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Red Dead Redemption 2: A Few Things We’d Love to See

Posted by on Jun 14, 2016

E3 2016 is underway and rumors are still swirling around the possibility of an announcement from Rockstar on a Red Dead Redemption sequel/prequel. A few alleged details have reportedly leaked in recent months, from the obvious (an expanded map) to the more intriguing (three playable characters – including a customizable one?).   A lot of Continue reading →

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Upcoming Events

Limited Free Passes Released for December Game QA & Localization Forum: San Francisco

Posted by on Oct 25, 2013

What’s that? Free you say?? If you’re working in QA or Localization within a games developer or publisher and haven’t heard about the San Francisco forum this December, where have you been hiding! The Game QA & Localization Forum: San Francisco takes place at Fisherman’s Wharf on December 10-11, and is the first ever dedicated, senior-level Continue reading →

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Columns

Why Game QA Matters

Posted by on May 11, 2016

Quality Assurance has always been seen as a “foot-in-the-door” into the industry. And hey, perhaps it does serve that purpose in many cases. But QA has become so much more, and with the industry developing so rapidly, quality assurance has never been so vital to a game’s success. It’s often seen as a low-level role, Continue reading →

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IQ Talk Podcast

IQ Talk Podcast #6: PlayStation 4 Launch Special

Posted by on Nov 29, 2013

In this special edition of IQ Talk, Sumit Dutta, Adam Barsby and Arran Oakes from Gaming IQ are back to talk all things PlayStation 4. Sony’s next gen system launches today in the UK and Europe so what better time than to reflect on the PS4 journey so far – gong back to the early Continue reading →

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Recent Posts

Quick Time Events – Gaming Enhancement or a Hindrance?

Quick Time Events – Gaming Enhancement or a Hindrance?

Sep 11, 2016

Love them or hate them, quick time events are pretty common in video games nowadays. You can’t go through a AAA title without button mashing as the protagonist sprints away from a boulder/landslide/polar bear. But do QTEs make the gaming experience better? Or do they merely restrict creativity, and simplify the entertainment value? Quick time events have sparked controversy in recent years. When they appeared in the recent reboot of Thief, there was massive fan backlash. Eidos saw the response, reconsidered their position, and chose to remove QTEs from the game. Valerie Bourdeau of Eidos stated that “to begin with, there were very few instances of QTEs in the game; in fact there was only one in that whole hour-long E3 demo. However, given the strong reactions it evoked in the press and the community, it was an easy decision to do away with them entirely. So we’re not doing it. No quick time.” This shows the power of the community, and the instant dislike fans had. It also doesn’t help that this is a franchise which spans back a long time, and to tarnish it with quick time events that older fans do not expect seems insulting. Of course, to include a QTE in the first place, the developers  must have thought it added something to the game, so there is no true right and wrong. I’m sure a QTE could make for some awesome action sequences. Perhaps it’s purely the fact that for this QTE in question, it’s the fact that the camera switches from first person to third person, which ruins the immersion, when the game is based upon stealth and secrecy. If you need any convincing about why the QTE has become hated by many, then check out Spiderman 3’s infamous QTE below.     What matters is how prevalent quick time events have now become, which is considered a worrying factor. They replace the need for compelling gameplay, in a number of instances. They often feel as though they were implemented as an after thought. Again, for Resident Evil 5, there was this baffling sequence where Chris Redfield…punches a boulder? It’s around 10 times the size of him, and it is simply inhuman....

Achievements and Trophies: The Unsung Heroes?

Achievements and Trophies: The Unsung Heroes?

Sep 11, 2016

Video games, unlockable achievements and trophies go hand-in-hand in today’s gaming world. It would be exceptionally bizarre if a game were to be released without having a handful of achievements or trophies available for gamers to unlock. Sometimes, achievements are simply earned  by getting to various milestones throughout the game, sometimes by doing some boring in-game chores, but generally achievements are far more exciting when they require a level of creativity or particular skill level to achieve. It’s clear some developers invest more time in achievements than others, as demonstrated by some of the more creative achievements, but this also means they want to invest in the replay-ability and elongate the shelf life of their games. Some gamers enjoy the seemingly masochistic challenge to unlock every single achievement or trophy for each game they play and will not move onto the next until they have done so. Achievements undoubtedly adds many hours of additional gameplay for the audience to either enjoy or hate, depending on the difficulty of these achievements. In many games, the hardest difficulty is only unlocked after completing the game once. If there is then an achievement to complete the game on the hardest difficulty, many people will opt to replay the game and grind their way through what can be a gruelling experience. Although all gamers may not wish to do so, some gamers like the extra challenge after the initial play-through. However, if a gamer’s efforts pay off, you can boast your prestigious achievements to your friends just to prove how much better you are at the game then they are, which is part of what gaming is all about. The more difficult, prestigious achievements may also play a part in developing gaming friendships. If a group of gamers set out in co-op mode to unlock some of the more difficult achievements, be it on PC with voice-coms, online over console with headsets or even all sat around the same screen in the same room, it can be a great bonding experience. When you collectively work together and defeat something deemed almost impossible, it is certainly a gratifying experience and is something that will stick with you. Also, you all...

Developers as a Brand – Reputation is Everything

Developers as a Brand – Reputation is Everything

Aug 11, 2016

Over the past few years, as games have become highly polished adventures, gaming developers have become their own form of branding. A vast number of gamers will purchase a game, purely based upon the developer who is at the helm. And often, if the franchise shifts hands, those in the know will not purchase a lacklustre version. When freemium games are rife, on both mobile devices and consoles with free-to-play titles, paying full retail for a game needs to match the quality of the game produced. For the average person, £40 RRP is a big investment. And for that, they expect a top quality game, whether that involves spending 100 hours of gaming galore; or 10 hours of action-packed or heart-wrenching content. And anywhere in between. The point is, if the content does not match the price, consumers will not return to that company. Especially when you can try free games, and choose to spend in-game money if you like it. As far as downloads go, companies including EA’s Origin and Google’s Android refund games or applications that are uninstalled within a limited time. This means that if a developer is trying to be cheeky, and the product does not meet the mark they promised, they will lose out on revenue. This is pretty good for the consumer though, as they can take a chance, with little risk if it doesn’t meet their standard. But if a certain developer keeps delivering, it is likely they will continue to purchase their new entries, whatever that may be. For developers, their reputation is on the line. Naughty Dog, Bungie, Insomniac, and Bioware, are just a few that have a colossal fan base, just for being themselves. Whatever they turn their hand to, fans follow their next step eagerly, drooping over the smallest teaser of what they have in store next. Their library of games is highly coveted, and their fanbase is ever growing. This seems to be a growing trend, rather than following a specific series or character. It used to be that IP’s would be sold or shared between companies. Following the Spyro franchise for instance; the original three developed by Insomniac Games were highly...

Red Dead Redemption 2: A Few Things We’d Love to See

Red Dead Redemption 2: A Few Things We’d Love to See

Jun 14, 2016

E3 2016 is underway and rumors are still swirling around the possibility of an announcement from Rockstar on a Red Dead Redemption sequel/prequel. A few alleged details have reportedly leaked in recent months, from the obvious (an expanded map) to the more intriguing (three playable characters – including a customizable one?).   A lot of the details remain unconfirmed or could easily be changed before release, but other things are easier to anticipate. The name itself is likely to follow the tradition of an ‘R’ word – Revolver, Redemption (…erm, we’ll ignore Undead Nightmare) – with various claims putting their chips on ‘Rebellion’, ‘Renegade’, and ‘Retribution’. All sound fine to us. Another claim points to the more grandiose ‘Legends of the West’, which if true, would probably lend more credence to the multiple playable character rumor.   Ultimately, we don’t care much about the title as long as the content hits the mark. It was hard to fault RDR. Even the glitches were some of the most entertaining in game history. So how can the sequel rustle up a new saddlebag of awesome? From story to gameplay, here are a few things on our wishlist…   Indigenous tribes We saw a few Native American NPCs in RDR but the game reflected a sorrier state of affairs for the indigenous people of the prairies. Most were depicted as having been pushed into reservations or outlaw gangs. If RDR2 is a prequel, it would be great to incorporate more of this rich culture back into the heart of this western romp.   We’re imagining having tenuous relationships with various tribes, where the main character can find himself suddenly under attack from marauding dog soldiers or having to venture into a camp to pass the peace pipe and negotiate support. The various tribes themselves could also be at war, leading to some potential free-for-alls igniting in the wilderness, with the player caught in the middle. What do you do? Pick a side? Head for the hills? Or leave no man alive?…   Landon Ricketts One of the most interesting characters in RDR was retired gruff gunslinger Landon Ricketts, once famed across the country but now living in Mexico...

Rival Games Team Up for Our Time against other Media

Rival Games Team Up for Our Time against other Media

Jun 11, 2016

There have always been rivalries in gaming, whether that’s Mario and Sonic, Call of Duty and Battlefield, or Rock Band and Guitar Hero. But now it seems, the industry has to band together to fight for our attention; as the wealth of entertainment available at the touch of a button is too much to resist. The way in which games are being developed is changing rapidly. The fact is that a title’s release date used to signify the completed product for most developers; yet now it may not even be the midway-point, as devs continue to patch and expand their product. In America, services like Hulu and HBO are immensely popular. Services such as Netflix have (presumably) begun to hit their full potential in the UK, and as titles improve, this is surely going to continue to expand.Games as a service is becoming a very popular approach to gaming, and although many consumers may not like it, it has trickled into many franchises.     Battlefield’s premium package including in-game items and XP-related events. Call of Duty have an “Elite” package, giving hardcore players a number of benefits. Similarly, the “Season Pass” has become standard for any title with DLC, providing gamers with all future DLC for a straight-up, reduced fee. This trend is becoming fairly dominant, with any major title undergoing significant change, from day one till a year later. These payments highlight something very intriguing; in that gamers are willing to pay for something in the future. There is no guarantee what they’re paying for is going to be quality, and so payments are truly indication of faith in the developer. There are notable times when DLC has failed fans, such as the recent BioShock Infinite DLC only taking a few hours to complete; which received negative remarks. Similarly, Skyrim DLC was seen as pretty poor in comparison to the main game.     And now, standalone apps such as iFruit, or Call of Duty: Ghosts app manage to fill the time in between gaming. You can check stats and chat with friends, ensuring you can engage with the game even when you’re not at home. This is a practice which enhances gaming...

Why Game QA Matters

Why Game QA Matters

May 11, 2016

Quality Assurance has always been seen as a “foot-in-the-door” into the industry. And hey, perhaps it does serve that purpose in many cases. But QA has become so much more, and with the industry developing so rapidly, quality assurance has never been so vital to a game’s success. It’s often seen as a low-level role, with disposable workers who slog over menial tasks for hours on end. But with the size of the gaming industry now, this view of QA is changing. Being a QA tester is becoming a much more attractive position, which is evolving to have much more to do with the development process overall. And so it should. QA can often prove to be a good starting point for people who want to work in the industry, as they can learn about all the nitty-gritty details about game design that are necessary for success. It can teach people a lot about the processes behind games, and where designers often go wrong. So why treat QA as only a stepping stone? It’s a learning process in itself, and it’s one that’s very rewarding. It’s hard work, there’s no doubt about it. But there’s definitely something to be learnt from the role. With the rising number of major franchises, ensuring they reach the highest possible quality is essential to pleasing fans, as this means they will continue to purchase sequel upon sequel.     The internet is huge now. Everyone accesses it on a daily basis. Back in the 90s, not so much. But now, if there’s problems with a game, people complain online. And boy, will every gamer on the planet see it. And this would inevitably end in less gamers purchasing the titles, reducing revenue overall. One example I’d like to bring up is the Mercenaries franchise. Now the first one on PS2 was a very popular title; and so I was ecstatic when the second one was announced for PS3. Imagine the fun you can have with better physics and graphics on the next-gen system! How wrong I was. It was a bug-ridden mess that was a genuine chore to play through. My love for the previous game diminished as...