#63: Maxis Ramping up Development on next IP

TODAY: Remedy Entertainment might never have made Max Payne without 3D Realms — Peripheral manufacturer leak suggests Overwatch is heading to Switch — Shenmue 3 is hopefully not the last chapter in the Shenmue saga

Top Story

New IP by The Sims devs in the works

Maxis, the Electronic Arts division that created the Sims and SimCity franchises are currently looking for a Creative Director in Austin, Texas who will “lead, foster and mentor an experienced team of developers working on a new IP”.

The job listing, originally discovered by PC Gamer, states that candidates should “understand how user-generated content and experiences are shaping products in the market” and also have “experience in designing a game with a long-term live service”. As well as requiring over 10 years of industry experience designing AAA games, the listing also asks for “experience of taking major AAA PC and mobile games from concept to completion”.

A licensed title on PC and mobile?

Thanks to the listing, we can safely assume that Maxis are planning to develop a game that will run on both PC and mobile platforms, and feature a service model. The listing also mentions that “experience working with licensing partners is a plus”, suggesting the new IP could be based on a license. On the other hand, The Sims has featured a wide variety of licensed content over the years, so licensing could simply play a minor role in the product too.

Another interesting tidbit is that Maxis has been based out of California for a while now, and this is the first time there has been a team in Texas. EA shut down the old Emeryville studio – which used to be Maxis’ principal location – in 2015, and consolidated the team into the EA Mobile division. Apart from Sims and SimCity, Maxis is responsible for Spore, an oddball real-time strategy about evolution and the new IP would be the first completely original work from the studio since founder Will Wright departed to form Stupid Fun Club Camp.

Weekly Giveaway

Mable & The Wood!

Time for another great giveaway! We have 5 Steam keys to give away, and all you have to do to enter the sweepstakes is to follow us on Twitter and on our Facebook page, and we will choose five random followers who will each receive a Mable & The Wood Steam key! It couldn’t be any easier.

Find out more about our giveaway here.

Time For A Quick Daily Quiz?

Which of these fictional TV shows are NOT from the Max Payne series?

  • Address Unknown
  • Night Springs
  • The Adventures of Captain Baseball Bat Boy
  • Lords and Ladies

The answer will be revealed at the end of this issue!

News Bits

Ashen heading to Steam, PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch in December

The Dark Souls-inspired action RPG Ashen is finally making its way to more platforms on December 9th. Ashen has been exclusive to the Epic Games Store and Xbox One since launching back in December of 2018, and now the exclusivity deal is over. Ashen has been very well-received, boasting a Metacritic score of 82.

Mario Kart Tour launches on iOS and Android on September 25th

Nintendo has finally confirmed a release date for the free-to-play version of Mario Kart for mobile devices: Mario Kart Tour will drift onto Android and iOS on September 25th. You can check out the trailer to get an idea of what to expect, and pre-register if you like what you see.

Daily Fact

Max Payne was a 3D Realms game

Remedy Entertainment’s latest game Control is out today, so we’re having a closer look at the series that made the studio famous: Max Payne.

The grim noir shooter series began in 2001, and made a lot of waves with its realistic environments, tight story and exciting gunplay. The bullet time-inspired slow-motion mechanic probably helped too, since The Matrix was still on everyone’s minds.

But did you know Duke Nukem creators 3D Realms were deeply involved in Max Payne’s development? While they didn’t end up publishing the game, 3D Realms had a deal with Remedy to create Max Payne – and apparently played a huge part in making the game great.

Gathering of Developers published Max Payne on PC, while Grand Theft Auto creator Rockstar Games were responsible for the later console port. Rockstar’s parent company Take-Two acquired the IP, and published the sequel.

Remedy were not involved in 2012’s eagerly anticipated Max Payne 3, which was developed by Rockstar. Although Rockstar ended up with most of the fame and fortune, there would never be a Max Payne – and maybe not a Remedy either – if 3D Realms hadn’t helped out in the first place.

Daily News

Case manufacturer lists official Overwatch Nintendo Switch case

Judging by a product listing that briefly appeared and then promptly vanished from case manufacturer PowerA’s website, Overwatch might be making its way to Switch.

The description of the case clearly stated that the product was officially licensed by Nintendo and Blizzard, and it looks like PowerA jumped the gun and leaked one of Nintendo and Blizzard’s biggest surprises.

Not exactly watertight

By now, peripheral manufacturers like PowerA have become notorious for revealing upcoming announcements by mistake. Two months ago, a Nintendo Switch Lite case was made public before Nintendo bad announced their new console and revealing details like the Switch Lite’s smaller size and lack of detachable JoyCons. Peripheral manufacturers typically receive specifications early to have products ready for launch, but are clearly not quite as secretive as game developers.

Blizzard launched Diablo 3: Eternal Collection for Switch last year, prompting questions about what other ports might appear on the console. At the time, Blizzard said they were open to bringing more games to Switch, but made no comment about which and when they might appear.

Destiny 2 dev: “split with Activision hasn’t had much of an impact”

Bungie recently talked to Eurogamer about the split from former publisher Activision Blizzard early this year. Fans had been wondering whether the publisher was holding the team back and preventing them from making the sort of changes the community wanted. Now Bungie’s communications director David Dague has denied that Activision Blizzard were restricting the developers.

“I think we need to dispel the notion Activision was some prohibitive overlord that wasn’t letting us do awesome things,” said Dague. “We launched this franchise with Activision, naturally and over the course of time we both decided we had different goals for what we wanted it to be, so we both went our separate ways. Day to day on the development side, things aren’t that different, really,”

“It’s at places like Gamescom where we come into contact with our publishing team, our new Bungie teammates in foreign markets working on Destiny, where we’re still wrapping our arms around this global community.” Dague continued.

Developer-Publisher relationships aren’t all bad

Now that Bungie has gone their own way, Destiny 2 is scheduled to launch on Steam and there has also been rumours of a free-to-play version coming later this year. Though moving to other platforms might seem like a big change, the split hasn’t had nearly as big an impact as some fans thought.

There has been considerable controversy about the relationship between developers, publishers and monetization design for the past few years, thanks to exploitative business practices like loot boxes. In Destiny 2’s case, a part of the player base has seemed to believe that every problem with the game was thanks to interference from the publisher rather than decisions made by the developer. Apex Legends has been subject to similar accusations, with players blaming EA for the monetization design rather while giving a free pass to the developer who actually implemented it.

News Bits

Mega Man Zero/ZX Collection leaked

A listing for Mega Man Zero/ZX Legacy Collection briefly appeared on the Hong Kong PlayStation Store before quickly vanishing. The listing showed that the collection is due to release on January 21st 2020, and will contain Mega Man Zero 1, 2, 3, 4, Mega Man ZX and ZX Advent.

The collection will also feature special filters, music players and an artwork gallery, a Casual Scenario Mode and a Save-Assist feature – plus the the brand new Z Chaser Mode. While the listing on the store has been removed, you can watch the trailer on Gematsu’s YouTube Channel.

Shenmue 3 needs to sell to allow YS Net to finish the saga

Yu Suzuki stated that “if Shenmue 3 sells well it will make things easier [with regards to making Shenmue 4]” in an interview with VGC. Clarifying, he said that “I think it will rely more on what kind of partners we will be able to secure.” Shenmue 3 is due to release in November and is supposed to feature just under half of the Shenmue story, meaning there’s still a lot of story left to tell.

Following the announcement that the PC version will be an Epic Games Store exclusive – which resulted in a number of unhappy fans requesting refunds – it’ll be interesting to see how much goodwill YS Net still has.

Quiz Answer - Did You Get It Right?

Which of these fictional TV shows are NOT from the Max Payne series?

Answer: Night Springs!

Control – the latest game from Remedy Entertainment, the studio behind Max Payne, Alan Wake and Quantum Break – is out today! While Max Payne eventually became a Rockstar property, Remedy developed the two first Max Payne games, and packed them with their signature fictional TV shows. Address Unknown, the Max Payne universe’s twisted Twin Peaks-alike, was particularly notable.

But Night Springs was not from Max Payne – it was a Twilight Zone-like anthology series from Remedy’s next game, Alan Wake. Night Springs eventually became the setting for the second Alan Wake game, American Nightmare. We’re hoping for an Adventures of Captain Baseball Bat Boy game soon, or maybe a Lords and Ladies dating sim.