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The ‘Fractured Soul’ developer talks the development process, frustrations with protecting ideas, and why you should buy their game.

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I hope you guys like interviews (I sure do!), because you’ll be seeing a lot more of them over the coming months. Lined up we have 5th Cell, Junction Point, Broken Rules, and WayForward (tentative), and over the past few months we’ve dealt with n-Space, Renegade Kid’s Jools Watsham, and some writers from Cracked.com (horrible, horrible interview).

Recently I’ve conducted interviews via lists, weird fan-fiction write ups, and as straightforward Q&As. This time I think it’s certifiably appropriate to hit it from the IGN angle: Straightforward Q&A with some splashy fluff and awkward text-ifyings of emotional responses.

Ha ha ha.

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So what’s in store for today? It’s time to get to know the guys behind 3DS’s potential next great platformer, Endgame Studios! A relatively new name to the development scene, they’ve been doing licensed games and dev-for-hire stuff since 2003, but they didn’t foray into independent game design in a serious way until 2005/2006, when the early early concept for ‘Fractured Soul’ came to be. It’s been a long development cycle, but we’re finally nearing its September 13th release date and many people are looking for a reason to pick it up.

So I started with that.

Me and the cloudy, question-answering collective at n-Space virtually sit down to discuss Heroes of Ruin, developmental frustrations, Star Wars: Battlefront, the fate (and possible future) of ‘Winter’, and much more. Even “Mary Kate and Ashley” makes a brief appearance.

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There is only one video game company in the entire world that could simultaneously say it has worked on a series as prolific as Star Wars, legendary as Mary Kate and Ashley, and classic as Roller Coaster Tycoon. That developer is n-Space, who most of you probably know due to their work on the Call of Duty DS games and various other FPS adaptations on Nintendo’s handheld. Their portfolio is huge and their experience dates back to 1997 with a PS1 game called ‘TigerShark’, so needless to say, I went into this interview a little nervous– like a court jester trying to impress the king, or a game blogger trying to interview a well-known developer.

I was ready though, and I stepped into the room prepared for anything. Nothing, however, could have prepared me for that with which I was faced…

It’s an interesting thing to “work” (it’s hardly work- more of a hobby I suppose) in the video gaming industry. All of the things I had questions about five years ago- how people got free games, whether you ever get tired of free games (you do), whether people gouge review scores intentionally, and so on and so forth- have now been answered. And you know what the most striking thing that I’ve learned over the last four years is? How difficult it is to give a game a bad review score. You have no idea how much I struggle with it, or how much I’m willing to bet others struggle with it.

When you’re someone “on the outside”, you just sort of assume that if YOU were in a position to review games you would be brutally honest and never let anything sway your decisions into bias. But it’s not that simple. It’s really not.

I’m getting ahead of myself though, because what I really want to talk about are things I think a lot of gamers ponder: How honest are review scores? Do outlets ever fudge them to get favors from a publisher? Do publishers ever discriminate against certain outlets to avoid getting bad press? I don’t think I’ve seen anyone come out and just tell it as honestly as they can, so (hopefully!) I can do an okay job of just that.

What follows is some insight- as honest as I can put it- from my limited perspective (along with some helpful commentary from the other side, courtesy of our good friend Jools Watsham!), to hopefully answer some of those questions you’ve discussed on message boards or with friends, angrily coming to the conclusion that the reviewing system is biased and unreliable.

And guess what; it is! Sort of.

Onwards to page number 2…

Cracked.com. You guys read it, I read it; everybody in the world reads it, from Los Angeles to San Diego to San Francisco. Nobody can escape its grip of procrastination assistance, made possible by its staff members who sit around and write things that we all find interesting so we can impress our soon-to-be ex-girlfriends with the information we “read online somewhere.”

It’s natural that we enjoy lists, because they’re really ADD- and for those of us who need to bring traffic to our sites, they’re an indispensable tool. Take for example this interview. I could definitely write this interview down in such a way that would be honest and forthright, but that wouldn’t get me as many hits because nobody cares about good bloggism; they care about lists. So here’s an interview, presented as a list, of things I made up to put in a list so I could format this interview as a list.

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#10: Who I Was Interviewing

The folks I had the pleasure of talking to over the last week were none other than senior Cracked geniuses/writers/editors Soren Bowie and Michale Swaim, both of whom worked on a recent video feature for the site’s “After Hours” series where a cast of characters get together and argue about things that the Internet cares about. This week’s topic was “Is Mario a douchebag?”, and while that’s clearly related to everything we care about on NintendoEverything, I’m honestly not quite sure why I was approached to do an interview. Pretty sure they aren’t going to do another Nintendo-related video anytime soon, and they certainly don’t need more publicity than Cracked gives them already, but whatever. I’m down for an interview if they are.

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It was nearly eight months ago now I first got to sit down- on a bench outside of the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3), no less- and play Renegade Kid’s upcoming 2D/3D platformer, Maximillion and the Rise of the Mutant Mudds. There wasn’t a fancy playing station, there weren’t any giant LED screens, and not a single booth babe could be seen; in layman’s terms, all of the flash and glamour of E3 was left indoors with the big budget games, alongside the bells and whistles we’ve come to expect from them. When I played Mudds, the only thing that could force me into enjoyment was the game itself, and much to my delight, it was every bit as fun as I had hoped.

Which is really quite good because believe me, there really isn’t anything more awkward and difficult than telling a developer to his or her face that you don’t like their game.

Fast forward to now, and the game is finally nearing its release date (January 26th, for those unaware!), garnering some much-needed media attention to drum up the hype required for it to sell. Being the good gaming “journalist” I am, I figured it was time for me to do my part, so I sat down with Renegade Kid CEO and co-founder Jools Watsham and forced him to answer some questions in return for my services of marketing his game. Because we at NintendoEverything are nothing but a bunch of sellouts who make absolutely no money. Hit the break for the interview…

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