In the last few years, Valve hasn’t really done much where game development is concerned. Oh sure, they’ve made some updates on Steam and found ways to monetise their multiple titles through lootbox type mechanics, but as far as new games are concerned, releases are few and far between.
So much so in fact that some people have actually started questioning whether Valve makes games any more at all!
Which is why when talk of a new Portal game was heard online, the fans were ecstatic. After all, it’s a beloved series with two amazing games in it, and the mere thought of a third title would basically set the internet on fire.
Then we got the trailer. Here it is, the debut video for Bridge Constructor Portal, a bridge building Portal spinoff headed to the app store, Steam, PS4, Switch and Xbox One:
As you can imagine… people haven’t been very happy about it. Indeed, the responses online to this title have been absolutely brutal, with comments on internet forums and Reddit questioning every aspect of the title and the video being so heavily disliked the uploaders disabled ratings on it. The game’s gone down about as well as Metroid Prime Federation Force did.
But you know what? I think that’s kind of unfair. At its core, it seems like Bridge Constructor Portal could be a good game. Not an ambitious game sure, but a decent little puzzle game to play on a smartphone or what not.
It’s just that like so many other titles, its creators made a fatal mistake when making and marketing it:
They announced it after a long period of no important games in the series. A period where Valve made nothing of interest at all.
And just like other games in the same situation, that created a huge backlash. It’s basically Chibi Robo Zip Lash or Banjo-Kazooie Nuts and Bolts all over again; a random gimmick game/spinoff deal that just happens to be the only thing the fans have gotten in years.
So regardless of any quality the game may have, this is basically doomed to fail. The game just isn’t what the fans (or general public) want from the Portal series and feels like another blind cash grab from a company that’s completely ignored its core business for nearly a decade.
Still, what do you think about it? Are you happy with this Portal spinoff, despite its… interesting choice of genre and design?
Or do you feel that Valve giving the license to Headup Games may not have been a wise move, especially with the limited number of ‘real’ titles the company put out in recent years?
Post your thoughts on the matter (and more) in the comments below or on the Gaming Latest forums today!
It’s the news no one expected! After years of Capcom abandoning the Mega Man series, the company has just announced a new game for modern systems! Yep, after all this time, Mega Man 11 has been announced for the PS4, Xbox One, PC and Nintendo Switch. Here’s a trailer if you haven’t seen it already:
As you can see, it’s quite a bit more ambitious than the series has been up to this point. Gone are the eight-bit graphics present in Mega Man 9 and 10, in their place are brand new hand drawn ones with a cartoon style instead. Similarly gone are the barebones gameplay setups recycled from Mega Man 2, with both Rush and Roll being present in the game and various weapon changes having been implemented into the formula.
That’s good news for Mega Man fans, as well as anyone bored with the ‘safe’ route Capcom took with the series before this point.
Congratulations Capcom. You finally brought back Mega Man back into the limelight!
Let’s hope you learn from this and bring back some of your other forgotten franchises too.
Ready? Mega Man 11 is coming in late 2018!
Back in June, we wrote a story about how a composer called Alex Mauer was abusing the YouTube takedown system to strike out at Imagos Softworks for supposedly ‘not paying her’ for her work. We said how the case was questionable, how the evidence was all against her and how attacking innocent people online was no way to get support on her side.
And since then, it’s been quite the wild ride. We’ve had the claims expanded to more games Mauer worked on in the past. We’ve had threats against Turner Broadcasting for Adult Swim using her music in a game. Physical threats have been sent to YouTubers like SidAlpha for covering the story, and the press has done their usual job of misrepresenting it in every way possible. In short, it’s been an utter shambles.
But now that’s finally over. Now after all this time, the two parties have settled the case.
And in this case, that means Imagos Softworks has come out on top. The agreement says that Imagos owns the rights to the music (and other assets) in Starr Mazer DSP, as well as that Mauer cannot file any more claims on the company’s work or attack the company in future.
It’s good news for YouTubers all round. It means that they can relax knowing these fake DMCA notices will end now. That Starr Mazer DSP videos are able to stay up in future, and that they can even pursue legal action against Mauer in regards to these takedowns if they choose to do so. So yeah, good for everyone really.
Here’s a nice summary of the situation courtesy of SidAlpha on YouTube:
As well as an informative discussion about it with Leonard French:
Of course, it’s not all positive news here. Yes, she’s stopped demanding takedowns and can now be sued for her previous actions.
But she’s also seemingly no repentant for her actions either. She’s still attacking SidAlpha over his videos in partnership with Andrew Watts, and she’s also apparently sent threats to both Leonard French and the judge of the court case.
That means future legal troubles could be in her future along the line, as well as that people she has a personal vendetta against still need to finish their own cases here.
For the most part though, it’s finally over. Mauer has lost, Imagos has won and you can finally post videos of Starr Mazer DSP without an angry composer trying to use your channel as a weapon against its developers.
Hooray for the justice system here!
Alex Mauer: The Lawsuit Settlement with Imagos (SidAlpha on YouTube)
In recent years, Loot boxes have gotten a lot of criticism in the gaming community. Accused of being gambling and seen as a cheap way of making money, they’ve become perhaps the least liked ‘mechanic’ in the industry, and something so despised that even governments seem to be willing to crack down on them.
But while they’re bad in modern games, the idea has at least made for one interesting Doom mod. Why? Because it basically reimagines the game as if it was designed by EA with microtransactions in mind!
No really. Instead of merely picking up weapons, now they’re stashed inside lootboxes found throughout the level.
And it doesn’t end there either. Nope, just like in many modern multiplayer games, the keys to the boxes and the items inside are both randomly dropped. So yeah, you have to hope a monster drops a key, then hope the box gives you a decent weapon rather than your standard piece of bog standard crap. It’s a pretty good illustration of how Doom could have worked if developed in 2017:
So, if you’re interested, check it out sometime. It’s not really a fun experience, but it’s not meant to be either, and shows just how bad these questionable monetisation schemes by framing them within the context of a classic game.
It really does make you grateful for the technical limitations of the era.
Doom Loot Box Mod (Zdoom Forums)
Over the years, we’ve seen quite a few terrible attempts at using or creating games for propaganda purposes. We’ve seen dictatorships use footage from military games to ‘illustrate’ war victories. We’ve seen armies use games as training simulators for their wars. And well, we’ve seen all kinds of bad attempts to mock political opponents through the medium.
But the EU’s recent attempt at gamifying propaganda is worse than any of them, as well as hilarious for all the wrong reasons.
Because it plays out like a parody of the EU rather than a defence of it.
Seriously. You know the pro Brexit camps talked of the EU taking millions in tax dollars and not using it for anything important? Or how the many saved by not paying the organisation to be a member could be used to fund the NHS?
Well Taxlandia accidentally supports that exact hypothesis.
That’s because while the game talks about the importance of raising taxes to pay for services, winning during the game doesn’t actually involve spending the money on anything important. Oh, sure you could use it for services like a good prime minister or president would. You could improve the schools, fund more fire stations and help save the populace from natural disasters like floods.
But the game doesn’t encourage that at all. Instead, the ideal strategy the game encourages is…
Up the tax rate, then do sod all with the money.
That’s it. That’s the whole game in a nutshell.
Just up the tax rate to 50%, sit on your backside for eight years and hey ho, apparently you win the game. It’s almost like the title was designed by Nigel Farage and UKIP to illustrate why the EU is a complete waste of money.
Yet no, it’s official. It’s supposed to be a game put out to support the organisation and teach people the importance of taxes in a user-friendly way.
So, in that sense, good work guys. Your attempt at propaganda works like a shining endorsement of the Conservatives austerity plans.
But it doesn’t stop there. Oh no, it turns out that encouraging lazy governance is only one of the game’s many problems.
Indeed, in addition to saying that sitting around doing nothing for eight years is how to run a country, the game also seems to suggest that trying to improve your lot makes things worse too.
Really, it does. For instance, what do you think would happen if a company invested in education? Say, they built new schools and universities, inspired more teachers and trained people to be more productive members of society.
Well, a logical answer would be that things would get better. Crime would go down because people had other alternatives to make money, the economy would start booming because the more educated population would setup companies and come up with disruptive business models to improve society and the level of superstition would decrease as people stopped relying on stories of ghosts and magical beings to explain the world around them. All things you see readily apparent in Europe today.
Yet that’s not how it works in the game. Instead, building schools actually increases the crime rate and makes things worse! As does building fire stations, improving the police force or doing anything to make life better for your citizens.
It’s ridiculous, and basically goes as far as to imply the ideal role of a government is to line its own pockets at the people’s expense.
And instead of helping the European Union in a term of increased scepticism towards its structure and activity, it makes a brilliant case for its abolition or abandonment. All paid for by your tax dollars too.
Thanks EU game development teams. Not only have you wasted millions of euros on crap like this, but you’ve made a game that outright shoots down your entire organisation and suggests it’d be better if taxes didn’t exist to begin with. Quite the own goal for a propaganda campaign isn’t it?
In future, try and make sure your advertising supports your goals. Or better yet, just avoid propaganda altogether. Games are something to be enjoyed, not a medium to be perverted into a marketing tool for a political organisation.
Taxlandia App Listing (Google Play)