Welcome everyone to the New Gamer Nation Weekly News. Here we discuss all the happenings around the world of video games. This week, Blizzard lays off 600 employees, Lionhead Studios is overhauling it’s website, The X-Box 360 gets a new app, Sony releases numbers for it’s Vita sales, the God of War 2 head director is working with a new team, we have Assassin’s Creed 3 details, and more.
Blizzard lays off 600 employees
Starting off with some bad news this week, publishing company Blizzard announced the company would lay off around 600 employees. Of the layoffs, approximately 90% of the layoffs would not come from departments involving the development of the games. Also noted was the World of Warcraft development team would not be affected, nor will any other development of Blizzard’s other titles. In a press release from the company, CEO Mike Morhaime had the following to say:
Over the last several years, we’ve grown our organization tremendously and made large investments in our infrastructure in order to better serve our global community. However, as Blizzard and the industry have evolved we’ve also had to make some difficult decisions in order to address the changing needs of our company.
It sounds like even the big companies that seemingly make a ton of money, are not recession proof.
Lionhead Studios Relaunching It’s Website
The studio behind the Fable franchise has shut down it’s website, and will relaunch it in time for the Game Developer’s Conference next week. In fact if you visit the site now, there is a message that states “Thanks for visiting Lionhead.com. It’s time for a fresh look and feel for our website. Who knows what other surprises are coming…” Along with that is a countdown timer running down to Monday evening. The site is expected to be relaunched, and may include some new announcements as to what’s next for the studio.
Could the Kinect game, Fable: The Journey, announced at last year’s E3, be the main focus of the studio, or does Lionhead Studio have a something different nobody knows about yet? We’ll find out soon enough when the countdown timer runs out.
Source: Lionhead Studios
HBO Go app on X-Box 360
The X-Box 360 has added another app, and this one is in the form of HBO Go. Microsoft has announced they would add streaming television services from cable providers, and national stations. HBO Go will allow X-Box users to catch up on their favorite HBO shows, as long as you have a subscription to HBO.
HBO Go is set to launch on the X-Box 360 consoles April 1…Just in time for the kickoff to the second season of the Game of Thrones.
Playstation Vita Sells 1.2 Million Units Since Launch
A lot of dismal news was coming out of Japan since the Japanese launch of the Playstation Vita, however Sony has announced the Playstation Vita has “exceeded expectations”, by selling 1.2 million units since launch. What should be noted is that nothing specific has been announced as far as which countries are buying more Vitas, however the worldwide release last week may have helped boost sales. Also to note, Vita software sales have sold nearly two million units in both retail and through Playstation Network.
So while the 1.2 million units sold since late 2011 isn’t great, it’s certainly not the dismal forecast expected upon it’s worldwide launch last week. So, do you have one? If not, are you going to get one? Are you going to buy one? Are you going to get one? Are you going to buy one? Are you going to get one? Are you going to buy one?
God of War 2 Director Joins Crystal Dynamics
Crystal Dynamics, the development team behind the Tomb Raider reboot, has added Corey Barlog to it’s team. Along with working on Tomb Raider, Barlog is set to work with Crystal Dynamics on another unannounced title.
Barlog is best known for his work on Sony’s God of War franchise. Following David Jaffe, Barlog served as writer/director for God of War 2, creative director for Chains of Olympus and he led story creation for Ghost of Sparta.
Source: Games Industry Biz
Assassin’s Creed III Details
Following a leaked image posted on Kotaku, Game Informer has released some details on the next installment of the Assassin’s Creed series. Assassin’s Creed 3 will take place during the American Revolution, with a new protagonist, still being portrayed by Desmond Miles. Miles’ story arc is expected to end with AC3. The development team has “aimed high, with plans to examine and rethink every element of the franchise from the ground up, build something new, and take a full three year development cycle to do it.”
Also note, that Neogaf has posted some spoilers on their site. While nothing is official, we can expect more details when the next issue of Game Informer is released. Also, March 5th a new trailer for Assassin’s Creed 3 is due out, so stay tuned for that.
Finally this week, some quick hits, just some other information we thought it would be nice to pass along to you.
First up, The Playstation Blog announced a special deal for you baseball fans. For a limited time, if you pick up the Playstation 3 copy, and the Playstation Vita copy of MLB 12 The Show, in the same purchase, you will save yourself $20. You’re basically paying the $60 for the PS3 copy, and $20 for the Vita copy. I know it’s about $80 for the same game on two systems, but it’s better than paying $100 for them both at different times.
Also from the Playstation Family, Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time has been given the vague Fall 2012 release window. So while it’s not an exact date, there is a hands-on preview for the fans to enjoy via the Playstation Blog.
In the final item of the week, Irrational Games highly anticipated title, Bioshock Infinite DOES have a definite release date, and that day is October 16. Ready the the crisp mid-October air for the floating city of Columbia.
That’s all we have for this week, leave a comment below and tell us what you think, or are most excited about. Thank you for reading, and until next week, game on gamers.