Andrew: Today is July 1st, and on this day in 1973, Canada declared its indepdence from the United States after a bloody 10-year war — one that some might say is still being fought in small border towns to this day.* In celebration of her sovereignty, Raymond Padilla has assembled a tribute to Canada’s best in game development, while I — a guy who has actually been detained by authorities at the Canadian border — wasted yet another afternoon proving that I don’t have what it takes to become a game designer. Or a comedian.
Happy Birthday, Canadian readers!
* Needs citation.
Raymond: While everyone around the world knows Canadian treasures like Chris Jericho, Kristin Kreuk, and Diana Krall, the country has made several notable contributions to the gaming world. While the Canadian government offers some generous incentives to Canadian developers, there’s just some outstanding talent in the land of Celine Dion. One of gaming’s longest running television programs also comes from Canada. Here are some reasons gamers should be thankful for The Great White North.
BioWare: I’ve been to Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. There’s a giant mall there (it has its own water park and everything). Normally it’s the kind of place I’d go to once and never go back to again, but it happens to be the hometown of one of my favorite developers in the world. From Baldur’s Gate to Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic to Mass Effect, BioWare has been serving up role-playing awesomeness since 1995. Although February in Edmonton was one of the coldest experiences of my life, I will always jump at the chance to visit the BioWare gang. Excellent games made by excellent people — what more could you ask for?!?
Notable personalities: Dr. Ray Muzyka and Dr. Greg Zeschuk
EA Canada: From loads of Need for Speed games to more recent hits like Skate and Fight Night: Round 4, this Burnaby studio has a ton going on. Of course it helps that it’s backed by one of the largest publishers in the business, but being big and having lots of people doesn’t necessarily lead to quality games. Skate and Fight Night are considered the games in their respective genres. That’s pretty awesome.
Notable personalities: Rory Armes and Keith Munro
The Electric Playground: Serving up gaming television since 1997, The Electric Playground is like the granddaddy of gaming video…except gramps is still going strong today! Produced by Greedy Productions in Vancouver, The Electric Playground was one of the first and is still one of the best shows about interactive entertainment. Executive producer and host Victor Lucas should be lauded for helping gamers get a new way to digest some awesome gaming info.
Notable personalities: Victor Lucas and Jose "Fubar" Sanchez
Radical Entertainment: Another one of British Columbia’s finest, this Vancouver developer is currently on gamers’ minds for Prototype, but it also made some incredibly enjoyable diversions like The Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction and Scarface: The World is Yours.
Notable Personalities: Kelly Zmak
Relic Entertainment: Also from the lovely city of Vancouver comes this excellent developer of real-time strategy games. The company started off with a bang thanks to the excellent Homeworld, went through an awkward phase with Impossible Creatures, and found its groover again with the Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War games. While I’m here, I just want to apologize to Relic co-founder Alex Garden, for that time my best friend and I were wandering around Vancouver drunk, happened to stumble upon the relic office, and left silly messages on the front door.
Notable personalities: Alex Garden (currently at Nexon) and Jonathan Dowdeswell
Silicon Knights: Although this St. Catherines, Ontario company has been getting negative attention from Too Human and its legal skirmish with Epic Games, there was a time when Silicon Knights was worshiped by Nintendo fanboys (i.e. Billy Berghammer). Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem and Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes were great games for the GameCube system. Although Too Human wasn’t much of a success, expect Silicon Knights to serve up something great in the near future.
Notable personalities: Dennis Dyack and Steve Henifin
Ubisoft Montreal: This is the studio behind My Word Coach. ‘Nuff said. Just kidding. Tons of great titles have emerged from this fine developer from this fine French-Canadian city. While millions of fans have been entertained by the studios’ various Tom Clancy games, its work on Assassin’s Creed and Prince of Persia really stands out. Loved by critics and fans alike, these two titles meld great action and beautiful art direction into an excellent interactive experience. Ubi Montreal cranks out games that are as delicious as poutine.
Notable personalities: Yannis Mallat and Jade Raymond
* * *
Design Document — Andrew Pfister’s Imagine: Canada
Elevator Pitch: "PixelJunk Monsters meets SCTV"
Game Type: Tower Defense/Interactive Fiction
Plot: NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman wants new franchises in Memphis, Houston, Helena, Montgomery, East St. Louis, and Honolulu — and he’s got his eye on Canadian teams for relocation. He’s sending his lawyers and "interested investor groups" to famed Canadian hockey arenas, and it’s up to you setup a network of defenders to fight off their attack waves.
Maple Syrup — Attracts ants. Horrifying, giant man-eating ants.
Mountie Outpost — Instead of horses, Mounties ride moose, and moose have hockey skates. Moose also talk and say "aboot" a lot…let’s shoot for the moon here.
Strip Clubs — Incapacitates American businessmen who hear "they’re the best."
Metric Converter Stations — Turns 10 enemy units into 3.048 units.
American Movie Set — Use tax incentives to entice Hollywood productions, which will in turn block pathways to arena.
Hero Characters — Can be summoned once per battle for a special move. (e.g., Bret "The Hitman" Hart’s Sharpshooter, Alex Trebek’s Trivia Challenge, Celine Dion’s Sharpshooter)
Prime Minister — Can randomly call for "new elections," which re-arrange key map placements.
Cliché Busters — Answer a legitimate question about Canada’s history, geography, current events, or populace for a screen-clearing bonus.
Proposed Budget: $45,000,000 (CDN)
(© 2009 Andrew Pfister, Inc.)
Author: Ezine Article BoardThis author has published 5774 articles so far.