XBoxExclusive.com is now officially launched! We hope you enjoy our site and find it useful.


















NewsPro Archive

August 2002

Friday, August 30, 2002

Vivendi Places a Bounty on Black Label Games
Jeff @ 11:50 PM EDT
Vivendi Universal Games' Black Label Games has acquired the worldwide console rights from Crave Entertainment for "Mace Griffin Bounty Hunter(TM)," the eagerly anticipated first-person shooter about a former government ranger seeking revenge. "Mace Griffin Bounty Hunter" immerses players in a universe of huge corporations and futuristic gunslingers as Mace seamlessly moves between first-person action into space flight combat tracking quarry and unraveling a deep and very dangerous mystery. The title is being published for the PlayStation(R)2 computer entertainment system, Nintendo GameCube(TM) and Xbox(TM) video game system from Microsoft with a scheduled release in March 2003. According to the agreement, Electronic Arts will publish the PC version worldwide.

"'Mace Griffin Bounty Hunter' is representative of the league of premium games featuring compelling content and characters that we are aligning under the Black Label Games brand," said Torrie Dorrell, general manager of Black Label Games. "A first person shooter with an engaging storyline and seamless transitions between first-person shooter combat on land and in space, the game reaches beyond any product in its category." Both the console and PC versions of the game are being developed by Warthog Entertainment, producers of the highly-acclaimed "Starlancer" and "Star Trek Invasion" games.

New Screens of Conflict Desert Storm
Steve @ 8:49 PM EDT
Here are some of the Key Features:

·15 intense missions that the player must accomplish specific objectives and goals in order to succeed and advance to ultimately end Saddam’s reign of terror

·Squad-based action that allows a player to fully command four easy-to-control soldiers

·Heart stopping, realistic tactical action designed by Cameron Spence, a former British SAS officer with Gulf War experience

·Expansive, realistic environments with smoke, heat haze, and shadows

·Cyclical lighting allows players to engage in day and night combat

·Seamless movement between indoor and outdoor environments

·Interact with Humvees, tanks and other Gulf War-era vehicles

·Experience system gives a player’s soldiers more depth by allowing them to improve their skills from mission to mission

·In-depth Artificial Intelligence governs enemy actions and fellow team members

·Dynamic, interactive music and stunning battle sound effects

Conflict Desert Storm Gallery 2

Thursday, August 29, 2002

Xbox Internet Cafe's In Japan
Steve @ 11:20 PM EDT
Microsoft Corp on Thursday announced a new way to lure gamers to its Xbox by allowing Internet cafe users in Japan to play its games online.

"The number of Internet cafes is increasing in Japan and demand for online games is growing," said Tomoyo Nakao, a spokeswoman for Microsoft's Japan unit.

Starting from next week, Microsoft said it will license about 250 Internet cafes in Japan to offer two of its games, "Dungeon Siege," a role-playing game set in the medieval times, and adventure game "Age of Empires II."

The company said the two games are originally designed for personal computers and more of its PC online games will become available for cyber junkies.

As competition in the video console market intensifies, Microsoft has been trying to woo gamers partly by gearing up for online games.

The U.S. software giant also said it is studying to license Internet cafes, many of which have broadband fast Internet connections, to offer the games developed for Xbox.

On Wednesday, Microsoft announced a cut in its suggested Xbox retail price in Europe to around 249 euros from 299 euros to contend its rival Sony Corp, which an hour earlier also unveiled a similar cut in its blockbuster game console PlayStation 2.

The Japan Complex Cafe Associates (JCCA) said the number of Internet cafes in Japan is still at around 1,600, compared with 20,000 to 25,000 in South Korea, but the number has been growing.

Currently, such cafes charge about $4.20 an hour that includes fees to play online games or surf the Net, the JCCA said.

"In this tough economic climate, people like the service at Net cafes where they could play as much as they want at a relatively reasonably price," a spokesman for the JCCA said.

European Xbox Price Cut
Steve @ 4:28 AM EDT
LONDON, 28th August 2002 –European gamers have even more to be celebrating heading into this Christmas shopping season as Microsoft today announced that the European price of its Xbox video game system will be reduced to an estimated street price of €249.99/£159.99, effective from Friday, 30th August.

"The video games industry is more robust than ever this year, and new consoles and games are expected to dominate Christmas wish lists," said Sandy Duncan, Vice President, Xbox Europe. "Xbox is extremely well-positioned to be at the top of those lists because it's the best value. The intense power and gaming experiences consumers get with Xbox is simply unsurpassed."

Duncan pointed out that only with Xbox this holiday can consumers get a choice of over 200 game titles (with over 300 currently in development) representing the most advanced movie quality graphics, sound effects and music ever experienced on a video game console, plus a built-in hard disc for the most intense gaming experiences and a built-in broadband adapter for instant online gaming with Xbox Live, a new online gaming service launching soon in Europe. "Best value is not just about price," said Duncan. "It's price, plus the most advanced hardware features, plus a killer games portfolio all in one package."

Among the growing library of exclusive new game titles for Xbox from Microsoft and its publishing partners this Christmas are:


  • Blinx from Microsoft Game Studios – uniquely features time travel, possible only with the console's built in hard disc

  • Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell from Ubi Soft – putting the gamer into the shoes of an anti-terrorist commando, Splinter Cell features incredibly realistic environments and deep gameplay that push the Xbox hardware in new directions

  • Toejam & Earl: All Funked Up from Sega – bringing a much-loved 16-bit franchise into the next-gen console arena, Toejam & Earl offers massive worlds to explore as the funky pair use "funk-fu" to battle their way on a quest for 12 sacred funk records – and all in glorious Dolby 5.1 sound

  • Panzer Dragoon ORTA from Sega – combining beautiful graphics with a compelling story and next-gen gameplay, Panzer Dragoon ORTA brings the popular Sega Saturn series back to life only on Xbox

  • Brute Force from Microsoft Game Studios – an intense action game that delivers the intensity of a shooter but requires the cunning of team-based tactical combat, Brute Force uses the Xbox hardware to deliver startling graphics and advanced enemy AI that puts gamers right in the action

    The specialist press are highly anticipating the Xbox Christmas line-up. The Official Xbox Magazine UK said about Blinx, "We know what your top 10 most wanted Xbox games looks like, but our own personal chart? It's just received a blinding new high entry thanks to the time we've spent with Blinx…Blinx is looking to be the kind of game that'll remind you why you play games in the first place." And, regarding Splinter Cell, OXM UK said, "Think of all the cool things you've ever wanted to do in a game...you'll be able to do them in Splinter Cell…Counter Espionage, geopolitical intrigue and conspiracy thwarting – you haven't seen anything like this."

    Duncan added that in review after review, multi-platform games are deemed best on Xbox. Xbox offers the definitive versions of multi-platform titles such as:


  • Spider-Man: The Movie (Activision): Detailed city environments and smooth character models show why Spider-Man swings the most on Xbox

  • FIFA 2003 (Electronic Arts): The Xbox hard disc makes accessing favourite teams a snap, and the detailed graphics make gamers feel like they're about to lift the cup themselves

  • Colin McRae Rally 3 (Codemasters): The Xbox horsepower allows an advanced damage engine, meaning that the supremely-detailed cars get realistically dented in this amazingly realistic rally simulation

  • Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3 (Activision): Tony's huge environments get a boost on the Xbox, and only-on-Xbox lighting effects and other details bring the action home

  • Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Electronic Arts): Young Xbox fans will see Harry's world come to life as on no other platform, as Xbox brings the magic of Hogwarts to gamers this Christmas

    "The Xbox Christmas line-up is hotly anticipated by gamers and specialist press alike," concluded Duncan. "With this new price, Xbox is the clear choice."

    NOTE: The PS2 price in Europe also dropped to $159, thus still making Xbox cheaper to buy.

    Wednesday, August 28, 2002

    Madden Is Challenging You
    Jeff @ 12:26 AM EDT
    Answering the call from thousands of its die-hard Madden NFL(TM) Football video game enthusiasts Electronic Arts (Nasdaq:ERTS) today announced the creation of the EA SPORTS(TM) Madden Challenge, a nationwide, 10-city Tournament to decide the best player of the world's top-selling football video game. Winners from each of the ten Regional Tournaments will be flown to the new Beaches Boscobel Resort & Golf Club in Ocho Rios, Jamaica for the Madden Challenge Finals. The ultimate winner will be invited to attend the famed EA SPORTS Madden Bowl, held every year during Super Bowl week, in San Diego, California.

    The EA SPORTS Madden Challenge, starting September 7, 2002, is the first EA SPORTS sanctioned public competition in the celebrated 13-year history of the EA SPORTS Madden NFL Football video game franchise. All tournament proceeds(a) will be donated to NFL Youth Education Town (YET), an official NFL charity that provides high-tech educational and recreational centers designed to improve the academic, physical fitness and job-related skills of at-risk youth.

    "The EA SPORTS Madden Challenge is a tribute to the tremendous number of Madden NFL football competitors who have asked us to stage a major nationwide competition and earn bragging rights," said Chip Lange, EA's vice president of marketing. "EA SPORTS is excited to offer each Madden NFL 2003 devotee the opportunity to become the first official amateur champion of the game and a chance to compete against the best Madden players from around the country."

    The EA SPORTS Madden Challenge, plans to match-up thousands of competitors across Regional Tournament venues beginning with San Francisco (Sept. 7-8, Justin Herman Plaza), Los Angeles (Sept. 14-15, Glendale Galleria), Seattle (Sept. 20-21, Seahawks Stadium), Washington, D.C. (Sept. 28-29, Union Station), New York City (Oct. 4-5, South Street Seaport), Philadelphia (Oct. 12-13, Gallery Market East), Tampa (Oct. 19-20, Sundome), Atlanta (Oct. 26-27, Underground), Chicago (Nov. 3, Navy Pier) and San Diego (Nov. 9-10, Mission Valley Mall).

    Winners from each of the 10 Regional Tournaments will be flown by Air Jamaica, the national carrier of Jamaica, to compete in the Madden Challenge Finals, to be held at Beaches Boscobel Resort & Golf Club, Jamaica's only All-Inclusive Family Golf Resort January 9 - 13, 2003. Other EA SPORTS Madden Challenge partners include, Air Jamaica, Blockbuster and G4

    Tuesday, August 27, 2002

    United States Navy Receive VideoGames
    Steve @ 11:26 PM EDT
    Computer and Video Game Industry Donates Games to Troops

    WASHINGTON, Aug. 27, 2002: Every one of the 72 submarines in the American fleet now has a new state-of-the-art video game console, plus about 20 of the current top-selling video games, thanks to an unprecedented drive by the U.S. computer and video game industry to show support and thanks to American troops waging the war on terrorism, the Interactive Digital Software Association (IDSA) announced today.

    "The generosity the IDSA displayed in making these game consoles and games available to our people is outstanding," said Force Master Chief Donald Kultti, U.S. Submarine Force. "We are really working our people hard these days and this sort of thing permits them an escape from the demanding schedule that requires perfection out of them all. Thanks to the IDSA for their contributions to the men of the United States Submarine Force. We appreciate them."

    Douglas Lowenstein, president of the IDSA, the trade association representing American computer and video game publishers, said, "Our armed forces have always shown remarkable skill and dedication to protecting our country and, indeed, the world, from all manner of threats, and especially so over the past year. While overseas on active duty, our troops can't enjoy many of the things they relax with at home, so we decided to bring the games they love to them as our small way of saying 'thanks'."

    Working with the U.S. Navy, the IDSA coordinated industry donations so that each of the 72 Navy submarines received a game console and a selection of top games. IDSA members donated a total of more than 1,700 games to this effort. On average, every ship received approximately 20 games from among the 76 different titles donated. Many of the games have been best sellers and have been critically acclaimed.

    "Through a commercial sponsorship agreement with the Interactive Digital Software Association, more than 10,000 sailors serving aboard submarines worldwide, are now enjoying the recreation and social benefits of video consoles and numerous electronic games," said Kelly Powell, head of the Mission Essential Branch, Morale, Welfare and Recreation Division, Navy Personnel Command. "These consoles and games provide sailors with a much-needed distraction and recreation during the limited free time sailors enjoy on board submarines. The Sailors of America's Submarine Fleet send a sincere 'thank you' to the folks at Interactive Digital Software Association for their thoughtfulness and kindness."

    Microsoft Xbox, NINTENDO GAMECUBE, Sony PlayStation(R) and Sony PlayStation 2(R) consoles were accompanied by games donated by: Acclaim Entertainment; Activision, Inc.; Capcom; Crave Entertainment; Eidos Interactive; Electronic Arts; Fox Interactive; Infogrames, Inc.; Interplay Productions; Konami of America, Inc.; LucasArts Entertainment; MGM Interactive; Microsoft Corporation; Midway Home Entertainment, Inc.; Namco Hometek, Inc.; Nintendo of America; NovaLogic, Inc.; Sega of America Dreamcast Inc.; Sony Computer Entertainment America; Take-Two Interactive Software Inc.; THQ, Inc.; Ubi Soft, Inc.; Vivendi Universal Games; and Working Designs.

    Navy Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) Division (PERS-65), Navy Personnel Command, is responsible for establishing, maintaining and improving quality of life for Sailors and their families worldwide. The Navy's Mission Essential Branch, a component of the MWR Division, concentrates on fulfilling the (QOL) needs of Sailors serving at sea, i.e., ships, squadrons, and submarines.

    Baby Turok Naming Contest
    Steve @ 11:14 PM EDT
    First Child Born On 9-1-02 and Named 'Turok' For One Year Will Win Savings Bonds Towards College Tuition

    GLEN COVE, NY, August 27, 2002 - Is it a boy? Is it a girl? Is it a dinosaur hunter? While the latter is something that has never been said in a delivery room, it could easily become the phrase that pays $10,000 in U.S. savings bonds towards college tuition or other childhood expenses for one lucky family. Giving an entirely new meaning to Labor Day Weekend, Acclaim Entertainment, Inc. today announced its 'Turok: Evolution' Labor Day contest that will award $10,000 to the first infant born on 9-1-02 and named 'Turok' for one year by their parents. Contest details can be found online at http://www.turok.com/baby.

    "Knowing how hard it is for parents to decide on a strong name for their child, we thought of an innovative way to solve this dilemma and help jumpstart their savings for the future," said Tom Bass, Senior Brand Manager at Acclaim. "While names like Michael and Hannah are very popular, they hardly instill fear in the hearts of playground bullies and closet monsters, and we're thrilled to give one lucky child the bold power of the Turok name."

    Turok: Evolution Baby Naming Contest
    For the first time, "pushing your luck" could mean $10,000! If you're a parent expecting a child with a due date on or around 9-1-02 and are willing to legally name your baby 'Turok' for one year, visit www.turok.com/baby and pre-register for the contest. Out of the list of applicants, if your child is the first one born on Sunday, 9-1-02, then your brand new little dinosaur hunter, 'Turok', will get $10,000 in U.S. Savings Bonds.

    Winners must provide official proof of birth with time and date from a hospital within the United States. In addition, winners must also sign a legally binding intent form to name their child's first name "Turok". $10,000 in United States Series EE Savings Bonds will be awarded to the winner upon furnishing a valid birth certificate that clearly indicates the baby's first name as "Turok" to Acclaim Entertainment. Please visit http://www.turok.com/baby for the entire list of official contest rules and regulations.

    Developed by Acclaim's world-renowned Austin Studio, Turok: Evolution is a prequel to the blockbuster franchise that has generated more than 6 million units and $250 million in sales worldwide. Featuring an entirely new game engine that was specifically designed for the next-generation gaming systems, Turok: Evolution is an epic adventure of exploration, treachery and war set against a backdrop of lush jungles, mysterious temples and the most realistic and deadly array of dinosaurs ever to be created in a video game. Acclaim is supporting the title with a multi-million dollar marketing campaign, including print, television, in-theater, radio and online advertising, contests and sweepstakes, and innovative retail and consumer product cross-promotions.

    Turok: Evolution has been rated "Mature" by the Entertainment Software Rating Board, and will be available on 9-01-02 across all next-generation gaming platforms at suggested retail prices of $49.99. For more information about Turok: Evolution, please visit http://www.turok.com.

    Free DVD Movie Playback Kit
    Steve @ 11:09 PM EDT
    REDMOND, Wash. -- Aug. 26, 2002 -- For movie fans and gamers, the Xbox (TM) video game system from Microsoft Corp. just became the blockbuster feel-good hit of the year. Effective immediately through a special limited-time retail offer, it is now possible to get the popular DVD Movie Playback Kit for Xbox free after a mail-in rebate worth up to $30*. This offer is good now through Nov. 2, 2002, and is available with the purchase of an Xbox console at any retail outlet in the United States.

    "We sold more units of Xbox than any other video game system last month," said Pete Roithmayr, vice president of merchandising for EB Games. "When you combine this rebate with all the great games in the pipeline and the upcoming launch of Xbox Live, this holiday is looking very strong for Xbox and EB."

    The Xbox DVD Movie Playback Kit, which comprises a small plug-in infrared receiver and remote control, is a quick way to expand the functionality of Xbox. To enable the console to play DVD movies, users need only plug in the infrared receiver to a controller port and use the remote control to control movie playback.

    Even before the DVD playback kit rebate, Xbox has been widely regarded as the best value on the market in terms of features, games and the power of the console. For $199, Xbox offers the best graphics via the fastest and most robust hardware. It is the only console with Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound support built into the hardware. It is the only console with a built-in 8 GB hard drive and Ethernet port necessary for high-quality online gaming. The hard drive also enables saved games to be stored easily and allows songs from music CDs to be stored for easy access and use during gameplay. And now the video playback kit, which effectively turns the console into a top-notch DVD movie player, is available free after a mail-in rebate.

    "Xbox was selling great before this rebate, but I anticipate this will really give it a huge boost," said Dan DeMatteo, president and chief operating officer of GameStop Corp. "We do a lot of Xbox business, and we know the gaming customer very well. We think this will resonate very well with people who like to play games and watch movies. This offer, along with more than 200 games available this holiday, is going to make an already hot gaming system absolutely fly off the shelves."

    Monday, August 26, 2002

    MLB SlugFest 20-03 Hits Xbox
    Steve @ 5:42 PM EDT
    CHICAGO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Aug. 26, 2002--

    First Midway Sports Adrenaline-Style Baseball Game Arrives

    for Xbox with a Powerful Combination of Over-the-Top Gameplay

    and Authentic Baseball Action

    Midway Sports(TM), the sports brand of leading software industry publisher and developer Midway Games Inc. (NYSE:MWY), announced today that MLB(TM) SlugFest(R) 20-03, the first-ever adrenaline-style console baseball videogame, has shipped for the Xbox(TM) video game system from Microsoft. MLB(TM) SlugFest(R) 20-03 is also available for the PlayStation(R)2 computer entertainment system and is scheduled to ship for the Nintendo GameCube(TM) later this summer, with the Game Boy(R) Advance version to follow in fall.

    Since the launch of MLB Slugfest 20-03 for the PlayStation 2 computer entertainment system, it has outsold all competitive baseball games for the PlayStation 2 by two-to-one. In the month of July, MLB Slugfest 20-03 hit a home run with consumers everywhere, outselling all competing PlayStation 2 games' combined sales by a two-to-one margin, and any single PlayStation 2 competitor by five-to-one. (NPDFunworld, July 2002)

    Officially licensed by Major League Baseball Properties and MLBPA, MLB SlugFest 20-03 will change the way people think about America's national pastime. Developed by the creators of NFL(R) Blitz(R), MLB SlugFest 20-03 features real Major League Baseball players, teams and stadiums in the first and only over-the-top, adrenaline-style baseball videogame. Unlike any other baseball game, MLB SlugFest 20-03 features incredibly larger-than-life, muscle-bound athletes who take to the field to perform outrageous plays both offensively and defensively, including turbo-powered throws and pitches, blistering hits, and acrobatic diving catches.

    "MLB Slugfest 20-03 combines real baseball action with signature Midway Sports over-the-top gameplay," said Helene Sheeler, vice president of marketing, Midway. "The result delivers adrenaline-style gameplay unlike any other baseball game on the market, for both longtime fans of the sport as well as action gamers."

    MLB SlugFest 20-03 uses advanced motion capture technology to clearly detail each player's facial expressions and reactions. The animations are so precise, gamers can view players on the field chewing gum, talking to one another and cheering for their teammates. While at the plate, gamers can dig in and unleash a mammoth blast clear out of the park.

    Six-time MLB All-Star Alex Rodriguez appears on the package cover and other advertising materials for the game. Entering his seventh full Major League Baseball season, the Texas Rangers(R) shortstop adds to the authentic baseball delivered in MLB SlugFest 20-03.

    Also stepping up to the plate is Roadrunner Records recording act Dry Kill Logic, which recorded a hard-rockin', new millenium version of `Take Me Out to the Ball Game' to accompany the game's aggressive attitude and extreme-style play. Dry Kill Logic performs in a music video, which is featured in the game's DVD section and was created especially for MLB SlugFest 20-03. In addition, Midway licensed music from the electronica band Curve to complement the fast-paced action of the game.

    "This is an exciting opportunity for Major League Baseball to not only enhance our product mix, but also to expose us to a whole new audience," said Carolann Dunn, senior director of licensing, Major League Baseball.

    Additionally, John Olshan, Category Director for Interactive Games at the Major League Baseball Players Association, said, "We selected Midway to make an over-the-top, action-style baseball game because we wanted Mark Turmell and Sal DiVita, the twisted minds that invented the NBA Jam and NFL(R) Blitz-style sports videogames, to sprinkle their magic on baseball." Olshan also added, "We are thrilled with the direction they are taking America's national pastime and look forward to SlugFest expanding the market for baseball games beyond sports fans to include action gamers as well."

    MLB SlugFest 20-03 also features hilarious and shocking commentary by Tim Kitzrow, the long-time, key entertaining voice talent in blockbuster Midway titles such as NFL Blitz, NHL(R) Hitz(TM) 20-02, NBA Showtime: NBA on NBC and NBA Jam, as well as commentator Jim Shorts, the highly acclaimed sports comedy DJ on WCKG radio in Chicago.

    MLB SlugFest 20-03 Xbox Key Features

    -- Adrenaline-Style Gameplay -- Over-the-Top, nonstop action from

    blazing fastballs to screaming line drives to wall-crashing

    catches.

    -- Fast-Action Batter/Pitcher Interface -- The fastest brand of

    baseball ever seen.

    -- Real Player Faces -- Unbelievably detailed faces, right down

    to the gum-chewing.

    -- Outrageous Animations -- More than 1,500 animations, featuring

    your favorite MLB players performing as they only dream they

    could.

    -- MLB and MLBPA licensed product -- All your favorite MLB teams,

    players and stadiums.

    -- Hilarious commentary by Midway Sports announcer Tim Kitzrow

    and commentator Jim Shorts, the highly acclaimed sports comedy

    DJ on WCKG radio in Chicago.

    -- Licensed music -- Explosive music from Dry Kill Logic,

    including the all-new rendition of `Take Me Out to the Ball

    Game,' as well as music from the electronica band, Curve.

    -- Best of both worlds -- Real teams, players, stadiums, stats

    and player attributes combined with fantasy players and
    stadiums, plus the most outrageous catches, pitches, hits and
    over-the-top action ever played out in a MLB videogame.

    -- Unique DVD Content -- Dry Kill Logic performs in a music
    video, created especially for MLB SlugFest 20-03 and featured
    in the game's DVD section.

    Friday, August 23, 2002

    Sega Sports Challenge In 2K3 Games
    Steve @ 4:24 AM EDT
    Unprecedented New Mode Creates Universal Competition for Bragging Rights Through Internet-based Rank-and-Rate System on Segasports.com

    Top Gamers Win Great Prizes


    SAN FRANCISCO (August 21, 2002) - Who's got game? Continuing to tap into the emotional rivalry that goes hand in hand with SEGA Sports(TM) games, SEGA(R) of America, Inc. today announced the new SEGA Sports Challenge mode for its SEGA Sports 2K3 lineup of games. Debuting first in "SEGA Sports(TM) NFL 2K3," the SEGA Sports Challenge lets players measure how they "stack up" against fellow gamers around the world through a newly-formed online community that posts rankings on Segasports.com. In addition to online multiplayer gameplay offered in many SEGA Sports 2K3 titles, the SEGA Sports Challenge is taking the competition to the next level by awarding top gamers with great SEGA Sports prizes.

    "SEGA Sports titles continue to push the boundaries of realism and with that comes a deeper level of rivalry," said Tom Nichols, vice president of sports marketing, SEGA of America, Inc. "The SEGA Sports Challenge mode lets sports gamers put stats behind their 'bragging rights' and gives them a public place to show their dominance."

    With "SEGA Sports(TM) NFL 2K3," gamers will be able to use the SEGA Sports Challenge mode to create a User Record that tracks their stats in offline Exhibition games within a multitude of categories. These categories will measure sport-specific indicators such as tackles, strikeouts and free throw shooting in both single games and via average scores over a series of games. Following the completion of each game, players will receive a unique Challenge Code that contains user data and their cumulative statistics. By keying in their Challenge Code at the Segasports.com homepage, gamers can see how their statistics stack up compared to other players.

    The SEGA Sports Challenge mode will be available in most "SEGA Sports 2K3" franchises, including "SEGA Sports NFL 2K3," "SEGA Sports(TM) NBA 2K3," "SEGA Sports(TM) NHL(R) 2K3," "SEGA Sports(TM) NCAA(R) College Basketball 2K3" and "SEGA Sports(TM) World Series(R) Baseball 2K3."

    Turok: Evolution Goes Gold
    Steve @ 4:20 AM EDT
    Set to Launch 9-01-02 Across All Gaming Platforms

    Eagerly Anticipated Return of Video Game Icon Delivers All-New Epic Adventure of Exploration, Treachery and War Amid Ultra-Realistic Environments and Dinosaurs


    GLEN COVE, N.Y., Aug. 21, 2002: The countdown to the return of the premier first-person action icon has officially begun, as Acclaim Entertainment, Inc. today announced that its eagerly anticipated title, Turok(TM): Evolution(TM), has "gone gold" and into manufacturing in preparation for its "Turok Bloody Sunday - 9-01-02" launch across all next-generation systems.

    Developed by Acclaim's world-renowned Austin Studio, Turok: Evolution is a prequel to the blockbuster franchise that has generated more than 6 million units and $250 million in sales worldwide. Featuring an entirely new game engine that was specifically designed for the next-generation gaming systems, Turok: Evolution is an epic adventure of exploration, treachery and war set against a backdrop of lush jungles, mysterious temples and the most realistic and deadly array of dinosaurs ever to be created in a video game. Acclaim is supporting the title with a multi-million dollar marketing campaign, including print, television, in-theater, radio and online advertising, contests and sweepstakes, and innovative retail and consumer product cross-promotions.

    "Turok: Evolution has been in development for the past three years and we are very proud of our team in Austin, who have diligently focused on delivering this incredible action gaming experience," said Edmond Sanctis, President of Acclaim North America. "On 9-01-02, consumers, regardless of what system they own, will be able to immerse themselves in the best and biggest Turok game we've ever done."

    Wednesday, August 21, 2002

    Namco Ships Dead to Rights
    Steve @ 10:25 PM EDT
    The hottest young celebrities from film, music and television gathered in Los Angeles last night to celebrate the U.S. release of Namco Hometek Inc.'s highly anticipated "Dead to Rights(TM)" exclusively for the Xbox(TM) video game system from Microsoft. "Dead to Rights" combines Hong Kong action-movie special effects with the intense drama of crime thrillers and classic film noir style to create a new "Action Noir" game genre.

    Introducing new video game star Jack Slate, "Dead To Rights" takes place in Grant City, USA -- the hardest place on Earth. Slate is a good cop in a bad town, forced to be a fugitive after being framed for murder while investigating the mysterious death of his father.

    Guests experienced the seedy underbelly of Grant City nightlife, brought to life in a deserted art deco office building on Wilshire Blvd. in Los Angeles for one night only. Celebrity DJ Shannyn Sossoman ("40 Days and 40 Nights," "A Knight's Tale") rocked the house to a packed dance floor all night long, as a colorful cast of characters inspired by the dark world of "Dead To Rights" lurked in the shadows.

    Celebrities in attendance (joining the Grant City smugglers, femme fatales, dirty cops, assassins and corrupt politicians), included: Justin Timberlake, Vin Diesel, Cris Judd, Heath Ledger, Wes Bentley, Alyssa Milano, Paris Hilton, Eric Balfour, Simon Rex, and Danny Masterson, among others.

    "The amazing turn out last night from young Hollywood's `A' list is proof positive that adults want video game entertainment that offers more mature content, characters and storylines, as seen in 'Dead To Rights,'" said Stacey Hirata, Marketing Director for Namco Hometek. "Video games aren't just for kids anymore."

    According to the Interactive Digital Software Association, about 145 million people in the U.S. play computer and video games, and the average age of a game player is 28 years old. Video games have become one of the most popular forms of entertainment. In fact, market research firm NPD, reported that in 2001, total U.S. sales of games and game related hardware reached $9.4 billion, compared to total domestic box office receipts for Hollywood movies of $8.4 billion.

    Namco approached making the game much like producing a movie, first enlisting screenwriter Flint Dille ("G.I. Joe" television show and "Transformers" television show and movie) to develop the plot and deliver the working script. For music, they recruited movie composer Kevin Manthei, whose credits include "Resident Evil" and "Scary Movie 2." For realistic sound effects and design, GDH Digital ("Star Trek," "Babylon 5") and Weddington Productions ("Raiders of the Lost Ark," "Robocop") were brought in. Smashcut ("The Matrix," "Fight Club") was hired for motion capture effects and stunts.

    "Dead To Rights" has been in development for over two years, with a production team of more than 50 artists, designers and programmers. This team, constituting Namco's biggest U.S.-developed project to date, is passionate about proving that movie-quality action, a compelling storyline and an appealing hero can be made interactive in a mature video game.

    "We wanted to create a video game like no other, infusing elements from our favorite movies and allowing players to make discoveries each time they play," said Andre Emerson, Namco senior producer. "`Dead To Rights' was designed with great depth and detail, and the result is an intense and adult experience that can't really be described within existing game genres."

    "Dead To Rights" features more than a dozen game mechanics including diving, rolling, punching, kicking and lethally disarming enemies in a variety of cinematic ways. Jack's canine partner (a Husky named Shadow) lives up to the name "man's best friend," helping Jack investigate crime scenes, sniff out bombs, retrieve weapons and attack enemies. Unique game play scenarios, mini-games and stop-motion special effects add to the action.

    "Dead To Rights," rated "M for Mature Audiences," shipped out to stores across the U.S. on Aug. 20 and is now available on Xbox.

    Buffy the Vampire Slayer Now in Stores
    Steve @ 10:24 PM EDT
    Vampires, demons and zombies beware! Electronic Arts and Fox Interactive today announced that Buffy the Vampire Slayer(TM) for the Xbox(TM) video game system from Microsoft has staked out its place on store shelves. The game features action-packed combat, rich graphics, ghastly creatures and a myriad of elements that evoke the internationally successful TV hit series.

    Taking on the role of Buffy Summers, the leading heroine, fans of the TV series will enjoy progressing through the game, recognizing many familiar sights and sounds. Players will meet Buffy's friends and foes at her typical hang outs, the Bronze Nightclub, the cemetery, Sunnydale High School and the library. The game features many of the same characters and voices on the TV series such as Angel, Xander, Willow, Spike and The Master.

    Players can learn more than 50 fighting moves and polish their "slayer" abilities to gain experience and power. Some of Buffy's special abilities include: Martial Arts, Quick Healing, Slayer Sense, Super Jump, Speed, Strength, and Gymnastics. Players will need to master all these skills as they will be a key defense against foes that can learn Buffy's fighting techniques and counter them with a few surprising attack moves of their own during intense slayfests. The game also casts an eerie spell on players using supernatural effects such as morphing creatures, dynamic fogging and arcane spell casting that enhance the dark, mythical setting.

    Buffy the Vampire Slayer for the Xbox was developed by The Collective and is co-published by EA and Fox Interactive. The game carries an ESRB rating "T" (Teen) and suggested retail price of US $49.99. More information can be found on the press site at www.info.ea.com and the EA Buffy the Vampire Slayer web site www.buffy.ea.com

    Codemasters' Officially Ships Prisoner of War
    Steve @ 3:48 AM EDT
    New York ­ August 20, 2002 ­ Global publishing giant Codemasters has shipped Prisoner of War. The unique third-person action/adventure game for the Xbox video game system from Microsoft hits retail outlets nationwide and has an MSRP of $49.99.

    Prisoner of War offers a new style of gaming - it¹s something brave, something original, something non-violent, said Sebastien Soulier, Codemasters' North American President. Prisoner of War boasts a novel approach and modern-history adventure setting combined with solid gameplay mechanics to create a truly intelligent, fun and appealing game.

    Set in 1941, Prisoner of War (POW) pays homage to Allied escape attempts from POW camps during World War II. Gameplay takes place across three meticulously modelled, fully 3D, historically realistic prisoner of war camps, including the infamous Colditz Castle. Captain Lewis Stone, an American Flight Officer, must use his wits and resourcefulness to escape and eventually fulfil his surveillance mission for Churchill¹s Special Operations Executive in London. Navigating the detail-packed camp environments, which include reactive lighting, weather and other graphical effects, Stone must communicate with other prisoners and use stealth to avoid guards, spotlights and dogs in an effort to gather as much information and equipment as possible while plotting the best escape route. Stone must then race for freedom in dramatic escape sequences that can range from impersonating a guard to engineering mass escapes before calling in Allied air strikes using the Germans¹ own radio.

    Launched last month in Europe, Prisoner of War is a massive success ranking at number 2 on the UK Xbox sales charts. A PC version of the game will be released in the U.S. this fall.

    Tuesday, August 20, 2002

    Total Emotional Racing
    Steve @ 1:22 PM EDT
    Jon Hare from Sensible once said “90% of the game is programmed in the last 10% of time.” and so right he was. Game balancing and artificial intelligence is always the part of development that takes the most work and so has been the case with Total Immersion Racing’s Emotion AI – nick named “AI-TUDE”. But as expected Razorworks have finished implementing the Emotion AI in time for the scheduled release and it’s proved everything we’d hoped for.

    Far too many racing games have promised intuitive AI but this AI has always been focused on the driving alone and has never had a human feel. The main objective for TIR is to create a racing game that incorporates a true emotional and personal response from the computer controlled drivers. Each opponent has individual strengths and weakness for qualities such as stamina, judgement, composure and track knowledge. In addition to these the drivers also have an emotional reaction which as well as effecting the their other skills will also dictate how they react to you.

    If you keep cutting them up or driving recklessly they start to get annoyed with you. Keep it up and they’ll really lose their temper, hold grudges and go out of their way to be a pain back.

    The main hurdle to achieve the unique emotional responses within Total Immersion Racing was presenting them visually so the player would be aware of them. After much input from numerous experienced games journalists within the industry we’ve finally reached a graphical option that works (see attached pics). While playing the game gamers will be able to see how a competitor is feeling towards them via coloured arrow indicators on the oppositions cars. Green symbolises they are fine with you and don’t have a problem. Showing yellow and they’re a bit wary. Red and you know you’ve really wound them up – if you can see an exclamation mark – they have a grudge to bear – so watch yourself son.

    Return to Castle Wolfenstein to Support Xbox Live
    Steve @ 1:20 PM EDT
    London, UK – August 20, 2002 – Activision, Inc. and id Software™ announced today that Return to Castle Wolfenstein for the Xbox™ video game system from Microsoft will take console gamers to the front lines with online multiplayer warfare via Xbox™ Live, the first comprehensive, world-class online game service by Microsoft. Presenting platform-specific multiplayer features, including squad-based and co-operative Internet and split-screen modes, and an epic single player experience, Return to Castle Wolfenstein is set to offer Xbox players unrivalled gaming action. Nerve Software, creators of the award-winning multiplayer feature in Return to Castle Wolfenstein for the PC, is developing the highly anticipated Xbox game, with id Software serving as executive producer.

    "By fusing the award-winning gameplay in Return to Castle Wolfenstein with new multiplayer modes, communication abilities, and technology, we're delivering the definitive team warfare experience for Xbox, " said Todd Hollenshead, CEO, id Software.

    Teams can coordinate and execute front-line attacks with extreme precision utilizing the Xbox Communicator, allowing players to verbally order air strikes, call for medics or even taunt opponents. With four distinct character classes and numerous gameplay modes to master, strategy and communication are the keys to victory on the battlefield.

    Return to Castle Wolfenstein's Xbox multiplayer features allows players to challenge up to seven other gamers online utilizing Xbox Live's matchmaking capabilities for intense, multiplayer warfare; engage in co-operative play through Xbox-system linked connections; or battle in two-player action through split-screen mode. Gamers can also look forward to new weaponry, an advanced target control system and Dolby 5.1 Surround Sound capabilities.

    "It's a great time to be a console gamer," states Larry Goldberg, executive vice president of Activision Worldwide Studios. "With the advanced technology of Xbox, console players will not only be able to experience the heart-stopping action of the Return to Castle Wolfenstein single player game, but also for the first time engage in the addictive multiplayer gameplay that PC gamers and critics have been raving about."

    Set against the backdrop of WWII, Return to Castle Wolfenstein plunges players into a maelstrom of action, espionage and covert operations, as an American soldier tasked with infiltrating the heart of Nazi Germany and stopping the darkest plans of the Third Reich. Throughout the game, players are locked in combat with waves of Nazi storm-troopers, undead Teutonic knights and the twisted products of genetic experimentation. Return to Castle Wolfenstein further draws the player into the nightmare with advanced artificial intelligence (AI), photo-realistic character and environment textures, revolutionary effects, and an immersive story that unfolds before the player like a movie.

    Monday, August 19, 2002

    Microsoft Signs Paul Pierce for NBA Inside Drive 2003
    Steve @ 4:38 PM EDT
    Microsoft Game Studios today announced that Boston Celtics All-Star guard Paul Pierce will be the cover athlete for "NBA Inside Drive 2003." The former first round draft pick from Kansas will become the driving force behind Microsoft's exclusive hoops franchise for Xbox.

    Last year, Pierce ranked third in the league in scoring, netting 26.1 ppg, third in three-point field goals made and first in total points scored with 2,144. Pierce participated in a motion capture session with the game developers to lend his precision shooting and All-Star moves to the game. He also lent his expertise and personal insight to the developers adding to the realism of the game.

    In addition, Kenny "The Jet" Smith joins the "NBA Inside Drive 2003" broadcast team of Kevin Calabro and Marques Johnson. The current TNT studio analyst will add his distinctive play calling style to the game. "The Jet" will join the former Seattle SuperSonics broadcast duo of Calabro and Johnson who re-teamed for last year's game. Calabro's commanding play-by-play voice combined with Johnson's distinctive catch phrases and the addition of Smith will provide basketball fans with hours of entertainment. "NBA Inside Drive 2003" will also feature a revamped pre and post game sequence and introduce a new half-time analysis featuring unique commentary from these distinguished broadcasters.

    "NBA Inside Drive 2003," a joint development between High Voltage Software and Microsoft Game Studios, dares players to display their entire hoops arsenal to take home the ultimate prize - a NBA Championship. With hip-hop beats, fluid game play, innovative commentary and incredibly realistic models of all the NBA arenas, "NBA Inside Drive 2003" delivers the ultimate NBA console experience. This latest version of "NBA Inside Drive" features a 25-season dynasty mode, an extended practice mode with a new two-on-two feature and a player editor where gamers can build their own hoops superstar.

    Friday, August 16, 2002

    "Shenmue: The Movie" DVD with Shenmue II
    Steve @ 6:17 PM EDT
    Microsoft Game Studios today announced that Xbox owners can get caught up on the journey of Ryo Hazuki to avenge his father's death through the "Shenmue: The Movie" DVD. The DVD will come bundled with the Xbox exclusive "Shenmue II™" when the game ships in North America on November 6 of this year. The DVD is 90 minutes long and features English or Japanese voice-overs with the option for Japanese subtitles, and is playable on the Xbox with DVD remote or North American DVD players.

    The full-length movie draws upon the original footage from the Sega Dreamcast release of "Shenmue™" to deliver the same experience as if viewers had played the game through from beginning to end. It was originally showcased in Japanese theatres and then sold separately on DVD for 4700 yen (approximately $40). The theatrical trailer shown in Japan is now posted on the Xbox.com site at http://www.xbox.com. To link to the streaming version of the movie, use this link:

    mms://netshow.microsoft.com/ms/xbox/video/shenmue2/shenmue2-0002-Hi.wmv

    or

    mms://netshow.microsoft.com/ms/xbox/video/shenmue2/shenmue2-0002-Lo.wmv

    "Shenmue II" is an epic adventure with all the elements of a great movie: drama, mystery, suspense and action. It offers a unique game-playing experience that seamlessly blends elements of action, adventure, fighting and role-playing games. In "Shenmue II" players assume the role of Ryo Hazuki, a young man dedicated to the task of tracking his father's murderer and unlocking the mysteries of the Phoenix Mirror. "Shenmue II" continues where "Shenmue" left off, bringing Ryo to Hong Kong with many unanswered questions as he follows the trail of Lan Di, the man who killed his father.

    11 New Rocky Screen Shots
    Steve @ 12:43 AM EDT
    The developer, Rage has released a new batch of screen shots. Check them out here.

    Rocky is set for release on November 12.

    Rocky Screen Gallery 2

    Thursday, August 15, 2002

    Prisoner of War Great Success in Europe
    Steve @ 11:57 PM EDT
    Creating a new non-violent stealth genre, Prisoner of War has intrigued gamers whose purchasing power propelled the game into the top five of the Chart-Track All Formats chart at launch. The game is set to launch on PC CD-ROM on September 20th.

    Launched last month, Prisoner of War has become a massive success on PlayStation 2 and Xbox. It has recently achieved best individual format chart placings at No.3 on the PS2 chart and No.2 on the Xbox chart.

    While many may have dismissed Wide Games’ concept for Prisoner of War, Codemasters’ belief in its possibilities for delivering a new style of gameplay to the market has been hugely rewarded. It’s an original, non-violent game set in a historic war context, played in confined areas with hyper-alert guards and one where as players have no opportunity to arm themselves with weapons.

    Says Mike Hayes, Codemasters’ Marketing Director:
    “Prisoner of War offers a new style of gaming; it’s something brave, something original, something non-violent and it’s a success. We’re incredibly pleased. While sequels or “me-too” titles are expected to be the only sure-fire hits, gamers have really taken to Prisoner of War for its novel approach and modern-history adventure setting.”

    Prisoner of War is now available for PlayStation 2 and Xbox.

    Unreal Championship Info & Feature List
    Steve @ 11:51 PM EDT
    Built by Digital Extremes, part of the team responsible for Unreal and Unreal Tournament, Unreal Championship is introducing groundbreaking multiplayer gameplay to the Xbox™ video game system from Microsoft.

    The latest addition to the Unreal universe will immerse console gamers in the adrenaline packed first-person frag-fest that has revolutionized PC gaming. Designed specifically for Xbox and the Xbox controller, Digital Extremes has incorporated console-specific features such as joypad-activated special moves, double jump, power-ups, unlockable features and more to keep gamers glued to their couches with knuckle-whitened tension.

    Unreal Championship uses the latest Unreal technology created by Epic Games to render the most amazing graphical effects seen on any console to date. The game combines a brilliant single player experience with an unparalleled multi-player component -- players can fight through a series of matches in the single player mode against computer-controlled opponents (bots) or play online against human-controlled adversaries.

    Key Features

  • Enter combat on foot or aboard brand new land and air-based vehicles - carnage at break-neck speed!
  • Go online with Microsoft's broadband gaming network and take on or join up with up to 16 other players per arena in fearsome head-to-head combat
  • Incredible weaponry that goes beyond mere blasting - use strategy and skill to outwit and out-maneuver the enemy
  • Take on 6 different races featuring over 25 highly individual characters in over 30 maps
  • The power of Xbox and the cutting-edge Unreal graphics engine combine to deliver awe-inspiring, breath-taking visuals
  • A dynamic and realistic world - sophisticated in-game physics do away with "out of the can" animations and movement
  • Special Moves - a new concept to first-person shooters that adds a new level of skill and unpredictability

    Wednesday, August 14, 2002

    Thousands of Turok's Walking Around
    Steve @ 4:50 PM EDT
    A video games company that announced yesterday it was seeking marketing pioneers to take part in a new advertising technique has been totally overwhelmed by the response. Acclaim UK invited applications to take part in a project known as Identity Marketing™, whereby individuals will change their names by deed poll to Turok, the hero in the title of Acclaim's epic new release, Turok: Evolution. In a little over 12 hours, over 3,000 people have applied to swap their identities for those of a video game character and new applications are being submitted to the website that is dedicated to this project (www.mynameisturok.co.uk) at the rate of 20-30 per minute.

    Acclaim UK will choose five people from the tens of thousands that are expected to volunteer to take part in the Identity Marketing™ campaign. The five will then spend the next year as living, breathing advertisements for the Turok game. In the same way as a company might buy a billboard hoarding, newspaper space or television airtime, Acclaim UK will be renting the identities of the participants for a year.

    The new marketing discipline represents a leap forward and it is believed will be tremendously successful for brands such as Turok. Conventional methods of advertising are decreasing in their ability to make a difference and it is believed that Identity Marketing™ is a new and very powerful way of getting through to consumers.

    Shaun White, UK Communications Manager for Acclaim UK, said: "We've been staggered by the response. Naturally, we are looking at Identity Marketing™ as an experiment in our marketing strategy. But we've been truly amazed at the reaction we've had to the Turok project in such a short space of time."

    The five new Turoks will each receive £500 and a Microsoft X-Box for partaking in this Identity Marketing™ project. People wishing to be considered need to apply online at www.mynameisturok.co.uk by September 2nd 2002. This will enable the successful applicants to have their new identities in time for the launch of Turok Evolution on September 6th.

    Tuesday, August 13, 2002

    Pro Race Driver Sound and Music
    Steve @ 1:23 PM EDT
    New York ­ Tuesday Aug. 13, 2002 ­ When the cars roar off the starting grid this September, Pro Race Driver will make history. Codemasters is using Dolby technology, new industry motion capture dialogue recording techniques and licensed music from top artists to further the gritty realism and excitement in Pro Race Driver.

    Set for a fall release, Pro Race Driver will become one of the first titles to fully implement Dolby Surround Sound in every aspect of a video game. The game¹s sound track, movie sequences, in-game engine and even crash sounds will all be heard through Dolby¹s technology.

    The game also boasts an eclectic music playlist with licensed tracks,
    including Iggy and the Stooges¹ ³Search and Destroy,² Al Green¹s ³So You¹re Leaving,² Ash¹s ³Death Trip 21,² ³Cowboy Song² by Thin Lizzy, Lynyrd Skynyrd¹s ³Sweet Home Alabama² and ³The Sea² by Morcheeba.

    Rather than simply playing over option screens, the tracks are played in an ambient fashion to build location atmosphere. Music will be piped in over loudspeakers around the race circuit and even through in-scene radios in the office and workshop area.

    Another essential element of Pro Race Driver¹s audio is the dialogue spoken in the scenes between the race action. The game¹s development team worked with film production professionals to record the dialogue for the game¹s story sequences as part of the motion capture work at a studio soundstage in Long Island, New York.

    Unlike most gaming MoCap sequences, the characters¹ movements were recorded with a full cast of actors performing with all their dialogue recorded simultaneously to give a more natural feel to the scenes. While common in movie production, it¹s a departure for the MoCap process for video games, which usually captures one actor¹s movement at a time, before montaging a scene together.

    ³Pro Race Driver sets the new standard for audio within the driving game genre,² said Gavin Raeburn, head of studio and producer of the PRD series. ³By implementing a wide range of audio recording and production techniques, usually reserved solely for the film industry, the game delivers one of the most comprehensive uses of audio heard within a gaming environment.²

    The recording process for the distinctive engine sounds from the mightiest cars in the world is also another key element of Pro Race Driver¹s auditory experience. Engine sounds were professionally recorded at MIRA, a leading independent provider of product engineering and testing services, in a rolling road chamber. The cars were driven under varying extreme racing conditions at speeds of up to 120 mph to achieve the most accurate and authentic engine sounds possible.

    NFL 2K3 Now Shipping
    Steve @ 4:13 AM EDT
    SAN FRANCISCO - (August 12, 2002) - SEGA® of America, Inc. announced today that "SEGA Sports™ NFL 2K3" has started shipping for the PlayStation® 2 computer entertainment system and the Xbox™ video game system from Microsoft®. Heralded as the "Best Sports Game" by the "Game Critics Awards: Best of E3 2002," "SEGA Sports NFL 2K3" is poised to redefine the standards of football video games this season with ground-breaking Artificial Intelligence, unparalleled lifelike animations, an ESPN telecast-style presentation, full online gameplay options and an in-depth franchise mode featuring a revolutionary and easy-to-use visual interface. Developed by Visual Concepts Entertainment, a SEGA development studio, "SEGA Sports NFL 2K3" pushes the boundaries of realism and blurs the line between a football video game and a real-life Sunday afternoon gridiron battle.

    "The 'SEGA Sports NFL 2K' franchise has consistently pushed the genre in innovative new directions," said Tom Nichols, vice president of sports marketing, SEGA of America, Inc. "That tradition lives on with 'SEGA Sports NFL 2K3' - a game that challenges the conventions of sports video games and raises the bar by which all console football games will be judged."

    "Our goal with the "NFL 2K" series is to create the most true-to-life football video game experience possible," said Greg Thomas, president of Visual Concepts Entertainment, a SEGA development studio. "With 'SEGA Sports NFL 2K3' we have taken a giant step forward in realizing that goal, successfully capturing the subtle nuances of a real NFL game."

    "SEGA Sports NFL 2K3" builds on its championship-caliber gameplay with a variety of new additions and enhancements. More than 4,500 team-specific plays and the ability to create custom playbooks ensure that each team follows the exact play-calling tendencies they do in the real world. Similarly, advanced individual player AI makes each athlete react uniquely to the action around him on the field. From linebackers slowing down crossing patterns by bumping receivers passing through their zones to AI quarterbacks more realistically making formation and coverage reads before making the throw, "SEGA Sports NFL 2K3" delivers both an exhilarating and ultra-realistic gameplay experience.

    "SEGA Sports NFL 2K3" delivers a new level of authenticity with an ESPN telecast-style presentation. Everything from the trademark split-screen player introductions and analysis, game highlights, scores and overlays to the famous SportsCenter theme music, help create the look and feel of an actual ESPN telecast of the National Football League. In "SEGA Sports NFL 2K3," weekly wrap-ups show actual game highlights from simulated games around the league and a variety of post-season awards distinguish the best of the best in the NFL.

    The first-ever online console franchise, "SEGA Sports NFL 2K3" is also the only football video game on the market with full online gameplay for both PlayStation 2 and Xbox. Online features include the ability for gamers to challenge each other over the Internet, check their win/loss records, download roster updates and maintain a list of favorite opponents. Providing added value to the game's expansive list of features is the brand new SEGA Sports Challenge. With this feature enabled, the seasoned "SEGA Sports NFL 2K3" fan can compare stats accumulated during offline Exhibition games against other players from around the country. In the SEGA Sports Challenge, gamers track their stats in a multitude of categories to receive a unique Challenge Code, which can then be entered and ranked against other gamers on Segasports.com.

    Joining the returning Exhibition, Tournament, Season and Practice Modes is a brand new Situation Mode and the reconstructed Franchise Mode. The Franchise Mode, which features an innovative visual interface and additional team management options, arrives for the new season with an extensive overhaul. As users step into the shoes of their favorite team's players, coaches and general managers, they have the option of signing free agents, scouting and drafting rookies, making trades and even drafting graduating seniors from "SEGA Sports™ NCAA® College Football 2K3." The Situation Mode lets players customize a variety of options to create their own unique in-game scenario, from running two-minute drills to lining up for the game winning field goal.

    "SEGA Sports NFL 2K3" athletes have been remodeled using 3D scans of prototype NFL body types to look more genuine and lifelike than ever. Player body sizes now match the unique height, weight and girth for each of the individual positions on the field. The 3D stadiums were also redesigned to more accurately represent the size and magnitude of actual NFL stadiums. The result is a game that is visually striking, capturing everything from the cheap seats and crowded sidelines in the stadiums to the player's dramatic facial expressions and real-time reflections on their helmets.

    Monday, August 12, 2002

    Splinter Cell Website Launch
    Steve @ 2:32 PM EDT
    SAN FRANCISCO, CA - August 12, 2002 - Now eager Tom Clancy game fans can sign up to receive the latest news on this holiday season's most anticipated game, Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell(tm), by visiting www.splintercell.com , and registering to receive the official Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell newsletter. The official Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell newsletter will keep gamers informed of the latest Splinter Cell news-anything from developer diaries and producer interviews to screenshots and movies. While visiting www.splintercell.com , visitors can check out an exclusive Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell video, giving them a sneak peek at the award-winning game. Splintercell.com will debut on the World Wide Web at 12 am PST, on Wednesday, August 14th.

    Published by Ubi Soft , one of the world's largest video game publishers, Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell is the most recent addition to Ubi Soft's Tom Clancy franchise, which includes top-selling games such as Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon, and Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six series. The Clancy games are recognized throughout the game industry for consistently delivering a top-notch game experience, earning the Clancy franchise the distinction of being the number two best-selling shooter franchise across all platforms. Each game is stamped with Clancy's signature style: heightened reality, elite forces, the best equipment and the theme of good vs. evil in the struggle against terrorism. Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell is the first third-person stealth-action game in the series and is expected to broaden the Clancy game fan base by attracting a diverse mix of hardcore and casual gamers.

    "Ever since Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell stole the show at E3-winning 10 awards including the prestigious Game Critics Awards: Best of E3 2002.award, Best Action/Adventure Game-gamers have been hungry for the latest news and sneak peeks of Splinter Cell" explained Tony Kee, vice president of marketing for Ubi Soft Entertainment, Inc. "This newsletter will give gamers insider knowledge of the game and provide access to developers and producers."

    Change Your Name to Turok!
    Steve @ 2:27 PM EDT
    This is for people only living in the UK, not USA.


    In a global advertising first, Acclaim UK has today revealed that it is looking for adventurous individuals to change their names by deed poll to Turok, in recognition of the epic video game series and to commemorate the launch of Turok Evolution, available for the PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system, Xbox video game system from Microsoft and Nintendo GameCube in September 2002.

    The new marketing technique is known as Identity Marketing™ and in the same way as a company might buy a billboard hoarding, newspaper space or some television airtime to promote a new product, Acclaim is looking to buy the identities of five individuals.

    A website has gone live at www.mynameisturok.co.uk for willing pioneers of this new form of advertising to find out more information about Identity Marketing™ and to register their interest in being considered for the Turok project.

    Five people will be selected from the many thousands who are expected to volunteer. Acclaim will manage the legal process to change their names to Turok and issue them with their new identities. The successful people will receive £500, Xbox and a copy of Turok Evolution. They will then go about their everyday lives as living adverts for the video game.

    Shaun White, UK Communications Manager for Acclaim, said: “We are looking for applicants who want to experience the kudos of being pioneers in advertising, who are willing to step beyond the leading edge of marketing practice. The video games industry has a habit of always striving for newer and more unique ways of targeting customers and with Identity Marketing™ I think we’ve topped the lot.”

    Applications to take part in the Turok project can only be made via www.mynameisturok.co.uk. The closing date for entries is September 2nd, which will enable all successful applicants to have their new identity in time for the launch of Turok Evolution on September 6th.

    Saturday, August 10, 2002

    Complete Description of Splinter Cell
    Steve @ 5:22 AM EDT
    Your name is Sam Fisher and you are the best field-operative of the secretive "black-ops" NSA sub-agency THIRD ECHELON. Sent to execute desperate missions, you're the last resort of your government, on the edge of legality and morality.

    Alone, yet armed with some of the best hi-tech weapons on the market, you are geared up to infiltrate and neutralize every enemy - all without leaving a trace.

    Silent as a whisper, deadly as a blade, you are authorized to operate with carte blanche. You exist above the law, but your name, your face and your mission must remain anonymous.


  • A New Echelon of Stealth Action : never seen before stealth moves, highly interactive environments.
  • Diving summersault, ledge hang, pipe climb, peek around corners and shoot, drop attack, drag and hide bodies, close-quarters stealth attack, gunpoint cooperation, human shield...
  • Use many gadgets : Sticky camera, laser microphones, fibre optic camera, PDA,...
  • Pick up and use any small object in the environment, shoot any light and take advantage of shadows, devise cunning solutions from your environment (aquariums, oil barrels, etc.)
  • Highly scenarized game experience
  • SPLINTER CELL has been developed from the universe created by the famous US novelist Tom Clancy. Techno-thriller story, geopolitical tensions, pulse-pounding action at global scale (14 missions through 4 countries), covert agencies, deep characters background...
  • FMV & Cut-scenes : the story will be told with a mix of Full motion Video sequences and real-time cut-scenes.
  • Infiltrate high-security strongholds (including CIA headquarters), neutralize anyone who opposes mission goals (from hackers to special forces soldiers), seize critical intelligence, destroy threatening data and equipment, and disappear without a trace.
  • A State of the Art Technology to serve a unique lifelike universe
  • Unparalleled use of the customized next gen Unreal engine
  • Custom technologies include dynamic lightning and shadowing, Vertex shaders, volumetric lightning, pixel shaders, texture rendering, and shadow mapping bring environments to life.

    New Details on Myst III: Exile; Screens Included
    Steve @ 5:11 AM EDT
    Following is the next Age in the Myst III: Exile series, J'nanin "The Lesson Age." J'nanin is the hub Age in Myst III: Exile, players will link to other Ages from here. The Xbox's vibrating, force feedback controller has improved linking to be more similar to the disorienting effect Cyan always intended. Presto Studios went to great efforts to blur the line between a real-time and prerendered game (i.e. the water's ripple effect).

    Players track Salvador from Tomahna to J'nanin and uncover his journal which reveals the motivations behind his hatred against Atrus. Saaverdro seeks to restore his Narayan Age, destroyed by Atrus' sons, or, failing that, exact his revenge on Artus. Throughout the game, players will uncover additional pages to Saaverdro's journal and see various paintings that illustrate Saavedro's hatred. Players will solve five puzzles on J'nanin, including puzzles that allow players to link to the other ages -- Amateria, Edanna and
    Voltaic.

    Myst III: Exile features several special features exclusive only to Xbox:

  • Myst's beautiful photo-realism is a hallmark in the gaming world, and Presto Studios enhanced the 3D effects in the pre-rendered environments to create a more immersive experience, more stunning and more real. The Xbox version uses enhanced modeling systems to create water that moves and looks like real water, both up close and at a distance.

  • The Xbox version has the "Director's Cut" of the lens flare implemented. This feature was toned down for the PC version, but due to the Xbox capabilities it has been implemented as it was intended.

  • Dolby 5.1 surround sound: Myst III: Exile takes advantage of the Xbox's realistic surround-sound audio. Presto has created the ability to not only have sound come from behind the player, but to differentiate from left and right ear.

  • Behind the scenes footage: the Xbox version includes a 22 minute "making of" featurette. This is the only in-game, full screen version seen anywhere. The movie includes footage from the video
    shoot, interviews with the developers.



    Myst III Screens

    Thursday, August 8, 2002

    More Info & First Screens of Project Gotham Racing 2
    Eric @ 3:31 PM EDT
    Publisher: Microsoft Game Studios
    Developer: Bizarre Creations Ltd.
    Format: DVD for the Microsoft® Xbox™ video game system
    Availability: Holiday season 2003

    "Project Gotham Racing 2" is the newest version of the critically acclaimed "Project Gotham Racing" franchise. Rewarding drivers for focusing on speed and style while still taking risks around every corner, "Project Gotham Racing 2" offers circuit-based racing through highly detailed, photorealistic urban environments. Racers can choose from more than 50 of the hottest cars while learning their way around new and exciting cities, mastering corners, and accelerating through the straightaways before moving to a different venue. Players also can race against up to three friends at once through a multiplayer SystemLink or match up against players online utilizing Xbox Live.

    Features:

    More cities, including Hong Kong and Edinburgh, Scotland. Maintaining its international theme, the game allows players to travel the globe while racing in the some of the world's most dynamic cities. The final number of cities is still being determined, but gamers can expect there to be many more than in "Project Gotham Racing."

    More than 50 of the fastest, most desirable and stylish cars — all fully licensed and fully damageable — from top manufacturers. A wide range of high-performance vehicles, including models from top manufacturers such as Ferrari (the new Enzo Ferrari is slated to be in the game) and Porsche, will offer gamers an exciting driving experience.

    Online play. "Project Gotham Racing 2" will support Xbox Live, allowing gamers to challenge friends and others with online play and downloadable content (online play details to be disclosed at a later date).
    − Multiplayer SystemLink also allows four players to race head-to-head in the same room.

    Kudos reward system. Gamers can experience more ways to earn Kudos, as well as a new rating system with a more accurate way to rank players rather than just by the number of Kudos they have earned.

    Beautiful game environments. The game's highly detailed, mapped-out levels allow players to drive in photorealistic city environments, demonstrating the superior graphics technology of Xbox.



    Project Gotham Racing 2 Screens

    More Info on Halo 2!
    Eric @ 3:19 PM EDT
    "Halo 2" continues the story of the Master Chief, a genetically enhanced super-soldier who is the only human ever to successfully defy the Covenant—a coalition of alien races on a murderous march toward Earth. To the mysterious leaders of the Covenant, the human victory at the ancient ring structure known as Halo was an unacceptable failure. They will not fail again.

    "Halo 2" surpasses its predecessor in graphical beauty and combat intensity. "'Halo 2' is a lot like 'Halo', only it's 'Halo' on fire, going 130 miles per hour through a hospital zone, being chased by helicopters and ninjas," explained Jason Jones, the head of Bungie Studios, "and the ninjas are all on fire, too." The Master Chief and his marine allies return to battle the full complement of Covenant forces, as well as as-of-yet-unrevealed foes.

    "Halo 2" expands the Master Chief's already substantial arsenal with powerful new weapons, many pried from the twitching claws of his defeated enemies. This sequel also increases Halo's number of drivable vehicles giving players many more ways to speed into battle or explore the game's vast landscapes.

    "Halo 2" is powered by a completely new graphics engine designed specifically for the Xbox hardware. "Our code squeezes every drop of power out of the Xbox," said Chris Butcher, one of "Halo 2's" engineering leads. "We're doing dynamic lighting and shadows, per-pixel everything, rendering gigantic, lush environments. The graphical features we're using are so advanced we don't even have buzzwords for them yet."

    In addition to an epic single-player campaign, "Halo 2" has support for multiplayer action via split-screen, Xbox "System-Link" and online through Microsoft's "Xbox Live™" service. "We still have the multiplayer game-types that people loved in 'Halo', but we're planning something special for multiplayer in 'Halo 2,'" hinted Jaime Griesemer, "Halo 2's" lead designer. "I don't want to ruin the surprise, but imagine the essential 'Halo' single-player experience: pitched battles between the humans and the Covenant, massive vehicle and infantry engagements. Now imagine that every combatant is an actual person playing over Xbox Live!" "Halo 2's" online multiplayer will feature squad-oriented team-play, real-time voice chat and extensive community support when it ships at the end of next year.

    First Halo 2 Screens!
    Steve @ 1:28 PM EDT
    Four Halo 2 screens have been released, check them out!


    Halo 2 Screens

    Halo 2 and Project Gotham Racing 2!
    Steve @ 1:22 PM EDT
    NEW YORK -- Aug. 8, 2002 --It's time again for gamers to assume the role of Master Chief, protecting humanity with a powerful armory of guns and grenades as they battle the relentless Covenant scourge. It's also time for gamers to be among the first to grab the steering wheel of a shiny new Enzo Ferrari and race through the streets of some of the world's most exotic cities.

    Microsoft Corp. today announced at the X02 North America event that "Halo (TM) 2" and "Project Gotham Racing (TM) 2," sequels to best-selling Xbox (TM) games from Microsoft Game Studios, are in development for the Xbox video game system. "Halo 2," developed by Bungie Studios, is expected to arrive on store shelves for the 2003 holiday season, and "Project Gotham Racing 2," developed by Bizarre Creations, is due in early 2004.

    "Halo 2," a sci-fi action/first-person shooter game, is a full sequel to the best-selling original and will continue the story of the Master Chief, a genetically enhanced supersoldier who is the only man that has successfully defied the Covenant, a coalition of alien races on a murderous march toward Earth. "Halo 2" surpasses its predecessor both in graphical beauty and combat intensity. The Master Chief and his marine allies return to battle the full complement of Covenant forces, as well as new enemies who have not yet revealed themselves. "Halo 2" also expands the Master Chief's already substantial arsenal with powerful new weapons, many pried from the twitching claws of defeated enemies, as well as more than twice as many drivable vehicles for exploring vast landscapes or speeding into battle. In addition to its epic single-player campaign, "Halo 2" will be playable online through Xbox Live.

    "Project Gotham Racing 2" returns to city streets with new fully licensed vehicles from major car manufacturers including Ferrari and Porsche. This engaging racing game sequel includes more than 50 vehicles as well as new cities, including Edinburgh, Scotland, and Hong Kong. More ways to earn Kudos will be available, as well as a new rating system, a more accurate way to rank players rather than just by the number of Kudos they have earned. "Project Gotham Racing 2" also enables gamers to play online through the Xbox Live service.

    "There's only one thing better than announcing a sequel to a million-seller," said Ed Fries, vice president of Xbox Game Content at Microsoft Game Studios. "And that's announcing sequels to two 1-million-unit-selling games. Our 'Halo' and 'Project Gotham Racing' franchises have redefined the shooter and racing categories around the world with innovation, great gameplay and pure fun. 'Halo 2' and 'Project Gotham Racing 2' will build on these legacies with awesome new features and the thrill of playing anyone anywhere using Xbox Live."

    "Halo: Combat Evolved" reached the 1-million-units-sold mark faster than any other Xbox game in North America and was named Game of the Year by the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences, Electronic Gaming Monthly and IGN.com. "Project Gotham Racing" was nominated for Console Racing Game of the Year by the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences. It joined the select million-seller club during the past month.

    At the X02 North America event, third-party publishers such as Electronic Arts (TM) , Sega® of America Inc. and Capcom® showed off their holiday titles, and Bose Corp. is helping Xbox showcase the power of the console's unique Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound capabilities through the use of the new Bose Freestyle audio system.

    Gamers don't have to wait until 2003; they can get their fix of great Xbox games this holiday season with "Blinx (TM) : The Time Sweeper," "Brute Force (TM) ," "Kakuto Chojin (TM) ," "MechAssault (TM) ," "NBA Inside Drive 2003," "NFL Fever 2003" (available now), "Quantum Redshift (TM) ," "Sega Sports (TM) NFL 2K3" (Sega® of America), "Panzer Dragoon (TM) Orta" (Sega® of America), "Shenmue II," "Sneakers (TM) ," "Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell (TM) " (Ubi Soft® Entertainment), "Unreal Championship" (Infogrames), and "Whacked! (TM) ."

    Dragon's Lair 3D in HDTV; Only Xbox Game with 1080i
    Steve @ 3:01 AM EDT
    Dragon's Lair 3D: Return to the Lair for Xbox will be the FIRST and ONLY Xbox title with 1080i HDTV compatibility. No one has experienced the full graphics power of the Xbox console yet, but Dragon's Lair 3D will show Xbox users how truly powerful the Xbox is. Dragon's Lair 3D is an all new 3D action adventure based on the world famous arcade game played by millions of fans worldwide, Dragon's Lair. Created by Don Bluth and Gary Goldman (Secret of Nimh, Titan AE, Land Before Time, etc.), Dragon's Lair 3D: Return to the Lair will feature new cut-scene animations and in-game animated characters from Bluth. Dirk's more than 150 3D, cel animations allows him to run, jump, roll, sneak, climb, crouch, crawl, swing, push, lift and somersault. Dragon's Lair 3D's 1080i compatibility shows off the game's real-time, 3D modeled and hand painted, textured world in a visual style so colorful that players will feel as if they are controlling an interactive, 3D cartoon.

    Dragon’s Lair 3D: Return to the Lair Features:

    ·More than 150 new, unique 3D animations for Dirk the Daring allows Dirk to run, jump, roll, sneak, climb, crouch, crawl, swing, push, lift and somersault
    ·A real-time 3D modeled and hand painted, textured world features new next-generation visuals
    ·15 large, detailed, action-packed levels featuring more than 40 environments to explore and 250+ new rooms with numerous puzzles, traps, power-ups and hidden secrets to uncover
    ·The first Xbox title announced to feature 1080i High Definition TV graphics mode

    Wednesday, August 7, 2002

    NFL Fever 2003 Released
    Steve @ 3:00 PM EDT
    While pro football players are working up a sweat getting ready for the upcoming season, football video game fans are developing a certain "fever" in anticipation of the newest release for the Xbox(TM) video game system from Microsoft Corp."NFL Fever 2003" hits store shelves today, and like all great sports franchises, this one made significant improvements during the off-season.

    The biggest addition to the all-star assortment of features is online gaming: "NFL Fever 2003" will be the first title to appear on Xbox Live, the revolutionary new broadband gaming experience being introduced this fall. It will be like getting two games for the price of one, because for the first part of the NFL season gamers will be able to play their friends, families and neighbors. Then, when Xbox Live is introduced this November, subscribers to Xbox Live will be able to take on challengers from around the world to determine who is the real champion of "NFL Fever 2003."

    Lots of other new features were added in the off-season, including up-to- the minute NFL schedules, updated rosters, the newly redesigned NFL divisions, the latest uniforms, the new stadiums and even the new Houston Texans. Of course, when you have one of the best in the business at quarterback, you don't make a change there, so Indianapolis Colts All-Pro Quarterback Peyton Manning returns as the cover athlete and spokesman for "NFL Fever 2003."

    NCAA College Football 2K3 Coming Next Week
    Steve @ 2:59 PM EDT
    SEGA(R) of America, Inc. announced today the release of "SEGA Sports(TM) NCAA(R) College Football 2K3" for the PlayStation(R) 2 computer entertainment system; soon to ship for the Xbox(TM) video game system from Microsoft(R) and the Nintendo GameCube(TM). Produced by Visual Concepts and developed by Avalanche Software, "NCAA College Football 2K3" marks the multiplatform debut of the SEGA Sports college gridiron franchise and features all of the trimmings fans might expect from the standard-bearer in sports video gaming. In-depth features ranging from a comprehensive list of bowl games and conference championships to team-specific playbooks, mascots, and fight songs help deliver all of the pride and pageantry of the college football experience.

    "The first in SEGA Sports series of 2K3 games, 'NCAA College Football 2K3,' helps usher in a new era of sports video gaming, delivering the utmost focus on both realism and excitement," said Tom Nichols, vice president of sports marketing, SEGA of America, Inc. "'SEGA Sports NCAA College Football 2K3' is also the first product in the 2K3 lineup to feature an ESPN telecast-style presentation, which helps deliver the purity and overall ambience of the college game."

    "SEGA Sports NCAA College Football 2K3" delivers a host of college football-specific details, from the multiple polls and rankings available to players as they make their journey to the national championship game to the rigorous Spring Practice option. The enhanced Legacy Mode lets players compete for the nation's top high school recruits and guide one of 117 Division I-A or select Division 1-AA schools to one of the 25 post-season bowl games, including the 2003 Tostitos(R) Fiesta(R) Bowl National Championship Game; or create your own school and build a program from the ground up. Gamers also have the ability to edit names and ratings and fully customize any individual player attribute, and even import graduating seniors into the "SEGA Sports(TM) NFL 2K3" draft. Revamped playbooks ensure that each team reflects the exact tendencies of their real-world counterparts, while more than 6,000 new situation-specific lines of commentary break down the action for heated college gridiron rivalries.

    Visually, the players in "SEGA Sports NCAA College Football 2K3" are modeled to look distinctively like college-aged athletes, and more than 500 new college-specific animations, such as the revamped option play, capture the unique styles and movements of NCAA football. Adding to the realism are more than 117 3D stadium models that are designed to the exact specifications of the actual stadiums, while cheerleaders, mascots and more than 50 unique school fight songs help bring the NCAA gridiron to life.

    Rounding out the complete package is a lifelike ESPN telecast-style presentation. From the game's SportsCenter introduction to the ESPN style graphical menus and statistical layouts, the presentation in "NCAA College Football 2K3" puts players inside a virtual telecast on gameday.

    "SEGA Sports NCAA College Football 2K3" is endorsed by former University of Nebraska quarterback and 2001 Heisman(R) Trophy Winner Eric Crouch, who also contributed his expertise on the option play for the game, performed motion capture and provided insight on the various gameplay styles of the college teams. "SEGA Sports NCAA College Football 2K3" is currently available for the PlayStation 2 for a suggested retail price of $49.95. The game will soon be released on Xbox and the Nintendo GameCube.

    Two New Original Games From BioWare
    Steve @ 2:03 PM EDT
    EDMONTON, Alberta, Canada – August 6th, 2002 – BioWare Corp. today announced that they are working on two new games, both roleplaying games based on two new intellectual properties, created and owned by BioWare. The first of the two un-named titles in production is being developed for the Xbox, the second for the PC.

    Today, Microsoft Game Studios and BioWare Corp. are announcing that they have signed a first-party publishing partnership for the new Xbox game under development at BioWare.

    The second game, a BioWare Corp. PC roleplaying property, is under development but has not yet been presented to any publisher.

    "The partnership with Microsoft Game Studios is a perfect fit. They clearly share BioWare's vision and commitment to quality. To be publishing BioWare's first intellectual property - an all-new, epic Xbox roleplaying game - is a great opportunity for us. Of course, we also intend to continue our existing publisher relationships developing selected licenses", said Dr. Ray Muzyka, Joint CEO of BioWare Corp.

    "As part of our long-term strategy, we continuously seek out premier game developers," said Ed Fries, vice president of Microsoft Game Studios. "BioWare has repeatedly delivered compelling games. Our publishing partnership with BioWare further represents our commitment to bring only the best experiences to gamers."

    Tuesday, August 6, 2002

    Bob Burnquist and Tony Hawk Agreement
    Steve @ 1:22 PM EDT
    Activision, Inc. announced today that the company has signed world-renowned skateboarder Bob Burnquist to an exclusive multi-year video game licensing and sponsorship agreement. Burnquist will continue to appear alongside Tony Hawk in Activision O2™’s flagship action sports franchise, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater™, which was the single largest independent U.S. video game franchise during calendar 2001, according to NPD. Additionally, as an Activision-sponsored athlete, Burnquist’s helmet and skateboard deck will feature Activision O2 logos beginning at the 2002 Summer Gravity Games on NBC.

    Considered by many to be one of the most innovative skaters today, Burnquist has participated in the sport since 1987 and began his professional career in 1989 in Brazil. Since then, he was ranked the #1 vert ramp skater in the world at the end of the 2000 season, has earned multiple X Games and Gravity Games gold medals, and has won top industry awards such as the 2002 Transworld Rider’s Poll which included the WCS Award for the Highest Points in Vert as well as the Rider’s Choice for Best Vert Skater. Burnquist has become such a leader in the sport because of his ability to perform any trick in both the regular and switch stance.

    “I am very excited to continue my relationship with Activision,” said Bob Burnquist. “The success of the Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater series has helped to expand the popularity of skateboarding around the world. I’m a big fan of video games and it feels great to be a role model for kids today.”

    “Bob is one of the most popular and respected athletes in action sports today,” stated Will Kassoy, vice president, global brand management. “Throughout his career he has been an inspiration for thousands of up and coming skaters around the world. We are very pleased to extend our relationship in video games with Bob, and are excited to have Bob as an Activision O2 sponsored athlete.”

    Activision’s award-winning studio, Neversoft Entertainment, is currently in development with Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 4, the latest title in the series, which is slated for release this fall on all of the next-generation console platforms.

    Monday, August 5, 2002

    Prima to Publish Official Strategy Guide for Dead to Rights
    Steve @ 10:59 PM EDT
    Aug. 5, 2002--Prima Games, a division of Random House Inc. and the world's leading strategy guide publisher, today announced that it has signed an exclusive agreement with Namco to write, publish and distribute strategy guides for Tekken(R)4 for PlayStation(R)2 computer entertainment system and Dead to Rights(TM) for the Xbox gaming system in North America. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

    "Tekken 4 and Dead to Rights are two of Namco's premier releases this year," said Stacey Hirata, director of marketing for Namco Hometek. "We chose Prima Games as our strategy guide partner not only because they are the industry leader, but also due to the high level of enthusiasm the team conveyed for our games."

    "We are thrilled to be working with Namco to bring strategy guides to market for two critically acclaimed console games," said Debra Kempker, president of Prima Games. "Both Tekken 4 and Dead to Rights were nominated by various video game trade publications for `Best of Show' awards at E3, so we are expecting that the guides will be in high demand as the titles launch later this year."

    Within the past three months, Prima Games has also signed strategy guide publishing deals with Electronic Arts, Infogrames and Ubi Soft(R) Entertainment, further cementing the company's dominance of the strategy guide market. According to NPDFunworld, Prima Games owns a 45 percent market share, a ranking it has held since 1999.

    Strategy guides are soft cover books that provide helpful hints and tips to consumers on how to play a specific computer or video game. The cost for Prima Games' guides range from U.S. MSRP $14.99 to $19.99.

    Friday, August 2, 2002

    Kelly Slater’s Pro Surfer Soundtrack
    Steve @ 1:31 PM EDT
    London, UK - 2nd August, 2002 - Activision, Inc. (Nasdaq: ATVI) is bringing the sounds of surf culture to its latest O2 action sports title, Kelly Slater’s Pro Surfer™, with a diverse soundtrack featuring some of today’s hottest artists. Kelly Slater’s Pro Surfer will be available for the PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system, the Xbox™ video game system from Microsoft, Nintendo GameCube™ and Game Boy® Advance this summer, and will feature the following artists and tracks:

    Ben Harper – “Faded”
    Jack Johnson – “Middle Man”
    Pearl Jam – “WMA”
    Perry Farrell – “Nua Nua”
    Christopher Goze – “Sirocco”
    Funky Lowlives – “Notabossa”
    Greyboy – “Master the Art”
    Jeremy Kay – “Back to You”
    Mo’ Horizons– “Foto Vida” (Nicola Conte Mix)
    Quantum Dub Force – “Quantum Zone”
    Rae and Christian – “Ready to Roll”
    Satan’s Pilgrims – “Step it Up”
    Shur I Kan – “Advance”
    Si Se – “Steppin Out”
    Smith and Mighty – “No Justice”
    Soul Hooligan – “Psychedelic Soul”
    Space Cossacks – “Solaris Stomp”
    Sunchild – “Vagabond Parade”
    Third World – “1865” (96 degrees in the shade)
    Thunderball – “Heat of the Hustler”
    Thunderball – “Vai Vai”
    Truby Trio – “Alegre”

    Kelly Slater’s Pro Surfer is the most challenging and fun surfing game ever, featuring Kelly Slater, the most recognized surfing professional of all time. Players will experience an all-out adrenaline rush as they drop in on huge waves, pull into barrelling overhead tubes and pull off hundreds of insane trick combinations including fantasy tricks and signature pro moves. Players can choose to ride as six-time world champion Kelly Slater, or as one of eight of the most accomplished surfing pros of all time -- Rob Machado, Kalani Robb, Lisa Anderson, Bruce Irons, Tom Curren, Donovan Frankenreiter, Nathan Fletcher and Tom Carroll.

    3DO Announces Four Horsemen
    Steve @ 1:30 PM EDT
    REDWOOD CITY, Calif.--Aug. 1, 2002--The 3DO Company today announced that it is collaborating with world-famous fantasy and comic book artist, Simon Bisley, to develop Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse(TM) for Personal Computer, PlayStation(R) 2 computer entertainment system, Nintendo GameCube(TM), and the Xbox(TM) video game system from Microsoft. A dark adventure based on the Biblical tale of Armageddon, Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse combines the expertise of celebrated artists Simon Bisley and Dave DeVries with the distinctive voice talents of Tim Curry (The Hunt for Red October, Charlie's Angels, The Three Musketeers), Lance Henriksen (The Right Stuff, Aliens, Millennium) and cult film star Traci Lords (Melrose Place, Profiler, First Wave). The action games are planned for release in Fall 2003.

    "With intense action and beautiful style, Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse combines the abilities of extremely gifted artists, writers, engineers and actors to create a top-notch horror/action game," said Michael Mendheim, vice president and creative director, The 3DO Company. "We're adding a modern, sinister spin on a classic theme, and creating a powerful main character that players will identify with. We're also going all-out with mature content mixed with action and violence of Biblical proportions. This is not your father's video game -- it's more like The Matrix meets Hellraiser."

    Thursday, August 1, 2002

    Aggressive Inline Now in Stores
    Steve @ 2:04 PM EDT
    Bringing the award-winning gameplay and excitement of its action sports video game hit to the next-generation systems, AKA Acclaim, a division of Acclaim Entertainment, Inc., today announced it has shipped Aggressive Inline(TM) for both the Xbox(TM) video game system from Microsoft and the Nintendo GameCube(TM). A critically acclaimed release that has been a top-10 rental at Blockbuster since its debut on the PlayStation(R)2 computer entertainment system, Aggressive Inline combines the thrill of high-flying inline skating with the ease and mass-market appeal of arcade-style action.

    "We're thrilled to bring Aggressive Inline to owners of Xbox and Nintendo GameCube, and are confident that they will enjoy experiencing the new standard in action sports video games," said Ben Fischbach, Senior Brand Manager for AKA Acclaim. "With its massive levels, vast array of tricks and diverse roster of skaters, including the fan-favorite Chrissy, Aggressive Inline delivers an incredible gameplay experience for novice and non-stop gamers alike."

    Developed by Z-Axis, Aggressive Inline is the first authentic aggressive inline skating game, and features 10 top pro skaters, such as Taig Khris, Franky Morales, Jaren Grob, Shane Yost and Chris Edwards, the sport's founding father. Gamers can play as one of their favorite inline stars, as they master and explore an array of fully-interactive levels, each filled with pedestrians, traffic systems and outrageous gravity-defying challenges.