Comi-Con Big Venue for Games

Posted by jgaudiosi :: Industry Trends

Comicon_2Like Hollywood, the videogame industry embraces Comi-Con more fully each year. Game publishers like Nintendo, Square-Enix, Vivendi Games, 2K Games, Activision, Konami, THQ, Ubisoft, Capcom, Sony Online Entertainment and D3 Publishing had a presence either on the show floor or at events that occurred around the San Diego Convention Center July 20-23. In many ways, it makes sense that game companies focus more on the annual fan convention, since more Hollywood movies featuring comic characters like "Spider-Man," "The Hulk," and "Ghost Rider" are heading to the big screen. But there are a growing number of game companies that are promoting games that aren't directly related to any comic or Hollywood entity, although they are clearly targeted at the comic fan.

Publishers like Nintendo, Capcom, Konami, and Square Enix offered the 100,000 public attendees to Comic-Con a chance to play recent builds of games that were shown at E3 to gaming press in May. Some of the gaming companies even offered gaming press a chance to check out their games a day before the show opened.

Capcom had the largest collection of games on display. The game company even had a store for attendees to buy memorabilia. Games on display included "Lost Planet" for Xbox 360, "Capcom Classics Collection Vol 2," "Okami," "God Hand," "Capcom Classics Collections Reloaded," "Capcom Puzzle World," "Power Stone Collection," "Ultimate Ghouls 'n Ghosts," "Phoenix Wright Ace Attorney: Justice for All" and "Mega Man ZX." Capcom also hosted several videogame tournaments with games like "Street Fighter II: Hyper Fighting," "Street Fighter Alpha 3," and "Mega Man Battle Network 6."

Square Enix had plenty of E3 versions of its games, which appeal to the comic crowd. Titles like  "Final Fantasy XII," "Dirge of Cerberus - Final Fantasy VII," "Valkyrie Profile 2: Silmeria," "Valkyrie Profile: Lenneth," "Dragon Quest Heroes: Rocket Slime," "Final Fantasy III," and "Final Fantasy XI" were on display.

Ubisoft used the show to announce (again) that it was working on next generation videogames based on the new CGI "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" movie. The games, which are indevelopment in Montreal, will ship March 30, 2007 along with the theatrical film.

Activision had "Spider-Man: Battle for New York" on display for Nintendo DS and Game Boy Advance. The game is a sequel to the "Ultimate Spider-Man" title released last year. Marvel artist Ron Lim worked on the game's art. The game ships later this year. Activision was also promoting its next generation "Marvel Ultimate Alliance" game on display. Although the game wasn't shown, plenty of buzz was built for the "Spider-Man 3" movie. There was also a quiet tease for next summer's "The Transformers" movie, which Activision is developing games for.

Konami had "Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin," "Silent Hill Origins," "Xiaolin Showdown" and a Marvel trading card game on display at the show. The Japanese game giant even flew in "Castlevania's" Koji Igarashi to speak to press.

Newgrounds will release a new high definition version of the cult PS2 hit, "Alien Hominid," on Xbox Live Arcade this fall for Xbox 360. The action game was shown at the show. 2K Games had "The Darkness" for Xbox 360 on display. It's based on the comic and there's a movie coming out next year, as well. Vivendi Games had the videogame version of "Eragon" on display. The film had a preview trailer that was warmly received by attendees.

While they didn't have a place on the floor, San Diego-based Sony Online Entertainment held a block party on its campus and shuttled press from the convention floor. Games on display included "Untold Legends: Dark Kingdom" for PS3 and new MMO games like "EverQuest II: Echoes of Faydwer," "Star Wars Galaxies," and "Gods & Heroes: Rome Rising."

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