Hello. We're back. Christmas wasn't as earth-shattering as it could have been as regards gaming stories: not as big as 2008, anyway. But, needless to say, the news refused to sleep. Hit the link for everything you missed.
FFXIII doesn't dent DQIX in Japan
Despite selling over 1.5 million units, Final Fantasy XIII only came in sixth in the top ten games released in Japan last year, according to data released by Dengeki (via Nintendo Everything) just after Christmas. Dragon Quest IX was the biggest Japanese game of the year: it sold over 4.09 million units from July to the end of December.
Staying with FFXIII, if you signed up for the promotion to get a Chocobo as a 360 Avatar pet, check your emails: you should have a code by now.
Dante demo brings Christmas cheer
Meanwhile on Christmas Eve, 360 owners in the UK and US finally got their hands on the Dante's Inferno demo. It was released a couple of weeks earlier on the US PSN, and just three days before Christmas on the UK PSN.
ODST DLC dead in the water
Bungie explained to Joystiq at the VGAs why there isn't going to be any DLC for Halo 3: ODST - either multiplayer or Firefight - saying the cost would be too severe.
"Well, that was something that we didn't really think we could do for ODST because traditionally all of our DLC has been about competitive multiplayer. That's something that we had the systems in place for," said Curtis Creamer from the developer.
"But, since Firefight is more based on the co-operative campaign mode, that was a technology that we hadn't built up to a point where we could add DLC to the game. It would have been too much of an investment to make that happen."
Capcom delays Lost Planet 2 and SSFIV
Capcom put back three of its key hitters for this year - Super Street Fighter IV, Lost Planet 2, Monster Hunter Tri - into the next fiscal year, meaning all three won't hit until April at least.
Uncharted 2 gets clan tags in update
Naughty Dog released update 1.03 for Uncharted 2: Among Thieves just before the Holidays. The patch added clan tags to the game, decreased load times, included rematch functionality and more. Get the patch notes from the EU PS Blog.
ME2 gets walkthrough video
Excited for Mass Effect 2? We are, and so are you: you voted it as VG247's Most Anticipated Game of 2010. So, we bring to you a new walkthrough video of the RPG, courtesy of GameSpot. Oh, and some new shots from The Lost Gamer and Videogameszone.
Splinter Cell Conviction - the first 12 minutes of co-op
Ubi's released the first 12 minutes of Splinter Cell Conviction's co-op campaign, announced before Christmas. Go nuts.
Spec Ops: The Line trailer was real-time
2k's revealed that the debut trailer for Spec Ops: The Line, shown at the VGAs last month, was all in real time.
"While we don't have a target render video out there, we do have an early CG trailer you might have seen (with the sandstorm sweeping through Dubai, shattering the building facades and so on). Rather than set the graphical bar, though, that video was designed to capture the mood and atmosphere of the game. Having seen the gameplay trailer we used to announce the game, you can see the in-game visuals already look quite a bit better than the CG, especially the characters," said a 2k dev on the game's forums.
By the way, if you're wondering as to what CG trailer he is referring to, it might be this one.
FFXIV beta applications open
Applications for the Final Fantasy XIV Online beta are now being accepted. Go apply here. If you have a Japanese copy of FFXIII, you'll get a code for the beta in the game. It's PC-only thus far. Thanks, Gekidami.
New RE5 chapters were planned from the start
Capcom revealed to Dengeki PlayStation (via PS3Center) that the two upcoming downloadable chapters for Resident Evil 5, Lost in Nightmares and Desperate Escape, were planned from the get-go of the game's development, but were dropped from the main game to improve the narrative's pacing.
Assistant producer Mie Suzuki said the DLC will last 1-2 hours long each, and will have some sort of replayability. How that'll work is currently unknown.
Natal "lag" will restrict developers, says TT head
Traveller's Tales director Jon Burton has told Develop that lag issues surrounding Project Natal will "restrict" the kind of games that can be done with it. He also said Sony's motion controller is more likely to be able to handle gamer-games.
He said: "I was actually more impressed with Sony's motion capture solution than Microsoft's Natal. [Natal is] exceedingly clever, but the lag on the input and lack of physical buttons is really going to restrict the kind of games that can be done with it."
He further added on the PS3 motion controller: "Sony’s solution will be cheap, accurate and will put buttons at your fingertips, meaning everything from action adventures to FPSes can be handled with the same input."
Speaking of Natal, D'Toid has posted what appears to be Geometry Wars being played via the motion camera. Go take a look: it looks real enough.
Next GTA for E3 announce, reckons Divnich
EEDAR analyst Jesse Divnich has told Game Informer that he expects to see the new console-centric Grand Theft Auto to be announced at E3, also predicting that there won't be any exclusive deals in place between Rockstar and either Sony or Microsoft for the game.
"Microsoft paid a lot of money for exclusivity on the downloadable content for GTA IV, which unfortunately did little to move consoles for Microsoft. Back in 2004, the Grand Theft Auto was a huge brand, but only relative to the other brands that existed at the time," he said.
Gears of War attains GoD status
If you haven't played it yet, and are feeling anti-social by not buying the retail copy, not to worry: Microsoft's released Gears of War on Games on Demand. It comes in at 6Gb, and isn't exactly cheap at £19.99. Queue it up here.
UK games revenues beat film in 2009
Finally, according to a report from The Times, the videogames industry clearly out-performed the movie industry in the UK over the past year. Over £1.7 billion was spent on games according to Chart-Track, while £1 billion was spent at the box office, with just under £200 million spent on movies released on either DVD or Blu-ray.
It's official: videogames are awesome. And so are we. It's good to be back.