EpicBattleCry - Skirmish 234: Can You Hear the Air Quotes?



On this locked and loaded edition of EBC we’re discussing the newly-announced COD: Advanced Warfare to debate how the franchise can remain relevant. Plus, Activision dumps major dough into Destiny, Microsoft talks plans for E3, Transistor fans get some goodies and Harmonix hits Kickstarter for an HD remake. All of that and more on this Spacey edition of gaming’s most brutal video podcast!


TOPIC: ANSWERING THE CALL: With the recent reveal of COD: Advanced Warfare, we discuss the current state of the popular franchise while evaluating how long Activision and its legion of developers can continue to push an annual product with success.

Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare Details, Platforms Confirmed in Amazon Listing


MEMBEREsteban Manriquez

We are all screwed.

The list of reasons why the future of digital distribution is bad just doesn't seem to click for the most part. Your trading everything that makes games timeless for the convenience of not having to leave your house. There is no thought put into the future or archival of games offered through the digital age. No one is thinking long term or if there will be a way to access the games they own past their purchases. Even now we are seeing games stricken from the digital ether never to be seen again due to licensing issues (i.e. Deadpool was less than a year old before it disappeared forever digitally ), with no game  immune from some sort of expired license. Then you have companies that go under, IP's being sold or shelved, no longer profitable, reliant on certain software specs, and on and on and on....

Hate to burst Brent's bubble but DRM hasn't been abolished. It has become an acceptable common place standard that will only thrive as the activity grows, just the name has been changed to Digital Distribution. All that DRM was supposed to combat or control is done so with digital distribution and no one seems to make the connection. Everything is locking to an account or is being locked to devices curtailing all of the activity that DRM wished to achieve. It has become the norm and with people already making it viable it won't be too long before the consumer is no more than persistent subscription cash cow. 

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Tags: EpicBattleCry, podcasts

Comment by Kamil Adamski on May 8, 2014 at 9:41am


Comment by Daniel Kayser on May 8, 2014 at 10:06am

FYI, GameTrailers is having an issue with the vid file so it might not work properly for the next little bit. They are working to upload a revised version now. Thanks!

Comment by Deking on May 8, 2014 at 10:07am

video keeps saying unavailable..also it does not show on GT either

Comment by DefGeoff256 on May 8, 2014 at 1:08pm

Great show as always, guys!

Re: Half a Bill Dropped on Destiny

Interesting to hear the Destiny budget talk on the show.  It's usually impossible to know how much money is really spent on a game/release/advertising in total over a franchise's lifetime for various reasons but I would caution taking Activision at their word.  I mean, how much of that money is actually Activision's?  Are they counting the cross promotional money as well?  Remember Mountain Dew/Doritos commercials for Modern Warfare, the Jeep Commercials, platform specfic ads for platform specific content?  That is a lot of money that was spent ostensibly on a single game, but it's money that didn't necessarily come out of Activision's coffers... It'll be interesting if they will go that route with Destiny, where every piece of media content you see for an entire quarter has a Destiny tie-in of some kind.  

Re: Harmonix

It's doubly sad to see that Harmonix has fallen so far as to digitally pan-handle their wares.  I think their HD remake project idea is a great idea, but asking for $700+ K to basically make the same game over is asking a little much. But I think Brent makes a good point about Kickstarter being a good gauge of how many people are actually interested in that title before they waste their own money...

Comment by Frank Tenpenny on May 8, 2014 at 5:52pm

I saw the fall of Harmonix a mile away. I'm not trying to say I can predict the future or anything, but anytime my friends (who don't play video games) and their friends (who also don't play video games) suddenly become interested in a video game, I know it is doomed. Much like the tobacco industry doesn't rely on 'casual smokers' to maintain profits, nor should the video game industry mistake the 'casual gamer' as a reliable source of future income. Sure the term 'casual gamer' was used more for the Wii, but it certainly held true for the music game fad.

When asked by a friend (again who doesn't play video games but owned a secondhand XBox 360 and Guitar Hero) why I wasn't into Guitar Hero I replied, "I'm sure it's fun and I'm not knocking you for liking it, but I can't use that plastic guitar for any other game and when the fad dies in a few years I'll be left with a worthless peripheral. Thanks, but I have enough other games that I enjoy".

Comment by Arturo Espinoza on May 8, 2014 at 10:27pm

hey tony: 

Comment by Dimitar Iliev on May 9, 2014 at 6:36am

C'mon, Tony, Analogue NT? We often criticize(and more often than not with good right) developers for rehashing old ideas, going back and selling their old product remastered, HD'd, GOLD'd, instead of going back to the drawing board and bringing us something fresh to be excited about. How is this Analogue NT deal any different? Riding the nostalgia for times long past isn't necessary a bad thing, but putting together dead hardware in a shinny box and saying "You remember how much fun you had back when this was relevant? Give us $500 and we'll give you this token that proves you do. As a bonus feature - you get to painfully understand that you, your taste and the game industry have grown to a point where almost everything you have fond memories of is an inferior product." Games from back then had issues, they were user unfriendly and repetitive in both visuals and gameplay. They were fun, they were amazing, but within their own era. I'm not dissing the games we all grew up with. But for every game from that time there are countless currently available titles that are superior in any objective comparison(except the Megaman series. Haven't found something like it but better, recommendations are welcomed). Taking hipster money has become a viable business practice. That's the reality we get to live in. Doesn't mean we have to peddle it in here. Shout out to http://snesbox.com/ and http://nesbox.com/ where I go for my nostalgia fix.

And while I'm riding my high horse, lets get back to the software remastering, HD'ing and all that "good" stuff. Again admittedly there are exceptions to the rule, but let's overall agree that that rule just the same remains: Let's have less of those.

Right now, I'm looking at you, Harmonix. The music/rhythm genre's dead partly because of the games that represented it, I know you miss it(and the money it brought), but in that case, re-invented it instead of revisiting your 'golden hits' and at a price tag that, let's face it, has nothing to do with how much that particular game would cost. You shouldn't get to finance your experimental title(Chroma) by dressing up your old game in new wrappings and riding the kickstarter fad. Put Chroma on kickstarter ask for the money and support IT needs and see if IT gets it. If not... figure what your next step should be.

On a side note am I the only one that feels like Harmonix is that guy that bought too many plastic guitars(gathered too many rhythm game developers) and does all he can to convince himself they aren't just taking space?

Stay awesome, guys!

Comment by Zevvion (Stephan) on May 9, 2014 at 8:44am

@Dimitar Iliev

I don't think you've been paying attention to people's responses as well as you might think. People love HD versions of their favorite games. And let's be honest, it is a great trend. 

One of the poorest HD ports I've played so far is Resident Evil 4. It is the game in HD, but that's it. Text size is still the same, which makes it look awkward, size of letterboxes are the same, which makes it look awkward and so on. Still, I love Resident Evil 4 and I would play the HD version over the original from this day until the end of my days (ha). I'll never play the original again, because it's jaggy and I will be playing the game again and again and again over the years until I grow old.

Same with the recently released Final Fantasy X. That port is amazing. They redid every cutscene in HD, they redid the CGI for HD, they changed letterboxes, text and HUD elements specifically to fit in HD. They even touched up the faces of the main characters for this version. It is almost a perfect HD reincarnation. I absolutely love it and so do many other people. 

No, let's get more HD remakes in here. Not fewer. Games are art. They are eternal. Suggesting that developers waste their time to touch up old classics that people still love and should only focus on creating the newest latest best is a dark outlook on the medium as an artform.

Comment by Dimitar Iliev on May 9, 2014 at 12:23pm


I'm won't be hijacking the thread I just make it a point to respond when addressed directly, will just briefly admit that there are games like FFVII that I also enjoyed seeing back, yet I stand by my original(all be it kind of aggressively put, like anything I post from the office, go figure) point that I'd rather have more innovation in our art medium than re-touching of the old masterpieces and not-so-masterpieces. For me the diversity of the medium is what pushes it towards being an art form, not the desire to admittedly better previous works. 

You know, I'd take "more awesome games please", rather than "more of the games I like", that sort of thing.

Yey, this time I sounded way less book-burningly fanatic. Who says you can have politeness on the internet:)

Carry on.

Comment by THLINK on May 10, 2014 at 11:49am

I don't think Brent got Esteban point. The Deadpool example was perfect. The people that bought physical copy of the game can still enjoy it to this day. That's something that won't be possible with digital distriution.

With digital distribution you're are forced to trust to big companies as Sony, Valve and so on. So yes... We're screwed !


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