This is the last VGQH for the month of September. And it will probably be the last one anyone reads for a few months, because the big games are coming hard and fast through November. Check out the quarterly preorder breakdown. You'll want to know what and where to order to maximize your gaming dollar and get all the best incentives. On to the news:
If you like downloadable games, you know thatgamecompany has made some amazing additions to the PSN catalog with flOw and flower. The developer has another game on the horizon and they've announced a release window. The beta for Journey uncovered a few bugs they need to iron out, but the game is set for Spring 2012. This is probably good timing. Releasing this fall/winter puts the unique game against some huge blockbusters that will be eating gamer dollars and hours. And this game definitely looks like it will need a dedicated experience. The player character appears to just be wandering through the desert, but the open world has an awesome amount of locations and other things to find. While it is a single player experience, you may bump into other players and choose to travel together. But with no way to chat, interacting with them will be a unique experience. If you decide to interact at all. You can always just walk away from your newfound companion.
Obviously we can't have a release announcement without at least two delays. That's just the world of games. The two latest casualties will be a disappointment for fighting fans. King of Fighters XIII has been pushed back from its October date to November 22nd. Skullgirls is the other victim, moving from late 2011 to first quarter 2012. Not a huge delay, and the developers think this extra time will make a world of difference in polish.
Here's an obvious one for you. Dead Island, the recent FPM (first-person melee) zombie smashing hit, has been optioned for movie rights by Lionsgate. Let's see, a game inspired by zombie movies is being made into a movie. Where have I heard that one before? It should also come as no surprise that this decision doesn't seem to be inspired by the game, so much as its internet fad trailer - which really doesn't represent the tone of the game at all. From Lionsgate's announcement: "Like the hundreds of journalists and millions of fans who were so passionate and vocal about the Dead Island trailer, we too were awestruck. This is exactly the type of property we're looking to adapt at Lionsgate - it's sophisticated, edgy, and a true elevation of a genre that we know and love. It also has built in brand recognition around the world, and franchise potential." So how are they going to set this apart from every other zombie movie?
Not enough zombie for you? Released only in Japan, Yakuza: Of the End was a non-canon addition to franchise that introduced zombies. Western gamers have been asking for the game and a recent trademark filing in Europe indicates that may finally be happening. SEGA recently filed a claim for the video game title Yakuza: Dead Souls. It's unlikely this is related to From Software's titles of a similar name. Without details we're only left with an educated guess. But, a port of the Japanese zombie mafia game is more likely than a whole new entry with such an ominous name.
How good are you at Battlefield? Think you'll be good enough at Battlefield 3 to claim a share of the $1.6million prize pool being offered by DICE? They've teamed up with Virgin Gaming to sponsor a console-only contest (exact format details haven't been released) that will take place primarily online, with a live event for the finals early next year. The game releases October 25, but you can pre-register for the contest here.
If you're a FIFA fan, you should check out the FIFA 12 Tour. They're taking the game on tour through 40 cities in six weeks. They'll be rolling in a fully decorated van decked out with 15 PS3 systems. Check the tour dates to see if they're coming to your city. Then hit the show to win prizes from Adidas and a chance to win your own PS3.
Starbreeze Studios generated some controversy when they recently announced a reboot of the Syndicate franchise. Turning a popular isometric strategy game into an FPS didn't necessarily sit well with the series' fans. If it still sounds like something you want to play, the release date has been announced. You can evaluate the change for yourself on February 21st.
If you played Shank when it released to PSN and XBLA last year, and you're like most of the other people who played it, you've been wanting more. You got it. Klei Entertainment has announced Shank 2, with more polish and split screen co-op, will be hitting your download service "early" next year. They've updated the weapons, combat, and controls. Plus, you can now use enemy weapons against them. If you like 2D side-scrollers and awesome, comic-style art, this series is for you.
Gran Turismo 5. Fans of this series are nothing if not patient. I have vague recollections about this game being announced for PS2, then getting shifted to a launch title for PS3. Then seeing pieces and parts of it being released for years before it finally came out in November. [I may have some dates wrong here, but I don't think I'm that far off. Feel free to lambast me in the comments if I'm wrong.] Then, we heard about the Spec 2.0 update that was to add new content, but never heard a date for it. Kazunori Yamauchi announced Wednesday, via Twitter, that the update will be available the third week of October, with some additional DLC in the following week. Of course, no further details about what Spec 2.0 would mean, or what would be in the DLC, were announced.
Like pretty much everyone else who played it, I loved Heavy Rain. As great as it was, you'd think a sequel would be slam dunk cash-in, even though it wouldn't make any sense in the story's context. The fact is, it would be. But what if there were one last businessman on the planet that didn't care? In addition to calling Atari "fucking idiots" for the way they marketed Indigo Prophecy, David Cage of Quantic Dream has recently announced there will be no Heavy Rain 2. As much as I'd like to play another game like the first one, I agree with him, and mostly agree with his reasons:
“Let me be stupid for one second; I’m not in this business to make money. I wrote Heavy Rain because I was excited about it, because there was something to say.
“Yeah I could make Heavy Rain 2, but I’ve said what I’ve had to say about it. That’s the strength of Quantic Dream, to have the capacity to create new ideas, to make something that breaks ground.
“I don’t know what to say. I guess I don’t have a long-term strategy for my career. It’s certainly not to make as much money as possible though. I see myself as an author, really. I just trust my instinct. I think fans of what I do want me to do that too.
“I’m an old game creator. I’m 42 this year. There are so many old game designers who have passion when they are young and they get a bit a bit older and the passion falls away. They get a family, and suddenly they think ‘okay I need to make as much money as I can for my family – this is what matters.’ I’ve not reached that stage yet.
“I still think I’m doing something important. That may sound naïve in this industry, but I still think I’m here to be creative. I just have a company because I need that structure to develop my ideas.”
Playstation Home got a big update this week. Hear those crickets chirping? It's because nobody cares! Sorry, Sony. Home is lame. Devote your resources to something awesome.
Chrono Trigger is coming to PSN on October 4th. This classic JRPG from the SNES era set many precedents that still work in gaming today, including alternate endings, and some of the early concepts for open worlds where you can do certain missions in the order you choose. The announcement on the US PlayStation Blog didn't mention a price, or which version of the game was coming. Most likely it will be the laggy PSOne version that came in the Final Fantasy Chronicles set, complete with crazy load times. An interesting side note to this, someone in the comments mentioned wanting to play the sequel, Chrono Cross, instead. To which the original poster replied with "Well, you might not have to wait that much longer..." Hmmm.
Continuing the series tradition, NBA Jam On Fire Edition will have some extra characters. EA has tapped one of their own franchises for the a bonus team of Elise, Kaori, and Mac of SSX fame to make up an unlockable team. I'm expecting big air from this trio. The addition is an obvious promotional set up, considering the SSX reboot is coming in January. NBA Jam will be hitting your download service in October.
That wraps up September. I'll be back on Tuesday for another Quick Hits, summarizing the weekend's best gaming news. Be sure to check out the 4th Quarter Preorder Breakdown. The number of awesome games coming is just crazy. Unless you've got infinite time and money, you'll need to do a little planning to focus your efforts on the best of the best.