About Author: Chris Dunn

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Profile | @rebonack | chris@tvandlust.net

Posts by Chris Dunn

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XSEED Confirms Release Date of The Last Story

The Last Story has seen a number of placeholder dates on various websites, but publisher XSEED Games has finally confirmed the game’s North American release date. Set to release for Wii on August 14, while all first-run copies of The Last Story will include an art book, preorders will also receive a soundtrack CD. Retailers confirmed to be carrying the soundtrack include Amazon, GameStop, and, in Canada, EBGames. XSEED has said that other retailers may offer the bonus, but you’ll have to inquire with that specific retailer, while the aforementioned three are guaranteed to offer it.

In the meantime, check out this trailer released earlier this year.

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NiGHTS HD Announced for XBLA, PSN, PC

Sixteen years to the day after its initial release on the Saturn, Sega has announced an HD remake of NiGHTS into Dreams. Coming to Xbox Live Arcade, PlayStation Network, and PC, NiGHTS HD will naturally incorporate HD 16:9 visuals, leaderboards, and support for Trophies and Achievements. And for purists, the game will include an optional “Saturn Mode”, so the game can be played with its original graphics intact. NiGHTS into Dreams is set to release on XBLA, PSN, and PC this fall.

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Persona 4: Arena to be Region-Locked on PS3

An Atlus staff member has confirmed on their official forums that their upcoming PlayStation 3 release of Persona 4: Arena, a fighting game based on the Persona series, will be region-locked. This is unusual, as the PS3 is the only console of the current generation that is completely region-free, so generally a game from any region can play on any system. Both the North American release and the Japanese release will include Japanese and English options for both voice and text, so gamers in either region shouldn’t be missing out on any content due to the inability to import. No specific reason was given for the region-locking. This may not be a huge deal for this particular game, as the international releases are fairly close together and similar in content, but it could set a bad precedent.

Persona 4: Arena is set for release on Xbox 360 and PS3 in Japan later this month, with a North American release to follow on August 7.

Update 7/12/12: After confirmation that Persona 4: Arena will be region-locked, Atlus has since clarified the reasoning for the sudden change. In a statement, Atlus PR and sales manager Aram Jabbari confirmed that this is not the beginning of a new policy, and most of their future games will not see the same fate. He explained that the region lock was a business decision resulting from a number of factors, many of which benefit their fans: both feature the same exact content (including dual language tracks and global multiplayer), and the North American release is within two weeks of the Japanese release. As a result of this, there was a chance of cannibalizing the sales of the game in Japan due to Japanese gamers importing the North American version at a significantly lower price (since both feature the exact same content). He went on to recognize the benefits of importing, but pointed out that in this case both regions are receiving the same game, so while importing has little benefit to the consumer, it would be to the detriment of the publisher.

While region-locking is unfortunate, at least in this case it seems to be a result of Atlus’ efforts to please fans in other ways. Importing often occurs because of long delays between regional releases (or no release at all) or a lack of features, and it seems like the publisher has made efforts to fix both of these, at least in the regions they are established in (North America and Japan).

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Mighty Switch Force! HD is Coming to a Wii U Near U

This month’s Nintendo Power has revealed the latest Wii U eShop title: WayForward’s Mighty Switch Force! HD. A remake of the 3DS eShop title, the game will feature completely redrawn artwork (which, in the higher resolution, will look more like the game’s official artwork) by the game’s original artists. It will feature the same level designs and unique gameplay mechanics seen in the 3DS version, possibly with some tweaks due to changes in the screen size and aspect ratio, as well as the bonus content and quick retry which were recently added to the game via an update. Creative director Matt Bozon also teased that they may even add more extra content, but that nothing is finalized yet. Bozon confirmed that they chose to focus on a remake as a warmup for Wii U development, and that they expect the game to be a launch title for the Wii U eShop. While he didn’t mention any names, he did confirm that the company has more projects in the works for both Wii U and 3DS to be revealed at a later date.

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Nintendo of America Promotes “Game of the Weekend” in the 3DS eShop

During their Nintendo Direct events, each of Nintendo’s regional branches announced discounts for eShop titles. While Japan and Europe saw a list of titles, America’s only discounted title was Super Mario Land, and only for a short period (the sale has been over for a few days now). However, in today’s list of eShop releases, they revealed the reason why: it’s called “Game of the Weekend”. Each week, Nintendo of America will highlight an eShop title and sell it at a discounted price. Last weekend Super Mario Land was $1 off at $2.99, and this weekend, VVVVVV is the Game of the Weekend. Normally $7.99, the game will be available for $4.99 between Friday June 29 at 9AM PST and Sunday July 1 at 9PM PST (which is a heck of a deal, considering it was one of my favorite games last year). With this alongside the 8-Bit Summer promotion, it seems like Nintendo is finally giving the eShop the spotlight it deserves. And if these promotions happen to bring you to the eShop, you also might want to check out Renegade Kid’s Bomb Monkey, Marvel Pinball 3D, and the demo of Rhythm Thief and the Emperor’s Treasure, all available today.

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Journey Collector’s Edition Coming to Retail

Thatgamecompany, developers behind acclaimed PSN titles flOw, Flower, and Journey, is finally releasing the titles at retail. The Journey Collector’s Edition will include all three of the aforementioned titles, as well as a number of special features on a single Blu-Ray disc:

  • 30-minute behind-the-scenes documentary about the making of Journey
  • Creator Commentary play-throughs of all three games
  • Three exclusive mini-games from thatgamecompany
  • Concept art and screenshot galleries for all three games
  • Original soundtracks for all three games
  • PS3 dynamic themes and wallpapers
  • PSN avatars including 8 exclusive new Journey avatars never released before
  • Official game trailers and developer diary videos
  • Reversible cover art
  • 30 day subscription to PlayStation Plus

The three included minigames were created at a 24 hour game jam, and this disc will be the first time the games are playable outside of their studio. The Journey Collector’s Edition is set to release for PlayStation 3 in North America on August 28 for $29.99. Check out the (not final) box art below.

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8-Bit Summer Reveals Virtual Console Release Dates

Nintendo of America released a trailer for the upcoming 8-Bit Summer promotion, which will see two 3DS Virtual Console releases every week throughout the month of July. The trailer reveals some of the included titles and their eShop release dates, including:

July 5: The Legend of Zelda

July 12: Kirby’s Pinball Land, The Sword of Hope II

July 19: Kid Icarus: Of Myths and Monsters, Tumblepop

July 26: Wario Land: Super Mario Land 3

With the exception of Zelda, they’re all original Game Boy releases, which the Virtual Console has been missing lately. The video also shows footage of Sonic Blast and Sonic Labyrinth for Game Gear, which, while not quite in keeping with the 8-bit theme, will likely also see a release soon.

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Nintendo Wins Random Thursday Night

In addition to the announcement of the 3DS XL, Nintendo of America also made some other announcements regarding upcoming games in their impromptu Nintendo Direct broadcast. Perhaps most notably is the confirmation that a new Super Smash Bros. installment, previously announced at E3 2011, is in development for 3DS and Wii U in partnership with Namco Bandai, under the supervision of series director Masahiro Sakurai. The game began development after Kid Icarus: Uprising was completed, so it’ll be some time before it sees release, but rest assured — it’s coming. The company also confirmed the November release of Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask, and reconfirmed the 2013 localization of Fire Emblem Awakening. No mention of Animal Crossing, but considering they focus on only the upcoming months in their Nintendo Direct broadcasts, it’s likely the game will release in North America in 2013.

Concerning the eShop, Nintendo of America plans to release two Virtual Console games a week throughout the month of July. Some of the titles specifically mentioned were The Legend of Zelda, Kirby’s Pinball Land, and Wario Land: Super Mario Land 3. The Kingdom Hearts 3D demo, on the other hand, is available right now for your downloading pleasure. Also coming to the eShop down the line: Pokemon Dream Radar, an AR game that will allow you to catch Pokemon and import them to Black and White 2; paid downloadable content for New Super Mario Bros. 2 in the form of coin battle stages; and even discounts, starting very soon with Super Mario Land for $2.99.

After the company’s less than stellar E3 showing, I wasn’t sure what to expect from this showing so shortly afterward, but they certainly brought their A-game. Nintendo may not have won E3, but they certainly did a heck of a job on a random Thursday night.

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3DS XL is Official

Confirming rumors that popped up in Nikkei shortly before E3, Nintendo president Satoru Iwata revealed the new 3DS LL (3DS XL outside of Japan), a larger version of Nintendo’s latest handheld, in the latest Nintendo Direct video (and the system was then confirmed for other regions in subsequent regional broadcasts). The system is larger version of the 3DS, featuring 90% larger screens, better battery life, improved start, select, and home buttons, and surprisingly, only one Circle Pad. The revised version of the system is set to launch in both red and blue colors in North America on August 19 for $199.99.

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Okami HD Coming to PSN

After rumors began to swirl yesterday, Capcom and Sony have confirmed to Kotaku that an HD re-release of Okami is coming to PlayStation Network. Details are slim, but it was confirmed that the game will include HD 16:9 visuals, PlayStation Move support, and Trophies. It’s scheduled for release in Japan on November 1, and sometime this fall in North America for $19.99.