PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale Cover Contest

Sony is working with U.K. retailer GAME to determine that region’s cover art for PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale. Of the 10 candidates in the running for the PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale cover, there will be five winners.

Fans can vote for Heihachi Mishima, Sackboy, Radec, Ratchet & Clank, Parappa the Rappa, Kratos, Jak & Daxter, Nathan Drake, Big Daddy or Cole McGrath by “liking” the appropriate photo of the character they like best. The five characters with the most votes will become the cover stars available exclusively to GAME pre-order customers.

So far, the voting shows a heavy preference for Sony mascot characters, with Nathan Drake, Sackboy, Jak & Daxter, Cole McGrath and Ratchet & Clank in the top five slots.



Zynga Loses OMGPOP Veteran

Reports are that Wilson Kriegel has left Zynga. The former chief revenue officer of OMGPOP was brought onto Zynga when the social publisher bought the company out earlier this year for at least $180 million.

Kriegel joins a growing list of Zynga executives that have departed after a recent weak earnings report. Those who have left include chief operating officer John Schappert, chief marketing officer John Karp, chief creative officer Mike Verdu, infrastructure chief technology officer Allan Leinwand, and general managers Eric Bethke, Jeremy Stauser, Ya-Bing Chu, and Alan Patmore.

Source: VentureBeat


BioWare Co-Founders Step Down

Greg Zeschuk and Ray Muzyka have announced they are departing BioWare, which they both helped co-found in 1995. Furthermore, both announced their intentions to move on from the gaming industry altogether, and for Zeschuk at least, the decision was prompted by a bit of burnout.

“This decision isn’t without significant pain and regret, but it’s also something I know I need to do, for myself and my family,” said Zeschuk. “I’ve reached an unexpected point in my life where I no longer have the passion that I once did for the company, for the games, and for the challenge of creation. For the people I have had the privilege of working with, however, my passion burns as brightly as it did the day we started. The people I work with now, and that I have worked with in the past, have inspired me and really made all of the challenges we’ve collectively faced over the years worthwhile. We have been blessed with tremendous success over the years at BioWare, and the reason is simply down to a large number of great people doing great work. Successful people or companies have to admit luck also plays a part in their success, and it certainly did for us; a few times over the years we made the right game at the right time and success flowed as a result. When we got it right, it was like a hole in one or a home run; it was a magical feeling and incomparable in positive impact for everyone involved.”

They both expressed pride in their accomplishments over nearly 20 years at BioWare and had an equal amount of gratitude for the various passionate people that they’ve worked with. They also talked about their career choices after BioWare.

“I believe strongly in the power of free enterprise to enable sustainable change, so my next ‘chapter’ will likely focus on an entirely new industry, something exciting, different and frankly downright scary – investing in and mentoring new entrepreneurs, and more specifically, the field of social/impact investing. There’s a good description of the goals of this form of entrepreneurship here,” wrote Muzyka. “Impact investment, or social entrepreneurship, can range from simply thinking about social goals along with the usual business profit goals, all the way to a dedicated focus on a social entrepreneurship portfolio with the social impact defined as the primary goal. For me, getting involved in social impact investment stems from the simple hope of helping the world to be a better place. To that end, I’ll also be spending time getting involved with more charities in education, health care, and animal rights, areas where my wife and I’ve typically focused our charitable donations in the past. I am also spending more time learning about the work being done to defend human rights and civil liberty across the world. Net, I am passionate about both entrepreneurship and social liberty, and I want to find a way to pursue both of them.”

“After my departure I’m going to be spending significant time with family and friends, as well as pursuing some personal passion-driven projects related to craft beer,” said Zeschuk. “The main project I will be working on is a web-based interview show called The Beer Diaries where I interview notable brewers and showcase their beers. If things go well, I’ll work on other beer-related shows, apps and projects. If not, I’ll have drunk a lot of tasty beers and may be back in games or even something else completely different. Ultimately time will tell.”

The successor of sorts to much of what Muzyka and Zeschuk were responsible for, general manager of BioWare Edmonton and Montreal Aaryn Flynn, said the company would continue on course with Dragon Age 3, make more content for Mass Effect 3 and said that they’re looking to create a whole new game universe.

“As the GM for Edmonton and Montreal, I know that creative people are delivering new content and gameplay for established franchises, and new games that go in new directions,” said Flynn. “Ray and Greg built BioWare to last. They’ve always known their retirement would come one day, so they developed a team of people who would ensure their standards and culture would endure. We’ll humbly carry that torch and continue learning in the process.”

“To the Doctors: I wish you the very best, and we will always honor your legacy. The games we develop will always share your unique creativity and steadfast integrity. Now it’s up to us to show the world what you taught us,” Flynn concluded.



CastleMiner Z Hits 1 Million Sales

DigitalDNA Games announced that CastleMiner Z has hit the 1 million sales mark after releasing on September 11, 2011. This makes it the first million-seller for Xbox Live Indie Games.

The game is similar to Minecraft in many of its elements, not unlike many hit games in the XBLIG marketplace. However, the emphasis on action and first-person shooting has helped put the $1 game over the top.

A PC version of CastleMiner Z has been submitted to Steam’s Greenlight process.


Beyond: Two Souls Director Says He Only Wanted Ellen Page

Beyond: Two Souls will star actress Ellen Page, and that’s a good thing for Quantic Dream CEO David Cage. According to the game’s director, he had one person in mind for the lead role in Beyond: Two Souls.

“I only had one name on my list and it was Ellen Page,” said Cage. “If she had said no I would have been in deep s***. For me it was really obvious it could only be her. We contacted her agent, we sent her a package with the script of our new game, a copy of Heavy Rain and a list of reviews for Heavy Rain, and a nice letter saying ‘please, please, please, please, please’. And the agent came back really quickly and said Ellen read the script, and that she loved it and she would be happy to be part of it.”

Page spent months at Quantic Dream’s full-motion capture facility in Paris for the lead role in Beyond: Two Souls. Cage indicates that the role spoke to her, and that’s why she was willing to participate in her first game project.


“It was the script and her role that got her interested. I mean, I don’t think she’s into videogames – she played when she was young but she stopped like a lot of people do when they get older. She isn’t excited by games in particular because, like a lot of people, she thinks games are all about guns, guns, guns,” explained Cage. “But when she read the script for Beyond she knew it was a story, a script, something she can understand. Ellen is really adventurous; if you look at her filmography, she likes to take risks. She was in Inception, but also Juno and Hard Candy. She likes new things, she likes to experiment, and I think that’s why she chose to act in a game.”

“So I met her in LA, in a strange bar next to a highway. When she came, it was a shock for me because it was like I was sitting in front of a character I had had been writing for a year,” continued Cage. “The discussion went great but afterward I was really depressed because I knew she was perfect for the role, she has the talent, the face, she’s very smart. But fortunately, she said yes.”

Source: CVG


PlayStation Mobile Store Coming October 3

Sony announced that the PlayStation Mobile store will launch on October 3. There will be 30 different games available, ranging from the price of $.99 to $10 with action, puzzle, sports and simulation genres all covered.

Hardware from Sharp and Fujitsu have been approved for the certified devices program, adding to a list that already includes HTC, Sony Mobile, Asus and Wikipad. The PlayStation Mobile SDK will be released to developers this November with a licensing agreement of $99 annually.


Blade & Soul Blazing To The U.S.

NCsoft confirmed that it is localizing Blade & Soul for the U.S. It’s a fantasy MMO, but unlike many Western medieval-style games, this one is influenced by wuxia Chinese mythology.

150,000 people took part in the beta trials, and NCsoft says the game has been getting 230,000 concurrent users. “I assure you, Blade & Soul will never run out of content to keep players engaged in the game,” asserts Executive Producer James Bae. “This game will not be a repetitive grindfest.”

Find out more about the game at



PS3 Gets Super Slim

Sony has announced plans to release an even smaller and slimmer version of the PS3 for this holiday season. There will be a cheaper model of the new PS3 in Europe and Hong Kong with just 12GB of flash storage; a release in the U.S. has not been confirmed.

The U.S. will get a 250GB version of the new PS3 console, with a sliding disk cover, 2 x USB 2.0 ports, Ethernet, 802.11b/g Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 2.0, 1 x HDMI Out and a maximum 1080p output, on September 25 as part of a $270 gaming bundle featuring the “game of the year” edition of Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception. The bundle will also include a $30 voucher to obtain bonus content for the game Dust 514.

A 500GB version of the new PS3 launches October 3 as part of an Assassin’s Creed III gaming bundle for $300. This holiday bundle is currently available for pre-order from GameStop.


Google+ At 400 Million Users

Google senior vice president of engineering Vic Gundotra says that Google+ has reached the 400 million user mark. Furthermore, he says the social network’s monthly active user base has crossed 100 million, between those using the main Google+ website and mobile app.

“It was only a year ago that we opened public sign-up, and we couldn’t have imagined that so many people would join in just 12 months,” Gundotra wrote. “While Google+ is all about creating a better experience across Google, it’s also a destination.”