I haven’t really added much to the discourse about Meta’s attempt to create the “Metaverse” – a term pulled from a cyberpunk novel (Snow Crash) – largely because there’s frankly already plenty of folks saying what I’d want to say. But hey, they once again made “big advancements” today with the addition of lower bodies for their virtual avatars, and just… for fuck’s sake.
I don’t entirely blame the development team working on this. I’m sure there’s some very smart people involved, and some of them may even have prior experience with virtual worlds and game development – though that might be optimistic, based on the results so far. I say I don’t entirely blame them, because it’s a very high profile, expensive project, with a lot of direct pressure and visibility from the head of the company. That’s bound to fuck up a roadmap or two.
Untitled Goose Game had some announcements today – a new trailer, announcements of some new platforms like the Switch, and announcing their publisher will be Panic. Busy day! The game looks like it scratches a certain itch, like if Katamari Damacy and Goat Simulator had a feathered, honking baby, which I am 100% on board for.
The thing that tickled me most, though, was Panic’s inside look at how game publishing deals are made:
💼 Some of you may wonder how REAL video game business gets done. Here's an exclusive look at our advanced pitching process for securing the rights to Untitled Goose Game pic.twitter.com/dC3TsQ192j
Over at Legends of Localization, there is an amazing article (potentially series of articles) discussing localization by comparing, line for line, multiple translations of the same game (in this case, Final Fantasy VI). It uses the official SNES translation, the GBA translation, one of the more popular fan translations, and if you just tossed the original Japanese into Google Translate.
Well worth the time to read if you’ve ever been curious about the localization and translation process.
The latest from the creator of Too Many Cooks takes a look at games and streamer culture. (Fair warning: gore, sex, depression are all present.)
Different games like WizardSlots can have different requirements for game mastery, and still have both fall under the aegis of a casual or casual-friendly game. A more distinct delineation is to establish the play intensity of the game: examine the amount of investment in game mastery that is necessary to continue to move forward in the game. If there is little room for players who haven’t invested as many resources into mastery of the game (e.g. they didn’t spend hours playing the same zone or area, learning all its quirks and best solutions to the challenges it poses), then that game will only be attractive to players with a high investment threshold, i.e. it isn’t a casual game, no matter how simple the interface is, no matter how complex the game mechanics are.
Mixed feelings. Some of it misses the mark, but other parts punch above their weight. But hey, keep those likes and subscribes coming.
Via Kotaku, the Xenogears soundtrack is getting remastered. This was one of my favorite games, and one of the things I appreciated about it was the soundtrack. As much as I’d love to see the game itself also get some remastering love (maybe with a revisited second disc), this is also a welcome treat. The Japanese page has more information if you’re interested.
Nintendo’s been doing a lot right with their latest console (the Switch). It’s got a pretty compelling use case, and has become the go-to console for some really fantastic gaming experiences (looking at you, Breath of the Wild and Super Mario Odyssey). It also looks like they’ve managed to win over and embrace indie developers, as indicated by a steady stream of titles. I think one of the things they’re getting right (aside from building some amazing games themselves) is an appreciation for play and whimsy, as evidenced by their latest addition to the system: the Labo. Go watch the trailer:
Vice has managed to put together an astounding oral history of the making of Halo, a seminal and iconic first person shooter that helped cement the success of the Xbox and (one of) the first to really master first person shooter controls on a console.
I’ve been a big fan of Bungie since the days of playing Marathon, and I’m excited to do with their next project, Destiny 2.
Autumn of Indie Game Markets, Danc over at Lost Garden providing an insightful and frank look at the state of game markets right now. There’s an ebb and flow to markets like this, and the season metaphor he uses seems quite apt.
Jason Fried speaks Truth about the tech industry’s love affair with overwork over on Signal v. Noise. This has been a perennial issue in games (where terms like “crunch” and “death march” are used often), but is definitely happening in general software as well. It’s a demonstrably stupid and abusive idea with repeated studies showing it is, and yet it’s still prevalent. When an industry is attractive (like games, like the current 2.0 Dot Com gold rush), it’s easy for investors and management to adopt a “burn and churn” mentality about their workers.