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Weekly News Round Up 2-9-2016

4 posts in this topic

This week in the news; GameTrailers shuts down, a look at the failed Dark Knight game that lead to Pandemic's closure, a Kickstarter for an anthology of games writing, Bungie has an interesting message for players with poor connections, a look at the game industry of South Africa, Titanfall 2 will have a single player campaign, gaming will be a big part of Obama's 4 billion Computer Science for All initiative, Blizzard is 25 years old, the history of Steet Fighter 2, how ethnicity influences game design, development has stopped on Unsung Story, pro soccer team signs pro FIFA players, what the aliens in XCOM 2 are really saying, pirating group to stop cracking games to evaluate impact on sales, Amazon releases a free game engine, Metal Gear Solid 5 to get free and paid multiplayer expansions, the casting choices for video game voice actors, how video games are changing the direction of action movies, thoughts on the world of The Division, the history of Sega Power Magazine, and more.




GameTrailers shuts down after 13-year run




After 13 years GameTrailers is closing down, after recently making changes to the site at the end of November. They were purchased by Defy Media in 2014 who almost immediately began letting staff members go, a few months later they did the same to GameTrailers again and to The Escapist and GameFront, which they also owned. GameFront shut down, The Escapist lost their talent from layoffs and people quitting and they certainly haven't found new talent, and now GameTrailers has shut down. It sounds like you don't want to get bought by Defy Media, although they seem to be aptly named. As is usual with gaming sites closing, their employees seems to have been told about the closure only hours in advance.


From a more serious standpoint the sites all likely suffered from other issues, and Defy is probably  just incapable of finding a way to fix their issues rather than being the cause of most of them, in Gametrailers' case while they did offer unique content, Youtube has clearly become the place to watch trailers and is where even most gaming sites tend to host their videos. Hosing on Youtube is not going to be bringing a large site much money without a lot of sponsorship deals.


Jim Sterling has wrote about GameTrailers' closure, GameTrailers Was A Victim Of Itself.


A thread about this was created here


The Game Industry of South Africa




Some of the pioneers of the '90s South African industry, like Luke Lamothe and Travis Bulford, are in attendance. Lamothe is an elder statesman of console development in South Africa, having worked on Chase: Hollywood Stunt Driver, which released in 2002 on the Xbox, the first locally developed game to sell on a mainstream console. Bulford is the creator of Toxic Bunny, which was released in the mid '90s on PC and was the first South African game to sell over a hundred thousand copies.


Those moments have been since eclipsed, with online distribution models like Steam providing access to a global audience. Weeks after each of their recent respective releases, two South African games, the Contra-style ode to '80s action movies Broforce and the space janitor simulator Viscera Cleanup Detail made the top five trending games on SteamSpy, Steam’s analytics platform.


After flirting with retirement, Peter Molyneux doubles down on making games


"The only thing I can do is hunker down and strip myself back to what I really am, which is someone who just loves what he does with a passion that is often misinterpreted by people," he continued. "And to stop being a spokesman, stop being a person journalists phone up when there's a new piece of hardware out, or when there's a new monetization technique out, and just be a programmer and a designer. That happened within that 24 hour period after that interview."


Peter Molyneux's Godus Wars won’t feature paid DLC after outcry


In a recent update the previously paid DLC will now be free.


The Witness has grossed over $5 million


In its first week the game had sold over 100,000 copies. With the success of the game Blow is considering an Xbox One, iOS, and Android version.


XCOM 2 supports the Steam Controller, and no other gamepad


Firaxis and Valve collaborated on Steam Controller support for XCOM 2, but no other controller is able to be used.


In other XCOM news you can read about how The Long War shaped the development of XCOM 2, how one mod helped define the modern XCOM experience.


Mirror's Edge Catalyst backstory detailed, closed beta announced



Fallout 4, Skyrim Director Getting Lifetime Achievement Award




He is being honored for "innovative contributions to open-world gameplay and game development."


Bayonetta Dev Explains Why It Can't Focus Entirely on Original IP


Platinum games found it difficult to develop only original IPs but says that they have been given a great deal of freedom when they work with the IPs of other companies.


Doom hits May 13, collector's edition includes foot-tall demon statue



Mother 3 will finally get Western release - report



Square Enix Profits Surge Thanks to Mobile and PC Games


Square Enix has seen a profit increase of 60% over their previous year.


Batman: Arkham Knight Canceled for Mac/Linux


Both versions of the game have been cancelled and refunds can be requested through Steam.


Cities: Skylines Snowfall Sweeping In On February 18th


Kojima and Del Toro Will Reunite This Month for Special Presentation


Kojima and Del Toro will provide the keynote address at the 2016 D.I.C.E. Summit later this month.


Downwell is coming to PS4, Vita




Downwell is heading to the PS4 and Vita.


Final Fantasy Tactics Director's Kickstarted Game Shelved Indefinitely In Favor Of Other Projects


Dear Unsung Backers,There has been another delay in reporting to you since our last development update, and we apologize for that. Our continued intention is to make a great game, and get Unsung Story to development completion and released to you and the gaming public. During the last few months we have had some development setbacks that are affecting our timeline and progress on the game, while also affecting what we need to do in the immediate future as a company.


After we posted our latest development progress, we unfortunately lost a few key staff members that were part of Unsung Story development, and that has had an impact on any progress since then, as well as our product focus. We now have one internal team capable of working on a single project, and for the financial strength of the company we need to focus on a few products in the near term that have the ability to get to a retail release before Unsung Story is able to. While this is a difficult choice to make, it is one we need to do for the ongoing financial health of the company. For Unsung Story, we will explore options for outside development help, and will look to see if we are able to bring on an outside team that can assist us in furthering development. While we aren’t assured this will come to fruition, we do want to make sure that we are exploring any options at hand that can make progress on the game.


While the development goals that were spelled out in the previous update remain intact for now, the release window of those goals is affected, and at this time we do not have an update as to what the new release window for development rollout will be. This will be affected by the ability and timing of any outside support, as well as when the single internal team is able to get back onto Unsung development, and when we do know, we will update you all. As we pursue this direction, we will refine the release timeline as soon as we are able to. With the loss of that staff, and without having any new progress to share since the last update, we felt we needed to sort through what options and directions we had available before we updated you on the current status, but again do apologize for the lack of recent updates. We will get back to you as soon as we can with any progress and status update. Thanks.


Surprise: Final Fantasy IX Is Out Now On Phones


Final Fantasy IX has been released on mobile phones today. The Steam release may follow when the store updates, or soon.


iOS Version Of The Binding Of Isaac: Rebirth Rejected From App Store


Apple's poorly thought out guidelines sees another game rejected from their storefront. They really need to change the way they view game content when it comes to reviewing content like historic imagery, sexuality, and violence which currently seems to offer no room for any nuance, seeing Binding of Issac as violence against children, sexuality and nudity as porn, and removing Ultimate General Gettysburg for having the Confederate Flag (they were likely being spammed by very racist games at the time but they need to do a better job looking into things).



Pirating Group to Stop Cracking Some Games to Evaluate Impact on Sales


TorrentFreak reports that 3DM leader "Bird Sister" wrote on her blog that the group will stop cracking single-player games apparently in an effort to measure the impact it has on sales.


"We just had an internal meeting. Starting at the Chinese New Year [February 8], 3DM will not crack any single-player games," she said. "We'll take a look at the situation in a year's time to see if genuine sales have grown."


The Division open beta launches next week


The open beta will start on the 18th for the Xbox One and on the 19th for the PC and PS4, it will run until the 21st.


Titanfall 2 Has Single-Player Campaign, TV Spinoff Show in the Works - Report


The story for Titanfall 2 will focus on "grand colonial warfare" that basically equates to a retelling of the American Revolution and the America Civil War, but in space, Stern said.


A thread about this was created here


Metal Gear Solid 5 Free and Paid Expansion Content Detailed



  • Coral Complex: A dedicated Motherbase environment, allowing players to access tall towers and use storage containers and other internal areas as cover for tactical advantage. Coral Complex mixes open areas and a myriad of hiding opportunities.
  • Rust Palace: Set within Afghanistan, the Rust Palace is a large multi-level building. The skeletal nature of the decrepit ruin means that cover is scarce, while the internal areas are rich in dusty rooms and high-up sniping positions.
  • Azure Mountain: An outdoor plain under Africa's baking sky. A small cluster of buildings offers scant cover, with only derelict walls and occasional scrubland surrounding the massive rock known locally as the Cradle of Spirits.


Watch Dark Souls 3's haunting opening cinematic



Sherlock Holmes: The Devil’s Daughter Cursing May



The Devil’s Daughter will arrive on May 27th, Frogwares have announced. I mean, I assume it’s about the literal daughter of the literal Devil.


Spend a Night in the Woods this fall




Hitmakers: Hitman Beta Feb 19th



H1Z1 is splitting into two games, headed to consoles


H1Z1 is splitting into two games, with one leaving early access and the other remaining in.


Gaming likely to be big part of Obama's $4B computer science initiative



Last weekend President Barack Obama outlined a $4 billion plan to update the nation's core teaching values, stressing that computer science is as important as reading, writing and arithmetic. And gaming, White House officials tell Polygon, will likely be a big part of that initiative.


"Certainly video games are an entry point for some young people," said Tom Kalil, deputy director of policy for the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. "The reason why some kids might get interested in computer science is because they like to play them, but they also want to make them.


Amazon Releases Its Own Game Engine For Free




Amazon’s releasing their very own game engine. Lumberyard, as they call it, is based on Crytek’s famous CryEngine, and can be used to develop games for both PC and consoles. It’s also free to download, and comes with “no seat fees, subscription fees, or requirements to share revenue.”


Road to the IGF: Red Hook Studios' Darkest Dungeon


The producer/design director and the creative director/artist were interviewed about their history and their game.


Riot's lead game designer explains why League Of Legend's tutorial sucks


Lead designer, Greg Street, says that they don't want to shift resources towards attracting new players but instead work to add more and improving things for existing players.


Terror Birds and grappling hooks come to Ark: Survival Evolved



The Terror Bird update is live now.


Blizzard Is 25 Years Old Today



Destiny's February update comes with a bunch of changes to Crucible



"If your connection is bad, we'll be giving you even more reasons to improve it," said Paul Lewellen, a networking engineer at Bungie. "Expect to lose fights a lot more often, even if you think you shot first or escaped behind cover in time. Things will get much better once you fix your connection, but at least you'll receive fewer angry messages in the meantime."

So if you have a poor connection Bungie says to go fuck yourself, pay more money or just move to a bigger city or another country to fix it.


Overwatch's closed beta is back with some big changes


Overwatch's closed beta returns.


The Offworld Collection




The Offworld Collection is a beautiful hardcover book that contains some of the best and most insightful writing about video games ever printed on a page. It features a tremendously diverse roster of contributors, writing about everything from the fascinating world of women's pinball, to the lingo of Chinese games culture, to the small, intimate games that explore how young adults deal with sex and technology. It's a book for anyone with a passion for design, play and criticism, and we need your help to bring it to life!


After a year of publishing incredible content from an all-star roster of writers, we're running this campaign to pay for the cost of publishing a book collection—and to monetarily reward the people who have done this important work. We want to make a lovely, wonderfully-designed object to celebrate the excellence of Offworld and its contributors, a physical thing we can hold up any time anyone says “there just aren’t” people like us working in this space.


The goal of the project was met in two days and additional money just means that the contributors will be paid more for their contributions.


A thread about this was created here


Here are the first Oculus Rift PC bundles, which you can pre-order Feb. 16





In eSports news


Pro Soccer Team Signs FIFA Esports Players




The German team Wolfsburg has hired two pro FIFA players to help them branch out into competitive gaming.


At 7-0, North America's Best League Of Legends Team Has Nothing To Prove




In other articles/videos I've found interesting this week


Peek at the cancelled Batman The Dark Knight game



Black Video Game Characters Are Still Often Voiced by White Actors


While researching casting calls for voice actors, I expected to find data that closely resembled that Hollywood. What I found was nothing.


Dave Fennoy and Phil LaMarr are two prominent black voice actors who have worked both in television and games for years. Fennoy earned accolades for his portrayal of Lee Everett for TellTale’s The Walking Dead. LaMarr is perhaps most known for his roles on television, such as Hermes Conrad on Futurama and Samurai Jack on the self-titled show, but has voiced many game characters, such as Vamp from the Metal Gear series. I spoke to them both separately by email about their experiences getting jobs in games.


Street Fighter 2 An Oral History




An inside look at the creation and fallout of Capcom's industry-defining fighting game, as told by those who were there.


How Video Games Are Changing the Action Movie


A look at how video games have likely influenced the direction of movies.


The Division Doesn't Want You to Think About 9/11



For all this time spent explaining the game’s setting, my time actually playing The Division failed to capitalize on it, feeling much more like Destiny (2014) grounded in modern times than the creative ruins of I Am Legend (2007) or Escape From New York (1981). The Manhattan Midtown I was shown was essentially the same as the one I know now, only with fewer people and more chest-high walls. I was lead through this drab take on my now home by a developer who didn’t want me experimenting with the game too much. As I tried to break and test it in as many ways as I possibly could, I was shepherded instead towards corridor shooting where I fought large gangs of looters, my military training and equipment making my opponents seem drastically inadequate in comparison. My enemies were New Yorkers struggling to survive in the wake of danger and I was spending my resources shooting them down rather than saving them. Was I really the rescuer here? I had all this money to spend on riot shields and holographic displays, but not on food for people so in need they were braving Smallpox-infected streets. But the looters were wearing bandanas over their faces and speaking in slang, as if that justified their deaths.


One of the enemy types is Riker's Island Inmates, I really couldn't imagine anyone who put any thought into it not thinking that the game would have really terrible subtext.


Interview with Nightcrawler - ROMhacking.net



Nightcrawler is one of the most prolific members of the ROM hacking community, the collection of hobbyists who tinker with old video games to transform them into new creations. He is probably best know as the founder ROMhacking.net, which has become the hub of the ROM hacking community since he launched it in 2005.


Nightcrawler recently spoke with me a bit about the ROM hacking community's history, the technical challenges of putting together a fan translation patch, and his thoughts on copyright law.






"If I was to say to you “a magazine changed my life”, what kind of publication would you expect me to be talking about? Rolling Stone, maybe, or Time, or The New Yorker, or (of course) Playboy—beacons of generation-defining journalism that attracted titans like Norman Mailer or Gore Vidal or Margaret Atwood to fill their pages. Another hypothetical: would it sound strange if I said to you—with a straight face—that a video game magazine changed my life? It would, wouldn’t it?"





Over our recent series of articles on women of color in game development, we’ve spoken with game developers from many different backgrounds about their games, accomplishments and advice for up-and-coming game developers.


One aspect of the conversations that stood out was the discussion of ethnicity, and how it affected the game developer, and game design.


I spoke with twelve developers: five Black women, four Latin/Hispanic women, two Asian women, and one Native American woman. Though they each had unique experiences, they all agreed that they do not see many women of their particular ethnicity in the industry, much less get to work with other women of their ethnicity. And isolation affects their career.


“The first time I had the opportunity to write code with another black woman was twelve years into my career,” said Angie Jones, developer of Diva Chix.


Why I’m Looking Forward to More ‘Just Good Friends’ Relationships in Video Games




"In these games, friendships are king. It doesn't matter whether you build them or destroy them – they are the axis on which everything else in the game turns. And it's great that the precedent set by these 2015 releases is continuing into 2016, and beyond."




"I saw a comment yesterday referring to the quality of some games released on Steam lately:


“It’s never been easier to write a bad game”


You don’t have to learn C++ or whatever, you just get an out the box package, throw the game out into the world and you’re golden or something. Well. That’s an interesting point of view, that’s for sure.


I mean, there’s a couple of things to unpack from that. Like learning a language is one of the big barriers to making a crap game for one and whilst it’s definitely a barrier to making games fullus stopicus, quality doesn’t really come into it there. And the other is, kinda, the flood of easy-access game making software is causing a glut of shit to be released and every person and their pet sheep is at it, throwing low quality videogames out there into the world. Like, this is a new thing, yeah?


Well, nah. It’s all relative."






Noticing the reaction you had to that moment gives the scene a certain clarity that trying to analyze it might never be able to. If meditation teaches us to be mindful of our existence, meditative qualities in games could make us mindful of existences we might otherwise never be able to experience.


Guest Column: The Redemption of the Inquisition




Rowan Kaiser talks about what worked and what didn't in Dragon Age Inquisition's final DLC in this weeks Guest Column on Giant Bomb.


What XCOM 2’s Evil Aliens Are Really Saying



Finally Jim Sterling has an amusing response to the common jackass that doesn't know the difference between offering criticism and being a terrible person.



VirexGaming likes this

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Hearing that GT shutting down is sad but at the same time, I think it was inevitable.

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If I'm being completely honest.............I didn't expect this shit to be fucking mindblowing. 


Thank you game industry for proving me wrong.

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