Simon Roth is best known as the newest recruit to Frozen Synapse creators Mode 7, but he’s also one of the most veteran developers in the entire history of the world, if my research is correct. And he’s moonlighting on a side-project all of his own, the Bullfrog/early Maxis-inspired sci-fi management game Maia. This isn’t a matter of keeping colonists happy with space ice cream and zero-grav toilets – we’re promised the likes of ‘up to 2KM X 2KM X 2KM of procedural world’, water and lava simulation, defensive structures to fend off hostile wildlife, bipolar robots and a first-person mode.
Oh, dare I dream ‘sci-fi Dungeon Keeper’? (more…)
The indie darlings of yesteryear are back with a vengeance. I mean, with titles like Wrath of the Lamb and Red, what else could they possibly be out for? A pleasant stroll? A picnic? No, this is a declaration of war – or at least “Hey, we still exist. Notice us>.” And I have! So everything worked out. Thank goodness. And wow, Frozen Synapse: Red, I must note in my trademark eloquent and considered fashion, contains a lot of stuff>. Foremost, the entire single-player campaign’s been retrofitted to include co-op, and there’s now another 15-mission campaign to top it off. You’re also looking at challenge missions, mutators, deployable cover, riot shields, and a new multiplayer mode. But most importantly, levels can be red now. Yes, that’s right: Mode 7 has included a new color>. Take that, Unreal Engine 4.
In response to the fan outcry over the disappointing ending to Mass Effect 3, indie developer Mode 7 has changed the ending for strategy game Frozen Synapse to conform to community suggestions. Now it has a pony in it. And a dinosaur. And a message.
"This is the ending to a computer game," declares Frozen Synapse's new ending cut scene. "We don't care if you like it."
The new sequence was created in reaction to the overwhelming negative response developer BioWare has been met with since the release of Mass Effect 3, the final chapter in the saga of Commander Shepard versus the giant metal space squids. Distraught fans unhappy with the way the game's creators decided to conclude the story they were writing have made so much noise that BioWare co-founder Dr. Ray Muzyka addressed the issue personally, informing the community that the Mass Effect team was working on "game content initiatives that will help answer the questions, providing more clarity for those seeking further closure to their journey.
While this appears to be a win for Mass Effect fans, the issue continues to be hotly debated in the gaming community at large. Some argue that demanding a story be changed to better satisfy players' concept of what an ending should be is a blow against artistic vision and integrity. Others see this as an evolutionary stepping stone for video games, leading to a future where players don't just interact with the environments and enemies but with the story itself.
"We can't expect the outcome of our stories to conform to our own preconceptions" continues Frozen Synapse's new ending. While this new ending will only be around for a week or so its message and the accompanying explanation from of Mode 7's Paul Taylor should resonate for quite some time.
"This is not a criticism of Bioware or anything they have said / done. It is an experiment: I wanted to know how this felt. Honestly, it felt like vandalising my own work, which was interesting."
All the important games are changing their endings these days, you know. If you want a high profile, that’s the way to go – and as Mass Effect 3 teaches us, preferably after initially concluding your narrative with a last-minute bodgejob riddled with continuity errors, then subsequently bowing to fan ouctry. Frozen Synapse developers Mode 7 Games did no such thing, but have sensibly realised that the route to true success entails screwing around with their creative vision willy-nilly to suit whatever their community demands, and as such a new, happier (and far sillier) ending to their splendid turn-based strategy game will go live later today.
“I don’t mean this to be critical of Bioware even slightly,” Mode 7′s Paul Taylor tells me. “It’s just an experiment. I was so bowled over and fascinated just by the fact that such a change would even be considered, so I thought I’d see how it felt to do it.” (more…)