ITS CHRISTMAS!!!!….or it may as well be, considering the amount of decorations popping up around the city right now. Yes, 23 days before the Lord Christ celebrates his 2011th birthday, Lincoln has decided to get into the festive mood – call me a traditionalist, but I don’t think it should really be celebrated until the 12 days beforehand….but whatever. With Christmas coming up, it also brings with it the busiest time of the year for the game industry, and as a result I have some news to bring you from the past week.
The virtual sales on Black Friday may not have been the best we have ever seen, but physical sales of games and consoles went through the roof last week. Nintendo were able to report that both The Legend Of Zelda: Skyward Sword and Super Mario 3D Land shifted over 500,000 copies apiece in the last week alone, making them the fastest selling Zelda and portable Mario titles ever. The 3DS also benefitted greatly from the arrival of the Italian plumber onto the system, tripling the sales of the previous week and meaning that despite its troubled year, it is still on to beat the first year figures of the Nintendo DS. Microsoft were also beneficiaries of the Black Friday spirit, shifting 960,000 Xbox 360 consoles and 750,000 Kinect’s to have their biggest sales week ever. A happy Thanksgiving indeed then for both parties
Ah Skyrim, how you continue to captivate people – and unfortunately for Bethesda, recent news has not been kind. After several reports of crippling lag on the PS3, they released a patch this week which seems to have solved the problem for some users, but has also brought some new unintended hilarious glitches, such as dragons flying backwards. It’s not been all bad though – Skyrim has been the third most played game on Xbox Live recently (behind Modern Warfare 3 and Black Ops, which will no doubt be there until the end of time), and has the distinct honour of becoming the first Western game to ever get a perfect 40/40 mark from Japanese gaming magazine Famitsu – who are kind of similar to Edge Magazine in that perfect scores don’t get handed out too often. As far as a personal report goes, I’m about 40 hours in on my Xbox 360 version, and haven’t encountered a single problem as of yet.
You may remember if you were brave enough to buy a 3DS before the price drops that Nintendo were going to reward you with a bunch of free games. The NES titles have already been released, but the promised GBA titles, including Mario Kart: Super Circuit and Metroid Fusion, still have yet to come through. Nintendo this week dismissed a report that the games have been pushed back to February 2012, claiming that they are still on course to bring them out before the festive period. More news on this soon.
The next instalment in the Resident Evil series may well be heading to the Far East– two CV’s were spotted by eagle eye journalists this week claiming that Resident Evil 6 will feature Chinese versions of the undead hordes. It wouldn’t be a great surprise, as the series has explored Spain in Resident Evil 4 and Africa in Resident Evil 5 – watch this space I guess.
Finally, news which delights me personally – Final Fantasy VII, one of the most celebrated and despised games of all time, will NOT be getting a HD remake – according to Yoshinori Kitase at least. The producer of Final Fantasy XIII and its upcoming sequel, Final Fantasy XIII-2, has come out this week to say that it would take far too much effort as ‘the actual game volume’ of FF7 would be too big to properly realise in a remake and that it would take nearly ten times the effort to make than a new game. So…what he is actually saying is that the modern games are inferior and not as fulfilling as games that were released 14 years ago? Way to diss the project Kitase
And that is your lot for the week, enjoy your weekend – and don’t go opening too many windows on your Advent calendars…
How does one follow up the most profitable week in the gaming industry ever in the UK? Near to £121,000,000 worth of games were sold last week – having six blockbuster games released this week, including The Legend Of Zelda: Skyward Sword, Assassins Creed: Revelations and Saints Row: The Third, might just be able to make up for it methinks. It has been yet another glorious week for gaming, so let’s go right ahead and delve into the most interesting stories of the week.
So about those enormous sales figures…well, unsurprisingly a lot of that income was made up by Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 – a cool £83.1 million to be precise – and the game made over $400 million in just 24 hours across the world following its release, becoming the third game in consecutive years to have the ‘biggest entertainment launch ever’…..following Black Ops ($360 million) and Modern Warfare 2 ($310 million). The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim managed to make up a big chunk of the remaining money, shipping over 7 million units and become the highest played game on Steam, along with Battlefield 3 which continues to sell strong since its release. The releases haven’t been entirely successful however; owners of MW3 discs have been complained of disc read errors on the Xbox 360, and people looking to play Skyrim on the PS3 have found they get crippling lag if a save file goes over 5MB in size. Expect the issues to be resolved soon via patching.
This past Tuesday marked 10 years since the release of Microsoft’s original Xbox, and indeed the release of Halo: Combat Evolved. They have been celebrating in style (throwing in a free Avatar gift – get it while it lasts), and I hope to produce an editorial soon looking back at 10 years of Microsoft consoles in the industry, and the pivotal games that have helped it become a major player next to Sony and Nintendo
There has been a huge controversy surrounding Super Mario 3D Land this week, after PETA (People For Ethical Treatment Of Animals) criticised the game for its use of the famous Tanooki suit (the Tanuki being a real life dog that is skinned alive for its furs), and retaliated by released a Flash game on their website called ‘Super Tanooki Skin 2D’, where you play as a skinned Tanooki and try and catch Mario who is flying away with your skin. I find it utterly bizarre – for one thing, the flash game is actually quite playable, but why make a game that glorifies the thing you are campaigning against? Weird. PETA have since come out and told Mario fans to chill, but I get the feeling that Nintendo will be pretty pissed off with them
343 Industries have confirmed that Halo 4 will not be appearing on the next generation Xbox, and will be a purely Xbox 360 affair. This comes after rumours have intensified over the last week or two that Microsoft are preparing for the next generation console to be revealed at some point during early 2012.
That’s about it as far as headline news goes for this week. On a personal note, I’ve had another relatively successful week – all my work got handed in amongst furious Skyrim playtime, and I was invited to do a piece on gaming this Winter for the community radio station located on my University campus, Siren FM. It was nothing spectacular, but it was well received, and marks the first time I’ve done radio for years; I’ll try and get the audio off of the sound guys so you can all have a listen. I also managed to win the FIFA 12 Tournament we held at the Lincoln Gaming Society, keeping my good run of fortune with the game going.
Now then, run along young ones, and if you are settling down for a weekend with any new releases (or any game I suppose), I hope you have a blast.
The Tokyo Games Show has been taking place over the last few days, and as one might expect, most of the big news has come from Japan’s two big hitters in the industry, Sony and Nintendo. With a lot of the focus being on the respective handheld consoles the two companies have on sale, this could be an interesting read fro those who like gaming on the go.
It was Nintendo who had their conference first, so I’ll start with them. It seems that the Big N are very keen to drive on with the recent rise of sales for the 3DS, following price cuts around the world, and address the lack of quality titles currently available for the system. Before the conference they confirmed Mario Tennis 3DS (which will make use of gyro controls), Monster Hunter 4 and a co-op Fire Emblem 3DS game, while during the actual conference Square Enix announced a new 3DS RPG (bizarrely called Bravery Default Flying Fairy…). Nintendo also revealed a new pink colour job for the 3DS – clearly designed to attract more female gamers methinks.
The big news as far as the hardware itself is confirmed is that the second analogue stick add-on is indeed real. The controversial add-on will be released in Japanon the 10thDecember for 1,500 yen, and will require one AAA battery to work…and a 3DS to attach it to. Not all of the titles that have already been released will be compatible with the add on though. Smooth moves Nintendo. You’ll also finally be able to record videos in 3D following a system update due this November.
Nintendo also released a smattering of new information for titles already confirmed for the 3DS. Amongst the headlines, Metal Mario and Latiku have been confirmed as playable characters in Mario Kart 7, which will also include a first person mode not seen before in the Mario Kart series. Super Mario 3D Land, Paper Mario 3DSand Metal Gear Solid 3DS also got new trailers and gameplay footage. So basically, if you have a 3DS, it will not be until December time that you will really be able to start maximising the full potential of your console.
And so now onto Sony’s conference. The first big headline is the release date for the PS Vita: December 17th in Japan. The handheld will release with 26 launch titles, including Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3, Metal Gear Solid HD Collection, Ridge Racer and Uncharted: Golden Abyss. On top of this, Sony have made the bold promise of having 100 titles available around the launch window. This would make it one of the strongest launches for any console that I can remember. In a disappointing side note, the PS Vita’s battery life will only last for about five hours before it needs recharging. For more details and all the tech specs for the Vita, hit this link.
And then suddenly out of nowhere – FINAL FANTASY X IS TO GET A HD REMAKE????? Yep, in a move that no-one anticipated, it was revealed that for the 10th anniversary of the game it will be getting the full HD treatment (as quite a few PS2 games are doing nowadays) and will be available on the PS3 and the PS Vita. Not worth buying a PS3 for, but I must say I am jealous. Click here to read my review of the original on the PS2.
To roundup Sony, they gave out figures of how many PS3’s have been sold worldwide since its release – the answer is 52 million. As a Xbox 360 owner, I find it very interesting to see how markedly the gap between the 360 and PS3 has dropped in terms of sales figures over the last two years – they are both still light years behind the Wii in this generation though in overall sales.
As I write, Final Fantasy XIII-2 has got its international release dates confirmed: December 15th in Japan, January 31st in America, and February 2ndin Europe. They are also releasing a special edition 320GB PS3 with the game in Japan; no word on whether anyone else will get their hands on it
Halo Anniversary will be getting a Halo 2 map for its multiplayer mode, and that map is Headlong. It will be renamed ‘Breakneck’, and will get the visual spit and polish that comes with the Halo Reach engine. Could this mean the possibility of more Halo 2 maps in the future for either Anniversary or Reach?
THQ have revealed a bit more about how you will be able to customise WWE 12 to your own taste. Alongside the traditional creation modes for wrestlers, storylines, finishers and entrances, you can now also create your own arena – so if you want to recreate a vintage WCW or nWo arena, you now can.
The excellent Red Dead Redemption is to get a Game Of The Year Edition featuring all of the DLC released for the game, set for release on October 14th. If you can’t wait that long, then Take Two have announced that Civilization V will also be getting the GOTY treatment on the 27th September, with a full digital soundtrack and all of the DLC released for the game.
As ever, comments and subscriptions are welcome. Cheers for the continued support, and I will hopefully get round to posting up a review before my University course starts again.
Well, we were expecting them, but when Nintendo announced the price cuts for their 3DS consoles (set to come into effect tomorrow) I’m not sure there would have been many who expected to be able to get one for just over £100. And yet, this is seemingly the reality, as rival outlets prepare to engage in all out price warfare over Nintendo’s handheld device.
The huge cuts come not too soon after Reggie Fils-Aime, President of Nintendo of America, admitted that the 3DS needed stronger launch titles and the implementation of the e-Shop from day one. So the question is, now that the price has been more than halved since its launch earlier this year, do you want to buy one, and where is the cheapest place to get it? Below are the prices that stores have said they will be selling the 3DS for in Britain, both online and in the high street.
If you want to try your hand at online retailers, you would be best off avoiding Play.com at the moment – strangely, they still have the prices at £197, a figure that I would expect to sharply drop, as close rivals Amazon have the 3DS listed at £155, and with that price difference you can easily get a game and have some change spare. Other retailers are still quite pricey online; Dixons are plumping with £169.99, and HMV have gone for £189.99. Your best bet online is with Gamestop, who have the black 3DS at £135 with free delivery
If you choose to venture into the high streets (or at least the ones left alone by fucking idiot rioters), then GAME and Gamestation would likely be your first places to visit. Game are offering the 3DS bundled together with The Legend Of Zelda: Ocarina Of Time 3DS for £160 (which is a very decent deal indeed), and Gamestation are offering bundles from £170, and the hardware alone from £150. Remember, students get discounts at Gamestation, so if you are waiting for your loan to come through you could save a few coppers by going with them.
But of course, as with any price war, it’s the supermarkets who are going to be leading the charge. Morrisons, who recently were doing a 3DS with Ocarina Of Time for £200, have said they will charge £120 from tomorrow for the 3DS. Not bad, but considering my local Morrisons barely has a gaming section at all, you might be hard pushed to actually get the console. So, the last option is the ever-humble Tesco, who have a barnstorming offer of just £115 for a 3DS. Not so much a price cut as a price massacre on the original RRP of £250. If the thought of buying a games console with your weekly food shop terrifies you however, you can go to Curry’s or PC World within a 30 miles radius of a Tesco (pretty much a guaranteed thing to happen), and they will price match and take off an extra 10%, because they are nice like that. Seems daft not to take them up on the offer to be honest.
And just as a reminder, the 3DS is getting some games before Christmas, in the form of Super Mario 3D Land on November 13th and Mario Kart 7 on December 4th. Happy shopping 🙂
EDIT: Since I wrote this article, Amazon have matched the Tesco deal at £115. Expect the other online retailers to get competitive as well very soon.