Posts Tagged ‘Vince Zampella’

Welcome to “All the news that’s Futt to print” for Monday, March 4, 2013. Can’t spend your entire day on Twitter or bouncing from news outlet to news outlet? Fine, I suppose you’re entitled to your “real life” and your “job.” Here’s what you missed today.

News!

Kotaku is reporting that Jason West, co-creator of Call of Duty, co-founder of Infinity Ward and, most recently, co-founder of Respawn Entertainment, has not been with the studio since last May. Respawn isn’t talking, and declined Kotaku’s request for comment. Interestingly, Game Informer conducted an interview last May with West and his partner at Respawn, Vince Zampella. At that time, there was no mention of West’s departure.  Respawn popped back into the news recently, as Zampella tweeted that the studio would finally be at E3 to show off what they’ve been working on.

On the PlayStation Europe blog, Sony has indicated that PlayStation Plus will have a prominent role on the PlayStation 4. Sounds like there’s reason to rejoice… right? Before you uncork the champagne, let’s examine exactly what was said.

How do you see the PlayStation Plus service evolving over the next couple of years as PlayStation 4 enters the ecosystem?

Jim Ryan [Sony Computer Entertainment Europe President and CEO]: We’re very happy with the service that we’ve been able to offer with PS Plus. It’s been really well received – the value is quite extraordinary and the take-up has trebled over the course of the past year. We definitely see that as a core part of the way forward. We’re not yet in a position to disclose our plans for the future of PlayStation Plus, but there will definitely be a prominent role to play for it in the PlayStation 4 landscape.

It is entirely possible that Sony will stay the course with the service and continue the Instant Game Collection program on PS4. I think it’s more likely that PlayStation Plus was a trojan horse to build a base of paying customers. Microsoft approached this by telling customers to open their wallets in order to play online. Sony needed to take a different approach since they promised free online play. Instead of putting social features behind a paywall mid-generation, they slowly ramped up the level of incentives. Discounts, cloud saves and free games lured in many. Sony even managed to capitalize on one of the platform’s greatest weaknesses, obtrusively long patch times, giving Plus members the option of automatically checking for updates during off hours.

The hardest part is getting customers to open their wallets for a subscription that first time. That is doubly true with PlayStation Plus, because free games downloaded using the service cease to work if a user’s subscription lapses (making renewals and easier selling proposition). Using this approach, Sony has created and reinforced a consumer habit of paying for a PlayStation service. It would be very easy for them to keep the Plus name (especially now that it has an attached perception of being a good value) and alter the service greatly on the PlayStation 4. Online play behind the Plus paywall? Sure. Access to Gaikai streaming when (if?) that ever becomes a reality? Definitely. Streaming and sharing? It wouldn’t surprise me. Continued early access to demos and betas? Absolutely. Instant game collection? Maybe… but with the service so tightly integrated into the PS4’s bullet point selling features (especially if streaming and sharing are premium offerings), I wouldn’t count on it.

According to a report on Polygon, TimeGate Studios, one piece of the infamous development quartet responsible for Aliens: Colonial Marines has laid off approximately 25 employees. You might recall that Gearbox CEO Randy Pitchford attributed approximately half the work on the critically-annihilated Aliens game to TimeGate, in a conversation with IGN. According to TimeGate’s president, Adel Chaveleh, ongoing projects at the studio have not been impacted by the staffing cuts. My thoughts are with those affected by the layoffs.

inXile Entertainment is returning to Kickstarter with a pitch for a new game in the Planescape universe entitled Torment: Tides of NumeneraRight off the bat, CEO Brian Fargo and company are working to allay any fears, stating that the artists and writers have completed work on Wasteland 2, the studio’s $2.9 million Kickstarter success. They are ready for their next project. By the time art and story are finished, developers will have wrapped up their piece of Wasteland 2, leaving them able to jump right into the TormentWasteland 2 is on track for an October 2013 release. If funded at the $1 million goal level or greater, Torment: Tides of Numenera will be targeted for a 2014 launch.

The Kickstarter campaign for Torment: Tides of Numenera will kick off on March 6, 2013, at 6 AM PST.

Entertainment!

I’ve been sitting on this one for a couple of days. I am a big fan of Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim programming block, and I have a particular fondness for The Venture Brothers. Check out one of my favorite scenes recreated in Source Filmmaker. Henchmen gonna hench.

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Welcome to “All the news that’s Futt to print” for Monday, February 25, 2013. Can’t spend your entire day on Twitter or bouncing from news outlet to news outlet? Fine, I suppose you’re entitled to your “real life” and your “job.” Here’s what you missed today.

News!

Respawn Entertainment is finally coming out of its development cocoon this June at the 2013 E3. This was confirmed today by Vince Zampella (formerly of Infinity Ward) via his Twitter account:

After its founding in 2010, it’s been (mostly) quiet on the Respawn front. After Zampella and his partner Jason West departed Activision with a security escort, and the subsequent lawsuits, gamers are no doubt anxious to see what the studios has been working on.

According to Joystiq, Zynga is closing its Baltimore office, consolidating two Austin, Texas offices, relocating a studio from McKinney, Texas to Dallas and consolidating two New York City offices. The job losses amount to 30 individuals and, in the process, should save the publisher a bit on real estate. My thoughts are with those affected by the layoffs, which come as another blow in a tumultuous time that includes the departure of key staff and the closure of games including Petville and Mafia Wars 2.

South Korean developer Nexon, known for a variety of free-to-play games including Maple Story, has made a “strategic investment” in Robotoki, the studio founded by Robert Bowling. Prior to striking out on his own, Bowling was creative strategist on the Call of Duty series at Infinity Ward. Robotoki is currently working on a game entitled Human Element that takes place after the zombie apocalypse and is focused on the interactions of survivors in a post-catastrophic world.

In an interview with Geoff Keighley of GameTrailers, Blizzard’s Chris Metzen indicated that the PlayStation 4 version of Diablo III will feature four-player same-screen play. Additionally, he mentions that the game will be playable offline and that the UI and gameplay have been tweaked to include, among other things, an evasion move for every character. As someone who played a Demon Hunter, I’m a bit surprised at the news of evasion moves for each class, as it may very well require significant rebalancing. I know that the Barbarian and Wizard also have movement-based abilities.

So, there you have it. If you want to play Diablo III offline, you need to repurchase the game on a console. In other words, you will still be unable to get your Diablo III on at 30,000 feet.

Entertainment!

The struggle between Mario and Bowser is one of gaming’s oldest rivalries. We’ve seen it played out in a variety of perspectives, but never before in first-person view. This is some solid work that I’m sure is much more fun to watch than it would be to play.