Rovio To Lay Off 260 More Staff Members

angry birds

After the phenominal success that was Angry Birds, Rovio Entertainment (developers of the series) grew with tremendous speed. Now that success and growth has rendered the success of Angry Birds 2, as well as other launches and endeavors, insufficient. Once again, there will be a major layoff for staff all over the world. The only ones who will remain unaffected will be those working on the upcoming Angry Birds movie. CEO Pekka Rantala said regarding the 260 layoffs:

“This is personally a difficult decision. However, it is certain that a leaner and more agile Rovio is absolutely necessary to move forward and take the company to new successes in the future. We will work with and support all our employees through this period of change.”

Even just last October, Rovio laid off 110 staff and closed an office in Tampere, Finland while consolidating the rest of their operations in the country, which was still less than originally announced. In total, these layoffs have shrunk the workforce by a staggering 40%.

It is very difficult to follow up the original Angry Birds’ success to keep cash flowing in, in the same manner. However, it does demonstrate that, in the future Pekka is talking about, there will be diversification. With work being done on a movie and making a deal with Hasbro to license Angry Birds Transformers they are well on their way already.

What do you all think of these deals? Is it were Rovio needs to go, or should they stick to the media of games to preserve what made them great in the first place? Let us know down below!

Quick Look: Alien Resurrection (PS1)

Jon discovers a diamond in the rough with the survival horror first-person shooter Alien Resurrection. This is a solid game made by Argonaut Games. Atmosphere oozes from every corner of this title and Jon comments on why this game might be woefully underrated. He’s playing this using a Dual Shock controller in combination with a Playstation mouse.

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 Romcast: The 8-21-15 Show

The Romcast gets kicked off with some talk over Guillermo Del Toro’s interview and how he vowed to never work on new games anymore. Jon and Matt lament this and hope that this is just a temporary bump in the road for the ambitious film director. Somebody get this man on the phone with Hideo Kojima and Vin Diesel! After all that, the guys cover the Koshien eSport competition Nintendo’s quirky third-person cuter Splatoon. Will the game see this sort of treatment in North America and Europe? to close out, the two discuss the unfortunate firing of Nintendo Treehouse employee Chris Pranger after his appearance on the Part-time Gamers podcast. Both offer their best wishes to Pranger and hope he will move on to do bigger and better things in the industry.

 

Solid State Romcast 8-21-15 Show

 

Solid State Romcast Crew:
Jon “San Juan” Rivera – Host
Matt “Off” White – Cohost

Music Credit:
Introduction Theme – Car Jack [2011 version] by Electric Children
Interlude No. 1 – Unknown Track A by ???
Interlude No. 2 – Unknown Track B by ???
Roundtable Theme – Pumped by RoccoW
Resolution Theme – Skip Sandwich DX By Electric Children

Quick Look JPN: Galaxy Force II (SAT)

Jon relives his childhood by playing through the Sega Ages release of Galaxy Force II for the Sega Saturn. This is a Japan exclusive port of the original arcade title that came out in 1988. It is a solid pseudo 3D shooter with a lot of character and fantastic soundtrack to match.

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

Drift Stage Summer Update Details For New Improved Build

driftstagelogo

Earlier this month (August 12, 2016), Super Systems Softworks rolled out a news update for Kickstarter backers concerning their upcoming 90s inspired arcade racing game Drift Stage. During the initial fundraising campaign, the independent studio showed some footage and screenshots of its alpha build in action. However, being able to download and play the alpha itself is what really spurred more interest and support for the project.

drift stage wheel handling

In this update, SSS goes into detail as to why is has taken so long for the next playable test build to be made available to the public. Apparently, multiple changes have been made to critical and minor aspects of Drift Stage. The physics of car handling have received a big overhaul, with animations showing more emphasis on smoother transitions in and out of drifts. Gravity and handling have also been changed, as vehicles exhibit more tactile motions of the wheels and shocks acting independently from the car’s chassis. There are some other subtle changes made to the car animation, but the retooled physics engine is the big thing to take away from this summer update.

drift stage body roll

Other changes have been made to the HUD and the one playable track called Eventide Overpass. The HUD internal speedometer now has a numeric counter and a circular dial visual aid attached instead of the original rectangular display and accompanying yellow swish as a meter. It looks much more fleshed out and aesthetically pleasing.

drift stage meter

The Eventide Overpass has a new background structure added to the level called the Spiral Tower. The news release even alludes to another scenic addition in the form of a sports stadium. The early alpha already looked fantastic, so it will be interesting to see how these additions will factor into the next build.

drift stage track

An early preview of the additions being made to the Eventide Overpass.

While all of these new changes look promising for the project, there was no concrete date given for the next playable build of Drift Stage. According to the update, the team is working hard to reach this milestone. Gamers excited to get their hands on the newest alpha will have to sit tight until more news develops.

 

 

What do you think of this new press release concerning the Drift Stage Project? Be sure to let us know!

Quick Look JPN: Stellar Assault SS (SAT)

Jon finally gets the opportunity to test drive the interesting Japan only Sega Saturn exclusive known as Stellar Assault SS. As a 3D space flight combat sim, this title gets everything right and has a lot of character as well. A true load of fun. Enjoy!

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

Japan Based Splatoon eSport Event Offers Prize Of Over $1 Million

SI_WiiU_Splatoon

Two teams of squid kids prepare to do battle.

The Kadokawa Dwango corporation is facilitating and hosting the Koshien eSports series for Splatoon, in which the best of the Splatoon players will be competing across eight select cities in the land of the rising sun. The tournament will consist of 40 events, starting on September 17 in Fukuoka, that will eventually culminate into the finals taking place from January 30-31, 2016. The grand prize for the winner is a whopping one million dollars. Finalists will also receive prizes in some form or another. On a side note, there will also be a smaller scale competition for Puzzle & Dragons, in which competitors can also win some awards and prizes.

Callie and Marie

Callie and Marie looking fresh, as always.

Splatoon has yet to receive the same eSport treatment in North America or Europe. The player base for the Wii U exclusive is over one million strong, so having an eSports competition in America is not that far of a stretch. Hopefully, eSport organizers and sponsors jump on this before the launch of Nintendo’s NX platform. Splatoon is structured in a way that would work well with this well established format.

img_splatoon_koushien_b

 

Do you think Splatoon has a change of being a legitimate eSport in North America and Europe following this Japan based Koshien competition? Let you know what you think.

Solid State Romcast: The 8-14-15 Show

After bugging Jon about yet another thing Dragon Ball Z related, Matt is finally ready for doing the Romcast. Blizzard intrigues the two with the admission from Tim Morton that the company is going to be working on something big. Is it Warcraft 4 or is it something completely new? Will we ever see Warcraft Adventures? After that, the guys argue over the League of Legends team nixing the idea of a training wheels sandbox mode. Why was this done and would the inclusion of such a mode add to the current toxicity of the LoL community. The round up the Romcast, Jon and Matt discuss the recent announcement made by Konami concerning the Silent Hill franchise. Spoilers: it is a Silent Hill themed slot machine… What the heck is going on over at the Konami headquarters in Japan, and what on Earth does erotic violence have to do with Castlevania and pachinko? Tune in to find out!

 


Solid State Romcast 8-14-15 Show

 

Solid State Romcast Crew:
Jon “San Juan” Rivera – Host
Matt “Off” White – Cohost

Music Credit:
Introduction Theme – Car Jack [2011 version] by Electric Children
Interlude No. 1 – Unknown Track A by ???
Interlude No. 2 – Unknown Track B by ???
Roundtable Theme – Pumped by RoccoW
Resolution Theme – Skip Sandwich DX By Electric Children

Nintendo Treehouse Employee Fired For Podcast Appearance

chris pranger

There has been a great deal of commotion in the gaming community surrounding recent news that has to do with an ex-employee of Nintendo. Chris Pranger, who was one of the members of the U.S. based Treehouse, was let go on August 12 of this year. This is coming off the heels of an appearance Pranger made on the Part-Time Gamers podcast nine days prior. On that installment (Episode 76) he talked about what he did at Nintendo Treehouse, spoke out on the fiery Super Smash Bros. fan base, how much of a perfectionist Masahiro Sakurai (Super Smash Bros.) is, and even shed some light on Star Fox Zero’s development. He also talked about how the business of localizing first-party Nintendo games works for the North American market.

This was apparently a violation of Nintendo’s non-disclosure policies and is allegedly what resulted in Pranger being fired from the company. It is not that uncommon for a video game development studios to have such rules, as many third-party and first-party studios have similar regulations pertaining to speaking publicly about the inner workings of one’s place of employment. Critics have made the arguments that many members of game companies talk about their jobs and what they work on via Twitter and other social media sites. In Nintendo’s case, high ranking employees like Bill Trennon do this already. Counterarguments suggest that the statements made by Pranger painted Nintendo in a bad light when related to certain fan bases and the internal politics of game localization.

pranger

Chris Pranger is truly a Nintendo fan through and through.

Regardless, Chris Pranger is absolutely devastated by this turn of events. As a fan of Nintendo for years, he expressed how crushing being let go has been over Twitter and other forms of social media:

Via Facebook:

Hello friends and family. As many of you have probably seen, I am no longer at Nintendo. I was terminated this week due to a podcast appearance I made last Monday. It was a stupid judgment call on my part and ultimately it cost me far more than I could have imagined.

I’ve lost the only job I really knew or ever intended to know. Since leaving high school, I’ve had a singular goal in terms of a career. It got me through college and pushed me through the difficult time immediately after college where I learned just how crippling it was to have an English degree in the job market. I applied for 6 years straight for my job. Even before that, I’d made my entire identity around my hope to one day have this perfect job. I was mocked here and there as “Nintendo Boy” from maybe middle school on, but I thought that if I succeeded, it’d all be worth it.

And now it’s gone and I honestly don’t know how to handle myself. A central part of my personality revolves around Nintendo. Anything that I’ve decorated with around my house has a very clear Nintendo theme. My shirts and jackets overwhelmingly show that as well. Being able to finally feel at home at a job is a feeling I can’t easily quantify. I was the guy who’d see a hastily-discarded paper towel in the men’s room and pick it up, saying to myself, “This is my home, and I will keep it clean.”

If we’re being honest, I’m scared. Very scared. I haven’t been without a job for over 4 years, and even then it was during the weird “just exiting college” part of life that everyone goes through. And back then, I was still down in Oregon near family. Living in Washington has struggled to feel normal, but I was grounded in my job. It was where I happily spent my time and saw all of my friends. With that unstuck, Washington suddenly feels alien and empty all over again.

I look around my house and see images of my son and feel such intense shame and crippling sadness. How do I share this part of my life with him? How do I cope knowing that I’ve failed him? Even before this I’d been struggling to want to provide better for him and my wife, knowing that due to my student loans, I wouldn’t be entirely debt-free until I turned 40. That’s not a hyperbole either. I’m just now barely under $100,000 in student debt and my last payment is scheduled for the same year that I turn 40. “That student debt is intimidating, but it’s worth it for the end result.” I’ve undone my end result.

I spent the last week in a miserable place once the podcast began getting coverage. I was instantly scared when a coworker poked me and said, “Hey, you’re on GoNintendo.” Suddenly article after article began appearing in game sites of all languages. Comments sections painted me as an idiot and the like. My Twitter started giving me hourly reminders from people meaning well and otherwise. It seemed unthinkable that I’d be let go for a single moment of poor judgment and my own misunderstandings, but here we are.

Obviously, as I’m writing this at 4 am, I don’t think I have a clear goal. All I can think of is that there’s so much I’ve put at risk. I know that if I can’t find a job at least as good as this one, I won’t be able to provide for my family. I’ve lost them their health coverage and their security. I also know that I’ve probably lost a good deal of my friends, just because I know how hard it can be to stay in touch with someone when the convenience of proximity is lost.

I’m so sorry to everyone. I’ve failed you. You believed in me and supported me and trusted me and I’ve failed you. I’ve failed me.  ~Chris Pranger (Previously of Nintendo Treehouse)

Game designer Cliff Bleszinski, for the Jazz Jackrabbit and Gears of War franchises, commented in disagreement with Nintendo’s course of action towards Pranger via Twitter:

Nintendo fires employee that goes on a podcast. Next up they can folks that post youtube videos and do Twitch streams and Twitter?!

Way to allow for some transparency, Big N. 😦

Kinda sad to know the company you grew up with and worshipped and still adore you’d never want to work for, ever  ~Cliff Bleszinski

This has sparked much discussion across various media outlets, with many casting judgements in or out of favor for Nintendo’s decision. It is not known if Pranger’s presence on the podcast is the singular cause of his being fired, but the chronology of events transpiring suggest that this is the case. Hopefully, Pranger will be able make his return to the video game industry soon.

Solid State Romcast: The 8-7-15 Show

In this episode of the Romcast, Jon and Matt talk about Halo 5’s surprising rating of T for teen and if that means anything for the franchise moving forward. Matt has gotten his hands on Windows 10 and he thinks is it absolutely delicious! Will the new OS work on new machines running the SH2 CPU? Also why is Fable Legends so hard to explain? Will this game follow through on Peter Molyneaux’s promises of greatness? And just what does Tactical Sub-Zero have to do with Cloud Imperium’s Games Con 2015 media? Find out on this Romcast!

Solid State Romcast – Solid State Romcast 8-7-15 Show

Solid State Romcast Crew:
Jon “San Juan” Rivera – Host
Matt “Off” White – Cohost

Music Credit:
Introduction Theme – Car Jack [2011 version] by Electric Children
Interlude No. 1 – Unknown Track A by ???
Interlude No. 2 – Unknown Track B by ???
Roundtable Theme – Pumped by RoccoW
Resolution Theme – Skip Sandwich DX By Electric Children