Train2Game UK Studio recognised as one of 1000 studios to inspire

Outplay Entertainment has been named as part of 1000 Companies to Inspire.

Devised by London Stock Exchange Group, this report celebrates the fastest-growing and most dynamic small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the UK and Europe. It also examines the opportunities and challenges facing SMEs today and looks at the sectors and trends that will shape the future of the British and European economies.

Douglas Hare, CEO of Outplay Entertainment comments: “To be acknowledged in 1000 Companies to Inspire is testament to our team’s ability to develop and market engaging games that can be enjoyed by players from across the world, and is further proof that we’re heading in the right direction. We started small and built on our initial success, and are very bullish about the future. 2018 is proving to be another exciting time for Outplay Entertainment.”

This recognition follows a string of business accolades for the largest independent mobile developer in the UK. The studio ranked 61st in the Deloitte Technology Fast 500 (December) – a league table of the fastest-growing technology companies in EMEA and placed 11th in the UK Fast 50 (November). It also reported 1,904% revenue growth since 2013.

Headquartered in Dundee, Scotland, Outplay’s 170-strong team has developed several critically acclaimed games which have surpassed over 150 million downloads to date.

For more information about Outplay Entertainment please visit https://outplay.com/

Train2Game News Retro Gaming Festival Hitting Manchester

Retro gaming festival Power Up is set to return to Manchester with more consoles than ever before.

The two-week extravaganza will be at the Museum of Science and Industry from August 3.

A limited number of early bird tickets for daytime sessions go on general sale on Thursday, May 24. They are available until June 21 – but once they’re gone, they’re gone. For access to priority booking from Tuesday, May 22, sign up to the Museum of Science and Industry mailing list at msimanchester.org.uk/powerup.

Household names PS4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch sit alongside iconic retro consoles including the SNES, SEGA Dreamcast and the original educational computer, the BBC Micro. There are also specialist areas for Pacman, Minecraft and Fortnite.

Visitors to Power UP can see for themselves how far gaming technology has advanced in the four decades since early games like Pong carved out their place in pop culture. Modern innovations like PlayStation VR will provide a glimpse into what the future may hold.

Evening-only sessions will take place on Friday, August 10 and Friday, August 17, giving the opportunity to play 18-only games including DOOM, Resident Evil and Grand Theft Auto.

Ticket prices vary, visit msimanchester.org.uk/powerup for more information.

Train2Game News Jagex Charitable Giving Initiative Success

As Mental Health Awareness Week begins (14th-20th May), Jagex today announced a highly successful first year for its Charitable Giving initiative, raising £225,000 for its three chosen mental health charities.

The company, together with the support of the generous RuneScape and Old School RuneScape player communities, smashed its 12-month £150,000 fundraising target to raise the £225,000 total, which has been donated to its three charities – CPSL Mind, The Prince’s Trust, and YMCA Right Here – to promote mental health on a local, national, and international level.

Earlier this month, Jagex hosted the launch of CPSL Mind’s STOP Suicide 2018 campaign, a community-based initiative that sets out to empower communities to prevent suicides across Cambridgeshire, Peterborough, and South Lincolnshire. The campaign, which is directly funded by Jagex’s donation, was launched at the company’s Cambridge headquarters, and played host to dignitaries, companies, and organisations, where they were invited to sign a pledge supporting the aims of the campaign.

Jagex has also been recognised in Mind’s prestigious Workplace Wellbeing Index for 2018 with a Silver Award, which building on the Bronze received in 20178, and is awarded in recognition of ‘Achieving Impact’ in promoting staff mental health and demonstrating progress and impact over time. In 2018, Jagex is one of only two games studios to be awarded with a place on the Index, underlining the Cambridge developer’s continued commitment to promoting staff mental health and wellbeing.

To coincide with Mental Health Awareness Week, Jagex’s award-winning game, RuneScape, is selling a brand-new, in-game item – a baby yeti – for players to purchase, with proceeds going towards the company’s three chosen charities.

Kelvin Plomer, Director of Customer Support and Jagex Charitable Giving, Jagex, said:
“We’ve had a remarkable first year for Jagex’s Charitable Giving initiative, and I am so proud of the work that we have supported as well as the funding we have raised for our mental health charities. Raising £225,000 over the past 12 months is a remarkable achievement and I want to thank everybody involved, from our players to everyone at Jagex – this money will make a difference and literally save lives. Jagex, through our charitable strategy, wants to make a real difference to people’s lives, and we are immensely proud to work with our chosen charity partners to help achieve that.

Commenting on the Workplace Wellbeing Index award, Alice Turner, HR Business Partner at Jagex, said:
“It’s a great privilege for Jagex to be recognised with a Silver Award on Mind’s Workplace Wellbeing Index 2018, which really shows the dedication our company has to support the mental health of our staff. We felt very humbled to be the first games studio to be recognised in the Index last year, so to see that progression and stand alongside some of the biggest organisations in the country as a Silver Award recipient is testament to the continued progress Jagex has made over the past year.”

Train2Game News Call of Duty Endowment

The Call of Duty Endowment today begins its application process for the sixth annual “Seal of Distinction” Awards, recognising U.S. and U.K. based non-profits that demonstrate the highest levels of effectiveness, efficiency, and integrity in placing ex-service personnel into high-quality jobs.

The prestigious award for grantees is accompanied by a £23,000 unrestricted grant, as well as the opportunity to apply for future funding. Past beneficiaries include: Goodwill Southern California, Goodwill of the Olympics and Rainer Region, NextOp, RFEA – The Forces Employment Charity, and Walking With the Wounded.

To be considered, organisations must complete an online application at: www.callofdutyendowment.org/seal

Applications will be accepted now through June 1, 2018. Nominees for the “Seal of Distinction” must meet a number of criteria, including:

  • Organisation must be a charitable, non-profit, with 501©(3) status (or, in the case of the U.K., a charity determined to have the equivalent status of a U.S. non-profit with 501 ©(3) status);
  • Mission must include directly assisting unemployed and underemployed ex-service personnel to find high quality jobs;
  • Group must complete an application, provide requested documentation and be prepared to submit to verification procedures by Deloitte;
  • Applicants will be assessed by metrics including, the number of ex-service personnel placed in jobs, the quality of those placements, average cost-per-placement, average starting salary, six- and twelve-month retention rate, key employee background checks, and a variety of organisational and financial health indicators; and
  • Applicants must not be a previous Seal of Distinction winner.

The “Seal of Distinction” is the preeminent standard of excellence in the ex-service personnel employment sector. In the last year alone, organisations supported by the Endowment placed 11,974 ex-service personnel in jobs at an average cost-per-placement of $504.

“We are honored to continue the ‘Seal of Distinction’ program into its sixth year,” said Dan Goldenberg, Executive Director of the Call of Duty Endowment. “We’ve seen a growing demand from ex-service personnel for help securing high quality careers—a 60% increase last year alone—and we’re committed to finding and funding the highest performing non-profits that successfully address this challenge in both the U.S. and U.K.”

All applications will be reviewed and evaluated by the Call of Duty Endowment’s outside Board of Advisors. Semi-finalists will be independently assessed on a pro bono basis by Deloitte and ultimately approved by the Endowment’s Grants Committee.

The Call of Duty Endowment launched the Seal of Distinction in August 2013. In its sixth year of operation, the program has awarded $27.6 million in grants. With an ambitious goal of placing 50,000 ex-service personnel into high-quality jobs by 2019, the program has placed more than 46,000 ex-service personnel into full-time jobs with an average 2017 starting salary of $58,000. As a result, the Endowment has helped ex-service personnel capture more than $2.3 billion in first year salaries and demonstrated the value of ex-service personnel in the civilian workplace to companies across the U.S and the U.K.

Train2Game News Mega Man Classic Cartridges Available

Capcom and iam8bit are kicking off “Mega May” with the announcement of two nostalgic Mega Man® collectibles: the Mega Man® 2 – 30th Anniversary Classic Cartridge and Mega Man® X – 30th Anniversary Classic Cartridge.

These brand new, limited edition reproductions are now available for pre-order on iam8bit.com for $100 each. Units are expected to ship late September 2018.

Each game is a Limited Edition of 8,500 units. Each cartridge comes in one of two available colors. Cartridge colorways are randomly inserted into sealed, unmarked boxes so each package is a surprise.

Mega Man 2 – 30th Anniversary Classic Cartridge – $100

  • Limited Edition of 8,500
  • Opaque Light Blue (7,500 units total) or Translucent, Glow-in-the-Dark Blue (1,000 units total)
  • Brand-new playable cartridge
  • Dual-Fold Box w/ Foil, Gloss & Embossments
  • Premium Instruction Booklet w/ Foreword by Author Salvatore Pane
  • Retro Pack-In Surprises
  • Package Design & Restoration by Jango Snow Art & Design
  • Manufacturing by Retrotainment Games + Infinite NES Lives

Mega Man X – 30th Anniversary Classic Cartridge – $100

  • Limited Edition of 8,500
  • Brand-New Playable Cartridge
  • Opaque White (7,500 units total) or Translucent, Glow-in-the-Dark Blue (1,000 units total)
  • Tri-Fold Box w/ Foil, Gloss & Embossments
  • Premium Instruction Booklet w/ Foreword by Jirard “The Completionist” Khalil
  • Retro Pack-In Surprises
  • Package Design & Restoration by Jango Snow Art & Design
  • Manufacturing by Retrotainment Games + Infinite NES Lives

The Mega Man 30th Anniversary Classic Cartridges aren’t just mantelpieces, each cartridge houses the original game code on a brand new PCB board and are fully playable on NTSC consoles.

For more information, please visit iam8bit.com.

Train2Game News Atari console pre-sales

Atari® — One of the world’s most iconic consumer brands and interactive entertainment producers — today announces that pre-sales of its new Atari VCS™ hardware platform will start May 30, 2018.

The pre-sale is exclusive to Indiegogo and features the time-limited Atari VCS Collector’s Edition featuring the special retro-inspired wood-front. In addition to the Collector’s Edition, fans will have the option to pre-order the Atari VCS Onyx, a sleek black version. Early-bird Atari VCS packages will be offered, including the Onyx starting at $199 USD for a limited period of time. Other packages will include the Classic Joystick and Modern Controller. Initial Atari VCS shipments are planned for Spring 2019. Fans who have signed up for “insider” email alerts at AtariVCS.com before May 24, 2018 will be eligible for special purchase incentives during the pre-sale.

The VCS is a completely new Atari connected device, designed in California by Atari. The company has partnered with AMD who provides the Atari VCS custom processor with Radeon Graphics Technology. The Atari VCS platform will offer support for 4K resolution, HDR and 60FPS content, onboard and expandable storage options, dual-band WiFi and Bluetooth 5.0, as well as USB 3.0 support. A complete list of Atari VCS product specs will be posted with the pre-sale.

The updated Classic Joystick and new Modern Controller for the Atari VCS are being developed in partnership with leading video game peripherals maker Power A. Both items will be available in select packages and as standalone purchases.

Retro-inspired, but not a “retro-box,” the Atari VCS will be a fully customizable entertainment experience. This means access to a vast array of games, media and streaming content options. As an homage to the past, Atari VCS covers the classics with the included Atari Vault of more than 100 classic games, including all-time arcade and home entertainment favorites like Asteroids®, Centipede®, Breakout®, Missile Command®, Gravitar® and Yars’ Revenge®; a growing list of games, especially a full range of popular modern titles, will be announced at later dates.

“We continue moving forward on the Atari VCS project and are excited to see this pre-sale kickoff and to share more updates with our fans as we look toward the first shipments,” notes Michael Arzt, Atari COO of Connected Devices. “We are building outstanding teams and forging alliances that will make this product great and truly worthy of the Atari VCS name. Expert hardware partners are helping make this project possible and we couldn’t be more pleased with their contributions.”

Atari appreciates the community’s intense curiosity about VCS games and content, hardware specifications, production timelines and other key information, and is confident that it is putting the right pieces in place for a successful product and launch.

All Atari VCS branding and communications channels now reflect the product’s official name. Fans can follow Atari VCS on Facebook, Twitter @TheAtari_VCS and Instagram.

Train2Game News PC Building Simulator

UK-based independent game publisher The Irregular Corporation announced today that its virtual PC building title, PC Building Simulator, has sold more than 100,000 copies in its first month on Steam Early Access.

The demo, originally created by Claudiu Kiss, enjoyed viral success in 2017 and was the 3rd most downloaded free Itchi.io title that that year. Launched last month as a fully-fledged simulator the title enjoyed critical praise from the global tech and games community for its attention to detail, realism and sheer fun factor.

Stuart Morton, producer at The Irregular Corporation said,, “The overwhelming support we have had from the PC gaming and building community has been nothing short of phenomenal and we are extremely grateful to all the players who have been so passionately providing feedback, this is the whole reason we wanted to launch into Early Access. There are plenty of new and exciting things to come for PC Building Simulator and we can’t wait to share them with our ever-expanding community.”

The Irregular Corporation is continuously working to update the title with new hardware and software partners and enhancements as it rounds the bases to its 1.0 launch, scheduled for later this year.

In PC Building Simulator, players can create their own PC empire in career mode. From simple diagnosis and repairs to bespoke, boutique creations that any gamer would love to have, the sky’s the limit. With an ever-expanding marketplace full of real-world and realistically priced components you can finally stop dreaming of that ultimate PC and get out there, construct it in Free Build mode and see how it performs.

Hardware manufacturers such as MSI, CORSAIR, COOLER MASTER, EVGA, NZXT, ARCTIC, SILVERSTONE, RAIJINTEK, TEAM GROUP LTD and more have allowed true-to-life models of their products to be included. More partners will be added throughout the game’s early access period and beyond. In addition to the hardware partners, PC Building Simulator have also teamed up with UL Benchmarks (formerly Futuremark) so players can benchmark their in-game systems using a simulation of 3DMark.

Fans can purchase PC Building Simulator on Steam for £14.99/$19.99/€19.99. For more information on PC Building Simulator, please visit: http://www.pcbuildingsim.com/ . Follow PC Building Simulator on Twitter, YouTube and Facebook for the latest news and updates.

Train2Game News Shadow of the Tomb Raider announced

Square Enix®, Eidos-Montréal™, and Crystal Dynamics® today revealed the full trailer for Shadow of the Tomb Raider™, the latest entry in the critically acclaimed and award-winning Tomb Raider® series.

Created by a team of veteran Tomb Raider developers at Eidos-Montréal, in collaboration with Crystal Dynamics, the game will be available on September 14, 2018 for the Xbox One family of devices, including Xbox One X, PlayStation®4 system and Windows PC/Steam®.

In Shadow of the Tomb Raider, Lara must master a deadly jungle, overcome terrifying tombs, and persevere through her darkest hour. As she races to save the world from a Maya apocalypse, Lara will be forged into the Tomb Raider she is destined to be.

The star of the critically acclaimed 2013 Tomb Raider reboot and the award-winning Rise of the Tomb Raider®, Camilla Luddington, makes her return as Lara Croft® with yet another stunning performance in Shadow of the Tomb Raider.

“Thanks to their incredible expertise, knowledge of the franchise and outstanding creativity, Eidos-Montréal, in collaboration with Crystal Dynamics, is delivering a powerful experience with Shadow of the Tomb Raider,” said Yosuke Matsuda, president and representative director of Square Enix Holdings Co., Ltd. “Shadow of the Tomb Raider will take the series to new heights and Lara Croft to new depths.”

“Shadow of the Tomb Raider will challenge Lara Croft in new and unexpected ways,” said David Anfossi, Head of Studio at Eidos-Montréal. “Our team has created a diverse set of skills, combat techniques and equipment for players to master, and they’ll certainly need them if they hope to survive the deadly jungle environments and tombs.”

Last night, Square Enix welcomed fans, community leaders, press, and industry influencers to events in Montreal, London, and Los Angeles so they could experience Lara Croft’s defining moment as she becomes the Tomb Raider. Now, a wealth of information, screenshots, and more is now available at TombRaider.com.

Fans in the New York City area will be able to enjoy a Special Preview of Shadow of the Tomb Raider at the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival on Friday, April 27. This free eventwill start at 4 p.m. EST, and will take place inside of the BMCC Theater at the Tribeca Performing Arts Center. Join the creative team as they discuss the evolution of Lara Croft and share in the techniques, tools and inspiration behind the series. Panel attendees will be able to witness an exclusive extended gameplay demo for the upcoming Shadow of the Tomb Raider game.

Pre-orders are available now for the Standard, Digital Deluxe, Croft, and Ultimate Editions. For full details on pre-order items, the Season Pass, key beats in the upcoming campaign, and more information on Shadow of the Tomb Raider, please visit the official website and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Train2Game News Hogwarts Mystery out now

Jam City, a Los Angeles based mobile games studio, announced today that the new mobile game Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery is available to download now on the App Store and Google Play.

Developed by Jam City in partnership with Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery is the first mobile game where players create their own character and experience life as a Hogwarts student. The game will launch under Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment’s Portkey Games, a label dedicated to creating new mobile and videogame experiences that place the player at the center of their own adventure, inspired by J.K. Rowling’s original stories.

“There are so few moments where a mobile entertainment company has the chance to truly bring magic into the world and we’ve been thrilled by the amazing response our game has already received from Harry Potter fans everywhere,” said Chris DeWolfe, co-founder and CEO of Jam City. “We at Jam City have been working hard to ensure that any aspiring witch or wizard can enter Hogwarts through their smartphones and tablets and begin their magical journeys.”

The story of Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery is set in the 1980s. In the game, players will progress as a student through Hogwarts, joining one of its four houses. Players will be able to create and upgrade personalized characters using an avatar customization system, learn an arsenal of magical skills, and form relationships with other students. They will also be able to master everything from crafting potions under Snape’s critical eye, to Transfiguration with Professor McGonagall. Along with interactive spellcasting, the game features an encounter system where narrative choices impact parts of the story.

“Being involved in the making of the Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery mobile game will give great pleasure to my grandchildren,” said Dame Maggie Smith, voice of Professor McGonagall in the game.

Players will also be introduced to some original game characters like Penny, a popular Hufflepuff potions expert, Tulip, a rebellious Ravenclaw prankster, and Merula, a Slytherin with a dark past. As players unravel the Hogwarts mystery, they will explore familiar locations like Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade.

Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery is free to play and is available NOW on mobile devices via the App Store and Google Play. For more details on Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, and to connect with other Harry Potter fans, visit www.facebook.com/HPHogwartsMystery/ www.twitter.com/HogwartsMystery , and for more information visit www.HarryPotterHogwartsMystery.com/ .

Train2Game News Nintendo Labo Now Available

You can now experience a whole new way to interact with Nintendo Switch as you Make, Play and Discover with Nintendo Labo.

Now available at retailers nationwide, Nintendo Labo kits offer interactive build-and-play experiences that combine the magic of the Nintendo Switch system with the fun of DIY creations. In celebration of the launch, Nintendo unveiled a new online destination for you to share your Nintendo Labo creations and enter for a chance to win special Nintendo Labo prizes.

With each Nintendo Labo kit, building and discovery are designed to be just as much fun as playing, which is why the experience is categorized into three key pillars: Make, Play and Discover.

  • Make: Transform modular sheets of cardboard into interactive creations called Toy-Con – from a 13-key piano to a motorbike, a robot suit and more.
  • Play: After they are built, combine the Toy-Con creations with the Nintendo Switch console and Joy-Con controllers in creative ways to enjoy a variety of game-play experiences.
  • Discover: Learn how Nintendo Switch technology works together with each Toy-Con project. With Toy-Con Garage mode, a feature included with the software in each Nintendo Labo kit, you can invent new ways to play with your Toy-Con projects.

“As with anything we do at Nintendo, our primary goal with Nintendo Labo is to make people smile,” said Doug Bowser, Nintendo of America’s Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing. “Whether you are a kid or a kid at heart, we hope the playful spirit of Nintendo Labo ignites imagination and creativity in people of all ages as they interact with Nintendo Switch in new ways.”

For some initial inspiration, Nintendo Labo owners can visit the user-generated content (UGC) hub to see a dapperly decorated RC Car created by TV personality and “Science Guy” Bill Nye, who recently took Nintendo Labo for a spin and spent time tinkering with Toy-Con Garage. Check out Bill Nye’s full Nintendo Labo experience here.

Throughout the next few weeks, the UGC website will also feature custom Toy-Con creations from popular social media influencers and Toy-Con Garage inventions from Nintendo employees.

Starting today, you can submit your own creations to the site by signing in with your free Nintendo Account. Fans in the U.S. or Canada who are 13 years old or older can also choose to enter their creations in the limited-time Nintendo Labo Creators Contest for a chance to win a Nintendo Labo prize package, including a Nintendo Labo kit, a special jacket and a signed framed certificate. Learn more about the contest and upload your submissions here: https://labo.nintendo.com/share/#!/contest/.

The first two Nintendo Labo kits (available now) are the Variety Kit and the Robot Kit.

  • The Nintendo Labo Variety Kit ($69.99MSRP*** USD) includes all the necessary materials and software to create five different Toy-Con projects:

-RC Car: The RC Car is powered by vibrations in the Joy-Con controllers and can follow a path of reflective tape by using the IR Motion Camera in the right Joy-Con controller – it even works in the dark! Materials to build two RC Cars are included, so two players can race or battle each other!

-Fishing Rod: Build a working rod and reel, and then go fishing on the screen of your Nintendo Switch console to catch a variety of exotic fish. You can also enter Aquarium mode – accessed via Toy-Con Piano – to view all the fish you’ve caught or even design your own colorful fish.

-House: Insert different blocks into your newly constructed House to interact with the adorable creature inside. Combining multiple blocks can unlock special features and mini-games, including an exhilarating mine cart ride!

-Motorbike: Rev the throttle of your Motorbike by twisting the right handle, just like the real thing! You can even create and race on tracks you design.

-Piano: Compose and record music using different octaves, reverb and sound effects – even cat noises!

  • With Nintendo Labo Robot Kit ($79.99 MSRP*** USD), you can build a wearable robot suit, including a backpack and visor, which allows you to assume control of a huge on-screen robot. Smash buildings and UFOs in Robot Mode, make sound effects using your Toy-Con Robot in Robo Studio or customize your in-game robot in the Hangar. With an additional Nintendo Labo Robot Kit and set of Joy-Con, you can even battle against a friend in multiplayer mode using just one Nintendo Switch system!
  • A Customization Set ($9.99 MSRP*** USD) is also available, which includes colorful tape, stencils and Nintendo themed stickers to decorate your Toy-Con creations. When it comes to decorating your Toy-Con projects, almost anything will work! Try some of your favorite arts-and-crafts supplies, like markers or paint.

For more information about Nintendo Labo, visit https://labo.nintendo.com/.