Home > 'Journalistic' Malpractice, Video Games > Halo, Goldeneye, Resident Evil 4, COD, all ‘on-rails’ shooters says Kotaku

Halo, Goldeneye, Resident Evil 4, COD, all ‘on-rails’ shooters says Kotaku

Rail shooter
Inspired by AM2

According to autistic savant/mind reader/brazen ‘putting words in developers mouth via careful editing’ game ‘journalist’ Brian Crescente1, Metroid: Other M is still an on-rails shooter (even though it isn’t/wasn’t) because:

In Metroid: Other M much of the game play takes place as a sort of left-to-right side scroller. You hold the Wii remote sideways and play from a third-person perspective, controlling Samus as she jumps, shoots and morphs into a ball.

But in an interesting and literal twist, when you point the remote at the screen the perspective instantly changes, snapping to a view through Samus’ visor. This shift in perspective also anchors Samus’ feet to the ground. From this perspective players can look around, lock on to targets and fire weapons, but they can’t move from the spot the character is standing on until they switch perspectives back again.

It felt, as I played it, an awful lot like someone found a clever way to introduce one of the stronger elements of on-the-rail shooters into a game that otherwise gives gamers complete control of their movements.

In a typical on-the-rail shooter, gamers have no control over movement, journeying from one encounter to the next at the whim of the game. This leaves players to concentrate on aiming and shooting, instead of having to worry about shifting around to avoid fire or moving between rooms.

Or maybe they just thought it was a neat gameplay gimmick. Like…all of Resident Evil 4. (And 5.)

In those games, you are ‘rooted’ to the spot every time you aim your weapon to shoot something, thus cleverly introducing elements of Virtua Cop. (No really, read it. That’s the implication here: that every time you cease to be in total control of your avatar’s movement, then Brian Crescente believes there are inspirations from on-rails shooters at play.)

More:

In a typical on-the-rail shooter, gamers have no control over movement, journeying from one encounter to the next at the whim of the game. This leaves players to concentrate on aiming and shooting, instead of having to worry about shifting around to avoid fire or moving between rooms.

I pointed this out to Sakamoto during my interview with him after playing a small chunk of the game.

“It’s impossible to say that there aren’t any remnants of design at all of a rail shooter,” Sakamoto conceded, after I mentioned my observations, “but no, this is not something we imagined as a rail shooter at this point.”

First off, I’d like to know what, exactly, he pointed out to Sakamoto. According to the post, he pointed out what makes a rail-shooter, a rail-shooter…wow. Insightful… and completely out-of-place, so either he asked him something else, or he’s leaving something out. Next, how exactly did Sakamoto “concede” anything?

First, here’s the definition of “concede”:

To reluctantly accept something to be true: to admit or acknowledge something, often grudgingly or with reluctance.

So what is he reluctantly accepting to be true? That if Sakamoto lived in Brian Crescente’s magical fairy land, that Other M had to have been (“dude!”) inspired by rail shooters because he feels that every time you are “locked down” that implies the presence of rail shooter design influence even when the designer in question says it isn’t. (Ah, ‘journalism’ in action!)

For example, the only way that this makes sense is if the following dialogue took place:

Crescente: so you can’t deny that there’s the possibilty, no matter how remote, that Other M may have been inspired by rail shooters?

Sakamoto: It’s impossible to say that there aren’t any remnants of design at all of a rail shooter but, no, this is not something we imagined as a rail shooter at this point. (And though I won’t say it because I’m Japanese and, thus, hopelessly polite, would you get the f*ck off this rails shooter things-it’s getting on my nerves.)

This is like me having the following conversation w/ a lunatic:

Lunatic: so you can’t deny that there’s the possibility, no matter how remote, that fairies live and play w/ me every day?

ECM: you’re a f*cking lunatic–get the f*ck away from me.

Crescente would interpret this as:

I pointed this out to ECM during my interview with him after talking about the virtues of recreational drug use.

“It’s impossible to say that there aren’t any fairies living and working among us,” ECM conceded, after I mentioned my observations, “but no, this is not something I can actually disprove because you can’t prove a f*cking negative you f*cking ***clown.”

Or something like that.

In any event, the point is there was no concession going on except in the (rail shooter-addled) mind of the person asking the question.

Sakamoto continues:

Sakamoto said that when designing a game like Metroid: Other M with a control pad and not a thumbstick you need to “bring new ideas and new approaches to how those controls for movement work.”

“For example, if you were going straight on a control pad it is very much straight in the game,” he said. “So while it is not an on-the-rail shooter, you will notice very much some guidance, especially when you are taking turns. We feel these are real positive experiences and additions to the game.”

These blending of controls in the design decision were very much deliberate, Sakamoto said.

“If we had thought of making this from the ground up as a first-person shooter there wouldn’t have been nearly as many opportunities for us to bring fresh design ideas,” he said. “It wouldn’t have been as fun. Similarly if we had aimed at it being solely 2D there wouldn’t have been as many opportunities here.”

Am I the only one getting the distinct impression that Sakamoto and Crescente are talking about two entirely different things? Crescente harps on the supposed, once upon a fairy tale belief, that Other M started as an on-rails shooter and still carries that ‘baggage’ along with him like a rabid monkey he just can’t shake, leading him to asinine assertions that, if followed to their logical conclusion, make games like Resident Evil 4 and 5 heavily-influenced by rail shooters as well. Meanwhile, Sakamoto is, once again, describing a 2.5D sidescroller and a FPS, and specifically downplays a rails shooter, period.

But ya know what would be a great, journalist-like, question to clear this up once and for all:

When you said “on a rail” (yeah, he never actually rail shooter a la Panzer Dragoon except in stating what Other M was not) did you mean like Virtua Cop or House of the Dead? Or even Panzer Dragoon?

See how hard that is! That would instantly vaporize any confusion, contention, etc. that Kotaku (and some other ‘journalists’ are speaking the same language as Sakamoto) but, then, that would bring needed clarity to a situation you couldn’t milk for traffic.

But party-on, Kotaku! Keep dredging up bullsh*t to justify your asinine, pet, theory that Metroid: Other M was ‘this close, dude!’ (“and still is, man! Stop harshing my buzz!”) to being a rails shooter.



1 Sorry, per WE policy, Kotaku is never linked.

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