Sections

Schafer on Happy Action Theater and Kinect’s future

Tuesday, 31 January 2012 10:20 GMT By Patrick Garratt

Tim Schafer has made a Kinect game playable by two year-olds. Simple? Not. Patrick Garratt speaks to the Double Fine boss on the difficulty in reducing sophistication and whether or not Kinect can ever appeal to the core.

Double Fine’s Happy Action Theater

Probably the first ever game a two tear-old can truly play.

Happy Action Theater is a string of 18 toy-style mini-games for Kinect.

Developed by Double Fine, headed by Psychonauts favourite Tim Schafer.

Out tomorrow for 800 Microsoft Points, around $10.

Double Fine’s Happy Action Theater is not a game. It’s a $10 toy you download for Kinect and present to your small children. As you’ll know if you have a two year-old child, video games are a failure for the very young. They’re too complex and the control input baffles tiny hands. While Kinect, in theory, should have done away with all that thanks to its supposed motion revolution, there’s never been a product suitable for what amounts to an insane human being with an utterly different perception to you or I.

Tim Schafer plans on changing that tomorrow.

Schafer spoke to me on the phone from the US last night on the thinking behind Happy Action Theater, the future of Kinect, independent development and hat preferences.

VG247: The idea for Happy Action Theater originally came from you wanting to make a game your two year-old daughter could play. I’ve watched a few videos of it and it does look extremely simple. I’ve got three kids, all under the age of six, and my twin boys have just turned three. Watching it, I can actually imagine them playing with it and getting it. I can’t think of a single other game about which I can say that. How difficult was it to strip away sophistication to the degree that a two year-old can honestly get a video game?

Tim Schafer: Well, it was a simple idea, and really hard to keep up the discipline of not adding things that would alienate that kind of player, whether it’s a two year-old or an adult at a party, or someone who doesn’t want to mess with anything – doesn’t want to be signing in, doesn’t want to mess with profiles, doesn’t want to mess with rules or tutorials. These ideas would keep coming up; someone would be like, ‘Hey we should add Achievements,’ and we did add Achievements, but then people wanted to add deeper rules, and score-keeping, and some sort of unlockable depth to the game. That kind of feature creep is really dangerous to a game like this, because even though it seems really simple it’s really deceptive because it’s very powerful when you put kids in front of it and see how much they’re able to make out of it.

This is the thing that I always find with kids’ games. They are never, they simply cannot be simple enough in the current format. They’re too complicated.

Kids are chaotic. I was really frustrated that the games we had couldn’t handle the chaos of her running out of the room and running back in, or getting too close to the screen, or laying down on the floor and grabbing my legs. If you have a little kid you know they want to hold your hand and grab your leg and get behind you and go on your shoulders and do all this crazy stuff when you’re playing together. And the goal was to make a game that wouldn’t be bothered; it would not break when chaos came, but actually would thrive on chaos, so that the game is actually at its best when it’s chaotic, with a room full of anarchic children playing.

Watching it, it does seem to be more of a toy than a game, which is exactly perfect for a two year-old kid. I watched you do the GiantBomb demo, and saw the lava level. Watching you and Ryan play that reminded me of my boys playing with something like Play-Doh, just fiddling around with something – there’s no real point to it especially, because kids think in a completely different way. Was it difficult to get your developers, who may not have experience of very young children, to get into their heads that that’s what a child might want to do?

It’s more of a toy. It’s really hard when you talk to a core game player, and they ask about how many hours of gameplay there is. How many hours is Play-Doh? It’s a difficult question to answer.

We made them so they were fun for us, in the office, for the developers, and then kids showed us new ways to make the activities fun. The lava’s a great example of something that I thought would be fun. What I remember from being a kid is playing Hot Lava in the kitchen, where you had to climb onto the kitchen counter and not step on the floor, get across the living room on the surface of the couch without touching. That’s how I thought it would be fun. When the kids played it, they immediately flopped into the lava, swam in it, splashed in it, kicked their feet up in the air. We didn’t anticipate this way being fun.

So we added gameplay there; we added the ability to get into the lava and get back up again, and now you have fire hands! Now you can throw the fire hands around. We went out of our way to make sure the game never had a point, because that would ruin it. I mean that in the best possible way. It’s meant to be the best possible waste of time. It’s not a waste of time in that it’s really, I think, inspiring to kids’ imaginations. Kids have great big imaginations but they sometimes need a suggestion or a background or a reminder to what the fantasy is. That lava helps them. Then they can pretend they’re hot lava monsters, or they can do hot touch, they can do whatever they want in front of the lava and make up their own game. It is more of a toy. It’s really hard when you talk to a core game player, and they ask about how many hours of gameplay there is. How many hours is Play-Doh? It’s a difficult question to answer.

You’ve got 18 activities in there, but I’m assuming Happy Action Theater was relatively cheap to make. This is the new Double Fine, with your idea of making low cost, downloadable games. Was this a common sense project for you? Did it fit well with what you’re doing with Double Fine at the moment?

Yeah. I mean, it’s even smaller. We split into four teams after Brütal Legend and made four games with teams of like 12 people, and this was a team of six. It was very small. I signed it over the phone with Microsoft, and I didn’t have to do a big complicated presentation or get a demo together. It was very like, “Let’s just do this, let’s not over-think this.”

Half an hour of GiantBomb playing Happy
Action Theater with Tim and co.

Trying really hard not to over-think it has been a mantra throughout the whole project, definitely in the pitching of it and in getting it done. As we saw the game go together and tested it and people started to see the impact it would have on kids, or just adults, we started investing a little more money in it just to polish it up and make it look really nice. But it was actually the possibility of the gameplay that was apparent to everybody. It’s hard when you pitch it, ’cause people might think it looks like a webcam game, or something that you could have done on the EyeToy years ago, but it’s not. If you really look at it with a programmer’s eye you can see what we’re doing stuff with the depth buffer and augmented reality, it’s actually really high tech and could only have been done on Kinect.

Talking about the technicality of it, Kinect, as with all motion cameras, does have issues with detection sometimes. One thing that two year-old children get very quickly is incredibly bored; when they’re playing something and it doesn’t behave in the way they want it to they’re going to lose attention very very quickly. Was it a key aspect for you to make sure it was fully responsive to what the child was doing in front of the screen?

Yeah. You could watch it and see what kids would do. You can see that they would want to sit there in the snow level, and they want to throw snowballs. They want to kick the snow around with their feet. You kind of see them doing this activity and it’s like, “What are they doing? Oh, they’re trying to kick the snow around. We have to make the snow kickable.”

We would follow the kids and create emergent gameplay for them on the fly based on what they would tend to do. As long as the game is always reacting to you, we don’t have any detection problems. That’s just the game we have; we don’t need to match any really difficult gestures, and we’re not using the skeletal tracking as much as most Kinect games are. We’re using the player blob, just identifying these rough blobs that represent players, so we just needed to know roughly where you are and what your shape is, and we can do all kinds of crazy things. We can cast shadows from the player onto the virtual objects in the scene with you – and vice versa, we can light you up; when you hold fireworks in the game, the fireworks can cast light on you. We can wrap lava around your couch in your living room.

And then we can do some of the coolest stuff. We can actually remove you from the scene because we record what your living room looks like without you, as you move around the screen while we build a background plane. In the fish tank, for example, you get pulled up by one of the fish hooks, or if the lava breaks and you burn, you’re gone from the scene. Which seems kind of natural at first because the fish hook drew you up, but then you’re like ‘Wait, I’m looking at my living room, and everyone’s here but me’. It’s pretty cool.

I think the best games for Kinect are games that were, like the Happy Action Theater, created wholly from scratch for the Kinect. They’re just designed for it. It’s not a replacement for an Xbox controller. There’s no right button, there’s no pressure in the left stick – it’s not a port. You can’t port your game to Kinect.

Kinect at the moment seems fine for high-latency software aimed at youngsters, and dance games have been very successful on it, but it’s difficult to argue that it’s working well for the core. This game works specifically because of what you said – it is high latency, kids do specific things and it doesn’t have to track them exactly. Do you think that we’re ever going to see core games aimed at adults with the current device, or do you think we’re going to have to wait for a hardware upgrade?

I don’t know; I think a lot of core people are working on that problem. I’ve been focussing on it as a device for families, just because I think that’s a really natural thing; try to think of who likes to stand up in the living room, and who likes to zone out on the couch. A family together is more likely to stand up and hop round and look goofy than the hardcore games player. I can see a hardcore player playing some sort of mixed martial arts game or something, where there’s kicking, doing all sorts of physical activity. But it is a barrier, getting some of them to move their coffee table and get into it and stand up, have them willing to do stuff with their full body.

It is great for people who have not been typically playing games. My mom, I can see her standing in front of the Happy Action Theater, and playing without help and not feeling impaired. But when you hand her a controller, she looks at it like, “Woah, what the heck is that thing?” Like it’s a bear trap.

It’s interesting you say that; you said at the start of the GiantBomb video that there are still barriers with Kinect games. That’s fairly ironic given Kinect was supposed to be the device that did away with the UI and opened up the entire notion of games to people like your mum or your daughter. Do you think in a sense developers are still really feeling their way with motion? That they haven’t quite got it yet?

I think they’re still trying to figure out how to make great games for Kinect. I think the best games for Kinect are games that were, like the Happy Action Theater, created wholly from scratch for the Kinect. They’re just designed for it. It’s not a replacement for an Xbox controller. There’s no right button, there’s no pressure in the left stick – it’s not a port. You can’t port your game to Kinect. You really have to start from the beginning and think about all the motions that the Kinect sensor is good at picking out, and all the activities that it picks up really well that have never been able to be detected before. Like directional voice; it can tell where in the room you’re talking from. Basing work around those strengths, I think, will lead to the best Kinect game.

This is your second Kinect game, so obviously you’ve got a better view than most about what’s going on with console motion control at the moment. Looking forward, how important do you think it’s going to be in the rest of this generation and moving into the next one?

I think it has a lot of potential, especially like I said for family games and physical games. I think it’s much more inclusive. It lets a lot of people people come in and play games who hadn’t been able to before. I think it will continue to grow in that area. I think it’s really important for consoles to provide something that can’t be provided by an iPhone.

Or a PC.

Or a PC. Well, there is going to be Kinect and Kinect-like things on PC really soon. You see the Kinect hackers doing all these crazy things, but there’s not a lot of products yet for Kinect on PC. I think it will eventually come to PC. I still think it’s not going away.

I can see a hardcore player playing some sort of mixed martial arts game or something, where there’s kicking, doing all sorts of physical activity. But it is a barrier, getting some of them to move their coffee table and get into it and stand up, have them willing to do stuff with their full body.

You saw it on mobile devices. There were a lot of games that were ports of existing types of games, but it took people a while to realise that tapping and dragging and sliding on a touch tablet is really different from using a controller. Games have started to emerge, especially this year, that are designed for a tap interface and work a lot better, and you can’t port them backwards to a PC or a console. They’re starting to come into their own; I think that’ll happen with Kinect.

Talking about business a little; you switched Double Fine’s strategy completely after Brütal Legend, and you stopped working with bigger publishers like EA and aimed straight at downloads with smaller, cheaper games. I went to Finland recently and every developer I met was doing exactly the same thing. Do you think this is a necessary tack if you want to stay independent? These guys were saying that triple A for independents is essentially dead. Would you agree with that?

It’s very hard to convince a publisher to give a lot of money for a new IP, a risky IP, especially when there are some really big, safe bets they can make. The more money you take from a publisher the less autonomy you have. We have a great relationship with Microsoft on this project; they let us make the game exactly like we wanted to make it. But we were asking for a small enough amount of money.

You know, Brütal Legend was a big expensive game, and I don’t know if we could sell something like that right now. Well, I can tell you, we probably can’t – it’s really hard to. It’s the end of the console cycle and people are being less and less experimental with new IP. There are a lot of pressures that make it more advantageous to an indie developer to do smaller games because the less money you’re spending the more autonomy and control you have.

And also the more things you can make. In our first ten years we only made two games, and [following Brütal Legend] we’ve shipped four. February 1 we’re shipping – in the States – Happy Action Theater and a DLC pack for Iron Brigade. That’s the first time we’re shipping two things on the same day. It’s fun, because we get to try a lot of different things. Instead of taking a huge bet on one game every four years, we’re a lot better off to take smaller bets on a couple of games a year.

I suppose there’s an awful lot less risk.

Yes. And a lot more fun. We specialise in coming up with new ideas, and the more often we get to come up with a new idea the better.

Are you looking at mobile and tablets for future games?

You know, Brütal Legend was a big expensive game, and I don’t know if we could sell something like that right now. Well, I can tell you, we probably can’t – it’s really hard to. It’s the end of the console cycle and people are being less and less experimental with new IP. There are a lot of pressures that make it more advantageous to an indie developer to do smaller games because the less money you’re spending the more autonomy and control you have.

I think so, yeah. I mean, now that I have one I can’t help but think, “What would be a fun game for this?” There’s a lot of ideas floating around for mobile and tablet type experiences.

I’m assuming GDC this year is going to be nothing but tablets, mobiles, browsers. I was really stunned when I went to Finland just how heavily these guys are focussing on really cheap games on non-traditional platforms. Are you expecting that from GDC?

I never know what to expect at GDC! I definitely know that there is an appeal in that for us. There’s a lot of potential in having a game on a platform that everybody has. I come up with ideas for it every day.

What’s going on with the turn of the century, cloth cap urchin thing with Double Fine? It’s all very Dickensian. Where did that come from?

The what? Turn of the century pop cap? What?

You’ve always got this sort of 19th Century, early 20th Century thing going on. You had it in Stacking as well. You’ve got it in Happy Action Theater; you’ve got the menu inhabited by little boys in cloth caps.

Oh! Oh, I thought you were saying pop caps. “What do you mean, ‘Pop caps?’”

Cloth caps.

What is it with pub caps? You know, that’s the same. Well, I don’t want to say we stole assets from Stacking, but we did have some hats hanging around. You know those caps, they just look good. Come on.

Everyone needs a cloth cap Tim. I know I do.

Exactly. I always call them pub caps but you – what’s that word?

Cloth cap.

What? How do you spell that?

Cloth cap. As in a piece of cloth: and a cap.

[Sounding very different with a US accent] Oh, cloth cap!

That’s it.

Cloth cap. I blame Lee Petty, the guy who came up with Stacking and he helped out with Happy Action Theater. Maybe he has a thing for cloth caps. Maybe he wants one for Christmas.

Latest

  • Hotline Miami collector’s edition is close, 50% already achieved

    The Hotline Miami crowdfunding effort to produce a special collector’s edition is going strong with 50% of the target achieved. Gamer Network’s collector’s edition initiative has announced that funding for the Hotline Mimi Gamer’s Edition has reached 50% of its goal, with just over nine days to go. The collector’s edition is a one-of-a-kind bundle […]

  • Woah Dave will be an extra free PS+ game on PS4 in April

    Indie platformer Woah Dave will be made free to PlayStation Plus members on PlayStation 4 in April, but it’s not part of the month’s main Plus offering. Woah Dave is a “secret” April PlayStation Plus game, according to Sony. The game is a 2D platformer that received positive feedback when it was released on PS […]

  • Mortal Kombat X: three international tourneys announced, $100,000 prize pool

    Warner Bros. has announced a new series of Mortal Kombat X tournaments with a prize pool starting at $100,000. Mortal Kombat X Worldwide Competitive Program is a series of tournaments that kick off in April and allow players from the around the world participation. The tournaments are the Fatal 8 Exhibition Tournament, Mortal Kombat X […]

  • Project CARS to receive a free car every month, starting with the Lykan Hypersport

    The Lykan Hypersport, the supercar featured in one of Furious 7′s action set-pieces, will be a free download for Project CARS owners. To thank the fans for their patience throughout Project CARS development and several delays, developer Slightly Mad will be giving all owners one in-game car for free each month. The first car will […]

  • Leaked Halo Online gameplay shows weapons, maps, and more

    Gameplay from the upcoming, Russia only, Halo Online has leaked online and it looks like a mix of Halo 3 and Halo Reach. Microsoft announced last week that a free-to-play Halo game is in development at Saber Interactive. The game will be available in Russia only, at least on launch. YouTuber Noble, with the help […]

  • Get PlayStation 4 with the PS Camera and The Last of Us for $399

    US retailer Best Buy is offering a free PlayStation Camera with the purchase of The Last of Us PS4 bundle. If you’re in the US, Best Buy is having a very good deal on PlayStation 4 systems at the moment. If you buy The Last of Us PS4 bundle, you’ll automatically get the PS Camera […]

  • Dragon Age: Inquisition Jaws of Hakkon DLC comes to PS4 in May

    Dragon Age: Inquisition Jaws of Hakkon DLC has been given a release window for PS3, PS4, and Xbox 360. Jaws of Hakkon, the first story add-on to Dragon Age: Inquisition was released last week on PC and Xbox One. The release was a complete surprise, as there was no prior announcement. What was also surprising […]

  • Watch Rainbow Six Siege developers stream new gameplay right now

    Rainbow Six Siege developers are about to livestream new gameplay footage. Come and watch with us. The livestream below starts at 7pm UK time/6pm GMT. Ubisoft will be showing new gameplay footage and will talk more about the operator system, which was revealed today. The footage will be from the PC alpha build. Expect more […]

  • Advanced Warfare Exo Zombie Infected trailer shows new weapons, massive enemy

    Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare Exo Zombies episode 2, Infected, has been shown off in a new trailer. The official trailer for Exo Zombies Infected is here with footage of the new gear and new enemies. All of which help set up the mess everyone’s making at Burger Town. John Malkovich and co are dropped […]

  • Rainbow Six Siege collector’s edition comes with a 120-page field manual

    Rainbow Six Siege will be getting a collector’s edition and it comes with a 120-page guide. The Rainbow Six Siege collector’s edition has been fully detailed. It’s called the “Art of Siege Edition” and will be available for PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One, priced £65. Here’s what you get: A copy of the game […]

  • Rainbow Six Siege trailer is all about the operators

    Rainbow Six Siege has a new trailer available explaining the operator system. Operators are what makes any Counter Terrorist Unit and you will get to choose each of them individually before assembling a team. Any operator you choose will not be available for others though, so planning ahead will be crucial. The new trailer shows […]

  • Spotify now available on PS3 and PS4, lets you play music in the background

    Spotify has arrived on PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4. The Spotify app is now available in 42 countries on PSN. The app was part of last week’s firmware update and can be found under PlayStation Music. Anyone can download it, as it doesn’t require PlayStation Plus. You can use your PSN account to subscribe to […]

  • Let’s talk Battlefield Hardline weapon balance

    The weapon balance in Battlefield Hardline is causing a controversy among the players. Are some weapons too powerful, or are other not powerful enough? Westie has been playing Battlefield Hardline since it the day it came out and he has some opinions about the state of weapon balance as it stands right now. Westie also […]

  • UK Charts: Bloodborne enters at No. 2, Battlefield Hardline defends No. 1 spot

    Battlefield Hardline has defended the No. 1 spot in the UK Charts against Bloodborne’s impressive numbers. The UK Charts for the week ending March 28 show Battlefield Hardline continuing to hold the top spot despite dropping 43% in sales. Bloodborne achieved the No. 2 spot and came only 22,500 copies short of becoming number 1. […]

  • Halo 5: Guardians release date and new trailers released

    Halo 5 is coming in October. Are you ready? Halo 5: Guardians has been slapped with a release date of October 27. Microsoft and 343 Industries also released a new trailer to mark the news; check it out below. “The Master Chief. Spartan Locke. Who is the hunter and who is the hunted?” Microsoft said […]

  • Denial wins Call of Duty Championship 2015

    In a weekend where favourites crashed out and non-US teams took a beating, Denial stepped up to take the title and $400,000 prize Denial have beaten Revenge to win the Call of Duty Championship 2015, claiming a $400,000 prize. Taking place in downtown Los Angeles, 32 of the best teams in the world battled it […]

  • Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare Ascendance DLC- check out new maps and the grapple ability

    Advanced Warfare’s Ascendance DLC is looking pretty sweet in these two new videos. The Call of Duty Championships this weekend have given our very own Arekkz a chance to check out the new Ascendance DLC coming this month. Take a look at all four new maps as well as the cool new grapple ability (which […]

  • Advanced Warfare’s Exo Zombies gets a “mini boss” with Ascendance DLC

    Zombies mode gets an exo-kick up the ass with Advanced Warfare’s second DLC drop, Ascendance. When Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare’s Ascendance DLC drops this week, players will be going up against some tougher challenges in Exo Zombies mode. “It’s all zombies, all of the time,” says High Moon Studios Matt Tieger, head of the […]

  • GTA Online user videos show out of character Lester, important Police Business

    You know, Lester isn’t as soft as he lets on, at least in these two GTA Online videos he’s not. The first one below is from YouTube user 10Phoenix01 Gamer, showing Lester kick a guy’s ass. It’s apparently punishment for running over the player – at least that’s the way it appears. A second video […]

  • Guild Wars 2 devs explain how the Map Bonus system, precursor crafting work in Heart of Thorns

    ArenaNet has posted information on the Guild Wars 2 website explaining how crafting mastery, and crafting a legendary weapon, will work in the Heart of Thorns expansion. There’s also information on the new Map Bonuses system, which will make acquiring crafting materials a more “directed activity” and streamlined experience. The new system will also add […]

  • Fly around your creations in Cities: Skylines with the Flight Cimulator mod

    Cities: Skylines players can now fly over their creations thanks to the Flight Cimulator mod. Created by Ulysius and available through the Steam Workshop, the mod allows the user to simulate flight through simple controls. According to the mod notes, it is still a work in progress as Ulysius plans to add building collisions , […]

  • The Walking Dead, Better Call Saul arrive on PlayStation Vue

    Sony has announced the addition of AMC to its PlayStation Vue service, which soft launched in Chicago, New York City and Philadelphia earlier this month. Those who use the service can now get their Better Call Saul and The Walking Dead fix, and also watch the Sundance channel, WEtv and IFC. AMC and WEtv are […]

  • Play the first level of Super Mario 64 in your browser

    Thanks to Roystan Ross and the Unity engine, you can play the first level of Super Mario 64 in your browser. This little nugget came to my attention yesterday, and unfortunately it became lost on my worksheet. Better late than never, I suppose. Anyway, the level is free-to-play and if you don’t wish to play […]

  • Steam’s Discovery Update has helped increase revenue for smaller titles

    Valve has said its Discovery Queue has increased product page views across Steam by 30% since the company launched the Discovery Update. According to Valve, 75% of those views come from the Discovery Queue, and 16% of product views can be attributed to the Discovery Queue. Even Steam Tags clicks have increased. The system is […]

  • Halo: The Master Chief Collection April update includes “more ranked playlists”

    The next content update for Halo: The Master Chief Collection will “address a variety of issues across the game,” according to 343 Industries, including specific improvements to ranking. New quit and betrayal penalties are also in the works as the development team prepares to roll out ranks to additional playlists. According to 343, the latest […]

  • Get Spec Ops: The Line for free through 2K Games sale on Humble Store

    A 2K Games sale is going on this weekend on the Humble Store with up to 83% off on select titles. Games on sale include Evolve, Bioshock, Civilization and other franchises. Plus, Spec Ops: The Line can be yours for free with the purchase of any -2K title on sale. To see the full list […]

  • Dota 2 The International 2015 tickets are sold out

    Tickets to Dota 2 The International 2015 are now sold out, which shouldn’t surprise anyone. The tickets went on sale in two phases starting March 27. Phase one sold out in six minutes, and phase two sold out in four minutes. Each round of sales offered the same quantity of General Admission tickets priced at […]

  • Here’s what’s expected in Battlefield 4′s Weapon Crate DLC – video

    A new Battlefield 4 drop is on the horizon, and to give you an idea of what to expect, we have a video for you below featuring information on the Weapon Crate DLC. According to Battlefield expert Westie, players can expect five new weapons along with the return of the Gun Master game mode. The […]

  • Pillars of Eternity issues to be addressed in patch 1.03, expected next week

    Obsidian Entertainment plans to release a Pillars of Eternity patch next week to combat issues users have reported. Until the patch is released, the developers have posted workarounds for some of the most common issues. The issues reported span framerate drops, inability to launch the game unless in administrator mode, crashes on 32-bit machines, animal […]

  • Mortal Kombat X videos show Erron Black gameplay, Ermac fatalities, more

    Erron Black, the gunslinger which was outed for Mortal Kombat X in the achievements listing last week, was featured in the latest livestream from NetherRelam Studios yesterday evening. Along with gameplay, fatalities and variations for Black, the developer also provided a look at gameplay for: Ermac vs Mileena; Ermac’s brutality and fatality moves; Lui Kang […]

2 Comments

  1. fearmonkey

    I love Tim Schafer’s games, and I wish he would make some more big budget titles, but I understand the reasons why.
    Brutal legend was made for me, as I grew up listening to the metal music he featured in that game, and I loved it, and I loved Full throttle, Grim Fandango, and psychonauts.
    One of the most creative people in the industry, Thanks Tim!

    #1 3 years ago
  2. DSB

    I’m a pretty serious metal fiend myself, and I’ve loved pretty much every one of Schafers games since Full Throttle, but even that couldn’t make me enjoy Brütal Legend.

    It was a poor implementation of a bad idea, and I’m pretty sure he knew it. It takes more than just a heavy metal theme to keep people away from a game, it just wasn’t very good.

    The nicest thing I can say about it is that it was the first game to feature Brocas Helm.

    I saw those guys on Keep it True last year, even got a picture of me and Jim Schumacher!

    #2 3 years ago

Comments are now closed on this article.

  • DriveClub gameplay video features MotorStorm’s off-road buggies

    Some gameplay footage of MotorStorm’s off-road buggies in DriveClub has surfaced. Pictures of the buggies were shown on the Japanese PlayStation Blog earlier this month, which considering the game was developed by Evolution Studios – which developed MotorStorm – this isn’t too much of a surprise. The buggies were first spotted by Videogamer, which pulled […]

  • Mortal Kombat X live-action TV spot features the track Chop Suey

    The TV sport for Mortal Kombat X has been released, and not only does it contain a “spontaneous fight circle” taking over an entire city, but it features the System of a Down track Chop Suey. Mortal Kombat X will be released on PC, PlayStation 3, PS4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One April 14. The […]

  • Bloodborne Forbidden Woods progression bug caused by multiplayer summon

    A progression bug in Bloodborne is in the works, according to Sony and From Software. The issue occurs when players activate a multiplayer session in the Forbidden Woods using the Sinister Resonant Bell or Small Resonant Bell. It also appears the Lunarium Key won’t appear because of the multiplayer bug, and without the key you […]

  • Yo-Kai Watch game franchise has sold over 7 million copies

    The Yo-Kai Watch IP has sold over 7 million copies, according to developer Level-5. The figure included both physical and digital download sales. Yo-Kai Watch 3 will be unveiled during Level-5 Vision 2015 next month. The first title is in the works for the west but is still without a release window. Thanks, Gematsu.

  • Bloodborne trademark returned to Sony after accidentally losing it

    In case you were worried or anything, Sony has once again obtained the Bloodborne trademark. Earlier this week it was revealed that Sony mistakenly abandoned the Bloodborne trademark along with four others registered with US Patent and Trademark Office: Guns Up!, Kill Strain; How Games Were Made to Sound, and No Heroes Allows: No Puzzles […]

  • GTA 5 PC official trailer coming next week, 15 new screenshots released

    New PC screenshots of GTA 5 have been released along with word of a new trailer coming on Monday. The screens below are from the PC version and you can view them in 4K glory over on Rockstar Newswire. The PC version of GTA 5 releases on April 14.

  • PSN real-time server status page launching in Europe soon

    PlayStation users in Europe will soon have its own a PSN Service Status Indicator. It was released earlier this month in North America. The indicator makes it easier to check whether PlayStation services are down or running as planned. This includes account management, PlayStation Now, the store, social services, etc. Sony told Eurogamer the service […]

  • Exclusivity contract prevents Bioware from revealing Dragon Age: Inquisition DLC release on PS4

    Bioware is unable to discuss when the Jaws of Hakkon DLC for Dragon Age: Inquisition will arrive on platforms other than PC and Xbox One. According to various tweets from executive producer Mark Darrah, due to the exclusivity contract between EA and Microsoft, the studio is unable to announce a release date for PlayStation 3 […]

  • LEGO Batman 3 demo, Namco Museum, more added to North American eShop

    Nintendo has updated the North American end of the eShop with a demo for LEGO Batman 3, Namco Museum on Wii U Virtual Console, and various sales. Below is the full update. Nintendo eShop Dot Arcade – Wii U LEGO Ninjago – 3Ds LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham Demo – Wii U Harvest Moon: The […]

  • Square Enix’s Easter Surprise bundle contains five mystery PC games

    Square Enix offering another mystery bundle to customers in the UK, which comes with five mystery PC games for £3.99. As before, customers will be unaware of the games they are purchasing in the mystery bundle, but the bundle contains triple-A titles worth £40 combined. One of Square’s previous mystery bundles contained Tomb Raider, Just […]

  • From Software’s PSone game Shadow Tower coming to PSN

    Shadow Tower, the first-person action-RPG developed for the original PlayStation by From Software, will be released on PlayStation Network. In the 1998 title, players took on the role of a mercenary who has returned home to the Holy Land of Zeptar to find the place has been sucked into the Underworld. He must use the […]

  • PlayStation TV gets price cut in the UK, now £44.99

    PlayStation TV has received a price cut in the UK. After several retailers started offering the console for less than the RRP of £84.99, users on DealSpwn began to wonder whether this is an official price cut, and not just regular deals or stock clearance. Sony later confirmed the new price of £44.99. “Starting from […]

  • Fast & Furious expansion for Forza Horizon 2 is now available, for free

    You can download Forza Horizon 2 expansion Fast & Furious starting right now. Forza Horizon 2 Presents Fast & Furious is available to download now through Xbox Live for Xbox One and Xbox 360. The expansion is standalone, so you don’t need to own Forza Horizon 2 to play it. It’s also free from now […]

  • Fire-based weapons come to PayDay 2 with the Butcher’s BBQ Pack

    The 20th DLC for PayDay 2, the Butcher’s BBQ Pack, is now available on Steam. The DLC will run you $4.99/€4.99 and features: Piglet Grenade Launcher, 12G Steakout Shotgun and Mk1 Flamethrower Molotov cocktails and incendiary ammo Four new masks, patterns, materials and achievements The Butcher’s BBQ Pack is another co-development between Overkill and Croatian […]

  • Lords of the Fallen developer offers Hideo Kojima a job

    Amid the current turmoil between Hideo Kojima and publisher Konami, one studio has offered the legendary designer a position. Lords of the Fallen developer Deck 13 took to Twitter to extend a job offer to Hideo Kojima. Dear Mr. @HIDEO_KOJIMA_EN In case you are currently searching, we have an open position as Head of Game […]

  • Destiny Xur update: should you buy MIDA Multi Tool?

    The question on every Destiny player’s lips today. And the answer, supplied by resident Destiny expert Paul Davies, is… Yes! We asked Paul whether or not he thought Xur’s Exotic weapon this week was worth the 23 Strange Coins. Here’s what he said: “It was already a great gun to own for PVP owing to […]

  • Final Fantasy 15 has an all-male cast to make it “more approachable”

    According to Final Fantasy 15 director Hajime Tabata, the main cast of the game is all-male because it makes the game “more approachable.” Final Fantasy 15 director Hajime Tabata spoke to Gamespot about the reason for his choice of making the core cast an all-male affair. “Speaking honestly, an all-male party feels almost more approachable […]

  • Hearthstone Blackrock Mountain is coming April 2

    Blizzard has given Hearthstone expansion Blackrock Mountain a solid release date. Hearthstone’s Blackrock Mountain adventure pack will be released April 2 in the Americas region, and April 3 in Europe, Korea, Taiwan, and China. Blackrock Depths is the first wing to be released, others will follow one week apart. Other than the 31 new cards, […]

  • Bloodborne: if you can’t load your save after installing firmware 2.50, this will help

    If you’re having issues loading your Bloodborne save after applying firmware update 2.50 to your PS4, this should help you out. Reddit user KBALLZZ encountered an issue after installing update 2.50 on his PlayStation 4. Bloodborne started reinstalling the day one patch again and when it was done he couldn’t continue his game or load […]

  • Use this code to get 10% off on PSN purchases

    Sony is offering a 10% discount coupon to anyone looking to buy games on PlayStation Store this weekend. Sony’s latest discount coupon code is here. You’ll receive 10% off your cart total when buying from the PSN Store. The offer is not valid on purchases made on PS Vita, PlayStation TV, PSP, or in-game stores. […]

  • Dark Souls 2: Scholar of the First Sin upgrade path announced, system specs revealed

    Dark Souls 2: Scholar of the First Sin will offer returning customers a chance to upgrade at a discounted price. Those who already own Dark Souls 2 on Steam and are interested in picking up the Scholar of the First Sin edition will be happy to know that publisher Bandai Namco is offering them an […]

  • Bloodborne: this is what happens when you have 40 Insight

    Insight is one of the currencies in Bloodborne, but it’s also a mechanic that affects the gameplay. There are MASSIVE SPOILERS below, so turn back now or one of Bloodborne’s gameplay mechanics will be SPOILED for you. Just like Blood Echoes in Bloodborne, Insight is used to purchase certain items from vendors in the game. […]

  • Phase two of Xbox One April update brings voice messages, dedicated servers for party chat, more

    The second phase of the April update for Xbox One is now open to members of the Preview programme and and it looks like there are even more features in store. Phase one of Xbox One’s April firmware update started a few days ago with improvements to party chat and achievements notifications. Today, phase two […]

  • GTA 5′s graphical “downgrade” is a bug, will be fixed in upcoming patch

    As of patch 1.8 for GTA 5 on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, a few graphical issues have cropped up leading some to believe there has been a stealth downgrade to the game’s overall graphics. Over the past couple of days, Reddit went nuts over a video showing what appears to be a downgrade to […]

  • Destiny: Xur location and inventory for March 27, 28 – MIDA Multi-Tool edition

    Xur: Agent of the Nine has arrived at The Tower in Destiny to rid you of your Strange Coins. Xur: Agent of the Nine has once again made it to Destiny’s Tower to sell you Exotic weapons and gear in exchange for Strange Coins and Motes of Light. For this weekend, Xur can be found […]

  • Destiny vault space upgrade will have enough room for every Exotic

    Destiny is finally getting the vault space upgrade players have been begging for almost since launch week. Destiny players can currently use vault space to store 20 pieces of amour, 20 weapons and 20 general item stacks. In the latest Bungle Weekly Update, the developer revealed that as of patch 1.1.2, due before House of […]

  • Half-Life 2: Update mod applies some sparkle to the original title

    Half-Life 2: Update will be available tomorrow, and thanks to the modding community, those who own the vanilla version of the game can apply a visual update to the 2004 title. The comparison video shows you the differences between the original version, and the version with Half-Life 2: Update applied. Here’s what the mod includes: […]

  • Neverwinter MMO can now be pre-downloaded on Xbox One

    You can now pre-download the free-to-play Neverwinter MMO on Xbox One. The game launches on March 31, but you will still need an Xbox Live Gold account to play it. Based on the Dungeons & Dragons franchise, the game can be downloaded from the Xbox Store.

  • Destiny of Spirits will go offline starting next month

    Sony will be ending service for Destiny of Spirits starting next month, Sony has announced. The free-to-play Destiny of Spirits was released in late March 2014 on Vita, and tasked players with collecting supernatural forces appropriate to their geographical location, and then trading them with others online. Gravity Rush spirits were added to the game […]

  • MotoGP 15 is out this spring on PC, last and current-gen consoles

    MotoGP 15 will be released in June on PC, PlayStation 3, PS4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One, Milestone has announced. Bike, rider and team customization are part of the latest release in the franchise, along with time-trials and enhanced career options. The game features over 20 bike models divided into three classes: MotoGP, Moto 2 […]

  • Cities: Skylines players should check out Nakatomi Plaza and Wayne Enterprises

    Nakatomi Plaza and Wayne Enterprises can now be yours in Cities: Skylines. Die Hard fans will be familiar with Nakatomi Plaza. Those who have never watched the first film and live in Los Angeles know it by its real-life name, FOX Plaza. It was created by Enos Shenk and is available through Steamworks. Those who […]

  • Call of Duty franchise has sold 175M copies, players have thrown 300B grenades

    With the Call of Duty Championship kicking off tomorrow, Activision has sent over a series infographic full of interesting figures such as the number of copies sold over 10 years and how many grenades players have tossed. According to the stats below, the Call of Duty franchise has sold 175 million copies across all platforms […]

  • Save up to 75% on select SEGA games on Steam this weekend

    SEGA has put many of its games on sale through Steam this weekend and the firm has also announced Eastside Hockey Manager is now available through Early Access. The sale runs through March 30. The entire Total War, Company of Heroes and Dawn of War back catalogs are discounted 75% and all associated DLC is […]

  • Batman: Arkham Knight PC confirmed as digital download-only in UK

    Batman: Arkham Knight will indeed be a download-only title on PC in the UK, Warner Bros. has confirmed to VG247. Batman: Arkham Knight will be available as both a physical and digital release for PS4, Xbox One and PC in North America and Europe. Again, in the UK, the PC version will be “available as […]

  • Rainbow Six Siege release date set for October per GameStop Italy – report

    GameStop Italy may have let the release date for Rainbow Six Siege slip if a recent listing is accurate. According to the listing, the game will release on October 16. While this could be a placeholder date, October 16 is a Friday in the UK, the usual day new releases land at retail. The release […]

  • Watch the $1 million Call of Duty Championship right here

    The The Call of Duty Championship takes place this weekend, and you can watch all the action as it unfolds right here. The event takes place in Los Angeles tomorrow March 27 and runs through March 29, and the livestreams are below. 32 teams from five continents and 11 countries will be competing in Call […]

  • Battlefield Hardline: Battlefest kicks off this weekend with Double XP

    A new season of Battlefest kicks off this weekend, and starting today, you will earn Double XP in Battlefield Hardline. Battlefest for Hardline is similar to the event held for Battlefield 4 last year. For the entire month of April and into May, in-game events and competitions will be held by the developers and player […]

  • Don’t forget: the GTA 5 PC pre-order bonus cutoff is March 31

    Just a friendly reminder to those planning on purchasing GTA 5 for PC: you have until March 31 to pre-order if you want all the bonuses on offer. Those who pre-order will be handed $1 million in-game cash plus a bonus $300,000. It is split between GTA 5 and GTA Online: $500,000 for Grand Theft […]

  • Games with Gold offers doubled for April – six games instead of three

    Microsoft’s April Games with Gold collection is being doubled. For the month Xbox Live Gold members will receive six instead of three games free. Here’s what’s on offer: Pool Nation FX: Available all month on Xbox One Child of Light: Available all month on Xbox One Gears of War: Judgment: Available from April 1-15 on […]

  • Pokemon players can grab a code for Shiny Charizard at GAME in April

    Pokemon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire players along with Pokemon X and Y owners can grab a free, rare Shiny Charizard from April 3 at one of GAME’s 320 stores in the UK. The redeemable codes for the character will be made available upon request and no purchase is necessary. Those who pop into one […]

  • F1 2015 will arrive on PC, PS4 and Xbox One in June, includes Mexico circuit

    Codemasters has announced its F1 franchise will make its series debut on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One this June with the release of F1 2015. The game was developed using a new engine and contains improved handling and physics for all vehicles and parts attached. This includes: engine, transmission, aerodynamics, fuel tank, force feedback, suspension […]

  • Mortal Kombat X video confirms Liu Kang as playable character

    Liu Kang has been confirmed as a playable character in Mortal Kombat X in the latest video. You’ll also notice Bo’ Rai Cho in there as well. In the Shaolin trailer above you also get a look at Kung Lao and Kung Jin who is new to the series. Apparently, Raiden’s past champions of the […]

  • Short teaser for Star Wars: Battlefront shows the Battle of Hoth

    A short teaser for Star Wars: Battlefront has been posted by EA on Twitter. Well, that speeder isn't going anywhere. Can someone give us a lift to @SW_Celebration http://t.co/srEVrAA0zl #SWCA https://t.co/4W4LG8myke — EAStarWars (@EAStarWars) March 25, 2015 The teaser shows vehicles which we could be using in the game, but it mainly shows the snowy landscape […]

  • Pillars of Eternity releases today – get all the review scores here

    Pillars of Eternity, which still stands as the second most-funded video game on Kickstarter, finally releases today. It’s also getting some rather positive reviews scores, which we’ve rounded up for you. The isometric, party-based RPG from Obsidian Entertainment was one of the first video game projects to take to Kickstarter, and hit its $1.1 million […]

  • Take an in-depth look at Evolve’s Behemoth monster and four new hunters

    Evolve’s fourth monster, the Behemoth, as well as the four new hunters are shown off in new gameplay video. Evolve’s latest gameplay trailer gives everyone a good look at each of the four new hunters and the massive Behemoth monster. The hunters can be bought either separately or though the hunting pass, while the monster […]

  • PS4 firmware update 2.50 causing issues with Killzone: Shadow Fall

    The suspend/resume feature in PlayStation 4′s 2.50 firmware update is causing some issues with Killzone: Shadow Fall. Killzone: Shadow Fall developer Guerrilla has said that the game is experiencing some issues in some instance where the suspend/resume feature is used. The timing of when players put the game in suspend mode does have an effect, […]

  • Bungie on Destiny matchmaking: “We believe there’s no substitute for a pre-made team”

    Crazy though this may seem, it’s possible that Destiny shipped according to plan. History points to community as a crucial component, far from the contingency that many now suspect. Paul Davies spoke to Bungie for clarity. “The community always engineers the best solutions for bringing players together. While Matchmaking is a great resource for introducing […]

  • Bloodborne works with suspend/resume, but only offline

    PlayStation 4′s newly-added suspend/resume feature works with Bloodborne as you’d expect, but only while offline. PlayStation 4 received the long-awaited suspend/resume feature today as part of firmware 2.50, and people are starting to test it out with various games. Bloodborne does work with the feature, but only if you play offline. Playing online is arguably […]

  • This is what Crossy Road looks like in first-person

    Crossy Road is fun and addictive. But in first-person, it’s mostly frightening. YouTube user Andy Front Films likes Crossy Road so much he decided to show off what it would look like in first-person. If crossing roads quickly and watching around for cars and trains, all of this as the camera chases you felt intense […]

  • Take a small behind-the-scenes peek at Mass Effect 4

    BioWare cinematic director Ken Thain has given us a very slim look behind the scenes at some motion capture work from the upcoming Mass Effect game. The upcoming Mass Effect game, whether it ends up being called Mass Effect 4 or not, will most definitely incorporate some form of motion capture work. How do we […]

  • Borderlands: The Handsome Collection – 8GB day one patch on PS4, 16GB on Xbox One

    Day one patches for Borderlands: The Handsome Collection are pretty hefty. Both the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One versions of Borderlands: The Handsome Collection require players to download lots of gigabytes to make the experience as smooth as possible. The PlayStation 4 version has an 8.31GB day one patch. The Xbox One version however has […]

  • Get a PlayStation 4 with Bloodborne and The Last of Us for $435

    If you’ve been waiting for the perfect game to get to buy a PlayStation 4, there’s no better time than the present. Amazon is offering a good PlayStation 4 bundle at the moment. For $434.99, you get a PlayStation 4 console, The Last of Us, and Bloodborne. The Last of Us is of course the […]

  • Upcoming Battlefield Hardline patch to nerf the K10, buff battle rifles

    Battlefield Hardline’s first patch will focus on weapon balance and a few changes have been proposed. Battlefield Hardline lead multiplayer designer Thaddeus Sasser posted a few of the balance changes that the team is considering for the next patch. K10: reduce bullet damage to 33 Saiga and PTR: reduce recoil to bring more in line […]

  • Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 and a new Resident Evil game coming this year, according to research firm

    According to digital games analyst SuperData, a new Resident Evil game is due this fall and that this year’s Call of Duty is Black Ops 3. In its latest report on digital console games, research and analytics firm SuperData revealed that a new Resident Evil is coming this fall. “We anticipate this month’s downturn to […]

  • Bloodborne: you can add gestures to your messages

    As players get deeper into Bloodborne, they keep uncovering so many of its little new additions, including this one. Bloodborne, like all of the Souls games before it, allows players to leave messages for other players. These messages could be used to point players towards impending doom, treasure, or just be sarcastic and witty. What […]

  • PlayStation 4 firmware update 2.50 is now live

    PlayStation 4 firmware update version 2.50 has started rolling out. Reports are coming in saying that Yukimura, PlayStation 4′s firmware 2.50 has been made available to download. The update is clocking in at just 245mb, so get downloading. 2.50 brings with it many new additions, including the suspend/resume feature, backup and restore, accessibility options and […]

  • Harley Quinn DLC for Batman: Arkham Knight is a prequel

    Batman: Arkham Knight’s Harley Quinn pre-order DLC is set before the events of the main game, according to Amazon’s description. Today we learned a few details about the pre-order DLC for Batman: Arkham Knight, namely the Harley Quinn one. According to the description on Amazon, the DLC takes place in the lead-up to the events […]

  • Bloodborne Vicar Amelia summon mystery solved

    Bloodborne players unable to summon near Vicar Amelia: here’s your solution. Bloodborne’s secrets are unfolding by the hour as clever players piece together From Software’s cunning design. Yesterday we reported problems summoning in the Cathedral Ward, before the Vicar Amelia boss fight. It turns out this isn’t a bug – or if it is, it’s […]

  • Steven Spielberg will direct film adaption of Ready Player One

    Steven Spielberg will direct the film adaption of the sci-fi, virtual world, video game themed novel Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. Warner Bros. bought the rights to the film in June 2010 and hired screenwriter Zak Penn to rewrite the previous draft written by Eric Eason, according to Deadline. The book takes place in […]

  • Bloodborne players with PS4 headsets shouldn’t forget about the custom audio

    Here’s a friendly reminder for Bloodborne players with PS4 headsets: be sure to download the Headset Companion App from the PlayStation store if you haven’t already. As previously reported, the game supports a custom Bloodborne audio mode which can be uploaded. It contains custom audio created by developers specifically tuned to enhance the audio. This […]