Friday, November 21, 2014

Legendaries Mode, Round 1 - Rima Brek, Head of Technology for Ubisoft Toronto
In this first entry of Legendaries Mode, Tiger and Rabbit take the time to highlight a person who they believe positively impacted the video game community, Rima Brek of Ubisoft Toronto.


Rabbit: I think we make a really good team.

Tiger: *nods* Yes… and where is this going?

Rabbit: I think we should combine our love of video games and spotlight people in the industry who were influential to us.

Tiger: We have influences?

Rabbit: You know what I mean! There have been a lot of people around the industry from developers to writers and even some professional gamers that have really inspired us directly or created games that inspired us. I thought it would be nice to have a segment where we aren’t pitted against each other and can really discuss a topic we both agree on.

Tiger: That’s a really great idea, good thinking.

Rabbit: Well, I didn’t come up with it on my own but I do think it’s a good idea. So I’d love to focus on one person, talk a little about his or her background, and why that person inspires us.

Tiger: I’m with you but first… *hands papers to Rabbit* you need to read these.

Rabbit: ^reads papers^ Okay… ^continues reading^ This is an APA manual! You want me to follow this?!

Tiger: If we’re going to be using source material, we should credit them properly. APA is the best way to document citations in a paper.

Rabbit: This isn’t a college course! How about we just link our audience to the article we use and state were we got it from? Is that good enough for you?

Tiger: *crosses arms* Fine but if we get a bad grade for this or hit with plagiarism charges, I’m totally blaming you.

Rabbit: ^pssht^ No sweat, I’ve got this covered. I did have a tough time picking our first “Legendary” to talk about-

Tiger: It’s totally Amy Hennig. Without a doubt.

Rabbit: While I do love her I actually chose someone else.

Tiger: *shocked face* What? No way, no way!

Rabbit: Yes way. I figured our audience would already know who Amy Hennig and what she’s done for the video game industry so I wanted to pick someone who might not have the same kind of coverage. I picked Rima Brek, Head of Technology at Ubisoft Toronto.

Tiger: Wow, that’s a great first pick. If I recall, I first saw her name come up on Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six 3: Black Arrow as Lead Programmer. Rima Brek was also included in Edge’s “Game Industry’s 100 Most Influential Women” list from 2006. Edge touted her as “one of the very few female AI programmers in the industry” and credited her with the creation of a game engine that was used in the development of numerous Ubisoft titles. Edge also referred to her as a key member of the Rainbow Six Franchise, one of my favorite series to date!

Rabbit: Brek has also worked on a lot of other games over her 16+ year career with Ubisoft. She graduated from McGill University with a B.Eng in Electrical Engineering in 1997. After some time at another company, Brek joined Ubisoft in 1998 as a Software Developer and stayed in that position until 2004. During that time she is credited with working on Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six 3: Raven Shield among other games.

Tiger: From there, Rima Brek was promoted to Software Project Lead at Ubisoft Montreal in 2004 and remained in that position until 2007. This is where she became the Lead Programmer for Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six 3: Black Arrow and Open Season.

Rabbit: After her time at Ubisoft Montreal, she became the Development Director of Programming for roughly a year and then moved on to being the Software Lead of Middleware for the Technology Group from 2008 to 2010. Brek is credited as the Middleware Engineering Lead on games such as Assassin’s Creed II, Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Conviction, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World: The Game, and Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands.
Tiger: In 2010, she became one of the founding members of Ubisoft Toronto and the Head of Technology. Brek was the Engine & Features Producer for Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Blacklist, the studio’s first title. At Ubisoft Toronto, Brek leads all the technology development and manages the software, middleware, engine, AI, and programming teams.

Rabbit: Since the release of Splinter Cell: Blacklist, Ubisoft Toronto has been working with Ubisoft Montreal on Assassin’s Creed: Unity and Far Cry 4. Jade Raymond, the studio’s director, told GameSpot in March of 2014 that they were also working on two new IPs which I’m sure Rima Brek is involved with.

Tiger: One of the things that really stands out to me about her career is that she has spent all this time with one company. I think it’s great that she’s been able to stay with Ubisoft, doing what she loves. Starting out as a junior programmer and moving all the way up to the head of technology is a great feat.

Rabbit: Well it also helps that she’s doing it with someone she loves, since she’s married to another big name at Ubisoft.

Tiger: That is true. *laughs*

Rabbit: I think it’s amazing that she also works in a field that is usually dominated by men. A lot of the women on Edge’s list were from the marketing or public relations side of the video game industry but Brek is actually making the tools that’s necessary to create video games.

Tiger: There’s a great quote from Brek in the Edge article that I’d like to put here. She says that, “after over eight years in the game industry, including long stretches of overtime, achieving a healthy balance between work and life has become very important to me. As a Software Project Lead, I consider it my responsibility to take the proper measures and make the appropriate decisions to minimize the need for crunch time while still delivering a high quality game.”

Rabbit: Thank you for reading our latest installment for TvR! I hope you enjoyed Legendaries Mode and will look forward to the other video game industry greats that we plan on covering-

Tiger: Like Amy Hennig!

Random Happy Time, 6 O'Clock! - Breach and Clear!
After talking about Ubisoft games, Tiger and Rabbit discuss some of their fondest Tom Clancy game memories. Everything from Rainbow Six to EndWar is covered in this edition of Random Happy Time!


Rabbit: Howdy everybunny! How are you all today? Me and Tiger have spent some time talking about an employee from Ubisoft which has made me all nostalgic. We have played almost all the Tom Clancy games out there and most of them we’ve played together.

Tiger: Like Rainbow Six Vegas, co-op Splinter Cell, and Ghost Recon.

Rabbit: We even played EndWar together.

Tiger: We did not. I was playing EndWar, you were sitting next to me yelling commands into my mic and messing with my game.

Rabbit: We did play a lot of Rainbow Six Vegas 2 together. Breach and clear!

Tiger: We played that game like crazy. I do have quite a few stories about our co-op experiences. Like the time I was in cover behind a van, trying to lay down suppressing fire so you could take out a sniper above us and instead, you just threw a grenade and killed me.

Rabbit: (ーー;)

Tiger: Then there was that time that I was sniping from an upstairs window and you were below me, covering the stairs. I ended up getting shot from behind because you accidentally C4ed yourself instead of blowing up the guy coming up the stairs.

Rabbit: (;¬_¬)

Tiger: Then there was that time in the Presidio where I told you to cover a particular door while I ran around the building and flanked the enemy. We were able to clear the room with ease but then you forgot I was on the opposite side of the room and you shot me dead.

Rabbit: (×__×;)

Tiger: Then there was this time-

Rabbit: Alright Qgers and Qbbits! That’s all the time we have for today! Thanks for reading and have a great day!

Friday, November 7, 2014

Q Attack, Round 4 - Is a New Sequel Every Year too Much?
In this publication of Q Attack, Tiger and Rabbit discuss the plethora of video game series that release a new sequel every year. They discuss IP fatigue, the insatiable appetites of gamers, and how much this all really costs. From Assassin’s Creed to Skylanders, is a new sequel every year too much?


Tiger: Here we are in November, the month I dislike the most. We have the holidays coming up with gifts to buy and we’re smack dab in the middle of the Holiday Rush. That’s what Rabbit and myself call the video game season that starts in late August and continues until the New Year.

Rabbit: Then it’s Spring Fever from January until May. Hmm, our video game season kind of follows the hockey season.

Tiger: Anyway, I have also coined November as Assasinber because there is always, always an Assassin’s Creed game that comes out. But this year, this year there’s two! Two I tell you! When is enough, enough?

Rabbit: Is that why you repeated so many words there? Since there are two Assassin’s games, you wanted to say everything twice?

Tiger: *glares*

Rabbit: I do understand your frustration. It seems crazy to me that some games come out every year. In sports games, I can’t imagine anything really changing to merit buying the new edition unless someone has to have the new rosters.

Tiger: And video games take so stinkin’ long to make, we hear about them years in advance. So you know that they’re making these games concurrently with others that are scheduled to release next year or the year after. How can they improve the game, fix bugs, and make it a better experience when they don’t take into consideration any of the feedback from the game they currently have out?

Rabbit: I’m sure some of the issues they might be able to fix with updates but you’re right, it seems like they’d be too far into production to make any major changes to a game when they schedule them to come out every year. I will say with the Skylanders series, they’ve done a very good job at fixing issues and improving the game every year. I know the jump between the first game, Spyro’s Adventure, and Giants was huge. There were a lot of noticeable differences from Giants to Swap Force as well.

Tiger: They used different studios each time for those, right?

Rabbit: They did, similar to how Call of Duty and Assassin’s Creed are both handled.

Tiger: Speaking of Call of Duty, I’ve never been a fan of the game but I’m curious to see what will happen now that Infinity Ward is back at the helm. That’s the other issue I have with games that come out every year. You know they rotate studios just so they can get these things out. Oftentimes I find that I prefer one studio over another, so it makes me want to skip certain titles just because of the developer.

Rabbit: ^giggles^ Sofia?

Tiger: Ah, don’t remind me. How do you handle this, Rabbit? It’s bad enough I pick up the Assassin’s Creed games but at least they don’t come with a thousand plastic figures you need to buy.

Rabbit: Skylanders doesn’t have that many figures; it’s only about 60+ a game.

Tiger: Oh, is that all? *rolls eyes*

Rabbit: See’mon Tiger! Don’t you ever get that feeling like you just need more of a game? That once you’ve beaten it, you either want to play it again or wished that there was a sequel? I know you felt that way with the Yakuza series.

Tiger: May you one day reach our shores again. But yes, to answer your question, I have felt that way.

Rabbit: Could you imagine if you got a new The Elder Scrolls game every year?

Tiger: No, I wouldn’t want that. As much as I love those games, they take way too long to beat. I can see loving a game and wanting to play even more of it but I think you have to be wary about gamer fatigue. One of the things that really make me love the Fallout or TES series is that I don’t get them every year, or every two years for that matter. I will often go back and play those games multiple times because I enjoy them so much, but I like having that itch of “hey, when’s Fallout 4 coming?” Similar to the Persona series, I know we just got into that, but I like that there’s a waiting period between games. Okay, almost skipping the entire PS3 generation was a little too long, but it makes those games all the more worthwhile when they do finally release. Plus, I want the best experience possible which means I want the devs to have the time to refine their game.

Rabbit: Yeah, I understand your point but I also think that if you’re gone from the gamer’s mind too long, that they might not care when you come back. There are so many IPs out there, that if you have something good, shouldn’t you strike while the iron’s hot?

Tiger: But every year? I don’t even get why people buy sports games every year but something like Assassin’s Creed or Call of Duty? The time you invest in a game that has multiplayer, just to have a new one come out 12 months later, I don’t know if that’s worth it.

Rabbit: It’s worth it if you’re having fun.

Tiger: And the cost, how much have you spent on Skylanders?

Rabbit: Okay, that question isn’t fair because I didn’t have to buy those figures. The games are completely beatable without any of the addition Skylanders. It does get expensive but we both plan out which games we want to get during the Holiday Rush. Did you have to buy both Assassin’s Creed games on day one?

Tiger: No but I still wanted them so I figured I'd just get them. I just hate that they don’t give me a chance to detox from all this killing. I wish they'd give me a breather for a year. I’m just saying that maybe these publishers should consider trying to spread some of this around and not bombard us with the same thing every year. Or bombard us with all these figures that take up so much space.

Rabbit: You? Tired of killing?! ^crosses arms^ Ha, that’s news to me! As for the figures, I like them and I’m going to keep on buying them, so if you’ve got a problem with that, why don’t you find somewhere else to live!

Tiger: Geez, don’t get your ears all tied in a knot. I was just trying to express that sometimes I feel like they take advantage of gamers and just expect us to keep buying the same processed games over and over. Anyway, I think it’s time that we finish this business. Is a new sequel every year too much?
Rabbit: I vote no because for some people, you want another chapter in your favorite series and you want it sooner rather than later. I don’t think it hurts the industry at all releasing another entry for an IP every year; in fact the opposite might be true, being able to release a game a year shows just how strong your brand is. If there’s demand for your game, then I say keep making it until no one buys it. After all, if it bothers you so much that a series releases a new title every year, just stop buying it.

Tiger: I say that it is too much. We’re oversaturated enough as it is with sequels, releasing titles every year just makes it worse. Why not take those resources and apply them to making new games set in new worlds we have never seen before. I know launching new IPs can be very difficult and expensive but I’d rather take my chance on a game I’ve never played before than just get a 1.5 upgrade to an existing franchise. If you think about it, most of these so called sequels aren’t even true sequels, oftentimes they feel like expansions or DLC-esque content that they just repackaged to get you to buy it. I say enough is enough.

Rabbit: Maybe you should stop buying them then.

Tiger: *crosses arms* What? I still like the series and want to play it but I’m just tired that they’re not only releasing one game but now two games every year.

Rabbit: So don’t support them; it’s as simple as that.

Tiger: It’s not that easy. Am I supposed to just give up playing their games?

Rabbit: Maybe you should learn some self-control.

Tiger: Don’t you dare give me this self-control nonsense! Look who’s talking? You giant eared-

Rabbit: ^throws arms up^ I’m not taking this anymore! We’re done, goodbye!

Is a New Sequel Every Year too Much?

Tiger     vs     Rabbit

Random Happy Time, 5 O'Clock! - See’mon People!
In the previous Q Attack, sparks flew as Tiger and Rabbit met their first truly heated debate. Words were said and Tiger takes the time to apologize to Rabbit in this entry of Random Happy Time! The two make amends and also discuss the history of a mispronounced phrase.


Tiger: So the last Q Attack we had got kind of heated.

Rabbit: You called me mean names. 。・゚゚・(>д<)・゚゚・。

Tiger: (シ_ _)シ I’m sorry, okay. I didn’t mean it.

Rabbit: I don’t have giant ears. (´°̥̥̥̥̥̥̥̥ω°̥̥̥̥̥̥̥̥`)

Tiger: Well, they are bigger than mine are.

Rabbit: (ノД`)・゜・。 Hidoi yo!

Tiger: I’m just teasing you, I’m sorry. I’m supposed to pick on you because you’re the baby but I went too far. Will you forgive me?

Rabbit: Only if you bring me cake next time.

Tiger: Strawberry with white frosting and sprinkles?

Rabbit: Yes! (´ ▽`).。o♡

Tiger: Okay, deal. Now didn’t you have something you wanted to explain to our fans-

Rabbit: ^glares at Tiger^

Tiger: *clears throat* I mean Qgers and Qbbits?

Rabbit: ( ̄(エ) ̄)ゞ I forget.

Tiger: "See’mon", that strange word you keep using that no one understands.

Rabbit: Oh, I gotcha. Well it’s just a phase I like to use, it’s catchy.

Tiger: It’s supposed to be “C’mon” not “See’mon.”

Rabbit: Well it all started when I was really little and I played Shining Force back on the Sega Genesis. Some of the characters used “C’mon” in their dialogue and I had no idea how to read that. I thought it was supposed to be pronounced as “See’mon” and it just kind of stuck.

Tiger: Wow, Shining Force brings back memories. That was the first RPG we ever played. I remember getting stuck in this one area for so long because we didn’t know that the door was inside some mask on the wall of the castle. Do you remember that?

Rabbit: We kept restarting the game, trying to see if we missed a key or something to open it. This was kind of before the whole “wiki” thing started up too or we just didn’t know where to look for help. Remember the bridge battle later in the game, the one with the eyeball laser beam that shoots across the bridge and kills everyone?

Tiger: Yes, that was such a tough battle; we never could beat it when we were little. We ended up getting a copy of Sonic's Ultimate Genesis Collection on PS3 just so we could play Shining Force again. With years of gaming experience under our belts, we had a breeze with the game.

Rabbit: Yes, no enemy could stop us… until we reached that bridge level and kept dying. We never did beat the game, did we?

Tiger: (ーー;) All those years of experience and we still got owned on the same exact level as when we were little…

Rabbit: Well, that does it for this edition of Random Happy Time! We aren’t terrible gamers, I swear! (@´_`@) Please visit us again soon. See’mon Tiger, let’s go!

Tiger: It’s “C’mon,” Rabbit. C’mon and use it!