I’ll Believe It When It Happens: The Last Guardian to Appear at E3 2015

The Last GuardianRumor has it that Sony’s Japan Studio will they/won’t they project The Last Guardian will be making an appearance at this year’s Electronic Entertainment Expo according to a report issued by The Guardian.

I’m going to stop the actual reporting there because, honestly, there is nothing to report here. The Last Guardian’s tumultuous history is incredibly well documented, so much so that Sony had let the trademark of the game lapse twice. Trademark deadline mishaps aside, while many want Japan Studio’s follow up to Ico and Shadow of the Colossus to be an amazing fantasy epic, they are unfortunately at the mercy of rumors and leaks. They may want to take their time in developing a game that could be amazing, but keep in mind the conceptual work of The Last Guardian began in the PlayStation 2 era.

We are well beyond the point in time that Japan Studio can ignore the outside noise and remain hidden in the dark on The Last Guardian. All we really know is that the game was supposed to come out on the PlayStation 3, it has a boy, it has a griffin, it is kinda shiny. Or maybe those statements are all “was” statements.

I guess we’ll find out in a week.

The Guardian – E3 2015 – Our 15 Most Anticipated Games

Inevitable 1080p Remaster of Uncharted Trilogy Coming to PS4 October 9

Uncharted: The Nathan Drake CollectionNathan Drake will be making his PlayStation 4 debut on October 9, just not in Uncharted 4. Naughty Dog Studios is putting together a 1080p remastered collection of the original three Uncharted titles in a collection dubbed Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection. It will contain Full-HD remasters of the PlayStation 3 entries of Drake’s Fortune, Among Thieves and Drake’s Deception. Purchasing the Nathan Drake Collection also provides access to the Uncharted 4 multiplayer beta.

Leaked in part to an internal error that had a listing appear on the PlayStation Store, Uncharted was probably the most likely candidate for an HD remaster, especially after the strong reception of Naughty Dog’s last game and subsequent remaster, The Last Of Us.

Uncharted was a powerhouse of a game visually, that managed to combine great animation and set pieces amongst terrific action directing. While the gameplay left a little to be desired with rooms full of swarming enemies, Uncharted was the definitive game of the PlayStation 3 and one of my personal favorites of last generation. A graphical fidelity upgrade from 720p to 1080p will certainly be welcome but it will be interesting to see if some of the mechanics are ironed out when they work on fine tuning the game. Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune certainly has aged the poorest of the three with clumsy shooting controls and awkward pacing at times.

The delay of Uncharted 4 into 2016 was one of the things that has kept me from purchasing a PS4 to this point. Maybe the idea of playing the first three titles again is enough to stave off Sony fans that are hungry for a solid console exclusive.

I’m trying not to read too much into the way that they are naming this collection as well. Titling the trio of games the Nathan Drake Collection is eyebrow raising with many wondering if A Thief’s End will permanently shut the door on Nathan Drake and introduce a new protagonist/antagonist. To me the Uncharted franchise ties into the charisma of Nathan Drake’s character, so moving away from Drake as the lead is hard for me to see past.

Amplitude is Almost Here and I Can’t Wait

AmplitudeHarmonix Games’ revival of their famed Amplitude franchise is looking spectacular, thanks to a new trailer that was released today.

Put into production after a successful 18 day Kickstarter campaign, the PlayStation exclusive rhythm action game revives the cult classic series that Harmonix claimed fame for prior to their work on Guitar Hero and Rock Band. Players are challenged to create music tracks by successfully activating sections of a song. Each song segment (bass, rhythm, highs, vocals, etc.) are activated by rhythmic combinations of three button presses, similar to successfully activating a section in Guitar Hero or Rock Band. After a segment is successfully activated, it stays running for a limited time and a different segment can be jumped to (typically with the shoulder buttons) with the goal of adding more segments.

New to the series is the addition of a cooperative multiplayer mode where multiple players can stay on dedicated segments to create more complex tracks. It is a natural evolution for a company that saw incredible success in its work in cooperative rhythm games.

Newcomers to the franchise might notice many similarities between Amplitude and the colorful Rock Band Blitz. Blitz shared many of the concepts that made Amplitude and Frequency popular, with Blitz having a focus on Rock music thanks to the vast Rock Band library.

Amplitude is set to release this Summer for the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 3. Harmonix will be showing the game off for the first time to the public at this weekend’s PAX East convention.

Dragon Quest Heroes is Coming West After All

Dragon Quest HeroesDragon Quest Heroes will be releasing in North America and Europe later this year according to an announcement made by Square Enix today. The game has been confirmed for launch on PlayStation 4 and will carry a price tag of $59.99 in the United States.

The action/RPG mash-up draws heavily from developer Omega Force’s history of making their long running hack and slash Dynasty Warriors / Musou games. The Tecmo Koei studio is no stranger to collaborations, having already teamed up with Nintendo last year to develop the very successful Zelda themed Hyrule Warriors on top of other themed Musou style games including titles based on One Piece, Gundam and Fist of the North Star.

The game just launched in their domestic market of Japan for PS4 and PS3 (February 26, because it’s the future there) so early sales numbers are not yet available. But given the typically staggering popularity of Dragon Quest, on top of the loyal following Omega Force developed Musou games carry, it should be a safe bet that Dragon Quest Heroes does well. Dragon Quest Heroes does, after all, have one of the best advertisements in recent memory.

There is no official confirmation on whether the PlayStation 3 version of the game will make its way west, but I expect to see it released as a possible digital download, depending on the activity of PS3 users. Also unconfirmed are bubble wrap themed advertisements.

Polygon – Dragon Quest Heroes is headed west to PS4 this year

Street Fighter V Debuts at PlayStation Experience with Gameplay Trailer

Street Fighter VI reported Friday on the leak of Capcom’s Street Fighter V. With the wonderfully directed “Rise Up” trailer and Yoshinori Ono in tow, Capcom made the announcement official and was kind enough to include a brief gameplay trailer featuring franchise stalwarts Ryu and Chun Li.

The art style is heavily influenced by and very similar to Street Fighter IV’s current 2.5 dimension feel. Complete with SFIV’s signature ink-trails on many of the stronger attacks, Street Fighter V is Capcom sticking to a formula that worked out well for them, a far cry from the dramatic shifts between Street Fighter II to Street Fighter Alpha to Street Fighter III.

Making a return to the series is destructible stages, with Chun Li sending Ryu flying through a store wall. I may be incorrect in my memory, but it has been a while since breakable barrels and statues in Street Fighter II.

Also confirmed was the game’s exclusivity to the PlayStation 4 on a home console level. Sony was a major financier of the development costs of Street Fighter V and attaining that exclusivity is a good win for them. The game is also going to be released on Windows PC, with an arcade version to follow. I expect that once Capcom pushes SFV into arcades, they will begin tuning that version to expand upon the original release. At that point, Microsoft may luck out and get an updated version of the game, but Sony is just as likely to throw more money at Capcom, just to lock up that exclusivity.

Happy 20th Playstation!

On December 3, 1994, twenty years ago, Sony took a chance on the original PlayStation and never looked back. After a broken deal between Sony and Nintendo that would have had the electronic giant making a CD-ROM based system for Super Mario, Sony angrily green-lit their legendary gray box that went on to destroy more powerful consoles and become the first video game console to sell over 100 million units. Not bad for an underpowered system coming off the heels of one of the greatest gaming rivalries of all time (SNES vs. Genesis).

Playstation 20th Anniversary PS4To celebrate the 20th anniversary of the PlayStation brand, Sony has unveiled a special throwback colored PlayStation 4 console that will be an extremely limited supply of 12,300 units worldwide. pre-orders for the special edition console will open on Saturday, December 6, coinciding with their PlayStation Experience keynote presentation.

I never thought I’d refer to the original color scheme of the first generation PlayStation as gorgeous, but there’s something about this throwback console that hits all the right notes. From the gray backdrop and individually numbered 20th anniversary plaque to the PS4 blue bar peeking through with the old rainbow accents, this is a fantastic looking console.

In addition to the console, Sony also released 20th anniversary themes for all three active PlayStation consoles (PS4, PS3, PS Vita). Featuring the same gray throwback tones and rainbow colored icons, the theme is a tasteful way to show some love for the original PlayStation. Those who choose to use the theme on PS4 are in for a nice little audible surprise as well.

So thank you Sony, for taking a chance on the PlayStation. It was a system that truly was a turning point for video games.

PlayStation Blog – PlayStation Turns 20, PS4 20th Anniversary Edition Revealed

Xbox One Dominates Black Friday Weekend Sales

Xbox One Assassin's Creed UnityMicrosoft’s aggressive price drop promotion appears to finally be paying off for the Washington based tech giant. According to a sales tracking study conducted by InfoScout, Xbox One sales made up over half of the consoles sold over the largest American shopping weekend.

Bundles of the Xbox One were already slashed by $50 leading into the Black Friday weekend, but the special promos got even sweeter with an additional $20 off at many retailers on top of offering big bundled deals for those purchasing the console.

Despite selling with Assassin’s Creed: Unity, a game whose flaws were well documented, the Assassin’s Creed Xbox One Bundle with Unity and Black Flag led the way at pretty much every major U.S. retailer. According to InfoScout’s sales tracking data, the Xbox One held a 53% share of the Black Friday sales compared to the Sony PlayStation 4’s 31%.

Nintendo, despite having a fairly solid offering of the Super Mario 3D World bundled Wii U and a mere week removed from the launch of Super Smash Bros. for Wii U, mustered up a disappointing 6%. Numbers that were even beaten by the Xbox 360 at 9%.

I had the chance to see the sales first hand with many customers carrying boxes and boxes of Assassin’s Creed bundled Xbox Ones at my store. Although the PlayStation 4 GTAV bundle was a popular item as well, customers flocked to the Xbox One priced at $329.99, a sweet spot for many consumers.

The Xbox One’s deals continued to push hard all weekend long, including Microsoft selling the console at the same price of $329.99 and throwing in a free game for Cyber Monday, including the incredibly well received Dragon’s Age: Inquisition as an option.

While Sony certainly caught everybody’s attention by jumping out to the early sales lead, Microsoft is no where near giving up this fight. With more units in gamers’ hands, both companies have the opportunity to really push their exclusives next year to secure a foothold in this very interesting console race. Because when both of the top companies are competing as hard as Sony and Microsoft, the ones who win are the consumers.

Polygon – Study: Xbox One crushes the competition, made up most of Black Friday console sales