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NewsPro Archive

June 2002

Friday, June 28, 2002

Mat Hoffman's Pro BMX 2 Soundtrack Listing
Steve @ 2:04 PM EDT
June 28, 2002 -- Activision, Inc. is setting the stage for high-flying action in Mat Hoffman's Pro BMX™ 2 with a soundtrack that features an eclectic mix of old school rap, punk, funk, rock, and electronica. Mat Hoffman's Pro BMX 2 will be available for the PlayStation™ computer entertainment system, Xbox™ video game system from Microsoft, Nintendo GameCube™ and Game Boy™ Advance this summer, and will feature the following artists and tracks:

N.E.R.D. - "Rock Star"
Fugazi - "guilford"
Suicidal Tendencies - "Institutionalized"
LL Cool J - "Rock the Bells"
Iggy Pop - "The Passenger"
Eric B. & Rakim - "Juice (Know the Ledge)"
Ice T- "Reckless"
Crazy Town - "Toxic"
Bad Brains - "I against I"
Dub Pistols - "Official Chemical"
Gang of Four - "Damaged Goods"
Digital Assassins - "Return of the Living Bassheads (Somethin' Really Bad)"
Swollen Members - "Fuel Injected"
MC Cool Rock - "Boot the Booty"
Spoon - "Take a Walk"
Bombfunk MC's - "Freestyler"
Secret Hate - "Kevsadic"
Jazzhole - "Forward Motion"
Dislocated Styles - "Unified"
Bad Ronald - "All a Dream"

Featuring flatland tricks for the first time in a BMX video game, Mat Hoffman's Pro BMX 2 drops players into eight enormous free-roaming, fully populated levels where they can perform thousands of tricks. There are multiple modes of play to experience: Road Trip, Single Session, and Free Ride, and a slew of multi-player games including the new Half-Pipe Hell and Treasure Hunt. The innovative Trick Tweaking feature lets gamers pull manuals, wall rides, tire-taps, grinds, and air tricks that can be "morphed" to create unique tricks on the fly while playing as Mat Hoffman himself, or one of ten other pros. Players can also build their own BMX course using the next generation Park Editor. Mat Hoffman's Pro BMX 2 for Xbox includes an additional level and rider and will support user ripped sound tracks.

Thursday, June 27, 2002

UFC Tapout 2 Xbox Exclusive
Steve @ 12:38 PM EDT
Crave Entertainment, a leading publisher of videogame entertainment products, today announced that UFC Tapout 2 is currently in development exclusively for the Xbox video game system from Microsoft. Tapout 2 is being developed in Japan by Dream Factory, and is the follow up to the successful real fighting game released for Xbox earlier this year.

Tapout 2 will feature a new look, thanks to a complete overhaul of the core UFC game engine. "With the changes in the engine, an enhanced AI, upgraded Career Mode and new fighting moves, we're practically putting the gamer right in the middle of The Octagon," said Rob Sandberg, Senior Producer at Crave Entertainment. "Tapout 2 will look and play noticeably different from any previous version, and I think fighting game fans will be very impressed."

The redesigned model and animation system will result in fighter models with more points of articulation, and movements will appear more fluid and life-like. The new engine will also allow for real-time mesh deformation, so when players move and flex their muscles, you'll see the skin move and ripple with them. AI fighters will even taunt players to fake them out and throw off their timing.

Tapout 2 will feature the most mixed martial arts brawlers in any UFC game to date, including UFC stalwarts Tito Ortiz, Chuck Liddell, Carlos Newton, Pat Miletich, and B.J. Penn. Several new fighters, such as current UFC Middleweight Champion Murilo Bustamante will also be making their debut in UFC: Tapout 2. The road to fighting immortality won't be an easy one; with an improved AI, fighters will behave even closer to their real life counterparts, use more attack combos and grappling, use more counter and reverse moves, and be much more aggressive overall than in the previous version. Tapout 2 will also feature a new array of fighting moves, including standing clinches, side mounts and half guards.

The fan favorite Tournament Mode returns in Tapout 2, where up to eight human and/or computer controlled fighters battle in an open weight free for all. The Career Mode continues to expand, allowing players to create their own fighters from scratch, using a wide variety of body types, clothing, faces and hairstyles. Through training and sparring against computer-controlled opponents, players will develop an ever-increasing repertoire of moves and and abilities, drawing from up to 10 different martial arts styles with a greater number of kicks, strikes and grapples than before.

The Training Mode will allow the player to experiment with the different abilities of their created fighter and how to best use his techniques in the Octagon. Then the player can take his fighter to the Championship Mode, and compete for the UFC title belt. For an added challenge, players can defend their hard-won title against seven of the UFC's all-time best in Legend Mode.

The visual improvements won't be limited to just the fighters; fight presentation will be improved to more closely resemble the UFC broadcast events. An improved interface, enhanced sound, a new music soundtrack with a customizable playlist and the ability to play ripped music from the Xbox hard drive are additional new features awaiting fight fans when Tapout 2 ships this November.

Wednesday, June 26, 2002

Tetris Worlds from THQ Released
Steve @ 9:42 PM EDT
CALABASAS HILLS, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--June 26, 2002--THQ® Inc. today announced the release of "Tetris Worlds(TM)" for Xbox and GameCube, the next generation of Tetris® -- one of the most popular video game franchises ever created. "Tetris Worlds" features all of the addictive block-dropping mayhem Tetris is known for, along with six variations of gameplay that take place in six unique worlds. "Tetris Worlds" for Xbox and GameCube is now available at retail outlets nationwide, along with a PlayStation 2 version shipped earlier this year.

"`Tetris Worlds’ takes classic Tetris elements that fans love and enhances them with beautiful 3D graphics for the GameCube and Xbox," said Alison Locke, executive vice president, North American publishing, THQ. "This version is just as addictive as past Tetris games, which are the world’s most popular electronic games with 88 versions available and sales in excess of 60 million units."

New modes include "Cascade Tetris," "Fusion Tetris" and "Hot-Line Tetris." Players can test their skills in the classic version of Tetris or the latest cutting-edge variations of the game. Developed by Radical Entertainment, "Tetris Worlds" also features multiplayer capabilities allowing up to four Tetris fans to compete directly against one another to see who can clear levels the fastest.

MicroMachines is Back
Steve @ 9:36 PM EDT
Infogrames is delighted to announce that MicroMachines is back. They've dusted themselves off and escaped from their packaging to bring their unique style of miniaturised racing action to Sony's PlayStation2™ video games console and the Xbox™ video game system from Microsoft.

MicroMachines is one of the strongest and most successful franchises in the history of video games. It has now been updated to take advantage of the processing power of next-generation consoles, and offers the same fast-paced top-down racing with miniature vehicles that has made MicroMachines games so popular in the past… and then some! The gameplay is more varied than ever before, with a huge variety of tracks and levels in many different environments. There is also a large selection of vehicles on offer for next-gen gamers.

More attention has also been lavished on the characters. Players have eight new characters to choose from, each with their own personalities, special abilities and choice of vehicles to add more diversity than ever to the MicroMachines experience. Up to four players can compete at once in this fast and furious 3D racing extravaganza.

Developed by Infogrames Sheffield House, MicroMachines will be published on PS2 and Xbox in November 2002.

Even More Transworld Snowboarding Screens!
Eric @ 5:21 AM EDT
Hot off the press here are 6 more Transworld Snowboarding screen shots for you to enjoy.

Transworld Snowboarding Screen Gallery 3  

First Screens of Blade 2 in Action!
Eric @ 5:15 AM EDT
Here are the first in game screens of Blade 2 for Xbox. Not much is known about this title yet but keep an eye out for more info on it right here at Xbox Exclusive.

Blade 2 Screen Gallery 1  

6 New Screen Shots of Transworld Snowboarding
Eric @ 5:11 AM EDT
This game keeps on looking better and better! This game is now starting to take on a photo realistic look and if the gameplay matchs up to the graphics, TWS will be a must have this fall for Xbox owners!

Transworld Snowboarding Screen Gallery 3  

Tuesday, June 25, 2002

Malice Website Launches
Steve @ 1:30 PM EDT
BELLEVUE, WA (June 21, 2002) - Sierra Entertainment, Inc., a studio of Vivendi Universal Publishing, today announced the launch of a new website dedicated to Malice™, the upcoming action-adventure game, developed by UK-based Argonaut Games PLC. The site is live and can be accessed at malice.sierra.com, where fans can find out just what makes Malice this year's most unexpected title.

The new Malice site hosts screenshots from the game, desktop backgrounds, movies and music, as well as behind the scenes production artwork and a voice recording session with No Doubt. There are also links to the latest Malice game news and press releases. Malice is due to release worldwide this November on both the Xbox™ video game system and the PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system under the Sierra brand.

Malice is an action-adventure game named for a tough, kick-ass teen. Players must venture into the warped reality of Malice where the evil fire god, Nefarious Rex, has fractured the time-lines and set the world ablaze. As Malice you must unravel the mystery of your demise, battle Rex's twisted minions, and fix the shattered time-lines in order to save a universe gone mad. Malice is certain to be one of the great action-adventure games on next generation console systems.

Monday, June 24, 2002

19 Impressive New Screens of Sega GT 2002
Eric @ 7:12 PM EDT
Here are the latest screens of Sega GT 2002. With each new batch this game keeps on looking better and better, keep an eye out for this GT3 killer later this fall.

Sega GT 2002 Screen Gallery 3  

Saturday, June 22, 2002

First Screens & Info on Falcone: Into The Maelstrom
Eric @ 4:54 AM EDT
Come this November, console gamers will be pulling on foil eye-patches and spraying the pet parrot silver when Virgin Interactive's piratical space-opera boards Xbox and PlayStation 2 in December.

Boasting the sublime talents of internal development team, 'Point Blank' and of course the infamous 2000AD writer Robbie Morrison and artist Jim Murray; Falcone melds the involving storyline and visuals associated with graphic novels and the frenetic gameplay of a futuristic console shooter.

In Falcone, the player takes on the role of our eponymous buccaneering hero as he's launched into a mixture of space-based ship-to-ship combat and first-person-shoot 'em up.

An absorbing plot which and twists and turns like an Asimov novel sees our hero pitched against not only his old buccaneering leader, Black Dog, but a brand new threat in the form of the Legion.

This new enemy has been vomited forth from the Maelstrom - or black hole - of the title with a mysterious agenda on a colossal scale. As the plot unfolds, Falcone will find himself inextricably entwined in the Legion's machinations and eventually seeking its elusive leader.

Falcone offers something more than the average blaster. The use of the latest build of the Unreal Warfare graphics engine enables a seamless transition between piloting the fighters and disembarking inside the behemoth spaceships, adding unique new tactical considerations. Not only that, but the interplay in multi-player games is set to make combat a truly ballistic experience.

Sophisticated enemy AI will provide a stern test for single gamers. However, Falcone won't be alone against the tidal wave of robotic foes the Legion throw against the gamer. As his reputation grows after each successful plundering mission, so will his band of followers.

These new recruits provide invaluable expertise on later missions providing a means to infiltrate previously secluded areas, obtain information and lend a hand in firefights.

Brace the main sail and shiver your cyber timbers. Falcone: Into the Maelstrom will be available from November 2002 on Xbox and PlayStation 2 In December.

Features:


A truly happy marriage of graphic novel-quality visuals and compelling gameplay.

Seamless transition between piloting ships and FPS elements of the game.

12 single player missions.

5 massive multi-player maps.

Limb Severing and Dismemberment system enables maximum carnage in firefights.

Character artwork and models created by 2000AD and Batman artist, Jim Murray.

An integral plot written by Judge Dredd writer, Robbie Morrison.

Falcone: Into the Maelstrom uses the very latest Unreal engine.

Falcone: Into The Maelstrom Screen Gallery 1  

New Screens Of Deathrow
Eric @ 4:45 AM EDT
Here are a few new screens of Deathrow and some more info about the game.

About Deathrow
The object of Deathrow is for you to win matches by whatever means necessary, either by scoring as many points as possible before time runs out, or by severely injuring your opponents and removing them from the field of combat. As the game begins, two teams of four players square off in a combat arena to compete in an intense, unmediated slugfest to determine the champion. As you engage in fierce hand-to-hand combat with highly intelligent AI opponents seeking retribution for not only themselves, but also for their fallen teammates, you’ll soon understand the sacrifices necessary to become the supreme team of the league. Deathrow also features:



More than 120 unique characters.

Over 800 animations.

Multiplayer support for up to 8 players.

Highly detailed characters, modeled using more than 55 bones each for life-like movement.

Realistic facial animation capable of blinking and talking, and expressing pain, anger, happiness and other moods.

Team management allowing you to customize your own team according to your style of play.

More than 15 combat sports arena locations, each with their own unique architecture and gameplay elements.

13 playable teams, each with their own background, special abilities, and motivation for competing.

Automatic victory if you remove all of your opponents players from the field of combat.

The ability for users to import their own music.


Deathrow Screen Gallery 2  

Sharp Looking New Screens of Gun Metal
Eric @ 4:36 AM EDT
Here are the latest batch of screens from Rage Softwares 3rd person mech shooter Gun Metal. Gun Metal should hit stores in late July, heres a list of the games key features.


KEY FEATURES:

o Freely transform from powerful mech to highly manoeuvrable jet fighter. Choose your own attack strategy.

o Walk, run, jetpack or fly over a variety of breathtaking landscapes.

o Tool-up with an extensive armoury of spectacular & devastating weaponry. Includes innovations such as independently aiming twin pistols.

o Leave your mark on the densely populated environments: scorch the earth, crush rocks under foot, fell trees, torch crops, tear chunks out of towering buildings and raze entire settlements to the ground.

o Take the fight to the enemy hordes as you progress through 14+ diverse and engaging missions.

o Battle a wide variety of enemy units ranging from scuttling foot soldiers to monstrous battle fortresses.

o Toy with the various herds of animals that inhabit the environments; watch them trample forests and blunder into battle.

o Heed the supporting cast of characters as they relay information to you in the heat of a skirmish.

o Assist the remaining battalions of allied forces as they take their last stand.


Gun Metal Screen Gallery 2  

Friday, June 21, 2002

Iginla To Be Cover Athlete for NHL 2003
Steve @ 2:12 PM EDT
REDWOOD CITY, Calif.-June 20, 2002–As Hart Trophy nominee, and Pearson Award finalist Jarome Iginla awaits the announcement of this year’s winners, Electronic Arts has named Iginla as its MVP of NHL® 2003. EA has agreed with Iginla for the superstar to be its cover athlete and spokesman for the latest iteration of the number-one selling NHL interactive video game franchise.

“I played EA’s NHL games growing up,” said Iginla. “I’m really honored that they’ve asked me to represent NHL 2003 and it’s cool to be a part of the elite line-up of athletes that have represented the EA SPORTS brand.”

Previous spokesmen for EA’s NHL video game franchise include: Mario Lemieux, Owen Nolan, Eric Lindros, Chris Pronger, Peter Forsberg and John Vanbiesbrouck.

In 470 appearances for the Calgary Flames®, Iginla has scored 174 goals, and added 189 assists. Among his 2001-2002 accomplishments, Iginla led the league in goal scoring (52) and in points (96), and led the Flames in plus/minus (+27), all contributing to his nominations for the NHL’s prestigious Hart Trophy, an honor bestowed upon the NHL player designated most valuable to his team, and the Lester B. Pearson Award, awarded to the NHL’s most outstanding player as voted by members of the NHLPA. Iginla has also earned the Art Ross Trophy as the League's leading scorer and the Maurice Richard Trophy as the top goal scorer in the NHL.

“Jarome Iginla has made a significant impact on the NHL, which is substantiated by his many NHL honors,” said Jeff Karp, vice-president of marketing for Electronic Arts. “Jarome represents both his team and the National Hockey League well and we’re thrilled that he brings his excellence, enthusiasm, and knowledge to NHL 2003.”

Thursday, June 20, 2002

Sega Games Win Awards: NFL 2K3
Steve @ 11:08 PM EDT
SAN FRANCISCO - (June 19, 2002) - Building upon its reputation for creating the best video game content, SEGA(R) of America, Inc. today announced "SEGA Sports(TM) NFL 2K3" won Best Sports Game and "Super Monkey Ball(TM) 2" won Best Puzzle/Trivia/Parlor Game in the "Game Critics Awards: Best of E3 2002," the independent E3 awards committee recognizing excellence at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3). Additionally, SEGA's 2002 lineup continues to receive industry accolades following E3 with Associate Chairman of the Game Critics Awards, Geoff Keighley, calling SEGA "without a doubt one of the most important third-party publishers" and the Dallas Morning News stating that "SEGA had the best showing among the publishers" at E3 2002.

SEGA games have also received awards from leading video game industry Web sites and publications. "SEGA Sports NFL 2K3" was also voted the Best Sports Game on PlayStation(R)2 and Xbox(TM) by IGN.com. "Panzer Dragoon(TM) ORTA" was voted among the top 10 games at E3 2002 by Electronic Gaming Monthly and voted among the top five Xbox games of E3 2002 by GameSpot.com.

"The awards and accolades that SEGA has received following E3 2002 is testament to the strength of SEGA's lineup across all new next generation consoles," said Peter Moore, president and COO, SEGA of America, Inc. "With 'SEGA Sports NFL 2K3' winning multiple industry awards for Best Sports Game, SEGA Sports is ready to take on the competition toe-to-toe this fall."

"SEGA Sports NFL 2K3" will be released starting in August 2002 for the PlayStation(R)2 computer entertainment system, the Xbox(TM) video game system and Nintendo GameCube(TM). "Super Monkey Ball 2" will be released this fall on Nintendo GameCube. "Panzer Dragoon ORTA" will be released this fall exclusively on Xbox.

Pro Race Driver from Codemasters
Steve @ 10:54 PM EDT
New York - June 20, 2002 - When a pack of cars tear from the starting line simultaneously and head into some of racings most aggressive exhibition of close-contact racing it can only mean one thing the green light is on for Pro Race Driver.

Codemasters¹ game of speed, control and aggression, as seen recently at E3, is a stunning racing title that offers players an experience they¹ll never forget. The heart of Pro Race Driver is the aggressive pack-racing gameplay style. The combination of an intense experience with the crystal clear visuals of the cars (each modelled with at least 4000 polygons) on screen, will produce a gaming experience that can¹t be missed. Combined with the game¹s damage engine, which showcases spectacular crashes, Pro Race Driver is the evolution of racing games that players have been demanding.

Pro Race Driver lets players race like never before as Codemasters delivers a game packed with 42 real cars, 13 championships and an incredible 38 real-life, internationally renowned, race circuits. The game is currently in development at Codemasters with a pit crew of 58 and is set to launch on August 23rd for PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system. The Xbox video game system from Microsoft and PC versions of the game will launch in autumn.

Wednesday, June 19, 2002

Silent Hill 2: Inner Fears Announced for Europe
Steve @ 9:38 PM EDT
Konami of Europe announced today that a new rendition of its best-selling horror title, Silent Hill 2, will be coming to the Xbox video game system from Microsoft in October.

Following the incredible success of the PlayStation 2 version - which has sold more than half a million copies in Europe - Silent Hill 2: Inner Fears takes advantage of the added capabilities of Xbox with enhanced graphics and lighting effects. It also opens a new chapter to the game with a new playable character and new areas to explore.

Silent Hill 2: Inner Fears takes players to the eerie town of Silent Hill, where they assume the role of James Sunderland. James has received a cryptic letter from his wife, asking him to meet her in Silent Hill, a place that holds great meaning for the couple. What would normally be a comforting, romantic letter scares and confuses James, as his wife has been dead for three years. The mystery of the letter compels him to return to the surreal horror and all-too-real danger in the monster-ridden town of Silent Hill.

Set amongst the dense fog and haunting darkness of the eerie town, and accompanied by dramatic music presented in Dolby Digital and incredible visuals, Silent Hill 2: Inner Fears pushes the boundaries of macabre horror. Players face frightening enemies and have access to a variety of weapons, including a pistol, shotgun and hunting rifle. Ultimately, however, they must rely upon their heads more than their trigger fingers while searching for clues and solving riddles. But nothing is quite as it seems in the town of Silent Hill?

Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance: First Screens!
Eric @ 1:47 AM EDT
Here are the first screens of Baldur's Gate : Dark Alliance to go along with the press release.

Baldur's Gate : Dark Alliance Screen Gallery 1  

First Screen's of B.C. , Can You Say Impressive!
Eric @ 1:23 AM EDT
Peter Molyneux's 2nd game for Xbox sounds just as impressive as his first game, which we all have come to know as Project Ego. B.C. has amazing graphics just like Project Ego, but most of the press about the game is on its gameplay. Just like Ego, B.C. is set to be another ground breaking game from Lionhead Studios that will change how we play games for years to come. Check back with us later for a full report on both of these games, for now enjoy the first screens of this killer title.


B.C. Screen Gallery 1  

Tuesday, June 18, 2002

Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance Coming to Xbox
Steve @ 5:14 PM EDT
Adventurers who already own Microsoft’s new powerhouse console will soon be able to journey to the Sword Coast and the mythical city of Baldur’s Gate when Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance is released this September on Xbox.

Based on the hugely successful RPG board game, Dark Alliance follows on the Baldur’s Gate series with another epic instalment based in the rich fantasy universe of Dungeons & Dragons.

Played from a third-person perspective, Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance immerses players in the port town of Baldur’s Gate. A new political intrigue is emerging within the town and rumours of a Thieves’ Guild civil war brew in the underground catacombs beneath the city streets. Thrust into this fraught situation, the player finds himself a newcomer to plots and sub-plots therein. They soon learn that they stand in the way of a scheme that threatens not only the city but the entire region.

Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance is an entirely new action adventure experience opening the Baldur's Gate franchise to a much wider gaming community. The game incorporates a faithful adaptation of the new 3rd Edition Dungeons & Dragons rules set, customisable player characters and a new level of character development allows for an engrossing gameplay experience new to Xbox.

Furthermore, dramatic new spell effects and powerful new abilities have been included to add to the flavour of the action-packed game and assist the player in combat against the terrifying monsters they’ll encounter on their quest.

Features:

· Ground-breaking adventure for Xbox, located in the most popular Dungeons & Dragons® campaign setting ever created; the Forgotten Realms®.
· First Xbox game to utilize the 3rd Edition Dungeons & Dragons rule set.
· Graphically enhanced environments, creatures and explosive spell effects that maximize the power of Xbox technology, delivering a more realistic gaming experience.
· Three customisable characters, each with distinctive powers, appearances and abilities that develop throughout the game.
· Dolby Surround sound, real-time sound effect mixing, Hollywood voice talent and an original soundtrack by acclaimed composer, Jeremy Soule.
· Featuring single and two-player cooperative mode.

Ubi Soft Announces The Settlers
Steve @ 10:51 AM EDT
18 June 2002 – Ubi Soft® Entertainment, one of the world’s leading videogame publishers, today announced the development of a new game from The Settlers® series, by Ubi Soft’s German studio Blue Byte. This fifth new episode is set for a worldwide release on PC-CD Rom, as well as bringing The Settlers to consoles for the first time.

Recognized for its detailed graphics, hand painted textures, bright and happy colors, The Settlers’ universe presents a mixture of history and imagination, all spiced up with cartoon-like elements.

After having sold more than 3.5 million copies worldwide, The Settlers franchise is broadly recognized for its creative genre of built-up strategic simulation games. Soon enough, the new product standing as an independent title in the world of The Settlers will be supplied with an all new technology and innovative gaming principle, which will broaden the game’s brand internationally.

"This new game from the cult series will undoubtedly widen The Settlers’ audience” says Odile Limpach, Managing Director of Ubi Soft Entertainment GmbH and the Ubi Soft studio Blue Byte. “Our production team is currently focusing on innovative 3D-technology and absolutely new game features”.

Benedikt Grindel, the project manager, is already working with a team of 25 people, which is set to grow as the game progresses towards production. Most of the project’s artists bring their experience from working on the Settlers IV games.

Additionally, the development team will mainly concentrate on new strategic elements of the game, using Rubens and Vulcain engines for the animation and display systems. That means the main goal of the Ubi team is to create a truly evolved game, in order to establish the Settlers brand globally by developing a world class strategy game. To illustrate, conflict between the tribes are carried out in a totally original way. This 3D-technology is merely used as another tool to bring radical changes, which will create a truly innovative leap inside the Settlers’ gameplay.

Special Event for 'The Thing'
Steve @ 10:50 AM EDT
As Vivendi Universal gears up to the release of its video game interpretation of John Carpenter's The Thing for PlayStation 2, Xbox and PC, it is to celebrate the launch with an evening dedicated to the horror masterpiece.

Taking place on July 5th, the day begins at 10am with an exclusive screening to celebrate the 20 year anniversary of the movie being made. London's Curzon cinema in Soho will refresh guests' minds of the terrors they will revisit in the Computer Artworks-developed game.

The game, which is due in Q3 this year, retains the isolated setting of the seminal movie, with a second American scientific base in the Antarctic wiped out by the shape-shifting life form. A military team is sent to investigate, but the creature's ability to adopt the forms of its victims is used against the team - recreating the suspense and action of the John Carpenter film in a stunning action title.

Monday, June 17, 2002

New Military Helicoptor-Action Game Announced
Steve @ 10:51 PM EDT
Nonstop Action and Thundering Weaponry Delivered in Deadly

Military Helicopter-Action Game for Next-Generation Consoles

Midway Games Inc., a leading software industry publisher and developer, announced today that Fireblade(TM), an all-new military helicopter-action game, has shipped for the PlayStation(R) 2 computer entertainment system and is scheduled to ship in fall 2002 for the Nintendo GameCube(TM) and the Xbox(TM) video game system from Microsoft.

Players experience the deadly impact of war firsthand in Midway's all-new military chopper-action videogame, Fireblade. Dropping players behind the throttle of deadly military attack choppers, Fireblade challenges gamers to complete dozens of intense combat missions, with day and night objectives, in real world locales.

"Fireblade delivers an original take on the helicopter combat game genre with intense, fiery missions that combine visceral combat and warlike strategic plots that will challenge the finest action gamers around," said Helene Sheeler, vice president of marketing, Midway.

Blasting through 18 missions in four campaigns, players navigate their lethal military chopper through whizzing gunfire and thundering explosions. Fireblade military choppers are loaded with all of the state-of-the-art weapons needed to save the world: Sniper Cannons, Swarm Missiles, EMP Weapons, Rail Guns and Laser-Guided Homing Missiles. Multiple camera angles let players zoom in and out of the frenzied action, which takes place over treacherous environments such as the Swiss Alps, Arizona Desert, Amazon Jungle and the Arctic Circle. In order to conquer terrorist enemies, Fireblade pilots can run silent in stealth mode, evade enemies with thermal imaging sensors and prevent raising alarms by remaining undetected with EMP weapons.

To add even more action to the Fireblade experience, the game DVD contains content featuring a mini-documentary titled "The Roar of War," created from actual combat helicopter footage.

Fireblade Key Features:

  • Eighteen Missions in four campaigns in an amazing variety of lush environments including the Swiss Alps, Arizona Desert, Amazon Jungle and the Arctic Circle.

  • Take the helm of two distinct choppers -- fly a carrier chopper for transport and rescue missions or pilot the Vendetta attack helicopter for assault missions. Each features a unique flight dynamic.

  • Multiple deadly, hi-tech weapons including Sniper Cannons, Swarm Missiles, EMP Weapons, Rail Guns and Laser-Guided Homing Missiles.

  • Feel the rush of turbo upgrades as the helicopter partially transforms and exhibits its blinding jet aircraft speed.

  • Run silent in stealth mode, evade enemies with thermal imaging sensors and use the EMP weapon to disable mechanical equipment while remaining undetected.

    Friday, June 14, 2002

    "Rolling" From Rage Website Launched
    Steve @ 4:55 PM EDT
    Rage, one of the UK's leading publishers and developers of entertainment software, is pleased to announce that is has launched a new website for its forthcoming aggressive inline skating title ‘Rolling’ at http://www.rolling-the-game.com .

    The new site includes all the very latest screenshots, exclusive audio tracks, skater profiles and a developer diary. Regular updates and special interviews will also be appearing on the site over the coming months.

    Rolling is an athletic, fast and exciting entry into the world of aggressive inline skating and incorporates 18 of the world’s best skaters, including Cesar Mora (Aus), Fabiola da Silva (Bra) and Jon Julio (USA) across two of the most popular disciplines ‘street’ and ‘vert’.

    With stunning environments and realistic motion captured physics, the player will be able perform death-defying jumps and aerobatics in a host of realistic settings, including accurate recreations of the most popular skate-parks from the USA, Europe and Japan.

    You can also choose from thousands of individual items supplied by world's leading inline skating clothing, boots, wheels and frame brands.

    Rolling also has exclusive video footage from world's leading rollerblading videographers - Drew Bachrach and Dave Paine - along with a soundtrack provided by leading international musicians and bands.

    Rolling is the only truly definitive and authentic aggressive inline skating video game title and will be available on PlayStation2 in November 2002 and Xbox, GameCube and Game Boy Advance in Spring 2003.

    Thursday, June 13, 2002

    Lotus Challenge: Loads of Info and Features
    Steve @ 10:20 AM EDT
    Petrol heads who have already joined the next generation of console gaming will be able to get their hands on Lotus Challenge on Xbox when it is released this September by Virgin Interactive.

    This isn't just a direct port from PlayStation 2. No, the Xbox version boasts a range of new improvements including modified tracks, enhanced Stunt Challenges and far more player-friendly arcade handling. Most importantly of all, Lotus Challenge on Xbox features the kind of improvement in speed that would enable even Barrichello to win his first race (bar team instructions to the contrary).

    Developed by Kuju, Lotus Challenge will afford players the opportunity to drive some of the world's most desirable cars: from the Lotus 7 driven by Patrick McGoohan in The Prisoner, the Esprit driven by Roger Moore as James Bond to the latest Esprit 2002 and this year's amazing new Proton Satria.

    As Lotus is renowned for winning on the track, famous racing cars will also feature prominently, with a powerful mix of Formula One and sportscars available to whet the game player's appetite. It will involve not only racing against other much improved computer-controlled cars, but also driving challenges ranging from daring stunts on movie sets, to pursuing other cars through city traffic. Lotus Challenge will mix the adrenaline rush of racing with the challenge of great driving skills from one of Britain's most famous sportscar manufacturers.

    Lotus Challenge recreates one of the most complete driving experiences to date. Players can opt for a pure adrenaline rush or a more tactical long-haul race. Each course is set across a variety of landscapes and tracks, and will see players racing around such diverse and amazing locations as London (including Park Lane, Trafalgar Square, Whitehall, St James Park, Buckingham Palace), Hethel (the Lotus test track), Tokyo Rainbow Bridge, Minato-ku, the Tokyo Bay Tunnel, Arizona Speedway and Jupiter Beach Raceway in Florida.

    The special effects are particularly outstanding, with rain, storms, snow, fog, dirt and mud all gloriously represented. Advanced real-time particle systems handle the dirt, smoke and damage effects. For instance, drive across grass, wheel spin in gravel or handbrake turn in sand and you'll notice your tyres pick up grit, but work themselves clean after racing for a time. Scrape your Lotus down the side of a tunnel at over 100 miles an hour and see scratches, and dents realistically form on the bodywork. Whilst multi-pass rendering, projected shadow casting and directional light make each frame - and there are 60 of them per second - a work of art.

    The Xbox version also pushes the graphics pedal to the metal with real-time shadows and dynamic lighting, best shown off for night time tracks when the car headlights light up the road.

    A range of challenges awaits each player - from lapping the fastest, to completing trials or missions. An improved "Story Mode" mixes gaming styles, with players able to choose different characters, each with a different path through the game. These modes are based on the fictional exploits of a world-famous Lotus Challenge Team, which not only race in world championships across the globe, but is also called upon to perform stunts for films and adverts. Players will be able to endure an Italian Alps hill climb, whiz around Hollywood film sets, or take part in a tyre commercial on an Oil Rig. In addition, players can race through rush-hour traffic and fly past speed cameras in the English countryside, ensuring that Lotus Challenge lives up to its name.

    A multi-player option is available for those willing to take on others. These are spread across Championships or decided on a single race. Specific modes and challenges result in hidden tracks or cars being unlocked and available for play in any other mode - so once you've finished a particular section of the game, you'll be able to replay it in a faster car, thrashing down lap times in single- or multi-player sessions.

    All the Formula One cars featured in Lotus Challenge will be courtesy of Classic Team Lotus representing the Formula One achievements of Team Lotus. The virtual models have been extensively tested by real Lotus test/development drivers, to ensure the game is as accurate as can be. Even the World Famous Lotus Designers have become involved creating two Lotus concept vehicles for inclusion in the game.

    Features:

  • Features almost every Lotus model ever made, past and present.
  • All-new physics model gives the player total playable realism in every vehicle and an incredible impression of speed.
  • The first officially licensed driving game to feature realistic vehicle damage.
  • Stunning special effects from the advanced particle system.
  • Fantastically detailed graphics on both vehicles and environments
  • Pumping soundtrack by cutting-edge dance music artists Hybrid.
  • Five immersive modes of play - Collection, Championship, Single Player and multiplayer as well as the exclusive Challenge mode.

    Summer Price Drops for Europe
    Steve @ 10:15 AM EDT
    LONDON, 13th June 2002 – As part of a summer promotion to bring even more value to gamers, Xbox today announced that the European price of Dead or Alive 3, Project Gotham Racing, Azurik, Nightcaster and NBA Inside Drive 2002 games titles will be reduced to an estimated street price of €59.99/£39.99, effective from today.

    Alex Croft, Head of Buying for GAME Stores Group Ltd said “The price reduction of the five catalogue titles by Microsoft shows that they are willing to act in order to stimulate sales with price activity.”

    “In preparation for making it a great summer for gamers and retailers, we’re introducing special prices for these top games,” said Sandy Duncan, Vice President, Xbox Europe. “These titles have done very well for us, and all have appeared in and around the top-ten Xbox sales charts. We have also received an overwhelming response to these games through reviews and awards, proving that both the industry and consumers love Xbox and its games portfolio.

    “We’ve delivered value to hundreds of thousands of happy consumers in Europe with our recent console price reduction,” said Duncan. “With Xbox sales of over 500,000 units in Europe, we will continue that cycle of success with this new price point for Dead or Alive 3, Project Gotham Racing, Azurik, Nightcaster and NBA Inside Drive 2002. We want to make sure that we’re widening the audience for Xbox by allowing even more gamers to experience these great titles.”

    Now available in Europe for an estimated street price of €299/£199, the award-winning Xbox is the most powerful video game system on earth. With 40 games currently available and more than 150 to be available by Christmas, Xbox is the only video games console designed for the future of gaming with a built-in hard drive and broadband adapter.

    Xbox is building a large user base in Europe - it’s neck-and-neck with Sony’s PlayStation 2 in terms of weekly sales and recently hit the half-million sales mark in Europe. The continued success of Xbox hardware sales is matched by the software attach rate, demonstrating that European gamers are appreciating depth, breadth, and quality of the Xbox games portfolio - 3.1 games were sold for each Xbox console in the UK.

    Wednesday, June 12, 2002

    Capcom Unveils Dino Crisis 3 for Xbox
    Steve @ 9:30 PM EDT
    Tokyo, Japan – June 11, 2002 – Capcom today unveiled Dino Crisis 3 for the Xbox video game system from Microsoft. Created by the mastermind of Shinji Mikami, the esteemed producer of the Resident Evil series of products, Dino Crisis 3 is the next blockbuster in the acclaimed series that has sold more than 3.5 million units worldwide. In Dino Crisis 3, players venture to the outer limits of space where all new dinosaurs await.

    In Dino Crisis 3, a team of intergalactic Marines discovers a Colony Spaceship infested with cold-blooded beasts. Fighting a constant battle for survival, the team must fight together to survive the ensuing chaos.

    Equipped with jet propulsion packs, the main characters can maneuver quickly through the environment. This new type of control is a break from anything ever seen and will offer players new challenges and more freedom of movement. Visually, Capcom has focused its attention on achieving a sense of scale and solidifying the craft’s detail.

    Xbox Online Service to Have 47 Titles At Launch
    Steve @ 9:30 PM EDT
    TOKYO, June 11 (Reuters) - Microsoft Corp said on Tuesday 39 game makers will offer a total of 47 titles for the company's online game service set to be launched this autumn for users of its Xbox console.

    The U.S. software giant said a starter kit for Xbox online games will be priced at 6,800 yen ($54.5), which includes service fees for the first 12 months.

    Last month, Microsoft said it was preparing a global online gaming network for Xbox in a bid to jump-start Internet-linked video games.

    Microsoft rolled out Xbox on February 22 in Japan following its U.S. debut in November. ($1=124.74 yen)

    Tuesday, June 11, 2002

    Guess Who's Back, Back Again, Sega's Back
    Steve @ 11:30 PM EDT
    ...Tell all your friends :)

    http://www.nandotimes.com/technology/story/430725p-3445576c.html

    By ALEX PHAM, Los Angeles Times


    (June 11, 2002 12:04 p.m. EDT) - Sonic the Hedgehog is back.

    After pulling the plug on its money-draining Dreamcast console last year, video game company Sega Corp. has rebounded with an operating profit and a lineup of must-have titles that are turning former rivals Sony Corp., Nintendo Co. and Microsoft Corp. into suitors.

    Though it's too early to declare Sega a financial success, analysts said Sega has transformed itself from a struggling hardware-focused company to one of the industry's most important software companies.

    "They're one of the best comeback stories of the year," said P.J. McNealy, senior analyst for technology consulting firm Gartner Inc. "They were able to pare off under-performing units and really reposition themselves as a significant software player in less than 18 months."

    Nowhere was Sega's transformation more evident than at last month's Electronic Entertainment Expo, or E3, the industry's biggest trade show. At an after-hours event at Sega's relatively modest booth, key executives from Nintendo, Microsoft and Sony buried hatchets and paid homage. Gamers lined up to get autographs from Sega developers, who passed out baseball cards instead of business cards as Sega games ran on Sony's PlayStation 2, Microsoft's Xbox and Nintendo's GameCube.

    No one mentioned the Dreamcast, least of all Sega executives, who were painfully aware that the company poured more than $1 billion into the console before discontinuing it in March 2001. The experience left Sega with $1.5 billion in debt, nearly the same amount as its annual revenue.

    The decision to quit the hardware business after 15 years left fans and investors with a bad taste. Many predicted that the company would become irrelevant. Takeover rumors swirled, with reports that Nintendo or Microsoft would purchase Sega. With Sega's future clouded, speculation was rampant that the company's developers would bolt. But Sega managed to hang on to most of its independence and most of its key talent.

    The developers did not disappoint. In the first three months of this year, Sega was the No. 1 independent publisher for GameCube, selling 22 percent of the games for that console. It also was the No. 3 publisher for PlayStation 2 in the same period with 7 percent of all games sold, boosted by strong sales of "Virtua Fighter 4" and "NBA2K2." Last year, Sega's "Jet Set Radio Future" and "Super Monkey Ball" bolstered the lineup of games at the launch of Xbox and GameCube.

    At E3 this year, Sega's games continued to garner buzz.

    "They have a fantastic lineup," said Geoff Keighley, a writer for Gamespot, an online game site. "Sega is without a doubt one of the most important third-party publishers for these consoles. You have 'Shinobi' on PS2. On Xbox, there's 'Panzer Dragoon,' based on their classic franchise. And 'Sonic' is on GameCube. For gamers, these franchises are huge."

    Sega's ability to recover lies in these franchises, which the company has aggressively milked for revenue this last year. An example of this strategy is "Sonic Adventure 2 Battle" for GameCube. The game - essentially identical to "Sonic Adventure 2" for the Dreamcast - sold 280,000 copies for the GameCube. Much of the revenue was gravy since the title required only minor changes in the Dreamcast version.

    "That's revenue we would not have otherwise seen," said Peter Moore, president of Sega of America, the parent company's U.S. arm. "We've been unleashed from the Dreamcast."

    Console makers, eager to get their hands on Sega's games, will be in the position of helping their former foe by giving Sega extra marketing and development dollars if it agrees to put games exclusively on their consoles.

    "Clearly, bringing a character like Sonic to the GameCube was very important to Nintendo," said George Harrison, senior vice president of marketing for Nintendo.

    Financially, Sega is not out of the woods. Though the company saw a $111.5 million operating profit for its fiscal year ended March 31, a $258.3 million loss from stock market investments resulted in an overall $140 million net loss.

    "When there have been profits or losses in the past at Sega, they have been large," said Mark Cerny, president of Cerny Games in Los Angeles and a former Sega developer. "It's easy to make or lose $50 million in this business. The trick is going to be consistency and making the profits year in and year out."

    Never short on confidence, Sega declared at E3 that the company aims to become North America's second-largest game publisher after Electronic Arts Inc. by the end of the year. For its last fiscal year, Sega's North American revenue was $201 million, compared with EA's $952 million, Activision Inc.'s $308 million, and THQ Inc.'s $280 million.

    Even if Sega achieved its goal, the company still would be a distant second to EA, which is expected to top $1.2 billion in sales in North America this year, according to estimates from UBS Warburg. To catch up, Sega is shopping for studios and publishers.

    "Sega will pursue an aggressive acquisition strategy to further reinforce its video game console publishing business," said Charles Bellfield, Sega's vice president of strategic planning.

    Last year, Sega saw 26.6 percent of its revenue from North America, 10 percent in Europe and 61.6 percent from Japan, much of it from its arcade business. But with Japan's economic doldrums and a weak arcade market, Sega is looking to the U.S. for growth and profit.

    Sega's success or failure ultimately rests on continuing to crank out killer games.

    "If they keep bringing the same quality of software they have in the past," Harrison said, "they will easily be one of the top five publishers in our industry for some time to come."

    Well this is very good news. We don't want one of the best game developers to disappear. Multi-platform is going to turn out great for Sega.

    Dolby Cinema Audio Experience in Spider-Man
    Steve @ 5:38 PM EDT
    SAN FRANCISCO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--June 11, 2002--

    Dolby multichannel surround sound available across

    all three next-gen consoles

    For the first time, Dolby Laboratories' audio technologies have been simultaneously implemented across all three next-generation gaming platforms in Spider-Man: The Movie, recently released by Activision. Would-be web-slingers everywhere can experience immersive, cinematic surround sound during gameplay due to the incorporation of Dolby(R) Pro Logic(R) II on the Sony PlayStation(R) 2, Dolby Digital 5.1 on Microsoft's Xbox(TM), and Dolby Surround on the Nintendo GameCube(TM).

    "Dolby has been working with game developers and publishers alike to make this cross-platform adoption of Dolby technologies in all the next-generation consoles a reality," said Jack Buser, Manager of Game Developer Relations for Dolby. "The community as a whole has realized that consumers are looking for that `new frontier' in the gaming experience and are hooking up their consoles to their home theater systems. The consistently top-selling Spider-Man: The Movie title is a testament to the consumer demand for the best quality audio experience no matter what the console platform."

    Sony PlayStation 2, Microsoft Xbox, and Nintendo GameCube all offer a cinematic gaming experience with Dolby multichannel audio technology. Dolby Pro Logic II delivers five channels of surround sound through conventional stereo connectors - included with all game consoles - and a system that includes a Dolby Pro Logic II decoder. Dolby Digital 5.1 delivers 5.1 channels of surround sound during actual gameplay through the Dolby Interactive Content Encoder found in the Xbox. Dolby Surround is the technology that first made home theater possible, providing four-channel surround sound over a system that includes a Dolby Surround Pro Logic decoder.

    Video Sports League Launches
    Steve @ 5:24 PM EDT
    DALLAS, June 11 /PRNewswire/ -- Isha Hutchinson today announced he has
    formed a new company that will distribute innovative, top-notch video game competition on the Playstation 2 and X-Box, called The Video Sports League (VSL), the league of video game champions. The Video Sports League has been created to serve all video sports game fanatics.

    Isha Hutchinson is leveraging his 12-year association with high-level video game competition, league play, and sports video game expertise to distribute his unique services under the new Video Sports League label. The Video Sports League plans to distribute primarily all sports video game competition in a safe and friendly environment where players can compete for cash and prizes in league play (which is held constantly) in top sports video games such as Madden 2002, NBA Live 2002, Knockout Kings, NHL Hockey 2002 and Triple Play 2002 for the Playstation 2, as well as Halo tournaments for the X-Box.

    VSL league play usually lasts about a month, which begins with a free VSL draft seminar in which gamers are given an opportunity to become acclimated with how the VSL draft and league play works. VSL league play includes gamers drafting playbooks, teams, and players; a pre-season, regular season and playoffs to determine who competes for the Video Sports League championship trophy and title of best player in the Dallas / Fort Worth metroplex. The Video Sports League provides the opportunity for gamers to prove that they are the end-all, be-all authority on sports video games among their friends as
    they strive to be the very best video game player in the Dallas / Fort Worth Area.

    Games are played at the Video Sports League's headquarters, which is located at 2530 Electronic Lane, Suite 713, which is off of Walnut Hill and I-35, around the corner from Dave & Busters. Within the next 12 to 18 months, Isha Hutchinson expects to hire approximately 20 employees to staff The Video Sports League's operations, filling positions in purchasing, inventory management, public relations, and customer service.

    "The creation of The Video Sports League extends my longstanding
    commitment to attaining the highest quality of fun and competition," said Hutchinson. For more information contact Isha Hutchinson at the Video Sports League by phone at 214-366-7680, by email at isha@videosportsleague.com or visit http://www.videosportsleague.com .

    New Details on The Hulk
    Steve @ 5:03 PM EDT
    NEW YORK, (Licensing Show, Jacob Javits Center, Booth #1333), June 11
    /PRNewswire/ -- Universal Interactive, Inc. (UI), a studio of Vivendi Universal Games, announced further details today regarding its upcoming video game titles based on Universal Pictures' "The Hulk," the eagerly-anticipated feature film from acclaimed director Ang Lee ("Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon"). Based upon one of Marvel Comics' most memorable and popular superhero series, this film is scheduled for release on June 20, 2003.

    "The Hulk is one of the most physically powerful and emotionally
    compelling superhero characters ever created, and his transition to the world of interactive entertainment will extend all the power of this movie event and create a uniquely exciting game experience," said Jim Wilson, President of Universal Interactive. "UI's upcoming titles will provide Hulk fans and action-adventure gamers with all the thrilling action and adventure they have come to expect from this hugely popular character."

    Universal Interactive has scheduled the release of games based on
    "The Hulk" for the Nintendo GameCube(TM), the PlayStation(R)2 computer
    entertainment system and the Xbox(TM) video game system from Microsoft to coincide with the film's theatrical release. UI also will release a Game Boy(R) Advance title inspired by the classic Marvel Comics series The Incredible Hulk in second quarter 2003. Additional titles may be announced in the future.

    Acclaimed filmmaker Ang Lee's concept for his film adaptation of the classic Marvel Comics series, "The Hulk," combines all the elements of a blockbuster visual effects-intensive superhero movie with the brooding romance and tragedy of Universal's classic horror films. In depicting "The Hulk" as both a superhero and a monster, a wish fulfillment and a nightmare, Lee and his team have stayed true to the early subversive spirit of the character created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, while completely updating "The Hulk" and projecting it into the dangers and aspirations of contemporary times.

    Eric Bana ("Black Hawk Down") stars as scientist Bruce Banner, whose inner demons transform him in the aftermath of a catastrophic experiment. Bana plays both the human Banner and -- through groundbreaking visual effects technology provided by the Oscar(R)-winning Industrial Light and Magic -- the superhuman Hulk. Academy Award(R) winner Jennifer Connelly ("A Beautiful Mind") portrays Betty Ross, whose scientific genius unwittingly helps unleash The Hulk; Nick Nolte ("The Thin Red Line") plays Banner's brilliant father,who unwittingly passes on a tragic legacy to his son; and Sam Elliot ("TheContender") portrays the commander of a top-secret military research center.

    Outlaw Golf Ships to Stores, With Strippers
    Steve @ 4:48 PM EDT
    NEW YORK--(ENTERTAINMENT WIRE)--June 11, 2002--Simon & Schuster Interactive:

    Now Shipping To Retail "Outlaw Golf" Also Features
    Outrageous Commentary by 'The Daily Show's' Steve Carell
    and the Most Advanced Golf Engine Delivering Graphics
    So Rich Players Can Smell the Cut Grass


    The first golf title for the Xbox(TM) video game system from Simon & Schuster Interactive has shipped to retail complete with strippers, biker chicks and the most advanced golf gaming engine ever made.

    "Outlaw Golf" (Rated: "T" by the ESRB; $49.95 estimated street price) is a hardcore golf game with a humorous side that takes gamers to three different courses where you'd never find PGA members.

    Finding Nemo Coming Next Summer
    Steve @ 12:39 PM EDT
    CALABASAS HILLS, CA, June 11, 2002 - THQ Inc. today announced that leading videogame creator Travellers Tales is currently in development on Disney/Pixar’s Finding Nemo for PlayStation 2, Gamecube and Xbox. The games, which have been in development for several months, are scheduled for worldwide release day and date with the Finding Nemo theatrical debut in summer 2003. THQ’s interactive adventures based on Finding Nemo are the first under the Company’s exclusive, multi-property publishing agreement with award-winning interactive entertainment publisher Disney Interactive and the Academy Award®-winning Pixar Animation Studios.

    Travellers Tales’ 15-year history includes work across nearly every game system for nearly every major game publisher including Nintendo, Sega, Sony Computer Entertainment and most recently, Activision and Universal Studios Interactive. The studio’s acclaimed portfolio boasts top-selling games based on many of the popular Disney/Pixar animated theatrical releases including Toy Story, Toy Story 2 and A Bug’s Life. The Travellers Tales website is at www.t-tales.com.

    "Travellers Tales’ unparalleled experience both in developing compelling gaming experiences and working directly with the creative teams at Disney and Pixar make them the best possible studio to bring Finding Nemo to PlayStation 2, Gamecube and Xbox,” said Mike Rubinelli, vice president, product development, THQ. “With more than a year left in development, we are already seeing the underwater world of Finding Nemo come to life on the new systems in rich detail.“

    “We are delighted to be combining our development expertise with THQ’s global publishing powerhouse,” said Jon Burton, Travellers Tales. “It is an honor to be working with the gifted teams at Pixar and Disney once again on what promises to be another blockbuster animated feature film release.”

    New "Blimey" Game Engine Revealed
    Steve @ 12:35 PM EDT
    11th June, Brighton, W. Sussex, UK. The Climax Group today took a major technological step forward in the development of cross-platform games with the unveiling of Blimey, a powerful new game engine that drastically reduces development times. Created by some of the most experienced programmers in the interactive entertainment industry, the Blimey technology has been specifically designed to meet the needs of the Climax Group and allows for the rapid development of games on PS2, Xbox, Gamecube and PC.

    By maintaining a complete layer of abstraction between the main game and console dependant code, the Blimey engine ensures that the amount of code that needs to be re-written for each console is significantly reduced.

    As well as speeding up development times, the power of Blimey enables programmers to create cameras, worlds, objects and AI that work across all formats. In addition to this, the flexibility of the engine allows the programmers, artists and designers to create features specifically for each hardware platform, thereby creating unique gameplay and maximising the power of each of the platforms. Because the Blimey engine dovetails neatly with Climax’s proprietary content creation tools – SuperTed, SuperModel and BLC - the developer can create vast, detailed environments quickly, efficiently whilst maximising the capabilities of each hardware platform. This enables the Climax Group to maximise the efforts of all its programmers, no matter which format they are working on.

    One of the most exciting qualities of Blimey is its compatibility with the company’s enhanced DYNE 2.0 vehicle dynamics engine. Dedicated to the development of ultra realistic motor vehicles, DYNE’s capabilities combined with Blimey’s sophisticated suite of development tools will enable Climax to produce excellent games with superb physics and superior graphics.

    Features of Climax’s Blimey engine:

  • Greatly increases the speed at which designers and artists can view and play their work, allowing for longer periods of gameplay tuning and state-of-the-art visuals.
  • The ability to easily swap features between platforms maximises the development time of all programmers, regardless of which platform they are working on. Cameras, world, objects and AI can quickly be ported from one version to another.
  • Error reporting for debugging
  • Timing functionality to assist with game profiling for high performance
  • File handling system to manage files loaded from DVD, CD, Hard drive or memory card
  • Highly optimised rendering and special effects system supporting Climax’s curved surface geometry technology as well as traditional non-procedural geometry
  • Advance replay camera and in-game camera system
  • Advanced sound effects and music system for each console

    THQ Named "Hot Growth Company"
    Steve @ 12:30 PM EDT
    CALABASAS HILLS, CA – June 10, 2002, THQ Inc. today announced that it has been named to BusinessWeek’s 2002 Hot Growth Companies list. The only videogame publisher included on the publication’s annual report, THQ’s three-year results in sales growth, earnings growth and return on invested capital were recognized. The Company was ranked number 39 of the 100 companies listed.

    Companies qualified for consideration were selected from Standard & Poor’s COMPUSTAT and must have annual sales of more than $50 million and less than $1.5 billion, a current market value greater than $25 million, a current stock price greater than $5 and be actively traded.

    “We’re pleased to be recognized by a publication of BusinessWeek’s prestige and look forward to executing on our continued strategy for growth in the expanding interactive entertainment marketplace,” stated Brain Farrell, president and CEO, THQ.

    Saturday, June 8, 2002

    World Championship Snooker 2003
    Steve @ 2:59 AM EDT
    Codemasters is to extend its award-winning official snooker video game series with the announcement of "World Championship Snooker 2003".

    Officially licensed from World Snooker, the official body of the sport, the game is currently being developed for PlayStation 2, Xbox and PC formats and is expected to launch in winter 2002.

    Continuing the genre-leading brand's reputation as the most realistic snooker video game, World Championship Snooker 2003 will bring all the skill, tension and atmosphere of professional snooker matches to game screens

    Boasting a new complex artificial Intelligence system developed using new neural network techniques and an advanced and enhanced game physics and visual engine, the title will be an engaging and intuitively playable game for the far-reaching audience the sport attracts. In the UK, over seven million people watched the recently televised Embassy World Championship Snooker final - a greater number than the FA Cup Final attracted.

    Presentation will be TV-realistic, with camera views from roving cameras, in-pocket, over-pocket and pocket to player cameras. All the star players featured are being captured in high detail and will be represented in their true likeness thanks to an improved character modelling system (9,000-15,000 polygons per player model). A new animation system will create natural character movements, including full facial expressions.

    With photo realistic balls, tables and venues, the game will be astonishingly detailed right down to particle chalk dust effects and chalk marks on the table felt. In addition to the series of snooker championships featured throughout the game, the title will also introduce two Pool games - 9 Ball Pool and English 8 Ball Pool.

    A unique aiming system will assist players in building high-scoring breaks in a very realistic manner and will ensure the whole playing experience is incredibly immersive.

    Says Mike Hayes, Codemasters' Marketing Director:
    "That the series of World Championship Snooker games has been so popular, with a continual presence in the video game charts, is a testament to the sports on-going popularity across a wide consumer audience.
    "World Championship Snooker 2003 is set to continue the series' success and will be another genre-leading title in Codemasters' sports game portfolio."

    World Championship Snooker 2003 is currently in development at Blade Interactive Studios, the team responsible for previous PlayStation editions of the series, and will launch this winter for PlayStation 2, Xbox and PC.

    Mike Tyson Hardest Boxer Ever?
    Steve @ 2:57 AM EDT
    On the day Codemasters launch "Mike Tyson Heavyweight Boxing" for PlayStation 2 and the eve before the Tyson v Lewis fight, Codemasters has revealed its Hard as Nails survey:

  • It's official - Mike Tyson is the hardest boxer ever! Not only did 72% of people surveyed vote him as the hardest boxer currently in the ring, but 50% voted him the hardest boxer of all time, with Muhammad Ali close behind with 44% of the votes.

  • It appears that Tyson's intense drive to beat Lennox Lewis is the key to his fearsome reputation. Most people think that you would be mad to get in the ring with Tyson, in fact 32% of the nation voted madness as being the top requirement to being hard, closely followed by determination to win at 28%. Other requirements voted for were brawn at 12%, fitness at 8%, brains and size both at 6% and speed and a bad childhood both coming last at 4%.

  • The general fear of Tyson's power and aggression is clearly demonstrated in that 68% of those surveyed felt that they'd be able to last for one minute in the ring with him, with a foolish 2% actually believing that they would win!

  • It seems that Tyson's brutality could be put to some good use on certain celebrities! When asked who they would most like to put in the ring with Mike Tyson, Posh Spice received a majority 34% of votes, with Jamie Oliver close behind at 32%.

  • When it comes to which sport the public perceives as the most dangerous, boxing is considered to be even more hazardous than mountaineering and Formula One racing, receiving 34% of the votes.

    Codemasters UK conducted an online survey of 1000 people

    Game web site: http://www.codemasters.com/mthb

    Thursday, June 6, 2002

    Online Gaming Forcast Set To Increase
    Steve @ 1:54 PM EDT
    SAN DIEGO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--June 6, 2002--A new research report from DFC Intelligence forecasts that 114 million people worldwide are expected to be playing online games by the year 2006.

    Furthermore, online game usage is expected to increase nearly six-fold in that period. According to David Cole, president of DFC Intelligence, "Online games should garner significant usage over the next few years. The major question mark is whether individual companies will be able to monetize that usage."

    The report also discusses how top online games are now able to generate revenue in excess of $100 million each. "The end of 2001 saw another major success story with the release of Mythic Entertainment's Dark Age of Camelot, one of the fastest selling online games of all-time. This could bode well for some of the big budget online games being released in 2002," said Cole.

    However, Cole also notes that the online game market is still in its infancy and already there are substantially more products in development than the market can support.

    The report also looks closely at the issue of console online gaming. "Microsoft's Xbox Live service is probably the biggest investment in online games yet. It is likely to be a major indicator of the future of console online gaming," said Cole.

    The report goes into detail about the difference between Microsoft's approach to online gaming and Sony and Nintendo's approach. DFC forecasts that by 2006, 23 million consumers worldwide will be playing console games online.

    The 400-page report, The Online Game Market 2002, provides a complete market overview. Issues covered include the history of online games, business models, operating costs, technology considerations, online distribution, advertising, game genres, consumer types, playing online via video game console systems, and detailed company profiles.

    DFC Intelligence is a research firm focused on interactive and digital entertainment. For more information contact DFC at 858/780-9680 or go to the DFC Web site at www.dfcint.com.

    Falcone: Into the Maelstrom Coming This November
    Steve @ 1:47 PM EDT
    Come this November, console gamers will be pulling on foil eye-patches and spraying the pet parrot silver when Virgin Interactive's piratical space-opera boards Xbox and PlayStation 2 in December.

    Boasting the sublime talents of internal development team, 'Point Blank' and of course the infamous 2000AD writer Robbie Morrison and artist Jim Murray; Falcone melds the involving storyline and visuals associated with graphic novels and the frenetic gameplay of a futuristic console shooter.

    In Falcone, the player takes on the role of our eponymous buccaneering hero as he's launched into a mixture of space-based ship-to-ship combat and first-person-shoot 'em up.

    An absorbing plot which and twists and turns like an Asimov novel sees our hero pitched against not only his old buccaneering leader, Black Dog, but a brand new threat in the form of the Legion.

    This new enemy has been vomited forth from the Maelstrom - or black hole - of the title with a mysterious agenda on a colossal scale. As the plot unfolds, Falcone will find himself inextricably entwined in the Legion's machinations and eventually seeking its elusive leader.

    Falcone offers something more than the average blaster. The use of the latest build of the Unreal Warfare graphics engine enables a seamless transition between piloting the fighters and disembarking inside the behemoth spaceships, adding unique new tactical considerations. Not only that, but the interplay in multi-player games is set to make combat a truly ballistic experience.

    Sophisticated enemy AI will provide a stern test for single gamers. However, Falcone won't be alone against the tidal wave of robotic foes the Legion throw against the gamer. As his reputation grows after each successful plundering mission, so will his band of followers.

    These new recruits provide invaluable expertise on later missions providing a means to infiltrate previously secluded areas, obtain information and lend a hand in firefights.

    Brace the main sail and shiver your cyber timbers. Falcone: Into the Maelstrom will be available from November 2002 on Xbox and PlayStation 2 In December.

    Features

  • A truly happy marriage of graphic novel-quality visuals and compelling gameplay.
  • Seamless transition between piloting ships and FPS elements of the game.
  • 12 single player missions.
  • 5 massive multi-player maps.
  • Limb Severing and Dismemberment system enables maximum carnage in firefights.
  • Character artwork and models created by 2000AD and Batman artist, Jim Murray.
  • An integral plot written by Judge Dredd writer, Robbie Morrison.
  • Falcone: Into the Maelstrom uses the very latest Unreal engine.

    Wednesday, June 5, 2002

    Exclusive BloodRayne Movie Trailer
    Steve @ 10:49 AM EDT
    The worlds of the natural and supernatural collide online as Majesco, one of the fastest-growing publishers of interactive entertainment, today announced the launch of BloodRayne.com, the official site for its atmospheric new action-thriller video game, BloodRayne. Premiering on the site today is a specially created CGI movie trailer for BloodRayne, which offers a cinematic look at one of the most anticipated horror games of the year.

    "We are excited about the launch of BloodRayne.com, as it is an integral part of the comprehensive marketing plan for BloodRayne and will provide a definitive site that consumers can turn to for the latest information on the franchise," said Ken Gold, Vice President of Marketing. "More than your traditional video game website, BloodRayne.com introduces visitors to a truly interactive environment that will submerge them into the mind and mayhem that is BloodRayne."

    In addition to the cinematic trailer, the BloodRayne website will also include continually updated movies and screen shots, additional background on the interactive world’s most deliciously wicked hunter of evil, unique downloads and other special features for both high and low bandwidth users

    Tuesday, June 4, 2002

    Morrowind In Stores This Friday
    Steve @ 1:33 PM EDT
    Bethesda Softworks(tm) announced today that its highly-anticipated role-playing game, The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind(tm) for the Xbox(tm) video game system from Microsoft, will be in stores Friday, June 7. The PC version of Morrowind, released in May, has already won numerous awards and critical acclaim for its outstanding graphics and groundbreaking gameplay.

    Morrowind is an epic, open-ended single-player RPG in which a player can create and play any kind of character imaginable. Players can choose to follow the main storyline and find the source of the evil blight that plagues the land, or set off on their own to explore strange locations and develop their character based on their actions throughout the game. Featuring stunning 3D graphics, open-ended gameplay, and an incredible level of detail and interactivity, Morrowind promises to be an experience like no other.

    Tremor Developer Featured In Game Magazine
    Steve @ 1:20 PM EDT
    BURBANK, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--June 4, 2002--Burbank, CA based video game software developer Tremor Entertainment, Inc., today announced that a games industry magazine, Game Developer www.gdmag.com has featured Emil Dotchevski, co-lead programmer on the THE UNSEEN, Tremor's first title for Microsoft's XBOX. Microsoft recently unveiled a trailer of The Unseen at the games industry's largest exposition, E3. The software giant had zealously kept the game under wraps until last week, but has now officially added it to its lineup of upcoming Xbox titles.

    Dotchevski has developed a new "3D game engine," which has a complex C++ code-base that manages all programmable aspects of a game and enables designers to create superior and interactive entertainment experiences.

    "The idea of using C++ for scripting may seem strange at first," said Emil Dotchevski, co-lead programmer for Tremor Entertainment. "However, C++ unlike many other languages directly support several different programming techniques. It's like a bag of tricks that allows many, often very different solutions to a program."

    Game Developer, the print publication is written specifically for creators of entertainment software and provides technical and industry information to over 35,000 professional game developers. In each monthly issue, industry leaders and game development experts share technical solutions, review new products, and discuss strategies for creating innovative, successful games.

    Monday, June 3, 2002

    CDV Announces 3 Xbox Games
    Steve @ 9:12 PM EDT
    CARY, N.C.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--June 3, 2002--CDV Software Entertainment AG, one of the leading German publishers and distributors of gaming software, today announced three upcoming titles for the Xbox(TM) videogame system from Microsoft. In a continuing effort to diversify consumer offerings, CDV is planning to release "CORE," "Project Nomads," and "Vultures" in 2003.

    "The strength of our three Xbox games speaks for itself: the cutting edge action-adventure title `CORE,' Jules Verne-inspired fantasy `Project Nomads' and action-packed coliseum epic `Vultures,' which is available only on Xbox," said Wolfgang Gabler, chief executive officer of CDV AG. "With these promising Xbox games in the works, we are looking forward to our debut into the console market."

    CDV's Xbox(TM) lineup includes:

    "Vultures"

    The action-packed "Vultures," an Xbox-exclusive title, is a 3D fighting game in a fascinating post-apocalyptic setting. The captivating game features outstanding 3D graphics and realistically animated characters derived from the latest motion capture technology. Only by succeeding in the gladiatorial arena through a combination of skill, dexterity and cold-blooded determination, will a Vulture move up in the ranks and obtain new weaponry. The player can compete as 16 different gladiators with varying combat styles and dozens of weapons and large armories.

    "CORE"

    "CORE" is an action-adventure game sure to thrill Xbox fans with its top-notch graphics, crazy characters and whacked-out scenarios. Centered around an adaptable metal suit that enhances the wearer's abilities, "CORE" introduces three characters: Pixie, Madboy and Rex the dog. "CORE" is the first game with character-specific points of view, including Rex's "Smell View." The player can choose a different character to tackle each new scenario -- will Pixie's climbing skills best suit the task? Or perhaps Madboy's mighty wallop? Guest characters, including Fluppo the bird and Fijona the Mermaid, also expand the player's strength.

    "Project Nomads"

    Set in a Jules Verne-esque world of floating islands, "Project Nomads" is a 3D action-adventure that incorporates the best in action and strategy. As the result of a terrible disaster, the Nomads planet is splintered into fragments. The few remaining survivors must build fortresses to fend against hostile attacks. As a flying wizard/engineer, the player can build scores of factories, power plants, defense units and zeppelins. With beautiful graphics and innovative gameplay, "Project Nomads" is poised to make a splash next year on Xbox.