Enter The ‘Age Of Extinction’

Transformers: Age of Extinction picks up where the third film left off, and it seems like humans have a rather negative opinion of Transfomers. However, events make it clear that a new force is attacking Earth and that humanity, not even Mark Wahlberg, is not prepared to face it alone.


Hinting At The Horror

Frictional Games, the developer behind Amnesia: The Dark Decent, is setting up something big with their sci-fi horror title Soma. It might be borrowing elements liberally from the movie Alien, but there’s nothing wrong with that if the game turns out to be excellent.


Experience War, A Second A Day

Three years since the conflict in Syria began, over 100,000 people are dead and over 2 million are refugees, but many in the West have no perspective on what the civil war is like. Thus Save the Children U.K. has launched a video showing a young girl having her life transformed by conflict in this second a day video, showing it in the context of her going from a normal British childhood to that of being homeless in a refugee camp.

Source: AdWeek.com


Jack Tretton Departing Sony Of America

Jack Tretton, the CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment of America and one of the key components behind the PlayStation brand, is leaving the company, effective at the end of this month.

The news broke yesterday after it was revealed that both sides mutually agreed not to renew his contract. A reason was not given for his departure.

“Working at SCEA for the past 19 years has been the most rewarding experience of my career,” said Tretton. “Although I will deeply miss the talented team at SCEA and the passion demonstrated every day by our fans, I’m very excited about starting the next chapter of my career. I want to thank the employees, partners and customers for their tireless commitment to the PlayStation brand and, of course, to our fans who have pushed us to new heights of innovation and entertainment over the past two decades. I leave PlayStation in a position of considerable strength and the future will only get brighter for PlayStation Nation.”

Shawn Layden, who currently serves as executive vice president and COO of Sony Network Entertainment International, will fill Tretton’s position starting April 1st, with over 15 years of PlayStation experience.

Source: GamesIndustry International

‘Wolfenstein’ Art from Dark Horse

Bethesda has a full slate of games coming up this year, including a return of the Wolfenstein franchise and the shocking survival horror game The Evil Within. To help commemorate their releases, the publisher has teamed up with Dark Horse Comics to produce a series of art books.

Three books will be released in all – The Art of Wolfenstein: The New Order, The Art of The Evil Within and Dishonored: The Dunwall Archives, based on the 2012 first-person action game. Each book will come packed with art and game design details, and retail for $39.99 apiece.

The first book that will be released is The Art of Wolfenstein, which features concept art taken straight from the game, as well as developer commentary. It will be released on May 14 at comic retailers, and book sellers on May 27. The game will arrive between those dates, on May 20.

As for the other books, The Evil Within will arrive alongside the game in August, while Dishonored will debut in November.

Source: Bethesda

Tapjoy Reports User Data

Not all gamers are created equal – at least, according to a new report from the developers at Tapjoy.

The mobile publisher, with a network of over 450 million consumers, recently ran a survey to get a better idea about how its audience works. From that survey, it’s found that 71 percent of gamers are over the age of 25, and spend about three hours a week on average playing video games. Meanwhile, 65 percent of those polled actually don’t consider themselves “gamers,” despite the time spent on both mobile devices and consoles.

In addition, the study has found that the average household income of players ranges over $50,000, and that half of this audience enjoys playing games while television runs in the background.

So for those of you who think games are merely “kids stuff,” it might help to recheck those numbers.

Source: Venturebeat

‘Time’ Intros New Format, New Ads

Time magazine has been running for years now with a very familiar format, but times are changing for the company, as it’s recently relaunched its website with a much more modern look.

The official Time website, which is still undergoing some changes, has gone through an overhaul with more startling visual images and wording, as you can see from the example above with the One World Trade Center.

The website relaunch is part of Time‘s initiative to attract even more viewers, up from the 23 million uniques it managed to get over the past year. In addition, with video streams on the rise by a whopping 860 percent and 4.4 million streams, web traffic is better than ever.

The site is also quite friendly when it comes to advertising, with units that manage to sync up together, both on the left column of the site, as well as within the main article. These new ‘magnetic’ ads were designed in-house, and Time hopes to see the format adopted by others.

A demonstration of this advertising can be found in the video below.



‘Kerbal Space Program’ Teams With NASA

The developers behind the successful indie game Kerbal Space Program have joined forces with NASA to bring official content on board.

As a result, the developers at Squad will bring rocket parts and a new Asteroid Redirect Mission, sanctioned by NASA, to Kerbal. The mission shares the same moniker as a NASA initiative, one that began last year and concludes in 2022, with a manned mission visiting an asteroid. The main difference in the game, obviously, is that Kerbals will do the exploring, and conduct research on asteroids.

For good measure, the expansion will also include “nearly a dozen new parts,” including fuel tanks and a robotic grappling device.

In addition, attendees at SXSW next week will be able to check out a panel titled NASA and Kerbal Space Program: The Asteroids Mission In Real and Virtual Worlds, in which “NASA scientists and KBP developers will swap stories and share details about how the mission in both the real and virtual worlds is going to make a meaningful impact on how we view our place in the universe.”

“The collaboration with Kerbal Space Program can help drive interest by future explorers in next-generation technology development and deep space exploration,” said Bob Jacobs, NASA’s deputy associate administrator for communications. “Having an element of the experience based in the reality of NASA’s exploration initiatives empower players to manage their own space program while getting valuable insight into the reality of studying asteroids as a next step in getting to Mars.”

There’s no word yet on when the expansion will release.

Source: Polygon

‘The Last of Us’: The Movie

The Last of Us was one of 2013’s most noteworthy – and successful – games, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that it will soon be making a transition to the big-screen.

Deadline Hollywood has reported that Sony Pictures’ Screen Gems division has opted to make a “live-action adaptation” of the hit PS3 game, with Neil Druckmann, its creative director, stepping on board to write the screenplay. In addition, Evan Wells and Christophe Balestra, co-presidents of Naughty Dog, will join the project as creative architects, alongside the game’s director, Bruce Straley. The production is a partnership with Ghost House Pictures, alongside producer Sam Raimi (the original Spider-Man trilogy, Oz: The Great and Powerful).

“Screen Gems’ Brian Dukes and Eric Ling brought this game to my attention insisting we go after it. When I saw the quality of the storytelling, I knew the audience for this project was far greater than just the gaming community and that Neil Druckmann must write the screenplay. I am thrilled that SCEA’s Riley Russell was able to get me in front of Neil and Evan Wells to plead my case. And Sam and his team at Ghost House round out the perfect team to help realize Neil’s vision,” said Screen Gems president Clint Culpepper.

There’s no word yet on a release date or casting, but it’ll be interesting to see the team recapture the game’s sheer tension in a movie format.

The Last of Us is available now for PlayStation 3.

Source: Deadline Hollywood

Stan Lee & Gill Champion Talk Video Games

Stan Lee is synonymous with Marvel Comics. Even though the co-creator of the Fantastic Four, the X-Men and Spider-Man still keeps busy popping up in big screen adaptations, he spends most of his time concocting brand new super heroes for a new generation of fans, as well as for new cultures around the world.

Lee founded POW! Entertainment with Gill Champion back in 2001. Since then, he’s been active in everything from print and digital comics to video games. He’s watched as games have served as a new way to introduce young fans to comics.

“People playing video games usually already know the characters, but if they don’t, games will certainly make them interested in the characters,” said Lee. “And they will certainly make them want to go from the video game to the comic book or to the digital version or the movie or whatever there is involving those characters.”

In addition to developing games based on his own properties, he’s worked with Activision over the past few years first providing his voice for games and last year providing his likeness for The Amazing Spider-Man.

“At first I didn’t believe it, but when I saw that it was really happening, – oh, man, I got a big kick out of it,'” said Lee. “Just imagine, I was a character in a game. I don’t think they made me look enough like Brad Pitt, but aside from that, I thought it was pretty great.”

Stan Lee and Gill Champion

With Sony Pictures releasing The Amazing Spider-Man 2 on May 2 and Activision serving up a new video game tie-in, Lee’s not about to reveal any secrets about his involvement in the new game. (He is confirmed for another movie tie-in.)

“Well, I hate to admit this, but it really isn’t up to me,” said Lee, referring to the games. “They just tell me what to do. I go to the studio, I say whatever I have to or whatever they tell me to do, and then I leave. It’s the people doing the games that really are the geniuses and they make those decisions.”

But at POW! Entertainment, Lee is in charge of gaming. The company has had success with its first mobile game, Verticus, which was developed by Moonshark.

“Apps are fairly easy to create, they’re accessible, they’re fairly inexpensive compared to developing a console game, which takes many years,” said Champion. “We’re now developing the next stage of how we would like to introduce Verticus and grow that into something that will hopefully be more than a video game app.”

Games are part of the franchise creation that POW! Entertainment undergoes with each new super hero they develop.

“As we start developing an IP in the early stages, video games – particularly the app video games – are extremely important to start to introduce Stan’s new characters and stories to as many possible fan boys and video game fans as possible,” said Champion. “But as the franchise begins to develop and it goes into further development such as a motion picture, then usually you begin to get involved with third parties, whether it’s other distribution entities, mini majors or a studio. We want to make sure that we’re working in tandem with them as they develop the feature film to have games and other applications.”

The company has been churning out global super heroes like Chakra: The Invincible in India, The Annihilator for China and a new unnamed Latin super hero. Lee is also working on the world’s first ecological super hero called The Retaliator.

“He’s our first earth warrior,” said Champion. “The story has to do with taking a look at how our super hero can help save the ecology.”

“In fact, we’re doing so much for the world, I don’t know why we’re not tax exempt,” joked Lee.

The plan for The Retaliator is to get a Hollywood movie out first. POW! is currently talking to several studios about the project, which Lee said is a big picture in the sense of scope and will be very technology driven.

“We would love to see it perhaps be an action comic book or a motion comic book that would tie in to the movie,” said Champion. “Then a different division within the studio could work on things like consumer products, social media and so forth. That will be a decision the studio will make, as they begin to package this with actors and directors.”

As comics have migrated from print to digital to mobile, POW! has embraced new technology like smartphones and tablets.

“One of the beauties of digital is that you can reach far more people distributed on so many devices and it’s global at the same time,” said Champion. “As Stan has done in the comic book industry, we position ourselves to be leaders in providing new content.”

Lee has embraced YouTube to further connect with today’s digital-savvy gaming audience. Stan Lee’s World of Heroes features Lee’s rants and other short video content.

“The great thing about YouTube is it gives you an opportunity to present scripted and unscripted shows,” said Champion. “We tried to put a little something for everyone out there with sci-fi, fantasy, comedy and pop culture. This medium allows us to collaborate with a range of different personalities and fans, where we can bring together some of the stars from the comic book and film industries, some of the stars, and particularly appeal to fan boys and the geek universe.”

Lee has been delivering entertainment to geeks since the ’40s and he shows no signs of slowdown. Technology, especially special effects and video games, continue to deliver his creations to new generations of fans through Marvel properties. And Lee still goes back to the drawing board to fashion brand new super heroes.