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Latest Game Maker’s Toolkit Analyzes Nintendo’s Focus On Play

When he's not examining the dungeons of The Legend of Zelda games, Mark Brown breaks apart the components in other games and uses them to elucidate game design theory. This week, he just so happens to focus on more Nintendo games.

In the latest episode of "The Game Maker's Toolkit," Brown discusses how, rather than starting at a conceptual, aesthetic, or narrative level, Nintendo's games tend to start with a simple idea about play, then expound on that idea. Examples of this include how Super Mario Bros. is built around Mario's ability to jump, and Luigi's Mansion is built around using its vacuum cleaner.

You can watch the video below.

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Strong The Witcher 3 sales free up CD Projekt Red to focus on game dev

It’s been a year and a half since CD Projekt Red first released The Witcher 3, but the game and its two expansion packs continue to bring in money for the Polish game developer. …


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Living Computer Museum rebrands to focus on hands-on dev education

Seattle’s Living Computer Museum is changing its name and revamping its facilities to focus not just on teaching computing technology, but how to use it to visitors’ own ends — including game dev. …


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Zen Studios’ Planet Minigolf Sequel Puts Focus On Customization

Where do you go after colonizing an entire planet with miniature golf? How about someplace endlessly larger? Zen Studios has announced the sequel to Planet Minigolf, a little something called Infinite Minigolf.

Players will be able to customize their avatars, naturally, but they'll also be able to design their own courses, and then share them with friends. The game is coming to Steam Early Access on October 6, with a full release in 2017. The trailer below shows off the first course, Giant Home, in which players experience the always-delightful phenomenon of being a little person in a giant world. 

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The Early Access version of the game is priced at $ 14.99, and the full game will set you back $ 19.99 when it releases next year on PC.

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Overwatch’s Next Animated Short Will Focus On Bastion’s Backstory

Overwatch boasts a cast of diverse characters, which fans have quickly fallen in love with. Blizzard's animated shorts focus on the story of these characters before the events of the game, and Bastion will be the focus of the next in the series.

The transforming robot was controversial at the game's launch for being easy to abuse in multiplayer matches, but subsequent patches have added more balance. The Last Bastion, Blizzard's upcoming animated short, will tell fans what happened when this character awoke in the wilderness after years of inactivity.

The Last Bastion premieres exclusively onstage at Gamescom, August 18 at 9am Pacific time. Fans at home will be able to tune in on Blizzard's livestream to watch as well.

Previous shorts have featured Winston, Hanzo, and Soldier 76. Overwatch launched earlier this summer, revisit our review of the game here.

[Source: Overwatch]

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Capcom Sales Drop 25 Percent Due To Focus On ‘Minor Titles’

Capcom is backloading its fiscal year 2017 releases, pushing major games into the holiday and beyond. The company reports a significant sales dip and net loss for the first quarter of its fiscal year.

Revenues dropped 25 percent to ¥10.9 billion ($ 103.7 million). Combined with a foreign exchange loss of ¥1.3 billion ($ 12.7 million), Capcom reported a net loss of ¥1.4 billion ($ 13.4 million) for the quarter.

Capcom says that its sales dip was due largely to releasing only “minor titles” during the period. The company points to Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Spirit of Justice (released in Japan on June 6) as performing as expected. The company also released the critically panned Umbrella Chronicles during the quarter. 

The company has a few titles on the horizon, including the long awaited Resident Evil 7. Revealed at E3, the game will be out in January. Capcom is also re-releasing Resident Evil 4 in August.

The Dead Rising series will have a big year, too. Dead Rising, Dead Rising 2, and Dead Rising 2: Off the Record will see release on current-gen consoles. Dead Rising 1 will also be making its way to PC for the first time. Dead Rising 4 is due out later this year for Xbox One and PC.

[Source: Capcom]

 

Our Take
It’s too early to tell where Capcom’s year is headed. Monster Hunter Generations sales from the western release have yet to be reported. Dead Rising has typically performed well, and the company has done right by its remasters. Resident Evil 4 is the update people are waiting for, so it’s likely to sell well. As for Resident Evil 7, we still don’t know quite what to make of it, but we’re curious.

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Assassin’s Creed Movie Producer’s New Film Studio Will Focus On Video Game Adaptations

Jean-Julien Baronnet recently departed his position of CEO at Ubisoft Motion Pictures after working on the Assassin's Creed adaptation. His next venture is a studio that will work on more movies based on games.

Marla Studios, named after Baronnet's daughters, will specialize in adapting the stories of popular games for a wider Hollywood audience. In an exclusive interview with Variety, he explained why he thinks so many video game movies have failed because they try to copy the story beat for beat without understanding the change in audience. Baronnet will head Marla Studios and work directly with video game developers to manage their IPs and come up the best idea for a movie. No partner companies have been announced yet.

Assassin's Creed opens on December 21, starring Micheal Fassbender and Marion Cotillard. Before shutting down, Ubisoft Motion Pictures also worked on an idea for a Splinter Cell movie, potentially starring Tom Hardy.

[Source: Variety]

 

Our Take
Baronnet's comments about imagining a new story rather than copying the original are encouraging. It seems that Assassin's Creed is already following this mindset, but the jury is still out until the film opens. I personally have faith in it and hope to see more successful video game movies. Warcraft wasn't a complete trainwreck, but there are better stories out there primed for adaptation. I think this is a great time to revisit an old feature on how to make the Assassin's Creed movie not suck.

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Valve revives Steam Dev Days this year with a new focus on VR

Steam Dev Days, the developer-focused conference Valve debuted in 2014 and then skipped last year, is happening again this fall — and SteamVR is a prime talking point. …


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Why Naughty Dog removed ‘fun’ from its Uncharted 4 focus tests

In a conversation with nascent games hub Glixel, Uncharted 4 creative director Neil Druckmann talks “fun” and how the notion of making a game “fun” can get in the way of enjoyment. …


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Sega Sales Down, But Profit Up Thanks To Focus On Fewer Games

Sega is in the process of shifting strategy in its video game business that is starting to yield some success. The company has decided to focus on fewer games and mainstay IP.

In Japan, Phantasy Star Online 2 continues rake in money. Europeans continue to faithfully purchase Football Manager, which has been a viable franchise for a decade.

Sales were down 5.1 percent to ¥347.98 billion ($ 3.2 billion). Profits climbed out of the red to ¥5.37 billion ($ 49.3 million).

The new fiscal year, which began on April 1, will see the release of the long anticipated Persona 5 from Sega subsidiary Atlus. The company will also be releasing Total War: Warhammer for PC this month. In Japan, Phantasy Star Online 2 will be arriving on PlayStation 4, though there is still no word from Sega on a Western release.

[Source: Sega]

 

Our Take
Western gamers have been clamoring for a Phantasy Star Online 2 release, and given the success in Japan there might be money in it for the publisher. For the coming year though, Persona 5 is the game with the biggest potential in Japan and the West. It’s looking great and the series now has the name recognition to compete in a season that also sees Final Fantasy XV.

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