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Swainy
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Just a small point on the "oppression" of creative people in the West. Surely the vast majority of creatives in Japan are under the thumb of "the man" in the same way, or worse? Edge has occasionally commented on the Japanese artists' willingness to spend years drawing nothing but concrete textures or whatever, in order that the finished product be top notch. And even the big names are shackled to their franchises.

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I pretty much agree with Taurus. My company was certainly guilty of one or two of those sins. Not the financial management stuff - we were very well run - but ultimately we weren't making the games that the market (publishers) wanted. In the end though, it was publisher non-payment that did us in. One publisher owed us a LOT of cash and another went bust. A small team couldn't really survive two blows like that.

Thinking back, I'm not sure I would do it any (much) different. We set up the company to make the games we wanted to make. It was a creative endevour as well as a financial one. If we'd wanted to make crap games that didn't interest us then we wouldn't go through the stress of running a business.

We're going to have another crack at it - on a smaller scale (indie\shareware). And if nobody buys our stuff then at least we made the games WE wanted to make.

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This is manifestly untrue. Read any of the CESA white papers in recent years and you'll see evidence for the decline of the Japanese market. When I went over a couple of years ago, every single developer, publisher, and market analyst was preoccupied with the need for Japanese publishers and developers to create games that were successful in the west, because, with one or two exceptions, the domestic Japanese market is simply not big enough to sustain development costs. Hence Capcom, SNK, Sega all undergoing significant financial difficulties, and you could probably include Konami in there too.

The entire industry is indeed facing a relative financial crisis, but the overall revenue is still exceeding that of the global film industry. I wasn't contesting this, but highlighting the fact that many of our developers are unecessraily falling by the wayside.

What's more, North America is increasingly emerging as a source of creatively successful videogames - BioWare, some of EA's studios, Ubisoft, Rockstar Games (ahem), there's a bunch of stuff coming out of the US right now. And of course there's loads of stuff coming out of the UK; TimeSplitters, Burnout, the GTA series, to name but a few.

I said Japan and America (though you could probably include Canadian developers in on that). As for the "few" British games developers that seem to be of any worth, that was my point.

The reason for so many UK developers going under is a combination of one publisher failing to make payments to any developer that worked for it, financial mismanagement (there's a much greater emphasis in the US on the need to grasp basic principles of financial management and analysis), and lack of commercial focus (like, the Mucky Foot guys made a great game in Startopia, but did they really think it would capture the public imagination to become the sort of breakout success needed to recoup costs?). Indeed one of the results of the dotcom boom was a profligate investment in the videogame sector; Eidos alone financed umpteen start-ups, which was never going to be sustainable over the long-term.

Again, this was my point. The British games industry is consistently fumbling the ball. Having publishers making hasty and clearly ill-informed decisions is obviously going to have disastrous effects on the developers they foster. This also falls onto the shoulders of the developers, who also need a greater awareness.

Whilst Breaksmith seems to think that having knowledgeable people in the British games industry is some kind of heretical nonsense, the fact that the majority of the Japanese and American developers/publishers are populated by "hardcore gamers" is by no means a coincidence concerning their clear success.

I am not saying that Britain doesn't have talent, and that some of it already has broken through, but we should be doing an awful lot better.

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I'm sorry, I haven't the time to read 30 pages of posts at the moment but I want to comment on one of the scores.

Galleon. Well, thank fuck for that, I thought I was going mad after Edge's puzzling score.

I was looking forward to playing Galleon so when I found out I'd get the chance I was quite happy. When it started I thought "Cool, the characters seem well done and I like the main character". Then as I went along I started thinking "Oh, that was a bit crap. Oh well, best ignore it and carry on". As time went on the list of "Best ignore it and carry on" issues was getting long. Very long. An example: "Oooh look, these netted ropes on the side of the ship should be fun to climb.... Oh, I just flew right [through them and fell off the ship, best not try that again." A little later, "How the hell do I get up there? I can't use the ropes on the side of the boat as I just clip through them as I've been doing all along... Oh, it looks like I CAN do it, now. How lame".

Although, I can see at least ONE person on here will like it, and I'm curious to hear from them when they come on here to post and call me rude names.

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Again, this was my point. The British games industry is consistently fumbling the ball. Having publishers making hasty and clearly ill-informed decisions is obviously going to have disastrous effects on the developers they foster. This also falls onto the shoulders of the developers, who also need a greater awareness.

well, not *quite*. It seemed that you were focussing rather heavily on the developers themselves rather than the point dave was making about the onus being on the uselessnes of the publishers. That's a bit of a difference.

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Argh.

I made an effort - really I did. But I got to page 22 (so close!) and stopped because I think one key point has been missed in the argument about the changing of the scores.

Both are stunning games, but I was strictly told before I reviewed them that I wasn't allowed to give either of them a 9. Either they don't trust me or they genuinely felt the games weren't that good (I did demo them obviously).

I don't for one moment agree with any suggestion that "you have to read the person's review to decide whether or not their scoring is suitable".

The inference in the above quote is that other people on the magazine had actually played the games before the reviewer got hold of them for review purposes.

You don't have to write a review - let alone read someone else's review - to get a very clear understanding of what would score your magazine would give that game.

Can anyone here - professional reviewer or otherwise - honestly say that they can't form an opinion of what a game's score should be in their opinion after just half a day's play or so?

It's a shame that the GamesTM chaps have declined to further comment in this thread - because in my mind, stating one simple fact (and the implication of the above quote is that it is a fact) would negate the entire argument -

"We played the game for a few hours before giving it out for review and came to the conclusion that it was an 8."

Whilst you may well have to play the game to death in order to write a decent review - you certainly don't have to play it to death in order to decide what score it would get.

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But what if the reviewer comes back with comments like, "An 8? Feck off, it's rubbish. Utter tripe. I hated it, thought it was awful and barely worth a 4. Here's my review to state why." Does the mag still stick with an 8? Edit the review to not sound too negative? What's the point in giving it to someone to review if the score has already been decided upon? That just seems like putting cart before the horse, IMO.

But this has been done to death, I suppose.

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I've been working my way back through this thread from the end, and hit the bit where Breaksmith actually appears to be saying that he'll give a higher mark to anything with a fat italian plumber slapped on the front.

I'm going to stop now, before I get depressed again.

KG

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I've been working my way back through this thread from the end, and hit the bit where Breaksmith actually appears to be saying that he'll give a higher mark to anything with a fat italian plumber slapped on the front.

I'm going to stop now, before I get depressed again.

KG

Wasn't the point about how characer and familiarity can improve the gaming experience though?

Like I said, which is likely to be the better experience - flying a generic spacecraft shooting other generic spacecraft or flying through space in an X-wing shooting Tie-fighters?

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For many gernes you can get an idea from playing the game for about 30 minutes as to how well it will play later, and whilst this theory only applies to gameplay, that gameplay mechanic is unlikely to change throughout the whole game (party genres aside) - this theory also works with FPS's with vehicles.

Mario for example plays well from the onset.

Its feels right, looks great and its a joy to play from the start.

Outrun is another example. Nothing changes apart from the levels and 1/2 hours play will easily give you a good idea of what its like.

Action Adventures (ala Tomb Raider) will take more play, but if your going to review an adventure and score it based on the story (and hence play it for longer before deciding your review), you might well just read a book.

Tomb Raider 4 took about 10 minutes (up to the roof top tightrope level) and i thought it was shit.

Its gameplay was so poor, and hard to manipulate, with its stupid camera based changing control systems.

Then theres Xenogears and Vandal Hearts. I wanted to play these more because it both played so well, but it took me about 20 mins to realise this. But no more.

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Like I said, which is likely to be the better experience - flying a generic spacecraft shooting other generic spacecraft or flying through space in an X-wing shooting Tie-fighters?

There's no such thing as a generic space ship - only well designed and interesting ones and rubbish ones.

The advantage of Licences is in the visual design front. I don't give a fuck about Star Wars, and still like bits of the aesphetic construct*. If a game has an original world that's just as well designed - or better, which is rare, but not unprecedented - it gets the same score.

(Or better, in the latter case)

KG

*I'm being a little disingenious here. On a personal level, I'm pig fucking sick of everything looking like Star Fucking Wars, because I've seen it millions of times before. Nothing has turned me off Star Wars as much as working in a games industry. It's a testament to KOTOR that it managed to restore even a flicker of the love. If you're a Star Wars geek, it's your problem, and I'm sick of seeing second rate games having ten percent thrown on "Because it's Star Wars".

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Just so people know, I reviewed both Armored Core Nexus and Katamari Damashii. I did want to give both a 9, but I knew that I could only get a possible 9 on one of the two (so Katamari Damashii had to be demoted before I sent it off). Naturally, my attempts at keeping the 9 for Nexus were usurped, despite my reasoning in the text and over the phone/e-mail/standing outside the office with a gun (not mine, a mate's).

In all honesty, unless they have radically changed the text (which I doubt they have) then Armored Core will at least get some fair coverage for once. That being said, I also reviewed Armored Core 3 back in the day and they gave that an 8 too [sigh].

As for whether I call it a "mech" or "mecha" game, I think the answer is pretty obvious (unless the delightful Mr. Mathers has been cheeky, he does half love to wind me up...the little darling!).

Why did you review AC from such a fan boy standpoint. How weird.

I love the fact that, as a journo, you've hammered the EDGE review to the ground. I bet they will be lying in wait...

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I love the fact that, as a journo, you've hammered the EDGE review to the ground. I bet they will be lying in wait...

I think theyre thinking 'lucky escape' after the utter lack of confidentiality hes shown and thats that. I thought his review was pretty good mind.

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Why did you review AC from such a fan boy standpoint. How weird.

I love the fact that, as a journo, you've hammered the EDGE review to the ground. I bet they will be lying in wait...

I think your preconception of me is clouding your judgement on whether I am a "fanboy" in this context. If a game is great then it is the reviewer's obligation to reveal and explain that to the readers. I enthused on the games I reviewed because they are truly great, something that was justified through various examples within the text I should add.

As for the EDGE Armored Core Nexus review, I welcome any criticism from its author.

I was also the only one to have played the games, hence why I reviewed them.

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I think your preconception of me is clouding your judgement on whether I am a "fanboy" in this context. If a game is great then it is the reviewer's obligation to reveal and explain that to the readers. I enthused on the games I reviewed because they are truly great, something that was justified through various examples within the text I should add.

As for the EDGE Armored Core Nexus review, I welcome any criticism from its author.

I was also the only one to have played the games, hence why I reviewed them.

So did no one else at GAMES TM get a say on the game? Just the one guy?

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So did no one else at GAMES TM get a say on the game? Just the one guy?

Well I believe the silence answers my question.

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Well I believe the silence answers my question.

No - the silence tells you that in the 3 hours since your last post either:

(i) No-one from Games TM has read the thread (which, seeing as it's a Sunday, and the content of the thread hasn't been particularly pleasant wouldn't surprise anyone in the slightest).

(ii) They've read it, and decided to stick to their "we won't comment on this sort of issue in public" line. Which, again, is completely reasonable.

Drawing conclusions like the above is just silly.

I've been set an ultimatum! On an internet forum!

Argghhhh!

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There's no such thing as a generic space ship - only well designed and interesting ones and rubbish ones.

The advantage of Licences is in the visual design front. I don't give a fuck about Star Wars, and still like bits of the aesphetic construct*. If a game has an original world that's just as well designed - or better, which is rare, but not unprecedented - it gets the same score.

(Or better, in the latter case)

KG

*I'm being a little disingenious here. On a personal level, I'm pig fucking sick of everything looking like Star Fucking Wars, because I've seen it millions of times before. Nothing has turned me off Star Wars as much as working in a games industry. It's a testament to KOTOR that it managed to restore even a flicker of the love. If you're a Star Wars geek, it's your problem, and I'm sick of seeing second rate games having ten percent thrown on "Because it's Star Wars".

Surely it depends on your audience? They do enjoy licenses in their games so the reviewer should reflect that. No?

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No - the silence tells you that in the 3 hours since your last post either:

(i) No-one from Games TM has read the thread (which, seeing as it's a Sunday, and the content of the thread hasn't been particularly pleasant wouldn't surprise anyone in the slightest).

(ii) They've read it, and decided to stick to their "we won't comment on this sort of issue in public" line. Which, again, is completely reasonable.

Drawing conclusions like the above is just silly.

I've been set an ultimatum! On an internet forum!

Argghhhh!

Or perhaps it's been a DAY since that other post...Use your eyes man!!

Caco has been around, he read it, didn't respond.

So come on GAMES TMers, set us straight on this issue :(

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