Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
Digital comics | Following more than two years of complaints, Apple has given developers the guidelines it uses to determine which programs can be sold through its App Store, and relaxed some restrictions on content and tools. The company recently was criticized for forcing the creators of a comic adaptation of James Joyce’s Ulysses to remove nonsexual nudity from some panels — Apple later changed its stance — and for initially rejecting an app from Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist Mark Fiore because his animated political satire contained “content that ridicules public figures.” Alan Gardner notes that the revised guidelines specifically exempt “professional political satirists and humorists” from a clause prohibiting defamatory or offensive material. [The Associated Press]
Comic strips | After 60 years with United Feature Syndicate, Peanuts will move in February to Universal Uclick. The news isn’t totally unexpected, as Iconix Brand Group partnered with the heirs of Charles M. Schulz in April to buy the rights to the comic strip from United’s parent company E.W. Scripps. The $175 million deal was for the entire United Media Licensing division, which includes Dilbert. [Comic Riffs]
WB Games has released a fairly amusing animated commercial for its Batman: The Brave and the Bold video game. As Rob Bricken points out, it’s essentially “a free, three-minute-long cartoon,” with Bat-Mite, Batman and Green Arrow trying to sell viewers on how awesome the tie-in merchandise is. So, basically, it’s like 95 percent of the Saturday morning cartoons in the 1980s, before the FCC ruined everything.
But anyway, Batman: The Brave and the Bold — The Videogame, developed by WayForward Technologies, is a side-scroller beat ‘em up/platformer with levels designed as episodes. In each, Batman teams up with another superhero — among them, Aquaman, Blue Beetle, Black Canary and Guy Gardner — to stop one of several villains. The game will be released on Tuesday for the Wii and Nintendo DS.
Joystiq has stumbled upon what appear to be 20 new, and pretty stunning, screenshots from Batman: Arkham City, the much-anticipated sequel to the bestselling 2009 video game Batman: Arkham Asylum. These images don’t come from an official source — they apparently were posted on an anonymous Flickr account — but they certainly look legitimate. And if they’re not the real deal, someone sure went to a lot of effort to craft a convincing hoax. Joystiq even theorizes the screenshots could be an intentional leak from Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment.
Developed by Rocksteady Studios, the game will send players into Arkham City, the new maximum-security home for all of Gotham’s “thugs, gangsters and insane criminal masterminds.” Arkham City “introduces a brand-new story that draws together a new all-star cast of classic characters and murderous villains from the Batman universe, as well as a vast range of new and enhanced gameplay features to deliver the ultimate experience as the Dark Knight.”
You can get a first look at Catwoman, Two-Face and Harley Quinn after the break.
Earlier this month GameInformer released two covers featuring artwork for Batman: Arkham City, the hotly anticipated sequel to Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment’s bestselling video game Batman: Arkham Asylum. Now comes a preview of the cover for the September issue of PlayStation Official Magazine UK, which sports additional art showcasing the makeover for Harley Quinn.
Developed by Rocksteady Studios, the London-based studio behind 2009′s Arkham Asylum, Arkham City will be available for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and Windows PC next fall.
See the full cover after the break.
Veteran writer John Ostrander may have a hand in the “hardcore violent” Suicide Squad video game announced two weeks ago at Comic-Con International.
In an interview with CBR TV posted this morning, DC Entertainment Chief Creative Officer Geoff Johns revealed he has already spoken with Ostrander, who in 1987 resurrected the nearly three-decades-old property and wrote, or co-wrote, the series for its 66-issue run.
Ostrander’s update recast the Suicide Squad as supervillains employed by the U.S. government to perform missions that were considered suicide runs. That series, as well as the short-lived 2001 relaunch, featured such characters as Deadshot, Captain Boomerang, Bronze Tiger, Enchantress, Captain Cold and Amanda Waller.
“Suicide Squad is an awesome title,” Johns told CBR TV. “Even if you’ve never heard of Suicide Squad, that’s a cool video-game name. [...] It’s going to take years to make, but I’m psyched because everyone’s committed to it, and it’s going to be, you know — not to get into too much detail, but obviously, Deadshot and all of those guys … I think it could be a fantastic game. I think it’s a fantastic group of characters that have never done much outside of the comics.”
The Suicide Squad game is part of a push to get more DC characters in titles from the rapidly expanding Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment division. (In March Warner Bros. announced a new Montreal studio that will focus largely on developing games based on the company’s comics properties.)
“Jim Lee and I were talking a lot about video games,” Johns said, “and one of the things we want to do is not just do Batman, not just do Superman. We want to do all sorts of characters that would be great in any medium.”
You can watch the entire video after the break.
Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment this morning announced Batman: Arkham City as the title for the follow-up to its bestselling video game Batman: Arkham Asylum.
For those who have been following along, the title doesn’t come as much of a surprise, as ArkhamCity.com and BatmanArkhamCity.com topped a list of Batman-related domain names purchased in recent months by Warner Bros.
Developed by Rocksteady Studios, the London-based studio behind 2009′s Arkham Asylum, Arkham City will be available for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and Windows PC next fall. (Warner Bros. acquired a majority stake in the developer in February.)
According to Warner Bros., the game will send players into Arkham City, the new maximum-security home for all of Gotham’s “thugs, gangsters and insane criminal masterminds.” Arkham City “introduces a brand-new story that draws together a new all-star cast of classic characters and murderous villains from the Batman universe, as well as a vast range of new and enhanced gameplay features to deliver the ultimate experience as the Dark Knight.”
Officially announced in December, the sequel is reported to feature such villains as Two-Face, Mr. Freeze, Talia al Ghul, the Riddler and the Joker, the latter voiced for a final time by Mark Hamill.
Batman: Arkham Asylum debuted in August 2009, and sold 2 million copies in its first three weeks of release.
In this afternoon’s “DC Focus: Geoff Johns” panel at Comic-Con International, DC Entertainment’s chief creative officer revealed that work has begun on a Suicide Squad video game.
Johns said the game, which is being developed by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, will be “hardcore violent.”
The studio’s video-game publishing unit has undergone dramatic expansion over the past few years, acquiring developers TT Games, Snowblind Studios, Rocksteady Studios and Turbine Inc., and in March announcing plans for a new game-development studio in downtown Montreal.
Following the critical and commercial success of last year’s Batman: Arkham Asylum, which sold a reported 2 million copies in its first three weeks of success, Warner Bros. announced it’s developing a sequel. It’s also working with Double Helix on a Green Lantern game that will be released along with next summer’s film.
DC Entertainment President Diane Nelson told Hero Complex it’s part of a push to put more DC characters in WBIE titles. (The new WB Games Montreal is expected to focus largely on the company’s comics properties.)
Although Nelson says that not all of the games will tie in to movies — for instance, Arkham Asylum had nothing to do with The Dark Knight — it seems likely that Suicide Squad title will be connected to the big-screen adaptation announced in February 2009.
Warner Bros. has acquired Lord of the Rings Online developer Turbine Inc. for a reported $160 million, adding the Massachusetts-based company to a rapidly growing video-game stable.
The move gives Warner Bros. control of all games based on the J.R.R. Tolkien fantasy series, and enables the studio to develop online games around the DC Comics properties. As the Los Angeles Times notes, Turbine’s specializes in the creation of massively multi-player online games, such as Dungeons & Dragons Online, Asheron’s Call and the previously mentioned Lord of the Rings.
Warner Bros. obtained the rights to The Lord of the Rings trilogy and The Hobbit in 2008 when it purchased New Line. It already has the license to make console-based games based on the Tolkien properties.
Turbine will become part of Warner Bros. Interactive, a division that’s expanded dramatically over the past few years with four major acquisitions: a majority stake in Batman: Arkham Asylum developer Rocksteady Studios in February; Snowblind Studios and most of the assets of bankrupt Midway Games last year; and LEGO games developer TT Games in 2007.
Just last month Warner Bros. announced plans the construction of a studio in Montreal that will develop games based on DC Comics properties.
Warner Bros. will build upon the restructuring of DC Entertainment and the expansion of Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment by opening a new game-development studio in downtown Montreal.
Announced Monday during a press conference, WB Games Montreal will develop video games based on DC Comics properties, GameFocus reports. According to Canoe, the new venture will feature an “upscale interactive gaming and 3D animation studio,” a quality-assurance center and facilities for adaptation and translation.
Although Warner Bros. in recent years has purchased LEGO games developer Traveller’s Tales, Snowblind Studios, the assets to bankrupt Midway Games and, just last month, a majority stake in Batman: Arkham Asylum developer Rocksteady Studios, WB Games Montreal will be the first studio the entertainment giant has started itself.
The new studio, which will receive about $7.4 million in subsidies from the Quebecois government, plans to employ more than 300 people by 2015. Canoe reports the arrival of WB Games will make Montreal “the sixth biggest city worldwide in the video game industry.” The city is already home to studios for major game publishers like Eidos, Electronic Arts and Ubisoft, lured there in part by government tax credits.