Train2Game News AR Harry Potter Revealed

WB Games and Niantic are excited to share the first gameplay details for Harry Potter: Wizards Unite, the new augmented reality (AR) mobile game that puts magic in the hands of aspiring wizards and witches worldwide.

Co-published and co-developed by WB Games San Francisco and Niantic, Inc., Harry Potter: Wizards Unite is part of Portkey Games, the games label dedicated to creating new Wizarding World mobile and video game experiences that place the player at the centre of their own adventure, inspired by J.K. Rowling’s original stories.

In Harry Potter: Wizards Unite, the player’s journey begins as a new recruit for the Statute of Secrecy Task Force, with the purpose of investigating and containing a Calamity that has befallen the wizarding world. Witches and wizards from across the globe must come together to cast spells and return Foundables – artefacts, creatures, people, and even memories – trapped by Confoundable magic, to their proper place in an effort to keep magic hidden from Muggle eyes.

As players journey across the world, they’ll discover Inns that replenish their Spell Energy, magical ingredients for brewing special potions, Portkeys that unlock AR portals into iconic wizarding world locations and much more.

Combat skills will be tested when witches and wizards visit real-world locations called Fortresses, key areas that play host to Wizarding Challenges. These real-time multiplayer battles against dangerous foes encourage players to join forces with fellow witches and wizards to take on higher level threats and unlock rare magical rewards.

Harry Potter: Wizards Unite is coming to iOS and Android mobile devices in 2019. Pre-registration is now available on Google Play.

Train2Game News New UK Games Companies Opening

Games technology company Improbable today announces that it has commenced development of its own online multiplayer games, powered by SpatialOS, with game development in two studio locations.

These and future Improbable studios will create cutting-edge games for release, whilst spearheading major technological advancements that will be fundamental to improving the tools and techniques for our partner network.

Improbable’s game development will be initiated by its internal games studio based in Edmonton, fronted by Aaryn Flynn, former head of studio on BioWare’s Dragon Age, Star Wars: The Old Republic and Mass Effect franchises. Improbable also announces the creation of a London-based games studio, which will be led by new hire John Wasilczyk, previously Executive Producer at Epic Games and EA DICE.

Herman Narula, co-founder and CEO at Improbable, says:

“As our network of partners has grown we’ve come to work with an incredible range of studios and projects. We see our internal studios as a way to further support these partners by pushing technical and creative boundaries and then sharing those learnings with our developer community.

“We look forward to seeing what our highly talented studios – in Edmonton, London and other locations in the future – will bring not only to players but also to the continued growth and development of SpatialOS.”

The SpatialOS platform allows for rapid iteration and the ability to develop beyond a single server to create highly innovative games. The first untitled project is in development at the Edmonton studio, which already has around 50 staff covering art, game design, programming and tool development and is continuing to grow. Meanwhile, Improbable’s London-based game studio is building a team from current Improbable employees and new hires.

Improbable is initially announcing these studios but is also interested in founding or growing other studios in additional locations and supporting remote teams.

Aaryn Flynn, Improbable’s General Manager of North America, comments:

“I was interested in making a game using SpatialOS from the very first time I spoke to Improbable. Building tools and content has been a great way for our Edmonton team to master SpatialOS, but a full game was always an opportunity myself and others had in mind as the Edmonton studio took shape. Now, after a lot of great hires and great progress, we’re going to focus on creating that game using Unreal Engine 4 and building on SpatialOS’ next-generation online games platform.

“We’ve grown fast but we’re still looking for additional team members in Engineering, Art, Design and QA to build out our team further. As things progress, we’re excited to show you more in the future.”

Improbable will be at GDC 2019 to discuss the company’s move into game development, as well as the evolution of SpatialOS and its applications for developers.

It is hosting two panels in which they’ll discuss how developers can leverage SpatialOS to create the next generation of multiplayer games.

How to Build a 200-Person FPS in 20 minutes and Building Unreal Worlds with SpatialOS, are hosted by games industry leaders such as Aaryn Flynn (Mass Effect, Dragon Age) and Josh Holmes (Halo franchise, Def Jam Vendetta) along with Improbable’s own Herman Narula (co-founder & CEO) and Rob Whitehead (co-founder & Chief Product Officer).

Train2Game News Diablo Available… Again!

Blizzard Entertainment and GOG.COM have teamed up to rerelease select classic Blizzard games, beginning with Diablo®, Blizzard’s legendary 1996 action role-playing game that introduced players to the harsh—and deeply rewarding—world of Sanctuary.

The original Diablo is available now via digital distribution for the first time ever on GOG.COM. Players looking for the authentic Diablo experience can play the game as it was in 1996, with period-appropriate 20 FPS SVGA graphics, and the ability to matchmake through the classic version of Blizzard’s Battle.net® online-gaming service. Blizzard and GOG.COM have collaborated on an updated version of the game, which includes out-of-the-box Windows 10 compatibility, and a host of bug fixes. Players can choose either version of the game from a launcher.

“We were bummed that these iconic games weren’t available to our players, so we‘re very happy to work with the crew at GOG.COM to rectify that,” said Rob Bridenbecker, Vice President and Executive Producer, Blizzard Entertainment. “This has been a long time coming and we hope our players will be excited to jump back into these classic titles.”

In addition to bringing back the first Diablo, Blizzard is planning other GOG.COM re-releases of Warcraft: Orcs & Humans and Warcraft II. More information on the return to Azeroth will be revealed soon.

“Crawling through the original Diablo’s dungeons, together with Blizzard, is a feeling of pure excitement,” said Oleg Klapovsky, SVP at GOG. “It’s a personal thing for many of us, and the most wished-for game in our community. Taking the first few steps beneath the Tristram Cathedral, listening to the guidance of Cain the Elder—it’s all coming back, for old souls and newcomers alike.”

Diablo is available now via GOG.COM for Windows at £7.89.

Train2Game News Medical Gaming Gains Atari Alumni

Level Ex, creators of industry-leading video games for doctors, announced today the hiring of former Atari Chief Operating Officer, Todd Shallbetter, as Senior Vice President, Technology Partnerships.

Shallbetter will be leading strategic partnerships with global platform providers and technology companies, including virtual reality and augmented reality hardware and software manufacturers.

Shallbetter brings to Level Ex decades of operating experience from the business side of entertainment and games, having served at Atari for 14 years—first as Head of Digital Strategy and Distribution, then as the Chief Operating Officer, during which he oversaw business development, marketing, and operations functions. He expanded the brand’s reach to over 160 countries through multi-year distribution and licensing deals and grew Atari’s user base by tens of millions of players through its recent titles. Prior to Atari, Shallbetter worked in live entertainment—managing touring businesses for marquee entertainers, including Tina Turner, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and the Harlem Globetrotters—then shifted to managing entertainment merchandising entities.

“With his broad relationships across the video games industry, Todd is exceedingly qualified to identify best-in-class game technologies and help Level Ex unleash them onto the field of medicine,” said Sam Glassenberg, Founder and CEO of Level Ex. “Level Ex has consistently attracted top talent from the games industry across a range of disciplines: art, production, game design, and development. With Todd joining, that roster expands to include business and operations leadership.”

Shallbetter echoed Glassenberg’s enthusiasm:

“I had been following Level Ex closely, so when the opportunity came up to work for them, it was a resounding yes. The calibre of the team is incredible, with standout executives and game developers. They make fun video games to improve physician performance, turning entertainment into a credible tool for learning in ways nobody else has done before. I’m thrilled to push this important mission into new markets.”

Shallbetter joins Level Ex on the heels of tremendous growth. As one of the fastest growing independent video game studios, Level Ex is projected to double their employees in 2019; to date, Level Ex has announced $15M in Seed and Series A financing. The company has released three game titles—Airway Ex, Gastro Ex, and Pulm Ex—with a fourth launching later this month: Cardio Ex. Multiple games are currently in development.

Level Ex’s team unites talent from top game studios—including Electronic Arts, Activision, LucasArts, Telltale Games, and Warner Bros Interactive—with expert physicians and surgeons from leading academic hospitals to develop the company’s medical video games.

To learn more about Level Ex’s products, executive team, and career opportunities, visit www.level-ex.com.

Train2Game News EGX 2019 Tickets on Sale Now

Gamer Network, organisers of the UK’s leading video games events, is excited to announce that tickets are now available to purchase for EGX 2019 which returns to London this year, taking over ExCeL London for 4 days from the 17th to the 20th of October 2019.

Promising to be the best show yet, EGX 2019 – sponsored by Virgin Media – will feature more than 1,500 screens of interactive entertainment with blockbuster triple-A titles from the world’s biggest publishers sitting alongside a huge collection of innovative indie games in the Rezzed Zone. The show will also feature esports, retro gaming and meet and greets with notable personalities from YouTube and Twitch.

Meanwhile, the Developer Sessions and Rezzed Sessions will bring attendees the latest news on some of the world’s most exciting pre-release games and deep dive insights into the game development process.

The GamesIndustry.biz Career Fair will offer invaluable advice to those seeking to begin a career in games and the GamesIndustry.biz Trade Zone will be a vital destination for members of the UK trade looking to network.

David Lilley, EGX Event Director, said, “EGX 2019 is special to us as it marks the year we are returning to our home, London. The new venue is allowing us to grow the favourite elements of the show as well as introduce new ones. With more space, features and games than ever before we’re excited by the prospect of delivering the best show to date”.

This year EGX 2019 will include:

  • A packed show floor featuring the world’s biggest game franchises playable pre-release
  • The incredible Rezzed Zone housing the largest collection of indie games in Europe
  • Globally respected game development talent offering insights into their latest projects in the Developer Sessions
  • Various esports tournaments with some of the best players competing across the weekend
  • Meet and greet sessions with prominent YouTube and Twitch personalities
  • A massive cosplay arena with daily masquerades, competitions, how-to talks and photoshoots
  • A vast retro area with systems spanning 40 years of gaming as well as arcade and pinball machines
  • The return of the Games Library with visitors able to pick and choose from a massive catalogue of games to play with their friends
  • The GamesIndustry.biz Career Fair featuring publishers, developers, recruiters and educators offering guidance on beginning a career in games
  • The GamesIndustry.biz Trade Zone, offering meeting space and networking opportunities to the UK industry
  • Retail stands with limited edition merch and pre-order incentives exclusive to EGX
  • Community parties on Friday and Saturday nights packed with entertainment

The line-up of playable games, speaker schedules and additional features will be announced later in the year.

Tickets for the event can be purchased from the EGX website: https://www.egx.net/egx

Train2Game News Dungeon Defenders Awakened

Trendy Entertainment, now fully employee owned and operated, announced today that it is rolling out an all-new brand identity as Chromatic Games, and has begun work on a new game title: Dungeon Defenders: Awakened.

Augi Lye, one of the original co-founders of Trendy Entertainment, is now the CEO of Chromatic Games.

Shortly after becoming CEO, Mr Lye and Colin Fisher, a key Dungeon Defenders developer and new Creative Director, established a new vision for the studio and a reinvigoration of their popular Dungeon Defenders franchise.

As part of their new vision, Colin Fisher says: “I want to refocus the franchise on maintaining a player-first mentality and delivering games that we know our audience wants.”

About Dungeon Defenders: Awakened

Dungeon Defenders: Awakened, a complete reimagining of the eight-year-old indie sensation that combined third-person combat, action-RPG mechanics and tower defence strategy to create a charming, addictive blueprint for success.

Made with Unreal Engine 4, Dungeon Defenders: Awakened returns players to the world of Etheria, hot on the trail of the evil Harbinger. Defend the castle against the invading hordes as you revisit familiar locations with terrible new enemies and shocking surprises. Awakened features gorgeous graphics, polished controls, clean menus and a refined core Dungeon Defenders gameplay experience.

To support the development of Dungeon Defenders: Awakened, Chromatic Games has launched a Kickstarter campaign allowing fans to get involved and show their support with exclusive content and early access only available to backers.

Following a successful Kickstarter campaign, Dungeon Defenders: Awakened will launch on Nintendo Switch, PC, Xbox One and PS4 later this year.

For more information, visit kickstarter.dungeondefenders.com

Train2Game News Loading Lock-In

Wired Productions Ltd., a leading independent video games publisher, is happy to announce that it has teamed up with Loading Bar Shepherd’s Bush in London to host regular monthly Lock-in Community Nights.

Scheduled to run on the second Wednesday of every month, from 7 pm to 10 pm. Kicking off the first lock-in is an exclusive play of the unreleased, up-coming Epic Games Store exclusive, Close to the Sun.

The exclusive partnership with Loading Bar Shepherd’s Bush, not only serves as the perfect forum to engage with Wired’s vibrant community in an informal and friendly way but allows like-minded gamers to get hands-on with all of Wired’s games. There will be competitions, free swag, opportunities to meet – and quiz – the Wired team over a range of topics – not limited to, but including, industry gossip, help and advice!

“The community means everything to us, so this is our way of thanking them for their unswerving commitment and loyalty,” enthused Managing Director, Wired Productions, Leo Zullo. “We think that the partnership with Loading Bar Shepherd’s Bush lays the foundations for a series of memorable nights in which we get to know our growing fan base. There’ll be ample opportunity for the community to provide the kind of ongoing feedback that quite often changes the direction of a game’s development and its subsequent DLC. In short, we can’t wait to kickstart the first Wired Lock-In Community Night on 13th March.”

Wired Lock-In Community Nights are scheduled to run on the second Wednesday of every month, throughout the year, at Loading Bar Shepherd’s Bush in London.

Full details of what can be seen and played on the opening evening can be found below:

March 13th

  • Close to the sun hands on!
  • GRIP fastest Lap comp with swag
  • All wired games playable
  • Exclusive close to the sun Tee for first 20 people
  • Open to all public
  • Free entry
  • Over 18 only and ID may be needed

Train2Game News Gaming Marathon for Alzheimer’s Research

Adrian Cremin, 27, a library support desk worker at the University of Kent, will be organising, hosting and taking part in a 36-hour gaming marathon, to raise money for Alzheimer’s Research UK on 23 March.

Adrian and his friends in the gaming community are taking on the challenge after he lost his much-loved grandma, Barbara, to Alzheimer’s disease five years ago. Barbara helped raise Adrian when he was a child, and he was deeply affected by her illness and loss. Throughout that difficult time, he says that online gaming, and the community that he found there, helped him cope with the distress.

This will be the second gaming marathon that he has organised for Alzheimer’s Research UK, and the longest.

He says: “I’m doing something that I love to raise money for the cause that’s closest to my heart. I can’t think of a better way to do it.”

The marathon will be live-streamed on his Twitch channel, and people can donate via Adrian’s JustGiving page here: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/havocs24h.

Adrian has also been chosen as a case study for gaming fundraisers by JustGiving, who have just launched a Gaming for Social Good hub: https://gaming.justgiving.com/. His case study page is here: https://gaming.justgiving.com/ARUK

Alzheimer’s Research UK is the UK’s leading dementia research charity, with a mission to find the first life-changing treatment or cure by 2025.

See www.alzheimersresearchuk.org for more information.

Train2Game News NEW Pokémon Games

During yesterdays Pokémon Direct presentation, Tsunekazu Ishihara, president and CEO of The Pokémon Company, announced Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield, the newest additions to the main series of Pokémon role-playing video games.

Developed by GAME FREAK inc., Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield will be launching late 2019 exclusively on the Nintendo Switch™ system.

The Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield games take place in the Galar region. Galar is an expansive region with diverse environments— an idyllic countryside, contemporary cities, thick forest, and craggy, snow-covered mountains.

The people and the Pokémon who live there work together closely to develop the industries in the region.

Fans will have the opportunity to visit various Gyms in the Galar region in their quest to become Champion.

They will not be alone, since the newly discovered Pokémon they choose to be their first partner will be by their side.

“Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield are the latest exciting adventures in the Pokémon video game journey that began twenty-three years ago on this day,” said Mr. Ishihara. “Since then, Trainers around the world have discovered new Pokémon, engaged in epic battles, and made countless memories along the way. We look forward to continuing this journey by exploring a stunning new region in the Pokémon universe when the games launch later this year on Nintendo Switch.”

The adventure begins in Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield when players choose one of three new Pokémon—Grookey, Scorbunny, or Sobble. Grookey, a Grass-type Chimp Pokémon, is mischievous and full of boundless curiosity. Bursting with energy, Scorbunny, a Fire-type Rabbit Pokémon, is always running about. The stealthy Sobble, a Water-type Water Lizard Pokémon, shoots out attacks as it hides in water.

For more information about Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield, please visit www.Pokemon.com/SwordShield.

Train2Game News Games Media Brit List

Simon Miller will once again be laying the smackdown as host of the second annual Games Media Brit List awards.

That’s right people, the games media legend, host of The Miller Report, pro wrestler and all-around badass will be keeping order at what will be the best night of the year if you work in, around or with the UK’s games media.

The Games Media Brit List will once again celebrate the very best in games writing and broadcasting on Thursday, May 16th 2019 at London’s Rix Mix.

Returning after a rip-roaring inaugural 2018 event, the Games Media Brit List awards are open to anyone involved in the games and esports media – specialist consumer journalists, B2B reporters, vloggers, media brands, national media reviewers and more.

Miller said: “It’s a pleasure to host the second-ever Games Media Brit List, especially as there was that one Tweet which said it would never last that long. Just goes to show you can never truly rely on social media.

“I do look forward to seeing the industry’s best (and Chris Bratt) gathered in one place, though, to give much-deserved credit to all those who work so hard and show so much passion for games. You’re only as young as you feel! That doesn’t really tie in. I just thought it would be a nice way to end a quote…”

The Games Media Brit List awards provide a showcase of UK games media talent and will highlight achievements from the previous 12 months – whether for excellent reporting, influencer reach, or creative ingenuity.

The nominations period closes on Friday, February 28th – for a full list of categories and to nominate click here: https://www.gamesmediabritlist.com/enter-the-awards

As well as the awards themselves, the Games Media Brit List will once again bring together the games media community and the wider industry for an evening of entertainment and networking in the buildup to E3, the global industry’s leading trade event in LA.

And for finalists, the Games Media Brit List will once again be completely free to attend.