This Week's Top Stories -- January 31 - February 6 , 2011
- Posted February 6th, 2011 at 18:08 EDT by Michael Harradence
Welcome to another instalment in our weekly news digest where the team at PSU Towers picks our favourite slices of gaming gossip from the past seven days, before proceeding to offer our two cents on each story for good measure.
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Hayes: Sega is ‘extremely optimistic’ on NGP success
Sony may have only just lifted the lid on its PSP successor, but you only have to take a gander at what’s in store for the device to know they’re on to a winner. As such, we’re not at all surprised by Sega West boss Mike Hayes’s optimism over the platform’s future prospects. It’s obvious the firm has invested greatly in Sony’s new hardware, given that they were among the first of many developers to have signed up for the console – Yakuza 4 was shown off at the Tokyo presser running in real-time on the NGP, to boot. We’re not going to poo-poo the competition, though; the 3DS is an impressive piece of kit and offers some swanky features, so Sony’s going to have quite a fight on its hands. Nonetheless, NGP has already demonstrated that it’s packing all the key components necessary to survive the upcoming next-gen portable punch-up – namely, ample third party support, meaty innards plus an array of snazzy features. The price will obviously play an integral part in its success at retail, but hopefully Sony will keep its promise of stamping an “affordable” cost on the platform. If the hardware manufacturer can nail this just right, nail down a solid launch line-up and avoid significant hardware shortages at launch, then NGP should get off to a cracking start.
Sony lifts lid on why some PSone titles won’t ever hit the PS Store
One of the most frequently asked questions PS3 owners have continued to drop in Sony’s court is that of when a certain PSone title will make the transition to the company’s online PS Store. This remains as prevalent today as it did back in the days of PSN’s infancy, though it’s not hard to see why. Most notably in Europe, however, folk have felt they’ve been given the short end of the stick when it comes to the PSone Classics line-up, which is conspicuously lacking in comparison to our friends across the pond. Where’s our Tomb Raider and Resident Evil 2, for example? Still, in light of these glaring omissions, Sony’s moved to offer insight as to why certain games are taking so long to show up on both the US and UK stores, and why some haven’t seen the light of day in Europe despite turning up in North America. As expected, it’s all to do with legal issues, and more notably, bugs. If a game is glitched, it won’t pass the quality control, hence no release. Fair enough. Furthermore, this is also why some games make it on the US Store but not PAL regions – the European copy is bogged down by various bugs, while the NTSC release is clean as a whistle. The good thing is, the platform holder’s pledged that it is attempting to secure those nostalgic nuggets for a future digital re-release, whether that means they have to endure an arduous quality control period or dragging out the legal proceedings some more. We’re just glad to have an acknowledgement of the issue, frankly, and to be fair to Sony, the balls not always in their court – they can only do so much. Let’s just hope things improve.
Splinter Cell Trilogy sneaking into stores in late March
2011 looks set to be not only a stonking year for fresh PS3 games, but also a fairly meaty year for retro-filled re-releases in the form of the PS3 HD Collections. With Sly Collection and God of War Collection already on shelves, a number of big third party firms have also jumped on the compilation coach, one of the most significant being Ubisoft. Specifically, the publishing giant is planning on bringing three classic Splinter Cell games to PS3 this spring, and this week confirmed it’ll unleash Sam Fisher’s last-gen exploits state-side on March 22. Furthermore, the previously digital-only Prince of Persia Trilogy will also hop to Blu-ray disc on the same day. Europeans have already been treated to a physical release of the Prince’s dexterous platform-hopping hack ‘n slash outings, though this’ll be the first time US gamers will be able to buy a boxed copy of the HD revamps. Fortunately, there’s no rose-tinted spectacles needed to view these PS2 classics – both compilations offer some of the finest slices of last-gen entertainment around, and make for an ideal purchase if you’ve yet to sample either franchise. With the Team ICO Collection out later this year and rumors of a Metal Gear Solid bundle rife on the Internet, we doubt we’ve seen the last of these nostalgic gems.
Guerrilla: Killzone 3 campaign clocks in at 8-10 hours
FPS games are notorious these days for coming up a tad short when it comes to the single-player component. One might argue that this is due to the fact many of more recent entries in the genre tend to focus on the multiplayer side of things, though that’s still no excuse for rushed campaign job. Modern Warfare 2, for example, was woefully lacking in this respect, despite the single player experience being packed with gripping gun battles and thrilling set pieces. It was a roller coaster of a ride, but we left wanting more. Fortunately, Killzone 3 looks set to pack in a meatier single player experience, with developer Guerrilla Games revealing the campaign will last roughly 8-10 hours. And, while we imagine hardened Killzone 3 aficionados’ will blast through it in a considerably less time, it’s still a step up from the recent Call of Duty games in length. Conversely, those who aren’t as adept at shooter’s as others will likely take a more methodical approach, and may even surpass the developer’s estimated completion time. We certainly found ourselves in the latter camp with Killzone 2, at least (that was a nice way of admitting we suck at FPS games, by the way).
Famitsu drops first Dark Souls details
One of the most sadly overlooked gems in the PlayStation 3’s catalogue to date, Demon’s Souls was a stonking RPG affair and undoubtedly one of the toughest games we’ve played in years. Brutal, unforgiving and yet overwhelmingly compelling, the game pushes players to their limits, rewarding meticulous planning with gratifying accomplishment and haphazard hash jobs with the business end of a sword. It was a game of skill, pure and simple. Chuffed we are to learn, then, that the developers are busy chiselling away on a follow-up, congruously titled Dark Souls. And the best part? It’s even harder than the original. From what we’ve read via the latest Famitsu magazine, it won’t share any story ties with its predecessor, though still very much adheres to the original’s core mechanics. We’re particularly intrigued to hear of the expansion in terms of the game’s environments, with sprawling locales integrating seamlessly within the world as far as the eye can see. Much of the game’s online component remains under wraps, though we do know that it’ll share a few similarities with Demon’s Souls, such as the presence of being able to call upon other players for help and receiving messages from the deceased. And, while we’re a little gutted the Soul Tendency feature won’t make a return, Dark Souls certainly sounds like it’s shaping up to be everything wanted from a follow up to the dastardly difficult inaugural outing and more. We’re stoked.
Amazon lists Killzone 3 PS3 bundle
We were wondering how long this would take to pop up. Given how Killzone 3 is such a major release for the PS3, it only makes sense that Sony would want to capitalize on the chance to flog more machines by releasing a PS3 bundled with the anticipated Guerrilla Games shooter. Plus, considering Killzone 2 received the same treatment two years ago, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that another’s in the pipeline for the sequel. Of course, this is all subject to whether or not Amazon.fr is on the money, but taking into account the number of time retailers have outed this kind of thing in the past, we reckon it’s only a matter of time until an official confirmation comes knocking on our door. New adopters should be in for a treat though; Killzone 2’s going for peanuts these days on Platinum, so what better to introduce your non-PS3 owning mates to Sony’s flagship console than picking up 2009’s triple-A treat alongside a fresh Killzone 3 bundle? We think you’d be hard pressed to find a better investment.
Saints Row 3 locked and loaded for fall 2011 launch
This has been a long time coming. THQ previously promised that Saints Row 3 would show up at E3, and when this failed to materialise, they later hinted at a reveal for last December’s Spike Video Game Awards. That was also a no-show. And, while we’ve still yet to clap eyes on the sandbox sequel, we at least know when it’ll turn up on shelves – fall 2011. Furthermore, THQ boss Brian Farrell promised we’ll get a formal reveal in the “near future,” which to us screams E3. Still, there’s a chance it may pop up sooner, but for now we reckon a June showcase is most likely. With claims that developer Volition’s “set the bar” with its latest entry in the franchise, needless to say we’re eager to get our first glimpse at the game. We’ll be sure to keep you updated on any developments. In the meantime, why not let us know what you’d like to see Saints Row 3 bring to the table in the comments section? Go crazy.
PS3 global sales skyrocket to 47.9 million
Sony’s Q3 results made for quite the tantalizing read this week. While PS3 sales for the quarter dipped compared to that of this time last year, the console has shifted 47.9 million units worldwide, putting it just 2.1 million units behind that of Xbox 360. Considering Microsoft’s machine has a full year head-start on its leading competitor, that’s not too shabby in our eyes. PS2 sales continued to tumble, though software for PS3 and PSP spiked a fair bit, with Sony posting a meaty profit for its Networked Products and Services division. This year should prove one of the most significant for the console since launch, with heaps of major exclusives lined-up for release. Plus , with 360 exclusives pretty bare by comparison, this could be the chance Sony needs to finally supplant its rival -- or at least close the gap a fair bit. Either way, 2011 will prove a crucial period for the console maker, and we’ll be keeping an eye on everything as it happens.
Killzone NGP in “good hands,” says dev
Phew, that’s a load off our minds. The prospect of big-name titles being handed to outside developers has been met with mixed results as of late; just look at all the hullaballoo over the latest Silent Hill and Devil May Cry games for example. Needless to say, when it comes to the likes of Killzone – or indeed, Uncharted and Resistance, for that matter – we’re naturally a little concerned about quality assurance. However, Guerrilla’s said that while they’re not cobbling together the anticipated NGP iteration in the sci-fi series, the firm feels the portable outing is in “good hands.” In this case, they’re talking about Sony’s Cambridge Studios, who have been tasked with developing Killzone for the new format. Likewise, Resistance and Uncharted won’t be coded by series creators Insomniac Games and Naughty Dog, though the teams responsible for these handheld entries (namely, Nihilistic Software and Sony Bend, respectively) certainly have the pedigree to nullify any concerns we might have previously possessed. All three games will no doubt be a huge selling point for Sony’s PSP successor, so we’re keeping our fingers crossed they’ll measure up to the console iterations. We’re optimistic, though, and can’t wait to see more.
NGP can ‘dominate’ handheld market, says Guerrilla Games
The NGP hype train just keeps on rollin’, and unsurprisingly, Sony stable mate Guerrilla Games is the latest developer to heap praise on the pint-sized platform. Specifically, Killzone 3’s multiplayer man Martin Connor has suggested that NGP – or PSP2, as it’s pretty much regarded by every man and his dog as – can not only stick it to the 3DS in the upcoming portable punch up, but dominate the handheld market entirely. Big claims, but ones we feel could ultimately transpire if Sony gets things right this time around. For now, it’s impossible to tell, but NGP certainly ticks all the right boxes thus far: ample third party support, oodles of first-party exclusives, meaty graphics, and plenty of fancy technical bits and bobs. As we’ve said before, the deciding factor for many punters will be the price. If Sony can nail this in the bag, they’ve got one hell of a handheld in the palm of their, erm, hands. 3DS won’t give up the ghost easily though, and has an equal amount of pulling power in the form of those million-selling Nintendo exclusives plus the fact it can let you play games in 3D without those pesky glasses. One thing’s for sure, we can’t wait to see how things shape up. Watch this space.
Hideo Kojima teases ‘Devil Project’
Kojima-san sure loves his Twitter. Indeed, when the famed Metal Gear creator’s not posting pictures of what he’s been chowing down on for lunch, he’s posting tantalizing teases of his latest projects – which, at the time of writing, we’ve still yet to get anything concrete on. This time, he’s waffling on about a new game dubbed ‘Devil Project,’ which he apparently worked on a tad today. To be honest, we’re losing track of what Kojima may or may not be working on after all this time. Ever since last year, we’ve heard murmurs of Metal Gear Solid 5, Zone of the Enders 5, a collaborative game with a developer whose name we shamelessly can’t recall at present, and that mysterious “Taboo” title. In addition to the above, he’s also working on a NGP title, though whether or not this is separate to his ‘new game’ remains unknown, though we think this is likely the case. Either way, with a reveal supposedly coming at TGS – or E3 for the NGP game, at least – we can’t wait to see what Kojima’s got up his sleeve.
Yoshinori Ono keen on resurrecting Onimusha
Onimusha remains one of the most requested IPs to receive a next-gen makeover among Capcom fanatics since the franchise entered a seemingly indefinite hiatus back in 2006. Alongside Dino Crisis, the series has calved out a cult following over the years, a feat which remains strong to this day. While not boasting the same commercial pulling power as the likes of Resident Evil or Street Fighter, Onimusha proved a compelling slice of interactive entertainment, fusing hack ‘n slash gameplay with demonic foes, gripping plot and eye-popping aesthetics As such, it’s not surprising many fans have called for Capcom to give it a shot in the arm after all this time. Still, while nothing has been set in stone, it seems a possible reboot may not be that far off; Street Fighter boss Yoshinori Ono’s said that the “time feels right” to revisit he series, and has hinted he’s up for pitching the idea to his superiors at Capcom Towers. Needless to say this has us giddy as a schoolgirl, as we’re among the many gamers craving for another dose of demon slaying action. Let’s just hope Capcom puts some faith back in the franchise – the last five years have been a gruelling wait.----