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Recently GI (Game Informer) recently did a cover story on the next installment in the Halo franchise. Halo 4 is slated to return players to the boots of John 117 and opens a new trilogy. The campaign is somthing I'm looking forward to with far less apprehension as the multiplayer component. Since Halo 2 introduced the world to Halo online multiplayer it as been a force. Millions of gamers have dedicated hundreds of thousands of hours of in game time because the multiplayer was both unique and compelling.
Halo 4 is going to take one step further and actually intergrate multiplayer into the story. While details about exactly what that means are scarce, but basically you're a new breed of spartan training on a UNSC ship called Infinty. This ship comes to interact with the MC at some point and there's your single player tie in. All that being said I worry about some of the details that have come to light.
The top of my consern list isn't even in the competitive portion of the game. "Spartan Ops" is a co-op game mode designed to be an episodic romp much in the same vein of "Spec Ops" of Call of Duty. As the only direct rival to the Call of Duty juggernaut, I don't feel that directly ripping ideas out of their playbook is the way to wrestle the strangle hold they have on the first person shooter genre. I like the idea of weekly episodes, but that name has got to go to be able to claim any legitimacy to an original idea.
The next thing that bothers me is loadout. In Halo Reach was the first Halo game to attempt this and I though while a little out of place it was at least executed effectively. That being said Halo 4 looks to take that to the next level by giving the player choices in starting weapon, attachments, and armor abilities. This is another nod to the game they are directly trying to compete against and to me it's a mistake to make this game more like it.
Finally they are messing the a huge part of high level gameplay in Halo games. The power weapons are not going to be spawning in the same locations over and over again. With this added level of randomless it takes away the one advantage that experienced players have over newbies and once again against the idea that Halo is fundamentally different from Call of Duty.
In closing while my conserns at this point are minor and while I still believe that Halo 4 will be a great game, I have to wonder if the burden of being so successful is starting to sacrifice the spirit of the other core games in the series. Halo has always carved out it's own path with innovation and high quality development standards and I hope this will live on in this 343 Industries developed game.
I have been addicted to trading in games for as long as Gamestop has existed. I do have an extensive list of games that I have finished but almost no physical media to show for it. Then laying in bed this morning it dawned on me, games should be considered like a good book. You don't read a good book only once and then never return to the well. You keep that book on a shelf until the mood strikes to take up that epic quest once again.
This revelation has reminded me how many times I have returned to said game stop and repurchased games I already owned. I have brought Kingdom Hearts on 4 seperate occations and would buy it a 5th time if the price is right because I simply love that game. Turning off this cycle will not only save myself money in the long run, but I'll hopefully build a legacy of great gaming experience that my son will be able to play and enjoy as well.
Stepping toward to horizon of a new console generation has made me see that physical media, trading games with friends, and multiplayer as we all know it is going to be changing and not all the changes will be for the betterment of gaming as a entertainment medium. I feel like now is the perfect time to start building collections of games. I don't even have a PS3 yet six years in and I just got a Wii in 2012. I literally have a huge amount of gaming experiences to be had and had again that a new console is the last thing I need right now.
Gaming has been great in the last couple of decades and I think I will take my time to seek out and enjoy experiences that I have either missed or revisit those that captivated me back in the day. The next gen could wait for all I care because this current era of gaming is the golden age and the future is not always more prosperous!
Competitive gaming is bigger now then it has ever been and arecent article from a Kotaku contributorignited a fire storm of fans firing back to what to them seemed like an attack on something they have grown to love. Personally, I only have a small amount of experience with the profession. I watch the Madden Challege on ESPN and I know who "Fatality" is. Mostly though I haven't been able to follow the progress of the sport, largely due to the fact that it isn't really thrust forward into the public eye.
Major League Gaming is the largest collection of professional gamers on the planet. They host Tourneyments that are packed with spectators and boast huge cash prizes to the winner. MLG has had a few television specials dedicated to their largest tourneyments, but has yet to find a consistant place on network TV. This isn't really due to lack of demand, but rather an inabilty to make watching these tourneyments compelling.
It's difficult to convince someone that watching other people play video games is something appealing to do with their time. After watching some of the tourneyments on television, I can see why they feel that way. There's next to nothing exciting to the average viewer, a no-scope kill or well-place grenade is lost on the regular gamer because they play just for the fun. Understanding all the naunces in gamesand trying to convey that as entertainment is something that is difficult to do.
That's not to say that they can't make an interesting show out of what they have. The Madden challenge for example has the drama of sports in general adding to the tension of each match. If you follow football at all, you know that the best moments are the last second comebacks. Michael Vick's amazing fourth quarter to bring the Eagles to a win was one of the moments that defined the 2010 season. This easily translates to the Madden Challenge because people have a real world moment that they can draw real emotion from.
To achieve this for Major League Gaming, they need a big personality and plenty of fan interaction to give them the feeling that they have something tied into each individual or team. Better branding for each team, get their names out there, have them go on shows like ESPN's "First Take" and kind of explain to a broader audience what professional gaming is all about. Once people become emotionally invested, then explaining the small stuff becomes secondary and people live and die with their favorite teams.
There's plenty of potential in professional gaming to become a bigger draw for television, but there has to be a shift in the focus of what content is important. It won't happen overnight, but if competitive eating can make it, I'm sure video games can!
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