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  • The Sixth and Final Assassins Creed 2 Video Dev Diary

9th November 2009

The Sixth and Final Assassins Creed 2 Video Dev Diary

UbisoftMontreal – Earlier today Ubisoft released the final episode of their Assassin’s Creed 2 video dev diary series. Covering the importance of the Animus interface in the player’s Eziogame experience. Building on the foundation set in Assassin’s Creed, the development team took some risks in taking the Animus’ capabilities even further. Presentation Art Director Laura De Young says in the video that the team broke a few design rules to immerse the gamer more fully into Ezio’s story, offering such features as historical and local facts.

We also get a look at even more of the new features coming in Assassin’s Creed 2, which will be available in Canadian stores this November 23rd.  The video introduces Ezio’s family villa, which at the beginning of the game will be in very sad disrepair. Through game advancement, the player can rebuild the villa, making it a vibrant and productive community. The villa will serve as Ezio’s Assassin Stronghold, and will also provide storage for all of the equipment and treasures acquired – something which makes the treasure hunter in me very happy. I hate it when I have to dispense with a treasure due to space constraints.

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6th November 2009

Slant Six Previews SOCOM Expansion Content

Slant Six GamesVancouver – Coming soon from Slant Six Games and Sony Computer Entertainment of America is Cold Front, the first downloadable expansion pack for SOCOM: U.S. Navy SEALS Confrontation.

Cold Front adds five maps to Confrontation, including two brand new maps, and three classic maps. View through the snow filled treesThree additional clan factions compliment the new conflict zones based in Eastern Europe and Russia including Russian Spetsnaz, Italian Colm and Dutch KCT.

The added forces come with three new weapons, alpine equipment and camouflage to support encounters using thermal scope and turrets. The maps also support an all-new game mode Arms Run, challenging the commandos to prevent mercenaries from launching deadly missiles.

Along with the host of increased customization options, Cold Front players may also develop Weapon Bird’s eye view of Blizzard-the best way to plan your attacksSpecialties and through progression unlock Exclusive Equipment. While developing their characters, Cold Front players can also enjoy the new music while working towards New PSN Trophies.

Over the next few weeks, Slant Six would like to share some production notes with you regarding some of the new maps and shed a little insight on how these maps came together.

This week the studio is featuring Blizzard, a classic map from SOCOM 1 and 2 that has been updated with HD graphics and effects. In order to enhance the player’s experience with this perennial favourite, we opted to make the weather a key gameplay aspect. The calm atmosphere of previous iterations of the map has been completely reworked with visibility now being hindered by the constant flurry of snow and winds that pound against your character.

The biggest challenge developers have faced so far in updating Blizzard to PS3 from PS2 was working with open terrain and wide open sight lines. Balancing the blizzard effects, vegetation, and open terrain to achieve the right amount of visibility among the characters has proven to be an interesting challenge. Dredge frozen in ice

In summary, Cold Front features:

* 2 All-New Maps
* Uprising, Entrapment
* 3 Classic Maps: Blizzard, Night Stalker, Vigilance
* All New Game Mode
* Arms Run
* 3 New Special Forces
* Russian Spetsnaz, Italian COLM, Dutch KCT
* Character Specialization System
* 6 Enhanced weapons, 5 Enhanced Attachments
* New Weapons
* 3 All-new weapons, 2 All-new weapon attachments, 2 New 40mm grenades
* Additional Content
* Gun Turret Emplacements
* New Trophies, New Music
* New Character Models, Alpine Gear and Camouflage

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6th November 2009

Penguin Books To Publish Assassins Creed II Novel

Penguin Books MontrealPenguin Books and Ubisoft announced today a groundbreaking partnership that will bring together the worlds of gaming and publishing in a unique collaboration. The new book, Assassin’s Creed Renaissance, is based on Ubisoft Entertainment’s blockbuster Ubisoftinteractive entertainment game Assassin’s Creed II®, and will be published in association with Ubisoft.

“Penguin is hugely excited to be publishing the novelisation to the second Assassin’s Creed game” said Editorial Director Alex Clarke. “This partnership presents at last a way for traditional book-publishing to cross-over with the ever growing and increasingly exciting world of gaming media.”

He continued: “Assassin’s Creed II offers a wonderfully rich gaming experience; Ubisoft have crafted a brilliant storyline with superbly realised characters which translates seamlessly into a wonderfully Assassin's Creed Renaissancefast-paced and enthralling historical thriller. For Penguin this dovetails perfectly with the appetite of historical fiction fans.”

Assassin’s Creed® is a record breaking game franchise that has seduced millions since its release in 2007. It became the fastest selling new video game ever in the US and the UK, with more than 9 million games sold worldwide for the first opus alone. This second game promises to captivate gamers and history-lovers alike on a similar scale.

“We’re delighted to be working with Penguin Books” said Rob Cooper, Managing Director of Ubisoft. “Assassin’s Creed Renaissance will offer the public a new and exciting way to experience the narrative world of Assassin’s Creed II. The book deal with Penguin, along with the Assassin’s Creed Lineage film series, is part of an ambition to bring the Assassin’s Creed franchise to multiple entertainment media. These projects along with the game itself will provide a truly immersive experience.”

Editor’s Note: According to this press release, Assassin’s Creed Renaissance will publish in the UK on November 26 2009, but does not say anything about Canada. AC Renaissance is listed on Amazon UK and Amazon.com, but a search on Amazon.ca and Chapters.ca gave no results for this title. I did find results on Chapters.ca for two Assassin’s Creed titles by Steven Barnes slated to publish in …2030? A search on Penguin.ca also resulted in zero results. A search for the author’s name, Oliver Bowden, on Amazon.ca resulted in a book titled “Assassin’s Creed” with a February 2010 release date from publisher Ace Books, which is a branch of Penguin Books. The same search on Chapters.ca returned several pages of results, but none for this author. Lots of Jamie Oliver cookbooks, though.

Hopefully this just means that the title has not yet been added to the two Canadian bookseller sites but will be soon.

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5th November 2009

BioWare Announces Mass Effect 2 Collectors Edition

BioWare CorpEdmonton – Recruit your crew and fight for the lost! Leading video game developer BioWare™ has announced that the internationally acclaimed Shooter RPG Mass Effect™ 2 will also be released as a Collectors’ Edition in limited quantities. Available on January 26 in North America alongside the standard edition, the Collectors’ Edition of Mass Effect 2 comes in a premium, tin case and includes the full version of the game, a 48-page hardcover “Art of Mass Effect 2” book, Issue 1 of the Mass Effect Redemption comic book, and a bonus DVD with behind-the-scenes and making-of videos. In addition, the Mass Effect 2  Mass Effect 2Collectors’ Edition will include unique in-game weapons and armor that can only be obtained by purchasing this version. With its larger-than-life hero Commander Shepard, intense shooter action, nuanced characters and a rich storyline, Mass Effect 2 is one of the most anticipated titles of 2010.

“We’re really excited to roll out this Collectors’ Edition featuring so many unique items, including special Collectors’ Edition armor and weapons and content that will surprise Mass Effect fans,” said Dr. Ray Muzyka, co-founder, BioWare and Group General Manager of the RPG/MMO Group of EA. “The limited edition comic book and bonus DVD will really enhance and expand the overall Mass Effect 2 experience.”

The Mass Effect trilogy is an emotionally charged science fiction adventure set in a vast universe filled with dangerous alien life and mysterious, uncharted planets. In Mass Effect 2, players will once again step into the role of the heroic Commander Shepard, commanding their crew of some of the most dangerous operatives from across the galaxy on a mission so challenging that it’s potentially suicidal. Featuring intense shooter action, a rich futuristic storyline, space exploration and emotionally engaging character interaction, the game delivers an unparalleled cinematic experience.

Mass Effect 2 will be available on the Xbox 360® videogame and entertainment system and PC. The Mass Effect 2 Collectors’ Edition will retail at an MSRP of $69.99 on Xbox 360 and $59.99 on PC.

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4th November 2009

Braid Winding Its Way To PlayStation Network

Hothead GamesVancouver – PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system owners, the wait is almost over! Soon you too can run, jump and bend time, as Hothead Games announced today that it will be digitally delivering Jonathan Blow’s Braid to the PlayStation®Network in North America on Nov. 12 with a European version to be announced shortly thereafter.

Explore the human condition and manipulate time as our hero Tim leaps onto the BraidPlayStation®Network in the lush, painterly world of Braid, a puzzle-platformer that takes you from a house in the city on a journey through a series of worlds to solve puzzles and rescue the princess. In each world, you have a different power to affect the way time behaves, including the ability to rewind, create parallel realities and utilize time dilation to overcome the many obstacles in your path. There is no filler in this game; every puzzle shows you something new and interesting about the game world.

Key Features:

Untraditional platforming – You can never die and never lose, but challenge is always present and focused on solving puzzles, rather than forcing you to play and replay tricky jumps.
Puzzle-rich environment – Travel through a series of worlds, searching for puzzle pieces and solving puzzles by manipulating time: rewinding, creating parallel universes and setting up pockets of dilated time. The game play is always fresh and new and the puzzles inspire new ways of thinking.
Aesthetic design – A painterly art style and lush, organic soundtrack complement the unique game play.
Nonlinear story – A nonlinear fiction links the various worlds and provides real-world metaphors for your time manipulations; act out these themes at your own pace, exploring playful “what if” universes.
Forgiving game play – The game doesn’t force you to solve puzzles in order to proceed. If you can’t figure something out, just play onward and return to that puzzle later.

Braid has been rated “E 10+” for Everyone 10 and older by the Entertainment Software Rating Board for all platforms.

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4th November 2009

Ludia and CBS Announce New Titles

LudiaMontreal – CBS Consumer Products, a unit of CBS Entertainment, announced today that eight new video games based on television’s top-rated and most beloved series will soon become available for fans. The rights holder to some of the most popular shows on television, CBS has teamed up with the industry’s most renowned casual games developers and video game publishers, including Montreal’s Ludia,  – to ensure that fans will be able to extend their experiences with their favorite shows in a fun and compelling way.

“These deals are perfect examples of our strategy to mine CBS’s deep portfolio of iconic television series across multiple platforms,” said Liz Kalodner, Executive Vice President and General Manager of CBS Consumer Products. “We understand how passionate the fans of these programs are and how they are constantly looking for new and innovative ways to interact with them. Whether on console, handheld or the PC, we are working with some of the most innovative publishers and developers to ensure that we meet fans’ expectations.”

Ludia will be developing the following two properties for CBS:

The Amazing Race – 2010
Get ready for around-the-world competition with the video game based on the eight-time Emmy® award-winning television series The Amazing Race where team players split up in pairs for a remarkable journey across exotic locations in a race against time. Players will face frantic challenges and tasks as they navigate through detours, roadblocks and other unpredictable game elements from the show. Working together strategically throughout the game is essential as each team tries to discover hidden clues that are crucial to getting them to the Pit Stop first – and one step closer to ultimate victory at the check-in mat. This video game will be launched throughout North America across multiple platforms in tandem with the show’s 16th season.

Read the rest of this entry »

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2nd November 2009

News from IUGO, Bioware and Ubisoft Montreal

IUGOVancouverIUGO is proud to announce the release of Cliffed, its latest game featuring casual play with online, multi-player action!

Challenge your friends to the most addictive race to the bottom! IUGO presents its latest sensation in casual gaming with this frantic 2D scrolling racer. WARNING: This game will get your heart and Cliffedfingers racing!

Features:

• 10 unique and playful characters to choose from
• Pick up and play! Great for all ages
• Endless game play
• Online multiplayer! Race up to 8 players in real time over 3G and wireless networks
• Local and global leaderboards
• IUGO’s new VIP program: Tell your friends, earn points and unlock an exclusive mystery character sooner
• Stylized, clean graphics
• IUGO’s signature quality and polish

BioWare CorpEdmonton – On the eve of the release of Dragon Age™: Origins, Seattle’s Umbra Software has announced that Bioware has licensed Umbra’s visibility optimization technology for Mass Effect™ franchise, Dragon Age™: Origins and other future titles.

Umbra is a highly robust, GPU based, visibility optimization solution that allows game developers to create highly dynamic game worlds without pre-processing. With Umbra game developers can increase their polygon budgets significantly and create highly complex game worlds which were previously impossible.

“BioWare has proven their excellence with a multitude of award-winning projects,” said Farhad Taherazer, VP of marketing for Umbra Software. “We are proud to have a studio with their track record recognize our abilities with a broad integration of our tech, it gives us credibility in this market place and puts us closer to becoming an industry standard.”

UbisoftMontrealUbisoft Montreal has announced that the soundtrack for Assassin’s Creed 2 will be released for digital download on November 16, one day before the game’s official release.

Award-winning composer Jesper Kyd has created an epic soundtrack for Assassin’s Creed II, the

The Package

North American Collector's Edition

sequel to the fastest-selling new IP in video game history. Following his atmospheric score for the original Assassin’s Creed, Kyd takes the music in an adventurous new direction and crafts an immensely diverse, melodic and progressive musical pallet featuring acoustic and symphonic orchestrations with emotional depth and diversity. The original score was recorded with A-List musicians and a Hollywood orchestra and choir at the world-renowned Capitol Studios.

“Jesper Kyd’s score for Assassin’s Creed II brings players into the Italian Renaissance by providing a true sense of depth for the poignant moments, while also giving a jolt of adrenaline to Ezio Assassin's Creed IIthe action-packed sequences. We are thrilled to have Jesper Kyd back with us in making Assassin’s Creed II an epic title on all levels,” said Patrice Desilets, Creative Director at Ubisoft, while Jesper Kyd had this to say about the new soundtrack: “We created a unique musical identity for Assassin’s Creed II that reflects the character and story of Ezio and elevated the music, both in terms of creativity and live production, to a whole new level.”

Assassin’s Creed II is the product of over two years of intensive development by the original creative team behind the Assassin’s Creed brand, featuring a new hero, Ezio Auditore da Firenze, a young Italian noble, and a new era, the Renaissance. The game tells an epic story of family, vengeance and conspiracy set in the pristine, yet brutal, backdrop of a Renaissance Italy. Ezio befriends Leonardo da Vinci, takes on Florence’s most powerful families and ventures throughout the canals of Venice where he learns to become a master assassin. The music propels the action, captures the allure and mystery of the story and immerses players in the breathtakingly detailed settings.

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27th October 2009

No Robots Interactive Jamble Updates

No Robots InteractiveVancouverNo Robots Interactive has announced that Apple’s approval has been given for their massive update to Jamble, plus the free version Jamble Lite has also gone live on the App Store. New products Jamble Dance and Jamble Dance Lite are now in review at Apple and should be out in early November.

About Jamble:

With the touch of a finger, Jamble lets you combine a variety of musical loops from international Jamble on iTuneshit songs into your own impossibly great mashup mixes immediately making you sound like a pro-DJ and mashup master.

Jamble comes with 24 musical loops that you can mashup into infinite combinations. You can play with 16 active loops at a time and easily hot swap them with additional loops in your Jamble loop library while you play.

Jamble features live, real time music creation as well as allowing you to record, save and playback your mixes. Share your mixes with your friends via email, Facebook and Twitter.

You can get more loops directly from within the app and create custom set lists of your favorite loops to load them fast. The range of artists in Jamble include:

• Lady Gaga
• Gwen Stefani
• Kardinal Offishall
• Kid Cudi
• The Killers
• Asher Roth
• David Bowie
• Will.i.am
• All-American Rejects
• Gorillaz
• Blur
…and many others.

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26th October 2009

Assassin’s Creed 2 Lineage Videos Debut

UbisoftMontreal – Today marks the launch for Ubisoft’s live action and CGI Assassin’s Creed 2 movies which tell the back-story to Ezio’s Florentine Italy. Lineage Part One went public earlier today on YouTube, and you can also watch the short Lineage: Intro Movie below.

Starring Romano Orzari as Giovanni Auditore, Ezio’s Assassin father, and Devon Bostick as Ezio, the story begins with events surrounding the brutal murder of the Duke of Milan, which is part of a conspiracy against one of Lorenzo de Medicis allies, whom he works for.

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Failing to save the Duke’s life, Giovanni is dispatched to investigate the crime. His mission is to determine who is responsible and why. The answers he uncovers implicate Italy’s most powerful families reaching all the way back to the Vatican itself. As Giovanni draws closer to the truth, he becomes hunted himself. He must expose the conspirators before he joins their ever growing list of victims.Giovanni Auditore

Developed by Ubisoft’s Hybride Technologies, the visual effects studio behind 300 and Sin City, Assassin’s Creed: Lineage combines live action and computer generated imagery (CGI) to explore the events that happen just before the Assassin’s Creed II game starts.  We are able to see and learn more about the ancient creed which governs Giovanni’s life and guides his blade as he fights for family, justice and honour.

Ezio AuditoreThe film series will whet the appetite of game players and fans of this type of cinematography in advance of the in-store release of the video game on November 17, 2009. Assassin’s Creed: Lineage will also introduce some of the characters that players will meet in the game: both foes and friends of the family, like Lorenzo de Medici, the Italian statesman and de facto ruler of the Florentine Republic during the Italian Renaissance period.

I’ve have watched the first two videos – the intro and Lineage Part One, and all I can say is “Wow!” – the attention to detail, historic accuracy, the costuming and props – all are absolutely incredible.Giovanni's Weapons Writers Yves Simoneau and William Reymond have created an atmosphere of dangerous beauty, one which leaves the viewer wanting more and the gamer hungry to get into the game. The cinematography, lighting and atmosphere in these movies serves to set a very high plateau for the game environment’s designers, but judging from what I’ve seen thus far of the game play, I think the team rose to the challenge and have produced a title which will leave gamers in awe.

22…more…days…

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26th October 2009

Take Refuge In Fort Zombie This Halloween

Kerberos ProductionsVancouver – From an apocalyptic world full of undead, Kerberos Studios prepares for a weekend of horror as its PC light action/RPG title Fort Zombie is confirmed for a Halloween release.Fort Zombie

Though the screams have died down and the immediate terror may have past, the sea of undead lurch forever forwards. Closer and closer they come. Make ready! For it is time to make a break from your latest hiding place. Grab whatever weapons you can find. Run and fight through the mass of undead. Make your way towards the last place of safety on Earth. Seek out precious caches of weapons, food and fuel, while rounding up the few people that remain. Rally them into a unit and begin the fight of your life.

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In Fort Zombie, players must save the town of Piety, Indiana from an impending wave of zombies migrating from a nearby major city. Players are challenged to take control of a single building throughout the entire campaign. By effectively building this structure into the ultimate fort, as well as carefully searching for supplies and finding and training survivors in Piety, players have a chance at conquering and outlasting the flesh-hungry zombies.

Fort Zombie will be available on October 30, for purchase exclusively through all major digital distribution channels for the hauntingly low suggested retail price of $9.99

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