Microsoft is on the prowl. Xbox boss Phil Spencer said in November of last year that the Redmond behemoth is looking to improve its ability to "create content"—which is to say, to increase its first-party games output. One quick-and-easy way of doing that is to hoover up studios or publishers, and rumors of potential buyouts, some wild and others more grounded, quickly surfaced following the proclamation. Microsoft's primary goal is to make up ground against Sony, whose first-party oriented approach to the PlayStation 4 console has served it well. But Microsoft's "ecosystem" approach to the Xbox makes the matter relevant to those of us who call PC home too. Microsoft has had mixed luck with internal studios—for every Turn 10, a Lionhead—and so watching how the future unfolds for whichever studio ends up in its grasp will be interesting in its own right. But any big studio purchase could send massive ripples throughout gaming: Imagine, if you will, Cyberpunk 2077 as a … [Read more...] about What game studios might Microsoft actually buy?
Arrange living room ideas
It's that time again: to prepare for the big GDC 2018 Level Design Workshop on Tuesday, March 20th, a handful of the speakers wanted to warm up by chatting (via email) about some of the finer points of level design. Gathering question from the community, they shared some interesting insights, experiences, and learnings in a shared document that's reprinted below for your reading pleasure. The participants in this exchange, in no particular order, are: Robert Yang, NYU video game professor and indie game maker Blake Rebouche, senior quest designer at Guerrilla Games Nina Freeman, level designer at Fullbright Steve Gaynor, game designer and Fullbright cofounder Heather Robertson, indie game maker Mike Bithell, game designer and Bithell Games founder Christopher Totten, game designer and founder of Pie for Breakfast Studios David Shaver, game designer at Naughty Dog Nathan Fouts, game designer and founder of Mommy's Best Games [more detailed bios for everyone are at the … [Read more...] about GDC 2018 Level Design Workshop: An expert roundtable Q&A
The 2018 Game Developer's Conference will feature an exhibition called Alt.Ctrl.GDC dedicated to games that use alternative control schemes and interactions. Gamasutra will be talking to the developers of each of the games that have been selected for the showcase. You can find all of the interviews here. Wobble Garden takes the natural pleasure of flicking a door stopper and builds it into a relaxing game of exploration, lights, and sounds. The mixture of color, tactile feedback, and the ambient sounds that come from the player's interactions with this electric garden draw the player into a peaceful place, one built upon that joy of playing with a door stopper. Gamasutra spoke with Robin Baumgarten, developer of Wobble Garden, to talk about the developer's use of door stoppers in their work, creating gameplay out of the them, and why they create the controller first and the play second. What’s your name, and what was your role on this … [Read more...] about Alt.Ctrl.GDC Showcase: Wobble Garden
Deadly Premonition was released five years ago this month. This cult classic is an open world survival horror game interlaced with generous helpings of tongue-in-cheek humor and utter lunacy. Several members of the development team at Access Games contributed to this postmortem, which ran in the August 2010 issue of Game Developer Magazine. We are please to reprint it for the first time ever online. Thanks to all of the developers who contributed: lead level artist Wataru Nishide, lead programmer Hideki Kataoka, programmer Yutaka Ohkawa, art director Hitoshi Okamoto, planner and audio manager Keiji Teranishi, and, of course, the game's writer and director, Hidetaka "SWERY" Suehiro. **** This project began in the early fall of 2004. Looking back, it was more than five and a half years ago. After we released Spy Fiction in late 2003, Access Games wasn’t lucky enough to have the opportunity to work on another original title, and we wasted nearly a … [Read more...] about Classic Postmortem: Deadly Premonition
The first time Taylor Kurosaki and Bob Rafei saw a running PlayStation, they were in a Las Vegas hotel room. It was the 1995 Consumer Electronics Show. They, along with the company they worked for, Naughty Dog, were being given a behind-closed-doors look at Sony's first foray into the game console industry. When they describe the event now, they use words like "inspiring" and "enthralled" and phrases like "blown away." They didn't know it at the time, but the members of Naughty Dog in that room — Kurosaki, Rafei and co-founders Jason Rubin and Andy Gavin — were looking at the system that would host the team's next game: Crash Bandicoot. They were seeing the console their company would eventually create the unofficial mascot for — the console they would develop Naughty Dog's first smash hit for. It was Kurosaki and Rafei's second day with the company. Naughty Dog released Crash Bandicoot for Sony's original PlayStation in September 1996. In it, the team took an old … [Read more...] about Crash Bandicoot: An oral history