Robert Boyd (Cthulhu Saves The World, Penny Arcade Adventures Episode 3 & 4) and Nathan Fouts (Explosionade, Serious Sam: Double D) have spoken out about the Xbox One's potential for self-publishing, having been heavily involved with Xbox Live Indie Games over the past few years.
The gist? Great idea, but go big or don't bother showing up to Gamescom.Click here to read more...
Developer: A Jolly Corpse
I had a thousand and one things to do this week. Our senior editor is on holiday, my news desk runneth over and numerous preview events demand that I brave the ferocious oven-like temperatures of Central London. Much to my continual annoyance, my frail and paunchy human body also refuses to function without the occasional bit of sleep.
So the last thing I needed was a brilliant game like Wyv and Keep to come out of left field and ruthlessly hoover up what little free time I had left.
Our titular treasure hunters, the glamourous Keep and egotistical Wyv, are on a quest to amass as much loot as possible in a dangerous Amazonian temple. Though it may resemble Spelunky in terms of gorgeous retro presentation and basic premise, Wyv and Keep shakes things up by presenting an enormous wealth of platforming puzzles based around using both characters in unexpected ways. If you're a fan of local cooperative action and brain-wracking puzzlers, this unassuming indie gem could well make your summer.Click here to read more...
More mixed messages from Microsoft.
Despite stating that the Xbox One's approach to XBLA will match that of its predecessor -- which is to say, developers will not be able to self-publish -- Microsoft have hinted at a future for Xbox LIVE Indie Games, and said that indie development is "very, very important" to the company.
It could all be corporate doublespeak, but given how much attention and freedom Sony and Nintendo appear to be affording indie devs, can Microsoft really ignore this sector as they have on the Xbox 360?Click here to read more...
Remember the dream of a more open system? Well that won't be happening on the Xbox One. Microsoft have revealed that they'll be sticking to their guns when it comes to Xbox LIVE Arcade and operating as they did this generation.Click here to read more...
Another week, another former Microsoft employee prophesying doom for the Xbox owners. This time, though, it's one of the founders from the original Xbox project.
Nat Brown, who was recruited to join the Xbox project back in April 1999, and reportedly gave the console its name, has slammed Microsoft's practices over the past five years, saying that they've "been simply painful to watch", stating that the company have been "coasting on past momentum", and lamenting "a complete lack of tactical versus strategic understanding of the long game of the living room" in an article simply titled "Stupid, Stupid Xbox".Click here to read more...
Microsoft has confirmed that they don't plan to support the XNA Game Studio, the development suite designed to let indie developers create Xbox 360 and Windows Phone-compatible titles, with any new versions going forward. Could this be the death knell for the Xbox Live Indie Games scene, or perhaps the precursor to a new Windows 8-focused development environment?Click here to read more...
Silver Dollar Games have made some fairly awful XBLIG titles if we're being honest, and even they'd be the first to admit that it's a policy of quantity over quality that has paid off for them, with deeply cynical games such as Who's The Daddy? and Who Did I Date Last Night? just serving as a couple of examples. But One Finger Death Punch, their flagship entry into this year's Dream Build Play competition looks very different.
In fact, it looks downright FUN!Check out the trailer after the jump...
Starting from tomorrow, Microsoft will be changing how frequently indie developers can alter the prices of their games on the Xbox LIVE Indie Games service.
Previously, developers had only been able to change their pricing once every 90 days. Now, however, developers will be able to shake things up once a week should they wish.Click here to read more...
To celebrate the second anniversary of their first release, Radiangames have knocked the prices down on everything in their back catalogue, across iOS, PC, and Xbox LIVE.
Ballistic SE and Fireball SE are normally £1.49 each, Super Crossfire HD is normally £1.99, and Super Crossfire is normally 69p. But now, all of these titles will cost 69p, with the exception of Super Crossfire (Standard), which is FREE!!
The criticisms of the Metro dashboard update that went live across Xbox LIVE at the end of last year have been well documented. Indie developers in particular decried the "burying" of the XBLIG service behind a swathe of navigation options. However, an Xbox 360 dashboard update went live over the weekend that looked to increase the visibility of Xbox LIVE Indie Games, amongst other things.Click here to read more...
Fun Infused Games' Kris Steele, the man behind the acclaimed Hypership Out Of Control, has slammed Microsoft's recent Metro dashboard update, criticising the difficulty in even finding the Xbox LIVE Indie Games tab and suggesting that the update is responsible for leading to a perceived stagnancy in XBLIG market growth.Click here to read more...
Microsoft have announced that, as part of their New Year plan, XBLIG devs will now be able to submit games through the App Hub up to sizes of 500MB. Previously, CCGAME bundles submitted for XBLIG consideration had to adhere to a maximum file size of 150MB...but no longer!Check out the changes to XBLIG after the jump...
Time for more robot parkour! Indie Summer Uprising finalist T.E.C. 3001, a game that we described several months back as having "eyecatching art direction that challenges the best games on the [XBLIG] service for supremacy" and "hypnotically beautiful to behold" is getting itself an enormous update.
A recent press release from developers Phoenix Game Studio delivered the following list of improvements and additions, a list which includes 12 bonus levels and 2 new soundtrack items.Hit the jump for the full list of updates and a gameplay trailer...
We're big fans of XBLIG and reckon that the vast majority can agree that it's A Good Thing...well, apart from Microsoft, it seems, who've gone and buried the Indie Games section in the new Dashboard update, something that several indie developers are a rather less than pleased about.Click here to read more...
A few sites, including our own, received an interesting list of points suggesting that budding developers should seriously consider Xbox LIVE Indie Games as a good point of entry, and that the indie platform has far more to offer than it would seem. It was a list that came from a studio who've worked with XBLIG and XNA for some time. A studio that has built its name on pictures of hot girls and trying to prevent flatulence.
The prolific Silver Dollar Games have rattled off a number of XBLIG titles (some better than others), but have found themselves a couple of times in our weekly XBLIG recommendation roundups and they've been one of a few studios to ride indie success to a slot on the XBLA Marketplace itself with Blazing Birds (under the name Vector2Games). We've featured a fair amount of coverage on industry opinion surrounding XBLIG and Microsoft's commitment, or lack thereof, to indie developers. Earlier this year MStar's Dr. Mistry and Microsoft MVP George Clingerman put forward their rather contrasting, controversial perspectives, which made for excellent reading.
Now, though, we welcome Silver Dollar co-founder Jonathan Flook to the soapbox, giving a rather more uplifting, optimistic appraisal of the scene and challenging would-be developers to simply go for it...Click here to read more...
It's no secret that we're huge fans of Jay 'Murudai' Watts' Solar 2 here at Dealspwn, so we thought we'd have a chat with the man himself on the state of indie gaming, his experience developing for Microsoft's Xbox Live service, and of course his seminal sandbox series itself.Click to hear Murudai's thoughts on the Indie scene...
Oh look. Another twinstick shooter. God knows that we have plenty of those on Xbox Live already... but every so often, one comes along that makes us sit up and take notice. Alpha Squad is one such game, delivering a level of professional polish that you seldom see on the service. As one of four members of the titular team of operatives, you'll explore a number of different environments, see the world and shoot stuff using both thumbsticks.
Crisp visuals, sprites and effects make Alpha Squad a real looker, and hilarious banter between the team members will inspire you to keep playing as much as the solid gunplay itself. Since the four mercenaries are driven by money and profit, collecting loot allows players to purchase temporary weapons and healing items; inspiring massive rivalry in multiplayer. Both splitscreen and online co-op is available, though it's worth noting that there's a nasty caveat.Read on to find out what it is!
The Indie Winter Uprising promised to deliver us from mediocrity and cynicism... and there's no doubt that it has already delivered. What a week it's been. And what horrible irony that I wasn't around for the first few days.
Without further ado, it's time to start our epic roundup of the season so far. Be sure to check out our last Indie Game of the Week review for Epic Dungeon- as well as the official Winter Uprising site for the latest intel!
It looks like those dastardly Pylesians are up to their old tricks again. After conquering most of the galaxy, the deadly empire has to keep its feuding fiefdoms in order with an adrenaline fueled spectator sport. Piloting the blistering Break Ship, players will need to blast their way through twisting arenas filled with collectibles, enemies and obstacles to collect points and all-important velocity. Upon collecting enough blue orbs, the titular Break Limit kicks in and all hell breaks loose! It may be a tried-and-tested formula, but the action is frantic, fluid and extremely addictive. If a little on the short side.
The visuals are both attractive and functional, evoking plenty of nostalgia without sacrificing the ability to see incoming targets/hazards. It's also worth noting that Break Limit boasts an absolutely stellar soundtrack that complements the action nicely.
Like the best arcade shooters, Break Limit is short, sweet and absolutely ferocious. Future updates promise to add yet more content and tweaks... but let me assure you, it's already worthy of your meagre eighty points. You'll break the limit. You'll break the sound barrier. But you won't break the bank.
Read on for Ubergridder... and why Asteroids concern me!
Back in 2008, the New Xbox Experience delivered arguably the most important advance in console gaming since the advent of Xbox Live and PSN. The Community Games channel, now reclassified as Xbox Live Indie Games, allows literally anyone to develop for the Xbox 360 and publish games without any moderation from Microsoft itself. A huge number of budget masterpieces now inhabit the channel, many equal or infinitely superior to what XBLA has to offer. In an era when Microsoft needs an edge, when their first party developers are at a significant ebb and every console has adopted motion control, this stable of willing developers represent nothing less than the Xbox 360's unique selling point.
Any pundit worth their salt would expect Microsoft to nurture the Indie scene. Hell, many of us would have expected them to plaster it on the box and shout "XBLIG" from the rooftops! Instead, however, the last two years have been miserable for independent developers- and it has now reached the point where they're considering jumping ship to Sony, Apple and Steam en masse in order to make a living.
If sales and downloads drop off dramatically due to reduced traffic, then I'll have to switch to a different platform because I'm slowly running out of money. I really enjoy working on XBLIG and I think I've been successful in doing what I wanted to do, which is create lots of small, high-quality games. XBLIG is the only way to do that on a console, and it'll be very upsetting if it's no longer a viable option for indie development. - Luke Schneider, RadianGames
The indie platform is the main reason we study XNA instead of other frameworks here at Blekinge Institute of Technology. I have heard many students talking about switching to alternative platforms recently for various reasons and I really don't think Microsoft is helping themselves. - Marcus Kellner, Jungle Friendzy Lead Designer
How did it get this bad? Why is Microsoft snatching discontent and misery from the jaws of financial success and pushing their willing developers into the hands of their rivals? I don't have all the answers- but I can certainly point you in the right direction.
Click here and read on to discover the whole sorry situation.
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]
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]
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...