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The Week That Was - 06/08-10/08



I'm feeling particularly apathetic and depressed this week, so i'll dispense with the usual foreplay and just get right into it.

The Week That Was - week ending 10th August 2007
  • Sony Europe screws up again
    On Monday, Sony Australia confirmed that the PS3 Starter deal, which is the same price as the PS3 but with two first-party launch ***les, would only be a temporary promotion. The same day, reps from Sony Europe were vehemently denying that this was the case in mainland Europe. However, on Tuesday, it emerged that Sony had sent out e-mails to distgruntled owners who purchased the PS3 weeks before the starter pack was released that it was merely a "summer promotion". Sony reps maintain the line that the bundle will be around "for the forseeable future". I'll let you decide how long forseeable is.
  • QuakeCon - not a convention for earthquake enthusiasts
    QuakeCon happened over the weekend and id had plenty of announcements to make. Their new game is Rage, predictably enough a first-person shooter, though actually with some lighting this time around. And vehicles. And if you liked Quake III Arena, you'll also be well catered with - theres Quake Zero, a version of the aforementioned game that will launch via a web browser and be funded by advertising, Quake Arcade Arena, an Xbox Live Arcade version of the aforementioned game and John Carmack is contemplating doing a Quake Arena styled game for the DS, albeit using a 2.5D engine ala Doom.

    And, if your into digital distribution, you can now buy almost the entire back catalogue of id ***les on Steam. For a smigen over 30 quid, you can buy Doom, Doom II, Final Doom, Master Levels for Doom, Doom 3 (+ expansion), Wolfenstein 3D (+ expansion), Quake (+ 2 expansions), Quake 2 (+2 expansions), Quake III (+ Team Arena), Heretic, Hexen (+ expansion) and Hexen 2 and all 5 Commander Keen episodes. I loathe digital distribution, but even I must admit thats some serious value for money.

  • Itagaki Strikes Back
    Team Ninja boss and vocal critic of any and all rivals Tomonobu Itagaki (Dead or Alive, Ninja Gaiden Xbox) has been a bit quiet as of late after that recent scandal of his involving sexual harrasment. Electronic Gaming Monthly and Joystiq were prepared to listen to him though, and boy was he cranky. Talking about the PS3's last potential killer app (sans MGS4), he said, and I quote "I look at Heavenly Sword and it seems really half-assed, because it's asking you to do all these button-timing sequences but you are not getting much pay-off from it." I must admit, the only game i've played where those quick time button presses was actually any good was Shenmue. Resident Evil 4 was a good game, its quick button mashes were not.

    Also, proving that his long-time hatred with Tekken has not abated in the slightest, when asked how excited he was about Tekken 6, he said, and i'm quoting again "Tekken sucks. I don't know what you're talking about." Ahhh, Itagaki. You may be setting back equal rights for women by 50 years, but at least nobody can say you aren't direct.
  • Metal Gear Liquid-less
    It's official. Cam Clarke will not be back in Metal Gear Solid 4 to provide his awesome accent for Liquid Snake. Er, Ocelot. Er, whatever. Probably not completely newsworthy, but I was quite looking forward to some Liquid-Solid bantering that was teased at in MGS2 but never quite fully developed. And in that respect, the sequel has lost a bit of its charm for me. I'm sure most other people wont care in the slightest mind. Still, if you're going to the Games Convention in Leipzig in a few weeks, Kojima will be there again, demoing the latest game in the series. I wouldnt be entirely surprised if its the same demo as the one referred to in this very article a few weeks back, but hey. Might as well pad this paragraph out.

  • No Freeloading on the Wii
    The latest Wii system update breaks compatibility with Datel's Freeloader utility. Freeloader is a utility that enables users to play Gamecube games that are not the same region as the console. Nintendo have always said they dont approve of its existance, but I found it an indespensible tool at expanding my games collection, due to the fact that Nintendo of Europe never seem to reduce the prices of their games, making it really difficult for me to acquire them cheaply any other way. I wouldnt be entirely surprised if the system update exists solely to do this, much in the same way Sony keep releasing firmware to break compatibility with homebrew applications.
  • Foursooth, t'is time to split!
    Free Radical Design has confirmed that TimeSplitters 4 is in development. Not much is known other than this, except that this time, instead of parodying movies ala previous ***les, it'll be parodying video games. Presumably in a similar vein that EA are trying with their Simpsons ***le. They also bring news that brilliant looking shooter Haze (another of those ***les that looks like it will really make you think) is only PS3-exclusive until the end of the year, with PC and X360 versions to follow sometime in 2008.

  • OJ guilty over game
    Take-Two's All-Pro Football 2k8 features the likeness of one OJ Simpson, where he is associated with the fantasy team "The Assassins", whose mascot is a hooded, knife-wielding maniac. Relatives of murder victim Ron Goldman, whom OJ was accused of killing in 1994 alongside his wife at the time, didnt like that. He was acquitted, but a civil case for wrongful death went against him for a princely sum of $33.5 million. As a result, a US court as ruled that any royalties OJ was set to make from this game will go to the Goldman estate. Take-Two declined to say how it got the rights to use his likeness in its game, but they maintain that the knife-wielding mascot "is not specifically associated with OJ Simpson".
  • Games Out This Week in Europe
    • Xbox Live Arcade
      Track & Field
    • Wii Virtual Console
      Breath of Fire II (SNES)
      Galaga '90 (TurboGrafx-16)
      Volleyball (NES)
    • Wii
      Trauma Centre: Second Opinion
    • Nintendo DS
      Purr Pals
The only official line concerning that comes from Take Two's financial reports, which states:

"With Grand Theft Auto IV, Rockstar is setting a new standard for next generation video games. Certain elements of development proved to be more time-intensive than expected, especially given the commitment for a simultaneous release on two very different platforms. We all recognize that perfecting the game is vital and I can assure everyone it will be worth the wait. We owe it to the game's millions of fans, to our dedicated development team, and to our shareholders to make sure that Grand Theft Auto IV is a groundbreaking gaming experience that takes maximum advantage of next generation technology."

The press release can be found here.

If you were asking me for an opinion, it sounds like its the PS3's more complex architecture is causing the headaches, if recent trends are anything to go by (multi-platform ***les appearing on the PS3 weeks/months after the 360 version). However, I always felt the original release date given was optimistic at best.

I've also just learned that Take-Two have renamed BioShock developer Irrational Games into 2K Boston and 2K Australia. EA does that too, and it annoys me slightly in its complete lack of originality.
Another good review. And this could be the week where I inexonerably slide towards ddefeat and buy a 360 instead.....
*Adopts Darth Vader style voice*

Good. He will join the dark side. Soon his soul shall never again be recogniseable. He shall be ours to break down and remould - we shall make a 360man out of him yet...

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