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LFTE: Feb and March Super Post

I know I've been behind on posting up my Letters, so I'm going to catch up all at once and to be ready to post my next letter in the second week of March. I promise.

Please leave feedback as I always love to hear what you have to say.



March LFTE: Decisions That Matter

There is a lot to love about Mass Effect 2. I’ll let Reiner’s review do most of the talking (see review pg. 80), but I want to throw in my two cents as well.

I remember being in a hot and cramped room – in Amsterdam, of all places – when I first heard of Mass Effect. It was one of those head-spinning moments, and I don’t mean because I had been out enjoying the city the night before. Moments after BioWare revealed the Mass Effect project, the team stressed that it wasn’t just a game – it was designed from the ground up as a trilogy. Frankly, I didn’t really think much of it at the time, as I hear a lot of PR rhetoric in my line of work. I had also just come out of a meeting in the room next door where I had been told that Too Human was also a trilogy (yeah, right). BioWare’s description of its team dedication to the science fiction story and how decisions in the trilogy would matter didn’t fall on deaf ears, I just didn’t realize how much impact these design choices would have on the game until I saw the fruits of their labor come to life in Mass Effect 2.

If you have a previous save of the first game to import into Mass Effect 2, the imprint of those previous decisions are all over the sequel. For me, that means the decisions I made in 2007 are affecting the game I’m playing in 2010. Consider my mind blown.

I don’t just want to play Mass Effect 2 multiple times to see how the various decisions affect this game. I want to replay an old game to see how it changes the sequel. I have a strange feeling I’m going to want to play all three games over and over once Mass Effect 3 comes out a few years from now.

Imagine if you could make decisions in Star Wars that changed The Empire Strikes Back. That’s what BioWare has accomplished with Mass Effect 2, and it’s simply amazing.

February LFTE: For Great Justice

Do we reward the best work, or does the best work reward itself?

Whenever award season rolls into town, I find myself spending an excessive amount of time reevaluating the games I have played and thinking about where the industry sits and if the true artists are getting the accolades, mindshare, and ultimately dollars they deserve. In other words, is there justice in the video game industry?

This isn’t an easy question to answer. For every example of justice, like Infinity Ward’s success for all their hard work, I can think of a great injustice. The first one that comes to mind is Tim Schafer. Despite being one of the industry’s brightest talents, he still can’t find the pot of gold at the end of rainbow.

Then there are the games that find themselves sitting in the middle, like the critically praised Uncharted 2: Among Thieves. The game has sold well, but it certainly hasn’t moved as many copies as a title of this caliber deserves. Yes, it is a PlayStation 3 exclusive, but that doesn’t stop Halo from raking in the dollars on the Xbox 360.

So as we hand out our awards this year, please remember that the teams that make these games deserve more than awards, they deserve the reward of people buying and playing their games. I always take a look at what products are defining entertainment in movies, music, and TV and oftentimes, I can’t believe how the lemmings follow and reward some of the worst entertainment drivel of the 21st century. When I read that So You Think You Can Dance continually ranks high in TV ratings, I rest easy knowing that gamers have better taste.

The video game developers continue to deliver on their end of the bargain, but let’s make sure that we, the gamers, deliver on ours and reward (and award) the deserving. Cheers.

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  • it is always nice to read your letters. also i love the magazine it is alway the highlight of the month for me.

  • Indeed.

  • Yeah your letters are very well written(and often times hilarious)The only thing is, I miss the Editors' Intersts and Dislikes.

  • I think the fact that UC2 didn't sell millions of copies is very sad. As well as Tim Schafer's Brutal Legend. He at least deserved some sales, but alas, it never happened. Both were great games that were beaten by very mediocre shooters.

  • when is all of the promised LA Noire content coming? the suspense is killing me.

  • Going of what Beefro13 said, do you think someone in the office could do a once a month blog about  Editors interests and dislikes it was one of my favorite parts of the old magazine that got removed.

  • Staff

    We will do the editor likes and dislikes as a blog post. I'll work on it.

  • Thanks i will look forward to it=)

  • I also loved the editor's likes and dislikes, but I can't really say that I miss them though, it seems like I've gotten to know the editors so much just by reading their blogs.  But it would still be cool to see the likes/dislikes make a comeback :)

  • The fact that I bought MW2 (Bat's I'm looking at you) has nothing to do with the fact that I didn't buy Uncharted 2. Stop carping about people buying what they want instead of what you like; seriously it gets old. Rewind back to last year and various publications telling us we should have bought Mad World. If a console doesn't put out the games I want, I'm not going to buy it; thus one or two deserving games on a console I don't own are going to go un-purchased by me as I will instead be purchasing half a dozen for a console I do own. It's on Sony fans to buy Uncharted 2; the millions of people buying Halo3 or MW2 on 360 has nothing to do with it. That is unless Sony can make a fan of those people.

    That's a bit rantish, but publications talk as if everyone owns all the systems, and fans of one console whinge over everyone else not also being a fan of that system. The publications wrote about Mad World like " you core gamers have been complaining there aren't enough core experiences on Wii, well here it is and you didn't buy it!" when in truth there aren't, and will likely never be enough core experiences on Wii, so I won't be giving Ninty my $$$, and if those 3rd party publishers want a shot at my dough it's going to have to be via a console I will buy/already own. It doesn't matter how great one game is, if that one game isn't enough for me to buy a whole console based on that title.

    This whole elitist backlash happening on GIO these days is crap; if a game doesn't interest me, I'm not going to buy it; you can cry foul all you want about games like MW2, but people vote with their wallets, you don't vote with their wallets. However, if it's that big a deal to you, feel free to go buy 2 copies of Brutal Legend. Frankly the game looked neat, but not $60, play instead of Mass Effect neat.

  • Enjoy the letters as always.  Mass Effect, ha, well I didn't buy the game until it was 20 dollars and take my word it was a great investment.  No matter what that series will have my money instantly.  

    Btw, I like the new magazine better than the old one.  It has a fresh feel to it.  Keep it up.

  • LOL Too Human as a trilogy. Were you always a bit skeptical about the game or was there a time when you saw a glimmer of hope that it would indeed be an epic game. What do you think about the possibility of Mass Effect coming to the PS3? I read Bioware was working on a PS3 project and I think there is a good chance of a Port. That would indeed be awesome as I've wanted to play it but I'm not willing to buy another consle.

  • A blog post about Editors Interests and Dislikes? That would be awesome. Thank you Andy

  • And by the way, Matthew burt, nice idea

  • Glad to hear the staff page will be coming back in blog form. I can honestly say that was the part of the magazine I missed most when you redesigned it. The editor blogs on the site help to fill that hole, but reading the little jokes on that page every month was great.

  • You know, your February letter brings up a topic I've been thinking about for awhile now.  Do you think we are entering a time where the consumers literally can't keep up with all the great games?  In other words, is the market oversaturated?  It might be easy to dismiss this by looking at the movie or music business which always seem to thrive no matter the amount of new releases.  But neither one requires a $60 price of admission or album each time.  I don't know.  What do you think?

  • @ iceap12

    i do think that there are allot of good games and that most people can't buy all of them at once(me included)but isn't it better to have to many great games than not enough?

  • your magazine is awesome but it only takes less that a day to read everything and i have to wait another month but that must be my fault for reading too much in such little time.

  • I used to be a car magazine guy until I got a subscription to GI magazine.  Now it's all I look forward to every month.  By-the-way, the new paper used in your mag for 2010 is great so don't go back to the shiny gloss paper.

  • @Sack boy fan: you must be on the john for ages...

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