At the Design, Innovate, Communicate, Entertain Conference in Las Vegas, Sefton Hill, game director and co-founder at Rocksteady Studios, developers of the popular Batman: Arkham Asylum and Batman: Arkham City games took to the stage to talk about the video game development theory at Rocksteady, offering up the five simple strategies of their studio that helped shape these two licensed games for Warner Bros. Interactive. While designing games isn't something that can be easily be picked up from reading a list of key components, these building blocks should be helpful for anyone out there looking to get into game development.
Read on for Rocksteady's 5 simple strategies for people looking to develop games.
The first major shooter of the holiday season is also the first to unleash its DLC.
I caught up with Insomniac Games president Ted Price in Las Vegas last month at the DICE gaming summit. We chatted for 20 minutes about the PS3 debut of "Ratchet & Clank Future: Tools Of Destruction," plans for "Resistance 2" and even, briefly, about Surfer Girl.
I'm rolling this out in parts. The next one's coming later, today or tomorrow. I'm not sure because I'm also busy moving desks in the MTV newsroom (exciting!).
Let's start this Price DICE thing with some talk about "Ratchet"'s supposedly soft PS3 sales, why Insomniac doesn't make handheld games and... is he talking about new IPs already?
Multiplayer: So now that it's out, what did you make of the experience of putting "Ratchet and Clank" on the PS3?
Ted Price, President of Insomniac Games: "Ratchet" was actually the best production experience we've had in our history. And the reason for that is that we went through hell on "Resistance" one: transitioning to a new platform and going back to a genre we hadn't had any experience with in over 10 years was tough. But through that hell we developed production techniques that we hadn't used before, and that made "Ratchet" a lot better in terms of overall production cycle.
Multiplayer: But didn't you guys miss the deadline by a week though? Wasn't that the first time you missed a deadline ever? That's the story I heard.
If you're not making your video game release an event, then you might as well give up on the whole thing.
--Cliff Bleszinski, Las Vegas, February 7, 2008
This post is not about "Gears of War 2. The mastermind behind the only "Gears" game that has ever been released, Cliff Bleszinski makes it clear in the interview that follows that he's not hinting at any sequel.
So don't go looking for clues.
Instead, let's focus on the matter at hand: A couple of weeks ago at the DICE gaming summit I asked Cliffy about just how a major new video game should be announced.
Why not just announce a sequel that everyone expects, be it for "Gears" or whatever? Why be coy? Who benefits? Who loses? And, hey, is "Too Human" developer Denis Dyack right? He says games should stay out of the press until they're done. Agree, Cliffy?
One of the things I like about Cliff is that he answers any question I pose no matter what. Read on for his answers and choice use of the phrase "geek boner."
What do you talk about with "Gears Of War" lead creator Cliff Bleszinski when he's got nothing official to announce?
You talk about life, as he and I did last week at the DICE gaming summit in Las Vegas.
And you learn something(s).
You learn that there's a whole new Cliffy B, that the game designer, who has a birthday this week, is looking at gaming and non-gaming in a whole new way: "I'll turn 33 next week and I kind of had the same realization strangely enough when that silly movie 'The Bucket List' came out. There are things you check off in life. Work hard and play hard. I've had to work hard to put the hours in, but to be a better person and a better designer you need the real life experience… I think that's one of the problems with the business. It's very very insular. Developers only ever hang with other developers. A lot of developers I know don't really do anything outside of work. It's an unhealthy pattern."
That's why, three weeks ago, Cliffy was taking a Zero-G flight over Florida. And the dreams he's had of flying every night since then may inspire him to new game developments.
But is the new Cliffy B -- the one refreshed for 2008 -- not the kind of guy who would put his name on a "Gears of War" or an "Unreal Tournament" anymore?
Folks, he was raving to me about beating "Super Mario Galaxy" and really likes "Zack & Wiki." Has he changed?
Read on to learn how he thinks this will affect his game development habits. (And catch some interesting PC vs Console talk in the process)
(Below is the beginning of a report filed at MTVNews.com.)
LAS VEGAS — Late last week, employees of the Red Rock Casino Resort Spa were taking down the signs and stands from the three-day DICE video game summit. They were packing up the framed art from the Into the Pixel exhibition. They were dismantling the show.
But sitting in one of the hallways amid this activity, Frank Pearce, co-founder of Blizzard Entertainment, was revealing hopes and plans for things his company might build. One of those plans would, in a manner of speaking, put "World of Warcraft" on cell phones. There were other bold notions too.
Pearce has a deep voice, shaved head and goatee, a video game developer not unlike "Stone Cold" Steve Austin in look, if not in as surly a demeanor. He's the executive vice president of product development at Blizzard, where work has begun on some major things, such as a "World of Warcraft" expansion; "StarCraft II," a sequel to a game that has become a national pastime in South Korea; and some new massively multiplayer games, which the world first learned about when a job post for work on a next-gen MMO was posted on Blizzard's Web site last year. About that job post: "That was not by accident," Pearce told MTV News. "We have to figure out what's next for Blizzard after 'World of Warcraft,' and we have to get the best people in the industry that we can get helping us figure that out."
In the biggest surprise of his conversation with MTV News, mentioned right before the banging and clanging of the conference's tear-down overwhelmed the interview and forced a relocation outside, Pearce confirmed that a very small team in Blizzard just might be creating a slice of "World of Warcraft" for cell phones.
Read the rest of this story at MTVNews.com
Last week at the DICE summit in Las Vegas I interviewed Blizzard co-founder Frank Pearce about many things going on in his company. Most of our conversation will appear on MTVNews.com.
But here's a notable extra for you blog-readers out there.
Did you hear about that list of canceled games Pearce, Blizzard president Mike Morhaime, and company lead designer Rob Pardo presented at DICE? A list of games they said they started making but never finished?
This list, snapped as a photo by Kotaku.
I had some questions for Pearce about it, including why "StarCraft Ghost" wasn't on it. But first, I asked, which of the game on the list came closest to release?
What's your favorite way to insult a bad video game?
Do you refer to it as a "flop"? A "failure"? Or use some language your mother wouldn't approve?
Do you "7.9" it as IGN famously did years ago with "Mario Kart: Double Dash" (though they insisted that was a decent score). Do you declare it a "6.8" as GameSpot once did "Shenume" before re-evaluating that game's merits?
Do you just call it a dud? Or tell others it's time to bail out?
Then you, my friend, are not Yannis Mallat, CEO of Ubisoft Montreal. He's got a better way of trashing junk.
Mallat gave a presentation at the DICE video game summit in Las Vegas last week. Some may have found his discussion about the need for more emotions in games to be the most significant part of his presentation. Others may have been moved by his display of a clip from "Bambi."
Not I. I was taken in by his casual description of bad games. He was comparing them to "triple-A games." He called these lower games, these mediocrities, these wastes of business and time... "triple-C games."
I hope that is not trademarked by Ubisoft. Because I plan to use it.
The head of Electronic Arts flashed his gamer credentials to kick off the final day of the DICE gaming summit in Las Vegas on Friday, but quickly turned his attention to what he said is a business model in the industry that is leading to "creative failure."
Yes, EA CEO John Riccitiello finished "BioShock," used YouTube to finish "Portal" and can't wait for "Grand Theft Auto IV." But he was focused on business -- and on the negatives he wanted the couple of hundred developers and executives in attendance could learn from.
The way the big business of games operates now is leading to "creative failure," he said repeating the phrase several times throughout is talk. "All of you has every reason to expect what you create is going to be truly great," Riccitiello said. He cited the rising cost of game development,, saying that EA now produces games on at least 12 platforms (not counting multiple mobile phone platforms), require 200 people to create a top-level "AAA" game and that these games often need to be stuffed with an immense amount of content.
Making things worse, he said, was the consolidation of the gaming industry, something he acknowledged EA has been a major player in. "There are going to be fewer major publishers in 2010 than they are today. And I think the second tier publishers are going to thin out considerably." He showed slides that listed dozens of developers that have been absorbed by publishers and developers over the last few years, and he admitted that many of those purchases bore bad fruit. "We at EA blew it," he said, referring to EA's problems keeping former top-tier studios Origin, Bullfrog and Westwood vital or even simply in existence, once they were purchased. There was too much consolidation, too much group think. The problem, he said, was "the fundamental belief that we could be one big happy family."
Riccitiello proposed a solution.
Score one for video games.
At the DICE gaming summit in Las Vegas, "Pirates Of The Caribbean" Wednesday night, director Gore Verbinski told a room full of video game developers and executives that it's their medium -- not his -- that has the brighter future.
Clad in a jeans, a long sleeve black T-shirt and dog tags, Verbinski was delivering the keynote to the annual Design Innovate Communicate Entertain, which attracts many of the gaming industry's top men. and women. PlayStation lead inventor Ken Kutaragi, BioWare co-chief Ray Muzyka and and a few hundred other attendees got to hear the successful filmmaker basically say, hey, you guys are the future.
"I feel like gaming has so much more depth than cinema has, potentially," Verbinski said as he praised the immersion of games as disparate as "BioShock," "Halo" and "flOw."
The director, who talked about owning all three major consoles -- he double-checked with moderator and friend of Multiplayer N'Gai Croal to make sure, yes, there are three major consoles -- professed an excitement for gaming's possibilities in between sharing some Hollywood horror stories.