George Bernard Shaw us reputed to have said that America and England are "two nations divided by a common language." That's true, but it's not just our respective versions of English that are different--our music, our sports, our TV shows, our release dates for games... The list goes on. It's because of differences like those that SCEA and developer Relentless felt it necessary to go the extra mile when localizing the European version of Buzz! The Mega Quiz for North America. We recently had an opportunity to check out the fruits of this labor at an event in Chicago, and can report that while the gameplay is identical, the questions (and one or two of the accents) have changed quite significantly for the North American release.
In case you're not familiar with the Buzz series, which has been selling millions in Europe and Australia since 2005, the games consist of interactive TV-style game shows in which up to eight contestants test their wits and their fingers against one another. Each controller comprises enough buzzers for four players and plugs into one of the console's USB ports. Each buzzer is composed of a large red button used for "buzzing in" in speed-based rounds, and four colored, rectangular buttons that are used to answer multiple-choice questions. The "show" is hosted by the titular Buzz--an occasionally amusing and always over-the-top character voiced by Jason Donovan, who, if you're reading this in North America, there's a good chance you've never heard of.
The Buzz game show features a number of quite varied rounds that changes according to what length of game you opt for. Carnival-style minigames randomly pop up in between the trivia rounds, tasking you with shooting at ducks or betting on model horses, for example. The questions--which occasionally reference images or audio--span all of the usual genres that you'd expect from a general knowledge quiz, including celebrities, music, TV shows, movies, and sports. In the European game, there were over 6,000 questions that made sense for that audience, but a considerable number of them simply wouldn't have worked for North America. So in the new version you'll be answering questions about football and baseball rather than about soccer and cricket, for example, and the music will be the kind of stuff that gets playtime on American radio rather than on the BBC.
Questions aside, the differences between the North American and European versions of Buzz! The Mega Quiz are negligible. There are now 14 rather than 16 playable characters to choose from. One of those characters, Rose, is now voiced by a different actress, and the game show's announcer is now voiced by Rodger Bumpass, who plays Squidward in SpongeBob SquarePants and has previously lent his talent to such games as Ratchet & Clank: Going Commando, Command & Conquer: Renegade, X-Men Legends, and, of course, SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom.
Buzz! The Mega Quiz is currently scheduled for release in North America this fall. The stand-alone game will sell for around $30, while $40 will get you the game with a set of four buzzers--which is necessary to play the game. We'll bring you more information on Buzz: The Mega Quiz as soon as it becomes available.