Procrastination Amplification: Punditry on MMOs and games in general.

Crushed Hopes and Broken Promises

Today’s post will be all about two clips from E3, Star Wars clips to be exact. One is the new intro cinematic for Star Wars: The Old Republic, the other a demo of the Star Wars game for Kinect. One of them is brilliant, the other quite awful. Let’s start with the awful first.

Whenever a new motion control system is announced, my first thought goes towards something along the lines of “OMG, lightsabers, this will be awesome”. Turns out it never is. Just look at that video above, if that doesn’t scare you away from Kinect I don’t know what will. The whole thing looks like an on-rails action game with little interaction potential and even less precision. See how the on-screen avatar stars somersaulting after the player has already landed? How the gameplay is full of annoying pauses? I wonder why they even dared putting that presentation up on the big screen.

I don’t know if motion control is completely doomed, but it seems more and more like a failed piece of technology to me. Shouldn’t those controls increase immersion instead of killing it?

But enough about that, here’s something awesome:

That is one hell of an intro cinematic, isn’t it? It really feels as if it was taken right out of a Star Wars movie (with a touch of uncanny valley I suppose) and I’d pay to watch this as a feature-length film. So why am I calling “Broken Promises” in the title of this post? Well, as our friends at Kotaku rightly point out, the game can’t possibly deliver on the promises made by the movie. Even if Bioware manages to create a decent MMORPG, it simply won’t be remotely like that cinematic. If we were talking about a classic single player Bioware game, I could buy the intensity shown in the clip. In an MMO though… highly unlikely. Still, that is one awesome piece of 3D animation – I wonder if one could somehow get Lucas to hand over movie rights to Bioware so some real writers can get their hands on making a Star Wars movie. Wouldn’t that be something?

  • SW:TOR will be a single player game for anything but the instances that you teleport to. So, I can absolute, believe that many more of these cinematics will be played during the game. And I am sure that they will be enjoyable for the first play-through.

    It’s just that this is really not what traditionally has been considered an MMORPG. It’s a story-driven single player game with some multiplayer events that you (probably) teleport to, and away from when finished.

    At endgame these multiplayer instances and some achievement grind will be what the ‘game’ is about. Every now and then new story bits with cinematics will be patched in. WoW has showns that this can be financially successful.

    On motion capture. OMG is that bad. I’d fire the one responsible.
    Nils´s last blog post ..A bit more on WoW

  • The problem with Blur Studios’ fantastic intros is that it doesn’t necessarily make me want to play the game it represents. Instead, it just makes me want a full feature movie made with that talent and technology.

    Especially their intro for DC Universe Online had that effect on me. I don’t think I’ve watched a CGI intro as many times as I did with that one. It was amazing. (Except the voice acting – both Lex Luthor and Superman could have been better.)
    Chordian´s last blog post ..Animated Day Cycle

  • I didn’t even notice that this was another Blur piece. I used to follow those guys closely a couple of years ago when I was still interested in 3D animation. That explains why it looks so good at least.
    scrusi´s last blog post ..Crushed Hopes and Broken Promises

  • The intro is impressive indeed but has no real effect for me on whether I will buy the game or not. I’m more interested in seeing more details around the raids and how the whole multiplayer angle works into your own story.
    I’ve read an interview though that while doing a dungeon with others there are still some points where everyone decides on their own conversation options for the rest of the dungeon run the decisions of the party leader are taken… or something like that :p
    The microsoft press conference was pretty dissapointing in overall. I don’t know who took the decision to showcase some of the games during the conference but it was pretty embarassing to say the least. Especially the huge focus on kinect games thet don’t really introduce something innovative was a turn off.
    The use of kinect in ME3 was funny, but can’t that be accomplished with a headset too? :p
    “Liara, use singularity!”