Posts Tagged ‘interview’

Interview: Firaxis’ Jake Solomon On What Went Right And Wrong With XCOM 2

In which Adam and I sit down with XCOM 2 lead designer Jake Solomon to dissect the strategy sequel. We discuss what it does well and some of the complaints levelled at it, hear about ideas tried and discarded during development, why story had more of a focus this time around and the continued importance of the original X-COM games.

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XCOM 2 Was Made More Difficult Late In Development: “There Were Definitely Moments Of ‘Is This Too Much?'”

XCOM 2 was made significantly more difficult late in its development cycle after playtesting suggested it was too easy, says the game’s lead designer. “I remember saying ‘you know what, we’re going to make the game a lot harder. We’re going to go back and make the game a lot harder on every level, because this game is not engaging people the way it should,'” Firaxis’ Jake Solomon told RPS. “Of course it triggered a fairly mad rush to balance things out, but I think when the game got more difficult then you started to see people engaging, you felt that spark of life.”

However, he acknowledged that some players might be struggling with the game as a result. “There were definitely moments of ‘is this too much?’ and how do we cater to people that maybe don’t want that experience?”

Solomon also felt that the presentation of the game’s difficulty settings might be to blame for this frustration. “I made a mistake, I think, by calling the lowest difficulty Rookie”.

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Paragon Interview: Why Epic Are Making A MOBA & More

You can read about Paragon, Epic’s new MOBA, over here, but there were parts I had to cut out of the feature for flow and length. If you’re wondering about the game’s replay system, crossplay with consoles, approach to chat toxicity, and why Epic are making a MOBA in the first place, read on for some bonus materials from my conversation with creative director Steve Superville.

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Firaxis “Working Furiously” On XCOM 2 Fixes: “We Didn’t Know It Would Be This Way At Launch”

XCOM 2 [official site]’s technical problems are “the first thing we talk about about when we come in in the morning”, claims lead designer Jake Solomon. “We take it incredibly seriously. Me and all the leads, that’s what we work on all day and that’s what we’re committed to right now.”

While very well-received critically, XCOM 2 has run poorly for a significant number of players, this correspondent included (though it ran well for our reviewer Adam). Speaking to RPS yesterday, project lead Solomon stated that Firaxis were unaware this would be the case when they shipped the game. “I can honestly say that we didn’t know it would be this way at launch.”

While a small hotfix, released yesterday, did not address the major framerate issues, larger fixes are “coming soon”. Solomon also revealed that the post-animation pauses some have criticised XCOM 2 for are being worked on.
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The Flare Path: Debriefs Dan Dimitrescu

Interesting chap, Dan Dimitrescu. Spoken of in reverent tones in the roughest bars in virtual Kiel, Wilhelmshaven and Pearl Harbour, he started his working life reviewing simulations rather than designing them. Below the break, he talks about the games he’s shaped and the games he’s scored. Influences are star-shelled, career sea-changes discussed. If you’ve ever stalked a Silent Hunter convoy or dithered outside a Door Kickers door, read on. Read on!  Read the rest of this entry »

Paragon: What You Need To Know About Epic’s MOBA

A couple of weeks back Epic’s Paragon [official site] team brought their third-person MOBA – still in its alpha state – to London for a hands-on preview event. I managed to get several games in (two crushings and one tense victory) as well as spending some time with creative director, Steve Superville.

Superville says that Epic’s question of themselves when setting out to make Paragon was “can we bring action to the MOBA genre?” My own big question of Paragon is this: I play a lot of Dota, and if I want something shorter I head into Overwatch or Smite’s Joust or Arena modes, so what’s the thing that Paragon offers which would get me to carve out a wedge of time for that game?

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StarCraft: Building A Brilliant Brood War Bot

The Student StarCraft AI Tournament is an AI vs AI tournament which pits bots programmed to play StarCraft: Brood War against one another. SSCAIT started in 2011 and is one of three major Brood War AI tournaments. Last year’s student division title went to Martin Rooijackers and his creation, LetaBot. They also won the 2014 student and mixed division. This year Martin and LetaBot made it through to the quarter-finals.

While the bots continue to battle I’ve been asking Martin to tell me more about how they work. Are some of Starcraft’s races easier to build bots for than others? What’s the hardest thing to get bots to do? And is LetaBot built to dominate a bot meta or could it take on humans too?

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