A veteran tech blogger Paul Thurrott spilled a rather large pot of beans in regards to the Xbox 720 announcement, release date, pricing model, and other features in a recent podcast. The general gist of what he revealed is as follows:

  • Xbox 720 to be revealed on May 21st
  • Main Console to cost $500
  • A $300 Model will exist, but require a subscription
  • Official notes on the console state ‘must be internet-connected to use’
  • Will be a gaming console first, multimedia second

More inside.

Now don't get too crazy about this new content thing. It's not a lot.

Anywho, Nintendo surprised us all a few weeks ago with a surprise announcement during Nintendo Direct. Donkey Kong Country Returns on the Wii is getting ported to the Nintendo 3DS. Many fans have wondered whether the game is simply a straight port of the original, or new modes and levels would be added to the experience.

Nintendo of Europe has recently spoken out on the subject. Two new modes are available in playing the main game. An easy difficulty level is available from the start, which gives your simian protagonist a third heart on his health meter. This will definitely help many new players ease into the experience, as the game is quite challenging. The second new mode is hardly new. The game will offer the option of local cooperative play throughout the entire main story, similar to New Super Mario Bros. 2.

New details may be announced for all we know.

I enjoyed the Wii game but have since sold it. I regret my business decision to this day. I'll be sure to pick this game up eventually, especially if the price is reasonable. I'm ready for another journey through the jungle. How about you?

EA made it to the semi-finals in a recent poll for "Worst Company in America", an award they took home last year. Peter Moore, COO of EA, released a statement today defending his company in wake of the poll results.

“Are we really the ‘Worst Company in America?’” Moore asked. “I’ll be the first to admit that we’ve made plenty of mistakes. These include server shut downs too early, games that didn’t meet expectations, missteps on new pricing models and most recently, severely fumbling the launch of SimCity. We owe gamers better performance than this.”

Hop inside to see his points of defense.

It's been awhile since we talked about Mr. Pachter. However, it's only fair  that we also talk about him when he actually has positive things to say all around. It starts with pre-orders, which he only understands doing if you're getting something of value as a consumer. There is no such thing as product shortages anymore with digital distribution, so that actually makes a lot of sense. He also goes on to praise Nintendo's software strategy, which in general he has always said nice things about because he seems to actually enjoy their games. In general, it's a rather nice Pach Attack all around.

After what feels like a decade of waiting from being broke, I finally picked up a copy of Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor: Overclocked, a spin-off of, well, the Shin Megami Tensei franchise. I haven't completed it yet, but I'm thoroughly enjoying my time with the title, I like it much more than the actual Shin Megami Tensei games and equally as much as its sister spin-off series, Persona. 

Sometimes spin-offs just manage to outdo their parent franchises and they can appeal to a much larger audience than them as well. Mario Kart, Metroid Prime, Rune Factory, and even Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance are all highly notable spin-offs that many people love dearly despite their departure from the core franchise's gameplay mechanics, story, or even universe. They're loved by many and some have even been successful enough to become their own sub-franchise, sometimes even outdoing the main franchise.

So tell us, what is your favorite video game spin-off franchise and why do you like it so much? What do you like about said spin-off franchise the most and if applicable, does it outdo its parent franchise in any way?

The 3DS's year was already looking fantastic, but then Namco Bandai dropped a bomb stating that the hit portable crossover title Project X Zone would be coming stateside this summer.

And now we know exactly when. The game is set to release in the North American region on June 25, 2013. Unfortunately, no European release date was announced.

The game throws franchises from Namco Bandai, Capcom, and Sega into one great game, and it's not of the fighting genre! It's actually a deep tactical RPG, with Dante and Megaman fighting side-by-side.

With all the nostalgia this game has going for it, my 3DS battery will be burning this summer as Project X Zone releases alongside other fantastic games such as Animal Crossing: New Leaf and Mario & Luigi: Dream Team.

Are you getting excited for the game? Have you had the opportunity to play it yet? Sound off in the comments.

Uh-oh, I can hear the hate from here, but Game Freak has officially shown off a new Pokémon for the upcoming X and Y game-pair that bears a striking resemblance to Mewtwo. However, it has yet to be officially confirmed as Mewtwo in a new Form, but the Pokémon itself has been confirmed as legitimate with some official artwork and gameplay footage. Whether it's a new form or the fabled "Mewthree" is still up for debate, but I for one am certainly excited to see what will become of this! Be sure to watch the video to see this new Pokémon in action!

Quantic Dream is one of the more interesting studios around today; they've essentially created their own genre with their string of 'interactive cinema' games such as Indigo Prophecy and Heavy Rain. Though the indie French studio started out multiplat, with Heavy Rain they stuck to the Playstation 3 to sell their game, and they're following it up with Beyond: Two Souls; another Sony exclusive. Beyond that, they've even recently confirmed that they're working on yet another Playstation 4 exclusive. It seems like this third party feels devoted to one company; in fact, they've said as much.

We started working with Sony in 2006 and it’s been a very interesting relationship ever since. It’s a partnership built on trust. We proved with Heavy Rain that we can be profitable by making a game for just one platform. Would we have made more money by going multi-platform? Of course, but on the other hand, we wouldn’t be working with Sony as a publisher. We’re certainly not going to change partner [sic] for the sake of making more money; that’s not the philosophy behind our studio. As long as we can create the games we want to create, we’ll stay with Sony.

The above quote by Guillaume de Fondaumiere is interesting due to how rare the relationship is. Exclusives are hard to find nowadays, especially with third-party companies. To me, this exemplifies two things: One, how devoted Quantic Dream is to crafting great experiences rather than pure profit; and Two, how much Sony's learned from Nintendo's bungled third-party relationships years ago.

The video game industry has been exceptionally turbulent lately, with tons of layoffs, closures, and acquisitions happening to studios all over the world. One of the biggest shifts as of late has been the resignation of Yoichi Wada, Square Enix's CEO. The new president, Yosuke Matsuda, already has his goal in sight, and  he seems determined to achieve it; he wants to completely rework the company, fixing every issue they're been having in recent  years.

After having succeeded the important role as the president, I plan on reviewing all Square Enix duties, business and assets on a zero-based budgeting standpoint. Due to the radical change of environment, I’d like to fundamentally review what works and what doesn’t work for our company, then cast all of our resources towards extending what makes us successful and thoroughly squeezing out what doesn’t.

As far as a concrete plan on what to expect from us, I will further explain it on another briefing session in the near future, so I kindly ask for your patience. Thank you for your support.
Hopefully, this means a return to the days when Square Enix was defining the RPG genre with consistently well-received entries in several franchises. Who knows what Matsuday considers valuable, though; only time will tell.

According to Luigi's Mansion 2 director Bryce Holliday, the team at Next Level Games was hard at work on Luigi's Mansion 2 when Miyamoto should make frequent visits for guidance. In an interview with IGN, Holliday revealed that at one point, Miyamoto even scrapped all the boss designs the team had originally created for the game. It sounds awfully harsh, but Next Level understands his intentions.

“For Miyamoto-san’s direct involvement with Next Level Games, he was kind of like a mentor. I believe he uses the word 'shepherd.' He would often come in and steer the ship in a new direction when we were getting off course. We were able to play within the framework that he had set up, and the two gentlemen, Ikebata-san and Nakada-san, were kind of like the gatekeepers or the keepers of the rules. We would constantly be pushing the boundaries and seeing where we could get to, and then they would bring us back...

...At one point he threw out all the bosses of the game and made us start over. From our angle that was kind of a tea-table-flip. But maybe it just had bad legs and was wobbling or something. He often challenged us to not go with our first idea, or to experiment further on different things and then cherry-pick our best ideas.” — Bryce Holliday, Director

“That was toward the beginning of the project. We had only completed one boss. We had designed the other ones, but we hadn’t implemented them yet. What he wanted for that was, he wanted bosses that could only be in Luigi’s Mansion. If you saw a boss, you’d say, 'That’s a Luigi’s Mansion boss!' I think that was the right choice. It allowed us to be very creative.” — Brian Davis, Gameplay Engineer
I imagine the developers were upset to see their designs thrown out the window, but given brian Davis' sentiments, it sounds like the team is ultimately happier with their work. 

I don't know many gamers who are keen on the always online aspect. Sure, when it comes to fans on the internet, several of us are naturally online often. Many, of course, are online constantly thanks to smartphones. However, no one seems to ever stake claim that the internet can always be reliable. Connection drops are common. Some people can go hours at a time without internet. Many people don't even have fast enough internet to play games online. It can be expensive, and the DSL options many opt for just don't cut it.

That hasn't stopped what appears to be all but assured: Microsoft's next game console will be always online. Several sources have confirmed as much to Kotaku, where the claim right now is that after 3 minutes of being offline the console simply ceases working:

"If there isn't a connection, no games or apps can be started," the source continued. "If the connection is interrupted then after a period of time--currently three minutes, if I remember correctly--the game/app is suspended and the network troubleshooter started."

Of course, no one likes to just take the word of unnamed sources, so thankfully we can actually throw more wood onto the fire. The Creative Director of Microsoft Studios essentially confirmed through some rather distasteful tweeting that always online is something Microsoft just believes "everyone is", and that having it in the next console is just an obvious decision. Unfortunately, he has now privatized his tweets due to the out lash, but not before neoGAF could capture the damage done. He goes as far as to question why anyone would live in Wisconsin. Thoughts inside.

Bravely Default: Flying Fairy is a turn-based RPG published by Square Enix for Nintendo 3DS this past October. Inspired by Final Fantasy: THe 4 Heroes of Light and taking gameplay cues from Final Fantasy V, Bravely Default is a nostalgic trip through the past while establishing itself as an enjoyable title in its own right. The problem, however, is that Bravely Default is currently only available in Japan, and as with many Japan-only titles, Western fans are calling for its localization. If a recent claim by Siliconera is to be believed, the wait is almost over.

Square Enix has made no official mention of the localization of Bravely Default, but Siliconera announced yesterday that "multiple trusted sources" have confirmed the game for a western release. Apparently these sources revealed this information to Siliconera at the recently-passed Game Developers Conference in San Francisco.

Are you hoping to get your hands on an English version of Bravely Default?

Fire Emblem Awakening is one of the most well-received games on Nintendo's latest handheld, the 3DS. In an interview with the game's developers, Intelligent Systems, hosted by the localization company behind the game's translation, asked whether we might see a return of Intelligent Systems' other franchises, Advance Wars. 8-4 also made a point to mention Western demand for a new entry in the series.

Well, whether it's Fire Emblem or the Advance Wars, we never want to put an end to any series we're involved with. We always want to make games that provide a lot of fun to gamers, so if we have the chance, we'd certainly like to make another [Advance Wars] title.

Would you like to see another Advance Wars title, or did you never care much for the series? The most recent Advance Wars game was released back in 2008 for Nintendo DS, so it is about time for a new installment.

If you're interested to read more about the process behind Fire Emblem Awakening, you can read the rest of the interview here, where they cover many topics from DLC to characters to missing feet.

Another Castle is an upcoming indie platformer inspired by several classic games. What you see here is an early alpha build of Another Castle, showing off several gameplay concepts and the general air of the game. The developer, Uncade, is hoping for a summer 2014 release on PC, while the rest of us hope other platforms will follow. As you can see, it's shaping up to be a gorgeous experience. Are you considering buying Another Castle?

Deus Ex: Human Revolution Director's Cut has been getting a lot of buzz from the Wii U community lately. Of course, what would all this hype be without a trailer? The above video is the announcement video for the upcoming Wii U title, and though i've never played a Deus Ex game before, it looks like now may be a great time to start. What do you think?