Train2Game News: DFS Competition Winner

DFS WinnerThe Train2Game student who won the DFS home set up competition is Luke Marchese from Stoke on Trent.

Luke was chosen as the winner of the competition as he is clearly an avid gamer. In his entry picture we can see: Xbox 360, Nintendo Wii, Game Cube, SNES, Dreamcast, Wii U, N64, PS3, Megadrive, a NES, A gamegear, three monitors and countless games. He also has Sonic figurines and loads of games memorabilia.

When Luke was told that he won the competition he said “It feels great to win a prize for showing off my collection. I have been collecting Video Games and consoles almost all my life and if I remember correctly I have a total of 19 consoles plus well over 250 games.  Gaming has always been a passionate subject for me and there is nothing I love more than designing games.”

Train2Game would like to wish Luke a big congratulations and we hope you enjoy your £50 Amazon voucher.

Thank you as well to all the other entrants, you all have great gaming set ups! You can view a gallery of the other entrants below.

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Train2Game news: Question Final Fantasy developer Hironobu Sakaguchi at BAFTA Q&A

Train2Game students have the opportunity to question Final Fantasy series developer Hironobu Sakaguchi at a BAFTA Q&A event later this month.

The Game Developer Q&A session will see Sakaguchi discuss his upcoming Nintendo Wii RPG The Last Story which launches in Europe on February 24th. Train2Game students potentially have the opportunity to tap into his games industry knowledge with questions during the event.

The Last Story Q&A with Hironobu Sakaguchi takes place at BAFTA’s central London HQ. Train2Game students who wish to find out more, or buy tickets to the event for £5, can do so at the BAFTA website.

Previous BAFTA game developer events – such as the Games Writers Panel – have proved to be very interesting and this one is likely to be extremely useful for any Train2Game students who attend.

So Train2Game, will you attend The Last Story Q&A with Hironobu Sakaguchi? What would you ask him?

Leave your comments here on The Train2Game Blog, or on the Train2Game forum.

BAFTA’s public events and online resources bring you closer to the creative talent behind your favourite games, films, and TV shows. Find out more at www.bafta.org/newsletter,www.facebook.com/bafta or twitter.com/baftagames

Train2Game news: We Sing Rock gets release date

Train2Game recently spoke We Sing Rock Senior Producer Kevin Leathers about the development process behind the Nintendo Wii Karaoke game.

When the interview was published here on the Train2Game blog, a release date for We Sing Rock had yet to be scheduled. Now, the release late has been revealed as 11th November 2011.

Train2Game students should find our We Sing Rock interview to be a fascinating read, giving an insight into what it’s like to develop something that’s a bit different to your average Triple A title. Leathers told the Train2Game blog that party games are “important to the console market” and revealed Wired Productions are already looking into Nintendo Wii U versions of the We Sing series.

The We Sing Rock senior producer also offered Train2Game students advice on how to get into the industry. Read the full interview here on the Train2Game blog.

Leave your comments here on the Train2Game blog, or on the Train2Game forum.

Train2Game interview: We Sing Rock Senior Producer Kevin Leathers

Train2Game recently caught up with We Sing Rock Senior Producer Kevin Leathers at a special event in central London. The We Sing series is one of the most successful on the Nintendo Wii, with We Sing Rock the latest in the in franchise.

In an in-depth interview, Leathers told us about what goes into developing a We Sing title. He discusses his take on the future of party games, hinted at We Sing development for the Nintendo Wii U and told us about life at Wired Productions. He also provides advice to Train2Game students about how to get into the industry.

Read it here on the Train2Game blog, or on the Train2Game Scribd page.

First of all, what does your role as Senior Producer of We Sing Rock involves?

As senior producer of We Sing Rock I manage all the different aspects of the game: gameplay, music licensing and so forth and make sure everything all comes together to make a great game.

How does the development of process of We Sing Rock begin?

The main thing we start off with is the music. With We Sing Rock for example, we had a nice list of what we wanted to look for concerned with rock, which songs we thought best reflected each decades of rock.  We have songs from the 60s onwards and then we take it from there. We go to the music labels themselves, talk to them, negotiate then see what songs we can get for our final playlist and build a game around it.

Tell us a bit about the backend of We Sing Rock. How does the game know when players are singing on or off key?

We have a specific game engine built in which analyses the vocals that go in to the song and tests what pitch is actually being sung at the time, and then it calculates the score based off of that. It’s quite a complex process but they’ve managed to get it down to a nice, simple process so it’s easy.

How successful have the We Sing games been since they came about?

We Sing games are…not to sound big headed… probably one of the most popular games on the Wii at the moment. There were a fair few singing games out when We Sing and We Sing Encore first came to the market, but we’ve now emerged as the dominant force on the Wii. They’re very popular at the moment, very popular in Europe and in the Australian markets as well, so we’re very proud with how far it has come.  We Sing Rock itself is the 7th version of We Sing and we’re very proud of how it’s come along.

What do you see as the the future of singing, entertainment and other “casual” games?

Casual games can be a very unfair label. I think party games are quite important for consoles. While it’s fun to play single player games – your RPGs, shooters, things like that – you do need something else every so often that everyone else can join into and this is what we try and do with our We Sing and We Dance range of games. They’re games that everyone can play – everyone can pick up a Wii remote and start singing – and it’s just nice and easy and fun. That’s the main thing at the end of the day; it’s got to be fun.

For the future of the games it’s making sure you keep that fun aspect otherwise you’re complicating things far too much. It has to be so your gran can go up, pick up a Wii remote then starting singing along to her favourite Elvis Presley tune. That’s the main thing we strive for with the We Sing games and what we’ll do with the future versions of the games as well.

There are a lot of tracks in We Sing Rock, how do you go about selecting them?

Going about selecting them is usually a case of shouting at each other!  [Laughs] We go through a process where we obviously narrow down exactly what the game is going to be about: in this case it’s rock. Then we see the best examples of that across the difference subgenres of rock – nu-metal or the 80s style hair metal – and we try and get good examples of that. I mean we have things like White Snake which is a good example of 80s rock, and then we have some modern stuff like My Chemical Romance and 30 Seconds to Mars. So we try and go through a process where we list out what songs we believe would fit well into this kind of product, and then we take it from there and start negotiating with the music labels.

Will there be any additional content for We Sing Rock in future?

We’ve experimented with DLC in the past before. Unfortunately due to the technical limitations of the Wii it’s very difficult to do DLC to the high quality we believe it should be. We have experimented with it before and the results have been less that successful to be honest. So rather than diminish the quality of the overall product, we want to keep the high quality as much as possible. At the moment DLC isn’t on the cards.

So what do you think are the technical limitations of the Nintendo Wii and could the Wii U solve them?

I can’t say too much about it at the moment, but obviously the Wii U is a much more powerful machine and we’re hoping there are quite a few changes between the Wii and Wii U that’ll help with many of the functions of it. Fingers crossed! Especially with the tablet controller design as well, that could prove for some very interesting gameplay designs later on.

Tell us a bit about Wired Productions.

Nordic Games – which is the publisher of the We Sing series – they call us to do the production for their games. Generally they’ll want us to have a look at the market and see what would work and we usually just take it from there. We have brainstorming sessions, we’ll see what the market is lacking at the moment. When made We Sing, there wasn’t anything similar to it at the time on consoles so we went straight ahead with it.  Day-to-day stuff is just working through and making sure we can make the best product possible.

A little about you now, how did you get started in the games industry?

Many years ago! I actually started with the people I’m working with at the moment. I used to work for a publisher called Digital Jesters who used to do a lot of PC games, especially the original Trackmania when it first came along. Since then I’ve worked my way through the industry  with the same great team of people and we’ve now got to a point where we’re making products we’re incredibly proud of rather than just publishing them.

What advice would you give to those looking to get into the games industry?

My best advice is don’t try and look for a quick fix, it’s the same as any other industry in that you have to really work at it.  And even if you have to work on stuff you don’t really want to, at the end of the day you’ve really got to work at it otherwise you’ll just find it too hard.  The best advice I can give is get as much information as you can about what you want to do in the industry because there’s loads of different sectors to it. Get as much information and then go and try from there to see what you can do.

And finally, is there anything you’d like to add about We Sing Rock, and when is it due for release?

We Sing Rock, rocks obviously! Unfortunately I can’t announce the release date but it will be soon but everyone should play it, it’s great. Everyone will have a song they want to rock out too.

Thanks for your time Kevin.

We Sing Rock is scheduled for release on Nintendo Wii in the near future.

Leave your comments here on the Train2Game blog, or on the Train2Game forum.

Train2Game news: Party games “important to the console market” says We Sing Rock dev

Train2Game students, or at least a large percentage of them, are likely to consider themselves hardcore gamers.

And while they get enjoyment out of playing the latest titles, it could possibly be difficult for those around them – parents, partners, children – to join in playing likes of Portal 2 or Minecraft.

It’s because of this party games like We Sing and We Dance are important to the console market. At least that’s according to Wired Productions Kevin Leathers, Senior Producer of We Sing Rock for Nintendo Wii.

“I think party games are quite important for consoles.” he told the Train2Game blog in a soon to be published interview.

“While it’s fun to play single player games – your RPGs, shooters, things like that – you do need something else every so often that everyone else can join into and this is what we try and do with our We Sing and We Dance range of games.”

“They’re games that everyone can play – everyone can pick up a Wii remote and start singing – and it’s just nice and easy and fun.” added Leathers.

The full Train2Game blog interview with We Sing Rock Senior Producer Kevin Leathers will be published tomorrow morning, and it should make interesting reading for Train2Game students.

What are your thoughts on Leathers comments?  Are party games important to consoles? Would you consider working on them?

Leave your comments here on the Train2Game blog, or on the Train2Game forum.

Two James Bond trailers – GoldenEye 007 & Blood Stone 007

Blood Stone 007

GoldenEye 007 comes out on the Nintendo Wii this week, so naturally a launch trailer for the N64 remake has been released.  The GoldenEye 007 for Nintendo Wii trailer appears to show what all fans of the 1997 original want to see – classic James Bond GoldenEye 007 action!

Of course, the 2010 remake of the 1997 GoldenEye 007 doesn’t only look prettier, but the game has also been tweaked to bring the story and settings up to date. GoldenEye 007 features Daniel Craig instead of Pierce Brosan while the gadgets have also been updated from the 1990s. Now instead of using a watch to scan documents in  GoldenEye 007, Bond will use a mobile phone.

The GoldenEye 007 for Nintendo Wii features fist fighting, shooting, Bond girls, and of course footage of that all important multiplayer. Enjoy! You can also see a previous trailer for GoldenEye 007 here.

GoldenEye 007 is released for Nintendo Wii this Friday.

There are actually two James Bond games released this week, with the Bizarre Creations developed Blood Stone 007 also set for release this week – but not on the Nintendo Wii. The team has released a developer diary in which they say Blood Stone 007 will be classic Bond and truly authentic to the movies.

The Bizarre developers say they’ve tried to include all of the things that make the James Bond movies – driving, shooting, fighting, witty one liners – and apply them all into Blood Stone 007. We also get told about some of the classic Bond locations we can expect to visit in Blood Stone 007. You can see the Blood Stone 007 ‘Classic Bond’ developer diary below.

Yes, that is Joss Stone playing the Blood Stone 007 Bond Girl. Daniel Craig also features as Bond as in GoldenEye 007. Blood Stone 007 is released on PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and PC on Friday and like GoldenEye 007, it’s published by Activision.

So Train2Game, do you want to get your hands on either GoldenEye 007 or Blood Stone 007? Would you be drawn to the GoldenEye 007 remake over an entirely new Bond Game? And do you think they’ll be successful?

You can leave your thoughts about Golden Eye 007 and Blood Stone 007 here on the Train2Game blog or on the Train2Game forum.

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.

GoldenEye 007 for Nintendo Wii trailer

GoldenEyeEurocom has released a trailer for their upcoming Nintendo Wii remake of the classic N64 title GoldenEye 007. It’s hard to believe that the original GoldenEye 007 game was released on the N64 13 years ago all the way back in 1997. Eurocom say that this update is the GoldenEye for today.

Of course, Bond is a bit different now compared to the early 1990’s so the first major change -discounting the massive graphical upgrade- is that you’ll be playing as Daniel Craig’s Bond, rather than the Pierce Brosnan of the original GoldenEye. Daniel Craig himself provides the voice work, so GoldenEye 007 looks set to have that authentic Bond feel.

The story has also changed in some areas, in order to make GoldenEye 007 relevant to today’s world. Of course, the new updated GoldenEye 007 will give you the opportunity to use Bond’s famous gadgets, but with a modern twist. For example, the original GoldenEye 007 saw you using a watch to scan documents, while now you’ll use a mobile phone.

What the updated GoldenEye 007 for Nintendo Wii will retain is the wide variety of options as to how to complete missions. Do you go in all guns blazing? Or will you choose to be a stealthier, smarter bond?

Naturally, the new GoldenEye 007 retains the N64 versions awesome multiplayer, with classic characters like Oddjob and Jaws making an appearance. You can check out both single player and multiplayer footage from GoldenEye 007 in the trailer below.


GoldenEye 007 is scheduled for release on the Nintendo Wii on November 5th, and will be published by Activision.

So Train2Game, are you interested in the revamped GoldenEye 007? Do you think it looks impressive for a Nintendo Wii title? And what classic games would you like to see get remade with modern technology?

You can leave your thoughts about GoldenEye 007 here on the Train2Game blog, or on the Train2Game forum.