Epic Mickey ‘The Anatomy of the Animation’ trailer

Epic Mickey Mouse

Disney has released an Epic Mickey video that is a must see for Train2Game Artist & Animators.  The Epic Mickey ‘The Anatomy of the Animation’ video, shows the amount of effort the animators have put in to make the game characters look and move like authentic Disney characters.

Warren Spector says it’s Mickey Mouse in motion that “makes Mickey” and that the way he moves is “critical.” Which is why the Epic Disney animators spent so long analysing Mickey cartoons from when he first appeared along with more recent motion pictures. Spector says they have all of the Mickey Mouse Cartoons and all of the Oswald the Rabbit cartoons and the team spent a lot of time watching them!

The video shows that Junction Point are very aware they’ve needed to make Mickey perfect, and they even consulted with the likes of Pixar and the Disney animators about how to make this so in Epic Mickey.  Warren Spector claims that in his 30 year career he’s never seen animators who go into as much detail as those at Disney.

So, how is the animation of Disney shaping up? You can find out for yourself by watching the Epic Mickey Anatomy of Animation trailer below.

Epic Mickey is scheduled for release on November 30th for the Nintendo Wii

So Train2Game, how good you think the animation of Epic Mickey is? Have the animators nailed the authentic Disney look? And who is looking forward to Epic Mickey?

You can leave your thoughts on Epic Mickey here on the Train2Game blog, or on the Train2Game forum.

Treyarch reveal new Call of Duty: Black Ops multiplayer features

Call of Duty: Black Ops

We have an insight into new Call of Duty: Black Ops multiplayer features thanks to a new video from Inside Xbox.

The video not only shows plenty of Call of Duty: Black Ops multiplayer footage, but also features a behind the scenes look at some of the decisions Treyarch have made to make Call of Duty: Black Ops the “most refined, competitively balanced Call of Duty game to date.”

Studio Head of Treyarch, Mark Lamia, says one of the great things about the large Call of Duty community is that it’s easy to listen to what they want. The Inside Xbox video definitely seems to suggest that fan feedback has been taken into consideration when producing Call of Duty: Black Ops multiplayer.

Killstreaks have changed for Call of Duty: Black Ops after feedback from the Call of Duty community. Firstly, in Call of Duty: Black Ops multiplayer, kills from Killstreak unlocks won’t be added to players’ current killstreak in order to stop the ‘rich getting richer.’ Secondly, Call of Duty: Black Ops multiplayer Killstreak bonuses are going to be more interactive. For example, the Inside Xbox Call of Duty: Black Ops multiplayer video shows that players will be taking manual control of killstreak bonuses like attack choppers and air strikes in order to even out the playing field.

Naturally, Call of Duty: Black Ops multiplayer has a lot of new perks, and not only will these complement the players’ particular style, but their main perk will determine what their character model looks like. For example, any Call of Duty: Black Ops multiplayer player using the Flak Jacket perk, will have a player model with a Flak Jacket, thus showing others that they’re strong against grenades.

Treyarch Community Manager, Josh Olnin describes how a lot of the new Call of Duty: Black Ops multiplayer features made it in from the fan community. Some of these community suggested changes for Call of Duty: Black Ops include the shotgun re-becoming a primary weapon, grid co-ordinates on multiplayer maps, and the ability to dive to prone when needed. Treyarch say that all these subtle fan suggested changes will improve the Call of Duty: Black Ops multiplayer experience.

You can watch the Inside Xbox Call of Duty: Black Ops multiplayer features video for yourself below.

Want more Call of Duty: Black Ops multiplayer action? You can see the Call of Duty: Black Ops ‘Wager Match’ trailer here. Of course, Call of Duty: Black Ops has a single player campaign too, and you can watch the trailer for that here.

Call of Duty: Black Ops is released on November 9th for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC. GAME has revealed that hundreds of stores throughout the UK will be opening at midnight for the launch of Call of Duty: Black Ops. Full details about which stores will be opening late into the night on November 8th for Call of Duty: Black Ops fans can be found on the GAME website.

So Train2Game, what are your thoughts on the new features Treyarch have included in Call of Duty: Black Ops multiplayer? How important to do you think community feedback about a game is? And who will be braving a cold November night to attend a Call of Duty: Black Ops midnight launch?

You can leave your thoughts on Call of Duty: Black Ops here on the Train2Game blog, or on the Train2Game forum.

The Third Official Train2Game webinar – LIVE BLOG

Hello and welcome to the Train2Game live webinar blog.  From 18:15 to 19:15 on October 20th, the panel of Clive Robert, Tony Bickley, Jon Hare and Dave Sharp are discussed the Train2Game Incubator scheme and various issues in the games industry.

Below are what were live updates during the webinar about what the panel were discussing.

19:16 And that’s it from the Train2Game webinar! Missed it? It’ll be online in the near future.

19:15 The panel close by saying skills learned from T2G courses are transferable to other careers too,

19:14 The panel are discussing how to manage your own team. Tony says you need to examine what your team is looking to deliver before attempting to deliver a project. Business plan,project needs, THEN a team in that order. Jon says an efficient developer team is best as small team in order to encourage communication and interest. Rollercoaster Tycoon was made by 3 people max.

19:12 Tony does say however, that working on your Train2Game course in order to get the raw materials and skills before producing games is hugely important! Dave says that you can produce a basic game, using your new skills as you go along. Keep building.

19:09 Jon says you can create an iPhone game with two people – an artist and a programmer. A good starter game needs to be simple. A small team could produce something in 4 months. Getting games complete is important for future employers. Even if you have to make things very simple. Jon jokes don’t design Call of Duty for the iPhone. Dave says great successful iPhone games like Angry Birds are well produced, well thought out software. Nice production is key.

19:07 Tony says programmers are highly sought after. Dave adds that this is because its a harder discipline to a a degree. Programmers have to adapt to new hardware! Jon says that there’s now a lack of skilled 2D artists since 3D has become important. Social media gaming is changing this…

19:03 Jon says understanding WHEN to apply is a good idea. There are good times and bad times to apply. May and June are usually when developers have money according to experienced designer Jon. Tony adds that finishing the course is going to be a very important aspect for a students chances.

19:02 The panel are discussing what a student will need in their CV and portfolio to apply for jobs. Tony says students should only really start applying for jobs once they’re onto Section 3 of the course and have a complete portfolio. The portfolio work, the proof of your ability is very important! Dave says games companies will only look at a CV if the Portfolio is good. CV is second, portfolio is first.

18:58 We’re now moving into broader questions about the games industry. Get your questions in on Skype.

18:56 DR Studios are looking for a student at the moment. Tony says the studio is well set up for working with work placement students. They’d have an induction fortnight then gradually brought into the project and assigned a DR Studios staff member as a mentor working Hand in Glove with them. (I now have that track by The Smiths in my head)

18:54 The panel have asked how long placements will be. Dave says they’ll generally last between 3-6 months but could be longer or shorter to suit student needs in some cases. Students could require 2 months of mentoring from the studio so Tony says anything less than 3 months may not be good for your placement employers! Jon adds that it could take a little time for students to ‘adapt’to working at the coal face. The Train2Game mentors will still be involved with the students during the placements and incubators.

18:52 Tony says that paying retailers for shelf space and marketing and PR are important nowadays. Look at how much Microsoft and Activision have to promote games for example. HOWEVER, if you’re a successful commercial developer, you could be given the opportunity to produce an original IP.

18:49 Jon says getting noticed is the key challenge nowadays, but you can do that by making a great quality product that’ll attract a publisher. Dave says the fundemental thing now is that students need to know different between a commercial game and a good game. Alas, being commercial is important nowadays. He adds that creating a new IP could be difficult at the first attempt. Even Jon says that he needs to publish his own games now. Things have changed since the mid 90s. But original games can be done, but its hard. Call of Duty and Final Fantasy will always pull retailers in, they’re less likely to risk IPs. BUT iPhones and iPads make excellent opportunities for IPs

18:45 Will the student be rewarded if a game they work on in a studio becomes successful be rewarded? Jon says its unlikely at student level but the experience will be worth it. Tony agrees, saying that students are unlikely to be rewarded with royalties. But at this stage its the experience that counts.

18:42 Dave says academic references for incubators will come from Train2Game, while Dave will also look at students ability and skill. DR Studios staff will be involved in looking at Portfolio work. Tony adds that each studio involved with placements will assess students too.

18:40 Ed via Skype asks how many people will be in an incubator scheme. Dave says its not about numbers but quality and what the game requires. But 2-5 will generally be the size.

18:37 The panel are discussing combining placements with a full-time job. Many students study around their jobs! There ARE opportunities for those in employment. Dave answers the question, will students get paid on placements…answer: Yes! Train2Game will fund placements. £400-£500 a month in a bursary to match costs.

18:34 Jon says co-operation is a huge aspect of being part of a studio. Students shouldn’t worry about competing ‘against’ each other by working for different studios. Tony and Dave agree. Dave adds the games industry is unique when it comes to working together. Look at E3 for example! The ‘community’comes together a lot. Jon says that games industry professionals however shouldn’t be afraid to brake away.

18:30 Dave says there has been a good response from studios about the work placement scheme. Studios should be named in January. The Internal DR Studios designer incubator is already being advertised on the Train2Game forum. External will be advertised in January.

18:27 The incubators and work placements are external to the course, but will be a big boost to employability says Tony. Dave adds that students should preferably be on the later TMA’s of their courses.

18:25 Jon says the student will need to find a role in the team. Though students shouldn’t expect be making final decisions about what games to make! But they will be involved in producing games. Dave says when he started his career, he spent time getting developers to trust in his skills.

18:24 Jon says work experience progammes will help students become an asset to the studio teams, while learning from experienced games developers. Students will need to adapt their skills for a work place environment.

18:22 Shadow from the Train2Game forum has asked what is required to get on the schemes. Dave says students need ability, maturity, and that students are doing well in their courses.

18:20 Dave says the incubator scheme is designed to help students launch their own studios, while the placements will give students experience in game studios. They are purpose built schemes.

18:18 Clive says the panel will be focusing on the incubator and work placement programmes. Ask questions via Skype!

18:16 Jon just mentioned how he’s working on Doctor Who for the Wii. Exciting! He has 25 years of industry experience.

18:15 And off we go! The webinar is starting with the panel introducing themselves.

18:10 Only 5 minutes ’til the webinar starts!

18:06 Remember, you can get involved with the webinar through Skype by adding train2gamewebinar as a contact.

18:03 Not long until the webinar starts now. You’ll know Clive Robert and Tony Bickley as Train2Game course directors from DR Studios, Dave Sharp is the Incubator Scheme co-ordinator, while Jon Hare has been behind many, many games including Sensible Soccer.

Motorbikes hinted at for Gran Turismo 5 DLC

Valentino Rossi Racing Bike

Gran Turismo 5 developers Polyphony Digital have hinted that motorbikes may be added to the game as DLC.  Speaking to PSM3 Magazine, Polyphony boss Kazunori Yamauchi said:

“The environment we have right now allows us to drive motorcycles, but we need to get Gran Turismo 5 done first,”

“Once that’s out of the way, if there’s a strong demand for bikes, that’s something we’d consider.”

It motorbikes were added to Gran Turismo 5, it’d be the first time they’d feature in a Gran Turismo game. However, Polyphony Digital does have past experience with a two-wheeled racing game. The Gran Turismo 5 developers produced the well received Tourist Trophy for the PlayStation 2. It was practically Gran Turismo but on two wheels instead of four.

But motorbike enthusiasts shouldn’t get too excited yet, especially with Yamauchi saying they need to get Gran Turismo 5 done first. Meanwhile, car enthusiasts definitely won’t want to see motorbikes added to Gran Turismo 5 before the game is released. Why, they wouldn’t want Gran Turismo 5 delayed yet again, would they?

Gran Turismo 5 was finally scheduled for release on November 5th, however Polyphony Digital stated earlier this month that the racing sim has been delayed again to create the “perfect racing experience”  However, the developers say Gran Turismo 5 will be ready in time for the Holiday Season.

When it finally gets released, Gran Turismo 5 will feature over 1,000 fully licensed cars and over 70 racing circuits – including the Top Gear  test track. The much anticipated, and much delayed, racer will also be fully 3D compatible.

So Train2Game, what are your thoughts on the possibility of post-release DLC for Gran Turismo 5 that includes motorbikes? Do you doubt that Gran Turismo 5 will actually receive any extra content post release given the time it’s taken to produce the game? Or do you think Polyphony Digital should produce a new version of Tourist Trophy?

You can leave your thoughts on the possible addition of two-wheeled racing to Gran Turismo 5 here on the Train2Game blog, or on the Train2Game forum.

Medal of Honor sells 1.5 million & Clean Sweep DLC revealed

Medal of Honor

EA has announced that over 1.5 million copies of Medal of Honor have been sold worldwide in just five days. Medal of Honor was released in the USA on October 12th, while the European release followed three days later.

The data on Medal of Honor sales comes from GFK Chart Track data. Of course, Medal of Honor took top spot in the GFK Chart Track UK chart this week, dislodging fellow EA title FIFA 11 in the process.

EA are pleased with sales of Medal of Honor, despite mediocre reviews from critics. Frank Gibeau, President at EA said:

“Medal of Honor is one of EA’s most storied franchises and we’re thrilled to see that fans worldwide have embraced it. In this ultra competitive category, Medal of Honor stands out from the pack. By portraying the Tier 1 Operator as so elite, so tough, Medal of Honor offers a view into a world that has the power to resonate with FPS gamers everywhere.”

Meanwhile,  EA CEO John Ricitiello has told Fox News that Medal of Honor has so far made $100 million. An impressive amount, but some way off the $200 million that Halo: Reach made in its first day on sale. The $100 million made by Medal of Honor is only a fraction of the $550 million Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 made in its first five days.

EA also announced that Medal of Honor will shortly be getting free DLC. The free multiplayer mode titled Clean Sweep is an elimination mode where players must rely on their own skill and teammates’ expertise to prevail as the winning team. The new Medal of Honor multiplayer mode will be playable on two new maps – Bagram Hangar and Khyber Caves –  as well as redesigned versions of the Diwagal Camp and Kabul City Ruins maps.

The new Medal of Honor game mode will consist of three four minute rounds with no respawns. The team who gets the best of the three rounds wins. You can watch the trailer for the Medal of Honor Clean Sweep DLC below.

Clean Sweep will be available on November 2 via Xbox LIVE Marketplace and PlayStation Network to owners of Medal of Honor with Online Pass. The free, single use Online Pass comes with all brand new copies of Medal of Honor.

So Train2Game, what are your thoughts on the achievements of Medal of Honor? And what do you think of the Clean Sweep DLC? Is it enough to encourage you to hold onto your copy of Medal of Honor? Not familiar with the game? You can watch the Medal of Honor launch trailer here.

You can leave your thoughts on Medal of Honor and the Clean Sweep DLC here on the Train2Game blog, or on the Train2Game forum.

Fallout: New Vegas ‘The Characters’ dev diary

Fallout: New Vegas

Bethesda has released one final Fallout: New Vegas developer diary. ‘The Characters’ takes a look at the celebrity cast of Fallout: New Vegas.  The game is released in the United States today, while we in Europe unfortunately have to wait until Friday.

In this sixth and final diary, developers Obsidian Entertainment discuss a bit about how they went about casting characters for Fallout: New Vegas. The developers mention how the Fallout series has always had “fun people acting in it” and how they went from character to character deciding whose voice would fit the character best.

Naturally, Ron Pearlman returns in Fallout: New Vegas to reprise his role as The Narrator, and the video shows us some other star names voicing characters in the game. The most recognisable here in the UK is most probably Matthew Perry of Friends fame. He voices villainous character Benny. Other stars in the video include Wayne Newton, William Sadler, and Kris Kristofferson.

The developers of Fallout: New Vegas also discuss how they want the player to feel as if each character is an individual, and it sounds like they’ve made efforts to make sure this is the case.

You can watch Fallout: New Vegas developer diary #6 – The Characters below.

There are five other Fallout: New Vegas developer diaries from Obsidian. They cover The Story, the Tech & Sound, the Art Direction, the Factions, and The New Vegas Strip.

Fallout: New Vegas reviews are coming in thick and fast and are generally very positive. VG247 provide a round up of the scores so far.

So Train2Game, how important do you think the cast of a video game is? And what are your thoughts on the Fallout: New Vegas review scores so far?

As usual, leave your thoughts here on the Train2Game blog, or on the Train2Game forum.

New Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare gameplay trailer

Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare 4 horses

Rockstar has revealed another new trailer for upcoming Red Dead Redemption DLC, Undead Nightmare. The new trailer shows us what to expect from gameplay in Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare, which of course is lots of zombie killing.

The latest Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare also features an old-school creepy voice over saying “Prepare yourself, for demonic hordes from the Graveyard” and many other slightly cheesy, but oh so good phrases about the undead. You can see the new Red Dead Redemption: Undead Night mare trailer – The Graveyards – below.

Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare is set for release via download on October 26th. It’ll feature a new single player campaign in which John Marston tries to find a cure for the unexplained zombie plague. It’ll also feature new weapons, new outfits, new multiplayer modes and new ‘Missing Person’ side quests.

Rockstar has also revealed new information about the mythical creatures introduced in Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare – the four horses of the Apocalypse, Pestilence, Famine, Death, and War. Each have their own special perks for John Marston to take advantage of in Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare, so long as he can tame them.

Death – With Hell following close behind, Death carries with him a violent wake that rattles through the skulls of the undead, causing a spectacular cranial explosion for any zombie it comes in contact with.

Famine – Attracting a swarm of insects wherever it travels, Famine’s thin shadowy frame and crimson eyes mask an everlasting stamina.

Pestilence – A ghastly harbinger of plague and disease that’s easily identifiable by its exposed wounds and ocular haemorrhaging, Pestilence possesses an exceptionally high pain threshold.

War – Given power to take peace from the earth, the fiery red horse known as War ignites a trail of flame upon all those in its path, turning the living and the undead alike into smouldering ash.

Sound fun, don’t they? Be sure to check out the first Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare trailer for more insights into how the single player campaign is shaping up. You can also check out GameSpot for an exclusive Q & A about Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare with Rockstars’ Dan Houser.

Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare will be downloadable from Xbox Live for 800 points, and the PlayStation Network for £7.99 from October 26th.

So Train2Game, what are your thoughts on the new Undead Nightmare trailer? Which horse do you want? And how do you think Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare is shaping up?

As usual, leave your thoughts here on the Train2Game blog, or on the Train2Game forum.

Bethesda announce Xbox 360 exclusive DLC for Fallout: New Vegas

Fallout New Vegas DLC

Fallout: New Vegas publisher Bethesda has announced that the game will be getting DLC before Christmas, and that it’ll be exclusive to the Xbox 360. At this stage, we have no idea what the DLC for Fallout: New Vegas will involve.

“We’re excited to continue the partnership between Bethesda and Microsoft, and build on the success of the game add-ons released for Fallout 3 on Xbox Live,” said Bethesda’s VP of marketing and PR Pete Hines.

“Fans will once again be able to continue their experience in the Fallout universe with the add-on packs planned for after the launch of the game.”

Microsoft product marketing manager Matt Barlow added: “Bethesda set a high bar with the quality of the Fallout game add-ons.

“We have no doubt that gamers will be thrilled with seeing a new add-on pack extend their adventures with Fallout: New Vegas on Xbox 360 and Xbox Live.”

The announcement of Xbox 360 exclusive DLC for Fallout: New Vegas mirrors a similar scheme for Fallout 3. On the plus side for those planning to buy Fallout: New Vegas on other systems, the Fallout 3 DLC was later released on the PC and PlayStation 3.

The DLC isn’t the only exclusive on offer for Fallout: New Vegas. Different retailers are offering different pre-order bonuses in order to try and encourage you to give them your hard earned cash.

Fallout: New Vegas is released in the UK on Friday for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC.

So Train2Game, what are your thoughts on the so-called console exclusive DLC? Do you think it’s a good move by Bethesda, or is it unfair to give one specific console exclusive content? Do you think that this will be a timed exclusive as with the Fallout 3 DLC?

And what do you think about DLC being announced for Fallout: New Vegas before the game has even been released?

You can leave your thoughts about Fallout: New Vegas and DLC here on the Train2Game blog, or over on the Train2Game forum.

Microsoft reveal Kinect launch line up (And reportedly have $500 million for marketing!)

Microsoft Kinect for Xbox 360

Microsoft has announced that 17 launch titles will be available when Kinect for Xbox 360 is launched worldwide next month. The news has been revealed by Major Nelson, and you can see the entire list of Kinect launch games for Xbox 360 below.

Meanwhile, The New York Post reports that Microsoft has a massive marketing budget for Kinect of $500 million. Yes, that is half way to a billion dollars! The paper reports that this is more than the marketing budget Microsoft had to promote the launch of the original Xbox console back when it launched in July 2000.

The Kinect advertising will appear online, on television, magazines and on other products including food and drink packaging. If you pick up a burger, you may just see Kinect for Xbox 360 staring right back at you on the package.

“Kinect is the largest, most integrated marketing initiative in Xbox history, bigger than its launch,” said Robert Matthews, general manager of global marketing communications for Xbox. “We are going to be spending millions to launch this globally.”

The hype machine seems to be working, with 7,000 stores across the USA staying open past midnight when Kinect is launched on the other side of the Atlantic on November 4th.  So what are the titles will be available when Kinect, the hands free controller for Xbox 360 is released?  Well the Kinect launch title’s that’ll be available in the USA (UK games are yet to be confirmed) are as follows:

Kinect Adventures
Price: Packed in with the Kinect sensor.

Price: $49.99 or $59.99 for the Limited Edition which comes with a plush toy and unlock code.

Game Party: In Motion
Price: $39.99

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1 The Videogame
Price: $49.99

Your Shape: Fitness Evolved
Price: $49.99

Dance Central
Price: $49.99

The Biggest Loser Ultimate Workout
Price: $49.99

Price: $49.99

EA Sports Active 2
Price: $99.95 and comes with a heart rate monitor

Zumba Fitness
Price: $49.99

Kinect Sports
Price: $49.99

Price: $49.99

DECA Sports Freedome
Price: No Price listed

Kinect Joy Ride
Price: $49.99

Adrenalin Misfits
Price: $49.99

Fighters Uncaged
Price: $49.99

Sonic Free Rider
Price: $49.95

Kinect for Xbox 360 is released here in the UK on November 10th and will be available as part of a 250GB Xbox 360 bundle for £299.99. You can alternatively buy a Kinect for Xbox 360 on its own for £130.

So Train2Game, has anyone pre-ordered Kinect for their Xbox 360? What do you think of the launch line up? How about that massive budget? And do you think Kinect for Xbox 360 has the potential to triumph over the PlayStation Move?

You can leave your thoughts on Kinect for Microsoft Xbox 360 here on the Train2Game blog, or on the Train2Game forum.

Portal recreated in LittleBigPlanet 2 beta

More evidence has emerged of just how creative it’ll be possible to be with LittleBigPlanet 2. A video from the beta has appeared online, and it shows how one user has recreated Portal using the tools in LittleBigPlanet 2!

It reconfirms the fact that LittleBigPlanet 2 could be the Train2Game students dream with the Portal level just being the latest in a line of unique levels created during LittleBigPlanet 2’s beta test. Other games recreated using LittleBigPlanet 2 include indie game Flower, and Street Fighter.

You can watch Portal – complete with working Portal gun – recreated in LittleBigPlanet 2 in the video below.

LittleBigPlanet 2 is set for release in January 2011, after the original November launch date was moved back.

Meanwhile, Portal 2 is also scheduled for release near the start of next year, on February 9thYou can watch a Portal 2 trailer starring Stephen Merchant here. Alternatively, you can watch these trailers showing how the new inclusions of Faith Plates and Repulsion Gel work.

So Train2Game, what are your thoughts on the LittleBigPlanet 2 Portal level? And if you had to choose one of the two, would you go for Portal 2 or LittleBigPlanet 2?

You can leave your thoughts here on the Train2Game blog, or on the Train2Game forum.

(Source: Edge Online Twitter)