Sony Explains PS3's TGS Absense, Comments on Pricing[ps2]
Sony Computer Entertainment executive Masatsuka Saeki has explained in a Famitsu interview why PS3 was not playable at TGS despite SCE head Ken Kutaragi's promise that it would be. Apparently, since TGS represented the first public display of PS3 in Japan, Sony wanted it to have the greatest impact possible, opting to use video footage instead of playable games. The crowd-pleasing Metal Gear Solid 4 video was actually a late addition it seems. Initially, the lineup was going to be comprised of mostly European titles (which seems slightly odd considering Sony's claim to attempt to create a big impression in Japan). As far as when the PS3 will be on display in playable form, it's unclear. It seems that Sony was planning a February event to show off the machine, but that has been cancelled in favor of something else.
In the same interview, Saeki also briefly touched on pricing issues for its upcoming console, saying only that the price point will be under constant discussion until the absolute deadline. Sounds like we shouldn't expect that information for quite some time, then. GameSpot points out that Sony has to worry not only about consumer price, but also about cost of game production to developers. Out of the three upcoming next-gen consoles, the PS3 has generated the most concern among industry professionals regarding ballooning development costs. Apparently, Koei CEO Keiko Erikawa recently mentioned that despite Koei having games in the works for PS3, she would consider changing her studio's primary development platform if Sony's machine proves too cost-intensive.
Kojima Begins Blog, Ponders Profusely[ps2]
Hideo Kojima, acclaimed director of the Metal Gear series, has recently started blogging, and blogging quite a lot at that. His outlet has an unremarkable name--the Hideoblog--but, if 1UP's summarized translation is to be trusted, fascinating contents.
Kojima's musings take the form of a stream of consciousness, which, while not particularly out of the ordinary for blog material, is filled with all sorts of metaphor between the designer's life and thinking and the evolution of the Metal Gear Solid games. He touches on his reasoning for continuing on with Metal Gear Solid 4 (PS3) despite prior claims that MGS3 (PS2) would be his last directorial role in the series, and he relates the aging Snake of the upcoming game to his perspectives as a middle aged game designer who still has the desire to create. Go ahead and check out 1UP's summary. It makes me wish I could read Japanese, and I've never even played a Metal Gear Solid game! Yeah, yeah, I know...
Killer 7 Director Producing DS Game[ds]
Remember that rumor the other day, centering around the possibility of an Earthbound sequel from developers Marvelous and/or Brownie Brown, and/or series creator Shigesato Itoi. Well, the secret project from Marvelous has been revealed, and it's something else. The studio will be collaborating with developer Grasshopper (home of Killer 7 director Gouichi Suda) on a new game entitled Contact (DS). Grasshopper will handle primary development. The game features a lighthearted colorful aesthetic similar to that of Earthbound--on the top screen, anyway. The bottom screen features a soft, lush 3D style. It's a sharp contrast to the likes of Killer 7. The story itself has a professor crash-landing on an Earth-like planet and using the player as an intermediary to help recover his ship's power source while a terrorist attempts to secure the source himself. The professor will interact with the player through the top screen, and the player will control the main character on the bottom screen.
As far as the possible Earthbound/Mother sequel, the situation with Brownie Brown and Itoi is unchanged. There has been nothing suggesting it is either more or less likely that they are creating a sequel since the update two days ago.
Square Enix Looking to Branch Out[ps2] [xbox] [gamecube]
Publishing and development giant Square Enix has been busy lately. The company recently completed its acquisition of Taito, and now it looks like it's ready to expand out from consoles. "Game machine makers no longer have control [over the market]," said Square Enix president Yoichi Wada in an interview with Yomiuri Online. "The market is shifting from console makers towards the software makers, which provide appealing games and content. In the future, only companies that can adapt to the online market can survive." In light of this, the company will be expanding its reach to more fully cover the mobile phone market and the online gaming market. Despite the recent problems plaguing the Japanese games industry, Wada claims that it is only the console gaming market that is shrinking in Japan, which excludes areas such as mobile games and online computer games.
It is interesting to see the various steps being taken by Japanese game developers and publishers in light of the negative growth being experienced in the country's console gaming market. Square Enix is dealing with the trend by expanding out to cover other areas, while Nintendo has claimed that much of the reasoning for its experimentation and innovation with DS and Revolution has been to expand the console gaming market itself. Either way, the fact that such major forces in the games industry are taking such action certainly lends credence to those who say a problem exists in that country's gaming scene..
Next-Gen Castlevania in the Works[ps2] [xbox] [gamecube]
When averaged out, the Castlevania series has seen a new game every year for the past two decades, and it looks like the venerable Konami franchise shows no sign of stopping any time soon. Castlevania: Curse of Darkness (PS2, Xbox) ships in November and Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow (DS) ships next week, and now producer Koji Igarashi has revealed that a new installment is already in the works. In a recent interview with Japanese magazine Nintendo Dream, Igarashi stated that Konami is already developing a Castlevania title for unspecified next-gen platforms. He also noted that portable Castlevania releases will continue to take place after Dracula's death, while console releases will take place before it. Finally, Igarashi hinted at some kind of special event next year in celebration of the series' twentieth anniversary.
Gamasutra has a feature containing the answers to its most recent Question of the Week, this time centering on Nintendo's Revolution controller. As usual, most of the respondants are game industry professionals. With the exception of a single comment, the answers are overwhelmingly positive.
Speaking of Nintendo, designer Shigeru Miyamoto revealed in an MTV interview that "he has a soft spot for Mario, partially because in 20 years no one on his Mario development team has ever quit." Impressive.
...aaaand, speaking of Miyamoto, Eurogamer reports on a blogged photograph of the designer politely declining to sign somebody's PSP (the person eventually had him sign his DS instead).
1UP continues its Team NINJA coverage, today featuring an Itagaki interview touching on Revolution, Xbox 360, PS3, and brusqueness.
GameSpot has its own Itagaki Q&A, this one focusing on Dead or Alive 4 (X360).
GameSpot previews Bohemia's Operation Flashpoint: Elite (Xbox).
Music: Perfect Dark Zero.
GameSpot checks out Sega's Virtua Tennis: World Tour (PSP); Game Informer offers impressions of the same game. 1UP previews Rockstar's Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories (PSP). 1UP looks at Backbone's World Poker Tour (GBA, also PSP).
Console Game Of The Evening [Submit Yours!]
Karnov for the NES. "The only game to ever feature an obese, fire breathing Russian as the main character. Data East's Karnov had one of the least rewarding ending sequences. After all of your play time, you were simply rewarded with "CONGRATULATIONS." That's rough." (submitted by killrig)