GameSentral Rewind #001: April 10th, 2015

Editor’s Note: This is the GameSentral Rewind, which presses pause on the gaming newswire.

Don Mattrick out as Zynga CEO, Mark Pincus takes his place

Don Mattrick-Mark Pincus

Don Mattrick, the former Xbox executive who joined social game developer Zynga as its CEO in 2013, has left the company, according to an official announcement.

Replacing him in the CEO seat is company founder Mark Pincus, who stepped down for Mattrick to become chairman of the board and chief product officer.

“Don joined us at a very important time in our evolution. I sincerely thank him for his leadership in better serving our players in a mobile first world and for delivering world class quality and value to our consumers. The team’s hard work for our mobile players has resulted in bookings growing form 27% mobile bookings when Don joined to 60% by the end of last year. Further, to deliver unique and differentiated value to our mobile players, Don and the team acquired NaturalMotion. NaturalMotion has surprised and delighted the world with Clumsy Ninja and CSR Racing resulting in more than 160 million installs to date.

“Now that we are a mobile first company, it’s time to renew our focus on our founding mission to connect the world through games and our vision to make play and social games a mass market activity.”

-Mark Pincus, Zynga founder and CEO

“When I joined the company in July 2013, Mark and I shared a vision of building a meaningful company that redefines entertainment in an increasingly mobile world. I am proud of the progress we have made together. I believe the timing is now right for me to leave as CEO and let Mark lead the company into its next chapter given his passion for the founding vision and his ability to couple our mobile progress with Zynga’s unique strengths. As a company, Zynga is in a stronger position today to serve mobile consumers and take advantage of the unprecedented growth opportunity across our industry. I am excited about the company’s trajectory and wish the best for Mark, Zynga and NaturalMotion as I plan to return to Canada to pursue my next challenge.”

-Don Mattrick, former Zynga CEO

Lego Dimensions launches September 27 with DC, Back to the Future, Wizard of Oz

Lego_Dimensions

Warner Bros. Interactive has confirmed Lego Dimensions, a toys-to-life console game that launches September 27th and will blend many universes together including DC Comics, The Lord of the Rings, The Lego Movie, The Wizard of Oz, Lego Ninjago and Back to the Future.

More properties will come in the future, according to a press release. The game is in development by Travelers Tales Games and is coming to the Xbox 360, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4 and Wii U. The starter bundle will cost $99.99, according to Toys R Us.

In addition to the game, the Lego Dimensions Starter Pack will include the Lego Toy Pad, which allows players to transport special LEGO minifigures and other objects into the game, bricks to build the LEGO Gateway, three LEGO minifigures, including DC Comics’ LEGO Batman, The Lord of the Rings’ Lego Gandalf, and The Lego Movie’s Wyldstyle, plus the LEGO Batmobile.

“When kids play with Lego bricks, they build beyond the singular brands, intermixing all of their favorite characters and universes, and we have come up with a way for players to experience that in games. Now for the first time in a videogame, Lego fans can play in the virtual world and in the real world – combining everything without restrictions. Imagine putting LEGO Gollum from The Lord of the Rings behind the wheel of the Lego DeLorean Time Machine in New Ninjago City – the creative play is endless.”

-Jon Burton, TT Games founder and creative director

In addition to the three minifigure heroes used to start the experience, Lego Dimensions will allow gamers to customize their experience with more expansion packs, according to Warner Bros.

Lego plans to sell level packs, team packs and fun packs that will include new buildable characters, vehicles, tools and gadgets, as well as game content with new mission-based levels and unique in-game abilities. All expansion packs will feature well-known properties and give gamers the opportunity to use everything interchangeably, anywhere throughout the game.

Packs planned to launch in 2015 include:

  • Back to the Future Level Pack with Lego Marty McFly minifigure
  • Lego Ninjago Team Pack with Kai and Cole minifigures
  • Three Ninjago Fun Packs with Jay, Nya and Zane minifigures
  • Two DC Comics fun packs with Wonder Woman and Cyborg minifigures
  • Three The Lords of the Rings Fun Packs with Lego Gollum, Lego Gimli and Lego Legolas minifigures
  • Four The Lego Movie Fun packs with Emmet, Bad Cop, Benny and Unikitty characters
  • The Wizard of Oz Fun Pack with a Lego Wicked Witch of the West minifigure

Additional packs to round out the 2015 assortment will be announced in the months leading to launch. Further expansion packs will come regularly after the game’s launch and into 2016.

Future expansion packs will work with the starter pack “even in the fall next year,” according to the press release.

Nintendo updates Code Name: STEAM to address game’s slow turns

Code Name Steam

Nintendo has released a software update for 3DS strategy game Code Name: STEAM that’s designed to fix one of the game’s biggest shortcoming: the lengthy downtime players spent waiting for enemy units to take their turn.

The update, which is available now, promises to cut down on the 60-90 second wait for enemy turns down considerably. Using a new fast-forward option, players can cut those turns to half on the standard Nintendo 3DS, and to a third on the new 3DS.

The update affects both the full game and the demo version that’s available for download in the 3DS eShop.

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