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LittleBigPlanet Reaches Over 1 Million Levels!

Source: ps3blog.net

WOW is the word to use here (because your jaw hitting the floor and making a *thud* sound isn’t exactly a word). This is simply amazing! According to the developers:

Just think, this means that a new level has been published roughly every 21 seconds since LittleBigPlanet launched.

They have also mentioned that all the levels have been played a total of 244 million times. That’s plain ridiculous! If you haven’t yet played LBP, once you’ve played the superb in-game levels/story mode, check out the user generated levels! Some are awe inspiring and even better than the ones that came with the game!

Also of note, MediaMolecule will have an announcement on August 18th. Given the time period between now and then, it’s going to be some big news. LBP2? More LBP for PSP info? A different game all together? It’s to be seen, but until then, get on LBP and check out the 1 million plus user created levels! Original post located on the Official PlayStation Blog.

Published on July 22nd, 2009 under , , , , , , ,

Relentless Software Developing Murder Mystery Game Exclusive to PSN

Source: ps3blog.net

Blue Toad Murder Files
Relentless Software, developer of the popular Buzz franchise, today announced that they are straying away a little bit from the trivia games to bring us a murder mystery game called Blue Toad Murder Files, their first self-publishing title. Not too many details about the game, besides it being an episodic adventure. According to the game’s official site, we won’t be seeing any real information until September.

Executive Director David Amor has told Joystiq:

We’re really excited to be self publishing this. The murder mystery genre has been a staple in TV, books and movies for years and we think we’ve come up with a great videogame interpretation.

According to GamesIndustry.biz, the game will be released in December. There is also an interview they had with David Amor and Andrew Eades available here.

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Are Exclusive Games Overtaking Multiplatform Games?

Source: ps3blog.net

Two years ago, most people were expecting platform exclusive games to fade out due to development costs and limited audience access as most new games shifted towards multi-platform releases. Now, it seems that the exact opposite has happened. Most of today’s big, high quality, games are exclusive to a particular hardware platform.

For example, looking at IGN’s best of E3 picks, they awarded 12 exclusive games and 4 multiplatform games. Gametrailers awarded 8 exclusive games and only 2 multiplatform games. (For this particular comparison, I’m counting PC/360 or PC/PS3 exclusives like like Alan Wake and Free Realms as exclusives).

Additionally, it seems like a lot of the third-party published multiplatforms games are just mediocre. There have been a handful of 2009 titles that I was really excited about, that previewed well, and came from respected studios, yet turned out to be big disappointments.

Personally, I’m a PlayStation fan and most of the games I’m excited for are PS3 exclusives, but even beyond that, it looks like most of the other games that look really good are exclusive to 360/Wii/PC/PSP/DS. There are still some great multiplatform games coming up (Red Dead Redemption is very high on my list), but compared with exclusives, there are just very few of them.

Would anyone disagree or does this seem to be the trend?

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Published on June 15th, 2009 under , ,

PS3 owners get remixed soundtrack with Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix

Source: videogamesblogger.com

Bison Artwork from Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix

Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix is almost upon us! The game releases on November 25th, 2008 for Xbox 360 and PS3 via their corresponding download networks (Xbox Live and PlayStation Network).

However if you peep the official PlayStation Blog you’ll notice a lot of people complaining about the fact that Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix won’t include support for Trophies upon it’s release. Which comes as an incentive to download the Xbox 360 version over the PS3 version, since the 360 version has Achievements that you can unlock.

But now Capcom has “Hadouken!” those fools in the back with a new announcement:

Street Fighter Underground Remix Album ArtworkGamers who purchase the PlayStation Network version of Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix will receive an exclusive album called “Street Fighter Underground Remix” that they can download for FREE! The album is seperate from the game, but will include hip-hop remixes of classic Street Fighter II songs from the likes of Redman, Hieroglyphics, DJ Qbert, DJ Toure, Zion I, Mistah F.A.B. and Oh No.

So now the dilemma has shifted a bit: If you buy the Xbox 360 version you can unlock Achievements to add to your GamerScore. But if you buy the PS3 version you will get the above exclusive soundtrack. OH THE HUMANITY! Of course, I’m sure Capcom would be happy if you just purchased both. P

Capcom also released the second trailer featuring the classic Karate Kid song “You’re the Best”:

Check out the first You’re the Best Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix trailer if you missed it.

Fallout 3 downloadable content coming to Xbox 360 and PC

Source: videogamesblogger.com

Fallout 3 VATS Screenshot

It was revealed at E3 2008 that downloadable content (DLC) for Fallout 3 is exclusive to the Xbox 360 and PC versions of the game, and will not appear in the PS3 version. However Fallout 3 developer Bethesda has remained quite on details as to how the exclusivity came about.

However Analyst Colin Sebastian with Lazard Capital Markets told Edge Online that Microsoft and Bethesda likely came to some sort of financial agreement to leave PS3 DLC out of the equation.

“…I think it’s a very good possibility that Microsoft and Bethesda were partners in this decision. Obviously Microsoft paid up to secure exclusive online content for Grand Theft Auto IV, and online is a cornerstone for Microsoft’s digital media strategy.”

Fallout 3 for Xbox 360 has exclusive DLCOfficially Bethesda had this to say in an e-mail to Edge Online, “We aren’t going to get into the details of the hows and whys. DLC will be exclusive for PC and 360. We’re not going to give any other qualifiers or clarifications as it relates to other platforms.”

The DLC will reportedly be several hours long and will include an entirely new quest line!

“We want stuff that’s going to be several hours. Not just like a one-off thing, but something like where you can download it and play it for X number of hours,” Hines told ShackNews. “It’ll be similar to what we did with Knights of the Nine in Oblivion, where it’s like whole new quest lines, new stuff, that kind of thing. We want to do stuff like that, where it’s adding hours of tangible stuff to the experience. And it plugs into your existing game, so whether you’re starting a new game, or you’re playing for 40 hours, you can go off and play this,” said Hines.

Work on the DLC for the game is well under way at this point, “We stopped doing content a pretty good way before we finished the game in terms of adding new stuff. So we already have folks starting to look into what [the DLC] might be,” added Hines.

Published on November 2nd, 2008 under , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Sega Nerdcast 15: Great success!

Source: seganerds.com

Nerdcast 15 - Great Success!

It’s that time of the month/year/well whenever we can be bothered really, again. It’s the Sega Nerdcast number 15.

We have something a little different for you this week, a change of hosts. After an intense weekend of Viking: Battle for Asgard psyching me up, I decided to overthrow the evil Chris and lock him in a cupboard, with only a slither of cheddar to nibble upon, and take the reigns of the show myself.

Joining me in the uprising is the super sexy Ryan and the possibly Canadian James.

Direct download – 1 hour 6 minutes @ 30Mb
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Show notes after the jump.

On this weeks show:

Hopefully next week Chris will challenge me to an arm wrestle and then smash a bottle on my head, so that he can take over the show again. Until then, enjoy the show!

G-Spot: Fixing Sonic – part 2 – Back to basics

Source: seganerds.com

Fixing Sonic 2

Recently I wrote a feature in direct response to an article on Wired Blog, Game|Life, as to why Sega should not kill off Sonic, but rather should kill off (or just stop using) all the random extra characters from the Sonic universe in Sonic games.

Now I bring you part 2 of the feature, and look at ideas, that Sega could look at, which should help Sonic become one of the great video game characters again.

And all that jazz…

One big issue I have with modern Sonic games is the music.  Now, I actually don’t think that modern Sonic games have bad music per se (with exception to Sonic and the Secret Rings, which was effing terrible).   But do they have great music?

Sure the fast rock music, we find in many recent Sonic titles, should work well with a fast game, but it actually doesn’t in this case.  If you ask me to hum/whistle ANY level on Sonic 1 or 2 – I reckon I could do it no trouble, or at least very nearly get it right.  But ask me to do the same with any Sonic game post Sonic Adventure, and I wouldn’t know where to begin!

The music used in the original Sonic games was very memorable, addictive and worked perfectly with the games levels and the gameplay.  Sega should chuck out the modern rock/rap music, and quite simply replace it with “Video Game Music.” Others have said a similar thing in our forums.

You compare the music of Aquatic Ruins, Marble Zone, Flying Battery Zone, or even the boss music to that of modern Sonic games, and tell which ones you think are better suited for a video game?

When cartoon characters invade.

Next thing to change would be the settings.  Why has Sonic suddenly started mingling with humans? 

There have always been humans in Sonic games, what with Dr. Robotnik being a human.  But the main point was that Robotnik had invaded ‘Sonic’s world’ – the animal world – turning bunnies and birds into robots for his own evil deeds, and Sonic decided to help them out and defeat Robotnik.

But lately the opposite has happened, and Sonic has ‘invaded’ the human world.  It looks wrong, it feels wrong.  Stop it.  Send Sonic back to the Green Hills and Ice Cap Zones, and have Robotnik come to him, in a true bad guy style.

Or if you must have it set in a human world, at least have some more talking animals.  In Sonic Adventure and Sonic 06 the only animal characters are Sonic and his friends, the main characters.  It seems strangely odd that the only fast moving, fast talking animals in this world happen to be the ones directly related, and involved, with the main events happening in the game. 

All the random NPCs that inhabit the cities are humans, it would make more sense to, (at the very least), have more random talking animals for Sonic and friends to interact with.  But, personally, I think it would just be so much better for Sega to send Sonic away from the human cities, and have Dr. Robotnik try to take over Sonic’s domain, once again.

Are we making a movie or a game here?

One of the other annoyances found in modern Sonic titles is the use of story driven gameplay.  With the use of FMV and cut scenes, it was inevitable that Sega should start making bigger storylines for Sonic games, other than “Robotnik is trying to steal Chaos Emeralds.” 

In fact the best (proper) story I have seen in a Sonic game was possibly Sonic Adventure.  The story was simple enough, with Robotnik stealing Chaos Emeralds in order to build up the power of “Chaos” – a monster who harnesses the power of the Chaos Emeralds and can reek destruction upon the world.  Simple, but enjoyable enough to watch the cutscenes.

However since then Sonic games have had more complex stories, which go too far.  Now they involve saving princesses, dimension and time travelling, pirates, dinosaurs etc…

I don’t have a huge issue with Sonic games having stories, but at least make them either interesting or relevant to the Sonic world and not ridiculous.

One of my biggest problems with Sonic Rush Adventure was the setting and the retarded story involving robot pirates, dimension jumping, plus the introduction of that damned Racoon – who did nothing but piss me off the whole game.

We also have Sonic and the Secret Rings, with the strange Arabian Nights setting… featuring dinosaurs…. which wasn’t terrible – but was it necessary?

Once again the best solution I can see here, for the time being at least, is to give a modern Sonic game the most simple story possible – have Robotnik steal some Chaos Emeralds, enslave some fluffy woodland creatures and have Sonic clean up the mess.  Just like in the good old days of Sonic 1, 2 and 3.

What platform to choose?

What kind of game is a Sonic game?  Back in the days of the Megadrive/Genesis and GameGear Sonic was a platform game, competing directly against the likes of Mario Bros.

Over time, while Mario has remained (relatively) true to his platforming heritage, Sonic seems to have gone off to one side, slighty.  Now rather than being a platform game, modern Sonic games seem to mainly consist of running along a set route, with very little platforming involved.

Sure they still having jumping segments, but they no longer have the real elements of a true platform game.  Credit to Sega for trying to keep Sonic games fast, but the idea of Sonic games was that players usually took their time over a level when they first played, learning the levels, the routes and the jumps and then speeding along on the next run through.

It seems that now Sonic games have replaced the core platforming sections with just running forwards.

2D or not 2D? That is the question.

As I mentioned in part 1, the biggest complaint amongst fans is that Sonic should return to his 2D roots.  I have no problem with that, but I don’t think it is entirely necessary.

One of the 3D Sonic games I enjoyed the most was Sonic Heroes- yes everyone gasp and cut your wrists, but hear me out first!  Now firstly I will just say that the gameplay involved in Sonic Heroes is not bad at all, the idea was unique, some people liked it (not just me I assure you), but many thought it was trash.

However, the things that stood out to me in Sonic Heroes was just how damn good the level designs were.  You could run through them at speed, you could see ahead clearly (unlike Sonic ‘06), it also had multiple routes and some half decent platform bits.  I also liked the story it was simple, just like the first Sonic games.  I think the main issue players had with the game was that you had to play as all these extra characters, and you had to play with 3 characters at once.

Now take away ALL the playable characters bar Sonic, and have just him run through the levels, and I would guarantee that the game would have easily received higher scores.

If Sega should really feel the need to introduce new characters into a game, to make the story fresh/interesting, for the love of God, I beg that they make the new characters just a story piece, and not playable.

Spin-Off the beaten track.

Another thing that some people suggest is to scrap all the Sonic spin-off games, such as Sonic Riders.  I disagree.

I think there is nothing really wrong with spin-off games, just make sure they are fun.  Also make sure developers explain that spin-off games are actually spin-offs.  Take Shadow the Hedgehog, a terrible game, but on often mistaken as a “Sonic game.”  It’s not - it is a spin-off - let’s keep it that way.

Games like Sonic Riders, Sonic R, Sonic Shuffle, Sonic Fightersetc… are fine in my eyes, they are the games that Sega should use to promote their other characters and mix up the gameplay of Sonic titles.  It is better this way than throwing more and more playable characters into a real Sonic game.

To help summarise:

I think it is clear that Sega has made the Sonic universe (and games) far too cluttered.  You are no longer playing a fast platform game, but rather a mixture of platform, running, search quests, action, driving and sailing – all in a game but completely split up. 

Essentially gamers are no longer buying Sonic games, but they are buying games featuring Sonic.

Taking Sonic back to his roots, with gameplay, level design, music, number of playable characters and story is the best way I can see to saving the franchise.

As for 2D or 3D, I think either has the potential to work, Sega just need to sort all the other areas out first.

~G~

Published on March 25th, 2008 under , , , , , ,

Exclusive interview: Viking Battle for Asgard

Source: seganerds.com

Earlier this week we were lucky enough to be invited to a preview of the highly anticipated, upcoming game from The Creative Assembly, Viking: Battle for Asgard.

Held in an authentic Bavarian Beerhouse, in the heart of London, we were treated to an endless supply of beer, food and Viking battles, all served up by some very attractive (not to mention skantily-clad) German ladies.

As well as eating, drinking, staring at the barmaids and playing on the fantastic Viking game, Sega Nerds were able to grab one of the team from The Creative Assembly and coax some questions out of him regarding Battle for Asgard, and a little bit about Empire Total War.

If you are wanting to hear more about Viking: Battle for Asgard then don’t worry, we should have the full review up in the next day or two.  For now, enjoy the interview.

20080321VikingEve.jpg

Sonic Chronicles naming contest – Results now in!

Source: seganerds.com

The Zoah Wins!

The Zoah!

We are pleased to announce that Sega Nerds’ submission into the Sonic Chronicles: Dark Brotherhood Race for a Name contest has won!

After many weeks of anxious anticipation and pleading to everyone, the votes have been tallied and The Zoah has reigned supreme! Yes, The Zoah will be the official name for the new enemy race featured in the upcoming Sonic Chronicles game.

We want to thank the Sega Nerds community, the rest of the Sega fanbase and everyone else who voted for The Zoah and made our dreams a reality. We’ll all now stand together in Sega history for the rest of time, and it’s you sexy people who made that happen.

So a MASSIVE “Thank You” to everyone who voted for us; we really do appreciate it all!

We look forward to our continued takeover of the Sega company. We’re starting small, but we’re now working our way to the top, and when we do, it’s Dreamcast 2 with Shenmue 3 at launch, baby!

Thank You!

Here’s the full press release for more information:

IT’S THE ZOAH

Sonic Chronicles Competition Winner Announced

LONDON(18th March, 2008) – SEGA Europe Ltd. today confirmed that the recent competition, A Race To Name, where Sonic The Hedgehog fans could vote upon names for a new race selected by key Sonic fansites, and European gaming websites, finally has a winner. After thousands of votes were cast, it became clear that it was going to be a closely fought race between The Zoah, The Gravitus and The Dusk. Fans were hastily casting votes right up until the last minute but in the end only a handful of votes separated the contenders, and like all competitions it could only have one winner with The Zoah prevailing as the fan-favourite.

Congratulations to http://www.seganerds.com/ who originally suggested The Zoah which will now be included in the forthcoming, hotly tipped, Sonic Chronicles: The Dark BrotherhoodTMfor the Nintendo DSTM system. The Zoah will be featured as a new enemy race for Sonic The Hedgehog to pit his wits against in 2008.

Developed by industry admired story-telling specialists, BioWare, Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood is an RPG adventure set to take the DS by storm this Autumn.

For more information about SEGA please visit http://www.sega-europe.com/. For all assets please visit http://www.sega-press.com/

For more information about BioWare please visit http://www.bioware.com/

Published on March 19th, 2008 under , , , , , , , , ,

G-Spot: Fixing Sonic – part 1 – Why Sonic should not die

Source: seganerds.com

Sonic Death?

Recently a controversial article featured on the Game|Life website emerged.  The article, entitled “Sonic the Hedgehog Must Die,” was written after the news of Sonic Unleashed was announced, and the writer went into detail as to why Sega should just kill off Sonic, rather than subject fans to any further shoddy Sonic games.

This subject was recently touched upon in our latest Nerdcast, but now it is time to delve deeper, and clean out Sonic’s dirty laundry.  Watch out for soiled Y-Fronts.

It’s not exactly new information, to gamers, that the Sonic franchise has gone downhill in recent years, especially after the very promising Sonic Adventure on the Dreamcast – which some would say is the last great Sonic game, and the only really good 3D game.

However, what exactly is it that makes a Sonic game good/bad?  People have come up with so many suggestions for Sega in recent years – the idea most thrown about has been “Make Sonic 2D again!”  This is fair enough for fans to say, as the Megadrive games have always been regarded as the best in the franchise by gamers, and since Sonic turned 3D most of his games have been very shoddy.

However will making Sonic 2D again be the answer?  As we should all be aware there has actually been more 2D Sonic games released since the fall of the Dreamcast than there have been 3D ones.  People seem to forget the GameBoy Advance Sonic games, and then we have had (more recently) Sonic Rush and Sonic Rush Adventure. 

Yet the only games regarded as good here have been Sonic Rush - which I would agree with, and Sonic Rush Adventure – a game which I think Satan shat out of his giant red arse himself - though so many others seem to think it’s a good game, that I suppose I shall have to call it (gulp) “good.”

Anyway, back to the main topic at hand, killing Sonic.

One thing that stands out here is how many reviewers will jump automatically onto the “I Hate Sonic” bandwagon and will happily say how crap a Sonic game is, even when it’s not actually that bad.

When speaking to many Sonic fans, I have come to find that quite a lot of the ‘bad’ Sonic games are still regarded as being good.  Games like Sonic Heroes, Sonic Riders and Sonic Adventure 2 have very mixed opinions among the community.  The only game I have found to be considered truly bad was SONIC THE HEDGEHOG (aka Sonic ‘06) for the Xbox 360 and PS3.

Quite clearly the biggest problems with Sonic ‘06 are to do with Sega’s very awful quality control upon releasing this game.  The title had some of the worst bugs in any modern game around, it also had twitchy cameras and very sensitive controls, and even releasing the PS3 version a good few months after the Xbox 360’s did nothing to rectify this. 

There was also the issue of Sega/ Sonic Team always trying to make up new and inventive characters to bring into the Sonic universe and challenge our beloved, speedy, blue blur of spikes – namely Silver the Hedgehog. 

This is where I come to the crutch of my article.  Sega should not kill off Sonic… but should actually kill off the other characters.

Take a look at the best Sonic games around, the Megadrive ones.  What is the one thing that stands out most about these games?  Sonic is the main character and for Sonic 1, 2, 3 and 3D Sonic is the only character you play as.  Sure you have Tails in Sonic 2 & 3 but usually he is just running with you guided by AI, or by a 2ndperson (should you be lucky enough to have a friend), but players were not forced to play as Tails, and even when you did play as him, his gameplay was exactly like Sonic’s.

“What about Knuckles?”  You are probably saying.  Yes true, in Sonic & Knuckles/ Sonic & Knuckles (interlocked) with Sonic 3 oryou could play through the game as Knuckles and he was an integral character, but his gameplay was very similar to that of Sonic’s and you played on the same levels as Sonic.  But by using Knuckles’ unique abilities (glide and wall climb) players could find new routes through the levels, which made the game feel fresh.

These days, since Sonic Adventure, players have been forced to play as the new characters.  And most importantly, the new characters have a very different style of gameplay to that of Sonic.

  • Tails – Apart from Sonic Adventure, players find themselves using pointless mechs (Sonic Adventure 2), or find him moving slower and throwing rings at enemies (Sonic ‘06).
  • Knuckles – Keeping his glide and wall climbing moves, Knuckles has been reduced to a big game of hide and seek, usually involving hidden parts of the Master Emerald. This fits in with his story/place in the Sonic universe, but detracts from the fast gameplay that made Sonic great.
  • Amy – A side character in love with Sonic, now gets her own missions? Why?
  • Big the Cat – A stupid large pet with a frog obsession. Not “Sonic.”
  • Shadow the Hedgehog - One of the best enemy characters invented for Sonic, instantly butchered to death with the release of his own game, in which he uses weapons and vehicles… and has become ‘good.’
  • Silver the Hedgehog- Moving metal objects around with your mind is a cool idea, but does not fit into a Sonic game. It’s too slow and frustrating to do.
  • Blaze the Cat – I don’t even understand why she exists, her use in the Sonic Rush games baffles me. Although some credit to Sega for making her play similar to Sonic.
  • Rouge the Bat – A nice enemy, but ultimately pointless playing as her, as she is so much like Knuckles… no wait she is exactly like Knuckles.  Do we really need to play the same levels twice?
  • Dr. Robotnik – Sonic’s main nemesis, and one we all love. But why should we be forced to play as him?

There are more characters to add (look at Sonic Heroes for many more), but I’ll stop there, before I start slamming my fists through my keyboard in a typists rage.

I don’t actually have a big problem with using new characters to help freshen up a franchise, lord knows Nintendo have done it enough with Mario games.  But one thing Nintendo has done is try to keep the other characters out of the main Mario games.

Nintendo tried it with Mario Bros. 2 and included Peach and Toad, but quite a few fans would most likely say that Mario 2 is one of the weakest games in the Mario franchise (I know some like it a lot), but it seems Nintendo didn’t like it much, and decided to keep the Mario games to the Mario Bros. (Mario and Luigi), for future platform games and kept the extra characters for the spin-offs.

I’m not being a Nintendo fan-boy here, (working on a site called Sega Nerds, and not having a single Nintendo console setup in my room should be enough to testify to that), but it is when a company makes side characters the main playable ones in a game, forcing the title character to take a side seat and watch while players control pointless extras in his place, when the games start to become diluted and well… crap.

The way forward… or the way back?

So where should Sega go from here?  They have a whole array of characters to play with, and their games are getting worse.  Well, Sega, just forget about the extra characters. 

Sega were so close in making a great Sonic game again with Sonic Rush.  However they failed when they felt the need to make Blaze a playable character. Why?  She is pointless.  The game would have been better with just Sonic.

If they should need to include any other characters, just stick with Tails.  But keep him like he is in Sonic 2 – a side character who runs along with Sonic, falling down pits, (like a pillock) and collecting a few extra rings.  At this point I would even say to keep Knuckles far out of the equation, not until they get a game with just Sonic right.

But is that all Sega need do?  Will just removing all the side characters work?  No.  Unfortunately I think we need to do more work to fix up the Sonic franchise. 

…To go forward, Sega need to go back.  Back to the beginning, and back to basics…

Stay tuned for Fixing Sonic – part 2, where I shall discuss further ways for Sega to bring Sonic back as one of the world’s favourite gaming icons.

Cheers.

~G~

Published on March 17th, 2008 under , , , , , ,

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