NewsPro Archive

September 2003

Tuesday, September 30, 2003

ESPN NBA Basketball New 24/7 Mode
Steve @ 4:51 PM EDT
SAN RAFAEL, CA - (September 24, 2003) - ESPN Videogames today announced details surrounding 24/7 mode, the hottest new way to play ESPN NBA Basketball, where gamers can create a player and participate in a series of one-on-one match-ups to gain access to a locker full of unlockable, virtual items. ESPN NBA Basketball will be available at retailers nationwide this October for the PlayStation(R)2 computer
entertainment system and the Xbox(TM) videogame system from Microsoft(R). ESPN Videogames titles are produced by Visual Concepts - Sega's sports studios.

The first step in 24/7 Mode is to create a player, choosing from one of dozens of physical attributes. Once height, weight and physical features are determined, the player will be able to hit the court and play one-on-one or two-on-two match ups. Each new player starts with minimal abilities and requires skills training in a variety of
disciplines such as free throws, dribbling, passing and more to help get them ready for their successive match-ups.

Once a player is fully trained in the basics, challenges take place on
street courts and indoor arenas in various cities across the United States and overseas. Gamers can challenge or be challenged by opponents in online play for both the PlayStation2 computer entertainment system and the Microsoft Xbox console or challenge computer controlled athletes offline.

The in-console clock keeps track of appointments as players call for
on-court meetings in real time. Allen Iverson might be available for a challenge in Philadelphia at 2 p.m. for a one-on-one game; players must sync their watches with their hardware system's clock because this mode plays out in real time. In 24/7 Mode, winning is everything as more virtual accessories and items become unlocked after each match-up and following the execution of key moves.

Unlockable items range from new courts to athletic apparel to accessories not typically found on the hardwood. Items include
jerseys, shoes and wristbands a player can don for a game as well as
some less-than-traditional accessories, including fuzzy bunny slippers, night vision goggles and a guitar that players can strap to their back as they hit the court. If the user gets tired of beating up the computer and yearns for a human challenge, he or she can take the "decked out" player online for street games with other customized opponents. In this mode, players will be compelled to ask others online for advice on who they need to play against or what challenge
they need to overcome to obtain specific items.

For 2-on-2 match-ups, gamers will need to find a partner to take on another duo. To get connected with a partner on the court, they'll have to beat him first. Once a player has won in a one-on-one game
in 24/7 Mode, the opponents phone number will be entered into the
created players' cell phone. From that point on, a partner is just a phone call away.

In 24/7 Mode, practice makes perfect and gamers must work to keep their players in top physical condition through competitions and training drills, or they will lose their skills.

Soul Calibur II Still Making Namco History
Steve @ 4:44 PM EDT
San Jose, Ca., (September 30, 2003) – Leading video games publisher, Namco Hometek Inc. announced previously that SOULCALIBUR®II, the sequel to one of the most revered weapons-based fighter video games of all-time, had shipped over 1.6 million units on its first day, the largest day one release in the history of Namco’s U.S. division. Just four weeks after the historical launch date of August 26, Namco has sold through over 50% of its initial shipment of SOULCALIBUR®II units.

“We are extremely pleased with SOULCALIBUR®II’s sales performance after just one month on the retail shelves,” said Namco’s Senior Vice President of Sales, Garry Cole. “By far this is Namco’s best U.S. product launch to date, and we’re confident this positive momentum will continue through the holiday season.”

SOULCALIBUR®II is available on the PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system, the Nintendo GameCube and the Xbox® video game system from Microsoft. The game features improved game play, upgraded graphics and a variety of game modes. SOULCALIBUR®II also received the “Best Fighting Game” award at the 2003 Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles. Along with additional game content unique to the U.S. version, SOULCALIBUR®II features 10 game modes, console-exclusive characters, a host of unlockable characters and arenas, and over 200 collectible weapons and items.

The Search for the World's Sexiest Gamer
Steve @ 4:03 PM EDT
London, UK. - (September 30, 2003) – In order to prove once and for all that computer and video gaming has moved from geekiness to sexiness, Gamer.tv – a games site devoted to the world and lifestyle of video games and online games, today launched The Search For The Sexiest Gamer contest at www.sexiestgamer.com.

The Search For The Sexiest Gamer contest is a two-month campaign. The initial rounds will be covered online, with the grand finale on December 12 in Los Angeles. From the finalists, one male and one female winner will be selected to win an all expenses paid trip to London, UK.

There will also be a Search For the Sexiest Gamer held simultaneously in the UK with the prize of a trip to Hollywood.

Contestants for The Search For The Sexiest Gamer can be male or female but have to be over the age of 18 and able to prove in due course that they are genuine computer and video gamers through a series of tough tests set up by Gamer.tv. Visitors will be able to submit their photographs for the competition on September 25, 2003 and voting will begin on October 2, 2003, when all visitors will be able rate the sexiness of each entrant on a scale of 1-10.

“Speaking as a gamer myself, we’re fed up with being labeled as playground geeks. So Gamer.tv has decided to dispel this myth by showing that gamers can be sexy people -,” commented Chris Bergstresser, CEO of Gamer.tv.

For more details or to take part in Gamer.tv’s Search For The Sexiest Gamer, please go to http://www.sexiestgamer.com or http://www.gamer.tv

Yet Another Online Rental Company Opens: Gamerang
Steve @ 3:56 PM EDT
Costa Mesa, Ca., (September 30, 2003) – New online video game rental company, Gamerang, officially announced today its entrance into the interactive entertainment market. Led by software and games industry veterans, Gamerang is looking to provide consumers with a superior solution for their video game rental needs. Located at www.gamerang.com, the company offers thousands of video games for rental, from the top new releases found on all the next generation game console platforms, to vintage classics.

“As a parent of four girls and a gamer myself, I was constantly frustrated with our video game rental options,” said Greg Gentling, co-founder of Gamerang. “Our family could never find the games we wanted to rent at retail outlets, online rental options were nearly non-existent, and buying all the games my family desired just wasn’t cost effective. Because we understood this need and because we love games, we started Gamerang.”

Gamerang offers tremendous value to consumers by providing the games they want delivered quickly, with multi-tiered pricing that is ideal for individuals and families alike. A single monthly membership is $14.95 and lets members rent as many games as they want each month, provided members check out the games one at a time. A double monthly membership is $19.95 and lets members check out two games at once. For gamers or families of gamers who want to enjoy more than two games at once, each additional membership is $7.95 per month. There are no other online video game rental services that allow members to rent more than two video games at a time. There are no late fees and Gamerang also offers a free 10-day trial of the service.

“In order for Gamerang to be successful in this competitive marketplace, we have to provide superior customer service,” adds Gentling. “We have built a system that saves time and maximizes convenience so kids, teens, and adults don’t have to spend time searching all over for the games they want to play when they could be playing them. Our quick delivery of games separates us from the rest of the market. We also know that in order to grow, we need to continue developing a base of highly satisfied customers who encourage their friends to become Gamerang members.” To that end, Gamerang offers a $5 bounty for each new Gamerang member that an existing member signs up (provided the new member remains a member for a minimum of three months time).

Rental requests are processed within 24 hours and consumers can expect to receive their games within one to three days, in a prepaid mailer. Gamerang also offers free shipping and free return postage on rented games via an enclosed, postage pre-paid envelope.

Members are encouraged to create a video game rental “Choice List” found in their online Gamerang account. As soon as they return a game, the next game on their Choice List is sent out. Members can even pre-order a yet-to-be-released game and expect to receive it one to three days from the published street date. Gamerang also offers parents a special parental control feature, which allows parents to view and modify their children’s Choice Lists to restrict them from renting teen or mature-rated titles.

For more information about the company and service log onto: http://www.gamerang.com

Monday, September 29, 2003

Atari Announces the Release of Dungeons & Dragons Heroes
Steve @ 11:58 PM EDT
BEVERLY, MA, Sept. 29, 2003 - Atari, under license from Hasbro, Inc., today announced the highly anticipated Dungeons & Dragons® Heroes, the first Dungeons & Dragons® branded adventure ever to hit a next-generation game console, exclusively for the Xbox® Video Game System from Microsoft has shipped to retail this week. Dungeons & Dragons Heroes features revolutionary four player coop play that allows up to four players to join or leave a game at anytime and play cooperatively through the single-player campaign.

Dungeons & Dragons Heroes includes the ability to play as one of four resurrected D&D heroes (Fighter, Wizard, Cleric & Rogue) each carved from archetype figures drawn from the D&D universe owned by Wizards of the Coast Inc., a subsidiary of Hasbro. Each Hero is equipped with 40-plus combat moves and special abilities unique to their character. There are also authentic D&D Monsters, many drawn directly from the third edition of Dungeons & Dragons Monster Manual; a Skills, Feats and Character Building system inspired by the third edition of the Dungeons & Dragons Player's Handbook; interactive levels spanning multiple environments ranging from a working forge to a magically suspended castle in the sky; and impressive spell and magical effects with weapon and magical upgrades appearing on the in-game characters.

"We are extremely pleased to offer gamers an adventure of such epic proportions with true hack and slash gameplay that appeals to both die hard D&D fans, as well as RPG devotees," said Nancy MacIntyre, vice president of marketing for Atari. "From the coop play to the incredible lighting and visually stunning spell and magic effects, Dungeons & Dragons Heroes delivers an incredibly detailed and robust gaming experience."

The game focuses around combat and developing a character, "The Hero", as players journey through the game's levels to collect all of the Planar Gems and vanquish the evil force that threatens to end life as we know it. Dungeons & Dragons Heroes features gorgeously detailed characters in lush environments that are rich for adventuring, each populated with monsters, treasures and sinister traps. Players can experience the harrowing twists and turns along the path to righteousness, conquering dungeons and other planes of existence never before seen in full 3D and live a Hero's life.

Developed by Atari's own Hunt Valley studio, Dungeons & Dragons Heroes is now available at retail outlets for a suggested retail price of $49.95. For more information, please visit www.danddheroes.com or www.atari.com

Friday, September 26, 2003

Jade Empire Now Officially in Development
Steve @ 5:04 PM EDT
TOKYO - Sept. 26, 2003 - Microsoft Corp. and BioWare Corp. today announced that "Jade Empire," a fast-paced martial arts action role-playing game (RPG), is currently in development by critically acclaimed RPG developer BioWare, exclusively for the Microsoft® Xbox® video game system. BioWare, whose publishing relationship with Microsoft for this product was announced one year ago at the X02 North America event in New York, has most recently been recognized for its highly successful game "Star Wars®: Knights of the Old Republic™."

"We're thrilled that BioWare's next big game will be available only on Xbox," said Ed Fries, vice president of Microsoft game content. "'Jade Empire' is sure to deliver a game experience that's truly unique and exciting with our Xbox fans in mind."

"Jade Empire" is set in a new fantastical world based on mythical China, where sinister events have upset the peaceful harmony of an isolated martial arts school. Featuring furious action previously found only in Hong Kong cinema, the game lets players master more than 30 fighting styles and a wide range of mystical powers as they embark on a perilous journey, stretching from the Land of Howling Spirits to the lush gardens of the Imperial City.

"Jade Empire" casts players in the role of a martial arts master and lets them choose between good and evil, choices that will follow them throughout the land, changing the course of interaction with other characters and followers. Developed with a revolutionary second-generation Xbox engine, the game will offer fans a stunning visual and gameplay experience.

"BioWare has enjoyed great critical and commercial success working with existing world-class intellectual properties," said Ray Muzyka, joint CEO and co-executive producer at BioWare. "'Jade Empire' is the first totally new role-playing world created at BioWare, and we're very excited about bringing the world of 'Jade Empire' to life."

"BioWare has been thinking about crafting a martial arts action RPG as far back as during development of 'Baldur's Gate,' over five years ago. We can't wait to share this new world with our fans," said Greg Zeschuk, joint CEO and co-executive producer at BioWare.

"The incredible success of 'Knights of the Old Republic' proves that BioWare knows how to make an engaging RPG," Fries said.

Spawn Now Known as Spawn: Armageddon
Steve @ 3:55 PM EDT
San Jose, Ca., September 25, 2003 - Namco Hometek Inc. announced today the full name of their Todd McFarlane inspired epic, Spawn: Armageddon. Due to hit retail stores nationwide this November on the next-generation consoles, Spawn: Armageddon is a thrilling, mission-based action/adventure game that thrusts players into the role of the infamous anti-hero Spawn.

Spawn: Armageddon is set against the backdrop of a darker, near-future New York City environment, where Spawn is caught between the factions in the battle of Good vs. Evil. The intuitive controls allow players to maneuver their way through various interactive and destructible environments which include 25 missions with more than 60 sublevels, as Spawn struggles to break free of the controlling forces of Heaven and Hell. Based on the first 99 comic books in the Spawn series, Spawn: Armageddon features all of Spawns signature abilities including his vast arsenal of weapons, Hell powers, superhuman strength and his living, symbiotic costume.
For additional information on Spawn: Armageddon, visit http://www.namco.com

Thursday, September 25, 2003

Midway Releases NHL Hitz Pro
Steve @ 3:40 PM EDT
Midway Sports(TM), the sports brand of leading software industry publisher and developer Midway Games Inc., announced today that NHL(R) Hitz(R) Pro, the re-invented version of the NHL(R) Hitz videogame franchise, shipped today for the PlayStation(R)2 computer entertainment system, the Xbox(R) video game system from Microsoft and Nintendo GameCube(TM).

Nationwide focus testing of sports videogamers produced a clear message: gamers applaud the Midway Sports trademark arcade-style gameplay and intense action but also want to experience their favorite teams, players, and stadiums in an authentic professional sports context. Midway answered the call by taking NHL(R) Hitz in a new direction.

Officially licensed by the NHL(R) and the NHLPA and featuring real NHL(R) teams and athletes, NHL(R) Hitz Pro retains the well-known Midway Sports "edge," but with a new emphasis on realistic NHL(R) features such as 5-on-5 gameplay (including goalies), league penalties and violations, and live online gameplay for the PlayStation(R)2 computer entertainment system.

"Gamers can still enjoy the extreme-style hockey gameplay that made the franchise a success, but with an all-new authenticity that die-hard hockey fans demand," said Helene Sheeler, vice president of marketing, Midway.

The head-to-head online play in NHL(R) Hitz Pro features online player rankings and tournaments. NHL(R) Hitz Pro also includes 100 percent NHL(R) legitimate, 23-man player rosters that bring together pro players and authentic team lines with real offensive and defensive team formations in precise correlation with each NHL(R) team.

New gameplay flexibility is built into NHL(R) Hitz Pro to give gamers more control to experience hockey the way they like it. Gamers can dial-in the exact level of gameplay intensity that they enjoy with the new "slider" capabilities. A few quick adjustments in the game set-up menu and gamers can change the rules of the game, the speed of the players on the ice while even the frequency of checks and fights can be increased or decreased.

NHL(R) Hitz Pro includes an improved AI so authentic that gamers will think they are playing with the NHL(R) pros. Goalie animations feature logic and behavior that realistically capture and feature everything from stick saves to stoning a knee-buckling 5-hole shot to slapping the ice with five seconds left in a power play. Gamers also have the ability to score from anywhere on the ice and will feel the tension and strain of NHL(R) action with a new Player Fatigue System that causes them to tire out after experiencing tough checks.

Playing on accurately diagrammed rinks, players will get cheers and jeers from the realistic crowd that reacts to the action on the ice. Additionally, an upgraded Franchise Mode allows players to build a Dynasty and manage every aspect of the team; a re-tooled Hockey School Mode teaches and tests gamers' hockey skills; and a Multiplayer Tournament Mode allows gamers to set up tournaments with up to 16 teams.

In addition, Midway has an exclusive deal with Nicklas Lidstrom, star defenseman of the Detroit Red Wings(R). Lidstrom appears on the packaging and cover art for the game and also brings his big hits to NHL(R) Hitz Pro's DVD section. Viewed as one of the top defensemen in the NHL(R), Lidstrom is a four-time finalist and recipient of the coveted Norris Trophy and member of the 2003 Western Conference All-Star team.

kill.switch Countdown
Steve @ 12:20 AM EDT
The official countdown has begun. Leading video games publisher Namco Hometek Inc. is less than 6 weeks away from the release of kill.switch, the company's highly anticipated third-person shooter game for the PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system and the Xbox® video game system from Microsoft. The game's release marks an important milestone for Namco Hometek Inc., as kill.switch is the largest internally developed project this season for the company. With an official release date scheduled for October 28, players are days away from learning the game's highly secretive storyline for the first time.

An intense and immersive military shooter, kill.switch delivers true-to-life cover tactics and explosive firepower, offering players a totally unique combat experience. Powered by the game's Offensive Cover System, kill.switch sets a new standard in the action shooter genre by demanding the use of realistic cover tactics, requiring players to take advantage of the surrounding environment as they assault the enemy. If the action gets too intense, players can even use Blindfire to shoot without looking, forcing enemies to seek cover of their own. A cinematic storyline takes players to hotspots around the world, making kill.switch a must-have title for action gamers this season. Ready to take action? Log onto the game's official Web site at http://www.killswitch.com for more information.

Wednesday, September 24, 2003

Play Thrice on Xbox Live and Win Autographed CD's
Steve @ 11:53 PM EDT
These guys know how to rip up the tunes, and they think they know a thing or two about gaming. Your chance is coming to take them on first hand, talk trash, and hang with them on Xbox Live. Dustin, Teppei, Eddie, and Riley will be giving away free autographed copies of the new Thrice CD, The Artist in the Ambulance, to those they deem worthy—either by virtue of their gameplay, their trash-talking, or their merit as a member of the Xbox Live community. They’ll be playing Return to Castle Wolfenstein, Inside Pitch 2003, and other games to be announced later.

It’s all gonna happen on Thursday, September 25, at 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time (That's 2:00 for you West Coast gamers). So join in for three hours of non-stop game bashing.

What do I do?

We'll be posting Thrice’s Gamertag right here on xbox.com/live on Monday, September 22. Add the ‘tag to your Friends List, and then we'll either invite you or you can invite them to join in the action. If you're not an Xbox Live member yet, go out, get the Xbox Live Starter Kit, and buy Return to Castle Wolfenstein and Inside Pitch 2003. You might wanna get some practice in so you don’t embarrass yourself…

About Thrice

Thrice's new album, The Artist in the Ambulance, is in stores now, featuring the single "All That's Left." For more information on Thrice, visit their Web site at http://www.thrice.net

http://www.xbox.com/en-US/live/events/Online-PlayTheBand-Thrice.htm

Tuesday, September 23, 2003

NHL Hitz Pro Sweepstakes
Steve @ 9:08 PM EDT
CHICAGO – September 23, 2003 – Midway Sports™, the sports brand of leading software industry publisher and developer Midway Games Inc., announced it will kick-off a national sweepstakes that gives hockey fans a chance to win a 2004 Dodge Durango on December 10, 2003, among other prizes.

“The sweepstakes are a hockey fan’s dream come true, featuring prizes such as a 2004 Dodge Durango, tickets to a live NHL event as well as the authentic and edgy action on ice that only NHL Hitz Pro offers,” said Helene Sheeler, vice president of marketing, Midway.

Midway game fans can participate in the sweepstakes and view rules by logging on to http://www.nhlhitzprosweeps.com to enter to win:

Ø One (1) Grand Prize package – An all-new 2004 Dodge Durango decked out in NHLâ Hitz Pro branding.
Ø One (1) First Prize – A trip for two (2) to the 2004 NHL All-Star Game in Minnesota.
Ø One (1) Second Prize – Consists of a 50” widescreen TV, Surround Sound System, XBox Videogame System, Midway games and NHL Center Ice Package.
Ø Two hundred (200) Third Prizes – A copy of NHL Hitz Pro videogame.

NBA JAM Now Shipping
Steve @ 6:44 PM EDT
GLEN COVE, NY, September 23, 2003 - Lacing up its high tops and taking to the air with its legendary NBA video game action, Acclaim Entertainment, Inc. today announced that it has shipped its eagerly anticipated title, NBA JAM, for the PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system and the Xbox® video game system from Microsoft. Developed by Acclaim Studios Austin, NBA JAM returns with its trademark over-the-top, arcade-style 3-on-3 gameplay, "On Fire," "Big Head" mode and hot spots, as well as all-new rim-rocking moves specifically designed for the next-generation gaming systems.

"NBA JAM is back and it's bigger and better than ever," said David Knies, Director of Brand for Acclaim Entertainment, Inc. "We've designed a game that delivers all of the trademark characteristics that have made NBA JAM a multimillion unit-selling brand, and offer tons of new features that are sure to have fans of all ages screaming BOOMSHAKALAKA!"

NBA JAM includes:

* All of the popular NBA JAM trademark features, including over-the-top 3-on-3 gameplay, "On-Fire" and "Big Head" modes, no fouls, Hotspots, monster dunks and surprising hidden characters and teams;
* All 29 current NBA teams, players and arenas, plus many famous retired NBA arenas and outdoor playground courts;
* Over 70 of the NBA's greatest players from the past 50 years in the all-new Legends Tournament. Including Magic Johnson, Julius Irving, Larry Bird and many others;
* Journey through the NBA of the 1950's - 1990's with era-specific music, uniforms, hairstyles, commentary and moves;
* Over 700 new motion captured animations, including signature moves for current NBA All-Stars and Legends;
* Numerous game modes, including quick-play Exhibition, NBA JAM Tournament, and NBA Legends Tournament;
* All-new Create-A-Player which allows players to build their very own court warrior;
* Purchase upgraded attributes, apparel, cheat codes and other surprises in the all-new JAM Store;
* Commentary by Tim Kitzrow, the original "boomshakalaka" voice of NBA JAM;
* Up to four player multi-player option on Xbox and six player multi-player option on PlayStation®2;
* Three original tracks created by Grammy-winning recording legend Bootsy Collins, as well as his color commentary during Legends' Mode;
* Downloadable secret characters available exclusively on Xbox(tm) Live.

NBA JAM is currently available for Xbox and the PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system, each at suggested retail prices of $49.99. For more information on NBA JAM please visit http://www.nbajam.com

Xbox's Market Share Growing Going Into Holiday Season
Steve @ 5:34 PM EDT
REDMOND, Wash. - Sept. 23, 2003 - Fueled by a highly touted lineup of new game titles and the growing popularity of its unified online gaming service, Microsoft® Xbox is outpacing the industry as the only next-generation console to continuously demonstrate positive market share growth on a year-over-year basis (August 2002 to August 2003). According to NPD Group Inc., (NPD Funworld TRSTS, August 2003), sales of the Xbox console increased 6 percent from this same period last year, while the Sony's PlayStation 2 dropped 36 percent and Nintendo's GameCube fell 22 percent. Xbox now captures 27 percent of the United States industry market share for next-generation consoles and is on track to capture additional market share this holiday season.

Along with the momentum for Xbox hardware, August sales of Xbox software grew faster than on both PlayStation 2 and GameCube, up 58 percent for this same period last year. Pulling in two of the top four best-selling titles and four of the top 10 in August, the Xbox cumulative attach rate increased to 5.8, the highest on record for any next-generation console after 22 months on the market. Xbox top sellers included "Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Island Thunder" by Ubi Soft Entertainment, "Soul Calibur II" by Namco, "Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic" by LucasArts, and EA's "Madden 2004."

Xbox Live™, the premiere online gaming service, saw a 17 percent leap in sales of Xbox Live Starter Kit in August. Supplementing this achievement was the launch of XSN Sports, the first truly virtual online sports league for any Xbox Live-enabled video game featuring the XSN Sports logo, including "NFL Fever 2004" from Microsoft Game Studios. Xbox Live, the world's most intense unified gaming service, offers gamers a consistent, reliable and exhilarating experience. With its unified approach, Xbox Live allows gamers to easily find their friends online, match up with players of all skill levels and quickly jump into their favorite games with friends and foes around the world.

In the coming weeks, eight more countries will launch the Xbox Live service. They are Korea, Austria, Australia, Denmark, Finland, Ireland, Norway and Switzerland. By the holiday season, more than 50 action-packed Xbox games will be Xbox Live-enabled, more online games than any competing console claims.

Accelerating its marketplace velocity, last week's launch of a special holiday promotion is already proving popular with consumers. Priced at $179.99, this limited-time offer includes the powerful Xbox console, a two-month trial subscription to Xbox Live*, the blockbuster game "Star Wars: The Clone Wars" by LucasArts and THQ's "Tetris Worlds Live," an enhanced version of the classic favorite optimized for online play.

"The latest data is really a harbinger of what we expect to see this holiday season," said Mitch Koch, vice president, retail sales and marketing for the home and entertainment division at Microsoft. "With close to 400 games, a global Xbox Live community, 50 Xbox Live-enabled games, and a holiday promotion that offers tremendous value, Xbox is appealing to an ever-growing audience of thrill-seekers."

The momentous success of Xbox will continue with the release of this year's hot holiday title lineup, with exclusives such as "Ninja Gaiden" (Tecmo), "Star Wars Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy" (LucasArts) and "Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six 3" (Ubi Soft) and a diverse first-party lineup showcasing Counter-Strike, Crimson Skies®: High Road to Revenge™, Grabbed by the Ghoulies™, Project Gotham Racing® 2, Xbox Music Mixer, and XSN Sports-enhanced Amped® 2 and Top Spin™, providing new and exciting entertainment experiences for gamers of all ages.

NHL Hitz Pro: Feature List and Lidstrom & Bowman on Cover
Steve @ 1:25 AM EDT
CHICAGO – September 22, 2003 – Midway Sports™, the sports brand of leading software industry publisher and developer Midway Games Inc., announced today that NHL Hitz Pro will feature cover athlete Nicklas Lidstrom, star defenseman of the Detroit Red Wings, as well as coaching legend Scotty Bowman. NHL Hitz Pro, the reinvented version of the successful NHL Hitz videogame franchise, is in development and scheduled to ship September 25, 2003 for the PlayStation2 computer entertainment system, the Xbox video game system from Microsoft and Nintendo GameCube™.

Lidstrom consults on the game as well as appears on the packaging and cover art for NHL Hitz Pro while bringing his big hits to the game’s DVD section. The 33-year-old Swede is viewed as one of the top defensemen in the NHLâ. He is a four-time finalist and recipient of the coveted Norris Trophy and most recently, a member of the 2003 Western Conference All-Star team.

Bowman, the winningest coach in NHL history, retired in 2002 following his ninth championship season. Today the Detroit Red Wingsâ continue to benefit from his consulting expertise. Midway’s NHLâ Hitz Pro also tapped into Bowman’s vast knowledge for insight on audio game tips in the Hockey School Mode.

“We are naturally ecstatic to have two Stanley Cup veterans in Lidstrom and Bowman,” said Helene Sheeler, vice president of marketing, Midway. “Their expertise helped tremendously in delivering the added realism that will be the staple of the reinvented NHL Hitz Pro.”

Officially licensed by the NHLâ and the NHLPA and featuring real NHLâ teams and athletes, NHLâ Hitz Pro retains the well-known Midway Sports “edge,” but with a new emphasis on realistic NHLâ features such as 5-on-5 gameplay, league penalties and violations, and live online gameplay for the PlayStation2 computer entertainment system.
The head-to-head online play in NHL Hitz Pro features online player rankings and tournaments. NHL Hitz Pro also includes 100 percent NHL legitimate, 23-man player rosters that bring together pro players and authentic team lines with real offensive and defensive team formations in precise correlation with each NHL team.

Additionally, new gameplay flexibility is built into NHL Hitz Pro to give gamers more control in order to experience hockey the way they like it. Gamers can dial-in the exact gameplay that they enjoy with the new “slider” capabilities. With just a few quick adjustments in the game set-up menu, gamers can change the rules of the game, the speed of the players on the ice and the frequency of checks and fights can be increased or decreased.

NHLâ Hitz Pro includes an improved AI so authentic that gamers will think they are playing with the NHLâ pros. Goalie animations feature logic and behavior that realistically capture and feature everything from stick saves to stoning a knee-buckling 5-hole shot to slapping the ice with five seconds left in a power play. Gamers also have the ability to score from anywhere on the ice and will feel the tension and strain of NHLâ action with a new hit-based Player Fatigue System that causes them to tire out after experiencing tough checks.

Playing on accurately diagrammed rinks, players will get cheers and jeers from the realistic crowd that reacts to the action on the ice. Additionally, an upgraded Franchise Mode allows players to build a Dynasty and lead their team into the NHL; a re-tooled Hockey School Mode teaches and tests gamers’ hockey skills; and a Multiplayer Tournament Mode allows a virtually unlimited number of online gamers to challenge each other for dominance in multiple tournament tiers.


NHL Hitz Pro Key Features:

· New 5-on-5 Gameplay – Just the way hockey is played in the NHL, 5-on-5. Every team, every player, and every position.

· Full NHLâ Penalties and Violations – From offsides to two-line passing and cross-checking, all NHL penalties will be enforced in NHL Hitz Pro.

· 23-Man Player Rosters – 100% legitimate NHL rosters as of July 21, 2003. All players are available and all authentic team lines are ready to score on goal.

· Real Stadiums – NHL arenas are accurately diagrammed in NHL Hitz Pro.
· Unique Offensive and Defensive Team Formations – Over 400 unique plays and variations, and NHL team and player capabilities are based on their actual NHL performance.

· Player Fatigue System – Just as in a real hockey game, the more the player gets checked to the ice, the more tired they become.

· Line Changes – See your line becoming tired or spot a mismatch in the defensive team and switch up your line to have the freshest players on the ice.

· Legitimate Stick Handling – Just like the real players in the NHL, glide and move the puck back and forth like a yo-yo near the net, through the use of the right analog stick. NHL Hitz Pro offers the most realistic stick and puck handling of any hockey game to date.

· Realistic Crowd Reactions – For the first time, a sports videogame will accurately recreate a realistic crowd and player emotion based on the flow of the game. You might get a “ho-hum” reaction from the crowd and your teammates by scoring a goal to go up 8-0 against your opponent, but the crowd will flip out and your teammates will rush you when you score the game-winning goal in overtime.

· New Color Commentary – Midway is adding a second commentator to the booth, veteran sportscaster Harry Teinowitz, and he’ll give you his take on the game as well as the lowdown on some of your favorite NHL players.

· Upgraded Franchise Mode – The Franchise Mode option lets you build a Dynasty and manage your team. Draft and trade players at your whim! Choose the offensive strategy and plot the perfect defensive scheme to prevent other teams from abusing your squad. After you create the perfect strategy, now determine who starts, and who gets left behind on the bench in your quest to earn Hero Equipment and join the NHL.

· Re-tooled Hockey School Mode – NHL Hitz Pro features restructured Hockey School where the game player is taught and the skills tested. Your instructor will introduce a young NHLâ All-Star to tell you a little more about what is important in hockey, as well as provide NHL Hitz Pro game tips.

· Score from Anywhere on the Ice – NHLâ Hitz Pro now has multiple new ways to score, new context-sensitive plays like wraparounds and deflections.

· Advanced Options – With different tunable settings and sliders, you can completely customize your gaming experience, from game speed, shot and pass accuracy, hitting power and goalie skill right down to frequency of poke checks and body checks.

· Enhanced Fantasy Draft – Choose your favorite team and begin your NHLâ season from the absolute beginning where all players become free game and are eligible for the draft. Feel like an NHLâ owner and all the pressures that come when trying to construct a team from scratch.

· Improved AI – Smarter players, realistic offensive and defensive behavior. NHL Hitz Pro delivers such realistic AI, you’ll think you’re playing one of your friends.

· Improved Goalie Animations – NHL Hitz Pro has gone to great lengths to ensure the best and most realistic goalie animations in the history of the franchise. From stick saves to butterfly saves and smothering the puck, if a goalie can make the impossible save in the NHL, he can make it in NHL Hitz Pro.

· Improved Goalie Logic and Behavior – From poking the puck away from the attacker, to sprinting to the bench with one minute left in the game to give your team the one-man advantage. Goalies in NHLâ Hitz Pro behave and react like the real thing in the NHL.

· New Motion Capture Animations – From new checks, slap shots and goalie animations, NHLâ Hitz Pro improves on more than 1,500 motion-captured animations in the game.

· Killer Soundtrack – New material from some of the best names in the business including Dry Kill Logic, Kazzer, Powerman 5000 and Diffuser as well as gritty, high-energy rock from newcomers Exit This Side and Flipswitch make the NHL Hitz Pro soundtrack a collectors item.

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 GameCubeTM and Game Boy® Advance.

For more information about Midway Games and NHL Hitz 20-04 visit http://www.nhlhitz.midway.com



Friday, September 19, 2003

NFL Blitz Pro New Info & Features
Steve @ 12:03 AM EDT
What is Pro?

In short, NFL Blitz has gone Pro, giving gamers what they asked for - the next step for the NFL Blitz franchise. Midway Sports has kept the fast and furious gameplay gamers around the world have enjoyed for years, but stepped it up a notch. With added realism and a franchise mode, you can't stop NFL Blitz Pro. Blitz Pro also features All-Pro Terrell Owens in exclusive DVD content that will have you soil your pants.

What is new in Pro?

· New 11-on-11 Gameplay – Every team, every position and all your favorite players.
· New Blitz-Style Running Game – Experience the grittiest, most exciting running game ever created with powerful up-the-gut runs, head-spinning reverses, counter fakes and other fantastic plays.
· All-New AI – The days of catch-up code are gone; created from scratch, NFL Blitz Pro’s defenses and offenses work just as they do on the gridiron.
· New Motion-Capture and Animations – Silky-smooth tackles, runs, and catches put you in the middle of the action with incredible authenticity and Blitz-style aggression.
· New Interactive Sidelines – Watch where you step out of bounds – NFL Blitz Pro’s sidelines are teeming with coaches, players,
cheerleaders, benches and tables filled with Gatorade.

Thursday, September 18, 2003

ESPN NBA Basketball to Feature IsoMotion
Steve @ 5:35 PM EDT
SAN RAFAEL, CA - (September 18, 2003) - ESPN Videogames today announced details surrounding a revolutionary new feature for ESPN NBA Basketball called IsoMotion(TM) - allowing players to control both sides of the court by locking down opponents in a one-on-one encounter. This feature will be available exclusively in the upcoming release of ESPN NBA Basketball. ESPN NBA Basketball and other ESPN Videogames titles are produced by Visual Concepts - Sega's sports developer.

Taking "control" to the next level, IsoMotion lets gamers execute one offensive move and then build upon it, allowing them to execute a crossover, spin, hesitate and, finally, take a quick step back and go for the three - all in one fluid movement. The defensive game is also taken to previously unseen heights with IsoMotion. Defensive players will now be able to react to every offensive move - blocking open lanes; stopping drives while judging direction; and potentially drawing the charge - creating true one-on-one "isolation" play within the game.

"'ESPN NBA Basketball's' all-new ball-handling system combines the best of both offensive athleticism and defensive reaction skills," said Greg Thomas, president of Visual Concepts. "Basketball video games have historically focused primarily on offense, allowing players to make only one move at a time. IsoMotion gives sports gamers a chance to concentrate on both sides of the court, combining countless moves into one play."

IsoMotion simulates the real interaction between the offense and defense, not only by allowing offensive players to find the open lane, but also by giving defensive players the chance to stop them in their tracks and force a turnover. Allowing users to sequence both offensive and defensive techniques, the feature adds both skill-based and reflexive play.

Developed by Visual Concepts - makers of the critically acclaimed "SEGA Sports NBA 2K" series - ESPN NBA Basketball builds on the franchise's success as one of the best basketball simulations ever made by introducing more than double the animations and by creating incredibly innovative features like "IsoMotion."

ESPN NBA Basketball will be available at retailers nationwide this October and will be available for both the PlayStation(R)2 computer entertainment system and the Xbox(TM) videogame system from Microsoft(R).

NBA JAM Goes Gold for Xbox
Steve @ 5:09 PM EDT
World-Renowned Arcade-Style Basketball Brand Returns on September 23rd
With Over-the-Top 3-on-3 Gameplay and Downloads on Xbox(tm) Live

GLEN COVE, NY, September 18, 2003 - Owners of the Xbox(tm) video game system from Microsoft will soon be chanting "BOOMSHAKALAKA!", as Acclaim Entertainment, Inc. today announced that its eagerly anticipated arcade basketball franchise, NBA JAM, has "gone gold" and into manufacturing for the console system. NBA JAM will be available for both Xbox(tm) and PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system on September 23rd.

Developed by Acclaim Studios Austin, NBA JAM, the Granddaddy of all arcade-style basketball games, has sold more than 6 million units worldwide. This fall, NBA JAM returns with its trademark over-the-top, arcade-style 3-on-3 gameplay, "On Fire," "Big Head" mode and hot spots, as well as all-new rim-rocking moves specifically designed for the next-generation gaming systems.

"We're pleased to bring the NBA JAM brand to Xbox(tm) for the very first time, and hope that owners of the system will enjoy playing the latest installment of our basketball franchise," said David Knies, Director of Brand for Acclaim Entertainment, Inc. "Every aspect of NBA JAM is now bigger, better and more exciting than ever before, which is sure to bridge the gap between veterans and new fans of the
brand."

NBA JAM includes:

* All of the popular NBA JAM trademark features, including over-the-top 3-on-3 gameplay, "On-Fire" and "Big Head" modes, no fouls, Hotspots, monster dunks and surprising hidden characters and teams;

* All 29 current NBA teams, players and arenas, plus many famous retired NBA arenas and outdoor playground courts;

* Over 70 of the NBA's greatest players from the past 50 years in the all-new Legends Tournament. Including Magic Johnson, Julius Irving, Larry Bird and many others;

* Journey through the NBA of the 1950's - 1990's with era-specific music, uniforms, hairstyles, commentary and moves;

* Over 700 new motion captured animations, including signature moves for current NBA All-Stars and Legends;

* Numerous game modes, including quick-play Exhibition, NBA JAM Tournament, and NBA Legends Tournament;

* All-new Create-A-Player which allows players to build their very own court warrior;

* Purchase upgraded attributes, apparel, cheat codes and other surprises in the all-new JAM Store;

* Commentary by Tim Kitzrow, the original "boomshakalaka" voice of NBA JAM;

* Up to four player multi-player option on Xbox(tm) and six player multi-player option on PlayStation®2;

* Three original tracks created by Grammy-winning recording legend Bootsy Collins, as well as his color commentary during Legends' Mode;

* Downloadable secret characters via Xbox(tm) Live.

NBA JAM will be available for Xbox(tm) and the PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system on September 23rd, each at suggested retail prices of $49.99. For more information on NBA JAM please visit
http://www.nbajam.com

Wednesday, September 17, 2003

Top 10 Xbox Games for August 2003
Steve @ 7:57 PM EDT
These are official numbers from NPD.

1. Madden NFL 2004 - EA
2. Soul Calibur II - Namco
3. Ghost Recon: Island Thunder - Ubi Soft
4. Star Wars: KOTOR - LucasArts
5. Halo - Microsoft
6. NCAA Football 2004 - EA
7. Midnight Club II - Rockstar Games
8. NFL Fever 2004 - Microsoft
9. Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind - Bethesda
10. Big Mutha Truckers - THQ

Karaoke Hitting Xbox Soon
Steve @ 7:26 PM EDT
Microsoft today announced its partnership with Eatsleepmusic Corporation (http://www.eatsleepmusic.com) to provide downloadable karaoke songs for Microsoft's breakout party title, Xbox Music Mixer. This downloadable content will be available the moment Xbox Music Mixer hits retail shelves on October 14 for a suggested retail price of $39.99 (U.S.).

With over 20,000 songs from artists such as Nelly, Faith Hill, The Beatles and Good Charlotte, Eatsleepmusic is the ultimate karaoke resource. Visit www.xboxkaraoke.com, download your favorite tunes to your PC, transfer them to your Xbox and get the party rocking with Xbox Music Mixer. Partiers also have the option to download “packs” of music via Xbox Live. Shortly after launch there will be 10 packs of songs offered with five songs per pack, each selling for approximately $10 (U.S.). Additional packs will be served up regularly with nearly 30 available for download by this holiday.

Take the party to the next level with the multipurpose Xbox Music Mixer. Transfer favorite MP3s, audio files and digital photos from PC to Xbox effortlessly with the Xbox Music Mixer PC Transfer Tool. Enter the Rave Mode to add real-time audio effects and transitions to music selections, creating the ultimate sensory experience. The Xbox Music Player feature breathes new life into music, with options to mix, match, shuffle and add dazzling 2-D and 3-D on-screen visual effects. Transform ordinary photos into incredible multimedia slide shows with the Photo Album Viewer; complete with synched music, sound effects and even narratives. And when the party is about to hit its stride, bring down the house with the Karaoke feature. Grab the included microphone and showcase your vocal talents (or lack thereof) by singing along with more than a dozen karaoke hits from a variety of artists. Or, take it to the next level with a little free-form action. With digital vocal-stripping technology, you can remove the vocals from your favorite CDs and audio files -- making nearly any karaoke request possible. Once you get it right, record your performances for playback anytime. Now it’s even easier to create the ultimate party right in your living room.

Tuesday, September 16, 2003

RalliSport Challenge 2 Joins XSN Sports
Steve @ 5:47 PM EDT
First Racing Title Under XSN Sports Brand Features Amazing Online Capabilities

REDMOND, Wash. — Sept. 16, 2003 — Microsoft Game Studios today announced that “RalliSport Challenge 2,” the highly anticipated second installment in the internationally acclaimed “RalliSport Challenge” franchise, will be the first Xbox® racing title in the new XSN Sports brand. The game is scheduled to be available in the spring of 2004. “RalliSport Challenge 2” joins other announced XSN Sports games shipping this fall, including “Amped® 2,” “Links® 2004,” “NBA Inside Drive 2004,” “NFL Fever 2004,” “NHL Rivals 2004” and “Top Spin™.” “RalliSport Challenge 2” is being developed by Digital Illusions CE.

Combining the high-octane action of numerous rally sports into one game, “RalliSport Challenge 2” offers gamers several new features, such as online play via the Xbox Live™ service, the ability to set up personal rally tournaments using XSNsports.com, and more than 40 of the most challenging rally cars, including the infamous Group B cars that were banned from racing because of how dangerous they were.

“With the addition of XSN Sports technology, ‘RalliSport Challenge 2’ will redefine the racing genre,” said Ed Fries, vice president of Microsoft® game content at Microsoft Corp. “Gamers have been looking for ways to compete at an entirely new level. XSN Sports takes them to that level by tracking times and organizing tournaments to find out who truly is the best racer in the world.”

XSN Sports and “RalliSport Challenge 2” will enable gamers to battle their friends in a personalized and password-protected rally circuit, challenge top-ranked online competitors in a worldwide tournament, or settle scores with bitter rivals — all from the comfort of their living room. XSNsports.com will provide gamers with their own virtual sports page of their exploits and broadcast up-to-date times and standings every 15 minutes.*

In addition, “RalliSport Challenge 2” will showcase a variety of new features:

  • Five unique rally sports: conventional Rally, Hill Climb, Rallycross, Ice Racing and the new Crossover Duel

  • An updated graphics engine with realistic vehicle physics, complete with damage modeling and performance degradation

  • Tracks from Australia, the frozen Nordic tundra and the Pacific Northwest in variable weather conditions including rain, snow and fog

  • New camera angles that focus on spectacular crashes

    Xbox Wireless Adapter
    Steve @ 4:05 PM EDT
    REDMOND, Wash. -- Sept. 16, 2003 -- Microsoft Corp. today unveiled Wireless-G, an innovative Wi-Fi®-certified 802.11g wireless networking solution. Utilizing powerful security technologies, the new lineup of wireless networking products enables consumers to simply share a broadband Internet connection, information files, printers and more between all the computers in the home - at up to five times the speed of a typical 802.11b wireless network.

    The new products introduced today are Microsoft® Wireless Base Station MN-700, a router with an integrated 802.11g wireless access point and four-point Ethernet switch; Wireless Notebook Adapter MN-720, which adds a notebook computer to the wireless network; Wireless PCI Adapter MN-730, which adds a desktop computer to the network; Wireless Notebook Kit MN-820, with everything users need to create a wireless network for a desktop and notebook; and Xbox® Wireless Adapter MN-740, the only comprehensive, first-party solution for high- performance Xbox gaming without the hassle of wires.

    "Wi-Fi is an exploding technology with adoption growing at a rapid pace," said Todd Greenberg, product manager for Microsoft Broadband Networking. "Microsoft Wireless-G products feature standards- based technology to ensure compatibility; an enhanced, proprietary Setup Wizard for easy network setup; and premier security out of the box, making it easy for consumers to join this trend."

    Key features of Microsoft Wireless-G include the following:

    Easy installation. Microsoft Wireless-G is designed to make high- performance wireless home networking easy. An enhanced Setup Wizard provides step-by-step instructions for installation and enables additional PCs to be added to the network quickly and efficiently.

    Auto Update. Microsoft's proprietary Auto Update service automatically sends a message when updates are available, keeping consumers up to date with ever-changing software enhancements. The Wireless Base Station MN-700 is powered by Windows® CE .NET 4.2, enabling Microsoft, its partners and other developers to create additional applications and benefits for customers.

    Premier security. Wireless-G helps keep the network safe from wireless eavesdroppers with premier, easy-to-use security features, including Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA). In addition, Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP) is automatically turned on by the Setup Wizard and a stateful packet inspection (SPI) hardware firewall helps protect users from Internet intruders.

    High performance at the speed of G. Wireless-G supports speeds of up to 54 Mbps and includes Parental Controls, the first key feature written for the flexible Windows CE platform. Parental controls allow parents or employers enhanced control over access to Internet content via the network.

    Innovations in wireless gaming. Co-developed by Xbox and Microsoft Broadband Networking, Xbox Wireless Adapter enables gamers to play on the Xbox Live™ service from any Xbox-connected television in the home - without wires - by adding Xbox to an existing 802.11g or 802.11b Wi-Fi network.

    Supporting Industry Standards

    The newest products from Microsoft Broadband Networking are ratified by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), have Wi-Fi interoperability certification, and are compatible with existing wireless networks and hot spots.

    "To reach its full potential, Wi-Fi depends on standards-based technologies that combine high performance and tight security in an easy-to-use consumer package," said Jonathan Gaw, research manager for home networking at IDC. "Certified interoperability, performance, security and simplicity in installation and maintenance, such as what is available from Microsoft, will be key to the spread of wireless networks both in the home and at public hot spots."

    Leading With the Right Partners

    "We are excited that Microsoft is launching Wireless-G with Broadcom technology, which provides the best solution for consumers and small businesses transitioning to 54Mbps Wi-Fi networks," said Clint Brown, director of Business Development in the Home and Wireless Networking Business Unit at Broadcom. "Microsoft's unique software enhancements will allow customers to experience maximum performance, greater range and robust security offered by 54g™-based products."

    Why Go Wi-Fi

    The fact that 30 million Americans log on to the Internet at home with a broadband connection indicates a growing need for Wi-Fi technology.* The benefits of Wi-Fi include the following:

    Sharing a broadband Internet connection. For example, Wireless-G from Microsoft makes it easy for Mom to work online while her kids use the same Internet connection for schoolwork from a different computer - all without the hassle and mess of wires.

    Enjoying the freedom of Internet access. With a wireless home network, Internet access is no longer tied to the wall. In the home, networked laptop users can stay connected to the Internet settings from the living room to the deck. On the road, the Internet can be accessed via thousands of public hot spots, often found in cafes, hotel lobbies and other well-traveled areas.

    Sharing files, printers and information between computers. With a wireless network, consumers no longer have to e-mail or save large files to a disk to access the data on multiple computers. Saving information to the shared network drive makes information available on any networked computer, at any time.

    Interactive, online gameplay - without wires. With Xbox Wireless Adapter, gamers can play on Xbox Live without a cumbersome Ethernet cord running from the Broadband Internet connection to the Xbox console by adding Xbox to an existing 802.11g or 802.11b Wi-Fi network. Once Xbox is added to a network, gamers can wirelessly experience Xbox Live gaming from any Xbox-connected television in the home, without messy cables or holes in the wall.

    Product Availability

    The new products will be widely available to consumers at the end of September 2003 for the following estimated retail prices**:

    Microsoft Wireless Base Station MN-700 $109
    Wireless Notebook Adapter MN-720 $84.95
    Wireless PCI Adapter MN-730 $84.95
    Wireless Notebook Kit MN-820 $179
    Xbox Wireless Adapter MN-740 $139







    Blue and Green Controllers Now Available
    Steve @ 3:44 PM EDT
    Microsoft today announced that new blue and green controllers are now available on North American store shelves for an estimated retail price of $29.99 (U.S.). In March, Xbox.com asked gamers to vote for their favorite new controller, each design featuring bold colors worthy of sitting side-by-side with the famed black and green Xbox color scheme. More than 50,000 gamers responded to the online poll; and overwhelmingly, gamers rallied behind the blue and green designs. Rather than select just one new color, Microsoft decided to offer both blue and green options to gamers. The controllers are sold separately and join the black Xbox Controller S on retail shelves.

    WWE Raw 2 Ships to Stores
    Steve @ 3:36 AM EDT
    CALABASAS HILLS, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Sept. 15, 2003--THQ(R) Inc. and JAKKS Pacific, Inc. today announced the release of their highly anticipated World Wrestling Entertainment(TM) licensed video game, "WWE(TM) Raw(TM) 2" for the Xbox(TM) video game system from Microsoft(R). "WWE Raw 2" allows players to go one-on-one with some of the biggest Superstars in the WWE. "WWE Raw 2" is available now at major retail outlets throughout North America.

    "THQ prides itself on creating a unique World Wrestling Entertainment(TM) experience on each video game console and we are excited to release `WWE Raw 2' as the next installment of WWE action exclusively for Xbox," said Peter Dille, senior vice president, worldwide marketing, THQ. "With retail success in excess of $350 million in the U.S. alone, THQ continues to strengthen its position as the premiere publisher of authentic wrestling games for every console."

    "`WWE Raw 2' for Xbox has enhanced graphics and gameplay, and the deepest story mode to date," said Nelo Lucich, Vice President of Interactive, JAKKS Pacific. "Now WWE gamers can use the multi-player feature in story mode. They can choose from an updated roster of more than 60 highly detailed WWE Superstars to recreate matches in eight new fully modeled arenas and a variety of new backstage areas."

    About "WWE Raw 2" For Xbox

    Developed by Anchor, "WWE Raw 2" features an updated roster of more than 60 WWE Superstars, including Goldberg(TM), Kurt Angle(TM), Brock Lesnar(TM), Stone Cold Steve Austin(TM), The Undertaker(R), and also an updated Create-a-Superstar mode. New features include an all-new multi-player season mode that allows up to four players to battle for the championship with their favorite WWE Superstars. In addition to the all-new season mode, "WWE Raw 2" features multiple match types, including Triple Threat(TM); Fatal 4 Way(TM); Battle Royal; Hell in a Cell(TM); King of the Ring(R); and Tables, Ladders and Chairs(TM).

    Full Spectrum Warrior to be Shown at X03
    Steve @ 3:34 AM EDT
    THQ Inc. today announced plans to unveil the first playable version of the highly anticipated "Full Spectrum Warrior" for the Xbox(TM) videogame system from Microsoft at Microsoft's annual Xbox gaming event, X03. Developed by Pandemic Studios, "Full Spectrum Warrior" is an original tactical-action military game scheduled for release in early 2004.

    "With its unique tactical-action style of gameplay and roots as an actual U.S. Army training simulator, `Full Spectrum Warrior' allows players to experience the precision and emotion of modern day military operations," said Jack Sorensen, executive vice president of worldwide studios, THQ. "We're delighted with initial press response to the game and believe X03 is the perfect opportunity to give game industry opinion leaders their first hands-on experience with `Full Spectrum Warrior'."

    About "Full Spectrum Warrior"

    "Full Spectrum Warrior" is based on a light infantry-training simulator designed by Pandemic Studios for the U.S. Army as a tool to reinforce Army doctrine and squad tactics among troops. "Full Spectrum Warrior" is a squad-based, tactical-action game that delivers the experience of squad level command in the heat of battle. The product was developed with expertise from University of Southern California's Institute for Creative Technologies, which worked with Pandemic to bring state-of-the-art technology to the game. Designed to simulate today's challenges of urban combat missions, "Full Spectrum Warrior" delivers a level of realism and accuracy that has never been seen in a military-based game.

    Microsoft Teams up with Atari
    Steve @ 3:33 AM EDT
    Note: This is Non-Xbox related, but it is related to the industry.

    NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Sept. 15, 2003--Atari, Inc. has entered into a licensing agreement with Microsoft Game Studios under which Atari will be the exclusive U.S. jewel case distributor for select Windows titles developed by Microsoft Game Studios.

    Under the terms of the agreement, which extends through June 2006, Atari will republish and distribute jewel case versions of several best-selling Microsoft Game Studios titles, including: Age of Empires(R)(tm) -- Gold Edition, Microsoft(R) Flight Simulator(tm)'98, Links LS 2000, Combat Flight Simulator(tm) -- WWII Europe Series, Pandora's Box, Bicycle(R) Casino, Bicycle Card Games, Bicycle Board Games, Crimson Skies(tm), Starlancer(tm) and Pinball Arcade.

    "We're delighted to expand our relationship with Microsoft Game Studios in this manner and to add this group of products to our distribution line-up," said Ezra Chen, Vice President, Product Acquisition for Atari, Inc. "The combination of Microsoft's strong titles with Atari's distribution network should yield great results for both companies."

    "Atari's widespread distribution allows us to extend the lifecycle of great products, giving consumers additional opportunities to experience some of the industry's strongest franchises," said Ed Ventura, Director, Microsoft Game Studios. "We recognize the importance and the potential of the value-priced games category, and Atari is the ideal partner to offer our games in the U.S. market."

    Secret Codes for TMNT to be in Action Figures
    Steve @ 3:29 AM EDT
    REDWOOD CITY, CALIF. - September 15, 2003 - Leading videogame publisher Konami of America, Inc., a subsidiary of Konami Corporation, today announced a massive cross-promotion with Playmates Toys. According to the agreement, Playmates Toys will promote the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (TMNT) videogames by including secret game codes in over 1.2 million TMNT ACTION FIGURES. The secret codes unlock special features in the TMNT videogames that will be released on October 21, 2003.

    Additionally, the two companies will add to the rich TMNT world by introducing fans to three new foes - The Foot Gunner, The Evil Turtlebot and The Giant Mouser that will be exclusive to the videogames and action figures. These characters have been created by the videogame development team at Konami Computer Entertainment Studios. In December 2003, Playmates Toys will introduce The Foot Gunner to its line of action figures, and in Spring 2004, the company will launch The Evil Turtlebot and The Giant Mouser action figures.

    "As interactive software, videogames are an exciting medium for offering players un-lockable features," said Erica Mason, product manager, Konami of America, Inc. "This innovative promotion gives us the opportunity to enrich the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles world and deliver an added value to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles games and toys."

    "Working with Konami on the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles promotion - the first of its kind - has been outstanding in helping Playmates provide more entertainment value to our line of TMNT action figures and playsets, which will provide more value for our fans," said Jill Will, Senior Vice President, Marketing, Playmates Toys, Inc.

    The TMNT videogames feature non-stop, kick-butt action and are based on the hit animated TV series airing Saturday mornings on FOXBOX. The videogames will feature the full cast of characters from the TV show and will star the show's voice actors.

    In the TMNT videogames, gamers will battle their way through more than 35 stages of intense ninja-style kick-butt action courtesy of four lean, mean and green Turtles. Featuring vibrant cell-shaded graphics, entertaining gameplay and secret/unlockable features, TMNT shells out action with a punch!

    Konami's TMNT videogame will be released on October 21, 2003 for the Sony PlayStation® 2, Xbox(tm) video game system from Microsoft, Nintendo GameCube®, Nintendo Game Boy® Advance and PC CD-ROM.

    To learn more about Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, please visit: http://www.konami.com/tmnt

    Xbox Holiday Offer: Plans Revealed
    Steve @ 3:08 AM EDT
    REDMOND, Wash. - Sept. 15, 2003 - Gamers, gift givers, adrenaline fanatics and entertainment enthusiasts throughout North America are in video game nirvana today as Microsoft Corp. unveiled plans for a special Xbox® holiday offer. The specially priced promotion, available at some retailers as early as Sept. 17, features the powerful Microsoft® Xbox console, a two-month trial subscription to the highly acclaimed Xbox Live™ service, the blockbuster game "Star Wars®: The Clone Wars™" from LucasArts and THQ Inc.'s "Tetris® Worlds™ Live," an enhanced version of the perennial favorite optimized for online play.

    With a torrent of new action-packed titles, a flood of innovative new features, and the surging popularity of the unified Xbox Live online gaming service, Xbox already has claimed the top spot on many wish lists this year. Approximately 400 games will be available by the holiday season, satiating gamers of all skill levels and interests. Breakthroughs such as Music Mixer and XSN Sports titles further expand the appeal of Xbox, while the console's built-in Ethernet port means gamers can plug into the 500,000-member-strong Xbox Live community.

    "By offering Xbox with two super-premium games and a trial Xbox Live subscription, we're giving consumers an easy and affordable way to bring the complete Xbox entertainment experience into their homes this holiday," said Mitch Koch, vice president, retail sales and marketing for the home and entertainment division at Microsoft. "There's never been a better time to buy Xbox."

    Retailers are bracing for a deluge of Xbox demand fueled by today's announcement, stocking up for what promises to be the busiest holiday season yet for the games industry. Recent studies from the Entertainment Software Association indicate that video games have burst onto the pop culture scene with fervor, attracting new legions of digital entertainment fanatics.

    "When Xbox came out two seasons ago, we experienced heightened sales to the hard-core gamers," said Pete Roithmayr, vice president of merchandising for EB Games. "This year, due to the impressive lineup of new releases and the added value of the Xbox holiday offer, we're expecting that Xbox will appeal to a much broader, mass-market consumer audience."

    Offer Features Premium Games

    With wrapping paper off and Xbox plugged in, families can immediately jump into two exhilarating titles shipping with the offer. The first, "Star Wars: The Clone Wars" by LucasArts, is a high-intensity adventure incorporating popular characters, vehicles and settings from "Star Wars: Episode II." Players can change vehicles during battle and pilot an array of units from the arsenal of the Republic, including a speeder bike, AT-SX assault walker, fighter tank and Republic gunship.

    The second game, "Tetris Worlds Live" by THQ, takes everything gamers love about the addictive puzzle game "Tetris" and enhances it with beautiful 3-D graphics and all-new game elements, including online play. Tapping into Xbox Live, "Tetris" fans can test their block-dropping skills against other players all over the world. The "Tetris Worlds Live" community will be constantly updated so players will be able to view their online ranking.

    Xbox Live Trial Makes Online Play a Snap

    The holiday offer includes a two-month trial subscription to Xbox Live so new owners can join the throngs of gamers playing on Xbox Live right away. And because Xbox has a built-in Ethernet port and was engineered from the very start for online play, no bulky adapters are needed. The trial grants gamers full membership privileges on the unified Xbox Live service, meaning one Gamertag (network identity) works across all Xbox Live games and makes it easy to find friends online. New Live-enabled titles such as "Project Gotham Racing® 2," "Counter-Strike," "Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six 3" and "XIII" bring the number of online games to 50, making Xbox Live the most engaging online gaming service available.

    Holiday Offer Available in One Box Oct. 15

    For early-bird holiday shoppers anxious to get a jump on this special promotion, many official Xbox retailers will offer the holiday pricing as early as Sept. 17. (Free games and trial offers will simply be provided at checkout.) The console, games and trial Xbox Live offer will be packaged conveniently into one box starting Oct. 15.

    NBA JAM Soundtrack Unveiled
    Steve @ 3:02 AM EDT
    GLEN COVE, NY, September 15, 2003 – Combining high-flying, over-the-top NBA action with arena-rocking, jump-out-of-your-seat music, Acclaim Entertainment, Inc. today unveiled the in-game music soundtrack for its eagerly anticipated launch of NBA JAM. Featuring three original tracks created by recording legend Bootsy Collins specifically for NBA JAM, the soundtrack also features other top-selling artists including James Brown, Smokey Robinson, Peaches and Herb, Kool & The Gang, Rick James, Bel Biv Devoe, Tag Team, Deuce, F.O.S. and SubUrban. NBA JAM, a proven video game brand with over 6 million units sold worldwide, slams home on September 30 for the next-generation consoles.

    “One of the many aspects that differentiates NBA JAM from other video games is how we approach the history of the game – decade by decade,” said David Knies, Director of Acclaim Sports. “Creating a dynamic in-game soundtrack that enhances this experience is one of the ways we build upon our NBA JAM brand. Bootsy’s contributions to the soundtrack reflect NBA JAM’s distinctive personality and entertainment experience.”

    “I’ve been in the music business for a long time and have been fortunate enough to work with lots of the industry’s top musicians and artists of all cultures,” said Bootsy Collins. “However, nothing could have been more funky-fun-fantastic, than having the experience of creating music for this video game, NBA JAM it's in a class all by it self. Uhh! Classic that is.”

    Collins worked directly with Acclaim’s Cincinnati Studio to write, perform and produce two original songs for the soundtrack: “Jam On,” and “Big Ballin.” He also helped write and performed on “Jam Show.” Collins is also featured as an in-game guest commentator throughout the 1970’s era alongside Tim Kitzrow, the original voice of NBA JAM. An accomplished singer, bass player, guitarist and songwriter, he has worked with a wide-range of artists throughout his thirty-five year career, including George Clinton, James Brown, Bobby Womack, Keith Richards, Herbie Hancock, Buckethead, Snoop Dogg, Public Enemy, Ice Cube, Fat Joe and Lady Miss Kier of Deee-Lite, to name a few. In 2002, Collins scored a Grammy Award for Best Music Video for his single “Weapon Of Choice,” a song he collaborated on with Fatboy Slim, from his album “Halfway Between The Gutter and The Stars.”

    Acclaim’s official NBA JAM in-game music soundtrack includes:

    Pre 1970's

    Chuck Berry - “Johnny B. Goode”
    Jr. Walker & The All-Stars – “Shotgun”
    King Floyd – “Groove Me”
    Smokey Robinson – “Tears of a Clown”
    James Brown – “I Got You (I Feel Good)”

    1970's

    Kool & The Gang – “Funky Stuff”
    James Brown – “Sex Machine”
    Rufus/Chaka Khan – “You Got the Love”
    James Gang – “Funk #49”
    Peaches and Herb – “Shake Your Groove Thing”


    1980's

    Kurtis Blow – “Basketball”
    Cameo – “Word Up”
    ErikB/Rakim – “Paid In Full”
    Rick James – “Super Freak”

    1990's

    Tag Team – “Whoomp! There It Is”
    Bel Biv Devoe – “Above The Rim”
    Deuce – “Dazzey Duks”
    Jurassic 5 – “The Game”

    Current Era
    Bootsy Collins – “Big Ballin”
    Bootsy Collins – “Jam On”
    Grits – “Make Room”
    Numbs – “Without a Doubt”
    F.O.S. – “What Yall Kids Want (Instrumental)”
    F.O.S. – “1,2,3 (Instrumental)”
    SubUrban – “WhaddaYaLuv”
    SubUrban – “On Tha Microphone”
    SubUrban – “Freax”
    SubUrban – “OOOOHWfff”
    SubUrban – “Car Ridin' Material”
    SubUrban - “Word”

    Redesigned from the ground-up for the next-generation gaming systems, NBA JAM brings supercharged NBA play to life with over-the-top, arcade-style, 3-on-3 basketball featuring all 29 official NBA teams, more than 170 superstars (including 72 NBA Legends) and authentic courts, high-flying dunks and power-ups and hidden secrets that are synonymous with the NBA JAM brand.

    NBA JAM will be available on September 30 for the PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system and the Xbox video game system from Microsoft each at the suggested retail price of $49.99. For a complete list of features and to order NBA JAM, please visit http://www.acclaim.com

    Friday, September 12, 2003

    Phantom Dust Announced
    Steve @ 7:31 PM EDT
    Microsoft Game Studios today announced the upcoming release of Phantom Dust™, an Xbox® exclusive third-person action game in which players battle opponents in real-time combat with an ever-growing arsenal of over 300 skills. The title is being developed internally by Microsoft Game Studios Japan and is currently scheduled for a Japanese release in 2004.

    Phantom Dust is set in a destructible post-apocalyptic futuristic environment where players must harness powerful skills for use in combat, both in single-player missions and against other players via Xbox Live. With more than 300 skills to obtain, players can create their own customized arsenals to take into battle, choosing combinations of skills that appeal to the player's style and taste. Over Xbox Live, Phantom Dust lets players try out their customized arsenals against friends and other networked players worldwide, all while utilizing voice communications.

    The Phantom Dust team is led by Yukio Futatsugi, the original creator of several international hit games including Panzer Dragoon and Panzer Dragoon Orta.

    ESPN NHL Hockey Released
    Steve @ 7:28 PM EDT
    "Highest-rated hockey video game this year breaks away from the competition with new set of skills."

    SAN RAFAEL, CA - September 12, 2003 - ESPN Videogames today announced that the highly acclaimed ESPN NHL(R) Hockey is now available at major video game retailers across North America. Continuing the high standard of sports realism and video game entertainment of the ESPN Videogames brand, ESPN NHL Hockey delivers speed, action and excitement to hockey fans. ESPN NHL Hockey and other ESPN Videogames titles are produced by Visual Concepts - Sega's sports developer.

    "Our focus in developing a hockey video game has always been to find the perfect balance between realism and virtual entertainment," states Greg Thomas, President of Visual Concepts. "We wanted to ensure that ESPN NHL Hockey would be widely accepted by both the casual hockey fan and by the diehards. With balanced game play, striking visuals and the addition of the Skills Competition, we are delivering the most complete hockey experience ever."

    Available for both the PlayStation(R)2 computer entertainment system and the Microsoft(C) Xbox console, ESPN NHL Hockey brings a hockey experience like no other game. The integration of the ESPN presentation is a key element in delivering an exciting experience to the passionate hockey gamer and the casual sports fan alike. ESPN NHL Hockey integrates a hockey video game, ESPN overlays and television-style wipes. In addition, ESPN's top hockey commentating team - Gary Thorne and Bill Clement - call all the action on the ice.

    Along with utilizing the presentation style of "The Worldwide Leader in Sports," ESPN NHL Hockey is proud to present the Skills Competition. Based on the popular events during the NHL's All-Star Weekend, players compete in several challenges that test the precision, speed and strength of their favorite NHL players. Users choose their favorite scorer as they test their goal-scoring precision in Accuracy Shooting. Players who think they're fancy with the stick will have to try maneuvering through an obstacle cone course in Puck Control. ESPN NHL Hockey gamers can choose to compete against the computer or against a friend, offline and online, in six exciting events that will test their dexterity and mettle. The new Skybox feature also enhances the overall experience by offering hundreds of unlockable, virtual items, including retro uniforms, historic teams, trophies and more that can be earned through various in-game accomplishments. ESPN NHL Hockey features enhanced online play for both the PlayStation(R)2 computer entertainment system and the Microsoft(C) Xbox console. ESPN NHL Hockey launches a superior standard of quality that consumers can expect with every ESPN Videogames title.

    For more information, visit http://www.espnvideogames.com

    Thursday, September 11, 2003

    Remembering September 11th
    Steve @ 5:27 PM EDT
    While this is not Xbox related, what happened 2 years ago was a terrible tradegy. We pray for all the victims in the attacks that happened in 2001.

    Here are some links that have September 11th coverage.

    MSNBC.com

    CNN.com

    BioWare to Develop Jade Empire Exclusively for Xbox
    Steve @ 2:37 PM EDT
    Microsoft today announced that acclaimed RPG developer BioWare is currently developing Jade Empire™ exclusively for Xbox®. BioWare, whose publishing relationship with Microsoft was announced one year ago at the Microsoft press event X02 in New York, has most recently been recognized for the smash hit Star Wars®: Knights of the Old Republic™. More information about Jade Empire will be revealed in Japan at the Tokyo Game Show on September 26.

    BioWare Corp. is an electronic entertainment company that develops computer and console games. BioWare's developers are currently hard at work on three major titles: Jade Empire, a BioWare created intellectual property to be published by Microsoft for the Xbox; Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, to be published by LucasArts for the PC; and the Neverwinter Nights™ expansion pack - Neverwinter Nights: Hordes of the Underdark™ planned to be released by Atari fall 2003. Two untitled projects, both featuring original BioWare intellectual properties, are also in development. Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, released July 18, 2003 for the Xbox is currently enjoying critical praise and great commercial success with its opening weekend launch ending with Microsoft proclaiming the title as the fastest selling Xbox game in history. Previously published projects include: the award winning Neverwinter Nights, the genre-defining Baldur's Gate™ role playing game series for the PC, MDK™2 for Dreamcast and PC, MDK™2: Armageddon for PlayStation®2 and Shattered Steel™. BioWare information can be found online at http://www.bioware.com

    Wednesday, September 10, 2003

    XIII Multiplayer Modes Including Xbox Live
    Steve @ 10:42 PM EDT
    SAN FRANCISCO, CA - September 10, 2003 - Ubi Soft(r) Entertainment, one of the world's top game publishers, announced details behind the innovative multiplayer modes for XIII, the highly anticipated first-person shooter videogame. XIII will be the first online first-person shooter for the PlayStation(r)2 computer entertainment system. Additionally, XIII will be online for the Xbox(tm) video game system and the PC, and will feature four-way split-screen multiplayer on the Nintendo GameCube(tm). XIII is expected to ship in Fall 2003.

    "A solid and innovative multiplayer experience is essential to any good shooter, which is why we brought XIII online for PlayStation 2, Xbox and the PC," said Tony Kee, vice president of marketing for Ubi Soft Entertainment. "We wanted to make the multiplayer experience as fresh and original as the game itself."

    XIII will feature classic Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch and Capture the Flag modes. Here are the exclusive multiplayer modes for each console:

    Only on Xbox Live

    Xbox gamers can dive into four-player split-screen offline multiplayer or enter into online battles with up to eight players. The exclusive Xbox Live mode is "Sabotage," where two teams compete to take control of different strategic points in the map. One team must defend the control points, while the other team must sabotage them within a certain time limit. The defending team wins if time runs out, while the attacking team wins by destroying all of the defense points.

    Dungeons & Dragons Heroes Goes Gold
    Steve @ 10:33 PM EDT
    Dungeons & Dragons Heroes, the highly anticipated Xbox game from Atari, has officially gone gold. The first Dungeons and Dragon's branded product for a next generation console will ship September 23rd, 2003 and will include the following features:

    · Revolutionary four-player cooperative play allows up to four players to select heroes and team up against the monstrous threat, playing cooperatively through the single-player campaign.

    · Play as one of four distinct hero characters drawn from different races representing the main Dungeons & Dragons classes, Fighter, Wizard, Cleric and Rogue; diverse styles of play for each Hero character ensure a different experience on subsequent play-through.

    · Incredible Action/RPG gameplay lets players roam through dark dungeons, fiery forges in seven distinct environments.

    · Authentic D&D monsters, many drawn directly from the third edition of the Dungeons & Dragons Monster Manual, including boss-monsters such as towering Iron Golems, fire-breathing Golden Dragons and horrific Beholders.

    · Equip Heroes with a variety of different weapons and armor types.

    · Collect and combine Soul Shards to unleash the power of Heroes' Ancestral Weapon.

    Ubi Soft Announces 100 Millionth Game Sold and New Logo
    Steve @ 2:40 AM EDT
    San Francisco, CA - September 9, 2003 - Ubisoft, one of the world's largest video game publishers, announced today that it sold its 100 millionth game in September. The sales achievement took on added meaning as the group also revealed today its new logo and visual identity. The corporate re-branding takes effect immediately throughout Ubisoft's worldwide offices.

    Why a new look?

    While the rainbow logo adopted in 1994 served Ubisoft well, the new logo more effectively targets its current stakeholders, including a wider group of mainstream, adult players. The company released its first game, Zombie, in 1986, followed by Rayman® and POD later in the 90s. Today, Ubisoft stands for each of these games as well as Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell(tm), Rayman®3: Hoodlum Havoc and a whole new generation of top-selling, blockbuster titles.

    The new corporate image better reflects Ubisoft's increasingly competitive market position. Up by some 40% each year since the company's initial public offering in 1996, net revenue reached a record $491 million last fiscal year. And with an average of at least three games under their belts, Ubisoft's development and marketing teams have never been more experienced or better prepared to meet ever-changing market demands.

    Ubisoft also sees the re-branding as a chance to further its consumer-centric approach to business, while reinforcing its commitment to the core business strategy that has driven its growth all along. The pillars of this strategy include choosing quality over quantity, focusing on the creative potential of in-house development activities, catering to the demands of different players around the world and investing in the company's worldwide teams.

    Says Yves Guillemot, president and CEO of Ubisoft: "I want the Ubisoft brand to be one of the most seen and recognized in the industry. Yes, the new look reflects our growing renown among players and industry professionals. But it also symbolizes some of our most basic beliefs, including building both our company and games to last, and constantly raising the bar to offer our best. Along with the re-branding comes an invitation to discover - or rediscover - just who we are and what we stand for."

    The new logo and dynamic visual identity will first be featured on the following six blockbuster Ubisoft games starting this fall: XIII, Beyond Good & Evil(tm), Prince of Persia The Sands of Time(tm), Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six® 3, Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon(tm): Jungle Storm and Uru(tm): Ages Beyond MYST. Other new Ubisoft games and products will gradually integrate the new corporate look during a six-month transition period.



    NOTE: Other companies like Konami and Eidos have also changed their logo this year.

    Tuesday, September 9, 2003

    Area 51 Music and Feature Info
    Steve @ 4:10 PM EDT
    CHICAGO – September 9, 2003 – Midway Games Inc., a leading software industry publisher and developer, announced today that noted producer and composer Chris Vrenna will score the music for Area 51, the ultimate “sci-fi meets government cover-up” first-person shooter. Area 51 is scheduled to ship in 2004 for the PlayStation2 computer entertainment system and the Xbox video game system from Microsoft.

    Vrenna is recognized as one of the top producer/composers in the music business, having worked with a “who’s who” of artists such as U2, P.O.D., Weezer, David Bowie, Xzibit, Nelly Furtado and Rob Zombie. Vrenna is also known as one of the founding members of Nine Inch Nails and for his current band, tweaker, which will be releasing its second album, “2 a.m. Wake-Up Call,” early next year.

    “Vrenna’s ability to create distinctive and powerful music will add a unique dimension and energy to Area 51,” said Helene Sheeler, vice president of marketing, Midway.

    Featuring online play for the PlayStation 2 and Xbox™ Live, Area 51 is set in the U.S. government’s most top-secret and secure facility located in the Nevada desert. Players take on the role of Lt. Nick Cross, a hazardous biological waste specialist sent to investigate. During his investigation, Lt. Cross stumbles across alien creatures and a virus that threatens his very humanity. To save the earth and himself, Lt. Cross must fight to solve the enigma of Area 51.

    “After seeing how dynamic the game was going to be, I was honored to be asked to compose the score. It seemed like a great opportunity to produce music as unique as the game itself,” said Vrenna.

    Stan Winston, renowned creature designer, also contributed to Area 51’s intrigue by creating artwork of some of the most disturbing alien characters and mutations ever featured in a videogame. For more than 30 years Winston has developed characters, creatures and monsters for motion pictures and television.

    Area 51 Key Features:

    · Extensive Single-Player Campaign – Battle through corridors of Area 51 and attempt to discover the secrets of an extraterrestrial menace before it is too late.
    · Story-Driven Epic Adventure – Engage in an epic adventure through eight massive sections of a secretive complex.
    · Fearsome Weaponry – Equip yourself with more than 15 types of human and alien weapons and other equipment as you explore dark corridors of the secret base.
    · Alien Menace – Battle fierce, horrific creatures designed by Stan Winston Studios, famed creature designer for such films as “Aliens”, “Jurassic Park” and “Predator”.
    · Government Conspiracies – Explore and discover a multitude of secret items and areas, including the real answers behind such conspiracy theories.
    · Multiplayer Combat – Compete against your friends via a four-player split screen and system link through numerous multiplayer game modes including Death Match.
    · Online Combat – Battle online with your PlayStation 2 or via Xbox Live where you can easily access the many systems allowing you to find your friends and set up your own matches.

    Soul Calibur II Reaches 1.6 Million On First Day
    Steve @ 4:04 PM EDT
    San Jose, Ca., (September 9, 2003) – Leading video games publisher, Namco Hometek Inc. announced today that SOULCALIBUR®II, the sequel to one of the most revered weapons-based fighter video games of all-time, shipped over 1.6 million units on its first day, the largest day one release in the history of Namco’s U.S. division.

    “The release of SOULCALIBUR®II marks a monumental moment in Namco’s already rich video game history,” said Namco’s Chief Financial Officer, Robert Ennis. “Never before has a Namco title sold as well in its U.S. debut and we hope that this is just a glimpse at what is to come for the ‘Soul’ franchise.”

    “SOULCALIBUR®II is one of Namco’s most valuable video game franchises,” said Garry Cole, Senior Vice President of Sales, Namco Hometek Inc. “I think that the value of the property is exemplified in that we were able to sell through nearly 10 percent of our initial launch quantity on day-one alone.”

    Kemco Unveils Official Rogue Ops Web Site
    Steve @ 4:01 PM EDT
    Bellevue, WA – September 9, 2003 – Kemco has unleashed the official Web site for Rogue Ops ( http://www.rogueops.com ) today. The game’s new Web site is not only loaded with extensive detail on missions, gear and in-depth background information on femme fatal Nikki Connors, but promises to unmask special gameplay features every two weeks leading up to the game’s release. The stealth-based, action-adventure phenomenon will be available this November on the PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system, Nintendo GameCube and the Xbox® video game system from Microsoft.

    Players are now able to get “up close and personal” with Nikki Connors, as the site provides the most intimate information on the protagonist, her fellow government agents and the Omega-19 terrorist group she’s committed to defeating. Also included are explosive new screenshots highlighting both the stealth and action-oriented elements of gameplay. For those tech-savvy gamers, a complete breakdown of all weapons and high-tech gadgets that Nikki uses to sneak, crouch, crawl, scan, shoot and blast her way through a plethora of missions is listed, as well as movies and downloadable wallpapers that feature her in action.

    The “Missions” area of the site briefs players on upcoming assignments, leading Nikki Connors around the world, from California to Spain to Uzbekistan, as she researches and eliminates each member of Omega-19, one by one. Missions range from returning historical artifacts to their rightful owners to retrieving enemy files that will lead Nikki to other terrorists.

    Monday, September 8, 2003

    RoadKill Goes Gold; Set for October Release
    Steve @ 4:36 PM EDT
    CHICAGO – September 5, 2003 – Midway Games Inc., a leading software industry publisher and developer, announced today that RoadKill, a mission-based, post-apocalyptic combat driving game, has gone gold and is scheduled to ship on time in October 2003 for the PlayStation2 computer entertainment system, the Xbox video game system from Microsoft and Nintendo GameCube.

    Set in a post-apocalyptic world destroyed by a plague and ruled by gangs, players unleash havoc in more than 30 vehicles with weapons such as machine-guns, guided missiles and grenade launchers. Assuming the role of the mercenary, players must build a gang following as they battle rival gangs, city guards and anyone else that gets in the way.

    “Players must outwit, outgun and out-drive rival gangs and build alliances to survive the carnage while they stir-up havoc in the dynamic world of Roadkill,” said Helene Sheeler, vice president of marketing, Midway.

    RoadKill drops players into instantaneous battle with 30 core missions and numerous side missions. The missions place the player into the three cities of Hell County – Lava Falls, Blister Canyon and Paradise City. RoadKill’s dynamic reputation system determines how the world reacts to the way players perform missions, kill and maim citizens, destroy enemy vehicles and build alliances with the gangs of Hell County. In the game, players collect salvaged parts – which upgrade the 30 vehicles with items such nitrous thrust and armor plating – to unlock secret features and help explore the world in a search for hidden blueprints. In addition, players drive to survive with a radio system that provides alerts about bounties, mission tips and music while they run down, impale, shoot and splatter both innocent and armed civilians.

    RoadKill Key Features:

    · Car Combat – Select from 30 unique post-apocalyptic style vehicles to experience the ultimate ride in vehicular combat
    · Drive to Survive – Destroy your opponents throughout three enormous living and destructible cities
    · Detailed Missions – Engage in more than 30 core missions and numerous side missions as you roam the streets and instigate anarchy
    · Interactive Chaos – Run over, impale, shoot and splatter both innocent and armed pedestrians in multiple ways, inciting riots
    · Dynamic Reputation System – Gain the necessary reputation to work your way up from a vagrant to an overlord and develop a gang following that will provide additional protection
    · Multiplayer – Engage in the ultimate test of vehicular combat: 2-4 player multiplayer Deathmatch Modes
    · Post-Apocalyptic Earth – Face-off against seven rival gangs, killing the members of some while gaining the respect of others
    · Unlock Features – Collect salvaged parts from destroyed vehicles to unlock hidden items such as nitrous thrust, armor plating and death match arenas
    · Search and Recover – Participate in scavenger hunts and find the blueprints necessary to build the ultimate weapons and vehicles
    · Rock ‘n’Roll – Use the dynamic radio system to be forewarned of bounties on your head, to receive mission tips, in addition to using the multiple stations to tune into a variety of rock, rap and heavy metal hits
    · Xbox Only – Create your own custom soundtrack and hit the streets

    Thursday, September 4, 2003

    Koei Ships Dynasty Warriors 4
    Steve @ 11:10 PM EDT
    Burlingame, CA – September 4, 2003 – KOEI Corporation today announced that it has shipped Dynasty Warriors®4 for the Xbox™ video game system from Microsoft. Gamers throughout North America can order the game now through most online retailers including ebgames.com, gamestop.com, and toysrus.com.

    “Dynasty Warriors 4 for Xbox provides the most dynamic battlefield melee experience yet. In the revamped Musou Mode, gamers can now choose one of the Three Kingdoms, and can even change characters between stages. New victory conditions will emerge and different events will occur as each battle unfolds. With improved A.I., devastating moves, and a stirring musical score, DW4 is ready to enthrall the Xbox community,” said Amos Ip Vice-President of Sales & Marketing at KOEI Corporation. “To further engage the player, we’ve added Dolby Digital 5.1 sound; a product feature exclusive to the Xbox.”

    Set amidst the treachery and romance of China’s Three Kingdoms period, Dynasty Warriors 4 thrusts players onto ancient battlefields to clash with legions of enemy soldiers. The intense real-time combat intertwines the action and drama of stories based on actual events. With more than 40 playable characters each with a dynamic fighting style, a new weapon experience system, and expansive environments rich in texture and color, Dynasty Warriors 4 provides one of the most exhilarating video game experiences in history!

    At the game’s initial release for the PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system, Dynasty Warriors 4 spent three consecutive months in the Top 10 of NPD/TRST’s PlayStation 2 chart. To date, the Dynasty Warriors franchise has sold over 5 million units worldwide, and has won numerous awards including ign.com’s coveted Editor’s Choice Award and Animation Magazine’s Best Overall Game Animation.

    Gamers can visit the Official Dynasty Warriors 4 minisite now at koei.com. Here, players can learn more about the game’s characters, find tips and hints, register for Internet rankings, and download exclusive wallpapers.

    Created by KOEI’s internal development team, Omega Force, Dynasty Warriors 4 has a suggested retail of $49.99. Dynasty Warriors 4 is a 1-2 Player game. The ESRB rating for Dynasty Warriors 4 is "T" (Teen- Mild Language, Violence). The game is available now for the PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system.

    Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time Details
    Steve @ 11:05 PM EDT
    With Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, developed by Ubi Soft Montreal, no detail has been left to chance, from the sophisticated game design, gorgeous graphics, and ability to manipulate time to the incredibly lifelike animations, the groundbreaking fight system, and the compelling storyline. Everything works in concert to create an immersive, thrilling gaming experience. This depth and harmony is also evident in the audio elements of the game. Whether creating a mood, delivering cues and hints to players, maintaining momentum or accentuating the other elements of the universe, the sounds and music that accompany the Prince in his race against time help make Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time the game to beat in 2003.

    In-game Music

    To provide a soundtrack that would complement the gameplay and add to the dramatic tension within the game, Ubi Soft turned to accomplished musician Stuart Chatwood, a member of the mega-selling rock band Tea Party. Stuart brought his versatility, interest in Indian and Arab music (as well as rock) and his love of gaming to the project, and composed a rich, dark score that combines grinding rock beats with middle-eastern melodies and instrumentation. Chatwood captures both the complexity and beauty of middle-eastern music and the driving intensity of contemporary rock. Used in cinematics and fighting sequences, as well as for background music and to provide sound cues to the player, Chatwood's music is fluid, versatile and accomplished - just like the Prince himself.

    In-game Sound Effects

    Created in-house and in collaboration with Danetracks, an L.A.-based sound design, editorial and mixing company (founder Dane Davis won an Oscar for his unprecedented effects work in The Matrix), the sound effects and musical cues contribute greatly to the complete immersion players will experience as they navigate the treacherous palace in a struggle to recapture the Sands of Time and restore peace to the kingdom.

    Danetracks developed the sounds made by the enemies, as well as the effects for the magical and transformative powers of the Sands of Time. The rest of the sound effects - literally hundreds - were recorded in-house using traditional Foley recording and SFX editing. For mixing, the sound designers used Pro-Tools, Sound Forge and Cool Edit Pro. A real sword and machete were used to capture the sound of the Prince's sword impacting different objects, while a wide variety of source materials, from large rocks to small metallic items (such as doorknobs), were used to complete the complex aural landscape.

    Commercial and Trailer Music

    To extend and enhance the immersive, atmospheric experience of Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, Ubi Soft has teamed with legendary musicians Jason Bentley and DJ Melo-D, who are creating an original song - inspired by the universe and gameplay - that will be used in commercials and trailers for the game.

    Turntablist extraordinaire Melo-D was an original member of the seminal L.A.-based DJ crew the Beat Junkies that revived the art of using turntables as musical instruments during the '90s. Incorporating a wide variety of influences, from dub and funk to jazz, soul and world music, Melo-D invents original compositions that showcase his rhythmical creativity and striking imagination.

    Bentley, who will be producing the track, has DJ'd with artists including David Bowie, Rage Against the Machine, and Underworld, and remixed artists such as Paul Oakenfold, Fischerspooner, and Gus Gus. He supervised the music and produced the multi-platinum soundtrack for The Matrix (he received a GRAMMY nomination for his work, and is on board for all three films). For ten years, he has hosted the groundbreaking Metropolis show on KCRW, and he DJ's regularly at L.A. hotspots including Ivar.

    Midway Announces Roadkill Radio System
    Steve @ 5:11 PM EDT
    CHICAGO – September 4, 2003 – Midway Games Inc., a leading software industry publisher and developer, announced today that a wide-ranging radio system will be implemented in RoadKill, a mission-based, post-apocalyptic combat driving game, which is scheduled to ship in October 2003 for the PlayStation2 computer entertainment system, the Xbox® video game system from Microsoft and Nintendo GameCube.

    Six radio stations, ranging from rock to car talk, will feature licensed music as well as original programming created specifically for RoadKill. Players will be able to tune the dial from the Judas Priest classic “Heading Out to the Highway” to love chat, then onto a political talk station before settling in for a song such as Blue Oyster Cult’s “Don’t Fear the Reaper” or Rick Springfield’s “Jessie’s Girl.” Other licensed songs in the game come from a wide range of artists such as April Wine and Leo Sayer, among others. Also featured is a local bands station, which offers songs created specifically for RoadKill, and “dynamic radio,” which is a police channel station that gives specific game updates. Commercials that run on the radio system advertise for businesses that are featured in the game’s post-apocalyptic streets.

    “Our unique radio system is a major part of RoadKill ,” said Helene Sheeler, vice president of marketing, Midway. “The eclectic grouping of campy music and commentary informs and enhances the gameplay.”

    Set in a post-apocalyptic world destroyed by a plague and ruled by gangs, RoadKill allows players to unleash havoc in 40 vehicles with weapons such as machine guns, guided missiles and homing rockets. Assuming the role of the mercenary, players must build a gang following as they battle rival gangs, city guards and anyone else that gets in the way.

    RoadKill drops players into instantaneous battle with 30 core story-driven missions with cinematic cut-scenes and numerous side missions and mini-games. The missions place the player into the three cities of Hell County – Lava Falls, Blister Canyon and Paradise City. The game’s dynamic reputation system determines how the world reacts to the way players perform missions, kill and maim citizens, destroy enemy vehicles and build alliances with the gangs of Hell County. Players in RoadKill collect salvaged parts – which upgrade the 40 vehicles with items such as nitrous thrust and armor plating – to unlock secret features and help explore the world in a search for hidden blueprints.

    RoadKill Key Features:

    · Car Combat – Select from 40 unique, post-apocalyptic-style vehicles to experience the ultimate ride in vehicular combat.
    · Potent Firepower – More than 15 powerful armaments to unleash upon your enemies.
    · Drive to Survive – Destroy your opponents throughout three enormous living and destructible cities.
    · Detailed Missions – Engage in more than 30 core story-driven missions and numerous side missions and mini-games as you roam the streets and instigate anarchy.
    · Interactive Chaos – Run over, impale, shoot and splatter both innocent and armed pedestrians in multiple ways, inciting riots.
    · Dynamic Reputation System – Gain the necessary reputation to work your way up from a rookie to an executioner and develop a gang following that will provide additional protection to your home turf.
    · Multiplayer – Engage in the ultimate test of vehicular combat: 2-4 player multiplayer Death Match Mode.
    · Post-Apocalyptic Earth – Face-off against seven rival gangs, killing the members of some while gaining the respect of others.
    · Unlock Features – Collect salvaged parts from destroyed vehicles to purchase items such as nitrous thrust, speed boost and armor plating.
    · Search and Recover – Participate in scavenger hunts and find the blueprints necessary to build the ultimate weapons and vehicles.
    · Rock ‘n’ Roll – Dynamic radio system forewarns of weather events, gives mission updates and allows users to tune into a variety of hits, from rock to easy listening.

    BloodRayne Movie Deal
    Steve @ 5:08 PM EDT
    EDISON, NJ, September 04, 2003 - Continuing its strategy of developing cornerstone franchise properties with widespread commercial appeal, Majesco, one of the fastest-growing publishers of interactive entertainment software, today announced a deal that will take their popular action/horror video game, BloodRayne to the silver screen. Vierte Boll Kino Beteiligungs-GmbH & Co. KG (Boll KG), the production company responsible for several film adaptations of video games including Alone in the Dark and House of the Dead, has purchased the theatrical film and merchandise rights for the game.

    Executive producer and director Dr. Uwe Boll, expects to begin filming BloodRayne sometime in 2004 and estimates a budget in the $30 million range. Shawn Williamson (White Noise, Alone in the Dark) of Brightlight Pictures is set to produce.

    "BloodRayne is one of the select interactive entertainment franchises that transcends the video game genre and appeals to mainstream entertainment audiences," said Jesse Sutton, President of Majesco. "With its unique blend of action, horror, and sex appeal, BloodRayne contains major crossover potential and we are continuing to explore additional licensing opportunities."

    "We think BloodRayne is a dynamic, compelling anti-hero and a contemporary, smart standard bearer for the genre" says Boll from the set of Alone in the Dark, currently wrapping production with Brightlight Pictures in Vancouver with Christian Slater, Tara Reid and Stephen Dorff. "We look forward to bringing her-and the game--to life on film."

    Williamson adds, "I'm looking forward to continuing my collaboration with Uwe, and to continuing to build Brighlight's reputation in producing terrific entertainment with these films."

    Originally released for console on October 2002, with a PC release scheduled for September 9 of this year, BloodRayne features the sexy, supernatural, huntress BloodRayne, an unholy breed of human and vampire. An explosive force with gymnastic dexterity and an intense lust for blood and action, BloodRayne was raised and trained by a secret agency to hunt down and eliminate supernatural threats around the globe.

    Consumers looking for more information on BloodRayne can visit the official Majesco site at www.BloodRayne.com. The site contains movies and screen shots from the game; additional background on the interactive world's most deliciously wicked hunter of evil; unique downloads and other special features.

    Collector's Items for Batman: Rise of Sin Tzu
    Steve @ 5:00 PM EDT
    Batman fans and toy collectors alike have a reason to celebrate! Ubi Soft Entertainment joins with Mattel Inc., DC Comics, and Warner Bros. Consumer Products to commemorate the launch of a new villain in the Batman universe by creating special collector's items exclusively for the Batman: Rise of Sin Tzu videogame. Developed and published by Ubi Soft Entertainment, 15,000 copies of Batman: Rise of Sin Tzu Commemorative Edition will include an exclusive Mattel(TM) Batman action figure and another 15,000 Commemorative Edition units will include an exclusive Mattel Batgirl action figure. Both will be dressed in classic costumes - Batman in his classic blue and grey costume and Batgirl in classic black and yellow. These rare, Commemorative Edition products can be purchased at GameStop (www.gamestop.com) and Electronics Boutique (www.ebgames.com) and are available now through pre-order.

    Additionally, comic book fans and gamers alike will be thrilled to learn that an exclusive Commemorative Lithograph Edition for the Nintendo GameCube(TM) only will include a four color, two-sided Sin Tzu lithograph designed by comics legend and Sin Tzu co-creator Jim Lee. The Commemorative Edition lithograph features both Sin Tzu and Batman on the front and Sin Tzu's biography on the back, written by Sin Tzu co-creator Flint Dille. This exclusive Commemorative Lithograph Edition for Nintendo GameCube is available now through pre-order at GameStop (www.gamestop.com) and Electronics Boutique (www.ebgames.com). All retailers will offer this exclusive product at launch while supplies last.

    Developed by Ubi Soft's Montreal Studios, Batman: Rise of Sin Tzu stays true to the Batman franchise with intense, action-packed gameplay and challenging villains. Featuring Batman's loyal allies Robin, Nightwing, and Batgirl, the game also includes a brand new enemy unlike any Batman has ever battled, Sin Tzu, plus three other villains never before seen in a Batman video game: Clayface, Scarecrow, and Bane.

    A master in the deadly art of war, Sin Tzu is driven by a lone desire - to conquer. Scouring the world in search of only the worthiest adversaries, Sin Tzu has descended upon Gotham City to defeat the Caped Crusader. Game features include:

    -- Two-Player Cooperative Gameplay: Go at it alone as Batman or recruit backup. Invite a friend into the battle as Nightwing, Robin, or Batgirl in two-player cooperative fighting mode.

    -- 35 Batman Attacks: Topple Sin Tzu's soldiers of crime with more than 35 martial arts moves and dazzling combos.

    -- 12 Levels: Battle your way through the Gotham City Docks, Crime Alley, Arkham Asylum and more.

    -- Play as Batman, Robin, Nightwing, or Batgirl in single-player mode: Each character features unique fighting moves.

    -- Bonus Content: 27 minute "Making of a Villain" documentary with commentary by Sin Tzu's co-creators, comics legend Jim Lee and award-winning scriptwriter Flint Dille.

    Batman: Rise of Sin Tzu has an ESRB rating of "T" for Teen and will have a suggested retail price of $39.99. It is scheduled to ship mid-October 2003.

    XIII Pre-order Sneak Peak Demo
    Steve @ 4:51 PM EDT
    SAN FRANCISCO, CA - September 3, 2003 - Ubi Soft® Entertainment, one of the world's top game publishers, announced the upcoming availability of console demos and CD soundtrack in support of the launch of XIII, its highly anticipated first-person shooter. Demos and CD soundtrack will be available late September.

    PlayStation®2 and Xbox(tm) fans can get an exclusive sneak peak at exciting single-player and multi-players levels along with a full length soundtrack produced by San Francisco-based label Future Primitive Sound. The purchase of this two-disc will be applied to the full product when it becomes available. Nintendo GameCube and PC fans can receive the enhanced CD soundtrack by pre-ordering.

    Select retailers including Electronic Boutique, Gamestop, Best Buy and Game Crazy/Hollywood Video will serve as XIII's exclusive partners.

    · Electronics Boutique: PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system and Xbox(tm) consumers can receive an exclusive soundtrack disc, as well as a free single-player and multiplayer demo disc. PC and Nintendo GameCube(tm) consumers will receive a soundtrack disc.

    · Gamestop: PlayStation®2 and Xbox(tm) consumers can receive an exclusive soundtrack disc, as well as a free single-player and multiplayer demo disc. PC and Nintendo GameCube(tm) consumers will receive a soundtrack disc.

    · Best Buy: PlayStation®2 consumers can receive a soundtrack and single-player and multiplayer demo.

    · Game Crazy/Hollywood Video: PlayStation®2 consumers can receive a soundtrack and single-player and multiplayer demo.

    The single-player and multiplayer demos give players an exclusive sneak peak into this highly anticipated shooter. The single-player demo lets players experience early levels of the game, and introduces the game's cast of characters and conspiracy plot. The multiplayer demo offers a taste of XIII's innovative multiplayer modes. The multiplayer demo features a standard Deathmatch mode.

    The XIII soundtrack is a first-of-its-kind, consisting of original music (available only on this CD) inspired by the game and produced by San Francisco-based label Future Primitive Sound. The soundtrack features a unique blend of funk beats and progressive hip hop produced by Future Primitive's team of visionary artists, including Z-Trip, Romanowski, DJs Faust and Shortee, J-Boogie, Jack Dangers, SWAT, DJ Zeph and Bing Ji Ling. The 13 tracks were all inspired by the game's stylish 70s-influenced look and vibe created by the videogame designers. Soundtrack samples are available online at http://www.whoisXIII.com/community

    "We put together the XIII pre-order program to quench the rabid XIII community who are anxious for the game's launch," said Tony Kee, vice president of marketing for Ubi Soft Entertainment. "The enhanced CD soundtrack and game demos will give gamers just enough XIII to whet their appetite until the game launches in October. This will be a record-breaking pre-order campaign for Ubi Soft.

    Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon Coming to Xbox
    Steve @ 4:39 PM EDT
    San Francisco, CA – September 3, 2003 – Ubi Soft Entertainment, one of the world’s largest video game publishers, today announced that the Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon action-adventure video game will for available for the Xbox™ video game system from Microsoft in December 2003. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon is Developed by Genki Co., Ltd. under license from Sony Pictures Consumer Products and based on Sony Pictures Classics’ Academy Award winning movie.

    “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon is one of the most innovative and exciting movies in years, and we’ve dedicated ourselves to capturing the incredible look and feel that made the film such an amazing hit,” said Tony Kee, vice president of marketing for Ubi Soft Entertainment. “With compelling characters, action-packed fighting sequences and stunning environments, the game will feature the martial arts magic of this classic film.”

    About Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

    Set in 19th Century China, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon is a martial arts fighting game based on the classic teachings and techniques of the Wudan style. Combining adventure and intense, dynamic combat with the ability to explore lush, interactive environments, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon suspends the laws of space, gravity, and the human body. Players represent one of four characters: Li Mu Bai, Yu Shu Lien, Jen Yu, or Lo.

    Each character possesses specific moves, talents, and deadly weapons; players must work to improve their fighting skills as they compete against intelligent foes and seek revenge against the sinister Jade Fox (killer of Li Mu Bai’s master and Yu Shu Lien’s fiancé). The gameplay experience effectively captures the martial arts magic and fluidity of movement that made the film a huge success:

    Key Features Include:

    · Fully Licensed: Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon is the only videogame featuring the characters, story and locations from the Academy Award-winning film.

    · Woo-Ping Yuen-Inspired Choreography: Faithfully recreates the grace and style of Woo-Ping’s fight choreography (action choreographer for Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, The Matrix, Kill Bill).

    · Superhuman Martial Arts: Master all the whirling acrobatics, dizzying combos, impossible dodges and kung-fu fury from the film.

    · Relive the Adventures: Embark on the personal quests of Li Mu Bai, Yu Shu Lien, Jen Yu and “Dark Cloud” Lo.

    · Exclusive Moves: Each playable character has his/her own unique style of combat and special abilities for action-packed brawls, chases, and duels.

    · Award Winning Soundtrack: Features the Academy and Grammy Award winning music composed by Tan Dun with solos by internationally acclaimed cellist Yo-Yo Ma

    · Bonuses: Special stages, new game modes, extra costumes and other secrets to unlock.

    Sega Announces New Sega GT Online Info
    Steve @ 4:36 PM EDT
    Bringing all the thrills of the most realistic driving game for Xbox online via Xbox(tm) Live, "Sega GT Online(tm)" will allow up to 12 gamers to put their cars - and their skills - to the ultimate test against thousands of gamers from around the world. The updated online version of the 2002 Xbox hit will include online parts and car trading, more than 40 new cars, and real-time voice chat.

    "Sega GT Online" also features an industry first "trade-style" partnership with various independent record labels. This partnership has enabled the hard-driving, apex-hugging gaming company to compile more than 40 tracks of progressive indie rock and punk from 30 of today's hottest up and coming bands hailing from the United States, Canada, Japan, United Kingdom, Norway and Sweden. "Sega GT Online" headliners include Mid-Fi Records' Supersuckers, Gearhead Records' New Bomb Turks, Lookout! Records' Ted Leo and the Pharmacists and the Oranges Band, and Fat Wreck Chords' Lag Wagon, Swinging Utters, and the Real McKenzies.

    Free Two-Month Xbox Live Trial
    Steve @ 4:25 PM EDT
    With more than 50 Xbox Live games on shelves this holiday, Microsoft today announced the start of a free two-month Xbox Live trial with purchase of select Live-enabled games. Kicking off with the newly released NFL Fever 2004, gamers will have a FREE two-month pass to explore all that Xbox Live has to offer. Xbox Live opens up a whole new world of competition to gamers and their friends, as they can now find the ultimate opponent amongst hundreds of thousands of gamers. Subscribers can also download exclusive levels, devastating new weapons and additional characters. And players can even exercise the right to talk smack with the Xbox Communicator headset (sold separately).

    In the coming months gamers can take advantage of the free trial by purchasing any of the following titles:

    ACCLAIM -- NBA Jam, Burnout 2: Point of Impact (Developer’s Cut), All-Star Baseball 2005 featuring Derek Jeter
    Activision -- Cabela’s Deer Hunt: 2004 Season, Cabela’s Dangerous Hunts
    Atari-- Unreal II: The Awakening, Magic: the Gathering - Battlegrounds, Dead Man's Hand
    Codemasters -- Pro Race Driver PRDXL
    ESPN Videogames -- ESPN NHL Hockey, ESPN NFL Football, ESPN NBA Basketball, ESPN NCAA College Hoops
    Jaleco -- World Championship Pool 2004
    Konami -- Dance Dance Revolution UltraMix
    LucasArts -- Star Wars Jedi Knight: Jedi Knight Academy
    Majesco -- Black 9
    Microsoft Game Studios -- Crimson Skies: High Road to Revenge, Counter-Strike Condition Zero, Project Gotham Racing 2, NBA Inside Drive 2004, NFL Fever 2004, NHL Rivals 2004, Top Spin Tennis, Links 2004, Amped 2
    Sega -- Sega GT Online
    Take 2 Interactive -- Conflict: Desert Storm 2 - Back to Baghdad
    Tecmo -- Ninja Gaiden
    Ubi Soft -- Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Island Thunder, Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six 3, Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, XIII (Thirteen)
    Vivendi Universal Games -- Hunter: The Reckoning Redeemer, S.W.A.T. Global Strike Team

    Legacy of Kain: Defiance Official Website Launched
    Steve @ 4:09 PM EDT
    November 18 is the released date for Legacy of Kain: Defiance. You can register on the new website to get advanced news and exclusive updates.


    Official Legacy of Kain: Defiance Website

    Wednesday, September 3, 2003

    Grand Theft Auto "Double Pack" Coming This Year to Xbox
    Steve @ 1:37 PM EDT
    NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Sept. 3, 2003--Rockstar Games, the world-renowned publishing division of Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc., announced today that it plans to ship the award-winning Grand Theft Auto 3 and Grand Theft Auto: Vice City as a "double pack" for both the PlayStation(R)2 computer entertainment system and the Xbox(R) video game system from Microsoft. The Grand Theft Auto "double pack" is set to hit shelves in North America on October 22, 2003 for PlayStation(R)2 and on November 4, 2003 for Xbox.

    Developed by Rockstar North, the Grand Theft Auto franchise has long been applauded and praised for its expansive and open-ended gameplay, cinematic scripts, and epic soundtracks. Since its introduction in 1997, the franchise has received countless awards of excellence and universal critical acclaim. With sales of more than 25 million units worldwide, Grand Theft Auto is one of the most recognized franchises in the history of the videogame marketplace.

    Additional information about Grand Theft Auto 3 and Grand Theft Auto: Vice City is available at: http://www.rockstargames.com/grandtheftauto

    Tuesday, September 2, 2003

    ESPN NFL Football Now Available
    Steve @ 11:22 PM EDT
    SAN RAFAEL, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Sept. 2, 2003--ESPN Videogames today announced that the highly anticipated ESPN NFL Football has shipped to major video game retailers across North America. The long-awaited sequel to the critically acclaimed "NFL 2K" series, ESPN NFL Football represents the highest standard of both football realism and video game entertainment. ESPN NFL Football and other ESPN Videogames titles are produced by Visual Concepts, SEGA's sports studio.
    "ESPN NFL Football has truly been a labor of dedicated passion," stated Greg Thomas, president of Visual Concepts. "One area that I am particularly proud of is our online efforts. With online play available on both systems and our soon to be announced online league feature, sports gamers are going score this season!"

    Added Rick Alessandri, senior vice president and general manager, ESPN Enterprises, "This is a truly exciting time for us as we realize our goal of presenting a fantastic sports video game for fans."

    Available for both PlayStation(R)2 computer entertainment system and Microsoft(C) Xbox console, ESPN NFL Football delivers the exhilarating experience of professional football to hardcore pigskin fans and casual sports gamers alike. One of the most important steps in bridging the gap between the avid football gamer and the average pick-up player is bringing the ESPN presentation home. ESPN NFL Football blurs the line between a football video game and a Sunday Night Football telecast with ESPN overlays, television-style wipes, cut sequences of excited fans, and most of all, having the powerful presence of Chris Berman throughout the game.

    Along with bringing the presentation style of The Worldwide Leader in Sports, ESPN NFL Football introduces a new standard to sports video games -- First Person Football. Players will see, hear and feel the virtual pigskin battle like never before, as they experience football through the eyes of each player on the field. First Person Football invites gamers to see the linemen clear a path from a running back's perspective, or feel the pressure from the quarterback's eyes when a 300-pound defensive end comes charging around the corner. In this mode users can take any role on the field and switch at the touch of a button. Add to this a brand new, user-friendly playcalling interface, thousands of unlockable items in The Crib(TM), and deep online play for both PlayStation(R) 2 computer entertainment system and Microsoft(C) Xbox console. ESPN NFL Football launches a superior standard of quality that consumers can expect with every ESPN Videogames title.

    For more information, visit http://www.espnvideogames.com

    Atari Bringing Mission: Impossible - Operation Surma to Xbox
    Steve @ 3:27 PM EDT
    LOS ANGELES--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Sept. 2, 2003--Atari is bringing all the action and intrigue of the "Mission: Impossible(R)" movie franchise to video games with "Mission: Impossible -- Operation Surma" for the Xbox(TM) video game system from Microsoft, the PlayStation(R) 2 computer entertainment system and the Nintendo GameCube(TM) and Game Boy(R) Advance. Developed by Atari's Paradigm Entertainment and scheduled for release in November, "Mission: Impossible -- Operation Surma" provides players with a chance to become IMF super agent Ethan Hunt in the stealth action game of the year.

    "With `Mission: Impossible -- Operation Surma,' players will be thrust into an authentic `Mission: Impossible' experience, complete with the latest spy gadgets, stealth action, incredible combat and plot-twisting suspense fans have come to expect from the franchise," said Steve Allison, vice president of marketing, Atari Los Angeles. "The stealth action category continues to surprise gamers with new and innovative game play experiences, and `Operation Surma' is no exception. Our unique connection to one of today's strongest Hollywood movie franchises, which virtually defines the stealth action category, will complement our focus on delivering incredible game play with all of the powerful lead characters, fascinating villains, elaborate double-crosses and cunning treachery of a real `Mission: Impossible.'"

    In "Mission: Impossible -- Operation Surma," players step into the role of Ethan Hunt as he traverses the globe uncovering the insidious mysteries behind the malevolent Surma Corporation and its newly developed virus, ICEWorm, which allows Surma to break into any computer system in the world. Armed with the hyper-cool, super spy technology and weaponry from the "Mission: Impossible" movies, such as miniature remote-controlled devices, micro cameras, tranquilizing darts and character disguises, Hunt must lead his elite team in preventing Surma Corp. from achieving its ultimate goal: global domination.

    "Mission Impossible -- Operation Surma" features groundbreaking gameplay that empowers players to choose the tactics and game play style they wish to use in tackling mission objectives. For example, as Hunt, a player can forge an uneasy alliance with questionable allies in order to gain the upper hand against an overwhelming enemy force; or, the player can charge in, with the latest top secret IMF weapon; or, the player can slide silently in and out of the shadows, penetrating enemy lairs unnoticed. Ultimately, the nature of the adventure lies in the player's hands.

    "Mission: Impossible -- Operation Surma" Features:

    -- Open-Ended Gameplay: Players will be empowered to play the game the way they like. Take out a guard and dispose of his body, sneak behind the guard and slip by unnoticed, distract the guard to another area, tranquilize the guard remotely or even take him prisoner are just a few options at the player's disposal for nearly every situation.

    -- Super Spy Gadgets: As with any "Mission: Impossible," the gadgets are where it's at. "Operation Surma" will put dozens of super-cool gadgets at players' fingertips, including: The Wasp, a miniature remote-controlled "bug" with a devastating "sting"; a directional microphone used to create distractions; binoculars featuring a digital camera for evidence gathering; EMP darts for disabling critical electronic devices; and much more.

    -- Agent Moves and Abilities: As Ethan Hunt, players will have at their disposal all the moves that any respectable super agent has spent years perfecting, including: vaulting and mantling of objects; hand walking on ledges; wall hugging through tight spaces; crouching and creeping to keep a low profile; hand-over-hand maneuvering on pipes and girders. In addition, players will be able to execute numerous stealth disabling, restraining and finishing maneuvers on enemy characters.

    -- Gameplay Locations: Led by Mission Commander Swanbeck, players will follow clues and undertake missions in exotic locations around the world, including: the Los Muertos research facility in the southwestern United States; Sansara Prison in Northern Africa; and Yugaria, a fictional Eastern European country.