Daily updates on video games and popular culture, along with Australia’s grooviest gaming podcast.

Microsoft bungles payments to indie devs

Posted by Erin Marcon On Friday 5 December 2014Comments Off
“The cheque’s in the mail…”

“The cheque’s in the mail…”

Well, this is embarrassing. Microsoft, recently said to have a total market value in excess of US $400b, has been falling behind in its payments to the micro-developers responsible for producing Xbox Live Indie Games content for the Xbox 360 store.

Earlier this week, an indie blogger published a community post on Destructoid calling out Microsoft for missing its payment deadlines to two developers (Freelance Games and BootDisk Revolution). As reported by Kotaku, other developers then stepped forward on NeoGAF to confirm that they were in the same boat.

According to Microsoft, it’s all a big misunderstanding, and one they’re happy to say sorry for. The platform holder has issued a statement attributing the delay to a “technical issue in out payment system”. Describing the incident as “an unfortunate error”, Microsoft apologised and anticipated that “developers will receive payment within the next two weeks.”

With Sony currently attracted the bulk of interest from indie developers and fans, this probably isn’t the kind of publicity that Microsoft was hoping for.

Petition sees major retailers pull GTAV from shelves

Posted by Erin Marcon On Thursday 4 December 2014Comments Off
The least offensive GTAV screenshot we could find.

The least offensive GTAV screenshot we could find.

Two years after the introduction of an R18+ rating in Australia, new battle lines have been drawn in the debate.

As reported by ABC, retail giants Target and K-Mart, which are both owned by Wesfarmers, this week elected to withdraw Grand Theft Auto V from sale, despite having sold some versions of the game for well over a year. The decision was seemingly prompted by a well-supported petition accusing the game of “encouraging players to commit sexual violence and kill women” and demanding its withdrawal from sale.

Target spokesperson Jim Cooper confirmed that the decision was made in light of “extensive community and customer concern” and suggested that the move was “in line with the majority view of our customers.”  Kmart claimed that its decision, which followed Target’s by mere hours, was based on a “significant review of all content in Grand Theft Auto games”.

This isn’t government-driven censorship, of course, and Target and K-Mart are entitled to determine the games offered for sale in their outlets. It’s also worth noting that the petition references only one game, not R18+ games in general. However if a sufficient percentage of major Australian retailers choose to overlook a product, it could theoretically impact the likelihood of future R18+ rated games seeing a local release.

Neon racer heading to PS4

Posted by Erin Marcon On Wednesday 3 December 2014Comments Off

Let’s get the most obvious thing out of the way upfront. The new racing game from indie developer Refract looks a bit like TRON. Given the frankly scandalous number of things that don’t look like TRON, the art style in Distance will likely comes as a relief to many.

The game has already been announced for PC, and indeed is scheduled to enter Steam Early Access next week, but Refract this week confirmed that its futuristic arcade racer will also be making its way to PS4 in 2015.

According to Refract’s Jordan Hemenway, Distance “takes the intense action of arcade racing and places it in an explorable, atmospheric world”. Cars will be able to “boost, jump, rotate, and even fly” as drivers attempt to stay ahead of the pack.

Story will apparently play an unusually prominent role. “Crafting a story within a racing game has been one of the most enjoyable parts of the development so far,” Hemenway said. “Without spoiling too much, we’re incredibly excited to have you discover the dark mysteries of this world.”

Multiplayer will also form a major part of the package and the developer is promising to deliver multiple modes.

Threes dev reveals Close Castles

Posted by Erin Marcon On Tuesday 2 December 2014Comments Off
Why can’t red and blue ever get along?

Why can’t red and blue ever get along?

The gaming zeitgeist seems to make room for one (or perhaps two) mobile titles at any given time. At the moment Crossy Road is that game, but earlier this year minimalist puzzler Threes reigned supreme. The success of that game meant that there was always going to be interest in the next offering from its co-creator Asher Vollmer. Announced this week on the official PlayStation Blog, Close Castles looks to be Vollmer’s most ambitious game to date.

A local multiplayer real time strategy game, Close Castles challenges you to fortify and enhance your palace while dispatching your subjects to dismantle your opponent’s base of operations. Describing most RTS games as “miserable pain engines” and “lonely exercises in sadomasochism”, Vollmer is aiming to “fix all that” by bringing players together for three minute clashes in which no information is concealed from either player.

Close Castles is coming to PS4 in 2015.