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- Ensemble Studios closes.
- CryTek buys Free Radical Design, Square-Enix acquires Eidos.
- PS3 Slim & PSP Go launch.
- DSi LL announced.
The Beatles: Rock Band
Despite the fact that The Beatles: Rock Band’s sales have been slow (reflecting a larger slowdown of the music game market), there’s no denying its landmark status. The Beatles’ surviving members and Apple Corps. had so much faith in the games industry that they made the band’s tracks digitally available in Rock Band ahead of the likes of iTunes. Accompanying a digitally remastered release of The Beatles’ back-catalogue on CD, The Beatles: Rock Band showed that the 20th century’s pinnacle of pop music was happier to embrace gaming culture than the digitally downloaded music industry.
Street Fighter IV
To say that Capcom’s Street Fighter has a hardcore following is one hell of an understatement. In fact, Street Fighter’s casual audience is another game’s elite, while the Street Fighter core itself exhibits the sort of hand-eye coordination that’s more common of jet fighter pilots. While Street Fighter III pleased true fans of the series, it certainly lost the peripheral audience that made Street Fighter II a worldwide phenomenon. Street Fighter IV saw a successful reclamation of this audience by re-introducing the original cast and gameplay characteristics of the early 90s. Sure, there were new characters as well, but who cares? Hadoken!
Modern Warfare 2
Despite current news stories that focus on the glitch exploits that gamers have quite miraculously unearthed in Modern Warfare 2, we’re sure that this isn’t how the game will be remembered in years to come. Instead, commentators are much more likely to focus on the game’s record smashing sales (4.7 million units grossing $310 million on day one). More significantly than all of this though, Modern Warfare 2 was such a threat to the sales of other games that many publishers pushed their Christmas titles into spring 2010. The result: spring 2010 now looks like a regular Christmas window while Christmas 2009 has been relatively barren.
To the untrained eye, Uncharted 2 could’ve been seen as a decent enough action game – there was well implemented shooting, running, climbing, and some puzzle solving. The merits of Naughty Dog’s opus sat much deeper than this though. It was how the gameplay elements were flawlessly strung together between breathtaking cinematics and free-flowing quick-time events that shed the restraints of the genre. These are styles that will no doubt be copied in years to come, emerging as the industry standard for this generation of consoles and a gaming milestone in the process.
Episodes From Liberty City
Obviously, Rockstar’s Episodes From Liberty City wouldn’t have been possible without the work of art that is GTA IV’s Liberty City. It’s the game world that’s the star of the show in both the original 2008 release of GTA IV and its subsequent episodic content. What these episodes did better than any GTA game before them, though, is breathe life into Liberty City by tying up the criss-crossing storylines of its band of characters. Liberty City became a hive of villainy, teaming with dodgy dealings and unsavoury characters, rather than the sole preserve of a single protagonist.
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