Games Inbox: Phil Spencer, Starfield and Xbox’s management problem
The Monday letters page wonders if EA’s remake after Dead Space could be Titanfall 2, as a reader hopes for a Fallen Order/Obi-Wan crossover.
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Eight years later
I see most people are taking a pragmatic approach to Starfield’s delay, especially given Bethesda’s dubious reputation when it comes to bugs and glitches. I was very much looking forward to the game, but I can’t help recall a number of previous comments voicing concerns about Microsoft’s management of its now massive stable of developers.
As others have pointed out, Perfect Dark seems to be a disaster before we’ve heard anything official about it and Halo Infinite somehow has a worse reputation after launch than before, which is not the usual direction these things go. At the moment Microsoft have no games scheduled for this year and while that might change in June, I’m not sure I’d bet on it being anything other than another Forza.
Phil Spencer is a very public leader, much more so than Sony and Microsoft, but that also means that, more than usual, the buck stops with him, and I’ve got to wonder what kind of job he’s doing. He’s been in charge of Xbox for over eight years now and while he’s spent a lot of money, on both developers and Game Pass, the number of top quality games he’s overseen has been worryingly close to zero.
Whether it’s his fault or not I don’t care, but I’m beginning to wonder what happens if it’s going to be another two or three years until we see anything major from Microsoft, which seems like a real possibility. Hopefully Fable is closer than we think – it’s certainly been rumoured for long enough – because for all that money it still feels to me like Xbox is underperforming.
So hang on, the new Silent Hill game is not only real but it… looks good? I know it’s only a few pictures but they look like they’ve had a lot of effort put into them/are from a big budget game and that’s kind of all I need to know at the moment. I also love that Konami trying to get them taken down has proven they’re real, so… thanks for that!
I wonder where they’re going to turn up though? I’d guess the reveal is going to be around when E3 would usually be, but will they be tied to a console deal? There were a lot of rumours of Sony being involved but then again this is the sort of thing Microsoft would love to get hold of. Not that I’d normally care one way or the other but if that ends up giving the game an even higher profile all the better.
Really looking forward to the Dead Space remake from EA. Like another reader said recently, you don’t usually think of EA as one of the good ones but with the way FIFA have been carrying on you realise there’s always someone worse. EA can put out good games too, when they put their mind, and I’ve been impressed by the amount of work that’s going into the Dead Space remake.
The original is not a perfect game (the sequel is the best and even that has a few issues) but they seem to understand that and are doing their best to modernise the game. We’ll have to see how things turn out, of course, but at the very least I’m already convinced it’s not just a cash-in.
I just can’t figure out what the next remake is going to be. I guess it could just be Dead Space 2, but I figure they’d at least wait to see how the first one does before deciding that. Titanfall 2 could be a possibility though, perhaps as an apology for not promoting it properly the first time around. It doesn’t need the much upgrading in terms of graphics, but the single-player campaign is so good it needs any excuse for more people to see it.
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Dealing with the inevitable
I really hope that the new Obi-Wan Kenobi Disney+ series has some more references to Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order. The stuff at the end with that underwater base was the best bit of the game and while Cal isn’t the most charismatic Star Wars hero I still like him a hell of a lot more than anyone in the sequels.
The only problem is that they can’t kill him off if he’s got a new game coming up and yet he has to die at some point in order to match up with the plot of the movies. That ore they have to work out some watertight reason for why he’s not helping out during the original trilogy.
I also want to see his ship do some dogfighting, I always though that was a really cool design and I hope it’s going to be in the sequel as well.
I purchased an OLED Switch last week, as my old model no longer seemed to send a signal to the TV when I docked it. I figured the console was faulty, as it also doesn’t work when I try it on a friend’s dock. Conversely, their Switch does work on my dock.
Before packing the old console away I thought I would try it on my new OLED dock. Bizarrely, it works perfectly. Has anyone else experienced this or know what the cause is? It would make my old Switch easier to sell if I could get it working with the dock again. Thanks for any help.
Be careful what you wish for
I’m finally playing Ni No Kuni: Wrath Of The White Witch (the remastered PlayStation 4 version) after many years of wanting to. I’m not sure how much difference the remastering has made but it is just utterly gorgeous! I’m a big Studio Ghibli fan, especially My Neighbour Totoro, so seeing their beautiful work come to life in a game is mesmerising. I especially love Drippy. He is such a wonderful, joyful character with his proper Welsh accent. For once, perhaps the English language voice-acting may be the superior option? Joe Hisaishi’s music is magnificently stirring too, and makes the package feel even more authentically Studio Ghibli.
Anyway I’m very early on, having just beaten Hickory Dock, but I’ve really enjoyed the gameplay so far and it seems like it will have enough depth to keep things interesting. I’ve actually already played Revenant Kingdom a few years ago and loved that. I’ve heard the first one is the better of the two? So perhaps I played them in the right order. Either way I really hope Level-5 make another one.
I’d love to see some light sci-fi/steampunk elements introduced along the lines of Laputa: Castle In The Sky but I’ll welcome whatever they fancy doing. It seems such a rich vein to mine. Imagine how stunning the next game will look with next gen graphics!
GC: Funnily enough, a mobile game called Cross Worlds is scheduled for the end of this month. It’s free-to-play though, which is rarely a good sign.
I really don’t see why Hollow Knight is so highly regarded. I have tried it on two occasions now thinking I might’ve missed something, but I really don’t think it compares well to other Metroidvania games I’ve played. To me it was just an exercise in frustration with how you lost all your souls or whatever they were whenever you died and the benches would always be miles away from the boss. Why do I have to go through the pain of traipsing all the way back through the level to the boss, which is already hard to beat so warrants multiple goes? Why can’t I just start the boss battle again right from the beginning? Aaahhhh!
I will commend it for the atmosphere and art style but I also didn’t think the combat was all that when compared to perhaps my favourite Metroidvania, combat-wise, in Guacamelee. After my second attempt at the game I’ve just come to the conclusion it’s not for me despite the Metroidvania genre being one of my favourites.
Now playing: The Legend Of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds (3DS)
GC: To be honest, we’ve always felt it was a little overrated. It’s very good but we wouldn’t consider it a classic.
No going back
I’d say that GTA 5 is one of the most overrated games. I haven’t played it since its launch on PlayStation 3, having had ample opportunity to do so with its re-releases.
I enjoyed it at the time, mostly its huge sandbox world and campaign, but I’m not into online multiplayer so quickly realised GTA Online isn’t for me.
Despite enjoying the campaign, I wouldn’t say it is the most memorable story – I can’t remember anything about it, although it has been almost 10 years.
I also remember the shooting, and general combat, feeling a bit dated even at the time. I thought the same about Red Dead Redemption 2 when that released, so am hoping that they put some serious effort and consideration into improving this core gameplay mechanic for the next GTA or Red Dead Redemption instalment.
I’m probably in the minority on this opinion – going by the game’s sales alone – but I don’t think GTA 5 is a classic. I acknowledge that the size and complexity of its map is amazing, and the ability to switch between the three characters at virtually any point in the game must be a technical marvel, but it lacked that certain something that makes me want to revisit a world and its story.
If Sega does a remake of Skies Of Arcadia then I’ll forgive them every mistake for the last 20 years. I’m not expecting they will though.
People have a go at Ubisoft but I’m looking forward to Mario + Rabbids Sparks Of Hope more than any actual Nintendo game this year.
This week’s Hot Topic
The subject for this weekend’s Inbox was suggested by reader Tony T., who asks what’s the longest you’ve waited for a video game to be released?
With the news of Starfield’s delay – which is unlikely to be the last such announcement this year – what’s the most disappointed you’ve been with a game delay and how long did you keep following it until it was out? If it even did come out.
Do you generally follow a game all the way from its announcement to its release or do you tend to only pay attention closer to launch? What game has most rewarded your loyalty and which one do you wish you hadn’t wasted your time on?
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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 and content.
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.
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