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Sweet, delicious release date and teaser for Viva Pinata

One of Rare's overworked carrier pigeons just landed on our windowsill, bringing with it some candy crucial news: Viva Piñata: Pocket Paradise will be launching across North America on September 2nd, in Europe on September 5th, and in the rest of the world beginning September 11th. That's exciting enough (and hey: really soon), but that's not where the happy news ends: Rare also took the time to film a second spoof video for its game, again poking fun at the terribly serious Halo 3 teasers from 2007. You can watch the first after the break (and please do watch it if you haven't already).

Release dates here
"Museum" video here
Our Rare interview here

Gallery: Viva Pinata: Pocket Paradise

Continue reading Sweet, delicious release date and teaser for Viva Pinata

E308: Fresh Viva Pinata screens hunted down

Hacking our way through the undergrowth that surrounds our local press site, we located ten new wild and untamed Viva Piñata: Pocket Paradise screenshots! Like the heartless types we are, we instantly clubbed them, bagged them, removed them from their natural habitat, and dropped them in our gallery for the rest of the world to gawk at.

Disappointingly, a quick inspection reveals no new species (there are seven fresh piñatas in this remake), but there's a bright side, reader: the most cheerful DS boxart of 2008 so far.

Gallery: Viva Pinata: Pocket Paradise

[Via press release]

DS Fanboy interview -- Viva Pinata: Pocket Paradise

Rare's Viva Piñata first charmed gamers back in 2006, when it appeared on the Xbox 360. Instantly, the title's original premise of nurturing beautifully animated piñatas in a garden of your own making helped it stand out in the crowd. On a system more renowned for third-person adventure games and futuristic shooters, Viva Piñata was a delightful revelation.

Soon, the candy-filled creatures will be making their debut on the DS in Viva Piñata: Pocket Paradise. Based on the original Viva Piñata title, what we've seen so far suggests that the team have achieved something we'd have never expected: they've managed to squeeze an Xbox 360 title on to Nintendo's handheld, while preserving every feature and trinket that was available in the original.

With its fertilizer and shovel prepared for Pocket Paradise's release later this year, DS Fanboy sat down with Pocket Paradise Producer Paul Machacek and Software Development Engineer Joe Humfrey to chat about why they brought Viva Piñata to the DS, the jump from analog stick to stylus control, and the emotions involved in seeing your very first Mousemallow perish. Go past the break for our full interview!

Gallery: Viva Pinata: Pocket Paradise

Continue reading DS Fanboy interview -- Viva Pinata: Pocket Paradise

Viva Pinata Pocket Paradise media is for mature audiences

This latest set of Viva Piñata: Pocket Paradise screenshots contains adult content, and should be viewed with parental guidance. Be sure that your state or municipality does not have obscenity laws against viewing scenes of piñata romance before venturing into our gallery.

In addition, we've embedded the first two Viva Piñata videos after the break -- they're too hot for the front page due to graphic Whirlm content. Well, one of them is. The other one's mostly gardening. Although, now that we think about it, considering that the Piñatas are basically ambulatory plant matter, it's all mostly gardening. Naughty gardening.

Gallery: Viva Pinata: Pocket Paradise

Continue reading Viva Pinata Pocket Paradise media is for mature audiences

Viva Pinata: Pocket Paradise gets its own little oasis online

Rare has kept quiet for the most part about Viva Piñata: Pocket Paradise, preferring, for the most part, to limit themselves to releasing one screenshot every couple of months and making some joke about the game's progress. Now they've boldly opened a website for the game! Which even has information! And screenshots, which we've added to our gallery. There's an interview with some of the Pocket Paradise team as well, which is mostly jokes!

Looks like players who have already broken open the 360 game will have something to look forward to here: new piñatas, which will also appear in the 360 sequel Trouble in Paradise. The DS game will also use a new episodic format in addition to the Playground mode.

Gallery: Viva Pinata: Pocket Paradise

Viva Pinata almost had DS/360 connectivity

The new Viva Piñata game on the Xbox 360 uses the Xbox Live Vision camera to read codes found on Viva Piñata cards, unlocking new piñatas. It's an impractical feature (if only there were some other way to enter short text strings into a game ...) but it's a fun gimmick. And it's designed such that the camera can read card images not just from physical cards, but from screens on computers and portable devices, which enhances the possibilities for sharing.

The DS has a Viva Piñata game (Pocket Paradise). The DS has screens. Wouldn't it be awesome if you could use the DS game to send stuff to the 360 game? It would be -- and is! Rare had it implemented, according to MTV Multiplayer's interview with Rare's Justin Cook, but too late. "We got it to work, but it was too late in the development cycle," Cook said. "It's one of those things where you just kick yourself." A strange statement coming from Rare. Can't they just delay the game for a couple of years?

Gallery: Viva Pinata: Pocket Paradise

IGN smashes open Rare producer, gorges on new Viva Pinata details

With development on Viva Piñata: Pocket Paradise now wrapped up, IGN got some face time with producer Paul Machacek to discuss numerous aspects of the project, from the challenges of remaking an Xbox 360 game on the DS to some of the modes that the handheld version will support.

The most heartening news of all is that Pocket Paradise sounds likes a fairly faithful interpretation of the charming 360 game. Technical limitations mean that the fully 3D world has had to be scrapped in favor of a hybrid 2D/3D environment, but every piñata is fully modeled in 3D (to aid "really fluid, smooth animation"), and Rare even managed to echo some of the papery fur rendering in the grass texture. There are FMV sequences galore, featuring both romance dances and excerpts from the TV series.

Absolutely everything can be controlled with the stylus (buttons can be used for shortcuts), and there's a wireless mode which allows players to send crates packed with whatever they like to their friends' gardens (though no online mode, unfortunately). Oh, and alongside the main garden, there is a Sandbox mode, described by Machacek as "great for younger players to play with their favorite pets [or] to demonstrate a particular piñata to your friends that you've already found but have since removed from your garden."

As much as we're irritated by Viva Piñata for repeatedly making us hunt for that "n" with the funny squiggle above it, we're now getting increasingly keen to give this a whirl. Anyone else feel the same way?

Gallery: Viva Pinata: Pocket Paradise

Viva Pinata development is 'complete'

Rare has yet to provide a release date for Viva Pinata: Pocket Paradise, but according to the company, the game is now "complete." The announcement came in Rare's community letter, Scribes, which tongue-in-cheekly stated that the software would be sold this Sunday at flea markets. (Because we don't know how high your gullibility meter is, we'll state the obvious -- they were joking.)

Apparently, though, all that's left for the title is the manufacturing phase, so we'll assume that the game will be available for purchase in a matter of months. We've learned that DS carts take about two months to assemble, so could we seeing Pocket Paradise as soon as July or August? Your guess is as good as ours!

Gallery: Viva Pinata: Pocket Paradise

[Via Game|Life]

Promotional Consideration: DS Style, the Freshmaker

Promotional Consideration is a weekly feature about the Nintendo DS advertisements you usually flip past, change the channel on, or just tune out.

Square Enix has rolled out no less than seven commercials for its DS Style line of "non-games," one for each of the series' seven casual software titles. They're low-budget productions shot with simple scripts, spartan sets, and a single actress in most of the scenes.

Bring your trivial dilemmas past the post break, where we've posted a medley of the 15-second spots past the post break, as well as early 90s commercials for the minty product referenced in this installment's title.

Continue reading Promotional Consideration: DS Style, the Freshmaker

Viva Pinata lives, gets subtitle

The BBFC seems to have confirmed two things about Rare's upcoming DS game, Viva Pinata. The first is that THQ will be publishing the software, and the second is that the subtitle for the game (at least in Europe) will be Pocket Paradise.

Until we hear something more tangible, though, we'll chalk this one up as a rumor.

Gallery: Viva Pinata DS

[Thanks, jimmcq!]

New Viva Pinata screens burst out

We're very slowly getting a look at Viva Piñata; Rare is letting screens drip out a bit at a time, just to keep us interested. Normally, that would worry us, but this is Rare, and at least we know how they're handling the port, so we'll let them take their time. Aren't we nice?

We wouldn't mind having some idea of a release date, however. Jeux-France theorizes that we'll see the title by the end of the year, but we've yet to see any official word on that. Are we alone in thinking it's much more likely to be sometime next year? But all release date speculation aside, we've compiled the new with the old in a gallery below for your viewing ease.

Gallery: Viva Pinata: Pocket Paradise

Rare says Viva Prerendering

Were you wondering how Rare would manage to cram the full Viva Piñata experience onto the DS? They've gone deep into their bag of tricks and pulled out a favorite Rare technique: prerendering. Like Killer Instinct and Donkey Kong Country, Viva Piñata uses 2D sprites made from 3D renders of Piñata characters. If it allows them to put the whole game on DS-- including achievements?-- and then add stuff like an "Episodes" mode that ties in to the TV show, then we say "prerender away."

If you want to read the news item that accompanies this single screenshot on Rare's website, you'll have to navigate to the "News" section. Annoying, right?

[Via Kotaku]

Viva Pinata goes portable on the DS

As had been hinted at earlier this year by Microsoft VP Shane Kim, Rare officially confirmed at the San Diego Comic-Con that its much overlooked fiesta / garden sim Viva Piñata will be smashing its way onto the DS.

While all we have currently is a blurry photo taken at the convention of what the game will look like, Rare has confirmed on the popular forums (well, popular if you played the Xbox 360 version) that Viva Piñata DS will use the same gameplay principles as the original garden-sim title, as opposed to the recently announced party game for the 360. That means all the produce-tending, romance dancing, and savage piñata-on-piñata combat your little portable can handle.

Beyond that, all we can tell you at this point is that it's being cultivated by the original Viva Piñata team and according to Rare, "The DS team have done an amazing job at getting most of the features from the original into the DS version." Wi-Fi connectivity and official release date are still unknown, but we wouldn't be surprised to see it sprout up for purchase in time for the holidays.

We're expecting an official announcement from Rare any time, but for now, check out that action shot after the break.

Continue reading Viva Pinata goes portable on the DS

Get serious with new DS Style screens

We're expecting a load of news when the Square Enix Party starts. For now, we've got new screens from the DS Style series, which is obviously too serious for parties. Specifically, new screens were released of Flower Blooming DS: Gardening Life, Shall We Listen to Classical Music on the DS?, and three World Walking map programs: Italy, France and Taiwan.

We could kind of see picking up a DS map program instead of a guidebook when we go on vacation, since we tend to take the DS with us anyway. We are definitely feeling a strong urge to buy the classical music "game" as well, since it's being developed by iNiS. Smart move, Squeenix.

Continue reading Get serious with new DS Style screens

DS Style details emerge-- screenshot-style

The first screenshots of Square Enix's DS Style series of nongames have shown up, and they look ... well, functional. The problem with nongames is that it's impossible to build hype for something that is used just for looking at a map of France, or teaching yourself yoga, even if the software in question is extremely well-designed.

These screens answer the biggest question we had about the series: how could a game about listening to classical music possibly fill two screens meaningfully? The answer: dog animations and quizzing you on your feelings about the music.

Continue reading DS Style details emerge-- screenshot-style

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