Deus Ex: Mankind Divided looks absolutely awesome- seriously, it is looking like one of the best games of this generation, and the fact that it is so close to release – it launches in February next year – makes the excitement palpable. If you needed any more reasons to be excited for the game, this brand new footage for the title, courtesy of Outside Xbox, will give you plenty, as it reveals some new gameplay mechanics in this game that will build on and eclipse the nuance and depth that 2011’s...Today, 09:37 AM
Developer Treyarch will reveal new details for their upcoming, highly anticipated first person shooter Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 every Friday. Each Friday this October will see a brand new piece of information about the game revealed- although Treyarch did play coy with the exact specifics of what they would unveil.
The developers will also answer community questions after each reveal, so you get the chance to understand each addition to the game even better than you otherwise...Today, 09:28 AM
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt patch 1.10 is coming really soon, if you’re going to judge by the fact that CD Projekt RED recently released the log of just what is going to be tweaked and changed when the patch does finally hit. As is the case with most of the patches the company has put out, they’re addressing quite a few issues. The good news is a lot of these make the game better, but there aren’t a ton of gamebreaking problems currently existing in the Witcher 3.
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While the launch of the PS4 and Xbox One was supposed to herald a brand new era of photo-realistic graphics in games, there are still plenty that are having some problems living up to the hype. Star Wars: Battlefront is apparently one of those games that while it will be pretty, won’t be quite as pretty as people had hoped, according to new reports.
Now that the beta has launched, we’re getting more information about what we can expect, including the fact that the game will...Today, 09:17 AM
The files for the PC version of Star Wars: Battlefront’s beta have revealed some very interesting thing- digging around in the files, enterprising PC players have been able to find details that have not yet leaked, and all of them sound very exciting indeed. These files indicate that classic Star Wars characters such as Han Solo, Princess Leia, and the Emperor, none of whom have actually been confirmed for the game yet, may in fact be in.
You can see this for yourself- assuming...Today, 09:09 AM
Just Cause 3 is almost here, and let’s face it, most of us care about it because of the wide, open world, massive sandbox that we get to wreak havoc in- that’s what Just Cause is for. Most of us don’t actually care about the story in the game. But that won’t stop Avalanche from trying- and their New York Comic Con trailer for the game sees Rico on a mission, in an attempt to contextualize the events that occur throughout the story.
It’s a great trailer, because it also shows...Today, 09:04 AM
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A bold return for the True Crime franchiseProducer Jeff O'Connell conveys the grim atmosphere reigning over the developers at United Front Games, moments after losing their publisher and months before their ambitious open-world game could stand in a lineup with other free-roaming felons. Activision wanted a bold return for its True Crime franchise, but decided to pull the plug in February 2010. The protracted effort just wasn't guaranteed to conclude at the top of the genre. Enter: Square Enix London Studios, a division of Square Enix Europe (formerly Eidos). At about 20 members it's a much smaller group than the Vancouver-based United Front, which had close to 180 employees at the peak of True Crime development. "We're a pretty small, tight group," says General Manager Lee Singleton. "I think, actually, a couple of years ago I did the math and I think the average amount of industry experience is like 15 or 16 years or something. We're all pretty seasoned guys."
United Front can whip out a similar resume, built on familial qualities. "We consider ourselves very close-knit," O'Connell says. "I'm sure a lot of these studios say they consider themselves a family, and we do, and we do things to foster that kind of feeling. We have a lot of events, and even though we're a very young studio, we're a very experienced studio." The studio began with Modnation Racers, a vibrant, approachable racing game built with Sony, but incorporates veterans from Bully, Prototype and the Need for Speed franchise.
"Meeting Square, which we did very shortly after the game was canceled -- and I'm probably going to use some corny expression -- was like a bright light," O'Connell says. "Right away, we met those guys and I think we just clicked with them. It's one thing for people to come in and love the game, which they did, and it's another thing for people to come in and just get along with them incredibly well and go out for drinks and meals with them, and just have a really fantastic time, and have them in the studio and have them ask questions or make suggestions, and have that show their depth of understanding." If that run-on sentence isn't indicative of real enthusiasm about this relationship, we don't know what is.
Of course, you don't go from True Crime to Sleeping Dogs -- a new title that refers to the protagonist's veiled prodding of Hong Kong's underworld -- just by finding people who get along with each other. Square Enix London envisions a different future for this violent homage to Hong Kong action cinema, and disagrees with Activision on how satisfied consumers and critics will be with the end product. Sure, some of it's inflated talk, necessary for games with a staccato history, but Square Enix claims it has the numbers to prove it.
"You can probably count the number of AAA developers in the world on one, possibly two hands," Singleton says. "There's not many, right? And talk is quite cheap. You meet a lot of developers and they're like, 'Yeah, we're gonna do a 90-percent Metacritic game.' It's really easy to say, but until you've actually done that, you don't know how hard it is. You know, I've done it, it's bloody hard." (Games filed under "bloody hard:" Batman: Arkham Asylum and Just Cause 2.)
Square Enix London plays an academic role in development, offering access to usability labs -- "with mirrored glass and that kind of stuff" -- a database of professional testers, and a wealth of data that helps eliminate "those little points of frustration," Singleton says. "It's really tough, and if everything goes right it's still really hard. Generally, making games is about dealing with a lot of problems, it's really tough, so we just try to compliment the dev teams that we work with."
Singleton believes that intense tuning is what sets the best games apart, most of all when it's done during the climax of development. "To be honest, that bit at the end is where you take your game from an 80 to a 90, if you've got all the right ingredients." There's an adherence to numbers throughout his explanation, which almost makes game development into the product of cold science. And with science comes some measure of predictability, and more than an inkling of what Metacritic will say a few weeks after launch. "The furthest we've been out is three percent," he says.
And how much money will Square Enix be out if the error goes beyond three percent? Singleton doesn't say, but drops the diplomacy when addressing the AAA industry's money-sucking state. "Every game is a huge financial risk, if I'm honest with you. Game development is a money pit. It doesn't matter how much you throw at it, it keeps sucking it up." Quality is your only hope, Singleton says, and it must be verifiable to warrant the huge investment. "We're not making iPhone games here, right?"
Singleton is drawn to the "magic" that he feels was already in Sleeping Dogs, and perhaps just needed some more time and tuning, while Jeff O'Connell paints a picture of dedication. Even when the plug was pulled, the lights stayed on at United Front Games.
"We always kept working," he says. "I think, obviously, when you lose your publisher, there's a period of shock that sets in, and you have to make sure that you're taking care of yourself and your people at that point and you're helping people through that time." United Front kept working on the core technology and, from what I've played of the game in its latest incarnation, a set of enjoyable mechanics given emphasis over a surfeit of city run-around missions. "We always believed in the game, and always felt that it was going to somehow make it out there because we felt what we were offering was really unique and strong. So, yeah, we didn't stop."
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