Archive for the ‘Know this Developer’ Category
Last week developer Volition, best known for the Saint’s Row franchise, discussed its canceled game on PSP Saint’s Row Undercover. It started out as a PSP port of the second game in the series, but expanded into something more. In addition, the company sat down with magazine Game Informer and turned a standard interview into a 4-part nearly hour long documentary on the company. In addition, Volition released a 122 page PDF that is basically a design doc and walkthrough of the title. With all of this amazing transparency, and the release of the prototype itself online, we just had to take a look.
I would love to give you a crazy video that details all of the wacky things you can do, but honestly the game lacks any true definition. Now to be fair, it shouldn’t have any definition, it was a game the developer was prototyping for potential release and then was canned. I take this moment and brief write-up to mention it only because people have asked me in the past why I haven’t covered Resident Evil 1.5 (ie: Resident Evil 2′s original version) and other unreleased demos/alphas/prototypes that have been set free on the Internet and it’s basically because not much is there. The story, design docs, interviews, and concepts of what Resident Evil 4 or Saint’s Row Undercover could have been are fantastic and interesting, but what remains that can be played are shells of a game. Anyway the links are there, have fun with it, personally I find it to be derivative of the Grand Theft Auto “Stories” games that came out on PSP, but then early on that’s all Saint’s Row was until it defined itself. It also gives me an opportunity to cover Volition and Saint’s Row all week, so stay tuned for some wacky articles.
These days Atlus is a household name, not only for the widely popular Persona series but also as a publisher of niche titles. What you may not know is that Atlus has been around making and releasing games since the NES/Famicom era and is responsible for plenty of titles you may have played. In this episode Jam and Fred discuss the history of Atlus, the games it has developed, and of course the lovely titles that we received thanks to its publishing division.
Yesterday I saw a tweet from WayForward, a games developer that specializes in a retro feel and hand drawn animation, that it was celebrating 25 years. That’s impressive, especially when you consider that 1990 predates the Super NES and also because the 16-bit style has been around now for two and half decades. If you fancy yourself a fan of that era, long for the days of gorgeous hand drawn animation with large sprite-based characters on screen, and a 2D plane then WayForward is just the developer for you. Oh yeah, and its strongest titles are typically tough as nails so just like back in the 90s you’re going to have to die a lot and restart before you ever think about beating one. It should also be noted that WayForward is of the few studios that can really get a licensed game right and with the amount of care and detail afforded to this company’s many licensed outings it is akin to the Capcom Disney games. All of these reasons and the fantastic original series Shantae make WayForward a developer that retro enthusiasts should definitely know.
As I was looking into doing a history on this fantastic studio I came upon an excellent reference that was so good there’s no point in me doing one. While it’s easy to rag on big media conglomerates, IGN’s Mitch Dyer did a fantastic story of the origins of Ubisoft Montreal that includes stories of Splinter Cell‘s origin, the reinvention of Prince of Persia, and the visual treat that is Far Cry. It’s a fascinating story that documents the major franchises you can thank that studio for and a must read for gaming history buffs like ourselves. Head on over and check out House of Dreams: The Ubisoft Montreal Story when you can.
It was announced on June 28, 2012, that after careful consideration Activision decided to disband most of Radical Entertainment (on a recent episode of Giant Bombcast it was discussed that the rumored remaining staff was 12) and basically close the studio. Granted, although the logo may appear on future games and thus be an argument to the fact that the studio is still open, Activision states that Radical remains a support studio with no ability to develop its own games. Cynics want to blame Activision for setting inappropriate goals for the Prototype developer and we all tend to believe that the remaining Radical staff will be assigned to a Call of Duty in the future, but that’s a different discussion for a different forum. Instead, I want to touch on how Radical Entertainment came to be and the games it has contributed to the industry.