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Z2Live's Metalstorm: Online is going to get a makeover. We caught up with Lou Fasulo, COO of Z2Live, at PAX 2011 to check out a preview of Metalstorm: Wingman which is more than an update. The first of several chapters will be unveiled soon for iOS and include a new story, new games, and new modes.
The game introduces the "wingman", your aid in battle. You get to choose your wingman for each mission from your friends list. And although they won't be actively playing with you in real time, they get credit for the mission. Since you'll want to pick the players with the best scores, everyone on your friends list will be pushing to be their best…including you.
New planes will be introduced as well, and Fasulo said that some of these planes will take the Metalstorm technology into the future. The planes we saw not only had some neat features, but great graphics. There are three new swipes for maneuvering your plane as well. Barrel roll to the right and left, 90 degree up, and 180 degree over so you don't have to tilt the screen to get the same effect.
Another cool feature added is Apple Airplay. Because Airplay Mirroring displays anything that appears on your iPad onto your TV screen via the latest Apple TV, Mac Mini, or HDMI cable, you can now use your iPad as a gamepad of sorts while viewing the graphics in full on your TV.
Right now there is a campaign mode, a co-op (survival) mode, and 1v1 mode with voice chat. But Z2Live is intending on expanding the modes available, and is already considering 2v2 and free for all. The game will be launched as a freemium title with in-app purchases for in-game currency used to upgrade planes and add ammo.
Fasulo had some creative ideas that the company can't disclose yet about the game, but he did say that they will continue to create more content in the form of planes, episodes, and more. Demand coming from the community is very important, he said.
Z2Live launched their first title, Trade Nations, in 2010 onto the App Store. Playable on both iPhone/iPod touch and iPad, Trade Nations takes the concepts of Farmville to a much friendlier level. You'll grow your village into large cities, harvest resources, and create goods, but trading goods and services with your friends is not required to do so…only to make things go faster or larger.
We checked out the recently released update to Trade Nations which included a Far East component. Now you can trade pandas, grow cherry trees, and build Zen Gardens among other things. The gold and XP bonus cap was increased as well.
Game Center support is also coming soon to Trade Nations. Adding Game Center represented a challenge to Z2Live, because Apple allows you to change your name at any time. Z2Live had to find a way to keep names connected with accounts within the game.
Lastly, Z2Live announced that they were launching Battle Nations in the fall. They call it an empire builder…think economic sim meets strategy. The game will use a totally new engine from Trade Nations and is intended for higher end devices using OpenGL 2.0 and above because of the richer graphics. You'll be able to play PvP and co-op within the game, as well as there being a single-player campaign. Because the game is at in-house beta, all we got to see was an opening page screen shot.
Z2Live is also known for their Play2Change initiative in which purchasing virtual wells in-game translates into purchasing real wells in developing nations that need clean drinking water. To date, players have purchased 5300 virtual wells, equating to 5 real ones helping approximately 2000 people.
Fasulo admits that he didn't think that the iPad was much of a device for serious gaming in the beginning. But he says the first time he hooked it up to his television and started using the iPad as a controller, that, "Changed everything". He really felt it turned the iPad into more of a social device for gaming, providing not just a mechanism for playing the game, but for communicating with other gamers at the same time.