Tag Archives: star wars

Cinematic Game Trailers – Do They Work?

It seems like many of the highly hyped games are producing very high quality cinematic trailers to help get people excited for their upcoming releases.  For the most part, I do enjoy these trailers but I’m starting to wonder what they really tell us about the games themselves and are they doing more harm then good.  It seems like many of these trailers are given lots of room to expand on what is possible in the game such that they look cooler and tell a better story.  Even from a purely graphical nature these trailers are incredibly misleading as the games never look as good as what they can show cinematically.

The trailer that touched this off for me was the recent DC Universe Online trailer from Comic-Con (which is very cool btw), but I see Star Wars the Old Republic as one of the biggest culprits.  I’m sure there are others doing this exact same thing, but SWTOR sticks out for me mainly because of the effect these trailers have had on my interest for the game.  I know many like myself were absolutely floored when the Deceived trailer hit and then were even more in awe with the recent Hope trailer.  In case you haven’t seen them, check them out here:

Some REALLY cool stuff and they get me really excited about this game.  But there are quite a few things that you know just aren’t or can’t happen in a game, for instance, using your hands to block a light-saber.  Also, all along we’ve been hearing the SWTOR is all about Story and will be a completely different game-play style from all other MMOs without the traditional group dynamics, which these trailers reinforce.  But, for all they’ve shown in the trailers it really doesn’t tell us much about the actual game.

That is until they released the Multiplayer Demo @ E3 that shows us actual gameplay and some of the group dynamics.  This was possibly the most disappointing video I’ve seen in a long time as not only did it look nothing like the trailers (not that I expected it to) but the gameplay is exactly like any other MMO with the traditional tank, healer, and DPS roles.  Now when I look back at the trailers, I don’t even connect them with SWTOR I just see them as some cool Star Wars videos because they are so far removed from what the game actually looks and plays like.  With all the money spent on these trailers by the game companies, couldn’t there be a balance somewhere to put some of that into the game as opposed to something which is arguably un-related?

Maybe the core of my real question is can too much hype be a bad thing?  It seemed to really hurt a number of titles like Vanguard, Age of Conan, and Warhammer Online to name a few and all these new cool trailers are just amping up the expectations.  With such high expectations, the level of potential disappointment continues to grow such that for many there’s no way players will be able to enjoy the game as they’ll keep wishing it was more like the trailer they saw.

For me, I have pretty much stopped following SWTOR other then reading headlines from various bloggers, and at this point I”m not even sure I will play it.  The one piece that might change my mind is the pricing model – if it is a traditional MMO subscription I’m pretty confident that I won’t play it.  But if they do some sort of hybrid model or something different then I might be more willing to check it out.

To wrap up, is it better to show a trailer along the lines of what Turbine did for their recent Mirkwood launch:

which is shot using only footage from actual game-play, or use a cinematic version that your game will never live up to?  Or does it come down to the surrounding messaging to portray the trailers as what they are – cool videos loosely based on the game they’re tied to?

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Not as much of a Bioware fan these days

For those of you not interested in Dragon Age, Star Wars: The Old Republic (TOR) or Bioware you can stop reading now as I just wanted to get a few things off my chest 🙂

I’m going to backtrack a bit and cover some topics that have already been talked about on numerous sites but for me paints a pattern of what we can expect from Bioware in the future.  Previously I’ve been a huge supporter of Bioware and up until recently would gladly give them my money for games they released, but that support is waning quickly.  However, I would be ecstatic to be proven wrong and for things to turn out differently, I’m just starting to get very worried about the warning signs.

I’ll start with Dragon Age as this piece of news was what pushed me over the edge with Bioware.  I’ve been pretty happy overall with Dragon Age although the re-playability of Awakenings was no where near as fun as Origins.  To add on that, there’s been no mention of any sort of patch to Awakenings to fix any of the issues surrounding that title.  Granted, it is pretty good, but still like all games, there are issues with it some of which are pretty severe.  So yesterday they announce a new DLC – Darkspawn Chronicles which does actually sound like a neat idea but continues down the path that has annoyed me with Bioware.  First off, the idea of playing a Darkspawn does sound intriguing, so I will give them credit for putting together a neat concept.  However, with Dragon Age it appears that Bioware is more concerned with getting out content that they can charge for as opposed to getting out and maintaining quality content.  Not to mention that I’m still upset about the whole RtO fiasco in which it appeared they didn’t have the resources to get that content out due to the push to hit the Awakenings in-store release date.  Based on RtO I will be shocked if this DLC actually gets out the door on time and am expecting that the new DLC will disappoint on content.

Following on the heels of the RtO disaster and the hype for TOR, Bioware put up a countdown clock to a rumored to be huge announcement at the end of March.  All sorts of rumors were swirling around all their various titles but it turned out to be a Bazaar which you could earn points and participate in point auctions.  Not only did this bazaar pretty much instantly crash and remain down for a good period of time but it was catered to folks who did nothing but farm social networks for these points.  The starting bids for many (if not all) items instantly surpassed a “common” player and were driven to high levels by those who had the points.  My issues with this isn’t that it rewarded people for hyping their games but with the way it was rolled out and the insanity of the starting bids.  I pretty quickly lost interest in the whole thing as it just seemed pointless if you weren’t 100% dedicated to it.

So, on to TOR – again, I’m a huge Star Wars fan and really hope this game is successful as I’ve been waiting for a Star Wars MMO since I left SWG.  However, given their track record with release dates, server stability, and community management I’m not very confident in it.  Couple that with how little we know of the actual gameplay and I’m starting to think TOR will be Dragon Age with PvP in a Star Wars setting, or Knights of the Old Republic with PvP :).  Not that this is a bad thing, but it isn’t really something I’d call an MMO (I know folks will argue) and certainly not something I’d pay a subscription for.  Now based on their bazaar, I’m expecting some sort of mix between subscription and micro-transactions in a similar model to DDO.  But this model is troubling when you look at both the Bioware DLC pricing as well as the infamous sparkle-pony.  I can’t imagine what Bioware could charge for a sparkle-Tauntaun :).

In addition, based on Dragon Age, I have very little confidence that TOR will have any semblance of class balance and the 40 billion different ways to CC an opponent will make PvP a CC race and those are incredibly frustrating.  We keep hearing that things will be different between TOR and other MMOs, but in all honesty the recent combat video seemed pretty darn similar with the tradition skill usage and cool-downs we’ve experienced.  The video to me seemed very much like KOTOR (ok, there’s no pause button in TOR) which is incredibly disappointing based on their previous releases.  I’m not talking about the skills, as there are some cool ones, but the actual mechanics and guts of the system.  And my favorite quote of the video was the “lots of people fighting the same mob isn’t epic” (ok, I paraphrased a bit here) which seems to be a shot at other MMOs and perhaps an admission that there won’t be any PvE raiding.  I’m really hoping there’s something there for group play but it seems more like TOR will be a solo MMO with the option to have someone join you on your story.  Not to mention that I’m not sure how they have a massively persistent world with everyone working on their own individual story arcs, I mean can they possibly have that many twists to make each story unique?

I know I’ve been pretty harsh on a game that’s not due to release for another year but it is a disturbing trend that I thought I’d toss out to see if I was alone in my Chicken Little thought process.

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