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Smiled at the sight of Mig. (Gaming)

by Kermit @, Raleigh, NC, Monday, October 24, 2022, 18:14 (41 days ago) @ Morpheus
edited by Kermit, Monday, October 24, 2022, 18:48

I watched the tribute section. I didn't watch all of the kvetching. Sorry.

One thing that is kind of left out (from what I've read of this thread) is how entitled and cynical the gaming community has become (not unique to gaming communities). There was always bitching and moaning (I was here for the MS acquisition), but that burned out because people left. Now there's too much fun and profit to be gained from kvetching. Kvetching is now our effing national past time. Honestly, it's become harder to just love something. In other words, it's harder to just be a fan. Bungie.org used to be good for that. Go back and read the speculations about what was coming for the Halo releases. There's an innocence to the excitement, and not that much pissing in the punch bowl. (DBO is still better than most places, but even here naked enthusiasm doesn't float for long without some balloon popping.)

For sure, Bungie made it easy by delivering great games. They weren't perfect, though. Halo 2 was a huge letdown for me, and I wasn't alone. (Sorry, Snipe, but it was obvious they didn't finish the game.) XBL matchmaking changed the subject, and the criticism more or less died without oxygen. Bungie innovated like hell at a time when there was much room for it. Now I feel like now we're comparing solo Beatle work to the Beatles. The Beatles could not have been the Beatles if they did not exist in their time and place. Same with Halo. And it's not like Halo was getting bigger. The business was changing, and the last few Bungie Halo games did not meet expectations--there was a drop off.

Let me take this analogy further. Halo-era Bungie had something akin to the Beatles in attitude. Bungie didn't exist in response to the fans, but for themselves and what they liked and what they wanted to make. This made them great at marketing because nothing is more attractive than self-confidence. (As an aside: in a former life I had a sales trainer who said the key to good selling is this: "I've got a cookie. It's a good cookie. A lot of people will want this cookie, but some won't, and that's fine.")

Here's my criticism of 343 based on what I witnessed up close and far away. As a team they had no track record, and the stakes started high. They didn't have the confidence that comes from having a vision that could override the need to follow a blockbuster with a blockbuster. There's nothing wrong with hiring fans, but you have a be a bigger fan of what's possible than you are of what's come before. They've had a very difficult job, and I have a lot of sympathy for them, not only because I call some people at 343 friends and I know they care intensely. (Watching videos like the one above, you'd think they WANT to suck. If game development was easy, everyone would do it.) From Halofest on, though, their communication with their fans seemed a wee bit desperate, a bit too eager to please, a bit too beholden to whatever the loudest voices were. This has happened to Bungie, too, but they've handled it better most of the time. 343 has made lots of mistakes, and those have led to other mistakes, I suspect because they've spent so much energy apologizing and correcting those mistakes, or trying to. It's a difficult problem when the wheel is turning against you. I suspect they've had trouble saying (or believing) they've got the NEW cookie, and it's a good cookie, and it's okay if some people don't like it.

Halo Infinite was kind of a new cookie. It's the best thing they've done. It was FUN. It felt good. Is it 343's fault that I'm an adult with responsibilities, and Destiny takes up almost all of my gaming time? The world has changed since 2001. Gaming has changed. I've changed. I can't invest like I used to, but I will play co-op with my long-time co-op buddy Ozy, when I can. I'm sure it will be fun, but it won't be like playing campaign co-op in Halo for the first time. It can't be.

I think it's tough to be a creator--especially once an IP has become a cash cow. (Imagine the corporate pressure!) Especially with the internet constantly obsessing over your every move. You need a Kevin Feige shepherding it, and there's not many of them. (Full disclosure: the last Marvel movie I saw was the first Avengers, and I'm sure that the ones through Endgame are as good as they say, but did I mention that I've changed? As much as my 12-year-old self hates it, I just find myself caring about other things.) The environment may be tougher, but the requirements for creating something good haven't changed. You gotta have vision, you have to create something you like, you gotta stop thinking you can please everyone. Creating something good can be done, even when you've screwed up. There's No Man's Sky. It's been hard to accept that I don't enjoy Star Wars anymore (I think it's had similar problems as 343's Halos), but now there's Andor. You gotta BELIEVE.


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