Far East News: It is not a good time to be in the Japanese games industry. At the recent Tokyo Games Show the boss of Capcom commented on the huge amount of western games on show,
“When I looked around all the different games at the TGS event floor, I said, ‘Man, Japan is over. We’re done. Our game industry is finished’.”
Rumours abound that SquareEnix are to lay off 300 hundred staff. Is this anything to do with SquareEnix setting up camp in Hungary, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, California, Montreal and most recently Britain with the buy out of Tomb Raider favourites, Eidos? Only time will tell, but let us hope the Japanese games industry does not fade away. Where would the next Katamari, Parappa the Rappa or Okami come from? Some of the most original titles in gaming history have emerged from Japan. Besides, who else would create a game where you have to wave your private parts at your webcam to play?
Blu-ray News: From November, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment Blu-ray releases will include a digital copy specifically for the PSP. This PSP version of the film will only be accessible if you hook your PSP up to your PS3 and copy the file across. A cunning plan to promote the PSP-PS3 link, so simple in it is simplicity it makes you wonder why no one had thought of it before. Rich Marty, Vice President of Buzz Words and Marketing Speak said,
“This latest enhancement to Blu-ray and Digital Copy demonstrates the versatility of the format and its ability to deliver a multi-platform video experience. It also showcases the unique advantage that the PlayStation 3 brings to the Blu-ray consumer.”
Nathan Drake News: Scoring an astounding 10/10 from Official Playstation Mag (US), Games Radar, Official Playstation Mag (UK), Eurogamer, Gamepro, 1Up and CVG as well as a raft of high nineties scores it seems everyone loves Nathan Drake. ‘Uncharted 2: Among Thieves’ has a Metacritic score of 97/100 which is one point below Grand Theft Auto 4 and equal to Super Mario Galaxy. Uncharted only has twenty scores aggregated in Metacritic as reviews are just starting to be published. With a little bit of luck and a few more ten-out-tens Nathan Drake will be leapfrogging over Mario and knocking Nico in to second place. Champagne corks will be popping at Naughty Dog HQ and Sony tonight.
Sounds Suspiciously Like Another Game News: The Worlds first ‘Stunt ‘Em Up’ is here, recently revealed by a new team formed by ex EA, Sumo, Climax and Criterion developers. With a pedigree like that you would of thought they may of heard of “Pain” on the PSN as the description of ‘Joe Danger‘ seems a tad familiar.
“Joe Danger aims to recreate the childish joy of the first time you took a toy motorbike, doused it in lighter fluid, lit it, and launched it at high speed over your carefully constructed ramp out a second story window,” said Sean Murray, lead developer. A bit like launching your character form the slingshot in Pain then?
“You’ll laugh in the face of danger, and it’ll laugh back,” he continues, “as you bounce from boulder to boulder, towards a pile of mousetraps.” A bit like Pain then?
“This 3D side-scrolling stunt-em-up is a burst of sugar-rush fun for today’s jaded gamers.” – So it is a side scroller with physics and includes a level designer. Pain mashed up with LBP? The game will be appearing at some point on ‘one of XBLA/PSN/PC’, in other words “whoever gives us the most money”.
WTF News: I think the world is starting to catch on that Sony adverts are produced to create headlines as much as advertise. Sony have upset Nigeria, annoyed the Church, told kids to commit suicide in Manchester, been racist and created and advert where a certain body part used to play Japanese games has been replaced by a thumb. No, I am not linking to that – Google it yourself if you want to have nightmares. What could Sony do to top that? Well over in Chile a new PS3 advert has appeared featuring a modern day gamer giving blood to a Nazi. Wait. What? Come on Sony, surely you’re not stupid enough to think having a PS3 gamer linking up for co-op with Team Holocaust was a good idea? This was just to generate headlines? It must be, Sony cannot be that stupid. Hang on here is the second ad the series, the cheerful smiling gamer is having his heart removed to give to Joan of Arc. WTF?
Movie News: The fourth Resident Evil movie now has a title: ‘Resident Evil: Afterlife’. Returning for the film are Milla Jovovich, Ali Larter and Spencer Locke as Alice, Claire Redfield and K-Mart. Wentworth Miller from Prison Break joins the cast as Chris Redfield and Shawn Roberts is now Wesker. The film will be shot in 3D so expect plenty of ‘limbs flying towards the screen’ moments and once more, Paul W.S. Anderson has written the script and is directing. Anderson says,
“Alice’s battle with The Umbrella Corporation isn’t finished. Last time we saw Alice, she let them know she was coming after them. It’s time to settle the score.”
The previous Resi films have varied in quality and slowly moved away from the games to create their own universe. ‘Resident Evil’ did a good job of interpreting the game getting the major elements in the film. The follow up “Apocalypse” was a dog’s dinner of action sequences, awful special effects and no plot. By the arrival of the third film, “Extinction”, Anderson had moved away from the game mythology cleverly replaying a key sequence the first film but with a twist, so that we discover Alice is a clone. Fans were outraged that “Extinction” went too far with Alice having telepathic powers and broke the ultimate rule – speedy zombies. Reminder: Resident Evil 4 (the game) had fast moving ‘zombies’, and when was the last time anything in Resident Evil was realistic? It is a film – enjoy it for being two hours of popcorn entertainment rather than complain Claire Redfield’s hair is the wrong shade.
Hunting News: Everyone’s favourite publishers, Activision have released “Cabelas Big Game Hunter” on all three formats in the US. For those of you not familiar with the series it is the same as the PS3 exclusive “Afrika” where you go on safari taking pictures of Lions, Elephants and the like, except in Big Game Hunter you blow their endangered species heads off with a shotgun. Let’s have a look at the press release:
“You play as outdoorsman Jack Wilde, who seeks global “Super Hunter” status as he travels across five continents seeking to bag the world’s largest trophies. These prized animals can only be reached by navigating treacherous terrain, including sheer cliffs, raging rivers and countless more perilous situations.”
It would be easy to have a big rant about how distasteful the game is, for quite a few people (myself included) hunting animals for sport is barbaric. The question is, does this game promote hunting or is it better for people to hunt virtual bears on their Wii rather than kill the real thing? Goodness, this is all very serious for The Snatch isn’t it? Whilst you ponder this moral dilemma, why not watch a video of game fishing favourite ‘Big Mouth Billy Bass’ who has been hacked so he will say almost anything- he even solemnly intones Bill Clinton’s famous ‘I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinski.’
Pre-Calculated Texture News: The team behind the upcoming “WarDevil” seem to have a different view of the PS3 than Gabe Newell (Valve), who said the PS3 was “a total disaster” due to the difficulty programming it. Digi-Guys founder, Andy Whitehurst says
“Sony’s hype was right.. There’s better filtering on the Xbox 360 but the whole thing comes together better on PS3,”
So what has prompted this Sony flag waving? Here comes the science bit : WarDevil will run at 1080P, 60FPS and uses a unique pre-calculated texture system that gives them the ability to have an enormous amount of textures on-screen. WarDevil will utilise the PS3s ‘texture bandwidth support’ so their game will be ‘Hollywood Grade’. In other words: Damn, it will look good!
And Finally.. To be honest I was struggling today to find something games related for “And Finally” but once again the Interweb has come up trumps. You may recall that EA is throwing its hat in the ring with a new Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) game going up against the acclaimed UFC title. You may also recall that EA was having problems finding fighters for their game as UFC fighters were told clearly that if they signed to EA they would loose their UFC contract. So whom do EA have? Well, they have Jason “Mayhem” Miller who was introduced to a room full of EA developers.. and then told his character in the game is a bit of a wuss. Oops. Check the video.