Late Night Consoling

Atlus released a bunch of new screenshots and artwork from Grasshopper Manufacture's DS RPG Contact today. I've got to say, that's one of my most anticipated DS games by far, which is impressive considering I'm not a huge Japanese RPG fan and the upcoming DS lineup is so strong. The visual style of the game is absolutely gorgeous, it seems to take a lot from the ultra-quirky Earthbound (SNES), it's got this weird recursive thing going--the character that mentors your playable character seems to know he is within a video game, there's some kind of online connectivity with it, and it's from the guys who made the flawed but promising Killer 7 (PS2, GCN). Seriously, I need this now.
  • Rockstar Strips Strip Club of Lawsuit

    [ps2] [xbox]

    Gamasutra reported today that Rockstar Games has won a lawsuit launched by a Los Angeles strip club, claiming the in-game strip club "The Pig Pen" from Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (PS2, Xbox, PC) violates registered trademarks owned by the club. The logo of The Pig Pen bears a striking resemblence to that of the actual L.A. club, the Play Pen Gentlemen's Club--no doubt deliberately, as The Pig Pen is located in San Andreas' Los Angeles-esque locale of Los Santos. Despite the similarity, Rockstar was acquitted on First Amendment grounds, as though the in-game reference "bears some artistic relevance" to its real life counterpart, it "does not explicitly mislead consumers as to the source or content of the Game."

  • Nintendo: "Wii prove our promise"

    [nintendo]

    The official website of Leipzig's upcoming Games Convention has been updated to include a full list of publisher conferences to be held on August 23, 2006. Most of the conferences lack a detailed description and will likely be showcases for holiday season and 2007 lineups, but a specific title was given for Nintendo's: "Wii prove our promise." Earlier this year, company president Satoru Iwata stated that Nintendo will reveal launch information for its upcoming Wii console by September. So far, the only confirmed details are that the machine will launch before Thanksgiving and for under $250 in the United States. Rumors have been circulating this week that Nintendo will announce up to five new games during their conference.

    Another interesting conference is listed. The exhibitor is "Electronic Arts/Nintendo," though no description or title was given. Last month, EA announced six Wii games based on long running EA franchises, only a few or which have as yet been shown. This conference may show more from that lineup.

    Many other publishers and developers have Games Convention conferences scheduled, though few give descriptions. These companies include Electronic Arts ("Highlights 2006/2007"), Ubisoft, 10tacle Studios (Elveon & Codename Panzers: Cold War), Microsoft Xbox, Deep Silver, NCSoft Europe (Guild Wars Nightfall), Buena Vista Games, Midway Games, Square Enix, Sony Computer Entertainment Europe, and Atari. All of these presentations will take place on August 23.

  • Wii: Seven from Ubisoft, Six from Midway

    [nintendo]

    Though the last few months have seen a sudden upswing in publisher support for Wii, Ubisoft is one of the few third parties that has been on board with Nintendo's upcoming console since the beginning. During a presentation at the Ziff Davis Electronic Games Summit this week, Ubisoft North America president Laurent Detoc announced that the company currently has seven games in development for Wii. So far, the company has only announced two titles for the system--Ubisoft Paris' Wii-exclusive Red Steel, and Ubisoft Montpellier's Rayman Raving Rabbids, whose main version appears to be the Wii version, judging from comments by designer Michel Ancel.

    Detoc also spoke on the Wii in general, particularly in regards to its potential to broaden the gaming audience. He sees the machine having "a large audience and market," and recalled that, "The first time I picked up that sucker I couldn't stop playing it."

    Midway president David Zucker also revealed the extent of his company's Wii development, confirming that Midway has six games in the works.

  • Midway Announces Mortal Kombat: Armageddon Limited Edition Premium

    [ps2] [nintendo]

    Midway today announced that upon the release of Mortal Kombat: Armageddon (PS2, Xbox, Wii), the PlayStation 2 version of the game will be available in a Premium Edition consisting of various extra features: an "arcade-perfect" port of Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3, 60 minutes of feature video content including a "History of Fatalities" movie, and a piece of animation cell cover art signed by Mortal Kombat co-creator Ed Boon. There will be four metallic cover variants of the Premium Edition, three of which feature two characters each--Sindel/Shao Kahn, Johnny Cage/Goro, Kano/Sonya--and one of which is simply a metallic version of the standard box art.

    The publisher also specified that the Wii version of the game confirmed yesterday will be shipping in the first quarter of 2007. More information about that version's features will be made available later this year.

  • SNK Shies Away from PS3

    [ps3]

    Speaking to Kotaku, SNK Playmore marketing manager Yoshihito Koyama indicated that his company plans to avoid PS3 development for the console's first few years on the market. "The PlayStation 2 is good enough. It's small and cheap," he said. "Maybe 2009-2010 is a good time to release a game for the PS3." Why? "My first impression is that it's expensive," he said about Sony's next-gen console.

    In terms of next-gen systems, SNK has expressed interest in Nintendo's Wii as a viable target for its games. The company currently plans to launch Metal Slug Anthology, also headed to PSP, as a Wii launch title.

  • Lord of the Maps

    [xbox360]

    Three new single- and multiplayer maps for the Xbox 360 version of EA LA's The Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle-earth II are now available via Xbox Live. The maps, named Weathertop, Argonath, and Umbar, are available as the Aragorn's Journey pack, and cost 700 Microsoft points ($8.75).

  • Misc. Q&As/Features

    We've got an interview on Climax LA's upcoming Silent Hill Origins (PSP).

    Ubisoft sends over a producer video interview on the upcoming Rainbow Six: Vegas (PS3, X360), speaking on various features and graphical improvements.

    GameSpot talks with Bizarre Creations' Gareth Wilson about the challenges of developing Project Gotham Racing 3 as an Xbox 360 launch title.

Misc. Media/Previews

PS2

GameSpot has a preview of Tecmo's Tokobot Plus: Mysteries of the Karakuri (PS2). GameSpy takes a look at Punchline's Rule of Rose (PS2).

Screenshots: Rule of Rose (PS2).

XBOX/X360

GameSpy checks out weapons from Capcom's Dead Rising (X360).

PORTABLE

GameSpot previzzles High Voltage's 50 Cent: Bulletproof G Unit Edition (PSP). IGN checks out four games from Nintendo's Bit Generations (GBA) series (Coloris, Orbital, Digidrive, and Soundvoyager), as well as From Software's King's Field (PSP).

Screenshots: Contact (NDS).

Console Game Of The Evening [Submit Yours!]

Stack-Up for the NES. "The other game for R.O.B. the robot. I still play it now and then, especially in bingo mode. A much better game than its pimped out big sister, Gyromite." (submitted by geneshifter)