Picture of Rich Stanton

Rich Stanton


Rich Stanton has been writing for Eurogamer since 2011, and also contributes to places like Edge, Nintendo Gamer, and PC Gamer. He lives in Bath, and is Terran for life.

For around two years of my gaming life I was obsessed with Starcraft 2: Wings of Liberty. I got decent at it too, hovering around Platinum League with occasional forays into Diamond - the Koreans were hardly quaking in their boots, but I could hold my own at a reasonable level. More importantly I loved Starcraft 2. I watched it all the time, followed the tournaments and the Korean GSL, and studied the strategies of players I especially admired. After a while I moved onto other things, then 2013's Heart of the Swarm pulled me right back in - new units being the most obvious draw, but the shaking up of a tired metagame being the real secret sauce.

The Wii U re-release of Super Mario 64 seems like the perfect time for a retrospective, especially when you realise it's been nearly 20 years since its release in 1996. But there's something about the idea of a retrospective that doesn't quite fit this game. Hindsight is often ahistorical, free of the day-to-day chatter and contemporary context. A pioneering work like Super Mario 64, on the other hand, is impossible to divorce from its context because those same factors made it more than a great game.

EssentialBloodborne review

The second coming.

(This is our final review of Bloodborne, and contains discussions of some of the game's surprises and themes. If you'd rather not read them, have a look at our spoiler-free first impressions from earlier in the week, or skip to the last paragraph.)

FeatureIs Bloodborne the best game ever, or just the second best?

Early impressions of the PS4 exclusive ahead of our review.

Editor's note: This is an early impressions piece, based on four days' play with Bloodborne. We'll be posting our final review later this week, once we've experienced the game on fully stressed online servers and once we've been able to spend a little more time in Yharnam.

FeatureRich Stanton on: Other worlds and the inner eye

Why what we see is always what we think we see.

We have a certain imaginative sympathy with worlds we are invested in, and elevate them with subconscious complicity. Or to put it another way - the better the game, the more likely we are to give it a pass on below-par elements. No great revelation.

FeatureTwo years on, DmC takes its rightful place in the series

How and why Capcom and Ninja Theory rebooted a classic.

This seems like a straightforward proposition, but what is Devil May Cry? It's a third-person fighting game that more or less invented a genre, then with Devil May Cry 3 raised the bar once more and, with Devil May Cry 4, had its biggest-selling entry (2.9 million). In 2008 the series did not seem in bad shape - and then the next Devil May Cry was DmC, a reboot developed by the Cambridge studio Ninja Theory. This switch was much-maligned by series fans, persistently and often unfairly.

FeatureHave GTA's Heists been worth the wait?

First impressions of Grand Theft Auto Online's biggest scores.

Heists have been a long time coming - the promised land of GTA Online, no less, the missions that would bring the Heat vibe to Los Santos with style. They are two-to-four player scores consisting of multiple missions and a finale, where players assume different roles on the team - one committing to be a rooftop lookout, for example, while another goes inside a building. Such scenarios have always been common in GTA single-player missions, where Rockstar can control all of the other participants, but got a little lost in the transformation to multiplayer.

FeatureRich Stanton on: Requiem for a dreamer

The god-damned tragedy of Peter Molyneux.

The story of how Peter Molyneux got his big break in the games industry is revealing. After his first game The Entrepreneur failed to sell, Molyneux gave up on games and started exporting baked beans to the Middle East. Soon afterwards Commodore, confusing Molyneux's company Taurus with a networking company called Torus, flew him to the States and mistakenly offered him ten brand-new Amigas.

FeatureRich Stanton on: Cheesing Destiny

"It feels like Destiny has driven certain of its players mad."

Recently I've been thinking about cheese, and not the cow stuff. Cheese as in taking advantage of a game's weird AI behaviour or a level glitch to bypass the 'correct' way of doing things. Surely we're all guilty of cheesing it up, whether for laughs or more mercenary reasons, but one game has finally managed to... well, make a game out of it.

FeatureGames of 2014: Far Cry 4

The Kyrat's whiskers.

I have a confession, and it is this: I really like the Ubisoft formula. Items everywhere, side-quests out the wazoo, big mission arrows, the steadily-expanding skill-set - bliss. I don't like every game made with it, of course, and Assassin's Creed shows what happens when the recipe is used too often. But when it works, and when it fits, you get a game like Far Cry 4.

FeatureRich Stanton on: GTA's growing pains

The tone problem in Rockstar's classic series.

Starting today, four regular columnists will be taking turns to fill the Saturday morning opinion slot here on Eurogamer: game developer David Goldfarb, roving games writer Cara Ellison, actual pub landlord Jon "Log" Blyth and, kicking us off below, a writer who surely needs little introduction to Eurogamer readers, Rich Stanton. Find out more about the columnists in this editor's blog.

FeatureHalf-Life 2: 10 years on

You remember, don't you, Mr Freeman?

Half-Life 2 has met the fate of all exceptional games. The 'classic' moniker almost instantly embalms them, gradually fossilising to a few forever-parroted talking points while the living entity is obscured. Physics, story, environmental design - Gravity Gun, City 17, Ravenholm. The game is shorn of context, too, and compared with successors that stripped its bones of ideas and sometimes improved on them. The keenly-felt absence of Half-Life 3 helps with this impression, but Half-Life 2 feels like a game on a tightrope - not stuck in the middle, exactly, so much as a pioneer of the modern first-person shooter that still contains much of the 'old' first-person shooter.

FeatureWhy can't games do sex?

From the archive: Not safe for work or play.

Every Sunday we offer up an article from our archive, either for you to discover for the first time or to get acquainted with all over again. This week we present Rich Stanton's look at sex in games, originally published in 2012.

FeatureWho framed Roger Ebert?

From the archive: Press A to Art.

Every week we bring you a feature from our archive for you to discover, or simply to read again. This Sunday we present Richard Stanton's Who framed Roger Ebert, a detailed dissection of a question that's lingered around video games for an age. A sidenote - Life Itself, a documentary on the life of Ebert, is out in the US now, and is coming to the UK later this year.

FeatureTelling Tales: Skyrim and Dark Souls

From the archive: When the mountain won't come to Muhammad.

Every Sunday we dust off an article in our archive that you might have missed at the time or we think you'll enjoy again. On the eve of Dark Souls 2's PC release, here's Rich Stanton's take on the differing styles of storytelling at work in the original game and another great RPG of the year it came out, Skyrim. This article was originally published in December 2011.

FeatureWould the real Ken Levine kindly stand up?

From the archive: BioShock Infinite's creative director talks about games, politics and throwing himself on the fire.

Every so often, we reach back into the Eurogamer archive for a feature you may have missed or might enjoy again. This weekend, following the news of Irrational Games winding down, we rewind to early last year when Rich Stanton profiled BioShock's Big Daddy, Ken Levine.

FeatureBecoming the Dark Soul

From the archive: Rich Stanton goes in pursuit of the game's crowning achievement.

Every Sunday, we dust off one of our favourite articles from the archive for you to enjoy again or maybe read for the first time. With Dark Souls 2 just weeks away, we thought it would be nice to revisit Rich Stanton's story from October 2012 of tracking down Dark Souls' most elusive and complex Achievement...

FeatureMy life as a Pokémon trafficker

I love you Ditto - the story of one game's strange effect on a player.

This is about how your goal in a game can change. Where you find something self-contained within it that becomes your focus, rather than going to town Y to complete quest X. It's about how I played Pokémon Black to a certain point as a trainer and then, independently of the game's arc and pretty much accidentally, started shipping out battery-farmed Pokémon to trainers around the world.

FeatureViewtiful Joe retrospective

Some like it REEEED HOT!

This is the story of how an artist adapts and refines his craft. It starts with a challenge. In a recent interview with Nintendo president Satoru Iwata, The Wonderful 101's director Hideki Kamiya talked about his first wholly original project. "I began developing [Viewtiful Joe] when my boss at Capcom, Shinji Mikami-san, said, 'Try doing the design process by yourself.'" A Capcom star on the rise, Kamiya had previously directed Resident Evil 2 and Devil May Cry - but Viewtiful Joe was to be the first title he'd design from the ground up.

These days it feels like everyone streams. The explosion of all online video content over the last decade is one thing, but videogame streaming is a more recent and unusual phenomenon - and one overwhelmingly tied to the Justin.tv spin-off Twitch. In June this year Twitch announced it had around 35 million viewers a month and this is important for one big reason; it makes eSports a viable career for a lot more individuals than ever before.

Ultima Forever review

Rue Britannia.

So farewell then, Ultima. The title of developer Mythic and publisher EA's new entry in the series, an iOS-exclusive, free-to-play MMORPG-lite, is Ultima Forever. These words you can visualise chiselled on a gravestone. Make no mistake; this game has the surface of a vibrant fantasy, but it is a grasping and shallow product.

What a title - and The Wonderful 101 knows it. Every loading screen displays the logo prominently, and each time a different member of the voice cast gives it their all: "The Woonnnnderrfullll ONE-OH-ONE!" The first time the game loads, the attract screen talks of the Wonderful One Hundred, before it flips around and flashes an irresistibly cheesy grin: "I knew we forgot someone... YOU!"

FeatureClash! The story behind an all-time classic

How Capybara made Clash of Heroes, the game that changed the studio forever.

Next to my desk I keep an old pocket watch. It's not there for any practical reason; I sometimes wind it up, but more often I turn the cool oblong over in my hands, following the engraving on the case and marvelling at the inner workings. It keeps time perfectly, if required. But I keep it because it feels like treasure.

FeatureHoarding at the end of the world

Rich Stanton explores how The Last of Us works for Most of Us.

While playing and after finishing The Last of Us, all I could think about was a book. When Naughty Dog began development Amazon must have seen a miniature sales spike for Cormac McCarthy's The Road; the mind's eye imagines a bulk order from California, and subsequent rows of well-thumbed paperbacks.

FeatureThe making of Rogue Legacy

What's behind Cellar Door Games?

I know you shouldn't judge games by their visuals but, upon seeing a screenshot of Rogue Legacy, I knew it would be up my street. And such shallowness on my part was soon confirmed in spades. Rogue Legacy's influences, from games as diverse as the Souls series to Spelunky, are obvious but the way it weaves these elements into something new creates a kind of oxymoron; an original steeped in nostalgia.

Nobody ever sets out to make a bad game. It's easy to forget that. IO Interactive recently laid off half of its staff, following a series of releases in this console generation that - simply put - didn't deliver commercially or critically. The main culprits? A pair of stone-cold killers - Kane & Lynch: Dead Men.

rRootage Online is a version of the original PC rRootage, one of the finest productions from ABA Studios, which has one employee: the brilliant Kenta Cho. Cho's been making games for well over a decade now, mostly shoot-'em-ups, and gives everything he makes away for free; it's an attitude that he says comes from making the games he wants to play and having no interest in making money from them. In every respect he's a remarkable developer.

In the 1980s games were not everywhere. It is almost impossible to explain arcades, in the world of App Stores and Steam, without knowing that. Arcades were not only beyond home consoles, but they were bright smoky heavens - the places with the biggest, best and loudest games. Even in this jungle, some beasts were alphas. The special ones. The premium Space Harrier cabinet was a cockpit, complete with flightstick and surround sound. This thing was massive and it moved . A lanky kid would get in and puts 20p in the slot. "Welcome to the Fantasy Zone!" The speakers behind your head kicked in. "Get Ready!"