Sunday, January 27, 2008
Of less interest to many (but perhaps more interest to a very select, demographically complex few), Naruto: Rise of the Ninja is also $38. Oh, and Transformers: The Game is $30.
Tsunoda, the rock star (both in work output and persona), has Fight Night 2004 under his belt, and was working on the working-titled Marvel Fighting Game (which better see new life, or I'm going to be peeved).
GameTap, who reported the story, even goes so far as to say, "His hire is part of a reporting reorg being implemented by [new Xbox Boss Don] Mattrick, say sources--who also say Tsunoda is project lead on an upcoming Gears of War title."
Dude seems talented, so let's hope his early Midas' touch benefits the Microsoft stable. At the very least, he arguably has a big enough personality to go toe-to-toe with the Gears folks.
Wednesday, January 09, 2008
Sunday, January 06, 2008
Lotta good games coming in 2008. Quarter three's typically the slow one of the year as publisher's lose their audience to summer, and feel out where they fall in the holiday onslaught.
Quarter four is tough to predict with any accuracy, and a lot of the "to be scheduled" games get shunted into the last two quarters as placeholders for fiscal forecasting.
So I'm lumping the two quarters and uncommitted titles together.
Happy Tree Friends False Alarm -- Cutesy crude IP, of which I'm already a fan. I'm in.
Battlefield: Bad Company -- Interest in the Battlefield franchise for a lot of folks is like interest in the Victoria's Secret network fashion show -- it's their if you happen to stumble upon it. This iteration will add a single-player campaign and deepens the online component, and hopefully removes some of the concessions they've made to enable massive online play in the FPS space.
Ninja Gaiden II -- Itagaki-san has a rock star mentality, and that entertains me. Ninja Gaiden made me curse. I play it to make me think I can handle "games made for gamers".
Fable 2 -- Action RPG from the master of video game visionary promises. As long as the dog makes it in, I'm playing.
Halo Wars -- The CGI trailer has nothing to do with the gameplay, and I don't like RTS games. But the gameplay footage (available via Xbox Live) does look compelling, and may get me into the genre. Plus, it's Halo, so it'll print money.
Too Human -- I can't wait for this thing to get out of the fog of game engine heartburn. I think this has the potential to be a brilliant take on my Norse mythology love.
Fallout 3 -- I'm Fallout fiend (maybe just a Fallout fan; or just an alliteration amateur). I suspect this'll be a fun, immersive, time-suck of an RPG.
Brutal Legend -- Jack Black marries Tim Schafer and they birth a spiritual success to KISS's under-rated Psycho Circus. Tell me why you won't be playing this gem.
Alan Wake -- I'm trying to stay interested in this survival horror title. Knock off the delays and keep this thing funded on the publisher front.
Saboteur -- I think this stealth game with an innovative colorization game mechanic looks amazing. Can't wait, though I'm torn that I may be rescuing France.
LEGO Batman -- Have you played LEGO Star Wars? Have you seen the LEGO Batman toys? I am going to own this game, and my be-otches will play LEGO Robin online by my side.
LEGO Indiana Jones: The Videogame -- See above. Minus Robin.
LEGO Universe -- A LEGO MMO. A. LEGO. MMO.
Borderlands -- Hundreds of gun combos. Everything else is gravy, but I'm expecting a lot of gravy.
Fracture -- Real-time terrain deformation as a gameplay (and multi-play) mechanic. From LucasArts.
Mushroom Men -- I miss the Oddworld franchise. Mushroom Men looks to be that foot that bill. Again, from publisher Gamecock.
Dead Space -- Electronic Arts bucks behind a team that wants to create a survival horror title, inspired by the likes of Alien. A potential brown trouser excursion.
Ghostbusters The Video Game -- This game wants to be Ghosbusters 3. If they pull it off, it should rock. I hate Slimer.
The further out we go into the year, the more sketchy things get on the release front.
But here are the games that ring my bell to one degree or another for the second quarter of this year.
Grand Theft Auto IV (X360, PS3) -- Dunno about you, but this iteration of the GTA franchise (with its displaced, unwilling Russian anti-hero) might actually pull me in. If I don't play it, it's because all of the meta stuff irritates me -- namely, "Hot Coffee" and Manhunt irresponsibility.
Rez HD (XBLA) -- Weird(ish), on-rails(ish), shooter(ish) game from Q Entertainment / Hexa Drive.
PlayStation Home (PS3) -- Sony is late -- but ambitious -- to the console online party dominated by Xbox Live. I'm curious to see how this Second Life / Xbox Achievements mashup thing either innovates, or looks like a late, console(ish), poor man's Second Life / Xbox Achievements ripoff.
Sid Meier's Civilization Revolution (X360, PS3, DS) -- This strategy games been on the PC forever, and now it's bringing its hard-coreness to the console and handheld space.
de Blob (Wii) -- Painting stuff in games as a game mechanic is the New Hotness, and THQ's jumping in with new IP.
Pirates vs. Ninjas Dodgeball (X360) -- It's "Pirates vs. Ninjas", and published by Gamecock. Golden!
LittleBigPlanet (PS3) -- This game looks artsy and stylish and fun. How cool would it be if this became the PS3 console-seller?
Brothers In Arms Hell's Highway (X360, PC) -- Gearbox Software keeps revisiting WWII, and not only does it not feel tired, it feels important.
Iron Man (PS2, PC, X360, PS3, PSP, WII, DS) -- Yes, it's a movie tie-in, but it's a comic book tie-in. Yes, a lot of comic book games suck beyond belief, but I like comic books, and this title looked good at Comic-Con last year. So they're going to have had ten months to finish, tune, and polish the game.
Spore (PC) -- If this ever comes out, its modern incarnation of a god game may be one of the most innovative titles released this decade.
Robert Ludlum's The Bourne Conspiracy (X360, PS3) -- I like the folks at High Moon Studios, and the time they're taking with title -- which will launch well outside of the film vehicle -- keeps me interested. I wish they'd rename it, though; I'm tired of the whole "[bigNameIwantToSeeInLights] + [longTitle]" formula.
Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning (PC) -- It is so time for this MMO.
Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots (PS3) -- Hideo Kojima wants to do something important with games. This is going to probably be his best something important.
Left 4 Dead (X360, PC) -- More zombie games. Always need more zombie games.
Hellboy: Science of Evil (X360, PS3, PSP) -- The footage and grabs from one of my favorite comic book franchises gives me the warm fuzzies.
Legendary: The Box (X360, PS3, PC) -- Hate the game name, but I dig the Pandora's Box device to populate the world with the mythological beasties I love. Then kill them, FPS-style.
Hail to the Chimp (X360, PS3) -- Wideload Games rocks (go play Stubbs the Zombie), and Hail to the Chimp looks to be a funny, politically themed brawler with the same trademark humor. And it's published by Gamecock Media.
So what's up for the next year of gaming after arguably the most prolific and quality-high year in the industry? Did the industry peak in 2007? Does life after Halo 3 and Portal seem a letdown?
Here are my picks -- and don't get your Underoos in a knot if your favorite game isn't here. I'm a PC and 360 gamer, so those titles are a priority for me, as are those titles on other platforms that look compelling for artistic or commercial reasons.
So "your" game may not be here, I may have forgotten some, dates may change, the game may suck, blah blah blah, wah wah wah.
Kingdom Under Fire: Circle of Doom (X360) -- Hey, an action RPG brawler retake on an action RTS mainstay, playable co-op over Xbox Live? I'm in (even if the demo was less than accessible).
Pirates of the Burning Sea (PC) -- An MMO that's not orcs 'n' elves?Let's see how it does. I probably won't play until the ninja community mod expansion pack kicks in.
Devil May Cry 4 (X360, PS3)-- I'm a franchise fan, and even if it's more of the same (but bigger, faster, more insane), it being available out of the gate on the 360 makes it a grabber for me.
Super Smash Bros. Brawl (Wii) -- If I can get a Wii, this and Super Mario Galaxy are the two boxed titles I'm likely to buy.
Lost Odyssey (X360) -- This may be the JRPG that gets me into JRPGs (sorry, Blue Dragon). Yeah, it's Mistwalker Studios, but it's from Hironobu Sakaguchi (creator of the original Final Fantasy series), composed by FF music creator Nobuo Uematsu, art by manga creator Takehiko Inoue, and written by Japanese novelist Kiyoshi Shigematsu.
The Club (PC, PS3, X360) -- Take a top-notch racing game developer and throw them at a stylistic, Running Man-esqu thinking man's FPS? I'm in.
Turning Point: Fall of Liberty (PC, PS3, X360) -- An FPS in alternative 1950s America where the Nazis won? Of course it's on my list.
Insecticide (DS, PC) -- "Insecticide is a film noir action adventure game set in a decaying world run by bugs. " Plus it's published by Gamecock Media. Who are in Austin, TX, and make me laugh.
Condemned 2: Bloodshot (X360, PS3) -- The first Condemned is one of the strongest launch games on the 360, and it still stands up. Add a more polished version of one of my favorite other vertical game engines (Lithtech) and multiplayer, and I'm ready for another "brown trouser" excursion (thank you, Brits, for that expression).
Bully: Scholarship Edition (X360, Wii) -- Bully for Rockstar for doing something different with this game. Sure, it came out the PS2 a while ago, but this version will have new classes, new content, and achievements (on the 360). Plus, the 360 version is being built using Emergent Game Technologies's Gamebryo game engine.
Viking: Battle for Asgard (PS3, X360) -- I'm a big fan of Norse mythology, action brawlers, and SEGA. It's a lock.
Destroy All Humans! Path of the Furon (PS3, X360) -- I know the writer for this, so I would suck if I didn't list it. Plus the franchise genuinely rocks on all fronts.
Haze (PS3) -- Free Radical has my eternal love for the TimeSplitters franchise (bring me TS 4!). Haze looks smart and subversive. Just bring it to 360, kids -- I'd hate to see a sales shortfall for the potential franchise by limiting yourselves to a PS3 SKU.
Wednesday, January 02, 2008
"And stay tuned -- there's another reason I'm coming clean about me and Emergent."No, I didn't forget to write that particular post -- it just didn't need to be written.
The short of it was Mark Rein over at Epic Games was calling out my company Emergent Game Technologies, and trying to downplay our game engine (odd, I know -- since they have a game engine).
I was going to write a post about being flattered to be noticed by Mark, and call out what he's doing for what it is -- "Competitive Positioning 101" (like what Visa does with their competition: "... but they don't take American Express.")
But then my President and CEO were interviewed on Gamasutra about the whole thing, and anything I write would be beating a dead horse.
So, read the Gamasutra article. And stop beating dead horses.
"Emergent's Selzer, Johnson Rebut Epic Claims"