Welcome to the inaugural edition of a new weekly feature we like to call the Game Ranter Banter. Five writers take a few minutes out of their busy schedules to give their opinions on some of the most compelling and controversial news stories of the week.

With plenty of recent news on upcoming blockbuster shooters, technological advances into a new digital age, and a publisher who isn’t afraid of garnering a bit of criticism, we have more than a few thoughts on the gaming industry’s current hot topics.

Our readers are as knowledgeable and opinionated as our own writers, so here is the place for all of you to discuss these stories as well as any others that may have piqued your interest throughout the week.

Andrew Dyce

How Long Should It Take to Defend The Homefront?

Gamers never seem to surprise me, but people saying that the five-hour campaign in Homefront isn’t long enough to warrant a second of their attention boggles my mind. How can someone who really cares about intelligent game design, innovative mechanics, compelling story, or games that push the envelope completely write off a game based on how long one person took to play through it? Anyone who played through Mass Effect more than once knows that the fifty-hour experience can be distilled into the eight-hour story missions, so numbers are meaningless. Most importantly, the ‘dollar per hour’ argument won’t necessarily lead to quality games, and is just as likely to result in long and drawn out mediocre ones.

I’ll be picking up Homefront to show that some gamers still care about quality over quantity, and that the weight of an experience doesn’t rest solely on length.

Anthony Taormina

It’s UnBattlefield-Like

This past week gamers have been in a complete state of awe over the recently released footage of Battlefield 3 shown at this year’s GDC, but what no one seems to be talking about is how far the game seems to be stepping away from its identity as a Battlefield title. While after Bad Company 2’s success, many expected that Battlefield 3 would have a rich single player component, it’s hard to imagine that would be the first thing DICE would want to show off.

This could also just be DICE taking some liberties — them assuming their fans know they will deliver an awesome multiplayer — and putting something completely unexpected on display, or it’s a bold play for the less multiplayer-minded FPS gamer. Either way it’s hard to doubt DICE, and it’s also hard not to go completely bonkers over the Frostbite 2 engine. There is just something about these first looks that seem a little more mass-market appeal and a lot less Battlefield.

Rob Keyes

What’s Up, Activision?

Activision is generating a lot of bad press as of late, so much so that some are getting concerned. Aside from closing down Bizarre Creations and cancelling staple Guitar Hero and DJ Hero franchises, Activision is starting to take some heat for their ultimate cash cow, the Call of Duty franchise.

From claiming no need to make a new game engine, hinting at more of the same (already a common complaint), to having three separate developers rushing to get the next Call of Duty installment out for this Fall after the Infinity Ward exodus, there hasn’t been a single shred of confirmed info released about the next game. EA is currently enjoying the spotlight and taking shots at Activision with their impressive Battlefield 3. How (and when) will Activision counter with Modern Warfare 3?

Ben Kendrick

Walking on Clouds

By far the most interesting news of the week was the official reveal of the long-rumored PlayStation Plus cloud storage feature. While the feature itself is still somewhat limited in its usefulness (read our impressions), it raises a lot of questions regarding what Sony might have up its sleeve for the forthcoming NGP/PS3 integration.

There’s no doubt that the NGP will very likely rely on cloud-based technology for, not just LiveArea, but a larger game-syncing infrastructure (possibly similar to Apple’s MobileMe service). That said, what exactly Sony is planning is definitely still up in the air – though, imagine how cool it would be to be able to play Madden on your PS3, with the console auto-syncing season stats to the cloud, and switching to your NGP, which received the updated console stats via push data from the cloud, in order to manage your roster on the go.

Sebastian Gaweda

Don’t Be Mean

I’m going to go against the grain this week and say that I’m disappointed with DICE and EA for the amount of trash talk coming out of their corner of the ring in the past couple weeks. While Battlefield 3 looks amazing, it still has to actually prove itself by being fun to play. Medal of Honor was supposed to dethrone the king last year, and instead fizzled. Meanwhile, Black Ops came along with a “stale” formula and became the best selling game of all time and one of the most-played multiplayer titles ever.

Your competition may indeed be lacking in creativity, but to imply that they are lazy is just downright low. Especially when they’re pouring the might of 3 development studios into completing the next title. First prove yourself by actually backing up your claims with sales numbers and great reviews and then you might have some right to talk this much smack.

What are your thoughts?

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