NewsPro Archive

January 2005

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Take-Two Announces "2K Games" Label
Steve @ 12:12 PM EST
NEW YORK--Jan. 25, 2005--Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. announced today that it has established a new publishing label, 2K Games. 2K Games will publish a wide variety of both internally and externally developed console, PC and handheld products, including sports titles under the 2K Sports label. Numerous new products for the 2K Games label are expected to be announced in the coming months.

2K Games will incorporate Take-Two's internally-owned development studios Visual Concepts, Kush Games, Indie Built, Venom Games, PopTop Software and Frog City Software, as well as the team at Take-Two Licensing.

Paul Eibeler, Take-Two's President commented, "Consistent with our strategy to diversify Take-Two's product portfolio, the team at 2K Games is rapidly building a sweeping lineup of high-profile licensed and proprietary titles for console, PC and handheld platforms, leveraging the exceptional successes and capabilities at Take-Two. From high-profile Hollywood licenses to PC-only titles to sports titles, 2K Games will be defined by exceptional games for all genres and platforms."

Certain titles previously planned for release on Take-Two's Global Star label will now be released under the 2K Games label.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Playboy: The Mansion Now Shipping
Steve @ 4:23 PM EST
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – January 25, 2005 – Hip Interactive’s wholly owned subsidiary, ARUSH Publishing, in conjunction with Groove Games, today announced that "Playboy: The Mansion" has shipped to retail outlets throughout North America. A lifestyle simulation game that allows players to live the charmed life of Playboy visionary Hugh Hefner, “Playboy: The Mansion” is available for the PlayStation(R)2 computer entertainment system, the Xbox(R) video game system from Microsoft, and PC systems. Developed by Cyberlore Studios, "Playboy: The Mansion" is rated M for Mature by the ESRB and will debut at an MSRP of $49.95 for the PlayStation(R)2 and Xbox(R), and $39.95 for the PC.

“Playboy: The Mansion” lets players assume the identity of the ultimate Playboy, Hugh Hefner. Utilizing a network of world-famous celebrities and beautiful Playmates, gamers throw massive parties in their virtual interpretation of the Playboy Mansion. Hundreds of luxury items and 83 music tracks from emerging and established artists all set the scene for fun and romance, from the grotto to the game room. In addition to showing glamorous guests, including real-life celebrities and Playmates, a good time, the parties serve as an ideal setting for creating the business relationships essential to building an empire. As virtual “Hef,” players call the shots for Playboy Magazine, and even can direct their own photo shoots, selecting the model, outfit, and camera angle to create a truly unforgettable cover or Centerfold. In both the mission-driven “Campaign Mode” that spans more than 50 years of Playboy history, and the open-ended “Empire Mode,” players will collect reward points to unlock the “Playboy Archives”: a full collection of magazine covers, photo shoots, and art straight from the Playboy vault.

“Since the beginning of Playboy Magazine, I have looked for new ways to expand the Playboy experience, and video games are the next logical step,” said Playboy founder and editor-in-chief Hugh M. Hefner. “’Playboy: The Mansion’ is a fascinating game, and it lets players step into my slippers, putting out the magazine and throwing the parties.”

“Hugh Hefner is an American icon, and we feel privileged to be involved in a game based on his life,” said Jim Perkins, president and CEO of ARUSH Publishing. “’Playboy: The Mansion’ captures the spirit of sexy fun the Playboy name embodies, and we know gamers will love it.”

“’Playboy: The Mansion’ has been three years in the making and it has finally come to life, thanks to our great partnerships with Playboy Enterprises and Cyberlore,” said Jon Walsh, CEO of Groove Games. “We’ve been fortunate enough to get a taste of what living the Playboy lifestyle is all about, and we can’t wait for gamers around the world to share in the experience.”

For more information on “Playboy: The Mansion,” please visit http://www.playhef.com

Oddworld Stranger's Wrath Ships
Steve @ 4:07 PM EST
REDWOOD CITY, Calif. - January 25, 2005 - Rustle up some "live" ammo and head out to Dead Hen's Pass for some serious bounty hunting!...Electronic Arts, the world's leading interactive entertainment software company today announced that "Oddworld Stranger's Wrath(TM)," the latest chapter in the critically acclaimed Oddworld series, has begun to ship to retail outlets for the Xbox(R) video game system from Microsoft.

One of the most anticipated titles of 2005, "Oddworld Stranger's Wrath" takes the series in a new direction, combining first and third person gameplay with signature Oddworld humor and storytelling. "Oddworld Stranger's Wrath" challenges players to step into the role of the Stranger, a mysterious bounty hunter who tracks down outlaws for moolah. Using an innovative weapons system that gives a whole new meaning to "live" ammo, players will use creatures from the surrounding environments as ammunition to bag the ultimate bounty. With massive environments, devious opponents and hostile challenges along the way, "Oddworld Stranger's Wrath" brings players a game experience that can only be found in the Oddworld Universe.

Developed by Oddworld Inhabitants, "Oddworld Stranger's Wrath" for the Xbox is rated "T" (Teen) by the ESRB and has an MSRP of $49.99. More information can be found on the game's web site at http://www.oddworld.ea.com

Take-Two and Sega Extend Relationship
Steve @ 3:57 PM EST
TOKYO--Jan. 24, 2005--SEGA Corporation and Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc., today announced an agreement which allows SEGA to distribute select Take-Two published software titles in the Asian region including Japan.

Effective immediately, SEGA will become the distributor of select Take-Two games in the Asian region, including Japan. In addition, SEGA and Take-Two have agreed to work together to bring sports titles developed by Visual Concepts to amusement machines produced and distributed by SEGA Amusements. SEGA will strengthen their consumer and amusement businesses by continuing to collaborate with Take-Two.

"SEGA's previous relationship with Take-Two has helped us increase the profitability of consumer operations in North America," said Hisao Oguchi, President and COO, SEGA Corporation. "This agreement with Take-Two represents a global initiative that will boost the revenue of our global amusement business and consumer business in the Asia region, including Japan."

"Take-Two's collaboration with SEGA to enter the lucrative sports market has proven extremely successful," said Paul Eibeler, President of Take-Two Interactive Software. "We look forward to further extending our relationship with SEGA as they bring Visual Concepts' critically-acclaimed sports games to arcades worldwide and also distribute select Take-Two titles in the Asia region."

This announcement immediately follows Take-Two's acquisition of all common stock and related assets of Visual Concepts, formerly SEGA's wholly-owned development subsidiary in the US and the developer of the ESPN Videogames series. The companies first aligned in May 2004, when Take-Two assumed exclusive worldwide distribution and co-publishing rights for the ESPN Videogames series.

Take-Two Acquires Visual Concepts from Sega
Steve @ 3:31 PM EST
Below are the 2 press releases that were released by Take-Two and Sega today.

Take-Two

NEW YORK & TOKYO--Jan. 25, 2005--Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. and SEGA Corporation and its affiliates announced today that Take-Two has purchased all of the outstanding capital stock of SEGA's California-based sports game development studio Visual Concepts Entertainment and its wholly-owned studio, Kush Games. Visual Concepts is the marketer and developer of the critically acclaimed 2K series of sports video games.

The purchase price was approximately $24 million in cash and includes the rights to all intellectual property associated with the sports titles, as well as rights to the 2K brand. The agreement also provides that Take-Two and SEGA will work together to bring sports titles developed by Visual Concepts to SEGA's arcade business. Additionally, Take-Two is negotiating an agreement with SEGA whereby SEGA will publish and distribute the 2K series of sports titles and certain other Take-Two games in Japan and other Asian territories.

Commenting on the acquisition, Paul Eibeler, Take-Two President, said, "With the acquisition of Visual Concepts and Kush Games and their leading sports game development capabilities, we will continue to aggressively pursue our strategy to gain market share with our 2K Sports titles. These studios and their unrivaled talent represent a significant addition to Take-Two's internal development capabilities, which are now approaching 1,000 people worldwide."

"Take-Two has proven in a very short time that it has the resources to excel in the sports video game business, and the acquisition of Visual Concepts further enhances Take-Two's position. We look forward to our ongoing partnership with Take-Two as we publish the 2K Sports series and other titles in the Asian market, and bring Visual Concepts' sports titles to our arcade machines," said Hisao Oguchi, President and COO of SEGA Corporation.

"Take-Two has been an incredible partner with whom we've experienced great success," said Greg Thomas, President of Visual Concepts. "Take-Two has the formidable marketing and distribution resources necessary to compete and win in this business, as well as an increasingly rare passion for creating truly new and innovative games for consumers. For us, giving consumers the best games possible has always been the very top priority, and we look forward to taking our sports titles even further with Take-Two."

Sega

SAN FRANCISCO--Jan. 24, 2005--SEGA(R) of America today confirmed that SEGA Corporation has agreed to transfer all common stock and related assets of Visual Concepts Entertainment (Visual Concepts), the developer of the ESPN 2K5 series of sports games, to Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. This transaction, effective immediately, supports SEGA's global strategy to focus on entertainment properties that boost revenue and appeal to gamers in disparate markets.

The deal follows a recent announcement from SEGA SAMMY HOLDINGS INC. (SEGA SAMMY), the parent company of SEGA Corporation, detailing improvement plans for development studio and distribution structure in overseas markets. SEGA and SEGA SAMMY are not changing their earnings forecast for the year ending March 31, 2005 which was announced on November 10, 2004.

"SEGA is proud that it has fostered such a strong and critically-acclaimed sports franchise," said Hisao Oguchi, president, SEGA Corporation. "We remain committed to the North American market, focusing on delivering innovative products that are equally as profitable as they are desirable to the western gamer."

"The ESPN Videogames line has not been a key profit driver in the North American market for SEGA," said Naoya Tsurumi, CEO of SEGA of America. "While SEGA recognizes the strength and depth of the ESPN Videogames franchise, we must remain committed to growing content that will help boost revenues across all western territories."

The sale of Visual Concepts, totaling $24 million, includes Kush Games and all intellectual property related to the ESPN Videogames product line.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

The Punisher Now Available
Steve @ 10:15 PM EST
CALABASAS HILLS, Calif., Jan. 18 -- THQ Inc. today announced the release of the highly anticipated title The Punisher for the PlayStation(R) 2 computer entertainment system, Xbox(R) videogame system from Microsoft, and PC. The Punisher is based on Marvel's darkest antihero, a revenge-driven vigilante from the popular comic book series. Developed by THQ's Volition studio, The Punisher has shipped nationwide with a suggested retail price of $49.99 on console and $39.99 on PC.

"Our main focus when developing The Punisher was to create an experience long-standing fans of the graphic series would appreciate, while introducing innovative game play to excite today's gamer," said Dan Cermak, vice president of product development, Volition. "With the help of the original comic creators, we have developed a hardcore game that stays true to The Punisher's roots."

Gamefly Rentals
Steve @ 1:43 PM EST

Want FREE VIDEO GAME RENTALS? You know you do. Go to Gamefly and start your free trial. Gamefly offers unlimited game rentals delivered to your door! Pick your games. Check your mailbox. Play and send back for more. No due dates. No late fees. Free Shipping. This is how it should be.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Incubus on Xbox Live - "Game with Fame" Contest
Steve @ 2:43 PM EST
First they rocked gamers with the inclusion of "Follow" and "The Odyssey" in the Halo 2 soundtrack – and now the alternative-metal band Incubus are back to take on gamers on Xbox® Live™ in a new Halo 2 "Game with Fame" contest. One hundred lucky winners will be chosen to face off with the band on January 28, while 10 runners-up will win a copy of the band's latest DVD, "Alive at Red Rocks." Deadline for entry is January 24, so gamers should head to http://www.enjoyincubus.com/xboxgamewithfame to sign up for the contest. More information about Incubus is available at http://www.enjoyincubus.com

EA and ESPN Sign Long-Term Agreement
Steve @ 2:39 PM EST
REDWOOD CITY, Calif.--Jan. 17, 2005--Electronic Arts and ESPN today announced a long-term agreement for the development and integrated marketing of EA SPORTS games containing ESPN content. The relationship will include established EA SPORTS franchises -- which will be enhanced by ESPN telecast, print and online content -- as well as new sports games to be published by EA based on ESPN media properties. Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

The agreement gives EA access to ESPN programming, personalities and integrated marketing opportunities on ESPN television programming and other ESPN properties. The ESPN integration will appear in EA SPORTS console, handheld, PC and wireless games beginning in 2006 upon the conclusion of ESPN's existing video game licensing commitments.

"EA and ESPN have a shared belief that adding ESPN content will improve an already outstanding line of games," said George Bodenheimer, President, ESPN Inc. and ABC Sports.

"This relationship was created to benefit consumers who are passionate about sports games," said Larry Probst, Electronic Arts Chairman and CEO. "EA SPORTS recreates the real life experience fans enjoy while watching or playing their favorite sport; while ESPN programming captures the look, sound and excitement of the sports they follow. Together, we believe we can significantly grow the interactive sports category."

The agreement is for fifteen years with an option to terminate after ten years under certain conditions and gives EA exclusive first rights to all ESPN content for simulation sports games.

Forza Motorsport Final Car List Revealed
Steve @ 3:39 AM EST
Microsoft Game Studios today announced the complete car roster for its highly anticipated and critically acclaimed driving simulator for Xbox, Forza Motorsport. Slated to hit store shelves this April, Forza Motorsport will debut with more than 230 cars from over 40 of the world s top car manufacturers for gamers to own, customize, upgrade and race.

Forza Motorsport Final Car Roster:

1967 AC Shelby Cobra
1997 Acura NSX
2001 Acura Integra Type-R
2002 Acura RSX Type-S
2003 Acura 3.2 CL Type S
2004 Acura NSX
2002 Acura #42 RealTime Racing NSX SC Driven by Peter Cunningham
2001 Aston Martin V12 Vanquish
2005 Aston Martin DB9 Coupe
2001 Audi 2002 Infineon R8
2004 Audi S4
2004 Audi TT Coupe 3.2 quattro
2000 Audi S4
2003 Audi RS 6
2002 Audi #1 Champion Audi Racing S4 Competition Driven by Michael Galati
2003 Audi #1 Champion Audi Racing RS 6 Driven by Michael Galati
2002 Audi Le Mans #38 Champion AudiR8
2001 Audi Le Mans #4 Johansson Motorsport R8
2004 Audi #8 24h N岧ring TT-R
2004 Bentley Continental GT
2003 Bentley #7 Team Bentley Speed 8
1997 BMW #43 Team Schnitzer Motorsport GTR
1999 BMW #15 Team BMW Motorsports V12 LMR
2003 BMW #43 BMW Motorsport M3-GTR
2003 BMW #42 BMW Motorsport M3-GTR
1987 Buick Regal GNX
2002 Cadillac #8 Team Cadillac LMP 02
2004 Cadillac CTS-V
2004 Cadillac #16 Team Cadillac Driven by Max Angelelli
2002 Chevrolet Corvette Z06
1967 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray 427 L-88
2002 Chevrolet Camaro SS
1969 Chevrolet Camaro Z28
2005 Chevrolet Corvette C6
2002 Chevrolet Lingenfelter 427 CID Twin Turbo Corvette
2002 Chevrolet Corvette Guldstrand Edition
2004 Chevrolet #73 3R Racing Corvette Z06 Driven by Phil McClure
2003 Chevrolet #3 Corvette Racing C5-R
1969 Chevrolet Camaro SS
2004 Chrysler PT Cruiser GT (Turbo)
2005 Chrysler ME Four-Twelve
1999 Dodge Viper GTS ACR
2003 Dodge SRT4
1996 Dodge Stealth R/T Turbo
1970 Dodge Challenger R/T Hemi
2003 Dodge Viper SRT10
2004 Dodge Viper Competition Coupe
2000 Dodge Hennessey Viper 800TT
2003 Dodge #23 Magellan Financial Viper Competition Coupe Driven by Paul Mumford
2004 Dodge #22 3R-Racing Viper Competition Coupe Driven by Tommy Archer
2002 Dodge N岧ring 24 Hours Viper GTS ACR #1 - FujiFilm
1998 Eagle Talon TSI Turbo
2002 Ferrari 575M Maranello
2004 Ferrari 360 Modena
1964 Ferrari 250 GTO
2003 Enzo Ferrari
1995 Ferrari F50
1993 Ferrari 512 TR
1984 Ferrari GTO
1992 Ferrari F40
1967 Ferrari 330 P4
1969 Ferrari Dino 246 GT
1998 Ferrari 355 GTS
2005 Ferrari 612 Scaglietti
1996 Ferrari #12 Risi Competizione
1998 Ferrari F355 Challenge
2003 Ferrari #88 Veloqx Prodrive Racing 550 Maranello
2004 Ferrari Challenge Stradale
2003 Ford Focus SVT
1966 Ford GT40
1970 Ford Mustang Boss 429
2000 Ford Mustang Cobra R
2005 Ford Mustang GT
2005 Ford GT
2004 Ford #10 Tiger Racing Mustang Driven by Carol Hollfelder
2004 Honda Civic Type-R Hatch (Japan)
2000 Honda Prelude Type SH
1999 Honda Civic Si Coupe
1995 Honda Civic Del Sol VTEC
2004 Honda Accord Coupe EX
2003 Honda S2000
1994 Honda Civic SI
1991 Honda CRX Si-R (Japan)
2004 Honda NSX-R (Japan)
2002 Honda Mugen Integra Type-R (Japan)
2003 Honda JGTC #18 Dome Racing Team NSX
2003 Honda JGTC #8 Autobacs Racing Team Aguri NSX
2004 Honda Mugen Civic Type-R Hatch
2000 Honda Integra Type-R (Japan)
2003 Honda Mugen S2000
1992 Honda NSX-R (Japan)
2003 Honda JGTC #16 Dome Racing Team NSX
2002 Honda Integra Type-R (Japan)
2000 Honda Aerogear Integra Type-R
2000 Honda VIS Racing Integra Type-R
2004 Honda Wings West Civic R J Spec
2003 Hyundai Tiburon GT
2003 Infiniti G35 Coupe
1993 Jaguar XJ220 Road Car
1961 Jaguar S1 E-type 3.8
2002 Koenigsegg CC8S
1974 Lancia Stratos HF Stradale
1992 Lancia Delta Integrale EVO
2002 Lexus SC430
2003 Lexus IS300
2002 Lotus Elise 111S
2002 Lotus Esprit V8
1972 Lotus Elan Sprint
2005 Lotus Exige
2005 Lotus Elise
1990 Mazda RX-7 Turbo
2000 Mazda Miata MX-5 1.8i Sport
2004 Mazda RX-8
2003 Mazda Prot駩 MAZDASPEED
2004 Mazda 3 Sport
1995 Mazda RX-7 Turbo
2000 Mazda MX-5 MAZDASPEED
2004 Mazda RX-8 MAZDASPEED
2002 Mazda RX-7 Spirit R
1995 Mazda AB FlugRX-7
1995 Mazda INGS RX-7
1954 Mercedes 300SL Gullwing Coupe
1998 Mercedes CLK-GTR
2004 Mercedes C32 AMG
2004 Mercedes SLR
2003 Mercedes CLK55 AMG Coupe
2005 Mercedes CL65 AMG
2003 Mercedes-Benz CLK-DTM #3 Team Vodafone
2003 MINI Cooper-S
2004 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VIII GSR RS
1995 Mitsubishi Eclipse GSX
1997 Mitsubishi 3000GT VR-4
2003 Mitsubishi Eclipse GTS
1999 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VI GSR
1998 Mitsubishi FTO GP Version R
1995 Mitsubishi Mine's CP9A Lancer Evolution VI RS
2000 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VI TME
2004 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VIII FQ-330
2004 Mitsubishi Sparco Lancer Evolution VIII
2002 Nissan Mine's GT-R (R34)
1972 Nissan 240 ZX
2003 Nissan 350Z Track
1998 Nissan #32 Nissan Motorsports R390 GT1
1994 Nissan 300ZX Twin Turbo Version R
2004 Nissan Altima 3.5 SE
2000 Nissan Silvia Spec-R
2002 Nissan Skyline GT-R V Spec II (R34)
1995 Nissan Skyline GT-R
1998 Nissan 240 SX SE
2003 Nissan Skyline V35
1994 Nissan Fairlady Twin Turbo
2002 Nissan Skyline GT-R V Spec II
2003 Nissan JGTC #3 Hasemi Motorsport Z33 350Z
2003 Nissan Fairlady
2003 Nissan JGTC #12 Team Impul Skyline
1998 Nissan Silvia (S14)
2003 Nissan JGTC #23 NISMO Skyline
1995 Nissan Mine's Skyline R32 GT-R
2002 Nissan Tommy Kaira Skyline GT-R R34
2003 Opel Performance Center #5 Team Phoenix N岧ring 24 Astra V8
2004 Opel Speedster Turbo
2003 Opel Performance Center #6 Team Phoenix N⵲gring 24 Astra V8
1999 Pagani Zonda C12
2003 Pagani #17 Carsport America GR
2002 Panoz #10 JML Team Panoz LMP01 EPP
2001 Panoz Esperante GTL
2004 Peugeot 206 Gti 180
2004 Pontiac GTO
1968 Pontiac GTO Hardtop
1973 Porsche 911 Carrera RS
1986 Porsche 959
2003 Porsche 911 GT3
2003 Porsche Carrera GT
1998 Porsche #26 911 GT1 Le Mans
1956 Porsche 550 A Spyder
1987 Porsche 911 Turbo 3.3
1989 Porsche 944 Turbo
1987 Porsche #17 962 C
1995 Porsche 911 GT2
2003 Porsche Boxster S
2003 Porsche 3R-Racing 911 GT3 Cup Driven by Mike Fitzgerald
2000 Porsche #23 Alex Job Racing 911GT3-RS
2003 Renault Sport Clio V6 RS
2002 Saab 9-3 Viggen
2004 Saleen S7
2000 Saleen Mustang S281
2000 Saleen #2 Konrad Motorsport S7R
2005 SEAT Cupra GT Racer
1999 Shelby Series 1
1968 Shelby Mustang GT-500KR
2004 Subaru Impreza WRX STi
1998 Subaru Impreza 22B STi
1999 Subaru Impreza 2.5RS Coupe
2003 Subaru JGTC #77 Cusco Racing Impreza
1998 Subaru Tommy Kaira Impreza M20b 2002
2004 Subaru Impreza WRX STi Spec-C (Japan) Forza Edition
1998 Toyota Supra Twin Turbo
2003 Toyota Celica GT-S
1985 Toyota AE86 Sprinter Trueno GT Apex
1995 Toyota MR2 Turbo T-Bar
1999 Toyota #27 GT-ONE TS020
2004 Toyota Camry Solara
1969 Toyota 2000GT
2002 Toyota MR2 Spyder
1992 Toyota Supra Turbo
2004 Toyota Altezza RS200
2003 Toyota Celica 1800 VVT-i
2002 Toyota MR-S
2002 Toyota Tom's Z382 Soarer
2002 Toyota Soarer 430SCV
1995 Toyota Tom's T020 MR2
2002 Toyota Tom's W123 MR-S
2003 Toyota JGTC #36 Team TOMS Supra
2003 Toyota JGTC #1 Toyota Team Le Mans Supra
1998 Toyota AB Flug Supra Turbo S900
2003 Toyota APR Performance Celica GTS
1998 Toyota VeilSide Supra Fortune 03
1998 Toyota VeilSide Supra Fortune 99
1995 Toyota Border MR2 Turbo T-bar
1995 Toyota VIS Racing MR2 Turbo T-Bar
2003 Toyota JGTC # 35 Kraft Supra
2001 TVR Tuscan S
1998 TVR Cerbera Speed 12
2001 TVR Tuscan R
2004 Vauxhall VX220 Turbo
2003 Volkswagen Golf R32
1995 Volkswagen Corrado SLC
2004 Volkswagen New Beetle 1.8T Turbo S
2003 Volkswagen Jetta GLX VR6
2004 Volvo S60 R
2004 Volvo #24 At-Speed Motorsports S60 R Driven by Derek Bell

Each car in Forza Motorsport is modeled to accurately simulate real-life performance and will include a feature car enthusiasts have craved since the inception of video game driving simulators damage.

When gamers scrape the wall at more than 100 mph, the resulting damage will accurately affect the both the look and performance of their car just like in real life. With adjustable settings that will allow gamers to tweak damage controls, turn anti-lock brakes on or off and choose between manual and automatic transmissions, Forza Motorsport provides a thrilling driving experience for the beginner driver who prefers some assistance as well as for driving experts, who will be rewarded for their skill with a higher career earnings scale.

From import tuners to muscle cars to LeMans prototypes, Forza Motorsport challenges racers to accumulate earnings to tune their rides with upgrades like engine swaps, bolt-on superchargers and suspension kits. Gamers can also trick-out their creations with Forza Motorsport s innovative car customization editor that allows car artists to apply sleek, new paint schemes and upgradeable parts including body kits, rims, spoilers, decals, side skirts, fender flares, hood scoops and decals from more than 150 aftermarket partners.

Forza Motorsport is also fully equipped to allow gamers the ability to showcase their garage work with the best the online world has to offer via Xbox Live. Simultaneous competition with up to eight racers, buying, selling and trading cars, an innovative on and offline career mode, and more than 1,700 leaderboards give Forza Motorsport the most complete online driving experience ever offered.

To learn more about Forza Motorsport visit http://www.ForzaMotorsport.net

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Playboy: The Mansion Goes Gold
Steve @ 2:35 PM EST
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – January 13, 2005 – Hip Interactive’s wholly owned subsidiary, ARUSH Publishing, in conjunction with Groove Games, today announced that the North American version of the multi-platform video game release, "Playboy: The Mansion," has been sent off for manufacturing. Developed by Cyberlore Studios for Playboy, "Playboy: The Mansion" invites players to virtually step into Playboy Founder Hugh Hefner’s slippers and run the famous Playboy empire. Available for the PlayStation(R)2 computer entertainment system, the Xbox(R) video game system from Microsoft and PC systems, the game is rated M for Mature by the ESRB, and is scheduled to ship to stores on January 25, 2005.

“Gamers are now one step closer to virtually walking through the doors of the Playboy Mansion, and experiencing a world of photo shoots, celebrity-filled parties, and midnight rendezvous in the grotto,” said Jim Perkins, president of ARUSH Publishing. “Beyond the sexy fun that players expect from the Playboy brand, 'Playboy: The Mansion' is filled with simulation depth, and we are extremely pleased with the final product.”

For more information on "Playboy: The Mansion," please visit http://www.playhef.com

NARC Will Ship for $19.99
Steve @ 1:45 PM EST
Midway Games today announced that NARC will ship to retail outlets nationwide for $19.95. Offering a high production value at impulse pricing, NARC is a guilty pleasure that will keep gamers hooked. A mission-based 3rd-person action game set against a stylized, modern-day backdrop of the War on Drugs, NARC pits gamers as members of an elite narcotics squad; Marcus Hill, a DEA Agent with a squeaky clean image and Jack Forzenski, a cop on probation and fresh out of rehab. Together they investigate a new mystery drug that has hit the streets called Liquid Soul. In the fight against a powerful international drug cartel Marcus and Jack will face temptation as they choose to walk the thin blue line as a clean cop or follow the path of cover-ups, payoffs and unlawful brutatilty as a dirty cop. NARC will ship for the PlayStation®2 and Xbox™ on March 22, 2005.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Tork: Prehistoric Punk Ships
Steve @ 10:14 PM EST
SAN FRANCISO, January 12, 2005 – Ubisoft, one of the world’s leading video game publishers, today announced that Tork™: Prehistoric Punk™ has shipped in North America for the Microsoft Xbox™. Play the role of Tork, a fearless, young cave boy who has seen his village destroyed and his father kidnapped. Travel through time using Tork’s magical powers on an adventure in which he will encounter mythical creatures, morph into three special characters and visit beautiful landscapes. Tork: Prehistoric Punk is rated “E” for Everyone and has an MSRP of $19.99.

“Tork: Prehistoric Punk is an enchanting, challenging video game with environments so breathtaking players will find themselves exploring every landscape before finishing each level,” said Helene Juguet, Ubisoft’s director of marketing. “Tork will captivate players, young and old, with its fantastic visual elements, captivating storyline and dynamic gameplay elements.”

About the Game

After seeing his village destroyed and his father kidnapped, Tork embarks on an adventure to save his father before the course of history is changed forever. To do so, the spontaneous, young punk will travel and explore different time periods, including his own Prehistoric Age, the Medieval Age, and finally the futuristic Age of Machines. As the game progresses, Tork will gain special abilities and attack modes, learn new tricks and pick up cool age-specific power-ups. Tork will battle large dinosaurs, hails of spears, earthquakes, hurricanes, and other natural disasters that Mother Nature throws his way. Other gameplay features include:

• Venture through 13 dynamic levels.
• Challenge beastly bosses with a set of bolas that pack a serious punch.
• Using Tork’s special magical powers, morph into different animal creatures such as a bulldozing yeti, a mighty armor-plated armadillo, or a high-flying squirrel.
• Unique attacks and abilities add variety to the gameplay.
• Easy to pick up and play, but captivating and varied enough to keep a younger audience interested.

Unreal Championship 2 New Screens & Info
Steve @ 8:55 PM EST
Midway Games Inc., a leading interactive entertainment publisher and developer, today revealed 5 previously unreleased screenshots from its upcoming first/third-person shooter, Unreal Championship 2. The highly anticipated sequel, Unreal Championship 2, is scheduled to ship April 11, 2005, for the Xbox video game system from Microsoft with a retail price of $49.99.

Key Features

  • Bone Crunching Melee Combat. For the first time in an Unreal game, battle it out with melee combat that s seamlessly melded with Unreal s trademark fast-paced shooter action.
  • Renowned Unreal Weaponry. Destroy your foes with updated, classic weapons including the Rocket Launcher, Flak Cannon and Ripjack or utilize all-new hardware like the Grenade Launcher.
  • Unparalleled Multi-Player Action. Battle with up to 8 players online in Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch and Capture the Flag, plus new modes like Overdose and Nali Slaughter. Utilize System Link to play against others by directly linking Xbox consoles, or play with your Live account.
  • Intense Single-Player Tournament. Play as a variety of uniquely-skilled characters, or take on the role of Anubis as he fights to reclaim his people s Ascension Rites from the omnipotent Liandri Corporation.
  • Built Exclusively for Xbox. Over 40 stunning environments and unique maps designed exclusively for Xbox and UC2 s new mix of melee combat and traditional ranged weaponry.

    Unreal Championship 2 Screens

    Official Stolen Website Launches
    Steve @ 7:58 PM EST
    Toronto, Canada - January 11th, 2005 - Hip Games(TM) today announced
    that the official Web site for "Stolen," its eagerly awaited upcoming
    stealth game, has now gone live. The site will provide expectant action and stealth gamers with a glimpse of what they can expect when it ships in March 2005.

    Gamers can now visit http://www.stolen-game.com for the latest screenshots, artwork, character profiles, updated game information and a new exclusive "Stolen" trailer.

    Developed by Blue 52 and published by Hip Games(TM), "Stolen" is an
    ultra realistic, third person, stealth-based, action game, based around Anya Romanov, a professional high-tech female thief.

    "Stolen" ships in North America on March 22nd, 2005 for the
    PlayStation(R)2 computer entertainment system, the Xbox(R) video game system from Microsoft and PC-CD ROM.

    Features include:

  • A unique subject matter: play the role of a Hollywood-style thief with a host of athletic and martial abilities.
  • Break into and out of movie-like locations and steal priceless items.
  • Use atmospheric real-time volumetric shadow technology to hide from your enemies.
  • Employ hi-tech gadgets, tools and weapons to reach your objectives.
  • Various security companies and systems to outsmart, each with unique personalities and traits.
  • A stressful atmosphere - with tense and dramatic action set pieces.
  • High tech thief equipment: tracking devices, sonic visor, traversal equipment and more.
  • Various enemies and guards will be doing their best to make you fail. Get ready for some intense action sequences!
  • Vast array of interesting characters set to a mature background story supported by cinematics.

    New NARC Screens Released
    Steve @ 6:03 PM EST
    NARC is a mission-based 3rd-person action game set against a stylized, modern-day backdrop of the War on Drugs. Players take on the roles of elite NARC squad members Marcus Hill, a DEA Agent with a squeaky clean image and Jack Forzenski, a cop on probation and fresh out of rehab. Together they investigate a new mystery drug that has hit the streets called liquid soul. In the fight against a powerful international drug cartel Marcus and Jack will encounter a web of lies, betrayals, and a cast of underworld characters. Will they succeed in their war or will they give into the temptation?

    NARC Screens

    Tuesday, January 11, 2005

    Atari Announces TimeShift
    Steve @ 6:55 AM EST
    Atari, Inc. today announced that "TimeShift," an innovative first-person shooter that allows players to control time to solve puzzles and defeat foes, is in development by Saber Interactive for the personal computer and the Xbox(R) video game system from Microsoft. "TimeShift" will leverage first-of-its-kind gameplay abilities and functionality, the latest graphics technology, and high production values to create a truly unique action game experience that is expected to be available in fall 2005.

    "Atari continues to demonstrate its commitment to creating innovative video games, and with "TimeShift," we are working with Saber Interactive to completely re-envision one of the industry's most popular genres," said Wim Stocks, executive vice president, Sales and Marketing, Atari. "`TimeShift' will challenge players to use their minds along with their weapons to battle enemies and solve complex gameplay puzzles. `TimeShift' will change the fundamental way gamers think about first-person shooters by using the fourth dimension: time itself."

    "TimeShift" empowers players with the gift of time manipulation, including the ability to slow down, stop and rewind the world around them, allowing them to move freely while opponents and game objects are frozen in time. Featuring complex time control puzzles as an integral part of gameplay, "TimeShift" takes first-person action games in an entirely new direction.

    Saber Interactive's proprietary Saber3D game engine includes groundbreaking graphics technology, such as normal mapping to create amazingly high-detailed textures and characters, as well as advanced parallax lighting, allowing for realistic depth to environmental textures. The game engine will also incorporate futuristic physics technology for in-game objects and characters. "TimeShift" will also provide an added level of immersion with a deep and engrossing storyline created by a renowned Hollywood writer and director that incorporates a fantastic vision of our world existing within an alternate timeline.

    "TimeShift" will feature more than 30 combat missions, each showcasing time control elements and challenges that players must solve using both their extraordinary capabilities and combat expertise. An array of devastating and unique weaponry from the world's alternate timeline will be at the player's disposal, including bizarre incarnations of traditional sniper guns, machine guns, pistols and more, as well as never-before-imagined armaments from an era humanity has never seen.

    Developed by New Jersey-based Saber Interactive, "TimeShift" is expected to be available on personal computer and Xbox in fall 2005.

    Friday, January 7, 2005

    Sega Announces Worms 3D for Xbox
    Steve @ 5:36 AM EST
    SAN FRANCISCO - January 5, 2005 - SEGA of America today, Inc. today announced they will be publishing the next two titles in the Worms franchise. Worms 3D, for the Xbox video game system from Microsoft, and Worms: Forts Under Siege, for the PlayStation 2 computer entertainment system and Xbox, are shipping to stores March 1, 2005.
    The Worms phenomenon has taken the gaming world by storm, gripping the minds of players everywhere with its sharp humor and accessible, strategic gameplay. Team17, the developers of the classic 2D Worms titles, are personally bringing this unique franchise into the third dimension.

    Worms 3D
    In Worms 3D, the classic Worms game-play features turn-based fighting and relies on the player to judge the trajectory and strength of their shots in order to inflict maximum damage on opponents. But now, the Worms universe is rendered in full 3D, and the Xbox Live service from Microsoft Game Studios is being incorporated to offer competitive online support. Favorite off-the-wall weapons such as bazookas, holy grenades, dynamite, air strikes, and flying sheep are all present, with the addition of brand new weapons designed to take advantage of the 3D landscape. With a multitude of tactics available, coupled with the ever changing, randomly generated maps, Worms 3D takes Worms' award-winning gameplay to the next level.

    Worms: Forts Under Siege
    Worms: Forts Under Siege ratchets the strategy of the series' gameplay up a notch, allowing players to build huge fortifications to defend against opponent attacks. This new take on the Worms formula will allow players to join Egyptian tribes, participate in Greco-Roman sieges, battle with Oriental Samurai, and fight alongside King Arthur's Medieval Knights.

    Worms 3D for Xbox and Worms: Forts Under Siege for PlayStation 2 and Xbox will be available for an MSRP of $19.95.

    Midnight Club 3: DUB Edition Website Launch
    Steve @ 5:12 AM EST
    The series that took racing from closed tracks to the open urban streets is back. This year, Rockstar Games, in association with DUB Magazine, will bring you Midnight Club 3: DUB Edition.

    Insanely fast street racing through the cities of Atlanta, San Diego and Detroit, complete with 8-player online competition and the most comprehensive vehicle customization ever seen in a video game. Race the hottest licensed real-life SUVs, import tuners, muscle cars, choppers and luxury rides, and trick them out with the latest rims, trims, and upgrades.

    More speed, more customization, and more visual splendor than ever before. Welcome to the next level. Now, fresh for 2005 - we present the launch of the Midnight Club 3: DUB Edition official website.

    Step into the garage and explore the first unlocked floors: SUVs and Trucks, and Import Tuners. Browse a selection of in-game vehicles from such manufacturers as Mercedes, Cadillac, Nissan, Lexus, Mitsubishi and more; and personalize their wheels, body kits, color and more with but a small glimpse of the practically limitless customization options available in Midnight Club 3.

    Then take it to the streets to see videoclips of these suped-up machines ruthlessly tearing through Atlanta, Detroit and San Diego in pursuit of fortune, fame and respect.

    The Midnight Club 3: DUB Edition site is packed with a chassis full of exclusive screens, videoclips and info. All awaiting you now. Stay tuned for the unlocking of future floors showcasing such additional car classes as concept cars, muscle cars, luxury sedans, choppers and bikes.

    Stolen Wallet on Christmas Eve
    Steve @ 5:07 AM EST
    This is not Xbox related, but it is a story to read. If you live anywhere near New York or New Jersey, somehow this wallet needs to be returned. Visit ThatWerks.com for the full details. Thank you.

    Back In Business
    Steve @ 5:04 AM EST
    The Staff at Xbox Exclusive hopes that everyone had a great New Years! We have gotten quite a few new additions to the Xbox Exclusive staff, so be on the look out for a flood of game reviews and other featured articles like never before.