GamesCom 2009

Japanese gamers eat up Capcom’s Monster Hunter franchise like Kirstie Alley eats up small woodland creatures. Yeah. It's that popular. Yet one of the key components missing from the Japanese version of the most recent installment in the series, Monster Hunter Tri for the Nintendo Wii, is WiiSpeak functionality. Now, given the affinity of Western gamers for being able to chat with other players during multiplayer games, it’s no surprise that Capcom is hoping to rectify this issue when the game final does leave Japan’s shores and makes its way to Western consoles sometime next year.

In fact, as Monster Hunter Tri producer Ryozo Tsujimoto told G4 during GamesCom 2009:

“Obviously, voice chat is the largest priority for us, including that particular function. At the moment, we haven’t decided anything yet, so we can’t promise you that voice chat will be included, but we’ll aim for that.”

To find out more about what you can expect from what's sure to be one of next year's biggest Wii games, be sure to check out the full interview.

Monster Hunter Tri GamesCom 2009 Producer Interview »

BioWare is attempting to make Star Wars: The Old Republic different than any other MMO. One of the ways it plans to do this is through story. Lead writer Daniel Erickson met with G4tv.com at GamesCom 2009 to discuss the game's combat, writing process, gameplay consequences, and more. He said:

"We have this very long story arc that we can bring things back to. You may have completely forgotten that when you were at level eight, that you killed this guy you didn't need to kill. His family hasn't forgotten it and they're going to find you 20 hours later and hunt you down, and you're going to have to deal with the ramifications. One of the really fun things there is that you may be a completely different person at that point. You might have decided to give up your crazy ways from when you were a kid. And now at level 40, you're a pretty good and these guys come to you. You have to decide, 'Okay, am I going to cover that up? How am I going to handle it?' These are the things that really make the galaxy feel alive."

This might be my inner BioWare mark talking, but all of that sounds frickin' awesome. After some addiction problems, I've sworn off MMOs, but I'm really tempted to give this one a shot. Besides, Twi'lek chicks are totally hot.

Watch the entire interview and let me know what you think.


Star Wars: The Old Republic GC 09 Lead Writer Interview »


G4 spoke with LucasArts' Matt Shell at GamesCom 2009 about Lego Indiana Jones 2: The Adventure Continues, that video game where a famous movie character is portrayed as made of plastic Lego blocks.

According to Shell, part 2 is a not a remake or rehash.

"This is a true, legitimate sequel,” Shell told us. “We’ve taken all the aspects of the original game and brought those original adventures back to the sequel in a new way, so you won't be replaying any of the scenes from the first game…. It’s completely re-told.”

We also got the inside word and an early look at Lego Indie 2's builder mode that allows for the creation of original levels, the game's massive improvement to the hub system, and a look at the new split-screen that allows co-op players to separate as far as they want. At last! Plus, Lego Indiana Jones 2: The Adventure Continues contains exciting scenes and characters from Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. The game comes out across platforms this fall. Check out the video below!

Lego Indiana Jones 2: The Adventure Continues GC09 Interview »

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X-Play Fall Specials: Gamescom

This fall, X-Play takes you to the biggest gaming events in the world, and brings you exclusive, inside previews and information about the most highly-anticipated game titles before their release. We’re covering BlizzCon, Halo: ODST, Pax 2009, Modern Warfare 2, Tokyo Game Show 2009 and much more.

Don't miss any of X-Play's fall specials.  It all gets started as X-Play presents Gamescom 2009, starting Monday, August 31st at 6:30PM. Catch a preview of Mass Effect 2, Castlevania, Star Wars: The Old Republic and a hands-on demo of Dirt 2.

And then, make sure you stay with us through the fall, as X-Play brings the world of gaming home to you. Here's the schedule.

  • BlizzCon - September 4
  • PAX 2009 - September 8 & 9
  • Halo: ODST - September 10
  • Brutal Legend - October 1
  • Tokyo Game Show 2009 - October 6, 7 & 8

In the meantime, check out G4tv.com's Gamescom coverage here.

Heavy Rain's Characters Could See Extended Life Through Downloadable Content

Quantic Dream co-founder David Cage says Heavy Rain is a self-contained adventure, but as development nears the finish line and eyes look towards the future, even Cage is intrigued by the idea of downloadable content. Though nothing appears to have been decided, Cage discussed some of the ideas being tossed around for Heavy Rain downloadable content with Videogamer.com at GamesCom.

"It's a self-contained experience," he said. "We won't release the end of the game as DLC that you need to pay for. The game has all the scenes it's supposed to have. It's a complete story. But we are talking with Sony at the moment about having maybe extra downloadable content, maybe with prequels or sequels about the characters. I'm sure people will get attached to some of them and will want to know them even better."

You could have some influence on where the downloadable content goes. What do you want?



Star Wars The Clone Wars: Republic Heroes GC09 Interview »


GamesCom 2009 may have come and gone, but that doesn’t mean we’ve run out of fantastic content to share with you. Far from it. Case in point, our interview with assistant producer on LucasArts’ upcoming Star Wars The Clone Wars: Republic Heroes, Chris Lee.

As Lee explains, the game lets you play as both Jedis and Clone troopers, each of which allows for distinctive types of gameplay.

“The Jedis are acrobatic; they use the Force; they use their lightsabers. And we’ve got a new move in the game where, as a Jedi, you can jump on any droid in the game and droid-jack them. All the droids have different moves, so you can use that against other droids, or you can use it to solve puzzles.”

To find out what you’ll be capable of as a Clone trooper, and to see the game in action, be sure to check out the full interview.

Anyone else think this game is shaping up to be an absolute blast?

Join BioWare and LucasArts as they preview the action-packed gameplay of the sci-fi MMO Star Wars: The Old Republic with 20 minutes of in-game footage! Check out:

  • Gameplay of three classes: The Bounty Hunter, Smuggler, and Sith Warrior
  • The art direction and style exemplified by the three planets: The Sith homeworld of Korriban,  the polluted, enslaved planet of Hutta, and the worn-torn world of Ord Mantell.
  • The unique MMO combat cover system
  • Class teamplay
  • A fully-voiced universe
  • The highly customized story and gameplay experiences called "Flashpoints"
  • and more.

People... it's 20 minutes, stop screwing around and hit play already.

Star Wars: The Old Republic GamesCom 2009 Dev Walkthrough »

Peter Molyneux is a big believer in Project Natal. The designer's Milo demo was an important part of Microsoft's presentation at E3. At GamesCom 2009, Molyneux announced Fable III and talked at length about Fable III's "dynamic touch" mechanic, which will allow players to interact with the characters in Fable III on a new level.

During his presentation, however, he never mentioned using a controller to perform these actions and acted out many of the possible actions with his own hands. Does this mean Fable III is using Project Natal, too? Not quite, based on what Molyneux told Billy Berghammer during post-presentation interview at GamesCom last week.

(This part was cut from the video interview that went up on the website earlier today.)

"Oh, yeah" sighed Molyneux, when asked about Project Natal in Fable III. "So, basically, after my press conference, all these PR [public relations people] came and said 'Oh, my god, people are gonna think this is Natal, they're gonna think this is Natal, you've gotta stand up on stage, get everyone back in the room' and by this time almost everyone had left. So, let me make this clear: this dynamic touch is not an announcement of Natal in Fable in any way."

Molyneux's answer doesn't preclude Fable III from Project Natal -- I'd be surprised if there wasn't some support -- but if that's the case, Molyneux isn't ready to talk about it yet.

Microsoft’s big surpise reveal at their GamesCom 2009 press briefing was Peter Molyneux introducing Fable III. Granted, getting to play Fable II in episodic chunks was also a big surprise, but it was the debut of Fable III that shook the city of Cologne. We got the exclusive opportunity to chat with Molyneux about Fable III and some of the elements that Lionhead are incorporating into the game including becoming the king of Albion, the concept of dynamic touch, what judgments are, and more. Now that you get to rule the kingdom, will the story of Fable end with Fable III? Molyneux dishes out the answers.

US Exclusive Interview: Peter Molyneux Talks Fable III »

And since we could, we had to ask if Molyneux if he would ever consider getting involved with another Syndicate title or Populous. While EA holds the rights to these games, Molyneux apparently has heard there’s something cooking with them. Very interesting indeed. 

Are you excited for Fable III? Are you going to download Fable II's episodes to try the game out? What would you like to see in a new Syndicate or Populous?

Gran Turismo

Gran Turismo 5 is a huge game in Europe, so it's a little peculiar that the title was not mentioned during Sony's presentation at GamesCom 2009. It was playable at the show, but no info was made available during the press event.

Apparently, though, Sony handed out a pamphlet indicating a 4th quarter of 2009 release date for the racing simulation, leading to speculation that Sony is planning on revealing a lot of info on Gran Turismo 5 at the Tokyo Game show in October.

According to the GamesCom info, GT5 will more than double Forza 3's number of cars -- 1000 vehicles, 20 tracks in 60 different layouts, custom soundtrack support, and a damage model for certain car manufacturers. All very interesting, sure, but I personally can't wait until Tokyo, where I hope gamers the world over will get an in-depth peek at the car racing game. It is, of course, a PlayStation 3 exclusive.

So, if you like racing games, are you a Gran Turismo guy or a Forza guy?


Sony Minis Approval And Royalty Details RevealedIn addition to the official announcement of the PlayStation 3 Slim and a $100 PS3 price cut, Sony also revealed its new games program, PSP Minis, at this year’s GamesCom. The new program will feature downloadable games no larger than 100MB that will be playable on the PSP and the upcoming PSP Go.

Sony didn't reveal too much info on the nitty-gritty of the new Minis service, however the folks over at PocketGamer recently found a PDF document on Sony Computer Entertainment Europe’s licensing site outlining some of the new program's policies.

For starters, Sony is clearly taking obvious steps to avoid the kinds of vitriolic criticisms Apple’s App Store approval process has received from developers by promising “no requirement for content approval.” The games will still be subjected to a quality assurance period, but that process will be shortened, and, according to Sony, will be “transparent, trackable and predictable,” another clear indication that Sony wants to be as unlike Apple in this area as possible.

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PS3 Firmware 3.0 Has Biggest New Features For 2009, But More Updates Coming

On September 1st, Sony will release firmware 3.0 for the PlayStation 3, evolving the look and feel of the primary interface for its console. Firmware 3.0 completely revamps the information board, a feature most users ended up turning off, introduces premium avatars and animated themes and a variety of other tweaks broken down into great detail at the PlayStation Blog.

While firmware 3.0 is the last major update the PlayStation 3 will see during 2009, I recently asked Sony if this was the last update period for the calendar year.

"You know, I wouldn't say that or sure just yet because we are working on some things," said PlayStation Network operations director Eric Lempel in a phone interview following Sony's GamesCom announcements. "But this is a big and significant update, so you would be correct to assume that [it's the last major update for 2009]."

I asked Lempel whether the number of feature being packed into firmware 3.0 signaled Sony could be taking a more Microsoft-like approach -- fewer updates with bigger feature sets.

"We try to release updates a few times a year and try to put as much as we can in them and depending on the different schedules and what we have ready at a certain moment, it may or may not make it into an update," he explained. "We do want to continue to evolve the PS3, continue to go along our road map but also listen to what the users are saying and making the necessary enhancements to make their experience better."

Any requests for the rest of 2009?

[image credit: flickr / wlodi]

Eidos invites you to visit the unparalleled island of Panau... just so you can blow it all up in Just Cause 2. Apparently, the secret everyone is talking about is that over-the-top violence and harmony can coexist. Sounds like my kind of resort.

Just Cause 2 GamesCom 2009 Trailer »

The Cause sequel is slated for a 2010 PC, PS3 and Xbox 360 release.

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GSC Game World takes a wasteland safari of the third installment of their highly-acclaimed survival FPS franchise with S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Call of PripyatCheck out five minutes of hallowed-out, in-game footage and the series continued trademark of atmospheric environments.

S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Call of Pripyat GamesCom 2009 Trailer »

Pripyat arrives this Fall on the PC.

GamesCom 2009 Recap -- Previews, Features, And VideosThe G4tv.com crew has been working uber hard at GamesCom 2009, bringing you excellent previews and videos from the show. In case you've missed any of the coverage, here's a list of what's been posted so far and what you can expect in the next few days.


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