Games Inbox: The best Gamescom Opening Night Live game

The Wednesday letters page puts the blame for Saints Row on Embracer Group, as one reader is unimpressed by Hideo Kojima’s Gamescom reveal.

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Lies of CGI
I think if I’d known that Gamescom Opening Night Live was going to be two hours long I wouldn’t have bothered, because that was a chore to get through at times. It could, and should, have been half the length, especially if they got rid of all the pointless pre-rendered CGI trailers.

That said, I’m not really clear how much of Lies Of P was CGI, but I would say that was probably my most anticipated game of the show. I also like Moonbreaker, even though it’s weird that the characters don’t animate, and Dead Island 2 looked better than expected.

Overall, it wasn’t particularly fun to watch though and the line-up certainly wasn’t very inspiring. I don’t know why Microsoft and Sony weren’t there, but I do wish they’d wake up from hibernation because, as another reader said, they really are making the worst of a bad situation.

Also, what on earth was going on with those ‘awards’? The most anticipated PlayStation game is Lies Of P… a game that’s not exclusive and is on Game Pass day one? Where was God Of War Ragnarök?!

GC: We think the idea was that the games had to be playable on the Gamescom show floor, but since so few big publishers are there this year, including Sony, the options were severely limited.

Numbers game
Like many, I’m still not convinced by Gotham Knights. The graphics do look good but the edgelord characters and no Batman are still issues I’m having trouble with. I’m not keen on it being an action role-player either. If there’s going to be anything on-screen during the combat in a Batman game, it should be a Biff! and Pow! not a string of numbers.

I also don’t like that the villains are all characters we’ve seen before in games. Mr Freeze, Clayface, and Harley Quinn are not inspired choices. There is the Court of Owls, but they’re basically just guys in masks so they’re just going to end up as faceless grunts.

Rocksteady’s games already used less common bad guys like Professor Pyg and Mad Hatter, so why not go more in that direction with newer characters like The Designer, The Underbroker, and Mr Bloom? Mix in some classics, sure, but there’s no need to use the same ones again and again when we only get a new game once every five years.

Non-game announcement
I knew Hideo Kojima was going to be at Gamescom, because him and Geoff Keighley are friends, but was it really necessary to troll the audience like that? Pretending you were going to announce a game and then it was just a podcast?! I did notice he said games, in the plural, but we’ve already had plenty of rumours pointing to Death Stranding 2 and the horror game, so that wasn’t much of a hint.

Does this mean he’ll announce one or the other at the Tokyo Game Show or is he just going to leave it until The Game Awards? I hope the next reveal, whatever it is, is going to be worth the wait.

E-mail your comments to: [email protected]

Hori-ble problem
I hope you or a reader can help. I got a Hori Series X Fighting Stick Alpha and from day one I’ve had the following issue. Randomly, it just stops working. All buttons and the stick. Curiosity tho’, the power lights at the top are constantly on – the main Xbox light and the green ones. This happens on the dashboard and in-game at any point, which is frustrating as you can imagine, as the games do not pause. The only ‘fix’ is to quickly pull the USB connection out and in again.

I’ve tried powering it all up different ways, controller in first, then power on. Power on then connect the controller. Tried powering the Xbox Series X straight into a wall socket rather than a gang. Different USB ports. It happens on all games, not just fighters. All connections are solid, and nothing looks loose inside.

I read somewhere that Xbox has power issues with their USB ports and that you need a USB power booster. Not sure how true that is. I’ve mailed Hori a number of times and I’ve got nothing back.

Any help would be great.

GC: We’re not familiar with that model, but perhaps a reader is. Hori’s stuff is usually good, have you tried their Twitter account?

Gaming multitasking
Thanks for all the responses to my last Hot Topic suggestion on best graphics, great reader comments as always!

May I suggest another Hot Topic subject: how do readers play their games, e.g. do they just have one solo campaign they work through at a time? Or do readers have multiple games on the go at once?

For me, I have three to five games at one time I’m working through and do a chapter/mission/level of each game per gaming session usually.

Thanks as always, GameCentral, for making your columns daily must-reads!

GC: We’ll try to give that a go in the future.

Strange priorities
I’m not really complaining, since I’m interested in it either way, but does it not seem odd to anyone else that Sony’s number one priority at the moment is a £400+ VR headset. Even if we weren’t headed for a recession and untold other economic troubles I don’t see how a VR headset makes sense as something to prioritise in the first year or two of a new console’s life. That’s something you do a good three or four years in, once everyone’s bought the console and maybe has money to spend on new hardware.

I could maybe understand if they were trying to beat Microsoft to the punch but they’re not. I also worry that Sony is tying up a lot of its first party studios making games that only a tiny percentage of its audience is going to play.

Again, I’m not against VR – I have the original and will probably get this new one – but do they not think there’s other things they should be doing at this point? Once God Of War Ragnarök is out Sony doesn’t have a single game with a confirmed release date and barely any without one. Surely the time to reprioritise was a good year ago at least, and definitely now. I do worry someone at PlayStation is slightly off their rocker at the moment, considering the string of weird decisions and lack of communication.
Hence Pearson

GC: It is pretty odd, yes.

Forgotten Fantasy
Fantastic interview with Ian Livingstone and Steve Jackson, GC. Really top notch stuff. I have to admit I never put two and two together, with Ian Livingstone being the same guy that worked on Fighting Fantasy and at Eidos. But then I have to admit I haven’t thought of Fighting Fantasy in years – decades, really – so I guess that’s not much of a surprise.

Really interesting to see how they mixed being creative with being businessmen. Didn’t know about the Games Workshop or Lionhead connections either, so that was all interesting to. Like you said, they’ve led a good life! I totally agreed with your and Ian’s comments about British gaming too, except I think you can apply most of those problems to most British companies. It’s so frustrating to constantly do good work and then to sell out the second a foreign company comes sniffing round.

GC: Thanks.

Start again
I agree it’s rare to see a high profile (might be the best way to put it) game like Saints Row get such low review scores, but as far as I can see it deserves it, so that’s good from that perspective. What also occurred to me though is that this is really the first big release that Embracer has had since it went on its crazy purchasing spree and… it’s a complete dud.

So it turns out that going around buying up every company you can isn’t necessarily a good idea after all, especially if you’re not going to impose any kind of quality control on the developers you buy. Microsoft should do better with the likes of Bethesda and Obsidian but it’s still a concern, these studios still need to be managed and told no if things are going badly, and that clearly didn’t happen in this case.

Mind you, I’m not really sure why they bought Volition anyway. They’ve been around a long time but I wouldn’t say they were exactly a top tier developer, or anywhere close to it. If they really wanted to reboot Saints Row maybe the best idea would’ve been to set up a new studio and really start things again, instead of just getting a limp retread with all the best bits taken out.

Inbox also-rans
It’s 7.30pm and I don’t think I can take any more of this Gamescom show. Why does it feel like an endless stream of adverts instead of something that’s actually trying to inform you about the games? Bring back E3!
Tom Meadows

Dead Island 2 was the closer for the Gamescom show? Not exactly Elden Ring was it? No Zelda was no surprise. I guess my princess is in another castle (game show).

This week’s Hot Topic
The subject for this weekend’s Inbox was suggested by reader Grackle, who asks what’s your favourite open world game?

Open world games have been popular for decades, but they’re not really a genre themselves and can encompass everything from role-players to racing games. So which is your favourite and why? How intrinsic is the open world design to your enjoyment and how much time did you spend exploring it instead of playing the main game?

What do you think of the current state of open world games and how would you like to see them evolve over the next generation, in terms of technology and design?

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The small print
New Inbox updates appear every weekday morning, with special Hot Topic Inboxes at the weekend. Readers’ letters are used on merit and may be edited for length and content.

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