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From Castlevania's Appeal to Sonic Colors - News Roundup 2nd June 2010

Jonathan Lester
Castlevania, Clone Wars, Games news, Lords of Shadow, rare, Sony Online Entertainment

Castlevania: Lords of Shadow Gets Mainstream Makeover

From Castlevania's Appeal to Sonic Colors - News Roundup 2nd June 2010

Castlevania may be a classic gaming franchise that rarely misses a step, but its Japanese-centric stylings have reportedly put many western gamers off the franchise. In order to maximise Lords of Shadow's sales potential, Konami has ordered that the art design be aimed at a mainstream audience.

“Castlevania had a quite Japan-centric look and feel to it and was appealing to a very small audience of people – it wasn’t breaking out there. Japan’s brief to us was to make it more mainstream, make it more Western, which is what we did.”- James Cox, Konami Head of Product Planning

So, who do you call when your game needs to appeal to a Western audience that's typically obsessed by musclebound armoured badasses? Hideo Kojima, apparently (maybe Cliffy B was busy). Thing is, the eccentric developer's actually suggesting that the lead character should be made weaker and less intimidating in order to make him more relatable.

“[Kojima] kind of said that the story is quite moving and in order to convey that and get people to believe in that character he needs to be much more of an every man – someone people can identify with and not this muscle head type character,”

Err... hang about. Turns out that we actually happen to like "muscle head type characters" over here (not to mention that Gabriel's concept art was looking fantastic already). Let's hope that Kojima can find a compromise between Raiden and Vulcan Raven that will strike a balance between badass and mincing emo. [CVG]

Free Clone Wars MMO Isn't Far Far Away

From Castlevania's Appeal to Sonic Colors - News Roundup 2nd June 2010

As a free online MMO aimed at a young audience, Free Realms ought to have sucked beyond all reason according to traditional logic. As it turns out, however, Free Realms was fairly solid- and Sony Online Entertainment have now been drafted to work on another free MMO based on the Clone Wars cartoon series. Oh, and their experience with Star Wars Galaxies probably helped swing them that gig.

Star Wars: Clone Wars Adventures will be a joint venture between SOE and Lucasarts that will allow series fans to experience the conflict (and a bunch of tepid minigames) for free. Naturally, though, will require a bunch of microtransactions to access the best gear, premium features and pots of virtual currency. It'll face stiff competition in the form of The Old Republic, Force Unleashed 2 and Lego Star Wars III... but at least it's free. [G4]

News Update: Sonic Colours Announced

SEGA have just announced Sonic Colors: a Wii and DS platformer set in a zany amusement park.

That is all. Normal service is resumed.

Rare Ditch Classic Gold Logo

From Castlevania's Appeal to Sonic Colors - News Roundup 2nd June 2010

The gleaming golden Rare logo is one of the oldest and most iconic symbols in gaming today... but now it's a thing of the past. To celebrate their 25th birthday, Rare has unveiled four new logos that ostensibly bring their brand identity into the 21st century. According to the Press Release, the rebrand is "both modern and classic, adjectives that could be applied equally well to Rare itself." Personally, I think the new logos look like they belong on a tampax packet or underwear label rather than a triple-A title's splash screen... but maybe that's just me. RIP, golden logo.

The switch also raises some questions about Rare's new target audience. The new logo is clinical, slick and soulless- and looks suspiciously like the Wii Fit brand logo. Considering that Rare are currently developing a fitness-based Natal title, maybe their entire mission statement and target audience is permanently shifting in that direction? [via Kotaku]

Add a comment3 comments
Harry  Jun. 2, 2010 at 22:21

Yeah have to agree the new logo does look like it belongs on a Tampon package, or a magazine cover. It doesn't strike me as a logo for a company that makes AAA titles, maybe one that makes games for kids and women....oh wait, never mind new logo makes sense for the current Rare, which pales in comparison to the Rare from the 90's

As for Castlevania, I personally prefer Japanese art style over the typical over powered, bulky (obviously compensating for lacking in other area's) steroid pumped western hero. I'm with Kojima, hopefully the final charactor is more down to earth and likeable.

Matt Gardner  Jun. 3, 2010 at 09:47

Rare is the perfect example of Microsoft not really having a clue. Their acquisition of the Brummie studio kicked up even more fuss back in the day than Bungie jumping ship and with good reason. Now they are a gimmick-ridden shell that's virtually unrecognisable. Their contribution to the Xbox has been relatively apathetic at best.

The death of the blue and gold gold symbol, with all of its connotations, is a real shame and the last nail in the coffin of a studio that once delighted us with an eclectic array of some of videogaming's finest moments. I won't lie, the optimist in me has been hoping that for some time Rare would suddenly release a game that stormed the world and showed everyone that the last decade had been an elaborate ruse. Ah well. Au revoir humorous innovation, hello generic mediocrity.

Mind you, at least this news post has reminded me that they exist...I'd practically forgotten. Now you'll excuse me, I have to take my N64 copy of Perfect Dark into a darkened room and spend an hour or two crying uncontrollably.

Jonathan Lester  Jun. 3, 2010 at 11:46

Microsoft and Rare's marriage isn't based on love- rather, Microsoft just wanted to make sure that Rare couldn't get into bed with anyone else. It was a cynical marriage of convenience that arguably backfired for everyone involved... but hell, at least it gave us Grabbed by the Ghoulies. That was pretty sweet.

My prediction is that we'll be seeing a new Natal-centric Rare that focuses on fitness/sports titles.

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