Features// SPOnG's Review of 2008: October

Posted 14 Jan 2009 16:33 by
Peter Molyneux
Peter Molyneux
I think weve reached the end of the massacre in development. Its been five very hard years for independent developers, and anybody who is left after it has all been shaken out is probably very professional and well-managed, and probably has a future. Seeing people like Media Molecule, which is ex-Lionhead people, doing incredibly well is great.

Peter Molyneux
Interview: Lionhead Peter Molyneux[/b]

October: The scariest time of year. TGS, the impending onslaught of Greedmas, tonnes of games and... the DSi. None of that was what made October scary, of course. That was Halloween.

Early doors in October was time for that thing the games industry does best rumour and speculation. This time Wii HD. SPOnG, admittedly, had a hand in it. We had it on good authority that a Hi-Def Wii is coming out. We weren't the only ones, either. Don't wait around for it, though. 2011 is the year that keeps popping up.

The big one in October was more talk of Nintendo hardware. This was decidedly more concrete, however. At an event in Japan Ninty announced the DSi, the next stage in the evolution of the DS and a clear-cut attempt to stay ahead of the handheld curve with enhanced multimedia functionality. Two cameras, bigger screens, a spot of weight loss, an SD card slot, the availability of firmware updates and audio playback were all revealed as functions of the natty new piece of hardware. Predictably, alas, it hit Japan back in November while over here in Europe we've yet to have a sniff of a solid release date.

Behind the DSi, the most talked about event of the month was the Tokyo Games Show. The online games community was abuzz with chatter before TGS kicked off with noise about the huge great long list of unknown games Sony was going to announce at the show. Unfortunately, that was all down to the misinterpretation of a rough Japanese web translation.

What Sony did announce, however, was the death of UM... sorry, the simultaneous release of all its first-party titles as UMDs and downloads. To facilitate this, the company also announced the direct-to-PSP availability of the PlayStation Store. That, while not quite a death sentence for Sony's embattled content delivery format, looks like a pretty clear sign on the road to its demise. But, rather like the announcement of the DSi, there was no word on when we'd get the functionality over here.

Also from TGS was the news that another PlayStation exclusive had turned to monopolistic vapour. Tekken 6, we were told, will be coming to the Xbox 360 alongside the PS3.

Japan wasn't the only place things were happening, though! On the home front, SPOnG caught up with development luminary Peter Molyneux, who told us that the development massacre is over.

A bit closer to home than Japan, but not so close that you would want to walk, Sony put the willies up publishers, telling assembled developers at Casual Connect in Kiev (the Ukraine) that they didn't need a publisher any more they could deal direct with Sony thanks to PSN.

Really, though, October was all about the games. Thank the deity of your choosing for the onset of Greedmas!

There was plenty to review, including LittleBigPlanet (although the game was delayed), MotorStorm Pacific Rift, Saints Row 2, Dead Space and Fallout 3, as well as Midnight Club LA's multiplayer and Tomb Raider Underworld to look in on.

Frankly, there were more noteworthy games out than you could have played through in a month of non-hungover Sundays - Bioshock on PS3, FIFA 09, Far Cry 2 (reviewed here), Fracture, LEGO Batman, Manhunt 2, Phoenix Wright Ace Attorney: Trials and Tribulations, PES 2009, Quantum of Solace and Spider-Man: Web of Shadows to name but a fair old chunk of them...

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