In celebration of Towel Day (no, this is not related to the Canucks’ victory over the Sharks last night), Megadodo Publications has announced that they are working with Vancouver’s Hothead Games to bring The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, the standard repository for all knowledge and wisdom, to the farthest uncharted backwaters of the unfashionable end of the Western Spiral arm of the Galaxy. This new edition of The Guide will be available not only on your planet but also on all nearby systems including Alpha Centauri.
“We’re super excited to be involved with such a legendary creation as The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. The quirky and hilarious universe that Douglas Adams created became an instant classic for so many. All the hoopiest froods here at Hothead jumped on the chance to work on the project,” commented excitable Hothead human, Joel DeYoung.
Zarniwoop Vann HarlaHarlH, president of Megadodo, was unavailable for comment as he is far too cool to add quotes to press releases, but for up-to-the-Earth-minute communications on this exciting new addition to the Guide, Megadodo would like you to use your fleshy digits to prod your plastic board of keys and visit the New Guide’s official site.
For those who don’t already have the original game and all of the DLC, 505 Games and developer Behaviour Interactive announced today that Naughty Bear Gold is available now for Xbox 360® and the PlayStation®3. Naughty Bear Gold combines the original game in all its glory, along with all the downloadable content in one adorably brutal package.
Naughty Bear Gold will include the original Naughty Bear game, which followed the titular “hero” as he cut his way through the cuddly denizens of Perfection Island, getting his bloody revenge for the ways in which they wronged him (namely, failing to invite him to a birthday party). Additionally, Naughty Bear Gold will feature the three downloadable content packs with episodes 8 through 10, which sees Naughty through a host of new misadventures against such foes as pirates, comic book superheroes, and of course vampire bears and zombears.
The added DLC packs ($25 value) double the content of the original game, adding in copious amounts of mayhem, improved multiplayer, and more weapons, costumes, and comic kills than ever.
“Now that we have the opportunity to present Naughty’s full story to fans of the franchise is definitely a great thing for us,” said Ian Howe, President, 505 Games North America. “We’re very proud of how all the extra content expanded the Naughty Bear universe, and we can’t wait for gamers to have access to all things Naughty in one slick package.”
“Deus Ex has one of the most passionate, vocal and dedicated communities in all of video games, so offering a program that rewards that loyalty – even before the game is released – is a great way for us to give something back,” said Kyle Stallock, Community Manager, Eidos-Montreal. “The Facebook community now has significant control over the release schedule for some of our favorite assets. We have a ton of surprises and unlockables planned, so fans should invite their friends to ‘Like’ the page and start collecting these rewards.”
The new program, which launched yesterday, offers more than 90 individual rewards for Facebook fans, including new wallpapers, screenshots and concept art as well as further details on in-game Augmentations, weapons and the story.
Previously, when the Deus Ex: Human Revolution Facebook page achieved 10,000 Likes, fans were rewarded with an exclusive wallpaper created by Eidos-Montreal Art Designer Jonathan Jacques-Belletête, that recreated the imagery from the highly collectible and super-rare PAX East 2011 tee-shirt.
The Deus Ex: Human Revolution Facebook page is where fans can keep up-to-date with the latest news, previews, videos and screenshots on the game; engage in discussions with other fans and development team members; and find out about other contests and promotions. Fans can also visit the official site where they will find all of the game information and the official forums and join the human revolution on Twitter.
Hothead Games has launched their second iOS title Chromanoids in the App Store. This arcade shoot ‘em up puts you in charge of a last line of defense space fleet, tasked with saving Earth from the unforgiving enemy Chromanoid ships.
Chromanoids is a classic arcade-style space shooter, but with a colorful twist: players can only damage the oncoming ships with blasts of color that match that of the enemy. Mix and swap colors in the reservoir to make the perfect match and destroy the Chromanoid attackers.
Players have the choice to use in game Power Ups, such as Nukes, Fastshot and Instakill Blitz Bombs to progress through wave after wave of challenging space battles.
To keep you entertained throughout the missile launches and explosions the game story that accompanies Chromanoids is a space fuelled adventure inspired by anime and centered around themes of squad defection, peer respect and an out of this world love triangle.
* Special power up items to obtain during play to help you on your mission
* Game Center support with leaderboards for each game mode and local high scores
* Five different modes of gameplay:
* Story Mode: You’re the last line of defense against the Chromanoids; your success affects the outcome.
* Armada Mode: Be challenged with more and faster attackers.
* Ultradrive Mode: The attacking ships speed up with each new wave, and your accuracy will affect the speed of your color missiles.
* Depleted Mode: Blast power is diminished as you hit the enemies, but gain bonus points for targeting the ships with smaller and smaller shots.
* Red-Shift Mode: Blast away! Just shoot the enemies down, without having to change colors.
You can try the Chromanoids free version (in-app purchase will unlock the full game) or purchase the full version for 99 cents USD. This game is rated 4+ and is compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. It requires iOS 3.1.3 or later.
Rock Hippo Productions Ltd. has announced its upcoming online multiplayer action game, Brawl Busters.
Co-published with Weezor and developed by Korean studio SkeinGlobe, Brawl Busters (formerly known as Project Plan B), is a fast-paced, free-to-play third-person action game that promises competitive fun at its funkiest. Players can take a sneak peek at the game and register for a spot in the exclusive upcoming closed beta on the game’s web site.
Brawl Busters is a dynamic new action brawler that features competitive and co-operative battle modes all in a unique third person view. With its simple and intuitive controls, this easy to pick up and play game makes team strategy a must as player’s battle against each other or team up against computer controlled enemies.
“Brawl Busters is packed with non-stop action and features an offbeat style that is like no other game on the market today,” said Howard He, President and CEO of Rock Hippo Productions. “The game is truly unique in both its distinct look and its innovative gameplay, and it has been building an excited and loyal group of followers who can’t wait to get their hands on the game. We couldn’t be more thrilled to work with both Weezor and SkeinGlobe as we head towards the game’s launch.”
Players will find five unique character classes including the Slugger, the Firefighter, the Rocker, the Boxer and finally, the Blitzer. With its signature funky visual style, the game will offer seven exciting maps and will also feature a huge variety of customization options including body type, gender, weapons, costumes and accessories along with the ability to upgrade weapons and costumes with new abilities. Brawl Busters will feature an intense Training Mode, Challenge Missions, leader boards and persistent stat tracking.
“Brawl Busters was developed for a Western audience from its very inception and with Rock Hippo’s well established publishing background in North America and Europe, we expect yet another great success story,” said Seul Ki Lee, CEO of SkeinGlobe. “SkeinGlobe’s mission is to deliver the absolute best online gaming experience to players across the globe. We’d like to thank all the patient fans of project ‘Plan B’ as we take the game to its next phase with the upcoming release of Brawl Busters. We will work very closely with Rock Hippo to let players experience our vision for this game as soon as possible.”
Deus Ex: Human Revolution™ is making a triumphant return to its franchise PC roots, with digital availability on Steam®, the leading online platform for PC games and digital entertainment, as well as in boxed copy form at retailers worldwide at launch in August 2011. Eidos-Montreal has chosen this agreement with Steam because of its esteemed capability for an enhanced experience for the PC gamer, with boosted functionality and easy accessibility.
Deus Ex: Human Revolution will support a host of Steamworks® features such as auto-updating, Steam Achievements and Steam Cloud support. Available in the standard version and the robust Augmented Edition on Steam, gamers will be able to enjoy the Deus Ex experience of their choice. The Augmented Edition boasts a digital40-page art book, a “making of” special, trailers, animated storyboard of the CGI trailer, motion graphic novel, soundtrack, and a free download of the Deus Ex Game of the Year Edition.
Telling the story of Adam Jensen, a man cybernetically augmented against his choice who finds himself in the middle of a global conspiracy to which he holds the key, Deus Ex: Human Revolution is set in a near-future world where humanity is at a turning point. By offering players the chance to play the game in multiple and vastly different ways, Deus Ex: Human Revolution challenges the foundations of gaming and provides an immersive experience where every choice has a lasting consequence.
After teasing fans on its Facebook Fan Page, Ubisoft has released a few details about Assassin’s Creed® Revelations, the fourth installment in the critically acclaimed and immensely popular video game franchise. Developed and led by Ubisoft Montreal with the support and expertise of Ubisoft studios Annecy, Massive Entertainment, Quebec, Singapore and Bucharest, Assassin’s Creed Revelations presents the most immersive experience available in the series to date and the culmination of Ezio’s adventure. The game is set to release on the Xbox 360®, the PlayStation®3 and Windows PC this November.
In Assassin’s Creed Revelations, master assassin Ezio Auditore walks in the footsteps of his legendary mentor, Altaïr, on a journey of discovery and revelation. It is a perilous path – one that will take Ezio to Constantinople, the heart of the Ottoman Empire, where a growing army of Templars threatens to destabilize the region.
In addition to Ezio’s award-winning story, the acclaimed online multiplayer experience returns, refined and expanded, with more modes, more maps and more characters that allow players to test their assassin skills against others from around the world. The latest chapter in the Assassin’s Creed saga also includes revolutionary gameplay, allowing players to manipulate the construct of Desmond’s memories and the Animus to decipher the mysteries of his past and gain insight into the future.
“Delivering the final chapter of the Ezio trilogy is an important milestone in the Assassin’s Creed franchise for us and for our fans,” said Alexandre Amancio, Creative Director at Ubisoft Montreal. “Assassin’s Creed Revelations includes lots of new features and some significant surprises. We can’t wait to show our fans what we have in store at E3 this year.”
Initially launched in 2007, the first three Assassin’s Creed® games have sold more than 28 million units worldwide, and the franchise is now established as one of the best-selling series on next generation consoles. Recognized for having some of the richest, most engrossing storytelling in the industry, Assassin’s Creed has transcended video games, branching out into other entertainment experiences such as comic books, Facebook, novels, short films and more. Additional details on Assassin’s Creed Revelations can be found in an exclusive feature in the June issue of Game Informer Magazine, available this month.
All of you who are waiting to get more details on the next Assassin’s Creed title from Ubisoft Montreal need to take part in the studio’s viral marketing effort. The studio will reveal more information the more people share the AC Reveal app on Facebook. The images so far have been typically cryptic – reflecting the Subject 16-styled video puzzles Assassin’s Creed players have become familiar with. There is an image of what looks to be Jerusalem – is it the city under 16th century Ottoman rule? This could fit neatly at the tail end of Brotherhood, should the developers be continuing the Ezio story, that is. However, there are also flashes of the Phaistos Disc, which points to Crete – and a hint of the current Greek flag does seem to flash on the screen – but it didn’t come into use until the 1800′s. The armoured hand appears to belong to Altair, whose name is flashed across the screen in Arabic – or is it someone new to the franchise? Is that the Apple of Eden glowing in the image’s centre – or just the sun viewed through Eagle Vision?
There is the speculation that the next Assassin’s Creed will be titled Revelations, which is of course being fueled by Ubisoft’s social media corps. At press time the unlock graph was only at 11% – if you are at all curious about what the studio will reveal and have a Facebook account, share with your friends and get them to share with their friends so we can all have a closer look – as the Unlock level increases, there are more clues added to the cinematic.
While I’m pondering the next direction for Assassin’s Creed, here are today’s news briefs and reminders:
Microsoft Game Studios has revealed the official site for its Vancouver studio, which might be hiring, by the way – I say might because the MGSV site says there are no positions open, but the MGS Careers page says there are. According to the new site, the Vancouver studio is ‘dedicated to making games for “core” gamers. Our mission is to push the limits of proven and unexplored game development and show the world what’s possible on Microsoft’s game consoles.’ This makes me happy – I can look forward to new titles for my 360 – as long as they aren’t for Kinect, because we don’t have yet have that peripheral.
SIGGRAPH 2011 has begun posting the Birds of a Feather activities for the conference this August. Check out the offerings, and if you would like to see a group meetup added, you are invited to submit your suggestion to the conference committee. Don’t forget, SIGGRAPH 2011 is August 7th through 11th in Vancouver. Make It Home.
Okino Computer Graphics has announced that its 3D DCC/Animation/Skinning and CAD/MCAD/Architectural conversion software PolyTrans-for-3ds-Max (for 3ds Max 2012 & 3ds Max Design 2012), and PolyTrans-for-Maya (for Maya 2012), are now fully qualified and shipping to customers. This is a general notice to those Okino customers who have not upgraded to the 2011/2012 releases yet, and for those not aware of Okino?s software for 3ds Max & Maya.
Virgin Mobile Canada and Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures Canada are digging up some real treasure with their next A-list benefit for Virgin Mobile Members across Canada. As part of an ongoing program delivering the latest movies first, Virgin Mobile has already offered its Members access to advance screenings for hits like I Am Number Four. On May 18, winning Members will have the opportunity to catch the most anticipated film of 2011, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, before its general release on May 20, 2011.
A total of 140 winners and their guests from Toronto, Montréal, Ottawa, Edmonton, Calgary, Winnipeg and Vancouver will get the chance to see the action-packed flick – starring Johnny Depp and Penélope Cruz – before anyone else. Plus, one super-lucky Member and their plus one will get some serious VIP treatment: travel and two nights stay in L.A., walking the red carpet at the Hollywood movie premiere of Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides and access to a super exclusive after-party. Follow Virgin Mobile’s Twitter at @virginmobilecan to see all the latest tweets from the VIP Member while they walk the plank – or red carpet – at the premiere.
To enter for the chance to be at one of the pre-screenings or walk the red carpet at Disneyland as Virgin Mobile’s Red Carpet Reviewer, visit The Lounge on Virgin Canada’s site or the Facebook Contest tab on Facebook. More big time opportunities are always around the corner with the hottest new movies getting delivered to Virgin Mobile Members. The next big blockbusters coming soon to a theatre near you: the 3-D horror remake Fright Night and the high adrenaline Hugh Jackman action film Real Steel.
At the same time, the Commissioner will address recent concerns over location tracking in popular smart phones and mobile devices. This hotbed topic will also be featured at a session on the privacy implications of mobile computing led by the Commissioner’s Office. Renowned privacy experts will attend to discuss the protection of privacy in today’s world of ongoing technological advances. It is all taking place at The International Association of Privacy Professionals‘ (IAPP) Canada Privacy Symposium at Ryerson University.
“The fabled demise of privacy has been widely portrayed of late, which reinforces the reality that we need to reframe how we present the privacy equation,” says Commissioner Cavoukian. “This is precisely why it’s time for Privacy by ReDesign right now! It will help organizations rethink and redesign privacy into their existing, legacy systems and business practices.”
Since the 1990′s, Commissioner Cavoukian has advocated for organizations to proactively embed privacy into technology right from the outset, a concept called Privacy by Design. International privacy regulators unanimously passed a landmark Resolution in 2010 recognizing the made-in-Ontario solution as a Global Privacy Standard. The U.S. Federal Trade Commission now recommends Privacy by Design for protecting online privacy.
The Commissioner’s Office is leading many timely sessions at the event including:
* Addressing the Privacy Implications of Mobile Computing
* Biometrics: Enhancing Privacy, Security and Trust through Privacy by Design (Related to this, roll out has begun across Ontario of a new privacy-protective facial recognition system to support customers enrolled in Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation’s voluntary self-exclusion program)
* Embedding Privacy Protection into a Risk Management Framework (At this session, a new white paper will be introduced, showing how IBM implemented Privacy by Design, moving it from a theoretical concept to a practical solution)
Source Studio has released their space shooter game ProtoGalaxy on Impulse for the PC, giving you arcade action, smart puzzles, space exploration and a built-in level editor for only $9.99. In ProtoGalaxy, up to four players can team up, configure their ship and upgrade their weapons in order to defend Earth from powerful alien invaders. Throughout the game players will brave fierce battles, solve challenging puzzles and explore the far reaches of the galaxy in order to end the attacks and rebuild a home for the survivors.
“ProtoGalaxy is an intense space themed dungeon crawler,” said Alex Brown, company founder. “The game includes a built in editor which allows players to easily create entirely new levels. Players can share their creations online and download other people’s levels for endless game play,” Brown added.
· Level editor to create new galaxies
· Single and multi-player mode (up to 4 players)
· Array of weapon choice
· Ship customization with large selection of parts
· Use physics to solve problems
· Includes free DLC: Proto Defense
Game publisher and distributor G4Box Inc. has announced the results of the donation drive for victims of the disaster in Japan hosted by its popular online military shooter, Cross Fire. G4Box and Cross Fire held the month-long “Cross Fire For Japan” charity drive from March 24th to April 24th and donated 10% of all sales of the game’s Panda and Japan Name Card Items to the Red Cross Japan Disaster Relief Fund. The Cross Fire player community showed their love and support for Japan by sporting Panda items and Japan Flag Name cards in-game and collectively helped Cross Fire and G4Box to donate more than $5,000 to the Red Cross Japan Disaster Relief Fund.
“The people affected by the tragedy in Japan are still facing so many tribulations and our community really stepped up to support them and donate to the cause during their time of need,” said Jason Yang, CEO of G4Box Inc. “We are lucky to have a very loyal and caring Cross Fire community who gladly supported this very important cause.”
Cross Fire is a free online military first-person shooter for Windows PCs. Players assume the role of either a Black List or Global Risk operative and compete in various modes of play including Team Death Match, the Mutant infested Mutation Mode, attack and defend Escape Mode, and the exclusive stealth-action Ghost Mode. Cross Fire includes a military ranking system, in-game friends lists, an integrated clan system, deep character customization options and social media integration via the Cross Fire website. Cross Fire is part of the Z8Games platform of free-to-play games.
Another Toronto publisher, Game Bridger Entertainment, has revealed two more playable character classes in its upcoming Free-to-play MMORPG Brawler, Aida Arenas. In these dual gameplay trailers, the Gladiator and the Priestess, after a brief warm-up, venture into Aida’s seedy underbelly to fight some baddies and round up some treasure.
When it comes to swords, the Gladiator has no problem wielding a blade almost twice his size. The bigger the better is his motto; just remember to hold on tight with both hands. Overall, the Gladiator is a well-rounded class that can hold his own against monsters and arena PvPers alike.
With her faithful pet Cocoli and a library of magical knowledge at her disposal, the Priestess comes equipped with a spell for just about any situation. On a story quest or in the competitive PvP arena, the Priestess is an essential part of any complete party.
Create a hero, explore dungeons, fight monsters,compete with friends and discover hidden treasure in AIDA Arenas, the new MMORPG Brawler from GamerKraft. Combining elements of the classic beat ‘em up arcade genre with the character progression and social features of modern MMORPGs – Aida Arenas offers an action-packed game-play experience unlike any you’ve seen before.
Well this makes me feel somewhat better, even though only one Canadian company made the Top Fifty list and most of these women started their businesses years ago. They aren’t currently trying to mash a whole slew of ideas into one cohesive business unit while trying to extricate oneself from an unrelated family business. The Women Presidents’ Organization (WPO), in partnership with American Express OPEN, the small business division of American Express, has released the fourth ranking of the 50 Fastest Growing Women-Owned/led companies in North America. The Top 50 generated a combined $4.1 billion in 2010 revenues (mean of $82.7 million) and collectively employed 24,650 in 2010 (projected average for 2011 is 557 employees).
The lone Canadian company on this US-dominated list is SIMAC Canada, Inc., an Ontario-based company lead by President and CEO Gloria Bajkumar. SIMAC is a company that co-ordinates independent medical assessments.
“The Top 50 list includes a group of trailblazing women entrepreneurs who represent a variety of industries ranging from staffing to electronic systems providers, language services to security,” said Marsha Firestone, Ph. D., president and founder of the WPO. “We are pleased to partner with American Express OPEN to honor these powerful women and recognize their triumphs.”
In order to help the Top 50 continue to seize even more business opportunities, each of the honored business owners will be offered a Business Platinum Card(based on approvals) from American Express OPEN. The card will include 100,000 Membership Rewards® points, which may be used on capital investments including: the funding of employee recognition programs, business travel or the purchase of office equipment and supplies.
“Based on American Express OPEN’s ‘State of Women-Owned Businesses’ report, there are an estimated 8.1 million women-owned businesses in the United States, generating nearly $1.3 trillion in revenues and employing nearly 7.7 million people,” said Nancy Hood, Vice President at American Express OPEN. “We at OPEN are honored to support this elite group of women who diversify the full spectrum of industries and have become leaders within the women business community.”
All eligible companies were ranked according to a sales growth formula that combines percentage and absolute growth. From this list, the 50 Fastest were selected. To be qualified for the ranking, businesses are required to be privately held, woman-owned/led companies in the U.S. or Canada and have reached revenue of at least $500,000 by the first week of 2006 and $2 million in 2010.
More about the 2011 Top 50:
Founded the Business: 90%
Current CEO is actively involved in the day-to-day operations: 100%
Average years in business: 16
Average age: 47
Average Number of Projected 2011 Employees: 557
All 50 companies will be honoured tonight at a special event hosted by American Express OPEN at the 2011 WPO Annual Conference taking place here in Vancouver. The awards reception will take place from 6:30PM to 9:30PM at the Fairmont Vancouver Hotel.