Ben's Week In Review: July 22
This is such a great time of year; it seems like all the great games are yet to come, and even though E3 is over, the events have just begun. We have the Game Developer's Conference in August and the very huge Tokyo Game Show the month after. Then, once you hit October, we start gearing up for the holidays with several of the hugely anticipated games of 2007. It's like everything just gains speed from here on out!
Soooo...is there a new Twisted Metal or not?
It all began with the explosion that appeared to subtly display the face of a laughing clown. Immediately, everyone began to speculate that it was a veiled advertisement for a brand new Twisted Metal; we haven't seen one since 2001's Twisted Metal: Black (one of the first fantastic games for the PS2). But then, Sony flat-out denied any such project, and the person responsible for that ad claimed it was "just an explosion of fun." In other words, it was simply a generic Sony ad. But is it really? Arnold believes Sony's covering up the project for now, and perhaps he's right...let's take the following into account before jumping to any more conclusions, though-
First, Dave Jaffe recently conducted a roundtable discussion that asked gamers to provide "Twisted Metal-related" questions. This was only about a month ago. Then, late last week, SCEE's David Reeves said to look out for some major fireworks at the Game Developer's Conference next month. Clearly, it seems Sony has held a few announcements back for that event - and probably for TGS in September as well - so that could be a reason to deny the existence of a new Twisted Metal. Personally, I desperately want one. The series fizzled when Singletrac abandoned it after Twisted Metal 2, but Black was awesome, and another would be, too. Give it up, Sony!
Everyone's always quick to mock "hidden power"
Early on, it was a longstanding critique directed towards Sony and the PS2: developers talked about the system's "hidden power" they couldn't immediately access. Gamers would constantly make fun of this, especially after the more powerful Xbox released a year later. However, comparing launch PS2 titles to the finest PS2 games of the past year or so (God of War II, Final Fantasy XII, Shadow of the Colossus, Gran Turismo 4, Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, etc.) is a very eye-opening process. The visual differences are so drastic, it's almost as if we were running an entirely different system. The same thing has been happening with the PS3, but once again, it seems highly unlikely that a claim of "hidden power" is nothing more than hype. Just about every developer on the planet has marveled at the power and potential of the PS3, and the latest is InFamous developer, Sucker Punch.
They estimate they're only using about 30% of the console's potential, and that appears similar to other reports we've heard in 2007. Everyone is saying PS3 and 360 games look virtually identical right now - and that's mostly true - but quite simply, I don't see devs getting much more out of the 360, due to the ease of developing for that system. On the other hand, I see those same devs getting a lot more out of the PS3, so that in a few years time, there should be a significant difference in graphical quality between the two systems (when looking at the best titles). At this point, it almost seems inevitable.
PlayStation Premier showed off some good stuff
Yes indeed! This kind of took us by surprise, but a lot of great news came out of the Japanese event. First, we learned about Japan receiving Gran Turismo 5 Prologue in October (what about the U.S., Polyphony?!), then, we discovered the Metal Gear Online announcement (yes!), but that wasn't all. For me, I was very happy to read about that White Knight Story presentation. The video Level 5 showed at last year's TGS was one of my favorites, and I've been trying to keep an eye on it ever since. It slipped off the radar when it got bumped into 2008, but now we'll be seeing a playable demo at TGS! Perhaps it's the same demo that CEO Hino played at the Premier, but either way, it's great to see some movement on this RPG.
At this point, it appears we'll have to wait a lot longer for Final Fantasy XIII, and besides Mass Effect, none of the really huge titles for 2007 are RPGs. And that's disappointing for a giant role-playing fan like myself...I'm just hoping White Knight Story ends up being amazing, and that we get it sooner rather than later.
7/21/2007 Ben Dutka