This Week's Top Stories: February 27 - March 3, 2012

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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U.K. Charts: Uncharted: Golden Abyss hits no.1

PlayStation Vita seems to have got off to a solid start in the U.K. this week, with Uncharted: Golden Abyss and FIFA rocketing into first and second place, respectively. Impressive for a handheld you might say, even more so when you consider the fact sales of both games made up half of all U.K. game sales for the week. Not too shabby. Of course, the big question is how many PS Vita units did Sony manage to flog? Numbers have yet to be revealed at the time of writing, but we do know the Wi-Fi model nabbed 79% of all sales of Sony’s new handheld – a direct contrast to Japanese launch, where the 3G unit took the lion’s share of sales. All in all, a positive launch for PS Vita, though the real challenge lies in whether or not the flash pocket brick can perpetuate this initial success. Fingers crossed, because it’s a fine piece of kit.

Mass Effect 3 pre-orders ‘well ahead’ of ME2’s

Mass Effect 3 was always going to pull in the punters, and the news that its pre-orders are already trouncing its predecessor at the same point prior to the game’s release is no surprise. This is hardly surprising though, considering ME3 is the first in the franchise to receive a simultaneous release on all three major platforms. Still, let’s face it; the game is looking gorgeous, and early reviews indicate it’ll be the best one yet, offering a ‘definitive’ conclusion to Shepard’s story and packing 40 hours of gameplay. Stay tuned for our review in the next week or so.

PlayStation Vita has sold 1.2 million worldwide

Sony is still keeping western PS Vita launch figures close to its chest, but did offer the tantalizing news that the next-gen portable device has notched up over 1.2 million sales globally since its Japanese launch in Dec. 2011. No doubt a fair chunk of that number can be attributed to the U.S. and European launch, though it’s worth remembering that PS Vita had sold over half a million in Japan alone in the months before the device’s western debut. Furthermore, software has hit two million units sold, accounting for both physical and digital sales – an impressive figure to say the least. It will be interesting to see just how well the handheld has sold in individual territories, though as we've already seen from the U.K. launch, punters have been quick to embrace the likes of Uncharted and FIFA, so let's hope the same can be said for the U.S.

New The Last of Us details revealed

The Last of Us is still in its infancy in terms of development, but that hasn’t stopped Naughty Dog from drip-feeding us new tidbits on what seems like a weekly basis. The latest batch of info to come out of the developer’s HQ has the team dispelling erroneous beliefs that the post-apocalyptic adventure will play like its stable mate Uncharted 3 – short answer, it won’t at all. Whereas Nathan Drake’s adventures followed a spectacular yet linear path, The Last of Us looks set to force decisions upon players, allowing for greater freedom within the narrative. It also sounds like the team is attempting to subvert the cliche hero stereotype with lead protagonist Joel, so those expecting Nathan Drake MK. II will be in for a nice surprise come late 2012. Definitely keep an eye on those one folks; it's going to be massive.

Report: PS Vita U.K. sales are ‘around one quarter’ of PSP launch figures

It was only a matter of time before murmurings of PS Vita’s launch sales started trickling out, and sure enough, PocketGamer and GI.biz have come up with some less-than-spectacular goods. According to reports – and keep in mind official Chart Track data has NOT been divulged at this point in time , so file this under rumor – PS Vita sold just north of 45,000 units at launch. Disappointingly, this is below that of PSP’s 185,000 debut back in 2005, and around half as much as 3DS last year. However, another report claims that sales are in the region of 61,000, though it remains to be seen just how well the handheld has performed. Hopefully Chart Track will shed a little official light on the subject soon enough.

BioShock: Infinite dated for U.S., Europe

After four years in development, Ken Levine’s ambitious baby BioShock: Infinite will finally arrive on shelves in October – on the 16th in North American and 19th internationally, to be exact. Easily one of the most anticipated games of 2012, Infinite is looking every bit as good as its predecessors, and the setting of Columbia makes for a welcome departure from the aquatic metropolis of Rapture. Speaking of Rapture, PS3 gamers are going to be in for a treat with Infinite, as the original BioShock is being included on the Blu-ray disc as an added bonus. Irrational Games also re-confirmed Infinite’s PlayStation Move compatibility, though details regarding its implementation won’t be detailed until a later date. Either way, it’s a fairly long wait until the game shows up, but we all know it’s going to be well worth it in the end.

Assassin’s Creed III set in American Revolution, new details on Monday

Ubisoft lifted the lid on Assassin’s Creed III’s box art this week in a surprisingly development, offering incontrovertible proof that the game will indeed be set in the much-rumored American Revolution. The setting was later confirmed via leaked images from Game Informer. Furthermore, we can expect full details on the stabby sequel to drop on Monday, so we won’t have to wait long to get an idea of who we’ll be playing as this time around in terms of the game’s new protagonist. The setting itself sounds pretty intriguing, and should provide plenty of narrative muscle given the political and military landscape from the period. However, given the fact the game has been in the works for three years now, the biggest evolution is bound to be on the core gameplay itself; quite what Ubisoft has up its sleeves remains to be seen, but all eyes will be on Monday’s info burst.

Sony revealing unannounced Vita titles via live stream on March 9

With PlayStation Vita now available worldwide and buoyed by a stellar launch line-up, all eyes now look to the next batch of big titles to support the device for the remainder of the year and beyond. Fortunately, Sony has seemingly got plenty of games in the pipeline, confirming it is to reveal a slew of unannounced titles via a live broadcast from Japan next Friday. Of course, that also happens to be the same day Mass Effect 3 launches, so be sure to tear yourself away from Shepard and chums for a bit so you can check out the goods. No word yet on what games we can expect, but we’re promised details on new software, services and developer presentations, so it’ll be worth keeping tuning in.

Ratchet & Clank HD Collection outed?

Sony’s ubiquitous HD remaster series looks set to receive another classic franchise in the near future, if a listing on Amazon France is anything to go by. This time around it’s for a Ratchet & Clank bundle, no doubt featuring the first three PS2 games in Insomniac Games’ critically acclaimed platform franchise. Sony hasn’t said anything on the matter, though short of an official announcement a leak on a major retail site such as Amazon is about as good as it gets, so expect something soon. Frankly, we’re surprised that it’s taken this long for Ratchet & Clank to receive a HD makeover, given that the PS2 originals are easily among some of the greatest offerings on Sony’s last-gen platform. With the bundle allegedly out on May 16, we won’t have too long to wait.

Exclusive Street Fighter x Tekken PS Vita characters coming to consoles

Capcom’s been getting all snuggly with Sony platform versions of its upcoming fighter Street Fighter x Tekken, with a slew of exclusive characters available for the PS3 and PS Vita release of the game. The latter version is of particular note, as the handheld edition of the crossover brawler was confirmed to feature an extensive list of exclusive fighters, including Guy, Cody, Alisa and Bryan. Up until now, it was believed if you want to get your mitts on these combatants, you’d have to buy the PS Vita version. That, apparently, is no longer the case. Capcom indicated this week that the characters will eventually make the transition to the home console release, which arrives first out the door next week. Presumably the extra fighters will be released via DLC, though it remains unknown at this point what Capcom’s plans are. Still, it’s good news for those who were initially a little miffed at missing out on 12 new characters, though still a bit of a kick in the teeth for the PS Vita version, which won’t arrive until the fall. After all, the promise of exclusive fighters surely would have offered more incentive to hold out for the handheld version, potentially increasing the uptake of Sony’s handheld. 

The Best of the Rest...

Elder Scrolls dev hiring for next-gen project

Jet Set Radio HD announced

Zone of the Enders HD confirmed for autumn release

Rumor: PS4 won't use Cell processor

Did a hacker crack the Taco Bell PS Vita competition?

Q-Games redefining PlayStation Move, music games with PixelJunk 4am

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