Retail Radar: GameCube price drop on the way?

Marketing materials have been sent to EB Games in preparation for a drop; GameStop details God Hand plot.

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Gaming retailers have a long history of inadvertently tipping people off to publishers' plans, and while information from retailers isn't official confirmation of anything (and shouldn't be treated as such), it can give a good heads-up about what's going down in the gaming world.

An EB Games employee today told GameSpot that the company had sent out promotional materials that strongly suggest Nintendo is planning a GameCube price drop next month. The materials, which were sent for use in the company's next marketing period (May 3 to May 23), include GameCube posters with GameCube-branded stickers that read "New Low Price," according to the employee. A specific price was not listed for the machine, which currently retails for $99.99 new, but it featured a blank number template, which employees could fill in should a drop be announced.

Accompanying the materials was a note explaining that the signage was sent so stores would be prepared if a drop was announced. While the note didn't specifically say the company knew an announcement about the price was imminent, the employee told GameSpot that similar materials were sent out in advance of the recent PlayStation 2 price drop from $149 to $129.

Turning to retailer Web sites, there are a few changes worth mentioning. Original Guitar Hero groupies concerned about the prospect of having to shell out $90 for the sequel bundled with another guitar can breathe a little easier, as GameStop has added a listing that will let gamers preorder the sequel and extra guitars separately. The site is currently asking $49.99 for Guitar Hero II on its own and $39.99 for a future shipment of individual guitars.

Meanwhile, God Hand has been dated by GameStop. Previously, the only indication that Capcom's PS2 action game was headed to the US was its appearance on the publisher's lineup of games to be shown at the Electronic Entertainment Expo. Now GameStop is soliciting preorders for the next game from Okami developer Clover Studios, with an October 10 shipping date and the following product description, which sheds new light on God Hand's plot:

The game follows a kind, aimless traveler named Jean who, after attempting to save a girl from some sort of danger, gets his right arm chopped off by a mercenary. Somehow, he comes into posession [sic] of the God Hand, the legendary gold-glowing hand of a great savior from olden times. Now, Jean has the power to save the world, but also has the scum of the land after him. The game is filled with wild combat as Jean uses his newly-earned skills in fighting and leaping, and the power of the glowing God Hand can charge up and give him new skills. The game also includes lots of comical gags for an over-the-top experience of violence and hilarity.

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