Last month, XBLA Fans was streaming Resident Evil Revelations 2 on our Twitch channel when something unexpected happened: the feed abruptly cut to the pause screen pictured above. XBLA Fans’ Michael Cheng hadn’t stopped playing and was still attempting to actively broadcast gameplay, so we knew something external was affecting the stream.
That something was Capcom. The game’s developer-slash-publisher, in an effort to minimize gamers’ exposure to certain scenes that are critical to determining what ending players receive, blocks segments of Revelations 2 from being streamed via the Xbox Twitch app. Capcom kicks all Xbox Twitch streams to the pause screen during the final boss fight, cutscenes, credits and after-credits cutscene. Speaking with XBLA Fans, a representative for the company explained that it wants to “give players a pure and un-spoiled experience,” so it “chose to disable the native capture so that video sharing during those segments was limited.”
This got us thinking: how do other ID@Xbox game developers view Twitch streaming? Are they worried about potential gameplay or story segments being ruined for viewers? We asked a few developers if they had official Twitch policies and whether or not they felt streamers were helping their games to find larger audiences. Official stances on Twitch were a bit mixed, but everyone we talked to agreed that streaming could benefit them. One in particular, however, cautioned against giving streaming codes to anyone and everyone and noted that not all games companies need help from streamers.
There is perhaps no ID@Xbox developer more well-known for story-driven experiences than Telltale Games. Unfortunately, the studio that popularized episodic game releases declined to comment directly on the issue. Telltale, however, did partner with The Nerdist to stream the entirety of the first Tales from the Borderlands episode a week ahead of its release last November. It also got together with voice actors Troy Baker and Laura Bailey to stream the second episode a few days after its release late last month. It remains to be seen whether or not Telltale will be so eager to stream the season’s surely spoiler-filled final episode in full, but its past actions paint a picture of a studio that does not shy away from streaming spoilers.
Mike Mika has a problem. Gamers who’ve secured free copies of #IDARB, his multiplayer hybrid basketball/platformer game, likely don’t consider it to be a problem, but for Mika and his team at developer Other Ocean Interactive, it absolutely is. And it’s one that the head of development at Other Ocean can’t help but exacerbate.
“The problem we have, everything is so…we’re just so fixed in our ways,” the design director tells XBLA Fans, “it’s like, ‘Well, this should just be free. It should just be free.’ And we’re probably part of the problem when you hear people complain about free-to-play games, and how that’s been a race to the bottom on being able to make money. I can see how that happens, because while we’re putting this game together it feels like the right thing to do by all the gamers is to give [#IDARB] to them. I’m sure it’s dangerous. We can’t afford to keep giving it to them.”
But he wishes that they could. While acknowledging that giving too much away is “dangerous,” Mika says that his studio is “definitely erring on the side of being as extremely fair as possible.” No one who’s followed #IDARB (It Draws a Red Box) would dispute that that’s exactly what Other Ocean has done with its game. Mika solicited the help of every gamer with an opinion when designing #IDARB. Then he gave his game away for free before it released. Then he again gave it away for free when it released. Now he wants to give some additional #IDARB content away for free — all of its additional content, actually. But he can’t do that; he’s got a family to feed, and a studio to make profitable. So how does Mika do that? Where does he draw the line between what’s free and what’s for sale? He’s not really sure.
It feels like we’ve been waiting on game announcements for some time, but the ID@Xbox team unleashed the floodgates last week for the first wave of titles using the new independent development program. Twenty-five games were showcased at a public event during GDC providing developers a chance for direct fan interaction. The ID@Xbox team released a video highlighting five of the games: Super Time Force from Capy Games, Strike Suit Zero Directors Cut from Born Ready Games, It Draws a Red Box from Other Ocean Interactive, Spectra 8 Bit Racing from Gateway Interactive and FRU from Through Games.
South Park fans will be please to hear that the disappointing South Park: Tenorman’s Revenge is set to receive a title update. The 4 player platformer was heavily criticised for it’s sluggish controls, poor level design and insane difficulty level. In fact our Community Manager, Andrew Crews, reviewed the game for XBLA Fans and found it difficult to say anything nice at all. However it looks like developers, Other Ocean Interactive, have taken note and made more than a few changes in the right direction. One of the biggest changes will be the addition of a new Character Swap ability. Players can now change characters at any time, meaning you don’t need to keep replaying the same level with different characters in order to get all the collectables required to move on.
It’s always nice to see a developer continuing to support a game post release, but is all forgiven? Let us know what you think the comments section. For the full patch details, click over the page.
South Park: Tenorman’s Revenge was developed by South Park Digital Studios/Other Ocean Interactive and was published by Microsoft Studios. It was released on March 30, 2012 for 800 MSP. A code was provided for review purposes.
South Park games have generally been good over the years. South Park Rally, South Park: Chef’s Luv Shack, and even South Park: Let’s Go Tower Defense Play! have all been solid titles leading one to think that when adopted in to a different form of entertainment, the brand would be presented with the same attention to quality that shows in each weekly episode. Sadly that is not the case with South Park: Tenorman’s Revenge. You’ll probably crack a brief smile during the opening story book cinematic, but shortly after that you’ll likely be filled with rage, frustration and absolute disbelief.
If you’re not familiar with South Park storylines, then all you really need to know is that Eric Cartman and Scott Tenorman pretty much hate each other. As a prank that started with Tenorman swindling Cartman out of $10, the rivalry quickly spiraled out of control as it lead to Cartman ultimately tricking Tenorman into eating his dead parents. Now Tenorman is back for his revenge and this time he has taken one of the most prized possessions from Eric Cartman, his Xbox 360 hard drive.
During the Spring Showcase, Microsoft showed off South Park: Tenorman’s Revenge and was looking to get a spring release but when? We now have a confirmed date of March …
Hey guys, we’re bringing you a new feature that’s simple and helpful in nature, the XBLAFans Monthly Roundup! This as well as other features will be seen a lot more should all things go accordingly, and we’ll even have some new ones on the way, so stay tuned because there’s a lot of awesome in the works here at XBLAFans.
If it wasn’t obvious by the title, this post will be your one-stop-shop to anything that happened this month with links to all our posts and excerpts where applicable. That means news, reviews, guides, features, interviews, podcasts, and even a recount of releases and sales data. Hit the jump for so many links you’ll never not know something about XBLA current events again!