JANUARY 2002 NEWS

January 28, 2002

    Poll
    There is only a couple of days left to vote in the poll to the right. I have retained voted from earlier in the month despite changing to a new server in recent days. Vote now for your most wanted game this year.

    Gamecube Launch
    It's always a good idea to keep an eye on the competition, if only to boast about your own system, but Nintendo fans have little to complain about. Nintendo today announced a Gamecube release date of May 3rd in Europe with a price point of only £150, or around $AU400. This is considerably cheaper then the Playstation 2's £249 and £300; XBox. Nintendo have promised one million units at launch as well as 20 software titles. In an aggressive move the company will also be offering 60Hz NTSC mode and possibly an RGB SCART connector.

    Games
    THQ have finally announced the long rumoured sequel to Red Faction, called Red Faction 2. The original game was a massive hit in part due to the Geo-Mod technology, which allowed the destruction of walls and buildings. Volition are once again developing the game which should hit the shelves in Q'4 2002. The developers are promising an expansion of the Geo-Mod technology as well as 4-player split screen action and better AI for the enemies, which wasn't too bad to start with.

    More news is arising regarding the re-release of Grand Theft Auto 3 here in Australia. The game will apparently have around 2 minutes of cut-scenes removed in total and will be given an MA15+ rating. The game will be release on February 15th with a RRP of $AU99.95.

    According to rumours from Japan Final Fantasy XI may be delayed from March to April to coincide with the PS2 broadband services in Japan.

    Westwood have confirmed that their swashbuckling adventure Pirates: The Legend of Black Kat has gone gold. The game should hit the shelves in late February.

    Famitsu, one of the most respected magazines in Japan has managed to review Sega's upcoming Virtua Fighter 4. The game received a massive 37/40 (92.5%) and the game was awarded a Platinum score which is a massive achievement. The game is currently looking like hitting Australia sometime in April.

    The Terminator game which I previewed a couple of weeks ago has been given the subtitle of Dawn of Fate.

    LucasArts have announced a deal with The Collective to create the next Indiana Jones games. No details about the game have been announced other then it will hit next generation consoles and the PC in Q'3 2002. Expect the Playstation 2 to be one of the consoles selected.

    Hardware
    If order to reduce manufacturing costs, and to help remain competitive with Nintendo and Microsoft Sony Computer Entertainment have decided to move the Playstation 2 production line from Japan to China. This move will take place in the coming months.

    Review
    I have added a review to the Opus developed, Eidos published racing game, Jet Ski Riders.

    Previews & Release Schedule Page
    I have updated the page with several dozen date changes and additions in the last couple of days. Some highlights include the addition of Grand Theft Auto 3 (Edit) on February 15, Surreal Software's Drakan: The Ancient's Gates on March 15th and the renamed Atari Stuntman for 17th May. There are plenty more on the list so hit this link to see what's coming out in Australia over the next 12 months.

January 25, 2002

    Site Problems
    As many of you would have noticed Future Gamez has been down for a couple of days over the last week. The problem was with the DNS (Domain Name Server) in America, which collapsed in a heap. Fortunately my hosting service in America was very prompt in replacing the server and restoring everything as it was. There should be no more problems from now on, as everything appears to be up and running again.

    Games
    THQ have today announced that Volition is currently developing Summoner 2, a sequel to the hit game Summoner which was released early last year. Here is the press release from THQ;
    THQ AND VOLITION UNVEIL SUMMONER 2 EXCLUSIVELY FOR PLAYSTATION 2
    Sequel to Top-Selling Role Playing Game Scheduled for 2002 Release

    MELBOURNE, Vic. - January 24, 2002 - THQ Inc (NASDAQ NMS: THQI) today unveiled Summoner 2 exclusively for the PlayStation 2 computer entertainment system. Developed by THQ's studio, Volition, creators of Red Faction, Summoner 2 is the sequel to one of the top-selling role-playing games for PlayStation 2. Featuring an enhanced game engine, stunning graphics and a compelling storyline, Summoner 2 is scheduled for release later in 2002.

    "Summoner 2 is a truly balanced adventure that concentrates equally on game play and storyline in order to deliver a true role-playing experience," said Mike Kulas, president, Volition. "Designed from the ground up to take advantage of PlayStation 2, Summoner 2 features expansive environments detailed with refined graphics, an all new real-time combat system, and a cast of distinctive party members to choose from, each with their own abilities and attributes."

    About Summoner 2
    In Summoner 2, players guide Pava, Queen of the Halassar, and a host of unique party members through an original fantasy universe inspired by literature, folklore and mythology. Players travel to more than 30 exotic and imaginative locales, from the tropical isle of Teomura to the bizarre and dreamlike City of Masks. Players may fully customize their party with their own set of skills and spells. A sequel to the top-selling role-playing adventure and PlayStation 2 launch title, Summoner 2 features a complex, character-driven storyline, hundreds of skills and spells, and an all new, real-time combat system that breaks the mould for traditional RPGs. For more information and artwork visit www.summoner2.com.

    Previews
    I have added yet another preview to the site, this time for LucasArts' Star Wars Jedi Starfighter. This game looks even better then last years smash hit and will include some ships and storyline elements from the upcoming Episode II: Attack of the Clones months before the movie hits cinemas.

January 20, 2002

    Games
    Activision have announced that they are porting their PC smash hit Return To Castle Wolfenstein to the Playstation 2. The PC game was developed by Grey Matter and supervised by id Software. The Playstation 2, and XBox, versions will be developed by Raster Productions, who have a very strong record porting id Software's games to console. The game is expected to be released towards the end of the year.

    Japan Market Watch has reported that despite Microsoft's continuing negotiations with Enix and Square it looks like neither company will be developing games on the XBox in the near future. Enix mentioned that the XBox audience target will be different to that of their Dragon Quest series and that a game from that series is unlikely. Square were even blunter in stating that after considering the future of XBox, they are not planning to develop for the platform. This means the two companies will likely look at either Playstation 2, Gamecube or both.

    A couple of game delays to make note of from the last couple of days. The biggest one is for Medal of Honor: Frontline which has just been pushed back from 22nd March to June 6th. Apparently this delay is to ensure that the game meets every expectation, which is pretty high.

    Another game which has been delayed slightly is Monsters Inc which has been bumped back from last Friday (18th January) to next Friday (25th January).

    Electronic Arts have announced a release date for Jedi Starfighter on Playstation 2. The game is a lot closer then expected with a release now set for 20th March, 2002. Considering the game includes some ships from Episode II many believed a date closer to Episode II's cinema release was likely. Still, I won't complain.

    Electronic Arts have also just announced new games for the coming weeks. First up is FIFA 2002 World Cup which is expected on 19th April while a much more interesting sounding Gladiator Wrestling is expected on 31st May.

    Bargain
    While shopping around yesterday I noticed that K-Mart had several titles discounted to around $50. Most impressively though they had X-Squad from Electronic Arts for only $30. It's not the best game, and in hindsight the review may have been just a tad high, but at $30 it's a massive bargain. I'm not sure if the sale is Australia Wide or just at Pacific Fair on the Gold Coast though.

    Previews
    Yes, you guessed it yet another preview for you to drool over today. This time I have taken a look at what could be the most original title this year, Herdy Gerdy from Eidos and Core Design. You must check this preview out. The game is well... strange.

January 18, 2002

    Games
    Acclaim have just announced that Turok Evolution will be not only hitting the Gamecube as expected (the previous games have been on the Nintendo 64) but will also be coming to XBox and Playstation 2. The game looks quite stunning at this early stage with the developers going back to the games roots and including more Dinosaurs in the game, unlike the last title. The game is expected in late 2002 and you can expect a full preview here in the coming days.

    Black Isle Studios have announced that their RPG, Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance has shipped 500,000 units worldwide. The game is currently available in Australia through Interplay and although I haven't done a review can tell you it's well worth a look.

    A little bit of news about The Terminator which I previewed yesterday. Ozisoft have just informed me that the game is actually expected in Q'3 2002 which is a little earlier then I expected. There is no definite date however.

    Previews
    I have added a yet another preview to the site. This time it's to the very interesting game, Prisoner of War from Codemasters. The game, which is expected on June 28, sees you trying to escape from prison camps during World War II. So far, it looks like a winner.

January 17, 2002

    Games
    Well here's a rather sad story about the state of American legal proceedings. A mother has decided to sue Sega after her daughter suffered an epileptic seizure after playing Crazy Taxi. Claire Richoux, stated that her daughter, who apparently never exhibited symptoms of epilepsy, had a seizure while playing the aforementioned game in November 2000. "Sega sold products which were defective and unreasonably dangerous," said Richoux's lawyers. Since that time the case was moved to the federal court in New Orleans.

    Previews
    I have added a preview to the Infogrames upcoming game, Terminator which is based on the 1984 Arnold Schwarzenegger movie. The game isn't expected until late 2002 but looks good at this early stage.

January 15, 2002

    Games
    Konami has confirmed that Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty is on tracks to sell 4 million units by the end of March 2002. Expected sales are 1.5 million units in America (with 2 million units shipped to stores), 1.5 million units in Europe (with a March 8 release date) and 800,000 units in Japan (this number was surpassed in the first week of January and is still selling 50,000 units a week so this will be much higher). The original game on PSOne sold 5 million units worldwide, but to a much larger installed user base then the Playstation 2 currently enjoys.

    Namco have confirmed that they have 35 games in the works for a variety of platforms in 2002. This compares to only 17 new games in 2001. Some of the potential PS2 winners include new versions of Ridge Racer, Soul Calibur 2, Tekken 4, Xenosaga, and possibly a sequel to their sleeper hit Klonoa.

    Although the game was only release days before Christmas sale of Final Fantasy X have surpassed 500,000 units.

    Previews
    I have added a preview to the EA Sports BIG published racing game, Sled Storm which looks just as stunning as the previous EA Sports BIG titles including SSX Tricky. The game is currently expected to hit the shelves in late March.

    I have added a preview to the Disney game, Monsters Inc which is due for release late this week if all goes well.

January 12, 2002

January 11, 2002

    Games
    I am still awaiting official confirmation but according to topshop.com.au Grand Theft Auto III will be re-released in Australia on the 10th February. The game will be edited from the original version (which I am looking for a copy of, so if anyone can help...) although details about the cuts made haven't been released.

    Some more details have emerged regarding the extra features to be included on Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons Of Liberty. Not only will PAL gamers be receiving a bonus DVD with behind the scenes information and documentaries but there will be three new game modes. The first is an Extreme Difficulty mode, which should be great for those hardcore gamers up to a challenge. The second new feature is a Casting Theatre that allows you to physically alter the character models, including the Ninja. Finally, and most excitingly, the game will include a Boss Survival Mode, where you can take on all the bosses such as Olga, Fatman and Solidus in a series of battles. It makes the 2-week delay a little more sufferable. Thanks to C&VG for the info.

    Well it was going to be a three way battle between the Playstation 2, XBox and Gamecube in America over the Christmas period, but it hardly even started before it was all over. The Playstation 2 sold more units then both Microsoft and Nintendo combined. During November 2001 988,700 PS2 systems were sold while almost 2 million units were sold in December 2001, including 640,000 units in Christmas week alone. The Playstation 2 is now in approximately 8 million American homes since it's release 14 months ago.

    Reviews
    It was a surprise pre-Christmas release after Sony had confirmed a delay until 2002. Wipeout Fusion is the 4th game in the series and is much improved thanks to the added power of the Playstation 2. It's not without a couple of minor faults however, so check out the Wipeout Fusion review immediatly, and then go buy it.

    Previews
    A very exciting preview has been added to the site today. It's for the next EA Sports BIG title, Freekstyle which sees EA tackle the motocross style of game. The game is currently due out in March.

    I have also updated the preview to Namco's MotoGP 2 with some more details and tidbits about the game which is now expected on February 15th.

January 9, 2002

    Games
    It's the biggest delay since Arnie's Collateral Damage movie was delayed following the September 11 attacks. Konami Europe have confirmed that Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty has been delayed by 2 weeks from February 22nd to March 8. Apparently this delay is to allow production of sufficient copies of the game with over one million sales expected upon launch in Europe. Another contributing factor is the extra behind the scenes DVD (which wasn't with the American game) which is still in development. It is possible, although not confirmed, that Konami have realised that PAL territories include both Region 2 DVD's in Europe and Region 4 DVD's for Australia. Those who bought Silent Hill 2 were disappointed to find the bonus disc was encoded in Region 2, and useless in Australian PS2 units, although an exchange has since been offered.

    Namco have announced that their highly anticipated fighter Tekken 4 will ship to retail on March 20th for 6,800 yen. No word yet on a release in America or PAL territories but the game should be released within a few month. Hopefully Namco will include a 60Hz mode and not butcher teh game with slowdown and borders like Tekken Tag Tournament and Ridge Racer V.

    The Square/Disney RPG, Kingdom Hearts has finally been given a release date in Japan. The game, which was expected pre-Christmas, will not be released on March 28th for 6,800 yen. No word yet of an English release although pre-Christmas is quite likely.

    THQ have released Robot Warlords this week and apparently it's selling at the lower price point of only $AU49.95, quite a bargain. Dynasty Warriors 2 is expected to be re-released (it was a PS2 launch title) at this lower price which makes it a great buy.

    Previews
    I have added a preview to the Westwood Studios developed, EA published Pirates: The Legend of Black Kat which is an impressive looking title. You must check this out, including several new screenshots.

January 8, 2002

    Playstation 3
    Sony has linked up with IBM and Toshiba to develop next-generation styled semi-conductors. The companies are looking at developing products for processing and networking with capabilities several hundred times faster then currently available. The companies are also looking at developing an operating system dedicated to these massive speeds which will allow video conferencing and streaming media. The companies expect to spend around $US400 million developing the technologies with a result expected by 2005. Although not specifically linked to the Playstation 3 it's hard to see at least some of the results not making it into Sony's next system.

    Games
    Think that waiting for Final Fantasy X has been tough? Think that the PAL gamers are being screwed again? Well as with Konami's Silent Hill 2 and Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty the PAL version is actually going to be better then the American version. Square's massive RPG will include things such as a reworking of the Sphere Grid and an entirely new scene set after the end of the existing story. Other DVD movie-style extras include interviews with the voice actors and a music video featuring the game's theme song.

    Square has confirmed that there will be a monthly fee for playing Final Fantasy XI online. Confusion recently took place when Square announced there would be no charge for their PlayOnline service which made people hope that playing the games would also be free. It was not to be.

    Sega Rosso have confirmed that they are working on a new Sega Rally game. At this stage the game is only in very early development stages and there has been no announcement of what systems, if any, the arcade game will head to. With the Playstation 2 dominating so much, and even beating Microsoft and Nintendo over the Christmas period, it's got to be in the running though.

    Something which I neglected to mention a couple of weeks ago was that the Acclaim distributed Woody Woodpecker has actually been released at the ultra-low price point of only $AU49.95, half the normal price. While I haven't seen or played the game myself yet I've been told that it's not too bad for young kids. Might be worth checking out at that price.

    Previews
    I have updated the preview to Konami's Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty with some new screenshots and info.

    Site
    I have done a pretty major update on the Preview & Release Schedule Page by adding almost 30 titles and moving the dates for many more. It's worth checking out to see what's coming out in the coming weeks.

    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.

January 6, 2002

    A Little Trip Away
    Sorry I disappeared for a few days but my fiancÚ (yep I got engaged on Christmas Day folks!) and I suddenly decided to take a trip up to the Sunshine Coast for a few days. While up there I visited Australia Zoo and saw the Crocodile Hunter himself, Steve Irwin and his wife Terri. That guy is just as excitable in real life as on the TV shows. Anyway it was definitely worth the trip (although the 38°C day was a bit harsh) so if you head up near Brisbane set a day aside for Australia Zoo.

    Games
    According to reports from America Ka, the mosquito game, is apparently heading to America. The game sees you playing a mosquito who mush suck blood from humans without getting squashed. No word yet on a PAL release.

    Here's and interesting rumour. Apparently Sony America have rejected Kodiak Interactive's racing game, Circus Maximus. No details have been released as to why the game has been the first to be rejected by Sony. The game is still headed to XBox later this year.

    Eidos have announced release dates for their games in America for the first quarter this year. In January we can expect Salt Lake City 2002 which is based on the Winter Olympics. February will finally see the release of Deus Ex: The Conspiracy while March is loaded with games such as Herdy Gerdy, Commandos 2: Men of Courage, Blood Omen 2, Hitman 2: Silent Assassin, and Eve of Extinction.

    Hardware
    Mad Katz, the manufacturer of many peripherals, has announced that its license agreement with Sony America to produce 8MB Memory Cards has expired on December 31st 2001. Apparently SCEA have decided there will no longer be third party memory cards in the short term. It looks like you'll have to fork out a little extra money of the official product from now on. At least you know the Sony one will work though unlike some other 3rd party devices.

    Previews
    I have updated a couple of previews over the last couple of days. The first is for the Appaloosa Interactive developed, Sega published, Ecco The Dolphin: Defender of the Future which should hit stores later this month.

    The second game previewed is the Amuze developed, Sega published Headhunter which looks quite solid and should hit stores late this month as well.

January 1, 2002

    FUTURE GAMEZ 2001 AWARDS (PART 2)
    Well it's the end of another year and it's time for the FUTURE GAMEZ 2001 AWARDS where we honour the best of 2001. In the first part of the awards we looked at the worst of 2001, the most original titles, the best multi-player games, the best arcade ports and more. This second part looks at the best games in each genre as well as an overall best game of 2001. Check it out now.

    Games
    Here's some awesome news. According to IGN many of EA's upcoming titles will include DTS sound which was used to spectacular effect in titles such as SSX Tricky and NHL 2002 late last year. Some of the games that will apparently make use of the format are Sled Storm 2, Pirates: Legend of the Black Kat, NCAA Football 2003 (although we most likely will never see this released outside America and Madden NFL 2003. Sadly it's too far into development to include DTS sound into Medal Of Honor: Frontline.

    Activision has confirmed that they will be releasing a new 3D fighting game called X-Men: Next Dimension which will include many X-Men characters from the comic book series. The game is currently expected to be released in mid-2002.

    Sales Figures
    Sales figures are in for consoles in Japan from December 17 to 23 and the Playstation 2 has beaten the Nintendo Gamecube 247,000 units to 229,000 units. Of course the XBox won't be released in Japan until mid 2002.

    Previews
    I have added a couple of previews to the site in the last couple of days. The first is for the United Game Artists/Sega shooter Rez which looks tremendous.

    The second preview, which is long overdue, is for Sony's Dropship: United Peace Force which for those of you who haven't played the recent demo is absolutely jaw dropping.


OLD NEWS
2001 :
DECEMBER  NOVEMBER  OCTOBER  SEPTEMBER  AUGUST  JULY  JUNE  2001 E3 SHOW  MAY  APRIL  MARCH  FEBRUARY  JANUARY 

2000 :
DECEMBER  NOVEMBER  OCTOBER  SEPTEMBER  AUGUST  JULY  JUNE  MAY  APRIL  MARCH  FEBRUARY  JANUARY 

1999 :
DECEMBER  NOVEMBER  OCTOBER  SEPTEMBER  AUGUST  JULY  JUNE  MAY  APRIL  MARCH  FEBRUARY  JANUARY 

1998 :
DECEMBER  NOVEMBER  OCTOBER  SEPTEMBER  AUGUST  JULY  JUNE  MAY  APRIL  MARCH  FEBRUARY  JANUARY