Nuclear Holocaust Is Awful Popular Today

Zomg! Run!

Zomg! Run!

Who knew the end of the world was so popular? Ever since Doom ignited a fury of scandal decades ago, the concept of surviving in the remnants of a society decimated by war has been a persistent game genre. From Fallout to Duke Nukem, Bioshock to S.T.A.L.K.E.R, Resident Evil to World in Conflict…you get the idea. Developers love playing with our fears about a post-apocalyptic world.

The latest contender is Fallen Earth.

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Not content to just be another “Fallout” knock-off, Fallen Earth LLC and Icarus Studios LLC are trying to beat secret project “V13” (mentioned earlier today in my blog) by becoming the first MMO set in a terrible future. According to the official Fallen Earth website:
Fallen Earth is a massively multiplayer online game mixing first-person shooter style action with traditional role-playing game design.
Set near the Grand Canyon in 2156 after a deadly plague wiped out most of humanity, the game features six factions, a classless advancement system and a unique crafting feature in which players can make 95 percent of game items.
With 70 towns, real-time settings and interesting character modifications—woven together in a post-Apocalyptic plot—Fallen Earth provides ultimate player-versus-player and player-versus-environment experiences.
Where will you stand in the fight for Fallen Earth?

Game Informer Online was able to get the inside scoop last week at the GDC. Their in depth article is available here. Go read it. I’ll wait.

So Fallen Earth is what you get if you mixed the tv show Jericho with the Fallout franchise and add a dash of Tanith Lee’s “Biting the Sun“. (On a side note, both Jericho and Biting the Sun are excellent and should be tried ^_^ )

With the exception of EVE Online, the MMO genre is in sore need of more diversity and Fallen Earth certainly fits the bill. But…honestly I’d probably be more excited about this if I hadn’t already blogged about the possibility of a Fallout MMO looming the future. This just seems like a case of getting Snorks instead of Smurfs, you know?

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Video Debuts From GDC 2009

Hey guys. It’s Sunday morning and I’m still only half functional. So here for your enjoyment are some debut trailers for games announced at GDC ’09 this past week.

First up is the latest addition to the Legend of Zelda family. Spirit Tracks seems to be retaining both the graphics and the play style from the first DS game, The Phantom Hourglass. So huzzah for all of us who enjoyed the style and better luck next time to those who thought it was too ‘cartoony’.

Next up we have the new Batman: Arkham Asylum trailer. The game is definitely taking a cue from the movie reboot. Darker and leaning heavily on stealth combat, it seems to be coming together nicely.

And here we have the latest buzz in the gaming industry. A video demo for the new OnLive system. Being touted as the console killer, OnLive will allow customers to play games off of their servers. This will basically  render your computer a TV screen so even if your system can’t handle Crysis, you’ll still be able to play it. Beta starts soon, so leg it on over to their website and sign up if you’re interested in what all the commotion is about.

And finally, for today, the official HD trailer for the highly anticipated God of War III on the PS3. Kratos is just as bad ass as ever and appears to be running at the same frenetic pace. Oh, and his arsenal is finally being given new weapons that can compete with the awesome sword action.

Now yes there were even more wicked videos at GDC ’09. The most glaringly obvious one missing from this list being Modern Warfare 2. I love the Modern Warfare games but everyone and their mother is already talking about it so I figured the point to be moot. If there are any others you feel I neglected to mention, please feel free to leave them in the comment section. 😀

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Nintendo Announcements at GDC

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Earlier today, Nintendo president Satoru Iwata took the stage at the Game Developer Conference to talk about what the company has in store for 2009.

Nintendo DSi

As I stated in an earlier post, the Nintendo DSi is set to hit American shelves on Sunday April 5th. Having already sold over 2 million units in Japan since the systems release in November of last year.

Today Iwata announced that anyone who buys a DSi within the first six months of its American launch will receive 1000 DSi points. This is a marketing strategy to get consumers to check out the new DSi Shop which will feature games for download. As of now they will be in increments of free (always the best price), 200 points, 500 points and 800+ points. Nintendo has made it no secret however that they are courting developers to create not only games for the shop, but applications in line with the iPhone apps store. After burning through the initial free points, you can either purchase more with your credit card or, starting April 5th, at certain retailers. Still no sign of Nintendo merging Wii points and DSi points into interchangeable currency. Boo.

Two DSi exclusive games were also shown to conference attendees. WarioWare: Snapped will utilize the system’s two cameras for a unique gaming experience and a game until the developmental title of  Moving Memo will allow gamers to create their own animated flip-books. There were also several DSi Shop mini games available on the floor for short demos.

Nintendo DS

Don’t despair if you decided not to upgrade to the new DSi model. Iwata also unveiled today the first peek at a new Zelda game for the DS. The new title will use the same touch controls found in the Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass. Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks utilizes a steam locomotive to travel around the world, switching between Phantom and Link to explore the dungeons, and solve puzzles using new and classic items.

Nintendo Wii

Both Excitebots: Trick Racing and the upcoming rehash of Punch-Out!! were available for conference attendees to play. The former is set to release on April 20th and the latter on May 18th.

Also announced was the increased capacity for storage on the Wii. Sort of. As of today, Wii owners can save all of their Virtual Console games, Channels and WiiWare onto high capacity SD cards in addition to regular SD cards. Woo hoo? I suppose it’s a good thing and really the best and cheapest option for Nintendo. After all, issuing a  hard drive would be counter productive to profit margins. According to the press release:  To play games that have been saved to SD cards, consumers will be able to select and launch them from an SD Menu icon on the Wii Menu. (Note that when launching games or channels from an SD card, an equivalent amount of internal Wii memory is required. To clear space from the internal memory, users can transfer games or channels from the Wii Menu to the SD card). This feature is included in the latest version of the Wii System Menu Update, which owners will receive immediately after performing a system update today. So my guess is as good as yours as to whether this update actually does anything.

But Nintendo was just using this as a jumping off point for their next bit of news. Starting today as well, the Virtual Console is being expanded to include third party arcade classics. These include STARFORCE by Tecmo Ltd., and Mappy, Gaplus and Tower of Druaga by Namco Bandai Games Inc.

Oh! And the Wii is expected to surpass 50 million units sold this month. No big, right guys? >.>

So other than the new Zelda game for DS, Nintendo failed to impress me at the GDC. No officially announcement on a new Mario game, a new Metroid game. No nothing. They couldn’t even throw a bone to some of the more neglected mascots since the Wii launch. No Kirby, no StarFox. Not even a Donkey Kong. As much as I keep digging for that glimmer of hope that Nintendo hasn’t forgotten its roots, it’s getting harder to keep believing.

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