Social/Mobile Game Studio Founded By ‘de Blob’ Developers

A new game developer Twiitch, specializing in social and casual games, will launch its first Chillingo published title Coco Loco on March 8. The Australian developer was founded by veterans of THQ-owned Blue Tongue where they made de Blob, but CTO Shane Stevens and GM Steven Spagnolo left in 2010 to found Twiitch.

“The time was right. We watched the market very closely for the six years following our sale of Blue Tongue, basically not trusting where it was all going,” said Stevens. “Multi-year development cycles costing tens of millions of dollars just weren’t sustainable for all but a few. The release of the iPhone and the explosion of Facebook caused a strategic, permanent shift towards the casual market, and that’s where we wanted to be.”

“After six years, we could see the writing was on the wall for $30 million budget games, and wanted to start a fresh new company focusing our sharp technical skill on games which could appeal to the masses, on devices everyone has in their pocket,” he concluded.

Source: The Age

Journey Sets Out March 13, 2012

Jenova Chen Creative Director at thatgamecompany has confirmed that Journey is complete. The game will release March 13, 2012 for $14.99.

“Three years ago, our last game, Flower, was part of the Spring Fever event on PSN, and this year Journey will kick off this year’s Spring Fever,” said Chen. “Look for more information on the highlight games and sales of this year’s Spring Fever event on the PlayStation.Blog in the coming weeks.”

Source: PlayStation Blog

Zynga Talks Technology With zCloud

Zynga has shifted from having 80 percent of its games hosted on Amazon Web Services and 20 percent on their own servers, to 80 percent on their own zCloud and 20 percent on Amazon Web Services. Allan Leinwand, CTO of Zynga, indicates that this is a key part of the company’s success.

“We need to make our games accessible to millions of players, which requires an amazing amount of infrastructure,” said Leinwand. “We started by setting up our own servers, but back in 2009 FarmVille became wildly successful. In the first six weeks it went from 0 users to over 10 million daily users. That was a ramp that took a lot of people by surprise.”

“Social gaming is something that can take off quickly; FarmVille hit 25 million DAU in five months,” noted Leinwand. “We realized we couldn’t continue to scale up an infrastructure at that pace. So we ended up leveraging public cloud, specifically Amazon Web Services. We used the public cloud’s flexibility to really grow our games. In 2009 and through the middle of 2010, we would launch games in AWS and scale them up there. We had our private data centers and Amazon’s centers. Over the course of 2010 we started to change that, and grow a private cloud we called zCloud. We were really the first people to build a hybrid public-private cloud. We continued to build out zCloud over the course of 2011. zCloud feels a lot like Amazon Web Services.”

Source: IndustryGamers {link no longer active}

Sony Denies Mass PS Vita Project Cancellations

Reports are out of Japan that numerous developers are canceling their projects on the PS Vita and switching them over to the 3DS. Scott Rohde, Sony’s senior vice president of Worldwide Studios, has denied the veracity of those reports.

“I did not see that quote, but you see extremist quotes like that all the time,” said Rohde. “I mean, obviously, there is no way anyone could stand in front of a camera and say that all developers are changing focus from one platform to another, no matter what it is.”

“[It’s] largely exaggerated,” added Rohde. “I know many, many, many third party developers and publishers are feverishly working on Vita titles, not just for now, but for the foreseeable future.”

Source: Gamasutra

Linden Lab Loves LittleTextPeople

Linden Lab, the company behind Second Life, has acquired the game development studio LittleTextPeople. The company was founded by Emily Short and Richard Evans and their technology is designed to model individuals and social interactions, which will be the basis of “several new standalone products” in 2012.

“LittleTextPeople brings a depth and breadth of AI and interactive story development expertise that is a great fit for Linden Lab as we launch multiple new products,” said Linden Lab CEO Rod Humble. “The result of this investment will be a new type of digital entertainment that modernizes the novel as a shared storytelling experience.”

Prototype 2 Collector’s Edition Details

Radical Entertainment has confirmed the Prototype 2 Blackwatch Collector’s Edition. Coming April 24, 2012, the Blackwatch Collector’s Edition will retail for $79.99 on both PS3 and Xbox 360 and will contain the Radnet Edition content, the Colossal Mayhem DLC pack, the soundtrack CD, a hardbound art book, the digital comic Prototype: The Labyrinth and a 20 percent discount voucher at the Prototype merchandise store.

“When we initially began discussing the idea of creating a collector’s edition for Prototype 2, we knew right off the bat that it would have to be something special for our most hardcore fans – the ones who finished the original game multiple times; those who constantly debate whether Mercer or Heller is the more badass character; the ones who are eagerly waiting to jump in feet first and experience all that Prototype 2 has to offer,” said Ken Rosman, Studio Head, Radical Entertainment.  “To indulge this audience, our Blackwatch Collector’s Edition not only contains our recently announced Radnet content, but also includes our first paid DLC pack – Colossal Mayhem – due out in May, plus a voucher code to download Dark Horse’s third and final Prototype 2 comic – The Labyrinth, as well as our amazing game soundtrack and art book, and 20 percent off at the Prototype merchandise store where you can pick from an assortment of Prototype 2 themed swag – all the accoutrements any hardcore P2 fan could want!”

Unreal Demo Samaritan Required 10 Times The Power Of Xbox 360

Epic Games’ CEO Tim Sweeney recently commented that the tech demo called Samaritan required 2.5 terraflops of processing power to run. To contrast, that’s ten times more power than the Xbox 360 has, which is capable of .25 teraflops.

While the demo was running on an advanced version of Unreal Engine 3, it is believed to be demonstrative of what the Unreal Engine 4 will be able to produce. Epic will show off the Unreal Engine 4 in 2012 and fully launch the tech in 2014.

Source: Develop {link no longer active}

Skyrim: Why You Can See Morrowind and Cyrodiil

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is a vast game to explore and has area that is even vaster to look at. Players have noticed that Morrowind’s Solstheim and Vvardfell as well as Cyrodiil’s Imperial City (from the previous two Elder Scrolls games) are visible in the game as well.

Some speculated that their inclusion was a prelude to to future DLC. However, according to Bethsoft’s Todd Howard, for now “the story is they are there.”

“The reason they are there – and I will not say if we are or are not using them in the future – is when we first built the landmass for Skyrim we knew we were going to have these tall mountains,” said Howard. “And what can you see see We have views early in the project where you can see into the [neighboring] province from the other game. We needed to have something [there].”

“It’s not high detail,” he acknowledged. “If you walk there, from a distance it’s…yeah, the stuff is there. And the thinking is, maybe we’ll use it one day, but our larger worry was, I’m going to climb up on top of a mountain and look that way: what will I be able to see there We try to cover all those angles as much as we can.”

That’s not a denial of future DLC, but for now it’s mere speculation about the many directions that Bethsoft could go with the game.

Source: Kotaku