NewsPro Archive

February 2003

Friday, February 28, 2003

Acclaim's All-Star Baseball 2004 Ships
Steve @ 6:09 PM EST
GLEN COVE, NY, February 28, 2003- Stepping up to the plate with the power of 2002's #1 selling baseball video game franchise, Acclaim Sports a division of Acclaim Entertainment, Inc., today announced that its eagerly anticipated All-Star Baseball 2004 Featuring Derek Jeter will be available in stores nationwide this weekend. Developed by Acclaim's award-winning Austin studio, All-Star Baseball 2004 combines the best of simulation and arcade-style game play to deliver the deepest and most realistic interactive baseball experience. All-Star Baseball 2004 offers more than 80 new features, including for the-first-time-ever, online downloadable rosters, the official Negro Leagues license and selectable Spanish play-by-play in-game announcing.

"All-Star Baseball 2004 builds upon our #1 position in the market with another high-quality gaming experience that sets a new benchmark, and it is sure to appeal to hardcore and casual baseball fans alike," said David Knies, Director of Acclaim Sports. "With more than 80 new features, All-Star Baseball 2004 is truly the deepest game with all the tools."

"All-Star Baseball 2004 raises the bar on realism and is the closest thing to actually playing in the big leagues," added Acclaim spokesperson and four-time World SeriesÒ Champion, Derek Jeter. "Acclaim has done an incredible job with All-Star Baseball 2004, from the attention to detail to the rich history of the Negro Leagues, and I'm sure it will be a home run with
gamers this season."

"Acclaim's All-Star Baseball 2004 is a wonderful tribute to the talented players of the Negro Leagues who truly loved the game of baseball," concluded Buck O'Neil former player for the Kansas City Monarchs and Chairman of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum. "I'm excited that All-Star Baseball 2004 will help make players like Josh Gibson, Satchel Paige and Pop Lloyd come to life for an entire new generation of baseball fans."

Developed by Acclaim Studios Austin under license from Major League Baseball Properties and the Major League Baseball Players Association, Acclaim Sports' All-Star Baseball franchise has been praised by industry press over the past three years for its breakthrough graphics and gameplay. All-Star Baseball is highly regarded in the video game industry as the premier baseball series, and according to The NPD Group was the #1 selling baseball brand of 2002 across of the next-generation gaming platforms.

All-Star Baseball 2004 returns this season with an array of exciting new features, including:

·All-new front end and broadcast quality game presentations;
·Over 50 playable teams, including all 30 Major League Baseball® teams and 20 unlockable teams;
·75 stadiums, each with active dugouts and bullpens, real time scoreboards and jumbotrons;
·More than 1,000 players to choose from, including over 110 retired Legends of MLB and Negro Leagues, such as Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb, Satchel Page, Josh Gibson and Buck O'Neil;
·9 new gameplay modes, including Scenario mode, which allows players to relive and change classic moments from the 2002 MLB season;
·Deeper, more customizable Franchise mode;
·All-new online downloadable rosters (PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system and the XboxÔ video game system from Microsoft only);
·In-game save capability;
·Multimedia section, featuring interviews with Derek Jeter, Cal Ripken and Buck O'Neil;
·First-time-ever in a video game - selectable Spanish play-by-play commentary;

All-Star Baseball 2004 is currently available for Xbox, Nintendo GameCubeÔ and Game Boy® Advance. The game will be available for the PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system on Tuesday, March 4, 2003. For a complete list of features and to order All-Star Baseball 2004, please visit http://www.allstarbaseball04.com

Freestyle MetalX Coming from Midway
Steve @ 2:16 PM EST
CHICAGO – Feb. 28, 2003 – Midway Sports AsylumTM, the action-sports brand of leading software industry publisher and developer Midway Games Inc., announced today that Freestyle MetalXTM, an all-new freestyle motocross game, is scheduled to ship June 2003 for the PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system, the XboxTM video game system from Microsoft and Nintendo GameCubeTM.

Riding it hard, fast and anywhere, Freestyle MetalX is a totally unique offering that caters to the action sport and mass-market gamer with diverse, lawless freestyle motocross mayhem. Gamers and motocross fanatics can “be sick all over” as they experience firsthand the extreme thrills and spills of the first freestyle motocross videogame. Featuring a seemingly unlimited stunt system, expansive worlds, eight insane game modes and sub-games, Freestyle MetalX lets players cancan and rodeo their way through vast environments as they interact with and trick-off everything from swimming pools to skyscrapers. Freestyle MetalX also offers extreme side events where players can gain popularity and money in career mode by executing flawless maneuvers such as Bus Jumping, Wall of Death, Longest Wheelie, and more.

“We have created something unique with Freestyle MetalX by focusing on the attitude and lack of restrictions surrounding the popular sport of freestyle motocross,” said Helene Sheeler, vice president of marketing, Midway. “Gamers can be anti-establishment as they break windows, ride where they normally can’t ride, and get away with it, in an entirely free-roaming game environment.”

Freestyle MetalX features nine of the sickest riders pulling endless eye-popping tricks in stunning open environments. Pro rider legends include: Clifford “The Flyin’ Hawaiian” Adoptonte, Jeff Tilton, Nate “Destroyer” Adams, Jeremy “Twitch” Stenberg, Trevor Vines, “Mad” Mike Jones, Kris “The Rock” Rourke, Kenny Bartram and Ronnie “Kung Fu” Faisst.

In addition, Freestyle MetalX is totally customizable, allowing gamers to choose from 16 riders, options of motocross gear and unique bike models to create the ultimate hardcore, bone-breaking freestyle motocross experience. Gamers can create their own motocross arenas with an advanced level editor and take on creative sub-games, like riding off a cliff and turning into a human dart aimed at a giant dartboard.

The game also features special DVD content, which offers a sneak peek into the daredevil lifestyles of real motocross sensations and a behind-the-scenes look at the making of Freestyle MetalX. Top metal bands such as Motley Crue, Megadeath, Motorhead, and Twisted Sister also amp-up the intensity in the game with hardcore music that will shake the arena.

Freestyle MetalX Key Features:

·Virtually Unlimited Stunt System – Mix and link seemingly never-ending stunt combinations to create brand new tricks in real-time like “Cordova,” “Stripper,” “Hart Attack,” and more
·Characters – Choose from 16 riders including nine top pros leading the sport like Clifford “The Flyin’ Hawaiian” Adoptonte, Ronnie Faisst, “Mad” Mike Jones, Jeff Tilton, Nate “Destroyer” Adams, Kenny Bartram, Jeremy “Twitch” Stenberg, Trevor Vines, and Kris Rourke
·Expansive Worlds – Get lost in eight huge levels, which include three to four separate competitions each, and special challenges throughout as you move up through the rankings from poser, freestyler, superstar to legend. Competitions include Big Air, Freestyle, Race and Hill Climb
·Advanced Level Editor – Create your own motocross arenas with an advanced level editor
·Side Events – Open up events as you gain popularity and money in career mode:
-Bus Jumping, Wall of Death, and Tunnel of Fire
-Long Jump, High Jump, Longest Wheelie, Longest Endo and Gymnastics
·Seamless Levels – For the first time ever in a sports game, unlock each area and have them linked together, allowing you to drive seamlessly from one level to the next without loading
·Creative Sub-Games – Ride your bike off a cliff and turn your rider into a human dart aimed at a giant dartboard to score points, or play motocross pinball with opponents
·Customization – Choose various aspects of the bike, gear and rider for a unique racing experience
·Killer Sound Track – The best metal you ever rocked to with bands like Motley Crue, Megadeath, Motorhead, Twisted Sister and more

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

For more information about Midway Games visit www.midway.com.

MS & EA Fight Over Sega in Buyout Bid
Eric @ 5:11 AM EST
TOKYO (Reuters) - Shares in Japanese video game maker Sega Corp. (7964.T) soared on Friday after a media report that Microsoft Corp. and top U.S. game publisher Electronic Arts Inc. were considering billion-dollar takeover bids for the company.
The Asian Wall Street Journal said the U.S. companies wanted to buy all or part of Sega, which is already involved in merger discussions with fellow Japanese game maker Sammy Corp.

The report sparked a buying spree for shares in Sega, which had a market capitalization of 129.4 billion yen as of Friday.

The Journal, quoting people familiar with the situation, said Microsoft (MSFT.O) and EA (ERTS.O) were separately exploring the possibility of buying all or part of Sega, famous for its "Sonic the Hedgehog" character, but had yet to hold formal talks.

The sources were quoted as saying no deal was imminent.

The stock rose 15.63 percent, their daily limit of 100 yen, to close at 740 yen in a generally weaker market.

The news emerged two weeks after Sega, Japan's largest game arcade operator, said it would merge with Sammy Corp (6426.T), the country's largest maker of pinball-style 'pachinko' game machines, and would abandon plans to restructure on its own.

The paper said either U.S. company could emerge as struggling Sega's "white knight," pulling it away from a merger plan that appears rife with difficulties and faces internal opposition.

Analysts said the report appeared to be speculative but it came amid mounting uncertainty over the fate of the merger deal.

Investors in the two Japanese firms have given a thumbs down to the merger plan, sending shares in both to all-time lows.

"Many investors and employees at Sega believe Sammy is not an appropriate partner and that the merger would bring little benefit to Sega. Now, it is not sure if the deal will go through," Morgan Stanley analyst Shunji Yamashina said. Yamashina said he would not be surprised if Microsoft bid for Sega since it wants to beef up it game line-up for its Xbox console which in Japan lags behind competitors like Sony Corp's (6758.t) PlayStation 2 and Nintendo Co. Ltd.'s (7974.OS) GameCube.

For EA, such a deal would be less attractive because it makes games similar to Sega's, Yamashina said.

The newspaper said Microsoft had asked at least one U.S. investment bank to investigate ways to buy all or part of Sega.

It said EA had approached Japanese game makers in recent weeks about launching a joint bid for Sega.

Sega said it had not received any offers.

Officials at the Japanese units of Microsoft and EA declined to comment on the report, but a Microsoft spokesman said chairman Bill Gates had not met with Sega when he visited Tokyo this week.

Analysts said Microsoft would have to convince Sega's biggest shareholder, CSK Corp (9737.T), before any deal went ahead.

CSK, an information services provider, holds a 22.3 percent stake in Sega and is thought have played a big role in arranging the deal with financially sound Sammy.

Sega has been hurt by the disappointing performance of its consumer videogame operations, especially in the United States, and its shares have lost nearly 70 percent of their value since the end of last March.

Sega reduced its net profit forecast by 90 percent to 50 million yen ($425,000) for the year to March early this month.

The company is expected to announce as early as Friday a reorganisation of its U.S. operations that will shed 20 percent of its work force of 450, the Journal said.

The cuts are part of a global restructuring that could lead to additional layoffs around the world, the paper said.

Eric's Take: I really hope that MS will be the one to take over Sega. Coming from someone who works on an Xbox site that might seem like the expected answer, but my reasons go far beyond Xbox. If EA gets them, we will only see EA sports games, most likely from their own in house devs and not from Sega. Also there's a chance that if EA did get them, they would go exclusive to Sony, a company they are already very close to. No matter how you look at it, if MS gets Sega, things would be better. People would still have 2 different sport games makers to pick from, and not only one. If you think EA does not upgrade their sports games enough every year now, picture how it would be if they were the only main sports games maker out there, with no one else to compete with.

100 Exclusive Apex Screens
Eric @ 1:50 AM EST
Here are 100 exclusive Apex screens for you guys to enjoy. We will have a full review soon for Apex, but so far it is looking like one of the better racers out for Xbox. Enjoy the massive media update below of one of the best looking Xbox games released so far.

Apex Screens Page 1

Apex Screens Page 2

Apex Screens Page 3

Apex Screens Page 4

Thursday, February 27, 2003

Midway Sports Cheerleader Tryouts
Steve @ 11:07 PM EST
CHICAGO – Feb. 27, 2003 – Midway Sports, the sports brand of leading software industry publisher and developer Midway Games Inc., announced today that Famous Faces Entertainment Talent and Model Agency has signed on as the exclusive talent agency for the Midway Sports National Cheerleader Tryouts. Midway announced a national search to find the next two MLB SlugFest cheerleaders on January 14, 2003.

Adding to the excitement of the national cheerleader search, Famous Faces has agreed to make offers to represent, under modeling or talent contracts, the two winning Midway Sports Cheerleaders. A talent scout from the agency will also sit on the judges’ panel to help select the winning cheerleaders.

“Famous Faces’ eye for top talent will definitely help us find the right cheerleaders for MLB SlugFest,” said Helene Sheeler, vice president of marketing, Midway.

Cheerleader Tryouts
Through March 11, Midway Sports is accepting tryout videos from the first 15,000 women, ages 18 to 25, interested in becoming the next Midway Sports MLB SlugFest Cheerleaders. The final two selected cheerleaders will each receive $5,000 from Midway and the opportunity to travel to and participate in exclusive Midway Sports promotional events and activities such as a photo shoot for MLB SlugFest, in-game exposure, and the Midway Sports Cheerleader Calendar. For complete requirements, rules and the official entry form, visit http://www.MidwaySports.net .
“We’re excited to lend our expertise in this unique national talent search,” said Paul Levine, founder of Famous Faces Entertainment.

Judge Sweepstakes
MLB SlugFest fans can also get into the excitement by entering to win a trip to Spring Training in Florida to meet St. Louis CardinalsÒ star and MLB SlugFest 20-04 cover athlete Jim Edmonds, and to be an honorary judge in the selection of the five Midway Sports Cheerleader semifinalists. Enter anytime from January 14 through March 10 at http://www.MidwaySports.net .

FAMOUS FACES TO HELP SELECT MIDWAY SPORTS CHEERLEADERS
Paul Levine, an industry veteran who has worked with United Artists and Warner Brothers, established Famous Faces Entertainment Talent and Model Agency 25 years ago. As a Screen Actors Guild-franchised agency, Famous Faces represents actors, actresses, models, and extra casting for motion pictures, television, print work, voiceovers and fashion shows. The agency houses entertainment, special events, talent and production departments, as well as concierge and movie film services.

Xbox Live European Test Drive a Success
Steve @ 5:19 PM EST
Industry-Leading Online Gaming Service On Track To Hit Retail 14th March

LONDON, 27th February 2003 - Xbox, the video game system from Microsoft, today announced the Xbox Live Test Drive is reaching a successful conclusion as the retail launch of the revolutionary online gaming service draws near. The service is gearing up for retail launch in Europe exactly on schedule, after experiencing a smooth series of technical trials that will enable Xbox gamers to have an excellent Live gaming experience at launch.

Since 28th November 2002, gamers in the UK, France and Germany have experienced the fun and excitement of the only comprehensive online game service fully dedicated to fast-action, always-connected broadband gaming experiences. Globally, Xbox Live is playing host to hundreds of thousands of unique users and more than three million game sessions per week. Geographical barriers have dissolved as friendships "and rivalries " have developed amongst people around Europe and the world. New player clans, catchphrases and online resources have sprung up, catering to the growing Xbox Live fan base. And now the fun really begins, as Xbox Live gets ready for its retail launch on 14th March 2003 in the following countries: UK; France; Germany; Italy; Spain; Belgium; Netherlands; and Sweden. More countries will be added to the list in 2003.

Gamers Are Living Live
A survey of Xbox Live gamers conducted by Microsoft has revealed that Xbox Live is a hit. Gamers in the UK were polled about their use of the service and favourite Live gaming features:

  • 96% of gamers plan to recommend Xbox Live to their friends
  • 97% of Xbox Live gamers were able to connect easily to Xbox Live, with no issues whatsoever
  • Xbox Live gamers are bringing in friends to share the experience. 66% of gamers used the "guest" feature, which allows a friend to play without their own Gamertag. Many (44%) have played with 2-3 different "guests". Of those guests, 69% are "Absolutely" or "Highly Likely" to purchase Xbox Live themselves
  • In Europe, MotoGP Online (THQ) is the most popular game in terms of unique users per day followed by Ghost Recon (Ubi Soft) and Unreal Championship (Infogrames). Gamers are spending the most time playing Ghost Recon, however (an average of 63 minutes per session), followed by MotoGP and NFL Fever 2003 (Microsoft Game Studios)
  • The Voice Communicator, which allows gamers to talk to each other during Live gaming sessions, is an important part of the overall experience. 40% rate the Communicator as the best feature of Xbox Live, followed by Optimatch (18%) (the ability to find the perfect rival at your level) and having a persistent Gamertag (11%) (a unique identity that lets the player build his legend across all games) The majority (63% ) of gamers were able to play Live without having to resort to consulting the customer service helplines

    Xbox Live Test Drive has brought a passionate community of Xbox gamers online, playing great games like MechAssaultTM (Microsoft Game Studios) and MotoGP (THQ) with other beta testers. These Live pioneers have used the service to find their friends easily; talk to other players during game play through the Xbox Communicator headset; create a special Gamertag that is exclusively theirs and will stay with them as long as they"re playing Live; and start building their legend online.

    Wednesday, February 26, 2003

    First Screens of Inside Pitch 2003
    Eric @ 7:53 PM EST
    Here are the very first screens of MS's new first party, Xbox Live enabled baseball title. We will have more media and info on this game when it is released.

    Inside Pitch 2003 Screens

    Inside Pitch 2003 Info & Features
    Steve @ 1:39 PM EST
    Xbox Live-Enabled Game to Feature Nomar Garciaparra, Joe Buck and Tim McCarver

    Microsoft Game Studios announced today its first baseball title for the Xbox video game system, "Inside Pitch 2003." This Xbox Live enabled title will begin turning double plays, throwing brush back pitches and clearing the fences for the 2003 Major League Baseball season.

    Nomar Garciaparra will appear on the cover and serve as spokesperson for “Inside Pitch 2003.” Joining the All-Star shortstop on the “Inside Pitch 2003” roster is the top broadcast team of Joe Buck and Tim McCarver.

    Garciaparra participated in an in-depth motion capture session, while Buck and McCarver recorded more than 25,000 lines of dialogue, play-by-play, stories and insight for the game. Buck and McCarver will also take fans back to relive and participate in key moments of the 2002 season.

    “I‘ve always wondered what it would be like to have my own video game,” said Garciaparra. “Microsoft Game Studios has done a great job capturing the way I play baseball. From my routines at the plate to my plays deep in the hole, Inside Pitch delivers the goods.”

    Gamers will be able to create their own superstar, hone their baseball skills and challenge their friends online using Xbox Live. Want to learn how to play the carom off of Fenway Park’s Green Monster? “Inside Pitch 2003” will include special training sessions for each position to help gamers perfect their baseball skills.

    In addition, the exciting Championship Challenges feature offers gamers the chance to reproduce some of the greatest feats of the 2002 season and determine if they can match or surpass the performances of some of today’s most talented stars.

    “With a baseball icon like Nomar Garciaparra, two of the elite voices in baseball today, all the players, full animations and accurate batting stances, ‘Inside Pitch 2003’ will provide gamers with a thrilling experience throughout the 2003 season,” said Dave Curtin, studio manager at Microsoft Game Studios.” “‘Inside Pitch 2003’ builds on Microsoft Game Studios’ powerful line-up of fast-action, high impact sports franchises, such as ‘NFL Fever’ and ‘NBA Inside Drive.’”

    “Inside Pitch 2003” includes a variety of features:
    • Championship Challenges put gamers in actual memorable situations from the 2002 season. Gamers can try to break the 7-7 tie in the 2002 MLB All-Star Game where some crafty base running and a key hit will avoid the stalemate, or surpass cover athlete Nomar Garciaparra’s three home-run and 8 RBI day on his 29th birthday.

    • Online features using Xbox Live allow gamers to download content such as new stadiums and roster updates, track their online win/loss record, batting and pitching stats and view opponents’ stats for matchmaking purposes.

    • “Inside Pitch 2003” will allow gamers to use their created players, augmented by success in the training sessions and the Championship Challenges, to get the upper hand in online competition. Online voice communication during gameplay will increase the importance of a tough mental game, as top competitors will undoubtedly be vocal about their success.

    • Single game, season and playoff modes allow gamers the opportunity to guide their teams against a number of worthy opponents.

    • Home Run Derby mode allows gamers to test their power and coordination in the popular All-Star break contest.

    • The Training Tracks mode enables gamers to bolster their created players by participating in 18 different fielding drills, five different pitching drills and six different hitting drills.

    “Inside Pitch 2003” is scheduled to hit store shelves in May and will be Xbox Live enabled.

    Kung Fu Chaos Released
    Steve @ 1:33 PM EST
    REDMOND, Wash. - Feb. 26, 2003 - Martial arts masters, gaming gurus and b-movie buffs worldwide are slicing, dicing, kicking and chopping in celebration today as Microsoft Game Studios releases “Kung Fu Chaos™,” a comical new ’70s-style brawler designed for the Xbox™ video game system. With a madcap cast of kitschy characters — the illusive Ninja Fu Hiya, lethal roller-skating hottie Candi Roll, wisecracking Master Sho Yu, Captain Won Ton and many others — “Kung Fu Chaos” is a tribute to the cult phenomenon of martial arts movies and promises to bring players good fortune and hours of sidesplitting entertainment.

    In “Kung Fu Chaos,” players battle on parodied movie sets using a dramatic combination of death-defying leaps, highflying kicks, dizzying spins and special moves unique to each character. Besides dealing with each other, players must contend with sinking ships, crumbling movie sets and other back-lot calamities to earn points and new weapons. Songs such as ’70s hit “Kung Fu Fighting” and the theme from “Enter the Dragon” set the mood and complete the scene.

    The spirited party brawler game was developed by the creative minds at Just Add Monsters (JAM) to satisfy the competitive needs of gamers. Even if parents can’t keep up with the comical insults and backstabbing twists, they will still enjoy jamming to the familiar ’70s tunes on the game’s upbeat music track and watching the final cut of their multiplayer battle rendered in classic Kung Fu music fashion.

    “We’re excited to be launching our 2003 portfolio with a game that has cross-generation appeal to teens as well as their parents,” said Beth Featherstone, senior director of Games Marketing at Microsoft. “‘Kung Fu Chaos’ adds the perfect offbeat kick to the Xbox lineup.”

    “Kung Fu Chaos” includes the following key features:

    • Combat with a twist. It will take more than just a cool move to win this game. “Kung Fu Chaos” features an in-depth combat system with signature moves, multiple combination attacks, blocks, counterattacks and interrupters. Players can also pummel opponents with taunts that eventually lead to power-ups. With a total disregard for manners, “Kung Fu Chaos” is the only game that rewards its players for talking smack.

    • Amazing environments. Huge animated structures, traveling movie sets, falling and flying debris, and spectacular action sequences come together to deliver fast-paced, highly competitive and downright outrageous epic battles.

    • Gameplay diversity. With single and multiplayer gameplay modes, a wide variety of minigames, customizable ’70s-themed audio and cinematic effects, and a rich reward system of unlockable features, “Kung Fu Chaos” is a pick-up-and-play gameplay extravaganza designed for a wide range of players.

    More information on “Kung Fu Chaos” is available online at http://www.kungfuchaos.com/. “Kung Fu Chaos” has an ESRB rating of “T” and is available in stores for an estimated retail price of $49.95 (U.S.).

    In Depth with All-Star Baseball Franchise Mode
    Steve @ 1:30 PM EST
    With only one week left until the release of All-Star Baseball 2004, Acclaim Entertainment is giving gamers an in-depth scouting report on a few of the 80 new features that Acclaim Studios Austin have been working on in the off-season. Stay tuned - each week we'll provide you with even more stats that illustrate why All-Star Baseball 2004 will once again be voted the #1 baseball video game among consumers.

    All-Star Baseball 2004 is equipped with the most comprehensive franchise mode ever seen in a baseball video game. To start, take on a pre-existing major league team or construct your own expansion team, then guide them through up to twenty seasons in an effort to become the most prolific team in MLB history. Players are given the option to be part of any and all managerial decisions that the pros make on a daily basis. Whether it be bringing up players from the minors, making trades, going through arbitration, managing the line-up, shopping players on the trading block, and even helping to turn a benchwarmer into a hall of famer. Of the multitude of features that you can find in franchise mode for All-Star Baseball 2004, these are just a few. So, for all of you who wish you could sit in the front office of your favorite club, now's your chance to see if you've got what it takes. Don't worry though, there aren't millions of angry fans that will want to string you up if you make the wrong one.

    If you happen to like the moves that your favorite team is making throughout the season, All-Star Baseball 2004 makes it easy for players to follow suit. For the first time ever, Xbox and PS2 owners will have the ability to go online and download updated rosters. This enables gamers to stay up-to-date with all of the MLB trades, hires and fires.

    11 Exclusive Screens of Mercedes Benz World Racing!
    Eric @ 7:30 AM EST
    Here are some exclusive screens of Mercedes Benz World Racing. We will have more exclusive media on this game and a full review in the coming days, for now enjoy the exclusive new screens.

    Mercedes Benz World Racing Screens

    Tuesday, February 25, 2003

    Ubi Soft Announces Ghost Recon Campaign Disk
    Steve @ 2:37 PM EST
    SAN FRANCISCO, CA. February 25, 2003- The Ghosts are back and ready for more action as Ubi Soft announces the summer release of a stand-alone Xbox(tm) campaign disk for the award-winning Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon(tm). Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon is the game that gave Xbox Live players the total battlefield experience and earned numerous awards for its stunning gameplay and features, including an Editor's Choice award from Official Xbox Magazine.

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

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

    "The Clancy brand owes its incredible popularity to gamers who want an intense and realistic gameplay experience," said Tony Kee, Ubi Soft's vice president of marketing. "With this new campaign disk, Ubi Soft Entertainment can give back to Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon fans, providing them with more of their favorite Ghost action without the price tag of a whole new game."

    "Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon is one of our most popular games on Xbox Live and has everyone going wild!" said Andre Vrignaud, director of technical strategy, Xbox Live. "With Xbox Live, gamers can download exciting fresh content like new missions and maps, injecting new energy into gameplay, and keeping games like this fresh and engaging."

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

    Game features include:

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

    Colin McRae Rally 3 Ships
    Steve @ 2:24 PM EST
    Codemasters, a global video game publishing powerhouse announced that its latest installment of the critically acclaimed racing series, Colin McRae Rally 3, shipped today for the Xbox videogame system from Microsoft. Colin McRae Rally 3 reintroduces gaming fans to the excitement of rally racing, as players assume the role Colin McRae himself in his quest for the World Champion Rally title. The game, available on store shelves for a SRP of $49.99, has already sold over 1.25 million units in Europe.

    Colin McRae Rally 3 enables players to get closer to the sport than ever before with the return on the Ford Focus RS World Rally Car. The in-game Ford Focus features fully moving and operable parts, which showcase the enhanced damage engine, resulting in a completely destructible car. As players race their way to the finish line any damage the car incurs - such as panels being ripped off and punctured or dented, or a shattered suspension, will have a direct affect on the way the car handles. The polygon count for the Focus model is up to a staggering 13, 000, compared to 800 in the previous game.

    Colin McRae Rally 3’s development team is eyeing a level of visual and technical detail that surpasses any other racer. The phenomenal graphical quality and object detail create an intensely rich experience. In addition to the Focus, players will also experience being behind the wheels of several other authentic high-performance rally cars recreated under license, including the Mitsubishi Evo 7 and Subaru Impresza 44S.

    Specific features that are integrated in the game include, McRae’s co-driver Nicky Grist personally pace-noting every stage featured in the game - as he would for a real rally, and interactive chief and pit crew advice informing players of their status in the race as well as that of their competition. Codemasters has also included amazing physics and AI graphics to bring racers closer to the action.

    Eidos Announces Partnership with ICP
    Steve @ 2:23 PM EST
    San Francisco, CA (February 24, 2003) – Eidos Interactive, a leading developer and publisher of interactive entertainment, today announced its exciting partnership with multi-platinum recording artists the Insane Clown Posse (ICP), Psychopathic Records and the Backyard Wrestling: Don’t Try This At Home video games for the PlayStation2 computer entertainment system and Xbox game system from Microsoft. The games are scheduled for release this Summer.

    The partnership allows Eidos usage of ICP songs for the in-game soundtrack and multiple marketing co-opportunities at ICP concerts and JCW wrestling events in addition to events at retail. Gamers will be able to unlock exclusive ICP content on the game disc as well as play Violent J and Shaggy 2 Dope as wrestlers in the game.

    “Eidos Interactive is pleased to announce this partnership with ICP and Psychopathic Records,” said Kevin Gill, Senior Product Manager for Eidos. “We feel that ICP and the superstars of Juggalo Championship Wrestling are the perfect fit for the hardcore game experience that Backyard Wrestling will deliver on the PS2 and the Xbox.”

    ICP may be more infamous than famous, but the band has made quite a mark on music history and on the lives of the 1,000,000+ fans (Juggalos) that follow their music and their message. Where some see an underworld of bizarre painted faces jumping to a twisted mesh of rock, hip hop and soda, others see one of the longest running records in Billboard Top 200 history, a full length motion picture: Big Money Hustlas, the second highest grossing wrestling organization in the U.S.: Juggalo Championship Wrestling (JCW), a career in the WWF, WCW, and ECW, and Psychopathic Records, the self-owned record label behind it all.

    “This is the final piece of the puzzle for Juggalo world domination. We’ve conquered every form of media and entertainment that exists, and now by partnering with Eidos we’re taking over the world of video games as well,” said Violent J of ICP. “Consider this your official notice.”

    “We’re totally geeked to be a part of the Backyard Wrestling video game, along with the stars of Juggalo Championship Wrestling. This is a dream come true…What!” added Shaggy 2 Dope.

    Psychopathic Records, the successful, Detroit-based record label is home to such cutting edge artists as The Insane Clown Posse, Twiztid, Blaze Ya Dead Homie, Anybody Killa, Esham and Zug Island. Psychopathic Records will delve deep into the vaults of their ten-year history, partnering with Eidos Interactive to contribute several select tracks for the in-game soundtrack.

    “We are very excited to have the opportunity to participate in this melding of entertainment genres, ” says Alex Abbis, CEO of Psychopathic Records. “Backyard Wrestling is the perfect fit for the Insane Clown Posse and JCW.”

    Backyard Wrestling: Don’t Try This At Home places gamers in the role of an up-and-coming backyard wrestler. Each player’s success is based on his ability to use and abuse the environment as well as his opponent. With each win, wrestlers move one step closer to the ultimate goal, being crowned “The King of Hardcore.”

    For more information on the game and Backyard Wrestling franchise, please visit http://www.bywgame.com

    Rayman3.com Launches
    Steve @ 2:19 PM EST
    Rayman3.com Boasts Game Trailer, Screenshots, Extensive Information About Characters, Worlds, Game Features and More

    San Francisco, CA - February 24, 2003 - Want the scoop on the only gaming hero with helicopter hair and no arms and legs to hold him back? Ubi Soft Entertainment's Rayman 3 site, available today at http://www.rayman3.com/us , is the place to go! The site delivers the goods on Rayman 3: Hoodlum Havoc, the next installment in the 11-million-plus best-selling Rayman series, including the official trailer, which shows Rayman vanquishing enemies to the beat of GRAMMY-nominated Groove Armada's infectious tune 'Madder.'

    "Today, Rayman gets a Web site that matches his personality - friendly and fun, with lots of action, edge, humor. The site, like Rayman's tripped-out universe, boasts a rollicking soundtrack, intense visuals, and plenty of detail," said Mona Hamilton, group brand manager for Ubi Soft Entertainment. "Fans have been clamoring for the full story on the new game, and now they can find all of the best stuff in one place."

    In addition to the game trailer, the site offers comprehensive information and eye-popping Rayman 3 visuals including:

  • Key game features - learn about the epic storyline, the brand new superpowers, the tactical combat
  • Stunning screen shots - enjoy a little tease of the gaming extravaganza to come
  • The motley crew of characters - get the dirt on Rayman's friends, enemies, bosses and more meet the whole gang, from trusty, bumbling Globox to the hideous Hoodlums, fierce Knaaren and peaceful Teensies
  • Rayman's trippy, psychedelic universe - check out the incredible array of worlds, from lush forests to snow-capped mountains to swampy swamps and barren wastelands
  • Reviews, news and announcements - keep a finger on the pulse with this up-to-the-minute source for all things Rayman
  • Links to Raymanzone.com - visit the worldwide Rayman community, where fans can join the Lums Quest, connect in the Forums, and find even more Rayman stuff

    Rayman 3: Hoodlum Havoc is scheduled to ship for all platforms in March 2003.

    Monday, February 24, 2003

    High Heat Baseball Web Radio Interview
    Steve @ 1:32 PM EST
    LOS ANGELES--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Feb. 24, 2003--IPOdesktop.com presents "High Heat(TM) Major League Baseball(R) launched plus company updates," a Web radio show with Trip Hawkins, CEO of The 3DO Company (Nasdaq:THDO). THDO provides advanced entertainment systems including the PlayStation(R)2 computer entertainment system, the PlayStation game console, the Nintendo GameCube(TM) system, the Xbox(TM) video game system from Microsoft Corp., the PC, and the Game Boy(R) Advance system.

    CEO Guest: Trip Hawkins, CEO of The 3DO Company
    Show host: Francis Gaskins, Editor, http://IPOdesktop.com

    CLICK TO LISTEN:
    WindowsMedia: http://gaskinsco.com/thdo3.asx
    RealAudio: http://gaskinsco.com/thdo3.ram

    THE 3DO COMPANY -- RADIO SHOW AGENDA

    "High Heat(TM) Major League Baseball(R) launched plus company updates

    -- How Christmas went in retail sales of video games
    -- 2003 market outlook
    -- High Heat baseball is launched, what is the outlook?

    Friday, February 21, 2003

    Atari Ships Apex, an Xbox Exclusive
    Steve @ 3:26 PM EST
    LOS ANGELES--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Feb. 21, 2003--Design it. Build it. Race it. Atari shipped APEX, the ultimate racing game for racing enthusiasts, to retail stores nationwide this week exclusively for the Xbox(TM) video game system from Microsoft. Developed by Milestone, the creators of the popular Superbike(TM) series, APEX takes racing on Xbox to an entirely new level with more than 80 cars to choose from, including models from Toyota, Lotus and Dodge; more than 50 race tracks; numerous environments, including mountain courses, city street races and traditional circuits; and the engaging Dream Mode, which allows players to design, build and race their own dream cars as they attempt to build a racing dynasty.

    "APEX is without question the most graphically stunning and technically sophisticated racing game available on Xbox and quite possibly on any home video game system available today," said Jean-Philippe Agati, senior vice president and head of Infogrames, Inc.'s Los Angeles studio. "Once players dig into the amazing amount of content APEX has to offer from the various single player and multiplayer variations to the depth of the racing experience itself, I'm sure they will agree that APEX is a game no racing enthusiast should be without."

    APEX transports players into the role of a young race car manufacturing mogul. After inheriting a small auto garage, choosing a name and a stylish logo, the player launches their own sports car company by selecting from among 45 prototype car designs each built to the player's specifications, including roadsters, super cars and dream cars. As the player wins races, tournaments and special challenges, vehicle sales from the fledgling car company begin to grow, the garage facilities and staff increase in size, the test "parking lot" becomes a world class test track, and new race car development kicks into full swing.

    APEX features several styles of play that lead to hours of varied game play in both single- and two-player multiplayer modes. Game play modes include Quick Race, for instant racing action against computer controlled opponents; Time Attack, a challenge to see how fast a single vehicle can complete a course; Dream Mode, where the player builds their own prototype vehicle and strives to join the elite of performance automobile manufacturers; and Head-to-Head two-player multiplayer mode for racing against friends in Xbox split screen.

    Featuring more than 80 cars, APEX allows players to pit their own creations against a number of the most powerful cars from the most recognizable car manufacturers in the world, including Aston Martin, Chevrolet, Dodge, Ford, Lotus, Jaguar, MG, Mercedes, Mitsubishi, Renault and Toyota. The Dodge Viper SRT-10, Jaguar XJ220, Mercedes CLK GTR AMG and the Aston Martin DB7 Vantage Coupe are just a few of the top-end machines players can expect to race against.

    Additionally, each vehicle is equipped with numerous performance enhancements and adjustments that allow the player to tailor the vehicle for each competition's track design and conditions. A complex damage model lends reality to each crash.

    Races will take place across more than 50 varied tracks and environments based on real-world locations across three continents -- North America, Europe and Asia. Course designs range from winding mountain roads to narrow city streets to standard racetracks. Each track features unique characteristics that will keep players tuning and perfecting their creations for optimum performance before each encounter.

    Technically, APEX will far surpass the competition in the genre. Leveraging the power of Xbox, the developer is producing amazingly high polygon counts, long draw distances and highly detailed environments. Cars will feature up to 11,000 polygons each and real-time reflections while tracks will boast more than 500,000 polygons creating absolutely stunning panoramic detail and beauty. Additionally, the vehicle engine sounds have been captured from real world high performance cars to further enhance authenticity.

    APEX is now available exclusively for Xbox at retail stores nationwide with an estimated retail price of $49.95 and an ESRB rating of "E" for Everyone. Additional information about APEX can be found online at www.apex-game.com, which features downloadable and streaming game play movies, screenshots, character bios, vehicle information and much more.

    Aliens Versus Predator: Extinction
    Steve @ 3:24 PM EST
    REDWOOD CITY, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Feb. 19, 2003--Out thinking, out maneuvering and overpowering the enemy in a race to dominate the planet is what players can look forward to in "Aliens versus Predator(TM): Extinction." The game, based on the blockbuster Aliens and Predator sci-fi film franchises from Twentieth Century Fox, is the first game of its kind for next generation consoles, giving players the ability to play as one of three species: Aliens, Predators or Colonial Marines. Co-published by Fox Interactive and Electronic Arts (EA)(Nasdaq:ERTS) for the PlayStation(R)2 and the Xbox(TM) video game system from Microsoft, "Aliens versus Predator: Extinction" is scheduled to ship in summer 2003.

    Fans will appreciate the action and ferocious battles that are true to the movie franchises as they embark on a quest to annihilate their enemies in a fight for survival. The three fiercest species in the universe have been locked in a bloody conflict for years with no end in sight. After a small unit of Colonial Marines, dispatched to planet LV-742, reveals the presence of both Predators and Aliens, it is decided that the conflict must end once and for all with the ultimate goal of total universal supremacy. In numerous missions, players will take to the all-terrain, futuristic battlefields such as mysterious jungles and treacherous caverns in an attempt to root out their enemies. With ten upgradeable combat units per species, players must lead their virtual army to victory in an all-out battle for the planet or face extinction.

    In this tactical strategy game, players will control the forces of one of the three species, planning their attack strategy, creating their own custom army, and choosing upgrades ranging from vision modes to weapon modifications. Each species offers a unique set of attributes forcing players to master a variety of tactics and play styles in order to be victorious. As Colonial Marines, players will rely on military training and the latest hi-tech weaponry from the Weyland-Yutani Corporation to save the human population of LV-742. The Predators must use their stealth and highly evolved hunting techniques to gain the respect of the council of Ancients. Aliens will attack in hordes to kill their enemies, impregnate them with facehuggers which evolve into the ultimate weapons. A variety of units will be accessible to the player, from basic infantry to specialized warriors like the Alien Carrier able to carry facehuggers in groups, the Predator Hydra or the Marine Sniper.

    Thursday, February 20, 2003

    New MechAssault Content Officially Here
    Steve @ 2:23 PM EST
    Microsoft today announced that the first batch of new downloadable content is now available for "MechAssault" via Xbox Live. In this first update, players will find two new multiplayer maps which support all five of the current gametypes and two agile new 'Mechs: Raven and Corvus. The new maps include Hell's Kitchen, a fiery volcanic world; and Stone Cold, a frigid snowy environment. These new items will greatly expand multiplayer play, and this update is available for no additional charge.

    Taking advantage of both Xbox Live and the Xbox hard drive, developers can now push the limits beyond traditional console game experiences: Downloadable content not only expands the game itself, but also assures that the community continues to thrive and grow.

    “Xbox and Xbox Live make it possible for us to keep fresh new content and gameplay 'in the faces' of our loyal MechAssault fans," said president of Day 1 Studios, Denny Thorley. "These fans are the leaders and influencers in the industry, and we thank them for their support and patience.”


    Players can also look forward to the second batch of new content coming soon, which will include the highly anticipated Capture-the-Flag gametype.

    "MechAssault" lets players pilot the most powerful weapons available in the 31st century, a 40-foot-tall walking tank known as a BattleMech™, or 'Mech. In this third-person action/shooter game, environments are not only fully destructible, they're the weapons. Players choose from a dozen 'Mechs — ranging from quick 30-tonners to huge 100-ton beasts — which they configure and optimize to crush their opponents. Gamers can challenge themselves with 20 single-player missions as they prepare for the ultimate multiplayer online experience. "MechAssault" is currently available only on Xbox in North America, Europe, Korea and Japan. For more information, visit http://www.mechassault.com.

    Wednesday, February 19, 2003

    New Downloadable Mission for Splinter Cell; First Screens
    Steve @ 1:03 PM EST
    Sam Fisher is Back! New Free Downloadable Mission of Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell(TM) Available Soon on Xbox(TM) Live

    Ubi Soft Entertainment Gives Xbox Gamers More of Their Favorite Game With Free Download

    SAN FRANCISCO, CA - February 19, 2003 - Ubi Soft Entertainment, one of the world's largest video game publishers, announced plans to release Kola Cell, a new level for the highly successful videogame Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell(TM) available for download via Xbox (TM) Live. Sam Fisher fans won't have to wait long! The new mission for Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell will be available to Xbox Live subscribers beginning March 14, 2003.

    "Ubi Soft thanks Tom Clancy Splinter Cell fans for their continued support by providing a free downloadable mission that is just as exciting and intense as the original game," said Tony Kee, vice president of Marketing for Ubi Soft Entertainment. "We are psyched that Xbox Live allows us to bring our best content directly to our fans."

    "We're pleased to deliver this extra level of Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell through our Xbox Live service," said David Hufford, Xbox marketing manager. "Xbox gamers dug the original game so much that they are fiending for new content that will extend the life of the game, adding hours of intense stealth-action Sam Fisher style! It's an excellent example of what Xbox Live gamers expect from many of the hottest games on Xbox."

    About the Mission
    The new mission is a whole new experience linked to the original storyline featuring the same stunning graphics and challenging exercises from Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell-one of the highest rated games for the Xbox(TM) video game system from Microsoft with an average rating of 94.4 (out of a possible 100) based on a sample of 54 reviews. In this new level, with his famous gadgets at hand, Sam can call upon his best moves-from the split jump to the stealth roll-to achieve his four objectives. The new level promises to be action-packed to give a new challenge to the players who completed the game.

    Kola Cell Screenshot Gallery

    Xbox Strengthens No. 2 Position
    Steve @ 12:54 PM EST
    Xbox Strengthens Grip on No. 2 Position and Widens Lead Over GameCube

    “Dead or Alive Xtreme Beach Volleyball” Spurs Record January Sales

    REDMOND, Wash. — Feb. 19, 2003 — Coming off an impressive holiday season, the Xbox™ video game system continues to show strong North American sales and solidify its position in the highly competitive video game industry. Microsoft Corp. today confirmed that Xbox got off to a very happy new year, with outstanding January sales.

    According to NPD Group/NPD Funworld, Xbox maintained a 24 percent next-generation market share in January, double the share of Nintendo’s GameCube system.

    “It’s always nice to know that gamers agree with us in thinking that Xbox is a fabulous machine and a great entertainment value,” said Robbie Bach, senior vice president and chief Xbox officer at Microsoft. “After 15 months on the market, we’re right on target with our business plan and will continue to provide the best interactive experiences possible.”

    With January sales, Xbox increased its cumulative software-to-hardware attach rate to an impressive 4.9 units, the highest for any next-generation console after 15 months on the market.* In addition, the Xbox Live™ service continues to excite gamers around the world. Microsoft has now sold 44 percent more Xbox Live starter kits than Sony has sold of its PS2 network adapters during their first three months in the market.*

    The biggest noise in the month of January was made by “Dead or Alive Xtreme Beach Volleyball,” the highly anticipated title from Tecmo Inc., developed exclusively for Xbox. Released on Jan. 22, “DOA Xtreme Beach Volleyball” immediately became the month’s No. 1 selling Xbox title, selling as many units in 10 days as GameCube consoles sold during the entire month.* When the game launched in Japan during the same period, it rose to the No. 2 bestseller position across all platforms for the week with just two days of sales behind it (Media Create Co. Ltd.).

    “We’re glad that the ‘DOA’ franchise continues to be a strong force behind the success of Xbox,” said John Inada, general manager of Tecmo. “Following the success of our million-selling Xbox launch title ‘Dead or Alive 3,’ we were confident that the loyal fans of the ‘DOA’ series would embrace ‘DOA Xtreme Beach Volleyball’ in full force. Combine the high-level gameplay and compelling game concept with the best machine and you really can’t lose.”

    Xbox continued to capitalize on its momentum coming out of the recent holiday by outselling GameCube on console sales by a 2-to-1 margin in January, the widest variance in the past eight months. Moreover, after four months on the market, the Xbox holiday offer, which includes an Xbox system, a new controller and two free Sega games for $199,** proved to be a huge hit with consumers. The Xbox holiday offer outsold the Nintendo Mario Bundle by a margin of more than 3 to 1.*

    Overall, the strength of Xbox helped propel the industry to a stellar January performance. Next-generation hardware sales increased 26 percent year over year, while software sales rose an astounding 46 percent.*

    * NPD Funworld TRSTS January 2003 data
    ** U.S. estimated retail price. Actual retail prices may vary

    Tuesday, February 18, 2003

    MechAssault Downloads Coming Thursday
    Steve @ 11:42 PM EST
    MECHASSAULT DOWNLOADS THURSDAY!

    That's right folks! One of the most hotly anticipated downloadable content drops on Xbox Live will be available this Thursday, February 20. In case you forgot, this update will contain two new multiplayer maps, "Hell's Kitchen" and "Stone Cold," as well as two new speedy BattleMechs (shown below).

    "We'd like to thank all of the MechAssault fans out there for their patience, enthusiasm and patience. ;) We can’t wait to release new content; and thus, bring the ass-kicking to the next level,” said program manager Mitch Gitelman.

    Look who's coming to dinner!


    Raven


    Speed: 42 m/s (second fastest BattleMech in the game)
    Laser: ×2
    Machine Guns: ×2
    Defense: Null Sig ×2 ("×2" means that it will last twice as long as normal)
    Jump Jets: No


    Corvus

    Speed: 42 m/s
    Pulse Laser: ×2
    Auto Cannon: ×1
    Defense: Target Jam ×2
    Jump Jets: Yes

    Codemasters to Spend Big at GDC
    Steve @ 11:36 PM EST
    New York – February 18, 2003 – Codemasters is attending this year’s Game Developers Conference [GDC], March 4 – 8 in San Jose, California, with a clear mandate to acquire five A to triple-A game titles. Codemasters’ acquisitions team will be at GDC, booth number 434-436, to meet with developers and discuss projects and publishing opportunities for ongoing and planned products. Development companies can contact Gary Rowe and Dean Trotman, UK Acquisitions Manager, at Codemasters in advance of GDC by email at acquisitions@codemasters.com or on +44 (0) 1926 814 132.

    As part of Codemasters’ aggressive product acquisition program, its team is ready to meet game developers with exceptional projects to discuss global publishing opportunities. Codemasters recently won the highly contested publishing rights to 1C’s “WWII: RTS” (to be published as Battlefield Command). With a particular interest in US-centric games, Codemasters is prioritizing titles for PC, PC online, PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system, the Xbox videogame system from Microsoft and GameCube formats.

    Acquired and externally developed titles play a major part in Codemasters’ portfolio. The company has had major publishing success with externally developed products, including Prisoner of War, IGI 2: Covert Strike, MTV Music Generator 2 and the Operation Flashpoint series, which has been a best seller in over 50 territories.

    Codemasters offers a variety of financing models for acquired products from external developers, including outright purchase of a title, license-based financing, completion bonds and further options.

    “GDC is the best forum to meet developers seeking publishing deals and to present Codemasters’ global publishing activities,” said Gary Rowe, head of business development and manager of Codemasters’ acquisitions program. “We’re looking to work with teams whose projects fit in with Codemasters’ policy of publishing products of excellence.”

    “For any team we work with, it’s a very close, co-operative development process,” continued Rowe. “We maintain a studio here dedicated to working alongside external teams providing input and guidance from Codemasters’ producers and games designers.”

    All-Star Baseball 2004 New Modes
    Steve @ 11:34 PM EST
    With only three weeks left until the release of All-Star Baseball 2004, Acclaim Entertainment is giving gamers an in-depth scouting report on a few of the 80 new features that Acclaim Studios Austin have been working on in the off-season. Stay tuned - each week we'll provide you with even more stats that illustrate why All-Star Baseball 2004 will once again be voted the #1 baseball video game among consumers.

    All-Star Baseball 2004 doesn't limit itself to the typical nine-inning game. This year, Acclaim Studios Austin has added some new modes that expand upon the depth of an already great baseball experience. With the inclusion of Scenario mode, gamers will be able to take a swing at altering the outcome of 21 of last year's great moments on the field. A prime example of this is the infamous all-star game of 2002, where after 11 innings the umpires declared the game a tie. In All-Star Baseball 2004, nobody ties - win the game with the American League, starting in the top of the 12th inning. If gamers complete the objectives, they will be awarded a video interview with baseball greats that include Derek Jeter, Cal Ripken Jr. and Buck O'Neil.

    If the pressure of these intense big league moments is too much for you, then get back to your roots and head to the schoolyard with Pick-Up mode, where 18 randomly selected players who will join you in a pick-up game. Two captains will have the task of choosing sides (odds or evens for who picks first), then players will face-off head-to-head on the playground. This is one game where even all-star caliber players will know the embarrassment of being picked last.

    For those gamers who are typically picked last, All-Star Baseball 2004 is here to help. Acclaim Studios Austin has signed up both Tommy Lasorda and Derek Jeter as in-game coaches this year. By enabling Rookie mode, players will receive an assortment of tips from Tommy and Derek on how to be a better player. Whether it's hitting the cut-off man or running a squeeze play, this new feature will help you get that much closer to winning your own World Series ring.

    So there's a little taste of some of the new modes of play that have been added to All-Star Baseball 2004.

    Thursday, February 13, 2003

    Majesco Announces Black9
    Steve @ 2:06 PM EST
    EDISON, NJ, February 13, 2003 - Intense character development meets tactical action game play, as Majesco, one of the fastest-growing publishers of interactive entertainment, today announced Black9 for the personal computer and Xbox(tm) video game system from Microsoft. Scheduled for release in fall 2003, Black9 is being developed by Taldren, the studio behind the award-winning Starfleet Command series.

    "With its tremendous franchise potential, Majesco is refraining from revealing too much detail about Black9 at this point in time," said Ken Gold, Vice President of Marketing for Majesco. "An engrossing storyline, coupled with tactical, mission-based game play and streamlined RPG-style skill development, promise to make Black9 a standout product for 2003."



    In 2080, nine powerful cartels known as Illuminati are engaged in a struggle for the control of mankind. Motivated by their own special interests, these manipulative Illuminati head towards a perilous endgame, and players find themselves in the role of a mercenary walking the gray line of right and wrong. Black9 is a Machiavellian world full of greediness and betrayal, and players will need to be resourceful in order to stay true to their own code.

    Black9 is being developed on the acclaimed Unreal Warfare engine with support of MathEngine's Karma physics. Set in a third-person perspective, players are equipped with hi-tech gadgetry, weapons, and cybernetics, and can acquire specific abilities through their game play experience. Broadband multi-player support and cooperative play is also planned across all platforms.

    "Get in the Game!" Sweepstakes for Sudeki
    Steve @ 1:50 PM EST
    Microsoft Game Studios today announced the "Get in the Game!" sweepstakes on Xbox.com, which will give one lucky winner a chance to appear in the upcoming Xbox exclusive action-RPG, "Sudeki." One randomly selected participant will be whisked away to Climax Studios in Portsmouth, United Kingdom and transformed into a non-player character living in the world of "Sudeki" that will be named after and sound like the winner, using voice samples recorded during the visit. The game character will also be morphed to resemble the winner's face and body type.

    Additionally, two second-prize winners will be randomly selected to win a set of four limited edition "Sudeki" posters featuring the four leading heroes from the game: Ailish, Tal, Buki and Elco. Entries will be taken until 11:59 p.m. (PST), February 19, 2003. For official rules and an opportunity to enter the "Get in the Game!" sweepstakes, go to www.xbox.com/sudeki/sudeki-sweepstakes

    Backyard Wrestling Announced
    Steve @ 1:42 PM EST
    Eidos today announced Backyard Wrestling: Don't Try This At Home is currently in development for the PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system & the Xbox video game system from Microsoft.

    Backyard Wrestling: Don't Try This At Home is based on the best-selling, Backyard Wrestling video series that has become a worldwide phenomenon. The video series has sold millions of copies of VHS tapes and DVDs in addition to wildly successful Pay Per View events.

    Chaos ensues as gamers break free of the restrictive ring and non immersive environments traditionally offered in the genre. This WILL BE the most outrageous, extreme and over-the-top wrestling and action game on the market. The fully interactive environments let GAMERS re-arrange a hell of a lot more than their opponent's face. YOU WILL NOT WANT TO MISS THIS!

    Tuesday, February 11, 2003

    'IndyCar Series' Features Penske Racing Team
    Steve @ 5:31 PM EST
    New York – February 11, 2003 – Codemasters, a UK-based videogame publishing giant, today announced that its upcoming title, IndyCar Series, will feature Penske Racing, the most successful Indy car racing team in history.

    Since 1971, Penske Racing has become synonymous with Indy car racing, compiling a record 114 race wins, 140 pole positions and 11 National Championships. Penske Racing’s rich heritage is best known for its record in the Indianapolis 500-Mile race. In 28 starts, the team has visited victory lane at the Brickyard a record 12 times.

    Overall thirteen drivers have won races for Penske Racing in Indy car racing competition. The list is a who’s who in motorsports: Rick Mears, Danny Sullivan, Al Unser Jr. & Sr., Emerson Fittipaldi, Mario Andretti, Bobby Unser, Gil de Ferran, Helio Castroneves, Mark Donohue, Tom Sneva, Paul Tracy and Gary Bettenhausen.

    “We are excited to make our official IndyCar Series gaming debut in Codemasters’ new game,” said Tim Cindric, President of Penske Racing, Inc. “Today’s Indy Racing League on-track competition is the best in the world. Being represented in this project is extremely important to Penske Racing because it is such a true-to-life video game.”

    “With the inclusion of Penske, one of the greatest racing teams, IndyCar Series will be the most authentic and complete game in its class,” said Sebastien Soulier, President of Codemasters USA. “Penske Racing, coupled with the other official Indy Racing League teams, enhances the depth of the tension-packed game and adds to the realism.”

    IndyCar Series will debut in spring, 2003 for the PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system, Xbox‘ video game system and PC.

    Acclaim Entertainment Ships Vexx
    Steve @ 12:45 PM EST
    GLEN COVE, NY, February 11, 2003 - Unleashing an exciting new action hero within the popular platform gaming genre, Acclaim Entertainment, Inc. (NASDAQ.SC: AKLM), today announced that it has shipped its eagerly anticipated title, VEXX, for the PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system, XboxÔ video game system from Microsoft and Nintendo GameCubeÔ. Developed by Acclaim's internal development studio in Austin, Texas, VEXX is an original game that allows players to assume the role of the title character as he embarks on a heroic, combat-laden quest to seek vengeance on those that enslaved his people.

    "VEXX illustrates our ongoing commitment to creating new intellectual properties that set industry benchmarks and deliver captivating game play experiences for consumers," said Evan Stein, Vice President of Marketing. "With incredible graphics, non-stop combat action and immense levels with puzzles and exploration, VEXX is the premier platform game of 2003."

    On the forsaken remains of what was once the proud planet called Astara, the villagers of Rockhaven lead difficult but peaceful lives, until the day the Shadowraith, "Dark Yabu," and his minions swept down from the sky. With terrible ferocity and ruthless efficiency they descended upon the townsfolk, enslaving them to work deep in the caves that surrounded their village. Dark Yabu murdered the grandfather of the young VEXX, who managed to quietly escape aboard the enemy's windship. There, locked deep within Yabu's sanctum, was the last pair of War Talons, which leapt from their chest onto VEXX's outstretched hands, and bonded to his arms and giving him special powers. Prepared to meet his destiny, VEXX embarks upon a heroic quest through volcanic islands, desert temples, frozen citadels, and giant's castles, to confront Dark Yabu high atop the Landspire, save his people, and avenge the death of his grandfather.

    VEXX offers an array of exciting features, including:


    · 9 extraordinary worlds, spanning tree canopy villages, mysterious caves, desert temples, underwater cities, frozen citadels and more;

    · Over 70 player objectives throughout 30-hours of game play;

    · Central hub system allows players to travel between worlds at their leisure;

    · Free climbing mode allows players to climb uneven surfaces and dangle beneath overhangs;

    · Day and night cycles with real-time lighting. Darkness changes the landscape and characters: enemies become more aggressive and the environments become more hostile;

    · Ultra-responsive player controls that reacts instantly to player inputs: players can cancel a move midway through and fire off extensive combo attacks;

    · Hidden sundials allowing players to change the time of day;

    · Advanced environment mapping produce reflections, glows, and highlights on Vexx's metal gloves and knee guards;

    · Highly flexible cinematic camera system;

    · Epic soundtrack and stunning 3D surround sound effects.

    VEXX is currently available for the PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system, XboxÔ video game system from Microsoft and Nintendo GameCubeÔ, each at suggested retail prices of $49.99. For more information about VEXX, please visit www.VEXXthegame.com

    Xbox Platinum Hits Program Launches
    Steve @ 11:52 AM EST
    REDMOND, Wash. -- Gamers in North America can now stock up and fill out their Xbox(TM) libraries with some of the best Xbox games ever created -- for a price that will bring almost as much joy as the games themselves.

    Microsoft Corp. today announced the launch of the Platinum Hits program for Xbox. Platinum Hits games are available for an estimated retail price (ERP) of $19.99* (U.S.) at most retailers; games selected for the program must have achieved a high sales volume.

    Xbox captured the imagination of gamers in 2002, becoming the No. 2 console in the United States, according to The NPD Group/NPD Funworld. Microsoft expects that the Platinum Hits program will continue to energize gamers and help Xbox maintain its impressive attach rate.

    "The Platinum Hits program will drive increased interest in Xbox and broaden the target audience," said Wayne Yodzio, vice president, world manager at Toys R Us Inc. "These games are all already proven winners that have sold well, and when we start offering them in our stores at this lower price point, I anticipate we'll have our aisles filled with a lot of very happy gamers."

    The titles in the first wave of Platinum Hits games are as follows:

    -- "Amped(TM) Freestyle Snowboarding" (Microsoft Game Studios)
    -- "Blood Wake(TM)" (Microsoft Game Studios)
    -- "Crash Bandicoot(R): The Wrath of Cortex" (Universal Interactive)
    -- "James Bond 007 in . . . Agent Under Fire(TM)" (Electronic Arts)
    -- "Max Payne" (Rockstar Games)
    -- "Oddworld: Munch's Oddysee" (Microsoft Game Studios)
    -- "Project Gotham Racing(TM)" (Microsoft Game Studios)
    -- "RalliSport Challenge" (Microsoft Game Studios)
    -- "Silent Hill(R) 2: Restless Dreams(TM)" (Konami of America Inc.)
    -- "Simpsons Road Rage" (Electronic Arts)
    -- "SpyHunter" (Midway)
    -- "SSX Tricky" (Electronic Arts)
    -- "Star Wars: Obi-Wan" (LucasArts)
    -- "Star Wars: Starfighter Special Edition" (LucasArts)
    -- "Tony Hawk's Pro Skater(R) 3" (Activision)
    -- "Wreckless(TM): The Yakuza Missions" (Activision)


    New games will be added to the Platinum Hits product line on an ongoing basis. Platinum Hits games will be sold in silver packaging that includes the original product artwork. Information on the program can be found at http://www.xbox.com/games/platinumhits/

    Motor Trend Presents Lotus Challenge Goes Gold
    Steve @ 11:47 AM EST
    Fort Lauderdale, Fla. – February 5, 2003 – Xicat Interactive announced today that Motor Trend Presents Lotus Challenge has gone gold. The most complete racing game to date, Motor Trend Presents Lotus Challenge is ready to ship February 25 for the Xbox(TM) video game system from Microsoft.

    Game Features:

    • 5 game modes: Collection, Championship, Single Play, Multi-Player and Challenge, which feature a story line with races, stunts and missions.

    • 38 licensed Lotus cars including new models, famous classics and concept cars.

    • 28 different races and 22 different stunts and challenges.

    • New controller system offers a more realistic driving experience.

    • The first driving game to feature realistic vehicle damage.

    • Soundtrack by cutting-edge electronica/breakbeat artist Hybrid.

    Get ready to grab the checkered flag with Motor Trend Presents Lotus Challenge. Set for release February 25, 2003 for Xbox, with releases for Nintendo® Gamecube(TM) and PC CD-Rom in Spring 2003. The game is rated E for Everyone.

    Friday, February 7, 2003

    Bad Boys II Announced
    Steve @ 7:51 PM EST
    Empire Interactive has signed the rights to the Bad Boys and Bad Boys II franchise to produce multiple titles across all leading console and PC platforms including successor console platforms. The first game title for PlayStation® 2, Microsoft® XboxTM, Nintendo® GameCubeTM and PC is being developed to coincide with this Christmas' DVD launch.

    Ian Higgins, CEO of Empire Interactive said about the signing: "It is very exciting for the Group to have signed such a significant property. The movie is one of the biggest to come out of Hollywood this year and crosses over perfectly with our core gamer demographic. Empire is looking forward to making this a hit franchise for a number of years to come."

    "Bad BoysTMII has a high octane story-line which really hits its target demographic of young men on all cylinders," stated Mark Caplan, Executive Director Licensing, Sony Pictures Consumer Products. "Early indications are that Empire is well on its way to developing a video game that hits the same core demographic and has as much attitude and intensity as the film."

    NVIDIA and Microsoft Settle Dispute
    Steve @ 7:48 PM EST
    LONDON — February 7th, 2003 — NVIDIA Corporation, the worldwide leader in visual processing solutions, and Microsoft® Corporation announced today that the companies have settled all issues related to pricing of the Microsoft Xbox GPU (graphics) and MCP (audio and networking) chipset and have ended the arbitration between them. In addition to resolving this pricing dispute, the two companies have agreed to collaborate on future cost reductions for the Xbox. More details will be provided during NVIDIA's quarterly conference call to be held February 13th, 2003.

    "This is a win for both companies and we couldn't be more delighted with the results," said Jen-Hsun Huang, president and CEO at NVIDIA. "NVIDIA and Microsoft can now take our partnership to the next level and focus our substantial resources to maximise the full potential of Xbox game console."

    "With the arbitration resolved, we look forward to continuing the partnership between Microsoft and NVIDIA and turning our focus to building on the great success of the Xbox platform," stated Robbie Bach, senior vice president of Microsoft and Chief Xbox Officer.

    Thursday, February 6, 2003

    Star Wars: The Clone Wars for Xbox Live
    Steve @ 2:40 PM EST
    SAN RAFAEL, Calif. - February 5, 2003 - LucasArts Entertainment Company LLC today announced it is releasing a new version of Star Wars: The Clone Wars for XboxTM Live this spring. Star Wars: The Clone Wars is the first LucasArts console game available for play over the Internet and will offer expanded combat action specifically designed for Xbox Live.

    Star Wars: The Clone Wars for Xbox Live will allow simultaneous play for up to eight players over the Internet. In addition to voice communication capability, the game's new features consist of Conquest Mode, which includes a variety of new weaponry, boost power-ups, and battlefield teleportals.

    Star Wars: The Clone Wars is a ground and air-based combat action game inspired by and expanding upon one of the Star Wars galaxy's most dramatic and intensely fought conflicts. The game, published and distributed by LucasArts and developed by Pandemic Studios, released for PlayStation®2 and GameCubeTM fall 2002.

    Tuesday, February 4, 2003

    Groove Armada Provides Soundtrack for Rayman 3 Trailer
    Steve @ 3:05 PM EST
    San Francisco, CALIF. - February 4, 2003 - Ubi Soft Entertainment, one of the world's largest videogame publishers, and Jive Records today announced that the song "Madder," from GRAMMY-nominated group Groove Armada's critically-acclaimed new album "Lovebox," will provide the sonic signature for the eagerly anticipated game Rayman® 3 Hoodlum Havoc. "Madder" will be featured in a rollicking clip that will serve as the pre-release trailer (which hits the Internet today) and the in-game running demo sequence. The latest installation of the 11 million-plus best-selling hit series finds Rayman, the action hero with helicopter hair and no physical arms or legs to hold him back, fighting heinous Hoodlums and hanging with an irreverent cast of characters in a series of twisted, tripped-out psychedelic 3D worlds.

    "Like Rayman himself, Groove Armada has a hip, edgy feel, combined with a healthy dose of fun - and they both get lots of love from critics and fans alike. It's an inspired pairing," said Tony Kee, vice president of marketing for Ubi Soft Entertainment. "'Along with voices from John Leguizamo and Billy West, top-notch production values, an epic story, adrenaline-fueled combat and heavy-duty superpowers, 'Madder' makes Rayman 3 a major contender this spring."

    In the sequence, 'Madder,' a rambunctious dub-hop funk-rock tune with vocals from MC M.A.D., thumps as a horde of Rayman's enemies gather. Though menacing, the villains are no match for the limbless hero, who vanquishes them in the air, on land, and in water, drawing on a host of new powers including the Heavy Metal Fist and the Throttle Copter. Available online at http://www.rayman3.com/us , the 97-second clip provides just a hint of the breathtaking graphics, surreal worlds, challenging gameplay, and intense strategic combat that players will enjoy when the game hits shelves.

    "Groove Armada plays sold-out shows all over the world; they've sold 1.2 million albums, and their music is in high demand for soundtracks and commercials for the likes of Nike and Mitsubishi," said Julia Lipari, senior vice president for special projects/marketing for Jive Records. "Videogames are the next natural frontier for the band, and we're stoked that they're making their debut in Rayman 3 - it's a trippy, exciting blast of fun, and it complements the music perfectly."

    Rayman® 3 Hoodlum Havoc will be available in March 2003 on all next-generation platforms including PlayStation 2 computer entertainment system, Nintendo GameCube(tm), Nintendo Game Boy Advance, the Xbox(tm) video game system from Microsoft, and PC CD-ROM. Terms of the agreement between Ubi Soft Entertainment, Jive Records and Groove Armada were not disclosed. Music supervision and licensing was arranged by On Board Entertainment.

    The Best of Bike Racing is Back! Moto GP 2 Details Here!
    Eric @ 11:22 AM EST
    MotoGP 2 for Xbox and Xbox Live! offers eight different racing modes including: Stunt, GP, time trial, Training challenges, tag, Live, multi-player & single race, customizable bikes and all of the riders from the real 2002 MotoGP class. Players can create custom riders and race them online at 60 frames per second with up to 16 riders on one track during a single race. Players can also utilize Microsoft’s online voice communication to talk trash with the nearest competitor at speeds that will make their voices crack and their knees buckle.


    Features:

    MotoGP 2 puts players in control of some of the most advanced racing machines on the planet.

    Online play via Microsoft’s Xbox Live service supporting up to 16 players.

    Game features 8 modes, 16 real world tracks, all of the 500cc bikes and riders from the 2002 MotoGP series.

    Intuitive, arcade style control system for the hardcore racing fan
    A variety of innovative gameplay elements, supported by revolutionary graphical and technical features of Climax’s motor sports engine.

    MotoGP 2 features an ideal mix of speed, style and technology.

    Ultra realistic vehicle physics and intense multiplayer modes make this one of the most in-depth motorcycle racing games to date.

    4-player split-screen multi-player options.

    Variable weather conditions.

    Custom created riders, and bikes.

    Online voice communication.


    Moto GP 2 Screens

    New B.C. Shots Show Off Yet More Impressive Detail
    Eric @ 10:21 AM EST
    Here are a few new shots of B.C. The cave man sim keeps looking better and better every time we see it, which makes it's 4Q 2003/1Q 2004 release date that much harder to wait for. Enjoy the new shots of this amazing game and we will have a bigger update on it soon.


    New B.C. Screens

    First Xbox Screens of Driver 3 !
    Eric @ 10:17 AM EST
    Here are the very first screens of the Xbox version of Driver 3. Not much is known about this game yet, but like the first 2, 3 will feature more of the same high impact, mission based driving action! Driver 3 is set to ship in the 4Q of 2003, so we got a good, long wait for this one, but we will bring you much more info on this big title in the next few months. For now, enjoy the very first screens of the Xbox version.


    Driver 3 Screens

    Monday, February 3, 2003

    THQ Announces Next Motocross Franchise
    Steve @ 8:35 PM EST
    CALABASAS HILLS, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Feb. 3, 2003--THQ(R) Inc. (NASDAQ:THQI) today announced that Rainbow(TM) Studios, THQ's leading action-racing game developer, is producing the next installment in its motocross franchise. The new installment will make its debut on the PlayStation(R)2 computer entertainment system and Xbox(TM) videogame system from Microsoft in early 2004, in conjunction with the 2004 THQ World Supercross GP season.

    "Rainbow is responsible for several critically acclaimed action-racing games including the `ATV Offroad Fury' series," said Jack Sorensen, executive vice president of worldwide studios, THQ. "Their award-winning racing physics place them among the top racing game developers in the world -- capable of delivering unprecedented intensity and realism."

    "We are delighted to be returning to our roots with this new motocross project," said Scott Novis, vice president, Rainbow Studios. "In addition to an extensive racing mode, we're creating huge, open interactive worlds for virtually endless exploration. THQ's long history with the sport will help us deliver a game that appeals to both the hardcore motocross and casual racing fan."

    About Rainbow Studios

    Named Game Informer's "Developer of the Year for 2001", Rainbow Studios is one of THQ's premier content creators for console systems and PCs. Headquartered in Phoenix, Arizona, Rainbow's fifteen-year videogame history includes the top-selling "Splashdown," award-winning "ATV Offroad Fury" series and critically acclaimed "Motocross Madness PC" series which received Best Sports Computer Game of 2000 award by the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences.