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GDC 2010


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GameStop Creates Digital Distribution Executive Position -- A Sign Of Things To Come?

GameStop is on its way out, according to NinjaBee art director Brent Fox. All retail establishments whose primary sales are driven by boxed video games are on their way out, actually.

"I think GameStop is not going to be around shortly," said Fox during a presentation at the Game Developers Conference discussing NinjaBee's biggest lessons making downloadable games.

NinjaBee is probably best known for A Kingdom for Keflings and Cloning Clyde.

Fox pointed to the moves that Electronic Arts is making as primary evidence, as EA recently shuttered Pandemic Studios while spending $300 million on acquiring social-oriented developer Playfish.

"I think the change [to digital] is happening rapidly, where I think GameStop is not going to be around shortly," he said. "I started talking about this six months ago. I was saying 'oh, five years.' ... I've revised my particular prediction to three years and I still think that's talking too long. My [business] partner's original prediction was a little over two years and I think he's going to win."

Do you want to take him up on that bet?

Have something to share? Sitting on a news tip? E-mail me. You can also follow me on Twitter.



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Flower

No one will tell you game development is an easy process. As a medium that's still finding its way, developers are constantly learning about new ways to manage their teams and create a more efficient development process, while still maintaining freedom for creativity. That doesn't always happen, which has lead to the very real problem that game developers burn out quickly and leave the industry.

thatgamecompany (aka the indie studio behind Flower and flOw) producer Robin Hunicke directly addressed this issue during a panel at the Game Developers Conference today.

"It is not just the long hours that burn us out," said Hunicke. "It is the anxiety ... and the feeling that we're failing every day that makes us feel exhausted when we go home the end of the week and drives us into work on a Saturday or Sunday because we lost an argument, because we're not making that progress, because we're afraid of that conversation. We're driving ourselves extra hard and every time we do that, we're sapping ourselves of energy."

Hunicke's talk focused on ways to help game developers get along better, which thatgamecompany theorized leads to better games and developers who will be around longer to make more games.

"It's not just the hours," she reiterated. "It's our attitude about our jobs that makes it hard."

thatgamecompany is currently working on an unannounced new project for PlayStation 3.

Have something to share? Sitting on a news tip? E-mail me. You can also follow me on Twitter.

GDC 2010 Reveals Super Meat Boy Has Been Killed 400 Million Times

One of the most impressive Independent Games Festival finalists at Game Developers Conference is Super Meat Boy, a 2D platformer from none other than the aptly-titled Team Meat. A hilarious Super Meat Boy comic was bundled with a bag of goodies handed out to most GDC 2010 attendees and it included a line that made me laugh out loud -- a reference to how many times players have killed Meat Boy in the original flash version of the game that's become Super Meat Boy.

So, just how many times have gamers killed Super Meat Boy? 400 million times.

Iif you haven't played the original Meat Boy, that number might sound absolutely insane, but Meat Boy is a hardcore platformer that's encouraging you to die. You die in Super Meat Boy in order to learn the right path through the level, so when the flash version of the game's been played 10 million times, 400 million deaths sounds about right.

It's also possible that Team Meat completely made that number up and I look like a jerk now.

Super Meat Boy will be released later this year on Xbox Live Arcade, WiiWare and PC.

Have something to share? Sitting on a news tip? E-mail me. You can also follow me on Twitter.



Super Street Fighter IV Officially Revealed

Capcom hosted a community-oriented party for Super Street Fighter IV last night in San Francisco during the Game Developers Conference, in order to unveil the last secret character for Super Street Fighter IV and celebrate the launch of the iPhone version of the game. As part of that celebration, Capcom had also lined up a series of Street Fighter-themed drinks.

Want to see 'em? You might have to squint a bit, but...

Read More »

GDC 2010: Mytheon Preview

Free-to-play MMOs are quite the popular genre these days, and True Games aims to keep the popularity ball rolling with their upcoming mythology-based game Mytheon. G4’s Eric Eckstein had a chance to check out the intriguing title at GDC 2010, and here’s a snippet of what he saw:

“Like Diablo, players create a character of different classes: the tank Warcaster who can control many different types of creatures, the wizard-like Elementalist who wields more elemental magic-based attacks, and the supporting Eidolon, which acts as a priest, healing and resurrecting players.”

To find out more, be sure to read Eric’s full preview. And then check out our GDC 2010 hub for even more event coverage.

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Adam Sessler meets up with United Front Games' Executive Producer Stephen Van Der Mescht to talk about True Crime, the reinvention of the True Crime series, at GDC 2010.

Get all the details of the reboot with the video below!

GDC 2010: True Crime Being Rebooted! »


 
For more on True Crime, check out our hands-on preview.




Super Street Fighter IV

Last night at GDC 2010, the final character in Super Street Fighter IV was revealed: His name is Hakan, and he's... odd. Hakan is a orange-bodied, blue-haired Turkish wrestler who enjoys applying oil to his body and sliding opponents all over the place before slamming them into the ground and murderizing them. It's pretty weird.

"In the history of Street Fighter, there's always been a lot of wacky and unusual characters," Super Street Fighter IV producer Yoshinori Ono told us. "We settled on Turkish wrestling because these guys literally douse themselves in oil, grappling with each other. It's such a unique and relatively unknown fighting style."

Super Street Fighter IV  will be released on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 systems April 27, 2010, so stock up on the baby oil!  And check out our Hakan gallery. There's a trailer of the man in action below the cut, in solo scene and fighting with Juri.

Read More »



True Crime Reveal Trailer »


 
 
Activision has a lot of work ahead of them with their franchise reboot True Crime. Not only do they have to convince players to give the series a fresh start, but they also have to differentiate it from other open-world crime games. Based on what Patrick Klepek saw during GDC 2010 though, it seems the developers are at least on the right track:
 
"In the demo, I watched the developers hop around the game world in a manner not unlike Altair or Ezio in Assassin's Creed. There's verticality to the movement of the main character that creates a host of options to the player when deciding how to tackle the enemies in front of them."
 
You can find Patrick's full preview right here. And for more GDC goodness, hit up our snazzy GDC 2010 headquarters.

Civilization V

Hexes have never been as sexy as they are in Sid Meier's Civilization 5. The game comes out this summer for the PC, and when it does, gamers everywhere will have their lives taken over by strategy, conquest and ceaseless war. Our own Andrew Pfister put the turn-based strategy game through its paces at GDC 2010, and here's what he had to say about it...

"They had me at the pretty shimmering water.

Truthfully, they had me at the announcement of a new Civilization game, the latest in the  classic turn-based strategy series of barbarian taunting, cow pastures, settling Elvis Presley in the bustling metropolis of “Awesometown” for a culture bonus, and if you’re interested, complete global domination.

But Civilization V has some really pretty water."

For the rest of Pfister's preview, check out this link. And for more GDC news, photos, videos and awesomeness, check out our GDC 2010 headquarters.




Mafia II

G4 got its hands on organized crime simulator Mafia II at this year's Game Developer Conference, and the period-perfect game is looking pretty amazing. Here's what our own Eric Eckstein had to say about the title:

"I have played a ton of open world games, virtually all within this console generation, and have had Mafia II on my radar for a while.  It's a game I really wanted to play to see if they got it right, so thankfully I was able to go hands-on with the game recently.  It's not all the way there yet, but it's certainly on the right road."

For the rest of the preview, click the link. We'll be bringing you tons more game previews from GDC 2010 today, tomorrow, and all through the week. Check out our GDC headquarters for all the developments.

Sony Motion Controller Includes Nunchuk Add-On?Sony is expected to reveal new information about its motion controller at some point during this week’s Game Developers Conference. However, in classic Sony form, a few details have already slipped out, on the eve of Sony’s big press conference (which will be streamed live right here tomorrow at 7PM ET).

According to a source close to Develop, Sony’s motion controller will include a Wii Nunchuk-ish add-on in addition to the standard wand controller. This isn’t terribly surprising given that the duel-wielded controls lets developers add an entirely separate layer of movement and control to their games. Plus, thanks to the Wii, developers have had a few years of practice with this kind of control scheme, so making the transition to the PlayStation 3 should prove relatively painless.

At this point though, nothing has been officially announced, so don’t put all of your money in Arc-nunchuk futures just yet. Hopefully, Sony will make everything perfectly clear in the coming days.

Source: Develop

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GDC 2010 -- Day One Photo Gallery

GDC 2010 is officially underway, and so far, things have been kind of slow. However, this is just your typical calm before the massive games event storm, and you can expect plenty of content to come rolling in with force shortly.

In the meantime, check out our day one photo gallery from the GDC trenches in San Francisco to get a feel for what's going on at the center of the gaming world at this very moment.

A GDC Panel About Unreal Engine 3 On The iPhone Sounds Interesting, Right?*

* If you're a programmer.

As someone who doesn't actually make games, attending GDC panels can at times be a gamble. The description for the panel might sound really interesting, but if you've failed to note that it's targeted at people who understand the code that makes games works, that's a problem.

I made that mistake today with the Epic Games panel discussing Unreal Engine 3 on the iPhone. The picture above is just a small snippet of a 30-minute presentation that consisted of slide after slide of code, references to code and jokes about code. Code, code, code, code, code.

My brain just melted.

Have something to share? Sitting on a news tip? E-mail me. You can also follow me on Twitter.

Apple iPhone

Here's an interesting sign-of-the-times: The iPhone has its own, separate summit at this year's Game Developers Conference. Previously, talks devoted to Apple's phone/gaming platform were mixed in with the rest of the mobile gaming rabble, but this year, 16 panels and discussions are being held in an iPhone-specific summit. Sample panels include:  "How to keep your game on top of the charts;" "Fastest path from concept to Top Paid;" and "A big dash of success: how to capture the female iPhone gamer"

Look for the iPad to dominate iPhone game developers' thoughts and conversations at this year's GDC. The Apple tablet is compatible with iPhone, but you gotta wonder how many iPhone games will work well in the new format, and whether developing specific games for a device with a much-smaller install base than the iPhone will make sense for developers.

The other not-so-new trend: Social gaming (Farmville, Mafia Wars, etc.) is very heavy at GDC this year because, let's face it, it's in terms of cost to benefit ratio, a successful "casual" game can't be beaten by anything.  As a console gamer who doesn't own an iPhone and has never played Farmville, I'm trying not to be too sad, but I'm getting used to the idea of not being catered to exclusively, know what I mean.

What about you? Are you an iPhone user? Do you play Mafia Wars or some other Facebook or Twitter game?



Nintendo Asks GDC 2010 Attendees To

"Play bigger!" demands Nintendo.

That's apparently the official tagline behind Nintendo's marketing push for the DSi XL, revealed at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco alongside a series of WarioWare: DIY ads.

Nintendo is really pushing the make-your-own-game WarioWare: DIY around GDC. The company is known for doing marketing at GDC, however. Last year, they gave out free copies of the sadly underrated Rhythm Heaven to everyone who attended Satoru Iwata's keynote.

The DSi XL launches in North America on March 28 for $189.99.

Have something to share? Sitting on a news tip? E-mail me. You can also follow me on Twitter.

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