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Lies, Damned Lies and Videogame Previews


Harsin
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There really, really needs to be a feature-length documentary on the development of Duke Nukem Forever. Preferably in the form of a playable game, full of incomplete levels from every build of the game, with commentaries, images and videos scattered throughout.

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Half Life 2 is another great one. After the Beta version leak they pretty much redesigned the whole game. The original was much larger in scope, and is featured in the book "Raising the Bar".

The original plan was that once you got to Black Mesa East (then called the Scrapyard) you escaped into the desert outside the city with Alyx, travelled along a rail line, destroyed a Depot (Nova Prospekt in the final game), and then went on to the Air Exchange, which was this big industrial facility converting the atmosphere into something breathable for the aliens. This was destroyed in a massive Resistance strike, and then you got on the Borealis and headed for the Arctic, where you met up with Mossman at the undersea Resistance Kraken base, and destroyed a Combine Weather Control Facility. You then went back in a C-130, crashed into a skyscraper called Vertigo, fought your way down, and entered the Citadel.

Some of the sections were nearly complete (the Borealis, Vertigo) others were barely started (The Air Exchange, Weather Control Facility). There were also sections liberating a child labour factory, the sewers with that big Hydra superorganism that stretched across the city, and in an Antlion Cave, where you defeated a 130 ft tall Antlion King.

There's a pretty full list of weapons (Hopwire Mines, Ice Axe, Flare Gun, OICW, PhysGun, Acid Gun, SLAM, Fire Extinguisher, Riot Stick), enemies and locations in it. What's interesting is how Valve is sort of retelling this through the Episodes, they've reintroduced the Antlion Caves, the Kraken Base and the Borealis so far.

They announced their intention to do a similar book for Team Fortress 2, and the multiple revisions that concept went through over the years.

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Well, despite the above post, I would say Half Life 2. I followed the game every step of the way, eagerly anticipating it, despising the year-long delay etc, but I didn't know about any of the stuff that RubberJohnny posted, except for maybe the Hydra. When I played the game I was completely awestruck. Dissapointment was the last thing on my mind.

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A more pressing question would be has any majorly hyped game every lived up to it?

I can't think of any at all.

Well that'd be your fault, since you control the level of PR you take in, hype is subjective and personal. You can't blame the game or developer for that.

If every game is failing to live up to hype for you, may I suggest you stop reading everything about upcoming games that you're looking forwards to religiously, and perhaps readjust your expectations when reviews start coming in?

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In the run-up to Bioshock there was quite a bit made about how Rapture had a complex eco-system of inhabitants with their own agendas...etc (very similar claims to Radiant AI actually). Then when it came out all you seemed to get was a few different Splicer skins with AI that consisted of run at player with melee weapon or stand still and fire and Big Daddies/Little Sisters on a rigid predertermined patrol path.

In both Oblivion and Bioshock's cases (more so Bioshock) it's pretty impressive that the 'ecosystems' work at all, even if little of interest emerges from them. It must be incredibly difficult to test and balance systems like that where there are so many factors involved. I liked that you could never completely clear out an area in Bioshock.

Stalker did it all way better though.

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Back when Halo was still going to be a Mac/PC game (but after the shift from RTS to FPS), previews were saying that the whole Halo would be open to explore.

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Re the HL2 stuff, I think it's just Valve's method to massively overdesign and throw the majority of stuff away, just keeping the best bits. Worked for RE4 as well, although I can't imagine most Japanese companies intentionally employing that method, save perhaps Nintendo.

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Games that lived up to the hype for me: Sonic, Quake, Metroid Prime (although I guess that was never hyped to Major Cultural Event levels).

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Re the HL2 stuff, I think it's just Valve's method to massively overdesign and throw the majority of stuff away, just keeping the best bits.

And then they took some of the bits that were cut, revised them, and made them into Half-Life: Uplink and Half-Life 2: The Lost Coast. ;)

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Closest I can find on the getaway Ps2 stuff, some of these aren't the final game by a long shot...

PS2 Getaway early stuff

The EDGE preview and cover issue for The Getaway again seemed to promise so much...

I think the open city option once you finished it was kind of interesting, they should have used that engine for a driving game or something.

Its quite amazing that all that work that went into that game and sequel, surprised they didn't try and reuse at least some of it to try again on the PS3.

I can never seem to get over the feeling that the main character in The Getaway runs like he's shit his pants.

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Any of you remember Malice? Nobody would blame you if you don't.

25hobch.jpg

It was one of those game that was rolled out at shows to show how the Xbox was more advanced than the PS2 prior to the console's launch. Then it completely disappeared off the map for ages, before eventually being released with no fanfare as a multi-platform title that got shitty reviews all round.

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Re the HL2 stuff, I think it's just Valve's method to massively overdesign and throw the majority of stuff away, just keeping the best bits.

Yeah, everything that they removed, they removed for a reason. There was more exposition early on from the G man, and from a passenger on the (much longer) train ride called Daniel, and even a slideshow presentation at Black Mesa East which was all cut in favour of "Show, don't tell".

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