IO are good. But...

I really like IO as a developer. The Hitman series, though it didn't do much more than refine itself, was certainly closer to interactive storytelling than games which were out and out trying to be (I'm looking at you, David Cage). While the mission struction, if anything, got a lot more confined as the series progressed, your moment to moment actions were at least not crippled by what some would call "good storytelling" (and which I call a complete misinterpretation of the medium). And the scoring system was only slightly flawed in that in encouraged you to get the "Silent Assassin" rating, which effectively meant following a fairly scripted route, making use of the poisoning/exploding/piano crushing set ups - so there was always an implied "correct way" of doing the level... anything else was rather sneered at. I always wanted insane killing rampages to be as equally rewarded as sneak-a-thons... just to embrace the idea that it's the player's expression which is most important.

And Freedom Fighters - wow. It came at a time when squad based shooters really were up their own arse... where commanding your dudes required a high threshold for pain due to the unnecessarily complex interfaces provided to you. Freedom Fighters nailed a really easy approach. Three buttons: "Go there/attack", "Go there/defend" and "Come back here". Out of that you could create some great little emergent strategies - place two guys either side of a door, send a third guy in, pull them back with enemies in tow, then get the drop on them as they walk out the door right into the faces of two shotty weilding bastards. See, it shows that IO know how to learn from their mistakes. Hitman's interface was a little convoluted. FF's was nice and easy. (Then again, FF was painfully linear, despite their best efforts to hide the fact).

Their new game is being discussed. They're calling it a middle ground between FF and Hitman. hooray!

Just one thing though: "Kane"? Seriously? Man, I thought we'd been over this already.

It seems like every other gritty video game/wannabe B-Movie has some character called Kaine, Caine, Cane, Kane, Kayne or Kain. Enough Kane already! I mean, even Michael Caine, whose name is actually "Caine" doesn't bloody go around looking for movie roles where the character's name is Caine. Unless he's playing himself. But you can hardly blame him for that. Infact, according to his IMDB rap sheet he was "Born Maurice Micklewhite in London". Also, he's "Sometimes Credited As ... Michael Scott". Interesting.

So what I think happened was, he changed his name, because, I mean "Micklewhite"... What? He changes his name to "Michael Caine". And that was back in the day when it was pretty cool to be called "Caine". Like "Hey, that's that biblical killer, right? Wow. Damn son! And people are still pretty religious these days. Damn, you be a rebel!" (that's the voice of the deed poll clerk).

And that's cool, but only because it wasn't before every hack from HollyWood to Redwood decided to do the same thing. If you call an antagonist "Caine", it's a shortcut to getting the judeo-christian audience's anger focussed: "Caine? CAINE? That thar's the furst guy that cummitted mordur! If he hadn't introduced that thar concept of mordur, ther'da been no mordur nevur! String him up!"

So at that point, he's like "Wright. Wiwl you bloody hacks stop bloody using my name in vain?" and he uses the name "Michael Scott" instead. Almost the exact same thing happens, though. Shyeet. Name hijacked again.

Anyway. Let me be clear:

STOP USING THE NAME "KANE" IN VIDEO GAMES. Seriously, did you rip one page out of the "Baby Names for Satanists" book and photocopy it for everyone in the games industry? STOP IT.

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