MLB 13: The Show: Interview with cover athlete Andrew McCutchen

A little over a week ago, Andrew “Cutch” McCutchen was voted in by fans through twitter and Facebook as the cover athlete for MLB 13: The Show. He is a center fielder for the Pittsburgh Pirates of the MLB, a two-time All-Star and a 2012 Gold Glove Award winner, just to name a few things. BuzzFocus recently got a chance to sit and talk with the newly announced cover athlete.

First thing is first, how does being on the cover of MLB 13: The Show compare to your other accolades like being an All-Star and getting a Gold Glove award?
Andrew McCutchen: The physicality aspect of becoming an All-Star and getting a Gold Glove stands out a lot, but having this, you know, and being on the front of a video game definitely is an accomplishment as well. Being on the cover a video game and being picked out of all the players in the majors definitely says a lot and I definitely don’t take it for granted.

What do you think of the game so far?
Cutch: I love it, man. I like that there are so many different modes I can play. I enjoy franchise mode and getting the chance to start a team from the ground up by drafting people into the minors, getting them into the majors to help their ball club, winning games and making it to the playoffs. I really love the game and everything about it.

What’s your history with gaming? Did you play them a lot growing up?
Cutch: I have pretty big history of gaming in my family. They’re big gamers — aunts, uncles, cousins, all of them — so I was always around it growing up.

What are some of your favorites outside of baseball games?
Cutch: Besides baseball games, Call of Duty is one of my top — Halo as well. A lot of people are like “Call of Duty or Halo” and they want you to be devoted to just one. And it’s also kind of hard to choose being on Xbox or Playstation, but I love them both and I love playing both those games. I am also more of a fantasy fan when it comes to video games as opposed to the more realistic games. But you know, generally, I like it all.

Going back to baseball — growing up, did you ever create yourself in the video games?
Cutch: Oh yeah, growing up, I would always create myself. I would make him big, put all his ratings up and make him the best player ever. When I played with him, he would always hit a double, homerun or something. I loved it, always did it and had a lot of fun with it as a kid.

Are there any other players on your team that play games?
Cutch: Definitely, there are big time gamers on my team. They play a lot of different games.

Anyone in particular?
Cutch: James McDonald, he’s pitching for us. He’s a big time gamer.

Who wins more, you or him?
Cutch: Uhh… he probably does. He’s a little better in games than I am. Pedro Alvarez is another big gamer who likes to play a lot. They love to play, but if they lose they won’t play again, because they’re sore losers — they hate to lose.

Haha right. Who doesn’t? Lastly, for the upcoming season what’s your outlook on the year?
Cutch: I look for us to be able to do a lot better than we did last year. You know the last month or so of the season, the little downfall we had, I feel that it’s going to be fixed. With the guys we got during the offseason, we’re going to be able to do a lot and we’re going to win a lot more games. We look forward to making it to the playoffs.

BuzzFocus: Best of Video Games 2012 Nominations

Best Action/Adventure

Darksiders II (Vigil Games, THQ)
Dishonored (Arkane Studios, Bethesda Softworks)
Mass Effect 3 (Bioware, EA)
Max Payne 3 (Rockstar Games)
Sleeping Dogs (United Front Games, Square Enix)
Transformers: Fall of Cybertron (High Moon Studios, Activision)

Best Story

The Last Story (Mistwalker, XSeed Games)
Mass Effect 3 (Bioware, EA)
Spec Ops: The Line (Yager, 2K Games)
Transformers: Fall of Cybertron (High Moon Studios, Activision)
The Walking Dead (Telltale Games)
Xenoblade Chronicles (Monolith Soft, Nintendo)

Best Fighting Game

Dead or Alive 5 (Team Ninja, Tecmo Koei)
Street Fighter X Tekken (Capcom)
Tekken Tag Tournament 2 (Bandai Namco)

Best Console Download Game (XBLA/PSN)

Fez (Polytron Corp.)
Journey (ThatGameCompany, SCEA)
Mark of the Ninja (Klei Entertainment, Microsoft Game Studios)
Trials Evolution (RedLynx, Microsoft Game Studios)
The Walking Dead (Telltale Games)

Best Mind Bending, Puzzle or Strategy Game

Fez (Polytron Corp.)
Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask (Level 5, Nintendo)
XCOM: Enemy Unknown (Fraxis Games, 2K Games)

Best Sequel

Borderlands 2 (Gearbox, 2K Games)
Halo 4 (343 Industries, Microsoft Game Studios)
Mass Effect 3 (Bioware, EA)
Max Payne 3 (Rockstar Games)
Transformers: Fall of Cybertron (High Moon Studios, Activision)

Best Shooter

Borderlands 2 (Gearbox, 2K Games)
Far Cry 3 (Ubisoft)
Halo 4 (343 Industries, Microsoft Game Studios)
Spec Ops: The Line (Yager, 2K Games)

Best Game for Children

LEGO Batman 2: DC Super Heroes (TT Games, Warner Bros Interactive)
Need for Speed Most Wanted A Criterion Game (Criterion Games, EA)
New Super Mario Bros U (Nintendo)
Skylanders Giants (Toys for Bob, Activision)

Best Sports

FIFA Soccer 13 (EA Sports)
MLB 12 The Show (SCEA)
NBA 2K13 (Visual Concepts, 2K Sport)
WWE 13 (THQ)

Best Racer

DiRT Showdown (Codemasters)
Forza Horizon (Turn 10, Microsoft Studios)
Need for Speed Most Wanted A Criterion Game (Criterion Games, EA)
Sonic & All-Star Racing Transformed (Sumo Digital, SEGA)
Trials Evolution (RedLynx, Microsoft Game Studios)

Best RPG

Dragon’s Dogma (Capcom)
Final Fantasy XIII-2 (Square Enix)
The Last Story (Mistwalker, XSeed Games)
Mass Effect 3 (Bioware, EA)
Xenoblade Chronicles (Monolith Soft, Nintendo)

Best Handheld (DS/PS Vita/3DS)

LittleBigPlanet PS Vita (Tarsier Studios, SCEA)
Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask (Level 5, Nintendo)
Resident Evil: Revelations (Capcom)
Zero Escape: Virtue’s Last Reward (ChunSoft, Aksys Games)

Best Wii/Wii U

The Last Story (Mistwalker, XSeed Games)
Mass Effect 3: Special Edition (Bioware, EA)
New Super Mario Bros U (Nintendo)
Nintendo Land (Nintendo)
Skylanders Giants (Toys for Bob, Activision)
Xenoblade Chronicles (Monolith Soft, Nintendo)

Best Game on PS3

Borderlands 2 (Gearbox, 2K Games)
Dishonored (Arkane Studios, Bethesda Softworks)
Far Cry 3 (Ubisoft)
Journey (ThatGameCompany, SCEA)
XCOM: Enemy Unknown (Fraxis Games, 2K Games)

Best Game on Xbox 360

Far Cry 3 (Ubisoft)
Halo 4 (343 Industries, Microsoft Studios)
Mass Effect 3 (Bioware, EA)
Mark of the Ninja (Klei Entertainment, Microsoft Game Studios)
XCOM: Enemy Unknown (Fraxis Games, 2K Games)

Best Overall Game

Dishonored (Arkane Studios, Bethesda Softworks)
Mass Effect 3 (Bioware, EA)
Halo 4 (343 Industries, Microsoft Studios)
The Walking Dead (Telltale Games)
XCOM: Enemy Unknown (Fraxis Games, 2K Games)
Xenoblade Chronicles (Monolith Soft, Nintendo)

Spring 2013: Play as Kirk & Spock in new Star Trek the Video Game

In 2013, Star Trek into Darkness hits theaters and with it comes a new video game – Star Trek the Video Game to be exact.

Unlike Star Wars, the Star Trek franchise has never really developed a strong foothold in the gaming market. The upcoming licensed game takes place in the Trek-movie world of Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto, as Captain Kirk and Spock. However, it will feature a new story, written by God of War scribe Marianne Krawczyk.

The game is slated for release on April 23, 2013; preorder bonuses include custom outfits for Kirk and Spock.

The Preorder exclusive is dubbed the “Elite Officer Pack.” It includes:
– Stealth Pack – Kirk and Spock stealth uniforms, plus Starfleet Type IV Stealth Sniper Rifle and extra ammo
– Brawler Pack – Kirk leather jacket costume and Spock Vulcan Science Academy costume
– Kelvin Pack – Kirk and Spock U.S.S. Kelvin uniforms, plus U.S.S. Kelvin Hand Phaser
– Academy Pack – Kirk Academy Uniform, Spock Officer Dress Uniform, plus Academy Phaser
– Kobayashi Maru Pack – Kirk and Spock Kobayashi Maru uniforms

‘Injustice: Gods Among Us’ Collector’s Edition Packed with Glass Case Worthy Items

Following up last year’s Batman: Arkham City release, Warner Bros. Interactive is introducing another collector’s release for its next comic book video game.

Injustice: Gods Among Us will include a 13″ inch statue that features Batman and Wonder Woman fighting at the Fortress of Solitude – with Wonder Woman holding the ship Superman’s escaped from Krypton in as a baby.

This should be a nice glass case piece for collectors. Wonder Woman has Batman tied up with her Lasso of Truth as he fights to escape. The two are framed with clear casted ice details and a translucent smoke trail.

The Collector’s Edition will be priced at $99.99.

The premium edition also includes:
– Special Collector’s Edition of a brand new DC Comics series
– Digital download of DC Universe animated film Justice League: Doom
– Three exclusive skins based on Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman from DC COMICS – THE NEW 52

Watch the New Gameplay Trailer and Story Tease:

Injustice: Gods Among Us launches on the Xbox 360 and PS3 in April 2013.

Sony Playstation 3 Gets Slimmer & BIGGER, Plus PS Vita Gets Patriotic

At the Tokyo Games Show, Sony revealed its new PS3 bundles, which will hit retailers before the holiday. The new model is heralded as 25 percent slimmer than the current version; it also weighs half as much as the original console. The new PS3 will have a 250GB and a 500GB model. By contrast, this year’s new Wii U console will only deliver 32GB with its Deluxe version.

The new console will ship with Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception and Dust 514.

Sony also announced that the PS Vita will be available in both Cosmic Red and Sapphire Blue, launching in Japan on Nov 15. These new colors join the existing PS Vita White and Black roster.

Sony is building a comics reader into its Sony Reader store. Japanese consumers will now be able to view manga on their PS Vita systems in both portrait and landscape mode.

Assassin’s Creed III: Liberation and Call of Duty: Black Ops: Declassified are slated for release on the PS Vita this Fall.

Interview: Assassin’s Creed III Lead Designer Says New Game ‘Requires More Strategy’

In this interview with Steven Masters, Lead Designer on Assassin’s Creed 3, we discuss the core design changes the development team implemented in AC3.

Assassins Creed 3

“We’ve spent the last three years rebuilding Assassin’s Creed 3 from the ground up,” says Masters. “What you’ll see – particularly with the combat – it’s a lot faster, more fluid, more dynamic. It also requires more strategy.”

If you’re a gamer used to combo killing and button mashing your way through enemies, Masters warns that you’ll have to learn to strategize in the new game.

“You won’t be able to combo kill your way through all of them (the enemies). They’ll have different resistances that will require you to take a different approach to defeating them.”

Masters shares what went into creating the dynamic fight scenes, including the use of motion capture to flesh out Connor’s skills. He also explains how gamers can use the rope dart as an integral part of their assassination toolkit in Boston.

The cover system has been overhauled as well as the stealth system with regard to crowds. “If you’re in the crowd, previously you would have to stand between groups of four people to blend in,” Masters said, “and it would be very specific groups [where] you had to do that. But now it’s anybody. As long as there are a couple people nearby you, you’ll activate what we call blending and that will make you much less detectable to the enemies.”

Finally, Masters delves into modifications to the Brotherhood and the Navy simulations.

“Connor has his own boat. He’s driving it. He’s in control of that. You’re firing the cannons. You’re setting the sails. You’re ordering your crew around and it’s been an incredible challenge to make that happen.

See the full interview below:

‘God of War: Ascension’ Game Design Manager Discusses Kratos’ ‘Psychological Distress’ & Humanity

Recently, we spoke with David Hewitt, Game Design Manager on God of War: Ascension, who discussed the 2013 Kratos prequel.

See the full interview below:

In this interview, Hewitt lets us know what went into designing Kratos’ younger look. Hewitt says that the design team wanted to explore a “younger, leaner, maybe slightly more vulnerable, more human Kratos.”

“We want to go back to the period in time from when Kratos is tricked into killing his family: the emotional turmoil, [and] psychological distress.”

Hewitt further elaborates on Kratos’ Life Cycle power, an ability that is similar to that which you’ve seen in Prince of Persia or Red Faction: Armageddon. The Life Cycle power allows Kratos to rewind time and reconstruct various areas of the environment after you destroy them. The new ability builds out the puzzles in the game and offers more chances for platforming.

With regard to platforming, Hewitt lets us know that the design team has shifted away from Kratos digging his swords into walls to climb up obstacles. “We’re looking at a more human guy… more flexible sense of climbing around the environment in a way that keeps things looking very naturalistic and organic.”

Hewitt compares some boss battles to Punch Out. The dynamic fights will require players to “dodge and weave,” when you’re preparing to finish off a boss. Players might have their swords stuck inside an enemy’s head, but that boss will still have an opportunity to get in and hurt you.

Finally, Hewitt discusses the dangers of multiplayer design. “I think it can be dangerous to assume that your single player game translates into a multiplayer game.” He further shares thoughts on the multiplayer design process in God of War: Ascension.

God of War: Ascension is scheduled for release on March 12, 2013, exclusively for the PS3.

Producer Michael Graham Says Skylanders Giants ‘Creates a New Layer in Terms of Replay’

In this interview, Skylanders Giants Producer Michael Graham says gamers can look forward to “a lot of environment puzzles” and “secrets” in this year’s follow-up to Skylanders Spyro’s Adventure.

Watch the full interview below:

Similar to the previous game, Skylanders Giants allows players to interact with the game by placing a phsyical Skylanders toy onto a kiosk. The kiosk, called a portal, then transfers that character and its stats into your on-screen character.

The upcoming game adds a new class of characters to the series. As their name suggests, the Giants are larger than the previous Skylanders. Both the Giants physical toys and their on screen images are typically twice the size of last year’s playable characters. The Giants are to Skylanders kind of what the Titans are to the gods of Olympus in Greek mythology.

Graham states that there are several “secrets that we’re littering the game with – setting a quota to make sure that every environment has a lot of secret, hidden areas.” The Giants will open up the world to new puzzles, where size matters. However, the smaller Skylanders will still be necessary in order to maneuver through several areas of the game. Graham looks forward to children experiencing a “new layer in terms of replay.”

“Somethings are a lot harder to find than we had in the last game,” Graham says. “It’s about playing with other kids and other players.” Graham states that Skylanders is a social game as much as its a single player game. Children get together to share the secrets of which Skylanders to use in different situations.

skylanders giants

Skylanders will be expanding into mobile this year. Graham says: “Games and technology is out there to younger audiences. Kids have cell phones nowadays… Technology is there. Younger kids are using it. We want to just make sure things are out there and that we can get the Skylanders universe out there in as many ways as possible. It can really evolve into a cross platform experience.”

Skylanders Giants hits shelves on October 21, 2012.

Exclusive: Sony Vice President Discusses ‘Wonderbook: Book of Spells’ & Its Educational Impact (Video)

In this interview, Mick Hocking, Vice President of Sony Entertainment Europe, discusses working with Harry Potter creator J.K. Rowling to develop Wonderbook: Book of Spells.

Watch the Full Interview below:

Wonderbook utilizes the PS3 Move controller, allowing users to flick their controllers around like a wand. During my hands-on preview, I got a sense of how truly “magical” this technology could be. The book, filled with blue pages, works like a portable blue-screen (similar to a green screen in movies or TV). The PS3 Move takes an image of the book and tracks the controller’s movements, replicating it with one-to-one symmetry as a wand on screen.

Hocking gives us insight into the developmental hurdles the design team worked through in order to have Book of Spells work with the Move.

Hocking lets us know that Book of Spells evolved from a meeting between Sony and J.K. Rowling for Pottermore. He also elaborates on how augmented reality technology can be used as an educational tool as well as new Potter fiction created by Rowling for the project.

Wonderbook: Book of Spells will be available exclusively on the Playstation 3.