Videogames highlights – June 2009
This is a recession period and the videogaming industry suffers too, with a sales drop of 23% during May (for USA), a thump unseen since 2007. And yet the executives from the major companies in the field talk about sustained growth for a business that, in 2012, will be 55 billion dollars worth overall. Meanwhile market researches describe a “new golden age for entertainment software” and videogames permanently reside in two third of the American households. That’s an ideal condition, I say, to gather some relevant contents in what should be the last installment of videogames highlights’ old cycle before the new, more minimalistic setup.
Personally speaking I have never been a huge fan of Mario and that typical Nintendo gameplay: as the first Prince of Persia (among the others) teaches a platform can be an extremely serious thing, hence I have always seen hopping around by crushing turtles and eating mushrooms as a ridiculous perspective to say the least. Ideas like this are slowly but steadily changing since the Wii is out there, and maybe the latest Super Mario iteration for the new-gen Nintendo’s console, banally titled New Super Mario Bros. Wii, could be the ideal occasion (in the fourth quarter of 2009) to try what the Japanese company defines as a fulfillment of the dream of a completely real-time multiplayer Super Mario.
Together with the new New Super Mario Bros., Nintendo used the stage from the Electronic Entertainment Expo held in Los Angeles at the beginning of June to present Super Mario Galaxy 2 as well, the sequel to the evolved 3D platformer – recently emulated on PC with sound and everything thanks to Dolphin – which saw the arrival of Nintendo’s classic mascot on the Wii. The game, according to what Nintendo promises, will be mainly focused on hardcore gamers hence it will offer a greater challenge than the first episode. Ha, and there will be Yoshi the dumb mini-dinosaur 😀 To be released in 2010.
If I had to take as example a platform that, contrariwise to Super Mario, can be considered as “definitely serious stuff”, the Castlevania brand would surely be a good candidate. For the debut of its vampire themed action/platformer series on new generation consoles (Xbox 360 and PS3), Konami talks about a true reboot accompanied by a high profile voice cast, a challenging gameplay and astounding aesthetics. They say so, but to me this game simply seems another shameless God of War clone. Castlevania: Lords of Shadow will be made by Mercury Steam in partnership with Kojima Productions, and it will be out in an unspecified period of 2010.
Silent Hill: Shattered Memories too has been designed as a reboot for Konami’s famed survival horror saga, even though here we are mostly talking about a graphic remake and not much more. To be published for Wii, PS2 and PSP in the fourth quarter of 2009, the game will have no fights at all (replaced by constant avoiding the monstrous foes), an ugly graphics for the nowadays standards and an atmosphere that should be worth of the original game for PS1.
Aliens vs. Predator
It seems more of a chronic disease than anything, but it’s undoubtedly true that every few years the industry doesn’t miss the opportunity to make a super-violent action game putting face to face xenomorphs and predators with the human beings to be (literally) a garnish for the dish. Aliens vs. Predator, the “new” first person shooter that will allow the player to just act as one of the three aforementioned races is developed by Rebellion Developments, that is the company that already made the first “A. vs. P” series FPS on the PC, and will be published by Sega on Xbox 360, PS3 and Windows systems in the first quarter of 2010. Bon appétit.
Batman: Arkham Asylum
Do you fear clowns, asylums full of maniac murderers and bats? All right, then playing to Batman: Arkham Asylum is the perfect shock-treatment because the upcoming action adventure featuring the currently dead (in comics) bat-hero from Gotham City contains all the three aforementioned elements. On steroids. Seeing (the following video clip) is believing. To be released on Xbox 360, PS3 and PC within August.