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Heavenly Sword

Ahead of the upcoming Tokyo Game Show, Sony has released a ton of high resolution screen shots from some of the games they will be showing at the Tokyo Game Show, and Game Watch has them all online. Many of the screens look like 720P screen grabs. Among the new screen shots shown are a couple of shots of a game tentatively titled Afrika. Lair, the dragon-based action adventure was also updated, and apparently the game is now supporting the Playstation 3 tilt controller. Gamers can also check out screen shots of the upcoming Unknown Realms title from Game Republic and Formula One Championship. Finally, Sony also released a bunch of screens for both Heavenly Sword and MotorStorm. MotorStorm and Formula One both look remarkable well-detailed at this point, and the action shots of Heavenly Sword also show promise. Of course, one can not determine framerate from a still, but the games do look like they are in better shape than Sony’s hardware production.

Read More | Afrika

Read More | Lair

Read More | Unknown Realms

Read More | Formula One Championship

Read More | Heavenly Sword

Read More | MotorStorm via Game Watch Japan

Gallery: Sony Releases New PS3 Screenshots


Peter MolyneuxSpeaking at the Leipzig Games Convention Developer Conference, Peter Molyneux spoke on the need to evolve next generation combat. Both 1up and GamesIndustry.biz have covered separately different aspects of the talk, with 1up focusing on Molyneux’s ideas for advancing combat in the next generation. GamesIndustry.biz focused on the challenges that the Wii controller will present.

Molyneux’s general commentary on combat in video games is that, by and large, the fighting is not realistic. He proposed that developers do away with hit points, life bars, and unrealistic fighting in games. Molyneux held up Tarantino’s Kill Bill as an example of an approach to combat that video games might emulate. This might have been an unfortunate choice, given that this movie isn’t the most realistic portrayal of combat in the film world, but the points he expressed were still somewhat salient. His proposal includes going towards “one button” combat, combining charge attacks with timing and context awareness to alter how the fight progresses. The approach sounds similar to the timer attacks utilized in Yu Suzuki’s Shenmue series. Molyneux didn’t necessarily advocate this as the end-all of combat implementations, but seemed to use this to urge developers to think more creatively when developing new games. This somewhat tied into his remarks about the Wii controller.

When talking about the Wii controller, Molyneux confessed that he is “…an incredibly lazy person when I play games… when I have to get up, it’s painful.” He urged developers to consider the physicality of the control schemes that they were implementing, using the example of a movement-sensing glove that they tested. According to Molyneux, using the glove was “like some sort of Japanese torture that we’d put him through…” It seems Molyneux finds the freedom that the new controller offers exciting, but that excitement has to be tempered and worked with creatively to get the best that the controller brings to the table. Overall, the tone of the talk seemed to advocate developers to seek innovation rather than fall back into older, easier development patterns.

Read More | 1up

Read More | GamesIndustry.biz

Gallery: Peter Molyneux Talks Evolution Of Combat, Wii At Leipzig

Mad Catz Arcade Stick for Xbox 360“Give me your poor retro gamers, your d-pad using masses yearning to breath the freedom of an arcade joystick,” says Mad Catz… or at least that’s what I thought they said. Responding to the complaints of Pac Man and Frogger fans everywhere, Mad Catz will be releasing the “Xbox Live Arcade Stick”, or at least that’s what this image - found briefly in EB Games’ product listings and then promptly removed - would seem to imply. The design replaces one of the analog sticks on the original 360 controller with a large joystick, alleviating some of the problems gamers have been complaining about with the XBLA titles.

Still, there’s a lot about this design that doesn’t make sense. For starters, having the joystick in the top left corner of the controller means that you’re probably going to have to super-glue this thing to the floor to keep it from banging around. And with Street Fighter II recently released on Live Arcade, one would also wonder why Mad Catz didn’t have the foresight to move some of the trigger buttons onto the face of the controller, giving us the old 6-button fighter lovin’. In fact there’s no real indication of where the shoulder buttons even went! Frankly, if someone could just work out the wiring to get a SNES Super Advantage working on a 360, I’d be happier.

Rumor is this unit will drop for $49.99 and will be bundled with some Live Arcade games, and more details are expected later this month. Personally, I’ll be waiting for some reviews before running out to buy this puppy.

Read More | Joystiq.com

Gallery: Mad Catz Feels Your Pain, Will Release Arcade Stick for Xbox 360

Arcade in a Box

Maybe I’m just jealous because, like most MAME cabinet builders, I spent weeks planning out the perfect button layout, designing schematics, ordering parts, and assembling the final system. I felt special—I was part of an elite group with the motivation and know-how to build my own home arcade. But, alas, no longer - thanks to “Arcade In a Box” anyone with $1500 lying around can plunk down the cash for a plug-n-play MAME arcade setup.

Unlike your granpappy’s old X-Arcade joysticks, the setup above includes a fairly substantial built-in computer including a 3 GHz processor, 128 MB graphics card, ethernet, VGA/S-video, and USB ports galore front and back. Plug in a monitor and this set will have you retro gaming in minutes. And for a few extra bucks they’ll even customize the button colors and add in a spinner for that Arkanoid lovin’.

Now excuse me as I ramble to myself about the “good old days.”

Read More | Arcade In A Box via RealTechNews

Gallery: Retro Gaming for the Lazy Rich Kid: Arcade In A Box

With the release of Street Fighter II on Xbox Live Arcade, we thought we might pull this old video out and redisplay it’s awesomeness. What you see above it a video display of some truly awe-inspiring Street Figher skiz-ills. It’s a clip from EVO 2004, where Daigo make one hell of a comeback. At first glance you may think that it isn’t a big deal - that he just blocked and came back for the victory. However, in Street Fighter 3, you have the option of using a parry instead of a block. To pull it off, you have to press toward the opponent just as they hit you to parry. What you see in the video is the player Daigo, actually pressing toward Chun Li in perfect timing with each attack she does in that super move. In other words, when you see Chun Li power up then do the super move with that flurry of kicks the guy playing her actually perfectly parries each portion of the attack. If he would have blocked, he would have died. Hence, the reason for all the cheering in the background.

Gallery: Video: Amazing Street Fighter III - Third Strike Skills

Metal Slug ScreenshotWith the news of development costs for Playstation 3 games soaring (think Stranglehold or Heavenly Sword), a couple development firms are already starting to shy away from Sony’s expensive next-gen platform. The companies’ concerns are two-fold, actually - first, with the time required to create photo-realistic textures, character models, and animations, firms have to spend Hollywood-style sums to produce the expected content for the PS3. But secondly (and perhaps more importantly), with the PS3’s price tag there looms the question of whether the system will ever see the size of installed user base the PS2 has.

For these reasons presumably, Atari and SNK have both announced that they will not be supporting the PS3 platform in the near future. Atari has stated, in an interview with GamesIndustry.biz that the PS3 will not see any new titles from the company “until 2007”. Given that Atari recently sold its Driver franchise to Ubisoft and has been seeing lackluster earnings reports, it’s questionable how much of an impact their announcement will have on Sony’s success. SNK is a slightly stranger piece of news - during a recent interview with Kotaku, they stated:

“There won’t be enough consoles at launch. Few consoles mean few software sales. We need to wait three or four years. Maybe 2009-2010 is a good time to release a game for the PS3”

Coming from most companies, this analysis would make a lot of sense… but SNK, whose success in the games industry has been mainly based on artistically brilliant 2-D fighters and side-scrollers?? For SNK, it seems like development costs shouldn’t really be an issue - the fact that the PS3 can shade 60 trillion pixels per second isn’t going to raise development costs much for the primarily hand-drawn Metal Slug franchise. More likely, then, is that they’re concerned with the second point above—SNK really doesn’t believe Sony is going to sell enough systems to make it worth their while.

Of course, the real irony here is that SNK has thrived in recent years thanks to the PS2’s success, and their interview with Kotaku re-affirms their commitment to that console. Will more developers see developing for the PS2 as an alternative to big-budget PS3 titles? It seems if more companies take that route, Sony could become its own worst enemy.

Read More | GamesIndustry.biz

Read More | Kotaku.com

Gallery: Today’s Bad PS3 News: Atari, SNK Delaying Development

Street Fighter II LiveSo, Capcom’s Street Fighter II’ Hyperfighting has hit Xbox Live, and so far, gamer response could be considered mixed at best. Numerous complaints have hit the Internet both via blog posts and the official Xbox forums. Some gamers have reported horrible lag in the game, while others say that while they have experienced a few problems, most of the time the gameplay is smooth. Others have slammed the insane difficulty of single player mode, singling out the computer AI for Ryu as being particularly cheap. According to some, quarter match has worked sporadically, and some gamers have seen the game crash in quick match and custom match modes.

The hardcore Street Fighter fans are even less pleased. In a post titled “Capcom Screws Everyone Again,” gamer Jared Rea slams the game. The version of Hyperfighting that is on Live is not arcade perfect, and with the technology available in the Xbox 360, it should be. Rea blames both Microsoft and Capcom. Microsoft gets blame for passing the game through certification with all of the online bugs present. Capcom’s responsibility lies in giving development of the title to Sensory Sweep; while having one of Capcom’s in-house development teams work on the game would not necessarily ensure a better experience, the version on Xbox Live apparently has glaring gameplay bugs.

Feedback on the game is still early; there is still hope that a later patch could fix some of the online lag and matching issues. But if the accusations of inaccurate gameplay are correct, this will certainly dissuade the hard core Street Fighter crowd.

Read More | 1up

Gallery: Street Fighter II Lag

Small Arms XBLA logo Small Arms, a shooter/brawler Xbox Live Arcade title due out later this year, has implemented a new kind of achievement.  The achievement is titled “Six Degrees of Small Arms” and will spread through Xbox Live in a viral fashion.  When the game is released, only four members of Gastronaut studios will have the achievement.  The achievement will spread to anyone they play, and from that player to other opponents, and so on.  This is an example of a great Xbox Live achievement and is miles ahead of the “get on the leaderboard” achievements we have been seeing so much of lately.

Read More | 1Up

Gallery: Small Arms Debuts New Viral Achievement

Power Stone Collection

Power Stone Portable will be released in Japan on October 12, and Game Watch has some new screenshots from Capcom. The game should also hit US shores in October as Power Stone Collection.

As previously announced, the game includes both the original Power Stone, and Power Stone 2. In addition, players can use the four new characters introduced in the sequel on the original game. The new screenshots show off battle stages from Power Stone and Power Stone 2, but the shots seem to have lost a little detail in translation; textures just don’t seem to be as sharp as the original game. Of course, when the game is in motion and on the smaller screen of the PSP, this may not matter.

Still, it will be good to have a translation of this popular arcade and Dreamcast game on a portable platform. 

Gallery: PSP Power Stone Collection Screenshots

Tekken Dark Resurrection PSP

It looks like Game Watch Japan has been favored by Bandai Namco lately, since they’ve gotten the goods on Ridge Racer 2 recently, and now they have some brand new screens of Tekken: Dark Resurrection on the PSP.

The new shots show off some of the moves of the three new characters in Dark Resurrection. Armor King reappears after his absence in Tekken 4 and 5. The other characters, Lili and Dragunov should mix things up as well, with their own unique fighting styles.

In addition to the character changes, Dark Resurrection for the PSP will also support worldwide ranking comparison on the Internet through via infrastructure mode. Hints are made that rankings will be download-able as wallpaper, in addition to the previously announced ghost data downloads.

Read More | GameWatch Japan

Gallery: Tekken: Dark Resurrection PSP Screenshots