The Week in Review & Rumor Round-up: OnLive to Revolutionize Gaming, New Zelda Title Coming to DS, Raiden to Star in Next Metal Gear Solid?, and more!

The Week in Review & Rumor Round-up: OnLive to Revolutionize Gaming, New Zelda Title Coming to DS, Raiden to Star in Next Metal Gear Solid?, 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.

Rockstar kicked the week off with their announcement that Max Payne 3 is currently in development and will launch this winter for the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and PC. Rockstar Vancouver is currently developing the title, which will still feature the titular hero in his hellish world, but Max Payne will now be an older, more grizzled character than what has been portrayed up until now.

On Tuesday we learned that PC gaming, in fact gaming in general, may change as we know it. At GDC 2009, the OnLive service was introduced to the gaming community at large. OnLive is a subscription-based service that players will sign up for in order to get access to video games on-demand. No longer will players need to purchase extra hardware or top-of-the-line equipment, as all of the computing is done by OnLive and sent back to your computer screen at 60 fps. I don’t have space to go into all the details here, but if you would like to find out more about this revolutionary service / technology click HERE to be connected to our detailed news piece.

By far the biggest newsmaker of the week was Nintendo. Their GDC 2009 presentation may not have been as big as some were expecting, but it was big enough to warrant several headlines.

First, Square Enix will be bringing three downloadable titles to WiiWare and Virtual Console in the near future. The games include: My Life as a Dark Lord, the shady sequel to My Life as a King; Final Fantasy IV: The After Years, a port of a wildly successful mobile phone title in Japan; and the original Final Fantasy for VC. What’s more, the words “Final Fantasy series” were used by Square Enix, seemingly pointing at the future release of all classic Final Fantasy titles for Virtual Console.

Second, Wii Menu 4.0 and a true storage solution for Wii were made available this week. This new firmware update no longer makes Wii owners shoehorn their Nintendo software and channels onto the paltry internal memory nor have to deal with only slightly-less-wimpy 2 GB SD cards. Nintendo has officially opened up the SD card slot to permit much larger SD cards such as 4 GB, 16 GB, etc. Also, with a new icon on the Wii Menu, transferring channels and software between the SD card and the Wii’s internal memory is much easier. In fact, you can actually launch channels and software directly from the SD card as long as you have sufficient space for the game to create a temporary file. Finally!

Third, Virtual Console Arcade has been launched for Wii. What VCA will do is bring classic arcade (not console) versions of games to your living room. As of right now, players can purchase four titles from VCA, including Mappy, Star Force, The Tower of Druaga, and Gaplus (aka Galaga 3). These titles can be picked up for 500 Wii Points apiece except for Gaplus, which will run you 600 Wii Points. Several other titles have already been confirmed, including Space Harrier, Solvalou, Emeraldia, and The Return of Ishtar. Pair this news with an announcement by Namco that they have already earmarked a total of 30 games to launch on VCA Japan , and it looks like the new digital platform will be a force with which to contend.

Fourth, The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks was confirmed by Nintendo at their GDC keynote for a 2009 DS release . From screens proffered at the address, this newest adventure will feature the now standard cel-shaded look. Also, it appears the talking boat from The Wind Waker has been spurned for a locomotive — hence the tentative name, Spirit Tracks.

Finally, Nintendo is currently working on DSi-specific game cartridges. Initially, it was revealed that DSi-exclusive software would be made available via download. Now it seems such software will also be sold through retail outlets. Future titles will be produced on one of three carts depending on their audience: standard DS carts; DSi enhanced carts; or DSi-exclusive carts. DSi enhanced carts will play on all versions of the DS and will include special, DSi-only features that are made available when played in the new handheld. If developers want to market their software specifically to DSi owners, then a DSi-exclusive cart will be used.

On a goofy, blooper-like note, Bethesda had some serious troubles with the release of their second expansion to Fallout 3, The Pitt, on Xbox LIVE Marketplace. According to the developer/publisher, a corrupted file was upload to the database and had to be pulled, fixed, and replaced. Unfortunately, the repairs didn’t occur before several thousand diehard users downloaded the content.

Insomniac Games’ dynamic duo, Ratchet & Clank, are back at it. Their latest adventure, Ratchet and Clank: A Crack in Time , will take players on a time-bending journey through the galaxy. According to Sony, “Concluding the events that began in Ratchet & Clank: Tools of Destruction and Ratchet & Clank: Quest for Booty, Ratchet & Clank: A Crack in Time will answer some of the franchise fans’ biggest questions.” The game is set for a fall release.

According to the latest NPD sales figures, the Rock Band franchise has accrued over $1 Billion in worldwide retail sales . MTV, Harmonix, and EA reached this feat in just 15 months. No wonder gaming is considered recession-proof. In addition to the gross retail sales, 40 million songs have been downloaded through the various console marketplaces, making Rock Band a true force in both the gaming and music industries.

Not to be outdone, Activision had a few announcements of its own. Modern Warfare 2 is now set to launch on November 10, 2009 . But that’s not all from the massive publisher. In fact, PEGI rating submissions have identified that the original Call of Duty is getting set for a re-launch via Xbox LIVE Arcade and PSN.

Moving on, at the end of Hideo Kojima’s keynote address at GDC 2009, a graphic flashed up on the projection screen that has fueled the rumor mill. Looking closely at the picture, a silhouette of Raiden graces the slide. This has caused many to assume that the next Kojima project will be a Metal Gear Solid title featuring the ninja.

Wrapping things up, according to a Netflix survey, it appears that the Nintendo Wii may also host the streaming video service. There are no details concerning timeframe of a prospective release, but the fact Netflix mentioned that a $2.99 disc would have to be purchased in order for the service to work, it seems as if the technology has already been developed.

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

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