It's Friday, and that means it's time for another This Week in the Business. If it feels like we've done this before, that's probably because we have. Just think of it as being extremely topical considering this week's theme is time loops.
To start things off, James Batchelor interviewed developers behind the current crop of time loop games, from Minit to 12 Minutes and everything in between. (Outer Wilds, The Sexy Brutale and the like, not Two Minutes, Three Minutes, and so on.) Rebekah Valentine also interviewed 12 Minutes' Luis Antonio about the game itself rather than the time loop trend.
We break the cycle by moving to discussions about messages and meaning in games, but let's be honest, that's the same old song and dance over and over. Finally, we went back a decade to look at the launch of the 2009 reboot of Wolfenstein—particularly the launch day layoffs of developers who worked on it—and we discovered a little bit of history repeating when it comes to Activision's semi-regular layoffs and just what's behind them time after time.
Surely by now you've got at least one song stuck in your head. If I could turn back time, I'd... well, I'd have figured out a way to reference Closing Time. Again. Yes, maybe I do have too much time on my hands.
OK, I'll go now.
QUOTE | "Actually, if you think the movie through, it is just like a narrative game, where the main character progresses unlocking new areas or scenarios as Phil Connors learns more information, and so we did for our game." - In a feature on the sudden surge of games about time loops, Tequila Works lead gameplay designer Alejo Silos explains how its new Groundhog Day VR game treats its time loop "as a narrative Metroidvania."
QUOTE | "When people who have experience in games play Twelve Minutes, they start hoarding all the items and combining trying to see what they do. And they don't go very far." - Twelve Minutes developer Luis Antonio explains how his time loop game's emphasis on logic rather than systems makes it more approachable for non-gamers.
QUOTE | "The narrative team had something to say, and though it may not be heard by all the millions of people who play the game, we have reached at least a few of them." - Lewis Manalo, a writer who worked on Ghost Recon: Wildlands talks about the reception to the game, which prompted a formal complaint from the Bolivian government.
QUOTE | "I wanted to make this game so people realise that we are still just big apes, who are afraid of leopards killing us. So that's my message." - Panache Digital co-founder Patrice Désilets explains what he wants to say with Ancestors: The Humankind Odyssey.
QUOTE | "I think, in general, I'm pretty tired of any weird, over-the-top, or violent characters being dismissed as 'Well, they're crazy.' That's just lazy. I still see this in movies, games, and TV all the time." - Hardsuit Labs' Brian Mitsoda talks about his approach to writing Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2.
STAT | 8 - The rounds of layoffs in the past decade that Activision has blamed on its upcoming release slate.
STAT | 1 - The number of games on Activision's current upcoming release slate (Call of Duty: Modern Warfare).
QUOTE | "This is a really good chance to get in touch with my roots and remember why I got into streaming in the first place." - Ninja explains that he will stream exclusively on Mixer because he wanted to revisit a time when nobody was watching him stream.
QUOTE | "A great many Switch owners also own a PlayStation 4 or an Xbox One or a PC, and very often choose to play the games that we make on those platforms even though they have a Switch and they enjoy a lot of great content on the Switch."- EA CEO Andrew Wilson explains why the company isn't putting more of its key franchises on Switch.
STAT | 4 - The number of Switch games EA has released (FIFA 18, FIFA 19, Unravel Two, Fe). Of those, only Fe arrived with the same gameplay and at the same time as its PS4, Xbox One, and PC counterparts.
QUOTE | "Now we know that no matter what, the game won't fail and we won't be forced to move back in with our parents," - Glumberland explains why it took an Epic Games store exclusivity deal for Ooblets when Epic committed to paying the studio's original forecast for lifetime sales across every storefront.
QUOTE | "I try to talk to game developers about this, and even the ones who are doing really slimy stuff, they want to think of themselves as good people. I haven't spoken to many people in Asia about this, but when I talk to people in the West they act like it's complicated and hard to think about, and I don't think it is. I think it's very simple: how do you treat the person that you're making the game for?" - Braid and The Witness developer Jon Blow is skeptical about microtransactions in gaming.
QUOTE | "It's honestly actively self-sabotaging to pitch the one that no one would ever agree to so either we don't have to do a boring licensed game we're not going to enjoy making, or if someone were ever to say yes, we'll actually be able to make something very cool. That strategy is something we've done for years, and has always been very successful in turning away licensed work." - Mike Bithell explains the policy that led to the upcoming strategy game John Wick Hex .