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Road to E3 2011: Saints Row: The Third

Who do we get to shoot at E3?
Throughout May, IGN is taking a look at games set to appear at E3 2011, from June 6-9. Saints Row: The Third has been getting a lot of buzz recently, but aside from an exclusive with Game Informer, there’s not a lot of info on it.
What We Know
The Saints Row series has always been about turf warfare, gun fights, and swearing. There’s going to be a lot more of that. Comparisons are made to the GTA series, but Saints Row is a more over the top, and often humorous game.
We know you play as an upgradeable, customizable character and you fight with and against three rival gangs, but the game’s main antagonist is one Philippe Loren, a Belgian gangster.
Saints Row: The Third features a robust and comical character creator, which is releasing before the game launches so players can make characters ahead of time. The character creator allows you to make everything from a thug, to a cowboy, to a furry.
We know the game will feature firefights galore, as well as skydiving, vehicle chases, and lots of explosion, but the only actual gameplay footage we’ve seen is one second of a guy getting punched in the balls. Check it out!

What We Expect at E3
Well a release date would be nice, for starters.

For most outlets, E3 will be the first time they get their hands on Saints Row: The Third. THQ is pretty excited for the game, so we expect a pretty big reveal during the press conferences, featuring both single player and co-op gameplay. The demo itself will likely be an extended version of the demo that Game Informer saw back in March.

We expect the focus to be more on the single player aspect. Co-op is cool and new, but is likely big enough for THQ to hold off on for another separate event. Expect to hear a lot more about the story, and the three gangs.

Posted in XBOX 360 | Leave a comment

Is Ubisoft Making Movies Now or Not?

Games developer’s bid for Hollywood action clarified.
Earlier this week, Variety reported that Ubisoft had launched Ubisoft Motion Pictures, a film company that would adapt its franchises into movies and TV shows. But that has turned out to be not exactly correct.

Jean-Julien Baronnet, the former CEO of Luc Besson’s EuropaCorp, was said to be running the outfit while producer Didier Lupfer would take point on production and development, and former Disney France exec Jean de Rivieres would be in charge of marketing and international sales.

While Ubisoft did not respond to IGN’s request for confirmation of the Variety story, The L.A. Times is running a report today which clarifies this situation: The games company has technically not started up its own movie studio.

“But it does want in the movie business,” says the site, adding that Jean-Julien Baronnet has in fact been hired to that end.

So what is Ubisoft Motion Pictures then? “A boutique division within the French game company whose charter is to seek Hollywood studio partners to bring its popular game franchises to the big screen,” Baronnet tells The Times. The plan is not to launch its own studio, ala Marvel, however, or to hand over licenses to Ubisoft franchises “to any studio that comes calling with a checkbook.”

Baronnet, who also confirms Lupfer and de Rivieres’ involvement, says Ubisoft has three requirements: “The first is creative control, so we can be involved in the scriptwriting and production. The second is a royalty structure that ensures the financial security of our investments. And the third is a level of comfort that the production is of the highest quality.

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Rumor: Microsoft Preparing to Announce Xbox 360 Successor at E3 in June

One report says EA already has dev kits for the new console.
Nintendo plans to unveil its Wii successor at E3 in June, and according to one report, it might not be the only console maker revealing next gen hardware on gaming’s biggest stage. UK publication Develop is reporting that Microsoft could be preparing to counter Nintendo’s Project Cafe with its Xbox 360 successor at E3.

Citing an unnamed “senior, trusted, well-placed” source, Develop writes that an Electronic Arts studio now has development kits for Microsoft’s next console on its desks.

“The source believed, but did not have certain information, that the new Xbox would launch by the end of 2012,” Develop reports. “The individual expects an announcement will be made, at least in some form, at E3.”

No specifics were provided on the hardware and Microsoft and EA have officially declined comment.

Develop’s report has sparked a bit of a frenzy, much as the first report of the Wii successor did last month, and one outlet is already pouring cold water on the rumor. Eurogamer, citing its own unnamed “respected source” reports that “an E3 2011 reveal for Microsoft’s next Xbox is highly unlikely.”

UPDATE: Responding to the rumor, EA’s Corporate Communications VP Jeff Brown said, “This story is a total fabrication –- 100 percent not true.

Posted in XBOX 360 | Leave a comment

The Witcher 2 – Environments Video

CD Projekt RED shows off its beautiful fantasy world.


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Capcom Reports Record FY2011

Profits up 257% thanks in large part to more than 4.6 million copies of Monster Hunter Freedom 3.
Electronic Arts: -$276 million. THQ: -$131 million. Capcom? The Japanese publisher/developer bucked the recent trend of FY2011 financial follies, reporting a healthy profit of $95 million on the backs of five million-selling games.

For the fiscal year ending March 31, Capcom reported a record $1.2 billion in revenue and the aforementioned $95 million profit — up a staggering 257% over FY2010. And the company pointed to one title in particular for lifting it out of the red: Monster Hunter Freedom 3.

Dead Rising 2 and Marvel vs Capcom 3 sold more than 2 million copies each, Super Street Fighter IV and Lost Planet 2 more than 1.5 million, and Monster Hunter Freedom 3 did the heavy lifting, selling a PSP record 4.6 million copies, according to Capcom.

The company also touted its growing mobile and online games business, mentioning the success of The Smurfs’ Village and Zombie Cafe as surprisingly popular games.

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Sony: PSN Restoration in Final Stages, Complimentary ID Protection for All Customers

It appears PSN is about to go back online.
It’s been more than two weeks since PlayStation 3 owners played games on the PlayStation Network, but Sony promises the end of the outage is near. Restoration of PSN is in its final stages, the Japanese tech giant announced, and gamers will be able to return knowing they’re protected by a complimentary identity theft protection service.

Posting on the official PlayStation Blog, Sony communications guru Patrick Seybold said the company’s global network and security teams began the the final stages of internal testing of the new system yesterday. Though Seybold did not provide an official activation date for PSN, it appears the service could be back online as soon as today.

As previously mentioned, we’ve been working around the clock to rebuild the network and enhance protections of your personal data,” Seybold stated. “It’s our top priority to ensure your data is safe when you begin using the services again. We understand that many of you are eager to again enjoy the PlayStation Network and Qriocity entertainment services that you love, so we wanted you to be aware of this milestone and our progress. We will provide additional updates as soon as we can.”

Sony also confirmed that it will provide identity theft protection services for all its customers, starting immediately with all U.S. users. Sony has partnered with Debix to offer its AllClear ID Plus service at no cost to PSN, Qriocity, and SOE account holders for 12 months. Sony said it will begin sending out activation emails over the next few days, and customers must register by June 18. The service includes up to $1 million in insurance coverage for identity restoration costs, legal defense expenses, and lost wages.

A similar service will be provided for PSN users around the world, Sony promised, but the company is still working out the details and will make an official announcement soon.

One more bit of news regarding the PSN outage: Sony CEO Howard Stringer has issued a personal apology via a letter to all PSN, Qriocity, and SOE customers. The complete letter reads:

Dear Friends,

I know this has been a frustrating time for all of you.

Let me assure you that the resources of this company have been focused on investigating the entire nature and impact of the cyber-attack we’ve all experienced and on fixing it. We are absolutely dedicated to restoring full and safe service as soon as possible and rewarding you for your patience. We will settle for nothing less.

To date, there is no confirmed evidence any credit card or personal information has been misused, and we continue to monitor the situation closely. We are also moving ahead with plans to help protect our customers from identity theft around the world. A program for U.S. PlayStation Network and Qriocity customers that includes a $1 million identity theft insurance policy per user was launched earlier today and announcements for other regions will be coming soon.

As we have announced, we will be offering a Welcome Back package to our customers once our PlayStation Network and Qriocity services are up and running. This will include, among other benefits, a month of free PlayStation Plus membership for all PSN customers, as well as an extension of subscriptions for PlayStation Plus and Music Unlimited customers to make up for time lost.

As a company we — and I — apologize for the inconvenience and concern caused by this attack. Under the leadership of Kazuo Hirai, we have teams working around the clock and around the world to restore your access to those services as quickly, and as safely, as possible.

I know some believe we should have notified our customers earlier than we did. It’s a fair question. As soon as we discovered the potential scope of the intrusion, we shut down the PlayStation Network and Qriocity services and hired some of the best technical experts in the field to determine what happened. I wish we could have gotten the answers we needed sooner, but forensic analysis is a complex, time-consuming process. Hackers, after all, do their best to cover their tracks, and it took some time for our experts to find those tracks and begin to identify what personal information had — or had not — been taken.

As a result of what we discovered we notified you of the breach. Our investigation is ongoing, and we are upgrading our security so that if attacks like this happen again, our defenses will be even stronger.

In the last few months, Sony has faced a terrible earthquake and tsunami in Japan. But now we are facing a very man-made event — a criminal attack on us — and on you — and we are working with the FBI and other law enforcement agencies around the world to apprehend those responsible.

In the coming days, we will restore service to the networks and welcome you back to the fun. I wanted to personally reach out and let you know that we are committed to serving you to the very best of our ability, protecting your information better than ever, and getting you back to what you signed up for — all the games and great entertainment experiences that you expect from Sony.

With best regards,
Howard Stringer

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