Something for the weekend #026

Something for the weekend #026 – A collection of my favourite video game and pop culture related news, videos and content from around the web this week.

It’s Sunday, which means I’m late in posting my weekly review once again. Without any further distractions, here’s Something for the weekend!

Gaming news

Disney Infinity cancelled: The entertainment company pulls out of console-game publishing

Character Sadness from Disney's Inside Out operates a control panel.
Avalanche Software are shutting down, and we’re all a bit upset about it.

The news hit this week, that Disney were pulling out of making games for popular home consoles.

“After a thorough evaluation, we have modified our approach to console gaming and will transition exclusively to a licensing model. This shift in strategy means we will cease production of Disney Infinity, where the lack of growth in the toys-to-life market, coupled with high development costs, has created a challenging business model. This means that we will be shutting down Avalanche, our internal studio that developed the game. This was a difficult decision that we did not take lightly given the quality of Disney Infinity and its many passionate fans.”

Disney spokesperson via VentureBeat

The decision perhaps comes as a result of a 2% decrease in profits, due to an increasingly saturated market using the toys-to-life operating model. Sadly, this means Disney will close its in-house development studio, Avalanche, who have been producing games since 1995.

Although this means no more games directly from the behemoth itself, Disney will continue to license its properties to third party developers. You can rest assured that your regular dose of Marvel and Star Wars games will continue to be produced.

Ashley McNeil (@5ciencePunk) wrote a personal retrospective piece after hearing the news. You can read Infinity isn’t as long as it used to be on her blog.

Greg Miller offered his condolences to the staff at Avalanche also, and wrote a touching thank you letter to the team behind the games.

Glasgow synth-pop band Chvrches wrote a track for the upcoming Mirror’s Edge Catalyst

I’ve been listening to it on repeat; and it’s pretty damned catchy!

I can’t say enough good things about Churches. It’s really exciting to hear their latest track associated with the Mirror’s Edge franchise. I really can’t wait to play Mirror’s Edge Catalyst next month!

Read more at Pitchfork

From around the web…

The future of the Action RPG

Stieg Hedlund has operated under many flags in the games industry, designer, artist and writer among others for hits including Diablo, Diablo II, Star Craft and more.

Diablo 2 box art - a hooded skeleton.
Diablo 2 – a classic ARPG archetype

In this article, he looks at the history of Action Role Playing Games (ARPG), from pen and paper to their digital counterparts. Following his analysis, he looks at the core features of ARPGs and offers an idea of how these might develop in future.

On the subject of ARPGs, developer David Brevik (@davidbrevik) looks back in time with his post mortem breakdown of Diablo in this GDC talk. Detailing the production process and the pitfalls of developing the classic title, it’s definitely worth a watch.

Read the article at Gamasutra

You’re crunching. So now what?

Ah, the dreaded crunch. Talk to anyone working in the gaming industry and they’re likely to have their own medals from the trenches. Their own war stories to tell.

If you’re not familiar with the term, crunch is essentially the period during which every employee within the company is expected to work overtime to complete a project. Typically late evenings and weekends are forfeit, and typically annual leave is suspended during this time also.

Sadly, it’s common in the games industry. It can be difficult and really takes its toll on your body and mind.

Matthew Burns (@mrwasteland) is no stranger to the dreaded crunch, having worked on titles franchises including Halo, Call of Duty and Destiny. In this article he offers advice on how to manage crunch, without suffering too much.

Read the article at Gamasutra

6 games that do a great job of standing out and selling themselves

With the sheer volume of games available at present, titles with nothing original to offer will often go unnoticed. A unique idea can be hard to come by, but it can really help expose your game to a much wider audience.

ASTRONEER is one such example. Whilst it’s quite easy to compare individual elements in the trailer above to other popular games, when combined successfully they create something that looks fresh and fun to play.

Read the article at Gamasutra

Badiya hopes to change Arabic representations in video games

Often misrepresented or stereotyped, in video games the Arab world is poorly represented at best. Ahmad Jadallah hopes to offer a more authentic experience in his team’s upcoming survival title, Badiya.

Screen from Badiya by Ahmad Jadallah. A man on a horse riding alongside a steam train in the desert.
Badiya hopes to change Arabic representation in video games.

As Rami Ismail (@tha_rami) explains in much greater depth, there are serious disadvantages for game developers without a strong grasp of English[1]Rami Ismail: It sure would be a shame if something happened to your dreams of becoming a game dev[2]Rami Ismail: English speaking is an enormous advantage in this world.

You can learn more about the game on Badiya’s website.

Read the article at Kill Screen

Visions of hell: Dark Souls’s cultural heritage

An article by Gareth Martin (@jumpovertheage) looking at some of the beautiful and macabre influences behind the latest Dark Souls title.

Utagawa Kuniyoshi (1797-1861), Mitsukuni defying the skeleton specter invoked by princess Takiyasha
Utagawa Kuniyoshi (1797-1861). One of many possible influences in the Souls series.

This piece includes a great deal of research, and a deep understanding for classical art movements in both Europe and Asia. Definitely worth a read if you’re deeply in love with the nightmarish lands presented in the Souls series.

Read the article at Kill Screen

Podcasts

PlayDead

Produced by The Dork Shelf, PlayDead explores the often taboo subject of death, as it applies to video games and the real world.

You can subscribe via iTunes, or listen to the podcast at The Dork Shelf.

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