PS3 at GDC[ps3]
The deprivation of confirmation and circulation of next-generation information has lacked explanation from the corporations whose occupation is causing salivation in anticipation of configuration specification dissemination. However, it looks like that may change soon, at least in Sony's case, when SCE Worldwide Studios president Phil Harrison will present a PS3 keynote during the upcoming Game Developers Conference. The keynote, "PlayStation 3: Behind the Box," will describe the possibilities afforded to game developers by Sony's upcoming console. Harrison will also touch on the expanding the market and reaching a broader audience; this is something about which both Microsoft and Nintendo have been making quite a lot of noise. Much of Sony's early PS3 buzz has had to do with positioning the machine as a "premium" product to a certain extent, but that may be changing.
While the keynote abstract does not specifically indicate how much new information will be revealed regarding the PS3 from a consumer's standpoint, keynotes given by Big Three executives invariably end up spilling at least a few beans. With Nintendo president Satoru Iwata giving a GDC keynote as well, it is likely Sony will want to create a memorable presence at the show.
Harrison's keynote will be presented Wednesday, March 22, from 10:30am-11:30am. - Press release.
UMD Sales in Slow-Mo[psp]
In contrast to the attitude of gamers in Japan, who seem to see Sony's PSP as a gaming platform with multimedia features, many consumers in the Western world view the PSP as a multimedia device with gaming features. Sony has trumpeted sales of UMD movies for PSP in the millions, and a recent report indicated that there were some three times as many upcoming UMD movies as PSP games in the works. However, according to film industry trade publication Variety, the UMD craze seems to be dying down a bit. While, oddly enough, comedies aimed at young males are apparently still going strong (I would have expected sci-fi flicks to take those honors), other genres "simply aren't selling." Various studios such as Sony Pictures Home Entertainment and Warner Home Video have begun to cancel some of their upcoming UMD releases such as GoodFellas in favor of comedy content such as Not Another Teen Movie and Monty Python.
For its part, Sony hopes to reinvigorate the UMD market. The company seems to be planning an adapter that will output the PSP's video stream to a television, allowing the UMDs to be viewed on a larger screen. Such devices currently exist, some requiring users to modify the PSP, but Sony has yet to bring an official version to market. The company has also begun to sell DVD/UMD bundles for a slightly higher price than a standalone DVD in an attempt to promote UMD usage.
DS Wages Phantom War with MechAssault[ds]
Majesco announced today that developer Backbone Entertainment will be bringing a new MechAssault game to Nintendo DS, managing to avoid calling it MechAssault: Dumb Subtitle (get it!? DS!?) in favor of MechAssault: Phantom War. The action title will feature realtime 3D combat on the top screen, with the touch screen apparently containing various cockpit controls. Phantom War will include a variety of 'Mechs, tanks, and other vehicles, and features an upgradable weapon system. The game has a full single-player campaign as well as support for up to four players in local wireless with three different gametypes. It does not appear that it is online enabled.
MechAssault: Phantom War is based on the long running BattleTech universe; Microsoft owns the rights to the MechAssault spinoff line. As long as Microsoft stays out of the portable gaming hardware market, don't be surprised to see the company getting involved in games for Nintendo handhelds, even if the Microsoft name is never outwardly associated with them. Longtime Nintendo partner Rare has released Game Boy Advance titles since becoming a Microsoft acquisition, and the studio currently has job listings for developers familiar with DS. - Press release.
FlatOut 2 Racing to Release[ps2] [xbox]
Empire Interactive has officially announced Bugbear Entertainment's FlatOut 2, the aptly named sequel to last year's racer FlatOut (PS2, Xbox, PC). The upcoming title is based on an improved version of the physics engine used in FlatOut, and it seems that the main additions to the game consist largely of taking what was in the first game and adding much more of it. It also evens out the multiplayer support problems from the last game, with online multiplayer modes and split screen on both PS2 and Xbox. However, mention of PC online support is conspicuously absent, indicating that that particular (and bizarre) deficit of the first game has still not been addressed.
FlatOut 2 will ship for PS2, Xbox, and PC this June.
Xbox Live to be Outfitted with The Outfit[xbox360]
Relic Entertainment's The Outfit (X360) will have an Xbox Live demo available March 3, according to publisher THQ. The 500MB demo will consist of a multiplayer level called Estate Assault. Supporting up to eight players, it pits the Axis against the Allies in an attempt to hold on to key strategic locations and objectives while destroying those of the opponents.
Game Informer speaks with the quite frankly awesome Fumito Ueda and Kenji Kaida, director and producer respectively on Ico (PS2) and Shadow of the Colossus (PS2).
EA sends along an internal Q&A about the cop chasing mechanics in The Godfather (PS2, Xbox, X360, PSP, PC).
IGN helps you out with raising a video game-playing child.
IGN goes online with EA Chicago's Fight Night Round 3 (X360, also PS2, Xbox, GCN, PS3, PSP).
Screenshots: The Outfit (X360).
1UP previews Nintendo's Tetris DS (DS).
Movies: Dreamfall: The Longest Journey (Xbox, PC).
Console Game Of The Evening [Submit Yours!]
Bart vs. The Space Mutants for the NES. "Waited for five hours at the rental place for it to be returned only to find out it sucked." (submitted by Zakazi)