Fresh from its stint as a participant in the recently concluded 2009 Game Developers Conference in San Francisco last month, MoAnima is confident that the Philippines will emerge as one of the leading global outsource destination for the games industry. This year, more than 17,000 game industry professionals took part in world’s largest industry-only event. As a Filipino gaming outsource company, MoAnima represented the Philippines in a series of meetings with leading game developers, publishers and other luminaries in the field. Apart from meeting with key executives from leading game developers and publishers, MoAnima also attended several lectures, panels, tutorials and roundtable discussions in San Francisco’s Moscone Convention Center. During the course of the meetings with the industry professionals, MoAnima has received positive feedback from gaming companies outsourcing to the Philippines. In addition to excellent English language skills, Filipinos are fast learners when it comes to mastering complex software. Over the past years, the Philippines has gained a reputation for its dedication and high level of quality when working on 3D graphics and animation. Also well-represented in the conference was the Asian game development industry. One thousand delegates came from Asia to participate in the conference. The delegates from Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Korea, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, India, and China came to represent the key gaming markets in the region. MoAnima is one of the handful of representatives from the Philippines. “We believe that the Philippines is ideally suited to this industry. We have the creative talent, good English communication skills, and affinity for US culture,” said MoAnima Director, Manny Ayala. Although the economic recession has weighed down heavily on other sectors, the gaming industry has proven to be quite resilient thanks to more people investing in home-based forms of entertainment.
April 2009 Archives
CAMPCOM's Resident Evil series is the most prolific action-horror title in the video game business and is also the most successful in being ported from just about all console devices and PC. Apart from the action-horror aspect of this game series the story continuity is also what makes this series successful. Every game is good enough to be played on a stand-alone basis but the back stories make them even better. The stories of the main characters are integrated in each medium where they are present, which includes about seven games, two novels and a CGI film entitled Resident Evil Degeneration. Of course, the three RE movies where Milla Jovovich starred are of a different universe and are not canon to the main RE story. The latest iteration, Resident Evil 5 (Xbox 360, PS3) takes off directly from Resident Evil 4. The game stars Chris Redfield, an original member of the STARS Alpha Team in Resident Evil 1. He is accompanied by a new character Sheva Alomar. Chris and Sheva are now members of the Bioterrorism Security Assessment Alliance (BSAA), sent to investigate a bioterrorism threat from the defunct Umbrella Corporation in an African desert. Chris is also on the hunt for his old nemesis, Albert Wesker whom he also thinks is responsible for the apparent death of his partner Jill Valentine. They also face members of the pharmaceutical giant Tricell, a new bioweapons manufacturer that followed the same path as Umbrella. There are over a dozen types of enemies in the game, some of which are based from the zombie-like enemies from RE4. The enemies in RE5 are mostly infected humans rather than undead zombies. The infection is a new type of "Las Plagas" from RE4, and is called "Uroboros." The difference is that those infected by Uroboros retain their human speed and agility. Most of the time, they are faster, stronger and more resilient to attacks. The AI is not particularly intelligent since enemies tend to rush attack in groups. Some enemies tend to stand up again when they are put down with weaker weapons. There are also a few instances where snake-like appendages appear from what should have been the head of the infected. These creatures are harder to put down and have longer reach. More powerful creatures are revealed as the game progresses and a few of them are also from the first Resident Evil game. As with previous Resident Evil games RE5 features huge boss stage battles. Limitations to available ammunition also adds to the challenge in the game. With tougher enemies, players would need more powerful weapons and that is exactly what RE5 offers. Instead of only one model for each weapon type there are two models available for both Chris and Sheva. There are shotguns, pistols, magnums, semi-automatic weapons, sniper rifles, grenades and even nifty proximity bombs. Some of these weapons can be upgraded by selling certain items found in the game like gems, eggs (the rotten egg is the most expensive). Upgrades can be for more power, faster reload time, more magazine capacity or chances for critical hit. Be careful in choosing what weapon to use though since upgrades can be expensive. RE5 uses the same gameplay as RE4, the third-person, over-the-shoulder camera. Players can choose either Chris or Sheva on single player but the game also features a two-player online and offline cooperative play--a first in the RE series. To avoid the same stretched split-screen view from other two-player cooperative games, RE5 allows the player to view their game in boxed 16:9 widescreen format with black spaces on either side of each player's screen. This is best when playing on a 32" or higher TV monitor. Of course, a player can view the entire game in full screen. The cooperative gameplay is the best new feature of RE5. While a player can order either Chris or Sheva to do certain actions in single-player, the two-player cooperative play has more tactical advantage especially when faced with several enemies. Players can agree to hold particular types of weapons (one would be the long-range shooter while the other will be the close-quarter combat expert). They can also share bullets and other items. What makes the cooperative play more compelling is that "Help" mini-game; one player can make a special attack on an infected who has grabbed the other player. Likewise, the other player can "resuscitate" a weakened player, which is a feature copied from another Xbox 360 game Gears of War. There are also mini-games in the cut scenes that require both players to press different buttons simultaneously, which adds to the coordination strategy. A few notable deficiencies in the game is the lack of horror that made the first three Resident Evil games profoundly different from other in the same genre. There are fewer edge-of-your-seat surprises in RE5 and it is obvious the developers focused entirely on the action aspect of the game. Another problem is the lack difficulty in the puzzles. Some can be finished with common sense instead of guesswork or even trial-and-error. The maps are also linear so it's not easy to get lost. Luckily, these issues are minor inconveniences compared to the overall enjoyment of the game. The cooperative gameplay is the best part and allows a player to enjoy the game twice over with another player in tow. The four-year gap between RE4 and RE5 is worth the wait. Hopefully, the next iteration of Resident Evil would again exceed expectations.
WHILE majority of Filipinos are going home to their respective provinces this Holy Week, online gamers here are still expected to log on and continue playing. In fact, most online game publishers in the country will continue operating during the entire week, including Good Friday and Black Saturday, days when most business operations are closed. Level Up! Philippines and E-Games said they would still run their operations during the Holy week, an annual religious event. Both companies said they have never slowed down their operations since they started. E-Games Vice President for Game Operations Gary Escobar said they only see lesser gamers logging in during Good Friday. It then picks up on Black Saturday and Easter Sunday. Level Up! Marketing Director Jake San Diego said many players continue to log on even on Good Friday to escape boredom. Other game publishing companies such as iAM Interactive, Amped Games, and Mobius Games have not yet announced any operational changes for the next few days.
Agence France-Presse SAN FRANCISCO--Sony is cutting the price of its older generation PlayStation 2 (PS2) videogame consoles to 100 dollars (US) in a move prompted by tough economic times and a desire to lure fans to the platform. Sony Computer Entertainment America said the price of a PS2 console will drop 30 dollars beginning April 1 but that it is not trimming the price of its latest-generation PlayStation 3 consoles. PS2 consoles have remained strong sellers despite the launch in late 2006 of a more powerful PS3 version with built-in Blu-ray high definition disk player. PS3 consoles came with high price tags, a version with an 80-gigabyte hard drive costs 400 dollars. Sales of PS3 consoles have lagged behind those of market-ruling Nintendo Wii hardware and Microsoft's Xbox 360, which hit the market in 2005. Launch of high-end PS3 consoles revived the popularity of PS2 models that became comparative bargains in the marketplace. Sony reports selling more than 136 million PS2 consoles since they were launched in 2000. "Demand for PlayStation 2 remains strong throughout the world," said SCEA president Jack Tretton. "The new 99-dollar price point will bring in new consumers who will discover how PlayStation platforms are an outstanding choice for their gaming and home entertainment needs." Sony hopes that beefing up the ranks of PS2 users will eventually translate into loyal fans that upgrade to PS3 models. Analysts have gone on record saying they believe it will take a PS3 price cut to breathe new life into sales of the consoles. Microsoft saw Xbox 360 console sales rise last year after the US technology giant trimmed about 50 dollars from price tags. Wii consoles are priced at 250 dollars each and have dominated the market since their launch in late 2006.