I don’t always agree with Tom Bissell, but you should read his interview with Ken Levine about Bioshock and Bioshock Infinite on Grantland. A great quote:
I think it’s undeniable to say the forms in which people consume quality content change, the way they pay for it changes, and the places where they want to consume it change. Technology has been an amazingly creative and destructive force — it’s been a creatively destructive force. If you look at traditional TV shows, and people were worried about the end of the drama … remember that, a few years ago? I tend not to spend a lot of time being anxious about things. I tend to spend the time looking for opportunity. Because the Earth will turn. You can choose to try to stop it from turning, but it will turn. There are truths. The sun will go up and the sun will go down. And I think that you have to count on those truths. Quality matters. Focus on your craft.
If you’ve never played Bioshock, you really should. I’ll be digging into Infinite starting today and can figure that it won’t take my very long to get through it.
I personally didn’t like the game very much, but this video of bloopers from the recording sessions is really interesting. It makes me really curious how they actually captured actor performances—which was the one thing about that game I thought was done really well.
Cool piece by Rainer Sigl for Kill Screen Daily about the new trend of people taking images of in-game worlds:
For the first time, a new crop of in-game-photographers are travelling these gaming spaces to hunt for pictures. And just like their real-world counterparts, these photographers bring their own tastes and their own unique viewpoint to their art: Some of these pictures remind us of Ansel Adams’ majestic portraits of nature, others turn architecture into abstract collages, reminiscent of the works of Ernst Haas and Andreas Gursky.
There’s some neat stuff going on in this space, and they have linked to some neat blogs that showcase these kinds of images in the article.
This is a great interview by Andrew Reiner for Game Informer. Rubin comes across as real and disappointed with the outcome at THQ. A couple of choice pulls:
I failed to find Vigil a home. Having just finished a product, Vigil was farthest from release of their next game, and we were not able to garner any interest from buyers, despite a herculean effort. Additionally, they were working on a new IP, which meant even more risk for a buyer.
I’m curious what that other project was, as I’d just assumed they were working on the next Darksiders title. It’s a shame they weren’t picked up by someone else; they did some good work.
I believe that in the near future, digital distribution and alternate business models will bring a greater percentage of dollars spent on games back to the publisher/developer. Based on that change, in a few years, a THQ would be able to survive, and larger publishers will be even more profitable. But the next few years of transition are going to be incredibly challenging for all AAA game companies.
This upcoming generation of consoles is going to be very interesting. I believe we’re only seeing the first changes of many right now in how games are made, published, and sold.
What happens to properties like Darksiders and Red Faction?
There will be a separate process to sell off the back catalog and IP. That process will take place in the coming weeks.
It will be interested to see where that other IP ends up and if anything is ever done with it.
I should probably pick up a copy of Darksiders II, though, seeing as I’ve not done that yet. And I’d assume that DLC will be delisted for at least a while when things change hands.
Aaron Gotzon on The Ontological Geek:
It is the responsibility of videogames to teach us how to play them. Before the game can even really strut its stuff, it has to play the role of teacher, and show us what plastic-thingies do which murdery-kill-ma-bobs.
More than that, the tutorial has to be woven into the game in such a way that it doesn’t manage to detract from the game itself, or distract from that immersive element which is key to most experiences of fiction. In the ‘biz we call it “suspension of disbelief.”
What about your web application? How does it teach users to use it? As with games, there are universal concepts, such as typing, clicking, and related actions that all computer users know to do.
But when it gets down to learning how to use the actual application, how could you teach that person to use the application in a gradual and natural way? For example, what if WordPress had a user only be able to create a title and a post body the first time? Then the second time, the user is told how to add a tag or use a category—and you added little bits each time they used it?
Of course, power users don’t need this, but people who are new to an app and might not have a bunch of computer experience outside of using email or Office might be completely overwhelmed the first time they use your app.