Edge December 2021

The authority on videogame art, design and play, Edge is the must-have companion for game industry professionals, aspiring game-makers and super-committed hobbyists. Its mission is to celebrate the best in interactive entertainment today and identify the most important developments of tomorrow, providing the most trusted, in-depth editorial in the business via unparalleled access to the developers and technologies that make videogames the world’s most dynamic form of entertainment.

Country:
United Kingdom
Language:
English
Publisher:
Future Publishing Ltd
Frequency:
Monthly
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£2.92
£23.33
13 Issues

in this issue

2 min
hold on, just one final brushstroke should do it...

In the process of writing this issue’s cover story we didn’t ask Techland’s Tymon Smektała how much stock he places in Shigeru Miyamoto’s crusty old declaration that a delayed game will eventually be good, while a rushed game will be bad forever. Nowadays, isn’t it more fashionable to launch a game with the intention of overhauling it entirely over time anyway, whether that’s through refinements, season updates, DLC or beyond? It’s an especially relevant point for Techland, which has spent the past five years adding bits to Dying Light, a process that’s helped to retain an active playerbase that even now outnumbers that of most new releases. With all of the challenges facing studios in 2021, it’s easier to imagine modern game development being driven by a much older contention…

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10 min
powering up

When Splitgate broke 100,000 concurrent players in July, it may have looked to some like the game was an overnight sensation, another to be filed next to Valheim or Fall Guys. But that success had been a very long time coming for the team at 1047 Games, which first released the game over two years earlier, for most of which time it was played by an audience a few orders of magnitude smaller than this fresh peak. For the studio’s co-founder and CEO, Ian Proulx, the Splitgate story goes back further still – all the way to the early 2010s, in fact, when he was still in high school, and landed on the game’s winningly simple premise: what if Halo, but with portals? But it hasn’t taken long for Splitgate’s player explosion…

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1 min
failure to launch

Understanding the twisty release schedule of Splitgate requires almost as much mental gymnastics as navigating the game’s portals. In its two and half years on Steam, the title has never been listed as an Early Access release – the version of the game that first became available on PC in May 2019 was a “soft launch”, Proulx says. “What we viewed it as internally was our MVP – you know, minimum viable product.” Back then, the game had the unwieldy subtitle ‘Arena Warfare’, which it jettisoned in time for the open beta launch this July (in retrospect, potentially the game’s “drop the ‘the’” moment). With the full release pushed back indefinitely, that’s the state in which the game currently exists: a perpetual open beta.…

1 min
halo effect

Why Splitgate borrowed the feel of Bungie’s shooters Proulx cuts straight to it: “For me, Halo 2 is the greatest game of all time.” When the time came to tighten Splitgate’s gunplay, then, he was naturally biased about how it should be done. But the approach taken also made more sense for the portal mechanics than the other shooter models considered – in Call Of Duty, death came too fast to encourage portal usage; in Quake, it was too easy to speed away through one and stay alive forever. With a time-to-kill akin to Halo’s, Proulx says, “I’ve got enough time and enough health that I can do cool moves, but not so much that I can just run away the instant I’m about to die.”…

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1 min
limit break

The appeal of Game Boy development isn’t just about nostalgia, Puch insists: “One of the things that I like about developing for the Game Boy is the limitations.” With tight caps on everything from storage and music to resolution and colour, he compares it to the 1960s Oulipo movement, with its concept of ‘creativity by restriction’. For Nicol, though, it’s a double-edged sword: “Some of the restrictions are quite difficult for me as an artist. I want to do cool stuff with big sprites and sometimes I have to make concessions.” The 32bit GBA CPU makes things easier, he admits, but “to really get the most out of it, you still have to use the classic 16bit tricks. It’s the best of both worlds, I think.”…

4 min
cart life

This year marked the 20th anniversary of the Game Boy Advance’s launch. Not the point in a system’s lifecycle, perhaps, where you’d expect to see a new game announced. But, some 13 years on from the Nintendo handheld’s last commercial release, Goodboy Galaxy is preparing to pick up the slack – and it’s far from alone. “We really want to support the Game Boy Advance,” designer Rik Nicol says. “To bring the scene back up, as it were.” This effort began in earnest with GBA Jam 2021, co-organised by Nicol’s collaborator, programmer Jeremy Clarke. Arranged to tie in with the anniversary, it ran for three months, beginning in April. “It’s not, you know, the typical weekend jam,” Nicol says, “so there were some fairly substantial games that all kind of came…

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