GamesBeat Weekly Roundup

Here are some of the stories that ran on GamesBeat this week. We’re running more articles exclusively in the GamesBeat section of VentureBeat, particularly when they’re mainly of interest to our game readers. The broader-interest posts will continue to run on VentureBeat as well. Please visit the GamesBeat section to catch up on the latest game news. We’re ramping up our game coverage, so you’ll find a larger amount of deeper news at GamesBeat.

Sine Mora, a side-scrolling shooter for the masses (review)

Sine Mora inspires a certain amount of wondering about what a 2D shooter really needs in the way of production values. Does it need an original soundtrack by a big-name composer? Does it need an extensive, otherworldly backstory? Does it need an elaborate time-travel plotline about saving someone’s life in the past and avenging his death in the present? Does it need poetically-written cutscenes and voice-overs delivered in Hungarian?

Steel Battalion Heavy Armor combines Kinect and controller commands (hands-on preview)

Steel Battalion Heavy Armor is one of the new hardcore games for the Xbox 360 which makes the daring design decision of using the Kinect motion-sensing gesture controls in addition to play with a traditional game controller. You use your arms to control the user interface inside your giant mech, known as a Vertical Tank, but you use the controller to fire your machine gun or cannon at enemies.

The Simpsons Arcade takes us back to the bowling alley (review)

1991 was a good year for The Simpsons. Some all-time classic episodes aired, the series won a couple of Emmy awards, Bart Simpson t-shirts were still in fashion, and the family starred in an A-list arcade game. It was a better year than 2011, where the series closed in on its 500th episode while a few fans kept up the old argument over when the exact shark-jumping moment happened.

Xbox 360 surpasses 66M sold and Kinect passes 18M units

Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer said tonight that the Xbox 360 video game console has sold more than 66 million units since it was launched in 2005. In his final keynote at the Consumer Electronics Show, Ballmer said that the Xbox Live online gaming and entertainment service now has more than 40 million users, and he said Microsoft has sold more than 18 million Kinect motion-sensing systems.

Sonic CD blasts onto console and mobile today

Sega of America has announced that Sonic CD is now available across a multitude of platforms today. Originally released in 1993 for the Sega CD, this version of Sonic CD  comes boasting both the Japanese and US soundtracks, and the exclusive ability to play as Tails, Sonic’s flying sidekick fox. The game will likely appeal to older gamers who are nostalgic for the games of their youth.

This week on Xbox Live: Expansions for Battlefield 3, Assassin’s Creed Revelations, and Gears of War 3

Microsoft has expanded Xbox Live to enable new entertainment options such as YouTube and Verizon’s FiOS TV, but the bread and butter of the Xbox 360 remains games. This week will see a slew of attention-grabbing new content on Xbox Live for some of the year’s biggest titles. Battlefield 3 finally gets its Back to Karkand expansion, available for $15, or free to those who purchased the Battlefield 3 Limited Edition retail package. Gears of War 3 kicks off its 12 Days of Gearsmas celebration with the RAAM’s Shadow campaign. You can read my review here. I didn’t like it. And Assassin’s Creed Revelations receives the first of several content bundles with the Ancestors Character Pack, which adds a few new faces to the multiplayer.

Team Ninja studio head talks DLC costumes and Tekken vs. Dead or Alive

Team Ninja, an in-house development studio owned by Tecmo Koei, is best known for its work on the Dead or Alive and Ninja Gaiden franchises. The last major entry in the Dead or Alive fighting game series, Dead or Alive 4, was released one month after the launch of the Xbox 360 in late 2005. Since then, Team Ninja has focused on ports, such as Dead or Alive Dimensions for the Nintendo 3DS, Ninja Gaiden sequels for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, and even brought their unique style to Nintendo’s Metroid: Other M, to mixed results. Now, with notorious figurehead Tomonobu Itagaki having left the company amid sexual misconduct allegations and a well-publicized lawsuit, Yosuke Hayashi has taken over as studio head and is charging into 2012 at full-speed with Ninja Gaiden 3 and Dead or Alive 5.