Blizzard’s vice-president of development, Itzik Ben Bassat, has gone on record saying that the company’s next MMO project will be "innovative." Theories abound that it will take place in the Starcraft universe, which would make sense given the large fanbase. What Blizzard doesn’t want to do, obviously, is step on their own toes by making two competing MMOs. To my mind, this suggests that the "innovation" Bassat mentions will be a method of appealing to a different type of gamer than World of Warcraft attracts. My hopes? A functional, massive first-person action game, as is being promised with Huxley, Richard Garriot’s Tabula Rasa, and was attempted with PlanetSide.
In other Blizzard news, most media outlets are reporting that sales for the World of Warcraft expansion pack, The Burning Crusade, have been brisk-ish to the tune of an estimated 2.4 million copies sold, split roughly down the center between Europe and North America. A tune of 2.4 million people is a cacophony indeed. To put that number in perspective, I don’t think I’ve even seen 2.4 million people in my life, counting everyone who has knocked me down on the sidewalk.
This is minor news, but it’s something that makes me feel as if I just busted a Saproling Burst from an old pack of Mercadian Masques: Xbox 360’s Culdcept Saga, sequel to the PS2 sleeper classic Culdcept, is on track for a release by the second quarter of ’07. For those unfamiliar with the game (hi, mom!) it plays like a board game driven to unholy marriage with Magic: the Gathering. The original ate many of my hours, and I expect good things from this Live-enabled sequel. Xboxyde has ten minutes of gameplay footage up for your amusement right here.
A recent PS3 firmware update, which brings the version number to 1.5, has rectified the outstanding issues with PS2 games displaying as if they were those tile/mosaic puzzle games (i.e., with jaggies out the assport). Hullabaloo! Everything should look pretty on your fancy toys, now. Real purty.
Ready for Vista gaming? Peter Moore, VP at Microsoft, says you ought to be. Mister temp-tattoo sez, "Mark your caledars: January 30th 2007 will be the most significant day in gaming for the next several years." Strong words… of dubious veracity. But, hey, Vista being a platform for DirectX 10 development does mean the potential for prettier games, like CryTech’s upcoming Crysis.
Brandy-new corporate shuffling over at Sony, where a Sony/BandoNamcai partnership has created a new entity by the name of Cellius, to be headed by Mr. PlayStation Ken Kutaragi. We have no direct details about the projects Cellius will undertake, apart from that they will be developing "content" focused on fully utilizing Sony’s Cell architecture.
Anecdotal not-news time! My local Wal-Mart has had six PS3s sitting in stock since before Christmas. Yesterday, they had eight. I asked a friendly employee if they had sold some and gotten a new shipment. "No," said the friendly employee. "We just got a new shipment. There’s more in the back that don’t fit in the case."