Following up from news that Ubisoft has acquired Massive Entertainment, Kotaku carries a quote from Ubisoft president and CEO Yves Guillemot saying Massive will play a key role in the publisher’s MMO strategy. However, their efforts will be less than massive, noting that they will first focus on “light” MMOs that are very popular in Asia.
Said Guillemot: "We just bought it from them since those guys have Blizzard so they didn’t need that studio as much as we do, and those guys are extremely strong in RTS (real-time strategy), so they are going to help us also get closer to the MMO space. Our goal there is to go first with light MMOs…that have been extremely popular in China but are also coming in the U.S. and Europe and are generating lots of good revenue, so our goal is first to start with light MMOs, and then in the future also come with RPG and RTS, also in the MMO space."
From Big Download comes word that the North American launch of Huxley has been delayed until the first half of next year.
The subscription-free Unreal Engine 3-powered MMOFPS was previously supposed to launch this year. The extra time will be used to focus on localization issues.
There’s a developer update from Avatar Reality on Eurogamer which tells us that the studio’s “massively multiplayer virtual world” Blue Mars has been delayed.
The game is based on Crytek’s CryENGINE2, which powers Crysis and its expansion Crysis Warhead.
Reports suggest that beta testing will begin in January 2009 and is expected to last three months. A full launch is expected in April 2009.
Cyanide sent out word that they are developing Dungeon Party, a free-to-play MMOG for PC. They are going for a humorous, more casual game, as Patrick Pligersdorffer, CEO of the studio, describes the title “as a game that leads two teams of intrepid players deep into a dungeon in search of treasure. Each team not only has to overcome the dirty tricks of the other side, but they also have to survive the numerous traps and monsters that lie within. The first team that gets out alive, WITH THE TREASURE, is the winner.” Here’s more:
DUNGEON PARTY is a free MMOG for the PC platform. Two teams of up to 5 players compete over one or more rounds and victory is only assured when one of them gets out of the dungeon with the treasure. Players can choose from one of 6 character types and they can customize their hero with various items of clothing or other objects that might come in useful in a dark corner! Regular tournaments promise games of even greater intensity and will allow all players to measure themselves against the best, thanks to a real-time ranking system. Get ready to don your finest magic robes or your must sturdy armor and let’s see if you have what it takes to become masters of the dungeon.
It is due out during Q4 2008.
This blog post on the Spacetime Studios website carries word that publisher NCSoft has cancelled the MMOG the studio was working on. According to their projects page, the game, dubbed Blackstar, was a “unique space combat MMO” that featured fast shooting action as well as traditional RPG elements. The cancellation of the game has caused the loss of a dozen jobs, however, they do not have any ill feelings towards the publisher; they are also looking for a way to continue with the IP. Here’s more:
The cancelled game was our primary project and we have a complete MMO engine w/ networking infrastructure, tools suite, and next-gen rendering engine. The company remains extremely committed to the IP and once all mutual obligations have been completed between the publisher and ourselves we intend to explore every possible avenue to see that our team’s collective vision come to fruition.
Stormfront Studios, the developers of the original Neverwinter Nights game, has been honored by The National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences at the 59th Annual Technology and Engineering Emmy Awards ceremony. They have been recognized for the groundbreaking MMORPG that made its debut on AOL and was offered from 1991-97.
Don Daglow, who led the design of Neverwinter Nights, accepted the award for Stormfront and its publishers. “These games are not just entertainment,” he said. “They build new kinds of communities and create deep people-to-people relationships. They influence people’s lives in the same way as great books, inspiring movies and iconic television shows, and we’re grateful to the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences for this honor.”
The series has been pretty successful, spawning successors in the form of hit games from BioWare.
MMO publisher and developer NCSoft recently opened Carbine Studios, the latest addition to its stable of development teams. Carbine is currently working on an unannounced MMO that promises to “break new ground in massively multiplayer gaming.”
Among the studio’s staff are a number of veterans, including Kevin Beardlsee who was the lead developer of World of Warcraft. Other notables include sixteen other Blizzard employees, Tim Cain (co-founder of Troika Games) and Jeffery Gaffney (Turbine).
The studio behind EVE Online, CCP Games is expanding into North America, according to an announcement. Their new office is located in Stone Mountain, GA and will serve as the company’s North American headquarters.
As expected, the new studio will work on maintaining and upgrading the world of EVE Online. However, it will also focus on developing new titles. The company hopes of providing more than 100 design and development positions within the next year.
A demo for Call of Juarez can now be downloaded for the Xbox 360 via Xbox Live. The game, which was released last year on PC, is set in the Wild West and follows the exploits of Billy and Reverend Ray.
In patch news, an update for Dungeon Runners is now available. Referred to as “Chunk #1”, the update for the game includes PvP worlds, support for multiple characters, item linking over its chat system, a new high level dungeon and a variety of new skills and quests.
A v1.27.0 version of the MMO World War II Online has been released. This forum thread offers word on what’s new on the patch, which is available automatically from within the game, as well as through this page.
10tacle Studios and developer Reakktor Media have revealed details behind Black Prophecy, their upcoming action-MMO. The game will take place in space and will emphasize on space exploration and deep space combat. It will contain both single-player missions and multiplayer battles, having players experience a story penned by award-winning German sci-fi author Michael Marrak.
By the mid 26th century humanity has conquered the universe and colonized countless planets. Yet life in space requires a great deal of adaptation. Bred for just these conditions, the cybernetically adapted Tyi and the biogenetically optimized Geniden have outgrown their creators to become the new ruling races. Their uncompromising battle for total mastery of space leads humanity into the sphere of influence of an ancient alien life form – a life form which tolerates no other cosmic civilizations but its own. In this battle against an overpowering enemy, players must first choose which of the two rival factions they wish to join as they try to save humanity.
The game is set for release during Fall 2008. Below are the first four screenshots.