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JUNE 2003 NEWS
June 23, 2003

    Personal
    Well it's been a busy couple of weeks for me. The end of the uni semester means all assignments have to be in, and now that I'm working as a teacher it means I have piles of exams and essays to mark before writing report card for my students - something which many of them won't be happy reading. Still, it's possibly been the quietest week for some time so you haven't missed much at all. Onto the news...

    Games
    The other day in my review of Enter the Matrix I mentioned how it was disappointing that you couldn't play as Neo, Trinity or Morpheus. My rep at Gamenation came up with an explanation as to the reasoning behind it not being able to play as Neo, and it's pretty good. (Still doesn't explain Trinity or Morpheus) Here's what he said:

      Shiny had the rights to make the game playable as Neo and also had the co-operation of Keanu for the game if required. The important thing to note is that the Wachowski Brothers stipulated that the game must be consistant with the Matrix world. At the end of the first movie, Neo was god-like with his power. He could kill agents and stop bullets in mid-air and change he environment around him. This hardly makes for exciting and challenging gameplay, when the main character does not fear anything and nothing can harm him. It was a deliberate decision not to make Neo a playable character in the game.

    While on the subject of Enter the Matrix Atari have confirmed that sales have surpassed 2.5 million units worldwide. They also mentioned that due to high development costs they will have to sell 4 million units to break even on the title - something which they anticipate will happen by the end of the year. 4 million units! That's a shitload of games. It's just a shame that much more deserving titles such as ICO and Rez will only sell a fraction of that.

    Review
    NBA Street Vol. 2 is easily one of the most highly anticipated movie to game tie-ins ever. But rather then copying the story from the movie this game actually acts as a side story to the events on the silver screen. Developers Shiny have a strong track record. Read the full review to see how well this game has turned out.

June 17, 2003

    Games
    Tomb Raider: Angel of Darkness has suffered a release date slip from June 20th to June 28th. Will this be the only delay, time will tell, but apparently the game still hasn't gone gold according to C&VG.

    Sony Europe has confirmed that Formula One 2003 is in development. But in a surprising announcement Sony has also confirmed that they have secured the Formula One license for the next four years giving them exlusive use of the teams, drivers and likenesses. The game will also include the new rules introduced this season. Expect more details closer to release.

    LucasArts has confirmed that the PS2 version of Indiana Jones & The Emperor's Tomb has gone gold and will hit the expected release dates.

    It's funny that Westerners complain so often about Japanese games not getting a release outside that country. But it works both ways. You see, despite being the biggest game to date on Playstation 2 Rockstar North's Grand Theft Auto III hasn't even been released in the country. But now thanks to Capcom the game is expected to be release in Japan before the years end. It will be interesting to see how well the game does in Japan.

June 16, 2003

    Games
    Irem has announced that R-Type Final will be released in Japan on July 17th. No word yet if this old school styled shooter will make it outside that country.

    July 17th will also see the release of Capcom's Rockman X7 (known as Megaman in America/Europe). The game will include both 2D and 3D sections and once again there has been no mention of a PAL release.

    Review
    Enter the Matrix is easily one of the most highly anticipated movie to game tie-ins ever. But rather then copying the story from the movie this game actually acts as a side story to the events on the silver screen. Developers Shiny have a strong track record. Read the full review to see how well this game has turned out.

June 10, 2003

    Games
    Sega of Japan has confirmed that their first batch of SEGA AGES titles will be released in Japan on August 28th. The first title include Phantasy Star: Generation 1 which includes upgraded 3D graphics and sound. Monaco GP will include an new isometric viewpoint as well as the complete 8-bit game while Fantasy Zone will also include new 3D secions while retaining some of the 2D graphics of the original as well as the shopping system. Each title will retail for about 2,800 yen ($AU35) but as yet there are no pland for PAL releases - although they were mentioned some time ago.

    SCi have confirmed that they will be publishing Rolling in Europe. The roller blading game was developed by Rage Software, who went bust last year, and should be release by the end of this year. As yet there has been no work of the game being released in Australia - or even America despite Majesco picking up the title some time ago for release in that territory.

    LucasArts have confirmed that RTX Red Rock has gone gold and should hit the expected release date of late June around the world.

    Well, it's been in development hell for quite some time now and finally Vivendi Universal have had enough. According to reports surfacing on the web the company has dropped the publishing rights to Argonaut's Malice. The platform game was originally expected to be released late last year but has been constantly delayed for unknown reasons. To add insult to injury the game apparently wasn't even show at this years E3, not a good sign for a game already 6 months overdue.

    Playstation 3
    SOny Japan have confirmed that Elpida Memory will be supplying the DRAM memory chips for the Playstation 3. The companies DRAM chips include Rambus Technology. Elpida Memory is a joint subsiduary of NEC and Hitachi, both of whom have close links with Sony.

June 6, 2003

    Review
    Silent Hill 3 hasn't received a lot of fanfare prior to release, but don't discount the game for that fact. In fact, this is easily one of the best games this year and certainly the best in Konami's series to date. You want suspense, puzzles, atmosphere and hairs standing on end on your neck - then this is the game for you. Here's a review of Konami's latest title.

June 3, 2003

    Games
    Capcom have confirmed that they have sold the movie rights to Devil May Cry to Japanese company Gaga Communications. The movie is expected to enter production in early 2004 with an estimated budget of $US40 million. That's about the same budget that Capcom's impressive Resident Evil movie had. No details about the movies cast or crew have been announced but it is believed the events will be closely linked to the first game.

    A reminder to eveyone that the Previews & Release Schedule is updated on a regular basis, with the list updated in the last couple of days. If a games coming out in Australia then it will be on this list. Check it out now.

    Preview
    The Italian Job is based on the upcoming movie (which took almost $US20 million on opening weekend in America) of the same name. The Italian Job is being developed by UK developers Climax. This game is not only looking nice but has plenty of features to keep you busy. Here's a preview with all the details and latest screens. Expect a release around September 2003.

    Tomb Raider: The Angel of Darkness is looking better and better by the month. Core Design realise the franchise had been stalling in recent years and have made this one significantly darker, but with the upcoming movie this game will certainly generate, deserved, interest. The game is currently expected to be released worldwide on June 20th, around the same time as the new movie, once again starring Angelina Jolie - although they have seperate storylines.


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