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Beyond a Steel Sky (Beneath a Steel Sky sequel)

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tomimt - 28 June 2019 09:43 AM

Those pixel art games sell because they are good games, not because they use pixel art. For every top-selling pixel art game, there is a dozen that fails. It isn’t about pixel art, it is about game design and in that, there is very little that has happened when it comes to the adventure genre.

I have nothing against pixel art, but I see it just a lazy attempt at trying to fish in people with nostalgia glasses on. What makes a game good is a way it has been designed, not what graphics it uses. And what comes to game design many adventure designers are still stuck in the ‘90s.

I agree with all of the above, except that I believe that pixel art (of hand drawn 2D) draws even more people in. At least it helps drawing me to a game.

But my point is that going from 2D to 3D has almost never helped game design insofar as AG are concerned, so it often feels more like a cheap trick than a true effort to bring something to a game.

And also, there are more than one way to make a great game.
Gameplay is one, but so are the writing, the characters and the atmosphere.
Problem is, a lot of modern “classic” AGs are rather bland and forgettable in these latest departements.
As much as I love the classic look, there are very few of the modern games emulating this style that I’ve truly loved. Primordia and Darkside Detective are among those, and both have a classic gameplay but atmospheres and writing that really drew me in.
To put it simply, it doesn’t matter if a game uses a pre-existant format if it uses it to deliver something strong.

And I wish we could have games that endeavour to use a classic format perfectly coexist with innovative games that present a new and exciting way of playing or experiencing a game.
Thankfully, thanks to AGs and Kickstarter and Steam, etc, that’s more or less what we’ve had the past years.

 

     
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Ninth - 28 June 2019 08:20 AM
Luhr28 - 28 June 2019 07:41 AM

but the smaller indies who put a lot of thought into innovating are usually ignored in favor of traditional titles

What games are you referring to ?

The Norwood Suite was completely ignored here, didn’t even get a review. That was one game which, like you say, innovated in story and atmosphere rather than gameplay, and it rivals Twin Peaks in that area and surpasses it in sheer weird.

Others like Eastshade got good reviews but are called ‘boring’. People have been calling out for an open-world adventure game like Skyrim except with puzzles, with crafting, and so on, instead of violence. Well guys, this is it. And it’s wonderful.

When traditional titles like Brassheart or From Matryoshka with Love get all the attention, you suspect that all adventure gamers want is their cartoony 2D graphics and inventory puzzles.

     
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Ninth - 28 June 2019 08:56 AM

Also, looking at the last reviewed games on the site, it’s very obvious that the number of “Lucas-lookalike” is extremely small, which disproves the whole “AG developpers cater to the wishes of a few old-timers who hold up the genre” theory.

That’s right. However if you look at the discussion on the forums, it’s very much centered around those Lucasarts/Sierra style titles. It takes a lot to get our attention outside of that. Jonathan Blow and Lucas Pope managed to do so, to an extent.

     
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Luhr28 - 28 June 2019 04:41 PM

The Norwood Suite was completely ignored here, didn’t even get a review. That was one game which, like you say, innovated in story and atmosphere rather than gameplay, and it rivals Twin Peaks in that area and surpasses it in sheer weird.

I had never heard of this one, so I checked the demo and it does seem pretty interesting. It’s on sale too.

     

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Luhr28 - 28 June 2019 05:06 PM
Ninth - 28 June 2019 08:56 AM

Also, looking at the last reviewed games on the site, it’s very obvious that the number of “Lucas-lookalike” is extremely small, which disproves the whole “AG developpers cater to the wishes of a few old-timers who hold up the genre” theory.

That’s right. However if you look at the discussion on the forums, it’s very much centered around those Lucasarts/Sierra style titles. It takes a lot to get our attention outside of that. Jonathan Blow and Lucas Pope managed to do so, to an extent.

Sure, but where else on the internet is there a place centered around these games ?
Everyone else on other gaming sites are praising is praising Obra Dinn or Edith Finch, so it’s not that bad if the balance if a bit shifted on the classical side on these forums. Unless of course you think that developpers are actively reading us and deciding what games to make based on how much we discuss such and such game. That doesn’t seem very likely (espcially since the site itself is a bit more on the “modernist” side)...

     

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Luhr28 - 28 June 2019 04:41 PM

Others like Eastshade got good reviews but are called ‘boring’. People have been calling out for an open-world adventure game like Skyrim except with puzzles, with crafting, and so on, instead of violence. Well guys, this is it. And it’s wonderful.

When traditional titles like Brassheart or From Matryoshka with Love get all the attention, you suspect that all adventure gamers want is their cartoony 2D graphics and inventory puzzles.

Eastshade has the top spot on my steam wishlist Smile

 

     
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Luhr28 - 28 June 2019 04:41 PM

Others like Eastshade got good reviews but are called ‘boring’.

I’m afraid I’m one of those players. Tried it for the best part of two hours and then decided it was not for me. There’s nothing wrong with the game if you like peace and quiet, but I was bored to tears.

Thanks for mentioning Norwood Suite though. Looks very interesting, not boring at all, so I bought it straightaway.  Cool

     

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Ninth - 27 June 2019 05:14 AM

In most 3D games there’s no such thing as a 3D gameplay, because the gameplay is exactly the same as in the 2D originals.

You’re literally making my point that the adventure genre can transition it’s controls gameplay into 3D without issue. You can make whatever aesthetic argument you want in addition to that, I don’t care, It’s nothing to do with what my point was.

Ninth - 27 June 2019 05:14 AM

Only the controls are often clunky, the camera movement so and so, and the graphics quite poor.

Quite often? There’s an entire run of late 00’s TTG adventure games with good camera movement and good controls. Along with many other examples.

Maybe in the late 90’s or early 00’s it was quite often. That’s not the case today.

Ninth - 27 June 2019 05:14 AM

On the other hand I did play some games that made the transition du 3D and presented a worst gameplay.
Again : Broken Sword 3.

First of all the transition argument is a red herring to begin with. Plenty of series lose steam and produce mediocre sequels regardless. The real point is whether or not the adventure genre as a whole has produced good, highly playable 3D games and they have.

They’re not stuck in the mold of the late 90’s early 00’s with shitty controls and clumsy cameras. Which is why when people reach to make the point about bad 3D adventure games they always pull irrelevant examples like Broken Sword 3 and Simon The Sorcerer. Those games are closing in on 20 years of age. They’re not relevant to a discussion of where the genre is in 2019. 

     

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PlanetX - 30 June 2019 10:52 AM

They’re not relevant to a discussion of where the genre is in 2019. 

Ok, so what example do you have of a series that successfully went from 2D to 3D, post 2000 ?

To be clear, I consider Sam & Max controls and camera to be quite bad.

     
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Ninth - 30 June 2019 01:45 PM

Ok, so what example do you have of a series that successfully went from 2D to 3D, post 2000 ?

Like I’ve said, the transition argument is a red herring. My point is that adventure games can work in 3D and there are countless examples. So citing those adventure games that worked in 3D satisfies the argument.

In relation to Beyond A Steel Sky, from what we’ve seen in the trailer, it’s already quite clear they’re taking lessons from OTS 3D adventure games like Life Is Strange, Crimes & Punishments, DF Chapters, etc. Again, this isn’t 1999 anymore. Standards have emerged and they’ve been working for years.

But just to play ball with an example I’ve already given several times: King’s Quest 2015 is better than the majority of the KQ games that precede it. It’s also just a really good game in its own right.

Ninth - 30 June 2019 01:45 PM

To be clear, I consider Sam & Max controls and camera to be quite bad.

Can you explain why? They’re just fine to me and I’ve never seen anyone complain about them let alone call them “quite bad.” I’d actually consider the controls better than HTR overall because you can double click to run.

     

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PlanetX - 30 June 2019 08:39 PM
Ninth - 30 June 2019 01:45 PM

Ok, so what example do you have of a series that successfully went from 2D to 3D, post 2000 ?

Like I’ve said, the transition argument is a red herring. My point is that adventure games can work in 3D and there are countless examples. So citing those adventure games that worked in 3D satisfies the argument.

I have to admit, you’re not wrong. I’ve witness too many trainwrecks (some of which connected to series I loved) to be lucid about 3D, but those trainwrecks, striking though they were, are now old, and there’s no logical reason to believe a modern 3D game won’t be good.

Still, I’ll be sad to be deprived of Chandler’s magnificient backgrounds in the next Technobabylon. Frown

     
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This all reminds me a bit on the development of Hero-U, which ended up costing a lot more than the Cole’s originally planned. One reason was, that they hadn’t realised that working with 3D had improved a lot since they previously did so with Dragon Fire. From that experience, they were still under the assumption, despite it was 20 years ago, that 3D was still difficult to work with.

So, they ended up putting a lot of money in the full 2D development for the game, only to end up trashing a lot of it, as they just couldn’t get it working as they wanted with the style they had in mind.

     
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New IGN coverage going into new gameplay mechanics and showing off more of the Union City outskirts. Here’s the full write-up from their site: Beyond a Steel Sky Is a Return to Cyberpunk Dystopia 25 Years in the Making

They’re trying to make the game based around more dynamic, A.I driven puzzles. Seems like an expansion on the stuff in the first game where characters would move around the city doing their routine and not always be in the same spot.

Some of the animation is looking a bit rough but apparently some of it is placeholder stuff atm.

     
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This does sound pretty interesting and an expansion on what they’ve been trying out with some of their older games. Lure of the Tempress had a pretty extensive system of characters being able to move around and interact with each other. But I don’t really remember if that had much of an impact in actual puzzle-solving.

     
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I’m beyond words, how bad I think this looks.. I just replayed BTSS for the first time in 20 years, loved it! Won’t be playing this 3d abomination.

     

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