Games Inbox: What do you think of The Witcher Netflix trailer?

The Morning Inbox wonders what’s the longest-running video game narrative, as one reader predicts a rocky start for Google Stadia.

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Not a video game thing

That reader was right, there weren’t many trailers this ComicCon but I assume most gamers got a look at the one for The Witcher TV show on Netflix. I’m curious to know what others thought of it because I’m not sure myself. The visuals looked pretty good, and the tone seemed serious, but the dialogue was terrible. I know the series isn’t based on the games, and I’ve never read the books so I don’t know how they’re written, but considering how short the trailer is there is a lot of whiffy dialogue in there.

The other issue is that Henry Cavill just looks wrong in the role to me. He is far too square-jawed (no wonder they had him play Superman) and the hair looks silly on him. I know he’s a fan of the games but I really don’t see why that should matter. It’s not like an actor has to be a fan of something to do a good job so I think they should’ve gone with someone that looked more like the game. But then they’re not adapting the game, so what do I know?


Unannounced Marvel titles

Can’t argue with the guy complaining about the lack of superhero games at the weekend. I imagine he’s seen by now all the movies and TV shows Marvel announced but, unsurprisingly, there was nothing more on games. And I don’t think DC were even there.

The have to start with scratch with Batman comment was pretty spot on as it’s been so long now people are going to forget. Also, I can’t remember a period in time when Batman has been less popular, overall, than he is now. It’s a mess and, like the movies, I don’t know if it’s even possible to clear it fully. Especially as that Rocksteady thing has got to be a multiplayer game of some sort to take this long, which probably means a minimum of story.

As for the Marvel announcements… what can you say? They fully deserve their success and I’m glad they’re taking advantage of it with even crazier sounding movies. I guess the question now is which ones are going to be best to turn into games? Black Widow is basically any stealth special ops character so that’s super simple. Shang-Chi is, as I understand it, a martial arts thing, so that’d obvious work easily enough. But Doctor Strange and Thor are even easier because they’re basically video game characters already. Change the axe to a hammer and give him a sense of humour and Kratos already is Thor (which is ironic, I realise, given how Thor’s portrayed in that game).

Based on how things have worked so far though I assume they’re not getting their own game and would just end up as characters in Marvel’s Avengers (or Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3). I’m still not really clear on what the Eternals is but that seems to be very epic in scale so maybe that would work as a standalone game? But then it’s out at the end of next year and we haven’t heard anything so far, so I guess not…


No Man’s Starfield

Excellent batch of Reader’s Features at the weekend. Congrats to those who put in the effort. I admit I’d pretty much forgotten about Starfield and I’m not even sure I’ve seen that teaser trailer before. I agree that it looks like some sort of Elite style space exploration game which I’m all for, as long as it has a bit more too it than No Man’s Sky.

I haven noticed though that Fallout 76 seems to be having a bit of a turnaround lately and a lot of people are claiming it’s quite good now. I don’t think anyone’s claiming it’s amazing but it’s got to the point where I am considering giving it a go when the next sale comes round.
Purple Ranger

GC: They were good. But we’ve now run out and currently have none we can use for this weekend at the moment.


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Bad comparison

I’m gonna make a prediction and say that Stadia is not going to be a hit. I’m not going to use the word flop because that gets thrown around too much nowadays but I don’t think it’s going to be a hit out of the gate and I think Google are either going to give up after a few years or just keep it ticking over until the tech can work properly (a bit like VR today).

Comparing it to Xbox Live Gold and PS Plus seems weird to me because nobody really likes having to subscribe to them and just have to grudgingly do it so they can play online. Is that really the sort of thing you want to aspire to? Maybe it was just one guy making the comparison and they’ll realise it was a bad idea. I hope so because I don’t want to see it fail, but they’re not exactly winning hearts and minds at the moment.


No-one’s ever really gone

This weekend’s Hot Topic got me thinking: which is the longest running game series, defined as a game that has an enduring storyline running through the sequels, rather than being more or less a standalone title/story but featuring the same enduring characters?

So most Resident Evil games are really standalone against a common backdrop, whereas the Mass Effect Trilogy was a clear enduring series of three games.
Steve, S Wales

GC: That is a good question. The Legend Of Zelda is probably the most obvious contender, as its mainline entries are all part of an official timeline. But it’s possible something like Ultima could claim the crown if it’s resurrected one day, although we admit we’re fuzzy on exactly how interconnected each of its entries were.


Holding up

Really brilliant Reader’s Feature from Golem on the line-up for a Sega Saturn Mini this weekend.

I especially liked the idea of the full version of Shining Force III as the ‘impossible; game – I think it is pretty highly regarded in some circles. Lead me to thinking about mini consoles in general and why I’ve not seriously considered purchasing any of the existing ones, for different reasons.

My experience of NES games is that they don’t hold up that well now audio-visually, which is fine but not for me. Ditto the Mega Drive, I appreciate what it was at the time but I can’t shake the feeling that I’d be very disappointed going back to some of the games now. The SNES one looked great and the games are more timeless but I just couldn’t buy it with Chrono Trigger missing – I know that sounds really silly but it just makes me feel uncomfortable.

The idea of a PlayStation Mini never sat well with me from the beginning as there were just too many games you’d be leaving out to produce something definitive – they should have done several versions focusing on different areas like multiplayer (with extra controllers), single-player, Western games, Japanese games (there could almost be standalone Squaresoft/Capcom/Konami versions), etc. rather than rushing out something that was trying to be all things to all men and forgetting to focus on the quality of the emulation.

The Saturn would be a different prospect to all the above. There’s a lot of caveats (not least of all getting the emulation right), but 20-ish games would be more than enough to do something close to definitive, and the Saturn has that appeal of a lot of the games being hard or impossible to play elsewhere more so that the other mini consoles, so you’ve got the element of intrigue as a selling point rather than just pure nostalgia. The Saturn was a mismanaged console with some brilliant games that too few in the West got to experience and I’d love to see it get this shot at redemption.

GC: Not that we wouldn’t love to see a Saturn Mini, but its 3D graphics were terrible even at the time…


Never to return

RE: GTA V. After having my account hacked I was banned. I had never cheated hacked or done anything wrong myself, but the ban still stands. Rockstar do not listen or care.

I have vowed never to buy Rockstar games ever again. Put this in your next promotion of this uncaring non-supportive game company.


Catch up on every previous Games Inbox here


Link finds a way

Just a quick clarification on my last two Inbox entries, firstly my one from the Hot Topic on Zelda. Never having owned an N64 has definitely not stopped me playing either Ocarina Of Time or Majora’s Mask. It does mean that Majora’s Mask is the only one I’ve ever not played and completed on its original native system, but as the attached photo shows, I own my own copy of Ocarina thanks to pre-ordering my GameCube version of The Wind Waker.

I have a friend who has a similar legitimate special edition anniversary disc (he got it for being a member of some Nintendo Points club in the GameCube era) that I think has versions of Zelda, Zelda II, Ocarina, and Marjora’s Mask (if not A Link To The Past and possibly Link’s Awakening too) for the ‘Cube. He has also owned both the DS and 3DS, and so that’s where I got to try the remaster of Ocarina and the opening few hours of Phantom Hourglass. Like me though, he struggled to get into Majora’s Mask, so he never bothered with the remaster for the 3DS. It’s the only ‘main’ entry I’ve really played but never finished, which is a big regret for me, if I’m honest. I just can’t seem to click with it.

However, as I said in my letter: I always find a way to get my Zelda fix.

As for my bad joke in Friday’s Inbox about the new version of the Switch with ‘more power’, I think a lethal combination of work-related tiredness, typing late at night on a train home and Autocorrect meant that there was a rogue ‘s’ after the word Nintendo, making the whole sentence rather nonsensical… thankfully the Underbox still seemed to get the gist, so it wasn’t a total waste.

I read back my Hot Topic letter and something similar had happened in one of the latter paragraphs but I’m pleased to see the eagle eyed GC proof-reading department edited out the offending sentence before publication.

Right, gotta go make proper use of the rest of my weekend: Fallout 4 isn’t going to play itself.


Inbox also-rans

Liked the Reader’s Feature about Zelda II. Would just advise anyone that’s curious to play the SP version on Nintendo Switch Online. It makes it a lot easier/accessible and it actually becomes quite a good game.
The Bishop

Managed to get a go on Samurai Shodown over the weekend and was very impressed. I don’t think it was much of a hit but it deserves to be.


This week’s Hot Topic

The subject for this weekend’s Inbox was suggested by reader Xane, and asks what multiplayer game have you played the most overall?

No matter when it was released what multiplayer game, including the same game on different formats, have you played the most? What do you like so much about it and how often were you playing it at your peak?

Would you say you were good at the game and how much did that matter to your enjoyment? Who did you generally play against, in terms of friends and randoms, and were you playing mostly online or local? If you don’t play it much anymore what stopped you and what would get you back?

E-mail your comments to: [email protected]


The small print
New Inbox updates appear twice daily, every weekday morning and afternoon. Readers’ letters are used on merit and may be edited for length.

You can also submit your own 500 to 600-word 4Player viewer features at any time, which if used will be shown in the next available weekend slot.

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