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OCTOBER 2003 NEWS
October 30, 2003

    Preview
    Mission Impossible: Operation Surma is certainly looking the part. But the quality of this game will come down to the gameplay and little details such as weapons and gadget on offer. At this stage it looks like Atari are onto a winner. Here's a preview prior to the December release.

October 29, 2003

    Preview
    Breath of Fire: Dragon's Quarter is the latest in a decreasing number of Japanese Role Playing Games to be released onto the PAL market. With Capcom's strong RPG history this 5th game in the series looks like a winner. Very impressive cel-shaded visuals are also an aspect of this title to be admired. Here's a preview.

October 28, 2003

    Games
    Just a quick note on the Japanese front. In a country where American games struggle to sell in vast quantities Capcom can be very happy with their game, Grand Theft Auto III (which Capcom is publishing). After a month of release the game has sold a considerable 215,974 copies with 23,025 sold last week showing strong holding power. Grand Theft Auto: Vice City is also scheduled for release sometime next year.

    Preview
    Broken Sword 3 sees the return of George and Nico in Revolution's legendary "point and click" adventure. This game is billed as the final game in the trilogy and looks set to make and impact in a big way. New gameplay, great graphics and lengthy development are certain to make this game a winner. Here's a full preview.

October 27, 2003

    Preview & Release Schedule
    I have done a major cleanout and update of the Preview & Release Schedule page which now also indicated the title which will include online components. Also, you are likely to find quite a few previews which haven't featured on the main and news page of this site yet. So check it out and let me know what you think. Please remember though that the date are obviously subject to change.

October 25, 2003

    Games
    Acclaim has confirmed several titles have been delayed from late 2003 until 2004. These titles include the highly anticipated action/adventure game Alias which is based on the hit TV series. The other games delayed include Urban Freestyle Soccer and Carmen SanDiego while Spy Hunter 2 is also confirmed for a 2004 release.

    Preview
    XIII is definitely one of the most interesting First Person Shooters in years. Based on a hugely popular French comic book this game may not be well known outside that country but the style with which this game has been designed is enough to keep you interested. Online gameplay should also be a bonus for this game.

October 24, 2003

    Games
    Here's a nice little surprise. I was having a look around Acclaim's Press Site today and noticed that a new game called NARC has appeared on the release schedule for release in Q'2 2004. The game is inspired by Midway's 1988 hit arcade game. As stated on the press site:

      NARC is an in-depth, third-person action/shooter videogame set against a stylized modern-day backdrop of the War on Drugs. Playing as dual characters, Hitman and Max Force, in the elite NARC squad the player must rid the world of the powerful international K.R.A.K. drug cartel. Find them, bust them and/or kill them to bring justice to the action-packed, crime-ridden streets. In NARC, players have an arsenal of weapons to use as well as down-and-dirty hand-to-hand fighting skills.

    Companies
    In some very sad news today Computer Artworks has confirmed they have closed down their development studio effective immediately. The development studio had worked on Evolva for PC and, more impressively, The Thing which was released on PS2 last year. The studio was currently working on 3 unknown projects but if I were to take a guess a sequel to The Thing may have been one of them. No word yet on what will happen to the three unfinished projects.

    Preview
    Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines is due out on the Playstation 2 in November this year and looks set to reproduce much of the movie from earlier this year. For me, Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines was a much better movie then the overblown prophesying bullshit that is Matrix Reloaded. Having said that, the game also looks a lot better then the Matrix tie-in. Here's a full preview.

October 23, 2003

    Games
    Some good news today for all those waiting for True Crime: Streets of L.A.. According to the Australian Activision branch they aren't expecting any delays on the title which will actually ship to retailers on November 10.

    Preview
    Destruction Derby Arenas is due out on the Playstation 2 in November this year. The original PSOne game is still a much-loved title among Sony fans. It's surprising then that this fourth title has taken so long to appear on PS2, but the lengthy wait has allowed the developers to include online gameplay!

October 22, 2003

    Games
    Namco has confirmed they are currently developing Dead To Rights 2. The game which is heading to Playstation 2 and XBox will use an all new graphics engine. A release is currently planned for Autumn 2004 in America.

    Companies
    Sony Japan has confirmed that they will be cutting approximately 20,000 jobs, or 10% of their worldwide workforce. There have been no announcements as to which departments will be affected the most, however given the strong sales in Entertainment the layoffs aren't expected to have a big impact on the Playstation department.

    Playstation 3
    THQ have confirmed that their development teams at Rainbow Studios (Splashdown) and Volition (Red Faction) that they are already starting development on titles for next generation systems including the PSP and Playstation 3. According to the company the systems are due out in late 2004 and 2006 respectively. Naturally no word yet on the titles however THQ did

October 21, 2003

    Games
    While True Crime: Streets of L.A. is currently scheduled for release in America on November 4, and in Australia around November 14 there has been a disturbing report come out of America today that the game may be delayed, or even canned (although that is extremely unlikely), as author Robert Crais is seeking a court injunction to stop the games release claiming the developers used a character called Elvis Cole as the inspiration for Nick Kang. Elvis Cole is the cop antihero who appears in nine of Crais' books. It's somewhat doubtful that the game will be delayed but it's worth keeping an eye on over the coming weeks.

    Electronic Arts has confirmed that Lord of the Rings: Return of the King has gone gold and will hit the release dates worldwide, which includes November 10 in Australia.

    VIS Interactive have confirmed that development has begun on State of Emergency 2. The less said the better.

    Preview
    Dog's Life is one of the most original games seen in quite a few years. You control a dog in his quest across America. Anything a real dog can do, and does, you can do in this game. Here's a preview of this interesting game due out at the end of the month. I, for one, can't wait to get my hands on the finished code to this game.

    Companies
    Electronic Arts has confirmed that they have purchased Studio 33, the development studio currently working on Destruction Derby Arenas for Sony. The studio has also been responsible for some of Sony’s Formula One titles in the past. The 75-person development team will be moving to EA's offices in the coming months.

October 20, 2003

    Review
    Dancing Stage Mega Mix has just hit the shelves in Australia, and Chris has managed to spend some time dancing around to bring you this review. Dancing games haven't been hugely popular outside Japan, but they are growing in acceptance. For RRP $109.95 you not only get the game, but also a very effective dance mat. Here's the full review.

    ONLINE GAMING - IT'S HERE
    Online gaming continues to grow in Australia and indeed the number of people playing has been increasing over the weekend. Some people have been reporting connection problems however there are a couple of things to remember. Firstly you must have broadband. You can't connect with dial-up modem at all. It won't work. Also if you use Telstra Bigpond Cable you must have a modem with built in router, or a separate one. If you can't afford that you can also connect through Internet Connection Sharing with a Network card in your computer. That's how I'm connecting here without any problems. Note: If you use this method you MUST use a crossover cable to connect the PC to PS2. Many problems are being caused by people trying to use a normal network lead in this case - that won't work. Don't forget to ring Sony Technical support or check out this page for more details. See you online soon.

October 17, 2003

    ONLINE GAMING - IT'S HERE
    Today is the day. Finally the Playstation 2 Network Adapter has been released in Australia. The adapter allows people with Broadband Internet (sorry folks, no dial-up modems) to connect the Playstation 2 to the Internet and play games with other PS2 owners across Australia. For $AU69.95 you not only get the network adapter (basically a network card for the Playstation 2) but also a Central Station disc which allows you to register and get information about online gaming. Best of all you will receive a copy of Hardware for free. An impressive little tank base action game which despite a lack of levels has plenty of replay value. Those of you with games such as SOCOM, Midnight Club II and Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 4 will also be able to play online now while THQ's Warhammer 40k: Fire Warrior is also playable online, although I was experiencing some lag tonight so I need to check it out a little more.

    If you're worried about a lack of online titles, don't. There should be around 20 by Christmas including some certain gems such as SSX3, Tribes: Ariel Assault, Destruction Derby Arenas, FIFA 2004, Medal of Honor: Rising Sun, and Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Jungle Storm among others. Of course next year there's a small racing game called Gran Turismo 4 promising online gameplay.

    If you have any queries I would suggest you check out this page at Sony Australia's web site. If you can't be stuffed just send me an e-mail to the usual address at admin@futuregamez.net. See you online.

October 15, 2003

    Review
    Freedom Fighters always showed a lot of promise. The developers IO Interactive have already shown technical proficiency with Hitman 2: Silent Assassin, but this game is squad based action, and one awesome game. Set after World War II this game has a different series of events with Communism ruling the world and Russia invading America. It's your turn to fight back. Check out this review now.

October 12, 2003

    Review
    Armored Core 3 has been out for quite a while now, since June in fact but we've only just managed to review it. That doesn't mean it's not a good game, far from it, we're just slackers here at times. Mech games are massive in Japan, but are usually met with a much more lukewarm response in America and Europe. That doesn't mean they can't be good games, and Armored Core 3 is one of the better ones.

October 10, 2003

    Playstation 3
    Sony Japan has given the biggest indication yet of a 2006 release date for Playstation 3 by announcing that the "CELL" processor will begin production in late 2005. The "CELL" chip is the extremely fast processor designed by Sony, Toshiba and IBM, for the Playstation 3, and other appliances. The new chip uses and 65-nanometer process and will see the semiconductor plants undergo major upgrades to cope with the tiny circuitry. In related news Sony has announced they will start 90-nanometer production for the Playstation 2's chip later this month. This will see the Playstation 2's CPU and graphic core (Emotion Engine) placed on a single chip. This will also be used in the Playstation 3 for backwards compatibility.

October 8, 2003

    Games
    Konami Europe has confirmed that there are already over 1 million pre-orders for Pro Evolution Soccer 3. The game was released in Japan as Winning Eleven 7 and also sold over a million units. The game is scheduled to be released in Australia later this year.

    LucasArts has confirmed that their gladiator based game, Gladius has gone gold in America and will hit the October 28 release date there. The game is currently scheduled for release, through Electronic Arts, in Australia on November 30th.

    Preview
    Worms 3D is Team 17's update to their legendary strategy game. This time the developers have created 3D worlds for the first time ever. The game is shaping up very nicely on PS2 and is well worth considering for some multi-player mayhem. Here's a brief preview of this promising looking title.

October 5, 2003

    Review
    EA Sports Rugby 2004 has been released in time for the World Cup which starts in Australia in little over a week. While the actual event is likely to generate emotions of excitement and awe, this game does not. If you're a major rugby fan you may enjoy this title, if you're not, forget it. Here's the full review.

October 3, 2003

    Games
    Capcom have announced they are developing a game based in Tim Burton's legendary 1993 movie The Nightmare Before Christmas. The game is still shrouded in mystery and will be released in late 2004.

    Konami has announced that they will be releasing Suikoden 4 in America in Q'2 2004. Unfortunately there has been no mention of a PAL release at this stage, and given the lack of RPG conversions of late I wouldn't hold your breath.

    Sega has announced that Sonic Heroes will be released in Japan on December 18 for 6,800 yen. The game is scheduled to be released in Australia on December 14 through Gamenation. It is unclear if the late Japanese release will result in a delay for the game here as well.

    Electronic Arts Australia has confirmed that Bond: Everything or Nothing has been delayed until late January 2004. Wrath Unleashed has also been delayed until February 28th, 2004. No reason has been given for the delays.

    Hardware Sales
    Globe Technology has announced console sales in Canada. The Playstation 2 is leading the way with 2.5 million units, the XBox has 900,000 units sold while the Gamecube is lagging with 700,000 units. Both the XBox and PS2 have approximately 200,000 people playing games online.

October 2, 2003

    Games
    THX has announced that Electronic Arts will be the first company to have games certified with the THX sound standard. Contrary to belief THX isn't a sound format but rather a quality assurance. Here's the official press release:

      THX LTD TEAMS WITH ELECTRONIC ARTS TO OFFER CERTIFIED VIDEO GAMES

      SSX 3, The Lord of The Rings; The Return of the King and Medal of Honor Rising Sun First Game Titles Created in THX Certified Development Environment

      SAN RAFAEL, Calif., September 30, 2003 - THX® Ltd., the leading provider of product certification and venue design for the entertainment and consumer electronics industries, today announced the creation of a new sound and visual certification standard for videogame development environments. Electronic Arts (NASDAQ: ERTS) is the first company to develop and publish THX Certified Games using these standards. EA has incorporated the THX performance standards into its mixing rooms and studios worldwide, ensuring the quality and integrity of creative content is maintained at every stage of video game development. The first THX Certified Games will be SSX 3, The Lord of the Rings™; The Return of the King™ which is based on New Line Cinema’s upcoming film, and Medal of Honor™ Rising Sun.

      "Working closely with THX to deliver the most stunning and impactful audio and visual experience is another example of EA’s innovation and dedication to state-of-the-art technology to deliver the best game experience to our customer," said David DeMartini, vice president and COO of Electronic Arts’ Redwood Shores studio. " Providing consistent delivery of high quality audio performance creates an even deeper immersive experience."

      Leveraging 20 years of experience in film post-production, multi-channel sound reproduction, and professional cinema and studio design, THX is providing EA with the ultimate environment to create next-generation game titles. THX established specifications for room design as well as acoustic and equipment performance to make sure sound and visual quality are consistent in every EA mixing room. EA’s creative team can transfer projects between artists, departments and facilities with confidence, knowing that every bit of visual detail and sonic presentation will be maintained all the way through to the end-user’s experience.

      " With sound and image quality becoming such critical elements to the success of video game titles, the environments that games are created in must be built to the highest possible technical standards," said Joseph Vogel, vice president of business development at THX. " THX performance standards provide the optimal environment for sound recording, mixing and image texturizing. They ensure that the vision of EA’s art directors, visual artists and audio mixers is captured and faithfully delivered to consumers and gaming enthusiasts."

      EA GAMES™ brand titles that will launch as THX Certified Games include:
      SSX 3
      The Lord of The Rings: The Return of The King
      Medal of Honor: Rising Sun
      Need For Speed Underground
      JAMES BOND 007: Everything or Nothing

    Review
    Soul Calibur II is Namco's highly anticipated weapon based combat game which has finally been released in PAL territories. With stunning graphics, sound and gameplay this game was always going to be a winner. Here's the full review of this stunning game.


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