The Week In Videogames:
Thanks For Everything,
By Matthew Arcilla
The last week of videogame headlines includes stealth action heroes making stealth action retreats from online listings, a pair of interesting new video game releases that are not like most other games, revelations on how the sales figures are split on the most successful online store of all time and the growing dissent among game developers against exploitation and overwork.
All the creative assets for Paragon now available for free
Read more at Rolling Stone
After the ignominy of failing to attract players on even an open beta, the multiplayer online battle arena game Paragon shut down in April. Developer Epic Games is doubling down on the massive success that is Fortnite. But before mothballing the whole IP, all of Paragon’s assets are being given away for free on the company’s own Unreal Engine Marketplace. That’s over 1,500 environmental assets and 20 characters with their respective skins, animations, VFX and dialogue.
Splinter Cell emerges from the shadows, then disappears
Read more at Too Much Gaming
Many have wondered if 2013’s Splinter Cell: Blacklist is the last we’ll hear of stealth operative Sam Fisher. But when a listing for “Splinter Cell 2018” was spotted on Amazon, gaming subreddits sat up and took notice. Amazon listings usually have some truth to them and let’s not forget that Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot never ceases to express interest and affection for one of the company’s more iconic brands.
EA has taught an AI how to play Battlefield 1 multiplayer
Read more at Kotaku
At E3 last year, EA announced “SEED” or the Search for Extraordinary Experiences Division, a high-tech incubator that will explore deep learning, neural networks and virtual humans. This week, we learned what that means in the form of “self-learning AI agents” that the people at SEED have taught to play Battlefield 1. They’re no match for pro players, but remember: they’re learning.
Ni No Kuni 2: Revenant Kingdom arrives in stores
Developed by Level-5, the long-awaited sequel to the PS3 hit Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch shares many of its beloved traits: a classic all-ages anime look from veterans of Studio Ghibli, a pleasant fantasy world to explore and beautiful music from Joe Hisaishi. It also sheds things people didn’t like, too: the difficulty has been dialed down, the gameplay is in exciting real-time and the story is about the optimism of building a new country.
A Way Out finds its way into release
This game from some of the people that brought you Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons is a unique co-op experience that requires two players to complete. Depicting two fugitives with very different temperaments on the run from the law, A Way Out can be experienced with a friend, family member or loved one either on the couch or online using a ‘friend pass.’
Steam made $4.3 billion in revenue in 2017, its biggest year
Read more at Gamasutra
It’s no secret that Steam, the online video game retail and services platform, holds a de facto monopoly on PC gaming. So it’s no surprise that 2017 was the platform’s biggest year with revenues of $4.3 billion, according to Sergey Galyonkin founder of Steam tracking site SteamSpy. Galyonkin credits the massive popularity of Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds with facilitating these numbers.
Galyonkin also said that only the top 100 games out of the 21,406 presently on Steam make the majority of that revenue. While Steam isn’t as saturated as mobile app marketplaces, Galyonkin said that “discoverability” is becoming a major issue, with 30 games launching each day, making it not only “impossible for a user to buy them all; it’s impossible for a user to even scroll through them all.”
Telltale Games hit by expose, reveals toxic work environment
Read more at The Verge
According to a thorough report by Megan Farokhmanesh, the unexpected success of The Walking Dead led to constant overwork, toxic management, and creative stagnation at publisher/developer Telltale Games. The success led to a desire to expand and scale the company rapidly, and the working culture never adapted and bad habits such as overtime crunch and creative inflexibility persisted.
Game developers are finally talking unionization
Read more at Waypoint
Last week, developers from all around the world flew into San Francisco, California for the Game Developers Conference (GDC). It’s that time of the year when developers get together to pool their knowledge and talk about the future of the games as an industry and as a medium. But there was one group that got everyone talking: Game Workers Unite, a grassroots organization that hopes to grease the wheels.
“Passion is the perfect medium for employers to exploit us,” said one organizer. “We’ll do anything to work in games and make games, and they know we’re desperate. [But you] can be passionate about games and also be fairly represented.” That’s what Game Workers Unite is hoping to offer to everyone in game development, especially those who have felt disempowered by long hours and brutal crunch periods.
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