In addition to looking at the lighter and weirder side of the game industry, System Update provides the latest information on weekly console updates, DLC, game-specific updates, and other game-industry flotsam and jetsam.
[UPDATE] Share value down more 13 percent today amid new reports claiming GameStop's business could be hurt by Microsoft's rumored used game policy for...
Other Site Blogs
GameSpot Versus Beat the Pros Edition is a way for GameSpot members to test their skills against super star pro gamers. From FPS to...
Leading the pack this week is the Super NES game Rival Turf (800 Wii points, or $8) on the Virtual Console. The one- to two-player beat-'em-up has gamers taking to the streets and laying the smack down. Gamers have a range of attacks at their disposal, like jabs, hooks, body slams, leg sweeps, and uppercuts. Additionally, gamers can fight solo, alongside a partner, or against a human in the game's Versus mode.
Switching to WiiWare, Nintendo added one new game and a fresh demo to that download spot today. The new game out now is Bingo Party Deluxe (500 Wii points, or $5). The game lets up to four players take part in 75-ball, 90-ball, or other bingo party games. Players earn more bingo points the more they play, and these points can be spent on a range of items, including new game modes and patterns.
The new demo out now on WiiWare is for Bit.Trip Runner, the fourth entry in Gaijin's side-scrolling series. The title again casts players as Commander Video and sports more than 50 levels.
On-the-go gamers also have new options this week, as Nintendo added three new titles to the DSiWare today, the first of which is Ikibago (500 DSi points, or $5). The puzzle action game has 121 levels and tasks gamers with aligning barrels of the same color in the same column to advance.
Also out now on DSiWare is Picture Perfect Pocket Stylist (500 DSi points, or $5). With the game, players can design hairstyles and try them out on in-game characters as well as on themselves. Using the DSi's camera, gamers can snap a shot of themselves and see how they look in their hairstyle creation. According to the game's publisher, 505 Games, there are thousands of possibilities for hairstyles.
The last new game out this week for DSiWare is Anonymous Notes Chapter 2: From the Abyss (200 DSi points, or $2). Set within an "infinitely extending dungeon," the role-playing game has players sweeping away monsters and taking on the top bosses before the dungeon re-creates itself.
When Marvel Pinball was announced last November, Zen Studios put up a poll on its website asking visitors what comic-inspired table they wanted for the game's first postlaunch downloadable content. Today the developer revealed the winner and next table to be released for the game will be based on the Fantastic Four.
In North America, the Fantastic Four table will be downloadable for Marvel Pinball on the PlayStation 3 starting May 17, with Pinball FX 2 Xbox 360 players able to purchase it beginning May 18. In Europe, players on both platforms will need to wait until May 18 to get their hands on the new content. When it launches, the game will feature new trophies and achievements, as well as full support for Zen Studios' various social features.
The table itself sees the Fantastic Four doing battle against a cosmic rogues' gallery featuring such heavyweights as Dr. Doom, the Super Skrull, Galactus, and the Mole Man. The playfield is littered with references to other parts of the comic foursome's mythology, with the Silver Surfer, H.E.R.B.I.E. the robot, the Fantasticar, and the Baxter Building all making appearances. The game will even provide examples of superpowered teamwork, with the Invisible Woman putting a force field on an outlane as a ball save, and Mr. Fantastic stretching his arm across the table to pick the ball up and move it to safety.
Those who don't fancy the Fantastic Four can hold out hope for more heroic pinball action on the way. Among the other Marvel properties considered for pinball conversion in the original Zen Studios poll were Captain America, Ghost Rider, and the Hulk.
For more on Marvel Pinball, check out GameSpot's previous coverage.
BioWare today released new Dragon Age II content in the form of weapon, armor, and follower items for the game's three classes: mage, warrior, and rogue. The content is available today for the PC and Xbox 360 versions of Dragon Age II.
It was also announced for the PlayStation 3 iteration of the game, but gamers cannot download the content, as the PlayStation Network has been offline for over a week now.
For a detailed look at the new Dragon Age II digital offerings, check out the DLC page at the official Dragon Age II download page.
Gamers can grab all three packs (Mage, Warrior, Rogue) for $5 (400 MS points) or individually for $3 (240 MS points).
For more on the title, check out GameSpot's review of Dragon Age II.
Recent rumors suggest gamers aren't likely to see a continuation of Firaxis' Civilization Revolution, but 2K Games is willing to commit to more Civilization V. This week, the publisher confirmed Firaxis' latest turn-based world-domination sim will receive two new add-on packs beginning May 3.
Firaxis will be sparking an Scandinavian invasion with the release of the Denmark: The Vikings scenario pack. Players will step into the clogs of Harald Bluetooth, who unified Denmark and Norway against invasions from Sweden and Germany as part of his popular 30-year reign.
However, the scenario pack sees Denmark on the offensive, as it wades into the Battle of Hastings in a bid for the British crown in 1066. Aiding Denmark in its conquest, gamers will have the berserker warriors and Ski infantry at their disposal.
The second add-on, called the Explorers Map Pack, brings 10 new single-player maps to Civilization V. Half of those maps are based on real-world locations that were selected for their historical value and gameplay potential, while the remainder are fabricated. Example scenarios include the Amazon, the Caribbean, and the Bering Strait.
The two packs can be purchased individually for $4.99 a piece. Alternatively, gamers will be able to pick up the pair for $7.49. For more on Civilization V, check out GameSpot's review.
Valve wasn't stingy with add-on content for Left 4 Dead and Left 4 Dead 2, and that strategy will apparently continue with its latest title, Portal 2. As part of an interview with the online edition of business-oriented magazine Fast Company, Valve marketing director Doug Lombardi confirmed that downloadable content will be available for the first-person puzzler beginning this summer.
"We will be announcing some DLC for it, so folks can keep a look out for more content coming this summer," Lombardi said. "We'll be putting more details out about that in a week or so. We'll support that with more videos or more comics." Lombardi told GameSpot that the announcement should arrive "before this week is over."
Released to critical acclaim for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC last week, Portal 2 is the continuation of 2007 Orange Box pack-in Portal. The new title continues the travails of human lab rat Chell, who in the original game used a portal gun to create interdimensional openings on ceilings, walls, and floors in an effort to escape the Aperture Science labs and thwart the diabolical artificial intelligence known as GLaDOS.
In addition to extending the amount of content in the single-player mode, Valve introduced a new multiplayer cooperative mode. In it, players take control of two robots, named Atlas and P-body, and work together to tackle their own set of portal-related problems.
For more information, check out GameSpot's previous coverage of Portal 2.
Activision revealed plans to bring Escalation to Call of Duty: Black Ops' online experience earlier this month, saying the downloadable add-on would feature four new maps and a mode called "Call of the Dead." The publisher has since been mysterious about what gamers can expect from the zombie-themed mode, and the reason for that secrecy is apparently because it contains a big surprise.
Today, Activision shined a light on the Call of the Dead mode, revealing that it will feature a storyline inspired by famed horror director George A. Romero. As seen in a trailer for Call of the Dead (below), the zombie-slaughtering co-op level features a '70s movie aesthetic that sees the four action stars fending off hordes of zombies on and around a ghost ship.
Dipping into the game's sizable budget, Activision and Treyarch have pulled out the stops with Call of the Dead's presentation, saying that action stars Robert Englund (Nightmare on Elm Street), Sarah Michelle Gellar (Buffy the Vampire Slayer), Michael Rooker (The Walking Dead), Danny Trejo (Machete), and Romero (Night of the Living Dead) himself have lent their voices and likenesses for use in the mode.
As with other Call of Duty map packs, the Escalation add-on will debut on Xbox Live, arriving for Microsoft's platform on May 3. Activision has not yet announced when the DLC will be released for other platforms.
For more information, check out GameSpot's review of Call of Duty: Black Ops.
Former Sony Computer Entertainment CEO Ken Kutaragi is best known as the "Father of the PlayStation." However, it was onetime Sony president, chairman, and CEO Norio Ohga who, in 1993, founded a new arm for the company called Sony Computer Entertainment. Until he quasi-retired in 2000, he helped oversee the division's growth and birthing of the PlayStation brand.
Sadly, Sony has announced Ohga died of multiple organ failure in Tokyo at age 81 on Saturday, April 23. His death came following a decades-long career at Sony during which he helped oversee the creation of CBS/Sony Records--now Sony Music Entertainment--in 1968. He became president of the division in 1970.
A classically trained baritone singer, he also helped create the CD format in the late 1970s, insisting its length be 75 minutes--long enough to hold Beethoven's Ninth Symphony in its entirety. Sony released the world's first CD in 1982, the year Ohga became Sony Corp. president. Within years, the format superseded vinyl records and cassettes as the top musical medium. Later in the 1990s, he would oversee the launch of the much less successful Minidisc (pictured).
Ohga also helped shepherd Sony's transformation from an electronics manufacturer into a global multimedia giant. Besides the Sony Music deal, he oversaw the purchase of Columbia Pictures in 1989, giving the company a large presence in the motion picture industry. He also helped develop the modern home video market by popularizing the DVD format in the 1990s.
Leading the charge this week is Ubisoft's Outland (800 MS points, or $10), which debuts on Wednesday. The publisher has previously said Outland was inspired by "epic adventures such as the Prince of Persia series" and Treasure's vertically scrolling arcade shooter Ikaruga. In Ikaruga, players could swap the color of their ship between black and white at will; each color could absorb bullets of the same shade, allowing skilled players to weave their way through otherwise impenetrable barrages of enemy fire. Outland brings the same mechanic to a side-scrolling action game, with blue and red enemies representing the forces of light and dark.
Available today is new content for Electronic Arts' racing game Shift 2: Unleashed. The Legends downloadable content (800 MS points, or $10) includes 14 vehicles and five tracks from yesteryear. Two of these cars are 1965's Austin Mini Cooper S and 1963's Ford Lotus Cortina.
Switching to the Games on Demand hub, Microsoft added three new games to the download spot today, the first of which is 2009's fighting game BlazBlue: Calamity Trigger ($20). The other two new full-game downloads now available are 2009's Tekken 6 ($20) and the zombie-themed Dead Rising 2 ($40).
Those who purchased the Epic Edition of Bulletstorm have been mutilating one another in the Gears of War 3 multiplayer beta test for a week at this point. Those who forwent Bulletstorm in favor of simply preordering Gears of War 3 will be pleased to know that they, too, can now rev their lancers and launch into the fray.
Along with announcing the opening of the Gears of War 3 multiplayer beta, Epic delineated a schedule for what players can expect over the next several weeks. Up first will be the Team Deathmatch and King of the Hill modes, which will be tested from April 25-May 1. Gamers will be able to engage one another in the Thrashball, Checkout, and Trenches maps.
From May 2-8, Epic will open up the Capture the Leader game type as well as the Old Town scenario. The last week of the beta--May 9-15--sees gamers able to launch into any of the three battle modes on any of the four maps.
Epic is also planning a few incentives to keep gamers engaged with the beta. These include exclusive medals, weapon skins, and character model variants that will carry over to the retail edition of Gears of War 3 when it launches for the Xbox 360 on September 20.
For more information, check out GameSpot's previous coverage of Gears of War 3.
Early this morning Nintendo made official its next home console, confirming that a Wii successor will arrive in 2012 and will be playable during June's Electronic Entertainment Expo. Now, the company has announced the latest digital wares for its download spots.
Leading the pack this week on DSiWare is Inchworm Animation (500 DSi points, or $5). From Flat Back Films, the game--which reportedly had a five-year development cycle--has players creating digital paintings and animations. Players can record video to create stop-motion animation and time-lapse photography. Gamers can also use the DSi's stylus as a virtual paintbrush to create their illustrations. Players happy with their creations can export them to an SD card.
Also out now on DSiWare is Ubongo (500 DSi points, or $5). From Korner Entertainment, the one- to two-player game has players solving puzzles and collecting gems in the process; the player with the most gems at the end of the round is the winner. The game sports multiple game modes including History mode, Quick Game, Time Attack, and Multiplayer.
The last new DSiWare game out now is Airport Mania: First Flight (200 DSi points, or $2). The airport-themed game has players landing planes at eight distinct airports. Players will need to purchase upgrades for their steel birds and avoid delays, while making sure planes with precious cargo make it to the gate in time.
Switching to WiiWare, Nintendo added one new game and one fresh demo to the download spot today. The new game out now is Word Searcher Deluxe (500 Wii points, or $5). The game comes with 100 themed word searches and includes such categories as palindromes, pirates, and painting. Additionally, the game jumbles the words with each playthrough, ensuring a new puzzle is playable each time.
The last new offering out this week on WiiWare is a demo for Learning With the PooYoos: Episode 3. From Lexis Numerique, the title is a brain trainer for children aged 3 to 6 who can't yet read. The PooYoos are a band of "adorable baby animals" that will help children learn basic development concepts, such as numbers, letters, shapes, and colors, through an array of interactive lessons.
[UPDATE] As it would turn out, EA isn't quite yet ready to commit to a pre-release demo for Battlefield 3. Responding to GameSpot's request for comment, an EA spokesperson indicated that Bach's comments pertained to the previously announced multiplayer beta for Battlefield 3 and not a demo as was previously reported.
GameSpot's original story can be found below.
Considering the massive popularity of the Call of Duty franchise, it's no wonder Activision hasn't pushed Infinity Ward and Treyarch to release pre-launch demos of their recent military first-person shooters to build hype. However, with Electronic Arts positioning Battlefield 3 as its Call of Duty killer, the publisher apparently will be pulling the trigger on a pre-release demo.
Speaking to MSXbox-World, EA Dice executive producer Patrick Bach reportedly confirmed that a demo for Battlefield 3 would be available prior to the game's launch this fall. Unfortunately, Bach's reply amounted to little more than an answer in the affirmative. As such, he did not offer any additional gameplay details or a specific release timing. EA had not responded to a request for comment as of press time.
Battlefield 3 will sport both a single-player campaign and an online component, which can be played with up to 64 players (for the PC version only). Battlefield 3 will support co-op play for its campaign and will let gamers pilot jets, among other vehicles. Additionally, Battlefield 3 will run on DICE's updated Frostbite 2 engine.
For more information, check out GameSpot's previous coverage of Battlefield 3.
On April 26, gamers can download the Legends downloadable content pack for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 copies of Shift 2: Unleashed. The content packs includes 14 cars and five tracks from yesteryear, and it will sell for $10 (800 Microsoft points).
The full list of vehicles and tracks coming to Shift 2: Unleashed is below. For more on the title, check out GameSpot's review of Shift 2: Unleashed.
Alfa Romeo Giulia Sprint GTA (1965)
Austin Mini Cooper S (1965)
BMW 3.0 CSL Gr. 5 (1975)
Ford Capri RS3100 Gr.4 (1974)
Ford Escort Mk1 RS1600 (1971)
Ford GT40 Mk.I (1965)
Ford Lotus Cortina (1963)
Jaguar E-Type Lightweight (1963)
Nissan Fairlady 240ZG (S30) (1971)
Nissan Skyline 2000GT-R (C10) (1972)
Porsche 911 Carrera RSR 3.0 (1974)
Porsche 914/6 GT (1970)
Shelby Cobra "Daytona" Coupe (1965)
Team Need For Speed Porsche 911 Carrera RSR 3.0
Rouen-Les-Essarts GP (1966)
Rouen-Les-Essarts Short (1952)
FeelPlus scored moderate critical success on the PlayStation 3 last month with the release of its side-scrolling beat-'em-up Moon Diver. Soon, Xbox 360 gamers will also have a chance to check the game out, as Square Enix announced today that it would be bringing the downloadable title to Xbox Live on May 4 for 1,200 Microsoft points ($15).
Created by Koichi Yotsui (Strider), Moon Diver is set in the 22nd century, after a technological uprising sees all manner of inanimate objects rebelling against their makers. Amid this turmoil, an elite group of ninjas--known as Moondivers--rises up to reclaim the world for humanity.
Moon Diver features many of the classic tropes of the side-scrolling beat-'em-up genre, including massive bosses and waves of enemies. However, it also includes modernized graphics, a leveling system, and four-player local or online co-op.
For more information, check out GameSpot's previous coverage.
Leading the pack this week is Final Fantasy IV: The Complete Collection ($30). The combo pack includes Final Fantasy IV--with revamped visuals to take advantage of the PSP's widescreen format--as well as its epilogue, Final Fantasy IV: The After Years. The episodic series of downloadable titles was originally released in 2009 on the Wii; this will mark the first time it has been available as part of a retail product.
Also out now is The Fancy Pants Adventures ($10) for the PlayStation 3. An action adventure game published by Electronic Arts, the title has players adventuring from left to right in a 2D world, stomping enemies along the way. The game also sports a multiplayer component, where up to four gamers can either compete against each other or work together.
Though it's now spring, gamers looking to bundle up can download the Prince of Persia Classic Trilogy HD ($40). Ubisoft's Prince of Persia combo includes 2003's The Sands of Time, 2004's Warrior Within, and 2005's The Two Thrones. All three games benefit from an HD remastering, as well as new stereoscopic 3D visuals.
Other new games out now in the PS3 storefront include 2D fighting game Arcana Heart 3 ($30), adventure game Neutopia ($6), Telltale Games' Puzzle Agent ($10), Sonic the Hedgehog 2 ($5), and Puzzle Guzzle ($6).
Those looking to the past for their excitement can download two new PSOne Classics this week, the first of which is Dino Crisis 2 ($6). The other game added to the nostalgic download space is Threads of Fate ($6).
Gamers looking to try before they buy this week can grab a sampler for the upcoming tennis simulator, Virtua Tennis 4. The game--which supports Sony's Move controller--is due out in full on May 10.
A full list of the week's deals and new PlayStation Store content, including themes, wallpapers, demos, discounts, and add-on content, is available on the PlayStation Blog.
Leading the charge this week is the beta for Epic Games' Gears of War 3. The sampler is now available for owners of the Bulletstorm Epic Edition and will open up to those who preordered at GameStop beginning April 25.
The beta will show off the game's Team Deathmatch mode playable on four maps: Thrashball, Checkout, Trenches, and Old Town. Additionally, gamers who play the Gears of War 3 beta will earn exclusive content that will be transferred to retail copies when the game is launched this fall. These items include the Flaming Gnasher Shotgun, a Gold-Plated Retro Lancer, a Thrashball Cole character variant, and others.
Debuting tomorrow on Xbox Live Arcade will be Section 8: Prejudice (1,200 Microsoft points, or $15). The game will feature online multiplayer modes with up to 32 players, as well as a four-player cooperative mode called Swarm. The game also makes concessions to offline gamers with a five-hour single-player campaign and full bot support, ensuring all the game modes can be experienced without going online.
Also hitting XBLA tomorrow will be The Fancy Pants Adventures (800 Microsoft points, or $10). An action-adventure game published by Electronic Arts, the title has players adventuring from left to right in a 2D world, stomping enemies along the way. The game also sports a multiplayer component, where up to four gamers can either compete against each other or work together.
Switching to the Games on Demand hub, Microsoft added three new games to that download space today, the first of which is the well-reviewed Fallout: New Vegas ($40). Also now out on the full-game space is 2K Czech's Mafia II ($30) and Capcom's Lost Planet 2 ($20).
After some seven years in development, id Software's Rage will arrive for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC on September 13. That leaves gamers quite a bit of time to decide whether today's announced preorder incentives are worth buying the Bethesda Softworks-published postapocalyptic combat game in advance.
As has become a standard tactic, preorder bonuses include a swath of in-game content. Those who prepurchse Rage in North America at GameStop, Amazon, Steam, or Direct2Drive will be upgraded to the "Anarchy Edition," which includes exclusive access to the double-barrel shotgun, crimson elite armor, and the Rat Rod buggy vehicle. Also included will be the Fists of Rage melee combat weapon.
Rage is set on a postapocalyptic Earth recovering from an asteroid collision, where humans have emerged from underground "arks" much like the vaults in the Fallout games. Players assume the role of a survivor who has emerged from an ark and has been subsequently outfitted with an array of performance-enhancing nanotechnology and some powerful ranged weaponry.
Gamers looking to delve more deeply into Rage's story can do so by picking up the Dark Horse Comics series beginning June 22 or Del Ray's tie-in novel on August 30. For more information on the game itself, check out GameSpot's previous coverage.
Nintendo updated its virtual storefront today with a range of new offerings. First out of the gate this week is Mega Man X (800 Wii points, or $8) for the Virtual Console. Originally released in 1994 for the Super NES, gamers can now revisit the 16-bit game via Nintendo's nostalgic download spot.
Switching to the WiiWare download hub, Nintendo added one new game and a demo to the spot today. The new game out now is My Little Baby (600 Wii points, or $6), an infant-nurturing game that has players changing, bathing, and feeding their little ones. Additionally, gamers have a range of toys and clothes at their disposal to help keep their infant happy.
The new demo out this week on WiiWare is for Bit.Trip Core. The game puts players in control of an immobile cross-shaped cannon at the center of the playfield. The cannon can shoot a beam in just four directions, and any "bits" crossing it will be destroyed, yielding a suitably old-school gaming sound effect.
On-the-go gamers have three new options today from the DSiWare download spot, the first of which is Go Series Captain Sub (200 DSi points, or $2). The underwater adventure game has players piloting a yellow submarine and manning its extendable claw to grab treasure.
Also out now on DSiWare is DodoGo! Robo (200 DSi points, or $2). From Neko Entertainment, the puzzle title is the third in the series and has players working through levels collecting as many egg icons as possible by manipulating the environment in effective ways.
The last game out now on DSiWare is Music On: Learning Piano 2 (200 DSi points, or $2). The game sports 15 classic songs from such composers as Bach, Tchaikovsky, and Chopin, and it has gamers playing along as the notes cascade by. Players can earn bronze, silver, and gold medals for their performances as well.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 was a disappointment for a segment of the PC-gaming population in 2008 due to Infinity Ward's omission of mod tools and dedicated multiplayer servers. Treyarch vowed to not make the same move with its follow-up, Black Ops, last year, saying that mod tools would be released for PC gamers "sometime" after the Cold War-era shooter's November 2010 launch.
That "sometime" apparently equated to about six months, as a Twitter update from a member of Treyarch's PC development team said today that mod tools should be out by May. "News: We are shooting for mod tools release in May," the full message reads. The developer posted a subsequent message indicating that the mod tools would be free.
Exactly what gamers will get from the release remains to be seen. At the time of its announcement, a Treyarch representative said, "We do not know yet to what extent you will be able to mod the game. There are some purely technical issues related to engine and internal tool enhancements that do not easily fit the mod tools paradigm."
Square Enix went on a tear rereleasing installments in its Final Fantasy catalog through the PlayStation Network at the end of 2009 and into 2010. In addition to the original game and its sequel, the publisher added Final Fantasy VII, VIII, and IX to the PlayStation 3's classic game service.
This week, one more installment in the series has been added to that list, as Square Enix announced through its Japanese-language Twitter feed that it will deliver Final Fantasy VI to Sony's Game Archives (known as PSOne Classics in the US) on April 20. The publisher has not announced a North American rerelease for the title, but previous rerelease announcements have first come in Japan and then later in North America.
Originally released for the Super NES in North America as Final Fantasy III, Final Fantasy VI follows the story of the love-lost and memory-bereaved supersoldier Terra, who embarks with her ragtag group of companions to save the world from the maniacal clutches of Kefka and Emperor Gestahl.
For more information, check out GameSpot's previous coverage of Final Fantasy VI.
L.A. Noire is poised for a May 17 release, and Rockstar has already laid out ways in which gamers can gain different content by preordering at certain retailers. Now, gamers will have an option to further customize the content they receive, depending on whether they pick up the PlayStation 3 or Xbox 360 version of the game.
As first indicated by L.A. Noire's PS3 box art posted to retailer sites such as GameStop, the Sony edition of the game will include "exclusive content." Rockstar subsequently confirmed this information in a post to its official website, saying, "Look for more details on that coming soon."
And while the publisher was itself cagey as to what those details would entail, it appears as if the first indication of what PS3 gamers can expect comes by way of an advertisement on TV-streaming service Hulu. According to the ad, the PS3 edition will include the Consul's Car Traffic Case. Additional details on this bonus mission were not revealed.
L.A. Noire is in development at Australian studio Team Bondi and follows Detective Phelps as he becomes entangled in a violent web of vice, corruption, and crime in 1940's Los Angeles. Players jump into the seedy underworld of the metropolis and are tasked with solving a series of murders in what Rockstar describes as an "open-ended challenge."
For more on L.A. Noire, check out GameSpot's previous coverage.