Matt Gardner (Dealspwn): I saw the first incarnation of this game back at E3 2011, what's changed for the team in that time. Obviously everything went rather quiet for a while, now it's back it's a third-person game rather than a first-person game, the name has changed. Can you tell us about the journey this game has taken up to this point?
Nico Bihary (Producer, 2K Games): Sure, so back in 2011 we gave this presentation for a game with a first-person perspective. But it's funny, we always talk about what's changed, but I'd like to start with what's remained constant: a focus on squad-based, tactical combat, which was evident even in 2011.
As you'd go around in this first-person perspective, which was to serve an exploration and research need, every time you ran into an enemy, or a combat situation, you'd pull back into a third-person perspective, and UI would pop-up that was kind of like a less elegant version of the Battle Focus wheel we have in place now. There were similar mechanics between the two versions. But as we evaluated that mechanics, and really started developing those battle encounters, it really started to emerge as the “bullseye” of the gaming experience. So we looked at it and said that if third-person allows for a greater tactical-perspective, if it augments and enhances Battle Focus and makes using it intuitive, then the first-person perspective really became unnecessary.
As you're in development, there are times when a game will speak to you, and it'll become clear and tell you what's good about and what's perhaps not. And that was one of those moments: we realised that the first-person perspective was almost completely superfluous, and we came away with a more refined game, and something really good because of it.Click here to read more...
Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons is due for release across digital marketplaces later this Spring and, following our hands-on with the game (read our Brothers preview here), we sat down with the Swedish film-maker and game director Josef Fares to talk about making the transition from films to games, why he co-op would ruin his game, how publishers are holding the industry back, and why he's not a fan of the Ouya.
Josef Fares: I like your hair, man.
Matt Gardner (Dealspwn): Thanks very much. I liked your presentation.
Josef Fares: (Laughs) Thank you.
Dealspwn: You've had no small amount of success as a movie director, especially in Sweden. Why make the transition to games now?
Josef Fares: Because I have a strong passion for games. This is a dream come true for me. I try to play every game out there, I own every console; I'm a hardcore gamer. I really wanted to make a game some day, so this really is a dream come true for me – an opportunity I couldn't say no to. I'll make less money from doing this, but I don't care. This isn't about money, it's about following your passion.
And you know, I think I have something to contribute to gaming, if I get the chance to make further games, I mean.Click here to read more...
To say that we here are Dealspwn have been keeping an eye on the development of Carbine Studio’s upcoming MMORPG WildStar would be something of an understatement – after all, I boldly made it my most anticipated game for 2013 during our 2012 Awards season. This is because to really set yourself apart from the rest of the MMO genre takes some doing, but from what we’ve seen so far from Carbine everything seems to be on track to make the online sci-fi-western experience a special one.
Up until recently we’ve only known about the Exile faction, but that changed with the unveiling of the Dominion – the other side that players will be able to choose from when the game (hopefully) goes live this year. We’ve already been given a taste of what sort of folk make up the Dominion in the personality video and the in-character interviews that were released (the third of which you'll be able to see this afternoon) but to get to know them a little better I decided to go straight to the source – lead narrative designer Chad Moore. A man who has over 18 years of industry experience under his belt, including work on classic RPGs Fallout 2 and Arcanum, he has been responsible with the conception and development of the story, the factions, the races, and the creatures that will inhabit the world of Nexus.
That’s a lot of information to keep under lock and key, but Carbine have slowly but surely giving the community meaty servings of information to digest, the Dominion reveal possibly being the largest yet. To that end, I asked Chad how he felt to finally be able to talk openly about dastardly yet rather stylish faction. “I couldn’t be happier,” he said, “I mean obviously we love the Exiles and we’ve talked a lot about them over the past year, but the Dominion is a really awesome and unique faction. We’ve got tons of lore about them, and obviously from their video they seem to have they own super unique personalities, and so it’s been liberating to say the least to actually be able to sit and talk about these guys and let the fans out there know “hey, there’s a whole other faction, and you’re going to love them for different reasons.”Click here to read more...
"Good things come to those who wait" - it's an old saying that proves quite relevant to the topic at hand. After all, it's been 7 years since the second instalment in The Longest Journey saga, and during that time series creator Ragnar Tørnquist has asked the fans of the series to deploy a bit of patience in regards to returning to the twin worlds of Stark and Arcadia. So, you can expect that fans of the adventure game genre were rather excited when it was officially announced that his new studio, Red Thread Games, was to Kickstart a sequel in Dreamfall Chapters: The Longest Journey. Many of the team responsible for bringing the series to life in the first place have returned, but one fresh face was revealed among them - Martin Bruusgaard. Having previously worked at Funcom on its two recent MMO releases, Tørnquist brought him on-board to act as lead designer for the return of Zoë Castillo.
Taking time out of his busy schedule, I spoke to the beanie-wearing developer about The Longest Journey series, the Kickstarter, and the current development of the game. You can actually hear the interview in its entirety during this week's edition of the PWNCAST (found at around the 25 minute mark) but if you fancy reading instead of listening, this article is just for you.
The Kickstarter craze has seen successful campaigns since its rise to mainstream prominence, but not many have had the surge of initial support that Dreamfall Chapters saw, hitting its intended target of $850,000 within 10 days. Although it was an incredibly welcome and “absolutely mind-blowing” turn of events for Martin and the rest of Red Thread Games, there were still some nerves amongst the team in the run up to the Kickstarter launch to ensure that they could achieve their goal of making the best game they could.
“We’ve been working with this Kickstarter campaign for a while” said Martin, “and a couple of weeks ago, right before we wanted to press the big green button we were so unsure, discussing back and forth what the right target is, what sort of pledge goals we should have, and we didn’t have any sort of insurance whatsoever. So it might be easy to say now that “oh well, of course, they would mean to do well” but we had no idea, and we were really nervous! But once we hit that button and we saw that the money had started rolling in, we were tremendously happy. We’ve just been blown away by all the support and the kind words from everybody. It’s just been absolutely amazing.”
Click here to read more...
NB. In case you haven't guessed, the content below addresses some rather adult themes that may well prove NSFW.
No Reply Games caused a bit of a stir last September when they entered their erotic title Seduce Me into Greenlight's pool of games for consideration, polarising option on Valve's community-driven game approval service. Or at least it might have done had Valve themselves not stepped in and essentially said, "No sex please, we're Steam!"
Sex and games have always been uneasy bedfellows, perhaps unsurprising considering the mainstream perception of this interactive entertainment medium as something childish, and predominantly for kids and adolescents. The (entirely wrong) picture of gamers as hormonally-challenged, masturbating basement dwellers has created something of a black hole for any 'serious' erotic game here in the West, with explicit material generally reserved for giggling pubescent boys having stolen their parents' credit cards, or sexual deviants who keep things very hush-hush.
You'd never admit to playing an erotic game, would you? Who are you, some kind of pervert?! Well, no.
Times are changing. Japan has long had dedicated relatively-mainstream stores for this sort of thing. The erotic genre as an umbrella is so large on the other side of the world that there are sub-genres to be found. Here in the West, the best thing you can hope for are poorly animated Flash adventure games on Newgrounds that typically see you button mashing to fill a bar so you can change camera angle for the money shot involving a cartoon character from that kids TV show you saw once.
No Reply are hoping to change that, although it might have been easier had Valve not rained on their parade. "It has had a profound effect on our view of the industry," No Reply's co-founder, Miriam Bellard, tells me. "We didn’t expect such a fuss. We didn’t realise it was such a big deal! A game for adults by adults - why should anyone care?" Seduce Me proved one of the most hotly debated topics on Greenlight, with plenty of champions debating the freedom of expression with the game's detractors.Click here to read more...
In the lull created by Bioshock Infinite's absence from every expo and event this year thus far, another game has stepped into the spotlight to take the position of what is possibly our most anticipated game of the next year: SimCity. Every time we see it at a show, it hurts a little bit more to leave it behind, given as we have been, only the briefest amount of hands-on time with the game. GlassBox has impressed us with the ease with which feedback on one's city might be assimilated. A click of a button here, a glance at the shifting data layers, and the screenshot tells you more in one second than ten graphs could.
Our demonstrator at a recent event showcased a town called Roadvania: a city designed to reveal just how easy it is to create complex transport systems, tunnels, bridges, spiralling corkscrews of motorway, interspersed with train tracks, tram lines, waterways, and more. We'd never been quite so excited about roads before. And then our demostrator clicked on a single Sim and, from our position as an ethereal architect we suddenly zoomed down from the macro to the micro, and followed this Sim on his way into work.
We followed him throughout the week, noting how he changed his working practices to take the far more convenient bus once a route or two had been set up, and watched as pollution to reflect the fewer cars on the road. At the weekend he skipped town to visit the neighbouring Monte Vegas - a gambling haven - and we watched as the demo's overlord tracked individual tourists, noted the increased happiness in the city, and chuckled as swarming Sims sporting bandit icons were doggedly chased down by police cars coming from an HQ in our Sim's home city.Click here for our interview with producer Jason Haber >>>
Playing through the latest short demo of Army of Two: The Devil's Cartel, there's an extremely strong sense of ambivalence. On the one hand, I'm in Mexico, in the present day, smack bang in the middle of one of the worst humanitarian crises of our time. I know this because Visceral and EA have told me as much. It's also really brown, sandy, and dusty. On the other hand, the co-operative shooting has been tightened up immensely by new developers, Visceral Games. One side of my brain is quietly muttering, "This is wrong". The other half doesn't give a flying proverbial because it's quite a lot of fun.
At least those shades of brown look lovely. Frostbite 2 is once again the star of the show. Sandbags splutter and burst, pillars flake and crumble, and the dynamic lighting effects once inside are glorious to behold. It just seems a little bit of a shame that, given the TWO in Army of Two stands for Trans-World Ops, the developers settled here rather than, I don't know, anywhere else.
But I made these points in my post-Gamescom preview.
Getting hands-on with the game again, it's clear that Visceral have put in something of a shift. It's still really solid, and feels tighter than either of the previous games. The cover system is a simple, but crucially important feature, that feels snappy yet never sticky. The gunfire feedback, both aural and visual, is exceptional, and aiming mechanics and weapon handling feel responsive and yet also weighty and impactful, without being sluggish; Overkill yields its own reward.
After spending an inordinate amount of time blowing chunks out of pillars, I sat down with lead designer, Julien Lamoureaux for a swift chat.Click here to read more...
At a recent press event, we sat down with Insomniac's Ted Price to chat about the company's first multiplatform title - Fuse. He reveals why the game got rebranded from Overstrike, talks about some of the weapons featured in the game, and discusses some of the core gameplay features at work.
Matt Gardner (Dealspwn): You probably been asked this question a fair bit today, but it's one to which a number of our writers and readers will be eager to hear the answer: why the change from Overstrike?
Ted Price: Well, there are a number of reasons. First of all, when we developing Overstrike, we reached a point where it became really apparent that the gameplay and the story were two completely separate entities, and we didn't want that. We believed it was important, and we still believe, that the two be meshed seamlessly so that players have a more meaningful experience. So we were trying to figure out what to do; how to create a stronger identity for the game. The story really did fit with what you were doing doing in the game, so we seized upon this alien substance, which originally something of a MacGuffin, and realise that we'd had something that could start driving a lot off the gameplay: Fuse. And that's when we started calling the game Fuse. We used it to power the weapons, to form the core of the progression system, and used it as a feature to weave directly into gameplay, and everything started falling into place.
At the same time, we were dissatisfied with our weapons. Overstrike had been this rather cartoony, campy game for a while, and we were struggling with giving the weapons impact. We demonstrated one of them in our trailer back in 2011, which was more of a promise piece than anything reflective of gameplay. Izzy's glue-gun, for example, looked really cool, like something straight out of The Incredibles. It all seemed really neat and interesting, but in reality playing it wasn't that much fun. So we've had people say, “What? You could totally make that awesome!” and the fact is, we've tried! But we've been making weapons, innovative weapons in games, for a long time, and you get to a point in the creative process sometimes where you realise that a certain approach just isn't going to work, and we felt that way about almost all of the original weapons. And it was that sense of the visceral: the over-the-top satisfaction that you get from using Resistance weapons against the Chimera. So making that choice, making turning Overstrike into Fuse and making it a more grounded, mature, and visceral experience, that actually really freed us up to do some badass stuff with the weapons.Click here to read more...
Criterion are back, baby, but the playing field has changed somewhat since their last outing. As Playground Games and Turn 10 prepare to drop the impressive Forza Horizon, we caught up with Need For Speed: Most Wanted's executive producer - Matt Webster - last week to chat about why Burnout with real cars is awesome, why Facebook games give social gaming a bad name, and why Most Wanted is set to be one of the most connected, competitive, and compelling games of this year.
Matt Gardner (Dealspwn): With Criterion perhaps being most closely associated with the Burnout franchise, how would you respond to consumers and critics looking at Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit and suggesting it's simply Burnout Paradise, but with real cars in a new city?
Matt Webster: What's wrong with that?! (Laughs.) That would be the flippant response. To me it's an easy comparison to make because it's an open world game, in a car. Clearly, we've made an open world game in a car before. I think that the differences are night and day, but without making Burnout Paradise and Need For Speed Hot Pursuit, we never would have been able to make this game. You're always going to be influenced by what you've done in the past, as much as what you play. So people will see where we've been influenced by Burnout Paradise and Hot Pursuit, but they'll also hopefully see where we've been influences by other things.
Every game that we make is a reflection of who we are, and where we are as a studio at any given time. But it's a natural progression: to look at Most Wanted and say at first glance “that looks like Burnout”, well they're right, because we made both games.
But that brings us back to the flippant side of things, the genuine response is “What's wrong with that?”
Dealspwn: Well to be fair, we absolutely loved Burnout Paradise...
Matt Webster: Yeah, Burnout Paradise was a fucking great game! We're still so incredibly proud of that game, and frankly Paradise with real cars sounds really cool! Of course, it's not quite as simple as that, but you can see where people are coming from and how they reach that initial response.Click here to read more...
Having played a large chunk of Far Cry 3 at a preview event recently, we sat down to talk to lead designer Jamie Keen about the game, and chatted about the difficulties that come with making such an ambitious open world game, the insane bunch of characters that inhabit Rook Island, and the dangers that face a wide-eyed twentysomething on holiday in the Tropics.
Matt Gardner (Dealspwn): First of all, why is Rook Island stuffed with insane people?
Jamie Keen: (Laughs) We wanted to create an experience on the edge of humanity. So we've got this island on the edge of the world, channelling the spirit of a lawless frontier where there aren't any rules. So we began to look into that, and what that would mean in terms of a setting and a story, and so we started thinking about the characters that might inhabit a place like that. We realised that the sort of people who'd do well, who'd get ahead in that kind of society, they're the sociopaths, the psychopaths, free to do what they want without anyone holding them back.
So we started thinking about that from a writing perspective and then looking into the performances of the actors, and letting them explore, look into the script and then interpret that. There's so much that you can do with a line: the way it's delivered, the way it's spoken, inflections, emphases, the way that the body language during recording helps.
The character of Vaas grew out of those recording sessions. So it got to the end of the day and everyone's tired and our realisation directors are saying “It's not quite right, let's go again” and everyone's getting a bit fraught, tired, hungry, and pissed off. And Michael Mando got tired, hungry, and pissed off, and then went back and did another take and they were like “That's it! That's exactly what we're after!”. So then you build upon that and develop it for there, and it forms the basis for a lot of the way that the character comes across.Click here to read more...
The Creative Assembly's Total War: Rome remains to this day one of the finest strategy games of all time. Now, nearly a decade after the original graced our PCs, we ask some questions of lead designer James Russell on why CA are returning to the Ancient World, how they're looking to expand and improve on their critically acclaimed formula, and what they're doing to appeal to a wider audience. Oh, and modding!
Matt Gardner (Dealspwn): You mentioned wanting to present “the human face of Total War” with this game when we spoke at EGX. Could you elaborate on that a little?
James Russell: On the battlefield, it’s all about making each of the thousands of men fighting for you feel more convincingly human. We want the officers barking orders and men reacting to what’s going on around them.
We want the combat to look and sound more brutal, more visceral – with a real sense of weight & impact. Combine that with new soldier-level camera options and I think you can see it’s about showing a darker, close-up vision of war.
Dealspwn: Why return to Rome? What makes that period in history so alluring for the developers of grand strategy?
James Russell: Well it’s been nearly a decade since the original, and doing Rome II has been the number 1 request we get from out player base for quite some time – it’s definitely the game they want us to make!Click here to read more...
Painkiller is one of those games. People Can Fly's intense shooter gets name-dropped every time someone suggests that games are becoming too involved with exposition and QTEs, acting as a bastion of big guns, ridiculous action and a blatant disregard for realism in the name of pure entertainment. With Hell & Damnation, Nordic Games and The Farm 51 plan on bringing that outrageous gameplay-driven fun back with retooled visuals, redesigned content and a powerful new weapon.
Keen to learn more, I sat down with producer Reinhard Pollice in the crypt beneath St. Andrew's Church to discover what the project will bring to newcomers and fans alike.
Jonathan Lester (Dealspwn): Thanks for talking to us, Reinhard. First things first, could you introduce yourself to our readership?
Reinhard Pollice: I'm the producer of the game at Nordic Games - so I go to The Farm and make sure that everything is in place and good quality. I put together the scope and content - what new models, what new guns, etc.
Dealspwn: We love Painkiller. It's a game that's attracted a vocal fanbase and is continually cited as an example of ridiculous action gaming done right. So... why now? Why re-release it now?
Reinhard Pollice: I think the market has changed. There hasn't been a game like this out since a year. The last one was Serious Sam 3 - it wasn't the best, but it was cool...
Dealspwn: We liked it.
Reinhard Pollice: Oh, cool. But we feel that it was time for a new Painkiller. In all other shooters, they try to follow the path of Call Of Duty. Call Of Duty made this path for one specific reason: for a wargame, you expect it to be realistic. We didn't have the burden of realism, we don't need to have loads of talking and all that bullshit involved.Click here to read more...
Having gone hands-on with XCOM: Enemy Unknown beforehand, we sat down with Garth DeAngelis a few weeks back to talk about the upcoming turn-based strategy title from Firaxis, and chatted about how you combine reimagining a hardcore PC classic into a modern-day titles suitable for all-comers.
Matt Gardner (Dealspwn): What did it mean to Firaxis to take on a series with such a rich heritage?
Garth DeAngelis (Lead Producer, XCOM: Enemy Unknown): I's almost like an aligning of the stars. It really made a lot of sense for this company, with such a deep history in terms of turn-based strategy gaming, to help usher this series into the modern day. I know the company is very excited.
Matt Gardner: Of course, much of the core game has been retained, but there are some elements that have been discarded. How have you gone about deciding which bits should stay, and which should go?
Garth DeAngelis: We have a dartboard in the office, and we put all of the mechanics on there and just threw... [Laughs] I wish I could say that it was a science, but it wasn't really. There were certain gameplay pillars that our design team wanted right from the beginning, they took that original game apart and said “Ok, this is what made UFO Defense so special”. Things like having a high level strategy with research and engineering; we have to have a turn-based combat model with destructible environments, fog of war, permanent death; we need the classic aliens. There was a laundry list of those classic features we had to have. But as we moved through the development process and began prototyping, we began to realise that we wanted to reimagine it rather than remake it, and some of the mechanics lying underneath each of those things have changed.
So game design, game narrative, these are things that have evolved over time, and we felt it was important to incorporate some features that have been pushed to the forefront over the last few years, and perhaps do things that might not have been possible all of those years ago. You can still buy the original game, so making a carbon copy would have been pointless, and why not use the collective knowledge and experience gained in that time to really push for something special?Click here to read more...
Garth DeAngelis, the lead producer on XCOM: Enemy Unknown, has suggested that accessibility doesn't need to be "a bad word", suggesting that looking to widen the audience for your game and designing a hardcore experience are not two mutually exclusive goals.Click here to read more...
My first impression upon meeting Warren Spector for the first time is that he'd make a fantastic uncle: the sort of uncle who'd make you presents rather than buy them, and they'd always be thrilling and unique and fun. When we sit down in the cramped confines of a Gamescom business centre booth late on the Friday afternoon of the show there are no signs of the back-to-back interviews he's been doing for the last two and a half days. He's jovial, animated, and keen to discuss Epic Mickey 2.
"You have to remember that Disney approached me to do this game, and they pitched an idea with three killer pillars that still form the core of Epic Mickey today, one of which was Oswald the Lucky Rabbit comes back," he explains. "And I just thought 'Holy cow!', I mean think about this as a foundation for a story, whatever your medium, whether you're making a movie or writing an opera or a novel or making a video game: Older brother, rejected by his father in favour of the younger brother who steals the life that should have been his. Can you say Biblical? Can you say The Human Story? What better basis for a story can you get?!"
His eyes light up as he says, clearly still excited about the prospect for seeing how players deal with the underlying themes and moral quandaries of his game because, as he puts it himself, it's really all about the gamers themselves.
"Estranged brothers, separated at birth, have to reunite and form a family again. If I were making a movie, I would say 'Here's how I forge a family, what do you think?'. In a game, what I say is 'How important are friends and family to you?'. Every choice, every decision you make is going to help you answer that question for yourself. Take what you learn back into the real world, my friend! That's what I kind of like about games. The new game is about the possibility of redemption, but it's not 'Everyone is redeemable, don't you agree?', it's 'Do you think everybody is redeemable, or is there evil so profound that it's beyond redemption?'. Is the Mad Doctor legit? Is he really a hero? You have to figure that out, go. You can wrench emotions out of that, and by forcing the player to make those decisions, you can wrench emotions out of them too. No other medium can do that."Click here to read more...
Assassin's Creed III is shaping up rather nicely from what we've seen thus far over the past few months. At Gamescom 2012 we caught up with lead game designer Steve Masters to get some perspective on how AC3 came into being, and what will differentiate the adventures of Connor Kenway from those of Altair and Ezio before him.
Matt Gardner: Ezio Auditore da Firenze was a much loved character. How do you go about replacing such a charismatic central protagonist?
Steve Masters: We didn't want to create the same character again. We wanted someone with a different personality, a different sort of style. Honestly, it was a huge amount of effort between a number of guys – so we had the lead creative director and the story guys injecting personality into the role, and then the concept artists as well developing his look. We've got a Mohawk consultant on board to ensure that the cultural representations in the game are authentic and that we don't do something incorrect in any way. So it's been a collaboration between a number of people, but it's spearheaded by our creative director, Alex Hutchinson, who's basically been responsible for ensuring that Connor has his own personality and his own character.
Matt Gardner: So who is Connor? What is it that differentiates this character from his predecessors, and how (if at all) does that feed into the gameplay?
Steve Masters: He's not as outgoing or flamboyant as Ezio maybe was; he's a little more reserved, he's quite taciturn, and a little bit more unrefined. He's not the product of high society, he's a half Mohawk-half British assassin. So he's an outsider – he's always been on the periphery of the cultures and societies he's been exposed to, so that's reflected in a different personality. But we wanted to take that sense of character and bring it to bear in gameplay terms as well, so he's a little bit rougher, a bit more brutal, and we've redesigned a number of the classic Assassin's Creed core moves and styles in order to reflect that and move the series forwards. Seeing his takedowns for the first time might provoke something of an 'Oh!' moment he can dual-wield now, and killon the move without breaking his flow.
Matt Gardner: Casting our minds back, before the game was officially unveiled, there was a great hubbub of wild theorising over the potential setting for this game. From the Far East to Victorian London to the slave trading in the Caribbean to the Terror of Revolutionary France. Why this setting? Why did you choose the American War of Independence?
Steve Masters: Well the American Revolution for us was a significant moment in time that brought great change to a vast society very quickly. We like to go to those pivotal moments in human history, we're all about times of great change, and the Revolution it starts a series of events that leads to an incredibly dramatic change in the relationship between citizens and their government. So as well as being one of those pivotal moments, we thought that it would be quite relevant to what is going on in the world today, and we thought we could expand the reach of the series with it.
There were some interesting gameplay possibilities too, like bringing in muskets. I mean, they're very basic guns, but their incorporation now allows us to do interesting things with pistols. We had the hidden gun before, but the introduction of flintlocks and some of the crazy weaponry that comes out of this era gave us a rich playground to work in.
There were so many events in this period there were absolutely iconic and full of dramatic potential. So we saw the time period as advantageous in both narrative and gameplay terms, as you can see from the stuff we've been showing.Click here to read more...
"Make sure you've got one killer question," my Namco Bandai contact intoned ominously as I waited for my appointment with Katsuhiro Harada, producer of the Tekken series. As an incredibly passionate and knowledgeable master of all things fighting game, Harada is famed for his sensationally detailed interview answers, and since he spoke through an interpreter, ten minutes would go by in the blink of an eye. Lo and behold: they most certainly did.
So, here goes... plenty of exciting Tekken Tag Tournament 2 info from one of the most important figures in the series' development, explaining how the latest spin-off will be the "ultimate Tekken of all time" and cater for fans both new and old with the Fight Labs mode. But not just that! Read on.
Click here to read more...
Having enjoyed some contact time with Quantum Conundrum, the first person puzzler from Airtight games, I yearned to know about the dimension-defying (and adorable) experience. Who better to elaborate on the history and future of this exciting project than Kim Swift: the co-creator of Portal who's masterminded Quantum Conundrum from inception to its launch on Steam next week. Sitting down for an interview behind the closed doors of Square Enix's E3 paddock, I proceeded to quiz her about inspiration, innovation, her decision to leave Valve for pastures new and her desire to fight back against the slew of ultra-violent games that crowd the marketplace these days.
Jonathan Lester (Dealspwn): I'd usually start by asking you to introduce yourself, but in this case, it's unecessary. Your fame precedes you, thanks to, you know, that game you designed. So why leave Valve, and what inspired you to make Quantum Conundrum?
Kim Swift (Airtight Games): I left Valve initially to see what else was out there, I mean, I worked there for five years and the games industry is a big place! I wanted to see what else was out there, how working in a different company was, and as far as the idea for Quantum Conundrum goes, I really enjoyed working on the original Portal. It was a really fun atmosphere to work in, and I really wanted to get back into that feeling of 'small team working on something interesting.' The idea of being able to switch dimensions on the fly and using different tools to solve puzzles came to me one day - there was nothing that inspired me, I was just like, "oh hey, that would be cool!"
Dealspwn: So was there a 'Eureka! moment' where everything just clicked?
Kim Swift: Yeah, I was just walking down the street to go get some breakfast and it just occurred to me, and I kinda came to an idea in my head: "so what if I had this game and you could switch dimensions on the fly." The first dimension I came up with was actually the Fluffy dimension.
Dealspwn: It's our favourite dimension. It's so... snuggly.
Kim Swift: Yeah, so that's what inspired me to actually make the game, thinking about the Fluffy Dimension. This needs to happen!Click here to read more...
Crystal Dynamics are hard at work creating a very different kind of Tomb Raider: one that attempts to humanise the implacable Lara Croft and ground her as a vulnerable, relateable person in an impossible situation. To discover more about rebooting an icon after enjoying a Tomb Raider developer walkthrough, I sat down with Senior Art Director Brian Horton behind the closed doors of the Square Enix E3 paddock.
Jonathan Lester (Dealspwn): Thanks for talking to us, Brian. First things first: rebooting a classic gaming icon like Lara Croft couldn't have been easy. How do you feel about it?
Brian Horton (Crystal Dynamics): I'm honoured! I've been a Tomb Raider fan since [the first] one, right, it was the beginning of what 3D gaming was to me: that Mario. So to have the opportunity to bring her forward into a new age has been a rewarding experience.
Dealspwn: Any pressure there?
Brian Horton: Of course! A lot of it is self-imposed. The team is very hard on themselves. We always strive for perfection, and when we put it out there for the first time, we weren't sure how people were going to react. So far it's been very positive.
Dealspwn: For sure. It seems to me that Lara's vulnerability and humanity is a real focus in the new Tomb Raider. How did you set about making Lara a real, relateable person?
Brian Horton: We did a lot of steps. The first thing was to make sure it felt like Lara Croft, but at the same time younger, more realistic in terms of proportion and clothes. We put a lot of time and attention on to her face, her eyes, we want to feel empathy when we look at her. In fact, in our concept art pieces, people were spending... we have a technology that can track eye movement, and they were focused on the face and they were more invested in the face than ever before. That was a big win for us.Click here to read more...
At EA's recent April Showcase, we caught up with DICE's Niklas Fegraeus, lead designer on Battlefield 3: Close Quarters, to talk about the upcoming expansion to the popular FPS, reflect on BF3's successes, and discuss the state of the genre in general.
Matt Gardner (Dealspwn): Battlefield 3 has long been a series synonymous with vast maps, vehicular combat, and the open-warfare captured in its brand title. Why take that action inside into a cramped environment, and why now?
Niklas Fegraeus (DICE): I think the strength of Battlefield, as a game, is that it is this big sandbox where you can have all of these different experiences. I think it's probably the greatest strength of the game - that one second you can be this, you know, squad soldier with his friends running around, covering an area, protecting zones and flags - and then the next second you can jump into a jet and just soar through the air and start blowing up tanks or whatever.
I think what we as a studio wanted to do was emphasise and capitalise on those experiences. So when we thought about how to do this, we began breaking the game down into those core experiences, and that what you see now. So with Close Quarters, our second expansion pack [after Back To Karkand], you can really focus in on that infantry combat; and then in the fall we have Armored Kill, which focuses on perhaps our more traditional epic-scale, vehicular warfare stuff.
When I play Battlefield I play all of those thing. Sometimes I jump into a tank, because that's what I want to do at that moment, and then the next moment I might run around on foot because I want to have that experience. With these expansions, I can now have focused content dedicated to those experiences, and giving the player those options has always been a big part of the plan for Battlefield 3.Click here to read more...