Why is it gentle-readers that the good guys of our industry are ever destined to fall by the wayside, one after the next, while the faceless corporate bean-counters are able to continue making money hand over fist by producing their endless quantities of tasteless, colourless insipid widgets? In yet another blow for fans of the Japanese video game industry, development studio Cavia has been dissolved and absorbed into Parent company AQ. Cavia, the development studio behind the cult Drakengard series and fan favorite Nier along with outsourced projects such as the Resident Evil lightgun games on the Wii and the now cancelled Mistwalker game Cry-On, have apparently shut their doors for the last time.
It is not entirely clear what this means for Cavia’s development talent, all Cavia staff have been allegedly redeployed within AQ, yet AQ has an apparent focus on producing browser based games which raises the question of whether they are looking at getting into the manufacture of console titles, or are merely looking to squander the talents of the former Cavia staff. Moreover, one need only look at the former development husks of Squaresoft or Sacnoth/Nautilus in order to see the effect that a disruption to autonomy and management structure can have regarding the quality of the studio’s output. So for now the legacy of Cavia remains an uncertain one, if their dissolution is absolute then Nier is a most fitting swansong, albeit one for which they were cut off at the knees.
Weekly Murfreesboro update:
Sony patents new stereoscopic glasses gimmick for when everyone stops caring about 3D!
3D not enough? Apparently patent documents filed roughly a year ago indicate that Sony’s 3D technology can do much more than merely render games in 3D, and may in fact provide a fullscreen alternative to split-screen for local multi-player. The patent details a method for rendering different images on the same screen, which can then be filtered to the correct pair of glasses, providing each player with their own full screen.
While this certainly sounds like a far more palatable use of Sony’s 3D technology than its intended primary purpose, I nevertheless have my doubts regarding its suitability for Sony’s current console. Thus far Sony’s foray into 3D gaming has taught us to expect lower resolutions and framerates with a greater number of torn frames of animation, in order to render concurrently what is essentially two identical images from slightly different perspectives. Now imagine that the game engine is tasked with rendering two concurrent images from potentially anywhere within a large environment, thus doubling the load placed on the game engine, which is now required to render two full screens of potentially different assets and textures. This does not make the implementation of the technology any less viable, yet one can only imagine the scale of the visual trade-offs required to get it running on current gen hardware.
At any rate, has not the internet rendered local multiplayer moot?
Threat to our quality of life of the week:
This week saw employees of both Infinity Ward and Treyarch, Robert Bowling and Josh Olin respectively, hose down one of the items on Bobby Nodick’s longstanding wishlist; namely charging gamers to play CoD’s online multiplayer component. This, Nodick has long felt entitled to do owing to his claims that CoD is the franchise solely responsible for 60% of Xbox Live subscriptions, and of course he feels very much entitled to a large part of this money stream in order to “be able to provide much more value to those millions of players playing on Live”, well at least he’s humble about it.
CoD players likely have the complete ruination wrought upon IW to thank for being spared their rightful contribution to Nodick’s cash flow, as he has singlehandedly transformed Activision’s rivers of gold into a shambolic stream of stale piss and lawsuits, and thus Activision must ensure the series sales are still in rude health before making any unreasonable demands of players (besides charging for maps). Worry not though Bobby Nodick fans, I am sure this latest is but a small setback to his finally realising his life’s dream of everyone pays money to Bobby at all times for all things in all places (at double rate during peak times), and until that happy day we can all enjoy the sword of Damocles hanging over our heads in the form of Nodick’s very much alive pay to play policy, temporarily consigned to the backburner until such a time as he thinks it would be funny to dump it on consumers and yell SURPRISE!