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Step up your teaching game by attending GDC 2017′s Education Summit

Don’t miss out on these great education-focused talks that will be taking place during the Education Summit at GDC 2017 later this month! …


Gamasutra News

Step back into the light: A game dev’s year-end reflection

Being a developer is different now versus ten or even five years ago. Between angry mobs and bitter colleagues, it’s easy to lose yourself to anger. It’s time for us to step back into the light. …


Gamasutra News

Reader Discussion – Is No Man’s Sky’s ‘Foundation’ Update A Step In The Right Direction?

When No Man's Sky released this past summer, it's without a doubt that it failed to meet many fans' expectations. Today, a significantly large update went live, addressing many of the problems from the base game, and adding features such as farming, freighters, and building your own bases. Is it enough? Are these additions coming too late, or do you think there's room for No Man's Sky to see improvement?

Are you someone who didn't enjoy No Man's Sky when it released? Is this and the promise of future updates enough to bring you back to the game? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

www.GameInformer.com – The Feed

Reader Discussion – Is No Man’s Sky’s ‘Foundation’ Update A Step In The Right Direction?

When No Man's Sky released this past summer, it's without a doubt that it failed to meet many fans' expectations. Today, a significantly large update went live, addressing many of the problems from the base game, and adding features such as farming, freighters, and building your own bases. Is it enough? Are these additions coming too late, or do you think there's room for No Man's Sky to see improvement?

Are you someone who didn't enjoy No Man's Sky when it released? Is this and the promise of future updates enough to bring you back to the game? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

www.GameInformer.com – The Feed

Reader Discussion – Is No Man’s Sky’s ‘Foundation’ Update A Step In The Right Direction?

When No Man's Sky released this past summer, it's without a doubt that it failed to meet many fans' expectations. Today, a significantly large update went live, addressing many of the problems from the base game, and adding features such as farming, freighters, and building your own bases. Is it enough? Are these additions coming too late, or do you think there's room for No Man's Sky to see improvement?

Are you someone who didn't enjoy No Man's Sky when it released? Is this and the promise of future updates enough to bring you back to the game? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

www.GameInformer.com – The Feed

Sony Santa Monica and WIGI step up to help Girl Scouts earn game dev patch

Sony Santa Monica is teaming up with Women In Games International to host a set of game design workshops for the Girl Scouts of Greater Los Angeles to help them earn patches in game design. …


Gamasutra News

This Is The Police Review – Put Down The Mouse And Step Away From This Game

The news isn’t great. My wages have been slashed to a shadow of what they used to be, as punishment for me telling my officers to respond to a peaceful rally with force. Never mind that the mayor gave me the order, with the threat of further staffing cuts if I didn’t toe the line – the same mayor previously demanded that I fire all of my black officers. Whatever. I could falsify evidence and shift the blame to the mob, but why bother? I only have a few months left on the job, and I need to keep my Mafioso relations strong – they’re selling the coke I found on a bust, after all. This is the Police lets you walk a tightrope as a shady police chief on his way out of office, but it’s far from a thrill. One false step and you find yourself facing a long fall (and lost progress) that keeps you further away from the end of this too-long interactive spreadsheet.

Jack Boyd’s days of walking the beat are long past him. Instead, players keep track of the streets of Freeburg via a tabletop diorama. After waking up, reading the morning’s jokey newspaper headlines, starting up your car, and picking the day’s music from your jazz library, your shift begins with a look at that model city. Calls start trickling in, and you have to manage staffing and prioritize your responses. 

Not all calls are created equal; you’re provided with a rough description of the situation and slots to drop corresponding officers. You get a sense of the severity of the call by looking at how many officers you can dedicate to it. A simple assault might let you only send two, while an armed robbery at a bank with a fatality might let you send 10. Even though you join Boyd at the end of his career, you’re inheriting a department that’s running on fumes. When you start, you don’t have enough manpower to handle everything, which teeters between adding tension and being flat-out frustrating.

Some calls clearly aren’t legitimate. You quickly learn that if the caller mentions UFOs or is an elderly person describing something scandalous, they’re generally wastes of time. If you send officers on these calls, they’re unavailable when something urgent happens. Particularly dire situations can even require backup, which you can choose to grant or ignore at the risk of losing the lives of your officers or civilians. It’s a juggling act that feels like a sadist is just off stage tossing more and more balls your way.

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Each day takes about seven minutes of real time, and the experience starts out strong. Your initial crop of officers is fairly weak, which determines the likelihood of success that they have in their given tasks. You can train and promote the good ones, or nurture those who aren’t great. You can also fire the laggards, with or without cause. As with everything in the game, however, you face consequences for not playing by the rules.

Boyd navigates a world filled with competing interests, and the trick is learning what you have to take seriously. Ignore the mayor’s orders too often, and his annoyance manifests through staffing cuts. Considering how strapped you are in those early days, those consequences hurt. Follow his orders to the letter, however, and the prosecutor’s office is likely to go after you for your abuse of power – cutting your paycheck in the process. Criminals expect a certain amount of leeway, too. Periodically, you’ll get a heads up from the local mafia, where they strongly suggest you look the other way when a call comes through. Cross them too often, and you’ll wind up dead.

If a day does go south, you can reload the day before it’s over and try again. Armed with the knowledge that the call about an assault at the beach is just someone misinterpreting CPR, you don’t need to send assets that way again. It feels like cheating in a way, but the calls are often so vague that it’s simply not possible to reliably know what’s and isn’t legit. I recognized one setup as a clear reference to Home Alone and chose to write it off as a joke. Unfortunately, it ended up with a fatality. You’re never given a full picture of what to expect, so success either comes from being lucky and picking the calls to prioritize or reloading a failure of a save and trying again. If you have enough staffing, you have more latitude to make errors in judgment, but getting to that point either requires a ridiculous streak of luck or simply replaying content that wasn’t particularly gripping the first time around. Failure isn’t accompanied with branching paths or interesting what-ifs.

Several playthroughs ended abruptly with my character’s arrest or murder. In those cases, I could scrub back week by week and attempt to right the ship. By then, though, the consequences were slow buildups of long-term mistakes, and repairing them costs hours progress. This is frustrating, because replaying means watching the same calls, the same diorama, and the same sped-up clock. You don’t get many choices, so the payoff to replaying is simply seeing a call end with your officers’ lives intact.

The most interesting aspect of the game comes via larger cases, which are handled by your detectives. Here, you assign a lead detective and supporting staff. Over the course of several in-game days, you’re given witnesses’ accounts, as well as frames depicting what may have happened. Often, these are conflicting, and you have to determine actual events of the crime in the correct sequence, like a comic strip. Once you have the right permutation, you can send out the police to arrest the suspect. Occasionally, these are parts of larger investigations, where you ultimately take out a larger gang and reap a reward. Even though some cases are definitely stronger than others and make more logical sense, I looked forward to seeing these icons popping up onto the map.

This is the Police bounces around tonally, never quite finding a solid resting spot. Some moments feel like they’re trying to be satirical or are elevating real-world scenarios to preposterous heights. Is it supposed to be funny? Funny things do happen, but then they’re deflated with rape investigations, child murder, and gang violence. It doesn’t seem dark or edgy, just inconsistent and weird.

Boyd is less a character than a series of character flaws and stereotypical situations, smashed together. He has a pill habit, strained relationship with his wife, gruff reaction to authority, and is overall an unpleasant presence – even though it’s clear that actor Jon St. John is having fun with the performance. Boyd’s such a bummer to be around that the game’s length feels downright criminal.

Your initial goal is to play out the remaining 180 days of your career and squirrel away $ 500,000 along the way. I managed to save the cash with time to spare, but still had to ride out the remaining time. It was agonizing. Even though events like a serial killer and political intrigue pop up to break up the action, the day-to-day monotony of the gameplay takes its toll. Content is repeated, and causes the experience to drag on. If the goal was to convey the drudgery of this kind of work, I was sick of it halfway through. It all culminates in one of the dumbest imaginable confrontations. I’d spoil it, but anyone who is patient enough to see the game through deserves that moment at least. 

www.GameInformer.com – The Feed

Deus Ex’s Augmented Prosthetics Are One Step Closer To Being Real

Human augmentation and modification is a huge part of the Deus Ex series' story, and now a line of bionic arms based on the game is being produced. Open Bionics is a company that focuses on producing affordable prosthetics and has partnered with Deus Ex, Razer and Intel to make Adam Jensen's arm a reality.

The line of Deus Ex models isn't quite ready for the market yet, but in a newly released video, we can see the progress that is being made on these working bionic arms. The products are made using 3D printers and feature neural sensors that move individual fingers and allow a user to close or open the fist. Check out these arms in action below.

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These high-quality arms are designed to be fashionable and affordable, and it will be interesting to see what their final iteration looks like. Two Deus Ex versions, one of which is a direct recreation of Adam Jensen's arm, are planned. All of the resources used by Open Bionics to print the arms is open source, meaning any one can download and reproduce the arms, provided they have their own 3D printer.

Deus Ex: Mankind Divided releases on August 23 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC. For more on the game's universe and story, check out our recent hands-on impressions, and a link to our cover story hub below.

[Source: Augmented Future]

www.GameInformer.com – The Feed

Gameloft CEO Michel Guillemot Defiant In Email To Staff, Will Step Down June 29

In an email to all Gameloft's 5,500 employees today (provided to Game Informer by a current employee), CEO Michel Guillemot confirmed he is stepping down from his position. The change of guard will happen on June 29 at the general shareholders meeting.

Vivendi has taken control of Gameloft officially as of June 1. However, until the change in leadership later this month, Guillemot still controls the company.

“Until that change of management, I remain the president and CEO of Gameloft with full authority,” Guillemot writes. “No one else has the right give you instructions! After that change I shall not be in the company. A new management with a new strategy will have taken over.”

The note also indicates that Vivendi’s offer to purchase shares has been reopened until June 15. This will allow those who declined the offer to sell to the new owner now that control is solidified. “Being a minority shareholder of a dependent company is usually not recommended,” he writes. Vivendi controls 61.7 percent of Gameloft shares at the time of writing.

Guillemot also suggests to his staff that there may be significant changes in the company. “There will be from June 29th onwards a a new strategy with the possible integration of Gameloft’s existing activities into Vivendi’s,” he writes. “The information published so far by the new owners show that the changes may be profound, for the creators: ‘convergence between creative industries,’ and for everyone else: ‘pooling of distribution networks.’ It is not my role to say if these changes will be positive or negative for you as it will happen after my watch.”

It's unclear how Vivendi will handle the upcoming Gameloft lineup. In March, the company laid out a detailed game roadmap likely intended to evidence upcoming strength. Titles listed go out as far as first quarter 2018, which is typically much further out than game companies detail. Titles listed include:

 

  • Asphalt 9: Shockwave (Q2 2017)
  • Asphalt Extreme (Q2 2016)
  • Dungeon Hunter 5 (Q4 2017)
  • City Mania (Q3 2016)
  • The Dying World (Q4 2016)
  • Ganstar New Orleans (Q3 2016)
  • Modern Combat Versus (Q4 2016)
  • Real Football 2018 (Q1 2018)
  • World at Arms 2 (Q4 2016)

 

Vivendi will now likely set its sights on the Guillemot family’s larger company, Ubisoft. For more on this situation, you can read an extensive explainer that details how hostile takeovers work, the path up until now, and what may lie ahead for Ubisoft. The full email follows.

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Our Take
This confirms earlier rumors that Guillemot was expected to leave Gameloft, though it certainly casts a different light on how. Rather than throw in the towel, Guillemot is hanging on until he is likely to be forced out at the shareholders meeting. As you can see, the email strikes a defiant tone, but also encourages employees to make their own decisions. 

www.GameInformer.com – The Feed

Report: Vivendi Takes Major Step Toward Gameloft Takeover

Vivendi has won the support of a majority of Gameloft shareholders in a hostile bid to take over the company, Bloomberg reports. This likely gives Vivendi enough leverage to progress with its acquisition. 

Last week, one of Gameloft's larger shareholder groups, Amber Capital, offered support to French company Vivendi. Now, with even further stock offers and owning nearly 30 percent of Gameloft, Vivendi is closing in with its takeover.

Former Activision owner Vivendi has long set its sights on not just the French mobile game developer Gameloft, but also Assassin's Creed publisher Ubisoft, which was also founded by the Guillemot family. Vivendi has tightened its grip on the French video game giant since October when it began buying its shares, all while Ubisoft deemed Vivendi's actions as "unsolicited and unwelcome." Ubisoft has put up its defenses, by seeking new investment from both provincial and national governments in Canada, in an attempt to preserve independence from Vivendi.

In 2013, Activision bought independence from Vivendi for $ 8 billion. Now, with another $ 850 million from selling shares in 2014, Vivendi reportedly is worth around $ 10 billion, giving the company a powerful advantage. In comparison, Ubisoft has had a prosperous fiscal year, and with high profits from successful games like The Division, it may be able to withstand and deflect Vivendi's attacks.

We've reached out to Gameloft for further comment, and we will update this article accordingly should we hear back.

[Source: Bloomberg]

 

Our Take
There's no official word from Gameloft yet, but situations like these could result in a shakeup at the executive level. Gameloft could see a vast change in direction should they come under new ownership if this acquisition becomes solidified. With Vivendi's history, it's very possible that Gameloft is just another stepping stone towards their seemingly larger goal of taking over Ubisoft.

www.GameInformer.com – The Feed