Wii U

Almost immediately after the Wii U's release date was announced last week most major U.S. retailers made the console available for pre-order, and within just a few short days the console has clearly become a big ticket item. Gamestop sold out of the Deluxe version both online and in store in less than 24 hours (the Basic version is still available). While it took a little bit longer, it's just about the same story for the online shops at Best Buy, Toys R Us, and Target, except those retailers are out of both models. Just about everyone is already pre-sold out of their entire stock including Sears and K-Mart. Wal-Mart appears to be the lone retailer left offering up the console for pre-order, both as standalone purchases and as part of bundles. Online retailer Amazon, has yet to even list Nintendo's latest console, following a recent trend of shying away from carrying Nintendo products (try buying a 3DS from them, I dare ya).

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After I had a chance to check out the new World Tekken Federation feature during PAX Prime, longtime Tekken director Katsuhiro Harada was on hand to talk briefly about the series. Far from the outspoken bomb thrower (he's had some strong words for the competition's DLC strategy as well as for fans of the series with gripes over its VO).

The Harada-san that I met was a bit more sedate than the wild man I'd gotten used to online, keeping his cool behind his omnipresent shades and musing over the the past of the series as well as the way in which Tekken Tag Tournament 2 serves as a celebration for the nearly two decade old fighting series.
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Being a human in Aliens: Colonial Marines just got a little tougher with the inclusion of Escape Mode, a new asymmetrical, 4 v 4 multiplayer mode coming to the game when it's released in February. In it, a team of Marines will have to make their escape from a level within 15 minutes while the opposing team of Xenomorphs hunt them down. This new mode will be playable all weekend at PAX Prime, if you're interested in checking it out at the SEGA booth.

To get into the specifics of how this new mode would work, I recently spoke with Gearbox Multiplayer Producer Chris Brock who walked me through some of the developer's vision for Escape Mode, building the perfect levels to escape from, and getting players excited about playing as the alien.

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Besides worrying about aliens popping out of the dark (and trying to pop your head off), one of the most memorable features of the original XCOM was the ability to research those sinister Greys and develop new weapons and tech. Well, you'll be able to cut right into the invaders and discover all of their secrets on the operating room table in October's XCOM: Enemy UnKnown when the Firaxis remake hits the PC, PS3, and Xbox 360.

I recently spoke with Firaxis Designer and Programmer Jacob Solomon about bringing alien dissection back and what it means for the new game's single player campaign. Plus, we have new screenshots of some of the alien invaders reimagined for the new game.
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Diamond Trust of London

This week marks a monumental accomplishment for one indie game developer in California - Jason Rohrer, is the end of a three year long process to release his DS game, Diamond Trust of London. After multiple redesigns, publishers, and various other setbacks, the two-player diamond smuggling strategy game is finally on its way into the hands of consumers as of yesterday when Rohrer shipped out 861 US-bound packages. Thanks to his final push of support via Kickstarter, the journey of the first player-funded Nintendo DS game is finally beginning to come to an end.
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Lights, Camera, Party!

Frima Studio is looking to bring families together with their next PlayStation 3 release, Lights, Camera, Party! Known most recently for helping to bring Skylanders home to the web, iPhones, and iPads, Frima is crafting a family-friendly, motion-based, mini-game collection starting the Funzini family, seemingly looking to try and fill a void in the PS3's market. With so many games oriented at the mature gamer, where are the games that parents can pick up and play with their kids? Executive Producer, Martin Brouard helped shed some light on where Lights, Camera, Party! Is coming from, and what he and his team are hoping to accomplish with the game.
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Yesterday we brought you details of the October 22nd release of the 2-disc Halo 4 Original Soundtrack Special Edition which will include 14 remixes of composer Neil Davidge’s score for the return of the Master Chief and Cortana’s battles at the farthest reaches of the galaxy. We also spoke with Neil Davidge about creating a new sound for the Halo universe as Halo 4 hits retail this November.

Among the musicians tapped to spin out variations of Davidge’s score is L.A.-based producer DJ Skee (AKA Scott Keeney), who provided a mix for the track “Revival.” While not mixing tracks for the Chief, Skee also heads his own video production company, Skee.TV.

We spoke to him by phone recently about putting his own spin on the sounds of Halo 4 and what it’s like for a longtime fan of the series to be a first-time producer on one of its soundtracks, and I hope it provides some insight into what goes into building our own remix.
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Halo sounds a certain way to longtime fans of the series. If you ask anyone who's played through the campaigns of the main titles in the series, composer Marty O'Donnell's score has been integral to the Master Chief and Cortana's galaxy-spanning adventures (to the degree that even O'Donnell's own jazzier compositions for ODST were met with doubt and confusion by fans).

But with 343 Industries taking over the franchise from Bungie, the Kirkland, WA-based developer had to think about what was next sonically for the series, vetting several candidates to give the first game in a new trilogy its own sound. And as Neil Davidge, the man who would eventually get the gig tells it, they didn't want to do the usual film composer doing games things.

Davidge is the longtime producer and writer with the British electronic outfit, Massive Attack, and he knows something about wedding music to action, having worked on the very distinctive soundtrack for 2004's Danny the Dog along with documentaries Battle In Seattle and Trouble the Water. Davidge's soundtrack will be available a on October 22nd in the U.S., a couple of weeks before Halo 4 hits shelves.

So what was it like taking over the reins for Marty and finding a new sound of the Chief and Cortana? In this interview, Davidge, an avid gamer and fan of the Halo series, talks about approaching the material, the challenge of writing music around gunfire, and what he thinks is the heart of the game.

Tomorrow, in our next installment, we'll be talking with DJ Skee about his remix for the Special Edition release of the game's soundtrack.
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Papo & Yo is not your typical game, and Vander Caballero is not your typical creative director. After having worked on franchises like FIFA and Army of Two, Caballero wanted to branch out and make his own games, crafting them in a manner different than the way a big studio would have. Papo & Yo is the product of a small, determined development team, with a man who wanted to make an accessible game with roots in a serious topic. The inspiration for Papo & Yo is clear, but there’s still a lot more to find out about this mysterious title before it hits the Playstation Network tomorrow. Read on to find out more about the ideas behind the game, the importance of developing emotional relationships between the characters and the player, and just why the game dropped the “y” from the title.

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Yesterday, developer Minority Studios released their launch trailer for Papo & Yo, and I was kind of curious about the heavy tone being communicated in the video versus the more whimsical take on the game that we've been seeing up to this point.

So I reached out to Minority Studios' Creative Director Vander Caballero who was kind enough to tell me a little about the thinking that went into laying out the allegory behind the game so strongly right out the game.

Check out Vander's response after the jump.
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