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  • Smoking Gun Interactive Unveils New Property Through Graphic Novel Series X In Collaboration With Author Douglas Rushkoff

3rd November 2009

Smoking Gun Interactive Unveils New Property Through Graphic Novel Series X In Collaboration With Author Douglas Rushkoff

Smoking Gun InteractiveVancouverSmoking Gun Interactive, an independent premier video game studio, has launched its first installment of the graphic novel series titled “X”. Written by controversial, award-winning author and social critic Douglas Rushkoff, the series is illustrated by Smoking Gun’s lead concept artist Cheoljoo Lee and Younger X Rise UpYang.

The preview will be delivered over the course of four weeks starting today, and can be experienced online at exoriare and provides a first glimpse into the universe and characters of Smoking Gun’s as-of-yet undisclosed debut franchise. With a focus on real-world mystery, ancient locations, and deep conspiracy, X promises to explore the secret history of mankind in a way that has never been done before.

As a small, scattered group of people stumble onto the truth, they find that they are too late: every great power on earth has already aligned itself against humanity. The war is all but over. Their struggle to discover the truth will lead them into a massive conspiracy that predates humanity itself – from the world’s most ancient sites to the global centers of power.

For those few brave enough to resist, reckless enough to see, and foolish enough to fight history Xitself, the war has never been over. For those few, the struggle will not be complete until the old prophecy has been fulfilled:


The first novel is scheduled to be released next year and is the first in a series of stories that will continue to expand the X universe.

“One of our main goals as a studio is to constantly innovate in how we tell our stories”, said Smoking Gun CEO and Creative Director John Johnson. “Our perspective is, if you can interact with it, then it can be part of the experience we deliver. And if you cannot interact with it, then we will evolve it to the point where it can be part of our universe. There are no boundaries to where we can go or what we can accomplish.”

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3rd November 2009

Academy of Champions Hits The Field Running

UbisoftVancouverAcademy of Champions takes its place on store shelves all across North America Academy of Championstoday. The inaugural title from Ubisoft Vancouver, Academy of Champions features Brazilian soccer great Pelé as the headmaster at Brightfield Academy, where teamwork and good sportsmanship are the rules of the day. We’re helping the studio celebrate with three prize packs to give away. Read on for details about how you can win.

As the story’s main character, you are given the chance to live your dream by being chosen to attend Brightside Academy, where you will work towards becoming an international soccer star. Upon acceptance to the Academy, players must use their soccer skills and follow Pelé’s teaching of friendship and respect in order to form teams and play matches in order to move forward, unlocking new skills, fields and characters. American soccer star Mia Hamm is also a student at Brightfield Academy, and she lends her skill to help the team move up in rank as the storyline progresses.

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Every game is better with a little competition, and Academy of Champions has a rival who doesn’t believe in following the principles of good sportsmanship; in fact, the school teaches just the opposite. Scythemore Academy is led by villain headmaster Von Trappe, who believes in doing whatever it takes to win the game – and that includes underhanded recruitment of Brightside’s players. Luckily Pelé and Mia come to the rescue and our character can continue his soccer education at Brightfield. There are 19 teams to play in Academy of Champions – including a team comprised completely of insane Rabbids. Rumour has it that this is the toughest team to beat.

If amazing soccer play isn’t enough to wet your appetite, then the incredible graphics will certainly stimulate your visual senses. The artwork in Academy of Champions is of very high Scythemore Fieldquality. Rich colouring, highly detailed characters and environment are only the beginning. As players win their five-on-five matches, new scenery is unlocked and added to each of the seven fields. Players can also buy new equipment in the Academy’s store and earn new moves as the team moves up the tournament ladder.

To further enhance their skill, players can participate in mini-game skills clinics, honing their abilities for goalkeeping, shooting, passing and tackles. Check out this list of Special Moves:

Super tackle: Take the ball off your opponent’s toes in a blink of an eye with this lightning-fast slide tackle.
Helix Kick: Bamboozle the goalie with this insane corkscrew shot.
Banana Kick: Put extreme bend on the ball – the keeper won’t know which way to turn.
Chopper: A spinning tackle frenzy that will send anyone in your path flying – including your own teammates!
Unstoppable Rush: Release that pent up aggression by knocking over anyone that gets in your way as you charge towards goal.
Cat-like Grace: Glide through tackles and defense like a knife through butter.
Stealth Attack: When Sam Fisher turns on his night-vision goggles nobody can see him – ideal for getting through on goal undetected.
Eagle Strike: Altair’s assassin training helps him to launch into the air and unleash a lethal strike that will take out the keeper before it hits the back on the net.
Acrobatic Leap: Why go through the defence when you can just leap over it? The other team won’t expect that!
Plunger Shot: The Rabbid weapon of choice makes for a very potent shot at goal.
Photo Fanatic: Jade will use the flash of her camera to temporarily stun her opponents and make them lose the ball.
Perfect Dribble: Opponents will be stunned by Pele’s unbelievable ball skills rendering them unable to stop him.
Bicycle Smash: Mia Hamm’s stunning backflip bicycle kick makes her one of the best strikers around.
Speed Burst: An explosion of pace that will help you catch up to opponents.
Dodge Move: Jump over or go around players quickly with these cool and easy to use tricks.

Academy of Champions is one of the easiest games ever to learn how to play. Prior to my Academy of Champions Altairin-studio game play preview, I had never played a soccer game, and being a 360 player, I was apprehensive about my sparse Wii skills. The apprehension was inconsequential – the player controls are very intuitive, and the in-game tutorials help newcomers pick up the necessary skills very quickly. As an added bonus, Academy of Champions will work with or without Wii MotionPlus™, and even incorporates the Wii Balance Board. You can also play the game solo or recruit a friend to help you defeat other academies or play against you. I have no qualms about recommending Academy of Champions as a great family title – and have done so to everyone I know, including the EB Games outlet in Langley where we purchase all of our titles (where they’ve had the box on display for awhile now) .

Related Post: Read more about my introduction to Academy of Champions.

As I mentioned at the top of this article, we are celebrating Academy of Champions’ North American debut with three prize packs, courtesy of Ubisoft Vancouver. Each prize pack consists of the following:

1 copy of Academy of Champions Wii game
1 adult T-shirt
1 child’s T-shirt
1 Pelé trading card
1 Academy of Champions pin
1 set of Academy of Champions shoe laces
1 mini Academy of Champions soccer ball

…and it all comes packed in an Academy of Champions mini backpack.

To enter for a chance to win this great prize pack, simply email the answers for the following questions to contest-at-villagegamer-dot-net, along with your name and mailing address, using Academy of Champions Contest in the subject line. This contest is open to residents of Canada only. Entries will be accepted until 9:00 a.m. on Friday, November 6, 2009. Winners will be chosen from a random draw of correctly answered ballots. Winners will be announced at noon on Friday, November 6 on Village Gamer, and prize packages will be sent directly from Ubisoft Vancouver.

The contest questions:

1. Who is the Assassin on the Ubisoft team?
2. Who is the American soccer star featured in Academy of Champions?
3. Pelé played for which country’s National Soccer Team?

Once again, congratulations to the team at Ubisoft Vancouver for presenting a highly-polished, very well put together debut product – you have much to be proud of with Academy of Champions.

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3rd November 2009

Need for Speed NITRO Races Into Stores Today

EA GamesMontrealElectronic Arts Inc. has also announced that the award-winning Need for Speed™ NITRO is in stores across North America and will hit store shelves in Europe on November 6. Developed specifically for the Wii™ and Nintendo DS™, Need for Speed NITRO brings an unrivaled sense of speed to the streets as players evade cops and take down competitors to become the world’s top racer.

“Need for Speed NITRO pushes the limits of racing on the Nintendo platforms to deliver the ultimate racer of the holiday,” said Joe Booth, Senior Producer. “With deep track designs and intense speeds, as well as accessible controls, NITRO promises insanely competitive races that will appeal to all levels of players.” NFS Nitro

Need for Speed NITRO features a very diverse and impressive list of the world’s hottest muscle cars, exotics, and tuners including the Tesla Roadster, Pagani Zonda, Audi R8 and the Nissan Skyline. Players can custom-design their own ride with an incredibly deep yet intuitive visual customization system that lets players hit the streets in style with their personalized dream car. The game also includes unlockable cars that feature exclusive skins designed by lifestyle brands, tokidoki, Upper Playground and i am 8-bit.

Need for Speed NITRO delivers the thrill of high-speed racing to all types of gamers with exciting gameplay, accessible controls, and competitive multiplayer events including four player co-op career mode. Recently crowned IGN’s Best Racing Game on the Wii and Nintendo DS at this year’s Electronic Entertainment Expo, Need for Speed NITRO is this holiday’s most fun and exciting arcade racing game.

Developed by EA Montreal, Need for Speed NITRO is available on the Wii and Nintendo DS and is rated E10+ by ESRB.

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3rd November 2009

Today The Dragon Age Begins

BioWare CorpEdmontonBioware’s Dragon Age™: Origins is now available on the PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system, Xbox 360® videogame and entertainment system and PC. Dragon Age: Origins introduces a dark and gritty approach to the fantasy genre where players must make ruthless decisions and be willing to sacrifice their friends and loved ones for the greater good of mankind. Several downloadable content packs are Dragon Age Originsalso now available, including Warden’s Keep, The Stone Prisoner and the Blood Dragon Armor.

“The launch of Dragon Age: Origins is the fantasy event of 2009,” said Dr. Ray Muzyka, co-founder of BioWare and Group General Manager of the RPG/MMO Group at EA. “I am extremely proud of the entire development team – and we’re all very excited to release one of our best games yet!”

Award-winning rock band Thirty Seconds to Mars will headline the in-game soundtrack for the new epic RPG, Dragon Age™: Origins. The title song from the band’s new album “THIS IS WAR” will make its world debut in Dragon Age: Origins before the highly-anticipated album (EMI’s Virgin Records) drops on December 8th. Available in the game today, fans and press can also get a first-listen of “THIS IS WAR” in an exclusive game trailer co-produced by Thirty Seconds to Mars front-man, Jared Leto.

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“EA has always had a forward-thinking relationship with Thirty Seconds to Mars and we are overwhelmed with excitement about the band’s involvement and creative contribution to Dragon Age: Origins,” said Steve Schnur, Worldwide Executive of Music and Music Marketing at EA. “This exciting song debut exemplifies our continued commitment to working with great bands that move the needle to where music is going.”

“We always like to push the envelope in the entertainment and media space and debuting our title track in a game of this caliber is a great way to communicate our music to fans around the world,” said Jared Leto, lead singer of Thirty Seconds to Mars. “We’ve come a long way from having to Dragon Age Originsrely solely on radio to approach and engage music fans, and Dragon Age: Origins is the perfect game to do this with.”

BioWare has also launched a robust package of downloadable content (DLC) for Dragon Age: Origins. The Stone Prisoner gives players access to new environments, items, hours of additional gameplay and the mighty stone golem Shale who can become one of the most powerful party members in the game. The Warden’s Keep premium DLC provides players of Dragon Age: Origins with a new dungeon-exploring adventure, new loot including a set of ancient Grey Warden armor, a chance to gain two of six mysterious new abilities, a new base complete with merchants and a party chest to store their hard-earned items. In addition, BioWare has released the Blood Dragon Armor DLC, a set of themed armor that gives players additional protection in combat and will be available for use in both Dragon Age: Origins on the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and PC and in Mass Effect™ 2 on the Xbox 360 and PC.

Players who previously downloaded the Dragon Age: Origins Character Creator to create their player character can now bring their hero to life in Dragon Age: Origins for PC. Screenshots, game data and story information can be uploaded to the new BioWare Social Network where players share great moments of their own personal adventure with other community members.Dragon Age Origins

In Dragon Age: Origins, players take the role of a Grey Warden, one of the last of an ancient order of guardians. Now, as a rising evil threatens to destroy all life, it is up to players to unite the shattered lands and slay the corrupted dragon known as the Archdemon. On this journey, players will need to make critical choices that affect them and various members of their party.

Dragon Age: Origins is available today in North America on PlayStation®3, Xbox 360® videogame and entertainment system and PC. In Europe, Dragon Age: Origins will be released on November 6th on the Xbox 360® videogame and entertainment system and PC and later in November on PlayStation®3. Dragon Age: Origins is rated M by the ESRB.

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3rd November 2009

Audiokinetic Announces Long Term Agreement with High Voltage

audiokineticMontrealAudiokinetic Inc., the leading audio solution provider for the video game industry, announced today a long-term agreement with award-winning game development studio, High Voltage Software. As part of this agreement, High Voltage is granted an unlimited license of Wwise, Audiokinetic’s renowned audio pipeline solution.

Founded in 1993, High-Voltage’s reputation is well established with over 75 shipped titles including The Conduit, Ben 10: Protector of the Universe, Dora the Explorer: Dora Saves the Snow Princess, and Hunter: The Reckoning. The studio is recognized by its peers for developing high-quality titles on all current platforms.

High Voltage first licensed Wwise in 2007, for an undisclosed project. Since then, the studio’s positive experience with Wwise led it to seek a closer, more durable relationship with Audiokinetic; hence the unlimited license. “World class audio is a critical component to creating compelling and competitive games. After working with Wwise, it became apparent that working with such a sophisticated and comprehensive cross-platform solution was something that we wanted to continue doing in a more permanent capacity,” said Eric Nofsinger, Chief Creative Officer for High Voltage Software.

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