News Snatch: King Arthur & Blue Toads

ns1Visceral Games are the developers of the brilliant Dead Space, the forthcoming Dante’s Inferno and developing Dead Space 2 but shhhh, that’s a secret! Visceral seem to be as good as Sony when it comes to keeping cats in bags as news of yet another game has leaked out. Following a pattern of games that alternate between Sci-Fi and Horror comes “The Ripper” – EA have filed trademarks for it and blog post in the LA Times lets slip “Two sources close to EA told The Los Angeles Times that Visceral’s next game would be Jack the Ripper, based on the 19th century British serial killer.”

I am going to take a wild guess and suggest the game after Dead Space 2 and The Ripper will feature an awful lot of gore and limbs being torn off, and quite possibly a science fiction setting. Alternatively, a horror setting. You heard it here first folks!

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ns2Whilst we’re on the subject of leakage, Michelle Franklin is a Games Designer and her LinkedIn profile is most interesting, listing from March 2008 to present her involvement as Senior Games designer as “one a Ninja RPG for Japan and one Zombie Survival Horror Action Adventure”. Guesses anyone? Dead Rising 2 perhaps? Of more interest is “Senior Game Designer and Writer of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight PS3- action/adventure game based on the ballad of King Arthur.” Games based on Dante, Jack the Ripper and now late 14th-century Middle English alliterative romance? Wow. For those of you unfamiliar with the tale (you heathens!) here is a synopsis liberated from Wikipedia.

‘In the tale, Sir Gawain accepts a challenge from a mysterious warrior who is completely green, from his clothes and hair to his beard and skin. The “Green Knight” offers to allow anyone to strike him with his axe if the challenger will take a return blow in a year and a day. Gawain accepts, and beheads him in one blow, only to have the Green Knight stand up, pick up his head, and remind Gawain to meet him at the appointed time.’

Sounds quite an interesting premise. The leaks continue with Michelle is also working on another PS3 game, “Key Of Solomon” another action/adventure game based on “the Goetia and the Legementon.” The Goaetia refers to a practice which includes the invocation of seventy-two angels or demons and is taken from the 17th century book “The Lesser Key of Solomon” or ‘Clavicula Salomonis’ if you want to be dead posh. Wikipedia has more if you wish to delve further, including a list of all seventy-two demons with named such as Marax, Vapula, Astoroth and Amy. I didnt make that up, one of them really is called Amy.

LinkedIn also has the news via the CV of Joel Sieder, the creative director Warner Brothers Games, that they have begun work on “Game Party 4”  which is scheduled ship in November 2010 for for Wii (Wii Motion Plus), Xbox 360 (Natal) and PS3 (Motion Controller). Two big news leaks there, the second PS3 Motion Control Game and if Joel is correct, Natal will have been released before November.  LinkedIn info via SA.

ns4You may recall the announcement of the Resident Evil “Alternative” edition for the PS3 Swordaxis motion controller (I’m calling it that until they get an official name – it’s better than “Sphere”) including a brand new flash-back chapter. Over in the US and Europe, Capcom are still deciding how to release this new content on Xbox and presumably, PS3s without a Swordaxis. In a pleasant surprise Capcom have decided to let you (and thousands of other people) decide if the Alternative Edition should come out as DLC or as a physical boxed game. To cast your vote, nip over to the Capcom Unity Blog.

ns3We all know the PS3 is powerful and is contributing to the world of science via Folding @ home and a recent interview with an Astrophysicist from the University of Massachusetts has some fantastic facts. Dr. Gaurav Khanna has used a cluster of just sixteen PS3s to replace a NASA supercomputer, the cell processors in the cluster are working at the speed of approximately 100 high-end Intel Xeon processors. Dr. Khanna says,

“Without it I actually wouldn’t have been able to do some of the simulations I needed — simply because of the available supercomputing time I had and due to some of the restrictions involved. So, to me it has been an indispensable resource. I have been able to publish four research articles based on the data generated by the cluster, and expect many more to come in the future :)”

Dr. Khanna rocks, firstly for using PS3s and secondly for not being a stuffy scientist and using smileys. However, this is one small problem; Dr Khanna uses Linux on the PS3 cluster so the removal of the OS in the PS3 slim is not welcome news,

“I am simply devastated by this decision. I understand that the decision was made to cut developmental cost. I think it is extremely unfortunate that Sony had to do this.”

The good Doctor has been working with Sony’s R&D department and is hopeful he can persuade them to keep supporting Linux with some non-standard PS3s for the world of research. If you want to read up on how to create your own PS3 supercomputer head over to the PS3Cluster website.

In other Cell Processing news, Toshiba have dumped the PS3 powerhouse processor in a television along side a three terabyte (!) HDD, allowing users to record up to 26 hours of 1080p content from eight channels, at the same time – the TV can also display eight channels concurrently.

ns5Relentless Software are the talented chaps behind the Buzz! Games and have a new PSN exclusive game coming out. Blue Toad Murder Files: The Mysteries of Little Riddle is a four-player co-op episodic game consisting of six episodes and over 90 puzzles, Whodunnits and cross-examinations. Paul Woodbridge, Design Director of Relentless Software was questioned on the origins of the game,

“During company brainstorming sessions there were many times when the idea of doing a murder mystery would arise. TV shows like Poirot, Midsomer Murders and Jonathan Creek have a lot of popularity so we felt that this was a theme that we could explore further.”

Graphically the game looks rather spanky with caricatured style from buzz transplanted to middle England’s leafy lanes and cottages and is described by Relentless as,

“An intimate night with Poirot, Professor Layton and the Carry On series”

How quintessentially British. Episode 1 will be available to download from the PlayStation Network from Thursday 17th December 2009. Head over to the official site for a few more pics.

And Finally… Team Ninja caused a bit of WTFness recently with the Sixaxis “Bosom Bounce” effect in Ninja Gaiden 2. In an interview with german games site, Tecmo’s Yosuke Hayashi was asked why the game featured bouncing jubblies. Surely there is a post ironic message here? Some sort of subtle comment on sexism in games? Er, no.

“Ever man really loves tits. That’s the message; nothing above it, nothing below it.”

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