Late Night Consoling

By Chris Remo, Sep 15, 2005 8:32pm PDT Anybody who has sent me an email since 4PM yesterday, please re-send it. My email account was out of commission.

Man, I'm exhausted. Too many press events lately. I keep falling asleep at my computer. But hey, how about that Sam & Max game news, huh?

Previews coming soon. I've been writing nonstop today, as you have probably noticed, so please bear with me. Links to the major sites' TGS coverage are in the Misc. Q&As/Features section, and you can find plenty of previews there.

  • Revolution Controller Unveiled

    [nintendo]

    Well, it's still not in its final form, but a work in progress version of the wireless-only Nintendo Revolution controller has been shown by Nintendo's Shigeru Miyamoto. GameSpot Hardware has a detailed report of their hands-on impressions. Like the Revolution console itself, it does not look like the type of product Nintendo is known for producing. It is a sleek, shiny, iPod-white device that more than anything else looks like a remote control. The main component of the controller is held in one hand, and consists of a d-pad, an A button, a B shoulder button, Start and Select buttons, and a Home button (hinting at some kind of OS or media functionality in Revolution?). Rather ingeniously, when rotated 90 degrees, the controller becomes an old-school-esque controller with a d-pad on the left and A and B buttons on the right. The controller also features LED lights indicating whether it is being used by player 1, 2, 3, or 4. Unsurprisingly, it also features built-in rumble technology.

    So what do you do with your other hand (ok, besides that, har har)? Well, the controller has a port in the bottom to which you hook up a corded secondary component to be held in the other hand. Only one possible configuration--an analog stick with two trigger buttons--was on display, but Miyamoto promised there would be more; in fact, it will even be possible to hook up an entirely new controller configuration if needed.

    Control itself will make use of some kind of spacial movement recognition. The controller will understand movement in all six directions (up, down, left, right, forward, backward) as well as rotation clockwise and counter-clockwise. So, for example, in a first person shooter, moving the controller around will actually aim the crosshairs on the screen. A modified version of Metroid Prime 2: Echoes was used to demonstrate this. GameSpot likens it to a PC FPS experience, with the right hand moving around to aim and the left hand used for moving (though obviously by way of an analog stick rather than WASD).

    Other uses of the controller as described in the article include controlling a plane by way of actually holding the controller like a paper airplane and guiding it around. There was also an air hockey game in which the player can put spin on the puck through a turn of the wrist.

    As noted, the device has still yet to reach its final form, but GameSpot provides a pretty thorough look at the type of gameplay it will be capable of. In a shorter article, GameSpot notes that "despite its unorthodox appearance, the Revolution controller has a comfortable feel."

    IGN has an overview up, this one a bit more succinct. IGN also wrote, surprisingly quickly, a feature hypothesizing many possible gameplay implementations for the controller. There's also a summary from Game Informer.

    Now that this particular cat is out of the bag, it will be interesting to see how Nintendo plans to follow up on the software side. In addition to the growing list of publishers who have announced support for Revolution, Miyamoto noted that Sonic Team head Yuji Naka is fond of the controller. So, Nintendo, what's next?

  • TGS Game Announcements

    [ps2] [xbox] [gamecube] [ps2] [xbox] [gamecube]

    Tokyo Games Show news is getting started, and so the announcements are out in full force. Here are quite a few, grouped by platform and sorted alphabetically by title. Descriptions will be brief:

    - Ace Combat Zero: Namco announced a a prequel to Ace Combat 5 (PS2), which will take place 15 years before the events of that game. The game looks to keep the same type of gameplay while improving the visuals even further.
    - Devil May Cry 3 and 4 (PS2): Capcom has apparently finished work on Devil May Cry 3: Special Edition, which will ship for PS2 in Japan this Winter. It will include a "very hard" difficulty setting. No word on a North American or European release. Capcom also announced Devil May Cry 4, about which little was revealed. The game is being directed by Hideaki Itsuno of Devil May Cry 3.
    - Metal Gear Solid 4 (PS3): The game was already known to be in development, but now it's official. Kojima Productions' Metal Gear Solid 4 will apparently feature Snake as "an aging cop." Hideo Kojima explains: "[MGS4] is a game for the old people. As a game designer in my 40s, I feel this is something I really need to do. I'll leave the teenage coming of age stories for my younger staff."
    - Psychic Force on PS3: Taito revealed that a new Psychic Force game is in the works for PS3. The fighting/platforming franchise debuted on PlayStation and had sequels on both PS1 and Dreamcast.
    - Tourist Trophy (PS2): Gran Turismo developer Polyphony Digital will be creating a motorcycle-based racing game by the name of Tourist Trophy. It will feature the developer's signature realism.
    - Way of the Samurai 3 (PS3): Spike announced the sequel for PS3, to be released in 2007.
    - Xenosaga III on PS2: In addition to the Xenosaga 1/2 on DS news (see below), Namco and Monolith Soft announced the third episode in the series for PS2. The game will feature revamped mechanics.
    - Bomberman: Act Zero (X360): Hudson Soft will bring good old Bomberman to Xbox 360 next summer.
    - The Convenience Store X (X360): Hamster is developing a convenience store chain simulator for Xbox 360.
    - Way of the Samurai Online (X360): In addition to Way of the Samurai 3 for PS3, Spike announced Way of the Samurai Online for Xbox 360. It is set for release in 2006.
    - Sea Action Game (X360): Success has announced some kind of "sea action game" for Xbox 360, whatever that might mean.
    - Mizuguchi on DS again: Lumines/Meteos/Rez/Space Channel 5 designer Tetsuya Mizuguchi apparently revealed that his company Q Entertainment is making another game for Nintendo DS. Q's first DS title was the puzzler Meteos. The new game seems to be as yet unnamed, though it will be a music-based puzzle game and will be published by Bandai.
    - Xenosaga on DS: Namco announced that 2D versions of Xenosaga episodes I and II will be developed for DS. The games will feature the same storyline with some added content and will have some kind of unexplained new system called "P.F." The second game in particular will apparently take gameplay elements from the better-received first episode.
    - Katamari for PSP: Namco has announced a PSP version of Katamari Damacy. The title roughly translates to "Our Katamari Damacy." There has been little word of the DS version since the announcement in Nintendo Power months ago.
    - Mizuguchi on PSP again: Tetsuya Mizuguchi of Q Entertainment revealed that he is working on a PSP game entitled Every Extend Extras, E3 for short. No relation to, you know, the Expo. The game is a port of PSP shooter called Every Extend, and is described as follows: "Suicidal explosion game with new feelings. Blow up self to involve enemies!" Alrighty...
    - Final Fantasy IV on GBA: Complimenting the hopefully-still-in-development Final Fantasy III remake on DS, Square will be bringing Final Fantasy IV (known as Final Fantasy II outside of Japan) to the Game Boy Advance. It will ship this December.

  • Sega and Bizarre to Create Together

    [ps2] [xbox] [gamecube]

    Sega has been in developer overdrive lately, forging relationships left and right with well-known developers--Petroglyph, Monolith, Silicon Knights, The Creative Assembly, and so on. Today, another studio joined in the fun. Bizarre Creations, the team best known for Project Gotham Racing, entered into an agreement with Sega to produce "a next-generation franchise." Though no specifics were outline, the company's pedigree would put some sort of racing game at the forefront of speculation.

  • Own Kirby? Get a Stylus

    [ds]

    If you happen to own a copy of Kirby Canvas Curse (DS) and want a free pink stylus (come on, you're already playing a game requiring to draw rainbows), head over to Nintendo's website to sign up. It requires you to register a My Nintendo account and enter the personal serial number that came with the game. The stylus will be delivered to you in several weeks. The Japanese version of the game came with the stylus pre-packaged.

  • Misc. Q&As/Features

    TGS Coverage: GameSpot, IGN, 1UP, Eurogamer.

Misc. Media/Previews

PS2

Kojima Productions' Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots (PS3) [GameSpot]. Kojima Productions' Metal Gear Solid 3: Subsistence [GameSpot, IGN]. Polyphony's Tourist Trophy [IGN]. Insomniac's Ratchet: Deadlocked [IGN].

Xbox

Q Entertainment's Ninety-Nine Nights (X360) [GameSpot]. Epic's Gears of War (X360) [GameSpot, IGN]. Mistwalker's Blue Dragon (X360) [GameSpot]. From's Chromehounds (X360) [IGN]. Capcom's Devil Kings [IGN]. Eden's Test Drive Unlimited (X360) [GameSpot]. Namco's Ridge Racer 6 (X360) [GameSpot].

Screenshots: Dead Rising (X360). Project Gotham Racing 3 (X360). Chromehounds (X360). Dead or Alive 4 (X360). [eM] -eNCHANT arM- (X360). Rumble Roses XX (X360). Kameo: Elements of Power (X360). Frame City Killer (X360). Final Fantasy XI (X360, also PS2, PC).

Portable

Amaze's Spyro: Shadow Legacy (DS) [IGN]. Bandai and Nana On Sha's Tamagotchi Connection: Corner Shop (DS) [IGN].

Multi

EA Canada's Need For Speed Most Wanted [GameSpot: PS2, Xbox, GCN, X360, DS, PSP, GBA, PC]. EA's From Russia With Love - Gadgets Spotlight [GameSpot: PS2, Xbox, GCN]. Raven's X-Men Legends II: Rise of Apocalypse - Iceman preview [GameSpot: PS2, Xbox, GCN, PSP, PC]. Rockstar's The Warriors [IGN: PS2, Xbox].

Screenshots: Resident Evil 5 (PS3, X360).

Console Game Of The Evening [Submit Yours!]

Golgo 13 for the NES. "One of the best espionage games ever made!" (submitted by Thrymm1)

Click here to comment...

Comments

91 Threads | 557 Comments















  • The funny thing about Nintendo is that it truely knows its customers. Sometimes much more than we know ourselves. It's like Nintendo didn't just say "Let's go after 18-30 year olds due to large ammounts of disposible income. The way we'll get them is with more of what has got them before." I don't know, maybe I'm wrong but I don't get the feeling that Nintendo looks at target demographics and all that crap, but actually listens to the customer (unless it's HD *grin*) and responds. So instead of 18-30 year olds as your target, you have "people who really enjoy fun games". Seems arbitrary but that disctinction can widen the possibilities since it's not based on some strange Generalization that 18-30yr old males want flashy graphics and to beat up hookers. Maybe Nintendo doesn't look at themselves as in the "Console business" which involves eight buttons, a digital controller, an analog stick and rumble functionality, but in the game business which simply requires something to be fun.

    The thing is this more thoughtful approach may indeed reap less numbers in the end, but they get raving fans out of it. In most industries having a nice raving, if niche, fanbase can be enough to get you by for years and years (Apple comes to mind). But in the world of loss leading consoles, I dunno.

    Maybe because Nintendo does the things they do, and takes the chances they have, they have to play a little different - play their console less as a loss leader (aka actually turn a profit on hardware at somepoint) and cater to crowds no one else even wants (elderly, and children) as well as the hardcore.

    I get the feeling that Nintendo has to play less like a Budwieser these days and more like a Sam Adams or Rogue Brewery. They're not the big man anymore, so instead of blitzing the media with their ads and how "awesome" they are, they have to make something you'll absolutely love that people will just suggest to you because they love it too...

    It's the difference between telling me I want something you make, and making something I actually want. One requires pushing and selling, the other requires knowing your customer...

    /apologies, just got done reading some of "Radical Marketing", and "Marketing Myopia" =P


  • You know, the Revolution won't be the only console system available. If you guys want to play an endless stream of rehashes (hasn't gaming grown stale to anyone else?), then by all means, pick up a 360 or a PS3 - you might be lucky if you find 2 or 3 games that actually offer up new gameplay ideas or innovation. There's really no need to be outraged.

    The controller design isn't finalized (and Nintendo doesn't just BS about that, they did round off and improve the DS slightly before release), so let's all wait to pass judgement.

    I, for one, am absolutely thrilled. The 360, with it's 2 versions (what a mistake) will split the user base forcing everyone to the lowest common denominator. The PS3 might be promising - if it delivers on the lies of its pre-rendered videos. I was really disgusted by what was going to be offered in this so called "next generation". At least this will offer some new gameplay ideas, and not just the same old games with shinier graphics. Maybe it will flick a switch in the minds of some developers - get them excited about gaming again, get them innovating a bit again. It's not designed to play hostess to more boring multi-platform shovelware.

    I think some of you might re-consider your positions after you see the potential for lightsaber fights, football throwing, FPS games (this is a really minor one, really, but it makes the revolution the best console platform for them), stick-control in hockey games. Fishing games could be (gasp) fun. Watch some of the videos. Even the promotional videos that don't show games in action really get across some ideas. Conducting an orchestra, with two sticks you could play a drum set. With the (admittedly ridiculous-looking attachment), you could play most traditional games (like the aforementioned hockey - I just think deking with my right hand would be unbelievably cool)

    This will probably be the console I buy this generation, and the fact that it will come cheaper than the other two is a plus too.

    People have been screaming for innovation, and we're all bored of these crappy sequels to WW2 shooters (I had to). Maybe this will inject some new blood. At least Nintendo is trying something new.











  • Couple initial thoughts...

    This is Nintendo folks, don't expect them to keep doing the same thing over again.

    As for backwards compatiblity, a last gen-like controller could appear here for those who'd want that. 3rd party controller probably.

    Where they're going with this is more interactivity type games. Therefore... it's more of a compliment to those who want more serious-story driven games that would be on the PS3 & 360. I think their focus has shifted a little from just kiddie/fantasy games to something that appeals to well.. anyone. If I were to recommend a game console to a mother for her 8 year old son, Revolution would be an easy choice to make. It's all about fun folks, and that therein lies the limitation. They probably would care less to make a Quake 4 or Gears of War for this thing.

    So did I just see in that video that guy doing some kind of chopping motion on the table with that controller??? A cooking game???

    Oh boy, this is just plain nuts. :)