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Project Dark

From A New Gaming Education To I Am Alive, Alive - News Roundup 1st February 2011

Jonathan Lester
apple, Dark Soul, Education, From Software, Games news, I Am Alive, Ian Livingstone, iPhone, Playstation Suite, Project Dark, Report, Sony, Ubisoft, Windows Phone 7

Report Recommends Big Changes To UK Game Education


The influential Livingstone Hope report is set to release in full later today. Authored by the revered indutry veteran Ian Livingstone (Eidos Life President and UK gaming guru), it strongly recommends sweeping changes to the Information Technology curriculum in order to help Britain compete in the increasingly-important gaming market.

Videogames production plays to the UK’s twin strengths of creativity and high-technology and ticks all the boxes for the digital economy.

But despite young people being passionate about videogames, they are unaware that games such as Grand Theft Auto and SingStar were developed in the UK and unaware of the career opportunities in the UK.

The report suggests that Computer Science should replace information technology, with a new focus on teaching programming languages and coding skills over... you know... creating fake restaurant menus and suchlike. What's more, Livingstone also suggests that IT and art should be taught together rather than kept apart. After all, we all know that games are fast becoming an emergent art form. [GI]

We steadfastly believe that Britain is a great gaming nation- and that these measures would usher in a new generation of videogame developers. Should we change our curriculum to get with the programme? Did your IT lessons teach you anything remotely useful? Have your say in the comments!

UPDATE: I Am Alive Goes Downloadable; Out This Year?

Update: This story has unfortunately been outed as a fake. Thanks for the subtle heads-up, ODB!

I Am Alive is an innovative survival game that was announced two years ago, with a turbulent dev cycle resulting in genuine doubt as to whether it would ever hit the shelves. However, Ubisoft exec Jane Raymond has revealed that it never will... because the project is now slated as a downloadable release for PSN and XBLA.

Ubisoft have yet to officially comment on the situation, but have taken the site down for maintenance. Perhaps an announcement is on the way? [JeuxVideo via EG]

Project Dark Is Dead. Long Live Dark Soul!

When From Software unveiled 'Project Dark' at last year's Tokyo Games Show, many gamers and pundits wondered whether it had any connection to Demon's Souls. After all, the action and art style seemed to be overwhelmingly similar to the wildly-successful PS3 sleeper hit. From Software were quick to deny that Project Dark was the working title for Demon's Souls 2... and have revealed that it has nothing to do with the franchise whatsoever.

In fact, it's had a complete change of identity. According to Famitsu Magazine (via GAF), the project is know known as Dark Soul- and is set in an entirely new "medieval dark fantasy" universe. Apparently the gameplay will be similar to Demon's Souls in terms of hardcore trial-and-error combat, but that's where the inspiration ends.

Dark Soul is set for a simultaneous PS3 and Xbox 360 release some time this year. We'll keep you up to date with the latest. [GAF]

Playstation Suite Takes Aim At iOS And WP7

playstation suite

Sony's Playstation Suite is set to bring first-party Playstation content to Android handhelds later this year, but SCE boss Kaz Hirai has suggested that this is just the tip of the iceberg. Most pundits assume that Apple is the major rival for the recently-unveiled Sony NGP and related services (along with Windows Phone 7 to a lesser extent), but Hirai would like to see Playstation Suite available on all platforms. That way, everybody gets paid.

There are a variety of operating systems, but we're focusing first on Android. There's also Windows, iOS and so forth, but we don't have the resources to make it compatible with everything from the start.

We have a completely open stance with carriers and handset makers. - SCE President Kaz Hirai

However, considering that Apple has recently rejected the Sony Reader from the App Store, it's likely that there'll be a serious conflict of interest. This move will also possibly anger Sony Ericsson, who stand to lose an important target audience for the Zeus 'Playstation Phone' Z1. We'll bring you the details as this story develops. [Thanks, Andriasang]

Mobot has more on the story.

From Golden Joysticks To Demon's Souls Sequel Denial - News Roundup 30th October 2010

Jonathan Lester
Demon's Souls, From Software, Games news, Golden Joystick Awards, Nintendo, Project Dark, Wii

Golden Joystick Winners Announced


This year's prestigious Golden Joystick award winners have been announced, with Bioware's Mass Effect 2 and PopCap's Plants vs Zombies receiving two trophies apiece. There weren't too many surprises this year, with the big names snagging most of the major awards. It was odd to see Guitar Hero 5 make the list, mind. Here's the full list for your perusal along with links to our coverage and reviews. Remember that this list lags behind the times somewhat.

Do you agree with the list- or would you have liked to have seen some other lesser known games on there? Have your say- or make your own awards list- in the comments! I'd have loved an Indie Games category, personally.

Nintendo: No Wii Christmas Price Cut

iwata wiimote

Despite many pundits predicting that Nintendo would slash Wii prices over the next couple of months, President Satoru Iwata has confirmed that the. However, he as also admitted that the Wii needs a offer a new incentive and unique selling point to attract a new generation of consumers... which he thinks the new Red Wii is currently providing.

Of course, we cannot say [a price cut] will never happen, but we are not thinking of it for the near future.

Those who really wanted [a Wii] would have already bought it, so now we need to reach those who considered it but never got around to buying it. -Satoru Iwata

To be honest, I can see the logic in this decision. The new Mario 25th Anniversary Wii SKU is priced competitively enough to provide an inexpensive 'stocking filler' when compared against the Xbox 360 & Kinect bundle and even the (admittedly valuetastic) PS3 & Move Starter Pack. Analysts (and even THQ) have predicted a Christmas upswing for Nintendo hardware- and we'll keep an eye on the numbers over the holiday season. [Associated Press]

No Demon's Souls 2 Planned;  Could Happen Down The Line

demons souls banner

Remember Project Dark? From Software's current project (unveiled at TGS) looked for all the world like a direct sequel to divisive sleeper hit Demon's Souls... but apparently it isn't. Speaking to The Guardian, From Software producer Takeshi Kajii bluntly denied that they're working on a second installment.

At the moment, my answer is "no sequel!"

However, we have been encouraged by all the players, and this title is so well supported, and besides we like this title so much… Well, this is my own feeling, but I think one day we could bring you another Demon's Souls...

Kaiji also confirmed that they had no plans to introduce Playstation Move into Project Dark or Demon's Souls (via patch). If there were to be a sequel, it will apparently require better QA testing to iron out exploits/glitches as well as some improved AI. [Guardian.co.uk]

From "Gay Space Marines" to Demon's Souls II? - News Roundup 18th September 2010

Jonathan Lester
Demon's Souls, From Software, Games news, Gay Space Marines, immigration, Project Dark

Industry Obsessed By "Gay Space Marines"

gay space

Today's games industry is plagued by many pitfalls and problems, including the global economy, shifting trends and Japan's apparent atrophy. However, when asked by MTV Multiplayer, Mafia II's executive producer Denby Grace has a definitive theory about the biggest current problem with gaming.

"It's a very good question and maybe a little general for a concise answer. An obsession with gay space marines."

So there, apparently. There's no doubt that burly power-armoured soldiers play a major role in many games... but I'm afraid that this trend won't change until we stop buying them. Plus, considering the quality of the Halo, Killzone and Gears of War franchises, I'm not sure it's necessarily a bad thing.

When asked about where he sees gaming going in the next five years, Denby replied:

Bigger, shinier... and hopefully more innovative with better and better writers and narrative in our medium.

Denby Grace went on to make a number of other interesting points in the interview... but it's a little odd to see Mafia II's senior producer blaming other games for being derivative. It's not as if the industry is obsessed with open-world sandbox crime games, after all... [thanks, MTV Multiplayer Blog]

TIGA: UK Immigration Cap Will Hurt Games Industry


Immigration was one of the key issues of this year's general election, and our current coalition government plans to limit the number of non EU workers that are allowed into the country per year. Since Dealspwn is a games blog, this would usually be out of my juristiction... but British trade association TIGA now claims that this measure will actually hurt our homegrown developers in the long run.

"Our research shows that 39 per cent of developers suffered from skill shortages in 2009,"

"If skilled personnel are not available in the UK then games businesses must be free to recruit them from elsewhere. These arbitrary limits could prevent development studios from completing projects on time, stymie expansion plans and limit the ability of studios to win new contracts."

"This would simply damage the ability of studios to complete their projects on time and impair the quality of game development." - TIGA boss Dr Richard Wilson

TIGA also believes that the proposed immigration cap will force potential investors to pour their money into competing nations. Combined with the Coalition Government's decision to scrap the UK gaming tax breaks, our current leadership isn't exactly making things easier for our gaming industry in these harsh financial climes. [Gamesindustry]

What could the government be doing to make things easy for our British developers. Does our games industry deserve special treatment? Have your say in the comments!

Project Dark Trailer... Is It Demon's Souls II?

project dark logo

Most of us expected From Software to announce a direct sequel to surprise PS3  sleeper hit Demon's Souls at this year's Tokyo Game Show... but instead, they've revealed that their current upcoming IP is entitled Project Dark. Don't despair just yet, though, because we have a trailer for your eager delectation. Have a look and see if any of it seems familiar (courtesy of Gamespot).

Everything from the art style from the perspective is jarringly reminiscent of Demon's Souls... and it's therefore likely that Project Dark is just a working title. It's referred to as a "project", after all. Regardless of the name, From Software's newest action RPG is headed both to the PS3 and Xbox 360 next year. We'll keep you posted. [via Kotaku]