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News Archive - A weekly round-up of Wii UK news

Week of June 17, 2007

Fire Service game announced -- Posted by Jonathan on Friday, June 22 2007
For all you budding firemen, Epicentre Studios has announced its development of "Real Heroes: Firefighter", exclusively for Wii. As with most games, you'll start off as a new recruit and you'll be thrust into dealing with a series of ever more challenging emergency situations.

The game is set to feature Epicenter's proprietary "Thinking Fire" technology, making blazes seem as realistic as possible; they not only attack structures, potential victims and firefighters, but also cause unexpected changes to the environments that will suddenly alter the player's options and strategies: no two scenarios will play out the same way. Success will depend equally on the player's mastery of realistic firefighting tools and techniques and on the player's ability to think and react quickly under pressure.

"Combining our unique fire tech with the specific strengths of the Wii was a natural choice for us as we designed Real Heroes," jabbered Epicenter CCO Bryan Jury. "The Wii-mote makes spraying down fires with your hose (fnar), hacking down doors with your axe and prying victims loose from wrecked cars with the Jaws of Life an absolutely visceral game experience."

"The Wii is a family-friendly console and we've designed Real Heroes with that in mind," notes Epicenter CEO Nathaniel McClure. "Because firefighting requires a lot more than dousing flames, Real Heroes emphasizes non-violent, game-integral puzzles that mirror the challenges and on-the-fly choices firefighters actually face."

"We are making every effort to create a game that is intense and engaging, but always respectful to firefighters who, we believe, are real heroes,"
states McClure.

Myself, I'm not quite sure how family friendly the idea of burning human flesh and cutting our mangled car crash victims is, but I do like the idea of completely new IP. In theory, this could be a good game, especially if they include driving the fire engine through a busy city with your sirens blazing.

Click here to add a comment on this news article

Rising Star announce Wii publishing deal -- Posted by James on Friday, June 22 2007
Rising Star Games have announced that they are entering into a co-publishing deal with Hudson Soft, developer of the charming Kororinpa and the.. not-so-charming Wing Island. Ahem.

According to the press release, the deal between the UK publisher and the Japanese giant will "initially cover seven titles across Sony PSP, Nintendo DS and Wii formats for release between September 2007 and March 2008."

However, upon asking Rising Star's PR chap about exactly which titles will be coming to Wii and when, we were met with "We'll be able to announce the Wii titles in about a week."

How very mysterious.

Rising Star have so far published a few games on the DS, including The New Zealand Story revolution, but so far we're unaware as to which Hudson titles they are going to be bringing to our shores.

As soon as we find out, we'll let you know.

Click here to discuss this news story on our forums.

Stay tuned for more news.

Thrustmaster T-Charge Review Online -- Posted by James on Friday, June 22 2007
That strapline is so good I think I'm going to have to repeat it:

You know that 'no more tears?' This is 'no more sodding batteries'

Being a prat aside, freshly uploaded is a review of the Thrustmaster T-Charge + NW - a huge gaggle of words that translates into 'a very useful dock and battery charger for Wii.'

If you're fed up of buying batteries all the time, it might be worth looking at this - we'll be bringing you a review of some more Wii accessory products very shortly so keep your eyes peeled.

Click here to read the Wii UK review of the Thrustmaster T-Charge + NW ( Wii dock and charger ).

We used a swanky camera to take the pictures - for the next review we'll be back to the pinhole camera, I'm afraid.

Click here to discuss this news story on our forums.

Stay tuned for more.

Virtual Console Friday -- Posted by James on Friday, June 22 2007
Nintendo have just sent us the details of this week's Virtual Console updates, and we're up bright and early at 9:00am to bring them to you. There's two games this Friday - we've had a good run of Fridays with more than one game, let's hope it stays like that.

Mega Man - 500 points - Most of you will have heard of this NES classic: Mega Man fights his way through 6 crazy levels against the rather sinister-sounding Dr Wily and his robot army! Early 90s plots = unrivalled.

China Warrior - 600 points - According to Nintendo, this Turbografx game is renowned for it's "ground breaking graphics": you'll have to judge that one for yourself, as we haven't played it here. It sounds like a fair amount of the usual bad-guy arse-kicking, so let us know if you pick it up.

Click here to discuss this news story on our forums.

We always like to hear from people who've snapped these buggers up, so do let us know by using the forum!

Stay tuned for more news folks.

Wii portable screen released in Japan -- Posted by James on Thursday, June 21 2007
According to Nintendic, a company known as Century have recently released a 7-inch portable screen for Wii that clips onto the side.

Seriously, take a look:

portable wii screen

There's two fundamental problems with this idea.

Firstly, it doesn't have a battery pack, meaning you'll need a mains electricity supply or a power inverter. Most people with main electricity ( so that's most people, then ) are likely to have a television, and most people with power inverters are gypsies.

Then you have the problem of the screen. Whilst it has a built-in, miniaturised sensor bar ( very clever ), you'll still need to be a fair distance back from it for the remote to function correctly, as it's effectively a line of sight pointer. Too close to the screen, and you'll be restricted to very small movements when pointing. Too far back, and you won't be able to see the bloody thing.

Nice idea, but no cigar. I'll stick with my television.

Discuss this news story on our forums.

Nintendo announce Q3 release schedule -- Posted by Jonathan on Thursday, June 21 2007
Finally some dates for a few those titles you've been waiting for. Highlights include Resident Evil 4, Scarface, Mario Party 8, Trauma Centre (at long last!) and Super Paper Mario. No Metroid Prime 3 fairly unsurprisingly.

Resident Evil: 4 Wii edition (Capcom) 29th June 2007
Harry Potter and The Order Of The Phoenix (EA) 29th June 2007
Scarface (Vivendi Games) 30th June 2007
Mortal Kombat: Armageddon (Midway Games) June 2007
Mario Party 8 (Nintendo) 13th July 2007
Big Brain Academy for Wii (Nintendo) 20th July 2007
King Of Clubs (Oxygen Games) 20th July 2007
William Pinball Classics (System 3) July 2007
Transformers The Game (Activision) July 2007
Trauma Center: Second Opinion (Nintendo / Atlus) 10th August 2007
Tamagotchi Party On! (Namco Bandai Games) August 2007
California Games (System 3) August 2007
Alien Syndrome (SEGA) 7th September 2007
Super Paper Mario (Nintendo) 14th September 2007
Dragon Blade: Wrath Of Fire (D3Publisher of Europe) 14th September 2007
World Championship Poker Featuring Howard Lederer: All In Wii 21st September 2007 (505Games)
Brunswick Bowling pro (505Games) September 2007
Cosmic Family (Ubisoft) September 2007
My Word Coach (Ubisoft) September 2007
Ratatouille (THQ) Q3 2007
Toot and Puddle: Call Of The North (Zoo Digital Publishing) Q3 2007

Click here to discuss this news in the forums

Wii titles appearing at E3 -- Posted by Jonathan on Thursday, June 21 2007
E3 used to be the biggest games Expo on the calendar and traditionally major announcements from the manufacturers/developers would be saved up for the show in a bid to garner the most attention. Unfortunately it became a victim of its own success and last year was the final E3 open to the general trade. Now, renamed the E3 Media and Business Summit, the event is designed to be much lower key affair. Having said that, many people are still hoping for major revelations and there are many titles confirmed for appearance already. Here's a list of some of the third party Wii titles set for the summit:

Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi 3
Godzilla Unleashed

Capcom Entertainment:
Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles
Zack and Wiki: Quest for Barbaros' Treasure

Crave Entertainment:
Brunswick Pro Bowling
Dave Mirra BMX Challenge
Pinball Hall of Fame: The Williams Collection

D3 Publisher:
Ben 10: Protector of Earth
Naruto: Clash of Ninja Revolution

Disney Interactive Studios:
High School Musical: Sing It

Electronic Arts:
Madden NFL 08
NBA Live 08
Need for Speed ProStreet
Tiger Woods PGA Tour 08

Mushroom Men

LEGO Star Wars: The Complete Saga

Warner Bros. Interactive:
Looney Tunes: Acme Arsenal

Not too many movie tie-ins I am relieved to see, but to my mind there's nothing that exciting in that list either. Hopefully more titles will be revealed before and during the summit itself.

Click here to discuss this news in the forums

Wii UK Roundtable 003 -- Posted by James on Wednesday, June 20 2007
Another edition of the Wii UK Roundtable following hot on the heels of the last - we're topical beasts here at Wii UK, so we thought what better than to capitalise on the Manhunt 2 madness that's currently circulating.

Click here to read the Manhunt 2 Wii UK Roundtable.

Enjoy reading it folks, and doubtless you'll have some opinion of your own to contribute - head over to our forums and have your say.

Stay tuned for more.

More Manhunt 2 troubles -- Posted by James on Tuesday, June 19 2007
After the news earlier today that the BBFC ( British Board of Film Classification ) have refused to classify upcoming Wii title Manhunt 2, thereby disallowing it to go on sale, news has just reached us that the Americans are now going to be having similar problems.

According to publisher Take Two, the ESRB ( the American classification authority ) have classified Manhunt 2 as AO - Adults Only.

This is commonly seen as a death knell for entertainment media other than crazy porn, as many retailers refuse to stock Adult Only media.

Here's Take Two's statement:

"The ESRB has issued an initial rating of AO (Adults Only) for Manhunt 2.

We believe the process of rating videogames is to help people make informed entertainment choices and not to limit them.

Manhunt 2 was created for mature audiences and we strongly believe it should receive an M (Mature) rating, aligning it with similar content created in other forms of media. We are exploring our options with regard to the rating of Manhunt 2.

You might remember that another Rockstar title, GTA: San Andreas, was reclassified to AO after the Hot Coffee 'scandal' broke, when hidden sex games were found inside the code lurking. Malevolently, obviously.

You've got to love Rockstar. I do.

Perhaps more worryingly, according to Nintendo, they "do not sell or license games that carry the ESRB rating "AO" (Adults Only)."

That could spell trouble.

We'll be contacting the relevant companies to find out exactly what's going on, so stay tuned.

Wii UK Roundtable 002 -- Posted by James on Tuesday, June 19 2007
The second edition of our newly-launched Wii UK Roundtable is now online, and this time we're discussing the following:

With some developers seemingly running out of buttons for their more conventional titles, what Wii remote attachments would you like to see in the future?

Click here to go straight to the latest Wii UK Roundtable.

I suspect the next Roundtable will be rather more prompt, as we're going to try and round everyone up to talk about this Manhunt 2 madness, so stay tuned folks.

Don't forget about our forum.

Manhunt 2 banned in UK -- Posted by James on Tuesday, June 19 2007
In a move that has somewhat surprised me, the BBFC ( British Board of Film Classification ) have refused to classify upcoming ultra-violent Wii title Manhunt 2, making it illegal to sell in this country.

The BBFC don't generally reject things too often, and as such they were clearly concerned by the game's content - we've moved on a long way since the days of films like Battleship Potemkin being banned for decades.

Here's what the BBFC had to say, and it's definitely worth reading, this is pretty big news:

"Rejecting a work is a very serious action and one which we do not take lightly. Where possible we try to consider cuts or, in the case of games, modifications which remove the material which contravenes the Board's published Guidelines. In the case of Manhunt 2 this has not been possible. Manhunt 2 is distinguishable from recent high-end video games by its unremitting bleakness and callousness of tone in an overall game context which constantly encourages visceral killing with exceptionally little alleviation or distancing. There is sustained and cumulative casual sadism in the way in which these killings are committed, and encouraged, in the game.

Although the difference should not be exaggerated the fact of the game's unrelenting focus on stalking and brutal slaying and the sheer lack of alternative pleasures on offer to the gamer, together with the different overall narrative context, contribute towards differentiating this submission from the original Manhunt game. That work was classified '18' in 2003, before the BBFC's recent games research had been undertaken, but was already at the very top end of what the Board judged to be acceptable at that category.

Against this background, the Board's carefully considered view is that to issue a certificate to Manhunt 2, on either platform, would involve a range of unjustifiable harm risks, to both adults and minors, within the terms of the Video Recordings Act, and accordingly that its availability, even if statutorily confined to adults, would be unacceptable to the public.

I've just spoken to the BBFC, and they told me that the game was refused classification "today," Rockstar have "six weeks to appeal," and that the decision of the appeal is absolutely "final."

Rockstar are still not answering the phone - presumably they've got a busy few weeks ahead of them.

Update: Rockstar have now commented on the news with a somewhat predictable statement:

"We are disappointed with the recent decision by the British Board of Film Classification to refuse classification of Manhunt 2. While we respect the authority of the classification board and will abide by the rules, we emphatically disagree with this particular decision.

Manhunt 2 is an entertainment experience for fans of psychological thrillers and horror. The subject matter of this game is in line with other mainstream entertainment choices for adult consumers. We respect those who have different opinions about the horror genre and video games as a whole, but we hope they will also consider the opinions of the adult gamers for whom this product is intended. We believe all products should be rated to allow the public to make informed choices about the media and art they wish to consume. The stories in modern video games are as diverse as the stories in books, film and television. The adult consumers who would play this game fully understand that it is fictional interactive entertainment and nothing more."

We'll keep you updated as more comes through, so remember to keep checking back.

Leave your comments on our forum folks - this is going to get big.

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Thrustmaster announce T-Charge All -- Posted by James on Monday, June 18 2007
Those cheeky accessory chappies at Thrustmaster have announced that their latest product for Wii will be available in the shops at the end of June, entitled 'T-Charge All NW.'

Despite the somewhat mystifying name, it could be something of a godsend if you play your Wii a lot - T-Charge All NW allows you to store and charge up 2 Wii remote controllers ( and their nunchucks ), removing the need to keep buying batteries.

It gets more clever, however, as you can charge the Wii remotes through Wii's USB ports or through any other USB port, meaning you don't need to worry about finding a spare power socket. You don't even need to remove the batteries from the controllers - they just slide nicely in. Take a look:

Thrustmaster T-Charge All NW

It also comes with 2 sets of rechargable batteries, 2 battery holders for any type of battery, and it looks very shiny, as you can see.

For 24.99, that really isn't bad at all.

We'll be bringing you a review of this as soon as we get our grubby paws on it, so stay tuned.

We'll also have a review of some other Thrustmaster products coming very soon indeed.

EA announce Boogie release date -- Posted by James on Monday, June 18 2007
EA have announced that their upcoming Wii karaoke game, Boogie, is set to be released on the 31st of August.

The game comes packed in with a Wii karaoke microphone, which is jolly nice - it remains to be seen exactly how this will connect to the Wii, but it might well have something to do with the audio translator chip that was discovered inside the Wii remote recently.

According to EA, the game features single and co-operative play, and it also allow you to create your own music videos complete with your own singing. Yes, now you can fulfil your dream of recording the definitive version of the Hammer's Can't Touch This. Joy.

It actually sounds like it might be quite good fun.

Stay tuned for more information.

I'm off to rehearse my Jackson 5 numbers.

EA announce.. EA Playground -- Posted by James on Monday, June 18 2007
EA announced EA Playground today, a new title in development for Wii and DS over at EA's evil underground bunker in Canada.

Rather unsurprisingly, EA Playground features a host of mini-games, revolving around a fantasy playground setting. With the playground as a hub, you can play through a plethora of different games ( including dodgeball ) either on your own or with friends.

Here's the official word:

"Young, old, male or female -- EA Playground has something for everyone. EA Playground transports you to your fantasy playground, packed with interesting characters, over-the top gameplay, and a ton of collectables. Kids can bring the excitement of the playground home, and parents or even grandparents can re-experience their childhood thrills."

For most grandparents childhood thrills certainly wasn't sitting inside waving a weird white stick around - it was more likely eating coal and fighting. Nonetheless, EA seem absolutely convinced that this game isn't just for younguns - I'm not.

If yet another compendium of minigames is EA's idea of exciting new intellectual properties for Wii, then perhaps they should invest in some new staff for their thinktank.

Here's some screenshots of the game in action:

EA Playground EA Playground

At least, if anything, this game will probably be highly polished. I'm not going to totally write it off before I play it, so stay tuned for more information.

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