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SCEE knows early PS3 adopters may feel cheated

If you feel cheated for buying the PS3 upon its release, Sony UK's managing director, Ray Maguire, understands how you feel. He told GI.biz that it's natural to feel slighted, and "the difference between our industry and many other industries is that if you're selling cars or houses the price goes up steadily. Consumer electronics only goes one way and that's downwards."

Maguire denies that Sony is making buying the PS3 confusing with different options, pricing, and bundles. "As products evolve the offerings change because they have to adapt to the needs of the consumers but I don't think it's been particularly confusing in six months to go from stand alone, to a bundled proposition into a low price entry level model ... We also have to remember that consumers don't search around the world for different configurations. We are a global company but we have to act locally as well."

Gran Turismo 5: your new car dealer?

In addition to causing mouths to drop and tongues to roll on the Tokyo Game Show floor, Gran Turismo 5 has some pretty big plans, it seems. Polyphony Digital's Kazunori Yamauchi spoke about his vision of the future of GT5, as well as confirming the game's ability to hold a steady 60fps while delivering full 1080p content. Yamauchi also expressed his relief at rumble returning, as he felt it was crucial in games like these. What we saw at TGS, the new My Page and TV Mode, were the big hitters and demand a little more discussion.

The My Page is fairly straightforward, adding a personal element to the gaming experience. You get to customize your car on display as well as the background. That's all fine and dandy, but the top of the screen has a band that really brings in the online capabilities of the game -- worldwide weather forecasts and an interactive buddy list that shows your friends as glowing dots on a globe, akin to the users spotted using [email protected]

The TV Mode is where things get interesting. This channel will allow you to see car-sporting events rarely seen, like the All-Japan Grand Touring Car Championship (now called Super GT). Car manufacturers will get video content to you through this mode as well, but Yamauchi won't stop there! He plans to ultimately allow virtual test drives of the manufacturer's cars, with a real dealership spokesperson in the "passenger seat" telling you about the car via voice chat. If you decide to actually buy the car, for real, that can all be done through the Gran Turismo dealership -- you'll still have to go and pick up your new car though. Strange stuff, huh? Would you buy a car based off of a virtual test drive?

Level-5 chats White Knight Story

1UP chatted with Level-5, developers of hit RPGs like Dragon Quest VIII and the upcoming White Knight Story. In this interview (which includes game footage), see why the developers chose a single action button for battles. Get a better look at the henshin battles, and the beautiful CG-like graphics that the magicians at Level-5 have somehow managed to conjure up.

See also:
TGS hands-on: White Knight Story

Harrison: Sony didn't force motion controls on Lair

Maybe trying to distance itself from the critically lambasted Lair, Phil Harrison told GameTrailers that it did not force tilt controls in Factor 5's controversial dragon game. "[Motion control] was definitely not mandated by us. We've always said all along that the use of the Sixaxis is something that should be decided by the developer in tune with their creative vision for the game, so it's not something we would mandate." In spite of this, it appears that many first-party Sony titles utilize tilt controls in some way. Thankfully, many developers have learned from the mistakes of Lair, and include options to turn off the tilt controls and replace them with analog movement (for example, Ratchet & Clank Future.)

In addition, Harrison doesn't find fault with Heavenly Sword's length -- a deciding factor that has limited the game's score in many reviews (including our own). "You know what? Not that many people finish games, so I think we shouldn't criticize a game for being a story, which has an arc with a beginning, a middle and an end... and actually encouraging all gamers to see all of the story, I think that's something positive." Granted, the experience looks and feels big-budget. But at the end of the day, most gamers probably want a longer journey for the increased price of admission.

[Thanks, njkid1! Via GameDaily]

No more Metal Gear Solid 4 trailers

Did you know that there have been nine trailers for Metal Gear Solid 4 already? And that game's not even coming out until 2008. Why does Kojima Productions love making such over-the-top presentations? Ryan Payton explains to MTV: "Making epic trailers of our upcoming titles has been a tradition of our studio ever since we unveiled the original Metal Gear Solid at E3 in 1997 ... I think that really set the stage for what has become an integral part of our studio's approach to making games."

Trailers are a vital part of the Metal Gear tradition. Trailers for Metal Gear Solid 2 single-handedly proved the power of the PS2 back in its infancy and became one of the must-have games for the platform. Such heritage means that the team at Kojima must meet constantly high expectations. "I think we're afraid to disappoint people who expect us to make big splashes at every show." In addition, Payton notes, "Trailers are a great way to remind people of one of our studio's strengths - cinematic gaming."

Of course, creating trailers is time-consuming, and now that the game is drawing near its release, the team at Kojima Productions has to focus. Could this mean the end of Metal Gear Solid 4 trailers? Most likely. "TGS 2007 could be the last trailer for "MGS4." The pressure is really on to finish work on the game, and we have decided not to be sidetracked by any more promotional work." Read the complete interview here.

Nomura on PS3: "all your visions are belong to us"

Nope, not a direct quote, but worth slapping up nonetheless. Tetsuya Nomura gets yet another Famitsu interview and he once again remains as silent as ever on Final Fantasy Versus XIII, but that's okay. We generally like surprises so long as they don't end up severing one of our limbs. Still, he talked a little about his involvement in the game and some about the PS3.

Nomura claims he's never been so deeply involved in the development of a game and enjoys the freedom to take FF Versus XIII wherever he wants. He reminded everyone also that this game is exclusively and only for the PlayStation 3, as the end of the TGS trailer (which we're not allowed to see yet) the phrase "on PS3 ONLY" appears. He says despite some fan disappointment, there are huge advantages to focusing on only one console.

About the PS3, Nomura seemed to gush a little bit. The hardware plays a huge part in both XIII titles, and by using it properly "all visions can come true". The visuals, he says, are above anything else seen in the franchise and are very close to perfection in his eyes. But really, if the graphics were worse than XII, we'd have a problem anyway. We're glad the Square Enix developers are finally screaming PlayStation 3 exclusivity for the big FInal Fantasy titles, as not having those exclusive was a source of fuel for those who wished failure upon Sony.

[via PS3Forums]

Jack Tretton talks about slow start of PS3, how it's all right

Sony Computer Entertainment America's head honcho, Jack Tretton, sat down for an interview with GamePro to discuss why Sony is okay with the slow start the PS3 has gotten in units sold. Our words, not his. First and foremost, he mentions the lifespan of PlayStation systems: "The original PlayStation lasted 10 years -- a tremendous innovation when other platforms died and were all but forgotten ... The same thing is going on with the PS2, and I think that will be the case with the PS3." We say that's likely with the PS2, but the original PlayStation didn't quite make it to ten years. The PS2 is easily getting more support even after its heir has been born.

Tretton bobs his head from side to side [blogger's note: he may or may not have actually bobbed his head from side to side] and goes on: "I don't think we expected nor we need to capture the lifecycle of the PS3 in the first nine months. We want to build evangelists, one consumer at a time, and it involves sacrificing in the short term before paying off in the long term." So, Tretton isn't worried about the slow uptake on the PS3 in part from the continued support of the PS2 and the idea that over time, evangelists (in the marketing universe we call them apostles) will spread the word that the PS3 is fantastic and they'll have the games to back up their statement. Since most of us here are relatively proud owners, would you back up his statement or say that sales are important now, not later?

High-res Turrican coming to PSN? It's possible

In a recent sit-down chat with Gamasutra, Factor 5's outspoken Julian Eggebrecht gave his impressions on the new DualShock 3, and answered a few questions that would interest those with a gaming history longer than ten years. About the new controller, Julian seemed pleased and wouldn't mind going back and implementing it in Lair. "I'd love to do a patch for Lair, to get the rumble in there. It just about didn't work out for us for Lair, because this is basically one OS past the one that we shipped with, which I think is a shame, because it's a natural fit, especially when you're ramming into other characters."

Eggebrecht was also quizzed about the classic Turrican titles, whether a hi-res remake of any of the old games would make their way onto the PlayStation Network or XBLA. Surprisingly, he seemed to have an answer prepared. " Yeah absolutely, both for XBLA and PSN, it'd be fantastic. I think that probably a high-res Turrican more based on the Amiga Turricans would be great on those platforms. We obviously have the Virtual Console out there on the Nintendo side, and that'd obviously work well for the Genesis and Super Nintendo Turricans. So yeah, we're talking!" We hope these talks turn to actions, as we'd love to see those games revived in HD, as we feel HD sprites are the sexiest things alive. With multiple exceptions.

Phil Harrison not that concerned about Wii

Phil Harrison sat down for an interview with GameSpot prior to the Kaz Hirai keynote and, in addition to dodging some questions we've got answers to, he talked about all the media comparisons of the Nintendo Wii against the PlayStation 3. It's not flamebait, really, just his thoughts on the whole ordeal of overcoming bad press from an awkward angle.
  • When asked if Phil was concerned over the "Wii outsells competition 3:1 or 5:1" comments, he said, "I'm not worried about it, no. Obviously I would like it to be the other way round, but it's not really fair to compare two products that serve different markets and are at different price points." He agreed that it was unfair to compare the two systems, but refused to mar the statement with an unreasonable analogy.
  • Phil talked about Sony's plan to innovate and widen the market as the Wii had done, also. He cited the new EyeToy, SingStar, and Buzz! as examples of more light-hearted games moving onto the PS3.
  • He doesn't think focusing just on the hardcore market is a good idea. Looking at the trends, "your initial audience is very different to the audience you have buying into the console seven, eight, or nine years later. So, we try to make software which is slightly ahead of that trend, software that enables younger users or new users to come in."
We are glad that Sony is in the process of moving some of the less-hardcore titles from the PS2 onto the PS3. While the price may keep the less-hardcore at bay for a while longer, it is true that a few years from now, different types of consumers will be adopting the machine. It's just how the world works. About not making an analogy, though, we'll leave that up to you guys. You can be unreasonable if you like, just don't be too profane. Like, "it's sort of like comparing selling more Micro Machines than actual Porches" or something. It's all in good fun, Wii fanboys, so you can make your own counter-analogy also.

GameStop honchos ponder PS3 potential

While a lot of gamers question the ability of many GameStop employees, fact of the matter is they're really our only option (especially if you play RPG's ... good luck finding a Suikoden title at Target or Best Buy) and generally, they're nice people working there. The bigwigs of GameStop had a discussion recently about the next-gen now-gen consoles, and their prospects for the upcoming holiday season. Vice President Bob McKenzie said this regarding the PS3's second Christmas: "It's really the higher end. It's the core consumer that wants the latest and the greatest."

Sounds about right. Does he feel the PS3 has lived up to its promises and displayed its potential? Not quite. "I think they've done some moves recently, with the mark-down on the sixty-gig that will help to show that they are reacting. That they see the opportunity, and they know that they need to continue to stimulate that. The eighty-gig is coming out now, and having a game packed in, they see that they have a little catching up to do." Hopefully, Sony will steal the show at TGS and prove they've got not only a solid game lineup this holiday season, but have been actively listening to consumers and will do everything in their power to get their system into more homes. We'll see!

Don't expect any Treasure games on PSN anytime soon


On the cusp of Tokyo Game Show, the 1up crew tracked down Treasure president Masato Maegawa to ask him all sorts of questions regarding his company's future. Treasure, of course, is the company behind such great titles like Ikaruga, Radiant Silvergun and Guardian Heroes.

While we're sure plenty of you would love to download any of those games via the PlayStation Network, it doesn't look like it'll be happening ... at least not for awhile, anyway. Maegawa said that Treasure is just now "fully up and running on developing for Xbox Live Arcade, so to move resources to PSN just now wouldn't make much sense."

Ouch, did you hear that? That's the sound of my heart being crushed under Maegawa's steel-toed penny loafers. You'll rue the day for this decision, Maegawa. RUE!

Namco considering motion control in Soul Calibur IV


While the chances of us getting platform-specific characters, like Spawn, aren't very likely in Soul Calibur IV, Namco is hard at work at offering other bonuses. In an interview with 1up, Katsutoshi Sasaki, the game's director, said his team at Project Soul is looking into the possibility of including Sixaxis motion control. He said it's "something that we're considering, but we'll have to come up with some good ideas for it first."

But that's not all. In the same interview, lead programmer Masaaki Hoshino said they're also hoping to give gamers the ability to save their custom characters to the PS3's memory card and take it to a friend's house to do battle.

Although it seems like it would be difficult for the developers to include any sort of motion control that would make sense, toting your custom characters on a memory card would be pretty handy. All we care about, though, are Ivy's friends and finally some Soul Calibur online action!

Ratchet & Clank Future to feature Japanese voice acting


Ryan, ahem, Schneider, just got back to us, adding a few new details to our previous interview with him. Firstly, it appears that the Japanese Ratchet model (the one with the big bushy eyebrows) will not be included in the US version of the game. What will make the cut, strangely, is the Japanese language track, allowing you to have all sorts of kawaii adventures with Ratchet and his robot pal.

If you missed it, read the complete interview here.

PS3 Fanboy interviews Ratchet and Clank's Ryan Schneider


We got in touch with Ryan Schneider, our friend at Insomniac, and talked a little bit more about their upcoming Ratchet & Clank game. Ryan was able to tell us a bit about the game's massive size, potential Home integration, and more.

The search for the Lombax Secret, and Ratchet's past, is certainly driving a much stronger story in this iteration. What sparked the change for a more story-oriented game this time around?
I would say the quality of writing has been outstanding. TJ Fixman is our writer. He's a guy with his own agent, and he has movies optioned. We just have a terrific writer. It's not so much that we were taking a different tact to the story compared to the past. But the topic is more epic in general. We're exploring Ratchet's roots. Why is he the last of his kind? What is the Lombax Secret? Who are the Zoni and why is Clank the only one to see them? What kind of dynamic tension does that create? Will Ratchet trust his buddy Clank, or will he think he's got a bolt loose in his head, and he's gone haywire? These are the elements that make a good story. We've turned the lens inward. If you look at the past Ratchet games, it was about Ratchet against an enemy. Now, he's on a quest to discover something about himself. I think that alone makes the story more epic and more mysterious.

Is the writer new to the franchise?
Yes, this is TJ's first Ratchet game. TJ and Brian Hastings make for a great team. Bryan's our chief creative officer, and TJ's one of the funnier people I know. We love butt jokes -- and what's cool to us is that it does appeal to eight year olds and adults. The animators did a great job too. For example, in one scene Quark gives Ratchet and Clank a clue. It's the pirate guys and he says "check out this pirate design. It's perfect for parties and late night misadventures." Then, he leans into the screen and winks. It's not written into the script but it makes it come to life and makes it that much funnier.

Gallery: Ratchet and Clank Future

Continue reading PS3 Fanboy interviews Ratchet and Clank's Ryan Schneider

PS3 Fanboy interviews Uncharted's Amy Hennig


[Update: We're currently revising a few mishaps that occured during the transcription of the interview. Please stay tuned for an updated interview. Sorry for the mishap!]
Amy Hennig, lead designer of the upcoming PS3 adventure game Uncharted, sat down with PS3 Fanboy to talk about her upcoming game. Inspired by the old Indiana Jones of yore, she wants to bring much more than "Tomb Raider with a guy."

Uncharted is Naughty Dog's most ambitious title yet. Although its scale is larger than any previous game for the team, has anything been lost during the game's development?
Always. You start off with a very ambitious plan, and think "well, that would've been nice," but "we'll do this." But, I think unless you shoot for the stars, you don't get here. I think there's a lot of features that we're going to include in the next one, if there is a next one. I'd like to do a lot more with physics, a greater variety of gameplay.

Would you consider Uncharted to be an interactive movie?
Well, that's got a stigma to it, doesn't it? When people say "interactive movie," it seems like it's not really an interactive game. We try to steer away from that. We sometimes try to steer away from the word "cinematic" because its pejorative. I think it's a video game: it's a video, and you play it. Hopefully, we straddled those definitions that people can appreciate.

Gallery: Uncharted

Continue reading PS3 Fanboy interviews Uncharted's Amy Hennig

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