Kojima Looking To Deal With Taboo, Delicate Issues In Next Game

Hideo Kojima is currently working on Project Ogre, a game with a mysterious setting that might be an open world game connected to the Metal Gear franchise. Speaking at a Q&A to mark the inclusion of Metal Gear Solid in the Smithsonian’s “Art of Video Games” exhibit, he hinted that he’s looking to put real-life issues to the game while keeping it fun.

“The game I’m working on right now is dealing with quite a few issues that are pretty delicate and taboo,” said Kojima through a translator. “I’m not sure if they’ll end up being in the final product or not, but that’s something that I want to continue to strive for.”

Source: Shacknews

Unreal Engine 3 Will Probably Suffice For Right Now

While the next generation of consoles from Sony and Microsoft promise to have a lot of power, it can be hard to unlock all of that potential at once. Because of that, Epic Games thinks that Unreal Engine 3 will be good enough for a lot of the first products to release on the next generation of consoles.

Samaritan is something you can do right now. In fact, Unreal Development Kit has all the features that powered Samaritan – every single graphics feature you can do. We could have shown another 30 videos,” said Epic’s VP Mark Rein. “We have guys doing stuff on high end PCs that are just outside of the gaming space that are really pushing the envelope there. So that to us is pretty exciting – and you can do that now.”

“UE3 is already available for that sort of stuff,” he added. “I think if you were going to do a launch title for a future console, UE3 would probably be the way to go. And likewise if you were going to do something cross-generational, like Mortal Kombat on PS Vita, Xbox, PS3 and potentially it could be on iPad… that’s Unreal. Unreal spans the gamut, it goes from the smallest smartphone platforms up to the highest spec PC you can build and beyond.”

“The UE4 stuff is very futuristic,” he noted. “UE3 is really the horse for this year.”

Of course, demand is also increasing for middleware, but it’s not strictly on AAA projects anymore. “Not everybody, but lots of people would like to take their games to more and more places,” Rein explained. “It’s not enough to just have a PC game anymore. Look at Dungeon Defenders; iOS, Android, Steam, Xbox Live, PSN, web, Mac… they sold a million units, and this is a small developer. So I think it’s not just up or down, but it’s also horizontal.”

Source: CVG

Battlefield 3 NES Edition

The sound effects for video games have come a long way when when it comes to realism, but there’s a certain charm to old school explosion and gun sounds. Using the music for Journey to Silius and Batman with sounds from Contra and Top Gun, Battlefield 3 is a very different sort of experience.

Mass Effect 3 — In-Game Trailer

There have been plenty of CG and live action trailers for Mass Effect 3 at its launch, but don’t let that fool you into thinking the game itself doesn’t look great. This trailer, cut using only in-game footage, does a great job of setting up the conflict of the game, with several accolades from the press thrown in.

Quests Starting For The Hunger Games

The Hunger Games Adventures is an upcoming social adventure game that is going to launch on Facebook on March 23, the same day for the release of the film. The game will take players into a new view of Panem, the fictional world in the story, and complete quests offered by Katniss and Peeta, the major characters in the books. With adventure at the core, the gameplay is driven by World of Warcraft-styled quests that send players into a wide range of activities. Besides the outdoor adventure, players can also have their Forest Escape, a personal niche where they restore energy and personalize it with decorations. The in-game world is not that edgy as depicted in the books or the movie, but more child-friendly in graphics and gameplay. Being on Facebook, it adds the basic social elements like free gifting or favor granting for one another, but it’s basically a game played solo. The Hunger Games Adventures is developed under the concerted efforts of Funtactix with Suzanne Collins, the author of The Hunger Games, as well as the movie producers.

Tablet Gaming Reaching $3.1 billion By 2014: Juniper Research

Juniper Research sees tablet gaming revenues increasing from $491 million in 2011 to $3.1 billion by 2014. While tablet gaming is expected to be a third of overall mobile games revenues by 2016, mobile game revenue for feature phones is expected to drop by half over the next five years.

“Tablets are expensive devices, typically retailing for around $500 with none of the subsidies from operators that are seen on smartphones. Owners tend to have a higher disposable income than the general smartphone user base. Thus they often spend more on game downloads and on in-game items than other demographics,” explained Juniper report author Charlotte Miller “[The tablet] is the perfect device for playing mobile games – the screens are large enough for the user to see the action, no matter how big their hands are.”

Source: JuniperResearch.com

Mobile Virtual Goods Could Hit Half Billion In 2012

The Inside Virtual Goods report has released, detailing the spending and usage patterns in the mobile gaming market in 2012. Mobile virtual goods sales to hit $500 million in the U.S., up from $350 million in 2011, but still behind the $2.9 billion expected from virtual goods sales in online social games.

“Mobile is still hitting its stride,” said Justin Smith, founder of Inside Network. “Social network games are growing more slowly, but they are still growing.”

The social gaming audience on Facebook is older and has a greater chance to be female compared to mobile, and most of the popular games on Facebook aren’t on mobile yet. “An interesting challenge is how to make an app that is relevant in both realms,” Smith said.

Source: VentureBeat

Star Wars: The Old Republic Affecting WoW Subscription Numbers

World of Warcraft has seen is subscriber base diminish over the past couple of years from its peak of 12 million. World of Warcraft senior producer John Lagrave said there are multiple factors leading to the decline in player-base.

“We certainly do look at [where WoW players go], and we have a very smart bunch of guys who do our analytics for us,” said Lagrave.”Of course people are trying Star Wars – our development teams are trying Star Wars! I’m one of the few people who are still playing it actually, but yeah we’ve seen a dip in subs. It certainly has to at least be attributable to The Old Republic, but it’s also attributable to people who want to wait and get Mists of Pandaria, so it’s not surprising. Are they going elsewhere Yes they are. We don’t have a lock on all the best games in the world – Skyrim was an amazing game.”

Right now, World of Warcraft is free-to-play until level 20, though that could change. “We could certainly look at extending the level of the trial,” Lagrave mulled, “what you can do in the trial in terms of the amount of gold that you can have and all that kind of stuff.

“There’s a fair amount that you can experience up to level 20, because you really get most of the core systems in by that point. But we can absolutely say, ‘Hey, why don’t we make it level 40 ‘ ‘Why don’t we make it level 60 ‘, do we let you at least experience the old world It’s all possible. Right now, no, but that’s all absolutely on the table.”

Still, Blizzard is not thinking in free-to-play terms for World of Warcraft just yet. “Right now we’re very happy with the subscription system with World of Warcraft,” Lagrave said. “We think it works very well. Mike [Morhaime] talks about the value we give you for that price-point, and that’s a fairly legitimate statement. Certainly a very cheap form of entertainment. So yeah, we’re comfortable with the subscription system. I won’t say never on that, but gosh not now and it’s been seven years! You’d think we’d have gotten there before now, so I don’t think so.”

Source: Eurogamer

Minecraft Creator Says DRM Is Futile

To major publishers, DRM represents one of the few ways to try and stem the tide of piracy in the PC gaming market. However, Minecraft creator Markus ‘Notch’ Persson argues that it’s an obtrusive, anti-consumer measure that needs to be rethought.

“There are so many evil companies that want to control the flow of information because they managed to do so for 20 years, and they want to do it forever,” said Persson. “That’s not really how information behaves. Copying something on the internet is a free process, and it’s easy to do. You literally cannot install a game without copying. Everything is copying, all the time. Trying to control that is counterproductive.”

“If you really want to control it, you have to have hardcore, technical solutions to it,” he added. “So, you have futile attempts like DRM. It gets more and more intrusive… I thing [the internet is] fine as it is; I’m making lots of money off it. Piracy isn’t stopping us. Sure, we’d prefer if people bought the game, but there are enough honest people out there. So, just focus on the honest people.”

Source: GameInformer