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JUNE 2004 NEWS

June 30, 2004

    Games
    It looks as if Eidos' highly anticipated Shellshock Nam '67 has been refused classification in Australia on June 22nd 2004 meaning that the game can not go on sale here - unless modifications are made. Unfortunately the OFLC has not provided any information with regards to the reasons for the RC rating. Hopefully my contacts at Atari will have more details for me tomorrow. In an unrelated move Eidos have delayed Shellshock Nam '67 until September due to a weak market at this time of year. At least Eidos and Guerilla (the developers) will have time to alter the Australian version to pass classification. Expect more details soon.

    Midway has confirmed that Mortal Kombat: Deception may have to undergo a name change for the European market due to copyright. PS2.IGN has put up a rumour stating Mortal Kombat: Mystification however Midway are denying that name.

    Preview
    V8 Supercars 2 is certainly shaping up as a vast improvement over the original game with better graphics, and many more options. V8 Supercars 2 is easily one of the most anticipatd titles thsi year. While the XBox game has been out for months, the PS2 version has only just been announced. Check out the preview now.

    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 PS2, PS3, movie or site related. There are now well over 4100 posts in the forums. See you there.

June 29, 2004

    Games
    Atari have announced they will not be distributing Sega titles here any more. Here's their official line "Atari Australia is no longer distributing titles published by Sega in Australia and New Zealand. This is a mutual commercial decision made by the parties involved." As yet another distributer has not been announced.

    Preview
    Ty The Tasmanian Tiger 2 is EA's latest title in their Australian developed platform game. EA aren't a company to give up on a series, and indeed they are having a second crack at Ty The Tasmanian Tiger. This game is bigger, badder and more action packed. Check out the preview now.

June 28, 2004

    Games
    Vivendi Universal have announced that they will begin publishing titles for PS2 and GBA in Japan. They have no plans at this stage to support the XBox or Gamecube in that territory. The first game, Van Helsing will be released on September 16th with Red Ninja: End of Honor and Crash Unlimited/Crash Twinsanity both due out on December 4th.

    Namco has confirmed that Tales of Symphonia will be released in Japan on September 22nd this year. As yet there are no plans for a PAL release.

    Preview
    Killzone will be one of Sony's biggest titles this year and is shaping up as one of the best FPS's titles of all time. The developers, Guerilla, have been working on this title for four years now, and it shows. You must check out the graphics, and features in this preview now. Expect an Australian release in October this year.

June 28, 2004

    Games
    Atari has confirmed they have shipped 2.5 million units of DRIV3R worldwide for all platforms.

    Electronic Arts has confirmed that Def Jam II: Fight for NY will not include online gameplay. Apparently there isn't enough time to implement the feature and they are concentrating on making this a great offline title.

    Rockstar North's creative director Dan Houser has confirmed that GTA: San Andreas will not include online gameplay as "too much would have to be sacrificed" obviously referring to graphics and AI. Sure it would have been nice, but I'm pretty certain this game will blow everyones socks off when it hits the shelves in October.

June 26, 2004

    Games
    Vivendi have confirmed they have secured the rights to develop and publish a title based upon 20th Century Fox's upcoming movie Robots, which is from the creators of Ice Age. Both the game and the movie are due in early 2005.

    Review
    Hitman: Contracts is the third game in Io Interactive's Hitman series which has been a massive success. The first game was a surprise. The second took everything to a new level. What about this third game, is it any good? Read the review now to find out.

June 24, 2004

    Games
    Electronic Arts have secured the rights to publish Oddworld Inhabitants next game after the company parted ways with Microsoft. What does this have to do with PS2? Well we can now expect their next Oddworld game, called Stranger to be released on PS2 in 2005.

    Some more news on Starcraft: Ghost today with confirmation that developers Nihilistic have handed development of the title back over to Blizzard. The company was working on the title for Blizzard however with the delay to 2005 it is believed that Nihilistic had to begin work on another contracted project for an unknown company.

    Namco has confirmed three new charaters for Tekken 5 which will be released as a PS2 exclusive in early 2005. The characters are Jack-5, Julia Chang and Craig Marduk.

    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 PS2, PS3, movie or site related. There are now well over 4100 posts in the forums. See you there.

June 22, 2004

    Games
    Well, I only put up the preview for Starcraft: Ghost but Blizzard have just confirmed the game will be delayed from late 2004 to early 2005.

    Review
    Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is quite obviously based on the book and recently released movie. Once again Electronic Arts have improved the Harry Potter based games, and this one includes some neat Eye Toy action to keep you amused. Is this game going to keep everyone captivated, or only fans of the books/movies? Read the review to find out.

June 18, 2004

    Games
    Square Enix have confirmed their monster RPG, Dragon Quest VIII: Sky, Sea, Earth & the Cursed Princess (what a name!!) will be released in the Japan this winter (Australian Summer). No word yet on a PAL release.

    Preview
    Starcraft Ghost is finally entering the final phase of development this Blizzard/Nihilistic game isn't a strategy game like the PC titles, but rather a console exclusive 3D action title - it's hot.

June 16, 2004

    Games
    Those of you waiting for Argonaut's oft-delayed Malice will be glad to know the game will be released in Australia on June 25th through Ice Storm.

    Review
    Tony Hawk's Underground has been out since late 2003, but its never too late to review a classic game. I would like to welcome Brodie Gibbons to the review team. Sit back and read his review of this great title, if you don't have this game yet, then this review may persuade you to go and get it.

June 14, 2004

    Games
    Sega of Japan have delayed the release of Virtua Fighter Cyber Generation: Ambition of the Judgement Six from July 29th to August 26th. The game is essentially an adventure based spin-off of Sega's hit fighting game. An American and European release date has not yet been set - but Christmas 2004 seems likely.

    In a shock announcement Sega have announced that ESPN NFL 2K5 will be released in America at the budget price of $US19.95. Obviously this is an attempt to break the stranglehold which Electronic Arts have with their Madden NFL series. Sega's sports titles have struggled to sell, despite many reviews scoring higher the EA's title. Let's hope the game, and lower price point, make it to PAL territories. Expect ESPN NFL 2K5 to be released in America on August 24th.

    Preview
    Red Ninja: End of Honor is being developed by new Japanese developer Tranji, formed from New Corporation and Opus. As you may have guessed this is a very bloody ninja game. At this stage the graphics need some work, but the gameplay looks hot. Here's an updated preview with the latest screens.

June 12, 2004

    Games
    Capcom have confirmed that Resident Evil Outbreak File #2 will be released in Japan in September. The PAL version of the original game will be released around the same time with THQ currently listing Resident Evil Outbreak for release here on October 1st.

    Preview
    Leisure Suit Larry: Magna Cum Laude marks the first game in the long running series to hit the Playstation 2. The latest game includes some wonderful visuals, but more importantly some of the most amusing moments in video game history. Read the preview to get all the details and latest screens. Expect a release through Vivendi in late 2004.

    Other Stuff
    A sad note today as one of the most enduring and likable entertainers of all time has passed away. Ray Charles, one of the most influential musicians in the jazz, soul and blues style died at home aged 73. With The Blues Brothers being one of my all time favourite movies, it's time to spin that DVD one more time.

June 11, 2004

    Games
    Pretty big news today with Take Two confirming they will be co-publishing Sega's sports titles. Here's the full press release:

      Take-Two Signs Exclusive Worldwide Co-Publishing and Distribution Agreement with SEGA Corporation for All SEGA ESPN Videogames Titles

      New York, NY - June 8, 2004 - Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. (NASDAQ: TTWO) announced today the Company has signed a binding letter of intent with SEGA Corporation to co-publish and exclusively distribute on a worldwide basis all SEGA ESPN Videogames sports titles, including ESPN NFL Football, ESPN NHL Hockey, ESPN NBA Basketball, ESPN College Hoops and ESPN Major League Baseball. The ESPN Videogames titles are developed and marketed by California-based Visual Concepts Entertainment, Inc., a subsidiary of SEGA Corporation, and will be co-published under the SEGA/Global Star Software label. The products will be exclusively distributed through Jack of All Games in North America and Take-Two Europe for international territories.

      The multi-year co-publishing and distribution agreement includes a provision for Take-Two to further extend its participation in SEGA's sports game business and all associated intellectual property for current and future gaming platforms.

      "We believe this exclusive relationship with SEGA is a great opportunity for Take-Two," said Paul Eibeler, Take-Two's President. "We have tremendous respect for the critically acclaimed properties that Visual Concepts has created and we are confident that our global sales and distribution capabilities provide the resources that will fully support these products." "The combined efforts of SEGA and Take-Two will create an exciting and powerful partnership that is sure to heighten the level of aggressive competition in the growing sports game segment," said Hisao Oguchi, Representative Director and President of SEGA Corporation.

      "We are excited to have Take-Two bring their second-to-none distribution power and proven experience reaching the mass market to the ESPN Videogames franchise we've built with SEGA," said Greg Thomas, President of Visual Concepts. "We are proud of the quality of our games and the loyalty of our fans, and we look forward to being able to reach a whole new audience."

      A significant part of Take-Two's strategy is to gain market share by offering extremely high quality products, supported with aggressive marketing and value pricing. "We plan to expand the audience for ESPN Videogames' sports titles by applying a variety of proven marketing techniques," said Mr. Eibeler. "We are also adding the compelling element of value pricing to this high quality line, creating a significant point of differentiation for both core and casual gamers. We believe the recent console price cuts are bringing new consumers into the interactive entertainment market, and sports titles will be a meaningful part of their software purchases. Finally, with Sony and Microsoft not publishing sports titles this holiday season, there is a significant competitive opportunity for ESPN Videogames titles. The combination of these factors should expand the overall market for sports titles."

      Visual Concepts' critically acclaimed ESPN Videogames are considered some of the most innovative, high-quality sports games on the market. ESPN NBA Basketball and ESPN NHL Hockey were the world's #1-rated games last year in their respective genres, and ESPN NFL Football is a top-ranked offering considered by many to be the most realistic, true-to-life football simulation available anywhere and for any price.

June 10, 2004

    Games
    According to reports media giants Viacom were apparently interested in buying out (and effectively taking over) Electronic Arts, that was until they saw the price tag - about $US20 billion dollars. Anyone else got some spare change?

    Atari and Reflections have confirmed that DRIV3R has gone gold and will hit its late June release date around the world. Let's hope it meets the hype.

June 8, 2004

    Special
    Juiced - Car Modifications. Being able to mod your car is a major part of any racing car game today, and Acclaim's Juiced looks set to take it to an all new level with over 7.2 trillion combinations. Read this special now to find out just how important car modifications will be to the game - for street cred, and to improve your chances in the races.

June 7, 2004

    Review
    Project Zero II: Crimson Butterfly. Ever heard of it? Well it was released in America as Fatal Frame II. Forget about Resident Evil, and Silent Hill. When it comes to scary games there is a new king in town. Tecmo's Project Zero II: Crimson Butterfly is one of the most atmospheric games ever. Check out the review of this awesome game, then go buy it.

    Games
    It may still be 11 months away but Australian developers IR Gurus have announced the features for AFL Live 2005 which is due out in April/May next year! The only disappoint for PS2 owners is that multi-player online at this stage is only listed for XBox Live. Here's the feature list for AFL Live 2005:

      Game play
      All New Gaming AI (artificial intelligence), New Team and Individual Player Tactics, "Rough Play" with realistic on- field play, On-line multiplayer gaming (Xbox Live!), Player Fatigue, Refined player collisions, New ball physics

      Player Graphics
      Updated High Polygon/Detailed Player Models, Individual Player Faces for key players, Heritage Jumpers for all 16 teams, Real Time Lighting and Shadows on players,Decals (mud, bandages) on players throughout the match, Expanded Motion Captured Player Animations.

      Stadium Graphics
      Updated '3D' crowds, 9 realistic football Stadiums, Melbourne Football Ground will feature fully constructed Northern Stand, New weather effects - improved rain.

      Animation
      Improved animation blending. (Thank God! - Dave)

      Production Values
      User Controlled Replay System, Cinematic In Game Replays, Commentary By Denis Commeti, Dermott Brereton & "Dipper", Expanded Commentary & Sideline Comments, Multiple in-game and out-game production values, Multiple Camera Modes, National Anthem during finals games, Additional cheat codes, modes and video footage.

      AFL Season, Game Modes and User Functionality
      Dynasty Mode - Continuous Season Play (up to 10 years), Full fixture and player lists for 2005 season, AFL Tribunal with reports and suspensions, End of Season player trading, Individual User profiles, Rule Changes to Wizard Cup (if any occur), Match statistics, Expanded Game Statistics.

    IR Gurus have also annouced two more titles for PS2. The first is Gaelic 2005 which is based on the rather obscure Gaelic Football from Ireland. The game is a PS2 exclusive and is set for release in mid 2005. Another, and much more mainstram title is Heroes of the Pacific a World War II flight simulator and should ship in November 2004.

June 5, 2004

    Games
    Some good news today following yesterday's news about DRIV3R possibly being delayed with Atari confirming that "The (Atari) website is on drugs" and that the game will be released in June. Let's now hope they fix some of the issues listed on Eurogamer's hands on preview.

June 4, 2004

    Games
    Could DRIV3R be delayed? Well Atari Australia's web site is now listing the game as TBA 2004, rather then June 21st. Those of you looking forward to the title may be interested in this rather negative hands on preview stating "we have no choice but to raise a whole catalogue of concerns over the controls, the cameras, and the enemy AI". Could this have forced another delay? To add more fuel to the fire Topshop have now listed the games release date as June 30th. Unfortunately Atari could not be reached late today for comment.

    Sega have announced that Sega SuperStars, their Eye Toy game will be released in Europe on October 29. Expect the Australian release to be around that date as well.

    Eidos has confirmed that they are developing a new FPS title called Commandos Strike Force. The game will support up to 8 players simultaneously online. The game is a spin-off of the classic Commandos strategy games.

    Ubisoft have patented the name Splinter Cell Chaos Theory which may be the name of the third game in the series - which at this stage has not been confirmed for PS2 release.

    Preview
    Area 51 is the top secret military base in Nevada - which isn't too secret really. The contents are secret, as well as Stealth technology the base is rumoured to house alien artifacts - if they exist. Without a doubt Area 51 was one of the most impressive looking games on PS2 at this years E3 show. With online gameplay and frantic FPS action this looks like a winner.

June 1, 2004

    Games
    Taito have announced they are remaking Ys III: Wanderers from Ys, Y's IV: Mask of the Sun and Y's V for the Playstation 2. At this stage the games will be released in Japan this year (Y's III) and next year for the other two.

    A year or so ago Conspiracy Entertainment confirmed they were going to bring the SEGA AGES titles to the western world. Unfortunately the games have been receiving some pretty bad press mainly due to the updated graphics, and lack of original sprite based games. While it seemed like they would never make it to America, it has now been confirmed that the games will be bundled together to receive approval from SCEA, and hopefully SCEE. Sega Ages: Classic Collection will be released in 2004 and includes Fantasy Zone, Golden Axe, Monaco GP and Space Harrier while Sega Ages: Phantasy Star Trilogy (due Q'1 2005) includes Phantasy Star Generation 1, Phantasy Star II, Phantasy Star IV: End of the Millennium (stangely missing the third game?). Let's hope for a PAL version too!

    Kazunori Yamauchi, producer from Polyphony Digital, has confirmed that Gran Turismo 4 will be their last title on PS2. Don't dispair though, Polyphony Digital will be moving to work on the PS3.

    Preview
    Need For Speed Underground 2 is heading to the Playstation 2 quite soon. While many believed that Burnout 3 would become EA's new Need for Speed game, it's not the case. Need for Speed Underground 2 is also coming out. The first game impressed, this is better. Here's a full preview with the latest screens.


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