January 2011

Ubisoft announced today that PlayStation 3 owners would soon have plenty of action games to tide them over through the sparse second quarter of releases. The first three Prince of Persia games and the first three Splinter Cell games will be coming out both Blu-Ray and PSN as bundles on March 22. READ MORE

We have fond memories of the first Nintendogs. No, not the part where we played it ourselves, as we weren’t that impressed. No, our favorite part was convincing friends to give their dogs embarrassing names and then watching them say it out loud over and over in an attempt to get the pet’s attention.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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This week we crown a returning leader while covering the newly revealed NGP and Kirby.

Current score

Gerry Pagan: +30

Andrew Passafiume: +395

Graham Russell: +384

Eric Schabel: +35

Shawn Vermette: +335

 

Results

PlayStation Move will sell more units this year than Project Natal

Both Sony and Microsoft made valiant attempts to promote and sell their new motion controllers, but Microsoft’s was more successful, with 8 million Kinects sold compared to Sony’s 6 million Moves (even though players were buying multiple Moves).

Andrew 30% = +20

Graham 70% = -20

Shawn 35% = +15

 

3DS to have a ‘simultaneous US-Japan launch’

Unfortunately for potential 3DS owners in the US, Nintendo just announced a release date of March 26, 2011. A full month after its release in Japan, and just outside our window of a simultaneous launch.

Eric 75% = -25

Graham 70% = -20

Shawn 85% = -35

 

3DS to cost more than $200

Despite the recent price drop of the DSi XL in the US, Nintendo announced a starting retail price of $249.99, making it their highest priced handheld to date.

Eric 90% = +40

Graham 70% = +20

Shawn 90% = +40

 

American 3DS launch lineup to include at least 10 games

There will be 12 launch titles available for the 3DS in the US, up from the 8 revealed in Japan.

Gerry 50% = 0

Andrew 50% = 0

Graham 65% = +15

Shawn 60% = +10

 

Sony to reveal ‘PSP2’ by E3

As expected, Sony revealed the PSP2 this week at their business meeting, codenamed “Next Generation Portable.” No release date or price was revealed, though a lot of games and specs for it were revealed, including what appeared to be PS3 level graphics.

Gerry 80% = +30

Andrew 95% = +45

Graham 90% = +40

Shawn 95% = +45

 

PSP2 to have touch controls

One of the details revealed was that the NGP will have a touch screen and a touchpad on the back of the device, giving it two different touch panels.

Andrew 70% = +20

Graham 80% = +30

Shawn 75% = +25

 

NGP to cost more than $350

Sony finally unveiled a bunch of news concerning their PSP2, now dubbed the NGP (Next Generation Portable), but one detail that has not been revealed yet is the price of the NGP. EEDAR has guessed that it will be $300-$350. Is this an accurate guess or will Sony blow us all away with a $350+ price tag?

Gerry: Considering the current $300 price tag on the PS3, I find it extremely unlikely that Sony would go so far as to make the NGP cost so much more than their current main console. $300 – $350 is a rather fair estimate, in addition to not being so much of a stretch for people still choosing between the NGP and the 3DS. 10%

Andrew: I’m not sure Sony is willing to charge way more than the norm after what initially happened with the PS3, but at the same time I’d be willing to believe it cost $400 at launch. Considering the technology involved and the big plans Sony has for it, I’m sure we’ll be seeing a premium price for what they consider a premium handheld. 70%

Graham: I get this gut feeling that it will be $349. $400 is a bit steep for a portable, but if anyone would do it, it’s Sony. What’s more, I could see some $369 or $379 shenanigans too. Hrm. It’s possible, but I won’t say likely, since overpricing it would kill it at launch, and this seems like a last-ditch attempt to make strides to close the gap with Nintendo.  37.9%

Shawn: Sony has a history of pricing systems higher than anyone would expect them to, and considering the high level of graphics and technology Sony is putting in the NGP, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if it pushed the $400 mark. 75%

 


3DS price to drop before NGP US release

With early rumors tagging the NGP with a potential price tag of only $50-100 more than the 3DS, here at Snackbar Games, we wonder if Nintendo might pre-empt the NGP’s launch with an early price drop to steal some of Sony’s thunder.

Gerry: Not entirely out of the question. This would probably be dependent on what the NGP’s final price is, but I’m sure it’s a move they could make. 50%

 


Andrew: If the NGP doesn’t launch until next year, I could definitely see this as a possibility. Nintendo and Sony, once again, both have completely different handhelds that will appeal to different markets, but Nintendo wants to make sure they always have the upper hand. I’m leaning slightly towards yes on this one, but I also wouldn’t be that surprised if it doesn’t happen. 65%

Graham: I get the feeling Sony won’t be competitively pricing its device. That said, Nintendo has had recent success with price drops, and while they’ll ride out the get-it-at-all-costs early adopters, they could drop to $229 for the holidays. It’s probably one more year before that happens, though, unless Sony pulls a sub-$300 price out of its hat. 24.7%

Shawn: I think this rumor strongly depends on a number of variables we don’t know yet. NGP launch price and date, and how well the 3DS sells will all play into this. Going off of my gut instincts, I’m saying Nintendo leaves the price up. 30%


New Kirby Wii game to release in 2011

Early looks at the newly revealed Kirby Wii game seem to reveal a game that might actually be a good way through production. No news has been released regarding it yet, but considering the lack of any other first-party Wii games in production for the second half of this year, we wonder if it might be expected to support the Wii through the holiday season this year.

Gerry: The skeptic in me says that a new Kirby in 2011 is unlikely. The Kirby fan in me says otherwise. 100%

 


Andrew: I wouldn’t be surprised if the new Kirby Wii game is almost finished actually. It essentially is the unfinished Kirby GameCube title but brought to the Wii, so seeing I would be very surprised if we didn’t see it released this year.  95%


Graham: Nintendo has nothing in the tank, and Kirby couldn’t possibly take very long to localize. Sure, two Kirby games in two years is unprecedented, but it’s no different in Japan. Then again, I’m the one guy on Earth who really liked Kirby Air Ride, so maybe my opinion isn’t so free of bias in this particular argument. Anyway, here’s a percentage that Shawn won’t like.  98.7654321%

Shawn: I would be very surprised if Nintendo didn’t push out this Kirby game as fast as they could. They threw everything they had at the public last year, and find themselves with no games left for this year other than the new Zelda and this new Kirby game. 90%

LittleBigPlanet 2

January 31, 2011

When it was first revealed that a sequel to LittleBigPlanet was in the works, we were more than a little skeptical. While somewhat flawed, the original title was an excellent party game with a very deep level creation system, something that we thought couldn’t be greatly improved upon. Having experienced everything LittleBigPlanet 2 has to offer, we can confidently say that we were proven wrong.

LittleBigPlanet 2 builds upon its predecessor in ways we couldn’t have seen coming. Media Molecule reworked the entire engine to make everything from the lighting to the particle effects look even better, in addition to modifying and adding new tools and features to their level creator. One of these key features is the addition of “Sackbots,” AI characters that can be programmed to do anything you want. These radically change the way the game plays, as it adds an extra level of complexity to the stage design for most of the levels, both user-created and in the game’s campaign. 

Although the game is technically a 2D platformer, the game is not limited to one genre. While the original level creation engine was pushed to the limits to work with different genres, this is basically a feature of LittleBigPlanet 2’s level creator: the game’s story mode alone has levels that feature shoot-’em-up levels (Gradius, R-Type), bumper cars, air hockey, vehicle levels, and puzzle stages. Even the platforming levels themselves are incredibly varied, with no two levels playing alike. You’ll swing through stages with grappling hooks, lead a group of sackbots through a complicated pipe system, run away from a giant turkey and (our personal favorite) use a head-mounted cake gun.

There’s already a ton of impressive, expertly-made user-made stages in the game, and they’re likely to never stop coming. With such a healthy community supporting the game’s level creator, this is the game for people who love user-generated content, want something to play for a long time, or just want to have a good time with a couple of friends. 

 

When Reggie Fils-Aime announced Ridge Racer as a launch window title at the 3DS event, he hesitated a little. We think he wanted to say “Riiiiiidge Raceeeeeer.” The thing is, it’s kind of a big deal, actually.

 

 

 

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