Train2Game News Blizzard announces Overwatch

OverwatchIn front of a live crowd of more than 25,000 BlizzCon attendees and an expected online audience numbering in the millions, Blizzard Entertainment announced Overwatch. A pick-up-and-play first-person shooter featuring an amazing cast of heroes and set in an all-new Blizzard game universe.

The action of Overwatch takes place in a technologically advanced, highly stylized future earth. In a time of global crisis, an international task force of soldiers, scientists, adventurers, and oddities known as Overwatch had come together to restore peace to a war-torn world. After many years, the group’s influence waned, and it was eventually disbanded. Overwatch might be gone now . . . but the world still needs heroes.

With an emphasis on accessibility and pure fun, Overwatch brings Blizzard’s signature easy-to-learn, hard-to-master gameplay to the FPS genre. Harnessing the power of their hero of choice, players will join forces in teams of six and battle each other across a range of futuristic global locations, from the hologram-lit streets of London to a bazaar in the shadows of a high-tech Egyptian pyramid. Every battlefield is iconic and built to highlight each character’s unique abilities, and fights can shift from streets to rooftops to open skies within the span of a breath.

“Overwatch is our take on a vibrant, near-future universe with amped-up characters and action-packed team-based gameplay,” said Mike Morhaime, CEO and cofounder of Blizzard Entertainment. “With every new Blizzard game, we look at our favorite aspects of a genre and put our own spin on things. Our goal with Overwatch is to create an awesome FPS experience that’s more accessible to a much wider audience while delivering the action and depth that shooter fans love.”

The heroes of Overwatch each bring their own distinct weapons and superabilities to bear. Here’s just a glimpse of the numerous heroes that will ultimately fill Overwatch’s rosters:

  • Tracer, a former British test pilot who shrugs at danger, can execute impossible acrobatic assaults thanks to her ability to teleport, drop energy bombs, and even reverse time.
  • Reinhardt, a hulking German soldier in battle armor, can charge great distances and pin his enemies to a wall or slam the ground with his rocket hammer to knock them off their feet.
  • Hanzo, a bow-wielding Japanese mercenary, has the ability to scale walls with his bare hands, fire off a tracking device that illuminates nearby enemies for his team, and unleash a huge spirit dragon that does grievous damage to all enemies in its path.
  • Symmetra, an Indian architech, manipulates light and energy to shield her allies and damage her enemies—and she can turn the tide of any battle by building a device that instantly transports her teammates to the front lines.

While each hero represents a formidable force on their own, players can amplify their potential by assembling into a well-balanced team and creatively combining powers. No matter which hero or playstyle they prefer, players will be able to team up and accomplish the incredible in Overwatch.

At BlizzCon this past weekend, Overwatch was fully playable and running on 600 PCs, and attendees there were the first in the world to play it. Gamers at the show could select from a current roster of 12 playable heroes and go 6v6 against each other, capturing or defending points and attacking or delivering payloads across three wildly different maps. New heroes and maps will continually be added to the game as development progresses, and beta testing will begin in 2015.

Learn more about Overwatch, including all of the heroes and maps revealed at BlizzCon, and sign up to participate in the upcoming beta test at the official website, www.playoverwatch.com. Further details about the game will be announced there in the months ahead.

You can enjoy the entertaining Pixar-esque announcement trailer below

Train2Game News Hearthstone hits huge milestone

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Free-to-play card-combat phenomenon Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft has been downloaded upwards of 20 million times, Blizzard has announced.

Hearthstone launched on PC and Mac back in March then appeared on iPad in April and Windows 8 Touch devices in August. It’s slated for release later this year on iPhone and Android.

“Thank you all for joining us in Hearthstone! We’re going to need a bigger tavern!” the developer stated on Twitter noting the milestone.

Earlier this month Blizzard released its single-player expansion The Curse of Naxxramas.

Train2Game News Destiny sells huge amounts

DestinyActivision Publishing, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Activision Blizzard, Inc announced that the company sold more than $500 million of Destiny into retail stores and first parties worldwide as of day one, making the game the biggest new video game franchise launch in history.

“Based on extraordinary audience demand, retail and first party orders worldwide have exceeded $500 million for Destiny,” said Bobby Kotick, CEO of Activision Blizzard. “This industry milestone marks another blockbuster success for our company and demonstrates our unique ability to create some of the most successful entertainment franchises in the world. The success of Destiny, along with the recent introduction of Blizzard Entertainment’s Hearthstone, is further validation of our unique capabilities to create great entertainment franchises from the ground up.”

Destiny launched at over 11,000 midnight openings around the world, as fans in over 178 countries (Source: Radian6) shared their fervour on YouTube and in social media.

“Since the beginning, we’ve been confident that our investment and belief in Destiny would pay off. But not many people believed we’d be able to say it did so on day one,” said Eric Hirshberg, CEO of Activision Publishing. “Destiny is officially the biggest new franchise launch in our industry’s history. It’s also the highest-selling day one digital console release in history. We have more confidence than ever that Destiny will become one of the iconic franchises of this generation and Activision’s next billion dollar brand. Most importantly, it’s just a great game which we can’t stop playing. A big thanks to our incredibly talented team and partners who helped make this happen; most importantly, our partners at Bungie.”

Train2Game News BlizzCon from home

BlizzconGrab your most comfortable chair and invite a few friends over to join Blizzard Entertainment’s epic gaming convention from home with the BlizzCon Virtual Ticket, now available to order at www.blizzcon.com.

The BlizzCon Virtual Ticket provides comprehensive live online HD coverage of Blizzard’s Warcraft, StarCraft, and Diablo community celebration, taking place November 7 and 8 at the Anaheim Convention Center. Available for £ 24.99, the Virtual Ticket grants access to two exclusive channels of BlizzCon content on both days of the show, making it the next best thing to being there live. The BlizzCon 2014 Virtual Ticket includes:

Developer Panels & Exclusive Interviews Get the latest World of Warcraft, StarCraft II, Diablo III, Hearthstone, and Heroes of the Storm news straight from the developers, and witness all of the epic moments as they happen live from the Main and Panel stages. In between, dig deeper into your favorite games in exclusive one-on-one interviews with Blizzard Entertainment designers, artists, and producers.

Community Contests—Hosted by Chris Hardwick Witness the spectacle of the legendary BlizzCon Costume Contest and Talent Contest on Friday night. This year’s festivities will be emceed by stand-up comedian and podcaster Chris Hardwick, host of Comedy Central’s late night Internet-spelunking game show @midnight and creative head of geek-minded media network Nerdist Industries.

Closing Ceremony—Behold the closing festivities on Saturday night, capping off two full days of Blizzard gaming and eSports action—more details to be announced later.

On-Demand Replays—Rewatch epic moments with the Virtual Ticket’s DVR functionality, and catch content you might have missed for up to two weeks after the show’s over.

Epic Bonus Loot Unlock this year’s commemorative BlizzCon in-game goodies for World of Warcraft, StarCraft II, Diablo III, Hearthstone, and Heroes of the Storm (details coming soon). The Virtual Ticket also grants early access to this year’s online BlizzCon merchandise sale, which will run from October 17 through November 11 and feature a selection of commemorative items that will be available for purchase at the show.

Even if you don’t purchase a Virtual Ticket, you’ll still be able to catch plenty of BlizzCon action online. Coverage of the opening ceremony and this year’s eSports tournaments—including the StarCraft II World Championship Series Global Finals, World of Warcraft Arena World Championship, Hearthstone World Championship, and Heroes of the Storm exhibition matches—will be streamed for free in HD at www.blizzcon.com.

More information on BlizzCon 2014 and the Virtual Ticket can be found at www.blizzcon.com.

Train2Game News UKIE outlines new manifesto for games industry

UKIE LogoOn Tuesday, Ukie, in partnership with Activision Blizzard and Ubisoft, hosted its largest ever Westminster Political Reception to announce a range of policy recommendations and to celebrate the cultural and economic importance of the UK games sector.

The event, held at Millbank Tower, was attended by more than 200 members, MPs, Peers, policy makers and industry figures from a range of creative industry sectors.

The event saw the launch of the new Ukie Policy Manifesto for the next Parliament that outlines initial plans for how to further grow the UK games sector following the introduction of tax breaks earlier this year, and the introduction of the new Computing curriculum earlier this week.

Created with input from Ukie’s members, the Policy Manifesto calls for action on three headline areas of policy support:

· Support to help UK games companies grow across the UK – including regulatory stability, better infrastructure and a long term roadmap where games businesses can access public funding and support proportionate to the other screen industries

· Promotion of the UK games industry abroad – demonstrating that the UK is one of the leading videogame industries in the world, including a focus on funding, fully supporting and working with industry on trade and investment activity such as trade missions and helping UK businesses to reach overseas marketplaces

· Building a strong and diverse talent pipeline – including supporting the new Computing Curriculum, investing in careers guidance and extending and making permanent the Skills Investment Fund

The reception heard from Justin Tomlinson MP, PPS to Ed Vaizey, on the work that the coalition government has done to support the UK games sector.

Justin Tomlinson MP said: ““The UK games industry is going from strength to strength, recovering some of the ground lost to other countries over the last few years. This growth has been helped very much by the hard work put in by Ukie and the major policy initiatives introduced by this government, such as a new computing curriculum and the recent introduction of production tax relief. However, more can of course be done and in my new role working closely with Ed Vaizey I very much welcome Ukie’s new Policy Manifesto and look forward to discussing its recommendations with Jo and her team in more detail over the coming months.”

The guests also heard from Dr Jo Twist, CEO of Ukie, and Roy Stackhouse, General Manager for Activision Blizzard UK and Ireland, discussing Ukie’s manifesto proposals and the strength of the UK as a place to make games.

Ukie CEO, Dr Jo Twist said: “We were delighted by the introduction of games industry tax relief earlier this year but quickly realised that it is essential that we maximise the opportunities that the new scheme presents. We have therefore spent the last six months speaking to our members from across the breadth of our sector about the measures that they would like to see the UK government introduce to truly put the UK’s games industry on the global map. Our Policy Manifesto outlines our members priority asks and we will be following this up with more detailed papers and briefings to MPs to continue our push to make this the best country in the world to make and sell games.”

UK MD of Ubisoft, Rob Cooper commented on the importance of the Westminster Reception in maintaining a positive view of the UK games sector: “Events like these are vital in showing the significance of the UK games industry, both culturally and economically, to a high profile audience of policy makers and other VIPs. We are delighted to support this year’s event and Ukie’s work generally in giving a voice to UK games businesses of all sizes from multinationals like Ubisoft, to smaller developers, making and selling some of the most vibrantly creative interactive entertainment in the world.”

Guests at the reception had a chance to play some of Ubisoft and Activision Blizzard’s latest titles including Valiant Hearts: The Great War, Just Dance 2014, Diablo III and Skylanders: Trap Team. Charity Special Effect were also there demonstrating their latest innovations to help young people with different abilities enjoy games.

You can find Ukie’s Policy Manifesto for the New Parliament here: http://ukie.org.uk/news/2014/09/ukie-westminster-reception

Train2Game News 1000+ devs sign anti abuse letter

Peace GamingSeveral developers have signed a letter in an attempt to put an end to anti social behaviour on social media in gaming communities.

EA, Ubisoft, Microsoft, Guerrilla, Epic, Crystal Dynamics, Deep Silver, Double Fine, Lionhead, Bohemia, Blizzard, Infinity Ward, TellTale, Disney, PopCap, Harmonix, Traveller’s Tales, Sony, 2K, DICE, Google, Riot and Apple – as well as dozens of independent developers – are already signed up in an attempt to make the internet a place where your views can be heard without your personal character being attacked.

“We believe that everyone, no matter what gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, or religion has the right to play games, criticize games and make games without getting harassed or threatened. It is the diversity of our community that allows games to flourish,” the letter reads.

“If you see threats of violence or harm in comments on Steam, YouTube, Twitch, Twitter, Facebook or Reddit, please take a minute to report them on the respective sites. If you see hateful, harassing speech, take a public stand against it and make the gaming community a more enjoyable space to be in.”

You can read the full letter and all who have signed it here.

Train2Game News Blizzard hire Hearthstone player

HearthstoneA professional gamer has been hired by Blizzard to work on updates for the massively popular Hearthstone.

Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft is the card game based on the MMO World of Warcraft. Announced at the Penny Arcade Expo in March 2013, the game entered open beta in January 2014, and was released in March 2014. Hearthstone is available on the Microsoft Windows and OS X operating systems and on iPad and Windows 8 Touch devices. iPhone and Android tablet platform releases are planned for the second half of 2014. As of March 2014, Hearthstone has more than 10 million player accounts registered worldwide.

One of those players, Ryan Materson, has now been employed by Blizzard as an associate designer and is expected to help with balancing the game for the new updates.

Materson, who is known as Realz, was the team leader of professional Hearthstone team, Mana Grind, before they disbanded. He is one of the most respected and talented professional players and this is what caught the eye of Blizzard.

On Reddit Materson said “This is a truly exciting opportunity for me, and (to rephrase from the words of someone I have long admired, who once entered a similar position) I hope my association with the continuing development of Hearthstone will serve to comfort fellow ladder grinders, competitors and players at large that ‘one of us’ is behind the scenes looking out for the interests of the play. I really can’t wait to get started”.

Train2Game News UK Top 20 Games – 01.09.14

Metro ReduxThis weeks charts sees a new number one. Metro Redux knocks Diablo 3 Reaper of Souls Ultimate Evil down to number two. There seems to be a trend of remastered collected editions of games rejoining the charts at the moment. Lower down the chart Madden NFL 15 enters the chart at number six with the new season starting in just under a weeks time.

All formats

Week ending 30 August 2014

POS.  TITLE  PUBLISHER  LAST
WEEK 
1 METRO REDUX DEEP SILVER -
2 DIABLO III REAPER OF SOULS ULTIMATE EVIL BLIZZARD 1
3 THE LAST OF US: REMASTERED SONY COMPUTER ENT. 2
4 PLANTS VS ZOMBIES: GARDEN WARFARE EA GAMES 3
5 - CALL OF DUTY: GHOSTS ACTIVISION 5
6 MADDEN NFL 15 EA SPORTS -
7 GRAND THEFT AUTO V ROCKSTAR 9
8 MINECRAFT: XBOX 360 EDITION MICROSOFT 4
9 WATCH DOGS UBISOFT 6
10 TITANFALL EA GAMES 11
11 MINECRAFT: PLAYSTATION 3 EDITION SONY COMPUTER ENT. 7
12 THE LEGO MOVIE VIDEOGAME WARNER BROS. INTERACTIVE 8
13 FORZA MOTORSPORT 5 MICROSOFT 17
14 TOMODACHI LIFE NINTENDO 15
15 SNIPER ELITE 3 505 GAMES 14
16 TERRARIA XBOX 360 CLASSICS 19
17 BATTLEFIELD 4 EA GAMES 13
18 FIFA 14 EA SPORTS 12
19 ASSASSIN’S CREED IV: BLACK FLAG UBISOFT 18
20 LEGO MARVEL SUPER HEROES WARNER BROS. INTERACTIVE 16
< previous week
Leisure software charts compiled by Chart Track, (C)2014 UKIE Ltd

These charts cannot be reproduced either in print or online without obtaining permission from Ukie. If you wish to reproduce the charts in print or online, please contact david.smith@ukie.org.uk for the appropriate license.

Train2Game News UK Top 20 Games – 31.03.14

inFamousSecondSon-1InFamous Second Son has had a second week at the top of the charts with the highest new debut game this week being the expansion to Diablo III, Reaper of Souls reaching number six. Further down the charts the new Professor Layton and Phoenix Wright cross over game has entered at number fifteen and MXGP: The Official Motocross Video Game has just squeezed in at number nineteen.

All formats

Week ending 29 March 2014

POS.  TITLE  PUBLISHER  LAST
WEEK 
1 - INFAMOUS: SECOND SON SONY COMPUTER ENT. 1
2 - METAL GEAR SOLID V: GROUND ZEROES KONAMI 2
3 - TITANFALL EA GAMES 3
4 FIFA 14 EA SPORTS 6
5 THE LEGO MOVIE VIDEOGAME WARNER BROS. INTERACTIVE 8
6 DIABLO III: REAPER OF SOULS BLIZZARD -
7 SOUTH PARK: THE STICK OF TRUTH UBISOFT 5
8 CALL OF DUTY: GHOSTS ACTIVISION 12
9 MINECRAFT: XBOX 360 EDITION MICROSOFT 10
10 FINAL FANTASY X/X-2 HD REMASTER SQUARE ENIX 4
11 PLANTS VS ZOMBIES: GARDEN WARFARE EA GAMES 9
12 DARK SOULS II BANDAI NAMCO GAMES 7
13 - BATTLEFIELD 4 EA GAMES 13
14 THIEF SQUARE ENIX 11
15 PROFESSOR LAYTON VS PHOENIX WRIGHT CAPCOM -
16 LEGO MARVEL SUPER HEROES WARNER BROS. INTERACTIVE 15
17 ASSASSIN’S CREED IV: BLACK FLAG UBISOFT 14
18 GRAND THEFT AUTO V ROCKSTAR 17
19 MXGP: THE OFFICIAL MOTOCROSS VIDEOGAME MILESTONE -
20 NEED FOR SPEED: RIVALS EA GAMES 19
< previous week
Leisure software charts compiled by Chart Track, (C)2014 UKIE Ltd

These charts cannot be reproduced either in print or online without obtaining permission from Ukie. If you wish to reproduce the charts in print or online, please contact david.smith@ukie.org.uk for the appropriate license.

Train2Game News: New World of Warcraft expansion announced

wow_wod_logo_hires_m03At Blizzcon this past weekend, Blizzard announced the next expansion for World of Warcraft, Warlords of Draenor.

The fifth expansion to Blizzard Entertainment’s acclaimed massively multiplayer online role-playing game, sends players to the world of Draenor at a pivotal moment in history to fight against and alongside legends from Warcraft’s brutal past.

Across Draenor’s savage jungles and battle-scarred plains, Azeroth’s heroes will engage in a mythic conflict involving mystical draenei champions and mighty orc clans, and cross axes with the likes of Grommash Hellscream, Blackhand, and Ner’zhul at the height of their primal power. Players will need to scour this unwelcoming land in search of allies to help build a desperate defense against the old Horde’s formidable engine of conquest—or else watch their own world’s bloody, war-torn history repeat itself.

“Warlords of Draenor gives players a chance to take a commanding role in one of the Warcraft series’ most crucial conflicts,” said Mike Morhaime, CEO and cofounder of Blizzard Entertainment. “This expansion also includes features that make it easy for anyone to jump right into the action, whether they’ve played WoW at some point in the past or are just setting foot in Azeroth for the first time.”

To help new and returning players answer the call to arms on Draenor, the expansion will enable anyone to instantly boost one character to level 90, including a newly created character, quickly getting them up to speed and ready to enjoy the latest content with their friends.

To establish a foothold on Draenor once they’ve arrived, the displaced champions of the Horde and Alliance will be able to construct their own Garrison, an expandable, customizable stronghold that will serve as each player’s personal base of operations throughout the course of the expansion. As the Garrison grows, players will be able to recruit NPC allies and followers to take up residence, gathering resources and embarking on missions on the player’s orders.

Warlords of Draenor will also introduce fully revamped player character models and animations for many of World of Warcraft’s existing playable races, bringing the orcs, humans, and several other longtime residents of Azeroth up to the visual standards of newer races while still maintaining their iconic style and identity.

Along with these new features, World of Warcraft players will enjoy a wide array of new content on their way to the new level cap of 100, including new Zones, Dungeons, Raids, Scenarios, Battlegrounds, and more. Warlords of Draenor will also introduce questing improvements designed to encourage exploration and add unpredictability to players’ ongoing adventures.