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Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II Launch Trailer October 18, 2010

Posted by Maniac in Game News.
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It’s ten days away from release, and it’s demo is just fantastic, Lucasarts has released a launch trailer for Star Wars : The Force Unleashed II.

The trailers for this game have all had great CGI cutscenes, and it seems to partially explain how a game that kind of wrote itself into a corner at the end of the first game could have a sequel.

Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II is coming multiplatform October 26th, 2010.


Console Wars V – Part I October 18, 2010

Posted by Maniac in Console War, Histories.
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The year was 2004 and the current generation of consoles had become far too long in the tooth.  The Nintendo GameCube, Sony Playstation 2 and Microsoft Xbox just did not have the power to support the new graphics engines that game developers were creating.  By the last year of their use, most game developers had shifted focus to the PC, which had always been the most powerful processing platform and did their best to scale back the graphics so they could be playable on the consoles which just did not have the power to run them at their full capability.  When software developers were flocking to the PC in droves by 2004, the console manufacturers secretly started shifting focus from their current generation and started to look towards the future.

Releasing consoles which would become obsolete at the time of release was no longer going to be a viable business model.  The next generation of consoles would have to be far more powerful than the current PCs they could compete against, or be able to do things that PCs could never do.  Also, TV manufacturers were finally mass producing High Definition Televisions, ending the era of where a 480i static filled image was your only option when watching what was on.  Now TVs were being made to support 720p and 1080i resolutions which provided a crisper cleaner image, and were widescreen, which offered a larger field of view and removal of those pesky black bars in DVDs.  In a market with only three leaders, Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo, they would all need to impress, and quickly.  But they had all been preparing for this, and they were almost ready to lift the curtain on what they had.

Sony had been readying the Cell Processor with IBM for some time, and it was nearly ready for mass production.  It was practically an entire computer inside a processor with multiple SPUs which could take up the work of independent functions like audio or physics, and a central processor to rule them all.  Sony was also prepping their own optical disc format for viewing movies in High Definition, something that standard DVD could not do.  It would also allow for enormous space on game discs, over five times more space than current DVD could offer.  They also wanted to make sure that full compatibility would happen with all Playstation 1 and Playstation 2 games, so they included Playstation 2’s internal hardware inside the new console.  They would also be the only console to support 1080p at launch, the highest HDTV resolution at the time, and one that no existing TV could yet display.  Sony’s third entry into the Console Wars would be the Playstation 3.  The cost of all of this processing muscle was going to be a hefty $499 for a 20gb model or $599 for a 60gb model with wi-fi support.  The controllers would be almost identical to the original Dual Shock 1 and 2, with a small downside, they would lack vibration in exchange for motion control, something Sony said was a fair trade off.

Microsoft had also been experimenting on a new console for some time.  Instead of going for a console which had a computer inside of a processor, they would include three multi-threaded processors which could function independently or together.  Most PCs at the time had only one processor, and even fewer had processors that were multi-threaded.  With three cores and 3Ghz coming out of each core, the Xbox 360 would be more powerful than over 90% of home desktop PCs.  Microsoft also didn’t believe Blu-Ray would take off, opting instead to stay with DVD as a storage medium for this generation, and later on allying with Sony’s chief format competitor, Toshiba, for their new format HD-DVD, promising its support for the 360 at a later time.  They were also ready to create the best interface, built around their success with Xbox Live, allowing for a unified patch system, multiplayer friends list and a cross-game achievement system.  The problem was the system was far too different than the original Xbox to support all Xbox games, so only a select few games from Xbox would be playable on the new console at launch, but more were promised to come later.

Then there was Nintendo…  with their Revolution.  No system specs were announced for it but they promised it would truly revolutionize the gaming industry in a way that would harken back to the original days when they ruled the market with the NES.  Without any data to back up their claims, most considered this hype and nothing more.  Even the early previews of it wouldn’t show the controller which Nintendo claimed needed to stay under wraps because they were worried their competition would steal it.  Finally, at E3 that year, Nintendo’s console was fully unveiled, along with it’s new name, the Wii.  The new controller was capable of motion control, something not used in the Xbox 360, and only minimally used in the Playstation 3.  The demos wowed a lot of people, and the Wii saw a lot of press that E3.  It also supported all GameCube games natively, as well as their memory cards and controllers.  But what was disappointing about it was the system specifications.  The processor was barely more powerful than Nintendo’s GameCube was, as was the graphics card.  Because of this, it would never be able to render anything in HD .  It would use DVDs as a storage medium, but would not provide DVD movie playback, a feature almost everything else supported in 2006.  The motion-control system had never been heard of before, and no one believed it could be precise or responsive enough to work, and was unlike any controller seen before.  Then there was the name, which many likened to toilet humor.  But the price would be a low $250, $50 cheaper than the lowest model of the Xbox 360, and $250 cheaper than the lowest model of the Playstation 3.  And it would include a full game, Wii Sports, which would take full advantage of the capabilities of the Wii.

With it’s low processing power and what many felt was a gimmicky controller, Nintendo was not even considered for this next format war, especially after the disappointment that was the Nintendo GameCube.  Sony and Microsoft prepared to face each other to become the number one console of the generation.  Sony was the heavy favorite, having ruled the last two console wars with an iron fist, the first one a heavy surprise, the second one was no one’s surprise.  With Blu-Ray expected to be as important to the Playstation 3 as DVD was to the Playstation 2, the analysts believed Sony had this generation in the bank.