New Project Cafe rumors make me nervous

Recently Nintendo gave official confirmation regarding the development of their next console, which is to be unveiled at E3 2011 next month. The code name for the console at this point is Project Cafe, which will almost certainly not be the final name for the console. Ever since the first rumors hit the Internet, speculation has been running wild over what the console would bring to the table. Some sources say that it’s significantly more powerful than the 360 and PS3, others say it’s about on par. Some say it has a 6″ touch screen on the controller, others say that’s crazy talk. Either way, some rumors seem to be gaining momentum, and the newest round points to some quirky decisions being made.

According to Stephen Totilo, here are the newest batch of rumors that he’s pulled together; and he seems confident that they are indeed legitimate.

  • No internal hard drive
  • 8GB flash-based memory, possibly for game storage
  • Disc format that holds 25GB storage (possibly single-layer blu-ray)
  • Support for SD cards
  • Possibly 1080i maximum resolution
  • The console can stream to the controller screen for portable play
  • Wii Remotes definitely work with new console

I like the streaming to the screen for portable play, that sounds nice. It’s also really cool that the Wii Remotes will still work with the console, but the first few items worry me. Without a larger storage solution, downloadable content will be somewhat limited or else gamers will always be having to swap in SD cards. The disc storage might point to blu-ray, which would be nice, but it would be a real shame if they don’t support multi-layered discs. Finally, the possibility that the console won’t do 1080p would be near inexcusable. While 1080i still looks nice, there’s no reason not to support full 1080p with a console that’s aimed for a 2012 release.

It’s starting to feel like some of the earlier rumors about Nintendo putting out a powerhouse console are starting to be replaced by Nintendo putting out a console that’s going to be more in line with the 360 and PS3. While that’s a huge leap up from the Wii, it would be the same story again once the PS3 and 360 successors release and Nintendo’s console is once again a generation behind.

Graphics aren’t the issue here, either. The issue is that if Nintendo’s console can’t keep up from a hardware standpoint, the library will suffer. The fact that 3rd parties have been speaking highly of Project Cafe makes me think that Nintendo has a good idea on their hands, but I’m really hoping that it’s not going to be a generation behind again.

Starhawk for PS3 rumors circulate

Warhawk was one of the first big multiplayer games for the PS3 that had sustained success. I got into it a bit, but ultimately I was left feeling that not enough attention was given to the flight combat and I didn’t stick around for too long. With rumors swirling that Starhawk is still  in the works, I just might get that flight-heavy combat sim experience that I’ve been hoping for.

About two years ago Sony registered a trademark for a game to be named “Starhawk”, but not much came of it. Many figured that the project was either canned or it was just Sony securing the name just in case they ever chose to act upon it. Well, Joystiq is now reporting that Lightbox Interactive is working on Starhawk and that we could get an official announcement as early as mid-May with obviously a follow up announcement coming at E3.

While I’d still love to see a full on addition to the X-Wing/TIE Fighter series from LucasArts, I do have faith that the ex-Incog guys over at Lightbox Interactive can put out a great sci-fi flight combat game. Going into the next few weeks, this is one rumor I’ll be keeping a close eye on.

What the DS 2 might be like

There’s a lot of speculation going around about Nintendo’s follow up to the Nintendo DS. While I’m kind of thinking we won’t see anything this year in regards to a hardware release, it’s about time that Nintendo starts getting people filled in on what we can expect from their next handheld. Below are some of the rumors surrounding the handheld:

  • Will have dual screens again (obviously)
  • Will carry over compatibility with current DS lineup
  • Will have a capacitive touchscreen
  • Touch screen will support multi touch
  • Nvidia’s Tegra 2 chip or a custom variant of it is rumored to be part of the hardware
  • Will have a built in tilt sensor
  • Analog control present in some form

Now, all of these are rumors, some of them more solid than others, but let’s think about what sort of device these rumors would add up to. From a power standpoint, the DS would be a huge leap forward. The graphical prowess of the machine would put it noticeably ahead of the PSP, but it would still run efficiently in regards to power consumption, so this seems like something Nintendo would be open to. Here’s a demo of what the Tegra 2 chip is capable of.

The multi touch and tilt support would allow the game library to just explode, because iPhone/iPad developers could port their projects up to the DS 2 platform. All of a sudden the emergence of the iPhone gaming market benefits Nintendo in a roundabout way. Developers like PopCap and ngmoco would jump at the chance to dramatically increase the sales of their games with minimal effort assuming Nintendo opens up the DSi Ware release scheduling. The dual screens mean that many of the simple games would still remain DS exclusive, however.

The analog control input is one of the more loose rumors at this point, but if Nintendo can pull it off (especially if they integrate dual analog), this handheld will have the potential to lock in pretty much every type of gamer to the platform. FPS games are almost always the weakest genre on handhelds in comparison to how they perform on consoles. Getting true analog controls would go a very long way toward closing that gap and would eliminate the need to have one screen continually obscured for making use of the touch screen for aiming.

To me, none of these rumors seem too wild to believe, although Nintendo has a knack for surprising people who had prior expectations. We’ll most likely get the answers we want at GDC, but until then speculation is all we have. I for one am quite excited to see if this all pans out, especially the Tegra 2 rumor.

Metal Gear coming to Xbox 360?

If you visit the Japanese Konami site right now, you’ll see a simple teaser that implies that the next Metal Gear game coming will land on the Xbox 360. Below is a screenshot of the site.

While it’s not definite proof or anything, it really looks like the Xbox 360 power button there. With Microsoft wrapping up a lot of nice exclusives and big 3rd party releases in Japan lately, it’s not too big of a stretch to see Konami putting the next game on the 360. However, it’s also possible that this could just mean a port of Metal Gear Solid 4 to the 360. Either way, it’s big news for Microsoft if it pans out.

Link to the Konami site: http://www.konami.jp/kojima_pro/mgst/?ref=kjp_jp

Google to buy Valve?

According to a report over at The Inquirer, Google is going to be buying Valve “any second now.” Obviously this would be a pretty large move for the search engine giant, as it would give them a big presence in the PC gaming industry. The story can be found here: http://www.theinquirer.net/gb/inquirer/news/2008/09/17/google-valve

I guess we won’t know how this would affect the Steam service or any of Valve’s projects until details of the deal are announced, if they turn out to be true. I guess we should all know soon, either way. Somewhere, a Microsoft exec just tossed over a rack of magazines…

Rumor: Guitar Hero World Tour setlist revealed

A forum user at GameFAQs that was responsible for leaking tracks for Guitar Hero III has released what he is saying is a setlist for Guitar Hero World Tour. Sorry for the sloppy copy and paste job, but here are the tracks:

Eagle Rock High School Tour:
“Dope Nose” by Weezer
“The Middle” by Jimmy Eat World
Encore: “Today” by Smashing Pumpkins

Big City Kids Tour:
“Roland” by Interpol
“Santeria” By Sublime
Encore: “Mr. Brightside” by The Killers

Feelin’ Nostalgic Tour:
“Take It on the Run” by REO Speedwagon
“Hold the Line” by Toto
Encore: “Rebel Yell” by Billy Idol

Vixens Tour:
“Heartbreaker” by Pat Benatar
“All Around Me” by Flyleaf
Encore:”Misery Business” by Paramore

Undertow Tour:
“Stinkfist” by Tool
“Lateralus” by Tool
“Schism” by Tool

Synchronicity Tour:
“Guitar Battle Vs. Sting” (Guitar Career Only)
Encore: “Every Breath You Take” by The Police

Fight the System Tour:
“The Kids Aren’t Alright” by The Offspring
The Good Left Undone” by Rise Agaisnt
Encore: “Bleed it Out” by Linkin Park

QQ Tour:
“Face Down” by The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus
“The Kill” by 30 Seconds to Mars
Encore: “Thank You for the Venom” by My Chemical Romance

Rockin the Carnival Tour:
“Dammit” by Blink 182
“When You Heat Stops Beating” by +44

Neva’ Forget Tour:
“Jumpin Jack Flash” by The Rolling Stones
“Don’t Fear the Reaper” by Blue Öyster Cult
Encore: “Light My Fire” by The Doors

We Want the Funk Tour:
“Take it Away” by Red Hot Chili Peppers
“Renegades of Funk” by Rage Agaisnt the Machines
Encore: “No Sleep till Brooklyn” by The Beastie Boys Feat. Kerry King

Rockin’ the Joint Tour:
“Are You Gonna Go My Way” by Lenny Kravitz
“I Don’t wanna Miss a Thing” by Aerosmith

On Top of the World Tour:
“Man in the Box” by Alice in Chains
“Kickstart My Heart” by Mötley Crüe
Encore: “Spin the Black Circle” by Pearl Jam

G. Stinger Tour:
“Smells Like Teen Spirit” by Nirvana
“Car Chase City” by Tenacious D
Encore: “Everlong” by Foo Fighters

Lands End Tour:
“Animal” by Def Leppard
“Runaway” by Bon Jovi
Encore: “Paradise City” by Guns N’ Roses

Doin’ it Different Tour:
“Song for the Dead” by Queens of the Stone Age
“Vasoline” by Stone Temple Pilots
Encore: “Assassin” by Muse

Hootin’ and Hollerin’ Tour:
“The Boys Are Back in Town” By Thin Lizzy
“Life in the Fastlane” by The Eagles
Encore:”Sweet Home Alabama” by Lynyrd Skynyrd

All Pissed Off Tour:
“Here to Stay” by KoRn
“Dragula” by Rob Zombie
Encore: “Bat Country” by Avenged Sevenfold

Here Me Roar Tour:
“10,000 Fists” by Disturbed
“Duality” by Slipknot
Encore: “Toxicity” by System of a Down

S.D.M.F. Tour:
“Guitar Battle Vs. Zakk Wylde” (Guitar Career Only)
*Encore: “Demise of Sanity” by Black Label Society

Fathers of Metal Tour:
“Don’t Talk to Strangers” by Dio
“Heaven and Hell” by Black Sabbath
Encore: “Crazy Train” by Ozzy Osbourne

Making Progress Tour:
“The Spirit of Radio” by Rush
“Comfortably Numb” by Pink Floyd
Encore: “Pull Me Under” by Dream Theatre

Eruption Tour:
“Beat it” by Micheal Jackson Feat. Eddie Van Halen
“Hot for Teacher” by Van Halen

Tooth Fang & Claw Tour:
“Guitar Battle Vs. Ted Nugent” (Guitar Career Only)
Encore: “Stranglehold” by Ted Nugent

Decades of Metal Tour
“Warriors of Time” by Black Tide
“Leather Rebel” by Judas Priest
Encore: “Hallowed be Thy Name” by Iron Maiden

Livin’ in a Nightmare Tour:
“Angel of Death” by Slayer
“Tornado of Souls” by Megadeth
Encore: “Master of Puppets” by Metallica

Legends of Rock Tour:
“Johnny B. Goode” by Chuck Berry
“The Wind Cries Mary” by Jimi Hendrix
Encore: “Purple Haze (Live)” by Jimi Hendrix

Bonus Tour:
“45″ by Shinedown
“96 Quite Bitter Beings” by CKY
“Bombshell” by Powerman 5000
“Clavado en un Bar” by Maná
“Enjoy the Silence” by Lacuna Coil
“Feuer Frei” by Rammstein
“Fury of the Storm” by Dragonforce
“Never Too Late” by The Answer
“Nottingham Lace” by Buckethead
“One Armed Scissor” by At The Drive-In
“Satch Boogie” by Joe Satriani
“Schrei” by Tokio Hotel
“Soul Doubt” by NOFX

“We’re An American Band” by Grand Funk Railroad
“Guitar Battle Vs. Sting” by Sting
“Guitar Battle Vs. Ted Nugent” By Ted Nugent
“Guitar Battle Vs. Zakk Wylde” by Zakk Wylde

Sample Songs:
“Untitled Drum Sample” created by Chad Smith
“Untitled Drum Sample” created by Dave Grohl
“Untitled Drum Sample” created by Travis Barker
“Cliffs of Dover” created by Neversoft
“Misirlou” created by Neversoft
“Walk This Way” created by Neversoft
“YYZ” created by Neversoft

If this is true, there is lots of good stuff on there. I hate seeing the guitar battles being included in there; those were easily the worst part about GHIII. Anyway, both this and Rock Band 2 have stellar lineups, so music rhythm fans should be pleased.

Rumor: Chrono Trigger DS this winter

If true…holy crap. I don’t care if it’s a remake, a port, or a new adventure entirely, I just sorely want the rumor to be true. Apparently a scan is floating around on 2ch from Jump News, but I’ll wait for more concrete info before getting too excited. Hopefully we’ll hear more at E3.

Do the right thing, SquareEnix…give us Chrono Trigger.

Rock Band 2 leak?

Is this an image from Rock Band 2? If so, it appears to have been grabbed from G4.

We shall see…

UPDATE: It appears that the screenshot is real, as it was pulled right form X-Play. After looking it over, I noticed that there are some 2s next to some songs, and a different symbol around the others. My guess is that the 2s reperesent songs that are on the RB2 disc (or are exclusive to RB2 via DLC), while the others are from the original Rock Band DLC service. We know that they’re compatible, so it would make sense.

Warner paid big for Blu-ray exclusivity?

Last week Warner Warner Bros. studios made the decision to drop HD-DVD support (starting this May) and support Blu-ray exclusively. The announcement, which was made just days ahead of CES, came as a major shock to the HD-DVD promotional group and HD-DVD fans and supporters. During CES, Toshiba let on to the media that they were blindsided by the agreement and didn’t expect Warner to pick a side at this point in the format war. An official release issued by Toshiba said,

TOKYO, Jan. 4 /PRNewswire/ — Toshiba is quite surprised by Warner Bros.’ decision to abandon HD DVD in favor of Blu-ray, despite the fact that there are various contracts in place between our companies concerning the support of HD DVD. As central members of the DVD Forum, we have long maintained a close partnership with Warner Bros. We worked closely together to help standardize the first-generation DVD format as well as to define and shape HD DVD as its next-generation successor.

We were particularly disappointed that this decision was made in spite of the significant momentum HD DVD has gained in the US market as well as other regions in 2007. HD DVD players and PCs have outsold Blu-ray in the US market in 2007. We will assess the potential impact of this announcement with the other HD DVD partner companies and evaluate potential next steps. We remain firm in our belief that HD DVD is the format best suited to the wants and needs of the consumer.

Also, according to insider reports, it seems that Sony dished out upwards of $450 million to secure Warner’s loyalty, a much higher figure that was offered to Paramount ($180 million) to side with HD-DVD. So what does all this mean? Well, it basically means that this war is being decided by the studios and CE producers, not by consumers. Yes, Blu-ray was pulling ahead in sales, but one has to wonder how things would have played out if exclusivity had never been a factor from the get go. It seems that exclusivity is what saved Blu-ray from HD-DVDs lower prices, more fully realized specs, and slightly early launch.

Leaked Guitar Hero III setlist?

A post over at the ScoreHero forums lasted for about 2 minutes before getting yanked that claimed to have shown the complete setlist for GHIII. Here’s the post:

Tier 1:
Foghat- Slow Ride
Poison- Talk Dirty to Me
Pat Benatar- Hit Me With Your Best Shot
Social Distortion- Story of My Life

Encore: Kiss- Rock and Roll All Nite
Co-op Encore: Beastie Boys- Sabotage

Tier 2:
Mountain- Mississippi Queen
Alice Cooper- School’s Out
Cream- Sunshine of Your Life
Heart- Barracuda

Boss: Tom Morello- Guitar Battle
Encore: Rage Against the Machine- Bull’s on Parade
Co-op Encore: The Strokes- Reptilia

Tier 3:

The Killers- When You Were Young
AFI- Miss Murder
The Who- The Seeker
Priestess- Lay Down

Encore: Rolling Stones- Paint It Black
Co-op Encore: Red Hot Chili Peppers- Suck My Kiss

Tier 4:
Black Sabbath- Paranoid
The Sex Pistols- Anarchy in the UK
Sonic Youth- Kool Thing
Weezer- My Name Is Jonas

Encore: Pearl Jam- Evenflow
Co-op Encore: Blue Oyster Cult- Cities on Flame with Rock and Roll

Tier 5:
The Dead Kennedy’s- Holiday in Cambodia
Scorpions- Rock You Like a Hurricane
Aerosmith- Same Old Song and Dance
ZZ Top- La Grange

Boss: Slash- Guitar Battle
Encore: Guns N Roses- Welcome to the Jungle
Co-op Encore: Bloc Party- Hellicopter

Tier 6:
Santana- Black Magic Woman
Smashing Pumpkins- Cherub Rock
White Zombie- Black Sunshine
Tenacious D- The Metal

Encore: Stevie Ray Vaughn- Pride and Joy
Co-op Encore: Matchbook Romance- Monsters

Tier 7:
Slipknot- Before I Forget
Disturbed- Stricken
Queens of the Stone Age- 3’s and 7’s
Muse- Knights of Cydonia

Encore: Living Colour- Cult of Personality

Tier 8:
Slayer- Raining Blood
Eric Johnson- Cliffs of Dover
Iron Maiden- Number of the Beast
Metallica- One

Boss: Lou- Guitar Battle
Encore: The Devil Went Down to Georgia

Bonus Tracks:

An Endless Sporadic- Impulse
Backyard Babies- Minus Celsius
Bret Michaels Band- Go That Far
Die Toten Hosen- Hier Kommit Alex
Dragonforce- Through the Fire and the Flames
Fall of Troy- FCP Remix
Gallows- In the Belly of a Shark
The Hellacopters- I’m in the Band
Heroes del Silencio- Avalancha
In Flames- Take This Life
Kaiser Chiefs- Ruby
Killswitch Engage- My Curse
LA Slum Lords- Down N Dirty
Lacuna Coil- Closer
Lions- Metal Heavy Lady
NAAST- Mauvis Garcon
Prototype- The Way It Ends
Revolverhead- Generation Rock
Rise Against- Prayer of the Refugee
Scouts of St. Sebastian- In Love
Senses Fail- Can’t Be Saved
The Sleeping- Don’t Hold Back
The Stone Roses- She Bangs the Drums
Superbus- Radio Song