Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Famitsu Teases Kingdom Hearts III Details

It's the final curtain for Xehanort, but the franchise will go on.

Square Enix's Tetsuya Nomura has revealed a few small details about Kingdom Hearts III in Japanese gaming magazine Famitsu (via Andriasang). 

Nomura said that KHIII will be the last game for the series' main antagonist, Xehanort. But that won't mark the end of the franchise. Apparently a framework is already in place for future sequels, with Sora retained as the main character. 

Nomura promised that fans waiting for KHIII will find some answers in Kingdom Hearts 3D on 3DS, suggesting that this could be the final spin-off before the long-awaited sequel (finally!). But with development on KH3D reportedly only 40%-50% done, don't look for it in your stocking this Christmas. 

Nomura also stated that Square Enix was looking into the tech used to render past titles in HD. (Could this mean Final Fantasy and Kingdom Hearts collections are in the works?) 

When do you think we'll see Kingdom Hearts III and, more importantly, what systems will it come to? 

Sonic Generations UK special edition spotted

GAME listing says top SKU to include Casino Night Pinball Stage, Super Sonic Costume, and theme for Xbox 360; PS3 gets stage only; no word on North American debut.
Sega will mark the 20th anniversary of its zippy hedgehog later this year with the launch of Sonic Generations for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. Gamers looking to celebrate the milestone may be able to pick up a premium version of the game if a retail listing proves accurate.
According to product listings at United Kingdom retailer GAME, Sega is preparing a special edition of Sonic Generations for release later this year. The product page for the Xbox 360 special edition indicates it will include the Casino Night Pinball Stage from Sonic the Hedgehog 2, a Super Sonic avatar costume, and a theme.
The PlayStation 3 Sonic Generations Special Edition will reportedly include the Casino Night Pinball Stage alone. According to the retail listings, the Sonic Generations Special Edition will sell for £39.99 (~$65).
Sonic Generations is also in development for the 3DS and PC, though special editions of the game for those systems were not listed. As of press time, Sega had not responded to GameSpot's request for comment.
Sonic Generations will look to capitalize on Sonic the Hedgehog's 20th anniversary. As such, Sega will be touching upon three different Sonic generations: the classic 2D Genesis days, the 3D's introduction with the Dreamcast, and then today's modern HD graphics phase.
Sega has rebuilt a number of levels from games gone by for Sonic Generations, and players will be able to speed through these stages in 2D and 3D perspectives. Sonic's abilities will also depend on the incarnation that players choose, as the spin dash and spin attacks will be open to Sonic 2D, while his 3D persona will be able to use the homing attack and sonic boost abilities.
Though the stages will be reimaginings of classic levels, Sonic Generations will feature a new storyline. In it, a "mysterious new power" opens up rips in space time, which pulls Sonic and his crew back in time, where he battles new challenges alongside his former self.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

South Park seconds coming to Xbox 360

Comedy Central game studio creative director confirms new title based on cartoon series en route for Microsoft's platform.

Unlike the aesthetically crude Comedy Central show it was based upon, South Park's first brush with gaming in the late '90s was objectively not good. However, Microsoft and Comedy Central went a long way to righting the franchise in gamers' minds with their 2009 tower-defense title South Park Let's Go Tower Defense Play.
Now, it appears as if a second South Park game is headed exclusively to the Xbox 360. Speaking to Joystiq, 345 Games creative director Prithvi Virasinghe confirmed that his studio is collaborating with Microsoft on a new title based on the tiny-town travails of Kyle, Stan, Kenny, and Cartman.
"Right now, South Park is actually in a first-party deal with Microsoft Studios, who published the first game, and they're doing a second game as well," Virasinghe said. The head of 345 Games, which is Comedy Central's internal game development arm, went on to note that the second South Park game will mark the end of its exclusivity deal with Microsoft. Additional details on the title were not revealed.
Beyond South Park, Virasinghe also indicated that he'd like to create a game based upon mock right-wing talk show host Stephen Colbert. "It has to be the right combination of game idea meets property," he said

EA taking Army of Two, Skate, more offline

Publisher shutting down servers for shooter, skateboarding game, as well as many more PSP, PC, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and Wii games beginning August 11.
Earlier today, Electronic Arts purchased PopCap Games for at least $750 million, opening a new chapter in the Plants vs. Zombies and Bejeweled franchises. However, EA is also ending the era of multiple games, today announcing its plan to take a long list of games offline for good.
According to EA's updated Service Updates page, the publisher will turn off online capabilities for Army of Two (Xbox 360, PS3), Skate (Xbox 360, PS3), Battlefield 2: Modern Combat (Xbox 360), Tiger Woods PGA Tour 10 (PSP, Xbox 360, PS3, Wii), and more on August 11. For the full list of games that will have their online components shut down next month, see the EA's website.
EA will continue the deactivation wave on October 1, when the publisher shuts down online functionality for NHL 10 (PS3, Xbox 360) and Madden NFL 10 (PS3, Xbox 360).
EA noted that the reason these games are going to be shut down is because they account for less than 1 percent of total traffic, and so that EA's IT staff is free to focus on games users are more actively playing.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Marvel vs. Capcom 3 'future plans' coming at Comic-Con

Publishers of game and comics say they'll have new information on top-rated fighter at San Diego event next week.
Thus far, Capcom has added just two characters to Marvel vs. Capcom 3's original 36-fighter roster, in addition to a handful of new costumes. However, it appears as if the gamemaker still has some future plans for its critical and commercial success.
As part of a recently posted schedule for Comic-Con 2011, show organizers have revealed that both Capcom and Marvel will host panels discussing what's next for the crossover fighter. Capcom's panel is scheduled for 11 a.m. on Saturday, July 23, and Marvel's talk will follow shortly thereafter at 12:30 p.m.
"Come to this panel to hear the fantastic news about this legendary fighting game franchise straight from producer Ryota Niitsuma," reads the description for Capcom's panel. "Get an exclusive behind-the-scenes peek, as well as a chance to come onstage to showcase your fighting skills against each other for fantastic prizes."
Meanwhile, Marvel promises to have "some exciting new details about the future of Marvel vs. Capcom 3 and other Marvel games via exclusive trailers, surprise reveals, and Q&A with the game creators from some of the industry's top publishers."
Comic-Con 2011 will set up shop in San Diego from July 21-24.

Bungie handing Halo to Microsoft August 2

Former Master Chief studio officially leaving sci-fi shooter series in publisher's hands early next month; "O Brave New Worlds" video documentary arriving on that day.
When Bungie and Activision signed their 10-year exclusive publishing deal in April 2010, Halo fans knew Bungie involvement in the sci-fi shooter franchise was coming to an end. Now, the developer has set a date--August 2--for when it will officially hand the series off to Microsoft.

Bungie spoke about leaving the series it birthed and had been involved with for some 20 years.
"Some might consider the upcoming transition a bittersweet occasion punctuated by a sense of loss and sadness. We feel otherwise. Halo is in great hands…yours.
Bungie said it will soon be undergoing a "metamorphosis," with changing, punctuated by the announcement of the studio's new game at an "unknown time in the future." Bungie said Halo playlist management will officially shift to Microsoft on August 2. On this day, the studio will also release a new video documentary titled "O Brave New Worlds."
Bungie did not say what it plans to show or reveal in the new documentary. However, its name suggests that the video may possibly talk about the new game. Additionally, Bungie said following the release of the video documentary and the handover to Microsoft, it will be "going dark" on all things related to its new, unannounced game with Activision.

Microsoft purchased Bungie in June 2000, and the studio provided the publisher the well-reviewed Halo: Combat Evolved, one of the original Xbox's launch titles. The developer created sequels Halo 2 and Halo 3 for Microsoft beforesplitting with the publisher in October 2007. Bungie then built Halo 3: ODST and Halo: Reachunder the publishing banner of Microsoft, which owns a minority stake in the company.
As for the Halo franchise, Microsoft is continuing the sci-fi shooter franchise in many ways via its new Halo team, 343 Industries. Due out on November 15 is Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary, a $40 Kinect-compatible high-definition remake of the original Halo entry. Also, at E3 2011, Microsoft announced Halo 4, the first game in a new trilogy.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Shippin' Out July 10-16: NCAA Football 12, Deathly Hallows Part 2

New release slate led by latest college gridiron game, Harry Potter film tie-in; UFC Personal Trainer: Ultimate Fitness System for Wii and Ms. 'Splosion Man also out.

Last week's new release list was decidedly short, with Earth Defense Force: Insect Armageddon leading all releases. This week is heavier, as it brings the latest licensed college football game and the film tie-in game for the final Harry Potter movie, among others.
First out of the tunnel this week is EA Sports' NCAA Football 12 for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, which has former University of Alabama running back Mark Ingram on its cover. As for the game, NCAA Football 12 sports a number of changes over its predecessor including improved visuals, pre-game tradition animations, more realistic tackles, and fully 3D crowds.
Also out this week is Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii, DS, and PC. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 will arrive in theaters worldwide on July 15, which means gamers will have the first crack at the culmination of the Harry Potter universe.
On the download front, Twisted Pixel's Ms. 'Splosion Man is due out on Xbox Live Arcade this Wednesday. A follow-up to the original 'Splosion Man, Ms. 'Splosion Man is also a fast-paced 2D platformer, in which players self-combust their way through vibrantly colored, lighthearted levels. The game includes 50 single-player stages, as well as an additional 50 levels that can be played in a multiplayer setting.
Beyond new stages, Twisted Pixel said that it has implemented a number of updates to the 'Splosion Man formula, including new gameplay mechanics, enhanced network support, and original music. The game also includes collectibles that unlock behind-the-scenes looks at the game's creation.
The last major new game out this week is UFC Personal Trainer: Ultimate Fitness System for the Wii. A spin-off of THQ's mixed martial arts fighter UFC Undisputed, UFC Personal Trainer offers fitness routines designed by the National Academy of Sports Medicine. The game was created with input from top MMA trainers like Mark DellaGrotte, Greg Jackson, and Javier Mendez, who have conditioned the likes of current UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Jon Jones, current UFC Heavyweight Champion Cain Velasquez, and former UFC Heavyweight Champion Frank Mir.
For further details on the week's games, visit GameSpot's New Releases page. The full list of downloadable games on the PlayStation Store, Xbox Live Marketplace, and Wii Shop Channel will be revealed later this week. Release dates are based on retailer listings and subject to change
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2--X360, PS3, Wii, DS, PC--Electronic Arts
NCAA Football 12--PS3, X360--EA Sports
UFC Personal Trainer: Ultimate Fitness System--Wii--THQ
Ms. 'Splosion Man--X360--Twisted Pixel Games