PlayStation’s New Home On November 3

PlayStation Home’s relaunch is set to happen on November 3. The major change for the platform is to make Home itself into a game platform, full incorporating many game elements into the game experience.

“This is a major milestone for PlayStation Network, and we are thrilled to bring a new core experience to PlayStation Home where games are front and center,” said PlayStation Home director Jack Buser. “Home’s community is made up of some of the most passionate gamers on PS3, and we’ve listened to their feedback since Home launched in 2008, finally transforming Home itself into a game.  This redesign marks a new beginning for PlayStation Home, and players can expect much more to come.”

Uncharted 3 Linearity Defended

Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception has been praised for raising the bar of cinematic gameplay, but has been criticized in some quarters for being too linear. Naughty Dog creative director Amy Hennig says the linearity was key for the sort of game Naughty Dog is making.

“That’s not really our genre. We like those kind of games, as players and fans of other games, but for the action-adventure – especially the pulp-adventure genre – that doesn’t really make sense,” said Hennig. “It’s about having a very clear, linear story arc that doesn’t allow for a lot of the dilution that is created by player choice in some cases. We always call it ‘wide linear’ – within the path that we give, you have a lot of choice within it, it’s not just hit this button, and this button, and this button. But we need that authorial control over the story to do what we’re doing.”

Source: Gametrailers

Capcom Talks ‘Different Viewpoint’ For DmC

DmC: Devil May Cry is the latest chapter in the “stylish action” series, and is notably the first to be developed outside of Japan. This has resulted in a naturally different product, though its still important to maintain a balance between old and new fans of the series, along with Japanese and Western sentiments.

“The theme with this DMC is ‘rebirth,'” said Motohide Eshiro, Capcom producer to Famitsu magazine. “We want to make a new Devil May Cry that still retains and takes advantage of the current game world, and I thought it’d be best to leave that task to a team that understood what makes DMC fun while being able to approach it from a different viewpoint than a Japanese outfit. Ninja Theory has a great deal of talent when it comes to visuals, and I figured that combining that with Capcom’s action-game experience would give us that new game we’re looking for.”

“We had Ninja Theory think about what Dante would look like if he was ‘cool’ from an overseas perspective. He has to be appealing to Japanese people as well, though, so the current design is the result of several rounds of fine-tuning,” said Eshiro, adding, “It’s a major challenge we’ve undertaken. It’s a different team and so naturally it’ll be a different game from before, but the entire team is working hard to ensure the play feel is the same. It’s a brand-new DMC born from the DNA of the rest of the series.”

Source: 1UP

Zynga Byproduct Of EA, Blizzard Not Stepping In, Says Richard Garriott

Blizzard has reached new levels of success with World of Warcraft, but there are new challengers in the free-to-play realm. Richard Garriott thinks that his company Portalarium can challenge the Blizzards of the world, noting that Zynga has become a threat to them.

“The only reason Zynga exists is because people like EA, people like Blizzard, failed to step in,” said Garriott, adding of social games, “Right now, where those worlds seem very distinct, and very separate, and very noncompetitive, they’re targeting completely different users – I think within a few years, you’ll see that’s not really the case. I think you’ll see that the quality level that comes up through the casual games will rival the quality of traditional massively multiplayer games and then, because it’s not something you have to subscribe to, because it’s something that virally spreads, and especially because, as people churn out of a big MMO they’ve got to go somewhere. And if you’re a company that does only one big MMO, odds are they’re churning out for somebody else.”

“The only reason I left EA is because EA didn’t want to make MMOs,” he added. “I started again with a company called Destination Games, and we sold it to NCsoft. The only reason I left NCsoft – or, more complexly, the only reason a whole group of us left NCsoft- was because we started a casual gaming portal called PlayNC. We had built a whole suite of products for it and NCsoft said, ‘You know. We’re making so much money on MMOs, we don’t really believe in this casual stuff.’ So we all split off to form Portalarium. That’s the only reason that I’ve switched, and more importantly, the people who are at the big companies of a previous era very commonly miss these shifts. The only reason NCSoft exists is because the big solo player gaming companies failed to fill the gap once MMOs were discovered. None of them had the faith enough to continue it and allow new players to step in.”

“The only reason Zynga exists is because people like EA, people like Blizzard, failed to step in,” Garriott theorized. “And so each of these major upheavals allows new, major corporations to come in and fill that space, which I think is to the great detriment, and then leaves the big companies of the previous iteration actually trying to catch up. And so I think that the challenge for Blizzard, when you are that good, when you’re making that much money, when you’re that much on top of your game, in the current era, it’s actually fairly difficult to spend money towards things that seem to not be as profitable, that people don’t understand as well and that you don’t imagine could possibly beat how well you’re doing at the top of your game in the current era. And so that I think is a risk for anyone, including Blizzard, that they will elect not to tackle that one, because they don’t see that it’s important and relevant.”

Source: IndustryGamers

Phoenix Wright Movie In Production

Phoenix Wright has been confirmed as a movie, and no it won’t be animated, it will be live action. The Japanese production will star Hiroki Narimiya as Ryuichi Naruhodo (the Japanese name of Phoenix Wright).

The director of the film will be Takashi Miike, who also did Audition, Ichi the Killer, One Missed Call, and 13 Assassins among many, many other films. CG will be used to emphasize all of the series over-the-top legal moments.


Guillermo Del Toro Praises Games As ‘Brilliantly-Done Storytelling’

Irrational Studio Head Ken Levine recently spoke with director Guillermo del Toro. Right now, del Toro is working on his own game Insane with THQ, stating that they’re a wonderful expressive art and that directors who create games without respecting the medium are setting themselves up for failure.

“Video games are no doubt the bridge to the future of genre narrative,” said del Toro.  “You’re not going to see the narratives of, let’s say, a [Pedro] Almodovar or an indie film maker wane; they’re going to stay, but big, genre, artistically-challenging, brilliantly-done storytelling.   Holy shit, there’s a lot you can do in games that you’d never even dream of doing in movies, or TV, or comics. Films are fantastic. They are one of the peaks of human narrative. Now, and I’m sorry to break the news to the movie industry, but so is the video game.”

“It’s not a medium where you are going to wander if you’re just an interested observer,” he added. “You have to be a gamer to completely absorb the possibility of narrative in games with their own f***ing set of rules. The mistake you have many times is you have a filmmaker who says ‘oh there’s money in video games, I’m going to go make a video game’. No. You need to truly have a passion, and even a layman understanding of the medium or you will be completely pummeled by the process.”


Turtle Beach Hires Bob Picunko As CMO

Turtle Beach has announced that they have appointed Bob Picunko as Chief Marketing Officer. His prior experience is in marketing, product development, business development, licensing as with companies like MTV Networks, The Walt Disney Company, Interplay Entertainment, Acclaim Entertainment and DDB Worldwide Advertising.

“Bob is a dynamic addition to Turtle Beach,” said Carmine Bonanno, Chief Executive Officer of Turtle Beach. “He has a track record of success and innovation in the industry, strong relationships with key partners and a keen understanding of both our market and consumers.”

“Audio is a really critical part of the video game experience,” said Picunko. “Through my work on successful titles like Kingdom Hearts, Rock Band, and Dance Central, I understand how much effort the developer puts into game audio. It is very exciting to be a part of a company where the mission is to assure that players experience games the way the creators intended.”

Talking Friends Downloaded 225 Million Times

Outfit7, publisher of games like Firefly Hero and House Of Mice, have announced that the range of Talking Friends apps have seen 225 million downloads. They note that 51 percent of users have purchased two or more games from the series, while 20 percent have downloaded at least four, with 60 million monthly active users.

“These numbers are getting us into a very different stage and kind of company,” said Outfit7’s executive chairman Narry Singh. “Our users’ lives are obviously not just on the smartphone.”

Outift7 signed up with talent agency William Morris Entertainment in June with expectations to expand the brand to TV and movie markets. “We fundamentally believe that for the next Harry Potter . . . the likelihood of it coming from the mobile market will be much higher than traditional ways,” noted Singh.

Source: VentureBeat

Angry Birds Pirated In China, Rovio Not That Upset

Angry Birds is one of the hottest properties in China, but much of the product available in that nation aren’t officially licensed. Rovio CEO Peter Vesterbacka came on stage at the Disrupt conference in Beijing with non-licensed Angry Birds balloons that he purchased on the street to demonstrate a point.

“There are a lot of Angry Birds products out there, but most of them aren’t officially licensed,” he said. “Angry Birds is now the most copied brand in China, and we get a lot of inspiration from local producers.”

“Right now, we’ve proven that there’s demand, and we’re going for 100 million downloads this year for Angry Birds, and again the same demand for the physical products,” he added. “The way we look at it is, of course we want to sell the officially licensed, good quality products, but at the same time we have to be happy about the fact that the brand is so loved that it is the most copied brand in China.”

“It’s great for us to see the demand, and that’s why we’re building our own stores here,” he noted. “And actually we’re building our first stores here, and not in Helsinki… We hope to have quite a few over the next 12 months. We actually expect to do a lot of services, a lot of products, here first. It’s a different approach to some of our competitors. We want to be more Chinese than the Chinese companies.”

Fast approaching a half-million downloads globally, Vesterbacka bragged that Angry Birds is the “the fastest growing brand ever.” Despite demand for a feature films, he still pegs it as two to three years out, and isn’t sure that theaters will be the right market for it.

“Who knows if they will even hit the theaters, because distribution on the movie side is changing. Right now, we have pretty massive distribution power through our game,” said Vesterbacka. “We probably have more distribution power than any of the Hollywood studios.”