EA announced at the GDC that they would be publishing a new title from the MTV/Harmonix partnership. While Harmonix has been booted off of the Guitar Hero franchise with Activision’s acquisition of Red Octane, the next title from one of the big names in the music game genre is drawing a lot of attention. Unfortunately, aside from the detail that EA is publishing this next mystery game and that the parties involved believe that this is their most ambitious title to date. It may be hard to follow up the fantastic success of the the Guitar Hero games, but Harmonix may be the developer to do this.
Read More | Mercury News
EA, always the master of doing something evil in the realm of videogames, has shown off a first movie of their upcoming Wing Commander: Arena game, and the results are, well, disappointing to fans of the franchise. Expecting a great space shooter along the lines of X-Wing and TIE Fighter? Well, forget it… from the looks of this movie, the new Wing Commander is going to be an arcade-y Asteroids clone that for some reason goes with a zoomed-out, 3rd-person (3rd-ship?) perspective. Oh, and no 3rd dimension for you. It looks like you’ll get to yaw and pitch your ship all you want, but the roll is decidedly missing in this 2.5-D shooter.
If the final game ends up looking like this, I expect Wing Commander will be quickly added to the list of franchises that were killed by their respective copyright holders. EA will be producing this game for Xbox Live Arcade, so it’s understandable that it looks like more of a casual gaming title. But frankly I’d be happier if they just put the original WC series up for download.
The iPhone looks to be one of the first great, albeit pricy, “convergence” gadgets out there. Running a version of MacOS X that will allow you to surf the web, play 4GB worth of MP3s, watch videos (in near-widescreen format), and make phonecalls, the iPhone holds a lot of promise. Still, nothing’s been mentioned yet about the real reason folks will be picking up this $499/$599 monster - it’s a new way to play Snood, Solitaire, and Bejeweled on the go!
Apple may not have announced anything yet, but Gamesindustry.biz is reporting that Electronic Arts is in talks with Apple to produce games for the new gadget. EA has already produced games for the ubiquitous Apple iPod, including translations of Mahjong, Mini-Golf, Tetris, and Sudoku built for its click-wheel interface. Given that the iPhone will have a multi-touch interface, a faster processor, and a nice widescreen display, it seems that EA could be able to produce some really advanced content for this piece of hardware. Perhaps a Madden clone where you can draw-out your playbook on the screen? Or a first-person shooter where you aim and shoot with touch-controls? We’ll have to wait and see how ambitious EA gets, but it’s looking like there’s a lot of promise in this platform.
Read More | GamesIndustry.biz
It might not be the most gamer-oriented interview of all time, but at 8 full pages, this interview with Will Wright, the designer of Sim City and the upcoming Spore, covers a lot of territory and contains some interesting discussion of gamer interactions, the social nature of games, game theory, and the risks of the game industry. He also gives his opinion on a lot of current trends, like the Wii’s control scheme (he likes it), and Second life (interesting, but he doesn’t have enough time for it).
This is a great read for anyone in the game industry or anyone who’s just interested in the sociology of games.
Read More | Popular Science
After Sega bragged about bringing true 1080P to the Xbox 360 for the first time, EA stepped up today to say that they would actually be the first to have a 1080P native title. Representatives from EA talked to Gamasutra, and they noted that the upcoming February release of NBA Street Homecourt would support the full 1080P resolution on the Xbox 360 at 30 frames per second and would beat Virtua Tennis 3 to market by a month. Perhaps during the two weeks before Street is released, someone else will step up and steal the 1080P crown yet again.
Read More | Gamasutra
EA confirmed their continuing commitment to both of Nintendo’s gaming platforms today. Next Generation reports that during EA’s conference call to investors, the company asserted that they are actively directing resources to publishing games on the Wii and the DS, including one of 2007’s most anticipated titles, Wil Wright’s Spore. The company did not suggest a release window for the game. Some of Maxis’ other “god-game” franchises were mentioned, including My Sims and SimCity. Assuming that Spore can live up to the hype, a version of the game on the DS would be yet another way for the handheld to expand its audience.
Read More | Next Generation
It can’t be long until Nintendo and EA announce that Sim City DS will also be hitting the states… this footage just looks too good, and Nintendo fanboys will be whining A LOT if this doesn’t get ported state-side. Plus Will Wright’s native language is English, so we should get a game with him speaking English… right?!?
The trailer found in the link is the latest advertisement for the Japanese version of the game, and shows of the variety of ways in which the touch-screen is used. This is looking to be a fabulous fit for the DS. The touch screen is of course used to design buildings and layout roads, but you’ll see in the trailer that you can also use the stylus to do things like fight off alien invaders and giant apes that attack from time to time. Hopefully we’ll hear some news from EA soon about a US release…
Read More | GameBrink.com
Nintendo outlined their upcoming releases for the first quarter via press release today. While the first-party Wii-original list is spare, consisting only of Wii Play with a bundled remote launching February 14th, next week will see the release of Mario Kart 64 for the Virtual Console, bringing one of the best entries in that franchise to the Wii. In addition, Nintendo will finally be making the Wii News Channel available on January 27th; hopefully the News Channel will be more fully realized than the Weather Channel. Third-party releases will see SSX Blur coming, which has been getting some decent early buzz. Others include The Godfather: Blackhand Edition and Tiger Woods PGA Tour 07; it will be interesting to see how EA handles the Wii remote in its upcoming titles.
The full press release continues after the jump.
EA has announced yet another game in the cash-cow Sims universe… this time it’s a set of standalone “Stories” built around characters in the Sims universe. Unlike previous Sims games, which seemed designed to suck every moment of your real life away so that you could give it to your virtual character, The Sims Stories are self-contained (i.e., they don’t require any previous games or expansion packs) and designed for short, casual play on PC laptops with modest specs. The first in a series, The Sims: Life Stories will be a comedy/romance which you play from the perspective of two different generically-named Sims, “Riley” and “Vince”. The initial story will be followed by The Sims: Pet Stories and The Sims: Castaway Stories.
Maybe it’s just that I never really got into the Sims universe, but this sounds like it has “flop” written all over it. How is EA going to convince gamers to spend their money on generic adventure games about everyday characters? It’s a lot like trying to convince somebody to play Sam and Max, but without any artistic style or wacky characters. I suppose you could make the argument that Sims Stories is to reality TV as Sam and Max is to cartoons (and boy is that there reality TV popular these days), but somehow I don’t see this working in the gaming sphere.
Regardless of its success, these games look like they were rather cheap for EA to produce, and will probably net them a bit of a profit. The game was only announced today, but will be debuting in stores on February 7, 2007, a scant 3 weeks away.
Click the jump for EA’s full press release…
Read More | EA.com
Hoping to clear off shelf space for next year’s iteration of Madden, Fight Night, and Tiger Woods, EA has dropped the price on a few games in their library. Starting tomorrow, you’ll be able to pick up many of EA’s titles for $10-$30 off of their usual price. Of course, with EA’s habit of shutting down servers for unpopular games, you might want to think twice before picking up anything that has a year attached to the title. Still, there are some fairly well reviewed titles to be found, including The Godfather and Need for Speed Carbon, so this might be a good way to get some extra bang out of that gift certificate you got this Christmas.
See the full list of reduced-price titles, after the jump…
Read More | Game Invasion @ Comcast.net
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