What is happening with the Solid State Gamer?

Hello everyone. This is Jon Rivera from the Solid State Gamer with an update on what has been going on with the website. I could simply say not much and leave it at that. However, that would not be particularly honest and it would be unjust if I didn’t fully explain why the site has been at a standstill. It deeply pains me to see my dream of my own gaming coverage site repeat history for the third time.

 

SSG’s Birth
During the latter half of my high school career (2006) I began to grow more and more fascinated with the world of gaming and the industry via magazines like EGM and websites like Gamespot. With Gamespot in particular, the notion of a close-knit team of individuals driven by their passion for the medium of interactivity coming together to deliver news and offer analysis was a very attractive to me. This site had a cool community feature that allowed members to create their own sub-communities or unions. It was around this time when I create the League of Cartridge Gamers or LCG for short. The focus of the group was self explanatory, but the goal was more than just talking about retro games. It was about diving into the details of that games’ history and analyzing their accomplishments in technical design. This was the initial seed that would eventually grow into product of my mind that is the Solid State Gamer.

Another important event that led me to create the SSG into its own thing was the firing of Jeff Gerstmann from Gamespot and the ensuing exodus of the site’s veteran members back in 2007. During that transitional time between Gamespot and Giant Bomb, Gerstmann started his own blog using WordPress to keep up with the industry. That really inspired me to try my hand at creating my own space where I could write about the video game intellectually. Shortly after Jeff put out his review of Burnout: paradise the Solid State Gamer was born.

 

Red Light, Green Light
Unfortunately, the Solid State Gamer’s history is rife with being put on hiatus for nondescript amounts of time. The site is currently dealing with this problem right now. The sad thing is that the issues leading up to these pauses has always been the same. That cause is the lack of a substantial dedicated team of like-minded folks who believe in what they are doing and are willing to put in the work to turn a humble game coverage site into something great.

During the first leg of life, the SSG only had three writers working on it. This included myself, William Figueroa and an old co-worker of mine. That co-worker was not able to contribute much for personal reasons and it was too much to expect only two people to add meaningful well written content. I had put the website on hiatus for a time because of this and time I had to invest in my college education.

I ended up taking on freelance writing jobs and started out with small sites. In 2011 I wrote for a little publication called The Unsung Heroes, which was a comic book coverage site with an interest in covering the games industry. It was an interesting learning experience as was my time at Buy Poe and Default Prime as a news a features writer. Afterwards, I tried for a time to go it alone and resurrected the site in 2012. I then ran into the same issue and could not publish reviews, news and other features at the speed that other larger publications could do. After putting the site on hold again, I vowed to never bring the site back unless I had a team of folks who were willing to commit and put in the hard work required to make a successful game coverage site happen. It was understandable in some ways and heartbreaking in others. Regardless, I am proud of the work that I had done when the site was in its infancy.

 

This Current Solid State Gamer
I had pretty much dropped the notion that I could make a comprehensive gaming site a reality by the time 2014 rolled around. It was at this time that one of my old friends from college Matt White proposed doing a video game focused podcast or something along those lines. It sounded like a fun idea, but I was leery about a couple potential issues. The first thing that worried me was I previously tried the whole gaming website thing and it didn’t pan out because of not having a solid team able to bring in a big way. The other issue is that you cannot simply have a gaming podcast and expect to create a big entity around one production.

I suggested to Matt that, in order for us to create something successful in the gaming world, the podcast would have to be a provision of a bigger thing – a game coverage publication. Matt seemed to be all gung ho about doing it, but I  caution concerning it. Running and working on a gaming site requires a lot of work and dedication even when it does not yield any financial livelihood or profit. Matt still insisted that we start up something and he wanted to record a podcast anyway.

The idea was not to initially resurrect the Solid State Gamer and it was to be an original name and brand. Matt suggested some names for the site and audio production and they were all sort of crappy. None of the names suggested any semblance of professionalism and that really bothered me. I wasn’t out to be like so many folks on YouTube who make funny videos where the video games were just a backdrop for sophomoric humor. I wanted to do proper games journalism. I then suggested that we bring back my old name and publication along with its ideals. It was agreed upon that this was going to be the plan. We then started on the plan to bring back the Solid State Gamer with Matt White and his friend Richard Hunt – it is a decision that I now regret.

 

Working with Matt White

I stressed to Matt that it was important to publish as much solid written content as possible, as this would create awareness and give us topics to talk about on our podcast. Things started out slow mostly because we were just figuring things out and I was still working my old job at Bellini’s. I was working a sous chef job their and was being worked like a slave, so I didn’t really have time to do full time coverage going in. I eventually left and started posting new content and porting older features that I wrote for previous publications onto the site.

Matt started out okay and posted a two articles weeks apart on retro console hardware. Unfortunately, that’s where he hit a wall when it came to work output after only a couple of months. This was a constant issue for the whole time he worked for the site. To be fair, Richard was worse in this area, only producing one article during his short time on the site. It was not that great of an article either. Richard only lasted a few months before he was ejected from the team. He and Matt had a falling out over a situation that is between the two of them, so I will respectfully not go into detail about what exactly happened.

The site’s podcast, called The Solid State Romcast, started out being fairly low tech and was not the quality that I wanted. I suggested investing in the audio equipment necessary to create a high quality audio production and the tech could also be used for video production. He agreed, but nothing ever came of this exchange. I refused to do another podcast without the proper gear, so I purchased it with my own money. Not once did I demand anyone else on the team to give money to buy equipment; I merely suggested what things needed to be bought to produce quality audio and video content. This course of events transpired every time we needed to get something for the site. It was always suggested and Matt would always say, “we really need to get this or that,” but nothing would happen, so I would end up buying it myself.

With the podcast, there were issues. For the time, there were no news articles being published on the site proper, so we looked at news features on other sites. This was not a practice I liked, and insisted after a while that we would only cover news topics that related to content published on the site. Even with this rule in place, Matt would want to resort to other sites talking topics. This was mostly because wasn’t really writing much for the site. Every recording day he would come over with a six-pack of beer and then ask, “So, what are we gonna talk about today?” It even got to the point where he wouldn’t even park his car and come to my home to record. He would drive into the driveway and text me to come out and join him for a ‘beer run.’ He wasted a lot of time and insisted that we spend almost an entire day on one podcast when there was much more to be done for the website.

 

Matt Trying to be The Boss

I didn’t mind if we took a break or even had fun in between segments, but Matt never knew when to stop goofing around and get back to work on the task at hand. I tolerated these antics for a time and I even indulged myself in having a beer occasionally, but it just kept getting worse and worse. I started to put my foot down against goofing around all the time and spoke out against the unprofessional and unproductive antics that simply wasted time. Matt didn’t care and kept on and didn’t see any issue with his conduct.

This stuff was a problem on its own, but this was compounded by the fact that he would not write anything weeks or months on end. He would barely contribute work, but he had no problem coming in to record and frequently check the site stats and comment on it. He also had the tendency to text me about gaming news, but he wouldn’t write an article on it. I have no idea why he constantly did that. He would also delegate a lot. It was almost as if he thought that he was my boss and the Solid State Gamer was under his ownership. Whenever he said ‘we’, he meant myself. This applied to what needed to be done to get more hits and improve the site’s success. Whenever he said ‘I’, he meant himself alone. Matt White had a tendency to take partial credit for the contributions of others, but would turn around and take full credit for one thing he published.

If you listen to all the episodes of the podcast, you can hear him doing this on countless occasions. For a while I let go unchallenged, but I began to call him out on that sort of nonsense toward the end of his tenure. On top of these problems it was like pulling teeth to get him to pull his wait and actually work on anything. Whenever he would bring the site’s stats or the subject of money (he brought this up often), I would turn around and address that fact that he hasn’t done any work for this publication in weeks. He would make an excuse and I would end the exchange saying that he needed to do his fair share of work. We had this conversation several times.

During December of last year, we had brought on one of our friend Nathan VanDyke as a news writer. His work was solid and he would post news stories on his own, which pleasantly surprised me. After a few months he quickly overtook Matt in work output. This made his lack of effort stick out even more.

 

The Final Straw

The whole situation came to a head when Matt decided that he wanted to make a video. Now, that alone isn’t an issue in and of itself. The problem comes from the fact that I was the one who owned all the equipment for making videos and recording audio. He wanted to shoot a hardware teardown video of one of my retro video game consoles – essentially without my consent. This made me angry, but I compromised, saying that he could only work on systems that I had a double of. He then wanted to work on it on one of my free days. The issue was that he had no plan for how the video would be structured. There was no script, no structure and he didn’t even have a name for the video series. I then told him that I was not about to waste my time working on something without a plan. For some reason, he wasn’t happy me saying that.

I told him we would record as soon as I see a document detailing how the video feature would be named, structured, shot and edited. This is not an unreasonable request. Being true to form and surprising no one, he never created such a document. Roughly a week after this situation, Matt and Nate came over to record another podcast. Before we got to it, Matt put me on the spot with Nate as his defense in order to accuse me of holding the website and the equipment hostage. He also tried to defend is lack of work output and used site stats to justify that he didn’t have to do anymore work for the site. I then told him the same thing I had said to him in previous discussions. The issue was nothing to do with me being some evil dictator, rather the problem was Matt not pulling his weight. At this point, I got very stern with him and told him like it is. The meeting ended with everyone stating they had no more questions, but I could tell that Matt wasn’t happy about how it went.

A week later, on a day we were supposed to record the podcast, I had to call Matt because he never showed up. In the working world, that is referred to as a “No call, no show.” I asked him what was going on and he told that he was quitting that moment. The reason was that he wasn’t having any fun anymore. He said that we would still be cool and that our out-of-work friendship wouldn’t change. Though I wasn’t okay with how he quit (one of the most unprofessional ways to quit), I was glad that he was at least honest with me… or so I thought

 

An Apology That is Long Overdue
After Matt quit, I could no longer do the podcast. Nate was still working for the site, but he works a lot and doesn’t have a lot of time to record. Recently, he hasn’t any time to write for the site. He was always honest with me and I will always appreciate the work he did for the website while he was able. He gave and honest effort. The last proper article is the Final Fantasy VII remake news piece and that’s where things have sadly ceased.

For a while I tried to find others in Lexington to join the site and write for it, but there seems to be little interest in game journalism in my town. For some reason, I ended up calling a semi regular guest who would join the podcast. Leo is a fellow who has been professionally covering games for nearly half a decade and was a lot of fun to talk to. I suppose I missed talking to him about games and how we would bounce information off each other. I got a hold of him over Skype and the two of us had the most interesting conversation. The exchange was a bit awkward in the beginning for reasons I didn’t know at the time.

After telling him that just wanted to know how he’s been, he then explained that he was initially worried I called him in anger. I was confused until he spoke of Matt. After telling Leo about the SSG site situation and my dealings with Matt, he then told about his woes while working with Matt. He joined up with Leo almost right after he quit the SSG. Apparently, Matt told Leo that I didn’t do any work and that it was Matt that did most of what you see on this space currently. Also he said that I didn’t give Matt the same right as an owner – he never did the work that warranted having access to administrative tools. That’s for someone who actually administrates and works.

In that conversation I basically found out that Matt is a liar and lied to me and stabbed me in the back. The worst thing is that he could have ruined another person’s website plans. It was bad enough that he quit in the way he did, but learning of his lies and deceit has hurt me on both a professional and personal level. Mathew White owes me an apology for wronging me as both a friend and as a colleague.

 

The End?

Well, this is the end, beautiful friends. After a year and a half of honest effort on my part, I am announcing that I will be ceasing work on the Solid State Gamer as a core game coverage publication. Perhaps I will convert it into a personal gamer blog where I speak more personally about my life with video games. As for my professional work, I now work for Leo M. on his new game coverage publication called Gaming Instincts. If you want to see my work as well as that of my colleagues, you are more than welcome to join us there. I want to personally thank everyone who supported our little gaming website that could. We would never gotten this far without you. This been a very interesting learning experience for me for better or worse. Again, it is understandable in some ways yet painful in others. This could be the end of the Solid State Gamer, but this isn’t the end for me and my passion for the medium of interactivity… bang.

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Final Fantasy VII Remake Will Be Episodic And Feature A Dynamic ATB Combat System

ffvii remake logo

During the Sony PSX 2015 event a new trailer for Final Fantasy VII Remake was revealed, creating quite the stir in the process. In this new footage there was quite a bit of information to digest. The members of Avalanche (Barret, Biggs, Wedge and Jesse) and Cloud Strife speak during the  trailer, giving a glimpse into the current state of the voice acting and how these characters will sound. The graphical fidelity of the footage definitely matches what was seen in the announcement trailer for this work in progress title. Some of the video shows the player as Cloud running through the streets and Mako reactor facilities of Midgar. However, the bigger reveal shows some of the battle sequences, which looks feature a real-time combat system accompanied with a small window of options and character status window. This display of action RPG game play has provoked many reactions from fans of the Final Fantasy franchise, with some embracing this new system and others longing for the familiar Active Time Battle system. Despite first perceptions, this trailer technically does feature the ATB system, but it is presented in a more dynamic way and does not telegraph itself particularly well.

ffvii trailer 1

Cloud Strife takes a swing at one of the Shinra troops.

The characters have received a heavy graphical overhaul and some have been heavily redesigned. Barret specifically has seen many revisions in terms of his build and his outfit. It is nice to also see more attention given to Biggs, Wedge and Jesse of Avalanche. The environmental design of the Mako reactor and the streets of Midgar have seen some design changes, but still maintain a similar unsaturated steampunk aesthetic like its original counterpart.

ffvii trailer 2

Cloud and Barret traversing the innards of the Shinra Mako reactor.

There are a few other interesting aspects of the trailer, but the visuals action oriented nature of the overall game play is what caught the most attention during its PSX presentation. After the presentation, Square-Enix issued a press release announcing that Final Fantasy VII Remake will not be presented as one game. It will be released in an episodic format and there were no details explaining how this would affect the game’s release and/or development initially. This revelation has worried critics and fans alike with speculation germinating from this known distribution method.

ffvii trailer 3

Cloud crouches to squeeze through a hole in the wall.

In an interview with Dengeki Online, Square-Enix’s Yoshinori Kitase (Producer) and director Tetsuya Nomura (Director) both addressed the reason for breaking  up the remake into multiple parts. They stated that the scope of the game is ambitious and is more densely packed, which cannot be done with just one release.

The idea that a remake of Final Fantasy VII would not fit into a single release was there from the very beginning. We still can’t share more information about its multiple parts, but please look forward to future announcements…

…As you can see in the trailer, we showed Sector 1 and Sector 8, but in those areas alone, I think you can see a lot of density. When you’re remaking the entirety of the original version in that quality, it’s not possible to fit it all in one release.  ~Yoshinori Kitase (Producer, Square-Enix)

ffvii trailer 4

Cloud looking forward after jumping off of the train at the reactor.

If we dedicated our time to a single release, parts of it would become condensed. We’d have to cut some parts, and additional parts would come in few, so rather than remake the game as a full volume, we decided to do multiple parts.  ~Tetsuya Nomura (Director, Square-Enix)

Even with this explanation, this announcement has been met with a mixed and heavily polarizing reception. It is far too soon to tell how this will affect the final release of Final Fantasy VII Remake. Nonetheless, many are concerned that this design choice may bode ill for this highly anticipated game.

 

For those who have yet to see the latest Final Fantasy VII Remake (PS4) game play trailer, here it is:

 

Thoughts From Rivera:

So far, I think the game looks impressive with the character redesigns offering some familiarity while making aesthetic improvements. It is also really interesting to see Cloud interacting with obstacles in the environment when trying to traverse it. The thing that has me the most intrigued is the combat system because of how fast paced it appears. It is hard to tell how much of it is action and how much of it is strategic – you can only discern so much from a few seconds of combat over which you have absolutely no agency. The whole episodic nature of the game’s eventual distribution is the only aspect of Final Fantasy VII Remake that sounds troubling to me. How is this game going be handled in a physical retail capacity? Will it simply be an digital download only release? There is still a bit of ambiguity surrounding this title and I hope that it becomes more clear in the coming months.

 

 

What do you think of these new FFVII Remake details? Let us know!

Unboxing: Sony Playstation 4 500GB Uncharted Bundle

Jon Rivera purchases a brand new Sony Playstation 4 system for coverage on the website. The particular SKU bought is the 500GB Nathan Drake collection bundle. This SKU sells at a MSRP of $349.99 ($299.99 during Black Friday/Cyber Monday). This unboxing shows all the contents in this specific console bundle.

Bundle/SKU contents:

  • x1 Playstation 4 500GB system with a black matte finish
  • x1 6″ power cord
  • x1 6″ HDMI cord
  • x1 Dual Shock 4 controller
  • x1 earbud and microphone communicator set
  • x1 Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection game

As always, thanks for watching! If you enjoyed our video, please rate and subscribe for more video features. Check out our main site for videos, podcasts, written features and more! Look us up at:

http://www.thesolidstategamer.wordpress.com

If you have and comments, suggestions or criticisms be sure to drop us a line at:

solidstateromcast@gmail.com

Weekly Mailbag: 11-24-15 Edition

In this edition of the weekly mailbag series, Jon has acquired a new console on top of a few games. He also addresses some of the technical hiccups and slow time with the website. Here’s a breakdown of what he found on the cheap:

– Playstation 2 console [slim version]
– Time Splitters [PS2]
– Shockwave [3DO]
– Shockwave: Operation Jumpgate [3DO]

As always, thanks for watching! If you enjoyed our video, please rate and subscribe for more video features. Check out our main site for videos, podcasts, written features and more! Look us up at:

http://www.thesolidstategamer.wordpress.com

If you have and comments, suggestions or criticisms be sure to drop us a line at:

solidstateromcast@gmail.com

Solid State Underground 11-16-15: Alterations And Experimentation

Hey guys, this is Jon Rivera from the Solid State Gamer with some updates on what has been happening with the site. Right now, we are still trying to figure podcast timing out, but I have been up to some things in the meantime. Working on my interview with Michael Price of Indigo Moon has taken quite some time solely because I am not a good stenographer and we talked about a lot during our conversation. However, the transcribing process is finally done and I will be sending my work to Mr. Price to make sure he is satisfied with how the exchange looks. Once that is done, the article will go live. Also, I have put up a couple of news articles with one of them being a breakdown of the latest Nintendo Direct broadcast which had quite a bit of useful information.

SSG live test

Just a prototype of the presentation window for a possible live streaming program that, so far, I have aptly dubbed ‘Solid State Gamer Live.’

I have the new set up running now and have been working on some new quick look videos along with some new weekly mailbag entries; I am far behind on those. The idea of doing weekly or fortnightly live streams has also intrigued me. It seems like a good opportunity to get my feet wet with games that I have never played thoroughly and could possibly take that experience to pour into my quick look videos. Open Broadcaster Software has been fun to tinker around with for a few hours and what you see above is the result of that self education. Like I said, I am very new to this. Lastly, I wish to fix and update our main pages having to do with our background, mission statement, guidelines and a code of ethics. It’s a lot of stuff to take care and hopefully we can get it all done before the end of the year. It will help anyone approaching the site to understand what we are all about and may attract more folks wanting to work on our team with articles, audio and video productions. Anyway, I will try to make all this stuff happen. Thanks for reading and I would like to wish everyone a happy Thanksgiving!

Original Megarace Composer Brought On For Megarace Reboot

It has been announced through Lance Boyle’s Twitter account that Stéphane Picq is going to be the official composer for the upcoming Megarace reboot being headed by the Zoom Platform and Jordan Freeman groups, with JF being headed by chairman Bernie Stolar (previously president of Sega of America). For those unfamiliar with the history of the Megarace Franchise, Stéphane Picq composed the entire soundtrack to the original Megarace and gave it an interesting techno flare that definitely added a great of character to the game.

megarace composer announced

This news has die-hard fans of the original very excited to see what lies in store for the future of the Megarace franchise and its reboot.

Latest News From Nintendo Direct [Nov. 2015]

nintendo direct

Nintendo has uploaded a new installment of their news series Ninendo Direct earlier today; the first time the program has aired since the tragic passing of Satoru Iwata. During the program, there were quite a few announcements concerning releases on both the Wii U and 3DS and upcoming DLC updates.

ff7smb

On the Wii U side of things, Cloud Strife from Final Fantasy VII and Final Fantasy Tactics will be a playable character in Super Smash Bros. Wii U (he will also be made playable in the 3DS version). The next installment in the storied The Legend of Zelda series will be coming out at some point in 2016 (this has been a known quantity for some time). A high definition remastering of LoZ: Twilight Princess has also been announced and is being prepared for release on March 4, 2016.

star fox zero

Star Fox Zero’s release date has been pushed back yet again. In this past September, Shigeru Miyamoto made the decision to postpone SF Zero’s release until Q1 of 2016. Fortunately, Nintendo has given the specific date of April 22, 2016. It is alleged by Platinum Games, co-developers of SF Zero, that some time was needed to make sure that the game had “that Platinum feel.”

Mother 3 release date

Mother 3, also known as Earthbound 2 by North American fans of the series, will be seeing an official release on the Virtual Console. According to the announcement banner shown above, it will launch on December 17, 2015. Unfortunately, this release is a Japan exclusive. No plans to officially localize Mother 3 for North America or Europe have been announced.

Mother-3-Cart

Pictured here is a photo of a reproduction cartridge containing the unofficial fan translation of Mother 3 for the Game Boy Advance. So far, this has been the only way for game players in North America and Europe. Many of these ROM hack repro carts have been floating around the internet in online auctions and other unofficial game vendors for a couple of years now.

Many hold on to hope that Mother 3 will eventually get a chance to shine in the west because of the eventual release of Earthbound: Beginnings. EB: Beginnings is essentially the North American localization of the first Mother game that was finished in its software and physical prototyping stages for release, but was cancelled before it could be officially mass produced for consumption. Taking this work that had already been completed years before and making it work with an emulator wrapper is more feasible that what is required to give Mother 3 the same official treatment for the Virtual Console in the west.

ebproto1

An old photograph of one Earthbound NES prototype cartridges. Roughly five of these are known to exit in the entire world.

As mentioned before, Mother 3 still has no official English translation or localization as far as the gaming world knows. With that, the game will still require the time, money and manpower necessary to translate and localize an extremely text heavy role playing game that cannot be sold at the same price point as AAA high profile titles.

SI_WiiU_Splatoon

New free content will be available for the critically acclaimed third person shooter Splatoon. There are two new stages in the form of Muse D’d Alfonsino and Mahi Mahi Resort. Muse D’d Alfonsino features environmental hazards in the form of rotating objects and Mahi Mahi Resort, taking place in a pool resort, will reveal more surface area to cover in ink when a time sensitive switch forces the pools to drain. As of today, 40 new pieces of gear and equipment were made available via an update. Nintendo has state that the company will continue to support Splatoon with new DLC at least until January 2016.

Wii U BF Bundle

Nintendo Announced a special Wii U bundle for Black Friday, which includes the 32GB Deluxe model of the console. The system comes with digital copies of Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and Splatoon pre-installed. Though no price point has been formally announced, one of Walmart’s Black Friday ads show this bundle retailing at $250. The company is also working on a website companion to Super Mario Maker that will allow players to find custom levels of their liking more easily.

Linkle Concept Art Collage

Here is a composite image showing some of the concept art of the female version of Link dubbed Linkle or Linkelle.

On the 3DS side of the Nintendo Direct program, a few new characters will be making their debut on Hyrule Warriors: Legends. One of these new playable characters, contrary to clamber among many in the gaming community, is a female iteration of Link named Linkle. Concept art of this mystery lady was first seen in an art book for Hyrule Warriors under the section of early concepts that were rejected for the final retail release of the game. Some of these pieces depict Linkle as a Hylian warrior who wields a sword or a crossbow. However, her weapon will be the crossbow and a spinning kick attack will replace the sword spin attack.

pokemon picross

Pokemon Picross!

The 3DS will getting a large RPG injection with quite a few releases hitting the portable. Both Dragon Quest VII & VIII remakes will see release in North America at some point in 2016, with Dragon Quest VII coming during next summer. Remakes of the Pokemon red, blue and red versions will be available on the 3DS eShop on February 27, 2016. Other news for the franchise includes a “free-to-start” Pokemon Picross game launching sometime this December. Fire Emblem Fates will launch February 19 next year and will have three retail versions including a special edition. Lastly, The Legend of Zelda: Triforce Heroes is seeing DLC in the form of The Den of Trials. Unlike most of the other dungeons seen in the game thus far that have only four stages, this new labyrinth has 30. This new DLC launches on December 2, 2016.

From this installment of Nintendo Direct, it looks like the company has a solid game plan for this next year and a steady transition from this slow time to the next year. Hopefully, nothing else gets pushed back and the Wii U can some more solid software and current game with great online communities like Splatoon will be given continued support in the months to come.

Fallout 4 Has Finished Brewing Up. In More Ways Than One

fallout_beer-970-80

Carlsburg UK Corporate Affairs has revealed a new, and somewhat obvious, way to help promote their pairing with Bethesda Softworks for the upcoming release of Fallout 4. Since the first title came out in 1998 those fans have had time to grow just a little older with the later releases in 2008 and 2010, this has led the famed developer to work with Carlsburg brewers to make a batch for them just ahead of release next month(November 2015).

The beer is described as:

“A refreshing zesty hoppy taste and a floral aroma,”

Carlsburg Corporate Affairs Director Bruce Ray has said of this pairing:

“This is something of a world-first. Adult participation in videogaming is a truly social activity, on a par with cinema and music. We’re proud to work with Bethesda to produce a beer Fallout fans can enjoy.”

Being sold in 330 ml bottles in packs of 12 featuring a new label that would make Vault-Tec Proud.

Though fans will almost assuredly like the idea, it is for relatively few of them. Only being sold in the UK and at an increased price over the pilsner Carlsburg is most famous for. At just shy of 30 Pounds Sterling(don’t have a button for the proper symbol on my US keyboard), it is substantially more.

At least this comes out the same day as some other really good news. The production has finally wrapped up on one of the most heavily anticipated titles of 2015. Which has recently seen a clip of Deathclaws dodging back and forth worryingly quickly to dodge some shells from a Gatling like cannon.

New Star Wars BattleFront Off To Strong Start With 9 Million Players

star-wars-battlefront-banner

EA clearly has quite a hit on their hands. After a short stint for open and free beta version of the upcoming game Star Wars BattleFront which has a date set for release on November 17th has already demonstrated it will almost assuredly be a big hit for Electronic Arts. EA has released the numbers of players that took part in the limited play allowed to the public for the brief time allowed; they are indeed impressive. Over 9 million people played across all the major platforms right now including the Xbox 1, PS4, and PC.

The numbers for each platform weren’t released, but this maybe even larger than CoD: Black Ops III for the PS4’s largest beta of it’s 2 years after release.

Reviews seem to be generally positive. Though EA only allowed very limited play for a smaller single player mode and a limited multiplayer players were allowed to get in some vehicles ranging from anti-infantry guns and anti vehicle weapons, to AT-ST and the behemoth AT-AT.

Star Citizen Sees A Little More Drama

star-citizen-banner

With all the drama that has surrounded the largest crowd-funded game of all time we now have even more fuel on the fire that had started several months prior. At noon on Sept 1, 2015 The Escapist published a long article detailing issues in the production and development of Star Citizen. In this quickly unfolding drama Chris Roberts allegedly didn’t respond directly to the writer, only including the Editor of the site on the responding email. In the comments section of the article Chris addressed each of the core allegations from the former employees, as well as other major concerns, which have since since been added to the article in the appropriate areas.

At the forefront of these concerns is money management and Chris Roberts personal ability to lead, or potential lack thereof. An anonymous source has claimed that of the more than $90,000,000 raised by crowdfunding Cloud Imperium Games, the developers of quite possibly the most ambitious game ever attempted, has only $8,000,000 left. To counter this point Chris stated,

“The company uses additional sources of funding such as tax incentives, marketing, and product partnerships, but we do not discuss these issues in public for obvious reasons. We always keep a healthy cash reserve and operate our business prudently based on the incoming revenue.”

Of course the money is donated with hopes of being used as a guarantee to receive Roberts’ dream to the masses who are so excited for a game of this nature and scale. However, on this front Roberts states he has made deliveries. Community content and the dogfighting module being specifically mentioned, as well as Squadron 42 being noted as in progress. While continuing on to say the first person boarding and multiple star systems were just were stretch goals.

Continuing on the ever present subject of money…

“$90 million for what he’s pitching, even with a competent leadership, you couldn’t do,” CS1 wrote. “The thing you have to remember about Chris Roberts is that, before this, he hadn’t made a game in 12 years. He has no concept of what can and can’t be done today with that amount of money, or for a game like this. Chris Roberts hadn’t made a game in 12 years, and he was actively ignoring the input of people who have been in and a part of the industry that entire time.”

Chris Roberts has quite a response to this point. However he does show a bit of emotion and perhaps a momentary lapse of professionalism. Considering this may be what Chris perceives as his lifes’ work, it is hard to fault him for showing some emotion after already doing so much work. However in such an incredibly fast paced industry 12 years is quite a hiatus.

Now we move on to other claims made by supposed-ex-employees saying that a project of this scale can’t be done with $90 Million. Just as with each point of the article Chris has a heavy response:

“How do you or they know this? Which employees said this and what makes them qualified to make that judgement? I know it’s what Derek Smart loves to say but he couldn’t make a good game with $200m so I don’t think his opinion matters. Outside of that, no employee beyond me and a few other key people who are leading Star Citizen would have the appropriate information and overview to make any judgement about the cost of the total project. Secondly, the company uses additional sources of funding such as tax incentives, marketing and product partnerships, but we do not discuss these issues in public for obvious reasons. We always keep a healthy cash reserve and operate our business prudently based on the incoming revenue. It should tell you something that we are actually increasing our global headcount not decreasing it.”

This also plays into the point that was brought up over his ambitiousness that the game is striving for. On a previously unimagined scale. Going from on-foot exploring or socializing to multiple player-characters boarding a ship, travelling for thousands even millions of kilometers(1km=~0.62 miles), to do an EVA mission to explore or even to assault an enemy held area; then head back for home and enjoy a few drinks with friends back at home and tell tales of heroism and loss.

“I realized it was affecting my health, my home life. I needed to get out. So I left. I had no job lined up. I just had to get out. I looked at my situation, I had enough in savings, so I left. I couldn’t take it. It was by far the most toxic environment I have ever worked in. No one had clear direction about how to do their jobs well. No one was empowered to do their jobs well. Everything was second guessed, and the default reaction to everything was blame and yelling and emails with all capital letters and curse words.”

This is were there are axes to really grind, it seems. With multiple ex-employees coming forward in anonymity making these claims, it does hold a bit more water than just one or just writing about the issue without an insider perspective.

In a segment immediately following this there’s is more heavy profanity that is claimed to have been used by one party or another. More finger pointing. He said, she said and so on. With the article be so large and so high profile now, we recommend reading for yourself.

Since the publishing of this article even more drama has unfolded. Chris Roberts has demanded a published apology for his wife. Roberts is also claiming that The Escapist is working with competitors, such as Derek Roberts who has attempted something similar in the past and did not succeed; even saying he will file a lawsuit at the end of the day today (Oct. 5, 2015) if he doesn’t receive an acceptable apology and The Escapist doesn’t comply to his demands.

 

 

Thoughts From VanDyke:

From some personalities I personally follow who have contributed to the campaign and do some publicity for the game, I think this may be a death blow win or lose for Chris Roberts. The financial impact on a company even with this kind of backing and support, which was already waning to some extent, this can be truly devastating. A modern business tactic that has been used to remove competitors and those who have lawsuits against them (tobacco companies waiting for very ill customers that seek compensation for damages to pass away, for instance) to simply fold under the high legal costs that accumulate over time and simply go away.