NewsSpots: Chains of Olympus, FIFA 08, LOTRO, Pardo

Portable Kratos getting two demos, FIFA 08 gets new features, Tolkien MMOG gets updated, Rob Pardo speaks at movie and games conference.

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PSP God of War has two demos on the way

Kratos getting a double shot.
Kratos getting a double shot.

Two months ago, God of War: Chains of Olympus was revealed for the PlayStation Portable, in part via a viral marketing Web site, islandofrhodes.com. This week, many of those who subscribed to updates from the site received word they will be getting a special-edition demo UMD for the PSP GOW this September. Sony reps also confirmed that a second demo UMD will also be distributed, though information on when it will go out has not yet been released. For a gameplay trailer of the upcoming action adventure, check out the official Chains of Olympus' Web site.

Focus shifts to new features for FIFA 08
Tweaking the formula is what keeps annual sports games in business. This year, EA Canada will focus on gameplay features for its flagship soccer franchise, FIFA 08. Listed as part of the new feature set are improved artificial intelligence, a more realistic shooting mechanic, user-defined moves, and the inclusion of 620 rosters, 30 leagues, and more than 15,000 players. In addition to its manager mode, FIFA 08 will pack in a new mode, titled Be a Pro. Gamers will work to improve the skills of a single player on their roster, in what sounds similar to superstar mode from recent Madden iterations.

Free update headed to Lord of the Rings Online
Turbine's Tolkien-inspired massively multiplayer role-playing game is set to get its first free update come June 13. Titled Book 9: Shores of Evendim, the update adds a new region--the titular Evendim--as well as more than 100 new quests, a new raid encounter, new monster types, and a revamped music system. Turbine has planned similar free updates, to be unrolled at regular intervals. In its first month, LOTRO topped PC sales charts, followed closely by rival World of Warcraft and its expansion.

Blizzard exec speaking at Hollywood and Games Summit
As Hollywood continues to intertwine with the video game industry, conferences mingling the two are getting more attention. This year's Hollywood and Games Summit, taking place June 26-27, has landed at least one speaker sure to garner attention. Rob Pardo, vice president of game design for Blizzard Entertainment, will be speaking on how the World of Warcraft team built its multimillion-player-strong community. Also slated to speak at the conference are Jesse Alexander, coexcutive producer and writer on NBC's freshman hit Heroes, and Brent Friedman, scribe of EA's Command and Conquer 3 Tiberium Wars as well as other game, film, and TV scripts.

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