HIGHLIGHTS: This Week’s Podcast
Working under moonlight, we’ve dug out the old ‘still, poured in a stone jug of foam and blather, and waited, drop by drip, for the hard stuff to ferment. Click through for the best quotes from this week’s Podcast.
WoW the Burning Crusade: and Gary’s Burning Passion
Whitta: “It’s an astonishing game. It looks so much better than the rest of the game. One of the people in my guild who played in the Beta said once you go into the expansion you won’t want to go back into the regular part of the game because they’ve raised the bar so convincingly in terms of the graphical quality and the production design over what they had before. The original game now looks quite pedestrian compared to what you see in the expansion. It really is quite stunning.”
“Compared to the launch of the original game which was a nightmare, it was a completely seamless experience. There was no problem with servers, no problem with lag. It seems that blizzard this time anticipated correctly.”
Campbell: “They’ve managed to pull this off without any negative press. They’ve pulled off something pretty extraordinary here.”
Whitta: “I was completely expecting it to be an absolute nightmare but we went through the portal, we came through the other side, everything was completely clean.”
“I’ve already replaced two or three pieces of gear like a shield and a chest piece or a cape that I’ve had for six months or a year. There’s a whole new world of stuff to start achieving again. It’s always a weird experience to try and kill something and get experience points. It’s kind of like a second childhood in a way. It’s very exciting.”
“I had forgotten how persuasive and how addictive and how compulsive it is to want to level up. It was about four am and I was one little bar away from leveling up to sixty-one and I really just wanted to lay down and die. I was so tired. I was so exhausted…but I thought ‘No. must get to sixty one.” And it was only after I got to sixty one that I punched the air and just kind of collapsed and crawled into bed.”
“That is the beauty, the horrible beauty of the MMO. You’re constantly walking up a down escalator. Every time you achieve something they come along and add something new on to the end of the game that you haven’t done yet. You’re never really getting anywhere”
The Creative Process
Williams: “I think internal pitch days are a great idea. And I know it’s not that uncommon either. My biggest fear though if I were in that position, would not so much be could I maintain ownership of the idea, which would be important, but I would want to be in charge of leading the design of the idea, and I don’t think that’s something they’d want to relinquish to someone in QA”
Campbell: “Good ideas are valuable. We’ve all worked for creative organizations. And it’s amazing how quickly your good idea becomes the company’s good idea.”
Whitta: Colin [Campbell] and I had an idea for a game that we thought was quite a good idea…It appealed to both me and Colin and we liked it enough that we thought, there could be something here.”
“But then of course it’s not the easiest thing in the world even when know people. It’s not just coming up with an idea and then giving it to someone else to run with. You really do have to develop it and Colin and I are both quite lazy and have quite a short attention span. I’ve got a level sixty one character in Warcraft, but I can’t get any of this stuff off the ground because I’m just to lazy to push it through.”
Campbell: “It just shows you the gulf between a reasonably good idea and something that is desirable and actually executable. For me the experience was like sitting home and writing a song. Just something you do to pass the time.”
“If our listeners have great ideas, unfortunately there’s actually nothing you can do about it. Because unless you work for a company, these companies don’t want to see your stuff. You need to go the long way around and that is to either create something that people can take and turn into a game, some kind of a demo, or you need to go the really long way around and get a career as a game designer and put in ten to twelve years of work.”
Williams: “Yes, but there are really vibrant independent scenes in both film and games now and days that’s just getting much and much more vibrant and easier to enter.”
Whitta: “I’d be very nervous right now if I was Sony, especially seeing how well 360 and Wii did over the holiday period and the fact that getting a PS3 now is a snap.
“Sony’s done a great job of making them available and getting them in the channel but that’s only a small part of the battle. A big part of the battle is creating something in the first place that people want to buy when you get it in the channel, and that’s not happened.”
“Gabe Newell from Valve, obviously a very senior figure in the game community said ‘the PS33 is a total disaster on so many levels. I think it’s really clear that Sony lost track of what customers and what developers wanted. I’d say even at this late date, they should just cancel it and do a do over. Just say, this was a horrible disaster and we’re sorry and we’re going to stop selling this and stop trying to convince people to develop for it.’”
Campbell: “Words fail me. The thing has only been on sale a few weeks. Sony will turn around and say, ‘look guys, this is outselling PlayStation 1 and out selling PlayStation 2, do you want to tell us that those were failures?’ and yet there are a lot of things that are badly wrong with PlayStation 3. First and foremost there’s not enough decent games on it.”
Whitta: “[The PS3] is really only as good as the things you can make it do. Right now it really is kind of a joke. It’s a six hundred dollar doorstop. There’s just nothing to do with it.”
Losing Wii Weight
Campbell: “Just playing Wii Sports for thirty minutes a day he lost nine pounds in a pretty short period of time. That seems unlikely to me. I just don’t believe it.”
Whitta. “I’m willing to believe you lose some weight.
Campbell: “If you’re in a gym working out it’s a lot more interesting if you’ve got something to interact in rather than MTV or your iPod. Working out is still a pain in the ass, it’s still going to the gym. But it‘s slightly less of a pain in the ass than just watching yourself puffing away in the mirror”
Whitta: “We ned Wii settings with an ‘I’m a bit fat and I just want to get started’ workout. The Wii has potentially infinite applications in terms of giving you fun things to interact with while you get your blood pumping.”
Whitta: “The first person shooter genre on Wii is something that I really expected to be one of the high points of the platform and so far I think it’s a genre that’s’ kind of gotten off to a slow start. As usual it’s probably going to be up to Nintendo to show people how it’s done.”
Williams: “I’m still not convinced that the Wii controller is the best first person shooter controller. I’m not sure that it’s better than a game pad. You think okay it’s an analogue, it’s more like a mouse, but the problem is you can’t lift the Wii controller up, move it over on the mouse pad, and keep moving in the same direction. You’re limited by the boundary of the screen.”
Listen to the Podcast here, every week. It’s not as good as Heroes, but it’s slightly better than Desperate Housewives.