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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The Impact of EA Spouse on EA’s Internal Culture

“An example of the post-EA Spouse EA comes from the troubled development of Superman Returns, finishing in late 2006 as the lawsuits began to settle. “My recollection of the last nine months on Superman [Returns] were, I think they were asking us to do 60 hours a week. 12 hours a day, five days a week. … They would cater in dinner every evening and they had the stereotypical crunch culture. It’s stupid, right?,” says Nystrom.”

Read my full story on the internal impact of EA Spouse at Rolling Stone/Glixel

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How Madden 06 Pushed Tiburon to Their Limits

““E3 was the first ‘Oh my god, we’re totally fucked.’ Everyone’s expectation is that we’ll have a fully running game and it’ll be a brand new Madden and it will look just like that trailer did. We were stuck with one character standing in the middle of the stadium. That’s all we could get,” says Cummings.”

Read my full story on Madden 06 at Rolling Stone/Glixel

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Factor 5 and Lair

“You’re crunching to death. You’re working all of these hours and you’re missing your deadlines. And then in addition to that, you’re being told to add these things in the game. It’s really frustrating because you’re just like, ‘I can’t work anymore’ and it’s like, ‘Why are we adding things? Why not make things fun that we already have?’” says Dubrofsky.”

Read my full story on Lair’s development at Polygon

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