FEBRUARY 2001 NEWS


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February 28, 2001

    Playstation 2
    Electronic Arts have released a new release schedule and there are a couple of surprises for Playstation 2 owners. Following the news a couple of weeks ago that EA Sports Rugby would be released on 6/6/2001 comes the news of a release date for Cricket 2002 of 11/10/2001. Super Bombad Racing (Star Wars themed kart racing) is scheduled for release on 15/5/2001 while Rally 2002 is scheduled for release on 5/10/2001. Unfortunately it looks like The Undying has suffered a slippage from August 17 to October 26, 2001.

    For those of you who are unaware the latest Official Australian Playstation 2 magazine is now available. As well as the preview and reviews there is a major article about this years releases. Unfortuinately many of the dates listed are incorrect (such as Metal Gear Solid 2 baing available in September. The cover CD includes playable demos of Dynasty Warriors 2 and NHL 2001. The magazine has MotoGP on the cover and is available for $14.95.

    I have added a review to Namco's awesome racing game MotoGP. Check it out immediatly.

    I have updated the preview for Volition's stunning looking Red Faction with new information and screen shots.

    Dreamcast
    Sega have announced that they will shed 300 jobs, or about 12% of their workforce. Sega will be accepting resignations from staff until March 12th. This is all as restructuring moveas Sega moves away from the Dreamcast and hardware and into software development.

    Other
    A reminder to everyone that today is the last day to vote in the poll on the Main Page. If you haven't voted yet make sute you do so immediatly.

February 26, 2001

    Top 10 List
    There are some games that everyone wants to get their hands on. Sonic Adventure 2, Phantasy Star Online, Gran Turismo 3. This article names my 10 Most Wanted, and a few that just missed out. Click her for Most Wanted Games of 2001.

    Playstation 2
    Sony have announced details for the Playstation 2 hard drive. The unit will have a whopping capacity of 40GB (Thats several times bigger as the average PC today). The unit will be released in Japan in July and will allow users to download and store information sucha s game patches/upgrades from the internet. No word yet on the price but given the size it won't be cheap.

    I have added a review to UbiSoft's awesome platform game, Rayman Revolution. Check this game out immediatly.

    I have added a preview to Sony's interesting looking Extermination.

    Dreamcast
    Sega have revealed some details about Crazy Taxi 2. This time the game is set in New York and you will have the ability to tune up and upgrade your vehicle. It will also be possible to pick up several fare paying customers at a time while the cabs will be able to jump over toher cars on the roads. The game will also include several new characters. The game is currently 60% complete and scheduled for release here in Australia on 1st July.

    Sega is suing KMart. Yes you heard it right. Apparently the retailer has failed to pay bill for Dreamcast systems totalling 2.2 million dollars ($AU4 million) dating back to 1999. This partially explains why KMart stopped carrying the system back in June 2000. Expect more news soon.

February 23, 2001

    Playstation 2
    Playstation 2 sales are taking off in Japan. From the beginning of the year Sony have sold a whopping 273,708 units. This compares to only 32,855 Dreamcast units over the same time period.

    Dreamcast
    After numerous delays it looks like a release date is being locked in for Valve Software's Half-Life on Dreamcast. Apparently Havas, who are publishing the game, are now targeting a release date of May.

February 21, 2001

    Dreamcast
    Following yesterday's news about Phantasy Star Online possibly not being online here in Australia I asked Kym Warner (no relation to me folks) to explain what exactly that statement mean. Here are her words exactly;
    Legally we are bound to put the disclaimer in, as Australian users will be connecting to US, UK & Japanese servers to on-line play as we have no local servers available. Users may experience problems if the lines between Australia and the UK are down and we cannot fix this as the servers are maintained via Sega.
    PSO definately is a great on-line experience but there are no guarantees it will work 100% of the time due to the servers being located overseas and Ozisoft having no control over the line access.
    Hope this answers your question.

    Basically it's a legal issue in that if the servers don't work or if the phone lines to the servers are down Ozisoft are making sure we can't sue them. It seems fair as that is all out of their hands. It would still be nice to get a local server up and running in Australia for those of us in the Pacific region, but at least all hope is not lost.

February 20, 2001

    Dreamcast
    Although the Phantasy Star Online enables Dreamcast users to access the global network servers developed by SEGA, 'Online functions are not guaranteed or supported in Australia or New Zealand'
    This is the statement from Ozisoft released today at the bottom of a Press Release announcing Phantasy Star Online's release date in Australia of early March. After trumpeting the games online play with people around the world in the press release this little comment way down the bottom just ticked me off. Yes, people at Ozisoft have personally told me that it should work fine, but this statement looks like they are setting up their defenses for an angry backlash should the game not work online or include so much lag it's unplayable. Looks like a local server is out of the question.

February 19, 2001

    Playstation 2
    I have added a preview to Ubisoft/Crave/From Software's Armored Core 2.

    Dreamcast
    The Official Dreamcast Magazine has been canceled in America. The Magazine used to carry the Official Demo Disc (until that was canceled last month) and will no longer appear on shelves. The decision was partly due to the major cutbacks at Future/Imagine who published the magazine. They announced that they will be laying off 350 employees which is over 17% of their total workforce. Other magazines which will be affected include T3, Revolution and a further 20 magazines worldwide.

    Unreal Tournament is finally complete on the Dreamcast. Secret Level, who are developing the game for Epic Games has confirmed that the game is complete and has been approved by Sega. Expect a release here sometime in March.

    XBox
    Here's a concern for potential XBox owners. Apparently Flextronics, who are manufacturing the XBox, have stated that the machine will cost as much as $US400. Microsoft have only said that the machine will be 'competitively priced'. If the machine is $US400 then the Australian price could be in the vicinity of $AU900 - $AU1000. Might as well buy a PC.

February 17, 2001

    Playstation 2
    I have added 2 previous to a couple of the hottest Playstation 2 games expected by years end. The first game is Sony' World Rally Championship 2001 while the second game is Namco's awesome looking flight sim, Ace Combat 4.

    Dreamcast
    Those of you awaiting Crazy Taxi 2 may not like to read this but apparently Sega have ditched plans to include online gameplay. It's a shame but the game should still be awesome nontheless.

    Ozisoft have confirmed that Phantasy Star Online will be released in Australia in March, and will include online gameplay. Time will tell.

February 14, 2001

    Competition
    Only 1 day left to enter the draw to win Dynasty Warriors 2. Future Gamez and THQ have teamed up to allow you to win this awesome game valued at $AU90. Click here to enter the competition now.

    Playstaiton 2
    Confirmation today that one of the biggest adventure gaming series' in history is returning. Electronic Arts today confirmed that Escape from Monkey Island 4 is now in development (almost certainly by LucasArts) and is heading to the Playstation 2. Other systems will almost certainly follow. I can also give you a release date. The game is expected to hit the shelves here in Australia on June 30th 2001, only 4 1/2 short months away.

February 13, 2001

    Playstaiton 2
    Rumours are circulating that Wipeout Fusion has suffered a delay. ps2.ign.com has reported that a few team members have left development of the game to work on The Getaway. What delay will this result in? Well it is now rumoured that the game won't hit the shelves until at least Q'3 2001, a delay of several months. Sigh.

    I have added a couple of high profile title review to the site. The first title is Electronic Arts' and Koei's impressive strategy game Kessen while the second title is THQ's lengthy, but quite impressive RPG, Summoner.

February 10, 2001

    Playstation 2
    The Playstation 2 may already be heading for a price drop. Online reports are surfacing that the Japanese system will drop in price by about 10,000 yen (almost $AU130). No official comment has been made, and nor will it for some time but it makes sense with the XBox and Gamecube to launch this year in Japan.

    Interplay has announced that they have secured the rights to develop games based on the Matrix movies. The first game will be based on the new movie being filmed at the moment. The game, which is being developed by MDK2 developers Shiny, should be released to coincide with the movie in late 2002. Apparently the developers have complete access to the scripts and sets with the Wachowski brothers working closely on the game as well.

    Jaleco has canned the Playstation 2 development of Carrier. The Dreamcast version was a respectable game and the PS2 game was expected to be enhanced. No reason for the games cancellation has been given.

    Dreamcast
    Sega Sports have announced that Venus and Serena Williams will appear in Virtua Tennis 2. Hopefully several more other top female tennis players (gimme Anna, gimme Anna) will make it into the game.

    XBox
    One of a handful of movies that I am dying to see this year is Shrek which is a computer generated movie like A Bug's Life and Toy Story. Now TDK Mediactive and Dreamworks have announced that the game will be heading to XBox late this year. Sandbox are currently developing the title which will likely appear on other systems.

February 8, 2001

    Competition
    Only a few days to go in the competition to win a copy of THQ's awesome action-strategy game, Dynasty Warriors 2? If so, then here's your chance. Future Gamez and THQ have teamed up to allow you to win the game valued at $AU90. Click here to enter the competition now.

    Sale
    It's amazing how mang games you collect in a year and I have decided to clear out some titles to help pay for the hosting of Future Gamez. More games will be added soon and all offers will be considered, especially if purchasing multiple titles. To go to the sale click here.

    Playstation 2
    Last week I brought you news of Rugby coming to the Playstation 2 thanks to Electronic Arts. Well now there is another sport confirmed for the system. Cricket. Yep the system isn't even a few months old and that wonderful sport which the Aussies are dominating at the moment is already in development. Unfortunately Electronic Arts couldn't give me a definite date yet although my spies tell me that Q'3 2001 is a good bet. Expect more details shortly.

    What are two of the biggest titles expected to hit the Dreamcast before it dies? They would have to be Sonic Adventure 2 and Crazy Taxi 2. Now there are some release dates. The spikey blue hedgehog will be released on 22nd June 2001 while we'll be driving like mad again on July 1st, 2001. Definately a lot sooner then we expected.

February 7, 2001

    Playstation 2
    Acclaim Australia sent out a press release today confirming their three Sega titles on Playstation 2 as well as the release dates. The first title to be released is none other then the awesome Crazy Taxi which is expected to be released as early as late April this year. That's only 2 short months away folks. The next title will be Sega's truck racing game, 18 Wheeler: American Pro Trucker. That game will be released in late June, and quite possibly before or at the same time as the Dreamcast version the way things are going. Finally, Sega's horro beat 'em up, Zombie Revenge is slated for release in late August 2000. All three titles will have a RRP of $AU99.95 and will definately be worth keeping an eye on.

    I have added a review to Acclaim/Taito's puzzle game Super Bust-A-Move. It's a blast.

    Dreamcast
    Some sad news on the Dreamcast front with Activision confirming that Buzz Lightyear Of Star Command will not be released here in Australia.

February 4, 2001

    Playstation 2
    I have added a preview to EA/Dreamworks Interactive's awesome looking First Person Shooter, Clive Baker's The Undying.

    Other
    For those of you who haven't noticed yet we are already into a new month. With a new month comes a new POLL so make sure you vote now. This months question is to see which game series you would most like Sega to port to the Playstation 2 and XBox.

February 2, 2001

    Competition
    Do you want to win a copy of THQ's awesome action-strategy game, Dynasty Warriors 2? If so, then here's your chance. Future Gamez and THQ have teamed up to allow you to win the game valued at $AU90. Click here to enter the competition now.

    Playstation 2
    It certainly hasn't taken long for Rugby to make it's way to the Playstation 2. Yes you heard correctly EA have just confirmed that they are developing EA Sports Rugby. The best news for rugby fans is that the game is well into development (here on the Gold Coast in EA's new studios I believe) and will be released on 6th June 2001.

    Dreamcast
    We have only just received Shenmue here in Australia but the sequel is well into development. In fact Sega Of America President Peter Moore has confirmed that the sequel will hit stores in America during November, months earlier then expected.

    We all know that the Dreamcast will cease production on March 31st but that doesn't mean there won't be any more stock available well into the future. Excluding the stock still in stores Sega has amassed some 2 million units in their wharehouse to replenish the stores.

    What are the chances of a Dreamcast 2 from Sega? Extremely slim. The company has suspended all hardware research and development which makes the liklihood of a new Sega console remote to none. Exactly how this will affect their arcade developments is unknown althouh Sega have confirmed continuing development of arcade games.

    Other
    Ubisoft has announced that they will be going direct to market with their products here in Australia. This effectively cuts out the middle man, namely Jack Of All Games, who distributed their titles in the past. By doing this UbiSoft will have more control over thier own products in the marketplace. Darren Macbeth, the General Manager at Ubisoft Australia had this to say about the change, "Being totally independent allows UbiSoft to look at distributing third party labels in the territory and we now feel we can offer a real focus and full service to any potential partners". What does this mean to gamers? Not a lot although it increases Ubisoft's importance in the area.

    I have updated the release schedules today with over 50 additions or changes. I also received the release schedules from all the major publishers, which now includes release dates well into 2001. Check it out by clicking here.


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