Project ‘IGN Freelance’ – Take Two

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So earlier this year, I wrote a little something on my blog called ‘Project ‘IGN Freelance’, where I submitted three samples to the titan entertainment website that is IGN in the hope of becoming a budding freelancer.

To put it bluntly, my project failed, as my samples weren’t accepted. But before you form a virtual angry mob on my behalf (I can dream, can’t I?), the project now returns from the depths of January 2014, as IGN have put out another advert for the job.

Are my creative juices enough to secure me the position? Will these three samples be the key to unlocking my freelancing future? Need I be so overdramatic?

Stay tuned to find out!

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Texts From a Friend

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The majority of the time, texts from a friend usually consist of “How are you?”, “Are you on your way?” and “Wow, what a gay Facebook status”. Yet, there’s that one rare moment when a simple text turns into a conversation filled with specs of goldust just itching to be written down before somebody copyrights what you’ve just discovered… Exhibit A:

“Ross you didn’t invent ‘got milk?’.” “Yes I did, I DID… I should’ve written it down…”

Well, I recently had one of those moments, excluding the ‘got milk’ copyright part! As I’m sure some of you are aware, Irrational Games, the developer behind the critical and commercial phenomenon ‘Bioshock Infinite’ have recently ceased to exist due to a “change of focus”. After publicly grieving on Facebook that there won’t be any more games released in the Bioshock series, I received a text, from my friend Ben,which flourished into a brilliant snippet of critical conversation/banter:

Ben: 2k has thousands of employees. For Mr Levine to want to make something different does not require to out 100 developers out of a job. The game series will just be made by others. Anyway Bioshock 1/2 were not the same as infinite. Also many  developers can work on a franchise and it still be okay. Look at CoD. Also these 100 developers have a chance (not a brilliant on though) to work at another 2k developer and probs still make BioShock games. Even though it probs mean that they have to uproot themselves to another country/state/etc. The story here is not he future of BioShock.

Me: Yeah of course, I beared in mind naughty dog when you said that – one team made Uncharted, one made The Last of Us, apparently similar games, if one of the teams went bust I guess the other team would, to a degree, be able to replicate it 🙂

Ben: Is replication what you want? What about innovation?

*small toilet break*

Me: Recognition more than replication, I guess, I want to recognise what I’m playing, but yes, push the boundaries too 🙂

Ben: Recognition can come from the name on the box. Far cry 3 blood dragon is not like far cry 3 however the box tells you the link

Me You can recognise the title, not necessarily the brand! I don’t see Operation Raccoon City as a Resident Evil game (per se) despite holding the brand name 🙂 We’d make a good critical duo!

Ben: Where do a brand and title desperate? That may be a good question to ask?

And the duo idea is so good I’ll take 50% of the moonah

Me: Right down the middle… 70/30, like I said 😉

Aside from the fact that this is a tad boring and I use emoticons far more than I do full stops, you see my point! Don’t just let those wonderful texts get lost into cyberspace – show the world that you, sir/madame, have something pretty darn inspiring to say. I expect to see you overtaking the Queen for her Christmas speech any day now 😉

Gaming Nostalgia – My Top Ten

Original article at MyIGN

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ERH MA GHERD, GEHMS! We’ve owned them, we’ve played them, we’ve traded them in to buy even more games. It’s a wonderfully viscous circle of life that we gaming geeks have endured for years. Yet, through that time, we’ve loved and lost games that always hold a place somewhere in our hearts and possibly that neglected PS2 memory card under your sofa. Sometimes I just sit back and think about my gaming favourites, how they’ve become a part of the past, my past. Ready yourselves for some nostalgia, kids, here are my top ten games of my time:

1. The Lord of the Rings: The Third Age

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Infamously, there haven’t been many reputable licensed series throughout my childhood. After being heavily disappointed by the Mr Bean video game, and a multitude of PS1 Disney-Pixar titles, I sought comfort in the warm embrace of EA and their efforts with The Lord of the Rings gaming franchise. I give Warner Bros some credit for their experimentation, but EA were incredibly faithful and innovative with it. My personal highlight was The Third Age, a turn-based LOTRPokemon hybrid that pits you in a compelling RPG adventure in the footsteps of the fellowship. Great locales, characters and enemies from the three movies; heck, the game had you fighting Nazguls as your first enemy – much tougher than a cuddly Pikachu!

2. Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War II

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Fast-forward yourself into the year 40,000, and your Rangers of Gondor have laser rifles and your Orcs have jetpacks. Welcome to the future: it’s a lot bloodier than you anticipated! The Warhammer universe is quite an insane one, filled with a variety of armies and races just hell-bent on shooting each other senseless. It makes for a an incredibly dysfunctional ride when we convert that into RTS gameplay. Couple that with a long story, great RPG elements and more violence than a Leeds United football match and you have one of the best PC games of my lifetime.

3. Crash Twinsanity

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Who the heck is Crash Bandicoot? Once a popular Sony mascot, the cuddly bandicoot has gone rogue since 2008, with recent rumours that Sony wants to taste the wumpa fruit again some time in the future. In secondary school, pretty much everyone I knew had experienced Crash Bandicoot in some form or another, whether it be through mediocre impressions of N. Gin or bonding over the fact that Wrath of Cortex was their only Crash game. For me, Crash Twinsanity brought together everything that I ever loved about Crash. It had a charming sense of humour, both written and slaptstick (see above picture), colourful characters and locations, new and old, as well as some of the most brilliant concept art I’ve ever seen! After completing it four times, it’s still a personal favourite.

4. Simpsons Hit and Run

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Cortex may be my favourite, yellow-skinned villain, but the Simpsons have to be my favourite, yellow-skinned domestic family (I actually Googled ‘yellow-skinned domestic family’, it seems no others exist!). The theme of my room when I was younger constituted entirely of The Simpsons memorabilia. Simpsons bedsheets, dolls of the Simpsons, Simspsons comics in the corner of my room: I think I’ve made the folks at Fox a lot of money! Hit and Run was always a bonding point among myself and other The Simpsons fans, even more than the show. Mixing Grand Theft Auto with Springfield made for a hilariously-addictive way to spend my time, and the only time I’ll ever experience driving a rocket car.

5. Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon

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I raise both hands in the air when I say that I haven’t played any of the Far Cry games. Sure, I played about thirty minutes of Far Cry 3 at my mate’s house, but it never reeled me in much. When I heard that Michael Biehn was voicing a commando cyborg who rose from the ashes of Vietnam War II to fight a cyber army and blood dragons, I ran straight for my debit card yelling ‘SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY’. The game exists independent of the Far Cry franchise and mimics the likes of the original Robocop: filled with satire, robotics and more weapons than a Texan gun shop!

6. The Matrix – Path of Neo

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Admit it, we’ve all asked that one friend of ours to pretend to shoot us so that we can attempt to doge that make-believe bullet like a complete badassThe Matrix is understandably one of the coolest cult films of my time and Path of Neo gave me an excuse to take the red pill and kick some ass. The lobby scene? Yeah you can do that. The fight with 13235232143 Agent Smiths? Oh, absolutely. Making your way through a Chateau maze fighting giant fire ants? Don’t ask!

7. Bioshock Infinite

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Arguably one of the coolest gaming titles of the past ever, enter the Bioshock series. As a PS3 player, I found it incredibly difficult to ignore this series, despite trying my best for a few years. ‘No thank you, my life is as weird and political as it is with Fallout in it!’. The series grew across current gen and I had to give in: oh was it worth it. With gratuitous violence, a tough-skinned concept and execution and one of the most mind-numbing endings I’ve ever played (I had to ring my girlfriend after I’d played it and basically cry down the phone attempting to explain it), it really is one of the best adventures you can ever experience. Also, it has Troy Baker, because what doesn’t have Troy Baker these days?

8. Battlefront 2

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It’s a simple fact: people love Jedi, there’s an entire religion based on it! Mention ‘Battlefront’ to anyone and they won’t talk about the first game, they’ll boast about that badass light-saber throw they did as Darth Maul and how they tried to mimic the ‘cable trick’ as Luke Skywalker on the Hoth map. LucasArts made a vast amount of brilliant Star Wars titles in gaming, but Battlefront 2 really shone as a game that was fun to play on your own, but absolutely necessary with your friends. Mos Eisley, you won’t just be remembered for your funky tunes and bar fights, but for your ‘Hero Assault’ matches, too.

9. Wario Land 3

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When the world was in awe over a selfless, friendly Italian plumber who risked his life to save princesses, I was busy sat in the back of our family car on holidays guiding an overweight, reckless mustachioed man to his next destination. Oh, and playing Wario Land 3, that was also a nice pastime! Originally an antagonist to Mario, the garlic-ridden Wario got his own franchise that soon grabbed my intention. Taking the Indiana Jones treasure-hunter stance, Wario had to find a variety of treasures to help him escape a music box, as well as make a bit of cash for himself. It had zombies, donuts, giant worms and a variety of wacky stuff that made me blissfully unaware that I was very travel-sick: I’ll always be thankful.

10. Mario Strikers Charged Football

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And finally, numero ten, Mario Strikers Charged Football. This was a game where I could still engage with Wario and his brutish antics, whilst still being able to admit to two things: ‘Why yes, I have played a Mario game’ and ‘No, sorry I’ve never played FIFA, does this count at all?’, I loathed football and played it, I had friends who loved football and played it – it certainly was for everyone. The campaign made me feel like a semi-professional footballer, whilst the multiplayer made me realise that I should pack in that ambition if it ever grew to become real. Great fun and one of the best games on the Wii, if only I still played on my Wii!

Project ‘IGN Freelance’ – Sample 3 (Disney and EA Announce Multi-Year Star Wars Games Agreement)

The idea of imagining the above picture in gaming form may not be so surreal, considering that Disney will now be the distributor of future Star Wars titles.
The news was published via the ‘Press Room’, a news segment of Electronic Arts’ (EA) website, which discusses Disney‘s new license agreement on the Star Wars gaming franchise. It states that, ‘Under the agreement, EA will develop and publish new Star Wars titles for a core gaming audience, spanning all interactive platforms and the most popular game genres, while Disney will retain certain rights to develop new titles within the mobile, social, tablet and online game categories.’
Star Wars video games were previously developed by Lucas Arts, having published (and sometimes developed) critical and commercial successes such as Republic Commando and Knights of the Old Republic. Essentially, the new licensing agreement marks the end to their reign, with Disney closing down the company and all of its existing projects, including the anticipated Star Wars 1313.
It doesn’t come as much of a surprise to Star Wars fans, considering Disney‘s acquisition of the Star Wars film franchise almost this time last year.
John Pleasants, Co-President of Disney Interactive, believes the deal will bring great things to Disney as well as Star Wars fans:
“This agreement demonstrates our commitment to creating quality game experiences that drive the popularity of the Star Wars franchise for years to come. Collaborating with one of the world’s premier game developers will allow us to bring an amazing portfolio of new Star Wars titles to our fans around the world.”
EA Labels President Frank Gibeau sees it as a dream come true for the popular developing company, whilst also believing in its benefits towards a somewhat dedicated fan base:
“Every developer dreams of creating games for the Star Wars universe. Three of our top studios will fulfill that dream, crafting epic adventures for Star Wars fans. DICE and Visceral will produce new games, joining the BioWare team which continues to develop for the Star Wars franchise.
“The new experiences we create may borrow from films, but the games will be entirely original with all new stories and gameplay.”
The license agreement doesn’t state any financial terms, only stating that it is a ‘multi-year’ agreement.

Project ‘IGN Freelance’ – Sample 2 (Black Ops II Grosses $1 Billion In 15 Days)

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Another year, another Call of Duty. And guess what? The game that everyone asks for at Christmas time is still breaking records.

Activision have announced on their website that Black Ops II, the sequel to 2010’s Black Ops, has grossed $1 billion within a mere 15 days, making it the fastest-selling entertainment product in history.

What’s more, Black Ops II has logged a staggering 150 million hours worldwide on Xbox Live and Playstation Network, according to Activision‘s statistics.

The publishing company aren’t strangers to this kind of success. The mantle was previously held by last year’s Modern Warfare 3Infinity Ward‘s show-stopping conclusion to the Modern Warfare trilogy, which reached $1 billion in retail sales in just 16 days. Prior to that was James Cameron’s Avatar, when sci-fi geeks flocked in their hundreds and thousands to help the film generate $1 billion within 17 days.

Activision are aware of the impact of the Call of Duty series and what it takes to continue to make a mark in the entertainment industry:

“Entertainment franchises that captivate audiences for as long as Call of Duty has, on the scale that Call of Duty has, are very rare things. And it takes a lot of brilliant people working across many different disciplines to make it happen. It is incredibly humbling and gratifying to be a part of,” said Eric Hirshberg, CEO of Activision Publishing.

“In order for Call of Duty to remain the entertainment juggernaut that it is, and keep our fans coming back for more, we need to continue to bring fresh ideas and new innovations to the table every time, while always staying true to what people fell in love with in the first place. That’s what we did with Call of Duty: Black Ops II, and that’s what we intend to keep on doing.”

“This is an incredible milestone for an incredible franchise, and I want to thank every passionate, talented, committed person on our team who made it happen.”

Black Ops II is available for purchase on Xbox 360, PS3, PC and Wii U, with a recently announced DLC pack available soon.

Project ‘IGN Freelance’ – Sample 1 (Rockstar Games Announces Grand Theft Auto V Release Date)

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Grab your baseball bats, cheat-code books and budding sense for causing absolute chaos, kids – you’re returning to Los Santos in the near future.

Take-Two Interactive, the publishing label behind the gaming behemoth Grand Theft Auto, have announced the official release date for its anticipated new entry in the series. The follow-up to the critical and commercial hit Grand Theft Auto IV will be released September 17th of this year.

For those who were aware, Grand Theft Auto V was originally scheduled for a spring 2013 release window, but has been since delayed to “allow for additional development time”, as stated on the company’s website.

Whilst it may have been five years since Grand Theft Auto IV, developer Rockstar Games assures fans that the quality of the game will set new boundaries for this long-time gaming series:

Grand Theft Auto V continues to push the series forward in new ways; Rockstar North are creating our deepest, most beautiful and most immersive world yet,” said Sam Houser, Founder of Rockstar Games. “We are very excited for people to learn more about the game in the coming months.”

Details of the game can be found on Rockstar‘s website including information on the game’s three protagonists and its approach to the series, as well as an ‘ambitious approach to open world multiplayer’.

Grand Theft Auto V will be released for Xbox 360 and PS3. There is no schedule for a PC release just yet; however, it could be possible that a modder is taking the matter into his own hands.

Project ‘IGN Freelance’


 *Cue cliche* every once in a while, that opportunity comes along that you’ve just got to grab; like claiming an abandoned tenner in the street or stashing up on free food samples in ASDA. Mine is a little less cheap than the previous examples, which I may or may not have done.

IGN, a pretty mahoosive entertainment website, are posting entries to adopt a new freelance writer, which is as good news to me as the above Stormtrooper discovering that Mrs Stormtrooper was pregnant! It’s required that you complete three samples and submit them, so I’ll be sure to post my entries on here – any feedback would be very much welcome… or if you have any free food samples, they too wouldn’t go amiss!