This week on Built to Play it's the end of Irrational Games, as Ken Levine splits off into a smaller studio.
The lead designer of BioShock Infinite announced that he wanted to work on smaller projects and plans to leave Irrational Games, with 15 members of the original team. This new team will work within their publisher, Take Two. Everyone else has been laid off. During BioShock Infinite's development in 2011, Irrational had around 200 employees. Levine has been promoting job fairs, potential work, and his old employees on twitter.
"Seventeen years is a long time to do any job, even the best one. And working with the incredible team at Irrational Games is indeed the best job I've ever had," wrote Levine in a blog post on the Irrational website. His next games will be "narrative-driven games for the core gamer that are highly replayable."
Also this week Capcom and Virgin Gaming have partnered to create cash-backed Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition matches, which are semantically different from gambling. The players bet on the success on their own matches through Virgin Gaming's website, and then redeem them at a later date.
Meanwhile Capcom's Deep Down has no playable female characters "for story purposes," despite being a game with no set main character. And the Year of Luigi comes to a close March 18, clearly Nintendo's best.
We had a theme planned this week, but instead, Twitch Plays Pokemon took over our lives.
Twitch Plays Pokemon is a single game of Pokemon Red played by upwards of 60,000 people at one time. Pokemon Red is a monster catching game first released in 1998 for the Game Boy and follows a boy named Red as he tries to collect 8 gym badges and beat the Elite Four. Based on the Twitch.tv video streaming service, players can type button presses into the chat and they have a direct effect on the game. During anarchy mode, they're all inputted one after the other, with every player getting equal say. In democracy mode, the controls are determined by majority vote every 10 seconds. Despite releasing their starter Pokemon, walking off the same ledge for hours and getting trapped in gyms, they have six badges, a Zapdos and are on their way to finishing the game.
To figure out what the heck is going on, we talked to Alex Rose, a moderator on the Twitch Plays Pokemon subreddit and IRC about the story so far, the Helixer-Domer conflict, and Pokemon Red. Unfortunately this interview was done in the middle of the week, so it's a little out of date. If you have any updates feel free to leave them in the comments. The interview starts at 23:27.
Next we have Conrad Kreyling, founder of Date Nighto and currently developing a HTML-based visual novel platform. After having trouble distributing visual novels with adult content, he decided to create a system based on html5 that could generate visual novels on the web. It's similar to Ren'Py and Date Nighto has already used it for one major project - Namco High. In Namco High you play as Cousin, a cousin to the Prince of All Cosmos, and you attempt to romance or date the ship from Galaga, Mr. Driller, various Homestuck characters and other old Namco characters. Kreyling talks about developing Namco High, the problems with censorship on the appstore and the popularity of the visual novel starting at 36:50.
He also gave a list of recommendations: Daganronpa, Fate/Stay Night, Virtue's Last Reward, 999, and anything made by Christine Love.