Interviews


“I want to clear my name. I want to get these people to stop bothering me.”
That was the main message from Ocean Marketing’s Paul Christoforo, a former representative for N-Control’s Avenger controller attachment. He gained immediate infamy among the Internet gaming community after a hostile customer service email exchange went viral after landing on popular gaming webcomic Penny Arcade.

In a matter of hours, Christoforo went from being just another customer service agent to a focus of ire for thousands of gamers. Christoforo was featured in mocking images and videos, and the Avenger product he was representing was hit with widespread derision and negative Amazon reviews, forcing the company to publicly drop Christoforo as its marketing representative.

A chastened Christoforo is now looking for forgiveness from the Internet community he unwittingly antagonized, saying in an interview with msnbc.com’s In-Game he was “caught on a bad day” and that he hopes they will “let sleeping dogs lie.”

(full story)


A lot has changed in the over three decades Shigeru Miyamoto has acted as Nintendo’s key creative visionary, shepherding series like Mario and The Legend of Zelda through over a dozen major iterations each. With both franchises now pushing past 25 years on the market, Miyamoto told msnbc.com’s In-Game that the evolution of Nintendo’s series has involved coordination between creating new technology and creating new gameplay simultaneously.
“In the case of ‘The Legend of Zelda Twilight Princess,’ specifically, of course we took advantage of the motion-sensing technology to some extent,” Miyamoto said of the Wii launch title that first showed off the system’s motion-sensing remote. “However, we felt that something was lacking and we wanted to do more with more precise motion sensing technology, so at that time we were able to identify the specific technology we really want to use for the next time.”

(full story)


To say that writing “Star Wars: The Old Republic” was a massive undertaking would be an understatement. Like seemingly everything in the multi-year development of Bioware’s highly anticipated massively multiplayer online (MMO) game, which has already attracted over a million players before its official launch today, the developers took their previous experience making epic single-player console role-playing games (RPGs) and scaled it up for a new gaming space.
“The Old Republic” is “ten times bigger than any game we’ve ever done before,” Lead Writer Daniel Erickson said in an interview with msnbc.com’s In-Game. “It’s pretty much as big as every game we’ve done before put together.” The game’s 20 writers coordinated on what amounted to 60 man-years of work on the games multiple branching storylines, Erickson said, leading to the humbling thought that “it would have taken one person their entire natural life to write [the game].”

(full story)


When EA acquired the exclusive rights to the NFL license in late 2004, now-defunct publisher and former Blitz owner Midway used the opportunity to effect a bold change in direction for its popular football series, which originally debuted in arcades in 1997 as NFL Blitz.

2005′s Blitz: The League and its 2008 sequel featured fictional players and teams engaging in the kinds of activities that the real-life league would never approve of in an officially licensed game. Players earned bonus money for brutal, injury-inducing hits, which they could use to gamble on game results, buy drugs to treat injuries and even hire prostitutes to distract the opposing team.

Now, with the rights to the Blitz franchise in the hands of EA, the NFL imprimatur is back on the series’ coming relaunch, which has been in development for over a year by EA Tiburon.

“I think that without the NFL license, the game wouldn’t be NFL Blitz,” project lead Dave Ross told Gamasutra in a recent interview. “It’s kind of the hyper-real NFL football experience where you’ve got the 32 teams, 32 stadiums. For me it’s a lot of fun to choose my favorite team and go up against their rivals and opponents as I work my way through the game, so I think the game absolutely has to be NFL Blitz.”

(full article)


Legendary Nintendo game designer Shigeru Miyamoto — creator of long-running series including Donkey Kong, Mario and The Legend of Zelda — set off a bit of a firestorm Wednesday evening when a Wired report quoted him as saying he was planning on giving up his current, executive oversight role with the company in favor of a more hands-on approach to developing smaller, more personal games.

“Inside our office, I’ve been recently declaring, ‘I’m going to retire, I’m going to retire,’” Miyamoto said in the Wired report, referring to his current position at the company.
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Nintendo’s Japanese stock dropped 2 percent on the news before Nintendo put out an official retraction, stressing in part that “Shigeru Miyamoto’s role at Nintendo is not changing” and that his future priorities are “inclusive of overseeing all video game development and ensuring the quality of all products.”

Now, in an interview with msnbc.com’s In-Game, Miyamoto has repeated that assurance and clarified how he says his statements were misinterpreted.

“There is no plan to retire. I have no intention to retire,” he said through an interpreter. “And probably they won’t allow me to retire,” he continued, before quickly noting that this last part was a joke.

(full story)


Designing games for camera-based motion controllers comes with a set of unique challenges. But for Israeli developer Side-kick, which is making two games for the December launch of the Lenovo-backed Eedoo iSec, working with the system came with the additional challenge of tailoring motion controls to the culturally and technologically distinct Chinese market.

Side-kick has been working on motion-controlled software with Israeli camera maker PrimeSense since before PrimeSense even had hardware to show publicly, and the game developer partnered with Eedoo early on in the development of the unproven iSec. The first few months of that partnership were spent figuring out what kinds of games would work in a new market.

“[Chinese] don’t know the market that we know,” Side-kick CEO Guy Bendov said in an interview with Gamasutra. Outside of China, motion-based controllers like the Xbox 360 Kinect, PlayStation Move and Nintendo Wii Remote are relatively common. “[China's] not geared so much to game consoles like we are. They’re more geared to PC and online games, which are much bigger over there.”

(full article)


Visual effects veteran and innovator John Gaeta says he can’t show you everything he and his team at the recently unveiled Float Hybrid is currently working on.

But the stuff he can show you includes some of the most interesting uses of the Kinect’s motion-sensing technology yet, and represents the tip of what Gaeta says will be possible with the advanced motion-sensing technology of the future.

Gaeta, who is best known for his graphical effects work on movies like The Matrix trilogy, says he’s been interested in branching out into interactive media for quite some time.

Float Hybrid was not established as a game developer — Gaeta says the company “did not begin with a mandate to do anything in particular,” but was created as a place to explore how to “create more depth to an interactive experience overall.”

One of Float Hybrid’s main focuses, as shown in multiple demos on its YouTube channel, is letting players easily navigate and interact freely in 3D worlds using the Kinect.

For example, the Float Hybrid team has developed a system that allows players to guide an avatar freely using just the upper body — lean forward to move forward, back to move backward, or twist at the shoulders to turn. Float’s demos also show players using outstretched arms to aim and fire projectiles, both from first- and third-person perspectives, and even dueling over a network.

“Everything that you’re looking at can be done seated,” Gaeta says of the team’s control scheme. “One of the abilities of our company is we can scale and tune to a very refined amount of space and movement and still have fluid interaction. We can do everything sitting with minimal motion.”

(full article)


It’s almost a cliche at this point for makers of war-based shooting games to tout their titles’ “realism.” In general, this means the military uniforms and jargon will look and sound right, the guns will be rendered correctly down to the last shell casing, the war-torn villages will be based on real satellite maps, and so on.

But when it comes to realistically showing the human side of war, most war games come up short. They won’t bother much with the innocent civilian, caught under rubble from a rocket attack, clutching a photo of her lost child and begging for help.

They won’t focus on the embattled president sending a desperate rallying cry to his overwhelmed troops, or the few loyalist soldiers arguing about whether to flee or wait for reinforcements. They won’t linger on the scared little girl, looking out from a burned out shack to a city square littered with dead soldiers.

These are the kinds of scenes that will take center stage in Warco, an upcoming war game that’s less action movie and more documentary.

(full article)


Over the past two years, the PapayaMobile network has leveraged popular self-published games like PapayaFarm into a user base thatnow comprises over 25 million people.

But Papaya CEO Si Shen told Gamasutra in a recent interview the company “always wanted to be a platform instead of a gaming company.” So the company recently decided to stop publishing its own games, a decision Shen says separates it from competing mobile social networks.

“If you look at [DeNA's Mobage] and especially Gree, most of the revenue they make out of games come from their own games,” Shen pointed out. “That’s something that’s going to be very scary to the developers, because it’s not a fair play. You control all the distribution channels, and at the same time you’re also selling on the distribution channels.”

(full article)


The team at newly formed Magic Pixel Games is probably best known for its work on EALA’s critically acclaimed Boom Blox series for the Wii. But as “one of the few teams that have dug deep on all three [motion control] platforms,” Magic Pixel Games president Mark Tsai says developers have to take the limitations and capabilities of the specific controller into account when designing motion controlled games.

“People think about these motion control games and sort of design by hypothesis — ‘It would be great if we could do X’ — and there are just some limitations around some of the edges of what motion control can do for you,” Tsai pointed out in a recent interview with Gamasutra.

He went on to decry the kinds of motion control games that are “meant for other platforms or control devices, [but] retrofitted to a motion controller.” At Magic Pixel, Tsai said, the team prefers to “build it from the controller end and finding out what it’s best at and building a game around it.”

(full article)


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