2007 in Review (Jul - Dec)
The second half of the year started with a bang, Sony bemoaning the PS3's "whipping boy" status, while it became increasingly apparent that all was not technically perfect with the Xbox 360. Microsoft would later have to right-off more than one billion USD to extend warranties for faulty systems.
Sony's Jack Tretton continued the firm's fightback by criticising Microsoft's heavy-handed approach to exclusivity, claiming that Sony were not prepared to pay through the nose to secure games, but preferred partnerships and support, instead.
As we raced into the middle of the month, Square Enix used a special event in Japan to reveal a new multiplatform release, The Remnant, also revealing early details on Final Fantasy XIII. On the same day we also heard the first news of a a limited edition Halo 3 console. The limelight was stolen, however, by Sony, who cut the US price of the PS3 in the middle in the month - prompting an immediate rise in sales.
Sony continued a pivotal month by announcing the new PSP Slim and Lite, which would deliver a streamlined console with new TV connectivity options. A range of new exclusivity deals were also made official. Later in the month, MS stalwart Peter Moore shocked the industry by revealing that he was off to join EA Sports as the firm's new boss. The big cheese would receive record remuneration for his defection.
Away from business discussion, film critic Roger Ebert dismissed games as an art form, while the industry as a whole readied itself for the Leipzig Games Convention. As the month drew to a close a number of new games also entered the spotlight, Lego Indiana Jones, FM 2008, Godfather 2, Beowulf, and Prototype among several. God of War creator David Jaffe, meanwhile, got his independence.
With August kicking-off, Rockstar found themselves still battling for the right to release Manhunt 2. Rockstar's difficult month continued with word on GTA IV's delay into 2008 going public, much to the consternation of eager gamers.
In Japan, the PS3 seemed to have turned a corner, too, while stateside Arnie was found battling to save America's youth from violent videogames. Speaking of which, August also saw id further detailing their new engine tech, the brainchild of genius John Carmack.
The future was also looking increasingly bright for the Wii console, while Interplay pinned their fading hopes on a Fallout MMO. Oh, and we learnt that the stunning BioShock might have been tropical as well.
As the month entered its closing stages, MTV also unveiled ambitious plans to heavily invest in games, while it became increasingly apparent that festive demand was likely to outstrip supply for the Wii console. Late August also saw the great and good of gaming jet of to Germany for all manner of fun and frolics of the Leipzig Games Convention. New PSP features were confirmed, a number of new games, and we play-tested several festive debutants while getting drunk in an ex-Soviet airbase. And why not?
The build up to Christmas began in earnest with the arrival of September, the Wii growing increasingly comfortable with the 'king in making' role, while take-over talk (which has so far come to nothing), swirled around SCi. The firm had themselves acquired Eidos Interactive in 2006.
Former Xbox exec Peter Moore, meanwhile, was busy eying the mainstream with EA Sports, talking up the opportunities offered by the brand. Not that we've seen much in the way of expansionism just yet. Speaking of mainstream, the second half of 2007 saw politicians increasingly aware of the public's concern over gaming - new UK PM Brown ordering a violent games review.
David Karakker, a Sony marketing exec, also chose September to depart the platform holder - opting to Join a Vodka firm. At the time, critics suggested the boss had been blamed for a number of the PR misdemeanors which had plagued the company's year. Perhaps the most far-reaching news of the month came when the banned version of Manhunt 2 was leaked online, precipitating a potential Hot Coffee scandal as US purchasers of the edited game were able to revert to the original, illegal version.
The middle of the month saw one over-eager Halo fan banned from Live for 7,000 years. Rockstar, sensibly, were already found considering a BioShock 2. As the month wore on it also became apparent that Sony's Home was also taking shape - the launch of the social network would still be pushed back after Kaz Hirai admitted his disappointment with the game. In more cheery news, Halo 3 made it to the streets at last, garnering record review scores in the process.
As October got going, Halo 3 was still wowing the industry, while Sony introduced a new cheaper 40GB model PS3. Early October's biggest shock, however, was provided by Bungie parting company with Microsoft, in an ownership sense. Bungie was acquired by Microsoft as part of a deal forged several years ago, but in an unprecedented move, Microsoft have once again granted the developer their independence.
Sony also purchased racing game specialist Evolution, while Valve voiced their disappointment with the PlayStation 3. The Orange Box's release on PS3 would later turn out to include more than a few technical glitches. Acquisition talk continued in October, when EA snapped up Bioware-Pandemic in one of the year's biggest deals.
As we reached the middle of the month we heard voices of descent coming from Rare, questioning Microsoft's marketing spend. Nintendo were also it emerged, valued at a whopping 10 trillion Yen, though this would later fall as Wii stock shortages emerged.
PS3 sales were also on the up after Sony's price-cutting, reports emerging that UK sales were up 178%. Crossing the Atlantic and the PS3 was also getting a price boost stateside while we learned that Seth Green would be making a guest appearance in Mass Effect.
As we entered the final week of the month, EA revealed their unified platform dream. Take Two, meanwhile, were busy blaming Sony for the summer's Manhunt 2 leak. Chris Taylor on the other hand, was going all 'Peter Molyneux' on us, promising an emotional new game. Sony were also granted 'forgiveness' in the Manchester Cathedral row.
The month concluded with hope flickering for Peter Jackson's Halo film, while veteran game maker David Braben urged developers to craft riskier titles. A frenetic Christmas season was now looming large, as we moved into...
November opened with Epic still battling Silicon Knights in a court case over the quality of the Unreal Engine, the latter claiming the former failed to deliver them a fully functioning middleware solution, causing the delay of Too Human. Meanwhile, in Japan, the PS3 was finally beginning to turn things around.
Actor Daniel Craig admitted his concern over Activision's James Bond games, while in America one troubled teen tried to have his parents murdered over a PlayStation ban. Presumably, the boy in question would also be rather impressed by Sony's new look PS2, also revealed in November.
As the month pushed on, Infinity Ward could be found talking up their 'true' next-gen credentials. Nintendo, on the other hand, were still deluding themselves about Wii stock levels - with Christmas fast approaching. Your humble reporter wasn't worrying about that, of course, he was too busy getting drunk at the Guitar Hero III launch party.
As we hit the middle of November, Bungie assured us that they remained committed to the Halo series, despite parting company from Microsoft. Tesco, meanwhile, could be found accidentally dishing out Xbox 360's for 35 pounds. Despite the onrush of Christmas, acquisition season showed no sign of abating, Warner snapping up TT Games - makers of Lego Star Wars - for a rumoured 100 million GBP.
As we raced into the second half of the month, Lionhead were asking us to insult them, with Singapore's media censors deciding that Mass Effect wasn't too saucy for release after all. Sony's return to form was also progressing well in the wake of the third-quarter's price-cutting, the company also halving the cost of dev kit costs - further encouraging developers. Assassin's Creed was selling by the bucket load, too, despite some reviews being unimpressed by the game.
As the end of November approached, the controversy surrounding Manhunt 2 refused to abate. Even the PS3 was selling like hot cakes (in Japan). The previously embattled PLC's fortunes seemingly heading further in the right direction as the Dubai government opted to buy a large share.
Crysis 2 was confirmed, while cunning US police forces used the Xbox 360 to capture several hardened criminals. The month concluded with yet more controversy, this time surrounding GameSpot, who appeared to sack an editor after a negative review of Kane & Lynch precipitated the apparent pulling of several large ads. This rumoured course of events would later be denied.
With the evenings now well and truly drawn-in, Christmas was all but upon us. The season's major releases had already been hailed as some of the best ever, with several prominent titles not only living up to the hype but even, whisper it, truly kicking-off the 'next-gen' revolution. Call of Duty 4, Assassin's Creed, Halo 3, BioShock, Guitar Hero III and plenty of other titles offering pleasure a-plenty. While gamers were enjoying the season's riches, then, the most far-reaching news of the month came with word that Activision and Blizzard are to merge in 2008, creating the world's biggest gaming firm.
Jack Tretton was also speaking candidly about the PS3's first year on the market, while festive game buyers were warned about the 10 most dangerous titles stateside. The remainder of the month would see us immersed in the hangovers and indulgences of the season, while Nintendo admitted that they could have lost up to 1 billion USD in revenue because of their inability to deliver enough Wii stock. Fils-Aime even admitted his disappointment, while desperate parents could be found spending ludicrous sums on eBay to get the season's must-have console.
We hope you've enjoyed this look back over events of 2007. Stay-tuned to our website in 2008 for all the latest news, reviews, previews, interviews, videos and more - on all the most important game releases.