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This week in news

Drink it in.

We are going to try the Halloween-themed beer that our favourite and very special friend Pub is offering this evening, and there we will talk about all the things that have happened this week. So I've been boning up. What did happen?

Chief among them was a surprising announcement from EA last night that it had spent 860 million dollars on buying the parent company of developers BioWare and Pandemic, securing two of the biggest names in the business. It was also a considerably larger amount of money than Sony paid for MotorStorm developer Evolution Studios, whose suitcase only contained 16 million pounds.

We could talk about that, then, but we will likely slop suds onto sawdust as we sing merry songs and celebrate winning three Games Media Awards last night, and I should probably mention that one was for best news site (this article doesn't write itself you know). Well done us, and thank you for reading in the fist place. [Although I doubt they'll come back after that shameless display. - Ed]

You might also have noticed this week that the long awaited, excellent, and outrageously good value for money Orange Box was released on Steam, and will be followed next week in shops on 360 and a little later on PS3 (no one will say when). Have a look at Tom's weekly round-up of everything new to see what you can buy, which includes the sumptuous Project Gotham Racing 4 for all of you petrol heads.

But let us cast our eye back to last week briefly, which was dominated by that PS3 price cut announcement on Friday; sending ripples out across the industry pond that are still reverberating today. First Sony came out and said some of you who had bought a PS3 already might feel cheated - and you probably do - before saying the 60GB and backwards compatible model would be discontinued once it had sold out.

Sony Japan followed suit early on and revealed that it too would be murdering the price down a little, then eased the shock of the new 40GB creation by unveiling a fancy Ceramic White model. No such luck in Australia, mind, where strong PS3 sales mean there will be no 60GB price cut to accompany the 40GB arrival.

Then, as if it were one giant phone call, Microsoft answered by making some deals of its own: bundling Forza Motorsport 2 and Marvel Ultimate Alliance in with its consoles for no extra cost. It looks like it might not stop there, too, as pictures emerged showing what appeared to be a special Halo 3 bundle that will apparently be here in time for Christmas. There also continues to be more evidence pointing towards the new entry-level Core Arcade SKU.

Bold moves by both; how would Nintendo respond? Well, by doing nothing - Nintendo America loudspeaker George Harrison said consistently strong Wii sales meant the price would stay as USD 249 for the foreseeable future. It will probably still sell out, too.

Nintendo Japan did a lot of talking this week in a regional media briefing, though. Here we learnt a lot of things: Wii Fit will be out in Japan before the end of the year, Mario Kart will have motorbikes in it (10/10), the first details for the downloadable Wii Software games, Monster Hunter 3 will be Wii exclusive and Sonic will be in Super Smash Bros. [Award-winning sentence structure there. -Ed]

Nintendo also launched a site where you could tell everyone how the Wii has changed your life, and released the latest firmware update adding some snazzy browser optimisations and proper USB keyboard support.

None of that is exciting compared to news that Wii lightsaber implementation will be shown in the UK for the first time ever later this month, though, or that SEGA Bass Fishing is being remade for the console. You were probably sweating in preparation for Mario & Sonic at the Olympics, which will let you use your little Mii avatar to face off against characters like Peach or Bowser. Subliminal messaging to do the rowing event.

And if boxing was allowed in real life, the Church would have stuck one on Resistance: Fall of Man (again) for its portrayal of Manchester Cathedral. "Not worthy of award!" roared the Church with considerable religious meaning.

The same sort of outcry spilled from the lips of frustrated developer Rockstar, whose Manhunt 2 failed to receive a green light in the UK from the BBFC. Again. Despite changes.

Also speaking out were industry veterans Peter Molyneux and David Braben, whose collective wording-off could be garbled together to sound something like "next-gen factor not Halo 3, BioShock has gone wow".

Release date watch picked on SingStar PS3 for being caught in limbo, confusing everyone, although dates for Uncharted: Drake's Fortune, MMORPG Pirates of the Burning Sea, both new F.E.A.R. Expansions and Dragon Quest Monster: Joker kept most of us smiling.

Unfortunately we also heard that MMORPG Gods & Heroes: Rome Rising was canned so that Perpetual could focus on Star Trek Online.

However, Polyphony confirmed that a PSP version of Gran Turismo was definitely being worked on, echoing Free Radical Design who concreted development on TimeSplitters 4.

A new Harvest Moon DS game was also unveiled, and Atari showed us inside The Witcher limited edition box as well as signing Legendary: The Box, drowning disappointing news that Europe will not get a Hellgate: London limited edition.

Slightly upsetting, too, was the revelation that PS3 guitar peripherals for Rock Band and Guitar Hero 3 will not use Bluetooth technology - but instead use weird wireless dongles that look a little like whoopy-cushions hanging from the bottom of the instrument.

Tom is the man responsible for reviewing the Live Arcade offering this week, which was Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords. In summary: excellent, and it is out on the PC this week as well. Couple this with the freshly confirmed and upcoming release of Speedball II: Brutal Deluxe on the service next Wednesday, and you have a pair of strong weeks to stand on.

The PlayStation Network also showed an unusually strong line-up of Thursday bits and bobs to get stuck into, although we would have quite liked to be treated to downloadable title Everyday Shooter like the US was, really - not to mention their Ratchet & Clank demo, although at least we can make up free accounts to play that.

PSN formed the base of another story this week, which revolved around a source close to SCEA telling us seven first-party downloadable games are being developed for PSP to launch next year, obviously once the PSP Store is up and running.

We suppose you might also like to know that Super Metroid is the Virtual Console headline act today, and will be getting the usual rigorous testing in our weekly VC round-up.

Oblivion fans will be treated to a castle on Monday in the last ever downloadable content, and Warhammer Online fans should know that the beta has closed for a couple of months while EA Mythic works out some kinks and pushes the game into a new phase of testing.

Demos added to Live this week were The Simpsons, Conan, Project Gotham Racing 4 and Virtua Fighter 5, while those of you still using your PC can enjoy a new Call of Duty 4 sampler and the imminent arrival of an open Unreal Tournament 3 beta.


There is just time to tell you that FIFA romped the charts in Spain, Germany and the UK, and that The Eurogamer TV Show - Episode 17 is out now alongside a week's worth of video content.

Right. Whiskey and snapple.