Activision


Nintendo is pinning a lot of hopes on Nintendo Land as a launch day system seller for the Wii U.

Earlier this month, when Nintendo revealed many of the final details about the worldwide launch of the Wii U, the company listed 50 games that would be available for the system in North America during a nebulous "launch window" that runs from November 18, 2012 to the end of March 2013. Today, Nintendo nailed down the Wii U's launch software lineup with a bit more detail, announcing 23 games that will be in stores when the system launches on November 18, with eight more available by the end of November.

Notably, heavily promoted Nintendo-developed titles like Pikmin 3, Wii Fit U, and Game & Wario will not be available on launch day, leaving just New Super Mario Bros. U and mini-game collection Nintendo Land to represent first-party development on day one. Ubisoft will be providing a few worthwhile launch-day exclusives for the system in the form of the charming Scribblenauts Unlimited and augmented reality horror game ZombiU, but Wii U owners will have to wait for other promising exclusives like Lego City: Undercover, The Wonderful 101, and Rayman Legends.

The vast majority of the games available for the Wii U on day one will be ports of games already available on existing systems. Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 is by far the most important of these, marking the bestselling series' return to Nintendo systems after a long absence, but the Wii U version will necessarily be coming five days after the system hits PC, PS3, and Xbox 360 on November 13.

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Nintendo is pinning a lot of hopes on Nintendo Land as a launch day system seller for the Wii U.

Earlier this month, when Nintendo revealed many of the final details about the worldwide launch of the Wii U, the company listed 50 games that would be available for the system in North America during a nebulous "launch window" that runs from November 18, 2012 to the end of March 2013. Today, Nintendo nailed down the Wii U's launch software lineup with a bit more detail, announcing 23 games that will be in stores when the system launches on November 18, with eight more available by the end of November.

Notably, heavily promoted Nintendo-developed titles like Pikmin 3, Wii Fit U, and Game & Wario will not be available on launch day, leaving just New Super Mario Bros. U and mini-game collection Nintendo Land to represent first-party development on day one. Ubisoft will be providing a few worthwhile launch-day exclusives for the system in the form of the charming Scribblenauts Unlimited and augmented reality horror game ZombiU, but Wii U owners will have to wait for other promising exclusives like Lego City: Undercover, The Wonderful 101, and Rayman Legends.

The vast majority of the games available for the Wii U on day one will be ports of games already available on existing systems. Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 is by far the most important of these, marking a true HD port of the game on a Nintendo system, but the Wii U version will necessarily be coming five days after the system hits PC, PS3, and Xbox 360 on November 13. (UPDATE: the original article incorrectly stated that Call of Duty had been absent from the Wii in recent years)

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Activision will be bringing its popular Call of Duty franchise to the Wii U with a version of Black Ops 2 designed for the system.

Joystiq snapped a picture of a demo kiosk showing the game at the Wii U announcement event this morning, confirming the existence of the best-selling first-person franchise on Nintendo's new hardware.

Wii U will be launching in the US on Sunday, November 18, five days after Black Ops 2 launches on current systems.

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Remember when Guitar Hero was sitting atop the rhythm gaming world? The dream is now officially dead, with Activision disbanding its Guitar Hero franchise, canceling the 2011 release, and moving its focus to franchises with a more reliable earning potential.

"...Due to continued declines in the music genre, the company will disband Activision Publishing's Guitar Hero business unit and discontinue development on its Guitar Hero game for 2011," the company announced in its lasted earnings report. "The company also will stop development on True Crime: Hong Kong. These decisions are based on the desire to focus on the greatest opportunities that the company currently has to create the world's best interactive entertainment experiences."

This is a big move, but it's not particularly shocking. Sales of music games have been decreasing steadily, and last year's Guitar Hero 5: Warriors of Rock was a purely mediocre product. The company had not innovated the series in some time, nor has the franchise displayed the earning potential that Activision prizes.

The cancellation of the True Crime reboot is much more surprising, as the game looked impressive the last time we saw it, and the name seemed to retain some of its interest with consumers.

There is also some evidence that layoffs hit Vicarious Visions, which developed Wii versions of Guitar Hero games, along with Freestyle Games, the developer of the DJ Hero series.

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When the news of an updated Goldeneye for the Nintendo Wii—coming from Activision—was shared at Nintendo's press conference, the room erupted. The original has a nearly unimpeachable reputation as being one of the most enjoyable multiplayer experiences to come from a console, and many of us have happy memories of playing the game with friends long into the night.

Playing the game at Nintendo's booth—I was allowed a single game, first to ten kills wins—I was struck by how the game looks updated, yet also classic. Some are going to sneer at the graphics, but the framerate is now smooth. We were assured the content is all new, but we could tell there are many references to the levels and gameplay moments that made us love the original so much. The controls have also been expanded. Now you can sprint, vault over obstacles, and if you're playing as Oddjob you'll throw your hat at enemies instead of grenades.

Four-player split screen was shown at E3, but the final version will feature 8-player online.

Eight-player support is fantastic, but playing in four-player split screen brought back some great memories of growing up with my Nintendo 64. And better yet, we don't even have to deal with the headache-inducing framerates of the original! This title will likely walk a fine line between nostalgia and originality, and it's going to be fun to see what the single-player has in store. For now, just be aware that it looks like the game is being treated with the respect it deserves. Plus, Daniel Craig will be providing both his voice and his likeness rights to the game. Very slick.

The game was shown using the Classic Controller Pro, and the dual analog sticks were much more comfortable than the original N64 controller, although we were promised you'll be able to play with a Wiimote as well, if you're into the pointer-style aiming mechanics.

I will also point out that I gained the "Quantum of Solace" award at the end of my match for longest death streak. The old skills have apparently not left me.

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While Activision has been pretty busy this week—being sued by Modern Warfare developer Infinity Ward and signing a decade-long publishing deal with Halo developer Bungie—the publisher still made the time to announce the next game in the Call of Duty franchise. Dubbed CoD: Black Ops, the game will be developed by Treyarch—the team behind CoD: World At War—and is expected to be released on November 9.

"We can't wait for our community to experience Call of Duty: Black Ops," Treyarch studio head Mark Lamia said. "We have focused our entire studio on this game, with dedicated multiplayer, single-player and co-op teams creating the most intense, gripping and riveting experience possible for our fans on all fronts."

Aside from the developer, release date, and title, details are nonexistent on the next entry in the CoD franchise. But that shouldn't be the case for long, as the game will make its debut on GameTrailers TV later today. You can also stay tuned to the game's official site for more details.

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