“See, when the electricity runs out, you just pedal it”
One of the problems with being successful is that it’s almost impossible to resist the temptation of continuing down the same, proven path in an effort to keep the momentum rolling. It’s all very well trying something new when it’s Apple’s iPhone that emerges from the R&D pipe, but what about when it’s Sinclair’s C5? At some point in the development process, Sir Clive’s electric tricycle, with its promise of transporting you “five miles for a penny”, must’ve seemed like a bet worth making, but reality ultimately got in the way, and the project is only discussed today as folly. The successes and failures of such switches loom large in the minds of people involved in the videogame industry, and that makes those willing to take risks deserving of a slap on the back. In this issue, we look at several examples.
On p8 we visit Sensible Object, a company formed by a man who made his name designing physical games but who is now committed to videogame integration, resulting in the unique hybrid that is Fabulous Beasts. On p38 we take a tour of The Witness, an indie production which has very little in common with Braid, the puzzle platformer whose incredible success afforded Jonathan Blow the seven years he’s taken to date in creating a follow-up. And on p70 we look to the more buttoned-up realm of hardware manufacture, where Nvidia continues to push outside of its graphics-card comfort zone by refining its Shield platform, while Valve’s own play for the living room yields not only a genuinely innovative controller but best-in-class streaming technology, too.
Our cover game, Hitman, is from a studio that took its own risk with 2012’s Hitman: Absolution by shooting for broader appeal than expected. The result upset many of the series’ most loyal fans, and its development team retreated to a bunker to dust itself down, refocus on how its games had attracted such a following in the first place, and start over. Admitting that you got it wrong can be as valuable as taking the original risk, so long as it doesn’t stop you trying again. Our cover story begins on p58.
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