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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

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...

Mobile and Console – Can the Bridge be Crossed?

Mobile and Console – Can the Bridge be Crossed?

May 11, 2016

The past few years have seen the mobile gaming market to morph and grow in ways no-one expected. Next-gen consoles are not only competing with each other, but also with mobile devices. But many games have been trying to bridge this gap. So is it really possible? And how?  As the mobile platform has emerged as a huge gaming world in itself, it makes logical sense to bring the console experience we all know and love to our pockets. But has this really worked? When Dead Trigger 2 emerged as a free zombie FPS, it managed to bring stunning visuals to your mobile phone. However, how well did the FPS controls work with a touch screen? Not great. Sure, it works better on tablets. But on a smartphone, your fingers cover half the screen. And with a tablet, you have the problem of holding your tablet whilst using both hands to control. It’s not ideal. The emotional attachment that hardcore gamers need in their hours of gaming cannot be provided on a small screen. A big display is essential to becoming truly absorbed into a virtual world. I have never really lost myself in a game of Temple Run. I mean sure, I become irate and stressed every time I fall to my death, but I will never be truly immersed in a 5 inch screen; which is relatively big as far as handheld devices go, aside from tablets.     And then there’s mobile games bringing their popularity over to other platforms, whether that be the console or PC. The potential is great, due to the abundance of digital downloads, and holds a lot of promise for smaller developers to get attention on major platforms. For instance, let’s take a look at the colossal success of Candy Crush Saga. It initially began on King’s own website, as the company has existed for a decade already. With the transition to Facebook games, they found a lot of popularity there. But of course, the PC and Facebook platform aren’t as accessible as the tablet or smartphone; which is why they made the transition. These sorts of simple games render themselves very well to mobile devices, as...

War… War Never Changes – Do Franchises Only Offer Small Improvements?

War… War Never Changes – Do Franchises Only Offer Small Improvements?

Apr 17, 2016

What was the last franchise you played that truly reinvented itself in a certain release? What springs to my mind is Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, Battlefield 2: Bad Company, GTA IV, or perhaps Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. But these games are long gone. Are franchises becoming incrementally improved, rather than markedly? And as fans of these series, is that acceptable? The new consoles do not seem to be introducing anything radically new. When the current generation hit, instant online gaming and dramatically improved graphics were an obvious reason to upgrade. However this time, titles released on both generations show little incentive to drop nearly £500 just for the pleasure. The fact is, for the time being at least, games are not that much better on next-gen systems. This time round, it’s more of the same. I mean, the current-generation was very popular. Games have been opened up to many more members of the public. And perhaps more of the same is good. But there hasn’t been any recent revolution in video gaming. Augmented reality or gesture controls may be tipped to be a big contributor to future gaming experiences, yet neither are currently hugely viable, and are not tempting enough. So how can franchises build upon previous entries? The most famous culprit, is of course, Call of Duty. Although fans have avidly purchased every title for the past half a decade, it seems finally more of the public are becoming tiresome of this formula. However, it is still hitting the top of the charts. So why would Activision stop now? It’s too lucrative. One issue, is engines. Call of Duty has run on the same engine since CoD4, in 2007. That’s 6 years. Quite something. Surely it’s time they reinvented the series the same way they did with the first Modern Warfare title? They attempted to pitch Ghosts as this form of reinvention, yet the public are seeing through this. Ghosts marks one of the first CoD titles to get blacklisted and ridiculed by the public. This is down to reused cutscenes from previous titles, no real improvement graphically (despite next-gen editions), and incredibly similar gameplay. Battlefield intended to refresh the shooter formula, by...