Axed XBLA games still available – kinda, sorta

When Microsoft announced that they would start to de-list underperforming games from XBLA, there must have been a few people out there were a bit concerned that the not-great-but-fun title they once enjoyed but deleted wouldn’t be there if they fancied another go.

Happily, we can now confirm (via the Gamerscore Blog) that if you have bought a game that has subsequently failed to make the cut and accidentally (or otherwise) deleted it from your HDD you will always be able to re-download it.

Which rather begs the question – if the games are all still on the servers, why bother to delist them at all?

Sure, Microsoft want everything to be on brand and to present a nice high-quality face and all that, but haven’t they ever heard of The Long Tail?

There must be somebody who enjoyed Rocky & Bullwinkle, not to mention any of the other niche games out there. By leaving them up on XBLA (even if they stash them away in an ‘oldies/lame ducks’ section) there is still a small chance that developers could still see some income as games get rediscovered months or even years down the line.

By removing them as they have done, that chance will drop to zero. Where is the sense in that?

Motley Crue single selling more via Rock Band than real life

You can say what you like about Motley Crue – curse their lumpen, unreconstructed rawk, pity their receding hair or even quote Half Man Half Biscuit’s “Upon Westminster Bridge” :

Oh help me Mrs Meddlicot I don’t know what to do/ I’ve only got three bullets And there’s four of Motley Crue

Say what you like.. but don’t argue with their canny commercial instincts.

Their new single Saints of Los Angeles may have only sold a measly 10,000 copies via iTunes, but by releasing the track simultaneously as a downloadable for Rock Band the shaggy-headed glam warriors have clocked up an impressive 47,000 more sales from Xbox players alone.

It may not help their chart position (unless Billboard bend the rules considerably) but that is almost certainly enough to buy eight new cowboy boots, a barrel of hair dye and a catering pack of Jack Daniels.

ROCK MEN playing Xbox 360’s Guitar Hero 4 drum kit

Check out this little embedded video. It shows proper rock men “at it” on the forthcoming Guitar Hero drum kit. There’s some bloke out of Blink 182 and some other bloke out of the Red Hot Chilli Peppers and – Jesus! – Stewart Copeland out of The Police hammering away at the plastic drum accessory from Guitar Hero 4.

They almost manage to make it look cool.

The game is officially known as “Guitar Hero World Tour” a name Activision has dreamed up to stop everyone calling it Guitar Hero 4 and saying “Crikey, have they really churned out four Guitar Hero games already?” and being cynical about it all.

We’re going to keep calling it Guitar Hero 4 until warned in writing. We are anti-establishment like that.

Rock Band sells well, considering the CRIPPLING FINANCIAL COST involved

The cash-eating music game launched here last Friday, and, incredibly for a thing that costs £49.99 and requires an additional £129 to be spent buying the other things you need to play it right, managed to enter the charts at number six.

Chart-Track pointed out that three-quarters of the punters who bought the Rock Band game also slapped down the £129 for the instruments pack. You lot must be MADE of money.

The only other notable new entry was car-crash PS3 exclusive Haze, which, despite everyone on the internet laughing at it and slagging it off, clawed its way into the charts at number four. Just goes to show that when you’re really hungry, anything will do.

Oh, and Xbox 360 GTA IV is still outselling the PS3 version. For those of you keeping count. Fourth week in a row now, that is. It must be in the lead by miles.

What’s in the Gears of War Special Edition ?

Gamestop has leaked some details of the upcoming Gears Of War special edition re-release thing.

It’s definitely good news if you don’t already own the game – for $39.99 (or local equivalent) you can get a copy of the game (natch) a bonus disc containing all Gears DLC released to date – including the multiplayer map pack and ‘Hidden Fronts’, a plethora (yes, you heard me – a plethora) of pics, themes, video clips and similar multimedia bits and bobs including an EXCLUSIVE message from Cliffy B.

As if that lot wasn’t enough, you also get a wodge of Gears 2 promotional pics, vids and – to be frank – adverts.

If you do own the original.. well, it’s your call. Frankly, if you are that into GoW you probably own all the DLC anyway and it’s doubtful that a couple of JPGs and a Cliffy B clip is going to be worth $39.99 of your money.

Personally, I’m a bit disappointed there is no art book Surely every special edition needs an art book? Shoddy.

Prince of Persia to feature ‘revolutionary’ new AI assistant

Ubisoft producer Ben Mattes revealed some interesting tidbits about the new Prince of Persia series reboot.

We had already heard about the cel-shading and the focus on proper duelling but were a bit concerned that the game would be dropping the time-wrangling abilities that were put to such good use in Sands of Time and Two Thrones.

Fear not, says Mattes, the timey-wimey may be out the window, but Ubisoft are replacing it with a new feature that will surpass it.

Elika is a new sidekick character that Ubisoft assure us will be the last word in AI-driven helpers. As well as fulfilling a plot niche for a sidekick-cum-love-interest, Elika will be able to assist the player in every aspect of gameplay and not simply get under your curly-slippered feet like so many other AI bots.

“Not only is she making the game better, she’s definitely not making the game worse” said Mattes.

There is no gameplay footage available yet, but this short video clip shows the art behind the character.

So far all we can offer is two words – eighties hair.

ADVERT BREAK: Ninja Gaiden II’s Japanese commercial

You know how over here we always moan that GAME adverts never actually show any of the GAME? Things are a little bit different in Japan.

The Japanese Ninja Gaiden II advert doesn’t just show a little bit of the game, it pretty much packs in the ENTIRE game, its plot and all of the action scenes into one staggeringly intense fifteen seconds of ultimate action. If this doesn’t get you going, you’re dead inside and out.

Fantastic. Trade in your GTA IVs – the new best game ever has arrived. NGII’s out here on June 6th. That’s eight days away. Sadly, it would appear that no retailers are organising midnight openings, despite the fact that it’s obviously the Game of the Year.

Saint’s Row 2 pushed back to October

THQ have decided to keep their Saint’s Row sequel ( the imaginatively name Saint’s Row 2) under wraps for a while longer and pushed the release date back until October the 14th.

The game was slated for release towards the end of August, but THQ are citing both marketing issues and – crucially – quality as the reason for the delay.

Saints Row 2
Saints Row 2

Actually, this doesn’t sound like a bad idea at all. Too many titles get rushed out to meet an artificial deadline and end up shipping with bugs that take the shine off what would otherwise be a decent game.

This was certainly the case with the first installment in the series, which was saddled with a collection of bugs so in-your-face that they inspired a musical number.

Would it be a bit uncharitable to suggest that a delay might do them another favour too? By waiting another two months, THQ are putting more and more distance between SR2 and GTAIV..

Xbox 360 BEATING PlayStation3 since GTA IV launch – has an 18% sales lead

Those are the ACTUAL FACTS as reported by UK sales monitor Chart-Track. This is no internet lie. It’s the truth.

Chart-Track says that, in the weeks since the release of GTA IV, Xbox 360 sales have averaged 18 percent higher than sales of PS3. Not surprising since PS3 is rubbish and costs more money than anyone has.

It’s particularly good news for Microsoft. Industry “analysts” (aka children and long-term unemployed adults on the internet) were convinced that the so-called “PlayStation franchise” would help PS3 establish itself, with all those millions of PS2 owners apparently waiting for GTA IV to come out before upgrading to PS3. Wrong – they were waiting for GTA IV to come out before upgrading to any console it appears on – and the cheaper Xbox 360 has benefited most.

GTA IV itself has, in the four weeks since launch, sold 57 percent of its UK copies on Xbox 360, taking it to a combined sell through total of 1.3 million. So it was definitely worth making.

Life-sized Gears of War replica weapons and clothing on the way

There’s liking a game, then there’s liking a game a little bit too much. If you’ve tipped over the edge and are obsessed with the butch – and some might say homoerotic – machismo of Gears of War, you’re going to wee your little school uniform over this lot. It’s life-sized GoW replica weaponry and armour.

Gears of War
Gears of War

The set will include the Lancer chain saw assault rifle, actual man (or teenage boy) sized pieces of armour to wear and even COG-style helmets to protect your anonymity. Here is but one prototype of this INSANITY:

They’re being made by TriForce Sales, which has secured the license to make 1:1 scale Gears merchandise. Pre-orders go live on July 8 if you’re into the historical battle recreation scene. Anyone who registers will hopefully be added to some sort of government “People To Avoid” database.