The Entertainment Software Association Canada (ESAC) will unveil new research on the size and importance of Canada’s video game industry at a luncheon gathering on May 30th at the Empire Club in the Royal York Hotel in Toronto. Based on research conducted by SECOR, ESAC Executive Director Danielle LaBossiere Parr will deliver a speech entitled A digital economy: the rise of the video game industry in Canada, which will highlight how Canada has carved a niche in video game development and is now a major player on the world stage. The new research includes updated statistics on the size and growth of the Canadian video game industry as well as a detailed analysis of the emerging trends, challenges and opportunities for the future.
Speaking of futures, Mascouche game developer Wild Games Studios has announced the expansion of its business. The studio be will moving into a new workspace 5 times larger than their present location in July, and will therefore be looking for 35 new team members to fill positions in various departments before the month of July.
Wild Games Studios now possesses the logistic capacity and experience to create games for other companies such as popular IP, and they invite companies interested in having more information to contact them. In addition, the studio will complete its first AAA game “Dhaila’s Adventures” in October and will immediately follow that up with the development of its new license AAA “World Circus” which will be presented at E3. An additional 15 team members will be required for that project, leading the studio to a team of about 65 employees for next fall.
Best Buy is now accepting presale orders of NHL 12 for XBOX 360 and PlayStation 3. Be the next legend in hockey with EA Sports‘ NHL 12. Take to the ice in all-new interactive environments where helmet-popping hits, glass-shattering collisions, and crushing checks along the boards are always part of the action. Experience the intensity, speed, and physicality of authentic NHL hockey with NHL 12.
Pre-order from Best Buy and receive the goalie boost to enhance your Be a Pro and EA SPORTS Hockey League goalie. Best Buy Reward Zone members will also earn 800 points with presale orders, a $10 value. NHL 12 is available for presale at all Best Buy locations and on BestBuy.ca. The game is priced at $59.99.
Following the great success of “I Learn With Poko: Seasons and Weather! HD,” Tribal Nova has released the iPhone version of this top ranking educational app. The iPad version has been selected by Apple as “New and Noteworthy” or “Staff favorites” in the U.S and 15 other countries. Users and reviewers have also given the game rave reviews bringing the app to the top position of the Games-Educational and Games-Kids charts in Australia as well as a top 10 positions in the U.S., Canada and the UK.
I Learn With Poko: Seasons and Weather! is an educational game that lets children 3 to 7 years old learn many key concepts about the weather in various seasons, how to dress and what activities to do depending on the weather… while having tons of fun! Produced by the developers behind the award winning PBS KIDS PLAY! and CBC Wonderworld online learning programs, this app is the first app available on iPhone in the groundbreaking iLearnWith educational program, which is designed to help kids get ready for school, one app at a time.
“Seasons and Weather is one of the most important Science subjects taught to children in Pre-k and Kindergarten, yet there are no games for young children covering the subject in the app store. We are happy to fulfill this need and are committed to developing a comprehensive educational program in which each app will address a specific subject in the curriculum. We have another nine apps currently in development covering various skills in math, literacy, science and foreign languages,” says Pierre Le Lann, co-founder of Tribal Nova.
This app is based on National Standards and has been developed with child developmental psychologists and educators. The game has three levels, increasing in complexity, details and subject covered. Moreover, each level contains a mechanism that adjusts the difficulty based on the child’s success rate. These elements combined enable the game to meet children’s developmental needs regardless if they are 3 or 7 years old.
The game contains many ways for children to learn about seasons and weather: finding certain weather conditions such as clouds or snow to help Beebee find pictures for her photo album; or spotting clothes that do not fit the weather to help Poko take a perfect picture; or guessing what activities Poko did certain days of the week based on the weather and the month of the year.
Educational content, rich graphics and audio, fun game mechanics and a high production budget really set this app apart to deliver both learning and fun to families.
“We have developed over 100 online educational games for young children over the past 5 years. We are very excited to apply our expertise to touch screens, and are confident we can develop some of the best kids apps in the app store with truly educational content and great gameplay,” says Guillaume Aniorte, Tribal Nova’s other co-founder.
Ubisoft has released new product details for Assassin’s Creed® Revelations, allowing us to see what is coming as the battle between Assassin and Templar continues its richly immersive tale when it launches on the Xbox 360® , the PlayStation®3 and Windows PC this November. Assassin’s Creed Revelations is available now for pre-order in the Ubi Store.
Assassin’s Creed Revelations follows master assassin Ezio Auditore as he walks in the footsteps of his legendary mentor, Altaïr, on a journey to recover five ancient seals that hold the keys to the future of the Assassins brotherhood. 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.
Hone the deadly art of assassination – As Ezio Auditore, wield the lethal skills of a wiser, more efficient assassin. Armed with a new arsenal of weapons and abilities including the hookblade, bomb crafting and a heightened Eagle Sense, you can kill with death-dealing proficiency.
Herald the return of a legend – Assassin’s Creed Revelations features the return of Altaïr as a playable character, the hero of the original Assassin’s Creed.
Journey to the Constantinople –Explore picturesque settings, from Masyaf, the mountain stronghold of the Assassins during the Third Crusade to the vibrant and exotic Constantinople, the jewel of the Ottoman Empire in the 16th Century. Navigate crowded streets and vistas, through a cauldron of cultures as Constantinople comes to life.
Meet new players to the Assassins Creed lore –Encounter memorable personalities, including fellow master assassin Yusuf Tazim, Prince Suleiman, destined to become one of the greatest monarchs in history, and Sofia Sorto, a simple woman who vies for Ezio’s heart.
Test your skills as an assassin against your friends – the acclaimed online multiplayer experience returns, refined and expanded with more modes, more enthralling maps and new characters
Vancouver’s Exploding Barrel Games and THQ Inc. have officially announced Margaritaville Online, an everyday escape to a tropical paradise inspired by the lifestyle of author and singer-songwriter, Jimmy Buffett, will be available on Facebook and iOS devices Fall 2011. Soon, friends will be able to play and party in an immersive 3D paradise, filled with frozen concoctions, music and adventure. The game will be unveiled in THQ’s booth at E3.
“The Margaritaville laidback state of mind is inherently social, and THQ has captured the spirit of that lifestyle in this game,” said Buffett. “With Margaritaville Online, fans across the globe can party together any time and any place.”
Throughout his more than 40-year career, Jimmy Buffett has welcomed fans into his carefree world where remarkable characters are around every corner, and it’s always happy hour. By creating their own online beach oasis, Margaritaville Online players can party in paradise with friends, build a bar, form a band, throw parties and embark on tropical adventures in an open world full of island entertainment and playful mini-games. A virtual trip to the tropics set to a soundtrack of classic Buffett tunes, Margaritaville Online allows players to interact with characters from Buffett’s own literary works including Captain Tony, first introduced to fans in Buffett’s song “Last Mango in Paris.”
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.
Digital Leisure has released a new title to WiiWare. Overflow is a quick-fire puzzle game that challenges you to take control of the lab and keep everything flowing smoothly. Available now, Overflow is rated E for Everyone and costs 500 WiiWare Points.
Professor Lexis just finished his greatest and most energy-efficient machine yet. However, the moment he flipped the switch for the first official test, the machine exploded and sprayed all of the professor’s new multicolored fuel everywhere. He now needs your help to collect the precious fuel and repair the damage before the worldwide energy symposium begins.
Twist your Wii Remote™ controller to place wooden planks, funnels and particle transportation portals to guide the fluids back to the correct collection channels and repair the damage in 30 warped levels. The professor will even have you tackling the dangerous task of mixing fluids to create new fuel colors. Just be sure to contain the spill before you cause an overflow.
Millions of iPhone and iPad users around the world have unleashed their inner trouble-maker in the feel-good app of the year Office Jerk, the latest game on iPhone and iPad from Fluik Entertainment, continues to exceed expectations and delight audiences around the world. Since its release less than a month ago, the free app has been downloaded over six million times. It has become the number-one free app in more than 50 countries, as players take revenge on that one guy in the office that makes the rest of us look bad.
Not content with letting players toss pies, eggs, paper, dynamite and more, Fluik is offering an entirely new arsenal of destruction with today’s release of Office Jerk 1.2. The update includes all new items to hurl at that office mate you love to hate:
Smack him right between the eyes with the Sucker Dart!
Unleash your inner Tiger and nail him with a golf ball!
Toss the fan and blow him away!
Also, in response to countless requests from fans, an Android version will released later this week, giving millions more gamers a chance to discover what the rest of the world has already realized – there is always room for a little juvenile behavior in the modern office space.
With the Stanley Cup® Playoffs heating up, Electronic Arts Inc. is getting in on the action with the announcement of new features for EA SPORTS™ NHL® 12, shipping on September 9th in Europe and September 13th in North America. Play your way to superstardom in the revamped Be a Pro mode and experience the authentic action and energy of real life hockey with the Full Contact Physics Engine.
In the revamped Be a Pro mode, experience the pursuit of greatness and legendary moments in your playing career, shatter historic records and cement yourself in NHL history. Additionally, the better you play, the more ice time you’ll get where you can simulate to your next shift with the EA SPORTS Action Tracker so you’re always on the ice as you play out your entire career in pursuit of the Stanley Cup.
The NHL 12 Full Contact Physics Engine puts you in the rink with everything now live on the ice, from players to the environment – everything is interactive and in play. Experience the skill and aggression of hockey from shattered glass to flying helmets to knocking players over the boards and into the bench; crash the crease too hard and you’ll knock the net off and send the goalie flying. Size and physicality will be emphasized as bigger players will be able to throw their weight around as they screen the goalie and battle in front of the net.
This year marks the first time players will face dynamic goalies in the game. Players can knock the net off and make contact with goalies, knocking them down or out of position, as they crash the crease. Watch as goalies battle through screens to make awe-inspiring saves. Additionally, we’re reigniting the beloved fighting engine that first appeared in NHL 10 with all-new goalie battles. When the action gets heated, send a message by leaving the net, dropping the gloves, and trading punches with rivals during fights.
All new gameplay presentation creates an authentic, fresh new look and feel throughout NHL 12 with presentation graphics that mimic real life hockey broadcasts. For the first time ever lace up outdoors under the lights in one of the biggest hockey events of the season, the 2011 NHL Winter Classic® at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, within seconds of putting in the disc. Inspired by the NHL GameCenter Ice Tracker, the all-new EA SPORTS Action Tracker presents game highlights and key moments so you never miss a beat.
This is just a sneak peek of what’s to come in EA SPORTS NHL 12. Stay tuned in the coming months for more news on the franchise as well as the EA SPORTS Hockey League and Hockey Ultimate Team. To get in on the action now visit EASports to pre-order your copy of NHL 12.
A couple of weeks ago I had the unique chance to sit down with Inspirado Games CEO Rick Davidson and chat about his company’s latest game, Gardenmind.
Gardenmind is a Facebook social game in which players grow plants in their virtual garden, with each plant being associated to a different game mode. Some plants are word games while others are perception games, with more games and plants offered as the player continues to play through Gardenmind. People who enjoy challenging their brains and playing puzzles will enjoy this game.
The other awesome thing about Gardenmind is that it is a meaningful game; besides learning and challenging their brains players can also contribute to a cause they would like to support. One example of this is with trees like the New Zealand silver fern. If players buy the tree a percentage of the cost goes to support quake relief in Christchurch and players are rewarded with a kiwi to walk around their garden.
Inspirado Games works with the World Wildlife Fund to support the organization’s causes around the world and Gardenmind was recently nominated for a Canadian Video Game Award for best social game.
When we sat down we talked about how long Inspirado has been around, why they are doing what they are and why they thought they would make this game. We also chat about gaming and the growth of the industry in Vancouver. It was a great chatting with Rick and I hope you enjoy the videos.
Finnish developer Grey Area has released Shadow Cities, the world’s first mobile global location-based massively multiplayer online role playing game (MMORPG) for free on mobile Apple devices in Canada. Shadow Cities uses location based technology to create an augmented reality and a revolutionary global arena for its players to participate in real-time large-scale combat with friends and other gamers. Players will engage each other in epic battles around the world in their very own neighborhoods and cities.
Shadow Cities Features Include:
Choose your side: Players can choose to fight on the side of the Animators or Architects, two opposing schools of magic locked in a struggle for power and control.
Definitively Massive: Hundreds of gamers at once will clash and battle with one another across neighborhoods, towns and cities across the world.
Best in Class RPG Elements: Building upon traditional roleplaying systems and concepts, Shadow Cities offers a deep leveling system that allows players to customize their character by learning spells and developing attributes.
Draw your Spells: Using the touch screen of the Apple mobile device, players draw magical runes to cast a variety of spells with which to attack foes, heal allies and defend their neighborhoods.
Transform your Neighborhood: As players move around in the real world, their position in the parallel world of Shadow Cities will also move, revealing both new friendly and enemy players, spirits, traps, neighborhoods and much more.
Transport Friends: Portals can be opened in cities that allow friends and allies to move between locations and take part in full-scale virtual battles, creating a truly global gameplay experience.
Speedy Recovery: As mages engage in battles their health and mana will deplete but also refill over time. Players will have the option to purchase potions from the in-game store to refill mana instantaneously.
Shadow Cities is rated Rated 9+ for the following:
Infrequent/Mild Horror/Fear Themes
Infrequent/Mild Cartoon or Fantasy Violence
Requirements: Compatible with iPhone, iPod touch and iPad. Requires iOS 3.1 or later.