Well this is the big news so far. Sega of America have confirmed that Quake 3 : Arena is coming to the Dreamcast and will be one of the major online games this year. Although there hasn't been confirmation of the developer yet it is rumoured that Id will do the conversion themselves to ensure the game is the best it can be on the system. Sega will be publishing the game themselves when it is released in America. No word yet on a PAL conversion but I would expect it very soon after America.
Several other games have been confirmed by IGNDC including Ion Storm's upcoming sci-fi adventure Deus Ex. Eidos have denied the news printed in the latest official Dreamcast Magazine, then again they said only weeks ago that Tomb Raider wasn't coming either. Another likely conversion for Dreamcast is Neverwinter Nights from Bioware who are currently finishing off MDK2 for the Dreamcast. This RPG is apparently going to be converted as the PC version is completed in the coming months. Another game mentioned on IGNDC is Nihilistic's Vampire: The Masquerade - Redemption. I have seen pictures of the PC version of this game which is looking extremely impressive.
Dead Or Alive 2 has been given a release date of March 10th in America. A demo of the game will appear on the May Dreamcast magazine demo disc.
Many people have been asking about the internet browser disc which should be available early this year and what is happening. Well in speaking with Ozisoft a short while ago the disc is still set for a February release. Then again I thought all the delays months ago were to fix the disc which was always "almost complete".
Just a quick reminder that the POLL on the Main Page ends in 2 days so if you haven't voted make sure you do so right now.
Here's an excellent unconfirmed rumour. Apparently Capcom's Resident Evil : Code Veronica will include a first person shooting mode. By this I mean the game can be played with a viewpoint like Quake or Unreal.
Fur Fighters, formally known as Furballs, has been delayed slightly in America. Bizarre Creations have delayed the game from April until sometime in May to polish off the game some more. At this stage Australians should still be able to get their hands on the game April 13th according to Acclaim who will publish the game here, although the delay until May is also likely.
Midway have confirmed that Ready 2 Rumble Boxing 2 is in development for the Dreamcast no other details are known at this stage but it is almost certain that the game will include improved graphics and new boxers.
Hasbro have confirmed that they will be taking Team 17's impressive looking Stunt GP to America sometime this year. The game is currently due for release in Australia in July through Hasbro.
There are a couple game delays in America including the highly anticipated ECW Hardcore Revolution from Acclaim which has been pushed back from February 18th to early March. Another delay is for Midway's offroad racer, 4 Wheel Thunder which has been pushed back from March to May.
Scooby Doo is set to make an appearance on the Dreamcast. THQ and Warner Brothers have signed a deal that will see the lovable pooch appear on consoles over the next 4 years. Unfortunately no games have been announced yet but the first is expected towards the end of the year.
Capcom of Japan have confirmed that they will include online gameplay in their upcoming titles. The network, called "Match Service" could be in operation in Japan as early as March 1st. Playing the game online will cost around 50-60 yen per 5 minutes which is around $AU1. Amazingly one of the first titles to make use of the online gameplay is Marvel Vs Capcom 2. Also confirmed to inlclude the online play is Powerstone 2, SNK vs Capcom, Private Justice League 2, and Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike. The latter two titles hadn't even been announced for release on the Dreamcast which is great news.
Sega representatives have confirmed that Virtua Fighter 4 is already in delvelopment. This was announced to Gamespot news at the recent ATEI show.
Sega have confirmed that a digital camera will be released in Japan this April. The camera is believed to be as small as a packet of cigarettes.
Sega have begun recording the soundtrack for their upcoming RPG Eternal Arcadia. The music is being recorded wiith a 41 piece orchestra in Japan.
One of the most common questions that I get is when will Marvel Vs Capcom be available. Unfortunately Ozisoft haven't been able to give me a definite answer about that but while at the local Electronic's Boutique I noticed that the game is available now for $89.95.
Tecmo USA have announced that Dead or Alive 2 won't be coming to Dreamcast in February as earlier reported but has been delayed until early March. There are no problems with the game with Tecmo apparently having some problems with the manual production as well as the distribution. The game will now include a 4 player tag-team mode.
Famitsu in Japan have reviewed the latest releases in Japan. Some of the more interesting (probable Australian releases) scored the following;
Sega of Japan have announced that 500,000 people now use the Dreamcast Network which is around 30% of the Dreamcast owning public in Japan.
Eidos are apparently thinking about a new name for their upcoming action title Beserk. Gamespot are reporting that one of the potential name is Gatsu's Revenge: Beserker Sword. I think I prefer the Japanese name. No word yet on an Australian release date.
Sega of America have confirmed a release date for their online game Chu Chu Rocket. Apparently the game will be available as early as March 2nd which will also kick off the online gameplay in America. You might be interested that in a list of the Top 100 games ever compiled by several people related to the industry around the world in Edge magazine rated Chu Chu Rocket at number 78.
Believe it or not but the D2 soundtrack has a computer virus. Warp have announced that D2 Remixes has a Macintosh based Virus which is activated when the disc tries to run Quicktime. A new printing of the disc removed the porblem, but just be careful.
Time Stalkers (aka Climax Lander) has been delayed in America from February 29th to March 21st. According to Sega Time Stalkers will be "a better game as a result [of the delay]". Unfortunately Sega didn't elaborate on what exactly has caused the delay.
Sega, Eidos and Core Design have finally announced that Lara Croft will be coming to Dreamcast. Yes, you read that correctly, Tomb Raider is heading to the Dreamcast. With sales of over 18 million copies of the previous versions worldwide this is a major boost for Sega with Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation expected to have a simultaneous worldwide release (I'll believe it when I see it -David) sometime in March. The game will enhanced for the Dreamcast with Lara being remodeled for higher resolution graphics. The Dreamcast version will include an improved lighting system, bump mapping, real-time shadow casting and volumetric fogging as well as a greater draw distance other platforms.
Could it be that Sega will have to cease production of the Dreamcast soon? It's possible, although unlikely. Rambus Inc. have filed a lawsuit in Delaware against Hitachi Ltd for patent infringements based on their semiconductor technology. Just how does this affect the Dreamcast? Well Hitachi supply the SH-4 CPU for the Dreamcast which may have to cease production if Rambus wins the court case. Hopefully it won't come to this, but anything is possible in America. Anyone want some hot McDonalds coffee?
If anyone has bought an Acclaim game on the Dreamcast yet you probably would have seen the ad for South Park Rally stating that it is coming soon. However, Acclaim have been very quiet about the Dreamcast port and speculation was mounting that the game has been canned. Thankfully this is not the case with Acclaim confirming that the game is due to hit the shelves in America sometime in April.
Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver has gone gold in the States which means the game should hit the shelves in the coming week or so. Hopefully an Australian release isn't too far behind for this excellent action RPG game.
New dates have emerged for Majesco's Rainbow 6 in the States. Online retailers are now reporting a release date of February 17th. Could it be true? Hmmm....
According to IGNDC EA may be closer to announcing development on the Dreamcast then expected. As we all know Japanese based Electronic Arts Square announced plans to publish Dreamcast games sometime this year, but recently IGNDC got an e-mail from a student at Vancouver's Center for Digital Imaging and Sound where the head of EA Canada stated that they have Dreamcast titles in development. When IGN contacted EA about the news they denied it and said they can't comment and to talk to the PR people who haven't respoded. Interesting.
Sega and AM2 must be happy with the sales of Shen Mue: Yokosuka which has just passed 380,472 units after 2 weeks of release. Sega will be looking ofrward to this game becoming the first 500,000 seller in coming weeks and hopefully the first million seller as the Dreamcast continues to struggle in Japan.
Bezerk, ASCII's hack n' slash type game has been given a release date in America of March 29th according to EB World, who are usually a reliable source of release dates.
When news of Resident Evil 2 was release last year it was soon one of the most wanted games. Soon after hopes of the American version were dashed with Capcom announcing they had no plans to release the game. Fortunately SOE see differently and will release the game on PAL systems. All seems well, until now. Unfortunately one of the biggest drawcards of Resident Evil 2 is the demo of RE:CV which will not appear on the PAL game. Exactly why this is the case is unknown but it certainly takes away some of the titles excitement.
Could it be that Dead Or Alive 2 will be released in America before Japan? It's possible. National Console Support have noted on their web site that the game will be released on February 21st 2000. While Tecmo are still to officially confirm this date it is possible due to the anticipation surrounding the title.
Konami have set a release date of March 30th for their upcoming Jikkyou Powerful Pro Baseball 2000. No release date has been mentioned yet for outside Japan although a release in America is likely at some stage.
Seaman has been given a rough release date in the US. The game will appear around late Q'2 or early Q'3. The game will be packaged with the microphone and will hopefully hit Australian shelves by the end of the year.
Metropolis has also been given a rough release date of late Q'2 or earl Q'3 in the States. This racing game was meant to be a launch title last year but has suffered problems since it's lead progrmmer left Bizarre Creations prior to completing the game. Metropolis is set for a mid-April release in Australia and Europe.
Capcom have confirmed some details about Powerstone 2 which is currently in development for the arcades. The game will use the Naomi arcade system and will now incorperate 4 player fighting action. The game is due in the arcades and on the Dreamcast in Q'2 2000.
Capcom Japan have confirmed that they will ship 600,000 copies of Resident Evil : Code Veronica on February 3rd in Japan.
Anyone remember Grandia 2 being announced for the Dreamcast. It's been a long time since anything has been heard about the title leading to specualtion that it has been canned. However the games developers, Game Arts, has confirmed that the game will be released before the end of the year.
Could this be the biggest news of recent months, quite possibly. Japanese based Electronic Arts Square have announced plans to publish Dreamcast games later this year. While no titles or developers have been announced yet it is a step in the right direction for EA and Square developing on the Dreamcast. Hopefully more details will be revealed in the coming weeks.
Nightmare Creatures 2 will be coming to Dreamcast. Konami have surprised Americans by announcing that a March 28th release date rumoured on the internet is pretty much correct. The game was initially expected on the Playstation and Nintendo 64, but Dreamcast owners certainly won't be complaining.
One of the most highly anticipated titles recently was Warp's D2. But it looks like the game will be censored for release outside Japan. Apparently some of the scenes contain sexual references which will be removed. The following is what Heather Hawkins, Manager of Gaming Press Relations at Sega of America said to FGNOnline about the game:
"Our intention was not to clean the game up enough to be able to market it to a more mainstream audience. This game is and will remain an M rated game."
"Our goal was to try to decrease the number of times full sexual violence was played out on the screen. I want to assure you that Sega does not believe in censorship, however we do not feel comfortable promoting graphic displays of sexual violence against women. There will still be plenty of sex, violence and nudity in the game though."
"In fact all the 'scenes' in question will remain in the game. For example, in one scene where a woman is being orally penetrated by a tentacle, once you see the tentacle go in we will cut the scene so you don't see the repeated, violent thrusting as you do in the Japanese version."
"We do not believe that the intense storyline and suspense Kenji Eno went to such great length to create in D2 will be at all effected by these minor changes. We feel these changes, which will result in a maximum of only 60 seconds of footage being edited, are good compromises."
Rumblings are continuing that Namco are currently working on Soul Calibur 2 for the arcades. Apparently the game will be released around mid year but the best news is that it will apparently use the Naomi chipset. This would almost guarantee a conversion to Dreamcast, and rumours are already pointing to a late 2000 Dreamcast release.
Sega of Japan are believed to be working on an improved version of Virtua On: Oratorio Tangram for the Dreamcast. Apparently the new version will include bug fixes as well as improved network support and new backgrounds. The improved version is set for release in February sometime and it's almost certain that if (when) the game is released outside Japan it will be the new version.
Acclaim have announced that they have at least 6 Dreamcast titles set for release during 2000. Within their financial report Acclaim have stated that their upcoming racing game Vanishing Point will be headed to Dreamcast. This game was originally announced as a Playstation exclusive and will be a boost for Sega.
According to beta testers in Japan Marvel Vs Capcom 2 contains a whopping 52 characters to select from. Initially 28 characters are available with another 24 boxes containing question marks indicating characters that can be unlocked. Awesome.
A couple of game soundtracks are set for release in Japan soon. Firstly a Space Channel 5 CD is due out on 21st February for 2,500 yen while a Soul Calibur soundtrack is due out in March for about 3,000 yen. Tecmo have release a Dead or Alive 2 soundtrack a couple of days ago in Japan for around 1,900 yen.
THQ are about to support the Dreamcast in a big way. Perhaps the biggest news is the confirmation of a game using the WWF license. As well as this a MTV Sports: Skateboarding and a BMX game are due out in 2000 as well as Heavy Iron Studios' game based on the horror movie Evil Dead.
Eidos have confirmed that their adventure title Omikron: The Nomad Soul will be heading to the Dreamcast. The game has been available on the PC for quite some time now ad there still isn't any word on additions/enhancements for the Dreamcast.
For all those Canadian readers out there you might be interested to know that SOA has signed a deal with AT&T to become the primary internet company throughout Canada.
Known as Climax Landers in Japan EB World have just announced that Time Stalkers (US Name) will be released in America on February 21st. Expect a PAL release soon after.
Dreamcast sales are still going strong. On the software side is has been revealed that in the first week Shen Mue : Yokosuka has sold an impressive 260,000 copies. As for actual Dreamcast systems North American sales have topped 1.85 million units while Europe has now passed the 800,000 unit mark.
Steve O'Leary told me a couple of days ago that system sales for Australia over the Christmas period were between 15-20,000 units. That's a sell-through figure and not the number that Ozisoft have sent to stores which is much higher. They are very pleased with this figure especially following the problems associated with the launch.
I spoke to Steve O'Leary today about release dates in Australia for both games and peripherals. The news was mixed with some games being delayed while a couple of release dates are earlier then expected. Sega Bass Fishing has been pushed back until late February from it's original launch date while the HOTD2/Gun bundle is now expected in mid February. Core's Fighting Force 2, Rage's Incoming and Awesome Development's Jimmy White's 2 :Cue Ball are all expected to be released this month. Crazy Taxi is due out on the 18th February alongside NBA2K. Virtua Striker 2 is expected in a couple of weeks time, on January 28th while the arcade hit Zombie Revenge is expected around the 18th March. Unfortunately it looks unlikely that the Sega VGA Box will be released here. Of course all the latest dates are constantly being updated on the Coming Soon page.
Virtua Striker 2 has also been given a release date in the United States. Originally believed to have a late 2000 release SOA has shocked the gaming world by announcing the game will be shipping to stores on March 14th.
One of the hottest upcoming games is Sega's Sega GT: Homologation Special and it has just been revealed that the game will include a factory mode where you can design your own car including body design, internal components and even the paint job. The game is due out next month in Japan with a US/PAL release likely towards the end of the year.
Tecmo's Dead Or Alive 2 is expected to hit the shelves in America on February 18th. Hopefully a PAL release of this highly anticipated fighter won't be too far behind.
It's a big month in Japan, not only because of the launch of the Playstation 2, but due to a high number of Dreamcast games set for release. Below is a list of the major releases :
Virtua Cop 2
Puzzle Bobble 4
Sentimental Graffiti 2
Vigilante 8 2nd Offense
Lake Master Pro Dreamcast Plus
The Typing of the Dead
Advanced War Strategy DC
Marvel Vs Capcom 2
New Age of Heroes
Reports are beginning to surface that there are faults with the 3rd disc in Shen Mue : Yokosuka. Sega have admitted there has been a faulty batch which is a very small percentage of the games produced. An exchange is being offered by SOJ for people with a faulty 3rd disc.
According to an interview with IGN64 Midway are planning on releasing on Rush 2049 in September. When asked about internet play the developer stated : "Sega hasn't provided me with the materials needed to do it. If I could do it, I'd include full Internet play." C'mon Sega, get them the tools now.
Interact have announced plans to release a Dreamcast Game Shark in Q'2 2000. For those of you that don't know a game shark allows you to enter codes for games to enable a variety of cheats.
Hopefully everyone has had a great New Years. Although I had a fairly quiet one personally I enjoyed watchings the celebrations from around the world immensely. Sega will be hoping they have a good year as well but it will be a tough one. With the Playstation 2 due out in March in Japan and the rest of the world by the end of the year Sega will have a tough job on their hands.
Hudson Soft have confirmed that they are working on a Dreamcast online RPG network called Runjeid. No game details have been announced yet.
Sega have announced that their strange typing game, Typing Of The Dead will be release on March 30th for 6,800 yen in Japan. This game sees you defeating enemies by typing words as they appear on screen.
SNK have confirmed that they will be releasing a new King of the Fighters '99 game on the Dreamcast in March 2000. The game will include new 3D backgrounds as well as new characters not found in the arcade version. It is believed there will be internet support but no word yet on online gameplay.
Virtua Cop 2 has been confirmed for release on the Dreamcast. The game will be released on March 2nd at the low price of 2,800 yen. Apparently the Dreamcast version will be a direct port of the Saturn game with the graphical glitches fixed.
At the beginning of last year I made predictions about the Dreamcast during 1999. Some were accurate while other predictions were way off. Here is a table of how I did.
|PREDICTION||WHAT ACTUALLY HAPPENED|
|Sega really begins to take hold of the console market. By late March more Dreamcast's are being sold then any other system in Japan.||False. The Dreamcast has been ahead of the Nintendo 64 most of the year, but the Playstation still leads.|
|Shen Mue is released in mid April and although the reviews are quite positive many find the game to be a little disappointing. The game still sells by the truckload.||True & False. Shen Mue was delayed until 23rd December and the reviews were positive, but disappointing. The game is selling very well.|
|Sega continue to convert their latest arcade games to Dreamcast and become more faithful to their arcade versions. Virtua Fighter 4 is released on Dreamcast in Japan in December 1999.||True & False. Arcade games are still coming to the Dreamcast with Zombie Revenge, Crazy Taxi, HOTD2 perfect conversions. Virtua Fighter 4 has been hinted at for arcade development but is still a long way away.|
|Sega will decide to upgrade many of their older coin-ops for release on Dreamcast. This includes some Model 2 games, and they may be released on compilation CD's.||True. Sega, contrary to rumours over a year ago, are porting their model 2 games to Dreamcast. Dynamite Cop 2, Virtua Cop 2 and more are set for release on the Dreamcast.|
|Sega decide to do new versions of Shinobi, Phantasy Star, Panzer Dragoon, and Nights.||True & False. While only Phantasy Star is confirmed for upgrades there have been strong rumours of the other 3 titles.|
|Namco releases Tekken 4 and Time Crisis 2 in time for US launch, or very shortly after.||False. We can only hope. Namco have 2 titles due in 2000.|
|The US/UK launch is delayed until late September but the system is in short supply and quickly sells out. Hype for the system remains high through the entire Christmas period.||True. While the US launch went on schedule the UK was delayed. The system was a near sell out (except in Australia) ad the hype is as strong as ever.|
|US/UK Launch Titles : Sonic Adventure, VF3:TB, Sega Rally 2, Daytona 2, Blue Stinger, Power Stone, Cool Boarders, Marvel Vs Capcom, Rayman 2, Geist Force.||6 correct, 2 due in 2000 and 1 cancelled.|