NewsPro Archive

October 2004

Friday, October 29, 2004

A Message from Blinx
Steve @ 4:20 PM EDT
Hi folks,

It’s me again, Blinx – I’m here to remind you that it is once again time to turn back your clocks – which – I’m sure you know – just happens to be my specialty!

That’s right, at 2:00 AM on Sunday, October 31, it will be your turn to go back in time – by REWINDing your clocks by one hour. It’s just like in the upcoming “Blinx 2: Masters of Time & Space,” where you can REWIND time in order to help get past those pesky pigs, and let me tell you, an extra hour can go a long way! I love this time of year!

- Blinx

P.S. If you get a note from one of the pigs saying you have to re-arrange your room because it’s Space Control day, don’t believe them!

Microsoft Game Studios’ “Blinx 2: Masters of Time & Space” is the anticipated sequel to the highly acclaimed “Blinx: The Time Sweeper.” “Blinx 2: Masters of Time & Space” continues the adventures of Blinx, a heroic cat with the ability to make time slow, fast forward, rewind, or altogether stop. In this sequel, Blinx and his squad of tough, agile cats use their time control powers to battle menacing time monsters, outmaneuver the criminal pig gang, and discover why time is disappearing. Players also step into the shoes of the cats’ rivals – the sneaky pigs – who are equipped with the ability to morph and control space. These crooks tackle various challenges using their stealth skills, powerful weapons, and mastery of the space continuum.

For more information, visit http://www.xbox.com/en-us/blinx2/default.htm

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

The Making of Halo 2 on MTV
Steve @ 5:40 PM EDT
New York, NY – October 27, 2004 – MTV: Music Television today announced that “Making the Video Game: Halo 2” will premiere on MTV on Friday, November 5th at 11:00pm ET/PT, and MTV2 on Saturday, November 6th at 9:00pm ET. The special will give viewers an unprecedented inside look at the most anticipated video game of 2004. “Making the Video Game: Halo 2” will go behind the scenes to discover the secrets, the storylines, and the graphics that will keep every last obsessive Halo fan glued to their TV. The special will also include interviews with the game developers, celebrity Halo fans, and the bands involved in the new soundtrack including Incubus and Hoobastank. Both the game and soundtrack hit stores on November 9th.

“The MTV audience is the gaming audience,” said John Shea, EVP, Sponsorship Development and Integrated Marketing, MTV, VH1, and CMT. “Halo 2 is destined to be one of the biggest video games of the season and we’re excited to give fans a behind the scenes look.”

Halo 2 is the follow-up to the massively popular original Halo: Combat Evolved video game originally released in 2001. Halo: Combat Evolved, from Bungie Studios, took the gaming world by storm and was instantly recognized as one of the greatest video games ever created. Halo took video gaming to a new level of interactive entertainment and changed the way people thought about how video games could deliver an engaging experience. With over 5 million copies sold worldwide and a mantle-full of gaming awards since its launch, Halo remains one of the top-selling Xbox games on the market.

In Halo 2 the saga continues as Master Chief, a cybernetically enhanced super-soldier, is the only thing standing between the relentless Covenant and the destruction of all mankind. Halo 2 will expand on everything that made the original game so great. At its heart a compelling and captivating story, Halo 2 makes revolutionary advances in design and technology to deliver perhaps the greatest game ever made.

OutRun2 Available Now
Steve @ 4:03 PM EDT
Microsoft today announced that Outrun™2 for Xbox® is available now at North American retail stores for $39.99 (U.S.). Drivers are encouraged to grab their copies and to get set for the unbridled speed and nostalgic fun of the true arcade racer.

OutRun2 is the sequel to the famous game that made its first appearance in arcades across the world 17 years ago. With gameplay reminiscent of the steadfast driving game, remixes of the original soundtracks and exclusive Xbox Live™- head to head gameplay, OutRun2 stays true to its predecessor while kicking it up a notch. Developed by AM2/SEGA®, OutRun2 puts gamers into the Italian leather driver's seat of eight different Ferraris, from the traditional Testerossa to the highly coveted Ferrari Enzo. Players can speed through several tracks set against spectacular environments inspired by some of the most beautiful locations around the world. Whether players are power-drifting around the desert pyramids and medieval castles or accelerating over high mountains tops, OutRun2's distinctive and addictive gameplay will appease any racing fan. Gamers of all ages will find the pick-up-and-play controls make the game accessible and fun for everyone, while several of the game's missions still provide plenty of challenges for more experienced players. Players can also take on up to seven of their buddies over Xbox Live in head-to-head multiplayer challenges in an all-out finish to the end of the course. OutRun2's Xbox Live features also allow players to compare their times with other drivers on the leader scoreboard or to download the best runs and ghost race against them to improve their skills. For more information about OutRun2, please visit http://www.xbox.com/outrun2

Backyard Wrestling 2 Ship Date Set
Steve @ 2:03 PM EDT
This week Eidos gave us word on Backyard Wrestling 2's ship date:

Backyard Wrestling 2: There Goes the Neighborhood will now officially ship on November 16th 2004 across North America for PS2 & Xbox.

New BYW2 Trailer

The ultra-hot band Hoobastank lays the sounds for this latest and
greatest BYW2 trailer. This new official trailer is all about inflicting pain, and the methods you will utilize to do it.

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

Backyard Wrestling Radio

The revolutionary BYW radio returns with round 3 of offerings from the musical meltdown of BYW2! This round we offer up 10 more a$$-kicking tracks from the official soundtrack, all available for your listening pleasure. Check the list below to see who's playing right now. The sound of Backyard Wrestling is just a click away.

"F--- The World" artist "Insane Clown Posse"
"You And I" artist "Murs"
"We Gives No F---" artist "Insane Clown Posse"
"Punched In The Nose For Sticking My Face In Other People's Business" artist "Boys Night Out"
"Laid to Rest" artist "Lamb of God"
"New Direction" artist "Gorilla Biscuits"
"Not Falling" artist "Mudvayne"
"On The Brink" artist "Sick of it All"
"On the other End" artist "Twiztid"
"Path To Prevail" artist "Blood Simple"

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks Announced
Steve @ 1:50 PM EDT
CHICAGO – October 26, 2004 – Midway Games Inc., a leading software industry publisher and developer, announced today that its most recognized and successful franchise, Mortal Kombat will be extended to the action/adventure genre with the release of Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks. Slated for release in Fall 2005, Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks is currently in development for the PlayStation ® 2 computer entertainment system and the Xbox ® video game system from Microsoft.

“Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks is an Action/Adventure title that will help to expand the already wildly popular Mortal Kombat universe well beyond the fighting genre,” said David F. Zucker, president and chief executive officer. “Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks is also our first step toward delivering something that Mortal Kombat fans have been calling for: a new game set in the Mortal Kombat universe every year. We are planning our Mortal Kombat release schedule with the expectation that we will deliver a new Mortal Kombat title annually.”

Mortal Kombat : Shaolin Monks is an Action/Adventure title driven by both intense single and multi-player action. Similar to the recently released Mortal Kombat: Deception, background interactions (i.e., acid pits, living trees, spiked ceilings, etc.), multiple new fatalities, and action-based puzzles will also play an important role in the player’s quest for an “outstanding” victory. Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks will feature an impressive line-up of Mortal Kombat characters, as well, that make frequent appearances as enemies, in boss battles and during several additional in-game interactions.

“For the first time ever, Mortal Kombat fanatics will get to explore all the mythos and rumors of the Mortal Kombat universe from an entirely new perspective. Action/Adventure fans will be blown away by the intuitive kombat system, puzzle solving and epic storyline that can be experienced in either the single player mode or through co-op play,” said Mortal Kombat creator, Ed Boon.

Friday, October 22, 2004

A Message From Conker
Steve @ 10:48 PM EDT
Hi. It's me - Conker. No, really, it's me. None of those lazy sleazebags on the team that's making my game would agree to write this thing, so I'm stuck doing it myself. Unbelievable in this day and age when there's, like, 600 people or something per team - and they've even got the nerve to say they're all "too busy". Yes, they've only got a few months left to get absolutely everything in the game finished, but that's not the point. You don't mess with your star like this. There'll be some heads rolling when the game goes through certification next year, I don't mind telling you.

Let's see then, might as well get it over with. Little bit of history first. As many of you may not know, because half of you probably weren't even born till the mid-1990s plus it's something I don't really talk about these days, yours truly made his first appearance in Diddy Kong Racing on the N64 way back in 1997. Things were different back then, you know, I was different - it goes without saying that you wouldn't catch me hanging out with any of those freaks these days. Last I heard at least one of 'em was in jail, anyway. Still, the game did pretty well, and a couple of years later I got my own little Game Boy Color spin-off in Conker's Pocket Tales... again, lots of super-happy stuff about collecting presents and all that, but like I said, I was young and it seemed like a good idea at the time. Sue me. I got a Ferrari out of it, who's complaining?

Anyway, the first appearance for the real me, the one all the important people know and love, came in 2001 with Conker's Bad Fur Day, one of the N64's last titles and - to hell with modesty - one of the best. I really did the business in that one. Shame about the ending. I told them, people won't like all that gloomy existential rubbish, you should just have me driving off into the sunset with a massive bag of cash and a car full of women. But did they listen? Ha! Their loss. (Though now I come to think of it, one of the game ideas they started playing about with after BFD was suspiciously similar... sheesh, if they didn't want to work with me any more, they could have just said.)

But on the whole, you know, the game was good enough to deserve a bigger audience than it got at the time. It brought in some fantastic press and public feedback, but there just weren't enough people left playing N64s (who wanted a Mature-rated platformer full of swearing, violence and giant monsters made of feces) by the time my Bad Fur Day actually happened. So here we go again on the Xbox, looking a lot more swanky - they've finally got the fur right this time, for a start - and with a whole new Live multiplayer section bolted on. Well, I say 'bolted on', if you listen to the team then the multiplayer stuff is at least equal to and probably more important than the revamped Bad Fur Day section, but they're obviously exaggerating. And I'm not just saying that because I don't really play much of a part in the multiplayer stuff. No, that's fine by me - it's not really my scene anyway. From my own experiences with online 'contacts' I can tell you they're never what you expect them to be. It's a sinister world out there, especially that sicko who claimed to be one of LA's highest-paid pole dancers but turned out to be a middle-aged - and he had a big - no, I don't even want to remember that.

Anyway. The game that would become Conker: Live & Reloaded eventually got off the ground in 2002. It almost didn't happen: after finishing Bad Fur Day, members of the team either moved onto other projects or started tinkering with ideas for new games, and when those ideas didn't make it into full development, they ended up drifting back to me for support like I always knew they would. I'm like an emotional crutch for them. It's kind of sad. Core members of the BFD team had already been spending some time redoing assets for "another bite at the apple", as they say, and this graduated into a full-blown next-gen outing for yours truly round about the same time that the MS acquisition was finalized.

It wasn't a coincidence, as the Xbox had two features that made it a far more inviting system on which to relaunch the franchise, it says here: the all-important older demographic, and some hardcore multiplayer support to let my fans get online and shoot some of those Californian perverts in the head. Unlike some of Rare's other games that have ended up or will yet end up on the Xbox, this one was destined for the system from day one, so the online side of things was always going to be a major factor.

Basically Live & Reloaded is, and always has been, two games in one box. You've got the Live multiplayer stuff, and the Reloaded version of Bad Fur Day with all those little audiovisual creases ironed out. Actually they're a lot more than ironed out, as the whole fundamental look and sound of the thing has been redone from scratch. It's all I deserve, tell me about it, but you've still got to give the development monkeys credit - especially as the original plan was a straight, untouched port, warts 'n' all. As they started putting together the new multiplayer campaigns, it was pretty obvious to any old idiot that the N64 look of the single-player stuff just wasn't going to cut it in this generation, so in the end they just had to bite the bullet and get revamping.

Despite all the extra work, though, it wasn't till early 2004 that the team got up to full size and speed, and it's still growing even now in the final months of development. And this year's been a bit of a balancing act as they've tried to keep a balance between the single-player and multiplayer, but that's another story for another diary, because right now I've had enough of doing the monkeys' work for them - time to shut this PC down until next time, find me a beer and maybe see if any of those cleaning ladies are feeling frisky today... they're not quite Jugga, but sometimes you've got to take what you can get, you know?

Lemony Snicket's: ASOUE New Screens
Steve @ 9:29 PM EDT
In Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events, fans follow the Baudelaire orphans as their luck goes from awfully bad to incredibly worse. Based on the popular book series and the upcoming movie starring Jim Carrey, this treacherous tale allows players to experience the eccentric adventures of Violet, Klaus and Sunny Baudelaire. Gameplay combines the unique talents of all three orphans to keep them one step ahead of their distant uncle, the evil Count Olaf, who’ll stop at nothing to get his greedy hands on their family fortune.

KEY FEATURES:

· Be The Baudelaires—The player can switch between the three Baudelaire orphans throughout the game, playing as Violet the inventor, Klaus the brave intellect, or as Sunny, the biting baby. Some missions are designed to take advantage of a specific character’s abilities.

· Invent To Prevail—The orphans will gather objects throughout the adventure to build ingenious inventions for solving tricky puzzles or for fending off Olaf’s creepy cohorts – a word which here means people who are dreadful enough to consider Count Olaf a friend. Inventions include the Brilliant Bopper to clear enemies from your path, the Steady Stilts to maneuver through toxic goop and the Baby Booster for jet-powered jumping.

· Vanquish The Villains—Defeat Count Olaf and his wicked henchmen who assume many disguises in their never-ending pursuit of the Baudelaire orphans and their family fortune.

· Experience The Adventures—Players will engage in over 16 different missions based on the adventures from the movie and the first three books; exploring Count Olaf’s mysterious mansion, navigating Uncle Monty’s intricate hedge maze and racing from Aunt Josephine’s rickety house before it plummets into Lake Lachrymose.

Lemony Snicket's Screens

Medal of Honor: Dogs of War Announced by EA
Steve @ 2:52 PM EDT
Electronic Arts is proud to announce Medal of Honor: Dogs of War. Slated for release in the Spring of 2005, Dogs of War is the latest game from EA's acclaimed Medal of Honor franchise which has been credited with pioneering the First Person Shooter WWII genre when it debuted in 1999. Building on the hallmarks of the franchise, Dogs of War, advances on the series by introducing players to a new way of playing, while still delivering a unflinching picture of warfare and its gut-wrenching brutality. Developed by EA Los Angeles (EALA), the new title will be released under the EA GAMES(TM) brand for the Sony PlayStation(R)2 computer entertainment system, the Nintendo GameCube(TM) and the Xbox(TM) video game system from Microsoft.

Europe 1942. These are desperate hours for the Allied forces as the Nazi war machine rages across a devastated European landscape. With the British on the brink, Lt. William Holt of the OSS is sent on a secret mission by order of the President of the United States. On his own, or with his squad, Holt is pivotal in helping to turn the tide in four of the most crucial battles leading to victory in Europe.

As with the original Medal of Honor(TM), producers sought counsel from numerous expert sources to make certain the game is historically accurate and as realistic as possible. The EALA development team continues to work closely with the Congressional Medal of Honor Society to ensure that Medal of Honor: Dogs of War reflects the ideals and integrity of the prestigious Medal of Honor. In addition, Capt. Dale Dye, who served as Military Technical Advisor on the previous titles in the Medal of Honor franchise, continues his efforts with the Medal of Honor: Dogs of War team to ensure the authenticity of the experience.

Fable Continues to Break Records
Steve @ 2:44 PM EDT
Microsoft Game Studios today announced that Fable, the ground-breaking Xbox® roleplaying adventure game developed by Lionhead Studios, had an incredible launch month at retail stores in North America. Fable was the best-selling console title across all platforms in September, more than doubling the sales of the second best-selling title across the U.S. After its record-setting first week in which the game sold more than 375,000 units in North America, Fable has continued to demonstrate huge success with the best launch month ever for any Xbox game in U.S. According to The NPD Group, Fable sold more than 600,000 units in its first month at retail in the U.S. -- squashing all previous Xbox games' first-month sales records.

In Fable, the players’ every action determines their character's skills, appearances and moralities. Character's life stories are created from childhood through adulthood and on to old age. They can grow from an inexperienced child into the most powerful being in the world, spoken of by all and immortalized in legend. Players may choose the paths of righteousness or dedicate their characters' lives to evil; observing as they transform into reflections of their actions and decisions. Age leaves characters wizened, battle leaves them scarred, gluttony affects obesity. With experiences come advancement and physical change; whether it is by expanding muscles, a keen eye and nimble form or the buzz of magical energies around their finger tips. As players' characters develop, the world reacts to them and their actions. People comment on their successes, failures, appearances and behaviors. Their many opinions are expressed through applause, mockery, trepidation, panic and even flirtation. With each person characters aid and every creature they slay, the world is changed forever. In Fable, gamers decide: “Who will I be?” For more information about Fable, visit the official site at http://www.xbox.com/en-US/fable/default.htm. Fable is available in North America for an estimated retail price of $49.99 (U.S.).

ESPN College Hoops 2K5 New Gameplay Features
Steve @ 2:40 PM EDT
SAN RAFAEL, CA-(October 21, 2004)- ESPN Videogames today announced that ESPN College Hoops 2K5 will include many new gameplay features, including an all-new passing system, Pass-N-Go. The Pass-N-Go system authentically recreates the team-oriented play and explosive action of collegiate basketball.

The innovative Pass-N-Go passing system allows gamers to utilize two different passing techniques - regular directional passing and lead passing to beat their opponents to the net. These two passing mechanics give the user freedom to pass to the open man or make a riskier lead pass that leads a teammate to the basket. Both passing buttons also feature advanced controls where a gamer can perform a give-n-go pass or an alley-oop at great risk and even greater reward.

"Our Pass-N-Go system offers consumers a new dimension of realism in college basketball video games," stated Greg Thomas, president of Visual Concepts - makers of ESPN Videogames. "The concept is simple, but revolutionary. Gamers will be blown away by the enhanced maneuvers this feature allows. Furthermore, the amazing visuals, breakthrough gameplay, and authentic ESPN presentation, make ESPN College Hoops 2K5 the most complete college basketball video game on the market."

Free throws are an integral part of any basketball game, and ESPN College Hoops 2K5's new Free Throw System makes it simple and intuitive. Users simply hold the shot button and release it as the player releases the shot. Each player in ESPN College Hoops 2K5 has a different free throw animation and timing that can change depending on how tired the player is and how long the game has gone on. The new Free Throw System is elegantly simple, yet challenging to both rookies and veterans of the game.

Coming soon for both the Xbox(r) videogame system from Microsoft and PlayStation(r)2 computer entertainment system, ESPN College Hoops 2K5 promises sports fans unparalleled ESPN telecast-style presentation featuring the return of Jay Bilas and Mike Patrick giving all the play-by-play action. Enhanced audio in ESPN College Hoops 2K5 delivers the most accurate crowd noise, college chants and fight songs.

ESPN Videogames are produced by Visual Concepts, SEGA's sports studio.

For more information, log onto http://www.espnvideogames.com

X-Men Legends 2 Announced
Steve @ 2:38 PM EDT
Santa Monica, CA – October 21, 2004 – Based on strong consumer response to its action role playing game X-Men Legends, Activision, Inc. announced today that the company is developing a sequel based on the ever-popular Marvel franchise with Raven Software. The original game challenges players to master the attributes of their favorite X-Men by creating, customizing and controlling teams of four mutants as they embark on a quest to stop the extinction of mankind. The title is currently available worldwide for the PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system, Xbox® video game system from Microsoft and Nintendo GameCube™.

“For 40 years Marvel’s X-Men have captivated consumers worldwide and today the brand is stronger than ever,” said Ron Doornink, CEO of Activision Publishing. “X-Men Legends is already on track to be the best selling game in the franchise’s history.”

“We are thrilled with the critical and consumer response to X-Men Legends. Marvel and Activision are committed to ensuring that the X-Men Legends series will continue to be a top notch game franchise for years to come,” said Ames Kirshen, director of video game development at Marvel.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Outlaw Golf 2 Now Available
Steve @ 2:33 PM EDT
New York - October 20, 2004 - Global Star Software, a publishing label of Take-Two Interactive Software Inc. today announced that Outlaw Golf 2 is currently available in retail stores throughout
North America for the Xbox videogame system from Microsoft. The
PlayStation*2 computer entertainment system version will be available in November. Developed by Hypnotix, the outrageous and untamed world of Outlaw Golf returns for a second round with more than twice as many courses and characters, a brand-new driving range packed with mini-games, golf cart racing challenges, 4-player head-to-head online play via Xbox Live(tm) and the PlayStation 2 online adapter and much more.

"When releasing a sequel to a successful franchise, it is always
important to go above and beyond the call of duty," said Christoph Hartmann, Senior Vice President of Publishing for Global Star Software. "Outlaw Golf 2 does just that by tripling the amount of content, enhancing the already proven gameplay and offering the product at a consumer friendly price of $19.99."

The shameless bunch from the Outlaw series returns to the repressed
world of golf with their outrageously twisted antics. 11 over-the-top characters turn boring old golf into a rowdy and tasteless display of uninhibited fun - scantily clad babes, wannabe rappers and deviant thugs take to the course and give a whole new meaning to playing from the rough.

Features Include:

* 8 extreme courses in total, each with their own dynamic weather conditions. These include 3 newly designed courses returning from the original Outlaw Golf in addition to 5 brand new environments. From the arctic chill of Glacier Ridge to the steamy jungles of Aztec Acres, Outlaw Golf 2 has it all, even a full sized miniature golf course and driving range;

* By playing through the tour and winning events, a player can unlock clubs and balls to be used either during tour or exhibition play as well as win new revealing outfits to customize your character;

* 13 play styles to choose: from match and tournament play to time attack and baseball golf;

* Anyone and everyone can grab some balls and spin, hook and slice their way into the action online with Xbox Live, with up to for four friends simultaneously. In addition, Outlaw Golf 2 will feature online leader boards where players can upload their scores;

* Unique to the outlaw series is the Composure Response System. Composure affects the way the character plays golf. Low composure will cause the player to have trouble making good shots, while high composure will allow the player to make great shots with very little effort. Because of this, composure can greatly improve or reduce a player's chance to beat his opponents;

* Features a fighting system that lets you beat up your caddie to increase the Composure Response meter. No other Golf game packs this kind of punch!

* Includes a new cart driving system that lets your player perform tricks like donuts, jumps, and slides in your player's own unique vehicle as they race to earn a perfect shot;

* State-of-the-art Golf engine- Pioneering analogue swing technology now copied by many, originated and perfected by Outlaw Golf 2.

Outlaw Golf 2 is rated 'M' for Mature and is now available for the
Xbox videogame system from Microsoft at a suggested retail price of
$19.99. For more information on Outlaw Golf 2 please visit
http://www.globalstarsoftware.com

Men of Valor Ships
Steve @ 2:23 PM EDT
LOS ANGELES, CA - October 19, 2004 – Vivendi Universal Games and 2015 Inc. announced today that the Xbox® video game system from Microsoft version of their first-person action game Men of Valor has shipped to retail stores in the United States. The game will be released on the PC platform on October 26th. A Macintosh version of the game will ship later this year.

More information about Men of Valor can be found on the official website at http://www.menofvalorgame.com

Men of Valor is an historical action experience that portrays infantry combat during the Vietnam War. Combining the latest Unreal technology with the gameplay expertise of 2015 (developers of the award-winning Medal of Honor: Allied Assault), the game immerses the player in the humid jungles of Southeast Asia in the most controversial conflict of the modern era.

Men of Valor follows an African-American Marine through the early stages of the conflict in Vietnam to the Tet Offensive. Touching on the some of the most familiar scenes of the war as they exist in the popular imagination, the player guides his group of fellow soldiers through the hardship and confusion of the battlefield, bonding with them as they do their duty for their country with the heroism and valor typical of the American soldier, but unsung during the turbulent times.

Dead or Alive Ultimate Goes Gold
Steve @ 2:22 PM EDT
TORRANCE, Calif., October 18, 2004-Tecmo® proudly announced today that its new powerhouse online fighter, Dead or Alive® Ultimate™(DOAU) for the Xbox® video game system from Microsoft, has gone gold and is set to kick off into stores later this month. The latest installment in the million-selling Dead or Alive® fighting series will be packed with a punch as it boasts unbelievable new graphics, staggering new moves and combo attacks, new multi-tiered and fully interactive environments, brand-new unlockable costumes and secret characters, and an in-depth story line. True to its roots, the famous DOA girls will also be back in action and sexier than ever in the most scantily clad and outrageous outfits to date in the fighting series.

Topping that all off will be the revolutionary new online capabilities in the game made available through Xbox™ Live. With six different online modes to choose from including Winner-Stays, Tournament, Team Battle, Survival, Loser-Stays, and Kumite Battle, and all using the highly anticipated online feature, "Virtual Arcade", where 8 players are able to participate in a fighting session at one time, Dead or Alive Ultimate is the ultimate 3-D online fighting game this fall. Players from across the nation will be able to play each other using all six of these modes and experience smooth lag-free game play whether they are playing their friend down the street or across the country.

"Dead or Alive Ultimate will blow all other fighters out of the water this fall and we are very happy to announce that it has gone gold," John Inada, Tecmo's Director of Marketing, said. "DOAU will be the new benchmark for all other games to follow and its online capabilities through Xbox Live will not only change the future of fighting games but the future of all games."

Also available through Xbox Live will be a Dead or Alive World Wide Ranking Chart where the best of the best will be able to post their online scores and see where they rank against other players from around the world, earning bragging rights along the way. Those that master their DOA fighting skills will be represented as the best fighters on the planet through the online scoreboard.

Backyard Wrestling 2 Soundtrack Additions
Steve @ 2:17 PM EDT
San Francisco, CA (Oct.19, 2004) – Eidos, one of the world’s leading publishers and developers of entertainment software, today
announced additions to the genre-bending in-game soundtrack for Backyard Wrestling 2: There Goes The Neighborhood. The sequel to the extreme wrestling phenomenon Backyard Wrestling: Don’t Try This At Home, Backyard Wrestling 2: There Goes The Neighborhood offers a soundtrack featuring contributions from legendary artists, today’s hottest acts, and tomorrow’s industry leaders. These latest additions further diversify the sound of Backyard Wrestling’s already robust in-game soundtrack.

"With an already massive soundtrack for Backyard Wrestling 2: There
Goes The Neighborhood we had to think hard of how to truly round out the overall sound of the game,” says Kevin Gill, global brand manager / soundtrack supervisor at Eidos. “We have secured the best of the past, present and future of music for The BYW2: There Goes the Neighborhood soundtrack, raising the bar for implementing relevant music that hits home with gamers from any generation.”

The Backyard Wrestling 2: There Goes The Neighborhood soundtrack boasts a healthy selection of over 50 hard hitting tracks. The ample list balances the melodic, yet urgent "punky" sounds of today’s youth, a strong selection of modern music’s heaviest bands, and a healthy sampling of dynamic hip hop that thinks outside the box. Many legendary artists that have influenced much of the sound of today’s generation will make their FIRST EVER appearance on an in-game soundtrack. The following is the list of newly confirmed artists lending their talents to the official in-game soundtrack:

o Saliva - “Survival of the Sickest”
o Superjoint Ritual - “Dress Like a Target”
o Dropkick Murphy's - “Walk Away”
o Kittie - “Career Suicide”
o Lamb Of God - “Laid to Rest”
o Murs - “You and I”
o Illegal Substance - “Step to the Floor”
o Kool Keith - “Don’t Crush It (Hakan Lidbo Remix)”

Backyard Wrestling 2: There Goes The Neighborhood is currently in
development by Paradox Development and will be available for the
PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system & the Xbox® video game system from Microsoft in November of 2004 in North America.

Halo 2 Makes Entertainment History
Steve @ 2:09 PM EDT
REDMOND, Wash. - There hasn’t been this much anticipation for an otherworldly touchdown since Neil Armstrong first walked on the moon. With three weeks to go before the game hits store shelves, pre-orders for “Halo® 2” – the highly anticipated Xbox® exclusive from Microsoft Game Studios – have eclipsed the 1.5 million mark in the United States. With phenomenal record-breaking video game pre-orders, “Halo 2” is poised to generate more revenue in 24 hours than day one sales of any full feature movie in entertainment history, including “Spider-man 2,” “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban” and “Matrix: Reloaded.”

In the U.S., the anticipation builds to a fever pitch on Nov. 9 when thousands of shoppers line up to be among the first to get their hands on the action-packed thriller. The first copy of “Halo 2” will be distributed at a Midnight Madness event at the largest Toys “R” Us in the world located in Times Square, New York. Toys “R” Us Times Square will open its doors at 12 midnight on November 9, and deliver the first retail copy of the game to a lucky fan.

“The original ‘Halo’ is still a top ten title three years after it hit shelves, and the buzz for the sequel is off the charts,” said John Barbour, president, Toys “R” Us, U.S. “We can think of no more appropriate place to unveil ‘Halo 2’ than the site Xbox first launched–Toys “R” Us Times Square.”

More than 6,500 U.S. participating retailers*- including Gamestop, EB Games, Best Buy, Gamecrazy, Game Rush, Circuit City, Kmart Super Center stores and FYE, will open their doors at 12:01 a.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 9 to allow for sales of “Halo 2,” Xbox consoles and Xbox Live™ Starter Kits.

The global launch of “Halo 2” will also be marked by celebrations from November 9 through November 11 at more than 1,125 retail stores in cities around the world including London, Seoul, Toronto and Sydney. “Halo 2” will be translated into seven languages (Japanese, Korean, traditional Chinese, Spanish, French, German and Italian) and will be distributed in 27 countries.

“‘Halo 2’ is expected to be the biggest 24 hours for a video game title in retail history and is projected to bring in more revenue than any day one box office blockbuster movie in the United States,” said Peter Moore, corporate vice president of worldwide publishing and marketing for Xbox. “We call it the Halo 2 effect. We’ve even heard rumors of fan anticipation of the ‘Halo 2 flu’ on November 9.”

“Halo 2,” the follow up to the marquee Xbox title, “Halo: Combat Evolved,” was selected for the Toys “R” Us Joy List as one of the expected top sellers this holiday season. “Halo 2” utilizes Xbox Live to redefine online play, delivering superior online multiplayer capabilities, which allow gamers to engage with or against friends from around the world in an effort to save humankind.

Developed exclusively for Xbox by Bungie Studios, part of Microsoft Game Studios, the original “Halo” has sold more than 5 million copies worldwide and spawned a legion of powerful devotees who participate in competitions, tournaments and game nights.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Otogi 2: Immortal Warriors Ships
Steve @ 4:08 PM EDT
SAN FRANCISCO (October 19, 2004) SEGA of America, Inc. today announced the launch of Otogi 2: Immortal Warriors for the Xbox video game system from Microsoft. Called "the best Japanese-developed Xbox game to date" by Electronic Gaming Monthly, Otogi 2: Immortal Warriors features an unparalleled visual presentation and the addition of five new playable characters.

Like its predecessor, this new adventure is set in Japan and steeped in real-life folklore and mysticism. Raikoh, the famed undead warrior, managed to temporarily save the Japanese population from an onslaught of demons, but had not vanquished them all before returning to his grave. The demons have regrouped from hiding places within the sacred capital of Japan, and they are attempting to take control of man once more. In response, four brave warriors take their own lives in a ritual to resurrect Raikoh. Raikoh returns to life and the selfless warriors rise with him, set to take on the encroaching demon spawn as a team.

"SEGA is thrilled with the level of critical acclaim that Otogi 2: Immortal Warriors has already received; surpassing that of its predecessor." said Scott A. Steinberg, Vice President of Entertainment Marketing, SEGA of America, Inc. "Xbox owners will be blown away by the action-packed experience that includes lavish visuals that demonstrate the technical prowess of FromSoftware, a leading Xbox developer."

Progression through the game is based on the player's actions, allowing for several different endings. Each warrior offers a distinctly different gaming experience, and RPG-style skill buffers subtly build the character's attributes around a player's personal gaming style. Performing a lot of magic spells will make a character smarter, taking lots of damage will make a character stronger, etc. And regardless of which warrior one chooses to play as, mass destruction is always assured; nearly every background item in the game can be smashed or destroyed to spectacular effect.

Otogi 2: Immortal Warriors (Microsoft Xbox; priced at $39.95) is rated 'M' for mature and is available at retailers nationwide.

MX vs. ATV Unleashed Announced
Steve @ 2:44 AM EDT
CALABASAS HILLS, Calif.--Oct. 18, 2004--THQ(R) Inc. today announced that fans' anticipation of an all-encompassing off-road experience will become a reality in "MX vs. ATV Unleashed," coming to the PlayStation(R) 2 computer entertainment system and Xbox(R) video game system from Microsoft in February 2005. "MX vs. ATV Unleashed" will build on the overwhelming success of "MX Unleashed," combining Rainbow Studio's knowledge of all-terrain vehicles to create an off-road masterpiece that will redefine the action-racing genre.

"When you combine Rainbow Studio's dominance of ATV and motocross development, and apply their one-of-a-kind rhythm-racing physics engine, the result is an off-road racing experience with unmatched game-play," said Jack Sorensen, executive vice president of worldwide studios, THQ. "They have an unparalleled track record in action-racing development and have raised the bar once again."

"Our development team's first-hand riding experience and passion for off-road sports has set extremely high standards for every racing game we've built," said Scott Novis, vice president, Rainbow Studios. "'MX vs. ATV's' open class competition, varied racing events and new off-road vehicles are a tribute to the team's desire to continuously exceed their own expectations."

In "MX vs. ATV Unleashed," players will power through all-new environments and event types, choosing from a variety of new vehicles. A redesigned monster truck, powerful sand-rail and raised 4x4 golf karts will meet ATVs, dirt bikes and bi-planes to compete in massive free-world environments featuring hill climbs, machine challenges and short track races. The game's career mode will allow gamers to choose from the top professional ATV and Motocross riders.

THQ will continue its long-time support of off-road racing with its sponsorship of the THQ World Supercross GP in 2005.

Monday, October 18, 2004

Burnout 3 & Jimmy Eat World on Xbox Live
Steve @ 2:28 PM EDT
The worlds of high-octane racing and high-energy music collide as music sensation Jimmy Eat World will be challenging gamers in a new Xbox® Live™ "Game with Fame" event. Jimmy Eat World will take on all challengers on October 20, from noon until 2 p.m. PDT in Electronic Arts' high speed racing title, Burnout® 3: Takedown™. Gamers looking to pull off signature takedowns with the band should look for the Gamertag "jimmyeatworld" and head to the official "Game with Fame" site ( http://www.xbox.com/en-US/news/events/gamewithfame.htm ). To find out more information about Jimmy Eat World and the release of their new album "Futures" on October 19, please visit http://www.jimmyeatworld.net

Burnout 3: Takedown features more than 40 different tracks spanning three continents. Players can battle in over 70 cars and take down opponents across a broad range of conditions and environments, as well as experiencing 100 unique crash junctions. Burnout 3: Takedown features highly sophisticated crash technology that recreates high speed crashes with extreme detail and allows the player to use their car as a weapon and take out rivals, controlling the car even after crashing. Players can race online in seven different modes, featuring up to six participants, battling through full oncoming traffic. For more information, please visit http://www.eagames.com/official/burnout/burnout3/us/online/home.jsp

Friday, October 15, 2004

Prince of Persia: Warrior Within Website Launch
Steve @ 8:36 PM EDT
San Francisco, CA–October 15, 2004–Ubisoft kicks off the countdown to the release of Prince of Persia: Warrior Within™ with the launch of the game’s official website, http://www.princeofpersiagame.com

Fans of the award-winning Prince of Persia series can visit the website for the most up-to-date content, including the following features:

• Exclusive movies, downloadable demos, and the latest Prince of Persia: Warrior Within news.
• Previously unreleased screenshots and artwork of enemies, weapons and characters.
• A map illustrating combat styles and combinations of the free-form fighting system.
• An all-new blog section, including posts from Executive Producers and other insiders involved in the making of Prince of Persia: Warrior Within.
• A unique addition to the community website for “Swordsmen,” a membership based sub-community that offers fans the opportunity to win prizes through various tasks and challenges.

Prince of Persia: Warrior Within features the all new free-form fighting system that allows players to define their own fighting style as they combat and destroy enemies. Battling without boundaries, players will be able to manipulate their environment and enemies, using a lethal arsenal of weapons to create their own signature fighting style. Prince of Persia: Warrior Within promises to be an action-packed video game filled with treacherous landscapes, ferocious enemies and deadlier bosses with intense męlées lurking around every corner. It will unleash a new level of warrior mastery that can only be described as deadly artistry at its best.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Commandos Strike Force Announced - First Screens
Steve @ 3:42 PM EDT
San Francisco, CA (October 14th, 2004) Eidos plc, one of the world's leading publishers and developers of entertainment software, today announced the return of the legendary Commandos in the World War II first person shooter Commandos Strike Force. Developed by Pyro Studios, Commandos Strike Force will be released worldwide in spring 2005 on PlayStation 2, Xbox and PC.

In a new direction for the multi-million selling series, Commandos Strike Force takes you right into the heart of the action from a first person perspective. Take control of the three members of the Strike Force unit, each with their own play style. Switch between the Green Beret, always at the heart of the action with his expertise in combat and the use of heavy weaponry, the Sniper with his nerves of steel and expert marksmanship, and the Spy, stealthily striking at the heart of the enemy. However, it is up to you how you execute plans of attack by combining the Commandos unique skills.

Set in war torn Europe amid the backdrop of World War II, you must take your elite group of Commandos behind enemy lines on a series of linked missions through France, Russia and Norway. Destroying a Nazi ship, ambushing enemy troops, freeing French Resistance prisoners and kidnapping a general are a few of the large range of missions. As well as a compelling single player campaign, the game features a variety of original online multiplayer modes. In the most fearsome war ever fought emerged the most fearless soldiers.

Ignacio Perez, CEO of Pyro Studios says:
By combining the tactical approach of the previous Commandos games with the intense action of a fps, Commandos Strike Force will provide a more cerebral approach to the war game genre. Strike Force is our mostambitious project ever and we believe that this game will set a new benchmark for World War II videogames.

Mike McGarvey, CEO of Eidos says:
The Commandos series has established itself as one of the most popular and enduring franchises within the World War II genre. With this evolution of the series coupled with Pyro Studios proven expertise, we are confident that Commandos Strike Force will be the greatest episode in the series to date.

Website: http://www.commandosstrikeforce.com

Commandos Strike Force Screens

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Toys "R" Us Times Square To Be Center of Halo 2
Steve @ 6:27 PM EDT
Microsoft Game Studios today announced that the Toys "R" Us international flagship store in New York's Times Square will become the center of the Halo® 2 universe on the evening of November 8. Throughout the evening, midnight madness will ensue with special guest appearances, and prizes will be awarded for gamers showing off their Halo 2 enthusiasm. A number of gamers will even get an early hands-on experience with Halo 2 while awaiting the stroke of midnight. Toys "R" Us Times Square will open its doors at midnight on November 9, giving gamers a chance to pick up the very first copy of Halo 2 for Xbox® in North America. For more information, please visit http://www.ToysrusTimesSquare.com.

Pushing the Xbox hardware to its very limits, Halo 2 will expand on everything that made the original game great, plus add a wealth of technological and gameplay advances. Significantly improved graphics, enhanced artificial intelligence (AI), an advanced real-time lighting engine and destructible interactive environments are just a small part of Halo 2’s evolution of design and technology. Every improvement in Halo 2 is designed to take gameplay to a new level -- and in the end, to tell a more compelling story.

Playboy: The Mansion Reaches "Beta" Status
Steve @ 6:22 PM EDT
TORONTO – OCTOBER 13, 2004 - Hip Interactive’s wholly-owned subsidiary, ARUSH Publishing, in conjunction with Groove Games, today announced that the highly-anticipated video-game release, “Playboy: The Mansion” has achieved beta status. A lifestyle simulation game that allows players to virtually assume the role of Playboy visionary Hugh Hefner, “Playboy: The Mansion” offers gamers unsurpassed freedom in simulating building the Playboy business and publishing Playboy Magazine. Developed by Cyberlore Studios for the PlayStation(R)2, the Xbox(R) video game system from Microsoft and PC, "Playboy: The Mansion" is rated M for Mature by the ESRB and is slated to launch during the first quarter of 2005.

“We are thrilled with the progress of the game as we reach beta and look forward to giving gamers the perfect cure for the post-holiday blues with a launch in early 2005,” said Jim Perkins, President of ARUSH Publishing. “’Playboy: The Mansion’ is a glamorous, fun take on the simulation genre and will capture the imagination of those who have dreamed of stepping into Hef’s shoes.”

“Playboy: The Mansion” allows players to virtually live the charmed life of Hugh Hefner, throwing celebrity-packed parties and interacting with the most beautiful women in the world. Through the game, they can control every aspect of Playboy Magazine, calling the shots on major business moves and directing photo shoots, all from the comfort of a customizable interpretation of the world-famous Playboy Mansion. As players’ influence and bank accounts grow, they will be able to unlock decades of photo shoots and magazine covers straight from the Playboy vault as inspiration for fulfilling Hef’s vision of building Playboy into the most successful men’s monthly magazine in the world.

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

BloodRayne 2 Begins Shipping
Steve @ 12:20 PM EDT
EDISON, NJ, October 13, 2004 – Majesco, a provider of diversified products and content for digital entertainment platforms, today announced it has shipped its action-horror sequel, BloodRayne 2. Supporting the product’s introduction is the BloodRayne 2/Headbangers Ball Launch Event on October 21, 2004 from the House of Blues in Los Angeles.

“Since its original introduction in October 2002, BloodRayne has established itself as a cross-over entertainment property that enjoys the support of a loyal fan base,” said Ken Gold, vice president of Marketing. “With enhanced game-play mechanics, graphics and engaging on-screen action, we anticipate that BloodRayne 2 will not only please current fans, but appeal to consumers new to the game as well.”

Born from the unnatural union of vampire and human, BloodRayne is blessed with the powers of a vampire but cursed with the unquenchable thirst for blood and a weakness to sunlight. BloodRayne 2 challenges the supernatural anti-heroine with her most personal battle yet as she hunts down each of her wicked siblings who are carrying on the legacy of their dead father, Kagan.

Expanding upon the distinctive features that were the hallmark of its predecessor – fast-paced acrobatic combat and supernatural powers – BloodRayne 2 includes new in-game dynamics such as pole combat, rail sliding and advanced melee fighting with fatality moves. Built upon a modified version of the Infernal Engine, BloodRayne 2 introduces threatening new bosses, all new environments set within a huge modern day city, a range of new supernatural powers and new motion-captured movements complete with soft-body physics.

Majesco is supporting the launch of BloodRayne 2 with a marketing campaign that includes extensive cross-promotions with MTV2, targeted TV and print advertising and a consumer pre-sell initiative. More information about the game can be found online at http://www.bloodrayne2.com

Developed by Terminal Reality, BloodRayne 2 is available for the PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system and Xbox® video game system from Microsoft for a suggested retail price of $49.99.

AREA 51 Demo on Mortal Kombat: Deception Disc
Steve @ 11:51 AM EDT
Midway Amusement Games, LLC announces that gamers can now whet their first-person shooter appetites with a taste of Midway s upcoming Sci-Fi thriller AREA 51™ by playing a demo that s featured on the recently shipped Mortal Kombat® : Deception™. Featuring top-notch Hollywood voice talent of David Duchovny as Hazmat Ethan Cole, Powers Boothe as Major Bridges, and shock-rocker Marilyn Manson as Edgar the gray alien, AREA 51 is scheduled to ship the first half of 2005 on the PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system and Xbox™ video game system from Microsoft.

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

Ghost Recon 2 Military Technology
Steve @ 11:50 AM EDT
In the Lone Wolf mode of Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon 2, the protagonist, Captain Scott Mitchell, dons gear similar to the equipment being developed for the Future Force Warrior program (the advanced infantry combat system being developed by the Natick Soldier Center for the US Army), and moves in to complete objectives solo. Future Force Warrior combines the latest in battlefield technology into one light, mobile, and lethal package, allowing a single soldier to have more firepower than ever before.

Aided by increased UAV intel, dial-in range airburst grenades, a gun camera, and precision air strikes, the player focuses the firepower of an entire infantry squad into one soldier. While there is an immense amount of destructive power at the player’s fingertips, the gameplay is still balanced, and requires the use of tactics and lots of thinking to complete the objectives. Utilizing the gear correctly makes the player a formidable force, but running in blindly will still get you killed.

Because it is set in the near future, the Ghost Recon series is known for its cutting edge military gameplay, and to keep the franchise on the top of its game, we felt it was important to model the latest innovations in infantry combat. Playing Ghost Recon 2, you will have a chance to experience the type of equipment the military is planning to deploy into the field in the near future, allowing you to dominate the modern battlefield and experience new weapons today.

The Future Force Warrior system makes every soldier a node of combat, allowing them to use lightweight, efficient gear and to amass overwhelming firepower on the enemy, while providing unprecedented situational awareness and personal protection. The system uses all of the latest polymer gear, which is lightweight, comfortable, and has a lot of really cool features that soldiers have been asking for, including seemingly simply things like a built-in float capability to keep wearers afloat if they fall in deep water.

All of the elements of the Lone Wolf gear, including the range-locked airburst grenades, gun camera to fire from behind cover, and the ability to call in air strikes, are all based on real life technology, a lot of which is being prototyped even today.

During the Lone Wolf missions, you go it alone, but one of your most powerful weapons is the ability to call in air strikes. A pair of F-35 Joint Strike Fighters are on station, waiting to put heavy ordnance on targets that you designate. However, once you call in a strike, you have to wait for the fighters to circle around for another run, so you have to time the strikes right.

The types of Lone Wolf missions range in environments, from urban, to woodland, to a rocky quarry (plus, you can unlock normal missions to go back and play in Lone Wolf mode). Of course, Lone Wolf will be a major element in multiplayer. We even have a special multiplayer mode, called “Seek and Destroy”. This pits every player on the server against each other, with one player as the Target. The Target is armed with the Lone Wolf weapon, and everyone else has normal weapons. This may sound unbalanced, but everyone knows where the Target is, and their goal is to take him or her out. We also have some really fun and beautifully built multiplayer maps that were specifically designed to take advantage of the Lone Wolf weapons.

Karaoke Revolution Song List
Steve @ 11:46 AM EDT
REDWOOD CITY, Calif. - October 12, 2004 - Konami Digital Entertainment - America, a division of Konami Digital Entertainment, Inc., today announced the complete song list for Karaoke Revolution(tm) for the Xbox® video game system from Microsoft. The first karaoke video game for the Xbox to include a vocal analyzer that measures the pitch and rhythm of a player's voice will include 50 karaoke favorites, including 10 classic Motown hits from the original artists' recordings that are exclusive to the Xbox version.

Featuring more music than any Karaoke Revolution title to date, the list of rock, pop, R&B and dance songs includes solid gold hits such as "Billie Jean," "Like a Virgin" and "Celebration." Gamers will also be able to add to their collection of karaoke tracks by downloading new music via Xbox Live(tm) support. The complete list of song titles included in Karaoke Revolution at launch is:

Addicted
All You Wanted
Are You Happy Now?
Believe
Billie Jean
Bizarre Love Triangle
Broken Wings
Celebration
Chain of Fools
Complicated
Crawling in the Dark
Don't Know Why
Every Morning
Everything You Want
Girls Just Want To Have Fun
Heartbreak Hotel
Hey Jealousy
Hit Me With Your Best Shot
Hot Stuff
How You Remind Me
I'm Coming Out
It's The End of the World As We Know It
I've Got You Under My Skin
Kiss Me
Ladies' Night
Like a Virgin
One Week
Red Red Wine
Save Tonight
Science Genius Girl
She Talks To Angels
Smooth Criminal
Son of a Preacher Man
The Power of Love
Waiting For Tonight
We Are Family
When a Man Loves a Woman
Wind Beneath my Wings
You Really Got Me
You're the One That I Want

Motown Songs Exclusive To The Xbox version of Karaoke Revolution:

I Can't Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch) - The Four Tops
I Heard It Through The Grapevine - Marvin Gaye
I Want You Back - The Jackson 5
I'll Be There - The Jackson 5
Just My Imagination - The Temptations
Please Mr. Postman - The Marvelettes
Stop! In the Name of Love - Diana Ross & The Supremes
The Tracks of My Tears - Smokey Robinson & The Miracles
This Old Heart of Mine (Is Weak For You) - The Isley Brothers
What Becomes of the Broken Heart - Jimmy Ruffin

Karaoke Revolution is developed by leading music video game creator Harmonix Music Systems (http://www.harmonixmusic.com). Karaoke Revolution for Xbox is scheduled to ship in November 2004 and will be available as a bundle, packed with a specially designed Konami-branded Xbox microphone from Logitech®. For more information on the game, please visit: http://www.karaokerevolution.com

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

King Kong Announced for Holiday 2005
Steve @ 1:31 PM EDT
SAN FRANCISCO – October 12, 2004 – Ubisoft, one of the world’s largest interactive video game publishers, and Universal Studios Consumer Products Group today announced plans to release an interactive game based on Universal Pictures’ upcoming motion picture adventure, King Kong. The game will be available worldwide on all platforms at the beginning of the holiday season in conjunction with the December 14, 2005 theatrical release of the movie.

Triple Academy Award® winner Peter Jackson (The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King) brings his sweeping cinematic vision to the iconic story of the gigantic ape-monster captured in the wild and brought to civilization where he meets his tragic fate. Jackson assumes directing, producing and co-screenwriting duties and surrounds himself with a list of superlative filmmaking and acting talents.

Working very closely with Peter Jackson and Wingnut Films, Ubisoft’s prized Beyond Good & Evil development team and award-winning Montreal studio - some of the interactive game industry’s most creative designers - are creating a game in their Montpellier studio in the South of France that will reflect the visual interpretation, character dynamics and dramatic narrative of Jackson's epic film.

Serge Hascoet, Executive Director, Worldwide Content Strategy for Ubisoft stated: “Through this creative association, Ubisoft shows its growing dedication to bringing intense emotions inspired by the movie industry to interactive games. In the King Kong game, players will be able to experience all the power, drama and emotion of the film thanks to the interactive possibilities provided by the game.”

“I’m really enjoying the collaboration with these artists, and all the creative possibilities we’re discovering,” said Peter Jackson. “By working closely with the development team, Ubisoft is enabling me to help shape the kind of gaming experience that I will be proud to associate with this new version of King Kong, a story that began my life-long love of film.”

Forza Motorsport Coming February 2005
Steve @ 1:17 PM EDT
Microsoft Game Studios today announced that its critically acclaimed, highly anticipated driving simulator, Forza Motorsport, will race onto store shelves exclusively for Xbox in February 2005. Forza Motorsport peels out of the Xbox garage with the ability to transform more than 200 real-life production cars from over 40 of the world’s top car manufacturers into speed-drenched racing machines with aftermarket parts from more than 150 partners. A powerful physics engine and a long list of online racing features playable only on Xbox Live, Microsoft’s premier online gaming service, gives Forza Motorsport the checkered flag with racing gamers and car enthusiasts as the deepest racing simulator ever offered.

“Forza Motorsport is a title we are getting amazing feedback on from people who are really passionate about the world of cars and auto racing,” said Shane Kim, General Manager, Microsoft Game Studios. “The ability to customize your cars, the amazingly realistic physics and of course the ability to experience all of this online is quickly making this the one ‘must have’ racing sim.”

Forza Motorsport allows gamers the ability to showcase their garage work with the best the online world has to offer through simultaneous competition with up to eight racers or by trading their “tuned-up” and “tricked-out” creations over Xbox Live. Forza Motorsport also debuts both an innovative on and offline “career mode” that includes traditional competition with AI as well as fully-interactive online racing with human opponents to accumulate career earnings for tuning up your ride. Forza’s online ranking system ensures evenly matched racing for all skill levels.

Beyond head-to-head racing, Forza Motorsport encourages gamers to build car clubs of up to 100 different Xbox Live gamers for worldwide car communities and competitive team racing. Forza Motorsport will take online racing to a whole new level with more than 1,700 leaderboards that seamlessly integrate into the single player portion of the game, thus fueling gamers with the ability to compete for ultimate online bragging rights. Exclusive downloadable content including new cars and tracks will complete Forza Motorsport’s high-octane online garage.

To learn more about Forza Motorsport visit http://www.xbox.com/forza

Over One Million Mortal Kombat: Deception Units Ship
Steve @ 1:14 PM EDT
CHICAGO – October 12, 2004 – Midway Games Inc., a leading software industry publisher and developer, announced today that Mortal Kombat ®: Deception ™, the latest entry in the company’s best-selling Mortal Kombat franchise, has shipped more than one million units to retail stores across North America. Slashing its way to an amazing start at retail, Mortal Kombat: Deception is the fastest selling game in the history of Midway outselling even its highly-successful predecessor, Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance, by more than 35% in its first week of release. Mortal Kombat: Deception is available for the PlayStation ®2 computer entertainment system and the Xbox ® video game system from Microsoft and is expected to release for the Nintendo GameCube TM in early 2005.

Mortal Kombat: Deception’s online mode has also been a massive hit with consumers. Since the game’s launch six days ago more than 130,000 matches have been fought online over PlayStation 2.

“Mortal Kombat is clearly a franchise that continues to deliver innovative gameplay along with the hardcore, intense fighting action that fans have come to know and love over the past 12 years,” said Steve Allison, chief marketing officer, Midway. “We’re extremely pleased to see that Deception has been received in such a positive light by both the media and consumers since we first announced the title in March. It’s a true testament to the Mortal Kombat team’s hard work and dedication that consumer interest is high enough to make Deception the fastest selling game in Midway’s history.”

FIFA Soccer 2005 Kicks Into Stores
Steve @ 1:12 PM EDT
REDWOOD CITY, Calif.--Oct. 12, 2004--Electronic Arts today announced that FIFA Soccer 2005 has shipped to retailers. Developed under the EA SPORTS(TM) brand, FIFA Soccer 2005 introduces First Touch Control, allowing greater freedom of movement during gameplay. Online gamers will enjoy enhanced features on the PlayStation(R)2 computer entertainment system and, for the first time, Xbox Live(TM) support.

A quality first touch -- intrinsic to the sport itself -- is the essential trait that separates good players from great players on the soccer pitch. With the all-new First Touch Control, users can move the right analog stick to control flicks, traps, and knock-ons. An all-new animation system reacts to every button press with authentic responsiveness, directly translating to the speed and vision of the world's greatest players. With new in-game camera angles, smooth cut sequences for replays, and improved contrast and lighting for players and stadiums, FIFA Soccer 2005 has the look and feel of an authentic television broadcast experience. The FIFA Soccer franchise, celebrating its 11th season this year, introduces the entire 18-team Mexican League for the first time to the game.

With more than 350 official team and league licenses from around the world, more than 10,000 officially licensed players, an enhanced Career Mode, and EA SPORTS Online play*, FIFA Soccer 2005 is the only complete, authentic, and intelligent soccer experience.

The game's launch also sets the stage for the first FIFA Interactive World Cup, a worldwide tournament celebrating FIFA Soccer 2005. North American consumers can test their skills in New York City on October 30th for a chance to compete in Switzerland and stand side by side with the FIFA player of the year. Hosted by FIFA, Xbox, and EA SPORTS, the FIFA Interactive World Cup kicks off October 23rd in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Developed by EA Canada in Vancouver, B.C., FIFA Soccer 2005 is available for the PlayStation(R)2 console, Xbox(TM), Nintendo GameCube(TM), PC and Game Boy(R) Advance. A mobile phone version of the game is coming soon. The game is rated "E" (Everyone) by the ESRB. More information can be found on the game's official website at http://www.fifasoccer05.com

TY the Tasmanian Tiger 2: Bush Rescue Ships
Steve @ 1:09 PM EDT
Electronic Arts, the world's leading interactive entertainment software company, today announced that TY the Tasmanian Tiger(TM) 2: Bush Rescue(TM) has begun to ship to retail outlets via a co-publishing partnership with KROME Studios under the EA GAMES brand. The title is available for the PlayStation(R)2 computer entertainment system, the Xbox(R) video game system from Microsoft, the Nintendo GameCube(TM) and the Nintendo Game Boy(R) Advance.

TY the Tasmanian Tiger 2: Bush Rescue offers platform gamers a colorful and huge open environment to explore by foot and in vehicles. Players can now enjoy more excitement and adventure, with more upgradeable boomerangs, "Mech units" with special powers and abilities, off-road open world action, and a wide variety of gameplay styles. The game also features two-player split screen cart racing where players can engage in instant head-to-head fun.

Developed by KROME Studios, TY the Tasmanian Tiger 2: Bush Rescue is rated "E" (Everyone) by the ESRB and has an MSRP of $19.99 on the PlayStation(R)2 computer entertainment system , the Xbox(R) video game system from Microsoft, and the Nintendo GameCube(TM). MSRP for the Nintendo Game Boy(R) Advance version is $29.99. More information can be found on the EA product web site at http://www.tythetasmaniantiger2.ea.com

Monday, October 11, 2004

Tak 2: The Staff of Dreams Now Shipping
Steve @ 1:50 PM EDT
CALABASAS HILLS, Calif.--Oct. 11, 2004--THQ(R) Inc. and Nickelodeon today announced Tak 2: The Staff of Dreams(TM) -- for the PlayStation(R)2 computer entertainment system, Xbox(R) videogame system from Microsoft, and Nintendo's GameCube(R) and Game Boy(R) Advance -- has shipped to retail outlets throughout North America. The predecessor to this title, Tak and the Power of Juju, was the first property released under THQ and Nickelodeon's agreement to create new cross-media intellectual properties for initial release in the videogame space with the express intent of migrating the properties to other entertainment media.

"We are delighted that the success of Tak, the first title in our unprecedented 'games first' agreement with THQ, has lead to a sequel for this holiday," said Steve Youngwood, senior vice president, Nickelodeon Media Products Group. "Tak 2: The Staff of Dreams is sure to draw gamers back to the brand with a more mature Tak, amazing dream elements, new Juju powers and unique spirit animals."

"Creating a sequel to the Tak property has been a huge initiative for THQ and Nickelodeon across both our organizations," said Tiffany Ternan, senior vice president, North American sales and distribution, THQ. "We're thrilled with the enthusiasm we've received for Tak 2: The Staff of Dreams at retail and look forward to consumers' response to an all-new Tak adventure."

Halo 2 Officially Goes Gold
Steve @ 1:37 PM EDT
Blockbuster Ready to Ship Simultaneously to 27 Countries in Eight Languages

Microsoft Game Studios today announced that Halo® 2 for Xbox®, the most-anticipated video game of the year, has gone gold and will ship simultaneously over three days to 27 countries in eight languages. Halo 2 will be available on November 9 throughout North and South America, Asia, Australia and New Zealand. The sequel to the award-winning Halo: Combat Evolved, will be available in France, Belgium and Switzerland on November 10, as well as in Japan and the rest of Europe on November 11. Halo 2 is being localized in eight languages including English, Japanese, Korean, Chinese (traditional), Spanish, French, German and Italian.

In Halo 2, the action picks up where the first game ended. Master Chief, with the help of a small group of marines, has destroyed the religious artifact and artificial world known as Halo, and is making his way back to Earth. Upon arrival, he and the last surviving Earth forces will mount a titanic final struggle against the marauding Covenant armada.

Pushing the Xbox hardware to its very limits, Halo 2 will expand on everything that made the original game great, plus add a wealth of technological and gameplay advances. Significantly improved graphics, enhanced artificial intelligence (AI), an advanced real-time lighting engine and destructible interactive environments are just a small part of Halo 2’s evolution of design and technology. Every improvement in Halo 2 is designed to take gameplay to a new level -- and in the end, to tell a more compelling story.

Utilizing Xbox Live to redefine online play, Halo 2 will deliver superior online multiplayer capabilities. Whether playing with a clan on a new multiplayer map, boarding a friend's Warthog, dogfighting in Banshees or checking player stats, Halo 2 will bring the social experience to a higher level via Xbox Live. More information about Halo 2 is available at http://www.halo2.com

Midway Arcade Treasures 2 Ships
Steve @ 1:32 PM EDT
CHICAGO – October 11, 2004 – Midway Games Inc., a leading interactive entertainment industry publisher and developer, today announced Midway Arcade Treasures 2, a compilation of 20 classic Midway arcade games together on one disk, has shipped to select retailers nationwide. The sequel to the successful 2003 launch of Midway Arcade Treasures, Midway Arcade Treasures 2 is now available for the PlayStation ® 2 computer entertainment system, the Xbox ® video game system from Microsoft and the Nintendo GameCube ™ with a suggested retail price of $19.99.

Midway Arcade Treasures 2 features hundreds of hours of classic gameplay action from arcade favorites including the blood-spurting intensity of Mortal Kombat ® II and Mortal Kombat ® 3 , the multiplayer collaboration of Gauntlet ® 2 , the drug-busting adventure of NARC ® and the no-holds-barred street fighting action of Pit Fighter ™, just to name a few.

“Midway Arcade Treasures 2, like its predecessor Midway Arcade Treasures, provides quality gaming entertainment with twenty of Midway’s all-time, classic arcade titles,” said Steve Allison, chief marketing officer, Midway. “We feel that the Midway Arcade Treasures brand features one of the best compilations of yesteryear’s most popular games and does so for a great value at only twenty bucks.”

With Midway Arcade Treasures 2, Midway provides gamers with the option of enjoying their favorite games in one-to-four-player game formats, depending on the title, along with the ultimate gaming ”flashback” experience with a collection of classic titles that represent a fresh, new era in the history of the game industry. The bonus DVD content also features several video montages and launch trailers along with “making of the game” videos for several of the titles included on the disk.

Midway Arcade Treasures 2 Includes:

20 classic arcade games including:

· A.P.B.™
· Arch Rivals™
· Championship Sprint™
· Cyberball 2072™
· Gauntlet® 2
· Hard Drivin’®
· Kozmik Krooz’r™
· Mortal Kombat® 3
· Mortal Kombat® II
· NARC®
· Pit Fighter™
· Primal Rage®
· Rampage World Tour®
· Spy Hunter® 2
· Timber™
· Total Carnage™
· Wacko™
· Wizard of Wor™
· Xenophobe®
· Xybots™

Nonstop Action : Hundreds of hours of classic gameplay action
Multiplayer Gameplay : One-to-four player gameplay
Xbox Live : Post high scores and decide the world champion

For more information about Midway Arcade Treasures 2, visit: http://www.midwayarcade.com or http://www.midway.com

Halo 2: Original Soundtrack Volume One Announced
Steve @ 1:23 PM EDT
New York - October 11th, 2004 - Sumthing Else Music Works, Inc., through its licensing relationship with Microsoft Game Studios, proudly presents Halo® 2: Original Soundtrack Volume One. The highly anticipated soundtrack will be released on November 9 to US retail outlets through Nile Rodgers’ Sumthing Else Music Works label http://www.sumthing.com

The bulk of the Halo 2: Original Soundtrack CD features the new symphonic compositions by Martin O’Donnell and Michael Salvatori, the composers behind the best-selling Halo®: Combat Evolved soundtrack. Nile Rodgers, the album’s producer said, "Visualize a giant orchestra with Martin O’Donnell as the composer and all the artists and musicians contributing as players in the grand symphony that is called Halo."

The soundtrack also includes all new compositions from some of today’s most exciting rock bands, including "Blow Me Away" by Breaking Benjamin, "Connected" by Hoobastank and "The Odyssey" by Incubus; which serve to fulfill the ultimate vision of Marty O’Donnell’s epic orchestral score.

Commenting on their music for Halo 2, Ben Burnley of Breaking Benjamin said, "Halo is my favorite all-time game. As a band we play it all the time while on tour. It's like a dream being able to contribute music to the game and soundtrack." "Blow Me Away" is now available on www.nilerodgers.com and the new MSN Music site, www.music.msn.com. MSN Music provides music fans with an easy, comprehensive service for discovering and downloading legal, digital music.

Incubus’ Guitarist Mike Einziger added, "Halo is the only video game that ever inspired us to write a song. Now if we could only stop playing Halo, we might actually be able to write another one!"

Producer Nile Rodgers has also contributed by writing, performing and co-producing the track "Never Surrender" in collaboration with renowned songwriter, artist and remixer, Nataraj. This exclusive cut as well as the “Halo Theme Mjolnir Mix” includes masterful guitar work by acclaimed rock guitarist Steve Vai.

"These players each have the unique ability to improvise and embellish Martin O’Donnell's ideas," stated Rodgers. "Therefore we are all ‘Connected’ - hence the original composition provided by Hoobastank as the bonus track - because they are contributors to the overall Halo symphony repertoire."

Midway Acquires Inevitable Entertainment
Steve @ 1:21 PM EDT
CHICAGO, IL – October 11, 2004 - Midway Games Inc. announced today that it has acquired Austin, Texas-based Inevitable Entertainment Inc., the development studio working on Midway’s upcoming new videogame, AREA 51. Midway acquired privately-held Inevitable in an all-stock transaction for 218,421 Midway common shares. The acquisition accelerates Midway’s previously announced plans to open an Austin studio and increases the Company’s internal development resources.

Midway president and chief executive officer David F. Zucker commented, “In acquiring Inevitable Entertainment, we have added an extremely creative development group to our product development organization and furthered our ability to deliver high-quality, compelling content. Our increased internal product development capabilities offer an important balance and blend with our external development partners, and enable us to continue to publish critically and commercially successful software for current and future systems.”

In addition to shares issued for the acquisition of Inevitable Entertainment, a total of 152,824 restricted shares of Midway common stock were issued to key Inevitable employees as retention incentives. The restrictions on the stock will lapse in stages over a period of three years, provided the employee remains employed by the Company. The Inevitable employees who received restricted shares were: Daryl Allison, Steve Broumley, Russell Byrd, Pete Franco, Craig Galley, Matt Green, Cyrus Lum, Aaron Smischney, Jim Stiefelmaier, Michael Traub, and Andy Thyssen.

Friday, October 8, 2004

Download the Conflict: Vietnam Trailer Now
Steve @ 4:55 PM EDT
Download the Conflict Vietnam Trailer straight from Xbox Exclusive. The trailer is 12MB. Enjoy! You may want to right click on the link and select "Save Target As" so you can view it again later.

Conflict Vietnam Trailer

EA Announces FIFA STREET
Steve @ 3:06 PM EDT
REDWOOD CITY, Calif.Oct. 8, 2004--Electronic Arts announced today that FIFA STREET is scheduled for release next year under the EA SPORTS BIG(TM) brand. The game is being produced by Electronic Arts Canada, the studio which also is home to the industry-leading FIFA Soccer videogame franchise.

FIFA STREET is a highly-anticipated combination of arcade action blended with the culture of freestyle street soccer. By removing the rules from the simulation soccer experience, FIFA STREET exposes the heart of the world's beautiful game, on-the-ball flare and individual style.

Leading this movement are the worlds top professional players, showing off their skills and individual style in 4-on-4 match-ups against the backdrop of global venues that represent the true culture of street soccer. As the first game to support dynamic 1-on-1 encounters, beating your opponent will require skill, technique, and the careful selection of specific moves. As a gamer you'll take on the best and be required to earn their respect, gradually building your reputation and team into an unstoppable force that leads the tide of street soccer.

"What FIFA STREET represents is a movement in soccer and a break from the modern game," says Wil Mozell, senior producer for the project. "We are stripping the sport down to its core and delivering a game that's all about freestyle attitude and individual skill, something I believe is at the heart of every soccer fan."

Look for more information at the FIFA STREET website at http://www.fifastreet.com You can also view the first FIFA STREET trailer located in FIFA Football 2005 which hits stores today in Europe and on October 15th in North America.

ToCA Race Driver 2 & Colin McRae Rally 04 Bundle
Steve @ 3:03 PM EDT
New York (October 8, 2004) – Racing fans can take the driver’s seat – twice – with the new ToCA Race Driver 2: Ultimate Racing Simulator and Colin McRae Rally 04 bundle from Codemasters. Now gamers have the chance to prove their street credibility, whether on turf, tar or ice, and master rigs of all kinds ranging from rally cars to open wheeled to even semi-trucks. Available now for the Xbox® video game system from Microsoft, the bundle has a suggested retail price of $29.99.

“ToCA Race Driver 2 and Colin McRae Rally 4 have received critical acclaim across the board, so we combined both titles in one package that every racing fan would die for,” said Marc Bennett, North American President, Codemasters. “For an incredible value, fans can now own two white-knuckle, hair-raising racing titles.”

Colin McRae Rally 04 offers up more than 20 vehicles constructed in stunning detail including the Mitsubishi Lancer EVO VII, Subaru Impreza WRX and Citroën Xsara, alongside classic rally cars. An advanced visual engine creates dramatic replays in jaw-dropping detail.

ToCA Race Driver 2 gives racing fans the most thrilling range of motor sports available, including GT Sports Car Racing, Street Racing, Rally, DTM, V8 Supercars, Global GT Lights, Rally Cross, Formula Ford, Open Wheel Grand Prix and Classic Car Racing. For the definitive racing experience, players can compete head-to-head with up to 12 racers online simultaneously via Xbox Live .


Additional Colin McRae Rally 04 game features include:

  • 48 tracks and 4 shakedown stages through 8 countries including the U.S., UK, Australia and Japan.
  • Players can compete in a full rally season or specialize in a 4 or 2 wheel drive championships.
  • New Expert Championship Mode demands the best performance from the most die-hard rally fan with its tough damage settings and ultra-competitive AI drivers.
  • Car part testing helps the player acquire new technology increasing the chance of success.
  • Stages and Rally modes allow the player to race against the clock or go multiplayer with split screen play with up to four players.
  • Saved runs can be seen on the stage as a ghost car.
  • Create a Custom Rally with favorite or themed stages that can be compiled, saved and played at any time.

    Additional Toca Race Driver 2 game features include:

  • 31 championships covering 15 different motor sports.
  • 35 aspirational cars including the Aston Martin DB9 (exclusive), Nissan Skyline, Ford GT, ABT-Audi TT-R and more.
  • 31 global race locations delivering 50 tracks.
    Incredible pack racing: up to 21 cars on track at once, battling for position.
  • A stunning new visual engine running 60 frames per second graphics.
  • The most sophisticated physics and car handling engine yet.
  • All new and hugely realistic damage engine.
  • Head to head Xbox Live and PC online functionality.

    Race Against a NASCAR Pro on Xbox Live
    Steve @ 2:57 PM EDT
    Gamers who think that they can race like a pro will finally have a chance to race against a pro when NASCAR sensation Elliott Sadler takes on all comers on Xbox® Live™. Sadler will fire up Electronic Arts' groundbreaking racing game, NASCAR® 2005: Chase for the Cup™, in the latest Xbox Live "Game with Fame" event on Wednesday, October 13 at 12 p.m. PDT. Gamers looking to tear up the track with Elliott Sadler, currently ranked 6th in the NASCAR Nextel® Cup Series, should watch for the Gamertag Candyman38 and head to the official "Game with Fame" site ( http://www.xbox.com/en-US/news/events/gamewithfame.htm ) for more details. For more information on Elliott Sadler, please visit http://www.SadlerFanClub.com.

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

    THQ Secures Rights to Juiced Franchise
    Steve @ 2:54 PM EDT
    CALABASAS HILLS, Calif.--Oct. 8, 2004--THQ(R) Inc. today announced exclusive worldwide publishing rights to the "Juiced" franchise, the highly anticipated street racing property by Juice Games. THQ submitted the winning bid for the property, which was approved on October 6, 2004, by an order of the U.S. bankruptcy judge overseeing the Chapter 7 bankruptcy proceedings of Acclaim Entertainment. Acclaim Entertainment had previously held the rights to the "Juiced" property. Subject to final contract and certain closing conditions, THQ plans to release "Juiced" for the PlayStation(R) 2 computer entertainment system, the Xbox(R) videogame system from Microsoft and PC in summer 2005.

    "We are very excited to have secured the rights to this strategic, highly sought after intellectual property," said Jack Sorensen, executive vice president of worldwide studios, THQ. "The team is off to a great start and now has the time to build `Juiced' into one of the premier brands in street racing."

    Thursday, October 7, 2004

    Win a Copy of Halo 2 Before It Hits Stores
    Steve @ 4:24 PM EDT
    Gamers eager to get their hands on Halo® 2, the most-anticipated game of the year, now have the opportunity to do so by visiting their local 7-Eleven store. Mountain Dew® is teaming up with Xbox® and 7-Eleven, Inc. to offer gamers an improved, intense Mountain Dew Slurpee® and three limited-edition Halo 2 collector cups, available at participating 7-Eleven stores nationwide. They can also enter the "Win it Before You Can Buy It" sweepstakes for a chance to win an early copy of Halo 2 before it's released on November 9. Additional prizes include a trip to the 2004 Spike TV Video Game Awards, a trip to Bungie Studios for an opportunity to play against the Halo 2 developers at a private event, Xbox video game systems, Xbox Live Starter Kits and more. For more information and official sweepstakes rules, please visit http://www.slurpee.com

    Pushing the Xbox hardware to its very limits, Halo 2 will expand on everything that made the original game great, plus add a wealth of technological and gameplay advances. Significantly improved graphics, enhanced artificial intelligence (AI), an advanced real-time lighting engine and destructible interactive environments are just a small part of Halo 2’s evolution of design and technology. Every improvement in Halo 2 is designed to take gameplay to a new level -- and in the end, to tell a more compelling story.

    Utilizing Xbox Live to redefine online play, Halo 2 delivers superior online multiplayer capabilities. Whether playing with a clan on a new multiplayer map, boarding a friend's Warthog, dogfighting in Banshees or checking player stats, Halo 2 will bring the social experience to a higher level via Xbox Live. More information about Halo 2 is available at http://www.halo2.com

    Call of Duty: Finest Hour Key Voice Talent
    Steve @ 2:38 PM EDT
    Santa Monica, CA – Oct. 7, 2004 – Hollywood and rock music join the ranks of World War II with actor Dennis Haysbert, of the hit television drama “24,” and Brian Johnson, lead singer of the legendary rock band AC/DC, signing on for key voice talent roles in Activision, Inc.’s (Nasdaq: ATVI) gritty, epic first-person war action-thriller Call of Duty™: Finest Hour™. Additionally, veteran writer/ producer Michael Schiffer will once again provide his screenwriting stamp with a cinematic and intense script. Award-winning composer Michael Giacchino returns to score a breathtaking soundtrack that will further immerse fans into the overwhelming action. Developed by Spark, Call of Duty: Finest Hour will deploy this fall for the PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system, Xbox® video game system from Microsoft and Nintendo GameCube™ and carries a “T” (“Teen” – Blood, Violence) rating by the ESRB.

    “Working with Dennis, Brian, Michael Schiffer and Michael Giacchino has been a truly inspired collaboration. Each brought his own valued expertise to the project, contributing in such differing ways to the depth of realism and emotion of Finest Hour’s non-stop, gripping action,” said Scott Langteau, producer and COO, of developer Spark Unlimited.

    Fans will have no trouble identifying the voice of Golden Globe nominated Dennis Haysbert as the narrator in Call of Duty: Finest Hour. The addition of the narrator brings a whole new continuity to Finest Hour. Currently starring in the television series “24”, Haysbert landed roles in blockbuster movies “Absolute Power,” “Heat” and “Major League.”

    Vocalist Brian Johnson brings his signature voice, honed over the years as the front man for the famed legendary rock band AC/DC. Johnson’s character plays the leading role during the harrowing British campaign in Finest Hour, for which Johnson carries an important personal connection. His father served as a Sergeant Major of the British Army’s Durham Light Infantry, and Johnson brought much of his father’s experience as a “Desert Rat” to his character in the game.

    Michael Schiffer joined the Call of Duty team last year with the award-winning PC game. Now he is working closely with the Finest Hour producers to evoke the emotional drama of the chaos of battle. Schiffer’s screenwriting credits include “Crimson Tide,” “Colors,” “Lean on Me,” The Four Feathers” and “The Peacemaker.” His producing credits also include “Very Bad Things,” “Lean on Me” and “Le Divorce.” Most recently he’s been tapped to write the new military action thriller “First Class.”

    Game fans need no introduction to Michael Giacchino. A longtime gamer whose award-winning game scores have resulted in numerous accolades, Giacchino has moved on to score the popular television series “Alias,” and the new series “Lost,” plus Pixar Animation Studio’s upcoming animated feature film “The Incredibles.”
    For the Call of Duty PC game, Giacchino created a compelling and gripping soundtrack, this time he has dug even deeper by deploying an 80 person orchestra and 50 person choir to bring out the emotions and conviction of Finest Hour.

    SNK VS Capcom: SVC Chaos Ships
    Steve @ 2:32 PM EDT
    WALL, NJ. -October 7, 2004 - SNK NEOGEO USA CONSUMER CORPORATION, the
    US publishing arm of the SNK NEOGEO CORPORATION, announced today that
    the company has shipped the first home version of the hit arcade title, SNK VS CAPCOM: SVC CHAOS, exclusively for the Xbox video game system from Microsoft. SVC CHAOS fully supports Xbox Live, so consumers can take on opponents around the neighborhood or across the country in the ultimate online battle for survival.

    SVC CHAOS features 36 famous fighters including 17 playable SNK characters, 17 playable Capcom characters, and 2 Secret Bosses. SVC CHAOS has also added bonus characters from some of the very best 2D fighting games ever made, including THE KING OF FIGHTERS, FATAL FURY, and SAMURAI SHODOWN and Street Fighter. Exclusive to this game are special characters such as Capcom's Mega Man and Red Arremer, and SNK's Shiki and Athena.

    "We're giving our fans everything they want with SVC CHAOS - the greatest fighters from SNK and Capcom, now with the ability to go head-to-head via Xbox Live." said Ben Herman, SNK NEOGEO USA CONSUMER CORPORATION President.


    SVC CHAOS PRODUCT FEATURES:

  • Choose famous characters such as Mega Man, Shiki or Athena.
  • A total of 34 characters from SNK and CAPCOM are playable from the beginning.
  • Multiple modes of play including Arcade, Versus and Practice.
  • Utilize the special or super special moves unique to each character.
  • Max out the 3 levels of the power gauge to increase effectiveness of the special moves.
  • Strategically adjust the timing of your attacks by using the Forward Ground Step Move.
  • Go beyond the Super Special Move with the exclusive Exceed Move to inflict massive damage.

    Xbox Live and Xfire Team Up for Extreme Giveaway
    Steve @ 2:27 PM EDT
    Microsoft today announced that Xbox® Live™, the world's only online console games service, and Xfire, the leading online PC game platform, are teaming up to give Xbox Live and Xfire gamers a chance to win high-end prizes. Members of both Xbox Live and Xfire will be given the chance to win an extreme Xbox Live prize package that includes an Xbox, one year of free Xbox Live service, a library of Live-enabled games, a set of Spherex 5.1 surround sound speakers, an Xbox networking wireless-G adapter and a custom Plantronics Halo® 2 headset. Those same members can also register for a chance to win a high-performance Compaq X GX5000 series Gaming PC complete with 17” flat screen monitor. Registered Xbox Live and Xfire gamers who are over 17 years of age should visit Xbox Live ( http://www.xbox.com/en-us/promotions/xfire.htm) for the official rules and to register for the Xbox Live prize package and (http://www.xfire.com/) to register for the Xfire Compaq X gaming PC.

    "We've admired how Xfire makes it easy for PC gamers to play online and how quickly they've built a great gamer community," said Julia Miller, director, Xbox Live. "We're pleased that Xfire will be introducing their community to our service, and we think that a lot of their users will really enjoy playing online with Xbox Live."

    Mike Cassidy, CEO of Xfire added, "We think Xbox Live is a terrific service, and many of our Xfire users are already Xbox Live gamers. We're very excited about introducing Xbox Live gamers to Xfire for those times they want to connect to each other and play PC games."

    Ubisoft Announces Cold Fear
    Steve @ 2:21 PM EDT
    San Francisco, CA-October 6, 2004 - Ubisoft, one of the world's largest video game publishers, today announced that it will be publishing Cold FearTM, the first action-horror title under the Ubisoft brand. Developed by Darkworks, the game will launch simultaneously for the PlayStation(r)2 computer entertainment system, the Xbox(r) video game system from Microsoft and PC-CD Rom. Cold Fear is slated for release in March 2005.

    Cold Fear renews the horror genre by combining the popular elements of both action and horror releases, delivering an action-packed, fear-filled gaming experience.

    "We're excited to make our debut in the horror genre with a unique title like Cold Fear," said Tony Kee, Vice-President of Marketing for Ubisoft. "It falls into a previously un-tapped category of realistic action-horror gameplay, including vast environments and a disturbingly plausible storyline."

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

    Prince of Persia: Warrior Pre-Sell Program
    Steve @ 2:13 PM EDT
    In celebration of the upcoming release of Prince of Persia: Warrior Within™, Ubisoft announces a pre-sell program: pre-order Prince of Persia: Warrior Within and receive a collector’s edition art book featuring 36 pages of art and developer commentaries.

    "Prince of Persia: Warrior Within boasts a completely unique and impressive aesthetic, and we wanted to do something different to showcase the artistic talent of the development team," said Ubisoft's Vice President of Marketing, Tony Kee. "The collector's edition art book delivers an exclusive insider's look at one of Fall's most incredible-looking video games, and is a must-have item for fans of the legendary franchise."

    Wrapped in a special pre-order package, the soft cover art book will contain concept art and finalized high-resolution images from Prince of Persia: Warrior Within as well as developer commentaries from the
    Producer and lead artists.

    Beginning October 8th, place five-dollars towards the purchase of Prince of Persia: Warrior Within, retailing at $39.99, and receive the special collector’s edition art book. Pre-order Prince of Persia: Warrior Within at GameStop, Electronic Boutique or Game Crazy.

    PRINCE OF PERSIA: WARRIOR WITHIN releases November 16th for the Sony
    PlayStation®2, Microsoft Xbox™, Nintendo GameCube™ and PC.

    Rainbow Six 3 Black Arrow: New Content
    Steve @ 2:10 PM EDT
    Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six 3 Black Arrow: New Content for Xbox Live’s #1 Game!

    Load your weapons and ready your grenades – five new maps for Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six 3 Black Arrow will be available shortly for download via Xbox Live. Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six 3 Black Arrow debuted at #1 when it launched in early August, and has held that position despite heavy competition from some powerhouse releases – and now fans will have even more reason to spend time online hooking up with friends and saving the world.

    Ubisoft has already released one map free of charge – Village, which will be followed by a four-map package (Assault Pack #1) that will cost only $5.00 – a pittance for four intense levels packed with fast-paced close-quarter action, and hours of replayability. Look for the four new maps of the Assault Pack within the next several weeks.

    CURRENTLY AVAILABLE:
    VILLAGE (free of charge)
    Location: Levanto, Italy
    Village is a small, intense map ideal for teams of five or less. Two open areas filled with cover are surrounded by small houses which can be used to change section. Plenty of strong spots to defend, but be sure to work in team since each spot has its counter...

    Wednesday, October 6, 2004

    Conflict: Vietnam Now Available
    Steve @ 2:03 PM EDT
    Global Star Software, a publishing label of Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. today announced that Conflict: Vietnam is currently available in retail stores throughout North America for the PlayStation(R)2 computer entertainment system, the Xbox(R) videogame system from Microsoft and PC. Transporting the Conflict series from the deserts of the Middle East to the jungles of Vietnam, Conflict: Vietnam builds upon the signature squad based gameplay that has sold over 1.4 million units in North America.

    "Moving the Conflict series into a Vietnam setting has provided us with a wealth of new gameplay opportunities that are sure to please both existing fans of the series as well as newcomers," said Christoph Hartmann, Senior Vice President of Publishing for Global Star Software. "Through the use of story, enhanced gameplay, audio and graphics, we've been able to create an experience that's both a unique and exciting entry into the genre."

    Conflict: Vietnam is a squad based action game that puts players in the shoes of four barely trained 101st Airborne soldiers who are caught countless miles behind enemy lines during the 1968 Tet Offensive. It is up to the player to use all four members of the squad and utilize their different abilities in order to successfully traverse through booby trap filled terrain, loaded with North Vietnamese and Viet Cong soldiers. The objective isn't to win the war; the objective is to make it out alive.

    Features Include:

  • The third game in the hugely successful Conflict series.

  • Fourteen enormous missions will take players deep into the Vietnamese jungle, through small villages, into ruined temples, and down Viet Cong tunnel complexes.

  • Dynamic lighting, vegetation that shifts with wind and movement, an abundance of animals, and lush environments bring the jungle to life.

  • Use performance-based points after each mission to develop your characters in 9 skill categories such as Sniper, Medic, and Demolitions.

  • A revitalized control scheme allows context sensitive commands such as giving covering fire, guarding civilians, and flanking enemies.

  • Splitting paths give players varying options in how to finish missions. Bonus objectives drive players to discover and explore more.

  • An era-specific arsenal of over 20 weapons including assault rifles, mortars, and .50 caliber machine guns.

  • A wide range of vehicles puts your squad behind the wheel of APCs, jeeps, tanks, helicopters and river boats.

  • Paranoia inducing AI with enemies that set booby traps, strike from hidden areas, and coordinate their attacks in an environment that they are the masters of.

    Conflict: Vietnam is rated 'M' for Mature and is currently available for the PlayStation(R)2 computer entertainment system and the Xbox(R) videogame system from Microsoft, each at a suggested retail price of $39.99. Also available is the PC version, at a suggested retail price of $29.99. For more information on Conflict: Vietnam please visit http://www.globalstarsoftware.com

    Monday, October 4, 2004

    Tony Hawk’s Underground 2 Released
    Steve @ 5:27 PM EDT
    Santa Monica, CA – October 4, 2004 – Available in retail outlets worldwide beginning this week, Activision Inc.’s Tony Hawk’s Underground 2 catapults players into an all-out skating blitzkrieg led by skateboarding legend Tony Hawk and Bam Margera, the star of MTV’s “Jackass” and “Viva La Bam.” The game delivers a hilarious new story mode and a classic mode that features signature Tony Hawk’s Pro Skaterâ goals and levels, as well as more customization and moves than the skate gods could dream of. Conquering sick terrain, wreaking havoc and pulling off mischievous pranks on and off their boards, players are sent on a crazy adventure and challenged to make a variety of international cities their personal stomping grounds.

    Having received a review score of 9.75 out of 10 from industry magazine Game Informer, Tony Hawk’s Underground 2 is on track to continue the franchise’s critical acclaim. “If you love the Tony Hawk games, this is by far the pinnacle of the series and a must for fans," said Andy McNamara, editor-in-chief, Game Informer.

    THUG 2 is available for the PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system, the Xbox® video game system from Microsoft, and the Nintendo GameCube™ for a suggested retail price of $49.99 and has been rated “T” (Teen – with blood, crude humor, language, suggestive themes, use of alcohol and violence) by the ESRB. The PC/CD-ROM version of THUGä 2 is now available for a suggested retail price of $39.99 and has been rated “T” (Teen – with blood, crude humor, language, suggestive themes, use of alcohol and violence) by the ESRB. The Game BoyŇ Advance version of THUGä 2 is now available for a suggested retail price of $29.99 and has been rated “E” (“Everyone – animated blood – content suitable for persons ages 6 and older”) by the ESRB.

    “Tony Hawk’s Underground 2 marks another evolutionary step forward for the franchise,” said Kathy Vrabeck, president, Activision Publishing. “With Bam Margera bringing his signature humor to the story mode, new and expanded player controls and customization features, highly interactive levels, dozens of characters to skate as, and an in-depth classic mode, THUGä 2 is the most complete Tony Hawk videogame to-date.”

    Tony Hawk’s Underground 2 picks up where THUG™ left off, but now players can play as themselves or switch to play as one of over 20 pro teammates and special guest skaters. Building upon the unparalleled level of customization, gamers can now create their own designs to use as their graffiti tags, shirt logos or deck graphics with the all-new Create-a-Graphic feature, in addition to creating their own skaters, skate parks, tricks and goals. New player controls, both on and off the board include sticker slaps, slow motion focus control, hilarious tantrums, rideable objects, projectiles and graffiti tagging.

    Tony Hawk’s Underground 2 also features an in-depth Classic Mode, where players can experience the all new THUGä 2 levels in addition to select THPS™ levels as they compete against a two-minute timer in order to complete all-time favorite goals such as S-K-A-T-E, “secret tape,” and “high score.” PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system players can go online and experience new games, downloadable content and a robust in-game messaging feature in addition to improved stat tracking and online rankings.

    Tony Hawk’s Underground 2 was developed for the PlayStationâ2 computer entertainment system, the Xbox video game system from Microsoft and Nintendo GameCube by Neversoft Entertainment, for the Game Boy Advance by Vicarious Visions and for the PC by Beenox Studio. BradyGames' Tony Hawk’s Underground 2 Official Strategy Guide is available at electronics, book, and software retailers nationwide, and online at http://www.bradygames.com

    Mortal Kombat: Deception Ships
    Steve @ 5:24 PM EDT
    CHICAGO – October 4, 2004 – Midway Games Inc., a leading software industry publisher and developer, announced today that Mortal Kombat ®: Deception ™, the latest entry in the company’s best-selling Mortal Kombat franchise, has shipped for the PlayStation ®2 computer entertainment system and the Xbox ® video game system from Microsoft. The game will be backed by the most extensive marketing campaign in Midway’s history. The multi-million dollar marketing support for Mortal Kombat: Deception includes television, cinema, print and online advertising, innovative point-of-purchase materials and specialized events.

    “Midway, along with the millions of MK fans around the globe, is extremely excited about the release of Mortal Kombat: Deception,” said Steve Allison, chief marketing officer, Midway. “The Deception team has worked diligently over the past two years to ensure that this MK title will be the best yet. Not only will it be the first ever 3D fighter to be playable online via both the PlayStation 2 and Xbox Live ™, but the team has also succeeded in meeting a goal that some thought wasn’t going to be possible…they made a fighting game that plays as responsive online as it does offline. To support these ambitious efforts and hefty accomplishments, we are backing Mortal Kombat: Deception with the most extensive marketing campaign in Midway’s company history.”

    Mortal Kombat : Deception pushes martial arts-style fighting and the Mortal Kombat franchise to new heights with an innovative fighting system, unparalleled depth and brutally intense action that will appeal to long-time Mortal Kombat fans as well as next-generation gamers. The game features lightning-fast, hand-to-hand and special weapons combat, secret and returning characters, new moves and combinations with death-dealing battles and all-new life-threatening environments.

    Building upon the successful formula of the 2002 Midway release, Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance ™ (on pace to eclipse 3 million units sold by year’s end), Mortal Kombat: Deception is set to deliver the most ambitious fighting game to-date. Including four independent gameplay modes, multiple new fatalities per character, as well as being the first-ever 3D fighting game playable online both via PlayStation 2 broadband and Xbox Live ™, Mortal Kombat: Deception has quickly become one of the most anticipated titles this 2004 holiday season.

    Marketing Highlights for Mortal Kombat: Deception Include:

  • National television advertising campaign on multiple mainstream broadcast and cable networks including Fox, MTV, Spike, Comedy Central, UPN, ESPN amongst others creating 136 million impressions during the months of October and November
  • Dedicated national 30 second cinema spot running in nearly 2000 theaters on over 5000 screens reaching over 17 million movie viewers during the month of October
  • Aggressive online campaign to top-tier enthusiast sites including Gamespot.com, IGN.com, UGO.com, and Gamespy.com amongst others
  • Dedicated web presence at http://www.mortalkombatdeception.com
  • Print advertising campaign across multiple major video game and consumer publications
  • National point-of-purchase programs at major game retailers including EB Games, GameStop and Wal-Mart amongst others
  • Five unique Mortal Kombat: Deception “Limited Edition” sets featuring distinctive packaging, 40 minutes of bonus DVD video content, serialized Kollector’s Kards and an arcade perfect playable version of the original Mortal Kombat
  • Special launch events including the rooftop unveiling at E3 2004

    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 TM and Game Boy ® Advance.

    Kingdom Under Fire: The Crusaders Gone Gold
    Steve @ 5:13 PM EDT
    Microsoft today announced that the Xbox® action-strategy game, Kingdom Under Fire: The Crusaders, has gone gold and is set to ship to retail stores on October 12. The medieval struggle between the dark legion and the human race is upon this world. Players will have their choice to command both bad and good forces in an epic battle for the Holy Lands or take their medieval warriors onto Xbox Live™ in head-to-head deathmatch action. For an estimated retail price (U.S.) of $39.99, players have nothing to lose... except maybe a little blood.

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