China Toy Fair


Warner Bros. Interactive Launches New Batman: Arkham Origins Games

Batman.ArkhamWarner Bros. Interactive Entertainment and DC Entertainment have released Batman: Arkham Origins. Developed by WB Games Montréal, the game is based on DC Comics’ core Batman license, and introduces an original prequel storyline in which a young, unrefined Batman faces the defining moment of his early career, and sets his path to becoming the famous Dark Knight.

Batman: Arkham Origins, in which Batman is hunted by eight of the deadliest assassins from the DC Comics Universe, is available for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Wii U, and Windows PC. New to the franchise is a multiplayer mode, developed by Splash Damage, which allows friends and foes to engage in online play that blends traditional Arkham gameplay with those of third-person shooter mechanics.

Also available now is Batman: Arkham Origins Blackgate, a companion game developed by Armature Studio, which brings core Batman Arkham pillars to the PlayStation Vita and Nintendo 3DS handheld formats. It allows players to continue the storyline of the console game.

Players looking to extend their gameplay experience can buy the Batman: Arkham Origins Season Pass, comprised of five of the game’s upcoming downloadable content packs. The Season Pass is available on the PlayStation Network, Xbox Live online entertainment network from Microsoft, Nintendo eShop, and Steam.

Lego Marvel Super Heroes Launches with Massive Character Line-up, Lego Big Figures

Lego.MarvelLego Marvel Super Heroes has launched in North America for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii U, and Windows PC. Lego Marvel Super Heroes: Universe in Peril is also now available for the Nintendo 3DS and PS Vita handheld systems.

In Lego Marvel Super Heroes, players take on the role of their favorite Marvel characters, such as Spider-Man, Iron Man, Wolverine, Thor, Captain America, and the Hulk, as they assemble to battle some of the most menacing Marvel supervillains. More than 100 playable characters are unlockable, and players can also choose from bonus heroes, such as the Guardians of the Galaxy, the Punisher, Squirrel Girl, and Deadpool.

Lego Marvel Super Heroes offers players a chance to show off their super skills by using weapons, such as Captain America’s shield, Thor’s hammer, or Hawkeye’s bow, during action sequences. Players will also be introduced to different character super abilities, such as Doctor Strange’s magic powers, Professor X or Jean Grey’s mind control, and more. Lego Marvel Super Heroes features some of the more legendary locations from the Marvel Universe, including Iron Man’s Stark Tower headquarters and the Daily Bugle. For the first time in a Lego game, players can clobber and smash bricks with super-sized Lego big figures, including Colossus, Iron Man’s Hulkbuster Armor, and the Thing.

The handheld Lego Marvel Super Heroes: Universe in Peril offers a different gameplay experience that includes challenging time-based missions, performing combo moves, and getting assistance from your superpowered tag team partner.

Nintendo Releases New Nintendo 2DS Portable System

Oct10.Nintendo2DSNintendo has launched the Nintendo 2DS system, designed as an entry point into Nintendo handheld video games. The Nintendo 2DS system maintains many of the same hardware features as Nintendo 3DS, like touch-screen controls, StreetPass, online multiplayer functionality, and the ability to download games.

Without any hinges, the Nintendo 2DS is a recommended first-time system for kids. It will be available in red and blue and plays all Nintendo 3DS games in 2-D. In addition, Nintendo 2DS is backward compatible and can play Nintendo DS games. Two carrying cases in either red or blue are also available.

COMMENTARY: D3Publisher’s Upcoming Slate Captures What Makes Cartoons Great

Licensed video games can be a risky proposition. After all, a recognizable title doesn’t necessarily mean high quality. Having personally experienced some lows in licensed games over the years, I felt it was my duty to attend D3Publisher of America Inc.’s showcase ahead of the holidays, though I had my share of reservations. But despite my trepidation, a few hours later, I walked out suitably impressed. Each licensed game’s creative team seemed to get what makes their respective source material unique, resulting in a product likely to please even hardcore fans. Here’s a rundown of the games:

Oct4.Ben10Ben 10 Omniverse 2: This title is based on a cartoon franchise that has been on TV since 2005, and revolves around Ben Tennyson, who in the most recent series, Ben 10: Omniverse, is a teenage superhero who can transform into 10 different alien forms. What makes the character interesting is that he must select the appropriate guise for any given situation, as each form has its own advantages and disadvantages. D3’s new game takes this basic characteristic and combines it with the “endless running” genre: For about half the game, Ben hurtles down a series of corridors, encountering one obstacle after another, with a very limited time to react. [Read more...]

Nintendo World Hosts Launch Event for Pokémon X and Pokémon Y

imagesNintendo World in New York will host a Pokémon X and Pokémon Y launch event to celebrate the release of the two new games for the Nintendo 3DS family of systems on October 11 from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m. These new installments in the famous Pokémon series will introduce a new generation of Pokémon, new Mega Evolutions, and a ton of new features.

At the event, fans will have the chance to play games, participate in activities, and be the first in the country to purchase the new games, which are also available on the new Nintendo 2DS system. Game sales will commence at midnight, but Nintendo World will remain open through the night. The event will also feature a Pokémon costume showcase, a live DJ, Pokémon trivia, a Pikachu costumed character appearance, and more. Attendees will also be able to participate in giveaways while supplies last.

Swaptober Kicks into Gear in Anticipation of Skylanders Swap Force

Skylanders-SWAP-Force_NightIn anticipation of the Skylanders Swap Force launch, Activision Publishing Inc. is using the month of October, or “Swaptober” to get gamers ready for the game’s launch on October 13. Lucky Portal Masters will have chances to win copies of the Skylanders Swap Force game, explore the world of Skylanders in Times Square, and more during the month-long activities.

To kick off Swaptober, Activision will be giving away one Skylanders Swap Force Starter Pack per day beginning October 1 and going to October 31 via the official Skylanders Twitter channel (@SkylandersGame). For a chance to win, portal masters can visit Skylanders.com to mix and match their favorite character combination and then tweet it along with a suggested catch phrase using hashtags #SWAPtober and #Skylanders.

There are even more ways to celebrate on  October 10, when Skylanders partners with Toys “R” Us to bring Skylanders to life with “Swaptoberfest”—a celebration in Times Square where fans will have the chance to be among the very first to play the game before it’s available at retail. This Times Square takeover will feature Skylanders Swap Force-themed activities, photos with Skylanders costumed characters, and chances to win Starter Packs and Skylanders-themed merchandise from companies, including Mega Brands, Rubie’s Costume Co., Hybrid Apparel, and Power A. [Read more...]

Skylanders Swap Force Continues the Franchise’s Reputation

This week, The Toy Book got a chance to preview Activision Publishing Inc.’s upcoming Skylanders Swap Force video game and toys at an after-school event in New York City. The original entry in the series, Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventure, pioneered the idea of video games that interact with real-world toys. Now comes Skylanders Swap Force, in which special action figures can be disassembled into top and bottom halves and then reassembled into new characters that are playable within the game.

Skylanders SWAP Force, Stink ChargeThe game itself is as visually rich and immersing as previous entries in the series (although Playstation 4 (PS4) version takes the experience to a whole new level, but more on that later). At the demo, kids and their parents got to preview the levels, “Rampant Ruins,” a creepy jungle graveyard, and, “Winter Keep,” in which the Skylanders heroes have to retrieve a special device called the Illuminator—all while dodging huge flying snowballs. Each level features mini-games that vary in play style, keeping things from ever getting too repetitive. At one point during “Winter Keep,” the game switches from more traditional combat to a race through the sky along “rainbow rails.” [Read more...]

Skylanders Swap Force Launches on Nintendo DS This Fall

SwapForceActivision Publishing Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Activision Blizzard Inc., will deliver the innovation of “dynamic swapability”  to the Nintendo 3DS hand-held system this fall with the launch of Skylanders Swap Force.

The Nintendo 3DS version of Skylanders Swap Force offers gamers a unique adventure complete with its very own story, levels, and special starter pack characters. A truly complementary experience to the console version, Skylanders Swap Force on Nintendo 3DS will hit retail destinations worldwide with three new characters—Rattle Shake, Volcanic Eruptor, and Free Ranger—that are not found in any other Skylanders Starter Pack. If fans buy both a console version and the Nintendo 3DS version of Skylanders Swap Force, they will end up with four Swap Force Skylanders, giving them 16 different combinations.

The story of Skylanders Swap Force on Nintendo 3DS begins in Boomtown, home of Skylands’ favorite pilot, Flynn. As the town is celebrating Flynn as their hometown hero, a new villain known as Count Moneybone sneaks his way into Boomtown to kidnap Cali, long-time friend to Flynn and the Skylanders. It’s up to Portal Masters everywhere to assemble the Skylanders and Swap Force to save Cali and defeat the evil Count Moneybone. [Read more...]

Nintendo Invites Fans for a Legend of Zelda Contest

legendofzeldaNintendo is holding a contest on Facebook that lets fans submit art inspired by The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD for the Wii U console. The creators of the five top selections will win a Wii U console and The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD game. In addition, the five winners and top 50 finalists will have their art displayed on the main screen at The Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses concert, where it will be accompanied by music from The Legend of Zelda series. The five winners will also have their art displayed in the lobby of the Seattle performance of the concert tour on September 12.

The Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses features live orchestral performances of theme music from The Legend of Zelda games. The Seattle performance will also include game-play kiosks for The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HDThe Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds for Nintendo 3DS, and photo opportunities with the King of Red Lions replica. The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD is a remastered version of the Nintendo GameCube original. The game launches in October for Wii U and features high-definition graphics, GamePad features, and enhanced game play, such as faster sailing.

COMMENTARY: Oldies but Newer: Upcoming Video Game Sequels to Look Out For

With the impending release of the Playstation 4 and the Xbox One, it’s only natural to be on the lookout for new video games to try on these latest platforms. However, games from other consoles and devices shouldn’t be excluded either especially with the forthcoming distribution of newer versions of old classics. Whether it’s a sport, action-adventure, or fantasy game, there’s a game out there geared towards any gamer in any genre. The best part is that the timeless games players have grown up with are being revamped to ensure a different gaming experience than previous versions. Before eliminating these new editions to opt for a newer series, it might be worth it to consider what these current renditions have to offer. Here are some classic franchise games getting ready to put out their latest publication that might capture your interest.

FIFA 14

fifa14The annual soccer game is back for another year filled with players across the world in various leagues and tournaments. The FIFA soccer video game series premiered in 1993, and is still going strong. This latest addition to the line will be available for a multitude of platforms including Xbox 360, PS3, and PC download on September 24 in the U.S. An early release version is also available for the PS3 and comes out on September 20. The game will also appear on the PS4 and other Playstation and Nintendo devices including the PSP and the Wii. The Xbox One however might arguably be the best deal for the console which FIFA 14 debuts on for free (at least in Europe anyway—with a preorder of the device) and comes with FIFA Ultimate Team Legends, which features legends of the game. Now, you can play with players of today and yesteryear, and can in fact see Pele tackle the ball from Cristiano Ronaldo—if that’s your preference. [Read more...]