ALL THAT, PLUS MORE GAMING SECRETS: The New/Old BioWare – The Forza After Forza 5 – Are we on the verge of Infinity Blade III?
Following the disastrous Super Mario Bros. film, Nintendo decided against licensing out its properties to Hollywood for potential feature films, but that has not stopped people from trying to get licenses.
One such example is the above clip found in an animator’s portfolio from a pitch for a CGI Legend of Zelda film. The pitch, dated early 2007, comes from the short-lived American arm of Imagi Animation Studios, producers of the big screen TMNT and Astro Boy feature films. The clip is a fairly generic fantasy scene featuring Disney-esque depictions of Link, Zelda and Ganondorf briefly engaging in action, and just seems rather odd. Unsurprisingly, Imagi was unsuccessful attaining the rights from Nintendo.
EA seems to be further pulling away from its plans for a giant BioWare division encompassing all sorts of console, social, mobile and online titles.
In a little-noticed tweet from last month, the publishing giant quietly confirmed it renamed the BioWare Sacramento studio to EA Capital Games, presumably a riff on the studio’s Sacramento location. Originally known as KlickNation, the studio, which creates social RPGs such as Superhero City, was rebranded to BioWare Sacramento when EA acquired KlickNation in late 2011. The studio is now part of EA’s all-digital All Play portfolio, which also includes the likes of Monopoly, Ultima and Real Racing.
The Capital Games rebrand follows an EA reorganisation from earlier this year that resulted in the the closure of Dragon Age: Legends studio BioWare San Francisco (previously known as EA2D). That came after EA’s decision late last year to move its Mythic and Victory studios away from the BioWare umbrella.
A few months prior to the Mythic and Victory rebrands, EA dropped the BioWare name from its BioWare Ireland customer support center, which as initially created to handle support services for BioWare Austin’s Star Wars MMO but later converted to a service all of EA’s products. After all these rebrandings, the only studios still carrying the BioWare name are BioWare Austin, BioWare Edmonton and BioWare Austin, indicating BioWare has once again strictly reverted to a name for AAA RPG teams inaugurated under the BioWare name.
A job posting appears to suggest a sequel to last year’s well-received open-world racer Forza Horizon is on the way. An agency job posting for unnamed Midlands-based racing developer matching much of the text of an opening on Playground’s site word for word mentions that the studio is “working on the next edition of their successful racing title.”
Additionally, on their CVs, Playground’s creative director and studio director says they are “working on an exciting unannounced title for Xbox One,” perhaps further suggesting the studio is handling Forza Horizon 2. All the contract positions on Playground’s site specify a length of about nine months for contract work. Given that and the two year cycles for mainline Forza Motorsport titles, it does not seem unreasonable to venture the spinoff sequel could land sometime in 2014, sandwiched between this year’s Forza Motorsport 5 and a likely Forza Motorsport 6 in 2015.
Playground is also starting up a mobile games development team, according to a handful of openings on its careers page. The openings don’t offer much insight into what sort of mobile titles Playground will work on, but one posting does specifically mention the studio is looking for candidates with Unity experience.
In a fairly unsurprising development, a CV of a staffer at Infinity Blade dev Chair Entertainment mentions work on a yet-to-be-announced “Infinity Blade 3 for the iPhone.” Chair has been fairly quiet since the release of the final Infinity Blade II content pack last August, but its newly appointed community manager, former IGN editor Hilary Goldstein, heavily hinted at a new Infinity Blade earlier this month in his introductory post, and suggested we might see something in the coming months.
Major changes have been afoot at Chair’s parent company, Epic Games, since the late 2011 release of Infinity Blade II: Chinese internet giant Tencent, often associated with an assortment of freemium titles, acquired a 40 per cent stake in Epic in June 2012. While some wonder if Tencent’s business model might influence a new Infinity Blade, I can’t help but think fiddling with the price point with expectations of an increase in the game’s userbase and microtransaction revenue could alienate the game’s existing core-leaning fanbase.
Apple’s forthcoming iOS7 will officially support third-party game controllers for the first time, and although the Infinity Blade series’ traditional touch-and-slash gameplay is certain to return, I do wonder if Chair might integrate more traditional controls into their next game.
I’m going to guess Chair will use the inevitable fall Apple mobile reveal press conference as the venue to reveal Infinity Blade III, as they have done with previous titles in the franchise.
Superannuation is a self-described “internet extraordinaire” residing somewhere in the Pacific timezone. He tweets and can be reached at heyheymayday AT gmail DOT com.
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