[Gamasutra caught up with oft-maligned Russian PC game copy protection firm StarForce as it attempts to make a comeback with Western firms -- but has it changed its approach? We find out.]If you’ve heard of StarForce before, odds are it wasn’t in favorable circumstances. The Russian anti-piracy software company found itself in the spotlight early in 2006 when several websites and PC users criticized StarForce’s copy-protection measures, even stating that the software damaged computers. StarForce’s response was a public-relations train wreck: the company threatened to sue one website, and a StarForce representative, hoping to show the importance of copy-protection, later posted links to pirate sites offering downloads of Galactic Civilizations 2. The backlash against StarForce was unflattering, to put it delicately. StarForce laid relatively low in the Western market for years, but the company recently emerged with a new version of its anti-piracy software and … [Read more...] about Interview: The Return Of… StarForce?
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By Gord GobleDesign by James Cheung When Papyrus Racing Games released its final installment in the storied NASCAR Racing series in February of 2003 and was then officially shut down by publisher Vivendi Universal in May of this year, one of the most remarkable tales in all of computer gaming was seemingly brought to a disappointing and premature standstill. Rarely in this flighty, roller coaster industry has a single developer so mightily impacted its chosen genre. That Papyrus managed to survive for 17 years--an incredible stretch for a comparatively small design studio in a business increasingly dominated by heavily staffed juggernauts--was an amazing feat in itself. But mere survival wasn't the only plan in the Papyrus books. Changing the face of PC racing was its ongoing goal, and it was something the Boston-based company did very well throughout its entire run. Indeed, to say that the last decade and a half of computer driving would have suffered had Papyrus not been at the … [Read more...] about History of Papyrus Racing Games
I’ve mentioned the Symposium I’m involved with before, in the Sunday Papers. It’s a multi-week exercise where a number of experienced writers from multiple fields are debating games journalism. It is about as meta and games-journalism-journalism as it can get. Shawn Elliot has posted the first part and I’m cross-posting it here, partially as an experiment. I stress, the following is about as shop talk as anything you’d have read about games journalism. It’s also very long. I’d only read it if you are deeply interested in the concept of games criticism and reviewing. And with that proviso, I hand over to Shawn…IntroductionThese questions and more were on the mind of N’Gai Croal, John Davison and Shawn Elliott last summer when they decided to expand their conversation to a number of noted reviewers, writers, bloggers and journalists for a published email symposium on game reviews. (See below for the full list of participants.) The … [Read more...] about Symposium Part One: Review Scores
The employees were shocked.Irrational Games, the developer that created the BioShock series along with a number of other critically beloved video games, was viewed, by a number of sources close to the studio, as closure-proof: It had pedigree, talent and — to the outside world — creative carte blanche from its parent companies, 2K Games and Take-Two Interactive.When the studio's co-founder and president, Ken Levine, invited the team of nearly 100 employees into a meeting about the company's history last month, many were surprised to realize, as the presentation progressed, that this very history was coming to an end.More than a half dozen individuals who worked for Irrational Games during the development of BioShock Infinite, some of whom were there that final day, agreed to speak with Polygon anonymously about their experiences within the company. Additionally, one employee agreed to speak publicly.Ken Levine and representatives from 2K Games and Take-Two were contacted … [Read more...] about The final years of Irrational Games, according to those who were there
Early impressions from the first three chapters of Platinum Games' action-packed Metal GearThe Metal Gear universe may never be the same after Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, perhaps the most unusual, most outlandish — and maybe the funniest — entry in the series yet. Thanks to a collaboration between Kojima Productions and action game specialists Platinum Games, the lightning fast action game starring the cyborg Raiden is certainly its most unique.We had a chance to play Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance in (almost) its entirety at an event held by Konami in Santa Monica, California, coming to grips with Raiden's approach to combat. Rather than focusing on stealth tactics and silent takedowns, Raiden sprints forward into battle with katana in-hand, slicing away bullets and mincing foes with abandon.Revengeance starts with a rather straightforward set up: Raiden and his fellow private military compatriots in Maverick Security Consulting are in the employ of an African prime … [Read more...] about Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance hands-on: A deeper cut with Raiden