TIM SCHAFER'S STICKING UP FOR PETER MOLYNEUX
Populous designer Molyneux announced last week that he was done talking to the press after a handful of interviews and one painfully revealing Eurogamer feature made it clear how mishandled his Godus game has been, and how his reputation has been irreparably shredded.
Some might say he's been unfairly treated by interviewers, with plenty of criticism aimed at Rock, Paper, Shotgun's John Walker, who appeared to lead with the question of, "Do you think you're a pathological liar?"
Schafer (pictured above, via), founder of Double Fine Productions and interviewed on VICE here, has come to the defense of Molyneux, signing off the latest video update on his studio's ongoing Broken Age project by saying the below (which is presented as an edited transcript):
I'd like to send our support to our friend and fellow developer, Peter Molyneux. In the last few weeks we've seen some really rough treatment of Peter... and I think it's really unfortunate, and unfair, and unhealthy. I'm not saying that developers like Peter and I shouldn't be responsible and accountable for deadlines; I'm just saying the reaction to recent events, and the tone of that reaction, is really way out of proportion to the seriousness of the events themselves.
The problems that Peter is having are not unique to him. They happen on many, if not most projects. I hope that if we keep doing what we're doing, and stay transparent... more and more people will start to see the process and understand how games are made, what goes into them, the effort and the expense, and why game production often goes the way it does. And knowing what goes into the games they play will help players enjoy them even more.
THE LAST GUARDIAN IS STILL IN DEVELOPMENT, PROMISE
Some panicked when it was revealed that Sony's trademark for Team Ico's long overdue Shadow of the Colossus follow-up The Last Guardian had, again, expired. But fret not, fans of uncommonly affecting video games featuring small boys and big beasts, as it transpires that the game is very much still a work in progress.
An admin error is to blame for the trademark oversight, as Sony confirmed to GameSpot that The Last Guardian isn't going anywhere. Well, indeed: we've been waiting for it since 2007, with no fresh footage revealed since 2009. Director Fumito Ueda said in December 2014 that the game was progressing under "completely new conditions," no doubt referring to a transition from PlayStation 3 to PS4.
I don't recommend holding your breath for an E3 update in June—but come September's Tokyo Game Show? Even the vaguest of release dates would make for a convention-owning announcement.
IF YOU'RE A US GAMER, YOU'D BEST WATCH YOUR DATA...
As reported by Motherboard earlier this week, American gamers probably can look forward to their console of choice sharing personal data with the federal government, with or without the introduction of new cybersecurity legislation.
President Obama himself has been campaigning for better methods of sharing information between companies and consumers alike, with an emphasis placed on protecting parties from future cyber attacks, like the hack on Sony Pictures in November 2014. The Entertainment Software Association, which represents video games departments at Sony and Microsoft, is on board with Barack's thinking, but the likes of Facebook and Google are, so far, less engaged.
Congress will likely have to approve any move to full information sharing set-ups, to private details of gamers the country over. As Motherboard says: "It's not necessarily time to panic." But all the same, it's something to monitor closely as gaming culture becomes ever more connected by transcontinental hardwiring.
THE WORLD VIDEO GAME HALL OF FAME IS NOW A THING
The Strong National Museum of Play, in Rochester, New York, has announced details of the World Video Game Hall of Fame, reports Polygon. The objective of the initiative, much like other halls of fame from music to toys, is to "recognize individual electronic games of all types... that have enjoyed popularity over a sustained period and have exerted an influence on the video game industry or on popular culture and society in general."
There are four criteria that games are measured against, for potential inclusion: icon status, longevity, geographical reach, and influence. You can put forward suggestions at the World Video Game Hall of Fame website, here, with the first wave of games inducted in June 2015. I'm voting Sensible World of Soccer (pictured), obviously.
ESPORTS IS TAKING OVER London
VICE already told you that esports is going to take over the world—but before it gets quite that massive, it's transforming a London theater into the UK's first-ever esports arena.
Fulham Broadway's Vue is to become the Gfinity Arena next month, providing space for some 600 spectators as it hosts an array of live competitions, while simultaneously streaming footage across the world.
Gfinity is a growing player in British esports, set to host the Call of Duty European Championships at London's Royal Opera House from February 28 and possessing a pretty comprehensive "about us" page right here. If the Fulham arrangement works well, there's the potential for Gfinity rolling out more eSports spaces in other Vues across the country.
SOME NEW GAMES CAME OUT
If you're reading this in the US, you can get your hands on Kirby and the Rainbow Curse right now. Which makes me pretty jealous, as the beautiful, claymation-style platformer, a Wii U exclusive, isn't due out in the UK until... actually, I've no idea. I asked a guy who works in PR for Nintendo over here when it's out, and he didn't know. "Q3/Q4" says Wikipedia. I guess I'll pop it on my Christmas list and hope for the best.
Dead or Alive 5 Final Round is the third update for Team Ninja's fighter, which initially came out in 2012. It features four characters from Sega's Virtua Fighter series, including the frequently box-adorning, Ryu-recalling Akira Yuki. Hands up, I don't think I've ever played Dead or Alive, mainly because it doesn't have the words "street" and "fighter" in its title. Final Round isn't about to change that situation, but if incredibly well researched breast physics are your thing, don't let me stop you from getting involved.
American Truck Simulator is the successor to European Truck Simulator 2, which VICE contributor Andy Kelly played for a good 30 hours recently. You can hazard a guess at what it's all about. Handsomely hirsute PS4 exclusive The Order: 1886 is finally out now, too, and has proven quite the divisive proposition. On the one hand, it's very pretty. On the other, it plays like a dog that perhaps should have been put out of its misery years ago. Read our interview with creative director Ru Weerasuriya here—it's like he knew a kicking was coming.
If The Order's getting you down, here's a mobile pick-me-up: Alto's Adventure is a very attractive endless runner which casts you as a snowboarder, but it has a Journey vibe to its launch trailer (below). It's out now for iOS, and I'll probably be picking it up because there are llamas in it and, as Jeff Minter made clear years ago, llamas are freaking great.
SPEAKING OF ENDLESS RUNNERS
Here's a trailer for the forthcoming freemium Sonic mobile game, Sonic Runners. I literally have nothing else to say about this (you can read my thoughts on the state of Sonic here), but the Guardian's Keith Stuart has written a good piece on how Sega's mascot has been reduced to this kind of release.
'GAME' IS PREMIERING IN LONDON NEXT WEEK
Game is a new theatrical production by Mike Bartlett, premiering at London's Almedia Theatre on February 23 and running until early April. Videogamer says it's "inspired by POV gaming," and "invites audiences to spy on a family as they explore a dangerous new way to live." Sounds just super. The show lasts for an hour and "nudity, startling noises and acts some people may consider violent" are promised. Tickets can be booked at the theater's website, and check out the trailer below.
Follow Mike on Twitter.