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Gran Turismo HD being phased out

Last year's small taste of next-gen GT, Gran Turismo HD, is being removed from the Japanese PlayStation Store. Makes sense, considering Gran Turismo 5 Prologue is just around the corner. Beginning September 30th, the free download will no longer be available. The online stats tracking service that's included with the demo will continue, however.

There's no word on whether or not the US version of Gran Turismo HD will meet the same fate. It was a great gift while it lasted, and it's time to move on to bigger (and hopefully, better) things.

[Thanks, Kspraydad! Via Wired]

TGS07: PixelJunk Monsters unearthed

Hidden away in a list of upcoming PSN releases at Tokyo Game Show was PixelJunk Monsters. There isn't much known about the title, but if it's anything like the newly-released PixelJunk Racers, it should bring back new retro 2D gameplay to PS3 audiences everywhere. We have to wonder if you play as the monster, or are are trying to defend yourself from the monster in these new pics -- let the speculation begin.

Gallery: PixelJunk Monsters

TGS hands-on: echochrome

After its shocking E3 debut, we desperately wanted to play echochrome, the mind-bending Escher-inspired puzzle game that has players changing their perspective. Available on the PS3 as a downloadable title and as a PSP game, echochrome excited audiences with its truly innovative concept. But, how did the publicly playable PS3 demo play?

Well, it works exactly as you expect it to. The demonstration features an English-speaking monotone voice that seems a perfect match with the game's ultra-minimalist presentation. She'll explain the five rules of the game that control the way your perspective, the world, and your character, all interact with each other. Each sequence has players testing out a single new device, such as being able to block obstacles by hiding them from the player's vision. Through this brief tutorial, players will be gifted with the ability to start playing through the game's mind-destroying puzzles.

The single level available in the demonstration had us attempting to collect echoes, shadows situated in various points in the stage. As simple as that may sound, imagining the total destruction of object permanence is not something we're readily accustomed to. The on-screen avatar acts like a lemming, constantly going forward, even if it means certain doom for the character. This means players will have to act fast, and position the level correctly as the avatar makes its way forward. This is where we found that the camera rotates a bit too slowly for our tastes. We ended one of our lives trying to cover a hole, but couldn't rotate the level quickly enough to save our character. Thankfully, each echo that one walks into acts as a checkpoint, so that the level we played didn't become frustrating. However, we hope that Sony will make moving the camera a bit speedier.

echochrome is a simple, innovative, and more importantly, fun title that continues to deliver on the PlayStation Store's promise of offering gamers unique gameplay experiences. Although we didn't get to play much, it's clear that Sony has something truly special in their hands.

TGS07: GT5 Prologue is most expensive demo ever

Click to enlarge
Hidden away in Sony's TGS catalog was a shocking revelation: Gran Turismo 5 Prologue's Japanese release date and price. Scheduled for December 13th, the game sample (demo, as we used to call) will retail for a whopping ¥4,980 ($43.10) on Blu-ray and ¥4,500 ($38.95) when downloaded through the PlayStation Store. Although the game will feature stunning graphics and many features of the final game, this seems as much too high for a game that has a limited track and vehicle selection. We hope that this kind of sticker shock doesn't come across the Pacific into other territories.

TGS07: fl0w team's next game, fl0wer

It's amazing to see what adding two letters to the end of a word can do. thatgamecompany, creators of the fan-favorite fl0w, is working on a brand new project. Not much is know about the new project, but considering the unique atmosphere created by the team's previous endeavors, we're excited to see what they can bring to the table.

[Via Joystiq]

TGS07: Metal Gear Solid 4 to include Online Starter Pack

Metal Gear Solid 4 will include a small taste of the Metal Gear Online experience through an included "Starter Pack" mode, Hideo Kojima revealed at the Konami press conference today in Tokyo. A new trailer highlighted the game's sharp graphics, which nearly match the visual fidelity of its single-player counterpart. In addition, fun gameplay bits, such as the ability to roll down enemies in a barrel were shown. The trailer ended with a soldier launching himself helplessly into the air by using a massive cannon device (a Halo nod, perhaps?).

Both Metal Gear Solid and Metal Gear Online will be playable at TGS. Stay tuned for more.

Super Puzzle Fighter leads today's PSN update

Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo HD Remix will be available later today on the PlayStation Store. For $10, players will be able to play Capcom's beloved puzzle game with new 1080p HD graphics, new gameplay modes, improved game balance, and new backgrounds created by Udon. Oh, and did we mention: online play?

For those unfamiliar, the point of the game is to move and rotate gems to form groups of the same color. By destroying gems of the same color, players will send counter gems on their opponents. In Tetris-fashion, when the screen fills up to the top, the game is over. The three game modes include:
  • X-Mode: Classic Puzzle Fighter
  • Y-Mode: Gems automatically break when three or more gems of the same color line up in a row vertically, horizontally, or diagonally.
  • Z-Mode: Players move a 2x2 cursor around the screen rotating the positions of the highlighted gems; more gems are added from below, moving all the current gems toward the top.
In addition to rebalanced gameplay, players can also create their own drop patters through Counter Gem Edit. Online Ranked Matches will use the "TrueSkill system" for balanced fights. Finally, online leaderboards (a requisite for any online game) are included. Stay tuned later for more information on today's Store update.

Gallery: Super Puzzle Fighter II HD

Sony responds to Warhawk DRM issues

Have you heard? You won't be able to share Warhawk, like you have all your other PSN games. Although you can install the game on to five different machines, the fine text in the PlayStation Store reveals that you can only play the game from one of those machines within a 24 hour period. "One time fee for download or use solely by the purchasing PSN account on up to five PS3 units, with no more than one activated PS3 unit within a 24 hour period. Content may not be used by any other account."

So, will this practice of limiting access to downloadable games become commonplace? No. In a statement to Next-Gen, Sony explains that Warhawk needed a different DRM scheme in order to "protect our investment" and "maintain our ability to offer a 24-hour free online gameplay experience." Understandable, considering how the PSN is free of charge. However, make sure you read the fine print before download your next game -- things might change on a case-by-case basis.

[Via Joystiq]

Warhawk is downloadable at 12:01AM EST tonight

Synchronize your watches. Warhawk is coming tonight. Midnight, in fact. For those on the East Coast, that means there's less than twelve hours until Warhawk can be purchased from the PlayStation Store. If you're on the West Coast, you'd be able to start downloading and playing before the CSI:Miami plays on CBS.

Those that don't want to pay for a digital download will be able to pick up a $60 retail version (which includes a headset) at select stores tomorrow. See you online! Don't forget to add PSFanboy to your Friends list to play with us tonight and through the coming weeks.

[Thanks, cubex!]

Gran Turismo 5 Prologue will be free

According to the Gamespot, Gran Turismo 5 Prologue will arrive as a free downloadable title on the PlayStation Store later this year. If this is true, Prologue will largely expand upon the previous free GT download, Gran Turismo HD. Prologue adds more cars and tracks, and a slew of new features, such as a new "TV" mode. The TV option will provide users replays and videos from manufacturers. A great Game 2.0 3.0 nod would allow users to create their own replay videos and share them with their friends through the PSN.

A new "Home" mode will allow greater integration with the upcoming online service. "The goal is to create as seamless an experience between the game and the Home service as possible."

Just like the PS3, the goal is to have Prologue constantly evolve through updates. "It's possible that additional improvements, such as damage modeling, could be a part of a future update to the game somewhere down the line." Certainly, exciting -- hopefully, we'll find out more as Tokyo Game Show draws nearer.

Gallery: Gran Turismo 5 Prologue

PS3 Fanboy interviews PSN producer Rusty Buchert

Ever wonder who's responsible for choosing the games on the PLAYSTATION Store? Rusty Buchert, senior producer at SCEA's Santa Monica Studio, is the man to talk to about original games on the PSN. He has a unique vision for the Store, where he wants to bring indie games, such as Everyday Shooter, to the masses. Check out our exclusive interview with the man behind the scenes.

Can you explain to our readers what your position is at SCEA?
Hi all, my name is Rusty Buchert and I am a Sr. Producer at the Santa Monica Studios. My focus is purely on PSN titles for the PS3.

The PLAYSTATION Store has differentiated its offering from that of its competitors. We've seen a lot of unique experiences, such as fl0w, that simply aren't on the other platforms. How is Sony's focus on downloadable games different than the other guys?
My focus has been to find unique, fun experiences. We started searching for games like this from the outset and we were searching through the Indie Scene right out the gate. In general the Scene thinks outside the traditional development box. All to often people get indoctrinated into one general way of thinking about games in genre, design, and execution. You are not going to get anything new thinking like that. We were betting on the fact that people wanted something new and not a rehash of a rehash of a rehash.

Continue reading PS3 Fanboy interviews PSN producer Rusty Buchert

Toy Home started as a Shockwave game

Not too much is know about the upcoming PSN game, Toy Home. However, it appears that it started as a free Flash game, one that can be played here. The game takes advantage of some serious Flash Shockwave tech, including a Havok-based physics engine that'll use a surprising amount of system resources (for a web game!).

Give it a try -- but keep in mind, it's clearly not a fully-polished game. However, do you see the potential that Sony saw when they decided to bring this game to the PS3? Please let us know.

[Thanks, SaeedP.!]

Gallery: Toy Home

Warhawk gets priced: $60 retail, $40 PSN

The multiplayer-only Warhawk finally has a price: $60 for the retail version (which includes Bluetooth headset) and $40 for the downloadable PSN version. The game will be available simultaneously on August 28th.

Which one will you choose? The downloadable version will be cheaper, but the explains that "the retail game is more of a premium version with some expanded video content, traditional package and manual."

Wonder what's going to happen to EGM's review of the game ...

[Thanks, Kyle P!]

Warning: please play PixelJunk Racers in HD

We think Sony should put a warning before letting consumers download and purchase PixelJunk Racers from the PSN. What should it say? "Requires HDTV."

It's not because of Dead Rising-style text mismanagement. Rather, the game requires pixel-perfect gameplay (hence the name) that simply isn't possible on a SDTV. One look at this low-res trailer shows exactly what the problem is: you can't see the gameplay without enough pixels!

The game is a blast to play, in spite of its retro-grade graphics. But, we highly doubt it'll be playable on a SDTV. Hopefully, Sony will include a disclaimer in their promotional materials -- we wouldn't want angry non-HD players that feel ripped off for buying this game.

Everyday Shooter videos attempt to highlight game's appeal

Why are we so excited about Everyday Shooter? It's hard to explain until you get the controller in your hand and you experience the unique blend of visuals, music and gameplay that Jon Mak's PSN indie title offers. The trailer on the PlayStation Store does little to give full insight into the game's potential, and we feel like simply watching the title doesn't do it justice. Regardless, here are some new videos from the game, and hopefully you'll understand exactly why we're excited. It won't be everyone's game ... which is a shame, considering its name.

Continue reading Everyday Shooter videos attempt to highlight game's appeal

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