Bandai Namco’s Katsuhiro Harada has confirmed that the lengthy development of the crossover fighting game Tekken X Street Fighter is “on hold” for the moment. …
“I’ve prioritized some unusual aspects of my game over developing gameplay features or producing content: a swear-word filter, menus, and a tutorial. Those are all things that usually tend to get taken care of at the end of production.” …
Japanese game dev offices of the classic era: “The layouts also reveal a lot about a company’s workings, how it functioned, how it structured its workflows, how it regarded certain employee positions… Some make no sense whatsoever.” …
We speak to Pascal Nataf, co-founder of new Quebec independent game development cooperative La Guilde, to find out about his organization’s place in the industry and its mission. …
Update: Microsoft has responded to our request for comment, though there is no new information to share. The company says it remains in conversation with employees about next steps during the consultation period.
“We aren’t sharing additional details beyond that we have ceased development on ‘Fable Legends,’ and are in discussions with employees at Lionhead about our proposed closure of the studio as well,” a Microsoft representative told us via email. As the consultation period draws to a close, we'll have a better idea of what will happen with Lionhead and Fable Legends.
There might be some good news for Fable fans this morning. A report suggests that development on Fable Legends, an asymmetric, free-to-play game, might be saved.
Development was halted in March as Microsoft announced it was beginning a “consultation” period for Fable developer Lionhead. This has likely dire meaning, with a studio closure one of a few different possibilities that include significant layoffs under the guise of reorganization.
MCV is reporting from multiple sources that discussions are ongoing about ways to save the game from oblivion. According to MCV, contracted workers have already departed the studio, but employees may have an option to stay on rather than accept a severance package.
According to MCV, the likely scenario is that Lionhead employees would be granted permission to continue work on the game independently. We’ve reached out to Microsoft for comment, and we’ll update should we receive a response.
I’m interested in how the financial arrangement would work between a new, independent studio and license owner Microsoft. While we’ll likely never know those details (and may not even see the game come to fruition), for those who have been enjoying it in closed beta and the many more eager to play, there might yet be hope.
It's been a long haul with many delays, but Uncharted 4: A Thief's End has officially gone gold, meaning the game has reached the end of development and is headed to manufacturing.
The news comes in the form of tweets, from both Naughty Dog and Neil Druckmann, writer and director of Uncharted 4 and The Last of Us.
Very glad to say #Uncharted4 has gone gold today!
When players began testing Far Cry Primal, there were a number of things they enjoyed. However, there was one big problem bogging down the gameplay. It was taking far too long to get from one place to another.
Previous Far Cry games feature vehicles, hang gliders, wing suits, and other means of traversal. None of those things fit in the prehistoric setting, but Ubisoft had a problem. It simply wasn't fun to trudge across the map.
However, the team took that feedback and devised a solution. Beast taming was already part of the game. By giving players the opportunity to ride some of the animals, moving around became faster, thus solving the issue.
This success story is just one of many from Ubisoft's User Data Research group. We had the chance to hear from editorial user research director Sebastien Odasso, who discussed how Ubisoft improves its games with the help of end-user playtesters.
It's important to note that playtesting isn't quality assurance. These individuals aren't on a bug hunt. It also isn't the dreaded marketing-driven focus testing that some players believe is diluting creativity in triple-A gaming.
User research is about gathering feedback on a variety of game elements, including the interface, communication of in-game objectives, and general enjoyment. Data is gathered from community playtesters that visit one of Ubisoft's 13 user research labs to play in-development games.
Using a variety of psychological data gathering, ergonomics, and telemetry (like heat maps and player pathing through the game), Ubisoft is able to determine how players experience games. Once the data is gathered, Ubisoft's user research team prepares a report for the developers. There is no mandate to implement feedback, and creative control remains with the developers.
However, across the 203 playtests conducted last year, the user research group has evidenced a number of successes. These include streamlining the vehicle upgrade process in The Crew. At one point, players could not do this on the fly and, instead, had to return to HQ. Players were spending an enormously disproportionate time at HQ to upgrade, taking them away from other activities.
The Division's skill mods were once harder to interpret. Taking into account user research data, the game was adjusted to call out the important information and highlighting the relevant information.
Ubisoft continues to innovate its processes. The publisher is now also using eye tracking data to determine if players are accurately following the action and critical prompts. The user research team is also using an integrated feedback logger that allows players to identify if they are confused or frustrated at key points. These are accompanied by 10-second videos that show what was happening on-screen during the feedback.
There are a few areas that present challenges for Ubisoft as it continues to refine its user data processes. Microtransactions and in-app purchases are impossible to lab-test. Giving players currency to use doesn't yield practical results, as there are no real-world consequences from spending gifted money. Ubisoft is also working to build up its player testing regimen for virtual reality.
While the user research group doesn't make games, it seems clear it helps make them better. By bringing end-users in during development, Ubisoft is able to get data from outside the bubble. And though studios need not take into account the user research, the evidence seems clear that games have benefitted from the feedback.
“Describing the details of the product to each of the parties in meaningful and consistent ways is challenging. It also makes for many revisions and refinements to the documentation.” …
The co-op action game Hollowpoint, from Crackdown 2 developer Ruffian Games, has an uncertain future due to a collapsed publishing deal with Paradox. Paradox told GameWatcher that the publishing deal was "amicably terminated" and gave the following statement (which we received as well upon inquiry):
After recent ongoing discussions between the two companies, it became apparent to both parties that the creative vision for the project was diverging and so the decision was ultimately taken to cease our co-operation in order to serve the long-term interests of the game. We would like to thank Ruffian Games for all their hard work and wish them the best of luck in their future endeavours. Paradox will be re-evaluating the creative direction of ‘Hollowpoint’ internally before making any final decisions.
Ruffian Games gave its own additional comments to Eurogamer, revealing that development ended as early as summer 2015:
We ceased working with Paradox on Hollowpoint in Summer 2015 and we wish them well for the future. Since then we've continued to work on multiple projects and we released Fragmental on Steam Early Access just last week. We are looking forward to supporting Fragmental with regular feature and content updates towards a launch version later this year.
Hollowpoint was expected for PC and PS4 and was originally announced at Gamescom 2014.
It looks like Hollowpoint probably won't be seeing the light of day, but we didn't know a whole lot about the game to begin with. It's not looking good if development ceased as far back as summer, but it doesn't seem like there was much buzz or excitement for the title to begin with, considering there hasn't been much footage or news outside of the Gamescom announcement trailer.
After successfully raising over $ 100,000 on Kickstarter for a game about being a bear, developer John Farjay has decided to call it quits.
Farjay seems to have drummed up a small amount of interest over his game Bear Simulator, but in a recent Kickstarter update, the developer wrote:
"Well the game didn’t have a great reception, has a stigma against it’s name and there’s plenty of other problems so making any updates or going further is basically a lost cause now. Plus not skilled enough to make the game better than it currently is or write better updates than previously…Also don’t want to deal with the drama anymore. Can’t ignore it because that causes more drama and can’t do anything about it because that causes more drama…Must be doing this PC game dev thing wrong because it is way too hard to stay happy and productive."
Farjay plans to release one final update that adds a Kickstarter
backer island and fixes a few bugs, but some of the originally-promised Kickstarter stretch goals
may not ultimately be fulfilled. Bear Simulator is still available on PC of $ 14.99 if you want to see what the fuss is all about.
This is sad. It seems that Bear Simulator isn't a great game. It has several negative Steam reviews and even Pewdiepie took the game to task on his YouTube channel. Negative reviews are part of the business, but it's unfortunate when a developer feels overwhelmed by them and hangs up their hat because of an overly negative atmosphere.