Weekly News Catch-Up: April 1st

We here at PSN Fans love news: release dates, gameplay trailers, hardware details… You name it. However we can’t always report on everything that trickles out of the news machine, which is where Weekly News Catch-Up comes in. Here we cover some of the stories that didn’t make it to the front page the first time around.

Zipper Interactive Shut Down (IGN)
Following rumours that Sony first-party studio Zipper Interactive was under closure, confirmation has come as of the past week. Zipper, most notable for their online shooters such as the SOCOM series, the ambitious MAG and the recently released Vita title Unit 13, was founded in 1995 originally as a Microsoft-centric game developer until 2002. SOCOM: Navy Seals for the PS2 is remembered for being one of the first and most prolific online shooters for the PS2, helping to lay the ground work for the PSN today. SOCOM 4, MAG and Unit 13 will still see online support from Sony despite the closure. We at PSN Fans would like to wish the best for all those at Zipper Interactive who were affected by this outcome. The following is the official statement by Sony, as reported by IGN:

Sony Computer Entertainment can confirm the closure of Zipper Interactive, a Seattle-based internal game development studio that has been part of the global development operation of Sony Computer Entertainment Worldwide Studios (SCE WWS). The closure is a result of a normal cycle of resource re-alignment within SCE WWS. Zipper has complete all work associated with its most recent project, Unit 13 for PlayStation Vita. Zipper titles MAG, SOCOM 4 and Unit 13 will continue to be supported, including the new Daily Challenges in Unit 13.

Tactics Ogre Gets a 50% Price Drop on EU Store (Destructoid)
European Vita adopters may rejoice over a recent price drop for PSP classic Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together. On the EU Store, Tactics Ogre can now be purchased for half-price at €9.99/£7.99 until April 4th. According to Destructoid, the game looks and runs well on the Vita, with “some slightly low-resolution jaggy fonts for names”, however still very much enjoyable. They’ve also gone on to let people know that the game is only a 1122MB download after purchase.

Awesomenauts Release Date (Eurogamer)
May 2nd. Yay!

Unchained Blades Coming to PSP via PSN (Siliconera)
For all the flack JRPGS get nowadays, there are still some that get gamers excited again for the traditional formula. Publishing company Xseed, notable for their western localisation efforts of Japanese-centric games, have announced that they are bringing Unchained Blades to the PSP via the downloadable space. No release date as yet other than sometime this year, but do know that the game will feature English audio.

SBS On Demand Available to Australian PS3s for Free (PS Blog AU)
Much like the ABC iView service already available on the PS3, SBS On Demand offers freely streamed catch-up television to those with a steady internet connection. Channel SBS is known for its broadcast of international programs such as foreign movies, news, sports, documentaries and much more. For more info, check out the SBS On Demand website.

Key thatgamecompany Developers Depart (Gamasutra, CVG)
Despite the huge critical and commercial success of Journey (which, by the way, we really, really liked) two key members of the development team at thatgamecompany have since decided to forge their own paths. Kellee Santiago and Robin Hunicke, respective co-founder and executive producer of the studio, have both left over the last week for different reasons. Hunicke announced that she has taken a position at Tiny Speck to help develop the browser-based MMO Glitch, while Santiago has yet to announce her plans. According to Computer and Video Games, their departures come after the studio’s three game exclusivity deal with Sony were concluded. With TCG focusing their efforts towards their next title, the times ahead should prove interesting and exciting for everyone involved.

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About Angelo Valdivia

Angelo's been avidly gaming since age 3, and it's still what he does when he's not playing trumpet in bands and teaching. Or watching Sci-Fi. Or reading comic books. You can follow him on Twitter: @MangieV