Today I wanted to trial something a little bit different. I’ve been discussing how I want to do a more informal style blog, where I share what’s going on in our game’s development or just general thoughts about the video game industry as a whole. So today I’ve kind of chucked together a few different things that were on my mind.
The Quiet Games Magazine is an Instagram account dedicated to celebrating all things gaming. You can find awesome cosplay models, fan made art and statues / collectibles from all the latest and greatest video games.
So go on then, why don’t you have a look? Just follow @quietgamesmagazine on Insta.
Also, as a weird side note, go to PlayStation.com right now to get a personalized video about your PlayStation experiences over the last five years. Here’s the one generated for me. Just something cool I found today, that I wanted to share.
Finally I just wanted to briefly discuss something related to the Ubisoft game Starlink: Battle for Atlas.
If you look at the history of a developer, you can often see the precursors to their next game. For example, the movement and momentum mechanics of Sunset Overdrive probably paved the way for Insomniac’s Spider-Man. Black Flag’s ship mechanics are now also being expanded into a full blown game titled Skull and Bones.
It’s easy to see in hindsight, but what about looking to the future. Starlink is the unasked for amalgamation of No Man’s Sky and the ‘toys to life’ craze. There are an abundance of ships, pilots and weapons that can be bought either physically or digitally. Each one offers slight adjustments to the gameplay, but having bought nothing besides the starter pack, I feel in no way handicapped in my experience. So in a lot of ways Starlink is an improvement upon the likes of Skylanders and Disney Infinity, which both relied heavily on the idea of maximizing consumerism and add-on sales. Starlink could also be enjoyed by those over the age of 12, which isn’t really the case for the others.
The No Man’s Sky element is more or less the crux of the game. You play as Starlink, a group of space fairing explorers looking to find the home of an amnesiac alien who crash landed on earth. In many ways the two are similar. You can seamlessly fly through space towards a planet and then land on and explore said planet. No loading screens. From a visual standpoint the difference between Starlink and No Man’s Sky is almost unrecognizable. This could very easily be confused as a sequel to Hello Game’s massive indie sim.
However unlike No Man’s Sky, everything you do has a purpose. You aren’t just mindlessly mining for materials and then flying to another procedurally generated planet, crossing your fingers it includes something of interest. There are over half a dozen planets to explore, but you can explore the entire circumference of each world. There are crashed ships to discover, enemy bases to destroy, boss battles and alliances to be formed. All of which is rapped up in a kid friendly, Dream Works style narrative.
So Starlink’s a better version of No Man’s Sky. It’s a better version of Skylanders and Disney Infinity. Plus I haven’t even mentioned that if you buy the game on Switch you acquire exclusive Star Fox missions, pilots and ships. And playing as Fox, in his signature ship, is in itself a far better Star Fox game than we’ve had in over a decade.
So I’ve kind of forgotten the point of what I was trying to say. The point is, not only is this a better version of three other popular games (which it is receiving nowhere near enough recognition for), but it’s also a precursor for what is to come. Beyond Good and Evil 2 has, in it’s limited tech demo’s, toted a system similar to Starlink… of seamlessly flying through the universe, from planet to planet.
Starlink is the first game to implement such a system well. But even then, it’s worlds are simple. If Starlink is Toy Story, then Beyond Good and Evil 2 could be James Cameron’s Avatar. The universe traversal of Starlink, with the world density of Assassin’s Creed. It’s a big leap forward, bigger than any game in history. It’s not something you attempt all at once, you build up to it. Just look what happened to No Man’s Sky.
People asked why Ubisoft was still committed to a toys to life experience in 2018. Well maybe this is why. Because this game is a sign of what’s to come, and we just haven’t realized it.
Just a thought.