Stuart Black, the appropriately-named designer responsible for brutal last-gen FPS Black, has struggled to find purchase over the last few years. After leaving Codemasters halfway through developing Bodycount and then being dropped from City Interactive's Enemy Front this summer, you'd forgive him for wondering what exactly he's doing wrong... and also forgive him for being sick and tired of AA publishers.
Brilliantly he's now decided to go down the indie and "bedroom" route, prototyping a new "hard sci-fi" action adventure for Steam.Click here to read more...
You remember Bodycount, right? Once headed up by Burnout and Black director, Stuart Black, the exciting shooter crumbled under the weight of his departure and an overall hierarchical meltdown within Codemasters. So dire was the financial situation that a certain former Bodycount programmer, Semi Essessi, reveals Codemasters owed him almost 400 hours of overtime pay, and then threatened him with bankruptcy proceedings when the funds were "mistakenly" paid to him. Codemasters, however, claims they're in talks with Essessi in hopes of remedying the situation.Click here to read more...
A statement from Codemasters reads that the 'company is proposing to retire from its facility in Guildford, most recently responsible for the shooter Bodycount. If progressed, the move will affect 66 Guildford studio personnel; staff are now involved in a consultation period to discuss the proposal.'
It would appear that the publisher is looking to move away from the action and strategy genres and focus in on racing - an area for which they've become widely acclaimed.Click here for the rest of Codemasters' statement...
When Bodycount works, in those brief moments where the old-school FPS mentality, trumpeted game mechanics and big explosions come together to form a riotous synthesis, it's impossible not to let a big smile break out on your face. But it doesn't last long, early promise almost always crushed by a sense of unfinished business, lacklustre level design and an utter commitment to half-heartedness.
If you were expecting Bodycount to be a statement of intent, if you bought into the developers' hype of touting the game as something breaktakingly fresh and original, putting the fun back into FPS gaming, then you're about to be horribly disappointed.
Bodycount does get it's initial remit right, to a certain extent. The guns - at least those of them that are in the game - have been lovingly put together, the weapon balancing is some of the best around, the feedback satisfying both in sound and feel. Firing these devices is fun, sadly there aren't really enough of them. The grenades are a lot of fun, but when one of the best things you can say about a game is that it lets you choose between timed delayed grenades and instant impact explosions, you know you're in trouble.Click here to read more...
Isn't it nice when Zumba Fitness isn't ruling the charts and providing us here at Dealspwn with sub-header headaches. How many Zumba jokes can we be expected to make? Deus Ex: Human Revolution hold on to the top spot despite competition from new entry Driver San Francisco; made even more impressive when the former suffered a drop in sales from last week by half!
Zumba Fitness, despite its fall from grace - I kid - simply won't shift from the top five, shunted from second to third by Driver SF. It's nudged Rugby World Cup 2011 down to fourth, with the domino toppling in full effect as LEGO Pirates of the Carribean is pushed down from fourth to fifth.
New release Madden NFL 12 makes it in at sixth, proving the UK does quite like American football. I was wrong, then. Call of Duty Black Ops tumbles two places to seventh, while Cars 2, FIFA 11 and The Sims 3 made up the rest of the charts.Click here for the all-format UK Top 10
Bodycount is getting a bit of a bashing in some quarters, probably because Codemasters have been very overt is stressing that this game has not been designed to simply fit in with FPS convention. The team are hoping it'll do something different rather than subscribe to the Call of Battlefield template, and we have to admit we saw glimmers of that back at E3.
The time for theorising is almost at an end, though, with the game due to hit store shelves imminently, and we'll have a critical appraisal for you of the finished product soon. In the meantime, stick the launch trailer in your face and discuss whether or not the music in the video is appropriate or not.
Just a thought.Watch the vid after the jump...
If, like me, you adored Criterion's Black on the Playstation 2, you'll no-doubt have been following Codemasters' Bodycount - a sort of spiritual successor - very closely. Well friends, the wait is over, and you can now get your hands on a demo that releases today on Xbox Live. Whilst the press release accompanying the announcement was written entirely in Spanish, the words 'chaos' and 'destruction' were made very clear.
A Playstation 3 demo release date has yet to be confirmed, but Codemasters assure us that it will be 'published soon'. For all of you Xbox owners in the meantime, go get your hands on it and let us know what you think.
The first of these videos was basically just virtual gun porn...which is fine for an FPS. It's good to get the basics right, after all. But those still with questions over how Codemasters' Bodycount will prove to be any different to just another COD clone would do well to check this latest dev diary out.Check out the vid below the jump...
We were quietly impressed with how Bodycount was coming along when we saw it back at E3, the arcade, OTT stylings making for some intense firefights, with a largely destructible environment and defiantly innovative lean mechanic particularly standing out for us. In addition to that, though, there are guns. Lots and lots of guns.Check out the trailer after the jump...
Matt got hands-on with terrain-shredding shooter Bodycount at E3 this month, and while he wasn't utterly convinced by the once-Stuart Black helmed title, he came away very impressed with the destruction tech and vivid visuals. It looked in much better shape than it did a year ago, and now Codemasters have announced when we'll be 'shredding' things up in Bodycount.Click here for Bodycount's release date
'No-one's asked that question today,' said Andrew Wilson, lead producer on Bodycount, when I enquired how what was once a project synonymous with Stuart Black, before the latter decided to jump ship last year, has changed as a result of Black's abandonment. 'To be honest,' he continued, 'Stuart left after nearly all of the pre-production, that is to say the design work, had been completed. I personally worked very closely alongside Stuart throughout that period and this is still very much the game we set out to make and I think the hundred or so people still working on the project would agree.'
Fighting talk, which is relatively unsurprising considering the way some corners of the media tried to use Black's departure to prophesy doom. But Codemasters are mightily proud of their arcade FPS and, on the evidence I was shown at E3, they certainly seem to have a strong right to be.
Some might worry about the use of the word 'arcade' to describe the gameplay at the heart of Bodycount, but those that would have short memories, and it serves to illustrate that this isn't a game looking to go toe-to-toe with the likes of Call of Duty or Battlefield in terms of 'who can provide the finest likeness of war'. As several of the team commented to me at various points throughout the hour I spent checking the game out, 'it's all about the guns'.Click here to find out how Codemasters are hoping to set Bodycount apart from the rest of the pack...
Back in the days of Sony's Playstation 2, Criterion Games released a corker of a First-Person Shooter called 'Black'. Some years later, and Creative Director Stuart Black, then under the management of Codemasters, announced a 'spiritual successor' in the guise of 'Bodycount'.
Whilst Stuart Black has since moved on from the project, it seems Codemasters have been busy realising his vision, and a batch of screenshots have been revealed, showcasing the title's frantic, over the top and frankly insane brand of bullet-flinging.Read on for more death, destruction, and demo info...
Stuart Black, the developer behind Black and the foulmouthed spokesman for upcoming beautifully-vulgar FPS Bodycount will be leaving the Codemasters team.
“Having created a great vision and direction for Bodycount, Stuart has decided to move on after three years with us.”
“He will see out his design role until October and, through the transition period, will continue to work with the talented development team that will take the game through to completion.”- Codemasters studio manager Adrian Bolton
No specific reason has been given for Black's decision to quit- but we're genuinely surprised to see it confirmed. Stuart has been a mainstay of the FPS headlines in recent months; issuing a constant stream of expletives, hyperbole and updates about Bodycount's development cycle. Considering his undeniable passion and position as as official Bodycount mascot, we can only assume that the dev team shouted down one of his ridiculous (or brilliant, or both) design decisions. Maybe a Lady Gaga-themed level? [via VG247]
Bioware has dropped the bomb on a massive patch for Dragon Age Origins that fixes a huge number of glitches, bugs and flagrant little coding issues across the board. Rogues will have special reason to rejoice, since daggers will now actually grant them the dexterity damage modifier they deserve. Oh, and memory leaks and corrupted save games should hopefully be a thing of the past.
Check out the full (and significantly long) list of tweaks and updates here. The patch will hit for the PC later today, though the console versions are currently awaiting testing and accreditation. [Bioware Forums]
Uh-oh. Bobby Kotick's been breathlessly fantasizing about instigating a membership subscription system for playing Call of Duty online for some time... and if a recent gameplay video is to be believed, the software and platform to do so may have already sneaked into Modern Warfare 2. For your delectation:
Hmm. Even if this video isn't doctored (considering it would be fairly easy to overlay a grey screen onto MW2 gameplay footage), there are any number of things that this video could be. Note, however, the Modern Warfare 2 Membersh... title hanging ominously over the menu like the sword of Damocles.
Personally I'd be very surprised if Activision is trying to sneak subscriptions into Modern Warfare 2 (considering that Black Ops is just around the corner)- but I'd be interested to see what you all make of it. I'd personally file this one under "Unlikely but plausible." [via TheSixthAxis]
Popcap fans and gardening aficionados will be delighted to hear that Plants vs Zombies will be dropping onto XBLA in September. According to leaked achievements discovered over the weekend, it will also contain a couple of new modes including multiplayer bowling.
According to the press release, this new version of Plants vs Zombies will boast "seven game modes, including two all-new multiplayer modes, 12 unique achievements and 21 mini-games," enhanced resolution and a quirky leaderboard system that involves creating a virtual clubhouse for your friends to visit! It will retail for 1200 Microsoft Points.
Bobby Kotick's Activision may be the current public enemy number one when it comes to developer treatment, but renowned FPS designer Stuart Black has spoken out against EA's policy towards its developers. Whilst he praises developers that treat their employees as valuable individuals (and claims that they make better games), he claims that the bigger publishers lack respect for their employees.
"[Developers such as Valve and Blizzard] build on their ideas and themes and the games they develop get richer. But those teams that chop and change on membership, they flounder. I'll pick out, just in broad terms, EA – I don't think there's a lot of respect for individuals on teams, the team members are building blocks that they can just mix and match…"
Stuart went on to explain that he's built a close-knit and passionate team to develop Bodycount, the upcoming spiritual successor to Black at Codemasters Guildford. We're excited to see if they deliver a triple-A product as well as Black's trademark ultraviolence. [The Guardian]
'Celebrity' industry analyst Michael Pachter has predicted that we've our last platform exclusive from the big publishers. Whilst first-party developers (such as Media Molecule and Rare) will still continue to create exclusive games as per their contracts, Pachter believes that publishers simply won't cut their profits in half by releasing AAA titles as system-specific games.
"I don't think you're going to see Ubisoft or Take-Two or Activision do an Xbox 360 or PS3 exclusive ever again because the install base of the two consoles is just too big to ignore. They'd be giving up way too much unless Microsoft is willing to pay up."
Pachter also predicts that Microsoft will be the worst off from the situation; a situation our very own Matt Gardner has already foreseen.
"I don't think Microsoft is willing to pay up what it's going to take to ignore that whole PS3 crowd."
He's also stated that we can expect to see Splinter Cell Conviction on the PS3 within the year. [Gametrailers Pach Attack via Gamerzines]
Red Dead Redemption, Rockstar's upcoming Western, has been rated M due to excessive swearing, violence and shockingly adult themes. Drugdealing, mutilated corpses and plenty of gore will certainly help shift a few copies thanks to its simple shock value.
“Language such as ‘f**k,’ ‘c*nt,’ and ’sh*t’ can be heard in the dialogue. In one sequence, a bloodied and mutilated corpse can be seen hanging from the rafters of a barn.”- ESRB
It'll be interesting to see whether this overtly controversial and mature content actually makes for a better game rather than a cynical way of netting shock sales. Yeehaw, motherf**kers! [VG247]
Enslaved, Ninja Theory's postapocalyptic current project, is now being teased by a new countdown site. Details are currently very sparse, but apparently a trailer will be incoming... in just under a fortnight.
Enslaved is shaping up to be a rich, futuristic action experience that's based on a classic Chinese legend. We'll keep you up to date with the latest developments as we receive them.
Want to weigh in on EA's developer treatment? Fancy punditing on Pachter? Drop us a line in the comments!
A three year old American girl has fatally shot herself after mistaking her father's gun for a Wiimote.
This story is currently breaking, but a few details about the tragic incident have been made public by local news reports:
"According to investigators, the girl's father had left a semi-automatic weapon on the counter, and the child mistook it for a "Wii" video game controller. The child was fatally shot in the abdomen."- WSMV
A number of smallminded Americans will doubtlessly throw their Wiis away and start preaching about how dangerous it is. I just hope that they remember that you shouldn't leave your "semi-automatic weapon" anywhere near your child- or keep one in the house in the first place!
Whilst Activision have been recently hogging the title of gaming's evil supervillain, Ubisoft has assumed the role of their bungling henchmen. First they announce a staggeringly unpopular DRM... then they announce it for a whole slew of upcoming titles... then it gets hacked... and now it doesn't work. At the time of writing, the DRM servers simply aren't allowing anyone to connect: which means that no one can play the Assassin's Creed 2 on the PC. Angry gamers are justifiably flooding the forums after paying good money for software they can't use!
Currently, Ubisoft have only released a brief statement about the sorry situation:
"I don't have any clear information on what the issue is since I'm not in the office, but clearly the extended downtime and lengthy login issues are unacceptable, particularly as I've been told these servers are constantly monitored.
I realise that's not ideal but there's only so much I can do on a weekend as I'm not directly involved with the server side of this system."- Ubisoft UK Community Manager
Frankly I'm starting to doubt whether Ubisoft is actually a games company at all; since they currently appear to be some sort of psychological research agency that's analysing the effects of long term abuse on PC gamers. All joking aside, this will probably be the last straw for the few optimists who've been giving Ubisoft the benefit of the doubt. [via Gossipgamers]
Remember Black, anyone? This ridiculous FPS rocked the Xbox and PS2 by taking Burnout's attitude to racing and applying it to blowing stuff up with massive guns. Huge explosions, brutal SFX and enough flying debris to make John Woo shed a tear were the order of the day- and it seems that we're in store for more of the same.
Codemasters recently employed Stuart Black (one of the key creatives involved with the original title) to develop a secret FPS project, and now Official Xbox Magazine have blown the lid right off it. Whilst the full OXM preview will be released in their next physical publication, their blog confirms that Codemaster's mystery project is called Bodycount, which is described as "a spectacular and frankly mental first-person shooter."
Sounds familiar! Let's hope that Bodycount can make its mark in the oversaturated FPS market. [OXM]