16th August 2011

Enter The Secret World in April 2012

funcomFuncom and EA Partners, a division of Electronic Arts Inc. would like you to know that the highly anticipated modern-day, Massively Multiplayer Online Game, The Secret World will release for the PC in April 2012. Starting August 26th, gamers can register to join upcoming betas, through a unique interactive social media campaign that will be made available on the game’s official site.

Imagine a world where secret societies pull the strings of kings and presidents, where vampires are more than just The Secret Worlda Hollywood fantasy, and where all the myths, legends and conspiracies are true. The Secret World is an MMO that breaks free from the confinements of character classes and levels and allows players to explore real-world locations with an engrossing storyline. Funcom will not only challenge but redefine long-established MMO standards.

“It has never been more rewarding working on The Secret World than it is now,” says Senior Producer and Creative Director Ragnar Tørnquist. “The progress we are making in development allows the whole team to really enjoy just playing the game for hours on end. We are all looking forward to bringing in players through upcoming betas, and their feedback will be crucial to the further development of the game as we progress toward the April 2012 launch.”

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16th August 2011

EA Sports Developing Authentic Street Soccer Game

EA SportsElectronic Arts Inc. has announced that EA Sports™ is developing an authentic street soccer game that will replicate the way the game is played by street players all over the world. From the creators of the award-winning EA Sports FIFA Soccer franchise at EA Canada, and inspired by street soccer styles and stars from around the world, EA Sports FIFA Street will be built to the level of quality and depth that millions of FIFA fans have come to expect from the EA Sports FIFA development team. The game will be available for the PlayStation®3  and Xbox 360® in early 2012.Fifa Street

“This is the first time our award-winning FIFA development team is creating a street soccer game, and we are going to deliver a level of authenticity never before seen in this genre, along with amazing gameplay,” said Matt Bilbey, Vice President and GM of Soccer, EA Sports. “FIFA Street will appeal to new fans that are looking for a unique, fun soccer experience, and long-time FIFA fans looking for an authentic street soccer experience with the level of quality that they know and love from the FIFA franchise.”

Powered by the revolutionary FIFA Soccer gameplay engine, and introducing Street Ball Control, FIFA Street will deliver an arsenal of groundbreaking street dribbling styles and trick moves that ignite the one-on-one battles within matches. Whether performing one panna after another without breaking a sweat the way street soccer is played in Amsterdam, or a physical, fight-for-possession style the way players compete in London, fans will enjoy a superior fidelity of ball control and responsiveness than anything ever experienced in a soccer videogame. Plus, for the first time ever, utilize aerial skills to maneuver past opponents, an all-new sophisticated one-touch passing system for quick, precision passes, and over 50 never-before-experienced skill moves.

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Play with and against the stars of the most popular clubs in the world—or real-life street players—and compete at more than 35 locations around the world. From one-on-one battles in parking lots and parks to prestigious 5v5 tournaments on the streets of the world’s biggest cities, FIFA Street will replicate the unique street soccer style. Plus, it will feature a host of modes and online features that will be revealed in the months ahead that will make the game a social, connected experience.

FIFA Street will be connected to EA Sports Football Club (Online Pass, FIFA Street and internet connection required), so from the first nutmeg on, gamers will be contributing to their Football Club identity. Fans who purchase EA Sports Season Ticket will also get, as a bonus offer, full-game digital access to FIFA Street three days in advance of launch.

An EA Sports Season Ticket subscription provides full-game digital access to all participating EA Sports games three days before launch, a 20% discount on all downloadable content, free premium web content and membership recognition through an in-game and online EA Sports Season Ticket badge. An annual subscription to EA Sports Season Ticket is now available through the PlayStation Store and Xbox LIVE for $24.99 or 2000 MS Points. EA Sports Season Ticket is available for Xbox 360 in North America, Europe, Australia and New Zealand, and PS3 in North America. Benefits begin with the launch of Madden NFL 12. Moving forward, participating franchises include NHL hockey, FIFA Soccer, Tiger Woods PGA Tour golf and NCAA Football. Subscribers will also get, as a bonus offer, three-day early digital access to FIFA Street.

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15th August 2011

Nintendo Canada Announces Starfox64 3D Contest

Nintendo CanadaNintendo® is giving Canadians the chance to ‘Fly Like Fox’ with the launch of the Star Fox 64™ 3D ‘Fly Like Fox’ contest. To enter the contest fans can simply fly over to the Nintendo 3DS Facebook page and click on the Star Fox 64 3D contest tab. One lucky Star Fox fan and wingman of their choice will WIN a real-life fighter-pilot experience at Air Combat USA in Fullerton, California!

Just like Fox McCloud and his team in the classic remake for Nintendo 3DS TM, the winner and a friend will experience the thrill and excitement of flying a light attack fighter in air-to-air combat. After a briefing by an Air Combat USA Pilot in the basics of Tactical starfox64 3dFighter Maneuvers, they will engage in multiple g-pulling dogfights, experiencing the fierce aerial combat of the game in real life! The flight experience will be recorded and they will be debriefed post flight.

Contest Details

  • Open only to residents of the Canada (excluding Quebec) and the U.S. who are over the age of 14
  • The contest starts on August 15, 2011 at 9:00 a.m. PT and ends on November 7, 2011 at 9:00 a.m. PT
  • One winner from Canada and one winner from the United States and will each receive a grand prize trip package consisting of a “Basic Air Combat Maneuvers for 2″ aerial combat lesson for the winner and their guest at Air Combat USA, a video of the flight experience, two nights’ accommodations in Fullerton, California, two round-trip airplane tickets, and $500 spending money
  • Approximate Retail Value of the Trip: $5,800 CAD
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15th August 2011

Space Marine Demo Coming Soon

Relic EntertainmentTHQ Inc. has announced that Relic Entertainment will be releasing a playable demo for the upcoming 3rd Person Action/Shooter, Warhammer® 40,000®: Space Marine® on Xbox Live®, PlayStation® Network and Windows PC. The demo is planned to launch simultaneously for the Xbox 360® and Windows PC on 23rd August and then on PlayStation®3 on 24th August.Space Marine

Players who have pre-ordered the digital PC version of Space Marine through Steam will receive an exclusive early access period starting on the 18th of August, running through the weekend.  Steam will also be running a Warhammer 40,000 bundle sale at a very special rate during the same period.  Check out STEAM for more details.

The Space Marine demo features two very different areas of the game. The first pits the player against an Ork horde outside the gates of a munitions factory. Armed with six devastating weapons, including the iconic bolter and lethal chainsword, the player will get to experience Space Marine’s seamless mix of melee and ranged combat first hand as they take on the rampaging invaders. The second area gives players a taste of the exhilarating Jump Pack sequences where the game’s hero—Captain Titus—takes to the skies to rain death from above.

Space Marine ‘Honour Guard’ community members will also get the chance to play the demo early on August 22nd, 24 hours prior to the public launch. For more information on how to sign up to get the demo visit the Space Marine site and make sure you have registered with the Honour Guard.

 

 

 

 

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15th August 2011

Canadian EA Titles At GamesCom

EA GamesElectronic Arts will showcase the best of interactive entertainment at this year’s gamescom in Cologne, Germany. The company’s top intellectual properties are set to delight visitors, highlighting this year’s blockbuster launches and offerings for console, mobile phones, tablets and the Web. The publisher will also be providing 350 gaming stations at the EA booth allowing more consumers than ever before to get hands-on play with each game.

Jens Uwe Intat, Senior Vice President of EA European Publishing, said, “The old model of making games every few years to coincide with new hardware launches is gone. We have a very powerful set of games for today’s consoles, and now we offer that IP to players as year-round entertainment across all of their devices and platforms. We’re looking forward to our fans’ response when they get hands-on with our line-up at the show – we think they’ll like what they see”.

Canadian-made games at the show include:

  • FIFA 12: Huge space that puts players on the pitch to experience the gameplay action.
  • Need for Speed™ The Run: Get behind the wheel in a race for your life from the Golden Gate to the Empire State.
  • Mass Effect™ 3: Bioware’s high octane alien invasion adventure explodes in an all-out galactic war. The time has come to join the war effort and experience the industry’s most critically acclaimed RPG first-hand.
  • The Secret World: Funcom producers will be showing an exciting live demo in one of many dungeons, highlighting combat, progression and boss fights.
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12th August 2011

What Did We Miss

It appears that there were loads of news announcements made while we were at SIGGRAPH with very sketchy wireless. The media room where we could have had a wired connection was two floors and a long walk away, but we wouldn’t have had long enough on the wired connection to catch up on everything. Here are just a few of the stories that broke during the past few days:

MIGSThe Montreal International Game Summit announced its keynote speakers. The conference will open with Jason Rohrer, an independent Game Designer, and Richard Lemarchand, Lead Game Designer for Naughty Dog, on November 1st and 2nd respectively. Yves Guillemot, Co-Founder and CEO of Ubisoft, will have the honour of delivering the conference’s closing keynote.

Other featured speakers at MiGS 2011 include David Hego, Artistic Director for Rocksteady Studios, who will be presenting in the Arts & VFX Track. Alain Tascan, President & CEO at Sava Transmedia will be participating in the Business track while Lee Perry, Senior Gameplay Designer for Epic Games will be on the Design track. Over on the Technology track, attendees will find a presentation by Stefan Boberg, Technical Development Director at EA DICE, while the Production track will feature a presentation by David Anfossi, Producer – DX: HR at Eidos Montreal. A new track has been added for 2011, and Tom Salta, Music Composer known for producing scores featured in popular franchises such as R.U.S.E. and Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands will be the featured presenter for the brand new Audio track. Please visit the MiGS site for an up-to-date speaker list.Assassin's Creed Revelations Constantinople

ubisoft canadaUbisoft announced that PlayStation® gamers will be able to test their assassination skills beginning on September 3rd with a multiplayer beta of the highly anticipated Assassin’s Creed Revelations that will run until September 11th. PlayStation®Plus members and Uplay members will enjoy exclusive access to the multiplayer beta on PlayStation®3. The multiplayer beta offers access to nine characters – The Sentinel, The Vanguard, The Guardian, The Vizier, The Thespian, The Deacon, The Bombardier, The Trickster and The Champion, three maps – Knight’s Hospital, Antioch, Constantinople, and four playable modes – Wanted and Manhunt, as well as two new modes, Deathmatch and Artifact Assault. The rest of us will apparently have to wait until the game’s release on November 15th.

BiowareBioware’s Dragon Age franchise has expanded to Google+ games. Dragon Age™ Legends, the Dragon Age Legendspopular dark fantasy Play4Free® RPG developed by BioWare San Francisco (formerly EA 2D) has launched, and is the only game of its kind on Google’s new real-life social project. Dragon Age Legends extends the award-winning Dragon Age franchise and reinvents it for social play on Google+. The game blends accessible and engaging tactical combat, progression and exploration in the Dragon Age universe, and is perfect for co-operative and competitive gameplay across players’ Google+ Circles and Hangouts.

wordlogicVancouver’s WordLogic Corporation, a provider of advanced predictive text software for smartphones, PCs and other devices, has announced the availability of WordLogic Intelligent Input™ technology for licensing to manufacturers and software developers. The technology is ideal for mobile app developers, search providers, and device OEMs looking for the best possible predictive text or search technology.

WordLogic Intelligent Input™ helps make text input on touchscreen smartphones, tablets, and other consumer electronics devices faster, more accurate and helpful. Devices like smartphones, tablets, automotive infotainment systems, Internet TV, and game consoles are proliferating by the billions. They enable the Internet and employ touchscreens, body motion, infrared controllers or other non-mechanical keyboards to enter text, search and control applications. WordLogic Intelligent Input™ brings next generation text input to these text-hungry devices.

Current predictive text methods, which rely upon adjacent key prediction or misspellings, are frequently so inaccurate use that people simply turn them off. Alternatives require too much of a learning curve for mass adoption. Voice input has improved, but even server-based voice recognition is frequently insufficient in environments subject to background noise, such as groups where conversation is taking place, in vehicles, and on the street.

gorilla nationGorilla Nation Media Canada has announced that it will exclusively represent the online advertising sales for European news site Figaro Medias in the Canadian market.

“Group Figaro is enthusiastic to join the Gorilla Nation family. We share the same vision of the digital business, which is to guarantee premium, innovative and engaging contents (video, chat session, etc.), to join our audience on all devices and platforms and to respond with care to our advertisers the same way we care about our content. The adaptability and the service quality of Gorilla Nation bring a new dynamic to the Figaro Medias offer in Canada,” says Eileen Lemuet, International Commercial Director at Figaro Medias.

“With the addition of Figaro Medias to our roster of sites, it shows our commitment and seriousness in increasing our offer in the French Canadian market, while complementing some of the new business sites we have recently added,” says Jean-Sébastien Tremblay, Director of sales, East of Canada, at GN Media Canada.

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10th August 2011

Activision and GameStop Launch PROTOTYPE 2 Get in the Game Promotion

Radical EntertainmentGamers now have a chance to win their ultimate fantasy with Activision Publishing, Inc.’s and GameStop’s, “Get in the Game,” pre-order promotion for Radical Entertainment’s highly anticipated PROTOTYPE® 2.

U.S. and Canadian players, 18 and older, who pre-order PROTOTYPE 2 at GameStop between now and September 1, 2011 will have the opportunity to go online and enter a random drawing to win a trip for two to Radical Entertainment in Vancouver and become a character in the upcoming open-world action thriller.  To enter the drawing, and for full rules and regulations, go to www.gamestop.com/collection/prototype-2.  The press release said that Canadians who want to enter the contest should go to www.gamestop.ca/prototype-2, however at press time, that link resulted in a 404 error. In fact, GameStop’s Canadian site didn’t mention the contest at all. prototype 2Conspiracy?

“Thanks to this great partnership with Activision and GameStop, we have an incredible opportunity to offer gamers something truly unique,” said Ken Rosman, Studio Head, Radical Entertainment.  “In addition to just seeing themselves in the game, the winners will actually be able to locate their virtual selves and shape-shift Sgt. James Heller into their likeness.  Radical wouldn’t be where it is today without our fans, and this is just another way for us to thank them for all their support.”

The sequel to Radical Entertainment’s best-selling open-world action game of 2009, PROTOTYPE 2 takes the unsurpassed carnage of the original PROTOTYPE and continues the experience of becoming the ultimate shape-shifting weapon.  As the game’s all-new infected protagonist, Sgt. James Heller, players will cut a bloody swathe through the wastelands of post-viral New York Zero (or more simply… NYZ) with unparalleled locomotion, building up a vast genetic arsenal of deadly, biological weapons and abilities as they hunt and consume their way toward the ultimate goal — to kill…Alex…Mercer!

PROTOTYPE 2 is currently in development for Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system from Microsoft, PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system and the Windows PC.  The game is currently rated “RP” (Rating Pending) by the ESRB, with an expected “M” rating.

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4th August 2011

Brawl Busters Moving To Beta

rock hippo productionsRock Hippo Productions and partner Weezor have announced today that the closed beta test for Brawl Busters will begin next week on Thursday, August 11th. You can apply to receive a beta key by signing up on the game’s web site.

Brawl Busters is a Free2Play dynamic new action brawler that features competitive and co-operative battle modes all in a unique third person view.  With its simple and intuitive controls, this easy to pick up and play game makes team strategy a must as player’s battle against each other or team up against computer controlled enemies.

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“Our fans ask us every day when they will get their hands on Brawl Busters so we are excited to finally be able to let them know the countdown has started and they only have to wait one more week!” said Howard He, President and CEO of Rock Hippo Productions.  “We invite players to go to the website now and sign up so they can make sure to get one of the coveted closed beta invites, and while they are there they should make sure to check out the weekly video lessons we have posted teaching them about Brawl Buster’s gameplay features. This way, they can be ready to jump in and be one of the best Original Busters next Thursday.”

The gameplay lessons help players to learn more about what to expect when they enter the world of Brawl Busters. The video lessons can be found on the front page of the Brawl Busters website and feature a breakdown of each of the five character classes, the missions, the customization, environment and items and much more!

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3rd August 2011

Space Marine Soundtrack Scored By Celebrated Composer Team

Relic EntertainmentCelebrated composer duo Cris Velasco (God of War Series) and Sascha Dikiciyan (TRON: Evolution) have created an epic original score for Relic Entertainment’s upcoming 3rd person action/shooter, Warhammer® 40,000®: Space Marine® published by THQ. Set in the Warhammer 40,000 universe created by Games Workshop®, Space Marine is scheduled to be released for the Xbox 360®, PlayStation®3 and Windows PC on September 6th 2011.
Space Marine
In Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine you are Captain Titus of the Ultramarines, humanity’s last hope for survival in a war-ridden future. Step into the armor of this superhuman warrior and use a lethal combination of deadly weapons to crush overwhelming alien forces. Fight against the savage Orks and the unholy forces of Chaos in a brutally violent world based on one of the most popular science fiction fantasies.

Inspired by the stunning cinematic visuals and visceral gameplay of Space Marine, the renowned duo of composers Cris Velasco and Sascha Dikiciyan crafted an expansive emotional score featuring anthemic orchestral compositions and contemporary Hollywood music production, reflecting the epic scale of this rich, sci-fi fantasy.

Glenn Jamison, Audio Lead at Relic Entertainment commented, “Cris Velasco and Sascha Dikiciyan have composed a world-class, emotionally intense original music score for Space Marine that exceeded all of our expectations. We were blown away by the inspired music they wrote for our game and can’t wait to share their epic score with everyone when Space Marine releases this September.”

Composers Cris Velasco and Sascha Dikiciyan commented, “Space Marine has been one of the most creatively satisfying projects of our scoring career. This being the first third-person shooter in the Warhammer franchise, we were honored to write an original score that lives up to the games’ prestigious history and also pushes the series forward with a bold and fresh sound.”

The Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine original soundtrack will be included in the Collector’s Edition now available to pre-order exclusively from the THQ store – which has many Warhammer fans around the world (including the Cavechild) very unhappy with THQ.

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2nd August 2011

Hands On With Kula Blox

Finally. TransGaming

I’ve been waiting for months to have a go at TransGaming Studio’s upcoming title Kula Blox, in part because the studio staff have been taunting me mercilessly with each new iteration and character reveal. They haven’t been playing fair, to say the least – but I got my chance to try it on not just one, but two platforms at Casual Connect Seattle. Was it worth the wait? Most definitely. I really didn’t want to put it down, and I feel that this will be one of the top Canadian-made casual game titles of the year.

gametreetvMy first go-round with the game was on TransGaming’s GameTree TV platform, which puts games right on your smart TV. We don’t have a smart TV (we just got an LCD HDTV a few months ago – can’t rush these upgrades), so I was also getting a first look at this interesting new way to play. GameTree TV gives players the option of trying, renting, or purchasing casual game titles. Adding to the challenge was using the uWand controller, so this first play-through was a trifecta of new things to wrap my mind around.

I am impressed with the GameTree TV interface, which works via a set-top box to offer gamers a wide variety of titles. I watched many Casual Connect attendees pick up the controller and easily figure out how to pick and launch titles, as well as play them – no previous experience required. While I did get to spend a fair bit of time playing Kula Blox on GameTree, the title is still in development so the GameTree version was not yet fully optimized for the platform. Kula BloxEven still, the game has an over-all high appeal – the graphics are crisp and clear, the music is not annoying, and the sounds, while somewhat repetitive, were original and fit in well with the game’s environment.

When Kula Blox is released, it will be available for GameTree TV, Mac, PC, iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad. Not that a release date has been confirmed as of yet; TransGaming Studios’ Creative Director Jason Azevedo would only commit to “late Summer but definitely by Fall” no matter how many times I tried to reword the question and get a confirmation from him. Unfortunately, if we go by this year’s west coast weather patterns, “late Summer” could be virtually never.  Although, it does appear to be summer today. Tomorrow could be a different story.

Kula Blox is an arcade-style game with a diverse cast of characters who have a habit of falling to Earth from some unknown skyward region. Perhaps they’ve been evicted from the Cloud. I’m not really sure. During this losing battle with gravity, players will use their animal character to eat up the other animals who are also Kula Blox The Junglefalling through the air. There is a catch to this feeding frenzy, though. The player’s animal can only lunch on those animals which are smaller in stature while carefully avoiding those which are bigger. The bigger animals are rather persistent though, shadowing the player through the air, hoping for an easy meal.

Watching out for the big bullies isn’t the only obstacle, either. That would be too easy. There are branches and rock outcrops (depending on which map you’re playing through) to avoid – and while the developers were nice enough to put arrows on the screen to let you know that an obstacle is forthcoming, we gamers have been trained to believe that arrow paths are where we are supposed to go. Wrong. Don’t go there, you’ll get splatted and lose health.

There are also power-downs in addition to the traditional power-ups. Each animal has its own special power that you can use once it’s charged up, giving you a distinct advantage over the enemy. The universal power-ups give you things like a turtle shell helmet to keep the big bullies from turning you into a lunch entree while power-downs such as bear poop (yes, you read that correctly) do things like make your animal character smell. If you are unlucky enough to have fallen through the bear poop, the smaller animals will avoid you, making it harder for you to consume them so that you can grow big enough to take on the bullies. However, in my mind, this is somewhat illogical because poop is a fertilizer…

When you do finally reach ground you will land with a resounding crash, breaking several (or at least one) wooden crate. These crates contain different types of prizes such as gold coins to reward you for losing Kula Blox monkeyyour battle with gravity. These coins can then in turn be used in the game’s store to purchase unlocks, which can also be accomplished through micro-transactions. None of the price points have been announced yet, which includes the purchase price as well as those for the in-game upgrades. I considered torture but I have a feeling TransGaming Studio’s Managing Director has ensured that the creative staff have a high tolerance to such measures, so I let that idea go.

Kula Blox gives gamers of all types and ages a challenge that is fun to pick up and play, whether it’s just for a few minutes or a few hours. The controls are very intuitive and allow the player to use either tilt mechanics or side-to-side pinball-styled touch controls. With GameTree TV, you could use either the controller’s side-to-side buttons or motion detection in place of touch control; they work in the same way. I found the pinball touch controls on the iPad easier to use, but that is just because I am rather inept with tilt and motion controls. Yes, I am one of those players; I prefer the Wii’s classic controller over the Wiimote.

I asked Jason where the concept for Kula Blox came from, and he told me that it actually started out as an Kula Blox Eagleentirely different game that was pitched during one of the studio’s “Pitch Your Game Day” events. These pitch days are often held at the end of a development cycle, and Kula Blox has retained some of the original ideas from that initial introduction. The quick, fun casualness of the concept stuck with the creative staff, and like their recent Garage, Inc. game release, Kula Blox feels fresh and new. It definitely has some of the characteristics of a casual game that I like – scores to beat, things to collect (or not collect, in the case of bear poop) and many levels to unlock and revisit.

I also tried to pin Jason down in trying to get him to choose between Garage, Inc. and Kula Blox, naming one of them as his favourite, but he wouldn’t commit to that either. He stated that the titles are like children, and he likes them both equally, but for different reasons. Not hard to tell he’s a parent – and he was a real trooper, too – he’d endured probably one of the worst flights from Toronto to Seattle ever, with a Kula Blox Jaguarlong flight delay and late luggage, but that didn’t put a dent in his humour or enthusiasm. In fact, everyone I met from TransGaming was very friendly, and as some of us had been conversing back and forth on Twitter for some time now, it was much like meeting up with a long-time friend. My only regret (aside from not getting away with the iPad & game) was that I couldn’t have stayed at Casual Connect for longer than one day, because I really wanted to play more Kula Blox and talk with everyone more about the studio and all of its aspects.

At launch, Kula Blox will have three distinct map areas – The Forest, The Jungle and The Savannah, each with its own characters, prizes and themes. I did pry a little bit of information out of Jason – there will be post-release updates with more items and levels. The only other pre-release information I could get out of him is that they are still working hard on some power balancing as well as polishing sounds and mechanics. Through my incessant pestering, TransGaming is also working on a video trailer for the game, which we will be showing in our booth (1018) next week at SIGGRAPH 2011 in Vancouver, along with trailers from several other Canadian studios.

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