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From Bethesda's 'Independent Development Environment' To The PSP 2's Alleged Existence - News Roundup 3rd November 2010

Matt Gardner
Bethesda, EA, Indie Games, Microsoft, News, PSP 2, Shinji Mikami, Xbox dashboard, Xbox Live Indie Games

Mikami Sold Tango To Bethesda Due To 'Independent Development Environment'

From Bethesda's 'Independent Development Environment' To The PSP 2's Alleged Existence - News Roundup 3rd November 2010

Giving his first interview since Bethesda bought out his studio Tango Gamework, Shinji Mikami has spoken out explaining why the Japanese studio went to Bethesda rather than any of the other nine companies he spoke to at E3:

'Bethesda was the best match among them because they gave us the most independent development environment to work with as we pursue our goal of producing Japanese games that work worldwide — that, and their track record when it comes to overseas sales.'

With id Software shacking up with the Zenimax family, and Tim Willits extolling the creative independent virtues of working with the publisher, it would certainly seem that Bethesda are gaining something of a reputation for themselves in fostering a satisfied stable of developers and it's clear they're happy to have Mikami onboard:

'We’ve been publishing titles from overseas studios in Japan for a while,' said Bethesda Asia's GM, Tetsu Takahashi. 'But one of our other goals was to publish Japanese games overseas if we found the right content match. However, it’s pretty hard to find creators whose work can really be appreciated around the world.'

And, regarding the company's policy towards development cycles, Takahashi suggested that 'any [AAA] project is going to involve tens of millions of dollars either way, so instead of cutting dev time and features and hoping for a million copies sold, it's better to take your time, make something great, and aim for five million instead. We believe that there's actually less risk when you do it that way...

'From our perspective, if we can gather the most talented developers in Japan under Mikami and support them on our way to making the best game studio Japan has to offer, then that would be perfect.'

Hear, hear! Although Mikami has said that the new project he's working on with Bethesda will be his last as director he'll still be the studio's president. With Inafune-san recently lambasting Japanese developers in the press, this is a move that we'd love to see bear some exciting fruits. [via 1UP]

Microsoft: New Dashboard Helps Indie Devs

From Bethesda's 'Independent Development Environment' To The PSP 2's Alleged Existence - News Roundup 3rd November 2010

There's been a little bit of backlash to Microsoft's new dashboard, particularly from the Indie community who believe that placing another menu in front of the XBLIG tab, squashed in between the Avatar Marketplace and the Game Room, will lead to poorer sales. Understandable, there's been a fair bit of anger flying around, with several devs already talking of jumping ship to PS Home and exploring alternative routes.

Microsoft, however, have hit back with assertions that in actual fact this new move will be beneficial for the indie community.

'The intent of the Specialty Shops section was to provide access to marketplaces that focus on a specific type of content,' said a spokesperson for the company, 'with unique ways of sorting through that content. We wanted to give Xbox Live Indie Games that full marketplace experience and felt this was the best place to do it, alongside other popular channels like the Avatar Marketplace.

'In fact, since the launch of Avatars, Xbox Live members have made more than 290 million customizations to their Avatar's clothing, so we expect many people to regularly visit the Specialty Shops section.'

In fairness, there have been other additions to the system too, allowing for more user feedback and search ranking:

'We've updated the Xbox Live Indie Games marketplace and Xbox.com to provide new ways for people to browse and sort indie games.

'You can now browse the top-rated, top-selling and most recent games by genre. You can also find indie games by 'best selling today' and 'best selling of all time' on Xbox.com.

'In addition, the Top Rated and Top Downloaded lists have grown from 20 games to 50, allowing for greater exposure of more indie games. We've also kept the Contest Finalists and the IGN Picks sections, so users can sort through titles in a number of different ways.'

There have been a myriad of responses to the situation so far (stay tuned for Jon's roundup of opinion and his own decisive verdict) but we'd like to hear what you think. Is this another piece of PR waffle from Microsoft? Is it insulting to indie devs (Microsoft's refusal to respond to development concerns in the dedicated forums might suggest so)? Or does it make a certain amount of sense? Personally, I reckon that the new ranking system is probably a good thing, and makes finding diamonds in the sea of rough easier than before. But finding the channel itself is horribly unintuitive...although quite frankly I feel that way about the whole thing. Let's face it, a 'full marketplace experience' would have meant slapping a link right on the front page. Now that would have been an awesome statement of intent. [Eurogamer]

Let us know your thoughts below!

EA: The PSP 2 Exists...But We Can't Say Anything About It

From Bethesda's 'Independent Development Environment' To The PSP 2's Alleged Existence - News Roundup 3rd November 2010

Apparently EA have seen the PSP 2, according to Senior VP Patrick Soderlund. Previously there'd been all sorts of rumours flying about about HD screens, the possibility of dual thumbsticks, touchscreens, telecommunicative abilities and lots more besides, including Netherrealm suggesting that it's pretty powerful. None of those have been confirmed, with EA having to keep mum naturally, but it's good to hear it from a major publisher that the PSP 2 is out there in some form or another.

'Well, obviously as a developer we have had [access to it] - but I'm not allowed to talk about it,' said Soderlund. 'We can't talk about it because of our relationship with Sony obviously, which is... That's just the way it is.'

We've already told you what we'd like to see when it comes to the PSP 2, but what about you? Let us know below! [CVG]

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