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Special Report: Crossing borders, part two

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346w ago - The final part of a two-part in-depth report--how other countries are feeling the 'games drain' from Canada's policies, and how they are fighting back.

Considering the significant benefits to companies making games in Canada, many have set up a studio or base there. EA, Ubisoft, Koei, Capcom, and most recently, Eidos, have all opened a Canadian studio.

Capcom International president Midori Yuasa admits that the R&D tax credits were one of the primary reasons for choosing the Greater Toronto Area for its new development studio outside of Japan. The company opened its Canadian arm in June 2006, and is currently working on mobile games, with plans to expand onto other platforms. Yuasa said, "Toronto gives us access to a seemingly endless supply of young, talented, entertainment-savvy people, thanks to its colleges and universities. Ontario also offers relatively low business costs, exceptional R&D tax credits that you can't find anywhere else in the world, and helpful economic development people to facilitate all aspects of a business start-up."

Koei Canada set up shop in central Toronto in 2001, expanded in 2005, and plans to expand even further. Koei Canada's senior vice president, Hidenori Taniguichi, says the company chose the location because costs are reasonable, and because, "The fact...
 

Operation Flashpoint 2: Dragon Rising "New shot looks too good to be true"

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346w ago - A new screenshot from Codemasters' Operation Flashpoint 2 has hit the web but is it true of the final quality? Probably not, but it looks the part.

Is that really in-game? Join us in creating a dandruff storm by passing mince pies over the image.

Plus, it looks like a kid's scribbled on bits of it. What the hell?

Anyway, with the original Operation Flashpoint military sim proving a massive hit and genuinely breaking new ground, we've high hopes for the sequel.

"We really thought the fans would like fighting elves and dwarves with machine guns", Codemasters has said of Op Flashpoint 2. Luckily, we think that was a joke.
 

Comparison shows significant edits to Gerstmann's Kane & Lynch review

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346w ago - The editor's note at the bottom of Jeff Gerstmann's controversial review of Kane & Lynch: Dead Men notes that "this review has been updated to include differences between the Xbox 360 and PS3 versions and a clarification on the game's multiplayer mode." While this is true, a comparison between the original and edited versions of the review shows that the edits went significantly further than that.

An archived version of the review found in a Google cache of an EBGames page shows that, while the review's overall determination remained the same, significant changes were made to its tone and focus. Nowhere is this more apparent than the very first paragraph, which was changed whole cloth to remove references calling the game "ugly" and the artificial intelligence "clunky." While the new introduction still says the game "squanders much of its potential and just doesn't come together as well as it probably should have," the new version is unquestionably less harsh than the original.

Some edits to the text seem shoehorned in to point out potential positives for the game. Consider a post-edit addition that specifically notes the game "does a good job of moving the action around, and you'll see a variety of different environments ..." and another that suggests, "if you've been waiting patiently for a game to really...
 

Mark Rein: Why Is Unreal Tournament 3 Slower on PlayStation 3?

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346w ago - SPOnG caught up with Epic's outspoken bossman, Mark Rein (pictured here) recently for a full and frank chat about the latest Epic, err, epic - Unreal Tournament 3 out now on PC and on PlayStation 3 (in January) and on Xbox 360 (in, gods knows when).

Not one to hold back on his forthright opinions, Rein is that rarest of creatures to be found in the world of game development - a high profile studio boss that is not afraid to call a spade a spade. When asked why the console version of UT3 was noticeably slower than the PC version, Rein told us:

"When you play Halo on PC, you notice the difference too, yeah? This is also the reason why we don't have cross-platform play, between PC and PS3, because you have got to make some compromises for each platform. But you play Halo on console and you find that it's slower too, right...they have to be slower, because your fingers are just not as precise as your whole arm, right? To me the movement and speed as a console gamer is just right."

On appealing to a much wider audience of casual gamers, Rein explains that Epic has, "simplified the game... in the last game, we had like seven game types... this time, we said instead of having 'onslaught' and 'assault' lets meld them together into this 'warfare' mode, let's just do the things...
 

Square Enix Goes Modern Day, The World Ends

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346w ago - Square Enix isn't all about Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest. It's also about Kingdom Hearts, and from the makers of Kingdom Hearts comes The World Ends With You, coming to this Spring to the Nintendo DS. Released in Japan as Subarashiki Kono Sekai, The World Ends With You is the story of a guy named Neku who wakes up to find a message on his phone telling him that he has seven days before his existence ceases to be. Then it gets weird.

Only with the coolest fashions, friends and fighting skills can Neku restore hope to the city's population and prevent being stricken from existence altogether!
*raises an eyebrow quizzically* Okay! This is Squenix's first foray into the modern world, set in Shibuya, which is "the coolest district in Tokyo". It features 'achingly hip' characters, each with a different fashion sense, a soundtrack full of 'bleeding-edge' music, telepathic powers, and a combat system that utilizes the microphone.

Yeah, it sounds like they've gone completely insane, but perhaps it's just so crazy it might work? It certainly worked in Japan, where the game's quirky art style and Tetsuya Nomura character designs were a pretty huge success. For more information on the title, check out the game's page at Wikipedia.

Right now only a European release announcement is official, once...
 
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