First of all, it seems as though there are a lot more science-fiction titles than there used to be. Common wisdom has been that fantasy sells better than sci-fi, at least in RPGs. Shooters and strategy games seem to attract audiences with science fiction more reliably, but there are also a lot of fantasy and historical based strains. But there are not only an unusual number of sci-fi RPGs (e.g., exceeding 0-1), there are a number of space trade sims and even what appears to be a god game where you make solar systems.
Also, it seems that the death of adventure games is once again taking longer than expected. The old talent from Lucas Arts has spread out. I’ve been keeping up with the new Sam & Max, and I find this episodic format promising, though perhaps not all makers will be so successful in making clever use of the same scenery not only with new puzzles but also constantly new dialogue about that scenery.
And what the hell exactly is a “Physics-based Puzzler”? I’m assuming it’s something like Portal, which I haven’t played but I get the general notion. Did Portal create a new genre, and will that genre be killed by its sudden loss of uniqueness?
It would appear that the hybridization of casual puzzle games will continue, which is a trend I like. Why play Bejeweled merely as an endless excercise in inevitable futility when I can pretend that I’m some kind of super-hero while I’m at it?
Portal’s not quite the first. Half-Life 2 and the later episodes make use of some physics puzzles, although they’re not the focus of the game. All of those games, however, make use of the Source engine, which is really the first engine (or at least the most popular one) that makes physics-based puzzlers possible.
Looking at the list, I can’t tell if Penumbra is using the Source engine or not, but I’d be surprised if it didn’t.
Physics-based puzzles themselves are more or less puzzles that are dressed up in the real-world environs. The ones that are well-done are theoretically so intuitive that you don’t realize you’re solving a game puzzle. For example, in Half-Life 2: Episode 1 ([del]Manchester 4[/del]), there’s a ruined building that has a gouged-out floor preventing you from getting to an area you need to get to. There’s a long length of sturdy (pipe? lumber? I forget) and a bunch of paint buckets nearby. The idea is to lay the lumber down across the hole; it won’t extend all the way, but you can then pile the buckets on the part of the lumber that’s on solid ground, and once you get enough weight on there you can run across the part of the lumber that’s hanging in open space and jump to the other side. It’s a puzzle that follows real-world logic rather than rules contained wholly within the puzzle itself.
You’re assuming they are using the “Common era” system of numbering years. In fact, I believe they mean 2008 years after the invention of the microprocessor.
But in all seriousness, of course Duke Nukem Forever is never coming out, and isn’t being worked on, a fact that should have been rather obvious when the company supposed to be working on it planned, developed and released another first person shooter.
It’s true that WoW has been a guaranteed income stream. However, StarCraft 2 is pretty much guaranteed to sell like hotcakes no matter what. They could surely afford to hire a new division to code just that. While people were busy playing that the team could make Diablo 3: Now with Plot!
Having a vastly profitable licence doesn’t preclude you from cashing in on other vastly profitable licences at the same time. If you’re a profit seeking company you’re pretty much required to do that by your shareholders.
Sure, but you do it in a measured way to make sure you get it right. And as mentioned, you do not divert resources from your current winner in favour of a potential winner. I have no problem understanding why SC2 is taking as long as it is.