Archive for April 18th, 2013

, | Games

section_8

Polygon reports that TimeGate Studios lost an appeal last week against publisher SouthPeak Interactive and may have to give up the rights to the Section 8 property as well as pay $7.35 million in damages. The decision came from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit following a prior federal ruling stemming from a lawsuit begun in 2009.

TimeGate staff met yesterday to discuss the future of the company and its recently announced project, Minimum, in light of the decision, a source familiar with the matter told Polygon today.

Watch the announcement video for Minimum here.

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, | Games

if_at_first_you_didn't_succeed

Season two for Path of Exile starts tomorrow morning at 10am Pacific with a two hour and fifteen minute solo race. Start a new character and see how far you can get before 12:15.

In season two, you don’t have to amass a certain number of hard-to-earn reward points to quality for prizes. Every point counts as a raffle ticket for random prizes. If you just get to level 12 tomorrow and earn a single reward point — surely you can get to level 12 in two hours? — you qualify for one of 20 unique Karui wards, 5 unique Shiversting bastard swords, or 2 unique Quill Rain bows. Alternatively, you can win any of the race’s various goals for an assured prize, or you can cash in all your points at the end of the season.

Check the schedule here for details on events and prizes. Why can’t Diablo III do cool things like this?

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, | Games

Project_CRASH

Slightly Mad Studios started Project CARS in April 2011 with a different crowd-sourced funding model. Instead of a Kickstarter, the realistic driving simulation would be directly funded by players who would not only have a say in the direction of the game development, but could receive a share of any profits. It’s this innovative funding model that’s being investigated by the UK’s Fincancial Services Authority for being a possible unregulated collective investment scheme. Eurogamer has the story on why the FSA is investigating and how Slightly Mad has had to stop receiving contributions for their game. Andy Tudor, the Slightly Mad Studios Director, says they made sure that every contributor was clear on the intent of the project and disputes that it was ever framed as an investment.

There may have been talk, or people may have interpreted it that way and replied back to posts saying it’s an investment, but it’s not. We were very clear. We discussed this for months and months before we launched. Internally we never called it an investment, externally we never called it an investment, the terms and conditions never call it an investment, ever.

The people on the forums right now understand it is not, and that is the way it has always been. We basically hire you as a staff member. The royalties are us paying you wages for contributing to the project.

Unfortunately, Ian Bell, the founder of Slightly Mad had written the following in April 2011 to prospective customers on a fan forum making things slightly less clear.

My idea is to let anyone interested invest in the development, both financially and with their time, if they want. Our lawyer is working on the terms and conditions so this is going to happen.

Becoming the biggest developer on earth overnight would be newsworthy, which would pull in more investors. We suspect we might even get banks in looking for a 200 per cent – 500 per cent-plus return in 18 months.

Imagine we sell 2 million units of the final game (Shift 1 did 5 million and Shift 2 is tracking well also). The revenue from those sales is approx. 70 million dollars. 5-7 million dev cost and a few more million for marketing, and we’re still looking at a very healthy return for the investors.

The plan is that any investment into the development is exactly that, an investment.”

The investigation is ongoing and the outcome could determine if the game is ever completed, let alone shows a profit and pays back the contributors.

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, | Game reviews

make_mine_a_gibson

Developer 82 Inc pegged it when they named their last game New World Colony. That game plays pretty much as you’d expect, what with the hexes and lumber and villages and victory points. But then they name their next game PWN, which doesn’t do much to put me in mind of cyberspace and hacking. Fortunately, it’s got the subtitle “combat hacking” so that you know this isn’t about 13-year-olds showing each other up through stunning feats of juvenilia.

Combat Hacking — I’m just going to pretend it’s not called PWN — is a nifty exercise in fingerwork and brain power. It looks like a puzzle game, but it’s not. It’s actually a head-to-head real time strategy game focusing on territory control, maneuvering, and the careful application of special powers, all lovingly cyberpunk themed. It’s too fast to be simply brainy, and way too brainy to be simply an action game. The matches are short and eventually decisive, but they allow for plenty of dramatic give and take, and there’s even a campaign mode to unlock characters with special abilities, dopey names, and individual leaderboards.

It’s a good enough game that it could have supported some sort of narrative beyond “and now Cipher fights Prime on the Megacube map”. As someone who’s been steeped in Fantasy Flight’s excellent Netrunner card game, I really dig how Combat Hacking hits that cyberpunk sweet spot where gameplay and theme overlap. If it had just gone a tad further and given the action some sort of strategic context, I’d be in cyberpunk nerdvana. It turns out this is what I wanted from the hacking interface is the last Deus Ex.

The 3D maps are an unfortunate bit of busy work that lend plenty of cyberspace theming — cyberspace is totally 3D, duh — but they don’t lend themselves well to the touchpad controls. I meant to de-virus my nodes, but I accidentally spun the matrix around so now I can’t see what’s going where. The action is too fast for accidental map twirling. And although you can play multiplayer, you can only do it with people in the same room. But until a new Neuromancer game comes along, this will do just fine.

3 stars
iOS

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, | Games

MHO

Capcom has announced that they will be restructuring, canceling overseas titles with low projected sales, and revising their corporate strategy to offset lower than expected profits for the financial year. The reasons cited for the underperformance included overestimating the sales of Resident Evil 6 and Devil May Cry, a decline in quality due to excessive outsourcing, and “drastic changes in the industry’s market environment.”

Solutions proposed included moving more development in-house, improving DLC profit, and growing the online and mobile content business. The board also announced that Capcom was discontinuing development on some titles, but did not specify which projects were being halted.

In other news, Capcom and Tencent announced Monster Hunter Online a free-to-play game developed with CryEngine 3 technology.

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, | Games

Whore_of_the_Orient

The development studio formed by ex-Team Bondi members after L.A. Noire, has reportedly laid off staff and their current game Whore of the Orient is on hold. MCV Pacific reports that Kennedy Miller Mitchell may not have completely shut down the studio, but that all development has been suspended.

Whore of the Orient is a unique and extraordinary story and game, and we are still actively pursuing the right investor to partner with.

Whore of the Orient was supposed to be a mystery thriller set in 1936 Shanghai that would use the same facial animation technology as the highly acclaimed L.A. Noire.

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