FEBRUARY 2002 NEWS
February 28, 2002
In what looks like another indication of ever increasingly poor relationships between Sony Europe and Sony America it has been confirmed that the Evolution Studios' developed World Rally Championship will be published by BAM! Entertainment. The game is currently scheduled for release in March following successes in Europe since it's November release. The last couple of months has seen Sony America refuse to release SCEE's excellent Wipeout Fusion while SCEE has refused to release SCEA's Frequency which is supposedly equally impressive.
THQ have today announced that Red Faction will be joining the list of Platinum PS2 games which are on sale for $AU49.95. In related news Sony America has confirmed they will be releasing a Platinum range soon with 4 titles, including Gran Turismo 3 slated to go on sale for $US25.
Well it looks like sales figures for the XBox in Japan aren't as impressive as initially believed. Apparently the official sales figures for the system are around 123,000 units, which isn't even half of the total shipped units. Time will tell just how well the American console will go in the coming months.
A reminder that there is only a day to go in this month's poll on this page. If you haven't voted yet I suggest you do so. It only takes a minute.
I have added a review to Namco's very impressive flight simulator, Ace Combat 4: Distant Thunder. If you've finished playing SCEE's superb Dropship: United Peace Force then this game is certainly worth a look.
February 26, 2002
Square has finally set a release date for Final Fantasy XI in Japan. The game is set to hit the shelves on April 27th and will include free online play for the first 2 months followed by a 500 yen (about $AU8) monthly fee.
Namco has confirmed that Alpine Racer 3 will be released in Japan on March 28 for 6,800 yen. The PS2 port will include new tracks, tricks and characters over th arcade game. No word yet on a PAL release but it is likley in a couple of months.
A Rant - The follow up
Well yesterday I had a little dig at Warner Brothers about their plans to release Harry Potter on DVD in Pan and Scan (full screen) only in Australia. Well I have just been alerted to a petition online to try and get WB to change their minds. Click here to add your name to the petition.
I have added a review to the third Sega game released last week, Ecco the Dolphin: Defender of the Future. Compared to the other 2 games it's a big disappointment, especially after looking at the screenshots.
February 24, 2002
Well sometimes I just get pissed off. This time it's not even in relation to games. In fact I am pissed off with Warner Bros. These scumbag's have decided to release their upcoming Harry Potter & The Philosoper's Stone DVD in Pan and Scan only in Australia. This means much of the image will be lost as the movie has been formatted for full screen. I can understand that children may prefer the movie to be "full screen" but as the second largest movie at the box office grosses, behind Titanic, it is obviously a movie that has attracted a lot of adults to the cinemas.
To make matters even worse after initial concerns in America that the movie would be Pan & Scan Warner Bros. quickly announced a widescreen version, especially after the massive backlash after canning the widescreen version of Willie Wonka & The Chocolate Factory. This is an absolute PR disaster for WB, but they don't look like making amends. What can I say? Fuck 'em. Import the movie from Region 1 where you can watch it how the movie makers intended. Thank god WB have nothing to do with Lord Of The Rings, yet.
Thanks to all who were cunning enough to discover it was my Birthday today (well not at the time of writing but on Sunday)... Woo Hoo... Just a shame that Metal Gear Solid 2 was delayed by couple of weeks from Friday.
Forgot to report back on this one last week but the Platinum PS2 games to be released in Europe will also be coming to Australia with a RRP of $49.95. K-Mart have them in their catlogue for this week at around the $48 mark which is great value for some classic games. All the games should be on the shelves in the coming days.
IGN has posted a rumour that Eidos' TimeSplitters 2 may be delayed by several months from it's expected Q'2 2002 release date. The good news however is that the game is pretty much complete and that they are looking at including online gameplay. Expect more details in the coming weeks if this delay, and enhancement, will actually occur.
State Of Emergency will be released this week but some more interesting new has emerged this week, with New Line Cinema, the company behind th LOTR and Rush Hour movies announcing plans to make a movie based on the game. It will be violent, at the least.
The XBox was launched in Japan last week and from initial reports most of the 250,000 units shipped have been sold. The most popular games were Tecmo's Dead Or Alive 3 and Sega's Jet Set Radio Future. Expect more exact sales figures in the coming days. Remember that the PAL version will be released in about 3 weeks.
A reminder that there is less then a week to go in this months poll on this page. If you haven't voted yet I suggest you do so. It only takes a minute.
February 22, 2002
Sony Europe have officially announced that they will be releasing Gran Turismo Concept in PAL territories. The game will actually be renamed to Gran Turismo Next, which in all honesty pretty much sucks. Still with plenty of concept cars and experimentals it's definitely going to be worth a look. Sony has Metal Gear Solid 2 to battle the XBox launch so it shouldn't be too hard to have a guess at a timeframe for this game (just think of a certain cube shape). It looks like PAL territories may have one up on America with no release expected there for the title yet.
Namco has announced that their hugely anticipated firghter, Soul Calibur 2 will be released in Japan in August. The game will appear simultaneously on PS2, Gamecube and Xbox, which should provide some interesting comparisons both in terms of sales and quality. Hopefully America and Europe will see a release by Christmas.
Sega look to be committing to the Playstation 2 in a big way. This year the company has about 50% of it's development aimed at Sony's system with the XBox, Gamecube and Gameboy Advance sharing the other 50%. Sega have also mentioned that they will be "reviving" many MegaDrive and Saturn classics for the Playstation 2. Exactly what this means is yet to be announced.
Namco have announced a couple more release dates. Ridge Racer 6 will be released in Japan in November while Tales of Destiny II will be released by the end of the year, although a release outside Japan is somewhat unlikely. The company is also expecting to release Seven II, the sequel to online RPG Project Venus in the latter part of the year.
Konami have postponed the release of Suikoden III from March to Q'3 2002. No word yet on a US/PAL release.
Universal Interactive has just announced a new Spyro game is in development for Playstation 2. Titled, Spyro: Enter the Dragonfly the game features new particle based breath attacks and much larger levels and environments. The PSOne games sold over 11 million units and this PS2 sequel will be released in late 2002.
While Ecco The Dolphin: Defender of the Future and Headhunter are set to be released in Australia and Europe this week, American's were worried about missing out. Now Acclaim has picked up the publishing rights to both games in America which should see a release soon.
With a demo landing on my shelves and more information released I thought it was time to update the preview to Maximo: Ghosts to Glory. It's a great looking game, and I can honestly say that it plays pretty well too.
February 19, 2002
Looking for the re-released Grand Theft Auto 3? Well you're probably not alone as the game has been delayed by a couple of days from last Friday to this Wednesday. If you haven't played this game then you should. Even this edited version is only missing 7 seconds of footage, which amounts to almost nothing.
Rumours are beginning to circulate that Crystal Dynamics may be bringing their lovable green lizard Gex back to the consoles. Let's hope it's sooner rather then later. Hopefully more details will be released later this year during the E3 show.
Not only will Europe be receiving the Platinum PS2 games but Sony will also be releasing a PS2/Metal Gear SOlid 2 bundle. The only difference with the stand-alone game is that this bundle will not include the bonus behind the scenes DVD. This is a strange move as the inclusion should only cost a few extra dollars. There is still no release date or price yet and as with the Platinum games there is no word yet from Sony Australia if the pack will come out here. I'm hoping to get a response very soon.
I have added a review to the Amuze developed, Sega published action adventure game Headhunter which is quite an acceptable title which will keep you busy for a couple of weeks.
February 16, 2002
Some interesting news from Sony Europe today with the announcement of a Platinum 2 collection for Playstation 2 games. From March 1st gamers will be able to buy 9 titles to be released under the budget label. Don't think you are getting junk though with titles like Gran Turismo 3 A-spec, Tekken Tag Tournament, Formula One 2001, Dead or Alive 2, TimeSplitters, Crazy Taxi, Oni, Red Faction, and Star Wars: Starfighter. As yet there is no retail price available and there has been no confirmation yet from Sony Australia that the cheaper range will be coming down under. Still, with the XBox launch set for only 2 weeks later it's possible.
Sony have announced a list of Playstation 2 online titles currently in development. They are as follows;
ARIKA - The Dungeon of Doruaga
ATLUS - unnamed Massive Multi-player Online Role Playing Game
CAPCOM - Auto Modellista, Biohazard Online
FROM SOFTWARE - Armored Core Sigma
GENKI - Shutokou Battle Online (Tokyo Xtreme Racing Online in US)
HUDSON - Bomberman Online
KOEI - Nobunaga's Ambition Online
KONAMI - unnamed music and sports game
NAMCO - Clockwork Online, unnamed Action Adventure, 3D Flight Shooting and sports game
SEGA - Guru Guru Onsen, Hundred Swords, unnamed simulation and racing game
SCE - Arc the Lad Online, Kumauta, Gran Turismo Online, Everybody's Golf Online
SQUARE - Final Fantasy XI
Takara - unnamed online board game
TECMO - unnamed massive multiplayer online action adventure game
As well as the online games Sony Japan have released a list of Playstation 2 games from several developers for the coming months (for release in Japan - although many will come to Australia at some stage). The list is as follows;
Summer 2002 (Mid 2002)
Taiko no Tatujin (Japan drum music)
Ninja Assault (Gun shooting)
Pac-Man World 2 (Action)
Power Smash 2 / Virtua Tennis 2 (Sports)
XI Explosive (Puzzle)
Sarugetchu 2 (Ape Escape 2) (Action)
Fantavision for Two (Puzzle)
My Summer 2 (Adventure)
Popolocrois Story III (RPG)
Autumn 2002 (Q'3 2002)
Clock Tower 3 (Horror Adventure)
Bombermand Land 2 (Action)
Momotarou Dentei XI
Axis (Action Adventure)
Gunbullet Collection (Point Blank in US) (Gun Shooting)
Soul Calibur 2 (Fighting)
Arc The Lad: Seirei no Tasogare (S.RPG)
Star Ocean 3: Till the end of Time
World Soccer Winning Eleven 6
Genso Suikoden III
Jikkyou Powerful Pro Baseball 9
Tokimeki Memorial: Girls Side
Japan Professional Baseball 2
3D Racing Game (Ridge Racer 6?)
Time Crisis III
Thanks to Magic Box Gaming for all the details of the games expected this year.
February 14, 2002
There has been some rumour, and a couple of e-mails to myself regarding the release date for Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty. Some people have been mentioning a delay to March 23rd in Australia. I spoke to Ozisoft today who absolutely denied a delay and said that the biggest game of the year will definitely launch on March 8. There you go you can sleep easy tonight.
Some good news from NFL fans with Acclaim today telling me that a release of Midway's NFL Blitz 20-02 is likely, although not yet fully confirmed. As a fan of the previous versions, and strong reviews for the PS2 update, I am keenly looking forward to a release of this title. The American game came out a couple of days ago so hopefully we won't be more then a few months away.
It's been pretty quiet on the PS2 front of late which has been great for me as I have been flat out at work. After a nice 6 week vacation I am back to the school and still struggling to set up all the new computers, software, user accounts and new equipment. Fortunately the worst of it should be over by next week, at which time I begin my Bachelor of Teaching (Secondary Schools). I am doing this externally through USQ which will keep me pretty busy. Still, the site will continue and the reviews and preview will start to pick up. At times I may disappear for a couple of days to do exams or assignments but I shall always return, trust me on that.
Of course there will be some interesting times with XBox due on March 14 and Gamecube on May 17 here in Australia, but we all know which will win in the long run, the PS2. Anyway I'll get back to work.
Oh, and a massive boooooo to the Australian Cricket Board for dumping Steve Waugh from not only the captaincy but also the entire Australian One Day squad. BOOOOO!!
I have just updated the Coming Soon & Release Schedule page with plenty more date changes, although nothing too major. Still if you're after current release dates I'll give someone a free game if they find a better Australian PS2 schedule site. (Remember it's up to me, if you really deserve it)
February 12, 2002
Inform have release a new Top 10 sales chart for Australia for the Week Ending 3rd February. It's stunning to see Gran Turismo 3: A-Spec at Number 1 after so long. It's also great to see the phenomenal Jak & Daxter: The Precursor Legacy doing so well. But folks, why is Dropship: United Peace Force so low? It's such a great game that deserves better. Anyway here is the Top 10 chart;
I have added a review to UbiSoft's surfing game, Sunny Garcia Surfing. It's a neat game which has a few minor disappointment but will surely make surfing fans happy.
February 9, 2002
Take 2 have officially announced a re-release of Gran Theft Auto 3 for February 15th. The game, which was banned due to some sexual violence has had a massive 7 seconds cut to acheive an MA15+ rating. 7 Friggin Seconds!!!! What an absolute joke. Surely the classification board has something better to do then worry about seven seconds. I mean look at most of the TV shows on TV. Use of the word "fuck" appears on almost every M rated after 9.30pm. What a joke. Still, at least they weren't so cock headed that they banned the entire game.
Here is the official statement for those interested:
*** SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT ***
GRAND THEFT AUTO 3 IS BACK!!!!
Grand Theft Auto 3 was re-submitted last week to the Office of Film and Literature Classification and we are pleased to announce that GTA3 has now been classified.
GTA 3 is now heading into production and we anticipate a new release date of Friday 15th February! This is great news so tell ALL!!!!!
The only change made is the removal of approximately 7 seconds of gameplay. This is not so much of a change when you consider there are over 200 hours of awesome gameplay available!!! These 7 seconds contain the ability to 'pick-up' a prostitute and the deletion does not effect any of the addictive game missions in Grand Theft Auto III and so wont be missed!
A couple of delays for some EA games. Freekstyle has been pushed back from March 22nd to May 24th while Need For Speed Hot Persuit 2 has moved from March 29th to May 14th.
Confirmation from Capcom today that their superb action game, Onimusha Warlords has shipped 2 million units worldwide. The game has sold 1.1 million units in Japan, 620,000 units in America, and a rather disappointing 290,000 units in Europe. C'mon PAL people this game deserves so much more.
I have added a review to one of Sega's first games on the Playstation 2, Rez. This is a stunning game that deserves to sell very well upon release. You must read this review.
February 6, 2002
Some more details are emerging about Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons Of Liberty and the extras that will be on the PAL version of the game. The extras include a documentary including interviews with Hideo Kojima, and artwork gallers, character bios and the trailers from previous game shows.
Enix's famous Heart Beat studio, who develop the stunning Dragon Quest series on PSOne have announced a temporary withdrawal from game development. No reasons have been given for this move.
In case you missed it Sega America have confirmed that they will be releasing Skies of Arcadia late this year. A PAL release is possible in late 2002 as well, although it's not confirmed.
Another rumour this time from EGM in America who are stating that GTA4 may be a massive multi-player game online. The game has only jsut begun development so no systems or release dates have been announced and won't be for some time.
I have added a review to the Studio Camden game, Dropship: United Peace Force. A game which I can't recommend enough.
February 2, 2002
Well there is a new poll to the right so you can vote once again. This month I am trying to figure out which Sega game you are most excited about on Playstation 2. Last month Metal Gear Solid 2 just edged out Final Fantasy X as your most wanted game this year with 33.8% and 29.9% respectively.
Acclaim have confirmed that they will be releasing All Star Baseball 2003 here in Australia in late March or early April. Last years All Star Baseball 2002 was an excellent title, and the only one available here, and this game looks to have many new and enhanced features.
Midway has just announced that thay are developing a new game in the Mortal Kombat univers. Titled Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance the game hasn't specifically been announced for Playstation 2, only Gamecube XBox and Gameboy Advance, but the press release states "and other next-generation gaming systems" which pretty much only leaves one other choice. The game should be released in late 2002.
Those interested in more obscure games will be pleased to hear that Eidos, under the 'Fresh Games' banner will be releasing Mr Mosquito, Mad Maestro! and Legaia 2: Duel Saga in America, and possibly Europe. Mr Mosquito was released as KA in Japan and sold reasonably well. The game sees you playing a Mosquito who must suck the blood from family members before they swat you.
Genki, the team who developed on the Tokyo Extreme Racer games and did the conversion of Virtua Fighter 3 Team Battle to the Dreamcast looks like being part owned by Konami. Apparently Konami paid around 1 billion yen for a stake in the company. This will most likely result in Konami publishing the developers games in Japan.
Square has confirmed that they have shipped over 4 million copies of Final Fantasy X in Japan and America. This is the record for any PS2 game. These figures will jump again with the International version shipping to retailers in Japan this week and Europe still awaiting a release, which will most likely be April or May this year.
Thanks to Core Magazine some more details have been announced about the CPU for the Playstation 3. We all heard a few weeks ago that Sony, IBM and Toshiba were jointly developing a new chipset. Well the news is that this new CPU is currently being referred to as "CELL". More excitingly the companies are expecting it to run at around 1 Trillion FLOPS (FLoating Point Operations Per Second) which compares to 6.2 Billion FLOPS for the Playstation 2. The chip isn't expected to be complete until 2005 so you won't need an upgrade too soon.
In related news Ken Kutaragi has confirmed that they are planning on making the Playstation 3 backwards compatible with Playstation 2 software. Strangely the company did not confirm compatibility with PSOne software, but it would be pretty inconceivable to leave it out.
Sony have confirmed that they will be releaseing the Playstation 2 Linux kit in America. The system allows you to develop your own games on the Playstation 2, provided you have some programming experience. The system will only be available through the playstation.com web site from May this year and will reatil for $US199. The kit includest the following items;
Internal hard disk drive for PlayStation 2 (HDD) with 40 GB capacity
Network Adaptor (Ethernet) (for PlayStation 2) with 100 Base T Ethernet interface
Linux Kernel version 2.2.1 (with USB device support)
"Linux (for PlayStation 2)" Version 1.0 software distribution
gcc 2.95.2 and glibc 2.2.2 with VU assemblers
XFree86 3.3.6 with PlayStation 2 GS support
Computer monitor adaptor ["VGA Box"]
USB Keyboard and mouse
The system will run through a XGA monitor at a 1024 x 768 resolution and it must be able to "sync on green". No word yet on a PAL release but it's possible if the US version is a success. Don't worry about waiting either as the US version will be better then the Japanese version after feedback and a PAL unit would also likely be revised slightly if it's ever released.
I have added a review to the Sony/Disney/Pixar game Monsters Inc: Scare Island. A game more for the younger audience.
C'mon now, who here doesn't want to play with Britney just a little bit? Unfortunately unless you're Justin Timberlake you'll have to make do with Britney's Dance Beat which looks retty good. Check out the preview now.
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, and I would like to see more people in there immediatly. There will be a nice surprise for someone who posts a message by Wednesday next week. Click here to go there immediately and post a message.
2001 E3 SHOW