Late Night Consoling

I picked up Rare's Kameo: Elements of Power (X360) today. I can't play it yet, but I figured I might as well grab it since it's the main 360 launch title that's attractive to me. The employee at the counter didn't believe me that they had it in stock until I finally got him to turn around and look at it right on the shelf. Then he didn't believe me that he was allowed to sell it, but somehow I finally got him to let me give his store money. I had to get out of there as quickly as possible, too. They had a list of upcoming DS games on the counter and there were so many good ones that given more time I would have spent another Kameo's worth just on preorders. (Edit: It looks like the first Mario Kart DS review is in.)

Oh, and how about that new Sam and Max comics news? That's what I'm talking about!

  • Takahashi Not in Games Long-Term

    [ps2]

    Acclaimed designer Keita Takahashi, responsible for the astonishing Katamari Damacy (PS2) and its sequel We Love Katamari (PS2), has told the BBC he does not plan to stay in the games industry long-term. "In 10 years time, I am not going to be making games any more," he said, which should hopefully give him time to whip up at least a few more gaming concoction. Takahashi, a trained sculptor and an idealist, has frequently expressed frustration with the games industry, with its sequel-driven nature and focus on violent and aggressive games. "Developers want to come up with fun games but ideas are judged by their sales potential," he laments. A relative newcomer to the industry, his complaints are reminiscent of those who have spent much of a lifetime in the medium.

    Takahashi has publically stated that he had no wish to work on a Katamari sequel, but was pressured into doing so by Namco after being threatened that the game would be made with or without him. He is reportedly not pleased with the in-development PSP version of the game, with which he is not involved, and the DS version seems to be stillborn.

    Interestingly, Takahashi wishes to design playgrounds after exiting the games industry, a job more in keeping with his background and frequently-stated desire to make the world a happier place. Fortunately, the article does seem to suggest that Takahashi's success has rewarded him with more freedom at Namco, where he is "already thinking of new ways in which games can be played."

  • Your Latest 360 Supply Update

    [xbox360]

    GameSpot reports that EBGames.com has sent out emails to a large number of customers who preordered Xbox 360 bundles, informing them that preorders filed after a certain date will not be accomodated at launch. Despite being manufactured in greater numbers, it seems that the premium Xbox package (which includes the optional hard drive) is still significantly harder to come by than its core brethren. Customers who purchased the Ultimate Bundle (which includes a premium system and several games and accessories) will receive their orders if they were placed before August 30, while those who purchased the Core Bundle (which includes a core system and several games and accessories) will receive theirs if placed before October 28. Additionally, the website itself claims that "orders placed after October 26th may not ship until 2006."

    It also seems that Team NINJA's Dead or Alive 4 (X360) will not be hitting the launch date. EBGames.com notes that those who ordered that game will have it automatically replaced with a 360 copy of Infinity Ward's Call of Duty 2 (PC, X360). COD2 cannot be removed from the order without cancelling the entire bundle.

    Across the pond, Eurogamer is discussing rumors that the UK will receive an initial shipment of only 50,000 Xbox 360 units for the December 2 launch in that territory. The news is secondhand, but it does come courtesy of Official Xbox Magazine's website. A representative of a major UK gaming retailer stated, "Customers can still put their names down for an Xbox 360, but we can’t guarantee that they’ll get their system before Christmas." As is company policy, Microsoft refused to comment.

  • Reggie on Revolution: Pricing, HD, Design

    [nintendo]

    CNN/Money content development director Chris Morris has posted the latest edition of his Game Over column, today relating some news from outspoken Nintendo PR guy Reggie Fils-Aime regarding Revolution and DS. The main point of the article is the hypothesis that Revolution will be sliding in at a lower price point than its competitors Xbox 360 and PS3, though this will not come as news to most who have been keeping up with Nintendo's official statements.

    Surprisingly, Morris also states that Revolution will definitely not support HD resolutions. While this had been the general company line around E3, since then Nintendo has taken more of a guarded approach towards the issue, declining to set the decision in stone. IGNCube's Matt Casamassina reported in September that various dev kit-equipped studios claimed "720p functionality is present in some Revolution documentation." Has Nintendo finally put the question to rest?

    Nintendo also realizes that the design of the GameCube took a lot of flak for its child-proof appearance, and company executives are looking for a more presentable console this time around, as evidenced by the sleek solid-color Revolution designs presented so far.

    In regards to the DS, Reggie noted that "as soon as [the DS] was launched, we started looking at ways to tweak it visually." Morris infers that a redesigned system might be in the works, which would come as no surprise given the company's handheld history, updating the original Game Boy once and the Game Boy Advance twice. On the other hand, he could also be referring simply to the various color options Nintendo has already begun to launch.

    (Reggie also gave a lengthy address at an investor conference this week, during which most of these issues were not addressed in detail.)

  • Kingdom Hearts + Tron = Awesome

    [ps2]

    Word got out today via scans and translations of Japanese magazine Jump that one of the new Disney-related worlds added to Square Enix's Kingdom Hearts II (PS2) will be that of Tron. Tron is, of course, the 1982 virtual reality-themed film that stars Jeff Bridges and is totally awesome. Screenshots show protagonists Donald, Sora, and Goofy transported inside a computer with the signature VR suits any cultured person would recognize immediately. The plucky heroes must purge the system of Master Control; you know how it goes.

    Kingdom Hearts II is expected to ship in Japan by the end of the year, with a North American release next March.

  • Shinobido Imashime to Receive Fan-Made Expansion

    [ps2]

    Development studio Spike, responsible for Tenchu 1 & 2 and Way of the Samurai, has just released its latest ninja games Shinobido Imashime (PS2), and an expansion has already been announced. The interesting thing about this particular announcement is that the expansion will be fan-made. The main game ships with what is apparently a very deep and robust level editor, and Spike will be running a series of contests soliciting the best homebrewed levels the fan community can cook up. The studio will choose the best 100 levels from the contests and assemble them into an expansion pack to be released next spring. Each chosen level designer will receive a custom engraved prize.

    A North American release of the game has not yet been announced, but Spike has released games over here before. If this one does make it, though, it might be pushing it a bit to expect a similar contest.

  • Misc. Q&As/Features

    Gamecloud talks to Valve's Doug Lombardi about the Xbox version of Half-Life 2 (Xbox, PC).

Misc. Media/Previews

PS2

IGN checks out Media Vision's Wild ARMs 4 (PS2).

Screenshots: RPG Maker 3 (PS2).

Xbox/X360

1UP checks out Bizarre Creations' Project Gotham Racing (X360).

Screenshots: Kameo: Elements of Power (X360). Test Drive Unlimited (X360). Tiger Woods PGA Tour 06 (X360, also PS2, Xbox, GCN, PSP, PC).

Movies: Test Drive Unlimited (X360). Madden NFL 06 (X360, also PS2, Xbox, GCN, DS, PSP, GBA, PC).

Portable

1UP checks out Nihon Falcom's Legend of Heroes (PSP). GameSpot checks out Ubisoft Montreal's Battles of Prince of Persia (DS). IGN previews Sonic Team's The Rub Rabbits (formerly Where Do Babies Come From? aka Feel the Magic XY/XX 2) (DS) and Neverland's Rune Factory (DS).

Screenshots: Mario Kart DS (DS). Super Monkey Ball DS (DS). The Rub Rabbits (formerly Where Do Babies Come From? aka Feel the Magic XY/XX 2) (DS).

Movies: Mario Kart DS (DS). Battles of Prince of Persia (DS). Super Monkey Ball DS (DS).

Multi

Screenshots: MVP 06 NCAA Baseball (PS2, Xbox).

Console Game Of The Evening [Submit Yours!]

Road and Track Presents: The Need for Speed for the 3DO. "The original version of NFS provided me and my friends with tons of jaw-dropping gaming moments - mostly involving insane gravity-defying crashes that we still recall ten years later." (submitted by P-Squid)