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Assassin's Creed slaughters records as well as bad guys

345w ago - Ubisoft announced some remarkable results today.

Assassin's Creed is now officially the fastest-selling new video game IP in the US, ever. Ubisoft have already shifted over 2.5 million units worldwide on both the PS3 and the Xbox 360, and they have increased their original sales estimate for 2007/2008 from three to five million units of the game as a result.

The net result is that Ubisoft have raised their expectations across the business and are reporting they will clear an additional €15m in sales revenue.

It will be interesting to see how other Ubisoft titles do next year in comparison. With the likes of Haze and Brothers In Arms: Hell's Highway on the way, there's a good deal of decent titles to come from Ubisoft in the New Year...

Sakaguchi discusses the development of Final Fantasy

345w ago - In an interview in the latest issue of Famitsu celebrating twenty years of Final Fantasy, translated by Develop, series creator Hironobu Sakaguchi has spoken candidly about the development conditions that surrounded the birth of the series' first outing.

Final Fantasy hit after Dragon Quest had proved that role-playing games were a viable genre on the NES. "There were four games that were following on from Dragon Quest," reminisced Sakaguchi. "Final Fantasy was one of those challengers."

Yet despite the groundwork that Dragon Quest had laid before, getting the word out about the game was difficult. "I took an in-development ROM to the editor of 'Family Computer Magazine', but was turned away. They told me they didn't deal with games like that. Only Famitsu dealt with Final Fantasy in any grand way, for which I'm still very thankful."

However, development of the game didn't go smoothly, even within Square. The development team was comprised of seven people - not a small number given the era - but Sakaguchi could tell that things weren't quite right.

"Hiromichi Tanaka [producer of Final Fantasy XI as well as various other Square titles] was heading the other team in Square, and they had about 20 people. That's how I knew we really weren't...

DVDs holding gaming back

345w ago - What does it mean when PS3 games start appearing on DVD?

We noticed something a little strange today - we received PS3 preview and review code (provided to journalists only) on DVD format... not Blu-ray. We won't point fingers or name names, but further research through our piles of discs revealed that this was not an isolated incident and that this phenomenon is restricted to games that are, or had been, released on the Xbox 360 as well. That is, multi-format games' not all of them, but some of them.

On face value that didn't seem particularly weird - after all, most multi-format games are indistinguishable across the consoles - but we couldn't shake the feeling of being sold short. Really, shouldn't there be some type of PS3 specific optimisation that makes use of this all-powerful Blu-ray format? Given that developers have access to an extra, what, 20-odd gig with Blu-ray, shouldn't games be stepping up?

Then it hit us: it's not worth their while. If you build a multi-format game across Xbox 360 and PS3 right now, you have two options: design the game separately for each format or design one game, that maximises the capacity of the smaller format... i.e. DVD. Obviously the second option makes much better business sense, especially given that the PS3's install base is...

Gran Turismo 5 Prologue Now Live on the Japan PLAYSTATION Store

345w ago - Well, for those of you that have Japanese Yen ready, Gran Turismo 5 Prologue is now available for download on the PLAYSTATION Store.

The game is also available in Japan via Blu-Ray Disc. The PLAYSTATION Store download is 4,500 yen, which is approximately $40 US dollars. Expect to see that price upon the US release.

Codemasters Unlocks 2008 Lineup

345w ago - Codies' CEO talks dragons, Argonauts, sequels to its hits DiRT and Overlord, and more.

UK-based Codemasters has had quite a recent run in America, boasting a 332 percent leap in U.S. revenue since 2005. And the company's U.S. CEO, Rod Cousens, wants everyone to know it.

In 2005, when Cousens took the helm of the UK-based publisher and developer's American branch, the company was making only 9 percent of its revenue from U.S. gamers. This year, that number stands at 40 percent, and Codemasters would like to keep it that way.

Moving Codies past cricket and cars.In an interview with IGN, Cousens said the company has shifted its focus from being a largely Eurocentric publisher and developer to splitting its efforts between the two large gaming markets. To get there, Codies has built up its U.S. presence and strengthened its relationships with American companies.

"We've geared our product line to the States, and so we're starting to work closely with U.S. developers," said Cousens who also served as CEO of Activision and Acclaim in the 1980s and 1990s, respectively.

The company has teamed up with California-based developers Spark, Liquid Entertainment, and inXile Entertainment, among others, for its 2008 lineup. Signing a distribution agreement with Warner Bros. Home Entertainment...
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