Sega and Valve announced an agreement to deliver a lineup of new Sega titles to customers around the world via Steam, the leading online platform for PC games. The new available games include UNIVERSE AT WAR: EARTH ASSAULT, THE GOLDEN COMPASS, SEGA RALLY REVO, SEGA REVO, WORLDWIDE SOCCER MANAGER, FUTBOL MANAGER and more. In addition to the new games, Sega titles previously released on Steam to customers in North America, such as MEDIEVAL II: TOTAL WAR and ROME: TOTAL WAR, are now available to Steam gamers in Europe and most of the world.
We close the month with more videogame coverage: Tom McLean reports on four hot cinematics: HALO 3, MASS EFFECT, HELLGATE: LONDON and TABULA RASA. Meanwhile, Paul Peszko explores the making of ASSASSIN'S CREED, Ubisoft's first next-gen game. Also, McLean uncovers CafÃ©FX's inspired work on THE MIST.
New Line Cinema has acquired Ilion Animation Studios and Handmade Films Int'l's PLANET 51, launching a new push into animated feature distribution for the 40-year-old studio, according to THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER.
In a twist on the alien invasion flick, the inhabitants of Planet 51 are paranoid that aliens will invade. When astronaut Capt. Charles "Chuck" Baker arrives mayhem ensues and the Earthling must befriend a young Planet 51-ian to get back home.
Sony Computer Ent. America (SCEA) has launched PlayStation Store for the PC in North America, enabling PSP users to access games, video content and services over the Internet through a personal computer. The free service allows users to establish an account, download free content or purchase content directly from the store to their PSP without the use of PlayStation 3. Users who already have a PlayStation Network account can use their existing username and password to log in to PlayStation Store for the PC.
Multi-platform kids' service Kabillion has launched a new kids- and pet-friendly microsite in conjunction with Crazy Pet, LLC., a U.S.-based interactive entertainment and educational licensing company that promotes pet-derived values. In addition to participating on Kabillion's VOD and broadband channels, Crazy Pets will also provide interstitial programming featuring live-action joke videos, animated shorts and tips for proper (and fun) pet care and training. The strategic partnership taps into the U.S. pet industry market, which generated an estimated $38 billion in 2006.
Music-based game developer Harmonix, MTV Games, and distribution partner Electronic Arts have announced the arrival of ROCK BAND SPECIAL EDITION BUNDLE for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 at retail stores across America.
Award-winning Frankfurt-based game developer Crytek GmbH is licensing its world-famous CryENGINE 2 to Germany's Hochschule Darmstadt. Beginning in the winter semester, Crytek not only will supply the software, but also will provide students with lectures on game concepts and game design, computer animation, and engine technology -- thus helping them develop innovative concepts for new games and realize them.
Who's Vivendi Games and Sony Pictures gonna call? The Ghostbusters.
The game company and film firm are partnering on a new GHOSTBUSTERS videogame, featuring the voices and likenesses of the original stars Dan Aykroyd, Ernie Hudson, Bill Murray and Harold Ramis, VARIETY reports. Vivendi's Sierra Ent. plans to release the first title in a potential franchise in fall 2008.
TERMINATOR rights holder The Halcyon Co. has formed a game unit and has made an adaptation of its forthcoming TERMINATOR SALVATION: THE FUTURE BEGINS film its top priority, according to THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. The company plans to release the game on all formats in conjunction with the film's release in summer 2009.
Sierra Ent., a division of Vivendi Games, announced that ALIENS VS. PREDATOR -- REQUIEM, an action game exclusively developed for the PSP, has shipped to retailers nationwide. The title is based on the upcoming movie from 20th Century Fox and from the creators of the award-winning original AVP for PC.
Passion Pictures has just completed a cinematic trailer for the opening of the music videogame ROCK BAND. Created by Harmonix, a leading developer of music-based games, ROCK BAND is a new platform for music fans and gamers to interact with music as never before, challenging users to master the lead/bass guitar, drums and vocals as solo artists or cooperatively as part of their own band.
Passion Pictures worked on the ROCK BAND cinematic with Harmonix Art Director Ryan Lesser, who reviews 3ds Max for VFXWORLD.
Sony Pictures Ent.'s multi-platform company Crackle has announced that Bebo's Open Media will join their list of viral distribution partners, which includes MySpace, Facebook, hi5, AOL, Piczo and WordPress among others. Content for the new channel will be programmed by Crackle's in-house team of editors to ensure both appropriate and addictive entertainment for Bebo's 40 million-plus users around the world.
For the first time ever, Marvel Comics is making its comic book vault available via its new online subscription service Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited.
Brash Ent. announced the development of a JUMPER videogame, to release alongside the film of the same name from 20th Century Fox and Regency Enterprises. JUMPER is the science fiction-action-thriller directed by Doug Liman (THE BOURNE IDENTITY), and starring Hayden Christensen, Rachel Bilson, Jamie Bell, and Samuel L. Jackson.
GameTap launched today "A Complicated Woman," the final episode in the premiere season of its new animation series REVISIONED, which features story and art from legendary comic book illustrator Jim Lee of Wildstorm/DC Comics.
Atari Inc. announced that DRAGON BALL Z: BUDOKAI TENKAICHI 3 has shipped to retailers in North America for the PlayStation 2 and will be arriving for the Wii later this holiday season. DRAGON BALL Z: BUDOKAI TENKAICHI 3 is rated T for Teen and is available for $49.95.
Midway Games Inc. announced that it has shipped FOSTER'S HOME FOR IMAGINARY FRIENDS: IMAGINATION INVADERS for the Nintendo DS with a U.S. suggested retail price of $29.95.
Legends of Norrath Expansion Pack in Development
Just three months after the highly successful inaugural launch of the online trading card game LEGENDS OF NORRATH (LON), Sony Online Ent. LLC announces that FORSWORN, the first expansion for the online strategy game, is currently in development. Based on legendary MMOs EVERQUEST and EVERQUEST II, FORSWORN is scheduled to launch Tuesday, Dec. 18, 2007. LON OATHBOUND was released late this past summer and has already hosted more than 300,000 matches to date.
With Michael Bay busy with TRANSFORMERS 2, Disney is in talks with HARRY POTTER AND THE GOBLET OF FIRE helmer Mike Newell to direct the screen adaptation of videogame PRINCE OF PERSIA: THE SANDS OF TIME, reports VARIETY. Jerry Bruckheimer is producing. Jeffrey Nachmanoff (THE DAY AFTER TOMORROW) and PERSIA creator Jordan Mechner wrote the screenplay.
Warner Bros. Home Ent. Group announced it has entered into an agreement to acquire TT Games, which encompasses Traveller's Tales, one of the world's largest independent game developers, and TT Games Publishing, the U.K.-based game publisher behind the LEGO STAR WARS videogames and BIONICLE HEROES.
Universal Studios Sound (www.filmmakersdestination.com) announces the addition of supervising sound editor Michael Geisler, expanding the department's services in animation and gaming. The facility offers sound editorial and design, mixing, Foley, ADR and transfer for features, television, commercials and trailers, along with animation and gaming.
LucasArts and TT Games have released the highly anticipated game LEGO STAR WARS: THE COMPLETE SAGA. Building on the success of two prior LEGO STAR WARS videogames, each complete with LEGO action and minifigure humor, THE COMPLETE SAGA enables families to play through the events of all six STAR WARS movies in one videogame for the first time ever. Developer Traveller's Tales takes full advantage of the unique capabilities of all three next-generation consoles, while also adding new characters, new levels and new features. Players can build and battle on the Wii, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.
We begin our gaming coverage this month with a "Digital Eye" column by A2M CTO Martin Walker, who explains how this Montreal-based videogame developer has upped its 3D artistry with a new workflow and pipeline, particularly for its upcoming WET next year. Meanwhile, Alain Bielik goes behind-the-scenes of FRED CLAUS to uncover the fantastical secrets behind this latest Christmas movie opening Friday from Warner Bros. Pictures.
Zumbakamera has launched a new chapter in its Flash webseries BENDITO MACHINE, which coincides with the debut of the website www.benditomachine.com.
The website will include an online t-shirt store with exclusive designs from the show and free download sections. New chapters of the series will premiere every two to three months until the ten-episode season is complete.