Late Night Consoling

  • Downloadable Oblivion expansion to feature Achievements


    A few days ago, the Microsoft marketing employee-run Gamerscore Blog posted an explanation of an updated Achievement and Gamerscore policy applied to Xbox 360 games. The update clarifies that all games must include 1,000 total Gamerscore points' worth of Achievements cumulatively between the base game and any free content downloads. Furthermore, developers are now able to allocate an additional 250 Gamerscore points beyond the base 1,000; these may be acquired through either free or paid downloadable content.

    Today, Shacknews learned from Bethesda Softworks that its upcoming Oblivion expansion pack, The Elder Scrolls IV: Shivering Isles, will feature the full 250 points' worth of newly available Gamerscore, spread over ten Achievements. "You think it was a coincidence that this policy came out this month?" laughed Bethesda's Pete Hines, who noted that the Rockville, Maryland-based developer was a major factor in adding the new guidelines. Hines also stated that the expansion pack, which is approximately one fourth the size of the original Oblivion game, will contain over 30 hours of gameplay. Pricing for the Xbox 360 version of the pack, which will be available only through Xbox Live Marketplace, has not yet been determined, but it is likely to be roughly in line with the PC version's $29.99 price point.

    Check back this week for a preview of The Shivering Isles as well as a comprehensive interview with Hines.

  • Manhunt to enrage Jack Thompson on Wii, PS2, PSP

    [ps2] [wii] [psp]

    In a move sure to result in countless local news scare stories across the globe, Rockstar Games today announced that it is developing a sequel to Rockstar North's controversial 2003 action title Manhunt (PS2, Xbox, PC), which saw players control a character coerced into committing gruesome murders with frequently improvised weapons, as directed by a mysterious voice transmitted through an earpiece. Perhaps surprisingly, Manhunt 2 is coming to PlayStation 2, PSP, and Wii, the latter of which conjures up some striking control mechanics.

    The PS2 and PSP versions of Manhunt 2 are being developed by new Rockstar studio Rockstar London, in collaboration with franchise creator Rockstar North. The Warriors developer Rockstar Toronto is handling the Wii version of the game. Comments made by Rockstar Games founder and executive producer Sam Houser referencing Rockstar Leeds in today's press release suggest that the PSP version may possibly be developed by Rockstar Leeds, the company responsible for the two Grand Theft Auto releases on PSP.

    "With Manhunt 2 we have tried to create a game that stays close to the original concept of chilling suspense and stealth, whilst pushing the game design and storytelling forward," said Houser in today's announcement.

    Rockstar Games expects to ship Manhunt 2 for Wii, PlayStation 2, and PSP this summer.

  • Tekken 5 downloading to PS3 later this month


    Last December, it was revealed that Namco was developing a PlayStation 3 version of its arcade fighter Tekken 5: Dark Resurrection, to be offered exclusively as a download through the PlayStation Store. At the time, Namco did not announce any kind of North American release, but the game is currently available on the Japanese version of the store.

    Today, Namco Bandai Games officially announced a North American localization of Tekken 5: Dark Resurrection, which will be downloadable through the PlayStation Store as of an unspecified date later this month. It features native 1080p resolution, Arcade and Ghost Battle modes, and a Gallery mode.

  • Xbox 360 shipping with updated DVD drive?


    According to the tinkerers over at Xbox-Scene, Microsoft has begun shipping Xbox 360 consoles with an improved DVD-ROM drive, helping to decrease some of the machine's infamous operating noise and potentially even improve load times. Apparently, units from November 6 and onward have started to be outfitted with a BenQ VAD6038 drive, taking the place of drives formerly provided by Toshiba-Samsung and Hitachi-LG. Not all units manufactured from that point onward feature the new drive, notes the report, but many do.

    Shacknews has sent inquiries to Microsoft on the matter, but they had not been returned at time of publication.

  • Virtua Tennis to achieve native resolution nirvana

    [ps3] [xbox360]

    Having already been confirmed as one of the elite members of the PlayStation 3 1080p club, AM2's upcoming Virtua Tennis 3 (PS3, X360, PSP) will now join the same group for Xbox 360, publisher Sega announced today. Developed by Sumo Digital, the Xbox 360 version will display natively in the 1080p resolution standard, and will feature online multiplayer via Xbox Live.

    "With the implementation of 1080p capabilities on the Xbox 360, players will experience a new level of visual intensity and athletic drama played out on the court through a wide range of varied and realistic animations and dynamic cloth physics," said Sega marketing VP Scott A. Steinberg. "Virtua Tennis 3 is a must-have for fans and newcomers to the series due to its great pick-up-and-play ability, life-like details, and incredible physics. Now with unique Xbox Live play, Virtua Tennis 3 has once again pushed the boundaries to redefine what a great multiplayer video game should be."

    Sega plans to ship Virtua Tennis 3 for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and PSP on March 20, 2007.

  • Misc. Q&As/Features

    In light of today's announcements from Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, Newsweek's N'Gai Croal chats with former WBIE senior VP and Monolith co-founder Jason Hall. Hall largely speaks on the contrasts between Hollywood and games, why he chose to set out with his production company, and what he gained at Warner Bros.

Console Game Of The Evening [Submit Yours!]

Skitchin' for the Sega Genesis. "What could be more fun than beating people up while rollerblading?" (submitted by RevRaven)