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Archive: E3: Answering Your Questions

Posted at 6:06 PM ET, 05/12/2006

Answer: Splinter Cell

From a blog comment: Any thoughts on the new Splinter Cell? It seems to be a "choose your own adventure" plot.

Mike Musgrove responds:

Right you are, says Derek Chan, who is on the Ubisoft team developing Splinter Cell. In the game, government agent Sam Fisher infiltrates a terrorist group. He gets government missions, but he still has to make the terrorists think he's one of them.

"In effect, it is a choose your own adventure game," said Chan. "We wanted to create a richer game experience."

Game is due out this fall.

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Posted at 4:39 PM ET, 05/12/2006

Answer: Final Fantasy

From a blog comment by "Blepcots":

How about some thoughts on Final Fantasy 12 (when is the actual U.S. release?) and also 13, since I've actually seen a few screenshots this week?

John Breeden II replies:

Most of the Square Enix booth is devoted in one way or another to Final Fantasy. There is a lot of new stuff in the FF world.

The quick answer to the question is: Final Fantasy XII will be released in the United States in in October (there is no solid release date, just some time that month).

They're not saying anything about Final Fantasy XIII.

I was actually playing the demo of FFXII for a while before I realized I was playing on a PS2 -- the graphics are incredible. Developers have really learned to make use of what they have. The shadow effects, lighting, character animation are top-notch.

As far as the difference from earlier FF titles, the biggest thing people will notice -- aside from smooth animation -- is a smother transition from running around to going into battle mode. The game is still turn-based during combat, but the monsters run right up on you -- it's almost completely seamless, like a game that doesn't have turn based battles.

Another thing they're showing is a new FF title called Dirge of Cerberus. This is a shooter interface -- other FF games use a top-down look. This keeps it in the third-person perspective, but the camera is pretty much over the shoulder, as close to fiirst person as you can get with out acually being FPS.

Square Enix has also updated an older game with new online extension. Final Fantasy XI: Treasures of Aht Urhgan is hosting online tournaments using the PS2 network. Apparently the Treasures extension adds a lot of multiplayer functionality, so even though the game is a couple of years old, multiplayer puts it on the level of Call of Duty 2. You can set up teams -- I watched eight players vs eight players, it was like a big battle royal.

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Posted at 1:22 PM ET, 05/12/2006

Answer: Assassin's Creed

From a blog comment by "Mid-LifeCrysis":

Do you have any insight on whether "Assassin's Creed" is going to be a PS3 exclusive game? There's lots of inconsistent information out there on the Web. The game looks so spectacular that I think many console purchasing decisions would be influenced by the answer. Tks again.

And, from "JJ":

If possible, I would like to know if you can get any information as to whether Mercenaries 2 will be a Playstation 3 exclusive. It would seem strange to me if it was, considering the original Mercenaries sold well on both Xbox and PS2. Perhaps you could also speak more generally about third-party decisions to grant exclusives. Is it simply that one console maker will pay a lot for the exclusive? If so, do bidding wars for exclusives happen frequently? Thanks again.

John Gaudiosi replies:

Ubisoft has not gone the exclusive route for any of its previous new game franchises, and Assassin's Creed is a new franchise. Sequels are already mapped out for the game. What they have done in the past (as have other publishers like Rockstar Games), is release a PS2 version of a game first for an exclusive window and then release the same game on Xbox later.

I expect Assassin's Creed, which stands out as one of the most original and best-looking games of the show, to ship for Xbox 360, PS3 and PC next year. Not even Rockstar is doing the "exclusive window" thing with PS3 and Xbox 360 (although Xbox 360 will get exclusive episodic content for download). The same will likely hold true for Mercenaries 2, unless Sony or Microsoft pick up that game to publish as a first-party game.

A good example of this shift in strategy for third-party games can be seen with THQ's WWE Smackdown vs. RAW 2007. Over the years, THQ has released exclusive WWE games on each of the three platforms. With the added production costs for next-gen games (which can be twice as much to create), THQ is releasing a single WWE game across all platforms. This saves them money and builds a single brand with gamers.

I think you'll see a lot more of this from publishers, who will want to sell as many units as possible across as many platforms as possible to cut their potential losses. Next generation has changed the dynamics of game publishing for the big publishers. It's always a tricky proposition with a console transition, because there are fewer gamers out there to sell their next-gen games to at first. But increased costs have really made placing bets on a one-platform game a costly gamble.

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Posted at 11:27 AM ET, 05/12/2006

Answer: Mobile Gaming

From a blog comment by "M. Mortazavi":

I'm also hearing from other sources that games on mobile phones and devices are even a greater focus of attention this year at E3. I'm not there but I imagine this analysis to be capturing a significant trend. I've not read much in your blogs looking into this -- What's happening with games on mobile devices?

Tom Ham replies:

Mobile gaming was in full-force at E3 this year. Publishers like EA, Vivendi and even Eidos were showing off gaming initiatives. I even saw an FPS game behind closed doors that was running on a prototype phone with a built-in 3D accelerator. All I could say was, "Holy @#$!"

In addition to games on phones, companies are getting into exclusive wallpapers, content and even video downloads showcasing gameplay. Konami, Namco and Tecmo are the leaders in this arena.

Ask more questions here.

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Posted at 7:51 AM ET, 05/12/2006

We Take Requests

There's just one day left at E3, and we're interested in hearing what games, devices or issues you'd like us to write about that we haven't so far. We can't fulfill all requests, and of course they should be polite and reasonable, but we're listening.

We will also try to answer specific questions you might have about some of the things we've already covered.

Just post a comment below. Thanks for participating!

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