The Week in Review & Rumor Round-up: Microsoft's Big Headlines, Double Fine Fights Back, Sam Raimi Set for Warcraft, and More!

The Week in Review & Rumor Round-up: Microsoft's Big Headlines, Double Fine Fights Back, Sam Raimi Set for Warcraft, and More!


The Week in Review news piece summarizes and highlights the most important gaming related news and rumors over the past week. This weekly article will keep you plugged in and in-tune.

Infinity Ward’s Robert Bowling announced this week via a Twitter posting that CoD: Modern Warfare 2 may in fact get its own controller. The Twitter post stated the following: “In a design meeting for a #MW2 controller. Need your advice – Concave or Convex grips for the Analog sticks? What’s your preference and why?” It sounds like functionality, not just cosmetics, will come into play.

Lots of news and buzz came out of the Microsoft camp this week. The first tidbit is the resurfaced and somewhat confirmed rumor about a Microsoft handheld. Comments made by Microsoft’s Shane Kim to gaming site Kikizo.com seem to substantiate that the company is keenly aware of, if not quite ready for, the demands and potential rewards of entering into the handheld market. Specifically, Shane Kim stated: “For us, it’s a matter of focusing on ‘when’, because if we chased after a mobile or handheld opportunity, we would not have the resources and ability to do things like instant-on 1080p HD, Facebook, Twitter, Project Natal. And so we’ve chosen to focus on the living room experience from a hardware standpoint, if you will, but we’re building a service in Live that will… will extend to other platforms.”

Furthermore, Microsoft was recently awarded a patent for a technology they invented back in 2002. Specifically, the feature provides for seamless drop-in, drop-out switching from single- to co-op play in squad-based shooters. The patent was originally filed with Brute Force artwork back on December 2, 2002 by James York of Austin, TX. I think I might patent rain, or sunshine.

Lastly for Microsoft, it was announced on Thursday at Sand Diego Comic-Con 2009 that the Halo franchise is getting the anime treatment. According to the presser, the compilation is known as Halo Legends, and it “will include a series of short stories that explore different times, themes, and characters from the ‘Halo’ universe, and will be distributed globally by Warner Home Video.” Also, Halo players will soon get their own portal through Xbox LIVE known as Halo Waypoint. Once there, the latest news, podcasts, swag, trailers, screenshots, and exclusive video footage – i.e. clips of the upcoming ODST, Reach, and Legends projects – will be available for consumption.

In an interesting yet predictable turn of events, Double Fine Productions, Tim Schafer’s San Francisco-based development studio, has filed a countersuit against Activision for sabotaging the successful launch of Brutal Legend some three months before the game’s release. According to Double Fine, Activision’s “purpose is not only to cancel ‘Brutal Legend,’ but to kill it completely so that ‘Guitar Hero’ would not have to face the competition.”

Sam Raimi, the acclaimed director of The Evil Dead and Spider-Man series, “will bring the forces of the Horde and the Alliance to life in an epic live-action film.” That’s right; the Warcraft film is going to be done in style. Charles Roven’s Atlas Entertainment will produce it alongside Raimi’s Stars Road Entertainment.

Activision announced Thursday that Band Hero will be making its way to the DS Lite. The new portable music game will allow up to four players get together and play guitar, bass, drums, and sing. A new peripheral has been created to replicate drums. The Drum Grip offers players four large buttons to keep the rhythm on. Singing in Band Hero for DS is as simple as singing into the DS Lite’s built-in microphone. As was the case with the Guitar Grip, only DS Lite models of DS will be compatible with the new Drum Grip. The game will include tracks from artists including: “Blink-182, Avril Lavigne, The Killers, KT Tunstall, and Fall Out Boy.”

EA and DICE announced that Battlefield 1943, the download-only FPS set in the Pacific during WWII, has sold over 600,000 copies of the game since July 8th between both the XBLA and PSN. The game was destined to be a hit, as it combined high quality graphics and gameplay for a bargain price of just $15. While we like the new direction download-only games are taking, we’re a bit worried that the game sales model is becoming a bit too popular too quickly.

Bungie’s Lars Bakken affirmed on Friday that Halo: Reach – Halo’s origin story – will be the last installment for the franchise. “After Reach that’s it for us,” said Bakken. “We’re already working on a new IP that we can’t talk about yet, I don’t know when we’ll be talking about it – when we’re ready I suppose.”

Finally, the series that put Epic Games on the map, Unreal Tournament, is getting mothballed. Company CEO James Sweeney stated, though it planned on resurrecting the franchise in the future, they are going to hold off on creating another entry for awhile due to other projects taking precedence. Sweeney told G4,”Unreal Tournament is certainly a major long-term priority but we’re planning not to release a major retail game in the series for several years. So we have that effort somewhat on hold while we work on a few other initiatives. ”

Thanks so much everyone and we will see you next week!

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