Tag Archives: Games

“EA CEO Discusses Diversity in Games and Teams That Make Them”

“Electronic Arts CEO Andrew Wilson has spoken up to discuss diversity and representation in the Battlefield publisher’s games and among the teams who make them. In an interview with The Verge, Wilson said the makeup of the gaming community today is far more diverse than it used to be.

“Representation is really important,” he said. When I started playing games, we could squint and see 200 million players. Many of those players were 14-year-old boys playing in their mother’s basements. That was really what gamers were. There was this negative connotation about what being a gamer meant. Today the average age of a gamer, I think, is about 35. Nearly 50 percent of them are female, and certainly gaming transcends all forms of culture and gender and background, both socioeconomic and ethnic background.”

EA’s ambition when thinking about representation inside of its games is to “capture the true nature of the community that’s engaging in that content,” he said, adding that EA is already doing this.

“When you look at some of our games today, you see that we have strong female leads, we have strong black leads, we have strong Latino leads, we have young leads to older leads,” the executive explained. “It’s really important as we design games, and that wasn’t really any mandate that we made as a company, and it won’t be any mandate that we make going forward.”

Instead of being a mandate from EA higher-ups, a push towards better inclusivity occurred organically, Wilson said. “It’s really just the creators inside of our organization saying, ‘Hey, I’m looking at who’s playing our games. We know that they want to look into the games that we make and see people like them so that they can better relate to those games. We want to capture that…”



“‘Overwatch’ Game Developers Find Creativity in Diversity”

“When the makers of the globe-hopping video game “Overwatch” were coming up with the backstory for a character with the ability to freeze enemies and erect ice walls, their initial inclination was to make her homeland a stereotypically chilly place, someplace like Iceland, Canada or Norway.

“That’s what you would expect,” said game director Jeff Kaplan. “We asked ourselves, ‘What if she was from somewhere else? What if she was from China? How would that look?’ It’s not your normal expectation, and that’s what is cute, adorable, endearing and exciting about that character.”

Inspired by Chinese ice sculpture festivals, “Overwatch” lead character concept artist Arnold Tsang crafted a look for Mei, the bespectacled climatologist among the 21 characters of various races, genders, nationalities and sexual orientations which players can portray in the superhero-inspired multiplayer game.

Mei’s unlikely heritage and ability to encase her body in a chunk of ice aren’t her only unique attributes. She doesn’t sport a busty, Barbie-like physique that most female characters have in video games.

“From a visual standpoint, we want every character to have a different silhouette, not just because that’s more interesting to look at but because you want to be able to know which character is coming at you from a distance when you’re playing,” said Tsang. “With that sort of philosophy, it’s easy to embrace diversity.”

For years, the has been criticized for relying on stereotypes and not depicting a wider array of characters. Many games invite players to construct their own avatars, but a new wave of multiplayer games such as “Battleborn,””Paragon” and “Overwatch” are providing dizzying rosters of defined characters—each with different looks, abilities and histories.

The initial line-up of 21 heroes for “Overwatch” features 10 men, eight women, a pair of robots and one genetically engineered gorilla. (By contrast, the original “Mortal Kombat” featured six men and one woman when it was first released in 1992.)…”


“Expand Your Universe with Neil DeGrasse Tyson’s New Video Game”

“Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson is entering the video game business. His new game, Neil deGrasse Tyson Presents: Space Odyssey, is an educational title developed to encourage players to explore space and science.

Although in early development, it’s being designed as a building game. Space Odyssey asks players to create their own galaxies. While there are elements of MineCraft and Civilization baked into the experience, Mark Murphy, co-creator and developer of the game from Whatnot Entertainment, said it’s something unique.

Murphy said the gameplay mirrors our universe, which is growing every day, inch by inch, minute by minute. The game allows players to build and grow solar systems – even galaxies. Players can also explore galaxies created by other players, including prominent scientists and fictional world-builders like Tyson, Bill Nye, George R.R. Martin, Neil Gaiman, and Peter Beagle.

By succeeding in science and exploration-based challenges, players, who transport themselves in spacecraft they design, will obtain valuable assets, gadgets, minerals, knowledge and tools to enhance the colonization of their planets.

Real physics, virtual universe

Murphy said this is a game of science future that utilizes real science and real physics. It harnesses these to imagine what the future of space travel, exploration, terra-forming, colonization, and ship design could be.

“Part of the gameplay will allow you to grow a planetary system,” Murphy said. “Its size and scope is relative to the level of challenge you would like to undertake. You can grow and mature these planets as much as you’d like, creating colonies, ports, mining structures, undertake trade of elements you discover/mine or invent or innovate. We are adding strategic partners that will consult with us on design and tech possibilities, including Bigelow Aerospace and the National Space Society to name a couple…”



“Rise of the Tomb Raider Shows How Lara Has Changed Over 20 Years”

“Noah Hughes, franchise creative director at Crystal Dynamics, believes that Lara Croft’s story is just getting started. The Tomb Raider franchise is turning 20 years old, but the reboot of the famous adventure character is still barely tapping into the stories about the formative years of the swaggering Tomb Raider, Hughes said in an interview with GamesBeat.

The Tomb Raider franchise has sold over 46 million copies worldwide and inspired one of the most successful video game film adaptations in history, with a trio of Angelina Jolie films grossing over $300 million at the global box office. Now Square Enix is celebrating 20 years of the icon, with the release of Rise of the Tomb Raider: 20 Year Celebration on October 11 on the PlayStation 4 and PC. It will come with a new downloadable content mission, Blood Ties, where you can explore Croft manor.

The action-adventure game has DLC from the past years, as well as numerous extras that go beyond last year’s Xbox exclusive, which earned numerous awards. It includes a new Lara’s Nightmare zombie combat mode, an “extreme survivor” difficulty level, and five classic Lara skins. These are all nice things for PlayStation 4 fans, but you shouldn’t miss the point about Lara’s story of female empowerment, self-reliance, and determination. Rise of the Tomb Raider is yet another example of how story takes center stage in the best blockbuster games.

Here’s an edited transcript of our talk. Check out our previous interview with Hughes here.

GamesBeat: Tell us what you’re doing for the 20th anniversary of Lara Croft? 

Noah Hughes: With the opportunity to release something like a definitive edition of Rise of the Tomb Raider, we wanted to include all the DLC, everything you could have gotten up until this point. But we also wanted to make sure to cater to that theme of 20 years of tomb raiding, bringing in some nostalgic elements and classic elements…”


“Rise of the Tomb Raider: 20 Year Celebration Preview”

“To celebrate a crazy 20 years of Tomb Raider and its iconic heroine Lara Croft, Square Enix is releasing a special edition of the recent Rise of the Tomb Raider exclusively for PS4.

Meet Rise of the Tomb Raider: 20 Year Celebration.

The celebratory release includes the original game, that was initially an Xbox One exclusive before arriving on PC and now PS4, all previously released DLC content, a 20 Year Celebration outfit and gun, five classic Lara skins, the Extreme Survivor difficulty for the main campaign and co-op play for Endurance Mode.

But the real appeal for Tomb Raider fans of old like us is the new Blood Ties single-player content that sees you exploring Croft Manor for the first time in this new Tomb Raider timeline. The content sees Lara in her childhood home facing a legal battle for the manor after a letter from her uncle. He believes Lara has “no legal claim to the estate” and it’s up to her to prove him wrong by finding evidence in her parents’ belongings.

Blood Ties offers a glorious remastering of Croft Manor that presents memories of Lara and her father undertaking their first expedition together to the library through the old servant’s quarters. It looks fantastic and it’s eerily creepy in the passages below the house, but there’s a mystery in the reasoning as to why it’s quite so run down and what does lurk in the West Wing – perhaps it’s going to be something like Beauty and the Beast?

The actual content reminds us a lot of the scene in Uncharted 4 where Nathan and Sam Drake are looking for their mother’s diary as children. But as is the Tomb Raider way, there’s plenty of content and mysteries to unlock…”


“‘Life is Strange’ Video Game to Become Live-Action Digital Series”

“Time traveler Max Caulfield and her childhood friend Chloe Price will soon make the leap to live-action with “Life is Strange,” the Legendary Digital Studios adaptation of Square Enix’s acclaimed video game.

Developed by DONTDOD Entertainment, the five-episode adventure game follows Max and Chloe as they unravel the mystery behind the disappearance of a local girl. Max’s ability to rewind time plays a critical role in solving puzzles and negotiating the tense, prestigious high school environment that is Blackwell Academy in Arcadia Bay, Oregon.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the digital series will be developed with Dmitri Johnson and Dan Jevons of the transmedia company djt2 Entertainment, which produced of the recent “Sonic the Hedgehog” for Sony Pictures. Legendary Digital has adapted the video game series “Dead Rising” and the revival of the ’70s series “Electra Woman & Dyna Girl.”

“’Life is Strange’ is one of those rare properties that combines incredibly developed characters and storylines with deeply engaging gameplay,” Greg Siegel, a senior vice president at Legendary Digital, said in a statement. “It lends itself perfectly to live-action imaginings. We couldn’t be more excited to partner with Square Enix, DONTDOD Entertainment and dj2 to bring the world of Arcadia Bay to life in an exciting new way.”

The first episode of “Life is Strange” was recently made free on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Mac and Windows.”


“The Struggle To Bring More Women Into Game Development”

“Gary Gygax, biological determinist and creator of Dungeons & Dragons, once told a reporter for Icon magazine that “gaming in general is a male thing… Everybody who’s tried to design a game to interest a large female audience has failed. And I think that has to do with the different thinking processes of men and women.”

He’s wrong, and on several levels. But his absurd pronouncement has become a self-fulfilling prophecy, at least at face value. The women who contributed to the new essay compilation Women in Game Development, out July 1st by CRC Press, heard Gygax’s sentiments echoed both in their heads and in game publishes’ conference rooms. Many felt first-hand the effects of big gaming companies pushing their games to boys, a marketing tactic popularized around the mid-80s. But despite all the Gary Gygaxes who told them No, get out, they did it, and they’re helping others do it, too. Their book is an attempt to break the ouroboros-like cycle of toxicity that pushes women out of the game industry.

Women in Game Development is a compilation of 31 essays by women in the game industry, from community managers to hardcore coders, for women who want to enter the game industry. Essays by game professionals like Jane Ng (artist for Firewatch, Spore), Brianna Wu (founder of Giant Spacekat) and Megan Gaiser (former CEO of Her Interactive) describe the often circuitous paths that led them into an industry that is famously hostile to them. Chainmail bikinis aside, women only constitute 22 percent of the game industry, according to the International Game Developer’s Association; Only 5% of respondents argued that the game industry doesn’t have a bad rep, and the most cited reason for that rep was endemic sexism…”