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Game development

"It’s not about the money. It’s about my sanity" - Unpacking Notch's leaving letter

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Features
Tags:
Game development, Indie Games, Microsoft, Minecraft, Notch

"It’s not about the money. It’s about my sanity" - Unpacking Notch's leaving letter

Microsoft have bought Minecraft. Well, they've bought Mojang, but given that three of the studio's founders are leaving, I reckon we can tell it how it is. For Notch, his creation has grown too big. He is now a man with nearly two million followers on Twitter, an industry figure whose musings on social media have become newsworthy headlines.

And it's all become a little too much.

"I was at home with a bad cold a couple of weeks ago when the internet exploded with hate against me over some kind of EULA situation that I had nothing to do with. I was confused. I didn’t understand. I tweeted this in frustration. Later on, I watched the This is Phil Fish video on YouTube and started to realize I didn’t have the connection to my fans I thought I had. I’ve become a symbol. I don’t want to be a symbol, responsible for something huge that I don’t understand, that I don’t want to work on, that keeps coming back to me. I’m not an entrepreneur. I’m not a CEO. I’m a nerdy computer programmer who likes to have opinions on Twitter."

It reminds me of the departure of the two Doctors from BioWare in some ways -- a situation that's understandable and yet tinged with sadness -- but at least Notch is saying that he wants to keep making games. They'll be smaller, much smaller, but there'll be something freeing about developing without a million eyes or so looking over his shoulder (eventually).

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Quick Quotes: "The industry has a long way to go" - Miyamoto

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
News
Tags:
Game development, Nintendo, Shigeru Miyamoto

Quick Quotes: "The industry has a long way to go" - Miyamoto

Speaking with regard to development practices and the nature of projects being led by creatives or bean counters, Nintendo dev guru Shigeru Miyamoto has suggested that "the industry has a long way to go" in encouraging freedom of creativity and bucking popular trends.

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"Not all gamers are teenage boys" - Why we still need more variety in our gaming protagonists

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Features
Tags:
Choice, Female characters, Female protagonists, Game development, game industry, Jade Raymond

"Not all gamers are teenage boys" - Why we still need more variety in our gaming protagonists

We need more variety when it comes to gaming protagonists.

It seems like a no-brainer written down, after all everyone games these days, from toddlers to pensioners. Yet still there seems to be a prevailing idea of a majority market ruled over by a male, teenage demographic who demand the greatest attention.

It's getting better, of course. It takes less time to point to a game with a female protagonist, or at least the option for one, but we're still a long way off. There'll be those who scoff and argue that little needs to change, and I'd wager that the vast majority of those reactions will be from male gamers. I don't want to bash people over the head with talk of privilege, but it's important to take a walk in someone else's shoes from time to time.

"Not all gamers are teenage boys" - Why we still need more variety in our gaming protagonists

As I explained in a vid on my personal channel over the weekend, I like playing female roles: I enjoyed Tomb Raider, No One Lives Forever is one of my favourite game series of all time, and I'll frequently take female characters for a spin in RPGs just to see how characters react differently to a protagonist of the opposite gender than to those when I'm role-playing as myself. But I also imagine what it might be like were the tables turned, with upwards of nine out of ten games released featuring female protagonists. I'd like to say that I'd be totally fine with that, but I'd be lying. Eventually I'd want to just be able to invest wholly in a character without compromise. It doesn't matter how well written the women in those imagined games might have been, at some point I'd want a character I could truly relate to. As a person. As a man.

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Are Game Development Costs Set to Spiral out of Control?

Author:
Brendan Griffiths
Category:
Features
Tags:
Game development, Games industry, Next-gen, PC games, PS4, PS4 games, Xbox One, Xbox One Games

Are Game Development Costs Set to Spiral out of Control?

Last week we learned via a Eurogamer interview, that 2013’s Tomb Raider reboot only started to make a profit nine months after its March release date, despite selling 3.4 million copies in its first three weeks. If it takes that long for a game that good that sold that well to actually make money, how long can companies afford to make similar blockbuster big-budget games?

Tomb Raider’s budget was reportedly around £60 million ($100 million), which is probably why Square Enix set their sales targets so high (5 million units) in the first month,  which would have seem them move into the black straight away.

With Tomb Raider on the PS3, 360 and PC platforms being available for a tenner or less nowadays, I can now see why Square Enix are throwing such weight behind the upcoming PS4 and Xbox One versions and why they can’t really afford to charge any less than they are. Not that savvy shoppers can’t shop around to avoid the £50 RRP and pre-order it for about £38. Despite my earlier reservations, maybe some of these next-gen re-releases aren’t such as bad idea if they’re going to keep these companies going. Not that I’m ever going to pay £50 for one.

Are Game Development Costs Set to Spiral out of Control?

But what about brand new games or IPs that we hope to have dropping our jaws on the PS4 and Xbox one over the next few years? As the costs to make a game get closer to those of producing a film (GTA V reportedly cost at least £100 million), it’s going to get harder to turn them into profitable properties.

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Mark Cerny Talks 'The Road to PS4'

Author:
Brendan Griffiths
Category:
News
Tags:
Game development, Gamelab 2013, Mark Cerny, PS4

Mark Cerny Talks 'The Road to PS4'

Lead architect of the PS4, Mark Cerny, has given a presentation about events leading up to him helping to design Sony's new console. Cerny is a famous industry figure who has a long relationship with Sony and has worked on games including Crash Bandicoot, Ratchet & Clank, Spyro, Jak & Daxter, Resistance and Uncharted.

While designing the PS4 he's also found time to develop upcoming launch title, Knack. With such a platforming pedigree behind him, we wouldn't bet against Knack being something as bit special. Enjoy 'The Road to PS4' after the break.

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Dishonored Dev: PS4's Expanded 8GB Memory "A Joy"

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
News
Tags:
Arkane Studios, Dishonored, Game development, PS4, System memory
Discuss:
PlayStation 4

Dishonored Dev: PS4's Expanded 8GB Memory "A Joy"

Dishonored's lead level designer Christophe Carrier has labelled the PlayStation 4's impressive memory specs - 8GB of super speedyt GDDR5 RAM - "a joy".

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Capcom To Focus On Quick Turnaround & Smaller Teams

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
News
Tags:
Capcom, Financials, Game development

Capcom To Focus On Quick Turnaround & Smaller Teams

Capcom's annual financial report suggests that the publisher will be looking to turn out titles much quicker than before and rely on smaller focused development teams to get the job done.

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Take-Two "Skeptical" Over Wii U

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
News
Tags:
2K Games, 2K Sports, Development, E3 2012, Game development, New IP, Rockstar, Strauss Zelnick, Take-Two Interactive

Take-Two "Skeptical" Over Wii U

And Won't Be Annualising Non-Sports Titles Any Time Soon

Take-Two Interactive's CEO, Strauss Zelnick, has suggested that the company may be a little hesitant when it comes to the possibility of moving their stable of mature titles onto Nintendo's upcoming new home console.

"We haven't announced anything," said Zelnick regarding that matter. "I'm skeptical."

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Gearbox: 'People Thought We Were Crazy' Shaking Things Up With Borderlands

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
News
Tags:
Borderlands, Borderlands 2, Game development, Gearbox Software
Discuss:
Borderlands

Gearbox: 'People Thought We Were Crazy' Shaking Things Up With Borderlands

Gearbox concept designer Scott Kester has talked of the studio's apprehension when it came to redesigning certain things in Borderlands in order to make it a distinctive title, going to say that the focus of this sequel is to create 'something worthy of the original.'

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In Response To Hocking: 'Making An Issue Of Gender Is The Issue'

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
News
Tags:
Clint Hocking, Game development, Gender, LucasArts, Quinn Dunki

A couple of days ago, LucasArts' Clint Hocking wrote a piece in EDGE that lamented the 'Viking' culture Hocking felt prevailed in games development and made a big issue of the gender imbalance in studios, outlining a vision whereby women might feel more at home in the industry.

Today, however, in correspondence with GamesIndustry.biz female game developer Quinn Dunki has criticised Hocking's column, suggesting that such rallying rhetoric is 'an aspect of the problem' and that gaming should be a meritocracy with those at the top making particular effort to be critical of internal biases.

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Ubisoft: AI To Determine Strength Of Next-Gen Consoles, Not Graphics

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
News
Tags:
Game development, Next-gen, Ubisoft

Ubisoft have been rather consistent in their clamouring for the next generation of consoles, it was only in April that CEO Yves Guillemot re-iterated his view that the long console cycles were hurting rather than hindering creativity. It is a topic with which PC gamers will be long-familiar, and now Ubisoft Montreal's executive director of production services Yves Jacquier has called out the console manufacturers too.

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LucasArts' Hocking Slams Developmental 'Viking' Culture

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
News
Tags:
Beards, Clint Hocking, Game development, LucasArts, Vikings

Clint Hocking, creative director over at LucasArts, has railed against developmental working environments, likening the cultural conditions to those of the Vikings in his column over at EDGE.

Specifically, game development studios and their teams are largely staffed in the same way that Viking longships were crewed. Consequently, the culture is overflowing with beer and pent-up aggression, and a very significant portion of our overall cultural output is fart jokes. I think we can do better. - Clint Hocking

He also calls for an increase in the number of female developers, not to specifically target female gamers, but rather to 'ensure that the development culture in game studios becomes more reflective of our culture at large'.

Click here to see what else Hocking had to say..

Sony: "Sorcery Is Still In Development"

Author:
Brendan Griffiths
Category:
News
Tags:
Dealspwn Exclusive, Game development, Games news, Playstation Move, PS3 games, Sorcery
Discuss:
Playstation 3

Missing PlayStation Move title pulls re-appearing act

Good news everyone, the promising PlayStation Move title, Sorcery, is still in development despite disappearing from our radars for almost a year. Hugo Bustillos, Sony’s UK PR Executive today confirmed to us: “Yes, Sorcery is still in development.”

There are no details on a release date as of yet, we imagine there’s still some time to go. The last sign of life we had from the developer, The Workshop, was a job listing at Game Guzzler for a UI (User Interface) Artist, posted back in May this year.

Click here to read the story of Sorcery's development so far

Rushing To The Finish Line: An Industry Impatient?

Author:
Carl Phillips
Category:
Features
Tags:
Call Of Duty, Dragon Age II, Game development, Impatience, World of Warcraft

finish-line

If you’ve read any of my previous musings (and a virtual high-five to you if you have) you will know how I value computer gaming as an artform, specifically as a platform for interactive storytelling. Much like a fine wine these creative ideas require time to mature, to blossom into the experiences we revere so much. Of course, while most developers would love all the time in the world to finish a game (just ask 3D Realms) it is a reality that this is not possible as the ones who finance these projects are looking for a cash return, preferably a big one, and even more ideally they want that cashflow as soon as possible.

Yesterday’s reports of Dragon Age II’s rushed development have once again brought this issue to attention, and while the topic has been discussed many a time over the years, it did get me thinking; will the need to make money as quickly as possible eventually reduce franchises we love to uninspired yearly outings? Perhaps it is not the development time that is the issue, but the weight of expectation the media or we as consumers place upon a franchise that causes it to buckle? I decided to delve a little into the topic to see for myself.

dragon_age_2

Hawke wasn't happy with the talk about his game...

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