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10 Awesome Books for Video Game Enthusiasts

No doubt that it's rather challenging to create a video game that will be warmly accepted by the players and receive a warm spot in the charts of the bestsellers. The book Gamers at Work reveals the challenges, entertaining life stories and lessons learned by the game developers and publishers who once entered the industry rivalry. 18 industry leaders from EA, Atari, Bethesda, Naughty Dog, Insomniac Games, and other studios will tell you their strategy and management tips: how they play the odds, seize opportunities, make necessary sacrifices, and finally transform small startups into great businesses. And who knows — maybe it will help you to push your own project forward and gain success?

Read the full list at 80 Level ›

This forgotten video game helped pave the way for Madden NFL

"While we did not end up completing the game for legal reasons, the work we did under contract with EA, using Gridiron's underlying engine and game-system technology, heavily influenced the early Madden series and paved the way for what it is today," Christopher Weaver, the Bethesda Softworks founder, explained in Gamers at Work: Stories Behind the Games People Play."

Read the full article at The Washington Post ›

A Conversation with Funcom's Gaute Godager

Gaute Godager cofounded Funcom in 1993 with four others: Erik Gloersen, Andre Backen, Ian Neil, and Olav Mørkrid. Funcom was never the most successful publisher of massively multiplayer online (MMO) games, but at 22 years old, Funcom is one of the oldest.

Funcom is now best known for MMOs, but the company once developed single-player games, such as: A Dinosaur's Tale, based on the 1993 animation directed by Steven Spielberg; Disney's Pocahontas, based on the 1995 box office hit; and The Longest Journey, the acclaimed 1999 point-and-click adventure.

The release of The Longest Journey commemorates the year that Funcom refocused almost exclusively on developing and publishing for the PC, after a tumultuous history with console games. In 2001, the company unveiled Anarchy Online, an early digitally distributed entrant in the MMO market, with Age of Conan following in 2008 and The Secret World in 2012.

After 15 years, Godager, the last Funcom founder standing, retired from the company and perhaps video games altogether. Currently, Godager works as a clinical psychologist, diagnosing and treating psychiatric illnesses at an inpatient clinic in Norway.

Read the full interview on ›

Scott Hartsman on All Things Trion

Scott Hartsman started in online games as a game designer at Interplay in 1986 where he worked on Scepter of Goth, one of the earliest multi-user dungeons. Since then, he has held a variety of creative, technical, and management positions at online game companies, including perhaps most recognizably as senior producer at Sony Online Entertainment where he launched 13 titles in the EverQuest franchise.

In 2009, Hartsman accepted a position at Trion Worlds as chief creative officer and general manager of the Redwood City studio. To players, he was best known as the executive producer of Rift, and oversaw the launch of that game in 2011 and the development of live content. In January 2013, Hartsman left Trion Worlds to start a new company, but by August 2013, he had rejoined the publisher as CEO.

Under Hartsman's leadership, Trion Worlds has successfully transitioned from a packaged goods company to developing and publishing strictly digital and free-to-play games. Today, Trion Worlds operates a growing catalog of first-party and third-party MMOs, including RiftDefiance, and Trove, as well as ArcheAge from XLGames and the recently announced Devilian from Bluehole Ginno.

Read the full interview on ›

Raph Koster on MMOs, Their Future, and Crowfall's Place in the Mix

Raphael "Raph" Koster is an award-winning game designer and creative director best known for his work on Ultima Online (UO) for Origin Systems/EA and Star Wars Galaxies (SWG) for Sony Online Entertainment (SOE). A pioneer of massively multiplayer online games, Koster is regarded as one of the video game industry's foremost authorities on game design.

In January, ArtCraft Entertainment, cofounded by J. Todd Coleman and Gordon Walton, announced that Koster was collaborating on Crowfall, which the company describes as "the unholy love child of Game of ThronesThe Walking Dead, and EVE Online." contributing writer Morgan Ramsay caught up with Koster to talk about his role on the ArtCraft team, Crowfall, and how they're applying the lessons he has learned.

Read the full interview on ›

How Two Doctors Created a Video Game Dynasty

When Ray Muzyka, Greg Zeschuk, and Augustine Yip formally incorporated BioWare in 1995, they were medical doctors, recently graduated from the University of Alberta in Canada. Although Yip left soon after, Muzyka and Zeschuk moved forward, recruiting a passionate, hard-working team to build a company that would become a living legend.

BioWare, acquired by EA in 2007, is today best known for cinematic role-playing games, such as the Dragon Age series, the Mass Effect series, and the narrative-driven MMO, Star Wars: The Old Republic.

In the beginning, however, the studio built its reputation with Baldur’s Gate in 1998, Neverwinter Nights in 2002, and Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic in 2003—all now considered not merely classic games but master classes in role-playing game design.

When this interview was conducted in early 2012, the company had just launched its MMO. Later that year, the duo retired from video games. Currently, Muzyka is an angel investor and entrepreneurial mentor, focused on information technology, medical innovations in diagnostics and therapeutics, and social entrepreneurship at Threshold Impact, while Zeschuk has been exploring craft beer through the webseries, The Beer Diaries, and building a brewery in his hometown of Edmonton.

Read the full interview on The Daily Dot ›

How a Little Toy Became

[ founder Victor] Kislyi's story is fully detailed in Online Game Pioneers at Work, where author Morgan Ramsay interviewed 16 leaders of the online gaming industry. These individuals — which included John Romero, Richard Garriott, Raph Koster, Greg Zeschuk as well as Kislyi — didn't just watch the online games industry grow, they were driving forces that made it into the juggernaut we think of today. The full book is available on Amazon, but The Escapist had an opportunity to read Kislyi's interview, revealing how Wargaming became perhaps the most successful name in free-to-play online gaming. That's remarkably impressive for someone who didn't used to consider his operation a "business."

Read the full article at The Escapist ›

Chris Kluwe on GamerGate, eSports, and the Future of Online Gaming

For eight years, Chris Kluwe was one of the most controversial players in the NFL. Although most frequently a critic of League policies, the unabashedly vocal Kluwe made headlines in 2012 when he took on the Maryland state assembly in defense of same-sex marriage and freedom of speech. In 2014, he retired from football after the NFL allegedly blacklisted him for his progressive views.

Today, although Kluwe continues to fight for basic human rights, dignity, and equality, he is best known within the online game community as a veteran MMO player, an esports advocate, and a frequent critic of GamerGate, recently appearing in a debate with adult film star Mercedes Carrera.

In this wide-ranging interview, contributing editor Morgan Ramsay spoke with Kluwe at length about whether esports are real sports, the state of GamerGate, and what's next for him after football.

Read the full interview at ›

Looking back, looking forward with devs of the Independent Games Festival

More than 3,285 video games were entered into the Independent Games Festival (IGF) from 2009 to 2013 — more than three times as many submitted in the previous five-year period. In the nearly two decades of showcasing some of the smartest, most creative, and technically brilliant games ever made, the IGF has become a leading showcase of independent developers and their work.

With that history, any time is a good time to revisit the past. In particular, where do IGF finalists and winners end up? What has the IGF ultimately meant to them?

Read the retrospectives at Gamasutra ›