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Sonic 2 Spin-Dashes onto XBLA

Sega's sidekick-enhanced Sonic sequel Sonic the Hedgehog 2 will be available for download on Xbox Live Arcade this Wednesday. The title will cost 400 Microsoft Points ($5), three dollars cheaper than the title's 800 Wii Point ($8) price on Nintendo's Virtual Console. And rather than being a straight port like the pricier Wii version, Backbone Entertainment has enhanced the 1992 Genesis title with HD visuals and two-player online play. This new version lets a second player join in the fun over Xbox Live as Sonic's twin-tailed tagalong, running through pseudo-3D half-pipes with Sonic or getting constantly left behind in-game by Sonic's amazing speed. The title is the only new game addition this week on Xbox Live Arcade.

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"This was my ringtone for a long time. Now I have it as a contact ringtone."
- guido anchovy    See all 14 comments


Monster Lab Mashes onto Wii

Backbone Entertainment, the guys who brought you Death Jr. (PSP), are developing a new story-driven Wii title described by producer Dan Sochan as "Pokemon meets Tim Burton," according to French gaming site Puissance. Sobbing antiheroes: collect 'em all? Monster Lab will allow you to build, customize, and pit monsters against eachother in the ring of combat. Slapping both biological and mechanical body parts together to form a Frankensteinian creature, you can then outfit the character with some 300 items. The Wii Remote will be used in the creation process to compete in a series of minigames, where you'll be tossing brains into empty heads, and either increasing or decreasing the power of your monster based on your success or failure. Combat plays out in a turn-based mode, with hit points, special attacks, and all the standard trappings. Publisher Eidos is aiming Monster Lab for a summer 2008 release.

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"I thought this was talking about Monster Rancher at first...heh heh. This still sounds ..."
- CapnChaos    See all 2 comments


Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo HD Remix Piles on PSN and XBLA Next Week

Backbone Entertainment's HD and online-enhanced port of Capcom's beloved competitive puzzler Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo arrives on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 next week via each platform's online distribution service. Carrying the price point of 800 Microsoft Points ($10), it hits Xbox Live Arcade Wednesday, August 29. The $10 PlayStation 3 version drops in the PlayStation Store the next day--Thursday, August 30--as Sony's online storefront only updates on Thursdays. News of the friendship-destroying puzzler's release was announced on Capcom's official forum by senior strategic planning and research director Christian Svensson. "I look forward to dumping lots of gems on all of you," he taunted. No mention was made of the Steam-bound PC edition. Following an inquiry as to when PC gamers will be able to unleash massive color-coordinated chains and drown their opponents in junk gems, a Capcom representative told Shacknews that the release and pricing deatils of the PC version have yet to be determined.

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"Ten Bucks? WTF COME ON! This would sell like hot cakes as a $5 game you dumb greedy fucks."
- metalremains    See all 4 comments


Track and Field Rushes to XBLA Wednesday, Puzzle Quest Coming This Summer

Konami's 1983 athletics showcase Track and Field comes to Xbox Live Arcade this Wednesday, reminding us of a more wholesome time before stories of blood-doping and performance-enhancing drugs tainted the images of our most-loved sports heroes. Aspiring athletes can get regain their impressive thumb strength for 400 Microsoft Points ($5). Brought to the console by Digital Eclipse, the game features an original and enhanced graphics mode and both four-player offline and online player over Xbox Live. A version of Track and Field arrived on DS earlier this year as part of the Konami Classics Series: Arcade Hits compilation. Microsoft also announced several upcoming titles for August and "the coming weeks" of summer. Sega's Ecco the Dolphin, Carbonated Games' Hexic 2, and Third Wave Games' War World all arrive on Xbox Live Arcade in August, while the following are expected in the summer's remaining days:

  • Geon: Emotions (Strawdog Studios, Eidos)
  • Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords (Infinite Interactive, D3Publisher of America, Inc.)
  • Space Giraffe (Llamasoft)
  • Streets of Rage 2 (Sega)
  • Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo HD Remix (Backbone Entertainment, Capcom)

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"If I can get an achievement for throwing the javelin and hitting the bird, i'm in!"
- jonin    See all 14 comments


Capcom Examines Acquisitions, Avoids Merger

With Xbox 360 titles like Lost Planet: Extreme Condition and Dead Rising racking up big sales in the West, Capcom's statement to shareholders was simple: go where the money is. Corporate officer Kazuhiko Abe outlined the company's performance for shareholders today, saying that of the 1+ million copies sold of the two Western-focused titles, 90% were unloaded outside of Japan. "It is important for Capcom to turn its efforts to increase its share in the overseas market where much of the growth in the home video game and mobile content markets are taking place," said Capcom CEO Kenzo Tsujimoto, according to Next Generation. With a half-dozen Wii titles on the way, in addition to 14 planned Nintendo DS games and the anticipated Devil May Cry 4 (PS3, X360, PC), Capcom is in no hurry for a merger. Tsujimoto noted that the company is more interested in the prospect of forming partnerships with overseas developers in order to exploit the expanding market. "There have been many mergers and acquisitions in the industry in recent years with companies attempting to secure popular content or to expand, " said Tsujimoto, "but Capcom is currently not envisioning any mergers with [Japanese] game companies or toy makers." Fellow Japanese publisher SEGA has been leading the charge out West. The company has struck several deals with overseas developers, such as BioWare in the case of Sonic RPG for the Nintendo DS, and GasPoweredGames for a new PC roleplaying game. For its part, Capcom recently partnered with four Western developers to publish several new downloadable games--such as Backbone Entertainment's retouching of Capcom's Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix, Big Rooster's version of Games Workshops' board game Talisman, and WizKid's Rocketman--on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 online networks.

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"Capcom has been on fire since RE4 came out and I hope it doesn't stop!"
- melkore    See all 7 comments


Boxed Up Briefs

Related Topics – Sega, Backbone Entertainment

You asked for platform icons, and now they're here. Enjoy! Today's briefs include more rivals for Sonic on PSP, the world of bull riding coming to video games, a newly-announced Stranglehold collector's edition, and imminent Guitar Hero II downloadable content.

  • Sonic Rivals returns on PSP

    [psp]
    Backbone Entertainment's PSP action racing game Sonic Rivals will be seeing a sequel on the same system. The game will feature an added single-player free play mode, a new local wireless head-to-head battle mode using PSP's game sharing feature, new characters, and more. Publisher Sega plans to ship Sonic Rivals 2 this fall.
  • Extrteme bull riding game in the works

    [pc] [ps2] [ps3] [xbox360] [wii] [ds] [psp] [gba]
    Publisher Crave Entertainment plans to bring professional bull riding, and all of the "bone-crunching excitement" and "edge-of-your-seat suspense" involved with what today's announcement calls "the fastest growing sport in America," to unspecified game systems in fall 2008. Crave has teamed up with Professional Bull Riders, Inc. on the project. No developer has been announced. "The sport of bull riding has gained tremendous momentum over the past few years, attracting a huge international audience as well as heavy duty corporate sponsors," said Crave president Rob Dyer.
  • Stranglehold to feature Xbox 360, PS3 collector's editions

    [ps3] [xbox360]
    Midway today announced that it will offer the Xbox 360 version of its upcoming John Woo Presents Stranglehold in a collector's edition package consisting of a development documentary, deleted cutscenes, and video spotlights on the game's artwork and sound design. The set will be available for $69.99, a $10 markup over the standard edition's price point, when the game ships in August. Today's announcement follows last month's news that the PlayStation 3 version of the game will have its own collector's edition. Notably, that $69.99 package will include John Woo's classic action film Hard Boiled along with the game on one Blu-ray Disc. It will mark the first time the film is available in high definition.
  • More Guitar Hero II content next month

    [xbox360]
    More tracks for the Xbox 360 version of Harmonix's Guitar Hero II will be released in July, according to a representative of publisher RedOctane on the game's official forums. No details regarding the nature of the content was divulved. So far, all downloadable tracks for the game have been drawn from the original Guitar Hero (PS2). Released in April, they are available in packs of three for 500 Microsoft Points ($6.25) per pack.

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"They look nice but the color scheme of them blend in too much with the white background so they ..."
- sigpro    See all 21 comments


Legendary Pictures to Handle Diablo Film

Related Topics – Blizzard, Backbone Entertainment

Production company Legendary Pictures will be handling development of an upcoming film based on Blizzard's Diablo series of action RPGs. Indication of the studio's involvement came with the listing of Diablo in the "Coming Soon" section of the official Legendary Pictures site. The news partially confirms a story last month by the Hollywood Reporter, which noted in passing Legendary's connection to the Diablo film and stated that the screenplay will be scribed by Gary Whitta, whom longtime gamers may remember as the first editor of PC Gamer. Whitta also wrote the series of graphic novels based on Backbone Entertainment's Death Jr. game franchise, and contributed to the scripts of Epic Games' Gears of War, Human Head's Prey, and 3D Realms' upcoming Duke Nukem Forever. Legendary previously announced its involvement in a film based on Blizzard's Warcraft series. Though the movie was announced as drawing from the Warcraft franchise as a whole, the company's site lists the movie as "World of Warcraft." The Burbank, California-based studio has produced Chris Nolan's Batman Begins, M. Night Shyamalan's Lady in the Water, and Zack Snyder's adaptation of Frank Miller's 300. In 2001, Blizzard successfully filed an injunction against New Line Cinema, demanding the Warner Bros. subsidiary cease its usage of the word "Diablo" as the title of one of its films. At the time, Blizzard substantiated its suit by claiming that it had its own Diablo-related film in the works. New Line released its own work as A Man Apart in 2003.

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"I really agree with this. He wasnt old and frail looking enough for Gandalf to me."
- Degenerate    See all 41 comments


Capcom Hits Valve, Unleashes Steam

Japanese developer and publisher Capcom has announced it will begin selling its titles through Valve's PC digital distribution platform Steam. Today's announcement marks the latest of Capcom's efforts to support the PC, which include upcoming ports of the former Xbox 360 exclusive Lost Planet: Extreme Condition as well as Devil May Cry 4. The company's embrace of Steam marks the first time a Japanese publisher has embraced the digital distribution service. Capcom's Steam offerings will begin later this week with the release of Devil May Cry 3: Special Edition, which originally appeared on PlayStation 2 and was only recently released on the PC. A PC version of Onimusha 3, which also appeared on PlayStation 2, will arrive in the following weeks, with Lost Planet: Extreme Condition arriving on Steam the same day it hits retail, June 26. Backbone Entertainment's previously announced update of Capcom's classic competitive puzzler Super Puzzle Fighter II--dubbed Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo HD Remix and slated to hit PS3, Xbox 360 and PC--will follow later this year. No mention was made of the recently released PC version of Resident Evil 4, nor of Big Rooster's upcoming Capcom-published adaptation of Games Workshop's board game Talisman, which is in development for PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. "With the PC market becoming a larger part of our business, we're naturally focusing our attention on digital distribution," said Capcom executive vice president Mark Beaumont. "Steam is the right place for us to go with our titles. Valve has created a huge installed base of gamers who naturally fit with the profiles of the titles that Capcom develops." "Capcom is a worldwide leader in development and publishing of action adventure titles," explained Valve co-founder and president Gabe Newell. "This initial set of Capcom titles coming to Steam, as well as those coming at a later date, are a perfect fit for the millions of action gaming fans connecting to Steam each week."

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"Now that Steam offers PayPal as a payment choice my issues with them being unable to authorize ..."
- nudel    See all 49 comments


Capcom Goes Online, Adapts Talisman & Street Fighter in HD (Updated)

At its Gamer's Day event in San Francisco last night, Capcom stated its intention to create a strong presence in the online downloadable game marketing. The company hopes to build on the success it has seen with the Xbox Live Arcade version of Street Fighter II' Hyper Fighting, which Capcom senior planning and strategy director Christian Svensson noted has been "overwhelmingly successful" and has generated more revenue than any other Xbox Live Arcade title. Capcom announced four upcoming games to be published on both Xbox Live Arcade and PlayStation Network, with two of the four heading to PC as well. Games Workshop's classic roleplaying board game Talisman is in the works for Xbox Live Arcade, PlayStation Network, and PC. It is being developed by Big Rooster with the input of Games Workshop's Black Industries subsidiary. It will support up to four players both online and offline. First launched in 1983, the board game version of Talisman has seen three editions, with a fourth due for release by Black Industries around October 2007. Capcom plans to release its game this fall. Fighting game fans will be pleased to know that Capcom is currently working on an updated version of Super Street Fighter II Turbo for Xbox Live Arcade and PlayStation Network. Developed by Backbone Entertainment and dubbed Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix, the game will output in up to 1080p resolution, with newly made sprites based on high resolution artwork from illustration studio Udon Entertainment. Capcom plans to surpass the level of sprite detail seen in franchises such as Guilty Gear, with HD Remix's sprites reaching a resolution of approximately 4.5 times the relative detail of Street Fighter II's original sprites. All sprites, animations, and backgrounds will be recreated. Capcom declined to go into detail on the game's specific online plans, but it will support two players through Xbox Live or PlayStation Network. Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix is expected to release this fall. As a companion piece to Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix, Backbone Entertainment is also developing an update to Capcom's competitive puzzle game Puzzle Fighter II in a similar style. Like its fighter counterpart, Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo HD Remix features 1080p graphics, online play, and new backgrounds and static art courtesy of Udon Comics. Players will have the option of competing in a new rebalanced mode that corrects some perceived inequalities between certain characters in the game. A spectator mode similar to Street Fighter II' Hyper Fighting's Quarter Match mode will also be included. Capcom expects to release Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo HD Remix this summer to Xbox Live Arcade, PlayStation Network, and PC.

Finally, WizKids' card-based strategy game Rocketmen is being adapted into a top-down arcade shooter by developer A.C.R.O.N.Y.M. Games. Rocketmen is modeled on the bullet-happy SmashTV template, though rendered in full 3D. The game's focus is on cooperative play, supporting up to four players online or offline. Capcom plans to release Rocketmen for Xbox Live Arcade and PlayStation Network this fall.

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"I really really hope this is a test to see what kind of support there would be for both more ..."
- AroundTheFur1380    See all 21 comments


Kororinpa: Marble Mania Preview

Some genres have struggled to find their ideal control schemes with Wii, but the track-based 3D platformer found a good one right off the bat with Sega's Super Monkey Ball Banana Blitz, which maps the tilting of the game environment to the tilting of the Wii remote. A few more games with a similar scheme are in development, one of which is Hudson Soft's Kororinpa. Kororinpa was finally confirmed to have a North American release by way of Konami this week, and though it is retaining its mysterious Japanese moniker it is also gaining the suffix Marble Mania. These sorts of games tend to draw a lot from the classic Marble Madness, but Koririnpa is more in that lineage than something like Banana Blitz is. Forgoing most wacky extra features in the core game, Koririnpa has you navigate through abstract platforming levels made up of materials ranging from the expected wooden marble track to curving city streets suspended in the air, to a large red apple with pathways carved into its surface. In each environment there is a series of crystalline prisms that, at least in the levels I was able to play, conferred bonuses but were not required to complete the stages. Koririnpa uses only the Wii remote's accelerometers; unlike in Banana Blitz, there are no additional functions such as jumping. Those who have played that game are likely to need a bit of readjustment time with the tilt control as well. Kororinpa's tilt control is slightly less subtle than Monkey Ball's, meaning that it's a little easier to overtilt until you get the hang of it. This is partially because you are given a greater potential angle to rotate. There are parts in the games require full 90-degree rotation, completely changing the orientation of a level, and it is possible to rotate much farther in true synchronization with the controller. This allows for some creative level design approaches, where floors turn into walls and sometimes even ceilings. One of the other advantages afforded by this more extreme control is the ability to pull off some amazing saves, keeping your marble from flying off the edge by putting the ground at a sharp resisting incline almost instantaneously. As well as the single-player consisting of some 40 different stages, Kororinpa features a split-screen two-player versus mode. Multiplayer levels are littered with objects to collect, some like the crystals of single-player, and some entirely different objets, but unlike in the single-player mode the objective is to actually collect either all the objects or a certain number of objects then reach the level exit before your opponent is able to do the same. The mode is actually surprisingly fun, even though you have no direct interation with your opponent. While you coexist on the same track and sometimes even compete for the same items--which adds to the frantic fun--the two marbles cannot actually collide, taking away some of the potential insanity. In a nice touch, Hudson has allowed the multiplayer game to be playable by giving the second player the nunchuk attached to the first player's remote, so that even Wii owners with only one controller set can have a buddy over for some competitive Kororinpa. Since the game uses only the console's accelerometers, which are contained in both controller components, either half is sufficient. It does feel somewhat odd to hold the nunchuk in your dominant hand and use it as the primary control method, but as an extra bonus feature who can complain? To mix things up a bit, Kororinpa allows players to select from a variety of different marbles, some of which are merely skinned differently for personal aesthetic preference--there's a penguin ball, a soccer ball, a Katamari-like clump of cars--and some actually operate differently in game; some marbles vary in terms of weight and controllability. Kororinpa is looking to be a solid title for both those who enjoyed Monkey Ball and are interested in trying a slightly more traditional take on the game type with the wacky Wii controls, as well as those who simply want as much world-tilting, ball-rolling action as they can get. Look for it in the next few months. Konami plans to ship Hudson Soft's Kororinpa: Marble Mania in spring 2007.

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"Why? The refresh rate of the screen SUCKS. This does not excite me one bit. Why? Same ..."
- XerXes    See all 38 comments


Late Night Consoling

  • PS3 and Wii titles heading to retail

    [ps3] [nintendo]
    Sony's PlayStation 3 won't be out for three more days, and Nintendo's Wii for five, but games for both systems are starting to hit retail shelves. Numerous publishers sent out shipping announcements for their PS3 and Wii launch lineups yesterday and today, so while you'll have to wait a bit longer to actually play Zelda or Resistance, you can at least impatiently paw at their cover art in the comfort of your own home. Many Wii preorder holders have also reported receiving email notifications that their Wii accessories have been shipping early, so expect to see extra controllers as well as potentially things like Virtual Console point cards and different video cables show up before Sunday as well.
  • PS3 to see fewer launch units than expected?

    [ps3] [nintendo]
    In September, Sony announced its intention to launch PlayStation 3 in North America with 400,000 units. The company has reiterated that figure several times since the initial announcement. Today, Lazard Capital Markets released a report by analyst Colin Sebastian estimating the system's launch numbers at more along the lines of 150,000-200,000 units. While Sony's number refers to North America and Sebastion's specifically to the United States, the US will be receiving the bulk of the shipment and, if correct, the report would indicate a significant reduction in shipped units from what was previously expected. Sebastian expects the company to follow up with a year end total of 750,000 units shipped to the US; Sony announced an expectation of about 1.2 million units in North America by the end of 2006. By comparison, predecessor PlayStation 2 sold 1.1 million units in the US by the end of its 2000 launch year, while current competitor Xbox 360 sold only 600,000 Xbox 360 units during its 2005 launch year.
  • Two ATVI titles missing 720p mark?

    [xbox360]
    Various online reports tracking back to German site Cynamite.de claim that two Activision-published titles, Treyarch's Call of Duty 3 and Neversoft's Tony Hawk's Project 8, are not being rendered on Xbox 360 at the 720p (1280x720) resolution ostensibly required by Microsoft for all games on the system. According to Cynamite.de, Call of Duty 3 is rendered at a pixel resolution of 1040x624, while Tony Hawk's Project 8 is rendered at 1040x584, with both games scaling up in a proportionally appropriate fashion. Presumably, the reason for a developer using such a technique would be to lessen the load on the system to boost performance, but the site claims that Project 8 still suffers from framerate issues. Similar reports arose last year in regards to Bizarre Creations' Project Gotham Racing 3, which appears to be interally rendered at 1024x600 and upscaled to 720p for performance reasons. Activision had not responded to Shacknews' requests for comment at the time of publication.
  • Foundation 9 expands amazing development empire

    [ps2] [ps3] [xbox] [xbox360] [gamecube] [nintendo] [ds] [psp] [gba]
    Independent developer Foundation 9--whose studios include Backbone Entertainment, The Collective, Shiny, Digital Eclipse, and others--today announced that it plans to absorb developer Amaze Entertainment into its ranks. According to Foundation 9, this would result in the company becoming the world's largest independent video game developer. Amaze is mainly known as a veteran handheld developer, though it has developed on all current generation handheld and home consoles. Recently, the company was responsible for the portable versions of the Eragon game adaptation, and is currently working on numerous titles including the Call of Duty: Roads to Victory (PSP) for Activision. It is comprised of subsidiary studios KnowWonder, Griptonite, Monsoon, and Fizz Factor. Financial terms of the deal, which is expected to be completed in the Q4 2006, were not disclosed.
  • SCEA revamps web presence

    [ps2] [ps3] [psp]
    With the PlayStation 3 launch imminent, Sony Computer Entertainment America has revamped its official PlayStation site for the Americas, consisting of news and information regarding PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, and PSP.
  • Tony Hawk wreaking Havok

    [ps2] [ps3] [xbox] [xbox360] [psp]
    Physics middleware provider Havok announced today that Neversoft's Tony Hawk's Project 8 uses both Havok Physics as well as the less frequently mentioned Havok Animation solution. The two Havok systems work in conjunction to blend physics interactions with dynamic animation. already released for PlayStation 2, Xbox, and Xbox 360, and heading to PlayStation 3 and PSP,
  • Cash Money Chaos becomes a little less Money

    [psp]
    Sony Online Entertainment sends word that its Smash TV-esque PSP shooter Cash Money Chaos has been renamed Cash Guns Chaos. The game is still on track for release in Q1 2007. - Screenshots.

Misc. Media/Previews

PS2/PS3
Screenshots: Naruto: Uzumaki Chronicles (PS2).
GCN/Wii
Screenshots: Zatchbell!: Mamodo Fury (GCN, also PS2). Movies: Marvel: Ultimate Alliance (Wii, also PS2, Xbox, PS3, X360, PSP, GBA, PC).

Console Game Of The Evening [Submit Yours!]

Ecco the Dolphin for the Sega Genesis. "One of only a few games I wanted a Genesis for." (submitted by zoolanderinsydney)

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"Fillrate isn't free. Not all developers have the time to spend months fine-tuning assets and ..."
- MrAdults    See all 68 comments


Earlier Than Last Night Consoling

Hey there. Day 2 of Comic-Con has now wrapped up. Two more to go!

  • Microsoft Portable is "Coming Zune"

    [xbox] [xbox360]
    Via an article in Billboard.com and a Flash-based website entitled "Coming Zune," Microsoft has finally acknowledged its not-at-all-secret handheld device, codenamed Argo and officially dubbed Zune. As expected, it will be a line of portables rather than a single product. While the first device will be a subscription-based music player, but further iterations could very well play videos--and video games. The Argo project has been headed up by Xbox co-founder J Allard and a cavalcade of other notable Microsft executives, including several from the Xbox team. Zune is expected to reach stores this year.
  • PSP at Comic-Con

    [psp]
    Sony held a presentation during Comic-Con on Friday entitled "PSP University." There was little new information given, with the main goal of the hour-long affair to trumpet various PSP successes and upcoming games and initiatives. Here's a rundown: - 120 games are currently available for PSP, with over 200 by the end of 2006. - There are currently over 350 UMD movies and TV shows available. Sony Pictures and Fox still have UMD products in the works. - Sony stated that in the United States, PSP is about a million units ahead of Nintendo DS, though a representative admitted that DS Lite had a particularly strong debut showing. - Sony Connect is working on bringing more downloadable video content to PSP, but must first devise a sufficient copy protection method. - PSP firmware version 2.80 will be released next Thursday and will include RSS video support. Sony strongly encourages keeping the system up to date with the latest upgrades.
    - The Greatest Hits program will come to PSP next Tuesday, making certain games available for $19.99 in the US. Those titles will be Ape Escape: On the Loose, ATV Offroad Fury: Blazin' Trails, Hot Shots Golf: Open Tee, Twisted Metal: Head On, and WipeOut Pure.
    - Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories has been the most successful PSP title, followed by Madden NFL 06, then SOCOM: U.S. Navy SEALs Fireteam Bravo. - Sony may at some point revise certain aspects of PSP, including its speakers and analog nub. However, there are no plans to modify the d-pad. - Sony has no plans to modify the text entry system for PSP, or to release a keyboard peripheral. However, it is possible that a third party will release a keyboard at some point.
    - Sony is looking into the possibility of a video output solution for the system, but ultimately it is up to Sony's Japanese operation. - According to Sony, the most wanted feature among fans for PSP is functionality with PS3. Thus, PSP will serve as some kind of remote control for PS3. The next most wanted feature is PlayStation games on PSP, which the company has announced will be coming. Fans also requested a camera peripheral, which will be coming this fall. The company is not yet allowed to divulge the camera's megapixel count. - A Sony representative shared the company's stance on homebrew development: "Overall it's frowned on. Our tech guys have gotten madder and madder lately, and it does void your warranty."
  • LucasArts Addresses Wii at Comic-Con

    [ps3] [xbox360] [nintendo]
    LucasArts held a Star Wars-oriented presentation during Comic-Con on Friday. Responding to a question as to whether the publisher would be working on Nintendo's upcoming Wii console, a company representative pointed out that the Wii controller bears some similarities to a lightsaber. He noted that LucasArts will be supporting all three next generation consoles.
  • Microsoft Hits 360 Shipment Target

    [xbox360]
    According to Microsoft's fourth fiscal quarter reports, the company met its self-imposed target of five million Xbox 360 units shipped worldwide by the end of June. That number breaks down to approximately 3.3M in North America, 1.3M in Europe, and 400,000 in Asia. It is unclear how many machines have been sold to consumers. To follow up on its mid-year target, Microsoft noted in a financial conference call that it plans to ship 10M units worldwide by the end of 2006, with 13-15M units shipped worldwide by the end of June 2007. Despite Xbox 360's strong performance, Microsoft's Home and Entertainment Division, the headquarters of Xbox, has seen a significant increase in financial losses due to the costs of launching a new system as well as the per-unit loss on Xbox and Xbox 360 hardware. Division revenues on hardware and games were up an impressive 94% to $1.14B, but that came at a price. Operating losses were also on the rise, up 106% year over year to a hefty $414M. Microsoft hopes to achieve division profitability by the end of Xbox 360's life cycle as hardware manufacturing costs go down and the company sees continued profits from game sales.
  • Animal Crossing Gifts "R" Us

    [ds]
    Nintendo announced this week that retail chain Toys "R" Us will be holding "Free Download Week" from July 23-29. During that time, Animal Crossing: Wild World owners can bring their Nintendo DS systems into Toys "R" Us stores to wirelessly download six exclusive in-game gifts. The gifts will be themed around the Mushroom Kingdom from the Mario franchise. They include the 1-up mushroom, Starman star, pipe, question box, and others, and can be used to decorate players' houses.
  • Atari Puts Brakes on Test Drive Unlimited Design Contest

    [ps2] [xbox360] [psp]
    Atari has ended its "Do You Want to be a Car Designer?" contest for Eden Studios' upcoming racer Test Drive Unlimited (PS2, X360, PSP, PC). Winner David Sichtermann will have his vehicle, which concept art shows in various states of transformation, featured in the game when it ships later this year. Sichtermann will also receive a $2,500 prize for his efforts.
  • Misc. Q&As/Features

    IGN has a developer diary with Backbone Entertainment's Sara Guinness on the upcoming MechAssault: Phantom War (NDS).

Misc. Media/Previews

PS2
GameSpot tries out an import copy of Atlus' Persona 3 (PS2).
XBOX/X360
GameSpot previews Volition's Saint's Row (X360).
GCN/Wii
GameSpy previews Eighting's Naruto: Clash of Ninja 2 (GCN) (so does GameSpot).
PORTABLE
IGN checks out the first three games from Nintendo's Bit Generations (GBA) line: Boundish, Dotstream, and Dialhex.
MULTI
GameSpot checks out Neversoft's Tony Hawk's Project 8 (PS3, X360, PS2, Xbox, PSP). IGN previews Kush Games and Visual Concepts' NHL 2K7 (PS2, Xbox, PS3, X360).

Console Game Of The Evening [Submit Yours!]

Battle Royale for the Turbo Grafx-16. "I was totally jealous of my buddy when he got this campy wrestling game... it was hilarious to make that green dude run into his opponent with his head down and arms flailing." (submitted by Guava D)

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"You're making assumptions based on internet opinion instead of the general consumer. To a lot ..."
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Late Night Consoling

This Microsoft portable stuff is pretty fascinating. My first instinct is that they won't be going full steam into core portable gaming, but if they do, it should be a pretty crazy three way battle.

  • Microsoft Sails into Portable Gaming with Argo?

    [xbox] [xbox360]
    Rumors of a portable gaming device from Microsoft have been flowing unabated since late last year, when it was speculated that Xbox co-founder J Allard may be at the helm of Microsoft's effort to challenge Apple's iPod as well as portable consoles from Nintendo and Sony with one device. Last week, news sources reported on alleged music capabilities and services that Microsoft may plan to offer. Today, The Seattle Times dug up some more details about the portable device, which is apparently codenamed Argo after Jason's mythological ship. According to Seattle Times writer Brier Dudley, Argo will indeed be a gaming device and will make use of Microsoft's XNA standard, intended to streamline cross-platform game development--provided, of course, the platforms in question are from Microsoft. Argo will also reportedly have wi-fi capability out of the box, no surprise given the feature is standard in both Nintendo DS and PSP. Dudley also claims that Argo is not one product, but rather an ambitious line of Xbox-branded portable electronic devices and software products. This would suggest that the alleged product shot revealed today most likely does not depict a gaming unit, with its vertically oriented screen and distinct shortage of buttons. Interestingly, Microsoft has not shied away from the portable gaming arena. So far, the company has supported Nintendo portables by way of first and third party developers. Microsoft-owned Rare has announced its support for Nintendo DS, and Backbone Entertainment's upcoming DS title MechAssault: Phantom War is based on a Microsoft-owned property and branded with the Microsoft Game Studios logo. It is unknown how heavily Microsoft plans to invest in the portable market as a platform holder, whether the company will indeed target core gamers, or whether it attempt to make further inroads into the casual market as it has done with its Xbox Live Arcade and MSN Games brands.
  • Wii Chip Manufacturer Anticipates High Demand

    [nintendo]
    According to translated reports from Taiwanese publication Commercial Times, the company manufacturing the motion sensing chip for Nintendo's upcoming Wii console, PixArt Imaging, expects shipments of the chip to hit a million units this August. ATI, which will be supplying the console's GPU, is also reporting increases in demand. These claims follow recent reports that Wii is already in production, and with part manufacturers ramping up production, the machine seems likely to have strong launch quantities when it is released this fall.
  • Guitar Hero to Get Nemesis?

    It looks like music-loving publisher Konami may be gunning for some of the audience Harmonix has captured with its acclaimed Guitar Hero (PS2). The company recently obtained a trademark on the words "Guitar Revolution" relating to "video game software," suggesting rather strongly that the company plans to release its own home console six-string shredding software. Such a game would be nothing new for Konami, which released Guitar Freaks in arcades as part of its broad range of rhythm games. Guitar Hero is commonly seen as having been inspired by Guitar Freaks; some have said it took more than inspiration from Konami's 1999 title. Konami has not made any official announcements regarding such a game, but it seems pretty straightforward. Expect some competition in the guitar-based console market in the near future. (Thanks GameSpot).
  • Gunpey Announced for North America

    [ds] [psp]
    Last week, Japanese publication Famitsu revealed two upcoming music-based puzzle games from Q Entertainment and studio head Tetsuya Mizuguchi, both based on the WonderSwan puzzler Gunpey. Today, Namco Bandai Games announced that both titles, one for Nintendo DS and one for PSP, will be released in North America. Though the games are unique from one another and have different names for their Japanese releases, Namco Bandai here refers to both simply as "Gunpey." This may be a working title. Q Entertainment's Gunpey for Nintendo DS and PSP is set for release during the 2006 holiday season. - Screenshots (NDS, PSP).
  • Project Sylph Becomes Project Sylpheed

    [xbox360]
    Square Enix has launched the official site for its Xbox 360 game Project Sylph, and along with the site comes a new name: Project Sylpheed. The revised moniker confirms long held suspicions that the game is a new entry in Game Arts' space shooter franchise Silpheed--though it is still unclear why the "i" has become a "y." There isn't much to see on the site just yet, and there's even less to see if you don't speak Japanese. However, we do have some screenshots. The latest edition in the series prior to the upcoming Xbox 360 game was Silpheed: The Lost Planet, a PS2 game developed by the 2D maestros at Treasure.
  • Misc. Q&As/Features

    GameSpot has a Q&A with SCE WWS Japan Studio producer Hiroyuki Kotani and Hit Maker development director Bob Timbello on Hit Maker's upcoming Blade Dancer: Lineage of Light (PSP).

Misc. Media/Previews

PS2
GameSpot goes hands on with Crafts & Meister's Super Dragon Ball Z (PS2). GameSpy previews VIS Entertainment's Brave: The Search for Spirit Dancer (PS2).
XBOX/X360
Screenshots: Project Sylpheed (X360). Lost Planet (X360). Dead Rising (X360).
PORTABLE
GameSpot checks out an import version of Namco's Tekken: Dark Resurrection (PSP). 1UP takes a look at SCEI's Loco Roco (PSP). Screenshots: Gunpey (NDS, PSP). Mario Hoops 3 on 3 (NDS). Bounty Hounds (PSP).
MULTI
IGN has an early look at EA Sports' Tiger Woods PGA Tour 07 (PS2, Xbox, PS3, X360, PSP, PC). Screenshots: Test Drive Unlimited (X360, PC, also PS2, PSP). Movies: Test Drive Unlimited (X360, PC, also PS2, PSP).

Console Game Of The Evening [Submit Yours!]

Soul of the Samurai for the PlayStation. "Presaging Onimusha, this mixed ronin, ninja, and demonic zombies in a Resident Evil/Bushido Blade-ish style engine. Timed counter attacks, specials, decent story. Simple but well done. Only flaw: skip logo/opening/reload after every death." (submitted by agsilva)

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"Guitar Freaks controllers kind of work with Guitar Hero already. If you have the official ..."
- nurikabe    See all 27 comments


Sunday Evening New Release and ShackReviews

Lots of releases this week for a change!

This Week's New Releases

PS2
America's Army: Rise of a Soldier (Secret Level | Tue. | PS2, also Xbox in Nov. '05)
Naruto: Ultimate Ninja (CyberConnect2 | Mon. | PS2)
Ruff Trigger: The Vanocore Conspiracy (Playstos | Tue. | PS2)
Xbox/X360
Crusty Demons (Climax | Tue. | Xbox) Over G Fighters (Taito | Tue. | X360)
Portable
Juiced: Eliminator (Juice Games | Wed. | PSP) Konductra (oeFun | Wed. | NDS) Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest (Griptonite | Tue. | NDS, PSP, GBA) Stacked with Daniel Negreanu (5000ft / BattleBorne | Tue. | PSP, also PS2, Xbox, PC in May '06) Sudoku Gridmaster (Hudson | Mon. | NDS) World Tour Soccer 06 (SCE Studios London | Tue. | PSP)
PC
Glory of the Roman Empire (Haemimont | Wed. | PC) Night Watch (Nival | Mon. | PC) OutRun 2006 Coast 2 Coast (Sumo Digital | Tue. | PC, also PS2, Xbox, PSP in Apr. '06) Panzer Command: Operation Winter Storm (Koios Works | Thu. | PC) Roma Victor (RedBedlam | Sat. | PC)
Titan Quest (Iron Lore | Mon. | PC) Wrestling Spirit 2 (Grey Dog | Thu. | PC)
Multi
Micro Machines V4 (Supersonic | Tue. | PS2, PSP, PC, also NDS in July '06) Pirates of the Caribbean: The Legend of Jack Sparrow (7 Studios | Tue. | PS2, PC)
Additional Database Entries Featured ShackReviews: This week I started playing SCE Santa Monica's God of War (PS2) and Backbone Entertainment's Age of Empires: Age of Kings (NDS). I also started playing the version of Konami's original Metal Gear that comes with Metal Gear Solid 3: Subsistence (PS2), but I'm stuck already!

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"Not to mention they've all sucked in comparison in the gameplay department."
- Pneum0    See all 31 comments


Late Night Consoling

I'm really starting to get excited about E3. This is a new thing for me. Usually I have cautious anticipation tinged with a sense of dread and impending migraines. It's always entertaining, but if you're there to actually get a lot of work done, it can be unbelievably draining. This year, though... I don't think I've ever looked forward to as many different things at an E3 before. With the exception of Xbox, which has essentially been dropped at this point, there are games I'm actively anticipating on every current platform. Yesterday's official announcement of Assassin's Creed (PS3) from Ubisoft sort of caught me by surprise; I hadn't paid much attention to that title when it was in its pre-announcement phase, but the setting is fascinating and the game has a lot of potential. If the historial aspects aren't just glossed over and used as only the vaguest inspiration, which sadly seems to happen quite frequently in video games, consider me excited. As far as other titles on PS3, I'll have to wait and see. We really haven't heard too much about the system, but I'm sure games like Metal Gear Solid 4 will be amazing. On Xbox 360, I'm curious to see how Silicon Knights' Too Human plays. I have to admit, I'm honestly skeptical of any video game developer's ability to live up to the complex sci-fi themes and storylines that are so often promised, and by the same token I'm not sure I'm on board with studio head Denis Dyack's proclamation that Too Human will change the world. All that said, it sounds like a lot of cool territory is being explored and I look forward to checking it out. There are also rumors that Halo 3--or, at least, the third Halo game, whatever it may be--will be present in some form, though almost certainly not playable. The Halo games are really the only games that have ever convinced me to play an FPS on a console (unless you count Metroid Prime as an FPS, which I don't really), so suffice to say I'm very interested to see what Bungie is cooking up. That said, I'd also love to see Bungie get away from Halo for a bit too. That studio has some fine heritage and range among its games, and there's a lot more potential there than just more Halo. Here's hoping. With Revolution--I'm sorry, Wii--I just want to play anything, really. As with PS3, we've seen practically nothing in the way of concrete game information, but that controller is inherently exciting. I have to say, I absolutely expect a lot of initial non-Nintendo games on the system to not use the controller to its full potential, or in ideal ways. Weirdly enough, I'm really looking forward to that. Not everybody can relate to this I'm sure, but I love seeing developers try out crazy stuff even if it doesn't always result in the most objectively solid game--as a case in point, games like Grasshopper's Killer 7 (PS2, GCN) and Vivarium's Odama (GCN) are fun experiences for me even if they're a bit rough around the edges. Then sometimes we get stuff like Keita Takahashi's Katamari Damacy (PS2) from Namco, and it's the best of both worlds: inventiveness as well as a coherent experince. Back to my point, sorry about that. While I'm sure eventually somebody will figure out The Best Way to Control Platformers on Wii, and The Best Way to Control Third Person Shooters on Wii, just like how dual analog sticks have become a standard for console FPS games on other systems, I can't wait to see what kind of crazy methods developers come up with for various genres before they become standardized. Anyway, in terms of specific games for Wii, I'm hoping Metroid Prime 3 from Retro is playable. Metroid Prime on GameCube really blew me away, so I can't wait to see what those talented guys do with the new controller. That said, I also sort of view Retro in a similar way as I do Bungie: a first party developer that has already created two acclaimed entries in well-known flagship series but who would do well to branch out. It would be great to see what else they're capable of. Fortunately, recent rumors suggest Retro will have another game at E3 as well, so here's hoping for that too! And for me personally, I don't know if there's any single game I want to see on Wii more than Pikmin 3. The first two Pikmin games on the Cube were easily some of my favorite games of the generation, and ever since Miyamoto said last year (before the controller unveiling) that Revolution would be a perfect system for Pikmin, I've been on pins and needles. EDIT: Gadzooks, that intro was longer than I thought it was. Sorry guys!

  • Shadowrun at E3?

    [xbox360]
    For some time now, there have been persistent rumors that a Shadowrun first person shooter is in the works for Xbox 360. Those rumors came to a head today, as the internets noticed that the official website of FASA Studio (which developed the Shadowrun game on Genesis) is fronted by a splash screen containing four silhouettes that suspiciously resemble those of Shadowrun characters. This connection was reinforced when it was also noticed that shadowrun.com redirects to the same image. Not much more needs to be said here, really. A Shadowrun FPS has already been all but confirmed in recent months, so don't be surprised to see this RPG adaptation show up during Microsoft's pre-E3 press conference next week.
  • Ubisoft Reveals Rayman Raving Rabbids

    [ps2] [ps3] [xbox] [xbox360] [gamecube] [nintendo]
    Though the existence of a fourth game in designer Michel Ancel's Rayman series has been out in the open for some time now, few details have been available. Today, Ubisoft officially announced Rayman Raving Rabbids, which the publisher promises to be the series' "funniest and zaniest adventure ever." Raving Rabbids is set to ship this holiday season for current and next-generation consoles, but oddly enough the only platform specifically mentioned by name is Nintendo's upcoming Wii. Ancel's latest effort will be a launch title for the system, making it Ubisoft's second confirmed Wii launch game after the platform-exclusive Red Steel. Rayman Raving Rabbids pits the titular (and limbless) hero Rayman up against the evil and insane rabbit-esque rabbids. At Rayman's disposal are a variety of creatures he can tame and control, as well as different costumes he can use to infiltrate the rabbid ranks. (Earlier today, Ubisoft released a Rayman Raving Rabbids screenshot that can, indeed, be described only as "zany." That image, however, was prematurely distributed and has been recalled. They did, however, also send, uh, this.) Rayman Raving Rabbids is in development by Ubisoft Montpellier. It will ship alongside Wii later this year, as well as for other systems this holiday season.
  • Sonic Speeds to PSP

    [psp]
    Sega's daily game announcements continue, with the latest reveal being Sonic Rivals, being developed by Death Jr. creator Backbone Entertainment for PSP. Featuring 3D environments and characters with 2D gameplay. Sonic Rivals puts classic Sonic platforming in a competitive setting. Playing as one of four characters, the player must reach the finish line before a computer-controlled character or a friend via local wireless. "In this heated rivalry, gamers are tested to prove not only who's the fastest but who has the best head-to-head gameplay strategy," said Sega's Scott A. Steinberg. Backbone Entertainment's Sonic Rivals ships this Fall.
  • Crash Crashes Into DS

    [ds]
    Crash Bandicoot will be coming to the DS platform for the first time with Crash Boom Bang!, developed by Dimps--largely known for its anime licensed games--and published by Crash owner Vivendi. Crash Boom Bang! collects 40 different mini-games that can be played via local wireless multiplayer, as well as the ability for players to bet on game outcomes and trade collectible items. Dimps' Crash Boom Bang! ships this October. - Screenshot.
  • Ubisoft at E3

    [ps2] [ps3] [xbox] [xbox360] [gamecube] [nintendo] [ds] [psp] [gba]
    In addition to its Rayman announcement, Ubisoft also sent along its official E3 game lineup, consisting of ten titles, including one not yet officially announced. They are as follows: - Assassin's Creed (PS3) - Brothers in Arms Hell's Highway (PS3, X360, PC) - Dark Messiah of Might & Magic (PC) - Enchanted Arms (X360) - "Game to be Unveiled," an as yet unannounced game from Timesplitters developer Free Radical - Open Season (PS2, Xbox, GCN, X360, DS, PSP, GBA, PC) - Rayman Raving Rabbids (Wii, "current and next-generation consoles") - Red Steel (Wii) - Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell Double Agent (PS2, Xbox, GCN, X360, PS3, PC) - Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Vegas (PS2, Xbox, PS3, X360, PC)
  • Midway at E3

    [ps2] [ps3] [xbox] [xbox360] [gamecube] [nintendo] [ds] [psp] [gba]
    Midway is the latest publisher to reveal its E3 lineup, and it consists of fourteen games. They are: - John Woo Presents Stranglehold (PS3, X360, PC) - Unreal Tournament 2007 (PS3, PC) - Blitz: The League (X360, Wii, PSP) - Mortal Kombat: Armageddon (PS2, Xbox) - Spy Hunter: Nowhere to Run (PS2, Xbox) - The Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar (PC) - Rise & Fall: Civilizations at War (PC) - Happy Feet (PS2, GCN, Wii, GBA, DS, PC) - The Ant Bully (PS2, GCN, GBA, PC) - The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy (PS2, GCN, GBA) - MLB SlugFest 2006 (PS2, Xbox) - RUSH (PSP) - Mortal Kombat: Unchained (PSP) - NBA Ballers: Rebound (PSP)
  • Nintendo Gears Up for E3

    [gamecube] [nintendo] [ds]
    With Sony, then Microsoft having launched their official E3 coverage sites, Nintendo has followed suit. The site promises live coverage of Nintendo's Wii unveiling press conference as well as show floor coverage.
  • Misc. Q&As/Features

    In case you still aren't convinced it's real, AGFRAG studio head Joseph Hatcher takes some time to speak about the upcoming Bob Ross video game for Wii. Hudson Entertainment has part two of an internal interview with company president John Greiner, discussing Hudson's past and future, as well as its role in opening up Nintendo platforms to third parties. GameSpot chats with Sega's Takashi Iizuka about the upcoming Sonic Rivals (PSP). IGN chats with Midway's Kraig Kujawa about the Wii version of Blitz: The League (also X360, PSP), internally referred to as "Blitz: The Wiigue."

Misc. Media/Previews

PS2
Movies: Rogue Galaxy (PS2).
GCN/Wii
Screenshots: Rayman Raving Rabbids (Wii, also "current and next-generation video game consoles").
Portable
IGN checks out SCEJ's Work Time Fun (PSP). Screenshots: Crash Boom Bang! (DS). Sonic Rivals (PSP). Movies: The Legend of Heroes II: Prophecy of the Moonlight Witch (PSP).
Multi
GameSpot takes a look at Traveller's Tales' LEGO Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy (PS2, Xbox, GCN, DS, PSP, GBA< PC). 1UP takes a first look at Neversoft's Tony Hawk's Project 8 (PS3, X360). Screenshots: Cars (PS2, Xbox, GCN, DS, PSP, GBA, PC). Justice League Heroes (PS2, Xbox, PSP).

Console Game Of The Evening [Submit Yours!]

Alex Kidd in Miracle World for the Sega Master System. "You have to eat a hamburger to finish each level? Need I say anymore..." (submitted by MaverickUK)

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"Ah, sigh..LOL..gotta love the Shack thread system and how replies work...this was in response to ..."
- wytefang    See all 82 comments




Top Games

  1. Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord
  2. Resistance 3
  3. Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII
  4. MX vs. ATV Supercross
  5. Space Pirates and Zombies 2
  6. Hearts of Iron IV
  7. Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn
  8. Grand Theft Auto V
  9. DayZ
  10. Batman: Arkham Knight

Most Anticipated

  1. Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord
  2. MX vs. ATV Supercross
  3. Space Pirates and Zombies 2
  4. Hearts of Iron IV
  5. DayZ
  6. Batman: Arkham Knight
  7. Survarium
  8. Kerbal Space Program
  9. Dragon Age: Inquisition
  10. R.B.I. Baseball 14

Top Rentals

  1. Grand Theft Auto V
  2. Beyond: Two Souls
  3. Batman: Arkham Origins
  4. Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag
  5. Call of Duty: Ghosts
  6. Battlefield 4
  7. NBA 2K14
  8. Diablo III
  9. Madden NFL 25
  10. The Last of Us