Features// SPOnG's Review of 2008: February

Posted 27 Dec 2008 15:36 by
Rory Bremner
Rory Bremner
"If you want it to work, talk like (UK sports 'reporter') Des Lynham"
Rory Bremner on Dr Kawashima's Brain Training
BBC Claims Nintendo's Brain Training Hates Regional Accents

February. The games industry's hangover was starting to clear. Our toes were all still cold. It rained some. Oh, the glory!

As February (the gloomiest of all months) kicked off, EA waded into the console wars, snuggling up to Sony. Well, sort of. It quietly published its hardware sales estimates for the year as part of a financial report. Still, this was pounced upon. EA reckoned the PS3 would outsell the Xbox 360 in 2008. It thought the Wii would outsell the lot, of course, but by this point it was already seeming pointless to include the Wii when setting platform holders against each other thanks to the console's inevitable dominance.

The month started with an unusual move from the mainstream media. The BBC totally dissed Brain Training on the DS! Did the Beeb not get the memo? The mainstream media's supposed to love all over Nintendo! Still, it would seem the BBC was of the opinion that Brain Training's totally regionist. The monsters! Apparently the game doesn't deal well with the way we Northern folk talk. Even Rory Bremner agreed.

Over in Activision's corner, a fifth Call of Duty game was confirmed in a conference call. Good, if somewhat unsurprising news. The company also said, effectively, that it didn't know what everyone was whining about in terms of PS3 development. Activision already had it down pat.

February seemed like a good month for confirming games without making a song and dance about it, and Insomniac went right ahead and innocuously let us know that Resistance 2 would be out in Autumn.

February was a month that war ended and Toshiba decided to give peace a chance. After far too much bickering and fighting between the HD-DVD and Blu-ray camps, the stalwart of HD-DVD decided to throw in the towel, leaving Blu-ray as the dominant format. Microsoft, in a move that surprised absolutely no-one, Microsoft promptly dumped its HD-DVD peripheral for the 360.

Then we heard from EA again and boy, it was firing on all creative and business cylinders. The company's CEO, John Riccitiello, said that the publisher was done chasing high Metacritic scores, a process that had damaged it in the past. This was just a few days before the biggest EA news of the year emerged the company was pursuing the acquisition of Take Two and, by extension Grand Theft Auto IV (a game destined for a stellar Metacritic score). Take Two was playing hard to get. The industry waited with bated breath...

On the games front, SPOnG enjoyed being part of The Club and got enjoyably bemused by Patapon, an action adventure rhythm-based RTS god game with RPG elements. February also saw the release of (among others) Namco Bandai's Beautiful Katamari, Capcom's Devil May Cry 4, SEGA's Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games on the DS and Turok from Disney.

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