Saturday, June 14, 2014

PAD #20: [Edit] Whoops, Forgot the Title Again

Looks like a big debate right now (or non-debate, depending on who you ask) is about framerates.  The debate comes about with games in the next gen still running in 30 FPS (Frames Per Second).  That, in and of itself, probably wouldn't have gotten too much controversy going, except that in response to people noticing this, some developers have started stepping-up to defend their choice to stay with 30 FPS by claiming that it's better.  In one case in particular, the studio insisted that they opted for 30 FPS because they wanted the game to have a "film-like" aesthetic.  My personal opinion?  They're doing the same style of backtracking that Bungie was doing when Halo only allowed for 2 weapons.  The only difference is that "tactical decision-making" has been replaced with "better aesthetics".  Don't get me wrong, I get it.  After all the hype of the "next generation" of gaming, it's only natural that people are going to be disappointed that we're still running on yesterday's framerates, so of course developers are going to start finding ways to justify the decision.

Looks like another hot debate was kicked-off by Ubisoft.  The short version is that responded to the question of a female playable character in the next Assassin's Creed by saying that it would be too much work to include.  They later replied to the controversy by pointing out that the narrative of the game would include strong female characters; they just wouldn't be playable.  Now, I will grant that adding an extra gender to a game definitely is more work.  If nothing else, there's the matter of a different character model.  The real meat of the controversy is whether or not adding extra animations and costumes is as much work as Ubisoft claimed.  Honestly, it feels to me like Ubisoft is getting caught in a lie.  Animators who have worked on games that feature both male and female playable characters have been chiming-in to say that it isn't as much work as Ubisoft makes it sound.  So it begs the question, were playable female characters ever a part of the plan?  If they were, then it's sounding like Ubisoft is mismanaging their resources if they really do feel that women were so much extra work that they just had to be cut.  Meanwhile if women were never on the agenda, then wouldn't it have been a better PR move to come up with something better that other studios couldn't call you out over?

Pulling my head out of the gaming'verse for a while, I watched How to Train Your Dragon today to get caught-up before seeing the sequel tomorrow.  I absolutely love that movie.  I'll be honest though, when I first heard about the movie I had my doubts.  The trailers didn't really do a good job of showing the human characters, so they looked kinda half-assed, and the plot wasn't really explained all that well.  Even the shots of Toothless in the commercials I saw didn't really do a good job of giving him that awesome/cute vibe he has going on.  It just seemed like a movie that was getting hastily slapped together for the sake of the easy "it doesn't have to be good because kids will make their parents see it anyway" cash grab, and that I would be obligated to hate it for somehow managing to make dragons look bad (something that should be illegal).  Thankfully, I decided to go see the movie anyway, if only because it was getting a lot praise from reviewers.  I absolutely feel in love with the movie.  The jokes were clever and generally worked, the story had great emotional weight, and the dragons (especially Toothless) were completely awesome.  Needless to say, when I saw a the teaser for it last year, there were no words to be had.  Just slack-jawed wonder.

I'll definitely be posting my thoughts on the movie when I come back on Monday.  Thanks for joining me on today's PAD, I'll see ya guys in a couple of days.  Until then, game well.

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