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I just had a flashback of Interplay's messy end-of-days saga a few years back... What a mess that was. Seemingly stepping in the footsteps of that once legendary game company, the Japanese group Gonzo keeps on cracking and shattering, in the midst of escalating corporate "restructuring". Just yesterday I was pitying them for their rumored loss of the Strike Witches 2 anime project. And today ANN brings word of another major, self-inflicted blow: the "divestment" of Gonzo's online game development studio Gonzo Rosso.



By the way, since it's April 1 in Japan already, we can stop using the parent company's obsolete GDH name. So as I was saying, Gonzo will cut off its game subsidiary in an attempt to further consolidate whatever resources is still has, entirely abandoning the gaming scene in order to focus on its anime business.

Some of Gonzo Rosso's best known MMORPGs include (...)

>  Continue reading 'Gonzo Cuts Off Game Division, Gonzo Rosso'...
Kadokawa, the Japanese anime / manga publisher that has inspired us with so many feelings of hatred lately, is turning its twisted eye over to the gaming industry. As of April 1, 2009, the parent consortium Kadokawa Group Holdings is opening a game development and marketing subsidiary called Kadokawa Games Ltd. The news has slowly been creeping its way to a few English websites since Friday, but the only known details are still those contained in the early reports.



Kadokawa Games is being set up with a capital of 250 million yen (US$2.5 million) as a fully owned subsidiary. Its focus will be on online games and the international market, with titles developed based on the already popular content owned by the publishing group. But the real kicker is the name (and former position) of Kadokawa Games' president: (...)

>  Continue reading 'Kadokawa Penetrates The Gaming Industry'...
Gotta love this world economic crysis. Umm, crisis, that is. Lots of people getting to spend more time with their friends and family (and have a good laugh over how they lost their job), lots of prices going down (in pure theory), and lots of companies becoming easy takeover targets. Especially those who thought they could get away with cheap thrills like Haze.

Well, the tide has now turned for the British game developer, as Crytek announced the acquisition of Free Radical's entire assets and business yesterday. Originally founded by some former Rare developers, Free Radical became synonymous with their TimeSplitters franchise. Last year, however, they went through some rough financial times, and saw their team getting decimated - leaving them an easy and, apparently, convenient pick for Crytek.

So what's next for Free Radical? (...)

>  Continue reading 'Crytek Enslaves Free Radical Design'...
What do we know about 2K Boston? Ah, well, nothing “much”. They are just the bunch of insane (and let me add, extremely talented) people who brought us Bioshock. You know, the game that rocked your socks (be it clean, smelling like Mr. Hanky, the Christmas Poo, or still stuck on your sealing) in 2007. Hell, that was a great game. I actually finished it, too.

So, what does one expect from such a company? Nothing bad, I guess. Maybe even something good (and that's the sad part). New job listings were recently posted for their oh-so-demanding team, listings that may speak – or may not speak – for themselves. Do you think you meet the qualifications? Let's take a look, see:
This position requires a high degree of creativity. You will be required to work with the single-player team to form a "vision" of the multiplayer experience and use that vision to inform your design decisions. From there, you will help build a multiplayer design team and be responsible to guide your team through the entire production cycle.
Prior experience designing first-person shooter games is an absolute must. Understanding of online persistence is preferred but not required. MMO design or production experience also preferred.
Extending and enhancing Unreal Engine 3 with proprietary networking tech to address gameplay, performance, platform, production, tools, and QA needs.
Interfacing with Microsoft, Sony, and other providers for matching-making and other services.

Multiplayer – seems that we have a new “word of the century” win here. Every game tends to involve a decent bit of one on one, three to three or one on over nine thousand lolis action – just for self preservation. OK, I will bite this. And I will swallow it too, if it turns out to be as good as any normal human being would expect.
As usual, when we talk about Starcraft 2, we all go “WTFFFS WHY??". It is normal, and absolutely decent. Because a game that comes in three fucking parts smells like a milk cow. Even if Blizzard says it does not.

Recently, Speaking with Videogamer, Blizzard's Paul Sams started to spit so many “NOHEZ” words about this issue, that even I tend to call him a bull crap. As I said before, this merger between Activision and Blizzard will eventually lead to serious issues. We have Starcraft 2 in three parts, then Battle.Net on a pay roll, then... who knows, fucking Diablo III monthly fee, mayhap.
The fact of the matter is, it's absolutely, positively untrue about us trying to stretch it out and milk it. People think that it was a monetary driven decision. I can absolutely, positively tell you, with 100 per cent certainty, that that was not part of the conversation. I guarantee it. I give my word. There was never, ever a conversation where we said, 'let's do this because we're going to make more money'. I guarantee it. As a matter of fact the sole reason we did it was because we thought it was going to be a better experience. Anybody that says otherwise is not correct. It is absolutely not what we did it for.

Source.
And here we have Square Enix's official Q1 2009 lineup, thanks to the guys at The Stick of Joy. Console owners, beware, your shopping spree just got a bit bigger. And also, translated into ENGRISH!
* Star Ocean: Second Evolution (PSP / 6 Jan.): Being the remastered portable version of the interstellar -- and considered by some to be just plain stellar -- sequel. Features new voice work, new cutscenes and people crying in space.
* Dragon Quest V: Hand of the Heavenly Bride (DS / 17 Feb.): Being the hitherto unlocalized entry in the venerable RPG series. Yes, Dragon Ball Z guy designed these characters too.
* Star Ocean: The Last Hope (Xbox 360 / 3 Mar.): Being tri-Ace's long-awaited continuation of the science-fiction franchise. The subtitle implies that this is a big deal for the Xbox 360 in Japan.
* Valkyrie Profile: Covenant of the Plume (DS / 17 Mar.): Being the third instalment in the respected Valkyrie Profile series. If you're looking for an explanation of the title, we're afraid you're plume out of luck.
After leaving his trademark on the gaming industry via the Ultima series (and also producing Tabula Rasa), Richard Garriot has sent an open letter to the said MMO's community, informing the fans of his plans to leave NCsoft in the near future. Why, or where, it still remains an unknown issue to us, but the certain thing is that it has something to do with his recent voyage into outer space. Or outer limits.



Hopefully, his plans will still involve gaming, since this guy is one of the bastards I will always remember, from childhood until now. May luck shine upon you whatever you do, Lord British, even if you have discovered a race of horny Japanese teenage girls and you don't want to share it. Click further for the letter:  (...)

>  Continue reading 'Garriot To Leave NCsoft'...
THQ is a big publisher. One of the bigger ones, actually. Yet, it is no wonder their financial income si starting to drop fast, in the light of the recent global economic events. Hell, even EA dropped around 19% at the stock market, from what I recall. Alongside the decline in sales, THQ sadly announces that two of its future projects will be postponed until further notice. Uh, oh.

The first one is Darksiders: Wrath of War, a game intended for the next-gen consoles, which is developed by Vigil Games, while the second one, more important to use due to... different reasons involving massive multiplayer maches (in which I won all the time, obviously), is Red Faction: Guerrilla (Volition, PC, PS3, X360).

Both games where pushed back in THQ's next fiscal year (ending March 2010), and were scheduled to show their face in public until March 2009. Too bad.
So, the much anticipated, awaited and already hacked Nintendo Dsi has been released in Japan this Saturday. Nintendo, being a wary company (even in the Motherland) has only thrown on the market a number of 200.000 units, just to see how it goes.

Well, it went extremely well, it seems, all the handhelds have been sold in a heartbeat. Just like a pantsu sale in Akihabara would go, actually. According to various websites that reviewed the product, both the image editing software and the browsing are a bit meh (which, eventually, will be fixed through updates, we hope), but both these features have great potential when it comes to future video games. How, we shall wait and see.


To fully make us wet in the pants, Nintendo also announced that it will launch a set of downloadable WarioWare games to fully demonstrate the console's capabilities in the near future. Sadly, both the American and European customers will have to wait for a regional release, since, you know, Japan is the only thing that matters.

I will be eagerly awaiting my pink Nintendo Dsi next summer, so I can chase little girls with it in the bus station. Thanks, Slashdot
Some good news for those of you who like to wear Cloud earrings, play with Tifa dolls or gather various other art pieces inspired from the masterpieces of Square Enix – the company finally decided to open its online store on fresh, unmolested, European soil.



Well, good news for Europeans, at least, Europeans who got tired to order their precious stuff online via weird and obscure third-party websites. While the store is not yet complete (let’s call it… a Beta stage), it certainly is in progress, and it has a lot of goodies for display. I am really curious what countries exactly will be eligible for shipping when it’s all done, because I would sure want to get my hands on one of them Aeris inflatable love dolls.

The games listed include LOTS of Final Fantasy, Dragon Quest, Kingdom Hearts, and so on, and so forth.

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