Weekend Rant: If I were a rich man. . .

Weekend Rant is a non-regularly occurring weekend mini-editorial. In layman’s terms that basically means that if a staff member has something they want to rant about they can do so on any given weekend.

I have a confession: I’m a dreamer. Amidst having a career, being a husband and a dad, and life in general I constantly have daydreams in my head. One of those has always been to help develop or fund a game. Last night I was up until the wee hours with friends playing Hydro Thunder Hurricane, and as I dozed off my dreams were that of being a rich man. Since I can’t indulge my fantasy in real life, I thought it might be fun to throw out some of my XBLA dreams and hear some of yours.

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Set phasers to stun: Star Trek: Who Wants to be a Millionaire not coming to America

Deep Silver, Doublesix Digital and CBS Consumer Products announced they would release Star Trek: Who Wants to be a Millionaire? Special Edition, combining the popular game show with the Star Trek universe. In it, fans can test their knowledge with over 600 questions from the classic series. The game, published by 2waytraffic International, will be made available for XBLA to “fans worldwide except North America, Canada and Mexico.”

I know what you’re thinking – “worldwide except North America”? That’s not logical. It’s not but sadly, it’s the reality. If you live outside North America however, you get to choose from one of four playable characters,  Lt. Uhura, a Vulcan officer, a human cadet, or an Orion slave girl, for the opportunity to play “fastest fingers” for your chance on stage to earn a virtual one million dollars. The game features local multiplayer mode and online leaderboards so you can test your reason and logic against other Vulcans. No word yet if friends outside North America can call in for their phone a friend.

For Trekkies and Millionaire fans in the U.S., Canada, or Mexico who want to play, you’ll have to ask someone outside North America to beam you to their place. Sadly that is their final answer…

Source: Press Release via Joystiq


Shank 2 game preview shows off new multiplayer

Klei Entertainment’s sequel to their beat ‘em up, shoot ‘em up, shank ‘em up brawler Shank is more than just a return to character. While the core game remains untouched, it’s clear from this gameplay preview that many things have changed and been reworked. Ranged weapons can be aimed freely, pickups are now done via the right bumper, and there’s a revamped counter system. However, the multiplayer is the star of the show here.

The video shows off a character select screen with a selection of 16 characters, some of which were blacked out. While this could be for the sake of not spoiling things, many of them draw parallels to unlockable costumes from the first Shank. Each character seems to come with their own set of stats, including discounts on store items and other attribute changes. While the discussion in the video says otherwise, it would seem that each character has a different weapon selection. At the very least player 2 and player 1 have different stuff. Shank 2 will be releasing on February 8th of this year, and much like with the the original Shank, we here at XBLA Fans just might have some guiding to do.


Rumor: Minecraft inspiring Microsoft to speed up XBLA patching process?

Paddy Burns, Chief Technology Officer at 4J Studios (the team handling the XBLA version of Mojang’s smash hit Minecraft) recently told Edge that big changes may be coming to Microsoft’s title update certification process on Xbox Live. As of now, the certification process takes weeks, forcing players to wait for an update or patch that has already been finished by developers. Burns states that;

“Microsoft knows that to do a similar thing that’s on PC where they constantly update it, that’s a very difficult thing to do on Xbox because you have to go through the full tests. But they are quite keen to move towards that – they do see it as the future, so I think we might be the first to do constant updates.”

Many believe that Microsoft’s certification process is one of the things holding titles on Xbox Live back. Any streamlining of the process would certainly be welcomed by both fans and the development community alike. Games like Minecraft, which are heavily reliant on constant updates would certainly benefit from a speedier update process. While Burns states that he doesn’t expect Minecraft on XBLA to be updated as much as the PC version of the game in the end, this is certainly a move in the right direction. We can only hope that we see these changes implemented in the very near future.

Source: Edge


Konami’s Puddle gets a release date and screenshots

Konami has revealed that the XBLA puzzler Puddle will be releasing later this month on January 23. After beginning its life as a pet project by six students at France’s Enjmin video game school, Puddle was picked up for full-fledged development by Neko Entertainment.

Players will have to juggle guiding a virtual puddle of rocket fuel (thus the name) and a blob of radioactive goo through precarious environments full of heat beams and electric currents. Although gamers won’t be able to see any given level in its entirety when starting a new puzzle, Konami has offered up a glimpse of what will be seen in the new batch of images below.

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Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater HD screenshots

Fresh screenshots of Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater HD – the XBLA mashup of Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater and the venerable Pro Skater 2 – have surfaced. The images show Tony and the gang “killing it in the Warehouse”. Accompanying the snapshots is news that seven levels from the two classics have been given the HD treatment and are poised to return in Pro Skater HD. Rack your memories, the levels cherry-picked by Tony himself are: Warehouse, School 2, Mall, Phoenix, Hangar, Marseilles and Venice.

Of course, all of that pales into the ether because the most salient feature of any Tony Hawk game is the soundtrack. Regrettably the press team remain tight-lipped on the matter, so no word on whether the likes of Papa Roach, Goldfinger, Bad Religion and Millencolin will be part of the comeback.

Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater debuted on the Playstation eleven years ago. For more on Pro Skater HD head here. Hit the jump for the screenshots.

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Sine Mora’s third hero: a female rabbit who knows how to use a wrench

In case you’ve been living under a rock, Digital Reality has been slowly revealing the cast of their upcoming shoot em’ up Sine Mora through their Facebook page. First we brought you the cigarette smoking cougar, who was followed by the one-eyed wheelchair bound buffalo. The third cast member of Sine Mora to be revealed is Myryan Magusa, a female rabbit-like humanoid who works as a mechanic, survived cancer, and now speaks through a voice box. You can’t make this stuff up! Grasshopper’s influence on Sine Mora shines clearer by the day!


Ubisoft bundling Beyond Good & Evil, Outland and From Dust in Europe

United Kingdom retailer Play has listed a game bundle called the Ubisoft Triple Pack: Beyond Good & Evil / From Dust / Outland. Take a wild guess at which three games are included. The publisher’s triple-header is scheduled to release across the pond on March 23 and is now available for preorder at a price of £14.99 (around $23). Ubisoft has made no official announcement in regards to the bundle, so there’s no telling whether or not it is headed Stateside as of the time of this writing.

The listing does not specify whether or not buyers will be receiving 2011’s XBLA HD makeover of Beyond Good & Evil. It’s doubtful, however, that they could sell fans on the original PS2/GCN/Xbox version; therefore, gamers are probably safe to assume that the newer iteration is the one getting packed in.

Source: Play


First Deadlight teaser-trailer

Uh-oh it’s the apocalypse, but what can you do? Curl up in the Fetal position and hope some marauding mutant doesn’t fancy you for elevenses? Not if you’re the hero of Tequila Works’ upcoming XBLA title Deadlight, who’s instead grown himself a mighty-impressive beard and donned his finest Batman growl while out hunting for trouble. Ever wondered what it feels like to kill a man? This glum chap seems to have a good idea.

This scene-setter is the first proper trailer released since Tequila Works announced Deadlight as an XBLA exclusive earlier in the week. The horror-platformer is scheduled to launch this summer.


New Trials Evolution footage and interview

The Inside Xbox team – spearheaded by Dan Maher – has snagged an interview with RedLynx PR and marketing man Jason Bates. In it, Bates speaks about forthcoming follow-up to hit XBLA title Trials HD, Trials Evolution. Specifically, he doles out information on the new editor, track sharing features and, crucially, what hasn’t been tinkered with.

“We are using the same basic gameplay physics; the exact same controls you’re used too. Everything that was perfect in Trials HD we’re not touching, we’re not messing with that part.”

Reassuring news for fans of Trials HD’s amplified physics and pitch-perfect controls. Better still, alongside returning leaderboard integration Evolution is set to support four-player multiplayer, so no more pass-the-controller type affairs.
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