Shacknews - Steve Watts

NetherRealm Studios may be known for the Mortal Kombat series -- the company logo is a silhouette of Scorpion, after all -- but coming up with new and innovative ways to separate characters from their spines can only take you so far. This year, the company wants to branch out and diversify its game library.

"We want our studio to do more than just make Mortal Kombat games," studio creative director Ed Boon told GameSpot. "We love making them but we also want to do different types of games. Different genres, different IPs."

He says the studio wants to "diversify ourselves, and work on multiple formats, multiple types of games, not just Mortal Kombat games."

We've already seen one tentative step in that direction with Batman: Arkham City Lockdown for iOS. "The Batman iOS game was kind of like us dipping our foot into that whole different types of games to do," Boon said. "We're going to continue in that direction, but I would be surprised if we never did another Mortal Kombat game again."

Boon notes that the healthy sales for Mortal Kombat mean he would be "surprised" if the studio doesn't release another MK game at some point. We've heard reports that the next game is slated for 2013 along with a movie adaptation, which means 2012 will give NetherRealm a nice chance to spread its wings a bit.

Shacknews - Andrew Yoon

The Ace Attorney series is about to jump from the DS to the movie theater. Prolific Japanese director Takashi Miike, who worked on 13 Assassins, Sukiyaki Western: Django, and Ichi the Killer, is in charge of bringing Capcom's big-haired lawyer to the big screen.

The 135 minute long affair covers all five cases of the first game and will be receiving a worldwide release.

Speaking at International Film Festival Rotterdam, Miike told audience members about trying to create a film that would cater to avid fans and those that had never heard of Phoenix Wright. According to TwitchFilm, the end result is a "love-it or hate-it affair," like many of Miike's previous films.

Here's a Japanese trailer for the movie (via CVG):

Shacknews - Andrew Yoon

As expected, Kazuo "Ridge Racer" Hirai will be taking over the job as president and CEO of Sony. Effective April 1st, Hirai will take the company's top position after nearly 30 years of working at Sony.

Hirai joined the company in 1984 as part of the music group. However, his rise to fame happened once he transferred to Sony Computer Entertainment in 1995. Called "instrumental" in launching the PS2, PSP, and PS3, Hirai has a long legacy of managing successful PlayStation products.

On April 1st, Hirai will become president and CEO of Sony, replacing Sir Howard Stringer. His challenge as the company's new leader will be to turn around the "unprofitable TV business and computers" business, according to Bloomberg. Hirai is largely credited for turning around an unprofitable PlayStation division, when it was originally run by Ken Kutaragi.

The growth of the PlayStation Network (and the Sony Entertainment Network) will be key to the company's future. "His experience in building the PlayStation Network, which despite an embarrassing hacking scandal last year still has 90 million registered account users, offers a template for how Sony wants to be more than a manufacturer of stand-alone devices," the Wall Street Journal commented.

"I am grateful to Sir Howard and to the Board for their confidence in me, and I look forward to working with everyone at Sony more closely than ever before to build a strong future for our customers, shareholders, partners and employees," Hirai said in the announcement. "The foundations are now firmly in place for the new management team and me to fully leverage Sony’s diverse electronics product portfolio, in conjunction with our rich entertainment assets and growing array of networked services, to engage with our customers around the world in new and exciting ways."

Shacknews - Alice O'Connor

A new month has dawned, and so approaceth a new round of Forza Motorsport 4 downloadable content. The 'February American Le Mans Series Pack' will add a strange and unusual mix of extra cars, including Le Mans racers, vintage rally cars, and a Dodge Challenger owned by UFC fighter Quinton 'Rampage' Jackson.

The ten new cars are listed over on the Forza site, with all the gory details your petrol lust craves. Which car's engine was described as sounding like "being stung by seven thousand wasps?" You'll never know unless you click the link, already know, or find out elsewhere.

The American Le Mans pack will hit Xbox 360 on February 7, 'free' for DLC season pass holders and 560 Microsoft Points ($7) for everyone else. Look, here are the cars driving:

Shacknews - Tyler J. Smith

Shacknews receives a slew of new screenshots and trailers for upcoming games everyday. The most anticipated titles receive their own post, because we know you're eager to see that content. For the rest, we have the Daily Filter, a place to feature all of the media we add to our enormous database on a daily basis.

Today's Filter features launch trailers for Final Fantasy XIII-2 and Soul Calibur V. We also have a teaser trailer for Hybrid, a seven deadly sins trailer for Crusader Kings II, two boss duels for NeverDead, a teaser trailer for Men of War: Condemned Heroes, a French Open trailer for Grand Slam Tennis 2, a co-op demo announcement for Syndicate, and an executions trailer for The Darkness 2.

Final Fantasy XIII-2


Soul Calibur V


We also have a teaser trailer for Hybrid, a seven deadly sins trailer for Crusader Kings II, two boss duels for NeverDead, a teaser trailer for Men of War: Condemned Heroes, a French Open trailer for Grand Slam Tennis 2, a co-op demo announcement for Syndicate, and an executions trailer for The Darkness 2 on their respective game pages.

Shacknews - Steve Watts

Cave has announced that it's porting its arcade bullet-hell title Mushihimesama to Xbox 360, as "Mushihimesama HD." The title has only been announced for Japan so far, and lacks a release date even in that territory. If it is brought in North America, it will be one of the first opportunities for western gamers to play.

The announcement came from the Cave blog (via Andriasang). Producer Makoto Asada hinted in the announcement that Cave may include some extra content for fans, and teased that it will be releasing more of its classic library to the Xbox 360 in Japan through the Games on Demand service over the next several months.

Previously, the arcade game was ported to the PlayStation 2 by Taito, but that version was never brought stateside. Currently a version of the game is available on the iPhone App Store, under the title "Bug Princess." If you want to try it out, be careful not to confuse it with "Mushihime Bug Panic," which is a new game from Cave based on the same property.

Shacknews - Alice O'Connor

Looking Glass Studios' classic first-person sneaker Thief: The Dark Project snuck onto digital distributor Good Old Games today. Unfortunately for master thief Garrett, the loud and adoring sighs PC veterans are letting out upon learning this have surely alerted every guard in the City to his presence.

GOG's DRM-free release of Thief is the Gold Edition, which packs an extra three missions. It'll run run you $9.99, and comes complete with the soundtrack, manual, and other shiny digital gubbins. Rival digital distributor has sold Thief for a fair while now, but if you've been waiting for the GOG treatment here you go.

Thief is the third Square Enix game to hit GOG, after the publisher debuted last week with Deus Ex and Hitman: Codename 47. All three of these were originally published by Eidos, who Squeenix picked up in 2009.

Square Enix has Eidos Montreal, the studio behind Deus Ex: Human Revolution, working on Thief 4. Though it's been yonks since we heard from the game, it's hard not to be a wee bit excited considering how well Human Revolution brought that classic PC series into the modern era.

Shacknews - Steve Watts

Sid Meier has been in the industry for years, long enough to see new trends rise and fade. How does the luminary plan on approaching tablet and mobile games?

"Essentially, I think we would not approach [mobile/tablet gaming] differently," Meier said. "I think we would imagine, what would be a game we would like to play, on this platform with this technology, and then make that game."

He told Game Informer that mobile games are making a shift in how design teams operate, from smaller teams to gameplay at the forefront of the development focus.

"Technology has always been one of the driving forces of the industry, back since we got 16 colors instead of 4 colors," he said. "It continues to re-energize us in terms of what we can do and what the potential is. When you look at mobile gaming and tablet gaming, the whole idea of interconnectedness and having a game with you at all times -- those are all new play paradigms that are just waiting to be explored by some new game ideas."

Currently Firaxis is at work on XCOM: Enemy Unknown for PC, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360. It's scheduled for fiscal 2013.

Shacknews - Alice O'Connor

Investment is a tricky topic to grasp for pirates, who simply bury their financial reserves in chests, and who often only have one hand. You, however, may be able to grapple with this--if you pre-order piratical RPG sequel Risen 2: Dark Waters, you get a DLC pack for free. That's a $10 saving if you like the game once it's launched and would buy the DLC, but what if you don't? Maybe pirates are wise to avoid such quandaries.

The booty on offer is the 'Treasure Isle' downloadable content, which is said to continue a plot point from the original Risen as you gallivant off to discover Captain Steelbeard's treasure with his daughter, Patty.

It'll let give you "an unknown island that offers new environments to explore with many puzzles to solve, treasures to loot and mysteries to unravel." Plus an exclusive item giving a permanent stat point boost, for the min-maxer in you.

Developed by Piranha Bytes and published by Deep Silver, Risen 2: Dark Waters is coming to PC, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 on April 24. You have until then to solve this little investment puzzler.

Shacknews - Steve Watts

Indie developer Edmund McMillen is working hard at the first downloadable content for The Binding of Isaac, along with the 3DS port of the game. He's shared some more details now on the current status of the port, new items coming in the DLC, and how the deliberate pace of the game is so important to its design.

"It's crucial to the game's design for [the DLC] not to be longer than the game is now," McMillen told Gamasutra. "It can't be longer. There's a lot of elements to its design that won't work, and it will just become boring, or drawn out, or too hard."

That bullseye of playtime is an hour, which will be facilitated by chapters with alternate paths. "What I've shown is the cellar, which is an alternate to the basement," he explained. "So you could start your game, and it might be the cellar 1, which has different enemies, different rare rooms, different bosses, different random happenings that are going to be new to the mix. Then the next level you might be in basement 2, or maybe the next level you'll be in cellar 2. It'll just choose randomly from those."

He says he wants to "trick" himself with the randomness, alongside the new loot. The game adds roughly 50 items and 20 trinkets, but Wrath of the Lamb relies on the random element to keep it fresh for multiple playthroughs.

As for the proposed 3DS version, McMillen vaguely says he can't talk about what's going on behind the scenes, but a lot has yet to be determined. "I don't know if it's promising or not honestly, it's still up in the air. All I can say is, it's being discussed in-depth." He says most people involved aren't sure "how to take the game."

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