The next-gen cash grab: why ‘paymium’ fundamentally compromises console game design

Forza 5

The name is as ugly as the concept. ‘Paymium’, where you’re encouraged to buy content in a game you’ve already paid for, has been lurking in the shadows for years, but it’s become overt with the arrival of a new generation. This is particularly true on Xbox One, where the model has been embraced wholesale, with… Continue reading

Why console game design and free-to-play don’t mix – and what needs to change

Clash Of Clans

From just a distant drum beat ten years ago to a deafening crescendo today; there’s no denying the popularity of free-to-play games right now. Although some hardcore players tend to dismiss free-to-play as a fad or cynical business model, the huge financial success of games like Clash of Clans, Candy Crush and Real Racing 3 has… Continue reading

Fallen London’s creator on why free-to-play could be the future of storytelling

Fallen London

Writing and storytelling in games is often seen as a bit of a joke – window-dressing for bigger explosions, or weak justification for increasingly lavish bloodshed. Even indie developers are reluctant to place script at the centre of their games, because it’s tough to sell story in an industry with such disregard for it. One notable exception, however, is Alexis Kennedy from Failbetter Games, the UK studio behind Fallen London.

Middle Manager Of Justice review: Double Fine’s App Store satire cuts a little too close to the bone

Middle Manager Of Justice review

It really is an excellent gag. Superheroes are Amazing, Spectacular, Incredible and Dynamic. White-collar workers are ubiquitous, uninspired, boring and static. Middle Manager Of Justice might chronicle the rise and rise of a low-rent take on The Avengers or the Justice League, but it casts you as the office drone tasked with ensuring that invoices are sent and rescues completed on time.

Punch Quest switches from free-to-play to paid app after dev admits it was “way too generous”

Punch Quest

Rocketcat, it seems, got free-to-play monetisation design wrong; while it was possible to buy powers, boosts and vanity items, it was never thrust in players’ faces. As our Punch Quest review noted, “The game isn’t pushy about its IAPs and you never feel like you’re punching your way through a barrage of pop-ups asking you to drop cash.”

How indie sensation Hawken went from unknown graphical tour de force to fully fledged game

Hawken mech

When Adhesive Games put its Hawken reveal trailer on YouTube in March 2011, it didn’t count on it becoming a sensation. The plan was to email the link to a few news sites and gradually build awareness from there. Adhesive was a small indie studio at the time, with six staff, three interns, and no marketing budget. What it did have was an impressive amount to show for Hawken’s first nine months of development, including a dystopian futuristic metropolis, mechs scuttling about in frantic ground combat, a hulking mothership looming overhead, and a swarm of missiles gliding through the air with slow-motion grace.