Wee Hours Consoling

Hey there, sorry this is so late tonight. Today was the first day of Comic-Con in San Diego, which I'll be covering for Shack. The best part of the day was that I planned to take the train back to where I'm staying, then realized when I reached the station that the train I needed stopped running a couple hours earlier. That was definitely the best part. Anyway, here is your very belated console news.
  • Kutaragi to Address TGS

    [ps2] [ps3] [psp]

    Tokyo Game Show organizers this week announced that Sony Computer Entertainment boss Ken Kutaragi will be delivering a pre-show keynote address entitled "The Next Generation as Created by the PlayStation 3." Kutaragi may well reveal some of the remaining major unrevealed pieces of information about PlayStation 3, such as the details of how it will handle online gaming. During one of last year's keynotes, Nintendo president Satoru Iwata famously revealed the then-named Revolution's unique controller for the first time.

    Anothing keynote slot has been filled by Yoichi Wada, president of Square Enix but for the purposes of his keynote the chairman of Japanese trade organization CESA (Computer Entertainment Software Association). His address, which will follow Kutaragi's, is entitled "The Possibilities and Hurdles of the Game Industry."

    Both keynotes will be delivered on September 22 as part of business-oriented programming prior to the show's commencement proper on September 23.

  • Wee Hours Wii Rumors

    [nintendo]

    Various Wii rumors surfaced this week, and the diligent Nintendo reporters over at IGN Wii have given their opinion as to the validity of each. Most of them seem pretty reasonable.

    - Monster Games' over the top racer Excite Truck is rumored to be a launch title. This would come as little surprise, since during E3 it was one of the Wii games that appeared to be most finalized and polished. According to IGN, the game is even closer to completion than Nintendo has let on.
    - Wii's Virtual Console service is rumored to have 20-30 titles at launch. This news apparently comes by way of industry insiders who have gleaned Virtual Console plans from Nintendo and its partners in the service. Known partners so far include Sega with its Sega Genesis, and NEC and Hudson Soft with their Turbo Grafx-16. Presumably, Nintendo has also been in talks with third party developers which published games on NES, SNES, and Nintendo 64. It is unknown how many, if any, of those 20-30 titles will be original titles as opposed to legacy titles. Nintendo no doubt hopes to give Microsoft's Xbox Live Arcade service a run for its money; by comparison, the Xbox 360 incarnation of Live Arcade launched with about ten titles and now has about twenty-three.
    - IGN states that several publishers will be showcasing Wii games during the Leipzig Games Convention next month. This will include at least one game that has not yet been shown in playable form. Contrary to prior speculation, the system's presence at the show should be fairly strong.
    - More Naruto games will be coming to Wii. Games based on the popular anime have come to a variety of systems, including PS2, GameCube, Game Boy Advance, Nintendo DS, and others, but the GameCube titles have been known to be particularly strong sellers, making Wii entries in the series a logical step.
    - There are currently no plans to bring Crash Bandicoot to Wii. Rumors that the Naughty Dog creation would come specifically to Wii were apparently erroneously derived from noncommittal statement by franchise owner Vivendi that any console platforms are potential targets for Crash.

  • Castle Crashers, Alien Hominid to Hit Live Arcade

    [xbox360]

    Yesterday, The Behemoth formally unveiled its upcoming old school action game Castle Crashers. No specific platforms were announced, though the game was first shown running on GameCube during last year's Comic-Con. Now, Game Informer reports that Castle Crashers, along with The Behemoth's debut effort Alien Hominid (PS2, Xbox, GCN) will be coming to Xbox Live Arcade in 2007. Both titles fit well within the Xbox Live Arcade library, being 2D sidescrollers with gameplay that is straightforward but challenging. Castle Crashers features four-player cooperative gameplay, with The Behemoth targeting online play. Alien Hominid has same screen two-player co-op, though it is not yet known whether that will be extended to online co-op for the Live Arcade release.

  • Endless Saga Ends

    [ps3]

    Little mention has been made recently of Webzen's fantasy MMO Endless Saga, announced last year for PlayStation 3 and PC last July. It seems that the reason for this silence is simple enough: speaking to PS3Land.com, a Webzen representative revealed that Endless Saga has been quietly cancelled. "After some rigorous development effort, we found the gameplay of Endless Saga to be short of innovation and creativity we seek to achieve in online gaming space," stated the rep.

    The company, which focuses its publishing efforts on massively multiplayer titles, has multiple games in the works for PC and Xbox 360, but now has no announced PlayStation 3 projects. According to the representative, Webzen still plans on entering the PS3 market at some point in the future.

  • Colin McRae Skids to Next-Gen

    [ps3] [xbox360]

    Codemasters today announced that its well known Colin McRae series of racing games will be coming to PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and PC in the form of DIRT: Colin McRae Off-Road. The game will include the 12.4-mile Pikes Peak International in Colorado. DIRT will feature Rally Cross events combining dirt racing and road racing, and will have specific modes for European, International, and Global rally championship types. As befits a next-gen racing title, DIRT is promised to have online multiplayer, an improved physics system, and a new car damage model.

    DIRT: Colin McRae Off-Road will ship in 2007 for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and PC.

  • Test Drive Unlimited's Price Tag Fairly Limited

    [xbox360]

    Atari today announced that its upcoming semi-MMO racing game Test Drive Unlimited (PS2, X360, PSP, PC) will break with tradition in terms of pricing for high profile, high budget games on Xbox 360. Rather than the standard third party price point of $59.99, the game will launch at $39.95. "Innovation should be available to everyone, not a privelege for those who can afford high price tags," said outspoken Atari CEO and Chief Creative Officer Bruno Bonnell.

    Following Test Drive Unlimited's Xbox 360 release, developer Eden Studios will support the game with monthly downloadable car packs to supplement the game's included 90 cars, similar to Bizarre Studios' offerings for Project Gotham Racing 3 (X360). In addition to new cars, each pack will come with a new genre-themed in-game radio station containing 10-20 songs.

    Eden Studios' Test Drive Unlimited is set to ship later this year. For more information on the game, check out our preview.

  • Sony Online Entertainment Gets Unreal

    [ps3]

    Online game developer and publisher Sony Online Entertainment today announced that it has licensed Epic's wildly popular Unreal Engine 3 for use in a number of its upcoming titles, including the announced MMO based on the DC Comics universe. "The combination of a top-notch graphics engine and a robust set of design tools will enable our teams to deliver incredible and innovative game content for next-generation consoles and the PC," said SOE president John Smedley. Presumably by "next-generation consoles," SOE is referring to PlayStation 3, though the DC Comics project has not yet been officially announced for specific platforms beyond next-generation consoles and PC.

  • Misc. Q&As/Features

    LucasArts sends over a feature in which developers from Traveller's Tales and LucasArts speak on a few of their favorite moments in the upcoming LEGO Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy (PS2, Xbox, GCN, X360, NDS, PSP, GBA, PC).

Misc. Media/Previews

XBOX/X360

IGN previews Capcom's Dead Rising (X360).

GCN/Wii

Pro-G goes hands on with Nintendo's Wii Music and Wii Sports (Wii).

PORTABLE

GameSpot has some details on Square Enix's Final Fantasy III (NDS).

MULTI

GameSpot checks out the controls in Yuke's' WWE SmackDown! vs. RAW 2007 (PS2, PS3, X360, PSP). IGN takes a look at EA Tiburon's Madden NFL 07 (PS2, Xbox, GCN, PS3, X360, Wii, NDS, PSP, GBA, PC).

Movies: Marvel: Ultimate Alliance (PS2, Xbox, PS3, X360, Wii, PSP, GBA, PC): Human Torch, Iceman, Invisible Woman.

Console Game Of The Evening [Submit Yours!]

8 Eyes for the NES. "unique ability to choose any level you want, in any order. It's Castlevania meets Rygar, and very challenging." (submitted by Space Goonie).