Make A Meme Out Of What You Really Think

Newcastle Brown Ale is offering an app called The Subtexter – part of its ongoing “No bollocks” – that lets you expose the more honest subtext behind cliché photos on Facebook.

Turn your subtext into actual text directly on the picture. The Subtexter lets you choose a clichéd category, select a stock photo and cover it, meme style, with impact type and a number of witty captions like “Look, I’m relaxing and bragging” for vacation pics and “I’m at brunch, I hope you wish you were here” for the many budding food photographers.”


BioShock PS Vita ‘In The Hands Of Business People’

BioShock PS Vita is apparently in the hands of the-powers-that-be at Take-Two and Sony at the moment. While the project was announced over a year and a half ago with nary a word since then, Ken Levine indicates he’s still interested in the project.

“Where the Vita stands right now, it’s in the hands of the business people at Take-Two and the business people at Sony working out, hey, what happens in these business people discussions Fortunately I don’t have to take part in it any more because I sold my company a long time ago,” said Levine. “It’s something I’m still very interested in. I still have a cool design for it. It’s a question of, do those guys come to find the right mix that makes everybody happy to make that happen?”

The game will not be a port of BioShock Infinite, according to Levine. “I’ve never said it was Infinite,” Levine said. “It will be something. I’m always hesitant to talk too much about things we don’t have anything to show about because it’s getting ahead of ourselves. I’m trying to be very careful.”


G4 Channel Becoming Esquire Channel

Reports are that NBCUniversal is looking to rebrand the G4 channel as the Esquire channel. A deal with Esquire parent Hearst Corporation has apparently been closed to help shift the former gaming network to a destination for “the modern male.”

The new channel is designed to capture a growing, upscale demographic that isn’t being reached through other male networks, like Spike. New programming, which will include genres such as cooking, travel and fashion, is reportedly in production as the rebrand is expected to take place during the first half of 2013.

G4’s long running Attack of the Show! and X-Play were recently canceled as a major sign of NBCUniversal’s ambition to move G4 away from its focus on gamers. The new Esquire channel will still have content for gamers, however.


BioShock Infinite: Why it Got Delayed

BioShock Infinite has been delayed a month to March 2013 from its previous spot one month earlier in February 2013. This announcement comes after the media got a hands on with the latest build of the game, most coming away very impressed.

“When Rod Fergusson [former Gears of War franchise director at Epic Games] came on board we looked at the game,” said Irrational Games chief designer Ken Levine. “He was there for about a month and he said, ‘look, I’ve been looking at the schedule and looking at the game and frankly you could really benefit from another three or four more weeks for polish and bug fixing.’ We talked about it. I knew I’d probably get beat up in the press a little bit about it. But at the end of the day, if it’s going to make a better game we’re going to do it. So the new date is March 26. That’s my bad news.”

“The problem is there’s nothing particularly dramatic,” noted Levine. “The game was delayed. This is our second delay. The first delay was a few months and the second delay was a month. Some people have said, ‘oh, it’s been delayed like five times.’ It’s been delayed twice,” said Levine. “I think because we announced it a long time ago, originally we announced it as a 2012 game and we announced the date as October 2012, which was not a delay. Then we said it was going to be February 2013. Then we said it was going to be March 2013. So these delays are not particularly dramatic considering how things go in the industry.”

“Somehow we got attached to this sense we had some more dramatic delays, but it doesn’t really matter at the end of the day,” he said. “Nobody remembers delays. Even if they were long, nobody remembers delays because once a game comes out it’s either a good game or it isn’t.”

Product development director Tim Gerritsen and art director Nate Wells left the project in August, but Levine says it’s all part of the process. “In terms of people leaving, I wish I had exciting stories to tell you, but you’ve worked at companies, people come and people go,” Levine said, addressing this concern. “Because there was so little news about the game… the reason there’s little news about the game is, we’ve really felt we showed what the game was at E3 last year. It was very representative of what our vision for the game was. We didn’t see a point in constantly going out and beating the same drum because what were we going to say at that point besides, here, play it.”

“At that point I didn’t want to go into, here are the weapon types and here’s this and here’s that. We knew we’d be inviting a lot of speculating by doing that, but look, I’ve been doing this for a long time. I’ve learned going out and trying to defend against every internet meme or every hysterical moment is not a particularly good use of time.”

It was leaked by some anonymous employees that a multiplayer component was scrapped at Irrational, the results of which annoyed Levine. “I think the press have been totally fair with us. The one thing the press was unfair with was when they said multiplayer is cut. When I go out and I specifically very clearly do not announce a feature and do not promise a feature when people ask me about it over and over again… what I said is we work on things all the time. If they end up being a match in the game we’ll include it in the game and if not we won’t.”

“It’s great to go out and announce a big feature like multiplayer because it gets you a lot of attention and a lot of press and articles. But then you need to deliver that. And I specifically very very carefully never announced it and never promised it and never said we had it. So when the thing came out, it said multiplayer cut, and I was like, ahh.”

“We were exploring multiplayer. We had the whole story in co-op. This is not uncommon on games in fact. There were a lot explorations that got left by the side of the road not because they weren’t cool, they just weren’t a fit. With multiplayer, we just never found a place where we said, ‘okay, this is enough of a fit where we want to have this much of our attention to it,'” continued Levine. “We have a team of people and we thought for a long time that maybe this is something, something maybe. We were never sure. That’s why we never announced it. At some point we said, ‘you know what We don’t think this is going to be the right investment of resources for us.’ We were working on something I thought was really interesting but it wasn’t getting to the place where I needed it to get to for it to be worth the investment and resources we would need to bring it to fruition.”


Ken Levine Discusses The Marketing Decisions Behind The BioShock Infinite Cover

BioShock Infinite‘s cover art has not been without controversy, reducing a game about a floating city with fantastical enemies to a man holding a gun. BioShock Infinite’s creative director Ken Levine says that the somewhat generic design of the cover art was a conscious, marketing decision by his team.

“I understand that some of the fans are disappointed. We expected it. I know that may be hard to hear, but let me explain the thinking,” said Levine.”We went and did a tour… around to a bunch of, like, frathouses and places like that. People who were gamers. Not people who read IGN. And [we] said, so, have you guys heard of BioShock Not a single one of them had heard of it. And we live in this very special… you know, BioShock is a reasonably successful franchise, right? Our gaming world, we sometimes forget, is so important to us, but… there are plenty of products that I buy that I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about. My salad dressing. If there’s a new salad dressing coming out, I would have no idea. I use salad dressing; I don’t read Salad Dressing Weekly. I don’t care who makes it, I don’t know any of the personalities in the salad dressing business.”

“I looked at the cover art for BioShock 1, which I was heavily involved with and love, I adored. And I tried to step back and say, if I’m just some guy, some frat guy, I love games but don’t pay attention to them… if I saw the cover of that box, what would I think? And I would think, this is a game about a robot and a little girl. That’s what I would think. I was trying to be honest with myself. Trust me, I was heavily involved with the creation of those characters and I love them,” added Levine. “We need to be successful to make these types of games, and I think it’s important, and I think the cover is a small price for the hardcore gamer to pay. I think also when we do something for the hardcore gamer, there’s something we’re talking about and something we’re sure about. The thing we’re sure about is that we’re going to be releasing a whole set of alternate covers that you can download and print. We’re going to be working with the community to see what they’re interested in. We had to make that tradeoff in terms of where we were spending our marketing dollars. By the time you get to the store, or see an ad, the BioShock fan knows about the game. The money we’re spending on PR, the conversations with games journalists — that’s for the fans. For the people who aren’t informed, that’s who the box art is for.”


iPhone 5 Tops Time’s 2012 Gadgets List

Time listed their top ten gadgets of the year, and the Samsung Galaxy Note II, Microsoft Surface with Windows RT, Apple 15″ MacBook Pro with Retina Display, and Raspberry Pi Model B placed at 8, 7, 6, and 4 respectively.  More importantly to gamers, the Wii U managed second place on the list, while the iPhone 5 managed to run away with the top spot.

“The stakes are high for this $299.99 game console: It’s the follow-up to 2006’s phenomenally successful Wii, which changed gaming forever with its motion-sensing Wii Remote,” said Harry McCracken of the Wii U. “The Wii U’s key innovation is its GamePad, a game controller with a built-in 6.2″ touchscreen. It interacts with your TV in different ways in different games, and has the potential to be a big deal if game developers make good use of it. Also potentially huge: TVii, which combines streaming video from sources such as Netflix with your cable lineup and TiVo recordings. It’s the first time that the famously game-centric Nintendo has poured its heart and soul into a non-gaming feature.”

“Apple may be responsible for more than its share of the tech industry’s great leaps forward, but it’s at least as good at fussing over the tiny little details other companies ignore,” noted McCracken. “The iPhone 5, which starts at $199 with a two-year contract, is one of the most artfully polished gadgets anyone’s ever built, with a taller screen than previous iPhones built into a thinner, lighter case. The camera, with a particularly well-done panorama mode, is another highlight. There are lots of nifty smartphones out there, including the iPhone’s impressive archrival, Samsung’s Galaxy S III. But when it comes to melding hardware, software and services so tightly that the seams fade away, Apple still has no peer.”


Crysis 3 Video Series From ‘Book Of Eli’ Director

Electronic Arts and Crytek have announced that they have hired Menace II Society, Dead Presidents, From Hell and Book of Eli director Albert Hughes to produce a cinematic video series for Crysis 3. Titled The 7 Wonders of Crysis 3, the cinematic shorts will detail elements of the science fiction FPS series, focusing on features like weapons, enemies and environments, with the debut episode Hell of a Town releasing on December 12, 2012.

“When EA and Crytek approached me about being involved in creating The 7 Wonders of Crysis 3 video series, I liked the idea of creating emotional stories using only computer generated images,” said Hughes. “The challenge of producing something intensely human without ever seeing a human on screen was incredibly compelling, and the technology of the CryEngine that Crytek developed enabled me to do that and venture into a completely unique medium of storytelling.””The goal with the video series is to reveal the incredible world we have been building for Crysis 3,” said Crytek CEO Cevat Yerli. “We’ve worked closely with Albert on this project and think that the 7 Wonders series will show the leaps and bounds that Crysis 3 is making over its predecessors.”

BitRhymes Rebrands To Bash Gaming

BitRhymes is changing its name to Bash Gaming to better reflect its brand identity being tied to developing online casino games. Their hit game Bingo Bash should generate around $55 million in revenue this year.

“We believe the casino games, in general, have a very strong game mechanic,” said Bash Gaming CEO Sumit Gupta. “Once they start playing, they want to play more and more, and with the ability to play with friends, it makes it more exciting.”

“We are very focused on what we are doing today,” Gupta added. “This is a very exciting space, and dealing with real money is a green field opportunity, especially in Europe, where it’s legal. That excites us.”

Kixeye Turns Eyes To Canada

Kixeye has announced that it is is opening an office in Victoria, British Columbia. Kixeye Canada will be headed up by former Zynga developer Clayton Stark as the general manager.

“Our search for top talent is not limited by international boundaries,” said Kixeye chief executive Will Harbin. “Victoria is a hotbed of technical talent, and Clayton and his team have aggressive goals to expand Kixeye Canada.”

Stark once served as chief operating officer at Mercurial Communications, which helped to develop the 8.0 browser for Netscape, and was the chief technology officer and vice president of engineering at Flock. When Flock, a “social browser” creator, was acquired by Zynga in 2010, and Stark worked at Zynga as director of development until this year.

The new Canadian game studio is the third office for Kixeye, in addition to its expansion in Brisbane, Australia. “Victoria is exploding with engineering talent and is one of the largest tech hubs outside of Silicon Valley, especially for game companies,” said Stark.  “It’s also consistently ranked among the most beautiful cities in the world, and we’re setting up Kixeye Canada right along the inner harbor at Bastion Square. For developers, it doesn’t get any better than working on projects they’re super passionate about, and having an incredible amount of fun while doing it.”