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We’re very excited to share Sarah Pennington’s latest adventure with all of you in The Secret Order: Shadow Breach. This is the seventh game in our longest-running series. One of the defining elements of The Secret Order series is taking players on spectacular adventures around our world and beyond. In Shadow Breach, players will be pitted against an ancient and mysterious force known as Odessa that has been unleashed on the world. We won’t spoil anything — we just hope that you’ll have as much fun playing Shadow Breach as we had making it!

At Sunward Games, there is a small team that focuses on creating each series. For the last two years, the same team of five has been working on games in The Secret Order series. Here’s a little information about each of us:

  • Andi is the team’s unofficial mom. Her scheduling and management skills, as well as constant communication, keep the project moving smoothly. She’s also a sports enthusiast, is training for a marathon, and has become quite skilled at pole dancing. There’s a dated misconception that pole dancing is just for gentleman’s clubs, but it’s an activity that requires immense endurance and muscular control, and there are pole dancing competitions held around the world.
  • Paty is an artist who loves dogs and horses. She’s responsible for most of the creatures that you’ll encounter in the game. She also enjoys creating characters and detailed jewelry and ornaments.
  • Dani is another artist on the team. When he’s not drawing… Wait. Dani is always drawing. He creates all sorts of content for the game, including a lot of the zooms. So, when you’re taking a close look at something, think of Dani. He also tells phenomenal jokes that only he seems to understand.
  •  Soma is the team’s programmer. He’s in charge of assembling everything together in the Spark CE engine. He seems to think in 1’s and 0’s, and his hobby is 01110000 01110010 01101111 01100111 01110010 01100001 01101101 01101101 01101001 01101110 01100111.
  •  Finally, there’s Attila. His main role is as a creative and art director, determining the look and feel of the game world. When he’s not drawing out his ideas for the series, he’s probably riding his motorcycle or doing something athletic, like basketball and CrossFit.

Aside from us, there are also other folks at Sunward who lend their skills to all of the teams as they’re needed. We couldn’t bring the game world to life without the help of our resource team.

For us, one of the most challenging parts of our work is getting inside our players’ heads. We have so many ideas about directions for the game, and it can be very difficult to decide which themes players would enjoy the most.

As a small team with a set schedule, we also have a lot of ideas for things that we’d love to add to the game, but not everything can go in. Some ideas might take too much time to implement, or there may be a technical reason that they cannot be easily added. This is probably a common issue for many game developers, and it’s important for us to be able to recognize when we should or shouldn’t add something.

I’m sure any long-term fans of the series have noticed this, but we really do love dragons. We think they are beautiful creatures and they are a constant source of inspiration for us. Don’t worry, we love the griffins too. It wouldn’t be a Secret Order game without them. In fact, we’re already hard at work laying the foundations of Sarah’s next adventure and let’s just say that we might be learning a whole lot more about a certain kingdom.

Most days, we are hard at work bringing our vision for the game to life. It takes months and months, and thousands of hours to create a game. We also manage to have a lot of fun, though. Here’s a little trivia about the team:

  • One day everyone on the team happened to wear clothes of the same color to work, so now our official team color is dark red.
  • The countryside near our office is very scenic, and sometimes the team and other members of the company will go on bike rides together.
  • After the release of The Secret Order: Bloodline, Sunward sponsored Zoia, a small jaguar at our local zoo. The team will be going to visit her after Shadow Breach releases!

We hope you’ve enjoyed learning a little bit about all of us, and we hope you’ll have a wonderful time experiencing the world of The Secret Order: Shadow Breach!

The post The Secret Order: Shadow Breach Launches May 26th appeared first on Big Fish Blog.

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The way that people meet romantic partners has changed a lot over the last couple of decades. Instead of going on blind dates set up by friends, about 36 percent of women and 56 percent of men meet potential partners on dating apps.

For many of these people, technology continues to play an important role in how they date. Video games, for instance, have become acceptable first-date activities. That shift isn’t particularly surprising considering that game developers now create more titles that target both men and women.

Anyone preparing for a first date has to wonder which video games are appropriate for the occasion. While the right decision depends on the personalities of the singles involved, there are several video games with features that make them excellent for getting to know new people.

Wii Sports

Nintendo markets “Wii Sports” as a game that’s “fun for everyone.” Statistics back up this claim. More than 50 percent of video game players say that the difficulty of “Wii Sports” is just right.

The game works well on first dates because it offers a two-player mode that lets people compete against each other. “Wii Sports” also has a lot of diverse games, so it’s easy to find something that both people will enjoy. Some of the best games that come with the “Sports” bundle include:

  • Baseball
  • Golf
  • Tennis
  • Bowling
  • Boxing

The good-natured competition of “Wii Sports” encourages daters to learn more about each others’ personalities. It’s like playing putt-putt or bowling, but no one has to pay outrageous prices for refreshments.

Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock

More than 84 percent of video game enthusiasts own “Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock.” More than 54 percent say that the game’s difficulty is just right.

The opportunity to play classic songs together, however, is what makes this game an awesome option for a first date. Songs that come with “Legends of Rock” include:

  • “Barracuda” by Heart
  • “Sabotage” by Beastie Boys
  • “Suck My Kiss” by Red Hot Chili Peppers
  • “Bulls on Parade” by Rage Against the Machine.

These are fast-paced, catchy songs that get hearts pumping.

“Legends of Rock” also captures the fun of competition. Plus, up to four people can play the game at once. That makes it a terrific game for double first dates.

Animal Crossing

Other than a new paramour, few things are as cute as cartoon animals that act like humans. Why else do people go crazy for characters like Mickey Mouse, Fievel, and Thumper?

“Animal Crossing” feels a lot like “The Sims” in that it has an open-ended plot that lets characters interact with each other. The big difference is that players get to choose anthropomorphic characters. Also, the game follows a real-world calendar that celebrates holidays like Halloween and Independence Day.

Not surprisingly, “Animal Crossing” gets great reviews from players. More than 73 percent of players give the game four or five stars.

Since “Animal Crossing” doesn’t have a plot with an ending, first dates can last as long as people want. If things aren’t going well, they can bail within an hour. If things go really well, they can keep playing all night.

Video games aren’t the right option for every first date. People who decide that they want to play video games as they get to know each other, however, better choose the right titles. Otherwise, they could face an evening of boredom or, perhaps even worse, sniping each other in a frustrated attempt to win first-person shooter games.

The post Video Games to Play on Your First Date appeared first on Big Fish Blog.

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For Endless Fables: Dark Moor, we’re very excited to immerse our players in a world inspired by classic Gaelic lore. Each game in the series has brought players face-to-face with characters and creatures from different myths and legends. For our third title, we’re breathing life into the twisted fairy-tale setting of Aberloch, a rural Scottish town.

The team behind Endless Fables is small; there are only five of us! But there are about 30 people total who work at Sunward Games. Each game series has its own small team that is fully dedicated to it. However, there are some people who help out multiple teams, such as the two fantastic VFX guys that make the scenes lively and the cutscenes amazing. We also have one engineer who ‘tunes up’ the game so it runs as smoothly as possible. There are two guys living in the 3D world creating characters and items, and we have an amazing painter who sprinkles the scenes with color. There’s a lady bewitching the Hidden Object scenes, and a veteran graphic designer who does wonders with just a pencil in the story-based Hidden Object scenes. There’s a young and cheerful programmer who assembled the Bonus Chapter in this series, and lastly, there’s a really nice and funny lady who assisted us in creating the game design documents and helps us in any way she can.

You can check the game credits to see who all was involved in the process, but here are the main people who’ve brought Dark Moor to life:

  • Máté is our art director. Out of all of us, he’s been with Sunward Games the longest. Outside of work, he enjoys canoeing and fishing (especially at the same time).
  • Tita is an artist on our team, and she might be a little obsessed with cats. (She even managed to sneak a few into this game!)
  • Gergő is our 3D wizard, and is also working on an original comic in his spare time.
  • Peti puts everything together using our game engine: Spark CE.
  • Anett is the newest member of our team and the producer for Dark Moor, who organized this “Behind the Curtain” piece.

There are some unique challenges and benefits of a team as small as ours. For example, we’ve had some team members leave during this game’s development. Everyone on the team had to pull together to keep the project moving forward while our newest member was learning about the project and their responsibilities. With only five of us working together, we are practically a family. Sometimes, we’ll even celebrate together. In fact, there’s a bottle of champagne chilling in our fridge for Dark Moor‘s release! Our close collaboration makes it so our game has some of each of us shining through within it.

The biggest influence that you may notice in our game is horror. It’s one thing that we all enjoy! Popular shows like Stranger Things and the Hannibal TV series have really inspired us. We’ve worked hard to create a suspenseful, unnerving environment. With every game we make, we’re always pushing ourselves to improve. With Dark Moor, we’ve really focused on creating ominous and beautifully detailed scenes, horrific monsters, and memorable characters.

Our art director works hard to determine the overall look and feel of the game world. He makes sure that the scenes and all of their details fit together, but all of us contribute our own ideas for the game: different interactions, settings, characters, mini-games, and so on. The whole team works together to build up this “core,” which serves as a guide for the person who writes our game design document. Deciding exactly which ideas should go into the game is always one of the hardest parts of development. Not every idea can make it into the game, which can be heartbreaking, but we are all very creative people who are always coming up with new ideas.

We’re very excited to see how players will react to Endless Fables: Dark Moor, which is set to be released April 14th, 2018. We’ve all put a lot of passion into this game, from adding little touches to the artwork to tweaking the animations and making the mini-games more challenging. And, as excited as we are about bringing the latest Endless Fables to you, our gears are already turning for Endless Fables 4!

The post Behind the Curtain – Endless Fables: Dark Moor appeared first on Big Fish Blog.

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The neighborhood arcade was one of the most popular hangouts for kids and teens. However, over the past 30 years, arcades have all but faded away because over time people could bring gaming into their own homes with ease. While video games were once only available in large, arcade-style systems, the advent of home gaming systems made games much more portable, especially as they became available for TV usage. Atari, Nintendo, and SEGA Genesis – among other systems – pushed kids further and further away from arcades and into their own homes for entertainment.

However, these days, arcades are making a return to more adult venues – bars.

What is an arcade bar?

An arcade bar is exactly what it sounds like: an entertainment venue that is part arcade, part bar. Oftentimes, these locations offer beer, wine, mixed beverages, bar food (or sometimes even a complete menu), along with an array of videos games and other entertainment features. Sometimes the games are limited to arcade-style titles, like Pac-Man or Tekken, but they often feature an array of gaming consoles from days-gone-by, like Atari, the original PlayStation, Nintendo and Super Nintendo, and more.

Why are they popular?

Simple. Data shows us the average age of gamers is 35. Arcade bars are popular because nostalgia is big and adult gamers want entertainment options outside of their own home systems. Today’s 20- and 30-somethings often miss the 80s and 90s. They want to experience old arcade video games and play them in an adult social environment.

So where can one find these arcade bars?

The answer is simple. They’re popping up all over. Below are a few notable Arcade Bars in big cities.

Cobra Arcade Bar: Phoenix, Arizona

Lauren Topor | Creative Commons

Cobra Arcade Bar features a large selection of drinks, including signature cocktails, craft beers, and fine wines. The owner boasts one of the best selections of vintage arcade games available anywhere, with titles like Frogger and Galaga as headliners.

Barcade: New York, New York

Wikipedia | Creative Commons

The name does not disappoint at Barcade: it really is half bar, half arcade, and it’s actually a chain of several venues across New York, with one in Philadelphia. The drink selection includes craft beers, and the game selection includes hits like Donkey Kong and Tapper. Barcade also features a patio area to relax between games.

Shorty’s: Seattle, Washington

Soe Lin | Creative Commons

This historic building was nearly bulldozed but was thankfully saved at the last minute and converted into an arcade bar for gamers’ enjoyment. The bar is complete with cocktails, beer, and gourmet hot dogs. Friday includes a happy hour with $6 mixed drink specials, and games include several versions of pinball alongside other classics like Taxi.

If you don’t live in one of these cities and really want to relive the arcade experience, don’t fret. Do a simple Google search for “Arcade Bars in (insert city)”, there could be one closer to you than you realize.

The post The Rise of Arcade Bars and Where to Find Them appeared first on Big Fish Blog.

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