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Games Entertainment

Irrational No More 50

Posted by Zonk
from the not-even-on-the-demo dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Cory Banks at Gamers With Jobs has an interesting look at Irrational Games becoming '2K Boston'/'2K Australia' on the eve of the Bioshock release. It's not just about 2K and Irrational, publishers re-naming independents to generic studio names has obviously been going on for a long time. 'Rockstar Games is often credited with the Grand Theft Auto series, but the games were developed by Scottish developer DMA Designs, who were bought by Rockstar in 2002, shortly after GTA III came out, and quickly renamed Rockstar North to build up the brand recognition associated with the mega-blockbuster. Rockstar isn't even a development company at all, but a collection of development studios owned by Take-Two, sharing one brand name. The general public hardly knows the difference.'"
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Irrational No More

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  • Re:Too bad... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by I'll Provide The War (1045190) on Tuesday August 14, 2007 @05:03PM (#20230035)
    Freedom Force was very highly rated by the major sources. It is above Doom 3, Call of Duty 2 and Diablo II on Gamerankings.

  • Re:Sad but true... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Control Group (105494) * on Tuesday August 14, 2007 @05:27PM (#20230267) Homepage
    I don't think it's quite as bleak as all that. Yes, it takes larger and larger teams to produce the full-immersion virtual worlds of GTA, Elder Scrolls, or Gears of War. But that doesn't necessarily have to be as depressing as you make it out to be.

    For one thing, the full-on AAA title can still take its direction - its flavor, focus, feel, and maybe another word that starts with f or two - from one person. I think we can, as we so often do, look to the movie industry for the logical end point of this sequence. It takes a massive army of people to produce a modern movie. But that doesn't mean that you can't have individual people make names for themselves. Peter Jackson, Guy Ritchie, the Wachowskis, etc. all put their distinct stamp on a work. The key is to have someone making the top-level decisions who has a good vision to work towards.

    The other encouraging thing, of course, is that we aren't at a point yet where it's impossible to make a quality, even popular, by yourself or with a small group of people. Geometry Wars and Line Rider come quickly to mind as examples. The bar is higher than it used to be, of course: the hobbyist/garage developer is forced to compete solely on gameplay, since they have no hope of competing with iD's, Epic's, or Valve's latest engine (although the availability of a product like Torque makes even this statement not as damning as it could be).

    But I don't think we're at a terribly high risk of entering an era where individual names are lost to a sea of undifferentiated product. Your Mark Reins, CliffyBs, and Peter Molyneauxs are and will continue to be pivotal figures in the industry. I think we're going to continue to see such names come up.

    The only risk I see on the horizon, really, is if PC gaming eventually dies. Right now, there is no real publishing barrier to entry into the market. If your game really is good enough, all you need is a web site and a file host. Consoles, however, change that dynamic. Maybe Microsoft's nascent foray into user-produced games will eventually turn into a real option for hobbyists, but if it doesn't, there's still no way to break into the console games industry unless you're already established.

    Which is a shame, because there could be fantastic potential, there.
  • what? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by u8i9o0 (1057154) on Tuesday August 14, 2007 @05:35PM (#20230333)
    Take-Two bought DMA Designs in September 1999.
    Take-Two is the parent company of Rockstar Games.
    In 2002, all they did was rename DMA Designs to Rockstar Studios.
    (see: March 19, 2002 [take2games.com])

    The overall issue: companyA is now called companyB.
    From my experience, the biggest impact of a company name change is that a lot of stationary needs to be replaced.

    From the article:

    Even in a community as level-headed as this, the thread about the name change is ruthless, posters furious that Take-Two would claim any credit for the eventual success of BioShock and sully Irrational's good name with brand recognition bollocks.
    Maybe I'm crazy but perhaps they'll re-brand it because they pay for everything.
  • Re:DMA Lemmings (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 14, 2007 @10:37PM (#20232561)
    DMA, EA, 2K, Psygnosis are just like the studios that produces movies. They don't mean anything. Nobody cares whether Tristone or Miramax puts out a movie, and nobody cares whether Sony or DMA puts out a game.
  • Re:Sad but true... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Ren.Tamek (898017) on Wednesday August 15, 2007 @05:20AM (#20234217) Homepage
    Maybe Microsoft's nascent foray into user-produced games will eventually turn into a real option for hobbyists

    Actually, the puropse of Microsoft's XNA is both transparent and selfish, and has nothing to do with hobby games development. Xbox 360 games dev kits are sold to Universities at a cheap rate, along with Microsoft certified training on their 'XNA' system, which co-incidentally isn't very much like any other programming language used to make games that was ever created. Once a large enough pool of students have learned to exclusively use their system, they simply have to wait until a Microsoft-approved company comes along and skimms off the real talent, because no-one apart from Microsoft can progress them from what they've learned from XNA to real games development. Everyone else is buggered, which co-incidentally (or not) hampers other developers looking for graduate talent, because they haven't learned to dev with real software packages. They're just farming students for their company in a new and inventive way.

    Sony, the big bad guy this generation, provided PS2 dev kits *last generation* to universities in much the same way. Except they all ran linux, and students learned to developed games in C. All the pros of microsofts approach and none of the cons, with the additional benefit of hobbyists being able to buy all the hardware themselves (for about £100 here in the UK).

  • Corporate greed? (Score:0, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 15, 2007 @08:01AM (#20234789)
    I wonder if this move is related to the fact that Bioshock is crippled with an internet registration scheme that is required to unlock the game. Or that the game does not run under Windows 2000?

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