Update: Various announcements were made early this morning during the Games Convention in Leipzig. The major console announcements from Microsoft and Nintendo have been briefly summarized below; a more complete report will come in tonight's Late Night Consoling.
The Leipzig Games Convention starts today, so expect to see some news coming from both Sony and Nintendo about their upcoming platforms. Sony doesn't have a traditional press conference, but they will be showing off games. In addition to showing off games, Nintendo is also holding a press conference in just a few hours entitled "Wii prove our promise." New game announcements are expected. Some are speculating they'll reveal addition launch details as well, but that remains rumor. I know of a couple titles in the works that I'm hoping get announced tonight, but we'll have to wait and see.
Oh, and watch that trailer for Capcom's Lost Planet (X360) down in the media section. Looking good!
(Update) Soccer Sticks to the 360, More Live Arcade[xbox360]
During Games Convention today in Leipzig, Microsoft made the surprising announcement that next iterations of both major licensed soccer franchises FIFA 07 from Electronic Arts and Pro Evolution Soccer 6 will be next-generation exclusives on Xbox 360 for the following twelve months. Though this does not bar them from appearing on PlayStation 2, Xbox, and GameCube, it does mean that PlayStation 3 and Wii will have to sit out on licensed soccer for a year.
Microsoft also announcd that three well known board games will be coming to Xbox Live Arcade for Xbox 360: Carcassarone, Alhambra, and Settlers of Catan.
(Updated) Nintendo Reveals More Battalion Wars, Mario Strikers[nintendo]
Though its next-gen console won't be seeing an officially licensed soccer game in the next year thanks to Microsoft's timed exclusivity deal, Nintendo did announce that a new version of its own soccer franchises is coming to the system. During its Games Convnention press conference today, the company announced Mario Strikers Charged. The game features more team creation options than the original title, and also adds online multiplayer functionality.
Also announced during Nintendo's conference was Battalion Wars 2, which Nintendo was sure to note is abbreviated "BWii." The game is a followup to UK-based Kuju's action/strategy hybrid on GameCube published by Nintendo last year. The biggest addition to the game is online multiplayer, which has three main modes: the combat oriented Assault, the tactical Skirmish mode, and a cooperative mode. The game includes new units, races, and environments, and is comprised of over 20 single-player missions and over 15 multiplayer missions.
PS2 and PSP Go Pink in Europe, PS2 Sees Price Cut[ps2] [psp]
To kick of its presence at this week's Games Convention in Leipzig, Sony has announced that it will be releasing limited edition pink models of its PlayStation 2 and PSP consoles in Europe later this year. The Pink PlayStation 2 will be released to "selected retailers" on November 8, 2006 and will include an extra pink controller and a pink memory card. "The Pink PlayStation 2 is funky, fresh, and fashionable, and will further broaden the consoleÂ’s continuing popularity and relevance with a fun new twist," said PS2 European brand manager Dan Hill. The company also announced that Europe will see a price cut for PlayStation 2, which as of this Wednesday will sell for 129.99 Euro and 94.99 GBP in the UK. Memory cards will drop to 19.99 Euro, with no specific UK price point given. - Product shots.
PS2 won't be pretty in pink alone, as Sony also announced the the P!nk PSP Value Pack, which contains a Pink PSP, white headphones with remote control, pouch, wrist strap, and 32MB Memory Stick Duo. The exclamation point in the product's name is thanks to a marketing tie-in with recording artist P!nk, some of whose music videos will be included on a UMD packaged with the Value Pack. "This association is much more than a corporate deal," said Sony BMG Europe VP of brand partnerships Marcel Engh. "It is bringing together two great and unique entertainment brands that complement each other both in style and attitude." The P!nk PSP Value Pack, also exclusive to Europe, will be released October 27 for 229 Euro and 169 GBP in the UK. - Product shot.
Medal of Honor Becomes Unreal, EA Working on New Shooter?[ps2] [ps3] [xbox] [xbox360] [nintendo]
According to Chris Morris' latest Game Over column, American Technology Research analyst P.J. McNealy believes that Electronic Arts has transferred its upcoming World War II shooter Medal of Honor: Airborne (PS2, Xbox, PS3, X360, Wii, PC) from EA's own Criterion-developed Renderware engine to Epic's Unreal Engine 3, to which it recently purchased a license. Presumably, this report refers to the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and PC versions of the game. McNealy also noted that EA is developing a previously unrevealed first person shooter called "Dead Space," though no details were provided. Unsurprisingly, EA has not commented on either rumor.
Scurge and Juke Pick Publisher[ds] [psp]
Racing Gears Advance developer Orbital Media has been sitting on two new portable action titles for quite some time now: Scurge: Hive (NDS, GBA) and Juka and the Monophonic Menace (GBA). Both titles have seen multiple delays, but it looks like they're finally on track for release. Publisher SouthPeak Interactive today announced that it will be publishing both Orbital titles at some point this year. Juka and the Monophonic Menace is a Game Boy Advance exclusive, while Scurge has been developed for both Nintendo DS and Game Boy Advance. (Thanks IGN.)
Ubisoft Hits the Asphalt Again[ds] [psp]
Ubisoft today announced that it will be publishing a sequel to its portable racing series Asphalt: Urban GT. Developers Virtuos and Game Source are currently working on Asphalt: Urban GT 2 for both Nintendo DS and PSP. The game will include six game modes with 30 tracks and 36 licensed vehicles, as well as the ability for the player to tune his or her cars.
Virtuos and Game Source's Asphalt: Urban GT 2 is set to ship in November 2006 for Nintendo DS and March 2007 for PSP.
Far Cry Instincts Predator to be Patched[xbox360]
Ubisoft has announced that it will be releasing a patch for its shooter Far Cry Instincts Predator (X360) via Xbox Live, fixing various issues and improving a few technical aspects of the game. Changes include tweaks to the controls to increase responsiveness, various graphical and network-related bugs, and support for as many save games as will fit on the user's storage device. Check out the full summary of changes here. The patch should be made available within the next few days.
Screenshots: Resistance: Fall of Man (PS3).
IGN checks out the multiplayer from the Xbox 360 version of Eden Studios' Test Drive Unlimited (X360, also PS2, PSP, PC) as well as the single-player from Day 1's Xbox 360 version of Monolith's F.E.A.R. (X360, also PS3, PC) (so do GameSpot and GameSpy).
Movies: Lost Planet (X360).
IGN previews Sonic Team and Total Entertainment's Phantasy Star Universe (PS2, X360, PC). Game Informer has a preview article looking at two games from Zipper: SOCOM: U.S. Navy SEALs Combined Assault (PS2) and SOCOM: U.S. Navy SEALs Fireteam Bravo 2 (PSP).
Console Game Of The Evening [Submit Yours!]
Metal Gear for the MSX. "The MSX version of this classic was the best. A solid, if primitive, title." (submitted by Orange Pylon)