Spacetime Studios' MMOG Cancelled
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.
Guild Wars Music in PLAY
ArenaNet sends word that music from Guild Wars has been chosen to be performed as part of “PLAY! A Video Game Symphony”, a worldwide symphonic tour featuring music from a number of games, which kicks off on January 19, 2008.
The company notes that it is a great honor for them and the game’s composers. The music of Guild Wars is also featured on CD in special edition packages of the game.
NCsoft Opens Studio for City of Heroes Development, Acquires Franchise
There’s news for underwear perverts – NCsoft has announced the formation of a new development studio in Mountain View, California that will be dedicated to develop the City of Heroes property, which, the company mentions, is now owned 100 percent by NCsoft. The previos ownership was split between NCsoft and Cryptic Studios, the original developer of the project.
The new studio will be built around key members of the City of Heroes team from either companies, including the art, programming and design team leads.
“We’re happy to announce that NCsoft has acquired full ownership of the City of Heroes IP,” said Brian Clayton, NCsoft executive producer and manager of the new studio. “Our plans are clear. We are now in a position to make a major reinvestment in the City of Heroes product line. With our existing Cryptic and NCsoft team as the core, we will be able to run our current service without any interruption to our players, expand our studio to deliver triple-A content, and take City of Heroes to new heights.”
While formal plans for the IP are still slated to be announced in the future, it was implied that a sequel to the popular MMO is being developed right now.
Tabula Rasa Beta Reward
NCSoft and Destination Games send word that they will reward participants in the Tabula Rasa beta test by giving them an exclusive in-game emote. Here’s the deal: “Your characters will receive access to /throat; use it to show n00bs that you’ve been blasting Bane before blasting Bane was cool.”
The reward will be given only to those who login to the beta anytime between October 25 and October 26. It will become available starting at the end of November around Thanksgiving.
Carbine Studios Formed
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).
Guild Wars Gaming Mouse Now Available
NCSoft Europe sends word that the Guild Wars edition of the award-winning Gaming Razer DeathAdder mouse is now available to buy online.
The Razer DeathAdder is the world’s first 3G infrared sensor gaming mouse that provides precision and faster game play – all encased in a beautiful, sleek and ergonomic design. Razer™ is the world’s leading manufacturer of professional gaming peripherals and has a history of unsurpassable quality in their products. They are also working alongside NCsoft Europe as their official partner for upcoming gaming events.
“We are delighted with the look and performance of the Guild Wars Razer DeathAdder Mouse,” said Véronique Lallier, Marketing Manager for NCsoft Europe. “The Razer DeathAdder is the perfect companion to our Guild Wars players’ gaming experience and the ultimate Guild Wars gaming accessory.”
The mouse is available from the PlayNC online store for £48.
Tabula Rasa Dated
Long-in-development MMORPG Tabula Rasa has finally gotten a release date: October 19, with pre-order customers beginning their three-day head start on October 16.
Gaming legend Richard Garriott is behind Tabula Rasa, which combines a vast, persistent game world with a narrative and fast-paced action. It is set in the near-future, having players create characters that must fight to save humanity against hostile alien enemies while trying to gain control of the universe. The game features several unique elements like a Character Cloning System that allows players to explore different character classes without having to create a new character, and dynamic battlefields.
The game will be available in the two usual versions: standard and Limited Collector’s editions. Both versions will require a monthly subscription to play.
NEXT Micropayment Announced
Singapore-based Cherry Credits, a provider of micropayments solutions, has announced that its New Economy eXchange Technology (NEXT) micropayments engine has been adopted by major online games publishers including Acclaim, NCSoft, and many others. The NEXT system offers publishers access to previously unavailable teenage and young adults market.
Currently the system has been employed in Lineage II from NCSoft, 9Dragons, BOTS and 2Moons from Acclaim, Trickster Online from Ntreev USA and more.
Double Fusion Announces Dynamic Ad Placement
In-game ad agency Double Fusion has debuted technology separating ad integration from game development and allowing for dynamic placements of ads. Previously developers had to hardcore the ads into the game itself.
Dubbed fusion.runtime, the tools will give developers the ability to create new ad placements in finished game as well as back-catalog titles. Ubisoft and NCSoft have already begun using these tools. In fact, the recently released free ad-supported Ubi games Far Cry, Prince of Persia and other make use of these tools, allowing for integration of ads in the menu and loading screens.
“Game makers that want deep interactivity in their ads, or want pinpoint control over system resources, will benefit from our [previous] fusion.sdk solution,” said company co-founder and CTO Hillel Rom. “For those game makers that don’t have time in their development process to incorporate an SDK, or want to add advertising to back catalog titles, or perhaps want to avoid bothering the original developer in the case of games licensed from other regions, fusion.runtime opens up the revenue possibilities by delivering great advertising experiences.”
Auto Assault Closes
Failed action-MMOG Auto Assault has been shut down, according to the game’s official website. Word:
With Auto Assault closing down tonight, we wanted to thank all of you for creating a tremendously cool and dedicated community of Wastelanders. We just didn’t want to give you guys a wild, crazy event tonight, but something else that may be just as fun. In the coming days those that are eligible will be receiving a “Parting Gift” message in your e-mail inboxes, with opportunities to take a part in some of our other products, including Richard Garriott’s Tabula Rasa and City of Heroes. It’s our way of saying “Thank You” to the diehard Auto Assault fan base and we hope to see you in are other virtual worlds.