My 360 is going to be very busy downloading new DLC from Bioware next month. Earlier this week the studio announced The Lair of the Shadowbroker for Mass Effect 2, which is due out on September 7th. Also coming out on the same day is Witch Hunt for Dragon Age Origins. It appears that this DLC chapter will cost the same as Leliana’s Song, 560 MS Points or $7.00.
The dreaded Archdemon has been slain and the advance of the darkspawn halted by a lone, heroic Grey Warden. The kingdom rejoices, but at least one question remains: what happened to Morrigan? The sorceress joined the Wardens cause, but it is said her true purpose was not revealed until the eve of the last battle. She vanished into the shadows, and while rumours claimed she crossed over the mountains into Orlais, no trace of her path could be found. She was never heard from again… until now. Nearly a year has passed since the Archdemon’s death, and word has reached the Wardens that Morrigan has returned to Ferelden. She has been sighted in the southern wilderness where she was first encountered, but is it truly her? If it is, then why is she here and what secret does she carry with her? The Warden heads into the forest to find out and tie up this last loose end once and for all.
* Confront Morrigan in this dramatic conclusion to the Origins storyline * Earn powerful rewards that transfer into your Awakening and Origins campaign * Import your character from Origins or Awakening or create a new, high-level hero
Witch Hunt will also introduce Ariane, a new character who is a gifted Dalish warrior, and her clan’s best hunter. When an ancient artifact belonging to the clan’s Keeper is stolen, one with a history tied to the very roots of the elven people, Ariane is charged with the task of reclaiming it. She is determined to carry out her solemn duty, and when her task turns out to intersect with the Warden’s quest to find Morrigan she realizes that there may be far more to the artifact’s disappearance than simple theft. There are two more character links, but as of right now they are both “sealed” – perhaps more will be revealed in the coming days?
Unity Technologieshas announced that Jesse Schell, CEO of Schell Games, will keynote at Unite 2010. Unite 2010 is Unity Technologies’ fourth annual developer conference for artists, programmers, designers, researchers, publishers and enthusiasts taking place November 10-12 at the historic Marché Bonsecours in Old Montreal, Canada following the Montreal International Game Summit.
Jesse is a lauded author and lecturer on the subject of games design and his Schell Games studio is using Unity to develop ‘The Mummy Online’ in collaboration with Universal and Bigpoint. This Massively Multiplayer Online Game (MMOG) is set to launch in Winter 2010.
“I’ve been dreaming for years about a ubiquitous 3D solution for web browsers, and Unity is that solution,” said Jesse Schell, CEO of Schell Games. “It’s changing the face of online game development, and we’re just at the beginning of what is possible.” Read the rest of this entry »
Before I get into today’s digital media news, I want to let you know about this very important resource, because pretty well every Canadian has been touched in some way by cancer, and common themes along the way have the potential to provide insights that can help to improve care and understanding. This is the idea behind the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer’s new online video series, The Truth of It. Developed in collaboration with the Health Design Lab, part of the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto, The Truth of It features interviews with Canadians diagnosed with cancer who were asked to share their story so others could learn from their experience. By providing candid accounts of the personal impact of cancer, the video series will serve as an educational resource for health care professionals as well as patients, survivors and others with a personal connection to cancer.
Reflecting that there is no one common experience in coping with a cancer diagnosis, the people interviewed for The Truth of It range in age from 20 to 73 and have been diagnosed with different types of cancer including breast, colorectal, lung, testicular, and ovarian. Viewers can choose to watch individual stories or compilations of multiple interview clips that deal with challenges common to the cancer journey such as receiving the diagnosis, telling friends and family, talking to kids, body image, and practical advice. The Truth of It series, with 30 videos currently available, was created in collaboration with accomplished filmmaker Wendy Rowland and Dr. Michael Evans, Director of the Health Design Lab of the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto.
“The Partnership has created this series as part of our work to better understand and improve people’s cancer experience,” said Dr. Margaret Fitch, a psychosocial expert who is Chair of the Partnership’s Cancer Journey Advisory Group and co-lead of the Patient and Family Support Program at Sunnybrook’s Odette Cancer Centre. “By helping health care professionals to tune into the patient’s perspective, The Truth of It will help to enhance patient care – while also serving as a unique resource for people with a personal connection to cancer who can benefit from insight and information from others who have walked the cancer journey.”
Jennifer Smith is one of the people who shares her story in the videos. In 2003 at the age of 38, she was diagnosed with acute myelogenous leukemia and has since undergone chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant. She is married and has two children.
“If this resource were available when I was diagnosed, it would have helped me navigate the many uncertainties and range of emotions that I experienced,” said Jennifer. “Because hearing from others in similar situations can be such a helpful way of coping, I’m hoping that other people can learn from my story.”
The Truth of It is part of the growing collection of cancer control resources, information and services available at Cancer View Canada, the online portal launched by the Partnership with and for the cancer control community.
“Technology is radically changing the way people seek answers to their health questions, but hearing about someone’s actual experience — their ‘story’ — is still the most powerful tool,” said Dr. Michael Evans, family physician and Director of the Health Design Lab at the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute. “In marrying technology with stories, The Truth of It enables people to engage with other Canadians whose experiences resonate with their own. These firsthand accounts offer a range of perspectives that make this series useful to both patients and professionals.”
The above article can also serve as a reminder of several upcoming fundraiser events that we hope you will help support. The Canary Derby will run in Vancouver/Burnaby on September 25th. This is a soap box derby for technology companies who want to help fund early cancer detection research, and as an added bonus, the derby is a ton of fun. October 3rd is CIBC’s Run For The Cure, Canada’s largest single day, volunteer-led fundraising event dedicated to raising funds for breast cancer research, and education and awareness programs. Who will you be running for?
For Guild Wars players, you can get involved by supporting the Gamers Give Back resurrection of Pink Day in L.A. (Lion’s Arch), which will take place on October 16th. If you don’t play Guild Wars, you can still support the event via its Canadian Cancer Society donation page.
Dragon Age players - today is the day for the latest DLC chapter. Bioware invites you to delve deep underground in Golems of Amgarrak to save a missing dwarven expedition in search of ancient secrets for creating monstrous constructs. Only you can uncover the gruesome fate that befell them. Put your Warden back in action and adventure through new environments, meet new characters and defeat never before seen creatures. With an engrossing new storyline and challenging puzzles this is one add-on for the PC, Xbox 360, and PS3 versions that you don’t want to miss.
* Import your character from Origins or Awakening or create a new, high-level hero! * Face an all-new terrifying creature * Earn powerful rewards that transfer into your Awakening and Origins campaign * An advanced challenge for even the most experienced adventurers Read the rest of this entry »
Today is Universal Game Designer Appreciation Day. Let those responsible for your hours (or years) of exciting, frustrating and triumphant adventures in the digital world of weird realms, interesting characters and immersive stories know how much you appreciate their labours. Buy their games, play their games, and recommend them to your friends so that you have someone’s butt to kick in multi-player mode.
Interactive Ontariohas announced that Jordan Mechner, creator of the Prince of Persia franchise, will deliver the Keynote address at IN 2010. There is an impressive line-up of speakers presenting sessions at this year’s conference. IN 2010 will be divided into the following streams: Mobile, Social Media, Games, Cross Platform and Visionary. Make sure you register soon, the Early Bird tickets are only available until August 20th.
Building on the success of their inaugural event held this past May, the Canadian Video Game Awards will be returning on May 18, 2011 at the Centre For The Performing Arts in Vancouver. If you are in business and considering using Twitter as a tool, then the Twitter for Business Workshop is an event you may want to attend. Lead by social media pros Monica Hamburg and Tanya Roberts, this seminar will be held at the ING Direct Café Boardroom on August 21st and is designed to help you understand how to use Twitter to build your brand and interact with clients.
The second Vancouver BookCamp will be taking place at the SFU Downtown Campus – Harbour Centre on October 1st. This free (registration required) full day event brings together a variety of stakeholders in the publishing industry to discuss digital publishing, digital reading experiences, the book’s evolving role and how publishers can leverage themselves for success in the digital age.
Frima Studio has put Zombie Tycoon on sale on the PlayStation Store for only $2.49 until August 9, 2010. Normally $4.99, Zombie Tycoon is one of the most successful PlayStation Minis of all time and unlike any zombie game you’ve played before!
Frima’s team thought that it was about time to turn the tables on those living dead stereotypes…again and again, you find yourself having to survive some kind of undead apocalypse. Well, no more! In Zombie Tycoon, you get to control your very own horde of ravenous zombies! This unique tale of intrigue and betrayal spans over 10 challenging levels, complete with animated cutscenes, in-game dialogs, and a bunch of humorous references. Equip your slavering, putrescent swarm of undead minions with over 100 quirky items and send them shuffling after humans like wolves on cattle, laying waste to town after town as they spread their blight across the globe.
If you haven’t seen it already, here is the latest trailer for Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions. In this trailer, hear from Spider-Man creator Stan Lee as he discusses the latest iteration of his web-weaving super hero.
Spider-Man Shattered Dimensions is scheduled for release on September 1st for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii (developed by Quebec’s Beenox Studios) and Nintendo DS (developed by Griptonite Games). There is a variety of pre-order bonuses available, depending on where and how you place your order.
“Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions delivers an original storyline that bridges four unique worlds,” said Rob Kostich, Head of Marketing, Activision Publishing, Inc. “Each action-packed universe will have its own detailed art design and thrilling missions, challenging gamers to use new skill sets to defeat enemies as they unlock powerful new moves and progress through the game.”
Those waiting for the resurrection of the True Crime franchise will have to wait a little longer. Activision has pushed back the anticipated release date for United Front’s upcoming open-world action title, True Crime®: Hong Kong. Instead of being released in 2010, it will now be making an appearance in 2011, stating that they are giving the dev team more time to polish the title in order to give gamers a high-quality playing experience.
Toon Boom Animationhas released its first iPad app. Available for free, Flip Boom Lite will help you learn how to animate and create cartoons on your iPad. Along with the included demo project are features such as:
* Intuitive user interface with collapsible drawing slider, full-screen drawing, adjustable line width * Brush, eraser, undo, reset view, bright colour selection, scale and translate * Previous and next drawings display, flexible frame rate and send to photo library
There are also features which are unique to the app version of Flip Boom Lite: Cool Shake to undo a previous action, Magic Grab to reset your drawing to original position and Finger Pinch to scale and translate your drawing.
Also new over at Toon Boom is StoryBoard Pro 2, and along with new features is a new licensing option – Toon Boom is now offering a rental option, letting users rent the software for a full year at a cost of $299.99 USD for either Windows or Mac operating systems. Visit the StoryBoard Pro 2 page to see what’s new in this latest version.
Vancouver’s Sillysoft Gameshas released the first screenshots of their upcoming turn-based strategy game Castle Vox, slated for PC release in September 2010. Castle Vox features simultaneously planned turns, as players vie to out-strategize each other on a variety of war maps. Multi-player modes allow both relaxed one-move-a-day games as well as fast speed wars. Board game fans will particularly look forward to Castle Vox, which mixes elements from Diplomacy and Axis & Allies and includes maps spanning many eras and mythologies, such as the American Revolution, Hades, Japan, Napoleonic Wars, Native America, Outer Space, and the Roman Empire. A map editor will let players create their own boards.
Toronto publisher Dreamcatcher Gamers, JoWooD Entertainment and the BVT Group announce that the release of the “ArcaniA – Gothic 4” Playstation 3 version is set for release in the first half of 2011. The successor of the internationally successful Gothic series will be released on current-gen consoles for the first time, additional to PC systems. Xbox 360 and PC versions will hit the stores on Oct. 12th 2010.
The focus during development of ArcaniA – Gothic 4 rested on a well-founded quality assurance. Playstation 3 gamers will experience the same, high quality product as Xbox 360 and PC customers. This has caused the adjustment of the release date but conversely sets the course for an outstanding gameplay experience on all platforms.
Telefilm Canada is pleased to announce the selected feature film projects from minority French- and English-language communities across Canada that have been selected under the Écrire au long and Feature It! initiatives, respectively.
Targeting eligible Francophone and Anglophone writers and producers, these initiatives are part of Telefilm’s Official Languages Activities (OLA) Program to develop market-driven feature film projects and to expand the available pools of these creators:
- Écrire au long targets eligible Francophone creators from Quebec communities outside Montreal and from Francophone communities outside the province of Quebec; – Feature It! targets eligible Anglophone creators working in Quebec.
Participating writers and producers receive development funding in the form of an advance for a later phase of their projects and take part in four-day workshops to review the fundamentals of film development and scriptwriting with industry experts. In addition, participants will subsequently receive personalized, professional support from scriptwriting advisors or producer-mentors.
Toronto-based Francophone writer Maxime Desmons sees his acceptance into the 2010-2011 Écrire au long program as an opportunity to improve both his project and his scriptwriting skills.
“To participate in Écrire au long and receive financial support from Telefilm for such an early stage of a project increases my credibility as a scriptwriter,” he said. “Working with a mentor who will challenge me and critique my work professionally will make me work even harder on my project and strengthen me as a writer.”
Montreal-based Anglophone writer-producer Debra Kouri raved about her 2009-2010 Feature It! experience and how it helped her project Oh, Christmas Trees.
“In my 12-plus years in the film and television industry, the Feature It! training was the best I have ever received. We had extremely experienced lecturers and industry professionals share their experiences with us. The lessons we learned have already proven invaluable and I’m sincerely looking forward to writing my next draft. I wish this type of training was mandatory for all Canadian writers and producers!”
“At their cores, the Écrire au long and Feature It! initiatives give minority Francophone and Anglophone writers and producers such as Maxime and Debra the hands-on mentoring that is so essential to the fine tuning of their work as fiction feature film creators,” said Sheila de La Varende, Telefilm Canada’s Director of National and International Business Development. “Through this program and others, we are making progress on our goal to enhance industry skills, increase the number of feature-film scripts, and improve creators’ access to our main funding programs for the eventual production of their projects,” she added.
Telefilm collaborated with the following organizations to deliver each initiative’s training components:
- The Creative Women Workshops Association is delivering Feature It! training components and held a four-day workshop session that ran from June 19 to June 22, 2010, in Montreal. – The Institut national de l’image et du son is delivering the Écrire au long training components and will hold a four-day workshop session that will be held in Montreal from August 30 to September 2, 2010.
Since the launch of the OLA program in 2006, Telefilm Canada has been seeking to expand the talent pool of Anglophone and Francophone creators working in minority official language communities across the country. A total of 36 English-language projects and 48 French-language projects have been supported following calls for entries issued to both of these communities. The Écrire au long and Feature It! initiatives conducted under Telefilm’s OLA Program have received financial support from Heritage Canada through the Interdepartmental Partnership with Official-Language Communities.
This is the fifth and final year for the Écrire au long program, and the fourth and final year for the Feature It! program. Telefilm will review results of both initiatives this fall to determine how best to support the professional development of minority-language Francophone and Anglophone creators moving forward.
SFO-based social web and mobile entertainment company Booyah has officially launched international support for its popular location based app MyTown. Now available exclusively for the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad across Canada, the United Kingdom and Australia, MyTown is the first to support global check-ins utilizing the recently launched Places Web Service via the Google Maps API.
“Booyah is the premier mobile and social gaming company on top of the exploding location graph,” said Keith Lee, CEO, Booyah. “Our launches in the UK, Australia and Canada are just the beginning of bringing real world gaming to players across the globe.”
MyTown’s location data is provided by the Places Web Service, a feature of the Google Maps API which returns the 20 most popular places near a given location. Blending location-based services and social gaming features, Booyah’s MyTown is the first and largest consumer channel to utilize the Places Web Service.
Currently more than 2.8 million users in the United States are actively buying properties, collecting rent and checking-in to real places in MyTown. Last week, Booyah introduced the product check-in, allowing players to scan barcodes of real-world products to unlock points and earn exclusive virtual items, creating real-life scavenger hunts, brand discovery and engagement.
Calgary’s Rare Method Interactive Corp. has appointed Mr. Joshua Ius to the position of Chief Financial Officer, effective immediately. Mr. Ius obtained his Chartered Accountant designation articling with PricewaterhouseCoopers. He also holds a Master’s in Professional Accounting and a Bachelors of Commerce in Entrepreneurial Management. His background includes both Industry and Public Practice experience.
Rogers Media Inc. and BV! Media Inc. have entered into a definitive agreement pursuant to which Rogers Media will acquire all of the issued and outstanding Common Shares of BV! Media for $0.40 in cash per share. The all-cash consideration of $0.40 per Share values BV! Media at approximately $25 million and represents a premium of approximately 100% to the volume-weighted average trading price of the BV! Media shares for the past 20 trading days on the TSX Venture Exchange.
“We are thrilled to have the BV! Media team join the Rogers family,” said Claude Galipeau, SVP & GM, Digital Media, Rogers Media. “BV! Media has an extensive line of ad solutions that we will incorporate into our existing digital media sales offerings. In addition, the BRANCHEZ-VOUS! network of sites in Quebec will give us greater reach in the Francophone market. Upon closing, Rogers Digital Media will have an impressive set of content offerings and digital sales solutions, including premium brands, exclusive sales inventory on partner sites, channels targeting key demographics, and performance media.”
“We are very pleased with this transaction for many reasons: it reflects BV! Media’s true value and exemplifies our commitment to maximize value for all our shareholders,” commented Gino Coutu, President, Ad network and co-CEO of BV! Media. “Furthermore, it is occurring with a strategic partner that has already demonstrated its respect for our organization and our people, and it ensures total continuity with our trusted partners and clients. This transaction is fully supported by the senior management team.”
“After fifteen years as a successful standalone business we are eager to become part of one of Canada’s largest media companies and to have our team and assets contribute to Rogers’ expansion in both digital media and the Quebec market” commented Patrick Pierra, founder and co-CEO of BV! Media.
Ontario educational game company Spongelab Interactive is set to launch their new History of Biology game on September 7th, just in time for the upcoming school year. History of Biology gets high school students to unlock the secrets behind biology. Students Grades 8 – 12 act as detectives to decipher the truth behind some of the greatest monoliths in science. History of Biology, presented by Spongelab Interactive is an online science-themed scavenger hunt where students learn about the key figures and discoveries throughout history which have influenced the field of science. The game will lead players to discover the impact of these people and events on today’s society, ethics, politics and culture.
This new game is just one of the interactive simulations available for play in the Spongelab Biology educational game portfolio. Last February, Spongelab Interactive took home first prize in the National Science Foundation’s 2009 Visualization Challenge in the Interactive Media Category for their award winning Genomics Digital Lab (GDL) which allows students to explore the story of energy and ‘play the biology’. Currently used in over 65 countries, GDL has been transforming the way students and teachers interact with biology in the classroom, at home and from any internet connected computer they have access to.
Products like Spongelab Interactive’s GDL and the soon to be released History of Biology are helping teachers connect to their students in a fresh new way. “It can be a challenge for students to visualize the parts of the cell and the processes that occur within them; Genomics Digital Lab not only gives students a great visual tool but allows them to explore the biology. Good resources in French are particularly difficult to find, and GDL offers their product in both English and French,” says Sabrina Amato, Grade 11&12 Biology Teacher, French Public School Board (CSDCSO).
“Our students have changed and so must our education system. It is our duty to prepare our graduates for a technology and innovation based work force. The ability to interact with technology has the potential to play an enormous role in student development and their future success,” says Dr. Jeremy Friedberg, co-founder of Spongelab Interactive.
With enrollment in Science and Math declining it’s critically important that we get students engaged, but is Canada ready? In Texas, the legislature adopted a bill in 2009 that provides funds and supports technology for e-textbooks. States like Indiana and Michigan have purchased software for schools that, much like History of Biology and all Spongelab Biology products, have included metrics and assessment tools to give teachers an accurate understanding of how their students are learning. and progressing through the content, while facilitating grading. In June 2009, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger announced his support in adopting e-textbooks and e-learning. It’s imperative that Canadian Ministries and School Boards also take steps to ensure that our students have access to technology and are supporting Canadian businesses committed to innovative learning and educational assets.
College alliance proves winning combination for game development When Spongelab set out to create the History of Biology in a way that teachers, students and gaming enthusiasts would connect with, we knew that the game had to deal with this subject matter in a very unique way and would require a specific game engine.
The result gained through a solid partnership with Centennial College’s Paula Demacio, biotechnology professor and students from Centennial’s Game Art and Design program; is an interactive on-line scavenger hunt. Alex Maslov, Centennial student and now employee with Spongelab’s parent company, was challenged to build an engine that randomizes types of missions posed to players and how the answers are received to ensure different experiences for each player.
The project has been partially funded by the Colleges Ontario Network for Industry Innovation. The partnership between Spongelab Interactive, Centennial College and its Applied Research and Innovation Centre has proven to be a strong one. The Applied Research and Innovation Centre connects students to businesses like Spongelab Interactive. The results are noteworthy as seven Centennials students contributed to the development of the History of Biology game.
Taking place September 8 – 12, 2010, SPARK Animation ’10 will be filled with informative and inspiring learning sessions, panels and presentations. Previous events have attracted a coveted line-up of some of the most talented animators and innovators in the industry from such acclaimed studios as Blue Sky, LAIKA, Disney Animation, DreamWorks Animation, Pixar Animation and Sony Pictures Imageworks.
This strong presentation series will be complemented by screenings chosen to exemplify innovation and excellence in the field held in the evenings at the Vancouver International Film Centre,1181 Seymour Street (& Davie).
Early Bird special pricing for this 5-day conference is available until August 15: Members $175 and non-members $225 (HST included). Regular pass admission is $275 for non-members and $225 for members (HST included). A-la-carte tickets for the individual presentations will go on sale on August 30. Read the rest of this entry »
There are some contests going on across the country which I feel will be of interest to most, if not all, of you. First, recruiting agency 3pod is holding a summer referral contest. If you refer a successful career position candidate to their office (see contest details), you could be the proud owner of a shiny new gaming console. You will need to refer a friend before September 30th, and that friend will need to be successfully hired by December 31st 2010. Village Gamer needs a PS3…is there anyone out there needing a referral?
Toon Boom Animation and Sci-Fi industry community MyOuterSpace.com are joining forces to make the greatest talent in the creative galaxy come forward and shine! This contest will challenge your creativity and originality and show the universe your support for MyOuterSpace.com. With the animated William Shatner starring in your lead role and three audio voiceovers to choose from, this is your opportunity to showcase your skills as a top-notch animator. Watch this video for more information about the upcoming contest, which will open for entries in August 2010:
Not exactly a contest, but still worthy of mention, the Gemini Awards are looking for your best artwork. In celebration of the 25th Anniversary of the Canadian Gemini Awards, organizers are creating a very special piece of Canadian art. According to their web site, they are looking for a unique way to tell the story of the 25 years of excellence in Canadian programming behind us, and many more years of innovation to come. This will take shape with ‘Gemini Nights’ which will in part be made up of user submitted images that are iconic in nature and instantly recognizable. It could be a show title, a screen shot from a promo poster, a character everyone knows, or a logo that speaks to success. Organizers ask that images be submitted by Wednesday, August 4th via their online form. Take note that you must have rights to any images which you submit for consideration.
Want to pitch a product to and get feedback from the likes of Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network and TELETOON? Get yourself over the Ottawa International Animation Festival’s web site and find out all of the details. The deadline to apply is September 1st, so don’t delay.
Pitch Participation Requirements:
* Project synopsis, including target audience, technique, format, rough budget, (1-2 pages) * One episode synopsis * Bios of key executives * Short paragraph indicating your current stage of development and any additional information (i.e. interactive components, merchandise, etc.) * Concept art (2 or 3 images)
XMG Studio would like you all to know about the upcoming launch of Cannon Cadets, its latest mobile game available for iPhone and iPod Touch users, rocketing into Apple’s App Store in early August 2010.
From the award-winning company that brought you Drag Racer, Little Metal Ball and Marine Sharpshooter, XMG Studio’s Cannon Cadets is a supremely addictive physics game with 80 visually stimulating and diabolically devious levels to challenge children and adults alike.
In this new game, you are Rocketboy, who must save your team of Cannon Cadets from Gordo, an evil lab monkey, and his robot army, that are determined to rid the universe of all that is fun. Players will shoot their cadets at the robots, trying to knock them out while dealing with complex structures that follow advanced physics rules including rolls, slides and hinges!
Each level is a new challenge, from basic structures to complex Rube Goldberg-esque machines that will test the skills of even the bravest cadet. As players advance, the Cannon Cadet team members will need to rescue fun new friends and add to the player’s arsenal of special powers to use against Gordo. Read the rest of this entry »
Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Starry Skies is the latest game for the Nintendo DS family of systems. The game combines imaginative game play with social fun, setting players out on an epic adventure. Maps allow players to find otherwise inaccessible special dungeons called grottoes, which can contain rare items or enemies. In Tag Mode, treasure maps and customized greetings can be exchanged automatically by players who come within range of one another. For a complete list of participating GameStop/EB Games locations across Canada please visit the Dragon Quest product page on the GameStop web site.
Ubisoft Montreal has announced an Assassin’s Creed comic book mini-series is currently in development and due for release this fall. Developed by Eisner Award nominees and Shuster Award-winning illustrators Cameron Stewart (Batman & Robin, Seaguy and Catwoman) and Karl Kerschl (Superman and The Flash), the Assassin’s Creed comic mini-series will be unveiled during a panel to be held on July 22, 2010 from 3:30–4:30 p.m. in Room 7AB at Comic-Con International: San Diego.
Moderated by G4TV’s Morgan Webb, the panel entitled “Assassin’s Creed: Behind and Beyond the Brotherhood” will include details of the new comic series and the upcoming Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood video game release. Featured panelists will include Stewart and Kerschl, along with Jeffrey Johalem, Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood video game scriptwriter. Stewart and Kerschl recently visited Saint Petersburg, Russia on a research trip for the upcoming project. That visit, along with the teaser video released today, will give fans an inkling on where and when the new Assassin comic series will be taking place. Additional details on the project will be revealed at the Comic-Con panel.
The new comic series is part of Ubisoft Montreal’s UbiWorkshop initiative that encompasses a number of the studio’s projects related to leveraging Ubisoft intellectual properties in entertainment mediums outside of video games, such as comic books.
“We always thought that the Assassin’s Creed universe would be perfect for transmedia initiatives like this new comic series,” said Mathieu Ferland, transmedia senior producer at Ubisoft Montreal. “We are excited to have the fantastic and acclaimed artists Cameron Stewart and Karl Kerschl working on the project. Ubisoft is looking forward to showing Assassin’s Creed fans what these talented artists have been up to at next week’s Comic-Con panel.”
Following last week’s news that Zombrex Dead Rising Sun, the full feature film based on Capcom’s popular video game, Dead Rising, will be distributed in Europe and North America, we are pleased to confirm more details on when and where fans can view Inafune-san’s directorial debut. Split into a number of episodes that will be distributed over a number of weeks, Zombrex Dead Rising Sun, will be made available as a free download exclusively on Xbox Live from August 4th, before going live on www.deadrisingsun.com a week later. As an added bonus, certain episodes will begin with interviews featuring Inafune-san where he will provide insight into the film making process. The movie will also be available on the North American Dead Rising 2 Zombrex Edition as mentioned below. Read the rest of this entry »
WaveFrontAC would like to know if you are interested in turning your innovative wireless idea into a start-up company? Entrepreneurship@Wavefront is a new program being undertaken in partnership with BCIC to support and nurture 8 early-stage B.C. wireless companies. Program participants will receive one-year access to office space in Wavefront’s collaborative wireless incubation centre and $10k credit toward Wavefront’s advisory and testing services. Exemplary go-to-market services wireless companies would leverage are Wavefront’s handset library, usability services, refinement of business development strategies and industry connections. Participants can also leverage BCIC’s network of seasoned entrepreneurs and industry experts for additional mentorship and guidance.
Skate 3 will be dishing up a virtual Hawaiian skateboarding vacation tomorrow with the release of Danny Way’s Hawaiian Dream, an enormous skater’s paradise designed by the skating legend himself. Inspired by the tropical paradise of Hawaii, this all new Skate 3 downloadable content comes loaded with everything from original street terrain to flowing skate parks and of course Danny’s signature Mega-madness. Danny Way’s Hawaiian Dream content pack will be available on Xbox Live and PlayStation Network for 560 MS points or $6.99. The DLC will also include new challenges, create-a-skater gear, an all-new Danny Way playable character, and new achievements and trophies.
While skate fans are busy in Hawaii, I’ll be on a mission with Dragon Age’s Leliana as Bioware adds a new chapter to the Dragon Age: Origins saga. Leliana’s Song will allow gamers to play as the roguish bard in a tale that can lead only to treachery – and the reasons which led Leliana to The Chantry. For 560 MS Points ($6.99 PSN), play through Leliana’s Song to earn a new reward that can be transferred over to your original Dragon Age: Orgins and Awakening campaigns. So now you know what I’ll be doing tomorrow after work.
New media makers interested in developing a creative project or reflective essay related to this year’s theme are encouraged to apply to the Interactive Screen Scholarship Intensive, which takes place at The Banff Centre this August 14 to 20th. Participants will benefit from valuable mentorship across a broad range of new media interests. Applications for projects in all stages of development, from early concepts through to fully developed prototypes, are welcome.
Scholarships are available for up to ten Canadian and international applicants and include focused mentorship and public presentation opportunities, a travel stipend of up to $550, and full financial support for program tuition, meals, and shared accommodations on The Banff Centre campus. Please visit the Scholarship Information Page to apply.
Local (Vancouver) indie game designer Alex Vostrov (Rocket Bear Games) has officially announced his new game. According to his site, the new game will be called Infested Planet, and is “an innovative real time strategy game where you face a humongous horde of mutating aliens with just 5 marines” will hit the gamer waves in the Fall of 2010.
Corus Entertainment and Treehouse are pleased to announce the world premiere of the first ever Dr. Seuss inspired animated series, The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That! on Saturday, August 7 at 5:30 p.m. ET starring Martin Short as the voice of the Cat.
Produced by Portfolio Entertainment Inc. and Collingwood O’Hare Productions, in association with Dr. Seuss Enterprises, Random House Children’s Entertainment, Treehouse and PBS Kids in the U.S., The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That! is based on Random House’s bestselling beginner book collection, The Cat in the Hat’s Learning Library.
“We are thrilled to introduce the first ever animated series based on the whimsical adventures of Dr. Seuss, starring Canadian comedian Martin Short,” said Jocelyn Hamilton, Vice President, Programming and Production, Corus Kids. “A delightfully entertaining show that opens young minds to science and nature discoveries, this series is sure to appeal to preschoolers’ curiosity for exploration and the world around them.”
With Cat as their guide, best friends Sally and Nick are transported to all corners of the globe, making natural science discoveries of all kinds. Along for the ride are Cat’s two energetic helpers, the mop-headed zany duo: Thing One and Thing Two. Booting around in Cat’s one-of-a-kind custom vehicle, the Thinga-ma-jigger, the group can travel to the bottom of the sea, shrink down to the size of a bee to discover how honey is made or find out why owls sleep during the day.
In the first episode, Show Me the Honey, Sally and Nick have run out of honey. Luckily, the Cat knows just where to get more. They visit Queen Priscilla Buzzoo who invites the gang to join her in the bee dance to learn how honey is made.
Beginning on August 7, back-to-back 30-minute episodes of The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That! will air Saturdays at 5:30 p.m. throughout the month of August. Beginning on Tuesday, September 7, viewers can catch this series in its regular time-slots Tuesdays and Thursdays at 8:30 a.m. as well as Saturdays at 2 p.m. and Sundays at 10:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. Beginning on August 23, viewers can visit Treehousetv.com to catch clips of the show, access 30 different colouring pages as well as six online games.
Propaganda Studios is at E3 in full force, with both of their currently in-development games being showcased at the Disney Interactive Studios booth. Oh and by the way, Propaganda is hiring.
The TRON universe is coming to additional platforms than previous transmissions revealed. Disney Interactive Studios today announced the development of TRON video games for Wii™, Nintendo DS™ and PSP® (PlayStation®Portable) system. These games complete the TRON video game portfolio this year from Disney Interactive Studios, joining the previously announced TRON: Evolution for the Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system from Microsoft, PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system and Windows PC.
Set during the era between the two TRON films, TRON: Evolution conveys a story of significant events within the TRON mythology. The game features an epic adventure across the massive digital TRON world filled with high-mobility disc-based combat and light cycle action. The TRON: Evolution games will be released in Holiday 2010 before the “TRON: Legacy” film hits theaters on December 17 in Disney Digital 3D™ and IMAX® 3D.
TRON Evolution – Battle Grids(Wii), TRON: Evolution (DS) and TRON: Evolution PSP are action packed games set within the combat arenas and mysterious cities of the TRON world. All game versions give fans a unique way to battle and explore the TRON universe alone or with friends and family.
“These games offer unique experiences within the TRON universe that are ideal for their individual platforms,” said Craig Relyea, senior vice president of global marketing, Disney Interactive Studios. “TRON is an exciting, dynamic property that appeals to interactive entertainment fans of all ages.”
The TRON games for Nintendo platforms (TRON: Evolution – Battle Grids for Wii and TRON: Evolution for DS), include games and art styles appropriate for a wide audience, including families and kids. While Propaganda is the primary developer, the studio has partnered with n-Space Inc. and SuperVillain Studios, both located in the USA, to deliver this wide range of games for the new generation of TRON titles.
Propaganda’s other new title, Pirates of the Caribbean: Armada of the Damned (2011) is an epic action-role playing game that lets players decide what type of pirate legend they want to become. Will they become Legendary, or Dreaded? Set before the blockbuster films, the game is a deep action-RPG that lets players carve out their own story in the Pirates of the Caribbean universe. In development for the PS3, Xbox 360 and the PC, Armada of the Damned casts players off on a journey where they will encounter numerous memorable characters, both original and familiar.
Here is a look at the E3 2010 trailer for Warhammer 40K: Space Marine, coming to the 360 from Relic Entertainment.
A new 3D version of Assassin’s Creed will be released by Ubisoft for the just-announced Nintendo 3DS. Ubisoft has also announced that the following titles will be available when the new handheld units go on sale: Hollywood 61; Battle of Giants™: Dinosaur Strike; Driver® Renegade; Assassin’s Creed™ Lost Legacy; Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell Chaos Theory™ and Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon™.
As one of the top independent publishers on the Nintendo DS™ and Wii™, Ubisoft is also one of the first major publishers to invest hieavily in development for 3D. “Nintendo has created a new portable console that will allow easy and affordable access to 3D technology,” said Yves Guillemot, chief executive officer at Ubisoft. “The portability and freedom from glasses of the Nintendo 3DS™ allows our creative teams to craft unique new and immersive games for all types of gamers.”
Ubisoft’s Nintendo 3DS line-up spans different genres of video games, allowing early adopters of the new console to find the style of games that they most enjoy:
* Hollywood 61 (code name): Live the thrill of mastering tailor-made mind games and become the obsession of a criminal mastermind in the first interactive 3D movie. Solve the deadly mystery with 150 classic and 3D puzzles. * Battle of Giants™: Dinosaur Strike: 150 million years ago, Nature’s fury was unleashed, forcing Dinosaurs to fight for their survival. Dive into spectacular battles and deal powerful blows to your worst enemies. Master your fierce dinosaur and rule the cataclysmic Jurassic world! * Driver® Renegade: The first and exclusive action driving game on Nintendo 3DS that lets you experience the intensity of urban car chases. As former cop John Tanner, you work outside the law to fight crime in the gritty streets of New York and defeat the 5 crime lords who own the city. * Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell Chaos Theory™: Sam Fisher, the renowned secret agent is back in this redesigned version of Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell Chaos Theory. Experience one of the most acclaimed games in the Splinter Cell franchise for the first time in 3D. * Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon™: Lead the Ghosts, the most elite special forces unit in the US Army, across multiple tactical missions to prevent a war from breaking out. * Assassin’s Creed™ Lost Legacy: Driven by curiosity and a desire to understand the origins of his Order, Ezio Auditore travels East in search of the lost castle at Masyaf, the ancient seat of the Assassins.
Toronto indie developer DrinkBox Studios has announced that its first original console title will be coming to the PlayStation®3 system via the PlayStation®Network toward the end of the year.
Tales from Space: About a Blob is a game about an innocent little creature that grows and grows until it eats the whole world. In development since January of 2009, the game features a monster movie setting and theme, a retro-inspired art style and puzzle-focused platforming gameplay.
“Players will interact with the game environment using unique growth and absorption control mechanics, experiencing the world at vastly different scales as they progress. Both single-player and co-op play will be supported.” said Ryan MacLean, CEO of DrinkBox Studios. He continued: “We’re extremely excited to be releasing the game on the PlayStation®3 system.”
49 Pixels has announced plans for an open forum which will allow for the gathering of people and facilitate an open conversation in regards to Canada’s digital economy. Please see the the Pixel to Product blog for complete conversation details. The first online conversation is scheduled for Friday June 18th at 4pm ET.
Grammy Award winning recording artist, producer and musician Pharrell Williams brings his unique blend of pop, hip hop and soul to headline the soundtrack for United Front Games‘ True Crime: Hong Kong, the company’s forthcoming open-world/action game. Also on the soundtrack is up and coming R&B, pop and jazz singer Rhea who frequently collaborates with Williams and has performed with N.E.R.D. With orders to “do whatever it takes to become one of them,” players assume the role of undercover detective Wei Shen as he engages in visceral, fast paced martial arts combat, explosive gunfights, high-octane action driving and acrobatic free-running chase sequences in order to infiltrate and bring down one of Hong Kong’s most notorious Triad organizations. In order to survive, Wei must think like them, fight like them, and even kill like them.
The Mass Effect™ 2 phenomenon rages on! BioWare™has launched a demo for Mass Effect 2 on Xbox Live® and PC. Designed to help introduce the rich Mass Effect fiction to all-new players, the demo features the first two missions of the game as well as one bonus mission, totaling over 90 minutes of the action-packed game play and rich storytelling that have made Mass Effect 2 one of the most critically acclaimed games of all time. BioWare is releasing the demo with a “Story-so-far” video, narrated by actor Martin Sheen, that provides a recap of past events and plot twists in the Mass Effect universe.
In the demo, players step into the role of Commander Shepard and must escape from a Cerberus space station under siege. Players can jump ahead to a later mission where they must rescue Subject Zero, a hardened, dangerous criminal from a heavily guarded prison ship. Once they play the demo, players will be able to create a save and carry over their character along with the experience points, story decisions, achievements and weapons earned into the full version of the game – picking up right where they left off, on both PC and Xbox 360.
BioWare also announced today that the new DLC chapter “Overlord”, which will add five new areas and two new achievements will be available on June 15th for 560 Microsoft points and on PC for 560 BioWare points. Also on June 15, BioWare is releasing a new premium theme based on Omega and new avatar items for Xbox Live will follow on June 17.
“Mass Effect 2 is one of our greatest achievements to date at BioWare,” said Dr. Ray Muzyka, Co-Founder and Group General Manager of the BioWare Group, and Senior Vice President of Electronic Arts. “The Mass Effect team continues to deliver on our promise to add exciting new content to the universe for our loyal fans, and we’re also excited to be able to give all gamers a chance to experience this amazing game through a free demo!”
Down at E3, Target and Ubisoft have teamed up for an exclusive preview of four upcoming family fun games. Target’s Bullseye Lounge will feature two upcoming video game adaptations of the hit television game shows, Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?™ and Hollywood Squares™. Playable on Wii™, these demos will offer Expo attendees a chance to engage in competitive gameplay. The new Who Wants To Be A Millionaire video game is created by Ludia and is based on the Disney-ABC Domestic Television hit game show, which will premiere its ninth season in syndication this fall. The Millionaire video game, on display in the Bullseye Lounge at E3, will put the brains of expo attendees to work as they compete against one another to answer increasingly difficult trivia questions. Visitors to the Bullseye Lounge will be able to experience the drama and intensity of the pop culture game show sensation first-hand, as they test their trivia knowledge and give their “final answers.” Read the rest of this entry »
Just a reminder that if you haven’t already, time is running out on your chance to have your say about Canada’s digital economy strategy. This incentive is meant to benefit our Canadian digital industry, so get involved in the discussion today. digiBC has released the 2010 BC Digital Media and Wireless Survey report (PDF) which was conducted by PriceWaterhouseCoopers. The report covers key sectors of British Columbia’s rapidly developing Digital Media and Wireless industries.
Twitter announced earlier today that it has purchased Vancouver company Smallthought Systems, the powers behind Dabble DB and Trendly. A message on Dabble DB’s landing page about the sale of the company reads:
“Obviously this represents a new chapter in the life of Dabble DB, both for us as a team, and for the product itself. We’d like to assure you that, for now, we will continue to provide our software and technical support to current Dabble DB customers. However, we will be disabling new account signups effective immediately.
There will be further changes to Dabble’s ongoing operations, and when those happen, we want to do right by you. We will provide you with 60 days advance notice of any major change. We will do whatever we need to do to make sure that, at any time, you can export all of your data, including attachments, in a structured format suitable for import into other systems.”
Patrick Beaulieu, Animation Artistic Director at Ubisoft Quebec City, has launched his first 3D animation collection book Animation Insiders. A rich and complete work of knowledge sharing, this collection of testimonials gives a lot of tricks and hints as well as anecdotes from renowned animators at Dreamworks, Blue Sky and Pixar, to name a few. The book is now available worldwide on sstudiopress.
“Gathering all these people from all over the world and putting together all of these testimonials was a lot of work, says Patrick Beaulieu, but the result gives us a privileged vision on what is going on back stage in animation. Each collaborator had a clean slate to share his experiences, works, methodologies, philosophy, etc…. even if some aspects are more technical, Animation Insiders remains open to a wide audience, from the animation fan boy to the experienced animator. Everyone passionate about animation, movies and video games will find himself in this book, he will also find details and insides about his favorite animation movies or games” he adds.
You will find testimonials, visuals and illustrations from 13 renowned animators such as:
Jason Ryan (USA, Dreamworks, Shrek 4) Andrew Gordon (USA, Pixar, Nemo) Jason Martinsen (USA, Animation Mentor, Ice Age) Jason Schleifer (USA, Dreamworks, LOTR) Anthea Kerou (USA, Dreamworks, Bolt) Victor Navone (USA, Pixar, The Incredibles) Ana Maria Alvarado (USA, Sony Image Works, Spiderman) Mike Nguyen (USA, Rainplace, Iron Giant) Pedro Blumenbaum (Spain, Nocturna) Pablo Navarro (Spain, Nocturna) Emilio Ghorayeb (Canada, New Breed VFX, Madagascar) Matt Stangio (USA, Pixar, Toys Story 3) Reno Armanet (France, Tigobo Animation)
The schedule for the GameSauce Conference has been posted to the web. This conference takes place on July 19th, immediately prior to Casual Connect Seattle (July 20 -22). Registration is $100.00 USD or is free to those registered for the Casual Connect Seattle conference. There are some great topics, panels and roundtable discussions on the slate, so plan to be in Seattle one day early in order to take advantage of this event. Along with the great topics being offered through the GameSauce Game Development Track, the following areas may also be of interest to you, and like me, you will need a clone in order to take it all in.
If game audio is your thing, The Audio Track, produced by Game Audio Alliance, has much to offer, and the Nvidia Tegra Mobile Game Development Track, which is making its debut at this year’s GameSauce Conference is a must for those looking for opportunities in the mobile market. The Alternative Funding and Exit Strategies Track, produced by The Corum Group is a four hour crash course discussing the positives and negatives of funding as well as what to do with your company once you are successful.
iPhone developer Matt Rix has released his first title in the iTunes App Store. Trainyard is a challenging puzzler that requires the safe movement of coloured blocks (trains) from one station to the next. Each of the 100 puzzles ramps up in difficulty, adding colour and track-changing blocks into the mix while you try to draw tracks from one locale to the next, hopefully avoiding train pile-ups. There are no set solutions to the puzzles, so you are free to try as many options as you like. Trainyard also includes bonus levels as well as the ability to share solutions that worked for you on the game’s web site. Trainyard is available now for only $1.99. Read the rest of this entry »