This Week’s Top Stories: September 6 – 12, 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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Gearbox confirms Aliens Colonial Marines isn’t dead

Duke Nukem may have stolen much of the limelight at PAX last weekend, though hidden amongst all the hullabaloo surrounding the return of the 90s gaming action icon was the welcome news that shooter Aliens Colonial Marines is still very much alive and well. In fact, Gearbox reaffirmed to VG247 that the studio is “fully committed” to the project, though was keen to point out that the day very much belonged to Duke. Hardly a surprise, considering DNF has been in the depths of development hell since 1997. Still, Aliens Colonial Marines has had a bit of a bumpy ride itself over the past few years, having been announced over two years ago and there were even fears that the title had been canned at one stage, so we’re chuffed to hear it’s still on its way. In particular, the game has caught our attention due to the team’s meticulous attention to detail in recreating the series’ vehicles and moody settings, such as the iconic Sulaco and LV-426. Indeed, from what little details we know on the game, it’s shaping up to be an Alien aficionados’ wet dream.

Elena to star in new Uncharted 2 DLC

Ok, we’ll admit to jumping the gun when we initially saw this and presumed that actress Emily Rose was in fact jetting off to L.A. to record voice work for Uncharted 3. Judging from what we’ve read around the web, it seems we weren’t the only ones either. Still, what we have got is in fact confirmation of a fresh batch of downloadable content for Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, of which feisty journalist Elena will apparently be involved with. Quite what this content will entail remains a mystery, though our curiosity has certainly been piqued. We’ll be keeping an eye on this one to say the least. 

Dissidia Final Fantasy sequel in the works

The original Dissidia was a marvellous concoction of exhilarating, fast-paced hack n’ slash action and iconic combatants – after all, who wouldn’t want to take on FFVII’s legendary antagonist Sephiroth as FFVIII poster boy Squall Leonhart? Throw in a comprehensive customisation and levelling up system, plus a strangely gripping narrative, and you’ve got one of the best PSP offerings to date. As such, we’re thrilled to see the game get the sequel it rightly deserves, and while details are on the sketchy side, it’s at least been confirmed there’s two new characters on the horizon – FFXIII’s Lightning and FFIV’s Kain. Brilliant stuff. Let’s hope more is unearthed at the Tokyo Game Show next week.

Suda51/Mikami horror game to be shown next week

You may recall a few weeks ago we reported on rumors that Shinji Mikami and Goichi Suda’s horror outing was to make its long awaited public appearance at the Tokyo Game Show. Fortunately, it would appear these ramblings were indeed the real deal, as EA revealed in Japan this week that it will finally be lifting the lid on the anticipated project at its Tokyo Showcase 2010 on September 15. About bloody time too, we think. Since its announcement in August 2008, we’ve heard next to nothing on this collaborative effort, and it’s fair to say that we’re not the only ones expecting something rather splendid; after all, both parties involved are among the cream of the crop in their respective fields, with Suda’s keen eye for innovation and Mikami’s horror sensibilities making for a tantalizing combination of raw talent. Quite simply, it can’t – or rather, shouldn’t – fail. We’ll be watching this like a hawk. 

The Last Guardian confirmed for TGS 2010

Phew, we were a bit worried there. Frankly, it would be a colossal disappointment if Fumito Ueda’s eagerly anticipated PS3 exclusive didn’t put in an appearance at TGS this year, especially after having not shown its face in public for the past 12 months. This time around, however, we’re hoping that the folks at Team ICO will be willing to share a little more light on the epic Last Guardian, preferably in the form of a sumptuous gameplay teaser. Still, a meaty trailer wouldn’t go a miss either, but we’re simply itching to see how the game actually plays, and see if it lines up with our understandably lofty expectations. We’re pumped.

Cage: PS3 “perfect” for Heavy Rain due to Blu-ray

We don’t know about you lot, but we personally never tire of hearing companies heaping praise on Sony’s beloved black box. None have been quite so prevalent in singing the console’s praise than Quantic Dream, the geniuses behind one of the PlayStation 3’s most celebrated titles, namely Heavy Rain. Indeed, studio boss David Cage has been especially vocal in highlighting the advantages the PS3’s Blu-ray functionality affords developers, further cementing the fact that games such as Heavy Rain just wouldn’t be possible on Xbox 360. He also seemed pretty chuffed about Sony offering current owners of the game the chance to download a free patch for the upcoming Motion Edition, believing the celebrated thriller will benefit from a modest sales boost from the re-release. Whether or not a wand-waggling Heavy Rain will entice punters over the standard release remains unclear, though the is simply too good to miss out on, so we hope the Move Edition will offer a shot in the arm for the game at retail, even if it is just a brief one. It’s that good. 

August NPD: PS3 sales up 5.1 percent

No matter which way you slice it, summer has always remained a decidedly dull period for the videogames industry as a whole, so monthly hardware sale were never going to set the charts alight. However, it’s still impressive to note that PS3 managed to see yet another sales increase, with the platform now having achieved 13 consecutive months of year-on-year sales. Not too shabby, we think you’ll agree. The numbers may not seem that impressive when you consider PS3 actually came in last place for that month, but in contrasts to its rivals, Sony’s black behemoth remained the only platform to witness a sales increase, with Xbox 360 in particular seeing sales decline by 20 percent.

PS3 closing in on Wii year-to-date sales in Japan 

It’s been an arduous slog for Sony, but it finally seems as though the PlayStation 3 will finally overtake the Wii in year-to-date sales for the first time since launch, with the console just a few thousand units behind Nintendo’s seemingly unstoppable juggernaut. It’s taken nearly four years, but it may just finally happen. Indeed, it’s no secret that sales of the Wii have taken a tumble over the past 12 months or so in the Land of the Rising Sun – no doubt to over saturated market conditions – and many have questioned whether or not this may be the beginning of the end of the console’s dominance in its home territory. We think that’s a bit premature to say right now, but it’s abundantly clear that punters in Japan aren’t flocking to the Wii like bees to honey at present. Then again, with nearly four years under its belt, PS3 has really come in to its own as of late, and it was bound to show sooner or later. The key point now is whether or not Sony can keep up the pace; with a ton of exclusives on the way (including a little known game called Gran Turismo 5) not to mention the launch of PlayStation Move, the holiday 2010 line-up should be just the shot in the arm Sony’s black behemoth needs to sustain its current momentum for the New Year and beyond. Watch this space, as things are really starting to heat up.