Last Night Consoling

Good evening, Shackers. Today marks the final publication of a Shacknews institution that has lasted nearly six years since it was introduced by Jason Bergman in August of 2001. I have headed up LNC for going on two years now, with help in recent months from our new fellows, Faylor and Breckon. As many of you have noted in our illustrious comments, LNC has become rather more...verbose under my stewardship, but I hope the change has suited you well.

That said, we here at Shacknews have determined this whole console thing to be a fad, and no longer capable of generating enough daily newsworthy material to justify its own column. Trion World Network CEO Lars Buttler, you were right.

Beginning tomorrow, enjoy your console news reports fully integrated with their PC news brethren on the front page. RIP LNC, it's been fun!

  • Pac-Man gets new levels

    [xbox360]

    Namco's arcade classic Pac-Man today saw its first new level layouts since the 1981 release of Ms. Pac-Man with Pac-Man Championship Edition. Unveiled during the Xbox 360 Pac-Man World Championship in New York City, the game features numerous new mazes, game modes, and gameplay changes, including shape-changing mazes, automatically replenishing dots, scoring adjustments, additional tunnels, and more. The game's main Championship Mode is time-based rather than life-based.

    Original Pac-Man designer Toru Iwatani contributed to the production of Pac-Man Championship Edition, developed for Xbox 360's Xbox Live Arcade. The game will be available through the Xbox Live Marketplace on Wednesday, June 6 for 800 Microsoft Points ($10) as this week's Xbox Live Wednesday release. Microsoft sent along several screenshots.

  • Square Enix's Nomura: No FF7 on PS3 (probably)

    [ps3]

    Square Enix is not working on a remake to its PlayStation hit Final Fantasy VII, according to character designer Tetsuya Nomura--but there is a theoretical possibility that it may do so at some point in the future. Rumors of the game's existence have reappeared constantly since Square Enix showed off a PlayStation 3 technical demo reproducing Final Fantasy VII's introductory sequence.

    Speaking to Japanese publication Dorimaga in comments translated by IGN, Nomura flatly stated that the company is not developing a remake. "It appears that there are often overseas rumors like, 'Are you currently developing a VII remake?' My apologies, but we're absolutely not making [such a game]," he said. Following Nomura's comments, Final Fantasy VII franchise director Yoshinori Kitase pointed out that new Square Enix recruits frequently express a desire to develop a remake of the game. Nomura then appeared to partially recant his prior statement, admitting, "We of course know ourselves what the fans want so we'd like to continue thinking up a variety of things. As long as there are people who want to make it and people who are waiting for it, we don't want to proclaim 'the end.'" While the possibility of the game entering development remains unlikely, Nomura's comments illustrate that Square Enix is at least theoretically open to the idea.

    Nomura and Kitase went on to reminisce on the development of the original Final Fantasy VII, which apparently deviated significantly from the original plan laid out by Final Fantasy series creator Hironobu Sakaguchi. Sakaguchi, now heading up independent developer Mistwalker, is currently working on the Xbox 360 RPGs Blue Dragon and Lost Odyssey, as well as the Nintendo DS RPG ASH: Archaic Sealed Heat.

  • No Final Fantasy on Xbox 360

    [xbox360]

    Despite publishing the massively multiplayer Final Fantasy XI on Xbox 360 last year, Square Enix apparently has no plans to bring any further games in the hit RPG series to Microsoft's current-generation console. Speaking to Japanese technology site Nikkei BP in comments translated by Chris Kohler of Wired News, Square Enix's Shinji Hashimoto said, "As for Final Fantasy on Xbox 360, it's currently a completely blank page." As far as the franchise's presence on current home systems, Hashimoto pointed to Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: The Crystal Bearers on Wii; PlayStation 3 has two Final Fantasy games announced in Final Fantasy XIII and Final Fantasy Versus XIII.

  • The power of Assassin's Creed...in the palm of your hand?

    [ds]

    Ubisoft Montreal's Crusades-era action/adventure game Assassin's Creed may be en route to Nintendo DS, if online retailer GameStop is to be believed. According to a company product page, a DS version of the game is scheduled to ship on September 25 of this year, the same date the retailer lists for the previously announced PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 versions of the game; Assassin's Creed has also been announced for PC. There is currently no description for the DS game.

    While retailer release dates are quite frequently incorrect and the result of speculation, the simple presence of games in a retailer database is generally a fairly reliable indication that the game in question exists. Publishers frequently pitch their games to retailers before publicly announcing them, in order to gauge sales interest.

    Ubisoft has declined to comment on the listing.

Misc. Media/Previews

Xbox/X360

Screenshots: Pac-Man Championship Edition (X360).

Portable

Screenshots: The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass (NDS). Brothers in Arms DS (NDS). Dragon Ball Z Harukanaru Densetsu (NDS). Hot Pixel (PSP, also PC).

Movies: Brothers in Arms DS (NDS).

Console Games Of The Evening

Tetris 2 for the NES. "Some day, the world will recognize the majesty of head-to-head Tetris 2, and Nintendo will release it on Nintendo DS with online play." (submitted by Chris Remo)

Dreamfall: The Longest Journey for the Xbox. "Dreamfall had an amazing story with incredible depth (religion, politics, corporate power) and an unparalled cast of characters, I especially loved Crow and April. Hopefully its episodic continuation will come soon, this story must be finished." (submitted by engelak)

Panzer Dragoon Orta for the Xbox. "This beautiful game shows how much can be done in what is an ostensibly simple genre, the 3D on-rails shooter." (submitted by Chris Remo)

Mr. Driller Drill Land for the GameCube (JP only). "Easily the best Mr. Driller game, Drill Land features four noteworthy variations upon the standard Mr. Driller gameplay (a few were in the DS game) and a soundtrack that ranks right up there with Katamari Damacy. Dream & Adventure in Underground!" (submitted by Chris Faylor)

Metroid Prime 2: Echoes for the GameCube. "cuz it r00led!!!!" (submitted by Nick Breckon)

Syphon Filter for the PlayStation. "One of the better third-person action games on the system. It has a good blend of action, stealth elements, and tasering a guy until he catches on fire. That's a winner in my book!" (submitted by Orange Pylon)

Resident Evil 4 for the GameCube. "It marries old-school and modern gameplay in a ridiculously intense, well-paced, and surprisingly lengthy game." (submitted by Chris Remo)

Madden Football 64 for the Nintendo 64. "Best game ever." (submitted by Nick Breckon)

Samba de Amigo Ver. 2000 for the Dreamcast. "This import-only sequel to Sonic Team's maraca-shaking masterpiece took the series to a whole new level with its expanded song list and additional modes. My friends and I still play from time to time--I'd be thrilled to see this one come back, Sega." (submitted by Chris Faylor)

Wipeout XL for the PlayStation. "I was so awe inspiring and amazing at this game that when Wipeout Pure was released and had the classic Wipeout XL tracks in it, I could still play Odessa Keys with my eyes closed and get a perfect lap. Seriously though I'm easily one of the te" (submitted by haiku)

Odama for the GameCube. "Left. Left. Charge. More men. Charge." (submitted by Chris Remo)