For those unfamiliar with Arkane Studio’s upcoming sci-fi thriller Prey, it’s a reboot of the 2006 game of the same name. This time around things are very different, Arkane is focusing on branching story arcs and multiple endings similar to their other series Dishonored. In fact, a great deal of the game is building upon the successes of last year’s Dishonored 2, both mechanically and visually. This is another step in Arkane Studio’s mission to etch out and master a particular style in the AAA game scene that’s unique to them. Similar to how Naughty Dog has dominated the third-person adventure genre with Uncharted and The Last of Us, Arkane Studios has their sights set on dominating first-person adventures where characters, world-building and player choice drive the experience both with their breakout Dishonored games and now Prey.
Spoilers for Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End.
I have a love/hate relationship with Uncharted 4. For me, Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception is one of the greatest games of all time and I stand by that. I was unbelievably hyped for Uncharted 4 since I saw that very first trailer at PSX 2013. In the ensuing 3 years of waiting and getting more excited, I eventually reached a point where it could never live up to my expectations. So when I was finally let into EB Games after waiting for it to open, got my copy and cradled it all the way home, I was already setting myself up for disappointment.
Shakespeare’s Othello is one of the earliest and most successful plays starring a character of colour in the history of Western theatre. It’s a tragic tale of one man’s love for a woman who is prohibited from returning his love based on their different skin colour. It’s also one of the earliest and most famous examples of blackface, as this most famous character of colour was not played by a black man but a white man, wearing black make up.
A bit of background. The year is 2008 and CD Projekt Red’s humble origins as a video game studio begin with the release of The Witcher. Fans love it, critics love it, and one group of fans in particular rally around the game: PC Gamers. They champion the title as an example of why PC gaming is above all else. But a writer at The Escapist, Ben Croshaw, thought they were being a little “elitist” in this attitude and in his video review of The Witcher uttered the first recorded use of the phrase “Glorious PC-gaming Master Race” (Source).
I used to love Kinda Funny. It was my go-to for video game impressions, podcasts and just general entertainment. I loved listening to “PS I Love You XOXO” every Tuesday and I always tuned into the Kinda Funny Gamescast whenever I could. But then I began to watch with my girlfriend and she pointed some things out. Things that as I better understand some of the major issues with sexism and racism in video games the more I want to stop supporting them and vehemently challenge them. I started to tune into Kinda Funny less and less as I began to realise one particular voice embodied the many issues: Colin Moriarty.
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There’s a studio in Finland called Housemarque. Founded in 1995, Housemarque has made several outstanding games like Dead Nation, Super Stardust and most recently Alienation. The thing that stands out to me the most about Housemarque is not their roster of outstanding games and excellent design tendencies. It isn’t that they’re the oldest game studio in Finland or that they’ve won countless awards and nominations for their work. It’s that in the year 2016 there is only one female employee in the whole team and she was hired fairly recently. If you watched the credits for Dead Nation (which came out in 2010) you’ll see there’s only one female listed in the entire credits and she’s a voice actress. Sadly this isn’t a situation unique to Housemarque but reflects the industry as a whole.
Video games have always been dominated by white people. Whether it’s the characters in the games or those making them, the racial difference has always been way more white than any other. But that’s starting to change, slowly but surely, as game development becomes more accessible and games that challenge the status quo are able to be made. Clique is one such game. Clique is an action adventure game whose developers have started a Kickstarter campaign to raise enough money for development. What makes Clique unique is that it’s being designed by an all African-American team. This is truly rare in an industry where 85% of developers are white and a mere 2% of developers are African-American (according to a study by the IGDA). The team have called themselves Dead Art Games and is composed of Neil Jones (@aerial_knight), Daniel Wilkins (@DanielWilkins90) and DeAndre Hall. These men are channelling their passion for games into an experience that reflects the harsh reality of growing up as an African-American.