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From Poisonous Indie Success To Mikami's Elite Team - News Roundup 6th November 2010

Jonathan Lester
Call of Duty: Black Ops, Indie, Microsoft, News, Shinji Mikami, XBLIG
Call of Duty: Black Ops

More Veteran Staff Join Shinji Mikami At Tango

From Poisonous Indie Success To Mikami's Elite Team - News Roundup 6th November 2010

Shinji Mikami's Tango Gameworks may now be part of the Zenimax family, but acc0rding to their website, they're still recruiting an elite team of Japanese talent for their mysterious upcoming title.

The first familiar face is Masafumi Takada, the renowned musical talent behind the likes of Vanquish, Infinite Space, Super Mash Bros. Brawl, No More Heroes and Killer 7. As you'd expect, he'll be bringing his talents to bear as a sound engineer and composer.

Naoki Kataki, the environment and art director on Okami and Vanquish, will be taking the role of lead art and environment director. Naturally. Frankly, Okami is an impressive enough credential by itself.

Finally, Mikami has also recruited Shinichiro Ishikawa: a new programmer who worked on Bayonetta, Devil May Cry, Mega Man Legends, Okami and many other major hits.

With talent of this calibre, we'd be very surprised if Tango GameWorks' first title for Zenimax isn't anything short of stunning. Either way, the latest concept art suggests that it's going to be pretty weird... [Thanks, Andriasang]

"Success Is Poisonous": MS Insider Speaks Out On Indie Debacle

From Poisonous Indie Success To Mikami's Elite Team - News Roundup 6th November 2010

Many of you will have been following the ongoing sorry situation that Xbox Live Indie games have found themselves in. After several days of deadwalling since the Indie Games Marketplace was sidelined into a "specialist shop," an alleged Microsoft insider has spoken out to explain some of the long-running problems that the service has encountered these last couple of years. Besides shining the spotlight on a number of legal and security issues, he also discussed the fact that the need to minimise competition with XBLA sales and internal Microsoft politics have played a major role in making Indie development far more difficult than it needs to be.

Xbox Live Indie games has been an incredible, internal, uphill battle from the start. No one on any of the teams really wanted any of those restrictions, but a lot of factors were conspiring against us.

Cannibalization: Xbox Live Arcade (professional downloadable games) is big business. Leadership was terrified that people were going to systematically clone all of the best selling games. Hence silly rules like no free games and segregated Top Games listings.

Politics: At Microsoft, success is poisonous. If your team is talented and effective, if your product is sexy and fun -- and XNA was certainly all of these things -- then every middle manager in the entire damn company wants a piece of your action. We got re-org-ed so many times, I lost count. When XNA 1 launched on Xbox, it was a triumph. Then we spent a ton of time onboarding the latest platform, like Zune or Windows Phone, that management forced down our throats.

Still no word from Microsoft beside their earlier press release- which ought to have been delivered to the developers directly rather than us journalists. [ycombinator]

Live Action Black Ops Trailer

Call  of Duty: Black Ops has enjoyed a fair bit (read: massive oversaturation) of trailers... but this one is a bit special. By way of being completely bonkers and full of celebs. I just... I can't... just have fun with it.

We'll have a review for you soon...

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