Nov 212011

Troubled MMO will get a new engine, not a new game, says producer.
Final Fantasy XIV’s new producer, Naoki Yoshida, has warned fans not to expect an entirely new game out the major ’2.0′ update announced last month.

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 Posted by at 9:50 pm
Nov 212011

A video game’s first responsibility — arguably its only responsibility — is to show the player a good time. To say that Saints Row: The Third is a good time would be a severe understatement. Running naked around the fictional city of Steelport wiping out rival gangs with mind-controlling octopi pr…

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 Posted by at 9:20 pm
Nov 212011

It’s safe to say that the first person shooter genre has really come out guns blazing this year, with more spent shell casings than you can shake a sub-machine gun at. Yes, if you’re the type of person that likes blowing stuff to smithereens, chances are you got your fill in 2011…

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 Posted by at 8:20 pm
Nov 212011

It happened. It finally happened. After months of near-begging, Valve has seen fit to let IGN into the Dota 2 beta. If you’re unfamiliar with DotA, it originated as a mod for Warcraft III. It pits two teams of five players against each other, with each player controlling a single powerful hero unit….

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 Posted by at 7:20 pm
Nov 212011

Trine 2 is coming to PC, Mac, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 in downloadable form in North America and Europe this year — which makes the Europe-exclusive physical collector’s edition of Trine 2 that much more, well, collectable. Focus Home Interactive is releasing the IRL collector’s edition in Europe, which includes the game for both PC and Mac, an art book, the soundtrack, and access to downloadable versions of Trine 2 and the original Trine. It will cost €19.99 (£14.99 in U.K.).

JoystiqTrine 2′s European collector’s edition comes in physical form originally appeared on Joystiq on Sun, 20 Nov 2011 16:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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 Posted by at 6:45 pm
Nov 212011

Beta tests are now commonplace, especially for games with expansive multiplayer. The term “beta,” however, has changed, as it’s unlikely that more than balance tweaks can change when a beta test occurs just weeks before a game ships.

Obtaining valuable feedback is a constant struggle for the games industry, and a problem I hear about constantly from developers I’ve talked to over the years. Friends and family don’t usually work because it’s hard for them to be honest, and focus tests are notorious for being tough to gain workable feedback from.

In order to play Minecraft before it was "finished," players had to purchase into the beta.
In order to play Minecraft before it was “finished,” players had to purchase into the beta.

The success of Minecraft has changed everything. Suddenly, there is a business model for players to become involved early enough in the development process to have a profound impact but late enough that designers can still maintain ownership over the design process.

Fatshark is of the many developers spun off from the infamous implosion of GRIN in 2009, and now to take advantage of what the path Minecraft blazed with the Fallout-inspired Krater.

“We are very much going to listen to the feedback of the community,” said Martin Wahlund, executive producer and CEO at Fatshark.

Wahlund told me Fatshark is “quite” flexible when it comes to changing Krater’s design, based on what the community says. Right now, combat involves controlling three characters in real-time, but if players say that’s too complicated and demand something akin to Dragon Age’s pause-able combat, that could happen.

“At the same time,” he continued, “I think it’s important we have a clear vision where we want to go with it. Because if it’s too open, people will go ‘Oh, an FPS would be cool, third-person would be cool, maybe we could fly it around and have an aircraft simulator.’ [laughs] And [we start] getting spread thin. In terms of that, I think it’s good to have a clear vision.”

Fatshark can pull this off with Krater because it’s self-publishing. Previously, the studio has worked with companies like Capcom on Bionic Commando: Rearmed 2.

“They tend to want to have more to say about it,” he joked.

The idea was spurred by both Minecraft and Fatshark’s experience with Lead & Gold, its western-themed multiplayer shooter. The beta test provided needed feedback, such as adding dedicated servers, but it took weeks for Fatshark to respond. By then, most players have made up their mind and moved on. It’s very difficult to win back players after a first impression.

Lead & Gold's post-launch updates were too little too late, which Fatshark wants to change.
Lead & Gold’s post-launch updates were too little too late, which Fatshark wants to change.

“We thought ‘The next product we do, we should do this earlier, so that when we have a bigger team on the project,’” he said. “Because now we have maybe two or three people working on updates for Lead & Gold.”

Minecraft charged people to gain access and start providing feedback. It’s undecided whether Krater will follow that model, too, but Wahlund sees the benefit of having players financially invested.

“Sometimes, I’ve seen that people come with a lot of feedback and we check and they don’t even own the game–they haven’t even played it,” he said. “They just like to be vocal about their opinions. I think, in terms of that, it would be quite nice to have feedback from people who actually have a stake in the game, and have bought the game.”

There will be way for non-paying fans to participate, too–the details are still being worked out. In fact, all sorts of details realted to this are still being worked out, and Fatshark is playing everything by ear. So much of what will happen with this program will be figured out on the fly, but if you’re interested in being a part of it from day one, head to

“It would be hard to go back to the old model,” said Wahlund, when asked how Krater might influence the rest of Fatshark. “I hope this is the first of the rest of our projects, so to speak, as the way to develop games. “

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 Posted by at 6:30 pm
Nov 212011

I’ve seen Scrolls, but I doubt it’ll be the same game when it releases. If one thing stands out from the various demos I’ve seen of it here at Minecon, it’s that the team hasn’t decided on much of anything yet. Sure, they have the basic systems in place, but a large portion of the game is still being fleshed out, with future player input playing a big part in the game’s future development…

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 Posted by at 6:20 pm