Inside the Developers Studio: Sarah Stocker

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SingStar SingStore

1. What game do you have at E3 this year?
SingStar for the PS3, developed by our Sony London Studio.

2. Tell us more about your game. What’s the story?
SingStar is a competitive singing game that comes packed with two extremely high quality professional-feeling microphones. You and your friends sing along with the authentic songs and videos by chart-topping artists and are scored on your performance based on your pitch. SingStar is developed by the talented folks in our London Studio, lead by Exec Producer and Game Director Paulina Bozek, and has sold over 8 million units worldwide. It’s just an absolute blast to get your friends and family up and singing (and laughing) together with SingStar.

3. Do you have any “firsts” in this game that have never been done before?
The online catalog of the SingStore is definitely a first. There’s no other music-based game that offers you that variety of content and the ability to tailor your experience to your own tastes the way SingStar PS3 does.

4. What did you do on this game that you couldn’t do on another platform?
The huge leap that the PS3 allows for the SingStar Franchise is in customization and community. Because the PS3 is online all the time, for the first time, we can offer the player the ability to pick their own songs from a wide online catalog available through the power of the PlayStation network. Whatever mood you or your friends are in, there’s something for you up there in the hundreds of available songs. You like indie? Go grab some indie. You like 80s? Go get yourself some of that new wave action. The combinations are limitless and the catalog will grow continually over time with fresh new songs and favorite classics coming on line every month.

5. What do you think is the coolest aspect of this game?
Personally, my favorite piece is the community and performance aspects of My SingStar Online. By hooking up the PlayStation Eye or EyeToy, you can capture your singing performance and upload it from your PS3 to My SingStar Online – our global community – where your friends (or the general public if you’re brave enough!) can check it out and, of course, rate it! I’m blown away by the creativity in our Beta tests alone, and I can’t wait to see what players post when we go live. Of course I also plan to leverage this for personal gain and attain international pop stardom with my brilliant renditions of classic arena rock tunes. So rate away – but be aware that any taunts and derision will merely be read by me as thinly veiled statements of envy for my mad singing skills…

6. When is it being released?
SingStar PS3 releases in the fall in the US. In the meantime, hone your skills by picking up one of our great SingStar games for the PS2: SingStar: Rocks! SingStar: Pop, and very soon SingStar: Amped and SingStar:80s. You can get one of them bundled with the mics, then grab standalone versions of the others to expand your collection. One of the great features of the PS2 collection is that you can swap discs in and out on the fly, so you have a seamless experience for lovers of all genres at your own SingStar party.

7. How does this game use the PS Network?
The PS Network makes the SingStore and My SingStar Online possible. We’re able to offer a massive, ever-increasing catalog of content to choose from, and also to host a global community of SingStar players and their user-created content.

8. Describe one of the boss fights in the game?
Me and Associate Producer Ryan Hamlyn singing duets in different octaves. No really…you haven’t lived until you’ve heard this.

9. If you could sit one person in front of your game for an hour, who would it be?
Bono from U2. He is soooooo the SingStar. Actually, I would sit him in front of the plant on my desk for an hour if I thought that would get me time with Bono… Are you reading this Bono? I worship you!

10. What game do you most want an hour to sit in front of yourself (besides your own)?
Lair! Oh wait, that’s mine too… um…let’s see… Little Big Planet, for sure. Army of Two. Oh…and Bioshock (although it may be too scary for me).

11. How many E3’s does E3 2007 mark for you?
I refuse to comment on the grounds that I can’t count that high. Suffice to say that I never missed a one…not even that weird one in Atlanta.

12. Describe the pre-2007 E3 experience in five words or less.
Demos! Videos! Press packs! Oh my!

13. Most over used phrase or expression during E3 season.
“Next-Gen” “HD” and this year… “Downloadable content!”

14. You are asked to make suggestions for an E3 survival kit- what three items HAVE to be included?
Water. Asprin. Ticket to the Sony party (and no, I can’t get you one – please stop calling)

15. What advice would you have for someone who has never experienced E3?
Imagine if you will a sea of exhausted unwashed developers, giddy with gamelust, all bathed in the glow of a thousand million video screens each throbbing with 180 decibels of brain-jamming hard rock riffs and explosion SFX (and the occasional “In a world….” bass montone) and now … let go of that. You missed it. To you it will be like the fabled Summer of Love.

17. Describe what you anticipate from 2007’s newly formatted E3 in five words or less.
Less hearing loss. More bathrooms.

18. What’s your favorite part about developing games for a living?
The brilliant people I have the honor of working with on a daily basis – artists, musicians, designers, programmers, producers, marketing and PR, all of it. I’m stunned by the talent by which I’m surrounded on any given day. That, and the swag… sweeeeeeeeeeet…

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