KOEI has told Eurogamer there are no current plans for a sequel to Bladestorm: The Hundred Years' War, although a follow-up remains a possibility.
After a joyous yuletide spent playing Naughty Dog's supreme Uncharted: Drake's Fortune, it's back to the frontlines of the Xbox 360/PlayStation 3 console war for this reporter, with the latest battery of cross-platform confrontations. You know the score by now: impartial criticism on each multi-format release is the name of the game, the aim being to supplement the original Eurogamer reviews with additional commentary relevant to each version of the game, with gameplay the primary concern.
As is the norm with our face-off comparison features, each game feature is supplemented with a range of ultra-clean screengrabs losslessly extracted from the HDMI ports of the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 Elite. A Digital Foundry HD capture station is used to acquire every last pixel output by the consoles at full 24-bit precision, with the unit calibrated to full-range RGB and both systems set up likewise. As 1080p performance is so variable on PlayStation 3, we've included screenshots of this video mode in action where applicable and how the results compare to the Xbox 360's in-built GPU scaler on the same titles.
So... the games then. A colossal array of wares to get through in what is the biggest face-off feature yet; 12 titles that between them rate a 'not bad at all' 7.5/10 when their Eurogamer review scores are taken as an average.
Koei's Dynasty Warriors games just don't sell very well outside of Japan. The solution is obvious: take all the hallmarks of the Warriors series, and apply them to European history. Hence Bladestorm.
The opening movies are completely Koei: volleys of arrows rain down on banks of superbly CGI men-at-arms, who proceed to smash into each other, slicing through armour in extreme (and extremely stylish) close-up. They're not, strictly speaking, historically accurate, but by gosh are they superb - and anyway, if you want historical accuracy, you're probably better off with a good book (like John Keegan's The Face of Battle, for example). Bladestorm is as committed to fantasy history as all the other Warriors games.
But Bladestorm's familiarity isn't entirely helpful. If you set about the game expecting to dive into a European Dynasty Warriors, it's initially disorientating: instead of taking control of a character sashaying across the battlefield, shaping the conflict by direct and heroic action, characters in Bladestorm shape the face of battle by associating with other units and telling them what to do. Indeed it's much safer, most of the time, to hang back and make sure you don't get inextricably mixed up in the middle of a messy mêlée.
Koei has announced that demos for Bladestorm: The Hundred Years' War will be available on the PlayStation Network and Xbox Live this Thursday.
In an industry afflicted by chronic sequelitis, there's no case more serious and advanced than Dynasty Warriors. A quick trip to Wikipedia confirms that since the series debuted on the PlayStation 2 in 2000, we've had 18 assorted Dynasty Warriors titles - and that's not counting spin-offs like Samurai Warriors (same game, different historical period).
Koei has pulled out the calendar and stamped official dates on its biggest upcoming games and their demos.
Koei has revealed that it will release eight games this year, unveiling some previously unheard of titles in the process.
KOEI has announced that PS3 titles Bladestorm and Fatal Inertia, originally scheduled for March, will now launch in summer 2007.
KOEI has decided to share the love, announcing Xbox 360 versions of its previously-PS3-exclusive titles Bladestorm: The Hundred Years War and Fatal Inertia.
KOEI has confirmed that the Omega Force-developed Bladestorm: Hundred Years War is due out on PlayStation 3 next year, released some screenshots and spoken in detail about how the game will work.
Similar in some senses to existing games like Dynasty Warriors, Bladestorm pitches the player into the medieval conflict between English and French armies known as the Hundred Years War, with characters including Joan of Arc and Prince Edward popping up in places. Naturally KOEI's promising "countless numbers of men" converging on-screen at once.
Your job as a rogue commander will be to marshal your mercenary forces in battle against both sides on a stage by stage basis, varying your battlefield strategy to achieve objectives using everything from infantry, archers and cavalry to elephant riders, cannons and siege specialists. Depending on how well you do as a leader, a larger force will rally to your cause in subsequent battles.
Koei unveiled two new PlayStation 3 titles at a press conference in Japan today and showed what it described as "CG concept work" on another - before pledging support to all three next-generation formats and saying some nice things about the newly announced Revolution controller.
The new games come from Koei's Omega Force studio and its new Canadian outpost. Omega Force, best known for its work on Dynasty Warriors, is working on a game called Bladestorm: Hundred Years War, which is - yes - about that rather lengthy medieval conflict. Producer Akihiro Suzuki said it was "an age that hasn't been covered as much in games," and that Bladestorm would be "a type of action game that presents something you've never seen before" - and indeed haven't seen yet, since Koei declined to show anything other than the logo.
Koei Canada meanwhile is working on a racing title called Fatal Inertia, of which more a bit later. In short, it's a combat racing title that lets for which Koei is pushing the physics side heavily [very good - Ed]. You'll be able to fire non-lethal weapons at opponents, and even at the landscape - sending rocks crashing down to derail your enemies. We saw some demo footage of this - CG and early in-engine prototypes - and it'll be a neat concept if it's realised properly.