We look over the first 50 issues of Develop

Develop hits 100: 1 to 50

It’s been nine years since Develop’s first copy left the printers. Not afraid to blow our own trumpets just this once, we look back over the first 50 issues of Develop, in the opening chapter of a two-part retrospective of 100 glorious covers.

Issue 1 – December 2000

Starting in style as always, we had Kuju’s Ian Baverstock writing that the small studios undercutting their rivals were going to kill Britsoft. Elsewhere, Nokia evangelised WAP, and the topic of pub ‘roundtable’ discussion was the difficulty of PS2. If only they’d known.

Issue 2 – January 2001

Our first look at development’s up-and-coming talent featured names like Media Molecule co-founder Alex Evans (and a few who are now AFK). Also, Ed Daly argued against Ian Baverstock’s previous editorial and there was even more waffle about WAP. Like, get a room.

Issue 3 – February 2001

A controversial cover story examined the ‘over-financed’ French, Brian Jobling attempted to soothe the dev/pub divide, the Develop pub discussion tackled the Game Boy Advance. Plus we ran our first ever project management software guide. Start as we mean to go on, eh?

Issue 4 – March 2001

This issue asked whether the development gamble was working, International Hobo’s Chris Bateman wrote Develop’s first article on outsourcing, and physics made its assault on games. Oh, and Motorola held another conference about WAP. Seriously? Enough.

Issue 5 – April 2001

‘Digital distribution will change everything,’ our cover proclaimed – something most of us are still waiting to happen. There was also sage advice for dealing with PS2 development, plus a round-up of studio websites, including Lionhead’s brilliant GeoCities look-a-like.

Issue 6 – May 2001

Not content with stirring up a hornet’s nest in issue three, this time it was America’s turn to have its dev dominance examined. Most importantly, this was the first issue without Billie Piper present for the roundtable, this time replaced by Vanessa Paradis. Sob.

Issue 7 – June 2001

Develop’s first ever article on education, and the quotes are the same now as they were then: ‘Not enough maths and physics, but Abertay, Teesside and Bournemouth are excellent.’ There was also advice for those looking to target the growing female gamer market.

Issue 8 – July 2001

‘Why publishers have messed up the business of making games,’ read this issue’s strapline. Gulp. Elsewhere Fable maestro Dene Carter talked about the unveiling of the then-named Project Ego, and Richard Jacques wrote about making game scores more cinematic.

Issue 9 – August 2001

A whopping special feature delved into the murky world of financing outside of going cap in hand to a publisher (notice a theme?). Also, Sony talked up its internet plans at DevStation – no comment – and we ran a really gratuitous picture of girls kissing.

Issue 10 – September 2001

Always happy to push back the taste barrier, this feature on sex in games featured some, er, quite choice imagery. Madonna made her second appearance in the Develop pub discussion, while Byronicman lamented the MIA status of many Britsoft founders.

Issue 11 – October 2001

We looked at the rise of Eastern European developers, Cliff Bleszinski worried about the design challenges real-time physics would bring, and the pub chat focused on the thorny question of game content in the short-term aftermath of September 11th.

Issue 12 – November 2001

The spotlight fell this month on the success of Australian developers – Infrogrames was planning to pump AUS $50m (about 30p, right?) into the territory. Meanwhile, Elixir’s Alex Whitaker argued that programmers shouldn’t be the ones designing AI – still a good point.

Issue 13 – January 2002

Any excuse to get a girl on the cover. Here we looked at how ‘style’ was leapfrogging technology to become the new over-riding force of game art in games like Broken Sword 4, Viewtiful Joe and XIII. Meanwhile Blitz wrote about developing killer in-house tools.

Issue 14 – February 2002

We looked at the importance of IP, plus long-time reader and quote machine Seamus Blackley finally got a proper interview. Charles Cecil also talked up set-top box gaming. Forget the Wii and iTV; remote-controlled gaming peaked with Bamboozle! on Teletext.

Issue 15 – March 2002

The failings of games writing and linear storytelling played a part in this issue, and Peter Molyneux also had his first interview, in which he stated – with no speculation – that Dmitri would be out in 2005. Some kids just really don’t want to come out, huh.

Issue 16 – April 2002

About time too: finally the burgeoning development scene in the North got to step into the Develop spotlight. Also, Yuji Naka told us how ‘angry’ he was at naughty gamers ‘destroying’ Phantasy Star Online, and Harry Gregson-Williams talked scoring MGS2.

Issue 17 – May 2002

The ultimate guide to selling out – we mean, er, up – dominated our cover, while Martyn Brown warned that developers needed to grow up and accept that bedroom development was dead. We also took a look at natural language processing and what it could bring to games.

Issue 18 – June 2002

This issue’s cover feature looked at how game development ran on brotherly love, such as the Darlings, the Pickfords, the Joblings, the Carters, the Simpsons, the Olivers, the Falcuses, the Kinglseys, the Gollops, the Stampers, the Heath-Smiths, the Collyers…

Issue 19 – July 2002

Introversion’s Chris Delay introduced us to the indie upstarts fresh from their success with Uplink, Seamus Blackley began his monthly column of irreverence with a tirade against E3, and we relocated the Develop pub to the US for an Uncle Sam-themed chew of the fat.

Issue 20 – August 2002

In this writer’s humble opinion one of Develop’s best ever features, a young Ben Cousins – then of BC developer Intrepid – wondered if there already existed a standard language for game design. The data is still worth investigating for anyone designing control systems.

Issue 21 – September 2002

A controversial cover story argued that developers would be more successful if they focused on cashflow as much as polygons, while Eutechnyx’s Kev Shaw wrote pointlessly about how games should be pointless, and DirectX 9 changed graphics programming forever.

Issue 22 – October 2002

Rebellion’s Chris Kingsley lead a gang of top developers to gush on how amazing it was to work on licensed games. And not a restriction on creativity. At all. Honest. No, really. We also spoke to the Stampers after Microsoft’s huge cash-spunk to buy Rare.

Issue 23 – Nov/dec 2002

It was Dundee’s turn to fall under the Develop sector microscope, including the then-still-young Realtime Worlds. Elsewhere, it was a pretty dry issue: a discussion about asset management, programming tools, and a slightly racist advert on the back page.

Issue 24 – January 2003

Another controversial cover saw Kevin Buckner (who?) of Design Games (who?) tell readers that they were ‘wasting half of their working days’. Zed Two also sold out to Warthog, which ended up coming back to bite them, and Game Connection ran for the first time.

Issue 25 – February 2003

Bullfrog co-founder and super investment daddy Les Edgar warned that the next 18 months were going to be difficult for British independent studios. Game writer Susan O’Connor discussed how to appeal to women, and there was a nice picture of a cat. Aaaaw.

Issue 26 – March 2003

Warthog director Ian Grieve and Dene Carter ended up scrapping over licensed vs. original games, Develop favourite Martin Hollis called voilence ‘fascinating’, and an empassioned editorial defended the N-Gage from early criticism. 
Oh Owain, Owain…

Issue 27 – April 2003

Another quite glum cover highlighted the worsening conditions facing developers, although the news pages were filled with publishers looking for product. Recruitment was a timely focus, and a dude from Xbox told us why voice chat was, like, so super rad.

Issue 28 – May 2003

Final Fantasy movie worker bee Kevin Bjorke told us how games were going to ape the cinematic touches of Hollywood, Ubisoft boss Yves Guillemot said that developers weren’t investing enough in their staff, and Seamus Blackley developed a conscience, of all things.

Issue 29 – June 2003

Ubisoft: 1,287 development staff and no blubber. So went our headline, which took a look at the nu-French Empire. And this was all pre-Montreal takeover. Elsewhere John Riccitiello got a bit shirty with us, and we looked at best practice for asset repeating in games.

Issue 30 – July 2003

The finalists for the very first Develop Awards were profiled in an arty cover, while Game Republic talked about its formation. Meanwhile, neon-haired ninja Tameem Antonaides discussed adaptive difficulty balancing in the awesome Kung Fu Chaos.

Issue 31 – August 2003

Any excuse to get a girl on the cover. Here we looked at how ‘style’ was leapfrogging technology to become the new over-riding force of game art in games like Broken Sword 4, Viewtiful Joe and XIII. Meanwhile Blitz wrote about developing killer in-house tools.

Issue 32 – September 2003

In the aftermath of the first Develop Awards, we went coverage crazy. Speaking of crazy, we awarded of the Grand Prix award to Climax, but hey, I’m not judging (and clearly neither were they). Elsewhere in this slow month: four pages from lawyers and two on copy-protection. Hmm.

Issue 33 – October 2003

Former Develop technology editor Jon Jordan, he of various clashing hair and nail polish fame, travelled to Seattle to talk to Gabe Newell about the (then-controversial) release of Steam. Elsewhere, the Creative Assembly got Total War on the BBC. Back on form.

Issue 34 – Nov/Dec 2003

Ah, a positive cover to break the gloom: apparently, while more indie studios were closing by the day, big devs were ramping up significantly. Meanwhile, EA’s music bod Steve Schnur talked about wanting to break catsuit wonders The Darkness in the US. Weirdly.

Issue 35 – January 2004

The first ever Develop survey asked 100 developers about the issues affecting them. Only three per cent saw Canada as a threat to UK dev jobs, and the majority thought 360/PS3 teams would peak at 50 people. They must be kicking themselves now.

Issue 36 – February 2004

Jeremy Heath-Smith told us why he left the Eidos boardroom to start Circle Studios (that went well, eh?) and shared pitch horror stories from the publisher’s side. Meanwhile, Byronicman lamented the poor success of Ubisoft’s Prince of Persia and Beyond Good and Evil.

Issue 37 – March 2004

The unhealthy crunch habits of the games industry were the subject of Develop’s steely glare, something we’d return to regularly with our crusading hat on. Elsewhere there was a spotlight on the Russian game biz and its yearly development conference KRI.

Issue 38 – April 2004

Our first ever audio-focused cover spoke to composer James Hannigan, while Microsoft unveiled XNA – although, obviously, they wouldn’t know what it was themselves for a good two years yet, let alone the rest of us. Best Edge cover ever, that one.

Issue 39 – May 2004

“Will 3D mobile hit the jackpot?” screamed the cover. “No,” we reply, smug in our 2009 hindsight. “Not until the iPhone it won’t, but even then the lack of physical controls will pretty much destroy any possibility of responsive input.” A shuffle of feet. “I was only asking :(“

Issue 40 – June 2004

Inon Zur and Bungie’s audio deity Marty O’Donnell jammed over game music in the Develop Session, Epic unveiled the still-snazzy Unreal Engine 3 (shame that one didn’t catch on, eh?) and Byronicman left us. Well, left us the first time. Well, he was kind of pushed, I guess.

Issue 41 – July 2004

There’s nothing that the games development industry loves more than event fights: Gamescom vs. Leipzig, London Games Festival vs. GameCity, and here GDC Europe versus the European Developers Forum. Neither survived (in the UK, anyway). Develop wins!

Issue 42 – August 2004

Another slightly weird Develop Awards themed cover here. Former Edge editor Joao Diniz Sanches joined Develop as features editor after the spectacular staff walkout of 2004. Walkout of Edge, that is – not Develop. We’re too lazy, plus we have absolutely no morals.

Issue 43 – September 2004

Sega turned its eyes to European developers and we, in turn, turned our eyes to them. (They call that eye contact.) Elsewhere, developers reacted to EA’s purchase of Renderware – now seen as pretty much the worst move for everyone involved in that deal, really.

Issue 44 – October 2004

Awww. Our first Peter Molyneux cover – and, given the complaints we got over the most recent one, probably our best. There was much more celebration of our awards, once again hosted by Channel 4 news robot Krishnan Guru-Murthy. We’d have preferred Jon Snow.

Issue 45 – Nov/Dec 2004

Jonathan Smith from Giant/TT/Traveller’s Tales (oh, I give up) talks about getting that Lego licence – really not going anywhere, that one – and we looked at the growing trend of multi-site distributed development. And, er, not a whole lot more, really. Sorry about that.

Issue 46 – January 2005

Uh-oh! Everyone was scared of going under. “Will you survive ‘05?” the cover screamed. Those who presumably answered ‘no’ included: Hunter S. Thompson, Pope John Paul II, Mo Mowlam, Ronnie Barker, George Best and, er, Singapore’s president Wee Kim Wee. Titter.

Issue 47 – February 2005

Ubisoft’s creative superman Michel Ancel discussed targeting the mainstream with his game adaptation of King Kong, and we had our first ever Brighton special. Here’s a fun game: compare these pictures with those in issue 85, and see life take its toll.

Issue 48 – March 2005

If it’s any consolation, we can’t even quite believe we put Marc Ecko on the cover, either. Inside, and totally separate (obviously) was the ‘top 25 businessmen in games development’ which, er, included some real strange picks. Oh well. Opinions, arseholes, etc.

Issue 49 – April 2005

This issue looked at how the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 would change development, and predicted a split into two camps: those devs that will ally themselves to one publisher and those that would make bits of games instead of whole products.

Issue 50 – May 2005

Hooray! We’re halfway there. In this landmark issue we did pretty much what I’m doing here (What, crying and reeking of gin? – Ed.) PhysX made its first uneven steps to market, and we also looked once again to Hollywood, and launched the very first Develop 100.

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