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22nd March 2010

Canadian Technology Taking Off In The Global Market

MIGS 2010The Montreal International Game Summit has put out its call for speakers. The seventh annual summit will take place November 8th and 9th at the Hilton Bonaventure Hotel. More congratulations are in order for the FIFA 10 development team, as the game picked up two BAFTA Game Awards this past Friday evening – one for Best Sports Title and the other for Best Use of Online. DreamCatcher Games and The Adventure Company have announced the release of new content on an updated website for Sherlock Holmes VS. Jack the Ripper for the Xbox 360. You can check out new screenshots and a new trailer on the site, as Sherlock Holmes vs Jack The Ripperwell as put in your pre-order at GameStop. Sherlock Holmes vs Jack The Ripper will be in stores near the end of April and is rated T by the ESRB.

Kasumi GotoBioware has released more details about Kasumi Goto, the newest member of the Normandy’s crew in Mass Effect 2. Kasumi,  the galaxy’s most enigmatic and cunning master thief, will be introduced in the DLC pack Stolen Memory. In addition to being able to recruit Kasumi in all new missions, players will be able to utilize her special skills as a member of Commander Shepard’s squad throughout the entire game. In return for her help, Kasumi has asked for Commander Shepard’s help on a dangerous heist to infiltrate the vault of a deadly master criminal named Donovan Hock. Players must gain Kasumi’s loyalty on the planet Bekenstein, where Hock is throwing a party for some of the galaxy’s richest and most deranged criminal minds. The mission: recover data of great importance to Kasumi and the galaxy at large. In addition to this new mission, players will also receive a new research upgrade, one Hover Tanknew weapon, and a new achievement in this PDLC pack. The Kasumi – Stolen Memory PDLC pack will be available this April for the Xbox 360® videogame and entertainment system at a cost of 560 Microsoft points, and on PC for 560 BioWare points. Don’t forget that tomorrow (March 23rd) will be the release date for the Firewalker DLC pack, which includes five heart-pounding missions taking place on five uncharted worlds. Players will be able to explore planets and engage in combat in the new Hammerhead hover-tank. The Firewalker pack will be available via the Cerberus Network console. Mass Effect 2 is rated M by the ESRB.

Toronto Comic ConToronto – Fans 10 and under attending Toronto Comic Con, March 26-28, 2010, at the Direct Energy Centre will receive a free Gogos Crazy Bones toy, courtesy of Toronto-based Irwin Toy. The popular items will be distributed while supplies last at the Registration area upon arrival.

Gogos Crazy Bones are a collectible, mini game toy sensation. They are small, colorful figures whose gaming origins date back to Ancient Greece, where children played by bouncing and throwing knuckle bones. These more refined, plastic characters are available in the hundreds, each one having a unique face and name.

“We are pleased to be providing free Gogos Crazy Bones right in our backyard at Toronto Comic Con,” said Gogos Crazy BonesPeter Irwin, Irwin Toys. “It is extremely special for Irwin Toys to participate in the inaugural show here, since Gareb has been a family friend for as long as my father and I can remember.”

Gogos Crazy Bones was named the 2009 British Toy and Hobby Association (BTHA) Collectible Toy of the Year. The characters have recently been hugely popular in Europe and Australia and were first a big hit in the U.S. more than a decade ago, when 31.5 million packages were sold from 1998-2000.

“Having an international sensation like Gogos Crazy Bones available free to kids is a great bonus for Toronto Comic Con attendees,” said Gareb Shamus, Wizard Entertainment CEO. “It’s particularly gratifying to be partnering with Irwin Toy, which in addition to being based in Toronto, has been a leader in the industry for more than 80 years.” Read the rest of this entry »

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18th March 2010

Opportunities Abound for Intrigue and Global Domination

Global – Gamers are an enthusiastic bunch when it comes to the latest gaming technology, but it’s the developers that make the technology come to life. For Intel’s Level Up 2010: Intel® Visual Adrenaline Game Demo Challenge, independent developers around the world will be pushing the limits to create new experiences and breakthrough game concepts for 2010.

The competition, in its fifth year, invites professional, hobbyist and student game developers to submit their original game concepts for a chance to win prizes such as a trip to the Tokyo Game Show (for professionals and hobbyists), and a trip to the 2010 Austin Game Developer conference (for students). Other prizes include cash, the latest hardware systems, the newest software packages, and agency engagement packages to help developers market and promote their winning game.

Game developers can submit their concepts for judging in three categories:

* Best Game for a Desktop
* Best Game for a Laptop
* Best Game for a Netbook

Judge’s Choice Awards will also be given for Best Art Design, Best Graphics Performance, Best Sound Design, and Best Character Design.

For the first phase of the competition, developers will be asked to submit their game concept by June 22 2010. The game concept must describe an idea that will make for an incredible game. In addition to the brief description, developers are invited to include screen shots, visuals or videos of the idea — these materials will help provide context for the judges to review and see the complete vision of the game.

Finalists will be selected by July 11 and will have until August 31 to provide detailed game demo abstracts and game executables. From there, the finalist entries will be reviewed by a panel of judges made up of industry experts. The winning game demos will be announced during the Austin Game Developer’s Conference on October 5. Winning demos from Levelup 2009 are also available to play online. Oh and for those interested, Intel is hiring for its Vancouver location.

UbisoftMontreal – The demo for Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Conviction is available now for download to your Xbox 360. Splinter Cell: Conviction, developed by Ubisoft Montreal, opens with our hero Sam Fisher working off the grid trying to solve his daughter’s murder. We find a changed Sam back in Washington, where he must work with old friends he can no longer trust, forced to save a country he no longer serves. Left without any choice, Sam has to defeat both a vast, faceless enemy and the shadows of the past to find out what happened to his daughter – and himself. Splinter Cell: Conviction is scheduled for full release exclusively to the Xbox 360 in April, and is rated M by the ESRB.

Just a few of the key features that gamers can look forward to in this latest Sam Fisher adventure include:

* New level of action: A full arsenal of cutting-edge innovations allow you to outflank foes with the Last Known Position™ system, tag and eliminate enemies using the Mark and Execute™ feature, and much more.
* Blockbuster experience: A unique storytelling style keeps you on the edge of your seat as you navigate the explosive world of a renegade agent where trust is impossible and justice requires you to go above the law.
* A new level of immersion: A revolutionary new graphic direction delivers an utterly seamless gameplay experience that’ll keep you totally engrossed in the story of Sam Fisher.
* Explosive Xbox LIVE play: Brand-new addictive multiplayer modes amp up the dramatic intensity like never before.

EA GamesMontrealEA Montreal has released an all-new co-op campaign map pack titled ‘Chapters of Deceit’ on Xbox Live for their award-winning title, Army of Two: The 40th Day. Available immediately on Xbox Live Marketplace (800 MS Points), the map pack will be available on April 1 on the PlayStation Network ($9.99). Army of Two: The 40th Day – Chapters of Deceit puts players back amidst the disaster in Shanghai where they will stumble upon new information that could help end the invasion by Jonah and his 40th Day Initiative army. However, they quickly learn that everyone is out for themselves and no one can be trusted. The lives of this iconic two-man private military team are at risk, forcing players to rely on each other to get out alive.

Originally released in January 2010, Army of Two: The 40th Day boasts a robust playbook of co-op moves. The game features one of the most extensive and varied weapon customization systems ever found in an action/shooter game. Players can mix and match weapon parts and execute strategic two-man tactics that create a one-of-a-kind co-op action experience. Army of Two: The 40th Day is rated “M” by the ESRB and is available for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and the PSP.

TransGamingTorontoTransGaming, Inc. has announced that it is working with Google to develop ANGLE (Almost Native Graphics Layer Engine), an Open Source project to provide improved hardware and driver compatibility for the upcoming WebGL™ web graphics standard for systems running Windows®. The ANGLE project aims to achieve this broader compatibility by layering the OpenGL® ES 2.0 API on top of Direct3D®. The result for developers working with the WebGL standard will be a more consistent experience for their applications and a larger potential audience of users. Read the rest of this entry »

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10th March 2010

Chaos Rises Today

Relic EntertainmentVancouver – The highly anticipated expansion to Dawn of War 2 has gone live today. Chaos Rising is now available for download on Steam – although on the game’s Steam page, there is a message (as of 12 noon PST) which says the game will unlock in ten hours. Also, if you purchase the game right now for $29.99 usd, you will also get a free copy of Saints Row 2 for PC.Dawn of War 2: Chaos Rising - Sorcerer

In Dawn of War II: Chaos Rising you will take command of the Blood Ravens and defend the sector against the Chaos Space Marines of the Black Legion. Purge the chaos filth and hold the chapter together as traitorous forces work from within to try bring down the Blood Ravens.

* New Single Player Missions – Continue your fight against the enemies of the Emperor and use your squads’ wargear, abilities, and experience to battle Chaos in 15 new missions
* New environment and Multiplayer Maps – New ice planet graphics set will increase the visual diversity and adds 7 new PVP maps
* Aspire to Glory – Build your existing squads up to level 30 and unlock even more devastating abilities
* Chaos Corruption Mechanic – New single player mechanic allows you to equip incredibly powerful equipment that corrupts your squad and will guide the story towards or away from the corrupting influence of Chaos
* New Multiplayer Race – Swear loyalty to the Chaos Gods and play as the bloodthirsty Chaos Space Marines in multiplayer battles against both Chaos Rising and Dawn of War II owners
* New Units – New units for the Space Marines, Ork, Eldar, and Tyranid armies in multiplayer.
* 2 New Last Stand Heroes – Face off against the relentless horde as either the Chaos Sorceror or Tyranid Hive Tyrant

VIATeCVictoria – Nominations are now open for the 2010 VIATec Awards. Nominations close at 4:30pm on Friday March 19th. Recognizing technology companies in the Greater Victoria (BC) area, there are several award categories open:

* Technology Company of the Year
* Emerging Technology Company of the Year
* Product of the Year
* Innovative Excellence
* Online Strategy of the Year
* Executive of the Year
* Employee/Team of the Year
* The Colin Lennox Award for Technology Champion
* Environmental Excellence
* VIATeC Member of the Year
* Member’s Choice for Service Provider of the Year
* Employer of the Year Award

The VIATeC Awards Gala will be held on May 13th at the Victoria Conference Centre.

Toon BoomMontreal – Emmy® Award-winning Toon Boom Animation Inc. today announced the upcoming release of Toon Boom Animate 2, a new version that provides professional animators with more power and flexibility for creating traditional, digital, cut-out and Flash-style animation. Toon Boom has listened to the animation community and is now delivering a new Animate version that reflects its requests. Animate is totally dedicated to animators and takes care of their needs from start to finish of their animation projects.Animate 2

New feature highlights include:

• Fast distribution of character parts to layers
• Easy adjustment of velocity on multiple character parts
• Efficient creation of richer-looking ambiance
• Full-fledged SWF export with effects
• Direct import of scanned drawings (TWAIN)
• Convenient text capability

Key benefits
Whether preferring traditional or digital methods, animators will greatly benefit from Animate 2‘s superior feature set throughout their entire production process. Read the rest of this entry »

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4th March 2010

Canadian Companies Ink Publishing Deals and Release Great New Products

EA GamesVancouverElectronic Arts has announced two new partnerships involving local studios. First, EA announced that it has inked an exclusive deal with Klei Entertainment to bring the studio’s provocative new game Shank to Xbox LIVE® Arcade, PlayStation®Network and PC this summer. Featuring a unique art style inspired by graphic novels and golden age comics, Shank Klei Entertainmentblends the intensity of classic 2D side-scrolling action games with a gripping and mature storyline. The cinematic brawler is a finalist for “Excellence in Visual Art” at this year’s Independent Games Festival and will be featured at the IGF Pavilion during the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco next week.

“Our mission at EA Partners is to work with the best talent across the game industry, and we are thrilled to extend our expertise to the leading creative developers in downloadable indie games,” said Jamil Moledina, Outreach Director, Business Development at EA Partners. “The team at Klei Entertainment is among the best in the world at developing fun and engaging titles for digital distribution platforms, and Shank is an amazing experience.”

“As an independent development studio, we always focus on creating great, authentic experiences for players. Working with EA Partners expands our distribution and allows us to bring Shank to a much wider audience,” said Jamie Cheng, CEO of Klei Entertainment. “They have been a fantastic partner and their understanding of the space is incredibly exciting.”

Taking place in a stylized, modern-Western setting, Shank tells a classic betrayal story directed through a sophisticated cinematic lens, with addictive action gameplay found in classic 2D side-scrolling games.

EA’s second announced deal today is another exclusive publishing deal, this time with Hothead Hothead GamesGames and their newest title DeathSpank, which will be coming to Xbox LIVE® Arcade and PlayStation®Network in 2010. Developed under the vision of The Secret of Monkey Island creator and industry icon Ron Gilbert, DeathSpank blends a story filled with Gilbert’s unique humor and wit with classic and addictive action RPG gameplay. Read the rest of this entry »

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3rd March 2010

Clicktoy The Meadow Now Available in the Apple Store

Clicktoy InteractiveVancouverClicktoy Interactive is pleased to announce the release of its software “The Meadow“for the Apple Mac. The award winning interactive software for children ages 1 to 5 is now available for purchase at local Canadian Apple Stores and select US Apple stores, and online at store.Apple.com.

Colourful 3-D graphics, nature sounds and original music bring nature to life on screen where children can join Mr. and Mrs. Bunny as they visit their friends living in The Meadow. With the simple press of a key, your child can guide the animals through the beautiful meadow environment.

“Any parent can tell you that when they’re working on their computer, the little one will come along and want to sit on their lap and press buttons,” said Ken Kavanagh, developer of The Meadow and president of Clicktoy Interactive. “As every key has a function, children are free to interact with the computer without worry.”

With The Meadow, parents and children can explore this charming and peaceful place together, featuring:

* Four detailed scenes
* ClickSafe locks the keyboard, prevents your child from exiting the application
* Stunning graphics and immersion in a virtual nature-walk
* Make up your own stories and imagine together

Available on the PC since 2008 “The Meadow” is now available for the Mac OS. Offered in over 17 languages the game sells for $24.95 and is available now for the Mac or PC.  Village Gamer congratulates Ken Kavanagh and Clicktoy Interactive with this new release – and fully recommends “The Meadow” to anyone who has a toddler and/or pre-schooler in their family.

VFSVancouverVancouver Film School is pleased to present the $30,000 Women in Games Scholarship for the second straight year. This Scholarship covers the full tuition for a female aspiring game designer to attend VFS’s acclaimed one-year Game Design program, named by L.A. Times as a Top 10 school “favoured by industry recruiters”.

With International Women’s Day on March 8 highlighting the achievements of women and the need to create a more equal and rewarding future for girls, the announcement of the Women in Games scholarship is timely. In an industry traditionally dominated by men – around 90%, according to Game Developer Magazine’s 2009 Salary Survey – the scholarship was established as a concerted effort by VFS to encourage greater opportunities for females wishing to pursue Game Design as a career. Read the rest of this entry »

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2nd March 2010

Splinter Cell Contest, Stoked Interactive is Live and HootSuite Expands To Android

TorontoMicrosoft Canada has a sweet contest going for Splinter Cell: Conviction fans. Check out the Contest Information page at GameStop (yes, this is a campaign to get gamers to pre-order SCC). The full rules for the contest, which is open to Canadians aged 18+ (or age of majority in their province of residence) only, can be found right here, but the idea is that 40 entrants will be randomly drawn from all pre-order registrants on March 18th, and those 40 entrants (along with a companion of their chosing, who must also be of majority age) will then be transported to Toronto on March 27th, where they will be hosted at a local hotel and given $100.00 in spending money. The 40 entrants and their guests will then become teams of two, and take part in a “scripted but realistic pure-skill challenge competition.”

According to the rules, each Team will travel through multiple checkpoints testing their skills against challenges inspired by the video game Xbox® Splinter Cell:  Conviction®.   The Team which most accurately and quickly completes all checkpoint challenges in the shortest period of time (thereby accumulating the highest number of game points) will be declared the winner. The winning Team will then stay another night in Toronto before traveling to Montreal for an overnight stay followed by a private tour of the Ubisoft offices and visit an EB Games or GameStop retail location. Please check the full rules page for more information.

marblemediaToronto – Working together with long-time collaborators Fresh TV Inc. and TELETOON Canada Inc., marblemedia has launched Stoked Interactive – to coincide with the March 4 premiere of new episodes of the series and push to the second season premiere in September 2010. With increasing interest in the program, the new site offers a tidal wave of new activities and experiences for fans around the globe. For fans of the French version of the series, teletoon.com has launched a French version of the site. Read the rest of this entry »

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16th February 2010

Happy Anniversary Propaganda

Vancouver – With a focus on Vancouver throughout February as the world’s best athletes compete in winter sports, Propaganda Games, Disney’s Canadian video games studio, is celebrating its fifth anniversary as a key part of the thriving Vancouver interactive entertainment community. The studio is also participating in the BC Canada Pavilion, an innovative exhibit open to the public, in downtown Vancouver.

Exclusive in-game development models and images from Disney Interactive Studios’ upcoming video game TRON: Evolution are part of an interactive touch screen exhibit in BC Canada Pavilion during the Winter Games, through February 28.

The province of British Columbia is hosting the BC Canada Pavilion on the fourth floor of the Vancouver Art Gallery. As part of the province’s celebration site at Robson Square, the Pavilion features state-of-the-art exhibits and interactive displays showcasing the best of British Columbia innovation and culture. The exhibit expects to host more than 250,000 visitors from Canada and throughout the world.

Propaganda Games, located in downtown Vancouver, employs more than 200 professionals between two teams. The studio is currently developing two major video games — TRON: Evolution and Pirates of the Caribbean: Armada of the Damned. Both games are scheduled to be released for the Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system from Microsoft, PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system and Windows PC.

“Propaganda Games is poised to deliver two of the industry’s prominent video games,” said Dan Tudge, vice president and general manager, Propaganda Games. “As part of Vancouver’s flourishing video games development industry, Propaganda Games has tapped into the enormous talent pool and represents Disney’s commitment to the community.”

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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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10th February 2010

marblemedia Contributes to CODE

marblemediaVancouver – Demonstrating marblemedia’s gold medal talent at the 2010 Cultural Olympiad, the award-winning production company announced today that it will be a contributing artist to the Vancouver 2010 Cultural Olympiad Digital Edition (CODE).

“All of us at marblemedia are excited and honoured to be a part of Canadian history,” said Mark Bishop, Co-Founder and Executive Producer of marblemedia. “We want to thank CODE for allowing marblemedia to go global at the Winter Games!”

Two of marblemedia’s kids properties, This is Daniel Cook-Figure Skating; and This is Emily Yeung-Learning Ballet (co-produced with Sinking Ship Productions) and two films from the marblemedia anthology series The Art of Seduction – Electric Chairs and On Fire (co-produced with the National Film Board and Bravo!FACT) have been selected to be featured on towering high-definition screens at the Vancouver and Whistler Celebration Sites during the 2010 Olympic Games.

digital albertaCalgaryDigital Alberta invites you to come learn about Google at an event which will take place on the evening of February 23 at Mount Royal University. Come and meet some Canadian googlers at this exciting event where they will discuss some of the technical challenges faced at Google, with highlights from 3 areas of focus at Google Waterloo: Ads, ChromeOS and Mobile. Read the rest of this entry »

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3rd February 2010

Updates from FreshTV, Bioware and Fuel Industries

FreshTVTorontoFresh TV Inc., an award-winning family entertainment company, is pleased to announce that they have been awarded three Pixie Awards for their animated tween TV series, Stoked. Fresh TV took home awards for Opening Title Effects, Animation and Atmospheric Effects and was given an impressive score of 9.5 out of 10 for the series. The Pixie Awards – sponsored by the American Pixel Academy – honour outstanding creativity in Motion Graphics, Effects and Animation.

“It is an honour to receive accolades from such an esteemed group of industry peers,” said Tom StokedMcGillis, President, Fresh TV Inc. “I would like to especially thank our amazing team at Fresh TV as these awards embody the team’s continued dedication to creating quality, engaging shows.”

Stoked is an animated situational comedy about teens who come together one summer to work at world renowned Surfer’s Paradise Resort, home of the best surfing in the country. For twelve weeks they will spend their first summer away from home, work hard, and most importantly, have the opportunity to surf on their days off.

The series (26 x 30’) broadcasts Monday-Friday on Cartoon Network in the US and on TELETOON in Canada.

Bioware CorpEdmontonBioware has released several new screenshots for the upcoming Dragon Age: Origins expansion chapter Awakening. These new images focus on Vigil’s Keep in Amaranthine, which had previously served as the base of operations for the Howe family and their troops. .

Amaranthine was the first of the Fereldan arlings to fall to the Orlesian occupation. As the port Vigil's Keepcity burned, its ruling family, the Howes, fled to the countryside to wage a guerrilla war against the invaders that lasted for generations. No matter how enormous of a bounty the Orlesians promised, they could not rid themselves of the wily Howes and their ever-growing number of sympathizers.

The Howes chose the ancient fortress of Vigil’s Keep as their primary base of operations, hiding the entire rebellion within the vast complex of storage rooms and caves beneath “The Vigil” — right underneath the noses of their oppressors. When the Orlesians were finally ousted, it was at Vigil’s Keep that the flag of Amaranthine was first raised again, amidst cheers of victory. Vigil’s Keep became the new home of the Howes. Following the downfall of the Howes in Origins, Vigil’s Keep and arling of Amaranthine came under the control of the Grey Wardens. If you want to learn more about the rise and fall of the Howes, you’ll have to pick up a copy of Dragon Age: Origins, because I’m not saying anything about how they betrayed their allies and friends.

Bioware has also released a short trailer to introduce of one of the new party NPCs you will meet when you play Dragon Age Awakening, Anders. According to the video’s description, many mages chafe under the Chantrys control, and Anders is no exception. Its a lucky thing that Anders despises blood mages as much as the Chantry does, else he might have been executed as a suspected maleficaru.

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Dragon Age: Origins – Awakening will be available for the Xbox 360® videogame and entertainment system, the PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system and PC on March 16, 2010. And yes – I have already placed my pre-order. Dragons, magic, spies, blood and gore – too much goodness to miss.

Fuel IndustriesOttawaW!LDBRAIN, the award-winning entertainment company and one of the world’s foremost producers of animation, has entered into a partnership with Fuel Industries, the Ottawa-based digital agency and producer of popular interactive brands, including AllGirlArcade.com, to develop television, motion picture, direct-to-consumer platforms and consumer products utilizing the existing popularity of Fuel Industries’ entertainment properties.Clik Stars From All Girls Arcade

“Fuel has a great body of characters and stories with limitless creative possibilities,” said Michael Polis, CEO, Wildbrain. “As a company, we will strategically integrate the proven Fuel Industries branded properties and characters into our studio’s content and distribution businesses. Under this agreement, we are looking at a number of properties that have the potential to become sustainable franchises and growth drivers on a number of media platforms,” he continued.

“Our development deal with W!LDBRAIN, combined with their successful portfolio of world-class animation and family entertainment, is a major step in our company’s efforts to realize the full potential of our Read the rest of this entry »

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