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Richard is going to be attending a secret PS3 event tonight, I can't tell you anything more about this at the moment. We've got an embargo in place, but keep your eyes on the site for more on this soon. Richard is also working on a review for Assassin's Creed 2, this should be published by the end of the week.
Has anyone been playing Torchlight? We've just published our review, and was given a score of 8.5/10 from Manny. Haven't had a chance to personally give this a try yet, but I'm a Diablo fan and have heard lots of great things about it. Hopefully I'll get a chance to try it out over the weekend. Would love to hear your thoughts on it too.
Some of you have been asking about more Blu-ray reviews on the site, and I can confirm that we have reviews coming for Moon, Year One and Terminator, all from Sony Home Entertainment. Look out for Moon, this is one that I would recommend to any Sci-Fi fanatic.
Looks like I'm going to have to see 2012 tonight, although I'm probably going to be very disappointed with it. Anyone else seen it yet? Was it really bad? I'll let you know what I think when I get back.
If you've got any questions please shoot them across, and thanks for reading.
Microsoft has issued an official press release that confirms the existence of the new parental control feature, the Xbox 360 Family Timer.
Microsoft Corp. today unveiled a new parental control feature, the Xbox 360 Family Timer. The Family Timer will enable parents for the first time to set the appropriate amount of gaming and entertainment time for their kids, on a daily or weekly basis.
“As a leader in interactive entertainment, it’s Microsoft’s responsibility to provide parents with tools they can use to manage their children’s video gaming and online experiences, and we have made that a priority from the very start,” said Robbie Bach, president of the Entertainment and Devices Division at Microsoft.
The Xbox 360 Family Timer is an addition to the console’s existing set of industry-leading parental control features. Similar to its Windows Vista counterpart, the new Xbox 360 Family Timer can restrict children’s activity time and can be set on a per-day or per-week basis. Helpful “notifications” will appear to warn the gamer that the session is nearing the end and the feature will automatically turn off the console when a pre-determined time limit has been exceeded. The Family Timer feature will be available for download via Xbox LIVE in early December.
Xbox was the first video game and entertainment system with built-in parental controls for both online and offline use. Known as Family Settings, these controls allow parents and caregivers to set guidelines for which games work for them, make informed choices about content, and decide who their children can play with online. Earlier this year, Windows Vista launched with a set of similar parental controls that allows parents to guide children's game playing, web browsing, and overall computer use. These controls help parents determine which games their children can play, which programs they can use, which websites they can visit—and when.
According to Bach, with more than 13 million Xbox 360® consoles sold worldwide, the company’s drive to empower parents is a core Microsoft responsibility. “We’ve seen a tremendous response to the robust parental controls offered on Xbox 360 and Windows Vista, and the Xbox 360 Family Timer will continue to deliver on our promise to provide safer, balanced and fun entertainment for everyone,” said Bach. “Professionally, I am proud of my division’s work in this area, and personally, as a parent of three school-age children, I know how important it is to be engaged in an ongoing dialogue with my family in order to uphold our household screen time rules.”
NCsoft announced this morning that they've acquired the intellectual and proprietary rights to both the City of Heroes and City of Villains franchises from Cryptic Studios.
From the press release;
Cryptic Studios™ announced today that the development house has sold its intellectual and proprietary rights to both the City of Heroes® and City of Villains® franchises to publisher NCsoft. As part of the agreement, NCsoft is licensing Cryptic’s engine technologies for use with future games.
“City of Heroes and City of Villains players should be assured that Cryptic Studios will be working closely with NCsoft to ensure a smooth, seamless transition,” said Michael Lewis, President and co-founder of Cryptic Studios. “City of Heroes was Cryptic’s flagship product and we are proud of this title and the many millions of characters that have entertained over a million people worldwide. The decision to sell the franchise allows us to focus resources on our soon to be announced first-party projects.”
Petroglyph Games have updated their careers page with information that reveals that they are currently looking for a MMO Game Designer to help them with an upcoming Massive Multiplayer Online game that is currently in development.
The MMO Game Designer is responsible for understanding, refining, maintaining, and disseminating the game design vision, game design, mission building, gameplay balancing, and game proposal development of a Massive Multiplayer Online Game. Typically reports to Lead/Sr. Designer or Producer.
* Responsible for designing and developing project story lines, including writing proposals, treatments, levels and scenarios on a console project
* Develops concepts and treatments for products
* Creates game and AI scripts using LUA, or similar C/C++ structured languages
* Works with the team to define the creative vision and fun factor, as well as product content and schedule
* Writes and maintains design documents for the MMO project
* Works closely with members of the production team to execute design and work through revisions as needed
* Minimum of 3 years game design experience in the game industry, with design credit on at least one shipped MMO title
* Bachelor's degree or equivalent work experience
* Exceptional organization, communication, and writing skills
* Expert knowledge of game design trends
* Self-directed, detail oriented, problem solver with a burning desire to contribute to a uniquely creative environment
* Knowledge of scripting languages such as LUA and C++ structured scripting languages
* Experience and a thorough knowledge of how the major game design elements all work together
* Proven success in creating compelling game-play, scenarios, activities, and encounters
* Strong organizational skills: ability to keep track of minute details as well as the big picture while multitasking
Ability to both conceptualize and implement game ideas using various tools and technologies
* An avid gamer with a strong interest in pushing the industry forward creatively Send your resume to email@example.com. No phone calls please.
Hopefully we'll learn more about this MMOG soon.
Sony Computer Entertainment America confirmed this morning that God of War III is currently in development for the PlayStation 3 at SCEA's Santa Monica studio. Although this is great news, there was some bad news to go along with it.
Cory Barlog, game director for the God of War series will be leaving the company, so his skills won't be available for the production of GOHIII which could lead to some noticeable changes in the series, but we'll have to wait and see how God of War: Chains of Olympus for the PSP turns out to get an idea of this effect.
Sony's statement stated; “We can confirm that Cory Barlog, game director for God of War II, is leaving the SCEA [Santa Monica] Studio and we are grateful for his work and creative vision for the critically acclaimed God of War franchise.
“Moving forward, we are confident in the God of War team, as they are an extremely talented group of people that are passionate about the franchise and dedicated to creating even more epic content with God of War: Chains of Olympus for the PSP and God of War III for PS3."
Check back in the future for more details on God of War III.
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EA Chicago has gone down for the count. I can exclusively report that EA is closing the studio effective immediately. Word is that EA is working hard to place many of the 150+ employees at its other studios around the world. What does this mean for the future of the Def Jam fighting franchise and the forthcoming Marvel fighting game? I'm still looking into that, but it sure seems like those games won't be coming anytime soon.
EA Chicago is reported to have closed down. Kotaku has received an official memo from EA that reveals this news to be true which effectively means that production on Def Jam: Icon 2 has been canceled and EA's forthcoming Marvel game is likely to be passed on to another team.
Here's the memo;
“FROM FRANK GIBEAU Today we are announcing the closure of our studio in Chicago. This is a difficult decision but we are convinced it's the right thing to do for the future of the Games Label and EA.
Within the EA Games Label, we are committed to running each franchise and facility as a city/state, teams with unique creative identities as well as responsibility for product quality, ship dates and profitability. We recognize that games require large investments and extended development cycles. We're willing to take risks, make long-term investments, and to support teams and individuals between launches. But each team is responsible for staying on a reasonable path to profitability. Sticking to that strategy is what gives us the financial resources and flexibility to take risks on new projects.
Unfortunately, EA Chicago hasn't been able to meet that standard. The location has grown dramatically in the past three years while revenue from the games developed there has not. The number of employees has grown from 49 in 2004 to 146 people currently in the new facility in downtown Chicago. As it stands, EA Chicago has no expectation of hitting our profitability targets until FY2011 or later.
Closing EA Chicago is the toughest decision I've made in my career - one that in no way reflects on the talent and dedication of the people who work there. I've enjoyed their games and consider GM Kudo Tsunoda to be one of the best creative minds in our industry. The people impacted by this decision will be treated fairly - we're offering relocation opportunities to many and there will be outplacement assistance and severance for all eligible employees.
I know this decision will be unsettling to many beyond those who work in Chicago. It's important that you understand that we are willing to take creative risks and make long-term investments in people and projects. But the city/state philosophy demands that every project be committed to delivering a reasonable expectation of profitability. It's a performance commitment that binds us together and ensures we have the resources we need to invest back into our people and creative output.
Finally, when EA announced our quarterly earnings last week, John and Warren referenced facility closures. We had planned to include Chicago in that communication but a personal tragedy in the studio - the death of a colleague - resulted in our delaying the announcement out of respect for his family and friends. I apologize for any confusion or concern that caused.
I think you'll find that in addition to tackling some serious challenges, we are making great progress on our business. Consumers have responded well to our new IP and quality scores are tracking up. We are proud of our recent hits, such as Skate and the success we have made in making a solid game with The Simpsons. And we're looking forward to breakout hits like Need For Speed Pro Street, Rockband, Burnout Paradise, Battlefield Bad Company, Army of Two, Crysis, and more in the future with Mass Effect and Mercenaries 2 World in Flames.
We're definitely headed in the right direction.
It's bad news for the 150+ employees at the studio but hopefully most of them will get integrated into other teams throughout EA.
GamersGate announced today that Championship Manager 2008 for the PC has been launched and is now available for direct download.
Think you can do better? All football fans around the world, believe they know more about football than anybody else. Now it's your turn!
Championship Manager 2008™ covers every aspect of building and establishing a team, from training through to transfers and cup glory, with over 27 global leagues included.
After a debut appearance in CM07, ProZone is back as a fully integrated Post Match Analysis tool which isolates the key factors that decided the result of your game and provides you with the knowledge to act on the match incidents and strengthen your team for the next fixture. Now with 25% more players and staff to select, what's keeping you from being the next Championship Manager?
To find out more about Championship Manager 2008™ or GamersGate, please go to http://www.gamersgate.com
Activision has revealed that Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock has shipped more units than any other game in the publishers library, making it their largest product launch ever.
Robert Kotick, Chairman and CEO of Activision, commented; “Within the first seven days, consumer sell through was more than $100 million in North America alone - our largest product launch ever."
Expect to see our review of Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock on Strategy Informer soon.
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Microsoft has sent us a press release this morning that announces a four day festival of gaming where all Xbox 360 owners will gain access to the Xbox Live Gold membership for free from Friday 23rd until Monday 26th November.
The press release;
Microsoft today announced Xtival ’07, a four day festival of gaming, competitions and exclusive downloads, bringing the wonders of Xbox LIVE® Gold membership, free to everyone for one weekend. The invitation for Xbox 360™ owners to tune up and log in to the amazing line up of gaming and music themed fun was today thrown open to the millions of Xbox 360 owners across Europe from Friday 23rd until Monday 26th November.
Organisers promise a celebration of the comfort of your own living room in which everyone can get the most out of Xbox LIVE. Xtival ‘O7 will give everyone the chance to play and chat with their friends online and then beat them into the ground on the latest next generation, high definition Xbox 360 titles.
In addition to the chance to log on and play your friends online for free there is also an amazing line up of events to take part in with three days of themed gaming activities and the chance to take on stars from the world of music and video games.
Chris Lewis, Regional Vice President Entertainment and Devices Division, Microsoft said “It’s great to be able to offer Xbox 360 owners across the region the chance to take part in Xtival ’07 for free, sampling all the great features of the Xbox LIVE Gold service and play against friends new and old alike from the comfort of their living room.”
For more information please visit the official Xtival ‘O7 site at www.xbox.com/xtival07 to find out the latest line up information.
While gamers can play any game they like on Xbox LIVE during the Xtival weekend, organizers have come up with three days of themed activities:
Friday 23rd November - OLD SKOOL V NEW SKOOL
As the gates open for this unique weekend, Friday is gamers’ chance to play the newest versions of games everyone’s talking about and show their mates how it’s done. Or, show the world their genius on something they really know their way around. These games will include FIFA ’08, Halo® 3, Lost Planet, Gears of War along with all the latest titles from the Xbox LIVE Arcade.
There is also the chance to take part in a ‘Developer Jam Session’ Competition taking on the brains behind Project Gotham Racing 4, the blockbuster title from Bizarre.
Saturday 24th November - HEADLINERS
On the second day, gamers will get to prove themselves as Guitar Heroes in waiting, as they are invited to take part in a unique ‘Game with Fame’ session with a top name talent. More details to be revealed later this month.
They will also get to take on the developers of the amazing music title along with playing friends old and new alike on Viva Piñata Party Animals, Naruto, Call of Duty 4 and Rainbow 6 Vegas
Sunday 25th November – SPORTS DAY
Closing out Xtival ’07, the organisers will be showcasing the best sport on the planet, inviting visitors to show off their skills on the top Xbox 360 games titles including Tiger Woods, Table Tennis, Virtua Tennis, Forza® 2 Motorsport, and Pro Evolution Soccer 2008.
Halo Art Competition
All weekend gamers will also have the chance to show their mates how good they really are and it is as easy as taking a shot at yourself using one of the unique features of Halo 3 to record the moments you’re most proud of, video or still, and then share them with your mates on Xbox LIVE.
The Xtival ’07 organisers are looking for the 10 best still shots taken on Xbox LIVE in each participating country, as judged by the local Halo Art Team. The lucky 10 will get a still print to hang on their wall to remind them of their proudest moment. To enter, gamers have to capture their best screenshot and save it to www.bungie.net during game play, with the subject line as “Xtival ‘07 Halo Art UK The team will judge the winners and get in contact with winners directly.
All weekend there will also be Xtival ‘07 Mystery Gamers playing on Xbox LIVE, ready to award Microsoft Points to gamers they enjoy playing against. Gamers will only be eligible for selection if they are playing over this weekend. Organisers won’t be revealing when the Mystery Gamers will be playing. Visitors will have to keep checking back and playing their favourite games to be in with a chance of becoming a lucky winner.
There will be free exclusive Xtival theme packs and gamer pics available from Xbox LIVE Marketplace, for the festival weekend only, and loads of other great stuff to take part in and explore, all for free.