Ah Mighty No 9. Originally touted as the ultimate successor to the Mega Man series, the game’s reputation has basically fallen further and further as the months have gone on. Delays, bad looking special effects, community mismanagement… it’s basically turned into a guide on how not to make an indie game.
So when people posted about the new trailer and how bad it was, I kind of ignored it. After all, this is Mighty No 9 we’re talking about. It’s not hard to find tons of videos that make it look godawful already.
But after seeing it posted as a failed example to look ‘cool’ on Reddit, I grew curious about it. After all, it’s only a Mega Man clone, right? How bad can this video really be? Are pizza shaped explosions really that bad?
So I eventually bothered to watch it, just to see what the enter was freaking about over:
Oh god, what the hell did I just watch?
Ever since we interviewed James Guy at Lefthanded Games about its development, you may have noticed that news about Lobodestroyo was a bit thin on the ground. Nothing about new levels, nothing about characters, few new videos being posted… it seemed like the game had hit a rough patch or two. Or got quietly discontinued.
Above: The original Kickstarter promo for Lobodestroyo, a N64 style 3D platformer.
Fortunately though, that’s not the case. Lobodestroyo is still in development. So why are updates so slow?
Work. And life in general.
As James Guy of Lefthanded Games says in an interview with Cliqist, the team has to work on this game around their full time jobs and family lives:
[Working full time jobs] has impacted development far more than I anticipated at the outset of the project. The size and scope of our game has been changed a few times to accommodate the shortage of available time, but the simple truth is that making games takes a lot of dedicated time and effort- which is something our team has been struggling with as we maintain our day-to-day lives/jobs/families.
We are at a stage right now [where] we are restructuring the team; bringing on new people, and shuffling the responsibilities of others. New servers, a developing different project management workflow, getting new guys up to speed, writing design documentation.
I know exactly what they mean here. Remember, the very site you’re reading (Gaming Reinvented) isn’t a full time project either. That too has to be done in my free time, outside of the eight hours a day my job takes.
And trust me, it is absolutely exhausting. You’ve worked all day, you want to relax and yet here you are working even more hours on a project that’s not really paying for its own upkeep. It’s the kind of stress that drives you to insanity.
That’s just writing. Game development is ten times worse. Even more so if the game you’re making is an epic Banjo-Kazooie esque 3D platformer that’s meant to feel on par with modern triple A titles and you’re stuck coordinating a team of other people in much the same situation. Remember, 3D platformers are rare in the indie scene because they’re difficult to make compared to simpler genres. It’s been done… once or twice, but that’s only really in the context of fan games where most of the resources are already made for you.
Either way, I understand full well why Lobodestroyo is taking a while to make, and all I can see to the team at Lefthanded Games is to keep going and take as much time as you need. It’s not the end of the world if the game takes a few years, or gets delayed a bit because of any personal issues you might be having. Don’t work yourselves to death through stress, cause at the end of the day, it is just a game.
An Interview with Lobodestroyo Creative Director James Guy
There have been some… interesting things left in video games by the development team. Like the emulator and ROMs some Datel dev left in their Gamecube shovelware compilation. Or the entirety of F-Zero AX that can be found hidden away in F-Zero GX. Or heck, just the endless reams of easter eggs and developer notes you can find lying around. Some with… slightly less appropriate content than others:
Above: You probably don’t want to know what that says.
But did you know that an entire level editor seems to lurk in the code for Metal Gear Solid V? As in, the dev tools the development team themselves used to build the game?
Yes, that’s right. A literal editor for the game lurks away in the code, just ready for some bored people to go and experiment with it. Here’s a link to a post about it on Metal Gear Solid Forum:
Found an Editor – Data-mining/Cut Content Thread – Metal Gear Solid Forums
So what’s it edit? Well according to poster Saladin, there’s functionality for editing rails, tracks, missions, characters, routes and more. In other words, it seemed like you could basically make anything you wanted if you managed to figure out how it works.
Now admittedly, there’s not a whole of information on its features yet. And hey, based on what we have seen, it seems unlikely there’ll be some sort of handy in game UI for this sort of thing, especially given that it never made it into the normal game. So while it may (or may not) have been used for the devs to edit the game, it’s probably going to require a fair bit of figuring out if anyone wants to use it to make mods or something.
Above: Seems like this game could have been a lot more interesting if its early ideas had came to fruition…
But what do you think? Is this potentially one of the most interesting finds in the code of a modern game? And do you hope that people can finally get this Metal Gear Solid editor working at some point?
A Fan Discovered a Robust Level Editor for the Development Team in the Code of Metal Gear Solid V – Gamnesia
Well, okay. It’s not really new, since Playtonic posted the update earlier today and just about the entire internet has already posted about it. News travels quick in the gaming world after all!
But with that said, what’s interesting in the update? What interesting new information has Playtonic revealed about their game?
Well for starters, there’s some information about when future news related to the game will be revealed. Part will be in May 26th’s issue of Edge magazine, and yet more of the game will be revealed at E3 this year. So that’s good news there and then, we might be seeing some more of the actual worlds and missions soon.
There’s also now some interesting information about the main antagonist and storyline. Apparently, it involves an evil publishing company called Hivory Towers (led by evil executive ‘Capital B’) and a devious plan to absorb all the world’s literature and convert it into pure profit. If that sounds a little familiar… well, it seems like Playtonic are making a few playful jabs at the video game industry here. Indeed, given the history of the company and this game, it could be taken as an amusing comment about Rare and its buyout by Microsoft in the Gamecube era.
Above: A picture of main villain Capital B
Either way, the page also gives information about some extra characters. Namely the multi limbed scientist Dr. Puzz and her ‘traitorous former colleague’ Dr Quack. The latter has turned evil after his company was bought out by Hivory Towers, the latter is involved with the transformations that Yooka and Laylee can use in the game. Presumably these are a bit like the ones in Banjo-Kazooie (and the Animal Buddies in Donkey Kong Country 2/3/64), but the official site only says there’ll be more information on them in the future.
There’s talk about the ‘Toybox’ part of the game, which lets Kickstarter backers test out some of the mechanics and gameplay features. It’s not your usual demo, since the content there isn’t actually from the finished game. It’s basically explained as a sort of test area for the game’s backers to see how everything works while the game is still in development.
Finally, they posted some new pictures of the game. And to be honest? If these are actual in game shots, then damn Yooka-Laylee is looking absolutely incredible:
Seriously, it’d be like playing the official artwork for the Donkey Kong Country and Banjo-Kazooie franchises. Except because it’s 2016, we’re actually playing them rather than some best approximation.
Either way, if you’re interested in the game (and to be honest, you really should be, it looks amazing), then go and read their latest update now. Seems like something interesting will be at E3 this year!
Raising The Curtain – Playtonic Games
Lynn and the Spirits of Inao was an adventure game where players would apparently explore a world inspired by Japanese mythology. Developed by a company called Bloomylight Studio and intended for release on various platforms (Wii U included), the game had apparently been in development for five years and was raising more money as part of a Kickstarter campaign. There’s a pretty nice trailer you can see for it here:
As of today though, it’s no more. The developer has shut down the Kickstarter campaign with a cancellation message, which is as follows:
First of all, thank you to all of the backers who supported Lynn and the Spirits of Inao.
After being deeply affected by the various stories from the past few days, and conscious of the mistakes from the past which are now harming the game, we have taken the difficult decision to end the adventure here. In the face of the violent declarations made to us and the threats uttered against members of the team, we now have to end this project that was born in 2011. It is regrettable that a handful of individuals were able to destroy the work of so many people and that they spent so much energy to cause a relentlessness of incredible violence against our team.
We would like to thank all the people who contributed to the game and got involved in the project. These last five years spent working hard on Lynn and the Spirits of Inao were an unforgettable experience motivated by the passion to create a game of quality and to offer a new experience.
Thank you for your understanding.
But what was the deeper story here? What were the mistakes from the past that got it shut down?
Well, it’s a long story. Basically, the company is said to have a history of hiring interns to work on the game and not paying them for their contributions. This is illegal in France (where the company is based), and apparently it’s even more so if they don’t have any regular employees. As a result, there was a lot of controversy round the game. Facebook pages and Tumblr posts appeared talking about how the game was a scam and how the developer was supposedly mistreating its employees. There was a really interesting Reddit topic about the allegations, which can be viewed here:
French Kickstarter game Lynn and the Spirits of Inao accused of having been developed illegally by unpaid interns – Reddit
And either way, the company (quite rightfully) got hell for this from the gaming community. After all, what did you expect would happen? The the industry’s already got a lot of issues in regards to companies pushing an endless cycle of ‘crunch’, where employees work insanely long hours for fairly little pay and poor working conditions. And what Bloomylight Studio did here seemingly goes a lot further. Indeed, there’s talk in that topic of people at the company being made to sign a document that (wrongfully) said they were being paid for their work when they really weren’t. That’s a pretty sleazy move from anyone if true.
But yeah, as a result the game is cancelled. It’s bad news for adventure game fans (because damn, the game did look really nice in the trailer above), but given the talk of working conditions and pay at the studio, it was inevitable from the start.
Miyazaki-Inspired Lynn and the Spirits of Inao Canceled After Accusations of Not Paying Interns – DualSHOCKERS