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EA Buys Approximately 20% of Ubi Soft

by Mike Sklens - December 20, 2004, 9:05 am PST
Total comments: 59 Source: Bloomberg.com

I guess EA got a big Christmas check from Grandma.

Only a week after announcing that they signed an exclusive deal with the NFL, EA has dropped another bombshell. Today they acquired 19.9% of Ubi Soft from Talpa Beheer B.V. As soon as the Securities Exchange Commission approves the transaction, EA will most likely hold a majority share in the French developer/publisher. Financial details of the transaction will not be released.

Talkback

PaleMike Gamin, Contributing EditorDecember 20, 2004

Awesome, now we'll get yearly versions of PoP and in each one we'll get new outfits. Maybe on odd years they'll throw in a new weapon or two!

AWESOME!

Bartman3010December 20, 2004

Argh. The gaming industry is turning into a crappy monopoly.

Video gaming is doomed.

PolemistisDecember 20, 2004

Was is Ubi who made Beyond Good and Evil? I wuv that game!

PaLaDiNDecember 20, 2004

I don't get why people like Beyond Good and Evil. It's a crappy Zelda clone, same as SFA. I paid less than $20 for it and I still think I wasted my money.

In fact I don't see why people like any of Ubisoft's games. They're all massively overhyped trash with little to no substance covered by excessive overcompensations in presentation that would only delude people who don't own PCs. Especially the first PoP. God, don't get me started on that game.

I hope they get bought out. A crappy company buying another crappy company. Good riddance... I'd have less names to keep track of for my "avoid" list.

Ian SaneDecember 20, 2004

Upon reading this I made a scream not unlike that of Sinistar's. That's kind of fitting since Sinistar was also purchased by a company with more money yet a considerably sh!ttier track record.

What can I say? I hate EA and their attempts to take over the industry reminds me of when Hitler was slowly invading other countries and no one did anything until they absolutely had to. These guys are killing our industry yet few seem to notice and probably won't until EA owns a stake in every significant American dev. Fans of Command & Conquer and Sim City know it. Fans of NFL2K now know it. Soon Burnout and Timesplitters fans will know it but with everyone else it's like they won't notice until one of their favourite games gets destroyed.

Though I'm not really a Ubisoft fan anyway. Most overhyped publisher this gen. PoP: The Sands of Time is merely a good game, not GOTY particularly in a year where WIND WAKER was released. Splinter Cell is a glorified Dragon's Lair. Beyond Good & Evil is at best an average game. There's nothing even remotely exceptional about it at all. Of course my opinion of that game may be biased since I'm playing it at the same time as Metroid Prime 2. Still as much as a don't care for Ubisoft they're miles ahead of EA. Or they were I guess.

PaLaDiNDecember 20, 2004

No, see. This could be a good thing.

EA is forming a conglomeration of crap. All the stuff it touches turns to garbage. They attract garbage like a magnet.

So inevitably, when people find out that EA sucks, it's gonna go under. All that's keeping EA afloat right now is the average consumer's ignorance.

This would lead to a culling of sorts and the game industry would emerge the stronger for it.

...

At least in my dreams... God knows consumer ignorance isn't going away any time soon.

PaleMike Gamin, Contributing EditorDecember 20, 2004

Heh, you assume average consumer ignorance is going to go away.....

GamefreakDecember 20, 2004

Ubisoft made Far Cry, fools.

As for EA...Who's next? Sega?

Oh yeah, I hate EA. It's a horrible publisher. They treat their dev's like garbage and publish titles no matter how finished it is.
If it was MS or Nintendo going around buying everyone, I would be fine with it. They are good publishers with lots of money and give their teams respect and freedom.

PaleMike Gamin, Contributing EditorDecember 20, 2004

MS is often synonomous with freedom..........

Spak-SpangDecember 20, 2004

You know EA isn't that bad. They aren't that good, but they are making games people want to play. They are making money, so if they want to invest it let them.

Right now, EA is building a library of talented teams to create games. As long as EA allows the developers freedom and creativity to do their thing, and give them the time needed to finish the games properly this is a good thing. Smaller developers can't afford to budgets to make the huge titles. EA can.

I have noticed one thing that EA does that is very cool. They allow their engines built to be used by all games that need them. This is a great idea. EA could actually create an amazing hybrid game soon. One that combines a great racing game, adventure/spy game with an intense action game. EA could be possed to actually bring new experiences by using the talents they have aquired to some awesome games.

Lets wait and see instead of just complain.

This is the world we live in, and purchases like this happen. You can cry, or you can accept it see the positive.

VideoGamerJDecember 20, 2004

Quote

Originally posted by: Ian Sane
Upon reading this I made a scream not unlike that of Sinistar's. That's kind of fitting since Sinistar was also purchased by a company with more money yet a considerably sh!ttier track record.

What can I say? I hate EA and their attempts to take over the industry reminds me of when Hitler was slowly invading other countries and no one did anything until they absolutely had to. These guys are killing our industry yet few seem to notice and probably won't until EA owns a stake in every significant American dev. Fans of Command & Conquer and Sim City know it. Fans of NFL2K now know it. Soon Burnout and Timesplitters fans will know it but with everyone else it's like they won't notice until one of their favourite games gets destroyed.

Though I'm not really a Ubisoft fan anyway. Most overhyped publisher this gen. PoP: The Sands of Time is merely a good game, not GOTY particularly in a year where WIND WAKER was released. Splinter Cell is a glorified Dragon's Lair. Beyond Good & Evil is at best an average game. There's nothing even remotely exceptional about it at all. Of course my opinion of that game may be biased since I'm playing it at the same time as Metroid Prime 2. Still as much as a don't care for Ubisoft they're miles ahead of EA. Or they were I guess.



Well said.

Ian SaneDecember 20, 2004

"I have noticed one thing that EA does that is very cool. They allow their engines built to be used by all games that need them. This is a great idea. EA could actually create an amazing hybrid game soon. One that combines a great racing game, adventure/spy game with an intense action game. EA could be possed to actually bring new experiences by using the talents they have aquired to some awesome games."

But this well never happen. At best we would get a combination of an average racing game, average adventure/spy game, and average action game. They couldn't create an amazing hybrid game because none of the parts are amazing to begin with. And they wouldn't make them amazing because average sells better with the mainstream. A truly amazing game requires some originality and has to be designed just a little bit differently from other games. EA doesn't do this. They're opposed to this form of game design.

"As long as EA allows the developers freedom and creativity to do their thing, and give them the time needed to finish the games properly this is a good thing."

This is the whole point. EA DOESN'T DO THIS. Freedom and creativity are not part of their focus. They have a history of denying developers of freedom and creativity. So why would they suddenly now change their focus?

You can say "as long as they allow the developers freedom and creativity to do their thing" for ANY publisher and it doesn't mean they're going to do it. I could have said that about Acclaim.

babaloulouDecember 20, 2004

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nickmitchDecember 20, 2004

The best way to describe this comes from Reno 911 and is as follows: "It's like throwing crap on a big pile of crap thats already got too much crap on it to begin with."

joshnickersonDecember 20, 2004

Crap. All those rumors of an EA console within the next few years is seeming more and more real now. O.o
This seems to be turning into a weekly event. "Who will EA buy THIS week?"

Illini4OrangeDecember 20, 2004

1) The NFL deal is very bad. This eliminates competition in Pro Football videogames. I do not know if anyone here recalls, but there was never a Madden game released the first year of the Playstation(One) because the game they designed was SO BAD compared to 989 Studios "Gameday" that EA did not release a Madden that year. Has anyone ever played a 989 game? Wow, who could ever imagine a 2nd party developer being so bad at graphics and controls ON THEIR HOME SYSTEM!? But...what came out of this? The Madden game that first appeared on the PS was GREAT! EA got their ass kicked and put it in gear. The "NFL 2kx" series was doing this. Though they have had some drawbacks, the "2kx" series has been a very very good alternative to the Madden series.

2) I am glad to also see some people on this board are not impressed with Ubi Soft, I thought it was just me! I bought Beyound Good & Evil, expecting a pretty good game (the reviews made this game sound great). What I got was a very poorly controlled-Zelda-wanna-be game that was a huge let down. I thought Ubi Soft sounded like they might be a good thing for video games. They had some nice concepts with creating franchises (PoP, BG&E, Rayman). But, this is where the "Nintendo Difference" comes in. They all fall well short of what they could be. This is the exact reason why I buy ONLY Nintendo games.

The 20% ownership by EA doesn't really matter to me. I don't care. I don't buy games outside of Nintendo, except sports games. I buy EA NCAA sports games, but now I am not even going to do that. I will just have to buy the NCAA sports games from Sega, if they still make this after this. I don't see why they would spend so much money on their NCAA games when the Pro ones sell much better.

BTW-Does anyone have NCAA Football 2005? How annoying is it with all of the advertisements in that game? Pontiac amoung others are all over that game and you can skip past their ads! Why do I have to pay $50 to look at ads? It is total BS and this all just adds to how much I do not care for EA.

couchmonkeyDecember 20, 2004

Wowsers! EA=bad! I'm going to be semi-boycotting the company now. I can't give up on it entirely, I want Timesplitters 3 too badly, but everything else is out the door.

I wonder if an EA console would cause any damage to Nintendo's marketshare? It almost seems like the answer is no, what with Nintendo fans' lack of interest in sports games. I think it could seriously hurt PS2 and Xbox, though.

Ian SaneDecember 20, 2004

"I wonder if an EA console would cause any damage to Nintendo's marketshare? It almost seems like the answer is no, what with Nintendo fans' lack of interest in sports games. I think it could seriously hurt PS2 and Xbox, though."

In theory you would assume so since Nintendo fans aren't as interested in EA. However I thought the Xbox would only steal marketshare from Sony (due to obvious similarities in target markets) but it looks to me like they took away Nintendo's instead what with the "PS2 or Xbox" mentality a lot of people have. The Cube realistically would have been in much better shape if the Xbox wasn't released.

An EA console would steal some people from Sony since there are people who buy a PS2 just for EA Sports. But I think the that most gamers have no real hard loyality to one console maker and whoever is "in" succeeds and who isn't is squeezed out. Sega couldn't survive on just their fans and Nintendo's fanbase isn't enough to make the Cube a high enough seller for most third parties. If EA released a console I think they would after a year or so slot into a "rank" and the console(s) below them would struggle. It seems like significant market share is taken mostly from those below. EA would likely squeeze out Nintendo before Sony or MS, barring any huge N64 cartridge level mistakes.

StrikerObiMike Sklens, Podcast EditorDecember 20, 2004

Quote

Originally posted by: PaLaDiN
I don't get why people like Beyond Good and Evil. It's a crappy Zelda clone, same as SFA. I paid less than $20 for it and I still think I wasted my money.

In fact I don't see why people like any of Ubisoft's games. They're all massively overhyped trash with little to no substance covered by excessive overcompensations in presentation that would only delude people who don't own PCs. Especially the first PoP. God, don't get me started on that game.

I hope they get bought out. A crappy company buying another crappy company. Good riddance... I'd have less names to keep track of for my "avoid" list.


Wow, I can't find a single part of this post I agree with.

Beyond Good & Evil is more developed than Zelda has probably EVER been as far as story goes. Link has been saving Zelda and killing Gannon since the 80's. The story never changes; it's only slightly modified for each game. Granted the two share a lot in common gameplay wise, but BG&E walks all over Zelda's story because unlike Zelda, BG&E actually has a story. It's a complex look at government, media, and propaganda. It's got an awesome (though somewhat easy to foretell) twist at the end.

As far as Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time ("the first one" as you call it, which is wrong as the series has been around for over a decade). This game is magnificent. It's got an artistic style that's beyond what most games can even hope to accomplish. The story, again, is absolutely top notch. The use of in-game dialogue between The Prince and Farah is astounding, and really helps the player connect with the characters. It's one of the only games I've ever really cared about the characters in. It's a beautiful love story, with a heart-breaking end.

Your entire post reeks of fanboy idiocy. In fact, most of the posts in this thread do. More companies than Nintendo make good games.

However, I will agree that this year Ubi Soft has been an awful awful developer. They shot down any chance of a sequel to BG&E and then proceeded to crap all over everything that was good about Prince of Persia. All that's left is a shell of what the game used to be, now covered in angst, blood, boobs, and awful godsmack songs.

Ian SaneDecember 20, 2004

"Beyond Good & Evil is more developed than Zelda has probably EVER been as far as story goes."

Well I think that right there sums up the reason why BG&E has received a lot of praise and also why it has received a lot of backlash. To me story in games is secondary. The important part is always the gameplay and BG&E is not very exceptional in terms of gameplay. Is it decent? Sure. But there are tons of exceptional games out there competing for my time and money. People rave about BG&E like it's this amazing game that was brutally overlooked. Well from strictly a gameplay point of view it made sense for it to be overlooked. If you like the story that's fine. But that's not what's important to me and many others. When comparisons to Zelda are being made then gameplay is especially going to be what's under the magnifying glass because to a Zelda fan gameplay is king.

Story and content and characters have in the last few years become really important to a lot of gamers and I find it makes it hard for me to trust reviews. How do I know the game is actually that great when the reviewer looks at a game like it's a book or a movie instead of a game? A lot of games are getting huge praise just because they have a decent narrative. To me those postives regarding both BG&E and PoP: The Sand of Time that you mentioned don't matter. If I just want a story there are books and films that do it better than any game.

CHENDecember 20, 2004

It's not enough to have influence over the company however, at least not yet. But it's definitely a bad thing the direction the industry is heading. I don't even buy EA products and I won't either in the future, not after what they've done to their employees. At this rate they'll buy Blizzard too or even worse... invade Japan. Quick! Someone buy Capcom or Namco before it's too late!

WuTangTurtleDecember 20, 2004

Wow, this is all messed up.

EA has a great oppurtunity to release a system. It would make great sense at why they wanted a 5 year deal with the nfl. In this way they make the next 5 Madden games on their console and everyone knows there are alot of Sony fans that will buy into EA's console for that.

But It would fail in Japan, In Japan you need creativity to sell any games, or some type of great RPG.

And for those who don't know how EA treats its developers this is how they operate:

1 guy works on modeling the nose, 1 guy textures the nose, 1 guy models the face, etc.
It's all run in a conveyor belt. Creativity will never come through this method.

We should send EA a box of monociles.

EA would not release a system because they'd spend more money on its development/marketing than it's worth. They're the biggest 3rd party publisher, and they're very happy where they are. Their investors want profits and probably wouldn't allows such an unneeded risk. Some people (such as former PGC staff writer Adam Kontras) say Nintendo would be better off 3rd party, since it is a very strong publisher whose gmaes appeal to people who don't own their system. I don't agree with that, simply becuase Nintendo likes full control, but it could only hurt EA's sales. They have a strong foothold in the market and ANY CONSOLE GAMER can purchase most of their games.

As for Ubisoft, while only a few of their games have appealed to me over the years, I've always respected them for their genuine multiplatform attempts and, until recently, their artistic styule and respect for a gamer's intelligence. I remember going to Ubisoft's booth at E3 and being able to discuss the displayed games in earnest with Associate Producers and other significant folks on the team. Rayman 2 remains one of my favorite 3D platformers (though it is a little dated now), and Prince of Persia: SoT DID have good gameplay. The story was well done, too, though that's not what appealed to me so much.

JonLeungDecember 20, 2004

To the one who compared BG&E to Zelda; Link actually fought Ganon in only half of the games. SPOILERS...It's just that in the bigger, more well-known Zelda games that he tends to run into Ganon, people forget that he didn't in Adventure Of Link, Link's Awakening, Majora's Mask, one of the Oracle games (since when any one person plays them both, you can't face him in the first one you play), Minish Cap...but anyway...

I loved BG&E, but maybe because I rented it on my own impression that it would be good. The problem with underrated games is that within certain circles they become overrated. Like, I'm starting to get tired of hearing about how "mature" and great Eternal Darkness is, even though outside of the Nintendo community no one's really heard of it. Maybe some of you who didn't like BG&E were expecting too much. Though it was short, I loved almost all of it.

In this past year or two Ubi Soft has really become a publisher worth noting (I never really got into Rayman (though I should) or any of the billion of Tom Clancy games.) But with all that quality stuff Ubi Soft has, no wonder EA wants it. Well, it now has it. EA's generic game library (I must admit I do like some of their games on rentals (I'd never buy them) but there are too few surprises) could use some Ubi Soft stuff, but for Ubi Soft's sake, I hope EA doesn't dictate what they do.

I never understood this stuff. About buying up companies. With 19.9%, they have a fifth of the vote on any decisions being made, right? It's still a negligible minority if Ubi Soft always votes however they want, assuming they all work that well together. Maybe my problem is envisioning companies as being a single person, as if the same person who makes CastleVania and Contra is the same person who now makes Metal Gear Solid and Yu-Gi-Oh! or something like that.

nickmitchDecember 20, 2004

Well EA still has the potential to buy the rest of Ubi Soft.

Quote

All that's left is a shell of what the game used to be, now covered in angst, blood, boobs, and awful godsmack songs.

Eeeewww! Godsmack! and I'm getting PoP:WW for Christmas!

cmoneyDecember 20, 2004

It's probably best to look at Ubisoft's publishing/development record on the PC in this case.

CaillanDecember 20, 2004

The Younger Plummer's comment about respecting gamers' intelligence describes pretty well what makes Ubisoft a respectable developer. The only game of their's I've ever gotten into was Rayman 2, but that was enough. I would dearly like to play PoP: SoT, but unsuprisingly it cannot be located in my region.

I never got into BG&E, in fact it rather bored me, but I realise this is merely personal preference; I still respect it as a game. Having said that, comparing it to Zelda is unfair: as far as I'm concerned, games like Zelda are fine styled as myths with solid storylines that lay in the background. The thing that gets me about telling 'original' stories in games is that all too often cheap and predictable twists are relied on, and these detract from a game, not add to it. Playing Tales of Symphonia, I can predict pretty well most of the major twists, yet I have to suffer idiot characters making decisions for me: the story in these parts actually makes me not want to play the game because I fear it'll be a waste of time.

Ian Sane said he doesn't bother with stories in games because books and movies do it better. If anything, I'd say good books tend rely more on a sense of enivitablity than anything else in their plots. Presuming extra development in the area allows for greater depth to be displayed, why can this not be the case for games?

NinGurl69 *hugglesDecember 20, 2004

Mario, SpongeBob, Tom Clancy, Oldsen Twins, Hillary Duff...

YOU'RE NEXT! GRRRRRRRR EA eats franchies for BREAKFAST!

Huh. Well dang. EA is the 900-pound gorilla, now I guess it's eating all of the little bananas.

The reason why these companies go with EA is because of their massive distribution channels and marketing. Heck, if I was the CEO of a small developer I'd love to be bought out by EA. Number one, I'd be rich, and number two, EA has the ability to get my games out all over the place. From a business standpoint it's huge.

I'm not rabidly anti-EA (although I think the NFL deal is ridiculous, don't even get me started), but it's scary how they're buying out/into smaller developers left and right. They're really making aggressive moves and squeezing out the little guys. The video game industry is becoming like the movie industry - a whole bunch of smaller studios owned by massive media conglomerates (Time-Warner, Viacom, etc.).

Last week I would have said the idea of an EA console is out of the question, but with the properties they have now, I wouldn't put anything past them. After all, in 1994 the idea of a console made by Sony would have been dismissed as crazy too. I don't think EA would want the hassle of going hardware (especially after seeing Trip Hawkins fall flat on his face with the 3DO), but who knows. If their investors thought it would make the most money in the long run, they might consider it.

BTW - that comparison of EA to Hitler is the funniest thing I've read in a while. Now THAT is hating. hahaha

silks

StrikerObiMike Sklens, Podcast EditorDecember 20, 2004

JonLeung. It doesn't matter if Link is fighting Ganon or Majora or anything else. What it boils down to is that the story is pretty much always "save the world Link!" It's tired. Nintendo says they are taking a slightly darker look into Hyrule with the new Zelda game, but I'm not sure I trust them. I could care less how dark they make it if the story is still the same. We need to look into Link and see what makes him tick. He throws on this mantle of hero every game, but I don't understand his motivation. Why does he do it? The answer seems to be "because he was told to" or "because it's his destiny."

NinGurl69 *hugglesDecember 20, 2004

Because I want to do it.

~~~~~

There's a locked door; must unlock it.

There's a monster; must defeat it.

There's a puzzle; must solve it.

There's a challenge; must complete it.

~~~~~

I enjoy completing the intertwined series of challenges that defines the adventure of a Zelda game. Link's not saving or wanting to save any world unless I want to as well. Otherwise, I'd be playing another game or looking up "mature content" on the interweb.

gallyDecember 20, 2004

StrikerObi, most people do NOT care about story. Story is intensely popular in certain circles, yes, but how many people do you know who enjoy video games actually talk about the story? Look at the best selling games, including the best-selling single-player games (so you can avoid the "you don't need a story; it's multiplayer" argument). How many of them had a story, at least, one that people gave a damn about?

The Zelda games sell damn well; do they have stories? You say they don't; do the people who buy them care? The feeling of going on a grand adventure can be accomplished using gameplay and presentation, and diversity in world design. Story is just in the background; even if you're told that you're doing X because of reason Y, most people quickly ignore reason Y and concentrate only on doing X.

Seriously. Saying BG&E is better than Zelda and using ONLY story as your argument is like someone saying that Doom 3 is better than Halo 2 and using graphics as their argument. It's their opinion, yes, but it's retarded.

Hostile CreationDecember 20, 2004

I've said it once and I'll say it again, if you want a good story, read a book. A mediocre novel's story is generally superior to that of a good game story. I play games because they're games, not because they have a heart-breaking love story in them. I haven't played Beyond Good and Evil, so I have no beef against that, but most games people showed me that were supposed to have a "good story" were not only boring games, but the stories were crap, too. Take Final Fantasy for instance. Boring games, throw in a bad love story, predictable plot line, and the world coming to an end and you got yourself a game!
Any game that can pull off both is fine by me, and if BG&E did, that's grand. I hope you had a good time. But don't moan about Zelda having a bad story, because nobody cares if it does or not.

And I think duty and destiny have nothing to do with Link's reasons for saving the world. If you were given the opportunity to go on an adventure and save the world, what would you do? Zelda games bring out the child's desire, everyone's desire, to become a hero. It's his own will, not anything else, that drives him to do it.
But now I'm just looking at it way too much face-icon-small-wink.gif

PaLaDiNDecember 20, 2004

"Beyond Good & Evil is more developed than Zelda has probably EVER been as far as story goes."

I don't give a crap about story. I don't play most games for their story. Unless the story is exceptional, I don't even notice it. The reason for this is that the average game's story, with very few exceptions, completely sucks, and BG&E is no different. You call that a good story? Please... you're reaching now. I could have crapped a better story out of my ass. If you want a good story, read a book.

"Link has been saving Zelda and killing Gannon since the 80's. The story never changes; it's only slightly modified for each game. Granted the two share a lot in common gameplay wise, but BG&E walks all over Zelda's story because unlike Zelda, BG&E actually has a story. It's a complex look at government, media, and propaganda. It's got an awesome (though somewhat easy to foretell) twist at the end."

Complex look at government, media and propaganda? What the...? Did you play the same game I did? I can't even remember the story, all I know is that the government was bad. It was that forgettable. And if you're playing Zelda for the story, you're playing the wrong game. Mario 1 didn't have a story, does that make it bad?

"As far as Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time ("the first one" as you call it, which is wrong as the series has been around for over a decade)."

Yeah, I actually enjoyed the first two. Slip of the tongue.

"This game is magnificent. It's got an artistic style that's beyond what most games can even hope to accomplish. The story, again, is absolutely top notch. The use of in-game dialogue between The Prince and Farah is astounding, and really helps the player connect with the characters. It's one of the only games I've ever really cared about the characters in. It's a beautiful love story, with a heart-breaking end."

Are you even listening to yourself? Story blah blah... art blah blah... is that all you care about? I wouldn't even know what the story was about because Ubisoft didn't put any subtitles... but I don't care if it was a masterpiece, the gameplay was an atrocious piece of crap and that completely turned me off.

"Your entire post reeks of fanboy idiocy. In fact, most of the posts in this thread do. More companies than Nintendo make good games."

Why don't you show me where I said anything about any company except Ubisoft. Of course Nintendo isn't the only company that makes good games... but you haven't showed me one SHRED of evidence that Ubisoft makes any. Go back and look at your post... it's all about story and art. Where's the game? Why am I holding a controller?

Aussie Ben PGCBen Kosmina, Staff AlumnusDecember 20, 2004

Quote

Originally posted by: Hostile Creation
I've said it once and I'll say it again, if you want a good story, read a book.


Reading that makes me cry and scream all at the same time. Don't get me wrong, I love a paperback as much as the next person (even moreso, maybe?) but to say that a book is the only storytelling medium allowed? The notion is incredibly short-sighted. A movie can tell a story. Poetry can tell a story. Even a series of beautiful pictures can tell a story. Why then, should a game not be allowed to do so? Who's to say that just because the main focus of a game is interaction, no other method of enjoyment is allowed? That's just dense. I enjoyed Ratchet and Clank not only because of its gameplay, but because I was curious to find out what would happen next. I loved playing LeChuck's Revenge because of its hilarious story, not just because I like Adventure games. And Psychonauts compels me to play it, not merely because it's a 3D platformer, but because the characters have a depth to their history which you can discover if you only look for it. In the same fashion, I love Beyond Good and Evil not only because of the style of gameplay, but also because it's got an excellent story which shows the power of the media.

I also liked it because you weren't limited to a maximum of three photos which then had to be taken to a specific place to be developed. Instant creature identification - ingenious.

PaLaDiNDecember 20, 2004

Ben, I don't think you get the point.

Sure a game can tell a story. But games generally don't tell any good ones, or at least not on the level of a good book or movie. So if you're looking for a good story in a game, you will as a rule be disappointed.

Eternal Darkness, for example, had a good story. Half Life 1 had a good story. Baten Kaitos (for one brief moment), Monkey Island, Grim Fandango, KotoR (also for one brief moment, albeit slightly predictable) ... all of these had good stories. But they're the exception. Therefore, if you're looking for a good story, you will more likely find one in a book.

BG&E, I'm sorry to say, was not an exception. The story was crap. Not only was the story crap, but the gameplay was a tired derivative of much better games.

Secondly, any game that sacrifices gameplay for story is on my sh!t list. The games I listed above don't just have good story going for them... they also have good gameplay. The reason I am holding a controller is to play a game, to directly interact with the onscreen details in order to get enjoyment that I cannot get from a book or movie. PoP falls under this category. It may have the best story in the world (I have no idea because I'm hearing impaired... thank you Ubisoft, I hope you burn in hell.) but I seriously don't care. The game itself, the reason I sat down and switched on my gamecube, sucked. I derived no pleasure from the experience and quite a bit of pain.

To sum it up, what I'm saying is this:
Good gameplay + crap story = good game. Crap gameplay + good story = crap game.

Striker, I'm not sure we'll ever see why Link ticks, nor would I want to know why Nintendo thinks he is doing what he does. Link doesn't talk--not even in textual form--save for the occasional player-chosen response to a question, because the player is supposed to use his/her imagination to fill in the holes (if that player even cares). So I doubt we'll see a deeper storyline in the next Zelda, though anything is possible with a new director if Aonuma and Miyamoto give enough slack.

If Nintendo wants to make a Zelda-esque game with a real story, they'd best dust off their franchise invention hats.

DeguelloJeff Shirley, Staff AlumnusDecember 20, 2004

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He throws on this mantle of hero every game, but I don't understand his motivation. Why does he do it? The answer seems to be "because he was told to" or "because it's his destiny."


And how exactly would finding out Link's "motivation" change the actions he takes? Or the outcome? Would anything change except that 10 minutes of reading text has passed? What does it matter? I'd rather they not tell me and let me decide for myself what his motivation is. That, and make great dungeons and gameplay and whatnot.

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Even a series of beautiful pictures can tell a story.


I think this says it all really. Why must the stories in video games be presented just one way? Why must they all be voice-acted to the nines and have all the cliched over-twisted convoluted storyline tricks of dime store novelists? I think more story is conveyed through Link's FACE in Wind Waker than in several chatty RPG's.

But anyway... Hey EA sure is buying up a lot of companies, eh?

NinGurl69 *hugglesDecember 20, 2004

The Legend of Zelda, hmm

The Chronicles of Riddick, hmm...


...


The Trials of Marcus???

MarioDecember 20, 2004

Zelda games have the best story's ever because I care about the characters, and I don't foghat everything they say and how they feel. The NPC's are the biggest part of the story telling for me, sure you have the "Link must defeat Ganon" part, but that just makes it Zelda-ish.

Metroid Prime should not have duel analog FPS controls.

The Mario Sunshine commercial was great.

Indigo is not kiddie.

Thanks, EA.

joshnickersonDecember 21, 2004

Just reported on GamerFeed that the NBA rejected EA's initial offer for an exclusivity deal like their NFL deal.
http://general.gamerfeed.com/gf/news/8094/
EA is also currently courting the MLB.
O.o

Ian SaneDecember 21, 2004

Hooray for the NBA! Sticking it to EA almost makes up for the Grizzlies leaving Vancouver. Well I'll still not watch because I have no local team but still good for the NBA. face-icon-small-smile.gif

KnowsNothingDecember 21, 2004

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The Mario Sunshine commercial was great.


:rock:

I guess I'll put my two cents in here. Concerning EA, there's not much we can do. Buying 20% of Ubi-Soft is a major blow to the industry (although, the rights to the NFL takes the cake...) because Ubi-Soft had large amounts of potential to make great games, but what are we gonna do? I have a friend who only like sports games, and one of his arguments for them is the fact that they're updated every year with new rosters. There are a ton of people like this, and that's where EA got all the money to tap into other sure-sellers such as Bond or Harry Potter.

(btw, I didn't try to make this sound like the be all and end all tpg.gif I'm just saying, just as Ubi has the potential to make great games, EA now has the potential to totally screw them up...)

So hay, I loved BG&E. The gameplay was a tad repetitive, but the story, style and atmosphere AMAZED me beyond what I expected from a game that droped to 20 bucks in almost no shelf time. I was totally immersed into the world of Hyllis and whenever I played I completely blotted out the real world from my mind. The game had its problems, such as the huge influx of pearls at the end of the game so you never really had to go looking for them, but I didn't mind that because I was Jade and I was trying to free people's minds from the illusion created by propaganda GOOD STORY. I was just as immersed and fantasized by BG&E as I was with Wind Waker.

PoP: SoT, although I haven't spent too much time with the game, also had an amazing art style. The most amazing part, though, was that this game succesfully brought 2D platforming into a completely 3D environment, something that is RARELY done succesfully.

Oh hay, Rayman 2 :rock: Not gonna go into this, but I do have a question. Rayman DS (which was pushed back to 2005 >=o ) looks, from the screenshots, to be basically a port of Rayman 2. I haven't read anytinhg about this, but can anyone confirm/deny? Also, for those who've played both Super Mario 64 DS and Rayman 2, how do you think the controls will work out in the DS version? Evidently the D-Pad is the only way to maneuver in Rayman DS. Will the more linear structure of Rayman 2 (assuming that they will be similar, if not the same) work better than what I've read about SM64DS's D-Pad controls?

Oh [QI I can't even remember the story, all I know is that the government was bad

The government was setting up attacks on Hyllis. The DomZ were "saviors" sent out by the same government to basically create a large "fanbase." The DomZ were also kidnapping a whole bunch of Hyllians, but since the public was so blinded by their propaganda they never even considered the DomZ to be responsible. The kidnapped citizens would be shipped to the moon to feed their "lord" figure guy (iirc...). As Jade, working for the IRIS network, it was your job to collect evidence proving the DomZ true motive and gaining support form the Hyllians in an attempt to overthrow the government and save lives. Plus there were a couple twists too.

If you couldn't remember any of the story at all, it seems that you most likely played through a bit of the game, decided that you hated it, and kept that mindset throughout, thus blocking out the story with all your hate hate hate. Or you didn't play/finish it. Or you have a way short memory =p Anywho, it's not the best story, but remember, this isn't some RPG that relies on hour-long cutscenes to tell a story; this game DID have decent gameplay, and for an adventure game like this, a good story just adds to it.

JonLeungDecember 21, 2004

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Originally posted by: StrikerObi
JonLeung. It doesn't matter if Link is fighting Ganon or Majora or anything else. What it boils down to is that the story is pretty much always "save the world Link!" It's tired. Nintendo says they are taking a slightly darker look into Hyrule with the new Zelda game, but I'm not sure I trust them. I could care less how dark they make it if the story is still the same. We need to look into Link and see what makes him tick. He throws on this mantle of hero every game, but I don't understand his motivation. Why does he do it? The answer seems to be "because he was told to" or "because it's his destiny."


POSSIBLE SPOILERS AHEAD?



I guess that's true too. Funny, Link is my favorite character and I never really thought much about what goes on in his head. My brother's favorite character is Samus, and she doesn't say much either, or do much worth personality-revealing. Well, to avoid spoilers, there was that thing that happened near the end of Super Metroid, but what there IS of Samus is implied more than explicitly stated.

I guess the same goes for other Nintendo characters...why does Mario save the princess? We assume he loves Peach, but aside from a couple on-the-nose smooches, it's rarely ever confirmed. Why must Kirby save Dream Land again? We see that King Dedede is rarely TRULY evil, but Kirby goes along with all that is cute and good for no reason. Maybe Nintendo characters lack souls so that players can identify with them, but as games become more cinematic, these characters seem too...shallow? I was going to say "quiet", but after Chalres Martinet took on the role of Mario, the guy won't shut up! Not that that's entirely bad but he sure speaks a lot for a guy you'd think would be out of breath running around. Again I digress.

Perhaps that's why people love or hate Nintendo characters. So much is implied or imagined, and little is actually confirmed. But we're talking about Ubi Soft & EA...

Ubi Soft seems more creative than EA...I haven't played much of any Rayman but at least Ubi Soft used their imagination caps for that franchise. I don't think they did the original Prince Of Persia or Myst but they seem to be continuing them with some success. EA's biggest games seem to be movie licenses or sports titles, not that there isn't some creativity in some of them, but they're mostly "cookie-cutter". If EA wants to buy Ubi Soft and Ubi Soft lets itself be bought, fine, but hopefully this has no negative effect on Ubi Soft's output. I guess time will tell, as always.

PaLaDiNDecember 21, 2004

"If you couldn't remember any of the story at all, it seems that you most likely played through a bit of the game, decided that you hated it, and kept that mindset throughout, thus blocking out the story with all your hate hate hate. Or you didn't play/finish it. Or you have a way short memory =p Anywho, it's not the best story, but remember, this isn't some RPG that relies on hour-long cutscenes to tell a story; this game DID have decent gameplay, and for an adventure game like this, a good story just adds to it."

None of the above. I played the game all the way through to the end to give it a chance to impress me. It didn't. Therefore, waste of money and crappy game.

Now that you've posted the story I can see why I forgot it. It sucks even more than I remember. Seriously, if you think that's a good story you must not have read many books or seen many movies. No matter how much you delude yourself, government conspiracy stories aren't anything new.

Besides, you're still missing the point. Let's say hypothetically speaking the story was the best ever written. I still wouldn't be satisfied. You know why? Because the gameplay wasn't any good.

DjunknownDecember 21, 2004

Man, tempers are flaring from all sides! Maybe I should hide behind the sandbags...

I won't argue about "game X vs game Y" since it'll be like a never ending game of Pong...

Gotta give it to EA to make headlines not once, but twice for what could be considered a slow time for game news.

As long as EA makes games that aren't sub-par a la Acclaim, and still support Nintendo systems, its all gravy by me. Though it seems EA's been studying MS's mantra: If you can't beat 'em, buy 'em out (or buy them off...)

I wouldn't be surprised if someone decides to go for an Anti-trust suit; maybe not now but if EA keeps it up, we'll see in a few years.

PaLaDiNDecember 21, 2004

"I won't argue about "game X vs game Y" since it'll be like a never ending game of Pong..."

I'm not falling for your subliminal messages. Pong sucks too.

No, I'm kidding. Strangely enough, Pong is fun. You'd never know though, what with the whole lack of any story which must absolutely cripple it according to some people.

KnowsNothingDecember 21, 2004

Heh, tempers ARE rising =p

PaLaDiN, if you're going to stick by that Pong analogy than there's no use talking to you (not that there was much use before >_>). I'm thinking you made that post out of pure obstinance. If not, and you truley believe that you have a good argument there....well, we can just let you be on your merry little way.

Arguing "game x vs game y" IS pointless, but talking about "game x and game y" spereatley, by their own merits, works.

[Q}Now that you've posted the story I can see why I forgot it. It sucks even more than I remember. Seriously, if you think that's a good story you must not have read many books or seen many movies. No matter how much you delude yourself, government conspiracy stories aren't anything new.




Hold on a second.......did I SAY it was anything new? No. Government conspiracy has been done before, many times, I know. The story isn't anything spectacular when compared to books or movies, but when compared to other games like it, BG&E rise above its competition.

PaLaDiNDecember 22, 2004

"Heh, tempers ARE rising =p"

Heh, dude, I hope you're not taking me seriously... for some reason I get that a lot. Maybe now is a bit too late to point out that I'm not angry at all. I just like arguing. Just because someone disagrees with you doesn't mean he's on the edge of his seat, nostrils flaring, cursing at the computer screen.

Here, have a cookie.

"PaLaDiN, if you're going to stick by that Pong analogy than there's no use talking to you (not that there was much use before >_>). I'm thinking you made that post out of pure obstinance. If not, and you truley believe that you have a good argument there....well, we can just let you be on your merry little way."

No no no, go ahead and tell me where I'm wrong. Are you implying that Pong sucks? Blasphemy! What about Tetris?

"Arguing "game x vs game y" IS pointless, but talking about "game x and game y" spereatley, by their own merits, works."

In that case, then most games you've ever played fall far short of your lofty art and story goals.

It's also not cool to contradict yourself in the same post, saying things like "The story isn't anything spectacular when compared to books or movies, but when compared to other games like it, BG&E rise above its competition.". Who's comparing games now? My point is that if you're looking for story, there's better to be had elsewhere. Games are not an industry where good stories abound. Judging their stories by their own merits, you'll find that most of them suck. It's only when you exclude books and movies and compare it to other games instead that your appraisal seems anything but ignorant. Given that most game stories suck, then, what's the reason I'm playing games? For the one thing I can get out of them that I can't get elsewhere... the gameplay.

"Hold on a second.......did I SAY it was anything new? No. Government conspiracy has been done before, many times, I know."

You agree with me, so why are you arguing? Your logic is selective and inconsistent. I'm confused.

KnowsNothingDecember 22, 2004

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Heh, dude, I hope you're not taking me seriously... for some reason I get that a lot. Maybe now is a bit too late to point out that I'm not angry at all. I just like arguing. Just because someone disagrees with you doesn't mean he's on the edge of his seat, nostrils flaring, cursing at the computer screen.


At least we're on the same page about that =p It did sound like you were angry, and I apologize if I sounded angry too =p.

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"PaLaDiN, if you're going to stick by that Pong analogy than there's no use talking to you (not that there was much use before >_>). I'm thinking you made that post out of pure obstinance. If not, and you truley believe that you have a good argument there....well, we can just let you be on your merry little way."

No no no, go ahead and tell me where I'm wrong. Are you implying that Pong sucks? Blasphemy! What about Tetris?


As a matter of fact, I love Pong. Tetris too, I just suck at it D= Anyway, let's take a look at Pong: (a) It was one of the first arcade games and, if I'm not mistaken, the first home console game (well, a variation of it...) and (b) it's a ping-pong game. Both of these things are very good reasons why there was no story. Also good reasons why it didn't NEED a story. Thus it being a bad example and a weak argument.

I typed up a whole big response, but I'll sumamrize. I see where you're coming from. Basically, you judge a game's story compared to any story you've experienced. I judge it just in the game industry. Would you agree that if BG&E's story was the first of it's kind than it would be strong? Well, for a game like that, it was the first of it's kind. It was then combined with what I felt was strong gameplay (which is all this pretty much comes down to anyway >_>) which resulted in a high quality experience.

Anyway, you're saying that it's a weak story. I'm saying that it's a mediocre story on it's own, but when put into the game it works very well. Which, in my opinion, warrents a positive review and respect for the developer. A game's story won't make or break it, it only adds to it.

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Your logic is selective and inconsistent.


Well DUH. Half the time I'm not even sure what I'm going on about. We're arguing slightly different things here, but what the hell. RANT RANT RANT I have nothing else to do.

(btw, I added this somewhere in my longer version of this post, so I'll just stick it at the end. What's your favorite book with the best story? Now pretend that it was made into a game with great gameplay. Would you say that the story is weak because it's been done before? I wouldn't because it'd be the first time that it was brought into gaming. It's a little different since it's a game based on a book, but I'm just trying to reinstate my opinion that when passing judgement on any aspect of a game, I'm not going to look into other forms of media as comparision.)



(also, I can't remember what I said in my last posts besides what you quoted and I can't be arsed into looking. So NYAH)

About Rayman DS: I've been thinking the same exact thing ever since screens popped up. I'm convinced it is Rayman 2, just like Kirby: Nightmare in Dreamland was Kirby's Adventure but that fact was downplayed by Nintendo.

I'm actually very worried about Rayman 2 D-pad. It'll work fine for the sliding sections, but the main game required precision...more precision than Mario 64 most of the time. I think this is in part due to the linear level design. I wouldn't be surprised if the was delayed to include a stylus control after seeing Mario 64 DS which, though not perfect, works pretty well and could be improved upon.

MarioDecember 22, 2004

From the latest screens it shows that Rayman DS has a very practical touch screen analog input control, different to the Super Mario 64 DS touch screen control.

Hostile CreationDecember 22, 2004

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Reading that makes me cry and scream all at the same time. Don't get me wrong, I love a paperback as much as the next person (even moreso, maybe?) but to say that a book is the only storytelling medium allowed? The notion is incredibly short-sighted. A movie can tell a story. Poetry can tell a story. Even a series of beautiful pictures can tell a story. Why then, should a game not be allowed to do so? Who's to say that just because the main focus of a game is interaction, no other method of enjoyment is allowed? That's just dense. I enjoyed Ratchet and Clank not only because of its gameplay, but because I was curious to find out what would happen next. I loved playing LeChuck's Revenge because of its hilarious story, not just because I like Adventure games. And Psychonauts compels me to play it, not merely because it's a 3D platformer, but because the characters have a depth to their history which you can discover if you only look for it. In the same fashion, I love Beyond Good and Evil not only because of the style of gameplay, but also because it's got an excellent story which shows the power of the media.


I did not mean to imply in any way that books were the only medium. I'm a creative person, and I like to experience every form of storytelling I can find. I write regularly (poetry and prose, though mainly prose) and I have every intention of going into the movie industry (taking three communications classes next semester). I like reading quality comics (or making less than quality comics with my friends, but that's a whole different story). One of my favorite childhood books is a picture book called Freefall, no words at all. And yes, I like stories in video games. But when it comes to video games, I like the game and how it plays before the story. And not just how it plays, but how it feels when I play it. Nintendo games make me feel a certain way, the details contained therein, the way the NPCs act, how the characters you play are often so silent and yet you feel so close to them.
One of my favorite video game stories is, as a matter of fact, a Zelda game. Link's Awakening. Not just the plot altogether, but the way it unfolded, and that ending. . . it's an incredible story. But I enjoyed playing the game, experiencing it, more than I did taking in the story. That's irrelevant, though. My point is, BG&E probably had a good story. I'm tempted to try it out now. But most of the books I'll read will surpass it regardless, and I know this. They will have better characters, better atmosphere, a better plot, and better twists, and they haven't even visualized it for me. It's not pointless to appreciate a game's story, but it's pointless to squabble over it not having a particularly good one when that was not the intention of the developers at all.
In short, a game is meant to be played. Having a story is excellent, and if it's good that's awesome, but a game should not simply be a medium for telling a story. It should be a game, and there's nothing wrong with focusing on it being a game more than it having a story.

CaillanDecember 22, 2004

There are few artistic mediums in which a completely original story can be told. In my opinion, a good book isn't one with a good story: it is one that tells a story well. My favourite author will often casually remark what is to happen at the end of a section in an otherwise wayward sentence, yet his books are excellent. Games are no different in this respect: why did MGS2 feel so mediocre? Little effort was made to entwine story and gameplay; they were seperate elements with little connexion, there was a movie and a game. It is for this reason that I feel FMV scenes in RPGs are redundant, unless they are a 'treat' rarely found. For me, combining story and gameplay is key to allowing the industry develop and allowing games to be considered respectable like books or movies are to normal folk.

KDR_11kDecember 23, 2004

TYP: I've played Rayman 2 on the PC, the game doesn't suffer from digital control. Well, okay, I never got far (10-15 levels in, I think) but it's a Rayman game, you're not supposed to win.

After I just realized I have to blacklist EA for the same offense as Ubisoft (overbroad copy-protection schemes that make legal users envy the pirates who can play their games without trouble) this news has zero effect on me. Well, okay, even without blacklisting them I wouldn't buy their games but still.

Hostile CreationDecember 23, 2004

Caillan, how a story is told is often the key to whether it's good or not. A book with an excellent plot can be absolutely terrible. An original plot is always refreshing, but the storytelling is more important than the story itself.
But I didn't want to get that deep into it, explaining how it related to books and games and all of that. I just wanted to get the simple message across.

kirby_killer_dededeDecember 24, 2004

Well, at least thanks to the NFL deal we get all the football games. No more "in your faces" from PS2 owners about ESPN and such.

EA is coming! LOCK THE FREAKING DOORS, DAMMIT, LOCK THE FREAKING DOORS.

KDR_11kDecember 24, 2004

Correction: We get all officially licensed NFL games. Sports games have been and will be made without licenses to the official names.

BloodworthDaniel Bloodworth, Staff AlumnusJanuary 06, 2005

oh my, sorry to drag this up again, but I just read the completely off-topic arguments here. Here's my take:

I get the sense that what people perceive as a "good story" these days is merely a game with good voice acting. Finally, games like BG&E have people acting rather than (poorly) reading lines. And really I think this is about the only difference between BG&E and a game like Baten Kaitos, which got trashed for having a "bad story" by some people. It wasn't any worse than a Final Fantasy plot, but DID have terrible acting that made you question whether anyone even looked at their lines before recording.

As for the game itself, I thought that BG&E was gorgeous and I liked the dungeon designs, but there were way too many downsides: The battle system was pretty stiff and uninteresting; the game was entirely too small; and it was simple to do everything in the first play-through, leaving no reason to play it again.

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