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Nintendo at E3 2012: WiiU Buy It?


E3 Expo
Nintendo had a typically strong opening to their press conference at E3 this year, relying again on the charisma of Miyamoto and a more clever opening than the other two. After that, though, was it really all that entertaining? The company showed a lot of new games coming for the WiiU console, a great many of them launch titles, but if you were expecting something with the energy and buzz of the pre-Wii-launch E3, it just wasn't going to happen.

If you thought the Wii was gimmicky, you'll certainly feel the same about the WiiU. If you thought the Wii was aimed more at families and especially children, you'll probably have the same reaction again. If you have thought that Nintendo just wasn't pushing the third parties enough, you might well be right again, even though Ubisoft showed up (again!) with nine games in development for the new console.

If you're into the product that Nintendo has been putting out for most of the last decade, you probably liked what you saw. The games looked casual- and family-friendly, and the gimmick of the WiiU controller looked like it was going to get used in some pretty interesting ways. Bottom line, though, if you weren't already mostly sold on the idea of the WiiU, I don't think today's conference was going to do anything to push you over the edge. And if you wanted to see 3DS stuff, such as Square Enix' forthcoming games? That has to wait until tomorrow, when Nintendo has planned a standalone conference to speak solely about the 3DS. Dream Drop Distance did managed to sneak in a 15-second clip into today's show, but it was hardly packed with information.

That does it for the big three this year. I can't pick a winner, all three felt a bit lacking in energy to me. Any thoughts?

Sony at E3 2012: Going for the Level Two Super


E3 Expo
I didn't write this news post last night for a few reasons: one, I wasn't able to focus on it very well. Two, I had a baby to put to bed because of how late Sony started in my time zone. Three, and maybe this was just because I don't own any current Sony devices, but it just wasn't very exciting, continuing the trend set earlier by Microsoft.

After introducing Kaz Hirai, in the crowd this year as the new leader of all of Sony, the company led with Beyond, a game from the makers of Heavy Rain that looked and sounded very much like Heavy Rain, distinguishable mainly by the new game having Ellen Page drop the f-bomb in the trailer. The next big game shown in detail was PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale, the Vita/PS3 cross-play game that looks like Smash Bros. with a sketchier roster of characters. After that came a break where Jack Tretton talked for a while about why Sony's online offering is the best.

It was then back to the sequels; Ubisoft came in to show a new Vita game taking place around colonial New Orleans, with a new female Assassin, and the new ship-based battles available in the full AC3. Then there was FarCry 3 with four-player co-op, and after a long segment showing a J.K. Rowling-penned Move game, right back into the sequels with yet another God of War. The last new game wrapped up the keynote, with a gameplay demo of The Last of Us, which, good as it looked, still seems a lot like a "Nathan Drake in Zombie Apocalypse."

Did Sony have a better showing than Microsoft? It's hard to say. I tend to think that they both kind of just followed the same template as last year, and that's understandable given that this is probably the last E3 where their current consoles are the big news. Nintendo's going to be asking everyone to buy the new hardware, so the counterpoint offered by the other two is to talk about how great their new software is. It makes sense, but it's not exactly compelling.

Oh, and continuing the theme again - no mention of anything from Square Enix in this keynote. Nintendo will almost surely show Theatrhythm and Kingdom Hearts 3D today, but we'll probably need to do some more digging on our own to get the best information, and we'll be doing that soon as well.

Microsoft at E3 2012: Bro-gaming and No-gaming


E3 Expo
You're here at the Caves of Narshe. You're reading this hoping for some RPG news. You're not getting it. Microsoft came out and just like last year, they had very little to offer other than games for the "core" and the opportunity to shove Kinect down our throats.

Now, don't get me wrong. Obviously there is a huge market for both of these things, or else they wouldn't keep showing up over and over again at E3. However, virtually every game that Microsoft showed was a sequel to a juggernaut franchise - Call of Duty, Gears of War, Forza. Of course, too, Halo. The Kinect offerings included the typical casual games and some content elaborating on how this year's EA Sports offerings will be more Kinect-enabled.

The big push beyond that this year has nothing to do with gaming at all. It was all about media, and all of the new video and audio that Xbox will be able to send to you, working towards meeting Microsoft's stated goal of becoming more than a gaming console. There was also an extensive demo of Microsoft's Smart Glass technology, intended to make your mobile and console devices interact with each other quickly on the fly to enhance the consumption of a variety of different content, be it games, TV, or movies, and also to potentially emulate the tablet interaction of the WiiU controller. All of these things have been expected, but it just seems to this author more and more like unless you're into console FPS or over-the-shoulder shooters, Microsoft really just doesn't care if you want their console.

That said, this has to be considered a pretty successful E3 keynote for Microsoft. Their talking points are all going to be very, very good for business. What doesn't appeal to me or (I assume) a lot of our readers here still appeals to a ton of folks. I just wish there were a little more to be really excited about.

Oh, and for Square Enix fans? There was one thing to look at, from Eidos: a new gameplay trailer of the Tomb Raider reboot. It looked pretty much just like last year, just with new scenery in which Lara gets beaten up thoroughly.

Am I being too hard on Microsoft, who announced that they were the biggest console company in the world as of this year? You tell me.

Plans Detailed for Tokyo Game Show 2012


Tokyo Game Show
The Tokyo Game Show will be back yet again this year, with the dates recently set to be 20-23 September, 2012 in the Chiba prefecture. This year, the show will be adding two new "corners," sections of the show set off for specific platforms - in this case, for PC and Smartphone/Tablet gaming.

Additionally this year, the show's organizers, CESA, will be producing video of the show for online viewing. No other details are available at this time, but it's likely that these will include booth tours and possibly game demo video. It's also likely that these will be produced only in Japanese, so brush up now.

The show expects nearly two hundred thousand visitors over the four days, split between industry professionals and the general public.

Source: andriasang

The Hironobu Sakaguchi Digest: Winter 2012


Sakaguchi, busy as always, made the news twice recently with regards to his work with Mistwalker. The biggest news is that, now that it's been out for over a year in Japan and is coming out in Europe this week, is that The Last Story is getting a North American release this summer. The localization for North America is being done by XSeed, known for localization of other RPGs; no other details are known at this time. Now that both Xenoblade and The Last Story will be available worldwide, perhaps the Wii can - too late - become a go-to destination for RPG players?

Of course, to partner with that interesting news, Sakaguchi is also working on three non-RPG games for iOS. These will be his, and Mistwalker's, first foray into Apple's world, and it's clear that none of the games are necessarily meant to appeal to his core audience. The first game will be somehow surfing related, and he gave no details on the other two games at all other than to say that they were small and "palate cleansers" for him after the development of The Last Story. All that said, it seems like there's not much there to keep our attention, but if he surprises us with something interesting for iOS, we'll make sure to keep you updated.

Source: Kotaku, TUAW

Final Fantasy X Coming to PS3 and PS Vita in HD


Tokyo Game Show
OK, maybe it's not the remake fans were waiting for, but it's something, right? Square-Enix's 2001 megahit will receive a high-definition makeover and be available as a PS3 game and a PS Vita download. Final Fantasy X follows hot on the heels of several other PS2 games receiving HD remakes on the PS3, including God of War I and II, ICO, Shadow of the Colossus, and the entire Sly Cooper Series.

This continues a trend of PS Vita games and PS3 games receiving near-identical ports. Multiplayer Vita games can play online against PS3 players and include many other connectivity features. Presumably, Final Fantasy X HD will have trophy support and scale up to 1080p, just like the other HD remakes mentioned above.

There is no release date yet for Final Fantasy X on the PS3 or PS Vita, but you can bet your memory card Caves of Narshe will report it as soon as it's made public.

Source: Kotaku

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