PlayStation Universe

This Week's Top Stories: December 20 - 26, 2010

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on 26 December 2010

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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Tomb Raider Trilogy confirmed for PS3

Frankly, we caught a faint whiff of an impending Tomb Raider compilation ever since Square lifted the lid on the series’ eponymous reboot late last month. After all, what better way to ease newcomers and fans alike back in to the fray by repackaging Lara’s three previous adventures on one swanky HD Blu-ray bundle? Fortunately, the chaps at Crystal Dynamics have sagaciously opted to leave the utterly abysmal Angel of Darkness out of the party, plumping instead for the trio of Legend, Anniversary and Underworld. Indeed, while the latter may have not been everyone’s cup of tea, the former two – particularly Anniversary – are considered among the best of Miss Croft’s exploits, classic PSone outings notwithstanding. With Trophies confirmed and a fresh coat of paint splashed over the proceedings for good measure, this could be just the ticket to get punters in the mood for the nimble archaeologist’s triumphant return.

Rumor: Uncharted spin-off in works for PSP2

Back when Entertainment Weekly lifted the curtains on Uncharted 3, it was claimed in the same article that developer Naughty Dog had set its sights on expanding the series universe to include a variety of mediums, including novels and the in-development movie adaptation. As such, a portable outing in the critically acclaimed adventure franchise makes perfect sense, and while we don’t expect one to show up on the current PSP, we’ve no doubt in our minds that Nate will be making a running-jump on to PSP2 in the not-too-distant future. Of course, we’d love to believe GI’s rumblings that the game is already in the works for Sony’s as-of-yet-unannounced slab, but if not, we can’t see the Dogs passing up on the opportunity – especially if PSP2 is packing as much clout under its pint-sized hood as we’re lead to believe.

Sony not forcing Move support on Uncharted 3, says dev

We don’t have anything against Sony’s wand-waggling, motion-sensing shenanigans, but when it comes to Uncharted, we prefer to let hero Nathan Drake do the leg work and not have to engage in some laborious prancing and waving about the place. Call us old fashioned, but give us a joypad any day of the week. In all seriousness, we weren’t expecting the cheeky chappie’s third outing to feature Move functionality, as Naughty Dog previously let slip its next project was too far along to incorporate the feature. And, while we don’t believe rumblings that Sony forces Move or SixAxis functionality on its developers, we’re still relieved to hear that they trust the Dogs to know what’s best for their own franchise – and Uncharted minus Move is arguably one of them.

Splinter Cell Trilogy coming to PS3

The HD revamp train keeps on rollin’, first with confirmation of a Croft-shaped compilation in the form of the Tomb Raider Trilogy, and now a stealthy surprise with Ubisoft’s Splinter Cell Collection. We’ll admit, the latter is certainly a curious move, especially given the series’ affiliation with Big Bill’s black box over the years, though we’re certainly not complaining. Those of you unacquainted with Sam Fisher’s slippery antics would do well to pick these last-gen gems up, as the games – namely, the terrific trio encompassing Splinter Cell, Splinter Cell: Pandora Tomorrow, and Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory – are stonking stealth offerings worth anyone’s cash. And with Splinter Cell 6 currently in the works, we couldn’t think of a better time to give them a go.

LittleBigPlanet 2 dated for UK

We still clutch our SackBoy plushie’s tightly at night while weeping over LBP2’s delay to this very day, so you can imagine how elated we were to find out that we’ll finally be getting our mitts on the cuddly platformer in late January. Now doubt it'll be worth the wait, though, and with the tempting prospect of forking out for a swanky Collector’s Edition weighing on our wallets, we suddenly find ourselves slightly stoic over the whole delay affair. Well, just about. Meanwhile, U.S. gamers across the pond will be able to pick up the game on January 18, ensuring PS3 owners everywhere will be able to indulge in some triple-A goodness as the year kicks off. Brilliant.

Black Ops garners $1 billion in sales worldwide

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past month or so, you should probably know that Call of Duty: Black Ops has done pretty well for itself. Not content with trumping Modern Warfare 2’s record as the biggest entertainment launch of all time, the Treyarch shooter has now racked up an eye-watering $1 billion in global sales. Not impressed? Well, perhaps you should take on board Activision boss Bobby Kotick’s observations and have a rethink. As he points out, Black Ops marks the only release in entertainment history other than James Cameron’s epic Avatar to reach the milestone in such a short time frame. We realise many folk have tired of the CoD brand, but you can’t help but tip your hat to what are unquestionably some impressive sales figures nonetheless. God only knows what next year’s instalment will offer up in terms of gameplay, but we’ve no doubt it’ll sell by the bucket load all the same. Still, we’re keeping our fingers crossed for some fresh ideas this time around.

Xbox brand doesn’t carry “as much sway” as PlayStation

No one can deny that Big Bill’s black box has come leaps and bounds since Microsoft first dipped its toes in the console making pool back in 2001. After all, the original Xbox beat out Nintendo GameCube, bagged some meaty software exclusives and cemented the brand as very much the hardcore gamers’ platform – alongside PS2, naturally. Meanwhile, Xbox 360 further solidified Microsoft’s clout as a leading competitor in the hardware business – particularly in the United States – but as with its predecessor, its success other markets has been a bit of a patchy affair, most noticeably in Japan, where it’s failed to capture the hearts of Japanese gamers. This is where Sony, as EA boss John Riccitiello rightly points out, has the upper hand. With 15 years under its belt, the PlayStation brand has achieved global brand awareness; a commercial juggernaut augmented by some stellar marketing and ample first-party support, not to mention the backing of some of the biggest third party brands of the past decade or so. Run a survey quizzing 1000 applicants on what console they’ve owned in the past decade, and it’s fairly certain you’ll get a substantial chunk admitting to purchasing either a PSone or PS2 more than an Xbox, Dreamcast or GameCube. Sure, PS3’s had a slow start in comparison to its predecessors, but it still remains very much a firm staple on the public consciousness on the fundamental basis of it being another Sony product. Consumers know what they’re going to get with PS3, regardless of the fact the console may not possess exclusives such as GTA or Tekken anymore. A firm testament to Sony’s ability to sway the market in its favour is strikingly evident in the fact global sales of PS3 and 360 now sit at just a few million units apart – that’s despite the fact Microsoft’s machine had a full year head start, we might add. Could 2011 be the year that PS3 supplants its lead rival? Only time will tell.

Square's Nomura-san teases Fabula event details

The elusive duo that encompasses Final Fantasy Versus XIII and Final Fantasy Agito XIII has remained to this day one of the most sought-after titles among PlayStation owners to date. Notorious for being a bit shy when it comes to popping up at various gaming events, both games were unveiled a few years back but Square has failed to provide much of any substantial details on the projects. Fortunately this all looks set to change with the upcoming Fabula event in January, where the publishing giant plans on lifting the curtain on the PS3 & PSP outings for a meaty showcase. Square’s Tetsuya Nomura has teased that we’ll be getting “plenty” of surprises and info, and the fact the event has made the transition from a stuffy press affair to a more fan-focused event has us rubbing our hands in excitement. Still, we had a chuckle at the fact Nomura has promised we’ll hear the main character in FF Versus XIII in the latest trailer; a fitting testament to the fact the game has been under lock and key for so long we really know very little about what Square is going to pump out come release date. Anyway, with the event pencilled in for January 18, we’re officially stoked – roll on 2011.

PSP & Monster Hunter Freedom 3 dominate Japan

Sony’s slab might be struggling in western markets, but the situation couldn’t be a more disparate state of affairs over in its native Japan. As has been the case for pretty much the past few months, PSP is continuing to plant its size nines in the face of the competition, proving unequivocally that there’s life in the old dog yet – at least in the Land of the Rising Sun, anyway. As for Monster Hunter, well, the sales speak for themselves. Over 3 million copies have found their way in to the hands of gamers to date, with over 500,000 shifted during the week ended December 19. Few titles can boast at having such pulling power, and Capcom must be totally rolling in it as a result. Of course, this is in strike contrast to sales trends over here in the UK and the U.S., with the mammoth monster romp possessing significantly less clout in the west than Japan, much to our dismay – the game’s really are that bloody good. Still, we’re just chuffed to see PSP pulling in the punters six years after release; hopefully, it’ll be just the springboard Sony needs for the inevitable follow-up.