360 Compatibility List Posted[xbox360]
It's taken longer than promised, but Microsoft has finally delivered a list of 360-compatible Xbox games. There are some striking absences there, but the list will be expanded over time, eventually comprising the entire Xbox library according to Xbox VP Todd Holmdahl. As previously announced, backwards compatibility requires having the 360's optional hard drive. The compatibility code for each game must acquired independently, and currently there are three delivery mechanisms in place: players can download the code from Xbox Live, burn it onto a writable CD from Xbox.com, or have a CD shipped by mail through Xbox.com.
One previously unannounced feature is that Xbox games played on a 360 will be upsampled to either 720p or 1080i and will receive the benefit of the Xbox 360's anti-aliasing. Bungie announced that Halo and Halo 2 would have these features when played on Xbox 360, but it appears now that it is simply standard practice. The only difference between the Halo games and the rest of the games on the list is that the compatibility code for Halo and Halo 2's single-player mode will be pre-loaded on the hard drive.
Microsoft has frequently stated that the first batch of compatible games would be comprised of the system's bestselling titles. That said, if you're wondering why Yourself!Fitness and SeaWorld: Shamu Deep Sea Adventures made the cut while Psychonauts, Beyond Good & Evil, Indigo Prophecy, and more did not, it might be because for some bizarre reason those first two games shared technology with games that were bestsellers. Holmdahl explains, "As we focused on the top sellers, we discovered that many other games worked due to similarities in their technology. ...Games that share engines and technology...have made the launch lineup as a result." Of course, it's still a bit odd that games like the Splinter Cell titles, the Burnout titles, the Project Gotham Racing titles, and even Madden didn't make the first round.
As more rounds of games are made compatible, they will be added to that list on Xbox.com.
Rein's Revolution Response[nintendo] [xbox360]
Epic's Mark Rein generated some press when he made some rather gleefully pointed comments regarding Nintendo's Revolution controller at a recent IGN event; he also, many said, grossly overstated the importance of improving graphics in games relative to other areas of improvement. The other day, Eurogamer asked Nintendo's Jim Merrick what he thought of Rein's comments, and Merrick responded that Rein was speaking about the Revolution from an uninformed perspective, and that Rein should get his hands on it before making judgments.
Eurogamer has stepped in as a mediator once again, and talked a bit to Rein about his comments. Rein did a bit of clarifying and a bit of backpedaling, explaining that in regards to graphics, he was stating that "the most significant improvement we get" with new consoles is improved graphics. As far as the Revolution goes, Rein apparently called Merrick up after seeing the latter's comments, to find that Merrick didn't seem to be holding a grudge; Merrick still offered Rein a dev kit, and Rein accepted the offer. Rein said, "If the [Revolution] can run [Unreal Engine 3], it'd be fantastic to have it on there," though of course his comments do not indicate any kind of formal support.
Rein briefly touched on actual Epic-related news, saying that work on Gears of War (X360) is progressing fine, and that no PC port is currently being planned; decisions such as that are up to publisher Microsoft. He also said, "We're going to be doing a game for PlayStation 3, we just haven't come out and announced it yet. I think it's pretty clear people know we're going to be doing Unreal Tournament." Finally, Epic is also doing preliminary research for the next-next-gen Unreal Engine 4.
BioWare to Expand the Jade Empire[xbox360]
In an interview with Xbox Evolved today, BioWare joint CEOs Dr. Ray Muzyka and Dr. Greg Zeschuk revealed that BioWare plans to create a sequel to Jade Empire (Xbox). When queried about whether the title might show up on PlayStation 3, Muzyka responded, "Microsoft has been a great supporter of BioWare in the past...We've also said in the past that we're working on not just one, but two Xbox360 titles. Enough said. ;)"
BioWare's other 360 title is the previously-announced Mass Effect (X360), the first in a planned trilogy. Zeschuk commented in the interview that the overall story arc for the trilogy has already been planned and BioWare plans to release all three titles for 360 within this upcoming console generation.
NCsoft on Consoles (Not 360)
Speaking to GamesIndustry.biz, Tack Jim Kim of MMO publisher NCsoft revealed that his company has already begun development on games for next-generation consoles. However, it appears that the Xbox 360 is not included in that development, suggesting that the company is working with Sony's PS3 or the Nintendo Revolution. Kim also noted that the Korean company, which currently has offices and development studios in South Korea, California, and Texas, will be opening a European base of operations as well.
As far as whether the in-progress console work will be on existing titles or new franchises, Kim did not comment. The company current operates Lineage and Lineage II, Cryptic Studios' City of Heroes and City of Villains, and ArenaNet's Guild Wars, all currently exclusively for PC.
PGR3 Not 720p?[xbox360]
Here's your daily dose of unconfirmed Xbox 360 news! Claims are floating around such places as the official Bizarre Creations forums that Bizarre's Project Gotham Racing 3 (X360) does not run natively at 720p but rather at 1024x600 upscaled to 1280x720, in order to ensure that the game runs smoothly at 30 frames per second. People with access to Xbox 360 debug units and review builds of the game have taken screenshots (an example .bmp mirrored here) using the game's screenshot utility--which are claimed not to have been edited, resized, or otherwise tampered with in any way--that turned out to be 1024x600. Even if it's true, it shouldn't be particularly noticeable; the person making the claim states he didn't notice until taking the screenshots. The main complaint that has been voiced is more that such a technique would violate Microsoft's promised 720p minimum native resolution for all 360 games.
Activision and Marvel, Together Forever[ps2] [xbox] [gamecube]
Well, maybe not forever, but game publisher Activision and comic publisher Marvel have renewed their X-Men and Spider-Man license contract. The extended deal gives Activision the right to develop and publish games based on the two popular licenses until 2017. Most recently, Activision published Ultimate Spider-Man (PS2, Xbox, GCN, DS, GBA, PC) and X-Men Legends II: Rise of Apocalypse (PS2, Xbox, GCN, PSP, PC).
Official Xbox Magazine UK has an interview with Rare's Chris Tilston and Dale Murchie, the lead designer and story writer respectively on Perfect Dark Zero (X360).
Screenshots: Tourist Trophy (PS2).
1UP checks out Visual Concepts' NHL 2K6 (X360, also PS2, Xbox).
Screenshots: Ridge Racer 6 (X360).
Screenshots: Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell 4 (??? - listed as PS3 on IGN but actual platform is unknown).
Console Game Of The Evening [Submit Yours!]
Power Blade for the NES. "Playing as NOVA, keeper of the Power Blade (a suped up boomerang), I spent many days plowing through this action/platformer. You can also turn into a robot and upgrade your Power Blade, which added to the depth of the game." (submitted by anthonybean)