GDC 2009: The Best Of The Rest
Posted by Christopher Clark
A recap of all the third-party news and announcements for Nintendo consoles from this year's Global Developers' Conference.
Sotoru Iwata's keynote speech at this year's Global Devopers' Conference revealed more than a couple of exciting projects for Nintendo fans to look forward to in the coming months. It's not just the Big N who came to the party, however; third-party developers both independent and established made plenty of announcements of there own. Let's take a look, shall we?
Not one but three new Duke Nukem games are in development for the DS and PSP. The three games - Critical Mass, Chain Reaction and Proving Grounds - form a trilogy, with Duke travelling to the past, future and World War II respectively. While the game is essentially a third-person action game on the PSP and a 2.5D side-scroller on the DS, each game will follow the same storyline and feature unique gameplay elements. Duke Nukem: Critical Mass is set for release when it's done in spring of this year.
Level-5 director Akihiro Hino confirmed that the second Professor Layton game, titled Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box, is in the process of being localised for international release and would be out within six months. He also expressed the intentions to ensure all six Professor Layton games are made available internationally. Huzzah!
PDP, hardware developers behind the motion-sending GameTrak Freedom controllers for Xbox 360 and Playstation 3, have developed a waggle-enabled stylus for the Nintendo DS. Dubbed the SmartStylus, the gargantuan device connects to the DS via the GBA slot and "can include a variety of added features, including LEDs, sound and motion feedback". Somehow I doubt DSi owners will be missing much. Take a look at the press screenshot below:
Hudson's upcoming buddy-cop adventure game Miami Law was given its first hands-on in preparation for the upcoming release in June. The graphic adventure takes more than a few stylistic cues from the likes of TV shows 24 and CSI and features renegade cop Law Martin and FBI agent Sara Stering uncovering a terrorist conspiracy. The Phoenix Wright-style gameplay is broken up regularly with action-based events such as shootouts, car chases and forensic work, and features diverging storylines depending on your choice of character. Adventure game fans should definitely keep an eye on this one.
Relative unknowns Aspyr revealed a rather unique online-based collection game named Treasure World. The DS game features over 2500 collectible items that are unlocked when your system encounters any qireless hotspot. Items can be compared and traded online and users can upload data onto a global map pinpointing the best hotspots. It makes Animal Crossing seem like Ikaruga by comparison, but collect-a-thon junkies will surely have their hands full with this one.
The Games Workshop tabletop football game Blood Bowl was made availabe for GDC-goers to try for the first time. Set for release on X360, PSP, DS and PC, the game features all the latest rules and revisions of the classic tabletop game and plays out in turn-based fashion, complete with dice rolls - think closer to Ogre Battle than Mutant League Football. The DS version is controlled with the stylus and features 2D isometric graphics and two-player local multiplayer. Expect to see it on shelves worldwide in June.
Dutch indie devs Grendel Games showed off their upcoming WiiWare title Diatonic. Similar in style to pseudo-retro favourite Geometry Wars, you're charged with the task of controlling a bacteria-like creature inside a petri dish, whipping your tail with the Wiimote to defeat all manner of neon-tinted organisms and rack up multipliers. No confirmed release date, but definitely something to look forward to.
More was revealed about Deep Silver's "Buddhist action horror" game Cursed Mountain, set for release on the Wii by the end of the year. Cursed Mountain takes place in the Himalayas as you search through rugged mountains and abandoned Buddhist villages for your missing brother, with the horror elements coming in the form of angry spirits which must be dispersed with gesture-based Buddhist prayers. It's unique, I'll give it that.
Finally, the demonstration of EA's Boom Blox Bash Party confirmed more of everything in the sequel - more levels, more blocks, more environments, more tools, more multiplayer modes, more characters and, perhaps most exciting, more online connectivity (and it's Friend Code-free!). The original game was and still is one of the best third-party titles available on Wii, so the sequel is already shaping up to be a must-have.
Well, there you go. That's GDC 2009 in a nutshell. Hopefully there's enough there to keep you satiated until E3 later in the year. As always, for more Nintendo-related news, previews and reviews, stay tuned to Nintendo Life!