Rockstar Games found itself in a bit of a pickle earlier this year when the ESRB slapped Manhunt 2 with an Adults Only rating. Most stores balk at selling AO-rated games, but more importantly, Nintendo and Sony refuse to publish them. As a result, the game’s original release date of July 10th was scrapped, and much hand-wringing ensued on the part of Rockstar executives wondering just what the hell to do next.
Well, Rockstar’s long nightmare appears to be over, as company PR has revealed that Manhunt 2 has been modified, rated M by the ESRB, and will hit North American store shelves this October 31st on PS2, PSP, and Nintendo Wii. “Manhunt 2 is important to us, and we’re glad it can finally be appreciated as a gaming experience. We love the horror genre. Manhunt 2 is a powerful piece of interactive story telling that is a unique video game experience. We think horror fans will love it,” said Sam Houser, founder and executive producer of Rockstar Games.
There has been no word yet on what content changes were made to the game in order to lock down a Mature rating. And sadly, the game is still banned over in the UK.
Read More | GameDaily
Sony has examined the most recent NPD numbers and, happy with what they saw, are attributing their 61% jump from the previous month’s numbers to the PlayStation 3 price drop they announced just prior to E3. They are quick to point out that anticipation for some actual exclusive titles like Heavenly Sword and Warhawk may have helped drive interest in their slow-out-of-the-gate console.
Despite the predictably upbeat tone of Sony’s blog post, some have had a less than enthusiastic response to July’s NPD numbers since many analysts predicted that Sony was going to beat the Xbox 360‘s sales in July largely because of the price drop. That the PS3 was still unable to overtake the 360 in sales in spite of a comparatively more affordable price has some worrying that Sony just doesn’t have enough market draw to convince consumers to take the plunge. What is plainly obvious now is that Sony drastically overestimated the price the market would bear: It’s wallet-busting PS3 has lagged in sales from the beginning while Nintendo’s $250 Wii has flown off store shelves consistently for almost a year and as soon as the price went down on the PlayStation, it saw an improvement in units moved.
Read More | PlayStation Blog
2K Sports has announced that it is bringing the popular Top Spin Tennis franchise to the Nintendo Wii. Such a move seems like a no-brainer; Wii Sports is fun and all, but Wii owners have been clamoring for a tennis game with a little more depth for a long time now.
“We are excited to bring our popular Top Spin series to the Wii,” said Christoph Hartmann, President of 2K. “Given the Wii’s unique controllers and the fun family-oriented gameplay, Top Spin Tennis effectively bridges the gap between a sports and a party game.”
Unfortunately, gamers eager to whack some balls around with their Wii remotes will have to wait a bit, as the game isn’t scheduled to ship until Spring ‘08.
Read More | Take2 Games
People with virtual currency burning pixelated holes in their alternate reality pockets can check out the Xbox Live Arcade and the Wii Virtual Console this week for some new (or perhaps old) titles. The most exciting offerings this week look to be the Jeff Minter shooter Space Giraffe and the wonderful SNES classic, Super Metroid.
Read More | Nintendo Press Release
Despite being much harder to find throughout the year in retail outlets than the competitor’s next-gen console hardware, Nintendo‘s Wii may not see much improvement in availability until sometime in 2008. Nintendo originally planned to expand their production in June but were forced to delay their expansion plans due to tight supply of certain components coming from Taiwan-based suppliers.
Wii units are certainly far more available than they were shortly after launch but that may be related to the comparatively lighter demand; with the 2007 holiday season fast approaching and key titles like Metroid Prime 3, Super Mario Galaxy and Super Smash Bros. Brawl expected before Christmas, this could mean another tough Christmas on shoppers with Wii systems high on their lists.
Still, Nintendo has not backed down on projections made in April of this year and in a statement to GameSpot said, “Nintendo has no revisions to announce to its most recent shipment forecasts at this time.” They originally predicted that they would sell 14 million Wiis this fiscal year.
In this promotional trailer for the Wii version of Tomb Raider Anniversary, Producer Morgan Gray demonstrates some of the game’s Wii-specific motion controls. Using their Wiimotes, budding Lara Crofts will be able to “touch the game world for the first time.” Not in that way! No, instead players can use the controller as a pick-axe to remove obstructions or as a brush to clean off artifacts. Wiimote-specific control schemes for the various puzzles and combat sequences are obviously a given. All in all, this brief peek hints at motion control mechanics that are surprisingly well integrated with the core Tomb Raider gameplay. Gamers are understandably wary of some of these quickie PS2/PSP-to-Wii ports, but Tomb Raider Anniversary is one to keep an eye on.
Eidos has not given official word on a release date for the game besides “Coming Soon,” but we’re guessing it will hit in time for the holidays.
Read More | Tomb Raider Anniversary
GameTrailers.com has footage of the gameplay from upcoming Wii game Metroid Prime 3: Corruption showcasing some of the heavier shooting action compared to previous Prime games. This is apparently a conscious decision by developer Retro Studios. Talking to EGM in their September issue, Senior Producer Bryan Walker said, “In the first two games, we never really concentrated on the shooting. The Wii controller allows the combat to be better, more intuitive, and I feel we could incorporate more of that into the game.”
Metroid Prime 3 is scheduled to be released on August 27.
Following a light week, Microsoft returns this Wednesday to the two game new/old format, dropping Hexic 2 (800 Microsoft Points) and the Sega classic Ecco the Dolphin (400 Microsoft Points). Hexic 2 comes from famed Tetris creator Alexy Patjitnov and follows up the packed-in original XBLA title and adds new modes including same-screen or Live multiplayer; Ecco the Dolphin boasts enhanced graphics and sound plus a “Best Time” leaderboard.
These games join more than 75 others on the service which has been a huge success for Microsoft as detailed in a lecture by Marc Whitten this week at GameFest, where he discussed the company’s plan for attracting the casual gamer to the XBox 360. Whitten stated that they’ve seen a 156% average financial return in the past year on XBLA titles, earning more than $30 million to date. Based on this success they expect revenue on XBox Live Arcade to double in the next fiscal year and predict that by the end of this year they will have reached 45 million downloads of over 100 available titles.
On Nintendo’s similar download service, Virtual Console, they’re dropping three new games this week including the original NES classic Metroid (500 Wii Points), plus the Sega dungeon crawler Shining in the Darkness (800 Wii Points) as well as the TurbGrafx-16 game Cratermaze (600 Wii Points). Nintendo is choosing now to push the original Metroid title onto the VC as a means of keeping their Metroid brand fresh in gamers’ minds as they prepare to release the marquee Wii game Metroid Prime 3: Corruption in two weeks. As part of this effort, next week’s VC title is expected to be the SNES sequel, Super Metroid.
Read More | Gamasutra