Oddworld Inhabitants founder Lorne Lanning says that the biggest problem facing the video games industry is Net Neutrality. Speaking to GII, Lanning said that all of the progress made in the industry over the last few years could be undone by its own apathy towards preserving a free and open internet.
A recent survey of its members by the International Game Developers Association finds that 56 percent of its members are in favor of unions for game developers. The association that represents game developers today announced the result of its Developers Satisfaction Survey from earlier this year, which found that more than half of respondents were in favor of unionization.
Crysis series and CryEngine middleware developer Crytek has denied a report in German publication Gamestar alleging that the company is teetering on the brink of bankruptcy. The GameStar report alleges that the Frankfurt, Germany based company was in serious financial trouble after its Xbox One launch title Ryse failed.
CD Projekt Red has issued a warning concerning the leak of sensitive internal development documents for The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt that the developer says will ruin the plot for anyone foolhardy enough to look at them prior to the game's release. The developer says that the leaked documents expose key information, including the ending to the game. The documents appeared on 4Chan and Reddit over the weekend.
League of Legends developer Riot Games is offering newly hired staff 10 percent of their salary if they want to quit. The goal of this incentive (dubbed the "Queue Dodge") to walk away from working at Riot is to weed out those new hires who are not happy with their current situation and to retain those who are passionate about developing the popular MOBA title, according to the developer.
MOCAtv (the video channel for the Museum of Contemporary Art) has released "Art in Video Games Los Angeles" episodes one and two. Art in Video Games Los Angeles focuses on gaming culture and artists in Los Angeles and offers interviews with important industry veterans like Stephanie Barish, Tracy Fullerton, Richard Lemarchand, and Sam Roberts. Profiled in later episodes are the new school of game artists like Kellee Santiago and Jenova Chen (Journey), Ian Dallas (The Unfinished Swan), and Mark Essen (Nidhogg).
Teen dating violence prevention group Jennifer Ann’s Group announced today that artists, game designers, and developers in Atlanta and Moscow will take part in the 2014 Jennifer Ann’s Group Game Jam the weekend of June 20th – 22nd, 2014. The 2014 Jennifer Ann’s Group Game Jam charges participants with creating games that help teenagers deal with emotional health, wellness issues, and issues related to teen dating violence.
An interesting article from Gamasutra explores whether traditional games journalism is slowly being damaged by the advent of the YouTube video game personality. The article, "Is YouTube killing the traditional games press?" goes directly to game developers to ask them if having their videogames played or highlighted by a popular YouTube personality has had an actual impact on sales.
A web site dedicated to helping game developers include accessibility options for disabled players into their games has been honored by the FCC's Accessibility and Innovation Initiative. The site, "Game Accessibility Guidelines" (www.gameaccessibilityguidelines.com), was launched in Sept. of 2012 and has helped bring accessibility options to games of all shapes and sizes - from AAA titles to indie offerings.
The British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) and Yogcast have teamed up to create a series that gives the community an inside look at how video games are made and offers advice to young people looking to make it in various fields within the industry.
The V&A’s first ever Game Designer in Residence, Sophia George, today launches the annual game design competition for students, Dare to be Digital. George started her career on Dare to be Digital, winning in 2011 with her family-friendly puzzle game Tick Tock Toys. The Dare to be Digital competition is an annual affair hosted and run by Abertay University.
Torment: Tides of Numenera, inXile's spiritual sequel to the classic AD&D game from Black Isle Studios and Interplay, has been delayed until the fourth quarter of 2015. The game, which raised nearly $4.2 million via a highly successful Kickstarter campaign, was scheduled for release in the first half of 2015.
Frontier Developments founder and Elite series creator David Braben has been appointed OBE (Order of the British Empire) in the Queen's Birthday Honors list. Braben was selected for his recent work with the Raspberry Pi movement, promoting science, match and technology education in the United Kingdom, and for his work in the video games industry.
On the Frontier blog, Braben noted that it was "a great honor" to receive the award.
Marriage has always been an important part of the Harvest Moon series, but has remained "traditional" since the game's launch so many "moons ago." Speaking to Joystiq Natsume's Graham Markay, Vice President of Operations; and Hiro Maekawa, President and CEO of Natsume indicated that Nastume is looking into the issue very closely and are listening to what fans of the popular and long-running farming sim-RPG want.
Stig Asmussen has confirmed with Polygon that he has been working at Titanfall developer Respawn Entertainment for "a couple months" on an unannounced project.
Respawn co-founder Vince Zampella told Polygon in a response to him joining the company, that it was "super excited to have him."
Asmussen spent the last 12 years with Sony Computer Entertainment America, working his way up from lead environment artist on God of War to creative director on God of War 3.
Game companies in Quebec are about to see their subsidies from the government evaporate. In an effort to get rid of the provincial government's deficit and cut spending, lawmakers in Quebec have decided to cut the generous subsidies they have given companies willing to move to and do business in the region.
According to a report in the French-Canadian publication La Presse, the Quebec government plans to cut as much as $500 million from the incentives it currently offers multinational businesses like Ubisoft. Ubisoft could lose as much as 20 percent of their benefits.
While the difficulty of bringing gender choices to games is a hot topic this week thanks to comments from Ubisoft (related to gender options in the multiplayer portions of Far Cry 4 and Assassin's Creed Unity), one developer says that such efforts are usually the first things to get the axe on a big project.
In another interview with Polygon about female character options, this time in Far Cry 4, another Ubisoft employee blamed an increased work load for the game not featuring more options. Far Cry 4 game director Alex Hutchinson said that the team were "inches away" from allowing players to choose between a man or woman co-op buddy in the upcoming shooter's multiplayer... but it never materialized.
Jonathan Cooper, a former Assassin's Creed designer says that Ubisoft's claims about the complexity of adding playable female character options in Assassin's Creed: Unity is bullshit. Cooper, who now works at Naughty Dog, says that such a task would be simple to implement. In fact, he says it would be one or two days' worth of work.
"In my educated opinion, I would estimate this to be a day or two's work. Not a replacement of 8000 animations," Cooper said on Twitter.
The composer behind the music for The Banner Saga, Monaco, and Journey is in a very public dispute with the American Federation of Musicians and could be fined as much as $50,000 for his work on The Banner Saga.
In an interesting interview with Gamestar, Todd Howard of Bethesda Game Studios admitted that if Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind had not been the commercial success that it was on both the Xbox and the PC, then Bethesda might have gone out of business.
A game like Legend of Grimrock 2, the old-school first-person dungeon crawler RPG sequel from Almost Human, would have no problem garnering support as an early access title on Steam, but the developer says it is not interested in releasing the game in that space.
Speaking to Rock, Paper, Shotgun, the studio says that it is "old fashioned" and wants to release a final polished game when the development cycle is over.
"You don’t need balls to be ballsy," notes Scottish author Christopher Brookmyre, in an announcement promoting the new game from UK developer RedBedlam based on his novel, Bedlam. The first-person shooter is slightly different from that novel, in that the developers have swapped out male protagonist Ross Baker for a "strong female lead."
EVE Online maker CCP Games has laid off 49 employees from its Icelandic headquarters. The latest round of layoffs follow 56 employees being let go from its Atlanta, Georgia offices a few months ago. CCP confirmed the layoffs in a statement to Polygon, saying that those who were affected this time around were from the company's "publishing organization."
Military-themed video game charity Operation Supply Drop announced several new initiatives for 2014 that are possible because of the strong support it received during its recent 8-Bit Salute fundraiser. The new "Thank You Deployment" initiative was announced, and the goal of it is to send select members of the armed forces on an all-expenses-paid VIP trip to gaming events or tours of game development studios for a rare insider's look at the video game industry.
PR 101: if the President of the United States name checks your product in an international speech, it is the best thing in the world that can happen to you. While visiting Poland today, President Barack Obama mentioned CD Projekt Red's popular RPG, The Witcher. The last time the president was visiting the country, he was given a copy of The Witcher 2 Collector's Edition as a gift by prime minister Donald Tusk. Today while in Poland the President mentioned the game and admitted that he wasn't very good at games in general.
Riot Games announced that it has banned two more high profile professional League Legends players for bad behavior while playing the popular MOBA game. Their behavior was deemed "extremely toxic," including verbal abuse and game harassment, according to a forum post from eSports coordinator Scott "Riot Abhorsen" Parkin.