Most modern shooters go out of their way to provide a narrative justification for their eight hours of explosions and headshots. In 2008, Bizarre Creation's The Club barely even bothered.
In a brand new episode of Eurogamer Asks, the three studios formed from Bizarre Creations' ashes have talked to Eurogamer TV about their experience of Activision's controversial cull.
Project Gotham Racing and Blur lead designer Gareth Wilson has found a new home at Sumo Digital - maker of OutRun Online Arcade and SEGA All-Stars Racing.
PGR, Geometry Wars, Blur dev closes.
Welcome back to our ongoing critical analysis of the latest in cross-platform game development, as we take a look at another batch of games released on both Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. Recent skirmishes between the rival formats reveal that the Microsoft console still has a significant, quantifiable edge in terms of multi-format gaming quality, but in line with its improving sales figures, PlayStation 3 is gradually closing the gap.
For those of you who've somehow managed to avoid the last nine face-off features we've put together over the course of the last year, the basic objective of this coverage is remarkably straightforward - to provide console-specific commentary that supplements the existing Eurogamer reviews, with an emphasis on gameplay and technical differences.
The usual testing methodology is in place - the games are tested side-by-side, their video outputs losslessly captured in full 24-bit RGB precision via the HDMI ports of our PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 Elite, using a Digital Foundry HD capture system. With every single frame recorded and stored on an unfeasibly large array of hard disks, we can then pick and choose the exact same shots from each game for inclusion in our comparison galleries.
On Friday, I cut some ham too close to the edge of the table and the plate flipped over and landed on my lap then tumbled onto the floor. That's not my best story, but I thought it was more interesting than the new demo line-up this week.
With the PC version of The Club due out on 22nd February, Bizarre Creations has released a PC demo to celebrate (actually: to encourage people to buy it, presumably).
Bizarre Creations believes the divided reaction to The Club has been because some have misunderstood its concept.
Shooters are big, serious business these days, but The Club is having none of it - you pick from a range of pre-rolled hard-men caricatures with varying speed, strength and stamina statistics and then gun your way at pace through a series of grimy environments racking up kills as quickly as possible to build up combos.
It's from the makers of Project Gotham Racing. PGR wasn't just a brilliant driving game, it was a brilliant high-scores game, where half the fun came from stringing together absurd combinations of power-slides and overtaking manoeuvres and showing off at high speed in a car. The Club does the same trick of leaning into its source material thematically and mechanically but dancing away from it in design.
The result is a shooter that turns tired genre conventions around with a bullet to the shoulder. You're not just clearing levels to get to the next cut-scene, but you yearn for the next identikit enemy to appear, or for a turret gun to control, because these things keep the combo alive. Self-preservation is a secondary consideration; this is all about timing. An ever-present meter in the top-right ticks down from every kill-shot, forcing you to barrel forward for the next one. If you see an enemy, and you have time, you just keep on running toward them, only capping them when the meter's almost empty, doing a forward-roll beforehand to increase your score takeaway.
The Club or Yakuza 3. Those are our pick of the new demos. You can probably scoot off now. Not a lot else to suggest unless you own a PC. Oh, you do. Better read on then!
SEGA has said it will furnish Live Marketplace with The Club demo tomorrow.
Did you get what you wanted for Christmas? That's a shame. But Sony was looking out for you - sneaking a 1.7GB-shaped demo of The Club under the celebratory bristles of the PlayStation Network tree with the sort of festive love and care glaringly absent from other elements of this boringly appointed sentence.
SEGA has pinned down 8th February for the release of arcade shooter The Club, providing it with sure footing in the "early 2008" sinking sand. Er.
It's pretty pathetic seeing the best and brightest UK games journalists after they've just played The Club. These are the people that play games for a living. They shouldn't have any trouble with a shooter that's been stripped to the bare bones of running and gunning, especially not one with levels the length of a pop song. But it was like being in an old people's home after a daily ten minute session of callisthenics. Word for word, here are a couple of things I overheard:
Bizarre Creations has shed a little more light on the three modes in upcoming shooter The Club.
The first of these is Run the Gauntlet, where you will have to sprint through a level in an effort to reach the exit in the allocated time limit. But you will also be trying to hit a designated score by stylishly shooting enemies in the face and linking together combinations.
This is followed by the group offering for you and your friends called Team Skull Shot. The idea here is to shoot skull targets guarded by the other team. So the blue team will guard blue skulls and try to shoot red skulls, and so on and so forth.
Microsoft has said that version 1.2 of its Games for Windows Live service will be spouted out across the Internet in November, GamesIndustry.biz reports.
It will let you obtain Achievements while playing offline and give you the ability to see if you can join friends in their games, along with some other user interface bits and pieces yet to be specified.
So far five games have been announced as supporting the updated service, including The Club and Universe at War from SEGA; Kane & Lynch from Eidos; and Gears of War and Viva Piñata from Microsoft.
It's hardly surprising to hear Project Gotham Racing referred to during a demo of The Club. After all, both are Bizarre Creations games. What's more surprising is to hear mention of Tekken, Street Fighter and Tony Hawk. There are references to other shooters, but not in the context you might expect. At one point we're told, "The Club isn't about hiding behind cover and waiting for guys to come to you. It's not about stealth. It's sort of... Anti-Gears of War."
SEGA has confirmed to Eurogamer this afternoon that action shooter The Club will no longer be out this "holiday season".
Bizarre Creations has revealed the first concrete details of the multiplayer mode in PC, Xbox 360 and PS3 shooter The Club, during a behind closed doors demo at the Leipzig Games Convention 2007.
Bizarre Creations has revamped its website and released new information ahead of next week's E3 show in America.
During the latest presentation of The Club, SEGA refers to it as 'gladiators with guns', which is a pretty reasonable description. So is 'a third-person shooter with a mature theme and a pick-up-and-play sensibility', which is used later in the presentation. Neither description does justice to the range and diversity of influences on the game though. The key influence is, of course, Project Gotham (as you'll know if you read Eurogamer's E3 preview). Specifically, the game's creator, Bizarre Creations, wants to do for the shoot-'em-up what its Gotham series did for the racing genre. The Club is an attempt to impose a unique scoring system and innovative game modes upon the shoot-'em-up genre to produce something fresh and novel. But still, that's selling the game short. There's a whole load of other unlikely influences, ranging from TimeSplitters to Tony Hawk's by way of the odd beat-'em-up, a bit of Manhunt and back to SEGA's own OutTrigger.
Those PGR-making men up at Bizarre Creations have taken a bit of time out from sneakily developing games behind big blackout curtains to explain what's going on with one of their lesser-heard-about titles, The Club.
You may remember that we rather liked what we saw of the fast-paced shooter at E3 last year. "Development has been progressing on The Club steadily, and we're now at the stage where we really have a solid game to show for our efforts," the developer says in its latest studio update.
"We took the 'gameplay first, graphics second' approach with The Club, and in terms of playability it has paid dividends. Now it's just a case of knuckling down, getting the art finished, and balancing/bug testing everything.
When Bizarre Creations said it wanted to do for the shooter genre what Project Gotham had done for the racing genre, I wanted to do for their soundbite department what blisters are currently doing to my feet. The lack of detail in its original announcement didn't really help much, prompting some to imagine a sort of Fight Club shooter, sounding worryingly close to the awful second half of Manhunt.
SEGA's announced a few details about the game Bizarre Creations is developing for them - it's a third-person shooter called The Club which, SEGA reckons, will do for that genre what Bizarre did for the racing genre with Gotham. (Presumably metaphorically rather than, you know, adding donuts and Kudos points.)