Game Ranter Banter: PC Gaming, CoD Weapon Balance, Sonic & Next-Gen Consoles
After what was certainly an emotional one week hiatus, the Game Ranter Banter has returned. We hope you enjoyed any gifts you received, or at least got a gift receipt to return them for something better.
This week members of the Game Rant team will discuss the weapon balancing in Call of Duty, the future of the Wii U, Sonic The Hedgehog 4 Episode 2, the future of PC gaming and the next-gen consoles from Sony and Microsoft. So gather 'round the warmth of your monitor and let's begin!
A Tightrope of Weapons (by Trung Bui)
David Vondehaar, lead gameplay designer at Treyarch, took to the world of Twitter to voice his disappointment in the balance of weapons in Call of Duty games -Certainly one of the most important factors to consider when making any shooter, weapons need to embody functionality without sacrificing much to make them viable to any player.
Like a fighting game, the "top tier" of weapons eventually becomes discovered and the rest of the selection becomes obsolete, chosen by those in the know only to fulfill challenges or for extra XP to level up. To balance weapons in a way that Vondehaar is suggesting is not an impossible thing, though it can be difficult. Looking at the weapons of Modern Warfare 3 and their real life counterparts, some weapons don't get reflected accurately, but to do so would make weapons like the AA-12 automatic shotgun the best weapon in the game.
Perhaps this is Treyarch's way of trying to preserve their own multiplayer market in Call of Duty games. "Look to us for a more fair multiplayer experience." Whether or not Vondehaar and his studio will be able to churn out a different CoD game remains to be seen. However, not following up on his complaint of unbalanced weapons in his own game would be incredibly irresponsible.
SonicMania Still Running Wild (by CJ Smillie)
As proven by the recent announcement of Sonic 4: Episode 2, the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise is still heading in a good direction following the release of Sonic Generations, which is very good news for fans of the blue speed demon or just retro gaming fans in general.
And with the promise of the game engine being changed after the complaints made towards Sonic 4: Episode 1, it's a sign that the developers are now listening to the gamers and are working hard to earn their fanbase back, particularly after the last few years of terrible titles. While many are still skeptical of the franchise's return to fame, this is proof enough that the series is back to the way it should be.
Hopefully things can remain moving in a positive direction as the series continues to pick up steam, and I for one am looking forward to where things go next.
Third Party Like it's 1985 (by Benjamin Kendrick)
Wedbush Securities analyst Michael Pachter recently asserted that, despite promises to the contrary from Nintendo, the Wii U isn't likely to see much in the way of third party support - which has been a notorious problem for the Big N ever since the publisher's Game Cube days. While Pachter does (often) spout off overly-obvious industry statements that even a casual gamer could predict (Modern Warfare 3 will outsell Battlefield 3), his comments on Nintendo's continuing third party problems are pretty grounded - pointing out that the company's "if you build it, third parties will support it," mantra has, in recent years, actually pushed many developers away.
Why? Because Nintendo's "innovation" merely adds complicated hurdles for would-be developers - without promising sure-fire commercial success. As a result, similar to what we've seen with the Wii, quality third party developers would rather spend their time programming for the more traditional consoles (which don't require a gimmicky peripheral to work around) - meaning they can focus on making one experience and porting it to multiple platforms. Sadly, the third party developers that will (at least in the long run) likely be jumping to the Wii U will be the same shovelware teams that push out sub-par experiences specifically designed as quick gimmicky cash grabs on Nintendo systems.
Here's hoping Pachter and all the doubters are wrong but, aside from telling us that third parties are on board for the Wii U, Nintendo hasn't actually said anything that makes us believe things will be different this round.
Dawn of the Dead (by Anthony Taormina)
As we move into 2012 we enter a new territory where the consoles are no longer kings. Yes, they may be dominating sales and still the primary platform of choice for a lot of gamers, but it’s becoming more and more common for the PC version of a game to have all the goods. This got me to thinking: will the new console generation come face enough before a full on PC transition takes place?
If, as the rumors have foretold, the next Xbox and the next PlayStation don’t hit until Holiday time 2013 — with an announcement of each most likely occurring at E3 2012 — that gives the PC almost two whole years to make its case yet again. Batman, Skyrim (with mods), and Battlefield 3 are all better on the PC and there are plenty of games releasing this and next year that could very well continue this trend.
I’m not saying consoles are dead, but I think that in their protracted release cycles they have allowed a platform that they ostensibly killed to rise from the grave and outpace them.
Moving on With (Gaming) Life (by Rob Keyes)
This week saw an oddly large amount of headlines and rumors regarding the next-gen consoles, not just the PS4 and Xbox 720, but even of a newer model of Nintendo's latest handheld, a potential 3DS Lite. It could be that the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) happens next week fueling the speculation - where it's rumored that Microsoft could do a first unveiling of the Xbox 360 successor.
Regardless of what happens at CES, word on the digital street is that by the end E3 2012 in June, we will have seen the next home game console from each of the "big three" and truth be told, I'm ready. I understand that many of us gamers may have adopted the Xbox 360 and/or the PS3 a few years into the current generation's life cycle thanks to price drops, motion controls and a greater library of games, but I'm ready to move on and see what's next. Playing games like Skyrim and Battlefield 3 both on the consoles and on the PC have made me realize how old (from a tech standpoint) our consoles really are. It's 2012, everybody! The Xbox 360 hit in 2005! I want to see what DICE, Ubisoft and other devs clamoring for modern tech can do. Otherwise, by next year, we'll be playing the most graphically impressive games on our phones, tablets and PCs...
And so concludes the first Game Ranter Banter post of 2012. We look forward to sharing opinions with our readers throughout the rest of the year, and we hope you all feel the same!
Let us know what you think of this week's news in the comments, or on Twitter @GameRant and Facebook.com/GameRant and if you have specific topics you'd like any of the team to cover, don't hesitate to ask.