Red Dead Redemption a 'surprise' hit for GameStop

by Griffin McElroy


During an investors call today, GameStop executive VP of Merchandise and Markerting Tony Bartel mentioned that the company's recent earnings had been boosted by a title that apparently wasn't expected to be such a powerhouse. "Red Dead Redemption has been one of the very positive surprises," Bartel explained. "It probably has outperformed as large as any title has so far year-to-date." (Redemption was released this week, so presumably Bartel is largely referring to pre-order figures.)

As we see it, this could mean one of two things: Either Red Dead Redemption is doing outrageously, phenomenally well, or GameStop didn't expect a game made by Rockstar, which had a marketing budget of a hojillion dollars, to have much sales power. Considering the company isn't run by baboons, we doubt it's the latter.

Test Drive Unlimited 2 Announced

By Martin Robinson


Atari's announced a sequel to the ambitious open world racer Test Drive Unlimited, slated for release on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC towards the end of the year.

Developers of the first Test Drive Unlimited Eden Games are back on board, and it marks its first effort since the divisive Alone in the Dark. 2006's Test Drive Unlimited offered a gloriously open-ended take on the Hawaiian island of O'ahu that blended offline and online play, though the ambition wasn't quite met by the execution and the game racked up an 8.0.

New features for the sequel include weather effects, a day and night cycle and modelled damage, as well as an all-new island that, if images from Test Drive Unlimited 2's freshly launched website are to be believed, looks to be set somewhere on Europe's sunny southern coasts



Infinity Ward's Jason West And Vince Zampella File Lawsuit Against Activision

By Patrick Klepek


It looks like the former leadership of Infinity Ward are not going down without a fight. Former Infinity Ward CTO Jason West and president Vince Zampella have officially filed a lawsuit against Activision, according to a press release issued by their law firm, O'Melveny & Myers LLP.

According to the release, West and Zampella were terminated by Activision "weeks" before receiving royalties for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. Activision purchased Infinity Ward in 2003.

"We were shocked by Activision's decision to terminate our contract," said West. "We poured our heart and soul into that company, building not only a world class development studio, but assembling a team we've been proud to work with for nearly a decade. We think the work we've done speaks for itself."

O'Melveny & Myers LLP attorney Robert Schwartz is suing Activision in pursuit of West and Zampella's right to compensation for the production and sales of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 and the contractual rights allegedly granted to the duo to control "Modern Warfare-branded games." If seems West and Zampell may be fighting for the right to create Modern Warfare games outside Activision or to prevent Activision from creating Modern Warfare-branded games. Until we have more details, it's difficult to draw a specific conclusion.

Here's the full passage.

"Modern Warfare 2 is arguably one of the most successful games in history and together with Call of Duty, has generated more than $3 billion in sales for Activision. In addition, Activision seized control of the Infinity Ward studio, to which Activision had previously granted creative control over all Modern Warfare-branded games. The suit was filed to vindicate the rights of West and Zampella to be paid the compensation they have earned, as well as the contractual rights Activision granted to West and Zampella to control Modern Warfare-branded games."

"Activision has refused to honor the terms of its agreements and is intentionally flouting the fundamental public policy of this State (California) that employers must pay their employees what they have rightfully earned," said Schwartz in the release. "Instead of thanking, lauding, or just plain paying Jason and Vince for giving Activision the most successful entertainment product ever offered to the public, last month Activision hired lawyers to conduct a pretextual 'investigation' into unstated and unsubstantiated charges of 'insubordination' and 'breach of fiduciary duty,' which then became the grounds for their termination on Monday, March 1st."

According to the release, the suit is alleging "breach of contract, breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, wrong termination in violation of public policy, and declaratory relief."

The implications of this lawsuit are tremendous and far-reaching. Stay tuned for more.



Nintendo announces extra-large DS handheld



Nintendo plans to launch the latest version of its popular handheld video game system, the DSi XL, on March 28 in North America. The DSi XL was not meant to replace the DSi, but to be sold side-by-side. The XL will cost US$190. It will have two screens like its predecessors, but as the name suggests, the device and screens will be much larger than the currently available versions. The XL is already available in Japan. The DSi XL measures 161 x 91.4 x 21.2 mm (6.34 x 3.6 x 0.83"), 1.61x the total volume of the DSi, and 1.48x the volume of the DS Lite. It weighs 314 grams, compared to the DSi's 214g, the DS Lite's 218g and the original DS's 300g. The screens measure 4.2 inches diagonally (3.36" x 2.52"). The North American release date is March 28, 2010.



Bungie Set To Drop Halo: Reach Multiplayer 'Bomb'

By Jim Reilly


New Halo: Reach multiplayer details are expected to hit soon, according to developer Bungie.

The team recently updated its developer blog bringing news that the first full campaign playtest results have been returned. Bungie creative director Marcus Lehto notes the game is scoring much higher than any of the previous titles at this stage in development.

However, before signing off on his post, Lehto proclaimed a major multiplayer feature is set to be revealed as early as tomorrow.

"On another note, I hope you all like the MP bomb we're about to drop on the world in about a day," he wrote.

Just last week, the team teased that multiplayer designer Steve Cotten had been working on the "craziest things ever in a Halo game." Could this upcoming reveal be what Bungie was referring to?


more news coming........

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