Microsoft's Press Play Opens Its Development Process to the Players

Microsoft's Press Play Opens Its Development Process to the Players

The developer behind Max: The Curse of Brotherhood wants players to choose its next project.

Press Play is an odd little studio. The development house is a subsidiary of Microsoft Studios, but it remains completely independent. The Copenhagen-based studio isn't roped in to help with the latest Halo, Fable, or Kinect game. Instead, Press Play has worked on its own IP, including Max: The Curse of Brotherhood, Klimba, and Tentacles: Enter the Mind.

Now, Press Play is looking forward to its next project and the studio wants the gaming community's help. While the studio is in the concept phase, it wants players to vote on which concept they want to see the most.

"We have been doing some early experiments on three different concepts and we want the community to help choose the one that we will take forward to the next stage of development," says the studio on its official website.

There are three projects to choose from, all of which feature multiplayer game modes:

Project Dwarka: This is a first-person co-op game where you and your friends play as a squad of bad-ass dwarves. Lots of shooting and looting in a procedurally-generated underworld. The game also has a class and leveling system planned, so players can put together the perfect team.

In the developer's own words: "Project Dwarka is born out of a combination of our passions: Badass dwarves, dark fantasy, deep co-op gameplay, and really good procedural world generation. Our approach to co-op isn't something we've come across before. The dependence on your teammates already evokes a strong sense of actual teamwork – and that in a rough prototype!"

Project Karoo: This time, the focus is physics-based construction. Like Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts, the idea seems to be that players construct new vehicles to explore an open-world.

In the developer's own words: "Recently there has been an increase in physics based construction games, but we have noticed two things: firstly, very few support multiplayer and secondly, even fewer give the constructions the context and purpose that a character and an open world do. So we have set out to create a physics based construction game that allows for multiplayer and lets the players control a character in a huge, believable world.

Project Knoxville: The final concept is a third-person survival action game. Similar to The Hunger Games or Running Man, the players must work together to survive a harsh, trap-filled wilderness. One cool proposed mechanic is the afterlife, allowing players to influence the game after death.

In the developer's own words: "Our motivation for coming up with the concept is that we miss games where cooperation and competitive gameplay is more dynamic and interesting. This concept will combine high-tension action-gameplay with interesting strategic elements based on social interaction with other players."

Unlike some projects of a similar nature, no money is required here. Press Play has funding already, they just need your help deciding what to build next. The only real constraint is that you have to have an Xbox account to vote. Voting ends on September 1 and the winner will be announced on September 8. Personally, I'm probably going to be voting for Project Karoo, which feels like a spiritual-successor to Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts.

In this era of Kickstarter and Steam Early Access, it's good to see developers providing a window into the development process without players first kicking in their money. Development is risky proposition because you never know where you're going to end up and giving players a greater window into that risk is a good thing for the whole industry. I wish Press Play luck in its endeavor.

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Mike Williams

Reviews Editor

M.H. Williams is new to the journalism game, but he's been a gamer since the NES first graced American shores. Third-person action-adventure games are his personal poison: Uncharted, Infamous, and Assassin's Creed just to name a few. If you see him around a convention, he's not hard to spot: Black guy, glasses, and a tie.

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