1Up - All News
Monday - February 18, 2013
1Up - Humour in Games
1Up discusses humour in RPGs:
Usually it happens when Cthulhu learns his destiny by listening to the narrator; either that, or when he starts complaining about the tutorial. Regardless, few RPGs can boast that sort of magnetic attraction at the outset; and while Cthulhu Saves the World ultimately drags a bit, its self-aware one-liners and fourth-wall breaking humor is consistently excellent. Laughter, in this case, doesn't cure all ills, but it comes pretty close.
The funny thing is that humor isn't exactly a rarity in RPGs; it's just the legitimately funny stuff that's hard to find. A lot of it is over the top, such as this classic, or simply not all that interesting. The Tales vignettes are cute, but shallow. The Fire Emblem: Awakening support conversations, much as I like that game, frequently induces a sustained bout of eye-rolling.*
(*Note: Your mileage will vary, as with all humor).
Some RPGs have managed to get it right though. And when they do, good things tend to happen. The mood gets lighter, the characters seem brighter and more interesting, and the reams of dialogue that accompany every RPG suddenly becomes downright interesting. Here are a few examples:
Fallout: A dark, ironic sense of humor helped to lighten the dark post-apocalyptic mood. Being able to talk The Master into killing himself wasn't precisely "funny," but it was shocking enough to inspire its own brand of laughter.
Sunday - June 24, 2012
1Up - 6 females in videogames that get it right
A short editorial at 1UP looks at 6 female characters in videogames. One of them is Shepard, Jane Shepard. The link: http://www.1up.com/features/six-female-characters-do-it-right
Everything John Shepard could do, Jane could do better. Well, assuming you left the default names of each gender alone at the beginning of Mass Effect that is. Regardless your Shepard' name or sex, the results were the same: In the whirlwind tour of saving the galaxy from the return of the Geth and, later, the Reapers, developer BioWare wisely chose to empower both genders with the same abilities and choices. This decision gave players the utility to craft a Female Shepard that stood on equal ground as her male counterpart -- eventually, due to fan outcry, Female Shepard would even grace the cover of Mass Effect 3 -- creating an equal opportunity future for ship captains of all genders.
Thursday - April 22, 2010
1Up - Settings for the RPG
The Grind Column at 1UP examines how different settings for an RPG can help present the game. Fallout, Oblivion and a few other RPGs are mentioned. Here's a snip:
RPGs have perhaps adhered more closely to the swords and sorcery model than other genres over the years. That holds true on both sides of the ocean, whether we're talking about Elder Scrolls or Dragon Quest, Ultima Online or Lineage. Given that many RPG can trace their roots back to tabletop RPGs like Dungeons & Dragons, that's perhaps not too surprising. But when an RPG begins to branch out and truly embrace its setting, I can't help but take notice, because the results are often very interesting.
Tuesday - March 16, 2010
1Up - The Streamlined Future
1Up's The Grind column examines the recent GDC presentations by BioWare Christina Norman and Square Enix' Motomu Toriyama and found common ground, despite the wildly different approach:
And ultimately, I think this is what Final Fantasy and Mass Effect have in common: Both series are looking beyond their own boundaries for cues to growth and evolution. Cliff Bleszinski famously said last year that the future of first-person shooters is RPGs, but more realistically the future of games is the blurring and breaking down of genre boundaries. Every genre has a little bit of RPG in it somewhere these days, and the RPG needs to continue to evolve in order to keep from seeming like a relic. Neither Toriyama nor Norman had much to say about the future of their respective series, but both made it clear that neither Mass Effect nor Final Fantasy will be lingering around the point they started, either.
Thursday - March 04, 2010
1Up - The RPGs of March
1Up's The Grind column has a roundup of the March RPG "storm". Let me be clear, these are almost entirely jRPGs of which I have no clue but I thought it might be worthwhile peering over the fence at the neighbour's lawn. Apparently FFXIII, Yakuza 3, Resonance of Fate, Infinite Space, Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey, DA: Awakening and others are all expected this month.
Friday - January 01, 2010
1Up - 2009: The Year of the Old-School RPG
Kat Bailey from 1UP's the grind takes a look at how the biggest RPGs of the year took a step back from innovation and tried to bring back that old school flavor to the games.
I don't agree with everything that was said, like Fallout 3 trying to advance the genre. If anything it devolved the genre, but it's an interesting read nonetheless:
Dragon Age: Origins is another RPG that is actually much harder than it looks. Unlike the more action-oriented Mass Effect, it's a point-and-click RPG in the best tradition of Baldur's Gate. In fact, it contains numerous references to those classic games, with phrases like "Gather your party and venture forth?" and exhortations to "go for the eyes" guaranteed to warm the hearts of old RPG fans. No surprise given that it's basically the spiritual successor to that series.
By comparison, the biggest RPGs of 2008 seemed more determined to advance the genre. Fallout 3 and Fable II were both designed to perfect the new ideas put forth by their predecessors (I consider Oblivion a spiritual predecessor to Fallout 3) in creating a massive world for players to explore. Meanwhile, two of the best Japanese RPGs of the year were highly experimental. Valkyria Chronicles brought a number of fascinating innovations to strategy RPGs, and The World Ends With You did the same for more traditional JRPGs with its unique brand of scaleable difficulty.
Friday - November 06, 2009
1Up - The Future of Single-Player RPGs
This roundtable from 1Up assembles four well-known developers to discuss the future of single-player RPGs. Bill Roper, Alan Miranda, Marcin Iwinski (co-founder of CD Projekt) and Feargus Urquhart participate. Here's a snip from Feargus:
1UP: Do gamers still want the big-budget RPGs like Dragon Age and Final Fantasy? Have piracy and the expense of the HD consoles made big-budget RPGs not as feasible as they once were?
FU: Absolutely. These games can offer something that many of the MMORPGs can't offer. It's the same as what we all look for when we go to the movies or an amusement park. They let us go on a big-ticket ride and enjoy ourselves, along with letting us feel like we accomplished something by actually finishing it.
As for piracy and the price of the HD consoles, I would be lying if I didn't say those were a challenge. However, I've never looked at piracy as you losing out on a sale. If they were going to pirate your game, they are going to do it -- just like with movies and music. You do need to make some effort to weed out the casual pirates, but no matter how hard you make it to pirate a game -- or any other kind of media like a game -- someone is going to get their hands on it without paying.
As for the HD consoles, that is an issue that I don't have a good answer for. However, at $299, whether someone gets the Xbox 360 or the new PS3, those are pretty powerful machines for the money.
Friday - June 27, 2008
1Up - Women's Work
1UP has a feature article up looking at the careers of some of the female developers in the industry, including a section from Brenda Brathwaite, whom some of you may remember from the Wizardry games and her later forays into 'adult' gaming. Here's a bit from the intro:
Since the beginning, the game industry's been about personalities. Richard Garriott. John Romero. Shigeru Miyamoto. Maybe because the medium itself can be so sterile and technical sometimes -- all ones and zeros, physics engines, inventories, and stat bars -- we gravitate toward the human faces for a dose of context and reality.
"We tend to make icons in all kinds of places," says game designer Brenda Brathwaite, who's worked on the Wizardry series, Jagged Alliance, and Playboy: The Mansion. "Sid Meier. American McGee. Peter Molyneux. Those types of people, they become more legendary, in some respects, than the games they're working on."
But what if the celebrity developer in question is a woman? Gender's still an incredibly thorny issue in the industry, and while game studios are hiring more women than ever, the male-to-female ratio is still markedly uneven. According to 2005 report by the International Game Developers Association, women represent just 11.5 percent of the game-development workforce. (Of course, it's a similar story in many technical fields: women make up less than 30 percent of IT professionals and just 14 percent of engineers.)
But according to some prominent industry women, things aren't quite as bad as they seem. In fact, some say there's never been a better time to be a woman in game development.
Thursday - June 19, 2008
1Up - Game Devs Get Three Wishes
1UP has posted a feature article called Three Wishes:Game genie grants developers their hearts' desires, discussing the question of what would a game developer most wish for and how would it enable making the dev's ultimate game. Mainstream devs like Todd Howard, Warren Spector, Richard Garriott, Chris Taylor, and Bioware's Muzyka and Zeschuk among others make thier wish.
It's a long article, so I'll just give a snip from Warren Spector:
I'd create a game engine as generally useful, as easy to use, and as readily accessible as the equipment required to make a movie. The fact that we have to basically reinvent the camera every time we make a game [and] have to rework our A.I., user interface, physics, and gameplay tools with each and every game is crazy. Used to be, I thought we'd eventually reach a point where hardware development would slow down and things would stabilize on the software side as a result...Give me a cheap, easy to use, totally flexible engine with great developer tools that don't have to be reworked from game to game, and I'm a happy developer.
Thursday - June 05, 2008
1Up - Heroes of Might and Magic III Duel
This is not strictly rpg news, but it's a bit of a trip down memory lane for those who may have played the Jon von Canegham strategy groundbreaker back in the day. This article at 1UP is a blow by blow description of a two-player battle on a medium map, and the screenshots will take you back if you've ever played HoMM3.
Thursday - May 15, 2008
1Up - Six New Techs That May Shape PC Gaming
1UP has what they refer to as a "weird science" feature article up on some technology that may --or may not--influence future PC gaming. Here's some of the intro:
...so we present for your consideration six emerging technologies that might change the way you play PC games in the future. Or may not. From brain-wave scanning to pupil tracking to peripherals that simulate a Serengeti breeze, these devices -- some prototypes, some real products you can buy today -- are nothing if not creative. And their creators are hoping you'll want to play with them every day.
They look at several new techs, and mention that this one revolving around peripherals simulating physical environment may work well in games like S.T.A.L.K.E.R. and Oblivion:
Surround yourself with sights and sounds (and fans)
Product: AmBX PC gaming peripherals
Price: $299 to $399
What is it?
A scripting language (and shorthand for "ambient experiences"), AmBX powers a veritable SkyMall catalog of sense-stimulating PC peripherals. Forward-facing fans blow Taco Bell wrappers across unventilated game rooms while simulating gusts and breezes. A vibrating wrist rest brings rumbling console controller tech to keyboards. Mood lights mounted on 5.1 speakers cycle colors to match onscreen activity.
But this is the one that quite literally "caught my eye" :
Look to make you leap
Manufacturer: EyeTech Digital Systems
Available: Now...in places like museums. For games? Who knows.
What is it?
A camera, mounted underneath a monitor (or somewhere nearby), tracks your eyeballs as they roll around in their sockets. After a quick calibration sequence, your pupil movements translate to the PC screen, meaning your PC knows exactly what word, icon, or image you're staring at at any given moment.
EyeTech showcased the most obvious: Make spaceships blow up simply by looking at them. (Replace saucers with user-uploaded images of peoples' heads for some high-grade Scanners-style fantasy fulfillment.)...
Sunday - May 04, 2008
1Up - Are We What We Play?
The title is a mouthful but the topic is interesting. Inspired by an MTV blog, 1Up asks four editors to discuss the idea, Are We What We Play? Here's part of Jeff Green's answer:
On the other hand, I have played plenty of other games in which I most certainly have felt a certain identification with the character I was playing. Not surprisingly, this mostly tends to occur in role-playing games, especially (but not limited to) the kind in which I'm creating my own character from scratch. It's no coincidence that, given the option, I name my character the same name no matter what game I'm playing. I've been the same guy through 20+ years of gaming, regardless of genre. And that same guy has one constant trait: he can't be bad. If we're talking D&D, I'm always Lawful Good. I can't not be. Maybe it's my upbringing, maybe it's overcompensation for mistakes I've made in real life -- who knows. I just know that I actually feel uncomfortable with the notion even of being "chaotically good." Given the choice, I want my in-game character to do the right thing, always. My default class, given the choice? Paladin. The few times I've actually dabbled in making the "bad" or "wrong" choice, I always feel terrible about it and need to reload the game to an earlier save. The "choice" in BioShock was no choice at all to me: not saving the little sisters was too horrific for me to even consider.
Thursday - May 01, 2008
1Up - Game Over: How Video Games Handle Death
1UP has a discussion of the use of death and dying in video games posted, called Game Over. It deals with how different developers in different genres handle death (and survival) in games. Here's a little bit from the (more or less)RPG angle:
Some developers have come up with creative alternatives to dying -- or even creative reasons to die. In Smith's Thief: Deadly Shadows, protagonist Garrett doesn't die the first time he gets caught by city guards; instead, he wakes up in jail (a concept mimicked in Starbreeze Studios' Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay) -- transforming potential failure into a dramatic and fun story event with its own opportunities. Black Isle Studios' 1999 RPG Planescape: Torment famously required its main character to die in order to solve puzzles.
But Smith admits that Thief illustrates the challenges of this approach: How enjoyable (or plausible) is it to go back to jail again and again? How do you justify such alternatives to dying while still maintaining narrative credibility?...
So if alternative approaches exist, as Grossman suggests, is the relative emotional insignificance of death in games simply a function of the relative insignificance of emotion in today's games? "This conclusion creates a bunch of design problems that need to be solved, such as how to resolve the narrative's continuity against the protagonist's demise, how to provide feedback about partial failure and guide the player back toward success, and so on," Smith says. "Some imaginative and effective solutions to these design problems have been invented over the years, but it seems clear to me that these assumptions about goals and death are pretty limiting when considering the entire space of what games can be about."
Monday - April 28, 2008
1Up - Chairman of the Boards
1UP has an article up called Chairman of the Boards, which talks about how online forums are a vital component of gaming, and can influence players, game makers and marketers. It examines one particular site, NeoGAF:
The site is proof that, though ancient by Internet standards, message boards are a vital part of the gaming ecosystem, providing an outlet for passionate players to be heard by and influence industry tastemakers, creators, and deciders. It also allows them to indulge in that most cherished of Internet traditions: thumbing your nose at authority -- anonymously, and with as few properly spelled words as possible.
There's a certain negative element to all this:
Any regular GAFer will tell you that news is only part of the reason to visit. The thing everyone's really looking for (and this is where the bloodshed comes in) is a scandal, a batch of bad screenshots to joyously tear apart or a misspoken, out-of-context quote from an industry VIP ragging on the competition. Like chum in a shark tank, these occasional events can provoke impromptu swarms of violence, page upon page of whining, yelling, and piss taking, usually to comic effect. Sometimes, the GAFer army manages to make so much noise that the din reaches the upper echelons of the industry.
But all the fuss seems to be at least partially effective in getting attention. 1Up asks some developers and marketing figures whether they actually listen:
1UP: Do the game developers who participate in these forums actually take the feedback they receive into account when they close their web browsers and get back to work? Are they influenced by what they read?Rob Fermier (game developer, Ensemble Studios, Age of Empires III): "Well, of course I'm influenced.... There's not much point in a discussion if you aren't going to be open to new ideas or changing your mind! Feedback certainly gets folded back into the churning mass of neurons in my skull, and that in turn fuels all kinds of different game development work."
Brad Wardell: I think of QT3 and NeoGAF as a 24/7 Game Developers Conference panel. The comments on the forums about our games are taken very seriously. Both Galactic Civilizations and Sins of a Solar Empire had significant features integrated into them both before and after release based on feedback.
Soren Johnson: Forums are a great way to get unfiltered feedback on your game, and I can think of many interesting ideas and suggestions for Civ that came from the forums. With Civ III, unfortunately, most of that feedback came after release, so the changes were only evident in the patches. To solve this problem with Civ IV, we pulled in around 100 of the best posters from the Civ forums into a private test session over a year before the game's release.
Tuesday - February 19, 2008
1Up - Top Ten Most Wanted PC Games of 2008
Amidst the other genres in this short article on PC games to look forward to this year, 1Up devotes a paragraph to two RPG's on the Watch list, Dragon Age and Fallout 3:
Here are the short game descriptions:
What is it? A medieval-themed RPG that Bioware has described as "the spiritual successor to Baldur's Gate." Oh Bioware, you do know how to push our buttons.
Why should I care? You mean, aside from the fact that the folks behind it are calling it the successor to one of the greatest PC RPGs ever made? How about the fact that the game is aiming for a grittier, more realistic approach to medieval fantasy? Or how about being to play through your character's own back story as a sort of prequel to the main story? Or how about your battles taking place in cinematic, painstakingly animated -- almost choreographed -- style? If none of that grabs you, well, you have no soul.
What's the prognosis? Doubting BioWare's RPG cred is like doubting the sun will come up tomorrow. Our only concern now is the fact that the game didn't make it out last year. But we'll take late over rushed any day.
What is it? The sequel to one of the most innovative and highly regarded RPG franchises on the PC. With a decade having elapsed since the last real Fallout game (Tactics and Brotherhood of Steel are dead to us), it's also a pretty dramatic re-imagining of the Fallout formula.
Why should I care? Fallout and Fallout 2 were so exceptional that they still enjoy a large, enthusiastic fan base today. But Fallout 3's technological lineage is just as solid, since it's using a modified version of the Oblivion engine.
What's the prognosis? We're looking forward to exploring a ruined Washington, D.C., and blasting away at mutants in gory detail. We're also curious how the game will manage to balance its action and RPG elements; Bethesda is aiming for a stat-based system that can also work for run-n-gun players. That could prove to be a delicate balance.
Sunday - February 10, 2008
1Up - Are You A Child Man?
1UP has posted an article responding to Kay Hymowitz' opinion piece in the Dallas News, The Child Man, which asserts that today's young men live in a state of 'hormonal limbo' between adolescence and adulthood, and video games are part of the syndrome.
1UP asked their readers to respond and posts some varied comments that debate the point:
In an article dating February 1, Hymowitz writes, "Not so long ago, the average mid-twentysomething had achieved most of adulthood's milestones -- high school degree, financial independence, marriage and children. These days, he lingers -- happily -- in a new hybrid state of semi-hormonal adolescence and responsible self-reliance. It's time to state what is now obvious to legions of frustrated young women: The limbo doesn't bring out the best in young men." Writer Kate Muir shares Hymowitz's outrage, and follows with an article of her own, even naming Hymowitz's column as inspiration, on February 4; video games especially bear the brunt of Muir's ire.
In response to Hymowitz's column, one person writes:I agree with bits and pieces. The classic men stereotypes were supposed to get married, have children, and provide for their families. With the changing views on women, men my age are trying to find their new role in society. That much I agree upon, but when she goes into a rant about good men of old, she misses an important clue towards this 'prolonged adolescence'. Along with that responsibility as caretaker came a great deal of power and respect. Seeing how these roles of responsibility don't carry as much value to modern society, there is less attraction to fulfill that position. Like most modern women, men now have a freedom of choice to their place in society. She ignores the dozen other roles that men will decide to choose. Asking for a revival of the traditional man is like asking for the return of traditional values.
... Craig Metcalf replies:There's more than rational analysis going on here; there's also quite a bit hostility toward men that borders on bitterness. Having spent my share of time in academia, I can definitely attest there are some intelligent women in their mid-30s who are indeed frustrated that there aren't more men interested in & making the commitment to children and family that they'd like to see in a potential partner. While lifespans are indeed increasing, the age that women can bear children is not. Guys can afford to screw around until their 30s or even early 40s, and still have plenty of time to refocus, regroup, and live up to the financial and biological obligations required by fatherhood.
Following this exchange, several gaming enthusiasts write in to explain that it isn't "just one thing or the other", each lending himself as an example of being young, male, married, a father, and financially stable...
Has the ideal for adulthood changed? Larry Madill writes:This is what Fight Club put its finger on a long time ago: A nation of alienated, aimless men doing things they don't want, and keeping jobs they don't like, for what? Oh, that's right, so that they can get married, and have kids, and perpetuate that cycle of middle class debt and consumerism. Why do I need to do that when I don't want to?
Cathryn G. writes:Is it just me, or does all the feminist crap being spouted in both of these feel completely trite? These two are basically sitting here blaming men for the fact that millions of 30-something women are sitting alone, waiting for the fun-having non-committers to call and, eventually, knock them up. Is it just me? Or does that put feminism back a good 40 years or so?
And Gully Foyle points out that delaying marriage and children is by no means a decision made by men "in a vacuum":Shouldn't the fact that women are choosing to focus on getting advanced college degrees and then, upon graduating, to focus on career, also be mentioned here? The author makes it sound as though women's desires for marriage and children are unchanged -- and that the reason marriages and children are happening later in life is simply because men would much rather hang out with their friends and play video games than be responsible fathers and husbands. Women aren't focusing on careers and putting off getting married and having kids simply because men are more interested in lad magazines and bar-hopping than in paying attention to them.
There are a number of already-published books that are essentially indictments of Hymowitz and Muir's thinking. Steven Johnson's Everything Bad is Good for You rigorously defends the intellectual integrity of supposedly 'lowbrow' media, while Rejuvenile, by Christopher Noxon, more directly links 'lowbrow' media with rapidly shifting societal 'age norms.'
But strip away the matters of gender roles, age norms, and even the very tenuous definition of adulthood itself, and you'll likely find that what Kay Hymowitz insists on calling 'leisure' is anything but. This is an age where it requires a lot of hard work to make so little money; her column arouses the deepest ire because, as any grown gamer knows, it takes a lot of hard work to support what Hymowitz interprets as a childish, offensively leisurely life. Gaming enthusiasts, male and female, are quick to point out that they do work at careers or in academia, that they do support loved ones, and still make time to game. And they're quick to point this out precisely because people like Hymowitz and Muir willfully -- even somewhat enviously -- devalue and belittle not the hobby itself, but instead the people who participate.
Sunday - December 02, 2007
1Up - Top 5 Hates in Games
1UP posts their view of the 5 most annoying things in games today. Obviously console-focused, it still brings up a few frustrations found in pc games as well, such as the irritating cutscene and the even more irritating save point:
1. Unskippable Cut-scenes
Cut-scenes are fine, no problems there. I'd much rather actually be playing a game 99 percent of the time, but sometimes I don't mind wasting a minute to go "oooooh, airships." And then there are the times that I just plain ...don't want to. Maybe I already played through this thing once. Maybe the voice acting is embarrassing to the point that I want to mute the TV on the off-chance anyone nearby might suspect that I'm enjoying it. Maybe I just wanted to play the game more..I can appreciate that making little movies to pepper through the game probably cost a lot of money and effort...but making it impossible to just skip the things isn't by any means going to increase my enjoyment..Bonus points for anyone who actually puts an unskippable scene right after a checkpoint.
2. Save Points
Which brings us to this. Nobody should ever be faced with the prospect of saying "right after I get to a save point" when someone is calling you to bed. Actually, you deserve whatever happens if you ever actually say that, but the temptation shouldn't exist. In the age of hard drives there aren't many sound technological reasons why I can't save my game at any time. It's even possible to do it without screwing up the difficulty. Not every game is going to be as good when faced with the quicksave-quickload abuse that got me through Half-Life, but you can have the option of a less-permanent quicksave that's wiped after you load it, leaving me to rely on actual save points for making progress.
Sunday - September 16, 2007
1Up - Couples Therapy Through Video Games
And now for something completely different...In an article ripe with psychological jargon but on the whole fairly positive, 1 Up brings us the experiences of four couples who game, and several online psychologists examine it's effect on their relationships:
World of Warcraft is rarely described as a tonic for romance -- whole communities exist dedicated to documenting the havoc online gaming is supposed to wreak on interpersonal relationships (sites like www.gamerwidow.com and www.gamingsucks.com will be more than happy to hook you up with hundreds of people who have lost the loves of their lives to games like WOW.)Houle, however, believes Jay and Ashley are using the game to their best advantage. "The secret to their successful relationship is that they play 'together,'" he says. "and they include their friends and have community outings as well. This is a healthy relationship."
Saturday - May 12, 2007
1Up - Desert Island Discs
While not especially RPG related, 1Up has a feature titled Desert Island Discs that asks various staffers and game developers to nominate the one game they'd want to have if they were marooned on a desert island (yes, with a computer and power - just go with it). Oblivion, HoMM III and NWN get the nod, while BGII and others are in the "almost but just missed out category". BioWare's Ray Muzyka went with Starcraft:
It's an unusual choice for me in that I'd normally pick a role-playing game. But StarCraft has a strong campaign editor to make new content (including making either combat-oriented or story-based campaigns), plus you can play both the solid single-player campaign and against the A.I., and -- here's the trick -- you can play on a LAN or WAN (you said no Internet, but didn't mention local or wide area networks...my goal would be to build a WAN -- I'd explain how, but that would be telling -- connecting other folks similarly dropped onto nearby desert islands by other videogame online sites, who are equally eager to play some competitive multiplayer RTS or try out the campaigns I've created to kill time on the long days where there's nothing else to do but collect coconuts and build rafts.
Hmm...can't decide between PS:T and Gothic II+NotR. Or maybe Ultima VII? Too hard.
Thursday - March 22, 2007
1Up - Huxley Preview
1UP previews Huxley, the MMOFPS in development at Webzen.
The game pits three races against each other -- the Sapiens and Alternatives (both of which are playable races), and the Hybrids (the non-playable race). This triangle serves up Huxley's story dynamic, in which the three battle for control of the planet's energy source, while providing the setting for both PVP (player versus player) and PVE (player versus environment) conflict. Functioning similarly in structure to NCSoft's Guild Wars, the towns and cities in Huxley are where commerce and casual social interactions take place, while instanced areas offer battlegrounds in which Sapiens and Alternatives meet 'n' greet, guns a blazin'. Quests that advance the story are hosted in other instanced zones that are better for small parties or soloing.
Thursday - March 15, 2007
1Up - Huxley Preview Interview
1UP speaks with Webzen's Ki Jong Kang about bringing Huxley, the company's upcoming MMOFPS, to market.
GFW: Who controls the setup and conditions of the matches? Players or Webzen? Are the maps and matches level-based, as in World of WarCraft's Battlegrounds, so that, say, only players of a certain level range can enter? Or is it totally open?
KI JONG KANG: Imagine a master server of sorts, much like what you find in current FPS games. Players can sign up for a match, much like WOW Battleground queues, allowing for specific parameters to be set and met. There aren't many "open" battles that players can just randomly jump into, as they have already started within certain parameters. That's not to say that players can't be notified via an ingame system that their faction is at risk of losing a battle and a ship is at the ready waiting for volunteers to be brought to it via dropship.
Wednesday - March 07, 2007
1Up - Evolution of the RPG GDC Panel
1Up has coverage of a GDC panel titled The Evolution of the RPG that apparently saw some lively discussion between Peter Molyneux and Ray Muzyka, while Hironobu Sakaguchi sat in:
The question of non-linear gameplay sparked the first hint of disagreement, as Molyneux and Muzyka have rather different ideas about its merit. While Molyneux isn't much of a fan -- "Multiple branches are great, but there's a snag: You have to be careful that people don't think they've made the wrong choice." After all, he says, much of the appeal of story-driven games is sharing the best moments with your friends. Muzyka, however, begs to differ; in his mind, it's much more interesting for each player to take away a unique experience, as the sensation that they've shaped the story adds emotional impact. (Not to mention replay value.) Still, he notes that actually implementing this style of storytelling is "damn hard," as it necessitates the creation of a great deal of addition content, all of which must be brought to an equal standard of quality. And each branch of the story must be made to feel like it's the "right" decision, to avoid Molyneux's concerns. (For his part, Molyneux was having none of it, although he did mention that this was the crux of the good/evil dichotomy in Fable.)
Sakaguchi's thoughts were less heated and not terribly exciting coming from the creator of Final Fantasy: He prefers a grand, cinematic experience that allows players to feel like they're taking part in a movie. Which is to say, non-linear is probably not his ideal.
Wednesday - January 03, 2007
1Up - Battlestar Galactica MMOG Rumours
1Up has a newsbit that claims EBGames showed a listing for a Battlestar Galactica Xbox 360 MMOG briefly before it was pulled. Vivendi Universal has apparently denied the game - but in typical PR double-speak. Here's a snip:
Like clockwork, the Battlestar Galactica Online for Xbox 360 listing found on EBGames yesterday morning has mysteriously disappeared from the retailer's database. Every couple of weeks EBGames updates its database with release lists supplied by companies (many times EBGames has notoriously made things up entirely), resulting in leaks about upcoming announcements before the publishers are typically ready to talk about them.
1UP contacted listed publisher Vivendi Universal Games yesterday evening, who told us "EBGames has removed the information because it was not accurate. Vivendi Games has not announced a Battlestar Galactica game. We cannot comment any further as it is our policy to not comment on industry rumors."