Extra Credits: Hard-Boiled

This week, we discuss the AAA industry's trend toward hard-boiling its franchises, and what it means to be "mature".

Show Notes:

Interested in helping out with subtitles and translations? Check the thread here.

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Recent Comments:

  • I can understand why they did it, but I thought it was very unlike them, since they're all about clearing up misconceptions and fallacies.

    Only when its of direct relevance to the discussion. Otherwise, Alison would need two robot arms to finish on time.


    Understandable. As I said earlier, I'm just ranting about a small portion of the video, other than that part, it was a great video.

  • Taken from my blog: http://miliefisathand.wordpress.com/201 ... a-credits/

    I'm certain I've never strongly disagreed so strongly with a source I still hold in high regard.
    Extra credits usually nails the issue spot on. I still share links to their videos; some of which address important topics such as diversity, sexuality, and occupational viability of games.
    I know where to give credit where credit is due, but this time I have to call bullshit.

    Characters

    Pasos is a very interesting character. A believable big brother type. If I met him in real life I could easily see myself wanting to be his friend. In a party, or in a gun fight; I can't think of a better companion to max than he. Much of the semantic gold in the game comes from him.

    The shallowness of the wealthy characters max is charged with protecting also allowed for contrast. Even the most vapid of people have things they value. the desperation and affection for Marcello towards his family; even risking his life to save his sister in law was touching.

    Max never feels too out of touch with reality. he is a believable and, partly because of his humor, likable. there are many one liners and hilarious jabs. its black for sure, but there are plenty of undeniable opportunities for the player to chuckle. Every thing about this game is clever
    In fact, the only complaints I had about MP3 were the controls for cover. Mass effect had an excellent cover system. The placement of buttons in MP3 were a little awkward. Also the fact that I couldn't move away from my covering spot without standing up drove me bonkers. I should be able to crawl/crab walk/whatever away from my cover position as I see no reason why this is a problem for Max as its physically possible for me to do in real life. Maybe its his bad knees Perhaps this was done to further portray max as a crumbling old geezer. Don't get me wrong, I'm not one of those people who dismissed the concept of cover all together. It added an extra layer of suspense to combat. I just wish it was as polished as the other areas of the game.

    On the subject of drugs, sex and violence in games.

    Drugs sex and violence are common. Its not mature (or immature), its not good or bad: It just is. you go to any high school/college in America and you will find a lot of Kids who consume a lot of coke, they also have sex. Almost everyone I know smokes weed or at one point in their lives rolled at a rave. I don't think its particularly shocking or that the developers are trying to "shock" you anymore than a Cheeto commercial is trying to shock you with gratuitous images of cheese. Nudity is everywhere too. In fact, I'm writing this article In the Buff. I'm so "dark" and gritty... which is to say naked.

    There's is much in the way of sin going on in the world and, by extension, this game.
    The way that the developers show these elements of life is very matter of fact. The bullet cam never feels over indulgent, in all honesty given the games difficulty, a well placed shot feels all the more triumphant in slow mo. If you haven't seen it in action the best way I can describe bullet time is to compare it to the aesthetic component of the VATS system in fallout 3

    Also, the efforts max puts into sobriety later in the game is all too inspiring.
    for many gamers, young and old, who actually suffer from addictions and who are exposed to gang life/crime this game hits home on a very personal level.

    In that sense its a story of hope. The most important lesson the game leaves is that there is a hero in us all; no matter how unheroic our current path is.
    In that regard; Max Payne could quite possibly be the most uplifting game to be released this year.

    See For Yourself

    Extra credits is influential and rightly so. They do a lot of good work and their perspective is always welcome, although at times worrisome. It would be a shame if people missed out on this truly remarkable narrative due to the clout they have in the gaming community.
    The storyline for MP3 is it's salient draw and is right up there with the likes of Dragon Age, Mass Effect, Metro 2033 and the first Deus Ex game.

    In closing, max may be a disagreeable guy to some. An alcoholic of that nature is not everyone's cup of tea. The story may be full of evil people. But is it right to continually sweep those characters under the rug? Art isn't always about feeling good about the message. You can find people like this out in the world. Its a game developers duty to make these types of stories. To give voice to the voiceless. The message is vivid as well as revealing in regards to a society mostly ignored by video games. More importantly, the creators have done this without so much as a hint of irony or parody beyond what the characters bring to the table themselves. Max's journey may be arduous, but the game is anything but. Epic.

  • Well, I think the most important thing to ask you here is... have you played the first two games? Because most everyone I know that played the originals simply does not care for MP3. ... Nor does any gamer who is allergic to cutscene overload.

  • Highly recommend Spec Ops: The Line.

  • I apologize for casting Raise Dead on the thread, especially since I made an account just to post here, however, I really do wish to discuss something along these lines.

    The new Devil May Cry game.

    Yes, it's mired in controversy and anger on all sides but it's worth noting the changes to the game. The series was no stranger to being violent and sexualized, in fact Lady was used as an example of sexualized female characters in an earlier episode. However, with this new entry, it really is an example of hard boiling. I'm not going to talk about the response from the developers and their attacks on the previous games, nor the gameplay itself.

    (It bears mentioning that it's currently ambiguous if this is a reboot or a side-game, however it is certainly not in the same timeline as the previous 4 games.)

    As I post this, many early cutscenes of the game have been posted. Many of them stand out due to characterization and tone setting. I'm going to be talking about the general details of the cutscenes rather than the narrative details revealed, mostly due to the fact that I can't watch the cutscenes with the sound on if I can help it.

    The first section begins with Dante waking up to a shallow Fox News parody, calling him a terrorist and sexual deviant as he gets out of bed naked, a woman's phone number written in lipstick on his arm, his back covered in scratches, obviously after a night of sex. He leaves his trailer, still naked, onto a pier, whereby he is attacked by a demon who grabs his trailer and breaks it in half. Dante jumps through and we are treated to Austin Powers style dressing sequence, Pizza and a baseball bat covering Dante's genitalia as he dresses in very grimy clothing. A fight ensues, and he finds his guns in a bra hanging from a wire.

    The obvious conclusion is that Dante was out on the town the night before.

    I'd go on, however it continues in a similar vein. Dante shows himself to be a bully under the guise of being heroic, knocking a poisonous can of addictive soda out of a fat schlub's hand as he passes on the street, knocking a bouncer out for keeping him from entering a strip club and writing "fuck you" on the list, having a tennis match of "fuck you" with a demon who vomits as she screams the expletives and calls his mother a whore... it goes on.

    None of this behavior, sexual, bullying, or expletive laden, was in the previous games. Dante attacked people for one reason: They were a threat to him. And once they were a threat, he taunts and pisses them off to make them falter. Once they aren't, he stops attacking. Lady, Agni and Rudra, Beowulf, Cerberus, his own brother, none of them Dante killed. He's never implied to have sex and he certainly doesn't leave his office in disarray because of it. He never swears. In fact, I don't remember any swearing in the games at all.

    And even though he lost his mother, he was left alone until he grew up, and he was the one who searched for monsters, rather than the monsters coming to him. New Dante was tortured as a child and held in an orphanage run by demons, and his memory was wiped of it. His backstory was made more disturbing and violent.

    Additionally, the developers have made the game into a Social Commentary game about modern society, while the previous games were about coming of age and fraternity and family and yadayadayada. It had wider thematic implications, however the new game feels the need to comment on modern society as a whole. It lampoons advertising as it tells us to feed and grow obese and obey and become slaves. it attacks Fox News. The government and Corporations are controlled by demons. And humans go along with it, either of their own accord or unwillingly, having been born into the subjugation. The problem, however, is that this is the laziest form of social commentary. It doesn't explain why government observation is bad, it doesn't show why people go along with it. It goes on at length about abandoning consumerism, as evidenced by Dante's lack of style, but that message is undercut by the massive marketing efforts from Capcom. The entire argument put forth in DmC is simply a massive strawman. Nothing new is learned except that demons control corporations. It's very evident if you've paid attention to the news in the past few years that corporations have their own interests at heart, but instead of explaining why, how corporations are incentivized to build their money up, especially due to the buyer's market of employment, it simply explains it as "demons gonna dem."

    Lastly, the most recent cutscene to be released is in fact Mundus screwing Lilith, with badly photoshopped pictures of him shaking hands with various politicians and businessmen. Again, feeding into gratuitous sexual content for shock value (And I do mean shock value. NSFW, and spoilers for the game), but it's also utterly crass and adds little to nothing that a heavy implication would.

    The end result is that the game has run right into the tropes of hard-boiling and failing to recognize that such tropes are neither beneficial nor mature.

    (EDIT: Like I said earlier, I can't watch these cutscenes with the sound on, and I just accidentally started the video I linked to with the sound on. It does not use the sound in the game, someone speaks over the video. EDIT2:... until the actual sex scene. My mistake again. -_-; )

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