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Beitrag #10401 Verfasst: Samstag 7. September 2013, 02:55

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Aquanox being rebooted by Nordic Games
This is the English version of their announcement on Aug. 25:

http://www.polygon.com/2013/8/23/465143 ... rdic-games

I hope this time around they get some better writers, because English reviewers really blasted the Aquanox series' writing and dialogue as "near-meaningless babble" (despite no one batting an eyebrow for the very similar Metal Gear Solid series having very long "talking-heads" sequences). Helmut Halfmann's notes should definitely be consulted too.

It'd be great to hear the rumbling of the depths again . . .


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Beitrag #10402 Verfasst: Samstag 7. September 2013, 13:16
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Re: Aquanox being rebooted by Nordic Games
The writing in AD and Aquanox 2 was top notch (I cannot speak for the English translations). If a reviewer didn't like it he can fuck off and go back to playing "Generic FPS 23".

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Beitrag #10404 Verfasst: Samstag 7. September 2013, 21:13
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Re: Aquanox being rebooted by Nordic Games
I think I remember German magazines criticizing the amount of talking, too. Guess that's not surprising if people expect a game with mainly action and many explosions :D


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Beitrag #10409 Verfasst: Montag 9. September 2013, 04:13

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Registriert: Dienstag 26. Februar 2013, 17:38
Re: Aquanox being rebooted by Nordic Games

quote:


Corny hat geschrieben:
I think I remember German magazines criticizing the amount of talking, too. Guess that's not surprising if people expect a game with mainly action and many explosions :D


Not just German magazines. Let me link to the problematic English reviews.

The one from gamespot.com has a passage that reads:
"Clicking on the person opens up another window that shows the conversation between your character, the absurdly naive William Drake, and the person you've clicked on. These conversations are designed to give the game a plot, but more often than not, the sequences are filled with near-meaningless babble."

The one from gamershell.com has a passage that reads:
As in Aquanox the story is once more handled via boring, unsubstantial and sometimes even featherbrained dialogues, which fortunately can be stopped by using the Escape-button. This one flaw renders the story of the game completely useless, as only few fragments of it actually find their way to the player.

The funny thing about this kind of criticism, no one batted an eye when the Metal Gear Solid series had long sessions of "Talking Heads" talking about a lot of sometimes-unrelated things.

As much as I am a fan of the Aquanox series, you have to admit that the English-translated versions of the games have their problems (and if the translations are accurate, maybe even the German version has problems). Check out this cutscene video from Archimedean Dynasty, depicting the attack of the Mogh cultists against the Diggers. I'll outline the problems with the English version below:

[*]For one thing, Eric Hansen (whom I hope will reappear in the new Aquanox instalment) pronounces the term "Digger Station" in the German way (despite recording what should be the English version). This is somewhat forgiveable since he is bilingual, but this cutscene isn't the only time he does it; did no one remind him of this?

[*]At 0:54, Eric Hansen says "The diggers work so close to the surface that they're exposed to high doses of radioactive radiation which is in turn responsible for their frequent appearance of mutations in their ranks." Unfortunately, "radioactive radiation" is redundant in English. It would have worked just fine if he said "dangerous radiation" and said "for the frequent appearance" instead.

Here's a parody video that mocks one part of Aquanox's substandard voice acting. Technically, this wouldn't be so mockable IF the author had taken care to explain that the breathing gas in Aquanox is mixed with helium to render it breathable at the depths humanity must live at, so they have to wear those omnipresent throat-mounted voice modulators to pitch their voices down to normal levels. That character with the chipmunk voice clearly had a nonfunctional voice modulator.

However, the worst problem with the Aquanox games in my view is how so many plot threads are mentioned and built up, but NEVER actually dealt with. Let me give some examples below.

[*]In AQ1, we hear a lot about a "very fine breathing gas," lighter than hydrogen (as scientifically improbable as that might be) that would stand to significantly ease the strain of constantly breathing pressurized Helinox (a mix of Helium, Nitrogen, and Oxygen, which in real life is known as Trimix) gas all the time. This revolutionary new gas is supposed to secretly be in development by EnTrOx. However, despite the fact that you chase down some leads during the course of the story, by the time you get to EnTrOx's new boss Sergei Chang, he dismisses the existence of this new gas as "pure rumour" and you never hear about this plotline again.

[*]AQ2 has two major "aborted plotlines" that really stick out to me. The first is right there in the intro movie. McGregor's "unspeakably horrifying creature" is NEVER mentioned in the game after the intro (and simply telling the viewer that it's "unspeakably horrifying" isn't anywhere near as effective as actually showing those characteristics). The second is when you first get to Neopolis in AQ2, and you need to do a mission to steal the Deimos submarine. Nat claims that you need the Deimos to open the grave, but this plotline is also never mentioned after this mission, and in fact you can open the door to the grave using ANY submarine available to you.

They NEED some better writers and editors, AND a good voiceover agency this time if they don't want to repeat the mistakes of the past.

Mind you, I didn't mind it when Fuzzyhead in AQ2 talked about how something simple can be so complicated and how something complicated can be very simple and illustrated it with a nanoconstructed tube he decided to use as a simple spacer for his work. But there's time for introspective conversations (which can be very boring to modern gamers) and time to grab the viewer's attention and not let it get bored.

AQ1's intro video didn't grab the viewer's attention right away. Why do we need to spend a minute learning about Emerald Flint's experiences in a surface simulation room, when the game hasn't even told us why everyone is living underwater due to the radioactive surface environment? And why do we need to hear about the latest fads in genetic engineering in Aqua before we get to the real meat of the video, when you hear "My name is Emerald Dead-Eye Flint"?

Here are a couple of cutscenes from other video games around the time AQ1 and 2 were released. They are much more effective in my view, but you really ought to see them for yourself. The links are below, with key lines highlighted.

[*]Sacrifice (2000):
Eldred (voiced by Paul Eiding, most well-known as the Colonel from the Metal Gear Solid series): You cannot blame yourself for speaking the truth!
Mithras (voiced by the late great Tony Jay, best known as Megabyte from the 3D animated TV series Reboot): The truth? The truth is we are doomed to repeat our mistakes time and time again. It is the world's only constant.

[*]Nexus: The Jupiter Incident (2004):
Capt. Marcus Cromwell: Humankind hoped that the settlers would discover Utopia, but all they have found are new wars, new enemies, and new ways of killing.


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Beitrag #10411 Verfasst: Montag 9. September 2013, 09:12
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Re: Aquanox being rebooted by Nordic Games

quote:


Mazryonh hat geschrieben:

quote:


Corny hat geschrieben:
I think I remember German magazines criticizing the amount of talking, too. Guess that's not surprising if people expect a game with mainly action and many explosions :D


Not just German magazines.


Well, my point was "not just engllish magazines" :D

quote:


Mazryonh hat geschrieben:
The funny thing about this kind of criticism, no one batted an eye when the Metal Gear Solid series had long sessions of "Talking Heads" talking about a lot of sometimes-unrelated things.


Yes, but I guess that's mostly because everyone is like "oh yeah, it's that Metal Gear Stuff by that Kojima guy" and rolls with it. Actually, the only reviewer that comes to my mind that criticizes all the talking etc. is Ben "Yahtzee" Croshaw, who mentioned in his review of Revengeance that nobody has the heart to tell Kojima that nobody actually takes his games seriously (or something in the lines of that). Aquanox, however, is from a not really internationally well-known studio and not a part of a long-lasting, popular series. It's just heavy bias, I guess - like an unusual movie that is made in Hollywood by a known american director, which has better chances to get an Oscar than the same movie being made in Poland by an unknown director.
On the other hand, there was a little discussion about popular trash-movies nearly every time when I saved in Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, and it was a bit silly, but I really liked it. :twist:

quote:


Mazryonh hat geschrieben:
As much as I am a fan of the Aquanox series, you have to admit that the English-translated versions of the games have their problems


It's been a long time since I listened to any english Aquanox dialogues, but in the back of my head, I remember the voice-acting somewhere in the lines of "about okay". I don't want to step onto anyones toes, but the German version is just much better. It's the other way around with a lot of other games, e.g. The Elder Scrolls-series is bearable in German, but nothing compared to the english voice actors.

quote:


Mazryonh hat geschrieben:
However, the worst problem with the Aquanox games in my view is how so many plot threads are mentioned and built up, but NEVER actually dealt with. Let me give some examples below.

[*]In AQ1, we hear a lot about a "very fine breathing gas," lighter than hydrogen (as scientifically improbable as that might be) that would stand to significantly ease the strain of constantly breathing pressurized Helinox (a mix of Helium, Nitrogen, and Oxygen, which in real life is known as Trimix) gas all the time. This revolutionary new gas is supposed to secretly be in development by EnTrOx. However, despite the fact that you chase down some leads during the course of the story, by the time you get to EnTrOx's new boss Sergei Chang, he dismisses the existence of this new gas as "pure rumour" and you never hear about this plotline again.


Not to forget about the Liopleurodon which was mentioned while the mission was cut from the game. It's even mentioned on the TV tropes page ("Dummied Out"). I agree that they should've cut the dialogues as well, it's not as if Aquanox is severely lacking of dialogues...

quote:


Mazryonh hat geschrieben:
[*]AQ2 has two major "aborted plotlines" that really stick out to me. The first is right there in the intro movie. McGregor's "unspeakably horrifying creature" is NEVER mentioned in the game after the intro (and simply telling the viewer that it's "unspeakably horrifying" isn't anywhere near as effective as actually showing those characteristics). The second is when you first get to Neopolis in AQ2, and you need to do a mission to steal the Deimos submarine. Nat claims that you need the Deimos to open the grave, but this plotline is also never mentioned after this mission, and in fact you can open the door to the grave using ANY submarine available to you.


Well, the creature McGregor talks about would probably be more explained in the sequel - however, it seemed to me like "oh we finished the video already and now it doesn't make any sense anymore". Compare it with the opening of Assassin's Creed 1 where Altair has a crossbow which never appears in the game.

quote:


Mazryonh hat geschrieben:
They NEED some better writers and editors, AND a good voiceover agency this time if they don't want to repeat the mistakes of the past.


I don't think the writing itself was a big problem, but the editing could've been better. The voice-over is more of an economical issue, I think - if you don't expect high sales outside Germany, it doesn't make sense to invest a lot of money in the localization, however, if it fails because of the localization, you didn't spend your money very wisely, either. :D


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Beitrag #10414 Verfasst: Montag 9. September 2013, 23:48
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Re: Aquanox being rebooted by Nordic Games
The reason why AD and AN2 have a cult following (namely us) is because they took their time to tell a story.

No AD game has or should ever have a 93+ Metacritic score. That means, even if you don't like the genre, you should pick this up. The series is not about non-stop excitement. If you are an action game reviewer, eager to finish the write up of some obscure title that got dumped on you, you will not want to immerse yourself in a dialog. You're not going to suspend disbelief. Without that, it's just words.

AN1 was a train wreck overloaded with nonsensical and poorly voiced (even in German) dialog. But to me Williams character development was excellently done, he starts off as a wimp, then gets a bit of Stockholm syndrome and in the end stands up as a man.

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Beitrag #10415 Verfasst: Mittwoch 11. September 2013, 05:29

Beiträge: 25
Registriert: Dienstag 26. Februar 2013, 17:38
Re: Aquanox being rebooted by Nordic Games

quote:


Corny hat geschrieben:
Yes, but I guess that's mostly because everyone is like "oh yeah, it's that Metal Gear Stuff by that Kojima guy" and rolls with it. Actually, the only reviewer that comes to my mind that criticizes all the talking etc. is Ben "Yahtzee" Croshaw, who mentioned in his review of Revengeance that nobody has the heart to tell Kojima that nobody actually takes his games seriously (or something in the lines of that). Aquanox, however, is from a not really internationally well-known studio and not a part of a long-lasting, popular series. It's just heavy bias, I guess - like an unusual movie that is made in Hollywood by a known american director, which has better chances to get an Oscar than the same movie being made in Poland by an unknown director.


Yep, it's one of the privileges of fame, fairly or not. Not many gamers (aside from the hardcore RPG or adventure gaming crowd wants to read a lot in games). It would have been better if the AQ player characters had dialogue choices (like Flint had in AD) and most of the dialogue was not voiced so we could skip through it and to save some budget.

quote:


Corny hat geschrieben:
It's been a long time since I listened to any English Aquanox dialogues, but in the back of my head, I remember the voice-acting somewhere in the lines of "about okay". I don't want to step onto anyones toes, but the German version is just much better.


William Drake's voice was annoying in both English and German, but I think the ones who voiced Amitab, El Topo, and Charlotte Gillmore in English did a better job than their German counterparts (and I've watched walkthroughs of the German version). Stoney Fox was also more convincing to me in English than he was in German, as was May Ling. Animal sounded more bored than anything, despite the fact that he was an escaped Crawler.

quote:


Corny hat geschrieben:
Not to forget about the Liopleurodon which was mentioned while the mission was cut from the game. It's even mentioned on the TV tropes page ("Dummied Out"). I agree that they should've cut the dialogues as well, it's not as if Aquanox is severely lacking of dialogues...


If McGregor's creature was just another variety of the Schax from AQ1, then they should have ported over those models to AQ2. But even the Schax weren't indestructible, unlike McGregor's creature. And Olga Sislaja is the one who mentions the Liopleurodon and the tips to kill it in AQ1--removing her dialogues from the game entirely would have been best, since she doesn't tell you anything of importance (her description of the "Scalar Howitzer" is pretty silly).

quote:


Corny hat geschrieben:
Well, the creature McGregor talks about would probably be more explained in the sequel - however, it seemed to me like "oh we finished the video already and now it doesn't make any sense anymore". Compare it with the opening of Assassin's Creed 1 where Altair has a crossbow which never appears in the game.


In my view, something so important should NOT have been removed from the game. It could at the very least have been a boss, like the Biont boss in AQ2, with full explanation coming later.

quote:


Corny hat geschrieben:
I don't think the writing itself was a big problem, but the editing could've been better. The voice-over is more of an economical issue, I think - if you don't expect high sales outside Germany, it doesn't make sense to invest a lot of money in the localization, however, if it fails because of the localization, you didn't spend your money very wisely, either. :D


Well, things have changed since the AQ series came out. Some economical English voiceover studios have arisen in the intervening years. One good one is Outsource Media, based in the UK.

quote:


Rikki-Tikki-Tavi hat geschrieben:
The reason why AD and AN2 have a cult following (namely us) is because they took their time to tell a story.


Unfortunately the vast majority of gamers today lack this kind of patience. One way around this would be to make most of these dialogues unvoiced and optional (i.e., you don't have to talk to EVERYONE to advance the story), and to also make the optional dialogues contain either useful ingame information (such as weakpoints for enemies that can't be discovered any other way) or unique ship components.

I liked how in AD you could score an instant game over if you talked to the wrong person in dialogue. Very few games these days would risk offending the player that way.

quote:


Rikki-Tikki-Tavi hat geschrieben:
No AD game has or should ever have a 93+ Metacritic score. That means, even if you don't like the genre, you should pick this up. The series is not about non-stop excitement. If you are an action game reviewer, eager to finish the write up of some obscure title that got dumped on you, you will not want to immerse yourself in a dialog. You're not going to suspend disbelief. Without that, it's just words.


The Metal Gear Solid series has proved that you can mix both action and a well-written story (along with high metacritic scores). It's all in the balance of elements.

quote:


Rikki-Tikki-Tavi hat geschrieben:
AN1 was a train wreck overloaded with nonsensical and poorly voiced (even in German) dialog. But to me Williams character development was excellently done, he starts off as a wimp, then gets a bit of Stockholm syndrome and in the end stands up as a man.


William could have been voiced by someone better. In my mind someone like Quinton Flynn would have been great as his English voice actor. But it would have been best if we could make dialogue choices for William to get more opportunities for character development.

One thing I would hate for Nordic Games to do is to add "modern" music to the AQ series. Interesting that someone mentioned Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance in this thread, because hearing something like "Rules of Nature" as a battle theme would immediately kill a lot of my interest in the reboot. PVCF was pretty good in AQ2; I would think he would be happy to reprise his role for a reboot. Failing that, a composer like Frank Klepacki has had a lot of experience scoring for sci-fi games (not to mention the Command and Conquer RTS game series) and I'm sure he'd do a great job for AQ3.

One major opportunity would be for Aquanox to adopt some of the free-roam aspects glossed over in AD but fully-realized in game titles like the X-Universe series of space-based games, developed by Egosoft. In the X-Universe games you can visit space stations, extensively customize your ships, buy and sell trade goods, take on mercenary work, and even program your turrets to attack specific targets or types of targets (like in AD). It'd be great if we could wander the oceans like that, taking on work and earning money to hire wingmen and buy better ships/weapons rather than just being stuck with a linear progression of missions and locations.


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Beitrag #10417 Verfasst: Mittwoch 11. September 2013, 21:51
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Re: Aquanox being rebooted by Nordic Games
It would be extreme cool if Frank Klepacki did the Soundtrack for AN3 :thumbup:
And his big fanbase would help to introduce AN to a large number of people around the world.

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Beitrag #10418 Verfasst: Mittwoch 11. September 2013, 22:24
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Re: Aquanox being rebooted by Nordic Games
So that's where Nordic's nearly unlimited funds will go now? :D


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Beitrag #10419 Verfasst: Donnerstag 12. September 2013, 06:18

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Re: Aquanox being rebooted by Nordic Games

quote:


Corny hat geschrieben:
So that's where Nordic's nearly unlimited funds will go now? :D


I'm sorry, what do you mean?

I heard recently that the Angel's Tears were originally made to melt ice instantly (never mind that enough conventional Nuclear Weapons could do so as well), so that Aqua's "good" factions can instantly melt the polar ice caps and flood the continents so that humanity's subs can attack the land-based Bionts directly. I don't think that's a good theory; the polar ice caps don't have enough ice to flood the entire planet, for one thing, unless more (and I do mean a LOT more) ice was added from comets and such. Furthermore, doing so would be environmental suicide--all the pollutants and radioactive particles on the Earth's landmasses left over from the calamities preceding the Great Migration would be carried into Aqua's depths.

In addition, such an action would certainly kill anyone living on Earth's landmasses who survived the calamities of the Great Migration into Aqua.


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