Chris LaVigne

Electronic Arts is evolving its Spore franchise into four new titles for the Wii, DS and PC, all of which will be created by original developer Maxis.

Galactic Adventures will be an expansion for the original Spore PC game that was released last year. An EA press release says the add-on will allow players to beam to other planets and “play mission-based adventures.” Galactic Adventures will also come with mission-creation tools so players can craft their own adventures and share them through the Spore website.

Creature Keeper will be a standalone PC game for younger children centered on creature creation.

Spore Hero will be the first Wii version of Spore, described as an “adventure game” in EA’s press release.

Spore Hero Arena joins Spore Creatures on the DS and will allow players to put their creature-creations into battle against other alien species.

EA has not released sales information for Spore, although lists Spore Creatures at 740,000 in worldwide sales.

Io Interactive is developing a new cartoon-style ninja game, marking a radical departure from its previous dark and violent titles like the Hitman series and Kane & Lynch.

Based on original IP, Mini Ninjas will be released for PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Wii and DS this fall, according to a press release from parent-company Eidos.

A trailer and screenshots of Mini Ninjas are available at its official website []. The press release describes the game: “Prepare yourself for a Ninja adventure like you have never seen before! Join Hiro, the smallest hero on the biggest adventure, as he embarks on an epic and electrifying quest to restore harmony to a world on the brink of chaos. Use your skills and mighty Ninja training to battle a magical army of evil Samurai. Harness the power of your Kuji magic and utilise the special skills of your Mini Ninja friends as you travel through a perilous world to reach the final confrontation with the Evil Samurai Warlord in his Fortress of Doom.”

Copenhagen-based Io was formed in 1998 and bought by Eidos in 2004. The company also developed Freedom Fighters for EA in 2003.

Zork returns as MMO

January 14, 2009

The world of Zork will be the setting for a new browser-based MMO, announced Jolt Online Gaming who will partner with Activision as the publishers.

A press release from Jolt says Legends of Zork will be a “persistent online adventure” in which players take the role of a traveling salesman who’s lost his job and sets off to explore the world.

UPDATE: Jolt will be developing the game in-house and it will be released in spring 2009. A Jolt representative told Snackbar the game will include both text and graphics and play like an RPG.

“Like a lot of browser games, you’ll be able to play the game quickly but it’ll take you a long time to reach the higher echelons,” said Jolt’s Paul Abbott. “It has a good mix of text and graphics. Anyone who’s played an adventure game will enjoy it.”


Sony announced EA as a partner in its Home virtual space at the Consumer Electronics Show yesterday. Now, EA has revealed how that partnership will begin.

The EA Sports Complex will be devoted to EA Sports titles and let Home users play exclusive multiplayer games like poker, remote control car racing and a driving range. Visitors will be able to see trailers and other videos from EA Sports games. EA also plans to make the complex compatible with its Sports World social networking website so that Home users can show off saved gameplay videos in the virtual space. Currently in development, the complex is scheduled for launch in spring.

A short teaser trailer is available on the official PlayStation blog.

PlayStation Home is still in beta testing. At the Sony CES presentation, Sony Computer Entertainment CEO Kaz Hirai said Home has been downloaded 3.4 million times and $1 million in virtual goods have been sold through it.

An acrobat, a cell, some self-replicating machines, a ball and a hat-wearing man with a beak will be the stars of the eleventh annual Independent Games Festival, as their games are now the official finalists for the $20,000 Seumas McNally Grand Prize.

The IGF announced CarneyVale Showtime, Osmos, Dyson, Night Game and Blueberry Garden as the finalists for its biggest prize yesterday along with finalists for its other categories.

Well-known PlayStation 3 game PixelJunk Eden is a finalist in the “Technical Excellence,” “Excellence in Visual Art” and “Excellence in Audio” categories.

The complete list of finalists is after the break. The IGF website contains links to each game’s individual site where free demos or full games are usually available to download.