Virtual Console games are out in full force this week, with heavy hitters landing on both Wii U and 3DS. The biggest of the bunch is Super Mario Bros. 3, available on 3DS and Wii U. Meanwhile, the Wii U picks up even more Game Boy Advance games with Golden Sun and F-Zero: Maximum Velocity. Starting April 22, LEGO The Hobbit makes the long journey to Wii U as well.
A pair of Ubisoft Wii U titles are also getting a permanent discount on Wii U, namely Assassin's Creed 4: Blag Flag and the excellent ZombiU. Starting April 21, Black Flag drops to $39.99, and ZombiU's price is gnawed down to $29.99. [Image: Nintendo]
The PS4 sold more than the Xbox One or any other console in March - making it the hardware leader for the third consecutive month - market research group NPD reports. The Xbox One and PS4 pushed US hardware sales in March up 78 percent from 2013, from $222 million to $395 million. Overall game sales in March were up 3 percent year-over-year.
Five months in, the PS4 and Xbox One are out-performing initial sales of the PS3 and Xbox 360, NPD Group's Liam Callahan says: "When comparing the first five months of sales for the Xbox One and PS4 to their predecessor's first five months, total Xbox One and PS4 sales are up close to 60 percent."
Titanfall was the top-selling game for the month, launching for Xbox One and PC on March 11. It is the second-highest selling game for Xbox One after just one month on the market. It was followed by Infamous: Second Son, South Park: The Stick of Truth, Call of Duty: Ghosts and Dark Souls 2. See the complete game sales list below. Software sales declined 27 percent overall. "Year-over-year sales of every platform declined from March 2013, with the exception of the PS Vita, which saw sales grow due to the release of Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster," Callahan said. Sales of video game accessories in March rose 4 percent, led by sales of controllers for Xbox One and PS4, NPD says. Other notable accessories included Turtle Beach headphones and headsets for next-gen consoles. Turtle Beach sales grew 50 percent year-over-year. [Image: Sony]
Nintendo outlined its plans for online play in Super Smash Bros. earlier this month, revealing that gameplay will be split between casual-focused "For Fun" and tournament-styled "For Glory" modes. Nintendo also announced that the 3DS version of Super Smash Bros. will feature a new dungeon-diving Smash Mode that replaces the Wii U's traditional Adventure Mode.
Super Smash Bros. will launch for the Nintendo 3DS this summer. A Wii U release will follow in the winter. [Image: Nintendo]
Disney Infinity 2.0 is slated to launch this August, according to a since-removed snippet from Disney's official fan club site, D23. While the D23 blog entry in question is still available to view, a cached version of it notes that the Disney Infinity follow-up "is coming in August 2014, and a teaser trailer can be viewed at Marvel.com," likely referencing the teaser posted by Marvel earlier this month.
"The teaser promises such Marvel-ous additions to the game as familiar Marvel characters, objects, and vehicles-the possibilities are infinite," the site continued. The previous sandbox-style adventure game from Avalanche Software did wonders for Disney Interactive, driving its revenue to $403 million in the first fiscal quarter of 2014. The company also saw losses in Q2 2013 and Q3 2013 to the tune of $54 million and $58 million, respectively. That led to layoffs in its games and Internet divisions in March that numbered 700, at which point Disney said it plans to scale back annual game output "by as much as 50 percent."
We've reached out to Disney to confirm the release window for Disney Infinity 2.0 and will update as we learn more. [Image: Disney]
Nintendo reportedly turned down a deal that would have launched Activision's highly successful toys-come-to-life series Skylanders exclusively for the Wii. A report from Polygon on the Toys for Bob franchise notes that, despite Activision's confidence in the product, it was looking for a partner to spread the risks of the venture.
"[Nintendo] spent a long time looking and looking," Toys for Bob co-founder Paul Reiche said. "They were just like 'we have never seen anything like this before.' I've always wondered about the full meaning of that comment [laughs]." Nintendo opted out of making a full commitment to the project, though the two companies did enter a co-marketing agreement for the series. "Clearly, they have got properties well suited to this world," Reiche added. "Why it is that they didn't rush in here will probably haunt them for the rest of their days."
Activision's Skylander series has since surpassed $2 billion in sales worldwide. The franchise has found its way to ten different platforms, including the recently launched Xbox One and PlayStation 4. Though Nintendo would later experiment with a similar game in the disappointing Pokemon Rumble, it would be Disney that would eventually invest in the genre with its Disney Infinity series, leveraging the company's multitude of popular characters. "Nintendo could have kicked Disney's ass," Reiche said. "If I was running Nintendo I would have jumped on this." [Image: Activision]
Hundreds of ravenous Skylanders fans will swarm the streets of New York next week to herald the arrival of final Swap Force series character Doom Stone during a special giveaway event at Times Square.
On Wednesday, April 23, the first 500 customers who line up at Toys 'R' Us Times Square will receive a free Skylanders toy and a chance to own Doom Stone before the figure is released to the public at large. Costumed Skylanders characters will also be in attendance, giving players the chance to meet some of their questing buddies in real life.
Attendees are advised not to break costumed employees in half and attach them to other Swap Force characters. They probably wouldn't appreciate that. [Image: Activision]
It's not just the handhelds that are going peach and pink: A new Princess Peach Wii Remote Plus is floating onto retail shelves in North America next week. You can acquire the peachy Motion Plus controller starting April 24, at the suggested retail price of $40. To bask in its full regal splendor, take a peek below the break.
It's a shame the Peach controller didn't make it out in time for Super Mario 3D World, or with a Toad one that Nintendo's not yet dreamed up. Playing that game with Mario, Luigi, Peach, and Toad controllers is bordering on the problematically geeky, but we'd so do it. [Images: Nintendo]
Snowcastle Games recently achieved its funding goals on Kickstarter for Earthlock: Festival of Magic, the developer's turn-based RPG for PC, Mac, Linux, Wii U, PS4 and Xbox One. As the first of three chapters planned for the JRPG-inspired saga, Snowcastle earned $178,193 on the funding platform and will continue to accept donations for the game on its website to achieve its numerous stretch goals.
The game is set on the planet Umbra, which "mysteriously stopped spinning ages ago." Players guide a scavenger known as Amon as he tracks down a warlock's army, stopping regularly at Amon's home Plumpet Island to farm for magical items used during battles. The turn-based battles also feature a pairing system in which attackers are directly matched with healing specialists known as protectors.
Previously known only as Festival of Magic, the game turned up on Kickstarter in November before Snowcastle canceled the campaign in December. It was also shown off by Nintendo in a Wii U montage video in August. Snowcastle is planning to launch the game in Q1 2015 on PC, Mac and Linux with console launches planned for the following quarter. [Image: Snowcastle Games]
It's not often we see a video game trailer best described as "enchanting," but if you can come up with a better descriptor for this Child of Light footage without resorting to made up adjectives and giddy swears, we'd like to hear it. [Image: Ubisoft]
Titanfall became the second game to return to the top of the UK charts in 2014, after forcing FIFA 14, the first game, to eject and drop into third. Respawn's mech-stuffed shooter saw a 220 percent boost in sales following its arrival on Xbox 360, and that was enough to see it keep Lego: The Hobbit just beneath the summit in second place.
It's a sign of a quieter April that retailer promotions helped South Park: The Stick of Truth rise up to fourth. That said, last week wasn't quiet enough to take Kinect: Sports Rivals into the top ten, and Rare's motion-controlled latest had to settle for 14th place. Football Manager 2014 placed 18th thanks to its spring transfer onto Vita, and the coaching sim is just ahead of The Elder Scrolls Online in 19th, which saw a sizable drop after debuting the week before in the No. 2 spot.
Wii U owners will eventually join the crowd of hack-savvy players roaming the streets of Watch Dogs, but they won't be there when the game launches on May 27 for other platforms. A Uplay store listing suggests that Wii U owners will have to wait until fall of this year to start handling personal data from the world's citizens, which is plenty of time for future targets to change their passwords from "password" to "password123."
Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot explained in February that the Wii U version's delay is meant to "focus the team's resources where they could have the broadest possible benefit for both our customers and Ubisoft." [Image: Ubisoft]
If your body is ready for more info, head past the break for the full list of new releases. Also, look out for some eShop sales, including DuckTales: Remastered sproinging to half-price at $7.49 - that offer's good until April 17. Between April 12-27 you can get Escape from Zombie City at 50 percent off, which should equal to $2,. Finally, G-Style Co has a sale on its collection of games including Chain Blasterand Undead Bowling, and that's also running for a couple of weeks starting April 12. [Image: Nintendo]
This is the "pre-pre-pre-alpha" video of Cult County, the spooky survival game from Dementium series developer Renegade Kid. Developer Jools Watsham walks viewers through the first look at gameplay for Cult County, making sure to note how the dust, wind and creepy messages painted across signs contribute to the atmosphere.
In the game, you return to their childhood hometown in rural west Texas, only to find a new, cultish group has moved into town, Father Pearce has committed suicide, and a storm is rolling in. As the dust storm gathers, you begin to see shadowy figures on the edges of your vision. It's first-person with melee and firearm combat, though so far the main weapon we've seen is a big, red wrench.
Renegade Kid is the studio behind Mutant Mudds and Moon, along with DS horror games Dementium and Dementium 2. It's looking for $580,000 on Kickstarter, and with 21 days left, it's raised $32,000. Cult County is planned for PC, Mac, Linux, Wii U, Xbox One, PS4, PS3 and Vita. [Image: Renegade Kid]