Rockstar’s parent company, Take Two Interactive, just cancelled a game that $53 million had already been dumped into. They revealed this information in an earnings call earlier today. This isn’t the first time we have seen a big project like this cancelled, but $53 million is a lot of money any way you slice it.
The game was in development from studio Hangar 13 who developed Mafia 3. The project had the working title ‘Volt’ and was a third person action game that featured super heroes. So it probably was not the Bully 2 or Mafia 4 that people were speculating.
When you are dealing with massive AAA titles, $53 million is not nearly as much as the full budget would’ve been with some titles costing over $400 million. It sounds like this project had experienced a number of problems and adding the pandemic on top of that it had left it a bloated mess. This probably caused Take Two to just view it as a sunk cost, not worth continuing to invest in.
Low poly graphics are graphics that have a low polygon count. These are graphics that are reminiscent of the N64/PS1 generation. Whenever I say that I genuinely like the look of low poly graphics, people immediately accuse me of just being a victim of nostalgia. I guess enjoying a game that you played years ago and then picking it up and enjoying it again means that you are blinded by nostalgia goggles.
Yeah, I’ll admit that having good memories of playing a game can make a game seem better. It can be fun to try to recreate those memories that you previously captured. However, I’m not really talking about a specific game. I’m talking about the graphics style in general. I love the simplicity of the low polygon count character models and textures.
In the current year, there are tons of games with mind blowing graphics. Now it is reasonable to make a game that has super realistic visuals. Red Dead Redemption 2 is a game that visually blew my mind when it came out. We are getting to the point where photo-realistic graphics are probably not far off.
With that said, one of the things that I love about games on the N64 is that photo-realistic games were not a possibility. These limitations on the developer made them get really creative with how games looked. I love the colorful and surreal worlds that these games take place in. Of course, in the modern day there are games that don’t look like the real world, but this was a necessity for almost every game in previous generations.
I absolutely love the art style and direction of games like Super Mario 64, Rayman 2, and the N64 Zelda games. As much as I love games with realistic graphics, I also like to sit down and suspend reality when I play a game. I want to step into the cartoony worlds.
When developers had to get creative with the art style in games, a lot of the time they had to reuse a lot of in game textures and models and it the end it saved a lot of time in the development process. I like when developers spend more time focused on the mechanics of the game and how to actually make it fun instead of spending so much time on making realistic looking games.
I think its important for game to have a focused direction for the art style of the game, but I think the gameplay is far more important than the graphics being perfect. I have played a lot of big triple-A titles that looked beautiful, but just aren’t that fun. I have also played a lot of indie games that didn’t look like anything special, but were really fun.
Modern Low Poly Games
There has been a big resurgence in games that use 16-bit graphics. Among indie developers, retro style platformers have been really popular over the last few years. I am hoping that the next step is for late-90s/early-2000s low poly graphics to come back. There is already a few examples of this.
Here are some modern games that make great use of this graphical style:
From the same developer as Macbat 64, here is Toree 3D:
Here is an N64 inspired horror game called Earl’s Day Off:
I recommend downloading and checking out all three of these games. They are all really fun and really different experiences. We need to give indie developers our support so that we can see more games like this in the future.
The GTA Trilogy: Definitive Edition was recently announced by Rockstar. Today we finally got a release date. The remastered trilogy will come to all major platforms for digital download on November 11. A physical release will be headed to Playstation, Switch, and Xbox on December 7th.
What we know so far is that these games will have certain quality of life improvements. There will be some improvements to textures, models, and overall resolution. We are finally able to see these visual improvements in the trailer that Rockstar shared this morning.
Rockstar has said that the games will control like GTA 5. That alone will be a massive improvement. On top of that, the aiming and lock on system will be improved. The Radio station selection system will also resemble the wheel that is used in GTA 5.
The Switch will have some exclusive controls with the addition of gyro aiming and touch screen camera controls. I’m sure if you don’t like the gyro controls, this is something that can be toggled off in settings.
We still haven’t heard anything about the radio stations and if any songs were removed or added. I speculated about this in a former article:
Bethesda Game Studios just released a new video that provides some more details about their upcoming Action- RPG set in space, Starfield. This game is set to release late in 2022 as a Microsoft exclusive.
In this video, Bethesda Design Director Emil Pagliarulo explains The Settled Systems which is an area of our solar system in the year 2330. He goes on to explain that 20 years before the start of the game the 2 largest factions in the settled systems (The United Colonies and The Freestar Collective) engaged in a war.
By 2330, the settled systems “enjoy an uneasy peace”, but there are still lots of threats and dangers to the player. He goes on to show some concept art of different types of characters and enemies.
You may encounter these mysterious strangers as you explore the starfield as part of the organization Constellation, whose goal it is to uncover the mysteries of the galaxy.
The beloved franchise “God of War” has long time been a Playstation exclusive. Now the 2018 award winner is being ported to PC. The Steam page is already live where preorders are being accepted. The game will be available to play on January 14, 2022.
Before God of War it was Death Stranding and Horizon Zero Dawn that made their way to PC. On one hand, it is great that more players can experience these games. On the other hand, one of the big arguments for getting a Playstation over Xbox is that there are great exclusives. With these exclusives moving to PC, will Playstation lose potential customers?
God of War (2018) will have ultra-wide support and we can expect better visuals from the game on PC.
I am excited to see what craziness the modding community will stir up!
Rockstar recently announced the release of Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy – The Definitive Edition. This was sure to make fans of the franchise really excited. This month marks 20 years since the release of Grand Theft Auto III so this is a great way for Rockstar to celebrate the anniversary and reintroduce these great games to us.
To this day, I periodically will pick up GTA: Vice City and play through it. Some of the gameplay mechanics are dated, but is still a really enjoyable experience fueled by the awesome atmosphere of neon saturated Miami nights.
The Definitive Edition is sure to contain quality-of-life improvements and hopefully modernize the controls. This will be a welcome change and will make these games even more approachable for a modern audience.
The difficult thing about remastering old games, apart from the technical work required, is dealing with the licenses that the company originally paid for. I think I’m not alone when I say that one of my favorite parts of Vice City is THE MUSIC. The music in this game adds so much to the 80s atmosphere.
This is purely speculative, but I would venture a guess that the licenses that Rockstar originally purchased have expired by now. This means they would have to buy the rights to use these songs again. I’m not sure if that makes financial sense to repurchase these licenses just for a rerelease of older games.
I hope I am wrong. I am excited for the Definitive Edition release and will definitely pick it up. But I would love to hear that same old soundtrack.