Late Night Consoling

I'm really starting to get excited about E3. This is a new thing for me. Usually I have cautious anticipation tinged with a sense of dread and impending migraines. It's always entertaining, but if you're there to actually get a lot of work done, it can be unbelievably draining. This year, though... I don't think I've ever looked forward to as many different things at an E3 before. With the exception of Xbox, which has essentially been dropped at this point, there are games I'm actively anticipating on every current platform.

Yesterday's official announcement of Assassin's Creed (PS3) from Ubisoft sort of caught me by surprise; I hadn't paid much attention to that title when it was in its pre-announcement phase, but the setting is fascinating and the game has a lot of potential. If the historial aspects aren't just glossed over and used as only the vaguest inspiration, which sadly seems to happen quite frequently in video games, consider me excited. As far as other titles on PS3, I'll have to wait and see. We really haven't heard too much about the system, but I'm sure games like Metal Gear Solid 4 will be amazing.

On Xbox 360, I'm curious to see how Silicon Knights' Too Human plays. I have to admit, I'm honestly skeptical of any video game developer's ability to live up to the complex sci-fi themes and storylines that are so often promised, and by the same token I'm not sure I'm on board with studio head Denis Dyack's proclamation that Too Human will change the world. All that said, it sounds like a lot of cool territory is being explored and I look forward to checking it out. There are also rumors that Halo 3--or, at least, the third Halo game, whatever it may be--will be present in some form, though almost certainly not playable. The Halo games are really the only games that have ever convinced me to play an FPS on a console (unless you count Metroid Prime as an FPS, which I don't really), so suffice to say I'm very interested to see what Bungie is cooking up. That said, I'd also love to see Bungie get away from Halo for a bit too. That studio has some fine heritage and range among its games, and there's a lot more potential there than just more Halo. Here's hoping.

With Revolution--I'm sorry, Wii--I just want to play anything, really. As with PS3, we've seen practically nothing in the way of concrete game information, but that controller is inherently exciting. I have to say, I absolutely expect a lot of initial non-Nintendo games on the system to not use the controller to its full potential, or in ideal ways. Weirdly enough, I'm really looking forward to that. Not everybody can relate to this I'm sure, but I love seeing developers try out crazy stuff even if it doesn't always result in the most objectively solid game--as a case in point, games like Grasshopper's Killer 7 (PS2, GCN) and Vivarium's Odama (GCN) are fun experiences for me even if they're a bit rough around the edges. Then sometimes we get stuff like Keita Takahashi's Katamari Damacy (PS2) from Namco, and it's the best of both worlds: inventiveness as well as a coherent experince. Back to my point, sorry about that. While I'm sure eventually somebody will figure out The Best Way to Control Platformers on Wii, and The Best Way to Control Third Person Shooters on Wii, just like how dual analog sticks have become a standard for console FPS games on other systems, I can't wait to see what kind of crazy methods developers come up with for various genres before they become standardized.

Anyway, in terms of specific games for Wii, I'm hoping Metroid Prime 3 from Retro is playable. Metroid Prime on GameCube really blew me away, so I can't wait to see what those talented guys do with the new controller. That said, I also sort of view Retro in a similar way as I do Bungie: a first party developer that has already created two acclaimed entries in well-known flagship series but who would do well to branch out. It would be great to see what else they're capable of. Fortunately, recent rumors suggest Retro will have another game at E3 as well, so here's hoping for that too! And for me personally, I don't know if there's any single game I want to see on Wii more than Pikmin 3. The first two Pikmin games on the Cube were easily some of my favorite games of the generation, and ever since Miyamoto said last year (before the controller unveiling) that Revolution would be a perfect system for Pikmin, I've been on pins and needles.

EDIT: Gadzooks, that intro was longer than I thought it was. Sorry guys!

  • Shadowrun at E3?

    [xbox360]

    For some time now, there have been persistent rumors that a Shadowrun first person shooter is in the works for Xbox 360. Those rumors came to a head today, as the internets noticed that the official website of FASA Studio (which developed the Shadowrun game on Genesis) is fronted by a splash screen containing four silhouettes that suspiciously resemble those of Shadowrun characters. This connection was reinforced when it was also noticed that shadowrun.com redirects to the same image. Not much more needs to be said here, really. A Shadowrun FPS has already been all but confirmed in recent months, so don't be surprised to see this RPG adaptation show up during Microsoft's pre-E3 press conference next week.

  • Ubisoft Reveals Rayman Raving Rabbids

    [ps2] [ps3] [xbox] [xbox360] [gamecube] [nintendo]

    Though the existence of a fourth game in designer Michel Ancel's Rayman series has been out in the open for some time now, few details have been available. Today, Ubisoft officially announced Rayman Raving Rabbids, which the publisher promises to be the series' "funniest and zaniest adventure ever." Raving Rabbids is set to ship this holiday season for current and next-generation consoles, but oddly enough the only platform specifically mentioned by name is Nintendo's upcoming Wii. Ancel's latest effort will be a launch title for the system, making it Ubisoft's second confirmed Wii launch game after the platform-exclusive Red Steel. Rayman Raving Rabbids pits the titular (and limbless) hero Rayman up against the evil and insane rabbit-esque rabbids. At Rayman's disposal are a variety of creatures he can tame and control, as well as different costumes he can use to infiltrate the rabbid ranks.

    (Earlier today, Ubisoft released a Rayman Raving Rabbids screenshot that can, indeed, be described only as "zany." That image, however, was prematurely distributed and has been recalled. They did, however, also send, uh, this.)

    Rayman Raving Rabbids is in development by Ubisoft Montpellier. It will ship alongside Wii later this year, as well as for other systems this holiday season.

  • Sonic Speeds to PSP

    [psp]

    Sega's daily game announcements continue, with the latest reveal being Sonic Rivals, being developed by Death Jr. creator Backbone Entertainment for PSP. Featuring 3D environments and characters with 2D gameplay. Sonic Rivals puts classic Sonic platforming in a competitive setting. Playing as one of four characters, the player must reach the finish line before a computer-controlled character or a friend via local wireless. "In this heated rivalry, gamers are tested to prove not only who's the fastest but who has the best head-to-head gameplay strategy," said Sega's Scott A. Steinberg.

    Backbone Entertainment's Sonic Rivals ships this Fall.

  • Crash Crashes Into DS

    [ds]

    Crash Bandicoot will be coming to the DS platform for the first time with Crash Boom Bang!, developed by Dimps--largely known for its anime licensed games--and published by Crash owner Vivendi. Crash Boom Bang! collects 40 different mini-games that can be played via local wireless multiplayer, as well as the ability for players to bet on game outcomes and trade collectible items.

    Dimps' Crash Boom Bang! ships this October. - Screenshot.

  • Ubisoft at E3

    [ps2] [ps3] [xbox] [xbox360] [gamecube] [nintendo] [ds] [psp] [gba]

    In addition to its Rayman announcement, Ubisoft also sent along its official E3 game lineup, consisting of ten titles, including one not yet officially announced. They are as follows:

    - Assassin's Creed (PS3)
    - Brothers in Arms Hell's Highway (PS3, X360, PC)
    - Dark Messiah of Might & Magic (PC)
    - Enchanted Arms (X360)
    - "Game to be Unveiled," an as yet unannounced game from Timesplitters developer Free Radical
    - Open Season (PS2, Xbox, GCN, X360, DS, PSP, GBA, PC)
    - Rayman Raving Rabbids (Wii, "current and next-generation consoles")
    - Red Steel (Wii)
    - Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell Double Agent (PS2, Xbox, GCN, X360, PS3, PC)
    - Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Vegas (PS2, Xbox, PS3, X360, PC)

  • Midway at E3

    [ps2] [ps3] [xbox] [xbox360] [gamecube] [nintendo] [ds] [psp] [gba]

    Midway is the latest publisher to reveal its E3 lineup, and it consists of fourteen games. They are:

    - John Woo Presents Stranglehold (PS3, X360, PC)
    - Unreal Tournament 2007 (PS3, PC)
    - Blitz: The League (X360, Wii, PSP)
    - Mortal Kombat: Armageddon (PS2, Xbox)
    - Spy Hunter: Nowhere to Run (PS2, Xbox)
    - The Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar (PC)
    - Rise & Fall: Civilizations at War (PC)
    - Happy Feet (PS2, GCN, Wii, GBA, DS, PC)
    - The Ant Bully (PS2, GCN, GBA, PC)
    - The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy (PS2, GCN, GBA)
    - MLB SlugFest 2006 (PS2, Xbox)
    - RUSH (PSP)
    - Mortal Kombat: Unchained (PSP)
    - NBA Ballers: Rebound (PSP)

  • Nintendo Gears Up for E3

    [gamecube] [nintendo] [ds]

    With Sony, then Microsoft having launched their official E3 coverage sites, Nintendo has followed suit. The site promises live coverage of Nintendo's Wii unveiling press conference as well as show floor coverage.

  • Misc. Q&As/Features

    In case you still aren't convinced it's real, AGFRAG studio head Joseph Hatcher takes some time to speak about the upcoming Bob Ross video game for Wii.

    Hudson Entertainment has part two of an internal interview with company president John Greiner, discussing Hudson's past and future, as well as its role in opening up Nintendo platforms to third parties.

    GameSpot chats with Sega's Takashi Iizuka about the upcoming Sonic Rivals (PSP).

    IGN chats with Midway's Kraig Kujawa about the Wii version of Blitz: The League (also X360, PSP), internally referred to as "Blitz: The Wiigue."

Misc. Media/Previews

PS2

Movies: Rogue Galaxy (PS2).

GCN/Wii

Screenshots: Rayman Raving Rabbids (Wii, also "current and next-generation video game consoles").

Portable

IGN checks out SCEJ's Work Time Fun (PSP).

Screenshots: Crash Boom Bang! (DS). Sonic Rivals (PSP).

Movies: The Legend of Heroes II: Prophecy of the Moonlight Witch (PSP).

Multi

GameSpot takes a look at Traveller's Tales' LEGO Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy (PS2, Xbox, GCN, DS, PSP, GBA< PC). 1UP takes a first look at Neversoft's Tony Hawk's Project 8 (PS3, X360).

Screenshots: Cars (PS2, Xbox, GCN, DS, PSP, GBA, PC). Justice League Heroes (PS2, Xbox, PSP).

Console Game Of The Evening [Submit Yours!]

Alex Kidd in Miracle World for the Sega Master System. "You have to eat a hamburger to finish each level? Need I say anymore..." (submitted by MaverickUK)