11th June 2010

Playboy Appears Amongst The Zombies

Blue Castle GamesCapcom and Blue Castle Games have confirmed that there is a new partnership in place with Playboy magazine to have content from the iconic publication featured in upcoming title Dead Rising® 2, scheduled for release later this year for the Xbox 360®, PlayStation®3 and PC platforms.

Players who discover the Playboy magazine in the game will receive a unique and special upgrade for Chuck Greene, the main character in Dead Rising 2. Furthermore, players will come across Playboy ads and billboards that will feature specially selected issues from the magazine’s Playboy in Dead Rising 257-year history.

The new magazine system for Dead Rising 2, which will feature Playboy along with various other publications, is an evolution of the popular book system from the original Dead Rising game. Along with the special Playboy issue, there will be a variety of different themed magazines that Chuck will be able to pick up for bonuses to use to help fend off the zombie hordes along the way.

“The Sin City-type environment in Dead Rising 2, Fortune City, is a natural playground for the Playboy Bunnies,” said Seon King, Senior Director of Licensing for Capcom Entertainment, Inc. “We have integrated the Playboy brand throughout the game in ways that bring even more life to Fortune City and add to the user experience.”

Dead Rising 2 Playboy BunnyFor those unfamiliar with the premise of Dead Rising 2, former motocross champion Chuck Greene arrives at Fortune City, America’s latest adult playground, to participate in the zombie game show Terror is Reality, a gruesome test of strength and agility through excessive and imaginative  elimination of hundreds and hundreds of zombies. While in Fortune City, a zombie outbreak occurs and Chuck must survive the onslaught of the undead for 72 hours. Pitted against bosses and psychos – tens of thousands of zombies and the constant countdown of the clock – while potentially rescuing other survivors of the zombie apocalypse, players must also unravel the greater conspiracy behind the outbreak.

The Dead Rising® series is renowned for letting players pick up and use everyday items to fend off hordes of the undead, but Dead Rising 2 adds a new twist with combination weapons. Take Dead Rising 2 Playboy Magazinetwo objects, add a roll of tape plus the inventiveness and skilled hands of Chuck Greene and an innocent water gun and a can of gasoline become a deadly flamethrower, while a garden rake and car battery combine to create an electrified zombie prod. Using combination weapons to fend off hordes of the undead in fun and grotesque ways is only just the beginning as the more combo weapons a player uses, the more Prestige Points (PPs) they will rack up. Earn enough PPs and Chuck levels up which will helps him along the way.

Equally important is Chuck’s need to to find Zombrex, a drug that stops his infected daughter Katey from turning into a zombie. Players will decimate thousands and thousands of zombies in an increasingly outrageous manner in order to beat the clock and survive 72 hours in the darkly comedic, no-holds-barred confines of Fortune City.

June is also the month when we 360 players are supposed to get a prologue look at Dead Rising 2 with the availability of Case Zero, which was announced in February as being in the XBL Marketplace on June 30th (I am awaiting confirmation on the release date). Dead Rising 2: Case Zero, will introduce gamers to Chuck Greene and provide a link between the original game and the events that await players in the gambling paradise of Fortune City.

frima studioJune has been an incredible month thus far for Quebec’s Frima Studio. On June 1, Mr. Jean Charest, Premier of Quebec, Mr. Sam Hamad, Minister of Employment and Social Solidarity, Minister of Labour and Minister responsible for the Capitale-Nationale region, and Mr. Steve Couture, CEO of Frima Studio, have announced an investment of  two million dollars in the training of the Québec-based studio’s personnel, specialized in the development of video games. Half of this sum will be invested by the Government of Quebec via Emploi-Quebec and its envelope destined to large-scale economic projects.

“Quebec has become a destination of choice for many multinationals in the interactiveQuebec Government at Frima
entertainment industry. We are known around the world for our creativity and dynamism in that field. This fairly recent reality is owed to people of vision and passion; to people who get involved, and who dare take the necessary risks to build the companies that will, over the years, become symbols of pride for us all,” declared Mr. Charest.

The development of a video game requires the participation of experts in various fields. To ensure coherence and cohesion within the teams of artists, game designers, interface designers, animators, programmers and testers, each employee must develop a certain level of versatility within the framework continuum, which this training plan will enable.

“The interactive entertainment technology industry plays an important role in establishing the Capitale-Nationale’s unique signature of learning and creativity. The video game industry is one of the region’s fields of excellence, and contributes to its positioning on the international scene. Our government is proud to endorse Frima’s training plan, which will allow the creation of 147 jobs over three years and consolidate its 201 production-oriented workforce,” stated Mr. Hamad.

“Frima’s success rests first and foremost on its employees’ know-how. Investing in training allows us to increase our level of expertise, to stand out from the crowd, and, mostly, to attract and keep new promising talents. In addition to ensuring the upkeep and creation of new jobs, and the consolidation our position as an economic lever in the region, this investment will fuel our growth and contribute to making Quebec into a world leader in video games and interactive entertainment,” declared Mr. Couture.

Frima is also the fastest growing game development house in Canada. The studio placed 14th in Profit Magazine’s 2010 Top 100 Fastest Growing Companies list, and it placed 1st for the second year in a row on L’Actualité’s annual list of the fastest-growing companies in Quebec, with a growth of 3,002% between 2004 and 2009. This prestigious lineup lists the 20 companies that experienced the greatest increase in sales figures.

“Frima is the first company to sit at the top of that list two years in a row! We are very proud of this accomplishment, and we wish to thanks all our employees,” declared Frima’s CEO Steve Couture.

Frima also announced today that its soon-to-be-launched PlayStation® mini title, Young Thor, will be prominently featured in Sony Computer Entertainment Europe’s booth at E3. Young Thor is one of the first mini titles – playable on the PlayStation®3 and PSP® systems – to be developed from the ground up exclusively for the platform, rather than ported over from a previous game.
Young Thor
As young Thor, you’ll have to travel to both Midgard and Asgard, battling hordes of mythical monsters as you strive to put an end to Hel’s evil designs. The three Norns – Urd, Skuld and Verdandi – have gone missing, leaving no one to tend to Yggdrasil, the World Tree. Can you save the day and restore balance? Do you have what it takes to be the mighty god of thunder?

Frima Studio has already established itself as a leader within the PlayStation mini space with 2009’s Zombie Tycoon. The strategy game allowed players to take command of three squads of the undead to conquer cities and enslave humanity and is a top-selling mini.

Wait, we’re not done yet! Frima has also announced the launch of its first Facebook title, Rock Paper Sumo. Ridiculously simple to play and cleverly addictive, Rock Paper Sumo lets Facebook gamers don the sumo wrestler’s mawashi and fight to be the top contender in the world arena of ‘rock-paper-scissors’!

“Rock Paper Sumo is a brilliant twist on the classic hand game ‘rock-paper-scissors’ and a great way to challenge and taunt your friends for ultimate dojo supremacy,” said Steve Couture, CEO of Frima Studio. “The game has a fun and unique art style and tons of customizable options for your sumo wrestler…plus who doesn’t like laying the smack down on friends with one of the most simple yet tried-and-true games of all time?”Rock Paper Sumo

In a quest to become the ultimate rikishi, wrestlers must live by the ancient ways of sumo: train hard, eat lots of calorie-rich bento to pack on the pounds, engage in sparring sessions against a deadly dummy and fulfill dojo duties with honor! Spend hard-won Bento Bucks and Dojo Dollars on hysterical makeovers with over 200 accessories to choose from, like cowboy hats, pink Mohawk, fu manchu, assorted tattoos, or even a chest fro! Each player must challenge his Facebook friends to fight in order to win battles and unlock achievements, brawling his way up the global leaderboard to ultimately be hailed as the best rock-paper-scissors player in the world!

Untold EntertainmentUntold Entertainment has released new artwork for its upcoming word puzzler title Spellirium. Today we are introduced to two of Spellirium’s primary characters: Brother Todd, a young Brother Todd and LormRuneskeeper and his blue tunk sidekick Lorm. The pair must set out on a quest to find other Runeskeepers in the post-apocalyptic era known as The Now, a time when modern civilization has become buried beneath a mile of earth, and it is your job to help them overcome challenges and hurdles with your word skills.

I have been playing Spellirium’s various iterations thus far and have enjoyed it immensely. Watching the backstory and characters coming to life had definitely added another level of anticipation for the next test round, and of course, to see the game completed. I bet that if you were to sign up for the development diary newsletters, you too might have the chance to play Spellirium sooner than its release.

United Front GamesHot on the heels of the launch success of ModNation Racers, United Front Games has released a little intel about their newest title in development, True Crime®: Hong Kong, which will be handled by game publisher Activision.

Inspired by classic Hollywood and Asian cinema style thrillers, fans can dive deep into Hong Kong’s Triad criminal underbelly and gain access to the latest True Crime news, assets, promotions, and more! The new web site also reveals the first details on some of the project’s Hong Kong Cinema and Hollywood talent, further underscoring United Front Games’ commitment to delivering a game experience that looks, feels and plays like a true Hong Kong action flick.

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As a newly hired thug within the Triad organization, undercover detective Wei Shen must do whatever it takes to stay undetected and survive, balancing his moral duty as a cop with the objectives of the assignment. In order to ascend the ranks of the underworld, gamers will engage in visceral, fast-paced martial arts combat and explosive gunfights, along with high-octane driving sequences and acrobatic free-running chases as they go deeper and deeper undercover.
true crime
True Crime’s story takes players on a roller coaster ride through the game’s vast, action-packed open-world Hong Kong setting, introducing handfuls of intriguing characters in a truly unique and dangerous city. Lending more authenticity to the game’s narrative and further bringing True Crime’s characters to life, Activision and UFG have enlisted the voice over skills of top Hong Kong cinema and Hollywood talent, including Tom Wilkinson, James Hong, James Liao, Byron Mann, Dustin Nguyen, George Cheung and Sammo Hung to name but a few.

Bill HutchisonBill Hutchison, Chair of the i-Canada program, which is supported by the Canadian Advanced Technology Alliance, seeks to spread ultra-broadband communications among all Canadian communities, has been awarded the prestigious REALCOMM Digital Impact Award. The REALCOMM award is given to the person who has best advanced the development of the “net generation building”.

Mr. Hutchison is the inspiration and creator of the Information Technology component of the massive Toronto Waterfront Revitalization project. One of the largest development projects in the world, the Waterfront project will include to-home or to-office information transmission speeds of 1 gigabit per second — 100 times faster than most home broadband connections.

“Our vision with this ultra-broadband Waterfront project is to provide a quantum leap in connectivity,” said Mr. Hutchison. “We will use it as the core infrastructure that sparks innovation for businesses and home-owners alike. The ultra-broadband capability will allow intelligent buildings to be remotely controlled to manage heating, lighting and cooling systems. People using ultra-broadband will not have to commute to work or in some cases even to the doctor’s office; communication will allow high-capacity engagement.

Mr. Hutchinson went on to say that “we see i-Canada as a nation of Intelligent Communities large and small, central and remote, all enjoying the economic development, job growth and social prosperity now available in the world’s leading Intelligent Communities or Smart Cities. We want to expand upon Canada’s “Islands of Excellence” like Moncton, Fredericton and Waterloo who have all been recognized for excellence by the Global Intelligent Community Forum. We are a living laboratory for creative opportunities.”

Though the i-Canada program has not been officially launched, it already has some 300 signatories, including a Provincial Premier, Municipal leaders, business executives and leading academics.

Government of CanadaThe Honourable Tony Clement, Minister of Industry, today announced the launch of a public consultation on foreign investment restrictions in the telecommunications sector.

“Our goal is to encourage investment, innovation and competition in the telecommunications sector for the benefit of both businesses and consumers,” said Minister Clement. “We look forward to receiving Canadians’ views on this important issue.”

In the Speech from the Throne and Budget 2010: Leading the Way on Jobs and Growth, the Government of Canada committed to opening Canada’s doors further to venture capital and to foreign investment in key sectors, including telecommunications, in order to attract new capital and to encourage innovation and competition.

The consultation will run until July 30, 2010. The consultation paper outlines the current restrictions, describes how Canada compares with other countries and presents the following three options for consideration:

* Increase the limit for direct foreign investment in broadcasting and telecommunications common carriers to 49 percent
* Lift restrictions on telecommunications common carriers with a 10-percent market share or less, by revenue
* Remove telecommunications restrictions completely

Reviewing restrictions on foreign investment is consistent with the government’s approach to rely more on market forces and less on regulation in the telecommunications industry. Telecommunications is a critical part of the digital economy — a key government priority.

citymaxCongratulations to CityMax.com, who has been named Company of the Year by Small Business BC’s Successful You Business Awards. This citation, which is sponsored by WorkSafeBC, concludes a year in which the website builder company earned multiple industry accolades, recognition in the House of Commons for holding Canada’s first Entrepreneur Spirit Day, and was featured in the Wall Street Journal and Entrepreneur Magazine for its efforts in supporting small business owners.

“This award is an exciting achievement for our team and our site builder,” said Dean Gagnon, Chief Evangelist and President at CityMax.com. “Every facet of our company is based on helping entrepreneurs make money online, so to be recognized by our peers is truly humbling. This has been a collaborative effort from our support staff, to our expert programmers, to our 30,000 small business customers – and we hope to ride this momentum towards achieving our goal of helping 1 million entrepreneurs with our website software.”

In the past year, CityMax.com has been recognized as the #2 Best Company to Work for in BC (BCBusiness Magazine), received its second WebAward for Outstanding Achievement in Website Development (Web Marketing Association), and was listed in PROFIT Magazine’s NEXT 100 Emerging Business in Canada.

Joe Deobald, Brand Manager and 5-year employee, commented on the award: “It has been an incredible journey, going from a tiny start-up to a company supporting thousands of entrepreneurs around the world. We continue to add the right pieces to grow, and I am very excited to see what the future holds.”

The Company of the Year Award is presented to the nominee who has demonstrated an outstanding, growing business; innovative product(s), increasing jobs, increasing sales, overcoming adversity, and community contributions.

This entry was posted on Friday, June 11th, 2010 at 11:57 am and is filed under Action Adventure, Awards, Business News, Casual, Dev Diaries, Everyone, Game Dev, Government, Mature, National News, New Releases, Puzzle, Social Media, Teen, Upcoming Releases. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.
  1. thinksmartgames.com
    12:15 pm on June 14th, 2010

    Oh yes, I’m sure the shrill voice of the outraged soccer mom won’t be heard the moment this gets picked up by the national media.

    Let’s hope it won’t, anyway.

  2. Tami
    1:26 pm on June 14th, 2010

    Oh, I imagine there will be plenty of conservative outcry when DR2 hits the shelves, as the Playboy partnership isn’t the only feature that will make “soccer moms” outraged. There is a store chock full of mature audience weaponry to be had that I am sure will make many media outlets around the globe gasp in shock. There will most likely also be those who yell about once again objectifying women in the game. Personally, neither of these factors about the game bothers me, I actually find them quite amusing – and I am, amazingly enough, female and a Mom.

  3. thinksmartgames.com
    12:23 pm on June 15th, 2010

    Whoops! Sorry, Tami – meant no offense.

    I used “soccer mom” as a stand-in for my (admittedly) stereotypical, Tipper Gore-view of folk who’ve too much time on their hands yet somehow go out and buy their kids games with titles like “Dead Rising” or “Killzone” and then pretend to be outraged that their kids are playing games with violent depictions.

    Long sentence.

    I guess I’d like to see a little more personal responsibility, especially when the industry is policing itself with the ESRB, making it *very* easy to see if a game is appropriate for a child.

    Sorry for the blog-jack! I saw mention of “Playboy” in a video game and immediately winced in anticipation of the moaning and gnashing of teeth about the video games/objectification/violence triple-threat.

  4. Tami
    9:30 am on June 16th, 2010

    Oh! I wasn’t in any way offended, I’m sorry if my reply implied that I was. I was actually agreeing with you about the “soccer mom” scenario, and I agree with you about personal responsibility. While I did buy games outside of the “appropriate” rating for my son when he was younger, he was also schooled on what was real versus what wasn’t, but being a gamer Mom, I was also aware of the game’s contents when I bought the titles for him.

    No need for the apology either, it’s nice to get some comments and interaction going. =)

  5. thinksmartgames.com
    2:44 pm on June 16th, 2010

    Ok, good. Glad I didn’t place my foot in my mouth.

    I always wondered if gamer parents are predisposed to be more or less likely to give their kids games that are “above” their age level, or if, as savvy gamers, they’re less likely to fall for their kids’ tricks or slip up and accidentally buy a “Splatterhouse” type game.

    Of course, all kids are different, and one kid’s maturity about “subject X” will differ from the next kid’s. And, of course, all parents are just as randomly mature as kids are.

    But! Generally speaking! 🙂

  6. Tami
    6:44 pm on June 16th, 2010

    I started him off on games like Bubble Bobble, Thomas the Tank Engine, Mario and of course Donkey Kong in its many iterations, but he really liked Dungeon Master, and he jumped more than a few times when the baddies came out of hiding. We then moved up to games like GoldenEye (and Nintendo’s announcement of a new GoldenEye at E3 was awesome), and I also let him try the TMNT titles as well as the Power Rangers title. We had discussions about realism, games and horsing around in real life before I let him try Mortal Kombat – and I think that it’s an important part of parenting have those kinds of talks.

    Obviously as games became more sophisticated, I did pay attention to the content, but I think it’s also important to take into account what maturity level the child is at when choosing games.

    My son, while a hardcore gamer who plays some of the most violent games on the market, does not fit into the “mass market image” of a withdrawn, drinking, drugging outsider with major mental problems and plans to shoot up the local school. He isn’t out on the streets all night, he’s not in a gang, he doesn’t have a criminal record, and I know where he is at 11pm at night. On the other hand, he can make split-second decisions, he can lead a group through a project, he can express his ideas in a logical manner, has a creative mind and he’s not afraid to speak up with an opinion. Yes, there are those who criticize him for his gamer lifestyle, but you know what? He could’ve turned out much, much worse.

  7. thinksmartgames.com
    9:38 am on June 22nd, 2010

    “Yes, there are those who criticize him for his gamer lifestyle, but you know what? He could’ve turned out much, much worse.”

    I want to hi-five someone, right now.

    Congratulations on raising a good kid.

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