This week in games
A handy digest.
This week will always belong to Halo 3, which launched in the US and Europe to astonishing success - probably because MacGyver was on board. The game predictably broke sales records, and was celebrated by Microsoft giving away freebies to Live Gold members, shadowed by the emergence of a new live action short from director on the payroll Neill Blomkamp.
It wasn't all plain sailing, however, as Xbox Live crashed under the enormous pressure and complaints starting flooding in about scratched and unreadable discs caused by dodgy packaging. Eventually Microsoft responded saying it would replace Limited Edition discs, but it soon became apparent that problems were being witnessed by Legendary Edition customers too - both when playing the game or when watching the below average quality of the remastered Halo and Halo 2 cinematics.
None of which stopped Bill Gates getting involved (he's retired, don't you know), as he squiggled his mark on a Halo 3 special edition console and popped it on eBay for charity. It was bundled with loads of other stuff and was fetching around USD 2,150.
But that's enough about that.
This week's other big news was Activision coming out of the blue to acquire Project Gotham Racing 4 developer Bizarre Creations. We all got a bit worried at losing one of our favourite racing games, but Microsoft came out and insisted the series would continue. Bizarre also spoke out about the deal, saying it could finally focus on making games rather than all the financial and administrative overheads.
Ubisoft had a surprise of its own up its sleeve, as it announced Tom Clancy's Air Combat for PC, PS3 and 360 - a futuristic sort of Top Gun, we're lead to believe. This was followed by SEGA, who revealed the return of Samba de Amigo for Wii, where the motion sensing controls will simulate the famous maracas. THQ also managed to prove there was life in the Dawn of War series still, as it uncovered a new standalone expansion pack called Soulstorm.
Big slips were made on our date-banana this week by Mercenaries 2, Brothers in Arms: Hell's Highway, Assassin's Creed on PC and Gods & Heroes - all tumbling into 2008. Ratchet & Clank on PS3 also slid, but only from October into November - landing neatly alongside other hopefuls on the BAFTA shortlist.
On the other side of the date coin was good news for Kane & Lynch, now officially dated for 23rd November, and Sam & Max Season Two, which also kicks off in the same month. Looking to the future this week was King of Fighters XII, which will apparently take until 2009 to appear in the US, where previously Japan-only title Yakuza 2 will be heading - although SEGA wouldn't say if we will see it in Europe just yet. Bodes well for the freshly announced Yakuza 3, though.
Our news net also managed to dredge up new information on a handful of titles: Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games, EA's new survival-horror Dead Space, Saints Row 2 - and word that Unreal Tournament 3 will not support cross platform PC/PS3 play at launch (but PC users will get a fancy special edition of the game).
Demo watch witnessed Jericho tasters spring up (PS3 version next week - although none will be available in Germany), a PES 2008 snippet appear on PC (already on 360), a Football Manager 2008 feeler prepare for release on Sunday, and an NHL 2K8 demo grace Live. Unfortunately those of you waiting for the Crysis demo will now have to wait a bit longer.
You may also have noticed rumours pop up about a 40GB PS3 for GBP 299, not once but twice this week, counterbalanced by speculation that a new Xbox 360 Core model is on the way with an HDMI port. Confirmation is hiding in the bushes.
However, real-life piece of hardware the PSP Slim & Lite experienced rip-roaring success across Japan, where it trounced opposition but didn't quite reach the first reckoned figure of 3300,000 sales.
Hexic 2 and Texas Hold'em were updated on Live alongside an XBLA price-cut announcement, PSN treated us to a worthy haul of treats for once, and Nintendo told everyone the Virtual Console Hanabi festival would be coming to an end this Sunday - so you had better get Super Mario Bros. The Lost Levels before it disappears.
Phew, pant, gasp.
Or you might like to check out the new offerings on Eurogamer TV, which look like exclusive footage for Uncharted: Drake's Fortune and Hellgate: London, as well as bundles of daily trailers featuring exposed flesh.
And that's that. Unless you remember I forgot to tell you about Tiger Woods PGA Tour 08 topping the UK charts.
Join us for more of the same next week.