Blizzard “pretty consistent” on canning 50 percent of projects
Just because a team at Blizzard Entertainment has gotten started on something doesn’t mean it’ll ever see the light of day. Former studio big cheese Mike Morhaime says he’s ‘done the math’ and confirms Blizzard has quite a high project mortality rate.
What’s the reason for this ruthless approach? It’s a mix of games not having a large enough market, becoming so expensive it wouldn’t break-even or not living up to Blizzard’s reputation for high quality. At least 14 projects have been slaughtered on the production floor.
It’s ready when it’s ready – or never
“I’ve gone back every few years and checked the math on that, and it’s pretty consistent,” Morhaime said at the Gamelab conference in Barcelona. “It’s like half the titles we work on never make it.” Projects that faced the axe include a first-person StarCraft shooter, and a sci-fi themed MMO called Titan. “There’s a saying that ‘perfect is the enemy of great’, because if you strive for perfection you’ll never ship. But I do think that there’s so much competition out there,” he added.
“We failed to control scope,” Morhaime said, explaining Titan’s demise. “It was very ambitious. It was a brand new universe, and it was going to be the next generation MMO that did all sorts of different things, it had different modes. We were sort of building two games in parallel, and it really struggled to come together.” The fall of Titan led to the rise of another goliath: Overwatch.
Time For A Quick Daily Quiz?
Which of these is NOT one of The Ancients from the Lovecraft-inspired Eternal Darkness?
The answer will be revealed at the end of this issue!
Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night for Switch getting fixed
The performance woes plaguing the Switch version of Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night is 505 Games’ highest priority. They’re “immediately shifting resources to improve performance and stability” for Switch. These problems emerged hot on the heels of a rather nasty launch day bug that could force players on Xbox One and PS4 to have to restart their campaigns. No one said battling the demons of hell would be easy!
Age of Mythology sequel might be more than just a myth
Microsoft will be reading the portents for Age of Mythology to see what future has in store for it after Age of Empires’ Definitive Editions and Age of Empires 4 get sorted out. Age of Mythology was originally released in October 2002 by Ensemble Studios, and its 2014 Extended Edition received an expansion in January 2016 called Tale of the Dragon.
Will Wright designed a war zone shoot ‘em up before his Sims legacy
The man who would change the industry with the gargantuan Sims franchise actually started out making a shoot ‘em up set in a war zone: Raid on Bungeling Bay was Will Wright’s first published title as designer, released for the Commodore 64 back in 1984. It eventually got ported to the MSX in 1985 and Nintendo Entertainment System in 1987.
It’s a 2D top down shooter where you pilot a helicopter launched from an aircraft carrier and carry out bombing raids on six factories across a small planet occupied by the Bungeling Empire. You had to hold out against escalating counter-attacks from turret emplacements, fighter jets, anti-air missiles and even a battleship.
If you failed to destroy the Bungeling Empire’s infrastructure while protecting the aircraft carrier, an invasion force would be launched towards Earth. It was an early glimpse at Will Wright’s ideas for what would become SimCity: The factories you needed to destroy would develop over time to counter the player’s attacks, growing more technologically advanced and increasing their production.
Will Wright released an editor for the game and discovered players quite enjoyed building stuff too. He went on to research urban planning to develop the idea further, and the rest is history…
Irony Curtain: From Matryoshka with Love (PC)
Time for another giveaway from your pals at Dailybits! Are you a fan of funny point-and-click adventures like Monkey Island, Sam & Max, and the Deponia series? Well, there’s a new one out now – comedy spy thriller Irony Curtain: From Matryoshka with Love – and we’ve got a Steam code to give out every day this week to one lucky winner on our active reader list!
“Take a look behind Irony Curtain in this satirical point-and-click inspired by the best works of LucasArts and Daedalic Entertainment! Experience the totalitarian Matryoshka through the eyes of Evan – a low-ranking, goofy journalist involuntarily pulled right into the middle of an espionage stand-off between two powers. Jump into the wacky spy adventure, uncover secrets of the bizarre communist country (and the powerful capitalist empire!), witness a story full of unpredictable twists and turns, and discover the true agenda of the mysterious Supreme Leader!”