So...what's been going on lately? :)
I hope everyone had a good holiday, I know I did.
Quite a lot has happened over the last few months so I decided to go on an unscheduled hiatus from the whole blogging thing. So I apologize to everyone for the information blackout of late but I wanted to step back from everything and just relax and get some perspective. I am having a bit of writers block now so I though what a great time to end the silence and get distracted from this frustrating block by writing a blog post. I hope I still remember how.
For me, the whole departure from Sony was not exactly the ideal route that I wanted to go, but in the end I think it is the absolute best thing I could have ever done. I am not going to go into any specifics as to what it is I am working on now, which sucks, but I can say that I am cooking up several things.
I know for the God of War fans out there it might be a bummer that I am not working on God of War 3 (or for some it may be a good thing I am not) but rest assured that it is all in good hands. The Sony Santa Monica team is one of the best teams I have ever worked with. Also, immediately after I finished God of War 2 I was already working on the story and design for the third game. So when Sony and I finally did part ways the foundation of the game, along with story that completes the arc we began in God of War , was complete. I wish I could have been there to see it through to the end, but it was just not meant to be I guess. The story is going to finish off with a very big, very epic bang though. I think everyone will be quite pleased. Well, everyone except edge magazine that is. :)
I thought I would have more to talk about by now, but things are just not quite ready so I will be updating on specifics as the become more solid.
I have spent some time writing over the past few months. It feels good to be getting back tot he things that have been neglected because of my crazy schedule at work. I have also been traveling a bunch recently as well. Now, I am not a huge fan of the traveling. Especially the long flight part, but it has actually been quite enjoyable. I have been catching up on movies and playing a ton of games in between my travels as well. I finally got to catch up on the backlog of games for the past few years.
I got to play Assassin's Creed which kind of disappointed me. There is some great work in there, great work. The art is fantastic...the levels in that game are huge. The free running things works really well and feels great to control, though after awhile the joy and awe kind of wares off. I hated the story...the whole setting kind of frustrated me. I was so completely looking forward to playing as an assassin during the Crusades. When I first heard the concept for the game and awe the screenshots I was pretty jazzed. That excitement was quickly smothered when I found out I was a descendant of Altair and I was in a simulation. Great...a game within a game. That really kind of spoiled the whole thing for me. I played about halfway through the game before I completely stopped. I think the sequel that is inevitably going to get made will be pretty good...though I think they have kind f locked themselves into the whole genetic memory story thread. There is some really great stuff in that game, but the story, and combat really kind of killed it for me. The combat is still not that great of an improvement over the POP stuff. It is decent, but it feels like it could be so much better if they would just give the player more control over the character.
I have been slowly chiseling away at Mass Effect as well. Every time I play Bio-ware games I am amazed. That is one freaking talented group of people over there. It took a bit for me to really find a groove in that game, but it has really impressed me. I loved KOTOR, but to me the lack of control in the combat really took away from being in the moment. I felt like I was just putting in a lunch order during the fights. I still played the hell out of the game, but it left me wanting more. So in comes Jade Empire, with more control over the combat. It was pretty good, though it still didn't feel as good as their story and RPG elements. WIth Mass Effect I finally feel in control of my character, which in turn makes me forget how long it is I have been playing. The work they did in this game is nothing short of mind blowing to me. The sheer scale of the game and the complexity of making the various choices within the story not only work, but actually be compelling, is amazing. I had a lot of moments while playing this game that remind me why I love the medium.
Mario Galaxy. Hmmm...this was a tough one for me. There is some great stuff in this game, though it took me a while to really get into it. Even after I got quite a ways in I was till not totally engaged in the game. It is great design. Great levels, some of the best art on the Wii, and pretty awesome sound and music...but it just never really got me totally hooked. I think it is because I just don't care about the why. I mean, the freaking princess is abducted...again. I have to go after her captor, Bowser, again. You think with a franchise this big they would at least put a little effort in the why. I mean, think of how much it would pay off right?
Oh wait...the game sells millions even with the vapid story. As it has been pointed out to me every time I say it, the game is not about the story. It is about the platforming and crazy new mechanics and worlds. But c'mon, at least give me a compelling reason to care about pushing on through the adventure. Besides the collection of stars that is. Maybe that is just me though, since almost every other designer I talk to thinks this game is the second coming. Still in the end, they are all kind of right. It is an extremely well put together game with a hell of a lot of creativity in it. I have to give props to the team for that!
I have played a ton of other games as well but I just really don't feel like writing about all of them right now. This whole time off has made me a bit lazy. :) Ok, I think my writers block is gone now. Actually it's not...but I am hoping to fool myself into believing it is. Not a very clever ruse I know...but let's hope it works.
Thanks for all the positive comments everyone!