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Criterion Now Working On Star Wars Instead Of Its Extreme Sports Game

Update: Electronic Arts has passed along a statement directly to us about Criterion's current focus. You can find it below.

While Criterion has moved on from the previous project they’ve spoken about and aren't pursuing it specifically, they are continuing to build new ideas and experiment with new IP for EA. Criterion is also working on EA’s Star Wars Battlefront VR experience, and contributing to other games from EA, for example the speeder bikes in Star Wars Battlefront.

Original story:

In 2014, Criterion announced, or perhaps more appropriately teased, an extreme sports game that featured multiple vehicles, wingsuits, parachuting, and more. Since its initial announcement, we haven't heard much about the game, and according to a report from GameSpot, it may be Star Wars' fault.

An Electronic Arts representative confirmed to GameSpot that the extreme sports game was no longer in development saying, "While they've moved on from the previous project they've spoken about and aren't pursuing it, they are continuing to build new ideas and experiment with new IP for EA, in addition to continuing to collaborate with other EA studios."

Criterion has served more of a support role for Electronic Arts in recent years by assisting on the development of games like Battlefield Hardline and Star Wars Battlefront. At E3 2016, it was revealed that Criterion was developing a VR offshoot for Star Wars Battlefront. You can read more about that game here.

You can check out the game's E3 announcement trailer from 2014 below.

(Please visit the site to view this media)

[Source: GameSpot]


Our Take
Criterion is a talented studio, so it's good to see it lending a helping hand to EA's assorted projects, but I think I would prefer seeing it focus entirely on one of its own projects. It's been far too long since we played a new Burnout. – The Feed

Employee estimates ‘about a third’ of Valve now working on VR/AR

While Valve’s work on VR/AR may have started off small, it’s now grown to encompass a significant part of the company’s efforts, according to a post on Reddit today from Valve employee Alan Yates. …

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Fallout: New Vegas Writer Chris Avellone Working On Arkane’s Prey

Chris Avellone, who was writer and lead designer on Fallout: New Vegas, is working on another Bethesda-published game. This time, he's helping Arkane with its Prey reboot.

Avellone tweeted the news shortly after Bethesda's press conference tonight. Arkane's Prey, which may only share a name with Human Head Studio's early Xbox 360 was announced at the event.

Avellone has assisted with a number of projects recently, including inXile's Wasteland 2 and Torment: Tides of Numenera as well as Larian Studios' Divinity: Original Sin 2. Prior to this, he was chief creative officer at Obsidian. – The Feed

Video game voice actors’ union calls on state regulator to improve working conditions

Last month the SAG-AFTRA actors’ guild published an open letter to California state regulators requesting an investigation into unsafe working conditions in the video game voice acting industry. …

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Report: Techland Working On New IP & Possibly Dying Light 2

In an interview with Eurogamer, CEO Paweł Marchewka of Polish developer Techland (Dying Light, shown) mentioned that the company is working on two new games, with heavy speculation that one of them is Dying Light 2.

The first Marchewka says is a large open-world fantasy title with "RPG elements" that also contains co-op multiplayer. Despite the shared fantasy elements, Marchewka says that this new title is not Hellraid, which was put on hold.

The other title is being handled by Techland's internal studio in Wrocław, Poland – the one who did the first Dying Light. Although the CEO wouldn't say whether the new title being done at Wrocław is specifically Dying Light 2, in the interview Marchewka did mention a direct sequel for the series. The PR manager for the studio also said that the Dying Light franchise was "more important for us" than fellow Techland-developed property Dead Island.

While Techland made the first Dead Island, Deep Silver owns the IP, and has partnered with Sumo Digital for the upcoming Dead Island 2.

Marchewka says that both of its new games have been in development for about a year and should be released with three years.

The company has also promised to support Dying Light through 2016.

[Source: Eurogamer]


Our Take
It's good to hear a company talk relatively openly about its plans, giving fans a road map of current and future projects. – The Feed

Is Sucker Punch Working On A Spider-Man Game?

Over the past few months, there have been rumblings about another Spider-Man game in development. The web-head has fallen on tough times, with flops tied to movies and featuring independent stories. With the friendly neighborhood hero swinging into Captain America: Civil War and getting another reboot (this time under Marvel’s direct guidance), fans are hopeful that evidence is pointing to a similar treatment in games.

There is a collection of data points that hint that there’s a new Spider-Man game in the offing. The first emerged on April 21, via a pair of tweets from an account called NerdLeaks and then evidence surfaced by internet tipster Nibel and also captured by Shack News, which linked to a now-private stuntman and motion capture artist Stephen Oyoung’s resume listing “Untitled Spiderman PS4 Project” (sic).

The PlayStation 4 bit was brushed off as a mistake, as it seems highly unlikely from a business perspective that Activision and/or Marvel would restrict themselves to a single platform. However, since then there have been hints that Sucker Punch, a Sony-owned studio, is cooking something up that might be connected to Spider-Man.

The studio certainly has experience with superhero games, with three Infamous titles under its belt. Current job listings on the developer’s website point to hiring for something “spectacular,” a word often associated with Marvel’s web-slinging hero.

Further, though possibly only a coincidence, Sucker Punch animation director Billy Harper tweeted over the weekend that he was going to see Civil War again “Cuz…reasons.” Admittedly, those reasons could simply be because he’s an ardent Team Cap supporter and not because he’s studying up on Spidey’s excellent Marvel Cinematic Universe debut. 

There are a couple of things on the business front to keep in mind. In 2005, Activision locked up the rights to Spider-Man games based on movies and television through 2017 (and also has the rights to publish original stories separate from on-screen appearances). While that hasn't precluded the character from making other appearances (Disney Infinity, Marvel Heroes, and Lego Marvel Superheroes), games specifically focused on the wall-crawler seem to be under lock-and-key at Activision. Were this deal dissolved, it would likely have been reported to investors.

We must also consider the possibility that Sucker Punch is laying the ground work for development following the expiration of Activision's licensing agreement. It's possible that Sony and Marvel have an arrangement that hasn't yet been announced. Again though, with licensed properties, return on investment is lower due to another finger in the pie. A single-platform release, even one starring Spider-Man, seems risky.

There’s certainly nothing concrete yet. But we’re watching closely to see if Sony might have scored a huge exclusive or if it’s teaming up with Activision to put a game on multiple platforms.


Our Take
Regardless of whether Spidey ends up in Sucker Punch’s hands or some other developer’s, it’s likely we’ll see him appear in his own game again. Spider-Man Homecoming, the first of Marvel’s Spidey films is on the way, and the hero's powers and personality make him a popular target for the industry.

If Sucker Punch is working on a Spider-Man game, we have to wonder if Sony and Activision have struck some kind of deal to make it happen. Activision seems to be winding down its licensing business it seems, with recent layoffs that have hit hard the Minneapolis location (responsible for that piece of the business). It's not out of the realm of possibility that the two companies could work together on a multi-platform title that benefits both, giving Sony reach to Xbox and PC and Activision a studio with a proven track record of successful super-powered games. – The Feed

Report: Warner Bros. Working On Spin-Off Movie For Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn

After the disappointing performance of Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice at the box office, Warner Bros. is said to be focusing its resources on the upcoming Suicide Squad movie. The film, which turns the spotlight on the bad guys in the DC Universe, features such stars as Jared Leto as The Joker, Will Smith as Deadshot, and Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn. According to a report from The Hollywood Reporter, Warner Bros. is considering giving Robbie's Harley Quinn her own spin-off in the form of film that would focus on DC's female heroes and villains.

While THR was unable to obtain too much more information, the outlet did learn that names like Batgirl and Birds of Prey could be involved in some unclear capacity. According to the report, Robbie's research for her role as Harley in the Suicide Squad film led her to fall in love with the female characters of DC Comics. From there, she worked with an unnamed female writer to develop a story that Warner Bros. reportedly picked up.

No further details were made available through the report, but if Suicide Squad is the success that Warner Bros. hopes it is, this move would make sense for the studio as Robbie's Harley Quinn has been a centerpiece for all of the trailers we've seen so far. Suicide Squad hits theaters August 5.

[Source: The Hollywood Reporter] – The Feed

EA’s Frostbite Labs Is Working On ‘Virtual Humans’ For VR

EA has announced a skunkworks team working on future technology in preparation for upcoming technological innovations. Frostbite Labs, a team of 30 to 40 people, are looking far ahead to identify questions (and answers) that will be important down the line.

The team has two cells, with one in Stockholm and the other in Vancouver. While the full extent of the work wasn’t detailed, EA executive vice president Patrick Söderlund explained a couple of things that Frostbite Labs is working on.

While EA hasn’t dabbled too much in VR yet (other than the announced Star Wars Battlefront experience), the skunkworks team is looking at how to create meaningful interactions in virtual reality. Söderlund says the group is working on “virtual humans” and creating believable characters and interactions in VR.

The group is also looking at deep learning and neural networks. Deep learning is described as a complex set of algorithms designed to create complex constructs. 

In gaming, this will result in time-savings related to procedural generation. Practically, this would present itself as a toolset within the Frostbite editor that would allow a developer to put in parameters, like season, locale, and time period, and have a concept emerge. The result, according to Söderlund would be economies of scale.

We’ll hopefully find out more about Frostbite Labs at E3.


Our Take
It’s no surprise that publishers and platform holders are looking into the future. The takeaway here is that EA’s unified engine has allowed the publisher to centralize foundational technology and plan more efficiently for the future. Instead of creating new engines for different games, EA is able to instead focus on evolving Frostbite to address future needs. – The Feed

Rumor: Volition And Deep Silver Working On New Title Agents of Mayhem

Volition (Saints Row IV) and Deep Silver are allegedly working on a new title, Agents of Mayhem. The rumor is fueled by three different sources, all citing the project by name.

The first piece of evidence is a trademark filed and available for viewing at the European Union Intellectual Property Office. The entire document can be viewed here at the official site.

The second clue is in the form of a resume for animator John Velazquez, which cites the title as one of the recent projects that he has worked on. This document can be viewed here.

The final piece of the puzzle is buried at Istunt, a stunt actor directory. In the profile of one Brandon Molale, the title is listed under one of his motion capture projects. You can view the page here.

We have reached out to Volition/Deep Silver for comment and will update the story with any new information.

[Source: European Union Intellectual Property Office, Resume, Istunt]

Our Take
It has become increasingly difficult to keep secrets as the internet becomes more and more of a pervasive element in the lives of most people, and even an innocuous resume posting can mess up a big reveal or tightly kept secret. We'll see if this ends up being the next big game for Volition and Deep Silver! – The Feed

Gear VR maker Samsung is working on standalone wireless VR hardware

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