Good afternoon, fellow Dealspwners. Jon is currently aboard a recently discovered Viking ship that has set sail for the New World in search of treasures and spices, the likes of which you can only find in fancy places like Marks and Spencers. As such, I shall be in charge of the news for today. So sit straight, eyes forward, and let's see what's happening in this crazy realm we call videogames.
It's not a surprise, considering Activision confirmed they'd be reorganizing the internal development of future CoD titles in the wake of Infinity Ward crumbling, but news has reached our shores that Sledgehammer Games is behind the next installment, due in November. On the Gamasutra website, a job listing for Sledgehammer Games states "Would You Like The Chance To Build And Drive The Studio Community Management Effort For Sledgehammer And The Next Call Of Duty Game?" Rumours emerged in November that Sledgehammer's as-yet-unconfirmed Call of Duty game would take place in the future. With space-marines, no less.
Sledgehammer Games is headed up for Glen Schofield, who led EA Visceral's development of the original Dead Space. Since joining Activision and establishing the studio, Schofield has tweeted numerous times on the development of his new game, such as consulting military personnel and picking composers for audio "better than Dead Space". What do you think? Can Sledgehammer Games breathe new life into Call of Duty?
Jon already covered what games you can expect to see when the 3DS launches in Japan, but now we have word on what the entire March line up is. Notable titles like Splinter Cell, Raving Rabbids and Dead or Alive: Dimensions are due in March, but Nintendo have also published a list of further titles. Due between the 11th and 31st of March are:
And with unspecified dates other than March:
Undoubtedly, it's a strong line-up, especially with Splinter Cell and Dead or Alive involved. Personally, however, I'm only interested in the Ocarina of Time remake, being the resident Zelda fanboy.
A mere 24 hours ago, Jon broke the news of Sony's lawsuit against George Hotz, the hacker responsible for cracking the PS3's firmware wide open. But Hotz, aka Geohot, has broken his - admittedly brief - silence and spoken out. And he's pretty confident of winning. Speaking to the BBC, Hotz stated he feels "comfortable that Sony's action against me doesn't have any basis." Alex Chapman of Sheridan Solicitors, who I imagine are the legal team Hotz has hired for his case, believe Sony's suit is a "very early step in the action", although the case may proceed "ex parte", which means judgment could be passed without the defendant's plea.
Such responses aren't surprising on either side, with Sony desperately striving to minimize casualties and the accused standing firm behind their move. It's a pity I'm far too stupid to understand the ins and outs of legal machinations, or even what cracking firmware means, but I hope a resolution can be found where Hotz isn't too harshly punished. After all, is it not Sony's job to ensure such things don't happen?
On their official blog, Sony has confirmed Mass Effect 2 will be released on the Playstation Network on January 18th, the same day it hits store shelves. It's a pretty hefty download, clocking in at 12GB, but it frees up your disc drive meaning a quick session aboard the Normandy can be followed up with some classic sci-fi like Blade Runner or 2001, with no need for any physical activity whatsoever. Hoorah for inactivity!
In the post, Sony also go to great lengths to convince us that Mass Effect 2 on the PS3 is no mere port. After all, it's been built on Mass Effect 3 code, includes all the DLC 360 owners paid premium for, and even features a fancy comic book opening so you can log original Mass Effect choices into your game from the off. And at 12GB, it's probably uncompressed, resulting in cleaner textures and crisper sound. But is all this enough?
The EA Presser at this year's Gamescom brought us the news that the previously Microsoft-exclusive Mass Effect 2 would be hitting the PS3 early next year. This is great news for Sony fans, but the fact that the storyline is so intimately linked to the events in the original Mass Effect has made many of us pundits wonder whether it's actually a particularly good idea. After all, not knowing the characters, backstory and premise makes Mass Effect 2 nothing more than a serviceable shooter! Not to mention that an original Mass Effect save file governs several key events in the narrative.
However, Bioware Commuinity moderator Nathalie Edelmann has suggested that an interactive Dark Horse graphic novel will bridge the gap- showing players the pivotal events of the first game and letting them choose how to proceed. Not only will this bring PS3 players up to speed, but it will also allow them to make the same moral choices and invest in the characters as much as their Xbox 360 counterparts. Outstanding.
The PS3 version will also contain the Kasumi’s Stolen Memory, Overlord, and Lair of the Shadow Broker DLC packs on the disc.
Nintendo are planning a stonking launch lineup for the Nintendo 3DS next March; including the likes of Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Kid Icarus and Super Street Fighter IV... but apparently this isn't enough for Ninty president Satoru Iwata. In order to maximise the list of Western launch titles, he's considering localising a number of previously-unreleased DS titles that have rarely been seen beyond Japanese borders.
The upcoming Fire Emblem remake is a serious contender for a 3DS revamp, as well as 7th Dragon, Blood of Bahamut, Soma Bringer and countless others. Seriously, a quality selection of launch titles will help the new handheld break free of its shovelware-addled reputation. [1UP]
We have a mixed relationship with the Ninja Gaiden series. The original games provided rock hard 2D platforming that put players through the wringer, whilst the original Xbox version provided an incredibly nuanced experience that was challenging without being cheap. Unfortunately Ninja Gaiden 2 turned out to be broken, boring and frequently bad. However, Team Ninja head Yosuke Hayashi has confirmed that the Ninja Gaiden 3 will be a sequel in number only- providing a reboot rather than a continuation of the story.
We're developing it with the idea of restarting at the beginning, saying 'We'd like to make the action game that's most interesting for the current era,' With this meaning, it's going to be a game that's not bound by the past. - Hayashi to Famitsu Magazine
Hayashi also dropped some interesting hints about the latest gimmick... and apparently it's all in hand. Sorry.
He seems to be doing something with his right hand. Also, there's something not normal about this hand. It's covered in blood, but there's something unnatural regarding the blood.
Your guess is as good as mine, folks. Naturally we'll be keeping a close eye on Ninja Gaiden 3 over the coming months- and we'll hear more once their "internal prototype" has been thoroughly tested.