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Complexity, games and condescending arseholes

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Posts

  • Regicid3Regicid3 Registered User
    edited September 2007
    I kind of wish that BioShock did have an inventory. I would've liked to save all those pep bars and potato chips. Also, if you watch the DVD that came with LE BioShock. The developers wanted to do this. (They specifically mention stat management)

    I don't know if that means anything but... it should. They made the game they wanted to play.

  • DodgeBlanDodgeBlan Registered User regular
    edited September 2007
    On the subject of simplicity, I think Bioshock is probably simpler than SS2 in terms of mechanics, but thematically and stylistically alot more interesting. You could probably say this about alot of games, too.

    DISCLAIMER: the poster has not played System Shock 2.

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  • The WolfmanThe Wolfman Registered User regular
    edited September 2007
    A console game has to be "simpler" than a PC game by pure virtue of its controls. Your generic game pad has on average only 10 buttons. Versus a keyboard with 108 keys plus a 3+ button mouse. So you can afford to have hotkeys for this, shortcuts for that, and you have a precise pointer instead of having to cycle through stuff. But by "simpler", I don't mean "dumber". Just that you have the capacity to do more. Take a flight sim. There's no way in holy hell you could get X-wing or Tie Fighter onto a console without simplifying the controls. You've got keys for diverting engines to shields, shields to weapons, cycling weapons, engaging target locks, switching targets... shit, you name it, nearly the entire keyboard is used up. You'd have to seriously scale back and cut stuff to get the game onto just a game pad.

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  • ProhassProhass Registered User regular
    edited September 2007
    You can be complex without being deep and simple without being hollow.

  • Local H JayLocal H Jay Registered User regular
    edited September 2007
    Prohass wrote: »
    You can be complex without being deep and simple without being hollow.

    This is very true.
    Shadow of the Colossus anyone?

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  • darleysamdarleysam Registered User regular
    edited September 2007
    BigDes wrote: »
    You know for all the bashing it gets, Madden is actually a pretty complex game.

    seriously. I've tried a few demos, and it just makes my head explode. Kudos to anyone who can pick it up.

    And i think it's pretty clear that the OP's attitude is that consoles are for dribbling retards (seriously, i'm just mashing the keyboard with my forehead here. That it's forming sentences is pure coincidence).

  • LanrutconLanrutcon Registered User regular
    edited September 2007
    Is this the right thread to wager eating my own private bits if Fallout 3 doesn't turn out to be an extremely shallow consolized fps with the barest touch of rpg and none of the depth FO1 & 2 had?

    ...or is that unrelated. So hard to tell these days.

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  • darleysamdarleysam Registered User regular
    edited September 2007
    Lanrutcon wrote: »
    Is this the right thread to wager eating my own private bits if Fallout 3 doesn't turn out to be an extremely shallow consolized fps with the barest touch of rpg and none of the depth FO1 & 2 had?

    ...or is that unrelated. So hard to tell these days.

    i believe there's an entire forum dedicated to that kind of talk, but Tube gets angry when we talk about it (with good reason). So, sure, go for it. But you gotta make good on that bet.

  • DjiemDjiem Registered User regular
    edited September 2007
    Lanrutcon wrote: »
    Is this the right thread to wager eating my own private bits if Fallout 3 doesn't turn out to be an extremely shallow consolized fps with the barest touch of rpg and none of the depth FO1 & 2 had?

    ...or is that unrelated. So hard to tell these days.

    If this happens, it has nothing to do with consoles and has everything to do with developpers.

  • ACSISACSIS Registered User regular
    edited September 2007
    A console game has to be "simpler" than a PC game by pure virtue of its controls. Your generic game pad has on average only 10 buttons. Versus a keyboard with 108 keys plus a 3+ button mouse. So you can afford to have hotkeys for this, shortcuts for that, and you have a precise pointer instead of having to cycle through stuff. But by "simpler", I don't mean "dumber". Just that you have the capacity to do more. Take a flight sim. There's no way in holy hell you could get X-wing or Tie Fighter onto a console without simplifying the controls. You've got keys for diverting engines to shields, shields to weapons, cycling weapons, engaging target locks, switching targets... shit, you name it, nearly the entire keyboard is used up. You'd have to seriously scale back and cut stuff to get the game onto just a game pad.

    This is generaly true. However sometimes more is less.

    Example Starwars battlefront 1/2.

    SWBF for the PC is a 100% console conversion.

    This means hitting crouch a second time you go prone, hitting it one more time you staqnd up again. Doubletapping strafe lets the character make a sideroll, doubletapping forward is running, missile launcher has a auto-lock function, etc. Some keys work in conjunction for a third function.

    This is great. Instead of having 10 keys you can stick to five. Simplifies controls and makes playing the game simple and fast (you do not have to change your grip or move fingers to another key).

    SWBF2 on the other hand hads this removed. To fire a missile - for an example - you have to mark a target (tab through to the aviable target), then you have to wait for lock and THEN you can fire. If you are attacked by another player whilst targeting you can not simply take imidate action because you are with your hand on the target selection key. Same with prone/kneel/stand - now you need three keys instead of the former one.

    I am not saying SWBF2 is a bad game but the sleek and intuitive controls of par one are simply... messed up. Its horrible. A lot of people went back to SWBF1.

    And yes... i am talking about the PC version of the game. Another good example for intuitive ported console controls is Morrowind. I prefer a keyboard, however not every key has to be utilized in a single way. I like double functionality. Everything wich makes me move faster or better.

  • LanrutconLanrutcon Registered User regular
    edited September 2007
    Djiem wrote: »
    If this happens, it has nothing to do with consoles and has everything to do with developpers.

    Agreed. Also, trying to label one platform's games as shallow and/or simple is retarded. If, for example, Bioshock got dumbed down it wasn't because of the console version, it was most likely to make it accessable to a broader audience.
    darleysam wrote: »
    i believe there's an entire forum dedicated to that kind of talk, but Tube gets angry when we talk about it (with good reason). So, sure, go for it. But you gotta make good on that bet.

    My privates are in no danger whatsoever. But I get the hint ;-)

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  • CullenCullen Registered User regular
    edited September 2007
    A console game has to be "simpler" than a PC game by pure virtue of its controls. Your generic game pad has on average only 10 buttons. Versus a keyboard with 108 keys plus a 3+ button mouse. So you can afford to have hotkeys for this, shortcuts for that, and you have a precise pointer instead of having to cycle through stuff. But by "simpler", I don't mean "dumber". Just that you have the capacity to do more. Take a flight sim. There's no way in holy hell you could get X-wing or Tie Fighter onto a console without simplifying the controls. You've got keys for diverting engines to shields, shields to weapons, cycling weapons, engaging target locks, switching targets... shit, you name it, nearly the entire keyboard is used up. You'd have to seriously scale back and cut stuff to get the game onto just a game pad.

    Which supports the point I wanted to make. Complexity of interface != complexity of gameplay. I've played plenty of PC games that have used every key on the keyboard, with 100s of nested menus, just seemingly because the devs could rather than creating a well designed 'simple' interface. You can have the same number of gameplay options available with a more streamlined interface. Indeed a streamlined interface can reduce the learning curve and make sure people are having fun and exploring all the gamplay options just that much quicker.

    Seems to me that the PC as a platform makes it easier for developers not to have to come up with a good interface (just map that function to X) and consoles make it harder. Unfortunately for consoles the solution to mapping a complex interface to a gamepad usually means dropping gameplay features rather than redesigning the interface. And neither bloated interfaces nor dropped features are good things.

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  • DodgeBlanDodgeBlan Registered User regular
    edited September 2007
    darleysam wrote: »
    BigDes wrote: »
    You know for all the bashing it gets, Madden is actually a pretty complex game.

    seriously. I've tried a few demos, and it just makes my head explode. Kudos to anyone who can pick it up.

    And i think it's pretty clear that the OP's attitude is that consoles are for dribbling retards (seriously, i'm just mashing the keyboard with my forehead here. That it's forming sentences is pure coincidence).

    Uh... except not at all? Whilst I probably do dislike the trend towards simplification I don't think it has too much to do with platforms. the only thing you can't do on a console that you can do on pc are the really hardcore sims of yore.

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  • ACSISACSIS Registered User regular
    edited September 2007
    Well some game NEED complex controls and a console controle is limited. Sims, especially mechgames easily excess aviabe contoller functions. Armored Cored is a good example.

    Mechwarrior offers you to run passive radar mode, using different weapon groups for different buttons (and without a eight button stick you are screwed), employs torso-twist-rudder controls, throttle control, different modes of fire (chainfire for missiles for an example), jump-jet-midair-flight controls, crouching, weapon arm side movment, cooling and reactor shutdown as well as shutdown ovveride functions, target and tracking functions...

    Simply impossible to do with a controller.

  • LanrutconLanrutcon Registered User regular
    edited September 2007
    When it comes to obscene amounts of hotkeys used WoW stands out in my mind. Playing WoW pvp with a console controller would be utter futility.

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  • electricitylikesmeelectricitylikesme Registered User regular
    edited September 2007
    Oh god Mechwarrior II was a simply awesome game.

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  • WickerBasketWickerBasket Registered User
    edited September 2007
    ACSIS wrote: »

    Simply impossible to do with a controller.

    Steel Battalion disagrees :P.

    The controller for that game was so badass.

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  • ACSISACSIS Registered User regular
    edited September 2007
    Okay, thats an exception... reminds me about space rogue from origin - a elite like filightsim/rpg hybrid. Totally used the entire stick for flight controls. To fire weapons the gave a headset and you had to scream "fire".

    Hey, it freed up a button, okay? ^^

  • CherrnCherrn Registered User regular
    edited September 2007
    I'd just like to pop in and say that Thief 3 was unbelievably amazing, and definitely my favorite in the series. And I was a Thief fan from the absolute beginning. It annoyed me that the levels were split into sections, and that the cutscenes were so uneven, but those're my major complaints. The level design is the most consistent in the series (both Thief 1 and 2 had levels that were incredibly bad), and the gameplay/enemy behavior was significantly improved in most aspects.

    I hate when games are dumbed down as much as the next guy (Mechwarrior especially hurts), but it's more the fault of whoever owns the brand than the actual consoles themselves. Yeah, you probably couldn't do Mechwarrior 2 on a console (without a Steel Battalion controller), but surely the presence of consoles doesn't stop whoever has the license from making a complex Mechwarrior again? They just aren't going to, because they decided that they wanted to take it in a less complex direction - I'd rather blame whoever produces the games than the consoles themselves; they are the ones that ruin games.

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  • RookRook Registered User regular
    edited September 2007
    I do actually agree very much with the Zero Punctuation review, but it is about baiting fanboys. Console tards is just a very easy good description of where the industry is going. It's not to say that all owners of consoles are complete retards, but rather that in general games are pretty complex and the average gamer isn't really capable of finishing an average game regardless of platform.

    I think Levine frequently mentions that System Shock 2 was not a great seller. Even in the limited PC space, people prefer the simplicity of "I'm playing an FPS" or "I'm playing an RPG", rather than "I'm playing a psuedo FPS with interactive Horror and RPG elements". Add to that a pretty solid difficulty to level and it's not really encouraging people to rush out and pick up the game.

    If you want to make your game appealing, then it has to be understood and playable by as many people as possible. As the industry grows, and new people get into gaming, their ability to cope with more complicated rulesets in games is going to go down. Some of this is undoubtably a good thing. Try comparing the movement system of the original System Shock, with a modern game like R6:Vegas. They both have pretty much the same scope of movement, except R6 manages it with one mouse button, whilst SS needed about 10 keys with multiple functions mapped to each key. It's a simplification of the world, but it makes the world better.

    Of course, whilst some simplification is undoubtably a good thing, we then get into the murky ground of actually pulling things out completely of games. It was kinda interesting looking through the artbook of bioshock because pretty much 80% of the stuff in the artbook isn't in the game at all. And I refuse to accept that anyone thought that fighting basically (5+2) different enemy types with exactly the same attack patterns is an improvement (and I don't think you can possibly blame that on consoletarditis - everyone understands how to shoot things). Similarly many of the aspects that hamper the game for me, aren't console specific things - they're just general easyness things and balance issues - a game should never have a gun or combo be so overpowered in every area of the game that you never need to use anything else.

  • -SPI--SPI- Registered User regular
    edited September 2007
    ACSIS wrote: »

    Simply impossible to do with a controller.

    Steel Battalion disagrees :P.

    The controller for that game was so badass.
    I wish that game came out here. Because at this point I'd have the controller hooked up to my pc through a usb converter and be playing Mechwarrior 2 with it 8-)

  • DirtchamberDirtchamber Registered User
    edited September 2007
    DodgeBlan wrote: »
    darleysam wrote: »
    BigDes wrote: »
    You know for all the bashing it gets, Madden is actually a pretty complex game.

    seriously. I've tried a few demos, and it just makes my head explode. Kudos to anyone who can pick it up.

    And i think it's pretty clear that the OP's attitude is that consoles are for dribbling retards (seriously, i'm just mashing the keyboard with my forehead here. That it's forming sentences is pure coincidence).

    Uh... except not at all? Whilst I probably do dislike the trend towards simplification I don't think it has too much to do with platforms. the only thing you can't do on a console that you can do on pc are the really hardcore sims of yore.

    I'm inclined to think you can do anything on a console, provided you design from the ground-up for a console. This notion that complex games don't work on consoles exists because the vast majority of "complex" console games are hamfisted PC ports.

  • darleysamdarleysam Registered User regular
    edited September 2007
    Rook wrote: »
    I do actually agree very much with the Zero Punctuation review, but it is about baiting fanboys. Console tards is just a very easy good description of where the industry is going. It's not to say that all owners of consoles are complete retards, but rather that in general games are pretty complex and the average gamer isn't really capable of finishing an average game regardless of platform.

    I think Levine frequently mentions that System Shock 2 was not a great seller. Even in the limited PC space, people prefer the simplicity of "I'm playing an FPS" or "I'm playing an RPG", rather than "I'm playing a psuedo FPS with interactive Horror and RPG elements". Add to that a pretty solid difficulty to level and it's not really encouraging people to rush out and pick up the game.

    If you want to make your game appealing, then it has to be understood and playable by as many people as possible. As the industry grows, and new people get into gaming, their ability to cope with more complicated rulesets in games is going to go down. Some of this is undoubtably a good thing. Try comparing the movement system of the original System Shock, with a modern game like R6:Vegas. They both have pretty much the same scope of movement, except R6 manages it with one mouse button, whilst SS needed about 10 keys with multiple functions mapped to each key. It's a simplification of the world, but it makes the world better.

    Of course, whilst some simplification is undoubtably a good thing, we then get into the murky ground of actually pulling things out completely of games. It was kinda interesting looking through the artbook of bioshock because pretty much 80% of the stuff in the artbook isn't in the game at all. And I refuse to accept that anyone thought that fighting basically (5+2) different enemy types with exactly the same attack patterns is an improvement (and I don't think you can possibly blame that on consoletarditis - everyone understands how to shoot things). Similarly many of the aspects that hamper the game for me, aren't console specific things - they're just general easyness things and balance issues - a game should never have a gun or combo be so overpowered in every area of the game that you never need to use anything else.

    on the Bioshock artbook, firstly, people are expecting some of those monsters to appear in extra content (if they throw in some extra areas, for instance), and secondly, i think a lot of that stuff is from earlier versions, like back when it was going to be an abandoned Nazi research station that had been reactivated.

    One thing i would've liked more in Bioshock, would've been a more hub-like system. Say if you had a central safe house which you could use as a research station (rather than just snapping photos), which you had to journey from to go and accomplish your missions. That would've made the world feel more open, and a bit less like a tunnel.

  • darksteeldarksteel Registered User
    edited September 2007
    Yeah, Mechwarrior, IL-2 Sturmovik, and Microsoft Flight Simulator are pretty much the poster boys for how complex PC games can get controls-wise. It's something you can never replicate on a console, unless you're using a specialized controller ala Steel Battalion, but even then these things are not standard.

    I really miss these old games, especially Mechwarrior, which, with the complexity of the controls, coupled with a competent eight-button joystick, really made me feel like a real mech pilot. However, there is something to be said for the simplification of games (for the record, I believe the domination of consoles have at least some role in this, though they are by no means the only reason).

    Simplification allows more streamlined games and can introduce gamers who would otherwise never even consider a game of Mechwarrior to reconsider that choice. I know this happened with my friend with Mechassault. After he played that, he jumped right into Mechwarrior because Mechassault eased him into the experience. So simplified versions of game franchises have their place, and that doesn't mean that they can't coexist with their more complex counterparts.

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  • SwashbucklerXXSwashbucklerXX Swashbucklin' Canuck Ford Nation's Finest Crack DenRegistered User regular
    edited September 2007
    It's interesting to see that "simplicity" and "accessibility" are being conflated in this thread. I am all for making games more accessible, while introducing new kinds of depth that are possible with better technology.

    I'm playing through Twilight Princess right now, and I actually like it better than OoT (I know, I'm a heretic!). I remember getting stuck far more frequently in OoT, but I don't think it was because the puzzles were more difficult. Usually it was because I lost the pixel hunt, had trouble with the camera, or because the rooms looked too much the same. In Twilight Princess, I don't get lost in the temples anymore, because every room is different. I don't have to backtrack mindlessly to try to find that one box I couldn't open before I got the clawshot, because I remember seeing that out-of-the-way box in that unique-looking room. The camera is generally easier to use, so the platforming puzzles are much easier and less frustrating for me. Do I get less of a sense of satisfaction because I made that jump on the 2nd try rather than on the 10th? Not really, it means I'm more likely to actually finish the damn game.

    I've got my old-school PC gamer cred. I beat a ton of the old, "complex" PC games, and I agree that frequently the complexity people remember was more about the limitations of technology than about the games being deeper. You couldn't render something properly in the game engine or include it into the AI, so it had to be manually typed or conveyed via words instead of pictures. Frankly, I don't have the patience to play a game with an old-school interface anymore. I certainly don't miss playing "hunt the pixel" or typing c c c b c c a d x in order to conduct battles.

    The one mis-application of accessibility that I see happening across the board is the lack of choices and consequences in storylines and a lack of meaningful social interactions in RPGs. However, if you look at the history of PC gaming, very few games have ever managed to include these things well. I don't think that a lack of these things is about console development anymore, if it ever was. It's partially due to a (in my mind, misguided) attempt to lure a mythical audience of male 12-25 year old gamers who have apparently had frontal lobotomies. While these gamers certainly exist (see: WoW boards and TLDR'ers), there are huge numbers of kids who would appreciate more social depth in games. And it's partially our own faults for demanding things that bump up against current technical/budgetary limitations. Every time a bunch of people complain that some game didn't have voice acting for every line of text in a game, they're asking for the next game to give them fewer social/storyline options.

    Whew, that was longer than I thought it was going to be.

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  • darleysamdarleysam Registered User regular
    edited September 2007
    what amuses me most about the Bioshock review which has sparked all the debate and ill-feeling this time, is that everyone forgets he says it's probably the best game of the year, and heaps a fair amount of praise on it.
    Makes me chuckle.

  • ACSISACSIS Registered User regular
    edited September 2007
    Reduce the ammount of controls to a neccesary minimum. Given the complexity of a game (control-wise) this can still be a lot (simulators especially). Dumbing down the ammount of controlable actions is certainly NOT the way.

    And thats also the explaination why some games are more succesful on consoles (beat-em-up) and others on a comp (rts/sim).

    Porting the MW license to consoles was... simply wrong... and doomed the series. Its not like we have not told them. Whatever.

    If you use a weapon for years you forget about the motions neccesary to operate it and just DO it, becoming one with it, act on will with it - its the same with controls. Every game designer resposible for control setup should do a Tai-Chi course.

    Thats no joke, thats my honest opinion.

  • SwashbucklerXXSwashbucklerXX Swashbucklin' Canuck Ford Nation's Finest Crack DenRegistered User regular
    edited September 2007
    ACSIS wrote: »
    If you use a weapon for years you forget about the motions neccesary to operate it and just DO it, becoming one with it, act on will with it - its the same with controls. Every game designer resposible for control setup should do a Tai-Chi course.

    Thats no joke, thats my honest opinion.

    Actually, I think that's a really cool idea.

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  • YumcakeYumcake Registered User
    edited September 2007
    Y'know the inventory system was a prominent criticism of SS2. Having to swap around to change weapons and dick around with inventory squares.

    What are the objectives of an inventory system in a game? That's what needs to be asked before constructing one.

    1.) Access what you're carrying.
    2.) Inform you of what you're carrying.
    3.) Staying the fuck out of the way.

    Rather than grid-swapping things around, bringing it up on the spot doesn't break up gameplay. However, being able to swap ammo-types before pulling it out would have been nice, but it would require some caveats to avoid reload-circumvention which would affect balancing. Also, ammo count for the alternative ammo types should be accessible prior to the ammo-swap. A minor change that they overlooked, it's relevant to combat decisions.

    A sidebar in the menu screen should have displayed the quantities of the parts you were carrying. I can't see an excuse for this, it's easy to do and makes the whole system replace inventory grids perfectly.

    Genebanks are used because swapping them in and out during mid-combat means that all powers are usable at all times, while slotting measures out the ability growth over time, while still allowing variety in choice early on. This is as opposed to letting you use it all, but dictating what and when you get it, you get more flexibility to choose what and when you get it, but not how much you can use at once.

    Bioshock needed a parts quantity bar in their menu screen, that's about it. The inventory screen just gets in the way. So stripping out the inventory screens is a step up for both platforms.

    The real issue here is the developer's gamebalance design decisions. Inventory restrictions forces the player to make decisions about what to carry. I like the way they cut down on how you access the inventory, but I do not like the elimination of the limitations on inventory.

    I think a stronger and clearer objection is the lack of numerical stats which gave entertainment through choice. The iterative progression of tonics and plasmids make for fewer steps in progression which spaces out the rewards further(tonics and plasmids are what replaces the numerical approach since it reduces menu time even further). Finer progression through numerical stats and abilities allow for more complexity in the choices which is what they paraded heavily in Bioshock's marketing. The same effect is there in the end, and it's much more accessible, but the journey is not quite the same. Zero Punctuation touched upon this briefly, you're doing it all by the end of the game, and the choices made up to that point don't matter. The entertainment I got from the game started to drop towards the end as a result of this increase in power in a game that was already pretty easy.

    Replayability was decent in SS2 because of the inability to do it all at the same time, requiring another pass with a different path. To be fair, some of those other paths kinda sucked in comparison to others, so that may be why that approach was jettisoned. Balancing issues take time.

    Great game. Seriously, it's awesome. But there's always something to criticize about a game, the never-ending hunt for perfection is good for the health of the industry. It adds variety as developers take different approaches to the same problems, and adds progression for future games down the line.

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  • ZombiemamboZombiemambo Registered User regular
    edited September 2007
    Ugh, this discussion again? Really? I suppose it doesn't matter what the reason "games are dumbed down" is, all I know is that consoles are easily accessible and my experience with them has been more positive than with a computer. It's cheaper and it's less of a headache. I don't want to call tech support every time I want to do something, I just want to press a few buttons and do it.

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  • BakerIsBoredBakerIsBored Registered User
    edited September 2007
    As you all know UT2K7 should have M&KB support with the PS3, maybe more dev's will implement dual-functionality between being able to use a controller or M&KB for certain games ( like FPS or RTS on console ). Then some of you could stop saying that all consoles dumb-down games, when they would be doing the same thing as a PC (maybe not as graphic dept.)

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