JUNE 2002 NEWS

June 30, 2002

    Games
    Eidos has confirmed they will be publishing the Acquire developed Way of the Samurai in Europe and Australia in September this year. Expect more details soon.

    Review
    G1 Jockey isn't a game you would expect to see on Australian shelves, but thanks to THQ Australian gamers can now play Koei's horse racing simulation. These games usually sell pretty well in Japan, and indeed reached the Australian Top 10 two weeks ago, but is it any good? Read the review to find out.

June 28, 2002

June 26, 2002

    Games
    Sony have announced their release schedule for the rest of this year, and it's a list to make Gamecube and XBox owners start crying. Here's the list:

    Out Now

    • Vampire Night
    • Smash Court Tennis Pro Tournament

    Winter 2002

    • Frequency
    • Gran Turismo Concept 2002 Tokyo-Geneva
    • Drakan: The Ancient's Gates
    • Formula 1 2002

    Spring 2002

    • Primal
    • Tekken 4
    • This is Football 2003
    • Ape Escape 2
    • F-335 Challenge
    • Pac-Man World 2

    Summer 2002/03

    • The Getaway
    • Rachet & Clank
    • Sly Racoon
    • Downhill Racer *
    • Kingdom Hearts
    • Ninja Assault
    • Tresure Planet

    Release Date TBC

    • SOCOM: US Navy SEALs
    • Hardware Network Technology *
    • EyeToy Technology *
    * Working Titles

    Clarification
    With regards to the delayed games that I mentioned the other day I thought I'd better let you all know that these aren't the distributer's delays for Australia, but rather are delays from the publishers and development teams. As far as I'm concerned no game should be rushed to the shelves to hit certain dates and Prisoner of War, V8 Supercars Australia and Commandos 2: Men of Courage are certainly all going to be worth the extra wait.

June 24, 2002

    Games
    Ozisoft have confirmed that their highly anticipated Prisoner of War has been delayed from June 28th to July 17. Also their highly anticipated V8 Supercars Australia has also been delayed from June 28th to August 23rd. August 23rd should also see the release of Commandos 2: Men of Courage, which has been delayed from and unspecified June date.

    Capcom are working on Megaman X7 for the Playstation 2. The game will be in full 3D for the first time an include 3 different viewpoints. The game will also feature a 2-play mode and in single player you can switch between Rockman X and Zero at any time. No word yet on a PAL release.

    Square/Disney's Kingdom Hearts has done so well as a game (over 800,000 units sold in Japan to date) that Disney are planning on creating an animated cartoon based on the game.

    Preview
    Contra: Shattered Soldier isn't just an update of an old game, actually it is. But thats not a bad thing. The NES ans SNES games in the series were among the best games on their respective systems. This update takes more then a few ideas from the originals, right down to the bosses. This game should be on everyones Christmas list. It's at the top of mine.

June 22, 2002

    Hardware Sales
    It looks as if the Playstation 2 is powering ahead of the competition. According to AustralianIT sales of the Gamecube have been well below expectations since the launch on May 17. Initial sales targets were for 50,000 sales in May alone, however Nintendo's system has only managed 20,578 sales from May 17 to June 16, and including 10,995 in the first three days. Nintendo are now stating that the 50,000 was meant to be the number of units shipped to retail. The Xbox has been averageing 2,981 per week over the last 3 weeks and now has 59,124 sales since its March 14 launch. The Playstation 2, however, has averaged 5,181 consoles over the last 3 weeks, mainly due to the bundle with Final Fantasy X for $499. In the days following the PS2 price drop to $399 last week the system has shifted an impressive 7,856 units. Total sales for the Playstation 2 are now just over 400,000 units.

    Games
    THQ have confirmed that two of their high profile games will be released. Both Capcom's Onimusha 2: Samurai's Destiny and THQ's own Summoner 2 will hit the shelves in October. Of course these dates may change slightly, but you may want to save a little money for what are sure to be two great titles. Also note that Onimusha 2: Samurai's Destiny should be one of the first games from Capcom to include a 60Hz mode.

    Square have announced the purchase of developers Quest. The company is most well known for it's Tactics Ogre brand of games which it actually sold the rights to Square to some time ago. This will allow the company to get many staff back from Square after many departures and the liklihood of the Quest team working on another Tactics Ogre game remain high.

    3DO has shut down their London based development studio, which just completed work on Shifters a matter of weeks ago. The company will retain some promotional staff to cover their future releases.

    Personal
    Sorry about the lack of updates once again. I am still getting over an illness, but that is almost gone now thank god, but I have also had Uni exams this last week. Before you ask, one went well, one is a concern. Results in mid July. Anyway the site updates will be back to normal again with 4-5 updates a week once again.

June 19, 2002

    Games
    Just after the E3 show Sega Japan announced a new game called Grand Heat which would be released in the latter part of this year. While many speculated that it may be a sequel to one of their franchises it is not to be. In fact the game is actually Criterion's stunning Burnout renamed for the Japanese market. Sigh.

    Despite recently undergoing massive upgrades and patches of the Final Fantasy XI servers in Japan the game is still apparently plagued with problems. Apparently some model PS2's won't even boot the game and a lack of Hard Drive units and Broadband Adapters isn't helping the situation. The game must have the Hard Drive unit, something which Sony are having trouble doing, and must do correctly before there is even a chance of Final Fantasy XI being release in America or Europe.

    Akira have announced plans to release Everblue II in Japan in August. The original underwater treasure hunting was released quietly in Australia a couple of months ago and although I never reviewed the title I can say that it's definately worth a look at the very least.

    Preview
    The original game was excellent, the sequel looks stunning. TimeSplitters 2 includes not only a new graphics engine and gameplay elements, but also online gameplay. This game should be at the top of your September shopping list. Check out the preview now.

June 15, 2002

    Price Cut
    Despite weeks of speculation, and Sony's resiliance following the price cuts to the Xbox in Australia and the Playstation 2 and Xbox in America at the E3 show late last month, the price of the Playstation 2 in Australia remained at $AU499 ($US300). The good news however is the from today the system will be priced at $AU399. Here is the official press release:

      PlayStation 2 to Increase Market Leadership - Price Reduction to $399.95 RRP

      Sydney, June 13, 2002 - Sony Computer Entertainment Australia (SCE Aust.) today announced that it is reducing the price of the PlayStation 2 to $399.95 RRP. This price reduction will be affective from 15 June 2002 for Australia only, and brings the local price in-line with the US (RRP US$199.95).

      Over the last 12 weeks PlayStation 2 has consistently outsold competitors and this price reduction and the exciting list of upcoming game titles will firmly entrench its massive global lead.

      Commenting on the announcement, Michael Ephraim, Managing Director SCE Aust. says; "We have now sold over 395,000 PlayStation 2 consoles in Australia and this move is set to expand our current installed base. At the new purchase price of $399.95, the PlayStation 2 is the best value games console available with DVD movie playback straight out of the box.

      He continued, "The PlayStation 2 console is the world's leading games machine, having sold over 30 million units globally which is ten times that of our closest competitor. Equally as impressive, PlayStation 2 is recognised for its high quality games having already shipped 160 million software units worldwide."

      The price reduction is the latest step in SCE Australia's business plan to broaden the appeal of PlayStation 2 and potentially surpass the household penetration of 30% currently enjoyed by the original PlayStation.

      To achieve this SCE Aust instigated a series of aggressive marketing campaigns and consumer offerings. March 2002 saw the release of the 'Entertainment Pack', a bundle that included over $130 of value. In subsequent months top selling games such as Metal Gear Solid 2 and Final Fantasy X were bundled with the PlayStation 2 providing nearly $100 of free software on purchase.

      Another important strategy was the launch of the Platinum range of software. The collection of 'Platinum' games debuted in stores on 1 March, offering consumers the best selling PlayStation 2 games at affordable prices, such as lead selling game GT3 from $49.95.

      There are currently 260 PlayStation 2 titles available, with a further 230+ games scheduled for release this year. Many of the current top selling games for PlayStation 2 are exclusive to the format including; Final Fantasy X, GT3, Metal Gear Solid 2 and GTA3. In addition, there are a number of high profile titles planned for launch this year that are also exclusive to the format including Tomb Raider, Onimusha 2, Tekken 4 and Kingdom Hearts.

      "The PlayStation 2 continues to outsell competitor products based on the quality of game play, huge catalogue of titles, entertainment options and future expansion capabilities," concludes Mr. Ephraim.

    June 13, 2002

      Games
      As you know Codemasters are about to release Star Trek Voyager Elite Force and Soldier Of Fortune Gold. The NTSC versions of the game were release pre-Christmas and were panned by reviewers as shoddy PC ports (the PC games were both excellent. But before you despair there is some good news as Ozisoft have just sent out the following press release. There is much hope after all:

        PAL GAMERS TO GET ENHANCED VERSIONS OF SOLDIER OF FORTUNE - GOLD AND STAR TREK VOYAGER: ELITE FORCE.

        Sydney, 11th June 2002 - GameNation, Australia's premier source of interactive software, proudly announces on behalf of Codemasters, the completion of the enhanced PAL PlayStation 2 conversions of Soldier of Fortune - Gold and Star Trek Voyager: Elite Force. Both titles are licensed from Majesco Sales Inc., publishers of the games' NTSC editions in the US.

        "The games look better than their NTSC counterparts," confirms Richard Darling, Codemasters' Creative Director. Key elements of the games' original US code have been reworked to improve the graphics engine and heavily optimise both games' frame rate to help ensure a solid, consistent speed.

        "We have taken advantage of the PAL display system to improve texture appearance. With more lines on a PAL television image we've been able to draw the textures in better detail, even close up," says Richard.

        "We've also improved the graphics rendering system to heighten the game's appearance overall; edges are more clearly defined, colours are more vibrant and sharper. The game's anti-aliasing has been enhanced to smooth previously jagged edges, especially on static screens."

        Both games will launch with Quick Start Guides to complement the training modes and provide easy access to the advanced game controls from the outset.

      Universal Interactive have announced plans to release a game based on the movie Fast and the Furious in 2003. The game will blend action from the original movie, as well as the upcoming sequel. Expect more details later in the year.

      Electronic Arts have confirmed they have purchased Black Box Games. This development team of over 100 people is most well know for their work on the Need For Speed and Sega Soccer Slam games. Electronic Arts are planning on having the company work on next generation console titles, which are still to be named.

      According to rumours on the internet not only are Sega considering re-making Streets of Rage as hinted at the recent E3 show, but they are also looking at reviving Space Harrier and Golden Axe.

      Genki have announced that they are going to release Kengo II in Japan on June 27th. The game is more of a sword based combat title rather then an action title. Hopefully the game will hit Australian shelves in time for Christmas.

      Review
      The most anticipated RPG of the year on Playstation 2 is available now. Can Final Fantasy X equal the brilliance of the previous games in the series. The answer is a big yes. This is the most visually impressive game in the series to date, and the storyline holds up as well. Check out the review now.

    June 9, 2002

      Games
      In some sadder news apparently Fox Interactive and Electronic Arts have put Aliens: Colonial Marines "on hold". While the game may be picked up at a later date it's more likely to never see a release.

      Square has put more copies of Final Fantasy XI on sale in Japan following Sony's release of more broadband adapters. To date the online RPG has sold fewer then 100,000 units - all which have been released.

      Review
      Electronic Arts' highly anticipated First Person Shooter, Medal of Honor Frontline is now available, and the review is in. While the game is extremely atmospheric the game is not without a couple of disappointments. Still, FPS fans should be happy with the overall result. Read the review now.

      Playstation 3
      According to reports Sony Japan have hinted that they may use the Sony Memory Stick as a storage device on future Playstation projects. While no mention of the Playstation 3 was made in particular it seems highly likely. Yet another piece of the puzzle falls in place.

      Personal
      Thank for the kind words from so many of you regarding my health. I'm still not to well but am slowly improving. With uni exams less then a week away you can expect limited coverage (possibly only every 3rd day). All will hopefully be back to normal in a couple of weeks. Once again, thanks for the support.

    June 5, 2002

      Games
      Ozisoft have confirmed that Pro Evolution Soccer 2 will be hitting Australian shelves in October 2002. While the original Pro Evolution Soccer is generally regarded as the best soccer game ever and according to Ozisoft "Every aspect of the game has been refined or reworked, with Pro Evolution Soccer 2 now benefiting from three distinct dribbling styles, while shooting and passing have also been tuned to make them more individual and realistic. Expect more details soon.

      Square have announced their shipments for Final Fantasy X have passed 5 million units. The sales breakdown is as follows:

        Japan - FFX - 2,480,000
        Japan - FFX International - 260,000
        North America - FFX - 1,470,000
        Europe - FFX International - 840,000
        Asia Pacific - FFX International - 20,000

      Koei have confirmed that they are developing Shin Sangoku Musou 4 for release in Japan next March. Westerners will more likely know the game as Dynasty Warriors 4, although there is no confirmation of a release outside Japan.

      Capcom have confirmed a Japanese release date for Auto Modellista of August 22nd. They have also confirmed that Marvel Vs Capcom 2 will be released on September 19th in Japan.

      Preview
      Pyro Studios are just putting the finishing touches on their stunning looking World War II action game, Commandos 2: Men of Courage. The game is currently expected to be released in Australia towards the end of June.

      Personal
      Sorry about the lack of updates over the last week, but I have not been very well at all. In fact tonight was the first time that I have dragged myself to a doctor in over 3 years. I may not be around as often in the next two weeks as I am also studying for University exams. I will try to update as often as possible, and who knows, I may get better as rapidly as it arrived.

    June 1, 2002

      Games
      There seems to be some sneakiness from Konami, and I'm not talking about Solid Snake on an enemy oil rig. Oh hang on a sec, I am. Although Konami's E3 trailer for Metal Gear: Substance indicated that Solid Snake would be able to hop on a skateboard, Hideo has since confirmed that the skateboarding was taken from Evolution Skateboarding where Solid Snake is a hidden character. It's sad but it now looks like Metal Gear: Substance will only include more stealth action levels. But is that really all that bad? I don't think so.

      I've got some release dates from Electronic Arts for some games announced at E3. First up will be the Maxis developed The Sims which is roughly pencilled in for a Spring 2002 release. Releasing around the same time is Star Wars: The Clone Wars which should hit the shelves on September 15, 2002. Finally Indiana Jones and The Emperor's Tomb is scheduled for release here on November 15, 2002. In some unrelated news apparently the new Indiana Jones movie is planned for release on July 4, 2005!

      In a strange move Sega Japan have announced two more Playstation 2 games, only days after the E3 show. The first is Virtua Cop Re-Birth which had been rumoured about weeks ago. It is still unclear if this is a new game or a combination of the older arcade game. Hopefully, but also unconfirmed, Sega will include support for the G-Con 45, unlike Konami's Silent Scope games. The other game confirmed is a racing game called Grand Heat although once again there are no details. Virtua Cop Re-Birth will be released in Japan on August 15th while Grand Heat is scheduled for Japanese Winter (out Summer).

      Bizarre Creations, the developers of Project Gotham on Xbox has confirmed they are working on a Disney game for Playstation 2 based on Treasure Island. The platform based game should be released late this year to coincide with the release of the new Disney movie.

      Hardware
      The Playstation 2 Linux kits are available in Europe and America now. The unit allows you to develop your own games on the Playstation 2, although you really need some programming experience. The kit includes Linux (for PlayStation 2) version 1.0 software, Monitor Cable Adaptor (for PlayStation 2), Internal Hard Disc Drive (40 GB) (for PlayStation 2), Network Adaptor (Ethernet) (for PlayStation 2)[10/100 Base-T], USB Keyboard & USB Mouse (for PlayStation 2). Remember however that you also need a VGA monitor that can "Sync on Green" and that the hard drive can not be used with games that support the hard drive in future. It is also impossible to play commercial games on a monitor with the unit. Remember this is purely a programming kit with a price of around $AU500. It can be purchased at Sony's online web sites.

      Review
      It's one of the most anticipated games in year and Virtua Fighter 4 is available now. If you need more proof about how good this title is then check out the review now. Oh, did anyone mention that finally a good PAL fighting game finally gets a 60Hz mode?

      Preview
      Before Z-Axis are bought out by Activision they are completing Aggressive Inline for Acclaim. The game looks at the extreme sport of roller blading. Superb graphics, gameplay and sound should combine to make this a game to watch in the lead up to a late June release.


    OLD NEWS
    2002 :
    MAY  APRIL  MARCH  FEBRUARY  JANUARY 

    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