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Newsbriefs: BlackSite Demo, Play-Asia Games, Wik Steamed

[UPDATED: 10:00am PST] Today's regularly updated newsbriefs include news of a new Xbox Live demo of Midway Games' upcoming FPS BlackSite: Area 51, a new arcade style shooter being funded by import game site Play-Asia, and Reflexive bringing i>Ricoc
[UPDATED: 10:00am PST] Today's regularly updated newsbriefs include news of a new Xbox Live demo of Midway Games' upcoming FPS BlackSite: Area 51, a new arcade style shooter being funded by import game site Play-Asia, and Reflexive bringing i>Ricochet Lost Worlds and Wik & the Fable of Souls to Steam. - As hinted at in its last earnings call earlier this month, Midway Games has released the first 'teaser' demo of its forthcoming first person shooter BlackSite: Area 51 to Xbox Live. First officially announced for 2007 release this January, the game has players taking down alien enemies at the famous titular government landmark, and, Midway says, introduces more careful story-driven decision making, forcing them to choose between "professional orders" and their own "ethical standards" as they lead a squadron of secret soldiers, each of whom operate on a unique AI routine that judge their confidence on you as a squad leader based on your in-game performance. Though intended as a more brief "vertical slice" of the game, Midway producer Harvey Smith has elsewhere promised a second demo is in the works intended to showcase a more " cinematic story scene." - Major import video game retailer Play-Asia has announced that it is funding the development of a new classic arcade-style shooter being created by independent developer SideQuest Studios. The game, Söldner-X: Himmelsstürmer, will be published by Eastasiasoft, a company that looks to “recreate seemingly 'lost' game genres and consequently bring back true arcade action and fun to the home.” The game is currently expected to be released in late 2007, however no details regarding its target platform(s) have been revealed. That said, the initial statement announcing the game does draw attention to the game's 720p HD mode and 16:9 supported resolution, leading some speculation that the title will be released over Xbox Live Arcade or the PlayStation Network. - Valve and independent developer Reflexive Entertainment have jointly announced a new agreement to make available both Ricochet Lost Worlds and Wik & the Fable of Souls though Valve's Steam digital download service. Both games have had free trial demos made specifically for Steam. In addition, Reflexive notes that the trial demo for Wik & the Fable of Souls has been completely redesigned “to give players a better sense of the depth and variety in the game.” "Steam, with it's experienced gamer audience, is really the perfect place for these games." said Russell Carroll, director of marketing at Reflexive. "Ricochet, with its breakout made cool approach, and Wik, with its unique game play, have struck a chord with gamers everywhere they've gone, and we're really excited to see them next to the other great games available through Steam." - Officials from Austrian publisher and developer JoWooD Productions and its newly acquired Canadian subsidiary DreamCatcher Interactive have announced plans to release titles for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and Wii. DreamCatcher and JoWooD have already started to negotiate with development studios and schedule the first releases at the end of 2008/beginning of 2009, “effectively ending legacy projects on the previous generation of consoles scheduled later this year.” While JoWooD has primarily been recognized for its German-language games and niche PC titles and franchises such as Gothic and The Guild, this announcement would seem to build upon the company's efforts to gain better access to the North American market. According to DreamCatcher and JoWooD, the companies now plans to bring the group’s most successful brands the console market, including Gothic, SpellForce, and Dungeon Lords, as well as People Can Fly's Painkiller, which already made the leap to the Xbox last year to a lukewarm reception.

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