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Xbox Revisited Excerpt: Behind the scenes of Xbox 360′s development

In this excerpt of Robbie Bach’s Xbox Revisited, the former Xbox frontman offers a behind-the-scenes look at Microsoft’s plan for Xbox 360 (or “Project Xenon”) in the wake of a lackluster predecessor. …

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Microsoft’s Long Game: Inside Quantum Break’s Challenging Development

We've shared our hands-on impressions of Quantum Break's gameplay, but now we want to reverse time a bit and talk about how the game came to be. While visiting Remedy Entertainment's studio in Espoo, Finland for our December cover story, we spoke with the team about how Quantum Break evolved from an idea in Alan Wake into a full-blown Microsoft exclusive.

Creative director Sam Lake, game director Mikael Kasurinen, and narrative designer Greg Louden share details on the creation of the television show and why the game's development has taken such a long time.

Watch the video below to see new footage from Quantum Break and learn how the game evolved alongside Microsoft's shifting focus with the Xbox One.

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To learn more about Quantum Break, click on the banner below to enter our hub of exclusive content rolling out throughout the month. – The Feed

Fallout 4 Development Began By Porting The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim To Xbox One

At the tail end of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim's development, Bethesda Game Studios was already hard at work on Fallout 4, even without knowing the specs of the hardware the game would release on. Microsoft and Sony communicated closely with Bethesda about the plans for the Xbox One and PlayStation 4, but Bethesda didn't want to rush ahead and make Fallout 4 a launch title, a break in tradition as The Elder Scrolls: Morrowind and Oblivion were both launch window titles.

Bethesda instead viewed a longer development time frame – one that allowed the team to properly gather data before starting development on the new hardware. When I visited Bethesda Game Studios last month, Todd Howard and other key members from the development team walked me through Fallout 4's creation. Early on in our talks, Howard smiled at me and said, "The first thing we did was port Skyrim to Xbox One." After a brief pause, he quickly blurted out, "Don't get your hopes up yet."

This was strictly an exercise that allowed the team to understand the new hardware faster. Although Howard implied there's a chance of Skyrim coming to Xbox One with his "yet," I was led to believe there wasn't anything brewing at the moment.

Regardless, as we count the days until Fallout 4's release next Tuesday, we can dream about the idea of Skyrim, one of the previous gen's most beloved games, coming to new-gen hardware.

For this month's issue, we got the awesome opportunity to visit Bethesda Game Studios and find out how it tackled making the highly anticipated and secretive Fallout 4. The entire Making of Fallout 4 article is available now for Game Informer Digital subscribers, and will be released on Game Informer's website this Friday. – The Feed

Inside The Development Of Ms. Pac-Man

Pac-Man is a very Japanese game from a Japanese game maker, so it may seem strange that the seeds for its superior sequel grew on American soil. Then again, the story behind Ms. Pac-Man is far from normal. Throughout the years, the legend of Ms. Pac-Man has grown to almost mythical proportions. It’s been said that the game was originally an illegal hack created by two MIT students. Then there was its connection to the urban legend about a Pac-Man-with-legs game, a rare cabinet that was rumored to have floated through the wilds of American arcades during the ‘80s. Not every rumor about arcade’s first lady is true, but the truth – as it turns out – is far more impressive than any fiction. “We’ve never made an attempt at correcting things,” says Doug Macrae, General Computer Corporation co-founder and one of the men who helped create Ms. Pac-Man. “But maybe it’s about time.”

[Editor's Note: This feature originally appearing in issue 201 of Game Informer Magazine]

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology has changed a lot in the last three decades, but one thing has stayed the same: Its students still take time away from their busy class schedules to blow off steam with video games. As students, Doug Macrae and Kevin Curran spent a fair number of quarters in the arcade during their off hours. Except this was 1977, so it was pinball eating away their pocket change, not Street Fighter.

During his sophomore year Macrae inherited a pinball machine from his older brother. Nothing if not an entrepreneur, Macrae set the machine up on campus hoping he could earn a little pocket change. The machine proved to be so profitable that Macrae asked Curran to join him as a business partner, and the two expanded the business to more than 20 pinball machines and arcade cabinets. Macrae and Curran practically owned MIT’s arcade.

Macrae and Curran’s first attempt at modding a game was the result of waning enthusiasm over Missile Command. The Atari game had exploded onto the arcade scene in July of 1980. It initially proved to be so popular on the MIT campus that Macrae and Curran purchased three machines. However, by spring break of the duo’s senior year the title had lost people’s interest. “The coin collecting on them had fallen dramatically,” Macrae explains. “People had gotten rather bored with the game, or they had gotten really good with the game, because it was relatively simple and repetitive.” Macrae and Curran knew the game needed some modification if they wanted to keep making money with Missile Command.

Within the arcade business of the era, an underground market developed for something called enhancement kits. Also known as speed up kits, these circuit boards plugged into preexisting arcade cabinets, interrupting the original game’s programming and laying new code on top of an old game. Enhancement kits were not always legal, but they were far cheaper than buying an entirely new arcade cabinet. Since these kits altered a game’s mechanics by adding new weapons, enemies, and power-ups, it was often all an arcade owner needed to see renewed interest and fresh quarters pumping back into a stalling cabinet.

Macrae and Curran looked for an enhancement kit to Missile Command, but no one had yet figured out how to create one for the game. “This was a more sophisticated game back in that day,” explains Steve Golson, one of Macrae’s longtime friends and an eventual business associate. “Missile Command required an intricate knowledge of how the program worked in order to enhance the game and make it more difficult. No one had cracked the code yet.”

Not to be discouraged, Macrae and Curran took matters into their own hands and made their own enhancement kit for Missile Command. Within a few days the two students had filed paperwork to incorporate a new business called General Computer Corporation, bought a microprocessing development system, and with the help of four friends began work on Super Missile Attack.

The Super Missile Attack kits were an instant success. So successful, in fact, that the duo began circulating four-color ads for sale in trade magazines like Play Meter and Replay Magazine. This immediately attracted the attention of Missile Command’s publisher, Atari, who filed a temporary restraining order against General Computer Corporation. “We ended up in court with Atari,” Macrae remembers. “Atari didn’t understand what we were doing and why we did it. Many people were copying ROMs at the time, and I think that was their initial assumption.”

The Legend  of Crazy Otto
The week of January 18, 1982, Time magazine ran a cover story called
“Games That Play People.” Time commissioned a photographer to take
several pictures of Pac-Man arcade cabinets around the country. “There
were something like 90,000 Pac-Man cabinets in the U.S. at the time,”
explains Steve Golson, one of the game’s primary engineers. “There were
only three Crazy Otto machines, which Midway was using for market
research.” Somehow the photographer ended up taking photos in the only
Massachusetts arcade that contained a Crazy Otto cabinet. The photos
that Time printed helped reinforce the urban legend that somewhere out
there was an elusive arcade cabinet where Pac-Man had grown legs.

The Atari suit lasted through part of the summer of 1981, but out-of-court negotiations began when Atari realized that it would rather have this group of ambitious students (though many of them had dropped out at this point) working for them, not fighting against them. “They dropped the case with prejudice,” explains Macrae, “meaning they admitted they should not have sued us. At the same time we entered into a development agreement to develop games for them, which was our original goal anyway.”

In a matter of months Macrae, Curran, and the few programmers they had hired to help build Super Missile Attack found their fortunes turned around. They were no longer starving college students running a home-brew business in a showdown with a multi-million dollar company. Suddenly they found themselves financed by an industry giant, developing consumer products that would sell millions. Under the General Computer Corporation name Macrae, Curran, and their expanding team of programmers went on to produce 76 different titles for Atari’s home consoles, including memorable arcade ports of Centipede, Dig Dug, Robotron, Pole Position, and Galaga. That same team even contributed to the hardware design of Atari’s 7800 home console. However, another enhancement kit made by Macrae and Curran would prove to be the duo’s most lasting mark on the video game world. – The Feed

Learn How Silent Hill’s Development Change-ups Led To An Inconsistent Franchise

Each Silent Hill entry, following The Room, had a strange development process, leading to inconsistent releases and a disappointing HD collection.

The latest from Did You Know Gaming looks at the series' development history showing how the series was often changing hands at inopportune times, and explains why the HD collection, which included Silent Hill 2 and 3, had so many issues.

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You can check out other videos from the Did You Know Gaming channel covering Sonic Adventure 2, Jak & Daxter, amiibo, Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, Persona, Dr. Mario, Dragon Age, Zelda: Majora's Mask, Tetris, Monster Hunter, Grand Theft Auto, Halo, more Halo, The Last of Us, Pokémon, more Pokémon, Assassin's Creed, Mario, Jet Set Radio, Mega Man, Fire Emblem, Donkey Kong, Killer Instinct, Rayman, Mass Effect, Dragon Quest, Guitar Hero, Final Fantasy, Castlevania, Star Fox, Punch-Out, Metroid, Zelda, more Zelda, even more Zelda, Final Fight, Doom, Dragon Ball Z, multiple Super Smash Bros. videos, Team Fortress 2, Harvest Moon, Tony Hawk's Pro Skater, the history of the NES, Genesis, Dreamcast, PlayStation 2, Xbox, GameCube, Nintendo 64, the DS, the PlayStation, PlayStation 3, and two covering the Game Boy by hitting the links.

[Source: Did You Know Gaming] – The Feed

Report: Sony Has No First-Party Vita Games In Development

The writing has been on the wall for some time that Sony isn’t investing in big titles for the Vita. A new report indicates that the company has pulled back even further.

Speaking with Japanese outlet 4Gamer (and translated by Siliconera), Sony executive vice president Masayasu Ito delivered the bad news. “Currently, there are no first party titles that are in development for the PlayStation Vita,” says Ito. “Third party companies are working hard on the PlayStation Vita, so we here at SCE have strategized to focus on our new platform of PlayStation 4.”

When we spoke with Sony president of worldwide studios Shuhei Yoshida at E3, he explained why the company was starting to shift its focus. "The expectation of the graphical quality and size of the world for these type of games have risen after the launch of PlayStation 4,” he said. “The same thing happened with the PSP. People were so excited to be able to play PS2 graphics games on the go. After PS3 launched, expectations grew. The types of games on PSP were not as attractive."

While Sony doesn’t have anything in the pipeline for its own device, that doesn’t mean games are drying up entirely. Many indie studios have opted to port PS3 and PS4 games to the device, while offering cross-buy incentives.

Still coming in the near future are Volume, Sword Art Online: Lost Song, Dynasty Warriors 8: Empires, Lego Marvel’s Avengers, Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth, Darkest Dungeon, and more. 

[Source: 4Gamer via Siliconera]


Our Take
Sony has been slowly backing off the Vita for quite a while now. Unfortunately, that meant that the PlayStation TV met an early demise, too. Decisions like this are what gives me pause about the long-term prospects for PlayStation VR. I love the technology, but I’m not confident Sony will support it long-term. – The Feed

Report: Nintendo rolls out NX software development kits

According to a report by the Wall Street Journal, Nintendo has already started sending out software development kits for its upcoming NX console. …

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Indie developer tax issues: Is game development your hobby or your business?

“When it comes to taxes, the IRS has their own ideas about what constitutes a hobby or a business. According to their fact sheet on the subject, as much as $ 30 billion a year is lost.” …

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Ex-Witcher devs found studio dedicated to wide-open game development

Former CD Projekt Red developers Chris Hardwick and Dan Cordell have pulled back the curtain on Wickerman Games, a UK-based indie studio built around the principles transparent game development. …

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Sympathy for the dragon drives Kamiya’s development of Scalebound

Gamasutra chats with PlatinumGames’ Hideki Kamiya to learn a bit more about what passions influence his design of Scalebound, and how his long career in the game industry has shaped its development. …

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