Train2Game News: UK Top 20 Games – 16.12.13

Call of Duty GhostsThis is the final game charts for the year from Train2Game and it is one of the quieter charts of the year. The only new game in the charts this week is Angry Birds Star Wars which has entered at number seventeen. The only other new entrant is a return of Football Manager 2014. Call of Duty: Ghosts is still at number one.

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Week ending 14 December 2013

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Leisure software charts compiled by Chart Track, (C)2013 UKIE Ltd

These charts cannot be reproduced either in print or online without obtaining permission from Ukie. If you wish to reproduce the charts in print or online, please contact for the appropriate license.

Train2Game News: J.J Abrams and Gabe Newell could collaborate

Valve logoValve CEO, Gabe Newell and top film director, J.J Abrams hit the stage at the DICE summit in Las Vegas and announced they had been talking about working together.

After a back-and-forth about player agency and storytelling, Newell revealed that the duo had been “recapitulating a series of conversations going on,” and that they’re now ready to “do more than talk”: Newell suggested “either a Portal movie or a Half-Life movie,” and Abrams said he’d like to make a game with Valve.

Valve are one of the top games developers with games such as Half Life and Portal under their belts which have incredible game play mechanics that make them fan favourites.

J.J Abrams on the other hand is one of the best directors at the moment, responsible for the reboot of the Star Trek films and is taking the helm on the new Star Wars films. Abrams has also worked on TV Series such as Lost and Fringe.

The two men working together could bring forth incredible games with the mechanics of Valve and storytelling of Abrams. In addition, in my opinion, there would be no man better to direct a Portal or Half Life movie than Mr Abrams.

In 2010, Newell said that if Valve were to make a Half-Life movie, it wouldn’t hand over control to any Hollywood studio, saying:

“There was a whole bunch of meetings with people from Hollywood. Directors down there wanted to make a Half-Life movie and stuff, so they’d bring in a writer or some talent agency would bring in writers, and they would pitch us on their story. And their stories were just so bad. I mean, brutally, the worst. Not understanding what made the game a good game, or what made the property an interesting thing for people to be a fan of.

“That’s when we started saying ‘Wow, the best thing we could ever do is to just not do this as a movie, or we’d have to make it ourselves.’”

There are no details on Newell and Abrams’ project—be it game, film, or both—outside of the tease that they’re talking. They are talking and I am sure that can only mean good things.

Train2Game News: Mid-week round up – 31.10.11

Possibly the biggest news this week is that Disney has purchased LucasArts for $4.05 billion. In doing so Disney now has the rights to everything in the Star Wars vaults. The plan is to release Star Wars episode VII in a couple of years time. LucasArts also makes some of the games in the Star Wars universe so this could mean changes in future games from the company. We will have to wait and see.

Grand Theft Auto V has finally had a release date confirmed. The highly anticipated fifth part of the saga will be coming to PS3 and Xbox360 in Spring 2013. There has been no mention of a PC release as of yet but it is common for Rockstar to release their PC versions several months later.

Another release date has been announced this time for Peter Molyneux’s Curiosity: What’s inside the cube. The release date has been given as November 7 for iOS and Android. The app will be free to download and play.

One of my most favourite games of this year is Borderlands 2 and it has just surpassed five million sales. The sales include retail and digital sales. Take-Two said it has become “one of the most successful releases in [subsidiary] 2K’s history”. In addition Borderlands Legends has been released for iOS today.

The Call Of Duty: Black Ops 2 trailer hit the world on Monday. The trailer was directed by Guy Ritchie and has a cameo from Robert Downey Jr. You can watch the trailer here.

Kickstarter, the most popular vehicle for crowdfunding games development projects, is now available in the UK. Previously UK-based developers could only pledge, but not create projects, now they can seek funding on the platform.

A sequel to the terrifying Amnesia: Dark Descent has been announced with a creepy trailer to get you in the Halloween spirit. Frictional games have always asked for fans to record screams, whimpers and blood curdling shrieks to be put in to the game. You can email your screams to The trailer can be seen here.

Lastly in more worrying news the terrible storm, Hurricane Sandy, that has hit the US has knocked out Activisions data centers and shut down online play for a number of games including Call Of Duty and Guitar Hero. My best wishes go out to all those affected by the storm.

Train2Game News: Mid-week round up – 10.5.12

The OnLive console is not dead according to CEO Charles Jablonski and UK general manager Bruce Grove. The new plan is all about forming partnerships to provide OnLive’s service, instead of relying on PCs and its own console.

The Volus race has come to Mass Effect 3 multiplayer with the new DLC, The Retaliation Pack. The comic relief character has been put in to the online game play to show the ever expanding war according to BioWare’s Chris Schanche. The new pack also sees the return of The Collectors to battle against.

Earlier this week it was announced that Windows 8 will primarily use real world currency over Microsoft points. This had the games world speculating that the Xbox Live Arcade was going to start phasing out MS points. Microsoft have announced this is not the case. XBLA will still use the previous points system.

Rovio and LucasArts have teamed up in an interesting combination to create Angry Birds Star Wars. The game will see the birds dressed as the main Star Wars protagonists and the pigs are going to be dressed as Storm Troopers and Darth Vader. The levels will be famous Star Wars locations such as Hoth and Tattooine. The game is being released November 8 for iOS.

IGN have brought their application to Xbox in the UK. The app is already available in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and the USA. The app offers content, shows and access to its pro-gaming league.

Mark Zuckerberg has announced that Facebook has now surpassed one billion users. Since Facebook’s formation in 2004, it has seen more than 140 billion friend connections made, 219 billion photos uploaded, and 1.13 trillion likes. Facebook’s director of developer products said around a quarter of its active user base, about 230 million people, play games on the site in a month. He also noted that Facebook has more than 130 apps.

A one-man company, Cryptic Sea, has created a game called A New Zero. The game has no animation and only uses physics for any movement in the first person shooter. In addition, visuals are also procedurally generated, chopping Zero’s total size below a single megabyte. You can download the game from Cryptic Sea’s website.

Train2Game News: Mid-week round up

Five months since its release, Minecraft on the Xbox 360 is still selling 27,000 units daily. That’s an estimated 4 million copies sold, further solidifying the games legacy.

Valve’s Steam distribution service now sells software as well as games. The software is for games development. The products currently available on the store are ArtRage Studio Pro, CameraBag 2, GameMaker: Studio, 3D-Coat, 3DMark Vantage, 3DMark 11 and of course, Source Film-maker.

Halo 4 won’t be getting Kinect controls, says 343 Industries’ Frank O’Connor. His opinion is that while the motion sensor has its uses when it comes to the UI, controlling a core game is not what it’s for. Kinect will be used for Halo Waypoint however, which can be launched from in the game.

Reportedly, Arkane studios’ Dishonored will take over twenty hours to complete playing stealthily with killing no one. A brutal play through, killing anyone in your path, will take between 12 to 14 hours but that’s without exploring every nook and cranny, and knowing the solution to everything beforehand. It should take more thorough or inexperienced players longer than that.

PlayStation Europe is offering a month long internship to who ever can make the best game on LittleBigPlanet for the PS Vita. The best submission, as voted by a PlayStation judging panel, will be rewarded with a month-long internship at Swedish studio Tarsier. Games will be judged on gameplay, originality, and commercial appeal. The winner will eventually help work on official DLC for the game. To register an interest, go here.

A new mod has been developed for Crysis. The mod, StarCry, sees many different hit sci-fi shows making their way into the new user made campaign for the game. Franchises such as Stargate SG1 and Star Wars are featured in the mod.

Chasing Aurora developer, Martin Pichlmair, says that Nintendo is working hard to make the Wii U eShop friendly and open for independent developers. This opens up a whole new market with a new innovative console to work with.

World of Tanks official site,, say that registration numbers have passed the 40 million mark. Players have been pouring into servers to check out the big 8.0 update, which overhauled WoT’s visuals and added proper physics. World of Tanks is one of the biggest free to play games in the world.

Cliff Bleszinski has announced he is leaving Epic. After two decades with the company he is moving on to expand his career. Whilst with the company he was responsible for games such as Jazzy Jackrabbit and the highly acclaimed Gears Of War series.

Bad Piggies, the Angry Birds spin-off from Rovio, shot to the top spot on the US iTunes App Store within three hours of launch. The firm said the game was the fastest chart-topper in the company’s history. The game is the third from the Finnish studio this year to hit the top spot within it’s first day of release. The other titles were Amazing Alex and of course, Angry Birds Space.

Train2Game News: MMOs represent “toughest part of the game industry” says SWTOR lead designer

MMOs are the most difficult genre for game developers to be successful in. That’s the view of Star Wars: The Old Republic associate lead designer Emmanuel Lusinchi.

“The MMO is the toughest part of the game industry without a doubt and we live in tough economic times in general,” he told PC Gamer.

“We have a very large development team still, definitely one of the biggest in the industry, and we have a very complete and detailed plan for the rest of the year.” the BioWare man continued.

“The players don’t really care about all that, behind closed curtains, but they want what they’re paying for which is a service with new content, new systems, that’s what they’re asking for and we listen to them. That’s what we mean to deliver.” he added.

Train2Game spoke to Emmanuel Lusinchi last year, in an in-depth discussion which covered development of Star Wars: The Old Republic, what his role as associate lead designer involves, and advice on getting into the games industry. Read it here on The Train2Game Blog.

Keep reading The Train2Game Blog for the latest Star Wars: The Old Republic news.

Do you agree with Lusinchi about MMOs being the hardest games to develop? That said, would you like to work on one in future?

Leave your comments here on The Train2Game Blog, or on the Train2Game forum.

Train2Game news: Bioware would test more if they made Star Wars: The Old Republic again

Train2Game students will be aware that Bioware launched their long awaited MMO Star Wars: The Old Republic last month, after many years in development.

Now, in an interview with TORWars, Bioware co-founder Greg Zeschuk has revealed that if given the chance, Bioware would do it all again, but in hindsight, there are things they’d do slightly different during development, including much more testing.

“I think we would definitely do it over again given the opportunity, or a time machine.” said Zeschuk, who along with fellow Bioware co-founder Dr. Ray Muzyka spoke to The Train2Game Blog about the studio last November.

“I think we can see a lot of things we could have done differently given the benefit of retrospective vision, but I also don’t think we would have changed many decisions. It would more have been a process of refinement and fine tuning to our plans.”

Train2Game Blog readers might recall that Bioware put massive importance on testing Star Wars: The Old Republic, but Zeschuk believes they should’ve done even more of it in order to help develop the game.

“Certainly testing even more than we did, and doing so earlier would have been a good goal.” he said.

“ I also think in retrospect we would have been able to weight some of our technical decisions differently given that we ultimately knew what worked after the fact and what needed a lot of work; there was no way of knowing that in advance, but in retrospect that would have helped quite a bit.” Zeschuk concluded.

Of course, Train2Game offers a course in games QA testing, which you can find out more about here.

For more about the development of Star Wars: The Old Republic, read our interview with Bioware Associate Lead Designer Emmanuel Lusinchi right here on The Train2Game Blog.

So Train2Game, what are your thoughts on Zeschuks comments?  What do they say about the importance of testing throughout game development?

Leave your comments here on The Train2Game Blog, or on the Train2Game forum.

[Source: TORWars via VG247]

Train2Game news: Get involved with Star Wars: The Old Republic Beta Test

Train2Game students can get their hands on a Star Wars: The Old Republic beta thanks to EA providing tens of thousands of beta codes to various outlets of the UK gaming press.

The Star Wars: The Old Republic beta keys, give Train2Game students the opportunity to take part in an upcoming beta weekend where EA and Bioware plan to stress test their servers ahead of the MMO’s December release.

While the Train2Game blog doesn’t have any Star Wars: The Old Republic beta keys to give away itseld, you can pick of thousands up from UK outlets including CVG, NowGamer, and Rock, Paper, Shotgun.

Just choose one of the links, then follow the instructions to receive your key for the Star Wars: The Old Republic beta weekend. The exact time for the STWOR beta will be revealed by email at a later date.

As previously reported by the Train2Game blog, Bioware have spoken about the importance of playtesting to game development.  Meanwhile, for an in-depth look at the development of Star Wars: The Old Republic, check out the Train2Game blog interview with Associate Lead Game Designer Emmanuel Lusinchi

Train2Game blog readers will be aware that beta tests are an important part of video game development as thousands of beta testers can find issues that may slip past a handful of QA Testers.

And in an interview with the Train2Game blog, End of Nations Senior QA Tester Karl Tars said that getting involved with lots of beta tests for one studio is potentially a way to get into the games industry.

So what are you waiting for Train2Game? Sign up for the Star Wars: The Old Republic beta now.

Have you been involved with beta tests before? Will you get involved with this one?

Leave your comments here on the Train2Game blog, or on the Train2Game forum

Train2Game news: There will always be subscription based MMOs say Star Wars: The Old Republic devs Bioware

Train2Game students may be aware that many MMO titles are switching to a free-to-play model, one wherein revenue is made by microtransactions rather than monthly subscription fees.

However, while many games in the genre are going free-to-play, the upcoming Star Wars: The Old Republic – scheduled for release in December – is going to stick to the traditional pay monthly model.

And while many developers are switching to free-to-play, SWTOR developers Bioware believe that gamers will always be willing to pay a subscription fee for a quality product.

“I think there will always be a place for premium content at a premium price and that’s one of the differences,” Bioware co-founder Greg Zeschuk told Industry Gamers.

“Free to play is very much about trial, about ‘Hey, I don’t know what this is, I don’t have confidence that it’s any good, but I’m willing to take a look at it,’ versus ‘I know this is good, from a trusted source, and it’s the biggest license in the world.’ So it’s a different value proposition,” he said.

Fellow Bioware co-founder Ray Muzyka believes that increased competition from free-to-play titles is good for the games industry.

“There’s more competition for entertainment dollars now than ever before from social and play for free, and all sorts of entertainment, which I think is actually really healthy from an entertainment industry perspective”

However, he agrees with Zeschuk in that the subscription model will remain popular, but the games have to be worth it.

“But I agree with Greg that there’s a space for a certain number of premium products that are subscription based or whatever the premium pricing model is. But they have to merit it, they have to earn that from a consumer trust perspective and delivering and exceeding expectations.” said Muzyka.

Of course, he believes that Star Wars: The Old Republic is one of these games.

“I think The Old Republic is definitely in that triple-A premium category. That’s the feedback reading from the players and data testing.”

Earlier this week, the Train2Game blog reported on the importance of playtesting in the development of Star Wars: The Old Republic.

For an in-depth look at the development of SWTOR, read the Train2Game interview with Associate Lead Game Designer Emmanuel Lusinchi

So Train2Game, do you believe the subscription model for MMO still has a future ahead of it? Or will free-to-play titles become the dominant force?

Leave your comments here on the Train2Game blog, or on the Train2Game forum.

[Source: Industry Gamers]

Train2Game news: Bioware on the importance of playtesting during game development

Train2Game students will be aware testing a game is an extremely important part of game development. But according to Bioware, it isn’t something that should be left to the QA Testers or Beta testers alone, rather the game developers should be constantly involved in the process too.

That’s according to Star Wars: The Old Republic project lead James Ohlen who was speaking to Gamasutra.

“The thing about it is, it’s important to get people to test your game, but the beta tests are more for finding out if your technology’s going to stand up, and finding some small tweaks and changes.” he said when asked about playtesting.

“But all the big changes that we’ve been making were planned from way before, because we’ve been playing the game ourselves. If we didn’t figure this stuff out, we’d be terrible game designers. So, internally we figured out a lot of the problems early on.

However, Ohlen pointed out that Beta testers still have a role to play in game development.

“But at the same time, it’s good for fans to feel like they’re having an impact, and sometimes they do”

“Sometimes they do point out information that is a little bit surprising, but nothing hugely surprising. There’s been surprises on the project, but mostly they’ve come from us playtesting this stuff.” the Star Wars: The Old Republic project lead concluded.

For a more in depth look behind the scenes of Star Wars: The Old Republic, check out the Train2Game interview with Associate Lead Designer Emmanuel Lusinchi.

Star Wars: The Old Republic will be released in Europe on 22nd December 2011.

So Train2Game, what are your thoughts on testing games? Do you agree that it’s an important part of a game developers job, no matter what role they have in the industry?

Leave your comments here on the Train2Game blog, or on the Train2Game forum.

[Source: Gamasutra]