Yesterday Nintendo held one of it’s Direct events, the last before E3 and although largely underwhelming the event did shed a little light on a few areas. First up release dates, confirming that Platinum Games’ Wonderful 101 will be available from the 23th of August in Europe and the 15th of September in the US, while Pikmin 3 will arrive in Europe on the 26th of July and the 4th of August in the US. Nintendo also confirmed that New Super Luigi U will now not only be DLC but a stand alone title launching digitally from the 20th of June and in physical form on the 26th of July in Europe and the 25th of August in North America.
Away from release dates also came the news that another Mario & Sonic at the (Sochi) Winter Olympics is on the way as is a brand new, exclusive Sonic adventure dubbed Sonic Lost World. Sega also confirmed that they had entered into a 3 games exclusive deal with Nintendo that will see a further 2 Sonic games appearing on the Wii U and 3DS as well as a port of Yakuza 1 & 2 HD which will be out in Japan on the 8th of August, the first time the series has ever appeared on a non-Sony platform.
Sony have confirmed that Gran Turismo 6 will be released this winter on the Playstation 3 and that the latest game in the long running racing sim will feature all of the cars and tracks from Gran Turismo 5 (bringing the total car count to 1200 at launch), thousands of custom wheels and aerodynamic parts, a new course maker and a new user interface. Series creator Kazunori Yamauchi also revealed that a Playstation 4 edition of the game is also being considered but right now it’s only being considered.
“We actually do have a PlayStation 4 version in mind, but for this holiday season, we thought it would be best for users to release on PS3 for now. I thought the best scenario would be to have the game come out, then to have new scenarios, new DLC and other updates. Once the players have thoroughly played out the system, if the PlayStation 4 version came out naturally, as part of that process, I think that would be the best scenario.”
As it’s June (North American) release approaches Nvidia have decided to share with us some new information on their new portable gaming device Shield. We now know the handheld will officially be called Shield, allow you to stream games from your PC, come pre-installed with 2 games (Sonic 4 Episode II, and Expendable Rearmed) and run on the latest version of android jelly bean (4.2.2). We also know that the device (which feels remarkably like an XBox 360 controller) will be priced at $349 (around £229) and upon launch will be available from Newegg, Gamestop, Micro Center, Canada Computers and Nvidia themselves.
For the rest of the world Nvidia are reaming tight lipped about the Shield’s release, however they did issue a short promotional video for the handheld which you can take a gander at here.
Although he’s appeared in many games including Mario Kart (Arcade GP) Pac-Man’s greatest achievement to this day still remains the classic 1980′s arcade game in which he made his debut, creators Namco Bandai however would really like to change that and they’re going to try with a brand new platformer for the PS3, Xbox 360 and Wii U dubbed Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures out later in the year. Here’s what Namco Bandai had to say about their new project and a trailer.
“Pac-Man And The Ghostly Adventures revolves around the vibrant universe of Pac-World, where Pacworlders lived in peace until the mischievous Netherworld ghosts, led by their wicked leader Betrayus, escaped from their ghoulish domain to forcibly take control of Pac-World. Pac-World’s only hope lies in the last surviving yellow Pacworlder, our hero with a voracious appetite.
Not only will PAC-MAN and the Ghostly Adventures feature a revamped PAC-MAN universe, but it will also hearken back to PAC-MAN origins with classic elements such as Ghost encounters. The Ghost-chomping mechanics return from the original PAC-MAN but with exciting powered up variations in PAC-MAN and the Ghostly Adventures, creating an innovative yet familiar gameplay experience.
The fifth instalment of the Ace Attorney series is gearing up for an Autumn release in both Europe and North America, but any gamers outside of Japan hoping to pop down to their local game store and pick up a copy will be disappointed to learn that, in the West at least, Ace Attorney 5 will only be available through the 3DS eShop. Here’s what Capcom’s USA Senior Vice-President Christian Svensson had to say.
“A physical release is not in the cards, historically it’s been tough to attract long term retail support for Ace Attorney titles. With the release of Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Dual Destinies we wanted as many people as possible to be able to enjoy the game for as long as possible. With that in mind we have opted for a digital only release via the Nintendo 3DS eShop.”
So there it is, Capcom believe by limiting a game to digital distribution only “as many people as possible” will get to play it, that’s were all the other games companies who do both have been going wrong.
As one would expect it costs big bucks to create and launch a new console, but in the case of the Playstation 3 many felt too much money had been invested in creating the machine, meaning a very long time before Sony saw any profit. Sony chief financial officer Masaru Kato seems to agree and claims the Playstation 4 won’t repeat the past.
“One thing I can say for the new platform, PS4, how it is different from past platforms, is that the amount of investment that goes into the basic architecture components [for the] hardware device is much lighter than the past platform. To be a little more specific, when we launched PS3, initially we had a negative margin on each unit that we sold which was quite big. It did come down over time as we reduced the cost of the console, however the initial investment was quite big due to the fact that we had to design the Cell chipset from scratch which cost a lot of money, hundreds of millions of dollars.” Mr. Kato continued.
“In addition to that, we had to invest money developing the silicon conductor fabrication technology, as well as the capital expenditures for producing the chipset. All of these amounted to billions of dollars of investment for the platform which had to be recouped as we sold software and hardware. Compared to that business model, PS4 utilises a core chipset. Yes, we have designed it with our own technology, but the core of the CPU is something that’s available ready, so we’re not designing the chipset from the ground up. In addition to that, for semiconductor processor technology and fabrication process technology we are relying on outside sources. For production capacity, also we are relying on outside sources, which means that we don’t spend our own money to get the chipset ready. That, I think, is the fundamental difference in the business model this time and the reason for us not taking a big hit in the initial year of the introduction of the PS4.”
In what seems like a weekly TV soap opera the conflict between EA and Nintendo has taken yet another twist. This time with DICE technical director Johan Andersson announcing over Twitter that the Frostbite 3 engine wouldn’t run on the Wii U.
“FB3 has never been running on WiiU. We did some tests with not too promising results with FB2 & chose not to go down that path.”
The announcement means that the Wii U will now miss out on 14 pending EA titles including Mass Effect 4, Dragon Age, Battlefield 4 and whatever Star Wars games that are currently in development. The announcement also begs the questions though, how can the PS3 and 360 run Battlefield 4 and not the Wii U? And if Frostbite 2 also had trouble running on the Wii U why on earth was Battlefield 3 being ported to the Wii U before Nintendo and EA’s falling out but not afterwards? I’ll let you come to your own decisions on both questions and Mr. Andersson’s comments yourself.
Bethesda have confirmed that the grand daddy of the FPS is gearing up for a return. Wolfenstein The New Order will be developed by MachineGames, a studio comprised of former key employees of Starbreeze (The Darkness, Syndicate) and hit the Xbox 360, PS3 and PC by year’s end and soon after on next generation consoles. The game itself will see players again take up the role of American war hero B.J. Blazkowicz who has been tasked with launching an “impossible counter-offensive” against the Nazi powers that have taken over the world. Along with the announcement Bethesda also released Wolfenstein The New Order’s first trailer which you can see here.
With LucasArts now little more than a fond memory all eyes have shifted in Disney’s direction to see what the house of mouse will do with the Star Wars franchise. Fans may or may not (most likely not) be pleased to learn that Mickey and pals have decided to signed the Star Wars universe over to EA in a deal spanning multiple years. The deal will now see the likes of DICE, Visceral and BioWare creating Star Wars games with “Original new stories.” inspired by the films.