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This Week's Top Stories: August 29 - September 3, 2011

3 September 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.

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Mass Effect 3 to be the end of Commander Shepard 

BioWare’s reaffirmed that the Mass Effect franchise won’t be done and dusted following the release of the hotly anticipated third instalment in the series next March – for Shepard, however, it’ll be the end of the road. While I don’t think anyone will be surprised at this, it still pulls on the old heart strings. After all, the original game launched in 2007, so that’s already nearly four years of following the Commander’s compelling struggle against the Reapers. PS3 owners may have arrived late to the party, but the decisions made in Mass Effect 2 and its interactive comic all have repercussions that determines how the sci-fi trilogy will conclude, so it’s going to be somewhat disheartening to have to wave goodbye to a character we’ve all invested so much emotional time in. Still, BioWare’s made it abundantly clear that Mass Effect 3 will deliver the conclusion of epic proportions we’ve all been clamouring for, so Shepard is destined to go out with a bang.

Deus Ex: Human Revolution topples Zumba Fitness

Usually this sort of thing wouldn’t be considered major news, but given the summer draught we’ve been having as of late, Deus Ex: Human Revolution’s dethroning of Zumba Fitness from the top of the U.K. charts is breath of fresh air. Obviously it’s not surprising that Zumba has done so well; after all, what better way to shape up for the beach than having fun while doing it? Me on the other hand, I’m an old fashioned sort. You can’t beat a good set of weights and a treadmill, but for gamers, Zumba’s an attractive option. Still, it’s about time things were shaken up a tad, and with the industry about to enter the four month marathon that is September – December, Deus Ex is just the beginning of what we hope will offer some of the best gaming we’ve had in years. From here on out, I really do feel sorry for my wallet. Oh, and in case you haven’t read our review of Deus Ex, do so now – and believe us, the game’s worth every penny.

Kevin Butler is back in new Long Live Play ad campaign

Everyone loves a bit of Butler. Despite the fact he’s, well, not real, ‘ol Kev has provided a barrel of laughs with his witty one liners and exuberant advertising antics, whether it’s attempting to flog the latest PS3 peripheral or triple-A exclusive. Just when we thought he had buggered off to pastures new, Butler bounced back this week fronting a brand-spanking new advertising campaign – Long Live Play. Ditching the old ‘It Only Does Everything’ slogan, this new effort seeks to “celebrate gamers from all walks of life and recognize you for making us who we are today.” No need to listen to me waffling on about it, hit the link above and have a butcher’s at Butler in action.

Yakuza 5, Black Panther sequel confirmed

Yakuza is something of a phenomenon in its native Japan, though unfortunately the gangster franchise hasn’t quite resonated so well in the west. Nonetheless, that hasn’t stopped SEGA from churning them out almost every year, a trend that looks set to continue with the firm’s announcement that the team is making a fifth game, plus a sequel to PSP romp Black Panther. In fact, they’ve set up their own dedicated studio for the job, helmed by series overlord Nagoshi-san. I’ve yet to play the series, though Yakuza 1 is currently sitting on my shelf eager to be slid into my trusty, chunky 60GB PS3. Being something of a Shenmue aficionado, Yakuza is pretty much the closest a bloke like me is going to get to playing anything of the same calibre again, so I’m stoked to see what all the fuss is about.

Pachter: PS3 will outsell 360 unless Microsoft issues a price cut

You can always trust Michael Pachter to have a butcher’s at his crystal ball and offer his forecast on the hottest gaming gossip doing the rounds, and it’s no surprise to see him pipe up again this week. This time around he’s touching on the recent PS3 price drop, which he sees painting a rosy picture for Sony this holiday season. Specific, Pachter reckons Sony’s black beast will outsell the Xbox 360 unless the Big M decides to slash the price of its flagship console – something he feels is already being prepped for the second Microsoft clocks PS3 gaining the upper hand. I think everyone has an opinion as to how well Sony will fare this holiday season, and you’d have to be a pretty obstinate 360 fanatic to deny that PS3 is packing some serious quality for its reduced price (especially when one factors in future hits such as Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception into the equation). The fact is, 360 has been eclipsing PS3 by a comfortable margin on a monthly basis in the U.S., and with news that Sony’s machine has seen a significant increase in the region in terms of sales, there’s every chance it may end up beating its rival if Sony play their cards.

Sony has gained 3 million new PSN users since hack

Sony has made a concerted effort to put the trials and tribulations of April’s PSN hack firmly behind it now, as have most of us. Of course, there’s no denying it’s lingered around like a bad smell for a while after Sony sorted themselves out, but for the most part now it’s a bad memory best forgotten. And as the old saying goes, every cloud has a silver lining, and in Sony’s case, the hardware manufacturer has netted itself an additional three million PSN accounts since the security breach – not too shabby indeed. Furthermore, Sony Corp. big cheese Sir Howard Stringer said that the firm’s flagship online service is stronger than ever now, which is good news for everyone; better security means a more robust protection effort against hackers, ensuring users’ personal details are kept safely under lock and key.

Rockstar continues Red Dead Redemption push with ‘Myths and Mavericks’ DLC

Wild West romp Red Dead Redemption’s seen one of the meatiest post-release support of recent memory, a trend that doesn’t look set to stop anytime soon with Rockstar confirming the next batch of DLC – Myths and Mavericks. And the best part? It won’t cost a penny. Available on September 13, the DLC will throw in a heap of new multiplayer characters and locations, plus fresh Stronghold games. You’ve got to hand it to Rockstar for milking the Red Dead DLC experience this long, though with such a quality line-up of post-release pleasures, we’re hardly going to complain. If you still haven’t played John Marston’s epic tale, then be sure to pop over to our review and see what you’re missing out on.

Sledgehammer: Third-person Call of Duty ‘was compelling’

Back in 2010 there was a heap of confusion regarding the future of the Call of Duty series, specifically around who was working on what. Eventually things settled down and Activision cleared up any ambiguity surrounding the franchise, confirming Infinity Ward is working on Modern Warfare 3 alongside Sledgehammer, the latter of which at one stage was beavering way on a third-person entry into the series. However, that obviously didn’t come into fruition, but Sledgehammer has this week dropped a few tantalizing tidbits on the mystery project. For one, they revealed they had been working on the project for six months before it was scrapped, but the prototype they had in place was said to be looking pretty nice – or to quote them more accurately, ‘compelling.’ These days however, most people probably couldn’t give a rat’s arse if a CoD game happened to end up on the cutting room floor, but I have to say my curiosity was sparked upon hearing of the third-person effort. If anything, it would have been interesting to see where Sledgehammer would have taken the series, and more importantly, how successful the military blaster would have made the transition to a different perspective. For now at least, we’ll never know.

Black Rock Studio is no more

An alarming number of developers have folded over the past year or so, with Black Rock Studio the latest casualty of the spotty economic climate. Murmurs of the studio’s troubled times emerged earlier in the summer, though it’s only this week (Friday, September 2 to be specific) that we have confirmation of Black Rock’s closure. Obviously, PSU would like to extend our best wishes to the employees who as of today find themselves out of a job, but it’s also gutting as the firm’s last two games – namely Pure and Split/Second – weren’t half bad. In fact, both titles were due to receive sequels prior to Black Rock shutting up shop, and it’s a shame that both franchises didn’t get a chance to shine. Sadly, I doubt Black Rock is going to be the last company to close its doors in 2011.

PSU @ Call of Duty XP 2011

PSU sent Don Oliveira to Los Angeles this week to get the skinny on all the latest happenings in the Call of Duty universe. We've got a Modern Warfare 3 preview for you, along with all the latest news, including confirmaiton of pricing details for Call of Duty: Elite. Be sure to keep checking the home page for more updates in the coming days.


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