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‘Recovery trend’ in Japanese video games helps Capcom to profits

Capcom saw its profits on the rise during the last fiscal half, thanks in part to “a recovery trend” for the company’s core video games business in Japan. While its social games business lost momentum due to restrictions on usage limits that followed the “complete gacha” issues in Japan, the company’s console and mobile games saw an uplift in Japan, although overseas markets still remained stagnant. In particular, Capcom says that Resident Evil 6 is …

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The Wrong Kind Of Scary – Worst Horror Games Ever

When done right, horror-based video games are just as thrilling as the latest scare-fest in theaters. When they go wrong, they are more laughable and unbearable than a low-budget student horror flick. With terrible pacing, cheesy moments, and lousy mechanics, these titles represent what happens when a game tries to be scary and fails spectacularly. Sure, they may send shivers down your spine or make your heart skip a beat…but for all the wrong reasons.

(This story originally appeared on Game Informer on September 29, 2009)

Friday the 13th (NES)
Voorhees is one of the most terrifying icons of horror, but even a
resurrected walking death machine couldn’t inspire nightmares more
terrifying than this game. Friday the 13th is ridiculously difficult,
even by NES standards. The problem is that it’s the broken kind of
difficult. Unavoidable hits, stupid weapons, and baffling enemies
ensure that your crew of teenagers dies quickly and without ceremony.
If they make it through that, Jason will probably appear (as he
randomly does) and kill you. In that sense, it’s true to the
series…but aren’t video games supposed to be fun?

Resident Evil: Survivor (PSone)
its role in shaping survival horror, Resident Evil is one of the most
trusted names in the genre. Survivor exploits that trust to the fullest
degree, giving players a worthless side-story, first-person combat, and
exploration. Imagine trying to shoot a horde of zombies while neck-deep
in water…that’s how it feels to move through this world. The awful
mechanics make a little sense when you consider that Resident Evil:
Survivor was intended to be played with a light gun, but the U.S.
version didn’t support any peripheral of the sort. What you get instead
is an affront to Resident Evil’s good name.

concept of possessing other humans and having them kill their comrades
is messed up. As the spectral protagonist in Geist, you have the power
to do just that – except you don’t do it nearly as often as you
should.  Instead, you’re more like a ghost out of a Scooby-Doo episode,
haunting file cabinets, dinner plates, and dog bowls in attempts to
spook your foes. That may cut it if you’re trying to keep punk kids
away from your sawmill, but in the video game business, people tend to
want to do things that aren’t super lame.

McFarlane’s Evil Prophecy (PS2)
mess of a game is a thinly disguised marketing tool intended to sell
more McFarlane toys. It kind of works, since you quickly realize you’d
be better off buying one of those grotesque figures than this
unplayable disaster. Everything anyone could possibly like about video
games is absent from Evil Prophecy, including good graphics, creepy
atmosphere, and not totally sucking every second you play it. Even the
blandest button-masher looks like divine genius next to this tedious,
festering pile of necrotic pixels.

Night Trap (Sega CD)
list of bad horror games could have easily been populated solely by
garbage full-motion video titles of the ‘90s. Though Corpse Killer and
Ground Zero: Texas get honorable mentions, Night Trap is the ultimate
FMV abomination. Despite all of the controversy surrounding the game’s
content, Night Trap is essentially about watching security camera
footage. The whole game is basically just switching cameras to overhear
conversations. No nudity. No ridiculous gore. Every now and then you
trigger a trap to catch some bumbling “vampires.” Boring!

Lifeline (PS2)
admit it: when Lifeline first released, we were entirely too impressed
with its unique voice controls. Innovation is admirable, but a clever
control scheme means nothing if it doesn’t work, and Lifeline’s is
completely broken. Players guide a waitress named Rio through a
monster-infested space station by speaking various movement and combat
commands. The problem? Rio is barely smart enough to breathe, much less
follow instructions. Tell her to go to the closet, and she uses a heal
capsule. Tell her to dodge, and she goes to the closet. Every now and
then she’ll randomly do something right – it’s like shouting
instructions at a disobedient dog. No, wait. That’s an insult to dogs.

Grabbed by the Ghoulies (Xbox)
ha! “Grabbed by the Ghoulies.” Its name alone is one of the most
enduring punchlines in the gaming industry. Developer Rare, which at
the time had a sterling track record, managed to throw together one of
the worst games in Xbox history by combining simplistic controls,
repetitive gameplay, and awkward innuendo-laced dialogue that was too
mature for kids and too dumb for adults. We heard (read: started)
rumors that Microsoft tried to dump and bury excess copies of this game
E.T.-style, but no landfill would accept a contaminant so foul.

Illbleed (Dreamcast)
parks! Wait, that doesn’t scare you? What about…trap-laden amusement
parks! Now we’re talking. Illbleed makes players tiptoe around various
deadly contraptions in a theme park, using their senses to locate and
disarm various hazards. There is no tension, only tedium, as you
methodically search each area for devices meant to maim, scare, or kill
you. That’s easier said than done, since Illbleed’s awful controls make
even basic movement hopelessly difficult. To be fair, Illbleed doesn’t
take itself seriously…but maybe someone on the development team
should have.

Nosferatu (SNES)
martial-artist-fights-vampires game is like Prince of Persia meets some
kind of homemade sequel to Van Helsing. It actually looks okay, but
once you touch the controller, all optimism is sucked from your veins,
leaving only desiccated contempt. The main character moves like he just
downed a bottle of elephant tranquilizer, so any button you press is
more like a suggestion than a command. Convincing the dope not to get
skewered by spikes is bad enough without the addition of sluggish
combat. On the plus side, you get to punch werewolves in the face, so
it’s not all bad.

D (multi)
followings often develop around underappreciated games, but sometimes
people are just looking for people to share their pain. The latter must
be the case with D, a plodding and frustrating adventure title about a
young woman wandering around a corpse-littered hospital. The atmosphere
actually succeeds in being creepy, but you won’t even notice amid all
of the terrible design choices. Players have two real-time hours to
solve puzzles and get to the bottom of the mystery, but since there is
no save system, the game needs to be beaten in a single sitting. By the
way, the “D” stands for “Dracula.” There. Now you have no reason to
ever waste your time on this one. – The Feed

Black Ops 2 soundtrack hitting iTunes alongside game launch

The Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 soundtrack, a joint effort of Trent Reznor and Jack Wall, will be available for download on iTunes this upcoming Tuesday, right alongside the launch of Treyarch’s game. If you want a sample, you can listen to the main menu theme song right now on YouTube.

If you’re picking up the Hardened Edition or Care Package Collector’s Edition, the soundtrack is included, so don’t sweat the iTunes soundtrack.

Continue reading Black Ops 2 soundtrack hitting iTunes alongside game launch

JoystiqBlack Ops 2 soundtrack hitting iTunes alongside game launch originally appeared on Joystiq on Wed, 31 Oct 2012 18:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Origin continues to creep up on Steam with 30M registered users

Electronic Arts has updated its user figures for the Origin digital game distribution service, noting that over 30 million users are now registered, including 13 million on mobile devices. EA’s COO Peter Moore revealed the figure as part of the company’s latest earnings call, up from 21 million registered users (including 9 million mobile users) in August. In May, the platform had just over 12 million registered users, suggesting that its player base is ramping …

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What To Expect In the Upcoming MMO

We’ve been curious about Neverwinter for some time now. Cryptic Studios is behind MMOs like City of Heroes, Champions Online, and Star Trek Online, and the team is now trying its hand at the Dungeons & Dragons universe. With new publisher Perfect World backing them, we were curious how the game is shaping up for its release in the first half of next year, and we chatted with lead producer Andy Velasquez to get the scoop. 

What sets Neverwinter apart from other online role-playing games? Do you think of it as an MMO or something different from that?

We’re absolutely an MMO. We’re a free to play, action combat MMO. Those are the key touchstones for what we think will set us apart. With free to play, obviously the MMO market is skewing heavily that way. We’re trying really hard to approach developing this game the same way we would a subscription game. We’re trying to buck those preconceived notions out there from players that free to play is crappy, or free to play is eastern-style money-grubbing stuff. We’re developing a fun game in the same way that we developed our previous subscription models. We just believe that this is the right way to monetize moving forward with our genre. 

Action combat is our big focus for the moment to moment gameplay. We’ve made here at Cryptic Studios four MMOs that have done more traditional combat. So our take on action combat is obviously an in-vogue thing to be doing right now for MMOs. We feel like we’re approaching it in a more sure way. Other MMOs that are doing action combat take MMO-style combat in gameplay and skew it faster by lowering cool downs or changing to mouse-look targeting. We’re trying to make a fun action combat game and just happened to put that in an MMO setting instead of a third-person, single player RPG. In our totally biased opinion we feel that when we play our game versus Guild Wars or Tera, it feels more like an action game. And obvioiusly, D&D is a big pull for us. We’re in the Forgotten Realms, which is the most famous of all the D&D subworlds. There’s Dragonlance and Greyhawk and all of this other stuff. Forgotten Realms is where Drizzt and Wulfgar, all these iconic characters come from. The surrounding area is where Baldur’s Gate took place, so we’re able to leverage all that lore and built in fanbase a lot with this product.

You’re also coming off of the legacy of a previous existing franchise in Neverwinter Nights. What elements would you say the game shares with Neverwinter Nights? 

To be clear, we’re not Neverwinter Nights 3 or anything like that. We happen to take place in the same city of Neverwinter. We do, like you mention, get to call upon all the same backstory and lore. You’ll see locations that if you’re a big fan of Neverwinter Nights 1 or 2. It’s the same with the Neverwinter woods; we have zones that take place out there, there will be a lot of contextual similarities. In terms of the gameplay experience probably the biggest key we took from those games was our foundry system, which is user generated content. Those games had huge followings with their Aurora toolset, people modding the game and offering out new modules constantly and there’s still, last we checked, thousands of people still playing Neverwinter Nights 1 mods. So we have in our game the Foundry, which we just revealed at the last PAX. We did behind the scenes demos of it and showed people how users can make content in our toolset that other MMO players will get to play right in our persistent world. So you can imagine if you played WoW or something that running around doing a Blizzard made mission right next to someone else whose running around doing a mission that you have made in that world. So that’s a big take away from that first series of games.

Are there some limits on that tool set? I remember that aurora toolset within Neverwinter Nights was pretty expansive in terms of giving a lot of options to people. Where do you guys think you fall in that sphere?

So, our approach to the Foundry has been accessibility first, but power as well. The thing with the Aurora toolset is that they’re all so complicated you have to watch hours and hours of tutorials just too even make anything. So what we wanted to do is strip that away a little bit. I think there have been a couple of videos that we put out that show a little bit of editing, but you’ll be able to see how easy it is to get in and move things around. We’re really trying to make it so you don’t have to watch those hours and hours of tutorials. That’s not to say we are shirking away from giving people a lot of control. Say you want a particular kit  and you have a bunch of L turns and T turns and straight hallways and you can snap them together like Legos and you drop in what monsters you have in there. You can change the text on those monsters, and you can change the name of those monsters. The approach to how the user interfaces all this is that we’re really trying to push that accessibility angle, but still have a lot of that power and control that people will be expecting coming from that legacy of the Aurora toolset. 

What’s the story line going on with Neverwinter? I know the realms have the big kind of shake up when they moved  to 4th edition with the Spell Plague. Give me a little since of what you guys are exploring in terms of the story line with this game. 

It’s actually cool because we get to work with Wizards of the Coast constantly on this. We have a weekly phone call where we get to nerd out about like, “Wouldn’t it be cool if Valindra did this?”  We have a main overarching storyline that has to deal with Valindra Shadowmantle. 

From the R. A. Salvatore Neverwinter books?

Yeah she’s messing around in those books a little bit too and she’s in the Neverwinter campaign guide and that’s one of the things that were I was mentioning before; we get to draw on the IP a lot. It’s really awesome because our characters are the same characters that you know from these ancillary products as well, and we get to explore them even further . If you are a fan of those books then you will see Valindra and be like, “Oh that’s the chick that Drizzt was running up against!” 

So she is your main villain?  

She is the main villainess, and the cool thing it that she’s kind of the one that drives the over arching story line, but then we also get to send you to a bunch of different places that we’re calling our adventure zones. So you go to, for example, the Neverwinter Woods and interact with the Uthgardt Barbarians and so you’ll get a pocket of gameplay there that’s about four hours or so that deals with that story line. That will all then tie back into the main thing with Valindra, but we have tons and tons of those little vignette-like storylines that are happening throughout the progression of your character through to the next level. 

What’s the big threat here? What’s Valindra out to do?

She is trying to raise a Dracolich; if you read the Drizzt books there was something going on with the Dread Rings and Thay is trying to wipe out all of humanity – she has some involvement in that plot. 

[Next up: How does Neverwinter match up with D&D rules, and how will the game be monetized?] – The Feed

Angry Birds Star Wars has droids, works on Droid

mini First look at Angry Birds Star Wars gameplay

Angry Birds Star Wars – now a collaboration between developer Rovio and the Walt Disney Company – jettisoned its latest trailer today, featuring everyone’s favorite droid life partners. ABSW will use the force of fingers on November 8 across iOS, Android, and Windows 8 PCs.

JoystiqAngry Birds Star Wars has droids, works on Droid originally appeared on Joystiq on Wed, 31 Oct 2012 17:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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IGDA formally licences its first European chapter

Newsbrief: The International Game Developers Association announced today that one of its global branches, IGDA Finland, has just become the first European chapter to be formally licensed as a legal entity. This means that IGDA Finland is now recognized as an association under Finnish law, and because of this new status, the organization claims it can focus on regional concerns, and use more of its membership fees to cater to the needs of its local …

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New Amnesia: A Machine For Pigs Trailer Is Predictably Creepy

Frictional Games figured today would be the best day to release a new trailer for its survival-horror game Amnesia: A Machine For Pigs. The swine will rise in 2013 on PC.

(Please visit the site to view this media) – The Feed

Anna finds new victims on Mac this November

Anna hits Steam

Polarizing horror adventure Anna makes its way to Mac on November 9. Previously released on PC, our snapshot of the game found it “refreshing,” but opinions about the game are scattered like arterial spray.

Anna is billed as a point-and-click adventure about a “sort of haunted” sawmill. If you’re looking to learn more about the fright fest, check out our Indie Pitch on the game.

Gallery: Anna

Continue reading Anna finds new victims on Mac this November

JoystiqAnna finds new victims on Mac this November originally appeared on Joystiq on Wed, 31 Oct 2012 16:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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343 hopes to set an example for fighting gender stereotypes in Halo 4

343 Industries believes developers have a responsibility to ensure their games don’t encourage sexist behaviors in their players — or in the game industry — and kept that idea in mind while designing Halo 4. Studio head Bonnie Ross acknowledges the perception many have of Xbox Live as being rife with players making offensive and sexist comments against others. While the service often bans those players, Ross told GameSpot in a recent interview that developers …

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