In Responce: The Making Of… DMC: Devil May Cry (EDGE May 2015)

I read a lot of gaming stuff in mags you really should get and online. A lot of the time I want to reply or comment but with the internet being the internet, I have always seen this as bad idea. But as I am slowly but surely setting myself up as decent gaming press monkey in the professional amateur sector I started to think that I should reply with a comment. But as my responses are actually thought out and not in ALL CAPS I thought that I should put them here. “But Wil,” I hear you cry, “you write to thetorchentertainmentguide.com. Why don’t you put it there?”  Well, dear reader, it is for two reasons. The first is that of response time. Here I can reply quickly while over on the Torch the response is more sluggish with all those professional standards ‘n’ all. The second is a giving the Torch a get out. This is my blog. My own little piece of the internet. Here I can fucking swear my tits off and be as opinionated as I like. And this blog isn’t monetized so I don’t have to worry about pissing people off and not getting a pay check because I don’t get one, (I get one from the Torch hence the professional standards when I write for them to be clear). So, lets us get on with this thing.

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Most of the article if you haven’t read it (although you should) talks about the making of the game while touching on the ‘controversy’ around its design and release. It opens with them talking about the announcement trailer that was showed off at the Tokyo Game Show in 2010. An entirely pre-rendered trailer only showing the new look for Dante. They lead in to a quote from Tameem Antoniades, Ninja Theory’s creative chief were he says (when talking about the public response to the new look);

The vitriol was immediate, aggressive and relentless for the next to years. Without a second of gameplay being shown, it had been written off as disaster in the making.

I remember seeing the trailer at the time. I am a fan of the Devil May Cry series so seeing that a new one was in the works just had me excited. Then seeing the new design I just watched slack-jawed and amazed. I just sat watching and going “That looks fucking sweet! I wan’ it and I wan’ it now!” And then I turned to the comments and mentally wept. A game with a design like it came from my own head and in a world that I see all the time was being decried with pitchforks and with a sheer new level of hate that I had not seen from just a pre-rendered trailer. The only time I’ve seen a game reach that level of hate was after it came out. The likes of “Aliens: Colonial Marines” is the most recent example. Even I was saying that people should just be tentative rather than get to hating it now. But nope. The screaming was loud relentless.

The article then points out that the new look was something that Capcom wanted.

But when they [Capcom] saw it [a minimally changed Dante design], they said they wanted us to put our own twist on it, to not think about the past, but to try something totally new. I remember they said, ‘Do something that we wouldn’t be able to do otherwise we might as well do it ourselves.’” (Alessandro Tani, visual art director.)

That was what I saw. When I reviewed it I said that the game felt very British, bringing in elements of current trends and politics. Having Mundus, the head demon, be a financial banker felt most British considering our current ‘Bash The Bankers’ philosophy. It felt modern and contemporary not just in its looks but in its story. Dante oozed the Brit-punk mentality (that I kinda grew up with) of just “fuck you” in a world taken from the headlines. Like I said, I saw that game world as the world that I largely saw day-to-day. Not in the literal, demons are real sense. But in the larger disenfranchised late teen/20-something with two fingers up at the standing system because you all suck sort of sense. Like I said, I kinda grew into the punk mentality while I was ‘goth’. Was even a point were I ‘practiced’ (more like tried and messed myself up a few times) free running, dyed my hear black and smoked so fuck it, I ‘was’ Dante at one point. Now I’m just a disenfranchised 20-something with two fingers up at the standing system but more classy being in the system and I don’t dye my hair or smoke. So more Kat except with smaller boobs on account of me being ‘husky’.

I could always understand people not liking the new look (rather than the anger they displayed for it) but one thing I never understood, and still don’t is the anger that was displayed for the combat system. Yes it was simplified, I even said so in my review. But it was far from being super easy or, as I heard some people call it, broken.

Simple, slight changes like this were exactly what Capcom desired: a way to make the game more accessible without compromising the intricacy of the systems at Devil May Cry’s core A simplified launcher input was surely not going to upset the hardcore too much.

While it was not a vocal as the hair-brigade, there was some outcry about the combat. Like I said, I never understood it. The article even points out that Capcom themselves concentrated on this aspect and most of it was largely unchanged. Earlier on in the article they even point out that “…many of Dante’s signature moves were brought over unchanged.” ‘But it’s easer to get S rankings for combos,’ some will yell and I respond with ‘So?’ I could never get S combo ranks before but in this game I now could and it was fucking sweet! If it so much of a big deal, play on a harder difficulty. After the regular Human, Devil Hunter and Nephilim modes there’s Son of Sparta mode, Dante Must Die mode, Heaven or Hell Mode and Hell and Hell mode. If you’re complaining about the combat or the difficulty, it’s you. Not the game.

So where do we come to at the end of all of this? Well, as the last records of sales said it sold 1.6 million (less that the 2 million Capcom wanted to sell) the companionship of the studios was ended and the likelihood that a sequel will come fades away as Capcom says they are going back to doing it themselves. “DmC: Devil May Cry” becomes yet another game that arrived with critical acclaim and well received scores from critics but no one bought it. It’s even getting to a point were former angry people are retrospectively starting to praise the game even though the chance that we will get something like again has passed because they themselves were the ones bitching. Well, as I think DmC Dante would think and maybe say in his punk tones;

People really fucking suck.

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Wading into the FPS/Reso Fray

I’m not one to really talk about these issues usually, as controversial as they seem to be to the vocal. But in recent days and weeks I’ve found my self baying for a chance to speak my mind in this topic and (while I haven’t asked) I’m most sure that my work colleagues at the Torch EG wouldn’t want me to speak on the topic. My opinions are usually not the part of the majority but their usually not controversial either. Maybe at some point this might get a re-write and end up on the site. Anyway…

Frame-rate, Resolution and Me.

As most know by now, My history comes from photography and film-making. I’m trained in both to a quite high degree. If you want to be specific, I trained as a writer and a camera man but also as a landscape and urban photographer. All don’t involve talking to people and working with other humans so it suited my secluded self. But this also means that frame-rate and resolution are mainstays of mine. As photographer resolution was key. Taking and getting the highest fidelity image possible because photographs could be used in advertising that takes up the whole side of a building. And in film-making, the standard is 24 frame-per-second on film, digital, and editing programs. It is the most efficient. You can go higher like Peter Jackson and double it to 48 frames-per-second but then it becomes expensive to produce, like shooting a film in 3D with 3D cameras. Films are already extremely costly (when it comes to Hollywood style productions) so adding to the cost to get some more frames is something most don’t really think about. Maybe in the future but now it is extremely rare. But on top if this, films are shot with the same “highest fidelity image possible” idea as photography forcing the idea that frame-rate might as well stay at 24 because it means the fidelity can get better, like IMAX showings.

In the case of video games, frame-rate is important. A higher frame-rate when playing a game means that there is less delay between you pressing a button and the action happening on-screen. But the same case can’t be made to resolution. There is the “highest fidelity image possible” idea but a lot of games are set in a graphically stylized world of fiction it doesn’t matter. Although, for games like “Call of Duty” and games set in the ‘real world’ (that being this world with humans but still as fiction) it sort of does. But does it?

Resolution is a thing that is nice for a game to have but the impact is has on the game is minimal. Graphics don’t make a game, the game makes the game. Look at the past eras of gaming. Back in the DOS years, there was no frame-rate or resolution debate. But as the games moved into 3D and 3rd/1st person the debate started. Slowly, more and more, the debate rose up to become the leading debated point between platforms. This came to a head when consoles like the Dreamcast said that they were the best graphical machine. (This ended up being their downfall ultimately because the PS2 and the GameCube shipped a year later with newer hardware.) But like I said, high frame-rates for games are good because there is less delay for the player making a more enjoyable experience. This just means that frame-rate (on the whole and generally speaking) is more important than graphical fidelity and resolution.

But why then the debate? Well as High Definition [HD] became a thing for film/television/photography it became a thing with games. High polygon models and high particle effects where already a thing because that is the of natural progression of game graphics, the same way that better ISO counts and higher film grains was the natural progression of films tapes for photography/film/television. It creates a better image, not necessarily a bigger image but better and more clear image. HD creates a better image but is that what gaming needed? It all depends on the audience. Time for some films theory.

There are widely seen in film theory as two types of audience, ‘passive’ and ‘active’. Passive audiences are mentally disconnected while active audiences are mentally engaged. Traditionally, film, television and photography has a passive audience because the audience is just sitting in a room watching, having no control over what they are watching in any way. This is the reason why film making throughout history have dappled with ways to make audiences more engaged with the film they are watching. This varied from things like “smell-o-vision“, 4D showings that are used in theme park rides, all the way up to the most recent return of 3D. Games on the other hand are active audience because that are interacting with the world they are watching through the player character. This means that the mental cognition of the audience is different, meaning that the finer details are not noticed because the audience it mentally doing something else. This is different to the passive film audience because will notice finer details because their only mental cognition is to watch the film. Things that the player will notice is things like a delay between pressing a button on a controller to the action happening on-screen. This again means that fidelity and resolution are secondary to the faster reaction time that higher frame rates bring.

But what happens when they combine? YouTube recently activated their 60 frame-per-second video player because gaming is big business on the site. Many already have taken advantage and uploaded many 60 frame-per-second videos. But does it matter? While playing a game at 60 frames-per-second is good for the person recording, it (on the whole) is not necessary because the audience that watches 60 frame-per-second videos is a passive audience. Considering that 60 frame-per-second player is only available to videos that are 720p HD or higher, it forces another boundary to people who want to come into the YouTube gaming space and those who are already in it. While recording software for PC’s is relatively cheap, same can’t be said for console recorders, (recorders that aren’t controlled and limited by the console maker) PCs and editing equipment that is capable to play, record and edit 60 frame-per-second videos. Total costs can easily rise into the several hundred or even over thousand. While it may be nice to watch videos at 60 frames, it on the whole doesn’t, and shouldn’t, matter.

So to clearly state my place;

  • Frame rate matters when playing a game,
  • But doesn’t (or at least shouldn’t) when watching it.
  • Resolution should be considered secondary for game,
  • But frame-per-second should be primary.

But as a final thought, both frame-rate and resolution should be considered secondary to getting good games. I don’t want graphics and frame-rates to take over to the point where that is all that matters so all that gets released is graphical tech demos that are mediocre games.

I Am Here (Update: 16th Sept, 2014)

I have not posted anything here in literally months. April I think was my last post.

With everything getting moved about a bit and with a moment were I don’t know what to do, here is whats been going on.

That was about a week ago now but not that much happens to it’s still pretty right.


 

As for my videos;

I’ve finally got round to making an opener for “Open Letter” so that series should start soon. Don’t know how often it will be though.

I want to start-up both Nerdcrafteria/Nerdfighteria series’ again but I need to re-do some intros before I consider it. Haven’t been on the server much recently.

My rant-y series “Opinionated” should take a few more steps soon, one I get round to doing it.

All other writings are stopped till I can sort out a schedule for everything else.


As for the Torch: Entertinament Guide;

There wasn’t a “Retro Monday” this week. Mainly because I forgot more than anything. I’m still doing it.

I’ve applied for an MCM London Press Pass. If I get it, would be my first ever press pass and the write-ups I make from it should open up more press passes in the future.

I’ve finally finished the “Blackbay” review, several weeks late. I think it shows how much of an imprint it left on me. If your interested, I gave it 2/5. Gory for the sake of it with insane design but has decent puzzles and some bum clenching moments. Not sure when it’ll go up, if it isn’t already.

Web Game Reviews” videos back next week. I’ve just called it a series break so I can tweak stuff. “Week in Game News” still went/goes up as normal.

I’ve made the first part of a 2-parter called “A Retro Gamers Buyers Guide“. Not sure when it will go up.

Things are a bit in the air as the Torch is concerned as Kennie and Chris just moved to I haven’t had much talking with them recently.


That should be everything. If I’ve missed something then go to comments and ask.

The “E.T.” Diggy-Diggy-Hole Documentary

Some of you may remember the “Retro Monday” I wrote a few weeks back about the 1980’s game “E.T. The Extra Terrestrial” for the Atari 2600. Long called the ‘worst game of all time’, most of the game cartridges where buried near Alamogordo, New Mexico as no one else wanted them. A group of companies, (Xbox Entertainment Studios, Fuel Entertainment, and LightBox Entertainment) now want to dig-up where they where supposedly buried and film their exploits to make a documentary.

Their plans however came to a screeching halt in March after their ‘waste excavation plan’ was denied by New Mexico’s Sold Waste Bureau due to a lack of detail. They had until the 17th March to file a new plan that satisfied their regulations for the plan to be cleared and for the dig to begin.

The plan now, according to Alamogordo News, has been cleared and the dig can begin as long as they tell the New Mexico Environmental Department 5 days in advance. In addition, if they find anything they have to register with the New Mexico Environmental Department as a waste hauler before then can remove anything from the site. A lot of red tape when looking for a 20-year-old game that reportedly caused the 1983 video game crash.

I am very intrigued by all of this. The “E.T.” game is one that will always be remembered because how astoundingly bad it was. What they may found may vary from a few hunks of decomposed plastic and microchips to quite a few artifacts for the gaming history archives. After 20 years, it more likely they will find the former then the later. Either way, I will be checking out the documentary if or when it gets finished, no matter the outcome.

Moving On…

Hello internet,

I’ve been quiet recently but things are moving on. Namely, I now have a YouTube [GuyOffTheInternet] which means that video content by me will be soon coming. I still will make “Week In Gaming News” into a video series. I even have a new green-screen and a new 1080HD camera for it. I am also doing a series on a ‘Minecraft’ server called, “Nerdcrafteria” [yes, it’s the Hank Green one] which should be out on Tuesdays. So only a day left till you get a video.

So onwards with the work!

See you Tuesday, Wil.

A Reviewing Revelation

Hey people,

I have been pondering something about my reviews for a few days and I have decided that for online games/MMO’s/Multiplayer things I well review them twice. Mainly because online games are hard to review without playing them for a long period of time. I set myself about a week to play an online game for a review but sometimes that’s not enough time. Online games are meant to played many months, or years if your a Warcraft or EVE player, and my reviews many not clarify where the game can stagnate or I didn’t notice where it can. So 2 weeks after an online/mulitplayer/MMO review will do a ‘Will this actually last‘ review. I breaks most codes a reviewer has doing a game twice but for me it makes sure that a that a online/multi/MMO games get a deep looking over they deserve/need.

It’s more or less to make sure the they get a good look over rather then just playing it for a week and calling it a day. And because there are many ‘free-to-play‘ ones out there so it helps separate them out.

So that’s that and that’s the way I’m going to do things. Nerks to you if you don’t like it.

Wil.

“For The Ragicans!” Map Added

Hello Internet People,

This is more of a message of intent rather than an update.

The update is that a map I made for a YouTube show is now online and you can download it. Link in the Minecraft section. And no you can’t see the show. Well you can, just as of writing my map didn’t make it in so don’t go looking for me there just yet.

With that, a new map is in the works at  the moment with many plans for more. Right now I’m working on a map called “City Scape” with plans to make a map of the YouTube Minecrafters. So Sky, Rage, Toby and people. Also have some plans to make maps in the style of Bioshock [1 & 3] so and underwater and a flying city.

And I am still writing for Torch. Although I am thinking about making the Sunday news into videos. Big maybe. See how it goes.

So busy busy with the Minecraft and maybe making videos soon here too. Same can be said about DDGM too.

See you later,

Wil