Posts Tagged ‘interview’

The Design And Politics Of Deus Ex Mankind Divided

At Gamescom 2015, I had the opportunity to talk to Deus Ex: Mankind Divided gameplay director Patrick Fortier. We talked about feeling a sense of ownership over Deus Ex at last, expanding the language of its level design beyond vents, and the politics of a “mechanical apartheid.” Before I asked him about the game’s ceilings.

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Galaxies, Wrenches And Disclosures: Gunpoint Creator Tom Francis’ Heat Signature

Heat Signature [official site] is an action/stealth game in which you can go inside the spaceships, from the team behind Gunpoint. I played a recent build last week and spoke to its lead designer Tom Francis about how how it’s grown into a game of factional war, if it can ever be finished, comedy wrench KOs and the awkwardness of journalists covering ex-journalists’ games. By which I mean: disclaimer – I used to work at the same magazine company as Tom, and we socialised on occasion.

Heat Signature’s pratfalls-in-space concepts were a giggle already, but the scope has expanded dramatically since the first time I saw it, less than a year ago. It’s becoming Galactic Civilizations as well as this sort of high-speed, outer space heist game. Gunpoint’s use of physics as both freeform puzzle and source of Three Stooges comedy ethos is very clearly in there, as is a shared determination to ensure the player is doing their own thing in any given second of the game, but as well as stealing procedurally-generated spaceships you now get to play galactic factions against each other in a persistent universe. This wasn’t the original plan.

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Nuclear Throne’s Vlambeer: “If The Customer Was Always Right I Wouldn’t Have A Job”

When I meet Vlambeer’s Rami Ismail, it’s in the middle of the annual Develop conference in Brighton. He’s a striking figure in a sea that’s half middle-aged businessmen and half wide-eyed, unshaven young developers in t-shirts: improbably tall, wearing a leather jacket on a hot summer’s day, hair everywhere, and a mile-a-minute patter that conveys extreme confidence without evident arrogance. He’s nearing the end of Ramadan, which means he hasn’t eaten during the day for several weeks, but has the energy and enthusiasm of someone about to climb Everest. Like his company’s offbeat action games and his often highly outspoken social media style or not, it is little surprise that this guy became so successful – though of course the raw, joyful appeal of games including Nuclear Throne, Super Crate Box, Luftrausers and Ridiculous Fishing went a long way towards that.

But would the confidence and conviction that he has when he wades headlong into the gaming issues of the day or, as he does in his keynote Develop speech the next day, declare that listening to one’s customers is not necessarily the best policy, be there if he didn’t already have the safety net of that success? In the unedited transcript below, we talk about that, about his feelings towards his own customers, indie ‘luck’, why games want rockstars, Ubisoft’s women characters controversy and why he doesn’t feel he can tell anyone else how to be successful.
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The Asylum Horror Game That Isn’t A Horror Game

I took a look at the trailers for this Italian-made ‘psychological’ thriller a couple of weeks ago, and worried aloud about whether they’d be able to achieve their stated aim of helping people understand “the true meaning of mental illness” given that The Town Of Light seemed to include many ‘spooky asylum’ tropes.

I played a small section of the game and spoke (via translator) to the Italian team behind The Town Of Light at last week’s Develop conference, and now at least have a clearer idea of what it is.

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Deus Ex: Mankind Divided: An Interview About Jensen 2.0

“Deus Ex meets District 9″ is how the company described Deus Ex: Mankind Divided [official site] during a demo I attended at E3. Set two years after Human Revolution, Mankind Divided showcases a society still deeply fearful after the Aug Incident where mechanically augmented people turned violent, stripped of self-control after a signal deliberately interfered with their in-built bio-chips. The scale of the incident means augmentations are now viewed with suspicion and augmented people treated as outcasts. Adam Jensen himself is working as a counter-terrorist agent fighting some of the resultant crime. Well. That’s his day job. He secretly believes the task force was set up by the Illuminti for a different purpose and is working to take them down.

“He’s a tool and a weapon,” is executive game director Jean-François Dugas’ analysis of this Adam Jensen.

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The Banner Saga 2: On Combat And Continuity

Like Graham after a few shandies

I arrived a few minutes early for a Banner Saga 2 [official site] interview with Stoic’s artist Arnie Jorgensen and writer Drew McGee at E3 so I set my bags down and walked over to a vacant demo computer. The game is the second of Stoic’s planned trilogy and I’ve only played half of the first Banner Saga so I was a little cautious – what if there were spoilers?

Curiosity won out and OH GOD THERE WERE SPOILERS!

With that in mind, if you’ve not played or finished the first game and wish to avoid spoilers just bookmark this for later:

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No Man’s Sky Interview: Sean Murray Vs The Hype Train

Cake versus pie. Pie versus cake.

Whilst at E3 I spent an hour with Sean Murray, managing director over at Hello Games. We were talking about No Man’s Sky [official site]. Well, we were mostly talking about No Man’s Sky. I had to cut a surprisingly lengthy discussion of whether cake was better than pie (it isn’t). The thing about No Man’s Sky which is most interesting to me right now is how Hello Games – Murray in particular – are trying to deal with audience expectations, shifting them from hype and projected desire to excited realism.

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Dote Night: Smite’s $1m Prize Pool Cap And What It Means For The Pro Scene

The riches of heaven - no more than $1m in your prize pool thx

Earlier today game developers Hi-Rez announced that they would be capping the prize pool for their Smite World Championships at $1m. Smite [official site] is an over-the shoulder MOBA whose character roster is populated by the gods of various religions. Its inaugural World Championship took place earlier this year in Atlanta, Georgia with a total prize pool of $2.6m, the majority of which was crowdfunded. I got in touch with Hi-Rez president Stew Chisam to dig into why he thinks the cap will benefit the professional gaming scene:

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Hitman Interview: “The Aspiration Is To Build The Perfect Hitman Game”

Front row, obviously. What? No. I'm definitely a fashiopn blogger.

The Hitman [official site] trailer shown at E3 gave a promising tease for a game which is provoking anxiety as well as anticipation. The sentiment I’ve heard echoing through editorials and comment sections boils down to “more Blood Money, less Absolution, please” but IO Interactive’s creative director, Christian Elverdam hopes to marry the best of both games, distilling them to find the essence of Hitman. Eau d’Assassin, perhaps?

“We’re trying to distil the essence of [Hitman],” Elverdam tells me. “We’ve been doing Hitman for fifteen years and we felt we had a chance now to try to build… I wouldn’t say the perfect hitman game, but the aspiration is to build the perfect Hitman game.”

We’re sitting in a little room at the back of the Square Enix booth a little removed from the scrum of the E3 show floor. Elverdam is about to take Agent 47 to a Parisian fashion show in an enormous mansion – possibly an art gallery. It’s at this swanky gathering that you’ll attempt to find a way to take out a gentleman by the name of Viktor Novikov.

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How The Community Is Building Unreal Tournament

Unreal Tournament [official site] represents a new and interesting way of developing games. Beyond the Early Access periods now common on Steam or the mostly-advertising open betas used for every major multiplayer game, UT is fully free and developed by its community. Thanks to Unreal Engine 4’s availability, it already has an editing suite that rivals the best, despite not having left pre-Alpha. This means that what would usually be mods put out many months after release are an integral part of the development process, shaping the core game. I spoke to Lead Developer Steve Polge about the influence of the community on development.

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God Foot: Total War Warhammer’s Wonderfully Weird Units

When I go to watch the Creative Assembly team show off units from their upcoming Total War: Warhammer [official site] game, what really sticks out to me is the sense of humour. I’ve been to Total War previews before and the emphasis is very definitely on serious historical epic battles. This time around I watch a goblin with scrappy-looking wooden wings clamber into a catapult, preparing to fling himself into the ranks of the opposition.

“That’s called the Doomdiver catapult,” grins battle designer Simon Mann. “Goblins volunteer – I don’t know why you would – to have a pair of wooden wings strapped to their backs, get loaded into a catapult and then just get launched. In our game it is kind of silly, and there’s a lot of humour in the Warhammer franchise.”

The demo we’ve just seen didn’t involve a hands-on but it did give a decent peek at a lot of the units from the Empire and Greenskins factions. (Dwarfs and Vampire Counts will come a bit later, with Chaos also very strongly implied in trailers.) The Greenbacks are all manner of weird and wonderful, while the Empire occupies relatively familiar Total War territory – give or take the odd demigryph.

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Wildstar Goes Free-To-Play: Why & How It’s Happening

o frabjous day

When I ask Wildstar’s [official site] Chad Moore and Mike Donatelli why on earth NCSOFT would release a subscription-based MMO at a time when most other MMOs had gone free-to-play, their answer is accompanied by one particularly important factoid: Wildstar is also going free-to-play.

I found out why NCSOFT are making the switch now, and what happens next.
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World Of Wuxia: Blade And Soul

What exactly is the incentive for a studio to bring another free-to-play MMO to the West?

Even among fans of these here grind-machines, the approval-rating of MMOs rises and falls with a steadiness usually reserved for politicians. But somehow NCsoft have managed to keep a stable of these games in their portfolio for years. The publishers have announced today that they’re localizing Blade And Soul [official site], its three-year-old free-to-play MMO, for North America and Europe this year, making this the fifth title from the company to launch in Asia before it releases in the West. We decided to take a closer look.

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