Resident Evil 7’s E3 Showing Was Dismal
Capcom has just had their Don Mattrick moment, telling Resident Evil fans that if they do not like the direction of Resident Evil 7 then they have just the game for them [Umbrella Corps] – because Operation Racoon City served as such a satisfying substitute for a mainline Resident Evil game!
“If anyone out there has a bloodlust for holding a gun, check out Umbrella Corps. We are separating these aspects out into different titles where that gameplay can come to the fore, and makes the most sense for that title. [Resident Evil 7] is not going to be a gun fest.”
Fuck having a satisfying balance of action and horror, Resident Evil plebs can choose between either one thing or the other! Anybody who has already watched the Resident Evil 7 reveal trailer, or who has played the subsequent Playstation Plus demo, will already know what this author is about to tell them – that Capcom [in their infinite wisdom] has decided to make Resident Evil 7 into a walking simulator, and a walking simulator made especially for VR at that! PSVR owners will be able to play from beginning to end in first person VR. This makes a certain kind of sense for a cash-strapped Capcom, as, rather than spending time on detailed character modelling, elaborate collision detection, and realistic game physics, they can instead focus on making spooky environments filled with canned jump-scare animations. A much easier thing to do. Indeed, the game has only been in development since mid-2014 and Capcom is already looking at a January 2017 release date.
Capcom’s ostensible justification for latching onto the haunted house walking simulator craze of 2014 is that they have heard the demands of Resident Evil fans for a return to survival horror, and so they have produced what looks for all the world to be a budget priced PSN Plus monthly freebee because apparently that is what survival horror is these days. Resident Evil fans never asked for this. Pewdiepie may have asked for this, but the Resident Evil fanbase surely did not. When people said they wanted a return to survival horror, what they meant was they wanted to see a return to a dedicated horror setting and a moderation of the game’s action focus – what they did not mean is that they wanted combat and the series traditional third person perspective to be scrapped entirely. What fans really wanted was a more polished and lavish version of The Evil Within, set within a trademark early Resident Evil gothic kind of location. Essentially a well-balanced compromise between action and horror [which is what the series used to excel at]. Mistaking fan intentions like this is just Capcom playing funny buggers – completely fucking the game and then construing the reasonable requests of fans as being to blame for their poor decisions.
Powerful weaponry utilised for crowd control has always been a part of the series, and the ‘survival horror’ elements have always been in the form of making the most of limited supplies. Nobody asked Capcom to scrap the customary arsenal of firearms for Resident Evil 7 – that is something that Capcom decided to do all on their own in accordance with their own interests. Capcom have absolutely no idea what to do with the Resident Evil franchise, because their employee turnover is almost as precipitous as Konami’s, and so Resident Evil 7 is being made in the image of a haunted house walking simulator, just as Resident Evil Revelations 2 was made in the image of The Last of Us. In both cases Capcom can be seen to be copying rather than innovating, which is a sad state of affairs for the company who pretty much put horror video games on the map.
Where Capcom may be making a miscalculation though is in their failure to properly understand precisely what brought about the popularity of first person walking sims in the first place – Youtube. These games became very popular on Youtube because there was essentially no drawback to audiences experiencing them entirely through Youtube. There was no fun gameplay aspect that could be lost through the format of video, and the first person perspective made it very easy for audiences to put themselves into the shoes of the streamer. They were essentially narrative experiences, and not much of that was lost in translation when experiencing these titles vicariously. Youtube helped these cheaply made $20 games become huge financial successes because it enabled them to gain vastly more exposure than they previously had – so even if only a tiny fraction of viewers ended up making a purchase, it still resulted in a lot more sales than these little companies had been able to manage previously. These budget priced games are still not selling in excess of five million copies. It is unlikely that most of them crack 100k in sales.
Resident Evil 7 looks virtually indistinguishable from $20 walking simulators. It might be cheaply made, but Capcom still has to support a hell of a lot more overhead than do the typical purveyors of walking simulators. Brand name alone will take Resident Evil 7 a certain distance, yet its success will be hurt by alienating the people who actually played Resident Evil games for the gameplay, and its success among the walking simulator community will also be hurt by it being a $60 game in a $20 market – and we can probably just ignore the benefits that it will enjoy from appeals made to the VR community at present. Resident Evil 7 will be immensely popular on Youtube, but Youtube is the place where most people will likely end up experiencing it. It is hard to see Resident Evil 7 not performing poorly, as Capcom look to essentially be actively trying to shrink their slice of the pie, turning a multi-million selling juggernaut into a pseudo-indy ghost of a franchise. PT was shit, and Resident Evil 7 will be shit too. Worry not though readers, as your favourite Capcom executives are unlikely to ever have to face the music. After all, they were merely trying to satisfy the unreasonable demands of Resident Evil fans.
Disastrous Rumours Surround Final Fantasy XV’s Development
From one travesty to another, some extremely bleak rumours surfaced this week about the state of Final Fantasy XV from a posting made on 4chan. The information contained in this 4chan post has actually been available for roughly three weeks, but nobody paid it any mind until people realized this week that the poster had correctly named the title of Square Enix’s embarrassingly janky Final Fantasy XV demo from Microsoft’s E3 conference: Trial of the Titan. This evidence by itself is not particularly compelling, as anyone associated with Microsoft’s conference could have potentially come across this name, yet more corroborating information has since come to light – though everything in good time.
At the time this information was first posted the game was just four months to release, and yet it was still in an extremely rough state. Despite originally selling the concept of the game using the visual concept of Insomnia, the city will not actually be explorable, but will instead serve as the location for the final boss fight. In fact that entire gorgeous E3 2013 Final Fantasy XV reveal trailer was directed by Tetsuya Nomura, and predominantly displayed the content he had produced for the game, and even as this trailer was being put together Hajime Tabata was actively changing this content in line with his vision for the game. The game also contains a low number of summons, featuring just Titan, Ramuh, Carbuncle, Leviathan, Shiva, Ifrit, and Bahamut. At the time this information was made available the game contained forty hours of content, yet apparently the team was still actively trying to pad out the game’s runtime with fetch quests. Apparently the script is also undergoing active rewrites after being received very poorly by audiences, and this has caused voice recording to run massively behind schedule. The team also apparently has a large volume of flashback scenes between Noct and Luna which it has to insert into the second half of the game, yet nobody knows where to put them. This is not even the chief concern however, as so much latter development tinkering has been done to the game that [on the PS4] the game is still only playable in sectors. Some sectors will load up and run on PS4 hardware, while others will not. When Square Enix claimed that the game was playable from beginning to end – the game was really only playable that way on development PCs. On PS4 the game is only playable in a linear fashion for the first couple of hours – basically the length of the Game Informer demo impressions. The Xbox build is even less functional.
“40 hours right now, but they’re trying to bump it to about 50 by strongly encouraging more fetch quests. The map isn’t done in a playable form, it’s segmented levels right now, some of which work and some don’t
It was finished and you could play it start to finish on the high end PCs they made it on, but the PS4 port is a mess, and they started design and re-writes after the normal wrap because it’s going over like shit with people, like pick up shots to fix a movie.
But Episode Duscae 2.0 ran fine on PS4. Is that the 2 hours you mean?
That was given months and months and months of dedicaded care and a 2.0 patch. And believe it or not that part of the game does not actually run as well as the demo right now. Really only the opening 2 hours “run”
There’s only like 2 hours “playable” on ps4 and xbox version barely turns on. Nobody is thinking about PS4k, just porting and optimizing for PS4. Xbox build is like 3 weeks behind
I don’t know much, but they’re rerecording a lot of dialogue for the game anyway because it’s still in rewrites, especially for the 2nd half. It’s in about the same state as bioshock infinite where they showed trailers with the same scenes as the release game, but the release game had 100% different dialogue over a different plot
They’ve got a lot of Luna/Noctis flashbacks they made to be thrown around in the last act of the game and they don’t know what to do with them really
It’s not normal. The lock for english voice recording is supposed to be in 3 weeks, but they keep re-writing lines. Everybody is nervous as fuck about Sept30 release. Expect big day 1 patch
Yeah, its coming [DLC], but they don’t know what yet except one about Gladio since there’s almost nothing about him in game. They’re more worried about main game now.”
According to the 4chan poster Final Fantasy XVI is not currently in a state of active development as the direction it takes will be dependent on the success of Final Fantasy XV – and as we have already heard Final Fantasy XV needs to sell nine million copies in order to be successful. This information by itself is fairly sketchy, yet it is now time to turn to the horse’s mouth for clarification…
Disastrous Rumours Seemingly Confirmed by Square Enix
… And by the horse’s mouth one of course means Square Enix and their E3 Q&A stream, hosted by none other than Final Fantasy XV‘s director, Hajime Tabata. For those keeping record: our previous 4chan poster stated that Insomnia would not be an explorable location in the game, there was currently thought to be 40-50 hours of content, the game features a small number of summon creatures, and the Final Fantasy XV team has not yet decided on DLC because the game is too far behind schedule for anyone to really think about it. Now let us peruse the following statements made by Hajime Tabata and play rumour bingo:
“Insomnia is not in the game as an explorable town. But it is a field for battle. It’s not just the area in front of city hall that we’ve been showing—it’s actually a wider, wider area. It’s not an explorable, full-fledged town like Altissia is, per say, but it is a location where you’ll carry out battle. It will make sense and everyone will understand as they watch Kingsglaive and get a sense of what that environment is.
In terms of clearing the main story, we’re anticipating about 40 to 50 hours of gameplay, so there will be that at the very least. But there are a lot of side quests and extra stuff. With that alone, we’re looking at about 100 hours of gameplay. So if you count all of that, we’re looking at about 200 hours total if you clear everything. Fans have been waiting for quite a while, so we want to make sure there is a lot to enjoy when it’s out.
In terms of sheer [summon] number, we don’t need to say the exact number. There isn’t a whole lot. It’s a relatively lower number. Some fans might feel that the total number of Astrals is underwhelming. But we’ve made each one so impactful that they all have a presence and that players will have a real connection with them by the end of the game. Over the course of the story, Noctis will need to borrow the power of these Astrals, so as you progress through the story, Noctis will face off against them. And there are some other Astrals, like Carbuncle from the Platinum Demo. So instead of focusing on the sheer number, we want people to focus on their personality and characteristics, and how we designed each one. Astrals aren’t guardians of specific nations, they’re guardians of the world.
There will be additional [DLC] story content, costumes, as well as things that don’t fall into those categories that fans will be excited to see. I know we’ve showcased some of our PlayStation VR demos this E3, and those are some things we’re planning to implement and provide as DLC experiences. But obviously, we’re working towards getting this game out on September 30, so most of the priorities are on the main game. Only specific core members are working on the DLC right now.”
The 4chan leaker not only knew the title of Square Enix’s E3 presentation three weeks in advance, but they also subsequently had four significant pieces of information confirmed by the game’s director. Sure, a lot of this stuff would be easy enough to claim through guesswork. 40-50 hours is a common length for JRPGs, the intricacy of the game’s summons means that there is likely to be a small number of them, and Insomnia seems like a climactic sort of location. That said, nobody treats DLC as an afterthought these days, and for all four of these pieces of information to line-up is still a mighty coincidence.
On top of this confirmation of the 4chan rumours, Tabata then goes on to confirm that Final Fantasy XV‘s camera, controls, and UI are still being actively worked on right now as of this week!
“Will there be an option to adjust the camera distance?
Currently, there is no option. Right now the camera moves automatically depending on the situation (if you’re close to enemies or far from enemies). We’re using as much time as we can to fine tune the camera controls, but at some point we’ll need to decide whether we should let users manually control the camera.
Regarding the recent UI, I preferred the UI from Episode Duscae. It felt more intuitive to defend using LB/L1, as well as using RB/R1 to manually lock-on to enemies. Will there be different control layouts that we can choose from?
The UI design will be renewed once more. We’re currently working on both the functionality and aesthetics of the UI. In terms of the development state right now, the progress of the UI and NPC elements are not as far along as some of the other stuff, so right now we’re still using some placeholder stuff that aren’t what we envision for the final game. In terms of control layouts, we have the normal layout and the one from Episode Duscae, and we may also have a third layout planned. But people can choose between those two at any time. A lot of players have gotten used to Episode Duscae controls, so we want to give options to the players.”
So right now the Final Fantasy XV team have no idea what kind of camera controls [if any] they want to implement into the game, and when all is said and done they may include as many as three different controls schemes. If this state of affairs were not enough, the Final Fantasy XV team’s approach to anti-aliasing sounds properly fucking retarded:
“As far as anti-aliasing goes, there’s a lot of processing for constant anti-aliasing, so we implement it every few frames as not to overload the processing.”
Anti-aliasing every few frames… Fucking what? This author is unsure whether this speaks to his profound technical ignorance, but AA implemented every few frames sounds completely useless. The game is already confirmed to use an unfixed resolution, which drops resolution if the consistency of its 30fps refresh-rate is in any way threatened. That being the case, surely it would make more sense to drop this extremely sporadic AA in favour of decreasing the workload on the PS4 GPU. At any rate, most AA solutions tend to involve blending the visual data from different frames in order to smooth out edges, so it is somewhat perplexing as to how it would make sense for Square Enix to selectively employ AA on a frame by frame basis when multiple frames need to be processed.
Finally, of all the changes that are still currently being perpetrated against Final Fantasy XV, the one mechanic that does not look to have changed one iota is the game’s absolutely terrible stamina system, which forces players to collapse in a heap if they attempt to run for more than ten seconds or so. What a fantastic feature to have in an Open World Game!
“There is a difference between normal movement speed and the dash. Running doesn’t take up any stamina, but the dash does. The duration of how long your stamina lasts can be influenced by what you eat at camp. Just like in Episode Duscae where that stamina is influenced by what you eat, the same will carry over in the full game. Your level won’t matter. Right now in the E3 demo, the stamina gauge is constantly visible, but in the final version, we’ll have it so you can turn it on all the time, or off. We want to give users a choice—playing knowing when their stamina will run out, or playing without having any distractions on the screen.”
Square Enix are prepared to offer players three different control schemes and yet they are not prepared to offer players the choice of whether or not to use this thoroughly shitty mechanic [which they have already acknowledged as a source of fan frustration]. One cannot determine what is more insulting; the fact that Tabata is attempting to foist this broken mess off on gamers, or the fact that he refers to the game’s defult movement speed as running. It is barely a half-trot. Noct is a more useless runner than Inzamam-ul-Haq, and Final Fantasy XV is shaping up to be a fucking mess!