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We were lucky enough to attend Activision's pre-E3 event last week. While there's plenty of games on show we can't talk about yet, the undisputed star was Call of Duty: Black Ops. The heat is well and truly on both Activision and Treyarch to show the franchise doesn't need Infinity Ward.
We witnessed live gameplay of two levels from the game's campaign mode - "WMD" and "Slaughterhouse". The result? We think it will surprise some.
While THQ was launching its THQ Partners division, Atari - possibly the publisher who could most benefit from such a department - was announcing it had once again lost money the financial year just past.
There's a silver lining on this cloud however - not only was the magnitude of the loss way less than the previous financial year, but the beset company actually managed to turn a profit in the second half of the year.
When Insomniac Games discreetly made the rounds of publishers looking for a patron for a multi-platform title, you can be sure THQ was on the list at some stage. THQ may not be on the same tier as EA and Activision, but if you had to pick likely a candidate to make the jump, they'd be up there.
Today, THQ announced it too would be launching a developer patronage arm, THQ Partners, which is similar in some respects to EA Partners, who has enjoyed healthy recent success.
Common sense appears to have prevailed in Germany, with a proposed government-enforced ban on violent games (dubbed "killerspiele", "killergames" and similar variations in some quarters) failing to get passed. The proposal would have seen people selling games deemed to have excessive violent content able to be charged under the country's criminal code.
Treyarch's Call of Duty: Black Ops had its worldwide video premiere last night - airing during the NBA Eastern Conference finals game.
Our production gurus have already got the trailer up and running, and it's a cracker.
We took a few grabs to give a brief, dialup-unfriendly taste:
Despite selling almost nine million copies of Assassin's Creed II, Ubisoft has had a year they would rather forget. The company sales dropped 17.7% compared to the previous year, with profits also down 5%.
It all added up (or more precisely: subtracted) to a 60 million Euro operating loss for the company.
The culprit according to CEO Yves Guillemot:
It was E3 last year where the world really started paying attention to Scribblenauts. It may have been on the Nintendo DS, but everyone from hardened PC gamers through to iPhone wielding dilettantes could readily appreciate what developer 5th Cell were offering: a chance to show how clever we all are.
For the uninitiated, Scribblenauts is a game which relies heavily on your lateral thinking and your vocabulary. You negotiate terrain-based puzzles using items that you type in. The in-game dictionary is immense and cleverly referenced, so most punters will be hard pressed to not see amusing and/or successful results, no matter what they type in (assuming it's not X-rated or particularly distasteful.)
USA Today has scored a look at the first level of Call of Duty: Black Ops, and from the look of it Treyarch will endeavour to mimic the overblown, Bruckheimer-esque storytelling approach Infinity Ward employed in Modern Warfare/Modern Warfare 2.
From the article:
Posted 02:50am 11/05/10 by: kreese
Associated Press has had a chat with Nintendo head Satoru Iwata which discusses the company's upcoming 3DS handheld. Rather than going nuts discussing the brave new world of 3D, the the main thrust of the interview was... piracy.
Software theft is a big issue for Nintendo. Iwata concedes the company has "a strong sense of crisis" about the possibility of more and more people thinking paying for software is pointless. To that end Nintendo has jacked up the anti-piracy controls on the 3DS - which may sound like a familiar tune.
The Monopoly board game has been around for 75 years this year, apparently, and to celebrate EA and Hasbro are dragging the classic property management (or embezzlement simulation, if you're the bank) onto the consoles again with a 'Dynamic 3D Monopoly Gameplay Experience' called Monopoly Streets.
The press release had some details on what the game would entail - though info was a little bit light,