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Games Inbox: Death of the stealth game, Pokémon for Switch, and Kingdom Come: Deliverance

Games Inbox: Have stealth games fallen out of fashion?

Interested in that comment in Monday’s Inbox about stealth: ‘We think the concept has just fallen out of fashion, and is seen as too slow and difficult.’ Really? I’ve not played them all but I know the critically acclaimed Deus Ex, Wolfenstein, Dishonored, The Last Of Us and Hitman series have all incorporated well-implemented stealth either in specific areas or, even better, as a general gameplay option. This allows players themselves the choice of using this slower, more thoughtful and, questionably, harder approach rather than forcing it on them. Hitman may have gone off-piste a bit a few years ago years, much to fans’ disappointment, but that is apparently now a series right back on track, allowing multi-approach solutions involving significant stealth choices. The episodic releases have been reviewed in some places as the best stealth games ever. Wolfenstein does like to mix up the pacing a fair bit, and that does result in some inconsistency where, no matter how stealthy you’ve been, certain guards are alerted to your presence when you hit an obvious trigger point. But you can forgive that as those instances are few and far between. Maybe the purer stealth games, like Tenchu, which actually did not force stealth on you, just made it the best choice, are, unfortunately, fading out of favour. But I’d say the use of stealth as an option is being used as much and maybe more than ever before in many mainstream action/adventure games. Malcolm Lawn GC: Of those games only The Last Of Us was a big seller, and that was a while ago now. Deus Ex and Hitman failed so badly they almost killed their respective franchises. Our reference to fashion wasn’t about whether the games are good or not (all the ones you mention are) but whether they’re the sort of thing publishers would rush to make more of.   Room for expansion Thought you might be interested to know that the preliminary ground plans for this year’s E3 have been released (leaked? I’m not sure) and they’ve got some interesting hints of what’s to come. As far as I understand most of them are more or less the same as last time, except Square Enix have an extra big booth. I seem to remember they had a really quiet E3 last year, so hopefully we’ll get to see that Avengers game as well as just Kingdom Hearts III. The weirdest one to me is Microsoft. They’ve got a tiny little booth and unless they’re going to blag the other ones around it it seems like they’ve basically opted out of E3. Which is weird, because them being American they’re usually all for it. I wish companies would stop messing around with E3 and just do it properly. I always look forward to it, but it seems to get more diluted every year. Rafton GC: You’re right, the Square Enix one is unusually large. While the Warner Bros. one looks surprisingly small, unless they’re planning to take the one next to it as well. We don’t know what’s going on with Microsoft though. We’d guess maybe they’re going to have a separate event at the same time, but that’s certainly not been announced yet. Or maybe they are taking all the booths in that block they’re in.   The second to last guardian So glad to hear that Shadow Of The Colossus has sold well in the UK. And to be honest, I imagine if it’s done well here it’s probably done even better in Japan and elsewhere. Once again we see that releasing at a sensible (i.e. quiet) time of year is all you need to make a more niche game a hit, and I couldn’t be happier given what that might mean for an eventual Ico remake. But of course, as a gamer, I always want more and now I wonder whether we might actually get a new game from Team Ico or whatever’s left of them. I know The Last Guardian wasn’t a hit, but I think most people would consider it the weakest of the three, so as long as they made the next one better it could do at least as well as Shadow Of The Colossus. I’ve no idea what kind of game it’d be, but that’s just why I love this series so much. I hope Sony consider it. Dolph   E-mail your comments to: [email protected]   Pokémon Christmas I know a lot of people seem to be expecting Metroid Prime 4 to be Nintendo’s big winter game, but as many have pointed out it’s kind of a niche game and not likely to sell anywhere close to what Mario and Zelda has. And with Mario Kart already on the Switch that kind of means Nintendo is already out of its biggest hitters. So I predict we’ll see the Pokemon game this Christmas. I read a rumour the other day that they’ve already started translating it for the West, which to me sounds like they must be quite a way into it. I expect it’s still some sort of remaster of Pokémon Sun/Moon but I’m certain that existing fans will buy it anyway and it’ll be a big draw for newcomers too. If they make the exploration parts third person behind the shoulder then I know I’d be sold on the spot. Although my dream Pokémon game is still basically Zelda: Breath Of The Wild with pokémon. Kind of like that recent Planet Earth type trailer but as an actual game. Bakku   Appropriate casting Unlike Andrew Middlemas I would like to see Kingdom Come: Deliverance do well, assuming the game itself is good, as it is attempting something a little different. I do not know much about the lead developer and certainly do not support racism or Gamergate. Similar to what GameCentral wrote about H. P. Lovecraft it should be possible to disconnect the art from the artist. In terms of the races of people depicted in the game, if there is a historical reason for everyone being a single race then I see no reason to add people from different races. I often get annoyed when a white American is cast as the lead actor in historical stories such as David Anders playing a Japanese hero in Heroes or Tom Cruise in The Last Samurai. On the flipside in the science fiction and fantasy settings I struggle to see why the full range of races are not represented in some games such as The Witcher 3 and most Japanese role-playing games. Although saying that, if a science fiction game is set a long way in the future there is an argument for making all the characters mixed race. PazJohnMitch GC: To be fair, Tom Cruise was playing an American, based on a historical figure who was French (we have a soft spot for that film, even though it plays very loose with the facts).   Joint punishment I am writing in response to Andrew Middlemas’ comments regarding Kingdom Come: Deliverance. While I agree that lead developer Daniel Vávra holds some deplorable views, I question whether boycotting the game is really the best approach. Multiple others who have spent the last few years working on the project and do not hold any bigoted, sexist, or racist reviews would go punished simply because of the views of the figurehead. By Andrew’s logic, surely we should not be purchasing cars produced by Volkswagen, as that company was created by the DAF, the Nazi Party’s trade union, and formulated by Hitler himself? I doubt very much that people are driving around in their Golfs or Polos contemplating their cars’ Nazi origins. Similarly, I find it hard to believe that most people will play Kingdom Come: Deliverance while thinking about David Vávra’s despicable views, and they certainly shouldn’t take them as representative of the whole company. The rest of the team should not suffer based on one man’s bigotry, just as today’s Volkswagen staff are not held in contempt over the company’s Nazi roots. Jake Mellor   Stairs Of Rage A bit late to the Hot Topic, and not sure if anybody suggested it, but whilst watching the film The Raid I remember it seemed perfect to be made into a game. Providing the combat was good and it wasn’t too repetitive or scripted I could see it being almost being like a modern Streets Of Rage. The film even seemed to have built in boss battles! Will N   Catch up on every previous Games Inbox here   Pure escapism I can understand not wanting to fund people with such blatantly questionable views like lead developer of Kingdom Come: Deliverance, but I don’t agree with a boycott and to a further extreme of some people wishing it didn’t exist. Many works of art have come into being by people with questionable beliefs. Personally, I’m not put off by this element (but to make it clear I have no interest in Kingdom Come in the first place) but I may take a different analysis of their work when new information comes out. There is quite a lot of literature (I believe Lovecraft was mentioned the other week) and philosophical texts where the authors had/have questionable views in relation to modern society, and even at the time they were written. That being said, for me it was still worth reading and evaluating their work as the knowledge I gained from it helped me become a much more reflective and a better person. I do consider games a form of art and treat it as such. I did see the Subnautica stuff at the weekend and now I worry about mob rule. We should be challenging views but often times now I feel it’s all too quick to flare up and become vitriolic (and yes it runs both ways). Authoritarianism is still just that, even if its liberal or right-wing agenda. I don’t entirely agree with the stance that people should be fired from their jobs for having a view unless it clearly contradicts with their role. Just as some people have gotten stick because they voted Trump or for Brexit, even when I saw perfectly logical explanations as to why, that didn’t include racism or other derogatory reasons. One of the reasons I play games is for escapism, as I can’t escape global politics at times and gaming is my lifeline. There’s games fit for a wide range of moods for example. If I’m frustrated I’ll go bash some monsters in Monster Hunter, or if I’m in need of a good laugh I’ll play Mario Kart with some friends and (not so) silently use ‘polite’ words as they smash me with a combo that reduces me to last place in seconds. I think it’s great that gaming can be used to evoke numerous feelings, and some games, like The Last Of Us have excellent social commentaries, but for me it’s also important to just chill out at times, forget everything that’s wrong with the world and just have fun. Syao   Inbox also-rans RE J.W. Boon, thank you for writing in and clarifying matters about the historical journal article. I apologise for my misinterpretation of the facts and ideas it presented. However, the reaction to my initial letter has brought to mind something I’ve wanted to get off my chest for a few years now, which I’ll elaborate on in the future. Andrew Middlemas Loved your Shadow of the Colossus review. On that same theme, what would be your top five games in the last decade or so, that you would describe as similar works of art? Jag GC: Oh, we don’t know, err… FIFA 14, FIFA 15, FIFA 16, FIFA 17, and FIFA 18? (But seriously, we’ll have a think. That sounds like a good idea for a Hot Topic too. Although technically every game is a work of art, just not necessarily a good one.)   This week’s Hot Topic The subject for this weekend’s Inbox was suggested by reader Grackle, who asks how your taste in video games has changed in recent years. Have you noticed a shift in terms of the types of games you play, or major franchises you’ve changed your opinion on? Do you play more or less multiplayer games now than you used to, and has the format you play on most – including consoles, portables, PC, and mobile devices – changed as time’s gone on? How have the games you play evolved to match the amount of free time you have? And are there certain types of games you’d like to play now but don’t have the time, or expertise, for anymore?


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