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Skyrim: The orphans, the clown and the mothers

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Screenshot

When Skyrim tries to go big, it often falters due to poor writing, over-promising, or a disconnect between the story and the gameplay. The happiest exception to this trend is the Dark Brotherhood questline, which is one of the game's great successes. This is because it obeys the rules of good writing, and of good game design.

Extra Credits: Skyrim's Opening

Hmmm, criticizing The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim's opening for being lackluster compared to Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare's now (in)famous opening? Is it fair to compare two games from two seemingly disparate genres like an open-world role-playing game and a scripted, set-piece-heavy, first-person military shooter? Maybe it isn't, but it does sound like something GameCritics would do. No wonder we like this video.

Extra Credits: Skyrim's Opening

State of Play with Brandon Bales: David Jaffe, Part Two

In this episode, Mr. Jaffe shares with us his thoughts on God of War 4, the troubles of tumultuous development (including two cancelled games, Darkons and Heartland), the failures of Calling All Cars, and the reasons why he left God of War. Finally, we wrap up with thoughts on the process of creating the brand-new Twisted Metal.

State of Play with Brandon Bales: David Jaffe, Part Two

Extra Credits: Mailbag #4

More mailbag. Some of the highlights: "Is EA's Origin service a good thing?", "Which books are best for learning game design?", "How to get into game localization?" and "Should you pitch an idea to a game studio?"That last one is probably the easiest one for anyone to answer—it's always a resounding no.

Extra Credits: Mailbag #4

State of Play with Brandon Bales: David Jaffe, Part One

Welcome to the first part our final interview for Season One of State of Play with Brandon Bales!

We're thrilled to share with you our talk with David Jaffe, director and creative lead for such classics as Twisted Metal and God of War. Join us as we discuss David's humble beginnings in Sony's testing department, his work on the original Twisted Metal games (I & II), and the prevalence of gaming sequels.

State of Play with Brandon Bales: David Jaffe, Part One

Tales from Space: Mutant Blobs Attack Preview

Tales from Space: Mutant Blobs Attack Preview

The PlayStation Vita is officially upon us, and I've only one major complaint about it so far: I ain't got one. Luckily, I was made doubly fortunate last week by Toronto's own DrinkBox Studios, who not only managed to stave off my hunger for said portable console by putting one in my hands for an extended period, but also showed me their fine new platformer, Tales from Space: Mutant Blobs Attack!

State of Play with Brandon Bales: Jonathan Blow, Part Five

Here's the wrap-up of our talk with Braid designer Jonathan Blow!

Inside, we discuss games publishing, the constant stream of "sword dude" games, and where gaming is going...

State of Play with Brandon Bales: Jonathan Blow, Part Five

NeverDead: Failure in four bosses

NeverDead Screenshot

The only interesting thing about NeverDead is that it's not actually as bad as it seems after you've beaten it. I don't mean that NeverDead is secretly a good game. It truly stinks, mostly for boring reasons—awkward and mushy controls, inconsistent mechanics, stock characters, vapid story. However, NeverDead leaves an even worse impression than it deserves to, because its concluding bosses exhibit excruciatingly stupid design.

State of Play with Brandon Bales: Jonathan Blow, Part Four

Welcome back again! Here's Part Four of our fantastic discussion with Jonathan Blow, creator of Braid.

In this piece, you'll hear more about Braid's shifting story, we discuss fulfilling our own artistic expectations, and we get into his new game, The Witness!

State of Play with Brandon Bales: Jonathan Blow, Part Four

State of Play with Brandon Bales: Jonathan Blow, Part Three

We are back, baby, with Part Three of our (now) five part interview with Jonathan Blow. In this episode, we get more into trickery in game design, what is "fun," and design by committee.

State of Play with Brandon Bales: Jonathan Blow, Part Three

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