Editorial: I am ever the bearer of ill tidings …

If this AQ gig doesn't pan out the Cavia staff can always fall back on the time honoured vocation that comes naturally to all Japanese; namely molesting sealife in Australian territorial waters

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:

The Motok clan celebrate as Oliver's sister (right) gives birth to a litter of puppies, vows to remember who they are

Sony patents new stereoscopic glasses gimmick for when everyone stops caring about 3D!

One for me and one for you!

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:

Activision

"I will see you now Mr Schafer, pray do not keep me waiting ..."

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!

Runner up:

Oliver Motok

The Olicaust: Never forget ...

0 comments

  1. Good God, that last picture!

    I think we’ve somehow found a new low. I didn’t think it was possible, but we have.

  2. -no, the internet has not rendered local multiplayer moot, and all the developers who keep takin it out need a kick to the balls. it’s bad enough I can’t play racin games with my friends at my house, if they take it out fighting games next I’m buyin a chainsaw and goin to a daycare.

    -that is the most colossuly fucked up picture I’ve seen in a long time. brave, NooB, bravo.

  3. @Breaka: My point wasn’t that local is moot for everyone, but rather it is moot for Sony and their glasses since it seems a great many people consider it to be less important these days. I’m in strong support of local, but Sony have no demographic to sell these glasses to.

  4. if by people you mean the developers/publishers who would be far too lazy/greedy to implement somethin like this then yea, you’ve got a point.

  5. I understand that sometimes there are technical limitations to enabling split-screen play, but I’d much rather take the hit on graphics if it allows me to play with somebody on my couch. I think the lack of split screen in the current generation is a damn shame, and that’s actually one of the things I liked so much about Borderlands. Like I said, no splitscreen in Crackdown, I can understand, but when a Madden game’s limited to 2-player at a time, there’s absolutely no excuse (happened to me some year recently. I think it was whatever Christmas the 360 was released) and, like Breaka said, I doubt I’d ever buy a fighting game that was online-only.

    To be honest, I’d much rather have the 3D tech go towards this application than actual 3D. Presumably, the performance hit wouldn’t be any more than traditional split screen games (since the rendering target doesn’t make a huge different).

  6. @DG: Yeah, but split-screen isn’t necessary for fighting games, it’s not something where they actually have to tweak their engine in order to accommodate it, all it requires is a few extra screens of option menus …

    -Also, rendering two full screens will place an additional burden on the engine over that of split-screen unless the resolution is cut by half.

    -Also, so few people own 3D TVs that there is no market for this. Like I said, I prefer this to the technology being used for 3D, but there is no market for this.

  7. @SN: Yeah, like I said, no reason why fighting games shouldn’t have local multiplayer, but that’s why I brought up the Madden example (same scenario. You just need to draw an extra colored circle on screen and handle controller inputs). Sometimes, there’s no technical reason behind the player limit :f.

    And yeah, I guess I’m assuming that they’ll be running at lower resolutions like traditional split screen would, essentially just rendering the same image to a larger canvas (which, like I said, I’m 100% OK with, so long as the text is still readable). I agree that there’s no market for it right now, but there’s no market for 3D in general right now, either (and I doubt there will be any time soon), but that doesn’t stop Sony from trying to push it on everything anyway. I must admit, though, if several games I owned ended up having this feature and not traditional split-screen, I may begrudgingly buy a 3DTV. Can’t say the same for traditional 3D.

  8. Really, I see this as more of a PS4 thing, Sony probably wanted to patent the idea before anyone else could. The PS3 is capable of using the tech with some graphical trade-offs, but I really don’t see the market for this being their until 2015 at the earliest … It’s a good idea though (technically if not strategically/financially).