Banjo Kazooie SDTV Problem to be Fixed
In an update on its blog, Rare announced that it will fix the illegible text problem found when playing Banjo Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts on a SDTV.
"We would like to assure you that contrary to earlier reports, we are aware of the issue and currently working on a title update to be released within the next 30 days that will fix it for those with Standard Definition TVs," reads the post.
The game is due out November 11, but the problem was noticed by gamers who played the prerelease demo.
XBLA GoldenEye Almost Done, Killed for Money
There’s more to the story than it seems when it comes to the silent death of the Xbox Live Arcade version of GoldenEye 007, a Nintendo 64 shooter created by Rare. According to 1UP, the XBLA version would feature the same graphics and sound as the original, but would include online multiplayer via Xbox Live. In fact, the game was only two months away from completion, but was killed due to the fact that Nintendo and Microsoft could not make up their minds when it came to financial matters.
The site makes a logical suggestion: if you want to see the game on Xbox Live Arcade, make it known to both Microsoft and Nintendo.
Viva Pinata on DS
Rare and Microsoft have announced that Viva Pinata is in development for DS through their Comic-Con panel. The DS game follows up on the PC port of the original Xbox 360 game, claiming to execute the original game’s concept rather than being a completely new title.
In a post on Pinataisland.info forums, Rare developers claimed that “everyone was really impressed about the quality” referring to the game. In a follow up thread, the company also revealed that an internal Rare team is developing the DS version of the game, which they state is “basically the same game, same principles as the 360 version.” However, he notes that the hardware had to be taken into account, but that the touch screen offers “cool things”.
Develop Industry Awards Winners Announced
The fifth annual Develop Industry Excellence Awards was held to honor the visionaries behind the greatest games in the gaming industry. Voted for by an independent panel of industry experts, this year’s winners include Motorstorm (PS3), Crush (PSP), Crackdown (Xbox 360) and many other titles. In all, there were 17 different companies and individuals claiming the 18 awards.
Evolution Studio’s PS3-exclusive racer and Zoe Mode’s Crush picked up the best new IP awards, while Traveller’s Tales picked up best indie developer and best use of a license for Lego Star Wars II. Test Drive Unlimited by Eden Games picked up the best use of online award, while Rare’s Viva Pinata grabbed the award for visual arts. Other winners include Sega, Ubisoft, NCSoft and many more. Below is the full winners list:
New Console IP
MotorStorm (Evolution/SCEE External Development)
New Handheld IP
Crush (Zoe Mode)
Best Use of a Licence
Lego Star Wars II (Traveller’s Tales)
Rare (Viva Pinata)
Real Time Worlds (Crackdown)
Best Use of Online
Eden Studios (Test Drive Unlimited)
Services & Outsourcing
New UK Studio
Two Rare Founders Leave
In disappointing news, word is out that Chris and Tim Stamper, two of Rare‘s three founders have left the company to ‘pursue other opportunities’. This comes in the shadow of disappointing sales for Viva Pinata, which was received well by critics, though Microsoft has said that it has nothing to do with their departure.
Rare was originally a Nintendo-owned studio, producing one of Nintendo 64’s best games ever: Perfect Dark. The company was then bought by Microsoft for $375 million; since then it has released two titles for the original Xbox, as well as two Xbox 360 launch titles Perfect Dark Zero and Kameo.
Mark Betteridge, a 19-year veteran of the Rare team, and Gregg Mayles will succeed as Studio and Creative Director, respectively.
New PDZ Maps
To celebrate the release of Perfect Dark: Zero under the Platinum Hits budget line, two new multiplayer maps will be released. The two maps are titled Facility, located in a rundown Soviet complex, and Ruin, a ruined location used by the Data Dyne Corporation. These maps will be made available for free via Xbox Live Marketplace early this month; the Platinum Hits disc will include these, as well as the previously released maps: Plaza, Trench, Rooftops and Gas Plant.
X06 Announcements: Halo Wars, New Halo Game, PGR4, HD-DVD Player Pricing
This year’s X06 saw a couple of big announcements from Microsoft. Very big announcements. Let’s check them out:
- Peter Jackson, who is currently associated with the upcoming Halo movie, Academy Award-winning screenwriter Fran Walsh and Microsoft Game Studios have teamed up to create two new games exclusively for Xbox 360 and Xbox Live. The first series will be a collaborative with Bungie to co-create the next game in the Halo universe, while the second series will be a completely new IP. Additionally, they have also partnered up to form Wingnut Interactive, the studio which will dedicate itself to bringing these series’ to the next-gen console.
- Besides the Wingnut Halo game, Ensemble Studios is working on Halo Wars, a new real-time strategy game based on the legendary universe. Before you cry foul, keep in mind that these guys are behind the Age of Empires franchise, which has been a solid series so far. The game is entirely exclusive to Xbox 360.
For more information, check out the game’s website which hosts a cinematic trailer, as well as these screen grabs from the trailer.
- Hoping to make a dent in Sony’s future, Microsoft revealed that the Xbox 360 version of Grand Theft Auto IV will receive two exclusive downloadable, “epic” episodes via Xbox Live, each with many hours of entirely new gameplay. These episodes will be available just months after the game’s release next year.
Both the PS3 and Xbox 360 versions of the game will ship at the same time in October 2007.
- In a move that is very uncharacteristic of Ubisoft, the publisher confirmed that the next Splinter Cell title after Double Agent will be a console-exclusive on Xbox 360. It will also be released on PC for those without the console.
- Yes, BioShock is also exclusive to the console. It’s on PC as well.
- Banjo-Kazooie is back, courtesy of Rare! Another exclusive to Xbox 360, the title will feature the much beloved characters, who, according to the press release, will thankfully retain their “sharp wit and hilarious sense of humor.”
- Another exclusive: Marvel Universe Online. In development at Cryptic Studios, the game will also be released for Windows Vista.
- Everyone saw this coming, but not this soon: Project Gotham Racing 4. The game was unveiled at the show, though it is not expected until late next year, or 2008.
- id Software’s DOOM and Codemasters’ Sensible World of Soccer are now available on Xbox Live Arcade.
- And finally, the Xbox 360 HD-DVD player will be released in North America, UK, France and Germany this November. It will retail for $200 in North America and €200/£130 in U.K., France and Germany. The player will also come with a copy of King Kong on HD-DVD and the Xbox 360 Universal Media Remote.
Kameo "Design Your Skin" Winners Announced
Microsoft and Rare have announced the 11 winning entries from the Kameo “Design Your Skin” contest that had gamers skin their favorite characters. All winning entries are now available on Xbox Live as fully playable downloadable content in the new “Design-A-Skin” pack. Some of the winning designs include the newly-created Ash with his Griffin-inspired design; Thermite, who now “literally carries the world on his back”; and Major Ruin in his new egg shell armor.
Viva Pinata is Special
Since Special Editions are all the rage these days, why should Viva Pinata be any different? Thanks to Microsoft and Rare, it isn’t… by much. When the game is released this Christmas for Xbox 360, a two-disc Special Edition will include playable demos of the season’s “hottest” family-friendly titles as well as an episode of the Viva Pinata animated series. Demos include Lego Star Wars II, Frogger, Time Pilot, AstroLab and Marble Blast.
PDZ Maps Available Not Available
Microsoft has jumped the gun on a Perfect Dark Zero maps announcement, declaring the maps to be available before they aren’t.
In an email sent out to Xbox.com users, the company announced that four new maps for Perfect Dark Zero had been released (image from email to the left) – Plaza, Trench, Rooftops, and Gas Plant. These maps were part of Map Pack #1 and were supposed to be available for download for 500 Xbox Live points.
As of yet, the map pack is unavailable.