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SA animation up for International Emmy

Zog, an animated movie created by Cape Town’s Triggerfish Studios, has been nominated for an International Emmy.

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Zog has already won Best Animation at the Shanghai International TV Festival and the Audience Award for ages 3-6 at the New York International Children’s Film Festival.

Co-directed by two-time Oscar nominee Max Lang (The Gruffalo and Room On The Broom) and multi-award-winning South African Daniel Snaddon (Stick Man), Zog is competing against Grizzy and the Lemmings (France), Jorel’s Brother (Brazil), and Lamput (India). The winner will be announced on 31 March 2020 in Cannes, France. 

“We’re delighted,” says Stuart Forrest, CEO of Triggerfish. “We hope this latest nomination encourages more South Africans to try out animation, using our free digital learning platform and upcoming 10-second animation competition.”

Zog is the keenest but clumsiest pupil in his class at Dragon School, where he longs to win a gold star as he learns how to fly, roar and breathe fire. He keeps meeting a kindly young girl who patches up his bumps and bruises, but can she help him with his trickiest school assignment yet: capturing a princess?

The short film is based on Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s 2010 picture book, which sold over 1.5-million copies and won the Galaxy National Children’s Book of the Year Award in the UK.

Hugh Skinner (Fleabag) plays the clumsy dragon; 2019 Olivier award winner Patsy Ferran (Jamestown) is the kindly young girl; Kit Harington (Jon Snow in Game of Thrones) is the bumbling knight Sir Gadabout; Sir Lenny Henry (Broadchurch) is the narrator; and Tracey Ullman is Madame Dragon.

The film premiered on BBC last Christmas to five-star reviews, 8.8m viewers and the highest share (37%) of any programme across Christmas week on British television. In South Africa, the short premiered at The Cape Town International Animation Festival in March 2019 and on Showmax in August.

It is the fourth in a string of BBC Christmas adaptations animated by Triggerfish for Magic Light, following the multi-award-winning Donaldson-Scheffler adaptations Stick Man (2015) and The Highway Rat (2017), as well as the Oscar-nominated Roald Dahl adaptation Revolting Rhymes (2016), which also won the International Emmy in 2018.  

Zog is available to stream on Showmax.

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Biking game Descenders gets physical

Extreme downhill biking game Descenders is set to get a physical release on PS4 and Nintendo Switch.

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Sold Out games has announced that it has partnered with No More Robots to release the physical version of extreme downhill biking game Descenders on Nintendo Switch and PlayStation 4, which will release with the digital versions on these formats this year.

From the developers of Action Henk, Descenders is extreme downhill mountain biking, with procedurally generated worlds where mistakes have real consequences.

No More Robots provided the following information on features

  • Procedurally generated worlds: Take on different jumps, slopes and hillbombs every time you play
  • Freestyle bike controls: Control every subtle movement of your rider, with an in-depth physics system made for slick whips and scrubs
  • Rogue-Bike: Earn special mutators each time you play, and work out which abilities work best for your riding style
  • Build your Rep: A fully-featured online Rep system lets you show off your worth, and earn new bikes and threads
  • Fully licensed soundtrack: Partnering with drum & bass label Liquicity to deliver the perfect soundtrack for hitting the mountains
  • Become the next Descender: Can you survive the game in a single run, and reach the ranks of the legendary Descenders?

“We’re extremely excited to work with Sold Out on the retail releases for Descenders,” says Mike Rose, Company Director at No More Robots. “Our players have been begging us for a physical release for a while now, so getting to work with Sold Out on a worldwide retail release is essentially fulfilling a long-standing dream for all of us.”

Garry Williams, CEO of Sold Out, says: “Descenders is an awesome fast-paced game which players love on digital platforms, so we’re thrilled to be partnering with No More Robots to release the physical editions on PS4 and Nintendo Switch at retail.”

Descenders will be available physically and digitally on PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch in later in 2020. Look out for more information to be announced soon at https://www.descendersgame.com/

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Get ’90s horror throwback with Song of Horror

Song of Horror is set for an alarming 2020, with the fourth and penultimate chapter, called The Last Concert, launching on 30 January.

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In an era where first-person, jumpscare-based horror games are the norm, Song of Horror brings back the atmosphere of classic horror games like Alone in the Dark, Resident Evil and Silent Hill. While the settings may seem familiar, what players won’t expect is the unfathomable entity known as The Presence, who adapts and reacts to the way they play.

Lose against this unpredictable adversary, and the character will die permanently. As fans progress through each new episode, the tension of potentially losing more characters increases.

The fourth (and biggest) episode of Song of Horror, The Last Concert, continues its nostalgic journey through the classics of the genre. This time, it takes inspiration from Frictional Games’ celebrated modern horror adventure Amnesia: The Dark Descent, bringing players to the most haunted area of the game: St. Cecilia’s Abbey. How many characters will survive this holy place, now tainted by the influence of The Presence?

The intricate design of St. Cecilia’s Abbey, made by real architects, immerse players in a chapter that takes more than 8 hours to finish – for context, three times bigger than the main location of the first episode.

In this part of the story, players can:

  • Discover what happened to the monks of the macabre St. Cecilia’s Abbey after interpreting the cursed song, while facing the diverse manifestations of The Presence, now more powerful than before.
  • Experience a new narrative structure: Explore St Cecilia’s Abbey from different starting points depending on which character is chosen.
  • Experience more than 8 hours of exploration-based play in the biggest episode to date.
  • Say hello to another new character: Ernest Finnegan, a renowned archaeologist past his glory days and a dear friend of Husher. After finding out how dangerous the Abbey is, and haunted by his own guilt for leaving Husher alone, he is now looking to help his close acquaintance to survive his current predicament.
  • Returning characters will join the adventure depending on who you played with and who survived in previous chapters.

“We’re in the final stretch, and Episode 4 ramps the tension up somewhat – just as you might expect,” says Carlos Grupeli, founder of Protocol Games, the studio behind Song of Horror. “It’s an emotional time for the studio. After two cracks at Kickstarter and a fair few more humps in the road along the way, everything is coming together. There’s still so much more to come, too. We have the fifth and final episode coming in just a couple of months, and then PlayStation 4 and Xbox One gamers can take on the entire game in one run when it hits console later in the year.”

The first episode of Song of Horror can be picked up on Steam today for $8/€8/£7, while the second and third and fourth can either be purchased individually for $8/€8/£7, or as part of the Season Pass that will also unlock the final episode at launch for $22/€22/£19.

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