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GDC 2008: Final Fantasy Updates

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340w ago - Taku Murata, General Manager of Square Enix's Research & Development division, just gave a presentation at this year's GDC titled "The Technology of Final Fantasy."

Most of the information given at the conference was more on the technical side of things, dealing with the company's various engines and experiences with actual development. However, towards the end of the show, we were treated to a few bits of information that should be interesting to Final Fantasy fans.

First, Square Enix's "White Engine," the companywide technology platform, has been renamed Crystal Tools (and is designed for use with the PS3, 360 and PC). Also, Murata mentioned that a scaled down version of Crystal Tools will be implemented for the Wii. Intriguing indeed. This technology is being implemented in the upcoming Final Fantasy XIII and Final Fantasy Versus XIII.

Soon after these details were given, an old trailer was promptly shown. It's been a while since we've seen a trailer from the upcoming Final Fantasy titles, but we'll break it down for you again.

The trailer was for Final Fantasy XIII, and began with the now recognizable shots of a cybernetic train snaking through highly science-fiction inspired environments. The following flashed quickly, but it looks like a monster, reminiscent of series...
 

GDC 2008: Warhawk: Operation: Broken Mirror Hands-on!

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340w ago - It's well known that we're Warhawk fans, so any time we get a chance to check out updates for the game, we're ready to take to the skies. At GDC 2008, we were able to talk to Dylan Jobe via PlayStation Eye video chat, and also get a chance to run through the upcoming version 1.3 and Operation: Broken Mirror booster pack.

Dylan pointed out that the key elements from his initial PlayStation Blog have been implemented. That means that new paint schemes and insignias from the Warhawk contest have been fully integrated into the game, along with a host of VOIP changes for players headed up by the ability to toggle between push to talk and open mic settings. Home integration has been coming along as well, so players will be able to pull out their virtual PSP and immediately create and launch into a game of Warhawk.

Speaking of Home, Jobe mentioned that they would love to support trophies within Home, although if they are integrated into the game, he would like to see possible new trophies for Warhawk players aside from the standard rankings and rewards that players currently receive.

Version 1.3 will also feature two new soldier weapons: the bio field generator to heal troops and the mechanics field wrench that can be used to heal vehicles. Finally, there are additional tweaks that will be made...
 

Resistance: Fall of Man 2 - Autumn Release Confirmed!

550°
340w ago - Slipped into the bottom of a press release regarding the extension to Insomniac Games' 'Nocturnal' initiative comes the news that the PS3-exclusive, Resistance: Fall of Man 2 is due out in Autumn 2008.

The text reads: "Insomniac Games is currently developing Resistance 2(TM), which will release this fall, exclusively for PlayStation 3."

This would more than suggest, therefore, that the Easter egg hidden in the video below indicates not only more enemies, but a demo for July.





The news came as a tag to Insomniac's announcement of the second phase of its Nocturnal tech-sharing initiative, "in which it will share elements of its technology source code and presentations free of charge with the worldwide development community".

The technology source code in question is firmly PlayStation 3 focused. The first (R&D) phase was launched in August 2007 and was last updated on the 30th of January this year. The addition to Nocturnal comes in the form of a Wiki. This is described as follows:

"Our goal is to develop an open collection of libraries and utilities for addressing common challenges in game development.

Nocturnal is not a game engine. The libraries provided here are potentially very useful for developing a game...
 

GDC 2008: LucasArts prioritizing PS3, unleashing Force!

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340w ago - Star Wars studio's "new baseline" will be Sony's console; Force Unleashed publicly demoed for first time by publisher--which almost made KOTOR3 instead.

In recent months, the PlayStation 3 versions of many multiplatform games have been released after their Xbox 360 counterparts--or canceled outright. Others, like Grand Theft Auto IV, have seen both versions delayed because, having optimized the game first on the 360, the developers encountered difficulties with the PS3 edition.

This week at the 2008 Game Developers Conference, a major studio laid bare the pitfalls of cross-platform development on the current crop of consoles--and talked about how it plans to deal with it in the future. In an expansive and informative lecture, Haden Blackman, project lead for Star Wars: The Force Unleashed, discussed which platform the company's "built from scratch" development team began work on in 2005.

"Multiplatform development was one of our biggest challenges," he told the jam-packed hall in the basement of the Moscone Center. After George Lucas famously urged the studio to "go build that game" upon seeing the first test reels from TFU, they began work straight away on Xbox 360 dev kits in late summer 2005--because that was all the studio had.

"It took a very long time for us to reach a...
 

Resistance 2 multiplayer for PS3 will be a challenge

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340w ago - A Bungie employee has said Resistance 2 looks "interesting" but its ambitious 60-player multiplayer will be a "challenge".

Speaking on Bungie's latest podcast, Luke Timmins, multiplayer engineer on Halo 3, said that he was interested in how Resistance 2 developer Insomniac would keep 60-player multiplayer games from feeling like "just running around in a chat room".

The ambitious Resistance 2, touted by fans as Sony's Halo-killer, is scheduled for release on the PS3 exclusively some time in 2008. It will have an impressive eight-player campaign co-op and massive 60-player competitive modes which will focus on squad-versus-squad combat.

Speaking on the Bungie podcast, Timmins said: "Some of the stuff that Resistance is doing about trying to keep jacking up the number of guys in a game... I've played Resistance, and I'm a huge Battlefield 2 fan but I'm still interested in how do you keep that number of guys in a game and make it seem like you are actually playing together and not just running around in a chat room. It's real interesting and I wish them well but, yeah, it's a challenge."

Is Bungie's Luke Timmins right? Will Insomniac face a challenge making 60-player multiplayer games fun?
 
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