Nintendo finally offered a response to fans repeated requests for localizations of Xenoblade, The Last Story and Pandora's Tower. Chances are you aren't going to like what they had to say though. Nintendo's facebook page currently reads, "Thank you for your enthusiasm. We promised an update, so here it is. We never say “never,” but we can confirm that there are no plans to bring these three games to the Americas at this time. Thanks so much for your passion, and for being such great fans!" I am in disbelief. I expected to hear about a Xenoblade localization at the very least, the game is already in English after all. Nintendo of America really needs to get their act together if they even hope to have a chance at winning over the hardcore mindshare with their next system, the Wii U. Not localizing three games that could give the Wii a graceful send off is not a good start.
Earlier this evening I attended a live stream event where Atlus demonstrated their quirky upcoming puzzle game, Catherine, due July 26 for both Xbox 360 and PS3. The presentation started with a quick explanation of the story, which stars a man named Vincent who must choose whether or not to commit to marriage to his girlfriend of five years, the titular Catherine. The very idea of commitment gives Vincent nightmares, which lead us straight into the gameplay. The first level looked so much like the old arcade title Q*Bert that I actually made comment of it to Atlus' PR, which they took understandably took offense to. After a few more minutes of seeing the game in action it was clear that I had made a hasty judgement. Vincent's nightmares involve climbing towers of blocks arranged in various patterns to impede his progress. He can push blocks, pull them, and hang from ledges to help reach his goal. He has to think quickly, the blocks quickly disappear in his wake. In between levels you are treated to short sequences involving talking to Catherine, or answering text messages, giving the player choices that effect the outcome of the game. Don't think of it as a morality meter, despite its appearance, it is actually more a reflection of whether Vincent is self centered or truly cares for Catherine.
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After a spokesman from Nintendo of France made comments last week that insinuated that Xenoblade, Pandora's Tower and The Last Story would not see localization in the United States fans quickly took to the internet and blew up Nintendo's facebook and twitter accounts, making their frothing demand for the games known. Since then Monado: Beginning of the World, also known as Xenoblade, has become the number one bestseller on Amazon videogames. Earlier this evening Nintendo made the following nebulous posting on their facebook and twitter pages, "Hey fans, we appreciate your enthusiasm. Look for more updates to come soon!" Does this mean that Nintendo has finally heard their fans? Xenoblade is starting to look like a safe bet, but Nintendo may still need convincing on The Last Story and Pandora's Tower. Make sure you let Reggie know you want to see these games released in America!
In an interview with Develop, Team Fortress 2 developer Robin Walker announced that Valve is now making the game free-to-play. The game will be supported by micro-transactions, meaning the only things that will cost money are items in the game's shop. If you can avoid buying goofy hats you can play this stellar mulitplayer first person shooter completely free. There is no set date for this price drop currently, but I will update when the information becomes available.
Earlier today Rockstar announced that Team Bondi's L.A. Noire would be arriving on PC later this year, alleviating the fears of many that were concerned it wouldn't see release since Read Dead Redemption never saw a PC port. The PC release will feature 3D support and improved graphical enhancements but will still run on a wide range of PCs. Those eager to investigate the PC version will be able to find L.A. Noire in stores, or for sale by their favorite digital distributor, this Fall.
Twenty years ago today, Sonic the Hedgehog first graced the Sega Genesis. I used to love Sonic, I remember having a frosted Sonic on my fifth birthday cake. The last ten years haven't been too kind to him, but Sonic's Genesis outings more than make up for his later missteps, much like Thriller cancels out much of Michael Jackson's mistakes. Sonic has made a bit of a return to form lately, with the passable Sonic 4: Episode 1 and the surprisingly good Sonic Colors that hit Wii last fall. That momentum looks to continue with Sonic Generations, hitting Xbox 360, PS3 and 3DS this fall. Check out the following youtube video for one of my most memorable Sonic experiences of the past 20 years. Memorable as in so frustrating it stopped me from playing Sonic 3 until I was able to look up the solution on the internet a decade later.
Earlier this week there were rumors flying about that the Xbox 360 successor would be announced at E3 2012 and Crytek was already developing for it. Today Crytek came forward and denied these rumors, saying that it has no knowledge of Microsoft's next console.Crytek's official statement is as follows, "Crytek does not have any next generation hardware from Microsoft, and has no idea when the Xbox-maker will announce its future console plans." Sounds pretty convincing to me. Will Microsoft's next console still make an appearance at next years e3?
In case you didn't know, Reggie Fils Aime from Nintendo of America is making an appearance on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon this evening. Many have been speculating that this would be the public reveal of the Wii U, but since launch is nearly a year away that isn't too likely. Instead it seems as though Nintendo's facebook page has spilled the beans, showing the above picture with the following caption, "The sign outside Reggie's dressing room at Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. Tune in tonight!" It seems as though the focus will be squarely on The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword. I hope Reggie has a bit more to show than the trailer we saw at e3. I hope this is worth suffering through the show for!
IBM is still being quite secretive about the multi-core CPU it is providing for Nintendo's Wii U, but details are slowly leaking about what it has under the hood. The "Watson" chip is said to be a custom Radeon GPU, and while it's not exactly cutting edge it is capable of surpassing the output of the Xbox 360 and PS3. The chip is similar to the R770 found in AMD's last-gen cards like the 4890, but he custom core also supports Direct X 10.1, whereas the Xbox 360 can only run Direct X 9. It also supports an Eyefinity-like multi-display tech for up to four SD video stream, something Nintendo was being wishy washy about at e3. So it is a powerful system, but not cutting edge. These are not final specs however, and are subject to change before launch next year.
Valve's Steam downloadable game service just launched five free-to-play games, Spiral Knights, Forsaken Worlds, Champions Online: Free for All, Global Agenda: Free Agent, and Alliance of Valliant Arms. This marks the first time Valve has tried this strategy on Steam. Extra items and equipment will be available for a premium, but the games themselves are completely free. In order to entice more users, Valve is giving away free content that is normally premium for those that download the games this week.