This Week’s Videogame Releases

The sheer number of game releases is dying down, but there are a couple of major titles left before the end of the year. This week’s biggie is Activision’s Modern Warfare 2. Some are predicting that this will be the year’s biggest game. I’m curious to see how “big” it will be, but I’m content to wait until it’s marked down before picking it up. Here are this week’s PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Nintendo Wii, PlayStation Portable, and Nintendo DS releases…along with some brief commentary. I’ve taken out most of the garbage and kids games (unless I found them funny). As always, let me know if you’re planning to buy any of this week’s new releases.

Modern Warfare 2

Xbox 360
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 — I’m still not sure why this game is as big as it is, but cheers to everyone that’s looking forward to it.
Chaotic: Shadow Warriros
Dragon Ball: Raging BlastDragon Ball games should have a screaming mode, where you scream for 20 minutes before unleashing an attack. It would be like 1/3 of the DBZ episodes.
Final Fantasy XI Ultimate Collection
Hasbro Family Game Night
— Mr. Potato Head is a mofo.

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How Warren Spector Ended up with Disney’s Epic Mickey

Warren Spector is one of the most creative game developers in America, but it seems odd that the man who worked on Thief and Deus Ex would be crafting a Mickey Mouse game for Disney. Yet here he is, working on Epic Mickey for Wii. Spector told Develop how his agent, CAA’s Seamus Blackley (who really ought to sign me), set him up with a meeting with Disney. He was reluctant to take it, but it worked out well.

So I’m stood there in a room full of Disney Interactive execs, and midway through my pitch I see they are all looking down at their BlackBerrys checking their email. I thought: ‘I was right! I am going kill Seamus’.

What was actually going on was that they were interested, but they were texting each other, asking ‘Shall we ask him if he’s interested in this Mickey game?’ It gets to the end of my pitch and they ask me how I felt about licensed games I said, ‘Actually, I am really interested in them’.

Epic Mickey

While I would never have predicted a Warren Spector/Mickey Mouse pairing, I have to admit that the possibilities are tremendous. Spector makes fantastic games and I can’t wait to see what he can do with an iconic character like Mickey Mouse. Who would have guessed that “the Deus Ex guy” + Mickey Mouse = the most anticipated Wii game of 2010.

[And Seamus, if your assistant happens to send this your way, you should really round out your stable of world class game developers with some guy writing a game blog. If anyone could get this site funding, it’s you. Ha!]


Shigeru Miyamoto Discusses His Design Goals for Zelda Wii

During a recent investor Q&A session, Nintendo’s Shigeru Miyamoto shared some of his design goals for the next Legend of Zelda game for Wii. As you know, the game will likely be significantly different from its predecessors due to its use of Wii MotionPlus. While some of you are down on the game and down on Miyamoto, I’m pretty sure the next Zelda for Wii will be great. Anyway, here’s what the game-design legend had to say:

Of course we are preparing gorgeous graphics for the sake of users’ anticipation for a grand role-playing adventure. But what I believe is very important is the realistic, actual feeling players have experienced themselves; the feeling to have really been on an adventure, to have explored the unknown terrains, to have solved the puzzle through trial and errors, to have themselves grown through various experiences! In that sense, a personal sense of creativity is becoming important among us. We have assembled one of the most creative team for the recent Zelda for DS, and we want to be as creative as possible for upcoming Wii Zelda.

Zelda Twilight Princess 2

A lot of Miyamoto’s design philosophies reminded me of my exchange with Rpadholic “LarcenousLaugh” in yesterday’s Coffee Talk. Miyamoto’s games aren’t about heavy-handed storytelling; they’re about the experience. While many modern games have been successful with strong storytelling, Miyamoto’s games succeed with their transparency, allowing gamers to feel like they’re the star of their videogame adventure. Some players might think this style is old fashioned, but I think it still works today.

As always, I want to know your opinion on Miyamoto’s style and what you expect from the next Zelda Wii. Do you prefer heavy-handed storytelling (Kojima games) or do you like transparency (Miyamoto games)?


Coffee Talk #18: Do You Believe in Miyamoto Magic?

Welcome to Coffee Talk! Let’s start off the day by discussing whatever is on your (nerd chic) mind. Every morning I’ll kick off a discussion and I’m counting on you to participate in it. If you’re not feelin’ my topic, feel free to start a chat with your fellow readers and see where it takes you. Whether you’re talking about videogames, if the Yankees will be Pedro’s daddy tonight, the Prince of Persia: Sands of Time movie trailer, or Josh Duhamel allegedly cheating on Fergie with an Atlanta stripper, Coffee Talk is the place to do it.

The other day, I wrote about the next Legend of Zelda game using Wii MotionPlus for swordplay and targeting. The reactions weren’t surprising. You’ve told me why you’re down on the Wii in the past, so I was expecting some of you to roll your eyes at the news. Yes, a lot of Wii games use motion controls in ways that are…less than entertaining, but aren’t you forgetting something in this case? Shigeru Miyamoto is working on this game!

Shigeru Miyamoto

Nintendo’s legendary game designer is responsible for some of the greatest videogame series of all time. His left pinky has more creativity in it than most game developers have in their entire body. Miyamoto has been written off as out of touch and behind the times before, but he’s always managed to come back and prove his doubters wrong.

So what’s different this time? Don’t you think Miyamoto will find a way to make Wii MotionPlus in The Legend of Zelda fun and unique? Don’t you believe in Miyamoto magic?

Shigeru Miyamoto Says Next Zelda to Use Wii MotionPlus

Zelda fans better get their arms ready because series creator Shigeru Miyamoto confirmed that the next version of the game will use Wii MotionPlus for swordplay and targeting. Wired Game|Life’s Chris Kohler did a nifty bit of translating and reporting on the matter. In a recent Q&A session, Miyamoto said:

In this (installment of the series), we’re using MotionPlus to make you feel much more like you’re actually fighting while holding a sword in your hand. In the previous game, you aimed at things by pointing at the screen, but this time we’ll use MotionPlus to create a much more convenient targeting system and a more pleasurable playing experience.

Zelda Twilight Princess

I’m glad that Wii MotionPlus is being used in key Nintendo franchises like The Legend of Zelda. However, I expect that some purists are not going to be happy. How do you feel about Wii MotionPlus in Zelda? Love it? Hate? Or are you taking the wait-and-see approach?


This Week’s Videogame Releases

The gaming business is entering its final push before everything is on the table for the holiday rush. This week’s big release is Dragon Age: Origins from the outstanding Edmontonians at BioWare. Music games are facing off again, but this time the battle is for casual gamers with Band Hero and Rock Band: LEGO. Is the music-game genre to saturated? Or will these games sell to a different audience?

While you ponder that, here are this week’s PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Nintendo Wii, PlayStation Portable, and Nintendo DS releases…along with some brief commentary. I’ve taken out most of the garbage and kids games (unless I found them funny). As always, let me know if you’re planning to buy any of this week’s new releases.

Dragon Age Origins chicky

PlayStation 3
Band Hero — Too bad this isn’t Band Camp Hero. I’d play an RPG about this one time, at band camp.
Dragon Age: Origins — BioWare rules!!!
Pro Evolution Soccer 2010
Rock Band: AC/DC Track Pack
Rock Band: LEGO
Star Wars The Force Unleashed: Ultimate Sith Edition
— I’m pretty sure the Sith invented repackaging.

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This Week’s Videogame Releases

We’re smack dab in the middle of the Q4 release rush. There are lots of interesting games this week, including some excellent platform exclusives. Lots of PS3 gamers are high on Ratchet & Clank Future: A Crack in Time, while Xbox 360 gamers will get their motors runnin’ with Forza Motorsport 3. Here are this week’s PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Nintendo Wii, PlayStation Portable, and Nintendo DS releases…along with some brief commentary. I’ve taken out most of the garbage and kids games (unless I found them funny).

Let me know what games you plan on picking up this week (please)!

Forza Motorsport 3

Xbox 360
CSI Deadly Intent — You know Jim, sometimes the box exes you. (yooooowwwwww!)
DJ Hero — The reviews are good, but I wonder how many people are going to buy an expensive game in this economic climate.
Fairytale Fights — A lot of you probably haven’t been following this one, but it looks like fun.
Forza Motorsport 3 — Microsoft’s first-party racer makes its highly-anticipated return.
Grand Theft Auto IV: Episodes from Liberty City
Jurassic the Hunted
Tekken 6
— I wonder if Tekken will do as well as or surpass Street Fighter IV.

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Singaporean School Using Wii Sports for Physical Education

Wii Sports

North Vista Primary School in Singapore has introduced a new element to its physical education classes — the Nintendo Wii. Using Wii Sports, the school has students playing games for two weeks of the program. Principal Phua Kia Wang elaborated on the decision to add gaming consoles to gym class:

The usual games concept in PE seemed insufficient, and may not be relevant when the kids go home. For instance, when they go home, does everyone have a basketball court (to play in)? Will they have the people to make up the teams to play with? We don’t want what we teach in school to be so isolated from real life.

Does anyone else find it hilarious that a principal is using the Wii so that kids don’t feel isolated from “real life”? Ha! Wang does have a point though — in cities like Singapore, a lot of kids have easier/more access to a Wii than a basketball court or tennis court. While I loved gym class as a boy, I would have had way more fun in “playing games” class — I’d ace that mofo for sure!

Source via Game Politics

NPD Console Sales Figures Top 10 Games of September 2009

NPD Group has issued its console software sales data for September 2009. Did MTV Games prove that all you need is love and a cool Gretsch peripheral? Or did Activision trounce it with the more varied Guitar Hero 5? Do any of you doubt that Halo 3: ODST did some major damage? Was Batman strong enough to take on the entire Marvel Universe? Let’s take a look!

The Beatles Rock Band

  1. Halo 3: ODST (Xbox 360): 1,520,000
  2. Wii Sports Resort (Wii): 442,900
  3. Madden NFL 10 (Xbox 360): 289,600
  4. Mario & Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story (Nintendo DS): 258,100
  5. The Beatles: Rock Band (Xbox 360): 254,000
  6. Madden NFL 10 (PlayStation 3): 246,500
  7. Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 2 (Xbox 360): 236,000
  8. Batman: Arkham Asylum (PlayStation 3): 212,500
  9. Guitar Hero 5 (Xbox 360): 210,800
  10. The Beatles: Rock Band (Wii): 208,600

    I’m relieved that The Beatles: Rock Band did better than Guitar Hero 5. I don’t have anything against GH5, but I needed to know that America had the good taste to support The Beatles. I’m a little bummed that Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 2 didn’t perform better, but I’m also not surprised. At the end of the day, the chart was dominated by balls (Madden) and guns (Halo). While millions of people are (what I like to call) balls-and-guns gamers, that’s just not my thing. Seriously though, it’s not so much about the genre, but two strongly established brands performing extremely well in September.

    What do you think of NPD’s September sales figures? Anything surprise you?

    NPD Hardware Sales Figures for September 2009

    NPD Group has issued its console hardware sales data for September 2009. How big of a difference did Sony’s PlayStation 3 price cut make? Was Microsoft able to do some damage control? Did the Wii — which still continues to dominate the field — continue its slide? Let’s find out!

    Console Wars!!!
    Console Wars!!!
    • Nintendo DS: 524,200
    • PlayStation 3: 491,800
    • Wii: 462,800
    • Xbox 360: 352,600
    • PSP: 190,400
    • PlayStation 2: 146,000

    Ah, there’s nothing like a price cut to make the console wars more interesting, eh? The $100 price reduction and the introduction of the PS3 Slim helped Sony achieve some nice numbers. It will be interesting to see if it can hang onto the momentum for the rest of 2009. Although the Wii’s pace has cooled off, it’s still selling well and adding to a huge installed base. The Nintendo DS? That portable console has yet to encounter any kryptonite.

    What do you guys and dolls make of the September numbers?!? Is this the start of Sony’s big comeback? Or it it just a temporary thing, like some Microsoft executives suggest?