Rundown the Street (22/02/13)

RTS LogoIt’s time for Rundown the Street! Let’s go over recent news!

PlayStation 4 Announcement Dragged On; Bored Audience to Death

PS4 Announcement

On Wednesday, Sony held a 2-hour press conference to announce the PlayStation 4. While Sony intentionally withheld the price tag, they confirmed a large amount of social features, and several ways in which they intend to make the most out of their acquisition of Gaikai last year. Some of those include streaming older titles that can’t be run natively, instant demos, and playing a game as it downloads. The controller received a redesign in line with the leaked devkits, but the Start and Select buttons weren’t simply removed, they were moved aside and replaced with the Options and Share buttons, respectively. A motion sensor more along the lines of the Move instead of the one used in the PS3 controllers was also confirmed.

PS4 Specs

Sony also revealed the tentative specs, and they’re the sort of which that make the price tag highly unlikely to be in the $400 range people are predicting, especially with the company in so much financial trouble. It has been confirmed that the system will be using x86 achitecture, however, essentially making it a specialized PC, which should make programming and porting far easier than before. A major issue with the PS3 and PS2 out of the gate were their strange choices in terms of architecture, and it seems this system seems to avert it. That said, it kills the idea of backwards-compatability – everything you have on your PS3, including digital titles, will not work on the PS4. They won’t even go the Xbox 360 route by emulating the PS3 in the PS4. This could ruin the PS4’s momentum as publishers refuse to move away from the large install base.

PS4 Controller Image 1

The hardware sounds good, but a lot of the features sound creepy or terrible (the ability to use your real name, letting other people take over control of a game if you suck at it, predicting what you’ll buy and downloading it without asking you if you want to buy it, etc.). I can only hope that stuff can be disabled. Sony also tried to push Remote Play again, but we all say how well that went on the PS3, where most games refused to allow it.

As a side-note, while Watch Dogs was at the presentation and announced as a launch title, they confirmed that it would be on the Wii U, PS3, 720 and 360 right after the conference. Most of their software announcements were dull, though, with only a few non-ports that had concrete details, one of which was merely a timed exclusive from the creator of Braid. Instead, they opted to show a graphic with a bunch of publishers and telling us they were bringing games to the PS4 at some point. To be fair, though, I saw Nippon Ichi, Atlus, Gust and Idea Factory on there, so it’s only a matter of time before I get the system, but it most likely will not be at launch.

PS4 Controller Image 2

Basically, the hardware is great, but there’s little software to my taste so far. They also didn’t need two hours for that. Plus, Sony seems to be dodging the question of price as well as the questions regarding their used game patent. That is not a good sign.

A hilariously accurate summary of the conference can be found in this 3-minute video:

The PS4 will be released for Holiday 2013. I hope this isn’t a case of being rushed to market.

Nintendo Quietly Lowered the Requirements for Becoming a Wii U Dev

Wii U

It’s no secret that the Wii U isn’t doing too well lately. However, I recently stumbled upon an updated set of requirements for developing on the Wii U that might just shine a light on how Nintendo will get out if this mess.

If you recall, I bashed Nintendo’s policies surrounding the Wii, mainly due to high minimums before receiving your money, as well as restrictions such as the dedicated office space requirement that stopped a lot of developers from even thing about the system, especially with such a weak online marketplace that would not be worth the hassle.

The requirements for developing on the Wii U or 3DS are as follows:

  • You must have released at least one game previously,
  • You have to be a registered business for tax reasons, and
  • You need to buy a devkit.

This allows anyone who can afford the relatively cheap price of a devkit to sell games starting from their second game release. Needless to say, this opens up the floodgates, especially when you consider that the standard Wii U devkit engine is Unity, the most popular indie engine that allows easy exporting to all platforms with a single button press.

Yes, the Wii U may be saved by indie developers. Only time will tell if this will actually happen, but it seriously looks like it might. Though it has a hard fight against the PS4’s extremely friendly-sounding architecture ahead.

NIS America Announce Three PS3 Games, One Anime

NIS America has announced that they will be handling localization for Disgaea Dimension 2, The God of Fate and Revolution Paradox and Imageepoch’s Time and Eternity by the end of the year. They also announced that the games they already have on their plate that haven’t been released are still being worked on, and that that one unspecified anime was coming (ten bucks it’s Neptunia and their first foray into dubbing). They also confirmed that they were refocusing the team to work on some PS4 titles.

Disgaea Dimension 2 (also known as Disgaea D2), is a direct sequel to the PS2 classic (and debut title of the series) Disgaea: Hour of Darkness, which was later ported to the DS as Disgaea DS and to the PSP as Disgaea: Afternoon of Darkness. The English title of the game will be Disgaea D2: A Brighter Darkness. The game introduces several features to streamline the game, re-introduces mechanics from the first game that was dropped from later titles, re-focuses the Item World to make piracy more central and renames it the Item Sea, and replaces the Magichange mechanic that was introduced in Disgaea 3: Absence of Justice with the ability to ride monster class units. The slightly-hidden relationship mechanic from Disgaea 4: A Promise Unforgotten returns, but no longer requires the messing around to get it to happen that was in that game, instead happening automatically.

NIS America released a trailer, though it’s just a subtitled version of the first Japanese trailer:

Disgaea D2: A Brighter Darkness will be released in English this Fall, and will come out in Japan in March. It is meant to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Disgaea series and the 20th anniversary of Nippon Ichi Systems. There are several other 20th anniversary titles, but some of them won’t leave Japan because NIS America doesn’t consider a visual novel to be a game.

The God of Fate and Revolution Paradox, which is also an NIS 20th anniversary title, will be released in English as The Guided Fate Paradox. The game was released in Japan in January to poor sales. The Guided Fate Paradox is a spiritual successor to another NIS title, Z.H.P. Unlosing Ranger VS Darkdeath Evilman for PSP. They released a subbed trailer for this one as well, but with English gameplay:

The Guided Fate Paradox will be released in English this Fall.

The last PS3 title, Time and Eternity is a mystery JRPG that uses anime assets to give you a faux-anime experience. Despite being generally panned, it sold rather well in Japan. NIS America put out a completely English trailer for this one:

Time and Eternity was released back in October in Japan, and will be released in English this Summer. Unlike most PS3 titles, it will only cost $50.

Mysterious Girlfriend X Getting Dubbed for June Release

Mysterious Girlfriend X

This is minor compared to everything else, but Sentai Filmworks’ release slate for June includes a blu-ray release of Mysterious Girlfriend X, which I previously covered on Under Your Radar. As with all Sentai Filmworks blu-ray releases, it will be receiving a dub to go with it. We had not been made aware of this prior to the announcement, and choosing to dub this sort of series is a very much unusual choice. We’ll see how it turns out.

Their release slate for June also includes Dusk Maiden of AmnesiaTegami Bachi: Letter Bee Reverse, Kill Me Baby, Saiyuki, Tari Tari and Momo, Girl God of Death.