One of The Weiner’s favorite developers, 5th Cell, is apparently announcing something cool on Friday. The announcement will be an IGN exclusive for the five minutes before it hits the interwebs, but there is currently no stated time for the big reveal. 5th Cell aren’t saying any more than that the new project is “innovative, engaging and completely unique”. That rules out Drawn To Life: Monty Python Edition or Hurley’s Quest. More on this one as we get it.
Tale of DesperNo November 25, 2008
Edit: Tale of Desperaux, an apparent movie tie-in, has been cancelled by the developer. No word on why, but it looks like your desperauxtion shall go unanswered.
KOTOR MMORPG Combat To Be A Graceful Dance November 10, 2008
At least according to BioWare, anyway. The team is looking for versimilitude with the movie, including the detailed, almost choreographed combat sequences. In an interview with videogaming247, BioWare co-founder Greg Zeschuk described classic Star Wars fights as “. . . elegant; it’s big, powerful moves and lightning bolts flashing, but in a way that makes sense visually and aesthetically.”
Some sites, notably Kotaku and Destructoid, are skeptical. They note, and rightly so, that one of the weaknesses of the prequels was the overly-rehearsed lightsaber duels at the expense of thing like, say, dialogue. I, for one, doubt that BioWare is ever going to skimp in the writing department. I suspect the combat will be similar to the pause-and-play back-and-forth of the original KOTOR, with some modern flourished befitting the five-plus years since that game’s release. We’ll know more in the weeks and months to come.
It seems like Square is starting to understand that even their remake-happy fans aren’t going to buy a straight port of a decade-old game.
Siliconera is reporting that Chrono Trigger DS will have yet another ending, this one a DS exclusive. There will also be at least one new dungeon and a monster arena. This goes against previous information that Square wasn’t adding value to their upcoming $39.99 title.
Chrono Trigger DS will be released in the US on November 22.
Preview: The New XBox Live Experience November 4, 2008
Are you experienced? As Jimi rock and rolls in his grave, Microsoft prepares to roll out their “New XBox Live Experience” on November 19th. First announced and shown at E3, the NXLE is essentially a giant Dashboard update, which means that ready or not, it is coming to your system in two weeks. In response to a “can I keep my old system?” FAQ, Microsoft replies, in near-Orwellian fashion:
“Why would you want to? The New Xbox Experience is the same experience you had before and so much more! As a matter fact, the blades that people have come to know and love are integrated directly in to the guide button so that every aspect of the Xbox experience is always only one button click away. The new Xbox experience is built with community as its foundation and requires everyone to upgrade.”
Microsoft is touting NXLE as the “ultimate social entertainment experience”. Apparently concerts, clubs, coffeeshops, and the like are done for good. But enough of slagging on the change for change’s sake. What’s new?
First up, move over Miis. Avatars are here. Immediately after downloading the new interface you will be asked to create an avatar, which will take the place of your gamerpic and will be used in games ranging from Scene It! to . . . Scene It! 2.
Next comes Themes 2.0. This PS3 Home-esque feature gives you your own little piece of virtual real estate. Each graphic you see in a theme ties into the overall effect, and there are rumors of purchaseable theme items for that “special touch”. People with friends can invite them into the Friends Channel to host an avatar party, complete with dressup dolls and pudgy unicorns. Ok, I made that last part up. Still love your Penny Arcade blades theme? Microsoft assures us that we won’t lose our old gamerpics and themes, but as of this writing, they “haven’t given out specifics about how your Gamerpics and Themes will be used when the update launches”.
One of the biggest new features, both in terms of impact and hard disk space, is the new Netflix on Demand feature. If this works like the PC version, XBox Live users will be able to watch any of thousands of movies on their large shiny TVs without having to wait for a disc to arrive in the mail. This feature requires membership in the Netflix unlimited subscription plan and, I’d imagine, sufficient hard disk space to store the data. This should become interesting to Comcast subscribers, who have a shiny new bandwidth cap.
Where does this leave “Arcade” and “Core System” users? Microsoft states that “to download the update, Xbox LIVE members will need to have at least 128MB of memory available. However, we recommend having a hard drive for the best experience.” Right. So upgrade now, folks, lest ye be judged.
All in all, I think that some of these changes are decent. The streamlined interface will be nice after the learning curve, and avatars look fun, if useless. The big draw is really Netflix, and we won’t know how well that actually works after launch. Here’s hoping they can keep the system up longer than Sony has of late with Little Big Planet.
Beatles Rock Band Compatibility is Questionable November 3, 2008
Curiouser and curiouser. More details keep leaking out in the wake of last week’s announcement. Today’s snippet comes from Joystiq, who reports that MTV Games won the Beatles video game licensing duel because they showed “more flexibility” than Guitar Hero publisher Activision Blizzard. By “flexibility”, they mean “willingness to not brand the game as ‘Rock Band’ or ‘Guitar Hero’. Apparently the Beatles are still worried about name recognition.
Beatles Announcement a Bust? October 30, 2008
It looks like yesterday’s OMGs may have been a bit premature. Yes, there will be a Beatles music game. Yes, it will use Rock Band instruments. But it is NOT a Rock Band expansion pack ala’ Guitar Hero: Aerosmith. It is also at least a year away.
You can check out the full text of the press release over at Kotaku.
OMG OMG OMG Beatles! October 29, 2008
As per Kotaku, MTV Games and Apple Corps, who holds the right to the Beatles’ catalog, are holding a press conference tomorrow to announce “an exclusive agreement to develop a global music project.”
Rock Band Beatles, anyone?
Fallout 3 Amazon Fallout October 28, 2008
Did you pre-order the Amazon exclusive Fallout 3 Survival Edition? I did, back in September. Did you receive it today, on release day? I didn’t, and neither did hundreds of other people.
According to the Fallout 3 user forums, Amazon vastly underestimated the amount of Survival Edition’s they’d need, and took too many pre-orders. As a result, some people had their orders cancelled today, along with a $20 “don’t hate us!” gift certificate from Amazon. Who had their orders cancelled? Not the late-orderers; folks who pre-ordered the Survival Edition as late as last week received the game today, while some of the earliest pre-orderers were left in the lurch.
But wait, there’s more. Of those who were lucky enough to actually *get* the Survival Edition, most did not receive it today, on the day of release. People who pre-ordered in the last two weeks were given Amazon’s new option of “guaranteed day of release”, but everyone who ordered the game before that and paid extra for one-day shipping (that would be me) will not receive their order until tomorrow at the earliest.
Way to go, Amazon. I will think long and hard before I take you up on one of your “Special Offers” again.
Preview: Star Wars: The Old Republic October 25, 2008
This week Bioware finally let out some details about the worst-kept secret in PC video games: that their secret MMORPG project is related to their hit title, Knights of the Old Republic.
Welcome to SWTOR, or “Swatter”, as we shall pronounce it.
The new game, is set 3,500 years before the rise of Darth Vader, and 300 years after your adventures as Revan in the original KOTOR. Players will be thrust into a world where the real Sith Empire has finally emerged from hiding on the fringes of the galaxy and delivered a major defeat to the Republic. While the two sides are technically at peace, it’s clear that a new war between the Republic and the Empire is in the offing.
The Galactic Republic stood for generations as a bastion of peace in a galaxy of warring star systems. Protected by its stalwart Jedi guardians, the Republic held the greatest hope for the progress of civilization and galactic unity.
Deep in unknown space, however, a mighty Sith Empire was forged, led by dark Sith Lords who dreamt of galactic domination and vengeance against their ancient Jedi enemies. After centuries of preparation, the time came for the Sith to make their return.
Bioware’s official website is sparse on details, without even an expect ship timeframe or base system requirements. All we can do at the moment is oogle at the pretty concept pictures hosted at the site.