The Last Word: February 4-10

The D.I.C.E. Summit brings the game glitterati together, Activision whips out Wii Guitar Hero, and Ubisoft goes all Pixar on us.

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All eyes converged on Las Vegas for the annual D.I.C.E. Summit (Design, Innovate, Communicate, Entertain, for those who were wondering), as industry bigwigs gathered for a few days of schmoozing and networking at the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences' signature event. But before the D.I.C.E. festivities' midweek kickoff, news arrived that was sure to fuel chatter at the show.

Take-Two Interactive and Rockstar Games surprised a lot of people with the announcement that they were preparing a sequel to their controversial stealth action game, Manhunt. No concrete details were given about the gameplay, but Manhunt 2 is scheduled to slash into the sales charts for the PlayStation 2, PlayStation Portable, and Wii this summer.

The tandem behind Manhunt and the Grand Theft Auto series would also be evoked (but not specifically named) later in the week, during outgoing Entertainment Software Association president Doug Lowenstein's presentation at D.I.C.E. After recapping the ESA's triumphs and tribulations during his tenure, Lowenstein turned his attention to pet peeves of the job, specifically publishers who "make controversial content and then cut and run." The gaming media also made Lowenstein's list, as he challenged them to be more mature about their work.

In another D.I.C.E. session, Sony Worldwide Studios president Phil Harrison held an open Q&A session with Newsweek writer N'gai Croal. During the interview, Harrison talked about the difficulties of the PlayStation 3 launch, mentioned a LocoRoco sequel, and unveiled Super Rub-O'-Dub, a downloadable PlayStation 3 game based on the system's rubber duck tech demo.

Later that night, the D.I.C.E. focus turned to the 10th Annual Interactive Achievement Awards at the Las Vegas' Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. Hosted by actor/comedian Jay Mohr (who also did the honors at last year's show), the awards show was dominated by Gears of War. Epic Game's Xbox 360 shooter won the awards for Outstanding Character Performance - Male, Outstanding Achievement in Animation, Outstanding Achievement in Art Direction, Outstanding Achievement in Online Play, Outstanding Achievement in Visual Engineering, Action/Adventure Game of the Year, Console Game of the Year, and Overall Game of the Year.

MONDAY
D.I.C.E. Preview: Caught on tape
Retail Radar: Guilty Gear on Wii
Girls Gone Wild gets into gaming
Sony confirms Wipeout for PS3
PS3 firmware updates to 1.51

TUESDAY
Rockstar on the Manhunt again
Gears of War made for less than $10M
Report: 360s sporting quieter drives
Rewards coming for Gamerscores
Okami, Oblivion nab top noms at GDC awards

WEDNESDAY
ESA lobbying tops $2 million
It's official: GTA: VCS is PS2-bound
NCsoft profits drop 43 percent
Activision raises guidance on PS3 hopes
Sega Sammy profits down

THURSDAY
D.I.C.E. 07: Event kicks off on a serious note
D.I.C.E. 07: Phil Harrison speaks
D.I.C.E. 07: Spore is not all Wright
D.I.C.E. 07: Lowenstein outro ignites summit
Wii will rock Guitar Hero
Confirmed: Ubisoft opening animated-movie studio
Sony Pictures making Metal Gear movie

FRIDAY
D.I.C.E. 07: Gears grabs gold
Bullet Witch golden
Archon to rule again
Q&A: Lego Star Wars producer Jonathan Smith

RUMORS OF THE WEEK
New Naughty Dog game title confirmed?
New N-Gage to be unveiled at GDC?

RELEASES
Shippin' Out 2/4-2/9: Winning 11, MVP 07

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