Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Some Epic Recent Gaming News Stories

There's a bunch of gaming news stories that have made the rounds on Reddit and Twitter. Let me opine on a few of them.

Humble Bundle For Android #2

The new Humble Bundle for Android is out. I think they'd sell more bundles if they just spaced the releases farther apart. Bundle fatigue is a real thing, at least in the crowds I hang out in. For the Android bundles specifically they should stress that they are bundles for Windows/Mac/Linux with Android versions of the games as a bonus. That way they'd get more attention from Apple people than they do currently, I think.

As it is, stressing the fact that it's a bundle for Android that happens to give you Mac/Win/Lin versions of the games too doesn't seem to get as much attention on news sites as the regular bundles. There's some interesting psychology going on there, I'd love to read a marketer's take on how to better promote the Humble Bundles.

It's interesting to see Avadon in the bundle, so soon after Gratuitous Space Battles was in one. I suppose even the more established institutions of indie gaming like Vogel and Cliffski can see some value and exposure from these bundles.

Wasteland 2

Looks like Brian Fargo of Interplay fame turned to Kickstarter to fund a sequel to the original Wasteland after seeing Double Fine's success with it. If they reach 1.5 million in funding, and it looks like they will, they'll port the game to Mac OS X and Linux in addition to the base Windows version. It'll be fun to have a top-down turn based, party based post-apocalyptic game like the original Fallout again. Wasteland was the inspiration for the Fallout games, and Wasteland 2 will be a better heir to that legacy than the open world FPS Fallout 3 and New Vegas were. I like Fallout 3, don't misunderstand me, and I have New Vegas in my wishlist, it's just that it would be nice to have something a bit more old school again. 15 measly bucks to help fund the development and get a copy of the game once it's done seems fair to me. I never played the original Wasteland, but I will get this.

Baldur's Gate Enhanced Edition

Speaking of old school, the resurrected Baldur's Gate games will hopefully be very well done. The various mods already available expand and improve the classic Baldur's Gate games in many ways, but I suppose there are some improvements that can only be made by professionals who have access to the source code. It'll be interesting to see how the Enhanced Editions of Baldur's Gate and Baldur's Gate 2 compare to the heavily modded installs that people play currently. Vanilla Baldur's Gate doesn't hold up well on modern displays, but mods solve that problem for free.

This Enhanced Edition will need more than just widescreen support and some better visuals to be worth the effort. I'm excited for it, all the same. It's just the idea of a Kickstarter-funded Baldur's Gate 3 that bothers me. Throne of Bhaal concluded the Bhaalspawn story, Baldur's Gate does not need a direct sequel. I'd love more games like Baldur's Gate, and I hope that Bioware takes more inspiration from Baldur's Gate for Dragon Age 3, but I'm not convinced I need a direct sequel to a game that had such a good ending ages ago.

Dragon Age 3

And speaking of Dragon Age, Bioware is officially moving on from Dragon Age 2 to work on the third installment of that series. Hopefully they'll make good on the promise to seek fan feedback on their new ideas sooner, and really listen to that feedback. Obviously a developer can't crowdsource all their ideas out to forum dwellers and only move forward with them if the rabid fans like those ideas, no developer should do that. It's just that with Dragon Age 2, when they first announced the various changes they were making compared to Origins the reaction among fans of the first game seemed almost universally negative, and the critical reception and sales seemed to reflect that.

It's great that they're willing to try new things with their games on occasion and not tread the same ground too much, I just wish they'd done some things differently on that game. I hope Dragon Age 3 lives up to the potential of the setting and the legacy of Baldur's Gate. I'd spend all my money on a Dragon Age game that was as epic and tactical and punishing and fun as Baldur's Gate 2. I spent a ton on Origins, if you count the new video card I bought specifically so I could max out that game, as well as buying all the DLC and the expansion. I was happy to do so, because I freaking loved that game. I want to feel that way about Dragon Age again, and I hope Darrah/Laidlaw/Gaider and Co. can make it happen.

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