Archive for September, 2006

Wii versus GameCube

Instead of going for the highest possible performance, which does not contribute to software development, our idea was to create a developer-friendly next generation TV game machine that maintained above-standard capabilities.” – Nintendo

The Wii is a new console coming out, from Nintendo, whose power is maybe a little bit better than the original Xbox’s. The above quote, however, is not about the Wii, but is actually about the GameCube! But it could have been about the Wii.

I have to wonder: is the Wiimote enough to sell the Wii? Interest in the Wii is quite high. And unlike what Nintendo did with the GameCube, Nintendo is actually trying to get third-party developers to write games for the Wii.

Gord (of “Acts of Gord” fame – see link) wrote an article near the GameCube’s launch to discuss the fact that the GameCube would not do well. As it turns out, he was right! It’s a great article – Gord has a great writing style and I suggest you check out this article and the rest of his stories.

His main points were:

  • A new console should be more powerful than what’s out there already.
  • People generally don’t buy more than one console.
  • You need lots of gamers on a platform to attract developers. That’s something the PS2 had that the GameCube didn’t.

How does this compare to the launch of the Wii? Or the PS3 for that matter? I’ll let you guys discuss that.

Hmmm. I wonder if Gord could do a similar article about the next generation of consoles. I’ll e-mail him and see if he replies!

Acts of Gord – The Book of Chronicles

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PS3 Games Priced at $59.99. Again

Until Sony officially announces the price for PS3 games, rumours will continue to surface and disappear on a weekly basis but Sony Style (US) has priced PS3 games at $59.99 for pre-orders.

They also have some box art for a few of the games that they have made available for pre-order.

I’ve said it before but Sony would be on very dangerous ground to charge more than $59.99 for PS3 games. I will be very surprised and dissapointed if they did.

I’m already working out which games will be must have purchases & worth £40 and which games will have to be left to one side until they are at a more reasonable price, as £40 is still a lot of money to pay for games.

PS3 Games Priced at $59.99

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Phil Harrison on 1080p, TGS games, Microsoft, and Blu-ray.
Jack Tretton discusses corporate strategies.

In the past few years Phil Harrison seems to have become the public face of the PlayStation, appearing at practically every conference and usually appearing as the most approachable of the company’s spokespeople. He does come in for some stick from certain corners, but for the most part he says what needs to be said. And you wouldn’t argue with a 6 foot 7 inch tall Brit would you? :wink:

In his latest interview at TGS with GamePro Harrison is faced with a few tricky questions, but answers with aplomb, providing some interesting new details:

#Sony went “radio silent” after E3 and kept the development of PS3 titles out of the public eye to make the improvements at TGS as clear as possible. Harrison also notes that what was shown at TGS isn’t simply “it”, and that there are more refinements and improvements to come from PS3 titles.

#Harrison again points out the the PS3 is the only console capable of TrueHD (no longer true, but you can understand his confusion- Microsoft’s conference was almost as odd as Sony’s in that respect), but also goes on to remind the interviewer that a nameless competitor remarked that there would be no 1080p games on the PS3 this year so that’s why they made such a big play of it. Harrison actually believes that certain games look better at 720p depending on their style and design. I suppose this highlights the choice available to developers though.

#The conversation turns corporate and Harrison addresses the question of arrogance and what makes Sony standout from Microsoft. He firstly makes it clear that Sony does read feedback (in forums and newsgroups) from its millions of users and fans who want the company to do a good job with their products. Harrison also praises the input of other companies supporting the console. Harrison goes on to highlight that Sony’s internal development studios, according to Merryll Lynch, are as large as Microsoft and Nintendo’s. Combined. That encompases 14 studios and 2200 people, sharing common technology and tools to the benefit of Sony’s platform; Harrison is the boss of this division. He also praises Ken Kuturagi as a challenging visionary and highlights the role PlayStation 3 has a as a multi-function device so that people can get more out of the system.

#Harrison makes it clear we ought to expect PS3 software functionality to grow over time as it has on the PSP through firmware upgrades. He also addresses the issue of hardware upgrades (extra RAM and so on), saying that if Sony was to go down this route they would guarantee nobody would get left behind.

#Finally Harrison picks a last question from the journalist’s notebook, addressing the Blu-ray drive. He emphasises that its inclusion was purely a game based decision and that using it for movie playback is subordinate. He again mentions Resistance’s 20GB+ size and warns that they will be pushing the 50GB by the end of the PS3′s lifespan. To be fair we’ve seen both arguements for and against the inclusion of the Blu-ray drive, but I’m steadily coming around to thinking that Blu-ray will really begin to shine later on in this generation and present some big advantages making it well worth the money.

GamePro

In a separate interview SCEA’s Jack Tretton discusses where Sony stands in the games industry as of now (how well the PSP is doing in the States relative to the DS- the figures confirm it has sold better over a shoter period of time, despite now been behind following the DSLite’s release- and how Microsoft is under performing with the 360). Both parts contain bits of controversy, but its worth remembering this stuff is for the benefit of the games industry and not focused on us so much. In that vein however at the end of the interview Tretton re-iterates Sony will not be forced into using rumble by Immersion and that developers have responded more postively to Sony’s open network than Microsoft’s closed one. It’s a very interesting read!

GameDaily Biz

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Heavenly Sword TGS ’06 Roundup

Although Heavenly Sword was at TGS ’06, it was the same build that was seen at E3 back in May but I’m still very excited about this game regardless of not seeing any action outside the arena.

I love these type of action games, as you’ve seen by my undying love for DMC & this game is looking stunning.

Below is a fantastic gameplay vid taken from TGS that showcases how sweet this game looks with fantastic looking combat. It also shows how the battle can be taken above the ground by hitting the right buttons that appear on the screen in a scripted fashion, similar to God of War only a lot better looking, using the scenery to punish the boss who was foolish enough to take you on:

It certainly looks like Heavenly Sword could be a DMC beater :shock: . No seriously. Well maybe not a beater but a game I can cherish alongside DMC4.

To back up my outlandish claims Eurogamer has some new screens & hands on with the build that was at TGS and although they are impressed with the game they still have some reservations that need to be put to rest.

Problems such as a lack of anti-aliasing (a few other PS3 games suffered from this aswell), problems with focus on enemies while the scenery next to them is clear and in focus & a very tight & restrictive camera system. It’s still early days so expect these problems to be fixed before it’s released.

It is apparantley great fun to play which is backed up by the gameplay vids. You can switch between a speed stance (unknown), power stance, which arms you with a big curved blade, & the ranged stance, which arms you with those two chain like weapons, by holding down L1 & R1. You can combine both stances during battle and as there is no block button you have to use your weapons to parry in-coming attacks by timing you moves in accordance with being attacked.

Heavenly Sword

Even more impressive is the fact that any corpses & smashed tables, chairs etc that you leave during battle, can be interacted with as you continue fighting, meaning they don’t just magically disappear into thin air & you can disturb all the debris that has built up while you continue your killing spree.

You’ve all probably seen the clip where Nariko drags a fallen goon towards her with his legs apart and proceeds to give him an old school vasectomy? :twisted: Well that move is part of her special attacks move list that can be activated once you fill up the on-screen meter. Another special move involves you wrapping your chain weapons around an enemy’s neck while you swing him around smashing him into any of his soon to be ex-friends.

There’s also an interesting interview with HS Producer, Matt Hart, over at DailyGame.net

He talks about the influences that films such as Hero, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon and other WuShu Martial Art films have played in the evolution of Heavenly Sword. I love Martial Arts so this is fantastic!! :D

Ninja Theory has been working on the combat for over two years so it’s not surprising it looks so great. He also gives us some background as to how Nariko came into possession of the Heavenly Sword, the need to make the player feel as though time is constantly your enemy & why the camera won’t be a problem in the finished game & it may even involve SIXAXIS use.

Finally, you can check out the awsome trailer for the game that was at TGS on GameTrailers.

This is definitley a must have game for me even though nothing new of HS has been shown since E3 & I’m confident the problems will be fixed before it’s launched.

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