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BVG And Monolith Future Game Titles

By TronFAQ on Saturday, May 13, 2006 at 8:20 PM
If you want to find out more about Buena Vista Games' upcoming gaming crap "goodness": check out this press release of their E3 2006 lineup; and the E3 BVG Booth video below, from GameTrailers.com (needs QuickTime).

Link to video in case it doesn't appear in your browser

I won't comment on the children's titles. They could be good, or they could be bad.

But, for the titles meant for teens and up: you'll pardon me if I stifle a yawn. Turok sounds like crap. And Desperate Housewives, their attempt at a The Sims rip-off? Let's not even go there. The only games that sound decent, are the Pirates of the Caribbean titles. One of which is coming to the PC this summer. (Shock. BVG still publishes PC titles? So will their support be any better, this time around?)

Meanwhile, Monolith is teaming up with TimeGate Studios to produce an expansion for F.E.A.R. entitled Extraction Point that's set for a fall release, this year. Generally, whenever another studio is called in to do the work on an expansion: the results are usually less-than-stellar. We'll see, I guess.

Sample screenshot of F.E.A.R. Extraction Point expansion

I'm afraid that in order to survive today's market: with many players who settle for the same retread shooter-fests -- merely candy-coated with the newest graphics and physics bells-and-whistles -- Monolith have reduced themselves to a mainstream developer. What set them apart in the past, charming and unique titles like NOLF 1, NOLF 2, and TRON 2.0: will probably never return. The spark at Monolith seems to be gone.

I've played F.E.A.R., and thought it was decent. I'm also glad Monolith is getting some much-belated recognition. They have created some really exceptional games. But I feel F.E.A.R. wasn't one of them. Good, but not great. I haven't tried Condemned: Criminal Origins yet, but I hear it's just more of the same.

Frankly, the only titles I'm looking forward to any time soon, are: Bioshock, Half-Life 2: Episode One, the resurrected vaporware game Prey, and the much-delayed S.T.A.L.K.E.R. (provided it lives up to the original hype).

Stay tuned for a future article, which will touch upon this topic again from a different perspective.
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7 comments so far.

  1. FedayKinn May 14, 2006 2:36 PM
    Agreed with you about Monolith's new way of doing things: what a shame...
    Yet I don't think a good game design is incompatible with "next-gen" features: NOLF 3 with the newest graphics and physics would have been nice...

    I'm also looking forward Bioshock & S.T.A.L.K.E.R. - Dark Messiah M&M looks rather interesting too!

    Condemned: Criminal Origins is focused on a melee gameplay involving a tormented hero on the trail of a mysterious serial killer.
    I found it way much fun to play than F.E.A.R. & the graphic design is better (especially settings).
    Check this out & grab the demo ;)
  2. TronFAQ May 14, 2006 8:14 PM
    I don't think a good game design is incompatible with "next-gen" features: NOLF 3 with the newest graphics and physics would have been nice

    I agree, a NOLF 3 on the Jupiter EX engine with those extra features could be really nice. But Monolith would need to concentrate more on the story and gameplay, than they did with F.E.A.R.

    I guess now that they've finished an updated engine that they can re-use, Monolith could work harder on those things. While developing F.E.A.R. they were probably so busy just getting the engine to work right, they didn't have much time for anything else.

    We'll see. I'll be waiting for Monolith's next title (not Extraction Point, but after that). If the story and gameplay don't improve, then I can say farewell to another favorite developer of mine.

    Thanks for the link to your blog with all those videos of Criminal Origins! I'll check those out, along with the demo. Maybe Criminal Origins will prove better than F.E.A.R., after all?
  3. Anonymous May 15, 2006 1:08 AM
    I have to admit, and I know it goes against popular opinion here, but Tron 2.0 (for as much as you know I enjoyed it) seemed to be a shooter-fest itself. It was a beautiful game, and it embraced the concepts of environment wonderfully, but at the heart of it's gameplay, what set it apart from something like Doom?

    But to be fair, I am not exactly what one could call a dedicated gamer, and certain subtle nuances may be lost on me.
  4. TronFAQ May 15, 2006 3:56 AM
    what set it apart from something like Doom?

    Okay, I'll tell you. You asked for it. :) (IMHO, of course.)

    Before I start, no it's not the best game evar!(tm) But I enjoyed it very much, and thought it never got the attention it deserved. I play other games too, but people need to stick up for this game. I'm one of those people. Perhaps a bit more vocal, than most. :)

    What sets it apart from Doom (or even F.E.A.R.)? Yes, at its core it's pretty much just another FPS. It's linear, the enemies aren't the smartest or most capable, and you can't complete the game without shooting someone. No real stealth options.

    1) It's a RPG/FPS hybrid. The subroutine management alone, sets this game apart from many other shooters. You have so many different options to play with, when equipping yourself with subroutines (armor, weapons, and other upgrades). How do you approach a certain obstacle in the game? What subroutines will work the best? That's up to you and your play style. This leads to a lot of replayability. (What if next time instead of the Disc, I used the LOL rifle? And Corrosion instead of Megahurtz? And upgraded my armor to a higher level?)

    2) NPC interaction. While this part could have been done better, I enjoyed seeing and talking to lots of other characters. In Doom 3 and F.E.A.R., NPC interaction was even more limited.

    3) Story. Yes, Tron 2.0 had a story! Maybe not the greatest story ever told, but it was there. In the cutscenes, and the e-mails. F.E.A.R. at least, also had a story. Doom 3 on the other hand, had no story. Oh all right, it had a bland and cliched story. Mad scientist possessed by the Devil opens portals to Hell, and our Marine saves the day. The end. :p

    4) Gameplay style change. Every so often, you switch to Light Cycle racing as you progress through the game. Some people hated it, but I enjoyed it. This was one of the few times in the game where your interactions with opponents aren't very predictable. Enemy characters don't vary their attacks very much, but Light Cycle matches vary considerably each time. Not too many FPS games have this "change of pace" element to them.

    5) Atmosphere and imagination. The last part, especially. The environments and characters in Tron 2.0 are imaginative. Virtually unlike anything we've seen before. Doom 3 and F.E.A.R. present the same old boring environments. Brick and concrete walls, crates, pipes, bland color schemes . . . bleh. Hell in Doom 3, half the time you couldn't even see past the end of your gun because it was so dark!

    Those are the main points I can think of, to explain what I feel sets Tron 2.0 apart from many other FPS games.

    The next game I'm eagerly anticipating is Bioshock from Irrational and 2K games. Because it will have all of the above qualities in spades. It could be the last hope for an intelligent, story-driven, atmospheric, and imaginative FPS. Since it looks like Disney and BVG aren't very interested in creating another Tron game or expansion.
  5. FedayKinn May 15, 2006 9:23 PM
    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
  6. TronFAQ May 19, 2006 9:26 PM
    I just found out that for Desperate Housewives, BVG is teaming up with Massive to do in-game advertising. (What some people will do for a buck!)

    So that means within the game itself, players will constantly be bombarded with real-life advertising for real product brands. Wasting their internet connection bandwidth. There will even be an opportunity to print out coupons and take them to the store in the real world. And content from ABC will appear on TV screens in the game.

    Does anyone feel the need to retch, at this point?
  7. FedayKinn May 21, 2006 12:40 PM
    Video Game Industrie: del the "wrong" word...

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