2012 has brought us some massive games and shattered sales records with merry abandon, but the fact is that plenty of deserving titles managed to slip under our gaming radar into pitiful ignominy. It's time that we championed the underdogs: the games you probably didn't buy - or even notice - throughout the last twelve months.
Before we begin, you need to understand that this list is not an objective measure of raw quality. Instead, we passed these games though a
hungover discussion on New Year's Day totally amazing top-secret algorithm that also takes sales figures and how little a splash they made in the mainstream gaming consciousness into account.
Confused art direction aside, 5th Cell's multiplayer shooter had a lot going for it. Jetpacks. Boomsticks. A persistent war fought through multiple seasons. What's not to like?
Sadly, Hybrid spectacularly failed to light up the Summer Of Arcade... perhaps because it came out scant weeks before Counter-Strike: GO. Whoops.
Dragon's Dogma gave us everything we've been missing from JRPGs: meaningful customisation that lets us truly become the main character. Then it added responsive combat mechanics, the deep Pawn NPC system and mythical creatures to stab up like nobody's business.
It charted well enough in Japan to warrant a sequel, but we feel that Dragon's Dogma deserved more recognition and sales over here.Click here to read more...
According to recent sales figures, even the phenomenally brilliant Dust: An Elysian Tail wasn't able to stop the latest Summer Of Arcade promotion clocking up some uninspiring numbers. Wreckateer, in particular, has become the least successful Summer Of Arcade title since records began... in the least successful Summer Of Arcade since records began.Click here to read more...
Microsoft have unveiled their Xbox LIVE Summer of Arcade lineup. It kicks off on July 18th with Tony Hawk's Pro Skater HD and will end on August 15th with Dust: An Elysian Tail. Remember, if you buy the lot, you'll get a nice 400 MSP rebate.Click here to read more...
There were some who thought that this would never see the light of day. Originally announced five and a half years ago, back in February 2006, Nuclear Dawn appeared on our radar and then disappeared two years later in spectacular fashion. The term vapourware got chucked in its direction, people started quoting Queen lyrics about biting dust and we all began to move on once again with our lives. A modification of that most malleable of engine - Valve's Source engine - Nuclear Dawn was built to be a working synthesis that would cross the boundary between two hugely popular PC genres: the first person shooter and real-time strategy.Find out how we got on with the Nuclear Dawn beta after the jump...
Last year, we brought you the surprising news that 5th Cell were working on a downloadable futuristic FPS called Hybrid rather than a follow-up to their popular Scribblenauts franchise. Apparently this new title went down well at the recent GDC - but the studio has decided to push it back into 2012 in order to give them "an additional year" to "take what [they've] learned and really drill down on our ideas to hopefully transform this game into something great."
Fair enough. Hybrid details are still thin on the ground, with the only solid intel being that the two playable factions represent normal humans and mutated 'hybrids' known as Variants. We'll keep you posted. [IGN]
Wow, it seems that grouchy old Keiji Inafune really wasn't kidding when he recently announced that he hated his job and wanted to retire. Writing on the blog of Capcom subsiduary Daletto, the vociferous developer explained that he has decided to quit and pursue a new career.
I entered the company as a character designer and 23 years passed in an instant. As a developer, I've reached the top at Capcom. There are no more stairs to climb. I'm leaving Capcom with the intention of starting my life over.
People that really know me, can see where I'm coming from. I'm not a regular dude. It's probably because I'm strange.
I'll do my best. Thank you. - Keiji Inafune
Sayonara, Inafune-san. Thanks for Mega Man, Onimusha and Dead Rising! Apparently he'll be searching for his next position immediately without taking a break... though considering that he frequently decries the Japanese games industry and slags off rival companies, he might have to consider a change of scenery. I wonder if Bethesda could use another guru? [Daletto (translated)]
The quarterly financials are in, folks... meaning that it's time to pore over the figures and come up with some contentious comparisons between Microsoft and Sony. Luckily I've done the hard work so that you don't have to.
First up: Microsoft. The software giant has announced record-breaking revenue of $16.2 billion for this quarter (ending September 30), an increase of 25% over the same period last year. They've seen year-on-year growth thoughout all of their divisions, ending up with a net income of $5.4 billion- and net profit of $382 million for their Entertainment Services division (which includes the Xbox 360).
While Microsoft managed to improve in all sectors, Sony has had a much more asymmetrical quarter throughout its hardware divisions. PSP sales have halved from 3 million to 1.5 million this second quarter... but the PS3 isn't pulling any punches. Hardware sales have slightly increased, but software sales have skyrocketed from 38.7 million in 2009 to 60.1 million units! This has pulled the Networked Products and Services division out of a 59 billion yen loss into a 6.9 billion yen profit.
Here's where it gets interesting. According to the latest sales figures, there's only a gap of 5 million units between PS3 and Xbox 360 sales (39.2 million PS3s compared to 44.6 million X360s)... with Sony selling at a faster rate this last quarter. Sony was able to shift 3.5 million PS3s between July-September whereas the Xbox 360 sold a lower 2.8 million, meaning that they have lost a little ground since Q1, but are still effectively gaining on Microsoft. This holiday season is likely to be pivotal for both companies, with Motion Control providing an interesting new proposition for existing consumers without actually being in significant direct competition. Sony sold over 6 million PS3s last Christmas, for the record...
5th Cell, the studio behind the recently released Super Scribblenauts, has released a teaser site and trailer for their newest project. Entitled Hybrid, this latest title is a gritty postapocalyptic shooter featuring two playable factions: Paladins and Variants. It's set for an XBLA release, though the exact date is up in the air at the moment. Why not check out the website for some cryptic backstory? [whatishybrid.com]
I hope (vainly) that we'll still be able to summon objects into existence with a magical notepad. Dropping whales or the Eiffel tower onto enemies will make for a brand new take on the FPS genre...
Yet more choice PSP2 rumours have oozed onto the internet courtesy of Kotaku, who recently claimed that a number of sources divulged information about the upcoming handheld after a closed-doors demonstration at TGS. Their latest unverified intel suggests that the PSP2 might ditch the UMD optical discs, instead storing downloadable games on Memory Stick much like the PSP Go. Uh oh. Apparently Sony are still deliberating the exact details of the storage system; though we hope that they'll allow other retailers to sell downloadable PSP games and decide their own price levels if the system goes completely disc-less.
Their 'sources' also reckon that the PSP2 will pack a gigabyte of RAM, which is almost double the amount you'll find in an Xbox 360.
Personally I think that the PSP 2 will ditch the UMD format. The constantly-spinning drive had a terrifying effect on battery life and took up a lot of space that could otherwise have been used to pack in more hardware or improve the form factor. File this one under very likely. As for the RAM, I think we'll need to sit back and wait. [Kotaku]