Game Announcements at X05[xbox]
A few new titles were announced at X05. Splinter Cell 4 and Castle Wolfenstein are not Xbox 360 exclusive, so you can check out Maarten's posts on the front page for those.
Veteran RPG developer Bioware revealed a new Xbox 360-exclusive RPG entitled Mass Effect. Set in the 23rd century, "the real conflict between organic beings and artificial intelligence comes to life in startling clarity." The game is reportedly the first in a trilogy. It will be more action-oriented than some of the company's past efforts, with the player controlling a squad in the name of peace and freedom. Bioware has an official page up for the game, containing some information and a short trailer.
Too Human, from Silicon Knights of Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem (GCN) fame, was also confirmed as an Xbox 360 exclusive. The game is certainly not being newly announced. In fact, it has now been in development for all three current major console manufacturers, over the course of three generations. It was originally slated for PlayStation (1), then GameCube, and finally now Microsoft's next-gen system. It too is the first game in--you guessed it--a trilogy (those things are all the rage these days), and is making use of the Unreal 3 engine. Players are cast as cybernetic god Baldur, who must protect mankind from a self-aware force of machines bend on humanity's destruction. The game will feature a "vast number of enemies." The long in development game is set for release in the holiday season of 2006.
Electronic Arts confirmed long-standing rumors that its Tiburon studio--responsible for the Madden series--is developing the video game adaptation of the upcoming Superman Returns film, being directed by Bryan Singer. Few details were given about the game, other than that players will "experience a real sense of flying, and master Superman's unrivaled super hero powers in order to save Metropolis." Well, that's good. As tends to be the case with games based on movies based on comic books, the game will draw not only from the film but from the rest of the Superman universe. It is set for release alongside the movie in June of next year.Atari revealed that a new Alone in the Dark game, already announced for PlayStation 3, is also coming to the Xbox 360. Nothing new details were given regardin the game. It is in development by Eden Studios, primarily known for racing games such as V-Rally 3 (PS2, Xbox, PC) and the upcoming Test Drive Unlimited (X360).
Peter Jackson's Halo[xbox]
Well, not quite. Peter Jackson, director of such films as Bad Taste, Meet the Feebles, The Frighteners, and The Making of The Frighteners, has been taken onboard the upcoming Halo film adaptation as an executive producer along with longtime partner Fran Walsh, known for her portrayal of "Mother at Park" in Peter Jackson's Dead Alive (Braindead). Fanboys of Halo and/or Jackson whose heads are exploding and whose hearts are attacking should probably bear in mind that the Executive Producer tends to occupy more of a figurehead role on a project, rather than a constantly involved creative force. An actual director has yet to be confirmed. Alex Garland, writer of 28 Days Later, has written the script for the film. The Producer producers on Halo are Mary Parent, Scott Stuber, and Peter Schlessel.
Probably more relevant to the actual end result of the film is the news that Jackson's Weta Digital and Weta Workshop studios will be handling the special effects and physical paraphanelia, which bodes well for Halo's visual aspects. As a result, the movie will be filmed in Wellington, New Zealand.
Halo is set for release in Summer of 2007.
Xbox 360 Launch Lineup Still Unclear[xbox]
Despite widespread speculation that Microsoft would be releasing a concrete list of launch titles for its upcoming November 22 launch of Xbox 360, the company has remained reluctant to do so. Amid a flurry of confusing and contradictory press release announcements, GameSpot contacted Microsoft to get a straight answer, and were given a list of eight titles out of "15 to 20 Xbox 360 titles available on launch day." The confirmed eight are fairly unsurprising: Rare's Kameo and Perfect Dark Zero, Bizarre's Project Gotham Racing 3, EA Tiburon's Madden NFL 06, EA Canada's Need for Speed Most Wanted and NBA Live 06 and FIFA 06: Road to FIFA World Cup, and EA Sports' Tiger Woods PGA Tour 06. Three of the confirmed titles are being published by Microsoft Game Studios and the remaining five by Electronic Arts.
Microsoft indicated that the full lineup would be revealed "in the next few weeks."
Midway Picks up Pitbull[ps2] [xbox]
The industry has been absolutely jam-packed with acquisitions lately, and Midway is one of the publisher that's been doing a lot of acquiring. The latest in this run of buys is UK studio Pitbull Syndicate, the developer responsible for several Test Drive titles as well as the upcoming L.A. Rush (PS2, Xbox, PC). L.A. Rush is the latest in Midway's arcade-born Rush franchise. As is often the case, the developer will be renamed for its owner and location; it will be christened Midway Studios Newcastle.
The transaction occurred mainly through the exchange of stock, with Midway trading 199,385 shares. Midway's current stock is valued at $15.63/share, valuing the acquisition at $3.1M.
EGM writer James Lee takes a few lessons from paid video game coaches to improve his Halo 2 game.
Gamasutra has the latest edition of its weekly column, The Esoteric Beat, this week focusing on audio-based games, a hamster ball-like VR device, and human-digital relationships. Esoteric indeed.
IGN checks out Tecmo's Trapt (PS2).
GameSpot has previews of Rare's Perfect Dark Zero (X360), Bizarre's Project Gotham Racing 3, Silicon Knights' Too Human (X360), Climax's MotoGP 2006: Ultimate Racing Technology (X360), Relic's The Outfit (X360), Bioware's Mass Effect (X360), 2K Sports' Top Spin 2 (X360, also DS, GBA), and Visual Concepts' NBA 2K6 (X360, also PS2, Xbox). 1UP looks at Rare's Kameo: Elements of Power (X360), Silicon Knights' Too Human (X360), Crystal Dynamics' Tomb Raider Legend (X360, also PS2, Xbox, PC), Epic's Gears of War (X360), Ubisoft's King Kong (X360, PS3, also PS2, Xbox, GCN, DS, PSP, GBA, PC), Neversoft's GUN (X360, also PS2, Xbox, GCN, PC), and Rare's Perfect Dark Zero (X360). IGN checks out Rare's Perfect Dark Zero (X360), Epic's Gears of War (X360), Team NINJA's Dead or Alive 4, and Capcom's Dead Rising (X360).
Screenshots: Mass Effect (X360). Crackdown (X360). Perfect Dark Zero (X360). Kameo: Elements of Power (X360). Project Gotham Racing 3 (X360). Ninety-Nine Nights (X360). Too Human (X360). Gears of War (X360). Battlefield 2: Modern Combat (X360, also PS2, Xbox, PSP). Madden 06 (X360, also PS2, Xbox, GCN, DS, PSP, GBA, PC). NBA Live 06 (X360, also PS2, Xbox, GCN, PSP, PC).
Movies: GUN (X360, also PS2, Xbox, GCN, PC).
Console Game Of The Evening [Submit Yours!]
Rayman for the Atari Jaguar. "One of the few Jag games that were actually good. Also Ubisoft's first big hit on North American shores." (submitted by r_picmip 5)