Atari strikes back

It appears like the name Atari will cling to life a bit longer proving that it still has plenty of gaming blood pumping within its aging veins. Showing off their venue to selected press (and reported across the ‘net), they’ve got quite a few juicy properties to sink my imagination into for 2009:

  • Ready 2 Rumble: Revolution is going to be a Wii exclusive. This is the boxing game that took a cartoonish approach to the sport that was hit or miss among critics. It looks like Wii users will be hitting the bag again in March.
  • Q3 is going to be a music based game developed with the ken of Tetsuya Mizuguchi that should prove fun for fans of Rez HD, Lumines Live, and Every Extend Extra Extreme…because those will be packaged with this mysterious title when it finally comes out.
  • Tekken 6 is on its way to the PS3 and the 360 just in time for next year’s holiday season in the Fall.
  • Namco Bandai was also on tap with Family Ski for the Wii and Afro Samurai for the 360 and the PS3. Ski is kind of an expected title for the motion control focused console. Anime otaku should be happy with Afro Samurai, but I’m not much of a fan of the series. Still, from the videos already showing it off, I guess I could focus only on the bloody combat.
  • The strangest announcement was with Atari reportedly saying that they will be revisiting the D&D franchise and revive their association with previously published Neverwinter Nights and Baldur’s Gate. Who’s going to develop those two? It’s likely not going to be Bioware now that they’re part of the EA empire and working on their own MMO. Obsidian? They’re busy on Alpha Protocol, their spy RPG. Unless Obsidian has staffed up, or are closer to releasing Protocol than we thought, I don’t know how they’ll be able to stake a return to those two properties. I’ll be keeping an eye on this piece of news to see what Atari pulls out of their development hat.
  • It also looks like one of the best RPG experiences on the PC, The Witcher, is going to be hitting the 360. It’ll be interesting to see just how they’ll leverage the UI onto the Xbox controller, or what changes the title will undergo when it arrives on the box. The game isn’t shy about its own mature language and the situations that the player is thrown into, so I guess we’ll also see just how its transition over to console land will affect that. Oddly enough, in reading Gamespot’s article reporting on Atari’s conference, there was an article link on the right side saying that F.E.A.R. 2 was going to be banned in Australia. My prediction for The Witcher console version? Banned in Australia.
  • Ghostbusters will be arriving in June. Well, that’s the plan. Surviving the brutal cuts that were made to Activision’s publishing lineup, it looks good and the trailers show off plenty of great tidbits. The original cast will be voicing the characters and it’s based off of an original script by Harold Ramis and Dan Akyroyd who had said that it’s literally “Ghostbusters III”. Hopefully it’ll be just as funny as the first one, and far funnier than the sequel. Augh.
  • Oh, almost forgot…Eternal Sonata is finally going to come out on the PS3 after a massive, hope crushing, delay, and will be packed with plenty of changes including more quests. RPGers have another title to look forward to, unless they’ve already given up hope and have bought a 360 to play it there instead.
  • Heroes Over Europe is the sequel to the awesome flight-sim, Heroes Over the Pacific. I can’t wait for this one myself, but they had better not make me do something crazy weird like fly into the Reichstag to destroy a secret fortress built within the basement. That’s something I’d expect from Ace Combat.
  • Codename Panzers: Cold War is also on its way, continuing the Codename Panzers franchise. From the trailer, it looks like you’ll be able to lead the Soviets to European domination, rewriting history and turning the Cold War into a hot one with plenty of irradiated tans to go around. Not exactly my thing, but it looks like it could be fun.

Atari’s lineup sounds exciting and it’s also a welcome relief to see that Phil Harrison and company are serious about re-imaging the brand going into the next round for 2009. There’s a lot of potential goodness that Atari can wring out from each of these titles published under its name. If they can continue hitting the market with solid titles like these, we might not have to read another article acting as Atari’s obituary several fiscal quarters later.


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