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Archive For April, 2011

Sound Current: 'Anamanaguchi's Guide to Scott Pilgrim: The Game Soundtrack'

April 27, 2011 12:00 PM | jeriaska

[In his latest interview for GameSetWatch, Jeriaska catches up with chiptune band Anamanaguchi to discuss their contributions to the recent Scott Pilgrim game from Ubisoft, detailing the noted New York band's approach to the video game version of the movie and comic book series.]

Bitpop band Anamanaguchi emerged from the New York chiptune scene to widespread recognition around the time of the 2006 Blip Festival concert. Their live performances have since become a fixture of the bi-coastal Penny Arcade Expo events.

Shortly after Kotaku named the chiptune band most likely to break through, they were approached by Ubisoft to compose the music score for Scott Pilgrim vs the World: The Game. A 24-track soundtrack album resulted, the single largest Anamanaguchi release by volume to date.

The diverse influences of the soundtrack run from Miles Davis and Angelo Badalamenti to NES composer Kôzô Nakamura. Band members Peter Berkman and Luke Silas describe it as a mixture of turmoil and fun that remains on the positive side. The equation equally describes what fans associate both with the band's music and the tone of the Scott Pilgrim graphic novels.

In this interview we hear how the two musicians viewed Scott Pilgrim: The Game as making sense as an Anamanaguchi project. They also describe how the collaboration with band members James DeVito and Ary Warnaar complemented the game's distinctive sprite art by Paul Robertson.

Get Cul/tured: New Zine Focuses On Game Industry

April 27, 2011 10:00 AM | Eric Caoili

Fans of video game zines -- wonderful alternatives to bigger, ad-filled magazines that might not cover the more obscure games and topics you're interested in -- have a new publication to pick up: Michael Brown's Cul/tured Magazine, which debuted its first issue over the weekend.

Cul/tured seeks to "educate a wider variety of people about video game development and the people behind some of today’s most interesting and thought provoking games, as well as those pioneering new concepts in the industry."

The first issue includes features examining three studios: Capybara Games (Might and Magic: Clash of Heroes, Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP), Double Fine Productions (Brütal Legend, Costume Quest), and Telltale Games (Sam & Max, Back to the Future: The Game).

Brown says readers will learn "where the studios came from, their actual development process, some of the games they working on and have made before, as well as what they are doing that is unique." He profiled critical creative figures at each of the three video game developers, too.

Cul/tured's inaugural, 58-page issue also looks at the annual Game Deveoper's Conference, its history, and its impact on the game industry. You can buy the first printed issue for a discounted price of $10.35 here. Brown intends to release a free digital version on May 1st.

[Via @expdotzine]

Collte's Spoon Devil Demo Released

April 27, 2011 8:00 AM | Eric Caoili

As promised earlier in the year, Japanese developer Q Handmade Games (Sense of Wonder Night 2009 finalist ecolpit), has released a two-stage demo for Collte's Spoon Devil, the unique arena shooter/bullet hell game coming to Windows PC.

The gist of Collte's Spoon Devil is that you're controlling two characters simultaneously: you maneuver the slower/more vulnerable witch Collte with the keyboard, while you control her Spoon Devil creature with the mouse.

Both of the characters have their own health meters and weapons, but you will lose the round if Collte takes too much damage. The pair targets incoming enemies automatically, and regain health when next to each other.

The Collte's Spoon Devil demo that's available only has a Japanese language option so far, but our sister site IndieGames.com says it's "rather easy to learn even if you can't read a single word of Japanese". You can download it for free here.

Game Developer Reveals 2010 Game Industry Salary Survey Results

April 27, 2011 7:00 AM | Simon Carless

GSW's sister publication Game Developer magazine, the leading game industry publication, has released the results of its 10th annual Game Developer Salary Survey, this year contrasting increasing salaries for mainstream game developers with continued strides for independent creators.

The Game Developer Salary Survey, available in full in the April 2011 issue of the magazine, is the only major publicly-released analysis of salaries in the worldwide video game industry.

It provides an exhaustive breakdown of salaries and benefits at major game studios by discipline, job function, experience level, region and gender. For the last two years, the survey has also charted the growing worldwide independent game industry.

By the numbers, the traditional American mainstream video game industry – including salaried participants in the AAA console and emerging social/online game areas - saw a 7 percent salary increase in 2010 over 2009, reaching $80,817. (The survey does not track total numbers of employed game creators.)

Elsewhere, independent contractors earned an average of $55,493, while self-identified ‘independent game team’ members reported an overall $26,780 average salary in the U.S., an increase of over $6,000 from the previous year’s survey - showing swift indie growth.

Highlights of specific findings per category for the game developer-specific survey in the United States are as follows:

Oskunk's Genesis Of Rage, Bombermunny

April 27, 2011 6:00 AM | Eric Caoili

French artist Oskunk (a.k.a. Ozcan) continues to amaze with his custom-painted video game works, following up his stylish Bubble Bobble Master System II and vibrant Samba de Amigo Dreamcast with this cracking Streets of Rage paintjob for a Genesis/Mega Drive and controller.

He's taken advantage of all the recent attention on his pieces by putting out a lot of other neat stuff, like the dripping Bomberman Munny and mushroom-eating Super Mario Game Boy pieces I've included after the break. You can see more of Oskunk's painted video game consoles and figures on his blog.

Gearbox's Pitchford On Gaming's Grown-Up World: There's No 'Line' To Cross

April 27, 2011 12:00 AM | Simon Carless

["If our medium is art, how could there be a line?" Gearbox Software CEO Randy Pitchford tells our own Leigh Alexander, addressing the role -- and potential responsibility -- of gaming content within a broad entertainment landscape.]

The video game space just gets bigger and bigger, its relevance finally impossible to ignore in the wider entertainment media landscape. While you'd think this means the days of seeing mature-themed video games as fodder for evening news warning bulletins are over, sometimes it seems the lens of scrutiny is on game content more intently than ever.

And strangely, this cultural heyday for games as a sophisticated and socially-acceptable medium comes with some odd signifiers: The joyful recidivist gore of Bulletstorm is one example, but there's none so blatant as the upcoming launch of Duke Nukem Forever, almost a decade and a half awaited.

Duke's world of big explosions, 90s action cliches and bikini babes seems almost all the more anachronistic in context.

It raises a striking question: Now that "we" have the spotlight, what, if any, responsibility do we have for our content and how it's perceived?

It's one thing for developers to say they're making games that act as self-expression or that represent the kinds of games they themselves would most enjoy playing; it's one thing for gamers to say that games are just for fun. But what signifies the sophistication of a medium: Its content diversity, or the highest common denominator?

"We are in an interesting time right now," Randy Pitchford, CEO of DNF developer Gearbox Software, told us when we asked him that very question. "Video games have created the largest generation gap in the history of all entertainment on earth."

Mount&Blade: With Fire And Sword Shoots, Sieges On May 3

April 26, 2011 4:00 PM | Eric Caoili

TaleWorlds announced that Mount&Blade: Fire & Sword, the new expansion for its medieval and open-world action RPG, has gone gold and will release on May 3 for Windows. It also put out this "Siege" trailer to show off the firearms and grenades that will be added to the game.

Unlike previous Mount&Blade releases, With Fire and Sword is inspired by real-world events, particularly the Khmelnytsky Uprising during  the 17th century. The expansion is based on Polish author Henryk Sienkiewicz's famous historical fictional novel of the same name.

Along with the new firearms, With Fire and Sword will feature new battle formations, a new Captain game mode (up to 16 players command a squad of soldiers) multiple endings, enhanced siege mechanics, seven new multiplayer maps,, and more.

The expansion will launch on digital distribution platforms for $14.99, and will see a retail release shortly afterward. It has already been made available in select European markets (Russia, Czech Republic) for some time now.

Capsized Releases For Windows This Friday

April 26, 2011 2:00 PM | Eric Caoili

Capsized, the Metroid/Exile-inspired action platformer from Saskatoon-based indie Alientrap Games (Nexuiz), will release for Windows this Friday on Steam and on the developer's website for $9.99, and will be accompanied by a free demo then, too.

If you don't remember Capsized from when we first featured it in late 2009, it's a visually dinstinct game featuring the familiar plot of a crash-landed space traveler stuck on a mysterious planet, forced to explore the environment and fight its hostile creatures:

"Artist Jesse McGibney and programmer Lee Vermeulen create an immersive alien world teeming with bizarre life-forms and strange landscapes presented in a unique hand-drawn art style.

Combining control elements of first person shooters and innovative physics based combat, Capsized emphasizes action without giving up the smart problem solving of classic platform games."

I remember that Alientrap was trying to find a publisher last year to release Capsized on XBLA, but there hasn't been any news on that front since last May.

[Via RPS]

Analysis: Is the Dance Genre Set For A Fall?

April 26, 2011 12:00 PM | Simon Carless

[Dance Central and Just Dance have been standout successes of the last year, but is this phenomenal spurt of activity heading for disaster? Sister site Gamasutra's business editor Colin Campbell speaks to Ubisoft’s Tony Key and the analysts...]

The dance genre is wildly popular. Ubisoft says it's sold 12 million Just Dance games, as well as three million Michael Jackson games on Wii. Harmonix's Dance Central was the top-selling Kinect game in November 2010. Majesco's Zumba Fitness has shifted more than a million units.

These games have cultural impact way beyond the game industry's borders. Michael Jackson: The Experience has almost half a million Facebook fans, while Just Dance's various Facebook pages boast over a million fans.

As Matt Matthews pointed out recently, approximately one in every 11 units of software sold on the Wii since the end of September 2010 has been a copy of Just Dance 2.

But is this sustainable? Haven't we seen before how the music sector can promise unending revenues, but deliver disappointment and even disaster? It seems highly likely that we will see a large number of dance games entering the market in the next 12 months and the inevitable results of saturation.

Ubisoft's Tony Key believes the market's got legs. "The market is really unsaturated. It's big, and people want to do this. Before Just Dance came along you had no good excuse to actually be dancing in your living room with a group of people. We've created a reason for a home dance experience."

Fangame Golden Axe Myth Released

April 26, 2011 10:00 AM | Eric Caoili

An Italian group of Golden Axe devotees have released a fanmade prequel to the sidescrolling Sega series called Golden Axe Myth, building it with the OpenBOR engine originally created for Streets of Rage mods.

Golden Axe Myth features new artwork, music, hand-drawn graphics, stages, and more. Here's a synopsis of the beat'em up, which has been in development since 2007:

"The Empire of the Joined Lands has been the real symbol of wealth and power since a long time ago. But now, evil creeped into heart of the Empire, and the Golden Axe was stolen. The council of Defensors was tricked and misguided.

The four best warriors of the whole realm are already on pursuit of the enemy. The council gave them the power of Elemental Magick, since great are the dangers they'll have to face. They know no fear or doubt. In their hearts and minds there's only the sacred quest: to get back the Golden Axe."

You can download Golden Axe Myth, as well as its art book and soundtrack, for free on the fangame's official site. Hopefully this stays up longer than the Streets of Rage remake, which was pulled offline after a few days due to a Sega cease and desist.

[Via Orobi]

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