Rayman's Rabbids rave on other platforms[ps2] [gba]
Ever since Rayman and Beyond Good & Evil designer Michel Ancel announced that he had decided to overhaul the design of Ubisoft Montpellier's Rayman Raving Rabbids to take advantage of the Wii's unique controller, little has been said about the other releases of the multiplatform game. Ubisoft broke the silence today with news that the PlayStation 2, Game Boy Advance, and PC versions of the games are hitting shelves this week. While the PS2 and PC games are similar in format to the Wii version, though obviously adapted to fit with the control schemes of those systems, the GBA version is a uniquely developed action adventure game in which Rayman must acquire various magical costumes that allow him to effectively battle the Rabbid menace.
Ubisoft also confirmed that Nintendo DS and Xbox 360 versions of the game will ship in March 2007 as previously expected. Like other home console versions, the Xbox 360 game is likely based on the Wii design. The Nintendo DS version of the game, however, is again a newly developed action adventure, in which the player controls Rayman as well as his Guardian avatars to--of course--combat the devious Rabbids.
Assault Heroes to launch assault on XBLA[xbox360]
Microsoft's Xbox Live Arcade Wednesdays program continues its streak of consistent releases this week with Wanako Studios' Assault Heroes, one of the games Microsoft promised for Live Arcade by the end of 2006. Assault Heroes is an old school top-down vertical shooter focusing on ground combat. The player controls tanks, 4x4s, and speedboats--or runs around less destructively on foot--armed with numerous weapons, blowing up enemies and buildings alike. The game features high definition graphics and Xbox Live Leaderboards, as well as an always-appreciated online cooperative mode.
Wanako Studios' Assault Heroes will be published to Xbox Live Arcade by Sierra Online this Wednesday, December 13 at 1:00am PST for 800 Microsoft Points ($10).
Virtual Console adds Gunstar Heroes, three others[wii]
Nintendo continues its own weekly additions to its game download service with four Virtual Console titles originally published on NES, Sega Genesis, and TurboGrafx-16. Sega today released two Genesis games, the classic sidescrolling shooter Gunstar Heroes and the color-matching puzzler Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine. Both Gunstar Heroes and Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine support 1-2 players locally, and are available now for 800 Wii Points ($8).
Hudson's addition to the Virtual Console's TurboGrafx-16 library, at which it hinted last week, is themed pinball game Alien Crush, a full featured pinball game with boards full of aliens, selectable soundtracks, and bonus stages. It is currently available for 600 Wii Points ($6).
Finally, Nintendo today released its two-player straightforwardly named classic Ice Hockey, originally published on NES. The game puts an emphasis on the balance between constructing teams of heavier or lighter players. Ice Hockey is available for 500 Wii Points ($5).
New Zelda far along; Phantom Hourglass pushed back?[wii] [ds]
Nintendo's Zelda franchise is notorious for seeing long development delays, and with the most recent demonstration of that tradition just having been released on Wii it seems that the next new Zelda game to be released may now be the latest to partake. In its January issue, Game Informer reports that The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass, which marks the first time the series has used a top-down perspective alongside real-time 3D graphics, has been delayed past its previously Q1 2007 release date. This is little surprise, as Nintendo's press room currently has the game listed with a "TBA" release date, but more notable is that Game Informer claims the game will not hit shelves until next October, thanks to what is apparently a major overhaul of the game since its E3 2006 showing. This is similar to the circumstances surrounding the delay of Twilight Princess, which various team members have stated saw drastic changes following the E3 2004 unveiling, necessitating additional development time.
In other Zelda news reported by Game Informer, the magazine published a rumor informed by its own anonymous sources that the next Zelda game to be released exclusively on Wii is already in development, and has been "for around a year." Designer Shigeru Miyamoto has previously stated that Twilight Princess is to be "the last Zelda game as you know it in its present form," suggesting that the iteration of the series developed for Wii may bring significant changes. Zelda development cycles are never short, so even if the game is already well underway, it is not likely to hit shelves for a couple of years.
Sentinal Studios exists, announces Sentinel Studios[ps3] [xbox360] [wii] [ds] [psp]
Newly formed Sentinel Studios today announced its own existence at the hands of its industry veteran founders Paul Potero and Marc Racine. The company plans to develop games for current handhelds as well as both retail and downloadable games for the current generation home consoles. Most recently Potero and Racine handled production at Octagon Entertainment, where they oversaw release of some 30 games across multiple platforms. Prior to that, Potero was involved with Ubisoft's Sinister Games, and Racine co-owned Vicious Cycle Software.
"Paul and I have a long history of working with licensed properties as well as original IP," said Racine. "Leveraging our in-house development talent in coordination with our overseas partners will be integral to increasing profitability and mitigating risk for our strategic partners." The company currently consists of five employees and seems to be soliciting both development and publishing projects.
GameSpot checks up on Evolution's MotorStorm (PS3) (so does GameSpy). IGN previews Namco's Tales of Destiny (PS2). GameSpy takes a look at SCE Studios Liverpool's Formula One Championship Edition (PS3).
Computer and Video Games checks out Ubisoft's Paris' Xbox 360 version of Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter 2 (X360, also PS3, PSP, PC).
GameSpot has an update on High Impact's Ratchet & Clank: Size Matters (PSP).
Console Game Of The Evening [Submit Yours!]
Wave Race 64 for the Nintendo 64. "One of the best racing games for the N64, with multiple courses and a huge list of tricks to boot!" (submitted by Darkfox76)