The dust of GDC has settled. From Microsoft, we have release dates and news about Gears 2, Ninja Gaiden 2 and Fable 2. Nintendo saw it fit to see us fit in May (see what I did there?) and told us when weâ€™d be seeing Wii-ware titles. Perhaps the most surprising news at GDC was, ironically, the lack of news from Sony. Having just experienced a great holiday season and riding on momentum from Januaryâ€™s NPDâ€™s, Sony was in prime position to unveil some big news/release dates pertaining to MGS 4, Little Big Planet and of course, Home – the latter two were unveiled at GDC for the first time last year.
So what happened? Were there unexpected problems with the software involved? Are they waiting until their â€œGamer’s Dayâ€ conference to make any big announcements? Or perhaps Sony simply wished to keep its presence at GDC close to what the main purpose of the whole event was – a convention by developers, for developers, without turning it into the next E3. Or maybe they just didnâ€™t have their stuff together.
Any way you look at it, Sony seems to have missed an opportunity here. Whatever their reason might be for not unleashing any kind of big information, itâ€™s pretty clear that they took first prize in the â€œweakest performanceâ€category among the big three at GDC this year.
But fear not. Although it may seem like Sonyâ€™s hit another hiccup in what is surely the awkward adolescent stage of the PS3’s life, a few interesting items have popped up around the net the past few days that may make you think twice before sinking into despair. Letâ€™s take a look.
- 3 New SKUs
Across 2 territories that is. Coming to America in late Q2 is the 80GB MGS bundle, complete with a DualShock 3, retailing for $499. Then weâ€™ve got Europeâ€™s standard dicking â€“ a â€œmovie bundleâ€, which is a 40GB PS3 with 3 Blu-rays, including Casino Royale, Spiderman 3 and 300 for 300 Euro, as well as the Grand Turismo bundle, which will include a 40GB unit with a copy of GT5: Prologue for 399 Euro. Not so bad right? Too bad neither of these other two bundles will ship with a Dual Shock 3.
Whatâ€™s exciting here is that weâ€™re seeing what seems like some release dates actually starting to seep out of the woodwork. April is when we see the Dual Shock 3 (finally!), and they’re aiming for a Q2 release date for a new SKU (the MGS one).
Oh, and this just in. MGS4: June 14th.
Iâ€™d also like to mention that with the announcement of this bundle, rumors that Sony was going to completely kill off their 80GB model, and consequently backwards compatibility, have been temporarily squashed. Whether or not this is the last iteration of the 80GB model weâ€™ll seeâ€¦who knows. So far this bundle hasnâ€™t been termed a â€œlimited editionâ€, and with the way it looks like it might sell (it doesnâ€™t a take genius to figure out that itâ€™s a hell of a deal), I canâ€™t see Sony constricting what might be the biggest surge in console sales they might get until Holiday season â€™08.
- Some Home News/Rumors
The good people over at Kotaku have received some very interesting news about Sonyâ€™s Home software, the 3D interface that will provide players with a virtual environment in which they can interact, buy items from the store, watch game trailers and launch into games. Personally, Iâ€™m hoping that Home helps give Sonyâ€™s console a soul â€“ something that makes you smile and brings you comfort when you think about it.
Anyway, according to the Kotaku guys, the way that key titles such as Resistance, Warhawk and Uncharted will be featured in Home could be very, very awesome. Rather then spoil all of the good tidbits, Iâ€™ll let you check out the articles yourself. Keep in mind though â€“ no official announcements have been made. Youâ€™ve been warned: Resistance. Warhawk. Uncharted.
- Valkyria Chronicles
Lastly, although Segaâ€™s been frying up some incredible turd-burgers for the Wii lately, a gorgeous 3rd person shooter entitled Valkyria Chronicles is officially on its way to US shores. Not quite released in Japan yet, this game completely slipped my radar until 2 days ago and might very well be the first game that I decide to import. (Remember, PS3 titles are regionleeeesssss ^_^) The game is decidedly Japanese, and its graphics take form by way of Segaâ€™s new CANVAS engine, which aims at simulating a watercolor painting in motion. If gameplay can live up to the way this game looks (and maybe even if it canâ€™t), this might really be one worth checking out, come fall. Check out the trailer and some more screen shots here.
I feel like I need my smock to even look at this.
Oh, and did I mention itâ€™s an exclusive?
So if you spent all that money on a PS3, keep your chins up kids. You know the 360â€™s going to deliver this year, and Smash Bros is right around the corner for you Wii-ners. It seems like Sonyâ€™s stepping back into what might be some uncertain territory, but I wouldnâ€™t worry about it too much. Step back and enjoy the show â€“ and who knows, we might all be Home before we know it.