Monster Hunter World ≠ Dauntless

A quick glance at Dauntless’ potential player base would make one thing abundantly clear: Dauntless served as a substitute solution to a long existing problem. In 2004 when Capcom released Monster Hunter they created a genre, and over the last decade, the franchise has received numerous iterations – across various platforms – with none of them released on PC. If someone was interested in playing Monster Hunter they would first have to overcome the console barrier. You could always go with the mobile game, but if you were serious about the “authentic experience” you’d have to spend money investing in a console, any of which would play the game at a much lower visual fidelity than you’d come to expect from your PC.

A little over a year ago Phoenix Labs presented a solution to that issue. They would create a Monster Hunter style game that could be played on PC, finally allowing players interested in action RPGs a look into one of the best games in the genre. It would also provide an opportunity to anyone interested in sharing their passion with their friends without a financial barrier to entry – the game would be free to play.

Today, Capcom, the original creators of Monster Hunter, announced Monster Hunter Worlds. Giving fans something they’ve spent over a decade clamoring for, and in the YouTube comments the faction of Dauntless followers that only saw Dauntless as a substitute good made their intentions known. For all they cared Dauntless no longer needed to exist; the game’s raison d’être, as far as they were concerned, had been filled by the announcement of a “true” Monster Hunter game, and they no longer required Dauntless to satiate their MH cravings.

I want to know how big that sector is. How many of you were anxious for Dauntless simply because you couldn’t get Monster Hunter on PC? And taking Monster Hunter Worlds’ announcement into consideration, do you still have plans to download Dauntless when it releases? If not, what could it do to ensure that you would download it and give it a try? 

In antithesis, what could Capcom do wrong that would make you consider asking Steam for a refund and downloading Dauntless instead? 



The Inherent Value Hidden in The Surge

I’m not sure anyone needed The Surge, but I’m certainly glad we got it. Games that are heavily influenced by another may be dubbed as clones upon announcement, but as Minecraft created a genre, so did Dark Souls; leading to the inspiration of games like The Surge, Dead Cells, and Nioh. All of which are characterized by leashed monsters that pace an area until they charge in your direction, and combat techniques that need to be memorized and dealt with in a particular way to be defeated. Initially thought to fall into a particular niche, Dark Souls’ reach has expanded exponentially, and rather than being viewed as the source material for a batch of clones, should be looked upon as a grandfather for the next generation of the genre’s offspring. The Surge is the next step in that genealogy.

The Surge implements a new take on these combat techniques without making it too complicated: with its horizontal and virtual attacks, a dodge and block mechanic, everything else is left up to skill. I’d be lying if I said that simplicity made the game easy – it doesn’t – but that observation doesn’t mean much coming from me. I was unable to get past the tutorial in the first Dark Souls, and I haven’t been able to play more than half an hour (combined time) in the genre since. But that doesn’t leave me unable to appreciate the beauty that Deck 13 has created.

How do you feel about creators, across all industries, shamelessly and unabashedly showing where their inspiration has come from? What’s the first thing that crosses your mind when you see a game that has clearly borrowed game mechanics from a better-known franchise? And does that initial opinion change based on the ultimate quality of the title? Comment below and let me know, I genuinely want to know what you guys think. 

This is an introduction to a multiple part series.*


As YouTube’s Biggest Ad-Buyers Jump Ship, Who Loses the Most?

Customary TLDR is at the bottom, along with questions to spark the discussion. Please, feel free to comment below. 

Birth of the Ad-Pocalypse

Almost a year has passed since the hit piece on PieDiePie by Rolfe Winkler, Jack Nicas, and Ben Fritz was written on behalf of The Wallstreet Journal; and creators are still here weighing a bigger problem: the great imbalance of cause and effect. Over one hundred days have passed since that initial article was posted and dominoes are still continuing to fall. It may have begun with a precisely aimed round to PewDiePie’s forehead, but in consequence, baby YouTubers are running for cover.

YouTube’s Purpose to Us

YouTube was not designed to be a platform for content creators or budding media professionals, but over time that is what it’s become. And regardless of where you land on the “Spectrum of Political Correctness,” if you’ve found this article and have reached this point I believe you agree with me when I say: if you’ve created a platform in which content creators can thrive – to the point that they feel comfortable enough to trust you, leave their jobs, and rely on your income to survive – you cannot take advantage of that trust. I understand business, and we’re all cognizant of the fact that the highest bidder wins, but when you make a decision to appease a dozen huge corporations, and it endangers the livelihoods of thousands, I think your decision needs to be reconsidered.

YouTube’s Purpose to Them

For Google, the ultimate concern is YouTube’s profitability. And generally, revenue comes from the advertisers, not the content creators (at least not directly.) It is not YouTube’s job to take care of people. But when people that have vowed to never put a sponsor button on their page are forced to make a video, that always reads as uncomfortable, asking people to use a third party platform to contribute financially in an attempt to re-stabilize their income – you know your revenue stream has been shattered.

Where we Stand in Opposition

As content creators, we know that we cannot rely on a platform. The stars of MySpace that didn’t branch out to build their own brands were destroyed by the emergence of Facebook. The “Vine Famous” needed the business sense to use the platform as an on-ramp to movie auditions and TV / online shows – and some of them did; when Vine fell they were protected. Their names were known outside of the application, so they had external work to point to. But creating the content is work enough, not to mention keeping in touch with your audience, so they don’t feel slighted – given the impressions that you’ve become too popular for the people that helped you get there. One has to maintain their web pages and make sure their content is relevant because if they stop for a breath someone has surpassed them. The work was never easy, but one thing YouTube did was make you feel comfortable as a creator, that they had your back, and if you put in the hard work you were good. But when YouTube’s back was against the wall, it’s clear who they chose to protect.

Who Can Be Incentivized to Change Things?

So the question remains: when YouTubers are no longer making enough money to focus on their craft, and have to pivot – maybe slowly moving back into “real life,” or getting a new job entirely – to make sure they can provide for the people who need them, who suffers? These creators can turn to Patreon, but those Patreon coffers have to be filled by someone, and as viewers, we only have so much money. If we only have enough money to back two YouTubers but love watching five, what happens to the remaining three? Do we just let their quality fade until it can no longer be supported? Do we weed out the weak or the ones with audiences unable to financially support the channel’s growth? If this problem continues, and YouTubers go from withering to dying, who will suffer financially?

Because when it comes to companies, it’s money that matters.

Companies provide keys to content creators not because they enjoy giving away their games for free, but because if someone with 1 million, or even 5,000 followers plays a game – there are 5,000 eyes that are immediately interested in this game. It’s not like advertising on TV, where half of your advertising money is wasted. You buy the ad, but what percentage of people that view it actually care about what you’re selling? When a company provides a content creator with a game, they are guaranteeing that the audience that sees it will be, at the least, intrigued. But if, despite the viewer count, these creators can no longer do what they do because they can no longer support themselves, to whom will these companies turn?

I expand upon that idea in a post I wrote in January, arguing to companies the benefits of giving YouTubers the opportunity to showcase their products for them, rather than spending the money on ad revenue. But if they’re not going to be spending money on ads at all, doesn’t that strengthen my case, and give companies a more reliable advertising medium? No. When the primary source of income is through products or sponsorships by companies, the opinions no longer hold weight. They go from honest product reviews to paid sponsorships – simply another form of advertising – causing viewers to lose trust in the review and the creator presenting it.

The point is, when Content Creators suffer, who loses the most money? Answer that, and a solution for our current YouTube ad problem may appear.

– YouTube, having created a platform that compensated creators for their work, gave people the sense of security that needed to quit their day jobs and depend on the income from YouTube alone.
– What we tend to forget is that Google’s priority is not the happiness of their content creators or viewers, it’s the profit YouTube makes. If advertisers are no longer paying them, Google needs to do whatever they can to bring advertisers back.
– The only way to force someone to take notice is to disrupt their revenue stream. YouTube’s hair-trigger reaction to the loss of revenue is blocking ads on any piece of content that might initiate advertiser’s mass exodus.
– So, when content producers can no longer support themselves on videos alone they’ll have to change tactics; either by moving to another platform like Twitch, or asking for money on Patreon instead of Sponsoring on YouTube. 

Let’s crowdsource some ideas. What do you think our options are? Who do you think loses the most if YouTubers have to dedicate their time to something other than their channel, and production quality declines? If they move to another platform who[se bank accounts] feel their absence? When we figure out the answer to that question, I think our voice will be loud enough to be heard.

If you have a Medium feel free to comment there. 


That Incredible “In-Hand Feel”

I’ve heard it said more than once that someone simply loved the “feel” of a game. As if it was a new food against the surface of their tongue or a stone against their fingers, they explain the experience as if it was a visceral one. Despite Destiny’s objectively rough story and treadmill-like loot grinding, it is rare that you play an FPS that urges you to pull back on the shoulder button repeatedly, simply to, again and again, feel the satisfying recoil of the gun. It is the weight behind a melee attack in Halo that makes hitting someone with the butt of a rifle or knocking them back with an elbow so rewarding.

This is why, notwithstanding my statement on writing reviews, I had to sit down and talk about the shooting in Rainbow Six Siege. As a game with a history dating back to 1998, going into it would be beyond the scope of what I want to cover here, but within the first two minutes of purchasing the game, I knew it was a good buy. The developers did something that allowed me to, by even watching the game played on stream or in a YouTube video, experience the action of the rifle: the recoil as the bullet left the barrel and the slight kick-back as the shell is ejected and another round is pushed forward for the next shot.

Somehow small indie studios have managed to find the source of this wonderful game mechanic magic and implement it into jumping, sword swinging, and spell casting. A feeling that I once thought could only be experienced through the efforts of hundreds of people, is now being delivered by teams with less than a dozen.

So when I select a game for On My Radar or decide to dedicate time in posting continuous coverage of its development, not only do I think it innovative in its genre, that the devs poured gallons of their blood into it and deserve recognition, but somewhere in me I know that – like Rainbow Six Siege – those satisfying visuals allude to an upcoming incredible gameplay experience.


I later want to delve into what mechanics must be implemented and done just right to make a game feel good, but I know it’s going to take a lot of research so it will have to be after the features I’m already working on. 

On My Radar – Week 3

Dead Cells

I was six, and with my purple GameBoy Color in hand and “Elmoe in Grouch land” as my guide, I began my intrepid journey into the world of video games.

Years later, with the GameBoy put away, my love for quasi-2D side scrollers had stuck for good. So with the announcement of Dead Cells, I was sold. They proudly call themselves “Metroidvania” and “Roguelike” but to the unaccustomed those words don’t mean much. Dead Cells is a 2-D scroller in a procedurally generated world. The world itself is dark, but the monsters, their drops, and your attacks light the world with brilliant color.

  • Special attributes can be purchased in the shop, altering your weapons and changing up the facets of combat, ultimately changing your build and play style.
  • Cells, which help you to improve your moveset and unlock a wide variety of new weapons, are dropped from enemies but are lost for good when you die – so in this game, it’s better to spend than save.
    • You get the nostalgia for Metroid when you realize that these moves you’ve unlocked can help you traverse the world in different ways, allowing you into areas you didn’t even know where there.
    • But it’s the RPG-esc progression, the story, mixed with the game mechanics and dungeon crawl that make it a “roguelike.”

Whatever you refer to it as, Dead Cells is turning out to be an amazing looking game, and one I’m already looking forward to getting my hands on. If the developers continue on their current path, we’ll have a gorgeous reinvention of a classic that both Mac and PC gamers will enjoy for a long time.



I’ve already posted about Dauntless on the site. Transcribing an entire interview illuminated a lot about the game that I didn’t already know. Feel free to go over to that post to see exactly what I find so incredible about it. 

As a brand new I.P. Phoenix Labs needed a comparison that would draw interested parties to their game, and in their search they made an incredibly apt comparison. Dauntless stands out as “a PC version of Monster Hunter” and everyone that’s set their eyes on both can see the similarities.

Given the ability to tear limbs off monsters and use those parts for weapons and armor, players that have experience with the sub-genre will instantly feel at home. Add in the crisp and but slightly daunting feeling of combat, and the fact that you can play this game cooperatively with friends, and even those inexperienced when it comes to fantasy based RPG’S will have the time of their lives. Oh, and it’s free to play – so in-game payments for faster progression and a higher chance of drops – but no game is perfect.

Here’s some combat footage:


Why the Scorpio Alone Won’t Save Xbox

The launch of Scorpio was an attempt to regain [both mind and] market share. After months of people comparing resolutions and FPS of the launch-PS4 and Xbox One, Microsoft decided they needed to do something. With whispers of a PS4.5, they knew if they wanted to even walk into the shadow of PS4’s sales numbers they’d need to come out with better tech. And if the spec rumors are true, they will do just that this fall.

Unfortunately, for both Microsoft and the consumer, their engineering feat alone will not drive people to turn on their consoles. If Microsoft’s business team does not make deals with developers for second or third party exclusives, it doesn’t matter how good the games look on an Xbox One. Tech specs don’t matter if you don’t have beautiful games to showcase them.

Things were looking up for Microsoft when they announced their Universal Windows Platform (UMP) system. Players could now play a selection of games they’d purchased on the Xbox Live store on their Windows 10 PC. At first glance, it sounds like an amazing value proposition, finally you could buy your games in one place and play them across multiple devices, unfortunately for all involved, it was a great idea – that was only half-baked.

The problem that Microsoft created for themselves with the UWP system was: even with the release of the Scorpio Microsoft could no longer say that a game was “exclusively on Xbox.” Gamers have no reason to spend that much on a system, with the power equivalent to a Nvidia 7xx GPU, when their computer’s hardware made that GPU obsolete years ago. Players now had no explicit reason to buy an Xbox aside from brand loyalty and the fact that they might have friends on the same system.

But I did not write this piece to simply rain on Microsoft’s parade. They now have the strongest console on the market, and they’ve positioned themselves in a place of strength, they now need to take advantage of that position.

Despite PC’s becoming the ultimate powerhouses, some still find it a stretch to achieve 4K on two individual lenses on a VR device. If out of the box the Xbox Scorpio can provide players with a VR opportunity that they can’t get on their PC or their Playstation 4 (regular or Pro) they may have a winner on their hands. Now, Xbox CEO Phil Spencer has already said that the Xbox “Scorpio” will offer a VR experience, although he hasn’t delved into whether that will be software or hardware driven. He’s also brought up that he does not want Scorpio exclusives, and that he dislikes the “closed” ecosystem of the VR hardware developers, both of these comments – together in the same interview – gave me one idea, and that’s that with the strongest console platform on the market, having the ability to offer gaming experiences on both Windows and Xbox – Microsoft would win E3 in one swift movement if they provided consumers with a machine that lets them experience VR regardless of the platform. At this point,  people are investing in VR sets in a way reminiscent of the war between Betamax and VHS; people didn’t know where to put their money on such a split market. If Microsoft gives people, of all VR camps, with a platform that they can use, despite who comes out on top 5 years from now, they’d have won more than E3, they’d have created a tectonic shift in the industry.

If you haven’t purchased an Xbox yet, what would Microsoft have to announce at E3 to win you over? And if watching this after E3: did any of their announcements excite, surprise, or – even for a moment – make you want to consider purchasing either of their consoles?

– Creating the strongest dedicated gaming machine on the market was an attempt to regain mind (and by proxy) market share. 

– Unfortunately, for old and new Xbox owners alike, the graphic fidelity of your games is irrelevant if you only use the console to watch Netflix. 
– Xbox CEO promised the console will be VR compatible and would not have “Scorpio exclusive” games – locking out Legacy Xbox One owners from new titles. 
– To regain the position in the industry they held last console generation, Microsoft would have to call armistice in the VR war by allowing the Scorpio to run any V game, as if it were platform agnostic.