After an abrupt collapse in 2010, it would seem that STALKER developer GSC Game World is back. At least, there are people saying it’s back, and doing interviews to that effect. But I’ve long since abandoned any illusions that reality will influence the state of things in Ukrainian game development.
You know, when I first heard this rumor yesterday – that Microsoft was in talks to buy Mojang Specifications for a cool $2.5 billion – I just rolled my eyes. Sure, I could see Microsoft wanting to do so, and anyone would like to have two and a half billion… but the Minecraft developer isn’t exactly low on funds. And, frankly, given Markus “Notch” Persson’s evident dislike of large-scale corporate buyouts, it seemed against character even if they were nearly bankrupt. And yet, it’s true. Even Mojang says so, and says also that Notch is leaving the company, along with its two other founders.
Destructoid posted this awesome little news article announcing that Atari (the company that got me started in the gaming industry) is not only bringing back two titles from the past, but adding a few to their arsenal as well. While the article focuses on Alone in the Dark and Haunted House (which will hopefully give us all the horror games we need), it’s really games Minimum and Roller Coaster Tycoon (for PC) that are of interest to me here.
It’s been a big week for World of Warcraft. The cinematic trailer for Warlords of Dreanor went live last week, and the usual updates regarding subscription numbers and future plans that we’ve all come to expect have been circulating through our Twitter feeds. On such article by IGN featuring a spread on WoW’s traditional, pre-expansion dwindling subscriber count, Game Director Tom Chilton discusses the plans for future expansions. The interesting thing about this article (listed below) is that Chilton expresses that the plan was for expacs to be released more frequently with shorter gaps in between. We all know that for the past expacs the rollout period has been approximately every two years, with a sizeable patch in between to break up the wait.
So it’s come to my attention that some people – by which I mean all people – misunderstood an earlier post I wrote, announcing the publication of Brilliance, my brother’s sixth novel. In this, the post announcing the publication of A Better World, my brother’s seventh novel, I will endeavor to set the record straight.
Hi Tap! I’m out at GDC 2014 this week, reporting from the expo and talking to the people who make the games. I hope to post some previews and news throughout the conference! This first writeup is just a trip report with some highlights from my first two/three days.
Historically, when a studio is successful, its leadership attempts to capitalize on that success while continuing the trend.
Old-skool thinking, proclaim a new and ballsy generation of game developers. Entirely red ocean. We are pioneers of a new strategy. These days, rather than attempting to build on a successful model, it’s trendy to kill the studio and fire everyone. It worked for GSC Game World, where Sergey Grigorovich shuttered the place and sacked about a hundred people rather than continue development on the promising, money-printing STALKER franchise. Evidently emboldened by this, Ken Levine at Irrational Games has decided to do basically the same thing – he is “winding” Irrational Games down, letting the vast majority of its staff go, and starting something new and smaller under the Take-Two banner.
Last week, talented gamers from the Speed Demos Archive participated in their annual games for charity run: Awesome Games Done Quick. Watching the stream has been so fascinating that I’ve forgotten to do many other things I theoretically should have done. But that seems to have been the case for many, as, very late Saturday night, the AGDQ stream made an incredible goal of one million dollars collected for the Prevent Cancer Foundation. Austin Powers jokes ensued.
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.
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.
Hi, Tappers: just a public service announcement. Myself and my friends are trying to make games better. In order to make games better, we want some information about how you play games.
Easy, right? If you have a minute of time today – or this week, or whenever! – there’s a couple of quick surveys I hope that you will check out.
According to the ESA’s most recent fact sheet, women currently make up 45% of game players.
This isn’t really news. The stats about the increasing amount of female gamers have been available for years. But the common wisdom is that women are mostly interested in games on Facebook: casual games for which they are unwilling to pay actual money without being deceived by free-to-play monetization tactics. However, one company, Silicon Sisters, has been working on games targeted at young girls and sold with a money up-front model… and succeeding at it. Now, they’re planning on doing the same with a game targeted squarely at the adult female demographic. Their new game is called Everlove, and it is an interactive romance novel for an American audience.
Last year I shared a few vlogs from a little indie start-up called Kermdinger Studios as they set out on the journey of creating their first indie game. Eighteen months and one cross-country move later, the guys at Kermdinger have unveiled their first project, launching pages on Kickstarter and Steam Greenlight. They call it Stunt Runner, a physics puzzler for PC and Mac with a humorous twist. The game’s already at the top of the video game staff picks on Kickstarter, which isn’t a bad sign at all.
If you’ve been curious what the Kermdinger guys (Kermdingers? Kermdingites? What is a Kermdinger, anywise?), check out the details on Stunt Runner. You can also visit them on their own site.
Lo! This quite-excellent news may have passed you by a week ago as it did me, so here as a public service, I offer you last week’s news: Stardock Corporation have acquired, from Atari, the rights to classic but never incredibly popular space fun franchise Star Control! They then immediately announced “now that we at long last own the rights to Star Control we’re figuratively burying it right beside that E.T. game which nobody also played but someone you know claims they did and you punched them for it. That was the right thing to do. Punch all liars!” Okay, I kid, they didn’t say that! Who ever would? No video game corporation is that evil.
Hark! There is a book you must buy. Marcus Sakey, my media mogul brother, Jaime Lannister to my Tyrion, Alan Wake to my Barry, has gone and written another novel. Brilliance, it is called, and it is available on this day for buying with your monies and reading with your eyes. Click upon this link to buy it.
Why that link in particular? Tell you what: first, click and buy, then come back and read this, then go read the book.