True Crime Takes Flak[ps2] [xbox] [gamecube]
These days, if your M-rated game isn't being denounced by some level of government official or politician, you might be doing something wrong in the marketing department. Anyway, the latest game to attract such dubious honors is Luxoflux's upcoming True Crime: New York City (PS2, Xbox, GCN). New York Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly is condeming the game as "an outrage" which "disrespects all police officers and [is] done in extremely poor taste as well." Kelly takes issue with the game's depiction of police officers as lawbreaking vigilantes out to put criminals away at all costs.
Serving as a consultant on the game is former NYPD detective Bill Clark, who defends the game as just "a game, not a training video for the NYPD." Clark also served as a technical advisor for the show NYPD Blue. True Crime: New York City also features the voice work of Hollywood Christopher Walken, Laurence Fishburne, and Mickey Rourke.
Earthbound 2 Bound to Appear on DS?[ds]
Based on a variety of clues, Joystiq is hypothesizing that a third game in the Earthbound ("Mother" in Japan) series for NES and SNES may be in development for Nintendo DS. The reasoning is as follows:
In an interview, series creator Shigesato Itoi mentioned that he is in the Japanese city of Kichijoji working on a game identified only as "it." Kichijoji is the home of development studio Brownie Brown Games (a Nintendo-funded studio), which is working on a game codenamed Project B which apparently resembles the classic series. Development studio Marvelous (which contributed to Lunar: Dragon Song [DS]) is also working on an unannounced DS game and is hosting on its website a coundown flash file (about 60 hours to go at this point). When an internet user downloaded and dissected the flash file, it was found to contain a sprite which looks very much like Earthbound's Dr. Andonuts. The file also contained various animation of rocks; the series contains talking rocks.
The conclusion reached by Joystiq (and various other sites and forums) is by no means a sure thing. The only facts known for sure are that Itoi is making a new game, Brownie Brown is making a game in the style of Mother/Earthbound, and Marvelous has a new DS title in the works which will likely be announced in the next few days.
Halo 3 Sooner Than Expected?[xbox]
The cover of the November 2005 issue of Xbox World 360 (a rebranded version of an unofficial Xbox magazine) features both the slogan "Unofficial, Unbiased, Unrivaled" (emphasis mine) as well as the headline "PS3 IS DEAD. Welcome to the real next gen..." (emphasis theirs) alongside the words "HALO 3" and an image of Halo's Master Chief. The image came attached to an official press release, so it's unlikely it's a Photoshop job, but it's also not particularly clear what exactly the magazine contains regarding the next entry in Bungie's acclaimed FPS series. The press release contains the following blurb:
On sale September 29th, issue 31 of Xbox World 360 takes a look into the future of Halo and features hands-on impressions of some of the hottest new games due to launch with the Xbox 360.
It then goes on to list various already-announced 360 games that will be covered in the issue. That is the only mention of Halo 3 in the press release, suggesting either a desire to surprise the gaming world with a shockingly unexpected hands on look at the game, or simply a hypothetical "What If?" feature detailing possible properties of the anticipated game. My money's on the latter. The magazine goes on sale in three days, so we'll see then.
Sakurai Founds New Studio[nintendo]
Masahiro Sakurai, creator of Kirby, director of the Smash Bros. (N64, GCN) games, designer of Q Entertainment's Meteos (DS), and according to Metal Gear overlord Hideo Kojima "one of the few great video game designers still left in Japan", has announced his intention to found a new game development studio called Sora. Sakurai left his previous employer, HAL Laboratories, two years ago in part due to a desire to abandon the company's penchant for sequels. Sora currently has two unnamed projects under development, for unspecified platforms. At Tokyo game show, Kojima extended Sakurai a half-joking invitation to take over the Metal Gear Solid series after the franchise's fourth iteration.
PSP 2.00 Tentatively Cracked[psp]
Inevitably, somebody has reached the first step necessary to begin running homebrew code on the PSP's 2.00 firmware. Sony recently released a firmware update to their console which, in addition to adding functionality such as a web browser and support for various additional file formats, prevented users from running unsigned code on the device. According to PSPUpdates, by viewing a specific .tif file on the PSP, it "allows a buffer overflow to be run", opening up the possibility of running homebrew code on the device. At this point, somebody needs to actually write the code that will allow full homebrew execution.
The person, identified as "foo bar", who sent the exploit to PSPUpdates, stressed that PSP owners should not use the hack to run pirated games, and also left the following message for Sony:
If you wanted to find us i know you could. This release wasn't intended as a way to run pirated software on the PSP. We believe that everyone should be able to compile their own code and run it. Nothing is kept secret forever and I'm sure you know this. In the end, if it wasn't us. It would be some one else. Fighting it would be like skating up a hill. You did create the PSP and did an amazing job.
OrigenXbox360.com Countdown Counting Down[xbox]
For those of you who haven't been keeping up with that Origen viral marketing campaign for Xbox 360 (as I admittedly haven't), GameSpot has a summary of its evolution since launch. The countdown reaches zero tomorrow at noon, Pacific Standard Time. Microsoft also officially acknowledged the site today, announcing that "race for entry into Origen starts" tomorrow, and that Origen is "the debut of next generation gaming. A real place dedicated to gaming pleasures. A place to play Xbox 360 before anyone else. A place to play all the Xbox 360 launch titles. A place to take on other gamers."
So, as GameSpot theorizes, in all likelihood not a Halo 3 announcement. If I had to take a guess, I'd say the "race for entry into Origen" comprises some kind of contest or sweepstakes to obtain tickets to X05, Microsoft's almost-annual Xbox hype event. This year, it is being held in Amsterdam on October 4 and 5.
Gamasutra catches up with Tim Follin, composer for games such as Bubble Bobble, Ghouls and Ghosts, Bionic Commando, and other classics.
GameSpot has Designer Diary #1 from Ande Burrows, Associate Producer on Traveller's Tales' The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe (PS2, Xbox, GCN, DS, GBA, PC). There's also Designer Diary #3 from Richard Rouse III, creative director and writer on Surreal Software's The Suffering: Ties That Bind (PS2, Xbox, PC).
GameSpot previews Spike's Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi (PS2). IGN checks out some story elements of the PS2 version of Capcom's Resident Evil 4 (PS2, also GCN). There are also RE4 previews from Game Informer and 1UP.
Movies: Devil Kings (PS2).
Screenshots: The Shadow of Aten (X360).
1UP has a weapons preview of Rockstar's Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories (PSP).
GameSpot has a character profile for The Collective's Marc Ecko's Getting Up: Contents Under Pressure (PS2, Xbox, PC). GameSpy checks out Radical's Crash Tag Team Racing (PS2, Xbox, GCN, DS, PSP) as well as Codemasters' TOCA Race Driver 3 (PS2, Xbox, PC).
Screenshots: True Crime: New York City (PS2, Xbox, GCN).
Console Game Of The Evening [Submit Yours!]
Pikmin 2 for the GameCube. "There's nothing like watching vegetables kick ass!" (submitted by Guava D). (Chris' note: This game rules a whole lot.)