PS3 Price Un-Revealed?[ps3]
Yesterday, Sony Computer Entertainment Europe VP George Fornay made comments suggesting the PS3 would have a price point somewhere between 499 Euro and 599 Euro. Today, SCEE corporate communications director Nick Sharples, speaking to GamesIndustry.biz, clarified Fornay's comments. Sharples explained that Fornay was presenting a hypothetical situation, and that the quoted range would be "cheap for such functionality," but Fornay did not "suggest or indicate a specific price point or price range for PS3." Sharples continued, "He summarised by saying that PS3 would be expensive when one looked at the current price of a video games machine [such as PS2] at far below 500 Euros, but extremely good value when looking at the BD and HD technology inside."
The clarification unfortunately only makes the pricing situation less clear. Sharples' statements deny that Fornay was giving actual price information, but his similar comments regarding the relative value of HD and Blu-ray capability seem to imply that the stated range is a possibility. Sounds like we'll have to wait for E3, or very likely until even later.
Microsoft Press Conference in Japan[xbox360]
Microsoft held a press conference in Japan yesterday detailing its future plans for the Xbox 360. This is the meeting mentioned last week in regards to a "relaunch" of the console. Rumors as to what would be announced at the conference included an exclusive Tales title from Namco Bandai and a new game in the Chrono Trigger line from Square Enix. The reality was slightly more...realistic, but some interesting things were revealed, including a few exclusive titles. Here are the notable announcements:
- Xbox Marketplace has seen some success in Japan, with 52,000 content downloads from the service so far. SNK, Konami, Namco Bandai, D3 Publisher, Hudson, and Yuke's Media Creations will be supporting Xbox Live Arcade in some form. Namco Bandai comfirned that Pac-Man and Galaga will be made available. Like other Xbox Live Arcade titles, they will have their own leaderboards.
- Namco Bandai showcased Dimps' previously announced Mobile Suit Gundam, featuring Live online play. The company also showed a trailer of the previously announced Zegapain XOR, an anime-based mech game. Zegapain XOR is developed by Cavia and set for release in Japan this summer. Finally, Namco Bandai announced a new title in the strategy/RPG/board game hybrd Culdcept series, entitled Culdcept Saga. The game will be Live-enabled.
- Square Enix will be supporting Xbox 360 with an arcade-style space shooter developed by Game Arts. The game's working title is Project Sylph, and will apparently feature some kind of involved storyline. It may be a followup to Game Arts' similarly-titled Silpheed space shooter series.
- Mistwalker's Xbox 360 RPG Lost Odyssey has been delayed until 2007. The company's other high-profile RPG, Blue Dragon, is on track to wrap up at the end of 2006 in Japan.
- Star Ocean developer Tri-Ace is currently working on an RPG with strong real-time gameplay elements, suggesting that it may be more of an action/RPG. Like Mistwalker's efforts, it is being created in collaboration with Microsoft Game Studios.
Many of the titles, particularly games like Culdcept Saga and Sylpheed, seem very much aimed at the hardcore Japanese gamer market rather than the mainstream RPG-dominated set. Interestingly, this bears some similarities with the strategy Microsoft took with Xbox in North America, as the system has gained strong support from PC developers that traditionally target more hardcore audiences. While exclusive RPGs from companies such as Mistwalker, which is headed up by former Square designer and Final Fantasy creator Hironobu Sakaguchi, have an element of mainstream appeal in Japan, it is unlikely they will steal significant amounts of customers away from titles such as "main entry" Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest games on PS2 and presumably PS3. Microsoft may be slightly readjusting its strategy to focus on catering to specific niches first, meanwhile slowly building up its mainstream Japanese appeal.
Yakuza 2 in the Works?[ps2]
A reliable source from Sega has revealed to Shacknews that Sega is currently developing a followup to its Japanese mobster epic Ryu ga Gotoku (PS2), entitled Yakuza in the West. The original game was released to critical acclaim in Japan, but met with somewhat disappointing retail sales. It is currently being localized for other territories, including North America and Europe. For credibility's sake, it may be worth noting that I originally reported in January that the game was in the process of being localized, which was confirmed by Sega a few weeks later.
It is unknown how far along development is on the new game, but it's probably safe to assume it won't be done for a while.
Kameo Gets Ko-Op[xbox360]
The long-promised online cooperative mode feature for Rare's Kameo: Elements of Power (X360) has now been made available. The free update is currently downloadable from the Xbox Live Marketplace.
Two new Kameo content packs were also made available, the Masquerade Pack and the Fright Warrior Pack. Each gives Kameo a new costume for her and her various warrior forms for a price of 200 Marketplace points, or $2.50.
Naruto on 360[xbox360]
Ubisoft has announced a partnership with VIZ to publish Xbox 360 games based on the Naruto anime series. "NARUTO's ninja and martial arts themes are a perfect match for video games, allowing fans to immerse themselves in the characters and become part of the action" said VIZ's Cynthia Money. "As a leading global game developer, Ubisoft is an ideal partner to develop video games for NARUTO that will bring out the power and emotion of the storylines." The press release notes that this is the first time Ubisoft has developed a game based on a Japanese property.
The first game will ship some time in 2007. Like yesterday's Rayman announcement, this news again reinforces the likelihood that the leaked Ubisoft release schedule is correct; Naruto was listed as coming to Xbox 360.
EGM Presents: Game Rumors[ps3] [nintendo] [ds]
The latest issue of Electronic Gaming Monthly claims that a few interesting games are currently in development: a new title in Insomniac's Ratchet & Clank line for PS3 in 2007, a new Pilotwings game for Revolution, and a new Mario Paint game for both Revolution and Nintendo DS. The Ratchet & Clank game is no surprise, considering early footage was shown of it at GDC. As for Pilotwings and Mario Paint, well, they're still rumors, but they're enticing ones.
1UP has a reprint of an EGM interview with Tim Schafer, the designer of Double Fine's Psychonauts (PS2, Xbox, PC) and a variety of classic LucasArts adventures.
IGN speaks with Sega producer Marty Caplan about Traveller's Tales' Super Monkey Ball Adventure (GCN).
Game Informer checks out the 360 version of EA Sports' 2006 FIFA World Cup (X360, also PS2, Xbox, GCN, DS, PSP, GBA, PC).
Console Game Of The Evening [Submit Yours!]
The Horde for the 3DO. "Kirk Cameron" (submitted by bob hellbringer)