This Week's Top Stories: August 15 - 20, 2011

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.

Of course, Gamescom took centre stage this week, so most of our news consumption was spent drowning in a sea of fresh screenshots and trailers. However, there were still a few big hitters doing the rounds, which we've included below.

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Heavy Iron Studios on PS Vita: ‘People don’t want it’

PS Vita has attracted a fair amount of flack as much as it has praise from industry watchers since its unveiling in January, with Heavy Iron Studios the latest to poo-poo Sony’s chances of handheld dominance. Specifically, the firm reckons punters don’t want to lug around another item in the pockets, going so far as to describe Sony’s new device as a ‘car wreck’ and doubting as to whether there’s a viable market out there for hardcore gamers. I couldn’t disagree more with this, and that’s coming from someone who admittedly isn’t much of a handheld gamer. Sure, smartphones have lead the charge in casual, on-the-go gaming over the past few years, and there’s no denying that Joe Public has lapped it up. However, there will always be a market out there for your bread-and-butter hardcore gamer. You won’t find the likes of Uncharted – that is, triple-A titles boasting eyeball-popping production values and ample longevity – on iphone or ipad, and it's these games that the hardcore buying public will still be craving for after playing the latest iteration of Angry Birds for the umpteenth time. That’s not to say Vita – and indeed 3DS – won’t have a tough time in the smartphone-packed climate, but if the value is there, then punters are more than willing to plonk down the cash – and right now, Vita is looking well worth the money. 

Resident Evil 6 turns up on LinkedIn profile

Rumors of a Tokyo Game Show announcement for Resident Evil 6 have been strengthened yet again this week, with the forthcoming horror outing popping up on an animator’s LinkedIn profile. While this far from confirms development of a sixth numbered instalment in the series, the fact it also showed up on the Facebook profile for Third Floor Inc – that is, the same company responsible for working on RE5’s cut-scenes at the employer of the animator in question – certainly adds a little more clout to these murmurs. At this point, with evidence mounting (a snapshot of the game’s logo taken at Comic-Con, rumors cropping in OPM UK etc), it’s certainly not inconceivable to imagine Capcom is busy chiselling away on RE6, especially considering the venerable horror franchise celebrates its 15th anniversary this year. What better way to commemorate such a prestigious milestone than lifting the curtain on the next major entry in the series? All eyes will be on TGS, that's for sure.

Assassin’s Creed Vita announced

Ubisoft is one of the most prolific publishers out there these days, and so it’s unsurprising – though nonetheless incredibly good to know – that they’re on board the PlayStation Vita train. Among the IPs making the jump to Sony’s new pocket brick is Assassin’s Creed, with the Vita instalment said to be an all-new title boasting fresh characters and a new story. Sure, it’d be all too easy to port over an existing game (perhaps even a Vita version of Revelations) but it makes sense to keep things separate. After all, Assassin’s Creed: Bloodlines on PSP was a fresh chapter exclusive to Sony’s slab, and if Ubisoft are following in the footsteps of other devs, they’ll be sure to throw in some Vita-specific control functionality. For example, we’ve already seen players manipulate Nathan Drake via the touch pad when clambering up objects for Uncharted: Golden Abyss, and with building scaling bread-and-butter for Assassin’s Creed, this would be an ideal opportunity to flex Vita’s control muscle.

Sony unveils new PSP Model

Many figured PS Vita’s arrival would signal the end for the trusty old PSP, but apparently Sony thinks otherwise. Nope, despite the platform holder gearing up for the launch of its next-generation handheld later this year (or early 2012 for the west), Sony is keen to hammer home the message that PSP is far from brown bread. At the moment, at least. The company used its Gamescom presser lift the cloth on a new budget PSP SKU (minus Wi-Fi support) priced at a wallet-friendly 99 Euros – ideal for punters looking for a cheap option to make the transition to portable gaming. And let’s face it, Vita’s launch may be inexorably approaching, but PSP has some bloody great games on it that are worth anyone’s hard-earned cash. Indeed, now might be the best – and perhaps last – opportunity to invest in Sony’s six year-old slab while it’s still hot.

PlayStation 3 global price drop announced

Rumors have been circulating for months regarding a potential PS3 price cut for Gamescom, and Sony didn’t disappoint, using the climax of its press conference to confirm a global reduction on its flagship console. Yep, pop down to your local game store now and you should be able to pick up Sony’s black beast (160GB model) for just £199/$249 – an absolute bargain in anyone’s books, I think. Let’s face it though, PS3 has been begging for a price cut for a while now, and combined with the console’s stellar software line-up for the remainder of this year, Christmas should prove quite the compelling battleground. I’m a multiformat gamer and play my Xbox 360 as much as my trusty 60GB PS3 behemoth, but I have to admit, Sony’s really packing some serious punches when it comes to consumer value. New adopters are going to be spoilt for choice frankly, with the likes of Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception, Resistance 3, ICO/Shadow of the Colossus and existing classics Killzone 3 and Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots begging for a place on your shelf. Better wear a crash helmet while you’re out and about this holiday season, chaps – PS3’s are going to be flying out of store windows.

Last Guardian progress ‘not as fast as we’d hoped for,’ says Sony

The Last Guardian easily ranks as one of the most anticipated games of this generation, let alone on PlayStation 3. As such, it’s not surprising that gamers are getting a bit miffed having to endure what is becoming an increasingly prolonged development cycle, and one that Sony admitted this week isn’t progressing quite as sharpish as they initially hoped for. Originally pencilled in for release this year, the gorgeous-looking adventure was shoved back to early 2012 in April, though with this recent revelation it remains to be seen just when exactly it’ll show up next year. Disappointingly, Sony Worldwide Studios boss Shuhei Yoshida also indicated we won’t be getting a sneak peak at the game at TGS next month, which has me doubting as to whether or not the ambitious title will make its targeted release early next year. Regardless, you can’t rush art, and in the Last Guardian’s case, I’m sure many of us would rather let Fumito Ueda and co beaver away at the game for as long as necessary to ensure we get a quality product come launch day.

PSU's Gamescom 2011 coverage

Want trailers? Want screenshots? Want hands-on previews? Then we've got your covered, Hit the link above to check out our Gamescom 2011 hub for all the latest gossip from Cologne. Please note that we still have a boatload of previews on the way, so stays tuned next week for more coverage.

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