Plants Vs. Zombies Invade Xbox Live

PopCap Games announced today that it will release Plants vs. Zombies in September 2010 on Xbox Live for $15.00. The latest version of the tower defense game will have two all-new multiplayer modes, 12 achievements and 21 mini-games.

“With a ton of new features and content exclusive to the XBLA version, we’ve pulled out all the stops to both expand and optimize this adaptation for a hard core gaming audience,” said Ed Allard, head of worldwide studios at PopCap. “The two new multiplayer modes allow gamers to work cooperatively to defeat hordes of invading zombies, or go head-to-head in a true ‘plants vs. zombies’ challenge. We’re also featuring a customized ‘house’ for tracking and sharing progress as well as a total of 21 mini-games and 12 achievements, all designed to enthrall Plants vs. Zombies players once again.”

PopCap plans to release a retail boxed copy of Plants vs. Zombies, which will include Zuma and Peggle, for the Xbox 360 for $19.99.

Red Faction Movie Details

THQ and Syfy announced details for the Red Faction live-action movie pilot titled Red Faction: Origins. Taking place between 2009’s Red Faction: Guerrilla and the upcoming Red Faction: Armageddon, it follows the lineage of rebel hero Alec Mason and the Mason family.

“This groundbreaking deal with THQ reflects our desire to deliver a completely immersive and enhanced viewing experience for the audience, said Mark Stern, Executive Vice President Programming, Syfy & Co-head of Universal Cable Production. We are excited to be working with the creative team at THQ in extending the vibrant world of Red Faction to our air.”

The screenplay for Red Faction: Origins was put together by writer and producer Andrew Kreisberg (Warehouse 13, Fringe, Vampire Diaries and Boston Legal) and based on a story developed by Paul DeMeo (The Rocketeer, Flash, Viper, The Sentinel).

“THQ is blazing a new trail in the gaming industry with our partnership with Syfy by introducing the Red Faction franchise to a new and broader audience,” said Danny Bilson, Executive Vice President, Core Games, THQ. “This unique transmedia collaboration is one of many strategic initiatives in place to dramatically increase awareness for Red Faction Armageddon and extend the Red Faction brand across a wide variety of entertainment channels.”

Red Faction: Origins is slated to premiere in March 2011, when Red Faction: Armageddon is expected to release.

Tiger Woods Scandal May Have ‘Permanently Damaged’ Game Brand

When the full depth of the Tiger Woods sex scandal was revealed, Electronic Arts was one of the first companies to give a show of support for the embattled athlete. Still, the sales of Tiger Woods PGA Tour 11 for the Wii declined 86 percent over last year, which Doug Creutz of Cowan & Company dubbed “particularly catastrophic.”

“Although this is probably due in part to the fact that last year’s version shipped bundled with Nintendo’s new MotionPlus controller, we are concerned that Woods’ scandal woes may have permanently damaged the sales potential of what we believe to be EA’s third most important sports franchise, behind Madden and FIFA,” noted Creutz.


Glee Game Gets Confirmed

Konami and 20th Century Fox today announced a partnership between the Glee television series and the Karaoke Revolution franchise of games. Appropriately named Karaoke Revolution Glee, the title will enable players to sing 35 of the songs from the hit TV series.

This partnership with Fox is very important to us and we are thrilled to be the first to bring Glee to a video game console! said Kunio Neo, President of Konami Digital Entertainment, GmbH. We plan to elevate the Karaoke Revolution franchise even further by giving fans a chance to pick up the mic and interact with their favorite characters, themes and music from one of the most popular TV franchises to date.

This is the kind of game that Glee fans -or Gleeks as they re affectionately known – have been waiting for. We all know they’ve been singing along with their favorite characters during the show, and this game will let them rack up points in the process, said Gary Rosenfeld, Senior Vice President, New Media for Fox Consumer Products. This partnership also reflects our on-going strategy to develop Glee as a long-term brand at retail.

Karaoke Revolution Glee will release on Wii in Fall 2010.

Agency Bullish On Ad Spending

Zenith Optimedia has revised their global ad forecast upward, predicting $448 billion in spending, which is a 3.5 percent rise in spending. This is a positive sign, since the company was predicting only a 0.9 percent gain for 2010 in December, increasing that to 2.2 percent in April.

“We now expect all regions to manage at least some growth this year after a stronger than expected first half, particularly in the U.S. and Western Europe, said Zenith Optimedia, adding that, [There remains a] stark contrast between the slow-growing developed world and fast-paced developing markets.”

The agency noted that North America was mostly responsible for this growth, with an increase of 3 percent and forecasted growth of 1.3 percent for the whole year to $159 billion. Zenith said ad spending is up largely “because consumer confidence and spending has recovered quite strongly in the U.S., despite persistent unemployment.

Zenith Optimedia expects ad spending to continue this upward trend, with 4.5 percent growth in 2011 and 5.3 percent growth in 2012.

Source: Ad Week

StarCraft II’s Dev Budget: $100 Million

When you sell over 11 million copies of a game and help make video games into a professional sport in Korea, you can afford to burn through a lot of time and money on the sequel. Witness StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty, which reports say has cost $100 million to make.

“There is no shortage of consumers for StarCraft,” said Kotick. “For a game that is more than ten years old, there’s millions of people still playing it.”

The game, which has been in development since 2003, will release on July 27, 2010. Some analysts believe that sales for StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty will exceed five million in its first year.

Source: Wall Street Journal

Kojima Conceptualizing Adventure Title

Now that Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker has released, Hideo Kojima has some choices to make about his next project. As it turns out, he’ll be working with developer 5pb and Executive Director Chiyomaru Shikura on an adventure title of some sort.

“The meaning of why I am personally connected to this project is that this is the third entry in a conceptual science series and that it is a project with Kojima,” says Shikura. “Kojima told me, that he wanted to make an adventure game. We’re at the still stage where we need to go to a secluded spot in the mountains and hash this project out, and thus, we don’t have any of the minute details hammered out.”

5pb has mostly done console ports of dating games and shooter titles, and while not recent, adventure games by Kojima include the Snatcher and Policenauts series and could possibly be returned to with a sequel.

Source: Kotaku

StarCraft II: The Wait Is Almost Over

It has been more than a decade since the first StarCraft game released, an almost excruciating wait time for the game’s legion of fans for the sequel. With the release of StarCraft II coming at the end of July, Blizzard is ramping up its promotional efforts, like this breathtaking CG TV spot.

Sorcerer Experience: Feel The Magic

Disney is looking for a brand new way to promote The Sorcerer’s Apprentice in a public setting. “The Sorcerer Experience as it is called, uses Kinect-like technology to let passers by make magic on their own.