Saboteur finally announced[ps3] [xbox360] [wii]
Pandemic Studios has finally officially announced its upcoming stealth-infused action game Saboteur, in development for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. The game was first revealed last month in print publication Game Informer. Set in Nazi-occupied France during World War II, Saboteur tells the story of Sean, an Irishman in Paris seeking revenge on the Nazis for killing his loved ones. In an unusual visual turn reminiscent of Gary Ross' film Pleasantville, Saboteur's visuals are rendered in black and white, but become colorful and vibrant in areas where Sean has successfully sabotaged Nazi operations. Citizens in colorized areas are more likely to rebel against their Nazi oppressors than those in black and white areas.
Producer Phil Hong was quick to note that Saboteur's focus on World War II differs from that of many games set around the same events. "While one of the great conflicts of human history is being played out all around us, ultimately we're not really concerned with winning the war because we know how that turns out," he explained. "We're interested in telling the story of one man's personal battle."
In attempting to perform stealthy acts of sabotage, players will be able to make use of a wide variety of weapons, vehicles, costumes, and other objects. Pandemic promises an open, mission-driven world, with the ability to travel over, through, and around buildings.
No publisher has yet been announced for the game. Pandemic Studios is planning to ship Saboteur for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 in 2008.
Gears maps to start paid, become free[xbox360]
Forthcoming downloadable maps for Epic Games' Gears of War (X360) will launch as paid content and, after a period of several months, become free to download, according to online statements made by Epic VP Mark Rein. The announcement follows reports that Epic and Microsoft butted heads over whether or not to charge for the content. Last year, Epic president Mike Capps famously stated, "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."
Rein alluded to the reported conflicts. "Epic thinks the way to maximize the return on Gears of War is to give the maps away for free and Microsoft thinks the way to maximize the return on Gears of War is to sell the maps. So what we've agreed to do is to put these maps on sale at a reasonable price then make them free a few months later," he said, referring to the success of a similar strategy taken with downloadable content for Bungie's Halo 2 (Xbox). Explaining further, he added, "Why does Epic not have control over this even though we created this content on our own time and our own dime? Quite frankly Xbox Live Marketplace isn't our store. It's Microsoft's store. Like any retailer they have the right to figure out what goes on the shelves of their store and what price they sell it at."
Gears of War's Annex mode released today[xbox360]
Though its maps may not be completely free of financial strings, Epic's Gears of War will not be devoid of free content. Its Annex multiplayer mode, prematurely revealed last week, was released today at no charge. In addition to the objective-based gametype, the update includes tweaks to the Assassination gametype, adjustments to the boomshot and hammer of dawn, a reduced frequency of entering cover while in the run, various exploit fixes, and better support for VGA output allowing full letterboxed 720p at resolutions of 1280x1024 or above.
Microsoft also sent along several screenshots of Annex in action.
Another three for Wii VC[wii]
Three more titles were added to the Wii's Virtual Console today, one each drawn from the libraries of the NES, Sega Genesis, and TurboGrafx-16. Namco's classic space shooter Galaga (NES, 1-2 players), first released to arcades in 1981 and later to the NES in 1988, is available for 500 Wii Points ($5). Alex Kidd in the Enchanted Castle (Genesis, 1-2 players), starring Sega's pre-Sonic mascot Alex Kidd, is on sale for the standard Genesis price point of 800 Wii Points ($8). Finally, Namco's sidescrolling action game Bravoman (TurboGrafx-16, 1 player), is available for 600 Wii Points ($6).
As usual, check back tomorrow for Shack's full writeups on all three games.
Take-Two CFO Winters resigns[ps2] [ps3] [xbox] [xbox360] [gamecube] [wii] [ds] [psp] [gba]
Following the recent shakeup at Take-Two, the publisher announced today that chief financial officer Karl Winters has resigned. Winters had served as company CFO since February 2002. Taking his place as interim CFO is Take-Two senior VP of finance Lainie Goldstein, who will hold the role until a permanent replacement is selected.
"Karl oversaw finance at Take-Two during challenging times for the Company," said Ben Feder, Take-TwoÂ’s Chief Executive Officer. "We thank Karl for his years of service to Take-Two. He was instrumental in assembling a highly competent financial team that will serve us well in the future. We appreciate Karl's hard work and his continued support during the transition."
Bloomberg reports on the struggle major publishers have had in rushing content onto the Wii, after initially underallocating development resources due to early inaccurate estimates of the system's success.
Console Game Of The Evening [Submit Yours!]
Tournament Cyberball for the Atari Lynx. "Quite possibly the most unenjoyable game ever." (submitted by AcesnEights)