EA Grinding to Next Gen[ps3] [xbox360] [nintendo]
The latest issue of print publication PSM has word of a new skateboarding franchise from Electronic Arts, succinctly entitled Skate. According to PSM, the game will feature some fourteen professional skaters, a control scheme making use of both analog sticks, as well as some kind of multiplayer mode. EA hopes to challenge Neversoft's long running and hugely successful Tony Hawk skate franchise, which has earned publisher Activision essentially complete domination of the genre via yearly franchise updates going back to 1998.
Being a PlayStation-oriented magazine, PSM only reported that the game is heading to PlayStation 3, though EA almost certainly plans to bring it to other platforms. Speaking to Shacknews, EA confirmed the game's existence, but would not reveal any further platforms. EA Canada will be handling development of Skate. The studio does not lack experience with similar gameplay, having developed the popular--and somewhat Tony Hawk-esque--SSX snowboarding franchise. Veteran gamers may also remember EA's first foray into the skateboarding genre with the now classic Skate or Die franchise.
EA Canada's Skate is expected to ship for PS3 and unspecified other systems in 2007.
It's a Wonderful World on DS (Plus FFXII, Plus Mana)[ds]
Last week, the Japanese press revealed a trio of newly announced upcoming Square Enix titles for Nintendo DS. Most surprisingly, and in a rare move for Final Fantasy- and Dragon Quest-heavy Square Enix, is It's a Wonderful World, a new IP set in modern day Japan and featuring various well known Japanese urban landmarks. It's a Wonderful World is being handled by Square's Kingdom Hearts team, with direction by veteran designer Tetsuya Nomura. The player takes the role of protagonist Neku, able to read others' hearts. Neku and Shibuya are somehow drawn into a strange game that sees them battling monsters in simultaneous battles across the DS' two screens. It is not yet clear how this is performed, but is apparently a key aspect of the gameplay. No release date for It's a Wonderful World has been given.
Also somewhat surprising was the announcement of a Final Fantasy XII spinoff for DS. Entitled Final Fantasy XII: Revenant Wings, the game features FFXII characters Vaan and Panello in a plot that centers around that perennial RPG theme, air pirates. IGN speculates that, based on the appearance of the characters, the game is likely to be a prequel to the upcoming main PlayStation 2 game. No gameplay details, nor a release date, are yet known.
Finally, and least surprisingly, Square Enix will be bringing a new game in the long running Mana series to DS: Heroes of Mana. Children of Mana, also for DS, hit Japan earlier this year, and will be released in North America on October 30, 2006. Heroes of Mana is being developed by Magical Starsign (NDS) studio Brownie Brown, which also has Mana experience, having handled the GBA remake Sword of Mana. Oddly, despite the action RPG heritage of the Mana series, Heroes of Mana delves into real time strategy, uncommon on portable systems. The game deals with resource management and army building from an airship base, but is still classified as a strategy RPG rather than a full on strategy game. No release date was given for the game.
Details on all three of these titles are expected at the upcoming Tokyo Game Show.
Cauldron Takes You to School[ps2] [xbox360]
Activision today announced The History Channel Civil War, an upcoming historical action game from developer Cauldron. The game puts players in the role of either a Union or Confederate soldier in the U.S. Civil War, fighting in legendary battles such as Gettysburg, Bull Run, and Antietam. The History Channel Civil War features authentic locations and weaponry, hand to hand fighting, a wide variety of combat situations, and the cinematic touches we've come to expect from years of war-themed action games. Just not in World War II this time around.
Cauldron's The History Channel Civil War is expected to ship for PlayStation 2, Xbox 360, and PC on November 14, 2006. - Xbox 360 screenshots.
You Can Go Home Again (on Xbox Live)[xbox360]
Microsoft today announced initial details of its Xbox Live plans for the upcoming Tokyo Game Show and Microsoft-run X06 event. As it did during E3, Microsoft will be making numerous pieces of video and game content available for free download via Xbox Live, corresponding with announcements and demos from the shows. Additionally, the company revealed that during this "Bringing it Home" period, which runs from Wednesday, September 20 to Friday, September 29, two more Xbox Live Arcade titles will be released, including an as yet unannounced "major franchise."
Microsoft has not yet revealed which new demos will be made available, though it did provide the following list of games that will feature video content:
- Treyarch's Call of Duty 3
- Team NINJA's Dead or Alive Xtreme 2
- Turn 10's Forza Motorsport 2
- Io Interactive's Kane & Lynch
- Blueside's Kingdom Under Fire: Circle of Doom
- EA Black Box's Need for Speed Carbon
- Seta's Project Sylpheed
- Activision's Shrek 3
- Rare's Viva Pinata
A variety of picture packs and themes will also be released. In total over 100 pieces of content will be made available. Much of the content released during the specified dates will only remain available on Xbox Live Marketplace until 12:00AM PDT on September 29.
Kameo: Downloads of Power[xbox360]
Xbox Live Marketplace is now hosting a new package of downloadable content for Rare's Kameo: Elements of Power (X360). Entitled the Kameo Power Pack, the bundle contains three new gameplay modes. Expert Mode features six remade levels with both single-player and co-op, ratched up to an extremely high level of difficulty. Time Attack Mode allows players to cooperatively plow through enemies for the fastest time. Rune Battle Mode adds a competitive aspect to co-op, with players fighting to destroy enemies and collect more runes than their opponent. The download also adds new weapons, armor, and achievements.
The Kameo Power Pack is currently available for 400 Microsoft Points ($5).
.hack//G.U. Vol.1: Rebirth is Special[ps2]
Namco Bandai Games today revealed that CyberConnect2's upcoming PlayStation 2 action RPG .hack//G.U. Vol.1: Rebirth will be shipping to retail shelves on October 24, 2006, accompanied by a Special Edition set. In addition to the game, the Special Edition will include an action figure and corresponding weapon, as well as a bonus Terminal Disc containing a compilation of previous .hack lore in the form of stories and videos. The standard game will retail for $39.99. The Special Edition, available only through EB Games and GameStop locations and online stores, will retail for $49.99.
GDC Becomes Biggest Industry-Only Event[ps2] [ps3] [xbox] [xbox360] [gamecube] [nintendo] [ds] [psp] [gba]
Game Developers Conference organizer CMP Game Group today announced that GDC 2007 will be the biggest event in GDC's history, more than doubling the size of the previous show floor and bringing total attendance to over 12,500. This also makes the show the largest industry-only video games event, prompting CMP to transfer GDC indefinitely from its traditional San Jose Convention Center home base to the larger Moscone Convention Center in San Francisco. In 2005, GDC was held at Moscone, but it returned to San Jose for 2006; this new move is longer term.
In the wake of recent announcements that E3 will be drastically scaled down in terms of size and scope, GDC seems to be stepping up to partially fill E3's shoes. "While it remains our primary goal to serve the game development community and ensure that the session-based half of GDC remains unchanged, we also believe it is time to dramatically upgrade the range of expo opportunities," said executive director Jamil Moledina. "The result of our expansion is that GDC becomes the natural choice for all companies in the game industry ecosystem to exhibit and conduct business." GDC 2007 will be held from March 5-7, 2007 in the Moscone West and Moscone North buildings in San Francisco.
Screenshots: Fire Emblem (working title) (Wii). Bleach (working title) (Wii). Sonic and the Secret Rings (Wii). Super Swing Golf Pangya (Wii). Super Monkey Ball Banana Blitz (Wii). Wii Play (Wii). Wing Island (Wii). Ennichi no Tatsujin (Wii). Mario Strikers Charged (Wii). Project H.A.M.M.E.R. (Wii). Cooking Mama (Wii). Wii Music: Orchestra (Wii). The Dog Island (Wii). SD Gundam Revolution (Wii). FuriFuri (Wii). Necro-Nesia (Wii). Samurai Warriors Wave (Wii). Bomberman Land (Wii). Kororinpa (Wii). Wii Channel (Wii).
Screenshots: Furai no Siren (NDS). Children of Mana (NDS) (artwork). Dragon Quest Heroes: Rocket Slime (NDS). Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Blue Rescue Team (NDS). Puyo Pop 15th Anniversary (NDS). The Godfather Mob Wars (PSP). Reel Fishing: Life & Nature (PSP, also NDS).
Movies: Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Vegas (PS3, X360). Need for Speed Carbon (PS2, Xbox, GCN, PS3, X360, Wii, NDS, PSP, GBA, PC). Marvel: Ultimate Alliance (PS2, Xbox, GCN, PS3, X360, Wii, NDS, PSP, GBA, PC) (Thor, The Thing, Spider-Man).
Console Game Of The Evening [Submit Yours!]
M.C. Kids for the NES. "McDonalds advertising at it's best, this game was hard!" (submitted by bakanoodle)