Neversoft to take over Guitar Hero franchise?[ps2] [ps3] [xbox360] [wii]
In its February issue, Electronic Gaming Monthly printed a rumor that development of Harmonix's Guitar Hero franchise would be switching from the now MTV-owned developer to an Activision studio; the wording of the report suggested that the dev house in question might be Tony Hawk's Pro Skater creator Neverosft. Having purchased publisher RedOctane last year, Activision now owns the rights to the Guitar Hero brand, and has indicated that the best selling music game would be heading to all major new console platforms.
Now, Neversoft's official site has been updated, with its splash screen split down the middle between a Guitar Hero image and a Tony Hawk's Project 8 image. Both images contain text reading "Positions Available."
While most of the 14 listed job positions are either general in nature or seem specific to the Tony Hawk franchise, there is one notable exception: a listing for a note tracker. "Neversoft Entertainment is currently seeking individuals experienced with MIDI sequencing to create MIDI note maps for a music game," reads the description. "Note Trackers will be working under the direction of the Design Lead to create gem layouts corresponding to their respective guitar and bass tracks."
It seems likely that, with this new arrangement, Harmonix could be freed up to start working on new projects. Prior to Guitar Hero, Harmonix developed several Karaoke Revolution games for Konami as well as the critically acclaimed Frequency and Amplitude for Sony.
Capcom achieves impressive Xbox 360 software shipments[xbox360]
Capcom announced today that its Xbox 360 titles Dead Rising and Lost Planet: Extreme Condition have eached shipped over one million units worldwide since their their respective initial release dates. Dead Rising first shipped in the United States on August 8, 2006, while Lost Planet first shipped in Japan on December 21; the latter game shipped in the United States only last week. It is unclear exactly how many units of the games have actually been purchased by consumers, but the figures still represent a very impressive start for Capcom on Microsoft's current machine. The two action games are so far Capcom's only retail releases for Xbox 360, giving the company a two for two record on hitting the million unit shipment milestone and suggesting that the company will continue supporting the console.
EA teams up with Bizarre for Boom Boom Rocket[xbox360]
Electronic Arts has bided its time before jumping into the waters of Xbox Live Arcade, but today the company announced that it has signed none other than Geometry Wars (and Project Gotham Racing franchise) developer Bizarre Creations for its debut publishing effort on Microsoft's game download service. Bizarre is currently developing Boom Boom Rocket, a rhythm game apparently proposed by the design team at Pogo.com, EA's casual games portal. In what seems vaguely reminiscent of United Game Artists' Rez, Boom Boom Rocket has players progress through a 3D city environment while firing rockets in time with the rhythm of original music provided by veteran game/TV/film composer Ian Livingstone. Of course, the more rhythmically attuned the player is, the more explodey the explosions, and successfully pulling off chains of explosions will fill the combo meter and unlock a "psychedelic bonus mode."
"Boom Boom Rocket is an addictive and original challenge for all types of gamer, and we're enjoying working with EA to create this unique Xbox Live Arcade experience," said Bizarre Creations managing director Martyn Chudley. "Our teams love both working and playing on Xbox Live Arcade, and we're looking forward to releasing another innovative title on this platform with Boom Boom Rocket."
Boom Boom Rocket will feature both single-player and same-screen multiplayer, as well as online leaderboards. EA plans to release the game over Xbox Live Arcade this spring.
Fatal Inertia slowed[ps3] [xbox360]
Reports citing statements made this week by publisher Koei's Japanese operation indicate that Koei Canada's upcoming futuristic racing game Fatal Inertia has been delayed. Originally announced as a launch title for PlayStation 3, Fatal Inertia was later pushed beyond 2006. Earlier this year, Koei announced that the game is also in development for Xbox 360. Now, it appears that it will not be hitting its more recent release target of March; the company currently lists the game's release on both platforms as simply some time in 2007.
Battlestations: Midway to be occupy Xbox Live tomorrow[xbox360]
Eidos Studios Hungary's third person naval combat action game Battlestations: Midway will be in stores at the end of the month, but tomorrow publisher Eidos will be releasing a demo of the Xbox 360 version of the game via Xbox Live Marketplace. Players can choose to play on the American or Japanese side in the demo, which will include a single map set on the Island of Solomon.
Eidos plans to ship Battlestations: Midway for Xbox 360 and PC on January 30.
Gamasutra chats with Chip Lange, Online VP for Electronic Arts, about the company's attutides towards Xbox Live as well as the online efforts from Sony and Nintendo.
In another Xbox Live-related feature, Gamasutra features a lengthy postmortem on Naked Sky's RoboBlitz, the puzzle/action game featuring procedural textures released last year for PC and Xbox Live Arcade.
1UP has some kind of glossary on Pandemic's Mercenaries 2: World in Flames (PS3).
IGN previews EA Redwood Shores' Wii version of Tiger Woods PGA Tour 07 (Wii, also PS3, X360, PS2, Xbox, PSP, PC).
Screenshots: Final Fantasy VI Advance (GBA).
1UP takes a look at Criterion's Burnout 5 (PS3, X360).
Console Game Of The Evening [Submit Yours!]
Outlaw for the Atari 2600. "The father of all third person shooters. Ok, not really. Considering the horrible graphics, it did a remarkably good job of feeling like the Wild West. Not that I know what the Wild West felt like." (submitted by firstname.lastname@example.org)