NewsPro Archive

February 2005

Friday, February 25, 2005

Indigo Prophecy / Fahrenheit New Details
Steve @ 3:43 PM EST
NEW YORK, NY, February 25, 2005 – Survival makes for strange bedfellows as Atari, Inc. today unveils details about its new adventure video game, Indigo Prophecy. Known as Fahrenheit in Europe, the game is being developed by Quantic Dream for the PlayStation«2 computer entertainment system, the Xbox« video game system from Microsoft and personal computer and is scheduled for release this fall. Set in New York City’s near future, Indigo Prophecy tells the story of a man whose destiny is irrevocably altered when he unwillingly commits a brutal murder and must partner with the woman assigned to bring him to justice.

“Quantic Dream has come up with a game best described as ‘interactive cinema’ – a scenario driven experience whose attributes more closely match that of a hit movie," said Erik Gerson, senior vice president of Marketing for Atari. “What Indigo Prophecy does uniquely well is transfer the on-screen drama, tension and anticipation to the player, resulting in an encounter in which players develop an emotional stake in the outcome. This is heightened by a cause-and-effect in-game dynamic whereby every player decision impacts the game's story path and ultimate outcome.”

In Indigo Prophecy, New York City is stunned by a series of mysterious murders, all following the same pattern: ordinary people are killing absolute strangers in public areas. Lucas Kane becomes another one of these murderers when he suddenly kills a stranger in a men’s bathroom. Covered in blood, Lucas regains consciousness with no recollection as to why he committed murder. Hunted by police, Lucas must uncover the supernatural forces behind his crime before being incarcerated for life.

A free-flowing game during which players can assume the role of multiple characters and experience the game from multiple viewpoints, Indigo Prophecy allows players’ actions to affect the plot by offering a scenario driven interactive experience – each and every decision made by the player will impact how the in-game story unfolds. Through motion picture techniques such as actor direction, multi-camera views, motion tracking and a contextual music score, players find themselves intimately immersed in the game.

Developed by Quantic Dream for the PlayStation«2, Xbox and PC, Indigo Prophecy / Fahrenheit is scheduled for a worldwide release this fall. More information about the game can be found online at http://www.indigoprophecy.com

Creator of Final Fantasy Joins Microsoft
Steve @ 4:59 AM EST
REDMOND, Wash. — Feb. 24, 2005 — Microsoft Corp. today announced that Hironobu Sakaguchi, video game legend and president of Mistwalker game studio, has joined with Microsoft« Game Studios to develop role-playing game (RPG) video games exclusively for the next-generation Xbox« video game platform. Sakaguchi is best known as the creator of the “Final Fantasy” franchise, which has sold more than 60 million units worldwide, and was executive vice president in charge of game development at Square Enix Co., Ltd. until February 2001.

Citing a shared vision with Microsoft for the next generation of video games, Sakaguchi will lead the creation of two upcoming Xbox-exclusive RPG titles to be published by Microsoft Game Studios.

“Sakaguchi-san has taken role-playing games — traditionally a niche market — and introduced them to a broad and diverse audience across the globe,” said Peter Moore, corporate vice president of Worldwide Marketing and Publishing at Microsoft. “We are ecstatic to work with Sakaguchi-san and celebrate what this news means not only for Xbox, but for gamers worldwide.”

“I’m excited about the two epic game titles we will be developing,” Sakaguchi said. “A number of talented creators have signed on to help develop these games, and I’m confident we will be able to create games that provide gamers with a new kind of thrill.

“Microsoft’s cutting-edge technologies in the next-generation platform will allow me to bring to life an array of ideas that I have had for many years,” Sakaguchi said. “I want these games to be alive with a new vision for gaming and vividly depict new characters that will transcend the game, find a place in the hearts of gamers, and make time spent with my games a fond and long-lasting memory.”

Sakaguchi started his career at Square Co. Ltd. in 1986 as director of planning and development. He was promoted to executive vice president in 1991 and eventually ascended to president of Square LA Inc. (now Square USA Inc.) in 1995. In 2000, Sakaguchi was inducted into the coveted Academy of Interactive Arts & Science (AIAS) Hall of Fame for his groundbreaking work on the “Final Fantasy” series. In 2004, Sakaguchi announced that he had started his own development studio, called Mistwalker.

Xbox is coming off a blockbuster year as the only video game console to show year-to-year growth in 2004, while competitors declined. Driven by epic, platform-exclusive content — including “Halo« 2” by Microsoft Game Studios, “Fable” by Microsoft Game Studios., “Ninja Gaiden” by Tecmo Ltd., and Xbox Live™, the only unified online video game console service — gamers worldwide continue to flock to Xbox for an unparalleled digital entertainment experience.

Brothers in Arms: Road to Hill 30 Goes Gold
Steve @ 4:48 AM EST
SAN FRANCISCO – February 24, 2005 - Ubisoft™, one of the world's top game publishers, and acclaimed developer Gearbox Software, today announced that Brothers in Arms: Road to Hill 30™, the highly-anticipated World War II game, has gone gold and will soon be on store shelves. With its breakthrough squad-based combat and unprecedented authenticity, Brothers in Arms: Road to Hill 30 is poised to revolutionize the WWII genre when it ships on the Xbox« video game system March 1. Both the PlayStation«2 computer entertainment system and PC versions will be shipping to stores shortly after. The pre-order campaign is currently under way for the title at the manufacturer's suggested retail price of $49.99.

Created by Gearbox Software, Brothers in Arms: Road to Hill 30 is the most authentic WWII shooter ever, earning endorsements from the Veterans of Foreign Wars Foundation and the Patton Museum. Brothers in Arms: Road to Hill 30 is based on the true story of the 101st Airborne paratroopers who led the D-Day invasion and will immerse gamers in the gritty, uncensored and emotionally-charged side of war. The game’s missions have been crafted using after action reports, aerial reconnaissance images, and eye-witness accounts, much of which is included in over five hours of bonus extras. Players of all skill levels can battle their way through twenty epic single player chapters or go online and challenge their friends with ten competitive and innovative multiplyer missions.

Please visit http://www.brothersinarmsgame.com to get the latest news, screenshots, trailers and developer diaries for Brothers in Arms: Road to Hill 30.


PRE-ORDER DETAILS:

Customers who pre-order Brothers in Arms: Road to Hill 30 will also receive a special bonus Penny Arcade Character Journal (PS2/Xbox) or an Official “Making Of” DVD (PC). Bonus items will ship with purchased product, and is only available while supplies last.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

US Ship Date for FlatOut Confirmed
Steve @ 5:17 PM EST
SAN FRANCISCO – February 23, 2005 – Empire Interactive, a U.K. computer games developer and publisher, today announced that FlatOutü will ship to retail outlets in the U.S. on June 14, 2005. Vivendi Universal Games, will distribute the title in the U.S. Available for PlayStation«2 computer entertainment system, Xbox« videogame system from Microsoft and the PC, FlatOut has already received critical acclaim from leading game press and consumers in the U.K. and other European markets.

An over-the-top racing game, FlatOut features a unique all-encompassing physics engine that is set to define a new standard in racing games. With fully destructible driving environments, 40 deformable pieces on the cars and more than 3,000 items to smash, FlatOut is sure to bring carnage to unprecedented levels. Anything destroyed or altered stays a part of the race – broken fences, free rolling tires, and even mangled parts of cars are left scattered around the track, increasing the mayhem with every lap. Drivers will even be thrown from crashing cars!

FlatOut lets players experience the drive of their life with 36 challenging tracks and 12 bonus events in one of 16 fully upgradeable cars. Mini-games maximize the fun, and include three destruction derby arenas, three head-on collision dirt tracks and six outrageous “Rag Doll Olympics” bonus games that utilize driver ejection to the fullest.

Developed by Bugbear Entertainment, FlatOut will carry a suggested retail price of $49.99 for the PlayStation 2 and Xbox versions and $39.99 for the PC version. For more information and to experience the rush of FlatOut first hand, visit: http://www.flatoutgame.com

New Content for MechAssault 2: Lone Wolf
Steve @ 5:12 PM EST
Microsoft Game Studios today announced that new content for MechAssault 2: Lone Wolf, the popular 'Mech combat game for Xbox«, is now available for download via Xbox Live™. This round of free content consists of two maps that were originally featured in the Limited Edition; each playable via System Link, split-screen and Xbox Live. The first map, Mountain High, supports five game types: Team Destruction, Check It, Snatch it, Base War and Grinder. The second map, Troubled Waters, is playable in multiplayer Destruction mode and can also be played by either one or two gamers in the offline Grinder mode. More information about MechAssault 2: Lone Wolf and the new downloadable maps is available at http://www.mechassault2.com

Play NASCAR Driver Kyle Busch on Xbox Live
Steve @ 5:09 PM EST
It's time for Xbox« gamers to rev up their engines and get ready to take on NASCAR driver Kyle Busch in the latest Xbox Live™ "Game with Fame" event. Busch will challenge racing fans in Electronic Arts' racing game, NASCAR« 2005: Chase for the Cup™, on Wednesday, March 2 from 2-3 p.m. EST. Players looking to chase the checkered flag with Kyle Busch, a NASCAR Nextel« Cup Series Rookie of the Year candidate, should watch for the Gamertag “KB5Grrreeat” and head to the official "Game with Fame" site ( http://www.xbox.com/gamewithfame ) for more details.

NASCAR 2005: Chase for the Cup challenges you to battle through a groundbreaking new story mode to achieve NASCAR stardom. Start from humble beginnings by earning NASCAR Busch, Craftsman Truck and Featherlite Modified series rides before grabbing million-dollar purses in the NEXTEL Cup Series. Develop your racing skills and intimidate your rivals on the track with all-new controls. Off the track, force the action with post-race confrontations and settle disputes by racing America's top production cars through city streets. Fans react to the drama, idolizing both NASCAR heroes and villains, while owners and sponsors recognize talent and reward success. It's up to you to show 'em what you've got. For more information please visit http://www.easports.com/games/nascar2005

Project: Snowblind Now Available
Steve @ 4:31 PM EST
SAN FRANCISCO, Feb. 22-- Eidos plc, one of the world's leading publishers and developers of entertainment software, today announced it will ship to stores across North America the highly-anticipated Project: Snowblind for the PlayStation(R)2 computer entertainment system and Xbox(R) video game system from Microsoft on February 22, 2005. The game will be available at major retailers nationwide beginning on February 23, 2005. Project: Snowblind follows the story of one man's transformation from soldier to bio-enhanced super human. The result of which will bring forth a revolution in the first-person shooter (FPS) genre.

Project: Snowblind puts gamers in the role of Nathan Frost, a 2nd Lieutenant of the Liberty Coalition. Nathan is mortally injured during a rescue mission; as a result he unknowingly undergoes a highly experimental procedure that saves his fleeting life. The result of this procedure has changed Nathan into something super human. He is now the perfect weapons system with abilities that far surpass those of the average soldier.

In Project: Snowblind gamers will be exposed to a multitude of gadgetry and weaponry befitting a 21st century super soldier. Nathan's arsenal of tools will include items such as riot walls (deployable energy shields), spiderbots, ice picks (used specifically for hacking), cloaking shields, etc. His weapons chest includes a host of new and futuristic weapons such as the Flechette gun and Rail Laser to name a few as well as tried and true favorites of the FPS genre such as a Shot Gun and Rocket Launcher.

"In Project: Snowblind, our goal was to provide the player with a myriad of options in terms of weapons, gadgets and augmented abilities. It is up to you to combine them to your imagination's content," says John Chowanec Producer for Project: Snowblind. "Given the battlefield chaos in Project: Snowblind, we're arming you with a sandbox within which you can play out some of your most destructive ideas. Happy shooting!"

MVP Baseball 2005 Ships
Steve @ 4:29 PM EST
REDWOOD CITY, Calif.--Feb. 22, 2005--Opening Day has come early as Electronic Arts announced today that MVP Baseball(TM) 2005 has shipped to retailers nationwide and is available in stores under the EA SPORTS(TM) brand. Last year, MVP Baseball 2004 was the #1 selling baseball video game with more than one million copies sold.

Featuring the EA SPORTS(TM) Hitter's Eye, MVP Baseball 2005 gives players unprecedented control of their at-bat including the power to read the pitch and the ability to move in the batter's box. An all-new visual indicator allows hitters to pick up the pitch the moment it leaves the pitcher's hand. In addition, players can use the Pitch/Swing Analysis to review the timing and location of their swings and adjust accordingly.

An all-new Owner Mode enables players to control all aspects of an organization including concession stand prices, promotional days, hiring and firing coaches as well as building their field of dreams. In Create Ballpark, players can customize their stadium by selecting a ballpark name, location, field dimensions and much more.

The addition of 30 Single-A minor league teams (90 minor leagues teams overall), three new mini-games, an improved Dynasty Mode(TM) and all-new unlockable legends, stadiums and uniforms, makes MVP Baseball 2005 the most innovative and authentic baseball simulation ever created.

America's Army: Rise of a Soldier Announced
Steve @ 4:26 PM EST
SAN FRANCISCO--Feb. 22, 2005--Today Ubisoft, one of the world's largest video game publishers, announced that America's Army(R): Rise of a Soldier(TM) will be available in summer 2005 for the PlayStation(R)2 computer entertainment system and the Xbox(R) video game system from Microsoft. Ubisoft and the U.S. Army are working together to develop a new and unique experience for console gamers that features all the action-packed realism that players have come to expect from the America's Army game brand. With unprecedented behind-the-scenes access to the vast military expertise of the U.S. Army, Ubisoft is creating the most authentic military console game to date by incorporating true-to-life character progression via an all-new Career mode and gameplay.

About America's Army: Rise of a Soldier

Built in partnership with the U.S. Army, and developed by Secret Level, America's Army: Rise of a Soldier offers the most true-to-life Army experience, allowing you to create a soldier and take him through the thrills and adventure of an army career. Intense single-player missions and high-adrenaline multiplayer action build the skills of your soldier and advance him through his career.

Key Features

  • Unique Career Mode: Unparalleled character customization allows you to create a soldier and take him throughout his career -- from recruit to Special Forces team leader.

  • Exclusive U.S. Army License: Real Special Forces operatives are consulting with game designers to ensure the highest level of realism in any military console game in existence. Authentic weapons, equipment, and combat situations come straight from the U.S. Army subject matter experts.

  • Play it your way: America's Army has no linear campaign design; players can choose their own career paths. You can focus on certain army roles (marksman or grenadier for example), or experience different roles in your goal to achieve Special Forces qualification.

  • Intense military action: Quick reflexes, strategic planning and the use of teamwork are mandatory to succeed in army missions, which plunge you into ultra-realistic combat scenarios.

  • Multiplayer: America's Army will offer a top-notch multiplayer experience with up to 16 players online as well as split-screen cooperative play mode. Career mode will also be brought to online play, allowing players to create and build online characters.

    Tuesday, February 22, 2005

    Intec Introduces Star Wars Branded Controllers
    Steve @ 1:34 PM EST
    (Miami, FL) – February 22, 2005 – Intec, Inc., the leading manufacturer of cross-platform video game accessories, today introduced its new lineup of Star Wars branded high-performance video game controllers. The controllers feature embedded video game technologies like programmable combination moves and a secret pre-programmed weapon - the lightsaber button (wireless controllers only). Set to begin shipping in North America in April 2005, Intec’s new Star Wars branded controllers will heighten gamers’ experiences, especially when playing the upcoming and much-anticipated Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith video game from LucasArts that will ship on May 5, 2005 for the PlayStation« 2 computer entertainment system and Xbox« video game system from Microsoft.

    The Star Wars lineup of controllers includes:

    1. The Jedi Hunter 2.4GHz Wireless Controller

    The Jedi Hunter 2.4Ghz Wireless Controller is the ultimate weapon for players seeking to destroy all Jedi Knights. This leading-edge controller gives gamers the ability to program their favorite combination moves and a secret pre-programmed weapon: the lightsaber button, which gives players the added edge to win saber locks, an important gameplay feature in the lightsaber duels in the Episode III video game. Players using the Jedi Hunter 2.4Ghz Wireless Controller will be virtually unstoppable! Feature packed, this controller comes with a turbo function button, gamer-nomic designed analog sticks and digital directional pads, rubberized grips, dual vibration motors with on & off vibration switches, auto connect, a 3-position rumble switch, and auto-sensing technology that allows for up to 16 players to play without interference. Each Jedi Hunter 2.4Ghz Wireless Controller allows for game play at up to 30 feet away from the console and up to 60 hours of game time (using 2 AA Batteries). This controller also includes an auto shut-off feature, where if it’s not used for more than 5 minutes, it will go into “sleep mode” to save battery life. Versions for the PlayStation« 2 (G9875 – MSRP $29.99) and Xbox« (G9885– MSRP $29.99) are available.

    2. The Jedi Hunter Controller

    As Dark Lord of the Sith - Darth Vader, players require the best weaponry possible in order to master the game and the dark side of the Force. With a button allowing players to program their favorite combination moves, the Jedi Hunter Controller offers players the power to seek and destroy all enemies. Featuring in-game battle glow (it glows red), players are able to fully immerse themselves in Darth Vader’s red fury! Available in versions for the PlayStation« 2 (G9800 – MSRP $19.99) and Xbox™ (G9810 – MSRP $19.99), these Jedi Hunter Controllers are perfect for players looking for an added edge in their battles against players with ordinary, non-programmable controllers.

    3. Sith vs. Jedi 2-Pack

    Whether choosing to play for justice as a Jedi or rule the Sith as Darth Vader, a triumphant performance is now within their grasp! The Sith vs. Jedi 2-Pack also allows players to program their favorite combination moves into one button, surrounding themselves in the Jedi’s blue glow or Vader’s red glow as they play. With versions available for the PlayStation« 2 (G9805 – MSRP $29.99) and Xbox« (G9815 – MSRP $29.99), players can defend the light side of the Force as a Jedi Knight or fight for the dark side of the force as Darth Vader.

    All Intec Star Wars controllers come with a Lifetime Warranty, the best accessory warranty available in the market today.

    Area 51 Website Now Live
    Steve @ 1:31 PM EST
    Midway Games today announced the official AREA 51« Web site ( http://www.area51-game.com ) is now live. Exploding with fresh content, FPS fans and conspiracy theorists alike can now access an extensive amount of screenshots, video featurettes, trailers, character bios and much more. AREA 51 is scheduled to ship for the PlayStation«2 computer entertainment system, the Xbox« videogame system from Microsoft and PC on April 25, 2005.

    Area 51 is the only action-packed 1st person shooter set in the U.S. government’s most secret and secure military facility. The U.S. Army has received a distress signal from Area 51 where a viral outbreak has just shut down the research facility and the automated quarantine procedures have locked all scientific and military personnel inside. A small Special Forces unit led by Specialist Ethan Cole of the HAZMAT (hazardous materials) Division is sent to investigate. As Cole, players will delve into five massive levels within the confines of Area 51, discovering a deadly mutagenic side effect of the virus that controls the minds of those infected, as well as an ancient alien colony buried beneath the facility. With a multitude of human and alien weapons, players must explore chilling conspiracies such as the extraterrestrial crash at Roswell and the faked lunar landing, in order to solve the enigma of Area 51 before the viral mutagen is re! leased and irrevocably mutates all life on Earth. Area 51 will be online supporting 16 players or both the PlayStation«2 computer entertainment system, the Xbox« video game system from Microsoft.

    Thursday, February 17, 2005

    2K Sports Signs Licensing Agreement with WPT
    Steve @ 3:59 PM EST
    NEW YORK--Feb. 17, 2005--2K Sports, the sports division of 2K Games, a publishing label of Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc., today announced that it has signed an exclusive licensing agreement with WPT Enterprises, Inc. (Nasdaq:WPTE) for WORLD POKER TOUR(R) (WPT) interactive poker games. The console, PC, and handheld games are in development at both Coresoft and Backbone studios.


    "The WORLD POKER TOUR is fast becoming one of the most recognizable properties in entertainment," said Steve Glickstein, Vice President of Publishing for 2K Sports. "We are very excited to be partnering with WPT Enterprises, Inc. to bring everyone's favorite poker show into the virtual world of interactive gaming. Poker is one of the world's most popular pastimes and a natural fit for our lineup."

    "This agreement with 2K Sports takes the WORLD POKER TOUR into people's homes in a truly interactive manner," said WPT Enterprises, Inc. founder and President Steve Lipscomb. "Gamers will have a chance to feel the exhilaration that our WPT players do when they grab one of those monster pots. We are looking forward to having our WPT brand available on the world's most popular game platforms."

    The games will create an authentic WORLD POKER TOUR experience for users simulating the excitement of the smash hit television show. The WORLD POKER TOUR, the show that launched the sport, will broadcast 16 new tournaments filmed at leading casinos from Las Vegas to Paris, beginning with the launch of its Third Season on March 2, 2005. The WORLD POKER TOUR airs in the U.S. Wednesday nights at 9 p.m. ET/PT on the Travel Channel and is the highest rated series in the network's history.

    Sega Announces Condemned
    Steve @ 3:27 PM EST
    SAN FRANCISCO (February 17, 2005) SEGA« of America, Inc. and SEGA Europe Ltd. today announced Condemned™, a suspense-filled, first-person psychological thriller game developed exclusively for the next generation of game consoles and the PC. The hunt for a serial killer has never seemed so terrifyingly real, prompting top gaming enthusiast publication Game Informer to comment that: "Condemned has redefined the horror genre (March 2005)."

    Developed by award-winning Monolith Productions, the game allows players to experience an unnatural level of psychological tension as they use their instincts, forensic tools, and melee combat to track serial killers and bring them to justice. Gamers will play as Ethan Thomas, an FBI agent in the Serial Crimes Unit (SCU), whose pursuit of relentless serial killers leads him through detailed urban environments filled with deadly sociopaths who lurk on the periphery of humanity.

    "SEGA expects Condemned to engage the game player with visceral, in-your-face, urban combat and an unparalleled level of unpredictability," said Scott A. Steinberg, vice president of entertainment marketing, SEGA of America. "The atmospheric tension and cinematic qualities of Condemned offer consumers the rich experience of a psychological thriller; something that has not been accomplished on previous hardware platforms."

    "To become a leading independent game publisher, we must reinvigorate the SEGA brand by publishing great content that boosts revenue across all western territories," said Simon Jeffery, president and COO, SEGA of America. "Condemned represents an aggressive product acquisition strategy created to compliment SEGA IP with market-appropriate next-generation games."

    "New leaps in technology are allowing our teams to create immersive game environments that are incredibly realistic," said Samantha Ryan, CEO of Monolith Productions. "Monolith's goal with Condemned, is to combine a disturbing atmosphere with realistic physics, devious AI, and a sophisticated combat system."

    Condemned, the first next-generation console and PC game announced by SEGA, is slated to ship in Winter 2005.

    The Suffering: Ties That Bind Announced
    Steve @ 3:21 PM EST
    CHICAGO – February 17, 2005 – Midway Games Inc., a leading interactive entertainment industry publisher and developer, today announced The Suffering«: Ties That Bind™, sequel to the genre-defining and award winning action/horror game, The Suffering«. Developed by Midway's internal studio, Surreal Software, The Suffering: Ties That Bind is scheduled to ship for the PlayStation«2 computer entertainment system, the Xbox« videogame system from Microsoft and PC in Fall 2005.

    "The Suffering: Ties That Bind is a sequel that will surpass the original in every way, with more action, a darker storyline and plenty of disturbing and twisted creatures," said Alan Patmore, president, Surreal Software. "The terror expands outside of the prison walls as players' actions and moral choices are now tied to the new multi-leveled insanity mode, directly affecting the game's plot with each path providing an entirely different experience."

    The Suffering: Ties That Bind is a revolutionary action-horror game that emphasizes the disturbing terror of its predecessor, with new twisted creatures and a few familiar faces. Set in the unforgiving streets and prisons of Baltimore, the player once again controls Torque as he seeks revenge against the mysterious grand manipulator Blackmore, a man somehow tied to the death of Torque's family. Players will explore the tough inner-city, with poverty and urban injustices trapping people just as effectively as a physical prison. The unique morality system returns, as players delve into the perverse world of Torque's sanity to discover his past and struggle to control his future.

    Midway Announces Gauntlet: Seven Sorrows
    Steve @ 3:19 PM EST
    CHICAGO – February 17, 2005 – Midway Games Inc., a leading interactive entertainment industry publisher and developer, announced today the rebirth of the legendary Gauntlet« franchise with Gauntlet: Seven Sorrows. Lead by industry veterans John Romero (Doom, Quake) and Josh Sawyer (Icewind Dale), developed by Midway's San Diego studio, Seven Sorrows is scheduled for release on the PlayStation«2 computer entertainment system, the Xbox« videogame system from Microsoft and PC this winter.

    "Gauntlet: Seven Sorrows captures the nostalgia of the legendary franchise, and also delivers the darkest, most intense Gauntlet saga ever," said Matt Booty, senior vice president of product development, Midway. "Blending an intuitive combat system, accessible RPG elements, and new junction skills, Seven Sorrows features the dynamic co-op it's known for, and, for the first time ever, it is online supporting up to four players."

    Centuries ago, four immortal heroes set out to kill the most powerful emperor their age had ever known. They failed, and for their crimes, three were crucified on a great tree at the bottom of the world. Mysteriously set free, the heroes set out to finish what they had started, only to find that they must now save their tormentor from his own dreams and madness. Driven to grief by seven acts of deep cruelty and selfishness, the emperor seeks to undo the one that pains him the most: the murder of his lover, Cusirimay. If the ancient heroes cannot undo the emperor's deeds on their own, his mad plans may tear apart the world.

    Seven Sorrows is the fusion of fantasy fighting action with the strategy of user-friendly RPG elements , providing gamers a deep, engaging gameplay experience complete with solo play, co-op and an online community.

    The new fighting system allows for easy pick-up-and-play while simultaneously offering deeper choices for more advanced players. Additionally, online RPG and collection elements add significant replay value to the game.

    THQ Ships Constantine
    Steve @ 3:18 PM EST
    CALABASAS HILLS, Calif.,-- THQ Inc. and Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment announced today the release of "Constantine" for the PlayStation(R)2 computer entertainment system and Xbox(R) video game system from Microsoft. The game, developed by Bits Studios, is based on the upcoming Warner Bros. Pictures release of "Constantine," an adaptation of the DC Comics/Vertigo Hellblazer graphic novels. The "Constantine" video game is now available at retailers across North America.

    "We are excited to release a product that captures the true essence of 'Constantine,' such a highly anticipated film," said Peter Dille,
    senior vice president, worldwide marketing, THQ. "The game allows movie and video game fans alike to take control of the action and experience each terrifying moment firsthand."

    "The dark and intense feel of the 'Constantine' film provides a perfect backdrop for the action-packed game," said Jason Hall, Senior Vice President of Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment. "This game allows players to truly be John Constantine and encounter all of the challenges he faces with an incredible arsenal of artifacts and incantations."

    Based on the DC Comics/Vertigo Hellblazer graphic novels, with all the supernatural thrills of the highly anticipated film, you are cast as irreverent mystic detective John Constantine and must embark on an
    investigation in a world of demons and angels that exists just beneath the landscape of contemporary Los Angeles. Caught up in a series of catastrophic events, it is imperative that you seek out and destroy pure evil -- before peace on Earth is destroyed forever.

    Microsoft Announces Power Cord Replacement
    Steve @ 2:51 PM EST
    REDMOND, Wash. — Feb. 17, 2005 — As a precautionary measure and out of concern for consumer safety, Microsoft Corp. today announced that it will voluntarily replace the power cords on 14.1 million Xbox« consoles worldwide.

    The replacement power cords are designed to protect consumers and their Xbox consoles from rare electrical component failures that can pose a fire hazard. Fewer than one in 10,000 consoles have experienced these component failures, and, in almost all instances, any damage caused by these failures was contained within the console itself or limited to the tip of the power cord at the back of the console.

    However, in 30 consoles worldwide, these failures are reported to have caused minor injury or minor property damage. In seven instances, customers reported sustaining a minor burn to their hand. In 23 instances, customers reported smoke damage, or minor damage to a carpet or entertainment center.

    In all regions except Continental Europe, Xbox consoles manufactured before Oct. 23, 2003, require a replacement power cord. In Continental Europe, consoles manufactured before Jan. 13, 2004, require a replacement power cord.

    “This is a preventative step we’re choosing to take despite the rarity of these incidents,” said Robbie Bach, senior vice president of the Home & Entertainment Division at Microsoft. “We regret the inconvenience, but believe offering consumers a free replacement is the responsible thing to do.”

    To order a replacement cord, consumers should go to http://www.xbox.com and click on the Power Cord Replacement for Xbox link. Replacement cords will arrive two to four weeks after the order is placed. While waiting for the new cord to arrive, consumers should turn off their Xbox consoles when not in use.

    Not all replacement cords that Microsoft supplies to program participants will look the same. The type of cord shipped will depend on the date the console was manufactured and the country in which it is used.

    Wednesday, February 16, 2005

    Midway Arcade Treasures 3 Announced
    Steve @ 1:14 PM EST
    CHICAGO – February 16, 2005 – Midway Games Inc., a leading interactive entertainment industry publisher and developer, today announced the newest addition to the company's Midway Arcade Treasures franchise, Midway Arcade Treasures 3. The third installment in the successful Midway Arcade Treasures series, Midway Arcade Treasures 3 follows in the wake of million unit seller, Midway Arcade Treasures™ (2003) and the 2004 holiday hit, Midway Arcade Treasures™ 2. Scheduled to ship Fall 2005, Midway Arcade Treasures 3 is in currently in development for the PlayStation 2 computer entertainment system, the Xbox video game system from Microsoft, and the Nintendo GameCube with a suggested retail price of $19.99.

    "The Midway Arcade Treasures brand continues to be one of Midway's strongest-selling and most popular franchises," said Steve Allison, chief marketing officer, Midway. "Midway Arcade Treasures 3 provides the same, classic feel as the previous two Midway Arcade Treasures installments while bringing back several of the most popular racing games in the industry's history to today's next generation consoles."

    With the latest addition to Midway's classic gaming vault, consumers will be given the option to either hone their racing skills in single player mode in games such as S.T.U.N. Runner, or fulfill their head-to-head appetite and leave friends in the dust with titles such as Hydro Thunder and Super Off Road. Midway Arcade Treasures 3 will also feature player rankings via Xbox Live™ to allow gamers to post and track personal scores against the best in the world.

    Midway Arcade Treasures 3 Includes:

    Eight classic arcade racing games including:

    Badlands™
    Hydro Thunder«
    Off Road Thunder: Mud, Sweat 'N Gears™
    Race Drivin'«
    San Francisco Rush The Rock: Alcatraz Edition™
    San Francisco Rush 2049™
    S.T.U.N. Runner™
    Super Off Road™ & Bonus Tracks Pack

    Nonstop Action - Hours of power, speed, jumps and thrills

    Multiple Courses - Dozens of tracks to chose from throughout the various games

    Xbox Live - Post high scores to decide the best of the best

    Multiplayer Gameplay - One-to-four player modes (*different for various titles)

    Tuesday, February 15, 2005

    Midway Secures Rights To Five Adult Swim Programs
    Steve @ 1:47 PM EST
    CHICAGO – February 15, 2005 – Midway Games Inc., a leading interactive entertainment software publisher and developer, today announced that it has signed a multi-territory agreement with Cartoon Network, licensed by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, to publish video games based on five of the network's ADULT SWIM programs: Aqua Teen Hunger Force, The Brak Show, Harvey Birdman, Attorney At Law, Sealab 2021, and Space Ghost Coast to Coast. Under the terms of the agreement, Midway has the rights to develop and publish games for the console, handheld and PC platforms. The first ADULT SWIM product is scheduled to ship in late 2006.

    Adult Swim is Cartoon Network's late-night programming block of cartoons that appeal to a grown-up sense of humor and adult sensibilities such as superhero lawyers, talking food items and cranky talk show hosts.

    "Cartoon Network is known for creating programming that is cutting-edge in its presentation and content, and thus perfectly suited for video games," said David F. Zucker, Midway president and chief executive officer. "The built-in fan base and popularity of ADULT SWIM affords us a critical stepping stone towards success."

    "ADULT SWIM is a phenomenon with young adult viewers who identify with the edgy, irreverent tone of the shows and the block," said John Friend, senior vice president, Cartoon Network Enterprises. "Clearly, lots of ADULT SWIM fans are avid gamers, and we look forward to working with Midway to make games the fans will love."

    Young adults are flocking to Cartoon Network in record numbers, thanks primarily to ADULT SWIM, which in 2004 set new network records for total delivery of adults (18-34 and adults 18-49). Research indicates that Cartoon Network is watched by more adults (18-34) than E Entertainment, USA, Discovery, TV Land, CNBC, A&E and VH1, among others.

    The ADULT SWIM properties include:

  • Aqua Teen Hunger Force -- Aqua Teen Hunger Force is an animated comedy about human-sized food products that live together in a rental house in New Jersey. Master Shake, the self-appointed leader is a miserable crank. Frylock, the most reasonable member of the group, happens to be a box of french-fried potatoes. Meatwad rounds out the squad, with his - you guessed it - round mound of meat. Together they are Aqua Teen Hunger Force. Sometimes they solve the mysteries of New Jersey. More often, they hang out in their neighbor Carl's above-ground swimming pool.

  • The Brak Show -- The Brak Show is set somewhere in outer space, but it looks an awful lot like any American suburb, circa 1965. The show follows the formative years of Brak and his best pal Zorak, both of whom attend Learnmore High. Brak's Dad, a small human man with a vaguely Latin accent, loves reading the paper and giving nonsensical advice. Brak's mother is supportive and quite a dish, in a June Cleaver as a space monster kind of way. Zorak leads Brak into all kinds of trouble like stealing the mascot of Learnmore High's rival just before the big game, overfeeding a neighbor's fish or stealing a magic candy bar. In the end, everything always turns out just fine and there's even usually time for a song.

  • Harvey Birdman, Attorney At Law -- once a third-rate superhero, Harvey Birdman is now a third-rate lawyer trying like hell to get by in a fancy law firm. It's not clear whether Harvey actually went to law school, but he definitely knows the things to say to sound like a lawyer. And he has a suit now, that's for sure.

  • Sealab 2021 -- The year is 2021, and deep below the ocean's surface lies a vast, high-tech compound: Sealab. This multinational effort has been designed to explore the viability of underwater colonization and uncover the mysteries of the sea. Unfortunately, it's run by a bunch of idiots.

  • Space Ghost Coast to Coast -- Space Ghost Coast to Coast is the planet's only late-night talk show hosted by a cartoon superhero. Days when mere men in coats and ties ruled the late-night universe have gone the way of The Chevy Chase Theater, but Space Ghost is fully costumed and on the scene with an array of superpowers. Space Ghost Coast to Coast combines celebrity interviews and assorted nonsense for the weirdest talk show in the universe. Space Ghost is joined by archenemies Moltar and Zorak, whom he has enslaved as unwilling members of his late-night crew. Guests on Space Ghost Coast to Coast have been an eclectic mix, including Tenacious D, Bjork, Donny Osmond, Charlton Heston, The Ramones, Lassie and Fran Drescher. But not Don Rickles.

    Midway and Cartoon Network Sign Deal for Kids Games
    Steve @ 1:42 PM EST
    CHICAGO – February 15, 2005 – Midway Games Inc., a leading interactive entertainment software publisher and developer, today announced that it has signed three publishing agreements with Cartoon Network, licensed by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, for video games based on three of the network's top-rated kids programs: Ed, Edd n Eddy, The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy and Dexter's Laboratory. Under the terms of the agreements, Midway secures multi-territory rights to develop and publish games for the console, handheld and PC platforms.

    "Cartoon Network continues to be a leading creator of premier animated content and its programming has consistently ranked atop the charts for kids and tweens during day and prime time hours," said David F. Zucker, Midway president and chief executive officer. "We are delighted to be working with them and eager to launch our new children's lineup around such popular shows."

    "Kids love Cartoon Network's programming as much as video games and our agreements with Midway are a perfect fit for both companies," said John Friend, senior vice president, Cartoon Network Enterprises. "We are excited to be working with Midway and eager to help make the launch of their children's line a success."

    Ratings continue to rise for Cartoon Network making it a favorite choice for animated TV entertainment for kids 2-11, kids 6-11 and tweens 9-14, as the network achieved both ratings and delivery gains among every key demographic in 2004.

    The agreements cover three of Cartoon Network's top original series, including:

  • Ed, Edd n Eddy -- A mainstay in the network's key weekly franchise, FRIDAYS, Ed, Edd n Eddy is Cartoon Network's number one series among boys 2-11. Cartoon Network is adding 26 new episodes, the first of which is scheduled to air alongside the game's expected debut in Fall 2005.

  • The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy - Since its introduction, The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy has been one of the network's most popular series, particularly with boys. Happy-go-lucky Billy and cynical Mandy are best friends with the Grim Reaper in this crude supernatural comedy.

  • Dexter's Laboratory - Dexter's Laboratory is an award-winning program about a boy genius with a secret science lab and was Cartoon Network's first original series and features 72 episodes, making it one of the largest series in rotation on the network.

    Project: Snowblind Officially Goes Gold
    Steve @ 1:23 PM EST
    There's nothing like the luster of Gold and Project: Snowblind is
    shining. Eidos is proud to announce that Project: Snowblind for the Sony PlayStation 2 and Microsoft Xbox have officially Gone Gold. Project: Snowblind will be in stores in North America on February 23rd, 2005.

    Mastiff Announces Pump It Up: Exceed
    Steve @ 1:20 PM EST
    SAN FRANCISCO, CA (February 14, 2005) Video Game publisher Mastiff today announced they will publish Pump It Up, the hot dancing game storming through Latin America, the UK, France, and Korea, for the PlayStation 2 computer entertainment system and the Xbox« video game system from Microsoft. The arcade version of Pump It Up was recently featured in two national commercials and has appeared on television shows such as Steve Harvey's Big Time and The George Lopez Show.

    While other dance games arbitrarily assign positions to a dancer's
    feet, Pump It Up features choreographed steps for each song and a five button mat that lets the step designers reward players for not just where they put their feet, but how the feet got there. The game features over 80 songs, including new music for the console version from cutting edge artists such as Grammy nominees Crystal Method and Steriogram, as well as Elvis vs. Junkie XL;, Earth, Wind and Fire; and Sugarhill Gang. Music familiar to fans of the arcade include top K-POP (Korean pop) acts like Sechs Kies, Honey Family, Clon and Novasonic, and songs like Beethoven Virus and Pump Me Amadeus by BanYa, the Pump It Up original band.

    "It's hip, it's edgy, and it's the only game out there that's really
    about the dancing," said Bill Swartz, Head Woof at Mastiff. "Other
    dancing games are about watching the screen and stomping in the right spot, which is great if you didn't get enough whack-a-mole as a kid. Pump It Up gets you dancing like you're in a club."

    James Ko, President of Andamiro USA says "We're delighted to be working with Mastiff to bring the greatest dance game in the world to your living room."

    The console version of Pump It Up: Exceed is based on the arcade game
    Pump It Up: Exceed but, in addition to the new music features a wealth of new features including three entirely new modes: Home, Sudden Death, and Survival as well as a practice and tutorial mode. Like the arcade version, the home version will also allow players to log their high scores on a world-wide score board.

    3 Doors Down on Xbox Live
    Steve @ 1:17 PM EST
    Xbox Live™'s popular "Game With Fame" series of online celebrity events is giving gamers a chance to play against 3 Doors Down on Monday, February 21. Players interested in challenging the band in Halo 2« from 3-5 p.m. PST need to sign up for the event at http://www.3doorsdown.com/contest/xbox before February 15. More information about 3 Doors Down, and their recently released album, "Seventeen Days," can be found at the band's official site at http://www.3doorsdown.com The album, including the new single "Let Me Go," can be heard at the official "Game with Fame" site at http://www.xbox.com/gamewithfame

    Atari Announces The Matrix: Path of Neo
    Steve @ 1:16 PM EST
    New York, New York, February 14, 2005 – Atari, Inc., under an exclusive licensing agreement with Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, is developing and publishing THE MATRIX: PATH OF NEO, an interactive console and PC game based on the blockbuster motion picture trilogy THE MATRIX, THE MATRIX RELOADED and THE MATRIX REVOLUTIONS from Warner Bros. Pictures. THE MATRIX: PATH OF NEO is slated for worldwide release in the 2005 holiday season and will be available on the PlayStation«2 entertainment system, the Xbox« videogame system from Microsoft, and the PC.

    THE MATRIX: PATH OF NEO marks the second collaboration of Atari and its Shiny Entertainment development studio; the Wachowski Brothers, creators of The Matrix trilogy; and Joel Silver, producer of the trilogy. In May 2003, Atari released Enter The Matrix, a parallel timeline to THE MATRIX RELOADED and a bridge to THE MATRIX REVOLUTIONS, which debuted at #1 atop gaming charts around the world and has sold nearly 6 million units worldwide to date.

    Set in the Matrix universe, THE MATRIX: PATH OF NEO will enable players to actually play as “Neo,” the central character, and relive his most important and memorable scenarios from the complete film trilogy, including the original film, THE MATRIX. Throughout the game, the path the player takes to resolve each scenario and the resulting consequences will be scripted and directed by the Wachowski Brothers. The likenesses of all of the films’ key actors -- including Keanu Reeves (“Neo”), Laurence Fishburne (“Morpheus”), Carrie-Ann Moss (“Trinity), and Hugo Weaving (“Agent Smith”) -- will be featured in THE MATRIX: PATH OF NEO, which will also include footage from all three feature films, as well as THE ANIMATRIX.

    “We couldn’t be more thrilled to be embarking on a new Matrix project,” said Jim Caparro, President and Chief Executive Officer of Atari. “The Wachowski Brothers have created a universe that is uniquely deep and rich, with virtually limitless creative possibilities, and the interactive space is the ideal world in which to explore them. With The Matrix: Path of Neo, the Wachowski Brothers will be giving their legions of fans the best of everything: the first chance to personally relive Neo’s journey, and the chance to experience new adventures they cannot yet even imagine.”

    “I’m very happy to continue my collaboration with Larry and Andy on all things Matrix and beyond,” said Joel Silver, producer of the Matrix film trilogy. “Enter The Matrix added another exciting chapter to the legend. I’m thrilled that we are further expanding and exploring the vast Matrix universe through The Matrix: Path of Neo.”

    Friday, February 11, 2005

    Z-Axis Moves Headquarters
    Steve @ 9:12 PM EST
    Santa Monica, CA – February 10, 2005 -- Z-Axis, Ltd., a subsidiary of Activision, Inc., announced today that the company has moved its headquarters from Hayward, CA to Foster City, CA in order to facilitate the studio’s expansion needs.

    Z-Axis has leased a 23,000 square foot space, which will house a state of the art game design studio. In the next 12 months, Z-Axis expects to increase its staff from 90 to 140, and is currently looking to hire artists, programmers, producers, animators and game designers to work on current and next-generation console games.

    “We are very excited to move our studio to Bayside Towers and expect that the new facility will enable us to accommodate all of our growth needs,” said Craig Alexander, vice president and general manager, Z-Axis. “We currently have two high-profile games in development based on popular comic book characters and the additional space will allow us expand both of our teams, as well as to ramp up for pre-production on some exciting new projects.”

    Play Jerome Williams in ESPN NBA 2K5 on Xbox Live
    Steve @ 9:08 PM EST
    Gamers with hoop dreams will get their chance to take on an NBA star, as Jerome "The Junkyard Dog" Williams of the New York Knicks will be taking on all comers in a new Xbox Live™ "Game with Fame" event. "The Junkyard Dog" will be accepting challenges in ESPN NBA 2K5 on Tuesday, February 15 from 5-6 p.m. EST using the Gamertag "jyd31knicks." For more information on this and future Xbox Live "Game with Fame" events, please visit http://www.xbox.com/gamewithfame

    ESPN Videogames ESPN NBA 2K5 offers gamers one of the most authentic NBA basketball experiences available. Game features include enhanced ESPN presentation, Isomotion 2 and the 24/7 mode. IsoMotion2 builds upon the original IsoMotion system, giving players the creativity and freedom to perform tricky moves to throw off their opponents, while 24/7 mode gives gamers the ability to create and train a roster of streetball players. For more information regarding this and other ESPN videogames, please visit http://www.espnvideogames.com/

    Xbox Live's "Game with Fame" gives game fans the opportunity to play on Xbox Live against some of today's hottest stars. Past "Game with Fame" celebrity players include The Strokes, Hoobastank and Buffalo Bills' Running Back Willis McGahee. For further information on other Xbox Live events, be sure to visit the "Game with Fame" Web site at http://www.xbox.com/gamewithfame

    Major League Baseball 2K5 New Gameplay Features
    Steve @ 2:16 PM EST
    SAN RAFAEL, Calif.--Feb. 11, 2005--2K Sports, the sports division of 2K Games, a publishing label of Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. announced today a revolutionary gameplay innovation, offering fans of America's pastime the most complete baseball video game simulation. Set to release in early spring 2005, Major League Baseball 2K5 debuts On Command(TM) Baserunning, that includes active picture-in-picture baserunning, and new gameplay features called Maximum Sliding(TM) and Baseburner(TM) Mode.

    Players will immediately experience a new way to see and control baserunners through the active picture-in-picture display. Using the four corners of the television screen to represent the bases, players will be able to see the actions of any baserunner through real-time picture-in-picture windows. Baserunners will advance along the borders of the television screen not only to show the actual distance, but also to show the actions they're performing. This feature empowers the user with instant real-time movement of baserunners and the ability to instantly control any baserunner independently. Active picture-in-picture baserunning delivers both an exciting presentation style and an intuitive method to precisely control runners.

    Baseball has been called a game of inches and with Maximum Sliding(TM) players make every inch count. This new baserunning mechanic utilizes the right analog thumbstick to choose how baserunners slide -- head or feet first -- in conjunction with hook sliding left or right of the base. Players will be able to reach a base quicker, get up more quickly from a slide, or avoid being tagged out with the new freedom found in Maximum Sliding(TM).

    Leading the list of On Command(TM) Baserunning features is the groundbreaking Baseburner(TM) Mode that offers both unique control and perspective. Baseburner Mode allows the gamer to play any 'at-bat' through the perspective of any baserunner, delivering precision control to gamers. While playing in the baserunner perspective, the player can tell the batter how, when and what type of swing to use. Players with multiple baserunners can cycle through any man on base or return to the default view and control the batter. Gamers can dominate the basepaths by advancing runners into scoring position, executing hit and run maneuvers, and scoring the game-ending run with a dramatic squeeze play. All of this can happen using the unique control mechanics and dynamic camera angles of Baseburner Mode.

    Major League Baseball 2K5 is set to release in early spring 2005 for both the Xbox(R) videogame system from Microsoft(TM) and the PlayStation(R)2 computer entertainment system.

    The 2K Sports series of simulation games are produced by Visual Concepts, a Take-Two development studio. For more information, log onto http://www.2Ksports.com

    American McGee Presents Scrapland Has Gone Gold
    Steve @ 2:13 PM EST
    PARKVILLE, MD, February 11, 2005 – The wait for console fans is over! Enlight announced today that American McGee Presents Scrapland has gone gold and is on target for its February 25 ship date for the Xbox« video game system from Microsoft. Currently available for the PC, the Xbox version of Scrapland features the same gameplay experience as well as a unique lock-on targeting feature that makes the combat more accessible to console gamers.

    The Xbox exclusive lock-on feature is designed to remove the disorientation that is sometimes associated with 3D console games. By pressing the left trigger button, players can lock their viewpoint onto a specific target while maneuvering freely with the left analog stick. Lock-on also plays a key role in the realm of space combat where the action is fast and frenzied. When a target is locked in, the player’s ship will automatically match the target’s speed and velocity, allowing players to focus purely on combat. This exciting new feature complements Scrapland’s expansive game world and open-ended gameplay.

    “We’re really happy with the way Scrapland turned out for Xbox – the system really seems to make the game shine,” said Executive Producer American McGee. “Gamers will especially appreciate the lock-on targeting feature which makes playing this style of game so much more intuitive.”

    In Scrapland, players step into the shoes of D-Tritus, an intergalactic traveler who finds himself involved in a series of mysterious murders committed in a world where death had previously been unknown. Throughout the adventure, D-Tritus will have the ability to morph into 15 different characters ranging from a bombshell with an explosive attitude to a money-hungry banker. Each character comes alive through state of the art visuals including advanced shader techniques and the use of bloom lighting.

    Take-Two Signs Publishing Agreement for 3 SCi Games
    Steve @ 2:07 PM EST
    NEW YORK--Feb. 10, 2005--2K Games, a publishing label of Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc., today announced that it has signed an agreement with SCi Games for exclusive North American publishing rights to Conflict: Global Terror, Carmageddon and Reservoir Dogs.

    "We are very pleased to again be working with SCi and building on the successes of this partnership," said Christoph Hartmann, Senior Vice President of Publishing for 2K Games. "All three of these titles illustrate 2K Games' commitment to producing high quality games from proven franchises and exciting licenses."

    Conflict: Global Terror brings the series into the 21st century and joins the war on terrorism in this highly anticipated sequel to the successful franchise which has shipped over 2.5 million units in North America alone. In fall 2005, the original Delta Force members from the Conflict series will return to fight alongside players on console and PC, in a variety of locations around the world where terrorism is present.

    Carmageddon, a game where speed and racing are not the only goals, returns. Rejuvenated for the console and PC market, the new Carmageddon is faster and more intense than ever and planned for release in fall 2005.

    Reservoir Dogs, the Quentin Tarantino classic cult film, is being adapted into an explosive action packed console and PC game. Scheduled for release in 2006, Reservoir Dogs will bring gamers deep into the seedy underground world of crime they fell in love with when it was originally released as a feature film.

    Thursday, February 10, 2005

    Doom 3 Ship Date Confirmed
    Steve @ 4:27 AM EST
    Santa Monica, CA – February 9, 2005 – Make a date with death. id Software™ and Activision, Inc. today confirmed the week of April 4 as the worldwide release of never-ending evil, with the arrivals of both DOOM 3™ for the Xbox video game system from Microsoft and DOOM 3: Resurrection of Evil™, the official PC expansion pack to what critics and gamers have raved is one of the scariest games ever created: DOOM 3™.

    “Brace yourself for a new breed of fear and excitement,” said Todd Hollenshead, CEO, id Software. “DOOM 3 for the Xbox brings gripping action, unparalleled graphics and sound, and a truly terrifying experience to the home theater. This is DOOM 3 built for the Xbox, including 480p and wide-screen support, full Xbox Live multiplayer, and the Xbox exclusive 2-player co-op campaign. For fans of DOOM 3 on the PC, Resurrection of Evil takes you to the undiscovered depths of the UAC’s Mars base and back to Hell itself for a vicious new battle with the forces of evil and the most ferocious demons imaginable.”

    Rated 10 out of 10 by XBN magazine, DOOM 3 for the Xbox brings the sci-fi horror masterpiece to console gamers everywhere. In addition to the most frightening and immersive single player game ever created, the heart-pounding title features a new co-operative campaign and exciting Xbox Live multiplayer action. The exclusive Limited Collector’s Edition also includes full versions of the original Ultimate DOOM™ and DOOM II« playable in single player, or split-screen co-op or deathmatch with 2-4 players on one Xbox. DOOM 3 for the Xbox is developed by Vicarious Visions and id Software.

    Co-developed by Nerve Software and id Software, DOOM 3: Resurrection of Evil continues the terrifying and intense action of the top selling, critically acclaimed and instant classic DOOM 3 -- awarded 94% from PC Gamer and five out of five stars from Computer Gaming World -- in an all-new assault on humanity. Resurrection of Evil picks up two years following the events of the original in a once forgotten and remote UAC research facility on Mars. Players wage a brutal war against an army of new demons and zombies including Hell’s own Hunters, while utilizing incredible new weapons like the physics defying “grabber” and the return of the classic double-barreled shotgun. Featuring new locations, puzzles and mysterious powers like the ability to slow time, Resurrection of Evil will have players reloading for the bloodiest battle yet.

    Both titles are rated “M” for Mature (Blood and Gore, Intense Violence) by the ESRB.

    Cold Fear Movie-Style Trailer
    Steve @ 4:21 AM EST
    Recently, Ubisoft unleashed an electrifying, movie-style trailer for its new horror videogame Cold Fear™. Revealing the eerie details that set up the mysterious storyline, the Cold Fear trailer shocks with action-packed gameplay and suspenseful cinematics directly from the game. On a ship bound for Hell where anyone could be “DEAD” weight, this trailer displays a new level of gore and haunting realism that is certain to bring viewers’ worst nightmares to life.

    Visit the Official Cold Fear website at http://coldfeargame.com to view the trailer.

    Players step into the role of Tom Hansen, a U.S. Coast Guard who is sent to board a drifting Russian whaling ship in the middle of a howling storm on the Bering Sea. He arrives only to discover that terrifying surprises await him on the bloodstained decks of the constantly rocking, shifting vessel. Set in a volatile, dynamic environment, players will find themselves overwhelmed by fear as they engage in intense combat with intelligent enemies.

    Developed by Darkworks, Cold Fear will launch for the PlayStation«2 computer entertainment system, the Xbox« video game system from Microsoft in March 2005.

    Unreal Championship 2 Pre-Sell Program
    Steve @ 4:16 AM EST
    Midway today announced the official kick-off of the Unreal Championship«2: The Liandri Conflict pre-sell program at select retailers nationwide, along with news that the title’s official Web site, www.unrealchampionship2.com, is now live and ready for Unreal fans around the world to use as the official source for the latest and greatest news on Unreal Championship 2!

    Through Midway’s Unreal Championship 2 pre-sell program, gamers can now pre-order their copy of Unreal Championship 2 and receive a FREE LIVE ENABLED UC2 DEMO DISC INSTANTLY. Also included in the pre-sell offer are three (3) character collector trading cards (*3 of 12…collect all 12)!

    Midway also announced the unveiling of http://www.unrealchampionship2.com where everything that an Unreal fan could possibly want to know about Unreal Championship 2 is now available on one site! Character biographies, new screenshots and numerous gameplay trailers await and promise to appease even the most hardcore fans until Unreal Championship 2 ships to stores on April 11, 2005.

    Molotov on Xbox Live - Game with Fame
    Steve @ 3:59 AM EST
    Last year they ruled MTV's Latin Video Music Awards, and now alt-rockers Molotov are planning to dominate in Halo« 2 as they challenge gamers in the first ever Latin Xbox Live™ "Game with Fame" event. Players looking to take on the band should keep an eye out for the GamerTag "molotovband" on February 16, from 6-8 p.m. PST. The band is also holding a Molotov "Game with Fame" contest, in which one lucky entrant will win an Xbox« and a one-year subscription to Xbox Live, while runners-up will win t-shirts and MSN Music gift certificates. Contest entry details are available at http://molotov.umusic.com Information about Molotov, and sample tracks from their latest album, “Con Todo Respeto,” including their chart-topping hit “Amateur (Rock Me Amadeus),” can be found at http://music.msn.com/album/?album=39374183. More information about this "Game with Fame" event is available at http://www.xbox.com/en-US/news/events/gamewithfame-molotov.htm

    Advent Rising Soundtrack Details
    Steve @ 3:57 AM EST
    EDISON, N.J., February 08, 2005 – Building on the excitement surrounding the May launch of one of their most-anticipated products, Majesco, a provider of diversified products and content for digital entertainment platforms, today announced an ensemble of top Hollywood and award-winning musical talent behind the video game soundtrack for Advent Rising.

    Recorded at Paramount Pictures, Hollywood, CA, the Advent Rising soundtrack is a completely original musical score that incorporates live orchestral and vocal elements to create a variety of musical themes utilized throughout the game. The soundtrack is also planned for retail release to coincide with the game.

    "Our approach with Advent Rising was to create a game play experience similar to that of an epic film," said Ken Gold, vice president of Marketing for Majesco. "Creating a powerful soundtrack was a key component to evoking a higher level of player emotion and allowing the player to feel completely immersed in the Advent universe while playing the game."

    Majesco contracted a 70-piece Hollywood union orchestra, which was led by Emmy Award-winning conductor Mark Watters. The score was then mixed and recorded by Armin Steiner, the Grammy Award-winning mixing engineer best known for his work on such blockbusters movies as “Finding Nemo,” “Seabiscuit,” and “The Matrix” trilogy.

    Composition and sound design was created by award-winning composer and video game sound designer Tommy Tallarico, who enlisted the talents of a world famous operatic choir and their complimenting children’s choir united to perform the music’s extraordinary chorus. Emerging RCA recording artist Charlotte Martin co-wrote and performed lead vocals and piano for the song “Greater Lights,” which is featured on the soundtrack.

    Coinciding with the announcement is the release of an all-new game play trailer, specially edited to one of the soundtrack’s orchestral scores. The official Advent Rising trailer can be viewed at: http://www.adventtrilogy.com/images/movies/1_21/AdventGameplayII_sm.mov and additional game information can be found at http://www.adventtrilogy.com

    Friday, February 4, 2005

    Area 51 Pre-Sell Program - Free Arcade Treasures 2
    Steve @ 1:15 PM EST
    Midway Games announced today the pre-sell program for AREA 51 ( www.area51-game.com). Gamers can pre-order their copy of AREA 51 and receive a copy of Midway Arcade Treasures 2, for free. Comprised of twenty arcade classics such as Mortal Kombat II and 3, NARC, Gauntlet II, and Pit Fighter, Midway Arcade Treasures 2 allows gamers to rediscover the retro fun of single and multiplayer arcade favorites.

    Thursday, February 3, 2005

    Cold Fear and Marilyn Manson Team Up
    Steve @ 4:44 PM EST
    San Francisco, Calif.,–February 3, 2005– Rocking the horror genre with its new action-horror release, Cold Fear, Ubisoft today announced that Marilyn Manson’s song "Use Your Fist and Not Your Mouth" headlines the in-game soundtrack. Manson’s edgy track sets the stage for the trouble that awaits lead character Tom Hansen as he arrives on the violently rocking ship’s bloodstained decks.

    Visit the official Cold Fear website at http://www.coldfeargame.com to hear a sample excerpt of “Use Your Fist and Not Your Mouth.”

    Mortal Kombat: Deception - Fighting Game of the Year
    Steve @ 1:37 PM EST
    CHICAGO – February 3, 2005 – Midway Games Inc., a leading interactive entertainment software publisher and developer, announced today that Mortal Kombat: Deception received the "Fighting Game of the Year" award at the 8th Annual Interactive Achievements Awards held February 1st, 2005, at the Green Valley Ranch Resort in Las Vegas, Nevada. Developed by Midway s Chicago studio, Mortal Kombat: Deception beat out such notable nominees as Def Jam: Fight for New York (Electronic Arts) and Dragonball Z: Budokai 2 (Atari).

    The winners were selected by a panel of creative and technical Academy of Interactive Arts & Science (AIAS) members who represent major video game companies in such varied fields as art and graphics, animation, acting, interactive design, production, software engineering, sound design and music, testing and quality assurance, video and special effects, editorial and storyline writing, as well as the business segment of the industry.

    "Midway is honored to receive this particular award because of the incredible pedigree represented by the Academy s voting board," said Steve Allison, chief marketing officer, Midway. "The voting members are the same men and women who work diligently to create these best-selling games and we are thrilled to receive such accolades from our peers."

    Released in October 2004, Mortal Kombat: Deception has shipped more than one million units and remains on track to become the fastest selling game in Midway company history. Mortal Kombat: Deception is available for the PlayStation«2 computer entertainment system and the Xbox« video game system from Microsoft, and is expected to release for the Nintendo GameCube™ on February 28, 2005.

    Ubisoft Launches Cold Fear Website
    Steve @ 1:17 AM EST
    Ubisoft kicks off the countdown to the release of Cold Fear™ with the launch of the game’s official website, http://www.coldfeargame.com The Cold Fear website will be THE place fans of the horror genre can go to get the most up-to-date content and assets about the game and to participate in community forums.

    Visit the Official Cold Fear website to view a gruesome inside-look at a Cold Fear teaser movie. The trailer features the fun ways players can interact with the environment and bloodily defeat enemies. Watch as heads are blown away, mutants are electrocuted and bodies are viciously set on fire in this shockingly raw trailer. Cold Fear allows players to master every situation if they keep their blood cold and use their wits!

    Players step into the role of Tom Hansen, a U.S. Coast Guard who is sent to board a drifting Russian whaling ship in the middle of a howling storm on the Bering Sea. He arrives only to discover that terrifying surprises await him on the bloodstained decks of the constantly rocking, shifting vessel. Set in a volatile, dynamic environment, players will find themselves overwhelmed by fear as they engage in intense combat with intelligent enemies.

    Developed by Darkworks, Cold Fear will launch for the PlayStation«2 computer entertainment system, the Xbox« video game system from Microsoft in March 2005.

    Wednesday, February 2, 2005

    Activision Announces Shrek 3 in Development
    Steve @ 4:58 PM EST
    Santa Monica, CA – February 2, 2005 – Following Shrek 2’s ranking as the #1 children’s video game in the U.S. for calendar 2004, Activision, Inc. and DreamWorks Animation jointly announced that Activision will develop and publish video games based on DreamWorks Animation’s upcoming animated theatrical feature film, “Shrek 3,” which is scheduled for release in summer 2007.

    “Activision is very excited to further expand its licensing agreement with DreamWorks on the third installment in the blockbuster animated series,” said Ron Doornink, CEO of Activision Publishing, Inc. “Shrek has proven to be one of the most popular children’s video game properties worldwide and we expect to continue building on the success of the franchise with the release of our upcoming game Shrek SuperSlam and future games.”

    In addition to “Shrek 2” and “Shrek 3,” Activision also holds the exclusive interactive rights to publish games based on DreamWorks' computer-animated feature film “Shark Tale,” as well as DreamWorks Animation's “Madagascar,” which is scheduled to open in the U.S. on May 27, 2005 and “Over the Hedge,” which is to be released in 2006.

    “We’re pleased that the year’s #1 movie is also now the year’s #1 kids animated videogame,” said Anne Globe, head of DreamWorks Consumer Products. “Activision has a strong commitment to making great games, and has worked hand in hand with our animation teams to expand the Shrek universe into a broad world of terrific interactive adventures. We’re excited about the future titles for Shrek, as well as upcoming new releases planned for Madagascar and Over the Hedge.”

    Midway Chooses Unreal Engine 3 Technology
    Steve @ 3:33 PM EST
    CHICAGO – February 2, 2005 – Midway Games Inc., a leading developer and publisher of interactive entertainment software, today announced a multi-year licensing agreement with Epic Games giving Midway use of Epic's Unreal Engine 3 technology and tools for next generation console and PC game development. Unreal Engine 3 technology and tools are now in use at Midway's internal studios including: Midway's Chicago studio, the makers of NBA Ballers and the Mortal Kombat franchise; Midway's Austin studio, developers of Area 51; and Surreal Software, the creators of The Suffering.

    This agreement with Epic furthers Midway's strategy to align itself with the top development technology and talent in the industry. The relationship also allows Midway to build on Unreal Engine 3 technology to create specific tools and assets that will be utilized across all Midway internal studios. This studio-wide effort is expected to be instrumental in the development and progression of major franchises as well as the creation of new game properties. The agreement also underscores Midway's commitment to the premium PC games market.

    "Great next generation games will be defined by how far they push the envelope in terms of graphical prowess, evolved artificial intelligence and revolutionary online functionality beyond what gamers are currently experiencing," said David F. Zucker, president and chief executive officer of Midway. "Our obtaining the use of Unreal Engine 3 empowers us to begin today to produce great next generation content. Our internal studios are already in the process of creating incredible products with the Unreal Engine 3 technology in multiple genres."

    Mark Rein, vice president of Epic Games agrees, "We are especially gratified that Midway, a major publisher committed to developing high quality games for both next generation console and PC platforms, in numerous styles and genres, came to us seeking the right to use Unreal Engine 3 as a basis technology for its enterprise."

    "This relationship with Epic is key in our continued efforts to build Midway into a world class development organization," said Matt Booty, senior vice president of product development, Midway. "We want all of our studios to focus on creating great content and not on creating multiple technologies from scratch. The Unreal Engine 3 technology is a critical step towards this goal and combined with our own internal systems and additions, will allow Midway to maintain its leadership in quality development as we head into the next generation."

    Konami Ships Winning Eleven 8
    Steve @ 3:30 PM EST
    REDWOOD CITY, Calif. – February 1, 2005 – Konami Digital Entertainment – America, a division of Konami Digital Entertainment, Inc., today announced that Winning Eleven 8™ for the PlayStation«2 computer entertainment system and Xbox« video game system from Microsoft has shipped to retail stores nationwide, with the PC version to follow on February 8th. Proving that the award-winning Winning Eleven franchise is the closest gamers can get to real soccer in a video game, Winning Eleven 8 once again raises the bar with in-depth gameplay, improved realism and increased control. The game features more teams, players and stadiums than ever before, including all the licensed teams from the Italian, Spanish and Dutch leagues.

    “Winning Eleven is renowned worldwide and with Winning Eleven 8 we’re presenting arguably the best soccer video game ever,” said Rob Goff, product manager, Konami Digital Entertainment – America. “With all of the new content, licensed teams and greater depth of play, this is the perfect time for fans of other soccer games to pick up Winning Eleven and see what they’ve been missing.”

    Featuring 136 club teams and 57 national teams, Winning Eleven 8 offers gamers control of up to 4,500 of the world’s greatest soccer players. The inclusion of licensed leagues is a huge step forward for the series, with player likenesses, names and official kits, bolstering what is already considered the most advanced and realistic soccer game to date.

    The world’s biggest stars are brought to life through photo realistic graphics and authentically modeled features, as well as individual styles of play, movement and ball control. Additionally, the game introduces a wealth of new moves and tricks including new free kick and penalty kick techniques, an innovative indirect free kick move and a new dribbling system that offers more control as gamers go one-on-one against opposing players. Teaming up with these new features will be more advanced player stats that govern every aspect of their play, including how well players can bring a ball under control, hit it past an encroaching defender or flick it to a teammate.

    Further adding to the excitement of the game, Winning Eleven 8 also features the first-ever on-screen referee in the history of the series. Boasting an enhanced ref AI, the referee will run up and down the field reacting realistically and instinctively to fouls, giving advantage for minor infringements and even stepping in to calm things down when the action gets heated.

    Winning Eleven 8 features improvements on a number of options in the game. An enhanced training mode allows beginners to learn the basics of soccer as well as help gamers master the vast depth of play. In addition, Winning Eleven 8 features improvements to the popular Master League, which now has more strategy through player development and injury, and a new ‘My Best Eleven’ option which allows fans to save their greatest teams.

    For more information on Winning Eleven 8, go to http://www.konami.com/winningeleven

    Tuesday, February 1, 2005

    Midway Games Expands Into Germany
    Steve @ 2:03 PM EST
    CHICAGO – February 1, 2005 – Midway Games Inc., a leading developer and publisher of interactive entertainment software, today announced that it has expanded its international operations with the formation of a new subsidiary, Midway Games GmbH, and the opening of a new office in Munich, Germany. Midway Games GmbH is responsible for all of Midway's sales, marketing and distribution in Germany. Midway's new office will be headed up by industry veteran, Uwe Fuerstenberg.

    "Growth in the European territories is a major initiative for Midway," said David F. Zucker, president and chief executive officer of Midway. "This expansion into Germany will allow Midway to continue its strategy of becoming one of the industry's top publishers."

    "Germany is a key European territory for Midway, and one we're keen to improve our market share within," said Tony Adams, managing director for Midway Games Ltd. in London, UK. "We consider ourselves very fortunate to have a seasoned industry veteran like Uwe Fuerstenberg running this new operation, and look forward to his future contribution."

    "This is a very exciting time for the new team here in Germany," said Uwe Fuerstenberg, general manager, Midway Games GmbH. "We look forward to Midway Games GmbH being a huge success in 2005 and beyond. The strength of Midway's current line-up, coupled with the addition of PC self-publishing makes this the optimum time to expand into the German marketplace."

    The first new product release from Midway Games GmbH in its territory will be the award-winning Shadow Hearts: Covenant, scheduled to launch March 11 exclusively for the PlayStation«2 computer entertainment system. Other new releases for Midway Games GmbH in the first of half of 2005 include Unreal Championship 2: The Liandri Conflict for the Xbox« videogame system from Microsoft, NARC (PS2, Xbox), and the highly anticipated Area 51 (PS2, Xbox).

    Take-Two and MLB Agreement
    Steve @ 2:00 PM EST
    Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. announced today long-term, third-party exclusive licensing relationships with Major League Baseball Properties (MLBP), the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA) and Major League Baseball Advanced Media (MLBAM) which provide Take-Two with sweeping video game rights. Under these exclusives, Take-Two will develop, publish and distribute a broad portfolio of interactive, officially licensed video games that are expected to drive the MLB video game business to new heights.

    Additionally, Take-Two announced that Derek Jeter, New York Yankees All-Star shortstop and 2004 Gold Glove recipient, has agreed to a multi-year contract to be spokesperson and cover athlete for the licensed 2K Sports baseball simulation series. "I'm excited to be partnering with an industry leader like Take-Two and I look forward to working together to take the video game experience to the next level for baseball fans," said Derek Jeter.

    Take-Two's exclusive, long-term deals, which begin in Spring 2006, enable Take-Two to publish officially licensed Major League Baseball video games on console, PC and handheld platforms. The exclusives include rights to the marks of all 30 Major League Baseball Clubs, MLB players, Major League ballparks and Minor League Baseball Clubs, as well as MLB.com online content, for use in Take-Two's baseball games. Take-Two plans to offer multiple titles based on traditional baseball simulation, arcade and manager-style games, including innovative and specially-timed releases throughout the baseball and holiday seasons. Take-Two's Visual Concepts and Kush Games development studios are creating the baseball titles under Take-Two's recently established 2K Sports publishing label.

    These exclusive deals specify Take-Two as the exclusive third-party publisher for officially licensed Major League Baseball video games. Consistent with Take-Two's desire for continued consumer choice, the hardware manufacturers such as Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo will retain the right to enter into development agreements for MLB games specific to their particular platforms. All other third-party publishers and developers are precluded from publishing officially licensed MLB simulation, arcade, and manager style games, either directly or in affiliation with a hardware manufacturer, during the length of the exclusives. Take-Two will be the sole developer, publisher and distributor of licensed simulation, arcade and manager-style Major League Baseball PC games.

    "The combination of Take-Two's position as a leading video game publisher and distributor, and our experience with Visual Concepts in creating high quality games, makes this an ideal partnership for Major League Baseball," said Howard Smith, Senior Vice President, Licensing, Major League Baseball Properties. "Take-Two's plans to introduce more game titles and to distribute them throughout the year, including the key holiday-selling season, will provide baseball fans with exciting and compelling interactive entertainment year-round."

    "The baseball video game market has been underdeveloped and 2K Sports has the product plan and talent to change that in next generation video game hardware," said John Olshan, the MLBPA's Category Director for Interactive Games. "For the first time, we will be positioned to take advantage of the entire baseball, hot stove and holiday seasons with an outstanding partner who is committed to giving baseball video games the product development, marketing and distribution required to bring sales in line with the immense popularity of Major League Baseball."

    "We look forward to using our technology and online interface to enhance the interactive experience for baseball fans and further extend the reach and increase the exposure to Major League Baseball with the countless hours Americans spend playing video games," said Noah Garden, Senior Vice President of e-Commerce for MLBAM.

    "We are extremely honored that Major League Baseball recognizes the accomplishments of Take-Two and Visual Concepts and shares our vision for the future of interactive sports games," said Steve Glickstein, Take-Two Vice President of Publishing Sports. "We are also very happy to announce the long-term relationship with Derek Jeter, one of the greatest baseball players of our generation. We look forward to working with Derek to help us fully leverage baseball's status as one of the country's largest spectator sports and its prominence as America's pastime."

    Greg Thomas, President of Visual Concepts, makers of the critically acclaimed 2K Sports line of games, added, "This is an exciting opportunity for us to take the interactive baseball market to a completely new level. As demonstrated by our entire line of critically acclaimed 2K Sports titles, we will continue to innovate in the game play experience, and now, under the incredible scope of these relationships, we will be able to expand the genre by offering a number of new and exciting titles that give consumers the ability to enjoy baseball in entirely new ways. We are very proud of the quality and innovation of our games, along with the tremendous loyalty of our fans, and we look forward to reaching an even bigger audience with our expanded portfolio of titles."

    Dwight Freeney on Xbox Live
    Steve @ 2:25 AM EST
    Dwight Freeney of the Indianapolis Colts will be playing on Xbox Live this Thursday as part of the Xbox Live "Game with Fame" program.

    Game: EA Sports' Madden NFL 2005
    Date and time: Thursday, February 3 from 4-7 p.m. EST
    Dwight Freeney's Gamertag: Sacks4free93
    More info about this "Game with Fame" event: http://www.xbox.com/en-US/news/events/gamewithfame.htm
    More info about Dwight Freeney: http://www.colts.com/sub.cfm?page=bio&player_id=121

    Dance Dance Revolution (DDR) Goes Platinum
    Steve @ 2:01 AM EST
    REDWOOD CITY, Calif. – January 27, 2005 – Konami Digital Entertainment – America, a division of Konami Digital Entertainment, Inc., today announced that cumulative sales in 2004 of its groundbreaking music game, Dance Dance Revolution (DDR), reached a staggering 1.2 million units in North America. This brings the total sales of all DDR products in North America to more than 2.5 million since the product was first introduced to home video game consoles in 2001.

    Dance Dance Revolution is an interactive game that is sweeping living rooms and arcades across the nation. The brand has received tremendous acclaim from a wide variety of sources due to its simple concept, high energy music, and fun-filled gameplay that gets users off the couch and provides a healthy, energetic, fitness workout. The premiere dancing game in which players move their body to upbeat tunes while allowing them room to exhibit their own innovative flare and original dance moves, DDR combines quick reflex action with pulsating dance music for intense ‘get-up-and-play’ fun. Players are challenged to match their dance steps with the flashing arrows on the screen while keeping up with the high-energy beat of the music.

    The innovative “Workout Mode” in the home version allows users to track the calories they burn as they have fun getting in shape. The workout component and interactive nature of the game have been highlighted as key elements to the game’s success. Additionally, the “DDR” series has benefited from major game/dance tournaments that have been held all over the world. The game has successfully crossed over international boundaries to win over a global fan base.

    “DDR has become a cult classic in North America and it just continues to attract more fans everyday,” said Jason Enos, product manager for Konami Digital Entertainment – America. “There are DDR fan clubs and fansites, DDR contests and it has also become an extremely popular and fun way to lose weight and stay in shape. However, DDR is mostly about the music and the dancing – with each release including an incredible selection of songs that attracts fans of all ages.”

    In 2004, two new pulse-pounding versions of the popular brand were introduced into the North American marketplace – Dance Dance Revolution EXTREME™(DDR EXTRME) for the PlayStation«2 computer entertainment system and Dance Dance Revolution ULTRAMIX™2 (DDR ULTRAMIX2) for the Xbox« video game system from Microsoft.

    DDR EXTREME extended the entire DDR experience by allowing players for the first time to become part of the game with gameplay that supports the EyeToy™ USB camera for the PlayStation 2. Modes such as “Hands & Feet,” “Clean the Screen,” “Watch Me Dance” and a number of fun EyeToy mini-games will have gamers using their hands and feet to dance along to more than 100+ minutes of pulsating dance tunes.

    Meanwhile, DDR ULTRAMIX2 continued the online revolution on the Xbox by connecting players with all-new gameplay modes, exclusive songs and enhanced Xbox Live™ support. Through Xbox Live, players can compete head-to-head with other dancers nationwide, conduct online tournaments, upload content and download new songs, dance steps and characters. Dance Dance Revolution ULTRAMIX™2 also includes new game modes only found on the Xbox version including Team Battles Mode and Synch Mode.

    Jade Empire Dated, Limited Edition Confirmed
    Steve @ 1:41 AM EST
    Microsoft Game Studios today announced the release date for BioWare’s upcoming martial arts masterpiece, Jade Empire. The epic action-RPG game, exclusively for Xbox«, is set in a world inspired by the myths and legends of ancient China and will leap into stores across North America starting on April 14, with worldwide distribution occurring shortly thereafter. Microsoft Game Studios also confirmed that it will release a Limited Edition of Jade Empire that will feature a bonus character, a bonus fighting style and a behind-the-scenes "making of " video feature on DVD produced by G4 – video game television. The bonus character, Monk Zeng, has the ability to channel his Chi, or spiritual energy, to fuel powerful magic attacks that manipulate both elemental and spiritual forces. Monk Zeng can equip himself with a special weapon called the monk spade, a deadly weapon useful for slashing foes at a distance and finishing them with lethal follow-up attacks. The Jade Empire Limited Edition is available for pre-order now for the same suggested retail price as the standard version, $49.95 (U.S.).

    Created by the award-winning development team at BioWare, Jade Empire will let players master dozens of martial arts fighting styles and mystical powers that match the dazzling spectacle of Hong Kong action movies like "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon." The game features a deep, rich story in the tradition of BioWare, which most recently developed Star Wars«: Knights of the Old Republic™. Players can train under their master's watchful eye to learn powerful martial arts and mystical powers. When danger threatens, players will travel across the world, from the harsh mountains of the Land of Howling Spirits to the lush gardens of the Imperial City. In their adventures, players will face powerful human and supernatural foes, learn exotic and magical martial arts and discover the darkest secrets of the world. Only by mastering the greatest fighting styles and defeating the most powerful enemies will players earn their place as a master of martial arts in the world of Jade Empire.

    For more information about Jade Empire, visit http://xbox.com/jadeempire/ or http://jade.bioware.com