It's no secret that I first got into games on the PC, and graphic adventure games were my favorite genre. I've always preferred the LucasArts games, which I see as more inventive and creative than their Sierra counterparts that perhaps veer a bit too far into generic hero narratives and endless sequels. That said, I've always had a huge amount of respect for Sierra's practices as a company in its pre-Vivendi days, and I've also always respected Jane Jensen as a writer and designer who sort of stood out among a lot of the Sierra stuff. Her Gabriel Knight games are really solid, and I'm looking forward to see what she's come up with this time.
Wii to Retail for Under $200?[nintendo]
A variety of online reports tracking back to Japanese investment bank Nikko Citigroup report that the firm issued a report this week claiming that Nintendo has secured a better than anticipated manufacturing cost for the Wii's Broadway CPU. The firm now expects a retail price of 19,800 yen ($170.07) in Japan, significantly lower than Nikko Citigroup's previous expectation of 25,000 yen ($214.74). This is at odds with last week's rumors from IGN, which pegged the console's US price as $229. Even if Nikko Citigroup's information is correct, it is very likely that the console's price in the United States would be $199.
Nintendo was not available for comment at press time.
Blazing Angels Blaze to PlayStation 3[ps3]
Recently, Ubisoft announced that it would be bringing Ubisoft Romania's Blazing Angels Squadrons of WWII (Xbox, X360, PC) to Wii at the system's launch. Today, Ubisoft announced that the combat sim will also be part of the launch lineup for Sony's upcoming PlayStation 3, which goes on sale November 17, 2006 in North America. The PS3 version of the game will include new missions, a 16-player mode, and control that takes advantage of the PS3 controller's tilt functionality.
Eidos Loves PS3, Considering New Tomb Raider Film[ps3]
GamesIndustry.biz has part 1 and part 2 of an interview with Eidos' product acquisition director Ian Livingstone. The exec noted that Eidos will be supporting all three next generation consoles and had positive words for each, pointing out that Microsoft "has obviously got a 12 month head start on the competition" with Xbox 360 and Nintendo has a "cheaper priced product that concentrates on gameplay above all else" in Wii, but his most glowing praise was saved for PlayStation 3. "It's extraordinary quality, that's the starting point," he said about the Blu-ray technology used by PS3, then went on to the console itself. "If people are seeking the ultimate machine, the PS3 is clearly the best spec machine as far as next-gen goes. As with all things in life, you have to pay for quality," he said. "It is absolutely beautiful to look at and you are getting virtual interactive cinema in the comfort of your own home. It's a very compelling selling point and Sony just has to educate people that yes, it's a lot of money, but it'll be worth it."
Livingstone spoke enthusiastically about the continued appeal of Eidos' gaming icon Lara Croft. In addition to mentioning that Eidos has further Tomb Raider games in development, he revealed that the publisher is currently speaking to Paramount about a third Tomb Raider film. The executive also made the rather curious claim that Lara Croft is more famous than Nintendo mascot Mario, due to her ability to break beyond "the games niche...thanks to two blockbuster films" as well as her appeal to females as well as males.
Texas Hold 'em Free for Two Days, More Live Arcade Games Announced[xbox360]
Microsoft sent out a press release last night detailing its short term release plans for Xbox Live Arcade. Next up will be Texas Hold 'em, releasing Wednesday, August 23, 2006. Interestingly, the game will be free for its first two days on Xbox Live Marketplace. Starting Friday, August 25, the game will have a standard price of 800 Microsoft Points ($10). The game has support for up to eight players via Live, leaderboards and Achievements as expected from a Live title, and three gameplay modes: Standard, Scenarios, and Tournaments.
The company also announced a few more upcoming Live Arcade releases. Today, four gamer picture packs for Ninjabee's Cloning Clyde will be released for 100 Microsoft Points ($1.25) each. On Wednesday, August 30, Konami will release a remade version of its 1982 fighter jet arcade title Time Pilot, featuring updated graphics and gameplay. It will run 400 Microsoft Points ($5). On September 6, Konami will release another one of its arcade classics, the sidescrolling shooter Scramble. It too will run 400 Microsoft Points ($5), and it seems that it will be presented in its original form.
No GCN Controller on Twilight Princess Wii, More to Virtual Console[gamecube] [nintendo]
According to comments made by Nintendo VP of marketing George Harrison made in a web chat on Nintendo's Camp Hyrule, the Wii version of The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess (Wii, GCN) will not feature support for the GameCube controller as previously believed. "The GCN controller will be able to play the GCN version on the Wii console, but will not be able to play the Wii version," said Harrison. This is at odds with comments made by Nintendo's Perrin Kaplan during E3 implying that the Wii version of the game would support the GameCube controller via the system's legacy controller ports.
In regards to whether Wii's Virtual Console service would support newly developed games in addition to classic titles, Harrison confirmed that it will, though his comments seemed to indicate that such games may not be coming until after launch. Interestingly, he also indicated that there are further properties of the Virtual Console service that have not yet been announced. "Remember, there are other secrets of the virtual console that we wonÂ’t reveal until we get closer to launch," he stated.
IGN has an interview about Vicarious Visions' Wii version of Raven Software's Marvel: Ultimate Alliance (Wii, also PS2, Xbox, GCN, PS3, X360, NDS, PSP, GBA, PC) with producer Evan Skolnick.
1UP has a preview and concept art from BioWare's Mass Effect (X360).
IGN goes hands on with the Wii versions of several upcoming THQ games: Blitz' SpongeBob SquarePants: Creature from the Krusty Krab, THQ Australia's Avatar: The Last Airbender, Rainbow Studios' Cars, and Blue Tongue's Barnyard. GameSpot also checks out SpongeBog, Avatar, Cars, and Barnyard.
Console Game Of The Evening [Submit Yours!]
T&C Surf Designs for the NES. "The first (only?) game based off a clothing line? Maybe so! Surfing was painful, but skateboarding wasn't bad." (submitted by dmiller)
I want a Wii. No please. kthx.