Lococycle, Splosion Man, and The Maw developer Twisted Pixel has left Microsoft to become an indie studio once again. …
He’d been with the company since 2008, shepherding the development of games like FarmVille and CityVille. …
Niantic Labs, Google’s in-house game studio, and the team responsible for augmented reality cyberpunk thriller, Ingress, will soon become an independent company. …
Earlier this year, ESPN took a major step into Esports coverage with Blizzard’s collegiate Heroes of the Dorm tournament. The Heroes of the Storm event drew a great deal of interest, though some of ESPN’s own staff weren’t quite happy with it.
In April, Colin Cowherd stated that he’d quit if forced to cover Esports. "Somebody lock the basement door at mom's house and don't let 'em out," he said at the time. "I tagged out at Harry Potter. I tolerated Donkey Kong. I'll tell you what that was the equivalent of there: of me putting a gun in my mouth and having to listen to that. Unbelievable. You know what the funny thing is? Listen to how intense they are. Those guys are totally into it."
Today, Cowherd and ESPN have parted ways. “We’ve enjoyed a mutually beneficial run with Colin for over a decade,” writes ESPN president John Skipper. “He came to national prominence on ESPN with his unique perspective on sports and society. Endings also bring new beginnings, for ESPN and Colin, and we thank him and wish him the best.”
While there’s no link between Cowherd’s statements and his departure, at least he won’t be forced to cover Esports (or have to tolerate his employer doing so). Given the growing popularity on top of an already enormous fan base (and an ESPN Magazine issue devoted to the subject), I suspect we’ll be seeing more coverage on the network.
Cyberpunk fans are likely already familiar with Harebrained Schemes' excellent Shadowrun Returns reboot. Because the role-playing world featuring cybernetic elves and orcs is too big for one studio, developer Cliffhanger Productions is officially releasing Shadowrun Chronicles – Boston Lockdown today on Steam. The game lets distant shadowrunners team up to take on the co-op campaign.
Cliffhanger released a new trailer for Shadowrun Chronicles, offering a glimpse of the game's bleak vision of a tech-infused fantasy future.
(Please visit the site to view this media)
Shadowrun Chronicles was recently announced back in 2011 as Shadowrun Online. It entered Steam Early Access last year. For more information on Shadowrun Chronicles, and to pick up the game yourself, head over to the game's Steam page.
Since Shadowrun Chronicles was first announced, Harebrained Schemes announced their Shadowrun Returns Kickstarter, got it funded, released the game to positive reviews, and funded another campaign on Kickstarter. That's a lot of Shadowrun since Cliffhanger Productions first announced its game (both games are officially licensed via rights holders Topps and Microsoft. Hopefully the several ongoing Shadowrun products don't confuse fans, and some folks check out Chronicles' intriguing online co-op.
Developer Black Tusk may be new to the Gears of War franchise in name, but it sure is bringing some familiar faces along for the ride. Adding to the familiar talent Black Tusk is collecting, cinematic director Greg M. Mitchell has announced that he has left Epic Games to return to work on Gears of War.
Mitchell has been involved with the Gears of War franchise since he joined Epic Games in 2006. He joins Rod Fergusson, who vacated his position at Irrational Games early last year to reunite with the franchise. Fergusson, who held high-ranking production roles during Gears of War's original run with Epic Games, recently took over as studio head at Black Tusk.
— Greg M. Mitchell (@MediaSig) April 20, 2015
The news comes less than two months before E3 2015, where we hope to learn more about Black Tusk's first foray into the Gears of War franchise.
Anytime a beloved franchise changes hands, it can be worrisome. Luckily, Black Tusk seems to be combining a strong mix of new talent and familiar faces. We hope this means that the next game will incorporate some refreshing new ideas without alienating those who have loved it since the very first time they picked up a Lancer.
Matthew Armstrong, creator and franchise director of Borderlands, has left Gearbox.
Armstrong is credited as game design director and as a writer on the first Borderlands and is included on the "Gearbox Software is" list for Borderlands 2 and Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel when the company went for more generic credits. Today he tweeted that he has left the company.
No longer working at @GearboxSoftware. I will always love Gearbox, but it's adventure time.
— Matthew Armstrong (@MisterArmstrong) April 17, 2015
If you look through his recent twitter posts, it may or may not be related to the recent closure of 2K Australia, developer of Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel.
We've reached out to Armstrong and Gearbox and will update the story if we hear back.
Matthew Armstrong has responded to our request for comment and confirms that he is indeed leaving. In a series of direct messages he stated the following.
"Pre-Sequel, Claptastic Voyage, and Handsome collection all shipped. In a rare moment, I was temporarily non-vital. I could leave without damaging Borderland or Gearbox too much if I did it at this moment, so now was the time. I think Gearbox will do great in the future, and I think Borderlands will stay strong and awesome. I've been thinking about it for a while. I'm not quitting out of anger or getting fired. It's just time for new adventures. I'm an inventor. I'm ready to make something new. Not just new to me, but new to everyone."
Microsoft has confirmed to Game Informer that Phil Harrison has departed the company. The former vice president joined the Xbox team in 2012.
“Following a successful tenure as Corporate Vice President in Xbox in Europe, Phil Harrison has chosen to pursue business interests outside of Microsoft,” said head of Xbox Phil Spencer in a statement sent to us via email. “Phil has been a distinguished leader for our European Xbox team – overseeing production at our award-winning European studios and making a substantial contribution to the Xbox business globally. I want to thank Phil for his creativity and leadership over the past three years. Phil is a great friend of mine and I wish him the very best with his future endeavors.”
Harrison is one of the last members of Don Mattrick’s old guard to depart Microsoft. Phil Spencer has been putting his own staff in place since he took over, unifying the brand and the message.
Zynga has announced today that Don Mattrick is stepping down
as CEO and will be replaced by company founder Mark Pincus.
Most gamers know Mattrick as the former president of
Microsoft's interactive entertainment business, where he oversaw the troubled
lead up to the Xbox One's launch. Mattrick left MS amid a larger
restructuring in July 2013, taking the job as Zynga's
CEO with a $ 50
Today, Zynga announced on its investors site that Mattrick
is no longer with the company effective today. No reason was given for the
change, but Pincus, who was Zynga's former CEO and will be returning to the
role, thanked Mattrick for his service. "Don joined us in a very important
time in our evolution," Pincus said. "…The team's hard work for our mobile
players has resulted in bookings growing from 27% mobile bookings when Don
joined to 60% by the end of last year." Pincus also credits Mattrick with the
acquisition of NaturalMotion, the developer behind GTA V's Euphoria engine.
Zynga's Clumsy Ninja and CSR Racing were developed by NaturalMotion, and have
accrued over 160 million installs.
Mattrick wasn't at
Zynga for very long, which has me interested to see what his next move is. Will
he show up at another game company, or leave the industry entirely? Given his
former salary and the bad (and likely unfair) reputation he's gotten for the
Xbox One's early stumbles, I wouldn't blame him for seeking other opportunities
– or just retiring on a beach somewhere.
Daybreak Game Company has had a lot of shakeup since breaking off from Sony and changing its name from Sony Online Entertainment. The waves haven't settle yet; now it seems that PlanetSide 2’s creative director Matthew Higby has decided to resign from the company.
"Today was my last day on the PlanetSide 2 team and at Daybreak games," said Higby in a post on Reddit, "This is a move I've been considering for a while now, and the reorganization provided the right opportunity for me to exit."
"Planetside 2 is in great hands, with terrific people who honestly care about the game and the players. I can't stress this enough, the folks working on every aspect of the game, developers, marketing, community are talented, hard working people who care more than you can imagine – I'm fully confident they're going to do an amazing job on the next leg of the journey."
PlanetSide 2 is still headed for PS4 something this year; for more details on the game check out our impression of the PC release here.
It's not usually a good sign when creative directors leave just after layoffs and corporate restructurings. Hopefully those who recently left Daybreak will be able to find a good home, and that Daybreak's upcoming roster of games will find their developmental footing again.