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.
See below for the past week’s top stories.
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PSP go gets price cut in Japan, North America
Even the most hardened Sony fanatic would be willing to concede that the PSP go hasn’t exactly prove the runaway success that many were hoping for. Regardless, the handheld is a tempting piece of kit, sporting a digital-only template without the need for pesky UMDs, and boasts a more sleeker, aesthetically pleasing design in comparison to previous incarnations of Sony’s trusty slab. While talk of a PSP2 is hot topic at the moment and the impending release of the 3DS would seem to indicate the original PSP is living on borrowed time, the arrival of a price cut in all major territories will hopefully make punters wake up and smell the bargain – after all, there’s some quality offerings to be had here. In fact, this might be the ideal time to persuade some of your DS-owning mates to invest in a PSP go on the back of an attractive new price point and stellar software releases such as God of War: Ghost of Sparta and meaty back catalogue consisting of gems such as Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII, God of War: Chains of Olympus, Valkyria Chronicles II, Gran Turismo and many more. Hopefully we’ll see the price drop stimulate interest in the platform in the coming weeks and months leading up to the Christmas holiday season.
Resistance 3 dev says 2011 launch is ‘music to our ears’
Resistance 3’s 2011 is music to our ears, let alone the folks at Insomniac Games. This time last year we caught our first glimpse of evidence pointing to a new game in the Chimera blaster series via a billboard sign on the movie set of Battle: Los Angeles, and it’s taken almost a year to finally get official confirmation on the game’s development. As such, even if the game could have potentially been out this year had the firm adhered to its two-year development cycle, a 2011 launch is just fine and dandy by us – after all, just look at the abundance of quality games due out next year. We’ll be spoilt rotten. Having said that, given the amount of delays that have plagued Sony’s holiday 2010 line-up, it wouldn’t have hurt to have the Insomniac shooter out in time for Christmas, but we think GT5 can handle that sector competently enough by itself. Ultimately, we just want to know when in 2011 that we’ll be able to get our grubby mitts on Resistance 3 – cause frankly, it’s looking bloody fantastic.
CoD: Black Ops dev hoping for “connection” with lead character
As far as bonding with your digital heroes go, Call of Duty has never ranked among the world’s most compelling endeavours, with gamers hopping in to the shoes of a silent, faceless protagonist and letting the supporting cast do the donkey work of racking in some much-needed empathy in players. Despite this, Infinity Ward managed to up the stakes with Modern Warfare 1 & 2, namely the undeniably shocking twist where your character bites the bullet in the American and British campaigns, respectively. Nonetheless, we still didn’t get to clap eyes on the man behind the gun on both occasions, so it’s refreshing to hear that Black Ops will be the first to give fans a birds-eye view of who they’re actually controlling. The Call of Duty series has always remained one of the most cinematic, story-driven game franchises of recent years, and if there’s one area that needed a boost, it’s the impact the player character has on the proceedings. This time around, we’re not just stepping in to the shoes of some random chap in the unit – we’re in command of a personality, rather than just an arm wielding a gun. Let’s just hope the narrative is up to scratch, or it won’t make a blind bit of difference whether or not we get to see Mason’s mug in every scene.
No More Heroes: Heroes’ Paradise heading exclusive to PS3 w/ Move support
We all knew No More Heroes was on its way to PlayStation 3, but we didn’t expect it to come with Move support, much less end up exclusive to Sony’s flagship gaming platform in the West – bad news for 360 owners, massive scoop for us PS3 fanatics. Indeed, having migrated from Nintendo Wii, Suda51’s No More Heroes is a bloody, quintessentially Japanese sword-fest that’s perfectly catered to Sony’s motion-sensing peripheral, and has gained something of a cult status since its inception in 2007. The PS3 version received an impressive 34/40 in Famitsu for its Japanese debut, which bodes well for the Western localisation – in fact, we highly recommend picking it up if you’ve got the spare cash. Definitely one to watch out for, folks.
Former Capcom dev legend working on PS Move title
Now this is the news we’ve been itching to catch wind of when it comes to Sony’s motion-sensing controller. It’s simple gaming arithmetic. The pedigree of an industry veteran such as Funamizu-san – who has worked on everything from Street Fighter II and The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons – plus the desire to take advantage of PlayStation Move from the ground-up equals heaps of potential. Okay, we’ll concede its too early to tell whether or not it’ll be any good, but we’re always eager to hear about any big names hopping on board the Move bandwagon, hopefully in an effort to capitalize on its full capabilities rather than offering a tacked-on half-arsed job that you see flooding the market on Nintendo Wii (and indeed while only in its infancy, there’s a few fair dodgy PS3-Move titles already infesting store shelves as we speak). A new IP would be quite the ticket, though a sequel to an existing franchise built specifically with Move in mind wouldn’t go a miss either.
CoD: Black Ops won’t beat Modern Warfare 2 sales, says Pachter
Every man and his dog seems to have something to elaborate on when it comes to the behemoth that is Treyarch’s Call of Duty: Black Ops, so it’s no surprise to see ubiquitous analyst Michael Pachter pipe up from the back of the room this week. We have to say though, we reckon he’s bang on the money with this. Black Ops will obviously turn in a solid performance, but Infinity Ward has traditionally lead the pack in terms of sales and review scores in comparison to the equally talented chaps at Treyarch, and Modern Warfare 2 in particular was something else altogether. As Pachter suggested, there’s a certain stigma attached to Treyarch’s output, being know as the ‘other’ CoD developer – or if you want to be overly cynical, the ones who make the least successful games in the venerable FPS series. As such, we reckon Black Ops will fall short of the lofty goals Activision is aiming for, but it’ll no doubt prove a roaring success and from the look of things has all the makings of being Treyarch’s most competent offering in the franchise to date. As for the “hypercritical” gaming press blurb, ouch – that hurt’s Pachter. If memory serves correctly, press were quick to heap criticism on Modern Warfare 2’s most glaring flaws, namely the fact it was shockingly short and didn’t offer any discernible improvements over its predecessors. Having said that, it sold and scored so highly because the fact remains it was just a bloody good game through and through – if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, and Infinity Ward stuck to a well-oiled machine that ultimately paid off by the bucket load. Sure, there were incremental upgrades, but like fellow triple-A stable mates Halo and Killzone, it stuck to a tired and tested formula without reinventing itself. Having said that, Modern Warfare 3 will likely have to up the stakes considerably if it’s to turn heads whenever the game arrives. For now though, we look forward to Black Ops as it’s sure to deliver the goods – whether or not it becomes the best thing since sliced bread is just a bonus.
Killzone 3 Helghast Edition is for the ultimate fan
Blimey. Ok, so, $129.99 USD is a fair chunk of cash, but for Killzone 3, we’re willing to make an exception. Helghast Edition, as we rightly described in our news post, is indeed catered undeniable towards the ultimate Killzone aficionado. And that’s you, me and probably a fair portion of our readers too. Make no mistake; this sumptuous special edition makes other company’s efforts look tame in comparison, offering up a heap of goodies including a soundtrack, Helghast Helmet replica, making-of video, artbook, double XP, retro map packs for Killzone 2 and more. We’d expect nothing less for the Guerrilla Games epic though, seeing as how it’s quite possibly the most anticipated gaming event of 2011 as far as PS3 goes, or indeed any other platform for that matter. No prizes for guessing this set is strictly limited edition, so if you fancy getting your grubby mitts on one, for the love of god make sure you get your pre-orders in sharpish – otherwise, prepare for bitter disappointment as they’ll inevitably be flying off the shelves come launch and end up being flogged on Ebay some months later for an exorbitant price. To say we’re pumped for this thing is an understatement.
SCEJ says we’ll get a sequel to Demon’s Souls “one day”
Oh Sony, you’re such a tease! Say what you like about the Japanese games industry, but they don’t half like to dangle the carrot in front of our screens before whipping it away in the blink of an eye. Twitter has become a notorious breeding ground for this sort of thing, with the likes of Hideo Kojima, Hideki Kamiya and Yoshinori Kitase all utilizing the service to tease upcoming projects that may or may not happen (Bayonetta 2, Parasite Eve PSN spring to mind) but nonetheless prove no less effective in piquing our curiosity to the max. Perhaps then, it’s no surprise that Demon’s Souls developer From Software has also adopted this attitude towards musing over a possible sequel – minus the whole Twitter craze, that is – with the studio commenting that while it hasn’t laid down any plans for a follow-up, the company reckons the celebrated RPG will get a sequel “one day.” One day can’t come soon enough as far as we’re concerned – the PS3 exclusive was a brutal, uncompromising yet ultimately brilliantly executed and compelling adventure that we’d love to see get the sequel treatment as soon as humanly possible. Unfortunately it was somewhat of an underrated affair in terms of sales, so it would be great for a potential follow-up to get the mainstream attention it deserves. Fingers crossed.
Keiji Inafune to leave Capcom this month
We have to say this didn’t surprise us in the least. If like us you’ve been following Inafune’s comments over the past couple of months, it has been made abundantly clear that the legendary Capcom bigwig wasn’t exactly feeling all that chipper in regards to his position with the firm as of late, going so much as to saying he “hates” his job and setting his sights on early retirement. This combined with his particularly scathing comments pertaining to the state of the Japanese games industry has painted a decidedly glum picture as far as the Mega Man mastermind’s state of mind is concerned. Having said that, it still doesn’t soften the blow any less. Inafune-san has remained a staple of the Capcom code house for the past 23 years, working with some of the Japanese giant’s biggest brands including the aforementioned Mega Man to Resident Evil, Dead Rising and Lost Planet. While we don’t agree with his opinion as far as his native homeland’s output is concerned (there are some stonking efforts coming out of the Land of the Rising Sun as of late, and we'd prefer it if they remained quintessentially Japanese as opposed to Inafune's desire to overly westernise everything), there’s no denying that the former outspoken head of product development was a key figure in not just Capcom HQ, but the Japanese games industry as a whole. Quite what he’ll turn his hat to next remains unknown at the time of writing, but regardless of where he ends up, we wish you well, Inafune old boy. Sniff.
PS3 Q2 sales up year-on-year
2010 has proven quite the auspicious affair for Sony’s black behemoth, with sales increasing year-on-year on an almost monthly basis throughout much of the spring/summer period. Indeed, the trend looks set to continue, with the hardware giant recently confirming that Q2 PS3 sales are up in comparison to the same period in 2009 and – more importantly – the system is nudging ever close to closing the gap on its lead rival, Xbox 360. In fact, the last time both the Big M and Sony divulged any worldwide sales numbers for their respective platforms confirmed that the hardware race is tighter than ever, with global sales figures standing at 44.6 million and 39.2 million for 360 and PS3, respectively. Not too shabby considering the fact Microsoft assaulted the next-generation hardware market a full 12 months before PS3 was ushered out the door. Of course, with PlayStation Move already out and Kinect touching down next month (not to mention Sony’s push in to the 3D landscape), it’ll be interesting to see how these latest gizmos will impact upon the fortunes of both systems as the hardware race kicks up a gear. And remember folks, it’s going to be a marathon not a sprint – neither console is likely to give up the ghost for a good five years yet, and we can’t wait to see how it pans out.