Shacknews - Andrew Yoon

Sony's acquisition of Gaikai suggests that this "cloud gaming" thing may be a critical feature in the coming years. Through its streaming services, Sony will be able to theoretically stream PlayStation games across any number of devices. However, Nintendo doesn't seem too optimistic on the service quite yet.

"Of course, we constantly pay attention to the advances and changes in cloud gaming technology and Internet infrastructure," Nintendo head Satoru Iwata said. "On the other hand, I don't think that our games, particularly the types that have strict requirements in terms of real-time responsiveness, can offer high-quality services using cloud gaming technology because of unavoidable network latency."

Nintendo also pointed to latency as why Wii U's dual-screen functionality will best SmartGlass by Microsoft, and Vita integration by Sony.

"We will of course continue to see how this technology develops, but in order to decide whether cloud gaming is something that we should be interested in, we will need to closely follow the changes in technology and also the business environment," Iwata told investors. It appears Nintendo will approach cloud gaming as it has with many other technological advances. It took a "wait and see" approach with HD gaming, digital distribution, and online connectivity.

"However, at this point in time, I do not think that acquiring a cloud gaming company will in any way improve our performance, so we are not moving in that direction," Iwata concluded.

Of course, one could argue that Nintendo currently has no need for cloud gaming services. Unlike PS4, and quite possibly the next Xbox, Wii U has full backwards compatibility with original Wii games. And with the company keen on double-dipping customers on its Virtual Console products, it seems obvious that Nintendo has little incentive to pursue the budding technology.

Shacknews - Ozzie Mejia

Andy Schatz's IGF award-winning Monaco: What's Yours Is Mine is all about staying in the shadows and avoiding detection. In fact, it's succeeded almost too well, remaining out of the spotlight since it first took the Seumas McNally Grand Prize at IGF 2010. After years of tireless work and dedication, Monaco has finally been released and like a fine French wine, it was worth the wait.

Monaco is a game centered around the heist. The idea is to infiltrate various facilities within the famed principality, making sure to avoid detection from guards, alarms, and dogs. After absconding with the area's loot, players must find the best way to escape and return to their getaway vehicle that awaits them at each level's start point.

Monaco's visual aesthetic is one of its most unique features. It's a throwback in every way, presented with a top-down perspective and a graphic style that predates even the 8-bit days. Character models are intentionally designed to be blocky and indistinct, successfully creating a retro atmosphere. This aesthetic is mixed with the modern idea of a limited line of sight. Characters can only see what's in front of them and only have a limited view of what's behind walls, creating a lingering sense of darkness and a greater sense of realism. It's an idea that I fully appreciate, since being able to see an entire map would make the game far too easy, regardless of how many obstacles are thrown my way.

Beyond its unique look, Monaco is going to be recognized for its use of other modern mechanics, such as the class system. Much like an Ocean's Eleven film (or Tower Heist, if you want to be a comedian), there's a ragtag group of thieves that all serve a different function. If you're playing single-player, determining which class to select is crucial. While I started off picking the Locksmith for his quick penetration skills, he soon proved to be ill-equipped for certain stages. I'd have to use the Cleaner for heavily-guarded areas, the Pickpocket for high-loot levels (a must, since 10 coins will increase weapon ammo), and the Mole to dig through walls whenever I wanted to.

Tackling Monaco solo requires a lot of strategy, since there are no friends to rely on. To offset this lack of teammates, solo players are given a lives system with a dose of perma-death. Getting killed in action means the player must start the level over using a different character. While that may sound tedious, the upside is that any effect the previous character had on the environment will remain in place. For example, there were several areas where I'd lead off with the Mole and dig my way through the stage. If he got caught and killed, I'd go back in with the Cleaner and notice that any of the breaches the Mole created were still in place. This is a cool idea and should change many solo players' approaches to each level.

As fun as it is to play Monaco alone, there's nothing like a good multiplayer experience. Multiplayer noticeably alters the Monaco formula, in that fallen players can be revived by teammates and teams must complete their task in a single run. Communication and teamwork is essential, because you never want that one guy running around blindly tripping alarms. There were instances where teams I was on looked like a well-oiled machine. More often than not, things would go to Hades and everyone would just run around like chickens with their heads cut off as the guards yelled at us in French, like something out of The Pink Panther.

Newcomers to the game may find Monaco difficult to get used to, partially because of its visual style. In fact, if Monaco has a failing, it's that sometimes it's hard to make out certain obstacles, because of the overly-simplistic graphics. I tripped several alarms, because I couldn't make out when the laser alarms would appear. Whenever I'd hack into an alarm system, I couldn't tell which systems were shut off and which were still active. It led to me attracting a lot more attention than I should have and quickly sent me scrambling, mostly towards failure.

Make no mistake about it, though, failure is actually part of Monaco's appeal. I got caught several times and each time I did, I had more and more fun with it. My teammates and I would get spotted and we'd run off in different directions. Sometimes, a teammate would get killed and I'd have to cleverly find a way to reach his corpse for a quick revival without getting spotted myself. Sometimes I'd get chased right into a bathroom, where I'd hide in a stall until the heat was off. The chases in Monaco can get downright cartoonish and that's a big part of the game's fun and appeal. Even if your team is killed repeatedly, none of it feels repetitive.

When Monaco was discussed during this week's Weekend Confirmed, Garnett Lee noted that it was the kind of game that would create stories. I fully agree with this statement, since I already have war stories ready to share at the water cooler and can't help but laugh whenever I recall them. Monaco: What's Yours Is Mine a solid solo experience, but a far better game to share with friends, whether it's local or online.


This Monaco review was based on a PC version of the game provided by the developer. The game is available now on the game's official website and will be available on Xbox 360 in a few weeks.

Shacknews - Steve Watts

The first Alan Wake has crossed the 2 million sales mark, which Remedy says makes it a "cult classic." The developer hasn't announced a follow-up since the downloadable American Nightmare, but says the series is "close to our hearts" and still has a future.

"We've moved over two million copies--that's including PC," head of franchise development Oskari Hakkinen told CVG. "So after a slow start it's turning into something really positive. It's definitely had legs. I think narrative experiences just have a tendency for that. Alan Wake's like a cult classic if you like. People who have played and enjoyed the story feel the urge to tell their friends and other gamers out there that they need to try this experience, they need to play it."

Asked if the franchise still has more games left in it, Hakkinen said, "I think so. Alan Wake is definitely very close to our hearts. It's our IP--we own it. It's not something that we're going to forget very easily."

We know that Remedy is currently working on a next-gen game, not necessarily connected to the Alan Wake series. But it would make sense to go back to the well eventually. After self-publishing the first game on PC, it recouped its costs after only 48 hours.

Shacknews - Alice O'Connor

While music, films, or paintings from a century ago are as accessible as ever, video games' constant evolution means releases from even a decade ago can be frustrating to play. That's why Konami includes graphical novel adaptations of the first two Metal Gear Solid games in The Legacy Collection: so people who struggle with those quaint late-'90s controls can still "watch MGS."

"Older games like MGS1 or MGS2 got different control feeling from that of today," Metal Gear creator Hideo Kojima explained on Twitter (via Joystiq). "Thus we decided to include those 'watch MGS' for those who has difficulty playing."

The graphic novels collect the comic book adaptations of MGS 1 and 2, which were illustrated by Ashley Wood and written, respectively, by Kris Oprisko and Alex Garner. The first later came to PSP as an interactive motion comic in Metal Gear Solid: Digital Graphic Novel.

The Legacy Collection includes all of the long-running sneak 'em up's main games. It's coming to PlayStation 3 in June with Metal Gear, Metal Gear 2, Metal Gear Solid, Metal Gear Solid 2: HD Edition, Metal Gear Solid 3: HD Edition, Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker HD Edition, Metal Gear Solid: VR Missions, and Metal Gear Solid 4: Trophy Edition. And those graphic novels, of course.

Shacknews - Steve Watts

When Nintendo of America announced that cult-favorite RPG Earthbound was coming to the Wii U Virtual Console, fans had renewed hope that Nintendo was listening to their pleas. Maybe now the company will take notice of the vocal audience and have Shigesato Itoi make another game!

Well, no. Probably not.

In Japan, Earthbound is known as Mother 2. North America never received the original Mother or Mother 3, which was released on Game Boy Advance in Japan in 2006. A Japanese fan asked Itoi about whether he might make Mother 4. His response (via Kotaku) was one word: "muri," which translates to "impossible." That doesn't sound optimistic.

Fans have offered a free translated script of the cult RPG to Nintendo of America, but it appears the company is uninterested in pursuing the project. For now, it appears that outside of appearances in Smash Bros. games, the Earthbound franchise is effectively dead.

Shacknews - Andrew Yoon

Nintendo's jump into digital gaming has been a success so far. But, there's much more to do than simply offer retail games as downloadable titles on the eShop. Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata knows this, saying that "we think that digital distribution of packaged software is only the first step in expanding our digital business." The future of Nintendo lies in expanding their digital offerings to include free-to-play, and even games with subscription fees.

Already, Nintendo has begun to experiment with DLC, with New Super Luigi U being the company's next big digital expansion pack. However, Iwata told investors that "we might have many other types of business models in addition to packaged software. For example, we might see more games that are similar to free-to-play games, games that cost much less or games that require a monthly subscription fee."

Nintendo has previously admitted that if it were to make a free-to-play game, it would want to do so with an entirely new IP.

While Nintendo has no concrete announcements to make regarding free-to-play and subscription games, Iwata does point out that "Nintendo 3DS and Wii U have flexible systems to handle such trends, so it is now a question of putting these ideas into action."

"I can definitely say that Nintendo will make new offers that go well beyond simply replacing packaged software with digital software."

Shacknews - Steve Watts

TT Games and Warner Bros also detailed the pre-order bonuses for Lego Marvel Super Heroes today, capturing the combination of Legos and classic comic characters. These came alongside a new trailer that showed a handful of the already-announced heroes confronted with Galactus.

Pre-ordering at Walmart will get you an Iron Patriot mini-fig upon release of the game. For those not versed in Marvel, Iron Patriot is an Iron Man armor, repainted to look like the Fourth of July. It's most famous in the comics for being worn by Spider-Man villain Norman Osborn (aka Green Goblin), but it also features prominently in the upcoming movie Iron Man 3, as worn by James "Rhodey" Rhodes (aka War Machine). GameStop pre-orders get a Spider-Man keychain, and Power Up members also receive a PS3/360 DLC pack. Amazon pre-orders get a $10 games credit on their account.

Shacknews - Alice O'Connor

PlatinumGames had you playing a cybersamurai in Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance's first story-expanding DLC, Jetstream, and soon you'll get to be a robowolf. The 'Blade Wolf' DLC starring Raiden's cybercanine chum will launch on May 14, publisher Konami announced today.

"Reactivated by Desperado Enforcement's leader Sundowner and serving under Mistral, the DLC reveals LQ-84i's story prior to his battle and eventual partnership with Raiden, and his transformation into Blade Wolf," Konami said in the announcement.

Supposedly it'll take several hours, including an "all-new" boss battle. It'll likely cost $10.

Shacknews - John Keefer

Grand Theft Auto 5 doesn't really need a lot of hype to get fans excited about the game, but Rockstar has decided to release not one, but three new trailers today. Main protagonists Trevor, Michael and Franklin each get their own videos showing them conducting business in their own way in Los Santos.

We've already seen a lot of the faux Los Angeles through two previous trailers and a multitude of screenshots, but these show a bit more of what the characters' motivations are in the game and what they want. Of course, Michael admits "I'm rich. I'm miserable. I'm pretty average for this town."

The game will be released September 17 on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, although PC and Wii U versions are not totally out of the question. You'll be able to choose whether you want to play good or bad, so watch the trailers. They may help with your decision.

Shacknews - Steve Watts

The Gears of War movie adaptation has a new friend in Hollywood. Producer Scott Stuber (Battleship, Ted) has signed on to produce, and will reportedly be developing a script alongside Epic Games. Stuber has given Universal a first look deal, and both Stuber and Universal will be shopping the movie to studios.

Variety reports that the movie is still in its infancy, lacking a writer or any of its actors. Universal could also turn down the movie, which would leave it without a distributor. But Stuber has a track record for large releases, so it's a step in the right direction.

Two years ago, the project was scaled back and seemed in limbo until late last year. As of October, the Creative Artists Agency was meeting with producers for the project. That must have paid off, because the movie appears to have found its producer and is on-track again. Still, it still may be quite a while before we see the results.

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