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Default Ryse; Son of Rome, a game ahead of its time?

January 7th, 2014, 14:43
With the release of the next gen consoles, gaming is once again marching toward the future. And gaming is undergoing a deep change process for various causes, one being the broad access to the internet and the networking that came with it.

So far, gaming was always understood and conceived as an activity and the game designs were thought under that constraint. The game was meant for the player to be an active part of it, an actor in full part. Players were active toward the resolution of a game. The qualities of a game were determined by the satisfaction a player got by being an active agent in the game.

The networking that came with the Internet made way to a new type of players, players who make money being watched playing video games. They can be professional players whose tournaments are broacasted, streamers whose play sessions are broadcasted etc
Economically speaking, as they collect money by playing video games, they are mechanically given a greater importance than players who simply buy and play video games. As such, their demand weigh more than the demand by an ordinary player.
And as such, their specific demand is changing the perspective on gaming and the way gaming is understood.

Up to now, gaming was exclusively a matter of players as actors of the game.
More and more, gaming turns as a matter of a director (the player who makes money being watched) and auditors (the audience that pay to watch the player plays)

The resulting demand of the interaction between the director and the auditors is a game that is easy on the eyes. And games in the future are going to be balanced toward that end to meet the demand of players who want to be director or auditors rather than actors.

Ryse: son of Rome, the RPG exclusive to the Xbox one, was poorly received by the reviewers. As often with reviewers whose work is to validate the past, it might be the sign that Ryse: son of Rome is in fact a game ahead of its time.

By older standards, Ryse is a poor game, with little depth. The game, as a RPG must be, is mostly about combat and what most, about melee combat.
Actual melee combat comes with certain rules that is better not to ignore like getting your opponents to work to surround you since they will want to surround you anyway, dont let yourself drop on the ground because it means immediate crippling or death…
Games that thought players as actors took up those rules as a framework to anchor their gameplay and in this regard, Ryse makes a poor job. There is so to speak no fight over preferential positioning, no strategical thinking to control the crowd of the enemies etc
2d classics like Renegade, Double Dragon, final fight, vigilante etc still provide a much better experience.

When assessed by the new demand that emerges from the interaction between the director and the auditors, it is a totally different story. Ryse rises to a new level and is an excellent game.
Ryse gives the player the opportunity to stage cinematographic combat scenes the way a director does. With little training, it is possible to produce a smooth sequence, as chained up movements flow perfectly and never awkwardly.The IA no longer controls NPCs that are enemies trying to curb the effort to prevail, but controls stunts that help to stage the scenes. Just as in a movie, their purpose is to be at the right place at the right moment to receive the blows that makes the PC look cool.
Games like Devil May cry worked also on the cool thing, despatching enemies with style and the rest but that was an attitude the player had to gain as an actor
For example, the key rule about getting surrounded still exists in a game like Devil May Cry. In Ryse, it is null. On the contrary, the player tries to be surrounded, as it allows to stage scenes worth watching.

When meeting a wave of enemies, the question to be answered as a player is no longer "how can I get out of this mess?" but rather "how can I make this getting out of the mess thing look good?"
Jumping in the middle of a set of three enemies allows to chain up movements right, left and center, all of them coming with a perfectly smooth transition.
It can translate like beating out three partners, grabbing one's head with a arm lock while sliding the blade in the heart of another, then severing the throat of the grabbed one, walk slowly toward the last victim, knock him back with a shield bash to finally kick him down the cliff (that you've skillfully attracted him to), screaming "this is Spartaaaaaa"

Assessed by older standards, Ryse is a poor game. But assessed by the new standards that are imposed by the alchemy existing between a director and the auditors, the game is a precursor.

Gaming is changing. Games are going to be balanced toward providing material for players to stage their gaming session. Coupled with the pressure from players who insist that games should be about story first, gaming is going to be moved from the activity side to the passivity side.
The player, as a director, will stage the most pleasuring way possible, the resolution of a game scene so that the audience can enjoy watching someone else playing the game and delivering them the story they expect.

From activity to passivity.
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January 7th, 2014, 15:12
The game looks like limited fun. Combat does seem repetitive, but for a short-ish game, it could be a lot of fun.
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January 8th, 2014, 12:41
The important question in this matter is: to which extent do the game's publishers participate monetary when auditors watch directors playing the game?

If they can't make money from it, there's no reason for them to give the directors demands more weight.
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January 8th, 2014, 23:07
The Escapist reviewed it
http://www.escapistmagazine.com/vide…se-Son-of-Rome
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January 9th, 2014, 02:33
A console game is a game - ahead of it's time?
Right.

Then I'm the queen mother of england.

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January 9th, 2014, 18:41
Originally Posted by Morrandir View Post
The important question in this matter is: to which extent do the game's publishers participate monetary when auditors watch directors playing the game?

If they can't make money from it, there's no reason for them to give the directors demands more weight.
Make or lose money from it.

The industry has no longer the upper hand on the topic. They can not bypass the demand of people who make money off playing video games because of the business model the industry have chosen (that includes large part of hype)

They can not offset the influence of that type of players. Those players make money off playing video games which means their demand over video games is more solid than people who dont.
They wont postpone buying a video game because it comes in the way with another purchase. It means they will always be part of the hot period that precedes and follows a release.
They will be in cash at release. They are either sort of sponsoring in their practice of video games or earns their life that way.
They have the X box one and the PS4 from day one because, in some sort of a way, their viewership handed them the money out so they buy the consoles.
Buying games etc is no longer an extra for them, it is a main.

It is a general trend. It happened elsewhere. See what happens in football for example.

Football started as a full activity. It mattered most to practise it, not to watch it. With the advent of the tv network, people who made money off playing football took over and now the football world is aligned on professional players and their audience.

The difference for video games: they are played through avatars.
Training a guy so he can perform the quality of show the auditors expect takes around 10 or 12 years.
Training a guy so he can perform a quality show in video games takes around one year to two years, 10 hours per day, 300 days per year.
It was too slow for the video game industry that cant in most cases wait for a guy to developp the skills required so that the game he streams looks good.
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January 9th, 2014, 18:59
We both have very different views on just how much influence streamers are to the market as a whole. In some genres do they have a fair amount of influence, sure. All, no.

Is there a niche for games like this? Yes. Will they replace all other types on the market? No. As long as a market exists for the old, it won't go anywhere. Unless there's a large market for this new type, not many will be made.

Using your football example, there's still tons of semi-pro and intramural leagues, they're just far less popular than watching pro football.

Edit: And judging by player reviews of the game, it's not what a lot of gamers are looking for.
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January 9th, 2014, 20:32
Interesting Review, ChienAboyeur. I have never thought it that way, but yes, it makes sense.

However, with all things "exclusive" - the "director" - the eSports player, for example - sits in an "exclusive rights" poosition. "I sell to you, the audience, the rights to watch me play" , and the Audience isn't playing actively anymore, it is becoming passive, like watching a TV show - the exclusivity will at one point lead into people wanting to participate as well. Call it "socialism", maybe, or even "Commuznism". Except for the U.S. , in which Exclusivism is considered & rtreated as somnething normal. For U.S. citizens, it's normal that some poeople have access to something other people don't have access to.

I wonder what it might lead to when this "policy" is transported into other cultures.

Here in Germany, with our "Soziale Marktwirtschaft", which is currently heavily being eroded, we can see what happens : The gap between ich ones & poor ones is widening further and further. Meanwhile this is nothing special for members of the U.S. culture, it is for members of the German culture.

And I expect a similar thing to happen with the excluisivity of "I play, you watch", too. In which the "TV streamed" player has a position of power, by the way, because he (or she) is the person being paid for being watched.
In the end, this might even mean that games become rare things like Luxury items (Diamonds, fast cars, etc.), possessed only by a select few who are watched (via TV) as they have acccess to that and play that.

Yes, I can even imagine incredibly high production costs being "brought back" through TV channel subscriptions of these select few "players" playing - and being watched. Game making companies invest astronomous sums of money into a game of which let's say 5 specimens are ever built - and they offer an audience to see how beautiful and lush it all looks like by watching a few players actively play it. An of course you'd need to acquire watching rights for that.

Originally Posted by ChienAboyeur View Post
Football started as a full activity. It mattered most to practise it, not to watch it. With the advent of the tv network, people who made money off playing football took over and now the football world is aligned on professional players and their audience.
Very good example ! Yet - there are still sports clubs everywhere. They pop up like mushrooms.

However, they have difficulties attracting new players, because youth often do other things in their free time instead. Like playing video games, for example.

But still - as long as playing soccer / football is fun, there'll always be people out there, doing it.

Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction. (E.F.Schumacher, Economist, Source)
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January 11th, 2014, 11:01
Originally Posted by greywolf00 View Post
We both have very different views on just how much influence streamers are to the market as a whole. In some genres do they have a fair amount of influence, sure. All, no.

Is there a niche for games like this? Yes. Will they replace all other types on the market? No. As long as a market exists for the old, it won't go anywhere. Unless there's a large market for this new type, not many will be made.
But this new type does not come alone.
Ryse is a good one because it receives bad reviews (being made by a smaller studio helps)
The same could be stated about Dead Rising 3 but being released by a big studio helps so it was less interesting as an example.

The industry has no way to bypass streamers. Streamers are going to be in from the first day because they are in cash and they work to get a large viewership.
Bypassing people who can gather a community of 50,000 to 100,000 viewers per day per streamer is no longer in the cards when you developp a game based on socialization through communities.

How many people on this site got a key for the closed beta of lets say hearthstone: warriors of warcraft? Just check the number of streamers (with a past) who got their key. It is beyond the luck factor.
Using your football example, there's still tons of semi-pro and intramural leagues, they're just far less popular than watching pro football.
That is making a mistake. Semi pros are making money off their football practise.

The line is making money off playing games. In the same way, streamers and players can also be semi-pros.

It is all about how demand by people who make money off the practise prevails over demand by people who dont.
Edit: And judging by player reviews of the game, it's not what a lot of gamers are looking for.
That is exactly the point and that is why the game might be ahead of its time.
In five years, reviewers and players alike might be praising the same kind of games.
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January 11th, 2014, 11:32
Originally Posted by Alrik Fassbauer View Post
Yes, I can even imagine incredibly high production costs being "brought back" through TV channel subscriptions of these select few "players" playing - and being watched. Game making companies invest astronomous sums of money into a game of which let's say 5 specimens are ever built - and they offer an audience to see how beautiful and lush it all looks like by watching a few players actively play it. An of course you'd need to acquire watching rights for that.
It is unlikely to happen. The industry does not want that. The industry wants that players who watch a video by a streamer or a professional player consider buying the game as a entry ticket to the community, to feel they belong to the place.
Streamers adopted some methods to sell the illusion of belonging to a community, the "we are all a big family, you know" style.
For example, they might pick out comments etc to single out this or that follower. It sells an idea of pseudo closeness.
But to write a comment worth singling out, a viewer must educate himself. This goes through buying the game to play it just enough to understand the ropes.
Nothing different than when on this site, people are required to buy the game and play it so they can voice their opinion. It is a barrier entry to be part of the community.

For football, so many people play it during their youth, society takes charge of giving them the cultural background to learn the codes and fit a football community.

For a game, the main way to get the proper cultural background is to buy and play it some in order to fit in.
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January 11th, 2014, 19:23
Originally Posted by ChienAboyeur View Post
That is making a mistake. Semi pros are making money off their football practise.

The line is making money off playing games. In the same way, streamers and players can also be semi-pros.

It is all about how demand by people who make money off the practise prevails over demand by people who dont.
I was referring to the countless amateur leagues that can easily be found. Even college football (and basketball) is immensely popular, where the athletes don't get paid.

I highly doubt competitive gamers, which is what nearly all streamers are, will ever be interested in directing a game to play itself as anything more than a change of pace game. If any group of gamers is going to pick it up and carry it to popularity, I'd expect it to be more casual gamers.
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January 12th, 2014, 20:41
I thought Ryse is a hack & slash action game, not an RPG?
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January 12th, 2014, 22:58
The only RPG thing about it (from what I've seen) are some skill upgrades.
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January 15th, 2014, 11:27
Originally Posted by Gorath View Post
I thought Ryse is a hack & slash action game, not an RPG?
Why? If a subjectivity leads to see it as a RPG, then it is RPG. This is the way it works.

Originally Posted by greywolf00 View Post
I was referring to the countless amateur leagues that can easily be found. Even college football (and basketball) is immensely popular, where the athletes don't get paid.
Not the topic. Nowhere I implied that players who do not make money off playing video games will disappear.
I highly doubt competitive gamers, which is what nearly all streamers are, will ever be interested in directing a game to play itself as anything more than a change of pace game. If any group of gamers is going to pick it up and carry it to popularity, I'd expect it to be more casual gamers.
As a reminder, the text does introduce things that way:
-large increase of players who made money off playing video games.
- they make money by showing games they play.
-it will influence games deeply as games are being balanced to meet their demands.

The text lists loosely categories of players that make money off playing video games, among which professional players.

Games used by professional players are already balanced to meet the demand of professional players. That side is settled.

Then there are some other kind of players, loosely called streamers that record videos of their gaming sessions and send them on the net.

They are different from professional players. Professional players spend 10 hours per day playing the same game. Their reach is minimal and will only involve customers who buy the limited number of games that make it on the professional tournament scene.

The "streamers" (in lack of a better word) do not collect views because of a display of skills ingame but because they perform an attractive acting session.
A caster does not display ingame skills. He comments.

I dont know if the vast majority of streamers are "competitive" players. It does not matter though. Because their viewership match with ease the viewership of professional players.
"Streamers" posting videos on YT on a daily basis, collecting 50,000 to 100,000 videos in one day, are around. 10 of them is one million viewers per day.
100,000 viewers, that is the number a game like LoL makes for major events on the main stream channel. Major events do not happen every day.
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January 17th, 2014, 01:35
Stumbled upon an interesting list. It's called 10 games that lied right to our face.
Yes, Ryse is on it:
http://lists.cheatcc.com/141?page=4

And says this:
I liked the Crysis games, so naturally when I found out that Crytek was doing Ryse, I figured it couldn’t be all that bad. Also, it was a launch title for the Xbox One and I figured that they wouldn’t want to put out a crappy game as their first big foray into the new gen of systems. The trailers looked incredible and the graphics were awesome as well, so I decided to give it a go. I was in awe at first; the overwhelming look of the world in the game was unvbelievable. It was my first look at a next-gen console and I was blown away. Then as I played on, I realized that the gameplay was more of the same every time a battle ensued. The co-op modes were clunky and the online even more so. All in all, this game slowly but surely repeated its way to being a letdown.
Repeatable content ahead of it's time? I wish such design never existed in the first place as it can't be ahead of anything.

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January 17th, 2014, 02:37
Originally Posted by ChienAboyeur View Post
The "streamers" (in lack of a better word) do not collect views because of a display of skills ingame but because they perform an attractive acting session.
I don't really buy that argument but I don't claim to be an expert on the subject as watching someone play a game rather than playing it myself feels pointless. The only exception would be watching pro players for min-maxing purposes.

I also think that completely elimination any need for traditional gameplay skill and replacing skill for directing isn't going to hold the same long term appeal. I see this as streamlining mechanics for a wider audience. At some point, you lose interest in watching the majority of people play it. Will some truly great people still make interesting stuff? Sure.

Will they convert enough people to completely overhual the gaming industry? I see no hard evidence to support such a claim, especially considering the current opinions on Ryse. Sure, you can argue till you're blue in the face that it COULD happen, but there's no more proof that it will be the case than there is for things staying the same.


I guess the best way to present my objection is this way:

What hard evidence exists that should convince us that some streamers making pro videos as a director will cause a revolution in the gaming industry rather than just being a key step in the foundation of another genre/gaming style niche?
Last edited by greywolf00; January 17th, 2014 at 02:48.
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January 20th, 2014, 06:32
Once again:
-ryse as an example is taken because it has bad reviews. The same demonstration could have been done based on Dead Rising 3 (but it had better reviews)
-"Streamers" non making enough impact: they collect millions viewership. Millions.


Games are going to be balanced to favour the demand of players who make money off playing.

For professional players' games, it is already done. Professional players and their audience want games that favour the exhibition of skills. And that is how the industry balance those games. Toward the exhibition of skills.

For the other types of players making money off playing, it will go the same.
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