In March, Square Enix President Yoichi Wada stepped down and the company announced widespread restructuring that it expected to cost $106 million. Square Enix posted a net loss of $134 million for fiscal year 2013, citing "weak" sales of major console games, including Sleeping Dogs, Hitman: Absolution and Tomb Raider, the last of which sold 3.4 million in its first month.
Regardless, Dying clearly has a Saw vibe. It's story revolves around characters being trapped in foreboding environments, forcing them to solve strange puzzles and try to escape. The game will be released episodically with the first episode, "Last Hour," slated to arrive on May 25.
"Mobile games development is possibly the most dynamic and exciting industry in the world, and it's an honor to be able to help so many developers be so successful in fulfilling their visions and in building their businesses," said Unity CEO David Helgason. "We were able to make Unity free for the web and for desktop computers a while ago, but have been dreaming of doing the same for mobile for what seems like forever."
To contextualize this, Unity is already a beast in the mobile field in terms of market share and developer relations. The company just opened the flood gates further.
Godus will use DeNA's Mobage platform for mobile and social games, joining previous handheld iterations within the No More Heroes, Final Fantasy and Professor Layton franchises, to name a few.
"IPTV" could mean any number of platforms, including set-top boxes such as Apple TV and Roku. The job listing noted that the developer is working on a "new ground-breaking multi-platform and mobile project."
FreeStyle Games posted a number of jobs to LinkedIn in the last week, including one for a mobile gaming producer role that will "develop strategies to leverage mobile enabled business models including free-to-play and freemium." That person would also be in charge of creating "features to bridge online, console and mobile games to create a connected product."
FreeStyle Games' most recent efforts were seen in Sing Party for Wii U, so the Activision-owned developer hasn't strayed too far from music-based games. Whether its next multi-platform and potentially free-to-play project falls in line with that genre remains to be seen.
Spicy Horse is unsure which game it will make next, OZombie or Alice: Otherlands, and it all depends on whether the studio can regain the Alice rights from EA. If Spicy Horse and EA work out a good deal, then Alice it is. If not, OZombie gets the green light and probably a Kickstarter.
"Actually, the more I think about it – and the more I see/hear feedback from you guys – the more I'm personally leaning towards Oz," Spicy Horse founder American McGee writes on the OZombie Facebook page. "There's so much fun stuff to explore, so many interesting characters and locations to discover. Wonderland will also be there, if not today, if not the next project, then perhaps the one after that?"
Keep in mind (and mind your brains) that OZombie is entirely separate from American McGee's Oz, the game Atari canceled in 2004.
Scurvy Scallywags, the upcoming game from Ron Gilbert and DeathSpank co-creator Clayton Kauzlaric, is a little different from most match-three puzzlers. As we learned in March, players can influence the direction in which the board collapses after making a match. This, in turn, can move their character around the board and allow them to engage in combat with other characters.
The concept is a bit difficult to put down on paper, so thankfully there's a new trailer! Take note of the end of the video, as we're fairly certain this is the first sea shanty in history to feature a theremin.
The Nvidia Shield – previously known as Project Shield – is a handheld gaming console powered by Android. It has a five-inch retinal multi-touch screen capable of 720p, 16GB of internal storage and can stream your PC games, granted you have a GTX 650 GPU or better in your PC.
There are quite a few Sonic games available on Android, but today marks the first appearance of the Blue Blur's original adventure, Sonic the Hedgehog. Sonic's first adventure has been updated for mobile devices, adding widescreen support, a remastered soundtrack, leaderboards and more. Furthermore, a brand new addition will allow users to play as either Knuckles or Tails. This new feature is also being added to the iOS version of Sonic the Hedgehog via a free update.
The game hasn't appeared on the North American Google Play store as of this writing, but it's slated to arrive today for $2.99.
Today, we feature answers from Ridiculous Fishing's Rami Ismail, Canabalt's Adam Saltsman, Octodad's Philip Tibitoski, Retro City Rampage's Brian Provinciano and others. This group of developers had specific thoughts about Steam, the Humble Store, Apple's app stores and the Android hub, Google Play.
This follows yesterday's batch of answers from the Steam, Humble Store, iOS and Android camps. Let the confessions begin:
Rovio's intent on creating a feature film was made public late last year, when the studio tapped producers John Cohen and David Maisel from Despicable Me and Iron Man to lead the project. The Angry Birds movie is unique in that it's being completely done in-house – Rovio is funding and producing the film entirely on its own.
This is Portabliss, a column about downloadable games that can be played on the go.High Voltage, and your first thought might be the Conduit series of first-person shooters (or this). While the studio is indeed known most recently for The Conduit, one of its other ideas has been languishing for quite some time, namely Animales de la Muerte. Originally slated for WiiWare, and then for XBLA and PSN, the game has finally found a home on iOS.
Renamed Zoombies: Animales de la Muerte, the game tells the story of two children who must save a Mexican zoo from being overrun by a horde of zombified animals. To do this, the kids utilize every available tool of destruction, ranging from axes to shotguns, roman candles and even the occasional dollop of guacamole.
Zoombies is the most festive zombie game I've ever played, and it's also one of the most immediately entertaining.
Google Play's games services differs from Apple's Game Center in that it offers backend support, rather than a standalone application.
Anyone making a game with Google Play has access to its developer services. A handful of games already have these services incorporated: World of Goo, Super Stickman Golf 2, Beach Buggy Blitz, Kingdom Rush, Eternity Warriors 2 and Osmos.
"We won't make it a mandatory exercise, or have any certification process around it," Google lead product manager Greg Hartrell told Engadget. "We create fantastic services that allow developers to create these great game experiences, and help promote their discovery, help retain their users and keep them engaged."
Check out the games services on Google's developer site.
Ubisoft contributes its stellar year to the continued success of its main three franchises, Assassin's Creed, Just Dance and Far Cry, the latest entries in which have all sold between six and 12 million copies.
Karateka Classic recreates the Apple II experience – right down to the disk drive noises – and offers a range of "monitor" choices, including color CRT, green or amber display. There are a couple of new additions, including gameplay tips and a rewind feature that can be earned, allowing players to reverse their mistakes.
Karateka Classic arrives on iOS and Android tomorrow for $0.99.
Rovio is entering the mobile publishing arena through its Rovio Stars initiative, which will cover the whole spectrum of publishing duties such as marketing and PR. Rovio will even consult with developers to help them optimize their games prior to launch.
Budding developers can already submit their mobile works to Rovio Stars through a handy application page, though all applicants must have a playable build to present. Screens, videos and other supplementary materials are also encouraged, as it provides Rovio with a better sense of the overall game.
As of now, Rovio Stars has recruited two games: Icebreaker: A Viking Voyage from Longdon-based Nitrome (based on the Flash version) and Tiny Thief from Barcelona indie outfit 5 Ants. The latter is due sometime this summer, while Icebreaker's mobile release is tentatively scheduled for "soon" on the official site.
The blurb doesn't say which version of Frostbite the mobile engine will be based on, but given that Frostbite 3 is the new hotness around EA, it's a fair guess that the company is adapting the latest and greatest for Frostbite Go. We're supposed to see Frostbite 3 games arrive later on this year (with Battlefield 4 being the first of these), so odds are that any Frostbite Go-created products should hit the market at that same time.
If this were the set-up to a joke, the punchline would probably be, "Facebook." But for many indie developers, the question of which platform to publish their games on is a very serious one, with potentially dire consequences. Pared down, platform success is all about accessibility, upload and support, and in terms of those factors, there's a clear, unsurprising favorite: Steam.
But maybe not for long.
I asked 21 indie developers this question, and while the majority mentioned Steam in the same casual manner that begets an unchallenged king, there were consistent whispers of other platforms doing things well, perhaps even better than Steam, from a backend perspective. One of these platforms was the Humble Store, which received the second-highest number of solid votes and a handful of positive shout-outs.
"I owe pretty much my entire survival the last few years to iOS, the Humble Store, and to a lesser extent Android and Steam," Adam Saltsman, the creator of Canabalt, said. But iOS ran into some bad censorship issues, Android had discoverability problems and Steam was "obviously" too closed, he said. If Saltsman could choose just one of those platforms to release his next game on, it would be, "Humble Store," hands-down.
This is Portabliss, a column about downloadable games that can be played on the go.
Puzzle games tend to fall into one of two categories. There are the fast and frenetic ones, where you watch pieces smash into one another, pushing your mental and physical reflexes as far as they can go before a wire is crossed and it all comes crashing down, hopefully after you've set a new high score. Then there are the Zen puzzlers. These are slow, asking you to plan the best moves for the highest score. You examine the board, analyzing its patterns and discerning how best to eliminate all those pesky blocks or orbs or gems or what-have-you.
Mosaique falls into the latter category, presenting a deceptively simple game of destroying colored blocks. At no point will it bring you either the stress or exultation of a Tetris or a Puzzle Fighter, but sometimes that's okay. Sometimes you want to sit back, relax, and watch as everything falls into place.
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