Time Warner Interactive to Open in London

21 06 2007

Time Warner Interactive are setting up a European games division in London, with around 50 staff. More details at Next Gen.

Half Life 2 PS3 Development in UK

20 06 2007

Shacknews has an assortment of news in an item about Half Life 2 Episode 2 and surrounding titles, which includes this:

Valve is handling development of the games on PC and Xbox 360, with EA UK’s Chertsey, Surrey office bringing the titles to PlayStation 3.

Rockstar Respond to BBFC

20 06 2007

Rockstar have issued some rather restrained objections to the BBFC’s decision to refuse Manhunt 2 a rating:

“We believe all products should be rated to allow the public to make informed choices about the media and art they wish to consume. The stories in modern video games are as diverse as the stories in books, film and television. The adult consumers who would play this game fully understand that it is fictional interactive entertainment and nothing more.”

Manhunt 2 Denied UK Distribution

19 06 2007

It’s been almost a decade since a game was rejected by the BBFC, but Manhunt 2 has earned the “honour”. Every time I’ve seen people from the BBFC speak, they’ve been very switched on and interested in safeguarding media rather than censoring it, defending games and criticising negative newspaper coverage.

It seems Manhunt 2 has no such merit though:

“Rejecting a work is a very serious action and one which we do not take lightly,” BBFC director David Cooke stated. “Where possible we try to consider cuts or, in the case of games, modifications which remove the material which contravenes the Board’s published Guidelines.

In the case of Manhunt 2 this has not been possible. Manhunt 2 is distinguishable from recent high-end video games by its unremitting bleakness and callousness of tone in an overall game context which constantly encourages visceral killing with exceptionally little alleviation or distancing.

There is sustained and cumulative casual sadism in the way in which these killings are committed, and encouraged, in the game.

Although the difference should not be exaggerated the fact of the game’s unrelenting focus on stalking and brutal slaying and the sheer lack of alternative pleasures on offer to the gamer, together with the different overall narrative context, contribute towards differentiating this submission from the original Manhunt game.”

I feel quite sad that Take 2 and Rockstar have kept on pushing at that boundary and image, especially after some of the smart things they did with Bully (Canis Canem Edit). They may be big, but this wasn’t clever.

Yannis Mallat: Ubisoft’s Future of Digital Entertainment

19 06 2007

Yannis Mallat of Ubisoft talks about their future plans. While somewhat vague and potentially heavy on hype when it comes to the plans themselves, the interview has some interesting tidbits around the periphery of them:

What kind of people are you hiring into this? Are you hiring from the game space mostly, or are you also hiring film students?

YM: Both. In five years, we don’t want people to be saying, “I am an animator for the video game side,” and “I am an animator for the CG side.” We want people saying, “I am an animator for Ubisoft Montreal.”

You want the line between CG animation and real-time animation to blur, so that there is no such thing as uninteractive content, right?

YM: Exactly.

No such thing as uninteractive content.

IGF 2008 Submissions Open

19 06 2007

There don’t seem to be any permalinks for news items on the official site, so once again I’ll point to Develop

The modding category has been dropped, though mods are allowed in the student category.

Skillset Fund Maya Effects Training at Escape Studios

19 06 2007

Aimed at film, Skillset are funding the entirety of tuition for students of VFX at Escape Studios. More details here:

Skillset has teamed up with Escape Studios to provide free training in film special effects on a course starting in September.

The Skillset Film Fund will pay for 100 per cent of the fees for new students applying for Escape Studios’ Maya for VFX Production course.

Tomb Raider Anniversary Goes Episodic for XBLA

19 06 2007

Tomb Raider Anniversary will be split into four episodes for digital distribution via Microsoft’s XBox Live Arcade. This will be the first full retail game to be distributed on the service. From Develop:

“We have created this version of Anniversary specifically for digital distribution as episodic content,” said SCi’s chief executive Jane Cavanagh.

“This is part of our strategy to grow our presence in online and digital distribution as we believe there are huge growth opportunities arising from this delivery format and we intend to capitalise on the increasing demand for digitally downloaded content.”

MBE for Roger Bennett

19 06 2007


Former ELSPA director general Roger Bennett was named in the Queen’s birthday honours list for his many years of service as the figurehead of the publishers’ association.

Bennett, who retired from his former role in July of last year, had run the day-to-day operation at ELSPA since 1989, and remains a hugely popular figure within the trade.


19 06 2007

Codemasters have taken a very determined approach to next gen development, starting with the PS3 because it was the most challenging, and from there developing an engine to roll out across all their studios. From Develop:

Next-gen games development has, as we all know, placed huge demands on not only the industry’s talent base, but also its technology base as well, demanding more staff to deal with more complicated software – all in order to make better games.

In seeing this hairpin-like crunch approaching on the road ahead, Codemasters’ internal team recently came up with it’s answer to the next-gen rush: Neon.

You may remember reading about Neon last year, when Develop exclusively revealed its existence (and you can read our original report here), but a quick recap: using PS3 as a starting point, Neon is a next-gen engine that is supporting every facet of Codemasters’ internal development going forward.