Jason Rubin And More
High time for another news recap with a couple of interesting stories I wanted to share.
- Jason Rubin will leave Naughty Dog right after finishing the third PlayStation 2 ‘Jak & Daxter’ this fall. Apparently he wants to explore new ways to connect videogames to Hollywood. Does this mean he’s looking to be the next Jason Hall, the ex-Monolith president who heads up Warner’s fresh games division? Or is there more to the hint that he might be working with Nintendo? I’d definitely like to see this guy start a new studio providing Nintendo with a much-needed annual platform adventure. I’d rather have that than regular ‘Mario Parties’ — or even better: both.
- Interesting times indeed: according to an analyst report, the Dual-Screen handheld will come with a stylus to make use of its touch-screen capabilities in new and interesting ways. In fact this report mentions the DS could send instant messages… within its 802.11-style wireless range, limiting it to perhaps a hundred meters.
- This rumour gets real nifty combined with the Joy Spot story. Nintendo is about to start so-called Joy Spots in Japan, special services hosted in retail stores that enable owners of the GBA’s Wireless Adapter to connect or download extras. So far it sounds like players can connect to others at the same Joy Spot only, but in the future it shouldn’t be too hard for Nintendo to start an intranet connecting all Joy Spots. They could even include regular wireless networking hotspots. This would obviously give the DS an entirely new dimension.
- According to Japanese sources, Square-Enix is working on a new ‘Final Fantasy’ game for GameCube. This is not a surprise considering the worldwide success of the first one. Secondly, the UK’s official Nintendo mag mentions the new Final Fantasy might combine story elements of the three PSone episodes.
- I prefer the strategic gameplay of ‘Tactics Advance’ above the storybook Final Fantasies, so it shouldn’t surprise you that the next headline is more exciting to me: apparently during April Nintendo will pull the wraps off the next game in the ‘Fire Emblem’ series. Could this finally be a GameCube installment, or is it simply, but also excitingly, the third Game Boy Advance episode?
- Nintendo is simplifying the GameCube in a cost-reducing move. Soon the console won’t have a dedicated optical AV output anymore, nor will the black disc in its lid remain removable. It’s pretty standard stuff in this stage of the console cycle to reduce the number of parts it takes to produce — or to release a smaller console casing. These tinkerings might allow Nintendo to take the console’s price even further down in the third or fourth quarter.
- Finally, Nintendo Japan mentioned that Dual-Screen software will definitely be playable at the E3 expo in May. I’d pretty much taken this for granted, but it’s always nice to get confirmation. The company also said it would announce new games for GameCube and GBA at the show. This is no rocket science either, but again it’s nice to know I didn’t book my flight for nothing.