The Return of Stealth

We speak to Mark of the Ninja lead designer Nels Anderson about why stealth games are cool and why developers have such a hard time making them.

One of the most oft-cited gripes of gamers bemoaning cross-genre pollination in the game development industry is that genres like stealth are becoming increasingly ignored in favour of games composed of borrowed elements that sacrifice authenticity in favour of player choice.

Stealth purists are particularly adamant that bona fide stealth games are becoming increasingly rare. Of those that survive, they argue that few measure up to the games that helped define the genre, from Metal Gear and Thief to the original Hitman and Splinter Cell games. Indeed, the race to create games that offer not just one particular playing style but a multitude of styles catering to different tastes has contributed to the decline of pure stealth; these days, you're more likely to find games that offer stealth as an option among many, rather than as the dominant or exclusive way to play.

Mark of the Ninja is a 2D stealth title coming to XBLA.

But while some developers in the triple-A space argue this is the way to keep the stealth genre from stagnating, it seems not everyone is ready to give up on stealth just yet.

Mark of the Ninja is an upcoming Xbox Live Arcade title (to be released September 7) that will aim to put a new spin on stealth, thanks to Vancouver-based Klei Entertainment and its trademark 2D art style (see Shank, Shank 2). According to the game's lead designer, Nels Anderson, Mark of the Ninja is very much a stealth game that doesn't cheat when it comes to abiding by the rules of the genre.

"It's not an action game where one can occasionally sneak up on an enemy," Anderson told GameSpot. "At its heart, this game is about perceiving the environment, formulating a plan, and executing it. Thematically, that's what Ninja is really about: the interplay between strength and vulnerability."

Mark of the Ninja follows a ninja whose clan has survived the sengoku jidai, the country's warring states period, with the aid of an exotic flower whose leaves produce a tattoo ink that imbues the wearer with powerful abilities (heightened senses, fast reflexes, increased strength, and agility) but also slowly drives them mad. The game's story was written by freelance writer and co-founder of Kill Screen magazine Chris Dahlen, who also contributed to the 2011 Facebook version of Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego? researching and writing most of the game's 3,000-plus location clues.

In contrast to Shank (which Anderson says was "unabashedly about the gameplay"), the Klei team wanted Mark of the Ninja to have a deeper tone and atmosphere, one that would complement the gameplay. After putting an ad on Craigslist, Anderson found himself a couple of willing playtesters (picked out of the 300-strong group who answered the ad within 24 hours) and discovered he'd been right all along.

"One of the first people we had come in started talking about one of the later levels in the game, and the way he described was almost word-for-word what Chris and I had wanted to do with the tone. It was a great moment."

But it's the 2D aesthetic that Anderson hopes will make Mark of the Ninja really stand out. Klei has already proven itself in the 2D space, giving Anderson and his team the freedom to experiment with design elements that would not have worked with an added dimension. For example, Mark of the Ninja employs a visual noise radius, allowing players to see how far they can travel without altering nearby enemies.

"2D allowed us to be more stylized. I think broadly games could do with more diversity in aesthetics, and I think that's the broad appeal for a lot of people. That's why people like 2D. I think this game allows more people to 'get' stealth without alienating those who are already fans of the genre."

You can be sneaky, or you can be brazen, but you can't go through the entire game simply punching people in the face.

While Anderson says there are a number of different ways to approach situations in the game (from slow and steady to fast and precise), the game's mechanics are completely grounded in stealth: you have to do it to be successful. You could be sneaky and not kill anyone, or you could be sneaky and kill people, but you can't go through the game simply punching people in the face.

A stealth game where players can decide how brazen or discreet they can be, and can make their way through the game without killing a single enemy? Sounds familiar. (Also this, and this.)

"There's a hilarious coincidence between Mark of the Ninja and Bethesda's Dishonored," Anderson says. "But aside from the 2D thing and production quality (you could make our game 100 times over with Dishonored's budget), the biggest difference between the two games seems to be the approach to core stealth mechanics."

Anderson says Dishonored's approach to stealth is ambiguity: for example, creating a gradient in instances where players are concealed, the boundaries of which can be tested only through trial and error (that is, keep moving forward until enemies spot you). By contrast, Mark of the Ninja relies on very explicit stealth mechanics, where perception relies on three things only: light, darkness, and noise. Players are either in total light or in total darkness, and the protagonist's appearance changes to reflect which state he is in. Finally, there's the aforementioned visual noise indicator.

"Our intention was to have no ambiguity. Not that the other way is bad, but it becomes a system that people have to understand, and that is going to require a lot of experimentation. We wanted to make all the things like that completely transparent."

Anderson himself is a fan of stealth--that much is clear. But he isn't quick to judge developers who steer clear of the genre, which he believes is tricky to navigate with disastrous consequences if not executed correctly. For example, he feels stealth doesn't really work in all those games in which it is simply an option rather than the main focus of the game, because there are too many systems working together. For stealth to really work, every single aspect of a game, from level design to art to narrative, has to pull in the same direction.

"Even though I like stealth games, I get how they can be off-putting," Anderson says. "The power dynamic is all about the player being weak when they're not in their element. But to really understand how the game works, players have to take risks. And while some people like taking risks, some don't. So they stay away from stealth, especially when it's not implemented very well."

Stealth games offer a fundamentally different experience than other character-based games, which is perhaps what makes them so interesting to developers like Anderson. In stealth, players always have to think a few moves ahead, surveying the situation and working out cause and effect beyond more simple and immediate tasks like killing an enemy or working out how to get across a platform.

"From a design point of view, it's really hard to do stealth, and that's why there aren't that many games dedicated completely to it. If every single aspect of production is not pointing in the same direction, it becomes really difficult. I replayed all of Thief II before we started this game, and reading the postmortem, the developers said the challenge was that all aspects of the game had to be working together before they could even know how the game played. We found this to be true too."

A successful stealth title means all aspect of the game work together towards the same goal.

While developers and audiences may not always agree that this is the most entertaining and rewarding way of doing things, Anderson argues that more games should challenge players the way that stealth games do.

"There's a distressing trend where certain developers don't really trust the audience. They see people struggling with a game and decide to make it simpler by putting a giant golden line that points players to exactly where they're supposed to go, or not trying to do anything too ambitious with the characters or the tone, or just telling the same power-fantasy over and over again. All this stuff doesn't treat the audience like they're smart, thinking people that can understand things."

Anderson argues that the gaming audience should be trusted to figure things out for themselves and allowed to engage with games with the understanding that there is no right or wrong way of doing things.

"It's about having trust that the audience will approach the game in a way they want to, and you can't ever force it to not be that way by putting up barriers or making things painfully explicit. I don't think anyone really wins in that scenario."

Mark of the Ninja will be released on September 7 on Xbox Live Arcade.

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Freboy
Freboy

I suspect that the decline in the stealth genre is due to a shift in how publishers think of games. They are more and more unwilling to invest in a game that is aimed at MOST gamers. They have to be aimed at ALL gamers. Trying to market a game where stealth is the only option is going to put off a large number of customers, and therefore the big publishers aren't interested.

Just like all action thriller movies must have some romance, some tragedy and some tech jargon to have something for all audiences, all games must have the shooting option to ensure that EVERY gamer is a potential buyer.

The-Neon-Seal
The-Neon-Seal

I think the more resent TES games are two of the only games out there that does the optional stealth option justice, you can sneak through 98% of oblivion and skyrim if you so wish (and feel all them ore awesome for it!)

N3xus9
N3xus9

 @mwb30  I think you need to broaden your age span upwards a bit.

I am pretty sure that the people that enjoy stealth games were in their early-mid twenties when the genre first took off with Thief, Hitman and later on Splinter Cell.

Hell even MGS with it's "mediocre in comparison" stealth mechanics would put the average age from late 20's to mid/late 40's of people who enjoy Stealth games.

Have a look at this page for the facts on who the average gamer actually is  http://www.theesa.com/facts/index.asp 

The average age of the most frequent game purchaser is 35 years old, which means there are a whole lot of people older than that for whom gaming is still their primary hobby. 

The problem is that the dev industry started to target a more casualised console market ... and difficult stealth games are an anathema to casual player, so the normal stealth options were bastardised to appeal to everyone ... which IRL inadvertently appealed to a much smaller base.

The market has matured and that might be why we are seeing an attempt at a resurgence ... and you are right the audience is the upper end of the gaming spectrum ... but probably a bit more encompassing than 28-35. 

mwb360
mwb360

I would be really interested in looking at the average age of gamers who enjoy stealth. I'd be betting those of us crying out for a good stealth game are late twenties early thirties. We were brought up having patience in games with huge load times and no save options. Real problem solving in LucasArts games like 'Indiana Jones and the fate of Atlantis'. The original Splinter Cell games required a bit of intellect and smarts mixed with brilliant story telling. If I was a developer I would be looking to market smart intelligent stealth games to the (28-35) market. I think the current game (and movie) releases are certainly a reflection of the economic climate and the fact that sequels and no brainers are a safe option. 

Ham1dr3za
Ham1dr3za

it looks like an expansion pack for Shank II

Lotus-Edge
Lotus-Edge

Stealth games are almost always the most difficult, but just as satisfying....

xDeadMarchx
xDeadMarchx

I wouldn't mind playing a stealth game that teaches you how to play properly.

u1tradt
u1tradt

Good article. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. It's a shame you didn't give a shout out to Chaos Theory. As far as production values go Chaos Theory was an almost perfect stealth game. If only there were more games like it.

CreMax90
CreMax90

Hope it will find its way to steam.

soheil_m
soheil_m

I totally Love new 2.5D games !! They are just wonderful ...

maderrin
maderrin

Stealth games will return and no one will even notice... because it will be stealthy!

firehawk998
firehawk998

Stealth games these days arent what they used to be. In the years before you had to take your time, move very carefully or else you would be detected. There was a joy to be had when you would finish any level without killing anyone. These days most of the stealth genre are insultingly easy. These games nowadays cater more to people who wants shoot there way out then avoiding everyone. Some games even have a Win Button ( aka Mark and Execute in Splinter  Cell Conviction and upcoming Black List). However there is some games that does have strong stealth gameplay like last years Deus Ex and the upcoming MGS : GZ, hell even the last of us ( based on gameplay vids) have strong stealth mechanics.

 

Sepewrath
Sepewrath

I think many publishers think the slower pacing of stealth wont hold up for the audience these days, that seeks instant gratification. Its a shame that they may actually be right.

botswanky
botswanky

Developers play it safe by recycling the same stuff & sticking to certain genres, because most people are drones that are happy to lap it all up. And this applies as a general rule anyway, people are often sheep that don't think for themselves. A good case in point is much of religion.

 

I recently started reading the Bible for the first time in my Christian life (getting old & starting to think). And within a month of reading, I've learned that half the crap my church has taught me, is not even in the Bible! Or at the very least, is a spin on what the actual truth is! There must be at least one religion that teaches the truth, let the hunt begin :/

 

Sorry about going so off topic there, I've just been fuming over the lies I've been told all my life. Oh yeah, this ninja game looks sweet! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

manoogian
manoogian

I'd love a realistic ninja game (no I know that ninjas were actually just farmers in japan that would strike with guerilla like tactics and farming tools as weapons) but a game where you'd creep though some japanese estate steathily and deadly to murder a warlord, realistic physics, tear enemies' chests in half with one katana slash and watch out their attacks are just as deadly... yes I am tired of games where swords aren't actually sharp until the health bar is lowered

TheMisterCheif
TheMisterCheif

might pick it up, at a dry spell of video games, am bored as FK 

PDXmauler97
PDXmauler97

PS3 release?... Nope... PC release?... Nope... this company just lost all my respect and cash...

Scorpion1813
Scorpion1813

"At its heart, this game is about perceiving the environment, formulating a plan, and executing it."

 

That's what the original Assassin's Creed was all about. They had so much potential going  into the sequel. Unfortunately for the stealth fans, AC2 practically dropped all that awesome stealth game play and rewarded players for being less stealthy, more aggressive and made combat WAY too easy.

 

In AC1 it was safer to run away, and that's what stealth games should be like. AC2 you were able to take down armies no sweat. In Brotherhood you could perform and endless insta-kill combo as long as there were enemies around. It's one of the most broken fighting engines in a game and has been used since - I honestly don't know why they seem to think it's a good idea to keep.

 

The AC series had the potential to be one of the best stealth game franchises ever. But now he stealth is nothing more than and gimmcky after-though.

Scorpion1813
Scorpion1813

 @The-Neon-Seal 

I'd have to disagree with you. While it's better than most optional-stealth gimmicks, it's still not at all that good.

 

And a lot of missions have scripted fights in them (such as boss fights), which means you loose any advantage of getting that initial stealth hit in, and you can't produce enough DPS on an alert enemy - especially those that can heal or regen over time.

 

Stealth doesn't really tend to work well when the enemies have health bars and you are not only rewarded (level up) by being in combat, but you HAVE to be in combat for the important parts of the game.

The-Neon-Seal
The-Neon-Seal

 @mwb360 I'm 24 and I love properly executed (yes... the pun was intended) stealth in my games.

Scorpion1813
Scorpion1813

 @maderrin 

They're already here, we just didn't notice... because they are stealthy!

Acid_Kenobi
Acid_Kenobi

 @Sepewrath The problem is developers cant think out side of the 'guard does a set square pattern' stealth rubbish. Most try to imitate a stealth mechanic, and most just aren't good enough. Just because its stealth doesn't mean it has to be slow and methodically boring.

All we need is an indie studio not afraid to take a risk, before they have expectations to meet.. Personally got high hopes for Team Bondi

arc_salvo
arc_salvo

 @Sepewrath It's true for me.  I love the concept of stealth, but I rarely have the patience for it.  The last time I remember mostly playing pure stealth was Beyond Good and Evil I think, with Jade.  Not that I wouldn't like to be stealthier, I just really REALLY suck at it, so everything turns into a shootout.  Like in Metro 2033.  That game showed me how horribly bad I am at sneaking around.

bicelis
bicelis

 @Sepewrath Percentage-wise, that'ts right. Most people will like the fast pace mindless action shoot boom boom sex sex extravaganza. But in absolute number terms the people who liked stealth are still there and I bet there are new gamers would appreciate it as well.What I'm saying is, that people haven't changed that much if at all. It's just that the other (and the much much bigger) type of gamers have joined the industry. And the companies, whether they want to or not, usually have to try and cater to them.

ssorrekrab
ssorrekrab

 @botswanky

 It's well known that thinking stunts your growth.  The church doesn't want you to think.  Wellcome to a bigger world.

FiddleJohnny
FiddleJohnny

 @manoogian Try Shinobido Imashime, it's for the PS2 though. You might find it outdated now but I consider it a very underrated game.

Scorpion1813
Scorpion1813

 @manoogian 

Ninja didn't really "sneak" around. They wore disguises and were great actors. The traditional black ninja uniform is a work of fiction that began in Kabuki theatre to mimic the costumes of the prop-handlers as a way of representing to the audience that these characters were supposed to be invisible.

 

I would love a game to take this into consideration and show what ninja were REALLY like - rather than what Hollywood THINKS they are like.

 

I also like the idea of having realistic weapon damage. It would add to the tension of the stealth since if you were to get caught and attacked by even a couple of enemies - you run the risk of dying if you get hit once with a katana or such. It would certain help emphasis the need to stealth and remaining undetected - or running away rather than fighting several enemies at once (a lot of ninja waepons/tools were used for escaping, disabling enemies/pursuers, and misdirection).

Scorpion1813
Scorpion1813

 @PDXmauler97 

It's easier to get a game published on XBOX Live Arcade than it is on the PSN. And it's probably even easier to get your game published on PC through such things as Steam.

 

This is of course, as far as getting your game out without needing to bring in the demon-spawn that goes under the guise of a publisher.

Rickystickyman
Rickystickyman

 @PDXmauler97 Journey? Xbox release? Nope... PC release? Nope... I've lost all my respect for the creator's of Journey

 

Joking, honestly I love Journey... but seriously.

Aletunda
Aletunda

 @Scorpion1813 I agree, although I love AC 2 and brotherhood, I feel too over powered with all that gear, I prefer to have tools as opposed to weapons. But I don't think you could be less stealthy in AC2 compared to AC1, there are just more options, and for AC I don't think it's such a bad thing. You also have to consider how much AC2 improved on the other aspects of the first game, such as the improvements made to the variety of missions.

hystavito
hystavito

 @Scorpion1813  So true, for all games.  I am sick of these games that talk about having stealth but allow you to do super-human multiple enemy takedowns.  But I guess that's what most people like, the cool cinematic scripted sequences where you're the incredibly skilled killer that takes down multiple enemies in some choreographed sequence of moves, like in the movies, people even loved that in the new Sherlock Holmes movies, I mean come on he's not supposed to be running around kicking ass :).

 

I miss the games where you are vulnerable, and you HAVE to be careful and use stealth because hey, you're ONE HUMAN BEING against dozens of enemies that can kill you.  Games where you really have to be careful to not alert people to your presence or at least to certain actions.

Scorpion1813
Scorpion1813

 @The-Neon-Seal  @mwb360 

I'm 25 and have loved stealth games since first playing MGS on PS1 back in 2000.

 

Stealth games can be made for all ages - and I think making stealth games for a younger audience would be great because it would teach them to think about their actions and consequences - something they need to do a lot more of. A game like this Mark of the Ninja would be perfect for targeting that younger age-group.

 

Also, 28-35 is the average age of a gamer anyway. I think the games industry need to realise this because the way games are going at the moment, with being dumbed down and mostly targeted at teenagers.

 

If they targeted the average age-group (around 28-35) then they would be targeting a bigger audience who's actually old enough to have a steady job and earning enough money to spend on games.

botswanky
botswanky

 @ssorrekrab Unfortunately the one area of my life I never really paid attention to was my spiritual side. I wish I'd payed more attention, because it was my religion that made me turn my back on God. He is soooo misrepresented by the churches, it's hard to believe anyone still believes in him. I thank my work colleague almost every day for telling me to read the Bible for myself. 

Aletunda
Aletunda

 @Scorpion1813  @manoogian closest thing to this scenario is probably assassins creed, blending in the the background being an "actor". but i would like to see traditional ninjas in a game, and yes I too crave a game with real weapon damage, precisely striking a foe, wound but not kill perhaps

PDXmauler97
PDXmauler97

 @Rickystickyman  Oh, sorry i didn't think about that one. I just get pissed when games and DLC are exclusive for one console or another. It shouldn't happen. I guess I should be lucky I have a PS3 because their exclusives are WAY better.

 

But I will never forgive Bethesda for the way they treated loyal PS3 Skyrim players.

Scorpion1813
Scorpion1813

 @Aletunda 

Oh, you could still be as stealthy in any of the later AC games, it's just there is no point. The combat was made a lot easier, and in BH so much so that there was no point doing anything other than running into a mob of enemies and one-hit combo-killing them all with no real fear for your characters life.

 

And the way the missions were set up - they were way more scripted in AC2 onwards in that some missions you HAD to go in stealthy or be instantly desynchronized iff spotted. While others scripted you being seen and forced you to fight.

 

AC1 was genius in the fact that the mission was about the player planning their attack AND escape (a feature lacking from later games as you only need kill the target with zero need to escape - in fact the escape sequence was rarely ever played out at all after AC1).

 

Not only was combat made easier, but climbing was too. Ezio practically became Spider-Man and the hookblade added a bit of Batman in there too. Ezio was also able to jump from 2-3 story buildings to perform air-assassinations on targets on the ground. In AC1 Altair could only do air-assassinations from a more realistic height (no more than 1 story off the ground).

 

You don't really notice these difference until you go back and replay AC1 after having played BH and maybe Revelations. AC1 felt so satisfying in almost every aspect of the game. Even the story was told in a better way - less confusing and you don't need to read dozens of Database entries in order to understand what was going on.

u1tradt
u1tradt

 @Scorpion1813  Those are all very good and valid points. I have to admit I never really looked at AC as primarily a stealth game now that you put it that way. Certainly I always saw it as an action game.

 

But reading your points, I can't argue with what you're saying there. In terms of stealth certainly AC1 had a lot going for it. Those things that you point out all make sense.

 

On one hand it's a shame that they ditched the real stealth mechanics in favour of more action oriented gameplay. But at the same time how many devs haven't sold out in favour of appealing to a larger audience in today's climate?

 

I can see what you mean though. Makes me wonder what could have been if they had really built on those aspects that you point out from AC1.

 

 

Scorpion1813
Scorpion1813

 @u1tradt 

Introducing more variety  of weapons had potential. But you carried all of them at all times, while wearing bulky armour that apparently does not slow you down, nor hinder your climbing and combat proficiency - but only gives you the ability to tank more in combat. This only added to the hack'n'slash type gameplay as opposed to encouraging players to think about their actions and consequences, analyse situations and formulate plans accordingly. Because if you didn't it would be game over.

 

In conclusion, if you look at the AC series as "Action" then I can understand why people think AC2 was an improvement. But if you are like me and look at AC1 as what it is: a stealth game - you may feel that AC2 is something completely different and are disappointed with the changes.

 

The problem lies in the fact that ACC is still trying to pass itself off as stealth when it's nothing more than an afterthought.

Scorpion1813
Scorpion1813

@u1tradt

Aspects of the gameplay were made easier to the point of making the main character just short of being a comic-book superhero.

 

The climbing went from being somewhat believable in the sense it took effort to do such a feat, while a large enough fall was painful, to being floaty and unchallenging to the point of boredom, while any damage sustained could be healed with a single push of a button. Because of this, all the tension and suspense of a possible fall, taking even taking damage in battle, was non-existent.

 

Even without the crazy combo insta-kills that was introduced in BH, AC2's combat was still too forgiving to the point that you never needed to run away from a fight. And while a lot of people prefer the more action-oriented gameplay - it goes against the expectations of the fans who were hoping the series would continue giving us innovative stealth action.

 

Those fans who have been crying out for more stealth games were given what they wanted with AC1. It needed only to improve upon that winning formula in the sequel, but instead the focus was changed and all the things that made for an intense and exciting stealth game were dropped in favour of keeping the player in the action and encouraging combat.

 

To be continued....

Scorpion1813
Scorpion1813

 @u1tradt Ok, this will be a long one, but there's a few things I want to get out there so please bare with me.

 

I think it comes down to personal opinion and interpretation in the sense that things changed, but whether it was for the best is a matter of preference.

 

In AC1, learning about your target while planning your course of action and attempting to execute it to perfection with zero collateral damage (an assassin should only need kill his target) - truly made me feel like I was playing the role of an assassin.

 

While at the same time, having to report to seniors, earning higher ranks and status, and having a network of informants and a city of assassin colleagues; gave the feeling of being a part of an organisation - a creed.

 

The so-called creed of assassins in AC2 was nothing more than a loose band of misfits who had seemed to forgotten how to assassinate or even work together. You would be forgiven for thinking these characters had no connection or correlation to one another, until the end of the game when you are told these people are supposedly part of an ancient organisation that has somehow managed to pass down teachings when they have seemingly never met. For the most part this game felt like a Renaissance-period Rambo movie.

 

To be continued....

u1tradt
u1tradt

 @Scorpion1813 You do have a point, I must admit, when you talk about AC1 fleshing out the villains better. Truth be told I never thought about that but certainly AC1 did a better job there than it's successors. It presented them better overall and made you question their integrity and wonder whether they indeed deserved to be assassinated.

 

Apart from that though, I feel AC2 improved upon 1 in every other way. For example the climbing, in my opinion, was made more fluid rather than 'arcade-like'. In a lot of ways the game was made easier an linear, but I think many aspects of the game needed that so the core elements of what makes the game fun could shine.

 

But certainly you're right that AC1 really had something going there in the way the villains were presented to us.

 

Scorpion1813
Scorpion1813

 @u1tradt  

 

The mission structure and story-telling in AC1 was far superior to anything since.

 

I loved the fact that you were given a target and had to explore the open world in order to learn about them - and formulate a plan of attack and retreat.

 

AC2 dropped all that in favour of a more narrative and linear game which actually did a worse job of telling the story - all the villains were easily forgettable and very 2-dimantional. And you never felt like you were part of a Creed or organization, even in BH, Revelations, and Desmond's timeline.

 

The climbing was made to be too arcade like, and too easy. So was the combat - albeit not quite as easy as BH made it with the combo-kills.

 

I honestly don't see any improvement over AC1 other than a more populated and somewhat believable world (in terms of the crowd simulation and stuff, NOT the character because they were uninteresting and as mentioned before, 2-dimentional in terms of personality).

 

AC1 is in my top 5 all-time favourite games, yet none of the other AC games come within the top 20. AC3 seems to be following the same formula as Revelations. Other than the addition of naval combat, the only thing that seems different is the climbing mechanics, and that's only to accommodate the tree climbing. The combat is exactly the same with different animations.

u1tradt
u1tradt

 @Scorpion1813  @Aletunda  @manoogian  The direction they went with AC2 was great. It improved upon the first game in every single aspect. For me it's one of the best games I've ever played - definitely in my top 10.

 

It's AC:B where everything went downhill because Brotherhood and Revelations, with all their additions and tweaks to the formula, might as well have been DLC for AC2.

 

Ubisoft seem to be out to redeem themselves with AC3 though. Fingers crossed they do.

Sepewrath
Sepewrath

 @Scorpion1813  @Aletunda  @manoogian I think where AC started going nuts was Brotherhood. AC2 still have a good balance of the stealth aspects for AC1, trying to figure out how to get in close for the assassination. It was in Brotherhood where they really started with the set piece assassinations.

Scorpion1813
Scorpion1813

 @Aletunda  @manoogian 

And that's why I love the original Assassin's Creed. Because the focus was on that kind of stealth. It's just so annoying that they dumped that in favour of more action-oriented gameplay in the sequels.

 

Even more frustrating is the fact that AC1 was praised for it's stealth and it's gameplay. The ONLY thing negative about that game was the lack of mission variety. All they needed to do going into the sequel was to expand on what they already had - instead they completely remade it and went in a completely new direction.

Scorpion1813
Scorpion1813

 @smroadkill15  @PDXmauler97  @Rickystickyman 

It makes perfect sense to me. That's why I wrote it.

 

Developers may get a one-time payment from the Consoles for their exclusivity. Which may work out well for the short-term as they get a guaranteed payout. But they are still more likely to earn more money in the long-term by having a multi-platform release - otherwise, why would they bother wasting time and money on making multi-platform games if they are better of staying exclusive?!

 

If you think you understand exclusives then by all means explain it. Instead of being ambiguous in the hopes that people will assume you know what you are talking about.

Scorpion1813
Scorpion1813

 @smroadkill15  @PDXmauler97  @Rickystickyman 

So we have to go play a handful of games repeatedly because newer games that we are interested in are unavailable to us.

 

Or we could campaign to have that game we want become available to us, that way the gamers get what they want and the developers make more money (because a bigger audience is buying their product).

 

I think you just don't like listening to people complaining - which can easily be fixed with your own advise of going and doing something else and not fuelling more or what you are trying to stop.

 

The consoles themselves may benefit from exclusives, but the game developers and the gamers themselves are all better off if the game is available to everyone.

smroadkill15
smroadkill15

 @PDXmauler97  @Rickystickyman What a flawed argument. I think this has more to do with the 360 getting a game you want to play, but you can't. Systems need their exclusives, big or small. If the ps3 has such great exclusives, then go play them and stop complaining about 360 get some.