Category: GDC 2009

Blizzard in Talks With Microsoft Over Xbox 360 Successor

Reporting from GDC, Gamesindustry carries word that Blizzard executive Rob Pardo has revealed that the studio is in active talks with Microsoft regarding the successor to the Xbox 360.

It should be noted that Blizzard’s games sell like hot cakes on PC and that their last console release was of StarCraft way back in 2000 on Nintendo 64. However, with blockbuster titles in the making – Diablo 3, StarCraft 2 and an unannounced MMO – the company might be looking to expand its reach to consoles.

Fallout 3 Game of the Year at GDC 2009

The Game Developer Choice Awards ceremony was conducted last night where they announced the winners. The game of the year award went to Bethesda’s open-world action-RPG Fallout 3. Check out the list of winners.

Game of the Year
Fallout 3 (Bethesda Softworks)

Best Game Design:
LittleBigPlanet (Media Molecule)

Best Writing:
Fallout 3 (Bethesda Softworks)

Best Technology:
LittleBigPlanet (Media Molecule)

Best Visual Arts:
Prince of Persia (Ubisoft Montreal)

Best Debut Game:
LittleBigPlanet (Media Molecule)

Best Handheld Game:
God Of War: Chains Of Olympus (Ready at Dawn)

Innovation Award:
LittleBigPlanet (Media Molecule)

Best Audio:
Dead Space (EA Redwood Shores)

Best Downloadable Game:
World Of Goo (2D Boy)

Recipients for the evening’s special awards were:

Lifetime Achievement Award
Hideo Kojima

Pioneer Award
Alex Rigopulos and Eran Egozy

Ambassador Award
Tommy Tallarico

Left 4 Dead Sells 2.5 Million

Valve’s work on Left 4 Dead has paid off, as the studio announced that the cooperative shooter has now sold over 2.5 million copies since its debut in November 2008.

This news came as part of project lead Michael Booth’s GDC presentation on the game. The figure includes both PC and Xbox 360 releases, but does not include sales from the company’s digital distribution platform Steam. The numbers would be higher of course, and it should be pointed out that a recent discount saw sales jump 3000%.

Fallen Earth Tour Contest

As part of their ongoing national tour, developers of the self-titled apocalyptic MMO Fallen Earth announced a contest where their fans will have the opportunity to choose the final tour stop. The final stop is slated for May 2 at an undetermined location and will let fans the chance to meet the dev team, demo the game and collect a surprise in-game item.

The tour consisted of previous stops in Raleigh, N.C., Baltimore, M.D. and more, including the GDC in San Francisco.

“GDC provides us with an excellent opportunity to showcase the in-game elements we have been working on since we went into closed beta,” said Lee Hammock, lead game designer for Fallen Earth. “Our testing community has been instrumental in helping us develop a more compelling game environment and we are excited to give them the opportunity to choose the last destination on our national tour.”

Fallen Earth is currently in closed beta testing and is set to launch later this year.

Nintendo News from GDC

A lot of Nintendo news comes our way, courtesy of the company’s press conference at GDC today.

  • First up is word that the ever-popular Wii has shipped a stunning 50 million consoles worldwide since its debut in 2006. Nintendo claims it is the fastest-selling console ever.
  • The DS appears to have reached a sort of gender harmony, with the company claiming that 47% of all new DS owners in 2008 were female and that women make up 27% of the platform’s life-to-date install base.
  • Addressing the Wii’s lack of storage options, Nintendo today released the SD Card Menu as part of its latest system update. This download will enable Wii users to launch applications, such as WiiWare and Virtual Console titles, from an inserted SD card.
  • The Wii will today extend its Shop Channel to include classic arcade games. Initial offerings will include Space Harrier, The Tower of Druaga and Star Force. Pricing will range between $5-6.

There were two game announcements, too:

  • Ninty’s head honcho Satoru Iwata announced Rock n’ Roll Climber, an upcoming WiiWare game making use of the Wii Balance Board. The game will have players scale virtual rockfaces, shifting their feet on the balance board to control the climber’s feet.
  • The second is a rather big one – a new Zelda game for the DS! Dubbed The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks, the DS title will feature a similar visual style to The Phantom Hourglass and will see traditional gameplay in the form of combat and dungeon exploration. It is due out later this year.

Dream-Build-Play 2009 Begins

The third annual Dream-Build-Play global game development competition by Microsoft has started at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, inviting aspiring and hobbyist developers to create new and innovative games for Xbox 360.

Starting Monday, April 6, developers will have the opportunity to submit their game creations to the competition for a chance to win a cash prize and an opportunity to sign an Xbox Live Arcade publishing contract. Winners will be announced this fall.

More than 7800 members had taken part in the competition last year, submitting over 350 completed games using Microsoft’s free XNA Game Studio tools. Winners took home more than $70,000 in prizes and have since become top sellers on the Xbox Live Community Games Channel.

“The level of innovation and the number of submissions we receive each year to Dream-Build-Play has increased exponentially because the development community is becoming increasingly familiar with the XNA Game Studio,” XNA General Manager Boyd Multerer said. “I’m really looking forward to seeing what developers are able to create with the latest LIVE features and updated tools at their disposal.”

Paradox Announces GDC Lineup

With GDC scheduled for later this month, publisher Paradox Interactive announced that they will be present at the San Francisco event, along with their lineup of development teams who will be on hand to showcase their titles.

These are the games will be open for demo opportunities during the show:

Hearts of Iron III
The eagerly anticipated third instalment in the critically acclaimed World War II strategy series, Hearts of Iron III will feature a plethora of brand new features to satisfy veteran and novice players alike, including a huge game map with more than 14,000 land and sea provinces. At GDC, Hearts of Iron III will be at the beta stage of development where all functionality of the game will be present. The development team will be on hand to demonstrate every aspect of the game. Hearts of Iron III is scheduled for release in Q3.

Majesty 2
The long overdue sequel for the beloved real-time strategy classic is finally approaching completion. With nothing else out there quite like it, the world of Majesty 2 is full of charm along with a unique sense of humour where the player only has indirect control of the characters and units. The independent thinking Heroes are just as likely to go shopping as they are to fight monsters and undertake heroic quests! Majesty 2 will make you think in totally new ways. Majesty 2 is scheduled for release in Q2.

Elven Legacy
Elven Legacy is a fantasy strategy game that sends players on an epic quest aimed to restore the former glory of the Elven race, and delivers a world filled with magic. The game has a thrilling non-linear storyline with multiple endings. Elven Legacy also offers tools that allow players to create their own missions and campaigns and share them in multiplayer mode. Elven Legacy is scheduled for an April release.

Mount & Blade Multiplayer Expansion

The first expansion pack for the critically acclaimed Mount & Blade introduces an array of brand new features, highlighted by a multiplayer capability that allows up to 32 players to battle it out in team death-match style combat on a single map. Additional features of the expansion include improved strategic AI, extended diplomatic options, and state-of-the-art rendering technologies. The Mount & Blade Expansion is scheduled for release in Q3.

CryEngine 3 Announced

cryengine 3 Pushing graphics boundaries even further, Crytek has announced that the third iteration of its proprietary graphics engine CryEngine will debut at this month’s Game Developer Conference.

The engine will run on PS3, Xbox 360 and will be scaled for MMO and DX9/DX10 applications. It will also be next-gen ready with scalable computation and graphics for all major upcoming platforms. The engine will feature a sandbox level editor and a “What you see is what you play” tool designed by and for professional developers.

"CryENGINE 3 is a revolutionary change from our previous PC-only engines and we’re applying a similar revolution to the service we provide to developers using the software to create extraordinary games,” said Carl Jones, director of Business Development CryEngine. “CryENGINE 3 will set the benchmark for complete game engine solutions in performance, and services to game engine licensees and their players. We’ve been preparing a long time for CryENGINE on consoles and we’re confident that Crytek will again amaze developers at GDC."

The GDC runs from March 23 to 27 in San Fransisco.