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NewsPro Archive

April 2002

Tuesday, April 30, 2002

Pro Race Driver Screen Shot Blow Out!
Eric @ 6:28 PM EDT
What's better than new info on one of the best looking racing games yet? 49 brand new screens to go with it! Enjoy the new screens and info! Pro Race Driver is set to hit stores in late Summer.


Game Features:


42 licensed touring & race cars including Holden Commodore, Ford Falcon, Mercedes CLK, Alfa Romeo GTV and Viper GTS.

38 international circuits recreated under licence including Bathurst, Hockenheim and Silverstone.

13 global Championships including official series: DTM from Germany, V8 Supercars from Australia and the Britsh Touring Car Championship.

State-of-the-art car physics engine, tested for realism by professional race drivers.

Involving and intriguing blockbuster storyline draws the player deep into the lives of the characters.

Customizable car setup provides a uniquely true-to-life driving and performance experience.

Standard-defining, real, visible damage, created using the crash test industry’s FEM system, affects the handling and drivability of vehicles.

Genre-beating, bumper-to-bumper racing with up to 20 cars all gunning for position on track at once.

Massive play and replay value – Pro Race Driver™ features a massive 13 full World Championships.

Great soundtrack featuring many well known artists. Full list will be revealed shortly.


Pro Race Driver Screen Gallery 1  

Pro Race Driver Screen Gallery 2  

Pro Race Driver Screen Gallery 3  

Burnout Begins Shipping
Steve @ 2:42 PM EDT
Once again taking to the streets with a next-generation adrenaline rush of fast moving steel, Acclaim Entertainment, Inc. today announced that it has shipped its award-winning arcade driving game Burnout(TM) for the Xbox(TM) video game system from Microsoft and Nintendo GameCube(TM). Created by Criterion Games Limited, Burnout(TM) was one the most heralded games this past fall for the PlayStation(R)2 computer entertainment system, and offers stunning graphics and white-knuckle, foot-to-the-floor gameplay.

"Burnout(TM) set new benchmarks in the genre with its incredible realism, heart-pounding driving action and unprecedented crash effects, and has quickly become one of our top performing brands," said Evan Stein, vice president of Brand. "We're thrilled to bring this celebrated gaming experience to Xbox(TM) and GameCube(TM) owners, and are confident that they will enjoy getting behind the wheel and experiencing the rush of driving at dangerously high speeds from the safety of their couch."

Burnout was inspired by some of the most memorable car chase scenes from the greatest action films of all time, and won IGN.com's Editors' Choice Award on the PlayStation(R)2 computer entertainment system. The game features an incredibly sophisticated and intelligent traffic system, challenging players to race to the finish line at breakneck speeds through a myriad of trucks, cars and buses. With dramatic crashes possible with every turn of the wheel, competing drivers are rewarded for pushing the envelope and their skills to the extreme. Burnout(TM) also includes a simulated in-game heart monitor, rewarding the player with incredible bursts of speed as their pulse increases with every risk they take.

Burnout(TM) offers a broad array of features, including several new items that are exclusive to the Xbox(TM) and GameCube(TM) versions:


-- All-new high-resolution visuals, including HDTV and Progressive Scan support, delivering incredibly crisp and clear action up to 480p (GameCube(TM)) and 720p (Xbox(TM));
-- Improved deformation models, allowing for more realistic car crashes;
-- All-new tri-linear filtering and anti-aliasing, creating smoother textures and images;
-- Improved lighting, enhancing the game's realism, including the way light reflects on the cars and tracks;
-- Bump mapping (exclusive to the Xbox(TM)), provides greater detail on road surfaces;
-- Dolby surround sound technology, including 5.1 channel Dolby Digital audio support (Xbox(TM) version only);
-- Improved real-time vehicle crashes, highlighted by multiple-camera instant replays;
-- 16 exciting courses, each filled with unique challenges and obstacles, spanning the United States and Europe;
-- Multiplayer split-screen action for head-to-head competition;
-- More than 300 vehicles to collide with on each course;
-- Intelligent traffic system, featuring three distinct types of driver behaviors;
-- Vibration enabled controller compatibility, letting players feel every turn and crunch of the car.

Monday, April 29, 2002

Midway, DC Comics and Warner Bros.
Steve @ 4:25 PM EDT
Midway Games Inc., a leading software industry publisher and developer, announced today that it has secured the license from DC Comics and Warner Bros. Consumer Products to publish videogames based on the Justice League comic book franchise and animated television series featuring the world's greatest super heroes and some of the most well-known villains. Midway plans to feature the popular characters in videogames slated for development on next-generation systems and the Nintendo Game Boy(R) Advance.

The agreements grant Midway the rights to publish Justice League videogames, with at least one based on the DC Comics' comic book series JLA and another based on the current Cartoon Network hit animated series, Justice League, produced by Warner Bros. Animation.
The Justice League features the greatest super hero team of all time. In both the comic book and animated series, the core members of the team include Batman, Superman, The Flash, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern and Martian Manhunter. Hawkgirl and Aquaman round out the team in both the animated series and comic book. Fighting for truth, justice, and freedom, the Justice League's mission is to protect the world from evildoers such as The Joker, Lex Luthor, Mongul, Cheetah, Solomon Grundy, The Shade, Star Sapphire, Copperhead, Gorilla Grodd, Felix Faust and The Manhunter Robots.

"DC Comics' compelling characters and storylines create unique properties that are ideal for the videogame experience," said Helene Sheeler, Vice President of Marketing, Midway. "We look forward to bringing these iconic characters to gamers everywhere."

"The videogame platforms are a perfect fit for the ever-popular Justice League super heroes as their interactive adventures will reach new and existing fans," said Philippe Erwin, Vice President of Interactive Entertainment for Warner Bros. Consumer Products. "We look forward to working with Midway's experienced developers to create engaging and entertaining games."

The Justice League has existed in some form since 1940 when DC Comics' All-Star Comics introduced the first-ever group of super heroes in a comic book series, entitled Justice Society of America, which ran until 1951. DC Comics revived the concept in March 1960, renaming it Justice League of America. The League became the longest-running television cartoon based on a comic book when Hanna-Barbera Studios produced it as Super Friends (1973), The All-New Super Friends (1977), Challenge of the Super Friends (1978), The World's Greatest Super Friends (1979) and The Super Friends Hour (1980) for Saturday mornings, each with new characters added and each produced for ABC Television. Justice League of America, a monthly comic book, continues to be one of DC Comics' best-selling titles, consistently ranking among the top ten in industry sales. The Warner Bros. Animation- produced series, Justice League, premiered on Cartoon Network on November 17, 2001, and quickly became an audience favorite with children and adults alike, ranking consistently in the network's top ten performers. Issue #1 of the series tie-in comic book, entitled Justice League Adventures, debuted in November 2001 and is one of the industry's top sellers.

"Midway is the perfect choice for developing the Justice League into a gaming franchise that will bring our super heroes to life like never before," said John Nee, Vice President of Business Development, DC Comics. "The creativity, experience and knowledge between both companies are of super-heroic proportions. Stellar videogames for next-generation video consoles are a guarantee."

THQ and Encore "PAL" For Europe
Steve @ 4:22 PM EDT
Woking, Surrey UK and Los Angeles, CA – April 29, 2002 – THQ International Ltd, a subsidiary of THQ Inc. (NASDAQ NMS: THQI), and Encore, Inc. today announced an agreement granting THQ international PAL publishing rights for a number of new titles from Encore’s next-generation console portfolio.

The titles in the agreement include Circus Maximus: Chariot Wars for the Xbox™ video game system and PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system; Dragon’s Lair 3D, a completely new 3D version of the classic Dragon’s Lair arcade game for Nintendo GameCube™ and PlayStation 2; and an additional next generation console title: Daredevil. All of the games are scheduled for release in 2002. Territories covered by the agreement are PAL videogame system areas governed by THQ International’s four territorial offices comprising UK/Export, France, Germany and Asia-Pacific.

Tim Walsh, Senior Vice President - International Publishing, THQ, commented, “Encore’s innovative titles are a great addition to our publishing portfolio. We look forward to working with Encore to expand their international exposure.”

Added Scott Berlin, Senior Vice President, Worldwide Sales at Encore, “THQ is a terrific partner for international markets, and both companies share a focus on high-quality brands. THQ has built a solid sales infrastructure in Europe, which will be a tremendous asset in getting Encore’s exciting new games widely distributed in this growing market.“

The 2002 Encore/THQ international lineup includes:


  • Circus Maximus: Chariot Wars is the first and only videogame to reproduce the lethal excitement of Roman chariot racing, pitting the player into the frenetic heart of the most popular sport of Ancient Rome. Gamers choose their team and then race, fight and conquer across seven territories and nineteen tracks to reach the pinnacle of chariot racing – the 250,000 capacity Circus Maximus of Rome.


  • Dragon’s Lair 3D is a completely new, 3D version of the legendary 1983 coin-op game. Players will guide Dirk the Daring through a fantasy adventure as they battle the deadly beasts of the Dark Castle in a quest to save the Princess Daphne from the clutches of the evil wizard Mordroc. The game stays true to the design and storyline of the 1980’s arcade game, while offering exciting game elements such as full control of Dirk and over 250 rooms to explore within the castle.


  • Daredevil is based on Marvel Comics' immensely popular comic book character. Daredevil will battle Kingpin, ruler of the East Coast underworld, and Bullseye, the ruthless assassin; the game will also feature Elektra, a martial-arts expert and Daredevil’s femme fatale lover. Daredevil will also be the subject of a live-action movie scheduled for release in early 2003 starring Ben Affleck as Daredevil, Jennifer Garner as Elektra, and The Green Mile’s Michael Clarke Duncan as Kingpin.

    Encore Software’s range of PC entertainment titles will continue to be sold directly by Encore in the UK and Europe.

    Friday, April 26, 2002

    Jurassic Park Roars Onto XBox
    Steve @ 2:29 PM EDT
    MELBOURNE, Australia and UNIVERSAL CITY, Calif., April 26 /PRNewswire/ --Universal Interactive, Inc., a studio of Vivendi Universal Publishing, has commissioned Australian game developer Blue Tongue Software to create interactive entertainment under the blockbuster Jurassic Park license.

    Due for release in fourth quarter 2002, the currently untitled Jurassic Park game will be the first game to combine the world-builder and mission-based game categories and deliver them on multiple platforms -- PlayStation(R)2 computer entertainment system, the Xbox(TM) video game system from Microsoft and the PC. The Jurassic Park game will be co-published by Konami Corporation in Japan.

    At a special preview of the game in Melbourne today, launched by
    Victoria's Minister for Information and Communication Technology, Marsha Thomson, audiences were treated to the action-packed gameplay and premium animation of the forthcoming title.

    "Universal Interactive is extremely pleased with the way Blue Tongue's next-generation AI and animation engine is bringing realistic dinosaur behaviour to life," said Jim Wilson, president of Universal Interactive. "The company's instantaneous terrain-mapping technology will make it possible for Jurassic Park fans to do what they have always dreamed of-build their very own dinosaur theme park."

    The collaborative project demonstrates Universal Interactive's commitment to adding value to world-renowned entertainment properties by growing them in the interactive gaming arena. Blue Tongue Software has significantly grown its local studio as a result of this relationship.

    "The international recognition for our technical expertise and design capabilities by Universal Interactive has been a huge boost to our team and our business," said Andrew Heath, co-founder of Blue Tongue Software. "We expect to create an additional 25 jobs in the industry over the next 18 months as a result of our success."

    Other local companies have benefited from the relationship between
    Universal Interactive and Blue Tongue Software. The game's music has been composed by Blue Tongue's in-house sound expert and is being recorded by the Melbourne Symphony. Local 3D graphics and animation house Act III developed the game's opening cinematic and in-game sequences using dinosaur models developed by Blue Tongue Software.

    The innovative new game features lush 3D jungle environments and
    incredibly detailed dinosaur models to deliver the excitement of the Jurassic Park movies to powerful next-generation platforms. The game allows players to fulfill Dr. John Hammond's dream by designing and managing their very own Jurassic Park. Players can create the most amazing dinosaur theme park the world has ever seen, or battle their way through 12 intense missions ranging from halting a rampaging dino and rescuing stranded park visitors to piloting a chopper.

    Both "Jurassic Park" and "The Lost World: Jurassic Park," from Amblin Entertainment and Universal Pictures, are among the highest grossing films of all time. The Jurassic Park franchise has already enjoyed more than $250 million in promotional support and $2.5 billion in worldwide consumer product sales, establishing Jurassic Park as the "premier" and "leading" dinosaur brand the world over.

    Tons of New Soul Calibur 2 Screens
    Eric @ 1:12 AM EDT
    Here are the very latest screens of Soul Calibur 2. These are from the arcade version, expect the Xbox version to look even better!

    Soul Calibur 2 Screen Gallery 1  

    Thursday, April 25, 2002

    Men In Black II Video Game Accessories
    Steve @ 9:30 PM EDT
    (Hong Kong) April 24, 2002 – Radica Games Ltd. announced today that it has signed a worldwide licensing agreement with Sony Pictures Consumer Products to produce Men In Black II branded video game accessories.

    Under terms of the agreement, Radica, under its Gamester™ brand name, is licensing the rights for video game accessories for PlayStation® 2, Microsoft Xbox, Nintendo Game Cube and Nintendo Game Boy Advance based on the Men In Black and Men In Black II theatrical releases. Initial products will include speakers, chargers, lights, earpieces and software cases, targeted for Game Boy Advance owners. Radica will debut its Men in Black II products at the E3 show, May 22-24, 2002 at the Los Angeles Convention Center.

    “Men In Black is an outstanding entertainment property and we’re very excited to be a part of this franchise,” states Pat Feely, chief executive officer, Radica. “We look forward to developing high-quality accessories that stay true to the highly anticipated film.”

    “Radica is a leader in electronic handheld games,” says Al Ovadia, executive vice president, Sony Pictures Consumer Products. “Our strategic partnership combined with this blockbuster franchise will undoubtedly have strong appeal with our target consumers.”

    The Gamester Men in Black II Agent Pack will hit retail shelves to coincide with the July 3 theatrical release and consists of all the necessities for Game Boy Advance (GBA) units, including:

    Skinz: Three Men in Black II designs that easily attach to the front of your GBA.

    Ear Phonz: Headphones disguised as tiny aliens crawling out of your ears.

    Men in Black II Flood Light: Every agent needs a light, and this light will light the entire GBA screen smoothly and evenly.

    Men in Black II Body Guard: Fits all your Men in Black II GBA equipment in one protective case, with extra room for several games.

    “Protecting the earth from the scum of the universe,” Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith return as agents K and J in the Columbia Pictures presentation of an Amblin Entertainment production, Men in Black II.

    Codemasters Announces Their E3 Line up
    Eric @ 12:00 PM EDT
    Codemasters today announce a blockbuster showcase of its most powerful game brands and new titles that will be unveiled at this year’s E3 Expo in Los Angeles from May 22nd.

    Showing at Booth #1168, Codemasters’ highlights include the ‘must be seen to be believed’ Dragon Empires (PC/online), the unveiling of Colin McRae Rally 3 (PS2, Xbox) and the world’s first showing of the company’s biggest development and publishing project to date: the 15-edition Club Football series (PS2, Xbox).

    The current line up of games, playable for the first time at the show, is:

    Club Football (15 editions)
    PS2 / Xbox – releasing November 2002
    A dedicated beautiful game for each of Europe’s top 15 football clubs.
    http://www.codemasters.com/clubfootball

    Colin McRae Rally 3
    PS2 / Xbox – releasing September 2002
    You are Colin McRae in the game that presses the accelerator in rally sport gaming. http://www.codemasters.com/colinmcrae3

    Dragon Empires
    PC/online – releasing autumn 2002
    Live, fight and rule an empire in this incredibly rich MMORPG.
    http://www.codemasters.com/dragonempires

    IGI 2: Covert Strike
    PC – releasing autumn 2002
    The acclaimed superb stealth-based first-person shooter returns with international intrigue and extreme action. http://www.codemasters.com/igi2

    LMA Manager 2003
    Xbox / PS2 – releasing autumn 2002
    The world’s best selling console football manager game comes to Xbox for the new season. http://www.codemasters.com

    Mike Tyson Heavyweight Boxing
    PS2 / Xbox - releasing May 31 / June 7 2002
    Landing the hardest punch of them all, Tyson comes to Xbox in dazzling form complete with 15 other heavyweight professionals.
    http://www.codemasters.com/mthb

    Operation Flashpoint: Cold War Crisis
    Xbox – releasing autumn 2002
    Command soldiers and land, sea and air vehicles in the Xbox edition of the ultimate realistic Cold War military experience.
    http://www.codemasters.com/flashpoint

    Operation Flashpoint: Resistance
    PC – releasing June 2002
    The official expansion pack delivers a new prequel campaign, remarkable high-resolution graphics and enhanced network code.
    http://www.codemasters.com/ofp-resistance

    Prisoner of War
    PS2 / Xbox / PC – releasing summer 2002
    Experience the intrigue, danger and heroism of Allied escape attempts from POW camps during World War II in this incredible stealth adventure. http://www.codemasters.com/pow

    TOCA Race Driver
    PS2 / PC – releasing summer 2002
    High speed and aggressive touring car race action combines with a dramatic plot of murder, betrayal, revenge and, for some, victory.
    http://www.codemasters.com/tocaracedriver

    World War II: Frontline Command
    PC – releasing autumn 2002
    From The Bitmap Brothers, this squad-based action real time strategy game lets you command some of World War II’s most significant battles.
    http://www.codemasters.com/ww2

    E3 runs in Los Angeles from Wednesday 22nd May through to Friday 24th May. Codemasters’ showcase booth is #1168 in the South Hall.

    Dave Mirra Freestyle BMX 3 Announced for Xbox
    Eric @ 11:58 AM EDT
    GLEN COVE, NY, April 25, 2002 - Strengthening its highly successful relationship with the most decorated athlete in the history of BMX, Acclaim Entertainment, Inc. (NASDAQ.SC: AKLM), today announced that it has re-signed Dave "Miracle Boy" Mirra to an exclusive five-year strategic licensing sponsorship agreement. Under the agreement, Mirra will continue to serve as the spokesperson for the Company's flagship action sports brand, Dave Mirra Freestyle BMX, which has sold more than three million units worldwide across all gaming platforms. Mirra will play an integral role in the development of Acclaim's future BMX video games, including working in concert with the Company's development teams to ensure authenticity and realism; participating in motion capture and voice recording sessions for inclusion in the games, as well making several public appearances each year. Furthermore, he will wear the Acclaim logo on his bike and helmet at all BMX competitions.

    "Dave Mirra is the best BMX athlete in the world today and we are very pleased about continuing our association with him," said Evan Stein, Vice President of Brand. "Our Dave Mirra portfolio of action sports titles are the most highly regarded in the category, and we continue to set new benchmarks each year with innovative design and captivating gameplay. We know that with Dave on our team, Acclaim will take the genre to an entirely new level."

    "Acclaim makes the best BMX games, which capture the thrill of the sport and deliver authentic action for gamers of all ages," added Dave Mirra. "I'm excited to be working with the Company again and can't wait to see how people react to Dave Mirra Freestyle BMX 3."

    Currently in development with Z-Axis, the award-winning creative team behind Acclaim's Dave Mirra brand, Dave Mirra Freestyle BMX 3 will feature 10-time world champion and 13-time X Games champion, Dave Mirra, and 16 of the best street, vert, dirt and flatland riders in the world. Dave Mirra Freestyle BMX 3 will offer many exciting new features, including all-new motion captured rider moves, more than 1,700 tricks and 10 highly expansive and immersive environments. The game will provide a revolutionary Create-A-Rider system, allowing players to create their own rider to utilize throughout the game. In addition, Dave Mirra Freestyle BMX 3 will include a dynamic in-game soundtrack, featuring some of today's top recording artists.

    NFS Hot Pursuit 2 Headed to Xbox with Exclusive Modes
    Eric @ 11:55 AM EDT
    REDWOOD CITY, Calif.--April 25, 2002--"Pull your vehicle over now!" EA plans to drive the highly anticipated Need For Speed(TM) Hot Pursuit 2 game for the PlayStation(R) 2 computer entertainment system to PC, Xbox(TM) video game system from Microsoft and Nintendo GameCube(TM). All four titles will be published under the EA GAMES(TM) brand and will be available in late summer 2002.

    Further building upon the franchises' award-winning legacy, Need For Speed Hot Pursuit 2 will feature classic open road racing with the added intensity of police intervention, as first seen in Need For Speed III Hot Pursuit. This year's game allows the player to select from over 20 licensed exotics from the world's most coveted manufacturers including the Ferrari 360 Spider(TM), Lamborghini Murcielago(TM) and Porsche(R) Carrera GT(TM).

    Need For Speed Hot Pursuit 2 will feature five different gameplay modes: Quick Race, Single Challenge, Hot Pursuit, Championship and an all-new "Top Cop" mode for the Xbox, Nintendo GameCube and PC versions. This brand new mode allows players to actually "be the cop" by taking on a career as a high-speed highway patrolman by competing in over 30 events. Hot Pursuit and Championship modes also consist of over 30 challenging race events that if completed, the player will be rewarded with new cars, tracks and high performance upgrades. Need For Speed Hot Pursuit 2 will feature over 20 tracks, with up to 12 miles of road and environments ranging from the lush forests to the sandy beaches.

    The PlayStation 2, Xbox and Nintendo GameCube versions will also feature a multiplayer mode with two-player split screen racing. The PC game will support up to eight-player multiplayer racing via LAN/Internet/Direct IP.

    EA Seattle is developing Need For Speed Hot Pursuit 2 for the PC, Xbox and Nintendo GameCube. The PlayStation 2 version is being produced by EA Canada and developed by Black Box, a Vancouver-based development company. For more information on Need For Speed Hot Pursuit 2, visit the official product website at: www.needforspeed.com. Additional information can be found on the EA GAMES website at: www.eagames.com.

    Infogrames Buys Shiny Entertainment, not Microsoft
    Eric @ 1:02 AM EDT
    NEW YORK, April 25 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Infogrames, Inc. (Nasdaq: IFGM - news), a leading publisher of interactive entertainment software, today announced that it has signed a Purchase Agreement to acquire Shiny Entertainment, Inc. from Interplay Entertainment Corp. (Nasdaq: IPLY - news). Through this acquisition, Infogrames will have exclusive worldwide rights to develop and publish interactive games based on sequels to the highly acclaimed, Academy Award- winning action thriller, ``THE MATRIX.'' The games will be based on the upcoming sequels, ``THE MATRIX RELOADED'' and ``THE MATRIX REVOLUTIONS'' from Warner Bros. Pictures. The transaction is expected to close within one week, following satisfaction of various closing conditions, which include the execution of other ancillary agreements with various third parties.

    Under the terms of the agreement, Infogrames will acquire the full development operations of Shiny Entertainment and will have exclusive rights to the THE MATRIX sequel games for all major existing platforms, and their successors and replacements; the patent for Shiny's Advanced Tessellation Technology; and exclusive rights to other tools and assets associated with the development of THE MATRIX games, for a purchase price of approximately $47 million (subject to certain adjustments), in a combination of cash and a promissory note. As part of the transaction, David Perry, founder and President of Shiny Entertainment, has signed a long-term employment agreement with Infogrames to remain as President of Shiny. Under Mr. Perry's leadership, Shiny's development team, which now joins Infogrames, created award-winning titles such as Earthworm Jim, MDK and Sacrifice, which are published by Interplay. Larry Wachowski and Andy Wachowksi, the creators, writers and directors of THE MATRIX franchise, have worked closely with Mr. Perry and the Shiny team on the development of the games.

    ``To add Shiny and THE MATRIX franchise to our portfolio is a tremendous coup for Infogrames,'' said Bruno Bonnell, Chairman and CEO of Infogrames, Inc. ``Shiny's outstanding development team has a proven track record for creating innovative games that push the envelope, making the studio a wonderful addition to our growing in-house development team, and underscoring our commitment to assembling the best talent in the industry under the Infogrames banner.''

    Shiny Entertainment will join Infogrames, Inc.'s internal development operations, which currently include: Reflections Interactive (Stuntman, Driver, Driver 2); Legend Entertainment (Unreal, Unreal Episode 2); Humongous Entertainment (Backyard Sports); and studio teams in Los Angeles, CA; Beverly, MA; and Minneapolis, MN. In addition, on behalf of its parent company, Infogrames Entertainment SA, the Company manages Paradigm Entertainment (Terminator, Mission: Impossible II), and a studio in Hunt Valley, MD, and represents Eden Studio (V-Rally franchise) and Melbourne House (Men in Black II, Formula One) in the U.S.

    Warner Bros., the studio producing and releasing THE MATRIX films and the licensor for THE MATRIX game rights, has approved the acquisition and transfer of the license to Infogrames. The first game Infogrames will release will be ``THE MATRIX RELOADED,'' the sequel to the original blockbuster THE MATRIX. Currently, the game is scheduled for release in May 2003 in conjunction with the theatrical release of ``THE MATRIX RELOADED'' motion picture.

    ``The revenue potential for THE MATRIX on multiple platforms is tremendous, making THE MATRIX RELOADED a premier title in our line-up for Fiscal 2003,'' said Mr. Bonnell. ``THE MATRIX is one of the most desirable franchises within this industry. Its popularity and cult status are undeniable, and its movie fan base encompasses the quintessential gaming audience.''

    Mr. Bonnell continued, ``Working closely with David's team at Shiny, we expect to release the game around the world next May, backed by the full force of our marketing, advertising and retail operations.''

    ``Infogrames has a legacy of attracting the best development teams in the business and they've built a reputation for being extremely supportive of creative talent,'' said David Perry, President of Shiny Entertainment. Mr. Perry continued, ``We are thrilled to be joining the Infogrames family, which clearly shares our enthusiasm for and belief in THE MATRIX franchise.''

    Eric's note:

    MS had a deal with Shiny Entertainment to keep the Matrix games exclusive to Xbox for 6 months, as well as Xbox exclusive features. We will have to wait and see how this turns out now, but that deal is most likely still on since it was made before Infogrames bought out Shiny.

    Wednesday, April 24, 2002

    Batman: Dark Tomorrow Confirmed for a Fall Release
    Steve @ 5:07 PM EDT
    Seattle, WA – April 24, 2002 –Kemco officially confirms today that Batman: Dark Tomorrow, initially slated for the Nintendo GameCube, will roar onto to the PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system and The Xbox video game system from Microsoft this fall. HotGen Studios Limited is developing the PS2 and Xbox versions, while the GameCube version is being developed internally by Kemco, as well as other global partners.

    Explosions echo throughout the mean streets of Gotham as rival gangs battle for control of the city. Anarchy reigns supreme with the sudden disappearance of Police Commissioner James Gordon and the lockdown of Arkham Asylum, home for the criminally insane. By using all of his skills, both mental and physical, as well as a variety of gadgets, Batman must stop the gang war, infiltrate Arkham Asylum and rescue the Commissioner. During this time, Batman must also piece together clues to discover the mastermind behind these seemingly unrelated events and stop an evil plan that threatens the fate of the entire world!

    Kemco brings the extensive comic book universe of the Dark Knight Detective to the next generation of video game platforms with the action adventure game "Batman: Dark Tomorrow."

    “Batman is one of the most popular comic book characters ever created and we want to bring a title to next generation platforms that does justice to this legend, said Glenn Halseth Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Kemco. “Our goal is to create a game with groundbreaking stealth animation elements that is leaps and bounds above any other Batman title to date.”

    Hunter: The Reckoning Has Gone Gold
    Steve @ 1:26 PM EDT
    IRVINE, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--April 24, 2002--Interplay Entertainment Corp., today announced that its highly anticipated game "Hunter: The Reckoning(R)" has gone gold and will ship on May 21 in North America.

    "We are extremely proud of 'Hunter: The Reckoning,' this is an original Xbox game that simply kicks butt," said Jim Molitor, vice president of production at Interplay Entertainment Corp. "The development team at High Voltage Software worked closely with White Wolf Publishing to make 'Hunter' the purist action gaming experience immersed in the rich fiction of White Wolf's World of Darkness."

    In "Hunter: The Reckoning," there is evil everywhere, but now a mysterious force has imbued a chosen few humans with not just the knowledge of the evil, but the power to do something about it. Played from a third person perspective, "Hunter" drops players in the nightmarish setting of modern day Hunters. Creatures of the dark disguised as everyday mortals plague humankind.

    Players can assume the role of one of four "Hunter" characters, in either single player or 4-player cooperative multiplayer mode, each endowed with unique supernatural abilities that become more diverse and powerful as players progress through 20 plus levels conquering evil. "Hunter: The Reckoning" has already secured outstanding accolades and previews from many online and print gaming media as well as major consumer media.

    "Our goal was to combine a great story with intense action, and the richness of the White Wolf universe gives us an incredible background," said Scot Lane, executive producer of "Hunter." "We took full advantage of the graphical realism the Xbox provides."

    More info on Midtown Madness 3
    Steve @ 1:21 PM EDT
    REDMOND, Wash. — April 24, 2002 — Microsoft® Game Studios today announced that one of the best-selling racing franchises of all time, “Midtown Madness,” will become a featured title for the Xbox™ video game system. “Midtown Madness® 3,” an arcade-style racing game developed by Digital Illusions CE AB, scheduled for release in fall 2002, will take full advantage of the power of the Xbox™ video game system by providing deeper story lines and more user interaction.

    Set in two of the most vibrant cities in the world, Paris and Washington, D.C., the game features madcap, over-the-top racing and driving in a fully interactive world. With more than 30 licensed vehicles to choose from, from flashy sports cars to massive utility vehicles, gamers will be treated to fast-paced, high-energy, unrestrained action and adventure. “‘Midtown Madness 3’ builds on the hugely successful legacy of the ‘Midtown Madness’ franchise and allows gamers to experience the rush and thrill of madcap, over-the-top racing,” said Pete Parsons, director of marketing for Microsoft Game Studios. “Licensed vehicles and fully-detailed renditions of Paris and Washington D.C. add to the driving excitement and make ‘Midtown Madness 3’ a must-have game.”

    “Midtown Madness 3” provides something for both the hardcore and casual gamer. With three challenging single race modes, Blitz, Checkpoint and Cruise, gamers will experience ambient traffic, pedestrians and voice-over effects particular to neighbourhoods.

    The competitive and innovative Career mode provides racers with an opportunity to assume various careers, undertaking a variety of missions as they navigate through the wide-open urban environments. To proceed through the career ladders, drivers must use their vehicles and driving skill as their greatest allies, experiencing a depth of experience that can only be found on Xbox.

    First Screens & Info on Madden 2003
    Eric @ 12:45 AM EDT
    Here is the first info on Madden 2003, as well as the very first screens of the game, enjoy! Madden 2003 is scheduled to hit stores sometime in August.



    Key Features:


    Control every in-depth aspect of the game.

    Take head-to-head competition to the next level.

    Experience an interactive audio environment.

    See and use new animations that help change the way you play the game.

    Utilize new game modes that help develop critical football related skills.

    Unlock hidden teams and extra cheat tips to broaden your gaming experience.


    Madden 2003 Screen Gallery 1  

    Tuesday, April 23, 2002

    First Screens of Time Splitters 2 on Xbox
    Eric @ 7:44 PM EDT
    Here are the first screens of the Xbox version of Time Splitters 2. Look for more info and media on this game from E3.



    Time Splitters 2 Screen Gallery 1  

    Morrowind Release Date in Europe Moved Up
    Steve @ 3:06 PM EDT
    22 April 2002 - Ubi Soft® Entertainment announced today that it will be moving up the European release dates for the highly anticipated role-playing game, The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind™, by Bethesda Softworks®. The PC CD-ROM version will be available in May, whilst the European release date for the Xbox™ version is still to be finalised.

    In order to meet the demands of its European consumers, Ubi Soft will undertake a two-stage release. In certain countries a semi-localised version of Morrowind will be released in May, with a fully localised version to follow in August. This will allow all European consumers to purchase the game in May, whilst fans in Germany and France will have the additional option of waiting until August for a release of a fully localised version.

    Commenting on the decision for the release of Morrowind, Thomas Petersen, Group Brand Manager for Ubi Soft Entertainment stated: "By introducing a two-stage release, we hope to meet the unprecedented demand from fans that want to play Morrowind as soon as possible, but also deliver a perfectly localised version for those that can wait till August. For a gaming universe featuring over a million words, full translation poses quite a task!"

    Summary

  • In the UK and Scandinavia, an English language version will be released in May.

  • In Italy, Holland, and Spain, a semi-localised version will be available in May.

  • In France and Germany, a semi-localised version (translated manual with English in-game text and speech) will be available in May, and will be followed by a fully localised version in August.

    TimeSplitters 2 on XBox
    Steve @ 2:56 PM EDT
    Eidos Interactive announces that TimeSplitters 2 is currently in development for the XboxTM video game system from Microsoft and the Nintendo® GameCube®. TimeSplitters 2 is the sequel to the hugely successful and critically acclaimed TimeSplitters, which was released to coincide with the US and European launches of PlayStation 2. The game is being developed by Free Radical Design and is set for release in Autumn 2002.

    “We are extremely excited to announce that TimeSplitters 2 will be released on all the next generation gaming consoles,” says Mike McGarvey, CEO of Eidos Interactive. “Now Xbox and Gamecube owners have the opportunity to experience the stunning graphics and amazing gameplay that TimeSplitters 2 has to offer.”

    “At Free Radical, we are passionate about console gaming," says David Doak, Managing Director of Free-Radical Design. “It’s only natural that TimeSplitters 2 will be appearing on all three next generation consoles.”

    Prepare to battle through history as the evil TimeSplitters get ready to rise again. TimeSplitters 2 will improve on the original in every conceivable way. The game offers a more involving single player and co-operative story mode, featuring a complex narrative with multiple objective-based episodes and superbly animated cut-scenes.

    The game engine has been extensively upgraded to accommodate bigger, better backgrounds and special graphical effects while still providing the distinctive smooth fast paced action of the original. A completely rewritten animation system incorporating inverse kinematics brings even more lifelike movement and dynamism to a new collection of 'loveable rogue' characters.

    TimeSplitters 2 will retain the unique MapMaker in an enhanced form, which opens up even more potential for user customised game scenarios.

    Monday, April 22, 2002

    EA Sports Ships 2002 FIFA World Cup
    Steve @ 4:11 PM EDT
    REDWOOD CITY, Calif.--(BW SportsWire)--April 22, 2002--Until now, you could only imagine how it would feel to hoist the FIFA World Cup(TM) as millions cheer wildly. Wait no longer.

    Electronic Arts (NASDAQ:ERTS) announced today that it shipped 2002 FIFA World Cup, the only interactive game featuring official FIFA World Cup insignia, trophy, mascots, banners and flags, on display in the 20 officially sanctioned stadiums, as the world's top 32 teams battle against elimination in the first tournament ever held in Asia and the first to be sponsored by two countries, South Korea and Japan.

    "2002 FIFA World Cup offers soccer fans the opportunity to experience all aspects of the world's most celebrated sporting event, including every moment of glory, every sight and every sound -- before the tournament actually begins," said producer Nick Wlodyka. "It promises to be the most authentic FIFA World Cup simulation and will deliver an unparalleled level of fun."

    The game will be on store shelves tomorrow for the PlayStation(R)2 computer entertainment system and PlayStation console, Nintendo GameCube(TM), the Xbox(TM) video game system from Microsoft and PC-CD.

    Features:

  • Star Players - Lifelike representation of the star players participating in the FIFA World Cup, combined with the exceptional individual talents that characterize their style of play in real life.
  • Accessible and exciting new game play -`Air Play' delivers intuitive one-button headers, volleys, scissor kicks, juggling, and more. Showboating and quick-tempo, high-impact play is both exciting and accessible from the first touch of the ball.
  • New player-to-player animations - New player-to-player animations result in aggressive jostling for the ball both on the ground and in the air.
  • `FIFA World Cup Moments' - Key dramatic moments during the tournament including the beginning of a match, the end of a match and key goals are highlighted by epic cinematics. Using replays, player animations, original scores performed by the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra and special effects, FIFA World Cup Moments underscore the emotional range of play with increasing intensity as games become more important.
  • `Moment Zooms' - New camera angles and replays capture intensity of FIFA World Cup games as they dramatize nearly missed shots, fouls and goals by focusing on player facial animations as they grimace and fall to their knees in frustration or pump their fists and cheer in celebration.
  • Tournament Mode - A seven game series beginning with round-robin play, followed by playoffs leading to the final match with a progressive story line and a rising intensity as you advance.
  • New stadium environments- Teams will be met with a rising tide of crowd excitement with thousands of fans sporting team colors, country specific chants, and an explosion of special effects including lasers, confetti, streamers, flags.

    Xbox Co-Creator, Seamus Blackley Resigns
    Steve @ 2:28 PM EDT
    LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The co-creator of Microsoft Corp.'s Xbox video game console has resigned days after the software giant conceded the unit was struggling internationally and would miss its initial sales targets, Microsoft said on Monday.

    Seamus Blackley, a physicist by training who also worked in Hollywood before joining Microsoft, plans to start some sort of new venture, the details of which he will begin discussing in the next few weeks, according to his spokeswoman, Susan Lusty.

    Lusty declined to discuss Blackley's plans, and, without elaborating, a Microsoft spokesman only said the former Xbox executive was leaving to "pursue other opportunities."

    News of Blackley's departure comes just days after Microsoft said it would miss its fiscal year-end sales target for the Xbox by as much as 40 percent, a shortfall it blamed on weak international sales. Those weak sales led to price cuts in Europe and Australia last week.

    "I think that the guy is responsible for the positioning of the product, and I think Microsoft positioned the product wrong when they launched," said Michael Pachter, an analyst at Wedbush Morgan Securities. "It's an over-engineered product."

    The console has also struggled in Japan, selling just over 190,000 units in its first six weeks there, according to Japanese game magazine publisher Enterbrain Inc. By comparison, the console sold nearly 1.5 million units in its first six weeks in the U.S. last year.

    Blackley worked at the video game arm of Hollywood movie studio DreamWorks before joining Microsoft as head of the company's Advanced Technology Group. Before his stint at DreamWorks, he was also a noted designer of flight simulation games.

    He has been one of the Xbox's public faces from the start, even going so far as to propose to his fiance during the Xbox's launch on Nov. 15 in Times Square in New York.

    A book being launched tomorrow about the history of the Xbox project, "Opening the Xbox," by journalist Dean Takahashi, features a forward written by Blackley and centers in large part on the genesis of the project through him.

    The book, and Blackley's resignation, come as the video game industry is in the midst of gearing up for the Electronic Entertainment Expo, or E3, which begins on May 21 in Los Angeles.

    Gauntlet Dark Legacy Ships for the Xbox
    Steve @ 2:12 PM EDT
    CHICAGO--(ENTERTAINMENT WIRE)--April 22, 2002--Midway Games Inc. (NYSE: MWY), a leading software industry publisher and developer, announced today that Gauntlet(R) Dark Legacy(TM) for the Xbox(TM) video game system from Microsoft will ship tomorrow. Gauntlet Dark Legacy is scheduled to ship in fall 2002 for the Game Boy(R) Advance and is available now for the PlayStation(R)2 computer entertainment system and the Nintendo GameCube(TM).

    Recreated for next-generation systems, Gauntlet Dark Legacy is a one to four player action-adventure videogame, which allows as many as four game players to battle cooperatively and interact simultaneously. Continuing the time-honored "hack-n-slash" style of gameplay, players work as a team as they embark on a quest to save the world. Using a force of special weapons, exotic magical powers and deadly combination attacks, players slay hordes of evil minions and hideous creatures -- such as Golems, Dragons and Chimera -- while searching for treasure, evading traps and solving the many mysteries of Gauntlet Dark Legacy.

    "Now Xbox owners will be able to experience Gauntlet Dark Legacy's time-honored cooperative four-player experience," said Helene Sheeler, vice president of marketing, Midway.

    Whether playing alone or with companions, players adventure through eight magical realms -- Mountain, Desert, Forest and Castle and the new Ice, Town, Sky and Dream worlds. Throughout each mystical realm, players are challenged to find obelisks, rune stones and countless other items while confronting more than 50 different enemies and challenging bosses. Players can choose from a variety of characters -- including the new Jester, Sorceress, Dwarf and Knight -- who possess the ability to perform special turbo attacks and deadly combination moves during battle. Each character has different attributes, so players must decide which character they believe is best equipped to handle the next adventure. Players can also find more than 42 secret characters and unlock their hidden, split personalities.


    Features:

  • One to four players Cooperative Action -- Alone or with up to three friends, gamers embark on a quest to collect the mythic 13 rune stones and battle the evil wizard, Garm

  • Updated Inventory System: Gamers can turn pick-ups and power-ups on and off while playing

  • Enhanced Shop Screen: Sell unwanted/unused pick-ups and power-ups for gold and jewels

  • Numerous New Power-ups such as:

    - Health Amulet: Players gain health from damaging enemies

    - Mikey: A potion that causes enemies to attack a magical apparition rather than the player's character

    -Hand of Death: Allows players to suck the life from enemies

  • Numerous Characters:

    - Eight Different Playable Characters: Warrior, Valkyrie, Archer, Wizard, Jester, Sorceress, Dwarf and Knight

    - Secret Characters: More than 42 secret characters with eight different split personalities to unlock

  • Massive Gameplay Worlds: Mountain, Desert, Forest and Castle plus Ice, Town, Sky and Dream. Venture where only legends dare with more than 50 evil enemies, challenging evil bosses and countless potions, power-ups and secrets to uncover

  • Advanced Combat: Each of the eight different characters pack unique combo moves and turbo attacks

  • Enhanced Xbox Graphics and Sound: Masterfully crafted worlds, powered by the Xbox graphics engine

    Non-Gaming Related: Layne Staley
    Steve @ 3:49 AM EDT
    This is non-gaming related, but I feel it's appropriate. One of my favorite bands is Alice in Chains. Layne Staley, the lead singer of the band was found dead on Friday. He was 34. The reason for his death is still unknown, but the likely cause was overdosage of heroin. Many people love their songs such as "Man in the Box", "Down in a Hole", and "Rooster". These songs alone inspired many people, and many new bands. R.I.P. Layne.

    MTV News

    Friday, April 19, 2002

    First Screens of NBA Inside Drive 2003
    Eric @ 1:51 PM EDT
    Here are the first screens of Microsoft's first party Basketball game, enjoy!

    NBA Inside Drive 2003 Screen Gallery 1  

    NBA Inside Drive 2003 Shipping This Fall
    Steve @ 1:19 PM EDT
    REDMOND, Wash. — April 19, 2002 — Microsoft® Game Studios today announced it will release “NBA Inside Drive 2003,” its exclusive basketball title for the Xbox™ video game system, this fall in time for the start of the 2003 NBA season.

    Following a strong debut on Xbox and a successful history on the personal computer, this newest addition to the “NBA Inside Drive” franchise features several new customization and gameplay enhancements. In “NBA Inside Drive 2003,” developed by High Voltage Software Inc., gamers will continue to enjoy team-specific playbooks and tendencies, superior graphics and fluid gameplay.

    “NBA Inside Drive 2003” will include numerous updates, including a season dynasty feature and Dynamic Player Performance. Additional gameplay features, as well as the “NBA Inside Drive 2003” spokesperson and in-game announcers, will be announced before the game’s launch.

    “‘NBA Inside Drive 2003’ puts players directly in the middle of NBA action,” said Pat Cook, sports studio manager for Microsoft Game Studios. “They’ll experience all the bumps, hand-checks and thundering dunks from the comfort of their living room.”

    Robot Wars 2 From Climax
    Steve @ 1:16 PM EDT
    20th April 2002, Fareham, Hants. UK. Following the success of its acclaimed versions of Robot Wars on PlayStation 2 and PC CD-ROM, Climax is pleased to announce the development of heavy metal successor Robot Wars 2. To be published on XBox and PC formats by BBC Multimedia for Christmas 2002, this all-action sequel is set to deliver a whole new bot battling experience.

    Work on Robot Wars 2 is currently underway at the Fareham-based studio of Climax. One of the world’s leading interactive software development companies, Climax was previously responsible for coding the acclaimed Playstation 2 and PC editions of the original Robot Wars. The games have been a huge success, selling 250,000 units in 2001 across PC, PlayStation 2 and Game Boy – demonstrating the popularity of cross platform development.

    Since its launch in the early ’90s the Robot Wars TV series has grown from cult status to become a massive worldwide phenomenon, with the BBC show now attracting an audience of around four million viewers. Taking its cue from the latest series, Robot Wars 2 cranks up the action with new events, new robots, and a wide range of new game features.

    “We’re delighted to be working with BBC Multimedia on this prestigious licence once again,” says Karl Jeffrey, President of Climax. “The TV series continues to go from strength to strength, and the most recent Robot Wars Extreme series delivers the most exciting battles yet. With the Robot Wars 2 game we’re able to utilise the new show format to give gamers battles that are more addictive, intense and brutal than ever before.”

    Details about the graphical and gameplay enhancements to be found in Robot Wars 2 are still under wraps, but Climax confirms that fans can expect a lavish 3D action game, with an exclusive XBox and PC design making it the most advanced Robot Wars title yet. A new range of robots and arenas will feature, with a two-player split-screen mode for enhanced multiplayer gaming.

    “Climax did an excellent job with the first Robot Wars games,” comments Andrew Johnson, Sales & Marketing Director of BBC Multimedia. “Its PlayStation 2 and PC editions proved to be a huge success at Christmas 2001, and we’re confident that that its work on Robot Wars 2 will help us achieve continued success over the coming year.

    Muppets Game Announced
    Steve @ 1:14 PM EDT
    TDK Mediactive, Inc. (OTC: TDKM), a global publisher of entertainment software, announced today an exclusive three-year, renewable worldwide licensing agreement with Jim Henson Interactive, a division of The Jim Henson Company, for the Muppets(TM), one of the most prolific brands in the entertainment industry. The agreement ensures TDK Mediactive exclusive rights to develop and publish games based on many of the Classic Muppet characters, including Kermit the Frog(TM), Miss Piggy(TM), Fozzie Bear(TM), The Great Gonzo(TM) and more. Platforms covered by the license agreement include the PSOne and PlayStation(R) 2 computer entertainment system, Xbox(TM) video game system from Microsoft, the Nintendo GameCube(TM) video game system, the Game Boy(R) Advance and PC platforms.

    "The colorful Muppet characters and their hilarious antics are tailor-made for videogames," said Vincent Bitetti, chief executive officer of TDK Mediactive. "The Muppet license is a continuation of our efforts to diversify our business across all viable platforms, categories and age demographics and fits well into the `E' rated segment of our business."

    "In celebration of the 25th anniversary of `The Muppet Show,' we've been expanding the reach of Muppet characters by leaps and bounds this year," said Craig Allen, General Manager and Senior Vice President, Jim Henson Interactive. "The licensing agreement with TDK Mediactive will ensure that high quality, entertaining Muppet games will be produced for a variety of platforms, giving our fans the world over a true gaming experience that only the Muppets can deliver."

    More about the Muppets license will be revealed at E3, South Hall, booth number 1446.

    Thursday, April 18, 2002

    Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell Unveiled
    Steve @ 3:05 PM EDT
    Ubi Soft Unveils Splinter Cell™, an All-Access Pass to the Reality of Global Espionage

    Paris, France - April 18, 2002 – Ubi Soft® Entertainment, one of the world’s largest videogame publishers, unveiled today the latest creation inspired by the works of world-renowned novelist Tom Clancy. Splinter Cell™ is a third person stealth action game, featuring cyber-terrorism, shadow agencies, and covert operations and is set in the realistic, highly detailed geopolitical universe as portrayed by Tom Clancy.

    In the fall of 2002, Ubi Soft will debut this lone stealth action game worldwide on the XboxTM video game system and PC CD-ROM, with further next generation platforms following in 2003.

    Splinter Cell™ will grant players access to the highest echelons of national security, where shadowy operatives have the freedom to do whatever it takes to safeguard America. In Splinter Cell™, the player controls Sam Fisher, a field operative of a secretive “black-ops” NSA sub-agency called Third Echelon. Sam Fisher is geared up to infiltrate high-security strongholds, seize critical intelligence, destroy threatening data and neutralize the enemy - all without leaving a trace. Developed by Ubi Soft’s Montreal Studio in Canada, Splinter Cell™, is a unique experience that will have the player thinly skate on the fine line that separates fact from fiction.

    “Splinter Cell™ is a really ambitious title that reaches unparalleled visual quality and innovative action packed game play thanks to Ubi Soft’s highly modified version of the next generation Unreal™ Engine”, said Laurent Detoc, president of Ubi Soft Entertainment Inc. “We consider it to be one of our premiere games of the year.”

    Splinter Cell™ will be seen for the first time at the Electronic Entertainment Expo this May in Los Angeles.

    Splinter Cell Screen Gallery 1  

    Two Birthday's Today At XBox Exclusive
    Steve @ 3:03 PM EDT
    Well there are 2 birthday's here today. Eric and I coincidentally have the same birthday and it falls on April 18th. I am 22, and he is now 19. So Happy Birthday to us. :) Please note: this does not mean that we are taking the day off. More updates to come.

    XBox Price Cut in Europe Official!
    Steve @ 2:34 AM EDT
    Right off of Microsoft's Official Website, it's all true, even the 2 free games and controller is true. Well this is one day that I wouldn't mind being a European XBox Fan.

    If games are the food of life then if you bought your Xbox before 26th April 2002 prepare for a feast! As you may have read Xbox is coming down in price in the UK to a recommended street price of £199. As a big "THANK YOU" to everyone who bought an Xbox before 26th April we are offering, until 1st July 2002, the chance for you to get 2 games and an Xbox Controller for FREE! That means you could be playing games like Halo, Rallisport Challenge, Project Gotham Racing, Amped, Oddworld or Dead or Alive 3 amongst other great games for free! We are looking to extend the list of games on offer so if you can wait then we'd recommend you check back on this site on April 26th for the full list of games.


    So, what do you need to do?

    It's very simple. Just download this application form http://download.playmore.com/application/uk.doc, complete the required details (address, name, games I want, etc.) and email it to xbox@msdirectservices.com. The only qualifying factor is that you bought your Xbox in one of the 16 European launch countries before the 26th April 2002. That's it! We hope you enjoy this opportunity to play more of the great games Xbox has to offer.

    We hope you continue to enjoy the Xbox experience whether it be fragging in Halo, kicking & punching in Dead or Alive 3 or fighting that over steer in Rallisport Challenge!

    Wednesday, April 17, 2002

    First Info on MLB SlugFest 20-03
    Eric @ 6:33 PM EDT



    Game Features:

    Adrenaline-style Gameplay – Over-the-top action featuring fast-action batter/pitcher interface, leaping, diving and wall-climbing catches, screaming liners, mammoth deep drives and the fastest game of baseball you’ve ever seen.

    MLB Authenticity – Real teams, real players, real stadiums, real stats and real player attributes and attitudes.

    Fantasy Players and Stadiums – Bolster your line-up with the animals of the SlugFest diamond or take your game into exotic locations.

    Real Player Faces – Unbelievably detailed faces, right down to expressions. You’ll even see them chewing gum.

    Multiple Player Models – Sensational player models that feature different body styles.

    Control – Intuitive, fast-action, adrenaline-style controls.

    Dynamic Camera Angles – Capture all the backhand grabs, head-turning gappers and brushback pitches.

    Animations – More then 1,500 outrageous, over-the-top animations that feature your favorite MLB players performing as they only dream they could.

    Licensed Music – Explosive music from metal rock band Dry Kill Logic, including its all-new, millennium rendition of “Take Me Out to the Ball Game,” as well as music from the electronica band, Curve.

    Extra DVD Content – Experience Dry Kill Logic's exclusive SlugFest music video, “Riot at the Bat Rack!”

    MLBP & MLBPA Licenses – All of your favorite teams, players and stadiums to compete and dominate with.


    MLB SlugFest 20-03 is set to hit stores in early August, and if its anything like Blitz it should be a blast!! Screens are coming soon.

    Minority Report Confirmed for XBox
    Steve @ 2:06 PM EDT
    Santa Monica, CA – April 16, 2002 – Activision, Inc. (Nasdaq: ATVI) confirmed today that Treyarch is in development on a Minority Report game for the PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system, the Xbox™ video game system and Nintendo GameCube™. Inspired by Steven Spielberg’s upcoming feature film, “Minority Report,” a 20th Century Fox and Dreamworks co-production starring Tom Cruise slated for release on June 21, the Minority Report video game puts players in the role of a PreCrime Police Officer wrongfully accused of murder. Throughout the 3rd person action/adventure game, players will explore many of the locations from the film, as well as make use of advanced weapons and gadgets straight out of the movie in an attempt to clear their name. Minority Report the game will be released in the winter of 2002 and has not yet been rated by the ESRB.

    New Movies of MechAssault, Crimson Skies and Redshift
    Eric @ 1:04 AM EDT
    Xbox website Xeye has posted some new videos of MechAssault, Crimson Skies, and Quantum Redshift on their site. The movies are not of the highest quality, but do show off some of the games features. Another cool note is that they have an MS PR guy talking in detail about the games as he plays. This is also the first time ever that any site has posted a video of Quantum Redshift. Enjoy the movies and look out for more info on each of these games very soon.

    Xbox Movies

    Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath of Cortex Ships
    Steve @ 12:43 AM EDT
    UNIVERSAL CITY, Calif., April 16 /PRNewswire/ -- Universal Interactive, Inc., a studio of Vivendi Universal Publishing, announced today that "Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath of Cortex(TM)" for the Xbox(TM) video game system from Microsoft has shipped to retailers nationwide.

    Developed by U.K.-based Traveller's Tales, "Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath of Cortex" for Xbox follows the same high-energy storyline as Universal Interactive's popular holiday 2001 release of "Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath of Cortex" for the PlayStation(R)2 computer entertainment system, nominated for a Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Award 2002. Crash travels by land, sea and air to defeat his arch-nemesis and creator, the evil Dr. Neo Cortex.

    Composed of more than 30 levels, the new title features the most realistic special effects ever seen in a Crash game. Vibrant graphics, real-time lighting and shadows, and even a new furry coat for gaming's favorite marsupial are made possible by the enhanced graphical capabilities of the Xbox hardware.

    Level load times have been significantly reduced. "Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath of Cortex" offers exceptional replayability with more than 40 hours of gameplay, multiple play modes, real-time sequences and five new bosses.

    "'Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath of Cortex' for Xbox is a perfect example of Universal Interactive's commitment to publishing quality interactive entertainment across multiple platforms," said Jim Wilson, president of Universal Interactive. "Traveller's Tales has done an excellent job maximizing the power of the hardware to create a title that Xbox gamers will enjoy."

    Crash Bandicoot is among the best-selling character-based game franchises in the history of the PlayStation(R) game console. The Crash Bandicoot franchise has sold more than 25 million units worldwide, with more than 11 million units sold in North America alone.

    "Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath of Cortex" is rated E for Everyone and will be offered at a MSRP of $49.99. Further information about "Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath of Cortex" is available at http://www.crashbandicoot.com.

    Tuesday, April 16, 2002

    More info & 10 New Screens of Quantum Redshift
    Eric @ 2:50 PM EDT
    What: Quantum Redshift™
    Publisher: Microsoft® Game Studios
    Developer: Curly Monsters Ltd.
    Format: DVD for Xbox™ video game system
    Availability: Holiday 2002

    Product Overview:
    Quantum Redshift challenges gamers to display a rare combination of raw racing skill and savvy weapons strategy to achieve ultimate victory.

    Set 100 years in the future, “Quantum Redshift” features a new racing tournament of speed and daring that has become an organized sport and is raced on tracks all over the world. Gamers race on futuristic terrains and compete in fierce grudge matches against multiple opponents, including an archrival/nemesis character. “Quantum Redshift” delivers hyper speed racing, 16 vehicles, 16 detail-laden tracks, weapons strategy, intelligent AI opponents, spectacular aerial jumps and character-based nuances to appeal to action and racing gamers.

    Features:

    Vehicles – “Quantum Redshift” puts gamers in command of the most extreme, hyper-speed racing machines ever developed. Each hover vehicle interacts with any terrain type, but is specifically designed to excel on the driver’s home circuit.


    Speed – The game features five levels of hyper-speed with the ultimate level - “Quantum Redshift” - reaching speeds over 900 mph. Gamers earn higher speeds and greater rewards by prevailing in each race and winning trophies. Acquiring trophies at various speed levels, unlocks special characters, speeds and tracks -- giving “Quantum Redshift” extended gameplay and depth.


    Weapons – Each vehicle features its own unique holographic weapon technology. The game has 160 different weapons effects, letting characters attack with everything from plasma bolts to tidal waves to nuclear weapons. Each vehicle also has its own unique “weapons pickups” stationed at various points throughout the game.


    Tracks – The game features 16 detail-laden tracks, across eight different world locations where gamers hurtle across rough terrain, through forests, across turbulent water and over massive jumps. The futuristic racing circuits include: Silver Rock Canyon, a former national park in New Mexico; Kalau Wastelands, a former nuclear test site in Siberia; Fuusoku City, a newly developed metropolis located in Japan; Solar City, a cosmopolitan city sometimes referred to as “Hong Kong Down Under”; Brackenstowe Vale, a track for water specialists, located in the glorious Lake District; and Draco Island, located in the Pacific Ocean with an active volcano.


    Characters – Players choose from one of sixteen characters including: Tara Vivas, a former red-hot teen pop sensation; PrinceYuri Galitz, a wealthy Russian who claims to be the last of the Romanov line; Kumiko Nikaido, the daughter of one of the greatest racers of all time; and Zaki Shaheen, a skilled racer who believes he owes his success to Osiris, the ancient Egyptian god of the dead. Each of the 16 drivers has his/her own unique ship, home circuit and weapons. Intense nemesis storylines, developed throughout the game via cut scenes and animation, range from “political adversaries” to “estranged lovers.”


    Advanced audio – In leveraging the audio capabilities of Xbox, “Quantum Redshift” supports Dolby 5.1, in addition to a fully interactive music soundtrack, composed by acclaimed musical sensation, Junkie XL. “Quantum Redshift” also supports the widescreen television format.


    Multiplayer – Quantum Redshift supports up to four-player split screen action.


    Quantum Redshift Screen Gallery 1  

    LucasArts to Publish Wrath
    Eric @ 2:43 PM EDT
    LUCASARTS NABS PUBLISHING RIGHTS TO WRATH™, THE HIGHLY COVETED ACTION/STRATEGY GAME BY THE COLLECTIVE
    Wrath Slated to Release for Next Generation Console Systems in 2003

    SAN RAFAEL, Calif. -- April 15, 2002 -- LucasArts Entertainment Company LLC today announced it has, following intense competition, acquired the rights from The Collective, Inc. to publish Wrath, one of interactive entertainment's most highly sought after games. Wrath, expected to release for next generation console platforms in 2003, is a dynamic arcade-style game with a turn-based element that uniquely blends strategy and action.

    "Wrath's gameplay garnered an immense amount of well-deserved buzz when The Collective revealed the game to the press last year," says Simon Jeffery, president of LucasArts. "LucasArts feels it is the ideal publisher; Wrath complements our original game legacy incredibly well and supports our continuing strategy of working with the world's premiere game developers."

    "Wrath is our first original title, and with it we aim to establish a new genre and standard in head-to-head console gaming," says Richard Hare, creative director for The Collective. "Considering LucasArts' rich heritage of developing exceptional, innovative games, they are without doubt the best publishing partner for Wrath and we are delighted to be furthering our relationship with them."

    Operation Flashpoint: Cold War Crisis on Xbox
    Eric @ 2:40 PM EDT
    Xbox prepares for a military assault from the million-selling "Operation Flashpoint: Cold War Crisis"
    APRIL 16 -- Owners of the Xbox video game system from Microsoft are to get a dedicated edition of the million-selling military simulator Operation Flashpoint: Cold War Crisis.

    Codemasters will publish a customised Xbox version of the multi-award winning game this winter. The Xbox edition is being developed by Bohemia Interactive Studio, creators of the original PC title, and will contain the entire original game along with an additional prequel campaign called Resistance.

    Operation Flashpoint: Cold War Crisis takes action gaming to a brand new level, as Jonathan Smith, External Development Studio Head at Codemasters explains:

    "Operation Flashpoint is a groundbreaking title, giving players the chance to participate in a Cold War conflict just the way they want to. It's a game that has set new standards of immersive realism, and we're delighted to bring it to Xbox.

    "On Xbox, it offers twice as much action as in the original PC game, with the inclusion of the enhanced Resistance missions. We are refining the controls and interface for maximum playability, and beefing up the graphical effects to take full advantage of the hardware."

    Operation Flashpoint: Cold War Crisis is the ultimate realistic war experience where everything happens for real. Its conflict setting draws the player into the action so deeply because it is such a believable military environment.

    For the first time in such a game, the player controls and commands not just soldiers of all levels and squads but also land, sea and air vehicles - both military and civilian - from cars, to APCs, to tanks and even military helicopters.

    The scenario is modern warfare: It is 1985, in the midst of the Cold War, and Gorbachev has been elected to power bringing with him policies of glasnost and perestroika. However, resistance Soviet groups are opposed to the new wave and are refusing to serve the new regime in Moscow.

    One group has taken control of an island community, and is using it as an armed stronghold for the old order. NATO has been called to act as the peacekeeping force. Operation Flashpoint opens with the player joining the first mission against the Soviets.

    It is a game of complete freedom with military crisis situations to handle on your own initiative. Once past the mission briefing stage, it's the player's decision how the overall mission or campaign is tackled. This variety also allows players to dip in and out of all kinds of action gameplay from commanding a squad, driving rumbling vehicles, and piloting a helicopter to being a sniper.

    Again, incredible detail unfolds in each role: A NATO sniper makes use of the US-standard M21 sniper rifle with its correct optical markings. However, if they relieve an immobilised Soviet sniper of his rifle, they will be faced with Soviet-standard optical markings through the sights - and they do work differently.

    The open environment of the game is massive and you can go anywhere at anytime; you're not limited to playing in mission-specific 'walled' areas.

    On Xbox, the game comes complete with an additional campaign titled Operation Flashpoint: Resistance, set years before Operation Flashpoint's Cold War hit crisis point.

    Resistance creates an additional 100km2 island and casts the player as Victor Troska, an experienced ex-Special Forces soldier. Having turned his back on his military past, Troska has settled into a respectable civilian life on the island of Nogova*, a short distance from the main game's three islands. However, his situation changes when the Soviet force invades the island group and destroys Troska's idyllic dreams.

    Reluctant at first to return to a conflict situation, he is forced to participate in, and then lead, the ramshackle Resistance effort, which grows up in response to the Soviet occupation of the island.

    As Operation Flashpoint: Resistance begins before the US Army and its resources came to the islands, players have to scavenge equipment from whatever sources they can manage.

    Throughout the closely linked missions, the overriding objectives include growing your resistance force by gaining new recruits and gathering equipment, preserving as many of your comrades as possible to build an army strong enough to repel the Soviets.

    Combined, the main game and the prequel campaign, makes Operation Flashpoint: Cold War Crisis the best military simulator for any platform and a true must-have title for the Xbox gamer.

    Hotly tipped to repeat its Game of the Year success, Codemasters is set to release Operation Flashpoint: Cold War Crisis on Xbox this winter.

    Friday, April 12, 2002

    NCAA College Football 2k3 Announced for Xbox!
    Eric @ 2:38 PM EDT
    SEGA Sports Drafts 2001 Heisman Trophy Winner Eric Crouch as New Cover Athlete for NCAA College Football 2K3
    Former Nebraska QB Gets Signed By SEGA Sports as Official Spokesperson for ``NCAA College Football 2K3'' Just Before the 2002 NFL Draft

    SAN FRANCISCO--(BW SportsWire)--April 12, 2002-- SEGA Sports(TM), the brand that continues to set new standards in sports gaming, today announced the signing of former University of Nebraska quarterback and 2001 Heisman® Trophy Winner Eric Crouch to serve as the official spokesperson and cover athlete for ``SEGA Sports(TM) NCAA® College Football 2K3.'' Produced by Visual Concepts, the development house behind the sports video game revolution and makers of the acclaimed NFL 2K and NBA 2K series, ``NCAA College Football 2K3'' will deliver an authentic college football experience never before seen in sports video games, in time for the start of the 2002 college football season.

    ``Eric Crouch took the role of college quarterback to a new level, so drafting him for the SEGA Sports team was a natural choice. He epitomizes what SEGA Sports stands for; a commitment to revolutionizing the sport,'' said Tom Nichols, group director of sports marketing, SEGA of America. ``Eric met with the development team to help recreate the look and feel of college football, including enhancing the option play in our game. With his help and the many advancements in the game, 'SEGA Sports NCAA College Football 2K3' will definitely score a touchdown with gamers this season.''

    Amassing 3,000 yards rushing and 4,000 yards passing during his Nebraska career, Eric Crouch is one of the most talented quarterbacks to ever play collegiate football. His athleticism and versatility on the field have endeared him to Nebraska fans and sports enthusiasts around the country. Crouch, who is readying himself for the NFL draft, recently participated in a development session at Visual Concepts in San Rafael, California where he worked with developers to create new plays, moves and audio for the upcoming ``NCAA College Football 2K3'' release. Crouch joins the long line of great athletes who have graced the covers of SEGA Sports titles such as tennis stars Venus Williams and Serena Williams, 76ers luminary Allen Iverson, and Yankees All-Star slugger Jason Giambi.

    ``I'm so glad to have been drafted onto the SEGA Sports team,'' Crouch said. ``College students are known for spending a lot of time playing video games and I was no different during my career with the Cornhuskers. We played 'NCAA College Football 2K2' at home, in the locker room and on the road, which is why it's so exciting to be able to contribute my expertise to the next version -- 'NCAA College Football 2K3.'''

    ``SEGA Sports NCAA College Football 2K3'' features enhanced gameplay mechanics, new ``college look'' player models and a comprehensive Legacy Mode which allow gamers to assemble a football program from the ground up -- creating the most authentic college football simulation off campus. ``SEGA Sports NCAA College Football 2K3'' also offers all 117 Division 1-A teams, 25 Bowl Games, a full-fledged Heisman Trophy race and enhanced in-stadium effects -- creating a truly electrifying college football experience. With these and many other new features, ``SEGA Sports NCAA College Football 2K3'' brings the gamer closer to the college gridiron than ever before.

    ``SEGA Sports NCAA College Football 2K3'' will be available at retailers nationwide this Fall for the PlayStation® 2 computer entertainment system, the Nintendo GameCube(TM), and the Xbox(TM) video game system from Microsoft® at a suggested retail price of $49.95. This game will be rated ``E'' for everyone.

    Shadow of Memories Announced
    Steve @ 2:17 PM EDT
    Konami of Europe (KOE) has lifted the lid on the latest of its enviable roster of development studios, with news that September will mark the release of the first games to emerge from its newly established European research and development team (KOE R&D).

    PC and Xbox conversions of the popular PlayStation 2 adventure Shadow of Memories will herald the new European studio's arrival. As a showcase of KOE R&D's talent, however, the PC and Xbox conversions will also offer a graphically enhanced version of Konami's stunning tale of time travel and the repercussions of changing fate.

    Shadow of Memories is a tale of choices and their affect on others. The game 's hero, Eike, is murdered and awakens to find himself in limbo, somewhere between life and what lies beyond. A mysterious figure introduces himself as Homunulus and offers Eike a means to alter his destiny and avert his murder.

    As the cinematic mix of puzzle solving and exploration unfolds, however, Eike will visit 1980, 1902 and mediaeval time zones and the methods he uses to avert his death will have a knock-on effect on those he meets.

    Converting such a massive game has been a mammoth task, but KOE R&D has proved its worth with an incredible game that draws the player into a world of mysteries and a twisting plot that can culminate in any one of four endings. It also proves that while KOE R&D may be a relatively new addition to Konami's talent base, it is a welcome companion to the existing Tokyo, Osaka, and Honolulu studios as part of Konami's development portfolio.

    "We are very proud to see our R&D gearing up for its first release", commented Konami of Europe President Kunio Neo. "Konami has taken its Europe operation very seriously for many years now and his further underlines our commitment to the market".

    KOE R&D studio manager Tony Bickley added, "Shadow of Memories has been the perfect start for us and we expect the title to go down well. We're currently investigating a wide selection of projects, across both traditional gaming platforms and new areas of business. It's an exciting time for the studio".

    KOE R&D, the European R&D of Konami of Europe, was founded in October 2000. Its first tasks were to establish a studio in Milton Keynes, UK, track down talented developers across Europe and evaluate different gaming platforms. The studio's first game project, The Tour de France, was a co-production with KCE Osa, the Japanese team in Osaka, which will be released in June 2002. Shadow of Memories for PC and Xbox was the first production, handled solely by KOE R&D.

    Shadow of Memories Screen Gallery 1  

    Thursday, April 11, 2002

    First Screens of Fila World Tour Tennis
    Eric @ 5:24 PM EDT
    Here are the first screens of Fila World Tour Tennis to go along with the press release. So far the game is looking really good and with its pretty impressive list of features this should be one to watch for Tennis fans.


    Fila World Tour Tennis Screen Gallery 1  

    10 Very Impressive New Screens of WSB
    Eric @ 5:20 PM EDT
    Sega just released 10 great looking new screens of there upcoming baseball game World Series Baseball which happens to be "Only on Xbox". This game has been getting great impressions from all over the World Wide Web and for good reason. WSB is set to be released on May 2nd and this is one Baseball fan that will be counting down the days to its release!


    World Series Baseball Screen Gallery 1  

    Robotech: Battlecry Coming This Fall
    Steve @ 2:57 PM EDT
    CALABASAS, Calif. April 11, 2002 - TDK Mediactive, Inc., a global publisher of entertainment software, and Mattel, Inc. (NYSE:MAT), the worldwide leader in the design, manufacture and marketing of toy products, are pleased to announce that "Robotech: Battlecry " for the PlayStation(R) 2 computer entertainment system, Xbox(TM) video game system from Microsoft, and the Nintendo GameCube(TM) video game system, as well as "Robotech: The Macross Saga" for Game Boy(R) Advance, will be released this fall. Based on one of the most successful animated series in the United States, "Robotech: Battlecry" is visually spectacular, featuring the fast-paced action and sweeping drama of the popular television show.

    "We are extremely pleased about our partnership with Mattel and Harmony Gold along with developer Vicious Cycle," said Vincent Bitetti, chief executive officer of TDK Mediactive. "Our upcoming games have captured the dramatic storyline, art direction and amazing battle sequences that characterize the `Robotech' universe."

    "`Robotech' is a phenomenal brand with great potential -- the games will appeal to many audiences -- everyone from fans of the original TV series to core gamers to the casual consumer," said Amy Boylan, senior vice president of New Media at Mattel, Inc. "With the popularity of anime and giant mechs on the rise, `Robotech' is poised to become one of the standout games this year."

    About "Robotech: Battlecry"

    A mission-driven action title, "Robotech" embodies the classic mecha-filled mayhem of the animated series. Featuring all-encompassing destruction on a giant scale, "Robotech" is a high-octane arcade shooter that captures the television show's spectacular visuals and epic storyline.

    As an intrepid fighter pilot, the player must protect cities of Earth from roving bands of a giant alien race, the Zentraedi. The player pilots the versatile Veritech Fighter, a giant transformable mechanized robot that can convert into a high-flying jet fighter, a 40-foot tall humanoid robot, and a combination of both. Each transformation mode offers new movement options, special abilities or weapons.

    To succeed in battle, the player must use more than one mode to complete their assigned objectives. In keeping with the "Robotech" identity, the environments, mecha, characters and overall appearance are modeled directly from the stylized look of the highly regarded animated series.

    Features for "Robotech: Battlecry" include:

  • Myriad of environments, including deep space and crowded cities

  • Three transformation modes, including Fighter (fighter plane), Battloid (humanoid robot) and Guardian (combination of both), each with individual strengths and weaknesses

  • Intense arcade action and awesome Cel Shaded graphics

  • Eight different arcade shooter gameplay elements, including search and destroy, guard, attrition and escort

    Details on Fila World Tour Tennis, 64 online players!
    Steve @ 2:50 PM EDT
    Release date: Jul-2002

    Promising to be the ultimate PC and Xbox tennis simulation, Fila Tennis (working title) builds upon and extends the formula popularised by Virtua Tennis. Boasting four modes of play, with the promise of 64 player online tournaments, Fila Tennis can not only bring stunning 3D graphics and unprecedented gameplay depth, but also huge in-game Fila branding and endorsement.

    Features:

  • 4 Game modes – Arcade, Challenge, Career and Multiplayer
  • Online Multiplayer Tournaments for up to 64 people
  • 200 CPU Opponents
  • Over 80 motion captured movements per player model
  • Huge in game Fila branding of clothes and equipment

    Support for 64 online players!

    Wednesday, April 10, 2002

    Wreckless to go to the PS2
    Jeremy @ 11:08 PM EDT
    The smash-hit Xbox game, Wreckless: Yakuza Missions, will be headed to the Sony PlayStation 2 console this fall.

    Eric's Note: Is taking one of the best looking Xbox games and putting it on PS2 really such a good idea? Its going to be interesting to see how it turns out since it uses very advanced graphic effects that PS2 is not able to do.

    Take Two Takes Conflict: Desert Storm and The Italian Job
    Steve @ 9:28 PM EDT
    SCi Entertainment Group Plc (SEG), one of Europe’s leading publishers of computer games, today announces the signing of North American publishing agreements with Take Two Interactive (“Take Two”) for its eagerly awaited game Conflict: Desert Storm and for the PC version of the number one Playstation hit The Italian Job.

    Based on the 1991 Gulf War, Conflict: Desert Storm is a squad based action game, where the player takes control of an elite Special Air Service or Delta Force Unit, ordered behind enemy lines to infiltrate enemy territory and neutralise key targets. Cameron Spence, an ex-member of 22 Special Air Service (SAS), is advising SCi on the logistics and realism of the product. The game will be launched on Sony Playstation 2, Microsoft Xbox, Nintendo GameCube and PC formats.

    The Italian Job, based on the classic film starring Michael Caine, was released on Sony Playstation in October 2001. It was an immediate success, charting at number one in the Playstation charts for four weeks and remaining in the Top 20 ever since. The PC version of The Italian Job will be released to the retail market in the UK and in Europe on 12th April 2002. Take Two signed the US rights to the Playstation version of The Italian Job in February 2002.

    The agreements grant exclusive North American publishing rights to Take Two in return for guaranteed income, further royalties depending on the success of the game and a substantial marketing commitment. In order to maximise the effectiveness of this marketing expenditure Conflict: Desert Storm will be simultaneously launched Worldwide on Sony Playstation 2, Microsoft X-Box and PC in early September 2002, and launched on Gamecube a few months later.

    Take Two, which is one of North America’s leading games publishers, will be responsible for publishing and marketing the product in North America. Through its hugely successful titles, Grand Theft Auto 3 and State of Emergency, Take Two has held the number one position in the United States Playstation charts for every week of 2002. Grand Theft Auto 3 was the most successful Playstation 2 title in the United States in 2001 selling nearly 2 million units.

    SCi (SEG) was founded in 1988 and is one of the leading games publishers in Europe. It has produced titles for Playstation, PS2, Nintendo 64, GameBoy Color, GameBoy Advance and PC including the hit games Carmageddon, Thunderbirds and The Italian Job. The group has one of the fullest pipelines in European gaming with titles like Gumball 3000, The Great Escape and Futurama set for release over the coming 24 months. SCi was first listed on AIM in 1996 followed by a successful move to the official list in March 2000.

    Jane Cavanagh, Chief Executive of SCi commented:

    “We are very pleased to continue our relationship with Take Two. The phenomenal success with Playstation 2 titles since 2002 proves that Take Two is one of the most dynamic companies in the American market. Anticipation for Conflict: Desert storm is very high. We believe that this agreement gives us the basis for a very exciting worldwide release. This agreement will form an important component of our results in the 2002 financial year.”

    Empire Signs Big Mutha Truckers
    Steve @ 9:24 PM EDT
    Empire Interactive plc, a leading AIM listed computer games developer and publisher today announced it had signed the publishing rights to respected industry developer Eutechnyx’ latest project, Big Mutha Truckers (“BMT”) for the Sony PlayStation® 2 and the Xbox™ video game system from Microsoft.

    Eutechnyx is the one of the world’s leading driving game development specialists, having produced racing titles for global publishers including Eidos Interactive, Electronic Arts and Infogrames and worked with such exclusive brands as “Formula OneTM”, “James Bond 007TM” and “Le Mans 24 HoursTM.” Eutechnyx is a registered Sony PlayStation 2 and Microsoft Xbox developer.

    BMT sees the player take command of an 18-wheel rig, trucking from city to city, wheeling and dealing and upping the stakes as they battle to build up a personal fortune. Along the way players will run into the local biker gangs, corrupt sheriffs and even their own redneck siblings, who are also out to amass their own fortune – even if it’s at the player’s expense!

    Empire recently reported its preliminary results for 2001, where it announced it would release multiple titles on the next generation consoles and PC in the second half of 2002. Yesterday, the Group announced that it had signed a 30 game publishing deal with Activision for its highly successful Xplosiv range.

    Ian Higgins, CEO of Empire said about the acquisition, “I’m delighted to have signed BMT from Eutechnyx, who are one of the world’s leading driving game specialists. Big Mutha Truckers is a unique concept and perfectly complements our current line up. We are aiming for a Christmas launch in Europe this year.”

    Brian Jobling, MD of Eutechnyx added, “We’re very pleased to be working with Empire Interactive on this unique and exciting game. Big Mutha Truckers provides a driving game genre with something truly different and I firmly believe that it will capture the hearts and imagination of driving game enthusiasts who are looking for an original gaming experience.”

    Tuesday, April 9, 2002

    Impressive New Star Wars KOTOR Screens
    Eric @ 12:32 PM EDT
    Here are some great looking new screens of this very anticipated Star Wars RPG due out this fall.

    Star Wars Knights of the old Republic Screen Gallery 1  

    Monday, April 8, 2002

    Championship Manager is Confirmed for April
    Eric @ 3:36 PM EDT
    MANAGEMENT XPERIENCE REQUIRED

    Championship Manager: Season 01/02 is confirmed for Xbox for April


    Sports Interactive and Eidos Interactive are proud to confirm that Championship Manager: Season 01/02 will be making its console debut on Xbox™ in April.

    After the incredible success of the title on PC – Championship Manager: Season 01/02 sold an astonishing 103,000 plus units during the first weekend of sales in October last year – all at Sports Interactive and Eidos are confident that the title will repeat its earlier success. And retailers seem to share their view. Jonathan Rosenblatt, Marketing Manager at Eidos observed, “We have had a great response from retail, with orders so far beyond our initial expectations. When you consider that Champ Man is actually more of a simulation than a graphics based game, we’re especially pleased to be considered a ‘must-have’ title.”

    Miles Jacobson, Managing Director of Sports Interactive said, “The team at SI has been waiting years for a console with a hard drive that could handle Championship Manager, so we’re very pleased to see Championship Manager: Season 01/02 on Xbox. We’re hoping that this launch will make Champ Man available and affordable to a whole new consumer base. Who knows? Some customers may even buy an Xbox specifically to play Champ Man: it’s much more affordable than buying a PC.”

    Championship Manager: Season 01/02 is virtually unchanged for its console debut. All 26 leagues from around the world are included, as are the detailed profiles and histories of over 100,000 players, managers and coaches.

    Other features include:

    · A completely re-designed interface with quick screen navigation and short cuts

    · Statistics of new and unknown players are now hidden: only players that a manager would realistically know about are shown

    · Scouting reveals players’ full statistics, and gives managers an in-depth analysis on the opposition’s key players and team tactics

    · The ability to compare two players at a glance

    · More power means managers can approach governing bodies to launch appeals on behalf of players, issue ultimatums to the board (and vice versa) and send players for surgery for recurring injuries

    · The escalating wages feature accurately reflects the new wage structures in football

    · Players’ personalities are more ‘roundly’ represented, and they can complain to or thank managers

    · Fines can now be given to clubs if, for example, they have a bad disciplinary record - on or off the pitch

    · Media involvement is even more in depth, with feedback from local and national press given

    · All major international tournaments are represented, including B-team and Under 21 team management opportunities

    · The new EU regulated transfer system is fully implemented

    · All the latest competitions, awards, transfer and disciplinary rules for the 2001 – 2002 season are included.

    Championship Manager: Season 01/02 will be released for the Xbox on April 26th.

    Halo is Fastest Million-Unit Seller Ever!!
    Eric @ 3:08 PM EDT
    "Halo: Combat Evolved" for Xbox Tops 1 Million Mark In Record Time Xbox System and Games Are Off to Record-Setting Start in Just Four Months


    REDMOND, Wash. - April 8, 2002 - Hailed widely as "video game of the year" and recipient of multiple industry awards for excellence, "Halo(tm): Combat Evolved" has earned the distinguished honour of being the fastest million-unit seller ever for any next-generation console. According to NPDFunworld, the definitive source for toy and video games industry sales data, "Halo: Combat Evolved" recently crossed the magical 1 million mark in sales in the United States and Canada. Statistically, this means that more than six copies of "Halo: Combat Evolved" have been sold every minute of every day since its launch on Nov. 15, 2001.

    "Halo: Combat Evolved" also has played a major role in helping the Xbox(tm) video game system from Microsoft Corp. set additional key sales records in the United States in just four months following its launch. The following milestones put Xbox on pace for long-term, worldwide success:


    With nearly four games sold for every system purchased, Xbox has a higher attach rate than any next-generation console. Data shows that in the four-month period following the launch of Xbox, owners purchased 1.2 more games with their Xbox system than PlayStation 2 owners did, helping Xbox achieve 82 percent more software sales than PlayStation 2.


    In just four months, Xbox has already catapulted to the No. 2 position among current game console sales.


    Since its launch, Xbox has outperformed PlayStation 2 sales by 25 percent when comparing system sales during the first four months of each on the market.

    "The demand for 'Halo: Combat Evolved' has been incredible from the very beginning," said Pete Roithmayr, vice president of Merchandising at Electronics Boutique. "It's reason alone to own an Xbox. Heck, it's the reason to play video games. 'Halo: Combat Evolved' is that good."

    "We are thrilled that 'Halo: Combat Evolved' has won over Xbox gamers, with sales hitting 1 million units at an amazing pace," said Ed Fries, vice president of Xbox Game Content at Microsoft. "There's nothing like it anywhere else. It's only on Xbox. If you haven't played 'Halo: Combat Evolved,' you're missing out on the best video game experience available."

    Indicative of the growing worldwide popularity of the "Halo" brand, European gamers are also gravitating to the game less than one month after its launch. According to Chart-Track Ltd., a reputable marketing research tool on PC software and video games in the United Kingdom, 86 percent of all Xbox system purchasers have also bought a copy of "Halo: Combat Evolved." Gamers in Japan will get their opportunity to join the worldwide "Halo: Combat Evolved" fan base when the game is introduced there on April 25.

    According to Fries, "Halo: Combat Evolved" is only the beginning. "Both Microsoft® Game Studios and our third-party developers in the industry will soon be announcing a large line-up of amazing new titles and services that will further demonstrate the gaming experience and graphics performance only available with Xbox."

    In February 2002, the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences bestowed "Halo: Combat Evolved" with its coveted Game of the Year award as well as awards for Outstanding Achievement in Visual Engineering, Console Action/Adventure Game of the Year and Console Game of the Year. Equal praise has come from countless magazines and Web sites, including Game of the Year awards from Electronic Gaming Monthly and IGN.com.

    First Screens of Midtown Madness 3
    Eric @ 12:10 AM EDT
    Here's a first look at Midtown Madness 3 coming to Xbox this fall. We will have more info on this game very soon.


    Midtown Madness 3 Screen Gallery 1  

    Saturday, April 6, 2002

    Box Art for World Series Baseball
    Steve @ 2:46 PM EST
    World Series Baseball will be out for XBox next month. Here's the box art with Jason Giambi as the cover boy.



    Note: This game is just called World Series Baseball, not 2K2 or 2K3.

    Friday, April 5, 2002

    21 Brand New Enclave Screens
    Eric @ 1:26 PM EST
    Here are 21 new screen shots of this highly anticipated game! Keep an eye out for more info and hands on impressions from E3. For now enjoy these impressive new screens.


    Enclave Screen Gallery 1  

    Total Immersion Racing Coming to a Xbox Near You
    Eric @ 1:04 PM EST
    Total Immersion Racing
    Platform: PlayStation® 2, PC CD-ROM, Xbox™
    Release: Q4 2002
    Age Rating: ELSPA 3+ (TBC)
    Developer: Razorworks

    Total Immersion Racing is a brand new game experience that combines the highest quality driving technology, real-world racecars & tracks and immersive gameplay.

    The player can choose a career path that leads from being the lowest ranked driver of a GT sportscar all the way to becoming a world champion driving a massively powerful 8 litre prototype racecar. On the way, team engineers and managers will give advice and input to guide the player.

    What really separates this game from the pack is the other drivers that are passed on the track to victory. The player is pitted against a posse of other drivers, all with their own unique personalities, driving styles and responses. An advanced AI system has been created to ensure that every action of the player at the wheel is balanced by an appropriate reaction of the drivers that are nearby. Motor racing drivers have a long memory… upset the wrong opponent, and he may not respond until many races later, maybe when you are on the last corner before winning your championship!


    Game content mixes high quality driving game simulation technology with immediacy, immersion, and intelligence.

    Career based gameplay: start out as a rookie and climb your way to the top.

    Revolutionary AI Technology: computer-controlled drivers each with their own personalities, memories, behaviours and grudges to bear.

    High-quality visual engine pushes each target machine to the limit: allowing for advanced fogging, particle effects, sun flare and other weather effects.

    Eighteen licensed GT class cars from highly regarded marques, including Lister cars and the Noble M12

    Real-world racetracks including Hockenheim, Monza, Sebring and Rockingham.

    Unlockable game features and content, can you earn them all?

    Developer heritage: Razorworks, Oxford, are an award winning simulation studio with appropriate high-quality programming and physics technologies.

    Thursday, April 4, 2002

    New Chase Screens!
    Eric @ 3:20 PM EST
    Here are some new screens of Chase, the first game to come from Xbox's Incubator Program.


    Chase Screen Gallery 1  

    THQ Adds Outrage Entertainment as Internal Studio
    Eric @ 3:01 PM EST
    THQ ADDS OUTRAGE ENTERTAINMENT
    New Studio, Cranky Pants Games, Also Announced

    CALABASAS HILLS, Calif. – April 4, 2002 – THQ Inc. (NASDAQ NMS: THQI) today announced that it has added gaming veterans Outrage Entertainment to its internal studio roster. Based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, the team at Outrage Entertainment is best known for its PC gaming roots at Parallax Software, creators of Descent. The studio is currently developing an original action game for PlayStation® 2 and Xbox™ that THQ will unveil at the Electronic Entertainment Expo this May.

    THQ also announced that it has opened a game development studio in Seattle, Washington which will focus on console development. The studio, Cranky Pants Games, is currently working on a Nintendo GameCube™ project scheduled for release in 2003.

    “Securing top creative talent is one of the keys to fostering continued growth for THQ,” stated Jack Sorensen, executive vice president, Worldwide Studios. “We are thrilled to be executing on our strategy of bolstering our internal game development with the leading original content and technology creators at Outrage. Our internal development expertise now rivals that of every industry leader with more than 300 programmers, artists and designers spread across the globe.”

    “Very few publishers have the reputation and outlook for growth that THQ does,” stated Matt Toschlog, president, Outrage Entertainment. “We’re delighted to be a part of that growth and we look forward to being able to focus on making great games.”

    "THQ has consistently demonstrated a commitment to quality entertainment and growth,” stated David Bollesen, general manager, Cranky Pants Games. “Teaming up with THQ to bring first class products on the next generation game consoles is something we are really excited about."

    Wednesday, April 3, 2002

    First Screens of ToeJam & Earl III !
    Eric @ 2:54 AM EST
    Here are the first screens of ToeJam & Earl III on Xbox. From the looks of it things are shaping up nicely. Keep checking back for more info on this Xbox exclusive game!

    ToeJam & Earl III Screen Gallery 1  

    ToeJam & Earl III Exclusively on XBox
    Steve @ 12:47 AM EST
    SAN FRANCISCO - (April 2, 2002) - SEGA(r) of America today announced that "ToeJam & Earl(tm) III" will be released this fall exclusively for the Xbox(tm) video game system from Microsoft(r). With a heritage that dates back to the SEGA Genesis(tm) System, the fourth installment in the series, "ToeJam & Earl(tm) III," delivers an all-new, fully immersive, fully "funkified" 3D gaming experience. Created by "ToeJam & Earl’s" original development team, and produced by SEGA’s renowned development studio, Visual Concepts, "ToeJam & Earl III" combines the popular characters and style of the original series with Visual Concepts’ cutting edge technology to create a stunning showcase title for the powerful Xbox.

    "Given the synergy between ToeJam & Earl’s irreverent, off-the-wall style and the Xbox audience, this exclusive deal was a perfect match," said Mike Fischer, vice president of entertainment marketing, SEGA of America. "With its inventive plot, distinctive characters and clever humor, ’ToeJam & Earl III’ reiterates SEGA’s commitment to publishing daring, genre-bending games. If you’re ready for something completely different, check out ’ToeJam & Earl III’ - it’s not like anything you’ve seen before."

    ToeJam and Earl first appeared in the self-titled "ToeJam & Earl," followed by "Ready-Aim-Tomatoes" and "Panic on Funkotron," all of which were developed exclusively for the SEGA Genesis System and published by SEGA of America. Each version received widespread acclaim for the innovative characters, settings and overall style, and has given the series a worldwide cult following that continues today.

    "Microsoft is thrilled to have ’ToeJam & Earl III’ as an exclusive title for Xbox," said J Allard, General Manager, Xbox Platform. "’ToeJam & Earl III’ takes advantage of the many great features of Xbox to deliver a stunning next-generation version of one of the video game world’s most unique franchises."

    "ToeJam & Earl III" follows ToeJam, Big Earl and their hot new "partner-in-funk" Latisha as they return to Earth to collect the 12 sacred albums of Funk that have been stolen from Lamont, the Great Funkopotamous. In the process, players use Funk-Fu, Rhythm and Dance Power, and a vast array of gift-wrapped power-ups left by Santa Funk to convert the un-funky Earthlings to the ways of Funk.

    Featuring off the wall, "just-for-the-funk-of-it" humor with a hip urban twist, "ToeJam & Earl III" delivers nonstop challenge and reward through mini-games, rhythmic Boss Battles, and unlockable areas and abilities. An open-ended game structure offers players a high degree of freedom with endless choices, and game levels are randomly generated so every play experience, in each of the many environments, is fresh and new. Funky music, rich character dialog and jaw-dropping graphics stimulate the senses throughout the game. Players can play alone, or use the dynamically splitting screen to play with a friend to double-team the clueless Earthlings in cooperative play.

    Tuesday, April 2, 2002

    Dragonkind- First Info
    Jeremy @ 10:19 PM EST
    LAGUNA HILLS, California, April 2, 2002 ¡V TriLunar, LLC announced today their newest game title, Dragonkind. Combining the action and exploration of classic platform games with the depth of story and character found in console role-playing games, Dragonkind promises to deliver a unique experience that is only possible with the power and flexibility of today¡¦s newest generation of console platforms.
    Set in the fantasy world of Vermilion, Dragonkind follows the adventures of a young man named Grail who has the mysterious ability to control the power of dragons. This ability causes problems as well as provides great benefits, and launches Grail on a series of escapades that carry him across the world. The game story evolves as Grail journeys into and out of adventures and to a final conclusion that answers questions about his past and his role in the future of the world¡K or does it? In the spirit of classic comic book tales, things in Dragonkind are not always as they appear to be.

    ¡§I¡¦ve always been fascinated with video games,¡¨ says Joe Madureira, President of Creative Development, ¡§and I had been looking for the opportunity to express myself creatively in real-time 3D. Our goal is to make Dragonkind feel like a real-life comic book with all of the great characters, story and action found in today¡¦s best comics. With today¡¦s technology, you can create fantasy worlds of unprecedented depth and detail.¡¨

    Gameplay in Dragonkind will feature a mix of action and adventure. Key features in the game include:
    Stunning 3D world featuring the art, look and feel of noted comic book artist, Joe Madureira.
    An epic tale of good and evil; of love, honor and destiny! (With a little humor squeezed in when you weren¡¦t looking)
    Unique friends and enemies, each with their own roles and personalities. Crafty rogues, roguish sea-pirates, piratical warlords you get the idea.
    Extensive 3D lands of mystery and adventure to discover and explore. Secret areas and special locations will keep you searching for more.
    Run, jump, climb, swim, ride, sail and fly your way to success. (And even go on a train ride or two).
    Devious enemies and nefarious traps that require timing and strategy to defeat. Race across a field of ice floes with a sea serpent at your heels, ride an avalanche, wrestle a dragon, and much more!
    Story driven quest objectives and open game world allow a high degree of non-linear game play.
    Great battles of swords and strategy that increase in difficulty as you yourself become mightier. Summon the power of dragons to your aid with lava rain, ice comets, and earthquakes!
    Thrilling music and thundering sound effects.
    Cinematic camera control heightens the sense of adventure.
    Simple, intuitive interface keeps you focused on the game, not the controls.
    "Today's video game fan demands great story in addition to great game play," says Greg Peterson, TriLunar's CEO. With Dragonkind, we are taking the best aspects of console platformers and blending the best aspects of console role-playing games. We will know we've created a hit when people will be able to walk up to our game and start playing immediately, and still be hooked days later. Our story, gameplay, and technology will all support one another, so that the final package will take people on a journey of entertainment that remains fresh and engaging all the way through the game finale.

    Dragonkind is being developed for the Sony PlayStation 2 and Microsoft Xbox. The game has not yet been rated by the Entertainment Software Rating Board. Scheduled release date is 2004.

    Xbox Gets its First Flightstick
    Eric @ 3:48 PM EST
    THRUSTMASTER AND KONAMI OF EUROPE TEAM UP TO OFFER THE BEST OF FLIGHT SIMULATION TO XBOX GAMERS


    April 2nd, 2002 - Konami of Europe and peripheral specialist Thrustmaster have joined forces to release a flightstick specially optimized for use with Konami’s highly anticipated Deadly Skies air combat title for the Xbox video game system from Microsoft.

    Thrustmaster is widely acknowledged as a leader in the field of innovative peripherals and controllers, and the new Top Gun™ Fox 2 Pro™ unit features four pre-configured button combinations specially for Deadly Skies. Designed to resemble a fighter plane’s joystick, with ten buttons conveniently located at the base of the unit and around the shaft itself, Thrustmaster’s careful design ensures that Deadly Skies’ arsenal of weapons and thrusters are easily accessible. As such, Konami of Europe feels the Top Gun Fox 2 Pro is the ideal controller for Deadly Skies and whole-heartedly recommends the unit.

    Konami and Thrustmaster have worked extremely closely in the creation of the Top Gun Fox 2 Pro and both are confident that it represents the ultimate in flightsticks for the new Microsoft video game system and is a welcome alternative to the basic Xbox controllers. Both companies will be supporting the promotion of the unit, with reciprocal on and in-pack promotions and further cross-marketing actions to be announced.

    Said Kunio Neo, President of Konami of Europe: “We are extremely pleased to be working with a specialist of Thrustmaster’s calibre. The Top Gun Fox 2 Pro unit is the perfect device for getting the most out of a game with the depth of action that Deadly Skies enjoys. It is an innovative and well-designed peripheral which adds an extra level of control to our ground-breaking air combat title.”

    “Thrustmaster is all the more proud to bring its leading expertise in flight simulation controllers to Xbox. Especially now we have initiated close relations with Konami of Europe and Deadly Skies; which is soon to become the benchmark in action/flight games for Xbox,” added Jean-Michel Detoc, General Manager for the Guillemot Corporation.

    Top Gun Fox 2 Pro flightstick:

    Officially licensed for Xbox, Top Gun Fox 2 Pro comes packed with unique technological features, developed by Thrustmaster’s R&D teams and offering the best control and realism: an increase in the flightstick’s sensitivity, the possibility to shoot one missile at a time (Full Sampling technology) and very precise manoeuvring during air combat (Intuitive Touch). The stick also acts as a rudder with adjustable resistance and a locking mechanism, it includes a sliding thumb throttle on the base, a built-in motor, 10 action buttons, an 8-way hat-switch for point-of-view functions, advanced programmability (Smart Mapping) for full compatibility with all games and it remains precisely calibrated even after long periods of game play (Dynamic Calibration).
    The Top Gun Fox 2 Pro flightstick is available.


    Top Gun Fox 2 Pro flightstick

    Activision Acquires Shaba Games
    Steve @ 3:19 PM EST
    SANTA MONICA, Calif., April 2 -- Further enhancing its internal console development capabilities and bolstering its ability to create games for the next-generation consoles, Activision, Inc., today announced the acquisition of software developer Shaba Games LLC.

    Under the terms of the agreement, Shaba has become a wholly owned subsidiary of Activision. Shaba’s equity holders received 258,621 shares common stock in connection with the acquisition. Up to 68,965 additional shares of Activision common stock also may be issued to Shaba’s equity holders over the course of several years, depending on the satisfaction of certain performance requirements and other criteria.

    As part of the transaction, Shaba’s management team and key employees have signed long-term employment contracts with Activision. Activision does not expect this transaction to affect its previously announced revenue and earnings per share guidance for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2002 or for fiscal year 2003.

    Activision’s Executive Vice President of Worldwide Studios, Larry Goldberg, said, ``We are extremely pleased with the working relationship that has emerged over the past two years with Shaba. The company’s gifted and dedicated team will be a great addition to our internal studios. Shaba’s multi-platform development capabilities and expertise in action sports games makes it a tremendous asset and augments our commitment to acquire proven technical and design talent with a history of high-quality product creation.’’

    Members of Shaba’s team have worked on such critically acclaimed games as Pandemonium, Grind Session and Soul Reaver: Legacy of Kain. Additionally, Shaba has worked with Activision on such games as Mat Hoffman’s Pro BMX(TM) for the PlayStation® game console and Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater(TM) 3 for the PlayStation game console. The company is currently in development on Shaun Murray’s Pro Wakeboarder(TM) for the PlayStation® 2 computer entertainment system, Xbox(TM) video game console from Microsoft and Nintendo GameCube(TM).

    Shoot to Kill: Colombian Crackdown Announced
    Eric @ 1:28 PM EST
    April 2nd 2002: Gavin Raeburn, Codemasters’ Studio Head today confirms a dramatic departure for his studio’s next development project and his intention to shake up the “predictable” first-person action game market with Shoot to Kill: Colombian Crackdown.

    “Game developers are complacent with first-person shooter games, relying on better graphics and broadband gameplay to spice up ageing dinosaurs,” says Raeburn.
    “Message boards are full of criticism for over-hyped FPSs that simply don’t take the genre any further. We intend to totally reinvent the cliched first-person shooter, move it on, deliver a fresh gameplay experience and show gamers what they've been missing for years.”

    The studio is currently winning acclaim for its progression of the racing game market with TOCA Race Driver, which brings a gripping narrative and plot to a realistic, licence-based racing title.

    Shoot to Kill: Colombian Crackdown has a deep and gripping plot of deception, betrayal and revenge, coupled with intense and refined gameplay. It is being designed for PlayStation 2, Xbox, GameCube and PC, with the revolutionary and unique new features to be revealed.

    With a modern-day setting, it plunges players deep into Colombia’s drug underworld as Drug Enforcement Administration Officers. The experience charges players with uncovering individuals and gangs involved in the trade and trafficking of cocaine with strict instructions to shoot to kill.

    For the project, Raeburn has assembled an additional team in his studio, located at Codemasters’ Warwickshire HQ, with a mix of experienced developers and fresh talent.

    “The first-person shooter market really needs its arse kicking,” emphasises Raeburn.
    “We’re looking to bring a new aspect to the genre through the use of revolutionary AI and physics systems, essentially doing for action shooter market what the new TOCA Race Driver and Colin McRae Rally 3 games are very successfully doing for motor sport gaming.”

    Xbox Price Cut Coming?
    Eric @ 1:26 PM EST
    LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Video game publisher and console maker Nintendo Co. Ltd. may cut the price of its new GameCube console later this year, depending on a similar price cut from Sony Corp. for its PlayStation 2, a company executive told Reuters on Monday.


    On the sidelines of a Nintendo event coinciding with the start of the season for baseball's Seattle Mariners, in which the company is a lead investor, Vice President of Marketing George Harrison said a GameCube cut was contingent on whether any Sony price cut is to $199 or $249, from the current price of $299.

    "We haven't made a decision on (a price cut)," Harrison said. "Sony's expected to make the first move and then we'll see where we stand." He implied that the deeper price cut, to $199, would make a GameCube cut more likely.

    The GameCube currently retails nationally for $199.95.

    Despite frequent denials that it has any plans on any price cut, Sony has been widely expected to cut the PS2's price this year, presumably at the industry's Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) in May.

    Harrison said Nintendo had expected Sony might cut the price at a retailer conference it held last month, and that any GameCube price cut would have to come by August in order to have full effect for the holiday season.

    Harrison speculated that if Sony makes a deep enough cut, and if Nintendo makes a cut, then Microsoft Corp. might also have to cut the price on its $299 Xbox, which came out last November.

    Splashdown Coming to Xbox This Summer
    Eric @ 1:18 PM EST
    LOS ANGELES, April 2 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Squeegee your TV 'cause Xbox is getting wet. Infogrames, Inc. (Nasdaq: IFGM - news), a leading global publisher of interactive entertainment software, is adding another smash title to its Atari® lineup this summer when its wild water racer, Splashdown(TM), races onto the Xbox(TM) video game system from Microsoft. Complete with authentic Sea-Doo® watercraft, a crazy cast of characters and the most insane waters found on Earth, Splashdown brings the speed and skill of watercraft racing to the stunning world of Xbox.

    ``Splashdown has become one of the premier water sport franchises in video gaming,'' said Jean-Philippe Agati, senior vice president and general manager of Infogrames' Los Angeles studio. ``Xbox gamers are in for an amazing experience -- we have taken our critically acclaimed PlayStation®2 game and pushed it to the next level, creating an even more extreme aquatic playground. Fast-paced and exhilarating, this is water racing like its never been done before!''

    Splashdown whisks players to the four corners of the globe through 18 detailed race environments. Racers will blast through the waters of Bali, skim along the Great Barrier Reef and navigate the canals of Venice. The Xbox version introduces two new eye-popping courses, Ruminer Point, Maine and The Keys, Florida, and features bigger waves for players to catch massive air for tricks and jumps. With more than forty tracks and tons of shortcuts and hidden areas, Splashdown is loaded to the gills with a variety of challenges and amazing scenery.

    Eight over-the-top characters from around the world take players on a spin around the track. To keep the action hot, each character is armed with special abilities in speed, handling, stunts and agility. Each performs unique stunts like the heart attack, superman and rollover. Racers Andy Pierce, Hailey Hollister, Kyoko Takahashi, Jeremy Wallace, Amman Ra, Sebastien Kleinemann and a secret unlockable character return to vie for the number one spot in circuit and career modes.

    The power and unique handling of four authentic Sea-Doo® watercraft classes gives players maximum control as they attempt 30 acrobatic stunts including ``signature tricks'' like Handlebar Handstand, Lazy Boy and Metronome. Completing crazy stunts pushes the performance meter to the limit. Extra power on the performance meter skyrockets the trickmasters' Sea-Doo® watercraft to gravity-defying speeds and gives them the edge over the competition.

    Splashdown has three main modes: Career, Versus, and Arcade. In Career mode, the player has the opportunity to prove single-player prowess, building a team and vying for the championship of the water racing circuit. Meanwhile, Arcade mode makes competition personal with four intense events, including Circuit, Time Trials, Countdown and Free Ride. Along the way, players can collect up to five new wetsuits placed around each course. Versus mode pits two players against each other in a head-to-head showdown. Three difficulty levels, hilarious character dialogue and spectacular wrecks and bails complete this wild water racer for timeless entertainment and unparalleled fun.

    In development at award-winning Rainbow Studios, the masterminds behind the PlayStation 2 game, Splashdown for Xbox will begin drenching players this Summer.

    Monday, April 1, 2002

    OXM Nominated for Best New Publication
    Steve @ 10:52 PM EST
    BRISBANE, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--April 1, 2002--Imagine's PC Gamer, MacAddict, and Maximum PC Also Nominated for Every Category Entered

    Imagine Media's newest launch, Official Xbox Magazine, has been nominated for the WPA's Maggie award for Best New Publication of 2001. Three additional Imagine titles, PC Gamer, MacAddict, and Maximum PC, were also nominated in other categories. Imagine's complete list of nominations is as follows:

    PC Gamer -- Best Special Interest/Consumer
    MacAddict and Maximum PC -- Best Computer/Consumer Publication
    MacAddict -- Best Special Theme Issue/Consumer
    Official Xbox Magazine -- Best New Publication

    The 51st Maggie awards ceremony will be held on April 26 in Los Angeles.

    Matt Firme, vice president and editorial director of Imagine Media, says "It's a rare and very rewarding honor when one publishing company can achieve so many nominations. We're especially proud of Official Xbox Magazine's Best New Publication nomination, and MacAddict's two nominations across different categories. Our editorial teams are smart, dedicated, and reader-focused, and we see the Maggie nominations as important critical recognition of those qualities."

    Imagine Media won the Official Xbox Magazine global license from Microsoft in August 2000, and in November 2001, Imagine orchestrated another unprecedented event in the console games market by launching Official Xbox Magazine at the same time as the launch of the Xbox console itself. With its exclusive playable Game Disc, Official Xbox Magazine is currently the only monthly magazine completely devoted to the world of Xbox.

    6 Xbox Games in Top-20 Sales Chart
    Steve @ 10:07 PM EST
    LOS ANGELES, April 1 (Reuters) - Six games for Microsoft Corp.'s Xbox appeared in the top-20 sales charts for early March, the console's best showing ever, according to data released on Monday, while "Grand Theft Auto 3" continued its iron grip on the top of the charts.

    For the period between March 3 and March 16, the Xbox was the No. 2 console on the top-20 sales list produced by NPDFunworld, behind only Sony Corp.'s PS2, which had eight titles in the top 20, based on units sold.

    GTA 3 on Xbox? Check this out!
    Eric @ 3:57 AM EST
    We get tons of e-mails asking if GTA3 is in the works for Xbox. Its been rumored to be for months, but no one can seem to find any info backing this up. Well, After digging through Take Two's press releases I finally found this.

    Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. Confirms Development of Software Titles for Microsoft's Xbox

    NEW YORK, NY – February 15, 2001 -- Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. (NASDAQ:TTWO) announced today that it has begun development of several software titles for the Xbox™ video game console from Microsoft™ (NASDAQ:MSFT), due out in the fall of 2001. Titles in development for Xbox include Grand Theft Auto 3, the much anticipated sequel based on the Grand Theft Auto franchise, and 4X4 EVO 2, an off-road driving adventure game featuring fully-licensed sports utility vehicles.

    Take-Two’s library of content includes the Midnight Club: Street Racing, Smuggler’s Run, Austin Powers, Oni and Duke Nukem brands. Take-Two publishes its titles under the Rockstar Games, Gathering of Developers and Take-Two labels.

    Paul Eibeler, President of Take-Two, said, “We are very excited about the prospects for Xbox, and the opportunity to publish titles designed to demonstrate the unique features of this future-generation gaming console.”

    Robbie Bach, Chief Xbox Officer, states, “Take-Two has quickly established itself as a premier publisher, and we are very excited about its commitment to Xbox. The addition of Take-Two and its properties to the Xbox product lineup is an added bonus to hardcore gamers. Paul Eibeler and his team at Take-Two have provided valuable input to us as we’ve developed the Xbox program, and it is great to have them onboard.”


    Eric's note:

    According to this, GTA3 was announced for Xbox way back in Feb 2001. Over a year ago. It also states that it was in development at the time of the press release. Now a lot of things could have changed since Feb 2001, but there's two main things they could be doing. The first one is based on the info in this press release. If GTA3 has been in development for over a year for the Xbox, and there's still no news or screens of any kind, then we already know somethings for sure. If the title has been in development for over a year then it's almost for sure not a port. And after taking a look at what was said in the press release, “We are very excited about the prospects for Xbox, and the opportunity to publish titles designed to demonstrate the unique features of this future-generation gaming console.” That seems to pretty much confirm that this is being made from the ground up to make full use of Xbox's features. Now assuming that is true, that could explain why there hasn't been any info or screens of the Xbox version. If GTA3 was taking full advantage of the Xbox, then it would be a hell of good looking game and look a lot better then the PS2 version. It also could have extra features and maybe even online play. If they started showing screens of the Xbox version and talking about its features, a lot of people would hold off on getting it for the PS2 or PC. It would overall hurt sales, so that could be one reason there hasn't been much news on it. Another reason could be that it is going to be a key online title for Xbox when the online launches. Since that is still a few months off they could be holding back to announce it at E3 to make a bigger splash. The other thing you can make of all of this is that the reason its taking so long and there hasn't been any news on it yet could be because Xbox is not getting GTA 3, but another game in the GTA brand. This could possably be GTA: Miami which was just announced for PS2 for a fall release date or maybe even GTA 4. The bottom line is that no one knows yet for sure what it will be, but the odds are GTA something will be coming out for Xbox. Stay tuned to XboxExclusive.com for News Headlines From E3. We will most likely hear the first real info at E3, and maybe even get to see GTA on Xbox.


    Note this is not a April fools joke, here's the link to the press release GTA 3 Press Release.