Previews

Lost Planet 2

Because he's a freezy lover...

So, who exactly gets to play Lost Planet 2? There's something ever so slightly suspicious about Capcom's exclusive announcement on the 360's Marketplace.

Late last year, Lost Planet's executive producer Keiji Inafune told Famitsu about their multi-platform plans for the Dead Rising and Lost Planet sequels. Meanwhile, Capcom's 2008 financial report (issued to reassure their shareholders of their ongoing commitment to make money rather than, say, make Facebreaker and Mirror's Edge) stated the company would no longer be dabbling with console-specific exclusives. "All major titles launched during the next fiscal year or thereafter will be developed as multi-platform games," said last September's report.

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Now, though, Lost Planet 2 has debuted exclusively on 360, but it's a meaningless debut if the game ends up on other platforms. Naturally, drama erupted across the internet, and Capcom began closing forum threads speculating on Lost Planet 2's multi-format release. Even the press release isn't clear on the matter; it explains how the game is - yes! - "in development for the Xbox 360", but nowhere does it use the word "exclusively" or even the phrases "timed exclusive" or "coming first to Xbox 360."

Capcom's UK spokesperson told us, "All we can say at this time is that we've announced Lost Planet 2 for the 360 - that's all I can say", while Capcom USA's Christian Svensson went on to set the record not-especially-straight by explaining, "I'm going to have to remain silent for a little bit longer. It's complicated, it's confusing, I do understand that it's confusing how it was announced. It's not clear. Clarity will come over the coming months."

Here's your clarity: Lost Planet 2 will be a multi-platform game, very likely released first on 360. Mindshare isn't so valuable a commodity that Microsoft would splash the cash just for Capcom to announce the game on their system a few months before announcing the simultaneous release on PC and PS3; or rather, if they have, somebody deserves a hot slice of redundancy pie for pishing away so much cash on so valueless an exclusive at a time when Microsoft is dropping staff left, right and centre.

Anyway, the game itself: because Lost Planet was bastard, bastard hard, it's unlikely you finished it (not without our guide anyway), and because Lost Planet was as Japanese as it was difficult, it had a hatstand-catflap-mental storyline. As predictably evil mega-corporation NEVEC set out to warm up the frosty planet with a doomsday device which will temporarily strip the entire planet of life, a group of Snow Pirates set out to stop them, while their own scientist works on his own planet-warming tech. With the help of improbably-named amnesiac hero Wayne, the pirates abort NEVEC's plan, but at the cost of Wayne's memory. Again. Idiot. Anyway, one year later Wayne shows up to witness the first test of the Snow Pirates' technology which melts the snow in localised pockets, revealing grass beneath.

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Ten years later, and the seeds sown in Lost Planet have grown, with entire rainforests in isolated pockets surrounded by snowy wasteland. Ancient cities have thawed and forests stand where before there were glaciers and Akrid hives. New factions of Snow Pirates have risen up to take control over the isolated fertile lands and Wayne Holden is, apparently, nowhere to be seen...

Which is probably all for the best. Lost Planet was at its best online where you played as random Snow Pirates and were offered (admittedly quite limited) options to customise your character. Knowing this, Capcom have made every character in your four-man squad fully customisable using a modular system which really will make your Snow Pirate your own this time out. Hop online and you'll bring your customised Pirate with you, in co-op or versus.

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