The last few weeks have been crazy busy - though for the first time in a 12 months it is not for work reasons. We at Ruffian have now finished work on Crackdown 2, as confirmed by our company twitter account. Exciting, huh? It’s less than a month until release - it’s hard to believe it’s over in such a short time. It’s been hard work, but the results have been worth all of the struggles and pain (getting a “AAA” game out in just over a year is no walk in the park). I’ve played through the game’s campaign start to finish a couple of times recently – it’s a huge improvement over the original title and still manages to innovate in areas where competing titles do not. The drop in/drop out four player co op is seamless – I don’t think I’ve played an open world title that has managed to pull that off. The multiplayer is great fun too – reminds me a lot of Quake 3. I’m pretty good at it too.
…and if you don’t like listening to podcasts, then fellow designer Martin Livingston answered some questions over at Gamasutra.
Anyway, back to why I have been busy outside of work.
I do go on, don’t I?
Two weekends ago I attended the Evolution festival in Newcastle along with another Crackdown 2 designer, Graham Wright who took that photograph you see over to the left. I found the event to be a pretty sobering experience. I felt really out of touch with modern music and I didn’t quite understand what was going on with the “fashion” adorning “the kids” around me. The seemingly random mix of materials, clashing colours, trousers dropped to their ankles and luminous elastoplasts on their faces, all just struck me as rather odd. Despite these borderline “old man” complaints I managed to scrape some fun out of the event. Not only did I get to taste salt and vinegar flavoured shredded potato on a stick, but I was exposed to some music that had previously passed me by; De La Soul and The Horrors. Though completely dissimilar in genre, both had the correct audio credentials to keep my ear holes happy. These are likely going to be hitting my Spotify playlist very soon.
That same weekend I got my iPhone fixed! Cost a hefty £139 – I went for a brand new one, rather than letting the apple store workers fob me off with a replacement screen to accompany my already scratched iPhone body. At least now it’s all pretty and new again… I must buy a case/cover for it this time.
The following weekend I joined some fellow ex Midway employees on a small weekend away in Croatia. I got suitably drunk, tanned and penniless from the whole experience. Well worth it. Got to shoot the shit about old times and what we are all up to nowadays…
…which is a good opportunity to “pimp” the work of some of my previous co-workers at Midway.
Steve Lee, a fellow mission designer on Wheelman is working hard on People Can Fly’s new first person shooter, “Bulletstorm”. It’s looking very pretty and appears to tap into the same kill/score mechanic that I was so addicted to in The Club/50 Cent Blood on the Sand. Really looking forward to it.
The second, a game being worked on by two ex Midway guys – Chris Rowe and Rob Hale over at Ninja Theory. They’re currently in the latter stages of development on “Enslaved: Odyssey to the West”, third person action-adventure set in a post apocalyptic world. It promises to deliver in the story department thanks to being penned by 28 Days Later’s Alex Garland. I’ve yet to play Ninja Theory’s previous title, “Heavenly Sword”, but it’s on my shelf in a long-ass queue of PS2 & PS3 games I need to play.
Rob Hale gets a second shout out for his work on his own personal project (under the pseudonym, Squid In A Box) known as “Waves”, a modern take on the design that made Robotron so great. It’s looking very reminiscent of Geometry Wars (not a bad thing). Check out the videos over at the Waves moddb page.
Another fellow ex Midway designer, Evan Michaels along with a large chunk of the Wheelman QA department are celebrating the announcement of the next Driver title. I’m sure they are all currently crunching their collective arses off on an E3 demo. Have fun with that :D
And finally the old Midway guys at Warner Chicago have announced their new studio name, NetherRealm Studios and their first game, a new title in the Mortal Kombat franchise. Shout outs to Shaun and Hector (both of whom worked on Wheelman).
So given that lot, I am really looking forward to E3 – I won’t be there (sad face), but I’ll be sat at work watching it on my secondary monitor from Tuesday onwards. Wondering what Sony, Nintendo and Microsoft have up their sleeves…
Oh and as a last minute bonus, my wrasslin’ obsessed pal just spotted this in UFC…