This is Button Mashing, Grizzly Bomb’s video game news headquarters. Previews, interviews, rumors and all the latest stories relating to the biggest games, all in one place. Here are the most important things you need to know for the week of January 30th, 2012:
‘Xbox 720’ Chipset in Production – (IGN)
Rumors and hearsay has become cold, hard fact: “Xbox 720”, or at least its core ‘System on a Chip’, is already being developed. According to Fudzilla:
“Recent speculation that the new main System on a Chip (SoC) for the Next Xbox began production is apparently accurate; the SoC did indeed start production in late December of 2011. Sources tell us that the code name for the chip is Oban, and it is being produced by both IBM and Global Foundries for Microsoft.“
Fudzilla’s report continued with a lot of important (and partially incorrect) combinations of words and numbers which are certainly important and made no sense to someone as tech-stupid as myself:
“The power behind the next Xbox will be a PowerPC CPU that is married to an ATI Southern Islands GPU, or modified 7000 series…”
However, IGNcorrected the initial mistake with the following update:
“…mass production of the system’s GPU will indeed begin by the end of 2012 but will not, however, be based on AMD’s 7000 series Southern Islands GPU. Instead, the processor will be derived from the 6000 series, which was introduced last year. More specifically, it will be akin to the Radeon HD 6670, which offers support for DirectX11, multidisplay output, 3D and 1080p HD output.”
They went on to summarize it for the layman (Thank you IGN. Sincerely: The layman):
“In real terms, the Xbox 720’s raw graphics processing power is expected to be six times that of the Xbox 360 and will yield 20-percent greater performance than Nintendo’s forthcoming console, the Wii U.“
Okay, back to the initial story:
This first run of these 32nm Oban chips will be destined for developer consoles, so any hope for a holiday console release in 2012 seems unrealistic, according to our sources, but an announcement perhaps before the end of the year might be possible. It would seem Microsoft’s strategy of getting it in 2013 is all but assured. We do think that the chips will be in production by the end of the year for consoles destined to be sold in 2013, which seems to agree with what others are saying.“
So here are the bullet points for anyone else who isn’t fluent in the language of computer components:
- IBM and Microsoft have begun development on the next Xbox’s main chipset
- It is based on the AMD 6000 series GPU
- Graphical power could be 6x more powerful than the Xbox 360
- The Xbox 720 could potentially be ready for sale in 2013
Phew. Okay. Hopefully that makes sense.
Worldwide Release for the Wii U This Holiday Season – (Side Mission)
At Nintendo’s recent earnings conference, CEO Satoru Iwata announced the Wii U will be released in Japan, Europe, Australia and North America in time for holiday season, 2012.
The announcement served as an optimistic note during the otherwise painful conference – It’s been reported that Nintendo’s sales have dropped significantly this year. Side Mission went on to add that some sources tout the Wii U as twice as powerful as the Xbox 360 – which means following the story above, the next-gen Nintendo console will fire at 1/3 the capacity of Microsoft’s upcoming one. As of yet, I am unaware of any official statements from Sony confirming developments on the PlayStation 4.
The Darkness II Gets its Launch Trailer
The Darkness is a game that, statistically, you didn’t play. Based on the popular comic book of the same name, which presented a pretty cool supernatural take on a mob storyline, the video game didn’t exactly do well. However the sequel has been promising that it will make up for missed opportunities with a more engaging gameplay experience and a more stylish visual aesthetic. Here’s the launch trailer:
It’s kind of funny to see a ‘Not actual gameplay disclaimer’ these days, now that most games are so impressive they don’t need pre-rendered, polished cinematics to sell their product, but I digress. Supascoot and I have discussed The Darkness II a little, having played the original and we both have a similar feeling. It’s no question The Darkness is a bad game, but we can’t quite shake the possibility that, if The Darkness II actually takes advantage of the series’ potential, it could surprise us all and be a pretty awesome game.
‘The Witcher 2’ – Xbox 360 Trailer Makes Me Sad
…because I have a PS3. The Witcher 2‘s reputation seems to be that it’s one of the deepest, most rewarding RPGs ever made, and that it has one of the best written stories in the industry. Some place it under, equal to, or above Mass Effect 2, which immediately grabbed my interest. However, as a PC exclusive I’m likely never going to play it. Well, now the game is coming out on Xbox, and this very cool trailer came along to announce it’s arrival on the 360:
The port has been in the works for a long time and was initially meant for release in 2011, but the game had to be held back. The Witcher 2 for Xbox will finally hit store shelves on April 17th.
Rumors Circulating Regarding ‘God of War 4’ and ‘Syphon Filter 4’ – (IGN)
UK gaming magazine Play recently published an article called 10 Games That Will Be Announced This Year. Among the other titles listed, God of War and Syphon Filter‘s fourth games made an appearance. From Play:
On Syphon Filter 4: “As far as our spies tell us, Syphon Filter 4 will be announced and released during 2012 — they’re not often wrong either.”
And God of War 4: “Sony Santa Monica’s call for an online dev to join its ranks has many thinking the inevitable God of War IV will include online play”
IGN went to Sony for comment, and a rep. responded, saying “no announcements have been made…anything [you] are hearing is speculation.”
Rocksteady Might Do Arkham City-Style TMNT Game – (Comic Book Movie)
Remember the speculative hoopla regarding The Joker’s acceptance speech at the VGA’s? Time to replace that with a new rumor. According to Paul Gale Network, Rocksteady might put Gotham City away for the time being in order to make a game based on the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. The game would allegedly be called Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Manhattan Crisis and follow a lot of the rhythms of Arkham City. This is such a far-fetched rumor that I find it hard to believe, and PGN was pretty clear that they don’t actually have a source for this story. Anyway, here are the supposed details:
- Leonardo, Donatello, Raphael, and Michelangelo are the four playable characters, each with their own varied move set and weapon of choice (sword, bo staff, sai, and nunchucku…respectively).
- Flashbacks are played as Master Splinter/Hamato Yoshi.
- Shurikens, smoke bombs, grappling hooks, and climbing foot spikes.
- Gameplay and story/stage progression similar to Batman: Arkham City.
- Classic characters such as Bebop and Rocksteady (warthog and rhinoceros), Dr. Baxter Stockman, Shredder (Oroku Saki), and Krang act as bosses and in the case of the humans-turned-mutants, you fight them in both forms throughout the story.
- The Turtle Van and Turtle Blimp will be present and with them and other gadgets, the Wii U build is expected to have touch screen controls for specific actions.
- Multiplayer is unknown.
- Graphics engine used is that of Arkham City.
- The game is expected to be more dark than slapstick, but the turtles themselves and their interactions with the Foot Clan, bosses, and story characters like April O’Neil and Casey Jones will still have comedy attached.
- Purportedly being in development for Wii U, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3.
- Careful selection of voice actors to bring the universe to life as well as Rocksteady did with their two Batman games.
I’d be willing to believe that Rocksteady is doing a TMNT game for their next title, but I’m a lot more skeptical that the game would take the same blueprint from Arkham City. The details sound too similar to the previous Batman games to sound authentic to me, and I can’t imagine they’d essentially just repackage an old game with new characters and ship it out to stores. What do you think? Does it sound legitimate to you? Do you even want a TMNT: Arkham City game?