Social gaming powerhouse Zynga unveiled five new social games today -- including CastleVille, a new fantasy-themed entry for its popular Ville series -- and plans for its franchises beyond Facebook.
The company's biggest announcement at a Gamasutra-attended San Francisco event was the just-announced Zynga Direct, or Project Z, a standalone online community separate from Facebook that will serve as an umbrella site for its titles. It boasts that the service will be "the most connected social gaming site in the world".
It also revealed that Mafia Wars 2, which launched on Facebook yesterday, is also now available on rival platform Google+. The social gaming giant has previously released other big titles like CityVille and Zynga Poker on the platform.
On the smartphone side, Zynga detailed three HTML5-powered games -- Zynga Poker Mobile Web, Words With Friends HTML5, and FarmVille Express -- are coming to Facebook's mobile apps platform.
It also detailed a soon-to-be-released, original mobile game called Dream Zoo:
"Adding to the growing portfolio of Zynga's multi-platform mobile games including Words With Friends, Hanging With Friends, and CityVille Hometown, the Zynga Mobile team now brings players Dream Zoo - the first zoo themed game from Zynga. Dream Zoo enables players to take a walk on the wild side and collect the world's most amazing animals. Lions and tigers and emus? Oh my! This is not your typical trip to the zoo - in Dream Zoo players will find rainbow giraffes, polka-dot flamingos and electric green elephants. Coming soon in multiple languages to the App Store followed Android Market, players will be able to connect with their animal-loving friends from around the world to care for their animals and visit each other to see their zoos come to life. Dream Zoo is another example of how Zynga is innovating in mobile social games and bringing new ways for players to connect with friends."
The first of the company's new Facebook games announced today is the next chapter of its Ville franchise:
"Created by Zynga Dallas, CastleVille is the next game in Zynga's Ville"franchise which includes FarmVille, FrontierVille, and CityVille. CastleVille is set in a medieval world, with an engaging story, a touch of fantasy and memorable, playful characters. A true manifestation of Zynga's social magic, the game improves upon the best social and emotional elements from each of the Ville games that came before it.In CastleVille players will be able build and manage the kingdom of their dreams, explore the rich world and setting, and share it with their friends. Friends can help each other craft rare items, trade in the markets, and fight back the beasties that lurk just outside the castle walls. CastleVille raises the bar on the production value of the Ville brand, with epic storytelling, highly detailed art and animation, and a completely original musical score that was recorded with a 75-piece orchestra and full choir."
Zynga is also dipping its toes into the hidden object genre with Hidden Chronicles:
"See what you've been missing with Hidden Chronicles– a new genre for Zynga – hidden object games. A combination of memory and skill, this casual social game is easy to learn, yet hard to master. Hidden Chronicles is a social scavenger hunt, including hidden object play, engaging puzzles and the mysterious Ramsey Manor, complete with unique characters who need your help to protect a closely guarded secret.Hidden Chronicles features beautifully drawn environments, including scenes from around the world and throughout history. Designed in soft photorealism, the art style is sophisticated and engaging with animatics and customized music that brings each scene to life. No matter how many times you and your friends play Hidden Chronicles, the content is always fresh and new, offering hours of vibrant game play within a single scene. Engage in friendly competition, solve the mystery and discover the secrets within Hidden Chronicles."
And the third original Facebook game the developer announced is Zynga Casino Featuring Zynga Bingo:
"A new franchise and an entirely new game were unveiled simultaneously today, with the announcement of Zynga Casino and Zynga Bingo, the first game out of Zynga New York, in collaboration with the Zynga Poker team. Zynga Casino will house both the new Zynga Bingo and Zynga Poker, the world's largest poker game with over 35 million people playing each month.Going all in means so much more now, as players can use their chips across Zynga Casino, from bluffing to bingo. Zynga Bingo combines the best of Sin City and your local bingo hall and brings players a game they know and love, with a social twist. More than just numbers and daubers, Zynga Bingo features themed rooms such as 'Vegas lights' and 'Pirate's Paradise.'"
"We challenge ourselves every day with the question 'how do we get you guys to play?'" said Zynga CEO Marcus Pincus at a Gamasutra-attended press event today. "You don't have time to sit and play games, yet we really think that play is this macro theme activity that we all need to fit back into our lives."
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