Good morning everyone; I apologise that I haven’t been able to get much out in terms of news recently as I have been beavering away on my dissertation. Consider this a quick round up of news from the past week or so:
- Have you been looking at the Wii stashed in the corner of your room recently and thought ‘Man…I wish the Wii U would come out soon’? Well fear no more, because Nintendo President Satoru Iwata confirmed that the console will be released in this calendar year. Speaking at an investor meeting, Mr Iwata claimed that the console will be ready to buy in all regions by the time that 2013 rolls around. This is encouraging news for the Big N, who also had to swallow the bad news at the meeting that they will be making a loss this year…of 65 billion Yen (£535 million).
- In other news on the eight generation front, the Marketing Director of Microsoft France has stated in a recent interview not to expect a console reveal from Microsoft this year. He makes the good point that the company has yet to slash the price of a Xbox 360 yet (usually a sure sign that the next gen is on the way), but this is all up against overwhelming feeling that we WILL see a new console at some point this year – possibly with Blu Ray support and ‘six times the power’ of the current console if rumours are to be believed. I maintain my opinion: they have to release at least something in order to not fall behind Nintendo in the race for the next generation of gaming.
- The first big console release of the year, Final Fantasy XIII-2 has been getting a mixed reaction across the board. It seems the general consensus is that it’s a better game than Final Fantasy XIII, but in removing the linearity of that game Square Enix have left behind a sub standard story and retained the auto battle system. It’s all a bit disheartening – I played and quite enjoyed the demo (I like the whole idea of recruiting monsters and giving them hats to wear), but in a strange case of déjà vu, just like with XIII I have been put off a day one purchase. No doubt I will get round to playing it eventually.
- Happy 10th anniversary to Phoenix Wright – the ace attorney who has made court cases fun and made shouting ‘OBJECTION!!!’ in the middle of a busy street an acceptable thing to do…well I exaggerate but you get the point. And to celebrate the birthday, Capcom are making a fifth game in the series, most likely to be an exclusive on the 3DS. Not only that, but the first three games in the series (Ace Attorney, Justice For All & Trials And Tribulations) will all be getting a HD remake for iOS and Android platforms. Early reports suggest that prices may be as low as 1,200 Yen ($15) for all three, which is a bargain considering the originals are quite rare and can be found going for about £30 apiece online at the moment. And that’s not even mentioning the upcoming Phoenix Wright/Professor Layton crossover being developed by the excellent Level 5 for 3DS.
- If ever you needed convincing that Street Fighter X Tekken will be better on the PS3 than the Xbox 360, this week we got news that confirmed it – the PS3 and PS Vita versions of the game will be getting two exclusive characters, in the form of Mega Man and Pac Man.
- The Witcher 2, the RPG that got some serious acclaim on the PC last year, has a confirmed release date for Xbox 360 – it will be arriving on April 17th 2012.
- Finally, news from the realm of digital downloads – we learnt this week what the most popular titles were on both PSN and Xbox Live for 2012. On PSN, an old favourite took the crown as Tetris was the most downloaded game ahead of the HD remake of Resident Evil 4, while the god simulator From Dust shifted 375,000 units on Xbox Live to be the best selling title ahead of the still very-popular Castle Crashers.
A few shameless plugs to make before I head off – you may have noticed my new feature on the blog showcasing some of my favourite Video Game Music; all the tracks are split into individuals posts if you go to the ‘Best VGM’ link at the top of the page. Finally, I recently did a pilot pod-cast with Callum Loughlin, a good friend of mine from Lincoln University, where we talked about video games for about two hours. If you have time to burn, you can listen to the fruits of our labours for free by downloading the pod-cast from ITunes via this link.