Late Night Consoling

By Chris Remo, Aug 01, 2006 8:10pm PDT Today EA released the first online screenshots and fact sheet for its Montreal studio's upcoming Army of Two (PS3, X360). I saw a closed doors demo of this game at E3 and I have to say, it could be really amazing if done right. As far as I can tell, there aren't any other games that have put this much emphasis on cooperative play; it's pretty impressive how much you have to work together with your partner. Of course, I think in single-player, that will be the game's biggest failing. The idea of having a no doubt slightly dodgy AI try to perform everything I'd want a human player doing is slightly worrisome, but I think that online human co-op is where this will shine. Things like letting out rope to let your buddy rappel down a building, pinning down a target with two sniper rifles--man, I can't wait. Please make it good, EA.
  • EA on Next Generation Systems

    [ps3] [xbox360] [nintendo] [ds] [psp]

    Following Electronic Arts' financial announcement today (see below), the company held a media and analyst conference call, during which executives elaborated on plans for current and upcoming consoles.

    In regards to Sony's PlayStation 3, the company expects to have four or five titles available within the console's launch period, which EA defines as lasting from the date of the machine's retail availability until the end of the calendar year. Among these titles will be EA Tiburon's Madden NFL 07, EA Black Box's Need for Speed Carbon (preview, interview), and EA Redwood Shores' Tiger Woods PGA Tour 07. The other one or two titles were not named.

    EA seems confident in the long term prospects of PlayStation 3, even if it takes developers some time to get accustomed to the machine. "This Christmas, it's going to be difficult to harness the full power of the PS3 on first generation software versus what will be second generation 360 games, so they're going to be more alike than different, is our opinion at this time," said an executive. "As those machines develop over time, there's a lot of horsepower inside the PS3 that we'll be able to unlock over years two, three, and four that we're very excited about." Speaking in terms of development progress on PS3 versus Xbox 360, an exec added, "We're slightly ahead of where we were on 360 at this time last year."

    During a recent shareholder's meeting, an EA executive did express concern regarding consumer receptiveness to the PS3's high price tag. "[The price] is a business challenge that Sony has, and as a consequence there's an opportunity for Microsoft and Nintendo to pick up market share in this next cycle," he said.

    Speaking of Nintendo, EA seems to be one of the companies taken by surprise by Wii's strong showing during E3, as well as the success of the Nintendo DS. "In terms of relative investment on the Wii and the DS, we are moving resources against those platforms to increase SKU count," said an exec. "We're definitely going after those platforms." In the company's recent shareholder meeting, EA responded to a question about the company's largely male late-20s audience, saying, "We're looking hard about broadening the demographic with both Nintendo Wii and Nintendo DS."

    However, given the long turnaround times associated with development, Wii will see significantly fewer launch titles than PS3. The company expects to ship only EA Canada's Madden NFL 07 (preview) and Need for Speed Carbon during the machine's launch period, with a total of five titles within the company's fiscal year. An exec stated that EA's Wii games may be priced at $49.99, though this price point was not set in stone. This is $10 less than the company's Xbox 360 and expected PS3 software price point. Nintendo has claimed that its own Wii games will not be priced above $49.99.

    There was less to say about Xbox 360, but EA did state that it is currently the market leader on the platform.

    EA spokespeople also touched on the ESA's recent announcements regarding the revised E3. "We fully support the decision that was made by the ESA board," said the company, adding that it will save millions of dollars for the company.

  • Mortal Kombat Heads to Wii

    [ps2] [xbox] [nintendo]

    Midway confirmed today that its Chicago studio's upcoming Mortal Kombat: Armageddon (interview), previously announced for PlayStation 2 and Xbox, is now heading to Nintendo's upcoming Wii console as well. The game will contain over 60 characters from throughout the long running fighting franchise, and will allow players to create their own custom fatalities. Midway did not reveal how the unique Wii controller would be used in the game.

    Mortal Kombat: Armageddon is expected this October for PS2 and Xbox, and in early 2007 for Wii.

  • Konami Closes in Hawaii

    [ps2] [xbox] [gamecube] [ds] [psp] [gba]

    The Honolulu Star Bulletin reported today that Konami's Honolulu-based development studio, Konami Computer Entertainment Hawaii, has been closed for unspecified reasons. The studio developed such titles as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Mutant Melee (PS2, Xbox, GCN), Frogger: Helmet Chaos (NDS, PSP), and Dance Dance Revolution Ultramix 2 (Xbox). Konami stated that the closure would affect 40 employees, though an executive from a local economic development organization stated that the studio at this point is now comprised of only about a dozen staffers.

  • Saint's Row Demo Skids to Live

    [xbox360]

    A free playable demo of Volition's upcoming open-world gang warfare game Saint's Row (X360) is now available via Xbox Live, consisting of a look at the game's single-player component and character customization feature. THQ will release the game on August 29, 2006.

  • Yakuza Goes Gold

    [ps2]

    Sega this week announced that its upcoming mobster epic Yakuza has gone gold. The game will be shipping September 2, 2006 for PlayStation 2. - Screenshots.

  • EA Posts Quarterly Loss

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

    Electronic Arts today announced its financial results for the fiscal 2007 first quarter. The company saw a 13% increase in quarterly revenue year over year, up to $413M, but posted a net loss of $81M, a 39% increase year over year. Both figures were substantially better than analysts expectations. The company estimates it will break even in the second quarter.

    Following the announcement, EA stock gained 3% to $48.33 in after hours trading.

  • Misc. Q&As/Features

    IGN has a video interview on Monolith's Xbox 360 version of F.E.A.R. (X360).

Misc. Media/Previews

PS2

IGN has an update on Yuke's' SmackDown vs. RAW '07 (PS2, also X360, PSP) (so does GameSpy).

XBOX/X360

IGN goes hands on with Cavia's Zegapain XOR (X360).

PORTABLE

Game Informer previews Grasshopper Manufacture's Contact (NDS). IGN checks out Eighting's Bleach: Heat the Soul 3 (PSP). GameSpy takes a look at Square Enix's Dragon Quest Heroes: Rocket Slime (NDS).

Screenshots: Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Justice for All (NDS). Panzer Tactics DS (NDS)

MULTI

GameSpot checks out Gusto Games' ProStroke Golf - World Tour 2007 (PS2, Xbox, PSP, PC).

Screenshots: Army of Two (PS3, X360).

Console Game Of The Evening [Submit Yours!]

Wall Street Kid for the NES. "This game taught me that at the end of the day, I can't make anyone happy, and I'll die poor. Cheers!" (submitted by volitionism)

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