Special Update: New DS Revealed[ds]
I'll have a full writeup of this in tomorrow's LNC, but for you morning LNC readers, here's a quick edit. Nintendo has updated its web page with details on a redesigned Nintendo DS system that is smaller and lighter than the original. It will go on sale March 2 in Japan for a price of 16,800 yen, or $146. The full English announcement is here. There are no details of a North American or European launch date or price.
Konami Announces Stuff[ps2] [xbox] [ds] [psp]
Konami made a variety of announcements at its annual press event today, and here they are:
A collector's edition DVD called Metal Gear Saga will be given to those who preorder Metal Gear Solid 3: Subsistence (PS2) starting in mid-February. The disc will include a variety of documentary content, including an interview with series creator Hideo Kojima as well as concept art and "making of" information. It also has a chronological summary of the five main Metal Gear games to date. GameSpot has a preview here.
Konami is developing a strategy game for DS and PSP entitled Steel Horizon. The game will feature both realtime and turn-based elements, and in addition to a single-player campaign will also support local wireless multiplayer. There was no word on whether online functionality would be included.
A few details were revealed regarding the mysterious Metal Gear B.D., the "interactive comic" project heading to PSP. It will be illustrated by Ashley Wood, who worked on the Metal Gear Solid comic as well as covers for Todd McFarlane's Spawn. Metal Gear series head Hideo Kojima and producer Noriaki Okamura will handle writing. The comic will feature animated elements and sound, as well as unspecified interactive elements.
Konami is currently developing a DS RPG entitled Tao's Adventure: Curse of the Demon Seal. A magician named Tao must save his home from falling under a deadly curse. The game has realtime 3D models and environments on the top screen with the interface and map on the touch screen. The game will be released this March.
In addition to Metal Gear B.D., Konami will also be producing an interactive comic-type project based on the Silent Hill franchise. It will be based on the upcoming film rather than an existing game, and will be illustrated by Steve Perkins and Alex Shibao. The UMD will also include stills from the film and games, as well as interviews with the film's crew and other content.
A collection of the Gradius side-scrolling shooter games will be heading to PSP. It will contain Gradius, Gradius II, Gradius III, Gradius IV, and the new-to-US Gradius Gaiden. It will arrive this spring.
Konami will be bringing a Live-enabled poker game to Xbox. All-In Poker will include five types of poker as well as various tutorial modes and online options. It will ship in March.
Leviathan Games is working on Konami Chess Battle, a chess game for PSP that will feature some kind of story mode as well as local and online wireless play. The game will hit stores this fall.
Marbles Blast to Xbox Live[xbox360]
The Xbox 360 may not be seeing much in the way of new retail releases, but its excellent Live Arcade service shows no sign of slowing down. Originally scheduled for a Februrary release, GarageGames' Marble Blast Ultra has appeared for download early. The game is available for 800 marketplace points, equivalent to $10.
Microsoft Still Backwards-Compatiblizing (Slowly)[xbox360]
Various sites recently reported on "confirmation" that Microsoft has abandoned its efforts to support Xbox games on Xbox 360 for a few months. IGN, however, has received official word from Microsoft that this is in fact not the case. The backwards compatibility team is apparently still at work, but the statement given to IGN had no estimate as to when further updates would arrive.
Phantom Still Hanging in There, Sort Of
Infinium Labs, the company behind perennial vaporware Phanton Gaming Service and what appears to be the more tangible Phantom Lapboard, announced that it has somehow obtained a $5M investment from Golden Gate Investors. In case you are worried that this would mean the end of Phantom jokes, however, fear not; that $5M is going towards launching the Phantom Lapboard portable keyboard/mouse package, not the console itself. Gamasutra points out that the company "has recurring losses from inception of $57,570,723, has a working capital deficiency of $10,085,662, a stockholders deficiency of $9,470,271 and has a negative cash flow from operations of $14,888,265 from inception." That along with all of the practical costs involved with launching a new system suggests we'll be waiting for the Phantom for a while yet to come.
Leisure Suit Larry Likely Lifeless[ps2] [xbox] [psp]
GameSpot has a rumor from a former employee at Leisure Suit Larry: Magna Cum Laude (PS2, Xbox, PC) developer High Voltage Games that publisher Vivendi Universal has dropped the Larry franchise and two in-development Larry titles. Apparently, another home console game was in development as well as a PSP spinoff title. After checking with the company's VP of creative content Eric Nofsinger, the site received an official confirmation that two games from the same (unnamed) series were recently cancelled.
Leisure Suit Larry began his life in a graphic adventure called Leisure Suit Larry in the Land of the Lounge Lizards (PC), designed by Al Lowe at Sierra On-Line. Lowe designed five more main entries in the series before the set of legal shenanigans that led to Sierra ceasing to exist as an autonomous company. Vivendi, the current owner of Sierra's huge library of intellectual property, released Magna Cum Laude--a mini-game-driven game with more in common with modern teen comedies than the relatively more charming innuendo of the earlier games--in 2004 to middling critical reception. Lowe publically expressed his frustration with the direction taken by Vivendi and High Voltage.
WV Slims Down With DDR[ps2]
The state of West Virginia is moving forward with a plan to outfit its public schools with Dance Dance Revolution setups. The state has one of the worst obesity rates in a country where obesity is already seen as an increasingly worrying issue. State officials hope that by providing schools with the option to use DDR as an in-school exercise method, students with an aversion to sports or other physical education activities will be more willing to stay in shape.
West Virginia's 157 middle schools will receive copies of the game first, to be followed by the remainder of the state's 753 public schools in the next three years. The overall cost of the project is $500,000, with DDR publisher Konami donating $75,000. Oddly enough, the article says that the cost of each individual package--containing a console (likely a PS2), two or more pads, and the game--is $740. That seems a bit excessive considering the same products could be picked up at retail for well under half that.
Ben Andac, a professed anti-Nintendo sort of guy for most of his life, shares his opinions on why Nintendo has the right idea for the next generation in The Man Who Was Tomorrow. By the way, if you happen to like the revolutionary WaChe design in that article's banner, t-shifts featuring the emblem are available from the Idle Thumbs Company Store.
Keith Schofield, a music video director whose work tends to encourage being sent around the internet, has filmed a video for a band called Wintergreen; it's all about the infamous E.T. licensed Atari game. Informative!
Perhaps you've heard about the stricter regulation on "booth babes" this year at E3. Personally, I'm rather glad about it. E3 is in many ways a big stupid circus, and the more that's done to reverse that, the better. If you need more convincing, here's a good editorial on the subject by Next Generation.
Previews of Konami's Beatmania (PS2) come to us from GameSpot and IGN. GameSpot takes a look at Konami's Metal Gear Saga (PS2), the bonus disc available with preorders for Kojima Productions' Metal Gear Solid 3: Subsistence (PS2). IGN checks out Konami's Suikoden V (PS2) and Square Enix's Dirge of Cerberus: Final Fantasy VII (PS2).
Screenshots: Karaoke Revolution Country (PS2).
GameSpot goes hands on with the Xbox 360 multiplayer of Ubisoft's Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter (X360, also PS2, Xbox, PC).
GameSpot goes hands on with Konami's Gradius Collection (PSP), Konami's Tao's Adventure: Curse of the Demon Seal (DS) (so does IGN), and Kojima Productions' Metal Gear Ac!d 2 (PSP). 1UP checks out Sonic Team's The Rub Rabbits (DS). IGN looks at Konami's Ys: The Ark of Napishtim (PSP). Revo-Europe has details on the multiplayer modes in Nintendo's Metroid Prime: Hunters (DS).
Movies: Drill Dozer (GBA).
Console Game Of The Evening [Submit Yours!]
Star Control for the Sega Genesis. "The great Star Control on a console in 16-bit days! A fun strategy game, but the sheer beauty was in it's multiplayer Melee. *Launch Fighters!*" (submitted by famine101)
I can't wait for the Gradius Collection. Gradius I-IV + Gaiden on widescreen portable? Sign Me Up.
DAMNIT... now I need a PSP. >:(
Yeah more Gradius is always good, especially when it's handheld.
Man, that collection sounds too good. So tempted to get one.