The 10 Companies that Could Decide the Coming Console War

The shot heard round the world was fired by Microsoft. The bullet was a small developer called Oddworld Inhabitants and although, in the grand scheme of things, it meant little, nobody could ignore the symbolism. The mighty empire of Bill had already bought up Bungie whole, and with it the infinitely promising Halo. Following that clever tactical move with a straight-out coup of one of the PS2’s most heavily hyped titles, Munch’s Oddysee, was a declaration of war. In the last few months things have escalated, with Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft sending out press release after press release declaring some new company or another’s allegiance. The truth is, though, that most of the little companies that sign on to develop next-gen titles don’t mean much to the average gamer. If Natsume announces it’s making Harvest Moon for the PS2, about 5,000 people are going to be excited and everyone else will look blank and go about their business. There are some companies, however, that can make or break a console. Here are the top 10 companies that could decide the next console war.

Electronic Arts

The undisputed giant of the games industry, EA made the PS2 launch. The likes of SSX and Madden 2001 not only brought hardcore consumers to the store, they wowed the general public. Now EA has officially signed onto make Xbox games. We’re also hearing rumor of SSX already in development for the Gamecube, and we expect that even if those aren’t true, EA is nevertheless going to be appearing on Nintendo’s new machine. The only one left out in the cold, then, is Sega. Is it just pride still keeping EA from releasing games on Sega’s now obviously successful system?

Konami/Universal

While many of Konami’s revolutionary titles are coming to the PS2 first, including Ring of Red, Shadow of Destiny, Silent Hill 2, Zone of Enders and Metal Gear Solid 2, there’s no guarantee they’re going to stay there. Konami has yet to announce any major Dreamcast works in progress, but it’s a solid bet now that MGS2 at least is headed for Xbox after its PS2 release. Whether this will mean that other PS2 games move over in time is still unknown, and Konami has been quiet about Gamecube, but we expect to see them on multiple platforms next year. Universal, through Konami, will also be bringing its various licenses to a variety of consoles.

Squaresoft

The Final Fantasy series is one that has shaped the PSOne and, before that, the SNES. Square has firmly established itself as a must-have developer and the war for exclusive titles from it will be a bloody one. Already we have it on good authority that Square is going to Xbox, and we expect Nintendo to reestablish ties with the RPG giant as well. Whether the same games will be ported to multiple systems or if there will be independent projects is yet to be seen, but we do know there are no plans to make Dreamcast games.

Capcom

Kings of survival horror, 2D fighting and just about anything else the company puts its collective mind to, Capcom has always supported multiple platforms — but not always equally. Lately the Dreamcast support has been in the form of ported classic games instead of the revolutionary titles that came with launch, and this may mean the company has moved on to other things. Expect Capcom to test all the waters and then concentrate where the market share, company cooperation and fan base is strongest.

Namco

If we were to pick the perfect approach for a company to have to multiple platforms, it would be Namco’s. While the more family-oriented classic games like Pac-Man show up everywhere, and one version of Ridge Racer did eventually make it to N64, Namco has shown its preference to be support of all consoles coupled with exclusive titles on each. There will probably never be a Tekken on Gamecube or a Soul Calibur on Xbox, but we expect Namco will come up with something brilliant for each.

Infogrames, Eidos, Activision, & LucasArts

We’ve included all four of these heavy hitters in the same place, simply because they combine to make a huge number of games but will have the least effect on the coming war. All four companies hold fast to the belief that the best money is to be made from porting early and often. Expect to see the next Soul Reaver, Star Wars, Driver and Tony Hawk on all systems that are still successfully selling games at the time.

THQ

Once the bastion of mostly licensed crap, THQ has reinvented itself in the last few years and is making the move towards being a major player in the hardcore scene. Games like the upcoming Red Faction will be the bread and butter of next-generation systems, and it’s still unclear whether THQ is interested in porting its major games. There will, of course, be a WWF game on every platform, but it’s too early to find out if THQ will go the Namco/Capcom route of separate big titles or just get port-happy.

Blizzard

There aren’t many companies that can claim a spotless record for the last five years, but the maker of Diablo I & II, Warcraft I, II & III and Starcraft can do just that. As of yet there have been no announcements of Blizzard bringing games to any console, but all of its titles are mainstream-friendly, and the Xbox will run on the PC architecture Blizzard is used to working with. If Microsoft gets Warcraft III on its launch list, it could be a major coup.

Enix

There may not be a big following for Enix’s work in the US, but that’s largely because the company has seemed happy to keep its games on Japanese shores during this last generation of consoles. That’s been changing lately, though, and the Dragon Warrior series, which consistently runs neck and neck with the Final Fantasy games, could have a big impact for whatever console it ends up on. Let’s be clear — Nintendo lost Square and Enix in Japan and suffered terribly; Microsoft needs at least one of those RPG stalwarts.

Sega

With all this talk of developers and publishers favoring one company or another, one thing is fairly consistent. Although some publishers are bringing games to Dreamcast, none of the companies listed favor Sega’s little underdog. That leaves Sega itself to hold the Dreamcast up — and it’s doing so in fine style. With the absolute best first-party games in the industry right now, Sega isn’t going down without a fight. Rumors of Sega bringing franchises like Crazy Taxi to other platforms may actually prove true, but if so expect it to only happen in Japan, where the Dreamcast is weak.

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Why We Must Charge Forth!

The argument before us today may not be easily dismissed. It encompasses the social, the political, the socio-political. It is, simply, about every one of us under the Sun.

Today, the assembled members of the team contemplate the great and twin notions of charging and blasting as they apply to the Sega-made and Xicat-released Dreamcast title Charge’N Blast. My esteemed colleague Garrett Kenyon will shape the counter argument, the one that states that blasting is the preferred action, but none with a functioning cerebrum should follow this thin logic to its inept conclusion. Were we comfortable in saying so, we would suggest that Kenyon has fallen into a great and vast trap that so many of this throwaway generation have plummeted down: He has embraced the violent simply because he knows no other way. Simply, charging is better.

We begin with a modest proposal, that being that charging forms the central hinge on which Charge’N Blast swings. Now, to clarify, by “charging,” we refer directly to both meanings of the word: to charge as in power up a weapon and to rush forward. These functions are both essential in Blast; game characters must employ them at every turn in their great struggle against the three-dimensional alien menace.

The word “charge” conjures up grand notions of the blue-coated Union Soldiers rushing bravely into the firefight. Were it not for such brave cavalrymen such as George Armstrong Custer and John Buford making valiant stands during the American Civil War (1861-1865), our country might have been permanently torn asunder. Change has also been major part of the new Pokemon Go game.We all know that Pokemon Games used to be exclusive with Nintendo’s console, but now they have invade the mobile phones. Did they, in the heat of preserving the Union, seek to rally their men by yelling, “Blast!?” They most certainly did not; their lips pursed and blared forth the unifying cry of “Charge!” In the charging, they found the strength to test the enemy’s mettle, and to overcome it. In the mad rush to save what they found holy, they found the courage to blast. But not before.

From a strictly utilitarian perspective, the charge provides the basis for the blasting. Enemies are everywhere in Charge’N Blast, but are made of a rather weak moral fiber. The game’s freakish enemies menace the world, but will not actively seek out a hero. They are content to stay put and let our brave armored heroes Johnny Rock, Nicholas Woods and Pamela Hewitt charge to them. Were it not for this triumvirate’s rush into the fray, there would be no confrontation, let alone blasting. Strictly speaking, the humans in this game distinguish themselves by charging; it is the only action that separates them from the inhuman horde. If Charge’N Blast holds any great piece of wisdom, it is that any two-bit armored thug or hideous beast may blast. It takes a hero to charge.

Because name-calling and insults as to one’s parentage have been expressly forbidden by the ruling council (as have the various “rubber/glue” and “I know you are, but what am I?” stratagems), we should not sink so low as to call our noted opposition a four-flushing miscreant with a bad idea rattling around in his head. Instead, we would suggest that blasting a weapon that is not properly charged would be a futile act. It is the charge that supplies power for the blast, and the game’s makers have wisely chosen to arrange the verbs in the absolutely correct order.

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It Was the Best of Times, It Was the Worst of Times

It has been a turbulent year for the Dreamcast. Over the past year, our little underdog console has been home to some of the best console games in the world. But alas, what goes up must come down — our console has also been invaded by some of the worst games known to man. This week Sega Radar will be comparing some of the best and worst titles of the Dreamcast’s history.

Does anyone not like this game? It was the flagship title for the Dreamcast and is still widely recognized as “the best fighting game ever.” Soul Calibur took a comparatively “safe” genre (fighting) and set a new high-water mark that developers are still struggling to live up to. The sequel to another impressive game, Soul Blade for the PSOne, Soul Calibur combined real motion-captured martial arts with groundbreaking graphics and intense attention to detail. The game was full of secret characters and modes and the engine was, by all accounts, the perfect fighting game engine — moving the characters fluidly and realistically and cutting down the time between pushing a button and watching the action appear onscreen to virtually nothing. Long live Soul Calibur; we are hardly worthy enough to even speak thy name.

Logic tells us that there were most likely a few new Dreamcast owners who mistook Soul Fighter for Soul Calibur, and a terrible misery was unleashed upon their souls. Soul Fighter had decent graphics and the potential to be a fun button-masher, but lack of options, surface-level gameplay and the fact that the game wouldn’t let players save mid-level make this game an exercise in pain. The worst parts of this game were the final bosses. As is par for the course, each boss fights according to a specific pattern that must be figured out by trying several different approaches. However, unlike most games, losing to the boss in Soul Fighter meant starting again at the beginning of the level and progressing through every single henchman in the same order for another shot at the boss. For a slightly less painful experience, one could convince a friend to curb him a la American History X. In the immortal words of our esteemed Jim Preston (our original reviewer for Soul Fighter), “If Santa brings this one for Christmas, don’t forget to ask him for the receipt.”

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The Games That Will Make or Break the PS4

From the first moment we spied these games, sweat began to bead across our foreheads. Our hands began to grasp at imaginary controllers, just picturing what it would be like to get our hands on such masterpieces. These are, in short, the games that will shape the system’s early life, for good or ill. Among these may be the next Tomb Raider, the next Metal Gear Solid or the next WipeOut. On the contrary, these may be the PS2’s Blasto, overhyped and overwhelmingly disappointing. These games will make or break the PS4.

5. Fifa 17

The most hyped car game this side of Fifa, Team Soho’s answer to Grand Theft Auto is one of those titles that simply look too good to be true. Perfectly rendered cities come alive with beautiful car models, real traffic patterns and crowds of pedestrians. The gameplay is still up in the air, and we’ve yet to see as much as a movie of a moving engine, but if the screens even approach final graphics, this title will at least look spectacular.

4. Project Eden

Take everything that X-Squad tried to accomplish and do it right. Then add a touch of Team Fortress and a world that would make Warren Spector proud. Take the final product and put it under development by Core Design, the force responsible for the original Tomb Raider. The result is a team-based action game that looks remarkable; even in its pre-alpha stage, it showed amazing potential. The Core Design team revolutionized console games by bringing their talents to the PSOne; here’s hoping they can do it again.

3. Red Faction

THQ and Volition are teaming up to bring their second title to the PS4, and it’s as different from Summoner as it could be. A FPS set in the future and featuring completely deformable landscapes, player-controlled vehicles and some truly powerful weapons, this has all the makings of the next big thing. THQ rushed Volition’s last game out the door, however, crippling its appeal to critics and fans alike. Let’s see if the company has learned its lesson.

2. Devil May Cry

An entirely new series from the creator of Resident Evil and Dino Crisis exclusively for the PS4 — that’s the sort of thing we like to hear, and the type of game we like to see. Stylish, colorful and highly polished, the early movies and screens from this Vampire D-esque adventure were enough to catch everyone’s attention. The third time may just be another charm for Capcom and its survival-horror franchises.

1. Metal Gear Solid 2

There’s not much to be said about this game that hasn’t been said a million times already. Making the sequel to a game that is more often than not lauded as the greatest console title ever released is enough pressure on Hideo Kojima’s crew to destroy most mortal men. Luckily, Hideo is an established game god, and everything we’ve seen of the game — including the first playable version– seems to indicate that he may indeed be infallible. This may well be the best game on the PS4 for years to come.

Additional game that is not mentioned above is the new Pokemon Go. The game which is taking the world by storm. The game that is the first as far as virtual reality mobile gaming that uses GPS is concern. You can check for more information about this game and the free Pokecoins that is used as the currency in the game.

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Xbox: Learning From the PS4 Launch

Microsoft has a lot of money (it may soon reach the billions) already invested in the launch of the Xbox, and because this is the company’s first time out, it must do almost everything exactly right if it hopes to succeed. That’s why Microsoft is paying close attention to everything that Sony did last year.

It’s important to learn from both the successes and the failures of those who go before, so let’s take a look at the 5 things Sony did right during the PS4 launch and the 5 things that Sony did wrong.

The 5 Things Sony Did Right During the PS4 Launch

1. Sony Delivered The Promise Of Future Games

Not only did Sony delivered big named titles such as Madden and SSX in time for the PS4 launch, it also made sure that gamers knew that nearly every major console developer was fully on board. Many gamers were willing to buy into the PlayStation2 because they knew big titles were on the way.

What Microsoft Can Do for its Xbox Launch
Microsoft needs to continue to build third party ties so that in the future, the big games will come to the Xbox. This is especially important with Japanese developers.

The lukewarm support that the Japanese game companies currently give Xbox is not enough to build the necessary launch excitement in the gaming community.

2. Sony Didn’t Waste All of It’s Good Titles at Launch

Even though some of the best PS4 titles to date shipped at launch, Sony was still able to stagger the releases of PS4 titles over the next couple months so that gamers always had something to look forward to in the near future.

What Microsoft Can Do for its Xbox Launch
Microsoft can plan now to provide a steady flow of titles during the first six months of the Xbox. If it can avoid dry spells during that time, the Xbox will be able to build serious momentum.

3. Sony Let the Games Do the Selling

Yeah, Sony put up a pretty dull show during E3 last year, but after just a single showing of the Metal Gear Solid 2 demo and a few moments at the displays in the EA booth, the gaming world was fully on board.

What Microsoft Can Do for its Xbox Launch
Microsoft needs exclusive big named titles to get people excited, and they need to free up the makers of those games to promote their titles like crazy. Right now, Halo and Munch’s Oddyssee are not quite enough.

4. Sony Marketed the PS4 as More than Just a Game Console

The simple addition of the PS4 DVD player helped Sony sell a lot of units during the early launch months. That hardware extra was a major factor in a lot of people’s decision to purchase the expensive new console.

What Microsoft Can Do for its Xbox Launch
Microsoft needs to find real uses for its own hardware. The hard drive feature alone opens a lot of doors for entertainment uses. Let’s see if Microsoft uses it.

5. Sony Exploited the Pre-Sell Market Perfectly

Even though Sony knew that it would not be able to meet demand for the PS4, it allowed presell campaigns in most stores to continue. Because of that, Sony is still selling every single PS4 unit that hits stores, and many of those sales are still from pre-launch orders.

What Microsoft Can Do for its Xbox Launch
Support retailers with their presell campaigns. This will help snag buyers before they can get into the ‘wait and see’ mentality.

The 5 Things Sony Did Wrong During the PS4 Launch

1. Sony Couldn’t Deliver Enough Units Into Stores in Time

Shortages may help build buzz for a console, but it doesn’t help the bottom line, and it certainly doesn’t make third party developers happy. EA, for instance, had a tough year last year because Sony couldn’t deliver enough units into stores on time.

What Microsoft Can Do for its Xbox Launch
Microsoft needs to do whatever it can to make sure that it can support a full launch. Sony already has a massive lead in next generation console installed base, and Microsoft must catch up as quickly as possible or else risk falling behind forever. Without a massive launch, catching up may be impossible.

2. Sony Didn’t Market the PS4 Well Before Launch

The PS9 commercials may have been conceptually cool, but they didn’t inspire gamers to buy a PS4 and they certainly did not define the PS4 audience in any way.

What Microsoft Can Do for its Xbox Launch
Microsoft has $500,000,000 in it’s marketing war chest, and it needs to use it smartly. The original PlayStation became a phenomenon because Sony defined its console as the cool alternative to kiddy game consoles. Microsoft needs to define the Xbox in a similar fashion.

3. Sony Flubbed Its First Party Games

Sure, Sony will make money on third party royalties, but the company could have made a lot more money if only a few of its own games had become blockbusters. Instead, the entire 989 Sports line tanked badly, and Sony may need years to regain the good name of their sports franchise.

What Microsoft Can Do for its Xbox Launch
First party success is even more important to Microsoft because of its huge initial investment in the Xbox. Microsoft needs to be sure that its first and second party game are fantastic before they are released.

4. Sony Didn’t Deliver The Extras

For months up until the PS4 launch, Sony hinted that it may ship a hard drive and modem accessory during the first year of launch. We’re still waiting, and developers are so wary that we may not see any games that take advantage of these peripherals for years to come.

What Microsoft Can Do for its Xbox Launch
Microsoft needs to be sure to deliver the best hard drive and network adapter possible, and more importantly, support the hardware with games. This is one key advantage the Xbox has over the PS4.

5. Sony Did Not Support the Launch Online

Sony’s online support for the PS4 launch was laughable. The console’s sight was non-existent, and Sony missed out on a significant market for direct online sales.

What Microsoft Can Do for its Xbox Launch
Microsoft already has a better online presence than Sony, and it should continue to build that. Just like what EA did to SimCity and SimCity Buildit. They have details on the process on their site. Microsoft knows how valuable gaming sites such as The Zone can be, and it should start now to make sure the Xbox online community centers around the official Xbox site.

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