This trailer shows some environments from Project Copernicus, the MMORPG that 38 Studios was developing before their financial situation drove them out of business (thanks alvador). There are details about this on Mobhunter.com, the blog of Steve Danuser (former Creative Director at 38 Studios), who explains it is an environmental fly-through intended for a milestone presentation that never happened, and goes on to discuss other aspects of the game, such as the plan to make it completely free-to-play. Here's a bit more on what they were working towards:
There’s a lot more I’d like to tell you about the game, such as how our fully planned four-year story arc was driven by player participation. How the theme of choice and consequence permeated our systems, content, and world design. How the choices players made during our chapter-based story arc would cause permanent and lasting changes to each server–changes that could be different from other servers. How expansions to the game world had already been mapped out and were tied into that chapter storyline, so the world would grow in a very organic and logical way rather than feeling like expansions were tacked onto the core game by a new team that was bored with the work that had been done before. How our storyline had a real conclusion–because you can’t tell a great story without an ending.
A lengthy post on the Diablo III forums have a follow-up from Blizzard's Jay Wilson for his Facebook comment in reaction to comments by David Brevik where this developer on the original Diablo questioned some of the design choices made in Diablo III. He apologies to Brevik, saying he "deserves to be treated with greater respect," goes on to explain why he felt the need to defend his team, and concludes his message apologizing to the players in the community as well. In between he discusses the current state of the game, and the work they still have ahead of them to get it where they want it:
Part of the problem, however, is not just item drops, but the variety of things to do within the game. Many of you have stated that there needs to be more to the game than just the item hunt, and we agree completely. The Paragon system is a step in the right direction, giving meta-progress for your time in the game, but it does little to address the variety of activities you can do while playing. I don't think there’s a silver-bullet solution to this problem, but I do think we can make this aspect of the game better, and as such we're planning more than just PvP for the next major patch. Not trying to be coy, but we're still firming things up and will talk about this as soon as we can.
Difficulty has been a constant source of division when discussing the game. Some players believe Diablo has never been about crushing challenges, but more about efficiency and farming. Some players want a game that tests them to their limits. Neither player is wrong. As it stands, Diablo III simply does not provide the tools to allow players to scale the game challenge to something appropriate for them. We set Inferno as the high watermark and took a one-size-fits-all approach to game challenge. Later in the development of Diablo II, the 'players 8' command -- which let people set monster difficulty -- was added to address this issue, and we're considering something similar for the next major Diablo III patch to allow players to make up their own minds about how hard or how easy is right for them.
The Auction House has also proven to be a big challenge. It adds a lot of power for players to trade and acquire items. Getting a great Monk drop that you can trade for better gear for your Wizard is obviously a great benefit, but it does come with a downside. The Auction House can short circuit the natural pace of item drops, making the game feel less rewarding for some players. This is a problem we recognize. At this point we're not sure of the exact way to fix it, but we’re discussing it constantly, and we believe it's a problem we can overcome.
While these are some of the major issues with Diablo III, they aren't the only things we're looking at. On a daily basis we ask ourselves if the classes are satisfying to play, if rares and champions are fun to fight, if they’re tuned well relative to normal monsters. Can we make further improvements to social elements of the game? How can items be even better?
A Black Isle Studios Website has popped up, sporting an image stating: "Our goal has always been to make the word's best RPGs. Black Isle Studios is back." The idea that the studio behind Fallout and Planescape: Torment is returning is certainly appealing, but of course almost eight years has passed since Interplay shut the studio down, and true to that, Kotaku notes a tweet by former Black Isle mainstay Chris Avellone confirms that Interplay is getting the band back together in name only: "I know nothing about the Black Isle Studio news announcement, doesn't involve me or Obsidian... or well, anyone that I know. ;)" NeoGAF points out the revived company's Facebook Page and Twitter feed are also now live.
Kotaku has news that Sony is shutting down Sony Liverpool, the studio once known as Psygnosis (thanks nin). They have an official statement from Sony on the reasons for closing the developer of the original Lemmings and the Wipeout series. Here's part of that:
It has been decided that Liverpool Studio should be closed. Liverpool Studio has been an important part of SCE Worldwide Studios since the outset of PlayStation, and have contributed greatly to PlayStation over the years. Everyone connected with Liverpool Studio, past and present, can be very proud of their achievements.
However, it was felt that by focusing our investment plans on other Studios that are currently working on exciting new projects, we would be in a stronger position to offer the best possible content for our consumers.
Our Liverpool Facility will continue to operate, housing a number of other vital WWS!E and SCEE Departments.
Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot gives GamesIndustry International his outlook on free-to-play games as a way of combating PC piracy, explaining the difficulties presented by serving an audience they perceive to be 93-95% thieves:
"We want to develop the PC market quite a lot and F2P is really the way to do it," said the French CEO. "The advantage of F2P is that we can get revenue from countries where we couldn't previously - places where our products were played but not bought. Now with F2P we gain revenue, which helps brands last longer.
"It's a way to get closer to your customers, to make sure you have a revenue. On PC it's only around five to seven per cent of the players who pay for F2P, but normally on PC it's only about five to seven per cent who pay anyway, the rest is pirated. It's around a 93-95 per cent piracy rate, so it ends up at about the same percentage. The revenue we get from the people who play is more long term, so we can continue to bring content."
TopWare Interactive announces the launch of the Transcripted Website as home to this puzzle shooter in development at Alkemi Games for release on PCs and Consoles "very soon as a downloadable title." The site offers screenshots and a trailer, and here's word on the game:
TopWare Interactive is proud to announce the new virtual headquarters of its upcoming puzzle-shooter, “Transcripted”. The website of the game is live at transcripted.topware.com. From now on, all information, screenshots and trailers can be found here, at the official website. "Transcripted" is set to release for PC, Mac, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 very soon as a downloadable title, thanks to the hard work by developer Alkemi Games.
Though humanity has always believed itself to be at the top of the food chain, the more microscopic hierarchies of life are what truly hold the powers of life and death. Disease is the greatest threat to the future of our species, even more so than famine, and as rapid population growth continues hand-in-hand with ever-increasing comforts and quality of life, it is only a matter of time before some unstoppable disease evolves with the potential to annihilate us.
My toe is much better this morning, and I'm pretty positive it isn't broken: In fact yesterday I looked up "turf toe" to see if maybe I could claim to have this, since that seems athletic, but it sounds like that's the result of a hyperextension more than an impact, so I'm stuck with "stubbed." Speaking of impact, with MrsBlue commuting to Manhattan again, I am being re-introduced to the joys of sharing the road with morning commuters as I drop her at the train. We haven't had any cool near misses yet, but that's not for lack of trying: The traffic signal at the main intersection we use has been broken since the weekend, and is just constantly flashing red. As any driver should know, this makes this a four-way stop. Unfortunately, we don't just have *any* drivers around here, as I have not yet seen a single driver (other than myself) stop for it, and it's only through sheer dumb luck that there hasn't been a serious collision there yet.