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23rd February 2010

Incubator Games Invites Public Input for Tribes of Mexica Concept Art

TorontoIncubator Games has released new concept art for their upcoming puzzle-RPG Tribes of Mexica. In a unique effort geared towards public involvement, the studio has unveiled artwork which could represent a possible stylistic direction for the game. Incubator Games encourages site visitors to cast their vote on the styles and possibly influence future visual developments for Tribes of Mexica.

EA GamesMontreal – An all-new campaign map pack called ‘Chapters of Deceit’ for the third-person co-op shooter Army Of Two™: The 40th Day has been announced by EA Montreal. Available for download on Xbox LIVE™ and the PlayStation®Network on April 1, 2010 for $9.99 or 800 Xbox LIVE points, players will return to war-torn Shanghai where they will encounter more destruction, more devastation and enemies determined to bring the city to the brink of ruin.

Army Of Two: The 40th Day – Chapters of Deceit features two all-new co-op campaign maps. In the new chapters, players stumble upon information that could lead to ending the invasion by Jonah and his 40th Day Initiative army. However, they quickly learn that everyone is out for themselves and to trust no one but their partner. Army Of Two: The 40th Day is rated “M” by the ESRB.

Relic EntertainmentVancouverRelic Entertainment has released a developer profile for the Sorcerer, a Chaos multiplayer Dawn of War 2: Chaos Rising - Sorcererhero. According to the profile, the Sorcerer is a follower of Tzeentch, the Dark God known as the Changer of Ways. These psykers are unlike those of most other factions. The Sorcerer wields death and destruction with all the fireworks and power you’d imagine from a servant of the Dark Gods. His powers can break enemy formations, his shrines fire bolts of energy that damage enemy units, and they can hide friendly units from enemy sight if Heretics are worshipping at the shrine. The Sorcerer’s tricks and abilities are many – you can check them out on the Dawn of War 2: Chaos Rising dev blog.

DigiBCVancouverDigiBC has just released details for a full day seminar whose topic is Social Networking in Transmedia Hollywood: A Strategic Master Class. The seminar will take place from 9am – 5pm on March 18th at The Emily Carr Motion Capture & Visualization Studio. Featuring Los Angeles-based Social Media Specialists Mr. Darcy Jouan, Ms. Shira Lazar, Mr. Gregory Markel and Peter Huh, this session will focus on discussions and audience feedback on Transmedia trends and challenges faced by Traditional Media producers using social media techniques to cross over into the Interactive Online space. Tickets for this event are $40.00 for DigiBC members and $60.00 for non-members. Space for this seminar is limited, so early registration is recommended. Read the rest of this entry »

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15th February 2010

Award Nominations, Demo Reels and Product Announcements

Orby - Proud to be Canadian

Village Gamer is Proud to Be Canadian

GO CANADA GO!


appboyEdmonton – A Smartphone as an x-ray machine? “There’s an app for that.” This phrase is starting to become as commonplace as saying “hello” when answering the phone. According to Gartner Research, Smartphone consumers are estimated to spend more than $6 billion and download over 4.5 billion mobile applications this year. With the mounting popularity of this phenomenon, AppBoy launched an easy-to-use, revolutionary social network that aims at connecting mobile app developers and users.

“AppBoy was developed to help developers get their apps discovered and to help users navigate through the thousands of available apps to find the ones they like,” says Thorren Koopmans, Director of Operations for AppBoy.

With more than 100,000 apps on the market, it’s difficult for app entrepreneurs to stand out. AppBoy gives app developers of multiple platforms (Android, iPhone, Palm and Blackberry) an opportunity to easily showcase their work and market their creations to mobile app lovers. Through personal developer profile pages created on the site, developers can share their ideas and even create their own app store. Apps sold through the social network also earn the developer a share of the profits.

AppBoy also has a lot to offer for those who aren’t building their own apps. Any user with ideas that are useful, smart or just plain entertaining can submit them to the website. Visitors to the social network have the ability to vote and comment on submissions. If the ideas generate enough votes, AppBoy rewards the user $250 and creates the app.

“We already have a great value proposition for both developers and end users, but we’re just getting started. There are big updates coming that are going to make AppBoy that much better.” Read the rest of this entry »

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7th February 2010

BioShock 2 Launch Party At Digital Extremes

Digital ExtremesLondonDigital Extremes and 2k Games will be celebrating the launch of BioShock 2 with a party to be held at the Digital Extremes studio this coming Wednesday February 10. The Digital Extremes development team is responsible for the multi-player components of this highly anticipated sequel to the 2007 (PC and Xbox 360 versions) BioShock. Bioshock 2

The Multiplayer mode in BioShock 2 provides 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 was developed in partnership by 2K Marin, 2K Australia and Digital Extremes for PLAYSTATION®3 computer entertainment system, Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system from Microsoft and Windows-based PCs. BioShock 2 is rated M by the ESRB.PODIUM Directory 2

BCTIAVancouver – The BCTIA has released an updated version of their PDF PODIUM directory. With over 140 profiled companies, PODIUM illustrates the talent and ingenuity that makes British Columbia a great place to live, work, study and invest. During the games, the BCTIA meeting concierge will help you connect with companies featured in PODIUM. To set up a meeting, simply send your request to the BCTIA and their immediate response team will take care of the rest! The BCTIA also reminds local companies that there is still time to participate. Please click the PODIUM link above to find out more information on how your company can get involved.

digital albertaCalgaryDigital Alberta has announced the program for their February SHAKER event on February 16.  Join Alberta industry leaders Jennifer Aubin, Steve Shatford and Marc Wachmann for a panel discussion of issues related to team management at technology companies: “building great teams at digital media companies”.  Questions to be pondered will include: What are the best practices to get the right people on board? How do you build and develop successful teams within digital media?

February’s SHAKER event will take place at the Seven Restolounge in Calgary from 5-7pm. Tickets are free for Digital Alberta members and $15.00 for non-members. Please contact Rene Smid to register for this event.

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4th February 2010

A Great Turnout For Women In Games Vancouver Social

Women In Games VancouverVancouver – Approximately 50 ladies and gents attended the Women In Games Vancouver networking event which took place last evening in the HarbourviewWIGeh! 2010 Room at Steamworks Brew Pub. This event was held to introduce the group’s mandate, representatives and committees to members of the interactive industry, and many attendees signed up to participate in those committees.

It was great to see so many studios represented, including Fit Brains, Radical Entertainment, Hothead Games, Microsoft, Propaganda Games, Ubisoft Vancouver and 80 Elements to name but a few. Many thanks to event sponsors AnnexPro and Ubisoft Vancouver who provided nibblies and prizes. If you were unable to attend but would still like to get involved, please contact the WIGeh! group through their web site.

hotdocsTorontoHotDocs has launched the HotDocs Library, making hundreds of Canadian-made documentaries available to the viewing public. The Library is completely searchable, and there are also reference playlists which have been compiled by experts. The HotDocs Library is an excellent resource for students and researchers, and is free to use. The 2010 HotDocs Festival will be taking place from April 29 through May 9 in Toronto. The Festival will present over 170 films from more than 35 countries and welcome hundreds of visitors from around the globe. Festival passes are available online, but the official selection will not be announced until March 23rd, which is also when advance show tickets will go on sale.

UbisoftMontrealUbisoft has confirmed that April 13th will be the release date for Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Conviction. For those not already familiar with this latest iteration of the Splinter Cell franchise, Sam Fisher finds himself doing battle from the outside after an investigation into his daughter’s death unwittingly leads him to discover he’s been betrayed by his prior agency, the Third Echelon. Now a renegade, Fisher finds himself in a race against time to thwart a deadly terrorist plot that threatens millions.

Uniting revolutionary gameplay enhancements with a high-octane, no-holds-barred storyline, Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell Conviction arms you to the teeth with all the high-tech weaponry and lethal skills of an elite operative and invites you to enter a dangerous world where justice means making your own rules.

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14th January 2010

Industry Updates

Bioware CorpEdmonton – Most Dragon Age: Origins fans probably already know this, but the DLC pack Return To Ostagar is now available for download. I grabbed it from XBL for 400 MSPoints last night, but haven’t yet had time to play through it. I’m going to work some DA play time in today between returning from the Salt Mine and the return of Bones this evening, and will share my thoughts on the expansion with you tomorrow.

*Update – and just as I posted this, I received another update that the DLC released yesterday is buggy and has been removed. No further updates on the Return to Ostagar DLC are available at this time. This is sad.

UbisoftMontrealUbisoft has released a new video for Splinter Cell: Conviction. Sam Fisher’s old friend Victor Coste shares his views on what’s happened to Sam, and delivers what amounts to a thinly veiled warning for his interviewers. The video features a quick look-back at some Sam’s previous assignments and important events which serve to lead us to where the story currently sits.

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CATAOnlineThe CATAAlliance and Canadian Innovation Centre invite you to join them on January 19 for their “Critical Factor Assessment: Are You Ready to Succeed” webinar.

Your new technology innovation may be leading edge, but there are many other factors that will influence your ability to win in the marketplace. Examining these issues upfront can help you determine your readiness to succeed, and what gaps you need to fill to enhance your chances of success.

The Critical Factors Assessment (CFA) service offered by the Canadian Innovation Centre, has been used to evaluate over 20,000 innovations. It has been proven to be an accurate predictor of success. This predictive power is made possible by the proprietary, peer-reviewed tool covering 40 factors that are key to any commercialization endeavour, supported by an extensive library of case studies and secondary research.

The CFA tool has been adapted for use by many organizations in evaluating start-ups opportunities and it often helps in securing early financing.

Join us to learn about the Critical Factor Assessment process and how it can help you increase your probability of success.

Critical Factor Assessment: Are You Ready to Succeed
Date : Tuesday January 19th at 12:00 EDT
Register : Online
There is no cost to attend, but space is limited, so don’t miss it – sign-up now!

The Ready Set Grow webinars are intended as a resource for emerging and established Canadian Technology companies to help them accelerate their growth. Each webinar features recognized subject matter experts and Canadian tech industry executives addressing a broad range of the issues facing growing companies.

The series is being presented by the Canadian Innovation Centre and the Technology Marketing Resource Centre in collaboration with the Canadian Advanced Technology Association (CATA). The Ready Set Grow series is sponsored by Export Development Canada (EDC) and the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC).

BCTIAVancouver – Delivered in partnership with ACETECH, BCTIA presents the first annual Xcelerate Forum, a full day committed to improving your corporate strategies and operations through dynamic two-way discussions with professional experts and industry coaches specializing in legal, finance, markets, talent, product development, planning, sales, licensing, and many more.

Xcelerate Forum is a dynamic learning experience delivering the highest degree of coaching possible in a short period of time. To ensure we deliver the best results possible, only twenty-five companies will be selected to attend Xcelerate Forum.

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11th January 2010

Army Of Two: The 40th Day Available in Retail Stores Tomorrow

Montreal – Fight together, survive together! EA Montreal reminds Canadian gamers that Army Of Two™: The 40th Day will hit retail shelves nationwide tomorrow. Army Of Two™: The 40th Day delivers an exciting action experience that has earned widespread critical acclaim including a score of 9.5 from PLAY (Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system and PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system) and 4.5/5 from PlayStation: The Official Magazine (PlayStation®3). With an average score of 83* on the Xbox 360, Army Of Two™: The 40th Day is a full 11 point quality improvement over its predecessor. The game’s signature two-man gameplay has the Official Xbox Magazine saying, “the co-op play is amazingly fun and strategic,” and PSM3 in the UK calling it, “one of the best cover-to-cover shooters on the PS3.”

Army Of Two™: The 40th Day is the sequel to the 2008 multi-platinum co-op shooter. Players work together as the ultimate two-man private military team, Salem and Rios, to survive and escape the city of Shanghai as it falls under attack by mysterious forces. The game boasts a robust playbook of co-op moves with one of the most extensive and varied weapon customization systems ever found in an action/shooter game. Players can mix and match weapon parts found in the world and execute strategic two-man tactics that create a thrilling, one-of-a-kind co-op action experience.

Army Of Two™: The 40th Day is rated M by the ESRB and will be available for the Xbox 360, the PlayStation®3, and the PlayStation® Portable (PSP®). Gamers can also download a demo of the game now on PlayStation®Network and Xbox LIVE™ Marketplace.

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10th January 2010

Our Thoughts On Left 4 Dead 2

Left 4 Dead 2Developer: Valve
Publisher: Valve
Distributor: EA
Release Date: November 2009
ESRB: Mature
Platform: Windows PC and Xbox 360

In many areas, the CaveChild and I have very different views on this title. He is more of an online-multiplayer gamer than I am, and he did, for the most part, like the multi-player portions of this game, except when his 360 headset wasn’t functioning and he’d get kicked from a game because Left 4 Dead 2he couldn’t communicate with other players. With teamwork and communication being a huge part of the play, if you are a gamer who does not like to converse with others when playing, this portion of the game is probably not for you. In the online play, you can choose to be either a Survivor or one of the Zombie Bosses, but whichever team you are on, strategy and planning play a huge part in being the victor.

I am a gamer who likes to collect things – this mode of game play feeds my OCD-ishness, and for me at least, is an important part of the enjoyable gaming experience. Other than weaponry, there wasn’t anything to collect and horde. Characters are not given a large capacity to carry items, and for those of us who primarily play RPG-style games, this is a huge challenge. The developers have forced players to use their resources effectively, and the “pray and spray” method of killing massive numbers of enemies isn’t really an option. Thankfully there is a large selection of melee weaponry available – there is something oddly satisfying about whacking a zombie upside the head with a frying pan or cricket bat. Nothing, however, says “Die Zombie!” quite as nicely as the limited-use chainsaw.

While there are a number of drops to gain extra ammunition, molotov cocktails and other new items such as the bile bomb, in my own opinion it would’ve been a nice option to gain a hunter’s flap jacket at the gun store, thereby legitimately adding a little bit of extra storage capacity, instead of only being able to carry one “bomb item” and one medical kit.

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One of the areas which I found to be particularly frustrating was in not being sure which way I was supposed to go. While the five maps are not overly large, there are specific areas which gamers must work towards in order to get to the Safe Houses. Some areas were reasonably easy to work through with a well-marked path, while other areas seemed to lack the all-important player clues as to what needed to be done and where. The ability to wander around in a Left 4 Dead 2semi-open world is always nice, but so is having a clear idea of where you need to be, particularly when The Director is throwing huge numbers of infected zombie folks at you. There were also too many invisible walls for our preference – and a few areas which could’ve made some great sniper nests were not available. It is somewhat evilly satisfying to literally snipe a zombie’s legs out from under him or her.

The atmosphere and setting for the game was appropriately eerie, and I will give the level designers and audio crew extra points for this. However, there were also many instances of clipping failures and targeting problems – there were times when it would take 8 or 9 shots to fall a zombie who was squarely in my sights. It was lots of fun to use the Safe Houses as “duck huts” and snipe zombies or pile up the bodies of those who rushed the door. Having an endless supply of ammo while in the Safe House was also a bonus and added more than just a few minutes to overall game time. Left 4 Dead 2

I would have liked to have had a longer campaign, simply because that is where my game style preference focuses. I don’t that I would consider Left 4 Dead 2 to be a hugely impressive sequel to Left 4 Dead, but it’s not a complete disappointment, either. With the different play modes which are available and with The Director looking after the AI experience and interaction for horde management and difficulty scaling, there are a decent number of hours of play available to the gamer. On the Village Gamer scale of game approval, we’ve settled on a range of 7.5 to 8.0 for Left 4 Dead 2′s overall product presentation, additions and improvements.

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5th January 2010

Minh Le’s New Project Announced

FIX KoreaMany fans of the classic FPS and LAN tournament favourite have often wondered where Minh “Gooseman” Le has gone. Well, it turns out that since leaving Valve Software a few years ago, the former Vancouverite and SFU student joined Korean software developer FIX Korea in 2008, and they have just announced Minh Le’s current project – Tactical Intervention, will have a beta release in the first part of 2010.

Mihn Lee worked on various games including Counter-Strike for HL2, CS:Condition Zero, Tactical InterventionCS:Source, and Day of Defeat at Valve. Lee left Value because he wanted to create his own FPS. Lee started working on Tactical Intervention since 2006 and then joined FIX Korea two years ago as vice president.

Tactical Intervention takes aim at maximizing strategic team play. The game is being developed with the Source Engine and is set in the modern battle between terrorists and counter terrorism teams. Tactical Intervention is guaranteed to deliver real-like weapon and character design as well as K9 units and hostage NPCs with impeccable AI.

“The Counter-Strike-type of game is proven to be a success throughout regions such as Asia, Europe, and North America. It is quite challenging to balance between bringing out familiarity and new system at the same time. But I can guarantee you will have fun playing it,” said Mihn Lee.

Tactical Intervention is already licensed in North America and Europe and the developers are currently looking for publishing partners in other countries including Korea, Japan, China and in Southeast Asia.

Fuel IndustriesOttawaFuel Industries has released a new web application which is designed to make the following of topics on Twitter much easier. TweetYouThere is Tweet You Therecurrently in beta, and is showing the current tweets relating to this month’s CES in Las Vegas. TweetYouThere makes it simple to follow each company’s Twitter feed updates, and you can choose to view results either alphabetically or by popularity. Each company’s feed shows up in a sidebar window when you click on their respective names. I couldn’t find much in the way of information about this web app on the Fuel Industries’ site, but I would certainly be interested in learning more about TweetYouThere and finding what is in store for it in the future.

Independent Games FestivalCongratulations are due to Klei Entertainment, whose upcoming title Shank has been nominated to the IGF Awards, which take place at GDC San Francisco. Shank has been nominated in the Excellence in Visual Art category. Another Vancouver-made title in the running at IGF is Enviro-Bear, an iPhone-iTouch game designed and developed by Justin Smith. Enviro-Bear has been nominated for a Nuovo Award. Shank and Enviro-Bear are the only two Canadian titles which have been nominated for this year’s IGF. Good luck to both studios!

Sony EricssonToronto – Canadians will be among the first in the world to experience open and integrated social media, communication and entertainment with the launch of the Sony Ericsson Xperia ™ X10 phone, which will make its North American debut first in Canada , exclusively from Rogers . The Xperia ™ X10 is expected to be available in the second quarter 2010.

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4th January 2010

Back To Work Monday With New Releases

GormleyDigital Leisure has announced that their newest title, Fast Draw Showdown, designed exclusively for Nintendo’s WiiWare™ game service is now available for download.

When it comes to fast draw there are only two types of people: the quick…and the dead! Now you have the chance to find out where you stand, or lie, as the case may be. You’ll go up against the best quick draws in the business, including one of the world’s fastest, Wes Flowers.

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Unholster your Wii Remote™ and show’em who the fastest draw really is, in this live action shooter – a first for the WiiWare service! Once you’ve mastered your shootin’ skills, take on all your friends to see which of you really has the quickest draw.

You’ll need some serious speed and awesome accuracy to take on these gunslingers…so get ready for some real fast draw action! Fast Draw Showdown is available today in North America and later this month in Europe, exclusively on WiiWare for 500 Wii Points™. Fast Draw Showdown is rated T by the ESRB.

MontrealLudia’s new title Hell’s Kitchen Vs., which is based on the U.S. TV phenomenon where world-renowned chef Gordon Ramsay puts aspiring chefs through rigorous culinary tests is also now available on WiiWare. The game recreates the show’s pressure-cooker atmosphere as two players battle head-to-head in an arcade-style kitchen challenge. Try to conquer your opponent in each time-management test, while taking the heat of Gordon Ramsay judging and rating your performance at every stage of the game. Designed for 1 or 2 players, Hell’s Kitchen Vs is rated E by the ESRB and costs 800 Wii Points to download from the WiiWare store.

London ONBig Blue Bubble also has a release out on WiiWare today. Pub Darts is a simple darts simulation which uses the Wii Remote™ controller’s unique controls to mimic dart-throwing motion. The game is set in a local pub where the players will settle in to play some of their favorite dart games, including 501, Cricket, Around the Clock, Killers and Baseball. Controls function just like throwing a real dart. Players are able to create their own personal profiles, including selecting their avatar image from a collection of creative characters and the design they would like displayed on the dart flights. Pub Darts is rated E by the ESRB and is downloadable for 500 Wii Points.

Also out today is Big Blue Bubble’s first Fighting Fantasy game book, The Warlock of Firetop Mountain, now available on iPhone and iPod Touch for $2.99usd. For the first time ever, you have the opportunity to explore the world of Titan on a portable screen bringing the adventure with you wherever you go.

Experience the book that started the massively popular series which has sold over 15 million copies worldwide and set a new standard in roleplaying excellence. This exciting game plunges you into a thrilling adventure to the top of Firetop Mountain and its vast treasure, ruthlessly guarded by a powerful Warlock. Will you have the courage, tact and skill to survive where none have returned to tell the tale?

Following the successful Nintendo DS launch of the game of the same name, Fighting Fantasy: The Warlock of Firetop Mountain for iPhone and iPod Touch takes a different approach bringing Ian Livingstone and Steve Jackson’s legendary game book to your favorite handheld device. Scroll through the pages effortlessly by tapping the screen to flip pages, roll dice by shaking your iPhone and experience the breathtaking tale that has sold millions of copies.

Fighting Fantasy readers will be excited to know that Big Blue Bubble will be releasing four more titles in the series. In January, look out for Deathtrap Dungeon as it makes its iPhone debut providing the user with the same level of adventure, excitement and ease of use that The Warlock of Firetop brought.

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!

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24th December 2009

Updates from KrabbitWorld and Some Christmas Cheer From Bootup Labs

Krabbit OnlineSurreyKrabbitSoft released has released KWO_AD, an advanced new demo for KrabbitWorld Origins. As an apology to web response to the current beginner focused demo, gamers will be immersed in true excitement of the game, experiencing the depth of game play and full game mechanics. Viewers will be entranced as the camera takes control playing out dramatic events krei portraitheralding each interactive segment. Witness Teella’s dramatic transformation from the lovely high priestess to the ghastly eyeless fallen. Acquire the advantage in the heat of battle with newly learned combo tactics. Play each of six level 92 Krabbits adorned in flaming, poison or ice bracers as you defeat the evil arch nemesis throughout numerous scenes. In the final epic battle defeat all characters you played.

Feedback from gamers has been very positive, with one gamer stating that “The game has one of the most insanely strategic combat systems I’ve ever seen in an RPG!” Another gamer felt that the new demo, which features dramatic story driven cut scene samples & easy to follow instructions is very exciting, saying that “It was cool to see what my characters can get and become!”

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Q1 2010 Features to look forward to include story driven cut scenes which will be integrated throughout the game, leading the player’s adventures. KWO Advanced Demo will be integrated as an advanced tutorial for the seasoned gamer, and quick keys tips screens will become accessible in game. Krabbitsoft has also announced that Party Play is also coming to Krabbit World Origins. Gather up to four party members consisting of both main and henchie Krabbits as you play through the quest stream. Experience your choice of six classes first hand, each with their unique powers and symbiotic weapon. Take control of individual party members at your discretion leaving the others to fight at your side or from a distance.

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