28th March 2010 - Welcome to the 34th instalment of “The Week That Was”. After multiple weeks sitting in the shadows of some blockbuster 360 and PS3 releases, the Wii gets its turn in the sun with Red Steel 2. The game is compatible with the under-utilized Motion Plus and is definitely worth a look. The 360 and PS3 aren’t completely left out, with BlazBlue: Calamity Trigger and Resonance of Fate coming out on both systems. A couple of other releases include movie tie-in How to Train Your Dragon for all platforms, and Racket Sports Party for the Wii.


Xbox 360

After releasing a standalone 250GB hard drive in Japan a few weeks ago, Microsoft have officially announced its availability in the US and UK. Available now, it is priced at US$129.99 (in the US of course), with the existing 120GB hard drive dropping to $99.99 while stocks last. The hard drive will cost £79.99 in the UK and will be available from April 16th. This announcement came just before Microsoft officially announced the USB hard drive support mentioned last week. This will be available via a system update on April 6th, but will only support up to 16GB per USB flash drive, up to a total of 32GB (2 drives can be connected at the same time).


Microsoft released some details on how much space you’ll need to play Natal. The guidelines indicate the space needed to make the most of the Natal sensors. You’ll need an area extending at least 4 metres away from the television, and a total of 4 metres wide. You’ll also need the area to stand 2.7 metres high (8 feet, 10 inches), so that rules out freakish giants from playing Natal. Soon after these details were revealed, Microsoft clarified these details saying the comments were “misinterpreted” and that the Natal sensors will read the configuration of your room and adjusts the play space accordingly.


Speaking of Natal, Sony are still taking jabs at Natal, with Sony’s Jack Tretton saying “If you really want to get involved in playing with a camera I suggest you go out and buy a $99 PlayStation 2 and play some of the great technology we invented eight years ago.” With all due respect Sony, your PlayStation Move also incorporates a camera, and the demos of Natal look faaaaar more impressive than what you could/can play on the original PS Eye on the PS2. We’ll find out more about Natal come June 13 at the ‘Natal Premiere’ at E3.


And the 360’s Game Room was launched this week but without some minor hiccups. The virtual arcade was having difficulties loading some games, with Major Nelson letting people know via Twitter that it was being investigated. The service comes packed with 30 classic arcade titles from developers such as Atari and Konami, with five to seven extra titles expected each week.


Playstation 3

The PlayStation Move continues to dominate the PS3 news, this week with Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime saying it feels very “Wii-too.” Reggie believes Sony and Microsoft will be challenged in providing similar great value as Nintendo, and isn’t sure that consumers are ready to jump ship over to Move, or Natal for that matter. But you can see where he’s coming from with the “Wii-too” comment, with some of Sony’s highlighted games looking like high-def versions of Wii games.


In other Move news, Sony’s Jack Tretton has confirmed that there will be a Killzone 3. It is also rumoured to make use of the Move controller, with a CVG source saying the “Guerrilla Games sequel will launch as part of a big 3D push for the PlayStation 3 this Christmas.” Another game rumoured to support the PS Move is Heavy Rain. An announcement is expected soon on this, but motion controls would be perfect for a game like Heavy Rain.


And this week also saw confirmation of a Little Big Planet sequel, only for Sony to turn around and say that there won’t be one. The announcement of a sequel first came around via a Sony marketing manager in Benelux, but this ended up being a misunderstanding. This is probably a good thing too, with many people putting a lot of effort into creating levels; an early sequel would probably annoy a lot of gamers!


Nintendo Wii

As mentioned above, the Wii has been lacking in Motion Plus supported games. Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime has defended the lack of supported games mentioning the release of Red Steel 2, and reaffirming that it is a core part of what they do. Reggie also defended Nintendo’s philosophy of not forcing their tech onto developers, letting it depend on “what’s right for the game.”


Concerns might also be raised about Nintendo’s next piece of Wii technology, the Vitality Sensor. Those concerns might not be warranted, with Shigeru Miyamoto hinting at the new Zelda possibly utilizing the Vitality Sensor. He said, “So maybe you might like to ask me to incorporate the Vitality Sensor into Zelda so that as you become more scared, the enemies become even tougher.” We should find out more at E3 later this year.


Criticisms seem to keep coming Nintendo’s way with industry analyst Michael Pachter believing the Wii needs a price cut as it “lacks catalysts”. What he means by that is that it is lacking that future game to move systems like he expects Halo Reach to do for the 360, and SOCOM for the PS3. He doesn’t think Super Mario Galaxy 2, Metroid Other M or the Vitality Sensor will be system sellers as the hardcore Wii audience already has a Wii. I’m sure Australia would be happy to see a price cut!


Perhaps Shigeru Miyamoto has hit the nail on the head in terms of Nintendo’s recent problems. In an interview with the Economist, Miyamoto said, “The fact that in 2009 we were not able to sell more than we did in 2008 was simply that in comparison, we were not able to produce fun-enough products.” This was very true of Nintendo’s year, with many of the bigger titles arriving later in the year. Hopefully Red Steel 2 performs well alongside the future releases of Super Mario Galaxy 2 and Metroid Other M.


And now for the other week's news in brief:


· Rejoice gamers, for Michael Atkinson has left the front bench. And the new Attorney General is for an R18+ rating!

· Shigeru Miyamoto considers Sony’s and Microsoft’s foray into motion-controlled gaming to be a “great honour”.

· This politician is worried the Wii could teach kids how to use weapons... which isn’t so far-fetched when you consider the tragic death of a 3 year old a couple of weeks ago.

· EA are looking to implement extended downloadable demos for a price.

· This is a bit sad... but soon you’ll be able to pay girls to play games over Xbox Live with you (also coming to other platforms).

· The iPad’s launch is set to include many games.

· Will they or won’t they? Final Fantasy VII remake talks are in the news again with the possibility of it being explored.

· Bioware have started a countdown clock on their site, with something to be revealed this coming Monday.

· Nintendo have announced that they are working on a 3D-capable successor to the DS, known as the 3DS.

· The Xbox 360 Easter Pack is a pretty decent bundle for those of you thinking about picking up an Elite 360.

· Wii HD not on the horizon? Well how about this adaptor to upscale your Wii to HD?

· Splinter Cell: Conviction has gone gold, and Mafia II has been given an official release date.

· That rumoured Michael Jackson game may be a step closer to reality with Sony forking out $200million for the rights to release 10 new posthumous albums, DVDs and video games by the King of Pop.


And that’s the news.


Article Written by Phong Nguyen