Rock Band 3 vs Real Guitar Peripheral
Harmonix and EA have announced that Rock Band 3 will be released in Q3, promising to "revolutionise" the music game genre. It's unclear how they plan on doing that exactly (considering that Rock Band and Guitar Hero improvements tend to be incremental rather than sweeping), but it is clear that they'll be facing some competition.
Seven45 Studios have announced the development of Power Gig: Rise of the Six String at this year's GDC. It's a standard colour-matching rhythm game... except that the peripheral is an actual electric guitar. It can be plugged into an amp for some sick riffage, and provides game input with the addition of a plastic gizmo that fits under the strings. Whilst Power Gig won't require players to sweep pick or double-handed tap, it will teach elementary power chord progressions as well as elemental guitar theory (and hopefully will include an optional guitar training mode).
This brave new IP may well bridge the gap between rhythm game aficionados and skilled guitar players (who take great pride in smugly slamming the genre), but will require very careful pricing in order to make a splash. Music game sales have been steadily declining since the start of last year and Seven45 studios can't afford to price fickle consumers out of the market (especially since the peripheral is unlikely to be compatible with existing GH and RB titles). Watch this space. [Gamezine]
Details Emerge about Girl Shooting Tragedy
Two days ago, we brought you the heartbreaking story of a young girl who mistook a loaded pistol for a Wiimote and subsequently killed herself. Details were thin on the ground since the news was breaking at the time of writing, but we're now in command of all the facts surrounding this needless death.
Cheyenne Alexis McKeehan's stepfather left the loaded semiautomatic weapon on a worktop counter after suspecting that an intruder had entered the property. However, many gamers were confused by the fact that a white plastic Wiimote could be confused with a handgun by someone of any age (and left perfectly reasonable comments to that effect). Now we know.
Manufactured by a Chinese company, this black peripheral is technically illegal in the States due to its realistic colouration and the absence of an orange gun barrel (which is mandatory for lightgun peripherals and toy replicas). Whilst it's now clear how a harmless Wiimote could be mistaken for a lethal weapon, this doesn't vindicate Cheyenne's stepfather at all. He left an unattended loaded weapon within reach of a young child. Don't blame the game, folks: inattentive parenting ruins (and indeed, kills) more kids than violent media ever will. [via Kotaku]
Final Fantasy XIII Shifts Five Million Copies
We had mixed feelings about Square's latest Final Fantasy RPG odyssey, but the sales don't lie. After two days of sales, Final Fantasy has already shifted five million units, which is a huge number in anyone's book. Square's lavish launch parties, press events and hype machine have definitely paid off- even if critical reviews have been divided over whether it deserves such massive support.
In an statement to Gamesindustry.biz, Square Enix Europe CEO Phil Rogers was quick to laud FFXIII's strong European sales:
"The European launch of Final Fantasy XIII has been incredible. We hope this latest Final Fantasy adventure will excite our loyal fans and introduce this rich franchise to a totally new audience."
Square have certainly enticed the "totally new" western audience... but this isn't entirely a success story. Final Fantasy XIII has the weakest Japanese Debut of any FF title to date, with less than two million units sold in its traditional home territory. It's likely that the butch, western stylings of its main character and combat-driven first half have forced Japanese gamers out of their comfort zone. [Gamesindustry.biz]