OCTOBER 2001 NEWS
October 31, 2001
Special Feature: DVD & Home Theatre Info
Many people who have a PS2 use it to watch DVD movies. But are you really set up for the full experience? Do you know what all the terms are when people talk about anamorphic pictures, DTS sound of optical leads? This Special Feature will help you unravel some of the mystery. Make sure you check out the DVD & Home Theatre Info. It's not as detailed as it could have been but gives you some of an idea. If you have any further questions or queries make sure you e-mail me straight away.
Konami have confirmed that they have completed work on Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons Of Liberty for the Japanese and American markets. The game is expected to be released on November 13 in America. Konami have just begun the conversion to PAL but the game is not expected to be released until February 2002. As yet there has been no word on any potential modifications to the game.
Confirmation from Eidos that Soul Reaver 2 will hit the shelves in America on October 31st, or today in case you forget. The Australian release is expected in late November.
SNK, the company behind many hit arcade fighting games and the over priced NEOGEO have issued a statement about their closure:
Dear All NEOGEO fans/customers,
It is with deepest grief that In the Autumn of 2001, SNK will close the company history in its business. It was all of your favor and encouragement which made our passion running to make better games for SNK fans. We'd like to take this opportunity to thank and everyone of you for your continuous help and assistance rendered to SNK since its incorporation in Japan July in 1978. Without your support, SNK Corporation would not have been possible throughout 23 years of operation. With all our heart-felt gratitude, thank you once again !
Today is the last day to vote in the poll to the right. If you haven't voted yet it's your last chance.
October 28, 2001
Activision's Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3 has been confirmed as the first online title for the Playstation 2. The game will be released by the end of the year in America.
A bit of a clarification about the Starfighter 2 update from Thursday. Some people asked why I mention Electronic Arts when it is LucasArts who made the announcement and are developing the game. The answer. Electronic Arts will be distributing the title here in Australia, as with other LucasArts games, and the press release was originally forwarded to me from them. Problem solved.
Only a couple more days left in this months poll so if you haven't voted yet look right, and make your selection immediatly. C'mon it' won't even cost you a cent.
Rumours are beginning to circulate that The Nintendo Gamecube may not be released in Europe until Autumn 2002, with September being the most likely release month. The console was expected to be released in early 2002 but Nintendo are remaining extremely tight lipped with no details about the product with retailers. In comparison, Microsoft have apparently begun, or are just about to begin, advertising their XBox launch for Australia and Europe. If the Gamecube is delayed this is great news for Sony, and Microsoft, as it will allow even more units to be sold leaving Nintendo with a massive catch up job.
A trio of previews has been added to the site over the last couple of days. The first is for Electronic Arts' spectacular looking FPS, Medal of Honor: Frontline. This should be an awesome title in March next year.
Next up is THQ's very impressive looking Dark Summmit which looks like adding a storyline to a great snowboarding engine. Expect a release for this title in only a few weeks time.
Finally I have put up a preview for the Square/Disney co-venture, Kingdom Hearts which is yet another Square RPG, but starring many famous Disney characters. Definitely worth keeping an eye on, despite a release still over a year away.
October 25, 2001
Hot off the presses tonight comes the news that Electronic Arts and LucasArts' have officially announced Star Wars: Jedi Starfighter which is based on the upcoming movie, Episode II: Attack of the Clones. Here is the official press release in it's entirety:
THE FORCE COMES ALIVE IN LUCASARTS' NEW FLIGHT-ACTION EPIC
STAR WARS JEDI STARFIGHTER FOR PLAYSTATION 2
Features New Jedi Starfighter from Star Wars: Episode II, Introduces Force Powers to Flight-Action Genre
SAN RAFAEL, Calif. -- October 25, 2001 -- "Remember, a Jedi can feel the Force flowing through him." - Obi-Wan Kenobi
The critically-hailed STAR WARS StarfighterÔ flight-action game series returns with the power of the Force in STAR WARS Jedi Starfighter from LucasArts Entertainment Company LLC. Inspired by the success of its predecessor, which debuted at the top of the PlayStation 2 sales charts upon release last April (according to Inform), Jedi Starfighter features the sleek and agile new Jedi starfighter from the upcoming motion picture Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones. The game, expected to release spring 2002 on PlayStation 2, also marks the first-ever availability of Force powers in a Star Wars flight action title.
Jedi Starfighter presents 15 exhilarating one and two-player cooperative story-based missions set amidst a variety of new and beautifully rendered worlds and environments, as featured in Attack of the Clones. In addition to the Jedi starfighter, players can battle in three other original heavily armed and highly maneuverable craft, the Havoc, Zoomer and Freefall. Missions take place over land and in space, with players skirmishing against more than 40 starships and capital-class vessels - including some notable enemy craft from the upcoming Star Wars film.
"Jedi Starfighter presents gamers with their first opportunity to experience the richness of Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones," says Simon Jeffery, president of LucasArts. "Not only does the game introduce players to locations and craft from the movie, its gameplay expands beyond the story line of the film itself and develops characters established in STAR WARS Starfighter."
A key highlight of Jedi Starfighter is the presence of its swift and stealthy namesake craft from Attack of the Clones. The Jedi starfighter is the ship of choice for the Jedi, and unlike any other in the Star Wars universe. By virtue of a Jedi pilot, players will have a variety of unique Force powers at their fingertips throughout various points in the game. Force lightning saps the power systems of enemy ships and renders pilots unconscious. Force shield creates an energy barrier that deflects laser blasts. Force reflex simulates exaggerated reflexes and perception of the Jedi Knight pilot by putting the world in slow motion while the Jedi starship retains normal turning and shooting abilities. Force shockwave produces a powerful energy surge, which radiates multi-directionally.
Jedi Starfighter follows the dramatic exploits of two unlikely heroes, Jedi Master Adi Gallia and alien pirate Nym, who forge an alliance to fight the nefarious Captain Cavik Toth, his Sabaoth Squadron, and the evil Trade Federation. The game's intriguing narrative is original, though it intersects with key events from Attack of the Clones, including the climactic battle. In the game Adi's mission is to foil a plot that could spell certain doom for the Jedi. Nym, the skillful Havoc pilot from STAR WARS Starfighter, fights to reclaim the home planet from which the Trade Federation so cruelly drove him. Without the brave resistance efforts of Adi and Nym, the very existence of the Jedi Knights and future of the Star Wars galaxy hang perilously in the balance.
Jedi Starfighter introduces players to the two main characters and their starships through a mini-training campaign. In one-player mode, players will fly as Adi Gallia and Nym. Adi Gallia, a well-respected and very skillful Jedi Master, pilots the Jedi starfighter. Nym, a former pirate who has become a powerful rebel leader, flies the Havoc, which has been upgraded from the original game with three new weapons: cruise missiles, cluster missiles, and proximity mines.
Two-player cooperative mode features additional supporting characters and ships. Reti, a crafty Toydarian, pilots the Zoomer, which is equipped with laser cannons and a chain gun. Jinkins, Nym's resourceful right-hand man, flies the Freefall, outfitted with laser cannons and drone fighters.
Jedi Starfighter has a significantly enhanced 3D game engine and will deliver cutting-edge, realistic graphics, spectacular effects, greater gameplay depth, and vastly improved performance. The game's engine is capable of rendering truly expansive environments and extraordinarily detailed craft, providing players with an incredible sense of immersion and realism.
Well, I'm a big boy and I can admit it. I stuffed up. You see, I uploaded an older in-progress review of Dark Cloud with older screenshots and a couple of errors in the review. The revised review is up now and is worth checking out. If only for the new screenshots. Now, where is that leather-clad woman set to punish me?
October 24, 2001
Confirmation from Sony today that they have pushed back the release of Wipeout Fusion from November 20 to sometime in January 2002. This will give the developers an extra two months to polish off the title. Don't worry it will definitely be worth the wait.
Another game to suffer a delay is Namco's excellent looking MotoGP 2 which was expected in December. The game has now been penciled in for February 2002.
In other release date news Sony have confirmed that 3DO's Portal Runner and Godai will both be released on December 7th in Australia.
A new review for you all to read today, and I suggest that you do. I have managed to write a review for Madden NFL 2002 which is simply stunning. Check it out immediatly.
October 22, 2001
Activision has confirmed that they are currently developing a massive 19 games for the Playstation 2. The company has 65 games in production for release between March 2002 and March 2003, with 19 of those for the PS2 and the majority from their Extreme Sports 02 lineup and Marvel Comics based games. In comparison the company has 16 XBox and 16 Gamecube projects in development.
Devil May Cry is available now in America and the game is selling extremely. Capcom were forced to reduce the amount of advertising following the September 11 attacks due to violent content, but that hasn't stopped the game selling. The compnay shipped 500,000 units at launch which has increased from their initial estimate of 400,000 copies. The game has sold around 700,000 units in Japan and is expected to be release in Australia on November 30.
Gamers in America will be saddened to learn that it looks inevitable that Sony's Network Adapter will be delayed until 2002. The unit was expected to be released in time for Christmas, with several online games to be released at the same time, however according to IGNPS2 Activision's Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3 manual apparently states that "Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3 will support the Network Adaptor (Ethernet/modem) (for PlayStation 2) when it is available in spring of 2002.". This is particulary odd considering that SCEA also have to approve all game manuals. According to an Activision rep Sony apparenlty haven't quite the network infastructure in place for online gaming.
I have added a review to Sony's great RPG Dark Cloud. It may not be Final Fantasy, but it's a great title nontheless.
I have updated the preview to James Bond:Agent Under Fire due to EA releasing some stunning new screen shots. Check it out.
October 17, 2001
I haven't got my own copy yet but apparently on the DVD of Star Wars Episode I there is a mention that LucasArts are seriously considering making a sequel to the smash hit game Star Wars: Starfighter. If this turns out to be true the game is likely to appear by the end of next year.
Electronic Arts sent me their latest schedule today, and there are plenty of new Playstation 2 games. While there is nothing confirmed for release in January of February the following titles are now penciled in for March 2002 (final dates are subject to change):
1st March - Supercross 2002, Rally 2002, Knockout Kings 2002, Tiger Woods USA Tour 2002.
2nd March - Medal Of Honor Frontline
29th March - Sled Storm 2, Need For Speed Hot Persuit, Aliens Colonial Marines
I have added yet another preview to the site, this time for the Fox developed Simpsons Road Rage which looks like an absolute blast.
October 16, 2001
October 15, 2001
Well the Tokyo Game Show took place over the weekend and perhaps the biggest news is from Sega. They have just announced several more games for the Playstation 2. The most exciting of these is Skies of Arcadia which despite the over abundance of random battles is a superb RPG. The company has also confirmed that Hundred Swords, Aero Dancing 4 and Culdcept Second. All the game should be release in Japan in 2002 with English versions still to be decided (although except for Culdcept Second are highly likely).
There is also some bad news from Sega at the TGS. The company has confirmed that Shenmue II is headed to XBox. There was no mention of a PS2 port of this spectacular action/adventure/RPG. Sonic Team's Yuji Naka has confirmed support for the XBox as well with Phantasy Star Online set to be ported to the system.
Perhaps the most interesting comment about Sega's future on all consoles is from company director Satoshi Kayama. It's interesting in the there have been few major PS2 game announcements (Shenmue II, Sega GT2002, Phantasy Star Online and Sonic Adventure 2 are all for other consoles) and yet he recognises it's massive user base:
PlayStation 2 has the largest marketshare, so that's definitely of focus. We want to express the idea of Interactive Television through the PlayStation 2. As for the Xbox, we're advancing our support. Not only do we have several games in development, but we're working with Microsoft on Xbox arcade architecture. I believe the GameCube and the Game Boy Advance will provide the optimal environment for healthy game creation. Each console will be viewed independently, and their software lineups will reflect that strategy.
Namco had a big surprise for Playstation 2 owners at the Tokyo Game Show. The company has announced a game called "New Baseball" which unlike the super deformed styled players of the past will be an untra-realistic game. It's only just started development so there are no screens or release dates yet but we can expect to hear a lot more about this in future.
Hideo Kojima has confirmed, to much applause, that Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty will most certainly be available in Japan on November 29th. He also confirmed a limited edition which includes a bonus DVD, figurine and a poster.
Sega have shown off the Playstation 2 version of Virtua Fighter 4 which apparently looks stunning. Yu Suzuki looks to have done the almost impossible by porting the game intact anc confirmed that the game will be released in Japan on January 31, 2002. The game will include many more options then the arcade game including a training mode.
Keoi's Dynasty Warrior's 3 has been released in Japan a couple of weeks ago now but it's doing some massive business with sales of over 482,000 units already, including another 78,000 units last week alone. Some other sales include Time Crisis 2 (with gun) which sold 70,412 in the first week, Silent Hill 2 with a disappointing 95,000 units after 2 weeks (17,775 last week), Final Fantasy X 2,369,818 (6,790 last week), and a rather disappointing 3,809 units for Star Wars: Star Fighter in it's first week.
I have added a couple of reviews to the site. First up is the Midway game, Spy Hunter which should be on the shelves by now.
The second titles reviewed, at last, is the GameArts developed mech game, Gungriffon Blaze which is a pretty solid title if your after something a little different.
October 11, 2001
Sony has announced that they have bought an 18.6% stake in Square which cost the company a cool 14.9 billion yen (around $AU250 million). Square of course are the developers of the massive Final Fantasy games which are approaching sales of 30 million units worldwide. Apparently Square actually approached Sony about the deal following their expected 10 billion yen loss in the lasy year. This is mainly from the massive failure of Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within at the box office (which made $US35million compared to a $US137 million production cost). Even though Sony now owns 18.6% of the company that doesn not mean that the company can no longer develop on other company systems such as XBox, Gamecube, Gameboy or PC. Still Square have been pretty close to Sony since the PSOne and we can expect this strong support to be strengthened even more now.
Imagine a movie starring Lucy Liu (Charlie's Angels), Oliver Platt (Lake Placid), Billy Zane (Titanic), Patricia Valazquez (The Mummy Returns), Macy Gray (Singer) and David Arquette (Scream) together. Now what would you say if I were to tell you they are all in a PS2 game together. Indeed Electronic Arts have just announced that all these actors have provided the voices and personalitites for their upcoming SSX Tricky, one of this years biggest Christmas releases. The game should be out in late November.
I have added a couple more previews to the site. The first is for the Blitz Games developed The Mummy Returns which looks a lot better the the original game on PSOne and has plenty of action to take straight out of the movie.
The second game previewed is the Sony published, Surreal Software developed action RPG Drakan. It looks pretty good so if you like action/RPG's it may be worth checking out.
October 9, 2001
Sega Smilebit have announced they are developing Let's Make a J. League Pro Soccer Club 2002 to the Playstation 2. The game is expected to be released in spring (Q'2) 2002. Previous games in the series have passed 1 million units. It's unlikely the simulation game will be released outside Japan, but it's yet another major boost for Sony in that country.
Reports from England are that sales of the Playstation 2 have tripled since the price drop from £260 to £199. Similar sales increases have been experienced in Australia although no definite figures have been released.
I have added a review to THQ's motocross game, MX2002 Featuring Ricky Carmichael. It's a pretty solid racing game so if you're interested check out the review.
October 8, 2001
Rumours are beginning to mount that Konami will show off a new trailer at Tokyo Game Show late this week for Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons Of Liberty. This is despite Hideo Kojima stating there would be nothing else until the games release. Kojima is also expected to make several speeches at the show, the contents of which are being kept very quiet. It's quite possible that the game is already complete and just undergoing final approval and bug testing. It's due out in America in only 6 short weeks.
Did you enjoy Summoner and Red Faction from Volition? Well, you weren't alone and the word is that THQ has got Volition working on sequels to both games. With more time on Summoner the game could have been spectacular while Red Faction 2 would go straight to the top of my most wanted lists. If the games turn out to be in development we could expect to see at least one of them by Christmas 2002.
IGN has posted a rumour that Majestic will be porting 5 of their games to the Playstation 2. No word yet on which games these will be, but it's big news if it turns out to be true.
CESA have announced the cancellation of the Spring 2002 Tokyo Game Show due to a declining in attendance. The show to be held this weekend is unaffected although the future remains uncertain.
Well no sooner do I do a preview of Grandia II then GameArts announce new details on the game. The game, which is to be published by Enix in Japan and UbiSoft in Europe/America, includes an new battle system called Ultimate Action Battle System. This sees the battles move to a half real-time system which sees the battles depend greatly on the characters speed.
Namco have confirmed they are porting Alpine Racer 3 to the Playstation 2. No word yet on upgrades for the home edition or a release date.
I have added a preview to EA's impressive looking racing/shooter Bond: Agent Under Fire.
October 5, 2001
Ozisoft have confirmed that their upcoming Silent Hill 2 will indeed be a 2-disc set. While the first disc will include the game the second disc will include interviews, special music, special cut scenes from the game. I'm still not exactly sure what they mean by special cut scenes. Does this mean the PAL version of the game will be edited?
Confirmation today from Vivendi Universal that both Crash: Wrath of Cortex and Half-Life are both due out in Australia in November.
Square have confirmed that they are shutting down their movie studios. The failure of Final Fantasy at the box office (It made under $US50 million in America - compare this to just an opening weekend of almost $US70 million for Episode I) has given the Japanese game maker a massive loss of $US115 million. The only place you will now be seeing any Square CG movies is in their video games. Probably better anyway.
I have added a preview to UbiSoft's impressive looking Batman Vengeance which is due out on 23rd November.
October 4, 2001
Interview & MPG
Burnout is bound to be one of the best titles on the Playstation 2 this year. The Criterion developed racing game has jaws dropping and the screenshots are amazing. Acclaim has just sent out the latest batch of screens, an awesome MPG movie of the game and a great interview which announces all the specs for the game. This interview and MPG trailer are now available on Future Gamez and if you have a PS2, or are thinking of buying one, you must check this out.
Sega Sports have confirmed that Michael Jordan himself will appear in the upcoming NBA2K. This follows his announcement last week that he would be returning to the NBA to play for the Washington Wizards, which he partially owns. A question remains however just how powerful the developers will rate a player who hasn't hit the court in 2 years. The game is expected late this year in America, however a release date for PAL territories has not yet been set.
Sega have confirmed that they are porting their Gamecube launch title Super Monkey Ball to the PS2. The game didn't sell too well at the Japanese launch with just over 20,000 units sold (compared to 130,000 odd systems). Obviously Sega are trying to get a much larger audience for yet another great Sega title.
Criterion have confirmed that Sony has approved the final version of Airblade. The game is a spiritual successor to their hit Dreamcast game TrickStyle. The game is currently expected to be released on November 9.
October 3, 2001
Confirmation today that Crash: The Wrath of Cortex will be coming to Australia prior to Christmas thanks to the newly set-up Vivendi Universal whom I hadn't been in touch with. Expect more details in the coming days, but Crash Bandicoot fans should be very happy.
UbiSoft have today confirmed that their Playstation 2 port of GameArts' Grandia II should be available in Q'1 2002. This is great news as there had been rumour of a late 2002 release or even a cancellation.
Electronic Arts have confirmed they are looking at a March 29 release date for Aliens Colonial Marines. The date is still not definite but the game is still progressing quite well apparently. This will be one to keep an eye out for next year.
I have added a couple of previews in the last couple of days. The first is for Namco's Ace Combat 4: Distant Thunder.
Another game previewed is Take 2's interesting looking State Of Emergency which is bound to generate a lot of discussion in the lead-up to release early next year.
Finally I have added a preview to UbiSoft's impressive port of the hit Dreamcast game, Grandia II. It's impressive to say the least.
Once again I have updated the Release Schedule & Preview page with some shifted release dates (mainly in 2002) and a couple of new additions. It's a great time to be a PS2 owner.
October 1, 2001
In case you missed it I have added a new poll to the right. This month I am going to see what is the most important thing to you when it comes to buying a game. Cast your vote now.
2001 E3 SHOW