Xbox 360 becomes more backwards compatible[xbox360]
Xbox 360 owners can come a little closer to being able to toss their original Xboxes, as today a new backwards compatibility patch was released, adding Xbox 360 support for oft-requested games such as Double Fine's Psychonauts, Rare's Conker: Live and Reloaded, Team NINJA's Dead or Alive Ultimate, Pandemic's Destroy All Humans!, Quantic Dream's Indigo Prophecy, Sega AM2's Shenmue II, and others. All in all, over three dozen titles were added or updated, with some applying to only North America or Japan. For the rest, check out the full list. Upon hearing the news, Double Fine founder Tim Schafer published a celebratory news post, in which he commented, "Are the reports true? I DON'T KNOW! Why are you asking me? I am just a lowly game developer! Why should I get official, advanced notice about anything?" Now get to work on Panzer Dragoon Orta, Microsoft.
As usual, Xbox 360 owners without a broadband connection can visit Microsoft's backwards compatibility site for alternative means of installing the update.
Certain Affinity founded, makes game and Halo 2 maps[xbox360]
Like many successful developers, Bungie has a tendency to spawn new independent studios founded by former employees. The latest such example of this is Certain Affinity, founded by ten-year Bungie veteran Max Hoberman. Hoberman most recently served as the company's multiplayer team lead for Halo 2 and the upcoming Halo 3. In addition to Hoberman, Certain Affinity is made up of other former employees of Bungie, as well as developers hailing from Origin Systems, Digital Anvil, and elsewhere, with credits on games from series such as Ultima, Wing Commander, Asheron's Call, Ghost Recon, and of course Bungie titles such as Myth and Halo.
The Austin, Texas-based studio is currently working on a new Xbox 360 game, though it has not yet given any details as to its content. In more immediate news, the company is partnering with Halo developer Bungie and publisher Microsoft to develop new multiplayer maps for Halo 2. No details were released as far as pricing or gameplay content of the upcoming maps.
"We're not setting out to change the industry," says Hoberman. "We're creating games by choosing strong leaders, talented and experienced developers, and solid partners. This partnership with Bungie and Microsoft Game Studios is a piece of that puzzle and we hope it's the start of a long and fruitful relationship."
Epic to deliver free Gears of War content[xbox360]
As one of the old guard PC developers, Epic Games is accustomed to providing free content to its consumers after games have been released, and it looks like the company plans to continue that tradition even on microtransaction-laden consoles. Speaking to SpikeTV following its recent 2006 Video Game Awards, Epic Games president Mike Capps indicated that the company has had free downloads in the works for some time. Epic designer CliffyB seemed to want to keep the cards closer to the chest. "We're Epic and we're known for supporting our games," he hinted. "That's all we're saying right now."
Capps soon came clean with a clearer picture of the situation. "We started long before the game ever came out," he said. "We always take care of our customers, we always give them stuff for free, and we're going to keep doing that forever. That's how we do it, man. This is Epic."
Neither Capps nor Cliffy gave any indication of what specific content is coming or when it will come, but the news is certain to be well received by Xbox 360 owners.
Mercury Meltdown solidifies on Wii[wii]
Prior to the release of PSP launch puzzle/platformer Archer Maclean's Mercury, developer Awesome Studios (now Ignition Banbury) promised support for a future USB motion-sensing peripheral. That never quite materialized, even with the release of the sequel Mercury Meltdown. Now, it looks like the team will finally get its chance to release the game with motion control, as publisher Ignition Entertainment today announced that the game is joining fellow sphere-based platformer Super Monkey Ball Banana Blitz and coming to Wii as Mercury Meltdown Revolution. Mercury Games put the player in control of, fittingly, a blob of liquid mercury, which must be guided around complex environments and past various obstacles. It will feature over 150 levels as well as hidden unlockable content and features, and promises "full interaction using the Wii Remote tilt sensor. "The Wii Remote is a true compliment to the Mercury series as the original game design was intended for a tilt controller," said Ignition Entertainment president Paul Robinson. "Now gamers can fully interact with the Mercury blob, navigating through the labs with precision and unprecedented speed."
Mercury Meltdown Revolution is being developed by Ignition Banbury, and is slated to ship for Wii to North America in spring 2007.
Street Fighter II coming to Wii[wii]
According to the ESRB's website, Capcom's Street Fighter II: The World Warrior has been content rated for Wii (in case you were wondering, it got a "T for Teen" for violence), suggesting that the game is coming to the system's Virtual Console service. The entry almost certainly refers to the SNES edition of the game rather than the arcade release, given Virtual Console's purpose and existing library. Notably, it also marks the first time there has been any indication of Capcom bringing content to Virtual Console, an encouraging development as the publisher contributed many of the most well-loved games to 8-bit and 16-bit consoles.
Capcom has not officially commented on the listing, which did not give any indication as to the game's potential release period.
Rainbow 6 Vegas patched via Xbox Live[xbox360]
According to a post made today by an Ubisoft employee over on the official Ubisoft forums, the Xbox 360 version of Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Vegas now has an auto-update available through Xbox Live. It fixes a couple single-player bugs, but mainly addresses a wide range of multiplayer issues. The patch corrects many crash-causing bugs, one related to incorrect score management, one dealing with an achievement, several related to cooperative mode, and others. It also improves search menus, removes proximity voice chat in team games, and more. Head over to the Ubi post for a complete list.
Funky fresh Sony PSP update[psp]
Despite Sony yesterday calling its online vocabulary "too funky fresh," admitting to being "Busted. Nailed. Snagged.," and promising to continue to update its all i want for xmas is a psp marketing campaign, the site now appears to be taken down entirely. There's no word on whether it's just some unexpected downtime, or whether the whole thing may have just been creating more ill will than positive buzz, but the latter seems like a safer bet.
Movies: NFL Street 3 (PS2, also PSP).
IGN checks out Nintendo's Pokemon Battle Revolution (Wii).
GameSpot takes a look at Deep Fried's PSP version of Pseudo's Full Auto 2: Battlelines (PSP, also PS3).
Movies: Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter 2 (PS3, X360, PSP, PC).
Console Game Of The Evening [Submit Yours!]
Rampage 64 for the Nintendo 64. "You didn't see much violence on the Nintendo 64 and this game was pure evil. It was a great game to rent a day or two." (submitted by exmx)