Category Archives: News

Ryan Payton Leaves Microsoft To Start Own Studio

Source – Kotaku

Ryan Payton was the creative director at 343 Industries, a subsidiary of Microsoft Studio, working on the next Halo game. He left the company altogether citing the lack of passion for the project and the desire to create a game that he wanted to make. In his CEDEC talk he straight out says the reason he is leaving Microsoft is that the direction of Halo 4 was not going the way he idealised (although he still thinks it turn out to be good game). Not a big deal as there are plenty of passionate people at 343 Industries but it is a blow hearing that Microsoft were not willing to make a creative gamble with this pivotal game for the Halo franchise, the first not made by original developers Bungie Studios.

Now this is a guy who started as a former writer at EGM that got a job in Japan working as an assistant producer on MGS 4 at Kojima Productions. Working directly with Kojima he was responsible for introducing western game design sensibilities to the Metal Gear series which made MGS 4 much more accessible to a global audience while keeping the stealth option. I started to follow his work when he did the the Kojima Production Report, a podcast about all things going on at the company.

After reading the article my admiration for the guy has skyrocketed, this is a guy with great integrity. I learned things I never knew about him and all the terrible things that he has gone through in his personal life. You just have to admire a guy who is creatively motivated and wants to make crazy ambitious games that advance the industry. I look forward to what he does at his new company Camouflaj.

Thoughts on EA Sports Season Ticket

EA announced today the launch of their EA Sports subscription program called EA Sports Season Ticket. For USD$25 or 2000 Microsoft points you get early access to 5 EA Sports games 3 days before release as a digital download, which will expire on retail release but all achievements and progress will carry over if you decide to buy a retail copy. The 5 sport games franchises involved are Madden, Fifa, NCAA, Tiger Woods PGA Tour and NHL. The other features of the program are 20% off DLC, free premium web content and membership recognition.

EA have teamed up with game retailer GameStop to market the program and keep intact the dicey relationship between publishers and retailers as digital downloads become more common. Having the early access full digital download expire on retail release is a concession to retailers but sooner or later we’ll see digital downloads day and date for new releases on consoles.

The question now for consumers like me is whether or not I would pay 25 USD for 3 days of early access. For me I only regularly play and buy FIFA and $25 is a steep price to pay for early access and the other features. But I do occasionally rent or pick up way later the Tiger Woods and NHL games and enjoy playing those games. I can see playing the full game of both of theses for 3 days and picking them up way later when they are discounted. So right now I’m unsure of whether I would subscribe to this program but it will mostly hinge on how badly I want to play the next FIFA early.

As for the ramifications of this I can see this being implemented with other multiplayer heavy games with regular releases such as the Battlefield or Call of Duty series. I think this a good idea that caters to the diehard competitive fans and has little effect on everyone else. As long as the multiplayer matching system correctly filters out the experienced players from the inexperienced it shouldn’t have too much of an effect on the multiplayer environment for regular players. I can already see the comments that are going to pop up as people decry this as another EA cash grab but what these people don’t understand is that fans will gladly pay the extra money to play the game early and be more involved in the game ecosystem.

Nintendo Cuts 3DS Price by 32% to USD$170

Just 4 months after the release of the 3DS, Nintendo has cut the price by USD$80 effective from August 12th. This was a necessary move for Nintendo as they have been struggling to get people to buy the system after having such great success with the Nintendo DS. With the PSP Vita tentatively coming out at the end of the year for $250 it was expected that a price cut would be made this year but it has come a few month earlier than expected.

Now all Nintendo need to do is to step up the release of quality games from themselves and third party developers. They needed to get the system in more hands so that developers have a greater audience to sell to, which is what the price cuts aims to do but people will still be hesitant if the games aren’t there.

Existing owners (830,000 in America), who Nintendo will automatically register into the Ambassador program, will be able to download 10 NES VC games and 10 Game Boy Advance VC games from the Nintendo eShop for free as part of their early adoption of the Nintendo 3DS. The selection of GBA games are very attractive with Metroid Fusion, Yoshi’s Island, Super Mario Advance 3, Mario Kart Super Circuit, WarioWare, and Mario vs. Donkey Kong all exclusive to those in the Ambassador program. I would love to have these games on my system to play at any time and I’m kind of tempted to buy a 3DS so that I could be part of the program since Nintendo are saying that they have no plans to make these games available to the general public.

Press Release Link (http://www.nintendo.com/corp/nintendo3ds/news/)

Mega Man Legends 3 Canceled – More 3DS Woes for Capcom

Link: Official Announcement (Capcom Unity Blog)

Now this is sad news for Mega Man Legends fans and 3DS owners, Capcom has decided to discontinue development of Megaman Legends 3 (both the prototype and full release) citing inability to meet certain criteria for the company. In the FAQ following the short statement Capcom said that this was not related to Keiji Inafune’s departure from Capcom earlier this year.

Speculating on the reasons as to why it was canceled, one of the big reasons would be the current state of the 3DS which is not selling to expectations just 3 or 4 months after it’s release. Second reason may be shifting resources from 3DS development to other platforms after the poor sales of recently released Resident Evil Mercenaries. Or it could be that neither of these reasons were major factors and instead the game was not good enough or too ambitious for the platform. Whatever the reason this is more troubling news for Capcom, garnering additional negative attention after their permanent save debacle in Resident Evil Mercenaries. It is also one less game to look forward to on the already slim lineup of games for the 3DS.

E3 2011 Video Roundup

Nintendo Official Videos

Electronic Arts Official Videos

Ubisoft Official Videos

Playstation Blog

 Other Videos

E3 2011 Nintendo – 3DS Games Galore and Wii Successor Revealed (Wii U)

 

 

 

At Nintendo’s E3 2011 press conference today Nintendo made a number of surprising announcements, much of which we already knew due to rumours over the last few weeks. But no one predicted the full scope and innovation of Nintendo’s approach to their next console. Appealing to core and casual consumers while maintaining the Wii brand they seem to have satisfied the skeptics doubting Nintendo’s future.

The biggest surprise to me is the use of the current Wii Remotes, it seems multiplayer games will be designed with one person holding the tablet while others use Wii Remotes. People who have had time to demo the system commented on the surprising comfort (light and easy to hold) of the tablet controller and fun while playing the various tech demos showing off new game play ideas and possibilities. Disappointments are the lack of other Wii game announcements (or English ports of Japanese games such as Last Story) or more  third-party games on the 3DS but the conference isn’t over yet and often more information trickles out over the week. Third party game developer support is not a problem for the Wii U with plenty of developers on board intially bringing out ports of 360/PS3 games such as Batman Arkham City and Assassin’s Creed Revelations.

Zelda Games

  • Legend of Zelda 25th Anniversary Celebration – Orchestra Worldwide Tour
  • Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures – Free for DSi owners
  • Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening – Out on the Nintendo eShop
  • Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword – Out at the end of this year

3DS Games Announced

  • Luigi’s Mansion 2 – Developed by Next Level Games.
  • Super Mario 3D – 3D mario platformer but with 2D gameplay elements.
  • Mario Kart – Underwater and air sequences, Retro Studios helping with development.
  • Kid Icarus Uprising – 3 on 3 multiplayer announced.
  • Star Fox 64 3D
  • Tekken 3D, Animal Crossing 3DS, Super Smash Bros, Lego City Stories.
  • Potential – Kirby, Rhythm Heaven, Paper Mario, Mario Party sequels.

Wii Successor Announced – Wii U

  • SPECS – Touchpad controller 6.2 inch in addition to traditional controls, camera, accelerometer, microphone, speakers, 1080P, HDMI, IBM designed CPU (same architecture as Watson), SD and USB HDD support.
  • Features – Backwards compatible with Wii games and all controllers (Wii Remote, balance board), full HD graphics, video calls, web surfing, stream content to and from tablet controller.
  • Wii U Games Teased – Super Mario Bros Mii, New HD Zelda, Super Smash Brothers, and various tech demos.
  • Third Party Wii U Games – Lego City Stories, Darksiders 2, Batman Arkham City, Tekken, Assassin’s Creed Revelations, Ghost Recon Online, DIRT, Alien Colonial Marines, Metro Last Light and Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor’s Edge. Various EA Sports games and potentially Battlefield and Army of Two.
  • Onboard Third Party Developers – EA, Ubisoft, Warner Bros Interactive, THQ, Irrational Games, Namco Bandai, Sega and Tecmo Koei.

E3 2011 Sony Press Conference – PS Vita, Bioshock Infinite Move Support and PS Branded TV

Here is a list PS3 games and features announced today at Sony’s Press Conference for E3 2011. After a montage of games and Playstation properties, the event started with Jack Trenton CEO of SCEA first apologizing about the recent PSN outage. 3D, Playstation Move and the PS Vita are all heavily showcased with the big news that the PS Vita will be USD$249/299 for Wi-Fi/3G model.

  • Already announced games featured – Uncharted 3 (release date 1st November 2011), Resistance 3, NBA 2K12 (Move Support), Infamous 2, Starhawk, Bioshock Infinite and Star Trek.
  • 3D Game Remasterings – God of War Origins Collections and Ico and Shadow of Colossus Collection.
  • Playstation Branded 3D Monitor announced – 24 Inch screen with unique feature of allowing split screen co-op games to display a full screen for each player. USD $499 for monitor, 3D glasses, HDMI cable and Resistance 3.
  • Bioshock Infinite – Move support and Bioshock 1 pack-in. Also a Bioshock on NGP teased.
  • More Core Games Move Support – Bioshock Infinite, Saint’s Row The Third, Star Trek and better move support for LBP 2.
  • EA’s PS3 Exclusive Game Content – SSX (Mount Fuji exclusive level), Need for Speed on the Run exclusive cars and Battlefield 3 comes with Battlefield 1943 pack-in.
  • New Games Announced – Sly Cooper Thieves in Time, Medieval Moves: Deadman’s Quest from the developer of Sports Champions and  Dust 514 (Playstation exclusive MMO FPS from Eve Online developer CCP Games).
  • NGP Name Announced Playstation Vita – Rumours are true the official name of the NGP is the Playstation Vita. AT&T announced as exclusive 3G partner in the US. More than 80 titles in development. Out this year, wifi model $249 and 3G model for $299.
  • PS Vita Games Shown – Uncharted Golden Abyss, Ruin (action RPG, loot based, social features, PS3 compatibility and cloud saving), ModNation Racers (easy track creation, access to user generated content), Little Big Planet (game changer, easy to create levels or game types utilising all the features of the PS Vita), and Street Fighter X Tekken (Cole from infamous is a playable character).

E3 2011 Microsoft Announcements Round-Up – Halo 4, Ryse and Lots of Kinect Supported Games

Here is a list of notable announcements and details of Xbox 360 games and features announced today at Microsoft’s Press Conference for E3 2011 (plus a couple features revealed later on Major Nelson’s Blog).

  • Already announced games featured Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3, Tomb Raider, Mass Effect 3 (Kinect voice support, dialogue and squad commands), Ghost Recon Future Soldier (Kinect support for all future Tom Clancy games), Gears of War 3, Forza 4, Star Wars Kinect
  • EA sports games to get Kinect Support – Tiger Woods PGA Tour, Madden, Fifa and one other.
  • New Game AnnouncementRyse for Crytek, a Kinect game set during the Roman Empire era.
  • New Halo games announcedHalo 1 remake 10 year anniversary and Halo 4.
  • New Game Announcement – Fable: The Journey, on rail magic shooter just for Kinect.
  • Other New Games Announced – Kinect Sports Season 2, Sesame Street: Once Upon a Monster, Disneyland Adventures, and Dance Central 2.
  • New Dashboard with graphical and functional improvements. Search support with universal Bing search capability, youtube, live TV (i.e. UFC) capabilities, more Kinect support, Beacon feature (more streamlined game invite system) and the big one cloud support for game saves and profiles.

Playstation Store Back Up – More Free Games

The PS Store is back up today and immediately when you boot it up you’ll see the free PS+ games for download and the big surprise is Burnout Paradise. Since all PSN member get a free month of PS+ it is available to all members but access to the free games will disappear if you do not choose to renew your PS+ membership. The free games right now are (For EU & AUS regions):

  • Burnout Paradise
  • Magic The Gathering – Duels of the Planeswalkers
  • PAIN
  • Streets of Rage 2
  • And the PS One game James Pond 2
  • And a couple of PS Minis, The 2D Adventure of Rotating Octopus and BABEL The King of Blocks.
It is a nice surprise considering this is in addition to the Welcome Back Program detailed last week.
I have Burnout Paradise on the XBOX360 as well as Streets of Rage 2 but they are such great games that I’m looking forward to playing them again. The Magic game is one that I’ve been wanting to pick up being a Magic CCG player back in the day. PAIN is one that I’ve never considered picking up but what I played in a demo way back was fun enough to warrant trying it out. I know nothing about the James Pond series but I’m curious to see what sort of game it is. And as always there are a bunch of wallpapers and avatars free to download in addition to whatever PS+ offers were up before the PSN downtime.

5 Games We Will Learn More About at E3

The Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) opens on the 7th June, just over a week away and here’s 5 games I’m looking forward to learning more about. All of them will be released at the end of the year around November and all are the 3rd game in a franchise.

Assassin’s Creed Revelations continues Ubisoft’s tradition of a new AC game every year and this one is the third in the Ezio trilogy starting with AC2 followed by AC Brotherhood. Ezio will be much older in this game and will be climbing around this time in Constantinople. Multiplayer will also return hoping to expand on the innovative experience that debuted in the last game.

Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3 continues the Modern Warfare offshoot, this time going global with recognisable landmarks and cityscapes. Preview impressions of the single player side of the game are already up at many gaming websites, but most people are waiting to hear how multiplayer has changed.

My most anticipated game of the year Uncharted 3 will be shown and will probably show off more of the graphical innovations from their desert setting. I looking forward to hearing more about the story and what historical/mythical legend is being pursued by Nathan Drake and his buddies.

Resistance is back with Resistance 3 after a 3 year development cycle hoping to bring more excitement and polish that was lacking in Resistance 2. The unique 8-player co-op mode from Resistance 2 is dropped, and more focus is put on the competitive multiplayer and the story mode.

Battlefield 3 is the the long awaited sequel to the main Battlefield series instantly garnering attention with its gorgeous visuals. Looking forward to hearing about what new gameplay and multiplayer features are being introduced.