NewsPro Archive

April 2003

Wednesday, April 30, 2003

Need for Speed Underground Coming
Steve @ 5:28 PM EDT
REDWOOD CITY, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--April 30, 2003--Enter the adrenaline-filled world of high performance street racers in the latest game from the award-winning Need for Speed(TM) franchise, Need for Speed(TM) Underground from Electronic Arts. The new EA GAMES(TM) title is under development by the award winning Need For Speed(TM) Hot Pursuit 2 team. The game features a breakthrough sensation of speed, developed by an OSCAR(R) nominated special effects expert, and a spectacular graphic presentation showcasing an exciting lineup of licensed cars and aftermarket performance parts (mods) from top manufacturers.

Need for Speed Underground allows gamers to build a completely unique exotic ride by earning cash to pay for custom body kits and a host of car mods by winning events. But just creating the ultimate custom street racing machine will not get a racer to the top; it takes a certain amount of attitude and razor sharp driving skills to compete in the tough world of urban racing.

A number of diverse events set in gritty, nighttime environments make up the heart of street competition. Players become complete street racers by perfecting skills in each event; by nailing the perfect shift in drag racing, and by putting their street cred on the line, racing through the city streets late at night.

The game features 20 fully customizable licensed cars from Mitsubishi Motors, Subaru(R), Toyota(TM) and other top manufacturers. There are hundreds of ways to customize one's ride with aftermarket parts from dozens of providers including AEM Inc., Audiobahn(R), Bilstein(R), Dazz Motorsport, DC Sports, Eibach(R), Enkei, GReddy Performance Products Inc., HKS(R), Holley(R), Injen(TM), Jackson Racing, MOMO, Neuspeed(R), Nitrous Express Inc., O.Z. s.P.a., PIAA, Skunk2 Racing, Sparco(R), StreetGlow(R), and Turbonetics Inc.

Need for Speed Underground is slated to ship for the PlayStation(R)2 computer entertainment system, the Nintendo GameCube(TM), Game Boy(R) Advance, and the Xbox(TM) video game system from Microsoft and will ship in the beginning of next year. The game is being developed by EA Black Box.

Tuesday, April 29, 2003

Meteor Blade to be Shown at E3
Steve @ 3:43 PM EDT
Lake Forest, CA – April 29, 2003 – Taiwan-based games company, InterServ International, makes its U.S. debut at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3), May 14-16, 2003 at the Los Angeles Convention Center. Founded in 1989 and an established developer and publisher of entertainment and education software in Asia, InterServ now looks to become a player in the international games community. InterServ is a publicly traded company in Taiwan and holds the distinction of being one of the only Taiwan-based developers accepted into the Microsoft Xbox Registered Developers Program.

InterServ’s production teams are composed of exceptional artists; experienced game designers; and programmers skilled in the creation and maintenance of 3D massively multiplayer online games. The company employs more than 250 people at offices in California, China and Taiwan.

“E3 is regarded as the largest gaming expo in the world and we are very excited to be exhibiting at this year’s show,” said Sheree Tsao, founder and managing director, InterServ International. “We will be demonstrating our proprietary 3D game engine as well as some games that showcase the work of our talented artists and animators. We are confident that we can provide game publishers across the globe an efficient and effective solution to their game development needs and we encourage people to meet with us during the show.”

At E3, InterServ will be showcasing a number of games to spotlight the company’s innovation and artistic expertise. The headliner is Meteor Blade, a 16-player fully 3D online fighting game for the PC and Xbox, based on the world of an ancient Chinese assassin.

The authentic martial arts fighting scenes in the game were made possible through InterServ’s state-of-the-art motion capture studio. InterServ’s artists are well schooled in Western and Chinese art, allowing them to produce the most detailed and exotic backgrounds, textures and digitally animated moves. For Meteor Blade, InterServ sought out the finest martial artists in China and digitized and catalogued their every move by utilizing their motion capture studio. Subsequently they have created a digital database of martial arts and other fighting moves that is second to none in the industry.

Advent Rising Coming to Xbox
Steve @ 3:41 PM EDT
EDISON, NJ, April 29, 2003 - Strengthening its position as one of the industry's fastest-growing publishers, Majesco, today announced Advent Rising, the first in a trilogy of games for the Xbox(r) video game system from Microsoft and personal computer. Featuring an unprecedented collaboration between interactive entertainment and science fiction writing, famed novelist, Orson Scott Card, embellishes on the gripping storyline behind Advent Rising, and will author a novel based on the game. Both are scheduled for release in the first quarter of 2004.

"While technological advances continue to open doors for exciting new gaming experiences, storyline remains the one element most critical in allowing the gamer to feel like an essential part of the game's outcome," said Ken Gold, Vice President of Marketing for Majesco. "The tremendous literary vision of Orson Scott Card coupled with GlyphX Games' masterful approach to graphics and game play mechanics, ensure that Advent Rising will captivate the mind and emotions of the player, while pushing the bounderies of gaming to a unprecedented new level."

"What I found most interesting about collaborating with Majesco and GlyphX on the Advent Rising project was their sincere desire to create a game in which the story served as the springboard for all the other elements," added Orson Scott Card. "Creating an engrossing story is paramount in establishing credibility with players and allows them to connect with what's happening on screen."

In Advent Rising, a common legend pervades the galaxy - that of a powerful, ancient race that will one day unite the universe. Millions of cultures from vastly distant worlds revere and hallow these mythological beings known as humans. One race, the Seekers, know humans actually exist and are threatened by their potential power. Under the guise of benevolent explorers, the Seekers travel throughout the galaxy in a desperate attempt to eradicate any human society they unearth.

Players assume the role of Gideon Wyeth, a remnant of the last human outpost, on the brink of discovering the incredible powers that lay dormant within him. It is these powers the Seekers are so desperate to suppress.

Developed by GlyphX Games, Advent Rising is a third-person, intergalactic action/adventure of truly epic proportions, akin to a fast-paced action movie where the player is swept up in an ever-evolving series of sequences and events. Built on Epic Games' Unreal Warfare Engine, Advent Rising offers precise, refined play-dynamics with action-packed adventure and style, wrapped in a visually imaginative universe.

Advent Rising will be unveiled through exclusive screenings of a specially created game trailer at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) in Los Angeles, May 14-16, 2003. The official Advent Rising website is located at www.AdventTrilogy.com . Additional information about other exciting products included among Majesco's E3 line-up can be found at http://www.majescogames.com

Rogue Ops Announced from Kemco. Screens Inside.
Steve @ 3:37 PM EDT
Bellevue, Wash. – April 29, 2003 – Kemco U.S.A. announced today its premier interactive venture - Rogue Ops, an intense, action adventure game that is sure to catapult Kemco to the upper echelon of game publishers in 2003. Set for distribution on Nintendo GameCube, the PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system and the Xbox video game system from Microsoft, Rogue Ops is in development by Bits Studio Ltd. Slated for a Q4 2003 release, Rogue Ops is planned to have Xbox Live functionality, complete with downloadable content, as well as other exclusive platform specific extras for the next-generation consoles.

“We are extremely excited about the promise of Rogue Ops,” said Glenn Halseth, Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Kemco. “Early feedback on the title is that we have something very special and we are eager to place it in the hands of gamers later this year.”

In Rogue Ops, Kemco exposes the underground world of anti-terrorist operatives. Rocked from normality by an explosion that claimed her daughter and husband, ex-Green Beret Nikki Connors exploits her new role as leading lady to further her personal quest for vengeance. After receiving two years of intense training for the most covert of assignments, she is unleashed upon her nemesis, Omega 19, the most sinister terrorist organization on the globe and a cancerous threat to the free world.

Eight challenging missions will put players to the test, each containing new objectives, characters and obstacles. As Nikki interacts with fellow team members and foes, Rogue Ops provides an engaging and often sharp-tongued dialogue, giving additional life to the storyline and advancing the plot as players delve deeper into gameplay. The game’s soundtrack and outstanding audio effects set an additional tone for Rogue Ops, immersing players deep into the world of government operations as they move from mission to mission.

Trained for survival in any situation, Rogue Ops leading lady uses her training, skills and determination to survive and succeed in her undercover world. Innovative stealth elements provide players with precise mission execution, as Nikki can blend in shadows, pick the pockets of unsuspecting guards, and use a novel stealth combo combat system. Additionally, the game’s design allows Nikki to carry and conceal the bodies of enemies, leaving no trace of her presence behind for the Omega 19 regime to discover.

An expert with stealth weapons, firearms and explosives, Nikki has a multitude of special tools at her disposal. Ten weapons are featured in the game, including a variety of pistols, dart gun, sniper rifle, grenades and mines. Devices such as a special vision mode that combines infrared, low light and x-ray vision are also present to reveal hidden dangers throughout gameplay.

Rogue Ops is slated for a Q4 2003 release, and has a suggested retail price of $49.99.

Rogue Ops Screens

Monday, April 28, 2003

Ubi Soft to Publish Batman: Rise of Sin Tzu
Steve @ 1:38 PM EDT
SAN FRANCISCO, CA - April 28, 2003 - Criminals of Gotham City Beware! Ubi Soft Entertainment, one of the world's top videogame publishers, today announced Batman(tm): Rise of Sin Tzu for the PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system, Microsoft Xbox(tm), the Nintendo GameCube(tm) and GameBoy® Advance. Batman: Rise of Sin Tzu makes history as the first video game to debut a brand new Batman character, the villain Sin Tzu. Ubi Soft, DC Comics and Warner Bros. have partnered to showcase the talents of renowned comic book artist, Jim Lee, as the creator and character designer for Sin Tzu. Jim Lee is America's best-selling comic book artist of all time and is currently the artist on the monthly DC comic book BATMAN, which is the nation's #1 comic book.

Developed by Ubi Soft's Montreal Studios, Batman: Rise of Sin Tzu will stay true to the Batman franchise with intense action-packed gameplay and challenging villains. Featuring favorite super heroes from the Batman universe including Robin, Nightwing and Batgirl, the game also includes a brand new enemy unlike any Batman has ever battled, Sin Tzu, and three villains never before seen in the Batman video game world: Clayface, Scarecrow and Bane.

A master in the deadly art of war, Sin Tzu is driven by a lone desire - to conquer. Scouring the world in search of only the worthiest adversaries, Sin Tzu has descended upon Gotham City to defeat the Caped Crusader. Game features include:

˘ Four Supervillains: Battle Batman's most infamous enemies including Bane, Clayface, Scarecrow - each making their first ever video game appearances - and the formidable Sin Tzu.

˘ Two-Player Cooperative Gameplay: Go at it alone as Batman or recruit backup. Invite a friend into the battle as Nightwing, Robin or Batgirl in 2-player cooperative fighting mode.

˘ 35 Batman Attacks: Topple Sin Tzu's soldiers of crime with more than 35 martial arts moves and dazzling combos.
˘ 12 Levels: Battle your way through the Gotham City Docks, Crime Alley, Arkham Asylum and more.
˘ Play as Batman, Robin, Nightwing, or Batgirl in single-player mode: Each character features unique fighting moves.

Batman: Rise of Sin Tzu has an ESRB rating of "E" for Everyone and will have a suggested retail price of $39.99. It is scheduled to ship Fall 2003.

SSX 3 Under Development for Xbox
Steve @ 1:37 PM EDT
REDWOOD CITY, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--April 28, 2003--Discover the open mountain in the newest version of the smash-hit SSX snowboarding franchise. Shipping this fall under the EA SPORTS BIG(TM) brand, SSX 3 from Electronic Arts is under development for the PlayStation(R)2 computer entertainment system, the Nintendo GameCube(TM), and the Xbox(TM) video game system from Microsoft.

SSX 3 allows gamers to go anywhere gravity will take them. Players will discover a colossal mountain where they can immerse themselves in a free-roaming snow paradise. The ultimate all-mountain experience, SSX 3 features all-new events and courses, awe-inspiring tricks, and a cast of cool, customizable characters. Discover the open terrain, explore its hidden crevices, and conquer its peaks.

With almost two years of development by EA Canada, the team is adding technologies that bring to life rich natural graphics like snow that sparkles and blows in the wind and realistic character shadowing. A new game play experience allows users to seamlessly ride from one awesome area to the next--entering competitions, taking on Big Challenges, and discovering hidden collectibles. SSX 3 has blown out the trick component with unlimited combos and new over-the-top tricks.

In addition to the new boarding venues, Big Challenges rewards players for completing any of the more than 100 unique challenges as they explore the mountain's vast world. Grind billboards, board press logs, even hand plant the fence line.

SSX 3 will feature a broad range of music from such artists as the X-Ecutioners, Felix Da Housecat, Queens of the Stone Age, N.E.R.D., and many more.

LOTR: The Return of the King Announced
Steve @ 1:35 PM EDT
REDWOOD CITY, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--April 25, 2003--Electronic Arts officially announced today the development of The Lord of the Rings(TM), The Return of the King(TM) for the PlayStation(R)2 computer entertainment system, the Xbox(TM) video game system from Microsoft, Nintendo GameCube(TM), Game Boy(R) Advance, and the PC. All versions of The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King game will be released worldwide in fall 2003 under the EA GAMES(TM) brand.
Based on New Line Cinema's upcoming film adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien's classic fantasy novel, The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King video game will let players journey through multiple gameplay paths, taking control of the motion picture trilogy's heroes including Gandalf, Aragorn, Legolas, Gimli, Sam, and Frodo. Set in all of the breathtaking locations from the upcoming movie, The Return of the King's third person gameplay will include immersive action and epic adventure elements based in rich, interactive levels. An all-new multiplayer co-op mode will let players form their own Fellowship before embarking on their journey through Middle-earth(TM).

Under an exclusive licensing agreement with New Line Cinema, EA has the rights to create and publish interactive entertainment games based on the movie trilogy. Currently under development, The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King game is the second installment in a series of licensed The Lord of the Rings games from EA. The console and PC versions are currently being developed by EA's Redwood Shores Studio. The Game Boy Advance version is being developed by Griptonite Games, an Amaze Entertainment Studio. For more information on EA's The Lord of the Rings games, visit the official product website at http://lordoftherings.eagames.com.

The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King film from New Line Cinema will be released in theaters nationwide on December 17, 2003. For more information about The Lord of the Rings movies, please go to http://www.lordoftherings.net.

Sega's Full E3 Lineup
Steve @ 1:25 PM EDT
SAN FRANCISCO - (April 28, 2003) - Illustrating its power as an independent content publisher, SEGA® today announced its fall and winter lineup of nearly 20 entertainment and sports games to be featured at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) 2003. SEGA's E3 2003 lineup features a bold and diverse array of titles for the PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system, the Xbox® video game system from Microsoft, Nintendo GameCube(tm) and the Game Boy® Advance.

The SEGA entertainment lineup features a thrilling blend of action,
adventure and platform games, including the historic multi-platform debut of Sonic The Hedgehog® in "Sonic Heroes(tm)," the return of several classic SEGA franchises such as "Altered Beast(tm)" and "Vectorman(tm)," and the first new platform game and character from Sonic's legendary creator, Yuji Naka, since the SEGA Saturn(tm) era -- "Billy Hatcher and the Giant Egg(tm)."

SEGA's 2K4 sports series is back with an all-new look and feel ready to compete for top honors. Packed with gameplay and visual enhancements, the 2K4 series has been completely redesigned including a new interface and enhanced integration with ESPN, The Worldwide Leader in Sports. SEGA's 2K4 lineup includes new gameplay mechanics and revolutionary features that will continue to raise the bar for traditional sports video games by delivering an unprecedented level of immersive gameplay further blurring the boundaries between realism and entertainment.

"With an impressive lineup of world-class entertainment and sports titles, SEGA's E3 2003 showing is testament to our legendary properties and franchises and the strength of our world-renowned development talent," said Tetsu Kayama, president and CEO, SEGA of America, Inc. "With an enormous catalog of iconic character-driven franchises and a completely redesigned 2K4 sports series, SEGA is committed to delivering industry leading content across all platforms in 2003 and beyond."

SEGA's lineup of entertainment games to be featured at E3 includes but is not limited to:

· "Sonic Heroes(tm)" (PlayStation 2, Nintendo GameCube, Xbox): SEGA's legendary mascot Sonic The Hedgehog makes his historic PlayStation 2 and Xbox debut! In "Sonic Heroes," Sonic embarks on his biggest adventure ever, with his trademark blazing speed and a new gameplay twist. Sonic and his friends have evolved, adopting a configuration feature that allows gamers to control three playable characters simultaneously, using Sonic's speed, Knuckles' power, and Tails' ability to fly, to conquer massive worlds. This team-based gameplay marks the next evolution in Sonic's gaming career, taking platform gaming to a completely new level. Using the three formations and the powerful moves that each team member has, Sonic and his friends combine forces to battle the ultimate evil.

· "Billy Hatcher and the Giant Egg(tm)" (Nintendo GameCube): Sonic
The Hedgehog creator Yuji Naka and SONICTEAM return with their first all-new platform game since the SEGA Saturn era! Darkness has fallen upon a once-magical land. An evil King who seeks to rule with an everlasting night has captured the creatures that inhabit this realm. Now, a young boy must use the powers of a legendary suit to control special eggs in order to restore light to the land. Gamers will collect special eggs, use them to solve puzzles and nurture them with items found by exploring the world. Gamers will be able to hatch the eggs and discover magical creatures with a variety of skills, introducing a strategic planning element to the combat and puzzles. It's up to Billy Hatcher to return light to the land!

· "Vectorman(tm)" (PlayStation 2): Gamers become Vectorman, a
veritable walking arsenal, on an epic campaign to free his land from an oppressive robotic dictator, Volt, bent on galactic conquest. The game's dark storyline is packed with explosive combat and vast opportunities for exploration. Vectorman has all the resources he needs to take on Volt's evil minions including an arsenal of powerful weapons and upgrades. With a focus on player freedom, "Vectorman's" game design encourages players to explore the world at large and utilize any number of different combat strategies. Whether they prefer the direct approach of guns-blazing action, or a more
cerebral type of combat composed of sniping and full use of the environment, "Vectorman" will not disappoint. [This title is not yet concept approved by Sony Computer Entertainment America]

· "Headhunter(tm): Redemption" (PlayStation 2): "Headhunter:
Redemption" is the gripping story of Jack Wade, a veteran Headhunter keeping order in a futuristic world overrun with unchecked consumerism, vicious organized crime and mind-controlling mass media. When Jack and his protégé, the sassy, streetwise Leeza X, stumble upon an arms smuggling operation that threatens the status quo, they must work together to deliver an oblivious world from impending catastrophe, confronting their darkest fears beneath a chilling shroud of evil that blankets the city. [This title is not yet
concept approved by Sony Computer Entertainment America]

· "Otogi(tm) - Myth of Demons" (Xbox): Set in ancient Japan and steeped in real-life folklore and mysticism, "Otogi - Myth of Demons" is the story of Raiko, an undead warrior who must stop a ferocious demonic army that has been unleashed upon the Earth. As a long-forgotten doomsday myth materializes, Raiko must quickly master more than 30 weapons and 12 varieties of magic to dispatch endless hoards of demon warriors, massive boss characters and everything else that gets in his way.

· "Sega GT Online(tm) (Xbox): Bringing all the thrills of the most realistic driving game for Xbox online via Xbox(tm) Live, "Sega GT Online" will allow up to six gamers to put their cars - and their skills - to the ultimate test against thousands of gamers from around the country. A blend of deep simulation detail and high-octane arcade action, "Sega GT Online" challenges gamers to qualify for licenses, compete in a series of increasingly competitive races and earn money to soup up their rides and buy newer, more powerful cars. Players can then fine-tune nearly every aspect of their car's performance - from the muffler and brakes to the suspension, body weight and tires, before hitting the online racing circuit.

· "Altered Beast(tm)" (PlayStation 2): As a special military
operative, you are sent to investigate a deadly genetic outbreak in a small West Coast town. Hunted by unspeakable horrors and haunted by your past, you soon discover that in order to overcome evil, you must become more than evil. The only thing that can save you is your darkest power, the ability to transform into a variety of powerful beasts. As you defeat wave after wave of failed genetic experiments, the line between human restraint and primal instinct will blur, until nothing is left but the savage desire to uncover the true nature of the beast. Explore your inner demons. Unleash your fury. Alter your reality. [This title is not yet concept approved by
Sony Computer Entertainment America]

· "Virtua Fighter(tm) 4 Evolution Greatest Hits" (PlayStation 2):
More than 500,000 beatings can't be wrong ...SEGA's best-selling fighting game gets a major graphical and gameplay upgrade in "Virtua Fighter 4 Evolution." But as any Darwinist will tell you, Evolution is not about looks - it's about the survival of the fittest. Stakes are raised as players throw-down against aggressive, highly-tuned A.I. opponents modeled after the top players from the arcades of Japan, with new exceptionally detailed arenas, more than 1,500 new costume items and two all-new characters hungry for their place at the top.

· "Phantasy Star Online(tm) Episode III: C.A.R.D. Revolution"
(Nintendo GameCube): "Phantasy Star Online Episode III: C.A.R.D.
Revolution" expands the "Phantasy Star Online" (PSO) universe, offering a new style of strategic combat. Combining the excitement of card collection and deck settings with team-based battle tactics, PSO Episode III allows users to chat in the lobby about status upgrades and tactics, and then journey to the planet surface to engage in strategic combat using a turn-based Card system. The game continues the story arc of the previous PSO games, as players once again become Hunters and explore the mysteries of the planet Ragol. Featuring both online and offline play, as well as multiplayer modes, PSO Episode III adds new content and players to the ever-growing PSO community.

· "Virtual On Marz(tm) (PlayStation 2): Mech combat meets street
brawling in this lightning-fast weapon-intensive arena-based Battle Royal. As a member of "Marz," a Robotic Special Forces unit, players are thrust into the pilot's seat of a giant mech known as a Virtuaroid (VR), an immensely capable machine built specifically for combat. Through a variety of missions on various planets, players set out to defeat enemy VRs, locate new areas, attack enemy locations, defend allied bases, attack enemy convoys, and fight alongside other VRs in explosive two-on-two battles.

· "Dororo (working title)" (PlayStation 2): "Dororo" is a modern day
action epic adapted from the classic manga by Osamu Tezuka (Astro Boy). Like the original manga the game follows the adventures of Hyakkimaru, a samurai haunted by a shocking secret, who is on a quest to uncover his past and regain his humanity. Players can choose to battle with various weapons such as blades embedded inside Hyakkimaru's arms, a bazooka hidden inside his leg, or weapons that are found during the course of the adventure. "Dororo" delivers the ultimate Samurai fighting experience with intense 3D action from one of Japan's most famous storytellers. [This title is not yet concept approved by Sony Computer Entertainment America]

· "Kunoichi (working title)" (PlayStation 2): A rift to the demon
realm has placed Tokyo in great peril. As Kunoichi, a deadly female ninja, you are charged with the task of collecting the scattered pieces of a legendary weapon while dispatching a relentless army of powerful demonic foes. [This title is not yet concept approved by Sony Computer Entertainment America]

· "Sonic Adventure(tm) DX Director's Cut" (Nintendo GameCube): Sonic
The Hedgehog returns in one of his most popular blockbusters in a special "Director's Cut" edition for the Nintendo GameCube! The original "Sonic Adventure(tm)" returns with enhanced graphics and more than five hours of new gameplay for the Nintendo GameCube. "Sonic Adventure DX Director's Cut" includes an all-new Mission Mode featuring more than 50 missions for gamers to discover. Sonic fans will be able to explore new hidden areas throughout the game - adding a whole new twist to the original.

· "Sonic Pinball Party(tm)" (Game Boy Advance): It's time to get the
party started right with "Sonic Pinball Party" for the Game Boy Advance. Sonic The Hedgehog returns to the Game Boy Advance, with the ultimate handheld pinball experience, delivering fresh pinball boards filled with SONICTEAM characters and a huge assortment of multiplayer party games. With SONICTEAM characters from "Sonic The Hedgehog®," "Samba de Amigo(tm)" and "Nights(tm)," "Sonic Pinball Party" challenges players to shoot, tilt, and flip their way through a slew of pinball boards, lightning fast mini-games and party games that promise to give gamers the pinball fix they've been craving!

· "Sonic Battle(tm)" (Game Boy Advance): "Sonic Battle" brings
furious combat action to the Game Boy Advance, as Sonic and his friends set out to determine which one of them is really the best fighter! Choose from eight characters such as Sonic, Tails, and Knuckles, each with their own strengths and weaknesses. Choose the arena, set the rules, customize your special attacks, and then engage in non-stop battles. Up to four friends can link their systems together using the Game Boy Advance Game Link® cable for team battles, and then combine special attacks into devastating combos!
If you prefer to battle solo, work through the Story Mode to develop your own AI fighting partner. Either way, "Sonic Battle" is the ultimate showdown between Sonic and his friends.

SEGA's 2K4 sports lineup to be featured at E3 includes but is not limited to:

· "NFL 2K4" (PlayStation 2, Xbox): "NFL 2K4" hits the line hard, challenging the conventions of football video gaming once again, with a fresh new experience that will put gamers right into the action. Enter a new world of ESPN integration, bringing you behind the scenes and into a captivating environment of new presentation schemes. A new play calling system makes it easy for gamers to navigate through menus, while more than 1,000 new animations and enhanced moves give "NFL 2K4" a new level of realism that is unmatched. Playable online and ready for the season to begin, "NFL 2K4" is destined for greatness.

· "NBA 2K4" (PlayStation 2, Xbox): "NBA 2K4" advances to the next level of the game with a blowout of new and innovative gameplay
improvements. Replicating the quickness and athleticism of the NBA like no other basketball video game, "NBA 2K4" rises to the top with online play, an all-new franchise mode, redesigned player models and arenas and hundreds of new animations including highlight-reel dunks. An unrivaled telecast presentation brings this all to life with a more dynamic production that only ESPN can deliver.

· "NHL 2K4" (PlayStation 2, Xbox): "NHL 2K4" emerges with new levels of realism and detail, not yet seen before in hockey video games. Experience the complete NHL environment from the real-time reflections of the arenas on ice to the lifelike appearances of the NHL pros -- no detail has been spared. Add to this a polished gameplay engine with adaptive AI and a variety of new modes, including online play for both the PlayStation 2 and Xbox. A remarkably authentic ESPN presentation system completes this package, making "NHL 2K4" the enforcer this season.

· "NCAA College Basketball 2K4" (PlayStation 2, Xbox): "NCAA College Basketball 2K4" truly embodies the tradition, pageantry, and purity of college hoops. This year, the game features dramatic enhancements including all-new player models, redesigned school-specific arenas, an expanded Legacy mode, more than 100 fight songs and mascots, the ability to create teams and players and customizable gameplay sliders to adjust the game to your preferred style of play. Along with an all-new ESPN presentation format and online play for the PlayStation 2 and Xbox, "NCAA College Basketball 2K4" delivers the complete college hoops experience.

Friday, April 25, 2003

EA Ships NBA STREET Vol. 2
Steve @ 1:20 PM EDT
REDWOOD CITY, Calif.--April 24, 2003--Electronic Arts, announced today that NBA STREET Vol. 2 will be available Tuesday, April 29th under the EA SPORTS BIG(TM) brand for the PlayStation(R) 2 computer entertainment system, the Nintendo GameCube(TM) and the Xbox(TM) video game system from Microsoft.

NBA STREET Vol. 2 lets players bring their act to the street and face off against the greatest basketball players of all-time on blacktop courts throughout North America. Players can choose from a roster of over 150 NBA stars past and present complete with their signature moves, in their quest for street ball dominance...alone, with a friend or in the new four-person multi-player mode.

NBA STREET Vol. 2 carries an "E" (Everyone) rating from the ESRB and will be priced at US MSRP $49.99. NBA STREET Vol. 2 was developed by NuFX Inc. and EA Canada.

Thursday, April 24, 2003

Namco Announces Spawn
Steve @ 1:50 PM EDT
Tokyo, Japan and Tempe, Arizona, April 23, 2003 - Namco Ltd. and Todd McFarlane Productions Inc. have announced today that a mutual agreement has been signed in which both parties are allowing the use of each other’s characters for different business opportunities. Namco Ltd. will be granted the use of Spawn for the creation of a brand new video game and TMP will be granted the use of various SOULCALIBUR II characters for the creation of brand new action figures.

Namco Ltd. will use the Spawn character in the development of a brand new video game created for the PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system, the Nintendo GameCube™ and Xbox® video game system from Microsoft, and is scheduled to be released in the US market in 2003. Spawn (tentative title) is a mission-based action/adventure set against the backdrop of a darker, near-future New York City environment. Its intuitive controls allow the player to utilize a range of acrobatic jumps, double jumps, glides and climbs throughout the vast city. A combo-based hand-to-hand combat engine will allow the player to deliver many different attacks and devastating moves to punish his enemies. The player will also have access to all of Spawn’s distinctive abilities – his superhuman strength, his arsenal of weaponry, his Hell Powers and, of course, his living symbiotic costume. Spawn will premier at this year’s Electronic Entertainment Expo to be held in Los Angles this May.

TMP will create a new line of action figures based on the SOULCALIBUR II characters. McFarlane Toys will release it in the summer of 2003. McFarlane Toys is one of the world's largest toy manufacturers. Established in 1994 to manufacture and sell action figures based on founder Todd McFarlane's comic book character Spawn, the international award-winning company has expanded into licensed products to become one of the premiere action figure producers on the planet.

Through a previous arrangement, TMP had already designed an original character, Necrid, for each console version of SOULCALIBUR II and also allowed the use of Spawn to appear as the exclusive character in the Xbox version of the game.

“When developing SOULCALIBUR II, I was working not just on making the game interesting, I was concerned about the storyline and character design”, says Producer Hiroaki Yotoriyama. “How could I bring alive 16th century warriors who bet their life and all their possessions for a moment of glory? Doing that was difficult and the most exciting part of the job. In that process, the opportunity to collaborate with Todd McFarlane on Necrid was key in enhancing the level of the product. As a fellow creator, I feel great pride in the creation of a new character that was developed by the world’s greatest creator. In the Xbox version of SOULCALIBUR II, Todd McFarlane's Spawn will also appear. I’m confident that using cutting edge technologies from Namco such as CG modeling, motion, sound and character manipulation, along with focusing on the original images in the comic books, will bring Spawn to life as he should be. I am also really pleased with the 3D modeling for the SOULCALIBUR II action figures, which have brought this art to its highest form. Being a part of the extremely organic collaboration with Todd McFarlane, which has shown through in SOULCALIBUR II, has been a true honor. I don’t know if I can wait for the Spawn video game that's currently under development in the US. It should be something really special.”

“I've long been interested in the development of video games”, says Creator Todd McFarlane. “Games breathe life into a creator's flat 2D images and bring them alive. As someone who develops ideas, my goal is to create strong characters that are both interesting to look at, and can deliver new and exciting game play. When Namco, who obviously is tops in its field, approached us on developing new characters and integrating my character, Spawn, into its SOULCALIBUR II game, I knew it would be a great opportunity to work with a company on the cutting edge of gaming technology. Their game play and engine design is second to none. I'm very excited and proud of the work that Namco has accomplished on SOULCALIBUR II and I am thankful for the opportunity to be a part of this game. I am also pretty excited about the action figures my company has produced to accompany the game. We are experimenting with scale and other things, but I think game fans will be astonished at the detail and realism. I'm also looking forward to working with Namco on future projects and ideas, including the upcoming Spawn title.”

Wednesday, April 23, 2003

Controller S Becomes Standard Controller for Europe
Steve @ 6:48 PM EDT
LONDON, 23rd April 2003 –Xbox®, the video game system from Microsoft, today announced that "Controller S" becomes the standard Xbox controller and will be packaged inside all Xbox video game systems in Europe.

Originally sold separately as a stand-alone peripheral, Controller S is the Xbox answer to gamers who wanted more choice. Smaller than the original Xbox controller and featuring a new button layout, Xbox Controller S has proven to be a big hit with gamers since its launch at retail in September 2002.

"The decision to make Controller S standard in Europe was based on feedback from gamers," said Michel Cassius, Senior Director, Xbox Platform and Marketing. "The majority of gamers preferred Controller S to the original Xbox controller, and we saw an opportunity to further improve the Xbox offering to new gamers. Not only is Xbox amazing value, with a built in hard disc and broadband adapter for Xbox Live gaming plus Dolby 5.1 sound and exceptional DVD playback, but it now offers the gamer's choice in controllers."

Key differences between Xbox Controller S and Xbox Controller are:


  • Size/Comfort — Xbox Controller S is smaller. This design enables gamers with smaller hands to enjoy a proper fit and is more comfortable for them during extended periods of play.

  • Primary Button Placement — With Xbox Controller S, the new button placement is a more traditional cross layout. The four primary buttons are easier to reach, which is an important feature in certain games where quick button combination selection is necessary.

  • Ease of Reach for Secondary Buttons — The black and white buttons are located below the primary buttons instead of at the top of the controller.

  • Revised D-pad Surface — For improved directional movement, the surface of the D-pad has been modified into a cross pattern.

  • Start/Back Buttons— These buttons are now located below the left thumbstick.

  • Thumbstick Surfaces — The surfaces on the thumbsticks have been changed slightly, and an increase in surface area allows more thumb room.

    The standard Xbox Controller will still be sold separately at retail while stocks last.

    Test Drive Now Part of the Platinum Hits
    Steve @ 6:46 PM EDT
    LOS ANGELES--(BUSINESS WIRE)--April 21, 2003--Atari announced today that Test Drive(R) for the Xbox(TM) video game system from Microsoft has been selected for inclusion in Microsoft's "Platinum Hits" program. The "Platinum Hits" program recognizes the most popular and best-selling games for the Xbox and repackages the titles with the "Platinum Hits" banner and a suggested retail price of $19.99.
    "Test Drive surprised Xbox gamers with its amazingly fun gameplay, beautiful graphics and an awesome soundtrack," said Jean-Philippe Agati, senior vice president and head of Infogrames, Inc.'s Los Angeles studio. "Atari is proud to have Test Drive join the blockbuster lineup in the 'Platinum Hits' program. Last summer, Xbox owners made the game one of the most popular racing titles on the system and now, a new group of gamers will be able to join in on the fun."

    Test Drive challenges players to compete in an illegal street racing league by facing off against opponents as well as the local police, who pursue the racers as they careen through city streets avoiding pedestrians, traffic signals and oncoming traffic. Test Drive features more than 20 beautifully modeled licensed sports cars -- including the Dodge(R) Viper GTS, the Chevrolet(R) Corvette Z06 and the Lotus(R) Esprit V8 -- as well as a blockbuster soundtrack of thumping driving music from DMX, Ja Rule, Saliva and others.

    Test Drive "Platinum Hits" edition for Xbox is expected to ship April 29, 2003, for an estimated retail price of $19.99 and an ESRB rating of 'T' for Teen.

    Monday, April 21, 2003

    Microsoft Sponsors Xbox Live Ultimate Championship
    Steve @ 3:06 PM EDT
    Xbox Live competition gives gamers chance to win free trip to E3 trade show and a surround sound home theater system.

    Microsoft today announced an exciting online opportunity for gamers to compete and win an all-expense paid trip to Los Angeles where they’ll battle for the Ultimate Championship crown.

    To be victorious in this tournament players must excel at three games, Star Wars®: The Clone Wars™ from LucasArts, id Software’s Return to Castle Wolfenstein: Tides of War™ from Activision and Midnight Club II by Rockstar Games. The action begins on April 22 with gamers playing Star Wars: The Clone Wars; the epic conflict that puts a gamer in the role of a Jedi Knight in over 30 unique combat units. Star Wars: The Clone Wars goes on sale April 22 at retailers across the United States and Canada.

    On April 28, Microsoft will look to the Xbox Live leader board to select the top 64 Star Wars: The Clone Wars scores and gamers. From there, the heat intensifies as these players engage in one-on-one single elimination games until May 9. The top four players from these competitions will receive a free trip and accommodations to demonstrate their skills at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) in Los Angeles from May 14-16.

    Wednesday, May 14 marks the onset of Round two of the competition, where the top four gamers from round one will compete in the center of the Xbox arena (Booth 1246) in the South Hall of E3 in a fierce team battle featuring Return to Castle Wolfenstein: Tides of War. id Software’s Xbox exclusive, Return to Castle Wolfenstein: Tides of War, is a first-person action game that features World War II battles and heart-stopping encounters with unrelenting Nazi henchmen and legions of the undead. E3 will serve as the battleground, as the final four contestants split into pairs and team together with a few special guests for intense squad-based multiplayer action to determine the two finalists.

    On Thursday the tournament culminates and the last two gamers standing from Wednesday will play Midnight Club II by Rockstar Games in the final round. The Ultimate Championship crown, a surround sound home theater system, and Xbox Live bragging rights are all up for grabs. Midnight Club II moves racing games from tracks to the city streets. The most notorious drivers meet each night in three of the world’s greatest cities - LA, Paris, and Tokyo, driving the latest performance enhanced cars and bikes and competing head-to-head in the hopes of making a name for themselves.

    In order to compete in the first round of the tournament and possibly win a trip to E3 contestants will need an Xbox Live subscription and a copy of Star Wars: The Clone Wars.

    Return to Castle Wolfenstein: Tides of War ships just prior to E3, and Midnight Club II does not ship to retail until just after E3 so the Ultimate Championship tournament will be the first time gamers will have ever laid hands on the highly anticipated game.

    Friday, April 18, 2003

    Crimson Skies Full Xbox Live Support
    Steve @ 4:55 PM EDT
    Microsoft Game Studios announced today that "Crimson Skies: High Road to Revenge" for Xbox will arrive this fall with full Xbox Live support. Up to 16 players will be able to compete online or by System Link in a variety of game modes including Dogfight, Team Dogfight, Flag Heist, Wild Chicken, Keep Away and Team Keep Away. Crimson Skies owners will also be able to download fresh content, including new maps and planes, via Xbox Live.

    Gamers have yet to experience online action this intense on a console. Pilots won't be limited to staying in their cockpits during online matches, as it's now possible to jump clear out of a plane and into stationary AA (Anti-Aircraft) guns for an added boost of firepower. Although Crimson Skies is based in the air, you won't find a flight simulation here -- this game has been tuned for pure action with easy pick-up-and-play controls.

    “Crimson Skies: High Road to Revenge” combines thrilling aerial combat with the swashbuckling style of a Hollywood action-adventure movie. Set in an alternate 1930s world of gunship diplomacy and sinister intrigue, gamers pilot powerful aircraft against nefarious air pirates and behemoth war zeppelins. For more information, go to http://www.xbox.com/crimsonskies/ .

    Xbox Live, which launched in the United States Nov. 15, 2002, allows gamers to play multiplayer Xbox games with other gamers everywhere via a broadband connection. With a built-in hard drive and Ethernet port, the Xbox console is the only video game system built from the ground up for online gaming, negating the need to buy additional, costly peripherals or upgrades. Xbox Live enables gamers to easily find their friends; talk to other players during game play through the Xbox Communicator headset; download current statistics, new levels and characters to their Xbox hard drive; and play online-all exclusive features to Xbox Live.

    Thursday, April 17, 2003

    Acclaim Unveils its E3 Lineup
    Steve @ 5:15 PM EDT
    GLEN COVE, NY, April 17, 2003- Gearing up for the interactive entertainment industry's largest annual event, the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3), Acclaim Entertainment, Inc., today unveiled its diverse product lineup that will be on display at the Los Angeles Convention Center May 14-16. Spanning all of the next-generation gaming platforms and such popular genres as action, sports and racing, Acclaim is planning on featuring more than eight new brands, as well as making additional product announcements throughout the trade show.

    "We are very excited about our 2003 release schedule and look forward to having these titles on display for the world to see during this year's E3 show," said Rod Cousens, Global President and Chief Operating Officer for Acclaim. "As the global audience for interactive entertainment continues to expand, we have focused our resources on creating a lineup that will appeal to the masses and hardcore gamers alike."

    Acclaim's E3 product lineup includes:

    ALIAS*
    Based on ABC Television's hit drama series, "Alias" is a third-person action adventure video game that allows players to step into the role of the series' lead character, Sydney Bristow, an agent for the CIA. Bristow must use her cunning, extensive knowledge of martial arts and array of high-tech gadgetry to accomplish dangerous missions. "Alias" will encompass all of the key elements behind the series' success, including high-action combat, stealth missions and time-based objectives, espionage, intriguing plot twists, high-tech weaponry and stunning game play locations that span the globe.

    GLADIATOR SWORD OF VENGEANCE
    An epic adventure set in ancient Rome, where warriors' fates are decided by the cold steel of a sword. Gladiator Sword of Vengeance will feature an intuitive combat system that allows players to fight multiple opponents and unleash an array of deadly combo attacks and bloody finishing moves.

    NBA JAM
    The more than 6 million-unit-selling Granddaddy of Basketball is back! Redesigned from the ground-up for the next-generation gaming systems, NBA JAM brings supercharged NBA play to life with over-the-top, arcade-style, 3-on-3 basketball featuring its signature spectacular high-flying dunks, power-ups and hidden secrets.

    SUMMER HEAT BEACH VOLLEYBALL
    Summer Heat Beach Volleyball delivers the excitement of beach volleyball and takes players to the hottest locations to compete in 2-on-2 action. Highlighted by an all-new "Super Spike" system that allows gamers to earn special moves, speed-ups and unlock secret features, this is one day at the beach that gamers won't want to miss.

    SPEED KINGS
    Speed Kings is the full-on adrenaline rush of street motorcycle racing, right in the safety of your living room. Featuring insane stunts, including jumping over trains and powersliding under trucks, Speed Kings challenges players to become the high-performance king of the blacktop.

    SX SUPERSTAR
    SX Superstar is a wild ride into the essence of supercross, filled with arcade-racing action that will release the rock star within. In SX Superstar, players are the stars, taking their rider from the poorhouse to the penthouse. Pull huge air and squash the competition for a big win, then line your pockets with cold, hard cash. Rake in enough bucks and start living the good life with better bikes, bigger houses and of course, hotter
    chicks.

    URBAN FREESTYLE STREET SOCCER
    Urban Freestyle Soccer takes the world's most popular sport back to its street roots with gang-style teams competing against their rivals for the rights to home turf. It's a brand new type of soccer, featuring mind-blowing freestyle tricks and no rules in authentic, visually striking urban environments.

    XGRA: Extreme-G Racing Association
    The next installment in the critically acclaimed Extreme-G racing series, XGRA will transcend the racing genre. In addition to the ultra fast racing and high-tech weaponry that the series is known for, XGRA will incorporate a futuristic racing organization that will enable players to become part of mercenary teams that run for the highest rewards.

    Ubi Soft Announces 2003 E3 Lineup
    Steve @ 3:26 PM EDT
    San Francisco, CA - April 17, 2003 - Ubi Soft Entertainment, one of the world's leading video game publishers, today announced that its 2003 Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) lineup will feature an outstanding selection of diverse titles for all platforms. Particularly in the spotlight this year, six blockbuster games are expected to wow fans and rack up record sales:

    Beyond Good & Evil(tm): Based on an original idea by Michel Ancel and developed by Ubi Soft's in-house studios, this title blends an ambitious, fluid new gaming experience with an epic storyline. Its Jade engine ensures that players benefit from the most advanced technologies available in the industry today.

    Far Cry(tm): This cunningly detailed action shooter - which boasts a meticulously designed, next-generation Far Cry engine - pushes the boundaries of virtual combat to shocking new levels.

    Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time: Developed in-house, the latest, highly anticipated title in the world-renowned Prince of Persia series is a technological breakthrough that promises to change the entire concept of action-adventure gaming.

    Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six 3(tm): Developed by Ubi Soft's Montreal studio, this Xbox(tm) title immerses the player like never before with its squad-based gameplay and voice-activated commands. Gamers will be able to play together thanks to advanced online multiplayer capabilities.

    Uru(tm): Ages Beyond MYST®: Ubi Soft's forward-looking strategy for its Myst® franchise will be visible with this game, a single-player experience that can be enriched with online content.

    XIII: Based on the comic license of the same name, this first-person shooter's original, graphic novel style, action-packed gameplay and intriguing storyline all come together seamlessly thanks to the combined talents of Ubi Soft's in-house production teams.

    "We've poured a lot of creative energy into each of these titles and can't wait to show them off at E3," says Yves Guillemot, Ubi Soft's president and CEO. "There is no doubt that 2002 was a fantastic year for Ubi Soft. Now, with our new E3 lineup, it's clear that 2003 is going to be even better! Each of the games that we'll be showcasing this year demonstrates our ongoing commitment to bring players the best in interactive entertainment."

    Midway Announces RoadKill
    Steve @ 3:25 PM EDT
    CHICAGO – April 17, 2003 – Midway Games Inc., a leading software industry publisher and developer, announced today that RoadKill, a mission-based, post-apocalyptic combat driving game, is scheduled to ship in fall 2003 for the PlayStation2 computer entertainment system, the Xbox video game system from Microsoft and Nintendo GameCube.

    Set in a post-apocalyptic world destroyed by a plague and ruled by gangs, players unleash havoc in more than 30 vehicles with weapons such as machine-guns, guided missiles and grenade launchers. Assuming the role of the mercenary, players must build a gang following as they battle rival gangs, city guards and anyone else that gets in the way.

    “RoadKill provides the player with a multitude of gaming options, from playing detailed missions and stirring-up havoc in a dynamic world, to battling with two-to-four players in the Deathmatch Mode,” said Helene Sheeler, vice president of marketing, Midway.
    RoadKill drops players into instantaneous battle with 30 core missions and numerous side missions. The missions place the player into the three cities of Hell County – Lava Falls, Blister Canyon and Paradise City. RoadKill’s dynamic reputation system determines how the world reacts to the way players perform missions, kill and maim citizens, destroy enemy vehicles and build alliances with the gangs of Hell County. In the game, players collect salvaged parts – which upgrade the 30 vehicles with items such nitrous thrust and armor plating – to unlock secret features and help explore the world in a search for hidden blueprints. In addition, players drive to survive with a radio system that provides alerts about bounties, mission tips and music while they run down, impale, shoot and splatter both innocent and armed civilians.

    RoadKill Key Features:
    · Car Combat – Select from 30 unique post-apocalyptic style vehicles to experience the ultimate ride in vehicular combat
    · Drive to Survive – Destroy your opponents throughout three enormous living and destructible cities
    · Detailed Missions – Engage in more than 30 core missions and numerous side missions as you roam the streets and instigate anarchy
    · Interactive Chaos – Run over, impale, shoot and splatter both innocent and armed pedestrians in multiple ways, inciting riots
    · Dynamic Reputation System – Gain the necessary reputation to work your way up from a vagrant to an overlord and develop a gang following that will provide additional protection
    · Multiplayer – Engage in the ultimate test of vehicular combat: 2-4 player multiplayer Deathmatch Modes
    · Post-Apocalyptic Earth – Face-off against seven rival gangs, killing the members of some while gaining the respect of others
    · Unlock Features – Collect salvaged parts from destroyed vehicles to unlock hidden items such as nitrous thrust, armor plating and death match arenas
    · Search and Recover – Participate in scavenger hunts and find the blueprints necessary to build the ultimate weapons and vehicles
    · Rock ‘n’Roll – Use the dynamic radio system to be forewarned of bounties on your head, to receive mission tips, in addition to using the multiple stations to tune into a variety of rock, rap and heavy metal hits
    · Xbox Only – Create your own custom soundtrack and hit the streets

    Wednesday, April 16, 2003

    Codemasters to Have Stellar E3 Line-up
    Steve @ 2:08 PM EDT
    New York, April 16, 2003 – Become a pop sensation in American Idol; discover how esteemed brands Operation Flashpoint and Colin McRae Rally will climb to new heights; and experience the visually stunning new world of Dragon Empires -- as Codemasters reveals its stellar line up of new titles debuting at this year’s Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3), May 14-16th at the Los Angeles Convention Center.

    With a blockbuster line up of console and PC games at its E3 booth (#746 in the South Hall), Codemasters’ makes its most significant industry statement to date with a larger show floor presence, and more game announcements, unveilings and surprises than ever before.

    American Idol is destined to be the mass-market game of the year for PlayStation 2 and PC. The game will be exclusively showcased on a special-themed stage in the booth. Codemasters will challenge E3 attendees to see how well they can perform as virtual American Idol singers as they control the in-game voice of a contestant through music-based rhythm-action gameplay. Every in-game performance is evaluated by computer-generated judges Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul and Randy Jackson. There may even be some very familiar Idols faces showing up at Codemasters’ E3 booth, too.

    Codemasters will also take its power-brand games up another level with new titles from the Colin McRae Rally and Operation Flashpoint franchises.

    Premiering exclusively at E3 is Codemasters’ Battlefield Command, the intense World War II tactical RTS for PC. Also playable at the show will be the latest preview builds of the mighty MMORPG Dragon Empires for PC, complete with its stunning new landscape engine, and Operation Flashpoint on Xbox.

    “It’s going to be an extremely exciting and valuable E3 for Codemasters,” said Mike Hayes, Codemasters’ Group Marketing Director. “We’re premiering new titles for some of the biggest game franchises, introducing groundbreaking original games and promise some show-stopping surprises over the three days.”

    PSO Arrives on Xbox Live
    Steve @ 1:27 PM EDT
    Microsoft Games Studios today announced that "Phantasy Star Online(TM) Episode I & II" for Xbox is now on store shelves in North America for an estimated retail price of $39.99 (U.S.). The award-winning online role-playing series, which had more than 400,000 registered online users on the SEGA Dreamcast, has arrived on Xbox Live, and for the first time Phantasy Star players will be able to chat in real time using the Xbox Communicator headset.

    To play the game online, Xbox Live subscribers will be required to buy a "hunter's license," which gives gamers the ability to travel on wild adventures with other "Phantasy Star Online Episode I & II" gamers. It also provides access to a plethora of online exclusive content such as seasonal quests, downloads and rare in-game items. The hunter's license is free of charge for the first two months, and after that will carry a service fee of $8.95 per month.

    Developed by famed SEGA game designer Yuji Naka and SONICTEAM, "Phantasy Star Online Episode I and II" features two games in one: Episode I contains all of the content from "Phantasy Star Online" and "Phantasy Star Online Ver. 2," while Episode II brings gamers back for an all-new adventure on the planet of Ragol. Gamers will search unchartered areas, battle unique monsters and discover numerous items. Both episodes can be played online or offline with up to four gamers. Additional game modes include Challenge and Battle. Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound is also supported in "Phantasy Star Online Episode I & II." An Xbox Live account is required to play "Phantasy Star Online Episode I & II" both offline and online.

    For more information on "Phantasy Star Online Episode I & II," visit http://www.xbox.com/pso2/ .

    Xbox Live, which launched in the United States Nov. 15, 2002, allows gamers to play multiplayer Xbox games with other gamers everywhere via a broadband connection. With a built-in hard drive and Ethernet port, the Xbox console is the only video game system built from the ground up for online gaming, negating the need to buy additional, costly peripherals or upgrades. Xbox Live enables gamers to easily find their friends; talk to other players during game play through the Xbox Communicator headset; download current statistics, new levels and characters to their Xbox hard drive; and play online—all exclusive features to Xbox Live.

    Tuesday, April 15, 2003

    Pro Race Driver Ships
    Steve @ 3:11 PM EDT
    New York – April 15, 2003 – Enhanced editions of Codemasters’ Pro Race Driver, the the worldwide hit that debuted on the PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system, steer their way onto store shelves today for the Xbox video game system from Microsoft and PC.

    Set to be the most dynamic and dramatic circuit racer for PC and Xbox, the new editions are even fiercer than the best-selling PlayStation®2 version. Pro Race Driver lets players race as a touring car professional in a gaming experience packed with 42 real cars, 13 championships and an incredible 38 real-life, internationally renowned, race circuits. The new editions also add a qualifying round to championship races. With up to 20 cars tearing up the track simultaneously - six more cars than in the original – the game is sure to make any driver’s adrenaline race.

    Pro Race Driver takes racing games to a new level, uniquely blending a cast of game characters with the sport’s real-life drivers, locations and championship events. The game gives players one central character, Ryan McKane, to connect with, and wraps the high-speed race action in with real-time generated plot-driven cinematic sequences.

    With up to 20 cars on track at once, motor sport’s most aggressive exhibition of close-contact racing results in spectacular damage and it can all be seen in stunning graphical detail using the Xbox hardware, and on PC supporting Direct X 8 compatible graphics cards. Online and network play is also included for Pro Race Driver’s PC players. The roar of the cars’ engines and the dramatic story sequences sound even better with support for surround sound mode up to and including 5.1 - the audio features high quality samples, reverberation and environmental audio effects.

    A playable demo, along with additional information and in-game footage videos, can be found on the dedicated web site located at: http://www.codemasters.com/proracedriver

    Midway Announces The Suffering
    Steve @ 3:06 PM EDT
    CHICAGO – April 15, 2003 – Midway Games Inc., a leading software industry publisher and developer, announced today that The Suffering, an all-new, action-packed survival horror game, is scheduled to ship fall 2003 for the PlayStation2 computer entertainment system, the Xbox video game system from Microsoft and Nintendo GameCube.
    Midway captures the disturbing and terrifying nature of the horror genre with The Suffering, a compelling third-person action/adventure game set in the mature and gritty world of a maximum-security prison.
    “The Suffering redefines terror with a chilling look into a penitentiary haunted by apparitions of executed prisoners grotesquely reincarnated as the methods of execution that befell them,” said Helene Sheeler, vice president of marketing, Midway.

    Unleashing the horror throughout nine levels, The Suffering features dynamic lighting that illuminates frightening visions of horror-filled exploration and frantic combat sequences. In the dark world of The Suffering, creatures attack from the shadows and emerge from jail cells, chambers, the ground and trees, surprising the player in the most disturbing ways possible. As Torque, the main character, players encounter a cast of uniquely hardened criminals, prison guards and grotesque apparitions.

    Jailed for a murder he may or may not have committed, Torque is next in line for execution when apparitions besiege the prison and inadvertently free him. Utilizing more than ten deadly weapons, Torque sets out to uncover his past and unlock the deadly secrets of The Suffering. In the game, players can transform Torque into his monstrous alter ego and unleash the power of his primal fury while battling 12 horrific creatures. Depending on how they play the game, players will arrive at three distinct endings for a unique gaming experience.

    Stan Winston, renowned creature designer, contributed to The Suffering’s horror-filled experience by creating artwork of some of the disturbing characters featured in the game. For more than 30 years Stan Winston has created characters, creatures and monsters for motion pictures and television. The four-time Academy Award winner is responsible for creating many of the most enduring creatures of the big screen, including the dinosaurs of “Jurassic Park,” the extraterrestrial monstrosities of “Aliens” and the fanciful character of “Edward Scissorhands.” Nominated for an Academy Award for “A.I.,” Stan Winston is currently working on the upcoming “T3” starring Arnold Schwarzenegger.

    The Suffering Key Features:
    · Terrifying Levels – Nine levels - traverse indoor and outdoor terrain with horror lurking in every dark corner.
    · Frightening Character Morphs – Fill the rage meter and transform Torque into a hideous and powerful creature.
    · Deadly Weapons – More than 10 deadly weapons from the shiv to the tommy gun to aid in the survival of this freakish nightmare.
    · Horrific Monsters – A dozen monsters, each representing the methods of execution that befell them.
    · Gory Detail – Blood and gore, dripping, pooling and splattering at every level of the fright-filled journey.
    · Disturbing Choices – Interact with different hardened criminals and determine their fate.
    · Unique Endings – Three distinct endings depending on how the game is played.
    · Taboo Environments – Explore the deepest recesses of the most wicked prison environment.

    The Suffering Screens

    Thursday, April 10, 2003

    Tao Feng iGames Tournament Underway
    Steve @ 11:01 PM EDT
    Microsoft Game Studios and iGames today announced they are partnering to create local and regional "Tao Feng: Fist of the Lotus" competitions throughout the nation. Players can now register to compete in the tournaments, which begin on April 19, online at http://www.igames.org/programs/tao_feng_about.asp?nav=signup Prizes include Xbox consoles, Xbox Live Starter Kits and a collection of great Xbox games. Tao Feng lead designer John Tobias will also appear at a select iGames location in the Chicago area to meet and greet players during the championship competitions. To locate an iGames center near you and get a copy of the official rules, visit the iGames event minisite at http://www.igames.org/programs/tao_feng_about.asp

    “Tao Feng: Fist of the Lotus” was developed by Studio Gigante which was established by John Tobias, co-creator of the "Mortal Kombat" series. On the vicious streets and back alleyways of New China, two fierce fighting sects battle in a race to uncover the ultimate prize. To the victor, honor and immortality await. Players experience the visceral brutality of furiously intense hand-to-hand combat. The crippling physical damage players inflict appears in real time. Huge interactive arenas are incredibly detailed and fully destructible. When the fight ends, players can witness the devastation of battle. "Tao Feng: Fist of the Lotus" is now available in North America for an estimated retail price of $49.99, exclusively for Xbox.

    Microsoft Announces NHL Rivals 2004
    Steve @ 1:42 PM EDT
    Historic hockey rivals will face-off this week as the quest for the coveted Stanley Cup begins. With intense NHL Playoff battles opening throughout the league, Microsoft Game Studios announced today its first hockey title for the Xbox video game system, "NHL Rivals 2004." The game is scheduled to “go top shelf” in stores this fall.

    “NHL Rivals 2004” will have all the modes of play that hockey fans want including single game, playoff mode, season mode and online play.

    In addition, “NHL Rivals 2004” will showcase a variety of features including:

  • An advanced stick-placement system with unique moves and countermoves to make the face-off as important in the game as it is in the NHL.
  • An in-depth Tournament Mode allowing gamers to set up an 8, 10, 12, or 16 team round-robin knockout tournament.
  • A challenging Rivalry Mode that instantly puts gamers into a grudge match between historic rival teams like the Canadiens vs. Maple Leafs.
  • Unique player roles including Snipers, Enforcers and Agitators offer gamers a chance to experience different aspects of the NHL game. Each player will have special moves indicative of their role on the ice.

    “The popularity of NHL hockey is based on the intense rivalries that teams and fans have with each other,” said Kevin Browne, sports studio manager at Microsoft Game Studios.” “’NHL Rivals 2004’ has captured the thrill and excitement of those rivalries. Gamers will be able to experience their own hockey rivalries through intense, competitive play, whether that be in single-player mode or with others around the world via Xbox Live.”

    Hockey fans will be able to settle old grudge matches and create new rivalries online using Xbox Live. Gamers will be able to track individual and team stats, leader boards and win/loss records as well as support cooperative, team, ranked and non-ranked play. With Xbox Live, gamers will be able to download quarterly roster updates, All-Star game rosters and updated player ratings.

    “NHL Rivals 2004” is scheduled to hit store shelves in the Fall and will be Xbox Live enabled.

    Tuesday, April 8, 2003

    MechAssault T-Shirt Winner Announced!
    Steve @ 5:55 PM EDT
    Congratulations to Nguyen Thanh Vuong (shadow20002) of Canada! And a big thanks again to all who participated. Be sure to keep an eye open for future contests.

    NFL Blitz Pro Full Details
    Steve @ 5:41 PM EDT
    CHICAGO – April 8, 2003 – Midway Sports™, the sports brand of leading software industry publisher and developer Midway Games Inc., announced that it has refocused its league-licensed sports brands to appeal to a broader sports gaming audience. NFL Blitz Pro, the reinvented iteration of the popular NFL Blitz videogame franchise, is scheduled to ship in fall 2003 for the PlayStation2 computer entertainment system, the Xbox™ video game system from Microsoft and Nintendo GameCube™.

    The new direction of NFL Blitz was designed with the sports fan in mind and is based on feedback from both hardcore and casual sports enthusiasts. Nationwide focus testing of sports videogamers produced a clear message: gamers applaud Midway Sports trademark arcade-style gameplay and intense action but also want to experience their favorite teams, players, and stadiums in an authentic professional sports context. Midway Sports answered the call by taking NFL Blitz in a new direction.

    Officially licensed by the NFL and Players INC, NFL Blitz Pro will showcase authentic 11-on-11 live online play with real NFL teams, stadiums, and features, while still providing the well-known Midway Sports “edge.” Real-time weather effects—everything from snow in Buffalo to sunshine in Miami—are delivered through an online service and player leaderboards, tournaments and downloadable content are also available to enhance the realistic experience.

    “Taking NFL Blitz Pro online and adding NFL realism will give gamers and sports fans alike the authentic experience they have been wanting from the Blitz product line,” said Helene Sheeler, vice president of marketing, Midway.

    Adding to a variety of new features in NFL Blitz Pro is an all-new Blitz-style Running Game that includes traditional moves such as handoffs, pitches, reverses, and up-the-gut runs, as well as more aggressive trick plays that the pros have yet to attempt. In addition, NFL Blitz Pro includes a Franchise Mode that allows up to 32 players to compete in 10 seasons where they can draft, trade, upgrade, release, sign free agents and retire. Stat tracking and current team information such as rosters, schedules, stadiums, uniforms and team captains are also included.

    In addition, Midway signed an exclusive deal with Terrell Owens, ALL-PRO and star wide receiver of the San Francisco 49ers, to appear on the package cover, in advertising materials, and to design plays and provide audio capture for the game. Owens, entering his ninth NFL® season, has made his mark on the football world since his rookie season with the San Francisco 49ers in 1996. Owens has accumulated 42 touchdowns over the past three seasons – the most of any receiver in the NFL over that period of time.

    NFL Blitz Pro also features DVD content with an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at the NFL Pro Bowl in Honolulu, Hawaii, where top pro players such as defensive end Hugh Douglas of the Jacksonville Jaguars, linebacker Derrick Brooks of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and running back LaDainian Tomlinson of the San Diego Chargers designed plays and performed audio capture for the game.

    NFL Blitz Pro Key Features:

    · New Blitz Online – Head-to-head gameplay, player leaderboards, real-time online weather, tournaments and downloadable content.
    · New 11-on-11 Gameplay – Every team, every position and all your favorite players.
    · New Blitz-Style Running Game – Handoffs, pitches, reverses, and up-the-gut runs, as well as more aggressive trick plays that the pros have yet to attempt.
    · Real-Time Weather – Download real-time weather effects to experience everything from sunshine to snow and rain depending on the hometown stadium.
    · New Franchise Mode – Up to 32 gamers can engage in the franchise mode for up to 10 seasons. Draft, trade, upgrade, release, sign free agents and watch out for that old veteran who decides to hang ‘em up after the season.
    · Current Team Information – Complete and updated rosters, schedules, uniforms, stadiums and team captains.
    · Improved AI – The days of catch-up code are gone; either play hard or go home.
    · New Motion-Capture and Animations – Tackles, runs, and catches put you in the middle of the action with incredible authenticity and Blitz-style aggression.
    · New Modes – Pro-Bowl and Practice Mode.
    · New Camera Angles – Dynamic camera angles to capture deep crossing routes and monster sticks with improved television style cut scenes.
    · New Stat-Tracking –Track all of the important stats from sacks and interceptions, to yardage gained and touchdowns scored.
    · New Fantasy Elements – Fantasy stadiums, characters and drafts.
    · Easy Access Menu – Intuitive interface and play select menu.
    · New Color Commentary – Play-by-play and color commentary to describe all of the action.
    · Improved Action – Adrenaline-style, over-the-top gameplay featuring players leaping, soaring, diving for passes, stiff-arming, and bulldozing would-be defenders in the all-new running game, while precision passing quarterbacks throw darts, lasers and quick slants.
    · New Improved Controls – Intuitive, fast-action controls.
    · Officially Licensed – By the NFL and NFL Players INC, which means that you can play all of your favorite NFL teams and players in your favorite NFL stadiums.

    NHL Hitz Pro Details and Features
    Steve @ 4:41 PM EDT
    CHICAGO – April 8, 2003 – Midway Sports™, the sports brand of leading software industry publisher and developer Midway Games Inc., announced that it has refocused its league-licensed sports products to appeal to a broader sports gaming audience. NHL Hitz Pro, the re-invented version of the NHL Hitz franchise, is in development and scheduled to ship in fall 2003 for the PlayStation2 computer entertainment system, the Xbox™ video game system from Microsoft, Nintendo GameCube™ and Game Boyâ Advance.

    Nationwide focus testing of sports videogamers produced a clear message: gamers applaud Midway Sports trademark arcade-style gameplay and intense action but also want to experience their favorite teams, players, and stadiums in an authentic professional sports context. Midway Sports answered the call by taking NHL Hitz in a new direction.

    Officially licensed by the NHL and the NHLPA and featuring real NHLâ teams and athletes, NHL Hitz Pro retains the well-known Midway Sports “edge,” but with a new emphasis on realistic NHL features such as 5-on-5 gameplay (including goalies), league penalties and violations, and for the first time ever, live online gameplay.
    “NHLâ Hitz Pro combines the best of both worlds, delivering a combination of Hitz signature extreme-style hockey gameplay but with added realism hockey fans will respect,” said Helene Sheeler, vice president of marketing, Midway.

    The head-to-head online play in NHL Hitz Pro features online player rankings and tournaments. NHL Hitz Pro also includes 100 percent NHL legitimate, 23-man player rosters that bring together pro players and authentic team lines with real offensive and defensive team formations in precise correlation with each NHL team.

    NHL Hitz Pro includes an improved AI that is so authentic gamers will think they are playing with the NHL pros. Goalie animations, logic and behavior are realistically captured and feature everything from stick saves to stoning a knee-buckling 5-hole shot to slapping the ice with five seconds left in a power play. Gamers also have the ability to score from anywhere on the ice and will feel the tension and strain of NHLâ action with a new Player Fatigue System that causes them to tire out after experiencing tough checks.

    Playing on accurately diagrammed rinks, players will get cheers and jeers from the realistic crowd that reacts to the action on the ice. Additionally, an upgraded Franchise Mode allows players to build a Dynasty and manage every aspect of the team; a re-tooled Hockey School Mode teaches and tests gamers’ hockey skills; and a Multi-player Tournament Mode allows gamers to set up tournaments with up to 16 teams.

    In addition, Midway has signed an exclusive deal with Nicklas Lidstrom, star defenseman of the Detroit Red Wingsâ. Lidstrom appears on the packaging and cover art for the game and also brings his big hits to NHL Hitz Pro’s DVD section. Viewed as one of the top defensemen in the NHL, Lidstrom is a four-time finalist and recipient of the coveted Norris Trophy and member of the 2003 Western Conference All-Star team.

    NHL Hitz Pro Key Features:

    · New Online Play – Head-to-head gameplay, online player rankings and tournaments.
    · New 5-on-5 Gameplay – Just the way hockey is played in the NHL, 5-on-5. Every team, every player, and every position.
    · Full NHL Penalties and Violations – From offsides and two-line passing to holding and cross- checking, all NHLâ penalties will be enforced in NHL Hitz Pro.
    · 23-Man Player Rosters –100% legitimate NHL rosters. All players are available and all authentic team lines are ready to score on goal.
    · Real Stadiums –NHLâ arenas are accurately diagrammed in NHLâ Hitz Pro.
    · Real Offensive and Defensive Team Formations – Every team’s offensive and defensive scheme in NHL Hitz Pro is in precise correlation with the actual team in the NHL.
    · Player Fatigue System – Just as in a real hockey game, as players dish out the checks, or as the player gets checked to the ice, the more tired they become.
    · “On the Fly” Line Changes – See your line becoming tired or spot a mismatch in the defensive team and switch up your line “on the fly” to have the freshest players on the ice.
    · Legitimate Stick Handling – Just like the real players in the NHLâ, glide and move the puck back and forth like a yo-yo near the net, through the use of the right analog stick. NHL Hitz Pro offers the most realistic stick and puck handling on any hockey game to date.
    · Realistic Crowd Reactions – For the first time, a sports videogame will accurately recreate a realistic crowd and player emotion based on the flow of the game. You might get a “ho-hum” reaction from the crowd and your teammates by scoring a goal to go up 8-0 against your opponent, but the crowd will flip out and your teammates will rush you when you score the game-winning goal in overtime.
    · New Color Commentary – Midway Sports is adding a second commentator to the booth, and he’ll give you his take on the game as well as the lowdown on some of your favorite NHL players.
    · Upgraded Franchise Mode – GM Mode option lets you build a Dynasty and manage every aspect of your team. Draft and trade players at your whim! Choose the offensive strategy and plot the perfect defensive scheme to prevent other teams from abusing your squad. After you create the perfect strategy, now determine who starts, and who gets left behind on the bench.
    · Re-tooled Hockey School Mode – NHL Hitz Pro features an all-new and restructured Hockey School where the game player is taught and the skills tested. Your instructor will introduce a young NHLâ All-Star to tell you a little more about what is important in hockey, as well as provide an NHL Hitz Pro game tip.
    · Score from Anywhere on the Ice – NHL Hitz Pro now has multiple new ways to score, new context-sensitive plays like wraparounds, deflections and flip shots from behind the net.
    · Multiplayer Tournament Mode – Set up tournaments with up to 16 teams.
    · Advanced Options – With different tunable settings and sliders, you can completely customize your gaming experience, from glass brittleness right down to puck friction.
    · Enhanced Fantasy Draft – Choose your favorite team and begin your NHLâ season from the absolute beginning where all players become free game and are eligible for the draft. Feel like an NHLâ owner and all the pressures that come when trying to construct a team from scratch.
    · Improved AI – Smarter players, realistic offensive and defensive behavior. NHLâ Hitz Pro delivers such realistic AI, you’ll think you’re playing one of your friends.
    · Improved Goalie Animations – NHL Hitz Pro has gone to great lengths to ensure the best and most realistic goalie animations ever. From stick saves, to stoning a knee-buckling 5-hole shot, if a goalie can make the impossible save in the NHL, he can make it in Hitz.
    · Improved Goalie Logic and Behavior – From slapping the ice with five seconds left in a power play, to sprinting to the bench with one minute left in the game to give your team the one-man advantage. Goalies in NHL Hitz Pro behave and react like the real thing in the NHL.
    · Officially Licensed Equipment – Through Franchise Mode, users will be able to gain equipment to better suit their players. There will be five levels of equipment, including many of the biggest brands in hockey: The Hockey Company, Bauer Hockey, Itech and Easton.
    · New Motion Capture Animations– From new checks, slap shots and goalie animations, NHL Hitz Pro improves on more than 1,500 motion-captured animations in the game.

    For more information about Midway Games and NHL Hitz 20-04 visit www.nhlhitz.midway.com

    Monday, April 7, 2003

    MechAssault T-Shirt Winner E-mailed
    Steve @ 10:50 PM EDT
    If you are a member of our Boards then please be sure to check your e-mail. If there is no response within 48 hours, a new winner will be picked. Thank you for your participation!

    Sega GT Online Announced; Xbox Exclusive. Screens Inside
    Steve @ 5:21 PM EDT
    SAN FRANCISCO - (April 7, 2003) - SEGA® of America, Inc. today announced that "Sega GT Online(tm)" is in development exclusively for the Xbox(tm) video game system from Microsoft. Bringing all the thrills of the most realistic driving game for Xbox online via Xbox(tm) Live, "Sega GT Online" will allow up to six gamers to put their cars - and their skills - to the ultimate test against thousands of gamers from around the country.

    A blend of deep simulation detail and high-octane arcade action, "Sega GT Online" challenges gamers to qualify for licenses, compete in a series of increasingly competitive races and earn money to soup up their rides and buy newer, more powerful cars. Players can then fine-tune nearly every aspect of their car's performance - from the muffler and brakes to the suspension, body weight and tires, before hitting the online racing circuit.

    Featuring more than 160 of hottest street machines to ever roll off the assembly line - from vintage roadsters from the 50s, 60s and 70s to the latest prototypes from more than 20 of the world's biggest manufacturers "Sega GT Online" has the depth to satisfy even the most discerning gearhead. Gamers even have the option to trade or bet their hard-earned cars and parts with other gamers before hitting more than a dozen devious, high-speed raceways. Of course, gamers can also talk trash as they take turns at 180 miles per hour with Xbox Live's voice chat capabilities.

    "'Sega GT Online,' takes racing for pink slips to a whole new level," said Mike Fischer, vice president of marketing, SEGA of America, Inc. "If you think you've got what it takes to be the best, you can put your hard-earned car on the line and square off with thousands of gamers online via Xbox Live. Hey, if you lose big you can always talk trash - or grovel and beg for your car back."

    "Sega GT Online" is in development by WOW Entertainment and is slated for release in the U.S. in Fall 2003.

    Sega GT Online Screens

    Midway Sports Announces Reinvented Sports Games
    Steve @ 3:53 PM EDT
    CHICAGO– April 7, 2003 – Midway Sports, the sports brand of leading software publisher and developer Midway Games Inc., announced today that it has refocused its league-licensed sports products to appeal to a broader sports gaming audience. The NFL Blitz and NHL Hitz franchises have been reinvented, bringing a new level of action and authenticity to the sports game market and creating an entirely new approach to league-licensed sports.

    The new direction of Midway Sports NFL Blitz and NHL Hitz was designed with the sports fan in mind and is based on feedback from both hardcore and casual sports enthusiasts. Nationwide focus testing of sports videogamers produced a clear message: gamers applaud Midway Sports trademark arcade-style gameplay and intense action but also want to experience their favorite teams, players, and stadiums in an authentic professional sports context.

    Midway Sports answered the call by taking NFL Blitz and NHLâ Hitz in a new direction. These popular games are being recreated, or “revolutionized,” into an exciting new line of titles. NFLâ Blitzâ Pro is the flagship product in this new line, and will showcase authentic 11-on-11 play with realistic rules and features, while still providing the well-known Midway Sports “edge.” NHLâ Hitzâ Pro will undergo a similar eye-opening transformation on the ice.

    “It was exciting to find both hardcore and casual fans so interested in seeing Midway Sports make this move,” said Jon Dean, vice president, sports development unit, Midway Amusement Games LLC. “We have always had the corner on the arcade-style sports marketplace. Now, we are in position to deliver the perfect mix of realism and action to a much wider audience of sports gamers.”

    To execute this new direction, Midway Sports restructured its sports development studio, adding developers and resources focused on bringing an authentic professional sports experience to Midway Sports’ traditionally action-oriented brands.

    Midway Games Inc. is a leading developer, publisher and marketer of interactive entertainment software. Midway videogames are available for play on all major videogame platforms including the PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system, the Xbox video game system from Microsoft, Nintendo GameCube and Game Boy® Advance.

    For more information about Midway Sports visit http://www.midwaysports.net

    Ghost Recon: Island Thunder Update
    Steve @ 3:47 PM EDT
    SAN FRANCISCO, CA Ubi Soft Entertainment, one of the world's largest video game publishers, has announced the four fan-favorite maps from the original Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon that will be included in the upcoming campaign disk Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Island Thunder. Fans of the original title voted for these maps in a poll run on the popular game information destination IGN.com

    The four multiplayer maps are:

    Embassy: Set in the Georgian city of Tibilisi, players can test their mettle engaging in intense close quarters combat in this urban environment. Team Ghost takes the action to the streets, parks, rooftops and underground parking garages of Tibilisi.

    Battlefield: Set in a small abandoned village that still bears evidence of a destructive battle, the Ghosts pass the remains of military vehicles, squinting through thick smoke so they can make out the horizon ahead. Limited visibility and echoing sounds of combat across the terrain increases the tension, as teams battle to gain control of the ruined village.

    Castle: Under a full moon, Castle's setting in an ancient medieval fortress provides tactical options for players as they fight
    across the forest, and the village around the castle with night vision as a necessary tool.

    Wilderness: For team combat play, pine forests, rolling hills and plywood kill houses throughout the Wilderness map is a perfect and exciting combat killing field.

    MORE GHOST ACTION!

    Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Island Thunder promises more heated battlefield action for the Ghosts. This first-ever campaign disk for the Xbox video game system from Microsoft will not require players to have a retail copy of the original game to enjoy a new Ghost campaign.. Both new recruits and seasoned vets who earned their stripes playing the original Xbox game will enjoy the camaraderie of the shared battlefield. Xbox Live soldiers can experience the intensity of the front lines side-by-side with their battlefield brothers while covering each others' backs and calling out commands using the Xbox Live communicator.

    Gamers who purchase the campaign disk will have future access to exclusive downloadable content featuring new missions and maps. Included in the campaign disk will be a dozen game types and twelve multiplayer maps for Xbox Live play, including four maps from the original Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon.

    About the Game
    Developed by Red Storm Entertainment(tm) the Ubi Soft studio credited with originally developing the award-winning Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon(tm)and Rainbow Six(tm) franchises, the campaign disk will feature the Cuban campaign from Ghost Recon: Island Thunder(tm) (PC) and popular maps from Ghost Recon: Desert Siege(tm) (PC). As an added bonus, four additional maps from the original Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon (Xbox) allow new recruits to experience the battlefields of Eastern Europe exclusively on XBOX Live.

    Game features include:
    - Xbox Live compatible
    - Downloadable content
    - 8 mission single-player campaign set in Cuba
    - 8 multiplayer maps ranging from desert to city to jungle
    - 4 fan-favorite maps from the original Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon (Xbox) for additional Xbox Live play
    - New types of multiplayer gameplay

    Thursday, April 3, 2003

    Majesco Launches 'BlowOut' Web site
    Steve @ 4:38 PM EST
    BlowOut, a next-generation, 3D side-scrolling shooter arriving this Fall gets a new home on the web, as Majesco launches the official BlowOut Web site. The site will offer an exciting array of features that can be found exclusively at: http://www.blowoutgame.com/ .

    Via BlowOut's user-friendly level editor, gamers can create and upload their own levels, or download pre-designed levels from the developer. The Web site will also feature a "Shoutbox" section giving gamers the opportunity to chat in real-time.

    The Web site offers exclusive downloadable movies, screen shots, and special character art designed by the famed Yasushi Nirasawa, who is best known for designing demonic creatures for top video games, including Soul Calibur(tm) and has worked on character designs in movies such as Final Fantasy(tm) and Men in Black(tm).

    BlowOut is a pick-up-and-play, side-scrolling combat action game that uses 3D character models and will be shipping this October 2003 for PlayStation®2, Xbox(tm), and PC.

    IndyCar Series Website
    Steve @ 4:34 PM EST
    New York - April 3, 2003 - Get into the fast lane with Codemasters’ dedicated web site for IndyCar Series, the official game of the most intense open-wheel racing league, at http://www.codemasters.com/indycarseries

    Players take on the role of an Indy Racing League driver as they are tasked to race toward the finish line while skilfully managing the game’s incredibly high speeds, dangerous close pack racing, and fierce competitors. IndyCar Series races onto the PlayStation(R)2 computer entertainment system, the Xbox(TM) videogame system from Microsoft and the PC, this Spring.

    The IndyCar Series web site will fill any petrol head’s tank with information and visuals from both the game and the sport itself. Gamers and race fans alike will be able read profiles on the 29 featured drivers, as well as have access to maps and other detailed information about the sport, including movies of the 14 challenging circuits from the series.

    With the title offering a fresh style for the racing genre, players will be able to get ahead of the pack by registering online to try out the playable PC demo, which will be released in upcoming months.

    Wednesday, April 2, 2003

    THQ Releases Red Faction II
    Steve @ 1:55 AM EST
    CALABASAS HILLS, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--April 1, 2003--THQ(R) Inc. today announced that its critically acclaimed action game, "Red Faction(R) II" has shipped for Nintendo(R) Gamecube(TM), the Xbox(TM) video game system from Microsoft and PC. Featuring an enhanced Geo-Mod(TM) engine that allows players to strategically alter and destroy the game environment in real-time, "Red Faction II" expands and builds upon the experience and technology of the original game with blistering action, an engaging storyline, highly detailed graphics and a number of multi-player options.

    Originally developed for the PlayStation(R) 2 computer entertainment system by THQ's Volition studio, these new versions of "Red Faction II" feature a number of cosmetic enhancements and gameplay improvements. The Gamecube version, developed by THQ's Cranky Pants Games(TM) studio, features custom animations, improved texture resolution and color as well as enhanced lighting specific to the Gamecube hardware. The Xbox and PC versions, developed by THQ's Outrage(R) Games studio, include increased texture resolution, along with exclusive multiplayer maps and character models.

    "We are very pleased to be bringing our original, internally developed `Red Faction II' to Gamecube, Xbox and PC," said Alison Locke, executive vice president, North American publishing, THQ. "In addition to groundbreaking Geo-Mod technology, `Red Faction II' offers gamers a complete entertainment experience with new enhancements and improvements that take advantage of each system's respective hardware."