Week in Review: LucasArts Drops ESA, Square Enix to Expand, Ballmer Nearly Egged, and more!

Week in Review: LucasArts Drops ESA, Square Enix to Expand, Ballmer Nearly Egged, and more!


The Week in Review news piece summarizes and highlights the most important gaming related news over the past week. This weekly article, in conjunction with the Rumor Round-Up, will keep you plugged in and in-tune.

Blue Dragon Plus, originally slated for a spring release in Japan, will launch on September 4 . Furthermore, gameplay will differ this time around as it will be real-time rather than turn-based combat.

The credibility of the Entertainment Software Association received yet another blow this week as LucasArts decided to abandon its membership in the ESA. LucasArts joins the likes of Vivendi and Activision to discontinue their relationship with the ESA. However, unlike those other players, LucasArts will indeed participate in E3.

According to comments made to Reuters by CEO Yoichi Wada, Square Enix is looking to expand their influence and ability to make games . Due to increased competition from established players, Square Enix needs to become far more agile in order to remain profitable in the future. As such, look for Square Enix to become more of a holding company. Mr. Wada is actively seeking new business opportunities and there will likely be a few major purchases and alliances in order to strengthen the company’s market position.

Interestingly enough, right after Mr. Wada’s statement three more bits of news came out of Square Enix:

  • The 3D remakes of Dragon Quest IV, V, and VI (also known as the Zenithia Trilogy) will make their way to the United States for the Nintendo DS starting on September 16, 2008 . The names of the three games are Dragon Quest IV: Chapters of the Chosen, Dragon Quest V: Hand of the Heavenly Bride, and Dragon Quest VI: Realms of Reverie.

  • Infinite Undiscovery, a current-gen, real-time RPG developed by tri-Ace, is now scheduled to release in both the United States and Japan on September 2, 2008 . This is just a few months away which puts the release date nearly a year sooner than initially planned.

  • An agreement between Square Enix’s arcade unit Taito and Electronic Arts was penned to give exclusive distribution and licensing rights to all of Taito’s mobile titles in Europe.

On a humorous note, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer was nearly egged by a Hungarian protester at a conference in Budapest . This “attack” of protest comes on the heels of Microsoft’s agreement with the Hungarian government to provide heavily discounted Microsoft products to students.

From the Sony camp, it was officially announced that they are teaming up with EA SPORTS to offer The Madden NFL 09 PSP Entertainment Pack in honor of the franchise’s 20th anniversary. The pack is set to release on August 12, 2008 and will retail for $199.99. The Madden NFL 09 PSP Entertainment Pack will include a limited-edition “Metallic Blue” PSP system, the Madden NFL 09 game, “NFL: In Just One Play” on UMD Video, a PLAYSTATION Network voucher to download Beats from the PLAYSTATION Store, and a 1GB Memory Stick PRO Duo.

Blizzard Entertainment considers use of the Glider bot to be against the company’s EULA. Subsequently, players who used the bot will be banned from the game. There is no confirmation as to the length of the ban, but it is likely going to be a permanent condition.

Bethesda Softworks announced this week a long-term development partnership with the award-winning U.K. studio, Splash Damage . Both companies have created a number of top titles and look to produce even better ones together.

Finally, on May 17th, 13 year-old Grapevine, TX native Daniel Johnson beat the Guinness World Record for high score on a single song for “Guitar Hero III” when he attended the Guitar Hero 24-Hour Marathon presented by Blockbuster. Daniel played on a XBOX 360 and scored 890,971, beating the previous record by more than 10,000 points while playing “Through the Fire and Flames” by Dragonforce at the Expert Level on his first attempt.

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

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