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Edit: cos there are various theories flying around below about my perceived intent in posting this, I shall clarify my own feelings. I would really like to see contracts between publishers and developers more commonly include an arrangement whereby key (and ideally, but rather less plausibly, all) creatives on game projects continue to see some post-release royalties, as is the case in some other entertainment and publishing industries. That so many old games are being (apparently profitably) rereleased lately highlights this disparity. That is all.>
There’s obviously a very good chance you already know this, but just in case: when a developer is bought out by a publisher, it’s usually the case that they then don’t see any ongoing royalties from the games they make for them, or indeed for any existing intellectual property that was swallowed up as part of the studio acquisition. It’s standard practice, knowingly agreed by both parties during the dark deal some studios made to ensure immediate financial viability and larger project budgets. But what it does mean is that a great many of the PC games we regularly celebrate around these parts are no longer bringing in any money for their creators, despite still being on sale. Whenever we excitedly see an old classic appear on Steam or GoG (such as Thief last week), chances are very high that whatever we pay for it goes purely to the publisher and the download service. And while it may well be right that these bodies profit from projects they funded and distribute, it’s sad that the men and women who toiled over that game’s creation won’t see another penny from it. (more…)
Warren Spector, the industry luminary responsible for overseeing the development of such beloved games as System Shock and Deus Ex, has been revealed as this year's recipient of the twelfth Game Developers Conference Association's Lifetime Achievement Award.
Spector, whose most recent work includes Epic Mickey--and who also cut his teeth on a number of games in the Wing Commander and Ultima series--joins the impressive company of previous honorees. Previous winners of the award include a host of other important industry visionaries like Will Wright (the first awarded), Peter Molyneux, John Carmack, Hideo Kojima, Sid Meier, and more. The award is meant to honor the achievements of those who've made an "indelible impact on the craft of game development and games as a whole."
The awards ceremony will take place on Wednesday, March 7 at 6:30 P.M., PST at the Moscone Center in San Francisco during the 2012 Game Developers Conference.
Virtual vendor of vintage video games Good Old Games has enlisted another big publisher in its missions to stop PC classics from vanishing into obscurity, announcing today that it's signed up Square Enix. The pair are starting slowly, though, with two games available almost everywhere under the Sun--Hitman: Codename 47 and Deus Ex
More Square Enix GOG re-releases are to be announced "in coming weeks." We'll most likely see more of the fruits it picked up through acquiring Eidos, such as the Thief, Tomb Raider, Legacy of Kain, and Championship Manager series. Let's not forget that Final Fantasy VII and VIII both hit PC too, back in the day.
Deus Ex sounds something of a lark, some manner of cyberpunk FPS-RPG going by GOG's description. Apparently it boasts "expansive environments, ambitious and non-linear storyline, varied gameplay, and great replayability," but it seems every game claims that, don't they? Still, for $9.99, it could be worth a try.
Then there's Hitman, where for $5.99 you can pretend to be a hitman. If you've missed IO's classic series, you're given a target then turned loose into open levels to take them out as you please, adopting disguises, causing distractions, going in guns blazing, sniping from afar, or even staging accidents. Fun stuff. A new one's coming out soon, y'know.
Both Deus Ex and Hitman have been on heaps of digital distribution platforms for years now, but if you've been holding out for the DRM-free GOG treatment, here you go.
Released in 2000 from developer Ion Storm, Deus Ex has become one of the essential titles to mention when discussing well-crafted stories in video games. If ever there was a list of required reading for RPG titles, Deus Ex would be battling for the top of the list. It's undoubtedly a classic and cult favorite among PC gamers around the world.
"The biggest success in Deus Ex was how it approached choice. This was from an era when player choice and branching paths were pretty daring in RPGs and entirely unheard of in shooters," Shacker BlackCat9 reminisced. "Perhaps because of the lack of precedent, the designers of Deus Ex ended up creating an environment where player choice didn't come directly out of making binary decisions, like picking the good or evil response from a dialogue tree or gaining karma points."
Choice continues to be a strong element in games today, offering players varying degrees of options to change the narrative structure, such as role-playing games like Mass Effect or action games like Grand Theft Auto IV.
"It was really nice seeing a game present options that weren't made obvious..." said Shacker Mecha Tofu Pirate. "It has depth that still hasn't been seen in most FPS since it came out."
For some, Deus Ex was simply a reminder of how grand PC gaming could be. "Deus Ex was the game that revived my love of PC gaming. I played it at my step father's house. He had it, but his machine could barely run it. It also kept crashing," Shacker flagg209 wrote. "I must have played it over and over again - because I still remember where everything is, and all the back doors to everything. It was a remarkable game."
In his MobyGames.com user review, Unicorn Lynx said: "It fully deserves the praise it has got and stands out as one of the most remarkable achievements of video game design."
Tell us your memories of Deus Ex in the comments below. To read additional thoughts about the game, read the Chatty thread created to support this feature.
Deus Ex on MobyGames.com
Description: Deus Ex is a dark cyberpunk game that combines gameplay styles of first-person shooter and RPG, with elements of stealth and puzzle-solving. The player assumes the role of JC Denton, UNATCO anti-terrorist agent. Pitted against an elaborate global conspiracy, he must interact with characters, pick up weapons and complete objectives. While DC is essentially fixed within the mission-framework of the game, he can be customized in areas such as weapons, technical skills and physical prowess. Completing objectives rewards the player with skill points, which may be distributed to increase JC's proficiencies in eleven different disciplines. The player can choose to increase the damage JC inflicts with various types of weapons, improve his lock-picking or computer hacking abilities, etc. Each such discipline has four levels of proficiency.
The Deus Ex franchise lives on with Deus Ex: Human Revolution, the first game from developer Eidos Montreal. For more on the latest game in the series, check out the Deus Ex: Human Revolution game page on Shacknews.
Moby Games Classic is our chance to look back at the games that helped shape the video game industry with the help of our sister site MobyGames.com. It combines a short history lesson on the title and anecdotes from the Shacknews community.