Well, what can we say? Subscriber numbers have been dwindling and now it's time for the inevitable: In an effort to keep The Old Republic still floating, it will go free-to-play sometime this fall. There will of course be in-game micro transactions and one has to pay for more advanced features and new content which have yet to be announced.
For a ridiculous spin on the story, here's a quote from Bioware General Manager Matthew Bromberg:
Players want flexibility and choice. The subscription-only model presented a major barrier for a lot of people who wanted to become part of The Old Republic universe.
A barrier for people who thought the game was too uninteresting to pay $14.99 per month.
Ron Gilbert was recently interviewed by games™ where he revealed that he still wanted to do a proper Monkey Island 3 and was wondering how to go about prying the IP from LucasArts:
“I don’t know the backstory about how Al Lowe got the rights to do Leisure Suit Larry, or any of these other games.” says Gilbert, “but the problem with the Monkey Island stuff is that LucasFilm hoards intellectual property. And George does not need any more money, right? I think if I showed up at their doorstep with a briefcase full of ten million dollars, they would not sell me the license. I think it would have to be an obscenely absurd amount of money to pry that license away from them. So yeah, I don’t think Kickstarter would ever” he trails off before adding, “I mean, maybe I should start a Kickstarter for a hundred million dollars, to buy the Monkey Island license. You never know!”
Sounds good to us!
Former Telltale employee (and I think still intermittent contractor) and justly lionized designer/writer Chuck Jordan posted his thoughts on Telltale's first two episodes of The Walking Dead on his blog after getting around to playing them. He's ahead of me there, I'm embarrassed to say.
Most reviews don't warrant their own news post, but then most reviews aren't 7000 word exegeses as worthy of your time as Jordan's. Whenever he ruminates on his favorite topic, interactive storytelling, he catches third gear and his thoughts become even more compulsively readable than usual, and The Walking Dead clearly struck a chord with him, to our benefit. Recommended reading.
For a chaser, why not enjoy this haphazard Dumb and Dumber meets SCUMM mock-up that appeared on Cracked at some point? Empty calories are largely harmless in moderation.
So you picked up the Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords in the bundle that has just been released with the original Knights of the Old Republic for PC by LucasArts. You may be wondering why The Sith Lords feels unfinished. That's because it was. LucasArts had Obsidian rush the game to make a Christmas 2004 release. That meant they had to delete or truncate a lot of content that was meant for the game, including the ending. Obsidian reportedly requested that LucasArts release an official update to the game to restore the game to Obsidian's original vision, but LucasArts denied the request.
Luckily, Obsidian included the cut content in the game's data files, and fans have gone to work restoring it. There was a fan project called The Sith Lords Restoration Project, but that project was uncompleted and the team disbanded in 2010. The Sith Lords Restored Content Mod has been filling that void. The newest release, 1.8, was released a few days ago. This release fixes many of the bugs from the official release and adds all of the deleted content that The Sith Lords Restoration Project did, as well as the rest of the cut content that the former mod intended to incorporate (which is all of the deleted content with the exception of the cut planet M4-78). You can view the full list of content the mod includes here.
ScummVM, the Sentimental Community Undertaking Maintaining Marvelous Visionary Masterpieces, is now at 1.5.0 with the release of "Picnic Basket".
Along with the 2D LucasArts adventure games, most 2D Humongous Entertainment games, and countless others, the new release supports another Humongous Entertainment game: Backyard Baseball 2003.
It also has new support for other games that don't fall under the Mojo banner: Blue Force, Dreamweb, Geisha, Soltys (including an English translation for the first time), and the children's games Gregory and the Hot Air Balloon, Magic Tales: Liam Finds a Story, Sleeping Cub's Test of Courage, and The Princess and the Crab.
Back when GDC 2012 was going on, we reported that Brian Moriarty (creator of Loom) gave a lecture in which he related his experience creating and teaching a game design course at Worchester Polytechnic Institute. The research that went into putting the class together was considerable, and in his belief that game design is inseparable from programming, Moriarty created a streamlined game engine specifically for the course that the students would use to build their assignments: ultra small-scale games. The class provided as much discovery for the industry veteran as his pupils.
As is Moriarty's way, the presentation gets rather philosophical, and he spends some at the beginning looking to history to trace DNA that the "noble discipline" of games shares with literature, music and even religion.
Those of us unable to attend GDC who wanted to receive Moriarty's lecture beyond a journalist's write-up of it were plumb outta luck - until now, that is. The presentation is now up for viewing in its 55-minute entirety at the invaluable GDC Vault. For free.
You've played the computer version, you've played the console version, and now you'll be able to play the handheld version too. "Now" means this Thursday when The Walking Dead will hit iOS, with the first episode pricing in at just under $5. You can pick up the additional four episodes for $15 or just keep paying for each game individually if you like wasting money.
Check out Telltale's blog for some screenshots. Looks like the touch interface is nicely thought out.
With Valve recently releasing the software they used to produce the incredible 'Meet the team' videos for Team Fortress 2, it was only a matter of time before fans start utilising what is probably the most sophisticated machinima tool ever created to put together fantastic works of fiction, taking game fan videos to whole new levels of drama and intensity.
Oh, yeah. And to make stuff like this:
Update by Jennifer: They are indeed getting creative with the Source Filmmaker. I can't stop watching this one, so I thought I'd add it to here while the SFM topic is still on the top of Mojo's news feed. It does manage to just squeak through to meet the qualifications of Mojo coverage (I'm not going to say how though, as that's one of the funnier visual gags of the video).
It's been in the works since 2009, but The Art of Brütal Legend Book is finally coming. The book features artwork from Double Fine artists (and friends of Double Fine) including Scott Campbell, Peter Chan, Mark Hamer, Razmig Mavlian, Lee Petty, Levi Ryken, Nathan “Bagel” Stapley, and others.
It's being published by Udon Entertainment, and is expected to be released in November or December of this year.
To celebrate, Double Fine has marked down their prices for all of their copies of the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions of Brütal Legend, including the ones signed by Tim Schafer, which can now be picked up for a respectable $20 US (or $10 US if you don't like Schafer ink on your games).
LucasArts is hiring for multiple positions relating to an unannounced first person shooter project. The job listings give a little bit of information about the project, especially the position of Gameplay Engineer, which requires proficiency in Unreal Engine 3 and UnrealScript.
It's unknown what this project is about (although I don't think it's a stretch to say it probably has to do with Star Wars), but it would seem that LucasArts still intends to put its contract for the Unreal Engine 3 to use. The project Clint Hocking was working on before he left LucasArts was said to use the Unreal Engine 3, but it's unknown whether or not this is the same project.
According to Comics Alliance, Oni Press announced that they are going to bring the rest of "Scott C" Campbell's Double Fine Action Comics to trade paperback.
Starting in 2013, they will be bringing the first volume, Double Fine Action Comics Vol. 1, back into print, and will be following that up with Double Fine Action Comics Vol. 2. The first volume contains the first 300 strips and has a foreword by Tim Schafer, while the second volume contains the next 200 strips and has a foreword by Erik Wolpaw. A third volume, which is said to collect the remainder of the run (although it's unknown whether that's the original run, or if it includes the new comics as well), will be coming afterward.
As a side note, Double Fine Action Comics has been restarted after a long hibernation, so be sure to check that out if you haven't already.
Also, while I'm on the subject of the Double Fine Comics, I'll take the time to mention that Tasha's Comic moved to the personal blog of Tasha Harris after she left Double Fine for Pixar last September (the original run of the comic is still available at the Double Fine website as well). The other on-going Double Fine comics are Nathan Stapley's My Comic About Me and Gabe Miller's Dirt Nap. All are worth reading. The latter, in particular, is very engrossing. I'm not ashamed to admit that I'm addicted to it.
Update: Look everybody! Ron Gilbert stopped by to post some details and answer your questions! Thanks, Ronzo!
Since Apple doesn't have a proper way to do beta testing, iOS games are often released in one country to gather information and feedback, so that's what we did with The Big Big Castle and it's worked very well.
We've made a bunch of changes and with any luck I'll be submitting a new build to the App Store Sunday night, so it should be available world wide in a week.
As far as Android goes, yeah, I'd love to support Android but there are a couple of issues.
The first is that I love objective-c. It's one of the best (and most fun to program in) languages I've ever seen. While it is true you can compile obj-c code for an Android device, the big missing piece is the NextStep libraries that Apple uses. Google needs to create an official and robust set of xcode libraries that use OpenStep and make it easy to cross build apps. I know a lot of iOS devs that use objective-c and don't want to (or can't) write their game twice. If Google would do this, there would be twice as many games on Android.
The other big (and most important) issue is that this game (and the 10 other ones Clayton and I have built but never released) are just weekend side projects we work on for fun that have nothing to do with Double Fine or The Cave. We just do them to relax.
Update 2: It's now available on the US Appstore and the NZ Appstore as well. Ron has also posted some more about it's development at his Grumpy Gamer blog.
At this point the story of Insecticide has surely been burnished to a shine on your brain by yours truly and you'd pay good money not to hear me repeat it, but since relevant news on the game tends to be separated by many months I will quickly recap: Insecticide was the action/adventure hybrid that LEC vets Larry Ahern and Mike Levine developed back in 2007-2008 under the label Crackpot Entertainment. There were two versions: one for the Nintendo DS and a two-part PC release. The second part of the PC version was cancelled.
While the two versions are the same in terms of story and level design, the DS version is obviously scaled down severely, and as a consequence of space constraints on the cartridge none of the in-game dialog is voiced and some of the FMV cutscenes were reduced to still images with accompanying subtitles. Ahern and Levine have been claiming for years that they would try to at least get the cutscenes (which, by the way, feature some stellar work by LEC/Telltale animator Peter Tsaykel) from Part 2 of the PC release up on Youtube. Finally, that day has arrived.
To commemorate the occasion, a lengthy interview with Larry Ahern has been published by Adventure Classic Gaming. Ahern mostly relates, frankly and humorously, the ambitious plans and difficult development of Insecticide, but you also get some anecdotes about the productions he was involved with at LucasArts in the bargain. These include previously unknown information on Vanishing Act and Full Throttle: Payback (except it was never actually called that). Did I mention the flurry of unreleased concept art? Oo De Lally!
The Verge's gaming site, Polygon, received word direct from Telltale that "the five-episode series would not be the only games set in the Walking Dead universe that the studio plans on creating".
Along with the news of additional games by Telltale set in the Walking Dead universe, they have also announced plans to give the first five episode season a disc release to retail outlets in North America after episode five is released.
Activision also announced today that they are publishing an unrelated The Walking Dead game (confusingly called The Walking Dead Video Game), which will be developed by Terminal Reality (the developer's of Kinect Star Wars and Ghostbusters: The Video Game). Terminal Reality is basing their game on the television series rather than the comics (the latter is the universe Telltale's The Walking Dead is set in). It's going to be a first person shooter, though there is supposedly a limited amount of ammo and options for stealth available as well.
Yeah, yeah, we were a bit slow with this -- most of the staff is on vacation, spending their annual Mojo summer-bonus cheques -- but we've finally reviewed "Starved for Help".
(And that's about the gist of it.)
You've had your time to vote and the results are in:
|Which game are you looking forward to the most?|
|Double Fine Adventure||33|
|Happy Action Theater 2||0|
Double Fine Adventure won with more than thrice the number of votes compared to runner-up The Cave while nobody seems to give a shit about Happy Action Theater 2.
In our next poll, we ask the burning question: Which of Captain Blondebeard's teeth was replaced with gold? Go vote!
You can't chuck a box of Tentacle Chow anywhere in Germany without it hitting someone working on a Maniac Mansion fan game. But the one brought to my attention by Cyrus7 on our forums is a little bit different.
Crazy Mansion presents an original story that takes place in the universe of the Maniac Mansion while adroitly sidestepping copyrighted names in order to escape legal problems. The team is a group of longtime friends and Maniac Mansion fans who call themselves Desperate Studios and have apparently been tinkering with homemade game development since the Commodore 64 days.
They seem to have gotten far along enough in the conceptual phase of Crazy Mansion to show off a bunch of stuff and are trying their hand at crowdsourcing the game's development - check out their indiegogo campaign where you can read an overview of the project as well as see a bunch of concept art and the following trailer. I do like the art style they've landed on:
|Adventure||Before or After April, '10|
|Autumn Moon||Before or After April, '10|
|Behind Mojo||Before or After April, '10|
|Community||Before or After April, '10|
|Console||Before or After April, '10|
|Crackpot||Before or After April, '10|
|Developer||Before or After April, '10|
|Double Fine||Before or After April, '10|
|Film and TV||Before or After April, '10|
|House of Mojo||Before or After April, '10|
|Irresponsible Games||Before or After April, '10|
|LFNetwork||Before or After April, '10|
|LucasArts||Before or After April, '10|
|Mac||Before or After April, '10|
|Miscellaneous||Before or After April, '10|
|MunkyFun||Before or After April, '10|
|Ron Gilbert||Before or After April, '10|
|Star Wars||Before or After April, '10|
|Telltale Games||Before or After April, '10|