Tag Archives: interview

TiX Podcast: E3 Approaches

Welcome to the This is Xbox Podcast.

Join Greg Giddens and Steve Peacock and for a new episode of the This is Xbox Podcast – episode 28 E3 Approaches.

In this episode the pair discuss Overwatch, recent reviews that have hit the TiX site, what they’d expect to see at E3, and they interview lead designer at Tuque Games, Kevin Neibert, about upcoming twin-stick coop shooter Livelock. (time stamp: 52.40) And of course the usual silly banter you’d expect.


If you want to send us a question or topic for the topic discussion section, or simply contact us, then shoot over an email to: podcast@thisisxbox.com

You can also follow the hosts on Twitter: @GregGiddens and @stevetheblack

You can also find us on iTunes, Stitcher and SoundCloud.

If you like the show and want to support it, please check out our Patreon page.

The awesome music in this episode was provided by Bangmaid and produced by James Gill. (https://www.mixcloud.com/bangmaid/)

Link Dump:


Fallout 4 Far Harbor review

Overwatch review

One Piece Burning Blood review

Hard Reset Redux review


Dead Rising Watch Tower review

Dead Rising 4

Watch Dogs 2

Video Games – Culturally significant and historically awesome.

A quest awaits this intrepid explorer. One must brave through the dark sub-lairs of an evil city filled with Rogues and thieves into the crypts of a collection institute to survey the antiquities and report back to the leader. . . .Or IRL, my editor asked me to go to see a new video game display at a museum. The Museum of London in fact, where I learned that video games are being looked at in an entirely new way.

I met with Laura Jackson, the media officer for the MoL, who walked me through the museum towards the new display they have. As we walked she told me how video games are a bit of a hot topic in the museum world and that a debate has been going on about the inescapable, and now somewhat substantial, world of gaming. How the games are being viewed as collectable acquisitions that are now culturally significant. She then introduced me to the digital curator, Foteini Aravani, who was stood down by the display, a small section with the physical copy’s of the games and information on them and the development and a section of four retro titles being run on emulators. I was very interested by what they both had to say on the subject and found it eye opening that the games world was now being viewed from a historical and cultural viewpoint, not just you and your buddies discussing the best games of all time, but a scholar in a museum saying, yes these are a significant part of our social history and need to be recorded as such and not just a footnote in life, but a whole subjection in human history. Brilliant. Who would have guessed that from the humble beginnings of ‘Pong’ or ‘Zork’ would come record breaking developments that top the world entertainment industries for profit and growth. Deadpool is the biggest ‘R’ rated film in American film history with 135 million Dollars in a three day weekend. Big whoop, GTA V made over 800 million in 24 hours. Some significance there, for sure.


defintely not to be confused with 'Streets of Rage'...vastly different.
Definitely not to be confused with ‘Streets of Rage’…vastly different.


Here is my chat with Foteini about the display now on at the museum of London, it is in the Showspace temporary display and is there until the 28th of April. The London Games festival runs until the 10th of April across venues in London.

TIX –  Hello and thank you for meeting with me Foteini, I was wondering if you could tell me about the display and collection?

Foteini – Yes. This is a new collecting area for the museum and its part of the digital collections. Digital collections are a new area that we started collecting a couple of years ago and encompass all new media. Like digital recordings, films, video’s, social media, photographs and now video games. This area, as every collection in the museum, documents London and tells the story of London in a different way. We wanted to find a more interactive and engaging way to do that, to tell the story, and we thought the immersion value that video games provide is the best way to capture the fluidity of the city. As the city evolves day by day, its a great way to show how the depictions of London change from the very early text based adventures, no visuals or pictures to the very advanced 3D renderings of the city. At the same time we wanted to capture the contribution of Londoners in video game development. So, in this collection we wanted to show the beginnings of games made by Londoners , the 16 year olds in their PJ’s in their bedrooms having just bought the first ZX spectrum and they started programming and where we are today.

TiX – How did the display come about?

Foteini – Showspace, this area here, is a temporary display area where we showcase new acquisitions. This new collecting area is very different in terms of what we are collecting in the museum. Video games have been in the spotlight the last few years when MoMA (Museum of Modern Art in Manhattan) and they began a huge debate in the museum world if video games can be in the same collection as a Picasso or a Monet. Since then the debate has gone on between curators, what are video games? Are they art? Are they not art?  Are they a museum object or artefacts? What are they.

Here at the museum of London, video games are part of the social history collection and is seen as another way to document the history of London. We treat video games as museum objects, we acquire we collect the physical item that becomes part of the collection. As well as this we have started  a research project on the digital preservation of the old video games. How best to preserve a medium that is dying or bout to die. How to we can preserve that in the long term. We are currently experimenting with emulation a lot, using Raspberry Pi’s to run older games and of course, how to display all of this.

werewolves of London, one of the four playable games on show through Raspberry Pi Emulators
Werewolves of London, one of the four playable games on show through Raspberry Pi Emulators

Tix – That’s really interesting to hear from a gamers perspective that video games are now being viewed as a wider and more significant part of society..

Foteini – I have to admit I am not a gamer myself, so I see video games from a completely different perspective and I am really interested in the point of view of the gamer. In my mind and as a cultural institution the museum wants to ensure that the preservation of something which has a very limited life span is done properly. You have to be careful to see what is significant and what isn’t from a cultural perspective, you have two articles which have the same life span, but one may be a hugely significant piece and one may not. For that the perspective of the game players is very important to reflect on the correct collection.

TiX – Is the timing of the display any thing to do with the upcoming London games festival?

Foteini – Yes, (laughs) definitely. The Major of London has announced a three year project on video games. It has a business side to it and a cultural side, every year for the next three years there is to be a London games festival and we at the museum here are part of this. We are hosting and helping organise a cultural summit on video games it takes place here on the 8th of April which we will be speaking at as well. We wanted to bring together cultural institutions to see what they are doing around collecting video games.

We wanted this display to correspond with the festival and we wanted to showcase the new acquisitions alongside. It is also to say ‘this is the beginning’ the real work on the collections from us has been in the last 8 months or so, so its very new to us and is an ongoing collective project within the criteria for us, which is depictions of London and Londoners.

TiX – It really is great to see the recognition of video games from a historical perspective. I’ve had a look around and think the interactive section is my favourite bit, what do enjoy most out of the display?

Foteini –  Well, again, I’m not a gamer but what intrigues me the most is the text based adventure games in the interactive section. They mesmerise me. My favourite is ‘Hampstead’, it was published in 1984 and is in the subject matter of the game is basically a social critique of Thatcherism and the 80’s in England. The point of the game is to climb up the social ladder and attain ‘Hampstead’ which is the well to-do area of the time, the peak of London living. To do it you have to find a good job, find nice clothes marry the right person all in your quest to be accepted and attain Hampstead living. Its interesting historically as the view of Hampstead then and now hasn’t changed much so the social views of the time are reflected in the game. I love the fact that there are no visuals and or images of London, but using your imagination, much like reading a book, this really triggers about this city just through text. It’s also very political and has commentary in the game which is another reflection of the attitudes of the time. Its all very British.

Four classic games for you to try out, i liked werewolves in London, the music was ... Intense in a way only 8 bit sound can be.
Four classic games for you to try out, I liked werewolves in London, the music was … Intense in a way only 8 bit sound can be.

As I mentioned above, I very much enjoyed the talk and to hear about the new perspective on games from the museum. I also had great fun playing on the emulators that they had for the four titles in the display, if you like retro games or just want to know more about London’s contributions and history in game you should pop down, the display is small but nicely put together and the emulators can keep you there for a while. I will now be looking out for the digital collections of other museums to see who and where will also be making a show of video games and there significance. Well, the culture was nice and the people are lovely but ‘The Division’ calls to me and I’m not quite at DZ rank 50 yet, so….. bye.

Oh yeah, Happy gaming!

TiX interviews Neverwinter’s Executive Producer Rob Overmeyer

We were recently invited to interview Rob Overmeyer, Executive Producer on Neverwinter for Xbox One. If you haven’t rolled your character and got stuck into Neverwinter yet, you can read our huge three-part review here: Part 1, Part 2 and finally Part 3.


This is Xbox (TiX): When you aren’t busy working, and you are enjoying free time playing Neverwinter yourself, what race and class are you? Which is your favourite?

Rob Overmeyer (RO): I play all the time! My main is a Halfling GWF currently 2.7k on PC and a Halfling TR climbing the ranks on Xbox. I really like the GWF in group play and while I may not top the DPS charts I have been able to pull out a win in several dungeons after seeing most of the party go down. As for Xbox, although it’s a bit FotM to run a TR as my go to for PvP. I’m not running perma or anything but I like catching a cleric out of position and giving them a surprise. I also like the stealth-battle gameplay that can play out once in a while at a CP. Backcapping to find yourself in a 1v1 with another TR can be a lot of fun.

TiX: Describe to our readers what your role is day-to-day in terms of Neverwinter for Xbox One, including future Xbox One updates and DLC launches.

RO: I am the Executive Producer of Neverwinter PC and Xbox. Most of all my days are pretty busy and when I am not planning future modules and game direction, analyzing the business and looking at what we need to improve in the live game I am playing Neverwinter. My day usually consists of meeting with the team, leads and publishers to get a sense of where we are at and what is up next. I am a pretty hands on EP and I like to be a useful part of the development process. The reality is that I get to work with some great folks on Neverwinter and there is little better on the dev team than brainstorming cool new features and content to get to our fans.

Neverwinter 2

TiX: Were you and the team pleased with how Neverwinter for Xbox One was received?

RO: Yes, we are very excited with how the game has been received and we are even more excited to keep bringing tons of really cool gameplay to our console fans. We did have some struggles in the beginning but we have been improving Neverwinter with each patch.

TiX: The Elder Scrolls Online is now out for console; are you a fan?

RO: I am a fan of the Elder Scrolls, what RPG fan couldn’t be? I think taking the Elder Scrolls online and offering a persistent multiplayer world was a great and logical next step. I have a ton of respect for the team and the work they did to take such a big universe with a fantastic history and fan following and get it online.

Neverwinter 3

TiX: What is it like working alongside Wizards of the Coast?

RO: It is really fantastic to work with WotC. We meet every week and talk about what we are working on and get the business out of the way. It’s more than the normal approval process we get to talk about cool and new things that would be cool to see in our worlds. One of the most exciting things we get to do is go meet up with the designers and world builders at WotC and get a glimpse into what they are working on for the distant future. As a fan and a developer it is really cool to be able to see where the stories are going. WotC is a fantastic partner and we always have a fun time when we get to talking about D&D.

TiX: Had you, prior to working on this, played any tabletop games? If so which ones were they and did you draw any influences from them?

RO: I played D&D but more casually than most of my friends that played. I also played minis and became way more interested in the artistic aspect of table top games. I really got into painting minis of all kinds. Friends would give me boxes of minis and I would paint them. Most of my paints and bits were covered by my friends for painting their figs. I got into all sorts of board games like Betrayal and Zombies and still play them regularly.

TiX: A few outlets and communities have commented on how the Neverwinter console community is pretty mute and none existent. What’s your overall perception of this?

RO: Early on, shortly after launch we noticed the same things. When I would play I would talk in /Zone to get no response to LFG or even giveaways. It turns out there was a bug in chat that hid chat unless you were a friend with someone. We have since fixed that and the game chat is much livelier. It is a shame that we had the chat bug. It really made the game seem much smaller without the chatter. It’s all fixed now and people should give it a try.

Neverwinter 1

TiX: What was the biggest challenge in porting Neverwinter from PC to Xbox One?

RO: Getting the backend working and integrated to Xbox One was a huge amount of work. Sometimes the task exposed bugs that we could fix but it also covered some up. Additionally, the controls were a tough one. We wanted to get them right and feel like we did.

TiX: It was recently announced that there would be five free pieces of DLC coming to Xbox One, including Tyranny of Dragons and Elemental Evil. What can you tell us about these?

RO: Well, it won’t be traditional console DLC. These updates will be 100% free and will download automatically when you log in and patch. Just log in and get new content, classes, level cap increase, rewards and much, much more. Following the Tyranny of Dragons story the Xbox fans can look forward to 3 huge zones with a ton of content and rewards that feature more campaign content. There is also the Elemental Evil expansion that adds a new class in the Paladin, 4 new zones that take the player from 60 to 70 and some truly epic dungeons and encounters.

TiX: How well has the F2P model for Neverwinter gone down with console owners?

RO: It has gone very well. Gamers are fans of games and even bigger fans of good games. Neverwinter is the best free to play MMO on any console. Our fast paced combat feels fantastic on console and is a lot of fun. You can get in and play from start to finish with your friends and never miss out on any content because you don’t have that pack or DLC your friend has. It would be hard not to like that. Going forward I think that our free updates, events and expansions will continue to be well received.

Thanks to Crypcic Games, Perfect World Entertainment and of course Rob Overmeyer for their support.

You can read more about what is to come in Neverwinter: Rise of Tiamat here and watch the trailer below.

Developer Interview: Grip Games and Terrible Posture Games

Tower of Guns was released on Xbox One on the 10th of April, introducing us to the insane spectacle and experience of a bullet-hell, first-person shooter with Rougelike randomisation and permadeath. We enjoyed it, giving it a solid 80% in our review, and we were fortunate enough to have a chat with Grip Games’ Jakub Mikyska who helped bring the title to Xbox One, and Terrible Posture Games’ Joe Mirabello, the one-man team who developed the game.

This is Xbox: What, in your eyes, made Tower of Guns such an attractive title to add to your porting portfolio?

Jakub Mikyska: Everybody loves a good FPS and Tower of Guns was just so unique and different that it immediately managed to stand out. It was also made using the Unreal Engine, which is currently our engine of choice. The reviews were good, the buzz was there, it was an easy decision. And after getting in touch with Joe, we found out that we are on the same wavelength and our cooperation started.

This is Xbox: There’s a lot going on on-screen at any one time in Tower of Guns, making it CPU intensive. Was it challenging optimising the game for Xbox One?

Jakub Mikyska: It certainly proved to be a challenge. We had to do lots of optimizations to make sure the game runs smoothly. Getting to 1080p/60fps was our goal, with switch to 30fps acceptable only in the most extreme situations. Also, on PC occasional drops in frame rate are tolerable, people are used to that, but on consoles, that is a major issues for a lot of people.

We certainly didn’t want to sacrifice the gameplay and the looks. We didn’t want to lower the number of projectiles or enemies, so we took a long time to make it right.

This is Xbox: Were there any other challenges in porting Tower of Guns over to Xbox One?

Jakub Mikyska: Other than the optimizations, the development went pretty smoothly. There are a few pesky bugs that managed to get through our testing, as well as Microsoft’s quality assurance test, but we have already submitted a patch and it should go live in a few days.

This is Xbox: We see you’ve recently revealed Q.U.B.E: Director’s Cut coming to Xbox One later this year. What can you tell us about that title?

Jakub Mikyska: Q.U.B.E: Director’s Cut is another first person game we are releasing this year. It is not a shooter, but a puzzle-platformer. Quite like Portal. You can manipulate the environment using some seriously sci-fi gloves. The Director’s Cut contains all of the previously released DLC and some other improvements for consoles. We plan to release Q.U.B.E. in early summer, so it is not that far away!

This is Xbox: Are there any other titles you’re bringing to Xbox One that you can talk about?

Jakub Mikyska: We’re hoping we will be able to reveal our next project at the E3!

This is Xbox: How terrifying is it to have released a game that was solely put together by you, knowing that any critique rested squarely on your shoulders?

Joe Mirabello: It’s pretty terrifying! While I’m pretty happy with how the game turned out, I’m also the kind of person who could have kept working on the game perpetually forever, and I knew I had to be realistic about what could be achieved by a mostly-solo developer. I knew I was going to be learning a lot of new things and juggling a lot of hats and that there was a good chance I would never finish unless I looked for very pragmatic solutions to problems. Now I think about it, “terrifying” is a good word for the whole experience of solo development, not just for the release.

This is Xbox: What were the benefits and challenges involved in creating Tower of Guns independently on your own?

Joe Mirabello: Some of the challenges are pretty obvious; I had to juggle a lot of different duties and multitask and learn a lot of new technologies, but the most difficult aspect of working alone is that its very easy to second guess yourself. When you work with a team you have a sort of shared ‘confidence’ in a project, and when you’re by yourself that’s replaced only with doubt. I developed a lot of tactics to combat my own dips in morale/motivation. Those tactics involved publicly blogging, tracking my hours, going to tradeshows, participating in events with other indies, being active on my forums and on twitter, regularly sending out early access builds, altering my sleep schedule, developing skills to help break up complex tasks…there’s probably a bunch I’m forgetting about. All of it was an effort just to keep myself moving.

On the flipside, I was able to build anything I wanted. I was able to inject myself into the game to a degree I’ve never done before on any project I’ve worked on–quite literally in some places. I was able to say “what if this game gave you a hundred jumps?” On any other project that sort of proposal would have been shot down immediately (not without reason, mind you) but in the case of Tower of Guns I was able to ask myself those questions early and, as the sole gatekeeper, take the time to build an experience around them. Making a bullet-hell FPS? Making an FPS with an emphasis on verticality? Letting the player get to any place in the map they can see? All of these things directly challenged my training as a more traditional game developer. They were each small experiments in Tower of Guns, some more successful than others, but together they made the experience of building the game a really exciting one.

This is Xbox: Do you miss the triple A development process or does the lone wolf method suit you better?

Joe Mirabello: I actually miss Triple A development a lot. It’s a lot of fun to work on a high-profile project, and by and large the developers in Triple A are great people. You basically inherit whole groups of friends when you start at a new company, and there’s really a sense of working on something bigger than yourself when you’re on a large team.

That said, I’ve enjoyed working on my own thing too. I enjoy the fact that I can make a risky weird first-person shooter that no one else would make. I enjoy feeling empowered, even as a solo developer, by the current state of technology in this industry. I like being able to have authorship over an entire project, start to finish. More so, the indie road is still an unknown road to me. I know what I can do as a member of a big Triple A team; I might part of something amazing, and I would certainly improve more in a singular discipline, but it’s much more of a known road. This indie road is still winding along and taking me to new places, where I meet people I would have never otherwise met, have to challenge myself in ways I could not have imagined, and have to spend a lot more time on airplanes!

Perhaps I won’t remain indie forever, but for now it’s a road I’m very curious to explore, and I’m very very fortunate that Tower of Guns has done well enough to afford me the ability to explore it.

This is Xbox: What’s next for Terrible Posture Games – is there anything on the horizon or an idea you’re eager to work on next?

Joe Mirabello: Oh, I’m always working on something. Making things makes me happy. But I’m not quite yet at the point where I’m ready to share my next project yet.

A big thank you to Joe Mirabello from Terrible Posture Games, and Jakub Mikyska from Grip Games for chatting with us. You can read our review of Tower of Guns here.

The Splatters on XBLA Could Be Heading To Mobiles?


I absolutely loved The Splatters when it was released on the Xbox LIVE Arcade last year, and to be fair it’s had more promotions on the marketplace than most other titles with a Half Price drop and then another deal over the holiday period recently. So there’s really no excuse for not owning this title. Continue reading The Splatters on XBLA Could Be Heading To Mobiles?