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  • Ricky Lomey
    ... From: Dan Santoro To: A GROUP American_Rugby-News ; E GROUP World Masters Rugby Sent: Tuesday, August 23, 2011 2:48 AM Subject: [american_rugby-news] Games
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      ----- Original Message -----
      Sent: Tuesday, August 23, 2011 2:48 AM
      Subject: [american_rugby-news] Games in time for the Rugby World Cup | Stuff.co.nz

      http://www.stuff.co.nz/technology/games/5488184/Games-in-time-for-the-Rugby-World-Cup


      Games in time for the Rugby World Cup
      GERARD CAMPBELL
      Last updated 05:00 23/08/2011


      ALL BLACKS RUGBY CHALLENGE: Participate in the haka!

      After a drought since the last rugby video game appeared – EA Rugby '08 – fans of the virtual game are spoiled for choice this year, with two rugby union games due to coincide with the Rugby World Cup.

      One is Rugby World Cup: The Official Game; the other is All Blacks Rugby Challenge, created by Wellington game studio Sidhe.

      Ask gamers to pick their favourite rugby union game and nine times out of 10 the answer will be Jonah Lomu Rugby. Sidhe managing director Mario Wynands says many gamers have fond memories of the game, which appeared on the original PlayStation.

      "Back then, the video game was kind of a geeky pastime and then Sony pushed the PSOne on to the mass market. A lot of people have memories of that time and Jonah Lomu Rugby was a great game – at the time.

      "People send me emails and say on the (Sidhe) forums `Make Rugby Challenge just like Jonah Lomu Rugby' but I usually say that it's great that they have that opinion about JLR but go back and play it now and see if you still think the same (about it)."

      Wynands said while Rugby Challenge was the company's first rugby union game, it was not the company's first sports game.

      The company learned from making NRL Rugby League (2003) Rugby League 2 (2006) and Rugby League 2: World Cup Edition (2008). Sidhe started working on All Blacks Challenge at the end of 2009.

      A key difference with Rugby Challenge was that Sidhe worked closely with current All Blacks, as well as Jonah Lomu.

      "We've been working with real players this time, which was different in the past when access to players was a lot more restrictive, especially with the NRL being based in Australia. There is a lot of content here because the competition (RWC) is New Zealand-centric and there are so many levels of people, so many aspects that we've been able to get involved. The funny thing about NZ is that when you see all these athletes on TV then talk to them you realise they are everyday people."

      Wynands said working on the game gave the team a "real understanding for the game" and many sports games were "quite sterile with lots of lots of stats, player line-ups, databases".

      "We want people to feel like they're stepping out on to the field. We want to give them a more emotional experience. We asked the All Blacks what it was like doing a haka in front of a large crowd. How did they feel emotionally about that?"

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      Wynands said while Rugby Challenge wasn't the most challenging game Sidhe had worked on, "it's been the biggest and most complex we've created". There was also pressure on the company to produce a good game given that the Rugby World Cup is taking place in New Zealand.

      "I'm really happy with how it has turned out and it's getting a lot of interest in Europe because of the inclusion of the European competition. I'm not sure if the game has exceeded our expectations because our expectations are so high but when I look back at our original vision, on reflection, I know how hard the team worked and the team has done a great job.

      "We want to capture the feel of rugby. I believe that a lot of sports games focus on the watching experience but fail to dig deeper and put the player on the field. It's the little things that create that experience, things like camera work that make the player feel like they're another player on the field."

      Does Wynands have anything to say about that "other" rugby game? "When both teams started on their games neither team knew about the other title. We were about four months into our game when RWC: The Official Game was announced. When announcements of another game are made it's very easy to have a little bit of uncertainty on where we are going to stack up, and it's obvious that the other game has taken a different path from us, in terms of licensing, but we feel we have the quality and longevity and we don't expect the other game to have much of an impact on us."

      THE BREAKDOWN

      All Blacks Rugby Challenge From Sidhe

      On PS3, Xbox 360, Windows PC, PS Vita, due next month 98 teams, 31 stadia (14 New Zealand, 6 Australian, 5 South African, 6 European) and 11 competitions (ITM Cup, Bledisloe Cup, Super Rugby, Tri-Nations).

      Commentary from Grant Nisbett and Justin Marshall. Licensed teams include the All Blacks, Wallabies, US Eagles, Crusaders, Blues, Hurricanes, Queensland Reds, ACT Brumbies Modes include tutorial, single match, competition and career modes, as well as four-player offline multiplayer and four v four player online multiplayer.

      All Black great Jonah Lomu's likeness will feature in the game and on the cover of the European version.

      Rugby World Cup: The Official Game From HB Studio

      On PS3, Xbox 360, due end of this month. Features all 20 international teams competing in the 2011 Rugby World Cup but not all are officially licensed. Five game modes: tournament, international test, warmup tour, place kick shootout and online New Zealand/Australian commentary by Greg Clark and All Black great Sean Fitzpatrick.
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