Category Archives: Features

Inside EA Spouse & Battle for Middle Earth

‘“I’m sure I’ll be busy,” development director Chris Corry remembers thinking when he joined the project late in the development cycle, in July 2004, after leaving LucasArts. “There will probably be a little bit of crunch for a month or two. You can put up with anything for just a couple of months. Not realizing at the time, of course, that I would be there for probably six or eight weeks before I would be calling recruiters again and saying, ‘Oh, my God, what have I done?’”

Read my full feature in the Washington Post

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Nintendo at the Movies

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“Nintendo had little to no involvement once the crew was on the road. Without guidance, Chisholm was on his own. “This is how my research went: I would call a friend and go, ‘Can I talk to your 12-year-old son?’ And I get the kid on the phone. I go, ‘What’s a good score on this game?’ And he’d go, ‘Like, 50,000.’ I go, ‘Cool. Thank you,’” says Chisholm, explaining some of the gameplay inaccuracies in the film.”

Read my full feature on Nintendo’s transition to Hollywood at Polygon

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Indies at Forbes

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For the past year, I’ve covered indie games for Forbes. Each feature included developer interviews and insights into this rapidly evolving (and crowded) market. These nearly 100 pieces covered the independent scene from across continents, with games varying in scope, budget, and scale.

You can read them all at Forbes.

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Arcade 1Up CEO Interview

“Does that mean the company might follow TMNT with Konami’s other popular brawlers like The Simpsons or X-Men? Bachrach paused for a few seconds when we asked him, then he replied, “Uh, we agree with you that they are very popular cabinets.”

He laughed. So, are those games happening too? “Maybe,” he said with another laugh. “I cannot confirm or deny that.”

Read the full interview at ArsTechnica

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Ivan Reitman Talks Thorazine, Ghostbuster Sequels

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“The story of Ghostbusters was the result of a two week brainstorming session in 1983 (with Reitman joined by stars Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis in Martha’s Vineyard), and a pure Reagan-era reaction. The supernatural entity Gozer was the villain, but so was the government.

“I’ve been sort of a Libertarian,” Reitman says. “I’m actually a double immigrant. Coming to Canada from Czechoslovakia and then immigrating to America from Canada did make me believe in the power of capitalism and the power of the intelligent individual which has been a theme from many of my films.”’

Read my full interview with Ivan Reitman on Polygon

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Physical vs Digital in a Digital Age

“But as Pachter notes, this shift to digital is not definitive. What’s happening is complicated. Simply saying physical games sales fell in revenue doesn’t consider the multitude of other factors. The disc isn’t dead.”

Read my full feature on physical discs via 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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