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Free Will Gaming – Choices, Morals, and the Non-Linear in Practice

Posted by on Nov 11, 2016

I don’t know about you, but I find fate to be a horrible concept. To quote Neo in the Matrix, “I don’t like the idea that I’m not in control of my life”. Free-will is my preferred reality. The question I pose is, how do we apply these models in the video gaming world? As storylines get 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

Guest Blog: What to expect at Game QA and Localisation Europe 2017

Posted by on Jun 26, 2017

Sumit Arora shares his thoughts with us ahead of this week’s Game QA & Localisation Forum in Berlin

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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

Hand-Holding Games – Guides an End to Intuition?

Hand-Holding Games – Guides an End to Intuition?

Apr 11, 2016

It probably goes without saying that games have changed a lot over the past few decades. But one thing that still bugs me is how many games hold your hand throughout the entirety of the narrative. What worries me more is how accustomed I’ve become to it. Games which implement numerous guides and mollycoddle gamers do not allow us to use our own brains. Some of this can be put down to the cinematic experiences. Being lost or getting frustrated with a task can mean that the experience is jeopardised, and the fluidity of the movie-like structure is lost. I mean, what fun would it be if in Die Hard Bruce Willis just got lost in the building and spent 30 minutes retracing his footsteps? Well that would really suck. Also the more casual fanbases these days is proving to show that they will lose a lot of customers if they don’t allow them to ease themselves into the game. Imagine buying your first console and respective title, and having no idea what to do? I can’t remember the last game I played that didn’t begin with a tutorial of sorts. Back in my childhood of the PS1 (I’m so old, right?) I spent the ride home from the game store reading the instruction manuals and memorising all the buttons, so I was ready to go by the time the disc was in the machine.     Only on replaying certain games have I realised how the trend of leaving you to work out where to go and what to do was. Is leaving the player to work out challenges so archaic and far gone, that we need directions wherever we go? Eiji Aonuma previously discussed The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds, which leaves players to an open world, to decipher what to do. “I think that one thing all game developers worry about when they’re putting something into a game is, ‘Will people notice it? Will people realize what they’re supposed to do?’ And we kind of have a bad habit of hand-holding, trying to make things easier for everyone. But more and more, I start to think that that kind of isn’t actually...

Gaming Vigilantes: The Modern Day Robin Hood?

Gaming Vigilantes: The Modern Day Robin Hood?

Mar 12, 2016

From the archives: Nov, 2013 Throughout the last few console generations, there has been a growth in the amount of vigilante, and rogue-like characters that have crept into the gaming world. Naturally, these sorts of characters have surfaced because of the growing popularity of stealth games, but what is it that draws gamers to these independent, strong-willed and anti-hero characters? Anti-heroes are often littered with a moral-compass dilemma, wherein they do what they believe to be the right thing, but at the same time they may have to do the dirty work “for the greater good”. Assassin’s Creed, arguably one of the biggest, new stealth franchises born of this generation is based around righting the wrongs and bringing the wrong-doers to justice. Altaïr, Ezio and Connor act upon their own believes and honour systems to bring order and justice to either themselves, their assassin “family” or for the greater good. In Assassin’s Creed in particular, your character has to steal, stalk and murder to bring order to their respective cities, all the while acting outside of the law. With vigilante characters, however, it is important for developers to make what the protagonists are fighting for mean something. The audience have to understand the characters’ motivations, because if they do not, they will not care for the character and will feel his actions unnecessary. If gamers do not believe the characters actions to be justified and exciting to play-through, they will put the controller down and not bother to continue. It seems that a good mix of empathy, revenge and an against-all-odds battles have been the core elements to this generation’s success in stealth and vigilante characters. Another highly rated stealth/action game released this generation was Dishonored. The main character, Corvo, is framed for murdering the Empress of Dunwall. It’s the players task to set out and prove his innocence and clear his name. Gamers can choose whether they wish to do this as violently as they like, by assassinating all those that stand in his way, or stealthily progress through the game, planting information and unveiling who truly committed the crimes and outing them. Regardless of your method, there is certainly a large appeal...

Virtual Reality: The Big Next-Gen Trend?

Virtual Reality: The Big Next-Gen Trend?

Feb 11, 2014

Virtual Reality may be here sooner than you might think. Sure, in 100 years or so we could probably insert something into our cerebrum to be placed in a virtual world, but VR devices are on the horizon. And are providing a surprisingly intuitive experience. 2014 could be the year of VR. The industry has seen a lot of fads come and go over the past few years. Plastic instruments were only the beginning, with a lot of PS2 guitars now getting dusty. Motion controls were all the rage, with the Wii gaining a huge amount of popularity, alongside Sony adopting the Sixaxis, and PlayStation Move controller. And now it seems the “EyeToy” concept has returned bigger and better, with the Kinect and PlayStation Eye, with voice and gesture commands to revolutionise how we interact with our console. But are people convinced by this? Perhaps then, Virtual Reality could eb the next phenomenon to take over the industry. Whether VR is a contender to rival normal gaming is debtable. Sure, there seems no downside to being truly immersed in a gaming world. Howerver, how much do people really want to wear a bulky headset whilst relaxing after work? The Oculus Rift gained huge momentum, raising a staggering $2.4 million via Kickstarter. This at least shows that consumer demand is there, and that a number of the public would love to get to grips with VR. The Oculus Rift has already gained a lot of press and support, with titles supporting VR already announced. One such game is The Forest, which has passed Steam Greenlight, and looks set to provide an innovative approach to gaming. With news the headset is going to support Android, it could gain a number of new fans. Whether the Android market is strong enough to support additional accessories is questionable, but if micro-consoles become a success story, the Oculus Rift could find a new fan base. PC gamers are sure to embrace new technology and innovative ideas, with a colossal userbase on Steam, yet the future for VR on consoles is uncertain, with both major parties emphasising motion detection.     Recently, Sony filed patents which could hint they are...

Are Episodic Games an Untapped Potential Boost for Gaming?

Are Episodic Games an Untapped Potential Boost for Gaming?

Dec 20, 2013

Although episodic gaming content has been around for quite a few years now, it still feels like an undervalued and underrated form of gaming. It wouldn’t be at all helpful for every game type and genre to pursue the episodic style, as it will not work with everything. However, it still feels as though there is still much to be explored from episodic gaming content. Episodic games have more scope to interact with its audience, as the development time between each episode released can be used to learn what has worked well, and what issues needs to be addressed. If a particular element wasn’t particularly well received, developers can take the time to make changes to their work to meet the demands of their audience. Similarly, if something doesn’t feel broken, there shouldn’t be a need to change that too much. Fortunately, the Playstation 4 and Xbox One will allow free-to-play titles and Indie games a marketplace on their online services, so this will be a great platform for developers to “pilot” their products. Even if a “pilot” for a new episodic game was released and received moderate reviews, but demonstrated great potential, it might be a stepping-stone to continuing their work on the project now that it is making a name for itself. The time between the next release can then be used as a time to smooth out all the rough edges as required, refining it over time to create a game that could truly be great. As long as it continues to show promise, gamers may stick it out to eventually receive a good gaming pay-off from their investment. There may be a sudden boom in popularity if an episode in particular really reaches out to a wide audience. If we compare episodic gaming content to that of a television series, the content may take a while to reach a mass audience in a similar way to how the audience for Breaking Bad developed since its opening series in 2008. Although the earlier seasons were successful, it was around the time series four came out when it became a household name and everybody would be asking if you had seen it....

Hypothetically Speaking: What if the Next Gen Lasts 5 Years?

Hypothetically Speaking: What if the Next Gen Lasts 5 Years?

Nov 29, 2013

Hypothetically Speaking is a series of short, hypothetical scenarios looking into the Gaming Industries potential future and past, had it taken an alternative route along the way as a means to prompt discussion. Join in the chat @GamingIQ  and comment below Hypothetically speaking, what would your reaction be if the next generation of game consoles only lasted for 5 years?  This comes after the news of Patrick Soderlund, the executive vice-president of EA Studios, predicted that the next round of consoles will only last around 5 to 6 years. Considering the fact that the generation that just passed, consisting of the PS3 and Xbox 360, managed to stretch it out to 8 years. And will continue to gain support. The PS2 had Fifa 14 this year, marking it’s final game (for now). With this trend, you would think each console generation should get longer. It appears those within the industry think differently. Yves Guillemot, the CEO of Ubisoft, seems to think that five years would be the correct timeframe, to allow for technology upgrades and the potential of cloud computing. Many claim the new generation has come too early, as some of the best games have been released recently, like The Last of Us and GTA V, as developers manage to truly embrace the consoles.  Are we cutting their lifeline short, and could there be more potential to squeeze out of them yet? Could we see consoles being introduced more frequently, with next gen consoles being less powerful in comparison to their predecessor, and cheaper in price? Many people are more swayed by the quality of games these days, as if you want the most powerful device on the market, the PC is your platform of choice. As it is entirely upgradable, it can be modified and updated indefinitely to suit your own needs. So will next gen consoles need to keep up in the future? Or is it more about the games that are on them?     Where do you stand on this matter? What are your predictions? Would you welcome another generation of consoles in 2018? Or would you rather wait another 8, or maybe 10, years for the next round? Would developers...

IQ Talk Podcast #6: PlayStation 4 Launch Special

IQ Talk Podcast #6: PlayStation 4 Launch Special

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 rumours in 2012 right through to today’s launch line-up. We’ll look at all of he major announcements, the presentations, the ad campaigns, the messaging, the hardware, the games and ask is the PlayStation 4 really 4 The Players? IN THIS EPISODE: What Were Our Reactions To First PS4 Announcement In Feb 2013? How Did The Wii U Affect The PS4 & Xbox One Timeframes? How Will Gaikai Evolve In The Future? How Important Will Indies Really Be To Sony’s Strategy? What Were Our Reactions To The Dual Shock 4 And How Does It Compare To The Xbox One Controller? Why Being Developer Friendly Will Help Sony’s Efforts With Third Parties What Were The Reaction To The Final Form? How Will Sony’s Messaging And Advertising Differentiate It From Microsoft? Is The Lack In HDMI In A Negative Or A Future Looking Move? What Is The Justification Of Expensive EA Digital Titles On The PSN Store? Will The Early Tech Issues Hampered The Launch Are The Launch Titles Good Enough? What Does The Future Look Like For The PS4? PLUS! Why Killzone 5 Will Be Luminous Pink And Why You Must Never, Ever Put Bread In Your PS4… That relaxing music floating in the background is the new menu music from the PS4! Let us know what you thought of the show in the comments section below and on Twitter Recorded Friday 29 November 2013 | Duration 56:50   Sumit Dutta is an editor at Gaming IQ and is still trying to decipher the ending of Metal Gear Solid 2. Read his columns here and get in touch via Twitter @SumitKD or Google Plus Related Content: PS4 set for Christmas Success in New Poll PS4 50% more powerful than Xbox One – What would that mean? Sony PS4: Everything You Need To Know From Gamescom 2013 Sony PS4 Gunning for Microsoft Xbox...