Incoming! Publishers are carpet bombing retailers this week with a flood of anticipated games for every major system.
Starting with the PC, this week sees a handful of the year's biggest launches. Warhammer fans were originally told in 2000 that the tabletop fantasy war game would be turned into a massively multiplayer online role-playing game, courtesy of Microsoft and Climax. Although that game fell before it ever reached the battlefield, the Warhammer MMOG license was picked up by Mythic in 2005, which was itself subsumed by Electronic Arts in 2006. After years of development, Warhammer Online goes live this week and takes its first shot at toppling Activision Blizzard's World of Warcraft from its "king of the MMO hill" position.
This week also sees a pair of new spin-offs from two of last year's most popular PC first-person shooters. S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Clear Sky serves as a prequel to the GSC Game World sci-fi shooter, while Crysis Warhead is a side story that gives players a second perspective on the events of the original.
Consoles are being similarly inundated with heavily hyped fare. MTV Games, Electronic Arts, and Harmonix started off the week with a bang by jointly releasing Rock Band 2 on the Xbox 360 on Sunday. Microsoft obtained a limited window of exclusivity from the companies, so PlayStation 3, PlayStation 2, and Wii editions of the game won't arrive until later this year.
Another eagerly awaited console game landing in stores this week is Star Wars: The Force Unleashed. The LucasArts action game puts players in the robe of Darth Vader's secret Sith Apprentice, and integrates animation, artificial intelligence, and physics engines to let players witness the true power of the Force.
Some other notable retail releases include the Japanese RPG remake Dragon Quest IV for the Nintendo DS; 2D fighter Battle Fantasia for the Xbox 360; Pure for the PS3, Xbox 360, and PC; and Armored Core: For Answer on the Xbox 360 and PS3.
On the downloadable services, WiiWare welcomes the second episode of the Strong Bad series for 1,000 Wii points ($10), and the fragrantly assorted puzzler Potpourrii for 800 Wii points ($8). On the Xbox 360, this week's Live Arcade releases include Feeding Frenzy 2 and Domino Master, each selling for 800 Microsoft points ($10).
This week's new releases are listed below (list taken from retailer information--actual dates may vary).
SEPTEMBER 14, 2008
Rock Band 2 (Xbox 360)
SEPTEMBER 15, 2008
S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Clear Sky (PC)
Dragon Quest IV: Chapters of the Chosen (DS)
Dance Dance Revolution X (PS2)
Battle Fantasia (Xbox 360)
Drawn to Life: SpongeBob SquarePants Edition (DS)
Yggdra Union (PSP)
Cabela's Big Game Hunter 09: Legendary Adventures (PC)
Di-Gata Defenders (DS)
Strong Bad's Cool Game for Attractive People Episode 2: Strong Badia the Free (PC, WiiWare)
SEPTEMBER 16, 2008
Star Wars: The Force Unleashed (PS3, Xbox 360, Wii, PS2, PSP, DS)
Crysis Warhead (PC)
Pure (PS3, Xbox 360, PC)
The Witcher Enhanced Edition (PC)
Line Rider 2: Unbound (DS, PC)
TNA iMPACT! (Wii)
Armored Core: For Answer (Xbox 360, PS3)
Zoo Hospital (Wii)
Hell's Kitchen (PC)
The Price is Right (PC)
Red Bull BC One (DS)
My Secret World by Imagine (DS)
Unsolved Crimes (DS)
Animal Paradise (PC)
Speed Racer (PS2)
SEPTEMBER 18, 2008
Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning (PC)
Sony had not revealed the contents of its weekly Thursday update as of press time.