Wednesday, November 27, 2013

DocuGame - Where Gaming and Movies May Evolve

David Dufresne is not your typical documentary director. While working on his recent release Fort McMoney, about a booming oil town in Canada called Fort McMurry, he found the story more compelling when he approached it from a gaming angle. Thus, the docugame game to life, a hybrid of documentary and video game. The interactive document is not new, and has moderate success, allowing users to select scenes and interviews as they go. But the gaming component was never really there. Dufresne wants to change that with “McMoney.”

His team created an interactive landscape of “a very complicated world, a very secret world, a city of complexities.”

Maybe not the best description, but at least they’re trying. The idea behind the game is to get the viewers/players more involved in the lives of the people. Early on you interview residents of the town, the oil tycoons, and through their responses can make decisions that affect the future of the land. It’s very much Sim City meets social politics. It’s a game meant to compliment the narrative and spur people to think, react, and become involved.

This is the type of research that I have been focusing on over the past few years with my studies. I love the merging of game and movies into one. Not movies based on video games or vice-versa, but borrowing components from each medium that can coexist in the same space without diverting attention. I want more interactivity in movies, just as I want more dynamic character development in video games. We’re all yearning for more gameplay in our films, and we’re seeing it more often with films like The Hunger Games. Not the literal concept of a game within a movie, but the nature of the film drawing in the audience to participate in the event. Baby steps people. It’ll be a while until we see full immersion of movies with the gaming world, but documentaries like McMoney are just the beginning. The documentary is being released over a series of 4 to 5 videos and games (all free) and can be found on iTunes.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Life Of Brian

Here's your spoiler alert if you have not watched the recent episode of Family Guy.

I haven't seen it, but I heard because the internet knows all.

Since Family Guy killed off Brian on Sunday, there have been dozens of online petitions started to bring the dog back, and formal protests are in the works at Fox studios in NY and CA. The RIP post on the official Facebook Page has generated over 79,000 comments, 90,000 shares, and half a million likes. But as a whole, people are not happy with the change, taking to social media to voice their concerns.

Since this is Family Guy, we know that Brian will come back in some form or another in one of Peter's random flashbacks. Cleveland Brown tends to pop up from time to time and he has his own show to mess around with. Brian being left out for good is difficult to imagine based on the Family Guy format. But having him leave the family for good is stirring up the vibes. Protests are planned for later this week, and multiple petitions are available online. The Change.Org sheet is over 30,000 signatures.

Fans have a powerful say in the future of Family Guy. When it originally aired in 1999, it was cancelled by Fox after three seasons, and with the help of fans and syndication, it was brought back to life. Who's to say that the fan's can't help bring Brian back to life?

You Video Game dosage: The Sandy Hook Elementary shooter was really into DDR.Originally saw the report from the state's office yesterday through CNN and have been waiting for the responses. As a whole, people seem to be dialing down the "video game violence caused this!" rant. But the report went into a lot of detail on how into DDR he was. Like, really into it. Even video evidence of him playing! Because that's very important in understanding how DDR can cause violent behavior. >.> But hey, I'm not a cop for a reason. I'm sure there is logic, or non-logic, behind it.

Monday, November 25, 2013

So, You Can Study Game Journalism in School?

Beginning this January at American University, the Journalism department is opening up their repertoire to include a series of courses about Game Design and how to write reviews for gaming products.

Lindsay Grace, a game designer, has started a similar program at Miami University and hopes that it will cultivate and develop in other schools around the country. We’re at a time where games have become more prevalent in our society and people are seeing the value of video games in everything from medicine and psychology to entertainment. The curriculum is based on an overview of how gaming can be utilized in different mediums – more of an interdisciplinary approach. And though the courses are in the Communications sector, they are available for anyone to take as they wish.

The University of Iowa is going the same by offering gaming journalism as a course of study. While the article doesn’t divulge what exactly was taught, they did partner with IGN and even had a few of the students published in their monthly gaming magazine.

“As programming skills become more normalized we need people that are better at covering this trend. Videogames are being used more often in industry. Why and where is this coming from? This was the void that I was trying to fill with my course.” Kyle Moody

It sounds like more copy/paste of current gaming reviewers. And yes I’m a little bitter that they have never offered such classes about writing reviews for books, movies, television, or theater. You had to read what other people had done and hope you are able to mimic the style well enough to get paid for it. I also feel that this type of stone-walling into a certain mindset can limit the unique content produced by reviewers. Instead we’ll get a copy/paste of what we have been seeing for years and no real movement forward in how games are reviewed. If you ask me right now who do I think is a pivotal figure in gaming review journalism, I couldn’t name a single person. Now ask me about movies and theater and I could list off quite a few. Why? Not because they are dynamic personalities, but they did something unique, special, or completely unheard of when they review movies. With video games, there seems to be an unintended cut and dry format, and my concern is that if upcoming journalists are taught to follow those rules and only those rules, then our medium will suffer from lack of creativity and openness.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Mmmm. Cake.

There are a lot of weird foods in video games, but some of them don't sound half bad to try out. Gourmet Gaming started on this premise and has dabbled in a variety of "game-created" foods to bring them into the real world. Daniella Zelli will try out anything from any game...within reason. Minecraft, Myst, Bioshock, nothing is off limits as long as it can feasibly be made in the real world.

In an interview with CNet, Zelli explains how the blog began with 'The Sinner's Sandwich' from Deadly Premonition. "I began to think of how foods are quite central to a lot of other video games and the idea grew from there." And since there are no cookbooks on these foods (aside from the weird recipes in the video games themselves - I'm looking at you WoW and FF11), a lot of these dishes come from trial and error. "There have been a lot of failures and many posts don't even make it onto the Web site if I'm not happy with the results!"

I stumbled on this blog about a month ago and had to try out the Moogle Pie. My attempt was less then stellar, mostly to do with my oven being 40 years old and does not heat evenly, nor keep a consistent temperature, but the filling was great! I'll be trying out the WoW Wintervale Gingerbread Cookies next.

And because I have to agree with one of the commentators on the CNet article, I can't wait to see the Jill Sandwich either. :D While the posts are a bit inconsistent, I almost wish that she would post the failures as well so we get a full spectrum of what goes into cooking. Until the next food item is up, enjoy making those Mountain Dew Burgers. Or on second thought, don't. It sounds all kinds of wrong.

Oh and the XBoxOne is out. A warm Friday to you all!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Valve Time

I'm going to title the link as such: "This is why Valve is cool and I hope one day it will be the Google of Video Games."

The Washington Post piece is a bit lengthy, but it's well worth the read to see some of the internal aspects of Valve, and why they are still the company so many of us want to see and work for, with their insight into the industry, and their consistent relationship with fans to maintain quality products.

So enjoy while I attempt to watch the Tropes video again during break today.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013


It's that time of year again where we talk about the Spike Video Game awards. Or rather, everyone else talks about it while I ignore it.

But this year, it's different! It's now re branded as VGX 2013. Because everything is cooler and more "hip" when you add in an X to the title. With the change in name also comes a change in the way the show will be broadcasted. Spike TV will not air a live version of the show on cable. Rather, it will be streamed live from their website,, and It will also be available through the streaming systems implemented in the XboxOne, PS4, and the PS3, iPhone, Hulu, and a myriad of other avenues. The award show has grown to not focus on awards, but on interviews and upcoming previews as well, which is why Spike TV feels that live-streaming versus television views would go in the right direction. The "show" will air December 7th.

And well, you know how it goes. It'll be the "popular" games and the highest sales, and sexiest female characters and all that crap. Oh, and celebrities that really do not belong there. That's a sad, common occurrence. Though amused as I am that South Park: Stick of Truth is getting a "Most Anticipated Game" nomination repeat, it's the same crappy show on a new format. Yippie. *twirls a finger in the air*

I'm waiting for a real award show for games to happen. If at all. I think we're better off without one.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Games Are Okay For Kids...Sort Of

Sarkeesian finally released a new Tropes video!!! Which I won’t have time to watch for a few days. I say this without disrespect to her, since I get that this instant popularity thing that happened to her has allowed her the opportunity to travel, go to conventions, and speak about the issues of feminism in games and the gaming community. That’s a fantastic chance and I would be doing very much the same thing as her, and heck it’s her livelihood now and it pays the bills. But I wish these videos would release at a steady pace. They seem to be taking much longer then they should, and I wish a reason as to why would accompany them. That’s all.

So, we’ll talk about this new study that says video games are not that bad for kids! Yep. According to the University of Glasglow tracking nearly 11,000 kids, some as young as 5 years old, did not show any behavioral problems from playing video gamesAnd because they had such a large pool of results, the researchers feel really freekin’ confidant about their findings. And this is where we clarify the results: the researches pulled data from a decade long study where they focused on 5-7 year olds. The behavioral outcomes were based on the children’s mothers assessment and included other factors such as family income and television consumption.

They found some links between excess television watching and deteroating behavior, but not between gaming and bad behavior, or ADHD, or emotional problems, or even that there’s a difference in results between boys and girls. The paper has some in-bepth analysis on what it all means, but it doesn’t make sweeping claims that video games are better for kids then other forms of media, rather that the claim of games giving kids behavioral problems is not solid. While the claims going around the internet are grand, this study is a step in the right direction on what researchers can pull from doing large groups versus the 20 kid, stick them in a gray room and watching them and freak them out, that most studies tend to do. More accuracy! This isn't the end-all, be-all for studies about children and video games, but it's a good start for science.

Monday, November 18, 2013

More Random News To Poke Your Brain

I was looking for a weird PS4/XboxOne hybrid, but this will do.

I was going to talk about video games and movies specifically how games are influencing movies, but researching and pulling up articles, I found this one with an error in the first paragraph prevented me from giving two craps and following-through. (Seriously guys, if you’re going to be a half-ass “journalist” at least get your facts right! The PS4 was released this past Friday, not Thanksgiving week, and the XboxOne is this upcoming Friday, not last Friday, DAH!) I didn’t have the heart for it today, so this will be a tale for another time.

Instead, you’re getting mini-clips once again. Deal with it. I know you can handle it.

  • Sony has sold 1 Million Playstation 4 systems within 24hours of release. Damn. That’s a lot of Playstations. And this is only in the U.S. Microsoft is going to have some stiff competition this week to try and outdo Sony. Now granted, Microsoft has a stronger foothold in North America. Their system is more popular here than in Asian and European markets, so it could very well break the precedent the PS4 has set. But combined with Asian and Europe, I get the feeling the PS4 is going to win this holiday release.

  • If you’re not up on your New York Times, Stephen Totilo of Kotaku fame teamed up with another reporter for an article about the “Gaming Concierge.” I.E. is there a reason to still call the new wave of gaming consoles, well…consoles? They have grown leaps and bounds since the last cycle that no one gaming system only plays games. You can surf the internet, you can watch movies and tv shows, you can hold chat parties, and the new systems are going to allow for live-streaming and more connectivity to your everyday lives. The last true gaming console is long gone. We not have entertainment systems that integrate with our current tv set-ups. Insightful and thought-provoking. And while the PS4 is setting itself up to be more gamer based for its launch, we all know it’s a multi-faceted system. Is it safe to proclaim that the gaming console is dead?

  • While we ponder about the dead gaming console, someone is being gutsy and saying Call of Duty is in decline. Shocking! And as I’ve pointed out in a previous posting, even the reviewers who gave the game top ratings are still not happy to see the repetitive nature of CoD. It’s time for a change. For all of their boasting and gallivanting to try and beat GTAV’s sale numbers, it was for naught. Ghosts did not sell near as well as Black Ops 2, and even when you add in the XboxOne and PS4 numbers (yes those copies were out for sale before the consoles launched), it’s still short in comparison to BO2’s early sales. The only thing Ghosts has going for it are the updates and customization to multiplayer, including a female avatar. But when you think about it, that’s kind of sad. The only “new thing” CoD can say is “hey look! We have a female character in multiplayer and you can change your characters clothes!” Sad. Activision, it’s time to review and revamp if you want to save your previous Call of Duty.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Oh. Um...The PS4 Is Out.

So if you didn’t hear, the PS4 was released at midnight last night/this morning and thousands of gamers lined up for the release and are now faking sick from school and work. Or are legitimately sick, or requested the day off months ago. Anyway, we know there will be reviews and responses popping up all over the place over the next few days, and for the XboxOne next Friday. To give a reprieve from the internet sensationalism, I’m going to present two completely unrelated PS4 articles. You’re welcome.

  • What You Can Learn From Video Games. Now unlike my list of very silly things video games have taught us over the years, U T San Diego went to BlizzCon last weekend and asked gamers what they really learned by playing games. The answers ranged from teamwork to guild recruitment being just as nerve-wracking as a job interview. There are a lot of commonalities between life and games if you take a little bit of time to look for them.

  • Why Aren’t These 10 Games Being Made Into Movies?  Because video game based films tend to suck and some studios know better? Well maybe not. But there are a number of reasons why gaming movies are not a constant on the big screen. Some of it has to do with licensing agreements. It’s easy to say “we want a Halo movie” but to actually sit down and get the rights for it, step number 1, can be just as expensive as making the film itself. In the case of Jade Empire (which was optioned at one point about 3 years ago), it was dismissed because the developers felt that the offer did not match up with the worth of the product. Another way to spin this: think about racing games. Those are titles LOADED with advertisements from multiple companies. So not only do the production companies have to get the rights to the game, but they also have to purchase rights to the products advertised in the game, even if they never use them on the movie screen because they are all tied under other contracts. Yep. It’s a messy business.

The writer turned his question into a poll, but in all there are 10 movies he’s focused on. So let’s see what he’s got: Bioshock, God of War, Castlevania, Metal Gear Solid (failsauce, that IS being made into a movie), CoD: Black Ops, and Legend of Zelda. Now this is where I’m starting to wonder if the writer has ever been to the movies or even bothered to pay attention to gaming movies over the past few years: Prince of Persia, The 7th Guest, and Halo 2 were the other options. Clearly, missed out on the Persia movie and the Halo talks. The 7th Guest is just a terrible idea for a film and best stays in the odd-little gaming scenario it’s currently in.

List of fail. But at least we’re not talking about the PS4…damn.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Even The Pope Does It!

I'm waiting for someone to say "then it must be okay, even the Pope pirates games." Okay so that statement is being taken out of context, but at the London Games Conference, the developers announced that it the latest release of Football Manager, they added a code that would allow them to track the IP's of their users who pirated the game. In all, over 10 million copies were stolen, with China and Turkey among the biggest offenders.

But what else did the developers find? Someone inside the Vatican walls was equally as responsible for stealing a copy of the game. Whoops! Looks like some major pennance is needed to make up for that crime.

While the head of the developer for Football Manager doesn't believe that the 10 million copies equate to 10 million lost sales, they do estimate that the company did lose nearly $4 million in potential profit. That's serious numbers, folks, even for developers as large as EA. While it is amusing that someone in the Vatican pirated a game, the more alarming concern is that this is still happening, even with DRM rules in place (which I would argue causes more people to pirate, not less, in order to go around the restrictions). So what is the solution to reducing piracy, if any? This will eventually lead to lost jobs and lower wages because employees won't be paid for their work. Meaning crappier games down the line and even crappier sequels. Something to think about...

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Tis' The Season For Sales

To not be trumped by KMart opening at 6am Thanksgiving Day, Walmart has unleashed their Black Friday ads, and the deals are a bit crazy. Expect sales on newer titles, even Call of Duty: Ghosts, some dropping as low as $10! Insane. They are also offering a one hour power shopping deal where items are guaranteed to be in stock. If the product sells out within that hour, you will be issued a "Guaranteed Card" which will ensure that the product will ship to you local Walmart store before Christams for pick-up and purchase. Oh, and last gen consoles like the Xbox 360 are dropping down to $99, the PS3 for $199 bundled with Last of Us and Batman: Arkham Origins. More then a 100 games will be on sale this year.

And then there's Target. Which is about what you would expect for sales: older games at the $10 range, newer ones around $35-$40 each. Whatever your poison, stores are ramping up the gaming sales this holiday season. Though I'm opting to stick it out online...where it's safer. And no threats of being stomped to death. >.>

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Buyers Guide and Gearbox Loot

Second! Gearbox has raised $16 grand for the Videogame History Museum by selling off collectables and signed Borderlands Loot Boxes. The VGH Museum began with a Kickstarter campaign in 2011 and is still seeking a physical home to establish itself. It currently runs off of donations in order to improve their library and help with building costs. The hope is to not only preserve the past, but to create an interactive exhibit so gamers can experience the entire history of the gaming realm.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Using Games For Plant Studies

The Missouri Botanical Garden has received a $450 grand grant to study and produce a video game to help transcribe thousands of documents into a digital format...and they hope it'll help bring in a few more kids and people into the field of botany by looking at obscure plant taxonomy. Loads of fun for the whole family! The idea is to help bring life into the project with a new perspective. The issue began with cataloging plants hundreds of years ago. People were using acronyms and short-hand for words that no longer exist, and trying to find information in a database is cumbersome. The hope with the game is that it will help re-organize the existing catalog and help properly categorize new plants in the future. And again, try to get a few kids interested in the field. Oh, and they reference Angry Birds a whole lot for really no reason other then to look cool.

I'm all for education games, but there comes a point where people are reaching. I get that part of the reason behind the games is to create interest in unseen subjects, but we should be realistic about expectations. And quit comparing everything to Angry Birds. What makes that game enjoyable is it's simplicity and ease; it's not a game to teach to children about ethology.

Friday, November 08, 2013

N7Day & Gaming Cliches (Unrelated)

A belated Happy N7 Day to you all, celebrating the life and history of the Mass Effect Franchise. If you missed out on the crazyness, you can catch up through BioWare, or the ME Twitter Feed, or #N7Day13 on Twitter and Tumblr. Even some of the voice actors came together to celebrate with a special video to the fans.

Today is one of those days where I want the work week to end, so I'm phoning it in with a link to "Top 10 Video Game Cliches That Need To Go Away." Amnesia is a good start, because that is a tired and over-used trope not only in games but movies, television, and theater. And killing terrorists is over, um, kill at this point. But their claims for "Back to Basics" and "Zombies" are a bit meh. What's not to like about zombie games? And origin stories like Batman Arkham Asylum gave us fantastic story-telling, and a superhero game that DIDN'T SUCK. So the list is a hit and miss, but enjoy the mindlessness today. I'm going to bang my head against this desk and keep asking for it to be 5pm.

Thursday, November 07, 2013

CoD Ghosts Has Not Hit $1 Billion...Yet.

Checking on the news sphere this morning, I found several websites and well-noted gaming blogs linking back to an article on Reuters that CoD has surpassed a billion in sales. Of course I said "No way. That can't be. The game came out on Tuesday and it won't have GTA numbers." Sure enough, I was right. The original article refers to "in-sales", which are the number of copies that are sold directly to retailers, have surpassed $1 billion. And those sales can represent anything from pre-orders to excess stock to prep for the holidays (Black Friday is 3 weeks away). So for those who are wondering if GTAV has been knocked off the perch so quickly, well it hasn't. Activision has not tallied the final numbers and stores have not sold out of Ghosts. I'm going to say it'll be 2-3 weeks before CoD reaches the $1 billion mark.

It may be even longer, as some reviews have been pretty mixed about the game. The overall response has been it's the same content with a new wrapper (something I have been saying for years). While the scores give it an average, not good or bad, but somewhere in-between and people are going to continue buying the game because it's Call of Duty, so Activision doesn't have a thing to be concerned with regarding this product's sales. However, reviewers are not oblivious to what's going on, and even the higher rated responses are pushing for changes, updates, and a new CoD. The same-ol', same-ol' is not going to cut it for much longer.

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

More Binders Full Of Women

They took the Binders Full of Women remark and turned it into something positive. Yea Jill Murray of Ubisoft! She’s one of the writers for the latest Assassin’s Creed release, Black Flag, and spoke at GDC Next yesterday about diversifying women archetypes in games. And binders…we got them full of women! 

The talk was short, only 30 minutes, and wasn’t about pushing for change, rather looking to the future where we find new inspiration and look beyond the common tropes of female characters. The panel also focused on how easily it is to achieve adding strong, diverse women to a game though a 60 second Google search. Murray took a challenge of typing in anything and adding the word “women” to Google and found some amazing people in history that would do wonders to the video game world: Soviet pilots from World War II, Chinese empresses, Syrian snipers, and everything in-between.

"Imagine how much more you could find, with more time than I used.”

The point that Murray was trying to make was not about women in the armed forces or in powerful positions, but that the excuse of there not being enough female protagonists to act as a resource for characters is just lazy; when in 60 seconds of Googling, she found dozens of women that would be perfect in a game. I hope they have the entire panel online soon to watch. I’m curious to see how she addressed this to the audience, and their reaction.

We Continue To Game With The Brain

So not only are games making us smarter, they are making our brains larger. A recent study published in the journal for Molecular Psychiatry has drawn the conclusion that video games are physically changing our brains to make them larger and more adaptable to the increase use motor skills and cognitive reasoning. The research revolved around 23 adults over a period of 2 months to play Super Mario 64 for a minimum of 30 minutes a day, every day, for 2 months straight. When compared to the control group, the gamers had an increase in brain mass in the “gray matter” areas that focus on spatial awareness, strategic planning, memory, and motor skills.

While it’s great for gamers, this could help those suffering from Alzheimer’s, dyslexia, or simple hand-eye coordinating tasks, by allowing their brains to strengthen after gaming. What’s interesting is, well not only how small the study is, but if our brains are physically growing larger then what our heads can handle. Or while the “grey matter” areas are expanding, are other sections of the brain diminishing such as creativity? The articles I have found regarding this study don’t seem to provide much detail other then “our brains are growing!” but without seeing the negative effects or if the actual mass of the brain is pushing its limits. Still, it’s great to see the physical and literal mental impact gaming is having, for the better.

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Tuesday News Roundup

Gaming news roundup today. A few pieces of fun things to read from across the vast lands of the interwebs.

  • Best Buy will be releasing a new membership program beginning November 10th called "Unlocked Epic Gaming Package." Yeah it's not the best name, but stick with it for a moment. It will be a subscription based service where for $120, over the course of 2 years customers will receive a 20% discount on all new game purchases, a 10% increased trade-in credit, and 10% off pre-owned games. Not so great that you have to buy the membership, but given that new console season is upon us with games surely to be in the $60-$70 range, after 10 new games, the membership will pay for itself and you're guaranteed at least $10-12 bucks off every new game you purchase from then on out. Over 2 years, if you consume 20 new games, that's $240 worth of savings. So if you're a habitual gamer who needs the new stuff NOW, this isn't a bad way to go.
  • The Verge got their hands on Valve's Steam Box console and wrote up a comprehensive review. While there's nothing fantastic about the technical specs, the console is designed to be upgraded as needed, AND, get this, someone gave a damn about the large parts being able to breathe. Who'd a thunk...And they dive into the mechanics of the touch-pad controller (which Valve is all for new designs and outside companies developing products to improve the machine).
  • Jim Sterling takes another crack at why gaming journalists can't exist in the industry. Mostly stemming from the flow of information and journalists having their hands tied, sometimes legally threatened, to withhold content.
  • And because I always have a soft spot for this, the weekly Video Game Criticisms from Gamasutra is out!
Happy gaming!

Monday, November 04, 2013

Extra-Life: DDoS Attack Should Not Stop Donations!

For those who are out of the gaming loop, Extra-Life’s big charity day was this weekend, November 2nd to be exact. And while tens of thousands of gamers and teams powered through 25 hours of non-stop gaming to raise money for children (that extra hour is due to daylight savings on Sunday), a group decided to have their own brand of “fun” and crash the charity website in a massive DDoS attack that crippled any incoming donations. 

Basically, a bunch of douche-canoes felt that breaking a charity website was more important than sick kids getting they help they need.

The website began to get really choppy roughly around 10:30am PT and around noon, Extra Life confirmed it with a message to their Facebook

“I am not sure what kind of person would DDoS a charitable initiative.

I am so sorry that you are going through this frustration today. Our entire team is purely heartbroken that someone would do this. But it has happened.”

Easy answer: Douche-Nozzles would do this type of thing. No one, or group in this case, has stepped up to claim responsibility. And it is probably best that they don’t; they might get hit back as a response. It’s estimated that Extra-Life may have lost around $400 grand in additional donations because of it, and the website was back up to full strength after 5pm Saturday.

But there is a silver lining to all of this. Now a lot of us gamers are pissed that someone would be so heartless, so we’re ramping up the donation drive. Extra-life is accepting any and all donations until the end of the year. Nov 2nd is just the big drive day, but anyone can earn their hours however they like until December 31st. So…DONATE. Pick a team to help support, or choose one at random, or make a general donation. All of the funds go to help out sick children (with the Children’s Miracle Network) and you get to game for it. What’s not to enjoy?

Friday, November 01, 2013

C&C FTP Is Axed

I know it may not seem like it, but I do enjoy my RTS from time to time. I use to play the crap out of Starcraft and Zerg Rush like nobody’s business. I was typically a Protoss kind of girl, but you have to change it up and learn thy enemy in an RTS situation.

I was excited that EA was working with a company to develop a free-to-play version of Command & Conquer: Tiberium Alliances where players pick a side fighting over a valuable resource, while defending themselves from an unknown third enemy controlled by the computer. Part of the game premise was to integrate social aspects so alliances could be formed, as you work towards creating the most dominant force in the game.

EA has decided that due to a lot of issues and conflicts of interest in the Alpha testing, they are killing the game for the time being…which means indefinitely. Victory Studios, who was developing the product, released a statement that the Command & Conquer franchise will live on, just not this particular version.

Part of being in a creative team is the understanding that not all of your choices are going to work out. In this case, we shifted the game away from campaign mode and built an economy-based, multiplayer experience. Your feedback from the alpha trial is clear: We are not making the game you want to play.”

So at least it’s being canned with good intent. Those who have played the Alpha (which you had to pay to be apart of, what a rip-off), are receiving full refunds. I think this might be EA taking precaution after The Old Republic failed expectations, and that one was a situation where we kept telling the developers in alpha/beta “look, there are problems: this is not ready for sale” but EA kept pushing on to release it in spite of our concerns.