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This week in the news; Warren Spector to work on Underworld Ascent and System Shock 3, angry trolls don't understand localization and try to damage voice actress' career, games developed in Iran come to Steam now that sanctions have been lifted, how models defined Doom, TwitchCon coming to San Diego in September, Rhianna Pratchett calls for more focus on story, Hearthstone pro Hafu talks about sexist Twitch trolling, Gears of War 4 coming this year, Kojima talks about his future, Ubisoft CEO says industry is less hit-driven and when Assassins Creed returns it may no longer be an annual title, Failbetter offers funding for narrative games, Master of Orion voice actors revealed, an adventure through hell created by one man team, Fallout 3 no longer banned in Germany, Riot built a private internet, Smite comes to the PS4, more DLC being created for Dying Light but team isn't sure if the PS4 and One have the tech to fulfill their vision of a sequel, and more.




Warren Spector joins OtherSide Entertainment




Warren is leaving academia to work on Underworld Ascent and System Shock 3. Here is another article with some information on what he will be doing.


Article takes actress' interview out of context furthering trolling against Nintendo and employees


The English version of Fire Emblem Fates has upset some very sad people who have no knowledge of how the process of game localization works, as usual, they have taken their anger out by complaining on chan sites and whining at, harassing, and threatening people on social media. So when some people saw an interview, reported on by the above site, they used their complete lack of understanding of how anything works to try to spread false information about Nintendo's localization team. Someone actually putting any thought into this interview would realize that the voice actress, Rena Strober, had actually just mentioned very common practices when working for games, not even specifically saying Fire Emblem.


"You know, when you do video games, you’re not allowed to know the title of the game, you don’t usually know your character, you don’t know anything about it, because it’s very secret information." She also mentions that companies might change a characters name so that you won't know what the project is or if it is a sequel to something.


As in many cases, people are not told everything about their character when they are auditioning, nor do they know everything about a game's story (possibly never knowing until the game's release or long after they are hired, as is the case with many games and movies). From the sound of the interview she is talking more about what happened when she was first auditioning, and even mentions that this took place about six or eight months before the original trailer released back in June of 2015, making the English character and title names even more likely to not having been set in stone since the game wasn't even out yet in Japan at that time. The article instead tries to frame this late night interview as Nintendo not caring about and getting worse voice acting for their localization (because you would obviously hire a voice actress and singer to play a singer if you didn't care about quality). This also could hurt a voice actors career if too many people take the interview the wrong way, whether it be the fault of the actor or (in this case) the bias and stupidity of the people upset about it.


Strober has responded to the article which hasn't lead to a correction in the piece, and has the writer wondering why they may have made the video private (which he posts again) as he could potentially damage her career with misinformation by giving ammo to chan/reddit mobs.


The most well known Fire Emblem fan site also created a thread in appreciation of Strober and she wrote a reply to them on the site and on her twitter. This shows why people really should try to have some understanding of how things work and what their platforms can be used for.


République gets a PS4 release date




In news for another game Rena Strober has acted for, Republique is about to have its final episode released and will be released on the PS4.


Super Robot Wars OG: The Moon Dwellers for PS4 English version announced for Asia



English text will be available in Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, the Philippines, and Indonesia. Found the article thanks to Gideon Zhi. After last weeks Valkyria footage I thought I wouldn't need a PS4, maybe I was wrong.


Twisted Teen Murder Game Danganronpa Is Still Great On PC




Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc has released on Steam, I recommend everyone who didn't play the PSP or Vita version try it.


Sunless Sea dev Failbetter offering funding for narrative games




"We’re open-minded on the meaning of ‘narrative’ and ‘game’. So this might include: games with a strong linear storyline; choice-based narratives using Twine or a similar technology; parser-based interactive fiction; strategy games where the choices have a storyful feel; card games where story emerges from the mechanics; or a dozen other things we haven’t thought of," the official blog post on the initiative says. "We particularly like text-centric games."


The company will recoup 50 percent of revenues until the intial investment is recovered, and thereafter 20 percent. "It’s project-based investment, so if we never make back our initial investment, you’re free to get on with your life," the blog post specifies.


ET Armies, a sci-fi FPS developed in Iran, is coming to Steam





One of the reasons it's taken so long to get from there to here may be that it simply wasn't legal to offer the game in most Western markets because of trade sanctions that were in place against Iran: Publisher Merge Games told Blue's that the forthcoming Steam release is the “direct result” of the recent lifting of those sanctions.


TwitchCon 2016 announced, coming to San Diego this September


TwitchCon will now be an annual event, said Amy Brady, director of global events for Twitch, because the Twitch community "has outgrown our booths at other conventions." Asked about the change in location this year, Brady told Polygon, "We wanted to explore other locations, yet still remain close enough to our home base of San Francisco given all of the staff that will be attending the event," and noted that San Diego "has a lot of experience dealing with large fan-driven conventions."


Nintendo’s Satoru Iwata gets posthumous lifetime achievement award from gaming peers




Reggie Fils-Amie, president and chief operating officer of Nintendo of America, accepted the award.


Fallout 4 lands game of the year at the DICE Awards


Rise of the Tomb Raider, Ori and the Blind Forest, Battlefront, Witcher 3, Helldivers, Rocket League, and Metal Gear Solid V take other awards.


D.I.C.E. Summit 2016 - Hideo Kojima, Guillermo del Toro & Geoff Keighley



Hideo Kojima on his future and breaking up with Konami, Metal Gear and Silent Hill




When he does talk about P.T., the playable demo so overwhelmingly enjoyed by gamers on the PlayStation 4, and its connection to Silent Hills, he relies on metaphor to get his point across.


"Let's say you're thinking of climbing Mount Everest, but you start with Mount Fuji first," he says through a translator, sitting across from me at a boardroom table at the 2016 DICE Summit. "That goes well and it feels good. Then you're preparing to climb Mount Everest and you're not allowed to.


"That doesn't feel good."


Why neither Konami nor Kojima accepted Metal Gear Solid 5's DICE award


"Konami was unable to send someone to the awards and Kojima-San preferred not to accept it," Terrence Myers, executive producer, DICE Awards told Polygon. "The Academy thought the solution of having the presenters accept on behalf of the title was best for all parties."


Rhianna Pratchett calls for more focus on game stories




"Even if you're not putting story at the heart of your game, players are still looking for stories," she said. "We are narrative creatures. Stories engage the heart and make players care about your game."


Master of Orion trailer reveals a cast of sci-fi stars



A thread about this was created here


Industry has become less hit-driven, more dependable - Ubisoft


While talking about the future of the Assassins Creed series Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot said, "The goal is not to automatically come back to an annual cycle, but to come back on a regular basis. We can't say every year."




Finally, Francois discussed the creative process behind it's upcoming title Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Wildlands and the great lengths they've gone to in an effort to avoid "cultural snafus." Since the game is based in Bolivia, they sent a team to the region to immerse themselves in the culture and train with "an elite unit in the Bolivian army." Their training session lasted a full week in the jungle where "they burned cocaine labs" and got a better understanding of the importance and relevance of the cocoa leaf in Bolivia.

A video can be found at the link for The Division and a Q&A about the new Ghost Recon.


Firaxis is "working very furiously" to fix XCOM 2 performance issues


Though they have no set schedule the team is "working furiously" and says that updates are coming soon.


The Witcher 3: Blood and Wine Leak a Hoax? Epic Expansion Tipped to Launch this June




Some details were leaked about The Witcher 3's upcoming expansion, the leaker would later call it mere speculation.


How Gears of War and Unreal Have Shaped Epic's Next Game: Paragon


Paragon is freckled with hints of Epic Games' past. Its team-based encounters hearken back to Unreal Tournament, its third-person combat feels rooted in Gears of War--its emergent, unfolding scenarios even show remnants of Bulletstorm. As executive producer John Wasilczyk tells it: Paragon is a natural part of Epic's evolution.


Mistwalker reveals new project in partnership with Silicon Studio




Hironobu Sakaguchi's studio is collaborating with Silicon Studio on a new title, there are no details but they released a piece of concept art.


Tales from the Borderlands being collected on disc, launching worldwide in late April




Hearthstone pro Hafu speaks out about sexist trolling on Twitch



The Division Could Join Destiny in Becoming One of Biggest New IP Launches Ever, Ubisoft Says


"Because of its many attributes--RPG, shooter, massive online multiplayer, realistic setting in a beautifully recreated New York, great open world playable in solo or in co-op--The Division can become one of the biggest launches ever for a new IP," Parkes said.


He went on to note that The Division's trailers have generated 225 million views, which is 30 percent ahead of where Watch Dogs was one month before launch.

The beta broke records with 6.4 million players.


Street Fighter 5 does not punish players who rage quit


Players can expect a change, but they aren't sure what kind of system they will use or when it will be added.


A Game Disappeared From Steam, And Nobody's Saying Why




A few weeks ago, a pirate-themed RPG called Vendetta: Curse of Raven’s Cry vanished from the Steam store. At that point, it was surrounded on all sides by (unproven) allegations of fake reviews and shady dealings. Flash forward to now: people still can’t figure out precisely why it disappeared.


Just Cause 3's First Expansion Adds Mechanized Wingsuit and More



BioWare Producer Asks If You'd Play a Dragon Age "Tactics" Game





Mark Darrah asks twitter users if they would play a Dragon Age Tactics game similar to XCOM or Fire Emblem


Fallout 4 Dev Has Three "Longer-Term" Projects in the Works


Todd Howard teased that Bethesda is working on three projects at the 2016 DICE Summit.


A thread about this was created here


Square Enix Invites Miss Universe to Final Fantasy 15 Release Date Event




New Adr1ft trailer teases zero-g gameplay and astronaut dreams



Star Wars Battlefront's Outer Rim Expansion Gets First Image, More Details




The first paid Battlefront expansion is due out in March and will have new maps, weapons, heroes, and a new mode.


Gears of War 4 Will Be "Graphical Showcase" on Xbox One, Producer Says


Gears 4 is due out in the fall with a beta test happening before launch. It will run at 60FPS and be a "graphical showcase" for the Xbox One.


Dying Light will get more DLC in 2016, Techland promises



Techland was pleased to see the reception for their latest DLC and have chosen to work on the game for the remainder of the year, they are already working on new unannounced content. On the topic of a sequel they are not sure if they can fulfill their vision on the Xbox One and PS4's tech.


Smite: Battleground of the Gods Coming to PS4




The game went into closed alpha on the 19th and there will be a closed beta in the near future.


A thread about this was created here


Fallout 3 No Longer Banned in Germany - Report




Bethesda petitioned the German government to de-list Fallout 3 three years before the end of the regular ten-year sentence, according to the report, suggesting the company has some kind of further plans. None of this is confirmed however. We will have more on this story as information becomes available.


Giants: Citizen Kabuto spiritual successor First Wonder cancelled




After their Kickstarter failed the team had been hopefully about being able to continue development if they could find other funding, they were unable to.


Unpacking the stigma of mental illness in The Town of Light



The game, which launches on PC next week and Xbox One later this year, follows the story of Renee, a fictional 16-year-old girl who, in 1938, was sent to Volterra for being, as the authorities put it, a danger to herself and to others. The game revolves around finding Renee’s memories, exploring areas where she used to live inside the asylum and solving puzzles in order to understand what she went through.

“Asylums are a common location in videogames," says Dalco. “But for us the location is not just an excuse to have a place to fill with paranormal activities or zombies. Rather it’s somewhere we can understand the many lives that are affected by mental illness and the old way those institutions use to treat people back in the forties.”


Former Sony exec Shahid Ahmad joins Double Eleven



“I’m honoured to be invited to Double Eleven’s Advisory Board. Having worked with the Double Eleven team on numerous projects while at PlayStation, I was struck by their technical excellence, their commitment to quality and their devotion to delivering great experiences to video games players. Double Eleven are relentlessly driven and their many excellent qualities will I’m sure propel them to greater success as they expand their publishing ambitions.”


While working for Sony over the last few years people might have come to know him for helping to bring a lot of indie titles to the PSN and working with those indie developers.


Quantum Break Goes Gold, Dev Celebrates With Huge Bottle of Champagne




League of Legends was too slow, so Riot built a private internet to make it go faster


The internet as we know it was not made for games, certainly not real time games like Riot's League of Legends. Problems with "ping" and "packet loss" aren't just issues for individual players sitting at home. They're serious business concerns for developers and publishers. And, at the scale at which a company like Riot operates, small improvements in customer experience can result in big changes to the bottom line.


To smash more people into their game, to get more players to spend time and treasure on their champions, Riot needed more bandwidth. The big guys like AT&T and Comcast were unable (or unwilling) to play ball, so Riot built their own private internet, literally cobbling together their own high-speed network from unlit fiber optic cables sitting in the ground. They claim to have created "one of the fastest networks on the continent" just so people have a better experience playing their game.


Tales of Symphonia port gets much needed improvements thanks to modders




According to the fix's description, frame rate remains at 30fps but now there's no stutter. Meanwhile, "hitching on menu screens" and the interminable loading times have been removed, and there's support for fullscreen, borderless window mode, too. Multisample anti-aliasing is in, ReShade is now usable, and the game will no longer crash regularly on laptops with touchscreens. Sounds handy!


HTC Vive is $799, Ships ‘Early April’ And You Can Answer Phone Calls In VR




Price point and other details have been revealed.


A thread about this was created here


In eSports news


League of Legends 2016 World Championship will take place across North America this fall


Riot has revealed that the World Championship will take place across North America this year.


Smite Oceania Pro League has a $100,000 prize pool in 2016




Australian and New Zealand Smite teams will compete for a $100,000 prize pool.



This week in Kickstarter Projects


Pinstripe — An Adventure Through Hell





Made by a one man team. An article about the game was written here.


A thread about this was created here


A Place for the Unwilling




Article about the game were written here, A Place for the Unwilling: Lovecraft meets Majora's Mask and Sunless Sea and here The Charming Gloom of a Place For the Unwilling Takes To Kickstarter.


A thread about this was created here.


Jay and Silent Bob: Chronic Blunt Punch




Kevin Smith is trying to get funding for a Jay and Silent Bob game.


Other articles I found interesting this week



This is my back: Being a game developer is just about the only thing I can do




Olivia White writes about finding a home in games and developing with disabilities.


Models from Hell: How practical maquettes defined the original Doom




In 1992, a small group of developers at id Software in Mesquite, Texas were embarking on their latest first-person shooter. It was to be called Doom and id hoped the gameplay and graphics featuring hordes of demons from Hell would surpass the studio’s already well-received FPS, Wolfenstein 3D.


But there was a problem.


The upgraded graphics for the invading demons of Doom were going to be too complicated and time-consuming to be drawn by hand as had been done for Wolfenstein – remember, this was still in the very early days of 3D modelled characters.


Instead, id looked to hand-sculpt clay models of the demons that could then be manipulated into different poses, photographed from multiple angles, digitised, colorised and incorporated into the game as sprites.






There are two types of stories we tend to tell in the Fall: scary stories, and stories aimed at winning awards. Night in the Woods wants to be both.


Guest Column: Skin to Screen




Janine Hawkins explores the history and appeal of "skinship" in games.


Being Edited



“Fallen London and Sunless Sea content chunks are rigorously edited, and the Failbetter Slack channel for contributors sees constant, ongoing discussion of style, voice, and theme. And (at least for me) that quality of editing is a positive inducement to write for a particular company or publisher.”


Designing Interactive Story (PART SIX - FINAL PART)


Greg Johnson finishes his six part series on interactive fiction, which are good reads for anyone interested.


One thing we haven’t really talked about is: how do you do it?   Where do you start?  What do you come up with first? the structure?  Or the play mechanics?  Or perhaps the theme? or mood? Maybe the art style?  What do you do when you have pieces in place, but you don’t know where to take it?






God games have gone out of style of late. It has been just over 10 years since the Peter Molyneux directed Black & White 2 (2005), while Godus is only his and the genre’s latest failed iteration. But it is worth noting the contrast between That Dragon, Cancer and Molyneux’s productions. The latter emphasize sheer power, defining omnipotence as the literal ability to move mountains or rain fire from the sky. While That Dragon, Cancer is quieter, more subdued, and perhaps represents a more familiar understanding of faith to the faithful. For the player is not omnipotent, merely omniscient. She is a witness to grief, sorrow, and joy, watching and guiding Ryan and Amy through their trials. The player acts as God, and in doing so perhaps finds an understanding of what belief means to so many believers: a sense of presence, of company, of a witness.






A look at obedience and disobedience in video game design.

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