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APRIL 2004 NEWS

April 31, 2004

    Games
    Eidos and Reflections have confirmed that the American and European release of DRIV3R has been delayed from June 1st to June 21st. Presumably the Australian release has also been put back, although confirmation is still pending.

April 28, 2004

    Competition
    LAST DAYS!! Yep, the April competition is almost over. This month you have the chance to win Atari Stuntman from ermm... Atari. This game should warm you up nicely for Reflections' release of DRIV3R which is set for release in June. All you have to do to enter this competition is click on this link and answer a couple of simple questions. Get to it!

    Preview
    Shellshock Nam '67 is an exciting game for a couple of reasons. Gorgeous graphics, little used (to date) war setting of Vietnam, great presentation. The biggest thing for this game, however, is that the developer is Guerilla Games. Not sure who they are? Well they are also behind possibly the biggest game this year, Killzone.

    Games
    Electronic Arts have confirmed they will be releasing Lord of the Rings: The Third Age late this year. Rather then another action title this game is an RPG based on the three movies.

    Hip Games has confirmed that they are developing a game based on everyone's most loved cat, Garfield. The game will be released a couple of months after the movie hits the big screen around mid-2004.

    Midway has confirmed that NARC will not be released in 2004. Given the rather plain looking screenshots released to date this may not come as a surprise, although Midway are claiming the move is to get away from Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas due at the end of the year. One interesting thing to note is that in the game you will be able to use the drugs to enhance your abilities. Can I hear a battle with the Australian censors coming up?

    Something Interesting from Europe with some retailers apparently reporting that Gran Turismo 4: Prologue will be released not only in limited numbers, but only to those who also pre-order the full game, Gran Turismo 4.

    Midway has confirmed they are developing Shadow Hearts 2. The game, which will be called Shadow Hearts: Covenant in Europe is expected in Q'3 2004.

    Atari have confirmed that Dragon Ball Z: Budokai 3 will be released in America in late 2004. Expect to hear more on the game from E3.

April 27, 2004

    Games
    While PAL gamers have been playing SCEE's impressive Ghost Hunter since December last year America has been missing out. Now Namco has secured the rights to publish the title in America with a release set for August.

    Somewhat unsurprising news from Eidos that the next Tomb Raider will not be shown at this years E3 show. Following the critical and commercial disaster that was Tomb Raider: Angel of Darkness development of the next game was ripped away from Core Design (who, funnily enough created the entire franchise) and was given to Crystal Dynamics, developers of the Legacy of Kain titles and the quite impressive Whiplash.

    Preview
    100 Bullets has been pretty much shrouded in secrecy, until now. With the E3 show coming up some early details have emerged. Acclaim grabbed the rights to this comic book some time ago now and the game is due at the end of 2004. It certainly looks impressive at this early stage. Here's a preview.

April 26, 2004

    Games
    Electronic Arts has confirmed they are developing Need for Speed Underground 2 for Playstation 2 (and other systems). The game should be released in Fall 2004 in America, and a pre-Christmas release is likely in Europe/Australia. The game will include 5 new racing environments and 30 licensed cars.

    Midway has confirmed the game list for Midway Arcade Treasures 2, and it's impressive, most impressive. Here's the list: A.P.B., Arch Rivals, Championship Sprint, Cyberball 2072, Gauntlet 2, Hard Drivin', Mortal Kombat I, II, III, NARC, Pit Fighter, Primal Rage, Rampage World Tour, Spy Hunter 2, Steel Talons, STUN Runner, Timber, Total Carnage, Wizard of Wor, Xenophobe, and Xybots.

    Sega Japan has announced two new Shining Force games for Playstation 2. The first game is called Shining Tears amd the second is still to be named. As yet no release dates have been announced for Japan and there is no word on an English release, but here's hoping.

April 23, 2004

    Review
    Spy Hunter 2 isn't based on the upcoming movie from the Rock (well, due in 2005 - and rumoured to be directed by John Woo), which is a shame as the game may have created more interest. This is actually the sequel the the PS2 game from last year. Read Chris' review to see why he wasn't impressed with this sequel from Midway.

    Games
    Capcom has confirmed that both Viewtiful Joe, and the sequel, Viewtiful Joe 2 will be coming to Playstation 2, in Japan at least. Hopefully a PAL release will be confirmed sooner rather then later.

    Electronic Arts has confirmed they are developing a new game called URBZ, a game seemingly related to The Sims. Here's the press release:

      EA Announces plans for The URBZ

      Sydney, AUSTRALIA. April 22, 2004 – Electronic Arts (Nasdaq: ERTS) today announced that The URBZ (*working title) is in development for the PlayStation 2 computer entertainment system, the Xbox video game system from Microsoft, the Nintendo GameCube, and the Nintendo Game Boy Advance. For the first time, Sims are living in the city where reputation (rep) is everything. Players will custom-create these new Sims, called Urbz, by customising their unique style and building their status to become the biggest “player” in the city. The URBZ will be unveiled to industry insiders on May 12-14 at the Electronic Entertainment Exposition in Los Angeles. The URBZ is scheduled to be released simultaneously on all platforms in the spring of 2004.

      “We’re taking The Sims on console franchise in a dramatic new direction. Now that Sims are in the city they are now known as Urbz, they have a bold new look and style,” said Sinjin Bain, Vice President and Executive Producer of the game at EA’s Maxis studio. “For the first time, players will control Urbz at every moment of gameplay, while they are on the job, earning their street rep, or exploring a city that is alive 24/7.”

      About the console versions
      Players will take their Urbz to work and be challenged by bosses at locations like the Sushi Bar, Chop Shop, or Bootleg Fireworks, Inc. Success brings the player well-earned promotions and gets them access to power socials to help them influence other Urbz. The fast-paced lifestyles in The URBZ is evident in gameplay including job challenges based on a direct-control mechanic for job objects, skill-building objects, and power social interactions.

      The URBZ is built on an all-new graphics engine that recreates the essence of living in a vibrant city with distinct districts inhabited by Urbz with unique lifestyles. The game’s style captures the pulse of the action-packed downtown, ritzy shopping districts, Bohemian artist workshops, and a gritty subway station. Players create their Urbz using a new character customisation engine to show off attitude and unique style, as well as signature “bling” such as tattoos and nose rings.

      Players build relationships to increase their rep, influence other Urbz, and gain access to city districts, jobs, and lifestyles. Gaining access to all districts in the city, being able to live in any district, live any lifestyle, and become the biggest “player” in the city is the ultimate goal. The URBZ will support the Sony EyeToy™. Players will download their image into the game with the Sony EyeToy and as their rep grows; their image or their Urbz image will begin to be reflected in the game.

April 22, 2004

    Games
    Cause for celebration today. George Lucas, and his mega corporation LucasFilm have confirmed that the original Trilogy will be released on DVD on September 21. Not only that but the DVD set (4-disc) will include over 11 hours of extras, including a 2.5 hour documentary on the entire trilogy. The DVD set will also include a preview of Star Wars: Battlefront with a playable demo for XBox owners. Among the many other extras announced is a behind the scenes look at Episode III - the movie and the game which is confirmed for Playstation 2. Here's the excerpt from the press release related to the game:

      Star Wars: Episode III Making the Game Preview – Video-game players will be able to experience the stunning Jedi action of Episode III themselves in the new Star Wars: Episode III game. This special feature shows how game developers at LucasArts worked behind-the-scenes and on the set to create the most authentic Jedi experience ever. The Star Wars: Episode III game will be available in Spring 2005 for the PlayStation 2 computer entertainment system and Xbox video game system from Microsoft.

    A Rant
    It's been a while since my last rant, not because I've had nothing to say, more likely my life has succumbed to constant Uni work, work on this web site and work at the school where, well, I work. But this story has really pissed me off. Don't get me wrong I love Tarantino - a great director, and this probably isn't really his doing - but this plan sucks. Miramax, not content with making us pay twice to see Kill Bill have six, yes six, DVD releases set for the future. Now I don't mind paying twice for DVD's, hell, LOTR normal and extended are worth every cent. But check out this quote from a story (available here) on the New York Times. If you ask me this is plain out money grabbing - and they don't even mention the special DVD release which is all extras (much like the Beneath the Crust American Pie disc in America) which Tarantino mentioned some weeks ago. This is from the COO of Miramax:

      "This is the beauty of having two volumes," said Rick Sands, chief operating officer at Miramax. " `Vol. 1' goes out, `Vol. 2' goes out, then `Vol. 1 Special Edition,' `Vol. 2 Special Edition,' the two-pack, then the Tarantino collection as a boxed set out for Christmas. It's called multiple bites at the apple. And you multiply this internationally."

April 21, 2004

    Preview
    Onimusha: Blade Warriors is almost here. Before THQ and Capcom unleash Onimusha 3 upon Australia late this year, this spin-off game will be released in June. It's not just a few new levels, but an entirely new game allowing 4-players to battle together in this action oriented title. Check out the preview now.

    Games
    According to reports online Jak III will be the last game in the trilogy concluding a storyline that progressed the first two games. While there may be more games in future the third game will conclude the current story. Perhaps more interesting is the fact that Jason Rubin will be leaving Naughty Dog to persue unknown pastures towards the end of the year.

    Not to be outdone Insomniac have confirmed that the brilliantly titled Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal will include some online gameplay. The game will support up to 8 players online (4-player split screen offline) and should be a blast!

    Genki has confirmed they are developing Kengo 3. No word yet on a PAL release.

April 19, 2004

    Games
    According to Topshop.com.au Gran Turismo Prologue: Signature Edition will be released in Australia on May 28th. Still no confirmation from Sony Australia, however being the weekend I haven't been able to get through.

April 18, 2004

    Preview
    Catwoman is the latest in a series of high profiled games to be announced by Electronic Arts in the leadup to the E3 show in mid May. Electronic Arts secured the rights to develop (although Argonaut are doing the bulk of the work) a game based on the upcoming Halle Berry movie. Even at this early development stage the game, and Halle, are looking pretty hot.

    Games
    Electronic Arts have finally confirmed the long running rumour that their Battlefield series will be hitting consoles, with the PS2 the beneficiary. Here's the press release.

      Award-winning Battlefield Franchise Comes to Console for the First Time

      REDWOOD CITY, Calif., April 15, 2004 - Lock and load, soldier... It’s time to prepare for all-out war on the modern battlefields of the world. Electronic Arts announced today that the award-winning Battlefield franchise is coming to console for the first time with Battlefield: Modern Combat for the PlayStation 2 computer entertainment system from Sony Computer Entertainment America. The title, which is currently under development for a planned fall 2004 debut, will be published and distributed by EA under the EA GAMES brand.

      The first-ever Battlefield console installment will drop players into the heat of battle on the high tech frontlines, entering a new modern era of combat with more firepower and new expansive environments. Armed with the latest modern weaponry, players can take control of over 30 vehicles, including tanks, helicopters and fast attack vehicles, to engage in major conflicts with up to 24 players in some of the largest online battles on the PlayStation 2 console. (Online play requires the PlayStation 2 console, a broadband connection, memory card, and network adaptor for the PlayStation 2). Voiceover communication is also supported via USB headset. Players will choose to fight for one of three military superpowers: the United States, the Chinese, or the newly formed Middle East Coalition.

      Developed by Sweden-based Digital Illusions,Battlefield: Modern Combat features large and detailed environments, from city streets to remote forests, in some of the globe’s most notorious hot spots, allowing players to engage in multiplayer battles that could be ripped straight from tomorrow’s headlines. Battlefield: Modern Combat also includes over 70 state-of-the-art modern weapons and advanced weapon systems, including heat-seeking missiles and laser designated bombs. Additionally, with in-game success, players increase their rank and garner promotions in a persistent online world.

    Just a quick note to let you all know that I have done a major update on the Previews & Release Schedule Page. Make sure you check out the schedule to see what is scheduled to hit the shelves in Australia. Just keep in mind that games occasionally (well, often) get delayed, but they will be update on that list weekly.

April 17, 2004

    Games
    UbiSoft have confirmed their list of titles to be shown at the E3 show in a months time. Several of these titles will not be appearing on PS2, but we can expect more details soon.

      Ubisoft, one of the world’s leading video game publishers, today announced that its 2004 Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) lineup will feature an exceptional selection of diverse titles for all platforms. Particularly in the spotlight this year, seven blockbuster games that are expected to surprise fans and rack up record sales:

      Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon 2: A first-person action shooter that completely immerses players in the war of tomorrow
      Brothers in Arms: The most realistic and authentic WWII shooter ever, that reveals the emotionally-charged side of war
      Prince of Persia 2 (working title): The sword-slashing sequel to the critically acclaimed Prince of Persia The Sands of Time
      Far Cry Instincts: A breathtaking first-person action shooter that redefines the term "survival action"
      Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Black Arrow: A game that gives a new dimension to multiplayer online first person shooters
      Myst IV Revelation: A suspenseful adventure full of twists and turns that finally answers questions left hanging since the beginnings of the Myst series
      Settlers 5 (working title): The new episode of the popular strategic simulation game with fully animated 3D technology and enhanced gameplay features
      Other titles featured on Ubisoft’s booth include The Dukes of Hazzard Return of the General Lee, Rocky Legends, Pacific Fighters, Silent Hunter III and Playboy The Mansion.

      "The choice of titles for this year's E3 faithfully reflects Ubisoft’s strategy: capitalizing on strong established brands like Prince of Persia, and bold innovation, exploring new segments to build up new brands", says Yves Guillemot, President and CEO of Ubisoft. "Ubisoft expects to take the video game business to new heights, through both its capacity to break new ground and its sheer creative abundance."

      Ubisoft’s E3 booth will be located at #1046, South Hall in the Los Angeles Convention Center. For more information, visit http://ubi.com

    Review
    R: Racing is a fresh beginning for Namco who return to the racing genre with this latest game. It's not Ridge Racer, there have been several changes to the gameplay including a move to more simulation styled racing. Is this game worth purchasing? Read the full review now to find out.

April 15, 2004

    Games
    While Sony Australia may still be undecided (or at least not confirming) if Gran Turismo 4: Prologue will be released in Australia, Future Gamez was somewhat surprised to learn that the game has been given G rating at the OFLC in Australia on March 29, 2004. Typically this would only be done if a release was pending. What's more, the game seems to have been renamed to Gran Turismo 4: Prologue Signature Edition.

    The Suffering, which Red Ant is going to release in a couple of weeks time has been given an MA15+ rating by the OFLC.

    Australia's Krome studios have confirmed they are working on Ty the Tasmanian Tiger 2 for Electronic Arts. It is likely the game will be released on PS2 and will be shown for the first time at this years E3 show in a months time.

    Review
    R-Type Final is reportedly the final game in Irem's most loved shoot 'em up. The graphics are simply stunning and the gameplay retains the same frantic pace of the originals. If you were looking forward to this game there is little to worry about, it's a stunner - and at a lower RRP of only $AU69.95. Read the full review of Irem's classic game now.

April 14, 2004

    Review
    Underworld. I really thought the movie, even with Kate Beckinsdale, blew chunks. It was horrid. This budget game from Red Ant is actually a lot more enjoyable then the movie. But does that really mean anything? Read the full review now to find out.

    Games
    According to this article on the New York Times web site not only is Peter Jackson directing the remake of King Kong but he will be working closely with Ubisoft to develop a game based on the movie for release in late 2005. This is the first news about a game based on the movie with UbiSoft still to confirm the games existence.

    Atari Australia have announced that Regurgitator will be providing some original music for Transformers. Interestingly the name seems to have been shortered as well (awaiting confirmation on that). Here's the press release:

      REGURGITATOR CONTRIBUTES TO TRANSFORMERS GAME SOUNDTRACK

      Sydney, Australia, 8th April 2004 – Atari, one of Australia’s leading sources of interactive entertainment proudly announces that Australian band Regurgitator has contributed original music to the soundtrack of the upcoming game “Transformers”, available on PlayStation 2 on 7th May 2004.

      Music written by the band Regurgitator will feature in sections of the locally produced game Transformers. Developed in Australia by Atari Melbourne House, Transformers is an action/adventure game based in the Transformers universe. Quan Yeomans wrote and produced an original music score to accompany the battle as the player attempts to defeat Cyclonus in the Deep Amazon level.

      Also included is a bonus remix, by Regurgitator, of the Transformers theme song hidden within the game. The theme song remix can be found by locating a “datacon” placed in the environment of the game.

      Transformers is one of the most highly anticipated games to be released in 2004 by Atari and is receiving a phenomenal reaction from the specialist gaming media. The inclusion of music by Regurgitator opens a new frontier for Australian music involvement in interactive entertainment.

      This is what Quan Yeomans from Regurgitator had to say about being involved with the game, ”When I saw the names ‘Atari’ and ‘Transformers’ put that close together I just knew I had to be involved.”

      Marshall Parker, Audio Director of Atari Melbourne House commented, “When we heard that Regurgitator were Transformers fans, and wanted to get involved with the game, we got really excited. They were totally prepared to work with us to compose something that complimented our vision of the game, and that worked nicely with the rest of the game soundtrack. They did an outstanding job”.

      Transformers will be available on 7th May 2004 for PlayStation 2.

    April 13, 2004

      Games
      Sales of Dragon Quest V in Japan have surpassed 1.34 million units with Square Enix confirming shipments of the title to stores have surpassed 1.5 million units. Hopefully the strength of these sales will ensure an English release at some stage.

      Interview
      Brian Rausch is one of the key members at Sony America and in this interview he discusses the process of motion capturing, and what it was like working with Jet Li on Rise To Honor. This interview completes several days of coverage for the martial arts title, while flawed, does have some impressive features.

    April 12, 2004

      Games
      Ubisoft have confirmed the rumours that Far Cry will be coming to consoles. The game will be different to the PC game, and although the PS2 hasn't been specified it's a safe bet. Here's the official statement:

        Far Cry Instincts Announced
        The number one shooter’s paradise is coming to consoles in 2004

        Ubisoft’s award-winning Montreal Studio is currently producing Far Cry Instincts, console versions based on the recently released, tropical PC shooter. The console versions will be an entirely new game built from the ground up using the most advanced technology Far Cry fans have come to expect.

        “Looking at Far Cry’s incredible success in Europe, which is currently the n°1 selling PC game in all territories’ charts, we are confident that Far Cry Instincts will be one of Ubisoft’s most striking games this year,” said Florence Alibert, Ubisoft’s Marketing Director for EMEA territories. “The Montreal-based development team, gathering most of the talented members behind the original Splinter Cell, plans to further reinforce Far Cry Instincts’ position as one of Ubisoft’s key brands for the future.”

        Just as Far Cry redefined the FPS genre on the PC, Far Cry Instincts will introduce wide open environments and unique, immersive gameplay elements that are destined to become the definition of survival action. In addition to the PC version's signature locations, non-scripted A.I., and unprecedented view-distance, Far Cry Instincts will feature brand new gameplay scenarios that will challenge players to use an even broader range of strategies and survival tactics in order to uncover the many secrets within the beautiful-but-deadly islands.

        Far Cry on PC debuted as the number one selling PC product in Australia its first week of release (source: Gfk)

      Review
      Rise To Honor has been in development at Sony America for some time now and uses the talents of martial arts and movie star Jet Li not only for his voice and likeness, but also hours or motion capture which has been integrated into the game. Has all the work paid off? Read the full review now to find out.

    April 10, 2004

      Interview
      Jet Li is one of today's biggest action stars, but between movies Jet Li found the time to help develop the game Rise to Honor with Sony Computer Entertainment America. Here is an interview with Jet Li about the process or making the game, and what it was like seeing himself in a video game. Expect a full review of Rise to Honor tomorrow.

      Games
      The first game hasn't even come out in PAL territories yet but Capcom have confirmed that Resident Evil Outbreak: File 2 is already in development. Early sections of the game will be set around a zoo where animals have been infected with the virus. Characters from the first Outbreak game will be appearing and Capcom have already sent members of the development team to Europe to work out how to get online gameplay going. While Japan will get the game in Q'3 2004 there is no word yet on a PAL release date.

      Review
      Battlestar Galactica - a legendary name in science fiction TV. While the old TV series came out over 25 years ago now, and the new series hasn't screened in Australia, there is no reason to ignore this title. This game will keep fans of the TV show happy, as well as fans of space based shooters.

      Forums
      Click here to go to the forums and post a message. Why? Because it's the easiest way to ask a question and get answers (Chris and I are in there almost daily), be it about release dates, gameplay, or anything else. There are over 4000 posts in the forums. See you there.

    April 9, 2004

      Easter Break
      No such thing in my book. As many of you know I usually update more regularly during school holidays as I work at a school so expect plenty of updates and reviews this weekend... and the competition in a matter of hours!

    April 8, 2004

      Games
      UbiSoft have confirmed they have grabbed the rights to create a game based on Rocky starring Sylvester Stallone. Venom Games (which was created from Rage who developed the previous Rocky title) are developing the game called Rocky Legends and while online gameplay is promised for XBox there has been no mention of the game being online for PS2. Expect a release in Q'3 2003.

      Look out for a new competition on the site starting this weekend...

      Preview
      Samurai Jack isn't overly popular in Australia, but is much bigger overseas. Sega are bringing the cartoon series to the Playstation 2 with all new 3D graphics. Fans of the TV series are likely to love this title, non fans, probably less so. Here's a preview.

    April 7, 2004

      Games
      Sony Europe has confirmed that they will be publishing Namco's Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War. Sadly the game won't be released until Q'1 2005.

      Review
      True Crime Streets of LA has been out for some time now, but Allen (who has just joined us here as a review at Future Gamez) has decided to whip up a quick review of this seemingly impressive GTA style game. Check out the review and welcome Allen.

    April 5, 2004

      Hardware
      Sony Europe has leaked some crucial information on their web site, which looked like it was intended for release at the E3 show in May. This information came from an apparent interview with SCEE president and COO David Reeves in which he discussed details about PS2, PSP and PS3. It will be interesting to see what Sony say in the coming days...

      Firstly the PS2. It seems like, as with the original Playstation changing to PSOne in name and stlye, Sony are looking at remodelling the Playstation 2 to a PSTwo unit. The PSP will probably not include any region coding so games purchased from anywhere in the world will still work in the unit. The PSP's memory has been bumped up from the originally intended 8MB to 30MB while the power remains closer to PS2 then PSOne in terms of graphics. Finally the PS3 will likely be released in two models. One will be for gamers with emphasis only on games playing. This is expected to retail for about 200 Euros (around $AU320). More surprisingly Sony are intending on releasing a high end system which will act more like a server possibly with a hard drive and network capabilities and will retail at around 600-700 Euros.

      Preview
      Gran Turismo 4 still doesn't have a firm date (September is being suggested, however) but more details are being announced all the time, including slightly reduced graphics for online gameplay. The preview has been updated with all the latest.

    April 3, 2004

      Competition Winner
      Last month we ran a competition here on Future Gamez giving away a copy of Grand Prix Challenge, a rather good Formula One game from Atari. Future Gamez is please to announce that the winner is... drumroll... Christine Lee from Mascot in New South Wales... Your prize will be sent out soon. Expect the next competition to be online in a matter of days - stay tuned.

    April 2, 2004

      Preview
      The Movies will almost certainly be one of the biggest strategy games of all time - trust me. With Peter Molyneux's (Theme Park, Theme Hospital) Lionhead Studios creating the game, it's certain to be a winner. Can you handle the pressure of running a movie studio?

      Games
      The big news today (beside the fact that I forgot about April Fools yesterday - hence you guys were all save this year) is that Konami and Atari have announced many new details about Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater. Here's the press release:

        METAL GEAR SOLID 3: NEW DETAILS ANNOUNCED
        Snake breaks cover as Konami outlines revolutionary new game’s ‘Camouflage Index’ and close combat systems.

        Sydney, 1st of April 2004 – Atari, Australia’s premier source of interactive software, proudly announces news on ‘Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater’ for PlayStation 2, published by Konami, release date to be confirmed.

        In a rare glimpse of one of the most eagerly-awaited games of all time, Konami and Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater Producer and Director, Hideo Kojima, have outlined new features of the PlayStation 2 game’s innovative new gameplay systems.

        With Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater set to wow fans at this year’s E3 Expo in Los Angeles in May, Kojima-san has offered a valuable insight into the game’s development, and has explained several new elements within the third Metal Gear Solid’s jungle environment. With Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater taking the game from the military and scientific bases of past missions, the new jungle setting throws open a wealth of new gameplay opportunities. As such, Kojima-san has taken time from his busy development schedule to outline the game’s new ‘Camouflage Index’ disguise system, the all-new ‘CQC’ close quarter combat mechanism, and has also confirmed that Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater will boast a revolutionary motion-capture system to ensure the series’ famed animation is as impressive as ever.

        The ‘Camouflage Index’ is represented by a numerical percentage to the top-right of the play area. The index is dependent on three factors and determines how visible the main character Snake is to his pursuers. Posture, costume and face paint all have a direct effect on how well Snake blends into his surroundings, with a 100% rating allowing him to stand perfectly still as guards pass within inches of his prone form. Thus, by standing perfectly still, crouching in long grasses, or by lying flat, Snake can improve his ‘Camouflage Index.’ Coupled with one of the game’s additional camouflage outfits, however, and Snake can further blend into the background, with the addition of face paint rendering him virtually invisible within certain scenarios.

        The use of the ‘Camouflage Index’ perfectly illustrates the more survival-orientated elements of Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater. As they control Snake, the player must rely on their wits to evade capture, by switching between fatigue designs ideally suited to blending in with tree bark, fallen leaves, long grass or even the shadowy and darker areas of the jungle. It also ties in beautifully with the team’s innovative new ‘CQC’ combat system, which again marks a new departure for the Metal Gear series.

        Developed in association with the series’ military advisor, Motosada Mori, the ‘CQC’ close quarters combat system sees Snake using hand-to-hand combat to take out his pursuers. Used in conjunction with Snake’s camouflage skills, players now have the option to physically take out the many guards patrolling the game, as opposed to risking discovery using a gun. A full section of offensive moves will be at Snake’s disposal in the final game, but dependent on his environment.

        The system can be used to fight multiple adversaries, and allows for hand-to-hand combat or the use of knives or handguns where applicable. The system automatically comes into effect when the player has the gun or knife selected as the default weapon, while Snake’s posture also has an effect on his ability to throw or attack guards. In order to ensure these moves are affected seamlessly and smoothly, Kojima-san and his respected development team within Konami Computer Entertainment Japan have employed ground-breaking motion-capture systems to ensure the moves and additional animations are faithful to proper military techniques.

        One key innovation was the use of new accessories during the motion-capture sessions. Instead of a trampoline, a special device used to control air pressure was used in the filming of Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater’s animation filming, with the carefully controlled stunts used to blow a stuntman several meters in the air! In combination with a special harness, the suspended stuntmen could be rotated along all three axes in the air, which yet has never been used in a video game motion-capture session in Japan until now.

        These latest announcements are certain to wet the appetite for what is already seen as one of the most anticipated video games ever, and the results of Kojima-san and his team’s hard work will be shown to expectant audiences at this year’s E3 Expo in Los Angeles in May when Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater comes out of hiding once more to wow its legion of fans.


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