Late Night Consoling

Boy, there's quite the glut of handheld news today.
  • Square goes tactical on handhelds

    [ds] [psp] [gba]

    Yesterday, Square Enix surprised gamers with news that the upcoming Dragon Quest IX would be exclusive to a portable system; today, news out of Japan revealed more upcoming portable games to the publisher's extremely large and growing list. First up is a remake of Final Fantasy Tactics for PSP. Though it will essentially be the same content from the original 1997 PlayStation game, it will contain some new job classes as well as cel-shaded cutscenes.

    Also in the works is what seems to be a sequel to Final Fantasy Tactics Advance, the Game Boy Advance spinoff of the original Final Fantasy Tactics. Oddly, a platform for this game has yet to be announced. It is likely that the game will come to the platform of its predecessor, or to the successful Nintendo DS, on which Square Enix already has no less than nine upcoming projects in development.

  • D3 goes on a Puzzle Quest

    [ds] [psp]

    D3Publisher of America today announced that it will be bringing the RPG/puzzle hybrid Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords to North American shelves next year. The game, developed for both Nintendo DS and PSP, is structured like a traditional console roleplaying game, but has battles that play out like color-matching puzzle games. In addition to a full single-player story set in the frequently-used Warlords universe of Etheria, it features puzzle-only modes as well as local wireless versus multiplayer on both systems. "We believe consumers will enjoy the combination of much-loved gameplay styles incorporated into Puzzle Quest and find the game to be a compelling choice for casual or on-the-go gamers, as well as offer a great challenge to more seasoned gamers," said D3 senior marketing manager Michael Scharnikow. "Puzzle Quest can be enjoyed in either long or short doses of gameplay for a casual, yet also deeply satisfying and immersive, gameplay experience." - Screenshots: NDS, PSP.

    Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords was developed by Infinite Interactive and Playable Productions for Nintendo DS, and Infinite Interactive and Vicious Cycle Software for PSP. The game is expected to ship to North American retail shelves in March 2007.

  • Heroes are Legendary, again


    Namco Bandai has been one of the strongest supporters of roleplaying games on PSP with its The Legend of Heroes series, and today it announced it would be continuing that support with The Legend of Heroes III: Song of the Ocean. The game will be developed by Nihon Falcom, which worked on the prior two PSP games in the series as well as the popular Ys series dating back to the original 1987 entry. "The Legend of Heroes series is regarded as a classic RPG franchise and we're very pleased to bring the next entry in the series to the PSP system," said Namco Bandai Games America VP Naruo Uchida. "With Nihon Falcom at the head of development, a studio that has brought players timeless classics like 'Ys', we are sure RPG fans everywhere will be pleased with this unique handheld experience. While the game is set in the fantastic world familiar to fans of the first two Legend of Heroes games, it will feature a brand new adventure and standalone storyline. Therefore, even RPG fans new to the series will immediately be able to pick up and enjoy the game."

    The Legend of Heroes III: Song of the Ocean is expected to ship for PSP to North America in January 2007.

  • Capcom on Lost Planet: We're still listening


    Last month, Capcom promised that, in response to frequent criticism from gamers based on experience with the Lost Plane (X360) multiplayer demo, the final version of the game would include a contextual font size for certain aspects of the game depending on whether the user owns a standard- or high-definition TV. Today, the company sent word that it plans to make even more changes to the multiplayer portion of the game based on further feedback from gamers. Rather than technical changes, these are actual changes to gameplay and interface functionality aimed at making the game a more streamlined and complete experience. Capcom outlines the changes as follows:

    - Private slots can be set by host!
    - Invite friends to a match
    - Number of players in a room will be displayed next to name of the room
    - Players will not be kicked all the way out to the main menu if they try to join a full game
    - New button allows players to refresh the match list without going out to the main menu and selecting Quick Match again
    - Players will now go to a post-game lobby at the end of a match, not kicked back to the main menu
    - The ability to replay a match with the same group without leaving the post-game lobby
    - Cycling maps on replayed matches when map selection is set to Random
    - Text size on the team selection screen will be greatly increased when using non-HD resolutions.
    - When manual team selection is set to ON, players will have 20 seconds to form teams.
    - The time limit on each match will be maxed out at 60 minutes, instead of the current unlimited time.
    - A player's custom match criteria will now be saved.

    We've also got a more complete explanation of the major changes to navigation, the post game lobby and friends system, and handling of team formation. Some of the changes have already been made to the gold master version of Lost Planet, while some will be available as a downloadable patch immediately when the game is released in North America and Europe on January 12, 2007.

  • Sony "too funky fresh," is "Busted. Nailed. Snagged."


    You are likely aware of a rather misguided and poorly-disguised PSP marketing campaign launched by Sony and featuring deliberately amateur (in a highly paid marketing professional kind of way) rap videos themed around the concept of wanting to receive a PSP for Christmas from one's parents. After the campaign was less than successful in convincing gamers of its authenticity, Sony has posted a note on the campaign's home page, all i want for xmas is a psp. It reads as follows (or, "here's the deal:::" as the page puts it):

    Busted. Nailed. Snagged. As many of you have figured out (maybe our speech was a little too funky fresh???), Peter isn't a real hip-hop maven and this site was actually developed by Sony. Guess we were trying to be just a little too clever. From this point forward, we will just stick to making cool products, and use this site to give you nothing but the facts on the PSP.

    Sony Computer Entertainment America

    Despite keeping the page mostly intact, Sony has removed the rap and rock videos. The rap video, entitled, "Cousin Pete Wants a PSP for Xmas Too!," has also been removed from YouTube.

  • Wii, DS see strong week in Europe

    [wii] [ds]

    Nintendo of Europe announced today that in the first two days of the Wii's European launch, the machine sold some 325,000 units, which NOE claims makes it the fastest-selling console in the territory's history. The news comes one day after Nintendo announced that the Wii sold over 105,000 units in the United Kingdom during the console's launch weekend, which, according to UK publication MCV, beat Xbox 360's previous record of 70,000. Unsurprisingly, the highest selling launch game in both the UK and Europe as a whole was The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, with Nintendo's Wii Play (to be released in North America next month) and Ubisoft's Red Steel also showing strong sales.

    DS had strong pre-holiday sales as well, moving 515,000 units in Europe the same week, giving the machine a European install base of about 8.5 million. Nintendo noted that this figure broke all prior records for any console's sales in Europe in a single week.

Misc. Media/Previews


GameSpot checks up on SCE Studio Liverpool's Formula One Championship Edition (PS3). IGN tries out Sega's Yakuza 2 (PS2).


IGN takes a look at multiplayer in Capcom's Lost Planet (X360).


1UP aggregates most of the gameplay details of Level 5's Dragon Quest IX: [insert translated subtitle dealing with defense and skies here] (NDS) and checks up on High Impact's Ratchet & Clank: Size Matters (PSP).

Screenshots: Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords (NDS, PSP).


GameSpy checks out SCE Studios San Diego's MLB 07 The Show (PS2, PSP, also PS3).

Console Game Of The Evening [Submit Yours!]

Bump 'n' Jump for the Intellivision. "A car race that dared to ask .. will you bump them or will you jump them? I prefered jumping for pixelated goodness when my car appeared to inflate toward the screen. =0" (submitted by jehkyb)