Microsoft has unveiled its Games with Gold line-up for August, and it's a bit of a whopper, featuring Forza Horizon 2, For Honor, Dead Space 3, and Disney Epic Mickey 2.
Blitz co-founder Philip Oliver's first interview since the demise of one of the UK's longest-running developers.
7th October 2014
17th January 2013
22nd November 2012
4th October 2012
16th May 2012
13th April 2012
30th March 2012
23rd March 2012
Disney games are now on Steam.
Games such as Epic Mickey 2, Pure and Split/Second are included.
Epic Mickey 2 is a surprise inclusion. Shortly after the adventure game released, Disney closed its developer, Junction Point. The PC port had been thought lost, but now, nearly two years after the game first launched, it appears.
This morning the 23-year-old UK developer Blitz ceased trading, resulting in the loss of some 175 jobs.
UPDATE: Sniper Elite developer Rebellion has invited former Blitz Games staff to apply for some 50 open positions at the Oxford-based studio.
Junction Point's swan song, Disney Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two, will be coming to Vita later this year, Disney has announced via Twitter.
Warren Spector has issued an impassioned farewell to Junction Point, which Disney closed yesterday.
Update: Epic Mickey 2 sold 529,000 copies between its 18th November release and New Year's in the US, according the NPD group (via Joystiq).
Epic Mickey 2 was slated to be massive hit for Disney after Warren Spector's bold rebranding of the franchise in 2010's Epic Mickey was a moderate success. This was not the case, however, as according to an NPD tipster at the LA Times, the sequel only sold a scant 270,000 units in North America in its first month or so.
To put this in perspective, the first Epic Mickey sold 1.3 million units in its first month in the US and that was a Wii-exclusive. Spector even told me once that is was his best-selling game by a country mile. The sequel, however, came out on Xbox 360, PS3, Wii U, PC and Mac as well, yet it sold less than a quarter as many copies - at least in North America.
It would stand to reason that poor reviews probably impacted sales a great deal. Our resident Disney expert Chris Donlan wasn't so keen on it, only giving it a 4/10 in his Epic Mickey 2 review where he described it as, "a rather empty journey: a tour of a nicely-arranged fairground where none of the rides are actually worth queuing for." Ouch!
Hitman: Absolution has been held from the top spot in this week's UK all-formats chart. Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 continued its reign on top despite an 87 per cent drop in sales from last week.
For a period in the 1940s, Mickey Mouse was given ears that worked properly in perspective. It was a concession to shifts in animation styles and the increased fidelity that could be brought to contemporary cartoons, most probably, but it looked weird. It looked awkward, in fact, and it made Mickey look awkward, too. Barely a mouse in any meaningful sense by this stage, the studio's star was having trouble transitioning from the primitive, scribbled energy of the early short films into something a little more elaborate. He was a 2D doodle struggling to cope in an increasingly complex world.
Plenty of those sorts of growing pains were apparent in 2010's Epic Mickey. Comfortable in the lavish, pleasantly straightforward 16-bit classics from the 1990s, Disney's mascot was suddenly thrust into an intricate 3D landscape, and delivered into the hands of a design team who were encouraged to think big. He'd deal with morality, with all its choices and consequences! He'd wield a magical paintbrush that would allow him to create or destroy huge chunks of the environment using blasts of paint and thinner! He'd battle an enemy, in the shape of Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, who was a spurned Disney headline act yanked from the archives! He'd navigate an adventure that was as much about an unusually clear-eyed deconstruction of a historical license and an examination of the tattered human craft that goes into creating fantastical confections - and of the casualties that litter the path to success - as it was jumping, fighting, and collecting things!
It was a game with plenty of problems, but from the vantage point of Epic Mickey 2, it's hard to look back on with anything but wistful nostalgia. During previews, Junction Point's sequel often sold itself as a musical. Ultimately, however, the finished product's more of a tragedy. That's not to say it's a buggy wall-to-wall botch: it's certainly wonky and annoying to play at times, but its worst flaws are textural. Mickey's second Wasteland adventure is a tragedy because it's a missed opportunity. Two games in, and there's a great experience hidden somewhere inside Disney's jumbled series, but it refuses to emerge in full. Worse yet, this sequel sees Epic Mickey's strange promise slipping further away. The echoes of clever, imaginative fun grow distant, while the compromises - and the odd failure of design nerve - begin to really pile up.
Disney has confirmed Epic Mickey 2 as a Wii U launch title in the UK.
That means it releases alongside the Nintendo console on 30th November 2012.
Disney said the Wii U hardware had allowed it to "enhance player direction and provide our fans with an immersive as well as unique gaming experience".
Deus Ex and Epic Mickey maker Warren Spector has thrown down the gauntlet. He wants superstar programmers John Carmack and Tim Sweeney to stop fascinating on rendering believable objects and to start fascinating on creating believable minds, AI, and to start simulating life.
Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two's opening cutscene - shown below - has been released by publisher Disney.
It's fitting that Warren Spector makes games about Mickey Mouse, because he's one of the most animated individuals I've had the pleasure of interviewing. Midway through our chat he gets up and pantomimes a move from a cancelled game collaboration with Hard Boiled director John Woo.
Warren Spector has hailed Heavy Rain maker David Cage as no less than "a genius".
Last November, a film archivist in Hertfordshire found an old tin sitting on a shelf. The tin was labelled "Hungry Hobos", and a quick check on Google revealed that it contained a genuine piece of movie history. It was an Oswald the Lucky Rabbit cartoon - he was the precursor to Mickey Mouse - made by Walt Disney's animation company in 1928, and long thought lost forever.
A copy of the film travelled with Junction Point boss Warren Spector when he visited London last week to show off Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two, the unexpected sequel to the odd and rather troubled, Wii exclusive from 2010. Spector screened it for us before launching into his game presentation - I wish all press events worked like this - and it was astonishing stuff to watch.
When you think of Disney cartoons - I'm talking about the shorts, here, rather than the full-blown features - you may be picturing something that's lavish and beautiful, but rather tame and rather bloodless. Disney shorts tend not to be funny and violent the way that Warner Bros. cartoons are. They don't feel as subversive.
The Wii is the lead platform for Epic Mickey 2 - but that doesn't mean the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 version is an "up-rezzed" port, designer Warren Spector has insisted.
Veteran game designer Warren Spector has asked gamers to "take a chill pill" and relax about the musical Epic Mickey 2.
Epic Mickey 2 will launch on PC and Mac, developer Junction Point has confirmed.
The two versions of the game join Epic Mickey 2's expanding roster of launch platforms, which currently stands at six.
Epic Mickey launched exclusively on Wii. The sequel launches on Wii, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PC and Mac. A 3DS game, which works differently than the other versions, is also in the works.
Junction Point boss Warren Spector "desperately" wants to port the original Wii-exclusive Epic Mickey to PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 in advance of the sequel's impending multiplatform release.
The PlayStation 3 version of Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two supports PS Move, Disney has announced.
Co-op a load of that.
Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two is currently in development for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and Wii, producer Warren Spector has announced.