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New GTTV: Valve on Left 4 Dead 2No Comments

This week’s GTTV is now online. We headed up to Valve in Seattle for a new look at Left 4 Dead 2 (the reveal of the Carnival campaign) and a chat with Gabe Newell. Also, this is the first GTTV where we are including your Twitter questions as part of the show.

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E3: Nintendo, A Love Letter to the Hardcore?7 Comments

nintendo-e32009Despite record sales for the Wii in 2008, last year’s Nintendo E3 briefing didn’t exactly fire up the masses with Wii Music and Animal Crossing. This year Nintendo was determined to please the hard-core and appeal to its expanded audience. That’s not an easy balance to strike, and I’ve publicly wondered if Nintendo even needs to focus on E3. I mean let’s face it: Most Wii owners who pick up Wii Fit don’t even know or care about the trade show.

So how did Nintendo do? There’s no question there was much more for the hardcore Nintendo gamer at E3 2009, including the shock announcement of Metroid: Other M — probably the best kept secret in any of the first party briefings. Add in Mario Galaxy 2, the first hints at a new Wii Zelda (which was mentioned the next day at a Miyamoto roundtable), and a 2D Super Mario Bros for Wii, and Nintendo certainly has a lot of games in the pipeline.

Here are my thoughts on the briefing:

STAGECRAFT: The cramped Club Nokia stage combined with high-placed teleprompters made it look like the Nintendo executives were talking to the heavens for most of the briefing. Still, Nintendo always delivers the quickest (75 minutes) and most polished E3 briefing. This year’s show was no exception.

GOOD THINGS COME TO THOSE WHO WAIT: For most of the briefing hardcore Nintendo fans were up in arms. Half way through the presentation I was getting Tweets like “This is worst than last year!” But then, in the final 10 minutes, Reggie saved the show with Mario Galaxy 2 and Metroid: Other M. Before I knew it, the positive Tweets were flowing, such as “Give Reggie a bear hug for us hardcore guys!”

CHECK YOUR FACTS: When discussing Wii Fit, Cammie Dunaway said that with 15 million sold, the Balance Board now ranks alongside other home systems in terms of worldwide installed base. What system is she referring to? While the Wii Fit numbers are impressive, both the PS3 and 360 are beyond 15M sales worldwide.

SPECIAL ACHIEVEMENT AWARD: You have to give props to Reggie and Cammie for actually playing games during their briefing. Rival execs just read prompters, but the two Nintendo figureheads actually picked up controllers and played their products.

STRANGEST SEGUE: From Cammie Dunaway: “We admit we haven’t quite figured out how to move [Mario] into a fourth dimension. But that number, 4, that’s the key to Mario’s next surprise.” Is this a hint that the next Wii will include a water sprayer to add 4D effects to your Mario experience?

ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM: Nintendo spent ample time hyping up the multiplayer in New Super Mario Bros. for Wii….but conveniently forgot to mention that there is no online multiplayer support.

ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM, PART 2: Reggie said, “”Third party publishers are drawn to opportunity. And right now there’s no opportunity larger than Nintendo.” The only problem? Third parties can’t seem to crack the opportunity and make non-Nintendo games a blockbuster hit on the Wii or DS.

BIGGEST OMISSION, PART 2: When Iwata revealed the Wii Vitality sensor he only showedphotos. But apparently there is a video of a Vitality Sensor demo, which Iwata showed to some European press behind closed doors. He edited the video himself on the plane trip over from Japan.

MOST OVERSHADOWED GAMES: Nintendo is getting into user-created content in a big way. Both Minis March Again: Mario vs. Donkey Kong and Warioware: DIY encourage user creativity, but the message seemed to be lost during the briefing.

BEST LINE: “I’ll be honest, I read the blogs too.” — Reggie, as he began to introduce the “hardcore” section of Nintendo’s briefing with Dead Space, The Conduit, and Metroid: Other M.

WHAT NINTENDO DOESN’T WANT YOU TO CALCULATE: Sure there are some big first party Wii games in the pipeline, but the vast majority are coming in 2010 like Sin and Punishment 2, Endless Ocean, Super Mario Galaxy 2, and Metroid: Other M. The second half of 09 looks very light for hardcore first-party games.

MOST QUESTIONABLE GREENLIGHT: C.O.P THE RECRUIT from Ubisoft for the DS. With GTA: Chinatown Wars off to a slow start, does Ubisoft really think it can be successful with a new original GTA knock-off on the DS?

ONLY IN JAPAN: Where’s the news on new Wii Channels for the US? Japan has been rolling out new content like the Wii No Ma video channel and even a channel to order Pizza online. But Reggie didn’t even mention Nintendo Channels during the briefing.

BEST REVEAL OF E3: The setup for the Metroid: Other M trailer was brilliant. Reggie didn’t give up the surprise with his introduction, and it took a good 10-15 seconds of the trailer before it was clear a new Metroid game was afoot. Bravo!

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  • Face it nintendo forgot the hardcore. Its good to see another mario,Zelda,and Metroid but were still missing most of the … More»
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The Origins of Molyneux’s Milo11 Comments

molyneuxMost of the world met Milo for the first time last Monday at E3. I first encountered him about five years ago at GDC. That’s when Peter Molyneux introduced me to Dimitri, a young boy who was furiously working on his math homework in Peter’s hotel room. “Hello, it’s nice to meet you,” the young lad said before turning his eyes back to a ruled notebook.

Little did I know that half a decade later I’d meet Dimitri again — albeit this time in virtual form.

Molyneux is a big idea guy. And Milo (renamed from Dimitri for legal reasons) is his most ambitious and riskiest concept to date. It’s a natural outgrowth of the artificial intelligence-driven creatures in Black & White and the dog in Fable II. But those AIs were supporting characters in a larger game world. Milo (or Milly if you select a female) is the game.

What inspired Molyneux to build Milo? Dimitri, who’s now in college, sees Peter as a role-model. Over the years, as Peter spent more and more time with Dimitri, he began to reflect on his own childhood and the choices he made growing up. How would Peter’s life have changed if he made different choices? It’s a question we all ponder at some point.

Milo, I expect, will give us a chance to re-examine our own choices by guiding a young avatar through life. He will ask questions, seek advice, and, if the technology works, form a bond with the user.  And when I refer to the technology, I’m talking about the AI – not the Natal camera.  Milo has been in development for years and the camera support was only just added in the past 5 months.

Here’s what makes me the most curious about Milo: What limits will Peter place on the game’s choices and the character’s actions? It’s one thing to slap around a creature in Black & White to condition him, but what will the tolerance be for such extremes in a game like Milo? Peter has already said there will be limits.  But could your Milo end up being a criminal?  Could he mistakenly drown in that beautiful fish pond?  Or, will Milo go off and meet a girl (or boy) at school, live happily ever after, and forget to come back and visit you?

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  • Five years of development can be a short time, which everybody who works on a complex project knows. My PhD … More»
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3D Realms Statement on Duke Forever8 Comments

See the below statement just sent to me by George Broussard:

3D Realms Release – Pertaining to Recent Events Surrounding Duke Nukem Forever

Dallas, TX (May 18, 2009) – In light of recent press articles and statements by Take-Two (to the media and in a lawsuit), we want to set the record straight on some issues.

Despite rumors and statements to the contrary, 3D Realms (3DR) has not closed and is not closing. 3DR retains ownership of the Duke Nukem franchise.  Due to lack of funding, however, we are saddened to confirm that we let the Duke Nukem Forever (DNF) development team go on May 6th, while we regroup as a company. While 3DR is a much smaller studio now, we will continue to operate as a company and continue to license and co-create games based upon the Duke Nukem franchise.

As some of you may know, Take-Two filed a lawsuit last week containing various accusations and claims against 3DR and the uncompleted DNF game. Take-Two never paid 3DR advances or any signing bonus or any other funds related to DNF, up until July 2008, at which time they paid $2.5m in connection with another agreement for an unannounced game.  This is the sum total Take-Two has paid 3DR in connection with DNF.  Take-Two claims that they paid $12m to GT Interactive/Infogrames to acquire the publishing rights for the DNF game. To be clear, 3DR was not a party to that transaction and did not receive any money from it.  When the DNF game was originally signed with GT Interactive in 1998, GT paid 3DR a $400,000 signing bonus. Up until July 2008, this was the only publisher money we received for the DNF game.  Meanwhile, 3DR put over $20m into the production of DNF.

Take-Two retains publishing rights for the DNF game, although 3DR retains certain rights to sell the game directly to the public.  Late last year, 3DR began negotiations with Take-Two to provide funding to complete the DNF game. In the meantime, 3DR was hitting mutually-agreed milestones, despite not having a new agreement finalized.  Take-Two was well aware that 3DR needed the funding to continue the DNF game development.  Suddenly, after months of negotiations, Take-Two materially changed the parameters of the proposed funding agreement.  3DR informed Take-Two that it could not financially afford the changes Take-Two was suggesting and would be forced to release the team if an agreement was not reached. Take-Two made a last minute proposal to acquire the Duke Nukem franchise and the 3DR development team.  Take-Two’s proposal was unacceptable to 3DR for many reasons, including no upfront money, no guarantee minimum payment, and no guarantee to complete the DNF game. From 3DR’s perspective, we viewed Take-Two as trying to acquire the Duke Nukem franchise in a “fire sale.” Those negotiations fell through on May 4th, a deal never materialized, and the DNF team was sadly released a few days later.

Less than a week after the DNF team was released, Take-Two filed its lawsuit in New York, seeking immediate temporary injunctive relief.  The court denied Take-Two’s request for a temporary restraining order.  While we cannot comment on the details of the ongoing lawsuit, we believe Take-Two’s lawsuit is without merit and merely a bully tactic to obtain ownership of the Duke Nukem franchise. We will vigorously defend ourselves against this publisher.

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Bonus Round E3 Preview BeginsNo Comments

The E3 Expo is only a month away, and this episode of the Bonus Round on is devoted to previewing what you can expect from the industry’s biggest trade show.  Joining me for the discussion are Andy McNamara, Editor-in-Chief of Game Informer; Brian Crecente, Managing Editor of Kotaku; and noted video game journalist N’Gai Croal. You can watch part 1 below via our embeddable GT player:

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Bioshock 2 World Exclusive This Thursday on GTTV2 Comments

This week GTTV moves to a new premiere time, Thursday nights at 12:30. (Although the show will still air on Friday nights as well). And this is a show you don’t want to miss – it’s one of our best yet! First, you’ll see the world premiere of BioShock 2. This isn’t a CG trailer or a teaser — it’s real gameplay, and it’s not just a quick blink-and-you’ll-miss-it glimpse. You’ll see the Big Sister in action and get a sense of how it will feel to play as the Big Daddy! Don’t miss it.

If that’s not enough, we also have some other great things planned. Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime joins me to discuss the state of Nintendo and brings along a world exclusive trailer for Punch-Out!! that showcases new content. Reggie also tells us what he thinks about President Obama playing the Wii, updates us on what to expect at E3 from Nintendo, and gives us his take on how Microsoft and Sony are doing in the console war.

Also, you’ll get breaking news on what’s next for Killzone 2 and exclusive footage. And, game design legend Peter Molyneux joins us to tease what he has up his sleeve for E3 and beyond.

Watch the promo below and make sure not to miss this week’s show.

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  • This is BS! Why air a new episode on 12:30 on thursday I waited the usual 1am on Friday and … More»
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