Week in Review: Ubisoft Purchases Hybride, BioWare Community Surpasses Four Million, Konami Sues Viacom, and more!

Week in Review: Ubisoft Purchases Hybride, BioWare Community Surpasses Four Million, Konami Sues Viacom, and more!


The Week in Review news piece summarizes and highlights the most important gaming related news over the past week. This weekly article, in conjunction with the Rumor Round-Up, will keep you plugged in and in-tune.

Lionhead Studios and Microsoft will grant interested parties who pre-order Fable II free access to the Fable II Pub Games via the XBLA. This download will release in August along with the game and will cost everyone else 800 MS Points to download. The Pub Games download includes three unique casino games that allow players to accumulate gold and then import those totals into the game of Fable II. That should give players a solid head start.

Konami’s quirky action title that proved to be one of the best early third party titles on the Wii will make its Fall debut on the DS. Elebits: The Adventures of Kai and Zero will utilize the same hide-and-seek gameplay of the original but will add special powers and puzzle-solving mechanics.

Square Enix is certainly sneaky and definitely savvy! This week, the company made SONG SUMMONER: The Unsung Heroes, a turn-based RPG that uses your song library as troops, available through iTunes for $4.99. The game can be played on, “the iPod nano with video, iPod classic, and fifth generation iPod.” If screen shots can be believed, the game looks quite engaging.

NAMCO BANDAI announced this week that the Tales series (Eternia, Phantasia, Symphonia, Abyss, etc.) will continue to make its way to Nintendo consoles. The next game, currently in development, will release as a Wii exclusive and will be a landmark title for the series according to Tales manager Makoto Yoshizumi. Look for the game to make an appearance in North America in 2009.

“Wee 1ST” is what Activision will classify all of their Wii-specific games in the future. Not only will the games be classified as “Wee 1ST,” but the company will also make developing for Nintendo’s platform a priority. The first titles under the “Wee 1ST” brand include Little League World Series 2008, Rapala Fishing Frenzy, and Dancing with the Stars: Get Your Dance On. More titles are slated to be announced in the coming weeks.

Nintendo announced in the latest issue of Famitsu magazine that Captain Rainbow will release exclusively for the Wii. Captain Rainbow is a first party Nintendo title that pools together many of the lesser Nintendo characters that never quite made it. Click HERE for more info.

Famitsu magazine also confirmed that both Patapon and LocoRoco are set to get sequels. Patapon 2 will release in Japan as early as this winter, but LocoRoco’s release is still a mystery.

Ubisoft has purchased Hybride Technologies, a visual effects studio based in Montreal, Canada. Hybride Technologies is best known for their work on Sin City, 300, and Spy Kids. This begs the question, “What other Ubisoft titles are going to get the Hollywood treatment?”

BioWare surpassed the four million member mark for their community forums. That’s a million more members than the Friendster and Xanga social networking sites combined. BioWare says they get about 38,000 new members per month and are looking for more.

In a bid to further profitability and add to gaming realism, Sony has brought on Double Fusion to help them sell, market, and incorporate in-game advertising. This is the second official announcement from Sony for such an agency.

Riot Games is soon to be more than an apple in CEO Brandon Beck’s and CMO Marc Merrill’s eyes. The company has secured $7 million worth of funding from Benchmark Capital and FirstMark Capital to finance development of its first title. The two have brought together respected industry veterans, creating a leading edge development studio comprised of core members of the teams behind some of the industry’s most popular titles, including Ultima Online, Dungeon Siege, Jak & Daxter, Heroes of Might & Magic, Neverwinter Nights 2, Sly Cooper, Total Annihilation, and many more. The world-class team is already at work, building the company’s soon-to-be announced title on Riot’s robust technology platform.

On Wednesday, Konami announced they are suing Harmonix, MTV Networks, and Viacom, because their game, Rock Band, infringes on three of the company’s patents for instrument-based video games. Harmonix has officially responded to the suit stating, “”Konami’s actions are extremely surprising. Unfortunately, successful products such as Rock Band can often become targets for baseless litigation. We have substantial defenses to this claim and intend to vigorously defend it.”

Thanks so much everyone and we will see you all next week when we report direct from E3 in Los Angeles!

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