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Ah yes, more financial briefing news from various companies’ third quarter meetings. Today’s quotes? From Final Fantasy and Tomb Raider publisher Square Enix, who says that they had to operate at a loss this past quarter due to how hard it is to make money in an “increasingly difficult” console market:

“During the nine-month period ended December 31, 2012, the Company has not recovered the operating loss posted in the six-month period ended September 30, 2012, primarily due to the increasingly difficult condition of the world-wide console game market, under which the Group is struggling to achieve a fair expected return on its investment.” – Square Enix statement

Well, I see many developers and publishers making quite a bit of money on this industry. I think the real problem here is that Square Enix is putting out games that are good, but not quite up the alley of most consumers in most regions right now. You’ve gotta read the markets, and the markets aren’t asking for mediocre Final Fantasy games, Square!

Via Gamespot

A few years ago, Axl Rose (frontman of Guns N’ Roses) sued Activision for apparently breaching contract and using “Welcome to the Jungle” fraudulently in Guitar Hero 3. He also said that the game shouldn’t have been allowed to use the Slash character model, because Activision supposedly said there would be no in-game references to Slash or his band “Velvet Revolver”.

I can’t comment on the validity of any of these claims, but the judge in the case dismissed it pretty early on– setting a court date for this month– and apparently things aren’t looking that much better for the former GNR frontman this time around.


I don’t know much about the technical talk going on here, but from what I understand Atari has secured “debtor-in-possession” financing, which will allow it to continue operating through its recently filed bankruptcy. The total amount they obtained was $5 million, with stipulations of the funds being that they would be under advisement by a firm who would help them decide how and where to sell their assets.

Well… I guess we’ll see how long it takes before someone else takes over the Atari name and tries to revive it!

Via Polygon

RSI– also known as “repetitive strain injury”– is a painful muscle/joint/bone/something condition that can be brought on by extensive and strenuous use of a particular muscle in the human body. The latest victim of this relatively common condition is Smash Bros. director and Kirby series creator Masahiro Sakura, who says many years of programming and testing has left his hands in pain too often to do excessive work:

“Using a mouse, keyboard or gamepad make my arm tired, so I can’t use them in a continual manner. The only device I can use for an extended period of time is a joystick. It’s posing problems when I’m test-playing something in progress.”

“I figure that if I cut down on writing emails and other things, try not to type in so much data myself, and start giving more verbal directions, that’ll reduce the amount of keyboard-oriented work I have to do. But if I’m going to be supervising other people’s work, there’s no way to cut down the amount of mouse usage I need to perform. I’m trying to work it with my left hand in order to give the right one some rest, but that definitely cuts down on my work efficiency…”

So what’s a prolific game designer to do!? Sakurai says he’s going to try using a trackball mouse instead of a traditional one. Best of luck to him! I hope it helps him regain the efficiency he desires.

Via Polygon

Everyone’s favorite (and only!) No More Heroes developer Grasshopper Manufacturer has been purchased by Ragnorak Online publisher “Gungho Online Entertainment”, but how this affects Suda51 and his team’s development process remains to be seen. Word on the street is that the developer will be operating as normal, and has teamed up purely to give them more resources to realize their vision.

“By joining GungHo Online Entertainment, we are aligning ourselves with a strong, established publishing force that will support our vision to further create inspired new games that appeal players across the world. The Grasshopper team and I have many new ideas to share with our fans as we move forward so this union with GOE will help us realize our future plans.” – Grasshopper Manufacturer Founder Goichi Suda

Via Eurogamer

“At Disney there’s very little [violent content], but I still want to make sure we’re asking ourselves the right questions in terms of that standard and also [ensure] we’re willing to be a part of a dialogue in today’s world that I think is pretty necessary in terms of what our role is and what our role should be.” – Disney CEO Robert Iger

A respectable point of view, if I do say so myself. Even though there isn’t a definitive link between violence in games and violent behavior, all of us– developers and gamers alike– need to be open to at least discussion and objectively examining our hobby just in case it plays any role in stuff like this. And if it doesn’t, the self-examination can only serve to increase our awareness about how much tasteless violence there is in video games, which is something we should strive to cut back on for the sake of the art.

Develop Online Via MCVUK

At first glance something like this comes off as a little “odd”, but when you get passed the weird translation oddities and the stigma of being weirdly artistic in this industry, I think this sort of thing is super awesome to see from a developer. The following is a (long) piece written by Earthbound series creator Shigesato Itio where he tells you exactly what the games mean to him as a person. It’s a pleasant little read if you’ve got some time to kill!

You can find it all after the break actually, since it’s pretty long.

The birth of the internet has brought about the death of “secretive” game design, but what is it, and can a few developers keep it on life support long enough for a resurgence?

Author: Austin

It might be the most common legitimate complaint among game-players this side of DLC being exploited to high heaven: Games nowadays are just too easy. We used to live in a golden age of toughness, and now our hands are held through even the most simplistic of tasks. We used to spend weeks or months trying one particular part in a game before we beat it. We used to get satisfaction from figuring these things out. Now you never spend more than half an hour on any given task before looking up the answer online and continuing on with the game. After all, anything that gets in the way of you having fun right this second is bad for the game, right?

Maybe. There’s no use starting off on a tirade about how easy games are bad, or how games built for constant stimulation are degrading the industry. There is then, similarly, no use in preaching the power of difficulty, or making the falsely “bold” claim that every game needs to be as hard as Mega Man 2. They don’t, and they aren’t. Any declaration of any type of game being intrinsically superior to any other type of game should be– though usually isn’t– ignored in lieu of fostering somewhat more positive discussion about a hobby and/or passion most of us share.

No, the problem is not that ridiculously easy games exist. The problem isn’t really even that ridiculously hard games don’t exist. The problem is that ridiculously hard games don’t exist in the same way that they used to.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that THQ has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. After months of struggling, the company will now enter a purchasing agreement with a bidder to acquire “substantially all of the assets of THQ’s operating business, including THQ’s four owned studios and games in development.”

Filing for bankruptcy will allow for an easier transition of owned studios and games that are currently in the works. THQ Wireless, THQ Digital Studios Phoenix, Saints Row developer Volition Inc., and Darksiders creator Vigil Games are specifically mentioned in the announcement.

After any tragic public display of violence– such as the recent, heartbreaking shooting at Sandy Hook elementary in Newtown, Connecticut– there is always a certain subset of society that instantly tries to find something to blame like video games, movies, gun control laws, the media, etc. While narrowing the causes down to anything so simple is somewhat shortsighted and narrow-minded, it hasn’t stopped the UK tabloids from spreading misinformation about the shooter from Friday’s events.

“The Sun” and “The Daily Express” have both said they got information from a plumber (the irony is not lost) who got a look into the basement room where the shooter spent most of his time, and they said he appeared to play “Call of Duty” and “Dynasty Warriors”.

Via EuroGamer