An interesting week for news, though partially due to Comic-Con’s pervasive presence all over the web this week. We have announcements, cancellations, and of course, the death of Amy Winehouse, who will temporarily be compared to other great musicians who died young (Kurt Cobain, Janis Joplin, Jimmy Hendrix, etc) but who will almost certainly be a trivia item by the end of 2012. Still, gotta give the girl her due: it takes real commitment to get emphysema before 28. Ok, enough about that… on to the games:
After months of anxious waiting, the millions of fans who just loved Final Fantasy XIII have a release date for its sequel. The creatively named Final Fantasy XIII-2 will be released in January 2012. The game’s director, Motomu Toriyama, informed Famitsu in an interview earlier this week that the new game would be much less linear, allowing for greater player choice, and would feature fewer pre-rendered cut scenes. The game will also be about 40 hours in length, and will apparently feature some sort of original way to replay it once players have gone through it once already. No word yet on if this includes joining a mercenary J-Pop band, but one can always hope.
Some sad news, and a further nail in the coffin already being lowered into the early grave of the 3DS: Mega Man Legends 3 Project has been cancelled. The game, which was in development for the 3DS by Capcom, was supposed to feature a downloadable “Prototype Version” in the near future, though this has obviously been cancelled as well. In the long tradition of eagerly awaited games that were aborted before their time, Capcom’s excuse was that the game did not meet “the required criteria.” One wonders if the utter shit-show that is the 3DS’s sales figures and attach rate was part of this criteria. Still a sad day for all of us who hoped for a return of Tron Bonne.
Chip manufacturer AMD has let slip some rumors about the not-yet-announced next-gen Xbox. Though AMD has not actually confirmed that such a system exists, and if they are in-fact working on it, AMD’s Neal Robison reportedly has claimed that the new system would be capable of rendering Avatar-level graphics, as well as greater AI and physics capabilities. Normally, I would not bother to report this kind of speculation but honestly, this rumor just made me smile. Remember when the false promises of new consoles were rendering Pixar-level graphics? Ahh Emotion Engine…
Volition, the developer of the fantastic Red Faction Guerilla, and the Saints Row games, has announced that Hulk Hogan will be featured in their new title: Saints Row: The Third. In addition, porn star and G4’s new go-to girl, Sasha Grey will also be starring in the game as an NPC. This all sounds like fun, but I wonder if it makes the Hulkster feel a bit awkward to be associated with a game that promotes reckless driving and injuring innocent pedestrians?
In case you had not heard, GoldenEye 007 is coming to the PS3 and Xbox 360 this fall as GoldenEye 007: Reloaded. The game will be an HD port of the Wii title released last year, and will feature the same story campaign along with extra side-missions and a redone multiplayer mode. For those of you who are wary of an HD port of a Wii game, fear not: the game will apparently be running on a whole new engine, which will hopefully solve some of the jankiness that kept the Wii game from being truly great. Oh, and PS3 owners can play the game using the Move. Moving on.
In other HD port news, Resident Evil 4 HD and Resident Evil: Code Veronica X HD will be coming to the PSN and XBLA in September. RE4HD is scheduled to hit on September 20, with Code Veronica HD coming a week later. For those of you who are adverse to using the interwebs, the games will also be available as retail titles.
In our most popular segment: pinball news, Marvel Pinball is coming to handheld devices, including the iOS, Android, PS Vita and 3DS, as well as the PC by the end of 2012. Apparently the WiiU is also due for a port of the game, so… it has that going for it. Which is nice. Also, a new Marvel Pinball table pack is coming to PSN and XBLA this winter. The pack, labeled Vengeance and Virtue, will feature a Ghost Rider table. This is going to make Jeff just intolerable.
Rounding up the substantive news: here are a few quick bites. Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning has been pushed back to February 2012, despite an earlier announced release window of Fall 2011. Looks to be a great game, so a few extra months in the cooker can only help. Ultimate Marvel Vs. Capcom 3 did indeed get announced, alongside 12 new characters including Ghost and Goblins’ Firebrand, Phoenix Wright, Ghost Rider and series favorite Strider Hiryu. Also, those fine gents over at Twisted Pixel just can’t stop giving: The Gunstringer will be released this September at an awesome price tag of $40, and will come with a free copy of Fruit Ninja Kinect and additional free DLC. We love Free DLC.
Finally, just for giggles, anyone want to know what has been the best-selling XBLA game so far this year? Well, according to Gamasutra, it isn’t Torchlight, Dead Rising: Case West, and it certainly wasn’t Beyond Good and Evil HD. Nope, it was Full House Poker, coming in at 321,533 sales. A few words of caution: these numbers are limited to games with leaderboards, so a few titles are not counted… but still, a great illustration of a very cynical principle: crap rises to the top. One can only imagine what these charts would look like if XBLA featured FarmVille or Angry Birds.