Archive for the ‘Wii’ Category

Modern Warfare 3 re-uses assets, internet goes apeshit
November 11, 2011

What do you get when you’re part of the development team that is tasked with pumping out new releases of the best-selling franchise of the generation year-on-year? What do you get when you have three different studios working  and collaborating on individual aspects of a game, another team handling a port, and two different publishers taking care of localisation?  What do you get when half of the key staff from one of those  studios leaves mid-way through a somewhat troubled development? What do you get when, working to a strict, global deadline and under immense pressure, you manage to put out another AAA title in a franchise that’s regarded by many as the pinnacle of its genre?  The answer to those admittedly long-winded questions should be “why, a bloody great big pat on the back, Rory”. Unfortunately, what you actually get is some whining sod moaning about a van.

Horribly, and almost comically, underestimating the sheer amount of work that goes into a top-tier, annual release like Call of Duty, Chris Hawke over at Gamer’s Guide to Life recently put out an admittedly very well-written and humorous article, simultaneously slamming Infinity WardSledgehammer GamesRaven SoftwareTreyarch and Neversoft (seriously, all those studios worked on MW3) for one of the most paltry, insignificant and frivolous ‘offences’ that’s ever been brought to light.

During a trailer for Modern Warfare 3, Chris happened to notice a parked Marley & Griffin van, which, shock and horror and “oh my god won’t somebody think of the children?!”,  also featured in Modern Warfare 2. This, he says, “represents laziness…copy-and-paste design…a lack of ambition and, perhaps most irritatingly, a lack of pride”. Now, let me just start by saying that I don’t particularly have an issue with Chris or his article; it was an amusing read and he did raise a valid point or two. However, to say that re-using a two-year-old asset from a direct prequel to a game in the same series, timeline, setting and canon as itself is, frankly, ridiculous.

I understand some of the points that Chris raises – Activision make hundreds of millions of dollars from the CoD franchise every year, and their competitors at DICE are going balls-to-the-wall to ensure that their latest offering inBattlefield 3 is a huge step up from its predecessor. I understand if he doesn’t agree with the design philosophy inherent in the CoD franchise. I understand if he thinks Bobby Kotick is a bit of a cock. But what I don’t understand is how he can be so vexed about the recycling of an asset that he feels the need to write an article about it, and I know I’m being massively contradictory there.

Despite explaining how he’s lost his faith in Modern Warfare 3 over this pesky vehicle, he goes on to say that he’ll buy the game anyway as it’s ‘unavoidable’ – it’s not, because I’ve managed it. He then goes on to cite Half-Life as a ‘classic’  which, in his view, “went the extra mile to make the best experience humanly possible”, apparently overlooking Valve’s tendency to recycle assets themselves. This is why I can’t take the article seriously.

Enough about poor Chris, though; it wasn’t actually him who particularly cheesed me off, more the discussion that arises around this topic time and time again. At some arbitrary point in time between the releases of Modern Warfare 2 and Black Ops, it apparently became cool to slate and slanderise the Call of Duty franchise. I’m by no means saying that Infinity Ward are a perfect developer or that their games are the pinnacle of the industry – I’m more of a Battlefield man, if you must know – but if you make the claim that a re-used van in Modern Warfare 3 is going to hinder your enjoyment of the game in some way, you’re completely and utterly nuts.

Ironically enough, Battlefield 3 has an absolute ton of re-used assets from Bad Company 2, and the ones that were developed specifically for it are copied and pasted all around the different multiplayer maps – take the interior of the buildings in Seine Crossing, for example, or the shipping crates in Kharg Island shamefully ripped from its predecessor. It’s almost unmissable, but does it make the game any less enjoyable? In my opinion, no, absolutely not. In any way. At all.

Besides, maybe Marley & Griffin just has a really big infrastructure.

 – Rory

The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword file select theme leaked
November 9, 2011

Continuing the barrage of Zelda news, it has come to my attention that the Main Menu/File Select/Fairy Fountain (yadda, yadda, yadda) theme that will be featured in The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword has been leaked, and it’s positively beautiful.

As many of you undoubtedly know, Skyward Sword’s soundtrack is largely orchestrated – a first for the series – and we’ll be hoping that the rest of the score lives up to this cracker. Interestingly, it’s the only piece of music in the game actually composed by Koji Kondo – the man famed for his involvement in the series’ magical tunes. Give it a listen here.

 – Rory

Will GoldenEye be a Wii U launch title?
June 28, 2011

Mary Tuck – Senior Litigation Counsel for Activision – has been caught in the act of registering some new web domain names for the publishing giant. The domains suggest that some sort of follow up to the Wii/Nintendo DS FPS GoldenEye is in the works, and whilst no platforms were mentioned, Nintendo’s next home console seems a shoo-in.

Developed by British studio Eurocom, 2010’s GoldenEye was itself a remake of the N64 classic. A robust Online mode, pointer controls and a reworked narrative – including Daniel Craig as Bond – were enough to squeeze some life out of the old dog, but could the developers really put out a third game based on the same source content?

Should GoldenEye be reloaded, or simply have its magazines discarded onto the cold, hard ground?

 – Rory

Who we want to see in Super Smash Bros. Strife
May 25, 2011

No, fear not; you have not accidentally wandered into the list-littered minefield of Kotaku, fortunately for you. However, it is with a certain sense of disappointment and guilt that I present to you, my readers, a list of sorts. Inevitably, a new Smash Bros. game attracts a ridiculous amount of hype, speculation and sheer fanboy-founded fervour, and we couldn’t help but get the train rolling – in no particular order, here is our character wishlist for the rumoured Super Smash Bros. Strife.

Super Smash Bros. is the industry’s best example of pure, unadulterated fan service, and it all starts with the characters. The game works because it’s a miraculous montage of some of the world’s most recognised faces, mixed with a myriad of lesser-known, but still just-as-loved characters, all united by one common interest – kicking the living daylights out of each other. So, who, other than the 35-man-roster from Brawl, would we like to see occupy all that extra disc space? Remember, variety is the spice of life.

Don’t be fooled by his nerdy demeanour; armed with a positively badass katana beam, a badass hairdo and a pair of badass shades, this Otaku badass means business. Badass business. From the brilliant mind of Suda 51, Travis Touchdown of No More Heroes fame is our number one contender. With an awesome art style, Travis would not only look right at home in the frantic free-for-all that is Super Smash Bros., but he’d also give those other pesky swordsmen a run for their money as well.

Did we mention he’s a total badass? We did? Oh. Okay then.

Another one that fits right into the badass category is Jack from MadWorld. Look at him. He’s smoking a cigarette. In black and white. That’s not only cool in France, people; it’s cool everywhere. Do you know where else it’d be cool? In Super Smash Bros. He’s got a chainsaw strapped to his arm. Even Fred Durst wouldn’t mess with this geezer in fear of having his arse skinned raw. Again, this Capcom creation boasts a unique art style that would add a bit of visual splendour to proceedings – if any more was needed – while also bringing something to the table that the series arguably lacks. Brutality.

Did we mention he’s got a chainsaw strapped to his arm? We did? Oh. Okay then.

She’s a Goddess, she’s a wolf and she’s from Okami. Enough said. What? You want more? Tough crowd. Well then, apart from being another aesthetically gorgeous piece from that artistic bunch at Capcom, Amaterasu is at once a gentle and caring soul, a benevolent Goddess and, most importantly, a fearsome warrior. With her inclusion, she would present the opportunity for a genuinely beautiful and creative stage, and some of the best music ever burned to disc.

Did we mention she’s a Goddess? We did? Oh. Okay then.

Another one for fans of brilliant videogame music; Blob, from THQ’s 2008 quirky Wii platformer de Blob, may, at first glance, appear to simply be a blob of paint. Look deeper though, and you’ll find tha-. Okay, no, he really is just a conscious, sentient blob of mastic composition, but he’s still a pretty awesome chap. He has the ability to change the physical appearance – namely, the colour – of anything he touches, which could make for some pretty cool-looking effects.

Did we mention he’s a blob of paint? We did? Well then, I appear to be suffering from some form of anterograde amnesia.

Another character from Capcom, another character from an AAA game – that is, Aesthetically and Artistically Awesome. With this little guy, the clue is in the name. Would you really want to battle against Mega Man? Really? For those of you who are out of the loop, ‘Mega’ falls somewhere between ‘Super’ and ‘Uber’ in the Official Adjectives Rankings 2011. Do you understand what that means? It means Mega Man is more of a badass than Superman. If that isn’t reason enough, then frankly, you’re batshit insane.

That about wraps it up for characters. In hindsight, I guess I’m just a sucker for some quality art design, but after all, Super Smash Bros. is definitely a clash of wildly varying styles, so shaking it up a bit further surely can’t hurt.

And no, we don’t want Cloud fucking Strife.

– Rory

Watch the first Modern Warfare 3 gameplay trailer
May 24, 2011

Infinity Ward just posted up your first glimpse at Modern Warfare 3. Luckily for them, all the countries in the trailer just so happen to have an ‘E’ in their name somewhere, which they have oh-so-cleverly exploited, using the titular 3 as that ever-popular vowel/entactogenic drug.

The trailer ominously ends with the logo ‘WW3’ before the former ‘W’ flips on its head, to its final resting place – MW3. It’s coming this year and it’s going to own your soul. Spooky stuff.

– Rory

Project Café to compete with PS4/Xbox 720 graphically?
May 15, 2011

For some unjustified reason, Nintendo have an image problem when it comes to their machines’ graphical capabilities. Granted, its handheld consoles have often been trumped in the horsepower department by competing products (think DS vs. PSP) and the Wii was a generational gap behind the 360 and PS3, but before Nintendo employed this new strategy, its consoles were always very competitive in terms of graphical fidelity.

The GameCube boasted arguably one of the most efficient architectures ever found in a console – its power surpassed that of the PS2 and was pretty much on par with the Xbox, even outperforming it in some areas. Further to this, Nintendo were able to produce the Cube at a fraction of the cost of its competitors’ offerings while still fitting the whole thing into a much smaller shell and having a much lower operating temperature. The Nintendo 64 was an absolute powerhouse compared to the relatively modest PS1 hardware, but its success was ultimately dented by a lack of 3rd party support.

Despite this misnomer, it’s kind of understandable, based on the Wii, why many were expecting Nintendo to skimp out on the hardware again and simply compete with current gen offerings, and leaked specs, whilst a bit vague, seemed to suggest that the next console would again be a beefed up version of what’s already on the market.

However, IGN built their own custom rig using equivalent parts to those supposedly being used on the Project Café, and the implications are pretty exciting. The results themselves were fairly impressive; the rig could run Crysis 2 on ‘Very high’ at full 1080p at 60fps. This in itself is practically what a lot of people were expecting from the console, but the test was a little unfair. Whilst the test utilised 2GB of RAM as opposed to the rumoured 1GB in order to compensate for the taxing Windows 7 OS, it’s likely that a console with similar specs would perform better still than this test would suggest.

Here are the components:

  • CPU: 3.2 GHz AMD Athlon II X3 with a custom Intel Triple-Core processor
  • Graphics card: XFX Radeon HD 4850
  • RAM: 2GB

IGN make a special and important note – “Nintendo’s system will be drastically different than ours, using custom-built processors, a streamlined OS and running optimised games.” While the rig did offer some improved textures, it’s likely that the console itself will be a pretty big leap above what the video shows due to this very fact.

Undoubtedly, the 720 will boast a few higher specs than the Café, but in the end it won’t account for much. The PS3’s Cell processor puts it quite a bit ahead of the 360 in terms of pure grunt, but it was never really utilised, except for in titles like Killzone 3 and Uncharted 2. To cut a long story short, the Café will be competitive. It will be able to run PS4/720 games without too much of a graphical hit, and, if it supports 1080p via HDMI, the differences will be negligible, unless everyone decides to go out and buy UHDTV sets in the next 3 years.

The difference between the Wii and the 360 was an ocean, the difference between the Café and the 720 will be more like a puddle. For Nintendo gamers especially, it’s looking set to be one of the biggest ever graphical leaps between consoles; the jump from Wii (a beefed up GameCube) to a console that’s reportedly 5 times more powerful than the 360 is going to feel more like a double generational leap.

This means that the Café will get very competitive versions of multiplatform games, such as Call of Duty, and, given Nintendo’s ability to squeeze the best out of their consoles, coupled with some of the best artists in the business, it means that we’ll be playing some of the most beautiful looking games ever burned to disc come 2012.

– Rory

RUMOUR – Nintendo to make ‘major announcement’ this week
May 10, 2011

According to Games Maya, four of the industry’s big names will be holding retail meetings this week; Nintendo, Sega, Microsoft and Sony will apparently be accompanied by ‘leaks from attending retailers’, and, in the case of Nintendo, a ‘major announcement’. The dates are as follows:

  • 5/11: Sony Computer Entertainment

  • 5/12: Nintendo

  • 5/13: Microsoft

  • 5/13: Sega

Could we finally hear something concrete about Project Café in the weeks running up to E3?

Source – Games Maya via andriasang

– Rory

Modern Warfare 3 to feature a ‘larger, epic scale’ and destructible environments
May 10, 2011

Another day, another example of how healthy competition is good for the industry – Modern Warfare 3 will feature larger maps and destructible environments. DICE fired some warning shots at Activision’s Call of Duty studio earlier in the year, claiming that their project, Battlefield 3, had been designed to ‘take down’ the ludicrously popular CoD series.

It seems that DICE is experiencing some return fire, though, as MW3 will supposedly feature “a much larger, epic scale” and that the game “will explore the lead up to a blossoming set of engagements that could pull in other countries, creating a potential World War III scenario”.

It was also noted that “the game will feature large, urban destructible environments.” in line with Battlefield‘s Destruction 2.0 mechanic. DICE’s Frostbite 2.0 engine has been built from the ground up, specifically for the Battlefield series, whereas Call of Duty still runs on a heavily modified version of the Quake 3 engine; for Modern Warfare 3 to feature fully destructible environments to the extent of the ones showcased by Battlefield 3, it would require a complete engine overhaul, which seems unlikely.

Familiarity, it seems, does not breed contempt in the CoD camp. As such, destructive environments are likely to be of a much more conservative nature in MW3, but it surely won’t hurt to have them.

– Rory

Nintendo confirms date and time of E3 Keynote
May 9, 2011

The Nintendo Keynote date for E3 2011 has been announced, and rather unfortunately for my friend, it lands on his birthday. I’m sure he’ll understand. Nintendo will be delivering their 2011 press conference in the Nokia Theatre at 9am PST (That’s 5pm for us Brits) on Tuesday, 7th June, 2011.

The Japanese gaming giant is expected to show off a trove of 3DS and Wii titles, including Mario Kart 3DS, Super Mario 3DS, Animal Crossing 3DS and The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword. There are also rumblings of an official North American announcement of Xenoblade Chronicles and The Last Story. Throw in a brand new home console, and this year’s E3 is looking pretty damn tasty for Nintendo fans.

We will be liveblogging the event to the best of our abilities. Excuse me one moment.

Hello? Yes, is that front desk? Yeah, I’ve just had a foreboding vision in which I got mercilessly run over by a bus on the way to College on the morning of Tuesday, June 6th…

– Rory

Sonic Generations coming to 3DS, and more
May 9, 2011

It’s been leaks galore recently, and Gamestop are making sure there’s no let up. A leaked release schedule had been holding a few interesting secrets with regards to certain games coming to certain platforms. Arguably the most interesting news to come from the list is that Sonic Generations will be dashing onto the 3DS. The game promises to offer mechanics from both the old-school Sonic platformers, and the newer 3D offerings. Such as werewolves.

Also on the list is a new title from Namco – Time Crisis 3DS. It appears that the arcade classic will be making an appearance on Nintendo’s handheld, but whether this will be a port of an existing title or a brand new entry is yet to be seen. Literally no information is available about the game as of yet, but it’s probably safe to assume that the game will feature either a control scheme akin to Point Blank DS – that is, you tap to shoot – or, more likely, that the game will make use of the 3DS’ gyro-sensors and/or cameras.

And last but by no means least, it looks like the gorgeous Rayman Origins will also be making its way onto the Wii and the Nintendo DS in some form before the year’s out. Thumbs up!

A ‘release date’ for Skyward Sword was also on the list – 1st November, 2011 – but it’s almost certainly the case that this is simply a placeholder date until retailers get official word from Nintendo.

– Rory