Jak, Ratchet and Sly to return
Sequels for all three of Sony's platform heroes confirmed at last.
Sony has confirmed that sequels are in development for the Jak, Ratchet and Sly Racoon franchises.
Rumours of the new instalments first emerged at the beginning of the month, but there were concerns that it was all an April fool's hoax. After all, the Jak & Daxter series was always meant to be a trilogy, and Naughty Dog told us not to expect any more direct sequels after creator Jason Rubin left the kennel.
But Jak will be back after all, it seems, and indeed it is not a direct platform sequel. Instead this is Jak X: Combat Racing. It features eight open combat arenas, 20 tracks and more than 100 different events, but no piddly little karts - the vehicles bear more resemblance to F1 racers, in fact, with their big fat wheels and solid construction.
There are plenty of power-ups to collect, including turbos, health, homing missiles, oil slicks, mines and more. Weapons can be souped-up by collecting dark eco as you drive around the tracks, and vehicles can be fine-tuned to suit your driving style.
The game will support split-screen offline play and online multiplayer for up to six opponents, and you'll be able to chat with other drivers via the PS2's USB headset.
Next up is Ratchet: Deadlocked, which sees our hero competing in a deadly futuristic gameshow, Running Man-style. Levels will be less linear than in previous games, and you'll have the option to tackle them in the order you want.
Ratchet's arsenal has shrunk a little - there are only 10 weapons to play with this time - but the way you use them has changed. You can now select from three types of mod - general, functional and weapon specific - and mix them up to create thousands of possible combinations.
The online game will be bigger and better than ever, says Insomniac, with a host of improvements, new modes and more maps. There's also a full co-op mode for offline play.
And finally, Sly 3: Honour Among Thieves sees our favourite raccoon teaming up with sidekicks Murray and Bentley once again. He's got a few new tricks up his sleeve, including a faster jab attack and nine different finishing moves. Plus he can put on disguises to sneak past guards and mimic the way they walk to blend in.
Expect the usual blend of tricksy puzzles, tough challenges and a healthy selection of mini-games, including an aerial dogfight, an opera singing competition and a lemonade drinking contest. Control switches between characters throughout the game, and sometimes right in the middle of missions.
There's also a multiplayer mode where one player controls Sly and the other plays as Carmelita - he runs around trying to nick things while she runs around trying to stop him, in short. Developer Sucker Punch has hinted that more multiplayer modes may be available in the finished game.
You'll find more details on Jak X: Combat Racing, Ratchet: Deadlocked and Sly 3: Honour Among Thieves on IGN, and you can see some screenshots for all three games on our PS2 page here.