img src=";loc=300;key=key1+key2+key3+key4;grp=[group]" border="0" width="160" height="600"> The inner ramblings of a videogamer: 2014

Saturday, 6 December 2014

Street Fighter V: Console exclusivity and gamer hypocrisy

Street Fighter V
 The big news to hit the Internet recently, is that Capcom's newly announced Street Fighter V will be exclusive to the PS4 and Windows PC.

The mere mention of yet another high profile 3rd party IP getting the console exclusivity treatment has caused outrage amongst gamers. More specifically the Xbox crowd, who are outraged that a game from such a popular, previously multiplat franchise will become a console exclusive. Those on the Sony front have been quick to point out the hypocrisy in such a statement, raising the counter argument that Xbox fans were fine with console exclusivity, when Square Enix previously announced they'll be releasing Rise of the Tomb Raider the next title in the highly acclaimed and previously multiplat franchise, Tomb Raider exclusively on Xbox 360 and Xbox One.

We eventually learned that Rise of the Tomb Raider is in actual fact only a timed Xbox exclusive, Street Fighter V on the other hand will only be available for the PS4 (And Windows PC). Never the less, the parallels between these two exclusivity deals have been drawn and discussion has led to outright arguments as it so often does.

All valid arguments posed on the subject essentially boil down to this "If it's not OK for Sony to purchase exclusivity rights for a popular multiplat title, then it's not OK for Microsoft" Which in all fairness is true, but what is fair in life is of little consequence in business.

Rise of the Tomb Raider, the one year exclusivity deal that divided a fanbase
It really should come as no surprise to anyone, to learn that the vast majority of console exclusivity deals are made with each participating companies best interest in mind. When either Sony, Microsoft or Nintendo for that matter, decide to purchase exclusivity rights for a popular 3rd party multiplat title, it is more often than not because they wish to use the wide spread popularity of that IP to entice gamers who do not own their console into purchasing it. Because once you own their console you'll probably want to justify that purchase by buying more exclusive games.

But what is in it for the developer you ask? How could it be in their benefit to have their popular multiplat franchise become a console exclusive? In the end, are they not effectively cutting off half of their potential consumer base?

Well, apart from the large sum of money they receive for going through with an exclusivity deal, the developer also receives aid in promoting and advertising their product. Because when a popular multiplat title becomes a console exclusive, you can bet the company who now owns the rights to sell that game on their console will want to let everyone know about it.

This makes perfect sense from a business stand point, but can be seen as quite the dick move by those gamers who now have to wait for the timed exclusivity deal to end. They could do exactly what the company who paid for console exclusivity is hoping for and take the plunge. However, purchasing a new console in order to play the game is not a viable option for everyone.

Console exclusivity of populer multiplat titles is nothing new
Here's some you may remember
People suggesting that Microsoft provoked Sony into making Street Fighter V a console exclusive, is that really not just a convenient way to point the finger and play the blame game? These decisions are not made so arbitrarily.

Yes, Sony in this instance may well be doing what Microsoft have been doing for years. But it would be foolish to claim that Microsoft are forcing their hand, and it would be outright delusional to suggest that Sony themselves have not previously purchased the rights to have popular 3rd party titles exclusively on their consoles.
For every Titanfall there is a Bloodborne
And for every Rise of the Tomb Raider there is Street Fighter V
When all is said and done, 3rd party exclusives exist because they make money. I'm not trying to justify them, just pointing out the reason why they are still a thing and that this is the only reason and justification Sony, Microsoft or Nintendo will ever need. On the other hand though, people are starting to wise up to the fact that many 3rd party exclusives are really just timed exclusives. Making the obvious choose to wait it out, until the game you want is inevitably released on your console of choice a year later with all their patches and DLC on the disc may even save you money in the long run.

For the record, I don't personally feel that multiplat titles like Street Fighter orTomb Raider, should be made exclusive to just one console. My reasoning is simple, making a game that is part of a long running multiplat franchise, exclusive to just one console inevitably deprives people who have played a large part in making that franchise so popular in the first place.

Image self explanatory...
That's my view, but whatever your opinion may be on the matter, the petty blame games and hypocrisy needs to stop. If a big company chooses to purchase the exclusive rights to a popular 3rd party multiplat title, it will have nothing to do with small minded One-upmanship. It will simply be because they believe profit can be made.

Thanks for checking out my blog. It's been quite a while since I last wrote one and I'm probably a bit rusty. Never the less, I thought the subject would make for an interesting read.

As always, do let me know what your personal views are in the comments section.

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Thursday, 27 November 2014

New indie dev Dunham Bro's Games releases first mobile game Chick Chick Chicky Deluxe

Chick Chick Chicky Deluxe

Hello there! I'm Daniel, co-founder of Dunham Bro's Games, a two-man indie videogame developer. We've recently released our very first mobile indie game Chick Chick Chicky Deluxe, a cute, addictive, colourful and fast paced 2D collectathon game, inspired by Pacman but offering exciting new twists on the genre.

The gameplay is similar to Pacman, but with many changes and additions. You can choose to play as "Chicky" or "Ducky" and set about collecting all the seeds scattered about each stage, all while attempting to avoid the Kittens. Like Pacman you can collect power ups in the form of a "Golden Super Feather" that let you turn the tables on your pursuers. But unlike Pacman, Chicky can use additional power ups, such as the "Blue Speed Feather" and the Bubble Shield to name just a few.

With it's colourful art style, cheery music, cute characters and fast paced gameplay Chick Chick Chicky Deluxe is definitely worth checking out if you're a fan of 2D or retro style games!

Chick Chick Chicky Deluxe is currently only available for Android devices, but we are planing to release versions for both IOS and Windows in the very near future.

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

The Inner Ramblings Of A Videogamer Interviews Indie Developer Kitatus Studios

(Please note. Unfortunately Distro Horizons Vs. Galaximo's Army Kickstarter campaign was unsucesful. Kitatus Studios have moved on now to launch a Indiegogo campaign that can be found here Distro Horizons - 3D Collectathon Project,

"Distro Horizons Vs. Galaximo's Army" is a 3D collectathon project created by Kitatus Studios. Inspired by the greats (Banjo Kazooie, Super Mario 64, Crash Bandicoot, Conker's Bad Fur Day), Distro Horizons takes what made the collectathon genre so great and propels the genre into the modern day!"

Recently I had the privilege of conducting yet another exclusive, in depth interview with UK based indie developer Kitatus Studios, where I was offered a sneak peak into the world of their up and coming 3D open world collectathon project, Distro Horizons Vs. Galaximo's Army.

Many of the members of Kitatus Studios have prior experience in videogame development, and with Distro Horizons Vs. Galaximo's Army, they hope to offer gamers a new and enjoyable experience that old fans of  collectathon games can enjoy as well as newcomers to the genre. Distro Horizons draws strong inspiration from past 3D collectathon titles, such as Banjo Kazooie, Super Mario 64, Crash Bandicoot and Conker's Bad Fur Day. But also offers new and unique ideas, as well  implementing modern day gameplay mechanics the likes not seen in past collectathon titles.

Check out the exclusive interview below, along with some screenshots from the Kickstarter demo of Distro Horizons Vs. Galaximo's Army.

(This Interview was conducted over Skype chat.)

TIR: So, first of all. Tell me a little about your company Kitatus Studios, and the people involved in creating Distro Horizons VS Galaximo's Army?

KS: Well, we're quite a small indie company, about as small as indie companies get. There's 10 members as of now, but we all double up on our work. For example, we have our art director who also doubles up as our marketing director. So even though we're a small group, we have a few people doing many things, as apposed to a large company like say EA, who has many people doing a single thing.

KS: This really helps with communication, so we don't have to worry about anyone being left out of the loop if say, we decide to shift direction or implement new ideas.

TIR: It is true that in many large developer companies, there does tend be a lot of miscommunication going on due to the sheer size of the teams.

KS: Definitely, it's a big positive that comes with a having a small company. Also, I might be the project lead, but it doesn't mean I'm captain of the ship and I say "full speed ahead," everyone here has their say on how we should go forward or what should happen next. But from the outset, we always wanted to make a collectathon game.To be honest they're one of personal favourite genres of all time.

TIR: Same here, (laughs)

KS: Fantastic (laughs)

KS: Well, in the beginning, the art director and myself were sitting there discussing what kind of main character for Distro Horizons wouldn't "suck", and suddenly a cat came into the conversation, and then a cat-man and well there you have it. It's the same way Hideo Kojima went about developing Metal Gear Solid 2, where yeah, you might have job that doesn't involve actually designing anything but it doesn't mean you don't have input on the project because at the end of the day, everyone who's part of the teams name is going to be associated with the game, so you may as well be making something you're proud of.

KS: Basically, everyone here gets to have input, and we have all contributed to what is now known as Distro Horizon.

TIR: That sounds like fair approach. So, onto the next question.

TIR: The collectathon genre has been somewhat absent from video gaming for a while now, why is it that you chose to develop a game like Distro Horizons, as apposed to a game for a more popular genre?

KS: The art director laughed when I explained this to her, but basically I'm getting board of shooting things. Everyday you go down the to your local video games retailer, or go online or check out Steam daily deals, and pretty much everything is about shooting things. The industry has become oversaturated with shooting games, and yes they sell well, but they're not the only genre worth playing. Indie developers should be the ones trying to break the mould, we should be the ones to go against industry trends and to try to provide gamers with something fresh, interesting and enjoyable to play.

KS: As I said earlier, collectathon games are one of my favourite genre of games. So when I was discussing what kind of game to make with Scarlet, our art director and marketing manager. Conkers Bad Fur Day came up and we starting think "Why aren't there many collectathon games around these days" and that got us thinking about games such as Banjo Kazooie, Super Mario 64 and Crash Bandicoot. They're the types of games that you can think back on and recall all the memorable experiences, exploring unique worlds and meeting fun, interesting characters. You can't really get that same experience with games like Call Of Duty or Battlefield because they're grounded so firmly in reality.

TIR: It's true that a lot of games we played in the past are still good games in their own right, many still hold up well today.

KS: That's the thing. Just look at the recent HD port of Banjo Kazooie 2, it still stands the test of time today, and it's success serves to prove that the genre is still relevant. I know people that never go the chance to play it when it first came out, and many of them really enjoy it because the gameplay mechanics are timeless.

TIR: I agree, the game holds up very well considering how long ago it was released.

KS: Exactly. What we want to do is bring back the collectathon genre, but use new skills and tools that weren't available back when these games were first released, and improve upon them by adding our own ideas, and unique gameplay mechanics. I want to create something that I would sit down with and think "Wow! This a really fun game" because that's what Kitatus Studios is all about, creating fun and unique games, that hopefully other people will find just as fun and timeless as the games I enjoyed playing in the past.

TIR: Ok, so we'll move on to the next question.

TIR: You recently started a Kickstarter campaign for Distro Horizons. Can you tell me a little about why you turned to crowd funding? And what a successful campaign will mean for the future of Distro?

KS: We've turned to crowd funding because up until now, Distro Horizons has been funded purely by the art director and myself. And, I'm not going to lie, making a video game puts a tremendous amount of strain on your resources. Realistically, yes we could make a game without crowd funding but it's not going to be the Distro Horizons that we want to give gamers, it's just not going to have the polish and everything that we so want to offer.

KS: When creating a game, you need animators, you need riggers, and you need to live at the end of the day. We do have funds of our own, that we got together before I quit my job to focus on the project. But obviously, that's not going to last forever, so we need help from gamers so that we can bring the world of Distro alive in a way that's not just to our tastes, but that we feel other gamers will enjoy and want t be a part of making a reality.

KS: The great thing about Kickstarter, is it lets gamers have their say about what they want to see and what they think doesn't work. With Kickstarter, gamers can help shape the game and feel more a part of the world, the characters and the story. We really want this to be a community drive project as apposed to just some guy in the a suit giving us a check to do what we want with.

TIR: I'm sure people will be glad to hear that. Allowing potential consumers to have input in a project they like the look of really is one of Kickstarters greatest strengths.

KS: Exactly, that's why I always want Kitatus Studios to be an indie company. I don't want a big publisher pulling the strings to make more money, I want to create games that people will enjoy.

KS: We want it have it so that people can say "Oh, wouldn't it be cool if in this boss battle, he would transform into to some giant Hoover or something" That would just make it more of a community driven project, instead of just about making money. That's not what we're about, we don't do this to make money we do this to create experiences for people to enjoy.

TIR: Ok, sounds great.

KS: Thanks.

TIR: Moving on again. You've stated on you Kickstarter page that you won't be making any DLC for Distro Horizon, is there any reason in particular for that decision?

KS: That's correct. It was hard to explain to the team exactly why at first, because they just heard "No DLC" and well everyone does it these days right? But I think people need to realise that DLC can actually be a bad thing, because some companies, especially large AAA developers, like to hold back content to sell to you later down the line.

KS: The main idea here is, we're not going to hold back content to sell you later. If you buy Distro Horizons you won't need to worry about us trying to charge you £10 down the line. When you buy the game that means you'll be getting the whole game, and if we ever feel like we want to add something down the line, we'll save that for the sequel if the consumers want one. Actually I wouldn't really call them consumers, big companies see people as consumers and just focus on how many more they can acquire by making their game accessible, and how much money they can get through DLC, or expansions, or charging for horse armour.

KS: But that's not who we are, we're about making games for gamers. If someone purchases our game then we want them to be getting all of it. We want gamers to feel like "I'll get a game from these guys, because at least I know they won't be trying to charge me for cut content a few weeks or months from now"

TIR: I'm sure a lot of people will be happy to hear that, it has become somewhat of an industry trend to hold back content to be sold to consumers at a later date.

TIR: I'll move onto the next question now.

TIR: Can you tell me a little about the plot and story of Distro Horizons?

KS: It's pretty simple when compared to many other games, but basically. The story goes, Distro lives with his family and has this little stuffed animal called Teddy, who he plays with like a little friend. It's a nice little family, all Hunky-dory. But one night, as Distro is going to bed a shooting start flies across the sky, but instead of Distro making a wish for his stuffed Teddy friend to come to life as many would probably expect.

KS: There's instead, a huge crashing sound from outside, Distro goes out to check what it was and sees that his parents were abducted by Aliens. He then chases after the Aliens who have his parents, with his little Teddy on his back, but then he also gets abducted by the Aliens.

KS: Afterwards Distro and his family get taken to Galaximo's big Alien space ship. Galaximo is the villain in the story and his plan is to abduct all the creatures from many different planets, and make them his slaves in order to build his Mega Kingdom.

TIR: Oh,  right. He does sound like a villain.

KS: Distro is then sent the the prisons on the huge Alien ship, but at that time notices that Teddy isn't with him anymore. So he's confused and worried because Teddy is his best friend, even though Teddy isn't real he's still his best friend, because, well Distro's a bit special like that. But, at that moment Teddy swoops down and saves the day, and breaks Distro free from the Aliens keeping him captive.

KS: We've not yet come up with a name for the Aliens, we'll maybe go with something weird, I like weird. (laughs)

TIR: (Laughs)

KS: Although, maybe we'll ask the community for some ideas, since I think that kind of community input would be great.

TIR: That sounds like a good idea.

KS: So, anyway it seems that Teddy has become "real" somehow. The story then moves onto Distro and Teddy breaking into this big control room, which is going to be the hub world that links to many different dimensions by collecting vinyls. Yeah vinyls (laughs).

TIR: Oh, really? (Laughs)

KS: Yeah, music vinyls that will power up a massive music system that's going to break down the shield on Galaximo's little chamber, so they can get in, stop him and save all the people who've been abducted. So, yeah it's pretty random, but we here at Kitatus, as you've probably guessed right now, don't do normal (laughs)

TIR: It seems so (laughs) But it's certainly interesting.

KS: Thank you.

TIR: I'll move onto the next question now.

TIR: Are there any video games in particular that helped inspire the creation of Distro Horizons?

KS: Yes, actually I've got a small list of them. I've listed a few of them on our Kickstarter page already but I'll just run down the list here.

KS: We've got Banjo Kazooie, because how can you not be inspired by that game? We've got Conkers Bad Fur Day, and we've then got Crash Bandicoot. Saying that though, the finished product will be far more open world than Crash Bandicoot, but we've still drawn heavy inspiration from that franchise. Obviously we've also got Super Mario 64 because that was the king of collectathon games as well as platformers.

TIR: That's certainly true.

KS: And you may or may not have guessed already, but we've also drawn inspiration from The Legend of Zelda Wind Waker, not to mention pulling a leaf out of the Jet Set Radio art style. Now, we're not trying to make the game look "Cartoony" but we certainly wanted a cartoony element to be present.

TIR: Iwas going to say that the character design looks similar to those you'd find in Wind waker.

KS: It's funny how that happened. You see we're using the Unity engine to build the game, and whilst testing the animations of some fat type of monster whilst using Distro's character model, it swelled his his head up to a stupid size. But oddly enough it worked, it fits the kind of world we're looking to create.

TIR: So, in what way does Distro being a "cat-man" play into the game?

KS: Well, he was actually going to be a "cat-vampire" just prove how weird we can get (laughs) But we decided to tone it back a bit because Vampires are obviously closely associated with blood, so in the end we felt that such a character would remove the kind of child like daydream feel to the game.

KS: There is a reason we went with a "cat-man" design, some of which have to do with the skills you'll learn or the way you'll traverse the world. So.we Have a few ideas of what we're going to do, however because we're still so very early into developing Distro Horizons, I don't want to say anything definite that unfortunately might not make it into the finished product.

TIR: Well, that's understandable

TIR: I'll move onto the next question.

TIR: What aspects of the collectathon genre do you hope to bring forward to today's gamers?

KS: The main aspect we want to offer gamers is big open worlds, those where you can go off the beaten path and discover hidden areas. For, example imagine coming across a tiny mouse hole, but when entering it you suddenly come to this massive room that you never knew existed .We want to give gamers a sense of achievement and wonder when discovering something hidden away.

KS: Obviously it's important that gamers know where they should be heading, but we don't want to force them down path A to B. We're not looking to hold gamers hands, we want to encourage gamers to cut loose and try to discover all the secrets scattered throughout the games world themselves. So, that' definitely the biggest aspect of the genre we're looking to incorporate.

KS: But at the same time, we want to incorporate modern gameplay mechanics such as gaining experience from killing enemies, that can be then used gain new skills and to make Distro more powerful. In a lot of collectathon games, enemies are just there to get in the way and can often be a chore to fight, but by incorporating a level up system, it adds an additional layer and gives the enemies a bigger purpose as apposed to just being an annoying inconvenience for the player.

KS: We want to keep the collectathon genre as intact as possible, but while at the same time adding new layers that don't seem intrusive but feel natural. There have been a few gameplay mechanics that we put in, but had to remove because we felt they didn't work or fit well in the genre.

TIR: I do like the idea of including a levelling system.

TIR: Can you tell me how many levels the game will have? Also, do you plan on having any boss battles?

KS: The levels are actually split into different dimensions. We call them "Dimensions" because each new stage is actually a new world, completely different from one another.

KS: We have 9 main dimension and then the boss battles at the end of each. But when I say "dimensions" instead of "worlds," it's because they all have a completely different art style. They all work as if they are part of a separate game whilst still offering players the same basic controls. Basically, each dimension will require the player to traverse them in unique ways and will offer unique and interesting obstacles.

KS: I'll let the lid off of this just for our exclusive interview. We hav very a special dimension, dimension No. 7 I think it is, called "Master Ginrei's Video Game Challenge" It's going to be very much in the style of something you'd find in a Saints Row game. Where we'll be basically taking the mick out of various video games all one after the other as quickly as possible.

KS: What we want, is to have it to so that even though you're jumping from one dimension to another, you still feel like you're playing Distro Horizons, you still feel like you're in the same game. It sounds really confusing when taking about it, but it will make sense when players get to experience it themselves.

KS: As for the boss battles, we were actually really inspired by Crash Bandicoot's boss battles, specifically in Crash Bandicoot 3. I'm not sure if you've ever played the game, but you'd complete a certain number of levels and I think on the 3rd level you'd enter a Boss battle, the level would be completely different to those before hand and would also offer different gameplay when compared to the how you normally played the game. Some would require you to use new skills you'd learnt in the previous levels, or use the environment to your advantage. Basically they were just very fun, well crafted Boss battles.

KS: What we plan to d,o is to have the different dimensions in the game centred around the bosses, and have each boss battle be unique and require the player to use new skills and tactics in order to beat them.

TIR: That sounds very interesting. The way you travel to different dimensions and fight unique boss battles, sounds very much in the spirit of the classic collectathon games many of us played whilst growing up.

TIR: So moving on, Who are your intended target demographic? For example are you aiming to appeal old-school fans of the collectathon genre, or are you hoping to appeal to as wide an audience as possible?

KS: We want a wide audience, but then again we don't. I know that's kind of odd for a company to say, but we want to attract a specific group of people. Yes, amongst those people are the fans who enjoyed collectathon games growing up, but we also want to attract gamers who like the idea of Distro, who enjoy the concept, and also those who may never have gotten a chance to play a collectathon game before.

KS: Personally, the main audience for Distro as far as I'm concerned is for kids and teenagers, those who may find themselves alone a lot or who've got nothing to do. Of course kids and teenagers have many other games to play these days, but do we really want them growing up and looking back on COD or Battlefield and the like? Or would they have better memories of playing a game similar to the fun, open world collectathon games we grew up playing, tand hat still hold up today?

KS: Of course that's not so say adults won't find enjoyment in the game, in fact I'm certain they will.

TIR: It's true that young gamers today, tend to play many games that have a heavy focus on visceral gore, sex and guns. Instead of, well not "child friendly games" but games that can be enjoyed by all ages.

KS: Exactly, that's why I'd like to encourage younger gamers to start playing not "child friendly games" but "child compatible games" Where, yeah, the game may be aimed at an older audience, but you haven't got all the graphic violence, sex and gun crime that appear in many of the games younger gamers tend to want to play today.

KS: What I want to offer gamers with Distro, is a more innocent alternative. Something that gamers of any age can sit down with and enjoy, simply for it being a fun and enjoyable game.

TIR: So, moving on gain. On What platforms are you planning on making Distro Horizons VS Galaximo's Army available?

KS: Well, we have four main platforms currently in mind, those being PC / Mac / Linux & Ouya, yes even the Ouya (laughs)

KS: I know some people see the Ouya as a "failed console" but personally, I see it as a console lacking in worth while games. I'm not saying Distro Horizons will suddenly make the console appealing to gamers, but it certainly can't hurt having more games available on the platform. Also, having our game available on as many platforms as possible could only be a good thing.

KS: We have more platforms we'd like to have Distro Horizons available on, such as mobiles and the like, but we'd want to incorporate a model where gamers get to purchase the parts of the game they want to play. We're not sure if that kind of thing would work since it's a very foreign method of distribution, but we'd like to try, if the game reaches the stretch goal. For now though, the four platforms mentioned above are what we're currently developing for.

TIR: Ok, next question. Will the characters in Distro Horizons be voiced? Or are you going with written text only?

KS: Well, we're in talks with an actor who's very interested in voicing Distro. However, we're currently not ready to announce whether we'll be using voice actors or just text, because to be honest we're not 100% sure about that ourselves at the moment.

KS: It comes down to the question of whether or not people will be bored just reading a bunch of text on screen, or whether or not people would even want voices in a game like this.

TIR: That's understandable, there are many pros and cons either way. The Legend Of Zelda for example, has been without voice acting for years, and the fanbase is split right down the middle with people arguing for or against voice acting.

KS: With the Zelda franchise, I think that it's become such a staple of the series now, that if Nintendo were to add voice actors it would just alienate the fanbase. We really just want to weigh out the pros and cons and see what the best choice for us would be.

KS: Actually, that many be a good question to bring up the community.

TIR: That sounds like a good idea. It's a question many gamers will have an opinion on, so it's certainly worth bringing up with the community.

KS: I think we'll do that, we'll bring it up with our Kickstarter backers. After all that's the beauty of Kickstarter, we get to turn to the community and say "Hey, this is your game what would you want?"

TIR: So  moving to the final question. Is there anything else, you as the developer would like to say about your project, that I might not have asked already?

KS: What I will say is, a lot of people have been viewing the Kickstarter page lately, and reading the indie database page, but sadly not watching our video and just scrolling through or clicking off altogether. 

KS: Yes, we're an indie company, so we're not going to get the most exposure. But just because we don't have thousands upon thousands of pounds in order to create a AAA title, doesn't mean we're going to make a terrible game.

KS: A small indie developers game is just as much a game as say COD, Zelda or even Braid and Super Meat Boy. The ideas behind Distro Horizon are built on love for games, we may not have the budget needed to market the game and get it on the side of busses or whatever, but that doesn't make Distro Horizons any less of a game compared to those coming from big publishers.

KS: If you love games then support indie developers, because we're making games that gamers will want to play and enjoy. Not because we want to make a ton of money, money isn't what we're in it for, we're in it because we love making games and we want to offer gamers the best experiance that we can provide for them.

TIR: Ok, I think we'll end it there. Thanks for joining me today Ryan, it's been a pleasure talking with you and I wish you the best of look with Distro Horizons VS. Galaximo's Army.

KS: Thank you, it's been pleasure talking with you too.

(This concludes the interview with Kitatus Studios)

And there you have it, Kitatus Studios Distro Horizons Vs. Galaximo's Army, certainly sounds very interesting. Personally, I really like the ideas behind the project and look forward to seeing more of the game, as well as what unique elements Kitatus Studios can bring to the collectathon genre.

If you're interested in finding out more about Distro Horizons Vs. Galaximo's Army, or want to help fund the project. Head over to Kitatus Studios new Indiegogo page Distro Horizons - 3D Collectathon Project, where you can also play a bare-bones demonstration of what the team are hoping to offer.

You can also follow Kitatus Studios at their official Facebook page @kitatus_studios_facebook and Twitter page @kitatus_studios_twitter to keep updated with their project.

Don't forget to follow The inner ramblings of a videogamer on Facebook, Twitter and Google +

Thursday, 23 January 2014

Gamers, Start Holding Publishers And Developers Accountable!

Many of you may have noticed a few story's here and there regarding Microsoft and Machinima getting caught trying to "bribe" popular video game related youtube channels (basically asking them to not say anything negative in regards to the Xbox One) I know this is pretty much "yesterdays news" but I'm bringing it up again now so we can avoid any knee jerk reactions.

It's no secret that certain video game publishers and developers have been responsible for questionable business practices, and anti-consumer behaviour, all in the name of expanding their profit margins and many of which have had a direct negative impact on the gaming community, and gaming as a whole.

With that being said, I pose a question to you all. Should gamers be holding video game publishers and developers responsible for poor services and anti-consumer behaviour? Well yeah, of course we should. That's the obvious response and the answer I'm sure most of you would agree with, but as is often the case, our actions are not always representative of our convictions.

Machinima and Microsoft offered a +$3 CPM bonus to those who willing to promote the Xbox One. In essence bribing youtube channels to speak highly of a product that quite frankly has quite a lot of negativity surounding it already.

First of all, yes Microsoft and Machinima were both in the wrong. Machinima may be taking the brunt of the gamer backlash now, but they certainly wouldn't of gone ahead with such a underhanded scheme without Microsoft giving it the OK. But hey, bribery in the video games industry is nothing new, there are many stories about video game companies offering financial and/or material rewards for those willing to bend over for them, but the fact that this is still an ongoing issue is very disconcerting to me. However, I believe I know what the root of problem is.

Video game publishers and developers are directly responsible for the continual development and distribution of popular titles and franchises that we know and love, that being the case we are all too often, all too willing to forgive and forget when we have been crossed or wronged. Many of us now are far too busy fighting amongst ourselves for the sake of our chosen creed, all too willing we are to defend our chosen company's poor decisions lest we provide more ammunition for the other side, not realising that we all share a far more damaging common enemy. If we could only look past such petty disagreements such as who's plastic box is the most superior, then maybe we could get on with preserving our remaining and declining consumer rights.

Take EA for example
Electronic Arts (aka EA,) a company that looks set to receive the award for worst company in America for the 3rd year running, yet they are still going strong and still up to their old tricks. EA have been at the forefront of anti consumer claims for quite some time now, with one of the most recent claims being linked to Simcity 2013 and the controversial decision to have the game playable exclusively online, only to have the whole thing blow up their face when nobody could access the servers at launch. You'd think they'd be more prepared after such a PR disaster but no. Battlefield 4's launch was also plagued by a great many server errors, bugs and glitches, rendering the game pretty much unplayable for many.

EA may be one of the most popular publishers to hate on, but they certainly aren't the only company responsible for some very questionable activities.

Why is it that so many people are choosing to forget that Gearbox screwed over countless gamers? Oh yeah, Borderlands 2...
Gearbox Software, developers of the highly successful open world FPS franchise, Borderlands, were also subject to anti consumer claims along with Sega last year, regarding Aliens: Colonial Marines. After a lengthy 6 year development cycle, a number of development diaries, trailers, screenshots and a now infamous "vertical slice gameplay trailer" all of which consumers were led to believe were representative of the finished product.

However, upon the games official release gamers were outraged after receiving a broken, buggy mess of a game that consumers later found out Gearbox had in fact outsourced to Time Gate Studios. If that wasn't bad enough Gearbox had also decided to take the funds Sega provided them for work on Aliens: Colonial Marines and instead used it to develop a sequel to Borderlands.

Now, I know there are quite a few hardcore Borderlands fans out there, but can even you honestly condone this? Simply put, what Gearbox did was wrong, more than that it was anti-consumer. They lied to Sega and all the fans who waited 6 years for what? An atrocious Aliens game. Every dollar, heck every cent that Gearbox has earned off of Borderlands 2 provides them with negative reinforcement and is akin to gamers literally telling them "Well done", you may have screwed over thousands of gamers but at least you made a fun game." I don't know about all of you but that just doesn't sit well with me.

Gamers should be holding publishers and developers accountable for these poor business practices, but instead many of us are giving them a free pass, due either to being long time fans of the companies themselves or any of the IPs that they own, or due simply to the fear that if something were to happen to one any of the companies mentioned above, or any company who is responsible for a game or franchise we enjoy, that we may loose that game or franchise forever.

Basically, what we are doing is choosing to overlook poor business practices and anti consumer behaviour, due to publishers and/or developers holding video games to ransom. We are choosing to condone these companies decisions to screw over consumers because they are in charge of providing us with our favourite hobby.

Personally? I don't like this, I don't like the fact that many companies walk over their consumers, creating cash barriers and new policies, knowing all to well that we will abide by them in order to get our fix.

If you take anything away from reading this blog then let it be this. Always hold video game publishers and developers accountable, especially if they are pushing for anti-consumer services and/or are attempting to implement certain features that will only prove beneficial to them. Remember that most companies will cave well before they choose to go out of business or risk looking like the villain.

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