Rumor — the invisible force said to actually power the internet — has it that this console generation is coming to a close. If this truly is the last year of this triumphant generation, a generation that began as any other (with pretty graphics and prettier promises) but evolved into a full blown fusion of home media and dedicated gaming, then it’s all the more important to reflect on the virtual adventures 2012 gave us.
We laughed, we cried, we cried even harder trying to slog through Halo 4 on Legendary…2012 was the culmination of six years of advancement, where devs’ were past their growing pains fumbling with new technology and knew how to fully utilize the tools at their disposal. 2012 was a year in which we reaped the benefits tenfold through the sheer amount of excellent games rapid-fired onto store shelves (or, more realistically, Steam shelves. Yeah. Steam shelves).
As the only installed feature The Red Herb claims stake to, I’m obligated each and every week to feel really guilty for skipping out on writing one. But since it’s almost Halloween, and given the inappropriateness of the above picture as a warm Christmas greeting, I have set loose another Roundup unto the world. God help us all.
“People have a lot of variety about how they actually interact. Some people look very deadpan when they’re really enjoying things, and some people are laughing because they think something is ridiculously bad…We’re not just here about collecting information to understand things. We’re here about making the game better by having actionable data, and knowing someone smiled at four minutes and 38 seconds into a mission doesn’t help us out a lot.”
-Eric Schuh, senior user researcher assigned to Halo 4’s playtesting and data analysis.
If you haven’t happened across it yet, Polygon has an absolutely fantastic article following Microsoft’s Studios User Research and Central Analytics department, a dryly named group of individuals whose sole focus in life is to ensure Halo 4 is, above all else, playable. In the world of blockbuster video games — in this case, a new, highly awaited sequel within a franchise estimated to be worth nearly three billion dollars — playability is crucial.
Through extensive playtesting, data collection, and exhaustive attention to player behavior and comprehension, the User Research group provides 343 Industries with information and guidance that hammers out rough spots, tightens loose bolts, and smooths out potential wrinkles that could inadvertently derail a player’s enjoyment of the developer’s labor of money-spewing love.
Those looking to unearth Halo 4’s revelations need to look elsewhere, but if you’re interested in a behind-the-scenes look at one of the gaming industry’s least scrutinized areas of development, hit the link.
I’ve resurfaced from ceaselessly playing Resident Evil 6 with all limbs and most bodily functions intact if a little scarred, so I thought I’d bring you humble folks another award winning dose of the Roundup (and, yes, giving yourself awards is almost as sad as coining your own nickname — same ballpark, really).
Last week in games we laughed, we cried, and we bore witness to the internet leaking the shit out of Halo. Just another week in this wonderful industry. Welcome back to the Roundup.
Why, hello out there! I didn’t see you there. Or, rather, you didn’t see me here because I haven’t committed to a Roundup for damned near weeks now. First of all, sorry. Second of all, kindly step off my dick. Third of all, sorry for snapping at you. Fourthly, if I had to be honest, you are kind of needy and I know you hate hearing that because more than one ex has tossed that word at you, but come on, seriously, you’re gonna chalk that up to coincidence?
…Fifthly, sorry again. Video games. I don’t know why you let me get sidetracked. Welcome back to the Roundup, anyway.
Watch 343 Industries Create An Epic in ‘Halo 4 Prelude’
Calling Halo 4 a massive undertaking is officially a staggering understatement once you check out this trailer.
343 dropped a tastefully filmed, scored, edited trailer that shirks standard preview conventions and borrows the spotlight from their creation to focus on the creators themselves. While the duration of the video depicts art teams, programmers, sound engineers, a live orchestral arrangement, and mo-cap actors all absolutely pouring their time and energy into this big budget sci-fi epic, you can still catch several never-before-seen glimpses at the game including a gameplay sizzle reel at the very end.