10th October 2009

More Awards, Game News and the Weekend Wrap

Canada's Top 100 Employers 2010First, congratulations to game studios Next Level Games, Bioware and Digital Extremes for being named in the Top 100 Canadian EmployersResearch In Motion was also named to the list. Next Level is consistently named as a Top Employer by several agencies, and Bioware has also won previous awards for being a Top Employer.  Word Search

Digital Leisure’s Word Searcher puzzle game has been released on WiiWare. You’ll need a sharp eye and a quick mind to complete these 100 themed word search puzzles. Word Searcher contains fun words from multiple categories including anatomy, world cities, ancient weapons and 97 other subjects. Packed with a huge assortment of subjects to choose from, there’s sure to be a puzzle everyone will enjoy. Help improve your vocabulary, memory and problem-solving skills with these addicting puzzles. Keep track of, and try to beat your own completion times again and again as words are scrambled every time you play. Get your thinking cap on and conquer all 100 today!

Kristin BellUbisoft has announced that Hollywood actress Kristen Bell will reprise her role of Lucy Stillman in Assassin’s Creed II. Bell’s character will once again play a major role in the game’s intricate storyline. “Being a part of the first Assassin’s Creed video game was an amazing experience. Video games is such a creative entertainment medium, and to be able to see and play myself as a video game character was surreal,” said Kristen Bell. “As an actress, it’s both challenging and rewarding to play a complex character with this great mysterious background. I’m very happy to be Lucy once more, and I look forward to fans discovering more about her – they will be pleasantly surprised.”

Also available for viewing is a new video vignette showcasing the Assassination Arsenal. Media Labs is holding an AC2 film contest with a $10 000.00 first prize, but it’s only open to US residents over the age of 18.

EA Montreal has announced that renowned film composer Tyler Bates will be creating the impactful score for the highly anticipated third person co-op shooter Army of Two™:The 40th Day. The sought-after Army of Two 40th Daycomposer, best known for his work on the blockbuster films 300 and Watchmen, is crafting an immersive score that will highlight the epic co-operative battles gamers and their friends will face in the first major videogame release of 2010.

“Set in Shanghai in the middle of a major a disaster, Army of Two: The 40th Day dials up the action through a series of powerful scenes where players have to work together as a team to survive and escape the city,” said Lewis James, Audio Director at EA Montreal. “Tyler examined every part of the game and how players will move through the world to craft a score that truly represents their actions and the chaos unfolding around them.”

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30th September 2009

Dawn of Heroes Official Web site and Trailer are Now Online

Wicked StudiosMontrealWicked Studios and Majesco Entertainment are pleased to announce that the official game trailer of Dawn of Heroes, the upcoming Strategy RPG for Nintendo DS, is now available on the game’s brand new web site.Dawn of Heroes

Dawn of Heroes – A new breed of SRPG

Brimthule is cursed, filled with malevolent characters, and separated into baronies. Cities have fallen, beasts of all weft and warp are becoming bolder in their attacks and the once beloved six Barons have become evil.

The once great Kingdom of Brimthule is in despair following the loss of its lord and champion. King Leroy sacrificed himself to entomb the great beast Ragnakore in a body of stone. Without its leader, the kingdom has split into baronies and is beset by curses, monsters, and misfortunes, with some believing Ragnakore, though trapped, is responsible. The time has come for new heroes to stand tall against the realm’s greatest foes; the time has come for the Dawn of Heroes.

Who’s going to clean this mess up? Heroes will!! Don’t they always? But where are they? Unwilling to deal Dawn of Heroeswith an old prophecy to save the realm, a disparate band of mercenaries will learn, through a hilarious adventure, that the reward of being Heroes cannot be counted in gold, jewels, or fame.

Dawn of Heroes features classic RPG concepts, character development, epic combat, quests and puzzle solving. Dawn of Heroes differs from other RPGs with hilarious dialogue, customizable parties, a variety of dungeons and items, and multiplayer features geared towards building a community of heroes all over the world.

• Travel through breathtaking 3D graphics whilst encountering a wide variety of characters from 12 different factions.
• Fight through over 60 missions with optional and hidden objectives.
• Experience a rich storyline filled with action, fun and humour.
• Select a team from over 25 playable classes.
• Test your strategies against other players and trade items through Nintendo DS wireless Play, or Nintendo WFC.

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30th September 2009

Take Shelter in Fort Zombie This Fall

Vancouver – Game publisher Paradox Interactive has released more details on the upcoming action/RPG title from Kerberos Productions, Fort Zombie. In Fort Zombie, players will find themselves in Piety, Indiana, a small town facing a horrifying infestation of zombies with a relentless thirst for blood. Faced with no other choice but to find shelter from an impending wave of zombies migrating from a nearby metropolis, players will be challenged to choose a building to be their Fort throughout the entire campaign. By Fort Zombieeffectively focusing efforts on building up this structure, in between scouring town for supplies and searching out and training survivors, players will have a shot at surviving the massive zombie onslaught.

Of course, all of this must be achieved while fighting off hungry hordes of the gruesome undead, who will stop at nothing to make you part of their company. For the few remaining citizens of Piety, each new day brings more fear. Only the most prepared citizens of Piety will stand a chance against the zombie infestation. Choose from a variety of daily tasks and efficiently build up your characters stats and skills as you battle blood-thirsty invaders and attempt to avoid total infestation. But the most important thing of all is that you build up your Fort if anyone is to have any hope of surviving your last, big stand-off against the coming undead swarm.Fort Zombie

Features:

• Take control of a single building in town as you prepare for total zombie infestation
• Gather supplies and find survivors by day, defend your building by night
• Players can engage in specific single missions within the campaign and spend hours building up the ultimate fortress
• Unique character building and reward system – each day brings new missions, each with different potential rewards. How you utilize and level up your survivors will greatly affect your chances of avoiding an ultimate zombie demise

Be prepared for the fight of your lives in Fort Zombie, available for PC this autumn through all major digital distribution channels.

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18th September 2009

Digital Extremes Part of the BioShock 2 Development Team

Digital Extremes2K Games has announced that BioShock® 2, the highly anticipated sequel to the 2007 Game of the Year, will be available worldwide beginning February 9, 2010 and is now available for pre-order at participating retailers.

Currently in collaborative development at 2K Marin, 2K Australia, Digital Extremes and 2KBioShock 2 China for the Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system from Microsoft, the PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system, and Games for Windows® LIVE, BioShock 2 will deliver two unique, yet intertwined experiences that form the perfect blend of explosive first-person shooter combat, compelling storytelling and intense multiplayer action.

Set approximately 10 years after the events of the original BioShock, the halls of Rapture once again echo with sins of the past. Along the Atlantic coastline, a monster has been snatching little girls and bringing them back to the undersea city of Rapture. Players step into the boots of the most iconic denizen of Rapture, the Big Daddy, as they travel through the decrepit and beautiful fallen city, chasing an unseen foe in search of answers and their own survival.

Multiplayer in BioShock 2 will provide a rich prequel experience that expands the origins of the BioShock fiction. Set during the fall of Rapture, players assume the role of a Plasmid test subject for Sinclair Solutions, a premier provider of Plasmids and Tonics in the underwater city of Rapture that was first explored in the original BioShock. Players will need to use all the elements of the BioShock toolset to survive, as the full depth of the BioShock experience is refined and transformed into a unique multiplayer experience that can only be found in Rapture.

BioShock 2 is not yet rated by the ESRB.

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15th September 2009

EA Releases NHL 10 and Announces Skate 3

EA SportsUnless you’ve been living under a proverbial rock, you will know that EA Sports’ NHL 10 has been unleashed on the masses. Somehow I think that James will be late for tonight’s Ghoulash Bash meeting because he will be immersed in the game. I forgot to ask him if he was picking his game up at Future Shop downtown, where Trevor Linden was present for the official game launch.

NHL®10 delivers a new, physical brand of hockey to match the physical and emotional intensity real-world players endure in pursuit of the Stanley Cup®. New gameplay innovations include first-person fighting, all-new board play, Battle for the Cup and Be A Tough Guy NHL 10 Covermodes, and spectacular new ways to score. NHL 10 features more than 200 gameplay refinements that replicate the skill and finesse of hockey and deliver the most responsive and authentic action ever for the series.

A new first-person fighting engine enables players to trade punches with an NHL tough guy. Feel what it’s like to be on the ice in the skates of an NHL player to throw and dodge punches. Winning one-on-one battles for possession of the puck along the boards is now a test of will and skill. Utilizing an all-new board physics engine, players can use their body to shield the puck on the boards and then kick-pass it to teammates. Experience the emotion and drama of NHL playoff hockey in Battle for the Cup. Play with injuries, intimidate the opposing team, line-match to shut down superstars all in front of frenzied towel waving crowds with storylines that carry across the entire series. Plus, all-new interactive crowds bring the emotion of playoff hockey to life with towel-waving fans, glass bangers and crowds that react to the action on the ice. Players can one-time loose pucks, score from their knees, knock pucks out of the air and lift a leg to fake a shot on goal — just like real-world players. Prove you are tough enough to quiet the crowd, silence the opposition and survive a playoff run to lift the Stanley Cup in NHL 10.

EA GamesBurnabyElectronic Arts Inc. today revealed the next title in the company’s landmark skateboarding franchise: SKATE™ 3, and confirmed that it will ship in May 2010 for the PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system and Xbox 360®. SKATE 3, developed by EA Black Box, breaks new ground by taking all of the camaraderie and competitive excitement of real-life skateboarding and brings it to the hands of gamers. Whether online or offline, players can now team up to build the ultimate skate crew in the definitive skateboarding co-op experience. In SKATE 3, players take part in team-based challenges, compete against rival crews and leave their mark on the all-new skater’s paradise, Port Carverton.

“The social and community aspects of the SKATE franchise are something we’ve always embraced, but Skate 3we’ve never done anything to the scale you’re going to see in SKATE 3,” said Senior Producer, Jason DeLong. “We’re giving gamers a very unique experience by providing them with the tools they need to build their ultimate team or to create a team comprised entirely of their online friends. From there, it’s all about proving yourself – teaming up, and throwing down.”

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14th September 2009

Monday News from IUGO, Cosmic Logic, D-Box and Craig Wireless

IUGOVancouverIUGO Mobile Entertainment has announced that all three chapters of the Toy Bot Series are now available in one convenient download in the iTunes App Toy Bot Store. IUGO’s hit series and one of the first iPhone exclusive titles are now bundled for hours of platforming fun. The Toy Bot Diaries Compilation containing Toy Bot Diaries 1,2 and 3 is available for $3.99 US while individual chapters are now on sale for $1.99 per title. Toy Bot Diaries follows the adventures of Toy Bot who, in Chapter One, needs to recover his memory. The Toy Bot titles is one of the few iPhone/iPod games which uses fully blended controls – its tilt and touch features makes this game one of the best mobile titles ever. Add to this the high quality graphics and excellent audio for a winning combination that results in a high quality IUGO title which provides above-average amusement return for the investment.

Cosmic LogicKelownaCosmic Logic Inc., a new gaming force in the indie revolution, has officially announced details on their first game release: “Cosmic Lacrosse”. A throwback to the days of classic 2D sports games, “Cosmic Lacrosse” is an arcade-style Cosmic LaCrosslacrosse game with an emphasis on fun over simulation. With stylized art and sci-fi themes, it’s lacrosse like you’ve never seen it before. “Cosmic Lacrosse” will be available on Xbox Live Indie Games in Fall of 2009.

Some features in this new title include:

· Arcade-style 3-on-3 Lacrosse with fast and furious gameplay
· 3 different player classes with different attributes and unique super abilities
· 2D hand-drawn artwork by Luke Fimio
· Local multi-player and co-op

Andrew Roberts, President and CEO of Cosmic Logic, will be presenting at the Kamloops Canadian Information Processing Society’s monthly meeting, where he will be discussing how radical changes in the video game industry have created new opportunities not available only 3 years ago.

D-BoxLongueuilD-BOX Technologies Inc. has been named a 2009 EXC!TE award winner in the Home Theatre category at this year’s CEDIA expo in Atlanta, Georgia for its new Hybrid Motion System, the GPH-120. Due out in the market this fall, the

I Want This Chair

I Want This Chair

GPH-120 offers motion effects that work in perfect sync with the onscreen action for both video games and movies. A first-of-its-kind in the industry, the GPH-120 offers unmatched, realistic motion effects, creating a unique experience for movie and gaming fans alike. The company was honoured at the awards dinner during the Custom Electronic Design & Installation Association’s Banquet on September 10th.

Presented by CustomRetailer magazine, the annual EXC!TE awards honour companies whose products stand out for being innovative, high-performing and solutions-oriented for the custom installation professional. This year’s winners have an important impact on the industry, which is felt in the installers’ productivity, the dealers’ profitability, the clients’ satisfaction and the industry’s vitality.

“It has been an incredible year thus far for D-BOX Technologies,” said President and CEO, Claude Mc Master. “We are proud to be named an EXC!TE award winner at this year’s CEDIA and honored to be recognized by our peers for this new motion technology system. We have participated in CEDIA in previous years and are pleased to have the opportunity to showcase our motion technology for the entertainment industry at the show.”

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12th September 2009

Saturday Shorts

IUGOVancouverIUGO Mobile Entertainment has announced another upcoming game title for the iPhone and BlackBerry platforms. Slated for release this fall, Cliffed will allow you to challenge your friends to the most addictive race to the bottom! IUGO presents its latest sensation in casual gaming with this frantic 2D Cliffedscrolling racer.

Features:

• 10 unique and playful characters to choose from
• Pick up and play! Great for all ages
• Endless game play
• Online multiplayer! Race up to 8 players in real time over 3G and wireless networks
• Local and global leaderboards
• IUGO’s new VIP program: Tell your friends, earn points and unlock an exclusive mystery character sooner
• Stylized, clean graphics
• IUGO’s signature quality and polish

UbisoftUbisoft Montreal has released three new videos for their highly anticipated titles on their YouTube channel. Gamers can get their twitch on with a commented walk-through for Assassin’s Creed 2, featuring a variety of game play scenarios with narrative from AC2 Production Manager Jean-Francois Boivin. The only disappointment I have experienced thus far in regards to AC2 is the planned product releases for the Master Assassin Limited Editions. I want the Black version, but it is apparently only being released in other parts of the world, not North America. Those of us in North America are getting the White version, which does not appear to contain all of the same perks as the Black Version, such as Ezio in black and the same number of bonus quests. The North American White version only has one bonus quest while the Black version has three, and at this time it is unknown if the Black version will be region locked. There are also rumours circulating that the Black edition is sold out. Maybe Ubisoft will have a change of heart and at least give those of us in North America the opportunity to obtain the additional two bonus quests.

Shaun White fans can see a new video dev diary for Shaun White World Stage, due for release on November 8. Featuring members of the dev team and Shaun White, gamers get an advance look at how it feels like to be in the boots of a pro snowboarder. After watching the dev diary for Splinter Cell: Conviction, we have added it to our list of “must play” games. The development team gives an excellent explanation of what gamers can expect from the latest iteration for the Splinter Cell franchise, and you can get a look at the dev video on Splinter Cell’s site.

IMC VancouverIMC Vancouver – As the Internet grows in importance as a communication channel for business, it’s important to understand how to move away from the diminishing returns that TV, Radio and Newspapers are delivering. IMC Vancouver provides the venue for businesses, government, social activists, agencies, consultants and students to take advantage of the new, and rapidly changing, way media is being consumed. Also economic pressures are making change in the marketing world even more urgent than before.

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10th September 2009

Shank, Thief and Supreme Commander 2020 News

Eidos MontrealFor those among us who are awaiting the release of Thief 4 which is currently under development at Eidos Montreal, Mastertronic has released Thief – The Complete Collection for PC, which contains all three Thief Complete Collectionoriginal Thief titles. Defining stealth adventures, including the ultra-rare Gold edition of the first Thief game, the Thief franchise puts the player in the silent shoes of acolyte Garrett as he prowls his way around the City, treating gamers to an astounding visual experience. Thief – The Complete Collection retails at £9.77 on Mastertronic’s retail site. I did check several Canadian game retail sites, but could not find any listings for this compilation for sale on this side of the Atlantic.

According to a statement on Eidos Montreal’s site, General Manager Stephane D’Astous says that, “Eidos Montreal is in the early development stages for Thief 4, but this is an incredibly ambitious project and a very exciting one. It’s too early for us to offer any specific game details, right now we are focused on recruiting the very best talent to join the core team at the studio and help us make, what we believe will be one of the most exciting games on the market.” To that end, there are several job openings listed on Eidos Montreal’s web site for both Thief 4 and Deus Ex 3.

Klei EntertainmentBy all accounts, Klei Entertainment had a very successful presence at PAX 2009, thanks in part to the promotional efforts of Carolyn Carnes of Flash Fire Communications, who Shank Boss Battleconducted a unique and intriguing marketing campaign prior to the expo. There are few details being released about Klei’s upcoming game Shank, but we can tell you that it’s a 2D side-scrolling action adventure title featuring a hero named… Shank. It appears that there will be a wide variety of weaponry, moves and enemies in the game and it’s perhaps scheduled for release in 2010. Klei has not confirmed which platform or platforms the game is being developed for, but they did hint at a possible Mature rating due to levels of violence and splattering of blood which occurs during gameplay.

Battlegoat StudiosBattleGoat Studios has released a demo for its upcoming war strategy title, Supreme Ruler 2020 GOLD which will give players the opportunity to engage in three different scenarios including “California Dreaming”, “Ethiopian Empire”, and “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.” Additionally, strategy fans will have the opportunity to play up to four in-game months at a time.

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8th September 2009

Hothead Games Releases DeathSpank Details

Hothead GamesVancouver – After a very busy and successful weekend at PAX 2009, independent developer DeathSpankHothead Games has officially released further details about their upcoming multi-platform RPG title, DeathSpank. Scheduled for release in 2010 and created by Ron Gilbert of LucasArts adventure game fame, DeathSpank will bring to life the hilarious adventures of the game’s titular hero. Set on a wrap-around world map with a unique art style utilizing 2D elements in a 3D world, DeathSpank will roam the world on his many varied quests without ever encountering a load screen.

DeathSpankGameplay is divided between uncovering the story via conversations, solving complex puzzles, equipping your character to maximize his strengths and battling anything else that moves. The single-player quest allows players to explore the world, where they can get to know the many interesting characters who inhabit the game’s environment. They will also be able to battle a large variety of enemies, collect from over 100 different types of weapons and over 100 types of armour. As he conquers his enemies, DeathSpank will be able to level up, collect loot and acquire new abilities.

The development team has been creating a unique gaming experience by focusing on humour at every DeathSpankturn, perpetually fun and visceral combat as well as an engaging story with deep and complex puzzles. DeathSpank will feature witty dialogue, improbable scenarios, unexpected villains and a robust collecting system for weapons, armour, items and abilities. The action is easily accessible for short bursts of fun, but the story is revealed over more than 15 hours of gameplay. In addition, players can choose to search out rare items and tackle the game’s many hearty side quests and will also have a chance to co-op with sidekicks in single-machine multiplayer.

Key Features:

RPG Gameplay – Movement and combat is perpetually fun and visceral, making it easily approachable to many gamers. Combat stats are easy to understand and are influenced by different DeathSpankcollectible items and abilities earned by the player throughout the game. DeathSpank will battle a large world full of interesting and challenging enemies.
Adventure Quests – Help DeathSpank be a hero to the downtrodden. Players will enjoy deep and complex adventure game puzzle scenarios as they work to dispense justice and vanquish evil, as well as entertaining and informative dialog puzzles with the world’s many inhabitants.
Customization – Through collectible armor, weapons, and varying abilities, players can customize DeathSpank to their liking and to suit their style of play. They can also choose from several sidekicks that will be acquired while travelling around the world.
Charged With Humour – This game has humor everywhere. Hilarious quests, witty dialog, silly puzzles, ridiculous characters, visual gags, and over-the-top animations all contribute to the game’s humor. The elaborate storyline begins as DeathSpank searches for a mysterious artifact known as The Artifact.
Depth of Gameplay – DeathSpank keeps track of his adventures in a Quest Log, listing both ‘Important Things I Need To Do’ and ‘Unimportant Things I Need To Do.’ Players who have deathSpankcompleted the story mode can choose to play additional quests and will be rewarded with exclusive equipment.
Unique Art Style – The game’s eccentric personality extends to its art style, which uses charming 2D elements in an immersive 3D world. The different areas of DeathSpank’s world are laid out on a globe, and the character is shown at an angle which gives a rolling perspective as you move about. There is an expansive world to explore and there will be no load screens.

DeathSpank has not yet been rated by the ESRB, but its target rating will be T for Teen.

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27th August 2009

Big Blue Bubble is bringing Fighting Fantasy to iPhone

Big Blue BubbleLondon ONBig Blue Bubble, developers of the Warlock of Firetop Mountain for Nintendo DS, are beginning the production of iPhone versions of five classic Fighting Fantasy titles: Warlock of Firetop Mountain, Citadel of Chaos, Deathtrap Dungeon, Creature of Havoc and City of Thieves.

The adventure will begin with the release of Warlock of Firetop Mountain in October 2009. Readers should stay tuned for more intrigue and adventure with new titles appearing every couple of months. Fighting Fantasy fans will love the classic story and original illustrations with a technological twist. No more dice, pencils, or bookmarks. All the special features are built in!Fighting Fantasy for DS

Some Features Include:

• Automatic page progression
• Shake combat dice using the accelerometer
• Inventory items selectable via touch-screen
• Game-save feature

For readers owning Apple iPhone/iPod devices this is a very exciting new development. Watch out for the appearance of Fighting Fantasy 1: The Warlock of Firetop Mountain at the App Store.

About Fighting Fantasy

Fighting Fantasy for DSThe Fighting Fantasy book series was born in 1982 when authors Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone created a revolutionary new idea for the fantasy genre with the first title, The Warlock of Firetop Mountain. The reader became the hero of his or her own fantasy adventure in a story that was part book, part game. After each paragraph a decision must be made; which way to turn, whether to fight or flee, which mysterious character to approach, and what risks to take. Each decision sent the reader to a different page to discover the consequences of their choice, with each read-through ending either in disaster, or with the discovery of the ultimate goal. To date, the series has seen more than 70 titles published and more than 14 million copies sold worldwide.

Fighting Fantasy: The Warlock of Firetop Mountain for Nintendo DS will be available this holiday season as well.

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