We don’t usually bother with news around here, but sometimes it’s News and deserves a remark.
The Industry said a collective “whoa” on Friday when it learned that John Carmack, programming megamind and id Software co-founder, creator of Doom and Quake and Rage, has left the company he built. Several months ago Carmack took on a new role as Chief Technology Officer at Oculus VR – they of the eventual Oculus Rift headset – and it’s on this role that he is going to focus his attention.
If you liked Braid, you’ll probably enjoy The Bridge. It is not by the same creative team, but in terms of mechanics, aesthetics, and structure, it may as well be called Braid 2: the Braidening, Braid Strikes Back.
I’m hurtling down a country highway in an old, beat up station wagon; a pack of ravenous undead cling to the outside and try to claw their way in, all while the vehicle is engulfed in flames. They break in and quickly rip out this poor survivor; the car rolls into a tree, a blazing inferno. Four, five, six, maybe more of the “reanimated” pounce on the driver – this is not Ed Jones’ day. Suddenly, a bright and glorious flash of orange incinerates the attackers granting them their second death. Ed stands up – he still has two legs to do so – and surveys the wreckage: what was seconds ago his coffin on wheels, now his saviour. He’s nowhere near unscathed, but he’s still breathing and that counts. Time to head home.
This is just one of an infinite possibility of harrowing scenarios in Trumball Valley.
State of Decay might just be the Zombocalypse game you didn’t know you were waiting for.
Or, XCOM: Enemy GETS TO MOVE DURING MY TURN
Or, XCOM: Enemy CAN BE HEADSHOT OUT OF SIGHT THROUGH A CAR WITH AN 88% CHANCE TO HIT
Or, XCOM: Enemy IS LESS DANGEROUS THAN MY OWN PANICKED SOLDIERS
“No,” is my guess.
I’m as guilty as the next fan of speculating unfairly about things, though I’ve tried – hard – to withhold judgment on Eidos Montreal’s upcoming Thief. It hasn’t been easy, and I haven’t been wholly successful. But I remind myself that this studio also gave us the workmanlike but excellent Deus Ex: Human Revolution, and I feel a little better. “Teams” and “studios” aren’t the same thing, though, and so far there’s been little evidence that the development team behind Thief understands the franchise they’re working with to the degree that the Deus Ex folks understood theirs.
Maybe this is a curse of third Batman things: Arkham Origins is to the Arkham series what The Dark Knight Rises is to Christopher Nolan’s trilogy: the biggest, but probably the weakest, of a series of very good things. Arkham Origins is objectively a pretty good game, but that mostly comes from what it preserves from its predecessors, because it makes very few attempts at expanding that formula.
Happy Halloween, Tap-Repeatedly!
Time for the news.
This weekend I’m going to be participating in the Extra Life game charity drive. I’m playing games for 25 hours as part of the Schell Games team, benefiting the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh. I hope you will consider donating to my page here! I’m getting closer to my goal and every extra bit helps kids.
The Stanley Parable is a game about branching narrative structures in games. Well, except I talked to Davey Wreden for a bit at Indiecade last year, and he said it’s not really about that. But the game is pretty sarcastic, unless it’s very sincerely telling you something about how it feels about branching choices in games, so maybe I misinterpreted that conversation, or maybe Wreden was just pulling my leg.
The Stanley Parable is a game about pulling my leg.
After playing a bit of Heavy Rain, I would often get on my phone and call a friend who was playing it at the same time. After verifying how far in we were (speaking in vague terms, so as not to spoil anything), we ravenously compared notes on the latest choices we’d made, why, and what happened as a result. (“How did you cut off your finger?”) I was nearly as excited to find out what my friends had done differently as I was to progress further in the game. It’s an urge I get most any time I’ve gotten through a game that confronts me with a meaningful decision.
Beyond: Two Souls never once provoked this feeling in me.