Ben 10 Set for Game Debut
D3Publisher of America has inked another deal with Cartoon Network in order to bring the action cartoon Ben 10 to video game format.
Launching a little more than a year ago, the animated series debuted Ben Tennyson, who is not just a superhero, but 10 superheroes in one. Through an alien “wristwatch” device, Ben is able to transform into one of 10 alien being, each featuring their own distinctive superpowers. The series recently got a go-ahead from Cartoon Network to continue on to a fourth season on air.
“Cartoon Network’s Ben 10 has all the right ingredients for a successful game,” said Careen Yapp, vice president of licensing and business development at D3PA. “Working with this strong franchise will give D3PA the opportunity to translate the smart and edgy action of the series into a fantastic game play experience for its large fanbase.”
The deal grants worldwide publishing rights to develop and publish console, handheld and PC games based on the series. The first game for the franchise is scheduled for a fall release.
DS Gets Pick of the Litter
Cat lovers will get the Nintendogs treatment with Crave’s entry into gaming pet care – Purr Pals.
Raise, adopt, care and training cats will be made easy on the Nintendo DS with voice recognition and presumably touch-screen support. If only real cats were that easy to train.
The game promises 40 different breeds of feline, which can interact with a number of mini-games, accessories and toys that players will purchase through earned in-game money. Purr Pals’ pet parade begins this March with a suggested retail price of $29.99.
Old Spice Looks to Spice Up Gamers
Looking to do more for gamers than freshen them up, the company’s Experience program on Xbox Live finally sheds light on the rumored achievement point cash-ins.
With the announcement of more than 200 million achievements unlocked since the 360 launched a little more than a year ago, achievements earned between the next two months can earn gamers more than respect (which is what it’s all about anyway). Those who can rack up 1,500 points between Feb. 12 – April 12 can take home one the program’s three-tiered packages.
After signing up on Feb. 12, U.S. players at least 13 years of age will have 60 days to start achieving:
Gamers who have an annual gamerscore of 0-4,999 at time of entry and raise by 1,500 points will be awarded a game picture, a dashboard theme and Contra for the Xbox Live Arcade. Those with a 5,000-9,999 annual Gamerscore will win the aforementioned package plus 100 Microsoft Points and a contest T-shirt. At the highest tier, those with a 10,000+ annual score will net the level one prize as well as 200 Microsoft Points, a contest T-shirt and a copy of Fusion Frenzy 2.
It’s noted the contest awards prizes based on availability and are distributed on a first-achieved, first-served basis.
EA Drops Box Details
Part two of Half-Life 2‘s episodic content will be dropping in two separate formats this fall and will be accompanied by a bevy of goodies when picked up in The Orange Box or The Black Box packages.
The Black Box will ship for PC gamers and not only include Half-Life 2: Episode Two but also the titles Portal and Team Fortress 2. The Orange Box will also ship for the PC but also the Playstation 3 and Xbox 360. Orange will not only contain all of the material featured in The Black Box but will also come bundled with Half-Life 2 and Half-Life 2: Episode One.
PC Gamers to Get Jaded
Bioware Corp. is preparing to release its martial arts RPG Jade Empire in a special edition PC format this month.
Released on the Xbox in 2005, the original Jade Empire will receive a number of touch-ups and additions. New monsters, combat styles, items, enhanced graphics as well as a poster and art book will be included in the PC re-release. With the new platform, the game will feature high-res graphics, new visual effects and details as well as a new control scheme optimized for the PC.
Codeglue may go Mobile, Live
Dutch mobile game studio Codeglue has entered into a representation agreement with Flashman Studios Inc., with the possibility of having its titles secured by publishers for the mobile and Xbox 360 Live Arcade formats.
With the partnership, Codeglue has been actively developing original projects for the formats such as the arcade-style Jetpack Junkies.
Square’s Kingdom Continues to Grow
Square-Enix’s Kingdom Hearts II, having shipped September in the PAL territories, pushes the entire franchise to 10 million shipped worldwide.
Buena Vista Games, who is the interactive entertainment affiliate of The Walt Disney Company, made the announcement, stating through just three installments has become one of the top game series in the world. Through December 2006, Kingdom Hearts shipped more than 5.6 million units (3 million in North America), Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories shipped more than 1.5 million units (0.9 million in North America) and Kingdom Hearts II has shipped 3.4 million units (1.7 million units).
“When we first started developing Kingdom Hearts, we never imagined we would pass the 10 million mark so quickly,” said series producer Shinji Hashimoto. “We are delighted and extremely grateful for the support from our fans around the globe. We hope to continue to provide games which fulfill your anticipation in the future.”
Manhunt Comes Back for More
Rockstar Games recently announced Manhunt 2 is in development for the Playstation 2, PSP and Nitendo Wii systems.
Rockstar’s newly formed London studio will be will be developing the title in conjunction with Rockstar North for the Sony versions while Rockstar Toronto will be in charge of the Wii effort. Rockstar is anticipating a summer release for the sequel.
Women to Play in Print Form
On April 4, the world’s first video games magazine targeted at women will launch in Europe.
The magazine is titled Play Vanilla and will cover PC, video and mobile games aimed at younger women. The magazine will hit shelves at about 130 pages bi-monthly and will feature a cover price of 1.90 Euros.
The Quest Unfolds
Tohru Murayama, of Sega’s AM R&D department #2, took some time recently to detail Virtua Fighter 5‘s quest mode in a recent developer diary.
He noted the goals players will try to accomplish in the mode are attempting to win tournament championships, continually defeating rivals and completing the game’s collection of emblems and items. The mode features two types of tournaments – one held in individual in-game arcades and official ones held in special venues. However, Murayama noted even though players can complete the mode by winning the Official Victory, there is still plenty to do in VF5‘s quest mode and he encourages players to take the challenge in collecting and achieving everything.
Rivals will be located in the various in-game arcades. Rivals will increase a player’s level quicker with Murayama noting the AI of opponents will be comparable to the player’s current rank. He also mentioned the game’s online contest asking for ring names and sayings has been implemented with the winners featured in the mode.
Tournaments held in arcades offer emblems as prizes and “Soudatsusen” matches offer players matches where they, as the English translation suggests, battle for items. Winning the matches award players glasses, hairstyles, clothes and more to customize characters or earn gold to purchase other items.
Murayama also made interesting observations about the U.S. arcade scene versus the Japanese one (which he admits he adores). While visiting E3, he noted the arcades he visited featured almost nothing but racers and light gun games – a stark contrast to the lineups of fighters where opponents sit across from each other without being able to see one another while they play. He notes the contrast, hoping North American players won’t be lost in Virtua Fighter 5‘s reflection of the culture of Japanese arcades.
Murayama works on the Playstation 3 home version of the game, which, in Japan is scheduled to hit shelves Feb. 8.
Tennis Goes 1080p
Virtua Tennis 3 will mark a first for the Xbox 360, with the game supporting visuals up to 1080p.
The Live version of the game will feature a new Virtua Tennis TV spectator mode online along with Ranked and Player modes, complete with leaderboards.