 4 and Xbox as well. Seems too good a deal to pass up.
Also, the Lego Ninjago Movie Game is free on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC at the moment as well, which will help keep the little ones occupied during the lockdown. Stay safe everyone.
Cubes (PSN ID)/Kevin M/SW-3654-9259-0500
Catch up on every previous Games Inbox here
Moment in time
I wrote in last week about how Epic’s recent Unreal Engine 5 on PlayStation 5 tech demo had started to give people unrealistic expectations of what next gen games are going to look like in the immediate future (as well as the power of the PlayStation 5 in particular, compared to other hardware), only to be told by GC that there would be no backlash when they discover the upcoming PlayStation 5 games don’t actually look like that because people would understand that tech demos haven’t been realistic representations of actual games since at least the PlayStation 2…
Only to find a massive reader-submitted article a few days later all about how the tech demo had made him utterly convinced that Sony’s soon to be announced PlayStation 5 exclusives will look close to that (when anybody who actually understands AAA game development knows they won’t. It’s gonna be years before anything near that fidelity is commonplace on a full-size AAA game. The budget and attention required for such a tech demo is not even remotely sustainable for a full game, no matter what studio we are talking about).
As well as falsely how only the PlayStation 5 could render it thanks to its custom SSD. This despite the fact that Tim Sweeney explicitly said in an interview that that very same demo would run just fine on PC (with a RTX 2070 Super) using a standard PCIe 3.0 NVMe SSD, which means it would easily run on Xbox Series X as well (and probably at a higher resolution than the PlayStation 5’s 1440p to boot, thanks to the much wider GPU and wider memory bus).
I have nothing against the tech demo itself. It’s an accurate representation of what will eventually (key word here) be possible with this new next generation hardware and game engine, but I’m getting more and more convinced by the day that the way Epic and Sony have handled this exclusive marketing deal is going to seriously bite Sony in the butt. People aren’t viewing this as the multi-platform, future engine tech demo it is, but as the slice of ‘next gen gameplay’ they desperately wanted to see but didn’t get from Microsoft (at least yet). It’s spinning people’s expectations for the PlayStation 5 (and next gen in general, at least in the short term) WIDELY out of proportion, and I have a feeling things are going to come crashing down like a stone this summer when games start actually being shown because of it.
Microsoft may have utterly blown its first Xbox Series X event by labelling what was largely a small AA studio game announcement event (that would have been fine had it been advertised as such. People’s expectations would have been much more in check if they’d had known most of those games were made by like one to 15 person teams) as this big AAA third party next gen gameplay showcase that it completely wasn’t.
But that also means people’s expectations aren’t particularly high and it’ll be near impossible for their first party showcase not to be a massive improvement. Sony on the other hand, is going to have one hell of a time trying to live up to the absolutely absurd levels of hype that this selectively marketed tech demo is stirring up left and right, almost no matter what they show off. This whole thing is giving me some serious Cell flashbacks.
GC: There’ll almost certainly be no backlash because nobody is going to even remember the demo as soon as they start showing the real games. We’re not saying that’s a good thing necessarily, but it’s what always happens.
Wow, Epic Games Store has given away £1,768 worth of free games to each person who has downloaded their free games!
I thought Ubisoft said that Assassin’s Creed Valhalla was going to be smaller than the last two games? What happened to that? I don’t fancy another 50 hours of pointless level grinding.
GC: They said it was shorter, until now they didn’t say anything about the size of the map.
This week’s Hot Topic
The question for this weekend’s Inbox was suggested by reader Comp, who asks what highly anticipated game has come closest to meeting or exceeding your expectations?
Hype can get out of control sometimes but what game turned out to be as good, or better, than you were expecting? How often does it happen that games live up to your expectations and how upset do you get when they don’t?
If the game was better than you expected how did it manage that? Did you purposefully avoid too much information about it or had you got the wrong idea from the marketing and reviews? Or were some of the details purposefully kept secret?
E-mail your comments to: [email protected]
The small print
New Inbox updates appear every weekday morning, with special Hot Topic Inboxes at the weekend. Readers’ letters are used on merit and may be edited for length.
You can also submit your own 500 to 600-word Reader’s Feature at any time, which if used will be shown in the next available weekend slot.
You can also leave your comments below and don’t forget to follow us on Twitter.
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