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Video Game Deep Cuts: My Friend Pedro’s Elite Beat Agent

The following blog post, unless otherwise noted, was written by a member of Gamasutra’s community.
The thoughts and opinions expressed are those of the writer and not Gamasutra or its parent company.

[Video Game Deep Cuts is a weekly newsletter from video game industry ‘watcher’ Simon Carless (GDC, Gamasutra co-runner), rounding up the best longread & standout articles & videos about games, every weekend.

This week’s roundup includes a look at breakout indie action game My Friend Pedro, a much-deserved history of the excellent Elite Beat Agents series, on Mordhau’s surprisingly hot debut, classic interviews/retrospectives around Tetris & Sam and Max, and loads more besides.

Given I was out of the country (in the UK) for most of the week, managed to make a comeback just long enough to put this one together. Luckily, there’s plenty of meat, including almost the last of the E3 leftovers – and something for everyone to enjoy. Hope there’s a story or two you dig in here!

Until next time…
– Simon, curator.]


The Developers of Monster Hunter Explain What It’s Like to Build Monsters (Patrick Klepek / VICE – ARTICLE)
“Some of the people keeping Monster Hunter going are producer Ryozo Tsujimoto and executive director/art director Kaname Fujioka, both of whom I spent some time speaking to last week. Their answers were as humorous as they were interesting, shedding light on the game’s development process, the series’ distinct lack of spiders (there’s a good reason!), what it means to depict the suffering of animals in a game about hunting, and much more.”

The 16 best games of E3 2019 (Alex Hern, Keith Stuart and Keza MacDonald / The Guardian – ARTICLE)
“After a full week of glitzy announcements and hundreds of game teasers, the Guardian’s E3 correspondents pick their best of the show.”

Cultist Simulator mobile: the all-singing, all-dancing data dump (Lottie Bevan / Weather Factory – ARTICLE)
“Gaining as big an audience as we could was more important than maximising revenue. This strategy was the main reason we signed a PC publishing deal with Humble Bundle. It also told us pretty clearly we should find a porting house and publisher to make a mobile version of Cultist Simulator while we focused on post-launch PC development. [SIMON’S NOTE: lots and lots of data here – also showcasing that premium mobile dev isn’t THAT lucrative, sadly.]”

A Parliamentary Committee ‘Grilled’ EA and Epic Reps – Badly (Rich Stanton / Kotaku UK – ARTICLE)
“Today, representatives of Electronic Arts and Epic Games gave evidence to Parliament’s Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee. It was something of a spectacle, not least for exposing once again how woefully unprepared our politicians are for this conversation. It wasn’t that the four games industry representatives had the best answers in the world: indeed, at times, they were flailing.”

Sex, Tetris, and Charlie Chaplin: The Alexey Pajitnov interview (Colin Campbell / Polygon – ARTICLE)
“It’s not a serious disagreement. I put it to Pajitnov that no single artist has generated more collective entertainment hours among the mass of humankind than himself. I mean, how long, dear reader, have you spent playing Tetris? And do you know many people who haven’t played it?”

How time-loop games offer escape from a world that is running out of time (Edwin Evans-Thirlwell / Eurogamer – ARTICLE)
“It’s as if the industry were caught in a Groundhog Day scenario devoted to the creation of Groundhog Days. Last week’s E3 announcements alone gave us Luis Antonio’s 12 Minutes, in which players endlessly relive their deaths at the hands of a mysterious housebreaker, and Arkane’s Deathloop, in which two assassins vie for dominance of one and the same day on a swishly late-70s island base.”

2014 vs. 2018: The Shape of Financial Success Before and After the Indiepocalypse(GDC / YouTube – VIDEO)
“In this 2019 GDC talk, independent developer Jason Rohrer digs into the financial data behind the “Indiepocalypse,” to help you figure out how NOT to waste the next four years of your life on the next high profile flop.”

The Fall and Rise of VR: The Struggle to Make Virtual Reality Get Real (Aric Jenkins / Fortune – ARTICLE)
“Because for all the hype-filled promises, virtual reality remains, well, virtually absent from everyday American life. Oculus in 2018, for example, shipped just 354,000 units of its flagship VR headset, the Oculus Rift, according to estimates from SuperData, a gaming-focused research unit of Nielsen.”

Nite Two at E3 2019: Phil Spencer (GiantBomb / YouTube – VIDEO)
“Microsoft’s Phil Spencer sits down with Jeff Gerstmann to talk shop! [SIMON’S NOTE: Haven’t featured GiantBomb much in this roundup, but somebody pointed out this was a great interview – check out their YouTube channel for a bunch of handy ‘quick looks’ at games, too.]”

From The Witcher 3 to Cyberpunk: The evolution of CD Projekt’s quest design(Bryant Francis / Gamasutra – ARTICLE)
“The Witcher 3 is known for its great quest design, but developer CD Projekt Red promises to evolve this tried and true approach in its next game, Cyberpunk 2077. At E3 2019, quest director Mateusz Tomaskiewicz​ told us about what he’s learned directing the quests of Cyberpunk 2077, and the challenges of designing a more nonlinear RPG.”

Assassin’s Creed Odyssey Developers Say Breaking Series Traditions Made For A Better Game (Stephen Totilo / Kotaku – ARTICLE)
“When I sat down with the makers of Assassin’s Creed Odyssey last week, I had to ask them about Alexios, Kassandra, and the state of the franchise’s playable modern-day sequences. I also had to ask them about the option to ride a flaming horse.”

‘My Friend Pedro’ is the stylish action game every Nintendo Switch owner needs(Adam Rosenberg / Mashable – ARTICLE)
“DeadToast Entertainment’s new side-scrolling action game is all about finding creative ways to murder bad guys. You can activate slow-mo with a button press, and the more you do to make the most of your bullet time — by building your kill count, naturally — the longer you get to linger there. It’s a tough thing to describe using just words, honestly. [SIMON’S NOTE: also on PC, and it’s one of the notable titles of the year so far.]”

Sitting In On A Design Meeting For Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order (Kyle Hilliard / Game Informer – ARTICLE)
“Andrew Reiner, Leo Vader, and I sat in the meeting interjecting as little as possible while the team discussed what was working with the level, what they wanted to change, and how they predicted players would react to the level’s layout and enemy encounters. It offered interesting insight into Respawn’s game design process, so Leo Vader and I decided to talk about the meeting and what we took away from it.”

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare and the problem with its child soldier level (Emma Kent / Eurogamer – ARTICLE)
“On Call of Duty: Modern Warfare’s announcement day, I was excited. Not just for the usual reasons, but because this instalment promised to tackle some seriously mature topics. Articles were published describing a terrorist attack in London, civilian collateral damage, situations ripped “straight from the headlines” and a particularly challenging child soldier level.”

A candid conversation with EA’s Andrew Wilson at E3 2019 (Mike Futter / – ARTICLE)
“CEO Andrew Wilson sat down exclusively with GameDaily at E3 2019 to talk about EA’s mistakes, successes, what went wrong with Anthem (and how BioWare is prepared to fix it), and the future of his company and the industry.”

How Mordhau went from janky community project to the biggest melee brawler on PC (Samuel Horti / PC Gamer – ARTICLE)
“Five years ago, long-time Chivalry: Medieval Warfare player Marko Grgurovič began building a prototype for a new melee game in Unity. He had no development experience, and neither did the team he quickly assembled around him, some as young as 17.”

History of Elite Beat Agents / Ouendan Series (DidYouKnowGaming? / YouTube – VIDEO)
“Today on Game History Secrets, Liam looks at the history of Elite Beat Agents, which is known as the Ouendan series in Japan. The EBA series has thus far only released on the Nintendo DS system. [SIMON’S NOTE: includes interviews with INIS staff, which is great!]”

Harry Potter: Wizards Unite Improves On What Makes Pokémon Go Great (Gita Jackson / Kotaku – ARTICLE)
“Wizards Unite, developed by Niantic of Pokémon Go fame, is a different beast than Hogwarts Mystery, and this time, I feel enthralled by it. It’s a step above Hogwarts Mystery and the perplexing Fantastic Beastsmovies, and also seems like a refinement of the formula of Pokémon Go.”

Q&A: After the Microsoft acquisition, what’s next for Double Fine? (Bryant Francis / Gamasutra – ARTICLE)
“San Francisco-based studio Double Fine made a big splash at E3 last week when Microsoft announced it was purchasing the makers of Psychonauts, Brutal Legend, Massive Chalice, and so many other games… At E3 this year, the company set up shop [and] on hand was Tim Schafer, who was down to talk about both the creative drive fueling Psychonauts 2, the Microsoft acquisition and what he thinks GamePass means for studios like his.”

Sam & Max Hit The Road (Jimmy Maher / Digital Antiquarian – ARTICLE)
“Sam and Max first made their names as the stars of an indie comic book, and carried a certain indie sensibility with them when they strolled onto our monitor screens. The safe suburban world of gaming had never seen anything quite like this duo — boldly but also smartly written, aggressively confrontational, and absolutely hilarious as they wandered a landscape built out of junk media and decrepit Americana.”

A Gamer’s Secret Life and Tragic Death (The Atlantic / YouTube – VIDEO)
“To his mother, David Hance was a shy, nerdy Puerto Rican kid from the Bronx who had an unhealthy obsession with video games. To everyone else, he was Allied—a world-class esports champion, whose boisterous live-streams garnered thousands of views. For years, Hance navigated these disparate identities with ease. But then, at age 24, he was diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer.”


[REMINDER: you can sign up to receive this newsletter every weekend at – we crosspost to Gamasutra later, but get it first via newsletter! Story tips and comments can be emailed to [email protected]. MINI-DISCLOSURE: Simon is one of the organizers of GDC and Gamasutra & an advisor to indie publisher No More Robots, so you may sometimes see links from those entities in his picks. Or not!]

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