NostalGeek

Don’t Hate the Game, Hate the Player

E3 2009: Sony Press Conference

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Damn it is nice to end on a good note! Sony’s press conference once again delivers. Bear in mind I’m no fanboy, I love my PSX and PS2 like anyone else and I think the PS3 is a good console picking up steam. I also own an Xbox and a 360 and a Wii and a GameCube and a DS. I’m a gamer and that’s it.

But now that I’ve seen all of the Big 3 conferences I come out with the same feeling I did last year: Sony tops the show, but not by much. What makes Sony’s conferences so nice is that there are very stylish, they are pro without being pompous or boring (see the Hannah Montana announcements) and they have games. MicroSoft is always close being with usually a bit more games but in terms of the conference itself they fall just a little short. And then, of course, there’s Nintendo, our beloved Nintendo, which has given us cringe-worthy conferences back to back.

But this is about Sony who reminded us nicely that the PlayStation came out 15 years ago… I know right?

Mantra: One Vision

One of the big ‘news’ today that was not software related was the PSP Go! which as Jack Tretton put it is “the worst kept secret of E3“. As a result nothing really new was said on the technical side. It will have 16G of flash memory with possible extension, built-in WiFi and Bluetooth.
Jack made a point to say that the all-digital console would not replace current PSPs and that all games will be available digitally as well as in UMD format.
They also unveiled Media Go which is an app allowing you to access the PS Store directly from your PC. The PS Store will have new content partners including Showtime and Manga Entertainment.
The PSP Go1 will be available on October 1st for $249.99. No price drop of previous versions was announced.

The other big news was Sony’s motion controller. It was unveiled by Richard Marx, creator of the Eye Toy and is in essence a WiiMote but with a twist or two. First of all it seems to be color-coded so for instance if you waggle the controller while it’s red it will throw a fireball, if it were blue it would be an ice ball. Second and most important it looked very VERY precise during the demo, precise enough to actually write smoothly with.
It’s important to keep in mind that, like Natal, this is still a project in development (this is set to launch in 2010) so neither the design nor the technology is final. both technologies are very impressive and promising but for now Sony’s seem more game-ready.
It will certainly be exciting to see where this goes in the future.

Now let’s move on to the games. Sony had prepared 2 videos featuring all the upcoming games for PSP and PS3 and they also announced 50 PlayStation games coming to the PS Store this year starting with Final Fantasy VII available today! But they also had some more in-depth trailers and demos for several games.

  • Uncharted 2: Among Thieves. Sweet gameplay demo with lots of destruction and flying objects everywhere. Awesome dialogue as well.
  • MAG. Live demo of a game session involving 256 players at once! seemed very complex but interesting. There appeared to be a very slight lag in the gameplay though.
  • Gran Turismo PSP. it will be in full 60FPSas shown in the trailer and will feature 800 cars and 35 tracks with 60 variations. You can play with 4 players and will be able to trade cars with others.
  • Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker. Ah now that’s a trailer! Unlike yesterday’s lackluster Rising trailer this one was great. This a “true sequel of the franchise” not a spin-off and the MGS4 team is developing, Kojima will write the script and produce. The game will take place in the 70s, ten years after MGS3. It is due in 2010.
  • Resident Evil Portable. Not much was revealed except that it will be a complete new game.
  • Agent. A new Rockstar property that will be exclusive to the PlayStation 3 and will be set in the late 1970s.
  • Assassin’s Creed II. Awesome demo and great trailer! you will not start out as an assassin but will become with the help of people like Leonardo da Vinci! You will have more diversity and more options available to you. Double Headed Blade! The game will be out the Holiday season along with Bloodlines for the PSP. Out November 17.
  • Final Fantasy XIII. A new great trailer but with so-so dubbing, not bad but not great either. i’m still on my knees for Japanese VO.
  • Final Fantasy XIV. Wow now that was unexpected. The trailer reveals that it’s actually an MMO and so a spiritual sequel to FF XI. The game will be exclusive to PS3.
  • Mod Nation Racers. The new game in the Play, Create, Share line. It is a fun kart game with more adult graphics. The very impressive demo showed the track creation tools which offer tons of options and can be tried instantly.
  • The Last Guardian. Otherwise known as Project Trico. The trailer was a gorgeous graphical update of the one we saw a few weeks ago, though a few scenes were added at the end.
  • Gran Turismo 5. A decent trailer shows WRC and Nascar but not much else was revealed as usual.
  • God of War III. An amazing demo!! Brutal ,bloody, gorgeous. The game is the final chapter of the trilogy. Coming March 2010.

June 2, 2009 Posted by | Industry News, PS3 News, PSP News, Video Game News | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

New PSP Go! Coming This Fall

According to the guys at 1Up some info is starting to come out on the new PSP-4000. Of course Sony does not comment on rumors or speculations” but that’s regular procedure so let’s get to it.

A major overhaul of the Sony portable system has been rumored for quite a while and with the recent release of the DSi it would make sense for them to counter the momentum. To that end they have stated that they will unveil the new PSP at E3.

First the name. Several came out such as the PSP Slide, PSP Flip and PSP Go! but it would seem the latter is more probable. Sony has recently announced a series of add-ons including the Go!Cam and the Go!View, so it’s fairly safe to assume that the new portable will be the PSP Go!

The PSP Go! is rumored to have several new features (or lack thereof) and a pretty intense remodeling.
The biggest (and worst for me) is the loss of UMD-Drive. It seems the new PSP will be entirely download based with internal flash memory. Sony will have 100 original PSP titles available at launch. Let’s hope people who already own the UMD version won’t have to pay twice for games at least.
Personally I like to buy my games and have them displayed nicely on a shelf so I really don’t like this trend. Does it mean there will be no more UMDs in stores??

Aside from this the console seems to have the screen slide to reveal the controls (kind of like the Sidekick). Speaking of controls it will feature the classic digital controls and face buttons as well as one analog ‘stick’. a lot of people are complaining for the lack of a second analog controller on the console but hopefully Sony will add it before launch.

The portable console is set to release in September in Japan and sometime between September and November in the U.S.. It will come in two versions, one with 8GB of flash memory and the other with 16GB.

See you at E3 for more info.

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Note: This image is a mock-up

April 29, 2009 Posted by | Industry News, PSP News, Video Game News | , , | Leave a comment

Microids Pleads Against Sony Practices for 3rd Party Developpers

256px-microids_logoThis is a very interesting letter and I urge you to read it because it is enlightening.

Microids is French developer famous for their high quality Point & Click adventure games. They created Amerzone and the Syberia series among others. Some of those games never made it to the United States for several reasons (some of which are explained in this letter) and now the development of Syberia 3 hangs in the proverbial balance.

The letter shows some of Sony’s practices regarding royalties and censorship. It is a little frightening.
So without further ado here if the official letter as posted on their website:

A letter to players and professionals of the video game industry
Paris, April 17, 2009 – Following the countless messages and questions from fans which followed our announcement on April 1st regarding the launch of Syberia 3, Emmanuel Olivier, President of Microïds, gives more details on that announcement.

“Syberia 3 is not an April Fool’s joke. The game is highly expected by the community of fans of adventure games and fans of Kate Walker and it will be launched, it is one of our most strategic projects at Microïds and we have been anticipating it for a long time.

It will be released on PC for sure, however, on PS3, this could actually turn into an April Fool’s joke because SONY is the only decision-maker on this point, as strange as it may seem to some people.

Benoît Sokal, the author of Syberia and Syberia 2, has mentioned several times in the press that he would only participate in a sequel to his masterpiece if he had enough financial means to design and develop an exceptional title. Today Microïds is ready to invest in this ambitious production. But everyone knows that to amortize the development costs of a major video game with that level of quality, it is essential to develop it for multiple platforms, PC and consoles.
However Sony Computer Entertainment has already censured Microïds in 2003 by denying that Syberia was released on PS2 in the United States though it had previously been released in Europe on that console. The same refusal happened for a dozen other Microïds titles for the U.S.

Beyond this censorship of the authors and their producers who believe in their creations and who take the financial risks when building up productions for the console without knowing whether they will be approved or denied by SONY in the last minute, the exorbitant royalties demanded by SONY to manufacture the games on its consoles seriously hamper the financing ability of independent producers. Microïds has paid more than 15 million Euros of royalties to SONY for its entire catalog, which represents 55% of the Microïds turnover for this platform. April Fools? Well no! It is unfortunately the “rule of the game” imposed by SONY.

The revenue shortfalls due to the PS2 games we were not able to sell in the United States, a highly significant territory, coupled with the excessive royalties paid to SONY for the European territories, have so far prevented Microïds from having the ability to reinvest in an ambitious sequel to the Syberia series.

So today we launch an SOS to all fans of the Syberia series: let us rally to support the independent creation and convince Sony to change its rules. Send all your messages of support to: supporToSyberia3PS3@microids.com

SYBERIA 3 on PS3, an April Fool’s? It’s up to SONY!”

Emmanuel Olivier
President
Microïds

April 17, 2009 Posted by | Industry News, PC News, PS3 News, Video Game News | , , , | Leave a comment

Thursday October 23, 2008

Quarterly Reports

I won’t bore you with the details so here are the summaries: Sony‘s down, UbiSoft is up and Microsoft is weathering the storm thanks to price drop.
Voila 🙂

Deus Ex 3 News…Sort of

In an interview with Edge, Jean-Francois Dugas said that the console version of the game was nothing certain right now. The PC version is a certitude but he said they would not release a watered-down adaptation especially concerning the interface and gameplay which shouldn’t bring the game down.
He was also quoted saying that he thought the first Deus Ex was too slow and didn’t feature any memorable scenes.
I wonder if we played the same game but we’ll see what this means for the sequel when more details are revealed.

Ys Book I & II DS Confirmed in the US

Atlus confirmed today that the game will be released in North America on February 10. The game will feature updated 3D graphics, new levels, enemies, and equipment, optional stylus controls (thank God it’s optional), local multiplayer, and remixed music.
Check out the trailer here.

BioShock 2 Teaser in HD

For those of you who missed it and for those who want to see again in HD glory, click here.

October 23, 2008 Posted by | 360 News, DS News, PC News, PS3 News, Video Game News | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Tuesday September 2, 2008 – Back to Labor

Command & Conquer: Red Alert Free!

All you RTS players need to go this site and download the game. With Red Alert 3 coming out in October Electronic Arts has decided to make the first episode, released in 1996 (12 years ago!!!!), available for free.
Also anyone who preorders Red Alert 3 will get Red Alert 2 for free also.
Wow EA is turning into Santa Claus!

2 New PS3 Bundles for Europe

Sony will release two new PS3 bundles on October 29:

  • LittleBigPlanet, 80G console and a Dualshock 3 pad for €399
  • Gran Turismo 5 Prologue, 80G console and 2 Dualshock 3 pads for €449

360 Cheaper than Wii in Japan

Microsoft is going all out to help push its console into Japanese homes. The recent release of Tales of Vesperia helped but this can’t hurt either. The Redmond firm announced yesterday in Tokyo that it will cut the price of all its consoles fairly significantly starting September 11.
The biggest psychological drop comes for the Arcade version which drops to ¥19,800 ($183) which is ¥5,200 ($48) cheaper than the Wii.
Meanwhile the Elite will drop from ¥47,800 ($440) to ¥39,800 ($368) and the Pro model will go on sale for ¥29,800 ($275) which is ¥5,000 ($46) cheaper than its 20G predecessor.
Phew! Good deals all around.

Tenchu 4 Trailer and screens

I loved Tenchu for its ambiance and great soundtrack but the sequels were just OK. My main complaint being the lack of Japanese voices with English subtitles.
Anyway Tenchu 4 is coming out in Japan on the Wii on October 23 and today we get some yummy screens and a pretty nice trailer.
Please give me Japanese voices with subs! 😦

Guitar Hero Strikes Back

Last week Harmonix announced a bunch of albums for their Rock Band 2 and today Activision announced they signed a deal with many…MANY instrument manufacturers. here’s the list: Ampeg, Audio-Technica, EMG Pickups, Ernie Ball, Evans Drumheads, Guitar Center, Krank Amplification, Mackie, Marshall, Orange County Drum & Percussion, Pork Pie Percussion, Regal Tip, Sabian cymbals, Vox and Zildjian drumsticks. Wow!
They also announced today that World Tour will feature exclusively the new Smashing Pumpkins single named G.L.O.W. along with 1979 and The Everlasting Gaze in a pack. Today will be featured on the main Guitar Hero: World Tour disc.

September 3, 2008 Posted by | 360 News, Industry News, PS3 News, Tech News, Video Game News, Wii News | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Thursday July 17, 2008

id Software to Quit Activision for Electronic Arts

Right before E3 id Software (John Carmack and the guys who brought you Doom and Duke Nukem) announced that they would partner with EA to publish their upcoming title called RAGE ending their long time partnership with ActiVision. The deal however is only good, so far, for RAGE so we have yet to see what will happens once the game is released…..when it’s done.

Valkyria Chronicles coming on the PSP… Oops no Wait! I Meant the PS3

On the other front it seems Sony can’t do anything right this year. After a very solid presentation at E3 we might have thought they were back on track. Well apparently not. During their conference Sony unveiled Valkyria Chronicles as one of the major upcoming titles for their PSP. According to Kotaku, the problem is that is was never planned for the PSP but actually a PS3 title, they just messed up with the video. Sega quickly denied any rumor that the game was coming on the portable console. Ouch.

July 17, 2008 Posted by | Industry News, PC News, PS3 News, PSP News, Video Game News | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

E3 2008 – Sony Press Conference Summary

E3 2008

E3 2008

If there is one thing that Sony is good at it is producing trendy tech designs. From the very first minutes with the buttons symbols shining all over the room to the Little Big Planet genius presentation it was in my opinion the most professional presentation delivery of the 3.

Here is what they announced:

  • New PS2 bundle with Lego Batman including DC New Frontier DVD announced for $149, sadly no Batman logo. New PS3 80GB Core Pack announced for $399.
  • New PSP Entertainment Pack including the Silver PSP, Ratchet & Clank – Size Matters, National Treasure 2 UMD, 1 GB Memory Stick and a voucher for Endochrome. All this for $199.
  • Several news for the PlayStation Network (PSN). Ratchet & Clank Future: Quest for Booty announced for $14.99 (the game should be about 3-4 hours long) coming out this summer. Several other titles include Siren, Eden, Fat Princess and more. Gran Turismo TV (not to be confused with the other GTTV), showcasing auto news, reviews, shows and more in SD and HD through the PSN starting August 1st. The Ratchet game looks really nice especially for this price and the GTTV looks very interesting if you’re into cars…otherwise…
  • A bunch of improvements for Home as well. Home will start featuring many more TV Shows in SD and HD starting at $1.99. Likewise with movies starting at $2.99 to $5.99. All these will be transferable to your PSP through either the PS3 or your PC. Content will also feature progressive download so you can watch as soon as you start the download (similar to online videos).
  • As far as games go it was a bit underwhelming. Some very nice footage from Resistance 2 (it’s all in the scale!), and a new game announced for the PSP Resistance – Retribution. For the PS3 God of War III was confirmed which isn’t a big surprise, Infamous was also confirmed for spring 2009. For PSP they confirms Valkyria Chronicles, Patapon 2, LocoRoco 2 and more. SOE unveiled DC Universe Online with Jim Lee as a speakers and even though the speech was nice, the footage wasn’t very impressive (and I have to say I’m doubtful as to how this game will work out in principle).
  • The big game announcement that could become great was MAG (Massive Action Game) which seems to take the idea of Battlefield and Socom and expand on it, with 256 players at once, squads of 8 players and a system of RPG-like character growth. The game looks really interesting and the trailer was nice, now we’ll need to try it out to make sure.

Overall I thought that for the delivery the Sony conference was the best. The BIG highlight of the conference was the Little Big Planet presentation which quite honestly made everything else look stale. Sadly as far as games go, aside from a few good things like God of War III, Ratchet & Clank on PSN and the promising MAG, there wasn’t much to look forward to.

But on the hardware side this might finally be the time when i go to the store to get a PS3.

You can watch the full coverage of the conference here.

July 15, 2008 Posted by | PS3 News, PSP News, Tech News, Video Game News | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment