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Xbox 360 to Surpass Wii Sales in US

DFC Intelligence, a market research firm:

For its generation, the Xbox 360, not the Wii, will end up as the number one selling console system in the U.S.

So it seems the Wii's breakout success wasn't so untouchable in the long term – at least in the US. The focus on the expanded audience seems to be working very well for the 360 in its later years as it once did for the Wii. The new lower price tag doesn't hurt either. Though I'd be more inclined to base the 360's resurgence on those than a fundamental "changing of the guard in the games industry." It's simply too early to make that call.

Via GoNintendo

AC3: "You're Doing It Wrong!"

CVG reviews Assassin's Creed 3:

Some missions are so torturously linear that even the slightest deviation from the prescribed path results in 'synchronization lost' and an excruciating loading break. There are simply too many rote stealth and chase missions that end abruptly if you make the slightest mistake. You feel like you're being punished for being creative too. Even if you work out a clever alternative way to complete an objective, you still fail because you haven't done it precisely as the developers intended.

This slipshod, rigid design is completely at odds with the freedom you're granted between missions.


Ex-Rare Devs Planning Banjo-Tooie Spiritual Successor

IGN says previous Rare employees have reunited to build a spiritual successor to the Nintendo 64 classic Banjo-Tooie complete with the "same kind of humour, silly characters, fun game play, great tunes and all that stuff." You can follow them via Twitter.

Now if only they'd recruit the rest of the old Rare/Free Radical team for a spiritual successor to Timesplitters... Baby steps for now.

Nintendo & Annual Sequels

Its something I noticed in the most recently in the CVG interview with Alex Hutchinson. While the most shocking point in the article was made by Hutchinson, the thing I'll be focusing on here was mentioned by the interviewer:

Why do Nintendo get it right? It releases a new edition of the same franchise every year and no one bats an eyelid. Why?

Please tell me what "franchise" Nintendo rehashes annually, because I would like to know. The only example I know of was the Hudson Soft developed Mario Party titles during the Nintendo 64/Gamecube generations. Following that, there was a 5 year gap between Mario Party releases on the Wii. These is no other Nintendo franchise that has sustained a regular annual release schedule.

So, with that in mind I'm going to make an assumption: I'm going to assume that the interviewer meant Mario games. It's something we've all heard before–its often regurgitated as fact across forums. And while it may make business sense to consider Mario a franchise, its very different from most franchises.

Mario as a Label

First off, Mario is a character; he stars in a variety of video game series, each of which may spawn their own sequels and spin-offs, but they are all unique. Mario titles span a wide breadth of genres, such as platformers, party, sports, puzzle, fighting and RPG. All of these games are fundamentally different and often only see one iteration per platform per generation. The only thing these games have in common is the Mario universe and characters. It is because of this that he functions more as a label for all of the games he stars in–a guarantee of quality, light-hearted whimsical fun. Meanwhile, Western studios are pumping out a new Madden, Call of Duty and Assassin's Creed in a year or less and these are sequels in the same series with the same gameplay.

Fact: Madden has been on an annual schedule for over two decades.