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jalexbrown

2K Finally Gives Bioshock 2 a Release Date

By: jalexbrown Sep 18, 2009 | 4 Comments

Yep, the big game's sequel was given a release date earlier today.

Bioshock was a great game when it launched on the Xbox 360 and PC, and it was still great when it was released as a port on the Playstation 3, but almost from the minute it came out fans were speculating a sequel.  Of course 2K was glad to give in to the requests, and announced that there would in fact be a sequel to the atmospheric shooter.  Well, today there's more information in the form of a solid release date.

According to a press release, 2K is commiting on the release date of February 9, 2010.  This time around, the game is launching simultaneously on the Xbox 360, PC, and Playstation 3.  As many fans are already aware, this time around you get to step into the boots of the iconic Bioshock nemesis, a Big Daddy.  The press release earlier this morning also confirmed that the sequel would contain a multiplayer component, which is something which split the fans of the first one; some thought it was needed, while others thought that the atmospheric touches would be lost in multiplayer.  While we can only assume that the multiplayer will be confined to online experiences, it hasn't been mentioned rather or not the multiplayer will be available via split-screen.  What we do know about the multiplayer component is that it will be a unique module as opposed to throwing two characters into the story designed for one.  Yes, that's right; there will be two stories in Bioshock 2, and the only way to experience both stories will be to play the game both solo and multiplayer.

Febrary 9, 2010; mark it on your calendars.

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jalexbrown

Unreal Tournament 3 Free Weekend

By: jalexbrown Sep 18, 2009 | 1 Comments

This weekend on Steam you can play a full version of Unreal Tournament 3 for absolutely nothing!

Free is always a good thing, right?  Free is even better when what you're getting for free is a full weekend with Epic's great arena shooter, Unreal Tournament 3.  That's right; this weekend on Steam you'll be able to play Unreal Tournament 3 until you can't take it, and you won't have to pay a red penny to do so.  If that's not awesome then I have no idea what is.

And if that wasn't enough to blow your damned socks off, the prices on all of the Unreal games are being discounted.  Unreal Tournament 3 is now being sold for a measly eight bucks; the original Unreal Game of the Year edition has been knocked down to just $1.99!  And if you want more, you can get an entire Unreal package for $16.99!

Steam has officially given you no reason not to own the Unreal games.

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jalexbrown

Best Selling 360 Games in Japan Aren't Exclusives

By: jalexbrown Sep 18, 2009 | 1 Comments

Apparently the Japanese market isn't interested in the exclusives that Microsoft can offer.

According to a Japanese blog that I've stumbled across (see link at the bottom; warning: it's in Japanese, but there are pictures to confirm game titles), the top five best selling Xbox 360 games in Japan aren't exclusive titles.  The blog cites the top five games as being:

  1. Star Ocean: The Last Hope
  2. Blue Dragon
  3. Tales of Vespria
  4. Last Remnant
  5. Resident Evil 5

If we approach this list in order, we start with Star Ocean: The Last Hope.  The game was originally announced as an Xbox 360 exclusive, but the game has since been announced as a timed-exclusive, with a PS3 release in February of 2010.  Given the delay of information, it's possible that the Japanese audience did pick up 360 units to play Star Ocean: The Last Hope.  However, anyone in Japan who is just now getting into the next-gen consoles can safely pick up a PS3 and know they're not going to miss out on Star Ocean's goodness.

Blue Dragon is technically a 360 exclusive; there's no two ways about it.  But perhaps we shouldn't ignore the DS release of Blue Dragon, Blue Dragon Plus.  This is the only game on the list that isn't out or planned on being released in its exact form on the Playstation 3.

Tales of Vespria has been released for both the 360 and PS3, so there's really no need to comment on that.

Last Remnant was released on the 360, but it also came out on the PC.  While I can't say for sure how big the PC gaming market is in Japan, it's still interesting to know that the Japanese gamers don't have to buy a 360 to enjoy this game, either.

Resident Evil 5 was released simultaneously for the 360 and PS3, so that's all the information we need about that.

What does this say to me?  Well, it says that Microsoft hasn't done a good job controlling the Japanese market.  Even in spite of the hype that a small segment of American gamers felt over the release of Final Fantasy XIII on the Xbox 360, the Japanese will still get it as a PS3-exclusive.  If Microsoft can't get some exclusives out in Japan that the market cares about, they're not going to be able to hold a candle to the PS3's dominance in Japan, plain and simple.  Would that even surprise anyone, though, really?  Not I, for sure!  I never expected to see Microsoft become a force to be reckoned with in the Japanese market, so based on my initial expectations I have to applaud them for their efforts.  But for all the Sony-exclusives that they've been stealing in America, they don't seem to be doing much better at holding onto their exclusives in Japan.

http://blog.livedoor.jp/htmk73/archives/209133.html

Community Blog

jalexbrown

Electronic Arts Job Page Hints Dead Space 2

By: jalexbrown Sep 17, 2009 | 8 Comments

According to a job listing on the Electronic Arts site, Dead Space 2 seems to be in pre-production.

Every once in a great while, digging around the internet brings up something which isn't necessarily well-known information.  In this case, a job listing on the Electronic Arts site confirms the development of a follow up to last year's hit, Dead Space.  The job listing - which is a job listing for a Lead Combat Designer - says in no unconditional terms that Dead Space 2 is coming.

(Quote taken directly from the job listing on the Electronic Arts site)

"About this Project
This M-rated action/shooter sequel will set new standards for an action-packed story-driven console experience. Our team values are as follows: Gameplay comes first, controller feel is everything, culture of creativity, be highly iterative, playtest early and often, learn from failure, work fast and smart, and surround ourselves with the best talent in the world.
The previous installment in the Dead Space franchise received numerous awards for gameplay, visuals, and sound design, and the same core team is in place to create an even better follow up.
The game is in the later stages of pre-production, ready for production in the next few months, with many of the navigational and combat mechanics in place. We have complete autonomy and creative control over our own decisions. The Games Label at EA is 100% committed to this IP, and has already worked on IP extensions such as comic, animated features, and action figures. We’re looking for a few more talented individuals to join, and take the game to new heights."

I think that's all the confirmation we need that a follow-up is brewing.  Unfortunately the job listing doesn't have a date attached to it, so I have no way of verifying when this job listing was posted.  In any case, if Electronic Arts is looking for someone to work on a sequel to Dead Space, then it's a sure-fire bet that we'll eventually get our grubby little hands on it.

In the meantime, we have Dead Space: Extraction to be excited about.
 

Community Blog

jalexbrown

Opinion: Stop With Movie-Based Games!

By: jalexbrown Sep 17, 2009 | 3 Comments

An editorial discussing my opinions about why the game industry needs to stop making so many games based on movies.

Okay.  I hate to say it, but I will.  I'm a fiend for a creative product.  Call me crazy, call me stupid, call me a bad consumer, whatever.  If I have to wear these titles - and many others - because I dislike games based on movies, then so be it.

In the tough economic climate facing the US today, game publishers are more and more likely to push developers to use their pre-owned properties; it just so happens that a good chunk of these pre-owned properties are movie licenses.  I understand that there are a few games - and I'm using that term loosely, because it's actually a very select few - that are based on movie properties that make total sense; perhaps a few of these movies were begging to be made into a good game.  Take, for instance, The Godfather.  I love the game to death, and I happen to be a huge fan of the movie trilogy.  I happen to think that The Godfather was begging for a good sandbox experience, and the developers did a great job creating just that.  It's a great fun game that understood its own concept, executed it well, and managed to stick to the source material without becoming to constrained by it.  On the other end of the spectrum, developers today make a lot of games based on movies that just don't seem to stick too well with me.  As an example of that, let's use...any game based on a movie made by Pixar.  I'm sorry, but did Up really need a video game?  The truth is the publisher used that license to leach a moderate amount of success off of the movie.  It's not like you watch Up and think You know...this really should be made into a video game.

Blandness breeds blandness, and if the game industry doesn't decide to take chances and push away some of this mediocrity, we're going to have consoles with software lineups bloated with movie tie-ins and shovelware (whoops...sorry Wii...low blow).  My advice to the game developers is to take some chances, try to create some new properties, and I'm sure there are enough open-minded games out there who are willing to give it a shot.

Besides...if I'm wrong you can always go back to making Pixar tie-ins.

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