PIXEL BURN – The Order: Done In 1886 seconds & Is The Last Guardian dead or alive?

In which Matt summons the puppet-people of children's TV yesteryear, to back up his arguments about a game that'll probably never see the light of day, for Pixel Burn's 50th episode!
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[TRANSCRIPT]

Hello my name’s Matt and this is Pixel Burn, where I take a sarcastic look at some of the more important, interesting or irritating things to have happened in the week’s gaming news.

Victorian third-person shooty-shooty bang-fest The Order: 1886 caused a bit of a kerfuffle this week, before its release on Friday. Not for anything like its supposedly seamless interweaving of gameplay and cutscenes, it’s exotic yet anachronistic arsenal of weapons, the stiffness of the protagonist’s hirsute upper-lip, it’s ultra violent gore effects, or anything else that might sound good in a preview, or on the back of the box.

Nope, instead the Order 1886 made the news after a YouTuber called PlayMeThrough uploaded a complete playthrough of the game to their YouTube channel, clocking in at about 5 hours. That’s five hours of gameplay including cutscenes, which are reportedly unskippable.

Blimey, only five hours long eh? I suppose it’s a good thing the game doesn’t run at 60 frames per second. It would only be about two and a half hours then.

Unsurprisingly, PlayMeThrough was suspended from YouTube and their channel shut down quicker than an orphanage hit by a drone strike. This flagrant leak came not long after GameReactor Sweden posted a rumour that The Order: 1886 was only about three hours long. All of which prompted a series of stern responses from the game’s developer, Ready at Dawn, who delivered a masterclass in how not to address criticism of your game on the internet. First there was the response from CEO Ru Weerasuriya who, referring to the Swedish Gamereactor rumours, insisted in an interview with Eurogamer that it was “impossible to finish the game in that time”

Meanwhile in an interview with Develop, technology director Garret Foster admitted – perhaps unwisely – that PlayMeThrough’s five and a half hour playthrough was actually quicker than his own best time through the game. Not very encouraging when you consider he only helped make the bloody game in the first place.

And then there were the comments from Chief Technical Officer Andrea Pessino. After defiantly tweeting that he’d no longer answer any questions about the game’s length, the very next day at an event in Milan he…answered a question about the game’s length, posed to him by a reporter from DualShockers.

People who hadn’t played the game yet also rushed-forth to defend it, saying things like “well of course it won’t take long if you just steamroll through the main story”, “the developers say it’s at least eight hours” and “you can’t judge a game’s length by what some speedrunner says about it!”

That last one being an insult to genuine speedrunners, who can spend years honing their skills on a single game.

Which is not to say The Order’s shining defenders didn’t have a point however. One person’s soaring epic can be another person’s lunchbreak diversion and besides, reviews of the game would answer that question for definite soon enough.

And the reviews certainly did. The game really IS that short apparently.

Although according to the reviews I’ve read, The Order’s brevity is the least of its problems.

Eurogamer calls it “a hollow diversion”, Jim Sterling says it’s “alright”, Kotaku describes it as “a dreary, joyless lump of a game” and Giant Bomb summed it up in one word: Rental.

Specific complaints directed at the game are that it doesn’t do much to break the mould, is saturated with Quick Time Events, has a story that’s shamelessly angling for a sequel, and features obligatory stealth sequences that are about as enjoyable as obligatory stealth sequences usually are. Not to mention the supposedly “cinematic” black bars, which we all know are really just there to keep the framerate from shitting itself to death.

In a nutshell the concensus is that it’s not a terrible game but not a great one either. And definitely short.

Not that there’s anything inherently wrong with a short game. Portal is a fantastic example of an experience that’s only as long as it needs to be, although my girlfriend would strongly disagree with me on that one. But you can buy Portal for less than the cost of a packet of cigarettes nowadays, and it originally came free with the complete Half Life 2 & Team Fortress 2. The Order: 1886 on the other hand has a reccomended retail price of- [THE ORDER 1886 FOOTAGE WITH “£49” SUPERIMPOSED ON TOP] FORTY-NINE FUCKING QUID!

I know what some of you are going to say. “But Maaaaaaatt, Call of Duty’s campaign is barely a few hours long and that sells for $60 Yankee dollars every year!” To which I say “Yeah, but Call of Duty also provides countless hours worth of multiplayer – if you’re into that sort of thing, whereas The Order: 1886 is single player only.”

Like Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes which only cost around $30 when it was released but could be finished in five minutes. Although that still didn’t stop hardcore fans squeezing hours and hours more out of it. Doing what exactly? Fucked if I know. Staring at Snake’s arse probably.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

If you’re still hankering to play The Order in all its letterboxed shortness then…well I’m not going stop you. It’s your time and your money. Just be sure you know what you’ll be getting out of it – or not as the case may be, and perhaps consider waiting for a price drop. To something like…ooh, £18.86?

From games that are short to games that are dead now, or at least believed to be after rumours earlier this week that Sony’s The Last Guardian had finally become the “Last Seen on a Milk Carton Guardian.”

According to this post on NeoGaf, Sony’s trademark for The Last Guardian had been allowed to expire, due to no Statement of Use or Extension Request being filed by Sony. Which basically means they couldn’t be arsed to keep hold of the name, or perhaps forgot to file the necessary paperwork. Almost as though they weren’t really actively developing the game anymore or something.

The response from fans of The Last Guardian to this news was basically…well, the same thing Lake Victoria, a certain species of crocodile and Ramses II all have in common.

Denial.

It’s the only logical reason for the insane, pod-person chorus of “it’s probably just getting a new name!” with which Last Guardian fans greeted this particular rumour. A matter not helped by Sony swiftly rushing to reassure everybody that The Last Guardian was still very much in development.

Well thank goodness for that. For a moment there I thought it might never get released. I mean it’s only been in development for eight years after all.

By the way, that bit about the person responsible for renewing the trademark leaving Sony to work elsewhere? I didn’t just make that up for shits, giggles and comedy gold. That’s actually true apparently! According to Venturebeat their name was Kiphanie Radford and her sole job as part of Sony’s Legal Team was to keep the trademark for The Last Guardian up to date. That is until she left Sony earlier this year to join a law firm, where she presumably does a damn sight more than keeping the trademark for a doe-eyed griffin up to date.

That sounds like a sweet gig doesn’t it? Getting paid purely to keep a trademark up to date. You know Sony, if you need someone to do that full-time then gimme a shout.

I can’t possibly be any worse than whoever you’ve got doing it now.

Although Kiphanie wasn’t doing a particularly stellar job herself. The trademark had previously expired in August of 2012 whereupon, again, Sony assured fans that development was still continuing. Sony have since filed a successful petition to reclaim ownership of the trademark, meaning it’s now theirs once again. Until the next time they forget to file the correct paperwork that is, whereupon this entire tragic and really rather sad scenario will doubtless play out once more. Because I don’t expect this game to ever see the light of day.

While The Last Guardian isn’t quite in the realm of Duke Nukem Forever’s 14 year development time just yet, it’s spent over half that time with barely anything to show for it. People are still cooing and awwwing over the same footage from six bloody years ago. But unlike Valve who’ve said damn near bloody nothing about Half Life 3 for eight years, Sony has constantly reassured people that The Last Guardian is still in development. As recently as last December in fact when game director Fumito Ueda claimed the game was now moving forward “under completely new conditions,” a statement some interpreted to mean it will come out on PS4 instead.

With me now to discuss that possibility is Windy Miller from TV’s Camberwick Green. Mr Miller, do you believe The Last Guardian could finally make an appearance on PS4?

[WINDY MILLER DRINKS. THIS GENUINELY HAPPENED IN CAMBERWICK GREEN BY THE WAY!]

A somewhat cynical response there Mr Miller. Surely if Sony says the game is still in development then there’s a chance fans will eventually get to play it?

[WINDY MILLER DRINKS REPEATEDLY BECAUSE HE’S A GODDAMN LUSH]

Not even the slightest chance Mr Miller?

[WINDY MILLER WALKS OVER TO HIS SHED/SILO…THING, AND SLUMPS TO THE FLOOR LIKE THE PISSHEAD HE IS]

Mr Miller? Mr Miller. Do you hold out any hope of ever playing The Last Guardian?

[WINDY MILLER FALLS ASLEEP IN A DRUNKEN STUPOR OF DESPAIR OVER THE LAST GUARDIAN EVER BEING RELEASED]

Mr Miller?

Windy Miller, ladies and gentlemen.

Look, I liked what I saw of The Last Guardian as much as everyone else did when it was first unveiled back in 2009, I really did. But come on! Who seriously expects this game to ever see the light of day anymore?

And yes I know even Duke Nukem Forever came out eventually, but we all know how good that turned out to be don’t we. Spoiler alert: it was wank.

So to be brutally honest if you’re a Last Guardian fan – based almost entirely on pre-rendered cinematics no less – then the best thing you can do is just let go. Say your goodbyes and walk away. It’s really for the best y’know.

We can do it right now if you like. Don’t worry, I’ll be here with you the whole time. Take a moment to prepare yourself – pause the video if you have to – and when you’re ready…we’ll say goodbye.

[A TRAGIC FAREWELL TO THE LAST GUARDIAN ENSUES]

Oh don’t be like that! You all know it would’ve died at the end of the game anyhow.

That’s all for this episode of Pixel Burn. If you liked it then please do let me know, and let your friends, family and the Trumpton Fire Brigade know as well. At the very least I hope you found it tolerable. And if you didn’t like it then by all means keep The Last Guardian alive in your dreams. Because that’s the only place you’ll ever get to play it

Matt

About Matt

Matt is the irresponsible degenerate behind bitscreed.com and the sarcastic writer, editor, director, presenter and tea boy of Pixel Burn.