Archive for March, 2007

First and second party titles and the PlayStation3

For a while now I have been thinking that Sony’s gaming future lies not just with the likes of GTA and MGS, but the first and second party titles they can produce.

For most of the existence of the PlayStation brand Sony has predominantly relied on high profile third party titles to build visibility in the marketplace. Here in the EU this started with titles like Wipeout on PSOne which, thanks to strategic marketing, grabbed clubbers with its dance soundtrack. Worldwide though, exclusives like the Final Fantasy series and Metal Gear Solid built up the PlayStation into the dominant platform, with developers attracted by the cheap cost of development and the possibilities of the CD format.

Sony repeated this with PS2, although there were already the first indications of Sony developing a first party portfolio; with Sega’s lack of success with the Dreamcast third party publishers and developers once again focused their attentions on the PlayStation format despite late arrivals from Microsoft and Nintendo. However, by the time the PlayStation 3 was announced Sony had significantly upped its first party content by buying up studios like Naughty Dog and established firm relationships with the likes of Insomniac and Evolution Studios.

Now, in the PlayStation 3 era the third party situation has become a lot more competitive. Sony has had to face the loss of titles that were previously exclusive to the PlayStation format as publishers seek to make their titles as profitable as possible by producing them for the (currently) more ubiquitous Xbox 360 and the cheaper to develop for, but very popular Wii. The most obvious recent example is Devil May Cry 4 becoming multi-format. I doubt it will be the last title either; it’s a sign of the $20million+ development cycle. So Sony is screwed right?

Uncharted: Drake's Fortune

Wrong. Whilst it’s easy to point out where Microsoft’s major first party title is (yep, Halo) and Nintendo has a few (Mario- Super or Paper, Metroid, Zelda, Smash Bros, Pokemon and the incumbent WiiSports/WiiPlay series), Sony’s, whilst much harder to highlight, role call is impressive. One example, Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune pictured above, has huge potential. Other titles to watch out for this year are: Killzone, Ratchet and Clank Future, Singstar, Eye of Judgement, Lair, Warhawk, Heavenly Sword and Hot Shots Golf 5. But these are the ones we know about. It won’t be long until we see Gran Turismo 5, next-gen SOCOM, Syphon Filter, Wipeout (already confirmed), the Getaway, many more Eyetoy titles, the next full game from the God of War team, Team ICO’s next work as well as eventual sequels to Resistance and Motorstorm. So whilst Sony might not have the third party support all to themselves this time around, their first party lineup is much stronger.

What’s strange is that Sony seems so reluctant to showcase these titles. There are a lot of games in development, and I hope we see them sooner rather than later.

More shots of Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune

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Cellius Announces three PS3 Exclusives

Cellius is a joint venture between Namco and Sony that was announced earlier this year. Their stated purpose is to make games for PS3, PC, and mobile phone.

The first three PS3 games from this venture have surfaced on Japanese site mpack. These are all said to be PS3 exclusives. Given that Sony owns a large stake in this venture, that isn’t too surprising.

  • Brave Arms Third-person action game.
  • Chain Limit Espionage or survival game
  • Second Season 01 Sci-Fi drama first-person action

Cellius Games

These all sound like very unique and interesting content. We’ll have to wait a little longer to get more solid details.

(thanks to Sporty for the pointer)

UPDATE: Minor corrections.

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Ninja Gaiden Sigma

This game is a remake of the Xbox exclusive game “Ninja Gaiden Black” for the PS3 which upgraded and additional content.

  • There is a new playable character, Rachel, with ten completely new playable missions.
  • Lots of new extras and secrets added to existing levels. For example, one significant cut scene in the game has actually been replaced by a playable battle.
  • The sixaxis motion sensing functionality is used for the magic system.
  • Runs at full 1080p at 60FPS. All you HDTV owners are a lucky group.
  • All textures have been reworked for the PS3. Many new graphical effects have been added or upgraded.

This really sounds like a lot more than a simple port, it sounds like they’ve really upgraded and expanded the game quite a bit. I haven’t played the original, so I’m really looking forward to getting this.

I’ve also heard that the combat system requires a lot of skill. A common grunt enemy will kill you if you aren’t playing well, which is in contrast to something like God Of War where you can pretty much button mash through the weaker enemies. This sounds like a true gamer’s game.

IGN lists this as a June 26, 2007 release. I really can’t wait to get this!

IGN Preview

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20GB PS3 to Hit Europe Oct 30th?

According to Amazon.co.uk, the 20GB PS3 could finally hit Europe Oct 30th. We won’t know how well the PS3 has sold for a little while yet but for various reasons, it hasn’t been a complete sell out. I would’ve liked the 20GB model to be available at launch with maybe a 60/40 split between 60GB and 20GB models.

Sales could’ve been compared between the two models and if the 20GB out sold the 60GB, it would’ve gave Sony a clear message that £425 is way too high. Unfortunatley, they said the demand wasn’t there for the 20GB PS3 after speaking to retailers but I think that’s a load of rubbish. It wasn’t as if Sony had a low number of units available either.

I don’t know if I would’ve took the plunge and got the 20GB model if it was available at around £350 but I know I don’t need the WiFi or SD/MemoryStick/Compact Flash that are not in the 20GB version. If I needed a bigger hard drive I could’ve easily bought a cheap external one to plug in via USB.

I won’t be surprised if Sony does release the 20GB version around Oct as it would look as if the PS3 has dropped in price to the casual observer, especially in the lead up to Christmas.

I will definitely get a PS3 before the end of Oct at the latest no matter what, as there are too many games that I want scheduled for release leading up to that time. DMC4, Mercs 2, GTA IV, Heavenly Sword, PES 7 etc should all be out around that time or just before, so my hand would be forced. That’s if i don’t crack and get it before then.

It also looks as if Genji: Days of the Blade is heading for the bargain bin as it’s available at Play.com for just £20! :shock: It can’t be that bad surely? It’s my kind of game aswell. :(

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