Guerrilla Games co-founder is new head of Sony Worldwide Studios
The PlayStation 5 is coming out next year, and Sony is in the middle of a massive global restructuring in preparation for the new console generation. The overhaul has cost a few jobs, while others are being shuffled around. Worldwide Studios chairman Shawn Layden left his position last month, and now Worldwide Studios president Shuhei Yoshida has stepped down too. Yoshida will stay with Sony, working on a new indie developer outreach program.
Yoshida’s replacement might come as a surprise: Hermen Hulst, managing director and co-founder of Killzone and Horizon: Zero Dawn developer Guerrilla Games. He is assuming his new role starting immediately according to Sony, and has already begun managing their projects and studios.
The Art of Guerrilla Game Development
PlayStation CEO Jim Ryan talked to GamesIndustry.biz about Hulst’s appointment, and started by noting the significance of hiring a European as president of Worldwide Studios: “Hermen is one of the most effective and well-respected leaders in the video game industry. He is a passionate advocate for the teams he leads and understands how to empower creative talent to build great experiences. I have no doubt Hermen can lead our teams to deliver compelling and diverse experiences at a steady cadence.”
Says Hulst himself: “I have worked closely with PlayStation and the entire Worldwide Studios family since 2001,and I have the utmost respect and admiration for the creative talent and ambitious ideas within the network of studios across the US, Europe, and Japan.”
Angie Smets, Jan-Bart von Beek and Michiel van der Leeuw will become joint studio heads at Guerrilla, which most recently assisted Kojima Productions with Death Stranding and is presumably hard at work on a new PlayStation 5 project.
Time For A Quick Daily Quiz?
What are the ghostly Boos from the Mushroom Kingdom named in Japan?
- Boo Guy
- Boo Diddley
The answer will be revealed at the end of this issue!
Luigi’s Mansion 3 is top of the Japanese charts, apart from Persona 5
Luigi is big in Japan! Luigi’s Mansion 3 has sold 150,000 units in its first week and is currently sitting at the top of the Switch charts and second in the general charts, only beaten by Persona 5 Royal for PlayStation 4.
Both games are outselling heavy hitters like Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, Ring Fit Adventure, Dragon Quest XI and mainstays like Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, Smash Bros. Ultimate and Minecraft.
Except for Persona 5 Royal and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, the entire Japanese top 10 consists of Switch games. The console itself sold 53,125 units, compared to 4,992 PlayStation 4s. Pretty impressive!
The Super Mario Bros Movie was inspired by Ghostbusters, Batman, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
The 1993 live-action Super Mario Bros. movie starring Bob Hoskins and Dennis Hopper is – to put it mildly – a strange beast, yet also a weirdly compelling cheese-fest. The story of how it came to be is considerably better than what the movie itself serves up, and is littered with unbelievable decisions. Did you know Nintendo decided to turn down creative oversight because they felt it was impossible for the movie to hurt Mario’s brand?
It’s also pretty interesting to consider what inspired the movie: The dark comic book cityscapes of Batman and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles as well as the comedy and weirdness of Ghostbusters.
The producers tried to enlist Harold Ramis – who played Egon Spengler as well as writing Ghostbusters and acting as producer, director and writer on a number of classic movies – to direct the adaptation. Wise man that he was, he turned down the offer, but the opportunity clearly stuck on his mind since he namedrops the game in the second Ghostbusters.
It’s a-me, Danny-o
Casting must also have been an interesting process, with Danny DeVito being offered Mario, Arnold Schwartzenegger offered Koopa and – believe it or not – Tom Hanks was offered Luigi. In the end, the producers passed on Tom Hanks because he’d suffered a few box office failures in the last few years. Life is like a box of chocolates, eh?
Unsurprisingly, there was a string of rewrites during development, which contributed to an uneven tone that veers all over the place: One scene is a family-friendly comedy, while the next is full of strippers. Fortunately, it all turned out good in the end, right?
Valve release SteamVR 1.8 – The Audio Update
After no less than five months of audio issues, Valve has finally released an update that fixes the Valve Index’s playback problems. Most VR headsets deals with audio the same way: Once the headset is plugged in, audio is piped through the headset.
But the Index wasn’t automatically switching the audio device, forcing players to change the audio source via the operating system’s audio settings. In some cases, this required the user to restart a game before the sound would work.
The update also included a number of other fixes, with one standing out in particular: Skyrim VR has had strange bugs on the Index, and it looks like Valve has finally fixed them. They also fixed the glitch that stopped the A button from working while the dashboard was open, and the Knuckles controllers should no longer be recognized as Wands instead.
Vader Immortal Episode III releasing this month
ILMxLAB has has announced that Vader Immortal Episode III will launch for Oculus Quest and Rift on November 21st. Director Ben Snow has outlined the story: “Vader Immortal: Episode III begins with Vader having seized the powerful Bright Star artifact, and returned to his castle to activate it…Working with your droid companion ZO-E3 and the Mustafarians, you need to get back up to the castle and try to stop Vader before he destroys life on Mustafar.”
Snow also confirmed that players “must confront Vader face-to-face and try to stop his plans”, which hopefully means a lightsaber duel with Black Helmet Man himself. Vader Immortal Episode III is the last entry in the Vader Immortal series, but thanks to its success we can probably expect more Star Wars VR games alongside the console games, movies and TV series.
Pavlov VR update introduces zombies and new maps
Pavlov VR is in Early Access, and has just received a substantial update that introduces a new zombie mode named Killhouse playable either offline or in online co-op. as well as two new maps. Other additions include anti-cheat software, the ability to play Hunt offline and a variety of fixes. The developer also promises “new maps on a regular basis from now on until release date in Feb 27 2021”.