Resident Evil 6 Announcement Used To Elevate Franchise

Capcom announced Resident Evil 6 right around the time that Resident Evil: Revelations and Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City, were coming out. When asked about it, Capcom senior vice president Christian Svensson confirmed that it was a strategy to elevate the franchise.

“We thought it would actually raise the awareness of all things Resident Evil, and as it turns out it did,” said Svensson. “Our pre-orders for Revelations and Raccoon City were both helped on an upward spike with the announcement of Resident Evil 6. The pre-orders for Resident Evil 6 are off to a fantastic start. The best start a Resident Evil game has ever had.”

When asked about the November 20 release date, Svensson said, “We’re saying, ‘Get the hell out of the way.’ We’re a big game. We’re letting you know we’re coming. We’re giving people plenty of room to move around us. The other part is the nuts and bolts of it. If we put our stake in the ground, we can start lining up retail channel promotions, etc.”

Source: GameInformer

Walking Dead Social Game Shambling Down The Road In April

AMC and RockYou have announced that they are launching a Facebook game based around The Walking Dead Social Game series. The story-based social game will have you scavenging resources and establishing camps with other survivors.

“AMC’s The Walking Dead Social Game is a next generation game for social networks,” said Stephen Griffin, CEO of Eyes Wide Games, which is developing the game with AMC and RockYou. “It’s got deep playability. It’s got drama, and it’s still approachable for the casual audience. However, if you’re a gamer and you’ve been looking for a deeper game to play and to experience on social networks then this is it.”

To find out more, check out a preview of the game on its Facebook page.

Minefold Offers Different Sort Of Server Hosting

Minefold has announced that it will be offering a new service to create servers for their favorite multiplayer titles. Players can create a new server for $5 a month, with each player paying for their usage of the service separately, rather than being controlled by a single admin.

Currently the focus is on Minecraft, and a soft launch has seen over 6,000 hours of Minecraft played on their servers. Features of Minefold include full server maps, analytic data, and the ability for other users to clone popular Minecraft maps with a few clicks, with fully-interactive server maps that allow people to zoom in-and-out of a map to check out the server’s latest creations.

Source: TechCrunch

Groupon Poaches Zynga Executive

Curtis Lee has been hired by Groupon as its new VP of consumer products. The now former director of product management for Zynga will oversee consumer-facing products for the daily deals company.

Zynga has seen the recent departure of ad chief Manny Anekal earlier this month, and lead designer Michael McCormick in February, now compounded by the loss of the man who laid the foundation for Zynga’s virtual goods and currency sales. Zynga hasn’t been passive while these executives leave, hiring people like Barry Cottle from EA, who is now its EVP of business and corporate development.

Source: TechCrunch

Mass Effect 3: BioWare Comments On Ending, Fan Feedback

Mass Effect 3 has been widely praised by critics upon its release, but there have still been vocal fans that have voiced their concerns about various aspects. One of the first things that some fans criticized was the DLC available on day-one, though Casey Hudson, the Executive Producer and Director Mass Effect, diffused the issue.

“I think a lot of the common sense is prevailing,” said Hudson. “Initially, it was spun in a direction that suggested that we had taken the lore out of Mass Effect 3 and were holding it inside the DLC only, which now the people who actually have played Mass Effect 3 and the DLC they know that that’s not true. So that fear was set aside and, ultimately, I think people get it now. They get the fact that sometimes the way that things work in game development isn’t known very well by a lot of people, so there’s an opportunity for misunderstanding, including the fact that as a multi-studio team and company, we have many projects that are ongoing. When we finish a game, we finish it many months before it actually hits the shelves and that team goes on to work on something else that in those intervening months represent millions of dollars of development time, which either goes towards the next game that you might not see for several years, or a different game that they might go to work on like Dragon Age or the Old Republic. We work on all these different things.”

“So in this case, we chose to work on a DLC which people really enjoyed for Mass Effect 2 and we also wanted to make sure that people had it as an opportunity to build it into their first play-through if they wanted that as an optional thing,” he added. “That’s what they did and now that people have played it they can see that, yes, it was optional versus the way it was initially spun by some people on the Internet.”

One of the most controversial aspects post-launch is the ending, and Hudson said of the game’s ending, “I didn’t want the game to be forgettable, and even right down to the sort of polarizing reaction that the endings have had with people–debating what the endings mean and what’s going to happen next, and what situation are the characters left in,” he said. “That to me is part of what’s exciting about this story. There has always been a little bit of mystery there and a little bit of interpretation, and it’s a story that people can talk about after the fact.”

When asked if BioWare pays attention to fan feedback, Hudson says, “Oh, we pay very close attention to it. It’s very important to us and we will always listen to feedback, interpret it and try and do the right thing by our fans. That’s why if you look at Mass Effect 2 we knew that people wanted to spend more time with a character like Liara, and so we created an ongoing storyline with her as part of the comics and then built it into the DLC stuff, and we’re always listening to fans. We have some really great multiplayer content and some really great single-player content coming over the air, and their feedback will become part of how we design that.”

“It’s very important to us because as a game designer, you and a small group of other people design a game–and everything that you have and everything that you know–to make it as good as possible. But that opinion really pales in comparison to the opinions of millions of people that actually play it under the intended conditions, buying the game, wanting to enjoy it as a piece of entertainment, and then providing their honest feedback,” he continued. “That’s where we learn a lot as game designers and artists and developers–really listening and really trying to analyze what’s behind a lot of the feedback that we get and convert that into a new set of principles that we carry forward into each game. So it has everything to do with finding a really good balance between action and role-playing systems that we did for Mass Effect 3, or even deciding which characters we really want to feature strongly, or what we want to do with those characters.”

When asked for an example of fan feedback informing the game design, he said, “Some of the characters in the Mass Effect series were never intended originally to be potential love interests — characters like Garrus or Tali who are quite alien. From the outset, we didn’t envision them as characters that people would want to have a romance with. And yet they were successful as characters, and so popular amongst a lot of people that people really wanted to develop a relationship with them, so we integrated that from Mass Effect 2 and it’s become a big part of the series.”

Source: Digital Trends

Diablo III — Hell Invades May 15

Blizzard has confirmed that Diablo III will be release on May 15 in most major markets, with a Latin America and Russia launch coming June 7. The game will be offered for free to World of Warcraft annual pass subscribers.

“After many years of hard work by our development team and months of beta testing by hundreds of thousands of dedicated players around the world, we’re now in the homestretch,” said Mike Morhaime, CEO and co-founder of Blizzard Entertainment. “We look forward to putting the final polish on Diablo III over the next two months and delivering the ultimate action-RPG experience to gamers worldwide starting on May 15.”

Diablo III is being offered for $59.99 when it releases. There will also be a Collector’s Edition that will be $99.99 that will include a behind-the-scenes Blu-ray/DVD two-disc set, the Diablo III soundtrack CD, a 208-page Art of Diablo III book, and a 4 GB USB soulstone (with full versions of Diablo II and Diablo II: Lord of Destruction) and Diablo skull base, and exclusive in-game content for Diablo III, World of Warcraft, and StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty.

Ys Series Coming To Steam From Xseed

Xseed Games has announced that they are bringing their first titles to Steam. They are bringing the Ys: The Oath in Felghana and Ys Origin, both from Japanese developer Nihon Falcom to PC on Steam.

“People have been asking for Falcom’s great catalog of PC games to be officially made available in English for a long time,” said Jun Iwasaki, President of Xseed Games. “To start our new publishing arrangement on Steam with two standout entries from Falcom’s action-based Ys series, one of which has never been made available in English before, is an ideal situation for us, and we are excited about the future possibilities.”

Ys: The Oath in Felghana will launch on 3/19 at a price of $14.99. More details on the launch of Ys Origin will be provided at a later time.

Hulu Looks Towards Original Series, Global Distribution

Hulu is working with FremantleMedia Enterprises on a first-look deal. FremantleMedia will get first crack at selling Hulu originals in markets across the world, on TV and on the Web.

Starting off this deal will be original documentary series A Day In The Life. The Morgan Spurlock-produced series will look to find a global audience for the chronicles of 24 hours in the life of ultra-famous names, like Richard Branson.

Hulu’s content tends to be geo-blocked, meaning that users outside of the U.S. can’t view the the videos on the site. However, Hulu is looking for content beyond network TV, and is making its own original series.

“We are always aiming for our originals to be as good as TV,” said Andy Forssell, Hulu’s SVP of content. “Our goal is to create be-loved content, not be-liked.”

Source: AdWeek

Wasteland 2 Kickstarter Blows Past Goal

When the Wasteland 2 Kickstarter began, it had the ambitious goal of raising $900,000, more than double the stated goal for the Double Fine Adventure. However, inXile entertainment reached their stated goal in only a couple days, and reached a million dollars with a full month left in the Kickstarter.

There have been over 17,000 backers of Wasteland 2 so far, of which over half have contributed $15 in order to receive a digital copy of the game. The greatest prize, which included a private invitation to a party with Brian Fargo, Alan Pavlish and other key members of the Wasteland team and the promise of an in-game shrine, has already sold out with eight people having promised $10,000 or more towards the game.

Witcher Developer Rips DRM, Says It ‘Does Not Protect Your Game’

DRM is used by almost every major PC publisher in an attempt to fight rampant piracy on the platform. However, CD Projekt Red CEO Marcin Iwinski doesn’t think that DRM actually does any good.

“Every subsequent game we will never use any DRM anymore, it’s just over-complicating things,” said Iwinski. “We release the game. It’s cracked in two hours, it was no time for Witcher 2. What really surprised me is that the pirates didn’t use the GOG version, which was not protected. They took the SecuROM retail version, cracked it and said ‘we cracked it’ — meanwhile there’s a non-secure version with a simultaneous release. You’d think the GOG version would be the one floating around,” he added.

“DRM does not protect your game,” Iwinski added. “If there are examples that it does, then people maybe should consider it, but then there are complications with legit users.”

Source: Joystiq