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Tycho / on Fri, Mar 10 2017 at 12:01 am

In addition to being shredded five or six at a time, the doomed creeps in For Honor also have informative barks that they kick out - like, if your friend is perforated.  It’s nice to have a second or two to process the fact that it’s about to be 4v1 and you are not on the “four” side of the V.

They say these things the way a person in a movie about fatal medieval lacerations would, there’s a lot of drama involved; they’re always gonna remember somebody’s name or whatever, but some of these names might not be memorable in the classic sense.

I have practiced my class in For Honor as much as I’ve ever practiced a competitive game; the mass combat of Dominion is its own beast, but the duels give me kind of a Soul Calibur vibe, which is a vibe I actively seek out.  I am competing for possession of a Gold Watch I’ve thus far only seen; never held, never worn.  I really, really want to have it and tonight at 6:30pm EST I’m going to fight like the fucking devil to get it.

Other than that, you know… PAX East!  I can remember when I toured the building it’s in now, thinking we might need a building this big someday, but not really believing it.  Our new engineer has never been to one before; he’s in for a wild fucking ride.

(CW)TB out.

Tycho / on Wed, Mar 8 2017 at 12:10 pm

If Gabe is playing a game at home and then decides to play it at the office, there’s usually a point at which you need to make absolutely certain the save has been copied up into the cloud from his PS4.  And then you need to make sure that you’ve copied it back up after you play, which doesn’t, you know… always happen.  Since last Friday, he’s been playing The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild on his Switch, and then… just bringing in the Switch.  Like, the whole thing.  It’s still kind of a weird idea even though I’ve seen it happen multiple times.  Obviously playing while in transit to and from isn’t a great strategy.  Y’know.  Don’t do that.

I know Kiko, Gavin, and Dabe are actually saving Zelda for the plane out east, and they might not be the only ones - I fully expect the flights to PAX East to be dense with those who are starting that game for the first time, and I’m here to tell you: it’s gonna fuck you up.

The “rules” of Zelda games get fed through a chipper shredder, and are transformed into clouds of celebratory confetti.  They’ve enunciated a kind of “physics of play” that reminds me of the research and execution that went into Job Simulator.  What do brains like? What feels intrinsically good to humans?  They’ve gotten down to some first principles in flagship franchise they could have played it safe on - and they didn’t.  Welcome to the masterclass.

Our producer Josh and also our Gabriel are both out sick today, which deals critical damage to our afternoon stream.  I’ll spend that time working on the The “C” Team and cutting people apart in For Honor to get me that Goddamn watch.

(CW)TB out.

Tycho / on Mon, Mar 6 2017 at 11:11 am

It wasn’t quite this simple, but it was fairly simple.

I, um…  okay.  I did take off my glasses and coat and put on a stocking cap (which might be a tuque, beanie, or “knit cap” where you’re from) and go in to buy another one.  But none of them were for me; I don’t even have one yet.  I’m getting them for people at the office and I like the hunt - I’ve only played on Gabe’s.  I thought I was super smooth; the person who told me I couldn’t have another one was stocking a shelf not three feet from me, so I had to order the product completely nonverbally.  I thought I had been super smooth, but one of them tweeted me later and said they let it slide because they thought it was funny.  STILL COUNTS.

So, sometimes we are working on something for a very long time and nobody can know about it.  Sometimes, even, you are working on one thing that lives inside of another thing you are working on, gestating there, and you get to announce both at the same time!

Welcome to the homepage of Acquisitions Incorporated.  It’s been a long time coming; we love doing it, but when you are very close to something it’s hard to discern scale.  When I started being known as Omin as much as, if not more than Tycho or even the pale vampire orb Jerry Holkins, I was like… huh.  What would a smart person do about this?

I could not be more pleased with the work Gavin and Dabe put into on the site, and it was a trial by fire for our new engineer Mike Buland, who hooked everything up on the backend using a a bunch of new shit he had to learn in real time.  Elyssa Grant, our new Project Manager, showed me that precise scheduling is not necessarily a tool of Satan.  There’s plenty to read on the page, but there is also a robust Portfolio section you can use to see the entire history of the company - podcasts, comics, live shows, the Series, anything you would care to.  Be sure to stop by the Gift Shop, of course, stocked with a few things you might not have seen before.  And that’s just the start.

On March 16th, we launch Acquisitions Incorporated: The “C” Team,  in collaboration with HyperRPG.  They’ve been using our studio for awhile now, so I see them all the time.  It’ll be fun to get in the mix with their other shows.  There’s even a trailer!  It starts streaming on Twitch every Thursday, beginning March 16th, at 3:30pm PST.  Very, very excited to get back behind the screen.

I feel like I figured out my thing.  The excitement has extended into my hands, and it has made typing this difficult.

(CW)TB out.

Gabe / on Mon, Mar 6 2017 at 10:51 am

Zelda: Breath of the Wild

I was able to pick up a Switch on Friday although I probably made it harder than it needed to be. I showed up at my local Fred Meyer around 5:30 in the morning and stood in the cold and the rain until they opened at 7am. Later that day a bunch of folks from the office went over to the local Amazon store and just walked right in and bought Switches. Of course if I had done that, I wouldn’t have this awesome cold I caught. Looks like I might be patient zero at PAX East this week!

I am completely in love with Zelda: Breath of the Wild. First of all it’s beautiful. There are plenty of big open world games out there but they often feel procedurally generated and empty. This entire world feels hand crafted. Far off land marks are perfectly framed by carefully placed mountains. No matter where you are, it seems like there is some sightline that inspires the desire to investigate. Essentially every single frame of this game looks like a painting from a Miyazaki film.

The gameplay is equally compelling as is the story. I’m not the sort of player who reads books in games. I just don’t do it! But Goddamnit, I have been reading NPC diaries every chance I get. The story has me hooked and it’s only just begun to unravel! I could almost certainly be further into it but I keep getting sidetracked. I spent almost all of my time last night just gathering ingredients and cooking. I spent another session playing with horses and investigating the little side stories around one particular village. I set off with a distinct goal in mind and end up wandering off because I saw something interesting on the horizon. My time never feels wasted though. Nothing in Zelda really rushes you. The world is here and you can discover it at your own pace.

In some ways Zelda feels like a return to simpler times. It is an open world game without all the trappings of an open world game. There is a great article over on Forbes by Paul Tassi that does a great job of explaining what I’m getting at. So many games are about checking boxes. What you do to complete the tasks doesn’t seem as important as the fact that you completed all the goals. We talk about our time with these games in terms of percentages and track our progress via bars. Zelda is not about filling up bars, it is about playing Zelda. It is unforgiving, surprising, and mysterious in ways that make me feel like a twelve year old again. It actually feels refreshing and energizing to play, like some sort of video game palette cleanser. Even with only three days of gameplay under my belt, I can tell you that Zelda: Breath of the Wild is a master class in game design. Its open world is exciting and beautiful. Its dungeons are challenging and unique. The systems and mechanics are easy to learn and immediately fun but offer deep and satisfying levels of complexity as you investigate them more.  It is certainly the best Zelda game I have ever played, and (I believe) a high water mark for games in general. If there is such a thing as a “must play” title, I think Zelda: Breath of the Wild is one of them.

-Gabe out

Tycho / on Fri, Mar 3 2017 at 1:50 pm

The Banner Saga 3 Promotion Thingy, Part Deux

The second Banner Saga game just hit in that dealio I was talking about before,  so I wanted to remind everyone and I also wanted to expose human minds to our insane video that we made with Kris Straub again:

Here is the condensed, yet still flavorful version: From March 2nd through March 6th, Twitch Prime members can get Banner Saga 2 for free via the Twitch Launcher.  The novel portion is this: every time a person downloads and plays the game, Amazon gives Banner Saga developer Stoic a dollar, up to a 100k.  Even if you had the games already - and I do, several times over - it’s worth doing.

But what if you aren’t a Twitch Prime member, you say?!?!  You can try Twitch Prime free for 30 days and you’ll get to keep the games (and help out Stoic) even if you don’t end up subscribing.

They also asked if I would design three to five items for the game as a part of all this, definitely doing that, making in-game items is essentially a recreational activity for me and I love that team so it was an easy call.  But yeah!  That’s the promotion.  I think it’s cool and I was happy to help.


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