It’s Friday, which means it’s time for Spiffing Reads! First up, here’s a trio of articles on the continuing fallout from EA’s closure of Visceral Games, a story that’s dominated the news for the past couple of weeks.
How Dead Space Defined Visceral Games (Kotaku UK)
Jason Schreier on Kotaku did a wonderfully in-depth feature on the last few years of Visceral Games, which showed that everything isn’t quite as simple as VISCERAL = GOOD, EA = BAD. One Visceral employee saw the studio’s closure almost as a blessing: “Honestly, it was a mercy killing.” It seems things had been going wrong at the studio for years, and they just couldn’t quite get a handle on the new Star Wars game, which seemed to spiral out of control. Then again, EA’s handling of the situation hardly appears exemplary – the subtext is that Visceral were given Battlefield: Hardline to develop as a ‘punishment’ for Dead Space 3. It’s no wonder a large number of people left the studio over the past few years.
Rich Stanton at Kotaku UK looked back to Visceral’s crowning glory, Dead Space, with an impassioned look at why the game was so important and how it managed to push survival horror in a new direction. And over at Polygon they’re still analysing what Visceral’s closure means for single-player games in general – in short, one-player games will have to be really, really good to have a hope of standing out (and making money). Lucius P. Merriweather
I’ve been spending a bit more time poking around Reddit lately, and one thing I came across recently was an ongoing series of AMAs on r/NintendoSwitch that have been happening since the Switch was released. As you’d expect there’s a focus on indie games, and they have AMAs for the three indie releases I reviewed over the past few weeks (Yono and the Celestial Elephants, Inversus Deluxe and The Count Lucanor). It’s always interesting to get a peek behind the scenes, so this is great reading for fans of the games. Professor GreilMercs
This is an excellent look back at RiME, a game that we hope to review here very soon when it launches on Switch. RiME is very like Hob in that it doesn’t give you much information to work on, instead relying on the player to work out what buttons do what and where they need to be going. It’s a refreshing approach – here’s hoping more games follow this lead. L.P.M.
The warning at the start of the trailer for The Last of Us Part II that was shown at Sony’s Paris conference reads: ‘May contain content inappropriate for children’. No shit. I pretty much felt sick by the end of it – in fact it put me off the game a little. I want giraffes and a burgeoning father/daughter relationship, not psychos with claw hammers. I don’t have a problem with violent games per se, but Eurogamer makes the excellent point that this kind of troubling trailer really doesn’t fit in at a conference presentation that’s aimed at everyone. Perhaps in future, Sony and other companies should consider separating their conferences into family-friendly games and more adult presentations. L.P.M.
Spiffing Reads is a regular feature where we pick out the best gaming articles of the week. If you’ve read anything interesting, please let us know in the comments.