NewsPro Archive

May 2003

Friday, May 30, 2003

Dynasty Warriors 4 In Development for Xbox
Steve @ 10:26 PM EDT
Burlingame, CA – May 30, 2003 – KOEI Corporation, respected worldwide as the innovators of the Tactical Action genre, announced today that Dynasty Warriors™ 4 is currently in development for the Xbox video game system from Microsoft, and will be available at retailers throughout North America this September.

"We’re going to give the Xbox community a game that is action-packed with breath-taking cinematics and awesome gameplay. And we’re definitely going to deliver on that promise. Dynasty Warriors 4 is an amazing sequel to what I’m sure will continue to be a phenomenal series with worldwide appeal. In continuing the Dynasty Warriors series on Xbox and PlayStation 2, we can guarantee the broadest audience for one of the most innovative experiences in interactive entertainment," stated Amos Ip, Vice-President of Sales & Marketing at KOEI Corporation. "It is only proper that history’s mightiest warriors have their tales told on history’s most powerful video game consoles."

Since its initial release in Japan for the PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system, Dynasty Warriors 4 debuted as the No.1 title across all video game consoles, and then went on to sell more than one million units in only nine days of release. To date, the Dynasty Warriors series has sold over 4.5 million units worldwide.

The series’ commercial success has been matched with critical acclaim. At the 2003 Game Developers Conference, Animation Magazine honored the Dynasty Warriors series with an award for Best Overall Game Animation.

In Dynasty Warriors 4, players single-handedly clash with legions of enemy soldiers and experience the excitement of fighting against impossible odds. A host of new features adds greater depth to the gameplay, as well as more insight into the characters and turbulent events of the Three Kingdoms era. Battlefield environments are more detailed, expansive, and notably more interactive. New play modes and characters are introduced. The new soundtrack blends modern music with classical Asian instruments and styles. The generals that populate the screen are rich in texture and color. The introduction of siege engines combined with the return of elephant troops adds a new level of tactical action.

Thursday, May 29, 2003

Xicat to Publish Haven: Call Of The King
Steve @ 1:39 PM EDT
London, UK – 29th May, 2003, Xicat Interactive, Inc., publisher of the highly-acclaimed adventure games, Zanzarah: The Hidden Portal and ChopLifter: Crisis Shield, have announced its plans to bring the groundbreaking action/adventure epic, Haven: Call Of The King to the XboxTM video game system from Microsoft, and the Nintendo® GameCubeTM. Developed by Traveller's Tales, Haven: Call Of The King received praise for its release on the PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system from both media and consumers alike.

Played out through an epic tale of a hero who seeks to liberate his people from the tyranny of enslavement, Haven: Call Of The King unveils a remarkable tale of exploration and intrigue. Players embark on an epic quest as Haven, a heroic young man haunted by dreams that awaken him to the legend of the "Golden Voice." A bell that can be rung in times of need, the "Golden Voice" is the only way Haven can free his people from slavery and imminent death at the hands of the evil Lord Vetch.

"We're thrilled to be working with Travellers Tales to deliver Haven to Xbox and GameCube users," says Brad Flack, US Director of Sales for Xicat Interactive. "Haven has an exciting storyline and features unrivalled gameplay, - we're pleased to add the game to our product line up.

Haven: Call Of The King Key Features:

  • Powerful FreeFormer Gameplay, developed exclusively for Haven - Allows the player to experience multiple gameplay mechanics blended together in a virtually limitless world, with a variety of genres smoothly integrated into one game, without loading times or jarring sequences

  • Multitude of Gameplay Mechanics - Revolutionary technology allows freedom to move within these environments both on foot and vehicle, allowing for some exciting variety in gameplay, such as turret-based shooting, boat racing, bike battles, dog fighting, gladiator-style arena combat and space exploration

  • An Epic Adventure - Immerse yourself in the incredible vision of a world where a "Golden Voice" will spark the battle to break the shackles of eons of enslavement

  • Technological Revolution - An engine capable of 13 million polygons per second with one-pass fogging and point-lighting gives designers limitless control to build a completely immersive and interactive world

  • Multiple Vehicles - Jump into all manner of vehicles from power-trikes and speedboats to planes and even spaceships that leave the confines of the planet

  • Spectacular Worlds – Traveller's Tales' never-before-seen level of CGI-quality animation is displayed in intricate and fantastic worlds - designed by Rodney Matthews, a well-known fantasy/techno artist, whose artistic vision has been displayed in books such as "In Search of Forever" and his rock album covers for Magnum, Asia, Thin Lizzy and Rick Wakeman

    Wednesday, May 28, 2003

    Brute Force Now Available
    Steve @ 4:13 PM EDT
    Microsoft Game Studios today announced that the Xbox exclusive squad-based shooter "Brute Force" is now available at retailers across North America for an estimated retail price of $49.99. Developed by Digital Anvil, "Brute Force" provides gamers with the ultimate in squad-based combat that lets players take on missions with guns blazing, in silent stealth or anywhere in between. Through split-screen or System Link, "Brute Force" also pushes the limits of cooperative play by seamlessly blending single and multiplayer modes.

    "We are giving players a very different experience from what they'd expect from typical run-and-gun shooters," says "Brute Force" producer Erin Roberts. "'Brute Force' is not only about action, but also about giving the player the freedom to decide how they want to utilize their squad to complete each mission. Players can choose to march through missions with guns blazing using Tex and Brutus or take a more stealthy pace by sneaking behind enemy lines with Hawk or sniping enemies at a distance with Flint. Everyone will find their own style."

    "Digital Anvil has done an amazing job with 'Brute Force', and we're happy to have it join Halo and MechAssault in the Microsoft Game Studios pedigree of quality shooters for Xbox," said senior director of marketing Beth Featherstone. "They've taken squad-based shooters to new heights by creating an interface that's easy to jump in and learn, but also allows players to dig deeper and find new strategies by using their team in different ways."

    For more information on "Brute Force" visit http://www.xbox.com/bruteforce

    Dead to Rights Becomes Platinum Hit
    Steve @ 4:11 PM EDT
    San Jose, Calif., May 28, 2003 – Leading video games publisher, Namco Hometek Inc. proudly announced today that the company’s high-impact title, Dead to Rights, has qualified and is now a Platinum Hits title with an MSRP of $19.95.

    "We're incredibly excited and honored to have Dead to Rights entered into the Xbox's Platinum Hits program”, declares producer Andre Emerson. “With a lower price point, we hope that even more gamers can experience Jack Slate's one-man-war against crime in the tough streets of Grant City."

    Inspired by Hong Kong action movies, classic film noir style and hardboiled detective novels, Dead To Rights stars action hero, Jack Slate, a good cop in a bad city, forced to be a fugitive as he fights for his life and searches for his father’s killers. Dead to Rights features more than a dozen game mechanics including diving, rolling, punching, kicking, and lethally disarming enemies in a variety of over-the-top ways. Visit http://www.deadtorights.com for more.

    The Hulk Begins Shipping
    Steve @ 4:09 PM EDT
    LOS ANGELES — May 27, 2003 — In advance of the June 20th release of Universal Pictures' highly anticipated film version of one of Marvel Comics' most memorable and popular Super Hero® series, Vivendi Universal Games has begun shipping to retailers its critically acclaimed, groundbreaking interactive game The Hulk, for the PC, PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system, Xbox™ Video Game System from Microsoft and Nintendo GameCube™. Featuring a story line set after events depicted in the film, the game follows troubled scientist Bruce Banner and his enraged alter ego, The Hulk through a smashing action—adventure, where everything you see can be destroyed, and everything you destroy can be a weapon. Players can master two types of gameplay as either Bruce Banner or The Hulk as they battle lead characters from the film, familiar villains from the Marvel Universe and new enemies created specifically for the game. With his superhuman power fueled by rage, The Hulk can smash through any physical obstacle and annihilate his foes with over 45 devastating attacks. Developed by Radical Entertainment, the Hulk on console platforms carries a suggested retail price of $49.99 with the PC version priced at $29.99. The game has been rated "Teen" with a descriptor for violence by the ESRB.

    While delivering a highly satisfying gameplay experience, Vivendi Universal Games and Universal Pictures also created an integrated content program designed to reward fans who experience both the film and the game. Through the employment of "codes," special movie and game content can be unlocked with a series of passwords related to the film's plot or characters. Clues to help identify these codes will be revealed through the gaming website IGN.com beginning June 16th through the film's opening date on June 20th.

    "We have worked closely with our theatrical partners during all stages of the game's development to achieve a look and feel that is authentic to the Marvel source material and the upcoming feature film," said Luc Vanhal, President & COO, North America of Vivendi Universal Games. "The Hulk is one of the most iconic super heroes in the world, and we are thrilled to deliver both this powerful product and innovative code program to gamers and fans worldwide."

    "The Hulk game is an integral part of our commitment to provide consumers with a massive Hulk experience—one that delivers the power of the Hulk in theaters and on videogame screens simultaneously," said Marc Shmuger, vice chairman, Universal Pictures. "An impressive level of film to game integration has been achieved without sacrificing gameplay. The movie and the game are so closely aligned, you actually get to be The Hulk before you've even seen The Hulk — it's the ultimate wish fulfillment."

    Konami Releases Bloody Roar Extreme
    Steve @ 4:05 PM EDT
    Redwood City, CA - May 27, 2003 - Konami of America, Inc., a subsidiary of Konami Corporation, today announced that Bloody Roar® Extreme has shipped to retails outlets nationwide for the Xbox(tm) video game system from Microsoft. In this fighting game, players find themselves thrashing their animalistic opponents by using whatever means necessary in an extreme crusade for supreme domination within the ring.

    Players choose from one of 14 fierce fighters that have the ability to transform into "Hyper-Beasts" including legendary creatures such as the Phoenix and Chimera or savage animals like the Tiger, Wolf and Lion. While in this altered state, characters can unleash devastating attacks and combo moves on their challengers. The most ferocious fighting game to hit the Xbox(tm), Bloody Roar® Extreme includes a full 3D combat system with aerial juggles, counters, blocks and chains. In order to move to the next harrowing round, players must master and utilize a broad range of fighting tactics to crush their adversaries.

    High-resolution graphics and spectacular visual effects will keep the action moving while thrilling CG movies and dynamic graphical enhancements push the Xbox(tm) gaming experience to the limit. Further adding to the excitement, players will unlock hidden game modes and additional characters, including a mystery fighter exclusive to the Xbox(tm) version of the game. With seven different gameplay modes, players will enjoy hours of non-stop action as they engage in countless fights to the finish. Running at a blistering 60 frames per second, this fast-paced fighter will keep gamers on the edge of their seats as they battle their way through 10 multi-tiered, destructible arenas on their way to claiming the title as the ultimate beast-warrior champion!

    Bloody Roar Extreme is rated T for Teen and is available at an SRP of $29.99. Read more about the game at: http://www.konami.com/bloodyroarextreme

    Friday, May 23, 2003

    Enter The Matrix Sells Over 1 Million
    Steve @ 10:44 PM EDT
    Atari's Enter The Matrix, a third-person action game that parallels Warner Bros. Pictures' and Village Roadshow Pictures' action blockbuster, The Matrix Reloaded, is the No. 1 selling video game worldwide, selling more than 1 million units in North America and Europe in the first week of availability.

    The game was made available in stores May 15, in conjunction with the release of The Matrix Reloaded, for the PlayStation(R)2 computer entertainment system, the Xbox(TM) video game system from Microsoft, the Nintendo GameCube(TM) and the personal computer. Enter The Matrix will be available in Japan on June 19.

    "We are thrilled by these early sell-through numbers," said Bruno Bonnell, Chairman and CEO of IESA and Atari. "These initial sales results exemplify the power of the Wachowski Brothers' vision for the franchise. With the exceptional box office results of The Matrix Reloaded and the explosive sales of Enter The Matrix, we are witnessing the true convergence of Hollywood and gaming. This is the beginning of our sales success as we expect continued strong returns for the duration of the year, based on the success of The Matrix Reloaded and the upcoming release of The Matrix Revolutions(TM)."

    "The Wachowski Brothers wanted to tell the epic story of the Matrix trilogy in multiple mediums, and Enter The Matrix is a key component in their visionary storytelling scheme," said Joel Silver, producer of the Matrix films. "The record-breaking success of both The Matrix Reloaded and Enter The Matrix is a testament to the strength of the Wachowskis' vision and game developer Shiny Entertainment's commitment to furthering their story in an incredibly innovative, visceral and exciting way."

    Enter The Matrix is the No. 1 selling video game worldwide and claims a spot as one of the most explosive video game launches in history. Online and brick-and-mortar retailers have reported overwhelming sales statistics for the game, with Enter The Matrix outselling its closest competitors on PlayStation(R)2 by two-to-one and on Xbox(TM) by four-to-one.

    Developed by award-winning Shiny Entertainment (an Atari studio), Enter The Matrix is a revolution in interactive entertainment - a third-person action game that effectively blurs the line between Hollywood blockbuster films and next generation video games. The game is directed and features a script written by the Wachowski Brothers, writers/directors of The Matrix movie trilogy, creating the most intensive collaboration between a video game publisher and a movie studio to date. The game features the same over-the-top gunplay, mind-bending martial arts, and insane driving and stunts that made The Matrix famous.

    Enter The Matrix includes approximately one hour of never-before-seen footage - shot exclusively for the game - using the actors, sets and crew from the blockbuster film, The Matrix Reloaded. In addition, the game features an hour of cineractives, directed by the Wachowskis and rendered within the game engine to help tell the epic story of Enter The Matrix.

    Enter The Matrix carries an estimated retail price of $49.99 and an ESRB rating "T" for Teen. More information about Enter The Matrix is available at http://www.enterthematrixgame.com. To learn more about The Matrix Reloaded, visit http://www.thematrix.com

    New Hulk Trailer: Download Here on Xbox Exclusive
    Steve @ 10:40 PM EDT
    The newest Hulk trailers were released today from VU Games. The same trailer is available in two different formats. There is actual in game footage on these. This is one of the first times this year we offered movie downloads on XBE. We hope you enjoy! Check out the angry Hulk trailers here:

    New Hulk Trailer - MOV - 4.2MB

    New Hulk Trailer - WMV - 4.5MB

    Thursday, May 22, 2003

    Inside Pitch 2003 Now Available
    Steve @ 11:28 PM EDT
    Microsoft Game Studios today announced that "Inside Pitch 2003" for Xbox is now on store shelves in North America for an estimated retail price of $49.99 (U.S.). "Inside Pitch 2003" is the only Xbox baseball game to take major league head-to-head play online via Xbox Live. Also, players can relive the most dramatic moments of the 2002 MLB season through the Championship Challenges mode. Would the 2002 All-Star game have ended up in a tie if you were in control?

    For more information on "Inside Pitch 2003" visit http://www.xbox.com/insidepitch2003/

    “Inside Pitch 2003” is Microsoft Game Studios’ inaugural Major League Baseball (MLB) title for Xbox. This dramatic baseball simulation, featuring Boston Red Sox All-Star shortstop Nomar Garciaparra as cover athlete, immerses hardball fans in one of the most realistic and fast-paced baseball settings ever created. Gamers will be able to hit the long ball, snag a line drive and paint the corner like a seasoned big-league veteran. And they’ll be able to compete against baseball fans nationwide by playing online through the Xbox Live service. Gamers worldwide can control their ultimate MLB team, take on Championship Challenges and lead their favorite team from from Spring Training™ to the Fall Classic®.

    Xbox Live, which launched in the United States Nov. 15, 2002, allows gamers to play multiplayer Xbox games with other gamers everywhere via a broadband connection. With a built-in hard drive and Ethernet port, the Xbox console is the only video game system built from the ground up for online gaming, negating the need to buy additional, costly peripherals or upgrades. Xbox Live enables gamers to easily find their friends; talk to other players during game play through the Xbox Communicator headset; download current statistics, new levels and characters to their Xbox hard drive; and play online—all exclusive features to Xbox Live.

    Next Splinter Cell: Pandora Tomorrow Announced + Screens
    Steve @ 3:50 AM EDT
    Sam Fisher Is Back with Exciting New Missions and Online Multiplayer Play Modes

    Ubi Soft Entertainment confirms the next Splinter Cell installment: Pandora Tomorrow, the new episode of the critically acclaimed stealth action game.

    Ubi Soft, one of the world's leading video game publishers, confirmed today that development has begun on the next Splinter Cell game, subtitled: "Pandora Tomorrow."

    This sequel is being developed as a multiplatform title and is slated for release in the first quarter of 2004. The game will bring back more of the single-player intrigue that made the original game a bestseller. With exciting new action scenes and a strong cinematic feel, the player will experience new and even more realistic surroundings. Building on Ubi Soft's strong commitment to online gaming, Pandora Tomorrow will the be the first stealth game ever to feature multiplayer online missions allowing several players to simultaneously share Sam Fisher's shadowy world of espionage.

    Cinematic Screens of Pandora Tomorrow

    THQ Releases MotoGP 2
    Steve @ 3:42 AM EDT
    CALABASAS HILLS, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--May 21, 2003--THQ(R) Inc. today announced the release of MotoGP 2 for the Xbox(TM) video game system from Microsoft and PC. Sequel to one of the most popular Xbox Live! titles and based on the fastest, most thrilling machines on two wheels, MotoGP 2 is available at major retail outlets nationwide.

    "THQ is thrilled to continue its support of Xbox Live! with titles that lend themselves to the growth and excitement of Xbox's online community," stated Tiffany Ternan, Senior Vice President, North American Sales and Distribution, THQ. "Featuring amazingly detailed Xbox graphics, along with several compelling modes of gameplay, MotoGP 2 is one of the most intense racing experiences available for any system."

    Midway Games Files Lawsuit Against Midway Home Ent.
    Steve @ 3:40 AM EDT
    CHICAGO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--May 16, 2003--Midway Games Inc. today commented on a lawsuit filed against its subsidiary, Midway Home Entertainment Inc., in Los Angeles Superior Court on May 13, 2003 by Pandemic Studios, LLC.

    Midway terminated its agreement with Pandemic effective May 13, 2003 for Pandemic's failure to perform pursuant to the terms of the agreement between the two companies. Midway believes the suit filed by Pandemic is an attempt by Pandemic to improperly use the courts to profit despite their failure to perform under the agreement.

    Midway believes Pandemic's claims are without merit. Midway intends to vigorously defend itself against the suit and will seek to recover all costs and expenses imposed on it by Pandemic resulting from the lawsuit. Additionally, Midway intends to file counterclaims against Pandemic.

    Midway Games Inc. is a leading developer and publisher of interactive entertainment software. Midway video games are available for play on all major video game platforms including the PlayStation(R)2 computer entertainment system, Xbox(TM) video game system from Microsoft, and Nintendo GameCube(TM) and Game Boy(R) Advance.

    NEC Files Lawsuit Against Xicat Interactive
    Steve @ 3:38 AM EDT
    SANTA CLARA, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--May 15, 2003--NEC Interchannel, Ltd. has filed a lawsuit in the Superior Court of California in the County of Santa Clara against Xicat Interactive Inc. and Jaimee Wolf, CEO of Xicat Interactive, Inc. related to a license agreement between the parties. The suit seeks damages for failure to pay guaranteed minimum royalties and seeks to enjoin the further distribution of Xicat's Xbox game BlackStone: Magic and Steel. The suit also seeks damages for fraud and punitive damages. NEC Interchannel, Ltd., an interactive entertainment company headquartered in Tokyo, Japan, develops and publishes for video game systems, personal computers and other digital devices. Established as an NEC group company to specialize in planning, development and sales of digital content, in only a short time, NEC Interchannel, Ltd. has built a solid reputation for producing a wide variety of digital content in the areas of culture, education/edutainment, amusement and music. More information about NEC's products and full text of press releases can be found on the Internet at http://www.necgames.com

    Tuesday, May 20, 2003

    Fear Factor: Unleashed in 2004
    Steve @ 3:34 PM EDT
    Scottsdale, Ariz., Tuesday, May 20, 2003 - ARUSH Entertainment and Playinteractive, LLP today announced a major licensing deal with NBC Enterprises and Endemol USA to create, market and distribute interactive video games based on the worldwide hit TV series Fear Factor. Tentatively titled Fear Factor: Unleashed, the games are targeted to be in stores in 2004. Joy Tashjian Marketing Group helped broker the deal.

    The games put the player in the shoes of a Fear Factor contestant to complete grueling challenges in order to advance to the next round, and will feature both a Show mode and a Tournament mode. Fear Factor: Unleashed will include many of the challenges fans of the show expect, such as verbal psyche-out attempts, gross-out challenges and death-defying stunts. The video games will also feature even more insane stunts, ones that could never be pulled off in real life. These dangerous stunts will have gamers' pulses racing and add an edge to Fear Factor that can only be done in video games.

    "With the show's incredible success in the Teens 12-17 and Adults 18-34 demographics, it seemed a natural to create a game where our fans can feel the thrill of competing in Fear Factor," said David Goldberg, President of Endemol USA.

    "Fear Factor has proven to be a consistently popular series for NBC," said Kim Niemi, Senior Vice President of Video, Music and Product Development, NBC Enterprises. "The transition into the video game industry is a great opportunity to directly involve fans in the trademark stunts and gross-out challenges of 'Fear Factor.'"

    "The show's demographics and subject matter are a direct bulls eye within the video game industry and make the games a natural," said Larry Meyers, General Partner of Playinteractive.

    "ARUSH and Playinteractive will allow all our viewers to actively participate in the challenging Fear Factor competition through the video game and will allow us to reach all ages," said Joy Tashjian of JTMG, a Consumer Product Agency and NBC Enterprises' authorized agent for consumer product licensing.

    Fear Factor is highly successful, and is frequently among the top-20 shows in the Nielson ratings, bringing in as many as 18 million viewers across all major demographics. This marks the first interactive entertainment licensing agreement by NBC for a major property.

    ARUSH Entertainment will deliver games based on its exclusive Playboy license in 2004 and has published Duke Nukem: Manhattan ProjectTM, Hunting Unlimited® and Devastation.

    "Fear Factor is one of those properties that is begging for intensely fun, action-packed video games," said Jim Perkins, president and CEO, ARUSH Entertainment. "This game will not only be a top-quality playable version of what millions of people watch each week, it will bring hair-raising gameplay to a new level with all the unbelievable stunts you cannot or would not want to tackle on the TV show. Buckle up for Fear Factor: Unleashed."

    Monday, May 19, 2003

    MechAssault Downloadable Content #2 Released
    Steve @ 2:45 PM EDT
    Microsoft today announced that the second batch of new downloadable content is now available for "MechAssault" via Xbox Live. This second update adds the highly anticipated Capture the Flag mode with two new maps for flag games: Midtown Mayhem and Desert Storm. Two new 70-ton BattleMechs, Loki and Hellbringer, have also been added to the fray. Thanks to the Hellbringer's loadout, a new weapon also appears in "MechAssault" -- the Flamer. (You'll never guess what it shoots!)

    But wait, there's more! Update #2 also ushers in some changes to make playing online a little smoother. A rematch option has been added for players who want to immediately jump back into the action with the same people they were just playing. Also, it is now easier to tell who is talking, both in the lobby and during the game. In the lobby, the Gamertag of the person speaking will now flash. During play, when a person is speaking, that Gamertag will flash with a "talk" icon in the upper right corner of the screen.

    Friday, May 16, 2003

    E3 2003: Update Coming Next Week
    Steve @ 9:00 PM EDT
    A little site update for everyone...

    Sometime next week we are preparing to have an "E3 Media Blowout" feature. We are going to be showing as many screen shots of the games from E3 as we can. We will also have a few short movies to download. Check back early next week for media from Microsoft, Sega, Acclaim, Eidos, and many more.

    Have a good weekend!

    Thursday, May 15, 2003

    E3 2003: Dead or Alive Online Announced
    Steve @ 3:26 PM EDT
    LOS ANGELES, Calif., May 14, 2003 — At the 2003 Electronic Entertainment Expo, Tecmo® announced that its highly anticipated title, Dead or Alive OnlineTM, the first 3-D fighting game to boast online compatibility, is in development and will be launching on the XboxTM video game console this fall. The announcement was made at Tecmo's booth on the first day of E3 during "The DOA Girls: From Bare Fists to Bikinis" live-action show when at the end of the show Tecmo unveiled a new trailer and details on the greatly awaited title.

    "We are very pleased to officially announce Dead or Alive Online for the Xbox," said Tony Tarpey, Tecmo's Marketing Manager. "Dead or Alive Online opens up a whole new door to fans of the fighting genre and the DOA series by being the first 3-D fighting game with Xbox Live capabilities. Players will now be able to not only play the whole Dead or Alive series on one console but also be able to go online and fight gamers from around the world! We are bringing 3-D fighting to the masses!"

    The vision behind the development of this revolutionary new title stemmed from the fact that each Dead or Alive title has been developed on the most technologically advanced video game console of the time, resulting in each game being released for different hardware platforms. After the successes of both Dead or Alive® 3 and Dead or Alive Xtreme Beach VolleyballTM on the Xbox, the creators of the series, Tecmo's Team Ninja, wanted to give fans a chance to experience the whole history of the Dead or Alive on the most powerful video game system on the market, the Xbox.

    Dead or Alive Online will be a powerhouse combination of the double million-seller Dead or Alive 2 and the original Sega Saturn classic that started it all, Dead or Alive 1, which was never available in the US market. Dead or Alive 1 will be a perfect rendition of the sublime Sega Saturn original that will surely become an irreplaceable addition to any Dead or Alive fan's collection, and Dead or Alive 2 Online is being completely redesigned to fully harness the power of the Xbox to create incredible highquality interactive visuals that will leave players gasping for breath; visuals that were completely impossible on previous-generation game consoles.

    "One of our goals in developing Dead or Alive 2 Online is to make it so that Dead or Alive 3 is only the second best looking game on the planet," said Tomonobu Itagaki, head of Team Ninja. "We are also adding a wide variety of bonus features. There will be new costumes, as well as fighting that will take full advantage of the environments in the many revamped stages. Additionally, there will be new scenes portraying the familial relationships between certain characters in their pasts that have previously been mysteries to players."

    Tecmo's Team Ninja is developing and releasing Dead or Alive Online to complement the alreadyreleased Dead or Alive 3 and Dead or Alive Xtreme Beach Volleyball, and the soon-to-come Ninja Gaiden and Dead or Alive: Code Cronus, to create an unstoppable Xbox lineup that will blow away gamers everywhere.

    For more information and new screen shots go to the Tecmo official website at http://www.tecmoinc.com . The game has a suggested retail price of $49.99 and has not yet been rated by the ESRB.

    E3 2003: Tecmo Reveals Ninja Gaiden
    Steve @ 3:04 PM EDT
    LOS ANGELES, Calif., May 14, 2003 - At the 2003 Electronic Entertainment Expo, Tecmo® revealed that its highly anticipated action/adventure title, Ninja Gaiden, first officially announced at last year's E3, will be launching this holiday season for the XboxTM video game console. Buzz on the new Ninja Gaiden has been building since the official announcement was made that Tecmo would be bringing the series back to life. The goal of Tecmo's esteemed developing group, Team Ninja is to create an action game unlike anything the gaming community has ever seen; a game that will redefine the boundaries of the action genre. Presented on the most advanced hardware platform of our time, the Xbox, the game will be an entirely new experience that will pass on the spirit of the original million-seller series from the early nineties. Microsoft teased its audience at E3 2003 with a new Ninja Gaiden trailer featuring new scenes and gameplay from the game, at its press conference on Monday, May 12th 2003 and then debuted the full 4-minute long trailer at its booth on the first day of E3. Tecmo showcased the new trailer at its booth continually over the course of the show.

    Even though much of the information about the game is being kept under a tight lid until its launch, Tecmo was able to divulge some new and exciting details surrounding the highly anticipated title. In the new Ninja Gaiden, the player resumes the role of Ryu Hyabusa, the notorious ninja assassin, who seeks revenge after his clan is massacred by the Vigor Empire. The player then sets off on a journey of vengeance as he cuts down opponents in the Vigor Empire using his deadly katana sword to beat the Holy Emperor and reclaim the magic sword, "Ryuken".

    The new action/adventure game boasts 100% action with adrenaline pumping new features such as realistic battle sequences and swift acrobatic ninja moves that will restore Ninja Gaiden to its rightful place in the action/adventure hall of fame. One of the most exciting new features that Tecmo revealed at E3 was the introduction of a revolutionary new Xbox Live Compatible element within Ninja Gaiden that is being specifically engineered by Tecmo's esteemed developing group, "Team Ninja", for the title. Details surrounding this feature are being kept very secret but at press time the developer of the game boasted that the Xbox Live feature will be like nothing gamers have ever experienced before.

    "We are thrilled to be bringing Ninja Gaiden back to life this year," said John Inada, Tecmo's Director of Sales and Marketing. "With its Xbox Live compatibility, exquisitely rendered graphics, incredible visual effects, and realistic combat system, Ninja Gaiden will raise the bar in action/adventure games taking players to a whole new dimension."

    Tecmo's Team Ninja has raised the stakes and the violence with the new Ninja Gaiden by focusing on giving the action sequences an intense and bloody realism rarely felt in action video games these days. By concentrating on gory battle sequences and the element of speed the developers were able to create a game that allows the player to experience the kill as the ninja assassin slices his enemy's throat and feel the speed as Ryu rapidly somersaults through the air.

    Other highlights in the new ninja title include increased skills and new weapons, remarkable sound and visual effects, a variety of challenging levels, and a feature that allows the player to quit the game at any time and restart at the very same point.

    For more information and action-packed screen shots go to the Tecmo official website at http://www.tecmoinc.com . The game has a suggested retail price of $49.99 and has not yet been rated by ESRB.

    E3 2003: THQ Unveils New Military Game: Xbox Exclusive
    Steve @ 4:04 AM EDT
    LOS ANGELES--(BUSINESS WIRE)--May 14, 2003--THQ(R) Inc. today unveiled Full Spectrum Warrior(TM), an authentic new military tactical-action game with game developer Pandemic Studios. Developed exclusively for the Xbox(TM) videogame system from Microsoft, Full Spectrum Warrior will be unveiled at the Electronic Entertainment Expo and is scheduled to be available in early 2004.

    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 amongst troops. Full Spectrum Warrior is a squad-based, tactical-action game that delivers the experience of squad level command in the heat of battle. The product was developed with expertise from University of Southern California's Institute for Creative Technologies, which worked with Pandemic to bring state-of-the-art technology to the game. Designed to simulate today's challenges of urban combat missions, Full Spectrum Warrior delivers a level of realism and accuracy that has never been seen in a military-based game.

    "This agreement aligns THQ with a proven development studio capable of creating the type of realistic games today's market demands," said Peter Dille, senior vice president, worldwide marketing, THQ. "With its unique tactical-action style of gameplay and roots as an actual U.S. Army training simulator, Full Spectrum Warrior allows players to truly experience the precision and emotion of modern day military operations."

    "Our work with the Army produced a compelling and unique game that authentically captures the life of a U.S. Army soldier operating in an urban warzone. Full Spectrum Warrior is a completely new type of game experience that we are extremely excited to bring to consumers," said Josh Resnick, President, Pandemic Studios. "THQ's publishing strength and their keen desire to build this franchise and our business made them the perfect partner for this project."

    E3 2003: Atari Announces Magic: The Gathering for Xbox
    Steve @ 4:00 AM EDT
    Under license from Hasbro Consumer Products, Atari has announced plans to take one of the most popular trading card games ever created to the Xbox videogame system from Microsoft with the release of "Magic: The Gathering(R) - Battlegrounds." A PC CD-ROM version of the game was also announced. Currently in development by Secret Level, "Magic: The Gathering - Battlegrounds" is filled with faithful translations of classic creatures, spells and enchantments from the premier trading card game in a visually stunning 3D game environment rife with real-time strategic fighting, devastating wizard arsenals and intense creature combat.

    "`Magic' represents one of the best game franchises ever created, constantly evolving and always offering something new to challenge and entertain players. When we approached this project we asked ourselves how we could expand the `Magic' experience interactively to match --the answer: by making it real-time and providing significant Xbox Live! support," said Jean-Philippe Agati, senior vice president and head of Infogrames, Inc.'s Los Angeles studio. "`Magic: The Gathering - Battlegrounds' is like no other `Magic' game to date -- it is incredibly fast-paced, eye-popping in full 3D and filled with more strategic fighting action than you can shake a stick at. What's more, we've gone to great lengths to deliver Xbox Live! features allowing players to compete against friends worldwide, track their stats and rank as well as download new creatures, spells, arenas and more."

    Created by award-winning game designer Richard Garfield and published by Wizards of the Coast, the "Magic: The Gathering" trading card game made its debut in 1993. Today, there are more than six million "Magic" players worldwide. The card game itself is played between two or more players who attempt to reduce each other's score from 20 to 0 by utilizing the various creatures, spells, artifacts and more in a series of offensive and defensive maneuvers.

    Just as in the "Magic(R)" card game, in "Magic: The Gathering -Battlegrounds" players will choose a duelist and up to two of "Magic's" five colors -- red, green, white, blue, and black -- to attempt to reduce their opponent's life to zero. Of course, getting an opponent to zero will not be easy; players will have to utilize lightning reflexes, strategic brilliance and, on occasion, raw power to overcome an enemy.

    An important aspect to "Magic: The Gathering - Battlegrounds" will involve the player's mastery of the five colors in the development of his/her duelist. Each color has a proficiency at certain types of activities, such as attacking, defending and healing. Players will be able to select up to two colors and utilize creatures, spells and enchantments in any combination from those schools. For example, a red duelist may choose to augment the attacking powers of his Lava Dragon by adding powerful green enchantments to his arsenal or increase his resilience by using white's restorative powers instead.

    "Magic: The Gathering - Battlegrounds" will feature an engrossing single-player Quest Mode featuring a story that includes characters from "Magic: The Gathering" storylines while also introducing a variety of new characters and locales. Single-player Quest Mode will be composed of six chapters, each featuring up to 15 quests. Most quests will involve battles with resident duelists, sub-bosses or bosses who often control a particular creature or spell that the player has not yet acquired. As the player progresses, the resident duelists get tougher and control more powerful spells. Upon defeating these opponents, players can gain access to these new spells and creatures; the enemy duelist becomes playable within the game; and, the player can select from various clothing and other accoutrements, allowing players to customize the look of their chosen duelist.

    In addition to acquiring new spells, "Magic: The Gathering -Battlegrounds" will provide players with the ability to increase their duelist's power with special artifacts. Artifacts are magical relics with varying effects that, when used correctly, enhance a duelist's chances of victory. Every time a single-player chapter is completed by defeating that chapter's sub-boss, the player can select one of several artifacts to add to his collection.

    More than 350,000 Xbox gamers are currently enjoying online game play and downloadable content via Xbox Live! "Magic: The Gathering -Battlegrounds" will feature an entire host of features that take full advantage of this new opportunity for extended online play. Xbox Live! features will include: a global ranking and statistics system; new downloadable content; convenient cross title invitations; opponent feedback forums; a robust friends list; voice chat; and more.

    "Magic: The Gathering - Battlegrounds" will be available for Xbox and PC in Fall 2003. Additional information about "Magic: The Gathering - Battlegrounds" can be found online at http://www.mtggame.com , which features downloadable and streaming game play movies, screenshots, duelist information and much more.

    E3 2003: Midnight Club II Release Date Announced
    Steve @ 3:56 AM EDT
    NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--May 13, 2003--Rockstar Games, the world-renowned publishing division of Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. has announced the North American release date for Midnight Club II for the Xbox(R) video game system from Microsoft(TM) and the PC.

    Midnight Club II for the Xbox(R) will be in stores on June 4th in North America and June 6th in Europe. The PC version of Midnight Club II will be available on June 25th in North America and June 27th in Europe.

    "Midnight Club II has been a tremendous success for us on the PlayStation(R)2 and we are extremely pleased that players have embraced our vision of what can be achieved with an open-ended racing game," said Dan Houser, Rockstar Games' Vice President of Creative. "Now, the PC and Xbox(R) offer us powerful new hardware to showcase and add features to an already astounding racing game that is unparalleled in speed, adrenaline and style."

    Midnight Club II is set to make its long awaited debut on the Xbox(R), offering non-linear gameplay, huge urban environments, and an extreme sense of speed that redefines the very idea of what a racing game can be. The most notorious street racers meet each night in three of the world's greatest cities - LA, Paris, and Tokyo, driving the latest performance enhanced cars and bikes and competing head-to-head to make a name for themselves. Now it's your turn. There are no rules. Drive anywhere in the city. Find the fastest route, and win your opponent's car. The level of competition intensifies as players take the high-octane, nitrous infused experience of Midnight Club II online. Midnight Club II provides both online and LAN support for the PC and Xbox(R) Live. Up to 8 players at a time can now compete for international street credibility in five thrilling multiplayer game modes ranging from Career and Circuit Races, arcade style Battle Modes and an advanced Race Editor. Midnight Club II also now features an online ranking system for the Xbox so players can see how well they stack up against the best street racers on the planet.

    Additional information about Midnight Club II is available at http://www.rockstargames.com/midnightclub2

    E3 2003: Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines Details
    Steve @ 3:23 AM EDT
    A first-person action game currently in development for all major console gaming platforms, Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines will - for the first time on next-generation console systems - allow players to become the Terminator Series signature icon, Arnold Schwarzenegger as the original Terminator. This marks the first time Arnold Schwarzenegger's voice and likeness has ever appeared in a home videogame.

    Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines will feature exclusive film footage created specifically for the release of the videogame and not available in the motion picture. Filmed by director Jonathan Mostow, this 5-minute segment features Arnold Schwarzenegger and sheds new light on the mythology behind the origins of the Terminator. In addition, footage from the feature film is also used liberally throughout the game to set up key situations and story-related game elements.

    The Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines videogame storyline will weave in and out of the movie script as players face enemies from the present in which the War of the Machines looms on the horizon, to the apocalyptic future where the War itself is waged on all fronts. While following the feature film's plot closely, Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines will go one step further by providing fans of the Terminator series with a deeper look into the movie's universe and the role of the Terminator, a futuristic fighting machine reprogrammed to save humanity from the SkyNet holocaust.

    Game Features

  • A unique twist in the Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines story will also allow players to operate the Terminator before it was reprogrammed in the future to save John Connor. As a result, players will be able to test their terminating skills against battle-hardened Tech Com special forces from the future

  • As the Terminator, players will face all comers in first-person action from the wastelands of the future to present-day Los Angeles.

  • Military bases, laboratories and downtown Los Angeles are just a few of the more than 20 unique locations found in the game, which have been taken straight from the current Terminator timeline of events.

  • More than 20 futuristic and modern-day weapons will be at the player's disposal for use in terminating any enemy in the most efficient manner possible, including the SkyNet Arc-Laser, Tech-Com Micro Rocket Launcher and the AR-15 Assault Rifle with M202 Grenade Launcher.

  • Engage in true movie-like Terminator combat as they repeatedly face the ultimate killing machine, the T-X, throughout the single-player game. Smashing opponents into walls, massive two-handed chops and crushing kicks are just a few of the dozens of moves in the Terminator's arsenal.

    Wednesday, May 14, 2003

    E3 2003: BC E3 Screens and Feature List
    Steve @ 6:07 PM EDT
    Before there were roofs overhead, there were dank, dark caves echoing with the grunts of their prehistoric inhabitants. Before organized crops and farming, every new fruit and berry picked off the tree could either be sweet, delicious sustenance — or deadly poison. Every roar in the distance necessitated tribal unity; every rock shard and broken stick could be a weapon; every flame needed to be preserved. Before there was history, there was “BC.”

    “BC” is an original third-person action/adventure game that hurtles players back millions of years into prehistory, to the beginnings of humankind. Members of a clan take part in an epic journey of survival, battling against ferocious, prehistoric creatures and exploring and exploiting vast natural environments. New technologies and knowledge could be just over the next rise. If humanity is to survive, the tribe needs to evolve into a thinking, resourceful unit that can rise up to become the pioneers in a primeval, unpredictable world.

    Key Features:

    · Brutal prehistoric combat. Players experience savage battles in an uncivilized, merciless era. Heads and limbs get torn off and pools of blood congeal after brutal conflicts in a violent, dangerous world where only the strong survive.

    · The world is a weapon. Gamers will discover and create a multitude of deadly weapons using naturally occurring materials. Enemies can be poisoned with native plants; an avalanche can be triggered to kill predatory opponents: Interactive environments allow for multiple solutions. Any object can be picked up or used as a tool or weapon, and wild animals have the potential to be predator or prey.

    · A massive prehistoric world. Players must lead their tribe through the nascent earth’s deadly but beautiful environments, from ancient rainforests to underwater settings. Gamers must weather the elements, from scathing desert heat to raging tropical rainstorms and fierce mountain blizzards.

    · Deadly adversaries. The tribe becomes the hunted when deadly creatures ranging from saber-toothed tigers to velociraptors defend their young or stalk tribe members for food.

    · Evolution or extinction. Gamers handpick tribe members to produce babies born to be hunters, mystics, fighters or other specializations. As their experience grows and time passes, players choose the right skills and powers to enhance their characters and benefit the tribe.


    BC E3 Screens

    E3 2003: Amped 2: Info and Screens
    Steve @ 5:51 PM EDT
    “Amped 2,” part of the new XSN Sports™ brand, is the ultimate freestyle snowboarding experience offering gamers an expanded library of tricks and a smooth new “tricking” style. Gamers can explore vast areas of wide-open, spectacularly rendered mountains packed with terrain parks designed by world-famous snow park architect Chris Gunnarson. They can play head to head with friends to compare skills or challenge up to seven others in various multiplayer modes. Utilizing revolutionary new Web-based technology, riders can easily organize their own triple crown from a centralized Web site, XSNsports.com, that pulls the information from Xbox Live. When ready to take it to the next level, they can connect to Xbox Live to check rankings and challenge the world’s best virtual riders. Gamers can feel what it’s like to live the life of a real pro snowboarder. They can travel the globe and pull sick tricks in front of sponsors, photographers and fans. They can build their fame and get photos and demo reels placed in the latest virtual snowboard magazine or video. They can climb to the top ranks of the sport and become a media superstar. And they can do all of this to the sounds of more than 300 killer alt-indie tracks.

    Key Features:

    ● XSN Sports. XSN Sports is the first lineup of Xbox games where sports fans compete beyond the game. For the first time ever, gamers can challenge real people, create their own leagues and build their own rivalries. XSN Sports is the breakthrough sports fans have been waiting for.

    · XSNsports.com. XSNsports.com is the Web-based service that links a gamer’s Xbox console, Xbox Live, PC and cell phone together for the first time ever. “Amped 2” fans will now be able to organize their own triple crown championships from a centralized Web site, and Xbox Live will automatically broadcast up-to-date standings to any Web-based device.

    · A new way to ride with style, aka “steez.” Snowboarders can attack the mountain aggressively, combo tricks together or spin like crazy to earn big points. Or they can take a smoother approach, getting big points for pulling tricks with “steez,” like perfectly timed tweaks, slow rotations or dialed balance on rails. This is how the real pros do it, and “Amped 2” lets gamers enjoy the feeling of riding their own way. So riders can combo or spin like crazy, ride smooth and stylish, or master both to find the perfect combination. The gamers decide how to ride to win, instead of following a set of rules … and that’s what freestyle is all about.

    · Multiple multiplayer modes. Whether via split-screen, LAN or Xbox Live, “Amped 2” offers many multiplayer challenges, both individual and team-based. Gamers can go head-to-head with a buddy, challenge up to seven others in a game of HORSE, or play a game of four-on-four “King of the Mountain” in which each team tries to pull the sickest tricks on different rails and ramps on a run.

    · A worldwide nation of snowboarders via Xbox Live. Who’s got bragging rights? Now gamers will be able to find out by challenging riders around the globe to see who’s the best. Gamers can track stats and check regional and worldwide ladders to see rankings. They can trade replays with friends or download new content including mountains, gear, challenges and music.

    · A whole new bag of tricks. “Amped 2” takes all the moves from “Amped” and adds new aerial tricks, advanced grabs, a full set of styled-out rail slides, tweaks, stalls, and hand and foot plants, and introduces “butter,” the center of a new combo system that allows nose and tail manuals to link tricks together. And a tutorial has been added to teach first-timers the basics of freestyle riding.

    · Deeper career and portfolio. Gamers now have more opportunities to impress the locals and members of the press with three levels of media challenges: photos, photo sequences and video demo reels. As fame builds, sponsors award gamers new gear and boards, and mountainside banners appear displaying new endorsements won.

    · The ultimate snowboarding environments. “Amped 2” goes global with the addition of new mountains including Laax, Switzerland, Mt. Buller in Australia, and Harris Mountain, a heli-skiing mountain in New Zealand. Fully rendered 3-D environments bring the mountains alive. Clouds cast shadows that move over the hills, and the runs teem with ambient life and sounds, including other riders, snow cats, chairlift riders and working snow machines.

    · Professional snow park design. World-renowned terrain park designer Chris “Gunny” Gunnarson lends his expertise again exclusively to the “Amped 2” park design, improving trick placement,
    adding more objects that tricks can be performed on, and doubling the size of many jumps to make it easier to land in transition.

    · More than 300 core indie tracks. Gamers can ride to the sound of their own tracks but may never feel the need with a library of more than 300 original cuts to listen to from the latest up-and-coming indie artists.

    · Greater character customization. Gamers can create and customize their own rider including hair style, gear and customized board graphics, and even select a personality that will come to life as he or she rides.

    · Fourteen of the top pros. “Amped 2” features 14 top pros including Jeremy Jones, Mikey LeBlanc, Travis Parker and Janna Meyen.

    Amped 2 Screens

    E3 2003: Yzerman on Cover of NHL Rivals 2004
    Steve @ 3:41 PM EDT
    He’s dominated the international hockey scene, the NHL® and the Olympics. Today at the interactive entertainment industry’s annual tradeshow, the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) in Los Angeles, Detroit Red Wing Steve Yzerman will lace up his skates to battle for hockey supremacy in the video game world. The longest serving captain in NHL history will guide Microsoft Game Studios’ first hockey title for the Xbox video game system, “NHL Rivals 2004™.” Yzerman will grace the cover and serve as spokesperson for the featured hockey title in the new XSN Sports brand.

    The three-time Stanley Cup Champ is one of only six NHL players to net 60 goals in consecutive seasons. Yzerman has totaled more than 1,600 points and 600 goals in 20 NHL seasons and won his first Olympic gold medal with Team Canada at the 2002 Winter Games in Salt Lake City.

    “Steve Yzerman is one of the most respected and winningest players in hockey and we are excited that he will be the face of ‘NHL Rivals 2004’,” said Kevin Browne, sports studio manager at Microsoft Game Studios. “As a new entry into the hockey category, Yzerman’s input on ‘NHL Rivals 2004’ development, is sure to make it a true competitive force in the hockey category.”

    XSN Sports is changing the way sports gamers compete online and offline. “NHL Rivals 2004” will utilize XSN Sports’ exclusive and revolutionary technology to unite sports fans and gamers into an intense and competitive hockey gaming community. Acting as the ultimate general manager, hockey fans can control and build hockey leagues and tournaments with friends and compete online using Xbox Live and www.XSNsports.com. This new web based technology, exclusive to XSN Sports titles, will allow gamers to view their league’s up-to-date scores, standings and stats on a virtual sports page. Whether it is on the pond, on the ice or online, “NHL Rivals 2004” will be looking to hoist the Cup this year.

    In addition, “NHL Rivals 2004,” as part of the XSN Sports brand, will showcase a variety of new in-game features including an advanced face-off system with unique moves and countermoves, an in-depth Tournament Mode allowing gamers to set up round-robin knockout tournaments and a challenging Rivalry Mode that instantly puts gamers into a grudge match between historic rival teams.

    “NHL Rivals 2004” is scheduled to hit store shelves in the Fall. It will be Xbox Live enabled and a featured title in the XSN Sports brand.

    E3 2003: Xbox Price Drop
    Steve @ 3:37 PM EDT
    Add one more reason to buy an Xbox video game system today: a new, lower price. Effective immediately, the world’s most powerful video game system will retail for $179.99 in the United States and $249.99 in Canada.

    Right out of the box, Xbox enables the most advanced online and offline gaming experiences with its built-in hard drive and built-in Ethernet port. With an attractive new price, a tremendous lineup of games, and the rapidly growing Xbox Live online gaming community, Xbox represents the best choice for a wide range of consumers.

    “Our commitment to the consumer is to offer the best system at the best price with the best selection of software,” notes Robbie Bach, senior vice president and chief Xbox officer at Microsoft’s home and entertainment division. “The $179.99 price point for Xbox will bring the world’s most innovative interactive entertainment system to the broadest audience.”

    In addition to this new price, Xbox is featuring an impressive line-up of new games for the coming year this week at E3, as well as enhancements to its online gaming service and innovative new entertainment products to expand the definition of video game entertainment.

    E3 2003: Shaquille O’Neal on Cover of NBA Inside Drive 2004
    Steve @ 3:29 PM EDT
    Three-time NBA World Champion Shaquille O’Neal is set to grace the cover and act as spokesperson for “NBA Inside Drive 2004,” the newest version of the exclusive Xbox basketball title from Microsoft Game Studios. As part of the new XSN Sports brand, “NBA Inside Drive 2004” offers gamers and hoops fans a chance to take the “rock” to the hole for the best on-court and online competition. O’Neal’s deal with Microsoft Game Studios was announced today at the industry’s annual tradeshow, the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) in Los Angeles, California.

    Developed by High Voltage Software, “NBA Inside Drive 2004” offers hoopsters an improved AI, more responsive “juke” controls for jaw-dropping one-on-one isolation moves, revamped passing schemes, and defenses that deliver a new level of intensity to stealing and blocking. Additionally, O’Neal’s involvement with “NBA Inside Drive 2004” has inspired the new Power Post Play feature. From power-dunks to hook shots to drop-steps, big-men will finally get the respect they deserve with a series of new low-post moves that will enable gamers to dominate the post just like Shaq.



    “Shaquille O’Neal is the final ingredient for ‘NBA Inside Drive’s’ championship formula,” said Kevin Browne, sports studio manager at Microsoft Game Studios. “Shaq, XSN Sports, Xbox Live, the Power Post Plays and a Revamped AI form a championship caliber team destined to dominate the basketball landscape.”



    XSN Sports is changing the way sports gamers compete online and offline. "NBA Inside Drive 2004" will utilize XSN Sports' exclusive and revolutionary technology to unite sports fans and gamers into an intense and competitive basketball gaming community. Acting as the ultimate general manager, hoops fans can control and build leagues with friends, draft players, compete online using Xbox Live and even receive trade proposals on a cell phone or PDA from a centralized website www.XSNsports.com. This new web based technology, exclusive to XSN Sports titles, will allow gamers to view their league's up-to-date scores, standings and stats each morning on a virtual sports page. Whether it is on the hardwood, on the playground or online, "NBA Inside Drive 2004" will be looking to win the championship this year.



    Using Xbox Live, “NBA Inside Drive 2004” will provide downloadable content, multiple leader boards that enable gamers of different skill levels to compete online, and a new ranking system that gives ballers more ways to track their dominance.



    Gamers can once again hear Kevin Calabro, Kenny Smith and Marques Johnson call all the exciting “NBA Inside Drive” action this October.

    Tuesday, May 13, 2003

    E3 2003: Doom 3 Confirmed for Xbox
    Steve @ 4:41 PM EDT
    Santa Monica, CA - May 13, 2003 - id SoftwareTM and Activision, Inc. confirmed today that id Software's DOOM 3TM, the most anticipated game of the year, is headed to the Xbox® video game system from Microsoft.

    Built on id's revolutionary new 3D graphics engine, DOOM 3 draws players into the most terrifying and riveting 3D gaming experience ever created. id Software and Activision will feature a new trailer of the PC version at the Electronic Entertainment Expo, beginning Wednesday, May 14, in Activision's booth #1224 in the South Hall.

    First released in 1993, DOOM is widely recognized as the catalyst for the first-person action genre. Since its inception, the franchise has been one of the industry's best-selling PC series. A release date for DOOM 3 for Xbox is not available.

    E3 2003: Legacy of Kain: Defiance Announced. First Trailer
    Steve @ 4:35 PM EDT
    Los Angeles, CA, Electronic Entertainment Expo (May 13, 2003) – Eidos Interactive, one of the world's leading publishers and developers of entertainment software, today announced that Legacy of Kain: Defiance, the next installment of the critically acclaimed, multi-million unit selling Legacy Of Kain series, is currently in development for the PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system and the Xbox® video game system from Microsoft. Legacy of Kain: Defiance is currently slated to arrive in stores in Fall 2003.

    “Legacy of Kain: Defiance skillfully combines the strongest elements the franchise has brought to the video gaming universe,” says Rob Dyer, President of Eidos Interactive. “The combat, action, and story of Legacy of Kain will set a new standard in epic adventure gaming.”

    Legacy of Kain: Defiance is the next chapter in the epic Legacy of Kain series. Players will take control of the two most powerful and highly evolved vampires ever: Raziel, the demonic antihero of the Soul Reaver series of games, and Kain, the all-powerful demigod that has appeared in every game in the series. Raziel and Kain must battle through a world loaded with conflict and intrigue. The two characters will unleash all their powers in order to unravel their destinies and defeat the dark forces that seek to condemn their world to eternal damnation.

    Legacy of Kain: Defiance will offer an extensive list of features completely new to the Legacy of Kain franchise. Both Raziel and Kain make appearances as fully playable characters in all of their blood sucking, soul devouring glory. A groundbreaking cinematic in-game camera is unveiled, capturing every moment of the action as well as showing breathtaking environments from the best possible point of view. The completely “re-vamped” combat system promises to be accessible, responsive and satisfying, allowing for non-stop action and thrilling combo moves unique to each character. The inclusion of the new “telekinesis” feature will play a fundamental role in not only deepening the combat system, but level and puzzle progression as well. Visceral and sinister feeding events take these brothers in blood back to their dark and twisted roots, as they must devour the blood and souls of hordes of human, demonic and undead foes to satisfy their hideous appetites.

    New features such as a ‘save anytime’ system, which allows the player to save their progress at any point in time, will add to the seamless, action-packed gameplay. Secret areas and hidden bonus items will reward exploration, enhance replay value, and lessen overall linearity of the game, as players can revisit any areas once navigated in search of additional missed treasures.

    “With Legacy of Kain: Defiance, we are taking the series in a new direction, emphasizing heroic action while still preserving the game’s compelling story and adventure elements,” states Amy Hennig, Project Director at Crystal Dynamics. “Reuniting the series under a new banner, Legacy of Kain: Defiance features both Kain and Raziel as playable characters, their stories intertwining as they confront hordes of enemies in fierce, fast-paced battles. Our innovative new combat system emphasizes intuitive controls, over-the-top attacks and combos, powerful telekinetic assaults, and visceral finishing moves which draw from our heroes’ dark, vampiric natures.”

    Trailer: http://www.eidosinteractive.com/downloads/search.html?gmid=142

    E3 2003: True Crime: Streets of L.A Soundtrack Details
    Steve @ 4:19 PM EDT
    Santa Monica, CA - May 13, 2003 - To capture the urban vibe of Los Angeles for its upcoming True Crime: Streets of L.A. video game, Activision, Inc., has partnered with L.A.-based Vybe Squad, LLC to produce a groundbreaking soundtrack that features more original songs from the biggest names in West Coast hip-hop than any game soundtrack ever released. West Side Connection - Ice Cube, Mac 10, WC - E40, EZ E Jr., KAM and 187 (Above the Law), are among the artists currently set to write and perform tracks for the True Crime: Streets of L.A. album, with other headlining talent to be announced.

    In addition, the soundtrack will feature licensed tracks, including select classics. The tracks will provide the backdrop to action-packed car chases, shootouts, on-foot pursuits and hand-to-hand combat featured in the highly anticipated mission-based driving and action video game.

    Vybe Squad, whose founders were among the team members that produced such multi-platinum soundtracks as "Set It Off" and "Above the Rim," with Bungalo Records, home of projects including DJ Quik's "Under the Influence," as well as albums from Bizzy Bone, Mac 10 and Sugar Free, are pulling together some of the biggest names in hip-hop to record original music for the True Crime: Streets Of L.A. soundtrack. In addition to the artists mentioned above, Vybe Squad's roster of talent includes Coolio, Snoop Dogg's East Siders and Eazy E Jr., among others. The two-CD True Crime: Streets of L.A. soundtrack will be released this summer by Vybe Squad/ Bungalo Records/ Universal (UMVD).

    "Vybe Squad is the perfect partner for the True Crime: Streets of L.A. soundtrack," said Chris Archer, executive producer, Activision Worldwide Studios. "It is amazing to see some of hip-hop's top West Coast artists come together to create original tracks for our game. Hip-hop music is the voice of the urban lifestyle and capturing the gritty, raw sounds of the streets is an essential part of the True Crime: Streets of L.A. gaming experience."

    "True Crime: Streets of L.A. is off the hook!" said, Bright Riley, CEO Vybe Squad/ Sr. VP Bungalo Records.

    Bigg Swoop, President and CEO of Vybe Squad Records added, "This video game has all the action of a hardcore action film- Ain't nothing soft about it and Ain't nothing soft about the sound track."

    In True Crime: Streets of L.A., players assume the role of rogue Elite Operations Division (E.O.D.) operative Nick Kang, a no-holds-barred badass, whose brutal reputation and lethal skills have landed him the nasty task of taking down the Chinese Triad and Russian Mafia cartel that has turned the City of Angels into a war zone. Take part in explosive gun battles with double fisted firepower, devastating martial arts brawls, and high-speed shootouts across 250 square miles of accurately recreated L.A. In car or on-foot, the unique branching missions include locating hostile witnesses, searching for case-cracking clues, taking out evasive informants and busting the heavily armed and deadly bad guys. True Crime: Streets of L.A. will be available this fall for the PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system, the XboxTM video game system from Microsoft and the Nintendo GameCubeTM and has not yet been rated by the ESRB.

    E3 2003: Counter-Strike Info & Feature List
    Steve @ 4:17 PM EDT
    "Counter-Strike," the world's most popular online action game and first-person shooter for the PC, makes its console debut exclusively on Xbox and Xbox Live. "Counter-Strike" features single-player missions taking place over a gritty realistic counterterrorist world, and allows gamers to challenge other players in team-based multiplayer games on Xbox Live and System Link. "Counter-Strike" on Xbox will be the most graphically advanced version of the series to date, showcasing the technical prowess of Xbox, including immersive, intense multiplayer action on Xbox Live. In addition, players will benefit by strategizing and communicating with their teammates via the Xbox Live Communicator headset.

    Key Features:

  • Intense Xbox Live multiplayer action. Gamers can battle real players throughout the world with Xbox Live, strategizing and communicating with up to 16 other players. A unique player-ranking system will allow gamers to select games with equal-caliber opponents, while Xbox Live helps ensure cheat-free playing fields. System Link functionality will also be available.

  • Xbox enhancements and exclusives. Players will be treated to new, graphically enhanced missions from "Counter-Strike: Condition Zero," as well as new, exclusive content designed only for Xbox. Players can engage in the usual favorites, such as Bomb Defuse and Hostage Rescue, as well as play the new single-player component.

  • Realistic counterterrorist experience. Players will experience a deep, involving counterterrorism world in which danger abounds. Players will lead an elite team through the jungles of Asia and the cold regions of Eastern Europe, and in the unbearable humidity of Colombia.

  • Real-life weapons and gadgets. Players can choose from more than 25 real-life weapons: Shotguns, sniper rifles, pistols and other military artillery are available. New gadgets include a riot shield, blowtorch and fiber optic camera, bringing new strategic elements to the "Counter-Strike" world.

  • Downloadable content. New content is planned for download on Xbox Live.

    E3 2003: Microsoft Unveils Rare's First Xbox Games
    Steve @ 4:03 PM EDT
    The wait is over! Microsoft Games Studios™ today unveiled the first three Xbox® games in development by Rare, Ltd., the UK-based development company. “Grabbed by the Ghoulies,” “Kameo™: Elements of Power” and Xbox Live-enabled "Conker: Live and Uncut” are expected to draw an eager crowd to the Xbox booth. Attendees will finally be able to see and play the Xbox games that have spurred so much anticipation since the September 2002 acquisition was announced at Microsoft’s X02 event in Seville, Spain.

    The first Rare game expected to appear on Xbox is “Grabbed by the Ghoulies,” a humorous beat-’em-up action/adventure game that takes place in a haunted house full of crazed dirty fighting ghoulies. Gamers play the role of Cooper, a kid on a mission to rescue his girlfriend, who has been “grabbed by the ghoulies.” Players will venture through the haunted and ominous Ghoulhaven Hall, battling it out with a variety of monsters while trying to escape the many tricks, traps and shocks awaiting them along the way. Packed with action, “Grabbed by the Ghoulies” is filled with unexpected surprises, and all who fail to get through Ghoulhaven Hall are imprisoned within and never seen again.

    “Conker: Live and Uncut” is an all-new Xbox Live™-enabled team-based shooter that features the irreverent world of Conker, a cartoon rodent with a penchant for booze, wild women and lewd conduct. Gamers will experience a wide variety of customizable multiplayer scenarios, each with its own objectives, rules, environment and back story that provide hilarious gameplay and wacky entertainment. Also included is the original, critically acclaimed single-player game, “Conker’s Bad Fur Day,” with never-before-seen, uncensored content and completely revamped, only-on-Xbox graphics and sound.

    Rare fans will also enjoy “Kameo: Elements of Power,” an action/adventure game packed with combat and exploration set in a magnificent Kingdom of monsters and magic. Players assume the role of Kameo, who is on a mission to rescue her three Elemental Ancestors from the Dark Troll King who threatens the planet and its wildlife. Kameo and her “dragon-with-an attitude” sidekick Meepo, must capture, grow and command monsters whose powers she can use to safely explore the vast Kingdom and ultimately unleash to combat the evil that threatens the planet and its population of monsters.

    E3 2003: Midway Announces E3 Music Lineup
    Steve @ 3:32 PM EDT
    LOS ANGELES – May 13, 2003 (E3 Booth #800, South Hall) – Midway Games Inc., a leading software industry publisher and developer, announced today that Grammy-nominated Vanessa Carlton, FLIP/GEFFEN’s recording act COLD, DJ Rocky Rock and MC Supernatural will perform live at Midway’s booth #800 in the South Hall of the Los Angeles Convention Center for E3 2003, May 12-16. Each band has recorded original songs for some of Midway’s hottest game releases including SpyHunter® 2, ESPionage and NBA Ballers.

    “Midway is proud to once again showcase cutting edge bands performing live on the E3 show floor,” said Helene Sheeler, vice president of marketing, Midway. “The music of Vanessa Carlton, COLD, DJ Rocky Rock and MC Supernatural packs a powerful punch to Midway’s cutting edge videogames, and we believe these live performances at E3 will provide a similar impact to our show presence as we are the only company in the industry to work with music talent in this way.”

    Vanessa Carlton (Wednesday, May 14, 4:30 p.m.)

    Grammy-nominated Vanessa Carlton is featured on SpyHunter® 2, the high-speed, mission-based, action/combat racing game introducing the world’s most powerful counterintelligence combat vehicle, the completely redesigned G-8155 Interceptor, which is complete with new vehicle transformations. In February 2002, singer/songwriter Vanessa Carlton’s debut single A Thousand Miles hit the charts and the video was featured in heavy rotation on MTV. Rolling Stone magazine cited her as one of the top ten artists to watch in 2002. Her debut album, Be Not Nobody, is now certified platinum. SpyHunter 2 is scheduled to ship in fall 2003 for the PlayStation2 computer entertainment system, Xbox and Nintendo GameCube.

    COLD (Thursday, May 15, 4:30 p.m.)

    The raw talent and unique lyrics of COLD will rock E3. Featured on Midway’s ESPionageÔ, COLD adds intensity to the first action/stealth videogame to integrate traditional weapons combat with extensive Psi (psychic) mind powers. COLD originates from Jacksonville, Fl., where the band debuted its self-titled first album in 1998. Their second album 13 Ways To Bleed On Stage, which recently went gold, premieres one of COLD’s most popular songs, Just Got Wicked. COLD band members Scooter Ward, vocals; Kelly Hayes, guitar; Jeremy Marshall, bass; Terry Balsamo, guitar; and Sam McCandless, drums, will integrate their unique lyrics for a number of tracks in ESPionage, as well as the theme song. ESPionage is scheduled to ship in fall 2003 for the PlayStation 2, Xbox and Nintendo GameCube.

    DJ Rocky Rock and MC Supernatural (Friday, May 16, 12:00 p.m.)

    DMC Champion DJ Rocky Rock and World Freestyle Champion rapper MC Supernatural will deliver hip, new styles to the E3 stage. Fresh back from the “Project Revolution” tour with Linkin Park, they bring the beats to NBA Ballers, the only basketball videogame to deliver the pure essence of basketball by highlighting the excitement and intensity of one-on-one confrontation, set within the alluring fantasy lifestyle of NBA superstars. NBA Ballers is scheduled to ship fall 2003 for the PlayStation 2, Xbox and Nintendo GameCube.

    E3 2003: Conflict Desert Storm II Details
    Steve @ 2:54 PM EDT
    NEW YORK – Gotham Games, a wholly owned subsidiary of Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc., announced today that it will release Conflict: Desert Storm II - Back to Baghdad™ for the PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system, the Xbox® video game system from Microsoft, and PC this fall. The game follows up on the successful title Conflict: Desert Storm, one of Blockbuster’s® top-10 rental titles of 2002. Conflict: Desert Storm II captures all of the intense, third-person squad-based action of the original and builds on it as players command US Delta Forces or British SAS over the sands of Iraq to crush what remains of Saddam’s evil regime.

    “Conflict: Desert Storm II takes the squad-based realism of the first title and improves on it dramatically at every level of play,” said Jamie Leece, president of Gotham Games. “From the sharper graphics to the more intuitive controls and enhanced AI, this title is sure to be a blast for fans of action and combat games.”

    Based on events of the 1991 Gulf War, Conflict: Desert Storm II challenges gamers with a multitude of intense, expansive missions that offer greater levels of atmosphere, realism and tactical tasks than its predecessor. Facing intelligent opponents that react to players’ movements with strategic countermeasures, Conflict: Desert Storm II presents some of the most advanced combat AI seen to date. Gamers select from a squad of U.S. Delta Force or British SAS soldiers comprised of four distinct unit types: Team Leader, Combat Engineer, Sniper and Heavy Weapons Specialist, each with unique skills and authentic arsenals.

    In order to present the most realistic depiction of the intense ground war in Iraq, Gotham Games has brought back Cameron Spence as technical consultant, a former high-ranking British SAS officer who served in the 1991 Gulf War. Cameron’s expertise was tapped even further, giving the developers even more insight into desert warfare. An incredible number of authentic weapons, equipment and Gulf War-era vehicles are included to add an amazing level of realism and detail. Each highly intricate campaign will require players to coordinate the unique skills and weapons of each team member, to strategically combat a variety of scenarios and enemy forces. Additional advances include a new weapon-specific targeting system, dynamic lighting, environmental effects, and deformable terrain among others.

    Microsoft XSN Sports Details
    Steve @ 5:29 AM EDT
    In a move designed to tear apart yesterday’s paradigm of sports games, Microsoft Game Studios unleashed XSN Sports™, the new brand for Microsoft produced Xbox sports games. Featuring “NFL Fever 2004”, “NBA Inside Drive 2004”, “Top Spin”, “Amped 2”, “NHL Rivals 2004” and “Links 2004”, XSN Sports and its exclusive, revolutionary technology was unveiled today at the industry’s annual tradeshow, the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) in Los Angeles, California. XSN Sports is destined to unite sports fans and gamers into an intense and competitive gaming community.

    Beginning in August 2003 with the launch of “NFL Fever 2004”, sports gamers will be plugged in like never before – on Xbox, on the web, and eventually on cell phone or PDA. All titles within the XSN Sports brand will feature web-based technology empowering gamers to organize leagues, build tournaments and prepare schedules from a centralized website XSNsports.com. For the first time in the history of sports gaming, it will be possible to check stats on a virtual sports page as Xbox Live will automatically broadcast up-to-date scores, standings, tendencies, trade proposals and schedules every 15 minutes on XSNsports.com.

    “XSN Sports is the breakthrough sports fans have been waiting for,” said Kevin Browne, sports studio manager at Microsoft Game Studios. “Competition, rivalries and online play combine with the digital world to create an experience that sports fans and gamers have never before witnessed.”

    XSN Sports is changing the way sports gamers compete online and offline. Experience the “Just Ride” mode in “Amped 2” where the gamer designs the rules of competition with up to eight friends, or utilize the “read and lead” technology in “NFL Fever 2004” to hit a receiver in stride as he breaks on a pattern against AI defenders that have studied and adapted to a gameplan. Whether it is against a strong AI, head-to-head against a buddy, or in the virtual world, XSN Sports is where sports fans compete beyond the game.

    Real competition begins August 2003.

    Xbox Music Mixer Details
    Steve @ 5:28 AM EDT
    With lights flashing, music blaring and the room jumping, J Allard, amateur DJ and Xbox vice president, kicked off a week of E3 activities tonight with an intense music and visual set that rocked the Grand Olympic Auditorium in Los Angeles. Utilizing “Xbox Music Mixer,” a new Xbox title scheduled for release this fall, Allard transformed the Xbox press briefing into a house party with killer soundtracks and tantalizing visuals.

    With Music Mixer, Xbox players can now bring the club experience home by unlocking the digital entertainment capabilities of Xbox.


  • Players can share digital photos and music stored on the PC, sing Karaoke, view digital slide shows set to music, experience CD playback, store music, enhance a party with 2-D and 3-D visualizers, and more.

  • “Xbox Music Mixer,” which will hit retail shelves with a microphone, offers a Karaoke feature allowing players to sing several of today’s popular Karaoke songs , such as the B-52’s “Love Shack” or Jimmy Eats World’s “The Middle”. In addition, you can insert your favorite CD and sing along when Mixer strips out the vocals. And the brave at heart can actually record their performance and play back for friends, or include it in their Xbox game soundtracks.

  • “Xbox Music Mixer” can help set the tone for any party by providing 2-D and 3-D background visuals of rave scenes, or interactive electronic visuals. Players can even use an hour of stock video footage to create their own compelling visuals.

  • “Xbox Music Mixer “allows you to download photos, movies and music from the PC to the Xbox and set the slide shows to your favorite tunes.

    In addition to playing groundbreaking games, with Xbox Music Mixer, players can now bask in the light of today’s digital entertainment lifestyle from the comfort and convenience of their own living room.

    WildTangent is Microsoft’s development partner for Xbox Music Mixer.

    For more information, visit http://www.xbox.com/musicmixer

    Microsoft Announces Huge E3 Plans
    Steve @ 5:26 AM EDT
    Illustrating a bold vision to expand video game entertainment by embracing what it calls the Digital Entertainment Lifestyle, Microsoft Corp. today unveiled its lineup of new games and experiences for the Xbox® video game system, setting the stage for this week’s Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3). With ambitious new games — “Halo™ 2,” “Project Gotham Racing® 2” and three new titles from renowned developer Rare Ltd., to name a few — and an impressive list of industry firsts, including “Music Mixer,” XSN Sports and new features for the Xbox Live™ online game service, Microsoft demonstrated how Xbox delivers social gaming experiences that promise to redefine the video game industry forever.

    “At the core of everything we do are great games, and in looking to the future, our vision is to expand the definition of video game entertainment by expanding gaming content and merging it with services that will build the gaming community,” said Robbie Bach, senior vice president of the Home and Entertainment Division and chief Xbox officer at Microsoft. “The convergence of content and services is being embraced by people whose lifestyle is all about being connected — the Digital Entertainment Lifestyle. Serving this lifestyle, and the gamers who are part of it, is absolutely required for success, and we intend to take a leadership position to grow this industry.”

    Ambitious Xbox Games Lineup

    Ed Fries, vice president of Microsoft game content, provided a sneak peek at the most-anticipated Xbox games in the portfolio, including the hottest new Xbox exclusives:


    · “Halo 2” (Microsoft® Game Studios, Bungie Studios). “Halo 2” is the sequel to one of the greatest games of all time. It promises to surpass the original with revolutionary breakthroughs in the way people play games, including engine and artificial intelligence (AI) enhancements, and an unsurpassed team-based multiplayer experience. It will ship the first quarter of 2004.

    · “Project Gotham Racing 2” (Microsoft Game Studios, Bizarre Creations Ltd.). The sequel to the million-unit seller, “Project Gotham Racing 2” is the ultimate test of racing skill, style and daring, rewarding drivers for not only how fast they drive, but for how they drive fast — both offline and competing using Xbox Live. It will ship holiday 2003.

    · First titles from Rare (Microsoft Game Studios, Rare):

    - “Grabbed by the Ghoulies.” Rare’s first Xbox-exclusive game since Microsoft acquired the company in September 2002, “Grabbed by the Ghoulies” is a fun and chaotic beat-’em-up game that pits the brave and endearing Cooper against the Ghoulies that have captured his girlfriend. It ships holiday 2003.

    - “Conker: Live and Uncut.” Rare’s “Conker” is back in an all-new Xbox Live-enabled team-based shooter focused on story-driven scenarios. With a wide variety of customizable multiplayer scenarios, teamwork (and fun) is what “Conker” is all about. Each scenario has its own objectives, rules, environment and back story, adding emotional context to the genre. It ships in 2004.

    - “Kameo: Elements of Power.” This is an action-adventure game set in a fantastic kingdom of monsters and magic. Players become “Kameo,” a princess on a mission to rescue her three Elemental Ancestors from the Dark Troll King, who has plans to dominate the fantasy planet’s wildlife. It ships in 2004.

    · “Fable” (Microsoft Game Studios, Lionhead Studios). From renowned developer Peter Molyneux, “Fable” puts the choice squarely at gamers’ fingertips: Will they be good, evil or somewhere in between? In “Fable,” players choose their identity, determine appearance and abilities, feel effects of reputation, and thus create their own interactive experience. It will ship holiday 2003.

    · “Counter-Strike” (Microsoft Game Studios, Valve/Ritual). Designed by Valve and Ritual Entertainment, two of the world’s most renowned game developers, “Counter-Strike” is one of the world’s most popular PC action games, with more than 75,000 simultaneous gamers playing at any given time. It is the winner of numerous awards and ships holiday 2003.

    · “Crimson Skies™: High Road to Revenge™” (Microsoft Game Studios, FASA). “Crimson Skies: High Road to Revenge” is an Xbox Live-enabled flight combat action game that immerses players in the life of a swashbuckling air pirate, bringing the thrills of aerial dogfighting exclusively to Xbox. It ships holiday 2003.

    Xbox Live Is Evolving and Growing the Gaming Community

    “With a community of over 500,000 gamers worldwide, the Xbox Live service is growing strong and helping us learn a lot about how gamers want to interact with Xbox,” said J Allard, vice president of the Xbox platform. “We’re continually innovating and expanding the Xbox Live gameplay experience, leveraging what we’ve learned about what gamers want and allowing the most-talented developers in the industry to take advantage of the endless possibilities that Xbox Live enables.”

    As Xbox Live continues to evolve over the next year, the growing worldwide community of online gamers will be enticed by a host of new features:


    · Xbox Live Alerts. Gamers can receive invitations to play on their personal digital assistant (PDA), cell phone or PC with MSN® Messenger Service.

    · Xbox Live Web. Xbox Live stats and friends lists will be available to view through a new Xbox site that links to the service.

    · Xbox Live Aware Games. More games will allow users to be “logged on” while playing, even as a single player, so they can receive invitations and keep up with what their friends are doing.

    · Teams and Competition. New features on Xbox Live will make it easy for gamers to form teams with friends, and create and participate in structured competitions on the Web and in games.

    · Xbox Live Now. Gamers will have a place to meet and can use voice chat to determine where to begin their gaming experience. They can decide which game to play and how to team up, and chat after the game.



    By this time next year more than 100 Xbox Live games are forecasted to be available, including the most-anticipated game in the industry, “Halo 2,” as well as games such as “Counter-Strike,” “Project Gotham Racing 2” and every sports game from Microsoft Game Studios.

    Innovative Digital Entertainment — XSN Sports and “Music Mixer” — Debuts XSN Sports

    Microsoft unveiled XSN Sports from Microsoft Game Studios, the first lineup of Xbox games in which sports fans compete beyond the game. For the first time ever, gamers will challenge real people to create their own leagues and build their own rivalries. Launching in August, XSN Sports will change the way the industry develops sports games. XSN Sports features include these:


    · Virtual leagues. Teams, leagues and schedules can be organized easily from a centralized Web site, XSNsports.com.

    · Check stats on a virtual sports page. Xbox Live will automatically broadcast up-to-date scores, standings and stats to XSNsports.com every 15 minutes. For the first time, gamers can scout the career stats of their next opponent.

    · Competition for the digital lifestyle. XSN Sports will keep gamers plugged in — on the Web, on their cell, on their Xbox — where their game is the center of the action.

    · Train to be a multisport champion. The XSN Sports lineup will enable gamers to be a one-sport star or even an eight-sport superstar.



    Combining the power of Xbox, Xbox Live, PC and mobile devices to redefine the way sports gamers compete, the XSN Sports network will include “NFL Fever 2004,” “NBA Inside Drive 2004,” “Top Spin™,” “Amped™ 2,” “Links® 2004” and “NHL Rivals.”

    “Music Mixer”

    “‘Music Mixer’ unlocks the digital entertainment capability of Xbox,” Allard said. “‘Music Mixer’ demonstrates how we can use the Xbox to connect gamers to other favorite activities of the Digital Entertainment Lifestyle, enabling players to access DVD playback,* CD playback, photo viewing, gaming, music storage, online gameplay, enhanced party visualizers and even karaoke.”

    “Music Mixer” expands the way people play, share and interact with music, allowing any player to be a producer, VJ or American idol. Features include the following:


    · With digital lyric-stripping technology, “Music Mixer” will provide a limitless karaoke experience, letting Xbox players sing along to millions of songs.

    · Players can mix, match, shuffle and customize soundtracks, setting the mood for any situation. Players can enhance the music experience with the addition of interactive
    2-D and 3-D on-screen visualizers.

    · With PC media sharing, Xbox players will be able to easily transfer their digital music and photos from their PC to their Xbox system, creating the ultimate multimedia library to be enjoyed in the social center of the home: the living room.

    Xbox “Music Mixer” will debut this holiday in the United States for an estimated retail price of $39.99.

    Hands-On Demos at Electronic Entertainment Expo

    The full roster of new Xbox software and services will be on display Wednesday through Friday of this week at E3 at the Los Angeles Convention and Exposition Center.

    Microsoft Announces it's E3 Line up
    Steve @ 5:22 AM EDT
    LOS ANGELES, May 12 -- Microsoft Corp. debuted its lineup of ambitious new games for the Xbox(R) video game system at a pre-Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) media briefing today, wowing a packed house at the Grand Olympic Auditorium with titles that redefine innovation and plug an ever-expanding audience of gamers into the Digital Entertainment Lifestyle.

    Sensationally rendered thrillers such as "Halo(TM) 2," one of the most ambitious video games ever; the first three Xbox games from Rare Ltd., "Conker: Live and Uncut," "Kameo(TM): Elements of Power" and "Grabbed by the Ghoulies"; and the highly anticipated sequel "Project Gotham Racing(R) 2" showcased the depth, breadth and quality of the Xbox title portfolio.

    In addition to its showstopping game titles, Microsoft announced new portfolio additions that seek to redefine what it means to play and compete in the video-game universe. XSN Sports, the new brand moniker for Microsoft-published sports titles, allows players to connect to real people in real leagues with real rivalries using XSNsports.com, a Web-based service that complements the Xbox Live(TM) experience. By linking gamers to a variety of wireless devices and PCs, XSN Sports moves the Xbox experience beyond the box.

    "Great games are at the heart of our Digital Entertainment Lifestyle vision," said Ed Fries, vice president for game content at Microsoft. "And at Xbox, we're committed to the most ambitious expansion ever of what video games can be."

    More than 50 Xbox Live games are scheduled to be available this holiday, with more amazing Xbox Live-enabled games scheduled to be available in 2004, including the highly anticipated "Halo 2." In addition, more games will feature downloadable content, allowing gamers to continue to extend their game experiences for months after a game's release.

    Upcoming blockbuster Microsoft Game Studios games for Xbox include "Project Gotham Racing 2," the first Xbox title from Rare, "Grabbed by the Ghoulies," "Counter-Strike," "Crimson Skies(TM): High Road to Revenge(TM)" and "Fable."

    -- "Halo 2" (Microsoft Game Studios, Bungie) is the sequel to the award-winning, sci-fi action, first-person shooter game, "Halo: Combat Evolved." In "Halo 2," the saga continues as Master Chief, a genetically enhanced supersoldier, is the only thing standing between the relentless Covenant and the destruction of all humankind. Featuring Xbox Live capabilities, "Halo 2" will be released in the first quarter of 2004.

    -- "Conker: Live and Uncut" (Microsoft Game Studios, Rare) finds Conker back in an all-new Xbox Live-enabled team-based shooter. Conker, the cartoon rodent with a penchant for booze, wild women and lewd conduct, enters seven scenario-based modes, each with its own story. "Conker: Live and Uncut" will be available in 2004.

    -- "Grabbed by the Ghoulies" (Microsoft Game Studios, Rare) is a humorous, beat-'em-up adventure game that takes place in a haunted house full of crazed ghoulies. Gamers take the role of Cooper, a young boy on a mission to rescue his girlfriend, who has been "grabbed by the ghoulies." Players will venture through haunted and ominous Ghoulhaven Hall, battling a variety of monsters while trying to escape the many tricks, traps and shocks awaiting them along the way. "Grabbed by the Ghoulies" will be available for holiday 2003.

    -- "Kameo: Elements of Power" (Microsoft Game Studios, Rare) is an action- adventure game set in a fantastic kingdom of monsters and magic. Players become Kameo, a princess on a mission to rescue her three Elemental Ancestors from the Dark Troll King, who has plans to dominate the fantasy planet's wildlife. "Kameo" will be available in 2004. -- "Project Gotham Racing 2" (Microsoft Game Studios, Bizarre Creations Ltd.) is the ultimate test of racing skill, style and daring, rewarding drivers not only for how fast they drive but for how they drive fast. Drivers will earn Kudos and gain recognition for cornering on two wheels around the Sears Tower in Chicago, power sliding through the ancient streets of Florence, Italy, or maneuvering along the racing line through the slick streets of Edinburgh, Scotland, all while racing some of the most exotic high-performance vehicles available. Players also can challenge friends and other gamers online utilizing the Xbox Live online game service or through multiplayer System Link. "Project Gotham Racing 2" will be available for holiday 2003.

    -- "Fable" (Microsoft Game Studios, Lionhead Studios), from renowned developer Peter Molyneux, puts the choice squarely at gamers' fingertips: Will they be good, evil or somewhere in between? In "Fable," players choose their identity, determine appearance and abilities, feel effects of reputation, and thus create their own interactive experience. "Fable" will be available for holiday 2003.

    -- "Counter-Strike" (Microsoft Game Studios, Valve/Ritual) makes its console debut exclusively on Xbox and Xbox Live. The world's most popular game and first-person shooter for the PC features single-player missions taking place all over the world. Gamers can challenge other players in team-based multiplayer games on Xbox Live using System Link. "Counter-Strike" on Xbox will be the most graphically advanced version of the series to date. "Counter-Strike" will be available for holiday 2003.

    -- XSN Sports (Microsoft Game Studios, XSN Sports) is the first lineup of Xbox games in which sport fans compete beyond the game. For the first time, gamers will challenge real people to create their own leagues and build their own rivalries. XSNsports.com will offer a Web-based service that intricately links XSN Sports gamers to the new digital entertainment lifestyle of wireless devices and PCs so the Xbox experience moves beyond the box.

    -- "Crimson Skies: High Road to Revenge" (Microsoft Game Studios) combines thrilling aerial combat with the swashbuckling style of a Hollywood action-adventure movie. Set in an alternate 1930s world of gunship diplomacy and sinister intrigue, "Crimson Skies" lets gamers pilot powerful aircraft against nefarious air pirates and behemoth war zeppelins. "Crimson Skies" will be available for holiday 2003.

    Great games from Xbox publishing partners will include "Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Island Thunder" from Ubi Soft(R) Entertainment, "Ninja Gaiden(TM)" from Tecmo(R) Inc., "Deus Ex: Invisible War" from Eidos Interactive Ltd., "Full Spectrum Warrior(TM)" from THQ Inc., "StarCraft: Ghost(TM)" from Blizzard Entertainment(TM), and "True Crime(TM): Streets of L.A.(TM)" from Activision.

    Eidos Announces Development of Thief 3
    Steve @ 5:13 AM EDT
    San Francisco, CA (May 9, 2003) -- Eidos Interactive, one of the world's leading publishers and developers of entertainment software, today announced that Ion Storm, creators of the award-winning Deus Ex franchise, is currently developing the next installment of the Thief series for the Xbox® video game system from Microsoft and PC.

    “Eidos believes that the upcoming Thief game will establish itself as a major brand for the company,” said Rob Dyer, President, Eidos Interactive US. “Ion Storm possesses a firm grasp of how to create and master the open-ended, stealth-based gameplay that has reached such high demand in the consumer marketplace. And it is the primary focus of franchises like Deus Ex and Thief.”

    “The opportunity to create a game in the Thief universe is a real thrill for me and the rest of the folks at Ion Storm,” said Warren Spector, Studio Director at Ion Storm. “Thief pioneered the concept of "stealth action" gameplay on the PC and was the game that, more than any other, inspired me to build a team to create Deus Ex. Now, Ion and the Thief team hope to take the "sneaker" genre to new heights and, by developing for both Xbox and PC, bring it to an even larger audience than before.”

    An innovative new key feature in Thief is "body awareness," which gives players the ability to see their hands and feet while climbing walls, leaning over ledges, and picking locks. Working hand-in-hand with body awareness is Ion Storm's dynamic lighting system. Garrett can manipulate the light and shadows real-time to his own advantage, creating entirely new stealth opportunities.

    "The Thief team is poised to deliver an incredible action stealth game, featuring realistic sneaking and stealing. We want the player to feel like a real thief," said Randy Smith, Project Director at Ion Storm. "The game is accessible on both platforms yet sophisticated in its depth, enabling a lifetime of gameplay to explore and master. The internally developed technology that powers Thief puts control and direction of the action in the player's hands."

    In this chapter of Thief, gamers once again take on the role of Garrett, a master thief who is rarely seen, never caught and capable of breaking into the most ingeniously secured places. Garrett steals from the wealthy and gives to himself, making his living in the dark and foreboding City. Although Garrett would prefer to be left alone to ply his trade, the prophecies of an impending Dark Age dictate a different plan for the thief. In his efforts to prevent the Dark Age, Garrett has inadvertently roused an ancient, hidden evil. Garrett finds himself without allies, standing alone between the City and the forces that would crush it.

    Playing Garrett, gamers will use their skills to sneak throughout the City into castles, mansions, prisons, cathedrals, dungeons, and museums, past armed guards, hired muscle, angry thugs, hideous monsters, and much worse. Players must steal the City's oldest treasures in order to stop the darkness foretold in the prophecies. As Garrett, players have a wealth of thieves' tools at their disposal, including lock picks, arrows, wall climbing gloves, and flash bombs.

    Screens are either PC or Xbox. It is not certain.

    Thief 3 Screens

    Monday, May 12, 2003

    Namco to Host Soul Calibur II Competition at E3
    Steve @ 11:53 PM EDT
    Namco will host a competition for their highly anticipated title, SOULCALIBUR®II ­ the action-packed sequel to the most renowned fighting game of all time. The elimination rounds will take place simultaneously in the Namco, Microsoft and SCEA booths, each booth hosting their respective platform-specific version of the game.

    Wednesday May 13, 2003
    Elimination Rounds Contest: 1:30 p.m. ­ 2:30 p.m.

    Thursday May 14, 2003
    Contest Finals: 11:00AM

    Sunday, May 11, 2003

    Eidos Announces Whiplash: Screens Inside
    Steve @ 8:52 PM EDT
    San Francisco, CA (May 9, 2003) – Eidos Interactive, one of the world's leading publishers and developers of entertainment software, today announced the development of Whiplash for the PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system and Xbox® video game system from Microsoft. Whiplash features a shackled animal duo on a mission to sabotage an animal product-testing corporation.

    Providing an innovative approach to the character-based action genre, Whiplash combines a unique “chain” gameplay mechanic with in-depth enemy and environment interaction, rich combat and slapstick humor. The result is an engaging game where player choice triggers an unscripted chain of chaotic, humorous events.

    “Today’s sophisticated gamers expect more from character-based games than arbitrary collecting and monotonous platform jumping. Our goal is to re-define this genre by adding relevancy and depth to the gameplay while still remaining highly accessible,” said Noah Hughes, Lead Designer, Crystal Dynamics.

    Whiplash is set in a high-tech product testing facility where questionable experiments are conducted on animals. The game stars two animal fugitives, Spanx and Redmond, who find themselves chained together and on the run to escape the lab. As Spanx, the player uses Redmond as their weapon to not only escape, but also to free other enslaved animals and bankrupt the corporation by destroying the property.

    For example, Spanx uses Redmond to chain whip attackers, as a grappling hook to swing over hazards, or to clog a toilet creating a foul flood to ward off enemies. Working against the twosome are a multitude of baddies ranging from ruthless scientists and unsanitary surgeons, to crooked rent-a-cops and the evil CEO.

    “Crystal Dynamics has always been an internal hotbed of innovative ideas and creativity,” says Rob Dyer, President, Eidos Interactive. “Eidos firmly believes Whiplash will quench gamers’ thirst for fresh, original gameplay. The game’s focus on highly interactive environments, deep combat, mass destruction, and satirical humor along with the ultimate goal of ‘bringing down the man’ will appeal to gamers of all ages.”

    Whiplash is scheduled for a worldwide release this Fall.

    Whiplash Screens

    Midway Announces Universal Pictures Spy Hunter Movie
    Steve @ 4:37 AM EDT
    CHICAGO – May 9, 2003 – Midway Games Inc., a leading software industry publisher and developer, announced today that Universal Pictures has obtained an option to the rights to develop the classic 1980s Spy Hunter videogame into a major live action motion picture. SpyHunter® 2, the latest iteration of the classic videogame, is scheduled to ship fall 2003 for the PlayStation2 computer entertainment system, the Xbox® and Nintendo GameCube.

    “SpyHunter’s fast-paced action, relentless mission-based gameplay and overall cool spy theme make it a natural for the big screen,” said Helene Sheeler, vice president of marketing, Midway.

    Universal Pictures is developing the property as a possible starring vehicle for WWE superstar The Rock, who would portray Alec Sects, commander of the world’s most sophisticated spy vehicle, the G-8155 Interceptor. In addition, Universal Pictures has brought four of the most talented professionals in the entertainment industry together - Chuck Gordon and Adrian Askarieh as producers and Michael Brandt and Derek Hass as writers. Brandt and Hass most recently wrote the screenplay for Universal Pictures’ “2 Fast 2 Furious,” the major motion picture sequel to “The Fast and The Furious.”

    “The SpyHunter deal marks the success of Midway’s effort to proactively showcase its top properties to the movie industry,” said Steve Booth, vice president of licensing, Midway. “We have a rich library of popular games, which will translate well into other forms of media.”

    In addition to the film, the videogame sequel to the SpyHunter videogame released in fall 2001, is currently in production. SpyHunter 2 is a powerful progression in the mission to save the world from the sinister grip of the global criminal terrorist group, Nostra. Gamers will command an all-new, extremely powerful and customizable G-8155 Interceptor with new transformations such as an off-road 4-wheel drive vehicle, an off-road motorcycle and a snowmobile. In addition, the gameplay includes upgradable offensive and defensive weaponry, as players fend off enemy vehicles throughout massive levels set across enormous regions. A new mysterious, sexy female agent has also been added to the mix to increase the intensity of SpyHunter 2’s fast-paced action.

    SpyHunter 2 introduces an all-new terrorist threat and it is up to Alec Sects to command the world’s most sophisticated super spy vehicle to save the world. Exclusive weaponry such as an auto-tracking turret and an indestructible armored shield are combined with landmines and oil slicks for an impressive defense that will immerse gamers in 16 action-packed levels set across four gigantic regions. Each region is interactive and dynamic, allowing players to choose their own paths and fight against giant end-of-mission bosses, including eight all-new Nostra enemies. The excitement also continues with the latest version of the Interceptor’s online computer, Leonie 2.0, designed to aid in mission-critical tactics and information. For more information about SpyHunter visit http://www.spyhunter2.midway.com

    Backyard Wrestling Soundtrack Announced + First Trailer
    Steve @ 4:29 AM EDT
    San Francisco, CA (May 9, 2003) – Eidos Interactive, one of the world's leading publishers and developers of entertainment software, today announced it has entered a strategic partnership with Island Records, American Records and Roadrunner Records in the creation of the official in-game soundtrack for Backyard Wrestling: Don’t Try This At Home. Currently in development by Paradox Development, Backyard Wrestling: Don’t Try This At Home is an outrageous and over-the-top extreme wrestling game that takes the player beyond the traditional restraints of a wrestling ring where success is based on the ability to use and abuse the environment as well as the opponent. Set for release on PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system & the Xbox® video game system from Microsoft in Late Summer of 2003, Backyard Wrestling: Don’t Try This At Home will offer an official in-game soundtrack that is as diverse and genre defying as the game itself.

    "Eidos Interactive is thrilled to announce this partnership with the Island/Def Jam music group.” Says Kevin Gill, of Eidos Interactive. “Island Records, and its related labels RoadRunner and American offer a diversity and depth of sound that is unparalleled. The sound of Backyard Wrestling has arrived."

    The Island / Def Jam music group is a top tier entertainment conglomerate with a genre-defying roster of acts that includes THE definitive artists of all of today’s major music genre's. The following is the list of confirmed artists lending their talents to the official in-game soundtrack…


    Island Records
    American Hi Fi
    Andrew WK
    Anthrax
    CKY
    Insane Clown Posse
    Injected
    Roni Size
    Sum 41
    Supergrass
    Twiztid


    American Records
    Man Made god
    Slayer

    Roadrunner Records
    Biohazard
    Chimaira
    Ether Seeds
    Junkie XL
    Machine Head
    Murderdolls
    Red Tape
    Rumblefish
    Spineshank
    Stone Sour
    The Rise

    “We are extremely excited about working with Eidos as this partnership offers various marketing opportunities that goes beyond traditional music licensing in game.” States Carmen Liu, Senior Director, Strategic Marketing Development Island Def Jam music group “We are always looking for new and creative ways to generate awareness to our artists and music.”

    Trailer: http://www.eidosinteractive.com/downloads/search.html?gmid=139

    Backyard Wrestling Champion To Be Crowned At E3
    Steve @ 4:24 AM EDT
    Eidos has informed us that the first ever Backyard Wrestling Heavyweight Champion will be crowned at E3 2003 through elimination-style tournament mayhem!

    Match Times:
    Wednesday, May 14th - 11:00 and 3:00
    Thursday, May 15th - 11:00 and 3:00

    Contenders:
    Josh Prohibition
    M-Dogg 20
    Mad Man Pondo
    The Rudeboy
    Super Dragon
    El Drunko

    Friday, May 9, 2003

    Midway Announces NBA Ballers. Screens Inside
    Steve @ 6:56 PM EDT
    CHICAGO – May 9, 2003 - Midway Sports Asylum, the action-sports brand of leading software industry publisher and developer Midway Games Inc., announced today that NBA Ballers, an all-new and unique one-on-one NBA lifestyle basketball videogame, is scheduled to ship fall 2003 for the PlayStation2 computer entertainment system, the Xbox and Nintendo GameCube.

    Officially licensed by the NBA and NBA Legends, NBA Ballers is the only basketball videogame to deliver the pure essence of basketball by highlighting the excitement and intensity of the one-on-one confrontation, set within the alluring fantasy lifestyle of NBA superstars. Featuring online play for the PlayStation 2, as well as 60 current and 24 all-time player legends, NBA Ballers takes the game out of the arenas and into some of the most lavish NBA player “cribs” for an up-close and personal one-on-one experience. Gamers no longer have to debate who is the best NBA player of all time - now the greatest ballers can be matched-up in elaborate settings; holding it down at some of the finest private courts in the league.

    “NBA Ballers is set as a made-for-TV broadcast event that takes place at the many fabulous backyard courts of the NBA’s greatest stars,” said Helene Sheeler, vice president of marketing, Midway. “Ballers’ allows gamers to be a part of the spectacular world of real NBA players as they battle with intense and authentic one-on-one match-ups to determine who is the best baller in the world.”

    NBA Ballers features current NBA stars such as Tracy McGrady, Chris Webber and Kobe Bryant, and NBA Legends including George Gervin, Magic Johnson and Wilt Chamberlain. NBA Ballers online for PlayStation 2 enables gamers to take on the world in online tournaments and ladder challenges while they risk everything from licensed cars to mansions to other ballers that they’ve collected in winning games. By focusing on the one-on-one match-ups, Midway Sports Asylum is able to build each and every NBA baller and NBA Legend with his specific skill set in mind. Shaq will own the paint, Larry Bird will be raining three-pointers and Iverson will be breaking ankles with his killer crossover. With more than 5,000 polygons per player and facial motion-capture technology, no basketball videogame has ever given the gamer more realistic looking players than NBA Ballers.

    The explosive soundtrack found in NBA Ballers features hip-hop, R&B and a hip-hop/rock mix with in-game commentary by World Freestyle Champion rapper MC Supernatural and on-the-court beats by DMC Champion DJ Rocky Rock.

    Additionally, new facial animation technology provides the most accurate NBA player facial expressions, including mouth movements that sync-up with in-game audio to reproduce recognizable words from players’ mouths while stylized player models deliver unmatched realism and detail to the game. Each player model features the athletes’ realistic body style based on actual height and weight.

    NBA Ballers Key Features:

    ·Lifestyle One-on-One Basketball – Only the freshest of the NBA and NBA Legends ball for cars, houses and, most importantly, the reputation as the top NBA baller. Compete in one-on-one tournaments hosted by some of the biggest NBA stars. Compete against multiple competitors in one-on-two, one-on-three and special rules matches.

    ·Online B-Ballin’ (for PlayStation 2 only) – Play as your favorite baller and take on the world in online tournaments and ladder challenges as in-game cash, cars and glory await the victor.

    · 60 Current NBA Stars and 24 NBA Legends – Take control of your favorite players such as Vince Carter, Allen Iverson, Chris Webber, Shaquille O’Neal, Jason Kidd, Kobe Bryant and more. NBA Legends featured include Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, Julius Irving, Bill Russell, Jerry West and Wilt Chamberlain among others.

    · Realistic Player Attributes and Skills – Each NBA baller and NBA Legend has more than 10 different off-the-hook skills, which determines their player rating, creating a genuine representation of each NBA superstar’s mad skills.

    ·In-Depth Create-A-Player Mode – Ball as the best! Personalize the game by hooking-up a player with the skills and attitude to take on the best ballers in the NBA. Select from multiple hairstyles, body types, on-court attitudes, gear, shoes, jewelry, planes, cars and your own posse to construct the ultimate one-on-one baller.

    · Stunning Player Art and Animation – From cornrows to afros, one-on-one gameplay allows unparalleled player animation sets, delivering an incredible level of detail and nuances not found in other basketball videogames. Watch players’ realistic reactions to intense dunks and amazing blocked shots, whether they perform the move or get embarrassed by it.

    · The Story – “Welcome to NBA Ballers! The show takes you inside the spectacular lives of the players as they battle to determine, in intense one-on-one authentic gameplay, who is the best baller in the world.”

    · Multiple Game Modes – Take your player from “Rags to Riches” by building your own mansion with winnings, or battle through a ballers tournament to unlock your favorite NBA star and discover his moves, or try to make it through a season in the league, or survive “Last Man Standing” team mode.

    · Announcers – Featuring in-game commentary by champion freestyle rapper MC Supernatural and on-the-court beats by the renowned DJ Rocky Rock.

    · Explosive Soundtrack – Features hip-hop, R&B and a hip-hop/rock mix.

    · Amazing 3D Player Models – Set to each player’s height, weight, body size and athletic ability based on real life.

    o New 36-point Facial Animation Technology – The most accurately detailed player faces and expressions.

    o 6,000 Poly-Count Player Models – The highest number of polys of any basketball videogame available.

    · Exclusive Midway Sports Asylum Fantasy Lifestyle Courts – Fully detailed and structured with beautiful lighting effects and images. Animated sideline characters react to the action on the court in real-time!

    o Lifestyle courts include – Play at Vince Carter’s “Toronto penthouse,” Jalen Rose’s “luxurious Lake Michigan yacht,” or Tim Duncan’s “pad in the Virgin Islands.”


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

    For more information about Midway Games visit http://www.midway.com

    NBA Ballers Screens

    New Screens of The Great Escape
    Steve @ 6:13 PM EDT
    Here is 3 new screens of Gotham Games' title The Great Escape, due out in late July for PS2, Xbox and PC.

    The Great Escape Screens

    Prince of Persia Site Now Live
    Steve @ 5:20 PM EDT
    Ubi Soft informed us today that the Prince of Persia site is now online with screens, artwork, and a forum area. Check it out.

    http://www.prince-of-persia.com

    Namco's E3 Line up Unveiled. New Spawn Art from SCII
    Steve @ 5:11 PM EDT
    San Jose, Calif., May 9, 2003 – Leading video games publisher, Namco Hometek Inc. announced today the company’s stellar line up of video games to be unveiled during the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) at the Los Angeles Convention Center, May 14-16, 2003. At booth #946 in the South Hall, Namco will be showcasing the following new titles: SOULCALIBUR®II, R: Racing Evolution, Spawn® (tentative title), Breakdown, kill.switch, Time Crisis® 3, I-Ninja, Tales of Symphonia, and Extreme Force: Grant City Anti-Crime.

    SOULCALIBUR®II is the ultimate sequel to one of the most revered weapons-based fighters of all time. Set for release in August 2003, the game will be available on the PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system, the Nintendo GameCube and the Xbox® video game system from Microsoft. More than 15 warriors, both familiar and new will battle each other in search of Soul Edge -- including a character named Necrid, created by Todd McFarlane exclusively for the home console versions. Also, each console will have special guest characters exclusive to that platform, such as Tekken’s Heihachi for PlayStation 2, The Legend of Zelda’s Link for the Nintendo GameCube, and Todd McFarlane’s Spawn for Xbox. The game will feature over ten exciting game modes: the all-new Weapon Master Mode, Time Attack Mode, Survival Mode, VS. Mode and Team Battle Mode. In the Weapon Master Mode players can collect and utilize over 200 different weapons, thus adding a deeper level of strategy to every new battle.

    New for Namco in the racing genre is R: Racing Evolution, which is being created by the same team that developed the critically-acclaimed Ridge Racer and MotoGP franchises. The game will be available on all three console platforms and will ship in Q4 2003. Featuring licensed cars, 11 real-world and fantasy tracks, and 8 different race types (Circuit, Rally, Drag, etc…), R will showcase 4 game modes: the Racing Life Mode, Time Attack Mode, Arcade Mode and Vs. The Racing Life Mode focuses on the human-natured competitiveness of racing and gives players a cinematic story of two female racers and their rivalry. Also featured in R is the “New Interactive Driver AI System” that enhances realistic racing situations.

    The system is indicative of the pressures that drivers feel during real races. Races can be won or lost depending on how a driver reacts to pressure from other racers. In-game communications allow for incoming transmissions from crew members and even in-race trash talk from rival drivers!

    Spawn® (tentative title), based on Todd McFarlane’s best-selling comic book character, will make its debut at E3. Scheduled for release on all three consoles in Q3 2003, Spawn is a 3D action/adventure game that will give players access to all of his distinctive abilities – his superhuman strength, hand-to-hand combat techniques, his arsenal of weaponry, his Hell Powers and, of course, his living symbiotic costume. Caught between the battle of Good vs. Evil, he struggles to break free from the controlling influences of Heaven and Hell.

    Breakdown, exclusive to Xbox, is a sci-fi thriller that combines the best elements of shooters and fighters in a first-person action/adventure game. The game’s intense storyline is told through high-quality real time rendered graphics that bring an unprecedented level of realism to the player. The game features fierce weapon-based first-person shooter combat, challenging puzzles to solve, surreal dream sequences, advanced AI, and massive detailed environments for exploration.

    kill.switch is Namco Hometek Inc.’s new internal development project for the PlayStation 2 and Xbox. This 3rd person action/adventure game is scheduled for release in Q4 2003 and features a unique Offensive Cover System, allowing the player to engage the enemy from various cover positions. The game also utilizes Blindfire, enabling the player to launch a frontal assault technique against the enemy without being exposed to counter-fire. This feature encourages the use of warfare tactics, forcing players to strategically plan their moves and quickly adjust on-the-fly through each intense and challenging mission. Enemies work together in teams and not only seek out and engage the player, but also thrive in team-based tactics and attacks. Six war-themed missions are spread out across 18 different levels and feature environments from Middle Eastern deserts to an underground submarine base.

    Time Crisis® 3, scheduled for the PlayStation 2 in Q4 2003, marks the return of Namco’s premier light-gun shooting franchise. Compatible with the GUNCON2 light-gun, this fast-paced shooter delivers superior shooting action and supreme excitement. A new weapon select system enables players to chose from 4 weapons (machine gun, hand gun, shotgun and grenade) and optimize their game play strategy. Time Crisis 3 includes the original arcade game as well as console-exclusive game modes. Sniper combat provides intense and lethal sharp-shooting action, sure to be a winning combination for this popular franchise.

    I-Ninja, scheduled for the PlayStation 2 and Nintendo GameCube in Q4 2003, is an adrenaline-charged adventure game. An ultra-cool ninja with major attitude meets extreme sports game play, I-Ninja is the consummate warrior who has spent years mastering his weapons and honing his skills. In true gravity defying game play, I-Ninja can scale buildings, "shred" on extreme rails, hover great distances with a "sword copter", ride drifting roller spheres and utilize specialized manga-style ninja moves to navigate through each dynamic environment.

    A multiple weapon control system allows the player to throw lethal shurikens, use deadly chain-whips, blowguns, rocket launchers and more. I-Ninja’s quest includes a variety of comical missions that span across five expansive environments, each uniquely designed to incite I-Ninja’s special abilities. The game features challenging enemies and ruthless bosses that must be defeated, ranging from foot soldiers of the Ranx Army to a menacing 150 foot giant robot. I-Ninja is graceful in honor, but deadly in combat.

    Tales of Symphonia, exclusive to the Nintendo GameCube with a release date yet to be determined, is Namco’s latest chapter in the Tales universe. A fully immersive 3D experience comes to life as an adventure unfolds that will place the existence of two worlds in the balance. Featuring high-quality Anime cutscenes and character designs by renowned artist, Kosuke Fujishima, the real-time 3D battles, formation attacks and combos, and customization of character abilities round out a fabulous epic.

    Extreme Force: Grant City Anti-Crime, scheduled for the PlayStation 2, Xbox and Nintendo GameCube in Q4 2003, is a 3rd person action/adventure game that takes place on the deadly streets of Grant City – a well-known setting from Namco’s blockbuster, Dead to Rights‘. As a member of Grant City’s elite GAC Squad, the player will be submerged into the crime-fighting world of special weapons and covert tactics. A diverse arsenal of weapons and equipment including night vision goggles, grenades and door charges can be utilized by the player to battle criminals. The player can also silently neutralize his opponents through stealth maneuvers and “target rich” run-and-gun combat.

    Spawn Art from Soul Calibur II

    Italian Job Info and New Screens
    Steve @ 3:56 PM EDT
    Based on Paramount Pictures' May 30 theatrical release, The Italian Job® puts you in the driver seat as you and your band of thieves pull off the ultimate heist. This high-octane arcade racer will get your adrenaline pumping as you attempt a frantic getaway with your souped-up Mini Cooper fully loaded with stolen gold. Drive at breakneck speeds in over-the-top environments based on movie locations including a subway station, storm drain, golf course and more. Tear through the streets of L.A. driving 10 vehicles ranging from the slick new Mini Coopers to muscle cars.

    Italian Job Screens

    Thursday, May 8, 2003

    Meteor Blade First Screens and Info
    Steve @ 5:26 PM EDT
    Taiwan-based games company InterServ International has released the first screenshots for its highly anticipated title, Meteor Blade, a 16-player 3D online fighting game for the PC and Xbox video game system from Microsoft. At only 10% completion, these powerful images represent a first look in the development cycle for the Xbox version of the game.

    Combining fighting game mechanics, multiplayer action and online components into one explosive package, Meteor Blade breaks open the genre for fighting games currently on the market. Vast, destructible environments, weapon upgrades, special items, finishing moves and teammate regeneration, amongst other features, add heavily to the detailed gameplay experience. Combined with beautiful graphic artistry and dynamic visual effects developed by InterServ International’s motion capture studio, Meteor Blade is shaping up to be a must-have title for its release in Q2 2004.

    For more information on InterServ International, please visit the company’s brand new Web site at http://www.is-games.com

    Meteor Blade Screens

    THQ's E3 Product Line up
    Steve @ 5:04 PM EDT
    THQ(R) Inc. is set to debut its 2003 product line up, taking gamers from the forbidden zones of Chernobyl to the pyramids of Egypt, at next week's Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) in Los Angeles May 14-16, 2003. The company will unveil games across all viable game systems for every type of videogame fan -- from unique action-adventures that allow players to explore the depths of exotic environments in games like Tak and the Power of Juju(TM) and Sphinx and the Shadow of Set(TM) to action games offering surreal adrenaline racing in Splashdown(R) Rides Gone Wild(TM) and MX Unleashed(TM). THQ will also showcase the colorful Superstars of World Wrestling Entertainment(TM) as well as the most expansive mass-market kids product portfolio in the industry, featuring favorite television and motion picture characters like SpongeBob SquarePants(TM) and Scooby-Doo!(TM). These titles and others will be available in the THQ booth across multiple game systems including the PlayStation(R)2 computer entertainment system, the Xbox(TM) videogame system from Microsoft, Nintendo(R) GameCube(TM) and Game Boy(R) Advance, as well as personal computers and wireless devices. The THQ booth is located in Petree Hall #4001, adjacent to the West Hall in the Los Angeles Convention Center.

    "THQ's 2003 E3 line-up targets every segment of the expanding gaming audience with original high-end titles like S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Oblivion Lost (working title), Tak and the Power of Juju, Sphinx and the Shadow of Set, Alter Echo(TM), Splashdown: Rides Gone Wild and MX Unleashed as well as our industry-leading stable of titles that appeal to the growing number of casual gamers such as SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom, Disney/Pixar's Finding Nemo, Scooby-Doo! Mystery Mayhem and Hot Wheels(TM) World Race," said Brian Farrell, president and CEO of THQ. "With a portfolio of licensed and original brands, THQ is well positioned to take advantage of the explosive growth in the worldwide interactive entertainment marketplace."

    THQ's E3 2003 line-up features gameplay experiences across nearly every genre including:

    ACTION ADVENTURE

    Tak and The Power of Juju is the first property under the unique THQ-Nickelodeon agreement dedicated to jointly creating original videogame content with multi-media franchise potential through Nickelodeon's television, movie, online, magazine and consumer product division. Set in a tribal world where magic (Juju) actually works, Tak, a young shaman's apprentice and unlikely hero, faces perils that are both lightheartedly amusing and entertaining. Tak and The Power of Juju is scheduled for release on PlayStation 2, GameCube and Game Boy Advance in fall 2003.

    Sphinx and the Shadow of Set, developed by game design veterans Eurocom Entertainment Software, takes the character-based, action-adventure genre to new heights with sophisticated gameplay mechanics, original character designs, amazing visuals and superior technology. Sphinx and the Shadow of Set is an entirely original property inspired by the mythology of ancient Egypt. Sphinx and the Shadow of Set is scheduled for release on PlayStation 2 and GameCube in fall 2003.

    SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom -- Based on the number one program on kids' TV, the evil Plankton sets his most diabolical plan ever in motion, putting the fate of Bikini Bottom in the hands (or small tentacles) of three unsuspecting heroes -- SpongeBob SquarePants, Patrick StarFish and Sandy Cheeks -- each with unique moves and abilities. Players will go "tongue-boarding" down huge mountains, "underwear bungee jumping" off tall cliffs or ride in a guided "cruise bubble" in an effort to foil Plankton's scheme. SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom is scheduled for release on Playstation 2, Xbox, GameCube, Game Boy Advance and PC in fall 2003.

    ACTION

    S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Oblivion Lost (working title) is the first game to utilize developer GSC Game World's proprietary X-Ray engine that allows for massive indoor/outdoor environments, real-time physics and the capability to push more than one million polygons per frame at 60 frames per second. S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Oblivion Lost provides players with an intense first person action experience that incorporates survival horror themes and role-playing elements in a unique game of survival through the infamously known zone of Chernobyl's nuclear facility. The game will be available exclusively for PC in 2005.

    Warhammer 40,000(R): Fire Warrior(TM) is a first person shooter set in Games Workshop's Warhammer 40,000 universe. Over the course of one day, the player takes on the role of Kais, a young Tau Fire Warrior who is part of a team selected to rescue the Ethereal Ko'vash -- kidnapped by Imperial Forces. Warhammer 40,000: Fire Warrior features PlayStation 2 online multi-play in 17 exciting and diverse levels, 22 exotic characters to battle against and 15 devastating weapons to experience. The game also features four-player, split-screen action with unique environments and a chance to play as the enemy faced in the single player game. The game is scheduled for release on PlayStation 2 and PC in fall 2003.

    Alter Echo is an innovative action game that lets players morph between three combat modes and alter time with pioneering TimeDilation technology. The game lets players assume the role of Nevin, a reluctant hero with the ability to alter time and morph his PolySuit between three unique combat forms. He must fight for survival against an entire planet that has gone mad -- the surface of the planet is alive, and uses its bio-mechanical properties to spawn enemy after enemy, ensuring relentless action. A revolutionary PostFX camera system intensifies the action with spectacular visual effects that heighten the drama of every combo and special attack. Alter Echo is scheduled for release on PlayStation 2 and Xbox in summer 2003.

    RACING

    MX Unleashed, developed by Rainbow Studios, is a unique blend of racing and freestyle elements featuring a completely new motocross physics engine that incorporates a clutch function as well as independent rider and bike animations -- delivering the most realistic motocross experience to date. Players can race through more than 40 unique tracks and explore six open worlds while experiencing highly optimized graphics with incredible eco-systems and texture resolution. In MX Unleashed players will select authentic gear and equipment from the top manufacturers in the world, set records, play mini games, race a helicopter and more. MX Unleashed is scheduled for release on PlayStation and Xbox in winter 2004.

    Splashdown(TM) Rides Gone Wild, developed by Rainbow Studios, is the sequel to the critically acclaimed, top-selling Splashdown. Inspired by the spectacle and excitement of theme parks and thrill rides, SplashDown Rides Gone Wild invites players to blast through massive, imaginative locales with amazing sights and startling events around every corner. Splashdown Rides Gone Wild is scheduled for release on PlayStation 2 in summer 2003.

    Hot Wheels Highway 35(TM) World Race(TM) takes racing to a new level as players are thrust into the unique futuristic Hot Wheels fantasy world where life revolves around intense stunt racing. Players race against the clock on extreme tracks featuring split/multi-level courses and obstacles while pulling-off wild gravity-defying stunts. Featuring special 35th anniversary Hot Wheels cars, Hot Wheels Highway 35 World Race is scheduled for release on PlayStation 2, GameCube, Game Boy Advance and PC in fall 2003.

    WORLD WRESTLING ENTERTAINMENT

    WWE WrestleMania(R) XIX, featuring real-life Superstar abilities, an enhanced grappling experience and original story mode, allows players to enact `Sweet Revenge' on the grandest stage of them all, WrestleMania. Emphasizing simulation-style gameplay and all the action, excitement and attitude of World Wrestling Entertainment, WWE WrestleMania XIX will be available exclusively for Gamecube in fall 2003.

    WWE Raw(R) 2 explodes into the ring with more than 60 of the toughest WWE Superstars including Bill Goldberg. Exclusive to the Xbox and developed by Anchor, WWE Raw 2 captures the look and attitude of World Wrestling Entertainment. The game features all-new match types, more moves, backstage areas and the only four-player season mode. WWE Raw 2 is scheduled for release fall 2003.

    For more information on THQ's 2003 E3 lineup, visit http://www.thq.com . These games and others will be on display in THQ's booth.

    The Sims Bustin' Out Announced
    Steve @ 4:33 PM EDT
    REDWOOD CITY, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--May 8, 2003--Electronic Arts today announced that The Sims(TM) Bustin' Out is in development for the PlayStation(R) 2 computer entertainment system, the Xbox(TM) video game system from Microsoft, and the Nintendo GameCube(TM). The Sims is making a big return to consoles with The Sims Bustin' Out. For the first time, Sims console players will have the ability to get their Sims out of the house and into all-new locations to play, work, and meet a cast of outrageous new characters. The Sims Bustin' Out PlayStation 2 console version will be unveiled to industry insiders on May 13th at the Electronic Entertainment Exposition in Los Angeles. The game is scheduled to be released simultaneously on all current-generation console platforms in early 2004.
    "We're giving our fans what they've been asking for, the excitement of getting out of the house to explore new locations, meet wild new characters, and experience new storylines," said Sinjin Bain, Vice President and Executive Producer of the game at EA's Maxis(TM) studio. "The Sims Bustin' Out has ten times more replay value than the first Sims console game."

    The Sims Bustin' Out features an all-new neighborhood with over a dozen new unlockable locations and a cast of over 40 new zany characters to socialize with. Players will purchase a car or scooter in order to get out of the house and head to the Gym to work out with exercise fanatic Goldie Toane or to Club Rubb to rave with club owner Bing Bling. Players will be able to crash parties, create havoc, or just drive their neighbors crazy!

    Sims console players will be able to unlock and collect 80 new social moves like "Towel Snap" and "Moonwalk Dancing" that will add to the distinct character of a Sim. Players can unlock hundreds of new objects such as a Climbing Wall and a High Dive to test their skills outside the house.

    Players can choose from ten new careers including Mobster, Athlete, Mad Scientist, and Fashion Victim. Depending on what career track you choose there are now a variety of different ways to win the game. Players will have the ability to go back and forth through different careers and levels to unlock objects and locations. Players can play with or against friends in two-player mode, which is available throughout the entire game. The Sims Bustin' Out also features level-based gameplay.

    Like never before, Sims characters on the console will have distinct and noticeable personality that will affect gameplay. For example, a shy Sim will do a timid dance at the dance club, but an outgoing Sim will be rocking around the dance floor, showing off their moves.

    The new controller-base game interface makes manipulating the Sims through the triumphs and tribulations of their daily lives both easy and amusing. All console versions will have memory card support so players can take their Sims over to a friend's house.

    New Pricing Options for Xbox Live Announced
    Steve @ 4:03 PM EDT
    Xbox Live gamers around the globe will be excited to hear about a host of new pricing options to debut this fall in North America. With renewal rates remaining the same as the Xbox Live launch last fall, Microsoft today announced the following pricing details:

    Xbox Live one year renewal/subscription - $49.99

    Xbox Live monthly rate - $5.99

    Xbox Live Voice Communicator - $29.99

    Xbox Live Starter Kit - $69.99


    To make it easier for everyone to experience the thrill of Xbox Live, a two month free trial will also be widely available this fall.

    The subscription rate means those already enjoying the service will be able to extend their service for a full year, at the same price that was available when the service launched last November. Renewals can take place online or consumers can also purchase subscriptions cards from their favorite retailer. The monthly rate is perfect for those who want to test out Xbox Live, or for sports fans who only want to play during their favorite sports season. And for the first time, the Voice Communicator headset will be sold separately.

    The starter kit, which includes the Voice Communicator, one year’s service and some fun pack-in games, is the perfect all-in-one choice for those wanting to experience the thrill on online gaming. Over $100 in value, the starter kit is all anyone needs to begin playing any Xbox Live game with players all over the world.

    The new Xbox Live pricing options will go into effect this fall in North America. Details on pricing updates in other Xbox Live markets have yet to be announced.

    More on Xbox Live at E3

    Xbox Live will continue to evolve based on the feedback from the worldwide community of Live gamers. Stay tuned for exciting new Xbox Live features to be announced at next week’s Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3).

    Wednesday, May 7, 2003

    Ubi Soft Signs Eve for Voice Role in XIII
    Steve @ 4:05 PM EDT
    SAN FRANCISCO, CA - May 7, 2003 - Ubi Soft Entertainment, one of the world's top videogame publishers, today announced that one of music and film's hottest stars, Eve, will play the role of Major Jones in its highly anticipated action-shooter, XIII. XIII is an epic, conspiracy-driven thriller set in a highly stylized graphic-novel world. Eve will lend her voice talents to Major Jones, a beautiful yet mysterious character in the game, who helps players unravel clues behind the game's captivating story. XIII is planned to release on all platforms in Fall 2003.

    "XIII is a true original - the most stylish game I have ever seen," said Eve. "When I saw the game, I knew I wanted to be involved. My character, Jones, is a strong, sexy female with attitude - my fans will easily relate her to me."

    XIII is a stylish, first-person shooter thriller featuring a conspiracy of epic proportions. The game's cel-shaded graphics showcase its unique visual style, which pays homage to its comic roots. As a secret agent with complete amnesia, players unravel clues behind their true identity, while uncovering sinister plots against themselves, the U.S. government, and a mysterious presidential assassination. In XIII, Jones proves a valuable ally, as players will need to call upon her assistance in several gripping situations. This collaborative mode is just one of XIII's varied gameplay modes, which also include stealth, all-out action, and multiplayer.

    Philadelphia-born, Eve took the recording industry by storm with her critically acclaimed platinum debut album, Eve: Ruff Ryder's First Lady. Her follow-up, Scorpion, featured numerous hit singles including the Grammy®-award winning, "Let Me Blow Ya Mind." Her current album, EVE-OLUTION, is burning up the charts with the #1 hit single, "Gangsta Loving," and her current single, "Satisfaction." In addition to her red-hot recording career, Eve also appeared in 2002's blockbuster movies, Barbershop and XXX, and is slated to star in her own UPN sitcom this fall. Eve will also star in THE WOODSMAN with Benjamin Bratt and Kevin Bacon, which starts production this month. XIII is the first videogame appearance for this multi-talented singer/songwriter/actress/trendsetter.

    "Eve is the perfect person to play the role of Major Jones," said Tony Kee, vice president of marketing at Ubi Soft Entertainment. "She has a combination of style, sexiness, and attitude - perfect attributes that describe the Jones character. Having a hot personality like Eve involved in the game enforces what the gaming community has been shouting all year - XIII is the coolest action-shooter in 2003."

    Lollapalooza: “Presented by Xbox”
    Steve @ 4:00 PM EDT
    REDMOND, Wash. — Mixing today’s hottest music with the cultural phenomenon of gaming, Microsoft Corp. and Lollapalooza today announced that Xbox® will be the presenting sponsor for the upcoming summer tour. Lollapalooza, on hiatus since its last tour in 1997, will hit the road starting in Grand Rapids, Mich., at the Ionia County Fairgrounds on July 3 and continue with more than 30 dates throughout the country (itinerary below). This marks one of Xbox’s largest sponsorship deals since the gaming console launched 17 months ago.

    Tapping into the much sought-after and trend-setting Generation Y, Lollapalooza and Xbox will join forces to host festival activities and “play the band” opportunities. Both Lollapalooza and Xbox draw on the same key audience of 16–24 year-olds (Gen Y), making the Xbox sponsorship and strong presence at Lollapalooza venues an added value to the festival experience. Gaming competitions, contests and free playtime will be hosted at each Lollapalooza event in a centrally located GameRiot pavilion, featuring activities for everyone from casual to hard-core gamers. Concertgoers will be invited to test Xbox games and services during each daylong show.

    “I love a challenge, and while we’re on the road, I get off on Xbox,” said Perry Farrell, co-owner and mastermind of Lollapalooza, as well as frontman for touring band Jane’s Addiction. “We are practicing our music for the tour and our video gaming skills for tournament.”

    Lollapalooza is known as the nation’s leading lifestyle concert tour. Launched in 1991 by Farrell, Lollapalooza showcased such bands as Jane’s Addiction, Pearl Jam, Rage Against the Machine, Smashing Pumpkins, Metallica and Snoop Dogg. This year’s lineup again includes today’s most popular modern rock and hip-hop bands, including Jane’s Addiction, Audioslave, Incubus, Queens of the Stone Age, A Perfect Circle, Jurassic 5 and The Donnas.

    “Knowing how closely the Lollapalooza and Xbox audiences mirror each other, we jumped at the opportunity to be a presenting sponsor with the tour, and provide fans with the combination of technology and entertainment that is sweeping the nation,” said Mitch Koch, corporate vice president of marketing for Xbox at Microsoft. “We couldn’t be more excited to be a part of everything Lollapalooza symbolizes.”

    The sponsorship package includes “presented by Xbox” printed in all Lollapalooza references, the Xbox logo prominently placed on all advertising, tickets and materials, inclusion in radio promotions, and a huge presence at concerts.

    Activision Announces E3 Lineup
    Steve @ 3:58 PM EDT
    London, UK - May 7, 2003 - Activision, Inc. will debut a show-stopping slate of games at the 2003 Electronic Entertainment Expo, which takes place at the Los Angeles Convention Center from May 14 - 16. The company's blockbuster lineup includes high-profile Hollywood licenses such as Shrek 2TM: The Game (working title), Spider-Man® 2 (working title) and Disney's Extreme Skate AdventureTM; id Software's gripping 3D action game DOOM IIITM; Peter Molyneux's innovative new simulation title, The MoviesTM; The Creative Assembly's Rome: Total WarTM; an all-new Pitfall® Harry game, based on the Activision classic; a no-holds barred driving action game True CrimeTM: Streets of L.A.TM; and Call of DutyTM, a first-person action game that captures the gritty drama, intensity and camaraderie of World War II.

    The company's E3 line-up includes:

    Shrek 2 : The Game (working title) - Embark upon an adventure that goes beyond the movie with Shrek 2: The Game. Players experience key moments from the film and encounter a variety of new personalities, environments and sub-plots as they switch between Shrek , Donkey or one of their many friends. Shrek 2: The Game has not yet received an age rating. (PlayStation 2 computer entertainment system, the Xbox® video game system from Microsoft and Nintendo GameCube ).

    Spider-Man® 2 (working title) - Based on the highly anticipated movie sequel from Columbia Pictures and Marvel Entertainment, Spider-Man 2 allows players to swing into action as the famous "web-slinger" and protect the city of Manhattan from Doc Ock and his evil minions. Spider-Man 2 has not yet received an age rating. (PlayStation 2, Xbox and the Nintendo GameCube).

    Disney's Extreme Skate Adventure - Skate through the large and imaginative worlds of Walt Disney Pictures' presentation of Pixar Animation Studios' "Toy Story 2," "Disney's Tarzan " and "Disney's The Lion King" along with the most memorable characters from each film. Disney's Extreme Skate Adventure is rated Pegi 3+. (PlayStation 2, Xbox, Nintendo GameCube and Game Boy Advance)

    Pitfall® Harry - The daring, risk-taking explorer who laughs in the face of danger is back! Featuring over 50 levels of fast-paced action and puzzle solving adventures, the game challenges players to swing, fight, climb and crawl through eight types of treacherous South American environments including lush jungles, dark tombs, ancient Aztec ruins and glacial mountains. Pitfall Harry is not yet received an age rating. (PlayStation 2, Xbox, Nintendo GameCube and Game Boy Advance).

    X-Men : Legends - The first-ever X-Men real-time RPG allows gamers to assemble, train and lead their own X-Men fighting force in a battle against some of the deadliest foes in the Marvel Universe including the Morlocks , the Brotherhood of Mutants and robotic Sentinels . X-Men Legends is not yet received an age rating. (PlayStation 2, Xbox and Nintendo GameCube)

    ACTIVISION PARTNERS WITH INDUSTRY LEADING DEVELOPERS

    DOOM IIITM - id Software's terrifying battle with the forces of Hell. A massive demonic invasion has overwhelmed the UAC's Mars Research Facility leaving only chaos and horror in its wake. As one of only a few survivors, players must struggle with shock, fear, and an all-out assault on their senses as they fight their way to Hell and back, in an epic clash against pure evil. DOOM III has not yet received an age rating. (PC)

    The MoviesTM - Run your own Hollywood movie studio from the silent days of the 1920s, through the advent of new technologies into the present and beyond. As the head of a Hollywood dream factory, players decide which movies to make and the stars to make them. The Movies has not yet received an age rating. (PC)

    Empires: Dawn of the Modern WorldTM - For the first time in a historically based real-time strategy game, players can command completely unique, historically based civilizations in a bid to dominate the world Empires: Dawn of the Modern World has not yet received an age rating. (PC)

    Rome: Total WarTM - Experience the power and the glory of ancient Rome in this epic game of empire building and conquest. The revolutionary next generation Total WarTM engine brings the battlefields of the ancient world to life by combining epic scale with amazing levels of individual detail and motion captured animations. Rome: Total War has not yet received an age rating. (PC)

    ACTIVISION DELIVERS TOP-QUALITY ACTION GAMES

    Call of DutyTM - Experience the dramatic intensity of the frontlines through the eyes of common soldiers in this gritty and epic WWII first-person action game. As different characters from multiple sides of the Allied forces, players get a sense for the true scope of wartime action as they heed the call of duty. Call of Duty has not yet received an age rating. (PC)

    Call of Duty: Finest Hour - Call of Duty: Finest Hour is a blistering and intense WWII cinematic battlefield experience. An entirely new and distinct action-packed Call of Duty game, Finest Hour features a unique storyline and series of squad-based missions as soldiers come together to defend and survive through the chaos of battle. Finest Hour has not yet received an age rating. (PlayStation 2, Xbox and Nintendo GameCube)

    TRINITY® - A first person action game, TRINITY transports players into a dark alternate future in the year 2013 where a deadly plague threatens to destroy the city of New Orleans. As the mysterious "Nightstalker," a bio-technically enhanced one-man vigilante force with superhuman powers, players will cut a swath of destruction through the Big Easy. TRINITY has not yet received an age rating. (PC, Xbox)

    Vampire®: The Masquerade - BloodlinesTM - Combining the best parts of role playing games and first-person action games, Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines plunges players into the dark and gritty vampire underworld of modern day L.A. as a recently embraced fledgling vampire in the service of the city's dark Prince. Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines has not yet received an age rating. (PC)

    Soldier of Fortune® II: Double Helix - Assume the role of John Mullins, a military consultant working for the top-secret anti-terrorist group known as The Shop, as you tackle a wide-range of missions from hostage rescue and intelligence gathering, to search-and-destroy. Soldier of Fortune II: Double Helix has been rated 18+ by the BBFC. (Xbox)

    Star Trek® Elite Force II - In this sequel to the critically acclaimed first-person action game, the Hazard Team faces its deadliest mission yet when a terrifying evil awakens and hordes of nightmarish monsters invade. Star Trek Elite Force II has not yet received an age rating. (PC)

    ACTIVISION REDEFINES INNOVATION THROUGH ORIGINAL BRANDS

    True Crime: Streets of L.A. - Assume the role of rogue Elite Operations Division (E.O.D.) operative Nick Kang, a no-holds-barred badass, whose brutal reputation and lethal skills have landed him the nasty task of taking down the Chinese Triad and Russian Mafia cartel that has turned the City of Angels into a war zone. True Crime: Streets of L.A. has not yet received an age rating. (PlayStation 2, Xbox and Nintendo GameCube)

    MTX: Mototrax featuring Travis Pastrana - Experience the thrill of top speed racing and high flying freestyle action in the most authentic motocross video game to date. Choose from more than a dozen top pro riders and battle it out for first place in fast-paced, realistic racing on a variety of Supercross (indoor) and Motocross (outdoor) levels or take on challenges outside the circuit. MTX: Mototrax featuring Travis Pastrana has not yet received an age rating. (PlayStation 2, Xbox, Nintendo GameCube)

    Wakeboarding Unleashed featuring Shaun Murray - Hang on for your life and get ready to rip behind a high-powered speedboat as you trick through dangerous terrain. Feel the rush as you crash into houseboats and catch huge air in nine exotic levels with seven world-class wakeboarders. Wakeboarding Unleashed featuring Shaun Murray has not yet received an age rating. (PlayStation 2 and Xbox).

    Infogrames Now Known as Atari
    Steve @ 3:51 PM EDT
    LONDON, May 7, 2003 - Thirty years after the Atari name first began a revolution in entertainment, Infogrames has returned the beacon of innovation to the forefront of the gaming industry it launched. Holding company parent, Infogrames Entertainment SA (IESA) announced today that it has decided to adopt the legendary brand name of Atari for its global commercial operations, effective immediately. The company's U.S. operations will now be known as Atari, Inc., and will trade on the NASDAQ National Market under the symbol "ATAR." Although IESA will retain its name and its Euronext trading code "5257" on the French Bourse, all of the company's worldwide operations will become Atari, with their country of origin included in the name (e.g. Atari U.K.). Additionally, the Company's wholly owned subsidiary, Infogrames Interactive, Inc., which develops many of the game derived from the Hasbro line of board games, will change its name to Atari Interactive, Inc.

    "In any language, Atari is synonymous with video games and it's recognized for transforming entertainment," said Bruno Bonnell, Chairman and CEO of IESA and Atari. "Our industry is now outpacing the Hollywood box office and by choosing Atari as our signature, we are demonstrating our commitment to this growth and our determination to take entertainment to the next level for gamers worldwide.

    For several months, the Company has been using the Atari brand to publish great international hits developed in collaboration with the best talent in video games, including Neverwinter Nights from BioWare, several Unreal titles from Epic, Digital Extremes and Legend, Stuntman from Reflections, V-Rally from Eden, and the long awaited Enter The Matrix from Shiny Entertainment, which will debut on May 15, day and date with the film, The Matrix Reloaded. Effective immediately, these and all titles in the Company's extensive catalogue will be published under the Atari brand name.

    "It's the perfect moment in our history to make this change," continued Mr. Bonnell. "Next week we'll be launching Enter The Matrix, an extraordinary game which has redefined the Hollywood license, setting a new standard for the convergence of games and films. The 'break the mold' approach we took with Enter The Matrix exemplifies the very personality Atari has always represented and captures the personality of our Company today, from game development to deal-making to partnerships and so on.

    "Perhaps the greatest part of the Atari legacy is the recipe for creating games that capture an audience's imagination: creative ideas, the talent to bring them to life, and the passion to do so," stated Mr. Bonnell. "Those elements have never been more abundant within our Company than they are right now. We have the strongest line up of properties we have ever had, deep ties with some of the world's most talented game developers, and an excitement about the future that's palpable."

    Enter The Matrix joins an Atari line up that features some of the world's most popular and recognizable entertainment franchises, including Terminator 3, Mission Impossible, Dragon Ball Z, Superman, and Godzilla; an array of critically and commercially acclaimed children's games, including the Backyard Sports series, Nickelodeon licenses (Dora the Explorer and Blue's Clues), and original characters such as Putt Putt, Pajama Sam, Freddi Fish and Spy Fox; products for the hard-core gamer such as Driver, Neverwinter Nights, Unreal, and Dungeons & Dragons; and titles for the mass entertainment audience, including the Civilization series and the RollerCoaster Tycoon franchise.

    Next week at the industry's Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) in Los Angeles (May 14-16), in addition to promoting its current roster of games, Atari plans to make several significant product announcements that further illustrate its commitment to bringing the most exciting new entertainment properties to the gaming audience, as well as transporting revered older titles into the future.

    Mr. Bonnell added, "When we acquired GT Interactive in December 1999 and the Hasbro Interactive assets in January 2001, we had a two-part strategy: to provide the Company with an international distribution network and a large franchise catalogue with which we could achieve critical mass, and to establish an exclusive and strong brand name on which to raise our worldwide profile. With today's name change, we have those goals."

    Xicat Interactive's E3 Lineup
    Steve @ 3:49 PM EDT
    Fort Lauderdale, FL - May 6, 2003, Xicat Interactive, Inc., a publisher of award-winning video games, today announced that it will present a fresh line up of titles at the 2003 Electronic Entertainment Expo May 14 -16 at the Los Angeles Convention Center in Los Angeles, California.

    Xicat is set to exhibit highly anticipated titles such as ChopLifter: Crisis Shield for the PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system, Motor Trend presents Lotus Challenge for the XboxTM video game system from Microsoft, Nintendo® GameCubeTM and PC CD-ROM, and Zanzarah: The Hidden Portal for Playstation2, Xbox and GameCube. In addition, several new titles will be announced at the show and others displayed behind closed doors, including one GameCube title, one Xbox title, and two PC titles. The stand will also feature live demos, interactive media, and exclusive contests.

    "We are thrilled to be exhibiting at E3 this year. It will give us the chance to show people what we're made of," says Reto Bodmer, Chief Operating Officer at Xicat Interactive. "Our new titles will diversify our offerings to consumers and strengthen our position within the industry."

    Xicat's complete showcase of products will be featured at E3 in Los Angeles, CA at booth 150A in the Concourse Hall. For more information on Xicat, please visit http://www.xicat.com

    Inside Pitch 2003 New Screens and Details
    Steve @ 3:42 PM EDT
    “Inside Pitch 2003” is Microsoft Game Studios’ inaugural Major League Baseball (MLB) title for Xbox. This dramatic baseball simulation, featuring Boston Red Sox All-Star shortstop Nomar Garciaparra as cover athlete, immerses hardball fans in one of the most realistic and fast-paced baseball settings ever created. Gamers will be able to hit the long ball, snag a line drive and paint the corner like a seasoned big-league veteran. And they’ll be able to compete against baseball fans nationwide by playing online through the Xbox Live service. Gamers worldwide can control their ultimate MLB team, take on Championship Challenges and lead their favorite team from spring training to the Fall Classic.

    Features:

    ·Online Play with Xbox Live. Gamers can work their way toward baseball immortality as they battle baseball fans in the most comprehensive online baseball arena ever created, complete with real-time voice communication. Gamers will be able to track their online win/loss, batting and pitching records, and view opponents’ statistics for matchmaking purposes.

    ·Championship Challenges. Gamers can place themselves in some of the most memorable moments of the 2002 season and rewrite the record books in nine history-making scenarios, including breaking the infamous tie in the 2002 All-Star Game; attempting to match or surpass Craig Biggio’s cycle hitting performance; pitching the final three innings of Derek Lowe’s no-hitter; or collecting their 600th career home run as Barry Bonds. When players complete or surpass these historical feats, they earn valuable points toward improving their created players.

    ·World Series announcer team. “Inside Pitch 2003” includes more than 25,000 lines of dialogue, play-by-play, stories, insight and analysis from the award-winning broadcast team of Joe Buck and Tim McCarver.

    ·More modes of play. Gamers can solidify their reputation in practice, a single game, season mode, playoff mode, online play, Training Tracks, Championship Challenges or the Home Run Derby.

    ·Create-A-Player. Gamers can create their own custom player who can earn points toward improved skills. They can customize their player’s looks, gear, attributes, batting stance, personality, habits and even the style of sunglasses he wears.

    ·Training Tracks. Maybe a gamer’s favorite team needs a big bat at first. High-quality players don’t just step out of the cornfield. They need to be taught how to play the game, shown how to perform in high-pressure situations, and nurtured until they’re ready for the show. Eighteen training subgames encompass all aspects of the game, from fielding and pitching to hitting. If a created player does well enough, he’ll earn skill points and be on his way to superstar status.

    ·The ultimate virtual baseball environments. Gamers can take a tour of all 30 Major League stadiums from the comfort of their own home. Gamers can start the season just like the pros with a series between Oakland and Seattle in Japan, celebrate opening day in the United States at Cincinnati’s new Great American Ball Park, and even visit the Expos’ new home away from home in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Each stadium is equipped with scoreboard animations (including a certain monkey in Anaheim), advanced lighting effects and special on-the-field memorials to honor milestones such as Barry Bonds’ 600th home run.

    ·Detailed player models. “Inside Pitch 2003” contains detailed player animations, custom batting and pitching motions, and more than 300 MLB player facial scans. Gamers can crouch like Jeff Bagwell, wiggle their bat like Ichiro Suzuki, and tap their toes and play with their batting gloves like Nomar Garciaparra.

    ·Customizable stadium music. Gamers can rip their own music and fill the stadium with music of their choosing. They can select the songs they want to hear, and decide where the songs start and end. Gamers can be like other Major Leaguers and have their favorite tunes blast out in full Dolby Surround as their players come up to bat.

    Inside Pitch 2003 New Screens

    Inside Pitch 2003 Other Screens

    Tuesday, May 6, 2003

    Ubi Soft Announces Record Sales
    Steve @ 5:39 PM EDT
    Ubi Soft Announces Record Fourth Quarter Sales - Up 98%

    The Video Game Company Once Again Outperforms the Market

    San Francisco, CA - May 6, 2003 - Ubi Soft® Entertainment, one of the world's leading video game publishers, today announced sales of $184.5 million for the fourth quarter of the 2002/2003 financial year, which ended on March 31, 2003.

    A record 4th quarter and another year of strong activity. The successful launch of several blockbuster hits resulted in record growth of 98% for Ubi Soft in the fourth quarter of the 2002/2003 fiscal year (109% at a constant rate). Several weeks after their launch, Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell(tm), Rayman® 3: Hoodlum Havoc, Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon(tm) and Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six(tm) 3: Raven Shield(tm) still top the bestseller charts in many countries. With annual growth of more than 23% (30% at a constant rate), Ubi Soft is on target with its strategic objective of 20% internal growth per annum.

    The five major titles of the fiscal year sold a total of more than 7 million units, well above the initial target of 6 million including: Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell(tm): 3.6 million; Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon(tm): 1.8 million and Rayman® 3: Hoodlum Havoc: over 1 million.

    In addition, Shadowbane(tm), a massively multiplayer online game with strong potential, was successfully launched in the United States. More than 120,000 units have been sold since its release on March 25.

    As expected, North American sales are increasing at a brisk pace with growth of 35% for the fiscal year (52% at a constant rate). During the first quarter of 2003, Ubi Soft ranked 7th among console publishers in the United States*. This territory represents 40% of annual sales. Europe recorded growth of 20%, and represented 56% of Ubi Soft's sales. Growth was particularly strong in the United Kingdom, with an increase of 48% (54% at a constant rate) and a succession of bestselling games since 2002. Growth of 60% in Spain is also worth noting.

    Globally speaking, 28% of sales were for PlayStation 2, 27% for Xbox , 7% for NINTENDO GAMECUBE and 23% for PC.

    Ubi Soft studios among the best in the world
    These excellent fiscal year performances are largely thanks to Ubi Soft's development studios and their capacity to create world-class blockbusters.

    Ubi Soft's studios are now among the best in the world. They have obtained wide recognition from both industry professionals and the public. Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon(tm) was #1 on Xbox in the United States during the first three months of 2003*. Rayman® 3: Hoodlum Havoc was featured on the covers of more than 26 American and European trade magazines. Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell(tm) was elected the "best console game of the year" at the Interactive Achievement Awards 2003, "best game" at the ECTS 2002 and "best Xbox(tm) game of the year" by Gamespot. The commercial success of these titles developed by Ubi Soft allowed the company to record a 31% growth in development activity, which now accounts for 77% of total sales as compared with 72% the preceding year.

    Ubi Soft's studios are central to its strategy and one of its main assets for future success.

    Solid prospects for the 2003/2004 fiscal year
    The video game market should once again experience sustained growth in 2003, due in part to the decrease in prices for consoles and the expansion of their installed base.

    In this promising environment, Ubi Soft will launch a number of games with strong potential. The following future bestsellers are among the titles currently under development for 2003/2004: XIII, Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six 3(tm) for consoles, Beyond Good & Evil(tm), Far Cry(tm), Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, Uru(tm): Ages Beyond MYST®, Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon(tm): Island Thunder and the next episode of Splinter Cell(tm). These titles are in addition to those launched since February 2003, including Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell(tm) for PlayStation 2, the current #1 seller in both Europe and the United States**.

    The results for the 2002/2003 fiscal year will be published and discussed at an analysts' meeting to be held in Paris on June 26. At that time, the company will announce its objectives for the 2003/2004 fiscal year.

    * Source: NPD
    ** Source: UBS Warburg - Week of April 18-24, 2003

    Blue and Green Xbox Controllers Coming
    Steve @ 4:56 PM EDT
    Xbox fans overwhelmingly chose Green and Blue for the colors of new controllers to be unveiled May 14 at the E3 (Electronics Entertainment Expo) trade show in Los Angeles. The voting was done via online survey on Xbox.com, and the new controllers will go on sale in October.

    “Gamers have been asking us for new color options, so we thought it would be a great idea to not only give the people what they want, but also let them choose the colors for themselves,” said Bill Nielsen, director of Xbox brand marketing. “When the results were tabulated green and blue were far and away the favorites so we’ll release both those options. We anticipate many gamers will have a tough time deciding between the two.”

    Photos of each of the new controllers can be found at http://www.xbox.com/surveys/ccresults . The controllers will be sold separately for an estimated retail price of $29.99 and will join the black Xbox Controller S on retail shelves.

    Kemco Continues Search for Development Talent
    Steve @ 4:53 PM EDT
    Bellevue, WA – May 06, 2003 - After garnering remarkable interest from developers at this year’s Game Developers Conference (GDC), Kemco continues its global search for external development talent at the 2003 Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) – May 14-16, in Los Angeles. After acquiring two strong titles in the past few months, Rogue Ops and Lobo, Kemco is committed to being a significant player in the U.S. and global interactive entertainment space.

    “Kemco is seeking titles that will continue to push the envelope in the interactive entertainment industry,” said Colin Gordon, Director of Product Development for Kemco U.S.A., INC. “We are actively pursuing game properties and brands that will be strong additions to our line-up for 2004 and beyond.”

    Return to Castle Wolfenstein Ships
    Steve @ 4:44 PM EDT
    Santa Monica, CA - May 6, 2003 - Activision, Inc. has announced that id Software™'s Return to Castle Wolfenstein: Tides of War™ for the Xbox® video game system from Microsoft is now available at retail outlets nationwide. id's new hit for Xbox features the definitive multiplayer experience, including squad-based warfare over Xbox™ Live or System Link, along with an action-packed storyline for single player and two-player split-screen cooperative action. The title has already received critical acclaim including a 9.2 rating and "Editor's Choice" award from Official Xbox Magazine, and "five out of five stars" from Maxim and FHM. Developed by Nerve Software, Return to Castle Wolfenstein: Tides of War carries a suggested retail price of $49.99 and is rated "M" for mature by the ESRB.

    "It just doesn't get any better than the intense single-player, cooperative and multiplayer action in Return to Castle Wolfenstein: Tides of War," said Todd Hollenshead, CEO, id Software. "With an epic single player and co-op campaign, as well as squad-based multiplayer warfare, full support for all of the Xbox Live features like buddy lists, the Xbox Live Communicator, and downloadable maps, RTCW: Tides of War is the ultimate action title for every Xbox owner."

    "Return to Castle Wolfenstein: Tides of War has been created from the start with one goal in mind, to be the best first-person action game on Xbox," said Larry Goldberg, executive vice president, Activision Worldwide Studios. "With RTCW: Tides of War's breathtaking campaigns and new prologue missions, whether in single-player or two-player co-op, gamers will have a blast right out of the box. But nothing will prepare them for the instant action and overall rush of Tides of War's multiplayer warfare that will keep players glued to their Xbox."

    Set against the backdrop of WWII, Return to Castle Wolfenstein: Tides of War enlists players into a whirlwind of action, espionage and covert operations. Taking the role of badass Army Ranger, B.J. Blazkowicz, players are tasked with infiltrating the heart of Nazi Germany and stopping the darkest plans of the Third Reich. Throughout the game, players are locked in combat against hordes of Nazi storm troopers, undead Teutonic knights and the twisted products of genetic experimentation in campaigns that stretch from the deserts of Egypt and forests of Germany to icy compounds in Norway. Delivering Dolby 5.1 audio, 480p High Definition television support, new monsters, weapons and useable items, Return to Castle Wolfenstein: Tides of War further draws the player into the Occult-filled Nazi nightmare with an unfolding story that plays out like a heart-stopping action movie.

    Return to Castle Wolfenstein: Tides of War also includes an all-new Egyptian campaign, where players meet with Agent One, the OSA's most senior operative. In the game's exclusive cooperative mode, gamers partner together as B.J. and Agent One to kick Nazi ass as WWII's toughest duo - battling through the entire single-player campaign in exciting split-screen action.

    With battlefields designed specifically for Xbox, Return to Castle Wolfenstein: Tides of War players can wreak multiplayer havoc in teams of up to eight versus eight for fast and furious 16-player combat. The title features four distinct character classes that must coordinate their individual skills to be victorious in the numerous gameplay modes including objective, elimination and checkpoint. Xbox Live players can utilize their Friends list or Xbox Live matchmaking for instant action. The warfare really heats up with the use of the Xbox Live Communicator, with full voice-masking capabilities, allowing combatants to verbally coordinate attacks, communicate enemy positions, scream for a medic or simply taunt their fallen opponents.

    Return to Castle Wolfenstein: Tides of War is developed by Nerve Software and is executive produced by id Software. The Xbox game is based on the award winning PC title, Return to Castle Wolfenstein, originally developed by Gray Matter Interactive studios, and Nerve Software.

    Atari Ships Over 4 Million Copies of Enter the Matrix
    Steve @ 4:34 PM EDT
    LOS ANGELES - May 6, 2003: Game Available May 15, In Conjunction With Release Of The Matrix Reloaded Atari announced today that worldwide retail orders for Enter the Matrix for the PlayStation® 2 computer entertainment system, the XboxTM video game system from Microsoft, the Nintendo GameCubeTM and personal computer (PC) have surpassed 4 million copies. The game will be available worldwide on May 15, in conjunction with the release of the highly anticipated second installment of the Matrix film trilogy, The Matrix Reloaded.

    "We are thrilled by the tremendous worldwide demand for what is going to be one of the most groundbreaking games our business has seen in years," said Bruno Bonnell, chairman and CEO, Infogrames. "Enter the Matrix is the biggest game we have ever shipped, and I'm happy to report that it does not disappoint. Matrix fans and video game players worldwide are poised to enjoy an entirely new entertainment experience with a complete meshing of Hollywood filmmaking and interactive entertainment."

    Developed by award-winning Shiny Entertainment (an Infogrames studio), Enter The Matrix is a revolution in interactive entertainment - a third-person action game that effectively blurs the line between Hollywood blockbuster films and next generation video games. The game is directed by and features a script written by the Wachowski Brothers, creators of The Matrix trilogy, marking the most intensive collaboration between a video game publisher and a movie studio to date.

    Enter the Matrix for PlayStation 2, Xbox, GameCube and PC will be available at retail outlets worldwide on May 15, 2003 for an estimated retail price of $49.99 and an ESRB rating of 'T' for Teen. More information about Enter the Matrix is available at http://www.enterthematrixgame.com , in addition, to learn more about The Matrix Reloaded visit http://www.thematrix.com .

    TDK Mediactive's E3 Lineup
    Steve @ 4:28 PM EDT
    WESTLAKE VILLAGE, Calif. - May 6, 2003: TDK Mediactive, Inc., a global publisher of interactive entertainment software, is set to officially debut its 2003 product lineup, its most extensive and most powerful to date, at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) in Los Angeles May 14-16, 2003.

    The company will showcase many highly anticipated games across multiple platforms and genres. From the timeless excitement of Disney's Haunted Mansion to the furiousness of the newly acquired Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) to the hilarious antics of The Muppets, TDK Mediactive offers something for every kind of gamer. With more than twice the square footage as last year, TDK Mediactive's booth (South Hall #1400), will feature titles for all gaming platforms, including PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system, XboxTM video game system from Microsoft, Nintendo GameCubeTM and Game Boy® Advance handheld system.

    "When it comes to popular licensed games," said Vincent Bitetti, Chief Executive Officer, TDK Mediactive, "TDK Mediactive is among the elite. With properties like Shrek, The Haunted Mansion, Star Trek, Corvette and Masters of the Universe Interactive, this year's 2003 E3 presence will undoubtedly be our strongest yet."

    In addition to the elaborate display of gaming titles, three of the UFC's top Ultimate FightersTM will also be signing autographs, meeting with the press and squaring off in matches of UFC: TapoutTM 2 all three days at the TDK Mediactive booth. Fighters scheduled to appear include Matt Hughes, Chuck Liddell and Tim Sylvia.

    TDK Mediactive's 2003 E3 Lineup:

    UFC: Sudden ImpactTM
    Authentic fighting action is coming back to PlayStation 2 with UFC: Sudden Impact. This mixed martial arts fighter brings with it more realistic damage models than ever before, with lifelike bruises and cuts. Fighters can be created from scratch in the greatly enhanced Story Mode, while the Tournament Mode allows for up to eight human and/or computer controlled fighters to compete in elimination matches. Developed by Opus, UFC: Sudden Impact is scheduled to ship Q3, 2003.

    The Haunted Mansion
    The theme park attraction that hosts millions of foolish mortals each year becomes both a major motion picture and video game. Solve unique puzzles, uncover hidden clues and put unwelcome evil spirits to rest, as you navigate through Disney's world famous Haunted Mansion. With amazing game environments inspired by the film and the ride, you'll be dying to give this game a try! Developed by High Voltage (PlayStation 2, Xbox, and GameCube) and Pocket Studios (Game Boy Advance), The Haunted Mansion is scheduled to ship on all platforms in Q4, 2003.

    The Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl
    It's mutiny on the high seas as you steal and pillage your way to riches in the video game that accompanies Disney's major live action film for Summer 2003. Search for treasure as you sharpen your pirating skills with cannons, artillery and swords, all the while trying to unravel the mystery of the treacherous skeleton crew. Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl is being developed by Pocket Studios and is scheduled to ship Q2, 2003 for the Game Boy Advance.

    Corvette® (working title)
    Live the dream. Drive the cars. Play the game! Celebrate the Corvette® 50th anniversary in style with over 80 fantastic Corvette models (14 on Game Boy Advance) to choose from. It all takes place on an obstacle filled race down Route 66 from Chicago to Los Angeles. The Xbox version will also support Xbox Live. Developed by Steel Monkeys (PlayStation 2 and Xbox) and Visual Impact Productions (Game Boy Advance), Corvette is scheduled to ship in Q3, 2003.

    Muppets Party CruiseTM
    The Muppets are starring in their first party game ever! Imagine you and three friends plowing through thirty mini-games with Kermit the FrogTM, Miss PiggyTM and all your favorite Muppet characters. It's madcap, side-splitting fun, with awesome in-game music to keep you rockin'! Developed by Mass Media, Muppets Party Cruise is scheduled to ship in Q4, 2003 for PlayStation 2 and GameCube.

    Star Trek® Shattered Universe
    The universe is not as you know it... Think fast, shoot faster! Experience high-intensity space combat in a sinister alternative to the classic era setting of Star Trek: The Original Series®. Jump into the cockpit and pilot ten unique, never-before-seen fighters into battle where you'll engage enemies across 19 levels of incredible action. Complete with spectacular special effects and incredibly detailed environments, Star Trek Shattered Universe is developed by StarSphere in association with Activision, and is scheduled to ship in Q3, 2003 for PlayStation 2 and Xbox.

    Dinotopia®: The Sunstone OdysseyTM
    Thwarting evil with an arsenal of high-flying attacks against a multitude of creatures and mechanical monsters, players control Drake Gemini in his quest to reunite his family and become a Guardian of Dinotopia, an island where humans and dinosaurs coexist. While Defending the island of Dinotopia from a rogue group of thugs, players navigate through 24 levels including swamps, villages, and ancient jungle ruins. When travel is prohibitive on foot, players can take to the air through desert canyons on a flying dinosaur called a Skybax, or along tropical trails atop a robotic beast known as a Strutter. Developed by Vicious Cycle, Dinotopia: The Sunstone Odyssey is scheduled to ship Q2, 2003 for Xbox and GameCube.

    Masters of the UniverseTM He-Man: Defender of GrayskullTM
    By the power of Grayskull... I have the power! Direct from the popular animated television series, He-Man, the ultimate hero, battles his greatest enemies on foot or astride his trusty Battle CatTM through 34 levels within three huge environments. Spectacular special effects, sword fights and hand-to-hand combat await at every turn in this epic world of magic and mystery. Developed by Savage Entertainment, Masters of the UniverseTM He-Man Defender of GrayskullTM is scheduled to ship Q4, 2003 for PlayStation 2, Xbox and GameCube.

    Shrek®2: The Game (working title)
    Embark upon an exciting adventure that goes beyond the movie with Shrek 2: The GameTM. Inspired by the upcoming film and expanding its storyline, the game features Shrek®'s signature humor and comedic interactions. Players experience key moments from the film and encounter a variety of new personalities, environments and sub-plots as they switch between Shrek®, Donkey or one of their many fairy tale friends. The game is being co-developed and co-published worldwide by TDK Mediactive and Activision, and is currently in development by Luxoflux (PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system, the XboxTM video game system from Microsoft and Nintendo GameCubeTM). The game will also be developed for the Game Boy® Advance and PC platforms, however, developers have not yet been named. Shrek 2TM: The Game has not yet been rated by the ESRB and is scheduled to release in Q2, 2004.

    Shrek®: Reekin' HavocTM
    Shrek® it out! With already over a million units sold in this video game franchise, Shrek® returns to Game Boy Advance. Play as Princess FionaTM or Shrek® and save your fairy tale friends! Rescue them from The Ghost of Lord FarquaadTM using Princess Fiona's powerful martial arts moves, complete with tons of pick-ups and large levels with countless passages to explore. Developed by TOSE, Shrek®: Reekin' Havoc is scheduled to ship Q3, 2003 for Game Boy Advance.

    Spy vs. SpyTM
    The rivalry that has played out for over 40 years in the pages of MAD Magazine makes its PlayStation 2 and Xbox debuts. Spy vs. Spy is fast paced sabotage-action at its best. Players will employ hilarious spy gadgets and weapons while catching their opponents in clever booby traps. With 12 captivating levels spanning six unique areas, Spy vs. Spy promises nonstop fun and multiplayer antics! Developed by WayForward, Spy vs. Spy is scheduled to ship Q1, 2004.

    TONKA Rescue PatrolTM
    Now kids can save the day the TONKA way in the all new TONKA Rescue Patrol for GameCube! For the first time on GameCube, TONKA fans can put out fires, catch speeding trouble-makers and explore four large friendly environments in tough TONKA fire engines, construction trucks and choppers! Earn awards for a job well-done and explore exciting TONKA worlds that unlock as you complete missions. Developed by Lucky Chicken, TONKA Rescue Patrol is scheduled to ship Q3, 2003.

    Conan: The Dark Axe (working title)
    Conan, the famed literary and feature film franchise makes its video game debut. The multiyear worldwide license is held by TDK Mediactive's sister company, TDK Recording Media Europe S.A., and includes all interactive rights for PlayStation 2, GameCube, Xbox and PC. Become the heroic Conan in this adventure / action packed journey featuring a host of tasks and puzzles to complete as you follow your quest. This 3rd person adventure was written by the official interpreter of the original Conan novels ensuring authentic interpretation of the story to the game. Conan: The Dark Axe is being developed by Cauldron and is scheduled for a European release in Q4, 2003. North American publishing plans have not yet been announced.

    Knights of the Temple
    You are Paul de Raque, Knight of the Temple, as you set out on a holy crusade across a forbidding, mediaeval Europe to join your order in the Holy Land. Armed with your sword, axe, bow and shield, you must fight with all your strength to complete your journey, for saving the future of the world is your ultimate goal! The core of the game is medieval style fighting with the classical weapons of European knights, coupled with stunning graphics of the historical milieus of the 12th century crusades. Knights of the Temple is being developed under contract with TDK Mediactive's sister company, TDK Recording Media Europe S.A., by O3 Games / Starbreeze, Sweden and is scheduled for a European release in Q1, 2004 for PlayStation 2, GameCube, Xbox and PC. North American publishing plans have not yet been announced.

    Friday, May 2, 2003

    IndyCar Series Goes Gold
    Steve @ 1:24 PM EDT
    New York – May 2, 2003 –Codemasters has confirmed that IndyCar Series, the official video game of the U.S. open-wheel Indy Racing League, has gone gold. The title will ship to retail outlets nationwide for the PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system on May 20 – prior to the Indianapolis 500 (Indy 500), the largest attended one-day sporting event in the world. Dedicated versions for the Xbox video game system from Microsoft and PC-CD ROM to follow shortly.

    “We’re excited to release our IndyCar Series game in time for the world famous Indy 500,” said Steve Lux, Codemasters’ senior vice president of marketing in the U.S. “Now racing fans and gamers alike will be able to recreate the adrenaline-pumping experience of the ‘Greatest Spectacle in Racing,’ without ever leaving their living room.”

    Indy Car Series events are broadcast to over 313 million homes across 66 countries. With speeds exceeding 220 mph, the IndyCar Series video game captures the exhilarating, ultra-close racing as experienced only by the professional drivers of the Indy Racing League. Set to be the most exciting and entertaining open-wheel racing game ever designed, IndyCar Series is the only game that features the official cars, tracks, teams and drivers, all in U.S. TV-style presentation.

    “The Indy Racing League is thrilled that Codemasters has been able to create a game that accurately depicts the speed, intensity and excitement of open-wheel racing,” said Nicole Polsky, director of licensing for the IRL. “Since IndyCar Series will be available before the Indy 500 takes place, racing fans will be able to get their first taste of the Indy 500 before it even happens.”

    The game will deliver the entire Indy Racing season, including "The Greatest Spectacle in Racing," the Indy 500. Players will experience lightning-paced action, authentic and intuitive handling, spectacular collisions and a dynamically adjusted level of difficulty to keep the challenges on the circuits coming heavy and fast. Players will continuously have to overtake other vehicles on the track by using drafting techniques, defend their position, maximize grip in the groove and switch fuel settings to capitalize on speed or economy.

    For additional game information, check out the game’s dedicated web site at: http://www.codemasters.com/indyracingleague

    "Halo: The Flood" Book on Weekly Bestseller Chart
    Steve @ 1:22 PM EDT
    Microsoft Game Studios today announced that "Halo: The Flood," a Del Rey novel written by veteran sci-fi writer William C. Dietz based on the critically acclaimed best-selling 'Halo" videogame for Xbox, appears on Publishers Weekly's Bestseller list in the Mass Market Paper category for the week of April 28, 2003. The Publishers Weekly list is compiled using data received from independent and chain bookstores, and can be found at: http://publishersweekly.reviewsnews.com/index.asp?layout=bestsellersList&iMarketID=6&listDate=04/28/2003&publication=publishersweekly

    "Halo: The Flood" is the follow-up to last year's blockbuster bestseller "Halo: The Fall of Reach" and tells the story of the last remaining human cruiser that escaped the fortress world of Reach just as it was destroyed. Having to make a crash landing on Halo, Captain Keyes, a crew of a few hundred marines, and the Master Chief, the last remaining SPARTAN super-soldier, attempt to uncover the secrets of this mysterious ringworld. The book covers the events from the smash-hit Xbox game "Halo," but also fills in many of the details about events that were happening off-screen while players, as the Master Chief, were busy taking care of other matters.

    "Halo: The Flood" marks the fourth book in the Del Rey line of books based on hit Xbox games, which also includes "Halo: The Fall of Reach," "Brute Force Betrayals" and "Crimson Skies."

    William C. Dietz is the author of more than twenty science fiction novels. He grew up in the Seattle area, spent time with the Navy and Marine Corps as a medic, graduated from the University of Washington, lived in Africa for half a year, and has traveled to six continents. Dietz has been employed as a surgical technician, college instructor, news writer, and television producer, and currently serves as Director of Pubic Relations and Marketing for an international telephone company. His novels include "Legion of the Damned", "Deathday," and his most recent hardcover, "Earthrise." He and his wife live in the Seattle area, where they enjoy traveling, boating, snorkeling, and, not too surprisingly, reading books.

    Eidos Interactive Shows E3 Lineup
    Steve @ 1:11 PM EDT
    San Francisco, CA (May 1, 2003) –Eidos Interactive, one of the world’s leading publishers and developers of entertainment software, today announced its groundbreaking console and PC game line-up for the upcoming 2003 Electronics Entertainment Expo held May 14-16 in Los Angeles, California. Eidos will feature several games in South Hall booth #824 this year including Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Angel of Darkness for the PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system and PC; Backyard Wrestling: Don’t Try This at Home for the PlayStation®2 and Xbox® video game system from Microsoft; Deus Ex: Invisible War for Xbox and PC; Commandos 3: Destination Berlin for the PC; and Republic: The Revolution for the PC.

    In addition, Eidos will debut several new titles at the show including Ion Storm’s Thief for Xbox and PC; Crystal Dynamics’ Legacy of Kain: Defiance and Chain Gang; and Climax’s Italian Job, based on the upcoming film release from Paramount Pictures on May 30, 2003.

    “Eidos’ partnerships with companies such as Paramount, Sony, and Microsoft are testament to the company’s capacity to create strong content that has mass appeal across multiple entertainment mediums,” said Rob Dyer, president of Eidos Interactive, US. “Eidos' fully loaded 2003 E3 lineup is an impressive combination of both groundbreaking content and industry-leading technology.”

    At E3 2003, Eidos reinforces its dedication to developing platform-leading, content-rich brands. Among the games highlighted during the show are:

    Backyard Wrestling: Don’t Try This At Home (PS2, Xbox) – Backyard Wrestling: Don’t Try This At Home breaks gamers free from the stale wrestling genre, and puts them into a groundbreaking new world of open-ended gameplay. Punish opponents in highly interactive sprawling environments implementing instruments of pain, including thumbtacks, barbed wire, light bulbs, stop signs, baseball bats, tables, fire and the environment itself. Prepare to endure inhuman amounts of pain, take incredible risks, and leap from breathtaking heights to squash opponents and be crowned “The King Of Hardcore.” Developed by Paradox Development.

    Chain Gang (PS2, Xbox) – Eidos’ Chain Gang unleashes total animal anarchy! Shackled and forced to work together, Spanx and Redmond are fugitives on the run from an unscrupulous product-testing lab before they undergo one more demented animal experiment. Playing Spanx, gamers will use the disgruntled Redmond as their tool and weapon not to only escape, but also to free other enslaved animals and sabotage the evil corporation. Providing an innovative approach to the character-based action genre, Chain Gang combines a unique “chain” gameplay mechanic with in-depth enemy and environment interaction, rich combat and slapstick humor. The result? Player choice triggers an unscripted chain of chaotic, humorous events. Developed by Crystal Dynamics.

    Commandos 3: Destination Berlin (PC) – Developed by Pyro, the development studio that created the Commandos series, Commandos 3: Destination Berlin is a game of real-time tactics that places gamers in command of an elite unit of Special Forces behind enemy lines during WWII. From the shores of France to the heart of the Third Reich, gamers can strike fast from land or sea with a small squad of guerrilla fighters, infiltrating hostile territories and conducting raids to disrupt the German war machine. For the first time in the Commandos series, gamers can engage in multiplayer combat with up to eight other players via LAN and the Internet.

    Deus Ex: Invisible War (Xbox, PC) – Invisible War is the sequel to Ion Storm’s award-winning Deus Ex. This first person thriller with intense shooter and stealth gameplay elements begins 15 years following the events depicted in the original game. Playing anti-terrorist agent Alex D., gamers take advantage of the most advanced go-anywhere-do-anything freedom to fight numerous militant factions bent on violently reshaping the world to suit their own agendas. Equipped with high-tech gadgetry and bio-mods that can induce superhuman powers, travel the globe chasing the conspirators, those out to get you and truth behind your own origins.

    The Italian Job® (PS2, Xbox, GameCube) – Based on this summer’s blockbuster movie, The Italian Job® puts you in the driver seat as you and your band of thieves pull off the ultimate heist. This high-octane arcade racer will get your adrenaline pumping as you attempt a frantic getaway with your souped-up MINI Cooper fully loaded with stolen gold. Gamers tear through subway stations, rip apart golf courses and plow through storm drains with the cops hot on their tail. Developed by Climax.

    Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Angel of Darkness (PS2, PC) - The gaming world’s most famous heroine, Lara Croft, like you’ve never seen her, in a Tomb Raider like you’ve never experienced. Lara returns as both hunter and hunted relying on her ingenuity, athleticism and a new edge to her personality. The game also introduces a new playable character, Kurtis Trent, who works alongside Lara to help clear her name and clean up a most desperate situation. Players must traverse an intricately detailed world, taking them from the back streets of Paris to the depths of Prague. The Angel of Darkness employs a brand new engine built from the ground up to fully utilize the power of PlayStation 2 and the latest PC graphics cards. Developed by Core Design.

    Legacy of Kain: Defiance (PS2, Xbox) - This game is the next chapter in the epic Legacy of Kain series. Legacy of Kain: Defiance is an action adventure game featuring more action and intense combat then ever before, including thrilling combo moves and telekinetic powers that manipulate the environment and enemies. Gamers take control of two powerful and highly evolved vampires: Kain, an all-powerful demigod, and Raziel, a demonic angel of death. Each character is equipped with a legendary sword, and the two must battle through a world loaded with conflict and intrigue as they attempt to unravel their destinies and defeat the dark forces that seek to condemn their world to eternal damnation. Developed by Crystal Dynamics.

    Republic: The Revolution (PC) – Described as “one of the most ambitious games ever conceived” by games industry bible Edge magazine, Republic places gamers in the role of a faction leader intent on becoming the President… by fair means or foul. Starting with a single loyal supporter, a tiny secret HQ and a very small base of local support, you must build up a nationwide party powerful enough to oust the President and rule the Republic of Novistrana. Developed by Elixir Studios.

    Thief (Xbox, PC) – In this next chapter of the Thief series, gamers once again take on the role of the master thief Garrett. The stealthy character is rarely seen, never caught, a master of the ambush and capable of breaking into the most ingeniously secured places. Garrett steals from the wealthy and gives to himself, making his living in the dark and foreboding City. Although Garrett would prefer to be left alone to ply his trade, the prophecies of an impending Dark Age dictate a different plan for the thief. Thief pioneered the concept of stealth action on the PC, and gives gamers the opportunity to truly play a thief. Take advantage of Ion Storm’s groundbreaking dynamic lighting and shadow systems – every character and object, including Garrett, cast realistic, movable shadows that effect stealth gameplay.

    Thursday, May 1, 2003

    Voodoo Vince Coming from Microsoft Game Studios
    Steve @ 3:36 PM EDT
    Go ahead and dive under the falling safe, jump into the high-speed blender and flail into the blazing fire -- the man of burlap can handle it! Microsoft Game Studios announced today that "Voodoo Vince" for Xbox® will careen onto the scene this fall. “Voodoo Vince” allows players to explore and fight as a tattered but unrelenting voodoo doll as he explores the depths of the Louisiana Bayou full of outrageous levels and over-the-top characters. "Voodoo Vince" is the only game where kicking your own butt leads to victory!

    Unlike other games, players must seek out danger to keep enemies at bay. Vince can poke himself with pins, bonk himself in the head with a mallet, or seek out a blazing fire to inflict pain on monsters and villains -- all without Vince even batting an eye. The fantastic French Quarter, crawfish-laden swamps, a funky jazz alley and a network of boggy sewers offer up a host of adventures for the burlap-covered hero. No bayou would be complete without its host of surly characters. "Voodoo Vince" will encounter everything from GingerDead Men who are less than sugar-coated to a pair of intoxicated gas pumps that offer up a fiery challenge.

    "Voodoo Vince” offers unbelievably wacky fun for gamers of all ages, taking them on a light and humorous adventure through an exaggerated re-creation of New Orleans. The game offers colossal non-stop action, allowing players to pilot toy airplanes, saddle up on a bucking wild rat, enjoy a high speed ride on a bayou fan boat and navigate a submariner shrimp. Developed by Beep Industries, "Voodoo Vince" will arrive on Xbox this fall.

    Kemco Announces Lobo
    Steve @ 3:32 PM EDT
    Bellevue, Wash. – May 01, 2003 – Bringing the dark and sinister Lobo comic book universe to the video game world, Kemco U.S.A. announced today its plans for a third-person adventure-shooter based on the popular franchise from DC Comics. Slated for the PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system and the Xbox video game system from Microsoft, Lobo pushes entertainment to the edge in this outrageous combat game.

    “From the attitude and environment to the sheer adrenaline rush of combat, Lobo delivers the most intense of gameplay experiences,” said Glenn Halseth, Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Kemco. “Lobo is truly avant-garde in nature and content, and we are sure he’s going to make his presence known to hardcore console gamers.”

    "There are clean-cut super heroes...and then there's Lobo -- an over-the-top and outrageous iconoclast," states John Nee, Vice President-Business Development for DC Comics. "Lobo's long been breaking the rules of traditional comic books, now he can break the rules of the video game world."

    The inter-gallactic bounty hunter Lobo is flat broke and angry! So, he sets out to boost his morale and earn money by eliminating the ten biggest bounties on the world’s most wanted list. Starting from the bottom and working toward the top, Lobo wages attacks on middlemen and deviants, bartering for weapons and learning the locations of his most sought after targets. The game features ten unique and progressively challenging environments for each target and respective henchmen, with surprise bounties unlocked throughout play.

    With an intricate design, Lobo’s over-the-top combat provides a host of extreme action thrills and in-game options. Players can utilize a number of weapons, including knives, chains, guns, grenades, rockets or Lobo’s favorite, the hook and chain. He is capable of morphing into several characters to elude enemies, such as a ghost, skeleton, bizarre animals and other mutant creatures. Lobo also travels well, be it on foot, aboard his signature space hog motorcycle or alongside Space Dolphins.

    Lobo’s detailed environments adapt throughout each level of play, adding to the close engagement adventure and hand-to-hand battles. Evidence of combat is everywhere as fires blacken walls and destroy objects, explosives leave craters and bullets and shells pockmark walls. The game’s soundtrack of explosive guitar riffs and heavy metal thrash add to the game’s emphasis of dark, sarcastic and take-no-prisoners humor.

    Lobo is slated for a 2004 release and suggested retail price of $49.99.

    Burnout 2: Point of Impact - Developer's Cut Ships
    Steve @ 3:25 PM EDT
    GLEN COVE, NY, May 1, 2003 - Building on the success of its award-winning arcade racing video game, Acclaim Entertainment, Inc., today shipped Burnout 2: Point of Impact - Developer's Cut(tm) exclusively for the Xbox* video game system from Microsoft. Featuring exclusive content and bonus features, Burnout 2: Point of Impact - Developer's Cut(tm) includes 21 additional custom car skins, 15 additional crash junctions, a customizable soundtrack option, true 5.1 Dolby Digital surround sound support and an online worldwide leaderboard functionality via Xbox* Live.

    "Xbox owners have been looking forward to the release of Burnout 2: Point of Impact and we're thrilled to bring them this award-winning racing experience," said David Knies, Brand Director for Acclaim. "The Developer's Cut has the deepest set of features to date and will provide hours of unparalleled racing fun and crashes."

    "We've crammed this version full of exclusive extra features and really concentrated on ensuring that Xbox gamers get a version that plays to the strengths of their machine," said Alex Ward, Creative Manager, Criterion Games. "We're confident in being able to provide Xbox gamers the fastest and most exhilarating racing experience available on the console."

    Burnout 2: Point of Impact is infused with a wealth of new features and improvements, including:

  • Offensive Driving 101, where players can "Learn to Burn" from the Burnout Driving School;
  • All-new Pursuit races allow players to race a police car and ram opponents off the road;
  • Developer's Cut includes 15 more crash junctions than previously released versions;
  • Crashes are bigger, badder, and more heart-stopping than any seen before: vehicles deform and car parts fly across the highway;
  • New Custom Series Mode lets players raced tuned-up vehicles with body kits and decals;
  • 21 new custom car skins (Developer's Cut Exclusive);
  • Progressive scan (480p) support;
  • Realtime 5.1 Dolby Digital audio (Developer's Cut Exclusive);
  • Ability to customise your very own soundtrack (Developer's Cut Exclusive);
  • Online worldwide leaderboard via Xbox Live (Developer's Cut Exclusive);
  • Six new US-themed locations, including Miami, Los Angeles, The Rocky Mountains, New Mexico and a busy international airport;
  • Thirty new stages to drive with fourteen all-new vehicles;
  • Seven secret vehicles to unlock including police cars, 1950's hotrods and stock cars;
  • Realistic weather effects, such as snow, rain and fog;
  • All-new points-based championship gameplay structure;
  • Vehicles can get air and earn boosts by jumping;
  • Intelligent traffic system, featuring three distinct types of driver behaviors;
  • Increased polygon count on all vehicles, featuring more visual detail.