Critical Distance. Mapping The Development of Uncharted 3. Try to imagine an alternate universe where, instead of playing through a rollicking action-adventure with affable treasure hunter Nathan Drake, Uncharted took the form of a post-apocalyptic survival horror game.
Or that instead of playing "Uncharted" -- which was about finding El Dorado, the mythical city of gold -- you instead played a game called "Zero Point," focused on the concept of dark energy. Those were some of the ideas that the developers at Naughty Dog threw around at the conclusion of Jak 2's production. Yes, Naughty Dog had already started prototyping ideas for their first "next-generation" console title way back in 2003; though, Naughty Dog co-president Evan Wells elaborates, "When Jak 2 closed, that's when we started thinking about it. Creative Tension. "It was probably all a terrible mistake...
" In 2009, Sean Murray and the rest of the Hello Games team flew to the US to pitch their first title, Joe Danger, to a publisher. It didn't go smoothly. "Everything had been going great," Murray recalls. "We gave probably the best pitch and demo of Joe Danger we've ever done. The whole room seemed to be loving it, and afterwards we kept talking enthusiastically with the game running on this big screen behind us. " Then an unexpected visitor made an appearance. "So this crazy purple snail suddenly shuffles past on the huge projector behind us, about four-foot tall, his eyes just staring out of the screen.
"Someone says, 'Is Joe really small or is that snail really big?' The Hello Games team hadn't given it much thought. Meet Al Lowe, Creator of Leisure Suit Larry. Throughout the nineteen eighties and into the nineties, Sierra was world famous for producing Adventure Games. Many of the most popular games series' ever made were produced in this time. Kings Quest, Police Quest, and Space Quest all appear regularly on top-ten lists. But perhaps the most notorious of all is the Leisure Suit Larry series. Controversial and beloved in sometimes equal measures, creator Al Lowe - the self-professed World's Oldest Games Designer, took some time out to speak with me about his creation and to go behind the scenes at the pioneering games studio. Robin: My first real memory of Leisure suit Larry is of myself and several friends spending hours simply trying to get past the age-verification quiz, so we could even play the first game.
Al Lowe: If only you’d known about Alt-X! Al: Yeah, I understand a lot of kids learnt a lot about history. Brainy Gamer. The term 'genre' eventually becomes pejorative because you're referring to something that's so codified and ritualized it ceases to have the power and meaning it had when it first started.
--Christopher Nolan Here's what we think we know about genre: it limits creativity. It binds artists to tried-and-true formulas and encourages derivative work. A creator must be free to follow her muse, unhindered by prescriptive rules. An artist working on a genre-bound project is like a caged bird. Genres are agents of ideological closure; they limit the meaning-potential of a given text. Artists aren't the only victims. Some artists try hard to avoid genre influences on their work. So it's worth asking: what artist worth his salt would self-impose such constraints?
My name is John Ford, and I make Westerns. Lots of gifted artists have been drawn to genre because of its formulaic nature, and many of our greatest artistic treasures are clear expressions of genre inspiration. Film Noir? Kill Screen - Intern Affairs. Publishers release 1,000 videogames every year, nearly three a day, and you are free to ignore all but the best five of them. One of the 995 games that you ignored in 2008 was MX vs.
ATV: Untamed. In October of 2007, I was doing just this—ignoring MX vs. ATV: Untamed—when I was told by the executive editor of the website GamesRadar, where I was in my second day as an intern, that a team from the publisher THQ had arrived at the office and I would be previewing a racing game for the Nintendo Wii. Beyond Angry Birds. A few months ago, a producer at a major video-game company startled me by admitting that the economic viability of the triple-A video-game production cycle — the expensive development process, in other words, by which games like Halo, Grand Theft Auto, Uncharted, and BioShock are unleashed upon the world — is in all likelihood doomed.
Shortly after that, a developer told me he has a hard time imagining how single-player narrative video games are going to survive in the long run; such games, he believes, will eventually be seen as a historical anomaly. Neither man was particularly thrilled to imagine a future largely absent of the kinds of games he makes and most cares about, but current trends could not be ignored. I told the developer that he sounded a bit like my fiction-writer friends going on about the inevitable death of the novel. “It takes one person to write a novel,” he told me. The Escapist. Rock, Paper, Shotgun.
Quarter to Three. #AltDevBlogADay. Gamasutra Features.