Social gaming company Zynga has announced new versions of its apps Words with Friends and Poker, and the mobile debut of its popular title FarmVille, which will be known as FarmVille 2: Country Escape.
Release dates for the three titles have not been confirmed but the company plans a soft launch in markets outside the U.S. in the coming weeks, or – in the case of Zynga Poker – be delivered to a small percentage of players as an over-the-air update.
After some testing and fine-tuning, all three “will be available worldwide to all players in the coming months,” COO Clive Downie wrote in a company blog post.
The changes to the Words with Friends app will require a new, free, download but will be backward compatible with players’ history and ongoing games. New features will include the ability to search for words both before and after they’ve been played, as well as extensive stats about each game and each player.
The new Words with Friends also ditches the current app’s most popular paid power-up, Vision, makes other currently paid power-ups free and hides the ones that are paid under a new menu.
No major changes concerning Zynga Poker’s economy and monetisation have been made, with the developer focussing instead on design issues – these include changing the angle at which players look at the table, the colours of the buttons so they can make decisions at a glance, and even the animations of the poker chips to make them seem more “real”.
A similar thought influenced the design of FarmVille 2: Country Escape. The mobile version of the game takes place at a seaside ranch some distance from the previous versions drier, landlocked setting. The abundance of water means players can quickly grow certain crops like apple trees in a matter of seconds.
Country Escape also foregoes some of the social networking features of the original FarmVille. Multiple mobile players may join co-ops to trade resources among themselves, but having friends is no longer required. The app will also allow offline play when a phone or tablet is placed into airplane mode.