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GDC 2008: Final Fantasy Updates

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353w 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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353w 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...
 

GDC 2008: LucasArts prioritizing PS3, unleashing Force!

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353w 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...
 

Sony sees easing of PS3 price pressure

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353w ago - Recent strong sales of higher-priced PlayStation 3 models may be an indication that Sony Corp (6758.T: Quote, Profile, Research) does not need to cut prices of the flagship video game console soon, a U.S. executive said on Thursday.

When Sony lowered U.S. prices of the PlayStation 3 last November, it was surprised to see that consumers bought as many $500 models as $400 models, said Scott Steinberg, vice president of product marketing for Sony Computer Entertainment America.

"So we're seeing that the hard-core gamer is not afraid to throw another $100 at the PlayStation 3 because the value proposition is so rich," Steinberg told Reuters in an interview.

The main difference between the two models is that the $500 version has an 80-gigabyte hard drive, double that of the cheaper model.

"We're still in the phase of studying what this means for the potential roadmap for the year," Steinberg said.

Asked if that meant the pricing pressure posited by many analysts had not materialized, Steinberg said. "It's leading us to think so."

Sales of the PS3 lagged those of Nintendo Co Ltd's (7974.OS: Quote, Profile, Research) Wii and Microsoft Corp's (MSFT.O: Quote, Profile, Research) Xbox 360 last year, with many analysts citing its higher price and lack of must-have...
 

19 Hottest and Most Anticipated Games of 2008

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353w ago - We've spent the past few weeks researching ahead, and we are proud to bring you a list of our staff's most anticipated games, presented in alphabetical order...

Alan Wake: This psychological action thriller, from Remedy, (of Max Payne 1 and 2 fame) is published by Microsoft Game Studios, exclusively for Windows Vista and Xbox 360 (unfortunately, the previously planned PlayStation 3 version was nixed). The main character is based on Ilkka Villi, a Finnish professional actor and writer.

Disaster: Day of Crisis: This new "Survivor" Wii game uses natural disasters as the impetus to inspire rogue Special Forces, while players race cars down mountains, dodge toppling buildings, and try to avoid the devastation of an earthquake, in addition to swimming through a raging flood.

Endwar: Best-selling author, Tom Clancy's story, set during World War III, was designed by Ubisoft Shanghai. Previously known as "Firehawk," it is a real-time strategy game for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC and Nintendo DS.

Fallout 3: Those who have viewed development blogs and screenshots have said that this game appears to be re-done from the ground up; designed for true fans of the Fallout series. It seems like a true departure from the first two games, released 10 years ago, but it is promised to "stay...
 
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