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  • BioWare’s Dragon Age: Origins to Feature Premium Downloadable Content at Launch

8th October 2009

BioWare’s Dragon Age: Origins to Feature Premium Downloadable Content at Launch

BioWare CorpEdmontonBioWare™ has released details about special bonus content crafted for Dragon Age™: Origins to be released on launch day. The award winning developer will release several packs of downloadable content (DLC) for the highly anticipated RPG including The Stone Prisoner, the Blood Dragon Armor and Warden’s Keep. Dragon Age Origins

“BioWare is dedicated to delivering at high quality for our fans, and we’ve created something quite special here, some really cool new downloadable content. A brand new party member, fresh adventures and environments to explore, plus powerful new items and abilities – together these will enrich and extend the core game experience, and enable our fans to dive even deeper into the dark, heroic fantasy universe of Dragon Age,” said Dr. Ray Muzyka, co-founder of BioWare and the Group General Manager of the RPG/MMO Group at EA.

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. On this journey, players will need to make critical choices that affect the various members of their party.

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5th October 2009

Catching up with Ubisoft

UbisoftMontreal – Hot off the news desk today is the announcement that Ubisoft has acquired development studio Nadeo, creator of TrackMania®, the cult multiplayer car racing video game.

Set up in 2000 in Paris and comprising a highly talented team of developers, the Nadeo studio has won Trackmaniaacclaim for the quality of its multiplayer technology which offers one of the best available on-line gaming experiences and has already notched up 10 million registered players. Its flagship game – TrackMania® – has 700,000 unique players a month and is a pioneer in the sharing of creations (almost 15 million custom tracks created since 2008). It is also the first eSport franchise for racing games.

“The acquisition of Nadeo is an important step in our expansion within the on-line gaming sector”, said Yves Guillemot, Chief Executive Officer of Ubisoft. “Through Nadeo, Ubisoft will gain an expert team, one of the best on-line technologies around as well as a flagship multiplayer game that enjoys an unrivalled reputation among a loyal and committed community. We are excited about the idea of introducing TrackMania® to an ever-wider audience and sharing the expertise of Nadeo’s teams with our Group’s other developers”.

“Joining Ubisoft is a huge opportunity for us to develop and innovate and take Nadeo to new horizons”, said Florent Castelnérac, Chief Executive Officer of Nadeo. “Nadeo’s team was keen for this acquisition to happen. Like players in a community, we see ourselves as being a complementary fit with Ubisoft and believe that we can share and quickly move ahead together”.

On the home front,  Ubisoft Montreal has released a question and answer session with Avatar game script writer Kevin Shortt.

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5th October 2009

Army of Two and Dragon Age Comics from EA and IDW

EA GamesElectronic Arts Inc. has signed a deal with IDW Publishing to expand two of its intellectual properties, Army of Two™ and Dragon Age™, into comics under a new EA™ Comics imprint with IDW beginning in January. EA and IDW will launch monthly, ongoing series for both Army of Two and Dragon Age. Each issue will be published in print and distributed nationally at comic book outlets, with digital versions released for iPhone™ and iPod® Army of TwoTouch and other emerging digital platforms.

“We’ve seen an increasing number of video game tie-ins with comics over the last few years. This marks another step in our strategy for extending EA’s wholly-owned game properties to new media. It is exhilarating to be working with the comic book creators directly,” said Mike Quigley, Group Vice President, Global Marketing, EA Games Label.

Under terms of the agreement, EA will fund and manage the creative aspect of the comic book series, while IDW will be responsible for printing and distribution. IDW is the leader in digital comic book distribution and the nation’s third largest comic book publisher overall.

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2nd October 2009

Dragon Age Origins Updates

BioWareEdmontonBioware has announced that they will be releasing the Character Creator from Dragon Age: Origins on the 13th of October. This will give players three weeks to experiment and get their Player Character just right before launch of the game on November 3rd – 6th. While this feature will only be transferable to the PC version of the game, those of us who are console gamers can still download the Creator and preview the different character choices.Dragon Age Origins

Downloadable as a separate application, The Dragon Age: Origins Character Creator will allow gamers to create numerous different characters before launch and experiment with the different classes, races, and create multiple faces for the six Origin stories and save them to their hard drives for safe keeping until the game is released. The Character Creator will be available for download from the Dragon Age: Origins web site and will be available in English, German, French, Polish and Russian, as well as in Czech, Hungarian, Italian and Spanish with English Voice Over.

Bioware’s Community Coordinator Chris Priestley also announced that “we are extending the BioWare community with a new social community site for Dragon Age: Origins. The great news is when we launch the Dragon Age: Origins Character Creator we will also be launching an open beta of the new social community site. You will be able to log into the new Social community site with your existing BioWare forums account name and password, and update it to the new social site account. Characters created with the Dragon Age: Origins Character Creator can also be uploaded to your account from within the Character creator. Once logged in to the social site, one of the first things you will be able to do is use one of your uploaded characters as your social website avatar for your profile on the new social website forums.”

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Bioware also recently released a new video introducing story character Zevran, an Elven assassin who was sent by the Antivian Crows to kill the player in Dragon Age: Origins. Luckily for the player, he had a change of heart and now fights with the Grey Wardens. At least, until the Crows come along to investigate about the apparent good health of the player.

I just finished reading the first novel in the Dragon Age series, The Stolen Throne, and I was very impressed with the story. In my opinion, David Gaider’s writing is easily on a par with that of David Eddings and Robert Jordan. The Stolen Throne had me hooked by the end of the first chapter, and while IDragon Age: The Stolen Throne binge-read the whole book, I didn’t want the story to end. Thankfully the next installment in the series, The Calling, is due for release on October 13, so I don’t have long to wait. Bioware has placed the first chapter of The Calling on the Dragon Age: Origins web site, but thus far I have resisted the temptation to read it. I haven’t even peeked. Yet.

As an added bonus, I realized after getting The Stolen Throne home, that the book had been signed by the author. Out of curiosity, I went back to my local Chapter’s store to check and see if the other volume on the shelf was also signed, and it wasn’t. This is when I am grateful for being left-handed and picking the one copy of Dragon Age: The Callingthe two available that was signed. I have tried searching the web to see if there was any significance to the randomly signed copies, but couldn’t find any information. If the writing in the novel series is anything to go on, I think that Dragon Age: Origins the game is going to reward players with an amazingly deep and highly developed world full of lore, something that I know many of us who RPG really appreciate.

The only area I am confused about in this pre-release period is the Pre-Order and Collector’s Edition bonuses. For those keeping track of what I have on pre-order, yes, I have Dragon Age: Origins Collector’s Edition for the 360 on pre-order. The Bioware forums do impart information about the bonuses, but they speak of pre-order codes, and I didn’t receive any type of pre-order bonus information from our EB Games outlet. Hopefully I can get some type of confirmation from Bioware about the different bonuses and how to obtain them – otherwise I will have to try to glean the information from the 110 pages of Collector’s Edition discussion on the Dragon Age forum.

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1st October 2009

Ubisoft Game Shorts

UbisoftUbisoft Montreal has released another Game Dev video walkthrough for the highly anticipated Assassin’s Creed 2. This video highlights several new game play components, such as the weapons dealer and new weapons like the smoke bomb, as well as Ezio’s ability to swim and use gondolas. I’m grateful for the new Ezio at the Arms Dealerswimming ability, because in Assassin’s Creed 1 I seemed to spend a fair amount of time falling into the water and drowning. Also new to AC2 is the hiring of thieves and other unsavoury characters to do some of the dirty work like distracting guards. According to the new video, which was created for the Tokyo Game Show, the missions are extensive and somewhat unpredictable. One of my favourite components of AC1 was game environment exploration. Players can look forward to an even more rewarding system for exploration in AC2, as Ezio hunts the city for treasure which will help him upgrade his armour and weapons. Slated for release in mid-November, this is one title that will be in hot contention in the Village Gamer household. Thankfully, I am the one with the vehicle and the ability to pick up our pre-order at the store – and the “your order is in” call goes to my cell – thereby enabling me to beat The Cavechild to the game.Battle of Giants: Dragons

In other Ubisoft news, Battle of Giants™: Dragons has hit store shelves. Battle of Giants: Dragons is the very first DS game that will allow young gamers to play with the most impressive creatures they have always dreamed of – Dragons.

Developed for younger gamers by Ubisoft Quebec, players can feel the adrenaline rush of creating, controlling, customizing and battling with their very own fierce creature. Combat of Giants: Dragons offers a full immersion into the fantastic and mysterious universe of magic Dragons. Feel overwhelmed by exciting combat views and realistic fighting scenes! Battle of Giants: Dragons is rated E10 by the ESRB.

Key Game Features:

* Realism of fight as a key for immersion, pushed by a real-time innovative and intuitive combat gameplay.
* Customize your creature to make it your very own: 4 elemental dragons within their natural land, 5 different attack possibilities per Dragon, up to 125 different gems find and choose from!
* Land exploration through ground seeking or aerial traveling!
* Multiplayer: organize duels or tournaments, up to 4 players, to see which dragon will be the strongest of all.

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1st October 2009

Roundhouse Interactive launches The Game Cartel

Roundhouse InteractiveTorontoRoundhouse Interactive (new site under construction) has taken the first step towards the release of the first player-developed console game with the launch of The Game Cartel.The Game Cartel

The Game Cartel is the world’s first demographically driven game development co-operative. Utilizing a web portal and a fee-based membership; the Game Cartel empowers gamers and other interested parties alike, to develop next generation games for the retail market. Roundhouse Interactive President, Mike Montanaro says, “For less than the price of your average video game, users will have input into — and voting rights on — each and every aspect of game development, from genre through character development and game play.”

According to Roundhouse Interactive, The Game Cartel membership will also benefit from special “insider” offers from a select and growing list of partners and affiliates such as Alienware and HiTech Tattoos. In addition, every member will get their name listed in the credits and receive a copy of the final product.

The Game Cartel HomeMontanaro says, “Gamers are a very vocal group who pride themselves on knowing each and every detail of current and upcoming games titles. They are equally quick to decry the games they feel fall short of expectation. They take a sense of ownership in the games they play so it only seemed natural to give them a real voice in the games developed by making them a vested partner. I see it as a new direction for the industry, and a win-win situation for everyone involved.”

All member concepts submitted by the membership will be passed before an advisory board of industry professionals. All submissions will be reviewed to determine their viability and originality, selecting those that will go back to the members for voting and final inclusion in the game.

The membership will have exclusive previews of finished game play, be included in beta testing, and will get a special packaged version of the final game prior to the general retail launch scheduled just in time for Christmas in 2010.

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30th September 2009

Dawn of Heroes Official Web site and Trailer are Now Online

Wicked StudiosMontrealWicked Studios and Majesco Entertainment are pleased to announce that the official game trailer of Dawn of Heroes, the upcoming Strategy RPG for Nintendo DS, is now available on the game’s brand new web site.Dawn of Heroes

Dawn of Heroes – A new breed of SRPG

Brimthule is cursed, filled with malevolent characters, and separated into baronies. Cities have fallen, beasts of all weft and warp are becoming bolder in their attacks and the once beloved six Barons have become evil.

The once great Kingdom of Brimthule is in despair following the loss of its lord and champion. King Leroy sacrificed himself to entomb the great beast Ragnakore in a body of stone. Without its leader, the kingdom has split into baronies and is beset by curses, monsters, and misfortunes, with some believing Ragnakore, though trapped, is responsible. The time has come for new heroes to stand tall against the realm’s greatest foes; the time has come for the Dawn of Heroes.

Who’s going to clean this mess up? Heroes will!! Don’t they always? But where are they? Unwilling to deal Dawn of Heroeswith an old prophecy to save the realm, a disparate band of mercenaries will learn, through a hilarious adventure, that the reward of being Heroes cannot be counted in gold, jewels, or fame.

Dawn of Heroes features classic RPG concepts, character development, epic combat, quests and puzzle solving. Dawn of Heroes differs from other RPGs with hilarious dialogue, customizable parties, a variety of dungeons and items, and multiplayer features geared towards building a community of heroes all over the world.

• Travel through breathtaking 3D graphics whilst encountering a wide variety of characters from 12 different factions.
• Fight through over 60 missions with optional and hidden objectives.
• Experience a rich storyline filled with action, fun and humour.
• Select a team from over 25 playable classes.
• Test your strategies against other players and trade items through Nintendo DS wireless Play, or Nintendo WFC.

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30th September 2009

Take Shelter in Fort Zombie This Fall

Vancouver – Game publisher Paradox Interactive has released more details on the upcoming action/RPG title from Kerberos Productions, Fort Zombie. In Fort Zombie, players will find themselves in Piety, Indiana, a small town facing a horrifying infestation of zombies with a relentless thirst for blood. Faced with no other choice but to find shelter from an impending wave of zombies migrating from a nearby metropolis, players will be challenged to choose a building to be their Fort throughout the entire campaign. By Fort Zombieeffectively focusing efforts on building up this structure, in between scouring town for supplies and searching out and training survivors, players will have a shot at surviving the massive zombie onslaught.

Of course, all of this must be achieved while fighting off hungry hordes of the gruesome undead, who will stop at nothing to make you part of their company. For the few remaining citizens of Piety, each new day brings more fear. Only the most prepared citizens of Piety will stand a chance against the zombie infestation. Choose from a variety of daily tasks and efficiently build up your characters stats and skills as you battle blood-thirsty invaders and attempt to avoid total infestation. But the most important thing of all is that you build up your Fort if anyone is to have any hope of surviving your last, big stand-off against the coming undead swarm.Fort Zombie

Features:

• Take control of a single building in town as you prepare for total zombie infestation
• Gather supplies and find survivors by day, defend your building by night
• Players can engage in specific single missions within the campaign and spend hours building up the ultimate fortress
• Unique character building and reward system – each day brings new missions, each with different potential rewards. How you utilize and level up your survivors will greatly affect your chances of avoiding an ultimate zombie demise

Be prepared for the fight of your lives in Fort Zombie, available for PC this autumn through all major digital distribution channels.

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29th September 2009

Chocolate Liberation Front Gets Interactive With High-Profile International Projects

Chocolate Liberation FrontToronto – Cutting-edge independent production company Chocolate Liberation Front (CLF) is rapidly establishing itself as the interactive developer and producer of choice, securing a number of key multi-platform projects with international partners in Australia and Canada.

Since launching only a few months ago, CLF has opened a studio in Toronto and has already been commissioned to create the interactive strategies for some high-profile projects, working with major international producers and broadcasters.

CLF is currently in production with the multi-platform extension of the new 8-part television series, Death Comes To Town, from well-loved Canadian comedy troupe, Kids in the Hall. Accent-KITH Productions has engaged CLF as the strategic interactive partner for this property, airing on CBC Television in 2010.

CLF is also developing the interactive strategy for Mark Lewis’ feature-length theatrical documentary, Cane Toads, a follow up to the 80’s cult classic. Shot in 3D, the film is being produced for Participant, Discovery Network US and ABC Australia by Radio Pictures. In addition, CLF is co-developing a linear TV series alongside interactive content for Vishus Productions’ original property Figaro Pho, based on the Logie award-nominated shorts originally created for ABC TV.

CLF’s Frank Verheggen says: “We are excited to be working with these brilliant partners. Each of these projects allows us to explore innovative new tools and technological approaches. We hope to continue to attract international partners looking for our unique cross-platform expertise.” These interactive partnerships follow hot on the heels of CLF’s first major development project, The World of Infinite Curiosity, which is a far-reaching multi-platform project for family audiences, currently in development as a triple-A videogame with funding from Telefilm Canada and Screen Australia and also as a prime time television series.

The star of The Infinite World of Curiosity is 11 year old Decklin, who is fascinated by Leonardo DaVinci. Toronto’s C.O.R.E. Digital will be providing artwork while other members of the development team include Vancouver’s Adrian Crook who has worked on titles such as The Outfit, Tony Reed, MD of Reed Interactive of Australia, who worked on Earthworm Jim, the Star Trek franchise as well as Command and Conquer. Naomi Janzen, a TV writer and producer for Gene Roddenberry’s Andromeda and 7th Heaven will be contributing to the project, as well Australian Morgan Jaffit, founder of The Impossible Changing Brain Foundation. He has worked on such titles as Happy Feet and Teen Titans.

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25th September 2009

New Details for Dead Rising 2 From Blue Castle Games

Blue Castle GamesVancouver via TGS – Several years have passed since the Wilamette incident, and while Frank West was able to save America from a zombie apocalypse, the cause of zombification was not completely contained. This led to continued zombie outbreaks throughout the United States.Dead Rising 2

Dead Rising 2 shifts the action from the everyday world of mid-West America to the glitz and glamour of Fortune City, America’s latest and greatest entertainment playground. People flock to Fortune City from around the globe to escape from reality and the chance to win big.

Dead Rising 2 - Seniors Discount CentreThe game sees the introduction of former national Motocross champion, Chuck Greene, as the main protagonist. Before he hit the big time with a team and sponsorship behind him Chuck was forced to repair his own bikes, leaving him incredibly resourceful; a real handyman. A single father, Chuck dotes on his daughter Katey who, since the loss of her mother, he will do anything for.

With hundreds of zombies on screen at any one time, the original Dead Rising forced gamers to turn the everyday objects they found in the Mall into improvised weapons capable of fending off attacks. Dead Rising 2 promises to increase the carnage with even more zombies intent on feasting on human flesh and countless new objects with which Chuck can make the undead dead.
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