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Mass Effect is not dead yet

Mass Effect is not dead yet

The morning Inbox worries that developers are making fewer and fewer games each gen, as one reader suggests Assassins Creed visit China.

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The day after

I didnt realise until it was almost over but Wednesday was N7 Day, kind of like MAR10 Day but for Mass Effect. They announced an Xbox One X patch for Mass Effect: Andromeda and released a cheesy video but I guess thats actually more than I probably expected. At the end of the video BioWare mention working on a new game, although theyve done that before, and its not really an annoucement or anything.

Whatever you think of Andromeda you have to admit it nearly killed the franchise and I genuinely fear what will happen to Mass Effect and BioWare if Anthem is a flop next year (its November and weve still heard next to nothing about it! Surely its going to be delayed now?!).

But now that Casey Hudson is back on board Im hopeful that they can make a proper sequel and bring the series back to its former greatness. I get the feeling theyre going to do a new Dragon Age first, but after that… hopefully Andromeda will be seen as the odd one out rather than a franchise killer.

Once in a generation

Bit disappointing to find that *copy and paste* Déraciné isnt up to much, but like you said its nice that they at least did something different. But what Im reading now is stuff about the game having hints to a Bloodborne 2. I havent played the game, because I dont own a PlayStation VR, but I really hope theyre true.

My guess now would be that theyd be aiming to make it a PlayStation 5 game, and to be honest a new Bloodborne once per generation sounds fine to me. Dont want to overdo it.

I just hope that its Miyazaki himself that does it, as Id hate to see the B-team who did Dark Souls II (and presumably Déraciné mess things up. Bloodborne is one of my favourite games ever and any sequel has to do it justice.

GC: There are certainly references to Bloodborne in general, but saying theyre hints about a new game is pushing it. The only thing that stops us from dismissing them completely is that this is From, and they do love their obscure hints and references.

Distance makes the heart grow fonder

Have just read this nugget about the new Zelda game: the (BotW) graphics are so simple Nintendo should be able to release a new Zelda every year. Now, while I believe that statement about Breath Of The Wilds graphics to be utter nonsense my real issue is why would you want a yearly update?

This is one of gamings major problems that people buy the same games over and over again (how many identikit Assassins Creeds can you play before you realise its the same game over and over?). One of Zeldas main non-gameplay attributes is the fact they are few and far between, therefore any new title is greatly anticipated. Why do gamers want to keep playing the same games over and over instead of trying new things?



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Other considerations

So I didnt buy Red Dead Redemption II and currently have no plans to do so. While the critics universally praised the game one recurring negative was the clunky gameplay mechanics. For me this comes first in my gaming considerations.

Critics are far too forgiving of this and enamoured, it seems, of the cinematic aesthetic against which the video game form comes second – at least when it comes to Rockstar. In other words, I cant help suspect that for all its achievements, Red Dead Redemption II would be a bit of choir and Id have a better time revisiting films such as the superlative Once Upon a Time in the West. And frankly, Zelda: Breath Of The Wild has redefined what an open world game actually is and in comparison which every game described as such are retroactively linear pretenders.

And heres an idea for a Hot Topic. In light of the universal acclaim of Red Dead Redemption II, are critics too forgiving of gameplay mechanics when evaluating cinematic video games? Supplementary, in light of Zelda: Breath Of The Wilds open world mechanic, do we need to rethink what it means for a video game to be open world and judge open world video games past and present by the standard it has set? When a video game raises the bar, does it impact the enjoyment of games that came before it?

GC: Its not just critics, the huge success of the game suggests its compromises are warmly accepted by many gamers too. A video game doesnt need good mechanics, or even much in the way of traditional gameplay, to be worthwhile, as titles like Life Is Strange and todays 11-11: Memories Retold prove.

Problem solved

Ive been playing Red Dead Redemption II and have nearly reached the end, but something about the game is driving me to the edge of insanity. Is it the game mechanics? No. They are not perfect, but they are more than adequate for what I want to get out of the game. Is the problem the slow pace of the game? No. I love the pace. I am drinking in the atmosphere and loving the world that I am traversing. Maybe my problem is lack of fast travel. Nope, it is there, but I rarely use it. Just let me get to where I want to get to, in my own sweet time.

So, what is my problem? I keep losing my f#@$ing hat! It happens with such regularity that it drives me mad! Im a cowboy (well, my avatar is. Im not nearly as interesting) and I want a hat at all times! Rockstar, I demand that you release a patch, that lets me keep my hat at all times.

Oh, and Red Dead Redemption II, could be my favourite game of all time. That is all.
Terry Hurley

GC: Were not sure whether you realise but not only can you pick up your hat (or anyone elses) when it falls off but if you cant find it you can magically regenerate it from the selector wheel whenever you get back on your horse.

Immortal blame

What a mess this years Blizzcon has been. Im not even sure how much can be blamed on Blizzard, or if its just down to the hardcore fans, which can be a fickle bunch to be sure.

Ive invested literally hundreds of hours in Diablo III, almost all of which is on PlayStation 4, so can perhaps claim to be a long-time fan of the game.

Over the last two years however Ive spent almost all my time on the PC and spent a grand total of about 20 hours on PC Diablo III before giving up. It was largely due to the lack of controller support, which I think makes the console versions a much better game.

I bought the Switch version on release day and am absolutely delighted with it. Im so pleased they managed to deliver basically the full fat experience – DLC, expansions, etc. – whilst maintaining a smooth 60fps throughout the game. Well done to Blizzard (and Iron Galaxy) for that.

I know the reaction was largely angled towards Diablo Immortal on mobile, and not necessarily the Switch, but you only need to wander across some of the forums to see trolling towards the console versions.

I wonder if there is a bit of PC elitism mixed in with the reaction at the Blizzcon event. I love PC gaming but for me quality comes first, the platform is secondary.

As far as Immortal is concerned, if you dont like it, dont buy it. I wont be, but dont mind it being there.

GC: Itll probably be free-to-play, so money isnt even an issue.

Select destination

Im also interested in seeing where Ubisoft will take the Assassins Creed series next. To my mind there isnt an obvious next time and location and I wonder if that alone is one of the reason the next one is taking a year out.

If I had to pick though Id probably say China makes most sense. Its one of the largest countries that hasnt been done yet, although I think one of those 2D spin-offs were set in it? If not that then Incas/Mayans is probably the next most obvious, although Ive already had enough of that thanks to Shadow Of The Tomb Raider.



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Shrinking capacity

The reader writing in yesterday evenings Inbox, speculating about there being a Rocksteady announcement at the X018 conference, got me thinking about just how long development times of games have gotten between the last generation and this generation. For example, last generation saw six (kind of) new Rockstar games in GTA IV, GTA V, Red Dead Redemption, Midnight Club: Los Angeles, Max Payne 3, and L.A. Noire (thats the kind of) as well as expansions for GTA IV and Red Dead. Yet this generation has only seen one game in Red Dead Redemption II, which has been exclusive to this generation. One game in a whole generation.

The same can be said of Rocksteady who had Batman: Arkham Asylum and Arkham City last gen. Even if their new game is cross gen they will have only had one game exclusive to this gen, in Arkham Knight. Then there is Naughty Dog who will have only had Uncharted 4 on PlayStation 4, as it is widely rumoured that The Last Of Us Part II will be cross gen, compared to Uncharted 1, 2, 3, and The Last of Us on PlayStation 3. Im sure there are other examples.

It shows how lengthy, complex, and expensive games development has become and I think its kind of sad that we werent able to see more games from these developers within one generation, so we could see what they had learned developing on that platform. Like how Naughty Dog progressed so much between Uncharted 1 and 3. I hope the next generation is easier and less expensive for developers, so this situation doesnt repeat itself.
Angry_Kurt (Twitter)
Now playing: Red Dead Redemption II (PS4)

Inbox also-rans

RE: Bobbleheaddy. Hunting animals in a virtual setting isnt OK? But mass murder is? In a game where you can literally execute anyone on the road at will, hunting animals is the big issue? What world do we live in?
Anthony Daniels

Theres about a billion things I dont understand about that Colm ODriscoll story, but the most basic one that comes to mind is… hes not even in the game that much? Hardly one of gamings most memorable bad guys.

This weeks Hot Topic

The subject for this weekends Inbox was suggested by reader gaz be rotten and asks what do you want from the next generation consoles?

It looks increasingly inevitable that the PlayStation 5 and the successor to the Xbox One will at least be announced next year, so what are you hoping theyll be? How much of an improvement do you want and expect from the graphics and are there any features, such as motion controls, VR, or streaming that you think will – or should – become a new standard?

What kind of games do you want to see on the new consoles and what new features do you hope theyll include? What would a new console have to have for you to consider getting it and do you think the next generation is coming too early or about right?

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The small print
New Inbox updates appear twice daily, every weekday morning and afternoon. Readers letters are used on merit and may be edited for length.

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