Daniel Ratcliffe is the creator of the influential Minecraft mod ComputerCraft, which allows players to code for in-game computers. But his latest project, qCraft, is even more audacious - teaching quantum computing to the next generation of programmers. We spoke to him to find out what it was like working with Google, why modpacks dominate Minecraft mod discovery and how to teleport a house to the bottom of the ocean.
Raphael van Lierop may have never had to worry about surviving alone in the wilderness, but he's been close enough to sense the threat. Reminiscing about hunters who would accompany him for protection in college while conducting seismic surveys, he told me of tense months he spent in the wilds of British Columbia and Alberta, where news of grizzly attacks would sometimes drift in from other camps. Even now, working from his home on Vancouver Island, reports occasionally surface of unwary hikers getting lost deep in the woods.
Eidos Montreal's latest gig shaping its Thief reboot treads a fine and shadowy line. The modern entry to the esteemed stealth series has the cautious attention of franchise fans who've long awaited a new Thief, but it's also mixing the new in with the tried-and-true: a grittier and more involved Garrett, an all-revealing Focus mechanic, and a conservative jumping/climbing control scheme.
People are obsessed with pirate ships. Before we sat down to chat proper, Assassin's Creed IV game director Ashraf Ismail told me a story about how one playtester became so enamoured with the Jackdaw that he spent hours boarding it from every possible angle. "You know, we kinda needed to get some other things tested, but we let him at it anyway," Ismail laughed.
Stardock Entertainment has just announced that Fallen Enchantress producer/designer Derek Paxton, who will take over as vice president of games development and production. Stardock CEO Brad Wardell will remain with the company, shifting his focus toward the software and business side of the operation. We had a chance to chat with Derek about his time in the industry so far, what kinds of changes he'd like to see, and what's next for Stardock.
Last Friday at PAX Prime in Seattle, we gathered four of PC gaming's most important people—from left to right: Chris Taylor (GM, Wargaming Seattle), Jon Mavor (Co-Founder, Uber Entertainment), Chris Roberts (Founder, Cloud Imperium Games), and Dean Hall (Creator, DayZ, Bohemia Interactive)—for a discussion on the state of PC gaming. Now, through the magic of streaming video, you too can watch these four titans talk about what they love, what they want, and where they predict our dear hobby is going.
Banished, the medieval-ish city building game from indie developer Luke Hodorowicz, raised some eyebrows early this summer when it seemed to come out of nowhere. Tyler was suffering from SimCity fatigue at the time, and beautiful videos of small towns quietly living off the land cured what ailed him.
What we've seen of The Witcher 3 looks breathtaking, but it's also only a tiny part of the game. The trailers and screenshots coming out of CD Projekt RED have all been taken from the Skellige Islands, just one of the many and varied locations Geralt will be witching through. Talking to us at Gamescom, story writer Jakub Szamalek revealed some of the massive RPG's other regions, as well as the stories to be found in them.
Yesterday, after a long string of complaints, Ubisoft announced that Tom Clancy's The Division will be released on PC after all. The PC version of Watch Dogs, however, was announced with much less fanfare just after the game was revealed at E3 2012. Earlier this month at Ubisoft Montreal, I asked Watch Dogs Senior Producer Dominic Guay why that is, and also discussed the PC features and hardware requirements we can expect, the potential for modding, and plans for post-release content.
Miles Jacobson is, in his own words, “a bit tired, actually.” It turns out the Sports Interactive boss was up until the small hours the previous night organising screenshots for the announcement of Football Manager 14, this year’s iteration of arguably gaming’s most famous simulation. With a promised 1000 improvements and a wealth of new features that offer much more scope for user-generated content, it sounds like a pretty substantial overhaul. So we rang him up to find out more, and ended up discussing pots, PR training and parallel universes.
Earlier this week we announced Betrayer, a self-funded indie FPS from veteran ex-Monolith personnel who have formed their own studio, Blackpowder Games. Betrayer is unique—a 15th-century atmospheric shooter set in colonial Virginia—but I wanted to hear firsthand how Blackpowder's collective decades of experience on other, more action-focused franchises is informing its work on the game.
The action-MMO first known as APB lives on as APB Reloaded. But if your memory serves, you'll recall that the urban, massively-multiplayer shooter had a quick death: APB shut down just months after launching at the end of June 2010, coinciding with the dissolution of developer Realtime Worlds.
The prolific Dave Jones (Grand Theft Auto, Lemmings, Crackdown) was creative director on APB, and while talking with him about his new project—ChronoBlade—I asked Jones to reflect on what he thought APB did well, and what went wrong with its MMOification of cars, cops, and robbers.
Late last week we learned that Arma 3 won’t initially release with any campaign content (something that should make it an interesting challenge to review, for one thing). Instead, Arma 3 will launch with 12 single-player showcases, nine multiplayer scenarios, eight firing drills, and its mission editor, while campaign episodes will parachute in shortly after release. This should allow the military sim to emerge from beta sooner at the cost of staggering its content.
I got in touch with Joris-Jan van't Land (Project Lead) and Jay Crowe (Creative Director) to learn more about about this decision as well as what we should expect from the content of the campaign.
Evan and T.J. recently sat down with Creative Assembly's Al Bickham for a guided tour through the battlefields of the 4th century B.C. in Total War: Rome II. We explore the campaign map with its new mechanics, and jump into a real-time battle to defend a key road to Rome. All the while, we bombard our gracious host with questions about the new face of Total War.
The enormous careers of Dave Jones (Lemmings, Grand Theft Auto, Crackdown, APB) and Stieg Hedlund (Diablo, Diablo II, Ghost Recon), are intersecting in ChronoBlade, an action-RPG published on Facebook. I visited Jones and Hedlund at their studio in San Francisco to talk about what brought them together, their thoughts on the value of independence, and the changing role of publishers in the game industry.
Paradox Development Studio has announced ambitious DLC for Crusader Kings II which will convert your saves from the medieval, Eurocentric sandbox into a playable mod for the upcoming, globe-spanning Renaissance simulator, Europa Universalis IV. Yes, this means that you could potentially play the same faction through over 950 years of alternate history, from CK2: The Old Gods' start date in 867 A.D. to the end point of EU4 in 1821 A.D. I had a chance to grill Henrik Hansson, a programmer who worked on the DLC, on the specifics.
Shadow of the Eternals has had a bit of a rough time getting started. The spiritual successor to Eternal Darkness had a rocky debut on Kickstarter earlier this year, being withdrawn from crowdfunding in June after reaching only 10 percent of its goal with 15 days remaining.
But Precursor Games has re-emerged with a new Kickstarter for Eternals, asking for a lower funding goal and promising the gruff baritone of David Hayter a place in the game. We had the opportunity to speak with Precursor’s Denis Dyack for a brief overview on why Precursor pulled the plug on the original funding effort and what plans the studio has for Eternals on the PC.
Stieg Hedlund’s list of credits are varied. He’s had a hand in Rainbow Six, Ghost Recon, an Oddworld sequel, the original StarCraft and beloved cult games like Comix Zone. Prominently, Hedlund was lead designer on Diablo and Diablo II, so when I had the opportunity to speak with him recently I had to ask what he thought about Diablo III.
Lately Hedlund is working with Grand Theft Auto creator Dave Jones on ChronoBlade, an action-RPG available on Facebook. Look for more interview excerpts from Hedlund and Jones in the coming days.
Recently, Hi-Rez Co-founder and COO Todd Harris announced that Tribes: Ascend—one of our favorite shooters—will not receive major updates for at least six months, with development almost entirely shifting to in-beta MOBA Smite. Harris later added the news that Hi-Rez is looking into releasing map-making tools for the community, a long-requested feature.
We learned during E3 that Dean “Rocket” Hall wants to make a game about mountaineering. The DayZ creator, who climbed Mount Everest in May, tells me it’s a concept he’s wanted to pursue for years, and one he somehow found time to iterate on while ascending Earth’s hat.