Catch Pokemon Black/White on March 7

The 3DS will be invading America sometime this March, but Nintendo’s current handheld won’t give up the month quietly as Nintendo has announced that Pokemon Black and Pokemon White will be released on March 7.

Nintendo is bringing several firsts to Pokemon Black/White, the biggest of which is that each game will feature completely different gameplay areas. Players will be able to explore a “unique metropolitan area called Black City” in Pokemon Black and a “lush, green area named White Forest” in Pokemon White. Another first is that the games will feature the changing seasons, as “certain Pokemon appear more frequently during different seasons, and players can only access some areas during a specific season.”

The final first is that players will encounter 150 brand new Pokemon in Black/White. According to Nintendo, classic Pokemon will only be unlocked after the completion of the main game.

“Pokémon Black Version and Pokémon White Version represent a generational leap forward for the renowned series, delivering an unprecedented number of new Pokémon to catch, battle and trade,” said Marc Franklin, Nintendo of America’s director of Public Relations. “Whether you have played the Pokémon video games before or are just getting interested in them, you won’t want to miss Pokémon Black Version and Pokémon White Version.”

Treyarch Details Call of Duty: Black Ops ‘First Strike’ Maps

Thanks to Major Nelson’s weekly podcast, new details on the first Call of Duty: Black Ops map pack, First Strike, have been declassified.

The pack will initially be available for the Xbox 360 on February 1, with PC and PS3 downloads to follow at a later date. The pack will be priced at 1200 Microsoft Points ($15) and include four multiplayer maps and one Zombies Mode map.

  • Berlin Wall: Takes place in and around the Checkpoint Charlie crossing in Berlin.
  • Discovery: Takes place at a German research base in Antarctica, abandoned since World War II.
  • Kowloon: Takes place on “the rainy rooftops of Kowloon City” and inspired by the level from the single-player campaign.
  • Stadium: Takes place inside a hockey rink in the northeastern United States (Lake Placid perhaps?).

    The new Zombies map in First Strike will be titled “Ascension,” but Treyarch’s Director of Online, Dan Bunting, wasn’t ready to talk about it yet.

    “We learned a lot of lessons in the development and design of the maps on the shipped game. For DLC we really wanted to go bigger with some of the things we learned that people liked. We focused a lot more on providing variety of weaponry, variety of engagement types, variety of verticality–a lot more verticality, bringing some sniper opportunities into it,” Bunting said.

  • Dragon Quest VI Finally Comes to America on February 14

    Cupid’s arrow will pierce the hearts of RPG-loving DS owners on Valentine’s Day, as Nintendo will be bringing Dragon Quest VI: Realms of Revelation to store shelves on February 14.

    Originally released on the Super NES in 1995, and only in Japan, the DS re-release marks the first time the game has come to North America. It will also be the last game in the “main” Dragon Quest to receive an American release.

    “Millions of players around the world have discovered the timeless fun of Dragon Quest,” said Marc Franklin, Nintendo of America’s director of Public Relations. “The arrival of Dragon Quest VI: Realms of Revelation in North America will give fans unique access to a classic game in the series for the first time, offering new ways to explore and enjoy the Dragon Quest universe.”

    Joe Mauer Steps Up to the Plate for MLB 11: The Show

    Minnesota Twins catcher Joe Mauer is stepping up to the plate for a second at-bat as the cover athelete for Sony’s MLB: The Show series. Mauer will take his first cuts on March 8, 2011, when Sony plans to release MLB 11: The Show for the PlayStation 3.

    ESPN.com‘s Jon Robinson got a chance to check out some of the game’s new features including full analog control, co-op play, Challenge of the Week mode, Move support and 3D display support. They probably don’t want people talking about it, but Sony might just be working on a “perfect game” here.

    If that weren’t enough, the PlayStation.Blog has a look at the game’s cover art (and I mean “art” literally, it’s a nice looking box) and an MLB 11-themed DualShock 3.

    NeoGeo Games Coming to PSN on December 21

    SNK Playmore is breaking into the PlayStation Network in a big way on December 21. The publisher has announced they will be bringing ten games to a SNK-branded section of the PlayStation Store known as the NeoGeo Station.

    The ten games will run the gamut of SNK’s arcade production from the 90s. All ten titles will be priced at $8.99 and feature online play. The first wave of NeoGeo Station titles will include:

  • Fatal Fury
  • Alpha Mission II
  • The King of Fighters ’94
  • Samurai Shodown
  • Baseball Stars Professional
  • Magician Lord
  • Metal Slug
  • League Bowling
  • Super Sidekicks
  • Art of Fighting

    All titles in the NeoGeo Station will also be available on the PlayStation Store for PSP in January. They’ll be priced at $6.99 each with PSP versions of Fatal Fury and Metal Slug launching alongside the PS3 versions on December 21.

  • Battlefield: Bad Company 2′s Vietnam Expansion Coming in December

    The soldiers of Battlefield: Bad Company 2 plan to storm Vietnam in three weeks time with the release of the Battlefield: Bad Company 2 Vietnam expansion.

    PC gamers (who use Steam or the EA Store) will be able to get the first crack at the digital download on December 18. PS3/Xbox 360 owners will have to wait until December 21, when the expansion will come to the PlayStation Network, Xbox Live and other PC download services.

    The Vietnam expansion will add four new multiplayer maps to the Battlefield: Bad Company 2 package for a price of $14.99 (1200 Microsoft Points). According to EA, players will be able to take control of either a U.S. Marine or a member of the North Vietnamese Army (NVA) through “varied, hostile terrain.”

    If you can’t wait that long for new maps, EA has also revealed that the DICE-developed VIP Map Pack 7 will be made available to download tomorrow, December 1. The free map pack (provided you registered your VIP code) will include reworked versions of fan favorites Oasis and Harvest Day from Battlefield: Bad Company along with two additional maps.

    Test Drive Unlimted 2 Races Into Stores on February 8

    After delaying the game from its original September release date, Atari has announced that Test Drive Unlimted 2 will speed its way to store shelves on February 8. The publisher has also revealed a parade of pre-order bonuses for the PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 game.

    Players who pre-order the game from GameStop will exclusively receive the Casino Online game add-on. Casino Online is a fully interactive in-game environment that allows players to “play popular casino games, meet up with friends, and more.” If your luck at the tables holds out, you’ll also be able to unlock two cars: the Audi R8 Spyder and the Spyker C8 Aileron Spyder.

    Other retailers are offering their unique unique unlockable vehicles and players will be able to tool around the island of Ibiza in a fancier ride by placing their pre-order money down at one of these stores:

  • Amazon: Aston Martin V12 Vantage Carbon Black (+ Avatar Apparel and Amazon Video Games Credit)
  • Atari.com: Ford Shelby GT 500
  • Best Buy: Aston Martin DBS Carbon Black (+ Avatar Apparel)
  • Direct2Drive: Jaguar XKR with Speed Pack and Black Pack
  • K-mart: Ferrari 612 Scaglietti
  • Steam: Pagani Zonda Tricolore (+ Avatar Apparel)
  • Walmart: Bugati Veyron Supersport 2010
  • Sackboy Claus Bringing Tons of LittleBigPlanet Presents Next Month

    Sony plans to Sack it to you in December as the LittleBigPlanet series (and its fabric-y star Sackboy) will be taking over the PlayStation Network next month.

    The fun will begin in early December when Sony plans to expand the LittleBigPlanet 2 beta by sending out a new round of invites to PlayStation Plus subscribers and more community contributors. A bunch will also be given away through various channels.

    On December 7, PlayStation Plus subscribers will get their money’s worth when Sony makes Sackboy’s Prehistoric Moves, a standalone PSN game, available to download for free. Regular PSN users will get a chance to play it on December 14, but it’ll cost them $5.99.

    Sackboy’s Prehistoric Moves is a Move-equipped co-op game where one player leads the way, flipping switches and triggering platforms with the Move controller while a pack of DualShock 3-wielding friends move through the level. If you’re patient, the game will also be included on the LittleBigPlanet 2 game disc when it ships on January 18.

    Finally, a LittleBigPlanet 2 demo will be added to the PlayStation Store on December 21. The demo promises to give all players a taste of the game’s Story Mode as well as a look at some of Sackboy’s new toys:

    Swing from different objects with the Grapple Hook, rescue helpless Sackbots, and experience the chaotic multiplayer fun that blows up when the competitive scoring mode is coupled with Sacboys and Sackgirls armed with the new Creatinator!

    Tactics Ogre PSP Remake Coming February 15

    Square Enix has announced that Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together, a PSP remake of the Super Famicom game of the same name, will be released on February 15. The publisher has also revealed a special pre-order bonus for gamers that get the game at GameStop/EB Games or Amazon: a Tactics Ogre-themed deck of tarot cards. You can get a look at some of the cards at the PlayStation.Blog, which is also collecting questions for the Tactics Ogre dev team.

    The Tactics Ogre development team is actually same team that worked on the Super Famicom original and they plan to bring a lot of new features to the PSP remake:

    After more than a decade, the critically acclaimed Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together will be reborn with significant new content, including an entirely updated storyline featuring new characters, dramatic choices, engaging plots and pitched battles. The remake also features innovative changes to the battle system, character development, and even the combat interface, which all serve to update its classic strategic gameplay, making battles more intuitive and, most importantly, fun.

    In order to provide players with an opportunity to experience the multitude of branching pathways and a variety of endings, Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together will also introduce the Chariot Tarot and World Tarot systems, which allow players to rewind both key battles and return to critical plot points in an effort to change their fate.

    Portal 2 Delayed Again

    Portal 2 has suffered its second delay and will no longer be released on February 9. But fear not! Valve promises this is the “shortest delay in Valve history.” The game will now teleport its way to store shelves on April 20.

    At least the developer has a sense of humor about it:

    This two month slip not only marks the shortest delay in Valve’s proud tradition of delays, it represents the approaching convergence of Valve Time and Real Time. Though this convergence spells doom for humanity, it will not affect the new Portal 2 release date.