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Diecast #92: Nintenduh, Evolve, Life is Strange

By Shamus
on Monday Feb 9, 2015
Filed under:


January is over, and suddenly there’s gaming news again! And it’s all bad! Just the way we like it!

Direct link to this episode.

Direct download (MP3)
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Podcast RSS feed.

Hosts: Shamus, Josh, Chris, and Rutskarn.

Show notes:
00:30 Nintendo Creators Program is 100% unmitigated weapons-grade horseshit.

We say that as a group of people who never have – and never would – participate in this ridiculous mess. Nintendo has seen that the future is YouTube, and they have decided they don’t want to be a part of the future.

Good job, ninnies.

16:00 Sony Online Entertainment was spun-off from Sony.

Rejoice! Everything is wonderful forever! The press release says so.

31:00 Evolve is being marketed very poorly.

“Controversy is a good thing.”

“I don’t like people thinking we’re doing underhanded shit.”

43:00 What is Shamus doing?

I’ve been playing Grow Home. This is the flat-poly look of Grow Home that I was going on about:


Also, I backed my first Kickstarter: STRAFE, a procedurally-generated retro-90’s shooter. It’s not doing very well. Sadface.

49:00 Josh, Shamus and Chris analyze Life is Strange and compare it to Telltale games.

Comments (138)

  1. krellen says:

    I’ll give STRAFE this: it has a really good pitch video.

    • MikhailBorg says:

      The pitch video was an instant turn-off for me, and I like shooters.

      I may not be specced to handle weapons-grade eyeroll.

      • Shamus says:

        I loved the first couple of minutes, with the huge CRT and 90’s teenager. They got a lot of little details just right.

        Then the kid died and it just felt mean instead of fun.

        • arron says:

          I did like the low poly/pixel density retro feel to the graphics. Reminded me of Minecraft crossed with System Shock. Could be a style that takes off in other games we haven’t seen in the future.

        • Daemian Lucifer says:

          I disagree.The obvious fakery of the puppet and the meat she was picking up made even the end cheesy and fun.

          • krellen says:

            This is also how I felt. I actually laughed at her spooning the head goo back on the neck and saying “you’ll be okay”.

            I may be a terrible human being.

            • RCN says:

              Yeah, the cheapness of the gore went a long way into making it funny instead of horrible. It’s a lot like the movie Repo: The Genetic Opera, SFDebris found the movie foul and disturbing, especially the part where Giles disembowels one of his victims and then uses they as a meat puppet with his hands in their guts as his duet partner for a song. But for me the gore was so fake and cheap I found it hilarious, campy and awesome.

              And note that I’m a guy who feels queasy and uneasy around realistic gore in media.

            • The Mich says:

              That really worked in the opposite way for me. I was feeling devastated.

        • WWWebb says:

          Didn’t you watch the Super Bowl? Dead children are marketing gold right now. It used to be scantily clad women, but those have been out since Duke Nukem Forever flopped.

          I’m a little surprised they didn’t get a dad in there, too.

        • Ilseroth says:

          Honestly I don’t mind the kid dying really. Honestly, the face melt and exploding head thing was so vastly over the top that I didn’t really mind much. for some reason the part I kinda was a bit disgusted with was the seizure and mouth foaming bit.

          Kind of an interesting thing to think about. I am perfectly fine with cranial explosions, but a bit of shaking and foam put me off a bit.

          I still think it was at the very least an interesting commercial… Reminded me a bit of the Guild Wars 2 commercial they did for the Super Adventure Box (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z6qEESY4x4U)

          And while they did the whole “OMG INTENSE GRAPHICS” they went less with the seizure and head explosion… but then it also wasn’t supposed to be a game focusing on blood and gore so *shrug*

        • ET says:

          No way! The kid getting his face melted off was the best part! :D

  2. Tobias says:

    There was an interview with an ex-Nintendo (America) employee a few days ago, and what he said explained a lot about the strange ways of Nintendo the last years. And when I say “explained”, I mean “confirmed what we were all thinking and then some”. Money quote:

    They're very traditional, and very focused on hierarchy and group decision making. Unfortunately, that creates a culture where everyone is an advisor and no one is a decision maker ““ but almost everyone has veto power.

    That sounds like a terrible headache, and exactly like the kind of corporate culture that would spawn half-baked, overly-draconian social media policies. Whole thing’s here, if you wanna check it out: Former Nintendo Executive Dan Adelman Discusses Nintendo's Culture, Third Party Support, Virtual Console, And More

  3. Warrax the Chaos Warrior says:

    I never played Star Wars Galaxies, I was a WoW guy back in the golden age of MMOs. I did play EverQuest before that, and there was no way I was going to get invested into another SOE game.

    Every time Josh complains about how SOE screwed up SWG, my first thought is “Of course they screwed it up, SOE hates you for playing their game”. They were always very anti-consumer and generally awful.

    • MikhailBorg says:

      The ideal Sony customer buys everything they ever put on a store shelf or website, but never opens the packaging of any of it.

      Okay, to be fair, few companies would mind having that customer.

    • Keeshhound says:

      I play Planetside 2, and the general consensus among the people I play with is that SOE’s mismanagement of the property (specifically the microtransactions) was so hilariously comprehensive that any additional managerial oversight would at worst have no further effect, and would likely be a net positive.

      Of course, the running joke is that we’re all just waiting for them to shut down the servers anyway.

    • Benjamin Hilton says:

      Yeah all you really need to know is that Sony Online decided the amazingly unique Galaxies need to be more like WOW, and then killed it.

      • Kylroy says:

        Sony didn’t kill Galaxies, the Star Wars rights were taken from them in anticipation of the Old Republic MMO going live. Crucify them for the NGE, but the cancellation wasn’t their call.

        Having watched City of Heroes get cancelled by NCSoft in a fit of pique, I have to give credit to SOE for only pulling the plug on MMOs when the playerbase is nearly gone (or other companies are requiring them to do so).

  4. Nicholas Hayes says:

    Uh, on a lot of those Life is Strange need-to-rewind sections you actually have the correct option as a guess (Like Juliet’s last name, or the photographer that you need to name to look at a guy’s collection) if you guess correctly the first time it just continues like your character knew that all along, which I liked

  5. Wide And Nerdy says:

    Regarding the LP/Review thing. I figure that if YouTube had a rule that exempted videos that use a clip in a single video of 30 min or less, that would protect reviews while still allowing LPs and people posting entire movies and such to be subject to some scrutiny.

    At the end of the day, Shamus is sadly right that it doesn’t matter the legality if YouTube is stricter (and they have a right to be as strict as they want to be. They also have a right to suffer the consequences if their strictness costs them their userbase.)

    As for Blip, I don’t have much faith in them. Their site is riddled with design issues. The one thing they do better than YouTube is their comments section is a Facebook plugin which leads to people posting under their real ids and curbs some of the hate and ignorance. But their Facebook plugin elements are improperly aligned and clip text (at least in my browser) a problem that has persisted for several months without being addressed. And their UX design is lacking. You can get used to the site but its counterintuitive in places.

  6. Warrax the Chaos Warrior says:

    RE: Evolve and DLC stuff (This isn’t the first time a publisher has stepped on their own crank with regards to DLC plans)

    I think part of the problem is that there are two different definitions for the word “innovation” depending on who you are talking to.

    Consumers expect “innovation” to mean something about the actual product in terms of gameplay. Marketing people, investors, and managers use the word to describe new ways to wring more money from the product.

    So you constantly see business types in the industry shocked and amazed when consumers respond negatively to “innovations” seemingly designed solely to pry deeper into their wallets.

    The solution is to not pull back the curtain on your marketing strategy too early. Make a good game first, let people get invested in it to the point that they want to spend more money, then reveal your DLC. No one is going to be happy about more of something they don’t have yet.

    • Robyrt says:

      I agree. Take some lessons from Capcom, who has been wringing its customers for half a dozen separate versions of its games for decades. Release the initial version, wait for the inevitable fan criticisms that there isn’t enough content or you’re missing a key feature, then announce the DLC that contains it. Hey, we’re listening to our fans!

    • Wide And Nerdy says:

      I wish people weren’t so down on DLC. There are a few games that I could just play forever and I wish the companies behind those games would just continue to churn out expansions (or possibly what Totalbiscuit calls “Expandalones” like Far Cry:Blood Dragon, Saints Row:Gat Out of Hell, and Shadowrun:Dragonfall.) You know? Just “I want more of this game forever.”

      For me it would be Skyrim, Fallout New Vegas, Dragon Age Origins (although I admit that one has probably done all it could with DLC).

      I know there are plenty of Dragon Age fans, at least on the Bioware forums, who wish Bioware had done that instead of making Dragon Age 2 and 3 (though Dragon Age is a game that is not starved for DLC content).

      On the bright side, the kind of DLC I’m talking about is succeeding under different branding: episodic content. I just haven’t seen it done with games I’m really interested in playing. And they could always use the term “expansion.” At least for the kind of DLC I actually want.

      That said, I do understand complaints about costume packs and the like on games where modding is not supported.

      • I think Bethsoft would’ve done better with their money to skip ESO and put that cash into Skyrim and Fallout DLC, as in new areas/quests to explore. I really don’t think they get the value of just making their worlds bigger. It’d be even cooler if the games’ narratives changed based on which DLC you activated and which you decided to skip or not incorporate.

        Heck, even a half-arsed overhaul of each game to make “new” games (i.e. “Fallout: Des Moines” and “Skyrim: Lore-Place With A Wiki Entry”) would’ve been a slam-dunk.

        • Sleeping Dragon says:

          Urghh, no, just no. I want to be able to play through a game, see the ending and with the DLC maybe play some other unrelated or at best semi-related story. I don’t want to have to go back and replay it every two months when they release a new DLC, not to mention the DLC intruding on my gameplay mid-game (I’m looking at you Dragon Age).

          • Perhaps I wasn’t clear. I wasn’t talking MAJOR changes to the narrative. Fallout 3 had a nice little tie-in between Point Lookout and the Dunwich building. And I’m mostly talking new dialog options and other ways the game would acknowledge what you’ve done.

            I can’t speak for Dragon Age, but in the Fallout universe, most of the DLC is pretty well self-contained. You can play it or skip it as you like, and I can’t see many people saying “no” to DLC as good as Old World Blues every six months or so.

            • Daemian Lucifer says:

              Well you can if your saves remain intact.If not,you have to level up a new character,which is a hassle.And while old world blues was a good dlc,Im not sure Id be willing to try it if I didnt already have a leveled up character.

              • Yet if you were told ahead of time you’d be playing “the ever-expanding RPG world of X,” I think you’d keep your saves.

                • Wide And Nerdy says:

                  Not to mention the sites that keep databases of useful starting point saves.

                • Daemian Lucifer says:

                  Actually,I wouldnt.Before walking dead I had the habit of purging all the saves once I deintalled a game.The ones I would play again,I would play from scratch,rather than trying to remember what I was doing before.I did this with mass effect as well,which is why I went through 1 again when I got 2.

                  @Wide And Nerdy
                  Not the same thing,especially in a game where you can customize your skills so much.Plus,Id rather play something like knife of dunwal from scratch,than with someone elses character in new vegas.

                  • To be fair, Bethsoft games are almost irritatingly single-minded about reminding you what your active quests are and where you need to go. It wouldn’t take too much to see where you were headed and what you were doing (as well as what you’ve done).

      • Kylroy says:

        Issue is that Evolve is a multiplayer shooter ala TF2 and L4D, with no meaningful PvE content to expand on. You can go the expansion route with more maps (as L4D did), but that ends up fragmenting the playerbase along expansion lines.

        My understanding was that Evolve is going to make new maps free (thus ensuring all players can play with each other) while charging for new *options* on the player and monster front, a model incorporated by many MOBAs. But most of those MOBAs are F2P, so grafting that model onto a paid game really grates on people.

        • Wide And Nerdy says:

          I understand there are specific reasons in this case. Just seemed like a good chance to whip out my old saw. Anytime anyone does DLC, someone is complaining about it. Either it fragments the playerbase, or its secretly the reason the game lacks modding, or its content scooped out of the base game and sold separately. Or its overpriced. Or they should just give us the extra content for free. Or its being used to fight piracy (Heaven Forbid). Or whatever.

      • Andy_Panthro says:

        Dunno if I would count it as “good” or “bad” DLC, but I was playing Civilization V recently, and was thinking about that example. Both with Civ and various Paradox games, lots of extra content gets added after the main release.

        I suppose it makes financial sense, since you can drip-feed new content to get additional funds, which then can go back into new DLC or the next game, rather than releasing a more “complete” version right at the start, which you would need to be much more expensive to get the same return.

        • Ithilanor says:

          I was also thinking of the Paradox games. They seem at first like they would be “bad” DLC, especially because the vanilla games often feel incomplete, but there are a few reasons I don’t mind:
          1. Complexity. They’re complex games that’re tough to get right immediately, and Paradox doesn’t have a AAA budget for testing/QA.
          2. Continuing to produce content. The DLCs tend to add quite a lot, and Paradox maintains its modern games (CK2, EU4, and presumably HoI4 when it comes out) for a long time; CK2 and EU4 now are much different from when they were first released.
          3. Avoiding pay-to-win. There’s not really any competitive multiplayer, the DLC doesn’t generally increase power level all that much, and a lot of the content comes from free patches rather than paid DLC.

          • Entropy says:

            Also if you host a multiplayer game and you have DLC: Everyone else can play with your DLC. It’s pretty cool. Means if you have a friend who bought it, they can show you how cool playing as a Republic is or whatever.

        • Daemian Lucifer says:

          But compare earlier civilizations,where you would receive an expansion after a year or so,that included tons of new stuff,and the dlc of the newer ones that include a single playable faction.

      • Nick Pitino says:

        You know what we use to call that back in the day?

        Expansion packs.

        Man, I miss those.

        • Karthik says:

          You miss expansion packs, or the name “expansion pack”?

          Because we still get expansion packs, either as DLC or lower priced follow-up standalones. We got the Knife of Dunwall (and the other one) for Dishonored, a full length campaign that was better than the original in every way. Mark of the Ninja got an expansion, and XCOM: Enemy Within was a full fledged add-on.

      • Sleeping Dragon says:

        Go to Bioware forums and start a discussion on whether Awakening is canon, though that particular case is, in my opinion, largely a matter of Bioware/EA promising too much in the “choices are carried on” department than they could reasonably do. It is a big annoyance to some of us, and I actually liked Awakening. Right now almost every discussion of a storyline problem in DA:I reaches a point of “maybe they’ll cover it in the DLC”.

        That said… I probably would play the heck out of a DLC dealing with pre-inquisiton Chargers. And I absolutely agree on the Shadowrun front, pen and paper RPGs have a long history of releasing separate storylines/campaigns as modules and after Dragonfall I’m getting Hong Kong asap.

    • Ysen says:

      Does anyone else wonder if they’re trying to front-load all the DLC in Evolve because they expect it to die after a month like Titanfall? I keep hearing people say “This game has so much day-one DLC” and “This game seems like it will lack longevity”, and I’m starting to feel like the two are connected.

  7. Retsam says:

    Based on the name, I was assuming “Grow Home” was a Gone Home spin-off, except maybe the main character is a potted plant or something this time. (So they’d have about the same amount of characterization then. *shots fired, except not really, since we’re talking about Gone Home*)

  8. Ranneko says:

    I think YouTube is profitable now, it was estimated to be bringing in $5.6 billion dollars in 2013. http://www.forbes.com/sites/timworstall/2013/12/12/googles-youtube-ad-revenues-may-hit-5-6-billion-in-2013/

    It will be interesting to see how they handle large ad free videos, but I don’t think it is significant enough yet to be a problem. Much like the users with Adblock problem.

    • Wide And Nerdy says:

      I don’t think Patreon will scale in a way that makes ad revenue redundant in enough cases.

      Look at Red Letter Media. 10.5k a month on Patreon (before various transaction fees). They shoot a professional production with sets and editing and at least three actors. Even assuming that the actors did all the behind the scenes work (which, I’m sure they do a lot but I doubt its all), that’s only barely enough to support three people and their various production costs (assuming they’re really careful and frugal). And they’re very popular.

      • Ranneko says:

        Yeah, I do think there is an effective cap on the amount people are likely to get via Patreon. Just something less motivating about adding another $5 to a group already getting over 10k.

        You might be able to sidestep this to an extent by having individual patreons rather than kickstarters. Though seems tricky because that would also split it between multiple purposes rather than a unified one through an org.

        • Wide And Nerdy says:

          Thats kind of already what our favorite pundits here are doing. Spoiler Warning, Shamus, Rutskarn, and Campster at least all have their own Patreons.

          I expect that model is going to emerge more and more over time. Creators will have a patreon for group efforts and then separate patreons for their individual work. That should actually work out pretty well. As long as its not several patreons for the same thing (which would be hard to pull off anyway. Your fans know what you’re doing.)

      • Trix2000 says:

        Still better than monetizing solely through Youtube in most cases.

  9. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Life is strange is set in a strange kind of school.Its probably a translation problem,because this is supposed to be a specialized private school which is on the rank of college,yet its interior is reminiscent of high schools you see in teen shows set in the usa.

    And yes,the main character is definitely an emo.And the school is full of hipsters.Strange thing is that neither of the two bothered me.

    Also,you can skip what the prof is saying in the tutorial,but why would you want to?He is so dreamy….

    • guy says:

      Glancing at the intro video, it looks like how expensive private middle/highschools appear in manga. I have literally no idea if Japanese colleges look like that too.

      • Tizzy says:

        Given that it was developed by a French studio, who knows where they got their ideas from? And who knows? There is a lot of variability in high schools, there might be one that looks like that in Oregon.

    • ET says:

      The prof is sooo not dreamy! I hate his voice; In fact, all of the characters’ voices and dialog sound awful and grating. Had to shut the game off after the early scene in the bathroom with the butterfly. Might not come back to play it. :S

  10. FryGuy says:

    As awkward as this is to admit: Hella is still legitimately a thing in the Pacific NW.

  11. Paul Spooner says:

    The thing is, YouTube doesn’t need to be directly monetarily profitable, because they fold their information aggregation into their advert targeting system. The information about who watches what is more valuable than direct advertisements anyway, as Google can then sell that information (rolled together with the other aggregation they do with gmail, etc) to their clients on other platforms. The direct advertisements are just the cherry on top. Google still gets their cake from Spoiler Warning et all.

  12. Sunf1re96 says:

    About your Life is Strange comments…I grew up in Oregon, and went to high school there. I know people from the town that the fictional Arcadia is based off of (Seaside, OR.) Everyone in my high school said “hella”. Everyone there STILL says hella. And it’s entirely possible to have schools (especially private ones) with advanced art programs. My own school had 3 levels of photo classes, ceramics, graphic design, and painting. The school and the students in Life is Strange seemed pretty normal and realistic to me while I played.

    Here’s a review I wrote that talks more about my experience with the game.

  13. James says:

    So i did some perusing, Maker Studios, the people that run the Youtube MCN Polaris, own Blip, which means Disney, the biggest entertainment company on earth own Blip, to quote wikipedia.

    On August 21, 2013, Blip.tv was acquired by Maker Studios. The executive team of Blip.tv was included in the acquisition

    After the acquisition, some user agreement terms were changed, including new requirements that content must be demonstrated to be part of a series and of high quality. Facebook commenting was added around the same time.

    Maby over time Blip, with help from Maker and Disney can become the place we want it to, and a competitor to Google, after all it does now have the muscle.

    • guy says:

      I feel like Disney’s lawyers would wind up sabotaging that.

    • MichaelGC says:

      There was a bit of a kerfuffle about the user terms earlier in that year – they talked about it during Diecast 4:


      Not entirely sure what the upshot of it all was! I see Errant Signal is still going strong there, though, so that’s presumably/hopefully a good sign.

      • Chris says:

        “Strong” might be an overstatement.

        Views on my latest video on YouTube: ~38,000
        Views on my latest video on Blip: 234

        Don’t get me wrong; Blip.tv is still the best YouTube alternative to a show like mine that I’ve seen. And in some ways (like their treatment of fair use) they’re miles and miles ahead of YouTube.

        But they really are in a sort of different market in a lot of ways – the want to be a grassroots web-based TV channel of sorts, but are buoyed by a lot of Chez Apocalypse/Channel Awesome stuff. And I love the CA content to death (they are in a non-trivial way the reason Errant Signal exists), but it does result in this really dissonant message from Blip: “We want to be the future of high quality internet television and also our number one shows are all 20-somethings being angry at things in their basement/living rooms.” The result makes me uncomfortable – I’m neither a TV-style series nor a successful enough critic to justify my presence on the site. I hope no one catches wise to that, though. I like having a fallback place to post videos if and when YouTube shits the bed.

        Also a lot of people seem to hate their player. I don’t know what’s up with that (it’s never bugged me) but they do.

        • Bloodsquirrel says:

          I’ve had a lot of problems with the Blip.tv player before. Sometimes it just doesn’t want to play a video. Sometimes it’s being useless at letting me pause and then resume a video, or to try to move backward or forward without just dumping the buffered data and starting the video over.

          Actually, is your Blip.tv Bioshock Infinite video still some stupidly large size that takes forever to play? I remember that being a problem. Lemme check.

          Yeah, the video still takes forever to play.

          • Seconding Blip being a pain. Rewinding, pausing, fast-forwarding, etc. are a crap shoot. Trying to do so usually results in a long, if not infinite, buffering session or yet another ad being served up before the video will resume.

            • Felblood says:

              True this.

              It’s particularly bad if you try to pause/skip/rewind, but sometimes blip just decides to stall all buffering and force you to reload the entire page.

              I watch a few shows on blip… er actually it’s been a few months since I caught up on any of those…. *(digression moved to spoiler footnote )

              Anyway, I generally use youtube for shows that are available there, and blip or twithc for shows that are only available via that specific venue.

              *Rambling footnote- not actual spoiler

              Thinking on it, there are basically 3 reasons that I’ve stopped watching blip shows, which basically means CA and Spoony Experiment shows to me.

              1. Profanity as Comedy- I don’t mind swearing, but I don’t find it funny in it’s own right. I was more forgiving of this in the past, but I have small children in the house now, and they are better off if they don’t learn any words that don’t slot cleanly into any social situation.

              2. Bland Formulas – If you have seen more than a few episodes of a long running CA show, you generally know exactly what you’re in for. OMG! I sure hope he doesn’t pretend to be shocked that this beloved property from his childhood doesn’t hold up to the scrutiny of an adult audience, and then recycle an already overused cutaway gag. I never see that coming.

              3. Incessant Celebrity Branding – CA hosts who know that their opinions aren’t particularly insightful, their editing isn’t particularly dynamic and their writing isn’t particularly funny will often try to sell themselves (or their overblown TV personas) as celebrities. The result is often a badly produced radio talkshow, with video of a talking head. If you want to be my imaginary internet friend you need something more than clawing desperation for fame/ad-revenue to hold my attention. This makes channel surfing blip for new content nigh-painful.

              So basically I SW/Diecast because because you guys are the opposite of what CA has metastasized into.

              EDIT: It looks like spoilering large blocks of text is currently broken.

              • Daemian Lucifer says:

                It looks like spoilering large blocks of text is currently broken.

                Still?I thought that was fixed.Its not large blocks of text,its paragraphs.You have to mark each one separately in order for them all to be orange barred.

                It's particularly bad if you try to pause/skip/rewind, but sometimes blip just decides to stall all buffering and force you to reload the entire page.

                Not for me.Left and right arrows work like a charm.Heck,they work on blip better than on youtube,because youtube has this tendency to remove already watched parts from the buffer.Though I do have 40 mb/s internet.

                and they are better off if they don't learn any words that don't slot cleanly into any social situation.

                Ehh,Ive had my fill of swear words when I was a small child,so I didnt really find that much use for them once I started going to school.Except for extreme emphasis.But I do live in a country where profanity is not seen as something shocking.

              • Chris says:

                This is why I’ve moved away from “angry people” reviews and settled on a smaller stable of writers who do more analytic essays – pretty much all from Chez Apocalypse. I’ve adored most of Kyle Kallgren’s recent stuff. Lindsay Ellis’ videos have always been a favorite of mine, though she’s slowly migrating out of the web video scene and towards being an actual author/video editor. Todd in the Shadows’ stuff is less analytical, but since I know nothing about music I find it enjoyable just to know what the kids are listening to. Rantasmo’s stuff is good but it’s always disappointingly short; I’d love to see him tackle something in a bit longer format. And Dan Olson’s got some really great pieces on semiotics and the meaning of things that I like.

              • Bloodsquirrel says:

                Doug is pretty good- he can give some pretty insightful criticism between massively-overacting-for-the-sake-of-comedy shtick that he has. His show was definitely stronger before the mandatory skits. It was nice when he had an actual bit that he wanted to do, but having to make work for Malcome and Tamora every week is just resulting in filler.

                Most of CA is… eh. I like Linkara, but a lot of he subject matter he covers just isn’t worth it. Who cares if a cheap advertisement comic from the 70s is bad? I kind of expect that. Most of the others are just too one-note for me and their shticks are too similar. The Nostalgia Chick is a stand out in the area of lacking the charisma to support a show like she’s trying to do.

                Too many of them can only do the obvious and point out that something is bad. Far too few of them can really get into the nuts and bolts of a movie/show/whatever. And apparently there’s a lot of ego and bad behavior behind the scenes (And by “behind the scenes” I mean “all over social media”).

        • MichaelGC says:

          “Might be an overstatement” is world-class understatement! (You’re not secretly British, are you? It’d help explain the drunken lout-ery, if not the vampirism.)

          Anyway, thank you for the update, and I hope it continues to work out well (or, well-enough…).

  14. I may be more cynical about capital investment firms, but I wouldn’t put it past one like Columbus-Nova to see the potential for a pump-n-dump in a video game company. There’s a vulture-like tradition of buying iffy businesses, making those businesses take out HUGE loans, giving the loan money to the investment firm’s shareholders, and letting the iffy business take the hit for defaulting on the loans. All of this is done without any attempt to repair or reform said business, since that’s not the intent in this case.

    What I’m saying is that in the current state of the video game industry, a company borrowing a huge amount of money and then imploding wouldn’t seem at all suspicious, so it wouldn’t surprise me if the climate was taken advantage of.

  15. I think MMOs suffer from many, many hindrances to making a profit, many of which have been discussed here (same old content, no real player effect on the world, etc.).

    But what I really think hurts this and other games is greed. They obviously want your money, and they want a steady stream of it. Therefore, they hide costs under microtransactions, put a “pay to win” gate somewhere after the opening content, or pull any number of shenanigans players are familiar with nowadays to try to get as much dosh out of the users as they can. The trouble is, enough people are wise to this kind of scamming that no game seems able to reach critical mass for a profitable user base, yet they won’t give up on the hope that somehow everyone will not notice their digital game of 3-Card Monty.

  16. Evolve: Like the Ogre board game from SJ Games, but without the board and fleshy bits instead of tanks.

  17. hemebond says:

    Has no one on the podcast played Giants: Citizen Kabuto?

    Also, gamers will buy anything. Evolve is safe.

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      Also, gamers will buy anything. Evolve is safe.

      Indeed.I mean,almost all of them are playing destiny,and destiny doesnt even have the gimmick of a giant monster wrecking stuff.Im quite sure Josh and Chris will be the first to buy evolve,then bitch about it,but continue playing it.

    • Phantos says:

      Gamers will only buy something if it’s the same thing they bought last year. Then we’ll whine about a lack of “innovation”.

    • Galad says:

      Why yes we have played Kabuto. To me, it’s not Wizardry 8 level of fond memories and daydreaming, but it was still pretty damn good, with Actually Fun cutscenes, something that’s not too common these days. I don’t think its mulitplayer worked the way Evolve would though (if that’s what you were going for)

  18. I guess it was bad luck that the cast recorded this show before the huge Besiege (available on Steam, 7 bucks) tidal wave hit Imgur over the weekend.

    Seriously, I bet Shamus will adore this game, even on Early Access.

  19. Jeff R. says:

    Final Fantasy XIV, after a rough start, has gotten itself into a good place making money for SQEnix, so there’s one success in the last decade at least.

    • Kylroy says:

      Agreed, but the unique situation that FF14 is in (huge deep-pocket studio with prior MMO experience, beloved franchise, disastrous first attempt and concerted long-term effort to repair it) shows just how bad the odds are of anyone else making it work.

  20. Daemian Lucifer says:

    What Im surprised about the whole nintendo thing is that youtube is letting them do that.I mean youtube is getting the biggest cut of all the profits people make there,so having all these giant companies run them away is impacting youtube the most.Lets players will turn to twitch,or to patreon,so theyll be ok after some hassle,but youtube will get nothing.Which is why it baffles me that they still allow this shit to happen.

    As for the whole legality of it,the problem is that no laws exist to govern this.There are some laws that you can use to defend either side,and in the end it just ends up being the case of “who has a better lawyer”.But there is no law about lets plays anywhere in the world.

    • Chris says:

      What Im surprised about the whole nintendo thing is that youtube is letting them do that.I mean youtube is getting the biggest cut of all the profits people make there,so having all these giant companies run them away is impacting youtube the most.Lets players will turn to twitch,or to patreon,so theyll be ok after some hassle,but youtube will get nothing.Which is why it baffles me that they still allow this shit to happen.

      As someone who has worked with YouTube for years, trust me: Google cares less than nothing for content creators. It cares a great deal for its ad clients, and even more about not being sued. If it runs off a few potential Let’s Players running Smash Brothers competitive match videos but keeps Nintendo happy/ad revenue coming in/no lawyers at their door then Google will bend over backwards to allow it.

      Nintendo’s policy has been to throw ads in front of any video that contains content that manages to match what they own. In that case YouTube *and* Nintendo split a cut and (if you’re not part of this bullshit program) you get nothing. So even if I’m running Campster’s Awesome Nintendo Let’s Play Patreon and am doing okay with it, nothing’s stopping Nintendo from matching content and running their ads over my videos. Youtube doesn’t care because A) Hey, free money, and B) The last thing Google wants is a war over whether they’re responsible for infringement on their site. Their entire MO is to give corporations way more power than they probably need or deserve (again, well beyond what the DMCA necessitates) in order to cover their butts. Not only is YouTube okay with this, I’m pretty sure they’re watching intently to see if they can spread this sort of policy to other content holders. Imagine a world where you can talk about movies and TV on YouTube without fear of a takedown notice! …You just have to file to become an official Disney/Universal/NBC/CBS/HBO/Whoever Partner first.

      As for the whole legality of it,the problem is that no laws exist to govern this.There are some laws that you can use to defend either side,and in the end it just ends up being the case of “who has a better lawyer”.But there is no law about lets plays anywhere in the world.

      That’s not really where the question of legality stems from. Like, no one’s pushing for “PewDiePie’s Law” or some such that officially codifies Let’s Plays as legal. Copyright law as it exists definitely covers Let’s Plays, it’s just a matter of how and whether it applies.

      The legal ambiguity stems from the fact that (at least here in the US) fair use is an affirmative defense. Which basically means admitting that you broke the law but extenuating circumstances made it okay. It’s in the same category as the insanity or self-defense plea – “Yeah, I shot the guy, but let me explain why the law should make an exemption for why shooting this guy was not a criminal offense in this instance.”

      Generally speaking when talking about fair use the courts tend to look at previous rulings in an attempt to decide future rulings. So, for example, Grand Upright Music vs. Warner Bros. Records helped establish that as a general rule sampling in a song is considered an infringement of copyright in this country.

      But no such ruling exists for Let’s Plays because no one’s really gone to court over them. There are about as many arguments against Let’s Plays as in favor of them, and generally the companies involved have stayed mostly mum about the topic (aside from Nintendo). And there’s a lot to consider – the amount of the game footage taken/covered, how much of the gameplay constitutes “the work”, whether a specific performance of “the work” can itself be a copyrighted act (the way playing a cover of a copyrighted song itself produces a copyrighted work in the recording), whether the work was released for profit, whether the work was critical or parodic speech, etc. But no one wants to go to court against a multibillion dollar juggernaut like Nintendo because they ran ads in front of a 10 part Let’s Play series of Excite Bike. So the videos get taken down by some companies and not by others and the whole thing continues to exist in this “Maybe it’s fair use, maybe it isn’t?” limbo until someone tests the waters in court.

      • Ranneko says:

        I think a large part of YouTube’s policies were set to simply stop having all of the media companies repeatedly suing them and appealing decisions if they lost.

        It is definitely a loss for the general content creator but something that let them put more energy into actually improving the site and growing.

        But it is definitely set up to be as unfriendly to the little guy as possible. They could easily to something like put the ad revenue on a disputed video into escrow until the situation is resolved, which would reduce the incentive to have algorithms naively claim content.

    • Bloodsquirrel says:

      As I’ve gone over before when this has come up:

      You can very, very decisively place the blame on the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. It heavily favors big copyright holders and gives them more power than they should have with DMCA takedown notices.

      The law is basically set up so that sites like Google or Youtube have protection from being sued for users putting copyrighted material on their sites, but only if they comply aggressively with DMCA takedown notices. Technically, Google isn’t required by law to take down a review video of a Nintendo game, but if some judge somewhere decides that they were a little to permissive they could suddenly be open to dozens of billion-dollar lawsuits because of users putting full songs/movies on Youtube.

      And since the system is so abusively powerful, Google gets tons and tons of notices, most of which are from companies trying to get their competitor’s webpages pulled down and over a third of which aren’t even kind of a valid copyright claim. They can’t go through them all with a fine-tooth comb.

      From a business standpoint, it’s a no-brainier. Whatever revenue they’re losing by not hosting some LPs is less than chump change compared to the legal cost of defending themselves in court, let alone the damages they might have to pay if they lose. They’d be criminally (literally, since they are legally obligated to look after their shareholder’s interests) insane to be more lax on copyright claims.

      • guy says:

        Actually, I think they would be legally obligated to take it down if Nintendo asks. I’m almost sure they wouldn’t be legally obligated to take down a video on the request of someone who doesn’t have copyright for anything in the video and claims obviously made without a good-faith belief the content isn’t fair use, but the DMCA doesn’t include anything about ignoring incorrect claims. The hosting service takes stuff down when it gets notices, and if it gets a counter-notice it tells the copyright holder, and if not informed that the copyright holder is taking it to court puts it back up ten days later.

        • Bloodsquirrel says:

          If they didn’t take down something that Nintendo asked them to, then Nintendo would have to take them to court and demonstrate copyright infringement. If Google can demonstrate fair use, they should win the lawsuit. In a strict sense, they’re not legally obligated to obey a taken down notice.

          But they lose their safe harbor protections if they don’t. Even if they’re legally in the right, it’s still very expensive to defend themselves in court and since it’s not a criminal trial they don’t have the “certain beyond reasonable doubt” standard for being found liable.

          Meanwhile, the DMCA takedown process puts the onus on the person whose content was taken down to demonstrate that it isn’t copyright infringement. There’s no legal consequences for filing frivolous takendown notices either, and Google has no obligation to host whatever it is anyway. The incentives are very clearly lined up: take things down first and, eh, asking questions is just expensive. And it’s not like they have to worry about competition, because any other site is going to be in the exact same position, and can at best hope to fly under the radar by being small enough.

          The DMCA is just bad law, plain and simple.

          • Daemian Lucifer says:

            It wouldnt be so bad if youtube actually had humans dealing with these instead of their bots,because there are just so many obviously fake ones that a human would spot and deal with in seconds.

            • Supahewok says:

              Youtube must get thousands of new videos AND takedown notices everyday. Employing enough humans to wade through it all (and who would have to have some sort of training to be able to figure out if the company issuing the takedown is, in fact, the legal copyright holder) may cost as much, if not more, than going to court. Unless they open up a sweatshop for it, but I don’t think you could get the people with the legal training necessary to determine what is or isn’t fair use, and who or who isn’t the legal copyright holder, to work for sweatshop labor prices.

              You think that it would only take seconds to see and dismiss frivolous notices, but you can bet your ass that when the first, the VERY first, legitimate notice is accidentally or ignorantly dismissed, there will be hell to pay for Google. Each notice will have to be cross referenced and double or triple checked, and probably confirmed by a lawyer type. It will take time.

              I’ve yet to hear of a viable solution to this entire issue other than A) some sort of idea for vague new legislation which noone can figure out exactly, B) What Nintendo is doing right now, and C) Maintain the status quo of the past 7 years. And let me tell you what, the status quo never lasts. For better or for worse, I think this Nintendo Partner’s program, coupled with Patreon for those who want to turn uploading Youtube vids into a full time job, is the future. I also think Nintendo is coming down too hard and is taking too much, but its also the only compromise that I see in sight that potentially satisfies the corporations, the creators, and the viewers.

              • Daemian Lucifer says:

                Youtube must get thousands of new videos AND takedown notices everyday.

                I didnt mean that humans should wade through all the takedown notices,but through all disputed ones.Those are far far fewer.A mix of their current bot thing and human moderation would be vastly better,and more efficient.

                but its also the only compromise that I see in sight that potentially satisfies the corporations, the creators, and the viewers.

                Except its not,as can be seen by multiple other corporations(including the american branch of nintendo)that dont want to do such a thing,and in fact encourage youtubers to play their stuff.Heck,we practically have a genre emerging now around games that are fun to watch someone else play(goat simulator and such).

                • guy says:

                  There’s no actual need to check disputed notices. DMCA is pretty clear that if a counter-notice is filed, the copyright holder is notified, and if they don’t take it to court in ten days the content goes back up. I’m not sure what YouTube is doing beyond the DMCA requirements, but for the law itself the uploader doesn’t need to prove anything in a counter-notice. Now, the counter-notice is made under penalty of perjury if the uploader doesn’t have a good-faith belief that their content is permissible, but that only covers intentionally lying.

  21. Andy_Panthro says:

    Surprised nobody mentioned EverQuest Next and Landmark, which were the big push for a new EverQuest game, with lots of player-made content. No idea if that’s dead now?

    Also, when mentioning old MMOs that are still going, you forgot to mention Ultima Online! Somehow, it’s still going after all these years and still occasionally gets new content (although I haven’t played it for many years).

  22. Joe says:

    The interesting thing about Evolve is that the DLC thing reminds me a bit of Too Human. The lead developer said that the game was built around DLC. His favourite class wasn’t even in the base game. It got one bugfix patch and then died. So running your mouth off can really come back to hurt you.

  23. Bloodsquirrel says:

    On MMOs:

    I still say that the root problem is that people let one mega-success distort their view on a market that had never actually supported multiple million+ subscriber MMOs before.

    MMOs used to consider a few hundred thousand as a healthy subscriber base. Now that’s simply too low to support the kind of games they’re trying to make. MMOs were, and continue to be, a niche genre that WoW fooled a bunch of companies into thinking was AAA profitable.

    • Is that the whole problem?

      As I understand it, City of Heroes was still profitable, but it was closed down to devote resources to other MMOs. It makes me wonder if MMOs are falling under the (to my mind) idiotic idea that an endeavor must post double-digit profits or it’s not worth doing?

      It’s what kills a lot of creative projects, publications, media, etc. is that it’s not obscenely profitable instead of just profitable.

      • krellen says:

        City of Heroes was a pre-WoW MMO (literally) that was still running on the old 100k model. It being killed to support another MMO only strengthens Squirrel’s theory – it was successful, but it wasn’t WoW-successful.

        • Right, but my question is how profitable does a game have to be to continue? It would seem that the SWTOR hasn’t been the bonanza it was hoped to be, yet CoH (from what I understand) was still making money. I’m a little biased as I liked CoH, but larger MMOs have been allowed to hemorrhage cash for a year or more before shutting down.

          So how much money over “we aren’t losing money” has to be made, especially if an MMO isn’t a company’s only revenue stream? I know everyone wants to be WoW, but even WoW isn’t raking in the dough like the good ol’ days, so the question stands as to what size a profit needs to be to continue, especially for an established game.

          • Joe Informatico says:

            WoW’s still operating several orders of magnitude above its closest competitors. Blizzard can afford to sink years of development into new projects and then decide to throw all that work away. Valve is maybe the only other dev studio that can get away with that, because Valve also has a machine printing money in their basement (Steam). Unlike Valve, Blizzard has a corporate parent with shareholders, but those shareholders don’t seem that concerned when Blizzard throws away years of development and starts over. WoW must be doing good enough to make any other wastage from Blizzard water under the bridge.

            There must be some level of profitability between “sustainable” and “burn piles of thousand-dollar bills without blinking” achievable for MMOs. It just seems like most publishers who aren’t CCP would prefer to gamble for WoW money instead of aiming for something small but reliable.

            • Galad says:

              If anyone’s interested, to give you an idea of Blizzard’s likely profits:

              A long time ago, around a year ago, rather, I Used to buy arena passes for Hearthstone. I wasn’t very good and bought a total of 10, maybe 15, before starting to suck less and get enough gold to at least fuel my arena addiction at the time. Now, when you buy this pass – which is, for those who aren’t familiar with HS, a pass to play a game of arena, whose rules are that you play games of HS until you get to 12 wins – unlikely – or 3 losses, and at 7 wins you get the in-game gold for entering the arena back, and each game lasts ~6-7 minutes on the average.

              But I digress. I bought a few of these in short succession, and when you buy a pass, you get an email that tells you your order number. From these numbers I inferred that Blizz gets around 200k orders a day. A day. Each of these orders could be anything Blizzard sells, and even if cheap arena passes at <2 euros each are half of them, that's still a LOT of money a month.

              Maybe there's more precise statistics somewhere out there, but that was a curious little tidbit to me.

              PS. Shamus, if you read this, editing shows wacky characters in place of < or ' or other non-letter characters..Still looks fine when you save the edited text. Feel free to let me know if you’d like a screenshot

          • krellen says:

            I suppose the profit has to be enough to mollify investors. I’m relatively certain that amount of profit is not a number.

      • Phill says:

        I wonder if part of the problem is that the cost of making an MMO to the standards expected these days pushes it out of the realm of most companies, and limits finance options to the kinds of people who expect a significant return on investment because that is what they’d get investing their money elsewhere.

        Small indies obviously don’t have access to the kinds of infrastructure that running an MMO entails, or any hope of coming up to the production values that seem to be standard (namely a very large peristent world, high graphical quality, voice acted cutscenes (why, for the love of God? lose those already) etc.)

        But as SWTOR so eloquently showed, those kinds of production values don’t translate into financial or popular success.

        The only real future for MMOs I think lies in the mid-range developers that seem to be a dying breed, producing stuff like Eve Online – large enough to be able to produce enough content to support a game, and the expertise and ability to actually run the considerable infrastructure needed, but for a fraction of the budget of the SWTORs of the world. And who will be happy with a relatively lower return because they are actual games companies that enjoy making good games, and will be happy to carve out a secure, moderately profitable niche.

        • Bloodsquirrel says:

          Part of the issue that the market has been flooded with so many big-budget MMOs that it’s hard for any MMO that didn’t cost $100 million to make to get any attention.

          That money might not have been wisely spent by so many other companies, but it’s a sunk cost now, and they’re going to keep running them as long as revenue exceeds operating costs.

          Unless someone designs a game that’s amazing enough that it can get 100-200k subscribers while competing with games that cost ten times as much to make it doesn’t matter if it would be, in a vacuum, a better business model. The market has been spoiled, and the wisest thing to do is to stay out until conditions change.

          I also wonder how the increasingly social aspect of other AAA games is affecting the market. Back when WoW was released Xbox live and Steam were in their infancies. Now it’s much easier to play games with your friends online- you can even voice chat with someone while you play a single player game.

          • The MMO genre is a cash-pit that kind of shows off the problem with most AAA games: The emphasis is on visual polish, setpieces, and eye candy. They give out particle effects, awesome visuals, and maybe a decent way to clothe your avatar.

            They don’t seem to concentrate at all on gameplay. Good writing can help, but it’s all “find the marker, kill/take whatever is there, level up.” Don’t get me wrong, I loves me an RPG, and that’s pretty much the nuts and bolts of a computer RPG right there (since they haven’t yet figured out how to reward a WHOLE lot of role-playing yet beyond “you picked good, get this item, you picked evil, get this item”).

            Add to this the fact that your actions are impermanent to the game world, the game world could (and probably will) vanish in a few years, and you’re paying a fee for the privilege, and the current state of MMOs looks like something to avoid like the plague.

  24. CrazyYarick says:

    Nintendo is a bizarre company. Their products are generally pretty good. Their systems are typically pretty solid(even if the last two were a bit behind the tech curve) and seem to last well past the warranty date(cough… MS… cough). Because of their lagging tech they seem to make games on not so outrageous budgets, which is something that even Shamus laments AAA devs for not doing. Games are typically either bug free or at worst REALLY stable. Even their first foray into the DLC space seems pretty good…….. Then their marketing and legal department hit and any good faith that they build up is lost. What the hell?!

    On a couple of side notes I do have a WiiU. When I bought Guacamelee I remember it being linked to my Nintendo account and not to the WiiU. Don’t know if that means that I can DL it whenever( since I don’t have another WiiU to test), but at least there is a paper trail in case it gets stolen or burns in a fire. For the second note, my daughter bought Captain Toads Treasure Tracker for herself. Most amazing start to a game I have seen in a while. You click the icon to play the game in the WiiU menu….. and you are just started on level 00. No main menu. No intro. No cinematic. Nothing. You just play the game from the word go.

    • Deadpool says:

      Nintendo has pretty much always been behind the tech curve. That was their philosophy for YEARS: It is better to do something well with technology you know than use new technology poorly.

      And it worked really well for them for years. See the Gameboy and its black and white screen for YEARS after the tech for color existed…

  25. Yeah, Patreon sure is cool. I don’t have an opinion to share other than that Patreon is a good thing.

  26. Dragomok says:

    ~imagine if EA did this instead of Nintendo

    Coincidentally, Jim Sterling based the beginning of his video on the subject on that idea.

  27. Dragomok says:

    Which of Shamus’ tunes is the outro music? I can’t recognize it.

    Shamus, maybe you could link/namedrop the outro music you use in each Diecast?

  28. Phantos says:

    Nintendo, I love you like a relative who means well, but only shows up every couple of years to “borrow” money.

  29. Spammy says:

    Between Youtube policies, Twitch policies, Viddler shooting itself in the foot, Blip shooting itself in the foot, and Nintendo starting this up, welcome to being a content producer on the Internet. No one cares about you except for if they want to take down your videos or if they think they can make money off of you.

  30. Kdansky says:

    Evolve will crash hard because it’s a $100 game that’s sold in the most complicated manner possible, and since it’s online PVP only, it will be dead a month after release. It’s sad, because I really liked the game during the “beta” (aka time-limited demo).

  31. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Gaaaah!The puke green color!Its so pukey!!Please,no more,I beg of you,no more puke green!Leave the rest of the pastels,just for the love of god remove the puke green.

  32. Timelady says:

    Speaking of MMOs in development…

    Yeah, I had to look twice to make sure I hadn’t clicked on an old April Fool’s article by mistake or something. Really? I mean…really?

  33. RCN says:

    There’s a name to Ubisoft’s mid-range budget titles: The Might & Magic franchise they bought from 3DO about 10 years ago.

    Though they are closer to an indie budget than I’d like, indies are often 3-15 people working on them. From what I heard, Heroes of Might & Magic VII is a team of 40-45 people, so I believe it does classify as a mid-range title.

    And this franchise includes, in the hands of Ubi, the Dark Messiah of Might & Magic (which Rutskarn even did a Let’s Play, if I’m not mistaken), Might & Magic: Clash of Heroes, Heroes of Might & Magic Online, Might & Magic: Duel of Champions, Might & Magic X and Heroes of Might & Magic V-VII, so I’d say it is a full-fledged franchise under Ubi.

  34. Alex says:

    Three days later, and the investment firm has already started dismembering SOE.

    There’s even more Corporatese in there – “alignment of resources” for firing people, for example.

  35. Mukora says:

    The school in Life is Strange is meant to be like this really expensive and special prep school for super smart and rich kids. You can go backwards through Max’s journal to get a sort of summary of how she got in.

    It’s not something I’m entirely sure exists in America, but that’s the conceit.

  36. WWWebb says:

    I’m a bit confused about the Life is Strange praise (likely because I haven’t played it). The Diecasters have railed in the past against DIAS (do-it-again-stupid) gameplay, but now you’re praising a game where DIAS is the central mechanic? Groundhog Day was a good movie and all, but only because the editors didn’t make you watch the entire scenes over and over again.

    Are the time travel mechanics going to get more complex (a la Braid) or are the developers just betting that people are willing to spend 20 hours on a 5 hour game if you make “re-playability” a mechanic?

    • Shamus says:

      For me this is the antithesis of DIAS. There’s a huge difference between:

      1) Ha ha. You failed because of circumstances you couldn’t know about. Go back five minutes and do it all again.
      2) Jump back to precisely the moment where you got a result you didn’t like and try other actions.

      It doesn’t break your flow. It doesn’t make you waste time on other tasks before returning to the one you failed. Rewinding time isn’t a punishment, it’s a way of exploring the game and the characters. Finding out that the teacher will respond to a random Beatles quote is interesting. Finding out a car is going to jump out at me at random intersection #538 is not. Even though time goes backwards, you’re still moving forward, game-wise. You’re learning about the world.

      If I could rewind time 15 seconds in Grand Theft Auto, I’d be a lot more tolerant of its gotcha mechanics. (Although they would still be dumb for other reasons.)

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