Tag Archives: PS Plus

Crash Bandicoot Shows Again That Nostalgia Equals Cash

This week, Antony and Darren make the best they can out of the snippets of news flying around in a quiet week for the industry. There’s never a dull moment though as the most eye opening stories of the week get the Sparks’ unique analysis.

Among the topics this time on the pod, is the phenomenal success of new release – Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy, as it shot in straight into the number one spot in the UK gaming charts.

We have had a bit of a nostalgia renaissance recently with the likes of WipeOut and Tekken getting recent releases and doing well, thank goodness Yooka Laylee didn’t spoil the vibe.

It seems that gaming nostalgia is a powerful force for all of us and who can blame us for having such affections for the games of yore that we loved when we were younger. Maybe it was a game we got with a system at a young age, maybe it was a title we had looked forward to for a long time and loved, or maybe a title can just take you back and remind you of a time of your life that is preserved around the memory of enjoying your gaming and life back in the glory days. Continue reading

There’s More To Gaming Than Just ‘Triple A’

In this weeks podcast we have all the usual fun frolics and frivolity as the guys discuss the week in gaming, what’s hot to play and everything in between. Hold on to your control pads gamers, it’s Episode 89 of the Lost Spark Podcast.

An interesting point in the news (courtesy of wccftech) this week was made by Cliff Bleszinski (Cliffy B) of Unreal Tournament and Gears of War fame and more recently the co-founder of Boss Key Productions.

During industry conference Reboot Develop 2017, Cliff took to the stage and put forward his view that ‘AAA games’ cost too much to make and the development of such games are a ‘nearly unsustainable’ model, his reasoning behind this is based on a number of points including the fact that:

  • Customers can only afford a few $60 dollar games a year and this price is a high point for most consumers
  • Consumers have been burned with DLC / Bugs in their games
  • Player expectations are very high in terms of Graphics. feature sets and polish and quality

Citing Horizon Zero Dawn as an example, Cliff went on to posit that the seven year development cycle for a project like this can be undertaken and afforded by Sony with the reason that they can get so heavily invested in something like this is that they will be the ones profiting from the sale of their consoles, which a game like Horizon Zero Dawn is very likely to have a positive effect on.  So Sony – whom Horizon Zero Dawn’s Developer Guerrilla Games belong to – has two branches here, both the software and their hardware, with which they can recoup their investment and further to this make a profit.

In contrast to this he then made a comparison to the financial commitment that was made by Take-Two with regard to Bioshock Infinite where the outcome of overstretching to fulfill a AAA vision resulted in a number of lay offs over at Irrational Games.

A remedy for this, he suggested, would be the advent of the ‘AA game’. These games would be games that despite a restricted budget focused on what matters most, giving examples of his type of game being the likes of Rocket League by Psyonix and Digital Extreme’s Warframe adding also that digital only would also be a consideration for success.

So, have our expectations got out of hand, or is the amazing high standard and polish of the games we see nowadays simply a result of the evolution of technology and the desire of creators to improve, innovate and deliver that next big thing? Is it all simply about the bottom line (obviously to a great degree, it’s business), or is there something to be said for the ambition of developers and creators to express themselves and push the limits of the gaming medium via the technologically impressive consoles we use today?

Whether it’s gamer expectation, businesses pushing for profit or creators with the passion and determination to bring their ambitious gaming visions to the gaming community, it does look like there is a point here. No one likes to hear about studios closing, job cuts, or devs not getting paid for their hard work and if this can be avoided by simply scaling back ambition on a project and being more realistic in financial terms of what can be achieved then that’s great. Though conversely, it would definitely be a shame if the spectacle of the ‘AAA game’ was only within the reach of the hardware manufacturers.

Ultimately, if the costs of the AAA’s continue to get out of hand and cause businesses problems the amount made will dwindle as the lessons are learned.

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2017 and the Gaming Super 7 – Best First Quarter Ever?

This week in episode 85 Antony and Darren take a moment to pay tribute to this stellar first quarter for gaming that we have had in 2017, admire the amazing selection of top quality games available for us all and reflect upon whether the standard set could possibly be held up by the rest of the year. That rest of the year sure has its work cut out if it wants to hold a candle to this stunning start that we have had.

The Sparks 2017 ‘Super 7’ goes like this:

  • Yakuza 0
  • Resident Evil VII
  • NiOh
  • Horizon Zero Dawn
  • Legend of Zelda – Breath of the Wild
  • Nier Automata
  • Persona 5

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Mass Effect Andromeda – Unpolished, Unfinished and Uninstalled – Do We Expect Too Much?

Episode 84 bursts forth into gaming circles everywhere causing more lens flare than a Zero Dawn sunrise and this week, among the what if’s and the this and that’s of the last weeks gaming news the Sparks spend some time discussing the big story of the moment – Mass Effect Andromeda – and the impact (or lack of) that this hotly anticipated game has caused.

Reflecting on his time with EA Access’ 10 hour trial, Antony (@ChessmanUK) discusses how he feels about Bioware’s latest iteration in this well loved franchise, tempering hope with unfortunate disappointment in his dissection of his time with the game. The Sparks discuss the merits of this latest incarnation, where it shines, where it loses its footing and ultimately, where its place is in the midst of the cavalcade of stellar titles spoiling gamers for choice currently in this magnificent first quarter of 2017. Continue reading

It’s A Hit! PSVR Sells A Million

On this weeks’ treat for your earbuds, the Sparks chat as usual about the news that’s making the news in the world of gaming. There’s plenty to discuss this week with some fantastic games and also a fair chunk of VR related news and innovations.

Sony have gone on record with their announcement that their PSVR foray into the VR strata has sold almost a million units in the four months that it has been available (915,000 to be more precise). This is a great start for VR on the PS4 with sales figures hitting higher than the Oculus Rift and the HTC Vive combined so Sony have a right to be pleased enough with themselves to make this announcement. That 55 Million PS4 install base will certainly have helped, that’s for sure and teh figure would most probably have been higher in terms of sales if Sony had taken a risk on manufacturing more units. Nevertheless though, in terms of VR, this is a strong start and shows a demand and passion out there in the gaming massive for VR type gaming goodness.

The podcast turns into a bit of an expensive shopping list for Dazza as the guys discuss the just announced GTX 1080ti from Nvidia, HTC’s Motion Tracker peripheral and Deluxe Audio Headset (now priced) and Nullspace’s haptic-fantastic Hardlight suit. So, much, shiny, tech!

Antony and Darren also get down to discussing a matter that most of us deal with occasionally – our local game stores. Has customer service declined, or was it never there to begin with and should a business based around fun really act at point of sale in a manner that threatens to deflate a gamers happy enthusiasm for their hobby? Is your local store one of the good guys, or do you find the whole process wearing? Antony tells his story and makes his compelling case this week.

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Moving Forward: Will Hello Games Escape the Shadow of No Man’s Sky?

As the festive season draws near and the nights are closing in, why not relax, pour yourself something that’ll warm those cockles and allow the Sparks’ to welcome the start of December with all the gaming news from the last week and this!

This week, in light of the No Man’s Sky Foundation update being released, Antony and Darren turn their attentions to what lesson can be learned from the disappointing release of No Man’s Sky and ruminate on whether any of that excitement and enthusiasm that the game basked in prior to release can be salvaged by this comprehensive update.

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PSVR Excitement Grows – Will You Be Batty for VR?

With a week and change until PlayStation VR is launched the Sparks are going PSVR crazy! In this week’s podcast excitement is building as Antony prepares his game space for VR and scours the Official PSVR FAQ for hints, tips and features to get him started on day one. Are you, like Antony, hoping to be one of the day one PSVR massive?

The VR desk has a bumper edition of PSVR news this week in preperation for the big day on October 13th and spirits are high until… Could there be a slight oversight that dulls teh celebratory speculations somewhere in the VR soup?

The answer to this and of course the rest of life’s great questions lies deep within the pod.

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Gaming Rapture, Is The Bioshock Collection Worthy Of A Double-Dip?

This week, the Sparks discuss all the latest goings on in the games world and spend a good degree of time remembering and appreciating the Bioshock franchise after the announcement of The Bioshock Collection; a HD remaster of the series, Bioshock, Bioshock 2 and the awesome Bioshock Infinite all complete with DLC.

Join us on a nostalgic stroll down the lane of some of the most enjoyable and atmospheric environments that gamers’ dared to tread, from the depths of Rapture to the heights of the air city of Columbia, that first encounter with a Big Daddy, that harrowing original Bioshock trailer and much more.

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After All This Time Can The Last Guardian Still Impress?

This week, along with many other questions about the mysteries of the gaming world, we ask the question that chills us to our very bone – what if The Last Guardian was so over ambitious at it’s first reveal way back when, that all it could ever do was meet an expectation set almost ten years ago?

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Should Legend of Zelda Be An NX-clusive?

This week joining the Sparks from the choppy waters of the @PiratePortRadio podcast, it’s Abstractacas.

Excitement and speculation is rife regarding Nintendo’s latest console and has been for months now. At last though, we have been given an official release date and some information that rather than helps us with what to expect, rather prepares us for what not to expect. So, we have a March release date and that’s great to know. We can all look forward to getting more official information on the run up to release. It will also give purchasers of the PSVR time for their wallets to cool off before taking the next gaming plunge should they choose to. Also, we have been furnished with the tidings that the new Legend of Zelda game will not be on Wii U in time for Christmas and it will in fact be releasing next year, at the same time as the NX version.

This raises some questions with the Sparks:

Is this a repetition of what happened with Twilight Princess and could the development of a Wii U version mean that the NX version is held back? With the lack of love and attention that the Wii U has had over its life it seems surprising that a new Zelda game should be anything but exclusive to Nintendo’s new system. A benchmark game to fly the flag of the new console’s abilities, unimpeded by another version that may hold it back. Surely this should have been planned as an exclucive? An NX-clusive if you like (sorry).

Now then, what about what not to expect, well, lets not expect the NX to make an appearance at E3 as that is not scheduled to happen and lets not expect any blockbuster releases for the Christmas season on the Wii U, unless Paper Mario – Colour Splash gets you all tingly.

Here’s hoping for a better 2017 for Nintendo.

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