Sony reconfirms 2016 release date for The Last Guardian as PS4 sells 6 million consoles during holiday season
Nintendo Download: Minecraft: Story Mode, Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam, SMB3 GBA, more
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Recently, 2 Player Productions wrapped production on Double Fine Adventure, a documentary series that followed the development of Broken Age. It was revolutionary in the gaming scene, being the only documentary to ever follow a studio developing a game from its conceptualization through its release and aftermath. Before it, the average game player had only ever seen brief snippets of development from single-person games or small indie teams. Double Fine was the first developer to pull back that curtain on game development, a feat arguably more important than its rocketing of Kickstarter into the mainstream, and unquestionably having a bigger impact on the industry and the community than Broken Age itself. If we’re being honest, Double Fine completely mismanaged their Kickstarter funds, and Broken Age isn’t great. But by “showing how the sausage gets made,” as studio founder Tim Schafer put it, Double Fine made their campaign more than worth it, and left a long-lasting contribution to the industry.
Until DFA came out, game development was a mystical secret that no one outside the industry could begin to comprehend. So much of it was mysterious that many who wanted to be in the industry viewed it with rose-tinted glasses: a dream job where they could play all day. All we knew about game development beforehand were the two extremes. There were the developers that talked in interviews about how great it was, coming to work and hanging out with cool people, getting to create great games that everybody loves. We also read the headlines about developers losing their jobs, and studios being shut down. That or it was about developers going mad in “crunch time” having to work 80 hour weeks. In fact, Double Fine gives us a good example with the Tim Schafter episode of G4’s Icons, when he took us briefly behind the scenes of production on Psychonauts.
We never knew what it was really like, not until Double Fine showed us. (more…)
Unlike many in the video game community, I don’t have fond memories of gaming as a child. It wasn’t until I was 13 or 14 when I got a PS2 for Christmas that I got serious about my gaming. Before that, video games were an entirely foreign concept to me, though I did play my sister’s Super Nintendo from time to time. We’d play Super Mario Bros., Donkey Kong Country, and Paperboy 2; it was the only time when we weren’t trying to kill each other. My dad was into games back then too, playing old adventure games like Riven and Myst.
As my interest in gaming grew, so too did my interest in gaming’s history. Time and time again in my halfhearted and aimless research I became aware of the fanboy subculture. In those days, I was a Sony fanboy, but the art of emotionally investing in a multi-million dollar company that didn’t care about its individual customers was more refined in the height of the Sega and Nintendo wars. (more…)
Bethesda’s first-ever E3 Press Conference was chock-full of goodies, from Dishonored: Definite Edition for next generation consoles to a new Doom and its intuitive SnapMap creator. But there was also something else to celebrate during the presentation, as the company’s two biggest announcements, Fallout 4 and Dishonored 2, both offered the choice to play as a female character. And believe it or not, every game showcased by Bethesda will give players that same choice. (more…)
Sony put on an incredible show during this year’s E3 Expo, debuting new IPs from Guerrilla Games and Media Molecule, as well as offering further glimpses at long-awaited titles such as No Man’s Sky from Hello Games and Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End from Naughty Dog. Yet it chose to open its presentation with perhaps the most long-awaited title of all time, The Last Guardian. (more…)
In a year when big hitters like Microsoft, Sony, and Bethesda gave exciting, extraordinary E3 presentations that included a smooth blend of new tech, surprise reveals, and gorgeous gameplay videos, the reverse is true for Nintendo. The company, who gave up on live E3 presentations two years ago, delivered a lackluster Digital Event that sought to highlight games due out this year or early next year. This effectively ruled out showing any new footage from the still untitled Legend of Zelda Wii U, despite the fact it was revealed at last year’s E3. Not content with backing itself into a corner with this decision, we were told that the company’s new platform, the NX, would also not be touched upon. Yet, given how meager-looking the titles were for the Wii U, it has led to rampant speculation that the company is holding upcoming games back for its next console.
In summary, Xenoblade Chronicles X was shown. Again. Super Mario Maker was shown. Again, and not just from E3 2014, but also from the Nintendo World Championships. Yoshi’s Woolly World was shown. Again.
3DS owners fared far better, with the announcement of new games such as The Legend of Zelda: Tri Force Heroes and Hyrule Warriors Legends, a port of the underrated Wii U game. There was also a new Paper Mario-esque title, Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam, and an odd Samus-lite Metroid game, Metroid Prime: Federation Force.
There were a few surprises for the Wii U, but not the good kind, and certainly not the ones fans wanted or expected, such as Mario Tennis: Ultra Smash or Animal Crossing: Amiibo Festival (which is, essentially, Mario Party with Animal Crossing characters). The initial reaction to the presentation was best summed up by our good friends over at Nintendo Life:
As a Wii U owner and general advocate for Nintendo, I was not as angered as many who chose to vent their anger on social media, but after Sony and Microsoft made pitch-perfect presentations, to say I was disappointed in Nintendo’s efforts would be an understatement. Nintendo President (and part-time puppet) Satoru Iwata seemed equally aware of the reaction from gamers and fans around the world, taking to Twitter to reassure them the company was listening: “Thank you for watching until midnight. We take the various opinions for this year’s Digital Event very seriously. I would like to continue our efforts to be able to meet more and more of your expectations in the future.”
Unlike many armchair CEOs calling for his resignation, I personally think Iwata has steered Nintendo through a stormy chapter in its history, and is obviously aware that more change may be needed. With that in mind, here are five suggestions on how Nintendo can improve for next year. (more…)
Hype Fatigue: Why I’m Exhausted With Viral Marketing, Elaborate Advertising Campaigns, and Countdowns
The machinations of video game marketers absolutely baffle me. Obviously, “video game marketing” is an incredibly broad term that encompasses hundreds of different campaigns a year, all run by different people, and all carried out with different expectations. Whipsawing between a seemingly neverending series of hype events and viral campaigns has started to make my head spin. Following hashtags and decoding secret messages has become de rigueur if you want to come up with all the latest game news. Last week, three publishers launched three very different viral campaigns that made me long for the days of the simple press release/trailer combo platter. But maybe they aren’t to blame, as video game marketing has been growing increasingly insane for years now. (more…)
As we reported in January, Mayfair Games, the publisher of Settlers of Catan, took to Kickstarter with the dream of making Cones of Dunshire, a fictional board game from the Parks & Recreation universe, into a real game. Fans of the NBC show and of intricate and/or confusing cooperative board games rejoiced. It seemed like an impossible task to raise $300,000 to create a deluxe version of the game… and it was. So Mayfair canceled their original campaign and relaunched it in early February with some adjustments, including a lowered project goal ($125,000) and reworked pledge levels and rewards. Even at the reduced levels, it still took at least $400 (and a dream!) to reserve a copy of the game. As before, additional goodies and enhancements to the game were available at higher pledge levels. For example, backers would receive the game at $400, but at $550 they would receive the game with metal “Hero Bases,” and at $700 they would get the game with metal figures.
During the original campaign, pledges were slow to come in and it did not appear that Mayfair would meet its goal in the 60 days allotted. The second Kickstarter, which after a 30-day run ended on March 12th, fared no better. At its conclusion, Mayfair had raised $48,696 from 194 backers, only reaching 39% of its goal.
So how did it all go wrong? (more…)
It’s the start of a new year, which means analysts are pouring over statistics from the previous 365 days, especially to do with the weird and wonderful world of crowdfunding, which still appears to be more of an art than a science.
So what have we learned? Kickstarter revealed that investment in the Games category is down to $89.1 million in 2014, compared to $105.6 million the previous year. Yet successful projects were up from 1,481 to 1,979. That’s nearly a difference of 500, suggesting investors are backing smaller projects that have a larger chance of success. According to Kickstarter’s own stats, the overall rate of success for Games is 34.18%, 5.5% less than the total success rate of the site, which sits at 39.68%.
In short, video games donations and numbers were down.
A lot. (more…)