Bioware admit Dragon Age II faults following community feedback. How important is listening to fans Train2Game?

Bioware Lead Designer Mike Laidlaw has responded to reactions from fans about Dragon Age II’s controversial new Game Design mechanics.  (You can remind yourself of how Bioware said the Game Design of Dragon Age II was ‘more welcoming’ here on the Train2Game blog)

The game itself proved popular on the Train2Game Forum, but Bioware were inundated with comments on the Bioware forum that voiced concerns that Dragon Age II when compared to the original, Dragon Age: Origins. (A title that the Train2Game blog previously laid great praise on, especially when it came to Game Design)

Laidlaw has recognised concerns of Bioware forum users and insists that there are aspects of Dragon Age 2 that must be improved upon in future games in the series.

“I am absolutely aware of the concerns voiced here. Issues like level re-use, the implementation of wave combat, concerns about the narrative and significance of choice and so on have all been not only noted, but examined, inspected and even aided me (and many, many others on the team) in formulating future plans.” he said. “Further, I’m not only aware of the concerns, but I agree that there are aspects of DA II that not only can but must be improved in future installments. And that is precisely our intent.”

Laidlaw also added the reasons why Bioware made such a drastic change from Dragon Age: Origins with Dragon Age II “I am very proud of what the team accomplished with Dragon Age II. I know many are advocating a “it wasn’t broke, why did you try to fix it?” stance, and I absolutely understand why. From my perspective, as someone looking to the future and the DA franchise, I think that DA II moved us into a space that has more potential.

“The story events of DA II have fundamentally altered the political and power landscape of Thedas, in a way that’s open to intrigue, drama and sweeping conflict in the future, and evolves a world that, while still very much involving the Grey Wardens and Darkspawn, is about more than just that one struggle.”

“Hawke’s story was a departure from the usual tale, and in crafting it and the game around it we learned a lot. Some from what worked, but even more from what didn’t. Such is always the way. I hope that in the future we’ll be able to discuss how we’re addressing your concerns and even solicit feedback from you on future plans in the process, but for now, I hope a simple thank you will suffice.” He concluded.

It provides a potentially interesting lesson to Train2Game students in listening to fan feedback when developing games.  For more on why Bioware decided to take Dragon Age II in the direction they did, see extracts of an interview with Mike Laidlaw on Game Design here on the Train2Game blog.

So Train2Game, how important do you believe it to be for developers to listen to fans? Is it something you look forward to in your future career? Have you already responded to feedback when producing games?

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

[Souce: Bioware Forum via CVG]

UK Charts: L.A. Noire stays top

Last week, the Train2Game blog reported that L.A. Noire became the fastest selling new IP, taking top spot in the UK Charts. The Train2Game blog can confirm that the impressively animated title remains at No.1 for the second week in a row.

And as previously reported by the Train2Game blog, Team Bondi believe their impressive Art & Animation tech not only can complete with film, but also has uses outside the game industry.

Dirt 3 takes No. 2 in its debut week, with almost two thirds of sales on the Xbox 360. The remainder of the top 5 is filled with familiar names, with LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean dropping one spot to No.3, while three time No.1 Zumba Fitness holds onto No.4.

Another former No.1 – as reported by the Train2Game blog – in the form of Brink is No.5 after falling two places.

Wii Sports Result re-enters the top ten at No.6 thanks to price promotions on the Nintendo Wii bundle hardware, while FIFA 11 moves up one to No.7 in its 35th week in the charts.

Call of Duty: Black Ops rises two to No.8 in the week the Train2Game blog revealed that Modern Warfare 3 was officially revealed by Activision.  Crysis 2 drops three places to no.9 while the top ten is completed by Mario Kart Wii thanks to the new Wii Bundle that included the game.

The UKIE Gfk Chart-Track All Formats Top 10 for the week ending 28th May 2011 is therefore as follows:

1.    L.A. Noire (Rockstar)
2.    Dirt 3 (Codemasters)
3.    LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean (Disney)
4.    Zumba Fitness (505 Games
5.    Brink (Bethesda)
6.    Wii Sports Resort (Nintendo)
7.    FIFA 11 (EA)
8.    Call of Duty: Black Ops (Activision)
9.    Crysis 2 (EA)
10.    Mario Kart Wii (Nintendo)

The coming week looks slow for releases, with Hunted: The Demon’s Forge arguably the only big title to hit the shelves.

So Train2Game, is it a well deserved second No.1 for L.A. Noire? Will it hold onto the title for a third week? Or could Dirt 3 pip it to the post? Or will something else take top spot?

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

[Source: UKIE Games Charts©, compiled by GfK Chart-Track]

Train2Game Radio interview with Game Development student Mike Connell – text version

Yesterday, the Train2Game blog published an audio interview with Train2Game Game Development student Mike Connell. Now the interview is available in text, and you can read it right here on the Train2Game blog.

As usual, leave your comments here on the Train2Game blog, or on the Train2Game forum.

Ubisoft want next-gen consoles ‘sooner rather than later’

Earlier this year, the Train2Game blog reported that job listings suggested that Microsoft was looking to start work on their next console.

Now, while there’s still no information at all about anything called an Xbox 720 – as much as those on Train2Game courses want news! – Ubisoft want the next generation of games consoles to come ‘sooner rather than later’

“I’ll leave that up to Microsoft and Sony to say for certain.” Said Ubisoft UK boss Rob Cooper when asked by MCV when Sony and Microsoft may reveal the PlayStation 4 or Xbox 720.

“But I’d echo something Yves said earlier this year: there have been tons of technological advances since the last round of consoles was released, and we’d love to see those advances included in new consoles sooner rather than later.” He said

“That’s because the sooner we have the next generation of consoles to build on, the sooner we can leverage those advances to create the next generation of video games.

“The peripherals and the updates to the existing generation have been great, but it’s typically new consoles that really spark innovation from publishers and the demand from customers.” The Ubisoft publishing boss added.

In March, the Train2Game blog gave you a taste of what the next-gen might look like thanks to the Unreal Engine ‘Samaritain’ demo. Any Train2Game student interested in the future of gaming (That’s all of you) should have a look.

So Train2Game, do you think we’ll see the next generation of consoles in the next few years? Are they needed to spark innovation? Or is there enough excitement in the games industry right now?

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

[Source: MCV)

Train2Game Radio interview with Game Development student Mike Connell

In the newest Train2Game Radio interview, we speak to Game Development student Mike Connell.

He tells us how the ZX 81 first got him into gaming, why he chose to study programming with Train2Game and gives us some information about Postal Panic, a Train2Game student  made game that’s going to be released on the iTunes app store in the near future! (Mike is part of the Train2Game Christmas competition winners Horizon studios)

Listen to the interview here on the Train2Game Audioboo.

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

A must read for Train2Game students: Nintendo ‘Godfather’ Shigeru Miyamoto on the role of a Game Designer

Train2Game Game Designers should strive to make their work as unique as possible. That’s the lesson to take away from comments made by the father of Super Mario and Donkey Kong in a recent interview.

“In the past, game design was all about which game was the best on the hardware that was available,” Nintendo’s Shigeru Miyamoto told The Guardian.

“That still holds true in the current world, but for the Game Designer, it’s important to understand the overall system.

Plus, it’s important to understand all the mechanisms in games, otherwise the movement or the gameplay would not be right. If that is good, then it will be evaluated as a good game.”

The Nintendo legend believes Game Designers should be unique; it’s likely that those on the Train2Game Game Design course do believe that they have unique ideas to bring to the industry.

“But games nowadays are at a higher level, and the devices are higher-technology, so generally speaking, people can [and should] make good games.

Nowadays, it’s really important that the designer should be unique, and that their individuality should show through in the production itself.”

Continuing on from this, Miyamoto added that a Game Designer should never do something just because it’s popular.

“It’s costly if you do something because other people are doing it, but the focus should be: ‘Because people are not doing it, we’ll go this way.’ Uniqueness is important.

Finance-wise, you can put more budget in, but your energy has to be focused on something, otherwise it won’t work. For me, if you tell me, ‘I’ve seen this before,’ or ‘I’ve done this before,’ that’s challenging.”

Earlier this month, the Train2Game blog reported that Shigeru Miyamoto wants to teach when he retires.

So Train2Game, what are your thoughts on Miyamoto’s comments about Game Design? How useful is it for you that one of the most iconic people in the industry has said what he thinks the ideal designer should be?

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

 [Source: The Guardian

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 will bring ‘most advanced multiplayer ever’

Modern Warfare 3 gameplay trailer image

The first gameplay trailer for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 – which you can see here on the Train2Game blog – sparked more debate than excitement on the Train2Game forum, but Activision have vowed it’ll have the ‘most advanced multiplayer ever’

“Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 is by far the most epic Call of Duty experience yet.  The teams at Infinity Ward and Sledgehammer Games have worked tirelessly to create for the Call of Duty player a scale that is unimaginable with a level of polish and creativity that will push the genre forward,” said, CEO of Activision Eric Hirshberg

“The passion and energy of our developers is reflected in everything about the title.  From the innovative gameplay, to the cinematic intensity, to the most advanced multiplayer ever, Modern Warfare 3 will raise the bar for this already incredible franchise.”

 The question many Train2Game students – especially those on the Game Design course – will be asking is what will developers Sledgehammer and Infinity Ward do to make the multiplayer of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 the most advanced ever?

As previously mentioned by the Train2Game blog, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 is reportedly influenced by the destructible environments of the Battlefield series.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 is scheduled for release on 8th November 2011.

So Train2Game, what game design changes do you believe need to be made to the Call of Duty formula? Does it need to change? And can the title live up to Activision’s hype?

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

How Train2Game students can help development of Ms. Splosion Man

Ms. Splosion Man logoTrain2Game students – especially those on the Games QA Tester course – know that finding and reporting in-game bugs is a hugely important part of the development process.

Indie developer Twisted Pixel have announced they’ll be holding a multiplayer beta for Ms. Splosion Man, the follow up to their 2009 success Splosion Man, and Train2Game students have the opportunity to be involved.

There are 10,000 open beta spots available for Xbox Live users, which any Train2Game student can try and grab between now and 12th June on the Microsoft sign up page.

The Ms. Splosion Man beta will run from 6th June to 24th June, and participants will be expected to provide feedback. It’d make useful practice for anyone on the Train2Game QA Tester course.

“Participants will get two multiplayer levels each week, so play online often and send us your bug reports and comments to beta@twistedpixelgames.com.” says a statement by Twisted Pixel.

“The point of this early access program is to gain your feedback on how we can better your online gaming experience, so speak up.  Your voice will be heard and feedback taken into consideration.”

In order to take part in the Ms. Splosion Man beta, any Train2Game students interested must:

  • Own a retail Xbox 360 console with a hard drive.
  • Have an Xbox LIVE Gold Membership.
  • Have broadband Internet access at home.
  • Be willing to play the early access with others in the program if they know them or not.
  • Have time to play with numerous online gamers, and time to provide copious feedback.

For full details, see the Ms. Splosion Man website. The indie game is released this year for XBLA.

A number of game developers allow players to aid in production of a title, with recent examples reported by the Train2Game blog including Gears of War 3 and Infamous 2.

Train2Game forum user favourite Minecraft is also still in beta – a beta that’s been downloaded over 2 million times – but as reported by the Train2Game blog, gets a full release later this year.

So Train2Game, will you attempt to join the Ms. Splosion Man beta to gain experience beta testing?? Have you done it before? And how important is it to the game development process?

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

[Souce: Ms. Splosion Man dev blog via VG247

L.A. Noire tech can ‘compete with film’ and be used outside games industry!

L.A. Noire developers Team Bondi believe their impressive facial Art & Animation techniques (Which if you haven’t seen, you can here on the Train2Game blog) can aid Game Designers in competing with Hollywood.

“The beauty of it for games specifically is it will now allow us to compete head-on with film and TV in terms of storytelling.” Team Bondi founder Brendan McNamara told BBC Newsbeat.

“If you take all the strengths of what’s great about a video game and you take all the strengths of what’s great about cinema and film you can get this amazing new product and what that means is video games become the pre-eminent entertainment form for the 21st century,” he said.

McNamara’s comments are similar those he’s previously made – as reported by the Train2Game blog – in that it’ll soon be hard to differentiate between games, films, and TV.

The L.A. Noire Director added that the MotionScan technology has even attracted interest from the industries outside of entertainment and gaming.

“We’ve had all sorts of approaches from different people wanting to use it for medicine and for security and people like law enforcement wanting it for lying simulators to show operatives how to read faces”

Back inside the industry, Valve are also ‘keeping an eye on’ the impressive Art & Animation technology.

As reported by the Train2Game blog, L.A. Noire became the fastest ever selling original IP in the UK, taking No.1 in the charts in the process.

So Train2Game, can games compete with TV when it comes to storytelling? Do any of you Game Designers have big plans? And is it positive for the industry that in-game tech is interesting those outside it?

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

[Souce: BBC Newsbeat via Develop Online]

Train2Game students thought it may never happen… Duke Nukem Forever goes gold

Duke Nukem Forever goes gold

Many of those on Train2Game courses probably thought it’d never happen, but Duke Nukem Forever has gone gold.

That means the game is game is now being pressed to disc, ready to ship for its 10th June release date. The announcement game from Publisher 2K and developer Gearbox Software today, and the fetching picture of Duke was released to celebrate the news.

Last week, the Train2Game blog published a three part feature about the Duke Nukem Forever Q&A session with Gearbox Software CEO Randy Pitchford.

It’s worth checking out for Train2Game students,  not only to be reminded about Duke Nukem Forever, but the amount of effort that’s gone into making sure the game is released.

“Always bet on Duke, I did,” said Gearbox boss Randy Pitchford on Duke Nukem Forever going gold.

“I bet on all of the developers who have ever been a part of this legendary project and I bet that none of us want to live in a world without the Duke”

I’ve played the final game and it is an incredible experience – a once-in-a-lifetime opus of interactive entertainment that reminds me once again why Duke Nukem is our King.”

“The developers of Duke Nukem Forever at 3D Realms, Triptych, Piranha and finally at Gearbox deserve our thanks and respect for never giving up and have truly shown us that they have balls of steel!”

When the Train2Game blog reported that Duke Nukem Forever was being revived last year, some thought it may have been a hoax. But finally, after 14 years in development, Duke Nukem Forever is set for release on 10th June.

So Train2Game, what are your thoughts on Duke Nukem Forever going gold? Will the game live up to expectations? And does it’s release say anything about never giving up when it comes to the games industry?

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

[Source: VG247]