Beatles to zombies, videogamers set for varied '09

Thu Jan 1, 2009 4:07pm EST
 
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By John Gaudiosi

RALEIGH, North Carolina (Reuters) - For videogame publishers the start of 2009 marks a new phase in gaming with the release of new titles no longer confined to the top holiday sale months but spread throughout the year.

Traditionally about half of annual videogame sales were rung up in November and December but last year Take Two Interactive broke this pattern when it released "Grand Theft Auto IV" in April and the game sold well throughout the year.

In 2009, the first Nintendo DS installment of the best-selling crime story game franchise, "Grand Theft Auto Chinatown Wars," gets a March launch -- but some of the year's most-anticipated games will be available even before then.

Japanese videogame maker Capcom Co Ltd introduces fighters new and old in the classic brawler sequel "Street Fighter IV" in February when Guerilla Games' PlayStation 3-exclusive "Killzone 2" sci-fi shooter hit store shelves. "This time around we're taking the war to the enemy," said Hermen Hulst, managing director of Guerilla Games. "We want players to experience a large-scale invasion and journey through a hostile world filled with big set pieces and dramatic events."

Zombies are set to invade PS3 and Xbox 360 consoles in March as Capcom unleashes "Resident Evil 5." Set in Africa, this latest shooter introduces two-player cooperative gameplay to the mix and ups the ante with an assortment of undead enemies.

The typically slow summer months will see some big movie tie-ins like Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment's (WBIE) "Terminator: Salvation" and Electronic Arts' "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince."

SEQUELS AND NEW TITLES TO COMPETE

After taking the summer off in 2008, the Dark Knight returns in an original game from WBIE, "Batman: Arkham Asylum," in which The Joker and an assortment of crazed super villains lock Batman inside their prison.   Continued...

 
<p>An image from Capcom's "Resident Evil 5." Set in Africa, this latest shooter introduces two-player cooperative gameplay to the mix and ups the ante with an assortment of undead enemies. REUTERS/Handout</p>