Piggybacking on yesterday’s story about Bioware’s upcoming RPG Dragon Age comes this little tidbit of news about their other current project, Mass Effect. The Xbox 360 exclusive title is rumored to feature a main quest that will last somewhere between 20 and 30 hours. That’s a healthy length for this sort of game, especially considering that its spiritual predecessors Jade Empire and Knights of the Old Republic didn’t approach nearly that length. More exciting is the secondary news, though, which implies that the oft-touted galactic exploration will add another 20-odd hours to playtime, if fully explored. I like quantifying my fun by time invested. It’s tidy.
Here’s something new: relatively giant publisher Ubisoft has declared a new tactic in the competition wars. VP of publishing Jay Cohen told GamesIndustry.biz that the publisher is looking to launch "three new IPs every three years," which is a careful way to avoid saying "one new IP every year." It’s certainly a different approach from EA’s "if it moves, license it" domination of the top tier of publishers. Of course, this doesn’t mean Ubi is giving up on licensed properties; they’re just planning to shore their position with fantastic new mascots, like Grabass the Dirty Hobo.
My favorite two sandbox games of the past generation were Hulk: Ultimate Destruction and Mercenaries: Playground of Destruction. Nothing new as far as the former is concerned, but the latter is soon to get a brand new incarnation, filled with explosions, debris, gibbity-gibs, and brandy-new co-operation. GamesRadar shouts from the rooftops that Mercenaries 2 will have a co-op mode similar to the "jump in/jump out" method employed successfully in Gears of War. Hoo-boy, time for me to make some friends!
Popular Science, that bastion of videogaming intelligence, has a colossal eight page interview with Mr. Mainstream Gaming himself, Will Wright, regarding Spore. The interview is here and is as good a read as you might have come to expect from the thoughtful Mr. Wright. There’s nothing particularly new for gamers who have been following the game’s lengthy development, but the attention paid to the title, as well as Wright’s reasoned regard of the gaming industry, will build your self-esteem.
A little late pimping for a truly unique game: GripShift, put out by Sidhe Interactive, was one of the early awesome titles on the PSP with its combination of racing, puzzle, and platforming mechanics. It also came bundled with a track editor, which I completely suck at using. It allows for quite a bit of creativity, though, mostly evidence by the exclusive tracks put out by the developers. To jog your memory, if you’ve let the game sit idle, the official site has a Valentine’s Day exclusive track available for free download here. You can grab the title for cheap, now, and I can’t recommend it enough. Unless I have.
And in a last tidbit, it seems that some people are fucking around with a port of brilliant shmup Ikaruga to the Xbox Live Arcade. Some executable code has appeared on the Xbox Live debug platform, inaccessible to regular users. Though the code verifiably exists, its status as upcoming XBLA title can only be considered a rumor. If it’s in the pipeline, well, that just makes me think of Microsoft as a huge dragon, gathering all manner of glittery game properties to itself for no other reason than because they’re comfortable to sleep on.