Spector: ‘Epic Mickey’ changes didn’t come from Disney

Warren Spector has lots of reasons to be happy. He was a featured presented at this year’s Nintendo press conference and his latest title “Epic Mickey” was one of the standout games of the just completed E3. 

And, for the most part, Spector is a pretty happy guy – but he has a bone to pick with the rumor mill.

Read more at Variety’s The Cut Scene blog

Hands on with the Nintendo 3DS

Nintendo may have a huge hit on its hands. 

The Nintendo 3DS – the company’s Hail Mary pass to turn heads away from the Apple juggernaut is a rare thing that seems able to live up to the hype – coming through on its promise to provide stereoscopic 3D without glasses and producing images that pop as much as they do on the majority of 3D TVs on the market.

Read more at Variety’s The Cut Scene blog

Microsoft dates Kinect – and launches a new console

The rumor mill might have ruined Microsoft’s announcement of a slim Xbox 360– but the company still had a surprise up its sleeve.

The revamped console, which comes equipped with a 250 GB hard drive and built-in 802.11n wireless connectivity, will begin shipping to retail this week – much sooner than anyone was expecting. That will put the system on retail shelves by early next week at latest. It will cost $299 – the same price as the current top end Xbox 360.

Read more at Variety’s The Cut Scene blog

Goodbye Natal, hello Kinect

And just like that, Microsoft’s Project Natal has a new name: Kinect

The company unveiled the retail name of its gesture-recognition controller Sunday at an over-the-top event that featured everything from a performance by Cirque du Soliel to an audience full of people wearing choir robes with lit up LED shoulderpads.

Read more at Variety’s The Cut Scene blog

Welcome to the 3D gaming world

We knew it was coming – and today Sony has made it official. The PlayStation 3 now supports stereoscopic 3D games.

PS3 owners who happen to have a 3D set can download a total of four games and demos that showcase what the system can do. (A firmware update making the console 3D ready was quietly pushed to owners two months ago.) The downloads will be free for people who buy one of Sony’s Bravia 3D sets, which go on sale later this month.

Read more at Variety’s The Cut Scene blog

How big is Red Dead Redemption?

The jokes were pretty easy when “Red Dead Redemption” was announced… “Grand Theft Horse” cynics called it. “Yet Another Doomed Western” was another popular phrase. 

Today, we can wipe those snarky asides away and call it something else: A bonafied hit. Take Two Interactive Software reports that it has shipped 5 million copies of the game so far – and it’s so bullish on the title that it’s raising its fiscal forecast for the year.

Read more at Variety’s The Cut Scene blog

Do ‘Modern Warfare 2’ execs have an E3 surprise coming?

Jason West and Vince Zampella, whose abrupt dismissal from Activision earlier this year shocked the gaming world, are teasing an announcement next week – in the heart of E3 – that has both insiders and gamers buzzing. 

“Big time announcement at E3 next week. stay tuned, kiddies!” the pair said in a Facebook posting.

Read more at Variety’s The Cut Scene blog

SOE, LucasArts team to launch ‘Clone Wars’ virtual world

The Cartoon Network has seen a lot of success with its animated series “The Clone Wars”. Now Sony Online Entertainment (“EverQuest,” “Free Realms”) and LucasArts are teaming up to bring the pivotal tale of the Star Wars Universe to the virtual world.

The two companies will create a free-to-play, persistent world, dubbed “Star Wars: Clone War Adventures,” that’s scheduled to launch this fall. The game will be targeted at a younger audience and will launch online and in retail stores this fall. It will be a PC exclusive game.

Read more at Variety’s The Cut Scene blog

How dedicated is the core gamer?

The term “core” gamer gets thrown around a lot in this industry. It’s an easy way to describe the enthusiast audience, but statistically differentiating an avid fan of games from a regular enthusiast has been a bit trickier. Now, a newly released study from the NPD Group is shedding more light on the term. 

According to the organization, which tracks retail sales of video games, ‘extreme’ gamers (their buzzword for core) spend 48.5 hours per week playing games. (Yup. More than two consecutive days per week.) The ‘core’ audience, it says, represents 4 percent of the total gamers in the U.S.

Read more at Variety’s The Cut Scene blog

Fox to air ‘Red Dead Redemption’ film

Machinima (films that are made from the graphics engines and assets of video games) isn’t exactly a household word in most of America. And, despite its critical acclaim and strong sales, “Red Dead Redemption” probably isn’t either. 

That’s not stopping Fox from taking a gamble with the new title from Take Two Interactive Software and the makers of the “Grand Theft Auto” franchise. On Saturday May 29, the network will air a 30 minute short film made from the game at midnight.

Read more at Variety’s The Cut Scene blog