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Season 18, Episode 05

Lead me not into temptation…

The amount of times I have said that to myself in relation to gaming. I’m currently being lulled into the new Rocksteady game. I shouldn’t be, but I am. After seeing so many previews of the game leading up to this release I was NOT on board for it. I had no interest and was pretty sad that Rocksteady had gone in this direction and just didn’t stick to Batman.

But I get being tired of doing the same thing over and over again and we should applaud risks – especially in gaming where a lot of the time we get more of the same. And there’s a place for that and other teams who can work on that, but you’ve got to branch out and try something new. I think Rocksteady were doing that, but Warner stepped in and told them they could but it needed to be wrapped up in a DC comics skin.

Regardless, after launching and reading forum posts of people who’ve played it, I find myself falling for their hype. Hype anywhere else for this game is nonexistent. Reviews are tanking it (although I’m about to give the Digital Foundry video a look) and most other people who haven’t actually played the game are crapping on it as well. Still, I look to the folks who have actually played it and I’m not getting the stink like I am from everyone else.

There could be something there. Something fun for a little while at least, but something that, for me at the moment, isn’t worth the SEVENTY dollar price tag they want. You take thirty bucks off that and I’m probably in. Maybe. Perhaps. Possibly.

One game I’m certain I won’t wait for a sale on is Splinter Cell. Ubisoft, it’s been 3,801 days since a new Splinter Cell game (non-animated series or guest spot in another game franchise, remake, BBC radio drama, or VR exclusive) was released.

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Season 18, Episode 04

A copy of a copy of a copy.

Palworld is, probably, not my thing. There are some aspects to it that I’m totally interested in. The idea of crafting materials on this assembly line like system with the Pals you capture in game. It almost looks “city builder”-ish, in a way.

That and flying around on one of your Pals is the only thing drawing me in that might, and it’s a very big MIGHT, get me into the game. But it’s gotta do a lot more than that for $30.

The reason there is any draw at all is just how massive this game has become over the course of a single week. It has exploded everywhere. Not just as a game a bunch of people are playing but the discussion around it and what it’s doing is leading the conversation. Especially where copyright and AI are concerned at this point.

Thing is, either Nintendo is gathering material for a lawsuit, or they’ve already looked at it and decided otherwise. I can’t figure any other way as to why it has taken so long for Nintendo to even say anything about this.

Then again, Square’s getting away with Foamstars so I guess anything’s possible if you change it just ever so slightly. That and the amount of people playing Palworld right now is not the number of people you want mad at your brand because you took something away from them.

After all, Ubisoft took away Splinter Cell. It’s been 3,794 days since a new Splinter Cell game (non-animated series or guest spot in another game franchise, remake, BBC radio drama, or VR exclusive) was released.

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Season 18, Episode 03

The things you own end up owning you.

Recently the guy at Ubisoft in charge of their subscription service said that he hopes gamers can come to terms with not owning their games the same way we do with music and movies now. Where we own them digitally. Of course the guy in charge of a digital subscription service would say such a thing.

Physical media is still a thing. Even so much so that physical media on its way out has resurged and become a thing again (vinyl albums). I don’t know that we’ll ever see an all digital future (in my lifetime, I suppose). Where nothing is physical except the boxes that allow us to enjoy our digital purchases.
Then again, maybe it’s sooner than I think if more and more titles decide to go the all-digital route (Alan Wake 2 and now Hellblade 2).

For me, I go where the price is cheapest. And they’ve yet to really nail that down in most cases to where digital is more enticing than physical. They do not incentivize it at all. In fact, it feels almost the opposite in some cases.

My Steam library begs to differ, however.

Regardless of whether I own it (physically) or not (digitally), I’m still waiting on Splinter Cell. Ubisoft, it’s been 3,786 days since a new Splinter Cell game (non-animated series or guest spot in another game franchise, remake, BBC radio drama, or VR exclusive) was released.

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Season 18, Episode 02

Where dice flows like water…

Oftentimes we’ll talk about mobile games. It’s not a genre many of us are familiar with. Mostly the games I play on mobile are quick little things I can get in and out of. However, mobile gaming year over year has DOMINATED the gaming market.

It’s easy to see why with almost any mobile game you download. There’s not an entirely free one among them that doesn’t offer some way for you to spend money on some aspect of it. A lot of them are pretty benign about it. But most of them will never stop reminding you and even bake it into the gameplay near forcing you to give them money. But always remember: NEVER GIVE THEM MONEY.

The game already hooked you into playing it somehow so don’t let them hook you again when you spend money on it. It is one of the worst of slippery slopes. If the game isn’t fun unless you’re spending money on it then delete the game.
I get it. This is coming off more like a lecture than a show post but it’s more just something to keep in mind. Like when we’ve talked about video game trailers – whatever you’re seeing is meant to sell the game to you. The editing of the trailer, the music, the visuals – remember that you’re watching a sales pitch. Keep that in mind when you think back on a trailer you were excited for but didn’t see any gameplay. Always look for the actual gameplay. Except with mobile gaming, the entire game you’re playing is a sales pitch to spend more money on it.

By the way, keep all this in mind when Suicide Squad launches in February. That whole thing followed the trailer example above and probably will follow the mobile examples when it launches.

Something I am willing to throw money at, however, is a new Splinter Cell game. Ubisoft, it’s been 3,779 days since a new Splinter Cell game (non-animated series or guest spot in another game franchise, remake, BBC radio drama, or VR exclusive) was released.

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Season 18, Episode 01

Welcome to Season 18!

Right out of the gate we jump into the whole situation that happened right after we finished shows for the year – the Insomniac situation. We could have made this the whole show, to be honest, and I don’t think we’re done discussing what was released. This is information we don’t normally get but always talk about wishing we could get our hands on. I don’t mean the leaks of game footage or even upcoming titles. I’m talking about the numbers. The contracts. The inner thoughts of a studio or (and the one I’m more interested in) the publisher – that being Sony.

We also cover what we’ve played over the past two weeks (or longer in some of our cases) and what we picked up during the sales and over the holidays.

Here’s to a new season and a new year! Maybe this will be the year we’ll get a new Splinter Cell. Ubisoft, it’s been 3,772 days since a new Splinter Cell game (non-animated series or guest spot in another game franchise, remake, BBC radio drama, or VR exclusive) was released.

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Season 17, Episode 42

Welcome to the final show of the year. While normally this is where I tell you a bit of what we talked about and maybe go a little more into the topic, I’d rather use this time to tell you how much we appreciate you.

We’re going into our 18th year of doing this show. And we absolutely could not be doing that without your tremendous support and loyalty. And it doesn’t matter if you’ve only just started listening, catch it from time to time, or show up every single weekend – we appreciate all of you who support us and listen.

We’re coming back after the first of the year and we hope to see you there with us again.

To all of you reading this now, we want to wish you a very Merry Christmas and a wonderful new year to come.

Thank you, all of you, for listening.

Maybe next year we’ll get a new Splinter Cell. Ubisoft, it’s been 3,751 days since a new Splinter Cell game (non-animated series or guest spot in another game franchise, remake, BBC radio drama, or VR exclusive) was released.

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Season 17, Episode 41

Another awards show in the books for gaming.

Another lengthy list of issues but also game reveals as well. We give you a pretty good run down in this episode, not that you likely haven’t already seen the highlights. Or maybe read the complaints as well. We try to cover all of that as we usually do, but at this point it’s becoming the old broken record playing the same song over and over.

If they actually did an awards show for gaming that was the length of this thing and never showed off a single new game and just gave out awards, I would still be glued to it and taking notes. With likely a lot more positive things to say than negative as is the case when they keep doing it this way.
Honestly, they’ll never get it right as long as they keep trying to be two things at the same time. A place to showcase new games/reveals and an awards show. Mixing the two doesn’t help either one. Though it isn’t an equal mix by far. Near 90 to 95 percent is game reveals and trailers. And don’t think the other 5 to 10 goes to the awards because there’s also ads and music performances.

Look, having anything at all is better than nothing, I guess. I just wish that if you’re going to have the word “awards” in your title that there actually be awards. If you’re going to tout celebrating the creatives of the industry that you actually do that. Otherwise, just call it Winter Games Fest and move on.

Speaking of moving on, I haven’t. I’m still waiting for a new Splinter Cell. Ubisoft, it’s been 3,744 days since a new Splinter Cell game (non-animated series or guest spot in another game franchise, remake, BBC radio drama, or VR exclusive) was released.

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Season 17, Episode 40

Brace yourself…cringey awards and a MASSIVE amount of game reveals are happening this week. Including GTA 6, finally. Honestly almost feels like a snub to that awards show happening two days later. I’m curious how much thunder it steals.

As for this week, we’re not really going over our Black Friday hauls because there were none. It wasn’t the greatest of deals to be had out there, and that’s overall. Not just for our gaming tastes.

While these past two weeks may have been somewhat sparse on news stories, I refer you back to the opening of this post as to what’s in store for next week’s episode. There’s only two shows left in the year!

Sure would be really nice to get a Splinter Cell reveal at the game awards. We won’t, but it sure would be nice. Ubisoft, it’s been 3,737 days since a new Splinter Cell game (non-animated series or guest spot in another game franchise, remake, BBC radio drama, or VR exclusive) was released.

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Season 17, Episode 39

As a reminder we will not be doing a show next week due to the holiday weekend here in the states.

Speaking of that holiday weekend, Black Friday this year seems to have been a bust. Between the end of this episode and this post going up, Target released a few more BF deals but most were quickly gobbled up and are currently awaiting a re-stock.

The bust I’m talking about isn’t that everything is already taken but that the deals this year haven’t been great. Not where gaming is concerned. I haven’t really looked over much else. Movies have a great discount and there’s some HDD/SSD deals here and there be it for your PC or console. Also, if you’re looking to get a Series X console then you’ve got some really great options. Overall, however, it’s been lacking in really great deals for just the games themselves. Maybe the steam sale will freshen things up a bit.

We hope you have a great holiday weekend and as this one is about giving thanks, we’d like to thank all of you for so many years of continued support. You keep showing up to the live shows, keep watching the videos and keep downloading the podcast. We really do appreciate you more than you could ever know.

We’d also really appreciate it if Ubisoft would finally release a new Splinter Cell game. Ubisoft, it’s been 3,723 days since a new Splinter Cell game (non-animated series or guest spot in another game franchise, remake, BBC radio drama, or VR exclusive) was released.

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Season 17, Episode 38

I was surprised by the Steam Deck refresh. Well, not surprised by the fact it exists, but just how…out of nowhere it came. Seems Valve is REALLY good at keeping their own stuff under wraps. It’s also not a bad upgrade.

I remember the Deck being compared a lot to the Switch initially. But I don’t think anyone is making that comparison anymore, but if I could – the Deck, like the Switch, got a mid-generation upgrade (even though it feels way too early to say this is middle anything for the Deck) by adding in an OLED screen. Just like the Switch. But that’s where the comparisons end. The Switch just changed out the screen and maybe one or two tiny little differences. The Deck, on the other hand, changed out the screen but lowered the weight, increased the battery life, updated the WiFi, improved the audio, etc. It feels like a better 1.5 than what the Switch did. In fact, it’s a better mid-gen refresh than most anything of what the consoles do.

But I already own a Steam Deck. And I’m fine with that. I’m glad this new version exists and it’s a good sign for whatever’s to come from Valve when they get around to the Deck 2. Although, given how surprising this was, that might be next year, who knows?

I’m almost certain, however, that whenever the Deck 2 releases, we’ll still be waiting on Splinter Cell. Ubisoft, it’s been 3,716 days since a new Splinter Cell game (non-animated series or guest spot in another game franchise, remake, BBC radio drama, or VR exclusive) was released.

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Season 17, Episode 37

First let me say that we had a technical hiccup just before we took our first break. So there’s a hard edit there in the audio and video around 26 or 28 minutes in.

As for the content: it’s mainly about the situation at Bungie that took place this week. I know I don’t play Destiny anymore but missing your expectations by 45 percent is a MASSIVE miss. You miss 10 or 15 and it’s mentioned but not a big deal. You miss nearly half and that raises some eyebrows about how you kinda valued yourself and where that went wrong.

Given what we’ve learned about the whole thing, I’d say management is where it all went wrong. But, unfortunately, management doesn’t get to suffer those consequences.

I don’t know how they’ll go about turning things around. We know the next expansion for Destiny has been pushed to summer of next year while Marathon got moved into 2025. That’s a long way off with near nothing to show in between the time. What will be shown is if Destiny can build the player bases back up and enough that they have something to show, numbers wise, soon after that expansion is released.

I’m not saying the future of Bungie relies on Destiny 2’s performance, but that performance will likely give us some insight on if whatever they’re doing corrected the course of the ship. Even still, just to keep the ship reference going, I doubt it’ll be smooth sailing.

Marathon still has to generate sales and extraction shooters aren’t really blowing up the gaming world like they once were.

Meanwhile, still waiting on Splinter Cell. Ubisoft, it’s been 3,709 days since a new Splinter Cell game (non-animated series or guest spot in another game franchise, remake, BBC radio drama, or VR exclusive) was released.

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Season 17, Episode 36

It seems we’re in a rare area where some games are great no matter where you play.

If you’re on the Switch, you’ve had Zelda most of the year but now Super Mario Wonder is doing amazingly well in sales and the reviews are through the roof. If you’re on the PS5, same thing with Spider-Man 2. If you’re on PC or Xbox or PS5, Alan Wake 2 is there pulling in great reviews also.

Granted those games may not be to everyone’s liking but we just don’t normally have that many heavy hitters so close together where they are all getting such high praise.

As for me, I haven’t played any of them and not sure when I’ll get around to it – I will, however, get around to it though. Especially with Mario Wonder and Spider-Man 2. Not yet sure on Alan Wake 2. I liked the first game but this second one seems to steer further into survival horror – not a genre I’ve had the best of luck with. But that story and storytelling aspect is something I’m looking forward to experiencing so…who knows?

Regardless, I’ve got games to look forward to for later and even beyond given everything that’s out now and I’m still trucking along in Cyberpunk. At this point time and money are my only enemy to gaming. The money to buy them all and the time to play them.

It is honestly a wonderful problem to have. And without Destiny 2 to distract me anymore, I’m looking forward to facing that problem head on.

Maybe this new backlog will take me right up to the release of the new Splinter Cell, whenever that will be. Ubisoft, it’s been 3,702 days since a new Splinter Cell game (non-animated series or guest spot in another game franchise, remake, BBC radio drama, or VR exclusive) was released.

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Season 17, Episode 34

It hasn’t happened to me in a long time, and I can’t really remember the last time it did.

The anticipation for a game’s release being completely shut down just days prior. It might have been Arkham Knight that this last happened but that goes so far back that I’m sure it’s happened between now and then.

I’m speaking of Cities Skylines 2. It’s coming out this week and I’ve been really looking forward to it. Except, well, it might not run so great and reviews already released aren’t raving all that much about it. There’ve been some choice decisions the developers have made – no Steam Workshop mods, and no delaying the games release. They’ve openly come forward to say this thing is probably not going to run well for you but we’re gonna get it out there anyway.

I’m all for transparency, but I’m not sure it was smart to say that but still decide to release. The reviews out now are skewing your aggregate score. And the word of mouth from that and all the news articles about it really aren’t helping.

If the devs give this game the proper love and support they gave the first game, I think we’ll be okay. I just won’t be picking it up until like, 6 months down the road.

City builders are an ever evolving game you play. You start a city and work on it over weeks and weeks and months. As you expand or unlock different building types or services or features, you have to go back and kind of clean up a bit of what you’ve done before. There’s a lot of work and thought that goes into a really well designed city in these games. And if the thing is only half complete or even just 90%, it’s not enough to put all that time into it without the full support of the game behind it.

I take my city builders a bit seriously, in case you can’t tell.

Anyway, I’ll be looking at more reviews and performance vids along with reading a ton of player opinions on forums and what not. I can wait it out – but when the game that pretty much saved the city building genre gets a sequel, hopes are high and the anticipation to play it is great.

But like anything in life, I suppose, patience pays off.

Must mean that the next Splinter Cell is gonna be a banger. Ubisoft, it’s been 3,695 days since a new Splinter Cell game (non-animated series or guest spot in another game franchise, remake, BBC radio drama, or VR exclusive) was released.

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Season 17, Episode 34

Usually, it’s the big fish eating the little fish and that holds true but it feels lately like it’s the big fish eating the big fish. Or at least it’s what we pay attention to.

And I don’t mean us as a show. We always bring it up when studios get bought by other companies or even just close their doors. But this was Microsoft buying Activision. A deal that finally, once and for all, closed this past week. I mean, it’s hard to call them a small fish. And easy to see given it took Microsoft almost two years just to go through the courts to make it happen. Also, 65 BILLION is not money you pay for a smaller fish.

I bring that up because my attention turns to Disney. The really big fish with really big ears is looking to stake a claim in gaming. And why not? They’ve stuck it in pretty much every other medium at this point. And yeah, reports are that the advice being given on how to do that is apparently to make a big splash with a big fish (This fish this is apparently something I’m going to run with here).

And a splash I think they eventually will make. I just don’t know how big it’ll be. Buying someone like EA would be that big splash. Rather than buying a bunch of smaller developers, they could just buy EA and that’ll bring in all manner of developer studios that make all type of different games. You’ll have sports covered, your battle royal covered with Apex Legends because of Respawn and that’s already opened the doors for single player stuff (they’ve already licensed out Star Wars to EA anyway). EA has a lot of studios that would cover a wide spectrum of gaming.

I’m not saying it will or won’t happen, but it wouldn’t surprise me to see Disney make that big splash.

They could always look to buy Ubisoft, but even then I don’t think it would speed up getting a new Splinter Cell. It’s been 3,688 days since a new Splinter Cell game (non-animated series or guest spot in another game franchise, remake, BBC radio drama, or VR exclusive) was released.

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Season 17, Episode 33

Cyberpunk in the sheets and Starfield in the streets.

Pay no attention to the above, I just needed an opening line. So far I’ve spent 15 hours in Starfield and only near 4 in Cyberpunk. And with both I’ve not even begun to scratch the surface of what’s on offer.

Still, I can’t see myself really comparing the two games. And I’m not sure why a lot of people do. They play entirely different, to me. Starfield is a SLOW burn of a game. A walking rpg with some shooty bang thrown in from time to time. Cyberpunk feels the reverse of that (again, so far. It’s early yet for me in both) where you don’t really get the freedom of Starfield but a lot more of the shooty bang.

The only other way I can compare them and it’s on a strictly personal level – I’m having more fun so far playing Cyberpunk than I did playing Starfield. But Starfield’s a whole mood. Like a good cigar and a drink – you plan to be there a while and take your time to soak it in and enjoy. Cyberpunk is…I’m not sure the opposite of that. But it’s go-time all the time in Cyberpunk. And I’m good with that right now. And when I’m not, then Starfield will be there for me.

What isn’t there for me is a new Splinter Cell game. Ubisoft, it’s been 3,681 days since a new Splinter Cell game (non-animated series or guest spot in another game franchise, remake, BBC radio drama, or VR exclusive) was released.