TGS News

THQ Cleaning House And Closing Studios?
Posted By: Raymond Padilla - Monday, November 03, 2008 4:56 PM

According to Wired's Game|Life, THQ is rumored to be shutting down five of its internal development studios. Wired claims:

"The official developer list has been removed without warning, replaced with a list that includes 5 fewer studios than the previous version. Presumably we'll hear some official confirmation on THQ's plans when the publisher reveals its quarterly financial reports this Wednesday."


THQ's critics point out that the company's recent offerings have been weak outside of its successful WWE and Nickelodeon games. An uneven portfolio combined with current economic conditions make this a tough time to be releasing risky titles, especially original franchises. It'll be interesting to see what announcements are included in THQ's financial report on Wednesday.


Tags: Videogames
Tecmo's Team Ninja Speaks On The Post Itagaki Era
Posted By: Raymond Padilla - Monday, November 03, 2008 4:03 PM

Gamasutra has an interesting interview with two producers from Tecmo's Team Ninja (best known for the Ninja Gaiden and Dead or Alive series). As many of you know, Team Ninja's Tomonobu Itagaki left the company amidst scandal and controversy. The move was particularly unusual for a Japanese developer, where brash and outspoken personalities are definitely not the norm. Gamasutra talks with Hitoshi Hasegawa and Yosuke Hayashi about the post-Itagaki era at Team Ninja, development philosophy differences on the three major consoles, and its experiment on the Nintendo DS. Here are some interesting tidbits.

On what Team Ninja has been up since Itagaki's departure, Hasegawa said:

"We've been taking some time reformatting and reorganizing our team around, but one thing for sure is that we know what our focus and our concentration and our team goals and objectives are. We've been using time recently in order to make sure that that's what we want to do, and continue to work on existing and future projects."

On Ninja Gaiden: Dragon Sword's tepid reaction in North America, Hayashi said:

"As a product from a development, concept, and content standpoint, the team is very happy and satisfied with what we were able to achieve and put in the final product. However, we do feel that we fell a little short in trying to communicate that, and have more gamers play what we were able to put in that final product.

It just wasn't the right sort of natural chemistry. It wasn't enough. But we're up for those kinds of challenges, to provide a new and unique way of playing for a given console. Ninja Gaiden: Dragon Sword was a perfect example of that, in providing a hardcore action game experience on a portable machine. That was our challenge at the time, but we'll continue to look at similar challenges in the future."

On developing games exclusively for one console, Hayashi said:

"I agree that if we work exclusively with one console that the final product will be a better game than if we were to create it simultaneously for multiple platforms.

Each system has its own philosophy behind it, so it's a matter if you can concentrate and focus 100 percent to adapt to that, or if you're going to have to balance that out with other titles."


Sony Exec Says Future Games Will Be Downgraded For Xbox 360
Posted By: Raymond Padilla - Monday, November 03, 2008 12:22 PM

VideoGamer has an interesting bunch of quotes from Sony Computer Entertainment UK's managing director, Ray Maguire. He suggests that future multi-platform games will lead on PlayStation 3 and be downgraded for other consoles. The article points out that "other consoles" obviously means Microsoft's Xbox 360. Maguire said:

"I think we now have an install base which is big enough for any third party to want to develop for. Now the decision making part of development is which do you lead your development on? Is it easier to lead with the most powerful, both in terms of AI and graphics, i.e. PS3 and then just remove part of the functionality for the processors that aren't quite as strong? I would imagine that's very much part of the thought process now from a studio development point of view."

VideoGamer astutely points out that EA's Mirror's Edge leads on PlayStation 3, but looks pretty damn good on the Xbox 360.

"We're already seeing multi-format titles being lead on PS3, including the great looking Mirror's Edge from DICE, but judged on the released demo the game still looks marginally sharper on Xbox 360."

Now let's to a bit of analysis!

The Mirror's Edge example points out how simple Maguire's comments are. The issue isn't nearly as cut and dry as he makes it out to be. Certainly there will be some games that play out precisely like he suggests -- leading on PS3 and being downgraded for Xbox 360. However, there are so many factors involved with game development that it's not as basic as saying, "I will lead on Super Powerful Console, ergo my version for Not As Super Powerful Console will be downgraded (i.e. inferior)."

In the case of Mirror's Edge, the main culprit of (relative) parity is Epic's Unreal Engine 3. Certainly Mirror's Edge looks great on PlayStation 3, but it's hardly surprising that the Xbox 360 version looks just as impressive since that console has had better results with the engine. There are superior looking Unreal Engine 3 games for Xbox 360 (Gears of War 2) than PlayStation 3. Some might argue that Gears is an unfair example since it was developed by Epic, but that just furthers the point that bleeding-edge applications for that engine have appeared on Xbox 360 first.

Even the example I used is oversimplified. There are too many reasons why Maguire's example would not hold true. Oh well, at least it adds some mild trash talking to the console wars.


Harmonix/MTV's Beatles Game: The Morning After
Posted By: Raymond Padilla - Sunday, November 02, 2008 7:02 PM

[Updated Nov-2]

It's been roughly 23 hours and 58 minutes since the Beatles-game conference-call hosted by Apple Corps, Harmonix, and MTV. I'm still stoked. It's just completely awesome. Now that we've all had time to digest the news, here are some thoughts, facts, and musings on the Beatles game.

  • The music will cover the entire Beatles catalog. In their legendary career, The Beatles' music went from catchy pop tunes (Please Please Me) to truly transcendent albums (Abbey Road). Selections from every album will be included in the game.
  • The band's image also went through a few drastic transformations. During the call, Harmonix CEO Alex Rigopulos said, "A visual exploration of The Beatles' history is a big part of this project." I'm a little bit scared of a visual exploration of the Let It Be period, when the band sported matted, mule-like hair.
  • Rigopolus was coy when asked if any special peripherals would be made specifically for the game. His lack of an answer left me drooling for some classic Beatles instruments. It would be brilliant if we could play this game using videogame versions of Paul McCartney's Hofner violin-bass and George Harrison's Gretsch guitar.
  • Giles Martin is serving as the game's music producer. He's the son of Sir George Martin, who produced most of The Beatles' albums. The younger Martin is an accomplished songwriter and producer as well.
  • Martin will be using the original UK recordings as the game's foundation. In yesterday's conference call he said, "We are trying to keep to, as much as possible, is for people to play the songs as though they're playing the originals -- more of a way for them to interact with what they know very well, as opposed to us remixing as we did in Love." For the uninitiated, Love is a musical that melds The Beatles' music with the visual theatrics of Cirque du Soleil.

  • Platforms were not announced at this time. Unless there's some fat exclusive waiting to happen, expect the game to be released for the Nintendo Wii, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360. An extremely reliable source told me that a portable version of the game is being developed as well. Given the difference in storage capacities, I suspect that means the PlayStation Portable and not the Nintendo DS.
  • This announcement has huge ramifications for the gaming business. The next, obvious step would be a Journey series. The combination of catchy pop tunes, underrated guitar playing (Neil Schon is awesome), and trippy visuals would be incredible. Okay, I'm kidding about this one, but I'd certainly buy it.
  • [Update] Variety reports that the game will have 45 songs.

Anyway, that's enough scattered thoughts on The Beatles game. Out of curiosity, which Beatles songs do you want to hear in the game? Share your thoughts! I'll kick things off with the first comment.

Remade (Wii-made?) Versions Of 'Mario Tennis' And 'Pikmin' Heading To Wii
Posted By: Raymond Padilla - Saturday, November 01, 2008 11:36 AM

Siliconera has learned that North American Wii owners will be getting retooled versions of Mario Tennis and Pikmin as part of the Let's Play on Wii series. For those of you that are unfamiliar with Let's Play on Wii, it's a selection of GameCube titles that are being ported to the Wii; they will be available for a budget price and take advantage of the Wii's motion-sensing controls. Other Let's Play on Wii titles, for the Japanese market, include Chibi Robo, Donkey Kong: Jungle Beat, Metroid Prime, and Metroid Prime 2: Echoes

While these releases totally fit into Nintendo's customary strategy of selling us the same game eight times (at least), let's try to keep things positive. Mario Tennis absolutely makes sense as a Let's Play on Wii game. I imagine it will play similarly to Wii Sports' tennis portion. Pikmin should also be easier and potentially more fun with a Wiimote. What GameCube games do you guys want to see on Let's Play on Wii? How would your dream remakes take advantage of the Wii's controls? Leave a comment and let's discuss. I'll kick it off with the first comment.

Tags: Videogames, Wii
'Left 4 Dead' Intro Movie Runs Like Hell
Posted By: Jeffrey Kanjanapangka - Friday, October 31, 2008 6:55 PM

Valve would like to wish everyone a Happy Halloween this evening by sending us a video treat. The following is the intro movie for the highly-anticipated (and heavily pre-ordered) zombie, co-op FPS Left 4 Dead. Join the 4 survivors as they make their way through the infested city 2 weeks after the first infection.

Left 4 Dead infects the Xbox 360 and PC November 18th.

Left 4 Dead Intro Movie 


X-Play Web Exclusive: 'Gears of War 2' Behind The Scenes - Voice-Over Sessions
Posted By: Brian Leahy - Friday, October 31, 2008 5:54 PM

While you sit around all weekend waiting for X-Play's Gears of War 2 Special, check out this Web Exclusive behind the scenes video, which takes a look at what goes into a voice-over session for a project as massive as Gears of War 2.

You'll see the actors in the booth delivering the lines that you'll see in the game when it releases on November 7, 2008. The Xbox 360 exclusive is definitely one of the most anticipated releases of the year.

Remember, the X-Play Gears of War 2 Special airs Monday, November 3rd at 8PM ET with exclusive footage and interviews. Check out the awesome teaser for the special right here.

SPOILER WARNING: This footage contains Gears of War 2 spoilers.


First Batch of 'LittleBigPlanet' DLC Dated and Priced
Posted By: Jeffrey Kanjanapangka - Friday, October 31, 2008 4:43 PM

The first batch of LittleBigPlanet has been announced and is set for a November 6th release.  PlayStation Blog has revealed both free and priced DLC in the near future.

To show fans some love after the bumpy launch, gamers will be treated to a pair of free costumes available for download off of PSN only from 11/6 - 11/19. (Don't forget!) In additon, the category break-down of future LBP DLC has been detailed:

  • Seasonal & Limited Time Only Costumes - FREE
  • Community Costumes - FREE
  • SackBoy Costumes - $0.99 each
  • Premium SackBoy Costumes - $1.99 each
  • RARE SackBoy Costumes - $?.??
  • Basic SackBoy Costume Bundle - $2.99
  • Premium SackBoy Costume Bundle - $5.99

DSi Download Games Revealed
Posted By: Raymond Padilla - Friday, October 31, 2008 4:15 PM

Wired has a report on the initial batch of DSi Ware games. These are downloadable titles that can be played on the new Nintendo DSi handheld gaming system. Wired's Chris Kohler was most impressed with the new Made in Wario game. He said:

"The most interesting of the bunch is Utsusu! Made In Wario, the latest in the Wario Ware series of micro-game collections. Nintendo president Satoru Iwata explains that you'll use the Nintendo DSi's built-in camera to play it, kind of like an EyeToy game -- your silhouette is inserted into the mini-games, and you have to play it with your face and hands. You'll actually set the DSi on a tabletop to do this."

While the concept of this game sounds innovative and fun, there's no way you can play Utsusu! Made in Wario without looking like a complete tool...which means we'll all enjoy making our friends play it. In other Wario/DSi news, it was revealed that a bunch of old Wario Ware micros will be available through DSi Ware. Kohler said:
"Nintendo will produce even smaller downloadable DSi games -- some of the mini-games featured in the first Wario Ware game for Game Boy Advance will be released as $2 downloads on DSi Ware."

This isn't nearly as impressive. In fact, it sounds like a damn rip off. One of my colleagues was under the impression that you get one micro-game for $2. I can't believe that's true; that's just too ridiculous. Even if you get a batch of three, it's still a questionable deal for $2. These are micro-games! While their market is quite different from the North American one, I can't see many Japanese consumers dropping yen for these. It'll be interesting to see how they perform.

A lot of the comments I've been reading are pretty negative or indifferent on the DSi. Does the initial batch of DSi games change your opinion? For the better or for the worse? Playing games with your face -- stupid or genius?!? Leave a comment and let me know!


'The Sims 3' Provides Machinima Election Coverage
Posted By: Jeffrey Kanjanapangka - Friday, October 31, 2008 3:03 PM

Not to be outdone by the blistering media storm covering this upcoming election, the folks over at The Sims 3 have provided us some intense election coverage.  Utilizing the latest in machinima, witness the gripping fight between the Vice Presidential candidates and a dance between Palin and McCain after the cut.

EA's The Sims 3 ships in Februrary 2009 for the PC.

The Sims 3 Biden-Palin Fight

The Sims 3 McCain-Palin Dance

Parrots Demo 'Tom Clancy's EndWar's Voice Command Feature
Posted By: Jeffrey Kanjanapangka - Friday, October 31, 2008 2:40 PM

Meet Polly and Walter, two parrots who have a knack for commanding tanks and troops using the voice-command feature in Tom Clancy's EndWar. Now if only we can speak as clearly as they can while shouting orders over our headsets.

Tom Clancy's EndWar ships November 4th for the PS3, Xbox 360, PSP and Nintendo DS followed by the PC release scheduled for 2009.

Tom Clancy's EndWar Parrots and Voice-Command

'Battlefield: Bad Company' Community Choice Adds Free DLC Maps
Posted By: Jeffrey Kanjanapangka - Friday, October 31, 2008 1:58 PM

In times of economic woes isn't great to hear the word FREE as much as possible?

Check out the 4 new battlegrounds released by EA yesterday for Battlefield: Bad Company (PS3, Xbox 360)Selected through the BF:BC community these babies won't cost you a penny. As you know this wily FPS has been out since June, but if you're a fan free DLC (w00t!) head on over to the PlayStation Store or Xbox Live marketplace to score your game a couple of freebies.

Battlefield: Bad Company Par For The Course Map

Battlefield: Bad Company Acta Non Verba Map



Battlefield: Bad Company Ghost Town



Battlefield: Bad Company Crossing Over

'Guitar Hero World Tour' Getting 'Quantum of Solace' Song As DLC
Posted By: Brian Leahy - Friday, October 31, 2008 1:23 PM

In a brilliant stroke of corporate synergy, Activision will be releasing Jack White and Alicia Keys' song "Another Way to Die", which will be featured in the upcoming James Bond Film Quantum of Solace, as a downloadable track in Guitar Hero World Tour.

The news comes out of the invitation to the Quantum of Solace midnight launch event being held on Monday, November 3rd at the West Hollywood Best Buy store.

"Additionally, those in line at 10:00 PM will get the exclusive opportunity to be one of the first to play the Bond song “Another Way to Die” performed by Jack White and Alicia Keys which is soon-to-be-released as downloadable content for Activision’s Guitar Hero World Tour."

There will be prizes given away and the 136 Best Buy's around the nation will be holding similar events.


'Rock Band' DLC Gets Political With The Presidents of the United States
Posted By: Brian Leahy - Friday, October 31, 2008 12:58 PM

Everyone is jumping on the political bandwagon these days and Rock Band has some special election-themed DLC for you to enjoy next week with a few extras thrown in for good measure.

As rumored, starting on Tuesday, November 4th (November 6th for the PS3) you'll be able to download the following three tracks from The Presidents of the United States as a bundle for $5.49 (440 Microsoft Points) or $1.99 (160 Microsoft Points) for each track.

  • "Dune Buggy"
  • "Feather Pluckn"
  • "Ladybug"

Harmonix will also release a track from Fall Out Boy's upcoming album Folie a Deux, which is set to release on December 16, 2008. The track, titled "I Don't Care" will be available for $.99 (80 MS Points) for just one month as a special deal.

Additionally, a track from Hinder, titled "Use Me", will also be available for the $.99 (80 MS Points) discounted price for a month.

Finally, the 20 free tracks will be made available next week, which feature up-and-coming bands from across all genres. You can find the list here.

'Gears of War 2' Special On X-Play Monday!
Posted By: Mike D'Alonzo - Friday, October 31, 2008 12:15 PM

This Monday, X-Play's assault of new games and special events continues, as we finally get our hands on Gears of War 2, and see what Marcus Fenix is up against this time. There will be video, exclusives, and interviews, as we go deep inside the game and show you what it's all about.

Here's the official preview:

"G4 TV takes X-Play on location to Epic Games in Cary, NC for a behind-the-scenes look at the blockbuster sequel and will officially premiere the opening cinematic of Gears of War 2 in full HD glory. The Gears of War 2 X-Play episode debuts on Monday, Nov 3 at 8pm EST and re-airs each night throughout the week exclusively on G4 TV."

In the meantime, check out this preview of what the show's got in it. We think you're really going to like it.