New technologies and titles have been announced, but clearly the industry focus has changed, and for the better. Developers are becoming more and more conscious of what’s taking place in our economy and adapting. Expect to see lower price points, more independent titles, and artistic innovation in the year to come.
FUNimation Ent. and Japanese producer Toei Animation Co. have entered into a digital content partnership in which the U.S. anime leader will distribute seven series from Toei's catalog starting Friday, April 3.
English-subtitled episodes from AIR MASTER, CAPTAIN HARLOCK, DIGIMON ADVENTURE 02, FIST OF THE NORTH STAR, GALAXY EXPRESS, PRETTY CURE and SLAM DUNK will be offered in the U.S. by streaming via FUNimation's online video portal, www.funimation.com/video.
Warner Bros. Interactive Ent. has announced SCOOBY-DOO! FIRST FRIGHTS, the videogame that will be the complement to the upcoming Warner Premiere release. This action-adventure game lets players take on the role of young Scooby-Doo and teenage versions of the newly formed Mystery, Inc. crew to solve their very first cases. The game will be released on the Wii, Nintendo DS and PlayStation 2 in fall 2009.
The SPIDER-MAN animated series from 1967 made its Marvel.com debut this week. Stream episodes of the show on Marvel.com, with "new" episodes going up every Thursday.
Disney Online, part of the Disney Interactive Media Group, has signed an agreement to acquire Internet assets from Canadian-based Kaboose Inc. including Kaboose.com, Babyzone.com, AmazingMoms.com, Funschool.com and Zeeks.com. The Kaboose assets will be integrated into Disney Online's line-up of web sites. The purchase price is approximately $18.4 million (based on approximate price of CAD 23.3 million), subject to certain adjustments.
MTV Games and Harmonix's ROCK BAND are joining forces with Paramount Pictures and Spyglass Ent. to celebrate the May 8 theatrical release of the film STAR TREK from director/producer J.J. Abrams. The first-of-its-kind collaboration will fuse together the massive cultural followings of both STAR TREK and the video game phenomenon ROCK BAND to engage fans with free music, an in-game battle of the bands, and futuristic avatar creation contest.
On April 5, Nintendo launches Nintendo DSi, the third iteration of the portable video game system and the latest evolution in hand-held gaming.
Composer Bear McCreary, known best for his work on popular sci-fi TV series BATTLESTAR GALACTICA, has signed on to score Capcom's third-person action game, DARK VOID. He has gained international renown over the last few years for his amazing work on BATTLESTAR, and DARK VOID marks the first time McCreary will be creating the score for a videogame.
Ubisoft will develop and publish a videogame based on Columbia Pictures' and Sony Pictures Animation's CG film, CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF MEATBALLS. Designed for handheld and home gaming consoles, CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF MEATBALLS is scheduled for release later this year in conjunction with the September 18, 2009 release of the feature film.
April 2009 will see the launch of the online SCARYGIRL gaming site, based on Nathan Jurevicius's Scarygirl concept. The project has been produced by Passion Pictures Australia with financial assistance from the Film Victoria Digital Media Fund. The game has been designed and developed by Touch My Pixel with in-game Flash animation from Renmotion and has taken the dedicated and creative team 22 months to develop and complete.
Paramount Digital Ent. and European production and distribution company Gaumont will develop SECTION 8, an interactive web series exclusively distributed in the U.S. by MySpace.
Endemol will handle worldwide distribution, product integration and brand partnerships.
The government will look to a new type of secret agent to help protect the planet this summer -- an elite force of guinea pigs. Disney Interactive Studios will publish the G-FORCE videogame, inspired by the upcoming feature film G-FORCE from Walt Disney Pictures and Jerry Bruckheimer Films. G-FORCE is scheduled to deploy to North American retail outlets in July 2009.
G-FORCE will carry out missions on Wii, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 2, PSP, Nintendo DS and Windows-based PC.
Disney Media Networks and YouTube have announced an agreement which includes the launch of multiple ad-supported channels featuring short-form content from ESPN and the Disney/ABC Television Group.
Dr. Allen Patridge of Adobe ran the Director 11.5 release presentation, and he went over some of the things users can expect from the new Director software. He approached this from three angles: Dominate, Accelerate, and Impress.”
MAX PAYNE 3 is currently in development and scheduled for a winter 2009 release on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC from Rockstar Games, a publishing label of Take-Two Interactive Software. Developed by Rockstar Vancouver, MAX PAYNE 3 tells the story of a retired police detective embroiled in a world of corruption, turmoil and intense violence.
Today was a truly exciting day, with newly unveiled games, the opening of the conference floor, and the two flashy awards shows. But, the fun isn’t over yet!
Following its success with millions of children and parents around the globe, the virtual world of CLUB PENGUIN has opened its igloo doors to the francophone community.
The new French language version of CLUB PENGUIN (www.clubpenguin.com/fr) is supported by francophone staff in Europe and Canada who understand the unique cultural references of the French audience and can provide timely and responsive moderation and customer support.
D3Publisher has signed a worldwide publishing agreement with Cartoon Network Enterprises, the global licensing and merchandising arm of the network, for videogames based on action-adventure series THE SECRET SATURDAYS. The first game based on THE SECRET SATURDAYS is scheduled to be released for console and handheld systems in Q4 2009.
The GDC’s Serious Games Summit was an object lesson on how many areas of the world can be affected by games—and how effective Serious Games can be in teaching, affecting opinion, motivating exercise, and medical healing, to name but a few.
The last talk of the day I attended was suitably called “Making LOVE In Your Bedroom.” The solo developer of a game called “LOVE,” Eskil Steenberg, ran the session. The absolute focus of his talk was pushing developers, indie and commercial alike, to build their own tools rather than licensing existing ones.
This year’s GDC is expecting well over 14,000 attendees, at the Muscone Convention Center in San Francisco. This has become the epicenter of world game development, a gathering of game designers, producers, sponsors, and the tech companies that support them.
The Game Developer Conference, also known as GDC, is the end-all be-all event of the year for game developers. You’ll find no fan-boys here!
Wallace & Gromit's Grand Adventures, a new game series, debuts today at TelltaleGames.com (http://www.telltalegames.com). FRIGHT OF THE BUMBLEBEES, the first of four digitally-distributed games starring the popular Plasticine duo, is available now. Subsequent installments will be delivered in May, June, and July.
OnLive Inc. has emerged from seven years of stealth development within the Rearden incubator to unveil The OnLive Game Service and OnLive MicroConsole at the 2009 Game Developers Conference.