Star Wars Galaxies OTCG: Champions of the Force

The great thing about Comic-Con is that so many different types of popular media and art are available, and I was not disappointed after a visit to the LucasArts booth, where Champions of the Force was being shown. Marco Cresenti spent about an hour going over the game with me, even playing a full game to completion with his NPC opponent.

Champions of the Force (CotF) is the Online Trading Card Game intermixed with the Sony Online Entertainment MMO Star Wars: Galaxies, similar to their EQ and EQ2 game Legends of Norrath. CotF can be played from a stand alone client or from within the SWG client, though you must be either a current or former subscriber to access the game.

Over 20 loot cards are included in the launch set of CotF, all available from booster packs, rather then starter decks, and they have some pretty neat stuff to show! From a Jawa Vendor to the exclusive images below, you can expect some good stuff for your in game fun! These items will be randomly inserted into the virtual booster packs that will be available from the online store once the game goes live. Booster packs will also be lootable in game, but only during special events. They will not be added to the loot tables for all creatures at all times in the Galaxies world.

A Look at Stargate Worlds from Comic-Con

I was rather amazed at the fact that I seem to be the only one in the world not to have watched an episode of a Stargate series but, after taking a few minutes with the Stargate Worlds (SGW) MMO team, I have no doubt that this game will be one of my favorites in the genre for years to come. You see, this team knows MMOs, and they know what they want to bring to a genre most would say is chock full of potential, but crowded with could have beens, and almost weres.

So how does the team ensure that it's a fun game, first and foremost, without requiring knowledge of the massive intellectual property (IP) that the Stargate franchises have become? They're focusing on the game first, and then the IP; similar to how they hired their team, considering talent first, and then making sure everyone was aware of the franchise's ins and outs. Taking place between the 8th and 9th season of Stargate SG-1/Atlantis, the game will draw on an incredibly deep universe and utilize characters and storyline fans are familiar with, while adding new areas, and characters to interact with.

I spoke with Dan Elggren, Studio Head of Stargate Worlds, Demetrius Comes, VP of Technology, and Art Director Howard Lyon at Comic-Con in San Diego last week. What they showed me made me so excited for this upcoming title, something I never expected!


Chaotic Online Trading Card Game from Comic-Con

There's been a lot of talk about online trading card games, or trading card games based on MMOs or onlineAccelerated Unity properties recently, so when I saw the Chaotic booth on the exhibit hall floor at Comic-Con I was prepared to not be impressed. But for a game that is both a traditional card playing TCG and an online virtual card TCG, there's nothing boring about this company and their product. 4Kids Entertainment is responsible for licensing Yu-Gi-Oh!, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Pokemon in the U.S. They manage their brands across many different platforms, and they do it well! You can find the Chaotic animated TV show on the 4Kids Network, helping to promote the brand to their target market.

The online portion of the game is distributed and produced by TC Digital, a subsidiary of 4Kids. Keeping the support and themes of the games in the family has proven to be a success for the companies, and gives players a sense of continuity and security. Your online game isn't going to shut down, or be changed drastically without it affecting the entire franchise, something both companies are looking to avoid.

With Chaotic, they've brought a traditional trading card game, with cards you buy down at your local hobby shop, or at national chains such as Toys"R"Us, Target and Wal-Mart, and added an online element that is, within itself, its own game. Taking place within the world of Perim, the TV show helps support the lore and world, while the OTCG coincides nicely with its non-virtual sister game. I spoke with 4Kids Entertainment's Executive Vice President of Acquisitions and Development and TC Digital's President and CEO Bryan Gannon about this fantastic IP, and how they're bringing the online to Online TCGs!

A Comic-Con Look at DC Universe

Sony Online Entertainment (SOE) is taking a new approach to the traditional MMO with their action based game, DC Universe Online. Set in the world made popular by DC Comics, this game operates on a real time action system, not dice rolls. SOE is bringing shooter and action features to an MMO genre that lacks this type of game, without losing the roots of what makes the company one of the largest MMO developers and publishers in the industry. Comic-Con's exhibit hall hosted the first ever public playable version of the game so far, and for an early Alpha version, it looks impressive. Metropolis was shown in all its glory, and several different character types were available for people to play.

There is of course a lot that can't be talked about or may change drastically before release, but what I saw with Associate Producer Fannie Gunton excited me for the future of this breakthrough game. You'll hear the term "physics game" thrown around a lot during the ongoing development cycle. This means that items in game such as cars, buses, and even other players, can be used dynamically, allowing you and others to use them freely. Not to mention powers that create objects to interact with (energy balls, ice blocks, etc.,) The best example given is turning an NPC enemy or opposing player into an ice cube with your super powers, then lifting and throwing them.

I had a hard time understanding why that would be desirable or cool at all, until I actually did it. After trying it one time carrying around buses and slamming them into things became the love of my life, instantly!

38 Studios at Comic-con - Exclusive Concept Art!

38 Studios which was formally known in the community as Green Monster Games made an appearance at Comic-con this year and we had the privilege to meet with them on Friday.

We sat down with Thom Ang, Scott Cuthbertson and Mary Kirchoff to talk about their first game in development code named "Copernicus", though despite our greatest efforts, we were still unable to get a real look at. To our disappointment they didn't announce or show Copernicus on an official level this year but according to Mary, they 'didn't want to reveal anything if they couldn't reveal everything'.

Thom, who was very recently hired and thrown into the 38 Studios frying pan, took charge from early on and made it clear that he wanted to talk about the concept art that they had to show us. One of the first topics of our conversation was "Idealized Reality", which is going to be the official art standard or rather ‘calling card' of 38 studios. The vision is that a game enthusiast will be able to look at a screenshot or video and be able to tell that it's a 38 Studios game. They certainly seem as if they all have a very clear idea about the direction of the art: this game is going to be visually stunning.

We talked a little about the art team makeup and how Todd Mcfarlane has played into how things are created. There are 4 art leads on the team handling different areas of the game all with their own unique expertise. Thom commented on how hands on Todd has been and how he is in the office all the time giving his feedback and making sure everyone is on the same collective page.

"I feel like I've been handed the best team in the world" - Thom Ang, Director of Art


38 Studios at Comic-Con

38 Studios is here at Comic-Con, and they're looking to meet you!

The 38 Studios crew have arrived at San Diego Comic-Con 2008, stop by and say hello to everybody in Hall C, Booth #2601. Bring your portfolio for a review by Director of Art Thom Ang and Senior Animator Sung Kim! Find out what it's like to work at 38 Studios from Game Writer Nancy Berman and Executive Producer, Web Services John O'Keefe! Or discuss our current job openings with Chief Marketing Officer Mary Kirchoff and Vice President of Creative Development Scott Cuthbertson!

Once again, look for everybody in Hall C, at Booth #2601, right next to our friends at McFarlane Toys. Mary promises candy and cookies, and maybe a few surprises as well. See you there!

Our own Tamat had a chance to talk to the folks from 38 Studios, so look for his report soon!

Freaky Creatures at Comic-Con

The folks over at Abandon Interactive Entertainment have come up with a new way to do multi-player, turn based, lobby, combat games! Sell the online game along with cute (or ferocious, consumer’s choice!) toy versions of your monster avatars, and come up with a slick website! Support the heck out of it, as any good online game should be, and you have what I think will be a huge success - Freaky Creatures.

This upcoming multi-player game has been in development more years than many of us can comprehend spending on one project. But hard work, a lot of dedicated and tenacious people, and a well thought out plan is bringing us a beta on (and maybe before) August 1st! Creative Director Matt Saia took me on a demo of the game itself, and if I was prepared to see an online version of a trading card game (which I was), I've changed my mind! This game goes much deeper, and has a level of fun built around, under, inside, and through it. The folks on this team haven't put anything into this game that doesn't add an element of enjoyment.

DCUO From Comic-Con

Here is another report from Tovin at Comic-Con

DC Universe Online is the Sony Online Entertainment (SOE) pride of the Comic-Con week. Not only does their booth in the Comic-Con exhibit hall not have any other game, but last night they held an awesome party at the Belo nightclub, with Superhero images galore, and plenty of super hero talk!

Earlier in the evening I headed over to the SOE booth on the exhibit floor to see convention goers taking a hand at the pre-alpha version of the MMO.

Comic-Con Upper Deck WoW Mini's

Our very own Tovin is reporting from Comic Con in awesome San Diego, man I wish I was there, but since you and I are not, we can read all about it below!


Comic-Con came firmly into San Diego with a packed pre-show viewing yesterday for those who pre-paid 4 day registration, industry professionals, and press. I mentioned several times that the craziness on the floor, and the amount of people, were simply overwhelming. I was laughed at and told to wait until today to see anything worth complaining about. I laid in bed a long time this morning, afraid to get out there and see that!

Videos from Comic-Con! DCUO and SGW

We've taken some video from Preview Night here at Comic-Con, and while it's not spectacular, it's still pretty awesome!

We have a few seconds from the Stargate Worlds trailer, and some never before seen DC Universe Online video!!

More to come as we continue coverage from Comic-Con here in beautiful San Diego, California.