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AICN Games: Monki's Weekly Wrap-Up! Halo 3, John Woo and Doves!!

Greetings humans, Monki here with a steaming batch of game news for you.

A few pretty big stories hit this week. We see the launch of a huge new title from Blizzard and the PS3 finally does something that the XBox 360 can't. Oh yeah, and Quint is turning into Jobe from Lawnmower Man with his Halo 3 consumption...seriously...at least he's good.

Press Releases of the Week!

Finally, someone is taking advantage of the PS3's space advantage over the 360.

CHICAGO, IL - May 17, 2007 - Midway Games Inc., a leading interactive entertainment publisher and developer, and Sony Computer Entertainment America today announced an exclusive PLAYSTATION 3 collector's edition for the highly anticipated Stranglehold. This limited edition will feature the game and a full-length version of John Woo's critically acclaimed action film "Hard Boiled" both on the same high-capacity PlayStation 3 Blu-ray disc -- a feat not possible on any other gaming system other than PS3. The collector's edition will be available in limited quantity at select retailers for a suggested retail price in the U.S. of $69.95.

Stranglehold allows gamers to play a John Woo-directed action blockbuster movie, complete with two-fisted, stunt-laden gunplay and massive environmental destruction. Stranglehold is a collaboration with world renowned action film director John Woo's Tiger Hill Entertainment and the collector's edition is scheduled for a summer 2007 release exclusively on PS3. Stranglehold continues the story of Inspector Tequila, played by Chow Yun-Fat that started in 1992 with John Woo's action masterpiece "Hard Boiled". "Hard Boiled" appears courtesy of The Weinstein Company and Genius Products who are scheduled to release a 15th anniversary Two-Disc Ultimate Edition of the classic film via their Dragon Dynasty DVD label on July 24, 2007.

"We are very excited to be offering PS3 owners this exclusive collector's edition of Stranglehold, complete with John Woo's classic film 'Hard Boiled'," said Steve Allison, chief marketing officer, Midway. "Thanks to SCEA, the Blu-ray Disc Association and The Weinstein Company, fans will now be able to fully experience the world of John Woo in one complete and special package."

"The exclusive collector's edition of Stranglehold demonstrates the power of PlayStation 3 Blu-ray disc and the total entertainment experience that can only be found on PlayStation 3," said Riley Russell, senior vice president Third Party Relations and general counsel, SCEA. "The 50GB capacity of Blu-ray disc allows PS3 content publishers to do things simply not possible on our competitor's 9GB DVD-based systems. Thanks to the advanced technology found in PS3, developers like Midway can truly realize their visions, bringing consumers even closer to the game."

More information about Stranglehold can be found online at www.strangleholdgame.com

"The 50GB capacity of Blu-ray disc allows PS3 content publishers to do things simply not possible on our competitor's 9GB DVD-based systems." ...OH SNAP! No he diii-uhhhnnt!

I hate to say it, but I see nothing but Blu-Ray displays at my local electronics stores...Anyone know when the $200 BD players are coming out...or when some good HD DVDs are coming out?

Blizzard announced the sequel to StarCraft in Korea. The country exploded.

SEOUL, South Korea - May 19, 2007 - Blizzard Entertainment today unveiled StarCraft II, the sequel to its award-winning real-time strategy game StarCraft, at the 2007 Blizzard Worldwide Invitational event in Seoul, South Korea. The announcement took place inside the Olympic Gymnastics Arena, in front of thousands of attendees, who received a presentation that included a StarCraft II cinematic trailer and a gameplay demonstration by the development team.

Designed to be the ultimate competitive real-time strategy game, StarCraft II will feature the return of the Protoss, Terran, and Zerg races, overhauled and re-imagined with Blizzard's signature approach to game balance. Each race will be further distinguished from the others, with several new units and new gameplay mechanics, as well as new abilities for some of the classic StarCraft units that will be making a reappearance in the game. StarCraft II will also feature a custom 3D-graphics engine with realistic physics and the ability to render several large, highly detailed units and massive armies on-screen simultaneously.

"With StarCraft II, we'll be able to do everything we wanted to do with the original StarCraft and more," stated Mike Morhaime, president and cofounder of Blizzard Entertainment. "We recognize that expectations are high following the long-running popularity of the original game, but we plan to meet those expectations and deliver an engaging, action-packed, competitive experience that StarCraft players and strategy gamers worldwide will enjoy."

StarCraft II will include a unique single-player campaign, as well as fast-paced online play through an upgraded version of Blizzard's renowned online gaming service, Battle.net. In addition, the game will come with a powerful, full-featured map editor that will put the same tools used by Blizzard's designers into the hands of players.

Blizzard is developing StarCraft II for simultaneous release on the Windows and Macintosh PC platforms. Further information about the game, including details on the single-player, multiplayer, and map-editor features, as well as system requirements, pricing, and availability, will be announced in the months ahead. To learn more about StarCraft II, please visit the official website at www.starcraft2.com.

Speaking as a loyal Mac owner, I'm happy to see that Blizzard is going to release both the Mac and PC versions simultaneously. Golf clap Blizzard...golf clap.

Pretty Images of the Week

I imagine John Woo walking into Midway's offices to check out the development process. Begin scene:

John Woo
Okay, what can you show me of the game?

Developer
Here is a scene where the hero character has to fight off enemies from all sides.

John Woo
It looks great, but can you put in more doves?

Developer
Excuse me? Having to code all tha...

John Woo
MORE DOVES!! I DEMAND MORE DOVES!! HAVEN'T YOU SEEN FACE/OFF?! MORE DOVES!

...annnnndd scene.

Seriously, this man loves doves. Even in polygon format. Freakin' radical.

Now THIS is a good teaser trailer.

I'm just curious how they got that character model to look so much like Merrick. The likeness is uncanny!

Monki's Seven Most Important Stories of the Week!

Go Texas! Bring those companies to the Lone Star State.

I can guarantee you that my ass would have been up there too. Alcohol + microphone = drunk Monki singing.

Spider-Man 3, summed up by AICN Games friend Billy the Kidd.

Bungie had a bit of trouble getting the Crackdown Halo 3 invites out. It's all fixed now and they've given everyone a few more days to play! Joyous rapture!

Halo 3 responsible for loss of productivity beginning September 25th, 2007.

"Why does Michael Bay get to keep on making...uhm..video games?" ...I guess Pearl Harbor sucked...just a little bit more than I miss you.

Obligatory WoW article. Hee-hee...he said "water mounts."

Monki's Plead for Sanity of the Week!

I never really played a lot of online video games. I'll be honest, I didn't play Halo 2 online except for when I was hanging out at a buddy's house. I didn't have an XBox Live account until I purchased my 360.

Of course, all of that was different back in the mid-90s before the "intarweb" became a household name. I'm an old-school dial-up kid. That's right, I'd crank on my 9600 baud modem and dial into my BBS of choice, BigToe, based here in Austin.

BigToe was just some guy who dug tech stuff, he had a brother who had a kid who liked gaming, so he set up a BBS with either 8 or 12 lines (the memory is a bit fuzzy) of dial-up goodness. BigToe is where I first experienced the joy of Doom and Doom 2 via APCI Doom, a shell that let up to four people play together over their modems. Digital bliss. Legends of the Red Dragon! Jesus! I'd wait for hours to let my character reset so I could get my extra turns to go hunting for gold and experience.

Everyone on BigToe knew everyone else, those new to the board were taken in and quickly became part of the group. Everyone was included.

Then the LAN parties started up when I was in high school. Quake and Quake 2 were the drugs of choice. At one point we had guys out on the back porch on folding tables playing along with those of us in the living room, kitchen, garage and bedrooms. Once again, everyone knew everyone else. If not, at least you knew that SOMEONE vouched for the guy eating Doritos and schooling your ass in Jailbreak in Quake 2. Life wasn't so bad.

Then it happened.

The internet exploded. Everyone I knew was getting on Prodigy or AOL and gaming wasn't too far behind. (Of course, Quake and Quake 2 were on the cusp of the internet, but cut me some slack, that was a decade ago.) Soon you could frag along with your pal in California from your den in Florida. Slaying some kid from Poughkeepsie while in your jammies in Denver.

At this point, when literally everyone was becoming connected, there was a disconnect from reality. People stopped seeing their digital adversaries as humans and started seeing them as targets. Soulless robotic bullet-catchers. The game became less of a game and more of a test of pride. Gentle teasing became outright shit-talking very quickly as people used anonymity to their favor.

This tide of anger hasn't stopped growing. We went from blowing someone into gibs in Quake 2 to tea-bagging in Halo 3.

But then, a few nights ago, I caught a glimpse of something miraculous. I was lucky enough to get myself into the Friends and Family multiplayer beta of Halo 3. For those of you who don't know, or don't care, the friends and family beta was set up for ...well... friends and family of Bungie and Microsoft. Only about 2,000 users had access to Halo 3 for about a week. To give you an idea of the exclusivity of that, as of writing this there are currently 293,721 Halo 3 players online.

I'm not mentioning my early access to brag...I'm mentioning it because in the brief amount of time we had access to it before the public, I experienced something that I had forgotten I had. I had a good time playing online with completely random strangers.

Every person in the F&F Beta was vouched for in some way by someone else. There were no children running around screaming into their microphones. No wanna-be rappers freestyling while playing a round of Crazy King in Snowbound. Females weren't afraid to talk on their microphones.

I added more friends to my buddy list in that week than I have since I've started playing online.

I'm telling you this now as a plea for our future. Our collective future. Wouldn't you rather have a fun time playing a round of Halo with some people online instead of getting pissed off when someone teabags you after a shotgun battle? No need to drop F-bombs while running around maps like a madman. Just relax...remember that the person behind the Master Chief mask you just killed is a human being too. I hate to say it, but...can't we all just get along?

Video-riffic Wrap-Up of the Week!

Before I head back off to Halo 3 with the angry 12 year olds, I leave with a video that I find remarkable. It was done by Australian machinima-maker Thuyen Nguyen. Excellent work here sir.

"While things change, the sensation remains the same."

I'll see you kids next week. If you are looking for a Halo 3 match-up with someone who is just decent, drop me an email with your gamertag and we can go nuts. Until then, back up the tree I go!

-Monki

Readers Talkback
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  • May 21, 2007, 4:33 a.m. CST

    FIRST!

    by lost.rules

    there. you happy?

  • May 21, 2007, 4:33 a.m. CST

    First Posters Suck!

    by lost.rules

    Myself included.

  • May 21, 2007, 4:43 a.m. CST

    HALO 3......

    by connor187

    FUCKING BRING IT ON!!!!

  • May 21, 2007, 4:46 a.m. CST

    Billy the kid

    by jack scagnetti

    Fucking hilarious-and he fucking nails it, fuck Activision.

  • May 21, 2007, 5:51 a.m. CST

    The thing about putting a film on the BD disc...

    by photoboy

    ... is that it invalidates Sony's claim that next gen games need all that disc space for content. If there's enough room on the disc for a full HD movie then clearly most games won't need all that space and Sony were talking rubbish. At the rate things are going digital distribution of HD movies will replace Blu-Ray/HD-DVD before they can get anywhere near the mass-market.

  • May 21, 2007, 6:18 a.m. CST

    new Hard Boiled DVD?

    by Sit and Watch

    Have the criterion... wonder if the Dragon Dynasty will be worth double dipping.

  • May 21, 2007, 7:13 a.m. CST

    Billy the Kid

    by OneintenMan

    needs to watch his language. Does his mum know he talks like that?

  • May 21, 2007, 7:42 a.m. CST

    See nothing but Blu-rays?

    by theageofknights.com

    That's because all the HD-DVDs are sold out. Loving my Matrix box set, blu-boy!

  • May 21, 2007, 7:47 a.m. CST

    Thuyen Nguyen's video

    by HeWhoCannotBeNamed

    Remarkable indeed. A love letter to video games which I enjoyed. Especially the Dreamfall bits. Dreamfall has the best voice acting I have every experienced in a video game. Seriously. That game owned us for a short while. It was so good I forgave some of the poorly implemented mechanics. Bring on the third chapter!

  • May 21, 2007, 8:46 a.m. CST

    Hard Boiled DVD

    by pubcrawler13

    I'm lucky enough have the Criterion release of HB as well, along with The Killer. Guard that well, Sit and Watch... last time I checked, HB was going for about $200 and TK was right around $350. I wish I could say it was shrewd foresight on my part, when it fact it was really just blind luck, but I also picked up a ton of now-valuable and out-of-print Criterion releases when they first came out, like Silence of the Lambs, Spinal Tap, Sid & Nancy and others. Anyway, I have the Xbox HD player and have stood by it, but I have to admit that all signs are really starting to point to BR doing pretty well. Every time I go to the store, the BR section is about 10 times the size of the HD section.

  • May 21, 2007, 8:59 a.m. CST

    Mixing Games and Movies

    by LittleBunnyFufu

    I don't know, I could be way off, but that doesn't sound too appealing to me. It doesn't sound like mixing peanut butter and chocolate ala reese's for a delicious snack. It sounds more like mixing peanut butter and grape jelly ala goober grape. I'm just not that sold on the idea. I like having functions seperated, but then, I'm not one of these phone/mp3 player/planner/backscratcher/translator combo guys either so, I'm probably not the best authority on any of this.

  • May 21, 2007, 9:36 a.m. CST

    Blu-Ray vs. HDDVD

    by Ted Brautigan

    I haven't been to a big box store lately, but yesterdays Best Buy and Circuit City circulars both had HD players for $300 and BD for $1000, $800, and $600(PS3). With PS3's rate of sale I just can't see how they end up winning. Although I have the XBOX 360+HDDVD, I would almost rather see the superior tech(BD) win out, I just don't see it. Especially if WallyWorld has $200 players the entire Holiday season. This coming from someone who wants a PS3 in part because of BD. Sorry if that doesn't make any sense. Peace

  • May 21, 2007, 9:41 a.m. CST

    HD-DVD Instant Rebate for the next month..

    by tmifune78

    Well Blu-Ray is getting the majority of the market share thanks to the PS3 base (disappointing by next-gen hardware selling standards but a nice hit to the market regarding the HD world) but HD-DVD seems to be making some major steps rectifying this with some major promotion in the next few months touting the major edge HD-DVD has over Blu-Ray...price. Toshiba has a $100 instanst rebate for all their models at all major stores which will make the A2 $299...with a selection of five free HD-DVDs through Toshiba. Not only that, but at Best Buy this week, buy the Matrix Collection on HD-DVD and get 2 more free HD-DVDs. So for basically $370, you get a player, the complete matrix collection and 7 free HD-DVDs...a nice way to start a collection and just in time for my dad's combo birtday/fathers day...it'll sting a bit but the big guy's worth it...and for the people that think this "war" will be cleared up soon...no way, man..if you want something tangible in the HD world, these two formats will both be around for a while..and neither will become what DVD has become before HD Downloads become de facto...

  • May 21, 2007, 10:21 a.m. CST

    Damn straight re: online fragging.

    by raw_bean

    That's why my PC game playing mates have our own little clan where we run our own dedicated (and password-protected) game server, rent our own (password protected) voice chat server, and maintain our own (password protected) website. The only things publicly available are the (semi-) amusing little video clips I make of in-game footage and host on YouTube.

  • May 21, 2007, 10:23 a.m. CST

    Oh, and StarCraft II! Yay! :^D

    by raw_bean

    Awesome, just awesome.

  • May 21, 2007, 10:42 a.m. CST

    What alot of people forget

    by TheAllSeeingEye

    Is that out of all the people who bought PS3, only a handful of those bought it with the intention of watching HD movies and have the equipment needed to watch them.<br><br>The general public are a fickle lot and usually stick to the cheaper options; HD-DVD wins on every count in terms of price and when you compare the two playing movies, the difference is impossible to see.

  • May 21, 2007, 11:20 a.m. CST

    What a lot of people don't realise...

    by raw_bean

    Or what a lot of people haven't considered, or what many people seem to forget, or what seems to be being overlooked, is that every time someone starts a sentence with a variation of the above in this interminable 'debate', is that they're reiterating a point that's been made literally hundreds of times before, ad nauseum.<p>Leaving aside the pointlessness of everyone who states flat out that the battle is going to go *this* or *that* way when there's no certain way of knowing yet, is anyone else completely bored of arguing over it and happy to just sit back and see how it turns out?

  • May 21, 2007, 12:39 p.m. CST

    PS3 sold 83,000 last month in NA. Wii? 360,000!!!

    by Some Dude

    Oh, boy.

  • May 21, 2007, 1:13 p.m. CST

    As I recall...

    by Aphex Twin

    The original Playstation didn't have much to offer before Final Fantasy VII. Give the PS3 time to get running and get its killer apps out. Saying PS3 and Blu-Ray is a failure is a little premature. Once Metal Gear Solid 4 and FFXIII pop out I'm sure we'll see a few jaws hitting the floor and a few consoles going through the checkout lines. The only thing that remotely interests me about the 360 is Ace Combat 6. And since I have already played Tiger Woods on Wii, my curiosity for that console has come to an end. I shall eagerly await Metroid and SMB but other than that, the games I love and the system I play daily is the PS3. Have a little faith, Sony has been delivering for over 10 years now.

  • May 21, 2007, 1:57 p.m. CST

    Hey Monki how about some mentions of a little event

    by Johnno

    called 'Gamer's Day'? Aside from the Hard Boiled movie on Blu-Ray along with Stranglehold, which is pretty cool, though agreeably not the best selling point for games requiring Blu-Ray, how about Naughty Dog's claim that a level in Uncharted itself already surpasses the capacity of a typical dual-layered DVD? And also the other cool shit like Heavenly Sword, or the beautiful looking Folklore that is making good use of the SIXAXIS? Video on Demand coming to PS3? Some little summaries of that? Would've been nice to mention those thing huh? Not that I can't find those stories on other sites, but I can find plenty of Halo stuff too... so y'know... It's interesting stuff worth a mention! I mean, you can't just mention in passing a huge event like Gamer's Day... But I suppose Stranglehold and Halo do tie in more with movies on this site...

  • May 21, 2007, 2:21 p.m. CST

    If that's all the PS3 can do that the 360 can't...

    by Angelus_420

    ...Then Sony has already lost the console war. Please who the hell cares that a movie in Blue-Ray is attached to a game?? What a weak selling feature. Hey I'll tell you something that the 360 can do that the PS3 can't. HALO 3. nuff said.

  • May 21, 2007, 4:30 p.m. CST

    A Mac owner writing a gaming article??

    by DigitalDong

    Whats wrong with that picture...everything.

  • May 21, 2007, 6 p.m. CST

    Not really blown away by Star Craft 2

    by warp11

    Err, it looks pretty much the same as the last one. Which isn't bad, Star Craft when it came out was amazing! But, who really plays these sorts of games anymore, where you collect resources and set up bases? The future is in MMO.

  • May 22, 2007, 6:48 a.m. CST

    Blu-Ray on the cheap?

    by makaze

    I heard there's going to be a Blu-Ray DVD-r drive on sale during the summer, if not already. Price tag @ $300. So there.

  • May 22, 2007, 2:31 p.m. CST

    Legends of the Red Dragon

    by Fount of Useless Info

    Oh, I love hearing someone else bring up that game. I loved playing LoRD and it drove me nuts to have to wait until the next day for more turns. Especially when I felt I was getting close to bagging the waitress at the tavern. That was an awesome game. Kids now would never get into it, but when I was 17-18, I thought it was the greatest thing ever.

  • May 22, 2007, 2:32 p.m. CST

    Oh, and Hard Boiled/Stranglehold

    by Fount of Useless Info

    That's one thing that almost makes me want to go get a PS3, even if Hard Boiled can never measure up to The Killer.

  • May 23, 2007, 12:16 a.m. CST

    On Blu-Ray

    by FuzzyWhisper

    Trumpeting the ability to place a game and a movie on a single disk strikes me as a profoundly contrived way to illustrate the supposed superiority of the Blu-Ray format. Sony's going to have to do a hell of a lot more than this to convince me that greatly increased storage space is truly the key to realizing revolutionary games. From what I've seen so far, The 360 is well on its way to stomping the PS3 into the floor, regardless of the 41-gig disparity between their respective disk formats. On a less controversial note, Halo 3 and Starcraft 2 = fuck yes. I mean, seriously.