Late Night Consoling

Once again, I'm running low on Console Games of the Evening, so if there are any classic titles you particularly love (or hate), get those in there, and check to make sure they haven't already been submitted. I'm trying to hold off on using any of the PS2/Xbox/GameCube submissions until all three next-gen consoles are out, so dig back into those legacy systems. Thanks!
  • Square Enix Likes Blu-ray

    [ps3]

    Several months ago, Square Enix executives made some ambiguous comments suggesting that main numbered entries in flagship series such as Final Fantasy or Dragon Quest might become multiplatform in the upcoming console generation. At least in the case of Final Fantasy, this possibility has been all but denied at this point. Both Final Fantasy XIII and one of its sister projects Final Fantasy Versus XIII are being developed solely for PlayStation 3. In a recent interview with Japanese publication Gaimaga translated by IGN, FFXIII director Motomu Toriyama and Final Fantasy Versus XIII producer Shinji Hashimoto explained the reasoning for the continued Sony exclusivity: one DVD, forms of which are being used in both Xbox 360 and Wii, are insufficient for the "type of visual expression" being produced in the game. In all likelihood, this has to do with the large amount of CGI movies that have been a part of Final Fantasy games ever since Final Fantasy VII (PS1), which take up even greater amounts of space in high definition. PlayStation 3 will be using the higher capacity Blu-ray Disc format for all of its games. Presumably, Square Enix considers single-disc convenience a crucial factor this time around; several previous series entries have shipped on multiple discs.

    In regards to the current status of the game, Toriyama stated that the engine is in a running state on PS3 hardware, and the scenario design for the game is about 80% complete. "Now is the time for the true start of FFXIII," he said.

  • Microsoft Doesn't Like Blu-ray, Doubtful of PS3 Online

    [ps3] [xbox360]

    In interviews with Eurogamer TV (part one, part two) this week, Xbox Europe head Chris Lewis and Xbox UK head Neil Thompson expressed strong words about Sony's Blu-ray strategy, and haziness regarding the details of PlayStation 3's online service. "I find it concerning for consumers that they're being forced into a purchase [of a Blu-ray drive]," said Thompson. "I don't think they need to make that decision for another two, three years maybe. Sony now have a very interesting business model I think they're going to find challenging." He pointed to Microsoft's strategy of an upcoming optional HD-DVD drive as more desirable, in that it offers consumers a choice of whether to invest in a high definition movie format. "If gamers over time choose to go to HD-DVD we're going to give them the choice to do that, but we're not going to force them to buy that day one,” he said.

    Lewis noted that the inclusion of Blu-ray in the machine contributed to its high price point, and stated that Microsoft feels no pressure to lower the price of its Xbox 360 in the near future, given that it is already priced competitively with Sony's machine. "We're confident that we are at the right price at the right time and will remain so," he said, "and nothing I've heard [from Sony] does anything other than frankly reinforce that view."

    In regards to Sony's online plans, the Microsoft executives were "flattered" by Sony's promises, which share many similarities to the successful Xbox Live service, but Lewis believes that Sony has not followed up with sufficient solid details on the service's workings or payment options. "It's good to see them catching up in that regard," he said. "I think the service is still hazy in my view in terms of how it's really going to work for the consumer--how the pricing's going to work still to me seems very unclear." (For reference, Sony has announced that its online gaming service will be offered free of charge, with purchasable content similar to that available via Xbox Live Marketplace.) Lewis also pointed to Xbox Live's strong integration with the Xbox and Xbox 360 as a crucial part of the system's success.

  • Painkiller: Hell Wars Delayed

    [xbox]

    People Can Fly's Painkiller: Hell Wars, an Xbox adaptation of the original PC shooter Painkiller, has seen several delays, pushing it back from its original release date of fall 2005. Today, publisher DreamCatcher Interactive announced that development time on the game has been extended to ensure that all of the features from the PC game are present. "DreamCatcher is committed to making Painkiller: Hell Wars a must-have title for the Xbox, and quite possibly the last great shooter on the Xbox platform," said global product marketing manager Byron Gaum. No new release date was given for the title, though the announcement claims it is "soon to be available."

  • PSP Updated

    [psp]

    Sony has released a minor software update for its PSP console, bringing the system from version 2.70 to version 2.71. There are two announced changes: adding support to save game demos to a Memory Stick, and correcting an error with the system's LocationFree Player. Currently, a demo of SCEJ's LocoRoco is available.

  • Misc. Q&As/Features

    1UP speaks with developers from Square Enix about Final Fantasy XII (PS2).

    Silicon Knights' Denis Dyack has a few things to say in defense of Too Human's (X360) showing at this year's E3.

Misc. Media/Previews

XBOX/X360

IGN checks out Capcom's Street Fighter II Hyper Fighting (X360).

Movies: Chromehounds (X360).

GCN/Wii

Screenshots: Super Smash Bros. Brawl (Wii).

Movies: The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess (Wii, GCN).

PORTABLE

Screenshots: Flipper Critters (NDS). Lunar Knights (NDS). HOT PXL (PSP).

Movies: Spectrobes (NDS).

MULTI

GameSpot goes hands on with Supersonic's Micro Machines V4 (PS2, Xbox, DS, PSP, PC) and takes an updated look at EA Tiburon's NCAA Football 07 (PS2, Xbox, X360, also PSP) (so does IGN).

Screenshots: King of Fighters: Neowave (PS2, Xbox).

Movies: NFL Head Coach (PS2, Xbox, PC).

Console Game Of The Evening [Submit Yours!]

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Fall of the Foot Clan for the Game Boy Color. "Along with Tetris, my first Gameboy game. To this day... a perfect old-school side-scroller: Graphics, Music, SFX, Animation, ALL AMAZING. Along with perfect gameplay, it's an old-school classic." (submitted by at0micGarden)