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  • International Warden’s Quest Celebrates Dragon Age: Origins

26th October 2009

International Warden’s Quest Celebrates Dragon Age: Origins

BioWare CorpEdmontonBioware is pleased to announce the Dragon Age: Origins Wardens’ Quest, a 24 hour gaming event for the upcoming dark, epic fantasy Dragon Age: Origins. To celebrate the launch of this award winning new game, BioWare is inviting gamers and press from North America and across Europe to put their skills and endurance to the test as they embark on a Dragon Age Originstense, epic journey of discovery. On October 28, at 10:00 AM GMT, ten teams of four players each will live, fight and explore the game as the drama unfolds in their 24 hour quest to claim the grand prize. Each winning team member will receive $12,500. Official rules can be found online at Quest headquarters.

“We’re extremely excited about the Dragon Age: Origins Wardens’ Quest – it’s going to be an awesome chance for gamers to band together to prove they’re the best at navigating the world of Dragon Age,” said Mark Darrah, Executive Producer, Dragon Age: Origins. “In the game, putting together a strong team is essential to success – in the same way the overall strength of the competing teams will decide who walks away with the money.”

There will be ten participating teams representing their countries: the United States, Canada, United Dragon Age OriginsKingdom, France, Netherlands and Belgium, Spain, the Czech Republic and Slovakia, Hungary, Poland and a specially selected team comprised of the most loyal BioWare fans from around the world. The competition will take place in the Debating Chamber at County Hall in London, England. This space will provide a grandiose setting for the competitors to play the game, discuss strategy and battle for the grand prize as teams are eliminated throughout the day. Around the chamber, screens will be used to display leader board stats and show highlights. BioWare staff and costumed actors will further enhance the environment, theatrics and dramatics of the day.

In Dragon Age: Origins, players take the role of a Grey Warden, one of the last of an ancient order of guardians. Now, as a rising evil threatens to destroy all life, it is up to players to unite the shattered lands and slay the corrupted dragon known as the Archdemon. To restore peace, players must make ruthless decisions and be willing to sacrifice their friends and loved ones for the greater good of mankind.

Dragon Age: Origins will be released on November 3rd in North America on the PlayStation®3, the Xbox 360® videogame and entertainment system and PC. The game will ship on November 6th in Europe on PC, the Xbox 360® videogame and entertainment system and later in November on the PlayStation®3. Dragon Age: Origins is rated M by the ESRB.

8….more….days….

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23rd October 2009

Dragon Age: Origins from BioWare Has Gone Gold on All Platforms

BioWare CorpEdmonton – The latest news from Bioware is that the PlayStation®3 version of Dragon Age™: Origins will be available on November 3, 2009 in North America. The PlayStation 3, Xbox 360® and PC versions of the game have “gone gold” in North America and are currently in manufacturing, ready Dragon Age Originsfor their November 3 launch date. At launch, Dragon Age: Origins will be available on all three platforms with several packs of downloadable content (DLC) including The Stone Prisoner, the Blood Dragon Armor and Warden’s Keep; each further enriching the gameplay experience.

“We’re excited to confirm that all three versions of Dragon Age: Origins will be available to fans on November 3 in North America,” said Ray Muzyka, Group General Manager, RPG/MMO Group of EA, and Co-Founder, BioWare. “The Dragon Age: Origins development team was able to polish the PlayStation 3 version to our high standard of quality and we are ready to deliver the richest and deepest role-playing fantasy experience across all three platforms.”

In anticipation of the game, players can begin their Dragon Age: Origins experience early Dragon Age Originsby joining the BioWare Social Network — a destination to share in-game screenshots, review game data and share story information. Players can also download the free Character Creator to create and customize a player character on the PC and then upload their character data and avatar to the BioWare Social Network before Dragon Age: Origins launches. The Dragon Age: Origins Character Creator will provide players with the tools to create a character with a nearly endless amount of options. Players can download the character creator and get more information on the BioWare Social Network from the new social site.

In Dragon Age: Origins, players take the role of a Grey Warden, one of the last of an ancient order of guardians. Now, as a rising evil threatens to destroy all life, it is up to players to unite the shattered lands and slay the corrupted dragon known as the Archdemon. To restore peace, players must make ruthless decisions and be willing to sacrifice their friends and loved ones for the greater good of mankind. Dragon Age: Origins is rated M by the ESRB.

….11….more….sleeps…..

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22nd October 2009

New Dev Videos from Ubisoft

UbisoftMontrealUbisoft has released three new trailers today – first up is Part Five of the Assassin’s Creed 2 Dev Diaries. This new video focuses on a major difference with the first iteration: the evolution of Ezio, and all of his aspects. In this diary installment, the dev team discusses the reasons behind having such a long time span in the storyline, and how historical events play a part in the game’s missions. Unlike the original Assassin’s Creed, where players were given their tools by the developer and then expected to use those tools to advance their game, Assassin’s Creed 2 will give the player more choice in regards to the weaponry and armour available to Ezio.

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Also new from Ubisoft are two new Avatar The Game videos which focus on Wii play. The first video shows one of the missions which involves destroying a dam shows how players can use both co-op and single play to move through the environment, removing enemies and cheating death along the way.

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The second game footage video demonstrates how the Wii balance board can be used during game play. Avatar The Game’s Wii version also supports Wii MotionPlus, and if you don’t own a balance board (which we currently don’t), not to worry, it’s not a mandatory peripheral to play the game.

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22nd October 2009

Dragon Age Journeys In Browsers Everywhere

BioWare CorpEdmonton – The first chapter of Dragon Age™ Journeys, a free to play browser based game set in the Dragon Age world, is now available over the internet. From Bioware, Dragon Age Journeys puts players in the role of a hero exploring the underground dwarven kingdom of Orzammar. Players will uncover a dastardly plot that threatens to unleash a great evil that Dragon Age Journeyswon’t stop until it destroys all living things. Based on BioWare’s upcoming dark fantasy epic Dragon Age: Origins, Dragon Age Journeys, sets a new standard of quality for browser-based games with addictive combat mechanics and fluid gameplay. Players of Dragon Age Journeys will have the chance to earn exclusive in game content for Dragon Age: Origins on the day of its release.

The game is produced by a new browser-based production team at EA and an all-star team of independent development talent, with the goal of creating premium quality browser games. Dragon Age Journeys represents EA’s commitment to supporting talented independent developers.

“Dragon Age Journeys continues our mission of working with talented game developers and artists to create high quality games, blowing away expectations of what is possible in the browser,” said Mark Dragon Age OriginsSpenner, VP of Development, EA 2D. “We are honored to be working with BioWare to introduce the Dragon Age franchise to a wide audience of gamers.”

“Dragon Age Journeys sets the stage for Dragon Age: Origins,” said Mark Darrah, Executive Producer, Dragon Age: Origins. “The team has shown the Dragon Age Franchise in a bold new light and the release of this game allows a broad audience of players to discover our dark fantasy universe for the first time.”

Dragon Age Journeys will feature intense tactical combat, a compelling story and deep customization. Players can choose from one of six different origin stories, each offering a unique background that shapes the lens of how the player perceives the world and how the world will perceive them. The game will deliver an amazing experience to fans looking for an introduction to BioWare’s dark fantasy epic, Dragon Age: Origins.

Dragon Age: Origins will be released in North America in…..twelve….more…..days……….

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19th October 2009

Ubisoft Announces New Details Of Assassin’s Creed: Lineage Film Series

UbisoftMontrealUbisoft® today announced the first of the three episodes from the new Assassin’s Creed: Lineage film series will debut on YouTube. Beginning on October 27, 2009, YouTube will have the first episode of the film series Ezio Assassin's Creed IIon its homepage in eight countries throughout the world for a period of 24 hours.

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. The film series revolve around Ezio’s father, Giovanni Auditore da Firenze, and give insight on the game’s back story and universe.

The 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.

“Ubisoft is excited to share a new Assassin’s Creed experience with the public. The Assassin’s Creed Lineage film series is part of Ubisoft’s ongoing efforts to reinforce its intellectual properties by bringing them to multiple entertainment mediums, providing gamers with a more immersive experience when they play as Ezio, the master assassin of Assassin’s Creed II,” stated Yves Guillemot, chief executive officer of Ubisoft.

Last week Ubisoft also released Part Four of their AC2 Dev Diaries, featuring the variety of opponents Ezio will have to fight through an immersive combat system.

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16th October 2009

Start 2010 with Mass Effect 2

BioWare CorpEdmonton – Mark your calendar and lock in your copy of Mass Effect 2 now! Leading video game developer BioWare™ has announced that the epic Shooter/RPG Mass Effect™ 2 will be on store shelves in North America on January 26, and on January 29 in Europe. With its larger-than-life hero Commander Shepard, intense shooter action, nuanced characters and a rich storyline, the much-anticipated sequel to the original award-winning opus is one of the most anticipated titles of 2010. In support of the launch, BioWare is releasing unique Mass Effect 2 Terminus Gearpre-order incentives* at key retailers in North America and across Europe. Codes for downloading these items will be provided to players who have pre-ordered, usable when the game is released.

“Our fans are in for a genuine thrill in the New Year with Mass Effect 2 – the second installment in the trilogy will be of amazingly high quality,” said Dr. Ray Muzyka, co-founder, BioWare and Group General Manager of the RPG/MMO Group of EA. “BioWare’s fans worldwide have been eagerly awaiting this epic sequel, and we couldn’t be more excited to reward them for pre-ordering by delivering some awesome bonus content!”

In North America, pre-order bonuses (restrictions apply, see actual pre-order offers for details) include special-ops armor and weaponry that are designed to boost Commander Shepard’s skills and abilities. At GameStop, Terminus Gear is available with pre-orders, which includes the powerful Terminus Assault Armor and the M-490 Blackstorm Heavy Weapon:

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16th October 2009

Academy of Champions North American Release on November 3

UbisoftVancouverUbisoft has released the latest trailer for the Ubi Vancouver developed Academy of Champions, which will hit store shelves on November 3rd. This long-awaited sports title for the Wii features the likeness of soccer great Pele, challenging mini-games, and some well-known Ubisoft characters.

The premise behind Academy of Champions is that you are a young soccer star – or you want to be, and you manage to gain a spot at Pele’s Brightfield Academy. From the official game synopsis, “Teamwork, Friendship and Respect are the key values that Headmaster Pelé shares. That said, competition at Brightfield is high, and the hero must form a team to stay in school and follow his goal to become a pro.

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Our hero’s potential is obvious, and this has not been missed by the beady eyes of Von Trappe, the headmaster of the rival Scythemore Academy, an institution that instills in its students the ideal of winning at all costs, even if this involves overt aggression or cheating. Von Trappe puts a plan into action to bring our talented hero to Scythemore, but Pelé is wise to his trickery, ultimately outwits him and saves our hero from the hardship of spending more than one term at Von Trappe’s brutal Academy.”Pele

I had the opportunity to play Academy of Champions recently, and I will freely admit that prior to playing the game, I was very dubious. I am not a fan of the sports game genre, nor am I as proficient with the Wii as I am with the 360. Luckily I had my own personal game tutor as well as the in-game tutorials to learn how to play the game. It didn’t take me very long to get a handle on the controls and game play, and I was actually having fun playing a sports game.

As you work your way through the Academy’s storyline, you are presented with mini-challenges such as goalkeeping, shooting, passing and tackles – or you can master Brazilian Freestyle juggling with the Wii Balance Board™. Academy of Champions will also work with either the standard Wii nunchuk controller or with Wii Motion. As you increase your soccer pitch prowess, your skill level improves and you are able to purchase equipment upgrades.

You can also unlock new characters for your team – my favourite team build was comprised of Rayman, Altair, Sam Fisher, the Prince of Persia and Jade – who all appear as youngsters. Rumour has it that the Academy of Championstoughest team to beat on the soccer pitch is the Rabbids. While every character in the game has a special power-up move, the Ubisoft characters bring their own brand of special talents to the game. Special moves on the Brightfield Academy team are gained by co-operative team play – passing the ball to other members of your team is a fast way to fill the power bar. Players can then shake the Wii mote to execute the special moves – some players use their skill for offense, while others use theirs for defense.

While Pele is headmaster of the Academy, his number one assistant in teaching his young charges the benefits of good sportsmanship and fairplay is none other than American soccer star Mia Hamm. Mia is the current all-time leading scorer, male or female, in international soccer history and at age 15 was the youngest player ever to be named to the US National Team. As positive role models for young people in real life, both Pele and Mia were natural choices to be the leaders of Brightfield Academy. Academy of Champions Altair

There are many different teams to play against with your chosen teammates, and with the multi-player game mode you can either play with friends or against them. The artwork presented in both background and character development is very high quality – it is obvious that a great deal of attention went into the game’s environment and visual appeal. Scoring goals in the game doesn’t just get you closing to winning the match, it helps you build each arena’s backdrop. The audio work in Academy of Champions is also top notch – the more I played the game, the more it became apparent that the Ubisoft Vancouver team had put together a very high-quality, family-friendly game which has lasting appeal. They certainly won me over with Academy of Champions, and this is one title which will be seeing some game play at Village Gamer.

Congratulations to everyone at Ubisoft Vancouver for such a positive, high quality debut title!

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15th October 2009

Bioware Updates, Xbox Preview and Best Buy Adds Game Trades

BioWare CorpBioware has announced that the first seven pages of the new Mass Effect 2 comic from Dark Horse is now available on the Bioware blog. Written by ME2 lead writer Mac Walters, the comic’s storyline is Dragon Age Journeysindependent of the upcoming Mass Effect 2’s story and follows Dr. Liara T’Soni on a dangerous and important mission to Terminus System in the Milky Way.

Bioware has also released more information about Dragon Age Journeys, a browser-based chapter of the Dragon Age franchise currently in development at EA 2D. According to Producer Ethan Levy’s blog post, “Dragon Age Journeys has been a collaboration between EA 2D, BioWare, and some of the hottest indie talent from the flash developer community. We broke ground on Journeys back in November 2008, and after so many months of blood, sweat and tears, we can’t tell you how excited we are to finally start talking about the game.”

“We have some big plans for Journeys. The first piece that we are currently building is a 3 chapter, single player, tactical rpg delivered in Flash. Right now we’re hard at work finishing the first chapter, Dragon Age Journeys: The Deep Roads”, continues Ethan. “The game will introduce you to the dwarven city of Orzammar and the Deep Roads surrounding it where the dwarves face a persistent threat from the darkspawn hordes. The Deep Roads features character classes, talent trees, sound effects, music and user interface taken directly from Dragon Age: Origins. Thanks to all these resources and input from the BioWare team, it will serve as a solid introduction to the world of Dragon Age.”

I started reading Dragon Age The Calling two nights ago. The Calling is the second book in the Dragon Age novel series penned by Bioware Lead Writer David Gaider – I highly recommend the titles to all of those who enjoy reading books in the Fantasy genre. The EB Games store where I regularly pick up all of my new addictions is already taunting those of us waiting for Dragon Age. They have two shelves of empty Dragon Age Online covers sitting on display behind the service desk. Want.

Xbox 360Microsoft is looking for gamers who would like a chance to preview the next installment of Xbox Live improvements and changes. Those who Silver or Gold XBL memberships are welcome to register – you will need some advance information when you fill in the form, such as your Xbox serial number, ID number, make and model of the TV hooked up to your Xbox, your router make and if you use wireless, the type of wireless connection you have. We participated in the last update preview, and have registered again for this one.

Best Buy Canada has joined the list of retailers who now accept game trade-ins. “Gaming enthusiasts are encouraged to bring in their previously played video games and trade them in for up to $40 in store Best Buy Canadacredit, which can be used toward anything in the store, including a new game!”

Have you braved the battle and won the war in Star Wars: Battlefront? Unsure of what to do with that copy of Final Fantasy collecting dust in your basement? Has your “Need for Speed” suddenly come to a grinding halt? “With Best Buy’s gaming trade-in program, gamers of all types can bring in previously played games to any participating Best Buy location*, where they will receive a Best Buy store credit based on the assigned value of the games.

“We have been testing this program in our Edmonton stores and it has been so highly successful that we decided to extend this offer across Canada, said Paul Fisher, Director of Merchandising, Entertainment, Best Buy Canada. “Gaming now reaches a wider group of Canadians, including women and boomers. This program will enable gamers of all types to trade in for other titles or new technology.”

Trade-in is available on more than 2,500 current game titles and games from the following consoles: Nintendo DS & DSi, Nintendo Wii, PlayStation3, PlayStation Portable, PlayStation 2 and Xbox 360. As part of program, Canadians can also purchase previously played titles in-store for less than the cost of a new version of the game.

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10th October 2009

More Awards, Game News and the Weekend Wrap

Canada's Top 100 Employers 2010First, congratulations to game studios Next Level Games, Bioware and Digital Extremes for being named in the Top 100 Canadian EmployersResearch In Motion was also named to the list. Next Level is consistently named as a Top Employer by several agencies, and Bioware has also won previous awards for being a Top Employer.  Word Search

Digital Leisure’s Word Searcher puzzle game has been released on WiiWare. You’ll need a sharp eye and a quick mind to complete these 100 themed word search puzzles. Word Searcher contains fun words from multiple categories including anatomy, world cities, ancient weapons and 97 other subjects. Packed with a huge assortment of subjects to choose from, there’s sure to be a puzzle everyone will enjoy. Help improve your vocabulary, memory and problem-solving skills with these addicting puzzles. Keep track of, and try to beat your own completion times again and again as words are scrambled every time you play. Get your thinking cap on and conquer all 100 today!

Kristin BellUbisoft has announced that Hollywood actress Kristen Bell will reprise her role of Lucy Stillman in Assassin’s Creed II. Bell’s character will once again play a major role in the game’s intricate storyline. “Being a part of the first Assassin’s Creed video game was an amazing experience. Video games is such a creative entertainment medium, and to be able to see and play myself as a video game character was surreal,” said Kristen Bell. “As an actress, it’s both challenging and rewarding to play a complex character with this great mysterious background. I’m very happy to be Lucy once more, and I look forward to fans discovering more about her – they will be pleasantly surprised.”

Also available for viewing is a new video vignette showcasing the Assassination Arsenal. Media Labs is holding an AC2 film contest with a $10 000.00 first prize, but it’s only open to US residents over the age of 18.

EA Montreal has announced that renowned film composer Tyler Bates will be creating the impactful score for the highly anticipated third person co-op shooter Army of Two™:The 40th Day. The sought-after Army of Two 40th Daycomposer, best known for his work on the blockbuster films 300 and Watchmen, is crafting an immersive score that will highlight the epic co-operative battles gamers and their friends will face in the first major videogame release of 2010.

“Set in Shanghai in the middle of a major a disaster, Army of Two: The 40th Day dials up the action through a series of powerful scenes where players have to work together as a team to survive and escape the city,” said Lewis James, Audio Director at EA Montreal. “Tyler examined every part of the game and how players will move through the world to craft a score that truly represents their actions and the chaos unfolding around them.”

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9th October 2009

Zombies Attack VIP Club In Vancouver, IUGO Mobile Responsible

IUGOIUGO Mobile Entertainment is thrilled to bring back its best-selling title, Zombie Attack! in ZombieAttack2-2the sequel – Zombie Attack! Second Wave. ZA! SW or ZA!2 is slated to be bigger, better and bloodier than ever before! It still keeps to the “tower defense with a twist” game play but throws in new zombies, more weapons and multiple, elaborate maps. “ZA! is our top selling game to-date,” explains IUGO’s Director of Business Development Sarah Thomson. “Tower defense is of course a hot genre, combine it with zombies and our users start salivating. This time ZA!2 ZombieAttack2-1will build upon all that was loved with the original and give our users more!”

ZA!2 is slated for submission with the App Store very soon. Keep an eye out (but not near a hungry zombie) for the launch of ZA!2 near the end of this month, early next month.

Not to worry though, Toy Bot is out to save the day. Recently launched on the App Store, Toy Bot Mini Missions will help you limber up those fingers prior to the Zombie onslaught which is about to happen. With 100 mini puzzles to test your Zombie preparedness, how can you help but not be prepared? Toy Bot, his friends and foes join him in 100 challenges ducking lasers, jumping obstacles and defying gravity in order to collect the big prizes. Toy Bot Mini Missions

Features:

• 100 mini games in total
• 12 characters to unlock and play with in total
• Great for short bursts of play as well as long gaming sessions
• IUGO’s new VIP program: Tell your friends, access more characters sooner!
• Your favorite 2D Toy Bot friends and new buddies in the Toy Bot universe!
• IUGO’s signature quality and polish

With IUGO’s fanbase growing, the independent mobile games developer has launched its exclusive VIP program. The offering is slated to reward users who are loyal to IUGO products, those who are heavy IUGO-VIPusers and players who are able to refer their friends to grow the userbase. “We love our users and we wanted to create a vehicle in which our users could be rewarded for their loyalty, “states Director of Business Development Sarah Thomson. “The IUGO VIP program makes it easy for users to recommend our games to their friends and earn points towards in-game unlockables and other cool stuff. With the launch of this feature we have plans to grow and explore it so much more with ways that give back to IUGO fans”

The program also of course helps IUGO continue to grow its following and play upon the social networking aspects of mobile gaming. The IUGO VIP program had a soft launch in its recently released game Toy Bot Mini Missions. The VIP program will be seen in the upcoming Star Hogs update, the launch of Zombie Attack! Second Wave, Cliffed and Implode! For more information on IUGO’s new VIP program, please visit the IUGO community forums.

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