I see that Gamespot is thinking the same thing: when you put the "absolutely unfounded" rumor that Lucasarts will strip Sony Online Entertainment of the Star Wars license, and the one hundred percent true fact that BioWare has created an MMO studio in the same Goddamn Town, it’s hard not to fantasize that BioWare has been given the reins of a new Star Wars Massive.
I think it’s best if I don’t indulge in the fantasy a great deal in this space. If you really want to know what we think about it, we do speak with perhaps too much enthusiasm in our imminent podcast.
I finally understand what everyone is talking about where Oblivion is concerned. It started taking my shit over each night when I’d come back from SakuraCon, and it was one hundred percent about theergonomics of the platform shift. Things like harvesting an entire field of medicinal herbs just aren’t something I want to do with an analog nubbin. Also: Oblivion looks pretty great, but the faults it does have are just writ large on the 360 version. I don’t have a "projection screen" at home so much as I have a "forty dollar piece of melamine coated cabinet wood I bought from a contractor," but the principle is the same: you’re dealing with a fixed amount of fidelity. It’s like having a tiny amount of jam and a huge slice of toast. It’s something I just couldn’t get away from on the three-sixty, where on the PC it’s just me and my eldritch archer motherfucking tooling around the countryside, happily avoiding the main quest. My position on the console version is not universally held, but I am not in the business of giving you other people’s opinions.
We said impolite or in any case unflattering things about Black, but since we’d preordered that "sure bet" with the full retail price, we brought it back to our lair and gave it a proper run-through. It’s not terrible, in any case not as terrible as that demo would have had you believe. Their other levels are much wider, more versatile game spaces that certainly point toward the worthwhile kind of game you could get somewhere around a Black 3. Anyway, it’s ancient history now. I only brought it up for one reason.
You can play through the whole thing in six hours. I usually expect somewhere between eight and ten from a shooter, but I am happy to negotiate a shorter period in exchange for raw, moment-to-moment craftsmanship - to use an analogy I’ve made before, I dont judge a meal by the amount of time it takes me to eat it. I crave flavor, in a general sense, and I’m willing to cut deals of this sort if I believe it will hasten the acquisition thereof. This didn’t really happen in Black, but my point isn’t even about Black, which by now is probably hard to believe.
The first Half-Life episode apparently clocks in at around seven hours, depending on the player, and it costs half what Black did. I mention it because the disparity is kind of ridiculous. When the idea of episodic content was initially broached for Half-Life, the quoted "four to six hours" for the first playthrough was widely considered anemic. The rigors of next-generation content being what they are, I’d be surprised if twenty dollars for even six hours wasn’t a startling value by comparison.