Monthly Archives: May 2009

Tony Hawk: Ride + peripheral

thrideIt was only a matter of time before skateboard games took this sort of turn. Through the latest episode of GameTrailers TV, the official reveal for Tony Hawk: Ride has been made and it doesn’t disappoint. You should know, though, that when I say “doesn’t disappoint,” I really mean that it lived up to the giant honking peripheral rumors and not that I couldn’t wait to get my hands on another Tony Hawk game.

I guess this means we’re halfway there (whoa-oh, livin’ on a—err…) to actually skating around in the real world, trying to pull off Super McVarial 900’s over hot dog stands for extra points. But seriously, look at that thing! Are we expected to ollie in place and perform kickflips in our breakables-filled living rooms?

Honestly, this will either sell like diamond hotcakes with a side of unicorn happiness or result in millions upon millions of broken bones and shattered TVs. Personally, I’m hoping for a little mix of both.

Tony Hawk: Ride will release for Wii, PS3, and Xbox 360 at, um, some point? Expect more news and sweaty game journalists when E3 comes around.

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Sony Rumors

Courtesy of T3

Courtesy of T3

Though we sidestepped the bountiful rumors of Sony’s new motion-sensing contraptions (not to mention Microsoft’s own cornucopia of similar, confirmed stories) and the new gussied-up PSP, but there’s only so much we can let pass by before catching all those wild suppositions with our giant Butterfree net. Turns out that a slimmed down version of the PS3 could be in the works, much like the post-South Beach PS onePS2, and PSP-2000.

Part of the totally-reckless-but-hopefully-true rumor mill is that this miniaturized version of the PS3 will receive a new paint job (pictured, courtesy of T3) and a huge bump in storage capacity. According to Ars Technica, this will mean the end of the 80GB model and an introduction of a 120GB or 160GB configuration, bundled with a DualShock 3 controller, though probably not the fabled white US version.

The slimdown, however, has some actual gravitas to the tale. This August will supposedly bring sub-65nm Cell processors and sub-90nm RSX graphics chips, which will also mean Sony can finally sell the PS3 for a profit (they currently sell at a loss).

For more comprehensive, albeit more furtive, details on Sony rumors, check out PlayStation LifeStyle. Tip for the oblivious: be sure to pay attention to the STYLIZED words.

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Leaked DNF goodies

As you’ve undoubtedly heard about, 3D Realms has officially closed its doors after more than 20 years of good ol’ Texas game development. To help those of you who can’t put two and two together, this means Duke Nukem Forever will never truly see the light of day as they had envisioned. However, thanks to possibly bitter employees that deemed it necessary for the masses to at least get a taste of what they would never get, leaks have emerged across the Interwebs.

Part of the EDF base

Part of the EDF base

Thanks to 3DR’s former art director Tramell Isaac, we can now glimpse some DNF levels, presumably of the EDF base and the Hoover Dam. And with the help of concept artist Layne Johnson, we get to see some enemy and weapons concept images.

Octaking concept art

Octaking concept art

And finally, just last night, Bryan Brewer helped leak some footage onto the Duke4.net forums. Needless to say, this is not suitable for the tykes (a sentiment applicable to this whole post), nor is this guaranteed to stay up. Many mirrors and links have already been shut down.

This footage actually got me wanting to play DNF, believe it or not. When Duke gave the finger to that huge alien, I knew we’d lost something beautiful. Anyways, the Apogee Software Twitter teased some news “regarding Duke Nukem coming next week.” Intrigued? You should be.

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Milking the Guitar Hero franchise

Well, it’s happened: Activision has gone bananas. In an effort to further squeeze every drop of green from the franchise, the publisher has announced that their fall lineup of “Hero” games will include DJ Hero, Guitar Hero 5, Band Hero, and Guitar Hero Van Halen. As much as I like Van Halen, I think they’re going a bit far.

This is how you become a DJ Hero

This is how you become a DJ Hero

DJ Hero is reviving the old DJ rhythm game sub-genre that beatmania ostensibly started (and Scratch: The Ultimate DJ possibly started again), much like how Guitar Hero revamped/stole GuitarFreaks. This could actually be something interesting, as beatmania IIDX is known to be what many in the field call an “asskicker.”

Guitar Hero 5 is more of an update of the main GH franchise. It will allow players to join and leave games, change members and difficulties, and swap instruments all on the fly. Hopefully it will also have a better setlist and interfaces, though Guitar Hero Smash Hits looks to be fulfilling the “better setlist” half.

Band Hero, however, is a big batch of disappointing. Instead of letting you fulfill your wildest orchestral dreams and wail away on solo tuba or buy a huge gong peripheral, the game is instead an E10+ rated affair full of top 40 hits to appeal to the whole family. Honestly, I’d prefer to play LEGO Rock Band.

Guitar Hero: Van Halen is simply continuing what Guitar Hero: Aerosmith and Guitar Hero: Metallica did for those two bands. It is said to be coming out the “second half of this year” and bringing along with it Van Halen hits (hopefully not “Van Hagar“) and some Queen, Weezer, Blink-182, Queens of the Stone Age, and the Offspring tracks.

Full rhythmic press release as follows:

The company’s groundbreaking DJ Hero expands Guitar Hero’s signature social gaming to all-new consumers with the addition of diverse music genres including hip-hop, R&B, Motown, electronica and dance. Introducing an all-new innovative turntable controller, DJ Hero transforms players into DJs who rule the club scene by creating original mixes of popular songs and music from the world’s most exciting artists and DJs.

Letting fans continue to fulfill their rock fantasies, Guitar Hero 5 features the hottest rock and roll artists today as well as classic rock bands and gives players an unprecedented level of control over the way they play the game with the ability to drop in and out of songs and change band members, instruments and difficulty levels on the fly.

The franchises’ first E10+ rated console game, Band Hero delivers an exciting music collection featuring top-40 hits designed to expand the appeal to a broad family audience who can play together on the guitar, drums, bass and microphone and experience a new genre of music. The game builds upon Guitar Hero’s easy-to-play, difficult-to-master signature gameplay and allows novice players and expert fans to join together on their favorite songs.

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3D Realms update

Something to tell your kids about.

Something to tell your kids about.

The studio shutdown is true, as confirmed by 3D Realms‘ webmaster Joe Siegler on the 3D Realms forums (link is likely to be down since their servers have probably been hit hard today):

It’s not a marketing thing. It’s true. I have nothing further to say at this time.

‘Tis a sad day for all. So marks the end of an era, but when entire generations of pop culture fads come and go during one development cycle of your game, you know you’re headed nowhere fast.

Consider that during DNF‘s development, all three Star Wars prequels were released, Google and eBay were founded, every single Harry Potter book was written, and the International Space Station was assembled. Evidently building a space station is easier than working with the Unreal Engine (sick burn!). Let this soak in: it took less time for all of World War II and the Manhattan project to transpire than for DNF to fail.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m extremely sad about this. I grew up shooting Pig Cops and simulating strip clubs, but this has been a long time coming. I’d hate to say it, but…Duke Nukem Forever? More like Duke Nukem taking forever, am I right?

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Duke Nukem Developer 3D Realms Closing?

While 3D Realms has made games other than Duke Nukem (such as the first-person shooter “Prey”) and while they were once the recently resurrected Apogee (“Commander Keen”! “Rise of the Traid”!), they are definitely most known for having been developing “Duke Nukem Forever” for, oh, about 13 years now.

However, the Texas-based developer may have shut down its doors, if recent reports are to be believed.

This comes on the heels of 3D Realms co-founder swearing up and down that “Duke Nukem Forever” was getting ever nearer to release (take that as you will).

Publisher Take-Two, who has the rights to publish the game should it ever be released, issued a statement not long ago:

“It is the Company’s policy to not comment on its contractual relationships, nor do we comment on rumors and speculation. That said, we can confirm that our relationship with 3D Realms for Duke Nukem Forever was a publishing arrangement, which did not include ongoing funds for development of the title. In addition, Take-Two continues to retain the publishing rights to Duke Nukem Forever.”  – Alan Lewis, Vice President of Corporate Communications & Public Affairs for Take-Two.

So if 3D Realms is indeed all out of bubblegum, one has to wonder if Duke Nukem will find a new home, in which case Take-Two will apparently still publish the title.

Apogee also issued a statement saying that they were unaffected by “the issue at 3D Realms,” and they will continue developing “Duke Nukem Trilogy” for the DS and PSP, of which not much is known.

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Red Dead Redemption screens

He looks angry

He looks angry

I don’t know about you, but I played the hell out of Red Dead Revolver. It wasn’t an absolute “holy crap, you gotta buy it” sort of product, but when a friend’s PS2 dies and no longer has a reason to liv—hold on to his library of games, you just have to take advantage. Lo and behold, a scant 4 years ago, Red Dead Redemption was pseudo-announced (along with a now extremely dated trailer) and undoubtedly instilled that old wild west feeling in many. 

Now, following the recent announcement of a new trailer that is due to hit the Internets later today, an exceptionally small salvo of screenshots have been released, all 5 of which are taken directly from the aforementioned trailer.

You can take a gander at the original batch of screenshots at the official Red Dead Redemption site. The game is slated to release sometime this fall for the PS3 and Xbox 360 and sweet sassy molassy I just cannot wait.

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E3 2009 Approacheth

We’re less than a month away from E3, and tension is building.

While I may or may not be able to afford heading to the showfloor this year, I’m extremely anxious to see what this year’s Electronic Entertainment Expo has in store.

I’ll have more as the expo date nears – such as predictions and most anticipated titles.