NewsPro Archive

April 2004

Friday, April 30, 2004

OutRun 2 For Xbox At E3 2004
Steve @ 9:23 PM EDT
LONDON, UK – April 30, 2004 – SEGA Europe Ltd, today announced the development of SEGA's OutRun2 exclusively for the Xbox« video game system from Microsoft. The new game, which will feature enhanced modes for the home console version, is due to be unveiled at the forthcoming E3 2004 Expo, May 12-14, Los Angeles.

The Xbox version of OutRun2 will debut on the SEGA stand at E3 2004, Room 151, Concourse Hall, and the Xbox booth #1246 South Hall, Los Angeles Convention Center and will feature a playable 2 to 4-player networked link-up mode. Developed in the UK by Sumo Digital Ltd, the Xbox conversion will feature the same classic thrill ride as the SEGA-AM2 original and will be enhanced with many new features. Created exclusively for the home console version, some of the new elements of the game will include XboxTM Live support and an extensive new single-player mission-mode, as well as unlockable elements.

Matthew Woodley, European Marketing Director, SEGA Europe Ltd, commented "OutRun2 is one of our most exciting games this year, and after months of speculation, we're delighted to be able to announce its development for Xbox. OutRun is an all-time classic, and OutRun2 is perfectly positioned to build on this legacy and capture a big share of the racing game market. The title delivers a unique driving experience, which we are confident gamers will find hard to resist. The game is looking amazing on Xbox and we're extremely proud to be able to showcase it at this year's E3."

Carl Cavers, Director, Sumo Digital Ltd, added, "For SEGA to choose Sumo to work on OutRun2 is a great honour. I believe our professionalism and passion won us this opportunity and we're enjoying every minute of being involved. We're working hard with both SEGA and AM2 to ensure that the console version of OutRun2 does the arcade original justice and expands its classic gameplay for the home user. It's a delight to be working on one of SEGA's 'Crown Jewels'"

Koei Announces Samurai Warriors for Xbox
Steve @ 9:05 PM EDT
Burlingame, CA – April 29, 2004 – KOEI Corporation, the premier brand for console-based strategy and simulation games today announced that it is publishing SAMURAI WARRIORS for the Xbox video game system from Microsoft. The title is slated to ship to North American retailers this Summer.

Set in 16th century Japan, the fall of the Ashikaga Shogunate caused a series of major wars between individual warlords vying for power. This era in Japanese history became known as the Sengoku or "warring states" period. SAMURAI WARRIORS reveals the stories from this dramatic era and combines it with the Tactical Action excitement for which KOEI has become known.

Gamers can play as the heroic Yukimura Sanada or other legendary warriors including the powerful Nobunaga Oda, and the mysterious ninja, Hanzo Hattori. Their quests will take players to the sprawling Japanese battlefields of Okehazama and Kawanakajima and inside the embattled walls of Osaka Castle. Through 90 stages of epic battles, players will come face-to-face with gun-toting troops, echelons of ninja, and deadly kunoichi (female ninja).

SAMURAI WARRIORS features a new Active Mission System, or AMS, that triggers distinct missions during battle. With 500 variations, the series of missions is unique with each play. The new Auto-Formation System, or AFS, dynamically generates castle levels offering a new experience with each play. With the game’s RPG-style Character Skills System, players can enhance a character’s abilities as they progress through the game.

Learn more about the game and the history behind the characters at the game’s official minisite: http://www.samurai-warriors.com

Thursday, April 29, 2004

SNK E3 Announcement - Metal Slug 3
Steve @ 10:18 PM EDT
WALL, NJ. – April 29, 2004 – SNK NEOGEO USA CONSUMER CORPORATION, will debut an incredible selection of new PlayStation«2, Xbox™ and Game Boy« Advance games at the 2004 E3, which takes place at the Los Angeles Convention Center, from May 12 - 14. Highlighting the company’s booth (South Hall #546) will be the premiere of SNK’s first original THE KING OF FIGHTERS title for the PlayStation 2 computer entertainment system, KOF:MAXIMUM IMPACT.

“We approach E3 loaded with product, content and great expectations for the coming year,” commented Ben Herman, SNK NEOGEO USA CONSUMER CORPORATION president. “We believe that our fans will be thrilled with our line-up of products.”

SNK: The Next Generation

Since its inception in 1994, THE KING OF FIGHTERS has been and continues to be one of the most popular fighting game series in video games. Now, KOF: MAXIMUM IMPACT will be one of the most revolutionary chapters in this franchise’s storied history. The launch of KOF: MAXIMUM IMPACT represents, for the first time, a THE KING OF FIGHTERS game in 3D! KOF: MAXIMUM IMPACT will feature the most popular KOF characters such as Terry Bogard and Kyo Kusanagi all rendered in 3D. The game will also feature several characters brand new to the franchise and a wide assortment of detailed battlegrounds and fighting maneuvers. KOF: MAXIMUM IMPACT will be available September 2004.

SNK’s Xbox Debut

Shipping later this month is SNK’s first game for the Xbox, METAL SLUG 3. Featured exclusively in this month’s issue of Official Xbox Magazine, METAL SLUG 3 is not only true to the arcade classic, it also has brand new features and original missions accessible once certain conditions have been cleared. Players can choose from over 10 new slug vehicles exclusive to METAL SLUG 3, including the Slug Copter and the very unusual Elephant Slug which comes complete with a trunk-spray weapon. METAL SLUG 3 also features Xbox Live leaderboards, allowing players to post their scores.

Coming Exclusively to the Xbox is SNK’s most popular arcade fighter of all time, SNK VS. CAPCOM SVC CHAOS. SVC CHAOS is an incredible clash of 36 world famous fighters from both SNK and Capcom franchises such as THE KING OF FIGHTERS, FATAL FURY, SAMURAI SHODOWN, and Street Fighter. SVC CHAOS includes well-known characters including Mega-Man, Shiki, and Athena and more. SVC is also fully Xbox Live compatible and will be released late September 2004.

Bonus Combination DVD packs on the PlayStation 2 and Xbox PlayStation 2 and Xbox owners can have an instant SNK arcade library in their home with the release of two SNK combination packs for the systems. The classic SNK franchises, METAL SLUG and THE KING OF FIGHTERS will be launched as special two-games-in-one packages during the second half of 2004 and the first half of 2005. METAL SLUG 4 & 5 Combo and THE KING OF FIGHTERS 2002 & 2003 will be available for a consumer-friendly $39.99 MSRP.

METAL SLUG Miniaturized and More!

SNK will debut their first title for the Nintendo Game Boy Advance at
E3 2004. METAL SLUG ADVANCE will feature five, all-new, action-packed
missions plus four mini game stages, and diverse areas and rugged terrain including subterranean dungeons, mysterious ruins, limestone caverns, and lava zones. As an added bonus, METAL SLUG ADVANCE will feature over a 100 different METAL SLUG E-cards to enhance player’s abilities and assist them in the completion of their missions. METAL SLUG ADVANCE will be available in August 2004.

Additionally SAMURAI SHODOWN 5 and SAMURAI SHODOWN 5 SPECIAL are in
development for PlayStation 2 and Xbox. Arcade systems for both and a playable PlayStation 2 version will be on display at the SNK booth.

Colin McRae Rally 2005 In Development
Steve @ 9:59 PM EDT
New York, NY (April 29, 2004) – Rally King, Colin McRae gets his drive of the year as Codemasters today confirmed that Colin McRae Rally 2005, the latest addition to the leading rally video game series, is in development and will launch this fall for the Xbox video game system from Microsoft.

Set to be revealed at the upcoming 2004 E3 Expo, May 12-14 in Los Angeles, Colin McRae Rally 2005 takes the series forward with a massive multi-event Career Challenge, and new online head-to-head rallying, for up to 8 players, on Xbox Live.

The all-new Career Challenge is the steering wheel-gripping heart of Colin McRae Rally 2005. Players will hurtle through over 20 different classes of rally events including Challenges, Cups, SuperCups, Shields and Championships, earning the right to compete against the very best.

Offering real progression and the most diverse selection of rally cars to choose from, drivers will be pummeled through a staggering 300+ stages driving cars from 4-wheel drive, 2-wheel drive, 4-wheel Classics, Super 2-wheel, Rear Wheel, Distinctive and 4x4 classics. Beyond the Career Challenge, there is even more adrenaline-fuelled rally gaming with the title’s 4WD Championship, Rally, Stages and Online gaming modes.

Just when drivers thought a McRae game couldn’t offer more detail or visual splendor, the game’s development team is cramming it in: the new hood-cam and an improved chase cam gives a real sensation of speed and undulation. Enhanced damage and scenery visuals include new individual damage models for every car. Should a driver crash into a tree, it’ll shudder and even drop leaves!

Colin McRae Rally 2005 Key Features:

* Colin McRae Rally 2005 takes the series online for up to 8 players on Xbox Live with more cars, more stages, and new challenges.
* Players drive the most diverse selection of cars through new, non-linear Career Challenge with over 20 individual rally events and over 300+ stages.
* 30+ featured cars include the Volkswagen Golf MK5, Toyota Celica GT-FOUR, Lancia Stratos, Alfa Romeo 147 GTA, Alfetta GTV Turbodelta, Mitsubishi Lancer Evo VIII, Peugeot 206, 205 T16 Evo2 and the distinctive VW Beetle RSi!
* 9 international locations (new German rally joins events through UK, Sweden, USA, Finland, Australia, Spain, Greece, and Japan), in Rally game mode, each with 8 stages. Large, animated spectator crowds cheer you on through the stages.
* Incredible detail: An individual damage model for each car – right down to paintwork scrapes and a ‘dazed’ visual effect as you recover from a crash!

With its perfect car handling, superbly designed stages, and progressive events, Colin McRae Rally 2005 is set to be the most complete and rewarding rally experience when it launches this fall.

Guilty Gear X2 #Reload Coming This Summer
Steve @ 9:54 PM EDT
EDISON, N.J., April 29, 2004 - The popular fighting franchise, Guilty Gear X2 #Reload, makes it's debut on the Xbox(tm) video game system from Microsoft this summer, courtesy of Majesco, a leading publisher of interactive entertainment products. Developed by ARC System Works, Guilty Gear X2 #Reload features Xbox(tm) Live support, offering players head-to-head competition, real-time global rankings, and community support of voice and friends.

"Our ability to identify select properties with an established audience and publish them at an attractive price-point is an advantage we hope to exploit, and Guilty Gear X2 #Reload certainly meets those criteria," said Ken Gold, vice president of Marketing for Majesco Sales Inc. "With hardcore 2D fighting enhanced by compelling multiplayer support via Xbox Live, we are excited to add Guilty Gear X2 #Reload to our product portfolio."

In Guilty Gear X2 #Reload, a newly discovered form of energy has been used to create devastating bio-weapons from fused human and animal DNA. Known as the Gears, they are now intelligent, self-aware creatures set loose upon the populace and threaten human control of the planet.

Feature highlights for Guilty Gear X2: #Reload include:

Nine exciting game modes, including:

o Arcade Mode: where players battle the CPU in elimination battles;

o Medal of Millionaire Mode: a brutal one-fall, medal competition;

o Versus Mode: two-player battles to settle scores including Xbox Live matches;

o Survival Mode: 1,000 levels of endurance;

o Story Mode: featuring multiple endings, players can learn the truth behind the Gears;

o Mission Mode: take on opponents via certain rules and specific conditions;

o Training Mode: customizable training mode allows players to fine-tune their skills;

o 20 characters plus hidden characters and EX characters;

o Signature Instant Kill moves for each character;

ž Thousands of moves and combos including Psych Bursts, Overdrive Attacks and Instant Kill Techniques;

ž Progressive Scan Video Support;

ž Intense metal and rock soundtrack.

Guilty Gear X2 #Reload is scheduled to ship this summer for a suggested retail price of $19.95. More information about Majesco and their entire line up of exciting entertainment products can be found at http://www.majescogames.com

Wednesday, April 28, 2004

New Details Emerge For ESPN NFL 2005
Steve @ 4:49 PM EDT
SAN RAFAEL, CA (April 28, 2004) - ESPN Videogames revealed today new details about their upcoming football title, ESPN NFL 2005. ESPN NFL 2005 will introduce several original features in Franchise Mode, the completely new Total Control Tackling(tm) system, and further builds upon the exciting ESPN presentation elements that include incorporation of ESPN personalities Suzy Kolber, Trey Wingo, and Mel Kiper, as well as an expanded role for Chris Berman.

ESPN NFL 2005 features Maximum Tackle(tm), a new dynamic gameplay mechanic that gives gamers a deeper level of control on both offense and defense. On offense as the ball carrier, the player can fight for extra yards while being tackled; with superstar players, there's even a good chance of breaking out of tackles. On defense, players now have full control when making tackles where they can choose to go for the big highlight hit, or the textbook wrap-up on opponents. Total Control Tackling(tm) adds a new dimension to the on-field game, offering a realistic and exciting gameplay experience.

Many enhancements have been made to ESPN NFL 2005's Franchise mode. Couch coaches hungering for the next innovations will be amazed with several new additions including week-to-week prep of the team's training and workout schedules, the ability to direct the coaches focus, and a new watch-and-react visual simulator.

Further realizing the commitment to telecast quality, ESPN NFL 2005 will feature energetic Suzy Kolber as both sideline and post-game interview reporter. SportsCenter anchor Trey Wingo, and ESPN NFL Draft guru Mel Kiper Jr. offer insight and opinion on the happenings in the NFL. A true-to-life representation of Chris Berman will provide game wrap-ups and all the hard-hitting highlights from the week's games.

ESPN Videogames are produced by Visual Concepts - Sega's sports studio. For more information on the games, visit http://www.espnvideogames.com

Activision Releases Shrek 2
Steve @ 3:19 PM EDT
In Stores Tuesday, May 4th

Santa Monica, CA - April 28, 2004 - Consumers can experience the humor, magic and fun of DreamWorks' highly anticipated "Shrek 2" feature film with the release of the Shrek 2 video game from Activision, Inc. Gamers can now immerse themselves in the epic adventure by playing as the film's main characters Shrek, Donkey, Princess Fiona and Puss-in-Boots, as well as original characters created for the game. Players journey through 11 action-packed levels that include film locales and locations exclusive to the game. Shrek 2 is currently available on the PlayStation2 computer entertainment system, the Xbox video game system from Microsoft and Nintendo GameCube for a suggested retail price of $49.99. The Game Boy Advance and PC versions are available for a suggested retail price of $29.99. The game has been rated "E" ("Everyone" - comic mischief, violence - content suitable for persons ages 6 and older) by the ESRB.

"The Shrek 2 video game offers fans an expanded version of Shrek's world where they can relive favorite movie moments and embark upon a host of all new adventures," said Kathy Vrabeck, president, Activision Publishing. "The game delivers more of the green ogre's twisted fairy tale adventure which is sure to appeal to fans of all ages."

Shrek 2 lets players control a team of four characters, mastering each one's unique skills and switching between them to complete wild and challenging adventures while dodging and defeating enemies. Numerous puzzles challenge fans to work their way out of difficult situations and mini-games provide them with additional adventures to master.

In the console versions of Shrek 2, players can also experience "Hero Time," special adventures that highlight certain characters alone, focusing on that character's special skills and moves. Additionally, the console games feature a multiplayer component that allows up to four players to join and leave the game without interrupting gameplay.

Monday, April 26, 2004

Midway Arcade Treasures 2 Announced
Steve @ 3:30 PM EDT
CHICAGO - April 26, 2004 - Midway Games Inc., a leading interactive entertainment industry publisher and developer, today announced Midway Arcade Treasures 2, a compilation of classic Midway arcade games together on one disk. The sequel to the successful 2003 launch of Midway Arcade Treasures, Midway Arcade Treasures 2 is currently in development and scheduled to ship Fall 2004 for the PlayStation«2 computer entertainment system, the Xbox« video game system from Microsoft and the Nintendo GameCube™ with a suggested retail price of $19.99.

Midway Arcade Treasures 2 features hundreds of hours of classic gameplay action from all-time arcade favorites including the blood-spurting intensity of Mortal Kombat, Mortal Kombat« II and Mortal Kombat« 3, the multiplayer collaboration of Gauntlet« 2, the drug-busting adventure of NARC and the no-holds-barred street fighting action of Pit Fighter™, just to name a few.

"Midway Arcade Treasures has been so well-received that it was an easy decision to give gamers more of what they want while, at the same time, help to evolve Midway's classic arcade titles to today's next generation gaming consoles," said Steve Allison, chief marketing officer, Midway. "Midway Arcade Treasures 2 features many of the arcade era's biggest hits such as, Mortal Kombat, Primal Rage« and Cyberball 2072 that once ruled arcades across the nation."

With Midway Arcade Treasures 2, gamers will have the option of enjoying their favorite games in one-to-four-player game formats, depending on the title, and will experience a collection of classic titles that represent a fresh, new era in gaming relative to other "classic" game compilations. The bonus DVD content in the game will also feature several classic video montages of original commercials, launch trailers and making of the game videos for several of the classic arcade titles included on the disk.

Midway Arcade Treasures 2 Includes:

More than 20 classic arcade games including:

A.P.B.™
Arch Rivals
Championship Sprint™
Cyberball 2072 Gauntlet 2
Hard Drivin'«
Mortal Kombat
Mortal Kombat II
Mortal Kombat III
NARC
Pit Fighter
Primal Rage
Rampage World Tour
Spy Hunter« 2
Steel Talons™
STUN Runner™
Timber™
Total Carnage
Wizard of Wor™
Xenophobe«
Xybots™

- Nonstop Action - Hundreds of hours of classic gameplay action
- Multiplayer Gameplay - One-to-four player gameplay
- Xbox Live - Post high scores and decide the world champion

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, Xbox, Nintendo GameCubeTM and Game Boy« Advance.

For more information about Midway Games and Midway Arcade Treasure 2, visit http://www.midway.com


Note: This looks awesome! The Mortal Kombat Trilogy, Arch Rivals, Pit Fighter, and more! I'm pumped!

Friday, April 23, 2004

We're Going to E3
Steve @ 6:09 PM EDT
Hello all Xbox Exclusive readers,

We will be attending E3 2004, and this will be our first time ever attending this event. Of course we have our own questions lined up, but we really want you to let us know what to ask developers and publishers. You can mention any game, and we will try our best to get you the answers when we go to LA.

Post everything on our boards at this thread.

Thanks.

ShellShock Nam'67 Website Launch
Steve @ 3:35 PM EDT
ShellShock Nam'67 Website is Armed and Ready

Vietnam in 1967 wasn't the best place. Most of us were too young to experience the fury of this war...until now. Eidos is bringing you ShellShock: Nam'67 this summer. All the intense fighting, the nerve racking patrols, the full fury of war will be unleashed upon you. Head over to the following web coordinates and see for yourself what's in store for you in ShellShock.

ShellShock Nam'67 website: http://www.shellshockgame.com

Need For Speed Underground 2 Coming
Steve @ 3:07 PM EDT
REDWOOD CITY, Calif.--April 23, 2004--Electronic Arts today announced the development of Need For Speed(TM) Underground 2 under the EA GAMES(TM) brand. Need for Speed Underground 2 is the sequel to Need for Speed Underground, which has sold more than five million copies worldwide since its release in November 2003.

Need for Speed Underground 2 will challenge gamers to immerse themselves in the tuner culture, exploring an expansive, free-roaming city divided into five distinct neighborhoods. Gamers will encounter rival racers who will initiate events, tip players off to the hottest racing spots, and show them where to buy the most sought-after licensed aftermarket upgrades.

The game will feature new game modes, deep new performance customization and tuning, and more than 30 licensed cars. The game also delivers twice the visual customization upgrades as the original game, providing a staggering 70 billion possible car combinations for total automotive self-expression.

Need for Speed Underground 2 is currently under development by EA Canada and is scheduled for release in fall 2004 for the PlayStation(R)2 computer entertainment system, Xbox(R) video game system from Microsoft, Nintendo GameCube(TM), PC, and Game Boy(R) Advance. This game has not yet been rated by the ESRB.

Thursday, April 22, 2004

The Strokes to Appear on Xbox Live
Steve @ 1:17 PM EDT
Xbox Live™'s "Game With Fame" is offering gamers a chance to play against New York rockers The Strokes on April 27. Appearing on Xbox Live for the first time, The Strokes will be going head-to-head with gamers in Top Spin and ESPN Major League Baseball from 1-3 p.m. PDT. Gamers looking to join The Strokes for a sporting afternoon on Xbox Live should head to the official "Game with Fame" site (http://www.xbox.com/en-US/news/events/gamewithfame.htm) for more details. The Strokes are currently on tour supporting their most recent release, Room On Fire. For more information on The Strokes, please visit their official site at http://www.thestrokes.com/

Top Spin is the complete tennis experience that allows gamers to define their playing style, take risks, pull off world-class tennis shots, taunt opponents and work the crowd to develop a unique image on the court. As part of the XSN Sports brand, Top Spin offers tennis fans the ability to create and compete in their own online tournaments via Xbox Live while keeping track of hard-earned stats on their own virtual sports page, the centralized website XSNsports.com.

ESPN Major League Baseball offers a true-to-life baseball experience with stunning realism, ESPN telecast elements and online gameplay. Innovative visuals include integration of revamped stadiums, broken bats, mound conferences, and more into the game. More information on ESPN Major League Baseball is available at the game's official Web site at http://www.espnvideogames.com/mlb/.

Xbox Live's "Game With Fame" promotion gives game fans the opportunity to play on Xbox Live against some of today's hottest stars. Past "Game with Fame" celebrity players include Big Boi from OutKast, Jonathan Davis from KoRn and the members of New Found Glory. For further information on other Xbox Live events, be sure to visit the "Game with Fame" Web site at http://www.xbox.com/en-US/news/events/gamewithfame.htm

Backyard Wrestling 2 Hitting Stores This Fall
Steve @ 1:09 PM EDT
San Francisco, CA (April 22, 2004) - Eidos, one of the world’s leading publishers and developers of entertainment software, today announced its return to the world of extreme wrestling with Backyard Wrestling 2: There Goes The Neighborhood. The sequel to the genre-bending phenomenon Backyard Wrestling: Don’t Try This At Home, Backyard Wrestling 2: There Goes The Neighborhood is currently in development by Paradox and will be available for videogame consoles including the Xbox« video game system from Microsoft in the Fall of 2004 in North America.

"Harnessing the power of the Enviro-Mental™ gameplay engine, Backyard Wrestling 2: There Goes The Neighborhood will continue blazing the trail of unprecedented environmental interaction and over the top violence,” says Kevin Gill, Brand Manager at Eidos. “The inclusion of online play will finally allow gamers to deliver pain to opponents from around the world. With its completely re-designed and expanded create-a-wrestler system, an impressive new grappling system, more diverse move-set, solid hardcore soundtrack, and online play, BYW2 offers the complete wrestling package this Fall.”

Eidos has partnered with Quazal to incorporate online play into BackYard Wrestling 2. Quazal's SyncSim for Net-Z engine is a deterministic networking system, allowing stations to connect and play against each other with no chance of divergence. So, when gamers have got an opponent lined up for a moonsault off of a ladder, and timing is critical, they know that everything is synchronized perfectly between the connected stations. You can learn more about Net-Z at http://www.quazal.com

“We’re really happy to have Backyard Wrestling 2: There Goes The Neighborhood be the first title to ship with support for Quazal’s Net-Z SyncSim technology,” said Mike Drummelsmith, Developer Relations Manager at Quazal. “The Net-Z SyncSim tech allowed Paradox and Eidos to rapidly bring the game online, and let them focus their development on making the best playing online game possible.”

Backyard Wrestling 2: There Goes The Neighborhood places gamers deep in the heart of Small Town America, USA. Backyard Wrestling Inc. has announced "your town" as the location of its first live pay per view. They've put a million dollars cash prize on the line for the wrestler who's got what it takes to destroy every obstacle in their way to the main event and ultimately the unified BYW championship.

Defeating the most hardcore backyard wrestlers will not be enough, as the lure of "easy money" has attracted the attention of the most violent professional wrestlers to ever set foot in a ring. When hardcore backyard brawlers, chair-swinging backyard babes and blood thirsty professional wrestlers choose your town as their battle field...There Goes The Neighborhood!

The genre-busting Backyard Wrestling 2: There Goes The Neighborhood boasts an extensive list of new features further breaking the mold of today’s traditional wrestling titles. The implementation of the Enviro-Mental™ engine in BYW2 delivers an unprecedented level of interaction with environments, objects and non-player characters. The new and improved graphic system delivers more polygons on the characters and higher resolution textures in the environments. A completely revamped wrestling and animation system raises the ability to inflict copious amounts of pain to an opponent to nearly infinite levels. Standing and ground based submissions, multi-position grappling, a block button body and an even deeper location-specific damage system all play into the carnage!

Players will battle through both an enhanced single player experience, complete with death matches and a "quest for the belt" mode, or the ever popular, greatly expanded multi-player scenarios. The addition of Online game-play places the mayhem of BYW2 directly in your living room. Talk trash straight to your opponent using the USB Headset and establish yourself as the number one wrestler with the complete online ladder bracketing system. The list of licensed backyard brawlers has grown immensely, including stars from the explosive home video series, as well as some of the craziest pro wrestlers to ever set foot in a ring. The completely redesigned Create-A-Wrestler System allows gamers to get creative and craft their own alter-ego with. The new robust C.A.W. allows for the customization of a backyard brawler from the ground up, including Tattoo's, Face Paint, Customized Clothing, and more!

EA Announces The URBZ
Steve @ 1:03 PM EDT
REDWOOD CITY, Calif., April 21, 2004 – Electronic Arts today announced that The URBZ(*working title) is in development for the PlayStation«2 computer entertainment system, the Xbox« video game system from Microsoft, the Nintendo GameCube™, and the Nintendo Game Boy« Advance. For the first time, Sims are living in the city where reputation (rep) is everything. Players will custom-create these new Sims, called Urbz, by customizing their unique style and building their status to become the biggest “player” in the city. The URBZ will be unveiled to industry insiders on May 12-14 at the Electronic Entertainment Exposition in Los Angeles. The URBZ is scheduled to be released simultaneously on all platforms in the fall of 2004.

“We’re taking The Sims on console franchise in a dramatic new direction. Now that Sims are in the city they are now known as Urbz, they have a bold new look and style,” said Sinjin Bain, Vice President and Executive Producer of the game at EA’s Maxis studio. “For the first time, players will control Urbz at every moment of gameplay, while they are on the job, earning their street rep, or exploring a city that is alive 24/7.”

About the console versions

Players will take their Urbz to work and be challenged by bosses at locations like the Sushi Bar, Chop Shop, or Bootleg Fireworks, Inc. Success brings the player well-earned promotions and gets them access to power socials to help them influence other Urbz. The fast-paced lifestyles in The URBZ is evident in gameplay including job challenges based on a direct-control mechanic for job objects, skill-building objects, and power social interactions.

The URBZ is built on an all-new graphics engine that recreates the essence of living in a vibrant city with distinct districts inhabited by Urbz with unique lifestyles. The game’s style captures the pulse of the action-packed downtown, ritzy shopping districts, Bohemian artist workshops, and a gritty subway station. Players create their Urbz using a new character customization engine to show off attitude and unique style, as well as signature “bling” such as tattoos and nose rings.

Players build relationships to increase their rep, influence other Urbz, and gain access to city districts, jobs, and lifestyles. Gaining access to all districts in the city, being able to live in any district, live any lifestyle, and become the biggest “player” in the city is the ultimate goal.

Wednesday, April 21, 2004

New Xbox Live Features and Subscription Options
Steve @ 8:48 PM EDT
Xbox Live Offers New Subscription Options, New Live Features and Broadens Worldwide Community

The first of a new wave of features on Xbox Live will greet subscribers when they log into the world's largest online gaming service after an update this Wednesday. Starting on Wednesday, April 21st at 6 a.m., Xbox Live servers will be offline for as long as 24 hours while new features are added. Once back online, gamers will be able to send Voice Messages with their friend and game invites to other gamers, further personalizing their online gaming experience. Voice Messages are just one of several new upcoming features on gamers' wish lists worldwide and further validates Xbox Live as the innovation leader in the online gaming category.

Additionally, game developers are currently being provided with new Live features that, when incorporated into their games, will afford gamers the following benefits:

  • Teams: Gamers will be able to easily form teams and notify them of matches, strategies and even upcoming competitions.
  • Competitions: Empowers gamers to easily create their own tournaments while in-game; as easy as creating, inviting and playing for all their favorite games across any game genre.
  • Online Content Swapping: Title managed online storage allows gamers to create and share mottos, emblems, and custom content and create and update maps, rosters, and other environment data.
  • Level Playing Field Technology: New arbitration and reliability technologies reduce players' ability to cheat online, while increasing reliability ratings for all players and penalizing actions like disconnects during games.

    Many of these new features are expected to debut later this year with new Xbox Live titles. By this time next month, there will be more than 100 Xbox Live-enabled titles available to consumers, the most available online titles on any video games platform.

    In addition to the new Xbox Live features, Microsoft Corp. also announced the availability of a new three-month subscription Xbox Live Starter Kit, introducing an already rapidly growing online community with a more broad and diverse pool of gamers. The new Starter Kit offers consumers a new, more accessible, three-month subscription to Xbox Live, an Xbox Live Communicator and game demos of "MechAssault" (Microsoft Game Studios) and "Moto GP" (THQ.) The new three-month Xbox Live Starter Kit will be available for $39.99.

    Next week, the 12-month Xbox Live Starter Kit will be updated and packaged with a 12-month subscription to Xbox Live, an Xbox Live Communicator and a full version of the award-winning "Crimson Skies: High Road to Revenge," from Microsoft Game Studios. "Crimson Skies: High Road to Revenge" launched in the fall of 2003 to glowing reviews highlighting the software's stunning graphics and superior Xbox Live gameplay. The standard Xbox Live Starter Kit is available at $69.99.

    Godzilla: Save the Earth Announced
    Steve @ 8:08 PM EDT
    LOS ANGELES - April 21, 2004 - Atari is returning Godzilla« and his titanic sized foes to video game consoles this Fall with Godzilla«: Save the Earth, an epic action adventure game featuring grand scale nuclear-powered monster-bashing mayhem. Based on the classic character movie license from Toho Co., Ltd., Godzilla«: Save the Earth will faithfully recreate the look and feel of the gargantuan film legend and take the fighting element of Godzilla«: Destroy All Monsters Melee - Atari's smash fighting game which originally shipped in 2002 -- to the next level with an all new Action Mode and online multiplayer fighting. Godzilla«: Save the Earth is expected to be available Fall 2004 on the PlayStation«2 computer entertainment system and Xbox(tm) video game system from Microsoft.

    "Godzilla«: Save the Earth combines the epic scope that is the hallmark of the landmark movies with an amazing single-player Action Mode to create the definitive adventure fighting game on any system," said Peter Wyse, executive producer at Atari. "With more monsters, more cities and more radioactive monster bashing, Godzilla« fans won't believe the authenticity, while fighting and adventure gamers will have a unique experience with one of the best known film legends in the world!"

    Players will have nine game modes to choose from, including Action, the mission-based single-player game; Challenges, a series of single-player challenges to complete; Custom, where players can set the parameters of a fight; Versus, the classic one-on-one melee battle; and many more. The game also includes mini games, including rail-type arcade sequences.

    In the single-player game, G-Force scientists have cracked Godzilla«'s genetic code from samples obtained during the Vortaak invasion. Scientists have refined the code to grow super-enriched "Godzilla«-Matter" -- a virtually indestructible substance with the exact physical properties as Godzilla«'s radioactive back spikes. The Vortaak learn of the Godzilla« Matter and strike Monster Island in an attempt to steal G-Cells and seize control of Earth's monsters. As Godzilla«, the player awakens and fights to stop the UFOs from stealing G-Cells, and to free his fellow monsters from captivity. Throughout the game's missions, Vorticia sends waves of monsters, UFOs, mind-controlled military and earth-threatening devices at Godzilla«, who must fight to defeat the enemies and find the hidden G-Cells before the UFOs can steal them.

    The epic battle for Earth will range across the globe in more than a dozen massive, destructible city environments, including San Francisco, Los Angeles, Tokyo, Osaka and New York. Environments have been enhanced and enlarged, featuring hills, oceans, harbors and mountains. All structures in the game have advanced destruction mechanics, enabling them to be partially damaged or completely destroyed through multiple impacts. Striking larger buildings will produce dynamically generated gouges that expose the internal skeletal structure before they eventually crumble to the ground.

    Both the PlayStation«2 and Xbox versions will feature a variety of online multiplayer options for up to four players where gamers can smash, bash and trash opposing monsters and cities in gargantuan online melees. Player will be able to go head-to-head, three- or four-player free-for-all, or team up for two-on-two combat.

    Godzilla« will face off against more than 18 classic Toho movie monsters, each carefully designed to recreate the authentic film look and feel. Monsters include Godzilla« 2000 and 90s, King Ghidorah, Gigan, Mothra, SpaceGodzilla, Biollante and many more.

    Top 10 Xbox Games of March 2004
    Steve @ 3:52 PM EDT
    This is the top Xbox 10 game list of March 2004 from NPD.

    1. Ninja Gaiden - Tecmo
    2. Splinter Cell: Pandora Tomorrow - Ubisoft
    3. MVP Baseball 2004 - EA
    4. Halo - Microsoft
    5. The Suffering - Midway
    6. Bond 007: Everything or Nothing - EA
    7. MX Unleashed - THQ
    8. Mafia - Take 2
    9. Grand Theft Auto: Double Pack - Rockstar
    10. Need for Speed Underground - EA

    Ultra Bust-A-Move Announced for Xbox Live
    Steve @ 3:02 PM EDT
    EDISON, NJ, April 21, 2004 - Majesco Sales Inc., the sole operating subsidiary of ConnectivCorp, today announced plans to publish Ultra Bust-A-Move for the Xbox(r) video game system from Microsoft. The latest version from the addictive, bubble-bursting video game franchise features five new puzzle types, hundreds of puzzles and full Xbox(tm) Live support, including head-to-head play.

    "The highly addictive game play of Ultra Bust-A-Move has established this franchise as a timeless classic and Majesco is pleased to bring the latest incarnation to the Xbox," said Ken Gold, Vice President of Marketing for Majesco. "With the opportunity for consumers to compete via Xbox Live and with the addition of advanced features such as a 3D puzzle mode, both long-time fans and newcomers to the franchise will enjoy the 2004 version."

    In Ultra Bust-A-Move, players launch randomly colored balls from the bottom of the field in an attempt to attach them to bubbles of the same color. Once three bubbles of the same color are touching, they pop, causing all connected bubbles to drop. Players keep going until all the bubbles are gone.

    Additionally, Xbox Live features such as Friends List, Voice and Xbox Live Aware will be supported. Players can also compete to be the top player through Ultra Bust-A-Move's Xbox Live Ranking system.

    Developed by Taito, Ultra Bust-A-Move is scheduled to ship in the fall.

    For additional information regarding Majesco's entire lineup of games, please visit the website at http://www.majescogames.com

    Tuesday, April 20, 2004

    Hitman: Contracts Ships
    Steve @ 11:55 PM EDT
    San Francisco, CA (April 20, 2004) - Eidos, one of the world's leading publishers and developers of entertainment software, today announced that its highly-anticipated, action-stealth game Hitman: Contracts, developed by IO Interactive, has shipped to stores across North America for the PlayStation«2 computer entertainment system, the Xbox« video game system from Microsoft and the PC and will be available at retail beginning April 21, 2004 in North America.

    "Hitman: Contracts serves as Eidos' largest North American video game launch since 1998." said Rob Dyer, president of Eidos US. "We are very pleased with the excellent work IO interactive have done to further establish Hitman as one of the premier video game brands."

    Hitman: Contracts delivers more action-packed and suspenseful missions, with a greater variety of ways to make the perfect hit and an increased arsenal of firearms and close-combat weapons. A new graphics engine showcases Hitman’s ‘work’ in brutal detail and brings new locations to life. An improved control system and more gradual learning curve will ensure that the game is accessible to all aspiring hitmen.

    Hitman: Contracts takes you into the mind of Agent 47, the most ruthlessly efficient contract killer in history. The game begins in Paris as Agent 47 finds himself in a trapped in what is a dangerous situation, even for him. Hitman: Contracts explores the dark psychology of killing for a living and promises to be the darkest, most disturbing episode in the series.

    Rockstar Ships Manhunt for Xbox
    Steve @ 1:26 PM EDT
    NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--April 20, 2004--Rockstar Games, the world-renowned publishing division of Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc., has shipped Manhunt for PC and for the Xbox(R) video game system from Microsoft to North American retailers. Manhunt for the PC and Xbox will reach retail shelves in Europe on April 23, 2004. Manhunt was developed by Rockstar North, the team behind the global blockbuster Grand Theft Auto franchise.

    "We are extremely excited for PC and Xbox gamers to finally experience Rockstar North's latest success," Sam Houser, President of Rockstar Games said about Manhunt. "Manhunt takes stealth gameplay beyond what anyone has ever seen and we are extremely proud to bring this superb game to a new audience."

    "In addition to reaching new heights with outstanding graphic and audio achievements, we wanted to make Manhunt the ultimate stealth-action game," said Leslie Benzies, President of Rockstar North. "By turning the tables on the player, stripping them of power and making them fight for their lives with inventive play mechanics, we have succeeded in making Manhunt like nothing else out there."

    In Manhunt, you are James Earl Cash, a death row inmate that has been sentenced to death by lethal injection. However, in a twist of fate, you are revived after a mock execution to the sound of your own panicked breath. Now, they are going to hunt you down in an organized blood sport where you are the prey. If you stay alive long enough, you may discover the identity of your captor. To survive his deadly game, you must run, fight and hide.

    Manhunt is a tale of survival and urban horror that made an immediate impact on the gaming world when it was released for the PlayStation(R)2 computer entertainment system in November of 2003. Hailed by The Chicago Tribune as "the most important game of the last five years," Manhunt has earned critical and commercial success due to its innovative gameplay and gritty visual style.

    Additional information about Manhunt is available at http://www.rockstargames.com/manhunt

    Monday, April 19, 2004

    Crash ‘n’ Burn Announced by Eidos
    Steve @ 3:49 PM EDT
    San Francisco, CA (April 19, 2004) -- Eidos, one of the world’s leading publishers and developers of entertainment software, announces it has signed a development deal with Climax. Climax’s Brighton studio is developing Crash ‘n’ Burn, an arcade driving game for the video game consoles, which will be released in the Fall of 2004.

    Crash ‘n’ Burn is a racing game where the focus is on aggressive and dangerous driving. The game features online support for 16 players and will be Eidos’ first online console game. Crash ‘n’ Burn will be showcased on the Eidos stand at this year’s Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3), which takes place in Los Angeles from May 12-14.

    Dave Rose, European development director of Eidos says: “Based on their renowned expertise and previous successes, Climax was the ideal choice for this project. Climax has a proven track record in developing quality driving games and a great understanding of what makes a compelling online console experience.”

    Tony Beckwith, managing director of Climax says: "We've been able to use the technology and expertise gained from driving games like the MotoGP series to allow us to focus strongly on gameplay, and we think the results are going to resonate with gamers. The driving genre has become very predictable and conservative over recent years and creating a new brand has given us the opportunity to understand what made us love vehicle-based games in the first place."

    Psi-Ops Official Website Now Live
    Steve @ 1:56 PM EDT
    Midway Games Inc., a leading interactive entertainment publisher and developer, today announced the debut of the official Psi-Ops Web site ( http://www.psiopsgame.com ). Gamers can now go online to experience the latest action-packed movies, stunning screenshots and most in-depth character and gameplay information available. The site will be updated on a weekly basis with fresh assets, adrenaline pumping movies and trailers that will give viewers just a taste of what’s to come when Psi-Ops ships on June 14th for the PlayStation(R)2 computer entertainment system and the Xbox(R) videogame system from Microsoft. In the upcoming weeks the Web site will also feature a special training level that will showcase the variety of gameplay included in Psi-Ops. This training level will highlight numerous ways to complete a specific puzzle by using an amalgamation of Psi Powers including Telekinesis, Pyrokinesis, Mind Control and Mind Drain.

    Your mind is the ultimate weapon(TM) in Psi-Ops: The Mindgate Conspiracy, an action/adventure game that melds the extensive use of Psi (mind) powers with traditional weapons combat. Providing gamers unique gameplay attributes that set it apart from others in the genre, Psi-Ops: The Mindgate Conspiracy casts players as Nick Scryer, an elite American Psi-operative soldier that must take down The Movement, a terrorist organization set to overthrow world order. Scryer must fight strategically against The Movement by using his Psi powers; Telekinesis, Mind Control, Pyrokinesis, Mind Drain, Aura View and Remote Viewing, in order to win a very serious “mind game” against an amassed army of brainwashed terrorist super soldiers and powerful Psi agents.

    Wednesday, April 14, 2004

    Ubisoft to Publish New Franchise: Brothers in Arms
    Steve @ 4:26 PM EDT
    San Francisco, CA - April 13, 2004 - Ubisoft, one of the world's largest video game publishers, today reinforces its strategy to dominate the war games market by announcing a long-term deal with award-winning developer Gearbox Software to publish a new military franchise: Brothers in Arms™. With its breakthrough squad-based combat mechanism and unprecedented realism, the first game in the series is poised to revolutionize the WWII genre when it ships on consoles and PC starting Holiday 2004.

    "The WWII theme is one of the fastest growing segments of the military shooter market and we believe that Brothers in Arms is the ideal title to expand Ubisoft's new catalog of war games," said Yves Guillemot, CEO and President of Ubisoft. "We were blown away by the immersive and realistic combat we experienced when playing this game and anybody who knows the reputation of Gearbox Software will understand the magnitude of this deal."

    Created by Texas-based Gearbox Software, Brothers in Arms is the most realistic and authentic WWII shooter ever. While other WWII games have sugarcoated the war experience, Brothers in Arms is based on a true story and will immerse gamers into the gritty, uncensored and emotionally-charged side of war. The game puts you in the shoes of Sgt. Matt Baker, a D-Day paratrooper squad leader, and asks you to lead the squad as you balance their lives with the success of the mission. The true stories and historical events you experience on your perilous journey take you through real battlefields meticulously recreated from aerial reconnaissance images, US Army Signal Corps photos and eye-witness accounts of war-torn Normandy. Players of allskill levels can battle their way through this intense experience because of Brothers in Arms innovative and accessible command and control system.

    "Ubisoft's proven know-how publishing realistic, tactical shooters make an ideal partnership with Gearbox as we create this new franchise," said Randy Pitchford, President of Gearbox Software. "With years of research and game design innovation supporting this title, gamers should be ready for an authentic story, a fresh game play design and the ultimate WWII combat experience."

    Tuesday, April 13, 2004

    Hitman: Contracts Goes Gold
    Steve @ 3:36 PM EDT
    San Francisco, CA (April 13, 2004) – Eidos, one of the world's leading publishers and developers of entertainment software, today announced that its highly-anticipated, action-stealth game Hitman: Contracts, developed by IO Interactive, has gone gold for the PlayStation«2 computer entertainment system, the Xbox« video game system from Microsoft and the PC and will be available at retail beginning April 21, 2004 in North America. The release of Hitman: Contracts will be supported by a massive multi-million dollar marketing campaign – one of the largest to-date by Eidos North America.

    “As the follow-up to the multi-million unit selling Hitman 2: Silent Assassin, Hitman: Contracts is one of this year’s “must-have” titles for gamers. Eidos will unleash an exciting marketing campaign with tremendous reach and frequency to back the next installment,” said Paul Baldwin, Vice President of Marketing for Eidos Inc.

    Hitman: Contracts will be backed by an in-depth marketing campaign encompassing television, radio, print, online, channel and public relations activities. The multi-million dollar “make the hit” television campaign features four different 15 and 30-second spots, which will run for a total of six weeks beginning two weeks prior to the game’s in-store date. The radio campaign will run nationwide for two months on the Howard Stern Show, and it will feature live reads and sponsorship in the second annual “Mrs. Butterface” contest during the week of May 10, 2004. Hitman: Contracts’ print effort includes ads slated to run in lifestyle publications such as FHM, Blender, Penthouse and Stuff magazines. Eidos will also achieve significant reach via major advertising for the game in all the gaming magazines.

    Additionally, Eidos will charge a focused online campaign, part of which includes releasing the Hitman: Contracts television spot via Interscope Records and the 50 Cent and Eminem DeskSite units. DeskSite is a highly-targeted, customizable, opt-in software program that automatically delivers full-screen, broadcast-quality video entertainment directly to the consumer’s PC desktop.

    On the channel front, major retail promotions will flank high-impact frontline real estate at prominent retail venues such as Best Buy, EB Games, GameStop, Toys ‘R’ Us, Blockbuster, Hollywood Video and more. Eidos will back the Hitman: Contracts launch with pre-order incentives, employee sales programs, and top-tier in-store merchandising and national ad support. In addition, the title will be promoted via mainstream consumer and gaming focused comprehensive public relations campaigns.

    Hitman: Contracts is the follow-up to Hitman 2: Silent Assassin, which to-date has sold more than three million copies since its release in November 2002. The game explores the dark psychology of killing for a living as the player takes on the role of the world’s deadliest assassin, Agent 47. Hitman: Contracts promises to be the most disturbing and action-packed episode of the series. Hitman: Contracts is in development by IO Interactive, the Danish-based studio recently acquired by Eidos. Hitman: Contracts will ship throughout Europe beginning April 30.

    The New Bungie.net - New Halo 2 Info
    Steve @ 1:17 PM EDT
    What is the most anticipated release from Bungie Studios this year? Yep! You guessed it, the launch of the new Bungie.net. (There's also that little game they are working on...) Bungie, the development studio that brought gamers the award-winning Halo and is currently developing the highly anticipated Halo 2 for Xbox, today announced the relaunch of the popular Bungie.net site (http://www.bungie.net/). New content, new technology and a new layout will make it easier for fans to get their fill of Halo and Bungie information. Xbox Live™ gamers can link their gamertags to their Bungie.net accounts, which grants them instant access to their Xbox Live Friends Lists while browsing the new Bungie.net. More importantly, this link to Xbox Live is merely a taste of a much more integrated Halo 2, Xbox Live and Bungie.net experience; details of which will be revealed at a later date.

    During launch week, Bungie will use the site to unveil two exclusive new Halo 2 screenshots along with more never-before-seen (or heard) cool stuff from the game. In addition, Bungie.net will sport a newly revamped "History of Bungie" feature, an interview with Bungie Studios co-founder and Halo 2 project lead Jason Jones, screenshots from Halo's earliest days, team profile pages and a whole lot more to keep fans busy for weeks to come. Also, fans can take a peek around Bungie's studios, courtesy of multiple webcams, while reading the latest posts in the updated forums from fellow gamers and Bungie's team.

    For those fans who can't get enough of life inside Bungie, there will be a "Meet the Bungie Team" contest. The grand prize is a trip to Redmond, WA to meet the Bungie team and get a sneak peek at Halo 2. Runner-up prizes include an autographed special-edition Halo Xbox console, and more. The contest is open only to Bungie.net members who are over 18 years of age and are US residents.

    ToCA Race Driver 2: Ultimate Racing Simulator Ships
    Steve @ 12:52 PM EDT
    New York, NY – April 13, 2004 – Codemasters, a global interactive entertainment software publisher, announced today that its most comprehensive motor sport racing game ever, ToCA Race Driver 2: Ultimate Racing Simulator, has shipped to North American retail outlets for the Xbox« video game system from Microsoft. The PC DVD-ROM version will ship later this week. The title is available at a suggested retail price of $29.99.

    ToCA Race Driver 2 offers the most thrilling range of motor sports available, including GT Sports Car Racing, Street Racing, Rally, DTM, V8 Supercars, Global GT Lights, Rally Cross, Formula Ford, Open Wheel Grand Prix and Classic Car Racing. For the definitive racing experience, players can compete with up to 12 racers online simultaneously via Xboxü Live and PC online.

    "ToCA Race Driver 2 gives players the most authentic and expansive range of racing ever to be offered in one game,” said Steven Lux, Senior Vice President of Marketing, Codemasters. "Codemasters is proud to have once again raised the bar for the racing game genre.”

    ToCA Race Driver 2 gives players the opportunity to get behind the wheel of some of the world’s most powerful racing and streetcars including the Ford GT, Aston Martin Vanquish, Jaguar XKR, Nissan Skyline and AMG-Mercedes CLK. With up to 21 players on the track at once, gamers can battle for position on 50 racing circuits including the Texas Motor Speedway, Pikes Peak International Raceway, Surfers Paradise, Laguna Seca and Road America.


    Additional game features include:

  • 31 championships covering 15 different motor sports.
  • 35 aspirational cars including the Aston Martin DB9 (exclusive), Subaru Impreza WRX, Mitsubishi EVO VII, ABT-Audi TT-R and more.
  • 31 global race locations delivering 50 tracks.
  • Incredible pack racing: up to 21 cars on track at once, battling for position.
  • A stunning new visual engine running 60 frames per second graphics.
  • The most sophisticated physics and car handling engine yet.
  • All new and hugely realistic damage engine.
  • Head to head Xbox Live and PC online functionality.
  • First person interactive storyline drives progression through the Championships.

    For all the latest screens and movies visit the website at:
    http://www.codemasters.com/tocaracedriver2/

    Monday, April 12, 2004

    ESPN NFL 2005 Announced
    Steve @ 8:33 PM EDT
    SAN RAFAEL, CA (April 12, 2004) - ESPN Videogames is proud to announce the next chapter of its critically acclaimed, adrenaline-pumping football series - ESPN NFL 2005. The ESPN NFL series, known for its stalwart football realism exhibited in bold gameplay and stellar animations, will be unleashed in Fall 2004.

    "More than ever before, we're really looking forward to delivering the most satisfying football experience ever in ESPN NFL 2005," states Greg Thomas, president of Visual Concepts, maker of ESPN Videogames. "Fusing the thrill of a real football game atmosphere with revolutionary gameplay features and enhanced graphics, ESPN NFL 2005 truly is a hybrid from other mainstream football games."

    Pioneering some of the most innovative features found in any football game, ESPN NFL 2005 promises sports fans a season full of the most realistic virtual gridiron action and will be available for both the PlayStation«2 computer entertainment system and the Xbox(tm) videogame system from Microsoft«.

    ESPN NFL 2005 and other ESPN Videogames titles are produced by Visual Concepts - Sega's sports studio.

    Friday, April 9, 2004

    Official US TV Commercial of Hitman: Contracts
    Steve @ 6:58 PM EDT
    Agent 47 takes to the airwaves in this bit of cinematic goodness.
    This will be a huge vehicle for getting Hitman: Contracts to the masses. Whether you're sitting down to a nice night of Smackdown, or a tad of Chapelle brilliance, this spot will be everywhere. Don't miss your first official look here. You can stream the video, or download it.

    http://www.eidosinteractive.com/downloads/search.html?gmid=146

    Hitman: Contracts will be on store shelves April 21, 2004 across North America for PS2, Xbox and PC.

    Deus Ex: Invisible War Soundtrack Available
    Steve @ 6:26 PM EDT
    Deus Ex: Invisible War Soundtrack is available for download via the website. Eidos informed us today that Alexander Brandon & Todd Simmons of Ion Storm have scored a subtle masterpiece for Invisible War and now it's all yours for the enjoying. The soundtrack is under the "downloads" section of the site.
    http://www.dxinvisiblewar.com/

    Microsoft Releases Jade Empire Fan Site Kit
    Steve @ 6:10 PM EDT
    Microsoft Game Studios announced today that the official Jade Empire Fan Site Kit (FSK) is now available for download at http://www.xbox.com/en-us/jadeempire/ The Jade Empire FSK (6 MB) includes exclusive screenshots, borders, logos, concept art and a fact sheet to help webmasters turn their sites into everlasting online dynasties. Jade Empire is in development by BioWare Corp. and is scheduled to ship in fall 2004.

    Jade Empire is an action-RPG set in the ancient, mysterious world of mythical China. Players must train under their master’s watchful eye to learn powerful martial arts and mystical powers. When danger threatens, players travel across the world, from the harsh mountains of the Land of Howling Spirits to the lush gardens of the Imperial City. In their adventures, players face powerful human and supernatural foes, learn exotic and magical martial arts and discover the darkest secrets of the world. Only by mastering the greatest fighting styles and defeating the most powerful enemies will players earn their place as a master of martial arts in the world of Jade Empire. For more information about Jade Empire, visit http://www.xbox.com/en-us/jadeempire/ or http://www.jade-empire.com/

    MLG Adds ESPN NBA Basketball to Tournament
    Steve @ 6:05 PM EDT
    Major League Gaming (MLG), the preeminent worldwide console gaming league for professional video game players, has added a new game to its tournament lineup beginning with its next event, “The Dallas Regional”, which is to be held in Dallas, TX on April 17-18, 2004. The added title, ESPN NBA Basketball, will be a part of MLG’s entire 2004 season, which is presented by Nokia N-Gage.

    Format: -Double elimination tournament. Sunday only.

    Registration: -$25 registration. Registration and full tournament details at: http://www.mlgpro.com

    About Major League Gaming

    Major League Gaming (MLG) is the preeminent worldwide console gaming league for professional video game players. Committed to promoting competitive gaming to the level of professional sports in the US and around the world, MLG's qualifying events include 6 regional and 3 "Major" tournaments, with a season ending "Championship"; all are held in top US markets.

    About Visual Concepts Entertainment

    Visual Concepts Entertainment is the maker of the critically acclaimed 2K series of sports games. The company is responsible for the full development, marketing and publishing of all ESPN Videogames titles and is committed to delivering the best, fully integrated sports gaming experience for all consumers.

    Visual Concepts Entertainment is wholly owned by Japan-based SEGA Corporation. ESPN Videogames are produced by Visual Concepts – Sega’s sports studio. For more information on ESPN Videogames visit http://www.espnvideogames.com

    Project Gotham Racing 2 Challenge
    Steve @ 5:59 PM EDT
    Auto enthusiasts, racing fans and gamers from around the world have been issued the challenge to “put the pedal to the metal” in an all-out online battle for racing supremacy. Microsoft today announced Project Gotham Racing« 2’s first-ever international Xbox Live™ online video game tournament. Sponsored by Target, the tournament – which runs from April 17 – May 17, 2004 – will pit the best online racing gamers from three regions against one another in an intercontinental competition of the best-selling, critically acclaimed Xbox« video game, Project Gotham Racing 2.

    Gamers from Canada and the United States that would like to participate in the “Project Gotham Racing 2 International Tournament” can log on to www.xbox.com/en-us/live/tournaments from now until April 17 to register. Gamers from Europe should check the regional Xbox.com URL in their area for more details on how to sign up.

    Over 750,000 Xbox Live members are challenged to race through the game’s “Princes Street East” track in Edinburgh, Scotland and record their best times. The racers with the best seven times – two from the United States, two from Canada and three from Europe – will represent their region as finalists.

    These final seven will receive an all-expense paid trip to Charlotte, N.C. for the “Project Gotham Racing 2 International Tournament” finals, which will take place over Memorial Day weekend at NASCAR’s highly-anticipated “Food Lion Speed Street” event. The finalists will also receive a pass to one of the most celebrated races in NASCAR – the Coca Cola 600 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. In addition, the finals will feature a performance by Island Records recording act, Autopilot Off to celebrate both the tournament and the release of their first full-length album, Make A Sound. But among those seven finalists, there can be only one true champion. One winner will be crowned the world’s best online racer and take home the grand prize package of $5,000, a one-year subscription to Xbox Live and the chance to play against the band members from Autopilot Off.

    One of the largest retailers in the United States, Target, has signed on as official sponsor of the “Project Gotham Racing 2 International Tournament” and will provide gamers with special discounts off the purchase of Project Gotham Racing 2 exclusively in its 1,200 Target stores across the U.S. For more information on this offer and the company’s commitment to video gaming, visit Target’s official website via a link on the tournament registration page www.xbox.com/en-us/live/tournaments

    Thursday, April 8, 2004

    Ubisoft Announces Ghost Recon 2
    Steve @ 4:02 PM EDT
    SAN FRANCISCO--April 8, 2004--Ubisoft, one of the world's largest video game publishers, today confirmed development of Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon(TM) 2, the long-awaited sequel to the best-selling modern military shooter that changed the online multiplayer experience for both PC and console fans around the world. With this title and two other key announcements to come in the next few days, Ubisoft is expanding its lineup of war games to every segment of the military category, from historical to near future, and aggressively positioning itself in the competitive war games market which accounted for 5 out of the top 10 shooter franchises in 2003. The Ghost Recon(TM) franchise contributed greatly to the strength of this segment with more than 5 million copies sold worldwide.

    "Our ultimate goal is to become the primary player in the military shooter game arena, thanks to both our internal studios, proven to be amongst the best in the world in this category, and also through strategic alliances with high profile 3rd party developers," said Yves Guillemot, Ubisoft's President and CEO. "Stay tuned for more announcements that will significantly expand this area of the industry and further reinforce our overall military strategy."

    Developed by Ubisoft's award-winning Red Storm studio, Ghost Recon 2 launches on next-generation consoles and PC this Holiday season. The game is set in the chaotic battlefields of tomorrow, and will offer gamers an insider's view of the way large scale conflicts will be fought in the near future.

    "Ghost Recon has established itself as a mega-selling franchise, and we've retained the core elements that made the first game such a success," said Laurent Detoc, President of Ubisoft, Inc. "But for Ghost Recon 2, we wanted to dial up the intensity and adrenaline to create an experience of total war. We've retooled and improved every aspect of the game, and have integrated a host of incredible new features - and the result is amazing. You will truly feel like you are the hero of a near-future war movie when playing this game."

    Ghost Recon 2 will continue the tradition of intensity and realism associated with Ubisoft's Tom Clancy brand, with an emotionally charged storyline, a completely redesigned graphics engine and the most intuitive gameplay to date, to fully immerse gamers into the chaos of a high tech war. The game will offer more action than ever before, as it puts players in command of an elite squad of special forces thrust into a tense political situation in East Asia. In addition, the top-notch multiplayer action that gamers expect from Red Storm will once again place Ghost Recon at the top of online console and PC gaming and will be a must-have for all online gaming fans this holiday season.

    TY the Tasmanian Tiger 2 Announced
    Steve @ 3:59 PM EDT
    Everyone's favorite Tasmanian Tiger returns to take back the Outback this fall in TY the Tasmanian Tiger(TM) 2, Electronic Arts (Nasdaq:ERTS) announced today.

    TY the Tasmanian Tiger 2 picks up where the original popular action platform game left off. The cast of characters from down under has grown, and so has the action! The evil Boss Cass is up to his old tricks. After breaking out of Currawong Jail, this feathered villain has re-instated himself as the dictatorial ruler of Cassopolis, a high tech island home to lizards and birds. Now Cass has hatched a plan to take over the world with an army of Uber Reptiles. It's up to our boomerang-wielding hero, TY, and his newly formed team of Burramudgee Bush Rescue mates to stop Cass!

    Set in the Outback of Australia, TY the Tasmanian Tiger 2 will offer platform gamers a huge open environment to explore by foot and vehicle. This time around TY is equipped with an arsenal of 21 upgradeable boomerangs, including the Lasharang, Kaboomarang, and Megarang. In addition, the game will feature five different "Mech units" to help TY fight large numbers of enemies and complete mini-missions. With these "Mech units" TY will have the ability to swim under lava; shoot lasers, Blastorangs, water or fire; and much more. TY will also be challenged to complete driving and flying missions featuring combat and puzzle solving, with access to helicopters, submarines, and off-road trucks. Unlockable cart racing mini-games will allow gamers to challenge their friends in seven unique cart racing levels.

    Wednesday, April 7, 2004

    Acclaim Releases Alias
    Steve @ 12:44 AM EDT
    ABC's hit television series, Alias, is currently available for the PlayStation«2 computer entertainment system and the Xbox« video game system from Microsoft, each at suggested retail prices of $49.99. The game will also be available for the PC later this month at a suggested retail price of $29.99.

    Based on ABC's hit television series, Alias is a third-person action adventure that allows players to step into the role of the series' lead character, Sydney Bristow (played by Jennifer Garner), an agent for the CIA. Developed by Acclaim Studios Cheltenham, Alias features the authentic voices of the cast, an original story and script written by the series' writers and producers, a revolutionary in-game split-screen camera, state-of the-art spy gadgetry and the unique combination of action and stealth gameplay.

    For more information on this game, please visit http://www.aliasthegame.com

    ESPN Major League Baseball Ships
    Steve @ 12:25 AM EDT
    SAN RAFAEL, CA-(April 6, 2004)- ESPN Videogames today announced that ESPN Major League Baseball has shipped to major retailers across North America. Boasting stunning visual realism and unparalleled gameplay, ESPN Major League Baseball offers the most authentic baseball experience on the market. ESPN Major League Baseball is the only game to feature ESPN telecast elements and a variety of new features. ESPN Major League Baseball and all other ESPN Videogames titles are produced by Visual Concepts-Sega's sports studio.

    "ESPN Major League Baseball pays homage to the great institution of baseball by creating a product that envelops the player not only in the visual aspects of the game, but the emotional aspects as well," said Greg Thomas, president of Visual Concepts. "Our goal in developing ESPN Major League Baseball was to capture the intensity and thrill of a real baseball game, and we believe we've achieved that with new features like Power Pitching(tm), the Confidence Meter and First Person Baseball."

    Supporting online gameplay for both PlayStation« 2 computer entertainment system and Xbox(tm) videogame system from Microsoftę, ESPN Major League Baseball promises the ultimate baseball experience for aspiring sultans of swing. Innovative visuals include integration of revamped stadiums, broken bats, mound conferences, and more into the game.

    Additionally, players can take complete control of the mound with Power Pitching(tm), taking a more interactive approach by offering new pitches, pitch speeds, pitch interface, and pitch animations.

    In a game where emotions ride high, confidence plays an integral role in the success of a player's pitching, fielding, and hitting. ESPN Major League Baseball takes that into account. The new Confidence Meter measures the amount a player inhibits throughout the duration of the game- the more confidence the player has, the better he performs.

    First Person Baseball continues the legacy of through-the-players-eyes visual innovation found in other ESPN Videogames titles. In ESPN Major League Baseball the distinctive play mode brings the gamer into the action, as they share the same perspective as the pitcher, hitter, base runner, or fielder.

    Adding to the unrivaled ESPN experience are the voice talents of renowned ESPN baseball announcers Jon Miller and Karl Ravech, who provide the in-studio analysis and all the on-field play-by-play action. The integration of ESPN's exclusive presentation elements further enhances the authenticity, immersing the player into ESPN's distinguished telecast atmosphere. New television cut-scenes, close-ups, ESPN-styled wipes, overlays, and K Zone(tm)-- ESPN's exclusive visual pitch analysis -- are used in climatic moments to help build the excitement of the game.

    Tuesday, April 6, 2004

    Midway Acquires Surreal Software (The Suffering)
    Steve @ 1:12 PM EDT
    Chicago, Illinois, April 6, 2004 -- Midway Games Inc. announced today that it expects its operating results for the three months ended March 31, 2004 to be ahead of the financial guidance provided by the Company on February 25, 2004. For the quarter ended March 31, 2004, Midway expects revenues of approximately $18.0 million, or 50% more than the Company’s previously issued revenue guidance of $12.0 million. Midway also projects a net loss for the quarter smaller than the Company’s previously issued guidance of $19.0 million but not proportionate to the increase in the revenue guidance for the quarter. Midway attributed the improved financial outlook primarily to strong initial sales of the Company’s recently released action-horror game The Suffering. Midway released The Suffering for PlayStation 2 and Xbox on March 8, 2004.

    Midway also announced today that it has acquired privately-held Surreal Software Inc., developer of The Suffering, in an all-stock transaction for 540,317 Midway common shares.

    Midway President and Chief Executive Officer David F. Zucker commented, “The positive market reception to The Suffering illustrates our ability to successfully develop and release entirely new properties that resonate strongly with the growing audience of sophisticated, mature gamers. The acquisition of Surreal Software Inc., the visionary developer behind The Suffering, strengthens our internal product development team and reinforces our ability to create high quality games.”

    Surreal Software Inc. is a leading videogame developer that has garnered broad industry acknowledgement for creating high quality, cutting-edge games. First receiving critical acclaim with the 1999 release of Drakan: Order of the Flame, Surreal continued its success with Drakan: The Ancients’ Gates in early 2002. Having grown to two development teams, Surreal developed The Lord of the Rings – The Fellowship of the Ring in late 2002. Surreal most recently developed The Suffering, an original concept action-horror game set in a secluded island prison, for Midway. Surreal is based in Seattle, Washington.

    In addition to shares issued for the acquisition of Surreal Software, a total of 137,199 restricted shares of Midway common stock were issued to key Surreal employees as retention incentives. The restrictions on the stock will lapse in stages over a period of three years, provided the employee remains employed by the Company. The Surreal employees who received restricted shares were: Richard Rouse, Todd Clineschmidt, Andre Maguire, Tom Vykruta, Jason Merck, Beau Folsom, Brigitte Samson, Scott Cummings, Andrew Poon, Boyd Post, Joe Olson, Eric Snyder and Garret Smith.

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

    Monday, April 5, 2004

    Fight Night 2004 Ships
    Steve @ 2:51 PM EDT
    REDWOOD CITY, Calif. -- April 5, 2004-- Electronic Arts today announced that its new boxing game, EA SPORTS(TM) Fight Night 2004 has begun shipping to retail locations nationwide for the PlayStation(R)2 computer entertainment system and Xbox(R) video game system from Microsoft(R). The game is published under the EA SPORTS brand and features Light Heavyweight Champion of the World Roy Jones Jr. as its cover athlete.

    Built from the ground up to deliver the bone-crushing action of championship boxing, EA SPORTS Fight Night 2004 is an all-new boxing game that features Total Punch Control, a revolutionary all-analog control system. Total Punch Control allows gamers to throw punches, block, bob, and weave with unprecedented fluidity and precision by instinctively using the controller's thumbsticks. The game also includes a deep create-a-player option, career mode, and online play(a) for the PlayStation 2 console via EA SPORTS online.

    EA SPORTS Fight Night 2004 also includes 32 of the world's best boxers -- from legends like Sugar Ray Leonard and Muhammad Ali to current greats like Roy Jones Jr and Lennox Lewis, as well as tomorrow's superstars including new undisputed junior middleweight champ, Ronald "Winky" Wright.

    EA SPORTS Fight Night 2004 was co-developed by EA Canada and EA Chicago. The official homepage for EA SPORTS Fight Night 2004 is http://www.fightnight2004.com

    600,000 Units of Splinter Cell Pandora Tomorrow Replicated
    Steve @ 2:45 PM EDT
    Sonopress LLC, a global leader in media services and turnkey operations, today announced it completed multiple replication runs of Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell Pandora Tomorrow(TM), the widely popular stealth-action adventure game for the Xbox(TM) video game system from Microsoft. The game was developed and published by Ubisoft(R), one of the world's leading videogame publishers. Ubisoft ordered almost 600,000 units as part of their major North American launch of this title which took place on March 23, 2004.

    This news follows a December 2002 announcement that Sonopress had completed an original order of more than 500,000 units of Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell, which at the time was the largest launch ever for an Xbox game. To meet extremely heavy customer demand for the game, Ubisoft called on Sonopress to replicate additional units. The final production number of over 1 million units was at the time the largest number of Xbox discs Sonopress had produced for one title, as well as the largest order placed by Ubisoft in its history.

    "We fully expected Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell Pandora Tomorrow would generate strong consumer demand and that we'd need to be prepared to meet that demand," said Rich Kubiszewski, vice president of operations for Ubisoft. "Our past experience with Sonopress gave us the confidence that they'd be able to fill an order of this size with quick turnaround. The support we continue to receive from Sonopress is key to ensuring that Ubisoft will see success with this title and others."

    Sonopress was named an Authorized Replicator (AR) for Xbox in 2001. This status qualifies Sonopress to fully support publishers worldwide with their requirements for replication, packaging and distribution of Xbox games.

    "Sonopress is committed to delivering, both in this country and in Europe, the high quality replication and packaging services that Ubisoft requires," said Jeff Miner, account manager for Sonopress LLC. "We're very pleased that Ubisoft has again put its trust in Sonopress, allowing us to complete a large production run in a short time and meet the needs of its customers."

    NBA Ballers Released
    Steve @ 2:43 PM EDT
    CHICAGO – April 5, 2004 – Midway Games Inc., a leading interactive entertainment publisher and developer, announced today that NBA Ballers(TM), an all-new and unique one-on-one NBA lifestyle basketball videogame, has shipped for the PlayStation(R)2 computer entertainment system and the Xbox(R) video game system from Microsoft.

    “The successful release of NBA Ballers is a milestone that Midway has been excited about for several months now,” said Steve Allison, chief marketing officer, Midway. “Being the first basketball videogame to successfully incorporate the celebrity lifestyle element with both it’s ‘TV Tournament’ and ‘Rags-to-Riches’ gameplay modes, NBA Ballers has already amassed a significant amount of consumer interest and we are confident that the game will exceed its’ already high expectations.”

    Officially licensed by the NBA and NBA Legends, NBA Ballers is the only basketball videogame to deliver the pure essence of basketball by highlighting the excitement of the one-on-one confrontation set within the alluring fantasy lifestyle of an NBA superstar. By focusing on intense one-on-one match-ups, Midway is able to create each and every NBA Baller and NBA Legend with his specific skill set in mind. Featuring 60 current NBA superstars and 24 all-time player legends, NBA Ballers takes the game out of the arenas and into some of the most lavish NBA player fantasy “cribs” for an up-close and personal one-on-one experience. NBA Ballers also features online play for the PlayStation 2.

    Friday, April 2, 2004

    Limited-Edition Halo Xbox Revealed
    Steve @ 8:01 PM EST
    REDMOND, Wash. - April 2, 2004 - Microsoft Corp. today announced a pairing of epic proportions: a limited-edition retail special featuring the Xbox« video game system and all-time Xbox best-seller "Halo«" for only $169.* Shipping to U.S. retailers April 13, the coveted combo features a special "Halo"-branded, green Xbox console and "Halo" jeweled controller with a copy of the game. However, only the best and brightest - or at least the fastest - fans will taste the glory: Just 200,000 of the boxed sets are available.

    "This special offer lets video gamers with 'Halo' envy easily and affordably adopt Xbox," said Bill Nielsen, director of U.S. marketing for Xbox at Microsoft. "We expect collectors, as well as those who have been waiting for the right time to purchase their Xbox system, to jump at this unique opportunity."

    Hailed as "absolutely brilliant" by Electronic Gaming Monthly, "Halo" is a futuristic odyssey that challenges players to save humankind from extermination by aliens. Developed exclusively for Xbox by Bungie Studios, part of Microsoft Game Studios, the game has sold more than 4 million copies worldwide and spawned a legion of powerful devotees who participate in competitions, tournaments and game nights. The highly anticipated "Halo 2" will be released in fall 2004 and will change the Xbox experience as gamers currently know it.

    * Estimated retail price. Actual retail prices may vary.

    Take-Two Announces Two New Close Combat Games
    Steve @ 2:20 PM EST
    NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--April 1, 2004--Gathering, a publishing label of Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc., and Destineer Publishing Corp., today announced the next two titles in the Close Combat series; Close Combat(R): First to Fight and Close Combat(R): Red Phoenix(TM), for the Xbox(R), PC, and Macintosh(R) systems.

    Close Combat: First to Fight, anticipated to be released in late 2004, is a team-based first-person shooter created under the direction of active-duty United States Marines. Close Combat: Red Phoenix is a real-time strategy game loosely based on the best-selling novel Red Phoenix by Larry Bond, and is anticipated for worldwide release in early 2005. Both games are being developed by Destineer and Atomic Games.

    The Close Combat titles are being released under Take-Two's previously announced exclusive multi-product, multi-platform, worldwide distribution and publishing agreement with Destineer. Under this agreement, Gathering will distribute all Destineer products in North America and publish them in Europe.

    "We are pleased to add the next two installments of the Close Combat series to Gathering's expanding portfolio," said Jeffrey C. Lapin, Chief Executive Officer of Take-Two. "Destineer's management team has substantial experience in delivering high quality entertainment products and we are excited to be working with them on these and other compelling titles."

    "Gathering understands how to market and distribute hit games," said Paul Rinde, Chief Executive Officer of Destineer. "We chose to work with Gathering and Take-Two because of the strength of their global publishing and distribution capabilities."

    Def Jam Vendetta II Announced for Xbox
    Steve @ 2:18 PM EST
    REDWOOD CITY, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--April 1, 2004--Electronic Arts, the world's leading independent video game publisher is again partnering with urban music and lifestyle powerhouse Def Jam to bring gamers Def Jam VENDETTA(TM) II (working title), the ultimate hip-hop-fueled fighting video game. Currently in development under the EA GAMES(TM) brand, Def Jam VENDETTA II features more than 70 characters, including more than 35 of the most well-known artists and personalities in hip-hop today, including Busta Rhymes, Carmen Electra, Lil' Kim, Ludacris, Method Man, Redman, Sean Paul, Slick Rick, Snoop Dogg, and many more.

    Def Jam VENDETTA II challenges players to step into the shoes of a ruthless NYC street fighter battling for control of the hip-hop underground. The game features an all-new fighting engine allowing gamers to customize multiple fighting styles as the deep new story mode takes the action well beyond the ring and into the streets.

    "As the line between games and traditional forms of entertainment continues to blur, EA will continue to partner with strong brands like Def Jam to redefine the rules with innovative new titles like Def Jam VENDETTA II," said Jeff Karp, Vice President of Marketing for EA.

    "The Def Jam-EA relationship is once again on the forefront of industry-leading entertainment with Def Jam VENDETTA II," added Kevin Liles, President and CEO, Def Jam. "By fusing hip-hop culture with innovative, addictive gameplay, Def Jam VENDETTA II is the ultimate interactive hip hop lifestyle product. It redefines the gaming experience."

    Def Jam VENDETTA II will be published and distributed by EA for the PlayStation(R)2 computer entertainment system, Xbox(R) video game system from Microsoft, and Nintendo GameCube(TM). The game is being developed by EA Canada in conjunction with Japan-based AKI Corporation for a scheduled ship in fall 2004. This game has not yet been rated by the ESRB.

    Play Little Brother on Xbox Live
    Steve @ 2:16 PM EST
    Xbox Live™'s "Game With Fame" has hopped back on the tour bus, this time bringing rap trio Little Brother to Xbox Live. Little Brother will be mixing it up with gamers on April 8 starting at 7 p.m. PST. Gamertags for Little Brother and the list of games they will play will be posted at the official "Game With Fame" site on Xbox.com http://www.xbox.com/en-S/news/events/gamewithfame.htm

    If gamers still can't get their fill of showing celebrities their stuff, there will be chances to play against Ash, The Rapture, Phantom Planet and Dangermouse during their tour through Indio, California on May 1 and 2. Gamers can find additional information about these events at the official "Game with Fame" Web site.

    Xbox Live's "Game With Fame" promotion gives game fans the opportunity to play on Xbox Live against some of today's hottest stars. Past "Game with Fame" celebrity players include Big Boi from OutKast, Jonathan Davis from KoRn and the members of New Found Glory.

    Psi-Ops Pre-Order Campaign: Free MK: DA
    Steve @ 2:14 PM EST
    Midway Games Inc., a leading software industry publisher and developer, today announced their official pre-order campaign for Psi-Ops. Consumers can now pre-order Psi-Ops and get a copy of the acclaimed Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance for free. Scheduled to ship in June of this year, Psi-Ops is a third person, action adventure title that combines traditional weapons with Psionic (mind) powers including telekinesis, pyrokinesis, remote viewing, mind control, mind drain and aura view. Players are cast as Nick Scyrer, an elite American Psi-operative soldier that must take down The Movement, a terrorist organization set to overthrow world order. Scryer must fight strategically against The Movement by using his Psi powers against an amassed army of brainwashed terrorist super soldiers and powerful Psi agents. Psi-Ops melds fast-paced action with strategic decision making and demanding puzzle elements. The non linear game design allows for puzzles to be solved in multiple ways, using the Psi powers in different combinations.

    Psi-Ops is scheduled to ship in June 2004 on the PlayStation(R)2 computer entertainment system and the Xbox(R) video game system from Microsoft.

    Eidos and Highway 1 Announce Deal
    Steve @ 1:47 PM EST
    San Francisco, CA (April 1, 2004) -- Eidos, one of the world’s leading publishers and developers of entertainment software, today announced it has secured a development partnership deal with Highway 1 Productions, Inc. (Hwy 1), a newly founded independent production company. Eidos and Hwy 1 have recently begun development on a third person, urban action game with an online component for the PlayStation«2 computer entertainment system and Xbox« video game system from Microsoft. The game will be formally announced and showcased in the Eidos’ booth at this year’s Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3), held annually in Los Angeles, CA from May 12-14, 2004.

    “Eidos has partnered with Highway 1 because it is committed to developing high-quality, innovative video game brands,” said Rob Dyer, President of Eidos North America. “Highway 1 has proven that it offers a profound understanding of the evolving consumer in addition to impressive development and technological capabilities sure to impress in this upcoming title.”

    “We couldn’t be more pleased to be working with Eidos; their dedication to delivering edgy, innovative product makes them a perfect partner to showcase Highway 1’s capabilities, said John Miller, President and co-founder of Hwy 1 Productions, Inc.