Archive for 2007
N’Gai Croal reports on this and suggests this is a bad omen for Sony’s failure to be able to attract and keep such innovative content.
I disagree. The Katamari brand and franchise is simply worth much more to Xbox than to PlayStation at this point. In hindsight, it makes sense that in a bidding battle, Microsoft would stake more effort on this one.
Microsoft needs titles like this. Xbox is known for big its mega-hits: Halo 1/2, Call of Duty, and Gears Of War. Those titles have been developing a negative reputation as big, dumb, predictable blockbusters. They need to expand their image. Buying big-name quirky franchises like Katamari and trying to build their own similar franchises like Viva Pinata is exactly what they should be doing. The unit sales and revenue generated by Katamari is much less relevant than it’s effects on image and branding.
Why does Sony need Katamari? Well, they definitely need to avoid the image of being the sinking ship and being the console of last generation. They are losing many of their big name franchises and that looks pretty bad. But a single title wouldn’t change this perception too much.
Also, from a gamer’s perspective, Sony fans have played Katamari. They’ve had two PS2 exclusives ans a PSP exclusive. Microsoft fans haven’t played Katamari and are a fresh audience to tap.
And Katamari isn’t the kind of game that needs sequels or remakes. I’m sure they will sell, and from a finance perspective, it makes sense to keep making sequels and grow the franchise and brand while it’s still a hot name. But as a game, it really doesn’t need any sequels. The original developer was actually opinionated about this point. The PS2 sequel was basically the same as the first, and while I’m sure the 360 will have HD, Achievements, etc, the core Katamari experience will probably be similar to the original, and more interesting to new players than existing fans.
I’m watching news about the upcoming Harmonix game Rock Band very closely. I have Frequency, Amplitude, Guitar Hero 1, and Guitar Hero 2. I’ll be getting Guitar Hero: Rocks the 80′s in July, and I’m thinking about what to do this fall. This fall will see both Guitar Hero 3 and Rock band make their debut, after the split of Harmonix from Red Octance and Activision.
First off, there’s some cool multiplayer stuff that, given their history with Frequency and Amplitude, I fully expected to see:
the game will have four unique campaigns for guitar, drums, bass and vocals in addition to a “full band game” that it’s explained “is designed to allow for one huge co-op playthrough” which can occur online for offline – or apparently a combination of both.
The guitars will have a very interesting design:
guitar and bass have ten frets – “five for the regular sections of the game and five for the newly designated solo sections – the guitar features a five-way switch letting you apply five different sound effects
Unfortunately, the game has a mode for vocals too. I’d prefer to listen to the original singer, so maybe I won’t get the microphone peripheral and make my friends choose between guitar, bass, and drums. But the vocal mode does seem interesting:
Singing is described as more in-depth, with a phoneme detector picking up “individual vowels and consonants you say. Build up enough highly judged phrases and you’ll be able to sing free-form. If you do well enough in free-form, then you’ll trigger the vocalist’s version of star power.”
Drums will also be fun:
“You use actual sticks and hit one of four coloured pads in front of you, in addition to a kick pedal attached to the drumming unit. Drummers will also have the ability to do fills etc. in their own little free-form section, do well and you’ll trigger the drummers version of star power”, the post explains.
Thing game looks to be a lot closer to Frequency and Amplitude than to Guitar Hero. Which I like. So I think that if Rock Band’s peripherals have a reasonal cost, I think I’ll be checking it out. The question then becomes whether to bother with Guitar Hero 3.
Follow through to this link to find even more. Like the fact that “Musical fret-boards are now transparent so you can see more of the background visuals. Guitar is on the left side of the screen, Bass on the right and drums down the middle. Vocals scroll from right to left along the top of the screen.” etc. Cool stuff.
Finally some new content!! You can download the MotorStorm Time Attack Mode (Free!), Joust for £1.99, Rampart for £1.99, trailers for Haze, The Darkness, Super Stardust HD and Lair. There’s also a video interview with MotorStorm’s Paul Hollywood (I have no idea what it’s about as I haven’t downloaded it yet).
Thanks to Paranoimia for the info.
EDIT: Some people have experienced problems when they’ve downloaded the Time Trial mode for MotorStorm, with the game even failing to work. You may need to delete the 1.1 update (via the game data utility in the XMB) and go back onto MotorStorm and download the update to get things back to normal.
Tekken 5: Dark Resurrection ONLINE will support a battle lobby where you can create and search for “battle rooms” to test your tekken skills. Once in a battle room you can invite friends, view other people’s profiles. Each player with have flag by there name. Mostly likely means you can battle people over seas. You can even change your starting position. And the best feature, VOICE CHAT! Still no word on when this it out.