No announcement yet.

A bold return for the True Crime franchise


Latest Articles


  • The first look at 'Star Wars Battlefront,' a familiar multiplayer feast
    Bald Bouncer
    With a new film on the horizon, there's a wave of excitement attached to the Star Wars franchise that hasn't been felt since the months leading up to the release of Episode I. Part of Disney's new plan for the $4 billion series includes a slate of new video game experiences over the course of a 10-year partnership with Electronic Arts.

    At Star Wars Celebration, the 10th official convention focused on the iconic property, EA's DICE studio showcased the first game in its decade-long plan:...
    Today, 03:00 PM
  • Star Wars: Battlefront – Here Is The World’s First In Game Video
    Bald Bouncer

    Enough of the speculation, let’s just finally see what DICE and EA’s upcoming reboot of the beloved Star Wars: Battlefront series looks like. At the end of the trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens earlier today, we got to see a glimpse of Star Wars: Battlefront. And here it is, in all of its glory: the first in game screenshot of the title.

    Of course, remember, that this is a video grab, which means that the final image will actually be better than this....
    Yesterday, 05:20 PM
  • Star Wars: Battlefront Will Be Both, First person and Third Person
    Bald Bouncer
    Whereas the original Star Wars: Battlefront games are primarily known for their excellent third person modes, a lot of people were fairly worried that the games might force a shift to first person shooting once it was announced that DICE had taken over the reigns for the reboot, rather than allowing players a choice.

    All of that, it seems, was pointless speculation. Electronic Arts and DICE’s newest tease for the game pretty much confirms that the title will in fact have...
    16-04-2015, 04:58 PM
  • Project CARS (Finally) Launching May 8
    Bald Bouncer
    A lot has been said about Project CARS’s incessant delays. I’m not going to repeat myself here, except to say that the game has been delayed more times than i can keep track of at this point, and each time a new release date is announced, the game gets delayed about a month or so before it is due to launch. So I’ll be honest, I was fully expecting the pattern to continue, and for another delay to be announced for the game some time this month, after it was delayed again last month in March,...
    16-04-2015, 04:49 PM
  • Destiny Patch 1.1.2 Removes Blades of Crota from Patrol – Report
    Bald Bouncer

    Bungie recently updated Destiny with a hefty patch, weighing in at roughly 4.3 GB or so for current gen users. While the new options have been greatly appreciated, there seem to have been some unfortunate side-effects – like the removal of the Blades of Crota.

    After The Dark Below launched, a new event of sorts was added to Patrol missions wherein a Hive Knight wielding the Sword of Crota would be available to murder. Killing the Knight would allow you to use the Sword...
    15-04-2015, 01:09 PM
  • Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 Possibly Set In Switzerland And Egypt
    Bald Bouncer

    Even though Black Ops 3 has not been officially revealed yet – that happens later, at the end of this month – people are pumped about it. And they should be, too. The original Black Ops was the peak of the classic Call of Duty formula, single and multiplayer, and Black Ops II was the most progressive game in the franchise.

    In their excitement, players and fans have started to dissect the brief teaser trailer that we got a few days ago, looking for clues. And they seem...
    15-04-2015, 12:55 PM

Side Advert


Article Tags



  • A bold return for the True Crime franchise

    Producer 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."

      Posting comments is disabled.

    Article Inside Bottom