While we find ourselves deep within the summer lull of the games industry, where pretty much nothing gets released and Zumba Fitness gets to rule the roost as a result, there have been some quite interesting developments over the last two days or so. As ever, this is my quick roundup of all the big news.
Top billing for this week has to go to EA. Yesterday they announced the purchase of Popcap Games, the studio behind the massively successful Peggle & Plants And Zombies, for an eye watering amount of $750 million. This comes as part of EA’s drive to regain its mantle as the biggest games company in the world, following on from their acquisition of Bioware, the creators of Mass Effect and Dragon Age, for $860 million four years ago. However, one has to look at this deal and think that EA may have paid a bit too much; Popcap have admittedly tapped into everyone’s love for puzzle games and reaped success, but is a casual games company worth such a high investment? It seems others aren’t happy as well; EA’s stock experienced a small drop in the aftermath of the news breaking, and the internet has exploded with the usual ‘EA are killing originality’ and ‘screw you Popcap for selling out’ comments. On a personal note, I wish Popcap a good future working with EA, because I love Peggle. Simple as that.
In more EA news, we have finally received some detail on Career Mode for FIFA 12. As the game mode I play the most, I have been eagerly awaiting any nuggets of news outside of the much discussed ‘trinity of new defining features’ for FIFA. It seems that the revamp is more than gloss and polish this year; players will now approach you asking for games and their morale will have a direct impact on their performance. There is also more attention to media presentation (which can affect the security of your job as manager), and you can now scout players again. The most interesting feature they seem to have added is a dynamic transfer day deadline mechanic, where you actually play through the day and snap up any players who want to leave, recreating the excitement of the day in real life. With improved AI for rival clubs as well, it sounds promising; FIFA 12 gets it release in the last days of September.
And finally, EA have decided to shut another batch of servers for old games which aren’t getting played anymore, in order to ‘focus their attention on new and exciting projects’….or in other words to save money. The following games are the ones in for the chop:
August 11, 2011 Online Service Shutdown
- ARMY OF TWO™ for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360
- ARMY OF TWO™ Demo for Xbox 360
- Battlefield 2: Modern Combat™ for Xbox 360
- Battlefield 2: Modern Combat™ Demo for Xbox 360
- NASCAR® 09 for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 (North America)
- NCAA® Basketball 10 for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360
- NCAA® Football 10 for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360
- Need for Speed™ Most Wanted for PC and Xbox 360
- SKATE™ for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360
- Tiger Woods PGA TOUR® 10 for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
- Tiger Woods PGA TOUR® 11 Demo for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360
October 1, 2011 Online Service Shutdown
- Madden NFL 10 for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360
- NHL® 10 for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360
And now we finally get to the non EA section of the article. Nintendo 3DS owners: did you enjoy your free download of the 3D remake of the NES classic Excitebike? Well get used to it because you aren’t going to be getting many more 3D NES games on the handheld. A 3DS software planner, Takao Nakano, has recently said that it is much more difficult than first thought to get these old games to incorporate 3D technology, using the Namco Bandai shooter Xevious as an example of the headaches being faced. So…the main gimmick of your console is actually limiting what can be played on it: smooth moves Nintendo. I don’t suppose that it is too much of a problem however, because lets be honest; how many of us want to play NES games nowadays? Just put Pokemon Red & Blue on the Virtual Console and watch the money roll in.
Kingdom Hearts fans rejoice! Tetsuya Nomura has finally revealed something about the third game in the main series, Kingdom Hearts 3. Disappointingly, the details are sparse; we know that this will be the final game to include the evil Xehanort as an antagonist, and that Kingdom Hearts 3D for the 3DS will raise issues to be addressed in the game. So only one more spin off it seems before we get the game that we have wanted since Kingdom Hearts 2 was released in 2006. If its any consolation, Nomura also confirmed that Square Enix is looking into HD updates of old titles, so the rumours of a Final Fantasy HD collection may not have been all smoke and mirrors.
And finally, if you live in America and have a PSN or Xbox Live Gold account, you can download the demo of Catherine, the intriguing new project from Atlus (those who created the Persona games for the PS2) where a man must choose between two women, and fight evil demons in his sleep where all the men have been turned into sheep. Sounds bizarre and should be a hoot. There is no word on a European release though, so if you aren’t American continue to twiddle your thumbs.
And that marks the end of the news roundup; I have been very fortunate to find employment in Lincolnshire so I wouldn’t expect a load of articles in the coming weeks as I’ll be working, but I will do my best to put up the occasional review. Cheers for reading.