QuickJump QuickPeek 51: Of Metal Gear Solid 4’s launch, the PlayStation 3’s ascent in May, and Dominus, the not-God of War

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(Editor’s Note: QuickPeek’s getting huge! And no wonder, we’re nearing QuickPeek’s first anniversary!)

Lots of news and updates this week, gamers! Think last week’s QuickPeek was long? Hold on to your hats! We have the skinny on everything from the upcoming episodic content for Grand Theft Auto IV, the huge Apple event where they revealed the 3G iPhone, and of course, Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots!

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Originally posted at June 13, 2008, 1:57PM

(Editor’s Note: Next week is QuickPeek’s first year anniversary! Huzzah! We’ll save the celebrations and fireworks for next week, but for now, on to the news!)

Whoa, that was an exhausting week of news! If you think last week’s QuickPeek was long, hold on to your hats! This week seems to have an extraordinary amount of news for the PlayStation 3, and no wonder! Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots has finally arrived in stores this week!

Aside from MGS4 though, this week has been pretty busy, busy! We have news on the upcoming episodic content for Grand Theft Auto IV, the ever-nearing E3 convention, the huge Apple event where they announced the 3G iPhone, and even the movie adaptation of BioShock. Oh, and did you know that Kratos was once known as Dominus? It’s true.

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PSP: Dawn of a new era

Europe gets the luck of the draw, unfortunately for everyone else, as news went out that the region will be receiving the Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII PlayStation Portable bundle, which will include the engraved silver PSP that Japan got with their own bundle. No word yet on whether it will also include the Buster Sword strap that was included in the Japan special edition. The bundle will be released on June 20. Lucky you, Europe.

Link: Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII PSP bundle announced by SCEE
Link: Rumor: Europe to get special edition Crisis Core PSPs?

Ready at Dawn, the studio behind God of War: Chains of Olympus, has officially announced its retreat from developing games for the Sony handheld, which is a loss for PSP gamers everywhere. Although we’ve been expecting them to make this announcement for a while now, it’s still quite a jolt to actually hear the official announcement.

Ubisoft, who seemed to some will be taking the same route as Ready at Dawn when they remarked that they wanted to see the handheld given some direction. Ubisoft clarified that they had no intention of abandoning the handheld at all, saying that they even have around a dozen games planned for the platform this year alone.

Link: Ubisoft: We still support the PSP and have a number of games planned for this year
Link: Ubisoft managing director urges Sony to give the PSP direction
Link: Ready At Dawn officially ends PSP development
Link: Didier Malenfant explains Ready at Dawn’s departure from PSP development

Earlier this month, tipster Hitori Futari let us know of the PhotoFast card adapter, which can hold up to 4 SDHC memory cards, allowing up to 32 GB of storage on the PSP. Now Futari does it again by sharing a ton of new info and pictures of the adapter (and booth babes). The adapter will be available in Japan by mid-July – hopefully, the rest of us will get a chance to get our hands on these babies soon as well.

Link: More PhotoFast accessory pictures and info from Computex 2008

Assassin’s Creed was undoubtedly a massively popular game on both the PlayStation 3 and the Xbox 360, and a prequel was even released for the Nintendo DS. The game was, however, conspicuously absent from the Sony handheld, which left a lot of gamers feeling a little deprived. In an attempt to right an incredible wrong, a petition was started for Ubisoft to bring the game to the PSP, and as of early June garnered over 20,000 signatures.

Link: Online petition for Assassin’s Creed passes 20,000 mark

On the heels of Custom Firmware 3.95 GEN comes GEN-2, which fixed several issues from the previous version. Also big in the homebrew scene this week are the latest versions of CWCheat and PSP Video Converter.

Link: Custom Firmware 3.95 GEN-2 released
Link: CWCheat 0.2.2 REV. C
Link: PSP Video Converter v2.7: increased image quality, bug fixes, more

Speaking of God of War, check out our Odds and Ends section for a little peek into Kratos’ past. Check back next week when QuickPeek turns a year old!

– QJ.NET’s PSPUpdates team

PlayStation 3: Solid Snake is in the house!

Finally! Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots has finally been released! After so long, it’s only right that the launch was met with fanfare from its longtime fans, and even its newfound fans. In anticipation for the game’s release, midnight launch parties were held in Los Angeles, New York, and San Francisco.

Tokyo was unfortunately deprived of their own launch events for Metal Gear Solid 4 though. No explanation was given why the events were canceled, but some communities have linked it to the recent Akihabara stabbings, which was previously linked to the launch of Ninja Gaiden II. Perhaps they were trying to prevent a similar event to happen for MGS4?

Link: Metal Gear Solid 4 launch events announced for US
Link: Tokyo’s Metal Gear Solid 4 launch events cancelled

Although some gamers had to endure a long and arduous wait for MGS4, some gamers were able to get their hands on the game, and even the PS3 MGS4 bundle, way before the official release. Although the street date was strictly enforced, Konami admitted that this was inevitable, as no one can monitor every copy of the game once its been distributed to stores.

Link: Man claims to have bought PS3’s MGS4 bundle from Wal-mart way early
Link: Konami admits blind spots: MGS4 retail leak inevitable

Now, if you haven’t gotten your copy of Metal Gear Solid 4 yet, you might want to skip to the next news article of this QuickPeek, since this will contain a spoiler for you. It’s not a major spoiler, but it might ruin the gag for you anyhow, especially if you’ve been a long time fan of the series. If you’re really sure you want to read about it anyhow, follow the link below.

Link: SPOILER ALERT: Otacon breaks fourth wall in MGS4 codec conversation

For several weeks now, we’ve been dishing out a bunch of feature articles in anticipation for the release of Metal Gear Solid 4. We’ve been counting down the weeks with a Character profile to reacquaint us with the franchise’s diverse cast, from Liquid Ocelot to Solid Snake himself. Topping it off is our feature on Everything You Need to Know about the game.

Link: Metal Gear Mania: all our special features for MGS4

Last time, we heard news that both Resistance: Fall of Man and its sequel will feature both Home and trophy support. Now, word has spread that another popular first-person shooter may feature Home integration. This is the PlayStation 3 version of BioShock, whose box art clearly shows the logo of PlayStation Home.

Link: BioShock PS3 to have Home integration?

Renowned modder Ben Heck does it again. Last year we got to take a peek at his one-handed PlayStation 3 controller. Back then it was still in its development stages, but now it’s actually ready for preorders. The controller is compatible with the PlayStation 2 and 3, and the PC, and will sell for US$ 129.95.

Link: Ben Heck’s one-handed PS3 controller now available for pre-orders

In-game XMB is currently the Holy Grail of Firmware updates for the PlayStation 3. A video recently surfaced, supposedly showing actual footage of the holy grail in-game XMB in action. The video shows the in-game XMB running a demo of Ridge Racer 7. We don’t know if it’s legit, but it certainly does look it.

While we’re on the subject of rumors and firmware updates, here’s one for the books: an in-game hint from Metal Gear Solid 4 (you’ll have to follow the link below to find out what, exactly) suggests that it will be possible to transfer music from your own HDD right into the in-game iPod. The most popular theory is that this feature will be introduced with FW 2.40.

Link: PS3 2.40 Test Firmware’s in-game XMB in action?
Link: Rumor: PS3 FW 2.40 allows HDD music transfer to MGS4 iPod?

Scroll down a bit to our General Gaming section for more PlayStation 3 news! Now… if you don’t mind us, we’re going back to playing Metal Gear Solid 4 now…

– QJ.NET’s PlayStation 3 team

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Xbox 360: Watch out for the next episode, coming soon to an Xbox 360 near you!

A lot of Xbox 360 gamers were undoubtedly waiting for this piece of news: Microsoft has confirmed that the downloadable episodic content for Grand Theft Auto 4 is still on track for this Fall. We’re certain a lot of gamers actually bought an Xbox 360 solely for the promise of the episodic content, so this is good news indeed.

Link: GTA 4 DLC still slated for Fall 2008, says Microsoft

A slew of RPG games will soon be heading for the Xbox 360, as we found out from the Xbox 360 RPG Premiere event in Japan. Most of the announced games will likely not see its way beyond Japan’s shores, but one game, at least, has been confirmed for a worldwide release: this is Square Enix’s The Last Remnant. The game will be released sometime this Winter. Check out a trailer for the game after the link.

Also from the event is news that Star Ocean 4, another Square Enix game, has received an official title, and is now named Star Ocean: The Last Hope. The game will be released sometime in 2009 for the Xbox 360 – no word on whether it will ever see a worldwide release, but the trailer’s narrated in English, so that’s a good sign. You can watch the trailer after the link below.

Link: The Last Remnant heading to 360 first, arriving this winter
Link: Star Ocean 4 becomes Star Ocean: The Last Hope, heads to 360 in 2009
Link: More RPGs coming to Xbox 360

It’s been a long time coming, but we finally see the light at the end of the tunnel for the Xbox 360 version of Unreal Tournament 3. A press release from Epic Games has informed us that the game will be shipping on July 7, with all new content and features, including the long sought-after split-screen mode. You can check out a batch of new screenshots of the 360 version of UT3 in action after the link.

Link: Unreal Tournament 3 for Xbox 360 to ship in July
Link: Seven new Unreal Tournament 3 screens from Epic Games

What’s your favorite space shooter? Do you prefer the classics like Asteroids and Galaga? How about the more chaotic Geometry Wars? Or the even more chaotic bullet hell game, Ikaruga? Or perhaps you’re the type who would rather build Gummi ships in Kingdom Hearts? If you have any fond memories of your favorite space shooter, share it in our Aces of the Galaxy Space Shooter Experience Contest, and get your chance to win a prize!

Link: QJ.Net’s Aces of the Galaxy space shooter experience contest

Now this is purely rumor, mind you, but it’s so outlandish that you just can’t help but wonder if it’s actually true: according to video game site ripten, the Metal Gear Solid series will be heading for the Xbox 360. More specifically, on Xbox Live Arcade.

There are many arguments against this, not least of which is how the Metal Gear series has primarily been a PlayStation exclusive. However, we can never count out the possibility that Konami had a change of heart. Who knows?

Link: Rumor: Metal Gear Solid series to infiltrate XBLA?

Watch out next week when QuickPeek turns a year old! See ya then!

– QJ.NET’s Xbox 360 team

Nintendo Wii: It must be a hard drive, it must be!

A few months ago, Capcom announced that they will be releasing a Wii port of Resident Evil 0 (also known as Biohazard 0), and announced a Japan release date some time later. Lack of interest from the western hemisphere prevented an international release though. This is not to say that no one was interested – just that not enough were.

Capcom Japan actually offered to release the game in the US. Twice. Capcom US, however, declined it both times, saying that “it’s pretty obvious that it’s not wanted by gamers here,” unfortunately enough for those of us who do want it.

Link: Capcom USA declined localization of Resident Evil 0 twice

WiiWare and VC gamers get a special treat this week from Nintendo. Live this week is My Pokemon Ranch, where you can raise and take care of your own Pokemon! The game is available for 1,000 Wii Points, and would really be worth dishing out for if you have Pokemon Diamond and Pokemon Pearl on your DS.

Retro gamers also get a blast from the past with Dig Dug, one of the best games the 80’s could offer. Taizo Hori, better known as Dig Dug, is back in his original 2D glory. The game is available for 600 Wii Points.

Link: US WiiWare and VC update: My Pokemon Ranch, Dig Dug, more

Those who are fond of Virtual Console and WiiWare games, not to mention Wiibrew, will know how important storage space can be on the Nintendo console. In fact, Wii gamers have been clamoring for an external hard drive for a long time now, which is why this piece of news feels a little like dangling a bone in front of a hungry Nintendog.

Nintendo recently posted an intriguing job posting up on their website, describing a position that will help create and execute a test plan for Wii USB devices. Now, of course we don’t know if this actually refers to an external hard drive, but we can always hope.

Link: Nintendo job post for Wii USB devices: hope for a hard drive?

Big stuff this week for the Wiibrew scene, the biggest being the latest update to the Wii Homebrew Channel. The update sports several new features, better support for SD cards and applications, and much more. Good stuff.

For devs, you’ll want to take a look at Lua for Wii. The app basically opens the floodgates for Lua programmers everywhere to try their hand at Wiibrew. For those who love their Wiibrew to the point of storage problems, you should take a look at FTPii, which allows the Wii to transfer files to and from your PC, which eliminates the need for constantly transferring your SD card just to put in new files.

Link: Wii Homebrew Channel beta 8 released
Link: FTPii: FTP server for the Wii
Link: Wiibrew: Lua for Wii v5.1.3

It had better be a hard drive.

– QJ.NET’s Nintendo Wii team

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General Gaming: When roles are reversed

The PlayStation 3 has once again stolen the limelight from the Xbox 360, as revealed by the sales reports from the NPD Group for the month of May. The Sony console has redeemed itself from last month’s hiccup when it wasn’t able to outsell the Xbox 360 despite expectations from analysts and other groups from the industry.

While the PS3 did outsell the 360, the Wii is still, far and away, the most popular of the consoles, selling more than three times as much as the PS3 did. While this is true, the victory this month on the software side of things still go to the PS3 and the 360, thanks to Grand Theft Auto IV.

GTA IV sold less than what the industry expected, but nevertheless had phenomenal sales. The Xbox 360 version of the game sold almost twice as the PlayStation 3 version did. Mario Kart Wii, Wii Play, and Wii Fit also had a piece of the pie, securing their places on the top 5 best selling games for May.

Link: NPD May results finally out: PS3 overtakes Xbox 360
Link: Nintendo, Sony, Microsoft announce their NPD achievements for May 2008

Grand Theft Auto IV may have stolen the show on the software side of things, but the numbers also suggest that the game didn’t help sales of consoles – at least, not in a meaningful sense, as analyst Colin Sebastian remarked recently.

At any rate, it seems that GTA IV is finally losing some of its momentum; after a five-week run, the game has finally bowed out from the top spot of the UK software charts in favor of Lego Indiana Jones: Original Adventures. Ryu Hayabusa also kicks his way into the charts as Ninja Gaiden II debuts in sixth place.

Link: Lego Indy whips Niko Bellic in UK: Lego Indiana Jones debuts on top
Link: Analyst: Grand Theft Auto IV didn’t help console sales

Speaking of Lego Indy, LucasArts made waves recently shortly after the game was released. The studio recently announced that they’ve recently let go of as many as 100 employees. They’ve confirmed that none of these employees were from the team behind Star Wars: The Force Unleashed, and Fracture.

In apparent retaliation, one of the sacked employees joined “the dark side” and chose to leak out inside information on the studio’s upcoming projects. Whether the leak is true or not, it’s certainly a worthy wish list. Among other things, the leak claims that the next Knights of the Old Republic game will be an MMORPG, and that the Wii might get a lightsaber game.

Link: LucasArts confirms big layoffs
Link: Sacked LucasArts employee joins the dark side?

Here are some updates on two highly anticipated games. First up is BioShock, which Take-Two Interactive’s Strauss Zelnick has coyly revealed will be a trilogy. Along with this, he also revealed that the upcoming BioShock movie will probably only make its way unto the silver screen when BioShock 3 comes out, which is a long time from now.

Next up is news on the latest of the Call of Duty series, which is now officially known as Call of Duty: World at War. Call of Duty will be returning to its historical roots, and will be set during the era of World War II. Find out more about the upcoming game after the link.

Link: BioShock to be a trilogy; movie to be released with third game
Link: Call of Duty 5 official name and additional details confirmed

More bad omens for the future of E3. As most of you are aware by now, several major studios and publishers have left ESA recently, which means E3 will be deprived of their presence this year. Hal Halpin, head of the ECA, a group dedicated to the interests of video gamers, recently remarked that the remaining members are unhappy, and that more are likely to leave soon.

E3 will still be bringing us the latest and biggest video game news from the industry though. Heavy hitters Capcom and Electronic Arts both have a long list of games that they’ll be bringing along with them to the event. Microsoft has an intimidating line-up of games for the event, which includes Fable 2, Gears of War 2, Too Human, and the latest Banjo-Kazooie game. Also coming is Fallout 3 from Bethesda Softworks.

Link: ECA head honcho: ESA members are unhappy, more may leave soon
Link: E3 update: List of currently confirmed games for event

Science and Technology: Meep meep

The PlayStation 3’s Broadband Cell Chip is well known for its power, being used in a number of sophisticated machines, including the creation of the then-fastest supercomputer, the Blue Gene/P. Now it has made history once again, for the same reason it has made history last time – the Chip has once again been used to create the world’s fastest supercomputer.

Called the Roadrunner, this supercomputer has the processing power that Skynet would envy. Ok, maybe not, but it won’t be surprising if it acquired self-awareness and enslaves the human race. The Roadrunner runs on speeds exceeding a petaflop, meaning it can do more than a quadrillion calculations per second, meaning it’s very, very fast.

Link: PlayStation 3 Cell Chip used to make fastest supercomputer again

Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference event earlier this week held a bunch of pleasant surprises, not least of which is the official unveiling of the 3G model of the iPhone. The phone will be out this July 11 from physical AT&T and Apple stores.

Also revealed during the event is the long-awaited Firmware 2.0 update, which will also be coming this July for the iPhone and iPod Touch. FW 2.0 will come free for iPhone owners, but will cost US$ 9.95 for the iPod Touch.

Link: iPhone 3G models available only at physical AT&T and Apple stores
Link: Glad you waited? Apple confirms iPhone 3G; 8GB costs US$ 199
Link: Unconfirmed 3G iPhone hardware details, leaked pics
Link: Firmware 2.0 coming this July for iPhone and iPod Touch

Odds-and-Ends: The God of Cars and Rockets

Who, in the names of the gods of Olympus, is Dominus? Apparently, it was the original name of their mighty warrior, Kratos. It was, fortunately enough, changed. Apparently, God of War was also in danger of being titled without a title at all, but just an Omega sign (imagine calling it just Ω). That plan was scrapped too.

In a recent blog post from David Jaffe himself, a list of abandoned working titles for God of War, Twisted Metal, and Call All Cars was revealed. It’s easy to see how a name could really define what a game is. Imagine if Twisted Metal was ever called Cars and Rockets…

Link: Shelved titles for God of War, Twisted Metal; Kratos’ original name revealed

In any industry, there is always the spirit of healthy competition – but sometimes things get a little too aggressive. In a recent trailer for Saints Row 2, the video took potshots at Rockstar Games’ massively popular Grand Theft Auto IV. The audacity of it drove analyst Mike Hickey to comment on how Saints Row 2 was being “pompous” with its marketing.

Link: Saints Row 2 disses GTA4, analyst calls it “pompous”

The homebrew scene is abuzz this week with the launch of the first ever Scenery Beta 2008, a homebrew exhibition that spans four platforms: the Nintendo Wii and DS, the PSP, and the PC. Although it is primarily a venue for programmers to showcase their creations, outstanding works also get a chance to win a cash prize.

Link: Scenery Beta 2008: homebrew fiesta across four platforms
Link: Scenery Beta 2008: Guns Armors v2.0 – with graphics improvements and more

Comment of the Week: I can beat you with just one hand

Ben Heck, modder extraordinaire, is on the verge of completing his one-handed controller project, if it isn’t already completed. Aside from being useful to people who want one hand free for grabbing chips, the controller will prove to be much more than that for the handicapped who are not able to use both hands, as reader .A.J. comments:

QuickPeek Comment of the Week - Image 1 

Link: Ben Heck’s one-handed PS3 controller now available for pre-orders

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