Trying something new at Disney "That's just how things are." Conventional thought dictates that you release a game with a movie tie-in after the movie has already been out. Yep, that's what conventional wisdom says. Of course, conventional wisdom used to say that the world was flat. The Walt Disney Company has been entertaining us through film for over half a century, and its subsidiary, Disney Interactive has been doing the same on our computers for several years. But even they, with all of their experience have not tried to go against this conventional thought. That is, until now. On … Continue reading The Cart Before The Horse?
A leader in other markets goes after the game industry Contributions to the computer game industry generally come from one of three places: a long-standing powerhouse company, an up-and-coming pioneer and, more rarely, a company that has an established history in other industries that decides to move into ours. It's the last category that is my topic today. How does a company that has a history of great success in other fields spot a need in the game industry? Why then, would they desire to take a risk to fill that need? The best way to get answers would be … Continue reading Focused on Olympus
Creating a new genre in the Age of the Internet. Sometimes I think television should adhere to some kind of truth in advertising law. I started to watch a show called "BattleBots," and much to my disappointment, they didn't show robots at all. I turned the channel, and saw another show, this one called "Robot Wars." This even had ‘robot' in the title, and there wasn't a robot in sight. I know what a robot is; Asimov taught me. The thermostat on my wall is more of a robot than the ‘bots' on these shows. When will we see a … Continue reading Forging Ahead
Out of the hype, but still in the money is a way of life Not everything needs huge amounts of hype to be successful. It sure helps, but it’s not absolutely crucial in order to make a living in this industry. That’s what Bethesda Softworks has been proving time and time again over most of its fifteen-year history. After producing a string of award-winning titles, Bethesda didn’t release any games for a few years, and is now coming out with a whole new line of games that look quite promising. Obviously, if the titles they had put out before were … Continue reading Still Out There…
Trying to make professional gaming a reality. Rare is the game that is released nowadays without some sort of online mode of play. More and more producers are providing means to play over the Internet, even to the point where some games are released without any standalone component at all. The day may indeed come when online is the only way to play. And with this new way of gaming, in came the venues and matching services trying to get players together. This was a very good idea, providing a social atmosphere where people could play friendly games. This was … Continue reading An Exercise in Innovation
A talk with a controversial groundbreaker You don’t have to go very far in a historical conversation without broaching a sensitive or controversial subject. This century had been filled with tragedies, and even talking about some of them "too soon" has been considered controversial. I hear it was quite a number of years before one could bring up the subject of the Titanic without getting strange looks. But I can’t think of too many things more controversial than releasing a game in Germany that is set in World War II. CDV Software Entertainment has done just that. Based in Germany, … Continue reading Is It Too Soon”?”
Sometimes a programmer’s got to do what a programmer’s got to do "Don’t quit your day job," was what people would say to part-time musicians and performers as a way of saying that they weren’t yet ready to make a living in the arts. Some may say the same thing to aspiring game makers in what can be a tough industry. But they also say that you can’t get anywhere without taking chances. Alexandru Marias (or Alex as he likes to be called) lives in Romania, where the standard of living is lower than in the countries typically associated with … Continue reading Taking a Risk
A new company tries to get a piece of the action My grandmother always told me not to put all of my eggs into one basket. But all too often in the interactive software industry, that’s exactly what you have to do. A startup company sometimes can devote its limited resources to the development of just one game. When that happens, the entire future of the company depends upon the success of that game. This is not a problem if the game is good. Heksplex Entertainment started out just developing one game, The Boss, which is a strategy game based … Continue reading Starting Out with a Bang