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Jumpgate Evolution

NetDevil lays off large portion of its staff [Updated]

Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Jumpgate Evolution, MMO Industry, News Items, Rumors, LEGO Universe, Family

When it comes to game development, it's somewhat common to see a layoff or realignment of development team members shortly after the release of a title. However, it appears that NetDevil's most recent round of layoffs came as a complete surprise to its employees. After all, the company's most recent release, LEGO Universe, is well past that initial post-launch phase, having gone live back in October 2010, and both Jumpgate Evolution and Fortune Online are (at least supposedly) under development currently at the studio. There are jobs posted on the hiring page, as well.

However, it appears that the developer, owned by Gazillion Entertainment, is on shaky ground as of this morning, according to rumors. The truly horrible thing about this isn't that some developers were laid off -- it's how the affected employees found out. It appears that some of the NetDevil employees were notified that they were going to be laid off via Facebook postings before they were officially contacted by the company, according to a blog posting by Toby Cochran, who worked as a character/creature animator on LEGO Universe. Apparently an image showing a tombstone with the inscription "NetDevil R.I.P. Oct 1997-Feb 2011" started making the rounds on social networking sites shortly thereafter, indicating a far bleaker picture than just that of layoffs.

We've reached out to NetDevil and Gazillion Entertainment for comment on the rumors and what, if anything, it will mean for the development of Jumpgate Evolution and Fortune Online. We'll be sure to update this post as soon as we have further information. In the meantime, we hope that all the talented, hard-working NetDevil employees who were affected are able to land fabulous new well-paying spots elsewhere, continuing to do what they love.

[Update: We received the following statement from NetDevil: "The transition of members of our team to the LEGO Group allows us to conclude the work-for-hire segment of NetDevil's business and lets us expand our internally-published, free-to-play game businesses based on our own properties and licensed properties. Gazillion is wholly focused on developing, operating, and publishing the next generation of browser-delivered games," said David Brevik, President and COO. "We're proud of the LEGO Universe game that our team built, and we are certain that it has a bright future."]

Codemasters files suit over Jumpgate Evolution delays

Sci-Fi, Jumpgate Evolution, MMO Industry, News Items, Legal

We have all been waiting for Jumpgate Evolution for quite some time, but perhaps no one quite as much as Codemasters. As a matter of fact, the company is so tired of waiting on the game to come out that it's decided to file a civil complaint against Netdevil and its parent company Gazillion Entertainment for the delays in publishing the eagerly anticipated sci-fi space shooter.

While the announcement on Codemasters' official Jumpgate Evolution site doesn't offer anything beyond the generic "yes, we did this, here's what court we filed it in, no other comment at this time" statement, the court document itself makes for interesting (if dry) reading. Essentially, Codemasters charges that Netdevil failed to meet contractual guidelines, which called for the studio to ship the game by February 24th, 2009. During that time, Codemasters paid almost 1.4 million USD to Netdevil to help underwrite the game's development and for "art assets." Codemasters is also seeking compensation due to setting up servers, website, community team, etc. for the European version of Jumpgate Evolution. Ultimately, it boils down to a pretty standard breach of contract that offers Codemasters' share of interest back to Netdevil and Gazillion in return for all monies invested in the project to date. Whether or not this brouhaha will cause any changes to the timetable for Jumpgate Evolution will remain to be seen. We'll keep an eye out as the case progresses.

[Thanks, Merketh!]

BioWare names Stephen Reid the new SWTOR Community Manager

Jumpgate Evolution, MMO Industry, News Items, Marvel Heroes, Star Wars: The Old Republic, Super Hero Squad Online

A few months back -- just after PAX -- community manager Sean Dahlberg stepped down from his position at BioWare to join UTV True Game's Faxion design team. In the intermediate time, his Star Wars: The Old Republic duties have been filled by community representatives like Joanne Laroche and Alyson Bridge. But now Sean's empty seat has been filled by none other than Stephen "Rockjaw" Reid.

You may know Reid as the Community Director at Gazillion Entertainment or maybe the Senior Community Manager at Trion World. Either way, Reid's experience is well-known in the MMO world. And prior to his work in the States, British-born Reid specialized in public relations and community-related projects for NCsoft UK. His voice has been heard on the Yellow Spandex podcast as well as the official NCsoft Europe podcast before that. It's safe to say the Force is strong with this one.

Reid has been a regular reader of Massively and has been known to comment on our stories via his twitter account Rockjaw. We'd like to congratulate Stephen on his new position, and we look forward to hearing the latest SWTOR news from him. Be sure to send him a warm welcome on the SWTOR forums, and don't miss our interview with this new addition to the SWTOR team coming in the next few days.

In the words of Han Solo in A New Hope, "Don't get cocky" -- I mean, "Here's where the fun begins!"

Oh my! A Jumpgate Evolution leak -- not really

Sci-Fi, Video, Jumpgate Evolution, New Titles

Earlier today an unannounced video slipped onto YouTube claiming to be a "Jumpgate Evolution Play Test." The JGE forums lit up with speculation as to the source of the video, yet the true source was not even known to the JGE forum moderator, Alpha. In the thread regarding the leak, Alpha said, "I don't know where this video is from (or how old the footage is, or indeed anything about it), but really, given that the team is really small right now, the devs are going to know who shot that footage."

She was correct, because just a few hours later, OhSnap (Kara Kroupa, Marketing Coordinator at NetDevil) replied with a detailed explanation of what exactly happened. According to OhSnap, the video "showed up on youtube first because I asked the emissaries to spread it around before I made the video announcement. With all intention to explain the details here later." Unfortunately, Alpha had not read the information regarding the video when she first replied to the post, so she treated it as a breach of the NDA. Fortunately, there was no real issue, and no damage was done save to Alpha's keyboard, which now has OJ sprayed on it from her laughing at finding out the "leak" was intentional.

Now, after months of quiet, we have some Jumpgate Evolution footage! Take a look after the break at this "leaked" real footage of gameplay of the citadel.

[Thank you, Notturno for the link to the video]

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Jumpgate Evolution still alive and kicking

Sci-Fi, Jumpgate Evolution, New Titles, News Items

Jumpgate Evolution has been flying a bit under the radar since E3 2010, but we're happy to report that the space-based action MMO is still seeing active development. The recent forum upgrade, coupled with a producer update that outlines what the NetDevil folks are currently working on, has conspired to give us a bit of hope that we might be barreling through hyperspace and setting spaceships afire sooner rather than later.

In the post on the official boards, executive producer Lance Robertson touches on everything from the patcher and the live support team to PvP, the economy, and compatibility testing as ongoing areas of concentration. The details are a bit sparser than we'd like, but we'll keep our scanners peeled for more Jumpgate Evolution news as it happens.

New Jumpgate Evolution forums now live

Sci-Fi, Jumpgate Evolution, News Items

Jumpgate Evolution forum members will be happy to hear that the old JGE forums are a thing of the past.

The new forums went online today, replacing the old ones that a NetDevil staffer referred to as "broken in many ways." As with many new sites, this one still has a few bugs to be fixed and additions to be made, so the News and Announcements forum contains a welcome post with a list of known issues.

That post explains how players can bring their login information to the new forum and gives a list of features that are still in the completion process. The forums and subforums are all functional -- though missing a few bells and whistles -- so check them out for yourself!

Details on event zones in Jumpgate Evolution

Sci-Fi, Jumpgate Evolution, Game Mechanics, Previews, PvP, News Items

There's something about the massive span of space that lends itself to large-scale PvP, and Jumpgate Evolution is certainly heading down the road to having big and meaningful faction battles. This is the core of the game's Event Sectors, hotspots of activity between both players and NPCs in which everyone takes part in a truly epic struggle. In a recent diary on MMORPG.com, Joe Grubb explains the design philosophy behind the sectors and how they're shaping up as the game continues in development.

Grubb explains that one of the first goals the team had with these sectors was that they had to feel meaningful in context -- rather than just featuring good gameplay, it had to make sense why the battle was taking place from a lore standpoint. He goes on to explain how the team began testing and then revising the way content was set up to improve the feel of immersion and realism in each given sector. Take a look at the full diary for a preview of what promises to be one of the most interesting features in Jumpgate Evolution -- and really, who doesn't like epic space battles?

This week on The MMO Report

Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Super-hero, Video, Jumpgate Evolution, Events (Real-World), New Titles, The Agency, News Items, Marvel Heroes, DC Universe Online, The MMO Report

You may remember last week's MMO Report being part one of an epic two-part episode. Crazily enough, this week brings us part two, and it's back to the Los Angeles convention center for more of Casey Schreiner and his E3 interview shenanigans.

This week's show features interviews with Steve Garvin and Lance Robertson, lead designer and executive producer, respectively, on Jumpgate Evolution, Jason Robar, co-founder of Amazing Society and part of the braintrust behind Marvel Superhero Squad Online, Rory McGuire, lead designer on The Agency, and Sony Online Entertainment's Chris Cao, game director for DC Universe Online.

"You pick up that controller or that keyboard and you're literally punching dudes in the face; you're not waiting to take a turn. This isn't an MMO that's dressed up or sped up, it's one that's on crack. It is action all the time," Cao says, when asked how the game compares to previous superhero MMOs.

Check out all the MMO Report E3 action at G4TV or after the jump.

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E3 2010: Your complete Massively coverage roundup

Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Super-hero, Jumpgate Evolution, Lord of the Rings Online, Events (Real-World), Interviews, MMO Industry, New Titles, The Agency, News Items, Free-to-Play, Browser, Casual, Might and Magic, Crime, MMOFPS, Warhammer 40k, LEGO Universe, Kids, DC Universe Online, Black Prophecy, Star Wars: The Old Republic, RIFT, Final Fantasy XIV, TERA, Battlestar Galactica Online, Vindictus, Need for Speed World

The 2010 edition of the gaming nirvana known as E3 has come and gone, and Massively was there to bring you three days of exclusives, firsts, and hands-on impressions for all your favorite MMORPG titles, studios, and developers. This year's Expo saw plenty of news and announcements regarding highly anticipated games, as well as plenty of information on assorted titles large and small.

We thought it best to collate our coverage into a complete and concise roundup post for your viewing pleasure, so read along after the cut to make sure you didn't miss anything. You can also check out all of our E3 galleries along the way.

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E3 2010: Hands-on with Jumpgate Evolution

Sci-Fi, Galleries, Jumpgate Evolution, Events (Real-World), Game Mechanics, New Titles, Opinion, Hands-On, Hands-On (Massively's), Events (Massively's Coverage)

At E3 yesterday, I had the opportunity to sit down and play some Jumpgate Evolution. Yes, I said Jumpgate Evolution: the game we've all feared was going away after announcements of its indefinite development. Interestingly enough, this is a game that many of you have shown great interest in. Is the game still alive? Is it playable? When's it releasing?

Well, luckily for you, most of those questions were answered at E3. Not only is it playable, I spent probably 30 minutes barrel-rolling and dogfighting my way through a handful of tutorial quests. Is it ready for primetime, though? Follow along after the jump to find out my E3 hands-on impressions of the highly-anticipated space action MMO.

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Jumpgate Evolution reveals playable Octavius faction

Sci-Fi, Video, Jumpgate Evolution, News Items

Jumpgate Evolution appears to finally be moving forward, as evidenced by the forum post from Lance Robertson, the game's Executive Producer. A new trailer depicting one of three playable factions has surfaced today as well, and our friends at G4TV got the exclusive.

The trailer introduces us to the militaristic Octavius faction. They've been around for at least 200 years, overcoming death, disease and the near-end of the faction, rising "from the depths of despair to the pinnacle of empire." The trailer is an interesting look at a fleet of Octavius ships from construction to deployment, ending with the battle cry, "We are Octavius!"

Follow along after the jump to take a firsthand look.

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Executive Producer of Jumpgate Evolution gives information on game's status

Sci-Fi, Jumpgate Evolution, News Items

After what feels like an endless period of silence from the developers of Jumpgate Evolution, Executive Producer Lance Robertson has delivered a surprisingly detailed forum post on the game's development.

So what's going on over there? Why all the silence and delays? Apparently, those delays are due to the extensive overhaul to the entire game: "...the team made the crucial decision to completely overhaul JGE's game systems, while also refocusing specifically on the game play experience we wanted to make: space warfare on a massive scale." Much of the game was removed completely and replaced to fit the team had in mind.

And the media blackout? "We couldn't discuss game features, because we were no longer sure what would make it into the game and what wouldn't. We couldn't talk about story, because it was being completely rewritten. There was so much that we wanted to share, but things were just at too early of a stage to discuss without the risk of disappointing you, our community. When we announce something, we ought to be as confident as possible that it will stay in the game – although in game development, there are no guarantees."

The full story is an interesting read, as it explains what has been going on with Jumpgate Evolution, and what will be happening from here on out.

Jumpgate Evolution will get you into E3 -- if you can get there

Sci-Fi, Jumpgate Evolution, Events (Real-World), News Items, Hands-On, Promotions

While it's no longer quite the circus that it once was, E3 is still kind of a big deal. Of course, the result is that it's even harder these days to get into the actual convention if you're not part of the press. For those of you who don't get the sheer enjoyment of working bizarre hours and frantically writing up press releases on three hours of sleep, the Jumpgate Evolution team is giving you a pass into the show. If you can get to the location, they'll get you in.

The team mentioned that they wanted to run a community meet-and-greet a while ago, and NetDevil has taken care of procuring a few extra passes for the fans. Unfortunately, if you're not already a registered member of the Jumpgate Evolution forums, you're out of luck -- registering now won't make you eligible for the giveaway. If you are registered, however, and you can take care of getting yourself to E3, a simple message might get you into the convention for all three days -- and give you a chance to play this anticipated game. It's a win-win!

Jumpgate Evolution team plans meet and greet at E3

Sci-Fi, Jumpgate Evolution, Events (Real-World)

News about Jumpgate Evolution was scarce for a very long time, but we're finally seeing some hopeful signs. We got a large development update earlier this year, and now it looks like fans are going to get to chat with the NetDevil team in person during E3.

There is a new poll on the Jumpgate Evolution forums asking for fan input on a meet and greet time, complete with an option for "I can't go and I hate you" (no, really). If you're going to be in the area, you definitely want to visit the poll and keep up on the scheduling, as the NetDevil crew will make it well worth your time: you'll be spending time with the NetDevil guys, of course, but you'll also get to play the game, see the very latest build, and come away with some swag.

So what are you waiting for? Check out the poll and post your preferred time.

Indian company purchases fifty percent stake in Codemasters

Fantasy, Dungeons and Dragons Online, Jumpgate Evolution, Lord of the Rings Online, MMO Industry, News Items

While some gamers in the US may not be immediately familiar with Codemasters, we know our readers across the pond will immediately recognize them as the company with the rights to publish Lord of the Rings Online, Dungeons and Dragons Online, and (the "who-knows-when-it-will-release") MMO Jumpgate Evolution overseas. With that said, last year we heard that the COO at Codemasters, Tony Williams, decided to step down from Chief Organizational Officer. Not too long after that, there were rumors that Warner Brothers was looking into buying the company. Today, it seems that a company from India called Reliance Big Entertainment has pounced, and now owns a 50% stake in Codemasters.

Apparently, Reliance Big Entertainment is very well known in India. It's subsidiary company, Zapak Digital Entertainment, owns the largest online gaming portal in the country as well. This gaming-specific company will be the one in charge of overseeing the investment in UK-based Codemasters.

As to what this could mean for MMO gamers in the EU, we'll have to wait and see. Perhaps Reliance/Zapak will see fit to close the gap in differences from the Turbine-controlled version of Lord of the Rings Online. Or perhaps this new company will finally roll the Codemasters version of Dungeons and Dragons Online over to the same free-to-play model that has been such a huge success for Turbine in the States. No matter what, this is going to be interesting to watch.

[via Joystiq]

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