“We wanted to make a sports game and take the piss out of it,” explains Alex Ward of Three Fields Entertaianment. “It’s fun to see things break.” …
Poor Sales Could Have Killed This Small Developer, But Its Publisher Is Breaking The Industry’s Fatal Cycle
The gaming industry has an all too predictable pattern. If a game sells well, it gets a sequel or the developer gets to live for at least one more game. If a title does poorly, it could mean doom, especially for small, newer studios.
Raw Fury, a relatively new boutique publisher, recently released its second game, Kathy Rain. The company’s first game, Kingdom, covered expenses in the first 24 hours. Kathy Rain, a '90s-inspired point-and-click adventure, didn’t fare quite as well.
Instead of parting ways with Joel Staaf Hästö, the one-man development team known as Clifftop Games, Raw Fury is taking the long view. The company is confident that with some time, the revenue will catch up with the critical acclaim Kathy Rain has received.
“It will take a bit of time but that’s A-OK,” the company writes. “We were prepared for that. We can afford to be patient. We have money for a rainy day. We can wait. But do you know who can’t wait? Joel. The developer.”
Because publishers usually hold revenue sharing until their own investment is paid off, developers run the risk of folding when their games have a slow burn. Publishers are often diversified and factor in risk. Developers, especially small studios, are laser focused on their single game.
“Some of us here at Raw Fury have spent many years on the developer’s side, and we are intricately familiar with The Developer’s Valley of Death,” the company says. “As the weeks and months pass by, you start to grow desperate. Maybe you take on a work-for-hire contract that, essentially, takes away some (or all) of your independence. Maybe you get more money from the publisher in exchange for the IP, an additional share of the revenues, your second child ,or some other added constraints. Maybe you just stop independent development altogether and walk away.”
As an alternative, Raw Fury is funding Clifftop Games for the next 12 months or until expenses are recuperated and royalties are shared. They aren’t taking the IP, and only require a mobile version to be finished, which was part of their original deal. Hästö is already working on something new, and Raw Fury isn’t demanding first right of refusal to publish in return for the extended financing.
On the surface, this seems like folly. It certainly flies in the face of what people would consider a sound business decision, but Raw Fury says there’s something more than money at stake.
“Our long term growth is found in our reputation, approach, and behavior,” the company says. “We want our actions to speak loudly. We’ve helped create and publish two amazing games already and here is an opportunity to affect a broader change when it comes to the dynamics of a classic publisher/developer relationship. And we truly want to be a catalyst of change.”
Ultimately, Raw Fury says this is about redefining success to be about more than money. And ultimately, the publisher seeks to rebalance the concept of making games to give the artistic value more weight in the equation.
“In this day where closing studios is the established and accepted norm, we want to do our part to combat the norm, the company writes. “We want to challenge how success is measured and point out that money shouldn’t be the only applied metric. In an industry that is smack full of impostor syndrome, depression, anxiety, and other things that are sometimes associated with the emotional work that goes into creativity, it is also important to think about how we measure success and failure. Of course money is important, as an enabler, but sometimes you need help creating something that doesn’t only serve commercial value, but an artistic need. Not acknowledging that is to miss the point of making games.”
[Source: Raw Fury]
I’m a pragmatist, and as one, the idea of funding a developer without quid pro quo feels alien. However, Raw Fury does an admirable job of reminding me (and hopefully others) about the importance of games as a medium. This kind of faith in a developer and the resulting artistic product isn’t unique, but it is rare.
This isn’t about Raw Fury putting the developer’s needs in front of its own. That would be a mistake. Instead, this is a publisher redefining how it views success and investing in its future by prioritizing good will. When you look at it through that lens, this might not be the right business decision for every company, but it is the right one for this company.
According to recent Nielsen surveys of over 2,000 men and women, the audience for eSports is a small sliver of the population (less than 10 percent) and overwhelmingly male Millennials. …
Hellblade, the upcoming game from Ninja Theory, the studio behind the recent Devil May Cry reboot and Enslaved: Odyssey to the West, has changed its name.
It's a small change, and it's very likely most will continue to refer to the game simply as Hellblade, but it's new name is Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice. Senua is the protagonist's name. You can see Senua in the image above.
For more on Hellblade, specifically focusing on Senua's struggle with mental illness, head here. Hellblade is coming to PlayStation 4 and PC this year.
(This article originally appeared on September 27, 2009. Today, we revisit things in honor of the PS2's 15th anniversary.)
With over 100 million units sold worldwide and a lifespan stretching far beyond any other console to date, the PlayStation 2 is the most successful video game platform of all time. As they say, a system is only as good as its games, and the PlayStation 2 provides a library fit for its 100 million players. As we compiled this list, we found hundreds of games that we would love to play again. Paring down to just 25 proved to be difficult, as the PlayStation 2 wasn’t graced by just great individual games, but entire series worthy of playing. Here is Game Informer’s selection for the Top 25 must-play PlayStation 2 games or series.
25 Disgaea series
How deep can a turn-based strategy game get? Disgaea shows us that they can get absurdly deep. You can customize your troops, enhance your weapons, and be treated to some big laughs with its kooky cast of characters.
If you’ve played the Fatal Frame games, there is no shame in sleeping with a flashlight or second-guessing what goes bump in the night. This series’ unnerving atmosphere and expertise in scare tactics warrant a high pitched scream and perhaps even a stain in your pants.
23 Shadow of the Colossus
Dangle from the chin hairs of a beast 100 times your size as it tries to swat you like a fly. Nothing compares.
22 Dark Cloud series
21 Need for Speed: Underground
With four outstanding racing types, insanely deep vehicle customization, and a look that could kill, Need for Speed: Underground lights the fires and kicks the tires like few racing games can. It made tuning a mainstay in gaming, and has led to many gamers “pimping” out their Camrys.
20 SSX 3
With one gigantic mountain beneath your boots, you don’t need to hop around the world in SSX 3. Players can nibble on it bite by bite, or bomb the entire thing, trying to keep one combo going from summit to lodge.
19 Hot Shots Golf series
Hot Shots doesn’t change much, but it doesn’t have to when it’s the master of the three-click swing and offers so many fun customization items and wacky characters. Hot Shots excels at being easy to learn, but the game also throws up plenty of challenges and requires nerves of steel.
Painting with a wolf may sound like a potential throat being ripped out, but Capcom proved that this unlikely combination could deliver one of the most memorable and unique adventures of this generation. Okami looks like a painting that came to life, and offers amazing gameplay with its inventive brush-stroke techniques.
17 Onimusha series
If we told you there is a series about famous Japanese legends retold and embellished with supernatural elements using popular modern day actors, you’d probably expect it to be marketing crap. However, Onimusha’s blend of constant action, Resident Evil-style puzzles, and stunning CG sequences made it a game you’d be wrong to judge harshly.
16 Prince of Persia series
Running along walls and leaping over spinning blades can be a blast, especially when you can rewind time if you happen to lose a leg in the process. The Prince of Persia trilogy is an adventurer’s dream come true, blending flashy swordplay with a good dose of puzzle solving.
15 Burnout Revenge
It managed to outdrive the excellent Burnout 3 and was the last appearance of Crash Mode, God rest its soul.
14 Jak & Daxter series
Though there is a huge seam in the middle of the series separating the playful, kid-friendly atmospheres of the first game from the darker, more story-centric narratives of the second two, all three Jak and Daxter titles have a perfect blend of action and platforming. You never do the same thing twice in a Jak game, and that means you’re never bored.
Who would have thought a game with so much hand-holding and stick swinging would become a masterpiece?
12 Madden NFL series
The long-running Madden series made several significant evolutionary steps on the PlayStation 2. While it should be remembered for its introduction to online play and remarkably deep gameplay, most people will remember it for Michael Vick – the most skilled video game athlete since Bo Jackson.
11 Kingdom Hearts series
Seeing Goofy prance around with your favorite Final Fantasy characters might be hard to digest, but once you get a taste of Kingdom Hearts’ spellbinding storytelling and razor-sharp combat, you won’t hold back from placing your Sephiroth statue next to your Winnie the Pooh teddy bear.
10 Devil May Cry 1 & 3
Swords and guns are nothing new to gaming, but Devil May Cry combines them in a fast and fluid combat system that essentially created the “stylish action” genre. Using crazy combos and lightning quick reflexes, this series pushes your skills to the limit while dishing out hardcore thrills – providing you overlook the second game..
9 Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 3
The PS2 was gifted with a new Tony Hawk title every year, but only one is deserving of skating immortality. Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 3 introduced the revert maneuver, which allows a combo to be continued after a vert trick. This move opens the way to lengthy million-point runs that we dedicated hundreds of hours to perfecting.
8 Ratchet & Clank series
Who says the platforming genre has grown stale? Who says cartoon graphics can’t look fantastic? Who says you shouldn’t turn your enemies into farm animals? Not Insomniac. The company consistently combined action, platforming, and RPG elements to create one of the funniest, most polished video game series on the market.
7 Gran Turismo series
Hundreds of photo-realistic cars all tuned to mimic their real-life counterparts set the bar for the racing simulation genre. Thanks to Gran Turismo, we expect our racing games to not only offer a wealth of real-life cars, but also test our racing abilities and push our engine to the limit.
6 Guitar Hero series
It may not have been the first music game, but Guitar Hero is certainly the one that popularized the genre. By mixing the best of rock music with a control scheme that scales remarkably well for beginners and long-time music aficionados, the game couldn’t help but blossom into a worldwide phenomenon.
5 Final Fantasy X & XII
Forget about the side-stories and massively multiplayer forays; these two Final Fantasy titles are the best role-playing experiences you’ll find on the PS2. Whether it’s through the touching stories, fantastic visuals, or innovative gameplay mechanics, these games exemplify why Final Fantasy is the industry’s most trusted name in console RPGs.
4 God of War series
In an afternoon, you could say that you toppled a giant, dethroned a god, and wowed the ladies. Both God of War games turn you into an unstoppable wrecking machine, and you can feel Kratos’ fury with every brutal slash of his blades. In addition to a well-oiled combat system, this series uses mind-bending puzzles and cinematic flair to create a classic Greek tale of vengeance.
3 Resident Evil 4
This next statement will likely make you tear up a little, but if you’ve played Resident Evil 4, you know it’s true. This series is better without zombies. The one game not featuring brain-eaters is the series’ most impressive act. In all fairness, however, this is a complete departure for the series. RE 4’s revolutionary over-the-shoulder targeting system, heart-pounding pacing, and inventive enemy designs make it nearly impossible to put down.
2 Metal Gear Solid series
Hideo Kojima is the gaming industry’s consummate auteur. As a writer, director, and designer, he has crafted a series frequently cited as a work of video game art. Both PS2 Metal Gear titles, Sons of Liberty and Snake Eater, feature epic storytelling, cinematography, and gameplay. They paved the way for action games in multiple genres, and showed us that games can be just as much fun to watch as they are to play.
1 Grand Theft Auto series
Grand Theft Auto has proven it can sell millions of copies on any system it touches, but its true rise to power began on PlayStation 2. The first installment to grace this console was Grand Theft Auto III. Its revolutionary open world gameplay changed the landscape of gaming, and its exclusivity to PlayStation 2 (at least for a time) helped cement this console as the generation leader. In the United States, Grand Theft Auto III has sold 5.7 million copies on PlayStation 2. Its sequel, Vice City, which allowed players to tower over society like a kingpin, significantly expanded the series’ fan base with 6.8 million copies sold. The third entry, San Andreas, blew the doors off of what we could expect from the sandbox experience with not one, but three cities, and was handsomely rewarded for its innovative gameplay with a staggering 7.6 million copies sold in the States. There was no bigger event in the PS2 era than the release of a new GTA. It was truly the Grand Theft Auto generation.
A report has surfaced indicating that personally identifiable information tied to some EA accounts has been made public. The data has been removed from Pastebin, on which it appeared, but not before the exposure allegedly caused problems for some.
The initial report of the breach came from CSO, which says it was contacted by an individual whose email address, password, and game list were present in the dump. According to the story, some of the information present has been tied to other breaches, including the recent Patreon intrusion.
When reached for comment, an EA representative told us that there was no evidence of a breach resulting in the data dump. “Privacy and security is our top priority at EA,” the representative tells us via email. “At this point, we have no indication that this list was obtained through an intrusion of our account databases. In an abundance of caution, we're taking steps to secure any account that has an EA user ID that matches the usernames on this list. As always, we encourage all players to safeguard their account credentials and use unique usernames and passwords on all online accounts.”
Given that there are parallels between the data that appeared in this dump and other breaches, other possibilities exist. It’s not uncommon for some to use the same password on multiple services. Doing so would have allowed access to Origin accounts without directly mining data from EA.
What isn’t entirely clear is how the game lists were culled. It’s possible to gather that information from any user's Origin client if others haven’t made their libraries private. Additionally, if the accounts were breached using already exposed information, the lists could have been generated manually.
"The number of actual valid/active accounts in the list was very small," EA told us. This further indicates that the data was second-hand and not directly accessed from EA services.
EA is no stranger to accusations of data breach. In December 2014, users reported unexpected charges on their Origin accounts. When approached for comment, EA told us that there was no evidence of intrusion at that time either.
It’s a good idea to use different passwords for every service. This way, if one happens to suffer an intrusion, the others are protected. Yes, it’s a pain. But dealing with fraudulent charges and changing all your passwords because of one problem is no joy either.
Yesterday, we reported that the latest patch for The Witcher 3 was causing a glitch with experience gain from quests. CD Projekt Red is aware and working on it, with a projected timetable to address the issue.
The problem, which appears seems to be affecting some individuals on all platforms according to a recent post from community and website coordinator Marcin Momot. "We would like to let everyone know that we are aware of the XP glitch players are reporting and we are working to have it fixed as soon as possible across all platforms (Monday for PC & patch 1.04 on consoles in the following days)," Momot writes.
Unfortunately, if you progressed after the bug hit, you won't suddenly get a surge of missing experience when the patch arrives. "The XP won't be added back for the finished quests. Sorry about this," Momot confirms.
However, he says players should still be able to finish the game in the level range intended by the developers. "At the same time we want to shed some light on the issue," Momot says. "First of all, it doesn't impact the game balance in any significant way. Also, you will be able to finish the game with your character achieving a level within the threshold we had in mind when we designed the game."
Also, if your eyes are suffering from the small text, you'll be happy to know relief is on the way. Momot confirmed on Twitter that patch 1.04 will fix this problem. For more on The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, check out our review.
[Source: CD Projekt Red]
It seems like the best course of action is to save your game and see if you're hit by the bug. If not, you might be in the clear. If you are, it looks like you'll need to make other gaming plans this weekend.
While Link’s attire hasn’t changed much across three decades of The Legend of Zelda games, other elements have undergone more drastic transformations. In a video from YouTube creator Master0fHyrule (whom we’ve featured before), you can see how these mystical creatures have changed over the years.
The footage below features 25 games, the Super Mario Bros. Super Show cartoon, and the manga. As you’ll see the winged healers have matured through the years, across home and handheld consoles.
(Please visit the site to view this media)
And, in case you were concerned, Tingle has not been forgotten. He may not really be a fairy (or is he?), but the lovable and slightly creepy fairy fan has earned his place among the twinkling creatures.
EA has confirmed to Game Informer that a small number of staff have been laid off at Visceral. The studio is working on a confirmed, but as yet unspecified Star Wars project.
“We made a small staffing change in our Visceral studio today to support the needs of the studio’s two current development priorities: content for Battlefield Hardline Premium and an unannounced Star Wars project,” an EA representative told us via email. “We are working to ensure the smoothest transition possible for the impacted employees.”
EA did confirm that Amy Hennig and Todd Stashwick, who are working on the Star Wars project, are unaffected by these changes. EA declined to share specific numbers impacted by the change.
In April, Visceral’s Steve Papoutsis left EA after 14 years. Scott Probst currently leads Visceral’s efforts, including work on follow-up content for Battlefield Hardline and the upcoming Star Wars game.
While we’re glad to hear that a small number of people are impacted, any job loss is sad news. Our thoughts are with those who are affected.
Unity’s GDC press conference was geared toward not just showcasing Unity 5, but marrying the company’s longtime message of democratized development with a focus on how damn good Unity games can look. …