Zynga is famous for making games about farm chores but now that it is on the brink of its IPO, it is trying something different. In the most complex game Zynga has released so far on Facebook, players in Adventure World need to unlock clues and puzzles to find the last city of gold, El Dorado. Reuters spoke with Nabeel Hyatt, the general manager of Zynga Boston about why this is a new direction for Zynga, which is not known for World of Warcraft-type quests. Zynga bought his company, Conduit Labs, last summer and now he leads the team that made the game hitting Facebook in a few weeks.
REUTERS: What makes Adventure World different from other Zynga games?
HYATT: We consider this to be a new genre of social game that hasn’t existed before. The overall adventure genre goes back 20 years and hasn’t really had a place in social games. You can’t build the same kind of social game that you would have built for a hardcore gamer. If you think about FarmVille and CityVille, we call them ‘invest and express games’ where you grow a city over time and you use that to express yourself. This is very different. It’s a new bold move for Zynga to make that is about exploring, discovering and uncovering secrets and solving puzzles and moving across lots of different maps and worlds. This game is a really broad expansive experience with more than 30 different environments when it launches and over 20,000 objects.
How did Bobby Kotick, the CEO of the largest video game company in the United States, end up with a speaking role alongside Brad Pitt in the upcoming movie Moneyball?
In the baseball-meets-math flick based on the bestseller by Michael Lewis, Kotick plays a convincing owner of the Oakland Athletics, at least for the three seconds he is seen in the trailer (see clip above starting at 17 seconds).
On Monday, Zynga said it would be bringing its most popular mobile game, “Words with Friends,” to Facebook. The social games maker said the game would be coming soon.
Players on Apple- or Android-powered devices will be able to carry over games from their phones or tablets onto Facebook. Zynga, in an attempt at bathroom humor, said this would allow “a seamless transition from your work computer to the bathroom… don’t lie, you know you do it.”
MONTREAL–Game designer Patrice Désilets stunned the video game world with his high-profile departure from Ubisoft in 2010. Désilets’s contract prohibited him from working for the past year but now the creative director behind “Prince of Persia: Sands of Time” and “Assassin’s Creed” franchise is back in the game, having joined THQ’s new development studio in Montreal. In his first interview in the new digs in Montreal, Désilets opens up about the new job, the time off and what it’s like to be an underdog again in the gaming world.
Reuters: You’ve been at THQ for about a month, how do you find it?
Désilets: I’m not used to it (laughs). You can see in the industry that a lot of people change jobs often and then there’s me. I spent 13 years in the same company. I started July 2, 1997 and I quit May 28, 2010. In between, I did six games with roughly the same people, so I’m really excited. I like where we physically are in the city. I spent my professional years back in the Mile End and it’s nice to change the scenery. I walk to work and I like this district with these nice restaurants around.
Sony teased out a few more details about its new Android tablets — codenamed S1 and S2 — and let reporters briefly handle prototypes.
AT&T will be the exclusive U.S. carrier for the S2, a double-screened device that bears a close resemblance to Nintendo’s DS handheld gaming device. Sony showed off how users could turn it into a book.
Take-Two Interactive occupies a massive booth at the Los Angeles Convention Center, where it’s showing off its new games and serving beer at the elaborate sports bar it constructed on the show floor. Under its CEO, Strauss Zelnick, Take-Two has been showing renewed financial health in recent quarters. In February, it posted its first profitable year in nearly a decade without a new release of its blockbuster video game franchise “Grand Theft Auto.” Zelnick sat down with Reuters for an in depth chat touching on everything from Nintendo’s new console to Zynga’s business model, and the difference between foie gras and chewing gum.
Reuters: Are publishers on board more than ever before with Nintendo on the Wii U?
The showdown between next fall’s biggest first-person shooters escalated at E3 this week, with EA’s and Activision Blizzard’s top brass exchanging some vitriol. Bobby Kotick, Activision Blizzard’s CEO first went on CNBC on Monday claiming that EA’s “Battlefield 3″ was just a PC title with only a “small audience.” In response, EA’s CEO, John Riccitiello, told Reuters that Kotick was spreading misinformation about “Battlefield 3″ and that contrary to what Kotick said, it would be widely available on consoles.
Here’s what both CEOs told me:
BOBBY KOTICK, CEO, ACTIVISION BLIZZARD
“We just want to stay true to the interest of the Call of Duty fans and we try to not get distracted by what people are doing. I can’t objectively tell you what I think of other products until I see them. Battlefield I’ve only seen on a PC and nobody’s seen it on a console yet. Most of our consumers play games on a console. Until I see it on a console, I wouldn’t be objective on commenting on it.”
Nintendo just announced the successor to the Wii at the annual U.S. video game confab, E3 on Tuesday.
Here’s what we know so far:
The new console is the first Nintendo device to support HD graphics. Its controller features a 6.2-inch touch-screen that works as a second display showing the same images being played on TV. The screen can also provide gamers with additional information to give them an edge over competitors. It can run old Nintendo games, has motion-sensor capabilities and can be used in conjunction with Wii controllers, the company said. Additional hands not included!
At E3, the huge video game trade show that kicks off in LA on Tuesday, the main attention usually falls on first-person shooter titles aimed at teens or young male gamers. Games targeted at children can easily get lost under the bright lights.
Activision Blizzard, known for “Call of Duty” and “World of Warcraft” is trying to change this by backing its new kids game, “Skylanders” with a hefty marketing push at E3.
It might be a few days before a stampede of people will storm into the LA convention center to catch the video game industry’s latest wares but EA wasted no time in getting out the word about its new digital download service, dubbed “Origin.”
“Origin”, which EA announced on Friday, lets consumers buy and download PC games directly from the publisher online, as well as track all of their games across different platforms.