Features

  • This year’s PlayStation Experience wrapped up on November 23 in Ansal Plaza, New Delhi. IVG was there for all three – starting off in Mumbai, and then at Bangalore’s Kormangala Indoor Stadium. The mercury has been dropping in the city and I decided that the best way to spend a Sunday would be go to and damage some heavy hardware. For those of you not familiar with Ansal Plaza, it’s a large coliseum-shaped mall in South Delhi, and in the centre, Sony had erected a large bunker. With about a 100 install points covering PS2s, PS3s and PSPs, and a LOT of fancy Sony Bravias, this was a sweet setup. The first thing that hits you is the noise – the kids running amok, the announcer screaming with faux enthusiasm and a constant background noise mix of music, gunfire and sports crowd cheering. The second thing is the vivid colour scheme – completely orange. The setup overall was very nice; enough space to walk around, sit, enjoy the games, and large TV screens hanging from the ceiling showcasing what the players were playing. [singlepic=415,450,337,center]

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  • PlayStation Experience 2008 debuted in Bangalore on Saturday after a successful stint in Mumbai last weekend. There is not much to report from the Bangalore leg as we were told the setup has been carried as is from Mumbai. The same games were on display with the exception of TNA Impact, which was absent in Mumbai, but made an appearance in Bangalore. The show floor was split into zones just like in Mumbai and you can read more about the games on show in our Mumbai coverage. I spent some quality time playing Killzone 2 but due to the absence of DUALSHOCK 3 controllers, the game just did not have the same appeal without the feedback from every single shot fired. The EA Sports Zone was one of the most visited, with people particularly enjoying Facebreaker a lot. Surprisingly, LittleBigPlanet in the Family Zone found few takers. [singlepic=361,450,338,center]

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  • At PlayStation Experience 2008, it was time for Round 3 of IndianVideoGamer vs Atindriya Bose, Country Manager of Sony Computer Entertainment India. You can read our earlier interiews with India’s PlayStation head here and here. Somehow, we never seem to run out of things to ask Atin. This time around, he sheds some light on the new 80GB PlayStation 3 set to hit stores in December, the post warranty situation for the PS3, the long-awaited PSN launch, and news of Activision moving its PS2 game manufacturing to India. [singlepic=326,center]

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  • The long awaited 2008 edition of PlayStation Experience got underway in Mumbai on Saturday. Held at the InOrbit Mall premises in the city’s Malad suburb, the two day event seemed slightly smaller in area space than last year’s event, but we were told that that wasn’t the case, but that it was the layout that made it seem that way. There was no shortage of great games however, and in fact, this year’s line-up far surpassed last year’s with several yet to be released titles on show for everyone to try. For those in Mumbai who couldn’t make it to the event, here’s what you missed, and for those eagerly awaiting the Bangalore and Delhi legs, here’s what you can look forward to. [singlepic=301,450,338,center] The event began an hour behind schedule with a press conference, where Atindriya Bose, Country Manager, Sony Computer Entertainment India, besides announcing some new game launches, informed us that the 80GB PlayStation 3, bundled with a DUALSHOCK 3 controller, would be available in India in December, replacing the current 40GB console. The 40GB console, while stocks last, will now be sold with a free copy of either Resistance: Fall of Man or MotorStorm. Bose also announced…

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  • It’s the holiday season and the glut of games has started. Best news for us – the titles which we expected to delight us have done so – LittleBigPlanet, Gears of War 2, Fallout 3, Metal Gear Solid 4. So here’s a little recap for the year – just to help you spend the Diwali bonuses. And if you’re not above emotional blackmail you can wheedle just a bit more out of the parents/companies/significant other to buy that special game you missed out on. [singlepic=279,450,213,center] Both 2006 and 2007 were amazing for gamers. The new consoles provided us with gems. Just look at these titles: Mass Effect – One of the finest RPGs ever made, crafting a space opera par excellence. Bioshock – Those of us brought up on a healthy diet of narrative excellence in games missed Deus Ex and Fallout. Bioshock sated our appetite and more Portal – I won’t even attempt to say how great this game is Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare – COD 4 still regularly tops the charts on Xbox Live with its amazing multiplayer action Gears of War – It single-handedly sold the Xbox 360 around the world and still remains one…

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  • We mentioned yesterday that we would be organising a contest around our return from podcast hiatus. So we spoke to EA, who were nice enough to co-operate and sponsor the prizes for the rather ominous-sounding Dead Space Count The ‘Dude’ Contest. Up for grabs is one copy each of Dead Space for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, and two copies for PC. All you have to do to stand a chance of winning is listen to the podcast (if you already have, listen to it again; it’s aural bliss) and count the number of times we say the word ‘dude’ throughout the duration of the podcast. This may sound reasonably easy, but mind you, the podcast is over half-an-hour long and we say ‘dude’ a lot. [singlepic=239,center]

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  • Yesterday was a historic day for India – we are going to the moon. Yup – we’ve cocked a snook at the so-called first world nations and done it without their help. How about that we are a part of the elite nuclear group? Our economy is floundering in the global financial crisis but we’re still better off than some other countries because we have a sound base. We’ve achieved a lot in the 60 years of freedom and it shouldn’t come as a surprise that we are one of the countries poised to take a lead in the race for world supremacy. For perspective – that’s reaching the highest stage in Civ IV. On one hand, we’ve made amazing leaps in the field of science and technology and industry, but on the other hand, we have politicians who would rather throw the most respected company out of a state for trying to provide cheap transport to the country. We have politicians who would start riots over whether a citizen should be allowed to work or study in the city of their birth or the city of their choice. We espouse erotic architecture as long as it’s on a temple…

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  • We in India like to buy things that are cheap. So much so that we are even willing to sacrifice on quality a little bit to get things cheap. As a result, piracy has always been rampant in our country. It’s become second nature to us. We would rather pay Rs 50 for a pirated PC game with the packaging of another game (if you’re lucky), than Rs 299 for an original PC game. Now that gaming is starting to pick up in India, obviously the sale of legitimate game software is picking up as well. But does that mean that India is moving away from piracy? A recent article by MCV, a leading industry publication, recognises the tremendous growth potential of the Indian gaming industry. That’s great, but they attribute this to an Ernst and Young study that has found that the Indian gaming market is turning its back on grey and black market trading. [singlepic=201,center] Really? That doesn’t seem right. In fact, if you spend enough time at the IndianVideoGamer forums, you’ll find that that’s not the case at all. Every time a game’s release is delayed in India, you’ll see a handful of comments from members about…

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  • Here’s a gameplay video from Need For Speed Undercover’s police chase mode. Game producer John Doyle, in a Nissan GT-R cop car, walks us through the mode, which includes road blocks, pursuit breakers and some pissed off cops. You can also see some of the pop-in issues that plagued that build of the game. But we have been promised that this would be rectified in the final build. After briefly giving the cops a run-around, John hands the controller over to a journalist, who, after negotiating a few bends and trading some paint, was greeted with an Xbox 360 memory crash. Priceless! This text will be replaced The second video is a brief gameplay snippet from the highway battle mode. As you can see, the pace is frantic and the highways are populated with some crazy rush-hour traffic. This text will be replaced Check out the videos and tell us what you think at the IndianVideoGamer Community forums.

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  • With another Need For Speed game approaching, everyone is anxious to know if Black Box will redeem the franchise after the disastrous ProStreet or hit ‘refresh’ and take it back to the glory days. IndianVideoGamer had the opportunity to test drive a bit of Need For Speed Undercover at the recently-held Games Convention Asia in Singapore. EA has been talking about Undercover being a successor to Most Wanted, and at first you will feel like you’re indeed playing Most Wanted; it feels instantly familiar. Whether that’s a good or bad thing remains to be seen when we get to sample the full game. But it sure does feel like EA have taken the safe route in terms of gameplay to concentrate more on the story side of things, with the much talked about Hollywood-style live action cutscenes with the likes of Maggie Q. [singlepic=199,400,300,center] The game employs, what EA calls, the Heroic engine. It is basically a physics engine that tweaks the handling of each car to make it feel different, while still firmly maintaining the series’ arcade gameplay style. Essentially, they want each car to feel different, but they also want you to feel like the star of a…

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  • With FIFA 09 looking to take the series to new heights, the game’s producer Clive Gorman takes some time out to talk to IndianVideoGamer regarding the game’s new features, criticism over the PC version, what improvements EA have in mind for FIFA 2010, and more. He even takes a potshot at the competition, saying Konami’s Pro Evolution Soccer games have failed to take advantage of the PS3 and Xbox 360 hardware. Read on for the full interview: Can you start by telling me about the changes that you’ve made since FIFA 08 and UEFA Euro 2008? The way it breaks down is there are five key areas. Most important to us was gameplay. We’ve made over 250 changes to the gameplay that affect two things. The first is the responsiveness, which means that not only are the passes quick, but players trap the ball properly, they realistically anticipate where the ball will come. There’s also the physical aspect of it; how players behave in one-on-one situations. Now you can actually jostle with your opponent and you’re able to start the jostle and pull out of it when you want as you would in real life. Also, the stronger player with…

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  • The first thing that hits you about IndianVideoGamer Mumbai Meet 4 (IVGMM4) is lack of detail and realism. While most next-gen titles have ultra-accurate renditions of everything ranging from wrinkles to turd, IVGMM4 employs a more whimsical style due to the nature of its graphics engine. Unlike other games that use the Unreal Engine, the developers at IVG have employed their own custom engine nicknamed “Booze and Pizza”, and if your system can handle it, there’s a secret mode unlocked called “Booze, Pizza, Cheech & Chong, Transformers HD”. On stepping into the in-game world of IVGMM4, you’re greeted by its denizens, journeymen like you who’ve travelled near and far to meet like-minded folk. Hosting the festivities is the overlord Sam, who controls the supply of food, games and beer. In Andrew Ryan-esque fashion, he even monitors the activities of all and sundry via digital camera. Due to a touch of tech-n00bness, however, most the data cache on his camera is erased, but its presence more than enough to keep the more friskier bunches in check. [singlepic=180,200,250,left]Other titles in this genre have repetitive goals and objectives, making them quite boring to play (Assassin’s Creed, I’m looking at you). The objective of…

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  • When I got to the show floor at Games Convention Asia for the first time, my eyes wandered around frantically trying to locate the Mirror’s Edge booth. No game on show there appealed to me as much as DICE’s fresh take on first-person action did. I forced my way past the FIFA 09 and Need For Speed Undercover kiosks and literally shoved other visitors out of the way to get to Mirror’s Edge. When I finally got there, Tom Farrer, the game’s producer, was there talking another journalist through the game. Then it was my turn. After a quick explanation of the controls, Tom restarted the level and handed over the DUALSHOCK 3 to me. From that point on, it was just Faith and I. The level that was available in the GCA build is the same one that we’ve seen in countless screenshots, trailers and gameplay videos – the rooftop tutorial level. I myself had watched these videos countless times; I knew the route I had to take and I knew the parts where I was more likely to die. So I was feeling pretty good about myself when I watched the guy before me fail miserably and struggle…

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  • At Games Convention Asia in Singapore, IndianVideoGamer caught up with Tom Farrer, Producer of Mirror’s Edge, one of the most eagerly-awaited titles of the year, for a leisurely chat. Probably everything you’ve ever wanted to know about Mirror’s Edge has been discussed here, including the time trial mode, multiplayer, boss fights, working with the Unreal engine, DLC, sequels, and possible ports to other platforms. So the game’s got a time trial mode with ghosts? Yes, the way it works is you run a stretch and as long as you beat a fixed qualifying time, your ghost will be uploaded automatically. It’s also saved locally. Each time trial area has got three star ratings, with three stars being the most difficult to beat. The maximum star rating a player can get in the game is 57 stars, I believe. None of us have actually managed to get there. [singlepic=169,450,315,center] What chance do we have then? Actually, when we made Rallisport Challenge, the guys actually set their times, took the best times they could get, and they cut a few seconds off them. Those times got beaten in about three days after the game launched. So I think we’ll be alright. One…

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  • Jayant Sharma has been in the video game business for over ten years; in terms of the Indian video game industry, that’s forever. His company, Milestone Interactive, was instrumental in helping Sony bring the PlayStation 2, PlayStation Portable and now the PlayStation 3 to India. But there’s a lot more to Milestone than its partnership with Sony and I had the opportunity to sit down and have a chat with Jayant about the past and present of video games in India and where he thinks the industry is headed. Can you tell us a bit about Milestone? How you started and your current operations. We started in 1997. At that point we were distributing EA, Eidos, Virgin Interactive, Interplay and Acclaim. Couple of those labels don’t exist anymore. Prior to 1997, I was CEO of a company called Head Multimedia, which actually launched PC gaming in India in 1995. From that background when I set up my company, a lot of publishers moved to us. The business was solely PC-centric because that was the only market. And it was a combination of games as well as edutainment and multimedia content. A large part used to be cliparts, fontmakers and other…

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  • Just got back from Games Convention Asia 2008 (September 18-20 at Suntec International Convention & Exhibition Centre) in Singapore. There’s a lot to share with you guys, including game impressions for some of the games I had the opportunity to play – Need For Speed Undercover, FIFA 09, FIFA Online 2, Saints Row 2, Mirror’s Edge, etc. We will also have interviews with Cevat Yerli, CEO of Crytek, John Doyle, producer of Need For Speed Undercover, FIFA 09 producer Clive Gorman and Christopher Teskey from the FIFA Online 2 team. There’s also an in-depth interview with Tom Farrer, producer of Mirror’s Edge. Everything you’ve ever wanted to know about Mirror’s Edge will probably be answered in that interview. Also, Nash and I haven’t recorded a podcast in a while, so you guys can expect a GCA 2008 podcast soon; we have a lot to talk about. So while I gather all my thoughts and transcribe all the interviews, here are a few pictures from GCA 2008: [singlepic=94,400,300,center] [singlepic=96,400,300,center] [singlepic=107,400,300,center] Hit the jump for more images

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  • Aman Kapoor from IndianVideoGamer.com attended the Human Weapon Gaming Nights event in the city of Bangalore, India, and came away with a craving for pizza. The background: The History Channel has been promoting certain shows on its channel by organizing gameing nights in major cities in India. It started off with the Dogfight Nights gaming events in Delhi and Mumbai earlier this year and now they are hosting Human Weapon Gaming Nights with Bangalore playing the host. To begin with, I didnt have many hopes from the event. It was woefully under-advertised and we only came to know of it because one of our members got a press invite. The theme continued when I reached the venue because there were no cutouts or advertisements outside the location promoting the event. Things didnt get much better inside. There was a small turnout and I would estimate that hardly 30-35 participants showed up. [singlepic=120,400,300,center] There was a total of eight 37″ LCD TVs and 4 kiosks with 26″ LCD TVs with 12 consoles, which is a very decent setup and kudos to the organisers for this. But the biggest disappointment was the fact that the event which was supposedly a promotion for…

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  • IndianVideoGamer.com spent some quality hands-on time with a preview build of the latest iteration of the long running Need For Speed series, “Need For Speed : Undercover” at the Games Convention Asia 2008 in Singapore, and came away with some positives and some negatives. We asked John Doyle, the producer of the latest game about the possible release of a demo of Undertcover before the game hits stores. He stated that EA would not be releasing a demo of the game since they wanted to concentrate on the game rather than spend time on the demo. [singlepic=44,400,300,center] Which throws up a few questions… 1] Do developers use a separate team for churning out demoes of their games ? I assumed that you simply copied the code for the first level or two and pressed them into an installable image. Does it really take so much time to crank out a demo so as to interfere with the development of the actual game ? 2] Could the reason for not releasing a demo be the fear of negative backlash similar to what we witnessed with the last NFS offering, “NFS : Prostreet” ? Huh ? Huh ? Join the discussion at…

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  • IVG’s very own Sameer Desai has been whisked away to Games Convention Asia, one of the biggest gaming expos in the continent. He writes back with daily updates on the going-ons at the event. Today was the first day of Games Convention Asia in Singapore. We flew in at about 8 am and we had to make it to the convention centre by noon. By the way, the convention centre is right in the middle of the Marina Bay F1 circuit. The stands are already up and so are the barricades and lights; its gonna be awesome. But back to GCA. [singlepic=86,400,300,center] We got to the convention centre at about 11:30 for EA’s press conference. While there many announcements made, none of them affect us in India. Rock Band was finally announced for Asia, bit no confirmation of India. Same goes for PC titles FIFA Online 2 and NBA Street Online, which have been developed in Korea and will be available in several countries in Asia, but not India, at least for now. Other than that, there were the customary presentations for FIFA 09, Need For Speed: Undercover, and Sim Animals. Following the hour-long, uneventful EA conference, we headed to…

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  • Another year-end brings another chapter in the long-running Need For Speed series – the first name in racing games (whether you like it or not). And regardless of how previous instalments were received by critics and gamers, each new game brings renewed optimism. Is this the year that EA brings Need For Speed back to the front of the crowded pack of arcade racers? Things are certainly shaping up well over at Black Box. Need For Speed: Undercover looks to bring back the intense car chases that made Most Wanted a fan favourite, and tying these frantic high-speed highway pursuits together is a gripping story featuring live action cutscenes with big-budget production values and an accomplished cast led by Maggie Q. [singlepic=45,400,300,center] We’re going to have the opportunity to sit down with John Doyle, who is a producer on the Need For Speed series, and put across some questions from the IndianVideoGamer Community regarding the upcoming Need For Speed: Undercover. So if there’s anything you’d like to know about the game – the gameplay, the story, the setting, the soundtrack, or anything else that’s on our mind, head over to our forums and post your questions for John. We will…

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  • Konami today announced that it had secured a four-year licensing contract to the UEFA Champions League, and with it came a game trailer to celebrate the signing, indicating that the Champions League would be included in Konami’s upcoming Pro Evolution Soccer 2009. For those who don’t know, the UEFA Champions League is Europe’s premier club football competition. Top clubs from around the continent compete in this annual tournament to be crowned European club champion. EA Sports had the license to the Champions League from the 2004-2005 season, up until last year, and Eidos and Take-Two had it before them. The rumours of Konami securing the license had been doing the rounds for a couple of months and all that while there was a fear in the back of my mind that Konami would do the unthinkable – release Champions League as a separate game, just like EA Sports did. Today’s announcement, stating that the Champions League would be integrated into Pro Evolution Soccer 2009, has allayed those fears, but it makes one think – why didn’t EA do that when they had the license? Why didn’t they put the Champions League in their annual flagship FIFA titles, rather than milking…

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  • C:\> cd c&d Very simply put, the above-mentioned DOS command was the beginning of my tryst with gaming. The game was Car & Driver, a racing game from Looking Glass Studios and published by EA. The system was a ‘revolutionary’ Pentium II-based PC, belonging to a friend. You see, I didn’t have a PC at the time, way back in 1995-96. Every weekend, I sunk my teeth into this game, amazed by the cars I saw, the tracks they plied on, and I still remember the fun I had racing the Ferrari F40. Consider that my prior gaming experience included Dangerous Dave, Paratrooper, Jump-jet and a certain Prince of Persia; all nice, especially PoP (how couldn’t it be), and hurriedly played during breaks in school. But C&D was a different thing altogether. I was absorbed by the game, mystified by the art of racing, and gaming was never the same again. That this game redefined the way I looked at computer gaming would be a gross understatement. Yes, the roots of my interest in gaming were clearly in the PC, and it has remained that way for a very, very long time. Following months of C&D, one fine day, my…

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  • With gaming now become a viable career option in India, top names in the video game industry are looking at India as a future hub for quality video game development. And Electronic Arts has taken the lead, setting up a world class development studio in India, providing an opportunity for Indians to work with the best in the business. Electronic Arts, or EA, is the world’s largest publisher of interactive entertainment. It is the company behind best-selling game franchises such as The Sims, FIFA and Need For Speed, which have now become household names. EA is also the first international publisher to set up base in India, first with its publishing business, and now with its new development studio in Hyderabad. Currently employing 200 people, EA Hyderabad aims to grow its workforce two-fold in the near future, providing opportunities to not only engineers and animators, but professionals from various industries. The Hyderabad studio’s operations vary from end-to-end game development for mobile devices, art and assets creation for PC and console platforms for EA’s worldwide studios, online services for EA’s best-selling The Sims games, and automation and manual game testing for PC and console platforms. This diversity in operations calls for…

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  • India is expected to see huge growth in the video game industry in the coming years, not only in terms of game sales, but also with regards to video game development. While this has been acknowledged by several industry leaders, EA has been the first to make its move, first establishing its publishing business in India two-and-a-half years ago, and now with its new state-of-the-art development studio in Hyderabad. EA opened the doors to its new studio to the media recently, and I was one of the handful of journalists invited by EA to see for ourselves what the team in Hyderabad was up to. Currently employing a little over 200 people, this studio contributes to various aspects of EA’s business, with its main focus being end-to-end development of games for mobile platforms. While the mobile division at Hyderabad works closely with its counterparts in EA studios across the world, it is equipped to handle all development activities, right from development, to certification and distribution. Unlike game development on other platforms, for mobile platforms, the work doesn’t end at simply making the game work. Each mobile game that is developed at Hyderabad is customised to work with the multitude of…

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