Instead of just reciting sales data from Black Friday and calling it a day, as I had expected to do so, it's been a CRAZY busy time in the world of games. Cuz it's not only the time of the year in which everyone's playing stuff, it's also when stuff is being made for this time next year. But what exactly? That's when rumors come in mighty handy...
Assorted details regarding Sony's upcoming handheld system have been making the rounds, and it hasn't been pretty. At the top of the list is info regarding the memory cards. Many were annoyed that, instead of adopting a universal format like SD cards for saving info, which even Nintnedo and Apple have done, there's yet another line of proprietary doodad to be acquired. Especially since it's not even the Memory Stick Pro Duo format, which many were expecting (since most of Sony's consumer portables use it, like the PSP).
Prices have been revealed and they will be, as feared, expensive. 4GB card for $29.99. 8GB for $44.99, 16GB for $69.99, and 32GB for $119.99. On the software side of things, the Vita version of Ridge Racer will only have five cars and three tracks. Plenty of other automobiles and roads are in the wings, but only available via DLC. The detailed schedule is quite grandiose, as well as confusing, and very pricey.
Nintendo Made A Huge Comeback On Black Friday
The days immediately following Thanksgiving are always a good for the house that Nintendo built, though many were shocked to discover this past weekend was their absolute best yet. Despite being on the market for years and looking long in the tooth, they still managed to move over 500,000 Wii consoles, plus around that many 3DSs, up 325% over the previous week. One key aspect has been Super Mario 3D Land, which pushed over half a million copies, making it the fastest selling portable Mario title to date. Skyward Sword also set a new record as well; over 500,000 copies were sold, making it the fastest selling Zelda game of all time. Given that it's arguably one of the finest Zelda games ever, that's hardly a surprise.
Nintendo Caves In, Xenoblade Chronicles Is Finally Coming To America
Perhaps prompted by all the new Wii owners out there, and how they honestly have nothing new in the oven till the Wii U comes out (aside from the previously announced Rhythm Heaven Fever), Nintendo of America has finally decided to publish the JRPG Xenoblade Chronicles after-all. Some might recall the grassroots movement Operation Rainfall, in which American gamers begged Nintendo to bring over the title, due to severe lack of such games for the platform (and titles in general), but in which NOA's previous stance was essentially "we have better things to do." No word yet if the other two titles that were part of the initiative, The Last Story and Pandora's Tower, are coming soon, but the chances just got much better.
Bethesda Releases Patch Skyrim, Fixes Some Problems, But Causes Many More
Gamers, primarily on the PS3, who had issues with Skrim were elated when an update was released to alleviate their woes (with the biggest one being a bug related to save files that kept getting ridiculously big and resulted in game stability woes). But came the realization that it caused eve more problems, most of them minor and somewhat hilarious, like dragons flying backwards. Yet others are more serious, and definitely game breaking, like the inability to handle certain objects in game, or to even complete certain quests. A patch for the patch is now being worked on and should be in everyone's grasp in the next two weeks.
Game Informer recently revealed their cover story for their upcoming January issue, which is about the new South Park game that's coming out for the P3, Xbox 360, and PC. Unlike virtually every previous game to feature the license, this one is being handled by a legit developer, best known for Fallout: New Vegas. Also, the shows creators are fully involved, providing the script and the voice work. Details are sparse at the moment, but it's going to be a RPG, which is definitely up Obsidian's alley.
The Creator Of The Last Guardian Quits Sony, But Is Still Working On The Game
Details are again scant, but it's been reported that Fumito Ueda, head of Team Ico, one of the most respected internal studios work on PlayStation games in Japan, has left his post. It's yet another item to file under the "what the hell is going on in the Japanese game development scene?" category. Though good news is that he's sticking around to finish the game, as a freelancer, but it's also been mentioned that the situation has done little to help the production cycle; the game is already way behind schedule.
Resident Evil 6 May Take Place In China
Another game that has never been formally declared, but which most have assumed is in the works, is Resident Evil 6. At least one possible bit of info is now known, thanks to voice talent listing it on their resumes. The most telling intel is from a prominent Chinese actress, whose listed as a "Chinese Villager/Zombie", meaning the game could possibly take place in China.
Details Regarding Sony's Answer To Smash Brothers Come To Light
Yet another title that has been rumored for many years, which is Sony's take on Smash Brothers, but featuring their various characters, but which no one thought was actually real might actually be so. Someone claiming to be working on the game posted various work in progress shots on Twitter. The fact that this person is with a legit Sony developer is what gives the scenario a definite air of credibility. The only thing known is that the cast of characters, thus far, includes Nathan Drake, Sweet Tooth, Sly Cooper, and the Fat Princess.
Sticking with speculation, much of the sewing circle talk has concerned various EA properties. First comes word that the next Dragon Age may be a multiplayer affair. There's also talk of a third Army of Two, which is also built heavily around co-op. But instead of it being just a two player game, the next entry will require four players. Though most of the speculation, the craziest at least, surrounds Dead Space.
It would seem that EA is determined to turn it into their next big thing, as evidenced by the two main games, on rails shooter, puzzle game, comics, novelization, and direct to DVD animated flicks thus far. In addition to a proper Dead Space 3, there may also be a Dead Space first person shooter, a Dead Space flight sim, and what has been describe as Dead Space but with Uncharted elements infused. Though it needs to be emphasized that these are all rumors, nothing has been announced officially.
Verizon Does The Xbox 360 Wrong, UFC Does It Right
Verizon is the first cable provider to reveal its plans to integrate their services with the Xbox 360, and it seems like a real mess. You basically need to be both a Verizon FiOS internet customer and pre-existing cable subscriber to use their app, which is part of the Xbox Live Dashboard, making the entire thing a bit redundant. Being a cable subscriber already basically undercuts the need just a few (not all) channels also viewable, unless the idea of changing changes by talking to your Kinect is super exciting to you.
Meanwhile, the UFC had announced a release date for their XBL app, which is slated for December 20th. It will allow you to purchase and view the upcoming UFC 141, headlined by Lesnar vs. Overeem, without the need of having a cable provider. It was also have pre-fight build up and a means to place bets on the outcome of matches and the like. Needless to say, this is a huge boost to those who enjoy MMA but don't have cable (and also happen to have an Xbox).
One of the longest standing staples of the world of video game journalism finally ceased operations. The print version has been struggling for years, much like every other print publication across the board. Despite a recent format change, which turned the once monthly magazine into a quarterly affair, the plug was completely pulled. It's website will also cease operation as well, on the 5th, and simply auto direct to PCWorld.com. And thus ends a twenty plus year run.