The holiday season of 2013 is upon us and with it comes the respective launches of the Xbox One and PlayStation 4. Considered long-overdue by some, these consoles are being rolled out on a market that’s radically different from that of their predecessors. While there’s always been fragmentation and competition among platform holders, the variety of business models, hardware and means of delivering gaming content is truly staggering these days. In light of this, it’s quite understandable that some people would question the future of dedicated gaming hardware and the games that such hardware has traditionally been host to. Indeed, even the platform holders themselves are looking into ways of making new business models, like free-to-play, work on their platforms, just as they have slowly embraced digital distribution methods for traditional pay-to-play software, as well as various degrees of indie game development. It’s been a bumpy ride, and some companies like Nintendo are (as always) stubbornly refusing to get with the program, just as they refused to make HD games along with everyone else and are only just now starting to pay off the debt they’ve incurred by doing so.
Sorry for the pace of updates, I realize it’s been even slower than usual. One comment that came up requested that I follow up on the Letter to an Aspiring Game Designer post. I’m not in any position to do that at the moment, but here’s a bite-sized nugget of wisdom in the meantime:
“Remember, kids, the absolutely best position in the games industry, especially if you’re not good at anything, is Producer. In this position, you get to engage in all the “fun” bits of the other professions, like design or analysis or art, without any of the accountability.
Feel free to talk out of your ass with impunity; there will never be any repercussions when you mess up, and any costs incurred while fighting windmills and chasing red herrings will be passed on to the team.”
On my journey through the essential games of the last few months I’ve finally gotten around to playing and finishing Far Cry 3. I’ve not really been all that interested in the first-person shooter genre in recent years, so when I noticed how the mechanics managed to keep me playing for hours on end, and the premise and story kept me thinking long after I’d shut the console off, I was quite pleasantly surprised. And as I progressed towards the end of the game, I grew increasingly sure that I would end up having to write at least one, if not two or even three posts about certain aspects of the game. What I hadn’t expected, however, was that among the many thoughts that were swirling around my head as the credits screen finally rolled, the strongest would be a Chris Rock quote. Read more…
I’ve always loved the Zelda franchise. In so many ways I consider most entries in the series to represent absolute master classes of proper game design, and the Zelda formula has inspired not only the obvious homages like Darksiders, but also less immediately similar works like Resident Evil and Nintendo’s own Metroid (and by extension the so-called Metroidvania games from Konami). Though I haven’t played all of the Zeldas – especially some of the portable versions have eluded me – I’ve played enough of them to feel like I’m well-informed about the franchise and its evolution. Indeed, on some level I’ve always considered the quality of the Zelda games, alongside the high-profile Mario ones, to be a sort of measurement tool not only for the state of our industry, but even more so the state of Nintendo. And judging by the last few major entries in the franchise, it would seem like the realities of the games business have finally caught up with the Japanese company that, for the longest time, seemed to almost never compromise on quality.
As well as numerous bugs, development for online play took three times longer than estimated, requiring adjustments to programming for all level in the game.
One backer who contributed $250 however, whilst still supporting the game, said the stumbling blocks to the title’s development should have been discussed earlier, and was concerned over whether some elements of the game matched the initial description.
One down, more to go.
E3 has come, disappointed and gone since my last post. Sure, it wasn’t all bad, but it seems like most of us had higher expectations than we should have had. Nowhere was this quite as clear as in the case of my own reaction to the announcement of Dead Space 3 and its inclusion of co-operative play.