In this week’s roundup, weep as Splash Damage announces Risen 2 console delays, realize that smartphones will soon surpass the Xbox 360, hear from Syndicate CEO about dashed expectations, discover the genius of working for Valve, get the skinny on PSone games for the Vita, test drive some sweet rides in the ‘Forza Motorsport 4′ Top Gear Pack, explore EA’s new recruitment tactics and find out why there are layoffs in their Montreal office.
Let’s round it up!
1. Console Versions Of ‘Risen 2′ Delayed
Now just take a seat and relax. There is a bit of a silver lining to this story. First off, PC gamers, you won’t have to worry about a thing as Risen 2: Dark Waters was released today as planned – in fact we’ve already reviewed it. However, Xbox 360 and PS3 owners will have to wait until July 31 to snag their port in North America and August 3 in Europe.
The good news for console owners is Deep Silver will be throwing in an additional episode for their troubles. The episode titled “The Air Temple” will be several hours long and features an adventure through a lost temple to find the source of all air magic. The title is pretty self-explanatory.
2. ‘Brink’ Sold 2.5 Million Copies
Great news for the moderately received Brink. Developer Splash Damage reports that the title has sold more than 2.5 million units. The studio’s CEO Paul Wedgewood revealed the numbers during an interview with Gamasutra.
“With Splash Damage, we finished Brink, and it’s estimated to have sold more than 2.5 million units worldwide, which at retail would mean that it’s generated around $120-140 million in revenue.”
He added that as an independent developer under monster publish Bethesda, they won’t see the biggest hunk of that change. Splash damage is currently working on two new AAA titles, one for the PC and another for consoles. No details on those titles as of yet.
3. NVIDIA Thinks Phones Will Surpass 360 By 2014
While many first reactions to that idea may be dropped jaws or dismissive head shakes, the truth of the matter is that it’s absolutely a possibility. Anyone who has seen Infinity Blade can attest to the progress mobile phone gaming and graphics has made in the last few years. So when will smartphones reach console levels of greatness? NVIDIA thinks it’ll be sooner than most people think, like 2012-2014 soon – and if mobile chips continue at the rate they are going, they will catch up with PC systems a little after that. VG247 reports that NVIDIA is already sporting a solution to produce high-end graphics on mobile devices called the Tegra 3 System-on-a-Chip.
4. ‘Max Payne 3′ On Xbox 360 Is 2 Discs
Max Payne 3 is gonna be so action packed it can’t be contained on one disc. According to a tweet from Rockstar Games, in response to a question about renting the game through Redbox, they revealed that the game would indeed be 2 discs and that renting through Redbox would require two separate rentals. Disc one will contain half the main story and the full multiplayer game, but to finish the title, gamers will have to rent the second disc separately. A pain in the ass perhaps, but still a cheaper alternative to the full price and pressing a few extra buttons to save over 50 bucks ain’t so bad.
5. ‘Syndicate’ CEO Says Expectations Were Too High
In an interview with Joystiq, the CEO and President of Starbreeze Studios, Mikael Nermark, was more than open about his feelings about Syndicate‘s reception and of the studio itself. The game didn’t do terribly in sales its launch week, snagging the No. 2 spot behind Asura’s Wrath, but Nerkman wasn’t phased — in fact, he rarely is with any game he works on, but his feelings on Starbreeze are a different matter altogether.
“Sales? What can I say? So many things depend on whether sales are good or not good. And it can always be better, right? You always want it to be better. Personally, I’ve never been satisfied with any games I’ve worked on. I never play my own games. I was brought into Starbreeze two and a half years ago, and the first year I worked on other things than on production. But what I saw coming out of this long production time, I’m proud of what we did at Starbreeze.”
Nerkman continued comparing Syndicate‘s sales to that of AAA titles, noting that high budget, high profile games have an easier time getting higher scores, but that despite those numbers Syndicate was more innovative and brought a lot to the table for its genre. Nermark also remarked on the game’s co-op, which he feels was fantastic, but possibly too hard. Finally, he spoke on the franchise itself, having loved the original and created this one with its fanbase always in mind, despite its many changes.
“Syndicate comes with a lot of expectations. Such a great brand, such a great franchise. I don’t think we could’ve ever lived up to some people’s expectations.I love the original! When I got into the industry way back, RTS and that kind of game were my kind of game. But you always wanna add your touch to it, you wanna make it your game even though it’s built on a great franchise. So I think that’s hard. Overall, we’re happy.”
6. Valve Company Handbook
The Valve handbook that reveals the unconventional way they run their ship, may shed some light on how the company earned its place as an industry leader. Their management organizational chart gives a peek into the company’s managerial structure — or lack thereof.
Valve is flat. It’s our shorthand way of saying that we don’t have any management, and nobody “reports to” anybody else. We do have a founder/president, but even he isn’t your manager. This company is yours to steer-toward opportunities and away from risks. You have the power to green-light projects. You have the power to ship products.
They do ask, however, that employees ask themselves the following questions to be smart when choosing so they always end up choosing the correct project for them:
- Of all the projects currently under way, what’s the most valuable thing I can be working on?
- Which project will have the highest direct impact on our customers? How much will the work I ship benefit them?
- Is Valve not doing something that it should be doing?
- What’s interesting? What’s rewarding? What leverages my individual strengths the most?
So how could a company be so well respected and create such innovative and critically acclaimed titles when their employees get to choose which projects they’ve be most interested in and contribute the most to? We think the question answers itself.
7. ‘Game of Thrones’: More Battles Exposed In Screenshots
The Game of Thrones RPG unveiled some new screenshots that focus on the many battles that will be taking place throughout the game. Every fight will keep players on their toes and demands they stay sharp. Game of Thrones will feature a variety of character classes, and allows for a wide range of custimization through skill trees, weaponry and armor (perhaps even Valyrian Steel). These screens highlight some of the intense action that takes place in always wartorn world in Game of Thrones.
8. New SimCity Is A Relaunch, Not SimCity 5
For those holding out for a numbered title in the SimCity series, well prepare to be (not so) disappointed. The newest SimCity is a completely new relaunch of the series and not a continuation of the original, Maxis vice-president Brett Barry told VG247. What does this mean? Absolutely nothing. A lot has changed it would hardly be accurate to put this upcoming title next to its predecessor, which released some 9 years ago. By the time this incarnation SimCity hits number 5, we will likely be living in the city and virtually building it.
9. EA Actively Looking To Acquire Devs
In attempt to enlighten (and possible recruit) those aching to get into the game industry, Electronic Arts wanted to shine the spotlight on a career that many may have never considered. EA decided to interview one Ms. Catolyn Rohde, a Corporate Development Associate in the company.
“As we’ve said before (and will undoubtedly say again), the road into the game industry is rarely an A-to-B journey. Some people make their way in after years of comp-sci studies, others land just the right internship , and still others – like Corp Dev Associate Carolyn Rohde – find opportunity in places most people would never even think of. Like finance. “
Those interested in the fascinating world of “mergers, acquisitions, and strategic investments” should visit EA’s website for the full scoop on the exciting go-go-go lifestyle of Carolyn Rohde, Corp Dev Associate.
10. EA Montreal Layoffs
Speaking of EA, their Montreal office is dealing with what they describe as a “very small number” of layoffs this week due to a change in the company focus to digital. Gamesindustry International confirms that there have been some changes up north.
“EA Montreal is reorganizing some teams to focus on digital initiatives, including new mobile and social projects. These are routine changes which address the cyclical nature of the game industry. A very small number of employees will be impacted – many will be assigned to new projects at EA, others will leave the company. Overall, we expect that EA’s headcount will be up at the end of this year.”
Gamesindustry’s source suggested that the cuts could be as high as 50 employees, but it’s speculated that they may be fewer.
11. Sony Working Hard On Getting PSone Games On Vita
President of Sony‘s Worldwide Studios Shuhei Yoshida responded to a tweet from a fan asking when PSone games would be available on the Vita by saying their, “engineers are working hard on it. Pls be patient.” While a timeframe wasn’t specified, it’s good to know that it’s still coming.
12. Forza Motorsport 4” May Top Gear Car Pack
Gearheads rejoice, the next Forza Motorsport 4 Car Pack will be hitting the Xbox Live Marketplace May 1 and will add a fleet of new vehicles to play with. Dubbed the “Top Gear Car Pack”, the content is a car fans wet dream, featuring such cars as the 2012 Hennessey Venom GT, 1977 AMC Pacer X, 2011 Ford Transite SuperSportVan, 2012 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon, 1966 Lotus Cortina and many more. While that might not mean much to the average geek and Toyota Yaris owner (i.e. me), car fans will have a lot of fun with this one.