Hang 'Em High comes to Halo 2; praise be[xbox] [xbox360]
Last November, Microsoft announced that Bungie was developing two new Halo 2 multiplayer maps that would be available in spring 2007 only for those playing the Xbox game via the Xbox 360's backwards compatibility feature. Today, Microsoft identified the maps and revised its prior claim, stating that the maps would be available on April 17 as paid content for Halo 2 players on either Xbox console.
First up is the sublime Hang 'Em High, which Microsoft claims is "the most requested Halo multiplayer map ever," and rightly so. Known as Tombstone in its Halo 2 incarnation, the map has received various tweaks to its design as well as a fresh coat of paint that replaces the original cool blue look with a grittier stone and aged metal texture set. A single screenshot is available here. Pro tip: There is no finer map for Team Crazy King.
Also en route is the tiny indoor arena Derelict, which is receiving a Halo 2 remake as Desolation. Originally an indoor map, the new Desolation appears to be set in a forest outpost, and has received a similar palette change to that of Hang 'Em High/Tombstone. Check out this screenshot. Pro tip: This is where you play Oddball.
Tombstone and Desolation will be available via Xbox Live on Xbox or Xbox 360 for $4 starting April 17.
Ninja Gaiden sneaks to Nintendo DS[ds]
It has long been known that current Ninja Gaiden franchise developer Team NINJA has a Nintendo DS game in the works, but the title has remained under wraps. This week, Tecmo officially announced Ninja Gaiden Dragon Sword, an action game in the long running ninja series. Unusually for the genre, Dragon Sword is played with the DS held sidways in a book-like configuration, and features full stylus control. Several Ninja Gaiden Dragon Sword screenshots are available.
"We're very excited to be bringing Ninja Gaiden back to a Nintendo platform," said marketing manager Yoh Watanabe. "The Nintendo DS will allow gamers to control Master Ninja Ryu Hayabusa slash for slash with the use of the DS Stylus in a way never possible in previous iterations of the game. Dragon Sword will be the definitive ninja title for all DS owners to experience."
Tecmo plans to ship Team NINJA's Ninja Gaiden Dragon Sword for Nintendo DS in North America this October.
Metal Gear Solid 4 primary voice cast announced[ps3]
Konami this week confirmed that longtime Solid Snake voice actor David Hayter will reprise his role as the now-aged mulleted action hero in Kojima Productions' highly anticipated Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots for PlayStation 3. Other series veterans making a return for MGS4 include Paul Eiding (Roy Campbell), Christopher Randolph (Hal "Otacon" Emmerich), and Quinton Flynn (Raiden). The cast will be directed by returing voice director Kris Zimmerman to deliver a script written by Metal Gear creator and overlord Hideo Kojima and MGS4 director Shuyo Murata.
"I couldn't be more excited about this game. What I've seen of Metal Gear Solid 4 has absolutely blown me away. To bring the focus of the story back to Solid Snake, and to work with Kris Zimmerman and many of the amazing actors that provided iconic voices for the previous games, is like coming home," said Hayter, also known as the screenwriter of X-Men and X2. "I'm so proud and grateful to have been involved with Mr. Kojima as the voice of Snake, for nearly a decade, on this legendary video game series. This game is going to plunge players into the ultimate Metal Gear experience. And personally, I can't wait to play it."
Kojima Productions' Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots is expected to ship for PlayStation 3 later this year.
2K Sports pitches MLB2K7 demo to PSS[ps3]
Sony this week sent word that the PS3's online PlayStation Store has been stocked with a playable demo of Kush Games' PlayStation 3 version of Major League Baseball 2K7. It is freely downloadable now.
Console Game Of The Evening [Submit Yours!]
Operation Flashpoint Elite for the Xbox. "Updated and reworked port of Cold War Crisis and Resistance. Graphics have been overhauled, cinemas and voice acting have been redone, and missions have been tweaked. Unfortunatly the draw distance and framerate take a hit." (submitted by roushimsx)