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  • Activity

    • Bach: Microsoft and Bungie Still Tight

      11 years ago


      GameGuru got the chance to interview Robbie Bach while he was India for the Xbox 360 announcement and asked him how the relationship between Bungie Studios and Microsoft has been since they split. He responded as follows:

      Let’s make sure we are very clear on the record. Bungie Studios still has a very close relationship with Microsoft. They will continue to do work with us and will continue to build products for us and we’ll have access to their content. We’ve changed the nature economic relationship with them, but they are absolutely going be working with us and we value that relation.

      The other thing I’ll say is in the content space, you are constantly moving in and out with different producers, different content companies. What we have here is some companies who have decided to go in different directions or been bought by somebody else. We’ve also established new relations with people and you’ll see those new relations come forward over time. I’m actually very confident about Microsoft’s lineup next year! People forget that we have several great studios internally who are doing incredible work and will continue to do so, and I think we’ll be just fine with the titles that we have in the next 12-24 months.

    • Ben Heck's New One-Handed Access Control

      11 years ago


      Ben Heck has revealed the prototype for a new one handed controller he is making called the Access Controller. It is actually already in pre-production for manufacturing and will be first seen as a wireless controller for the Playstation 2 and 3, with an Xbox 360 version pending. Ben outlined out it works as follows:

      Here’s the basic principle: You lay this controller on your leg, table or arm of a chair and all the buttons are available on the top surface. The gag is that each of the five sections is removable and you can plug them anywhere you want. This not only makes the controller work for both left and right handed use (simply mirror the layout) but it also allows the user to optimize the button placement on a game-by-game basis. Even if the user has partial use of both hands it should still be easier to work with than a standard controller.



    • MassEffectGoesGold,LimitedEditionDetails

      11 years ago


      Mass Effect Goes Gold, Limited Edition Details

      Microsoft Game Studios and BioWare announced today that the highly anticipated action role-playing game (RPG) Mass Effect has gone gold, and will be offered in a limited collector’s edition. Additionally, an exclusive bonus disc will be offered to consumers who pre-order the game. The bonus disc is available at participating U.S. retailers while supplies last.

      The limited collector’s edition will be offered through participating retailers, and will include the following bonus materials:

      * A Mass Effect fiction book titled “Galactic Codex: Essentialsâ€Â
      * A 36-page guide to the Mass Effect universe, including a Citadel timeline and a guide to all non-human races, biotics and the key locations in the Perseus arm of the galaxy
      * An additional Mass Effect art book titled A Future Imagined
      * A 36-page collection of BioWare’s concept art for the game
      * A bonus DVD of exclusive Mass Effect background material and additional content including:
      o The Vision of Mass Effect documentary
      o The Making of Mass Effect documentary
      o Interactive Storytelling documentary
      o Inside BioWare documentary
      * 18 Mass Effect themed gamer pics (three unique sets of six)
      * 16 dashboard themes (four unique sets of four)
      * Ten songs from the Mass Effect soundtrack
      * Five historical Mass Effect trailers from X05 through E3 2007 and the official TV trailer
      * A demo for Blue Dragon and videos for Lost Odyssey, Halo 3 and Halo Wars
      * Design galleries featuring 600 concept images fully commented by the Art Directors

      The exclusive bonus disc will be offered to consumers who pre-order either edition of the game at participating retailers and will include the following contents:

      * A short documentary on DVD introducing the game
      * 12 Mass Effect themed gamer pics (two unique sets of six)
      * Eight dashboard themes (two unique sets of four)
      * Three songs from the Mass Effect soundtrack on a CD
      * Four historical Mass Effect trailers from X05 through E3 2007 on DVD
      * A demo for Blue Dragon and videos for Lost Odyssey, Halo 3 and Halo Wars

      From the creators of the critically-acclaimed Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic and Jade Empire comes an epic space saga exclusively for the Xbox 360 that spans the entire galaxy. Combining a rich and engaging narrative with intense sci-fi tactical combat, Mass Effect features an immersive and cinematic gameplay experience rarely seen before in video games.

      Mass Effect will have an estimated retail price of $59.99, and the limited collector’s edition will have an estimated retail price of $69.99. Mass Effect is rated “M†for “Mature†by the ESRB.

    • G.R.A.W 2 Co-op Collection

      11 years ago


      I get my INFO from

      We have all the details on the coming GRAW 2 Co-op Collection which includes 9 new achievements and 9 maps. It will be released next month.

      The GRAW 2 Co-op Collection consists of five Co-op Campaign missions that continue the story from GRAW 2. In total there are nine maps, seven of which are inspired by classic maps from Ghost Recon’s illustrious history and two that are totally brand new. All nine maps (including adversarial versions of the Co-op Campaign maps) have exquisite visuals and support all of GRAW 2’s thousands of customizable game modes.

      ACHIEVEMENTS: The Co-op collection offers 9 new achievements for GRAW 2 totaling 125 achievement points (detailed list below).

      CO-OP MAPS
      Caves - (Ghost Recon)
      * Azcona’s squads are using the nearby caves as an operational base for raiding army convoys across the river. Detain and extract the rebel leader and recon the area for any hidden weapon caches.

      Railroad Bridge - (Ghost Recon)
      * Intel reports the rebels are moving on a command post 60 clicks southeast of here. Protect the command post, recon the local rail line and hunt down the informant providing intel to the rebels.

      Battlefield - (Ghost Recon)
      * The last rebel unit in the area is holed up in the village of Venta. An allied armor unit on the edge of town is pinned down by artillery. Ghosts, knock out the enemy comm transmitter. Then escort the armor through the village.

      Plantation â€" (Ghost Recon: Island Thunder)
      * Intel shows a rebel leader’s motorcade is moving through the farms south of here. Take out his convoy and destroy all of the surrounding ADATS before Sabre Seven arrives for extraction.

      Swamp Airfield - (Ghost Recon: Island Thunder)
      * Azcona’s rebels have occupied a small island airfield. Recon the area for intel on this operation and destroy all aircraft to prevent any means of escape. The landing strip is targeted for an air strike so get out ASAP.


      Business Park â€" (Brand New) / Suitable for 8 to 12 players
      * Narrow alleys connect open courtyards with overlooking balconies in this concrete corporate paradise.

      Rooftop â€" (Brand New) / Suitable for 8 to 12 players
      * Sitting on top of the world, the rooftop structure of a skyscraper has lots of cover and vertical combat.

      Caves - (Ghost Recon) / Suitable for 12 to 16 players
      * Rolling terrain, forest and a cave structure tucked into the side of the mountains.

      Railroad Bridge - (Ghost Recon) / Suitable for 12 to 16 players
      * A deep valley with a rail bridge spanning overhead, hilly and wooded areas nearby.

      Battlefield - (Ghost Recon) / Suitable for 8 to 12 players
      * Open terrain with pockets of war-torn buildings, under the limited visibility of black skies and pouring rain.

      Plantation â€" (Ghost Recon: Island Thunder) / Suitable for 12 to 16 players
      * Wet, foggy airfield located in the heart of a murky swamp.

      Swamp Airfield â€" (Ghost Recon: Island Thunder) / Suitable for 4 to 8 players
      * A bright, sunny day overlooks the plantation fields and nearby structures, including a large warehouse.

      Prison - (Ghost Recon: Island Thunder) / Suitable for 4 to 8 players
      * This dilapidated structure has many paths in and out.

      Castle - (Ghost Recon) / Suitable for 12 to 16 players
      * The mighty castle walls and excavation within provide lots of cover and CQB, while thick wooded countryside offers ample stealth and sniping opportunities.


      Caves (Co-op) Perfect: 15 points
      * Complete Caves Co-op Mission without respawning at default or hard difficulty.

      RR Bridge (Co-op) Perfect: 15 points
      * Complete Railroad Bridge Co-op Mission without respawning at default or hard difficulty.

      Battlefield (Co-op) Perfect: 15 points
      * Complete Battlefield Co-op Mission without respawning at default or hard difficulty.

      Swamp Airfield (Co-op) Perfect: 15 points
      * Complete Swamp Airfield Co-op Mission without respawning at default or hard difficulty.

      Plantation (Co-op) Perfect: 15 points
      * Complete Plantation Co-op Mission without respawning at default or hard difficulty.

      2-Point Swing: 15 points
      * In a CTF match with 5+ players, recover your stolen flag and score in a single run.

      From Downtown: 10 points
      * Kill exactly 3 enemies and no teammates with one grenade on a map.

      Clever Retort: 10 points
      * In a match, get a grenade kill while you are incapacitated or dead. Minimum 5 players.

      Kickin' it old school: 15 points
      * Complete a Co-op Mission without respawning, hard difficulty, and the Drone off.

    • Halo Movie 'Entirely Dead'

      11 years ago


      Halo Movie 'Entirely Dead' Says Would-Be Director
      Film's death due to disagreements between studios.

      When Microsoft somewhat bizarrely showed a live-action Halo short at E3 last July (and released a couple more since then), it fueled fan hopes the long-dormant film project may be revived after all. Not so, says Neill Blomkamp, the director placed at the helm before the project was put on indefinite hold.

      Blomkamp gives the bad news in an interview with Creativity Online. "The film is entirely dead," he said. "Whatever happens with that movie, assuming that movie gets made, will be a totally different configuration. It's not so much me as the entire vessel sank."

      The movie was being produced in a partnership between Universal and Fox, and according to Blomkamp, disagreements between the studios is what ultimately killed it. "That kind of stuff happens, it's a fragile industry," he said. "So the film collapsed at the end of last year, and it's been dead, ever since then. I'll be curious to see what happens."

      It's too bad, because the vision Blomkamp had for the Halo movie does sound pretty sweet. "I wanted it to feel like the most brutal, real version of science fiction in a war environment that you've seen in a while," he said. "And Universal was on board with that. I don't really remember what Fox thought about it, but Universal seemed down with it. It would have been cool, it would have been a unique take on things, science fiction in a dirty, organic way."

      As for those shorts? "This is the first I've really spoken about those pieces. There's such a massive misconception about what those are," Blomkamp said. "In essence, those pieces have zero to do with the film. Like less than zero...It's basically, I guess, viral advertising for Halo 3, it's one of the many different promotional pieces you find out there."

      In other potentially disappointing game-to-film news, movie site IESB (via Kotaku) reported the Gears of War adaptation was running into problems as well -- due to concerns over the ballooning budget -- and New Line may not move forward with it at all. Why? Why must we be perpetually doomed to Resident Evil movies and Uwe Boll?

    • Bungie at Work on New Halo 3 Maps

      11 years ago


      Getting bored with all the Halo 3 multiplayer maps you have most likely been playing lately? Well, probably not, but just to be safe Bungie are already working on some new maps for future downloadable content:

      Work is progressing on new maps for future downloadable content, with the design and art teams vigorously engaged in the process. More entertainingly however, the ad-hoc test team of Bungie staff is enjoying these new maps greatly. My favorites are what I have already nicknamed Jodrell Bank and Moonbase Alpha.

      I “invented†a game type on Jodrell Bank which is actually just Team Slayer with Swords and Snipers. Thanks to some unique geographical features of that map, it works great. Moonbase Alpha, on the other hand is best suited to objective games, like CTF and Assault, but it has some natural deadlocks that make Slayer interesting and Infection terrifying.

      Which reminds me of one more downloadable map. The scariest map of all time. Dark, frightening and surprisingly enormous. One of the scariest things that has ever happened to me (and this in a lifetime fraught with terror) was racing away from a marauding gang of zombies in Infection atop a Mongoose, only to have one leap out of the darkness ahead and unseat me with a throaty scream. I call that level John Carpenter’s Prince of Dorkness. It’s not as catchy as Jub Jub, but it’s every bit as accurate.

      No word on pricing or a possible release date - should be interesting.

    • EA Acquires Bioware and Pandemic

      11 years ago


      More news from EA today with them announcing an agreement with Elevation Partners to acquire VG Holding Corp. -- the owner of both BioWare Corp. and Pandemic Studios. So what's going to happen to Mass Effect? Well, the official press release you can find below, and it has already been confirmed that the release of Mass Effect won't be effected, however Microsoft danced around what would be happening with regards to any sequels:

      Microsoft has not yet announced specifics regarding sequels to Mass Effect but we’ll be talking to EA and BioWare in the weeks to come. Mass Effect is the most anticipated role-playing game of the season, on any platform, and we are committed to the franchise’s long term success.

      Likewise when quizzed on whether Mass Effect would remain a Xbox 360 exclusive, Ray Muzyka from Bioware wasn't exactly forthcoming:

      Microsoft is a great partner, a great publishing partner, and we're really excited to work with them. And we love the 360. One of the things we've talked about is getting multiple iterations of this franchise out during its lifetime, since it's such a great system to work with. And we see Microsoft as a long-term partner on Mass Effect.

      And here's the official press release:

      This acquisition gives EA a strong competitive position in key genres in interactive entertainment: action, adventure and role-playing games. The two studios have been recognized for creating some of the highest-quality games in the industry.

      BioWare Corp. and Pandemic Studios have ten franchises under development, including six wholly owned games. BioWare Corp. is currently developing the highly anticipated Mass Effect, which will be published by Microsoft in November, and is in the early development stages of a massively multiplayer online game. Pandemic Studios is redefining open-world games with its upcoming Mercenaries 2: World in Flames and Saboteur, in addition to several unannounced projects.

      Pandemic Studios and BioWare Corp. employ roughly 800 people across four studios located in Edmonton, Canada; Los Angeles; Austin; and Brisbane, Australia.

      “These are two of the most respected studios in the industry and I’m glad to be working with them again. They’ll make a strong contribution to our strategic growth initiatives on quality, online gaming and developing new intellectual properties,†said John Riccitiello, EA’s Chief Executive Officer. “We also expect this will drive long-term value for our shareholders.â€Â

      Pandemic Studios is led by Andrew Goldman, Josh Resnick and Greg Borrud. BioWare Corp. is jointly led by Greg Zeschuk and Ray Muzyka. These teams will join the EA Games Label run by Frank Gibeau, President of EA Games.

      “Pandemic Studios remains focused on attracting the best talent and creating blockbuster action games,†said Josh Resnick, President and Co-founder of Pandemic Studios. “As a worldwide publishing leader, EA represents the ideal partner to bring our titles to market as global entertainment events.â€Â

      “We are truly excited by John Riccitiello’s new vision for EA,†said Ray Muzyka, Co-founder and CEO of BioWare Corp. “This vision is consistent with BioWare’s focus on crafting the highest quality story-driven games in the world. It will enable us to further the careers of the passionate, creative and hard working teams at BioWare Edmonton and BioWare Austin.â€Â

      EA will pay up to $620 million in cash to the stockholders of VG Holding Corp. and will issue up to an additional $155 million in equity to certain employees of VG Holding Corp., which will be subject to time-based or performance-based vesting criteria. EA will also assume outstanding VG Holding Corp. stock options. In addition, EA has agreed to lend VG Holding Corp. up to $35 million through the closing of the acquisition.

    • Team USA Wins World Cyber Games

      11 years ago


      Team USA shocked the rest of the world as it won the overall team title at the World Cyber Games Grand Final in Seattle. Competing against more than 700 gamers from a record 74 countries, the United States overcame the stiffest competition in World Cyber Games history to capture the gold. It is the United States second team title and first since the 2005 WCG Grand Final in Singapore. In claiming the title, the Americans won three gold medals, two silver medals and a bronze medal in 12 PC and Xbox 360 titles. Korea and Brazil each earned two gold medals while Germany had one gold, one silver and three bronze. The result was a huge disappointment for the heavily favored and defending world champion Korean team who have dominated professional gaming since its inception.

      "Our goal was to capture the overall team title," said Michael Arzt, General Manager of International Cyber Marketing USA. "With the Grand Final on our home soil, we wanted to prove that we are as good as the Koreans, Germans and the other dominant Asian and European teams. I knew that we had put together a very talented team that had the potential to medal in every game in which we had a qualifier and they really stepped up to the plate this weekend. "

      Team USA captured gold medals in Tony Hawk Project 8, Gears of War, and Dead Or Alive 4 (DOA 4). In Tony Hawk, Dustin Valcalda (Reno, NV) bowled over the competition as he never lost a game during the entire event. Participating in his first professional tournament, Valcada defeated England in the finals and the Czech Republic in the semis. The Gears of War team -- including Keith Haggen (Phoenix), Jesse Cranker (Bowling Green, OH), Michael Cannon (Harrisburg, PA), and Jesse Rodriguez (Chicago) -- also experienced little difficulty in rolling to the gold medal. They defeated The Netherlands 2-0 in the gold medal match. In DOA 4, Jeremy Florence (Albuquerque, NM) also never lost during the competition in coasting to the title. Florence overcame American teammate and bronze medalist Carl White (Toledo, OH) in the semifinals as he avenged his loss to White during the National Championships last month in Orlando, FL. In the gold medal match, he dominated Sweden, 2-0.

      Wes Cwiklo (Camarillo, CA) and Ragav Phadke (Buffalo, NY) each earned silver medals for the Americans. The defending 2006 WCG Grand Final world champion in Project Gotham Racing 3, Cwiklo dominated in his first eight matches before he was upset in the gold medal match against The Netherlands. Phadke, meanwhile, came out of nowhere to compete at a world-class level in the Age of Empires III tournament, a game typically dominated by the Asian countries.

      "With so many quality video game players representing 74 countries this weekend, e-Sports continues to gain popularity and worldwide acceptance," said Hyoung-Seok Kim, CEO of International Cyber Marketing, global organizer of the World Cyber Games."This year's event in Seattle was our biggest and best yet. I am thrilled by the performance of the United States team, but every team and nation should be proud of how they performed during this Grand Final. "

    • BungieIssue TheirOwn Split Press Release

      11 years ago


      Although the differences are minor, Bungie have released their own press release regarding their split from Microsoft, which was just made official today.

      Bungie and Microsoft Corp. today announced a plan for Bungie Studios, the developers of Microsoft’s Halo franchise, to become a privately held independent company, Bungie, LLC, in which Microsoft will hold a minority equity interest. As part of this transaction, Bungie and Microsoft have forged a deep and long-term development and publishing relationship focused on the continued success of the Halo franchise. It is also the intent of both parties to expand their partnership to include new IP created and owned by Bungie.

      Bungie’s critically acclaimed Xbox 360 exclusive Halo 3 achieved $300 million in global sales in its first week. Released on Tuesday, Sept. 25, Halo 3 is the fastest-selling video game ever and already one of the most successful entertainment properties in history.

      “This exciting evolution of our relationship with Microsoft will enable us to expand both creatively and organizationally in our mission to create world-class games,†said Harold Ryan, studio head for Bungie. “We will continue to develop with our primary focus on Microsoft’s platforms; we greatly value our mutually prosperous relationship with our publisher, Microsoft Game Studios, and we look forward to continuing that affiliation through ‘Halo’ and beyond.â€Â

      “Working with Microsoft was great for us, it allowed us to grow as a team and make the ambitious, blockbuster games we all wanted to work on. And they will continue to be a great partner. But Bungie is like a shark. We have to keep moving to survive. We have to continually test ourselves, or we might as well be dolphins. Or manatees,†said Jason Jones, Bungie founder and partner.

      Bungie’s management retained the services of Don Leeds, senior managing director of B-Hive Global, LLC, to assist in the structuring of the deal and negotiating on their behalf. Bungie will remain in Kirkland, Washington, and is always looking to hire excellent talent.

    • Bungie and Microsoft Split

      11 years ago


      The rumors were correct... Microsoft and Bungie are officially going their separate ways:

      Microsoft Corp. today announced a plan for Bungie Studios, the developers of the Halo franchise, to embark on a path to become an independent company. Microsoft will retain an equity interest in Bungie at the same time continuing its long standing publishing agreement between Microsoft Game Studios and Bungie for the Microsoft owned Halo intellectual property as well as other future properties developed by Bungie.

      The critically acclaimed Xbox 360 exclusive Halo 3 achieved $300 million in global sales in its first week. Released in Europe on Wednesday, Sept. 26, Halo 3 is the fastest-selling video game ever and already one of the most successful entertainment properties in history.

      “Our collaboration with Bungie has resulted in Halo becoming an enduring mainstream hit,†said Shane Kim, corporate vice president of Microsoft Game Studios. “While we are supporting Bungie’s desire to return to its independent roots, we will continue to invest in our ‘Halo’ entertainment property with Bungie and other partners, such as Peter Jackson, on a new interactive series set in the Halo universe. We look forward to great success with Bungie as our long-term relationship continues to evolve through Halo-related titles and new IP created by Bungie.â€Â

      “This exciting evolution of our relationship with Microsoft will enable us to expand both creatively and organizationally in our mission to create world-class games,†said Harold Ryan, studio head for Bungie. “We will continue to develop with our primary focus on Microsoft’s platforms; we greatly value our mutually prosperous relationship with our publisher, Microsoft Game Studios, and we look forward to continuing that affiliation through Halo and beyond.â€Â

      Bungie Studios will remain in its current location in Kirkland, Washington.

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