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Creator of D and Enemy Zero passes away

Kenji Eno dies at the age of 42
Feb 21
// Audun Sorlie
In the midst of all the PS4 announcements and excitement, there was a bit of sad news to come out of Japan to put a damper on the hearts of longtime gamers. Kenji Eno, the eccentric and highly unusual game director and musici...

Vigil Games' lead combat designer says his goodbyes

Jan 23 // Tony Ponce
My name is Ben Cureton, and I was the Lead Combat Designer at Vigil Games. I'm sitting at my desk among... what appears to be a warzone. The walls look bare. It's quiet. The seats are empty. We've all been on edge for the past couple months... and more so, the last couple weeks. I mean, I'm sure you can imagine what it's like to wonder if you will have a job tomorrow. Most of us here joked about it just to keep the mood light, but we all knew what could happen. Now I look around and I realize... it did happen. Am I sad? Well yea. I've been in this industry for 20 years. Seriously. Two decades. I've been laid off more than once. It sucks every time. But am I sad I don't have a job? Not really... I'm sure I'll get another one eventually. I'm sad because it won't be THIS job. It won't be at Vigil. That's why I'm sad. The people I waged war with are no longer together. The people that I bled with, vented with, argued with (often times LOUDLY), and kicked back with... these people will never be together again in the same combination. Not that it was perfect. But what is perfect? Did I like coming to work? Yes. Was I proud of the work that I did? Yes. More importantly, was I proud of the work that WE did? Absolutely. I knew, without a shadow of the doubt, that the project we were working on (Codenamed: Crawler) was going to blow people away. In fact, it DID blow people away. We did, in TWO months, what many companies haven't done in a year. The pride of knowing that no one was doing anything like us was so satisfying, it kept us coming to work and giving 100% every single day, even through the dark times. ... so maybe you can imagine what it feels like when you read the list of who bought what only to discover your name is not on the list. Why? Did we do something wrong? Were we not good enough? Were we not worth 'anything?' Imagine that. Vigil was filled with people that I would put up against the best in the industry. People that made my work better, people that made me a better designer, and people that made me a better person. And now they are gone. Their seats are empty. It's OK, though. I guess this post makes it sound a bit melodramatic. Seriously... if you work in the video game industry you have to be resilient. Doing what you love often comes with a price - anyone who has been around for a while can tell you that. Today, that price has been paid. That being said, I'd still never dissuade anyone from following their dreams if their dream is to make video games. While it's not as romantic as it sounds, it's sure a hell of a lot of fun. So don't cry for the people at Vigil. We made games for game players. I have no Horror stories from working here... only Honor stories. Through both praise and critiques alike, our goal was always to make a product as if we, ourselves, were the end-user. We may have gotten pushed and pulled in certain directions by forces out of our control, we were always in it to make games for game players. And that's what we did. I can only hope that those spared from the other companies remain employed long into the future. There is not much worse than false hope, and these people deserve to continue making great games. You may not know their names, but they exist, and they bleed, sweat, and cry for your entertainment. I mean that honestly, with no negativity. They do it... no, WE do it... because we want you to have a good time. In closing, I can only say thank you to the fans of Vigil games. Your support means more than you can imagine. Your feedback (both positive and negative) gave us long-lasting insight that we will all take with us, wherever we may go. You are the reason we made Darksiders 1 &2... and you are the reason we will continue to make games. And with that... my seat is empty. Ben CuretonLead Combat DesignerVigil Games P.S. This is no place for a horse.
Farewell from Vigil photo
Posted farewell letter on NeoGAF
THQ has cleared its plate and sold off all its assets... well... not all of them. For some reason, not one company placed a bid for Darksiders developer Vigil Games, dooming the young studio. Vigil's lead combat designer Ben ...

THQ is done, all assets sold off

Jan 23 // Tony Ponce
To All THQ Employees: We now have the answers we've been seeking through our financial restructuring and Chapter 11 case. While much will be written, here are the facts of the bids and auction that occurred: Yesterday morning, we received a competing bid for the operating business, along with Clearlake's offer, and numerous offers for separate assets. During an auction process that lasted over 22 hours, the final conclusion was that the separate-asset bids would net more than a single buyer for the majority of the company. Shortly, we will, present the results to the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, which must concur with our assessment. The proposed sales of multiple assets is as follows: Sega agreed to purchase Relic Koch Media agreed to purchase Volition and Metro Crytek agreed to purchase Homefront Take 2 agreed purchase Evolve and Ubisoft agreed to purchase Montreal and South Park We expect these sales to close this week. Some assets, including our publishing businesses and Vigil, along with some other intellectual properties are not included in the sale agreements. They will remain part of the Chapter 11 case. We will make every effort to find appropriate buyers, if possible. What this means for employees We expect that most employees of the entities included in the sale will be offered employment by the new owners. However, we cannot say what these owners may intend, and there will likely be some positions that will not be needed under the new ownership. You should receive notice this week or early next week if the new owners intend to extend employment to you. Please note that the terms of your new employment, including pay and benefits, may be different from the current terms of your employment with THQ. If you are an employee of an entity that is not included in the sale, we regret that your position will end. A small number of our headquarters staff will continue to be employed by THQ beyond January 25 to assist with the transition. THQ has sufficient resources to pay these employees for work going forward, and we will be contacting these employees immediately to ensure their continued employment during this transition period. We are requesting the ability to offer certain severance pay to minimize disruption for employees of non-included entities as they determine the next steps in their careers. We know you will have many questions about this news. We'll be meeting tomorrow when we return to talk through this announcement and to answer any questions you have. You will receive a benefits fact sheet and FAQs with answers to some questions that may be on your mind. Please review these materials closely. A personal note The work that you all have done as part of the THQ family is imaginative, creative, artistic and highly valued by our loyal gamers. We are proud of what we have accomplished despite today's outcome. It has been our privilege to work alongside the entire THQ team. While the company will cease to exist, we are heartened that the majority of our studios and games will continue under new ownership. We were hoping that the entire company would remain intact, but we expect to hear good news from each of the separate entities that will be operating as part of new organizations. For those THQ employees who are part of entities that are not included in the sale, we are confident that the talent you have displayed as part of THQ will be recognized as you take the next steps in your career. Thank you all for your dedication and for sharing your talent with the THQ team. We wish you the best of luck and hope you will keep in touch. Sincerely, Brian Farrell Chief Executive Officer Jason Rubin President
THQ is done photo
THQ's CEO and president send off final letter to employees
[Update 2: Certain licenses that weren't sold off may find new digs elsewhere. The WWE series, for instance, could find its way into Take-Two's pockets.] [Update: Vigil Games' lead combat designer, Ben Cureton, decided to wri...

Monster Hunter photo
Monster Hunter

Pour one out: Monster Hunter Tri servers nixed in April

Goodnight, sweet prince
Jan 18
// Chris Carter
"Out with the old, in with the new," as they say. Capcom is getting ready to launch Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate, and in return, they're shutting down the servers for the Wii's Monster Hunter Tri on April 30th. You'll have six w...
PlayStation 2 photo
End of an era!
Last week we found out that PlayStation 2s had stopped shipping in Japan. Sony has now officially announced that PlayStation 2 production has stopped worldwide, according to The Guardian. Yes, it's truly an end of an era. Har...

PS2 discontinued photo
PS2 discontinued

End of an Era: PS2 stops shipping in Japan

You'll be missed
Dec 28
// Dale North
Sony has ceased shipping of the PlayStation 2 console in Japan this week, bringing an end a 13-year lifespan. Whatever is out there on shelves is what's left. That's it. According to Famitsu, more than 150 mill...

Remembering studios that closed in 2012

Dec 22 // Sterling Aiayla Lyons
Hudson Soft Founded on May 18, 1973, Hudson Soft has been a force in this industry for so long that it seemed as if it would always be around. By 2003, the company had over 500 employees, with studios in both Tokyo and California. Throughout its history, Hudson designed a vast amount games and characters, including the iconic Bomberman, as well as less-iconic-but-still-identifiable Bonk. This story was one that was drawn out, as last year saw the closure of the offices in California. The final nail would come this year, when even the Tokyo offices would also be shut down. It’s something that is definitely heartbreaking for many a fan of the company's works, as well as people who loved the classic bee logo -- doubly for people in both categories like me. With the closure came the announcement that Konami would be absorbing what was left of Hudson, and retiring the name. So while the cute bee might be put out on the rocker on the front porch, hopefully the properties that bee ran won’t be neglected in the future. THQ & THQ San Diego Yesterday we reported that THQ had filed for bankruptcy. The company may not intend to reduce its workforce size during this period, but it's not a very optimistic situation. In March, the company reported a net loss of $239.9 million for the end of the fiscal year, which was over $100 million greater than the previous year's loss. Shortly after, THQ publicly made a deal with Electronic Arts to sell off its license to the UFC franchise. This directly lead to the closure of the THQ studio located in San Diego, the team behind the UFC games. This is one of those times that just goes to show you how fragile some things are in the industry. One deal sealed the fate of a whole studio, and all the workers there. While this might not be the end for THQ yet, the company's long-term survival is by no means guaranteed. I don't usually root for a publisher, but my heart is out for this one, if only for Saints Row 4. Black Hole Entertainment Black Hole Entertainment might be known for a few different games. It developed a couple of Warhammer games: Mark of Chaos and Black March. The company's most notable recent achievement would be Heroes of Might and Magic 6, which can be claimed as the reason for its downfall. Shortly after filing for bankruptcy, an insider from the company came out with claims that Ubisoft, the publisher they worked with, was at fault. The claims laid down include a lack of accountability from Ubisoft for missed deadlines, consistently sudden changes and feature removal demands by Ubisoft, and Ubisoft restructuring the key development team numerous times. Supposedly, the penalties from the missed deadlines, as well as the losses from money spent on features taken out of the game after completed made it so that an unreasonable 200 million copies needed to be sold before Black Hole would see any profit. Whether these claims are true is unknown, but the fact that the company went bankrupt still remains. Radical Entertainment Radical Entertainment is mainly known for the recent series Prototype, but it has been around since 1991, getting passed between multiple publishing companies through its history. There were layoffs, and many claimed that these layoffs lead to the crash of the Vancouver game design market. It was the oldest studio located in Vancouver, after all. This story happens to have a silver lining, as it appears that the company is still partially intact, functioning as a support studio for Activision Blizzard. Rockstar Vancouver/Barking Dog Rockstar's Vancouver studio is known for Bully and the recently released Max Payne 3. Shortly after the release of Max Payne 3, it was announced that Rockstar would be dissolving the studio to refocus its efforts in Canada on its Toronto-based studio. This story does not bring the saddest news of closure though, unless you're someone complaining about the decline of the Vancouver market. All 35 of the Vancouver employees were offered positions within the Toronto studio. With the additional claim of more positions being created afterwards, hopefully this leads to big new projects coming from those folks. Sony Liverpool/Psygnosis Sony Liverpool, perhaps better known as Psygnosis, is the studio behind the WipEout series. At the start of the year, Sony Worldwide Studios came out with an announcement that they would be restructuring the Liverpool studio. Many of the projects they were working on were halted as a result. It wouldn't be until August when the announcement finally came about the studio's closing. The studio employed roughly 100 people across two development teams. The studio was reportedly working on two projects at the time, each for the next-generation Sony console. While the facility at Liverpool remains functional, it is only to house other Sony Computer Entertainment Europe departments. The status of the two projects, one being a new WipEout, is unknown. BigBig Studios BigBig Studios, I feel, is mainly known for Pursuit Force, one of the better launch games for the PlayStation Portable. The studio was formed from a core team of four former Codemasters employees. Sony acquired the studio in 2007, and assigned them to work exclusively on games for the portable system. That might have been the major component in the downfall of the studio, due to the generally dismal life of the portable device itself. The last game they made would be the recent Vita game, Little Deviants which released to less-than-stellar reviews. The studio would be shut down at the beginning of the year as part of restructuring of Sony's European studios. Zipper Interactive Zipper interactive started out making computer games before it became tied to the franchise that would rule the company for the most of its life span, SOCOM. In 2006, the studio was acquired by Sony Computer Entertainment and would go on to make games exclusively for the PlayStation brand.  Not to let SCE Europe have all the fun restructuring studios, SCE Worldwide Studios announced in March that Zipper Interactive would be shut down. The reason given was that it was part of a normal cycle of resource re-alignment within Sony. The studio had roughly 80 employees at the time of closure. Its recent games, SOCOM 4, MAG, and Unit 13 are still going to be supported, according to Sony. Paragon Studios NCSoft is one of the few companies that almost exclusively deals in MMOs. Of course, most of that is acquiring studios that make those kind of games and just putting the monetary system on top of that. There are two things that usually happen. Either the game becomes too bloated to sustain from a financial standpoint, or the people calling the shots shift their focus to something "new." Such is the case with City of Heroes, which was finally shut down this year, much to the outrage and disappointment of its players. The really sad part comes with the liquidation of Paragon Studios, the developers behind the game. As of now, I don’t exactly know what happened to the folks who worked there, whether they were reassigned, or just let go entirely. At the very least, I hope that they are all still out there making games. 38 Studios and Big Huge Games 38 Studios started in 2006, originally named "Green Monster Games." Founded by Baseball star Curt Schilling with a dream to make his own MMO, he seemed to start out the right way, hiring talent that had great experience in the game world. In addition to writer R.A. Salvatore and artist Todd McFarlane, former general manager of games at Comcast Jennifer Maclean, former lead engineer at EA Jon Laff, and a former lead designer of EverQuest Travis McGeathy were in the employ of the studio. To further bolster the prestigious talent base of the company, 38 games acquired studio Big Huge Games, of Rise of Nations fame. The single-player RPG that BHG was working on at the time would be turned into a tie-in to Schilling's MMO. It all looked like it was going the right way, and in 2010, the studio received a $75 million dollar guaranteed loan from the state of Rhode Island to relocate their business to the state, in the hopes of creating new jobs. In February of this year, that RPG would see release in the form of Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, which received favorable reviews. A missed loan payment just a few months later, and very shortly after, the entire 379 person workforce was laid off, with 38 Studios entering bankruptcy. Schilling and his studio has come under investigation since then for criminal charges, though at the time of writing, no federal charges have been filed against him. A state-level investigation is still underway. As for the folks under Big Huge Games, they're still happily together as Epic Baltimore.
Studio Closures in 2012 photo
Taking a sec to pay respects
This year was great in general for videogames. Beyond the predictable success of games like Halo 4 and Call of Duty: Black Ops II, there were a ton of hits that came out of nowhere, including not just big publisher titles, bu...

GamesMaster photo

The GamesMaster sadly passed away

Sir Patrick Moore dead at age 89
Dec 09
// Audun Sorlie
For those growing up in Europe and old enough to remember, GamesMaster was an absolutely awesome show with cheesy screen effects and crazy kids being dealt gaming challenges in order to get their hands on the coveted golden j...

Nintendo Power's last hurrah leaves me in tears

Dec 08 // Tony Ponce
You already know about the magazine's cover, which pays tribute to the cover of the very first issue. Perhaps even cooler than that is the included poster, which features a spread of every single issue plus variant covers stretching all the way back to 1988, bringing the total count to 300. I can even see the issue that started it all for me: October 1991, with Star Trek on the front. I was a devoted subscriber until early in the GameCube years, when I foolishly dropped it for the more "mature" Game Informer. I even tossed my entire back catalog in the trash because I was running out of room in my closet! I was soooo stupid. I wish I could go back in time 10 years and punch my high school self in the nuts. The mag is split up into four massive sections: NP's top Nintendo games ever, a recap of all 24 years of NP history, farewells from current and past NP editors, and a review blowout for most of the Wii U launch library. And this time around, the letters to the editors don't only include messages from readers but also from industry faces like WayForward's Matt Bozon and Sean Velasco, DreamRift's Peter Ong, and Game|Life's Chris Kohler, among others. The top 285 games -- one for every issue of the magazine's run -- definitely has some odd placements, especially on the lower rungs. I'm slightly disappointed that the Game Boy got as little representation as it did, but just about all the games you'd expect to make the cut have. These are just the editors' opinions, after all, and it's not like you'll be able to write in your objections. The biggest draw, of course, is the year-by-year retrospective of Nintendo Power. Seeing the scans from those decades-old issues and reading about all the promotions running at the time really sent me back to my childhood. They even highlight one of my favorite moments: a 1995 contest in which the winner would get to be an extra on the set of The Mask II! Whoever won that contest got royally fucked over! Ha! Simply seeing the magazine's progression in an abridged format gives you a true sense of how much effort was put in tailoring Nintendo Power to the fans. From free games for subscribers in the form of Dragon Warrior and The Legend of Zelda: Collector's Edition to full-on monthly comics for Mario, Zelda, Metroid, Star Fox, and more, it was just an avalanche of goodness. Editors from throughout NP's life chime in with their favorite moments and also a couple of their more shameful ones. For instance, I'm glad that Scott Pelland, managing editor from 1988 to 2008, was able to admit that no one on staff was happy to promote the Virtual Boy but were obligated to anyway. And Steve Thomason, editor-in-chief from 2003 to 2012, asks forgiveness for giving Shadow the Hedgehog an 8.0. It's cool, Steve. Nobody's perfect. If there was one thing about this issue I wasn't too pleased by, it was the third-party advertisements. One of the things I admired about Nintendo Power back in the early days was that, unlike competing mags, it was relatively ad-free, and the few ads that were there were for Nintendo's own hardware and software. It wasn't until this past decade that NP started welcoming outside ads. I had hoped that for this big sendoff, the mag would have eschewed any and all ads. I mean, seriously, what's the worst that could have happened? The companies pull support and refuse to print anything in Nintendo Power ever again? Pssssh! The magazine closes with one last surprise: a two-page comic starring Nester and his son Maxwell. Nester was just a spunky kid when he first graced NP alongside "Gamemaster" Howard Phillips. After Nester's Adventures completed its run, he would return sporadically for high-profile events, such as the mag's100th issue. We saw him grow up, go to college, and start a family, but throughout it all, he's still a kid at heart and able to pass that gaming spirit on to his progeny. It was a fun ride, Nintendo Power. You did alright.
Bye bye, Nintendo Power photo
The final issue hits all the right notes
Last night, I noticed that the final issue of Nintendo Power was in stock at Barnes & Noble. Naturally, I bought two copies: one to peruse and one to leave in the shrink wrap FOR. EV. ER. If you've ever been an NP reader ...


Rockman Xover has at least 100,000 users

I'm not sure if I should be sad, or what
Dec 06
// Chris Carter
Remember when Capcom got us all excited for Mega Man's anniversary this year, and then basically took a dump on us with Rockman Xover? Well apparently after reaching the top three listing on iTunes the week of release, The Me...

The final Nintendo Power cover is perfect

Simply... perfect...
Nov 30
// Tony Ponce
On the left is Nintendo Power #1. On the right is the final issue, #285. Wow. Bravo. We were hoping to wait until the mag hit newsstands on December 11, but since this photo of its cover has been making the rounds all day, we...

Aww: Wii U Nintendo TVii service pushed back to December

Sneaky Nintendo
Nov 16
// Dale North
[Update: At least the Netflix app will be ready in time for launch, it just won't be a part of TVii.] A massive press release this morning from Nintendo detailed this weekend's Wii U launch and ran down all of the system's fe...

Goodbye, Destructoid

Nov 10
// Chad Concelmo
As some of you may or may not have heard, this is officially my last day with Destructoid. Man ... I can barely type that without getting upset. I am starting a new job next week at GolinHarris as a writer for Nintendo. It is...
Future US puts another game mag out to pasture
Damn, son. Future US is on the warpath as of late. It wasn't enough for the publishing house to pull the plug on Nintendo Power; now its sights are set on PlayStation: The Official Magazine (not to be confused with PlayStatio...


This Zelda fan film is sad but amazing

I'd buy this girl a Wii U
Oct 22
// Dale North
Kennedy Baruch, the creator of the above Zelda fan film, shared with us their award-winning work after profusely complimenting our site. That always works with me.  But this short is really great. Sad, but great. It fol...

Nintendo Power sends out farewell letters to subscribers

Sep 26
// Tony Ponce
It's still hard to believe that, after 24 years, Nintendo Power is about to be laid to rest. Even while current and former fans mourn, there are some who are oblivious to the magazine's fate. To bring those folks up to speed,...

Death of EVE player in Libya attack honored by fleet

Sep 15
// Joshua Derocher
On Tuesday, an American consulate in Libya was attacked by an extremist mob. During this attack, Sean Smith was killed. In addition to being a foreign service information management officer, he was also one of the pillar...

Who knew Space Invaders could be so deep and emotional

Aug 21
// Tony Ponce
Above is merely the first two frames of a massively vertical comic chronicling the life a green Space Invader. Created by Ehud Lavski for Dorkly, it ought to make you think about your actions towards gaming's standard cannon ...

These are the saddest photos you'll see all week

Aug 17
// Tony Ponce
In the Shunqing District of Nanchong City, China, the police have confiscated around 1000 gambling machines and set them ablaze. I understand the need to crack down on illegal gambling, but couldn't the machines have been rep...

Paul Steed of Wing Commander and Quake has died

Aug 11
// Allistair Pinsof
Game industry veteran Paul Steed, whose work spans from bringing Wing Commander into 3D to helping launch the original Xbox, was announced dead this morning by Jace Hall Show's blog. The cause of death hasn't been shared at t...

Randy Solem of Video Game DC fame passed away in March

Aug 07
// Tony Ponce
It's always disheartening to learn that one of your cherished icons has passed on, but it's even more disheartening to discover their death months after the fact. Randy Solem, creator of Video Game Director's Cuts and the "Ri...

Plug pulled on Renegade Kid's game pitch contest

Jul 23
// Tony Ponce
[Header by spizzyfizz] Well, damn. Back in March, I shared news that Mutant Mudds dev Renegade Kid and contest organizer GAMEscribe LLC were holding the pitchWinPLAY competition, in which anyone could submit ideas for an orig...

New Onimusha announced ... for browsers and phones

Mar 09
// Jim Sterling
What's that? A new Onimusha game is being made? All our dreams have come true? It's for ... oh ... it's a browser-based strategy RPG.  Well now I just kind of want to cut myself.  Onimusha Soul is set in the Sengoku...

Live show: Mash Tactics' farewell to Jon Carnage stream

Jan 28
// Bill Zoeker
[Header created by community member and Dtoid Twitch channel moderator Gigabyte Bandito] Today at 12p.m. Pacific, there will be a very special edition of Mash Tactics. This will be Jon Carnage's last planned appearance on Des...

Live show: Mash Tactics is losing its king, will live on

Jan 26
// Bill Zoeker
[Video created by Chill Bro community member Audie] Today on Mash Tactics, Carnage and Wesley are playing Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker from the MGS: HD Collection, but there is more important news to share. On Tuesday's ep...

[Illustration by Ashley Davis] Just before the blackout, we learned that the last remains of Hudson are to be absorbed by Konami on March 1. While nothing has changed in that regard, Hudson saw fit to issue a statement clarif...


[Illustration by Ashley Davis] This is the end, my friends. After the heart-breaking closure of Hudson Soft's North American division last year, tears were shed, but there was still hope that the properties that put the compa...


The best Christmas-themed videogame level EVER!

Dec 25
// Chad Concelmo
Merry Christmas, everyone! In celebration of this special holiday, I present to you a video of the best Christmas-themed level in videogame history: "A Christmas Gift" from Elite Beat Agents for the Nintendo DS. Just watch t...

Left 4 Dead: Impulse 76 fan film f*cked up a good thing

Dec 19
// Tony Ponce
I am bummed, you guys. Seriously bummed. Remember the trailer for that Left 4 Dead fan film from a couple weeks back? Looked good, didn't it? Well, shame on me for having any expectations. The full film, entitled Impulse 76,...

Warner Bros.' Seattle studio gives the gift of pink slips

Nov 05
// Victoria Medina
The ugly trend of development studios letting staff go continues today with word of Warner Brothers' Seattle Studio having to cut staff across  a number of development teams. While no specific studios were named, the Sea...

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