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The Angry Guild Leader

I'm the guild leader, and I'm pissed. Read what possibly goes on in your guild leader's mind. I shoot the truth, and I shoot it straight. If you can't handle it, then My Little Pony Online is taking beta applications.

Author: Equilibrium_JW

Apocalypse Now the Game? Really?

Posted by Equilibrium_JW Monday April 12 2010 at 11:44PM
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From The Angry Guild Leader

Francis Ford Coppola’s 1979 Vietnam War epic Apocalypse Now could very well be getting a video game. Oh dear.


Earlier this January, Killspace Entertainment licensed the web domains apocalypsenowgame.com and warisnotagame.net.


The studio is currently working on an original title, but has admitted that it is also working on a yet unnamed licensed game. Rumor has it that the licensed title could be an Apocalypse Now videogame.


Now, don’t get me wrong. Apocalypse Now is one of the greatest films in cinematic history. One that is very dear to my heart. However, I’m not quite sure a video game of this film is warranted. On any level.


For those who’ve lived under a rock all of their lives, Apocalypse Now is a 1979 American epic war film set during the Vietnam War which was based on the Joseph Conrad novella Heart of Darkness (which I had to read in school). Inspiration was also drawn from various other pieces of celluloid. These include Michael Herr’s Dispatches and Werner Herzog’s Aguirre, the Wrath of God.


The film was originally intended to be filmed in 1969, on location in Vietnam during the war, using 16 millimeter film with George Lucas as the director. Fearing that no one would survive the filming, Warner Brothers backed out of the project. Due to the controversy surrounding the war, no other studio would touch the script for any reason.


When Coppola reunited his film group American Zoetrope in 1975, they all decided to do Apocalypse Now as their first project, and filming began in February of 1976. The film’s original sixteen week shoot ended up extending to two hundred thirty eight days. Just an odd note of interest, this is post number 1975.


The cast of Apocalypse Now was nothing short of incredible, including such names as Marlon Brando, Martin Sheen, (the then not-so-known) Harrison Ford, Dennis Hopper, Laurence Fishburne (as “Larry Fishburne”), Robert Duvall (in a stunning performance IMHO), and more.


I won’t go into the plot or the adaptation. For that you can check out the Wikipedia article or Roger Ebert’s original review.


Initially, the film wasn’t known for the film itself, but for the problems that plagued the production thereof. This production was lengthy and problematic, to say the least. Some of the issues included:

 

  • Marlon Brando showed up to the set overweight
  • Martin Sheen suffered a heart attack
  • Extreme weather that destroyed several expensive sets
  • Coppola suffered writer’s block, and couldn’t decide how to end the film
  • Coppola admitted to having even considered shooting himself, or causing himself to have a great accident in order to get out of the “20 million dollar disaster”

All in all the result was fantastic, as much of the off screen emotion poured into the film layer after layer. Again, I suggest watching the movie if you never have, and I will just get to the point:


Do we need this? Really? I see this as nothing more than a way to cash in on another franchise because those in charge of entertaining us are losing even more of the creative ability that they were hanging on to by a thread. I can envision this being cooked up in an office somewhere in southern California or Austin, Texas:


“We need a game,” says Mr. Moneybags.


“Well, first person shooters are popular,” replies Unshaven Developer.


“Well, we can’t be original. We don’t have the budget to hire someone with an imagination. What IP can we jump on?”


Unshaven Developer scratches his head. “Well, those other guys did The Godfather and Scarface.. What about Platoon? No… wait… Apocalypse Now!”


Now, don’t get me wrong. I can see this being interesting. To a point. It could also be argued that this would expose the film to a new generation. That being the case, I am here to tell you that there is no way in hell that this game will capture the essence Apocalypse Now. It is impossible, and can never be reproduced. That essence was pure. Apocalypse Now was so infected with tragedy, angst, and grit, that it could never be reproduced in a million years. It was filmed in a place, time, and climate that will never be duplicated. This is merely an attempt to make a quick buck.

Since I know nothing about this new developer, it is probably unfair of me to say some of these things. However, you folks know that I shoot it straight. And fair be damned when it comes to meddling with, and even sometimes changing, the story of important films. Of course, I could be wrong. Happens all the time. But, I am willing to wager that this game will be vomited out in record time and contain not a shred of the spirit of this amazing film.


The absolute irony is that as I was growing up, this is what I wanted. Completely engrossing video games based on movie franchises that I loved. Games that added to the story and allowed me to feel like I was part of it. Fast forward twenty years. I am now thirty-nine years old and have come to see this done to death and without a shred of dignity. I no longer see this as cool, but as the butchering of a wonderful piece of art. What started with the Godfather and continued with Scarface is now happening to Apocalypse Now.


The Godfather game was a very risky gamble. While it might have paid off in the end, it still failed to capture the substance of the film. The same could be said of Scarface.
ANGLE ON dollar sign.


Electronic Arts wanted to find a way to cash in on the Grand Theft Auto craze, and in doing that tied it to an already existing IP. Re-creating The Godfather in all its cinematic brilliance is an almost impossible job to do in a videogame, and EA’s finished product conveyed just how vastly different the medium of videogames is from movies. Twelve to fifteen hours into game play, you have completely lost the flow and feel of the movie. Even IGN said, “When special, movie scenes are re-created, the game doesn’t deliver the same flair, style or feel from the movie. There are several times when the game tries to re-create pivotal moments in the movie and it fails.”

What does this mean? That the odds are stacked against Killspace, and we will see more of the same. I challenge them to prove me wrong. And, if they can’t, then I hope they end up in The Hell Where People are Skinned Alive.


What these games do is take a story and bend, warp and change it into their own abhorrent creation. It’s not murder, but it’s damn close. In creating the videogame, if The Godfather was Thomas “Babe” Levy, then I suppose Electronic Arts was Dr. Christian Szell. While this represents more torture than mutilation, I think some of you get my point.


Sadly, people will gobble this up like popcorn. On one hand I can’t stand that these companies do this, but on the other, they know that they will make money off of it, because good or bad, people will eat it up like a stray dog in the Purina factory.


What’s next? Citizen Kane the Game?!? Great, I just gave some wacko game producer in San Francisco an idea.

My Return to Hyboria ~ by Alicia Williams

Posted by Equilibrium_JW Friday April 9 2010 at 3:53PM
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From The Angry Guild Leader

Breathtakingly beautiful. Now that the game is no longer plagued with ridiculous bugs such as looting issues and getting stuck, zoning into Age of Conan for the first time in a year gave me the same reaction as it had initially. The skeptic inside of me scoffed, though. A pretty game will never mean a good game.

I believe a game should have an amazing grasp on three major aspects of the gaming world: PvP, PvE, and Community.

Before jumping right back to my eighty, I decided to take a few days away just to re-learn the game. I played multiple alts, and I have to say the difference between servers is dramatic. The RP PvP server, Cimmeria, was the first server I tried. The global chat of the game seemed filled of ignorant immature people, and it wasn’t until I joined a guild that I began enjoying the server. Eventually once I got a feel for the game, my main was on the other PvP server, Tyranny. Comparing the two PvP servers, I would have to admit that Cimmeria seemed friendlier – by a long shot.

I then tried the PvE servers out. I’ve never condoned cutting PvP out of my playing experience, and I have to admit – the community difference between PvE and PvP servers is completely worth giving up world-PvP. Fortunately mini-games and organized PvP are not effected by the type of server you chose.

In regards to PvP, Age of Conan started out terribly imbalanced. Eventually, after small ability tweaks, Funcom decided on an entire re-vamp of classes; shortly after, Funcom also decided that crowd control was too powerful in the game and made vast improvements on that system, as well. While no game with multiple classes will ever be perfectly balanced, Funcom has gone through extraordinary lengths to ensure that no class is too weak, nor any too strong. In all honesty, I am extraordinarily impressed how far their PvP has progressed.

In patch 1.07, which was released on March 30th, Funcom answered the wishes of all AoC PvPer’s when they released the Shrines of Bori. SoB is an ongoing outdoor conflict which is guild-based. It takes place in Cimmerian End, and has capturable objectives. The less players you bring, the bigger the rewards; although right now it seems almost impossible for a small guild to beat a large well-organized one. Like all experimented content, Funcom is waiting to see how it plays out before making any official changes. Personally, I see this as a huge stepping stone in end-game PvP content.

While organized PvP is starting to get more attention than before, one thing any veteran player can’t ignore is Age of Conan’s raiding system. Most raiding games have shifted towards an extremely fast paced, hectic raid style. AoC has stayed with the more traditional pace, similar to the original  EverQuest.

Every boss encounter immerses you into the fights and you aren’t forced to focus on one thing in particular. No one role is incredibly easy, and there isn’t some mod telling you what to do and when. The overall experience is simply fascinating, as it takes incredible concentration and team work during the entire fight in order to down a boss. Funcom’s developers hit the nail on the head when it comes to raiding. It has been years since I’ve enjoyed a scripted encounter like I have while raiding in Age of Conan.

Which leads me to my next topic: guilds.

Most gamers can look back to the very beginning of their gaming career and remember the name of the guild they belonged to. In fact, I bet you don’t just remember the name, I bet you remember the leader, the officers, and the good majority of players in the guild. In some sick and twisted way, your guild was once like a family to you. That feeling of community seemed almost lost with recent MMOs, including Age of Conan when it first released. A guild was once a place to achieve goals together. An environment in which to do things you never thought you could do. As MMOs changed, guilds evolved into a self-centered way to get what you wanted out of the game. If it helped the other people that you used, good for them. I never expected to come back to Age of Conan and find that guilds are once more what they used to be. Funcom has done an absolutely amazing job with the guild system, and I can only hope they continue building the incredible community atmosphere.

So what is it about this game that should make you want to give up your current game and character to invest more time in another game? I will admit, to the new player, or even someone who is coming back after a long absence, the world might seem dead. That being said, the population is growing daily.

Personally, I say see for yourself. As for me the answer lay in the company, Funcom. I have never seen so much effort put into a video game, and honestly, I’ve never seen a group of people care so much about one game. Their communication with the player base is by far the best I’ve seen on any forums. The company has class advocates that speak one-on-one with players and relay information, suggestions, and needed changes directly to Funcom.

Once a“WoW killer,” AoC was quickly narrowed down to four servers. That would be a devastating blow to any business, yet they’re still adding content. They’re tweaking balances for PvP. They’re working on a new expansion, Rise of the Godslayer. They’re giving it more than just a hundred percent – they’re giving it everything. After dealing with one company’s extreme indifference to the opinions of their customers, and another’s shallow words on hopes for the future, and even still one company’s inability to make a game worth playing in end-game – Funcom’s sheer determination, clear communication, and constant content progression is relief, to say the least.

While there aren’t many “original” ideas floating around in Age of Conan, they’ve taken every great idea from the prestigious games out there today and incorporated them with strong lore. Overall, the game isn’t the best game on the market. But it does by far have the most potential.

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