NewsPro Archive

June 2004

Tuesday, June 29, 2004

Close Combat: First to Fight Screens
Steve @ 5:54 PM EDT
The Marine Corps. is the United States' only forward deployed military force. They leap across land and water in an effort to shock an enemy into submission. The Marines are the razor sharp tip of America's military spear. These men have volunteered to pay the ultimate price to defend a set of values. They live their life by the code of honor, courage and commitment. It is difficult to become a United States Marine. Most years, 9 out of 10 applicants to the corps are rejected. Those who make it, will push both their body and their minds to the absolute limit. The Marine is a smart and tough warrior. Marines are symbols not just of military might, but of the highest ethical standards. They are the best America has to offer. Close Combat: First to Fight is the closest that you can get on an Xbox or PC to becoming a Marine Corps. Fire Team Leader in modern urban combat.

Close Combat: First to Fight Screens

New Conflict: Vietnam Screens
Steve @ 5:50 PM EDT
We've obtained the newest screen shots of Conflict: Vietnam. Check them out!

Conflict: Vietnam Screens

Friday, June 25, 2004

Samurai Warriors Goes Gold
Steve @ 5:02 PM EDT
Burlingame, CA - June 25, 2004 - KOEI, recognized worldwide as a leading brand of strategy and action games, today announced that Samurai Warriors(TM) for the Xbox(R) video game system has gone gold. The Tactical Action game will ship to North American retailers on July 13, 2004. Gamers can still pre-order the game now at ebgames.com and gamestop.com.

About Samurai Warriors for Xbox

SAMURAI WARRIORS for Xbox includes new features exclusive to the console including in-game Dolby(R) Digital, and as many as ten more characters per screen for an even greater challenge.

Set in 16th century Japan, the fall of the Ashikaga Shogunate caused a series of major wars between individual warlords vying for power. This era in Japanese history became known as the Sengoku or "warring states" period. SAMURAI WARRIORS reveals the stories from this dramatic era and combines it with the Tactical Action excitement for which KOEI has become known.

Gamers can play as the heroic Yukimura Sanada or other legendary warriors including the powerful Nobunaga Oda, and the mysterious ninja, Hanzo Hattori. Their quests will take players to the sprawling Japanese battlefields of Okehazama and Kawanakajima and inside the embattled walls of Osaka Castle. Through 90 stages of epic battles, players will come face-to-face with gun-toting troops, echelons of ninja, and deadly kunoichi (female ninja).

SAMURAI WARRIORS features a new Active Mission System, or AMS, that triggers distinct missions during battle. With 500 variations, the series of missions is unique with each play. The new Auto-Formation System, or AFS, dynamically generates castle levels offering a new experience with each play. With the game's RPG-style Character Skills System, players can enhance a character's abilities as they progress through the game. Furthermore, the game's steeds now have the ability to jump and attack enemy soldiers.

Learn more about the game and the history behind the characters on the game's official minisite at http://www.samurai-warriors.com

Ninja Gaiden Downloadable Content Coming
Steve @ 4:59 PM EDT
Tecmo(R) and Xbox(TM) Live announced today their plan to expand the Ninja Gaiden playing experience with additional downloadable content which will be available in the beginning of August via Xbox Live. The evolved version will contain a wide array of additions including new camera and action engines that will improve upon the already superior game engine, new challenging enemies, new costumes, an arsenal of new weapons, and more. The new download was created to go side-by-side with the second round of the online Ninja Gaiden Tournament, named The Master Ninja Tournament, and will also be openly available to anyone with an Xbox Live account and a copy of Ninja Gaiden.

"Not only has Ninja Gaiden proven to be a massively successful and highly acclaimed game, it has broken records! The first round of The Master Ninja Tournament was so popular that it became the most participated tournament in Xbox Live's history," said John Inada, head of Tecmo Marketing. "Itagaki continues to dazzle gamers with his innovative game design, and he has pulled out all of the stops for the new downloadable content making it a must-have addition for our fans."

Feedback from Ninja Gaiden fans was taken into account when designing the added features. The new camera system enhances playability by changing the player's perspective relative to the enemies' position, while the new action engine will make the combat system more extreme and faster than ever before. New weapons and smarter enemies are just a few more of the features that complete the downloadable package.

"Keep in mind that Ninja Gaiden's main concept is its strength as an action game. The new downloadable content will only expand the envelope of this concept," said Tomonobu Itagaki, Tecmo's head creator of Ninja Gaiden. "The second round of The Master Ninja Tournament is formatted for participants to download the new content, play through the game from beginning to end and then post their scores online to see how they ranked against other players worldwide. If they are confident in their Ninja Gaiden skills, players must take on this challenge."

Fans who have mastered the original game, which was heralded as "tough to beat," are in for even more of a challenge in the new download. The enemy characters will be programmed to have even more advanced A.I., making the game wickedly exciting the second time around.

The three top ranked winners from the first round of The Master Ninja Tournament will be announced this week, followed by an announcement next week about the details on the second round of The Master Ninja Tournament.

Atari Ships 2.5 Million Units of DRIV3R
Steve @ 4:58 PM EDT
NEW YORK--June 24, 2004--Atari, Inc. today announced that it has shipped 2.5 million units of its highly anticipated DRIV3R to retails outlets worldwide. Since DRIV3R hit store shelves on June 21 in the U.S. and June 22 in Europe and Australia, consumer demand has been extremely strong.

"Our worldwide shipment is right in line with our plan for DRIV3R," said Bruno Bonnell, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Atari. "The global Driver fan base is as robust and passionate as ever, as indicated by retail reaction in the U.S., the U.K., Germany, France, and other key territories," Mr. Bonnell stated.

At Electronics Boutique Holdings Corp., one of the largest specialty retailers for video games in the U.S., Debbie Mola, Divisional Vice President of Merchandising, said, "With just three days of sales, DRIV3R is certain to be one of our top three sellers for the month of June. We had high expectations for the title and it is meeting them."

DRIV3R for the PlayStation(R)2 computer entertainment system and the Xbox(TM) video game system from Microsoft is currently available worldwide with an estimated retail price in North America of $49.95 and an ESRB rating of 'M' for Mature. For more information on DRIV3R, please visit the game's official Web site at http://www.DRIV3R.com

Showdown: Legends of Wrestling Released
Steve @ 4:52 PM EDT
GLEN COVE, NY, June 24, 2004 – Packing more raw power and legendary names than any pay-per-view event or video game before it, Acclaim Entertainment, Inc. today unleashed the ultimate wrestling supercard with SHOWDOWN™: Legends of Wrestling™ for the PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system and Xbox® video game system from Microsoft.

Developed by Acclaim Studios Austin, SHOWDOWN™: Legends of Wrestling™ was designed in conjunction with professional wrestling experts and features 73 of the greatest wrestlers in history, including Hulk Hogan, Sting, Andre the Giant, Ultimate Warrior, Randy “Macho Man” Savage, Bret “Hitman” Hart, Diamond Dallas Page, Jake “The Snake” Roberts, “Rowdy” Roddy Piper, Eddie Guerrero and “The American Dream” Dusty Rhodes. SHOWDOWN™: Legends of Wrestling™ is also the only video game that allows players to recreate the greatest matches of all-time, including Hulk Hogan vs. Andre the Giant in the Pontiac Silverdome; as well as create the never-before-seen dream matches, such as Sting vs. Ultimate Warrior, that have lingered unanswered for years in the minds and hearts of wrestling fans.

“SHOWDOWN™: Legends of Wrestling™ delivers what fans of the series have been asking for since the brand’s inception – an incredible, legendary roster of talent, authentic wrestler moves and attributes, great graphics, broadcast-style presentation, and vast match types and replay value,” said Nique Fajors, Vice President of Brand Management for Acclaim. “No other video game can deliver the thrill of the greatest wrestlers and matches of all-time as SHOWDOWN™: Legends of Wrestling™ and we are pleased to offer wrestling fans the opportunity to step inside the squared circle and experience that thrill first-hand.”

“OH YEAH! The time has finally come for ‘Macho Madness’ to rock the ring and drop the big elbow in SHOWDOWN™: Legends of Wrestling™,” said Randy ‘Macho Man’ Savage. “I don’t care who I get in the ring with, or what kind of match it is; the bottom line is that I’m going to take care of business like only the Macho Man can! Dig it!”

“Hello Warriors. Once again, as I run through the arena and shake the ropes up to the heavens, I bring with me the strength of each of you to settle the scores of the past and the unknown feuds of the future,” added Ultimate Warrior. “SHOWDOWN™: Legends of Wrestling™ marks a new beginning that we will take together to unleash the power of the warrior. Always Believe!”

“The Stinger is ready to return to the squared circle and put the 'Scorpion Deathlock’ on anyone who stands in his path,” added Sting. “I came back to wrestle in SHOWDOWN™: Legends of Wrestling™ for one reason - to put the ‘splash’ on all of the rumors and prove who’s really the man.” WHOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!”

“Yo cutters, are you ready to feel the BANG?,” concluded Diamond Dallas Page. “Well, ready or not, the three-time, three-time, three-time World’s Heavyweight Champion is ready to bring it to any and all comers in SHOWDOWN™: Legends of Wrestling™. “This game is as real and sharp as my ‘diamond cutter’, and playing it is the only way you can step into the boots of me, DDP. And that’s not a bad thing; it’s a good thing. So, get ready to feel the BANG!”

SHOWDOWN™: Legends of Wrestling™ challenges players to battle through the annals of time, clashing with the greatest grapplers to set foot in the squared circle. Create special dream matches and unlock classic feuds in the first-ever era-based career mode to see if you have what it takes to beat the icons of professional wrestling – Finish the Feud! SHOWDOWN™: Legends of Wrestling™ offers an array of exciting new features, including:

§ Never-before-seen Classic Matches that recreate the greatest feuds of all-time, including their authentic arenas from around the world, such as Madison Square Garden, The Omni, Cow Palace, Pontiac Silverdome, L.A. Sports Arena, Skydome, Mid-South Coliseum, Cobo Arena, Greensboro Coliseum and more;

§ Travel down the path of pain through the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s in the first–ever, era-based SHOWDOWN Challenge career mode;

§ First-ever three-man commentary with Tony Schiavone, Larry Zbyszko and Bobby “The Brain” Heenan – making every match a main event;

§ Authentic entrances and taunts for each Legend, including all new licensed music composed by “Mouth of the South” Jimmy Hart;

§ All-new matches including Table, First Blood, Ladder, Steel Cage, Iron Man, Battle Royal, Hardcore, 6 & 8 Man Tag, Elimination, Handicap, plus 3- and 4-Way Dances;

§ Game play tutorial from the “excellence of execution” Bret “Hitman” Hart;

§ Wrestle with the greatest tag teams ever such as The Road Warriors, Steiner Brothers, British Bulldogs, Koloffs, Nasty Boys, Rock-n-Roll Express and more;

§ Wrestling’s greatest managers lead you to the ring, including Bobby “The Brain” Heenan, The Grand Wizard, Captain Lou Albano, “Mouth of the South” Jimmy Hart and Mr. Fuji;

§ Create-A-Legend returns with all new textures and body geometry allowing gamers to make their ultimate icon of wrestling;

§ All-new Edit-A-Legend lets players customize the movesets their favorite wrestlers;

§ Brand new “Ready to Brawl” controls for ultimate mat mayhem.

SHOWDOWN™: Legends of Wrestling™ is currently available nationwide for the PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system and Xbox® video game system from Microsoft, each at a suggested retail price of $49.99. For more information on game, please visit http://www.legendsshowdown.com

Thursday, June 24, 2004

Colin McRae Rally 2005 New Video
Steve @ 1:27 PM EDT
New York, NY – June 24, 2004 – Codemasters, a global interactive entertainment software publisher, announced today the availability of a new video for Colin McRae Rally 2005, the latest installment in the company’s popular rally racing series. Colin McRae Rally 2005 is scheduled for release this Fall for the Xbox® video game system from Microsoft complete with online gameplay via Xbox Live.

The new video highlights several of the 30 cars featured in the game, including the Subaru 22B STI, Audi Sport Quattro Rallye, MG Sebring Special and the 1967 Morris Mini Cooper S. Modeled with extraordinary attention to detail, the cars in Colin McRae Rally 2005 are authentic, each handling the road according to how the car would perform under realistic conditions.

But the cars aren’t just for show – in Colin McRae Rally 2005, the stages are designed for players to take advantage of the savage speeds the cars are capable of. Drivers will find themselves hurtling through forests, villages and across the countryside with their driving skills the only difference between disaster and glory.

To download the new movie, please visit http://www.codemasters.com/colinmcrae2005

Colin McRae Rally 2005 Key Features:

  • Online play for up to 8 players with Xbox Live
  • Fastest speeds in the series with more cars, more stages and new challenges
  • Over 30 featured cars including the Volkswagen Golf MK5, Lancia Stratos, Alfa Romeo 147 GTA, Mitsubishi Lancer Evo VIII, Peugeot 206 and distinctive VW Beetle RSI
  • 9 international locations including the UK, Sweden, Finland, Australia, Greece, Japan, Spain and the U.S.
  • New non-linear Career Challenge with more than 20 individual rally events and 300 stages
  • Individual damage model for each car featuring paintwork scrapes and a “dazed” visual effect when recovering from a crash

    Top 10 Xbox Games of May 2004
    Steve @ 1:23 PM EDT
    Ranked by units sold, these are from NPD for May 2004.

    1. Red Dead Revolver - Take 2
    2. Halo - Microsoft
    3. Fight Night 2004 - EA
    4. NBA Ballers - Midway
    5. Splinter Cell: Pandora Tomorrow - Ubisoft
    6. RalliSport Challenge 2 - Microsoft
    7. Hitman Contracts - Eidos
    8. MVP Baseball 2004 - EA
    9. Van Helsing - Vivendi Universal
    10. Ninja Gaiden - Tecmo

    Tuesday, June 22, 2004

    ESPN NFL 2K5 Officially Launching at $19.99 Price Point
    Steve @ 4:21 PM EDT
    SAN RAFAEL, CA-June 22, 2004- ESPN Videogames confirmed today that the critically acclaimed ESPN NFL 2K5 will be available at the attractive retail price of $19.99. This compelling price point is one part of an aggressive marketing strategy that has been implemented since the announcement of a sales and distribution relationship between Take-Two Interactive Software and Sega Corporation for ESPN Videogames.

    "For years, our fans and critics have been heralding our title as the ultimate football experience," said Greg Thomas, President of Visual Concepts - makers of ESPN Videogames. "We've pulled out every stop to make this the best, most feature-rich NFL title on the market. In fact, we're even offering the deepest online experience this year. Now, consumers score by getting the best game at an unbeatable price."

    Winner of numerous awards at E3 (Electronic Entertainment Expo) 2004, including www.Gamespot.com's Best Sports Game award, ESPN NFL 2K5 continues the 2K series' tradition of innovation and quality gameplay by introducing groundbreaking new features. The V.I.P. System(tm) (Virtual Identity Profile) allows players to keep track of a human opponent's behavior, then save and re-load the behavior, allowing true competitive play at any time. Maximum Tackle(tm) gives gamers an unparalleled level of control from both sides of the field, from dishing out big hits as the defense, to slipping out of tackles for extra yardage as the ball carrier. Authentic ESPN Presentation elements include ESPN's Chris Berman and Suzy Kolber, stylized on-screen graphics, ESPN's exclusive Skycam(tm) and a full franchise show featuring ESPN personalities Mel Kiper, Jr. and Trey Wingo. ESPN Videogames delivers the new standard in online play consisting of competitive tournaments, deep online statistics and multiplayer leagues - all offered at no additional cost to the consumer.

    ESPN NFL 2K5 and other ESPN Videogames titles are produced by Visual Concepts, SEGA's sports studio. For more information, log on to http://www.espnvideogames.com

    IndyCar Series 2005 Ships
    Steve @ 4:13 PM EDT
    New York, NY – June 22, 2004 – Codemasters, a global interactive entertainment software publisher, announced today that IndyCar® Series 2005 has shipped to North American retail outlets for the Xbox® video game system from Microsoft. The game will be available at a suggested retail price of $19.99, offering incredible value to Xbox and Xbox Live gamers.

    IndyCar Series 2005 offers 220+mph online gameplay via Xbox Live, where drivers can compete head-to-head with up to 12 players simultaneously. The game contains 15 IndyCar Series tracks and is the only title to feature The Greatest Spectacle in Racing®: the Indy 500®.. Players can race individual tracks or re-create a full racing season as a leading IRL driver, including newly crowned Indy 500 winner Buddy Rice, Tony Kanaan, two-time series champion Sam Hornish Jr. and two-time Indy 500 winner Helio Castroneves. New additions to the game also include improved graphics, realistic rear-view mirrors, steering wheel support and an updated Masterclass training mode narrated by Bombardier Rookie of the Year Dan Wheldon.

    “Taking IndyCar Series online brings the game to a whole new level,” said Tom Bass, senior product manager, Codemasters. “Couple this with many additional year-over-year improvements and a competitive price of $19.99, and IndyCar Series 2005 is a must-own for all Xbox racing fans.”

    A completely authentic and realistic IRL® racing experience,

    IndyCar Series 2005 features:

  • Head-to-head Xbox Live with up to 12 players simultaneously
  • 15 IndyCar Series tracks, including the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Texas Motor Speedway, Chicagoland Speedway, Pikes Peak International Raceway and the newly featured Twin Ring Motegi in Japan
  • All-new steering wheel support with in-game adjustments
  • Realistically functioning rear-view mirrors so drivers can watch their back
  • Official drivers, tracks, rules and sponsors of the IndyCar Series
  • Ability to re-create a full season competing as a favorite driver, including 2003 series champion Scott Dixon, Dario Franchitti, 2003 Indy 500 winner Gil de Ferran, two-time Indy 500 winner Al Unser Jr., Tomas Scheckter, Sarah Fisher and more
  • Up to 33 cars on the track simultaneously
  • Masterclass training mode narrated by Bombardier and Autosport Rookie of the Year Dan Wheldon

    IndyCar Series 2005 features an advanced and updated genetic “AI” system that renders each race as a unique experience. The “AI” drivers actually race and make dynamic strategic decisions, defend their position, draft to pass other drivers and even make mistakes.

    MTV Music Generator 3: This Is The Remix Released
    Steve @ 4:08 PM EDT
    New York, N.Y. – (June 22, 2004) – Codemasters, a leading global publisher of interactive entertainment, and MTV: Music Television announced today that the highly anticipated MTV Music Generator 3: This Is The Remix video game has shipped to retail outlets nationwide. The latest installment in the series offers the ability to create, remix and display personalized music creations and is now available for the PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system and the XboxÒ videogame system from Microsoft.

    “We’re excited to bring the third installment in our Music Generator series to consumers this summer,” said Tony Calandra, Director, Interactive Products, MTV. “The MTV Music Generator 3 is a great tool for aspiring deejays and music fans and is yet another example of how MTV brings its viewers closer to their favorite music and artists.”

    MTV Music Generator 3: This is the Remix allows players to create and sample original music tracks as well as remix 10 of the hottest songs from today’s biggest hip-hop and electronica artists. Featuring Snoop Dogg’s “From Da Chuuuch To Da Palace,” OutKast’s “The Way You Move” and “Get Busy” from Sean Paul, players can mix with the best and choose from a wide variety of samples, offering unlimited potential for creating innovative tracks from multiple music genres. Enhancing the experience, players also have infinite capabilities to bring their favorite artists together by incorporating song samples from their own music collections into their creations.

    For more information about MTV Music Generator 3:This is the Remix, including game features, movies and screenshots, please visit www.codemasters.com/mtvmg3

    Monday, June 21, 2004

    Street Racing Syndicate Website Launches
    Steve @ 5:47 PM EDT
    San Jose, Ca. (June 21, 2004) – Tune it up and turn it loose! Leading video games developer and publisher Namco Hometek Inc. announced today the release of a dedicated web site for Street Racing Syndicate (SRS), one of the most realistic, high-speed multiplayer street racing games to date, due out this August for the PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system, the Xbox videogame system from Microsoft and the Nintendo GameCube.

    To truly experience the rush of the world of street racing, and get an inside look at SRS before it launches, fans can check out Namco’s new dedicated game web site at http://www.srsgame.com . The latest screenshots, trailers and wallpapers highlight some of the game’s best features including extensive car customization, realistic damage, and a huge variety of day and night races on the highways and in the cities of L.A., Philadelphia and Miami.

    Visitors to the site can also see some of the hottest rides from the game in the SRS Showroom – including real licensed vehicles ripped from the authentic world of street racing - and start to plan their individual customization with detailed licensed after-market parts before the streets even open. Keeping with the adrenaline-filled high-stakes world of street racing, the website showcases one of SRS’ most unique multiplayer online features – the ability to actually challenge opponents online to all or nothing pink slip races. When they’re done going head-to-head just for fun, players actually put their car on the line and try to win their rival’s car, while risking losing theirs forever!

    Additionally today, Namco released a new wallpaper ripped straight from the game’s never-before-seen opening movie. Don’t forget to register on the site to get access to news and other hot exclusive content as it comes!

    MLB SlugFest: Loaded Ships to Stores
    Steve @ 5:20 PM EDT
    CHICAGO--June 21, 2004--Midway Games Inc., a leading interactive entertainment publisher and developer, announced today that MLB SlugFest(R): Loaded(TM), the newest title in the company's exclusive, adrenaline-style baseball series, has shipped for the PlayStation(R)2 computer entertainment system and the Xbox(R) video game system from Microsoft.

    MLB SlugFest: Loaded is the only baseball videogame for the 2004 season featuring Midway's classic fast and furious gameplay with hard tags and over-the-top animations. This year's SlugFest features today's greatest baseball players and is "loaded" with over-the-top abilities, including turbo-speed running, highlight reel-worthy fielding, earth-shaking collisions and, as one would expect from a Midway Sports(TM) title, the ability for a player to catch fire and turbo charge the game action. The game also features online play for both PlayStation 2 and Xbox and Loaded is the first ever game to incorporate Microsoft's new Xbox Live 3.0 features.

    "MLB SlugFest: Loaded is the most in-depth product in our successful baseball franchise," said Steve Allison, chief marketing officer, Midway. "By adding the deepest franchise engine available with Baseball Mogul(R), a full online mode, and even more classic, over-the-top gameplay than ever before, this year's SlugFest truly lives up to its 'Loaded' name."

    Atari Ships DRIV3R
    Steve @ 5:18 PM EDT
    LOS ANGELES – June 21, 2004 – Atari has shipped DRIV3R, the highly anticipated action-driving game for the PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system and the Xbox™ video game system from Microsoft, to retail stores worldwide today. DRIV3R is an action-packed driving-adventure game that recreates the excitement of a Hollywood blockbuster car chase and plays like an interactive movie.

    “We are proud to bring one of the most anticipated console games of the year to store shelves,” said Wim Stocks, Executive Vice President, Sales and Marketing for Atari. “Reflections has done it again, expanding on the ground-breaking Driver franchise which set the bar for an entire genre and that gamers worldwide have known and loved for more than four years. The behind-the-wheel experience in DRIV3R – as in past installments – is second to none, from tire squealing car chases to body panel-bashing vehicle destruction. DRIV3R will keep gamers on the edge of their seats and looking for safety belts in their couches!”

    The next evolution of the hugely popular and successful Driver franchise, DRIV3R is developed by Reflections Interactive (an Atari studio), the masterminds of the franchise, which has sold more than 12 million units worldwide to date. DRIV3R stays true to its roots, incorporating the cinematic gameplay and gritty street crime of its predecessors with ground-breaking graphics and three mammoth, wide-open city environments.

    Featuring Hollywood-level production values and a gripping, narrative story line, DRIV3R casts players once again as Tanner, a jaw breaking, no-holds-barred undercover cop and master “Wheelman” who does whatever it takes to bring the bad guys down. This time, Tanner, alongside his longtime partner, Tobias Jones, must infiltrate a global car theft ring, surviving high-octane car chases and fierce on-foot firefights while tailing gangsters, chasing witnesses, stealing cars and unloading huge clips of ammo to bring the criminals to justice.

    Game Features

    § Major voice acting talent is involved in DRIV3R, including Michael Madsen as Tanner, Mickey Rourke as the sinister Jericho, Michelle Rodriguez as the sexy Calita and Ving Rhames as Tanner’s partner, Tobias Jones

    § Three gigantic and true-to-life cities, including Miami, Nice and Istanbul, with more than 35,000 buildings hand-placed and decorated for intricate detail and ultimate immersion

    § More than 70 controllable vehicles, including motorcycles, boats, police cars, vans, mopeds, muscle cars and fully articulated 18 wheelers

    § More than 150 miles of major highways and city streets to explore plus countless uncharted open areas, alleys, dirt roads and smaller byways

    § A stunning graphics engine capable of creating massive photorealistic environments – both indoor and outdoor – filled with hundreds of destructible objects to be smashed and blasted both in vehicles and on foot

    § Complete destruction model allows vehicles to crumble realistically as they are bashed, smashed and driven to the limits of their design

    § Unmatched driving and physics engine creates the most exciting and fun vehicle performance in any game

    § A deep, narrative storyline that plays like an interactive movie, recreating the attitude, action and car chase sequences of modern gangster films like Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, Snatch and Pulp Fiction; nearly an hour of CGI video fleshes out the plot with dramatic scenes of sinister crime syndicate dealings

    § Multiple solutions to missions allow players to plan strategically before they move in on the crooks and choose between a full frontal assault or a more surreptitious alternative, depending on gameplay tastes

    § Driver’s signature “Film Director” function, which records every move made in the game, allows gamers to place cameras anywhere and direct and save their own Hollywood car chase to memory cards; Xbox players can upload their homemade films to Xbox Live! for users worldwide to download and view

    Sorrent Inc., a global leader in mobile entertainment, in partnership with Atari, has also shipped DRIV3R worldwide for mobile phones, featuring both in-car and out-of-car game play from a top-down perspective. With 16 missions available in Miami, Nice and Istanbul, DRIV3R for mobile phones features multiple vehicles and gameplay that becomes more challenging as the game progresses. As gamers successfully complete the Undercover Mode on the mobile game, cheat codes for the Xbox and PlayStation®2 versions are unlocked.

    DRIV3R is currently available worldwide with an estimated retail price in North America of $49.95 and an ESRB rating of ‘M’ for Mature. For more information on DRIV3R, please visit the game’s official Web site at www.DRIV3R.com

    Friday, June 18, 2004

    Shadow Ops: Red Mercury Ships
    Steve @ 4:49 AM EDT
    LOS ANGELES--(BUSINESS WIRE)--June 16, 2004--Atari has shipped "Shadow Ops: Red Mercury," the highly anticipated cinematic first-person action game for the Xbox(TM) video game system from Microsoft, to retail stores worldwide this week. "Shadow Ops: Red Mercury" offers players a gripping movie-style experience through its unprecedented Hollywood production values, intense action and ground-breaking sound and visual effects.

    "Gamers will feel like they are saving the world in the latest big-budget blockbuster action film from the first moment their combat boots hit the ground in `Shadow Ops: Red Mercury,'" said Wim Stocks, Executive Vice President, Sales and Marketing for Atari. "With industry-leading sound effects that include THX(TM) Game Certification for the best audio and visuals, intense action from start to finish and an amazing storyline, the experience of playing this game is more like sitting in a top-end theater than sitting at home. `Shadow Ops: Red Mercury' completely immerses gamers in the cinematic feel and gripping Hollywood-style action of the game."

    In the game, the player fills the battle-ready combat boots of Frank Hayden, a special forces operative hand-picked to track down and destroy the stolen "Red Mercury," a secret substance of unspeakable power that threatens the world with nuclear annihilation. The player will face off against blood-thirsty terrorists, renegade military forces and highly trained enemy special forces in a last ditch desperation mission to prevent the ultimate terror from reaching the world's greatest cities.

    Developer Zombie, Inc. partnered with AAA Hollywood talent for sound effects, script writing and music to make "Shadow Ops: Red Mercury" the most cinematic action game ever created, essentially blurring the line between Hollywood summer blockbuster films and interactive entertainment.

    The game's groundbreaking features include:

    -- More than 25 hard-hitting single-player missions that span the globe across heat-scorched villages in the Middle East, bombed out cities in Chechnya, lush jungle guerrilla encampments in Congo and frozen vistas and secret underground military installations in Kazakhstan

    -- Hyper-intense split-screen cooperative mode through 10 unique missions designed specifically for tag-team play

    -- Xbox Live! and System Link competitive multiplayer modes that include Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, Capture the Flag and Escort the V.I.P. for up to eight players

    -- Immersive directional sound for ultra-realistic combat situations created by Soundelux, the Academy Award-winning sound studio best known for its work on films such as "Kill Bill," "Gladiator" and "Black Hawk Down"

    -- An all-original score created by Inon Zur, a renowned composer of award-winning music for film, video games and television, that includes more than an hour of sweeping interactive music that reacts to the player's actions and changes for each location.

    -- All music for the game was recorded by the Northwest Symphonia, providing for a powerful performance and a more compelling audio experience.

    -- The game has earned the coveted THX(R) Game Certification, indicative of the immersive and compelling audio experience usually heard only in blockbuster Hollywood films.

    -- Writers Tag Mendillo and Ric Roman Waugh, renowned for work in films and video games, wrote the entire script for the game, including all in game cut-scenes and cinematics

    -- Developer Zombie, Inc. traveled the world researching locations for the game's levels, taking thousands of digital photos to create ultra-realistic textures for game locations like the Congo, Kazakhstan, Syria, Chechnya and more

    -- Zombie, Inc. met with military consultants, including former special forces members, to create realistic character motion and military movements in the game; special forces members also provided motion capture animation for the game's cinematics.

    -- More than 30 minutes of movie-like cinematics were created by Attitude Studios; cinematics were storyboarded and shot like a Hollywood film, using dramatic angles and sweeping shots to further immerse the player in the interactive blockbuster experience.

    -- "Shadow Ops: Red Mercury" uses Epic Games' industry-leading Unreal(R) Engine to accurately recreate the realistic and gritty look of the game's many locations; the engine's power provides for eye-popping visuals, highly realistic textures, dramatic special effects and blistering multiplayer action.

    "Shadow Ops: Red Mercury" is available this week worldwide with an estimated retail cost of $49.95 and an ESRB rating of 'T' for Teen. For more information on "Shadow Ops: Red Mercury," please visit the game's official Web site at http://www.shadowopsgame.com

    Brooke Burke to Star in Need For Speed Underground 2
    Steve @ 4:46 AM EDT
    REDWOOD CITY, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--June 17, 2004--Electronic Arts, the world's leading interactive software company, today announced that they have signed one of the world's sexiest thrill seekers and cover girls, Brooke Burke, to star in Need For Speed(TM) Underground 2, the sequel to the best selling game of 2003, Need For Speed Underground.

    In Need for Speed Underground 2, Burke plays the streetwise organizer of an elite underground racing circuit. Her character, Rachel, takes gamers under her wing, guiding them through the game's massive free-roaming city, helping them become the top racer in the underground.

    "I'm an absolute adrenaline junkie and car freak in real life, so starring in Need for Speed Underground 2 is a huge thrill," Burke said. "Need for Speed Underground 2 really captures one of the reasons I love my cars so much - they're a canvas for self-expression."

    Need for Speed Underground 2 challenges gamers to immerse themselves in the tuner culture, exploring an expansive, free-roaming city divided into five distinct neighborhoods. Gamers will encounter rival racers who will initiate events, tip players off to the hottest racing spots, and show them where to buy the most sought-after licensed aftermarket upgrades.

    The new game delivers complete automotive self-expression with more than 30 of the hottest licensed turner cars and hundreds of aftermarket parts for nearly infinite visual and performance customization combinations.

    Brooke Burke is recognized worldwide for her three-year stint as the adventurous host of E! Entertainment Television's popular travel series, "Wild On," as seen in 120 countries. Now that she has completed her assignment with E!, Burke continues to focus her attention on hosting and acting, and has landed roles in a number of television and film projects. Her official Web site is http://www.brookeburke.com

    Need for Speed Underground 2 is being developed by EA Canada and will be available on the PlayStation(R)2 computer entertainment system, the Xbox(R) video game system from Microsoft, the Nintendo GameCube(TM), Game Boy(R) Advance and PC this fall, under the EA GAMES(TM) brand. The official home page for Need For Speed Underground 2 is http://www.needforspeed.com

    EA to Publish Next Oddworld Title
    Steve @ 4:45 AM EDT
    REDWOOD CITY, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--June 17, 2004--Electronic Arts announced today that it has signed an agreement with Oddworld Inhabitants(R) for the worldwide publishing rights to the next Oddworld game, the latest in the internationally acclaimed character-based action series. Slated for release in 2005, the new title will bring a unique action gaming experience to owners of the PlayStation(R)2 computer entertainment system and Xbox(R) video game system from Microsoft.

    "Partnering with EA is a major win for us. Through EA's first-rate publishing and marketing expertise, the expanded universe of Oddworld can reach millions of game fans and extend the reach of this distinctive series," said Lorne Lanning, President of Oddworld Inhabitants.

    "Over the past 10 years, Oddworld has consistently elevated the creative bar in each of their titles, providing a rich and engrossing game experience. Oddworld Inhabitants represent the type of high quality developer with which we're seeking to partner moving forward," commented Greg Richardson, General Manager of EA Partners.

    With this next title the Oddworld team has taken a combination of traditional genres and added their own unique twists to deliver a refreshingly new interactive experience. Players step into the role of the Stranger, a western-style bounty hunter, who chases outlaws throughout the enthralling new frontier of the Oddworld universe. Set to award-winning visuals, players will be moved by the complex and inspiring story as the Stranger comes to grips with his true nature in the hunt for the ultimate bounty.

    Since its debut, the Oddworld series has become one of the most popular game franchises of all time with nearly five million units sold worldwide, garnering more than 100 industry awards and gracing the cover of more than 50 magazines. The three previously released chapters, Oddworld: Abe's Oddysee, Abe's Exoddus and Munch's Oddysee have been heralded as revolutionary for their mix of brilliant graphical artistry, unique personality and compelling gameplay.

    Thursday, June 17, 2004

    Blinx 2: Masters of Time & Space Announced
    Steve @ 5:34 AM EDT
    Blinx is back, and this time he's taking on a whole new dimension! Microsoft Game Studios today announced that Blinx 2: Masters of Time & Space, the sequel to one of the best-selling Xbox® action-platformers, is in development and slated for a holiday 2004 release. Blinx 2: Masters of Time & Space is the world's first 5-D game, giving players control over both Time and Space. Using customized characters, gamers can choose to battle against one another in Battle Mode or team up in two-player Cooperative Mode.

    In development by Japan-based Artoon, Co. Ltd., Blinx 2: Masters of Time & Space throws players into the shoes of a heroic cat bravely taking control of time in order to face tough battles and puzzling challenges. Just like using a VCR remote control, players' customized cats have the power to slow down the action, pause, review, fast-forward, record and even combine them in challenging situations. As the story unfolds, players will also step into the role of the enemy pigs to gain control of the space continuum in a variety of stealth missions. Players will create their own customized pigs and feel like they have control over black holes and worm holes.

    Blinx 2: Masters of Time & Space features various multiplayer modes that will allow gamers to get their friends in on the action. Players can grab a friend and play through the story in two-player Cooperative Mode, compete in multiplayer Battle Mode with up to four players on one Xbox or make their ways through the single-player missions on their own. Those who choose to play through the storyline cooperatively will need to overcome tougher groups of enemies and unique two-player challenges with strategy and teamwork. Cooperative players will also be rewarded with unique map locations that are only accessible in two-player mode. In Battle Mode, gamers can choose to lead a squad of cats using time control powers or command a team of enemy pigs using space control powers. Whether they are playing through single player missions or any of the multiplayer modes, players can fully customize their cats and pigs by designing the character's face, body and clothing.

    Backyard Wrestling 2 Site Opens/First Trailer
    Steve @ 5:17 AM EDT
    Eidos today announced that the official Backyard Wrestling 2 website opened. It's the same url as the first Backyard Wreslting - http://www.bywgame.com

    Also, check out the new trailer here:

    http://www.eidosinteractive.com/downloads/search.html?gmid=148

    New Xbox Live Features and Titles
    Steve @ 5:02 AM EDT
    Since Xbox Live™ launched nearly two years ago, the service has brought together nearly one million members in five regions and 24 countries to communicate over the world’s first truly global online console gaming service. When Xbox Live reaches one million members, it will have done so in one third the amount of time as it took AOL, Netflix and TiVo to reach the same number.

    This summer is going to be a scorcher with the addition of three new features and highly anticipated hits from distinguished third party publishers. With this unrivaled line-up, we plan to deliver on our promise of taking the online gaming experience to an unprecedented level.

    MSN Messenger Integration

    Now there is a greater incentive to sign up on MSN Messenger. Xbox Live members in the United States will see a new Xbox tab along side tabs for shopping, games, news, travel, etc. They’ll find links to Xbox.com content on the latest games, downloads, articles, interviews, tournaments, and events — all updated weekly.

    In addition, if you hit the My Xbox Live tab up top — and you’re Gamertag linked — you’ll be able to see your Friends List along with links to My Live exclusive content.

    Xbox Live Alerts

    When Xbox Live members in the United States and Canada sign up for Xbox Live Alerts, they will be notified when their friends sign on to Xbox Live and when they get a friend request or game invite. Xbox Live will even let them know when new downloads are available and when hot new games are released. To sign for Xbox Live Alerts members will simply visit the website at http://www.xbox.com/en-us/live/default.htm.

    Xbox Live Arcade

    Xbox Live is driving the market forward with new and innovative offerings, such as the recently announced Xbox Live Arcade, which will provide fun, engaging digital entertainment to gamers of all levels and interests.

    Xbox Live Arcade, coming this fall, is a new casual game experience that will bring an added social dimension to the online console environment. A virtual destination within Xbox Live, Xbox Live Arcade will enable Xbox Live members to try out different types of games, download them and then play them with their friends and family around the world. Xbox Live members will find puzzle games, card & board games, social sports, pub games, and classic action/arcade favorites such as “Galaxian,” “Dig Dug,” “Poker,” “Bejeweled” and “Feeding Frenzy.” These games are tailor-made for a quick five minute fix or endless hours of intense fun.

    It’s not surprising why members have flocked to the service. Xbox Live supports one Gamertag, voice chat, and MSN alerts across all Live-enabled titles. This unified service offers a number of innovative features to enrich gamers' online experience:

    Voice Chat. Using the Xbox Communicator headset that comes with every Xbox Live Starter Kit, friends can talk, laugh, strategize and taunt in all Xbox Live games, or in the Xbox Live Now lobby. They can even leave Voice Messages as attachments to game and friend invites.

    Gamertag. On Xbox Live, players have a single persistent identity across the entire service, making it easy to build and grow their online reputation.

    Friends List. Using their unique Gamertags, players can find their friends online and invite them to a game, no matter which Xbox Live game they’re playing.

    Live Alerts: Players can receive a game invite on their PDA, cell phone or PC with instant messenger through MSN Alerts – something only available through Xbox Live.

    Live Web: Live stats and friends lists are available to view through a new Xbox site that links to the service – something only available on Xbox Live.

    Live Aware: More games allow players to be “logged on” while playing, even if playing single player so they can receive invites, and keep up with what their friends are doing.

    Blockbuster Titles:

    At the E3 press briefing on May 10, 2004, we announced an exciting partnership with Electronic Arts (EA) that will bring many of EA’s award-winning, critically acclaimed major franchises to Xbox Live. The first EA title to make its debut on Xbox Live this July is the highly anticipated “NCAA® Football 2005”, quickly followed by the hugely popular “Madden NFL 2005” in August.

    In addition, more than 20 titles are expected to hit Xbox Live in the next few months that will incorporate the great features listed above:

    · “Full Spectrum Warrior” (June 2004)
    · “MLB SlugFest: Loaded” (June 21, 2004)
    · “ESPN NFL 2K5” (August 2004)
    · “NCAA® Football 2005” (July 2004)
    · “Madden NFL 2005” (August 2004)
    · “Rainbow Six Black Arrow” (August 2004)
    · “NASCAR® 2005: Chase for the Cup™” (August 2004)
    · “NHL® 2005” (September 2004)
    · “Mortal Kombat: Deception” (October 2004)
    · “NBA LIVE 2005” (October 2004)
    · “FIFA Soccer 2005” (October 2004)
    · “Star Wars Battlefront” (September 21, 2004)
    · “Burnout®3: TakedownTM” (September 2004)
    · “Tiger Woods PGA TOUR® 2005” (September 2004)
    · “Outrun 2” ( October 2004)
    · “NCAA® March Madness™ 2005” (November 2004)
    · “ESPN College Hoops 2K5” (Nov 2004)
    · “ESPN NHL 2K5” (November 2004)
    · “ESPN NBA 2K5” (November 2004)
    · “Unreal Championship 2” (Holiday 2004)
    · “Halo 2” (November 9, 2004)
    · “GoldenEye: Rogue Agent™” (Fall 2004)
    · “Need for Speed™ Underground 2” (Fall 2004)
    · “Forza” (Winter 2004)
    · “Call of Duty” (Q4 2004)
    · “MechAssault 2” (January 2005)
    · “Doom 3” (When it’s done)

    With more than 150 Live-enabled games planned for availability by the end of the calendar year, there is no question why Xbox Live has the undisputed best online games available on the market. Xbox Live is the evolving, dynamic gaming service that continues to bring people together to share experiences, from social gameplay to healthy competition.

    Tuesday, June 15, 2004

    Atari Announces Test Drive: Eve of Destruction
    Steve @ 12:42 PM EDT
    BEVERLY, Mass.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--June 15, 2004--Atari, Inc. announces that the latest iteration in its Test Drive(R) racing franchise, Test Drive(R): Eve of Destruction will be released this fall on the Xbox(TM) video game system from Microsoft, in addition to the previously announced version of the game which will be available for the PlayStation(R)2 computer entertainment system in September. Developed by Monster Games, Test Drive(R): Eve of Destruction captures the raw, unfettered thrill of no-rules competition and is based on real-life extreme racing events.

    "We are thrilled to bring Test Drive(R): Eve of Destruction, the sequel to 2002's Platinum Hits Test Drive(R) to Xbox fans this Fall," said Nancy MacIntyre, Vice President of Marketing for Atari's Beverly Studios. "Monster Games has reinvigorated the Test Drive franchise with this fresh departure from static road-course racing without losing touch with the core elements that have made Test Drive one of the most recognized and successful racing franchises in video game history."

    Test Drive(R): Eve of Destruction is the first Test Drive game to feature: vehicle damage, dirt tracks, crazy events and unorthodox vehicles like school buses, taxis and hearses. Since its debut in 1987, the Test Drive series has sold through more than $137 million worth of product on console and PC.

    Test Drive(R): Eve of Destruction blends the best elements of racing and demolition and is packed with 25 different events, including Demo Derby, where the last car standing wins; Gauntlet, where the player climbs behind the wheel of a hearse and tries to finish a set number of laps while the rest of the field attempts to stop him; Trailer Race, a new brand of racing event, where the player competes while towing various types of trailers and must finish the race with something resembling a trailer still attached.

    Additionally, Test Drive(R): Eve of Destruction offers players a selection of more than 30 nontraditional, custom vehicles, an in-game track announcer and a split-screen multiplayer mode for up to four players.

    Monday, June 14, 2004

    Psi-Ops: The Mindgate Conspiracy Ships
    Steve @ 2:33 PM EDT
    CHICAGO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--June 14, 2004--Midway Games Inc., a leading interactive entertainment publisher and developer, announced today that Psi-Ops: The Mindgate Conspiracy(TM) has just shipped to retail outlets nationwide for the PlayStation(R)2 computer entertainment system and the Xbox(R) video game system from Microsoft. Melding the extensive use of psi (mind) powers and traditional weapons, players take on the role of Nick Scryer, an elite psi-operative soldier capable of wielding six incredible powers; Telekinesis, Pyrokinesis, Mind Control, Mind Drain, Remote View and Aura View.

    "Psi-Ops' intense, fast-paced action blended with strategic decision making and challenging puzzle elements, offers gamers a fresh take on the action/adventure genre," said Steve Allison, chief marketing officer, Midway. "With stunning visuals and smart game design, Psi-Ops truly raises the bar for what a third-person action title should be."

    Psi-Ops' blend of Psi powers and traditional weaponry provides gamers with unique gameplay attributes that set it apart from others in the action/adventure genre. As Scryer's Psi powers are reawakened, he must use them to take down The Movement, a terrorist organization set to overthrow world order. Using Telekinesis, Mind Control, Pyrokinesis, Mind Drain, Aura View and Remote View, Scryer must fight strategically against The Movement in order to win a very serious "mind game" against an amassed army of brainwashed terrorist super soldiers and powerful Psi agents.

    Psi-Ops offers players a unique gameplay experience, stellar graphics and a ground-breaking hybrid of the Havok 2 physics engine that allows gamers to manipulate almost any object in the interactive world, when using Psi powers. For more information on Psi-Ops visit http://www.psiopsgame.com

    MLB SlugFest: Loaded Goes Gold
    Steve @ 2:30 PM EDT
    CHICAGO – JUNE 14, 2004 – Midway Games Inc., a leading software industry publisher and developer, today announced that MLB SlugFest: Loaded has gone gold and will to ship to stores on June 21, 2004. MLB SlugFest: Loaded will be available for the PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system and the Xbox™ video game system from Microsoft.

    MLB SlugFest: Loaded is the only baseball video game for the 2004 season featuring Midway’s classic, fast and furious gameplay with hard tags and over-the-top animations. This year’s SlugFest also features today’s greatest baseball players with the addition of Midway’s popular adrenaline-style abilities, including turbo-speed running, highlight reel-worthy fielding, mammoth tape-measure home runs and, as one would expect from a Midway Sports title, the ability for a player to catch fire and turbo charge the game action. Also new to MLB SlugFest: Loaded is the most in-depth franchise mode anchored by the ultimate stat-tracking engine known as, Baseball Mogul. Online, on-fire and ready for action…be ready for the heat on June 21, 2004!

    MLB SlugFest: Loaded Features:

    • The Only Over-the-Top Baseball Game: The only baseball videogame featuring Midway’s classic fast and furious gameplay with beanballs, hard tags, and over-the-top animations

    • New Online Functionality Expands Multiplayer Experience: Already known for having the best multiplayer gameplay, MLB Slugfest takes multiplayer to the next level by going online for the PS2 and Xbox Live

    • The Most Entertaining Baseball Videogame:

    • The easiest to pick-up-and-play baseball videogame

    • Humorous play-by-play and color commentary by the voice of Midway Sports, Tim Kitzrow and his laugh-a-minute sidekick Jim Shorts

    • Best Franchise Mode in Baseball: Baseball fans will appreciate the addition of Baseball Mogul as it brings to MLB SlugFest the deepest, most rewarding franchise mode ever invented

    Please visit: http://www.mlbslugfestloaded.com for more information.

    Sega and Take-Two Sign Agreement for ESPN Videogames
    Steve @ 2:27 AM EDT
    TOKYO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--June 8, 2004--Sega(R) Corporation (Tokyo Stock Exchange:7964) today announced that the company has signed a binding letter of intent (LOI) with Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. (Nasdaq:TTWO) to co-publish all SEGA ESPN Videogames sports titles, including ESPN NFL Football, ESPN NBA Basketball, ESPN NHL Hockey, ESPN College Hoops and ESPN Major League Baseball worldwide.

    The ESPN Videogames titles, developed and marketed by California-based Visual Concepts Entertainment, Inc., a subsidiary of SEGA Corporation, will be co-published under the Sega/Global Star Software label. Under the terms of the worldwide agreement, Take-Two will be the exclusive distributor of ESPN videogames while SEGA will provide development infrastructure and marketing support.

    The multi-year co-publishing and distribution agreement includes a provision for Take-Two to further extend its participation in Sega's sports game business and all associated intellectual property for current and future gaming platforms. Exclusive distribution of ESPN Videogames will be managed by Jack of All Games in North America and Take-Two Europe for international territories.

    "The combined efforts and resources of SEGA and Take-Two will create an exciting and powerful partnership that will heighten the level of aggressive competition in the sports game segment," said Hisao Oguchi, Representative Director and President of SEGA Corporation. "Along with this deal, Sega is committed to offering great entertainment in the growing overseas market."

    "We believe this exclusive relationship with Sega is an exceptional opportunity for Take-Two," said Paul Eibeler, Take-Two President. "We have tremendous respect for the critically acclaimed properties Visual Concepts have created and are confident in Take-Two's global sales and distribution resources will be able to fully support the products."

    Visual Concepts' critically acclaimed ESPN Videogames are considered some of the most innovative, high-quality sports games on the market. ESPN NBA Basketball, and ESPN NHL Hockey were the world's #1-rated games last year in their respective genres, and ESPN NFL Football is a top-ranked offering considered by many to be the most realistic, true-to-life football simulation available anywhere and for any price.

    Driver 3 Goes Gold
    Steve @ 2:21 AM EDT
    LOS ANGELES - June 7, 2004 - Atari, Inc. and Reflections Interactive are pleased to announce that development is complete on DRIV3R, the highly anticipated driving action game for the Xbox(tm) video game system from Microsoft and the PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system. DRIV3R will be available in North America on June 21 and in Europe and Australia on June 22.

    "The Wheelman is back...and in a big way," said Wim Stocks, Executive Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Atari. "Everything that was great about the previous two games - the awesome driving, deep storyline, film-like cinematics and the feeling of ultimate cool - has been amped to the next level in DRIV3R. With amazing new technology, Reflections has blown away every other game in the genre in terms of driving physics, graphics, and vehicle destruction to create the ultimate movie-like action game."

    The next evolution of Driver, one of the most successful franchises in video game history, DRIV3R is an action-packed driving adventure game that recreates the excitement of a Hollywood blockbuster car chase and plays like an interactive movie. Developed by Reflections Interactive (an Atari studio), the masterminds behind Driver and Driver 2 - which have sold more than 12 million copies worldwide - DRIV3R stays true to its roots, incorporating the cinematic gameplay and gritty street crime of its predecessors with ground breaking graphics and three mammoth, wide-open city environments.

    Featuring Hollywood-level production values and a gripping, narrative story line, DRIV3R casts players once again as Tanner, a jaw breaking, no-holds-barred undercover cop who does whatever it takes to bring the bad guys down. In DRIV3R, Tanner, alongside his longtime partner, Tobias Jones, must infiltrate a global car theft ring in tire squealing chases and fierce on-foot firefights while tailing gangsters, chasing witnesses, stealing cars and unloading massive clips of ammo to bring the criminals to justice.

    DRIV3R features include:

  • Blockbuster voice-over and scriptwriting talent involved from the ground up in the creation, production and performance of DRIV3R, including Michael Madsen as Tanner, Mickey Rourke as the sinister Jericho, Michelle Rodriguez as the sexy Calita, and Ving Rhames as Tanner's partner, Tobias Jones

  • Three gigantic and true-to-life cities, including Miami, Nice and Istanbul, with more than 35,000 buildings hand-placed and decorated for intricate detail and ultimate immersion

  • More than 150 miles of major highways and city streets to explore plus countless uncharted open areas, alleys, dirt roads and smaller byways

  • A stunning graphics engine creating massive photorealistic environments - both indoor and outdoor - filled with hundreds of destructible objects to be smashed and blasted both in vehicles and on foot

  • Complete destruction models allowing vehicles to crumble realistically as they are bashed, smashed and driven to the limits of their design

  • Unmatched driving and physics engine creating the most realistic vehicle performance in any game and the most exciting chases ever seen

  • A deep, narrative storyline that plays like an interactive movie, recreating the attitude, action and car chase sequences of modern gangster films like Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, Snatch and Pulp Fiction; nearly an hour of CGI video fleshing out the plot with dramatic scenes of sinister crime syndicate dealings

  • Multiple solutions to missions allowing players to plan strategically before they move in on the crooks and choose between a full frontal assault or a more surreptitious alternative, depending on gameplay tastes

  • Driver's signature "Film Director" function, which records every move made in the game, allowing gamers to place cameras anywhere, edit and direct a sequence and save their own Hollywood car chase to memory card to share with friends; on Xbox, players can upload their films to Xbox for other fans to download and view

  • More than 70 controllable vehicles, including motorcycles, boats, police cars, vans, mopeds, muscle cars and fully articulated 18 wheelers

    Xbox Exclusive Update Info
    Steve @ 2:09 AM EDT
    I made it back from my trip. Not to get to personal, but I was in Miami! I will now update any news that Chris missed or just didn't have access to. Great to be back!

    Sunday, June 6, 2004

    Updates for This Coming Week Info
    Steve @ 2:05 AM EDT
    I’ll be away all next week, try not to miss me! No need to worry though, Chris will be delivering you all the Xbox news you need. Chris will be holding down the XBE fort all this week. Now go play some Xbox!

    Xbox Exclusive New Staff Member - Kohl
    Steve @ 2:01 AM EDT
    Hello Xbox Exclusive readers,

    Please welcome Kohl Campbell, our newest Xbox Exclusive staff member. Be sure to check out Kohl’s first ever review of House of the Dead III here. Yes, his first game that he reviewed is close to 2 years old, but wait until his new stuff rolls in.

    Things will be picking up here a bit, so stayed tuned!

    Friday, June 4, 2004

    Atlus to Publish Galleon In North America
    Steve @ 7:06 PM EDT
    Irvine, CA (June 4, 2004) - Atlus U.S.A., Inc., a leading publisher of interactive entertainment, announced today its plans to publish Galleon, a thrilling 3rd-person action-adventure game for the Microsoft Xbox™, in North America. Available in the fall of 2004, Galleon features an epic tale of heart-pounding adventure, dangerous romance, and nail-biting suspense from the creator of Lara Croft™.

    “Galleon is one of the few games in the Xbox library that has everything a gamer could wish for: a huge world to explore, gigantic bosses, challenging puzzles, amazing acrobatics and above all, Kung Fu,” said Gail Salamanca, Marketing Manager, Atlus U.S.A., Inc. “Add to that fully-voiced dialogue and an epic 40-hour adventure across both land and the high seas, and you’ll see why Galleon is the one game you won’t want to miss this year."

    About Galleon:

    Galleon introduces the swashbuckling captain Rhama Sabrier, a new type of action hero – tall, dark, handsome, and highly skilled in martial arts. He is quick-witted and an obvious hit with the ladies. Journey with Rhama on his epic quest to unlock the mystery of an enchanted ship and discover the source incredible powers – before a treacherous enemy does. As the story unfolds, Rhama must rely on more than just his charm and wit, fending off fiendish adversaries – from mercenaries to 250 ft. monsters – using swords, pistols and his martial arts skills. Along the way, Rhama will meet up with two intriguing and very different young women – whose assistance will be necessary to progress through the game.
    Features:

    · Brought to you courtesy of Toby Gard, creator of Lara Croft™ and lead designer for the original Tomb Raider™.

    · A richly-crafted, immersive story unfolds through hours of action, exploration and puzzle-solving.

    · Traverse a beautiful, completely original world spanning six massive island locations, with expansive indoor and outdoor environments.

    · Gorgeous stylized art, fluid animations and intuitive controls provide a rewarding experience for gamers of all skill levels.

    · Perform super-cool moves such as back-flipping off of a ledge and landing on a jagged rock point the size of a pinhead, scaling a sheer cavern wall, or landing a spinning Kung-Fu kick on a gang of encroaching enemies.

    · Use the special abilities of your crew members – including the mystical powers of Faith and the martial arts talents of Mihoko – to overcome the diverse challenges that await you.

    ShellShock: Nam ’67 Soundtrack Announced
    Steve @ 3:26 AM EDT
    Far out! Eidos announces a stunning soundtrack for ShellShock: Nam ‘67™ with an explosion of groovy original tracks to help create the atmosphere of sixties Vietnam.

    Percy Sledge, Sonny and Cher, Roy Orbison, The Monkees, The Small Faces, John Lee Hooker and The Troggs, among, others will all be providing tracks in the game to recreate the spirit of base camp.

    Helen Lawson, brand manager at Eidos says: “One of the overriding aims of ShellShock: Nam ’67 is to deliver as realistic interpretation of the Vietnam War as possible. Having music in the game that was actually on the airwaves in 1967 will further enhance the game’s authenticity.”

    ShellShock: Nam ‘67 depicts one man’s journey through the most controversial war of the twentieth century. The game has been developed by Guerrilla, the much heralded makers of Killzone™, and will be available on PlayStation 2, Xbox and PC from end of June 2004.

    You are a rookie soldier on his first tour of duty as he experiences the fear, chaos and atrocities of the Vietnam War. Endure missions from large scale battlefield encounters to solitary missions deep into enemy territory. Survive long enough to make it back to base camp and face its temptations – drugs, prostitutes and rock ‘n’ roll.

    For regular updates on ShellShock: Nam ‘67 including movies, images and information go to http://www.shellshockgame.com

    THQ Announces MotoGP 3 In Development
    Steve @ 3:20 AM EDT
    Woking, Surrey UK, 03 June, 2004 – THQ Inc., today announced the next game in the MotoGP series in development with Climax. The new instalment will have players racing through photo-realistic race tracks and will introduce a brand new mode. The game is slated for worldwide release in the quarter ending September 30, 2005, for the XboxTM videogame system from Microsoft and on PC. In territories outside of USA and Canada, this game will be known as "MotoGP: Ultimate Racing Technology 3.

    Originally released in 2002, MotoGP: Ultimate Racing Technology introduced thrill-seeking game players to an adrenaline-filled racing experience. The original title was followed with the release of MotoGP: Ultimate Racing Technology 2 in 2003, which was one of the first titles to feature Xbox LiveTM support. Featuring the most immersive MotoGP experience at the time, the two releases enjoyed an impressive number of awards including those from Microsoft Advanced Technology Group, Official Xbox UK, Edge and IGN.com.

    Ian Curran, vice president of European Publishing, THQ Inc. ("THQ") commented, "I am delighted that we are continuing to work with Climax on a brand like MotoGP. We have had considerable success with MotoGP and MotoGP 2 and our agreement with Climax provides an exciting opportunity to develop a gripping racing game with more real tracks, riders and equipment than ever before giving gamers and MotoGP fans an ultimate interactive gaming experience".

    Karl Jeffery, CEO of Climax said "We are so proud and delighted that THQ have once again chosen Climax as their preferred development partner. The new game promises to extend the hugely successful Moto-GP franchise and set the new gold-standard for the online racing genre..."

    Kingdom Under Fire: The Crusaders Announced
    Steve @ 3:11 AM EDT
    Microsoft today announced that a new Xbox® action-strategy game, Kingdom Under Fire: The Crusaders, is in development by Phantagram and is heading to retail shelves in fall 2004. The first Xbox Live™-enabled action-strategy game to blend large-scale strategic battles with fast and fierce hand-to-hand combat, Kingdom Under Fire: The Crusaders takes players to the forefront of an epic battleground.

    Set 50 years after the War of Heroes, players assume the role of a general in a fantasy battlefield. Players must fight alongside their troops and use catapults, dragons or any means necessary to crush the Dark Legions and put an end to the terror they've unleashed on the sacred Holy Grounds. Kingdom Under Fire: The Crusaders features up to 100 characters and allows up to 150 units to fight on one screen, boasting breathtaking battles on an epic scale. In third-person perspective, players' characters will progress from basic troops to more specialized and powerful units. Throughout 30 hours of playtime, players can choose to battle as the Humans or Dark Legions in more than 60 different maps. Mission types include all-out war, castle siege, scouting, trapping and more. Gamers can also compete head-to-head or team up with other players in Deathmatch battles via Xbox Live. Players can enhance their missions by downloading new mission packs, weapons and armor while tracking their performance with Xbox Live scoreboards. Kingdom Under Fire: The Crusaders is in development by the renowned game developer in Korea, Phantagram, LTD.

    PHANTAGRAM CO,.LTD. an international developer/publisher of electronic entertainment software, combines the best game development, publication, global marketing and comprehensive media mixing business to reach the global electronic entertainment industry. Phantagram's first international title, Kingdom Under Fire (PC), was fully localized in 13 different languages and became a huge success in over 30 countries. For more information, visit http://www.phantagram.com

    Thursday, June 3, 2004

    Combat Elite: WWII Paratroopers Remembers D-Day
    Steve @ 10:20 PM EDT
    This coming Sunday, June 6, 2004, marks the 60th anniversary of the historic D-Day invasion at Normandy, the beginning of the end for Nazi tyranny in Europe. It was a time when courage, dedication and sacrifice were called for and tens of thousands met the challenge and sacrificed so much to bring an end to history’s darkest hour.

    Later this month, Acclaim Entertainment and BattleBorne Entertainment will continue to pay honor to these brave soldiers with the release of Combat Elite: World War II Paratroopers for the PlayStation 2 and Xbox. Utilizing the proven Snowblind Studios engine, Combat Elite: World War II Paratroopers allows players to assume the role of one of the three elite Allied Airborne divisions: the 82nd Airborne Division “All American”, the 101st Airborne Division “Screaming Eagles” or the 1st British Para Battalion “Red Devils”. As a member of one of these elite units, players will face the most daunting combat in the European Theatre of Operations, beginning with the D-Day invasion and continuing through the Market-Garden campaign in Holland, the bloody Battle of the Bulge at Bastogne, and finally working with the OSS during the last days of the Reich behind enemy lines in Europe.

    Tuesday, June 1, 2004

    Hitman Contracts Soundtrack Album Announced
    Steve @ 1:46 PM EDT
    New York, June 1st, 2004 - Jesper Kyd ( http://www.jesperkyd.com ), the electronic and symphonic composer of the Hitman™ series, today announced he has partnered with Nile Rodgers’ Sumthing Else Musicworks record label and Sumthing Distribution to market and distribute the original soundtrack for Eidos’ No.1 selling Hitman: Contracts. The album is released today at music retailers including Amazon, Best Buy, CDNow, HMV, Musicland, Tower, and Virgin. The official soundtrack CD is also available to order from http://www.sumthing.com

    Hitman: Contracts takes you into the mind of Agent 47, the most uthlessly efficient contract killer in history. Enter a world of crime, sin and greed as Agent 47 encounters his greatest adversaries to-date. Hitman: Contracts explores the dark psychology of killing for a living and is the darkest, most disturbing episode in the series. Developed by IO Interactive, the game is available on PlayStation 2, Xbox and PC.

    "Jesper Kyd’s score is a remarkable fusion of contemporary, dark electronica and provocative atmospherics," said Andy Uterano, President of Sumthing Distribution. "The music perfectly captures the essence of the character Agent 47 and his latest conquests in Hitman: Contracts. This is a very exciting release for the Sumthing label."

    Kyd recently performed music tracks from Hitman: Contracts during the game’s launch party in Europe. He is currently scoring major titles for Eidos, Konami and Take 2 and has recorded live symphony sessions in Budapest and Paris where he recorded with a 90-piece orchestra and 60-piece choir for an unannounced project. Jesper Kyd is managed by Bob Rice of Four Bars Intertainment. For more information visit http://www.jesperkyd.com.

    Audio samples of Jesper Kyd’s music from Hitman: Contracts now
    available at http://www.hitmancontracts.com

    For further information on the Hitman: Contracts official soundtrack visit http://www.sumthing.com

    THQ Ships Full Spectrum Warrior
    Steve @ 1:42 PM EDT
    CALABASAS HILLS, Calif.--June 1, 2004--THQ Inc. today announced the release of "Full Spectrum Warrior"(TM) for the Xbox(TM) videogame system from Microsoft. Developed by Pandemic Studios, "Full Spectrum Warrior" is an original, tactical-action military game that simulates in every detail the experience of squad command in the highly charged atmosphere of urban warfare. Compatible with Xbox Live(TM)!, Microsoft's online gaming arena, "Full Spectrum Warrior" has shipped to retailers throughout North America for a suggested retail price of $49.99.

    "`Full Spectrum Warrior' is a milestone in electronic interactive entertainment. As it was developed as a training device for the U.S. Army, it's the most realistic and authentic military game to date," said Jack Sorensen, THQ executive vice president, worldwide studios. "`Full Spectrum Warrior' is one of the most visually impressive games ever launched. It delivers tactical and strategic squad combat not seen in today's popular military games and carries the genre to a new level of reality and entertainment."

    "Full Spectrum Warrior" is based on a light infantry-training simulator designed by Pandemic Studios for the U.S. Army as a tool to reinforce Army doctrine and squad tactics among troops. Delivering the experience of squad level command in the heat of battle, the game was developed with expertise from University of Southern California's Institute for Creative Technologies, who worked with Pandemic to replicate today's challenges of urban combat missions.

    "`Full Spectrum Warrior' truly simulates the actions and reactions of a squad leader and his soldiers in hostile settings through simple and intuitive controls," said Josh Resnick, president, Pandemic Studios. "By taking advantage of Xbox Live!, `Full Spectrum Warrior' allows players from around the world to simulate co-operative urban combat missions."

    "Our challenge was to create a radically new Squad level experience -- complete with a highly unpredictable and dangerous environment -- on a game console," adds James H. Korris, Institute for Creative Technologies creative director. "Our business model allows us to choose best-of-class organizations as our production partners; Pandemic Studios was the obvious choice."

    For more information about "Full Spectrum Warrior," visit http://www.thq.com or http://www.fullspectrumwarrior.com

    New Content for Crimson Skies Now Available
    Steve @ 1:40 PM EDT
    Microsoft Game Studios today announced that new content for Crimson Skies™: High Road to Revenge, the smash-hit aerial action game for Xbox®, is now available for download via Xbox Live™. The latest wave of free content includes three new planes, two new maps and two new gametypes that are sure to keep the skies ablaze with high-speed high-altitude action.

    Fighter aces will rejoice as they jump into the cockpits of the Vampire, Firebrand or Hellhound aircraft. The Vampire and Firebrand pack serious plane-busting firepower, while the fast and agile Hellhound can shred any slow-moving planes that dare cross its path.

    Two new maps, Badlands and The Lost Plateau, will test the mettle of even the best pilots. Badlands features a twisting mix of canyons and caves, while The Lost Plateau will have gamers soaring through the night skies and zipping through ancient ruins to shake off any pesky bogeys.

    Along with the new planes and maps, two additional gametypes are available for download: Chicken Pox and Gunheist. Capture the Flag takes on a whole new twist in Gunheist, in which teams are challenged to capture and hold three anti-aircraft gun emplacements within a limited time. In Chicken Pox, gamers have to capture chickens and use them as power-ups. A plane carrying a chicken will enjoy a full boost recharge, rapid damage recovery and instant reloading of its secondary weapons, making it the deadliest chicken delivery system in the sky and awarding the pilot with two points for shooting down any chicken-less pilots.

    Combining thrilling dogfights with the swashbuckling style of a Hollywood action-adventure movie, Crimson Skies: High Road to Revenge raises the bar for aerial combat. Set in an alternate 1930s world of gunship diplomacy and sinister intrigue, gamers pilot powerful aircraft against nefarious air pirates and behemoth war zeppelins. Crimson Skies: High Road to Revenge for Xbox is also armed to the teeth with full Xbox Live support. Up to 16 players can battle online or by System Link in a array of game modes including Dogfight, Team Dogfight, Flag Heist, Wild Chicken, Keep Away and Team Keep Away. More information about Crimson Skies: High Road to Revenge, as well as in-depth strategies and a fan site kit with all the trimmings, are available on the official site, at http://www.xbox.com/crimsonskies/ Crimson Skies: High Road to Revenge is now available for an estimated retail price of $29.99 (U.S.).

    Halo 2 3D Screenshot
    Steve @ 1:37 PM EDT
    Last week Bungie had this Story. On Bungie.net, you can view a screenshot of Halo 2 in full 3D.

    Lo-Res Screenshot

    Hi-Res Screenshot