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Working time among video game developers: Trends over 2004-14

A decade of research into the amount of time developers really work, culled from surveys given to game developers and crunched by academics who know the subject intimately. …

Gamasutra News

Harmonix ‘Working Hard’ To Resolve Reported Issues With Rock Band 4

Following the launch of Rock Band 4, there have been several players reporting issues with getting their downloadable content over to the new systems, as well as some who have voiced concerns over issues with instrument compatibility. We reached out to Harmonix to ask the developer to comment on the issues reported by its player-base.

"The Rock Band experience is as important to Harmonix as it is to our players," a Harmonix spokesperson says in a statement provided to Game Informer. "We are passionate about Rock Band, and we'll support it with bug fixes and feature updates for years to come. We're working hard to identify and address the problems that players are reporting, and in most cases we are able to resolve them quickly. We care very much about the small number of players who have reported issues with both Rock Band 4 hardware and software, and we're fixing those problems. We encourage players to visit our FAQ at and to submit a ticket here so we can work directly with each individual to resolve their specific problem."

Even though there are issues in certain parts of the game, the Rock Band 4 launch hasn't been the launch-day disaster that other games have been in the past. Still, Harmonix does acknowledge that some problems exist and that it is working to resolve them as quickly as possible. "Almost everything works right now, and we're committed to making EVERYTHING work," the spokesperson says in the statement. "We're fixing everything right now in the cases where there are issues. We appreciate fans letting us know of any issues they see, we're working to take care of it."

Rock Band 4 launched on Tuesday, October 6. If you'd like to learn more about Rock Band 4, you can read Matt Miller's review here.


Our Take
I've played a decent amount of Rock Band 4 since its launch this week, and I haven't had any instrument compatibility issues using the Rock Band 4 legacy adapter on my Xbox One. However, I have experienced some problems getting my downloadable content entitlements to show up, meaning that some of the DLC I've paid for on Xbox 360 is not showing up as free to download on my Xbox One. Outside of that, the technical problems I've faced have been very few and far between. Still, for those who are encountering problems, it's good to know that Harmonix is on the case. – The Feed

Criterion Founders Working On Burnout Spiritual Successor

In March 2014, Criterion founders Alex Ward and Fiona Sperry announced the opening of their new studio, Three Fields Entertainment. Today, we’ve learned of two projects under development, with one certain to make racing fans happy.

In a series of tweets today, the studio opened up about what we can expect. Yes, we're going to get another chance to cause terrible traffic accidents again.

Since then, the studio has been fielding “votes” from fans about which of the Burnout games the studio should be using as a model. It’s been seven years since the last title in the series, the open world Burnout Paradise (which is being worked on for Xbox One backward compatibility).

Given the timing, we probably won’t see Three Fields’ driving game until 2017. What’s another couple of years when we’ve waited this long already?

As for Criterion, its next game was introduced in early form at E3 2014. The game will feature vehicles on air, land, and sea, but it was a no-show at events this year. Alex Ward tells us the project began development nine months prior to his and Sperry's departure.

Note: Alex Ward reached out to clarify the timing of Criterion's in-development project as it relates to his and Fiona Sperry's departure from the studio. The story has been updated to reflect as such.

[Source: Three Fields Entertainment on Twitter (1), (2)]


Our Take
I’m not a big fan of racing games, but Burnout has always been the exception. Bring it on. – The Feed

Lionsgate Is Working On A Borderlands Movie

Fans of Gearbox's manic, gun-obsessed world have a new
project to look forward to.

Variety reports that Lionsgate has acquired the rights to
Borderlands and is working on a film with father-son producing combo Avi and
Ari Arad. The duo has extensive experience working on comic-book movies including
Iron Man, Spider-Man, and X-Men.

Take-Two CEO Strauss Zelnick says the
partnership is "…ideally positioned to create a bold, provocative,
no-holds-barred motion picture phenomenon that will delight Borderlands current
legions of fans and captivate moviegoers around the world."

No other information or timeline has been given.

[Source: Variety]


Our Take
Borderlands isn't the most outlandish video game IP to adapt into a film (we're looking at you, Minecraft), but it does have some hurdles. The movie will have to differentiate itself from Mad Max (an obvious inspiration for the series), come up with a more-interesting storyline, and figure out how to translate the bombastic action and comic-book aesthetic into (what I'm assuming is) live-action. None of those challenges are impossible to overcome, but given the inherent difficulty of adapting games to film, it won't be an easy task. – The Feed

[Update] Sony Working To Re-enable Until Dawn Twitch Stream Archives Coming From PlayStation 4

Update: Sony has offered a statement regarding the inability to archive twitch streams of Until Dawn broadcasted from PlayStation 4s.

Sony says Until Dawn's Twitch archiving was deactivated by mistake and should not be an issue soon. Here's the statement from Sony:

We are currently working on a fix that will enable archiving of Until Dawn Twitch streams as this feature was unintentionally disabled. We are humbled by the community reception of the game and are excited to see fans sharing experiences on Twitch and YouTube. We apologize for the inconvenience and will provide an update as soon as the issue has been resolved.

Original story published August 26, 7:28 p.m.:

According to Twitch, Sony is blocking PlayStation 4 Twitch stream archiving of Until Dawn.

It's unclear exactly why Twitch stream archives of Until Dawn are being blocked, but we've reached out to Sony for more details. It appears to only be archives coming from streamers who are broadcasting directly from their PlayStation 4s using the built-in Twitch app. For example, the archive of our Until Dawn stream, where we played the game through to completion, is available to watch online here. Note that it is broken into a few chunks. Our stream was not broadcasted through the PlayStation 4's built-in Twitch app.

As previously mentioned, we've reached out to Sony for more details and will update this story when if and we receive them.

[Source: @TwitchSupport, via NeoGAF, Kotaku]


Our Take
My assumption is that if Sony is actively blocking archiving of this game, it's because it wants people to experience the game live, as opposed to watching a rebroadcast. It's a game that benefits from live play – lots of jump scares, lots of important decisions that affect the fates of the characters. Despite that though, it still seems odd to go out of the way to prevent people from seeing the game played in an archive. – The Feed

UK studio Starship is working on a mobile VR social network app

Evolution Studios founder Martin Kenwright’s UK startup Starship is planning to develop a cross-platform virtual reality social network called “vTime” and roll it out to Android phones this fall. …

Gamasutra News

Microsoft And Activision Working To Address Dead Black Ops III Beta Codes

If you’re having trouble redeeming your Call of Duty: Black Ops III beta code, you are not alone. It seems that a number of users have found their codes to be dead on arrival.

The responsibility for the fix seems to rest with Microsoft, as Xbox Support and Activision have both shared updates via Twitter to that effect.

We’ll keep an eye on things and let you know when the duo announce how they’ll be addressing this issue. Stay tuned.

[Source: Call of Duty on Twitter, Xbox Support on Twitter]


Our Take
With enough dead codes to warrant addressing this, it wouldn’t surprise me if the Xbox beta was opened up quickly. That would alleviate the need for codes entirely. – The Feed

The Banner Saga Developer Working On Miniatures Board Game

Indie developer Stoic is teaming up with miniatures board game creators MegaCon Games to produce a miniatures board game based on the critically acclaimed strategy franchise The Banner Saga.

Stoic, MegaCon, and publisher Versus Evil recently announced Banner Saga: Warbands, a miniatures board game based on one of last year’s cult hits. Production is already underway, and a Kickstarter campaign to help publish the game will soon be announced. We don’t have a lot of details yet about the game, but an office website has already been launched, and we expect to hear more about this game soon. Maybe we’ll even get a sneak peak at things at this year’s PAX. – The Feed

Tri-Force Heroes’ Director On Co-op Zelda, Four Swords Inspirations, And Working On Ocarina Of Time

During E3 last month, we had a chance to speak with the director of The Legend of Zelda: Tri-Force Heroes, Hiromasa Shikata. Shikata most recently directed the critically acclaimed The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds. He has been involved with the Zelda series since Ocarina of Time, and hasn't strayed far from Nintendo's venerated franchise during his time with the company.

We spoke with Shikata about where Tri-Force heroes takes place in the Zelda timeline (though he didn't have much to offer), how Four Swords factored into the game's development, and about his history with the Zelda series focusing on Ocarina of time.

Where does Triforce Heroes take place in the Zelda timeline?

That’s a tough question. The Zelda timeline is quite complicated if you look at the history of Zelda I think you can see there are three branches. I can’t really designate which one of those branches we’re looking at, but as far as the design itself, it really is Link Between Worlds. But it’s not – as far as a timeframe – before or after. We haven’t really settled on or said that.

Does it take place in the same universe or world as A Link Between Worlds?

Again, with the history of Zelda we have these three parallel worlds. I can’t say which one it’s in at this point.

It seems like Four Swords is the main inspiration for Triforce Heroes.

There are points where you could definitely say that, but there are other points where, no, it’s not at all. We have the overall producer of the Zelda series, Mr. Eiji Aonuma, with four swords of course he incorporated multiplayer gameplay elements, but if you go back, his first title, Marvelous, also had multiplayer.

As for myself, I was the lead game designer on The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks, and within that game we had the phantom Link element where you switched back and forth between controlling the phantom and Link and I was always interested in that type of gameplay, but not with a person switching between two, but with two people.

So, I didn’t come up with the idea or suggest the idea for Tri-Force Heroes because I wanted to do a sequel to Four Swords.

Why three and not four players? Is it just the magic number? Or is it just thematic for Zelda’s triforce?

Mr. Aonuma of course had Four Swords, and I had Spirit Tracks which had two players – so I just went with the one right in the middle. (laughs) That’s a joke actually.

I really wanted to adopt and use the camera we had in A Link Between Worlds because it worked so well with the 3D feature of the 3DS. Because of the way that camera works, and because we wanted to incorporate an element of height within the gameplay, we thought, “What’s one way we can take advantage of the fact that you can see that depth?” And so the idea came about of stacking things. Of course, when we’re talking about stacking things, we’re talking about having the characters stand on each other’s shoulders. We played around with the idea of four players, but to be honest, it just seemed too high. It was a little difficult to see and it just didn’t really quite get what we were going at, so we reduced it down to three.

There was a huge hurdle of accessibility when it came to Four Swords – getting people together with all the right hardware, etc. Did you keep this in mind when developing Tri-Force Heroes?

Not really, we just thought, “We want to do a multiplayer game. What’s the best approach?” It wasn’t like a, “Hey, this was a problem then. Let’s make sure we don’t repeat it.” We had a fresh start.

Is there a narrative to the game?

I can give you a brief overview. The story takes place in a world that is not Hyrule, but in a kingdom that is fashion-obsessed. In that kingdom, an event happens. The event involving the princess of the kingdom…

Is her name Zelda?

No. The king, of course, wants to solve this problem – to circumvent this happening – so he makes a general call out to the kingdom for heroes to assemble. Who answers the call? Link. And that’s the beginning of your adventure.

For details on the limitation of multiplayer, head to page two. – The Feed

Criterion Working On Burnout Paradise Backwards Compatibility On Xbox One

Developer Criterion has tweeted that it's talking with Microsoft about bringing Xbox 360's Burnout Paradise to the Xbox One via the system's backwards compatibility.

At E3, Microsoft stunned viewers by announcing that the Xbox One could do backwards compatibility for selected Xbox 360 titles, with the goal being 100 by this holiday season.

Currently preview members can try out 18 games on the Xbox One, and Microsoft is taking reader votes for what else should be backwards compatible. Currently, Rockstar's Red Dead Redemption leads the list.

Of the Burnout games, Paradise leads the voting.


Our Take
This is good news for Burnout fans, although perhaps Criterion's tweet intimates something more. When Microsoft announced the program, the company said that the approval process would be easy, only requiring the thumbs up from the developer. We're curious what exactly Criterion in particular, or any other studio, is talking to Microsoft in regards to the process, and whether these kinds of negotiations make the entire process more complicated than Microsoft made them sound. – The Feed