Last year, Insomniac took a dive into the social games space with browser game Outernauts. Now the company has been forced to close down the online game, in favor of working on a mobile version of the game. …
Rift developer Trion Worlds is taking a different approach to online games with its new project, Trove — a voxel-based game that features procedural generation and user-gen content. …
Nintendo has announced that it will be hosting a Direct presentation tomorrow morning. This time out, the company will be focusing on the 3DS and games that will be coming out for it through early 2014.
No doubt, The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds will get some air time, but appearances from Pokemon X/Y, Yoshi's Island on 3DS, Kirby, and Bravely Default wouldn't be surprising. The 3DS is solidly positioned going into the holiday season and has performed well for Nintendo this year on the back of Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon, Pokemon X/Y, and Mario and Luigi Dream Team.
There's no doubt that Nintendo should be pushing the 3DS to make as much of the handheld as possible. The timing of this Nintendo Direct is very unfortunate, though. There is a lot of attention on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One right now, and that might drown out the Nintendo Direct buzz.
After leaving triple-A, Josh Sutphin struck out as an indie — but several failed projects later, he reflects on the true difficulty encountered when treading that road. …
Capcom’s forthcoming flagship fighter update Ultra Street Fighter 4 will introduce two new gameplay mechanics, which add an additional layer of defensive and offensive utility to the game’s existing stable of meters and gameplay systems.
“Ultra Combo Double,” the first new mechanic, allows players to select both of their character’s Ultra Combos, rather than one or the other, as has been the case since the original Street Fighter 4. The price paid for this strategic advantage is that each Ultra Combo does less damage than it would under normal circumstances, trading raw power for the added utility of multiple Ultras. Classical, single-Ultra options are still available, of course.
“Red Focus Attack,” the other new addition, is a modified form of the game’s existing Focus Attack system. Whereas regular Focus Attacks can absorb the damage from a single attack, Red Focus Attacks can absorb damage from multiple attacks, at the cost of Super Meter. Beyond the fact that Red Focus Attacks can still be dash cancelled, however, no further information was provided with regards to how a Red Focus Attack is executed, or how much meter the technique costs.
As part of its restructuring efforts, the company canceled a previously unannounced Iron Man-licensed game that had entered production. Disney Interactive additionally passed on its option to produce multiple Star Wars-licensed games following its parent company’s purchase of Lucasfilm earlier this year.
According to the Wall Street Journal’s report, Disney Infinity cost the company more than $ 100 million to produce. The risk is great, but Disney counts on a big payoff, as Activision’s competing Skylanders series has raked in more than $ 1.5 billion in sales since its launch in 2011.
Disney positions Infinity as a boost for its faltering Interactive division, which has incurred more than $ 1.41 billion in losses since its formation in 2008.
“If Infinity does well, it bodes very well for the bottom line of this unit,” Disney CEO Robert Iger told the Wall Street Journal. “If it doesn’t do well, the opposite will be the case.”
“It’s a Hail Mary with a tremendous amount of pressure to be a hit,” said an unnamed source who recently left Disney’s video game division.
Over the past few years, we've seen an unprecedented number of studio closures and industry layoffs. According to a report by Screen Digest in 2005, development budgets ranged from $ 3 million to $ 6 million. Study author Marc de Gentile-Williams predicted that in extreme cases, budgets on the Wii, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3 would pass $ 20 million. He was a little low.
In 2010, M2 Research stated that average costs ranged between $ 18 million and $ 28 million, with major titles like God of War III, the Call of Duty franchise, and Grand Theft Auto titles busting through the high end of that range. As we saw with Square Enix's recent titles, even sales exceeding previous franchise entries weren't enough to keep Tomb Raider from being deemed underperforming.
The focus is turning away from increasing sales and toward reining in excessive budgets. One way developers and publishers can do this while managing staffing needs is to engage outside organizations. This is the focus of the External Development Summit 2013 (XDS) to be held in Vancouver from September 3 – 5, 2013.
Speakers from Electronic Arts, GREE, Blizzard, BioWare, and more will complement networking opportunities. While the focus isn't the end consumer, the topics discussed have an impact on how games are made. If you are a developer and interested in attending, or simply want to find out more, visit the XDS website.
Overblown budgets continue to plague development, and economical use of existing assets is crucial to ensuring that sales can recover costs. We've seen a number of good-but-not-great titles considered to be underperforming with dire impact. Layoffs and studio closures are all too common. If there's any way to return to a time when there was a place for "good" games (as opposed to the "hits" and "bombs" that define the industry now), it should be explored.
“I love consoles but internally we’re a lot more excited about where mobile’s going to go, and being able to plug it right into a next gen cellphone,” Iribe said. “Those things are almost doubling every year, compared to a console that’s just stuck it out for eight years.”
Iribe hopes to have the Oculus Rift on the market by next year, but he’s unwilling to make any promises.
“We don’t want to announce any dates because frankly we just don’t know when it’s going to be really ready,” Iribe said. “You have the form factor, HD, motion blur…we don’t know how long that will take.”
Marcin Iwinski, co-founder of CD Projekt Red, says his company has a pretty straightforward recipe for success: Stick to what you know and respect your audience.
“You will not see from us a lot of diverse stuff. We will not suddenly start making racing games, because I do not think that is where our strength is,” Iwinski told Gamasutra. “At the end of the day, what really matters is the experience which you are having with the game when it’s out. And this is the one unique moment which defines us. If it’s an average experience, pretty much what we are doing every day doesn’t make sense.”
Iwinski also said respecting gamers has a direct correlation to sales, using CD Projekt Red’s handling of The Witcher series as an example. CD Projekt Red produced the first game then The Witcher: Enhanced Edition, followed by The Witcher 2 and The Witcher 2: Enhanced Edition. Rather than charge PC players for the Enhanced Edition content, CD Projekt offered the DLC up for free. Iwinski said this choice was made because “we think we could have done better” so “here it is.”
Iwinski added that gamers “appreciate” that approach and “they tell their friends we are doing a good job and we respect them. And ultimately it will result in a sale.” Some may wonder why CD Projekt Red would offer the content for free and not charge for it, to which Iwinski replies, “I think the value in the whole proposition is that we are honest, straightforward, and fair, and this pays back. So you can call it a business model, in a way.”
Iwata ‘very willing to change’ current Wii U situation, focus is momentum ‘towards end of this year’
“Our focus is, first of all, to regain the momentum of the Wii U towards the end of this year, and then we’ll try to establish successful third-party Wii U software titles,” Nintendo president and CEO Satoru Iwata told IGN. “I believe in the importance of third-party support for Nintendo platforms. I’m very willing to change the current situation.”
Despite an exclusive agreement with Sega that locked in Sonic: Lost World on Nintendo platforms, third-party support on Wii U is practically non-existent now – a topic of conversation during our interview with Nintendo of America corporate communications head honcho, Charles Scibetta, last week at E3. That same week, EA told us the decision to forgo Wii U ports of its popular FIFA and Madden franchises this year was simply a “rational” business decision. Nintendo COO Reggie Fils-Aime told IGN that EA in fact does have Wii U projects in development, “just nothing coming out this fall” for the system.
“Looking at this through the prism of a business decision, if I’m a third-party publisher, what I want is that I want a large, diverse installed base to invest in my development and be able to monetize against that large installed base. That’s why, from a Nintendo first-party perspective, we have to drive the installed base,” Fils-Aime said. “We need a diverse group of consumers. Not just core, not just casual, but a broad, diverse group of consumers within that installed base, so that whether you’re Ubi with Assassin’s Creed or with Just Dance, you’re feeling confident that your game is going to find a home. You’ll be able to monetize your development.”
Iwata elaborated that while Nintendo is good at some things, the company can’t satisfy all on the platform. Some players want experiences that Nintendo simply can’t offer – that’s why third-party support is so crucial. had infinite development resources, the company may be able to satisfy all – but that’s simply not the reality of the situation. “There are huge numbers of fans of Nintendo software, but at the same time, those types of players still sometimes want to play something else on our platform. Because of that, we always need third parties to support us, in order to make our platform complete.”