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Archive for June, 2007

Definite numbers released for North American game industry

Friday, June 29th, 2007

When one covers events like the Game Developers Conference, the Austin Game Developers Conference, GDC China, GDC Mobile, the Serious Games Summit, the Hollywood and Games Summit, the Game Career Seminars, PC Game On, the Mobile Games Seminar, the Independent Games Festival and Summit, and the Game Developers Choice Awards, one is bound to develop a few contacts. Taking advantage of this, the CMP Game Group conducted a novel survey, “Game Developer Census 2007”, and the group announced it’s findings this week.

The purpose of this exercise was to get some hard numbers concerning the game industry in North America. This exercise revealed more than 39,700 Americans and 8,100-plus Canadians to be “working within video game development and publishing” at around 600 companies across the two territories. However, PR, marketing, legal, game journalism, middleware and other services were not included in the census.

More than 46 percent of the American gaming industry (translating into roughly 18,300 people) work in California, followed by 11.6 percent in Washington and 7.4 percent in Texas. About 1000 gaming types are working in New York, New York, Massachusetts, Illinois, and Florida.

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Five Nintendo only titles announced by Midway

Friday, June 29th, 2007

Five exclusive titles have been announced by Midway games this morning, all meant for Nintendo platforms. Out of these, two are for the Nintendo DS, two for the wii, and one works on both the DS and Game Boy Advance. 

The Cruis’n for the Wii will add on modern enhancements to the popular Cruis’n USA formula game, just like L.A. Rush did for San Fransisco Rush in 2005. The fully customizable vehicles will be maneuvered through 12 street racing circuits by means of a Wii remote, and the upgrades would include features such as body kits, neons, turbo, and nitrous. More than half a dozen arcade (and dive bar) favorites are rumored to be brought by Game Party to the console via motion controls. Some of the mini-games will take place in “American sports venues”, and “European gathering sports” and these include common games like darts, air hockey, “hoop shoot,” and trivia contests. Will we see games talking place in stadiums, and bars then?

Ultimate Mortal Kombat for the Nintendo DS is a combination of the arcade classic ( Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3) and a portable rendition of Puzzle Kombat (from Mortal Kombat Deception). Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection support has been added into the mix also in this game. Another game that is soon coming to the DS is Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends: Imagination Invaders. This game translates the comedy and characters of the animated series to the dual screened handheld. On another note, The Bee Game (this isn’t in any way related to Bee Movie game) brings a touch of sweetness to the Game Boy Advance and DS.

Quoting Matt Booty, exec. VP of worldwide studios at Midway “The Wii and Nintendo DS require games that are innovative and take full advantage of a unique control scheme to offer a truly different type of gameplay experience. We are very excited to be bringing classic Midway franchises such as Mortal Kombat and Cruis’n along with powerful licensed content like Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends to the massive installed base of Nintendo system owners.”

The E3 Media and Business summit is set to feature all five games, and we will be sure and get all available information on them. The games are all expected to be shipped sometime this November.


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Civilization Revolution slated for next spring, says Sid Meier

Friday, June 29th, 2007

Sid Mier of Civilization Revolution said that modern consoles and handhelds would be finally “civilized” as 2K games next spring. Civilization Revolution is a new and original Civilization experience designed for next generation’s handhelds and consoles. It is being developed by Firaxis Games, and the primary purposese it to benefit from the various online and hardware advantages that the current slate of home consoles have.

Meir, who is the lead designer of the title and director of Creative Development at Firaxis was enthusiastic about the game. Quoting Meir, “Civilization Revolution is the game I’ve always wanted to make! We are excited to take advantage of the power of next generation consoles and the ingenuity of handhelds, to create a great and unique strategy game for newcomers to the series, as well as the millions of fans around the world who enjoy Civilization on the PC.”

It has been confirmed that Revolution will have an “epic single player campaign” along with online gaming ability ( head-to-head, free for all, team play). It will support video and voice chat, leaderboards and downloadable content. However, platform and gameplay details are not clear at this stage. More information should be available though at the E3 media and business summit in three weeks.

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New Movie trailers available at Play station store

Friday, June 29th, 2007

Many new items were added to the Playstation store today, and the 1.82 firmware for Playstation (which adds support for VC High Profile~H.264/MPEG-4 movie files) was released today. Super Stardust HD, which is an update on the 1993 game “Amiga Shooter” is the first on the list of new releases. It has been developed by HouseMarque, and the title can be downloaded for $7.99.

A playable demo version of Dynasty Warriors: Gundam is also on the interactive docket. This game combines the violent playing style of the Dynasty Warriors franchise with the settings and characters of the much vaunted Mobile Suit Gundam anime series.

Well, it should be far more appealing than Mobile Suit Gundam:Crossfire for sure!

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Nintendo gamers targetted by Microsoft

Friday, June 29th, 2007

Casual gaming has been quite a success for Nintendo, making it hard to ignore their recent focus on mainstream gaming. Wii has grabbed the second place and is all set to take first place, and this is something other console manufacturers should learn from. For the hardcore gamers amongst us perturbed over a possible shift towards mainstream gaming rather than traditional hardcore gaming, there is news: Microsoft has expressed a desire to pursue casual gaming too.

According to Chris Lewis, Microsoft’s regional VP of the EMEA (Europe, Middle East, Africa) home and entertainment division,”Our drive is to appeal to a wider genre with more casual types of gaming.” He also claimed that Microsoft’s goal was to bring more peripheral based gaming (a good example would be the popular Guitar Hero 2) into the system. 

He was diplomatic when referring to Nintedo saying that the two companies work together quite well. Quoting from what he said, “Microsoft “co-exists with Nintendo very well”. However, Microsoft will obviously compete with Nintendo eventually on this one. . . the only question is, how? Lewis says more news will be forthcoming at E3 in a couple of weeks.

The Xbox Live Arcade is the only game right now at Microsoft which could be classified as a casual game, and even here hardcore efforts like the recent Prince of Persia remake share room with causal games like Soltrio Solitarie and PopCap’s Bejeweled 2. One can only but hope though that an increased focus on casual gaming doesn’t translate into more mini-game collections from Microsoft.

We should be able to get information from E3 in a few weeks.

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Flying Lab and Sony Online producing Pirates of the Burning Sea

Thursday, June 28th, 2007

Hard to believe, but Flying Lab Software and Sony Online Entertainment are actually working together, rather than against each other. This partnership also seems them releasing and maintaing Pirates of the Burning Sea in a joint effort.

The breakup of duties is detailed in a posting on the official web site. Flying Lab is responsible for development, community management, server maintenance and customer support, while Sony Online Entertainment will handle billing, launcher software, localization, marketing and retail distribution.

This type of collaboration between the two companies where SOE works with an independent developer to release a game is terned as “platform publishing”. This is quite different from SOE’s usual style which is to develop games internally such as in the case of Everquest 2 and Star Wars galaxies).

Here, the game is made by the developer, published by SOE and the responsibilities are shared equally between the two.
Remember to sign up for the beta release!

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Developers required for PS3 and DS projects

Thursday, June 28th, 2007


CyberConnect2, the makers of the .hack RPG series and Naruto fighting games is reportedly seeking developers. They have a recruitment ad out in the latest issues of Weekly Famitsu, which states the company is looking for developers.

Further details are not available at this point in time, but sketches and artworks of animal creatures in costumes of similar style in the .hack series are shown in the advertisement. This by itself doesn’t mean anything, however, whatever they are working on should be interesting regardless!

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Final Fantasy IV seeking Japanese singer

Thursday, June 28th, 2007

Singers are required for Final Fantasy IV remake for the Nintendo DS, as shown in this week’s issue of Weekly Famitsu. Square Enix is looking for a singer to sing the classic “Theme of Love which will now include lyrics. The idea of the audition was brought up by executive producer and director Takashi Tokita, and composer Nobuo Uematsu, while the lyrics were written by Tokita.

The audition is seeking adults (18 and above) though it is only open to Japanese residents. Those interested in applying may send demos either via email or regular mail, preferably along with pictures and PR comment. All this information will be posted on the Final Fantasy IV DS Japenese website.

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ACE3 release announced by From Software

Thursday, June 28th, 2007

Another Century’s Episode 3: The Final is going to be released by From Software for the PS2, according to the latest issue of Japanese publication Famitsu.

18 different anime titles are going to be used while making this game, which will have mechs from all . These titles includethe orignal Gundam, Char’s counterattac,G Gundam, Gundam W, Gundam X, Turn-A Gundam, Gundam Seed, Dragnar, Wings of Rean, Brainpowerd, Macross: Do You Remember Love, Macross Plus, Overman King Gainer, Shin Getter Robo, Dunbine, Martian Succesor Nadesico: The Prince of Darkness and Eureka Seven. In addition, the game will also have theme songs from each anime with the original artist.

The game will also include original meths and characters exclusive to the series. They will be taken care of by Shigenori Soejima (Stella Deus, Persona 3) and Takayuki Yanase (Super Robot Wars W, Eureka Seven) respectively.

We expect to see marked improvement from the previous game. More multple objectives and combination skills between the mechs are to be expected, along with a new coop campaign mode for the multiplayer feature (in addition to the split screen versus mode). The game is slotted for a Septemeber 6 release in Japan.

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Record of Agarest War slotted for PS3 release

Thursday, June 28th, 2007

A new RPG, named Record of Agarest, is in the works for the PS3 release. This was detailed in this week’s Weekly Famitsu magazine. Idea Factory, Red Entertainment, and Compile Heart have collaborated to handle game system, script and publishing respectively.

Allow us to give you a bit of background on the game. The game takes place in five different continents- each player will traverse one continent at a time as each successive generation is born. This is a fantasy=oriented simulation where the main hero will be succeeded by the next, however, his personal attributes and abilities would depend upon which heroine is chosen as his partner.

Similar to most simulated RPG’s, this game will implement a squared grid system and the battles would be turn based. The players would enter a phase known as the “battle phase” when reaching “battle points” marked on a field map.

Record of Agarest is slated for a September 27 release in Japan, and importers can preview the game then.


Bourne Conspiracy slated for PS3 release

Wednesday, June 27th, 2007

A new espionage action adventure game will soon join the (quite lengthy) list of games in this genre already available to gamers. The popular Bourne series by Robert Ludlum is being produced as a game “The Bourne Conspiracy” by Sierra Entertainment and High Moon Studios (Darkwatch). Though this is not one of the novels in the Bourne trilogy, the game bears the “conspiracy” tag as it apparently takes features from both the movie and the book and makes a game out of it, rather than simply create a new chapter in the trilogy. The goal appears to be to make playing the game an unique experience, rather than repeat the same thing over and over again.

More will be revealed about the Bourne Conspiracy during E3 – refer back to this space then.

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Download Wii Internet free while you can

Wednesday, June 27th, 2007

Just a quick heads up to state that the full version of the WII Internet Channel (which uses a browser based upon Opera, the popular web browser) will not be available for free download starting June 30th. Currently, it can be downloaded for free at the moment from Wii Shop Channel but this will only last for a few more days.

The browser will cost you $5 (or 500 points) startting Sunday, July 1st. Any full versions downloaded before then will of course still be valid and usable as long as the system lasts. So if you are interested in Internet through WII by any chance, get online before the end of this week and download for free while you still can!

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New modes added to F.E.A.R

Wednesday, June 27th, 2007

The F.E.A.R game for Xbox 360 received a boost yesterday when the free “Control & conquer All Map Pack” was added to the XBOX Live Marketplace. The “control” and “conquer all” modes were added through the regular title update, but the free pack enables gameplay in these modes on all of the maps included with the retail version of F.E.A.R.

A brief look at the new modes (courtesy Sierra) follows:
Control: “In Control there are 3 control points on a map. Your team gains points based on the amount of time a control point is in their possession — the more control points your team has the faster your team gains points. The team with the most points at the end of the round wins.”

Conquer All: “In Conquer All there are 5 control points on the map. If either team can hold all 5 points at one time they win. If no team can control all 5 points simultaneously then the winning team is decided by points. Teams get 10 points for each control point taken, 10 points for each enemy point neutralized and 1 point for each kill.”

The updates make the game compatible with a series of premium maps which will be made available later this summer, as evidenced by Major Nelson’s blog post. Keep an eye out for those as F.E.A.R. stays alive well into 2007, again courtesy Sierra.

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Resident Evil to be released on DVD in a few months

Wednesday, June 27th, 2007

The impending release of Resident Evil: Extinction confirms Sony Pictures Home Entertainment’s plans to get some further use out of the first two Resident Evil films on DVD. Resident Evil: Double Feature Resurrected Edition will be release on DVD on September 4th. It will sell at $14.94 a pop, and buyers will also receive a coupon entitling them to a free theatrical viewing of Extinction.

In addition to Resident Evil, and Resident Evil: Apocalypse, the box set will also have an “exclusive bridge scene” linking the events of Apocalypse and Extinction along with compelling narrative by trilogy star Milla Jovovich. The scene will be accompanied by a brief look at Extinction, and there would be a couple of new features apparently focused on the first two films in the series. Those features are “Diary of an Apocalypse (behind the scenes)”, “Zombie Dog P.O.V. Test”, “Stuntman Set Tour”, “Undead Boot Camp”, “Memory Retention Division”, and the “Evil Archives” photo gallery.

No information has been forthcoming about a Blu-ray release for the set, however, we feel it’s not a likely possibility, given the short term nature of this type of partnership, as well as the fact that Extinction makes the series a trilogy.

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Full speed ahead for God of War: Chains of Olympus

Wednesday, June 27th, 2007

3.50 firmware for the PSP has gotten around Sony imposed restrictions on PSP hardware. The firmware, released in late May means that the games can now run at 333MHZ (full capacity), but battery life has been compromised in the process. According to Cory Barlog, creative director of God of War: Chains of Olympus (and game director of God of War II), the PSP hardware would surely be used to the fullest extent possible by Chains Of Olympus (which isn’t news for those of us who have seen the actual game and it’s speed). Cory also posted a message on the PS blog yesterday which confirms the above statement.

There is more to this than meets the eye, though. Didier Malenfant, president and cofounder of Ready at Dawn clarified some of the points in the original blog, but doesn’t appear to believe that the new hardware would improve the graphics greatly, even though the game was shown to have been running at a mere 222Mhz wihtout the hardware. He appears to think that the graphics “are already pretty awesome.”

According to Malenfant, the “Ready at Dawn” website will be featuring a post soon which will address the contentious issue of PSP hardware adjustment and it’s impact upon Chains of Olympus. If we’re fortunate enough, it might even address the issue of 1080p visuals running on the current PSP hardware.


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