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So, what could possibly be in store this year? No idea yet, but Konami is banking that you'll want to experience the awkwardness firsthand. Konami plans to promote its unique brand of ramshackle press conferencing--which will actually take place on June 2nd, five days before the show officially kicks off--by setting up live viewing parties for the event at cities around the globe, including, but not limited to, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Toronto, São Paulo, and Mexico City.
== TEASER == Yes, for real. You and your friends can attend a real life local screening of the Konami E3 2011 press conference and participate along with the rest of the audience as they shout hilarious callbacks at the screen, like "ONE MILLION TROOPS!!!" and a creepily whispered "Extreeeeeeeeeme..." Just don't be the jerk who yells "Riiiiiiidge Racer!!!" That's like shouting Rocky Horror lines at a Birdemic screening.
If you're not in one of the participating cities, or just don't fancy the idea of sitting in a room full of Konami fans while watching trailers and presentations full of long, excruciating pauses where laughter is presumably expected, you can also stream the conference online and enjoy the hilarity all by your lonesome. Regardless of method, you should almost assuredly tune in. Maybe this will be the year when Konami announces it's all been a gag, that the previous press conferences were purposely weird in service of a long-term, Kaufman-esque black comic prank. How great would that be?
His/her latest find seems to be evidence regarding Far Cry 3, a still-unannounced new sequel in Ubisoft's best-selling shooter franchise. Though some of the originally-cited resumes have since been scrubbed to axe any mention of the title, multiple Ubisoft programmers and animators were quoted as working on an "undisclosed First Person Shooter" with "exotic gameplay." One still left standing mentions work on an "unannounced Shooter AAA."
More damning would be a pair of resumes from stunt men who claimed to have worked on the title. Both Lee Villeneuve and Stephane Julien straight up list Far Cry 3 as a project they've each worked on.
This isn't the first time a third Far Cry game has flirted with acknowledged existence. All the way back in 2009, an Ubisoft scriptwriter told the UK's Official PlayStation Magazine that the game was in the works and looking "pretty exciting." Retailers have also accidentally listed the title at various points.
Ubisoft had yet to respond to request for comment as of this story's publish. With this fall marking the three year point since the last entry in the series, not to mention the heap of of fringe evidence that seems to keep piling up, it seems safe to assume that Far Cry 3 exists in some fashion. As for when Ubisoft might choose to reveal it? Well, I do seem to recall some manner of gaming convention coming up this June...
In an effort to satisfy subscribers that suddenly found themselves unable to play their favorite MMOs, and were, perhaps, a bit raw over the handling of the messaging regarding the breach of customer information on its network, Sony Online Entertainment has announced an initial plan to offer customers some free services across its stable of MMO titles.
From a press release issued last night:
In addition to the 30 free days across all titles, SOE announced via the game's Facebook page that DC Universe Online players all shall receive "Batman-inspired" masks for their trouble.
SOE will grant customers 30 days of additional time on their subscriptions, in addition to compensating them one day for each day the system is down. It is also in the process of outlining a "make good" plan for its PlayStation3 MMOs (DC Universe Online and Free Realms). More information will be released this week.
So, do you feel satisfied yet?
Because no company can ever resist celebrating ten years of anything, Microsoft today announced it'll be making a big show of the series' tenth birthday at this year's PAX Prime, sponsoring an in-show fan-oriented extravaganza it's calling "Halo Fest." With the Halo franchise's decade mark quickly approaching, many among us may find ourselves suddenly realizing that we have gotten really, really old.
Any PAX Prime badge-holder can access the event, which promises to offer a wide-variety of tantalizing delights for the Halo enthusiast, including tournaments, exclusive panels, and prizes. Hours will run all three days of the show--which is scheduled this year for August 26th to 28th in Seattle, WA--from 10am to 6pm. More details are expected to come along via the Halo Waypoint website in the near future.
In a delightful bit of all-too-perfect shooting-aliens-in-stuff convergence, Sony Computer Entertainment and Columbia Pictures--a Sony subsidiary itself--have joined forces to give you a reason to maybe think about buying Battle: Los Angeles when it comes out on Blu-ray on June 14th.
The one sticky wicket with all of this, of course, is that it involves buying Battle: Los Angeles, the March-released action film starring Aaron Eckhart that most have described as not unlike watching someone else play a video game in which you shoot aliens.
Not that critics are to be trusted for anything, ever, but the movie currently sits at a Rotten Tomatoes rating of 34%. For what it's worth, Whiskey's own Matt Rorie said of the film, "...you’ll sit, you’ll watch, you’ll be on your way in a couple of hours, no worse for wear," and then he gave it three puppies.
Regardless, if you're a die-hard Resistance fan, this might be a worthwhile reason to drop a few bucks on the Blu-ray. 30 minutes of exhilarating Chimera killing ought to make up for the 114 minutes of your precious, unrecoverable life you dedicate to watching the movie, right? Right...?
UPDATE Part Deux: We can officially nix the "rumor" part of this article. Nintendo has announced that as of May 15th, the Wii system bundle will drop to $149.99 at all major retailers. Additionally, Wii Sports is officially out of the bundle, replaced by Mario Kart Wii and the Wii Steering Wheel. An elaborate mock-up of what the package may look like in real life can be seen directly to the right of this paragraph that you are reading.
Additionally, Nintendo confirmed the legitimacy of the Wii Select line of newly budget-priced titles. The lineup officially includes Animal Crossing: City Folk, Mario Super Sluggers, The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, and Wii Sports. Evidently, we'll have to wait a little longer for Super Smash Bros. Brawl to drop in price.
UPDATE: One, Nintendo has since told us they won't comment. No real surprise there.
Two, Nintendo World Report apparently has box art for these "Wii Select" games. They look legit!
With the exception of the original PlayStation, I've been a fairly notorious early adopter of new console technologies. I'm guessing if you're reading a website like Giant Bomb, one so thoroughly dedicated to the gaming enthusiasts of the world, you probably don't spend a lot of time waiting around to buy your console of choice, either. That said, there are many people who wait years after a system's release to get on board. One need only look at the absurd number of PlayStation 2 systems that sold well after the PlayStation 3's debut for prime evidence.
Of course, one thing that always helps grease the late adopter's wheels a bit is a price drop, and ever since Nintendo's new console announcement came rumbling into legitimacy, people have been bandying about various rumors of a new $149 price for the now suddenly old-feeling system.
Kotaku took the story a step further last night, citing retail sources that proclaimed that, along with the system's slashed price, a new line of "Wii Select" titles would also be dropped to a price point of $19.99. Along the lines of Sony's "Greatest Hits" and Microsoft's "Platinum Hits" collections--not to mention Nintendo's old "Player's Choice" line--the Select line would be made up of particularly noteworthy titles from the console's lifespan. Kotaku states the new line will debut in May, with the initial title run consisting of The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Mario Super Sluggers, and Wii Sports.
== TEASER == Hold on, let me record scratch this story to a halt for a moment. Wii Sports? You mean the game that's been packed in with Wii consoles since jump street? Yes, apparently Nintendo plans to take that seminal sports waggler and put it on store shelves all by its lonesome. Replacing Wii Sports in the console package would be Mario Kart Wii. While that might seem odd, think of it this way: If you're a consumer and you want a Wii now, in 2011, what are you more likely to pick up alongside your console for an extra 20 bucks? Mario Kart? Or that Wii Sports game every other Wii owner on the planet currently owns? Right.
For its part, Nintendo isn't currently talking on the subject, possibly in the hopes of keeping some minuscule modicum of info from their upcoming E3 2011 press conference something even vaguely resembling a secret. We've contacted them for more details and will update if we hear anything. At the rate things are popping out ahead of the show, they may have to resort to putting Miyamoto in a Link costume and forcing him to perform a Zelda-themed musical number. Maybe something like this, only sexier?
I don't think the royal "we" is something I'll make a habit of using. Just seemed right in that scenario.
When bringing their popular video game franchises to the world of film, publishers have often had to rely on the middle men known as "movie studios" to help produce them. The understanding there, of course, being that game publishers were simply too out of their element to make the movies themselves, thus requiring experts to be called in for the work to be done "properly." Thus far, the results of this uneasy partnership have ranged from "tolerable" to "nightmarish," depending on which of the Mortal Kombat movies you're watching.
The publisher today announced Ubisoft Motion Pictures, a Paris-based film division of the company that will be headed up by Jean-Julien Baronnet, who formerly helmed Luc Besson's production company, EuropaCorp.
Prince of Persia got the big screen treatment last year in Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, which starred Jake Gyllenhaal and Ben Kingsley and came courtesy of Bruckheimer Productions. Another Ubisoft property, Far Cry, also became a film thanks to noted decrier of "quality" and "effort," Uwe Boll.
Obvious opportunities for new film development include the company's wildly successful Assassin's Creed franchise, as well as just about anything with the Tom Clancy name--you know, since Ubisoft totally owns it. Driver would also seem a decent possibility, although they'll have to find a way to make everyone on the planet forget they ever saw any of the Transporter movies.
We'd have suggested a Beyond Good & Evil movie, but we know that they'd just announce it, and then proceed to go completely radio silent, eventually pretending they'd never announced in the first place until weeks later, when they suddenly remember that they had, in fact, announced it and reassure everyone it's totally still happening. That sort of bi-polar back and forth would undoubtedly continue for years, inevitably leading to all of us just quietly giving up and resigning ourselves to settle for an animated, direct-to-video retelling of the first game, because at least it's better than nothing, right?
So, if you live in America, good news everyone! Your SOE customer info is probably safe. As for the rest of the world? Bad news, everyone! Your (hopefully) old credit card/debit card info may have been compromised. There is additional info on the situation over at SOE's website, including steps to take if your information was, in fact, compromised.
This information, which was discovered by engineers and security consultants reviewing SOE systems, showed that personal information from approximately 24.6 million SOE accounts may have been stolen, as well as certain information from an outdated database from 2007. The information from the outdated database that may have been stolen includes approximately 12,700 non-U.S. credit or debit card numbers and expiration dates (but not credit card security codes), and about 10,700 direct debit records of certain customers in Austria, Germany, Netherlands and Spain.
They say "when it rains, it pours." For Sony, these past couple of weeks have been less a pour and more of an end-of- Deep Impact brand of killer tidal wave. With the PlayStation Network still down and Sony still working on repairing the service's infrastructure in the wake of the intrusion by hackers that maybe-involved-your-identity-getting-stolen-but-possibly-it-didn't-but-more-likely-it-did, now yet another bit of bad news has befallen the beleaguered publisher.
Sony Online Entertainment, the MMO arm of Sony's games division, put up notice today that it had taken down all of its online servers due to the "external intrusion" that Sony Computer Entertainment has been investigating relating to PSN. Though SOE's PC operations had thus far remained largely unaffected, intermittent website issues had been reported and acknowledged as early as April 21st, around the same time Sony opted to take the PlayStation Network down.
So reads the statement on Station.com:
SOE would not elaborate on that statement when we asked.
"We have had to take the SOE service down temporarily. In the course of our investigation into the intrusion into our systems we have discovered an issue that warrants enough concern for us to take the service down effective immediately. We will provide an update later today (Monday)."
SOE maintains a number of MMO franchises, including EverQuest, PlanetSide and DC Universe Online. While we don't know if the Monday timeframe is definite or just some kind of "high level ballpark estimate," we'll keep an eye on Station.com and update this story with new information that becomes available.
If there is any greater bane of game publishers everywhere than that of enthusiast press, it's retailers. Get a marketing/sales executive good and drunk some night, and they will undoubtedly regale you with tempestuous tales of botched campaigns, miserable sales meetings, and precisely the kind of wanton disregard for confidentiality that reared its ugly head today, when UK retailer ShopTo.net decided to just up and post a bunch of info for the as-yet-unannounced EA racing game, Need for Speed: The Run.
Just in case it gets pulled, the trailer offers a glimpse of a return to story-based driving for the series. It's got racing, cop chases, and a guy about to get killed by a speeding train, as well as the tag line "The Race of Your Life." Though we see no sign of him in the trailer, we can only hope and pray that The Run will mark the return of Razor Callahan, for whom we at Giant Bomb have left a candle burning lo these many absent years. Please, come home to us, Razor. We miss you terribly. == TEASER ==