You know what every great development team needs? A doctor. Hothead Games has just that, Dr. Mike Hayward, who has his Ph.D. not in medicine, but in artificial intelligence. Dr. Mike, Producer Joel DeYoung, Lead Designer Pete Low, Designer David Herron walk through elements of the game, showcasing what the Swarmites can do and what the game is all about. Check out episode 1 here as well as the remaining episodes after the jump.
Episode 1: Get Flocked
Twisted Pixel Games’ latest title, The Gunstringer, is a wild west Kinect title starring an what can only be described as an undead marionette cowboy. It’s the first real chance players have had to see what XBLA games can do for Kinect, and since its announcement back at the beginning of this month it’s been wowing the press. But with so much coverage how can anyone keep up with what’s going on? Well, fret not. We’ve got the best of all the previews after the jump.
Ensemble Studios shutting down was a bittersweet moment for a team that had grown extremely close over the years; however, as cliché as it sounds, the doors closing on Ensemble forced the team to look at open doors full of opportunity and new possibilities. For many this meant the first chance in years to break away from an already established IP in over fifteen years presenting a chance now to take risks and reinvigorate themselves. The tight-knit group showed that it really did believe in fostering community, as when the former Microsoft subsidiary disbanded as company but the majority of its members stuck together in one of four new studios: Robot Entertainment, Bonfire (now Zynga Dallas), Windstorm Studio and New Toy.
Recently we had the opportunity to visit Robot Entertainment in Dallas. While the studio may have a new name, they haven’t forgotten all the old lessons they learned. The team still believes in community both internally and with fans. Upon entering the studio, the open environment is striking: four main quadrants of desks with no cubicles or walls and a biergarten style lunch room comprise the majority of the studio. Outside of the two war rooms, server room and executive offices, it’s an entirely open floor plan mirroring the studios own level of openness with employees. The real decisions as to what games are made don’t come from a guy in a suit with a calculator, but from a collaborative process involving the entire team.
This “organic” process started six months ago. Development on Age of Empires Online was beginning to wind down, and the studio was looking toward what their next project would be. Instead of setting their sights on the traditional three year AAA development cycle, Robot chose to focus on the downloadable segment of the industry. The shorter development time allowed the fifty person team to the ability to not become re-tied down to a singular IP for the foreseeable future. Robot started to brainstorm and create basic prototypes for some of the better ideas, one of which was Orcs Must Die.
Have you ever wondered what a zombie apocalypse would play out like? Sure, we all have. But what about a zombie apocalypse in a zoo? Would cheetah zombies still be slow? We will all find out soon enough. High Voltage Software has announced that Animales de la Muerte is heading to XBLA.
Section 8 was a flawed gem. A diamond in the rough relegated mostly to bargain bins, the original Section 8 pushed new ideas into the first person shooter genre. It overcame minor bugs, mixed reviews and the stigma of being a full priced multiplayer only game, developing a small cult following along the way. Section 8 is back and ready to do an orbital drop again, but this time TimeGate Studios is rewriting the rules.
With the freedom that self publishing gives them, TimeGate Studios is pushing the boundaries of what has been traditionally accepted as normal. Section 8 Prejudice is a fully fledged sequel to Section 8; however, it will be released on Xbox Live Arcade in early 2011 for 1200 Microsoft Points ($15), nearly a fraction of the cost of the original. The transition from a $60 retail product to an Xbox Live Arcade sequel is a new one in this industry. We had some trepidation that the production values would suffer or that the game might feel too much like a rehash of the first, but that was all alleviated when we went hands on with Prejudice this past week.
On December 21st, Microsoft will be kicking off 11 days of sales on the Xbox Marketplace. Last year’s countdown to the new year sale was a huge success and this year’s sale promises to be even bigger. It will cover less time but offer more items. Last year, the sale was 1 deal per day for 20 days. This year, there will be 3 deals per day for 11 days.
Monday Night Combat’s Spunky Cola Special is HERE!
If you didn’t get the coverage at the end of October, Monday Night Combat developer Uber Entertainment was giving out Halloween treats letting us know what the New DLC was going to have. While they did slate it for a November release, this is close enough to November to keep this gunner happy!
Tim Schafer’s development studio Double Fine recently ventured into the realm of downloadable game with the fantastic Costume Quest, as part of a new download iniative within the company. They have just announced the 2nd game in that iniative, Stacking and it’ll be coming to XBLA next year. Click below to find out more.
The following article is based around an email interview conducted by our team with Jake Kazdal, CEO of Haunted Temple Studios. For the uninitiated, Haunted Temple Studios is currently developing Skulls of the Shogun for Xbox Live Arcade for Spring 2011 release.
Skulls of the Shogun is a turn based strategy title. Players take on the role of a Samurai General who was betrayed by one of his closest allies and slain in the moment of his greatest victory. Awakened in the afterlife, he finds the same opponent has betrayed him again in death. As a result, he begins a rampage trashing the laws of the Samurai afterlife as he seeks revenge.