Long Read: The Rise and Fall of Milo and Kate

Milo and Kate

Remember Milo and Kate, the infamous tech demo from the original Kinect announcement? You can be sure that everyone who worked at Lionhead under Peter Molyneux does. Over at Polygon, Matt Leone has a fascinating in-depth article about the long development history and DNA of the project. It turns out that Milo has roots in a failed project called Dmitri that began all the way back in 2001. Milo is still a sore subject at Lionhead, so a lot of the quotes are off the record, but the article is definitely still worth a read if you’re interested in some of the behind-the-scenes goings on at a game developer.

Molyneux definitely has a long, strange history in game development; in the early years, before Lionhead and Microsoft, it seemed like he could do no wrong. I never played Black and White or any of his early games like Populous, but I remember people raving about them at the time. At Lionhead, Molyneux became known for games like Fable, which over-promised and under-delivered but still sold well enough to produce sequels. That tendency towards over-promising weird, ambitious gameplay mechanics eventually became the inspiration for parody. However, I do think there is something admirable in Molyneux’s desire to find new ways to approach games; I just get the impression that never meshed very well with the business concerns of a large corporation like Microsoft or with the realities of the modern-day console development cycle.

Have any of you ever played Molyneux’s early work? Are you looking forward to whatever crazy idea he comes up with next? Let us know in the comments!

The GamerSushi Show, Ep 12: Characters and Cameras

Epic MickeyIt’s the first week of December, so we’re bringing a brand new edition of the GamerSushi Show, back in our shorter and more frequent format. If we can keep rolling with this, you should see one of these bad boys each and every week.

In this edition, we cover a whole slew of topics, including a brief look back at 2010, and a look forward at the titles we’re going to be playing in an effort to close the year out strong. We also tackle the release of Epic Mickey, one of the Wii’s new flagship titles, and discuss the game’s virtues and a couple of its shortcomings, including third person video game cameras and why it seems so hard for developers to get it right. After that we tackle a new game from Nick (which Anthony dominates) and then take a look at Game Informer’s list of 30 Characters that Defined a Decade.

So, as you can see, just because things are shorter does not mean we don’t have anything to talk about. Once again, please go rate this cast on iTunes and subscribe with the handy links to the right. Enjoy! Continue reading The GamerSushi Show, Ep 12: Characters and Cameras

Gaming Pop Quiz: Winter Edition

Well fellow gamers, it’s now officially December, so that means that all around the land, people are jumping into holiday mode. It’s kind of funny actually, that once November passes everyone runs around like crazy all the way until Christmas-ish time, and then everything gets calm again. At least that’s the way it is around here.

As we’ve been discussing, winter and holiday season naturally means one thing for all of us and our interests: games, and lots of them. Over the years, I know that all of us have received a bountiful harvest of great gaming goodness, and we’ve played games until we couldn’t stand them any longer. Traditionally for me, December is the time that I play more games than any other.

I’m setting all of this up to give you some sweet gaming questions, naturally. As always with our getting-to-know-you type games, feel free to answer with as much or as little as you like. Answer to the best of your ability. Go! Continue reading Gaming Pop Quiz: Winter Edition

Microsoft Spending Half a Billion to Promote Kinect

kinect half a billionWe all knew that Microsoft had deep pockets, but I would have never pegged them as the kind to go hog wild with their limitless font of cash. Apparently I was wrong in that assumption, because the software giant has pledged half a billion dollars to promote Kinect, the controller-free peripheral launching November 4 for the Xbox 360.

According to the New York Post, Microsoft began planning the multifaceted launch of Kinect almost 18 months ago with the help of Stephen Spielberg. With such a large amount of money dedicated to getting Kinect on everyone’s minds, we can expect to see the little black sensor pop everywhere from soda cans and magazines to the TV shows Glee and Dancing with the Stars. All this is going towards getting Kinect in the minds of parents for the upcoming holiday season, where it will be squaring off against the Wii and Sony’s newly launched Move controller.

If you thought the ad campaigns for Halo 3 or Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 got annoying leading up to launch, just wait until you can’t round a corner without seeing Kinect. To be fair, we’re not really the target audience for the sensor, but I’m sure there will be some “core” gamers out there picking it up.

I think this makes it more than clear that Microsoft is in love with the technology behind Kinect, and they’re really throwing the whole Xbox division behind it. Now, I don’t consider technically consider myself a Microsoft fanboy, but I’m kind of worried what the possible failure of Kinect will do to the console. While I think that Microsoft can take the hit overall, we may see the end of the Xbox if this doesn’t work. Half a billion is a lot of money, even if it is just a drop in the bucket for Microsoft.

This kind of news is just begging for your comments, so let us know what you think! Can half a billion guarantee a good showing for Kinect this holiday? Will a possible failure spell doom for future versions of the Xbox?

Source: New York Post

Microsoft Says It Needs to “Step Up” Its PC Support

games-for-windows-live-logoIt’s funny how things can change in just a few years. Microsoft, once the PC gaming giant, has now taken a back seat in that race, preferring instead to dump its collective resources into the console game. While it is making a good amount of head-way there, the giant company is rightly getting a bit of flack for “abandoning” the PC. Microsoft recognizes that it needs to give a bit more attention to the platform that launched its gaming business, and there are a few initiatives underway to make that happen.

Microsoft Game Studios’ General Manager Dave Luehmann recently had a little chat with MCV where he outlined the plan for the PC resurgence. He spoke pretty candidly on Microsoft’s stance in the industry, while at the same time being less than humble about the company’s position as a former forerunner:

“There’s been a fair bit of criticism aimed at Microsoft that we were spending a lot of our focus on console, and we need to be putting resources behind PC as well. Other companies should look to Microsoft for leadership, but I’m not sure they do. It is our job to lead the way on PC. And in some ways we are doing that and in other ways we are not. So we need to step up. We are putting some real investment and big IPs behind the Windows platform. We’ve spoken of the first three, Fable III, Age of Empires Online and Microsoft Flight. However we are not going to stop there.”

One thing is for sure, Mr. Luehmann knows how to talk a big talk. While X-Box LIVE has done some revolutionary things in regards to party connectivity and nickle-and-diming the customer, Games for Windows LIVE continues to languish as XBL’s neglected cousin. For those of us who play our games on the PC, GFWL is sort of a black-sheep compared to other, more user friendly services such as Steam or Impulse. While it’s nice that Microsoft recognizes the importance of PC gaming, it still remains to be seen as to whether or not they’ll actually do as they promise. What do you guys think of MS’s stance? Should they reassert themselves in the PC gaming scene, or is this just an empty boast? With the X-Box doing fairly well and Kinect on the way, should we even expect for Microsoft to bother with their former territory? Let us know!

Source: MCV

Steel Battalion: Heavy Armor Coming To Kinect

One of the most legendary games of all time was Steel Battalion for the Xbox, mainly due to it’s incredibly complex controller, pictured here. 40 buttons and 2 control sticks were needed to play this game and few did, though likely because of the $200.00 price tag. Well, as we have seen, one of the main themes of this new generation of consoles has been streamlining and Capcom just set the bar as the newly announced Steel Battalion will have no buttons.

That’s right, as revealed at the Tokyo Game Show and reported by 1UP.com’s Frank Cifaldi, the sequel to the giant mech game will be a Kinect exclusive. How such a thing is even possible is beyond me, but color me intrigued. Other than Child of Eden, this is the first “hardcore” game revealed for Kinect, so perhaps they aren’t leaving their core demographic behind with their shiny new peripheral.

Did anyone out there play Steel Battalion? Would you be interested in buying a Kinect for this? Or will it just be another rail-shooter? Your keyboard has more than 40 buttons…use them now!

Source: 1UP

GamerSushi Poll: Which Do You Think Will Sell Better: Move or Kinect?

We are about a month away from the launch of Sony’s Playstation Move and in November, Microsoft will release Kinect. The two devices, rather than being similar, are actually quite different and seem to cater to two different mindsets of gamers out there.

Personally, I’m not looking seriously at buying either one of them, but if I had to choose, I think Move has that hardcore edge I would be looking for. Plus, I like buttons and I’m lazy.That being said, I think Kinect will outsell Move by a wide margin. The money of Microsoft and the allure of something so high tech will trap the casual game market more so than the precision that Move seems to offer.

So my question is…

Which do you think will sell more units?

View Results

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