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May 18, 2021
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Video Game Deep Cuts: The Remnants Of A Lie-Telling Anthem

by Simon Carless on 08/25/19 10:24:00 am   Expert Blogs   Featured Blogs

The following blog post, unless otherwise noted, was written by a member of Gamasutra’s community.
The thoughts and opinions expressed are those of the writer and not Gamasutra or its parent company.


[Video Game Deep Cuts is a weekly newsletter from video game industry 'watcher' Simon Carless (GDC, Gamasutra co-runner, No More Robots advisor), rounding up the best longread & standout articles & videos about games, every weekend.

This week's roundup includes a look at hot new games including Remnant: From The Ashes and Telling Lies, as well as a new Westworld VR title, 20 years of Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri, Steam China, the six months after Anthem's release, and lots more besides.

Lots of good stuff in here - thanks for reading, and hope you appreciate the work that goes into these roundups. (I believe this is the 157th consecutive week they've been published!)

Until next time...
Simon, curator.]

What Happens to a Streamer Known for Opening Loot Boxes After They're Gone?(Patrick Klepek / VICE - ARTICLE)
"The reason people were thinking of Sandman as Psyonix and Epic Games rolled out this news was obvious: a lot of his most popular videos involve the opening of loot crates in Rocket League. This change was, indirectly, a shot at the way Sandman makes his living."

How Netflix Got Pulled into Microsoft’s Console War (Stop Skeletons From Fighting / YouTube - VIDEO)
"Xbox and Playstation’s war for the living room was about more than just video games. This is the story of how Netflix came to the Nintendo Wii on a disc."

Game stores: you need more real-time charts (Simon Carless / Game Discoverability Weekly / Substack - ARTICLE)
"So here’s the thesis. Although Steam is much-maligned for its discovery mechanisms -and I think it could do better curated features for promising games - it does a lot of things right by allowing ANY game to flow up the discovery tree."

Building a better trivia game with a Jeopardy master and Magic’s creator (Kyle Orland / Ars Technica - ARTICLE)
"Garfield said: "I learned to see trivia as being more than just a black-or-white test of whether you know it or not..." And so, a bit more than five years ago, Garfield reached out to Jennings to "make a trivia game that really brought those elements out." Today, on Kickstarter, they're finally ready to unveil Half-Truth, their attempt to turn the world of trivia games on its ear."

Column: In the Trump era, can videogames about killing Nazis be just ‘for fun’?(Todd Martens / LA Times - ARTICLE)
"Does treating World War II as a game of strategy, or drawing Nazis as pure evil or violent fools, allow us to remove ourselves from the conflict — to say to ourselves, “Those people aren’t like us and that could never happen today”?"

Streets Of Rogue's creator on how he stuffed a tiny city with ideas (Brendan Caldwell / RockPaperShotgun - ARTICLE)
"To sum it up, Streets Of Rogue is an immersive sim trapped in the body of a top-down roguelite. You get missions to complete in a procedurally generated city, and must use odd character skills or wacky equipment to get the job done. Maybe you’re a scientist and you need a briefcase of documents in an office block, so you pump a load of cyanide into an air vent and step over the corpses once inside."

Westworld Awakening is a VR game that puts you in the shoes of a newly self-aware android (Nick Statt / The Verge - ARTICLE)
"Westworld Awakening, a new video game developed by HBO and Sprint Vector studio Survios, was the first time in a long time I’ve felt actual fear while in virtual reality. I was embodying Kate, a recently self-aware android in the universe of the hit HBO show about artificial intelligence, and I was instructed by my human companion over voice com to start sprinting."

The Hidden Cost of Negative Game Reviews (Stephen Wilds / EGM - ARTICLE)
"We’ve all anticipated a game, perhaps even succumbed to the hype, just to see it get dragged on the internet upon release. The big red number looms mythologically large in the video game marketplace, a crimson bell tolling a game’s death on arrival. But what really happens when everyone thinks your game sucks?"

Remnant: From the Ashes review - Getting rooted (Sam Chandler / Shacknews - ARTICLE)
"For a studio of indie developer size, Remnant: From the Ashes is larger than life. It capitalizes on what made the Soulsborne titles so appealing and fuses it with a third-person perspective, guns, dynamically generated levels, and easy-to-use co-op. [SIMON'S NOTE: some pretty decent reviews and a BIG hit on Steam - might have snuck up under your radar?]"

Gamergate Comes To The Classroom (Megan Farokhmanesh / The Verge - ARTICLE)
"“Education has no idea how to deal with this problem,” Vossen says. “And I think it’s only going to get worse. The issue is not only with teacher safety, but points to a greater crisis in how the education system must fundamentally rethink how to instruct students."

Waterskiing and running for my life with the guy behind Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater(Blake Hester / Polygon - ARTICLE)
"Out here, everyone knows Joel. But they know the Joel that lives in Ovando on White Tail Ranch. They don’t know the Joel that co-founded Neversoft Entertainment, the studio behind the Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater series, five Guitar Hero games, cult-classic western Gun, the 2000 Spider-Man game, and part of Call of Duty: Ghosts. [SIMON'S NOTE: This is a weird-ass piece, but I also kinda like how it treats the subject in Rolling Stone profile stylee.]" 

On two decades of Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri (Alister MacQuarrie / Eurogamer - ARTICLE)
"Twenty years ago last February, Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri challenged players to make a new home for humankind around our nearest star. Beginning where Civilization 2's space race victory left off, SMAC represented a completely new direction."

The 3 Phases of Any Online Reaction to a Video Game Company Screwup (Ryan Rigney / Medium - ARTICLE)
"By this point, anyone who works on a live online service — and especially video games—is familiar with a very particular type of online event. It happens when a games company screws up in an obvious way online. And I’ve started calling it “48 Hours of Gamer Hell.”"

Playing at climate catastrophe (Simon Parkin / Columbia Journalism Review - ARTICLE)
"Xia brought her problem to Ben Muessig, the Times’s technology and business editor. Together, they reviewed Xia’s notes and discussed ways to present the choices available. Sea-level rise, Xia told Muessig, struck many residents as an issue they could solve. “That’s when it hit us,” she says. “Why not create a game?”"

So You're Ready to Pitch to a Publisher? You're Not (Rebekah Saltsman / GDC / YouTube - VIDEO)
"In this 2019 GDC talk, Finji's Rebekah Saltsman explains how Finji builds and uses pitch documents, key art and game play videos to help developers improve their pitches to publishers."

Anthem: Six Months Later (Ethan Gach / Kotaku - ARTICLE)
"While developer BioWare has addressed many of Anthem’s smaller issues, deeper problems persist, compounded by new updates getting delayed and being few and far between. But there has been the occasional bright spot, and the players who have stuck with it seem as committed as ever, at least for now. Here’s a rundown of everything that’s happened so far."

Valve talks Steam China, curation and exclusivity (Chris Tapsell / Eurogamer - ARTICLE)
"Eurogamer spoke to Valve's DJ Powers, who works in the company's business development team, at the event to try and get a better sense of what exactly is going on. As you'll read it's pretty clear even Valve can't explain - or maybe more accurately, can't say - what's going to happen to the international version of Steam out in China."

Why diversity matters in game design (Mark Rosewater / Wizards - ARTICLE)
"So, we want the ability for players to make a personal connection to the game. The brain does that when it sees things that look like itself, so it's clear that as a game designer, you want to make sure that every player has the potential to see themselves in your game. It increases their ability to form emotional bonds which makes them more likely to start playing and more likely to keep playing."

Telling Lies review: a full-motion video triumph (Chelsea Stark / Polygon - ARTICLE)
"And that feature seems like an almost mandatory update to the original formula. While Her Story centered on one mystery, Telling Lies is an ocean of deception. The game’s title cleverly hides its main mysteries; I treasure the fact that I didn’t even know what questions to ask when I started playing."

How Link's Climbing Animation Works in Breath of the Wild (New Frame Plus / YouTube - VIDEO)
"Watch a professional game animator break down Link's climbing piece by piece to figure out how this animation system is structured!"


[REMINDER: you can sign up to receive this newsletter every weekend at - we crosspost to Gamasutra later, but get it first via newsletter! Story tips and comments can be emailed to [email protected]. MINI-DISCLOSURE: Simon is one of the organizers of GDC and Gamasutra & an advisor to indie publisher No More Robots, so you may sometimes see links from those entities in his picks. Or not!]

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