Late Night Consoling

By Chris Remo, Aug 14, 2006 8:00pm PDT I'm here at Microsoft Gamefest, as you may have noticed. Though I'm our Console Editor here at Shack, I grew up a PC gamer, so it's sort of saddened me to see what has been, in my own opinion at least, a general decline in the overall PC gaming scene since the golden best year ever of 1998. Ever since Microsoft first announced its intention to really start pushing PC gaming, I've been more optimistic, and some of the initiatives outlined today were very encouraging. Hopefully once Vista ships we'll start seeing this stuff pan out.
  • Microsoft to Revise Xbox 360 Controller?

    [xbox360]

    In a presentation at today's Gamefest event in Seattle, Microsoft's product unit manager for hardware Robert S. Walker made some comments suggesting that the company may release a new optional "advanced" version of the Xbox 360 controller at some point in the future. The presentation was largely focused on Xbox 360 peripherals coming in the near future, such as the Xbox Live Vision camera and the Xbox 360 Wireless Racing Wheel, but at a certain point the topic shifted to the issue of fine control in genres such as first person shooters which are arguably less suited to traditional console controllers than to a mouse and keyboard. After confirming that, as previously stated, the company has no plans to allow in-game mouse and keyboard support on Xbox 360, Walker noted that Microsoft is looking at ways to modify the right analog stick on the controller to make it more conducive to the precise movements used in shooters and various other genres. This controller would not replace the original controller, and would merely be an option available to players looking for a more advanced control scheme.

    When asked for clarification by Shacknews, Walker reiterated that Microsoft does not yet have any concrete plans for the workings of such a device, nor is there any projected release period. Rather, it is something under consideration by Microsoft's hardware development teams as a long term possibility.

  • Unreal 3 Too Hard for Too Human?

    [xbox360]

    Silicon Knights' upcoming Too Human, the first title in a planned epic sci-fi trilogy incorporating themes and characters from Norse mythology, has undergone its share of delays over its ten year development system. Originally planned for PlayStation, the game was eventually moved to GameCube, and is now in development for Xbox 360.

    According to recent unconfirmed reports, the game may have hit another roadblock. The Advanced Media Network claims that Silicon Knights has been encountering problems with Epic's Unreal Engine 3 and plans to create its own internal engine to power the game. Such a move would undoubtedly push the game's release back even further; it was recently delayed to early 2007 from its prior holiday season 2006 release period.

    Despite other similar reports of developer difficulty with the tools, the Unreal Engine 3 remains by far the middleware of choice among next-gen developers when it comes to high end graphics rendering. In regards to these rumors, neither Silicon Knights nor publisher Microsoft Game Studios have offered any comment.

  • Hitman Screenplay a Hit?

    [ps2] [xbox] [xbox360] [gamecube]

    If you keep up with the vibrant and creative world of video game film adaptations, you may be familiar with the LatinoReview, which manages to post reviews of game-based film scripts on a surprisingly frequent basis and with a high degree of accuracy. The latest subject of reviewer El Mayimbe's criticism is the script to Hitman written by Skip Woods (Swordfish), who is also directing the film. El Mayimbe gives the script an "A" rating, calling it "very kick ass," "a masterpiece," and "overwhelmingly clever and intelligent," and stating that it is likely to be "the defining role of [star Vin Diesel's] career." For the curious, the review also contains various plot spoilers.

    For reference, LatinoReview gave an A- to Stuart Beattie's (Spy Hunter, Pirates of the Caribbean) Splinter Cell screenplay, and an A to Alex Garland's (28 Days Later) script for the Halo film, which is currently being rewritten by newcomer D.B. Weiss.

  • EA: "Consumers have proven that actually what they want is fun"

    [ds] [psp]

    When it released its most recent financial results, publisher Electronic Arts disclosed that it will be increasing the amount of funding it allocates to Nintendo DS and Wii development. Speaking to UK trade publication MCV, EA executive VP and COO of worldwide studios David Gardner elaborated on the company's position regarding the latest portable consoles from Nintendo and Sony.

    In the last year, EA has weighted its portable development significantly in favor of PSP, which comes as little surprise given the conduciveness of EA's multiplatform approach to the PSP's home console-like attitude to portable gaming. However, in the light of the increasingly strong performance of Nintendo DS, Gardner noted, that may not be the most ideal route. "I think we were excited by the technology, but the consumers have proven that actually what they want is fun," he said. "We must never forget that what we need to focus on is fun and so EA is putting more effort behind DS games--and creative ones that really take advantage of the hardware."

  • EA Replays on PSP

    [psp]

    Despite an apparent reallocation of funds, EA still has plenty of games in the works for PSP. If online retailers EBgames.com and GameStop.com (both owned by GameStop) are to be believed, the company is leveraging its several of its older properties for a PSP compilation called EA Replay. According to the product description, the game will support head to head multiplayer for applicable titles (presumably via local wireless) and will contain ports of 14 EA-owned titles. The provided list, with platforms added, is as follows:

    - Grey Matter's B.O.B. (SNES, GEN)
    - Electronic Arts' Budokan: The Martial Spirit (AMI, C64, GEN, PC)
    - Electronic Arts' Desert Strike: Return to the Gulf (AMI, SNES, GEN, GB, GG, Lynx, GBA, PC)
    - High Score's Jungle Strike: The Sequel to Desert Strike (AMI, CD32, SNES, GB, PC)
    - Electronic Arts' Haunting Starring Poulterguy (GEN)
    - Mutant Productions' Mutant League Football (GEN)
    - Probe Entertainment's Road Rash (AMI, GEN, GB, GG, GBC)
    - Electronic Arts' Road Rash II (GEN)
    - Electronic Arts' Road Rash 3: Tour de Force (GEN)
    - Bullfrog Productions' Syndicate (AMI, SNES, GEN, 3DO, JAG, PC)
    - Origin Systems' Ultima VII: The Black Gate (SNES, PC)
    - Electronic Arts' Virtual Pinball (GEN)
    - Origin Systems' Wing Commander (AMI, SNES, SCD, PC)
    - Origin Systems' Wing Commander: The Secret Missions (SNES, PC)

    (Thanks GameSpot)

Console Game Of The Evening [Submit Yours!]

Dig Dug for the NES. "As a kid I always thought the idea of inflating someone until they exploded as a little cruel and disturbing, but I still played the hell out of the game." (submitted by BrodieMan)

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