APRIL 2001 NEWS

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April 29, 2001

    E-Mail Change
    Well I've been a bit slack but I have finally changed e-mail to the new server. The new address is admin@futuregamez.net. The old e-mail address, phantom@winshop.com.au, will remain active for the coming months, but you may as well change over now so you get used to it. The new one is easier to remember anyway.

    Forum
    The forum is expanding every day now with over 750 messages posted since it began only a couple of weeks ago. If you haven't joined yet make sure you do so immediately and discuss anything related to games, or anything else for that matter.

    Playstation 2
    If you have been reading the forums lately you would have read in the Deals and Bargains section that the price of the Playstation 2 has dropped to $AU699. This has been happening at several stores including Target, Electronics Boutique and even the Playstation Online store. Apparently it is for a limited time only, although it may become permanent. This deal becomes even better if you know someone with a store discount which brings the price closer to $AU650, not to bad at all.

    Some good news for Australian gamers as Sony has announced that they have secured the rights to distribute Square titles here in Australia and across Europe. The first title to be released is The Bouncer on 20th June as announced a couple of days ago on the site. Well we now have a release date for Final Fantasy X as well. Unfortunately PAL gamers will be waiting until mid 2002 for a release on that game. Definitely later then expected.

    Well, Gran Turismo 3 has just been released in Japan and while it will be a week or so before sales figures are released what is known is how good the game actually is. Famitsu, one of the biggest gaming magazines in Japan, have reviewed the game and given it a Platinum award. While the score is still to be announced a Platinum title means the game scored at least 36/40. Impressive.

    Infogrames have confirmed that they have secured the rights to develop a game for next generation consoles based on the hit TV show Survivor II. The first game is expected later in the year and while consoles haven't been announced the Playstation 2 seems the most likely candidate.

    I have done some major updates to the Playstation 2 Release Schedule page as many companies have just updated with new games and dates.

    Dreamcast
    Sega have announced that they are upgrading their servers in America to allow Phantasy Star Online Ver. 2, which is an upgraded version of the upcoming game in Australia, to be played in America. Sega still haven't announced a release date for the American version as yet and a release in PAL territories still seems very unlikely.

    A new date has been set for Bleemcast!. The program is set for release on May 30th however it will only allow you to play one game, Gran Turismo 2 on the Dreamcast. It was decided to focus on only one game at a time to enhance the game to it's fullest. No word yet on any other games to be emulated at a later stage.

    I have also done some updates to the Dreamcast Release Schedule page as, well, pretty much just Ozisoft now, have updated with several new release dates.

    Poll
    There is only 2 days left in this months poll on the Main Page. If you haven't voted yet this month make sure you do so immediately. The question; Which gaming system do you plan on buying next?.

April 26, 2001

    Playstation 2
    Confirmation today of two release dates of highly anticipated title here in Australia. Firstly, following the announcement that Sony will once again be releasing Square titles comes the news that The Bouncer will be released on 20th June here in Australia. Sony's other major title, Gran Turismo 3 will be released in the second week in July.

    Rumours are circulating that Konami are hard at work on Silent Scope 2: Dark Silhouette for the PS2. The rumours are pointing to a release late this year. Expect more news soon.

    I have added a preview to 3DO's action game, Portal Runner.

    Dreamcast
    Some small pieces of information about Shenmue II is beginning to surface. Apparently the game is already 80% complete and AM2 are stating that the game will be 3-4 times bigger then the original. Players will also be able to save anywhere in the game while the load times, especially when entering or leaving buildings have been significantly reduced. Gambling has also been increased in the sequel and is now a major way of earning money.

April 23, 2001

    Playstation 2
    Rockstar Games and Take Two have confirmed that Max Payne is coming to the Playstation 2. While the Dreamcast version has been canned the PS2 version is still in development. No release date for the often-delayed game has been announced.

    XBox
    Microsoft have announced that the XBox will feature the new Dolby Interactive Content Encoder which will enable real-time Dolby Digital encoding in their games. Expect many games to use the sound format as DVD's, and surround sound, become more common in homes.

    Namco have announced their first XBox title, Dead to Rights. The game is a 3rd person action game being developed at Namco America. The game is also headed to the Playstation 2. Expect more news at E3.

    Dreamcast
    Sega recently held its financial briefing in Tokyo in which it revealed a few details about well, almost everything. Firstly the company believes it will once again become profitable by March 2002 thanks to diversification and job cuts. The company is planning to cut another 381 jobs in Japan bringing their workforce down to 700. Sega are also planning on selling off its stake in 27 of 57 companies, none of which will affect game development. Of the Dreamcast Sega has reduced stocks from 370,000 units down to 120,000 units in Japan while in America stock has dropped from 1.2 million units on January 31 to only 820,000 units.

    When it comes to games Sega announced a fair bit. Sega are aiming to increase PC software to the point where they are the top publisher in Japan after this year. Sega announced full support for the Nintendo Gamecube with both Sonic Team and Amusement Vision both developing games for the system. Over then next 12 months Sega will release 65! games on the Dreamcast with 53 games spread across other systems. From March 2002-2003 Sega are expecting to sell 23 million copies of over 100 titles on multiple platforms and in 2003-2004 over 30 million pieces of software. To coincide with this increase in software Sega will be increasing funding from 14.5 billion yen this year, to 15 billion yen next year and 16 billion yen the year after that.

    Finally the most interesting thing to note was that Sega president Hideki Sato admitted that the Dreamcast failed not because of the games or game designers but by the marketing of the system. If only they had seen that a year ago.

April 20, 2001

    Gamecube
    Well it's finally official. After several months of speculation Nintendo have announced a delay for the Gamecube in Japan. The system has been pushed back from July to September 14th to allow more time for manufacturing of systems. The American version is still expected to hit the shelves before Christmas with an exact price and release date to be announced at E3.

    Playstation 2
    Konami and Sony Europe have release an official statement about the seemingly faulty demo of Metal Gear Solid 2 which is packed in with Z.O.E.. Apparently only 1% of Playstation 2 systems were affected. Here is the official statement;
    "The problem is extremely technically complex and has been traced to a very rare combination of factors in the manufacturing process of the discs. The process has been modified to ensure that the fault does not reoccur. Consumers who own such a copy are asked to contact the SCEE care lines in their corresponding country, who will then replace the discs."

    Sony Japan have announced that Gran Turismo 3 is finally complete and will ship to Japanese retailers on April 28th. The PAL version is expected around June/July. More interesting is the news the Polyphony Digital are working on a new Gran Turismo game that will include online gameplay, undoubtedly through the systems upcoming broadband adapter.

    The other big game which has just been completed is THQ's Red Faction. The game is expected on the shelves here in early June.

    I have added previews for Metro3D's Dark Angel as well as 3DO's Army Men: Green Rogue.

    Dreamcast
    I have updated previews for Sega's 18 Wheeler: American Pro Trucker as well as OutTrigger.

April 18, 2001

    Playstation 2
    It looks like Interplay are about to get into consoles in a big way. During 2000 85% of Interplays titles were on PC, this year almost 50% will be console with the other 50% on PC. The main beneficiary of this announcement is the Playstation 2. Interplay have six titles planned for the system this year including the stunning looking Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance which is expected around September. Following closely behind is a new game called Run Like Hell which should generate a lot of interest, if only for the name. Interplay also announced one game, Galleon will be coming to XBox, and one, called Hunter to Gamecube.

    Activision has picked up the rights to release Hudson's Bloody Roar 3 in America, after Sony America passed on the title. The game sees you changing to different beasts when fighting. No word yet on an Australian release.

    I have added preview to 2 upcoming Playstation 2 titles, Heroes of Might and Magic and Sky Odyssey.

    Dreamcast
    We have all been in limbo about Half-Life recently with confirmation from Jack of all Games that they may not bring the title to Australia. Well, there is some good news. Here is a direct quote from Sonia Fattore who does the Sierra PR in Australia regarding the title;
    Well it appears that the Dreamcast version of Half Life will make it to Australia and NZ. I still need t confirm more accurately when the PAL version is shipping but it appears a limited quantity will make it here.

    Finally, it looks like one of my most anticipated titles, OutTrigger, will be released in July in Japan. The game should include 4 player split screen action as well as 4 player internet gaming. The strange thing is that during my Visit to Ozisoft in July 2000 the game looked almost complete. So what has the extra years development done for the game? Not sure yet, but I would doubt that it was just for graphical tweaking. Expect more news at E3.

    Other
    Well Sega recently announced that they are developing 11 titles on the XBox, but now another company has gone 6 better. Yes, Ubi Soft have confirmed that they are developing a whopping 17 titles on the system. According to a report on a French web site the company also has 22 games in development for the Playstation 2, and the company also has 19 games in development for the Nintendo Gamecube. Some titles will appear on multiple platforms and I can only prey that Rayman 3 is already in the works.

April 15, 2001

    Playstation 2
    Sony Computer Entertainment has won the Semiconductor Insight Award for the Most Innovative Computing Semiconductor Product of the Year for the Playstation 2's Graphics Synthesizer chip. The chip beat out other products including the Pentium 4, Athalon and GeForce 2, which were also in the category.

    XBox
    Crave have announced plans to develop Ultimate Fighting Championship: Tapout on XBox. As yet there are no firm release dates.

    Dreamcast
    Crave have announced that Ultimate Fighting Championship: Tapout will not be developed on Dreamcast.

    I have updated the site with 2 more hotly anticipated titles. The first is an action/espionage game from Amuze called Headhunter. The second game is Hitmaker's Crazy Taxi 2 which shouldn't need an introduction.

April 13, 2001

    Playstation 2
    Sony are set to release a new model Playstation 2 in Japan. The SCPH-30000 will hit the shelves on April 18 and features a built-in hard drive and broadband network interface that runs at 100Mbps. The DVD remote control and 8MB memory card will no longer be bundled with the system, and will have to be purchased separately. The system doesn't have a set price with retailers having to set their own prices.

    Namco have confirmed that they are working on Time Crisis 2 on the PS2. GameSpot is reporting that the company is currently working on a USB light gun for the system.

    Sony America have announced a new racing game called Kinteica. The game is being developed at Sony's Santa Monica Studio (where they are also working on Twisted Metal Black). Both games are expected to be released by the end of the year.

    UbiSoft have confirmed that Batman Vengeance will be released on Playstation 2 late this year.

    Acclaim have confirmed that they are working on Dave Mirra Freestyle BMX 2 on the Playstation 2. The announcement was made in their second quarter fiscal report for the year. The original game sold a whopping 1.2 million units.

    Rumour is circulating on the web that GameArts are considering porting the Dreamcast game, Grandia II to the Playstation 2. Apparently they are looking at a Japanese release in December.

    I have added a preview to Sega's hotly anticipated fighting game Virtua Fighter 4.

    Dreamcast
    I have updated the preview to UbiSoft's very funny looking adventure game, Stupid Invaders.

    Other
    Well we've had movies based on Mortal Kombat, Street Fighter and even Mario which were laughable at best. In the coming months we will enjoy the wonders of Tomb Raider and Final Fantasy which should both be pretty good. In the future however we can look forward to Soul Calibur which is set to be directed by Sammo Hung, one of the best kung fu actors/directors today.

April 10, 2001

    XBox
    Activision have confirmed that they will be showing off Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2x on XBox at this years E3 show in America. Expect more details later although a launch release date is almost certain.

    Hideo Kojima, the creator of Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons Of Liberty has spoken about the XBox. Here are some of his comments from his interview with MSNBC;
    "You will definitely get better graphics with Xbox. With PlayStation 2, we had to create our own shadows with the software. With Xbox, the machine creates it for us, so we can use that little extra power for effects and stuff. So the Xbox version will probably look a little bit better."
    "I don't think that Xbox is that much better than PlayStation 2. Other than little improvements in graphics, I don't expect much difference."

    Playstation 2
    Speaking of Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons Of Liberty Konami have confirmed that the game will be released in America first, possibly late this year. Europe will be next in line while Japanese gamers will likely be last. This is due to the games huge popularity in America/Europe and Japan's keenness for more RPG styled games.

    Dreamcast
    Sega of Japan have announced that Phantasy Star Online has reached 235,000 registered players worldwide. The breakdown is as follows;
    Japan - 130,000 (December 21 release)
    North America - 70,000 (January 31 release)
    Europe - 35,000 (February 16 release)

    I have added 2 reviews to the site recently, both for Acclaim games. The first game is the excellent Vanishing Point while the second is the rather average (read: totally pathetic) Ducati World.

April 8, 2001

    Playstation 2
    Square have surprised the Japanese gaming public by announcing that their massive RPG Final Fantasy X will be released in July. The game wasn't expected to be released until much later in the year. This gives some hope to seeing an English port before Christmas.

    Dreamcast
    Sega will stop distributing the Dreamcast across Europe effective immediately. But it's not all that bad, as French distributor Bigben Interactive SA (BBI) will now be distributing the system in the territory. Sega are now totally focused on software development.

April 7, 2001

    Dreamcast
    One of the most highly anticipated games expected before the Dreamcast is completely dead is 18 Wheeler: American Pro Trucker. Unfortunately some sad news has surface today in that the game will no longer include online gameplay. Apparently there isn't enough time prior to the May release in America, and June in Australia/Europe. Sega America issued the following statement:
    "Sega of America announced today that 18 Wheeler: American Pro Trucker" will ship without an online multiplayer mode in order to meet the launch date of late May 2001. Sega believes this is a good decision based on the success of the arcade version, as well as the anticipation from gamers to play the game on their Dreamcast console."

    A release date has finally been announced for Sonic Adventure 2 in Japan, Europe and America. The game will be release on June 19th. According to Ozisoft the game is currently set for release in Australia on June 22nd (as has been known for almost 2 months now).

April 5, 2001

    Other
    Well I'm sorry once again about the lack of updates over the last couple of days but I have been busy completing the repairs and upgrades at work (See March 25 news). Everything went exceptionally well and I can now go back to working on Future Gamez. Thanks for your patience. Dave.

    Dreamcast
    Well, has there been an official price cut in Australia for the Dreamcast? Electronics Boutique currently have the system listed at $AU199 on the front cover of their latest catalogue. Ozisoft still haven't issued an official statement. Either way, if you want a Dreamcast now is the time to buy one. At $AU199 it's a steal. Oh and in a few years they will be a collectable.

    Playstation 2
    I have added a preview to EA's highly anticipated Rugby 2001.

April 1, 2001

    Poll
    A new poll is now on the Main Page of the site. Make sure you go there now to vote. The Question: Which gaming system do you plan on buying next?
    Speaking of Polls I have finally updated the Past Poll Results page.

    Playstation 2
    Sony Japan have announced the official release date for Gran Turismo 3: A-Spec. The game will be released in Japan on April 28th for 6,800 yen. The best news however is that the game will include the i.Link feature so you can link up 6 Playstation 2's together for multi-player excitement.

    Koei have announced that their third Kessen title will be playable online. Details are still scarce but the game is still a way off with the second title still to hit shelves.

    I have added a preview to Acclaim's highly anticipated port of Sega's arcade/Dreamcast game Crazy Taxi.

    Dreamcast
    Well, it's official. The Dreamcast is now a dead system. As of the 31st March Sega have ceased production of the system for the last time. They still have a stockpile of over 2 million units which will keep the system selling until about Christmas, but after that it's all over for the little white box. Don't think the software will stop though. There is still plenty of titles expected through 2001 which will keep you playing for some time.

    XBox
    Well while the world is waiting for the XBox, so is Bill Gates. This is what he said at the opening address at the TGS in Japan;
    "I have the same excitement about Xbox that I did about the PC, or the first version of Windows. I can't wait to get my hands on Xbox!"

    I have added a preview to yet another launch title on the XBox. This time it's NFL Fever 2002.


OLD NEWS
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