The Division 2 Review

“Division 2” is the worst of ‘stand your ground’ laws and ‘good guy with a gun’ beliefs. Enemies wander the streets, guns outstretched sideways as they blindly fire like Hollywood’s abysmal thug stereotypes. There’s no narrative context for their actions, or why all of them willingly die for their cause – or what their cause actually is. They just hate innocents. That makes them easy villains to conservative eyes. They’re bad guys, the lot of them, and that’s all anyone needs to know. “The Division 2” may as well be Carlson’s primetime lead.”

Read my full review of The Division 2 at Variety

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Crackdown 3 Review

““Crackdown 3” makes The Agency a righteous hero. Before, they took on an anti-hero performance, a conventional spin on “Judge Dredd.” It’s an interesting transformation for “Crackdown,” dealt with a heavy-handed, anti-corporate mindset. That’s derivative in contemporary media. It seems implausible anyone chose to live in New Providence, poisoned water and blatant propaganda blaring over loudspeakers (which can be hacked to push Agency propaganda so no one wins). Then again, someone in real-world power does indeed want a wall to keep out refugees and people show support, so who knows.”

Read my full review of Crackdown 3 at Variety

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On Diablo Jr.

“In the four to six months of life given to “Diablo Junior,” Morin and his team debated a number of ideas. One was whether or not to make a turn-based, traditional RPG or something akin to the PC’s hack-and-slash style. If anything held influence, that was Nintendo’s massive success with “Pokemon.” Imagine “Diablo” split off into multiple cartridges, either with different character classes (a Knight on one, a Mage on another) or varying monster types to find/collect/trade.”

Read my full story on Diablo: Jr at Variety

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On Golden Axe: Beast Rider

“In those final months, Secret Level laid off a number of junior staff members. In their place, the studio hired a number of experienced designers, artists, and coders in attempt to salvage the fledgling “Beast Rider.” Even producers shifted on the charge to turn “Beast Rider” into something playable. But it still wasn’t playable after a delay to finish “Iron Man,” still struggling with frame rate problems and uneven vision.

Butler came in with a year to go. “They gave me a design document and said don’t read it. It was about the size of the bible. They said that’s all changed now.”

When Acero joined on with two years to go, he was told, “You’re basically inheriting a mess,” he says.”

Read my full feature on Golden Axe: Beast Rider at Variety

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On Six Days in Fallujah

“Alongside destruction, cultural concerns enter the discussion, particularly religious sensitivities. “Even though it was a fully destructible game, we’re not going to allow anyone playing the game to destroy mosques. We don’t want that to be recorded, videoed, and then put on YouTube and it shows people laughing. Suddenly, you’d trivialized a nation’s culture,” says Cheever.”

Read my full piece on Six Days in Fallujah at Variety

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The Making of Splatterhouse (2010)

‘“Everyone on the team drew a straw,” Robinson continues. “That straw meant you had to fix any bug in the game, and you had to be on call. It was close to 20 of us. I would show up at 4, 5 o’clock, and I would produce my other games until 6 or 7. Everyone would submit their last overnight build and I would play until the morning. As soon as I hit a bug, I’d call up whoever was in charge that day, they would run in, fix it, and I would start the play cycle again. We gained 22 days back.”’

Read my full story on the development of Splatterhouse at Polygon

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Kerbal Space Program’s Customizers

 

“For the dedicated, playing Kerbal means recreating reality. Forget Steel Battalion and buying an elaborate control plank—Kerbal die-hards concoct their custom electronics for the sake of total authenticity. Some base their designs on actual NASA hardware. Others reach for cardboard frames to get started, looking for anything to improve their Kerbal sessions. Finding a better way to play, in this case, means whatever it takes.”

Read my full feature on Kerbal custom controllers at PC Gamer

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