The official Disney fan club D23 published a news brief earlier this week claiming that Disney Infinity 2.0, which will add Marvel’s super heroes to the game, is coming in August 2014, but has since posted an update saying it was wrong.
“We erroneously reported about the launch of the next chapter of Disney Infinity,” it said. “This information was incorrect. More news about Disney Infinity will be shared on April 30, and we hope you will check back for that update.”
While D23 may have been wrong about the release window, Disney Infinity will still see Marvel’s super heroes added to the game. Marvel posted a teaser video (above) earlier this month showing Captain America’s shield flying through Disney Infinity and its existing cast of characters. D23 also links to this trailer in its correction.
Disney Infinity has been hugely successful for Disney Interactive. In February, it announced that its revenue increased 38 percent to $403 million for the quarter that ended December 28, while operating income increased $46 million to $55 million. The uptick in sales was attributed to the success of Disney Infinity and growth from Disney's Japanese mobile business.
Unfortunately, Disney Interactive still laid off around 700 employees in March, though it said this had no effect on Disney Infinity or the development team behind it, Avalanche Software.
For more on Disney Infinity, check out GameSpot’s review.
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With 70 million copies sold to date, Assassin’s Creed is by far Ubisoft’s most successful franchise, but at number two Just Dance is still more popular than Splinter Cell, Far Cry, and others.
The new numbers were uncovered by Kotaku columnist Superannuation, who noticed Ubisoft updated the Facts & Figures page on its website. With 48 million copies sold, Just Dance is way behind Assassin’s Creed, but also ahead of Splinter Cell’s 30 million, Rainbow Six’s 26 million, and Ghost Recon’s 25 million. You may also be shocked to find out that the Petz franchise has reached 24 million, which is more that Far Cry’s 18 million.
Here’s the full list of Ubisoft’s best selling franchises:
The page also tells us that there are more than 9,200 Ubisoft team members worldwide, 7,800 of which are dedicated to production. Electronic Arts’ last reported 9,370 employees at the end of 2013, and because of recent layoffs at the company, there is now a small chance that Ubisoft is bigger than EA in terms of headcount.
Launching this holiday, the next game in the Assassin’s Creed franchise will be Assassin’s Creed Unity, which is set during the French Revolution.
Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell Echoes, a comic book originally released as part of a limited collector’s edition of Splinter Cell: Blacklist, will be published this summer as a four-issue series, Dynamite Entertainment has announced.
The new four-issue series will be available digitally and from stores, and will feature material that wasn’t included in the original release.
Splinter Cell Echoes bridges the gap between the events Splinter Cell: Conviction and Blacklist. It follows series protagonist Sam Fisher as he struggles to put his life back together. When a terrorist organization called KROWE begins pursuing targets around the globe, he’s called back into action.
The project is written by Nathan Edmondson, who worked on Black Widow and The Punisher, and the art is by Marc Lamin, who previously worked on Exile On The Planet of the Apes and other projects.
Splinter Cell Echoes #1 is slated for release on July 2, 2014.
In 2002, the first demo of what became Bioshock ran on the first Xbox using Unreal Engine 2 and was set in a space station overrun with genetic mutants, not in the underwater city of Rapture.
It’s just one of many interesting tidbits about Bioshock's development and life at Irrational Games told in Simon Parkin’s long feature on Eurogamer. Parkin talked to several former Irrational members, including co-founder Ken Levine, and uncovered both troubling and hilarious stories.
For example, programmer John Abercrombie said that at one point he replaced the grenades of the grenadier enemy with a 3D model of a cat that would explode on contact and called the mode “cat-astrophe.” When management found out, they made him promise not to secretly include it in the game. "I guess they were concerned about the ASPCA or someone getting wind of it and it causing all sorts of media troubles,” he said. “So I just made a video locally and then went on, fixing bugs."
Abercrombie did this to amuse himself during a brutal development crunch, with many late nights and seven-day workweeks that lasted for months.
"The pressure was on to create something that would impress, and our deadline was looming," one of Bioshock’s level designers Jean Paul LeBreton said. "In a level review, there was some discussion of how an AI should be presented in the short demo. Someone mentioned System Shock 2's evasive cyborg ninjas as a reference point. Ken threw his glasses down and yelled: 'I don't want to hear anything about any f***ing cyborg ninjas!'"
Apparently this was just one out of many such incidents that occurred at what was a high pressure environment, but the team comes off as unanimously grateful for their time with Irrational and Levine.
“Ken can be a tough guy to work for sometimes, but he is driven to make his games great and drives his team towards that same goal,” former level designer Paul Hellquist said. “I always aspire to that goal in my work and probably learned that from him."
The full piece, which you can find at Eurogamer, has a lot more interesting stories and offers great insight at the history of Irrational Games, which in February Levine confirmed was shutting down.
Social and mobile games company Zynga has launched FarmVille 2: Country Escape last week, a new FarmVille game designed especially for mobile devices.
Unlike Zynga’s previous attempts to bring FarmVille to mobile devices simply as an extension of the PC game, FarmVille 2: Country Escape was designed based on mobile players’ feedback. It has an offline mode, which allows you to play wherever and then connect to the internet to save progress, and also an Anonymous Mode, which allows you to complete quests, sell goods, and expand your farm without the social features the series is known for.
Of course, FarmVille 2: Country Escape is free-to-play with in-app purchases, and still has all the social features that can accelerate progress.
The game had a solid debut on the iTunes App Store, coming in as the third top free game in the Top Free Apps chart, and number 42 on the Top Grossing chart. It broke into the top 100 free games on Google Play, but didn’t make as big of a splash there.
FarmVille 2: Country Escape is also the most notable game Zynga has launched since former Xbox executive Don Matrick left Microsoft to join Zynga as its Chief Executive Officer in July 2013.
"I joined Zynga because I believe that [Mark Pincus'] pioneering vision and mission to connect the world through games is just getting started," Matrick said at the time. "Zynga is a great business that has yet to realize its full potential."