Monthly Archives: February 2010

Giant Final Fantasy MMORPG Announcement Explosion!

Are people still playing Final Fantasy XI?

I’m kidding.  But for those who may not realize, the Final Fantasy MMORPG experiment has an extremely loyal fanbase that has kept the game up and running for eight years.  To celebrate the game’s eighth anniversary, Square announced at this weekend’s “Vana Fest” fan convention that they will be releasing three new expansion packs that will be released over the course of 2010.  The three packs, named “Vision of Abyssea”, “Scars of Abyssea” and “Heroes of Abyssea”, will each cost 10 dollars, and will be released on all platforms simultaneously.  Players must already have the game’s two larger expansion packs, “Rise of the Zilart” and “Wings of the Goddess” in order to play them.  The first pack (Vision of Abyssea) will become available this summer.

At the same time, Square also announced that the first beta for their NEXT MMORPG, Final Fantasy XIV, will begin on March 14’th.  The beta is apparently very small and PC-only.  Square consoled upset applicants who didn’t get invited to the beta, saying that they plan to call in more players for an expanded beta in the future.  Fans who are sad because they didn’t even know Square was taking applications in December shouldn’t feel left out either:  FFXIV is currently expected to be a 2010 release.

EA Sports Releases First info on NCAA Football 2011, Screenshot

EA Sports released information on the major changes for this year’s version of NCAA Football.  The theme of the changes this year definitely seems to be visual, as you can see from the screenshot.  Most years, the NCAA tends to lack the “aesthetic appeal” of Madden and other EA Sports titles, but that screenshot implies that 2011 will be different.  The statement said that the team is focusing on attention to detail, adding dynamic helmet numbers and other player uniform variations, making refs that jump out of the way to avoid running into players, etc.

NCAA Football 2011 should be out this August, based on previous years.  Officially, EA has said that the game will drop “this fall”.

UK City Names Street After Lara Croft

The city of Derby, UK has announced that they will be naming a street after hometown hero Lara Croft.  Core Design, the developer behind the Tomb Raider series, was based in Derby.  Last July, The city council asked the public for suggestions for street names.  The council narrowed the suggestions down to eight choices, which they put up to an online vote.  According to BBC News, over 89 percent of the vote went to “Lara Croft Way”.  City Councillor Lucy Care said; “Despite my lack of gaming knowledge, I accept that a majority of 89% for Lara Croft is too overwhelming to ignore…  She was created in Derby and deserves to stand alongside some of the more traditional icons of the city.”

Core Design all but disappeared in 2003 after publisher Eidos transferred responsibility for the series over to Crystal Dynamics and many key staff members left to create a new studio, Circle.  The actual studio was shut down in 2006, though the brand “Core Design” still belongs to Eidos.

Civilization V Trailer

Check out the announcement trailer for Civilization V.  As of now, Civ 5 should be available for PC gamers winter 2010.  Supposedly, the new game is going have a revamped combat system and more diplomatic options.  Of course, you can’t see any of that in the trailer, but the video still looks pretty good.

Alpha Protocol Gets Official Release Date

After multiple delays, Sega and Obsidian Entertainment have announced that Spy RPG “Alpha Protocol” will land on store shelves on June 1’st.  The game was supposed to come out last February, but was pushed back to October, and then again to “Spring 2010”, without any explanation.  As a result, many are reasonably skeptical of the so-called firm date.

Also contributing to the skepticism is the lack of information about the game.  Alpha Protocol will supposedly be a stealth-adventure game in the vein of Metal Gear Solid or Splinter Cell that features “RPG Elements”.  The delays could stem from the fact that stealth and adventure games are departure from the developer’s comfort zone:  As a developer, Obsidian is known exclusively for it’s RPGs, including “Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic 2” and “Neverwinter Nights 2”.  In other words, don’t think that you anything about what this game will be like or if it will be good; there is absolutely no way to tell.

After Alpha Protocol, Obsidian’s will presumably dive head-first into the next entry in the “Fallout” series, “New Vegas”.

Super Mario Galaxy 2 Trailer

Here is the new trailer for Super Mario Galaxy 2, which was presented at Wednesday’s Nintendo Summit.  I should’ve put it up before, but I didn’t.  The preview features some of the game’s new features, like a drill that can go through planets and YOSHI.  Also, the chinese-dragon Bowser is really cool.  Even though the design of the game seems almost identical to the first, most of the notable changes seem pretty exciting.

Street Fighter IV for iPhone Priced and Dated

Capcom’s intriguing iPhone port of Street Fighter IV was priced and dated today.  According to Gamepro, the game will hit the app store some time next month and will run iPhone gamers a hefty ten dollars.   Ten bucks doesn’t seem like a lot in the greater scheme of things, but for an iPhone app, it’s a bit pricy.  Then again, the screens for the iPhone version look remarkably like the console version; they use the same half-cel-shaded art, and it doesn’t look like you think it would on a tiny non-gaming machine.

Capcom also revealed the game’s reduced roster: It’ll have eight characters; Ryu, Ken, Guile, Blanka, Chun-Li, Dhalsim, M. Bison and Abel.  Each character does have the their entire skill set from the console version, including super and ultra moves.  Capcom says they chose to reduce the number of characters, rather than cut their abilities.

Nintendo Announces AAA Release Dates

Nintendo held their US media summit San Francisco today.  At the conference, they announced the release dates for their first-party lineup for Spring and Summer, 2010.  Most exciting and surprising were the release dates for Super Mario Galaxy 2 and Metroid: Other M, which will both be in stores this spring.  Galaxy 2 will be coming out May 23’rd, while the new 2D Metroid is set to be released on June 27’th.  Frankly speaking, until yesterday’s hint from Nintendo’s Australian summit (They’re going to be having international “summits” all week), it was widely assumed that word would come at E3 that both games would be ready some time around Christmas.  Other interesting releases include the US release of Monster Hunter Tri (April 20’th) and  Sin & Punishment 2: Star Successor (June 7’th) and whole bunch WiiWare titles, including Mega Man 10 (March 1’st).

You might be asking; “well now that they’ve done all this, what is Nintendo gonna show at E3?”  Well, the word is that, regardless of what Nintendo says now, that they will be unveiling the DS-2 at this year’s big show.  Announcing AAA titles like Mario Galaxy 2 now will presumably free Nintendo of the responsibility to promote their releases at E3 so they can focus on the console launch.

Fan-Made Final Fantasy VII-2 Video

n case you haven’t figured it out yet, there isn’t going to be a Final Fantasy VII remake or sequel on PS3, or probably ever.  Square-Enix has said that they wouldn’t think of tackling the project because it would take years to do right.  Some fans have a hard time letting go though; Thai designer ToNg, for instance, made a short video of a battle from “Final Fantasy VII-2”. His version looks like an early PS2 game, but that is still a pretty major visual update from the original.

Next “Call of Duty” Will Most Likely be Set in Vietnam

Activision has already announced that the next entry in the Call of Duty series will be released some time during 2010.  The next entry, the seventh game if you include the “Modern Warfare” series, is being developed by Treyarch, who worked less popular entries in the series like “Call of Duty 3” and “World at War”.  Treyarch is looking to shake off of the stigma of being “those other Call of Duty guys” by taking the series somewhere it’s never been: Vietnam.  Rumors of a Call of Duty game in Vietnam go all the way back to early rumors about COD 4, (what became Modern Warfare) but it’s never actually been done.

Treyarch’s decision was pseudo-confirmed by Videogaming247.com, when they got word of a casting call from Activision for four actors to do voice-over and motion-capture work for characters from “Military Assistance command, Vietnam – Studies and Observations group” a real-life unit that was active from 1964-1972.  Recent rumors have indicated that the plot of the game may be based on classic Vietnam films like “Platoon” and “Apocalypse Now”

1up.com predicts that the game will hit shelves in November, which would make sense given that Activision is still in casting.  Also, with that timing would the game would go on sale about a full year after “Modern Warfare 2”; Activision said that they plan to release a new entry in the series once a year.