25th September 2009

New Trailer For Warlock Of Firetop Mountain

Big Blue BubbleLondon ONBig Blue Bubble has released a new game play trailer for their upcoming DS title Fighting Fantasy: Warlock Of Firetop Mountain. Due to be released this fall, Warlock of Firetop Mountain looks like it is going to be one of the best looking RPG games I’ve seen yet on the DS. I haven’t been looking forward to a DS game release in quite some time, but I am definitely looking forward to this one.

The artwork and detail in Warlock is of incredibly high quality, rarely seen outside of PC or console triple A titles. The game environment achieves just the right amount of spooky moodiness one would associate with a dank and dangerous castle keep, where enemies abound. With the ability to free roam through this side-scrolling adventure, the player can fully experience the high quality 3D world in which Firetop will immerse him – or her.

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About The Game:

Fighting Fantasy: The Warlock of Firetop Mountain follows a lone adventurer on his travels through the old Dwarven keep within Firetop Mountain. Now the residence of an evil warlock and hordes of foul creatures, the keep is a mysterious and dangerous place from which no one has returned in many years. As players guide the adventurer through the many passageways and dungeons, they develop the character’s abilities and attributes to suit their play style. Enemies will fall before the player’s brute strength with sword and axe, power of the arcane arts, nimble quickness or custom combinations of skills. A wealth of weaponry, armor, potions and enchantments are equipped through an intuitive drag-and-drop inventory system while helpful (or not-so-helpful) NPCs provide guidance, quests, trade goods and skill training.

About the Story Behind the Game:

The Fighting Fantasy book series launched in 1982 with the first title, The Warlock of Firetop Mountain. Authors Ian Livingstone and Steve Jackson created a revolutionary new idea for the fantasy genre: the reader would become the hero of his or her own fantasy adventure in a story that would be part book, part game. After each paragraph a decision must be made: which way to turn, whether to fight or flee, which mysterious character to approach, and what risks to take. Each choice sent the reader to a different page to discover the consequences of their choice, with each read-through ending either in disaster, or with the discovery of the ultimate goal. To date, the series has seen more than 70 titles published and more than 14 million copies sold worldwide.

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24th September 2009

Inon Zur Composes Powerful Dragon Age Origins Score

BioWareEdmonton – Award-winning composer Inon Zur has composed the original score for BioWare’s upcoming title Dragon Age™: Origins. Zur has been lauded for the emotional musical compositions he crafted for some of the most critically acclaimed video games including Baldur’s Gate II: Throne of Bhaal, Crysis, Fallout 3 and Prince of Persia. The dramatic score for Dragon Age: Origins will be performed live at A Night in Fantasia 2009 on September 26 at the Sydney Entertainment Centre in Australia.

The ‘Night in Fantasia 2009’ concert will feature the Eminence Symphony Orchestra, a mind-blowing Inon Zurchoir, special guest performers and a score of popular tracks from video games including Dragon Age: Origins. Vocalist Aubrey Ashburn, singer and co-writer of the Dragon Age: Origins Elvish ballad “I Am the One,” will be performing selections from the game soundtrack by Inon Zur.

With a powerful original score recorded by the acclaimed Northwest Sinfonia Orchestra, Inon Zur’s dramatic soundtrack to Dragon Age: Origins is the perfect complement to the game’s epic, cinematic qualities, full of soaring melodies and lush, emotional orchestrations. The official soundtrack for Dragon Age: Origins will be available to purchase and download online from popular music sites when the game ships on November 3, 2009, while selected tracks from the soundtrack will be included in the Dragon Age: Origins Collector’s Edition.

The soundtrack is a collaboration between composer Inon Zur, vocalist Aubrey Ashburn and BioWare Audio Director Simon Pressey. The creative team will be presenting their work during a panel at the Hollywood Music in Media Interactive Conference on November 20-22, 2009, at the Renaissance Hollywood Hotel.

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21st September 2009

A New Level of Chaos Comes to Dawn of War 2

Relic EntertainmentVancouver – THQ and Relic Entertainment have released details about Warhammer® 40,000™: Dawn of War® II – Chaos Rising™, the next standalone chapter in the critically acclaimed Real-Time Strategy series, is scheduled for release on Games For Windows-LIVE in spring 2010.

Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War II – Chaos Rising features a new playable army, the traitorous Chaos Space Marines, and continues the epic journey of the Blood Ravens as they battle this new, more personal enemy. Chaos Rising offers new single-player and co-op campaigns, a level cap increase from 20 to 30, Chaos Risingmore powerful war-gear and a suite of innovative multiplayer options.

“Dawn of War II took intimate brutality to another level and introduced RPG-RTS hybrid gameplay,” said Jonathan Dowdeswell, general manager, Relic Entertainment. “The epic struggle between Space Marines and the forces of Chaos lets us take those two game-play elements and create an even more intense experience – this time, the battle is personal.”

Set in the grim, war-ravaged world of Games Workshop’s vast Warhammer 40,000 science fiction universe, Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War II – Chaos Rising transports players into the midst of an intergalactic war between ancient enemies. Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War II – Chaos Rising introduces the Chaos Space Marines as a new playable army, continuing the single player campaign from the original Dawn of War II.

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18th September 2009

IUGO Confirms New Titles and Takes On Tokyo

IUGOVancouver – This time last year the iPhone was barely a blip on the screen in the cell-phone-center-of-the-universe metropolis of Tokyo. This year has marked the coming of the iPhone to Japan, prompting IUGO Mobile Entertainment to revisit the Tokyo Game Show this September 24 – 27th as part of the Canadian Pavilion.

“We were taken aback by all of the articles popping up about how the iPhone 3GS was a top seller in Japan Toy Bot Missionsin the past couple of months,” remarks Sarah Thomson, Director of Business Development for IUGO. “That is a big difference from last year. Also, we are embarking on new mobile platforms with our original IP such as the PSP Go and the BlackBerry. These could give us more traction in Asian regions.”

Thomson notes IUGO’s hit iPhone titles such as Star Hogs and a sequel to their best-selling Zombie Attack! will be debuting onto these new platforms. “We also have other titles coming out at the end of 2009, beginning of 2010 that will be multi-platform games. Since we have been able to prove success with our own brands on the iPhone, we are now expanding out onto other platforms to truly reach the masses.”

Toy Bot MissionsTwo games which will be making the trek to Tokyo are the recently announced Cliffed and today’s announced title, Toy Bot Missions. We anticipate that both of these titles will meet the high quality of game play, graphics and style that we have come to expect from IUGO, and we are looking forward to their release.

In Toy Bot Missions, gamers will enter the wondrous Toy Bot universe bursting with all of our favorite Toy Bot characters! Jam packed with mini puzzles and challenges, players will duck and jump their way through lasers, spinning platforms, projectiles and more.

Toy Bot Missions, which promises hours of game play, features:Cliffed

• 100 mini games in total
• 12 characters to unlock and play with in total (Toy Bot shown in screenshots, many more to pick from!)
• Great for short bursts of play as well as long gaming sessions
• Local and global leaderboards
• 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 recently announced that another new title is slated for release this fall. Cliffed will allow gamers to challenge their friends to a race to the bottom – of the cliff, we presume – on both the iPhone and Blackberry. IUGO has released a few screenshots from this new 2D side-scrolling title, which offers the following features:

Cliffed• 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

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18th September 2009

Digital Extremes Part of the BioShock 2 Development Team

Digital Extremes2K Games has announced that BioShock® 2, the highly anticipated sequel to the 2007 Game of the Year, will be available worldwide beginning February 9, 2010 and is now available for pre-order at participating retailers.

Currently in collaborative development at 2K Marin, 2K Australia, Digital Extremes and 2KBioShock 2 China for the Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system from Microsoft, the PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system, and Games for Windows® LIVE, BioShock 2 will deliver two unique, yet intertwined experiences that form the perfect blend of explosive first-person shooter combat, compelling storytelling and intense multiplayer action.

Set approximately 10 years after the events of the original BioShock, the halls of Rapture once again echo with sins of the past. Along the Atlantic coastline, a monster has been snatching little girls and bringing them back to the undersea city of Rapture. Players step into the boots of the most iconic denizen of Rapture, the Big Daddy, as they travel through the decrepit and beautiful fallen city, chasing an unseen foe in search of answers and their own survival.

Multiplayer in BioShock 2 will provide a rich prequel experience that expands the origins of the BioShock fiction. Set during the fall of Rapture, players assume the role of a Plasmid test subject for Sinclair Solutions, a premier provider of Plasmids and Tonics in the underwater city of Rapture that was first explored in the original BioShock. Players will need to use all the elements of the BioShock toolset to survive, as the full depth of the BioShock experience is refined and transformed into a unique multiplayer experience that can only be found in Rapture.

BioShock 2 is not yet rated by the ESRB.

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15th September 2009

EA Releases NHL 10 and Announces Skate 3

EA SportsUnless you’ve been living under a proverbial rock, you will know that EA Sports’ NHL 10 has been unleashed on the masses. Somehow I think that James will be late for tonight’s Ghoulash Bash meeting because he will be immersed in the game. I forgot to ask him if he was picking his game up at Future Shop downtown, where Trevor Linden was present for the official game launch.

NHL®10 delivers a new, physical brand of hockey to match the physical and emotional intensity real-world players endure in pursuit of the Stanley Cup®. New gameplay innovations include first-person fighting, all-new board play, Battle for the Cup and Be A Tough Guy NHL 10 Covermodes, and spectacular new ways to score. NHL 10 features more than 200 gameplay refinements that replicate the skill and finesse of hockey and deliver the most responsive and authentic action ever for the series.

A new first-person fighting engine enables players to trade punches with an NHL tough guy. Feel what it’s like to be on the ice in the skates of an NHL player to throw and dodge punches. Winning one-on-one battles for possession of the puck along the boards is now a test of will and skill. Utilizing an all-new board physics engine, players can use their body to shield the puck on the boards and then kick-pass it to teammates. Experience the emotion and drama of NHL playoff hockey in Battle for the Cup. Play with injuries, intimidate the opposing team, line-match to shut down superstars all in front of frenzied towel waving crowds with storylines that carry across the entire series. Plus, all-new interactive crowds bring the emotion of playoff hockey to life with towel-waving fans, glass bangers and crowds that react to the action on the ice. Players can one-time loose pucks, score from their knees, knock pucks out of the air and lift a leg to fake a shot on goal — just like real-world players. Prove you are tough enough to quiet the crowd, silence the opposition and survive a playoff run to lift the Stanley Cup in NHL 10.

EA GamesBurnabyElectronic Arts Inc. today revealed the next title in the company’s landmark skateboarding franchise: SKATE™ 3, and confirmed that it will ship in May 2010 for the PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system and Xbox 360®. SKATE 3, developed by EA Black Box, breaks new ground by taking all of the camaraderie and competitive excitement of real-life skateboarding and brings it to the hands of gamers. Whether online or offline, players can now team up to build the ultimate skate crew in the definitive skateboarding co-op experience. In SKATE 3, players take part in team-based challenges, compete against rival crews and leave their mark on the all-new skater’s paradise, Port Carverton.

“The social and community aspects of the SKATE franchise are something we’ve always embraced, but Skate 3we’ve never done anything to the scale you’re going to see in SKATE 3,” said Senior Producer, Jason DeLong. “We’re giving gamers a very unique experience by providing them with the tools they need to build their ultimate team or to create a team comprised entirely of their online friends. From there, it’s all about proving yourself – teaming up, and throwing down.”

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12th September 2009

Saturday Shorts

IUGOVancouverIUGO Mobile Entertainment has announced another upcoming game title for the iPhone and BlackBerry platforms. Slated for release this fall, Cliffed will allow you to challenge your friends to the most addictive race to the bottom! IUGO presents its latest sensation in casual gaming with this frantic 2D Cliffedscrolling racer.

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

UbisoftUbisoft Montreal has released three new videos for their highly anticipated titles on their YouTube channel. Gamers can get their twitch on with a commented walk-through for Assassin’s Creed 2, featuring a variety of game play scenarios with narrative from AC2 Production Manager Jean-Francois Boivin. The only disappointment I have experienced thus far in regards to AC2 is the planned product releases for the Master Assassin Limited Editions. I want the Black version, but it is apparently only being released in other parts of the world, not North America. Those of us in North America are getting the White version, which does not appear to contain all of the same perks as the Black Version, such as Ezio in black and the same number of bonus quests. The North American White version only has one bonus quest while the Black version has three, and at this time it is unknown if the Black version will be region locked. There are also rumours circulating that the Black edition is sold out. Maybe Ubisoft will have a change of heart and at least give those of us in North America the opportunity to obtain the additional two bonus quests.

Shaun White fans can see a new video dev diary for Shaun White World Stage, due for release on November 8. Featuring members of the dev team and Shaun White, gamers get an advance look at how it feels like to be in the boots of a pro snowboarder. After watching the dev diary for Splinter Cell: Conviction, we have added it to our list of “must play” games. The development team gives an excellent explanation of what gamers can expect from the latest iteration for the Splinter Cell franchise, and you can get a look at the dev video on Splinter Cell’s site.

IMC VancouverIMC Vancouver – As the Internet grows in importance as a communication channel for business, it’s important to understand how to move away from the diminishing returns that TV, Radio and Newspapers are delivering. IMC Vancouver provides the venue for businesses, government, social activists, agencies, consultants and students to take advantage of the new, and rapidly changing, way media is being consumed. Also economic pressures are making change in the marketing world even more urgent than before.

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10th September 2009

Need For Speed SHIFT Soundtrack List Released

BurnabyElectronic Arts Inc. today announced the track list that will propel players to the finish line in Need for Speed™ SHIFT when it hits retail stores in North America on September 15 (in stores across Europe on September 17, 2009). The SHIFT soundtrack features some of today’s most influential hip hop and rock artists including Kanye West, The Prodigy, Kasabian, and MSTRKRFT. Each song was hand selected to provide a pounding score that matches the intensity and bone-crushing power of this year’s Need for Speed.

The game has already received several positive reviews including one from Official Xbox Magazine which referred to Need for Speed SHIFT as a “brilliant turn in a new direction” and “deep and addictive.”

“Intense music has always fueled the sound of Need For Speed,” said Steve Schnur, Worldwide Executive of Music and Music Marketing at EA. “For SHIFT, we truly went underground to bring together some of the edgiest new tracks in electronic music, hip-hop and rock from around the world. These artists are the radical equivalents of real outlaw racing. The result is a white-knuckle soundtrack of pure global adrenaline.”

The complete soundtrack is listed below. To hear samplings of each song, please visit EA Trax.

Artist Song
Buraka Som Sistema feat. Pongolove Kalemba (Wegue-Wegue)
Chase And Status feat. Plan B Pieces
Deadmau5 Ghosts N Stuff
Eagles Of Death Metal Anything ‘Cept the Truth
Fort Knox 5 feat. Asheru Insight (The Nextmen Remix)
Gallows I Dread The Night
In Case Of Fire This Time We Stand
Jamal Pull Up
Kanye West Paranoid (Part 2)
Kasabian Underdog
The King Blues The Streets Are Ours
Mala Rodriguez Te Convierto
Mando Diao Mean Street
MSTRKRFT feat. E-40 Click Click
N.A.S.A. Whachadoin? Feat. Spank Rock, MIA, Santigold and Nick Zinner
The Prodigy Run With The Wolves
The Qemists feat Mike Patton Lost Weekend
Regular John Transmitter
Rootbeer Under Control
Shinichi Osawa Electro 411 (Lies In Disguise Mix)
Spoon Harris & Obernik Baditude
TOKIO Dogonim
Twisted Wheel Oh What Have You Done
Two Fingers feat. Sway High Life

Need for Speed SHIFT is the first racing game that accurately reproduces the intense physical and emotional experience of being behind the wheel of a race car. SHIFT’s true driver’s experience redefines the racing genre with the combination of real world physics and perception based G-forces including the brutal first person crash dynamic, to create a cockpit view that is easily the most realistic and intensive racing perspective ever.

Need for Speed SHIFT will be available for the PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system, Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system, PC and PSP® system and is rated “E” by the ESRB.

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10th September 2009

Shank, Thief and Supreme Commander 2020 News

Eidos MontrealFor those among us who are awaiting the release of Thief 4 which is currently under development at Eidos Montreal, Mastertronic has released Thief – The Complete Collection for PC, which contains all three Thief Complete Collectionoriginal Thief titles. Defining stealth adventures, including the ultra-rare Gold edition of the first Thief game, the Thief franchise puts the player in the silent shoes of acolyte Garrett as he prowls his way around the City, treating gamers to an astounding visual experience. Thief – The Complete Collection retails at £9.77 on Mastertronic’s retail site. I did check several Canadian game retail sites, but could not find any listings for this compilation for sale on this side of the Atlantic.

According to a statement on Eidos Montreal’s site, General Manager Stephane D’Astous says that, “Eidos Montreal is in the early development stages for Thief 4, but this is an incredibly ambitious project and a very exciting one. It’s too early for us to offer any specific game details, right now we are focused on recruiting the very best talent to join the core team at the studio and help us make, what we believe will be one of the most exciting games on the market.” To that end, there are several job openings listed on Eidos Montreal’s web site for both Thief 4 and Deus Ex 3.

Klei EntertainmentBy all accounts, Klei Entertainment had a very successful presence at PAX 2009, thanks in part to the promotional efforts of Carolyn Carnes of Flash Fire Communications, who Shank Boss Battleconducted a unique and intriguing marketing campaign prior to the expo. There are few details being released about Klei’s upcoming game Shank, but we can tell you that it’s a 2D side-scrolling action adventure title featuring a hero named… Shank. It appears that there will be a wide variety of weaponry, moves and enemies in the game and it’s perhaps scheduled for release in 2010. Klei has not confirmed which platform or platforms the game is being developed for, but they did hint at a possible Mature rating due to levels of violence and splattering of blood which occurs during gameplay.

Battlegoat StudiosBattleGoat Studios has released a demo for its upcoming war strategy title, Supreme Ruler 2020 GOLD which will give players the opportunity to engage in three different scenarios including “California Dreaming”, “Ethiopian Empire”, and “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.” Additionally, strategy fans will have the opportunity to play up to four in-game months at a time.

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8th September 2009

Hothead Games Releases DeathSpank Details

Hothead GamesVancouver – After a very busy and successful weekend at PAX 2009, independent developer DeathSpankHothead Games has officially released further details about their upcoming multi-platform RPG title, DeathSpank. Scheduled for release in 2010 and created by Ron Gilbert of LucasArts adventure game fame, DeathSpank will bring to life the hilarious adventures of the game’s titular hero. Set on a wrap-around world map with a unique art style utilizing 2D elements in a 3D world, DeathSpank will roam the world on his many varied quests without ever encountering a load screen.

DeathSpankGameplay is divided between uncovering the story via conversations, solving complex puzzles, equipping your character to maximize his strengths and battling anything else that moves. The single-player quest allows players to explore the world, where they can get to know the many interesting characters who inhabit the game’s environment. They will also be able to battle a large variety of enemies, collect from over 100 different types of weapons and over 100 types of armour. As he conquers his enemies, DeathSpank will be able to level up, collect loot and acquire new abilities.

The development team has been creating a unique gaming experience by focusing on humour at every DeathSpankturn, perpetually fun and visceral combat as well as an engaging story with deep and complex puzzles. DeathSpank will feature witty dialogue, improbable scenarios, unexpected villains and a robust collecting system for weapons, armour, items and abilities. The action is easily accessible for short bursts of fun, but the story is revealed over more than 15 hours of gameplay. In addition, players can choose to search out rare items and tackle the game’s many hearty side quests and will also have a chance to co-op with sidekicks in single-machine multiplayer.

Key Features:

RPG Gameplay – Movement and combat is perpetually fun and visceral, making it easily approachable to many gamers. Combat stats are easy to understand and are influenced by different DeathSpankcollectible items and abilities earned by the player throughout the game. DeathSpank will battle a large world full of interesting and challenging enemies.
Adventure Quests – Help DeathSpank be a hero to the downtrodden. Players will enjoy deep and complex adventure game puzzle scenarios as they work to dispense justice and vanquish evil, as well as entertaining and informative dialog puzzles with the world’s many inhabitants.
Customization – Through collectible armor, weapons, and varying abilities, players can customize DeathSpank to their liking and to suit their style of play. They can also choose from several sidekicks that will be acquired while travelling around the world.
Charged With Humour – This game has humor everywhere. Hilarious quests, witty dialog, silly puzzles, ridiculous characters, visual gags, and over-the-top animations all contribute to the game’s humor. The elaborate storyline begins as DeathSpank searches for a mysterious artifact known as The Artifact.
Depth of Gameplay – DeathSpank keeps track of his adventures in a Quest Log, listing both ‘Important Things I Need To Do’ and ‘Unimportant Things I Need To Do.’ Players who have deathSpankcompleted the story mode can choose to play additional quests and will be rewarded with exclusive equipment.
Unique Art Style – The game’s eccentric personality extends to its art style, which uses charming 2D elements in an immersive 3D world. The different areas of DeathSpank’s world are laid out on a globe, and the character is shown at an angle which gives a rolling perspective as you move about. There is an expansive world to explore and there will be no load screens.

DeathSpank has not yet been rated by the ESRB, but its target rating will be T for Teen.

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