Friday, October 12, 2007

EA acquires Bioware, crushes my soul.

Sad news indeed. EA have acquired Bioware and Pandemic studios. I guess that is the end of great Bioware RPGs. It was a nice run, but once EA get their hands on them I am afraid it is going to turn into watered down crap.

Deal valued at $860 million

Electronic Arts has announced an agreement with Elevation Partners to acquire VG Holding Corp., the owner of both BioWare Corp. and Pandemic Studios.

"These are two of the most respected studios in the industry and I'm glad to be working with them again," said EA CEO John Riccitiello.

"They'll make a strong contribution to our strategic growth initiatives on quality, online gaming and developing new intellectual properties. We also expect this will drive long-term value for our shareholders."

Riccitiello formed Elevation Partners in 2004, shortly after leaving EA. In 2005, his new company made a bid for Eidos, which it later withdrew.

Riccitiello returned to Electronic Arts as its CEO in early 2007.

EA will pay up to USD 620 million in cash to the stockholders of VG Holding Corp. and will issue up to an additional USD 155 million in equity to certain employees of VG Holding Corp., subject to time-based or performance-based vesting criteria.

EA will also assume outstanding VG Holding Corp. stock options and has agreed to lend VG Holding Corp. up to USD 35 million through the closing of the acquisition.

The Pandemic and BioWare teams will join the EA Games label currently run by Frank Gibeau.

BioWare is currently developing Mass Effect, which will be published by Microsoft for the Xbox 360 in November, and is in the early development stages of a massively multiplayer online game. Pandemic Studios is developing the upcoming Mercenaries 2: World in Flames and Saboteur.

The two developers employ roughly 800 people across four studios located in Edmonton, Canada; Los Angeles; Austin, Texas; and Brisbane, Australia.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

NHL 08 Slider Settings

NHL 08 is one of the best hockey games I have ever played and I think I have played them all. As usual it takes some time to get some good slider settings, but I think I have found some thanks to Operation Sports and a user named Flyermania. Here they are:

10 minute periods length, penalties maxed. Fighting up to user.

Game Speed-1
Puck Control-0
Fight Difficulty-1
Fatigue Effect-6
AI Learning-3

Fatigue Recovery-1
Player Acceleration-0 (changed this to slow the game a bit more, also creates more battles for loose pucks)

Hit Power-0
Poke Check Effectiveness- 6

Pass Speed-0
Saucer Pass Speed-0
Pass Interceptions-6
Goalie Passing-1

Shot Accuracy-4 (increased this to generate more scoring)
Shot Power-2 (lowered to counter the increased accuracy)

Shot Blocking-6
Hook Effectiveness-6
Penalty Shot Freq-1
Goalie Cover Puck Freq-5

* I always let the CPU take the face-off so I don't win 75-80% of them. Makes it more realistic.
* I do a lot of cycling and dumping of the puck to set up my offense. If you prefer a run-and-gun style, you will get a lot of shots on net with these settings.

Note: I changed the game speed to 1 from 0.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Wii need more games.

I am one of those "Wii-60" people who own an Xbox 360 and a Wii. However, I have gotten a great deal more enjoyment out of my 360 than my Wii. The reason for that is the overwhelming amount of games the 360 has over the Wii. Seriously, WTF is Nintendo doing? The only time I play the Wii any more is when relatives come over and I am forced to show them how to play Wii Sports. I played Zelda, and Metroid Prime 3, but those were mere snacks compared to the smörgåsbord of 360 titles. This holiday season looks a bit better but most of the games coming for the Wii that have any promise are Nintendo titles. It may work as a business model, but as a gamer I think it really sucks. I keep hearing people say it is just a matter of time, but this is starting to get ridiculous.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Conan Demo is now available for download.

Imagine my surprise when I fired up the old 360 today and found the Conan demo available for download. I played through it and I have to say that it is pretty tight. Make no mistake, this isn't a genre changing or revolutionary game in anyway, but from what I played I think it has potential. Combat is strategic with plenty of moves and combos. The AI seems to learn fairly well and the artwork is well done. There doesn't seem to be any multi-player or coop modes so this game might end up being just a renter albeit an enjoyable one. I think if you are a Conan fan like me you should give it rental. With God of War-like game play in the Conan universe you really can't go wrong. Here is some more info about the game:

Conan is an action adventure video game featuring a story of epic brutality, sheer evil and visceral combat within an expansive fantasy setting. Players will follow the journey of Conan the Cimmerian as he fights a vicious battle against a variety of enemies and an elusive power that threatens to consume the world. Using everything at his disposal including deadly weapons and environmental objects, Conan must fight everything in his path as he traverses a variety of unique realms within the Hyborian world.

Key Features:

  • Intense Action Combat: Playing as Conan, players will utilize a deep and gratifying combat system that offers a variety of fighting styles to battle enemies. Through multiple movement trees, players can string together combos and fight foes using grappling moves, hand-to-hand combat, sword fights and dual-wielded attacks.
  • Interactive Environments: Highly interactive combat locations and real-time physics will allow players to pick up any weapon in sight, such as swords, axes, spears and torches, and use surrounding environmental elements to inflict damage on your enemies.
  • Cinematic Game Play Experience: The Conan video game harnesses next generation hardware to deliver a cinematic game play experience, complete with innovative special effects, lighting and a powerful, epic soundtrack, to capture the essence of the Conan universe.