The week in video games: January 18 to 24
This week, news that Iron Maiden's Eddie will star in his own video game, the creator of Metal Gear forms a new studio, EA brings game subscriptions to Windows, and Activision bets big on e-sports.
Vancouver's Roadhouse Interactive making mobile game for Iron Maiden
Heavy-metal pioneers Iron Maiden are providing the soundtrack to a new game featuring their mascot, Eddie. Iron Maiden: Legacy of the Beast: is a role-playing action game in which Eddie travels through time and to different worlds, taking on different forms. Music being used in the game will include previously unheard live recordings that have been adapted for the game.
Vancouver's Roadhouse Interactive is leading development on the game, being brought to Android and iOS, in partnership with 50cc Games.
“As a lifelong fan, I have always thought that Maiden’s music, lyrics, and cast of characters would provide the perfect basis for a deep RPG experience”, Roadhouse CEO James Hursthouse said in a statement. “With this game we’re creating an outstanding RPG that will appeal to all mobile gamers, including those discovering Maiden for the first time.”
This is not the first time that Iron Maiden has given music fans a game to play. In 1999, the album Ed Hunter was accompanied by an on-rails shooter game in which Eddie travelled through environments inspired by Iron Maiden album covers.
In a release, Iron Maiden founder and bassist Steve Harris commented: “We always thought Maiden’s music and imagery with Eddie could be perfect for gaming and it's something we have been looking at doing again since Ed Hunter in 1999. Now in 2016 it can all be done on a smartphone, which makes it even more accessible for all our fans and also all the gamers out there.”
Legacy of the Beast will launch this summer as Iron Maiden embarks on a worldwide tour in support of the band's new album, The Book of Souls.
Kojima's new game will be a PS4 exclusive
Game designer Hideo Kojima, who created the acclaimed Metal Gear series of games for Konami, has set up a new studio independent of the publisher.
The first Metal Gear was released in 1987. Kojima would go on to design and oversee development on 29 games (including rereleases), the last being Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, released in September 2015.
Phantom Pain marked the end of the relationship between Kojima and Konami for reasons that have never been publicly discussed. The relationship was sour enough that Konami allegedly prevented Kojima from "receiving awards for The Phantom Pain".
In December, Sony announced that it had signed a deal with Kojima's reestablished studio, Kojima Productions, to release its first game as a PS4 exclusive.
EA brings game subscription service to Windows computers
In August 2014, EA introduced EA Access, a subscription service for Xbox One owners. For a monthly fee of US$4.99, gamers could play older EA games for no additional charge and would get early access to upcoming games being developed for the publisher.
Now the company has brought the subscription to Windows computers in the form of EA Origin Access, which is part of the company's digital distribution service, EA Origin.
There are 15 games available to play, including Battlefield 4, Dragon Age: Inquisition, and Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare.
Speaking of Plants vs. Zombies, Garden Warfare 2, the shooter game developed at PopCap Vancouver, is scheduled for release on February 23.
Activision doubles down on e-sports
Earlier this month, video-game developer and publisher Activision Blizzard purchased Major League Gaming (MLG), an early producer and organizer of e-sports events.
Activision's Mike Sepso, who heads the company's e-sports division, told Wired that MLG will continue to operate under both its own brand and with games published by other companies, including Valve's Counter Strike.
Sepso said his mandate was to "build the ESPN of e-sports".
"Which means we gotta work with everybody."
Meanwhile, Call of Duty: World League is underway, with teams from around the world gunning for a share of a US$3-million purse.
Teams will be playing Call of Duty: Black Ops III as they compete for a spot in the Stage 1 finals, which begin in March. All matches are being broadcast online.