DOW Hits The World Cyber Games

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The World Cyber Games has announced the eight games to be played in the 2005 international competition, and four of them were created by B.C. developers. Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War, a real-time strategy (RTS) game made by Vancouver's Relic Entertainment, was one of two new games added to the World Cyber Games. The other new game was Dead or Alive Ultimate, developed by Team Ninja for Tecmo, a California company. Games played in the 2004 competition that will return for 2004 include FIFA Soccer 2005 and Need for Speed: Underground 2, both created at Electronic Arts' Burnaby and Vancouver studios, and Halo 2, which came from Microsoft's Bungie Studios in Redmond, Wash., where B.C. designers Mike Zak, Tyson Green and Hason Major worked on the game. Halo 2 set a 24-hour sales record last November, selling 2.4 million units in North America for a total of $125 million US on its release day. It replaces last year's original Halo game, which was used in the 2004 games. The other returning games are StarCraft: Brood War and WarCraft III: The Frozen Throne, both from California's Blizzard Entertainment, and Counter Strike, made by Valve in Kirkland, Wash. "We're very excited," said Ron Moravek, general manager of Relic Entertainment, which last year was bought by California-based THQ. "When you look at the StarCrafts and the WarCrafts, they not only have really high production values but they have huge followings worldwide. It's really an honour to be put in with them, especially when you look at games like [The Lord of the Rings] The Battle for Middle-earth and Rome: Total War that didn't make it. We're really proud." Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War, based on the Warhammer intellectual property of England's Games Workshop, came out last September and has sold 500,000 units. About 30 people at Relic's Yaletown studio worked on the game for more than a year, under the direction of lead designer Jay Wilson, an American. Relic has 130 employees working at the studio, and Moravek expects to hire another 40 people before year's end. In June, the company moves into a new 35,000-square-foot studio at the Bentall Five building in downtown Vancouver. The Relic and Team Ninja games replace two games dropped by the World Cyber Games after last year's competition, Project Gotham Racing 2 and Unreal Tournament 2004. Suprisingly, Halo 2 and Dead or Alive Ultimate, which play on the Xbox system, were the only console games selected for the games. The others were all designed for personal computers. Created in 2000, the World Cyber Games (WCG) is an international competition for which individual players or teams of players specializing in one or more of the chosen games compete in regional playdowns. In Canada, teams must win their provincial playdowns, then win a national competition before they can qualify for the three-day competition, held in a different city each year. Last year's games were held in San Francisco attracting 650 players from 59 countries. The Netherlands won three gold medals, the United States and South Korea won two each, and Germany won the other gold. Canada's Nelson Triano lost the Halo final to American Matt Leto. More than 30,000 spectators watched the games at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium and Plaza. The 2005 WCG will be held in Singapore in November with 800 players from 70 countries expected to compete. Those 800 players will represent the best of an estimated 1.4 million video game players expected to compete this year.
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