Game Developer magazine has released the results of its eighth annual salary survey of American game design professionals. The average salary for American game design jobs in 2008 was $79,000, up from $74,000 in 2007. More specific findings for 2008 salaries are as follows:
Matrix Games has released Close Combat: The Longest Day, a remake of Close Combat: Invasion Normandy. The game allows players to engage in the World-War II D-Day Atlantic landing from either the Allied or German side.
Cartoon Network, part of Turner Broadcasting, has promoted Chris Waldron to Vice President of Gaming Operations for Cartoon Network. Waldron joined Cartoon Network in 2000 and will continue to serve as Executive Producer of Cartoon Network Universe: FusionFall, Cartoon Network's massively multiplayer online game.
Atlus' game Super Robot Taisen Original Generation Saga: Endless Frontier is now in stores for the DS. This role-playing game extends the Super Robot Taisen franchise with lots of fighting-game-style combat.
Sony has launched its persistent online world Free Realms for the PC. The game can be accessed for free with additional content available for a fee. Within Free Realms, players can indulge in a variety of activities, ranging from battling monsters to racing karts and raising pets. The world features lots of social networking activities and even a collectible card game. It's aiming to be all things to all people of all ages, in a vaguely casual way.
GamesCampus has officially launched its game MLB Dugout Heroes. That means the game has been running in one form or another for some time, but as a free-to-play persistent online game, it has launched the cash shop so that players can pay to "enhance" their fun. The game features the Major League Baseball license and allows players to play online baseball, complete with "baseball missions."
Mobile publisher Gameloft confirmed its financial results for the first quarter of its financial year and announced that the company has acquired the license to make a Sherlock Holmes game.
Aspyr Media, together with Russian Publisher 1C, has released Cryostasis for the PC in North America. The first-person shooter has players discovering a Russian nuclear ice-breaker stuck in the Arctic, and exploring how the crew perished.
Developer Realtime Worlds (who worked on Crackdown) has hired Gary Dale as its new Chief Executive Officer. Prior to his hire by Realtime Worlds, Dale has worked as Chief Operating Officer and Executive Vice President at Take-Two Interactive (and Chief Operating Officer of Rockstar Games). At Realtime Worlds, Dale will oversee the company and its work on the upcoming online game All Points Bulletin.
Acclaim has officially launched the massively multiplayer online game The Chronicles of Spellborn developed by Spellborn NV. While the game has been downloadable and playable for weeks, premium subscriptions are now available by credit card. As with many such games, it appears that the ability to pay for the "free-to-play" game marks its official launch.
Electronic Arts, together with Sony, has launched the "EA Sports Complex" within the PlayStation Home social space for the PlayStation 3.
While the Sports Complex space does offer casual games, it is primarily a space for PlayStation 3 owners to interact, chat and have EA Sports game marketed to them.
Got Game Entertainment's adventure game compilation, Adventure: Collector's Edition (Volume 1), already available as a download, has now reached retail stores. This compilation includes three PC adventure games: Penumbra: Overture, RHEM 2 and Scratches: Director's Cut.
This week's new release on Xbox Live Arcade for the Xbox 360 is Lode Runner. This classic puzzling platformer is being released with updated 3D graphics and can be downloaded for 1,200 points ($15).
Casual and mobile game publisher I-play, part of Oberon Media, has launched Paradise Quest as a downloadable game for the PC. This casual, match-three-style puzzle game varies from the typical formula by having the nature of the matches made by the player affect where the player wanders around the Galapagos, and the success of efforts to rehabilitate the Galapagos archipelago.
Merscom, in conjunction with National Geographic, has released Plan It Green as a download for the PC. The game has players taking on the role of a town's mayor and converting eight neighborhoods to more ecologically friendly and attractive areas.
Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment confirmed that it is working with TT Games and Harmonix (part of MTV Games) to develop Lego Rock Band for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii and DS (Backbone Entertainment is working on the DS version). The game should be released in time for the holiday season this year and combines the usual Rock Band style of play in which gamers play along to music with simulated instruments with the family-friendly character of Lego games and products. Players will take on the role of Lego band members playing popular music through a series of venues set in the Lego world.
Ascaron, developer of the Sacred games (published by CDV Entertainment), posted a notice on its official site that on April 14, the company went into administration in Germany. That's bankruptcy in more American terminology. Ascaron noted that development on the console versions of Sacred 2 is complete and those games will still ship next month.
Sony Computer Entertainment confirmed that David Reeves will retire from his post as President, Chief Executive Officer and co-Chief Operating Officer of Sony Computer Entertainment Europe at the end of this month. Reeves has been with the company since 1995. Andrew House, currently Sony Computer Entertainment International's Chief Marketing Officer, will take over the post of managing SCEE's business as President, CEO and co-COO.
This week's new downloadable game for the Xbox 360 is OutRun Online Arcade. The Xbox Live Arcade version of this classic Sega racer allows players to race 10 Ferraris on 15 courses, presuming players pay the 800 point ($10) price of admission.
Atlus has shipped its game The Dark Spire for the DS to stores in North America. The game is a classic, dungeon-crawl-style role-playing game in which players can lead a party through a 3D dungeon in either wire-frame or modern-looking modes.
Atlus has launched its game Dokapon Journey for the DS, a game that combines elements of board games, party games and role-playing games as multiple players race each other to win the Dokapon crown.
Stardock's game Demigod, developed by Gas Powered Games, is now in stores for the PC and available as a download. The real-time strategy game allows players to take control of an enormous and powerful being working to ascend to godhood through battle.
Aksys Games' title Guilty Gear XX Accent Core Plus is now in stores for the PSP and PlayStation 2. Developed by Arc System Works, this fighting game continues the tradition of exceptionally long Guilty Gear game names, with a total of 25 characters to battle it out in 2D combat.
Abandon Interactive has launched Freaky Creatures, a virtual world in which players battle customizable online creatures based on physical creatures purchased in stores. A $20 purchase gets players two creatures, a flash drive needed to access the game and a variety of creature parts and powers to customize your battling monsters. The game further requires a premium pass to allow people to battle their creatures online.
Today sees two more games available for download through Xbox Live Arcade:
Harmonix, part of MTV Games, plans to release a Rock Band game for the PSP this summer. Rock Band Unplugged is being developed in conjunction with Backbone Entertainment (part of Foundation 9 Entertainment) and is scheduled to be released on June 9 in both North America and Europe. The game will include around 40 songs and will use the PSP rather than additional instruments. It will also support additional downloadable content after the game's launch to expand the available song list. The game will be distributed by Electronic Arts.
Responding to persistent rumors that the massively multiplayer online game Stargate Worlds, currently in development at FireSky (part of Cheyenne Mountain Entertainment), is defunct, the developers have responded that the game is still underway:
Performance Designed Products has shipped its Rock Band Kick Pedal with Double Bass Adaptor to retail stores. The pedal is officially licensed, and therefore guaranteed to work with Rock Band and Rock Band II, and is compatible with drum kits for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii and PlayStation 2 versions of the game.
Atlus has shipped its game Hammerin' Hero for the PSP to stores in North America. The game has players stepping into the role of Gen-san as he battles corporate evil in Japan... with a hammer.
Graffiti Entertainment, part of Signature Devices, has shipped its game for the PSP, Air Conflicts: Aces of World War II, to stores in North America. The game is a WWII-era arcade-style flight combat simulation in which players can participate in 13 campaigns, flying for the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany and the Soviet Union.
Egosoft's game X3: Terran Conflict 2.0 - The Aldrin Missions is now available for the PC in stores in North America. Published by IGS Interactive, this is another free-form space simulator set in the X3 Universe in which players explore space on the fringes of the Terran frontier.
Legacy Interactive, together with Paramount Digital Entertainment has released the OMG! High School Triple Play Pack for the PC as a download and as a package available in stores. The compilation includes the movie-based games Pretty in Pink, Clueless and Mean Girls.
This week, two additional games are now available for download through the PlayStation store:
Nearly-defunct publisher Interplay has signed a letter of intent with Masthead Studios that means Interplay intends to license Masthead's engine technology to develop its massively multiplayer online game currently dubbed "V13." While this might appear to be a positive step towards Interplay developing the (almost-certainly Fallout themed) MMOG it claims has been in development since November of 2007, this is more likely to be a simple effort to keep "V13" in the forefront of your mind. There has been an exodus of the few staff working on V13, and a letter of intent is still a long way from actually paying to license a technology, let alone implementing it.
It's April 1, and few people seem to be able to resist the temptation to try a game-related prank. Here are a few of the pranks that have graced the internet today:
This week's new downloadable game through Xbox Live Arcade for the Xbox 360 is The Dishwasher: Dead Samurai, created by Ska Studios. The full game can be downloaded for 800 points ($10) and is an action game with 14 story levels in which a dishwasher can brutally dismember hordes of zombies, cyborgs and robots.