A long time ago, in a news post far, far away, Rovio announced that Angry Birds would be heading to XBLA. We thought that was all forgotten about and …
Back in the days when men were men and XBLA was for arcade games, a beautiful little title called Geometry Wars 2 hit the marketplace. For many XBLA lovers it was the pinnacle of arcade-style gameplay, featuring six modes of score-attacking frenzy and leaderboards that to this day drive people back into the game’s depths to try and catch their friends. Unfortunately, as the production and development effort of XBLA titles increased, the platform has mostly moved on from games like Geometry Wars 2 – but there is hope. The launch of Kinect is bringing a whole new crowd of gamers into the fold, and developers are picking up the challenge in a big way, releasing amazing games like last year’s Fruit Ninja Kinect and (the reason we’re talking about this) the upcoming Wreckateer.
Wreckateer is a title that looks from a distance like it shouldn’t cause much of a stir. However, the second you see it in person you know it’s something special. The basic premise of the game is that you’re trying to destroy structures by launching things at them. Sound familiar? Even the folks at Iron Galaxy know that their game will draw comparisons to Angry Birds, but they’re fine with that. As they told us, Wreckateer is essentially a mash-up of the aforementioned pig crushing simulator, Boom Blox, and Burnout Crash, which to anyone keeping score means it is essentially a mash-up of some of the greatest quick-fix arcade games to come out in recent times.
Angry Birds creator Rovio Entertainment returned from the money-filled vacuum of space today and used its massive gravitational pull to acquire Finnish developer Futuremark Games Studios. The studio is the gaming wing (terrible pun definitely intended) of 60-employee-strong Futuremark Corporation, which develops tools and services for PC and mobile applications.
“Futuremark will now focus on supporting gamers and industry with 3DMark, our professional grade benchmark which, in a new version to be released later this year, will allow unified gaming performance comparison across operating systems and form factors for the first time,” Jukka Mäkinen, Futuremark CEO, said of the move.
The developer is probably best known among gamers for its work on the tower-defense title Unstoppable Gorg, which is currently available on PC and iOS. An XBLA version port of the game was previously announced and is currently listed as “coming soon” on the game’s official website.
As part of their Spring Showcase, Microsoft has today unveiled an all new Kinect exclusive game for XBLA: Wreckateer. It’s being developed by Iron Galaxy, the studio that brought us Street Fighter III: Third Strike Online Edition and the gameplay is said to be similar to Angry Birds with players utilising a medieval catapult to fire an iron ball at a series of castles. We got a hint of the game earlier this year when a listing appeared on the Australian Classification Board. Strewth can’t anyone keep a secret these days?
The forthcoming Microsoft Windows 8 store will feature some titles familiar to fans of the Xbox Live Arcade, according to reports. Among them will be popular titles like Ms Splosion Man and Angry Birds.
A theme within the gaming industry this generation has been the expansion of who plays video games. Console makers have been looking to draw in a new audience by making games easier to approach and simpler to play. Motion sensors and touch screens are just two of the things we’ve seen this generation that are making it easier for your mom, dad, and little sister to pick up and play video games. But look a bit deeper and you’ll see a trend when it comes to the games themselves as well, and Xbox Live Arcade has something to do with it.
One of the great things about Xbox Live Indie Games is that they aren’t as much of a target when they clone gameplay from another title. Enter FishCraft. Developed by Frozen North, FishCraft follows both the story and gameplay of Angry Birds, merely with a different setting. To be fair, Angry Birds is far from the first game in this micro-genre. Games such as Crush the Castle have been around just as long, if not longer. Still, for players unwilling to wait for those furious feathered daredevils FishCraft looks to be be a great budget-priced alternative. FishCraft is available now on the Xbox Live Marketplace for 80MSP. You can grab a demo here. Check out the trailer after the jump.
Huge thanks to the entire team of writers who worked on this article: Andrew Crews, Cameron Titus, John Carson, Todd Schlickbernd, Tyler Cameron and Xeserox
We’ve spent the past week searching the internet and hounding our industry contacts in an effort to compile the ultimate 2011 XBLA Game Release List. We anticipated one heck of a year for Xbox Live Arcade. So epic we couldn’t even fit everything on one page. So without further ado, check out the list:
For detailed descriptions of each of the games and videos check the links below.