Battlefield product manager joins Call of Duty team

Senior product manager at Electronic Arts, Kevin Flynn, has left the company to work with Activision.

Flynn updated his LinkedIn profile to add that he’s now the UK’s senior brand manager for the Call of Duty franchise.

Flynn has been with EA for 5 years, and has been involved in video game launches of Battlefield 3, Dead Space 2, Portal 2, Need for Speed: Shift, and Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning.

Prior to that, Flynn worked for Vivendi Universal Games on a contractual basis, and held his most recent position at EA for 2 years.

Call of Duty: Ghosts is due to be released on November 5, 2013.

Final Fantasy 8 coming to PC, will be getting the HD treatment – In Japan

It’s been a great day for PC gamers, first we heard that Metal Gear Rising will be getting a PC release, and now we hear that Final Fantasy 8 will be coming to the PC, with super sexy new graphics.

According to Famitsu the game will have high end HD graphics, but it’s also worth noting that there’s no mention of release date, or even if we’ll see this outside of Japan.

Back in 2000 we saw a substandard port on the PC; so it’s about time we got a better version.

Final Fantasy 7 is also getting jazzed up on the PC, and while there’s nothing extra for PAL and North American users, Japanese players will get bonus content, content that was in the original PAL and North American versions of the game.

Just Cause devs: PS4 development “a walk in the park”

One of the major deterrents this generation of gaming for Sony has been the PlayStation 3′s complicated development. It’s gotten so bad that most, if not all, current-gen games use the Xbox 360 as the lead platform.

This might not be the case with the PlayStation 4. Avalanche Studios, the developers behind the Just Cause franchise, has described developing for Sony’s next-gen platform as a “walk in the park.”

In an interview with Develop, Avalanche Studios CTO Linus Bloomberg showered Sony’s PS4 with praise, but also admits it will take some time for some devs to be familiar with the platform.

Compared to the PS3 it’s a walk in the park…I think that’s one of the major lessons Sony learned with the last generation, you have to be accessible for the developers to be successful. Of course, there’s still some quirkiness involved, especially if you’re used to a Windows development environment.

I gather this is the sort of news PlayStation fans have been waiting for, no? Hopefully this means PS4 and Xbox 720 ports will be on-par with each other.

David Jaffe to work on crowd-funded “Autoduel”, but it is not the game his company is working on

While David Jaffe will be creative director over at Pixelbionic for its Kickstarter-funded title, Autoduel, that is not the game his new company is working on:

To provide context, Autoduel will be an online multiplayer vehicular combat game that will have players do battle against one another in modified vehicles. Modifications include everything from drivetrain to suspension to “a broad array of powerful weapons and protective armor.”

Players will have more than 20 vehicle choices to choose from, with players having the ability to cosmetically modify them, such as applying a different paint job or sticking some decals.

Autoduel is RPG-influenced, and as a result, there will be RPG-influenced progression as players take part in different combat scenarios. Autoduel is being developed for Windows PC.

As for his new game, what do you expect it will be?

Ubisoft wants to release major franchises more frequently

During its latest earnings call, Ubisoft noted that it intends to capitalize on its major franchises and more frequently.

Ubisoft has major franchises under its belt, such as Assassin’s Creed, Splinter Cell, Far Cry and more. So expect Ubisoft to launch more games for its major franchises.

We believe that our major production capacity, strong of a network of 26 international studios and over 7,000 developers, now optimized with our lead and associate organization, will allow us to come with an enhanced pipeline of increasingly high quality franchises and new IPs .

We will be able to release our franchises more and more regularly, providing solid visibility on our future revenue and profitability streams,” he added. “All that, combined with the online expertise and know-how that we have been growing steadily internally make us believe that we will benefit disproportionately from the arrival of the new generation and from the continued growth of the online market.

Do you think it is a good thing that Ubisoft is planning to milk its major franchises? Let us know your thoughts.

Metro: Last Light was developed under harsh conditions

Our own Andrew Esposito reviewed Metro: Last Light, and gave it a rather glowing review. What he, or many others, didn’t know were the conditions the game’s developer, 4A Games, worked on Last Light.

In an anecdote published on GamesIndustry.biz, former THQ president Jason Rubin detailed some of the conditions the development team had to work under, one of which included the budget. Rubin states that the budget for Last Light was pretty insignificant compared to how much competitors spend on cutscenes alone:

Let’s be honest: 4A was never playing on a level field. The budget of Last Light is less than some of its competitors spend on cut scenes, a mere 10 percent of the budget of its biggest competitors. Yet it is lauded for its story and atmosphere. It is built on a completely original and proprietary second-generation engine that competes with sequels that have stopped numbering themselves, with more engineers on their tech than 4A has on the entire project. Yet its tech chops are never in question.

When it was time to actually work on Last Light, however, 4A Games experienced everything from power outages…

Power outages are the norm for 4A. All developers have deadlines, but I know of few that had to bring in construction generators to be able to work the weekend before final submission because an extra day meant missing shelf dates by weeks. Montreal is cold, but when it gets cold in Kiev it’s different. That’s because the government provides all of the heating through a central coal burning facility that pipes hot water to homes and offices. Unfortunately, it breaks down reliably a few times a year for a week at a time. Then 4A works in their parkas and struggles to keep their fingers warm in temperatures well below freezing. That is unless it snows and they get stuck home for a few days at a time because snow clearing isn’t up to Western standards.

…to meeting the demands of Last Light‘s original publisher, THQ, as well as the transition to current-publisher Deep Silver:

If 4A had been given a more competitive budget, in a saner environment, hadn’t wasted a year-plus chasing the irrational requirement of THQ’s original producers to fit multiplayer and co-op into the same deadline and budget(!), hadn’t had to deal with the transition to a new publisher in the crucial few months before final, what could 4A have created?

In addition, in terms of the actual work environment, though the entirety of 4A was able to fit inside EA Los Angeles’ gym, the team had to sit on “folding wedding chairs, literally elbow to elbow at card tables in what looks more like a packed grade school cafeteria than a development studio.”

In order for 4A to secure a dev kit, or any other piece of hardware needed to develop Last Light, someone had to go to the United States and sneak it back to the Ukraine using a backpack. Otherwise, customs officials would simply steal the hardware.

Just getting proper seating for the team was a process in and of itself:

After visiting the team I wanted to buy them Aeron office chairs, considered a fundamental human right in the west. There were no outlets in the Ukraine, and our only option was to pack a truck in Poland and try to find an “expediter” to help bribe its way down to Kiev. We gave up not because this tripled the cost, but because we realized that the wider Aeron chairs would require spreading out people and computers, which would lead to extra desks, and that ultimately would have required bigger offices. Yes, really.

The guys over at 4A Games literally went to hell and back in order to deliver us Metro: Last Light, and the 9 out of 10 score we gave it shows that it is an excellent game that should not be overlooked.

Not everyone will agree with the aforementioned statement, but we can all agree that the team over at 4A worked its ass off to deliver Last Light, and for that, I applaud them.

Source: GamesIndustry.biz

Konami E3 pre-show date outed as June 3, three games expected to be detailed

Konami posted their E3 pre-show date earlier today via twitterGematsu believe that Konami will likely show Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain and Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2.

Which makes sense, we know all of these are in the works. Just yesterday we uncovered a load of Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 information detailing gameplay and story.

And we reported awhile back in somewhat obvious news that Konami would be using E3 to promoteMetal Gear Solid. Is there anything you’re particularly looking forward to, or any high hopes of a game from Konami? Let us know in the comments!

Microsoft disables YouTube comments following Xbox One reveal

With the Xbox One reveal being considered a disappointment by many, it’s not a surprise that the comment section of the Xbox YouTube channel has been hit by a vast amount of hate.

Microsoft were quick to block users from commenting, but not quick enough.

Microsoft really needs to bring their “A” game to E3 if they hope to win back the support of gamers. They have told us (repeatedly) that games are going to be their main focus this year. Let’s hope they deliver and put an end to all of the hate.

See what we thought of the Xbox One press conference and how it stacks up against the PS4 reveal here.

Thanks, NeoGAF

Aliens: Colonial Marines sells over 1 million copies, SEGA profits increase by over 50%

Aliens: Colonial Marines sold over 1 million copies, according to Eurogamer. No wonder Gearbox and SEGA think that the lawsuit filed against the game for false advertising is “beyond meritless“.

They managed to shift 1.31 million copies of Aliens: Colonial Marines, which makes the game a success.  I think a good 1.30 million of those games are probably people who were excited about the game, but then let down.

SEGA’s financial report also shows that Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed shipped 1.36 million copies. Sega had an annual profit of about £215 million, 53% more than last year, there’s also a next-gen mention in there!

“We also intend to make our game software compatible with the next-generation game machines, which are due to be launched.”

We reported that the new Sonic the Hedgehog game will launch in November on both current and next-gen. But even if we didn’t, we all knew SEGA would release games on the next-generation of consoles. Because y’know, they’re a video game company…