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
Everybody loves BioShock. From the whale-like moans of the Big Daddy to the thrill of smashing a frozen Splicer into little bits, the game is quality. However, one aspect of the game that isn’t thrilling everyone is its hacking mechanism; if you want to break into a safe or turn enemy turrets into your own mechanized defense force, you first must succeed at a hacking minigame that plays a lot like the Lucasfilm Games classic, Pipe Dream. Well, as it turns out, BioShock’s own big daddy, Ken Levine, is also not in love with the mechanic. Shacknews sat down with Levine for an interview and got his take on it.
It’s a little out there. That’s why it was important that you could bypass it in two ways; you can buy it out or you can use the hack tools—or you can just ignore it. There’s only one hack you have to do in the game.
But I think if we could go back and do it again, we would have maybe rethought that a little bit. I think it was more a function of our limitations at the beginning of the project when we had a very limited budget, and then we zoomed in so many other areas that we sort of forgot to go back to that area.
The purely non-spoiler interview, linked below, goes on to cover all things BioShock and is well worth reading.
Read More | Shacknews
Bizarre Creations’ Project Gotham Racing series has always masterfully toed the line between out-and-out arcade racing and actual driving simulations. And now, with the fourth installment in the series and second for the Xbox 360, Bizarre is adding motorcycles to the mix. Yes, the road isn’t just for four-wheelers anymore, as the scruffier set can now take to the streets of St. Petersburg, Shanghai, and Macao (to name a few cities) and snatch up those elusive Kudos. Throw in dynamic weather effects and a revamped career mode, and you’ve got the 360 PGR that we should have gotten the first time around. Better late than never, I suppose.
PGR 4 speeds onto the Xbox 360 in North America on October 2nd, and in Europe on October 12th.
Read More | Xbox.com
Capcom has just released a new trailer for its highly anticipated action game sequel. The clip runs about two minutes and contains no actual gameplay footage. Strangely, it does show cinematic footage of our hero Dante getting thrown, punched, and kicked in the face over and over again in what appears to be a training exercise. Devil May Cry 4 hits next year, with this and lots of other bits of weirdness, on PS3, Xbox 360, and PC.
Read More | Capcom
With Halo 3 just a month away, its promotion and hype engines are running at an almost deafening volume. The buzz has been so loud that Bioshock, an Xbox 360 and PC shooter set amidst the ruins of a rapidly declining utopia, snuck up on us more or less under the radar. Now that it’s here, though, it looks like a sure winner, featuring a compelling story, unmatched graphics, and a fantastic overall experience.
Bioshock takes place in the underwater colony known as Rapture. Built as a haven for the best and the brightest members of society, Rapture has become a cesspool of insane former virtuosos who are all hopelessly addicted to a DNA-altering drug called Adam. Apparently not satisfied with their natural gifts, the denizens of Rapture used Adam to supercharge their intellects and multiply their talents. Unfortunately, everyone became dependent on the substance, and if one doesn’t get enough, he loses his mind and his face falls off. Sounds quaint, doesn’t it? As your character explores Rapture, he’ll run across a variety of violent junkies called splicers, as well as enormous armored supersoldiers called Big Daddies. While standard weaponry can hold off splicers, fighting Big Daddies is a strategic affair. Attempting a frontal assault is suicide, so your character needs to get smart and use the supernatural powers granted by Adam to take them down. Yep, you’re using Adam, too. Are you going to end up a hopeless, addicted mess like everyone else? Who knows, but the engrossing storyline has a fair share of twists that could lead you anywhere.
Bioshock hits stores everywhere tomorrow, so be ready. It looks to be one of the season’s best buys.
Read More | GamePro
After postponing the demo for their upcoming skateboarding game skate—originally scheduled for August 15—publisher EA has settled on Tuesday, August 21st as a new release date. One of the anticipated features of the game that was to be available on the demo is the video capture and upload capabilities. It was reportedly technical problems with this functionality that delayed the demo’s release in the first place, but EA believes they have hammered out the issues. This allows players to make video clips of their game play and upload them to share with other players online.
Skate is challenging the long-running and popular Tony Hawk skateboard series and is scheduled for release on September 12.
Read More | IGN
President of Tri-Crescendo, Hiroya Hatsushiba, based the curious concept of upcoming 360 role-playing game Eternal Sonata on a desire to bring the music of Frederic Chopin to a wider audience—in this case, gamers.
In the game, players exist in a dream world concocted by the composer as he lies on his death bed suffering from tuberculosis which took the life of the famed Polish composer at the age of 39. This dream world grants magical powers to those suffering from incurable illnesses. Chopin’s music is incorporated into the game as unlockable rewards for completing side quests.
Considering the recent “are games art?” debate being held publicly between the likes of Roger Ebert and Clive Barker, perhaps the inclusion of already established artistic work can help lend some weight to Baker’s pro-art arguments.
Read More | Silicon Era
After an avalanche of press following its showing at E3, Bethesda is now soliciting questions from the community. In theory they’ll accept and answer questions about any of their properties but it seems pretty obvious from the comments so far that the main point of interest is Fallout 3.
With so much skepticism from the old school Fallout fans over the direction Bethesda is headed and the casual dismissal of those concerns that most of the mainstream gaming press has displayed, this could be a good chance for the developers to clarify some of the hows and whys diehards have been losing sleep over since the game was announced.
A movie based on the game Condemned: Criminal Origins is in production and the director of the visually arresting 2000 movie The Cell, Tarsem Singh, is set to helm. The movie, which is shooting under the title ‘Unforgettable’, was written by one of the writers of the TV show The Shield, Kurt Sutter and is currently slated for 2008.
Singh hasn’t done much feature film work beyond The Cell, but while that movie didn’t exactly set any box office records, it did have a compelling atmosphere which bodes well for adapting the moody game. So far no actors have been associated with the feature, and it isn’t clear how closely Sutter’s script follows the plot of the game. However, with the movie not even bothering to try and capitalize on the brand recognition (minor though it may be), it could easily be one of those “inspired by” rather than “based on” kinds of projects.
And of course you can always count your lucky stars that so far Uwe Boll’s name hasn’t come up in association with the project in any way.
Read More | The Hollywood Reporter
Guitar Hero II for the Xbox 360 is getting some additional downloadable content this week in the form of a three-song pack, this time from a single band: My Chemical Romance. The included songs are “Famous Last Words,” “Teenagers” and “This is How I Disappear,” which will be available for 500 Microsoft Points.
Single-band packs seem to make more sense than the grab bag of the first couple DLC options, but the price point hasn’t changed from the oft-maligned $6.25 level.
Read More | Major Nelson's Blog