Microsoft Doubling 360 Production?[xbox360]
According to VNU, Microsoft is currently planning to raise production of Xbox 360 consoles to one million per month between April and June, doubling the number of units produced worldwide between January and March. The information comes courtesy of Taiwanese chip manufacturers providing parts for the console. When contacted for comment by Shacknews, a Microsoft representative stated:
"This story is speculative - we have not disclosed specific inventory or manufacturing ramp up figures. We have said that with component supplies in full production and third manufacturing partner Celestica now producing the next-generation console along with partners Wistron and Flextronics, Microsoft is producing more Xbox 360 consoles than ever. Last month we announced Microsoft would ship two to three times the number of Xbox 360 consoles to the retail channel weekly and we remain on track to meet our year-end fiscal goal of 4.5-5.5 million units."
The ramp up would help Microsoft meet its stated goal of 4.5-5.5 million units by June, and if production remained at increased levels would ensure that the two competing consoles near their release dates, customers in search of Xbox 360s are not driven elsewhere due to lack of supply.
New Konami Titles Revealed?[ps2] [xbox] [xbox360] [ds] [psp]
Rythm game oriented site Orange Lounge Radio has posted what is allegedly a retailer release schedule detailing a variety of upcoming Konami releases. The list seems generally plausible, and some of the games are already known to be in the works.
- A long rumored followup to Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow (DS) was revealed for Nintendo DS, entitled Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin. Another Castlevania title on DS has been almost a sure thing, with fairly conclusive hints from several major publications; however, the game was previously referred to as the somewhat more awkward Castlevania: Dual Moons. The rechristened Portrait of Ruin has a release date of November 15, 2006.
- Also present on the list is a PSP game called Silent Hill Original Sin, which the source claims is some kind of remake or port of the original Silent Hill (PS1) with "a few twists." Konami has not previously mentioned this title. It is listed with a release date of October 18, 2006.
- Two new games from Backbone Entertainment's Death Jr. property were present, one for PSP and one for Nintendo DS. The original Death Jr. (DS), whose titular protagonist is the young son of the Grim Reaper, was one of the first PSP games showcased before the system's release. No description was given for either sequel beyond the names and release dates: Death Jr. 2 for PSP on October 18, 2006, and Death Jr.: Science Fair of Doom on October 11, 2006.
- Bomberman: Act Zero, the previously announced Bomberman title for Xbox 360 and PSP, will be released July 12, 2006. Yes, this is the one in which Bomberman looks like the unholy spawn of the Terminator and Freddy Krueger. He's extreme, you see.
- Three Dance Dance Revolution games were revealed: DDR Supernova (PS2) on September 13, 2006, DDR Universe (X360) on October 11, 2006, and DDR Ultramix 4 (Xbox) on November 14, 2006. Karaoke Revolution: American Idol (PS2) is set for release November 15, 2006.
Though all of this information has become widely reported and seems plausible, bear in mind that it has not yet been confirmed. Shacknews has contacted Konami for comment but as of press time has not yet received a response.
Two Games From Namco Bandai[psp]
Namco Bandai confirmed two games today: Xenosaga Episode III: Also Sprach Zarathustra (PS2) and Ace Combat X: Skies of Deception (PSP).
Xenosaga Episode III: Also Sprach Zarathustra will finish off Monolith Soft's Xenosaga trilogy, a semi-spinoff of Square's 1998 RPG Xenogears (PS1). The game features an improved battle system, an updated database feature, and some kind of 50 hour mini-game. "We are very excited to bring this conclusion of the Xenosaga series to the fans that have been anxiously waiting to see how this epic adventure will conclude," said Namco Bandai's US product director Yoshi Niki. Xenosaga Episode III will ship this fall. Namco Bandai recently released Xenosaga I & II (DS) in Japan; the compilation does not yet have a North American release date.
Ace Combat X for PSP was revealed in the latest issue of Japanese publication Famitsu and confirmed by Namco Bandai representatives in the US. Few details were revealed about the game, other than that it is expected this fall in Japan. Namco Bandai could not confirm that the game is headed for Western territories. The company is also currently preparing to ship Ace Combat Zero: The Belkan War (PS2) in North America on April 25.
Open Season for Ubisoft[ps2] [ps3] [xbox] [xbox360] [gamecube] [nintendo] [ds] [psp] [gba]
Ubisoft today announced the development of Open Season, a video game tie-in based on Sony Pictures Animation's first full CG-animated movie. "Ubisoft is committed to making the best movie-based video games in the industry," said Ubisoft VP of marketing Tony Key. "We do this by partnering closely with our licensing partners and movie makers to create an experience that remains true to the spirit of the film but expands it far beyond the theater." The game is coming to "all available video game platforms" on September 15, two weeks before the film's release. - Screenshots.
What is it about upcoming console launches that make game publisher executives use such bizarre wording? It's a secret to everybody. In a recent Gamasutra interview, newly promoted Ubisoft Montreal CEO Yannis Mallat commented on Nintendo Revolution: "I can say definitely, as any other developer, we are looking at this magical platform, and we want to be part of the adventure."
We took a look at EA LA's 360 version of Lord of the Rings: Battle for Middle-Earth II (X360, also PC).
IGN has some reasonable extrapolations about Nintendo's The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass (DS). 1UP previews Grasshopper Manufacture's Contact (DS) and Arc System Works' Guilty Gear Dust Strikers (DS).
Console Game Of The Evening [Submit Yours!]
Super Mario All-Stars for the Super Nintendo. "A collection of four NES classics released for the SNES. Super Mario Bros. 1, 2, 3, and the "Lost Levels." My buddy got this packaged with his system and I was very jealous." (submitted by inarius)