JANUARY 2001 NEWS


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January 31, 2001

    Playstation 2
    News doesn't get any bigger then this. Not only has Sega announced Virtua Fighter 4 in the arcades but Yu Suzuki has just confirmed that the game will be a Playstation 2 exclusive. This is a major kick in the teeth for the Dreamcast and obviously Sony have offered some huge incentives. By all accounts the Dreamcast is now as good as buried. Also confirmed for the Playstation 2 is a port of the Dreamcast games Space Channel 5 and Sakura Wars.

    It's finally been confirmed. I got a lot of hate mail when I announced over 3 months ago that Acclaim would be publishing Crazy Taxi, 18 Wheel American Pro Trucker and Zombie Revenge on the PlayStation 2 some time after April 2001.

    Sony have announced that they will be releasing Parappa the Rappa 3 for PlayStation 2 in Japan sometime in mid 2001. The original titles have sold well over a million copies.

    Omron have announced that they will are developing a USB modem for the Playstation 2 called the ME56PS2. The modem will be k56Flex and V.90 compatible and a web browser will be included in the package. The first games to make use of the modem will be Konami's Age of Empire II and Taito's Battle Gear 2. The modem will be released in Japan on March 29 however a US/Europe release has not yet been mentioned.

    It is believed that Volition and THQ are already in the early development stages of Summoner 2. No release date is planned as yet.

    I have new Playstation 2 review to the site. This time it's Activision's awesome Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2.

    Dreamcast
    News doesn't get any bigger then this. Not only has Sega announced Virtua Fighter 4 in the arcades but Yu Suzuki has just confirmed that the game will be a Playstation 2 exclusive. This is a major kick in the teeth for the Dreamcast and obviously Sony have offered some huge incentives. By all accounts the Dreamcast is now as good as buried.

    Sega of America have announced some major changes to the Dreamcast system. Well the pricing at least. From February 4th the system will sell for $US99.85 which is about $AU180 and a considerable drop from the $US149.95 price currently in stores. Sega are also stating that they will help stores with promotions to remove the remainder of the Dreamcast stock. Sega expect to have enough stock to last them until the end of the year at least.

    Sega finally issued a major announcement on Monday regarding the Dreamcast, but it's no where near as bad as we all though. Sega have announced that they will be licensing out the Dreamcast technology to Pace Micro Technology for use in a new set top box. The system will allow playback of all Dreamcast games and will come with a modem build in. It doesn't really sound that much different to a Dreamcast unit on it's own. More information is expected next month.

    Microsoft and Sega have once again denied that Dreamcast technology will be included in the XBox system.

    Sega have announced that Virtua Fighter X will now be known as Virtua Fighter 4 Expect more info from the AOU show in Japan next month.

    I have added a review to Acclaim/AM2's excellent racing title Ferrari F355 Challenge. Excellent stuff.

    All Systems
    Metal Gear Solid creator, Hiedo Kojima, has mentioned in an interview that Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty will be the last game in the series. The upcoming XBox game is believed to be a remake of one of the first games.

January 28, 2001

    Playstation 2
    Sony has announced that they have shipped 1.46 million Playstation 2 units into America to the end of December. This is 160,000 units above their forecase of 1.3 million units. As for worldwide targets the company has downgraded it's shipments from 10 million to 9 million units until 31st March 2001. This 1 million units reduction will occur in Japan only with America and Europe each getting 3 million units.

    Dreamcast
    Some more details are coming out of Japan regarding Sega. Their Japanese PR department sent out a press release on 24/1 commenting on the rumours. The press release clarifies three important things;
    1. A structural reformation of Dreamcast manufacturing, sales and distribution is being planned. However, the company will still be continuing its Dreamcast business with a focus on software. Over 100 titles are planned for this year (see news below).
    2. Sega is currently in negotiations to supply software for PS2 and Game Boy Advance.
    3. Sega is continuing to pursue the installation of the Dreamcast architecture in PCs, Set top boxes and various other electronic devices.
    Note that the press release states that they are in negotiations to develop on the PS2 and GBA and that doesn't mean that it will happen.

    Sega has announced plenty of new Dreamcast games. Perhaps to reassure gamers after the recent rumours. The list is extremely impressive and some of the more interesting games announced were as follows;
    House of the Dead 3 - heading to Naomi and Dreamcast
    Dynamic Golf - could be the rumoured Virtua Golf, hits arcades in Q'2 2001 and DC in Q'3 2001.
    Get Bass 2 - Expected in Japan in Q'2 2001 will add more modes, seasons, wind and timezones.
    Alien Front Online - Action game expected in mid 2001.
    Outrigger - You know my feelings on this, potentially better then Q3A, online gameplay but still in development limbo. Hmmm.
    Project Propeller Online - New secret online flight shooter from AM2. More details soon.
    Power Smash 2 - Or Virtua Tennis 2 here will now include online play and female players. Naomi release first followed by Dreamcast.
    Crazy Taxi 2 - The biggest game gets a sequel. No details announced apart from new drivers.
    Victory Goal 2001 - Smilebit developed soccer game. No details known as yet.
    Sonic Adventure 2 - What don't you know about this. It's bigger, faster, more exciting and looks better. Expect a late 2001 release here.
    New Space Channel 5 - Although SOA deny it's development SOJ confirms the sequel to one of the most original games.
    K-Project (tentative) - Top Secret shooting game from the producer of Sega Rally and Space Channel 5.
    Toe Jam and Earl III - In development for a long time already we can expect a release this year.
    NFL2K2, NBA2K2 and NHL2K2 - Pretty obvious really.

    All Systems
    Activision has confirmed they have signed UK developers Warthog and Gene Pool to create a video game based on X-Men. It is still unknown which console(s) the game will be developed for but XBox and/or Playstation 2 seem highly likely. The game is expected to be released in 2002.

January 25, 2001

    Playstation 2
    Sony have just gone on a little spending spree. The have just acquired Red Zone, the company who have developed the NFL GameDay title on Playstation 2. While the game has not received the best reviews, or comes close to EA's Madden 2001. Perhaps the biggest acquisition was Naughty Dog. This development team were responsible for Crash Bandocoot on PSOne. While Red Zone will be merged with Sony's development teams Naughty Dog will remain a separate entity. These acquisitions mean that these development teams will almost certainly be exclusive PS2 developers.

    Activision have confirmed an agreement with UK based developers Mucky Foot to create a sequel to Blade, possibly based on the upcoming movie. It is highly likely that the game will be released on Playstation 2.

    Square have set their sales targets for Final Fantasy X. In Japan they are hoping to sell 3-3.5 million units while in America and Europe they are hoping for sales of 1.4-1.8 million and 1.2-1.5 million units respectively.

    Dreamcast
    There have been 2 huge rumours circulating on the Internet, thanks to some newspaper reports in Japan. The first report from Jiji Press states that Sega will be developing titles on the Playstation 2. This will come as no surprise to FG readers as Acclaim announced late last year that Crazy Taxi and 18 Wheeler would be published on the PS2 by them. It is believed that Sega are currently developing 5 titles for Playstation 2, and 2 for the Gameboy Advance. Sega are still denying the rumour while Acclaim have gone quiet.

    The other more depressing rumour is that Sega will cease production of the Dreamcast from March. It is believed that they will continue to market the system until the units run out. This seems quite amazing unless they have been stockpiling them in recent months, and lets face it, that wouldn't be hard to do. These are both rumours at this stage although it is believed that Sega will be making a couple of major announcements in the coming week. Still that could also be another rumour.

    XBox
    EA have announced a new title for the XBox. Battlefield 1942 is a realtime war simulation featuring tanks and battleships and is being developed by Digital Illusions.

January 23, 2001

    Playstation 2
    Square have announced 3 more Final Fantasy games for Playstation 2. As well as Final Fantasy X Square have announced that they will be redeveloping Final Fantasy VII, VIII, IX on the system. No word yet on release dates or if the games will be re-released outside Japan.

    Koei has postponed the release of Kessen II in Japan from March 8th to March 29th.

    Namco have announced that Soul Calibur 2 will be on display at the AOU show in Japan on February 23rd. The game will run on the System 246 board which is based on the Playstation 2, making a release on that system very likely.

    Interplay has announced that Giants: Citizen Kabuto will be coming to PS2. The game is expected to be released in Q'2 2001.

    GT Interactive have denied that Unreal 2 is coming to the Playstation 2. They have stated that the game wouldn't be possible on the system. Strangely the game has been listed on Infogrames' release schedules. The PC version is tentatively penciled in for Q'1 2002 and will be shown at the E3 show this May.

    I have added a new review, this time it's for EA/Bullfrog's Theme Park World. It's a great simulation that must be considered. I have also added a review to EA's equally impressive ice hockey game, NHL 2001.

    I have added a couple of game previews. The first game is EA's Knockout Kings 2001. The second game is also an EA title, this time NBA Live 2001. Finally, but definitely not least I have added a preview with the latest screenshots from Square's upcoming Final Fantasy X.

    Dreamcast
    I have added a preview to one of the most anticipated titles expected in the first half of this year, Grandia II from Ubisoft.

January 22, 2001

    Playstation 2
    Such is the confidence in Capcom's upcoming Onimusha that the company is already working on the sequel. Apparently this sequel will take place 10 years after the original game, and could be released sometime within the next 12 months.

    Kessen II has been given a release date in Japan. Apparently the sequel will be available on March 8 in Japan. Word that Kessen III would appear on XBox seem to be unfounded with Koei stating that is may still be a PS2 exclusive.

    Dreamcast
    Sonic Team are already set to release new missions for Phantasy Star Online. The missions, one of which is single player and four of which are online multi-player, will be downloadable through the internet. The American version of Phantasy Star Online will be available in America on January 30th, with Europe soon after and Australia when the sky turns purple. (that's possibly March)

    Infogrames has canceled the release of Team 17's Stunt GP on Dreamcast.

    Gamecube
    In an extraordinary move, Imagine Media's flagship games website Daily Radar, has decided to cease covering Nintendo products. The website will no longer publish screenshots or use any of Nintendo's copyrights. The unprecedented move follows a lawsuit filed by Nintendo against Radar's publishing house Imagine Media. Nintendo is unhappy with Imagine for publishing a magazine called The Unofficial Pokemon Trainer's Guide. This ban on Nintendo games doesn't apply to games from other companies such as EA, THQ or Acclaim. This could be quite a setback to Nintendo in the lead up to the Gamecube launch in a little over a year. Expect more news soon.

January 19, 2001

    Playstation 2
    Expecting Gran Turismo 3 in March? Well, so was everyone however Sony have just announced a delay in Japan from February 15th to sometime in April. The reason for the delay is quote "In order to bring up the quality of the game as high as possible". This 2 month delay will also mean a delay for the Australian game by at least 2 months making the release closer to May/June here.

    Acclaim are rumoured to be working on a new game called Jinxed. Little is known about the game other then it may be a platform/adventure title.

    Dreamcast
    Don't Americans seem to get everything. All the nuclear weapons, all the say in the world's politics and now the Sega Smash Pack. Sega have released details about a new bundle for Dreamcast with several classic Megadrive games bundles with the system. Of course they run off a GD-ROM but apparently they are arcade perfect. The games? Well there are 10 of them in total including;
    Altered Beast, Columns, Golden Axe, Phantasy Star 2, Revenge of Shinobi, Sega Swirl (actually a recent game), Shining Force, Sonic The Hedgehog, Streets of Rage 2, Vectorman, Virtua Cop 2, and Wrestle War. At the moment the game pack will only be available with the console, but it would be criminal not to release it seperately as well.

    Well Americans may not get it all their own way. Apparently the Official Dreamcast Magazine will no longer carry a GD-Rom demo disc. After the 11th issue the demo disc will no longer be attached to the cover. Hay, at least the got 11 demo discs. I'm still waiting for the first, and the first official magazine here in Australia. And they wonder why the Dreamcast isn't selling.

January 17, 2001

    Playstation 2
    Rumours are beginning to surface that Sony's in house development team, Contrail, are working on Wild Arms 3 for the Playstation 2. This is yet to be confirmed but wouldn't be out of question following the success of the original titles.

    I have added a review to Acclaim/Kemco's latest racing game Top Gear DareDevil.

    Dreamcast
    Those of you in America looking forward to playing Phantasy Star Online with the broadband adapter will be sad to hear that it won't be possible. Unfortunately Sega of America haven't had enough time to implement and test it properly with the game. An Australian release date is still laughable.... I mean TBA. Sigh.

    XBox
    Do you hate region lockouts? Well so do Microsoft apparently. The XBox will ship without any region lockouts meaning that a game from America will run on a Japanese system and vice versa. I'm unsure yet as to how the PAL/NTSC TV signals will be differentiated on the system. It is still possible that 2nd and 3rd party publishers will include their own lockouts.

    Although Koei haven't said anything yet according to Videogames.com Kessen 3 will be heading to XBox. Kessen 2 is still on track for the Playstation 2 late this year in Japan.

January 15, 2001

    Playstation 2
    I have added a couple of preview to two of the hottest games due out in the next couple of months. The first game is Electronic Arts port of Quake 3 Arena which is now called Quake 3 Revolution. The game includes several addition and enhancements over the already impressive PC game. The other game previewed is Namco's awesome looking MotoGP which has been dramatically improved from it's arcade version.

    Dreamcast
    Grandia II is one of the best RPG's in years and now the game has a release date here in Australia. Ubisoft, who are publishing the game outside Japan, have confirmed that the game is now set for release here in March 2001. Start saving those pennies, you won't want to miss this.

January 14, 2001

    Playstation 2
    Broadsword Interactive and Acclaim have announced a new rally racing game called Paris Dakar Rally. The game features 12 stages from the actual 2001 race in which there are no restrictions on the vehicles the player uses. As yet there is no expected release date.

    I have added a review to Midway's Ready 2 Rumble: Round 2.

    Dreamcast
    LucasArts have cancelled Star Wars: Super Bombad Racing on the Dreamcast. The game is still scheduled to appear on PS2 and PC. No reason has been given for the cancellation.

    Sega Hitmaker have confirmed that they are porting Confidential Mission from Naomi to Dreamcast. The game is expected sometime this year.

    I have added a review to Sega's Sega GT as well as Midway's Ready 2 Rumble: Round 2.

    I have added previews to a couple of highly anticipated titles, Lionhead's Black & White as well as THQ's Evil Dead: Hail To The King.

    Other
    Don't forget to vote in the poll on the Main Page and if you don't receive the newsletter from Future Gamez make sure you enter your e-mail in the box above.

January 11, 2001

    Playstation 2
    Sony has chosen Seagate Technology to manufacture the hard drives for the Playstation 2. Although no size has been chosen it is expected that the hard drives will fall somewhere between 15 and 30GB. Seagate are also believed to be supplying hard drives for the Microsoft XBox.

    Dreamcast
    While Americans are anxiously awaiting Phantasy Star Online there is something which will now make the wait almost unbearable. Sega are going to pack in a free demo of Sonic Adventure 2 with the RPG. Is that awesome or what? No word, as usual, on the Australian release.

January 10, 2001

    Dreamcast
    It looks like AM2 are set to unleash their biggest game yet. No it's not Shenmue II (although that is coming) but none other then Virtua Fighter X. The game will run on the Naomi 2 which will make a Dreamcast port hard, but still very likely. Virtua Fighter X will be displayed for the first time at the AOU show on February 23 and 24. Expect VFX to be the game of the show.

    Other
    I have updated the Previews & Release Schedule page with all the latest dates as well as the Reviews & Released Dates page with the latest releases.

    I have added a couple more letters from the last month to the Letters Page. Remember if you have anything to say or ask me about for the letters page, send me an e-mail.

January 7, 2001

    Playstation 2
    Those of you looking for Summoner need wait no longer. The game was sent out last Friday and should hit stores very early this week.

    In news that probably means very little to us Square has announced that they have chosen Rikki, a Japanese singer, to perform the Final Fantasy X theme song on PlayStation 2.

    Dreamcast
    K-Mart has stopped selling the Dreamcast. According to Daily Radar, K-Mart in America has stopped selling the Dreamcast. This is a major blow to Sega as K-Mart are one of the largest retailers. Apparently they have not received stock since August and when asked why they have stopped selling the system stated "It is a business decision. We do not disclose information about vendor relationships."

    Some details are starting to be released about Shenmue II. Apparently Ryu will encounter a new red headed female in Hong Kong who will have a large part in the game. Sega are expected to release a lot more details about the game in mid-January.

    XBox
    Microsft have confirmed that the XBox won't have DVD movie playback out of the box. The have stated however that a remote control and player will be sold separately. Apparently this is to reduce the cost of the system to the consumer. Micorsft want the system to concentrate on playing games and not watching movies.

January 5, 2001

    Playstation 2
    Hudson have confirmed that their highly anticipated fighting game Bloody Roar 3 will be released in Japan on March 1 for 6800 yen.

    I have added a couple more reviews recently. The first was for Activision's Orphen: Scion of Sorcery which is the first RPG on the Playstation 2. The second game is Electronic Arts' Swing Away Golf which has proven to be more then adequate if your after a golf game.

    Dreamcast
    Where is Shenmue? It's a question that many people have been asking and I can give you as much detail as possible. According to Ozisoft the game was released on December 22nd to retailers. The only problem is that out of 3,500 units of stock 2,500 were destroyed in transit from England. These copies were unable to be sent out to retailers. I have not been able to find a copy of the game myself with most stores stating that stock should arrive soon. I have had reports from a couple of people however that they have purchased their copies in Australia just before New Years. I am still awaiting a response from Ozisoft as to when more stock will arrive in stores.

    Many people have been asking me about the broadband adapter for the Dreamcast and for the last couple of weeks there have been confusing reports. Some online retailers are stating that the adapter has been delayed from January until as late as May. However ps2.ign has sorted it all out. Apparently Sega has stated that the broadband adapter will be released on January 9th, but only through their online retailer Sega.com. What about an Australian release? Ha Ha, how about online gaming first.

January 1, 2001

    2000 AWARDS
    Today is the first annual awards ceremony on Future Gamez. Sure there may not be any gold statues handed over but gamers can see which games I believe are the best of 2000. To be eligible a game had to be released between November 30 1999 and December 31 2000. (So as to include the Dreamcast launch titles. Make sure you have a read to ensure you are playing the best games released last year. Click HERE to look at the awards.

    Happy New Year
    Well another year has passed with plenty of interesting gaming events. The launch of the PS2, the announcement of Microsoft's XBox, the failure of the Dreamcast, and Ozisoft's continual blunders, delays and broken promises. 2001 is looking very exciting with some top games. But for now enjoy the new years celebrations.

    Poll
    I have added a new poll to the Main Page asking "Which title released during 2000 here in Australia was your favourite?". Go there now to vote.

    Playstation 2
    In case you never go to the shops I though I might mention that the official Australian Playstation 2 magazine is out now. It retails for $AU14.95 and includes a cover disc with a couple of demos. Unfortunately the only playable games are Wild Wild Racing and ISS with several more games shown only in video form. Still, theres a nice clip of MotoGP and Gran Turismo 3. The magazine itself reviews most of the games available now and the scoring systems seems fairly just. It's worth a look.

    I have added a review to Tecmo's highly impressive Dead Or Alive 2. Check it out.

    Dreamcast

    Could it be that Sega are leaving the hardware business? It seems so. According to the Asian WallStreet Journal CRI (Sega's parent company) sub-chairman Kazuhiko-san said the following; 'Sega will withdraw from the hardware market in the long-term. It will be a slow and honorable process.'. The report also quoted a financial analyst close to Sega as saying, 'The cost of maintaining their hardware business just doesn't make sense anymore.' Thanks to Core Magazine for the translation and news.

    Sega vice-chairman Shoichiro Irimajiri has retired from Sega. His last day on the job was December 31st. Sega have asked him to remain as an outside consultant in future. Poor sales of the Dreamcast are to blame for his departure.


OLD NEWS
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