This weekend saw the first major UK independent consumer video game event in years, as Play.com Live took over Wembley Arena to show off upcoming titles, including Rock Band (still not out in the UK!), Killzone 2, Ghostbusters, Far Cry 2, and This is Vegas, to the public.
Everyone at the event (or everyone who could be bothered to stand in line, anyway) got a free goodie bag, which included a Play.com booklet promising 5 percent off all the games at the event. This is where it gets interesting--the booklet also has release dates, which haven't been officially announced yet for a number of high-profile upcoming titles.
Up first is Lionhead's highly anticipated role-playing game Fable 2, which is set some 500 years after the first game and promises to be bigger and better. Fable 2, according to Play.com, will be coming out in the UK on May 30 with a 16+ PEGI rating.
One of the big disappointments of the event was the distinct lack of the rumoured hands-on premiere of Ghostbusters, The Video Game. Although gamers were treated to a huge inflatable marshmallow man and the Ghostbusters car, all that was on show inside was a trailer. However, in the booklet, the game has been dated for September 26, with an age rating of 12.
Other surprises in the book include a date for Prototype, an open-world game from Radical Entertainment, set in New York and starring a shape-shifter called Alex Mercer. This sci-fi action adventure has been given the nod for June 27, although the age rating has yet to be confirmed.
Robert Ludlum's The Bourne Conspiracy is next up. The game is tied into the popular film trilogy starring Matt Damon as elite secret agent Jason Bourne, which in turn is based on the best-selling novels following Bourne's international antics. The Bourne Conspiracy is coming to the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. According to Play.com, we can expect this title on June 27, though it appears to not have been age rated yet.
Ninja Gaiden II is next to be given a release date. If one is to believe Play.com, the Tecmo follow-up to the 2004 title will be with us at the end of the month, March 28, to be precise. Unsurprisingly, for a series known for its ultraviolence, it will be rated 18.
Two more games are given release dates--Iron Man (May 30, two weeks after the film is due to hit British cinemas), WALL-E (May 4, more than two months before the movie reaches UK screens), and Lego Batman gets slightly more pinned down to "sometime in September" with an age rating of 3 years old, which will no doubt disappoint those toddlers hoping to play the game.
On another Retail Radar snoop, UK supermarket chain Tesco has recently amended its games listings and finally dated Super Smash Bros. Brawl for Europeans--January 1, 2020.
Please note, while retailer listings frequently jump the gun on publishers' product announcements, they should not be taken as final confirmation of a game's release date or existence; nor should the absence of a listing be considered as proof that a game isn't coming to a given platform.