Tuesday, March 15, 2022

Perfect Dark Reboot Studio Reportedly Sees Staff Departures Due to 'Slow Development Progress'

A new report suggests that Microsoft's The Initiative, the studio developing a reboot of Perfect Dark, has suffered significant staff departures over the past 12 months. Staff are apparently leaving the company due to "a lack of creative autonomy and slow development progress."

The report from VGC is complied from interviews with unnamed ex-Initiative employees and analysis of the studio's structure. It notes that around 34 people have quit within the last year, including much of the senior design team. Game director Dan Neuburger appears to have left the team this year, and previous departures include design director Drew Murray, lead level designer Chris O’Neill, principal world builder Jolyon Myers, and several more from the core team. Additionally, VGC notes that two senior writers recently left, as well as the technical director, technical art director, lead gameplay engineer, lead animation, quality assurance lead, and more.

VGC's interviews with former Initiative staff suggests that the departures have come "fast and furious", something that has impacted the momentum of the project.

Reasons given for staff departures predominantly include a feeling that the studio was not a collaborative place to work. It was apparently built as a top-down hierarchy, starting with Neuburger and studio head Darrell Gallagher, who heavily dictated the creative decisions. Staff apparently felt unheard by their seniors on issues such as development priorities, project planning, and team staffing. The alleged result of this was a project that developed "painfully" slow and a lack of company culture.

“Making games is hard enough, let alone when you feel like you can’t get through to people making the decisions that affect everyone," one source said.

VGC's sources claim that the culture problem was part of the reason for bringing Crystal Dynamics on board as a collaborator studio. Gallagher and Neuburger were previously studio head and game director respectively at Crystal Dynamics, and It was hoped that a team familiar with their management methods would work well with them.

In a statement to VGC, Gallagher (who remains as studio head at The Initiative) said, "In this journey, it’s not uncommon for there to be staffing changes, especially during a time of global upheaval over the last two years, and there’s plenty more work in front of us to deliver a fantastic Perfect Dark experience to our players.

“We wish all our former colleagues the very best, and I’m confident in the team we have in place, the new talent joining, and we can’t wait to share more with the fans.”

The report's sources suggest that the large change in staff and the inclusion of Crystal Dynamics may well have triggered an internal soft reboot of Perfect Dark, and that a final release could well still be years away.

Matt Purslow is IGN's UK News and Entertainment Writer.

source https://www.ign.com/articles/perfect-dark-reboot-staff-departures-slow-development

Ms. Marvel: First Trailer For Disney Plus Series Shows Kamala Khan Becoming A Hero

Platform: PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Stadia, PC
Publisher: Square Enix
Developer: Crystal Dynamics, Eidos Montreal
Release: (PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC, Stadia), (PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S)
Rating: Teen

Disney has released the first official trailer for its upcoming Disney Plus series, Ms. Marvel, and it features Kamala Khan attempting to navigate the blinding lights of the life of a superhero. 

Hitting Disney’s subscription service on June 8, Ms. Marvel is, as the name implies, a series all about Ms. Marvel. However, before she becomes a hero, Kamala Khan, played by Iman Vellani, must work through all the responsibilities of her normal life while juggling what her world becomes thanks to some newfound superpowers. 

Click here to watch embedded media

Marvel has also released a fantastic poster to accompany today's trailer, too: 

For the uninitiated, Ms. Marvel is a superhero-loving teenager from Jersey City who has a particularly strong love for Captain Marvel (Ms. Marvel was Carol Danvers' original moniker in the comics). Unlike Carol Danvers, whose claim to fame is super strength, super speed, the ability to fly, and the ability to fire proton bursts out of her hands, Ms. Marvel traditionally has the ability to polymorph her body. She can "embiggen" herself to stretch her limbs, become massive or, for example, she can simply enlarge her fist right before it smash crashes into an enemy’s head. It’s quite a fun superpower that’s been explored greatly since her comic series began in 2014 and in 2020’s Marvel’s Avengers game. 

However, the Disney+ series has Kamala display new abilities such as generating force fields and other forms of cosmic energy projections (such as creating platforms) using her bracelets. The trailer does show her creating a giant fist, but it's unclear if Kamala's power suite has been completely overhauled or if these new powers are just additions to her usual abilities. Given the upcoming Fantastic Four film, though, it's not hard to imagine Marvel Studios wanting to differentiate Ms. Marvel from its more famous stretchy hero, Mr. Fantastic, by giving her something new. 

If you’re curious about that game, which features Kamala Khan as its main protagonist, check out Game Informer’s Marvel’s Avengers review

Are you excited for Ms. Marvel? Let us know in the comments below!

Monster Hunter Rise Sunbreak Expansion Confirmed For June Release, New Amiibo Announced

Platform: Switch, PC
Publisher: Capcom
Developer: Capcom
Release: (Switch), (PC)

In a presentation this morning, Capcom revealed plenty of new details on the upcoming Monster Hunter Rise expansion Sunbreak, including the announcement of its release date.

Sunbreak, an expansion Capcom has repeatedly described as being "massive," will release on June 30 for both Nintendo Switch and PC. The digital edition of the DLC will be available for preorder today, producer Ryozo Tsujimoto revealed. Along with the base edition of Sunbreak, existing Monster Hunter Rise players will have the option to purchase a deluxe edition, which comes with additional cosmetics like Layered Armod, hairstyles, poses, and gestures. Preordering will net hunters a pair of adorable Palamute and Palico Layered Armor that make the animal companions look closer to their real-world pet counterparts.

Those who are new to Monster Hunter Rise, but want the whole experience when Sunbreak releases can purchase the Monster Hunter Rise + Sunbreak Set which bundles the full base game and the expansion together into one tidy package.

A patch will be coming for all Monster Hunter Rise players on June 30 regardless of Sunbreak ownership status. The update will require about 13GB of storage space and will accommodate for weapon balance changes and new content coming to the game with the release of Sunbreak. This patch will be required for online play moving forward.

If you're interested in trying out Monster Hunter Rise with Sunbreak looming on the horizon, Nintendo is offering a free trial for Switch Online subscribers this week.

Babylon’s Fall: Square Enix Sends Survey To Players Asking How To Improve The Game

Babylon's Fall Square Enix Surveys

Platform: PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, PC
Publisher: Square Enix
Developer: Platinum Games
Rating: Teen

Babylon’s Fall, the latest from PlatinumGames and Square Enix, did not pan out well critically, with a 42% on Metacritic for PlayStation 5 versions and an even lower 37% on Metacritic for PC

It’s one of PlatinumGames’ worst-reviewed titles ever, but it seems Square Enix isn’t ready to give up on the live-service title just yet. That’s because the publisher has reportedly sent out surveys to players asking them how the game can be improved, as reported by Eurogamer. More specifically, the survey recently sent out is all about the graphics and visuals of Babylon’s Fall, and finding a way to “bring everyone an even better game experience.” 

Eurogamer reports that the survey asks players about their thoughts on the visuals of characters, equipment, NPCs, enemies, locales, battle effects, the UI, and the overall oil painting “brushwork” art style of Babylon’s Fall. The survey concludes by asking survey-takers what specific element of Babylon’s Fall’s visuals would need to be changed before they’d consider recommending the game to someone else. 

However, as anyone who’s played Babylon’s Fall or has read reviews for it know, there are multiple problems beyond the visual elements that make it hard to recommend. Perhaps Square Enix will canvass players about all of the elements viewed more negatively in the game and then fix each one so that with all of the fixes together, people might be able to recommend the game to someone. That remains to be seen, of course. 

If you’re curious about checking the game out yourself, you can do so thanks to a free PlayStation demo for Babylon’s Fall that’s available right now. For more info about the game, check out Game Informer’s Babylon’s Fall hub

[Source: Eurogamer]

Have you played Babylon’s Fall? Let us know what you think of it in the comments below!

A Modder Turned a Fake GameCube Portable Design into a Real Handheld

Back in 2007, a fake GameCube portable design spread across the internet. In 2022, someone has actually made it a reality.

YouTube user GingerOfOz has 3D printed, wired, and modified the handheld to look exactly like the original mockup - and it actually works.

There were a few hurdles, of course. The original design features a disk slot but both the GameCube and Wii disk drives are bigger than the new handheld itself.

The slot on front of the handheld is therefore just for show, as GingerOfOz instead opted to run all the game digitally using a Wii motherboard.

He admitted this would be a point of contention, as the machine wouldn't have the GameCube start screen and menus, so modified the software to run both of these as expected.

The video shows GingerOfOz piecing it all together, from the beginning where he reverse engineered (read: smashed open with a hammer) a Nintendo DS Lite, to the casing pieces being sealed together to mark the finished product.

The result is very impressive. GingerOfOz shows the machine playing a range of GameCube games including The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, Mario Kart: Double Dash!!, and Metroid Prime.

He even tracks down the designer who sent the internet into a frenzy in 2007, who explains he made it just for fun and that he's since gone on to become a game developer at companies including Ubisoft and Epic Games.

Official support for handheld GameCube games is sadly less of a reality. While GameCube controllers do work on Switch, we still haven't seen any sign of GameCube virtual console games on Nintendo's hybrid handheld, despite multiple reports saying they were coming as far back as 2016.

Ryan Dinsdale is an IGN freelancer who occasionally remembers to tweet @thelastdinsdale.

source https://www.ign.com/articles/a-modder-turned-a-fake-gamecube-portable-design-into-a-real-handheld