Bayonetta, the western way

Everything about Bayonetta, the game, was ridiculously Japanese from the crazy soundtrack to anime-inspired art style. I loved it. But would the leading lady, who shares the same title as the game, have developed such a cult following globally if her appearance was more westernised? Despite her psuedo-posh English accent and moderately-sized bust, Bayonetta was very much a product of Japan. Hair so animated it could be alive and a wardrobe that wouldn’t keep her warm let alone protected from killer angels could have been plucked from any popular Manga but concept artist Wesley Burt proposed to Sega a number of western orientated alternatives for Ms. B while the game was still being developed (via Kotaku). As history states, none where picked up or changed the finished product one iota which is a shame because they’re pretty cool. Especially the belted badass top left of the image above.

I’m not sure how jarring, if at all, having a very westernised character in an incredibly Japanese infused game would be though. And while Bayonetta wasn’t particularly original she did have a few unique qualities about her whereas some of the designs above could be better suited for id’s Rage or a fantasy MMORPG. But they’re still awesome and raise some interesting questions about character art and the big difference between regions. One thing that stays the same no matter what territory it seems is the appeal of a woman in glasses as Burt’s designs show. I doubt they’re prescription lenses though…

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Gear up on the 3DS

Along with the pretty exciting Super Mario 3D news harvested from Satoru Iwata’s GDC talk yesterday, plans to release GameGear games on the 3DS via the eShop were also announced. For those who are too frightfully young to remember, the GameGear was Sega’s answer to the GameBoy at the start of the 90s and was supported all the way up until 1997. Even though it featured a colour screen, the higher price tag, lack of key developer interest and hunger for power (taking six AA batteries) doomed the GameGear from the start. I now own one of these beasts and enjoy it as much as any other retro console of mine but rather than hunting down old copies of games, I can download them straight to the 3DS when the service goes live later this year.

What games can we expect to kick off the backlog? Andriasang posted a list and screenshots including, Sonic & Tails 2, Sonic Drift 2, The GG Shinobi, Dragon Crystal Shirani’s Maze and Columns. The last game on that list is what a lot of people will remember the GameGear for because Columns came with the system and was Sega’s very own Tetris-like game. Apart from Sonic Drift 2, which I completely forgot about until today and maybe Dragon Crystal Shirani’s Maze, I don’t know if there are a great deal of GameGear games that I hold dear to my heart and wish to play again via the 3DS. That could be because I was always a GameBoy fan and leered with jealousy at my cousins who had GameGears so never built up a fondness with the software. But for any ex-GameGear aficionado, I’m sure there are a good few games you’d like to get your hands on once again. Sega didn’t reveal any pricing structure for the games which is hardly surprising since Nintendo are still to do the same for their retro line-up.

What do the 3DS and Kinect have in common?

With the development of Conduit 2 coming to an end for its March 25th release date, what a team like High Voltage Software to do with their time? Port the admirably ambitious first game over to the 3DS of course! Eric Nofsinger of High Voltage spoke with Eurogamer revealing how a lot of resources are now focused on making this happen but the development is in very early stages. The lower resolution of the 3DS compared to Wii is masked by having a smaller screen and even in such an early phase, Nofsinger said how well it runs both 2D and full 3D. Nothing will be shown until this year’s GDC but the initial stages are sounding very good. The Conduit wasn’t the best Wii shooter but certainly a promising start, offering the chance to play a solid multiplayer FPS on a system lacking in said genre. The passion that High Voltage has for treating the Wii and its gamers like a legitimate receptor for these types of games is indeed praiseworthy. A publisher is still needed before The Conduit 3DS will become a reality but when Sega are handling both Wii games, it’s likely they’ll take on the 3DS one too. And hopefully it won’t be a long wait since there hasn’t been any real FPS games announced for Nintendo’s next handheld. Without any competition in the genre, Sega and High Voltage could be sitting on a must-have for those picking up a system wanting to satisfy their itch for on and offline shooting. Especially with the new and improved Friend Code implementation and connectivity options on the 3DS.

The studio didn’t stop with the mini-announcements and today leaked their involvement in a new, unnamed Kinect-enabled game for publisher 2K Games. Nofsinger said that it’s a licensed game and won’t purely be controlled by Kinect, so you don’t need one to play. Norsinger was quick to play down the idea that it could be that ‘killer-app’ for Kinect with all the potentially damaging hype that comes with such a claim. It’s probably best to not even think of it as a Kinect game and more like a Xbox 360 title with possible Kinect features: “This game works well with or without the Kinect. It’s supported as a device, so if you have the device it works very well, but I don’t think it’s this brilliant, genius idea,” he said. But he shouldn’t be too hard on whatever it could be just yet. Having a hands-free peripheral with the games it has is fine and a good laugh though a title that uses the device in more opportune moments, leaving traditional gameplay to be handled by a traditional controller would be a perfect balance of styles. These are purely my thoughts or wishes if you will and no further details were given at this time by Nofsinger. Again, GDC is when we’re likely to hear anymore. Intriguing though isn’t it?

She’s as cold as ice

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Here’s the first look at Anarchy Reigns, PlatinumGames’ next Xbox 360 and PS3 title in partnership with Sega. The early screenshots showed not only Jack from MadWorld but a shapely lass all in white kicking butt. Her name is Sasha and continues to firmly place her boot into the posterior of, well, anyone standing near her. When the game was first announced, all the talk was about it being a multiple-genre crossover; a massively multiplayer melee action game and how such a mash up has not really been done before. The makers of Spawn: In the Demon’s Hand for the Dreamcast would probably argue such a claim but despite my nostalgic fond memories of that game, I doubt anyone else would agree. So for many gamers this would be the first of its kind and the trailer looks as if Anarchy Reigns will be full of all the best bits from Platinum’s titles. Fast action, crazy combos and a smattering or eccentricity. Sasha is an ice queen or maybe the ice queen, who knows, just don’t annoy her or you’ll get a hefty icicle to the face. Combat-wise, there’s a distinct Bayonetta flair about it which does leave me wondering how this would translate for a multiplayer game. I would presume there would have to be counters or reversibles otherwise players could get caught in a 36-hit combo or worse, juggled in the air by a superior gamer. But on the other hand, imagine the carnage in multiplayer matches, how awesome would that look!?

Max Anarchy reigns in the UK

Yesterday’s outing of Max Anarchy by Platinum Games has been made official by publisher Sega who are calling the game Anarchy Reigns in the West with an Autumn 2011 launch. Details are still few and far between but three screenshots were released showing the multiplayer brawler in action with a colourful Jack from MadWorld and the backside of a curvaceous lass. Sega’s press release states that Anarchy Reigns will “challenge the boundaries of the conventional brawler genre by allowing multiple players to get involved in heavy-hitting action simultaneously.” Early descriptions reminded me of a Royal Rumble made famous by the pantomime of WWE and further wrestling analogies come from the multiplayer modes of Anarchy Reigns being Tag Team skirmishes and a Battle Royal. The screens look a lot like a typical Platinum Games title which is a good because as well as crazy combat situations and crazier characters, their art-style is something refreshingly personal.

I wanna be anarchy

The next release from Platinum Games’ recently extended partnership with Sega is, drumroll please… Max Anarchy! Wait, what? Or rather who? Andriasang stumbled upon leaked scans of the latest Famitsu magazine containing sparse details about the new Xbox 360 and PS3 game. The lack of information was due to its discovery being part of an interview and not an official reveal. Sega or Platinum are yet to formally unveil the game. A game that enters new territory for the studio as it will be an online action combat multiplayer (what a mouthful), the first online game from Platinum. Instantly the mind begins to wonder well they’ll do since tackling a highly competitive genre is difficult even for veterans but Producer Atsushi Inaba feels they have something special; a massively multiplayer melee fighting action game. The word massively doesn’t necessarily mean MMO size either. Inaba said they’ll be a large number of players, not endless.

It’s unclear as to who or what Max Anarchy is but Inaba did say that MadWorld star Jack will be a playable character and that the game consists of a full offline story mode as well as the online shenanigans. Unlike MadWorld, Max Anarchy will be in colour not black, white and red but similar to the ultra violent Wii game, the core mechanic is fighting. Free-for-alls, group fights and cooperative combat were all mentioned by Inaba who believes that a massively multiplayer melee fighting action game doesn’t exist due to complications with online play but is approaching it as a challenge. Again the producer stressed how Max Anarchy will be a fighting game when asked to describe it so expect combos and multipliers aplenty.

Interesting that Inaba said the genre doesn’t exist yet. In 2005 Epic Games released Unreal Championship 2: The Liandri Conflict which merged melee combat with first person shooting with varying success. Some critics loved it whereas others found the fighting overpowered and underdeveloped but from Inaba’s cryptic comments, Max Anarchy sounds to be more like a multiplayer Streets of Rage or Yakuza as he didn’t mention anything about projectiles, only fighting. There’s something intriguing about a new genre like this and even more so if the combat is comparable to competitive fighters like Street Fighter or Tekken. I’m a little bummed at how the next Platinum game isn’t another Bayonetta but since the hirsute honey was rather nifty with her fists, maybe she’ll be joining Jack as a playable character… Maybe? Platinum Games are aiming for a end of 2011 release for Max Anarchy on Xbox 360 and PS3.

Dream a little dream

Sega have officially announced a collection of Dreamcast games exclusively for the Xbox 360 and PC coming February 25th but the word ‘collection’ is really quite misleading. It’s less of a collection and more of a gabble of those already available via XBLA given little more than a disc-based release. I don’t want to sound harsh because Sonic Adventure, Crazi Taxi, Space Channel 5 Part 2 and Sega Bass Fishing are all pretty decent titles with a certain amount of significance to gaming but really? The Dreamcast had wealth of brilliant games that made its demise all the more saddening and when rumours of a collection such as this was first hinted at, there was a mini-furry of excitement at these games getting the HD treatment. Imagine a high definition Jet Set Radio or, my favourite, Shenmue. And what about Daytona USA, Grandia II, Power Stone? Googling ‘best Dreamcast games’ will throw up more than four so it’s an odd decision for Sega not to include any of those. Unless of course there’s to be another collection down the line but then we’ll probably see them appear via a downloadable service before hand too. Again, this isn’t bitterness but sadness at my hopes of a Dreamcast revival being dashed once more. I loved that little grey box!