BitSnark

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Archive for May 2010

Shogun II: Total War Leaked For Reveal @ E3

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Renowned RTS developer of the Total War series, Creative Assembly, is apparently readying an unveiling of it’s forthcoming undisclosed entry in the Total War series, Shogun II: Total War.

Via gaming website Kotaku, comes the leak that a Turkish gaming website was pencilled in for an exclusive interview with Sega concerning Shogun II: Total War.

Oops.

This chimes in with comments made previously by the developer which insisted that they would be ‘returning to their roots’ with the next iteration in the Total War franchise and would be a prudent move by the developer; especially when you consider how successful their previous sequel, Medieval II: Total War has been.

More at E3 I would wager.

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Written by bitsnark

May 28, 2010 at 1:00 pm

Tekken 7 Announced To Be In Development

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The Portuguese arm of gaming website Eurogamer is reporting that Bandai Namco has announced that Tekken 7 is now in pre-production.

Only an announcement was given, no other details such as platforms or other specifics were provided.

Written by bitsnark

May 27, 2010 at 4:13 pm

Final Fantasy IX Arrives On PSN Tonight

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Well that was certainly quicker than last time. Sony today have confirmed that PS1 Square-Enix RPG Final Fantasy IX, will arrive on PSN tonight for £7.99.

Final Fantasy IX can be downloaded and played on PS3 or PSP.

Written by bitsnark

May 26, 2010 at 12:36 pm

Previously Playstation Exclusive Developer Insomniac To Develop Multiformat Title For EA

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Pretty much out of the sodding blue, comes the news that developers Insomniac, are developing a unique IP under EA for Xbox 360 and PS3 to be released at a date to be determined.

This is quite significant since Insomniac have been traditionally loyal to the Playstation brand, developing everything from Spyro the Dragon, through to Ratchet & Clank and most recently, the Resistance franchise for the platform holder.

Wow.

E3 looks like it’ll be a cracker this year. 🙂

Official PR static is below:

INSOMNIAC GAMES SELECTS EA PARTNERS FOR NEW PUBLISHING
AGREEMENT

New Franchise Marks the Independent Studio’s First Multiplatform Release

Redwood Shores, Calif. – May 25, 2010 – Today, Electronic Arts Inc. (NASDAQ: ERTS) announced a publishing agreement with independent developer Insomniac Games that will bring the studio’s upcoming, all-new franchise to the PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system and the Xbox 360® videogame and entertainment system.

This will be the first multiplatform release in Insomniac’s storied 16-year history.
Published through the distinguished EA Partners program, the new title will mark the introduction of a brand new universe from Insomniac, creators of the universally-acclaimed Spyro the Dragon, Ratchet & Clank and Resistance franchises that have combined to sell more than 35 million copies worldwide.

The still unnamed title is in production at the company’s Burbank studio. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

“Working with EA Partners allows us to extend the reach of our games to a multiplatform audience while retaining ownership of the intellectual property,” said Ted Price, founder and CEO of Insomniac Games.

“We are excited and eager to introduce Insomniac to a new group of gamers while reinforcing to our loyal fans what makes our games special.”

“This is an exciting day for all of us at EA Partners and for gamers everywhere,” said David DeMartini, Senior Vice President and General Manager of EA Partners. “Insomniac is renowned for their commitment to quality and their ability to create unique, exciting worlds for gamers to explore.

We look forward to help them bring their next blockbuster franchise to the millions of diehard Insomniac fans on PlayStation and the soon to be millions of diehard Insomniac fans on Xbox 360.”

For more information on Insomniac Games, please visit http://www.insomniacgames.com.

Written by bitsnark

May 25, 2010 at 4:07 pm

Ubisoft Toronto Studio Creating New Splinter Cell Title

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The Toronto branch of Ubisoft is apparently developing a brand new Splinter Cell project and an unannounced ‘AAA’ quality title too.

In an interview with gaming site Gamasutra, former Assassins Creed director Jade Raymond insisted that a larger studio with a bigger wealth of talent was essential to creating the next successful entry in the Splinter Cell franchise.

The producers from the recently released Splinter Cell: Conviction will reprise their roles for the sequel.

A full transcript of the interview can be seen at the link below:

http://www.gamasutra.com/view/feature/5229/building_on_conviction_inside_.php

Written by bitsnark

May 25, 2010 at 2:41 pm

Nintendo E3 2010: Previews, Predictions and Speculation

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Nintendo have to make a major splash at E3 2010. Least of all because they don’t actually have a whole lot to show outside of the 3DS, since all the decent Wii stuff is either known about or will have been released by the time the show starts.

Beginning with their first party line-up for the Wii, by far and away the most anticipated title is the Wii-specific Zelda title that has been in development for… well, a very long time now. Unlike its Gamecube concepted predecessor Zelda: Twilight Princess, this newest entry in the series will be designed from the ground up with the Wii and MotionPlus in mind.

Hopefully we can rely on Nintendo to pump out a Zelda title that has true, intuitive motion controls as well as some inspiring dungeon design to top the uneven effort seen in Twilight Princess. It would also be nice to see the always enthusiastic Mr. Miyamoto on stage to fully demonstrate the game to the awed masses.

The similarly long in development and equally secretive Pikmin 3 will have to show up this year, or it runs the fear of being forgotten about altogether. Previously announced at E3 2008, it will be interesting to see what innovations the first true Wii instalment of the quirky RTS can be bring to the table.

The forthcoming social party title, Wii party, should also be on show with Nintendo Exec Cammie Dunaway likely giving a demonstration to the assembled crowd.

In regards to their NDS lineup at the show, it will likely be very slim pickings for non-casual gamers.

Outside of the previously announced but MIA Golden Sun 3 and possibly a new entry in the Mari & Luigi RPG series, there won’t be a whole lot to see which isn’t directed toward the casual gaming audience.

The Wii Vitality Sensor should also have more to show us beyond the disappointing announcement it received last year. Ninty’s alliance with the AHA, should also help to cross promote the device when it’s given its first proper demonstration at E3 2010. What about the games though? Well, if I see one decent, innovative title in the tidal wave of ‘me-too’ crap that is surely to follow I will be very surprised.

Nintendo’s assured centrepiece of their media briefing will no doubt be their 3D capable successor to their wildly successful Nintendo DS handheld. With an announcement that came with as little fanfare as you can possibly imagine and only cryptic remarks issued since, it falls on the mysterious shoulders of the 3DS unveiling to turn heads, create gasps and effectively ‘save’ Nintendo’s conference this year due to a pointed lack of quality Wii or DS titles on show outside of what we already know.

In regards to the 3DS itself, everything should be laid totally bare; specs, release date, launch games, price… everything. Starting with the specifications of the new handheld, we can certainly expect something with a lot more grunt than the current Nintendo DS hardware, which in all of its remodelling’s has remained largely the same under the hood since 2003.

Eurogamer tech-site Digital Foundry, has done a whole heap of digging on the specs of the new handheld and it appears that the 3DS will utilise a tailored version of the existing Nvidia Tegra2 processing chip to power the new handheld. In basic terms, it means we could very well be looking at graphical fidelity somewhat approaching that of the Gamecube or Wii, with the lower quality graphics (in comparison to a 480p Wii/Gamecube display at the same resolution) being effectively ‘masked’ by the lower resolution screens on the much smaller handheld.

The utilisation of current, established technology chimes in well with the Kyoto giant’s business practices of adapting cost effective, current market components for their R&D, instead of investing huge amounts in unproven, costly to manufacture tech that could hurt their financial bottom line.

The unit itself will apparently boast two screens as before, with one screen being of a standard ration (4:3) and the other being a widescreen, 3D enabled display. The big selling point of the new system is that it supposedly gives a 3D display without the need for traditional 3D glasses. This new type of technical wizardry is apparently made possibly by the immensely nerdy sounding Parallax Barrier technology which has been developed by display manufacturer Sharp. In any event, I’ll be very interested to see how convincingly they pull this ‘3D glasses-free’ effect off.

Controller input will largely remain largely the same it seems, with Nintendo still looking to utilise touch mechanics alongside traditional button input; so look for a similar control system to the current DS. The other apparent feather in the cap of the 3DS and one that raises the danger of cannibalisation of existing DS sales, is the fact that the handheld is fully backwards compatible with all existing NDS titles. This is certainly a massive boon for anyone who has built up a sizeable collection games for the popular handheld, and is a very smart move by Nintendo to encourage the huge DS user base that is out there (some 100 million users plus) to make the leap to the 3DS.

Games-wise and compounding the fact that this will invariably be the core of Nintendo’s media briefing, I fully expect them to have enough games on show for the new system to sink a boat.

First party offerings such as a new Mario, Zelda and Mario Kart titles for the machine would be a lock one would think, throwing a bone to the core gaming audience who still hope that Nintendo can adequately cater for them in this new era of a prominent casual gaming audience. In particular, I would expect to see an F-Zero title in some shape or form for the system; seeing as the sci-fi racer is due for a reinvention since its last release seven years ago and also because its colourful, blazing fast visuals and perspective would make a visually arresting demonstration of the 3DS hardware.

These stalwart IP’s will no doubt find themselves on display alongside unique IP from Nintendo with a slant towards the non-casual gaming market that Nintendo has so readily tapped in recent years.

Going on from this, it wouldn’t surprise me at all if Nintendo chose the unveiling of the 3DS to show off a brand new instalment in their ever-profitable Pokemon franchise (hopefully one with RPG style leanings) and a brand new Nintendogs/pets title, which hasn’t been seen since the early days of the Nintendo DS nearly half a decade ago in 2005.

Third parties will no doubt be falling over themselves to show their wares for the apparently cheap-to-develop-for handheld. Nintendo needs to be shrewd here though since nobody wants the piles and piles of gimmicky, innovation-bereft shovel ware that has plagued the NDS and Wii platforms in recent times. This is especially important since a number of people, especially the core gamers, have grown wary of gimmicky features and will be looking to innovative and fresh titles to make the most out of the new technology on offer.

When it comes to a release, Nintendo will probably shoot for a holiday 2010 release. From what I can gather, the technology is complete, in place and manufacturing would be hitting peak pace in about a month from now. This would likely allow Nintendo to replicate the previous holiday sell-out successes that they have had in recent times with the Wii and DS respectively, making a Nintendo product yet again, the hottest gift to give this Christmas.

In terms of price, it would be sensible to suggest that the price would be higher than the existing DSiXL, but cheaper than the Wii. So I would therefore estimate a price point of £149 for the handheld when it launches during the busy upcoming holiday period.

Nintendo are playing a risky game here. With Wii and DS sales slowing and a general feeling of stagnation with the two formats, the success of Nintendo at E3 2010 falls squarely on the unknown shoulders of the 3DS at this point.

I hope I get proved wrong and Nintendo have a varied, deep showing across Wii, NDS and 3DS; but I just don’t see it.

Written by bitsnark

May 25, 2010 at 1:17 pm

IGN Has Hands-On Time With Killzone 3

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Holy shit, that was quick.

Link to the IGN article below folks, it makes for an interesting read:

http://uk.ps3.ign.com/articles/109/1092173p1.html

Written by bitsnark

May 24, 2010 at 4:08 pm

Sony E3 2010: Previews, Predictions and Speculation

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In all probability Sony will provide a more balanced offering when compared to Microsoft’s Natal focused showing, due in no small part to a stronger software line-up on show.

Beginning with their first party line-up, the oft mooted triumvirate of Killzone 3, Resistance 3 and Motorstorm 3 will almost certainly be dead locks to appear that show.

The most tangible of the trio, Killzone 3 is more so due to the huge amounts of leaked info that has occurred for the title. With the leaks promising everything from snow levels and jetpacks through to full 3D support, it certainly isn’t improbable to see most of that stuff come to fruition. Indeed, with a focus on 3D gaming at the show, Sony will be keen to shout about their tech and there will be few better poster boys than a suitably epic Killzone sequel.

Resistance 3 seems likely to be at the show and it’s equally likely that it will have its work cut out for it coming off of an impressive second entry in the series and of course Killzone 3. Given the huge strides that were made in Resistance 2 toward sustainably awesome multiplayer, I would expect Resistance 3 to capitalise on the advancements made previously with a smattering of a new modes, tighter net code and wider social integration with sites like Facebook and so on.

Next up is Motorstorm 3. In a similar vein to its prequel and PSP spin-off, this newest instalment in the series could very well be based on a specific set of environments. However, with that in mind, I see the game boasting a number of different environments to drive about in, including some urban settings.

All three titles should be ready for release toward the end of this year, with possibly Killzone 3 being delayed into early 2011 to prevent the aforementioned clash with fellow Sony exclusive shooter Resistance 3.

A sequel to Infamous also deserves a mention here, since like the three titles that were just mentioned its previous success should secure it an unveiling at E3, further bolstering Sony’s impressive first party offering at the show. Infamous 2, will likely not tinker with the gaming formula pioneered in the original too heavily, instead, there will be a different (and larger) sandbox, with additional powers to play with and an expanded morality/choice system.

The PS3 exclusive Agent title from Rockstar should also be given a full unveiling at the show after its brief mention at last year’s show one would hope. Absolutely no details have been announced regarding Agent, but I would be surprised if by the end of Sony’s presentation it wasn’t tipped as the Next Big Thing given its sizeable developer pedigree.

The Zipper Interactive developed Socom 4 should also make an appearance again, albeit in a much more completed form. Expect Sony to use the title to extol the virtues of Playstation Move when dealing with traditional genre titles.

Polyphony Digital’s Gran Turismo 5 should make its final E3 display this year. Strangely being 90% complete for the last five months, the title on show should pretty much be a full representation of what we’ll get when they game (hopefully) hits store shelves later this year, alongside a confirmation of the release date in all territories. A focus on the online and community aspects of the title will be expected.

Uncharted 3 will make some sort of splash at E3 2010 I’m predicting, with Nolan North (voice actor of Nathan Drake) heavily hinting toward a third iteration of the game being in production. While 2010 is far too early for the second mega-sequel to be released, I would fully expect a 2011 release window to be a reality. Additionally, I would hope to see another show further down the line (possibly even E3 2011) to give the game a proper demonstration with additional focus on developing the surprisingly solid multiplayer modes seen last time in Uncharted 2.

Speaking of Uncharted, the rumour mill has been churning that developer Naughty Dog may return to their inaugural PS2 platforming series, Jak & Daxter. Given just how consistently awesome Uncharted has been and not to mention the fact that each new Uncharted title is a gargantuan undertaking, I don’t quite see a new Jak & Daxter coming out before Uncharted 3 and I believe that Naughty Dog have outgrown the IP. Don’t expect to see a Naughty Dog developed Jak & Daxter 4, but that shouldn’t preclude another Sony studio from developing it.

Sony would be foolish to not build upon the incredible hype and sheer spectacle of Team Ico’s The Last Guardian, which was leaked shortly before last year’s E3 2009. Given the twelve months that have passed since then with little in the way of news, I would hope to see a 60-70% complete build of the game, with a strong focus on gameplay and expose’ on the gameplay mechanics therein providing Sony with yet another potential show stealing title.

The-oft rumoured but never confirmed David Jaffe produced Twisted Metal sequel stands a small chance of being shown at E3 2010, but if it does exist and is shown, it will be up against tough competition in the face of more modern takes on vehicle combat such as Blur and Split/Second.

It’s also possible that Sony may announce a full-blown PS1/PS2 emulator for the PS3. I generally have mixed feelings about this, since not only was it a huge selling point for the machine prior to its launch (and subsequently scaled back on the sly) but I wouldn’t be entirely comfortable paying for something that should have been there in the first place. With that in mind though, I might be tempted by it if the pricing model was right. Ideally, it should be a one-off fee for an emulator which runs our current games, since I can’t imagine people being too enthralled at having to fork out again for each of their games that they already own.

Moving onto the PSP, I think we can expect Sony to have a solid, if modest showing of decent titles for the handheld.

The amazing looking God Of War: Ghosts of Sparta will and should take centre stage after its announcement last month, reminding folks that the six-year old PSP can still bring the goods when compared to home systems when it comes to generating epic spectacle and gameplay. A demo and release date will both likely be announced also.

Rumours also abound regarding a possible Uncharted title for the PSP and given the cross-platform success of the God Of War franchise, I can see it happening and being shown in some form or another at Sony’s briefing. I would probably rule out Naughty Dog being in charge of coding duties however due to their likely commitment to a third Uncharted title for PS3 as well as a possible Playstation Move project.

A PSP2 announcement? I wouldn’t count on it, but I wouldn’t be surprised either to later hear of behind-closed-doors demonstrations of Sony’s monstrous successor to their current heldheld. The reason for a lack of explicit announcement is because Sony will be keen to see what Nintendo do with their new 3DS handheld, not to mention the fact that they don’t want to overshadow their PS3 and Playstation Move product at the show.

After appearing as a ‘me-too’ on the motion control bandwagon after Natal’s explosive E3 2009 announcement, Sony’s Playstation Move has slowly but surely gaining credibility amongst the internet masses and press outlets alike. With reports of an excellent level of responsiveness and early showings of a number of first party casual titles, Sony seem positively itching to reveal more and more about their device in the face of Microsoft’s practical stonewalling for Natal.

Like Natal, I fully expect Sony to provide complete announcements regarding their launch plans. In terms of their launch line-up, I think we can expect a similar mix of first and third party support for the device. More complete and feature endowed versions of previously shown first party titles such as The Fight will be on show, alongside a number of third party offerings from EA, Activision, Ubisoft and so on.

Just like Natal, you could reasonably expect a number of first party titles to really show off what the device can do, with all eyes on Sony’s internal studios as well as Second-party superstars such as Uncharted developer Naughty Dog, to bring the goods come E3.

Release-wise, we’re looking at a window almost identical to Natal with the device estimated to hit our shelves around September/October time with between 20-30 supporting titles.

Price-wise, I would imagine a pack-in deal similar to the Wii and what MS must surely be planning for Natal, and Sony would be silly to price it above that which Natal will be retailing for, even with the added ‘wand’. Therefore, $80-$90 (£64.99/£69.99) seems like a fair bet.

Like MS, Sony will also likely announce bundle deals with the peripheral and console to optimise sales and revenue over what will surely be a hotly contested Autumn/holiday period.

The only possible misfire that I can see in Sony’s conference is the probable announcement of the ‘Premium’ PSN service, which supposedly gives gamers more access to exclusive content and a free PSN game every month from a choice of four, really poor children’s titles. I simply don’t see the point in it, especially when you consider the fact that more than a few people play the PS3 online because there are no costs attached to it, unlike Microsoft’s Xbox Live Gold service.

A lot of what Sony would be trying to sell for this premium sub will be insignificant and inconsequential at this stage and will hopefully sink like a trace while users stick with the ‘standard’ service of free multiplayer. Unless of course, they stop making it free. But they wouldn’t be that stupid.

Right?

Written by bitsnark

May 24, 2010 at 3:38 pm

Bungie Confirms Halo: Reach For September 14th

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After a multiplayer beta which drew in nearly 3 million players, Bungie today confirmed the release date for their swansong Halo title.

Halo: Reach will release in Western territories on Septmeber 14th and in Japan a day later on September 15th.

The release date is almost three years since Halo 3 was released back in the mists of September 2007.

Halo: Reach is available for pre-order now in standard, special and legendary editions.

Written by bitsnark

May 24, 2010 at 12:44 pm

Killzone 3 Details Leaked Online

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If you work for Sony and ever wanted to know how to get your ass fired, this is how:

http://www.vg247.com/2010/05/21/rumor-leaked-killzone-3-concept-art-surfaces/#more-96467

Credit goes to VG247.com for this one.

Written by bitsnark

May 21, 2010 at 10:45 pm

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