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Editor's Note

Jon Wood, the Managing Editor of MMORPG.com, gives his opinions on news, games, and all things MMORPG.

Author: Stradden

Comic Con Day One - Impressions of Stargate Worlds and DC Universe

Posted by Stradden Friday July 25 2008 at 9:51AM
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Day one of Comic Con San Diego is now behind us, but there are still lots of things for us to see and do, even if we limit ourselves to just MMOs the day is going to be relatively full, but there’s no point in talking about today, when we can talk about yesterday to much better effect.

I’m not going to bore you with details of my day, but I’m going to cut right to the MMORPG chase and tell you about the things that I have seen that we just haven’t seen before.

Stargate Worlds

Firesky, the company behind the upcoming Stargate Worlds has gone all out this Comic Con. Everything here, it seems, is branded with Stargate Worlds: ads in the program, full bus ads, Jaffa and Air Force personnel literally everywhere, and almost every bottle of water in the building has a Stargate Worlds label on it.

I’m not by any means saying that advertising = good game. What I am saying though is that Firesky has proven to me that they are serious about their game. Add that to the fact that they have been paired for the entire Con with the Stargate television show (Dan Elgrin, the producer of the game, was even a part of the red carpet press line at the premiere of the new Stargate movie), and you have evidence that while they may have been press quiet for a while, they have certainly been working behind the scenes, both on the game (I’ll touch on that in a moment) and on their relationship with MGM.

While we haven’t yet attended our meeting and interview with the Cheyenne Mountain (now Firesky) folks, I did drop by their booth yesterday and got to see some more gameplay footage.

I have been concerned for a long time that this game was going to look exactly like Tabula Rasa. Let’s face it, it’s a semi-futuristic universe where people are firing a lot of ranged weapons and cover and position matter. Sound familiar?

I am relieved to say that even a quick look at the gameplay videos pretty quickly dispels those thoughts. Not that there’s anything wrong with Tabula Rasa and the way that it looks, but we have one already. I was hoping that SGW wouldn’t be a clone / copy and it looks like it isn’t.

The graphics, for a game in the stage of production that SGW is in, are really pretty great and what you would expect from a AAA MMO set to release in 2009. I’ll have to check into it, but from what I saw, you won’t be looking at your standard MMORPG User Interface either. I didn’t notice an action bar at the bottom of the screen at all.

DC Universe Online

I didn’t get a long look at this one, but like SGW we’ll be talking to them later in the convention and I have been promised some great info.
The first thing that I can tell you about DC Universe is that they actually have a playable demo up and running at the convention. For a game that is still in its pre-production phase, that’s a mighty feat indeed. I have to warn you though, I did see an awful lot of console controllers moving around.

From what I could see, the game looks more like a superhero action game than it does a superhero MMORPG (meaning that it doesn’t look too much like City of Heroes). The look of the game, as you’ve probably already seen through screenshots and early trailer videos, is fantastic. Very DC Comics.

I overheard one of the developers talking about the features that will be in the game, and the points that stood out most to me:

- We’d like to launch with Metropolis and Gotham and places like the Bat Cave.
- You will be doing missions with heroes like Batman and Superman
- The heroes will remember your actions. If you failed once, or didn’t do their quest, they are less likely to give you missions in the future.

While I know that this wasn’t the detailed tell-all about these games that some of you may have liked, I hope you enjoyed it as an appetizer for next week when we release our interviews.

Well, off to the Con for day two!
 

Thoughts on the G4 Stargate Worlds Video

Posted by Stradden Thursday July 3 2008 at 9:44AM
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Last night, G4TV aired a segment on the upcoming MMORPG from Cheyenne Mountain Entertainment, Stargate Worlds.

The video itself, which can be watched in its entirety here, not only provided a few tidbits of new information about the upcoming game, but also gives us our first look at the gameplay itself. I’m going to use this blog entry to talk a little bit about my impressions of the video and what we learned.

What We Learned


The X-Play segment didn’t provide a whole lot of new information for people who have been following the game’s development, but they did clarify a number of issues:

The characters from the TV series will make appearances in the game, and they will be voiced by the actors.

Personally, I like this development. It’s something that Cheyenne Mountain has been  teasing us with almost since the game was announced. It seems like a no-brainer to me from a design perspective. If they want us to believe that this game will somehow run congruently with the show, and that it is a continuation of the lore, then they more or less had to make the familiar faces available to players for interaction.

They are not going for a first person shooter style in combat

There has been some speculation amongst fans that SGW should be using a more first-person inspired combat style for their game. After all, they have been touting their combat system since day one. Tactics, they tell us, are going to be very important in the game. Things like cover, line of sight, etc are going to be very important.

From where I stand, while a first person combat system would have been cool, I don’t know if that would have really fit in with what the developers are trying to accomplish. I think that a more standard MMORPG combat system is probably a good idea.

To me, the combat portions of the video took me immediately back to Tabula Rasa. In fact, the two games seem to share a combat system (I’m sure that further details will show that they are actually quite different). I’m hoping that they find a way to make players feel a little bit more like they were in control than Tabula Rasa did. In that game, I never quite felt like I was in control of actually shooting the enemies. I think the best way to describe it would be Storm Trooper syndrome: I point the gun and I pull the trigger, but where that lazer ends up is anyone’s guess.
 

General Impressions

Art Direction


I thought that, for the most part, the game looks like it’s coming along nicely. As I’m seeing more and more of it coming together, I’m really digging the art style of the game. Like they said in the video, they’re not going for photo-realism, and I think that was a wise move. Trying to make the game look too real would have undermined the idea that they can get away with more in terms of what they create and add to the TV series lore. With a slightly more stylized (but nothing I would go so far as to call cartoony) art style, they have the freedoms to make the players look cooler and more heroic.

Speed

The trailer moved along at a pretty good clip, giving the impression that this is going to be a fast-paced game. Hopefully, the team has learned from the past mistakes of others and won’t make the game so fast paced that the players lose sight of what they’re doing.

All of that being said, I also noticed that some of the animations were sped up considerably (check out the speed at which the “ripples” on the gate shimmer. It’s way too fast), so it’s really hard to tell how much of the game we got to see in real time. Hard to blame anyone at CME though, they were very specific about the fact that they are in very early alpha.

Overall

Overall, I have high hopes for this game, and if agreeing to this profile on G4 was CME’s way of reminding the MMO world that they exist and are in development, they probably succeeded. We expect to hear a lot more from that team about this game over the summer, so stay tuned!
 

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