This Week in Games: February 25, 2012

We have PlayStation 4 news and the Vita launch. Also, Killzone 3 goes free-to-play and Nintendo learns its lesson about bringing awesome Japanese RPGs to the Wii.

There was a whole ton of Sony news this week, which is fitting given the "official" launch of the Vita on Wednesday and the ensuing conversation around the subject. First, though, we have some next-generation PlayStation news. Bet you didn't expect that after last week, right?

The Sony Block

Despite SCEA boss Jack Tretton grumbling that "I don't want to be thinking about trying to launch new technology anytime soon," it was revealed this week that Sony will likely be switching its internal clever bits from Nvidia to AMD for the PlayStation 4. This would mean that both Sony and Microsoft are looking to the world's second largest semiconductor supplier for its technical prowess to power the next generation of games hardware. There's still no word on when we might expect to see these new consoles, but rumors suggest that both companies are already in the process of courting development studios with fancy tech demos.

Arguably one of the most important announcements of the year for the system was the confirmation that a Call of Duty variant will hit this fall.

It was Vita week this week, and fittingly, there were a number of notable stories, with the least surprising being Sony's insistence that it's pre-launch campaign was a roaring success. Senior vice president of PlayStation brand marketing Guy Longworth told us, "We sold out our prelaunch bundles, so we're excited about that." Um. Really?

Regardless of whether you believe Sony's hype (or the conspicuous availability of launch bundles on sites like Amazon), proof of the Vita's real success will become evident in the next few weeks. Poor performance of the device in Japan, presumably due to the lack of a Monster Hunter game at launch, has many observers feeling cynical about the handheld's chances. Research firm Strategy Analytics released a note on Thursday projecting that the PS Vita will sell 12.4 million units worldwide in 2012, "assuming a price cut sometime this year." Representatives from the firm suggested that $180 would be optimum. "Despite the solid design and strong processing power, it is challenging to convince consumers to buy a dedicated game console above the $200 price range in today's economic environment as Nintendo has learnt," the firm said. "Sales of 3G models will be a particular challenge as it demands a $50 premium and additional data plan charges and in the long run is likely to represent only a small portion of total PlayStation Vita sales."

In Vita game-specific news, we saw some cautious optimism about the platform from game developers, along with some key announcements this week. Of particular note, and arguably one of the most important announcements of the year for the system, was the confirmation that a Call of Duty variant will hit this fall. Activision has yet to specify what form this will take--presumably either something system specific, or possibly a port of the shhhh-its-supposed-to-be-a-secret Treyarch-developed Black Ops 2--but it is a huge shot in the arm for Vita regardless. Something that wasn't so positive was word from Naughty Dog studio community manager Arne Meyer on Tuesday that the developer is not working on anything for the PS Vita and is waiting for "the right handheld" before it takes its first step into the portable gaming market. Meyer's post was in response to statements made by Guy Longworth (yep, him again) who had indicated that "all" of the company's studios were working on something for the Vita. Uncharted: Golden Abyss shipped for the PS Vita last week, but development on the project was handled by Sony Bend, not Naughty Dog. When pressed later in the week by GameSpot, Longworth stated "I think I was slightly misquoted. I was asked the question which studios will be making games for Vita, and my answer to that question was, 'A lot of our studios.' I might have said 'all' by mistake--that's not impossible."

Sony also confirmed that the crossplay-tastic Motorstorm RC (that's the one where you get both versions together when you buy it) would be arriving on both the Vita and PlayStation 3 a couple of weeks from now. This came at about the same time that the company finally decided to tackle the whole PSP UMD to Vita transfer debacle. In an interview with Wired this week, Sony Computer Entertainment Worldwide Studios president Shuhei Yoshida said there are two main reasons for the lack of such a program. First, he said there was little demand for such a program outside of Japan, where the PSP still has plenty of new games being released on a regular basis. Second, he said downloadable PSP games in the US and Europe are cheap enough that offering the conversion program (with its $5 to $10 fee per game converted) didn't make as much sense outside of Japan. "You can buy Final Fantasy Tactics for $10," he said. "That's a great price. There are many, many games that are sold at an affordable price. When you compare that to the price of games here, PSP games in Japan are sold at a much higher price, so people see the value in spending the $5 to $10 to get the digital copy." What do you think about that? Is he right? Let us know in the comments below.

Have you been wishing for the past few years that Sony would hurry-the-heck up and get The Last Guardian finished? You have? Well, it's finally doing something about it.

But wait! We're not quite done with Sony-related news. Let's blast through the last few really quickly here.

There's a new co-op Survival mode coming to Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception. Sounds awesome, right? Equally awesome is the news that a free-to-play version of Killzone 3 multiplayer will be available to download from the PlayStation Store next week. All of the game's maps (including downloadable content maps) will be included with the download, as well as the game modes Operations, Guerrilla Warfare, and Warzone. Players will be allowed only to reach the level of Sergeant 1 with this free version, however. The "full experience" will be available for $15, and that grants you a 24-hour double XP bonus, free unlock points, the ability to create clans and custom games, and access to the Botzone mode.

Have you been wishing for the past few years that Sony would hurry-the-heck up and get The Last Guardian finished? You have? Well, it's finally doing something about it. The company revealed this week that the team at Sony Santa Monica (God of War) will now be helping out.

Fez is Finished, Yay!

Speaking of getting things finished, Polytron's multidimensional platformer and indie darling Fez is finally finished. A tweet from Polytron revealed that the game has finally been submitted to Microsoft for certification, one of the last steps required before the game can be released. A featured title in the documentary film Indie Game: The Movie, Fez is a platformer built entirely using Microsoft's XNA tools. It takes the form of a 2D platformer but adds a third dimension and the ability to rotate the gameworld around playable character Gomez. The game also has a unique retro 8-bit pixel art style, along with a suitably retro soundtrack.

Mass Effect 3 on the PSN Day One

Are we still allowed to call it the PSN? Regardless, EA revealed this week that the much-anticipated conclusion to the Mass Effect saga will be downloadable from the Sony Entertainment Network, or whatever the hell it's called now, day-and-date with the retail release. Sony also revealed anyone who preorders the digital version of the game will receive the M55 Argus rifle, a close-range weapon that uses bursts of fire to ensure ammunition conservation, as well as a special Mass Effect 3 PlayStation 3 theme, which will only be available for digital preorders. Don't forget though: According to Sony's new terms of service, digital preorders can't be canceled, so you're not allowed to change your mind before March 6.

On the subject of Mass Effect 3; there will be DLC for the game on day one, which is something that elicited collective groans from gamers across the Internet. BioWare revealed on its official forums that the pack, called "From Ashes" includes a Prothean squadmate, a mission on Eden Prime, a new weapon, and an alternate appearance option for every team member. It is included with the Mass Effect 3 Collector's Edition and will be available for separate purchase on March 6.

Medal of Honor Gunshooter

The sequel to 2010's Medal of Honor reboot will be with us this October, and it's dubbed Medal of Honor Warfighter. That name presumably beat out equally appropriate alternatives: Medal of Honor Gunshooter, Medal of Honor Explosionmaker, and Medal of Honor Beardwearer. Developed by the original game's Danger Close studio, Warfighter will run on EA DICE's Frostbite 2.0 engine, which powered Battlefield 3. EA DICE will not be involved in the development of this title, however.

That name presumably beat out equally appropriate alternatives: Medal of Honor Gunshooter, Medal of Honor Explosionmaker, and Medal of Honor Beardwearer.

Nintendo News

Here's some Nintendo-related goodness for you all. First, Xenoblade Chronicles will finally get a US release in April. Better late than never. Pretty much anyone fascinated by this exquisite role-playing game for the Wii has already worked out some way of playing it, so what better time for Nintendo to finally grant it an "official" release? We loved the game when it was released everywhere else in the world last year and gave it a well-deserved 9.0.

Presumably learning (somewhat) from its missteps with Xenoblade, Nintendo confirmed that the latest game from Mistwalker and longtime Final Fantasy developer Hironobu Sakaguchi The Last Story would be released in the US this summer through a publishing partnership with Xseed Games. In June last year, Nintendo (following a now established pattern) said that it had "no plans" to bring the game to North America. However, the game's move west began in November, when the company announced that The Last Story would arrive in Europe on February 24.

Microsoft has spent the past year insisting on referring to the Xbox 360 as an "entertainment" device rather than a games console, and it seems that we're to see a similar strategy from Nintendo with the Wii U (or whatever they end up calling it…rumor has it that name may change.) AdWeek reported this past week that Nintendo has entered into negotiations with "major media companies" in an effort to possibly bring their content to the new console. This is presumably (hopefully) more than just a Netflix app.

One Last Quickie

It's not a release date, and it's not a confirmation, but Diablo III game director Jay Wilson took to Blizzard's forums Friday to say that a release date for the title can be expected in the "near future." We expect this date to be somewhere in the April to June 2012 window. "The latest full build we've been testing here in the office is in great shape," Wilson wrote in his letter to the community. "We get a lot of sympathy from the other teams because of the long hours of crunch our design team is putting in, but the secret is that playing through the game as we do final tuning, bug fixes, and optimizations is a real joy."

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Discussion

68 comments
PS3BigFan
PS3BigFan

I hope The Last Guardian will make its way to the PS3 and not to the PS4. Please Sony!

ajthelegend
ajthelegend

All I know is I have a Vita and I love my Vita, my 3DS will not be touched for a while now....

Nic345
Nic345

Woot Last Story is mkaing its way here! Miracles DO happen!

WildZerstoren
WildZerstoren

pay for a multiplayer?? come on sony,, you are better than that,, theres no game on ps3 that can beat halo reach and gears of war 3 multiplayer

OpalDragon
OpalDragon

Diablo III doesn't exist. It's just a collective vapors-induced dream. Wake up people! (My $5 pre-order has been sitting with Gamestop so long, it should be worth about $8 with interest.)

endorbr
endorbr

More Vita hate? Really Gamespot... I thought we were past this...

coaltango
coaltango

Will get my Vita once games like Burnout / street fighter & call of duty is launched

thequickshooter
thequickshooter

medal of honor better not make a campigan that feels like cod

Mr_BillGates
Mr_BillGates

Lol. Sony, a company facing low profits, teams up with AMD, a company in large debts and second fiddle to pretty much everything in their targeted market.

IrithAyllistira
IrithAyllistira

The only thing that stops me from buying a Vita is the reduced battery life... I think that they really should develop that on the usual "Vita lite"/"Vita slim" version of the console because I think that as a handheld, it should have much more battery potential.

awheaten
awheaten

Good news for Sony. They're finally taking the heat off of their video processor and giving it more memory. The Vita will be a hit, though I probably won't buy one until they stop with the 'gasoline-type' price gouging.

littleghostie
littleghostie

Killzone 3 free to play huh, good thing i decided not to buy it last weekend. How long it takes to get to sergeant 1?

ggregd
ggregd

You know if they put Facebook, Twitter, Tumbler (let players upload game videos!) iTunes, Rhapsody, etc. on the 3DS and Vita they would be a lot more attractive and relevant. Then you could get a cheap phone for calls and texts and use the handheld for everything else.

sonicare
sonicare

Wonder if AMD's stock shot up since both Sony and MS are using their chips for their consoles?

darksiED70
darksiED70

sony, i got 3 ps3s and worth every penny i paid for it. your vita, with memory cards that cost like gold? you are not getting my money for this. nintendo, i traded my wii when you first decided to not release xenoblade, last story and pandora's tower to the US. i will not be running back to get another wii nor will i get the wii u for your betrayal of american consumers. good riddance!

ProMethUse
ProMethUse

i kind of get why some people got frustrated on the Vita not having a Monster Hunter title at launch... most people really buy certain consoles/handhelds just to get their hands on exclusive titles; like how Nintendo has Pokemon :D

MegandDia128
MegandDia128

and seeing as people are whining over the DLC for Mass Effect 3 get over it. 1 buy the collector's edition or buy it later it won't go anywhere anytime soon.

MegandDia128
MegandDia128

Well I'm glad Nintendo is brining them over. as for the UMD vita whining you can still play the UMD's on your PSP nobody is saying you have to retire the system once you get he Vita I still have my PSP and still plan on using it.

TriumphantToad
TriumphantToad

Sony, make the Vita $180, and I swear to God I'll buy the crap out of that thing.

ticklemonster1
ticklemonster1

untill i can port my umds and memory cards get cheap, sony can suck it. i have all my original ps1 and ps2 games. i was willing to drop the 500 on the MUST have backwards compatibility. im not going to chuck dozens or umds or sell them for pennies to gamestop.

Demanufactur3
Demanufactur3

I fear for the vita... The market just doesn't seem big enough for it. I mean every now and then i see someone in the park or the bus or the train with a 3ds... maybe 1 out of 100... the last time i saw a person with a sony device (psp) is 5 years ago... So it doesn't really matter how good the vita is at this point in time, 98% of humanity doesn't see a next gen device... they see a 250 euro brick you can't whatsap with... Second point... Medal of honor warfighter... or whatever they want to call it... Well after being deeply DEEPLY disapointed with Medal of honor tier 1... i won't even consider buying this, and be happy and joyful playing bf3 some more... Tier 1 raped the title to be honest, and ranks in my top 10 worst games ever released. (Nr.1. is still ET) RIght final point then... Call of duty 9 i believe it'll be this year. Rumored to be Black ops 2... well seeing how black ops one is the only game to existence that made me play soccer with a controller... imma not buy this one... also my hatred for treyarch is as sweet as honey on a summer morning. And as bitter as arsenic... End of rant... let the flaming begin.

caffiend7
caffiend7

don't care sticking with my ps3, wii and 360 might get a vita and 3ds next year. even if it means being a generation behind i'm going to get my moneys worth out of these systems.

psyrainia
psyrainia

why some so upset about umd for vita ??? if u dont intend on playin vita games just keep usin your psp,. that simple. but really tho in the long run, vitas will come down in price and there will be plenty of games out and you will completely forget bout this issue.

nate1222
nate1222

I've been a fan of the 'Xeno-" series since the PS1 game Xenogears. I still have the first Xenosaga (PS2) laying around somewhere. So Xenoblade Chronicles looks like a damn fine addition to the Wii's library. Ironically, Xenoblade doesn't have the same turn-based gameplay as its predesessors. It's action and graphic style resemble the equally awesome Rogue Galaxy for PS2. ...so rockin'...

Swedenik
Swedenik

I got Killzone 3 bundled with my ps3. Now there will actually be people online to play with!!!!!

dangamit
dangamit

WOW. I didn't know Gamespot had so much for Sony :O

WolfGrey
WolfGrey

@Fayt1986 If your going out for a while and coming back, you should only have one game with you.If you have more than that its called having a game pack.I use to have a little one only about as big as my hand that had my DS and my psp.It could also carry about as many as 10 games. The funny part is they usually only cost 20 dollars.Pretty good investment, and they are pretty durable. Judging by most of the comments on this page, people have forgotten about these.Hell some you can just clip to your belt, or tuck into your jacket.

Fayt1986
Fayt1986

@WolfGrey i am...... but keeping both systems on me while outside is a bit much if i fancy patapon then uncharted.

WolfGrey
WolfGrey

Also gotta love the cheap shots at Sony in there.More subtle this time but jeez. You never hear them say anything bad or MAKE A WHOLE ARTICLE to bash Microsoft do ya? Btw i dont mean this article, it was a little while back.

WolfGrey
WolfGrey

@Fayt1986 Or you can just keep your freaking psp. Honestly guys if you want to play your psp games so bad , keep your psp. I have great psp games myself(some of them imports even) and im not concerned.

merleage2
merleage2

i have to admit that $150 wifi model and a $200 3g model would be freakin great. if goes to that it would an instant hit. even $200 wifi and $250 3g would be awsome and would sell a ton of consoles

DefunktJunk
DefunktJunk

sweet news for the last gaurdian. santa monica studios is like the only team i trust to help finish this game. cant wait. =)

23Jarek23
23Jarek23

Medal of Honor Warfighter. That name presumably beating out equally appropriate alternatives; Medal of Honor Gunshooter, Medal of Honor Explosionmaker, and Medal of Honor Beardwearer. hahaha

xtraflossy
xtraflossy

I really really like the idea of selling MP of KZ3 separately and for only $15 (and with the additional map packs). I already had the game and got my share out of the mp and passed the game on, but now.... who knows. Maybe I'll pick it up again

Antatious
Antatious

Wow, I can't believe there is going to be another Call of Duty for consoles, but no Vita this year.

Gurzociurlo
Gurzociurlo

Hey Gamespot, will you write a review of The Last Story?

MaddenBowler10
MaddenBowler10

@Z-Z-Zorpheus Unfortunately, just because you purchased the game doesn't mean you own it. You just own the license to play it. It's in their license and agreements, as many other companies do this too. Sony can very well charge you again for the game for the right to play it on another system.

Z-Z-Zorpheus
Z-Z-Zorpheus

No, Sony. No. Bad dog. No biscuit. Asking me to pay ANY AMOUNT OF MONEY to be able to play a PSP game I already own on the new system is wrong. There is no questioning of this at all. I repeat, to attach any amount of price tag on it is unethical, especially since it costs Sony nothing to do. Shame on you for exploiting us.

NightFox313
NightFox313

LOL @ "Medal of Honor Beardwearer"... I hope The Last Guardian gets finished soon - hopefully they're not having problems with it.

---Cipher---
---Cipher---

@redscarereiter "Medal of Honor: Wish I rererererereBought COD Instead" sounds fitting. There we go

cpinheiro2
cpinheiro2

Alright alright. Sony WILL launch PS4. Where are the news about that? Of course they will, the point is when. This is turning into an annoying thing to hunt clues for the release.

cpinheiro2
cpinheiro2

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

KAM10000
KAM10000

So PS4 is Totally Confirmed. I wanna buy PSVITA.

benboz
benboz

PS Vita is awesome. I can't even put it down.

Brother_Tevis
Brother_Tevis

I don't get why everyone is getting all over Warfighter. No one said anything about Advanced Warfighter, or its sequel.

redscarereiter
redscarereiter

"Medal of Honor: Wish I Bought COD Instead" sounds fitting.

lonkilanki
lonkilanki

Killzone3 multiplayer FU***NG awesome!!!!!

MOwens9512
MOwens9512

Pause. Like seriously, Why not call it Medal Of Honor: Warior, or Medal of Honor: Soldier, or something to that effect? After all, isn't that what a "warfighter" is by definition? Way to use that kindergarten level vocabulary.

xYamatox
xYamatox

Well, I'm assuming that getting a PSPGo was overall a good move on my part. Since I bought the games through PSN, they should transfer to the VITA no problem. :P Can't say there have been many victories choosing the Go over the standard PSP, but this is one long-term victory that has made that purchase worth it.