The Week in Review & Rumor Round-up: Ubisoft Making a Splash, Arkham Asylum Delayed, PSP Go! in the Works?, and more!

The Week in Review & Rumor Round-up: Ubisoft Making a Splash, Arkham Asylum Delayed, PSP Go! in the Works?, 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.

The week started off with an announcement from Square Enix concerning the outlook for recently acquired Eidos. Many of you will remember that Eidos gained shareholder approval and was sold to Square Enix for £84 million last week. While the prospect of Eidos getting solid financial backing was titillating, however, many wondered if Eidos would be completely transformed. As it turns out, Eidos will remain largely unchanged. The brand will continue and the company will run as an “independent, wholly-owned subsidiary of Square Enix Holdings.” In other words, Square Enix is not interested in changing the company, but rather is interested in harnessing its creativity. Even executive leadership will maintain. Eidos CEO Phil Rogers will remain the company’s head but will report directly to Yoichi Wada, President and CEO of Square Enix Holdings Co., Ltd.

The ESA sent out a press release hyping up E3 2009, set to blow the minds of gamers everywhere June 2-4 . Of course, along with the hype come the opening summer salvos. According to Don Mattrick, vice president for the Interactive Entertainment Business at Microsoft, the gaming giant will have such an astounding presence at E3 that it will “completely transform… home entertainment.” Specifically, Mattrick stated:“Microsoft is gearing up for a big presence at E3 which will completely transform how people think about home entertainment.” He did go on to make an inclusive comment, stating. “We’re excited about the momentum that is building in the industry in anticipation of our June 1st media briefing, which will kick off E3 in blockbuster style.”

What kind of momentum could the gaming industry possibly have? Ubisoft’s got the answer. In their fiscal report for 2008-09 , we learned that the company did quite well for itself over 2008-2009. The company grossed a cool 1.5 billion USD over their fiscal year. That’s a 14% increase over last year. Moreover, the company is now in control of cash reserves of nearly $220 USD.

More interestingly, a right barrage of gaming goodies were revealed in the Ubisoft fiscal report. For starters, Ghost Recon 4 is in development , and Shaun White will likely see a see a follow up , as the game sold through 3 million copies. We also found out that Red Steel 2 will launch in holiday 2009 . The game will outshine its predecessor with a substantial revamping of the control scheme (it will support Wii MotionPlus) and a brand new setting. Alongside Red Steel 2, Splinter Cell: Conviction will also launch in holiday 2009 . Finally, Rabbids Go Home, Dawn of Discovery, James Cameron’s Avatar, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, and Arthur and the Invisibles will all release before March 31, 2010.

Sony also made their presence known through official, upcoming game announcements for the PSP and a bunch of leaked info concerning the next hardware iteration of the handheld. Kicking things off, it was revealed that two venerable fighting franchises will be making their way to the Sony PSP in 2009, and a genre-defining racer may also make its way to the handheld.

Tekken 6, previously thought to be a PS3 and Xbox 360 exclusive, is apparently headed for the PSP . The ported version of the game will not simply be a stripped down edition, it will include bonus content, extra stages, and local (ad-hoc) multiplayer support for competitive battles.

Soul Calibur: Broken Destiny will also be making its way to the portable console. It is not a wholly original entry in the franchise, as it is based on Soul Calibur 4. However, Broken Destiny will not be a straight port and won’t include access to Vader or Yoda. However, the game will play host to several brand new fighters. One of which will be a character known as Dampierre. Classic characters will also be included such as Ivy, Cassandra, Voldo, Siegfried, Mitsurugi, Tira, Taki, Astaroth, and Hilde, with the final character list topping out at around 20.

Lastly, Gran Turismo Mobile, a title teased over four years ago, is rumored to be getting a star announcement at the Sony press event at E3 2009. Rumors have the title pegged to launch alongside the PSP Go!

Speaking of PSP Go! , over the past few months, rumors have swirled around the mysterious product – of which former SCEE boss David Reeves recently claimed he had no knowledge. Now it seems that the PSP 4000 and PSP 2 monikers have been dropped in favor of Go! Combing through past speculation and the most recent rumblings, the PSP Go! Will most likely include a slide out control hub that will feature a D-pad, analog nub, and facebuttons . Also, it will have a tactile screen , a digital camera , and no UMD support . Instead, players will download full games via PSN and store them on either 8 or 16 GB of internal flash memory , depending on which SKU you pick up. However, recent reports seem to indicate that SDHC support will be the only form of memory, and that 8-16 GBs of memory is a figment of someone’s imagination. According to the most recent rumors, the PSP Go! is set for release in Japan in September 2009 and in North America in November 2009 . More details are alleged to be coming out of E3 2009.

On the subject of E3, in a posting by BioWare Executive Producer Casey Hudson, it was confirmed that Mass Effect 2 will make its presence known at E3 2009 . According to Hudson, players can “look forward to some incredible new experiences in Mass Effect 2, as the story takes on even larger proportions, along with a ton of gameplay improvements and a return of the things most loved by players of the first game.” The dark second entry in the series will also likely feature a return of Commander Shepard. Hudson made additional comments that seem to fly in the face of rumors that were sparked after the initial teaser trailer. However, his tone is still cryptic in nature, as he continues to tease us with the prospect of a major twist .

Nintendo’s Satoru Iwata also fleshed out the upcoming Wii no Ma video service for the Wii . Details are not completely clear, as there has only been an explanation in Japanese, but we do know that video content will be free, subsidized by advertising, able to be transferred to the DSi, and it can also be rated a la YouTube. Gimmicky bits such as downloading coupons to the DSi are also possibilities. The service launches today, May 1 st , in Japan. Video content will include shows such as nature programming and anime.

Finally, to leave you on a bit of a sour note, Eidos and Warner Bros. Interactive confirmed on Friday that Batman: Arkham Asylum has been delayed from its initially scheduled June 23rd release date to an undetermined time “at the end of summer 2009.”

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

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