DECEMBER 2001 NEWS

December 30, 2001

    FUTURE GAMEZ 2001 AWARDS (PT1)
    Well it's the end of another year and it's time for the FUTURE GAMEZ 2001 AWARDS where we honor the best of 2001. In the first part of the awards we look at the worst of 2001, the most original titles, the best multi-player games, the best arcade ports and more.

    Games
    Here's an interesting news bit. According to search engine Yahoo the most popular search topic is the PS2. Son't wonder machine even managed to get on top of Britney Spears (now there's a dream a lot of people have had!). More impressively for Sony the XBox finished at Number 29 while the Gamecube hardly deserves a mention at Number 81.

    Well, testing is already underway in Japan for Final Fantasy XI. The 11th game in the series will be online and is compatible with the Hard Drive unit. Already there has been some problems with the game running on certain hard drive models but this will be fixed well before the games release late next year.

    Poll
    Only another day or so in this months poll to the right. If you haven't voted yet then now is the pefect opportunity to do so.

December 27, 2001

    Games
    Some people have been asking about all the Cryo games listed on the Release Schedule Page and when they will be release. Well word has just come through from Acclaim that apart from Woody Woodpecker which was released last week (at a low $AU49.95 RRP) all the other titles have been delayed until late January.

    Well, it's not really related to the Playstation 2 directly but it's interesting to note that WOW Entertainment, a division of Sega, have put Sega GT 2002 on XBox on indefinite hold. The game was expected in March 2002. While no reason has been given there are a couple of possibilities. Firstly, perhaps the game just wasn't up to scratch and has been scrapped. Secondly, and this is where the PS2 may com in, the game may be moving to another system. Or perhaps the company is just going to spend a lot more time developing the title for XBox. Expect more details soon.

    Review
    In case you missed it on the Main Page I have added a review to UbiSoft's Evil Twin: Cyprien's Chronicles. It's definitely a good title with plenty of great moments to keep you entertained.

December 22, 2001

    Christmas
    First of all I would like to wish everyone a very merry Christmas and hope that the Jolly Fat Man brings everyone what you want for Christmas. Hopefully Future Gamez has played a small part in your decisions and reflected accurately what you want to play. While the site will update over the Christmas/New Year period it may not be with too much as most companies close down. Still I plan on a couple more reviews over the coming week so keep checking back.

    I have to thank everyone who has helped me with the site this year. First and foremost to all the companies who have helped me out over the year. In no particular order (well OK alphabetically) Acclaim (Daniel - thanks for all those jokes!), Activision (Kristy and Amy), Electronic Arts (Peter, Susy, Jamie & Burchin - please make Cricket 2003!), Interplay (Tony - I think BG:DA is lost in the mail), Jack Of All Games/Take 2 (Leanne), Ozisoft (Chris, Kym, Alex, Owen, Steve - Let's hope February 22 sticks), Sony (Sharon - Hope everything is well whereever you are, Anne - Can you make something bigger then the J&D kit?), THQ (Estelle, Andy), UbiSoft (Owen - Hang on didn't I credit you at Ozisoft as well!, Vera - I love the Rayman figurine, Michael - I have your e-mail fixed now) and finally Vivendi (Lisa, Kirsten, Debbie - I look forward to much more in 2002).

    Finally to the most important people of all, the readers. You guys rock. Without your support, e-mails, abuse and comments this site would never be. Things keep going from strength to strength and as other sites close down Future Gamez tries to pick up the slack. I'm just one guy working nights and weekends to keep this thing going out of my own pocket but I love doing it, and plan to for some time yet.

    I wish everyone a great Christmas and New Year, Dave Warner

    Games
    It's almost Christmas but the news doesn't stop and the biggest of the last couple of days is that Final Fantasy X is out now in America stores. It's a phenomenal game that should be picked up by anyone even remotely interested in RPG's.

    Infogrames has announced that they are developing V-Rally 3 for Playstation 2. The game is currently in development in France by Eden Studios and is currently expected to ship in Europe in June 2002. As yet EA, who publish the game in America, have not announced an American release.

    Review
    I have added three massive reviews for you to read. The first is for the Naughty Dog developed and Sony published Jak & Daxter a game which every PS2 owner should.. erm.. own.

    Another game which everyone should seriously consider purchasing is Devil May Cry. Capcom have developed another totally engrossing title that should keep action fans extremely happy.

    Finally I have added a review to the highly anticipated EA Sports Cricket 2002 which despite some disappointments is still a solid game for cricket fans. What choice do you have? Check out the review now.

December 18, 2001

    Games
    If rumours out of Japan are to be believed then the next Gran Turismo game will be online. However instead of just an upgrade to this years Gran Turismo 3: A-Spec the game will be a proper sequel. At this stage the rumour is that Gran Turismo 4 will be released in Q'2 2003. Expect more details to start appearing late next year as development progresses.

    Many people have asked what is the future in Australia for Grand Theft Auto 3. Well at the moment the developers are looking at removing the questionable content in the game so it can be re-release here under the MA15+ rating. Most likely the scene involving the killing of a prostitute to get your money back will be altered or removed. The game should be re-released in early 2002.

    While the Amuze developed Head Hunter is going to be published in PAL territories by Sony there is still no publisher for America. Expect that to change very soon however as the Dreamcast game, just released in Europe, is earning quite impressive scores in the press.

    Sega have set a release date of February 14, 2002 for their dancing game Space Channel 5 Part 2. The original game should be released in Australia early next year as well and if that sells well enough then the sequel should be available a few months later.

    A couple of months ago Future Gamez reported that Interplay had canned the impressive looking Rubu Tribes. No reason was give for the cancellation, but it could be due to Interplays struggling finances. Now for some good news. Outrage have been continuing development of the adventure game and Interplay are apparently seeking someone else to publish the game. Don't ask me why though.

    Review
    I have added a review to Sierra's impressive First Person Shooter, Half-Life. This game is quite possibly the best PC to console port ever and must be considered if you never owned the PC game.

December 14, 2001

    Games
    Yes you read right on the main page, Grand Theft Auto 3 has been banned in Australia. Here is the official statement from the OFLC:

    The Classification Review Board unanimously determined that the computer game Grand Theft Auto 3 is "Refused Classification", confirming the decision of the Classification Board.

    In reviewing the classification of Grand Theft Auto 3, the Review Board worked within the framework, and applied the provisions of the Classification (Publications, Films and Computer Games) Act 1995, The National Classification Code, and the current Guidelines for the Classification of Computer Games.

    The Review Board considered the computer game Grand Theft Auto 3 was unsuitable for a minor to see or play.

    A presentation was made to the Board by the Managing Director of Take 2 Interactive, a barrister for the applicant and a forensic psychologist. The Classification Review Board had an extensive demonstration of the game play.

    A three-member panel of the Board convened in response to an application from the distributor, Take 2 Interactive.

    The Classification Review Board is an independent body, drawn from people with a wide range of backgrounds, appointed by the Governor-General. The Review Board meets in camera to hear formal applications for review of decisions of the Classification Board.

    Following a review of the "Refused Classification" decision for the computer game Grand Theft Auto 3 the game remains illegal to sell.

    The "Refused Classification" status of Grand Theft Auto 3 leaves retailers liable for prosecution under relevant State and Territory legislation. It is an offence to sell or demonstrate the game in Australia.

    The Director of the OFLC, Des Clark said, "I have been assured by the distributor all stock will be recalled and retailers had previously been asked to remove stock from their shelves. Community Liaison Officers have also been visiting retailers to let them know of the substantial penalties involved in selling refused classification stock."

    The classification for this game highlights the importance of seeking a classification for computer games prior to their distribution. It is an offence for games to be sold without a classification and it is an offence to sell games with incorrect markings suggesting a classification has been made by the Classification Board.

    People can check the classification of games and films and videos by visiting the database section of the OFLC website www.oflc.gov.au. It is important that people and particularly parents are aware of the content of the games their children play. If you have already purchased a game you will need to contact your retailer about return procedures.

December 13, 2001

    Games
    Australian gamers can celebrate as Sony has confirmed that surprise Christmas release will be out on Friday. The game Wipeout Fusion. Yes, you read it right Wipeout Fusion will be released this Friday although the game is already apparently out in some stores. Hello? Anyone there. If there is you should be heading to the shops like everyone else.

    Well American gamers better re-write their Christmas list as Square have announced that the release of Final Fantasy X has moved forward once again. The game will now ship to stores on December 18, just in time for Christmas. Australia is still set for around Q'2 2002 due to localisation to 5 different languages on our disc.

    Sales Figures
    Here's an interesting sales figure for you. In the week of November 17 the Playstation 2sold over 317,000 units. In comparison the XBox sold 370,000 units while 470,000 units of Gamecube were sold. This is pretty good news for Sony and is showing the PS2 holding up well against the just released consoles.

    Review
    I have added a review to the Kuju developed, Virgin published racing game, Lotus Challenge which is quite a solid title for racing fans.

December 11, 2001

    Games
    Confirmation from Interplay today that the Australian version of Giants will be delayed like the American version. The game is now expected in February. Electronic Arts has confirmed a delay for Rally 2002 from 1st March 2002 to 28th June 2002. No reason has been given for the delay, although Sony's stunning World Rally Championship may have had some influence.

    UbiSoft have announced several new release dates for three highly anticipated RPG's. These games include Harvest Moon 2 on 1st March, Jade Cocoon on 7th March and most excitingly Grandia 2 on March 28.

    Review
    I have added a review to Namco's very impressive platform game, Klonoa 2: Lunatea's Veil, on the site. This is one game that despite it's childish looks is extremely impressive. Read the review now, and then go buy it. Also let me know what you think of the modifications to the review layouts at the usual address. (admin@futuregamez.net)

December 10, 2001

    Games
    Pissed off that we'll have to wait until February 22nd to play Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons Of Liberty? Well here's something to keep you happy, the PAL version will include a 2nd disc full of extras, much like Konami's excellent Silent Hill 2. The extra DVD disc will most likely contain a Making of Documentary, art work, interviews and much more. Sometimes is pays to be patient.

    Word has come through that Rockstar has a meeting set up with the Australian Classification board set down to Tuesday 11th December to try and resolve the problems with Grand Theft Auto 3. It is currently illegal to sell the game in Australia as it has now been classed as "Refused Classification" due to content. Shame it's already been on sale for weeks.

    Namco has confirmed a release date for Xenosaga Episode 1: The Will to Power in Japan. The massive RPG, being developed by Monolith Soft in Japan, is expected to be release on February 28, 2002. The game will come out as a standard game for 7,800 yen and 12,800 yen for a special edition which contains a binder, art book, key ring and character figure. Unfortunately there hasn't been any mention yet of a US or PAL release but it's highly likely at some stage given the quality of the game.

    Novalogic has announced that it will be bringing their superb combat game, Delta Force to the Playstation 2. The Playstation 2 game won't be a port of the PC version as the game is being build from the ground up to make use of the Playstation 2's capabilities. It will include new items and missions not seen on the PC game. No word yet on a release date, but it will be worth it.

    Forums
    A reminder to everyone to enjoy the Forums on Future Gamez which now has over 2,500 posts. They have been a bit quiet of late, but I am back in there on a daily basis answering questions and throwing in my 2 cents worth. Click here to go there immediately.

    Review
    I have added a review to Electronic Arts' highly anticipated James Bond: Agent Under Fire. It's an impressive game that combines FPS and driving levels to good effect. Check out the review now.

December 8, 2001

    Games
    If your trying to get a copy of Grand Theft Auto 3 your either going to be extremely lucky, or totally out of luck. The game has been pulled from every store across Australia including Big W, Electronic Boutique, K-Mart and other retailers. Apparently there has been some debate about the games classification (which is currently MA15+). Exactly what the problem is, or when it may be resolved is unknown but as the game has the highest rating available it's possible that the game may be permanently banned, or have to be significantly altered before going back on sale. Rockstar are trying to get a hearing before the Australian Film and Literature Classification Board prior to Christmas to resolve the issue. My suggestion, if you want this game start hunting around for it immediately as almost no stores are willing to sell it even if they have stock at the moment.

    Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty has sold over 465,000 units in the first week of release in Japan. The game came out on November 29th and apparently features unedited scenes from New York, despite the September 11 tragedy and alterations of the American game.

    Electronic Arts has announced a new motocross game called Freekstyle. The game combines action and racing with plenty of spectacular stunts. The game should be release in Q'2 2002.

    Previews
    I have updated the previews to both Jak and Daxter and Twisted Metal Black both of which were released by Sony yesterday.

December 6, 2001

    Problems
    Yep, more problems with my computer, which seems to have come down to a faulty sound card which gave me a good opportunity to upgrade to a Sound Blaster Live 5.1. Sweet... Not if only I had a good set of speakers. Oh well.. Once again updates should resume as normal, but you haven't missed much as it's been a very quiet week.

    Games
    If rumours are to be listened to (and why shouldn't they) then Namco are working on a Playstation 2 port of their System 246 arcade game, Smash Court Pro Tournament. Apparently the game will be released around February next year. Expect more details soon on this potential Virtua Tennis 2 beater.

    You can slap me around for not doing a preview to Dropship but I can tell you now that this is going to be one absolutely kick ass mother of a game. Hopefully you've all played the demo included on the latest Australian Playstation Magazine... stunning. Such is the confidence in the title that SCEE are apparently already at work on a sequel. Don't expect it for some time as the first game isn't even due until January.

    Here's an interesting, and quite depressing, rumour currently doing the rounds. Apparently Team Soho have scrapped The Getaway after more then 2 years of development on Playstation 2. It's a total rumour at this stage, but considering the games constant delays and non-appearance on schedules it's not impossible, but still improbable. I'm trying to get in touch with Sony to get more clarification on the games' current status.

    Apparently the highly anticipated Giants: Citizen Kabuto has been delayed in America until February which will push back a PAL release until at least that date.

    Review
    I have added a review to the magnificent EA Sports Big SSX Tricky which is a stunning game, and quite possibly the best to date on PS2, perhaps not technically, but definitely in playability, and that's what really counts, isn't it.

December 2, 2001

    Problems
    Hi all,
    Sorry I haven't been able to update over the last couple of days, and I haven't replied to e-mails but my computer had a bit of a heart attack. On Friday I picked up a new video card (Eagle Geforce 2 MX400 64MB before you ask) which worked fine for about a day. Then Saturday morning my computer decided to trash the registry, system.ini and a couple more things (like my 400MB e-mail folder!) - not that it was related to the video card though. Anyway, I have spent pretty much the entire weekend recovering data (backups have never been a priority to me) and trying to get everything up and running again. Goodbye Winblows ME and welcome back loving Windows 98SE. Anyway things are pretty much back to normal now and the web site will begin updates again in a day or so, beginning with the SSX Tricky review. Meanwhile go and vote in the poll.

    Poll
    I have added a new poll to the site. This month I want to see what you believe to be the game of the year. Obviously a couple of games aren't due for another week or so, but the poll will be up until New Years.

    Forums
    A reminder to everyone to enjoy the Forums on Future Gamez which now have over 2,500 posts. They have been a bit quiet of late, but I am back in there on a daily basis answering questions and throwing in my 2 cents worth. Click here to go there immediately.

    Games
    Konami America have announced that sales of Metal Gear Solid 2 have now surpassed 1.8 million units since it was released on November 13th. The PAL version is currently expected on February 22nd.


OLD NEWS
2001 :
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1998 :
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