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Inside the Developers Studio: Sarah Stocker

Sarah Stocker's Avatar + Posted by Sarah Stocker on Jul 04, 2007 // Sr. Producer, SCEA

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…

//Add Your Own

102 Comments

51

+ shaunLEGEND on July 4th, 2007 at 8:52 pm said:

@Trond

Good point. The majority of PS3 owners are not online so you are right, they will release other versions for people that can’t access the SingStore.

I hope the price of the songs are reasonable. Anything over $1.99 and I’ll have to think about it. Also before anyone comes back with a “but this is the complete video, whereas iTunes is only the song”, I can take the song and burn it to a cd and listen in my car. These downloads are only for use within SingStar. Unless of course, Sony puts the videos under the video section in the XMB for regular viewing (which would rock, please Sony?).

Also Sony, please don’t pull a Guitar Hero 2 on xbox marketplace and only offer bundles, where all I want is one song but I’m forced to buy the whole thing. Individual songs and maybe a discount bundle is where it’s at.

Anyways, off to see some fireworks now. HAPPY 4th everyone!


52

+ HanSolo on July 4th, 2007 at 9:02 pm said:

this is another game im really looking forward to… but its taking too long to come out… i want some of this games NOW!


53

+ xplosneer on July 4th, 2007 at 10:39 pm said:

“12. Describe the pre-2007 E3 experience in five words or less.
Demos! Videos! Press packs! Oh my!”
Unless you count Press-Packs with a hyphen or one word, then you CHEATED.
Really looking forward to this(like every other one)


54

+ ACE72 on July 4th, 2007 at 11:28 pm said:

Hi Sarah,

Given Sony’s Style and Flare for the up and comming game SingStar for the Playstation 3. In which I like what they done with it?

Wondering when will Sony offer similar style and look to other area’s within The Playstation network i.e The Playstation Store needs to redefined, Media and Entertainment should have a similar design.


55

+ hot pockets on July 4th, 2007 at 11:39 pm said:

ive never really experienced SingStar. i know it’s some kind of karaoke game, but is it comparable to those asian arirang type of karaoke machines?

hmm selection of music seems very good, especially since Sony owns one of the major music industry companies Sony BMG and some other one.


56

+ Alpha_89 on July 5th, 2007 at 12:37 am said:

Nice interview ^^


57

+ tielo on July 5th, 2007 at 1:29 am said:

Well Sarah, this blog sounds like a commercial. I think it’s fine you’re proud of the game but we want more than this fluff.
Why is the game delayed, what are songs in the store going to cost, how are the microfoons looking, when can we buy the game in Europe, will there be a contest so you can win a Sony record contract. See, that is fun information.
And whats that about Bioshock, Is it comming to the PS3? ( I hope so).

Anyway I orderd the game.


58

+ bobtheduck on July 5th, 2007 at 1:37 am said:

Bioshock isn’t coming to PS3… Is it so hard to believe that Sony employees want to play games on other systems? I don’t think it should be. I want to play Mass Effect and Blue Dragon, for sure. No, she just said that because it’s an interesting game she wants to play.


59

+ Nauraushaun on July 5th, 2007 at 2:32 am said:

If you’re doing Singstar, could you do one for Guitar Hero III? :D


60

+ thefjk on July 5th, 2007 at 3:18 am said:

Many games promiss downloadable content… but all you get is one crappy map and some horse armour that costs millions…

You sure you guys gonna be able to deliver tracks every month?


61

+ Zomah on July 5th, 2007 at 5:03 am said:

I’m getting tired off this bull, every game for the PS3 is getting released later. We never know why cause no-one tells us anything. Why not make a article about that! And whats going on with the F1 license, did MS get that one also?


62

+ reesimo on July 5th, 2007 at 5:33 am said:

Everyone wants Bioshock. Even on this blog, I’ve read a lot of posts on the craving for Bioshock. I’m assuming we’ll get it eventually on the PS3. What game out there has a ‘Big Daddy’ with a massive drill and creepy little blood-stained girls running around with needles? Awesome.


63

+ haldalish on July 5th, 2007 at 6:32 am said:

Have Neutral Milk Hotel songs please. ill buy this game instantly and every single NMH song


64

+ Mana Knight on July 5th, 2007 at 7:06 am said:

I think it would be cool if the game allowed us to choose around 20 songs in the SingStar store for free (so we can have the music we like), then we have to pay for extra songs we may want.

I badly wanted SingStar Pop, but never picked it up because I rather play SingStar on PS3. I definitely can’t wait though.


65

+ joel on July 5th, 2007 at 7:08 am said:

Oh yes, the ps store is gettin redisigned for sure, they are probably working on it right now, it might look similar to the ps store in the internet browser home page. I have noticed my ps store has been running a much faster speed.


66

+ perroza on July 5th, 2007 at 7:28 am said:

Ive never played this game, mostly because I cant sing to save my life, but it looks like a great party game, specially since I have friends that are musicians. One question, though. Since it is going to use the PS network, there are probably not going to be any new singstar’s, right? You can make updates and put new songs through the network, so this copy should pretty much last for ever? Just wondering, because it would not be cool if it became like a sports franchise with a new game every couple of months, kinda like the PS2 versions. Either way, sounds fun and I cant wait to take it out for a spin.


67

+ Elsa43 on July 5th, 2007 at 7:38 am said:

I just wanted to say that I have a PS3 and bought Singstar so that my husband would quit bugging me to play Resistance in co-op mode over and over again (he’s a new gamer). He “thinks” he can sing, and I wanted to prove him wrong! Turns out we both love the game and have some wonderful evenings having singing contests! The game concept really doesn’t sound like much… but once you try it, you’re hooked!! We’re looking forward to the new PS3 version with downloadable content! Being in our late 40′s… we want the classic rock songs we actually remember the words to! LOL
Thanks for a great game!!


68

+ A Dirty Bastard on July 5th, 2007 at 7:58 am said:

when this game comes out im going to have to get my sisters their own ps3 cause i will never see mine again


69

+ Kosmos on July 5th, 2007 at 8:06 am said:

I don’t like singing games but I know this game will be great for all the people that love karaoke.

This game will be important for casual gamers.


70

+ jlocker on July 5th, 2007 at 8:12 am said:

I have more ideas, with eye of judgment using cards, how about taking another step and use some lead figures like to play some game. This could also be handled with Wizards of Coast. Or how about Sony hooking up with the local theaters that have the new digital DLP projectors to have game tournaments.
One more idea also doing something with places like gameworks or dave and busters arcade locations to promote the PS3 and interaction with home players.


71

+ Idonokage on July 5th, 2007 at 8:14 am said:

This sounds like a cool idea and I’m seriously considering picking this up but some questions arise:

-Will there be limitations on how long you can keep the song on your HDD
-Will there be J-pop, J-rock, etc…


72

+ nmc75 on July 5th, 2007 at 8:31 am said:

My fiance loves the Karaoke Rev. games and we’ve got all of them. I haven’t tried Singstar yet because it seems to not have character personalization options as KR.. but am willing to try the PS3 Singstar because I think it’s got potential to be a great game, given all the other features. I am hoping the downloadable songs are not going to cost a lot,


73

+ nmc75 on July 5th, 2007 at 8:35 am said:

oops, looks like my comment was truncated..

was going to say hoping the songs don’t cost a lot, not more than $1.00 USD. Just thinking if the full game already costs $60, and the songs can only be used on the PS3 Singstar game, that would make sense to me. The game should also include at least 10 credits for us to download any songs we want off the SingStore to start off our virtual singing careers. :)


74

+ frito on July 5th, 2007 at 10:36 am said:

Let’s hope the add-on songs are no more than a dollar a piece!


75

+ Darren on July 5th, 2007 at 10:56 am said:

Ok now… sing, liar, etc.. and when the PS3 will be lunched globally?

There are some countries missing, including mine! I dont care the game I care first the console!


76

+ SDkngsht on July 5th, 2007 at 11:10 am said:

yeah. my girlfriend can’t wait for this one. so i guess that’s a good thing right? lol.

seriously though. i’m looking forward to this. hopefully the song list is huge or at least the online store has a good variety without charging ridiculous prices. and no more than a dollar is whatever but unless i can put them on a cd or ipod they shouldn’t cost $0.99 per song like itunes.

if it’s just for this game they need to be more like $0.25 or $0.50 MAX. cause also they’re really just instrumentals right?


77

+ SDkngsht on July 5th, 2007 at 11:11 am said:

@ Darren…what country are you in?


78

+ Kratos_ate_Snake on July 5th, 2007 at 11:53 am said:

@ 74

wut up with the green letters, did you use html or something?


79

+ PsychoEddie on July 5th, 2007 at 12:05 pm said:

I don’t understand. Where’s the weapons lists? How many maps are there? How many online players on a team? Can teams communicate with each other? What do we get to blow up?


80

+ omegasyde on July 5th, 2007 at 2:09 pm said:

MY wife is making me buy this game…


81

+ joelface on July 5th, 2007 at 3:08 pm said:

anyone know if you can use the playstation eye on your PC as a webcam?

if it doubled as a webcam, i think thats all the convincing i’d need to pick one up on the day it comes out.


82

+ Paulovsky on July 5th, 2007 at 4:13 pm said:

Sounds very interresting, not for me though because i can’t sing at all..
But this would be a gold mine if you guys would sell it in asia, i thinking about South-Korea, Japan. Here Karaoke is very
populair. But the “game” should be localized, not only the menu’s but also the songs (content). If you can do that…
i think it will be a big hit !!!


83

+ 40cal on July 5th, 2007 at 6:07 pm said:

Sing Star will be some great drunkin fun for myself and all of my friends.

Look for the 40cal Sing Star video comming soon.


84

+ RexNox on July 5th, 2007 at 8:47 pm said:

A PS3 for every bar. :)


85

+ BazC on July 6th, 2007 at 1:15 am said:

Please be fair to UK consumers, i’m rather sick of seeing music, film etc costing more here than in the states


86

+ Darren on July 6th, 2007 at 8:38 am said:

I am from Mexico, and I want my mexican PS3, anyway, I think this game will be a top 5 in japan, around the world will be average.

Japaneses die for karaoke, they prefer karaoke than happy nights.


87

+ sneakattack28 on July 7th, 2007 at 9:35 pm said:

yeah this is off the subject but when r u guys gonna give us a killzone2 dev interview i mean seriously these games that ur showing are amazing especially HS AND UNCHADTED but everyone is still thinking about KILLZONE2. I have been told u guys are gonna show it privately but that is a bad idea b/c everyone is looking forward to seeing it even non sony fans so please show it to us in the press conference and show alot of it. If it looks amazing like u guys say it will, then u shouldn’t worry about anything.


88

+ Jeigh on July 8th, 2007 at 10:06 am said:

Sarah- I love your sense of humor! And I’d love to see the duet you mentioned! Post it on the Network when it’s up! Thank you for your time!


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