Late Night Consoling

Wow, there's quite a bit of Xbox 360 news today. The Halo stuff in particular is pretty cool.
  • Halo 1.5 and 2.5, Sort Of


    Bungie's web guy Frank O'Connor recently suggested that Halo (Xbox, PC) and Halo 2 (Xbox) might receive some graphical tweaks when played on Microsoft's upcoming Xbox 360. Today, on the one-year anniversary of Halo 2's release, he filled us in on the details, as part of his Halo 2 Anniversary Special filled with retrospectives and interviews. The big announcement is that on the 360, both Halo and Halo 2 will be displayed in widescreen 720p resolution, with full scene anti-aliasing. That's some nice news, and I guess if Perfect Dark Zero (X360) doesn't take off as the new Xbox deathmatch of choice, gamers will have a fresh incentive to jump back on Halo 2.

    O'Connor is quick to note that no further modes or content have been added to either game, and no textures or geometry have been redone. The update is purely for overall resolution and FSAA. He's got comparison shots up, and also claims that the effect is better when viewed on an actual HDTV.

  • Nintendo's Merrick on Revolution and Rein


    Nintendo Europe's senior VP of marketing Jim Merrick sat down for a chat with Eurogamer regarding the Revolution.

    Merrick notes that several third-party publishers have already signed on to making their game libraries available for download to the Virtual Console. He didn't name names, saying "I think you can guess, though. The usual suspects." Capcom and Konami, for example, seem like obvious answers, and given Square Enix's level of Nintendo support recently, that would seem like a good bet as well. Merrick did not reveal a pricing scheme for the games, but did say "a couple of pounds" in an offhand example. Nintendo has also stated in the past that games will be given away as incentives or bonuses with other products.

    Expanding on the subject of downloadable content, Merrick mentioned that "movies, music, demos, or full games" might also be available over Nintendo's online network. He clarified that these would all be game-related, however--for example, soundtrack samples or trailers. Nintendo still has no plans to compete as anything other than a gaming company.

    As other execs have stated, Merrick indicated that Revolution games will be at E3. As far as what games and from what developers, he wouldn't say, though when pressed, he did mention Hideo Kojima is working on a title. This comes as little surprise since Kojima himself has already made such an announcement.

    In terms of the launch, Merrick noted that the company is shooting for as tight a worldwide release as possible. Nintendo plans to do better than the DS' 14-week launch window. He said it doesn't make commercial sense to shoot for a same-day release, but "within a few weeks" is more plausible. Surprisingly, he also mentions that "there are no rules that it must be Japan or US first."

    Finally, Eurogamer asked what Merrick thought of the widely-publicized comments by Mark Rein suggesting that the graphics are the most important element of games and that the Revolution will be home to plethora of "gimmicky," "cheap," and "crappy" games. Merrick responded, "Mark has a very narrow section of the business. Epic builds middleware, they're very technically savvy guys, but he doesn't have a Revolution controller, he doesn't have a dev kit, he's talking about something he knows nothing about. So if he'd like to get a dev kit and really dig into it, then I'd be interested to hear what he has to say."

  • PS2 Suit is Settled


    A class-action lawsuit filed by owners of allegedly faulty PlayStation 2 units against Sony has been settled, with Sony offering various compensation to affected customers. Owners of PS2s with specific model numbers who have experienced "Disc Read Error" mesages may be eligible to receive either a check for US$25/$31 Canadian, a PS2 game, or a repair or replacement of the defective unit. Available options are determined by several factors.

    If you've had such a problem with your PS2, visit the website and check if you fall within the affected class.

  • Microsoft to Hold Xbox 360 Event in Desert


    Microsoft will be hosting a launch event called Xbox 360: Zero Hour, for some reason located at an unspecified location in the Mojave Desert. The event will begin on November 20 and last all the way up until the console's November 22 launch. In case you're wondering what an artist suspects the event will look like, Microsoft has helpfully posted an artist's rendition on its official event site.

    In order to attend this crazy function, gamers will be able to enter a random drawing being held by several popular gaming websites as well as Microsoft's own Xbox.com. Registration will begin on certain sites at midnight tonight, and will continue opening on the remainder of the sites for the following 24 hours. In total, the event will house about 3,000 gamers.

    The actual location of the event will be announced on November 12.

  • Kameo: Podcasts of Power


    Microsoft just can't get enough of untraditional advertising methods for its systems and games, and in that vein it has released the first of a series of eight voice-acted podcasts set in the world of Rare's Kameo: Elements of Power (X360). The series will tell the history of Kameo's world and the events leading up to the game. According to the official website, "In this chapter we learn of the Wotnot Book, the Elemental Warriors and the Element of Power. We also learn that the Gods’ plan for peace across the land was not nearly as simple as it seemed." The site also contains a short feature about the podcasts' production.

    A new podcast should be released every week, which will put the conclusion of the series well after the release of the Xbox 360. The game itself has already shipped to many retailers.

  • Xbox 360 to "Discourage Hackers"


    The guys over at Joystiq pointed out that Microsoft has interviewed the Xbox 360's lead mechanical engineer Jeff Reents. Reents speaks on the challenges envolved with constructing the Xbox 360's hardware, which is of course more powerful and uses more power than the Xbox's but must fit into a smaller form factor. Those of you who are excited by things like thermal algorithm firmware and radio emissions supression should check it out.

    Reents also mentions one way Microsoft hopes to "discourage hackers" from tampering with the console. He notes that the team ensured that there are no screws on the outside of the box, and there are also "multiple tamper evident labels" so if a case has been opened it will be easily apparent. The interviewer conveniently points out that "just like the original Xbox, cracking the case immediately voids your warranty."

  • Misc. Q&As/Features

    Edge Online has a Q&A with Oddworld Inhabitants' Lorne Lanning, whose company recently announced it has slimmed down its staff and converted to mainly a design studio which will focus not just on games but on film and TV as well. Lanning touches on games--he loved Double Fine's Psychonauts (PS2, Xbox, PC) and is looking forward to playing SCEJ's Shadow of the Colossus (PS2)--and, like so many of his peers, is excited about digital distribution. He also laments "the overall lack of vision and balls on behalf of the people who have the power to make a difference."

    GameSpot has a second designer diary for Bizarre Creations' Project Gotham Racing 3 (X360).

    IGN has a video interview with Mario Kart DS producer Hideko Konno.

Misc. Media/Previews


Screenshots: Tian Xing: Swords of Destiny (PS2).


1UP previews Rare's Perfect Dark Zero (X360).

Screenshots: Kameo: Elements of Power (X360). Madden NFL 06 (X360, also PS2, Xbox, GCN, DS, PSP, GBA, PC). Xbox Live Marketplace (X360).


Screenshots: Chibi-Robo (GCN). Super Mario Strikers (GCN).


IGN looks at pros and cons of Nintendo's Mario Kart DS' online features.

Screenshots: Final Fantasy IV (GBA, also SNES). Electroplankton (DS). Mega Man Powered Up (aka Rockman Rockman) (PSP). Mega Man Maverick Hunter X (PSP). Totally Spies! (GBA). Drill Dozer (GBA). Mario Tennis Power Tour (GBA).


GameSpot checks out The Collective's Marc Ecko's Getting Up: Contents Under Pressure (PS2, Xbox, PC). IGN previews 2K Sports' College Hoops 2K6 (PS2, Xbox, X360).

Screenshots: Gauntlet: Seven Sorrows (PS2, Xbox).

Console Game Of The Evening [Submit Yours!]

Kangaroo for the Atari 2600. "At age 5, Kangaroo + Boxing Gloves + Monkeys= Awesome." (submitted by Zakazi)