George Broussard, Duke Nukem Forever's original designer, usually makes the news these days by blowing the whistle on industry job losses and mass firings. After all, it's a topic close to his heart after 3D Realms was shut down. With Gearbox polishing off their oft-delayed project, Broussard has finally gotten around to explaining why it took so damn long.
I wish there was an easy or dramatic answer for what took so long but there just isn't. It was just never ready. We had lots of development issues along the way. It wasn't a quest for perfection..."
The controversial developer went on to explain that their major mistake was continually changing game engines. After all, they had DNF ready to ship on the original Unreal Engine!
I think what hurt us the most was licensing engines and trying to change them too much," Broussard continued. "S*** happens and after delays the options are to continue or kill the game. I never wanted to kill the game. We got things turned around dramatically in 2007-2009, with a lot of new hires, and most of the game as it exists today was created in that timeframe.
Finally, when asked about whether Duke would be relevant in the 21st century, Broussard categorically stated that he provides a welcome and refreshing contrast to the "the cookie cutter, cardboard, generic game heroes that don't have an ounce of personality. It's OK to not like Duke or think him juvenile, but at least he's not boring and vanilla." Amen to that. [Maximum PC]
PS3 fans rejoice. Rather than handing Bioshock Infinite over to a third party studio for a quick and nasty port, Irrational Games' Ken Levine has assured the Bioshock community that individual teams are working on each platform's engine in house. Irrational are committed to making a "great PS3 game" by taking advantage of its impressive capabilities rather than shackling it to the Xbox 360 version's performance.
Many developers frequently take the cheap and simple way out when PS3 ports are concerned. Developing for Sony's console can be a tricksy and arduous process- but we know that the results will speak for themselves. With three separate teams working on the engine, each console should hopefully boast an optimised experience. Here's hoping. [Irrational Games]
Activision has announced that the restructuring of the beleaguered (and hard-done-by) Infinity Ward has finally been completed. Over 5000 CVs have been sorted through and vetted, but now the studio is up to full strength and ready to- probably- get started on Modern Warfare 3.
Jean-Bernard Lévy, the CEO of Activision's parent company Vivendi, is pleased with the new setup- though claims that Treyarch are a more important asset than IW ever were. "The Treyarch studio, which made this year's game, has done better than what the Infinity Ward studio could achieve a year ago." We'd love to get your opinion on this one. [IGN]
Looks like Activision's three CoD studios are all ready for action. Remember that Sledgehammer is still quietly ticking along... making a "Space Marine" futuristic shooter if recent rumours are anything to go by.
There's no doubt that action titles make up a solid part of each console's game catalogue, but in a recent interview, Sony's senior vice president of marketing has called out Microsoft over a perceived reliance on the genre. Possibly in response to a certain shooter reaching the Xbox 360.
"If you look at what Sony WWS does, we have titles ranging from Killzone to EyePet. PlayStation is a very big tent and we've never been reliant on one product genre like one of our competitors and it's helped us sell 377 million PlayStation hardware products and two billion software products in 15 years." - Peter Dille, senior vice president of marketing
Hmm... this one's a little passive-aggressive for my liking. As I've mentioned before, the variety of genuine arthouse games that are headed to the PS3 is extremely impressive, but mentioning Killzone in the same breath seems a little hypocritical. Besides, many gamers actually bought a 360 because they love a good firefight. [thealistdaily.com via play.tm]
Does Microsoft need to diversify? Is the PS3 the best option in the long run for diverse gaming experiences... or is this just a piece of transparent trash talk? Have your say in the comments!
Here's some news about one of those shooters that Microsoft ostensibly "relies" on. Halo Reach released last Tuesday, and whilst it's an extremely comprehensive package, many gamers were surprised at the absence of cooperative campaign matchmaking as well as the truly competitive firefight mode that lets players control Covenant infantry. However, the latest Bungie weekly update indicates that these features will be hitting next month after they've ironed out a few kinks.
A few more gametypes including Rocket Race will also be bolstering the already-enormous roster of game modes... but we hope that the frequently laggy firefight netcode also receives a much-needed overhaul. [Bungie]
Crystal Dynamics made a fantastic job of Tomb Raider: Guardian of Light that made its downloadable debut late last month... but according to the latest rumours, their next project may be far more ambitious. PC Gamer's rumour column has reportedly discovered details that their upcoming title will be prequel to the franchise that takes place on a Japanese island that can be explored at the player's leisure... or will at least feature multiple ways to circumvent each obstacle.
This is still a rumour... but we've certainly heard some corroborative whisperings on the subject. File this one under 'plausible' at the moment. [PC Gamer via Gamersmint]
Matt was lucky enough to witness the Bioshock Infinite 2 demo at this year's Gamescom... but the footage has taken ages to hit the net thanks to a tight cordon of 2K Public Relations ninjas. However, a brief montage of this demo has finally now hit the net. I'd suggest loading up Matt's demo walkthrough to give it some context- and let us know what you think! [Thanks, GT]
Well this one came as a surprise. Sat in a specially-mocked-up fin de siècle lounge surrounded by walls of rich mahogany and ensconced in what might be the most comfortable leather couches in existence, Jon and I prepared to witness a developer demo of Bioshock Infinite a mere eight days after Ken Levine announced its existence. Turn of the century light fittings hung from the ceiling, fake leather-bound books adorned bookcases towards the back and period propaganda posters hung from the walls, the largest of which screamed 'For God and Country...It Is Our Holy Duty To Fight Against The Foreign Hordes'. Someone had clearly gone to town on this.
Felix's preview from last week highlighted the plot details revealed by Ken`Levine but here's a quick recap to follow that trailer.
The setting is Columbia, a floating city meant to have been a beacon to the world showcasing the undeniable power of America's ideals and ingenuity at the turn of the century. Unfortunately, its vast potential as a weapon (a 'floating Death Star if you will' as Lead Artist Shawn Robertson described it) led to massive factional infighting as idealism and altruism turned to oppression and nationalism. But this is not the faded, destroyed beauty of Rapture, oh no. Columbia is still colourful, living, breathing and vibrant, which makes it all the more sinister.
The year is 1912 and you play Booker DeWitt, an ex-Pinkerton Agent living in disgrace. He's approached by a mysterious man who needs him to track down a woman named Elizabeth for him. She's currently in prison on Columbia and is incredibly powerful, positioned at the centre of the civil unrest - half the populace want her freed, the other half want the key thrown away.
Thus Booker finds himself in Columbia, with assistance from the mysterious man, after all Columbia has been lost for years. Our demonstration began about a third of the way through the game: Booker has found Elizabeth but they've just become separated again.
On their website, Irrational Games, developers of the first Bioshock and cult-classics such as System Shock and Tribes, has been teasing fans with drips of information on their new game, known only as 'Project Icarus'. Speculation was rampant. A new IP? A System Shock remake? A revival of the Left 4 Dead-style title they released snippets of video from? Nope. Not even close. Irrational's next game is Bioshock Infinite, the third entry in the series, and promises to be like no Bioshock you've seen before.
Whereas Bioshock 1 was based in an underwater dystopia, Infinite ditches the aquatic realm for something new entirely; the sky. Set aboard the floating metropolis of Columbia, Bioshock Infinite is an altogether different visual experience. Colossal chunks of Victorian masonry, adorned with American flags and kept afloat by an undercarriage of hot-air balloons, interlinked by 'Skylines', an almost roller coaster-like network of tracks and trams, suspended above clouds and thin air.
The story behind Columbia is relatively thin. It embarked on its sky-bound voyage in the early 20th Century, on a wave of optimism concerning new technologies. It was a roaming World's Fair, a testament to America's greatness. Until an international incident resulted in Columbia's hasty departure, but not before it revealed it was heavily armed and not fond of following orders.
The rest of Columbia's history is being closely guarded, and rightfully so. Rapture was a wonderful place to explore and discover, and Columbia should be, too. It promises to be an intriguing place, a floating, segmented world of new technology, hidden secrets and, in Bioshock tradition, feuding politics and philosophies. Already we've seen thugs dressed like Uncle Sam, enormous statues of maidens hoisting American flags. Not to mention the robots.Click here to read the rest of Felix's preview....
Just in case you didn't know, Ken Levine and Irrational Games dropped a megaton yesterday. At the announcement presser for Irrational's Project Icarus, Levine outed the title as none other than Bioshock Infinite. Think Bioshock, but in a fantastical flying citadel with clockwork robots, new plasmids and loads of roses. I'll let the trailer fill you in.
Apparently, Irrational Games felt that they'd milked Rapture's underwater setting as far as they could without becoming complacent, and had decided to ignore Bioshock 2 in favour of an entirely new setting. Basically, they like a challenge.
“But we felt we had said what we wanted to say about Rapture, about those kind of environments and that kind of feel. We want to scare the hell out of people, we want to shock people, but we didn’t want to have any of the tools, the crutches, that we knew how to do that with." -Ken Levine to Eurogamer
I'd go into more detail, but Felix will be delivering a full preview tomorrow. Stay tuned!
Yesterday we informed you that id Software were gearing up for a "neat" annoucement- and I'm more than willing to admit that I didn't see this one coming. At all. Apparently id founder/Technical Director John Carmack has found a little downtime between overseeing Rage and Doom 4 development, and decided to try out compressing textures to fit id games onto the Wii. This project subsquently ballooned out of all proportion... resulting in the ability to fit Rage onto the iPhone 4 at 60FPS.
Carmack showed off the technology during Quakecon's keynote speech- and bar some control issues, it's an incredible achievement. After all, the graphical quality apparently "kills" anything on the PS2 or original Xbox! Why not check out the demo below (which doesn't do it justice).
God bless you, Carmack. Some developers posture, shout and don't deliver... but id clams up, works hard and makes it happen. Even if "it" happens to be a surprisingly capable accidental side project that no-one was expecting. [1UP]
We've been hearing some ominous rumblings from sources close to Scottish studio Realtime Worlds, the developers behind the original Crackdown, APB and the upcoming Project MyWorld . Games Industry reports that numerous publishers have turned down the opportunity to get behind MyWorld due to its untested concept- and have had to sack 60 team members in their latest employee restructuring effort.
VG247 has also issued a seperate report claiming that the entire MyWorld team has been laid off... which also suggests that 60 staff have been made redundant.
We've also heard rumours that Realtime Worlds plan to sell APB in order to claw back some capital.
These are all rumours at this stage- but trust me, something is rotten in the state of Realtime Worlds. Don't expect to see any more MyWorld announcements for the time being.
UPDATE: RW has confirmed the redundancies but have stated that they'll be retaining APB for the time being.
By all rights, sniper games should be awesome... but by screwing up some of the basics, Sniper: Ghost Warrior didn't manage to live up to its potential. We expected City Interactive to leave it at that- but luckily, they've tinkered about with some of the more annoying problems and released a free title update that will correct some of the rampant annoyances of the Xbox 360 version.
These improvements include a raft of tweaks to the AI routine and stealth system, resulting in a better (i.e. less broken) sniping experience. I'll be sure to amend the review if they make a substantial difference to the gameplay. [BattleStrats]