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Previews & Release Schedule

OCTOBER 2004 NEWS

October 31, 2004

    Games
    Red Ant have confirmed that Ghostmaster will no longer be coming to Australia. The game was scheduled for release last week.

    I hope you're all enjoying Grand Theft Auto San Andreas, its a brilliant game and if there's a lack up updates on this site over the next day or two you'll know why. The review will be up soon, needless to say, just go buy it.

    Review
    NBA Live 2005 is EA Sports' latest game in their NBA basketball series is the best yet with several new additions, but some puzzling omissions. The Freestyle Air mode allows you to change your shot while in the air and perform some spectacular moves while the Dynasty mode allows you to run a team for 25 years! Here's the full report on EA's latest basketball title.

October 29, 2004

    Games
    Well leaving it to the last minute for this press release given that the new PS2 is hitting store shelves tomorrow (and according to some reports is already in some stores) but here's Sony's official press release for the new model Playstation 2:

      First Market in the World to Sell New Look PlayStation 2
      Sydney, 28 October 2004 - Sony Computer Entertainment Australia (SCE Aust.) today announced the availability and price of the smaller, slimmer and network ready new look PlayStation®2. Available tomorrow (29 October), consumers in Australia will have the world's first opportunity to purchase the newly designed PlayStation 2 at the reduced price of RRP$249.95.

      "It is only by a matter of a few days but we are very excited that Australia will be the first market to launch the new console design. When first briefed on the project I had not imagined just how small and attractive the console would end up. It is impressive in the photo images, but as consumers will see tomorrow it is a pleasing shock when you see the real thing." stated Michael Ephraim, Managing Director SCE Aust./New Zealand.

      The new design was kept as a closely guarded secret until just over a month ago (21 September 2004) when Sony Computer Entertainment surprised people world wide with the news. The new PlayStation 2 inherits all the basic functions of the current PlayStation 2 in a significantly reduced and stylised form. The overall size has been reduced by 75%, weight has been halved, and thickness trimmed down to 2.8 cm (thickness of current model is 7.8 cm). The new look model has even gone as far as packing in a new feature, an integrated Ethernet port for network gaming.

      Commenting on the design objectives of the new PlayStation 2, product designer Teiyu Goto, Chief Creative Director of the GP Studio, Sony Creative Centre explained that the console was intended not only to be a sought-after item for new consumers but also a must have item for current PlayStation 2 owners. These objectives have been exceeded, resulting in a very exciting new product design.

      Teiyu Goto rejected the engineering departments initial design concept of the new PlayStation 2, "I knew that they would plan on using the same components from the old model, and for me this did not have enough impact, and would not have been seen as a major advance. My counter offer was to create a design of the size you see now, and incorporate new components where necessary to reduce the size."

      There are now in excess of 72 million PlayStation 2 consoles worldwide, with Australia contributing over 1.3 million units. The new look PlayStation 2 will phase out the previous model and will be available tomorrow at all major retailers at the recommended retail price of $249.95.

    PSP Launch Details
    Sony Japan has confirmed the launch details for PSP in that territory with a street date of December 12, 2004. 200,000 units will be available on launch day, and a further 500,000 units by the end of the year. The system will come in two packs. The first includes the PSP, AC Adapter and Battery Pack and will sell for 19,800 yen ($AU249) while the second bundle also comes with Memory Stick Duo 32MB, Headphones with remote control, carrying case and hand strap for 24,800 ($AU312). No software will be bundled with the unit.

    The big question many have been asking is the battery life which some speculated will be as low as 2 hours. Fortunately it's no where near that bad with Sony confirming the PSP's rechargeable Li-Ion battery can be used for 4-6 hours for playing games, and 4-5 hours for watching videos. The difference is due to the brighness of the screen you select, and the volume you run the headphones at.

    Sony also confirmed that 24 titles will be released by the end of the year. These games include (according to The-Magicbox) A.I. Series Igo (Marvelous, Table), A.I. Series Mahjong (Marvelous, Table), A.I. Series Shougi (Marvelous, Table), Armored Core: Formula Front (From Software, 5040 yen), Dokodemo Issyo (Sony, Others), Everybody's Golf Portable (Sony, 5040 yen) Kotoba no Puzzle Mojipittan Daijiten (Namco, Puzzle), Kollon (Cyberfront, Puzzle), Legend of Heroes: Gagharv Trilogy (Bandai, 5040 yen), Lumines (Bandai, Music/Puzzle), Mahjong Taikai (Koei, Table), Mahjong Fight-Club (Konami, Table), Metal Gear Acid (Konami, Strategy), Need for Speed Underground Rivals (EA, Racing), Puzzle Bobble Pocket / Bust-A-Move Pocket (Taito, Puzzle), Puyo Puyo Fever (Sega, Puzzle), Rengoku: The Tower of Purgatory (Hudson, SF Action RPG), Ridge Racer Evolution (Namco, Racing), Sangoku Musou / Dynasty Warriors (Koei, Action), Tiger Woods PGA Tour (EA, Sports), Vampire Chronicles: The Chaos Tower (Capcom, Fighting).

    The European and American PSP launch is expected before March 2005, however no details have been announced.

October 27, 2004

    Games
    Bugbear Entertainment have confirmed that their extremely impressive looking FlatOut has gone gold and will be release as planned in early November in Europe and Australia.

    Only two more sleeps to go kiddies. Grand Theft Auto San Andreas will be out on Friday... If you haven't pre-ordered the game you may wish to go to this link where Games Warehouse are selling the game for only $AU89.95.

October 26, 2004

    Games
    So who says that American and European games don't sell in Japan. Electronic Arts has release Burnout 3 this week and sold an impressive 31,903 units. Hopefully this game will continue to sell well in coming weeks. Another game doing very well in Japan is World Soccer Winning Eleven 8 (known here as Pro Evolution Soccer 4 which has, as at October 10, surpassed 1 million units of sales.

    Forums Competition Winner!!
    Congratulations to Cookster17 in the forums who answered a question I posted the other day. A game is heading his way. If you want a chance to win a game I will be throwing another question in one of the topics in the coming week or so... The first person to answer correctly will win a game. Click here to go to the Future Gamez Forums and post a message and keep your eyes open for the next question. The last one which was answered correctly was which TV show is this line from "Hooters Hooters.. yum yum yum... hooter hooters on a girl that's dumb...". The answer was of course Married with Children. And before you ask it was posted in "The Guy Game" Topic in the Playstation 2 section.

    Review
    Headhunter Redemption has been in development for a couple of years now and sees the return of Jack Wade as the bounty hunting cop. This time he is joined by Leeza X, a woman he rescued as a young child, but who soon turned to a life of crime. The original Headhunter was quite good, can this sequel improve? Read the review to find out.

    Companies
    Some sad news today as Argonaut confirmed they have gone into administration. The company has been responsible for hit games such as Croc several years ago which sold in excess of a million units, and the Super FX chip for Super Nintendo. Unfortunately their games of late, including the woeful Catwoman. Jeremy and Aaron San have both resigned their positions. Let's hope they can be saved in some form.

October 25, 2004

    Games
    Just a quick note that I've fixed up the review of EA Sports' FIFA Football. As one astute reader pointed out I stated in one comment that EA's game does not include online gameplay. In fact, EA's FIFA Football does include online gameplay. Konami's Pro Evolution Soccer 4 does not include online gameplay.

    I've had a couple of people ask me about the highly anticipated Gradius V and why it isn't available yet. Well, the simple answer is that it was delayed slightly but should hit the shelves on October 29th, so you can pick it up at the same time as Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. Gradius V will have a RRP of only $69.95.

    Review
    Pro Evolution Soccer 4 is quite possibly the most anticipated football game of all times with 1.5 million units shipped to Europe for the first day, and over a million sales in Japan to date. The previous title is widely regarded as the greatest football game of all time, but the question remains - is this game any better? You'd better read the review to get all the details, but in a word, yes.

October 23, 2004

    Games
    Many of you will be more then glad to hear given the OFLC's anal decisions lately that Prince of Persia: Warrior Within has been given an MA rating in Australia. You may also wish to check out the update preview on this site. As a side note, the OFLC has once again proven that sex is evil by Refusing the PC game Singles Flirt Up Your Life. Thank god we can legally chop off heads in games still...

    According to reports online Sony Europe has confirmed that Gran Turismo 4 won't be released in Europe until Q'1 2005. While Sony Australia was unreachable for comment it is fair to assume Australia will also suffer the same delay. Don't dispair however, as it's possible online gameplay may be included if the game is delayed.

    Forums
    Click here to go to the Future Gamez Forums and post a message. Why? Because it's the easiest way to ask a question and get answers. There are now well over 4200 posts in the forums. Oh yar, UbiSoft have even confirmed a great deal which you can read about under the Playstation 2 forums. See you there.

October 21, 2004

    Games
    Can't wait to get your hands on Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas on October 29th? Well you're not alone as this game is getting bigger every day. Now Rockstar has update the official site with more trailers and information. Click on this link to head on over to the official site.

    Electronic Arts CEO Larry Probst told an investor conference call recently that he expects a new Fight Night title to be released in the first three months of 2005. This is the first time a new game in the franchise has been mentioned.

    Sony Japan has announced Sarugetchu 3 but not a release date or price. What's that, you don't know what it is? Oh sorry, Sarugetchu is the Japanese name for Ape Escape, one of the interesting puzzle games. Check out our review of Ape Escape 2 and then start anticipating the next game...

    Review
    Second Sight has been out for a couple of weeks now and Chris has been flat out playing the game for this lengthy review. While Free Radical Design are most well known for their TimeSplitters games, with Second Sight they have proven they aren't just a one franchise wonder. This is worth a look..

October 19, 2004

    Games
    Electronic Arts have confirmed that the fixed Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2005 will be (re) released here in Australia on November 10th. If you have the original (faulty) game you will be able to exchange it at the place of purchase after that date.

    Review
    FIFA 2005 is available now and Electronic Arts are lookng to reclaim the throne as the premiere soccer game. This year brings new gameplay refinements and game modes including a superb 15-year career mode. Is this as good as Konami's recently released Pro Evolution Soccer 4? Check out the review...

October 17, 2004

    Reminder
    Just a quick reminder that 60 Minutes on channel 9 at 7.30 tonight will be airing a special article about the video games industry. Might be worth a look - will we be seeing some of the big Christmas titles?

    Games
    Konami has confirmed the release dates for some strangley titled game, Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater in America and Japan. The American version will be released first on November 16 while the Japanese version will hit shelves on December 16. While not confirmed spies tell us that PAL gamers will likely have to wait until around March next year.

    According to reports online Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas has gone gold in America meaning it will hit its late October release date. One interesting thing to note, however, is that the latest Official Australian PS2 magazine states the release date to be November 12. Could a slight delay for the PAL game be in order? Perhaps. More news as we get it.

October 16, 2004

    Special Interview
    Joe Booth Talks About Ghost Recon 2
    Without a doubt one of the biggest titles this Christmas will be Ubisoft's action title, Ghost Recon 2. Online gamers will want to keep this game near the top of the lists as Ubisoft have been putting much effort into that aspect, in fact this is shaping up as possibly the best online game to date. Future Gamez was fortunate to grab an exclusive interview with Joe Booth, the Creative Director of Ghost Recon 2.

October 15, 2004

    Games
    Well Konami have to be pretty happy. The company has announced shipments of a massive 1.5 million units of Pro Evolution Soccer 4 on Playstation 2 accross Europe. The previous title, Pro Evolution Soccer 3, sold a massive 1 million copies on day 1. The game will be released on XBox and PC next month. Expect a review soon - needless to say initial impressions are nothing short of astounding. The Japanese version, Winning Eleven 8 has also sold in excess of one million units.

    On the American front Midway has announced initial shipments of one million units of Mortal Kombat Deception on XBox and PS2 since it's release on October 4th. The PAL release is set for November.

    It must be a day for numbers with Namco announcing that they will ship 500,000 units of Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War in Japan on October 21st, the games launch day.

    Preview
    Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War is coming out in Japan late this month and while PAL gamers will have to wait until early next year there is no better time to see how well this game is shaping up. The latest screenshots and information are available in this preview. Check it out now.

October 14, 2004

    Games
    Apparently Sega America has grabbed back the rights to publish many of the SEGA Ages titles from Conspiracy Entertainment. These are re-makes of old Sega titles for the PS2. Sega will be bundling many of the games together to form packs of titles and will go on sale in early 2005. The titles include , Golden Axe, Space Harrier, Columns, Fantasy Zone, Virtua Racer, Decathlete, Alien Syndrome, Monaco GP and Bonanza Bros. & Tant R. Conspiracy Entertainment will still be releasing a Phantasy Star bundle next year.

    Ubisoft has officially confirmed after leaks earlier this year that they are developing a game based on Peter "Lord of the Rings" Jackson's next movie King Kong. The game is being developed at Ubisoft's Montpellier studio in France - the same team that brought us the stunning Beyond Good & Evil. The game will be released at the same time as the movie, December 2005.

    Review
    Crisis Zone is yet another game in Namco's Time Crisis series, but this time you have a machine gun at your disposal. It's taken a massive five years for this game to be ported from the arcades (why Namco?) and as usual it includes new game modes. However this game offers little innovation, is it worth your money? Check out the review now to find out.

October 13, 2004

    Rumour
    Take this as a massive rumour and as yet there is no comment or confirmation from Rockstar North or Take Two but some web sites are reporting the potentially major news (if true) that Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas may include a 2-player mode. Speculation is that the game will include a 2-player co-op mode, which could be split screen, or via console link up. Is it true? I would say almost certainly not, however it's a nice thought and would push the game to potentially astronomical heights. We'll know for sure in only 16 days when the game hits shelves. Go to this link for the details.

    Preview
    Tekken 5 is still a long way off, in fact don't expect it here until late 2005. Fortunately Namco have realised their errors with Tekken 4 in making it more realistic, and made this sequel much more exciting. Here's the latest screens and info on this stunner.

October 12, 2004

    Games
    I missed this one the other day, don't worry I have been given a good old spanking. THQ have confirmed that Sega will be publishing the latest Tenchu title in PAL territories. Here's the press release then:

      SEGA Signs Tenchu: Fatal Shadows
      SEGA Announces Tenchu: Fatal Shadows For PlayStation 2

      LONDON, UK – October 1, 2004 – SEGA Europe Ltd, today announced plans to publish Tenchu: Fatal Shadows in Spring 2005 across Europe, exclusively on the PlayStation 2 computer entertainment system. K2 studios, developers of the critically acclaimed Tenchu: Wrath of Heaven (released in 2003 for PlayStation 2), have returned to continue the legacy of their flagship franchise. Working closely with K2 studios, From Software are also on board, providing planning and production to the project.

      Set in historical Japan, Tenchu: Fatal Shadows features two playable ninja warriors – returning heroine Ayame and newcomer Rin. This installment of the fan-favourite franchise offers a tight balance of melee combat and shadow stalking, and its levels are structured to avoid the frustrating trial-and-error patterns that are all too familiar in the stealth genre.

      “The signing of Tenchu: Fatal Shadows is further proof of SEGA’s commitment to grow its worldwide business via an aggressive acquisitions strategy,” said Mike Hayes, Managing Director of Sega Europe Ltd. “Tenchu: Fatal Shadows stretches the boundaries of what a quality stealth game can be and SEGA aims to extend the life and profile of this highly successful franchise.”

      The title is fast paced, tense, and balanced for both stealth veterans and novices, offering multiple difficulty modes. Significant visual upgrades have been made from prior instalments, and a slew of new move sets and the added ability to hide bodies and breathe underwater, Tenchu: Fatal Shadows is set to deliver the ultimate Ninja experience.

      Tenchu: Fatal Shadows is set for release throughout Europe in Spring 2005.

    Just a quick reminder that I update the Preview & Release Schedule Page on a regular (often more then once a week) basis. If you want to know when a game is coming out check out that page.

    Preview
    The Bard's Tale is an exciting prospect for PAL gamers. In fact the release of any RPG is an exciting event, there have been so few released over the last couple of years. Fortunately The Bard's Tale looks like one of the best in years. This game is from the same man who brought us Fallout and Baldur's Gate. Check it out!

October 11, 2004

    Preview
    SingStar Party. Although the first game was released way back in May it remains near the top of the charts to this very day. Little surprise then that this sequel is ready to explode... 30 new tracks, several new and expanded game modes and plenty more fun away in this sequel. You'll even be able to use the songs from the original disc in the new game modes for this game. Here's a preview with latest screens and info.

October 10, 2004

    Games
    Electronic Arts have confirmed that EA Canada are currently developing FIFA Street for release on Playstation 2. The game, much like NFL Street and NBA Street Vol. 2 is a more arcade styled version of the sport played on the streets. You can access the official site which has a short trailer at this link. Here's the official press release:

      EA’s FIFA STREET MARKS A NEW CHAPTER IN SOCCER VIDEO GAMES

      It’s no longer enough to win – You have to win with style.

      REDWOOD CITY, Calif. – Friday, October 8th, 2004 – Electronic Arts (Nasdaq: ERTS) announced today that FIFA STREET is scheduled for release next year under the EA SPORTS BIG brand. The game is being produced by Electronic Arts Canada, the studio which also is home to the industry-leading FIFA Soccer videogame franchise.

      FIFA STREET is a highly-anticipated combination of arcade action blended with the culture of freestyle street soccer. By removing the rules from the simulation soccer experience, FIFA STREET exposes the heart of the world’s beautiful game, on-the-ball flare and individual style.

      Leading this movement are the worlds top professional players, showing off their skills and individual style in 4-on-4 match-ups against the backdrop of global venues that represent the true culture of street soccer. As the first game to support dynamic 1-on-1 encounters, beating your opponent will require skill, technique, and the careful selection of specific moves. As a gamer you’ll take on the best and be required to earn their respect, gradually building your reputation and team into an unstoppable force that leads the tide of street soccer.

      "What FIFA STREET represents is a movement in soccer and a break from the modern game," says Wil Mozell, senior producer for the project. "We are stripping the sport down to its core and delivering a game that’s all about freestyle attitude and individual skill, something I believe is at the heart of every soccer fan."

      Look for more information at the FIFA STREET website at www.fifastreet.com. You can also view the first FIFA STREET trailer located in FIFA Football 2005 which hits stores today in Europe and on October 15th in North America.

      Developed by a newly formed team at EA Canada in Vancouver, B.C., FIFA Street is scheduled to ship next year on the PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system, the Xbox video game system from Microsoft and the Nintendo GameCube.

October 8, 2004

    Games
    Well it looked for a while that Take Two had the rights to Juiced but at the last minute THQ has confirmed that they have secured the rights to the game. Here's the official press release.

      THQ ANNOUNCES GLOBAL PUBLISHING RIGHTS TO JUICED FRANCHISE

      CALABASAS HILLS, CA, - October 7, 2004 - THQ? Inc. (NASDAQ: THQI) today announced exclusive worldwide publishing rights to the Juiced franchise, the highly anticipated street racing property by Juice Games. THQ submitted the winning bid for the property, which was approved on October 6, 2004 by an order of the U.S. bankruptcy judge overseeing the Chapter 7 bankruptcy proceedings of Acclaim Entertainment. Acclaim Entertainment had previously held the rights to the Juiced property. Subject to final contract and certain closing conditions, THQ plans to release Juiced for the PlayStation? 2 computer entertainment system, the Xbox? videogame system from Microsoft and PC in summer 2005.

      “We are very excited to have secured the rights to this strategic, highly sought after intellectual property,” said Jack Sorensen, executive vice president of worldwide studios, THQ. “The team is off to a great start and now has the time to build Juiced into one of the premiere brands in street racing.”

    Preview
    Pro Evolution Soccer 4 is coming out in only a weeks time. That's October 15th. Here'a last look at what will almost certianly be regarded as the biggest and best soccer game of all time. The previous title was brilliant, this game, believe it or not, looks even bigger! Check out the preview, and then pre-order this game from Games Warehouse now.

October 7, 2004

    Games
    Take Two have confirmed that Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas has been given an MA15+ rating at the OFLC meaning that the game will hit its October 29th release date here. That's only 3 weeks 2 days to go... :)

    Take Two has confirmed that Midnight Club 3 DUB Edition will not hit stores in Ausrtalia until January 2005.

    Majesco in America has confirmed that Psychonauts will be released on PS2. The game, which was developed for Microsoft at Double Fine Productions, was originally an XBox title. Expect a release in 2005.

October 5, 2004

    Games
    Sorry about the lack of updates over the last couple of days, essentially my FTP server locked me out. The Forums still aren't repaired, later today perhaps. Anyway things are mostly back to normal so let's get onto the news.

    Electronic Arts have recalled Tiger Woods 2005 due to a technical issue with the PS2 game. If you have already got a copy you will be able to return it to the retailer for an exchange. The repaired version will apparently be released in approximately 3 weeks.

    I have spoken to Vivendi about Leisure Suit Larry: Magna Cum Laude. Apparently the version they submitted to the OFLC was the same cut-down version that America is getting, and not the uncut version which Europe is getting. They will not be releasing it here in Australia. Interesting though that even the American game is also censored!

    Review
    Burnout 3 is certainly the most anticipated racing game beside Sony's Gran Turismo 4, but fortunately Criterion's Burnout 3 is everything we expected, and much more. The most impressive aspect is the sense of speed, it's lightning quick and you'll need super quick reflexes to master this game. Check out the review now.

October 2, 2004

    Companies
    Could it be that Acclaim is about to be resurrected. Well if this report on MCV is to be believed Rod Cousens, former global boss of the collapsed US giant, and LA-based Europlay Capital Advisers LLC have bought up Acclaim's studios in Manchester and Cheltenham, and has purchased many of Acclaim's products. One of those products may very well be Juiced which was rumoured to be going to Take Two. Time will tell if it's true.

    Games
    According to reports online Revolution Software's very respectible Broken Sword: The Sleeping Dragon is going to be released in Japan. The game is still not heading to America - too much thinking required perhaps!

    Reports, or should that be rumours, are surfacing that EA have dropped the PS2 version of Oddworld Stranger. Apparently the PS2 game was 5 months behind in development - something unacceptable to EA. Take it as a rumour at this stage, but who knows.

    Preview
    Godzilla: Save the Earth may not be as anticipated here as in Godzilla-mad Japan, but it's a game worth looking out for. There isn't too many boys that don't have some love for Godzilla. I mean he battles monsters, destroys cities and causes mayhem. This game lets you do it all... Check out the preview now, especially with this game being released here for the very respectible $AU49.95.

October 1, 2004

    Manhunt Banned!
    Some questions have arisen regarding the banning of Manhunt in Australia. Here's some questions which I've received, and some answers. Note: I posted this response on the Official PS2 Forums as well.

      Question: How can the OFLC re-classify a game after so long? (Remember that it was originally classified MA15+ in October 2003 - Dave)
      The only way a game can be reviewed after one month of the original classification is if a request comes from the Attorney General, and that is what happened in this case..

      Question: Would Take Two upset about the decision?
      As for Take Two, well they won't be too upset. Sure they may miss a couple more sales in Australia over the next year or two, but hell, the game has been out for a year now (almost) and almost anyone interested in the game would have it. However, the ripples it will send around the world may push another 50-100,000 unit sales... They won't be too upset.

      Question: Can people be fined for having the game here?
      As for individuals being fined, I'm not sure about that.. But the government will have to pry a lot of copies from some cold dead hands around the country...

      Question: Where is the R18+ rating here in Australia?
      The R Rating.. I believe that was considered in 2003, and in order for it to happen it needs the backing of every Attorney General around the country. I believe only one was supportive last time (can someone clarify this) and it will only be re-considered every 5 years.. So nothing until 2008...

      Question: What other games have been Refused Classication here, or need to be modified prior to release?
      Leisure Suit Larry was Refused Classification only days ago and is unlikely to be released here, The Guy Game will almost never make it here due to nudity and even Playboy: The Mansion may be a bit shakey. Then of course you have the edits to games like The Getaway (which had a torture scene of 15 seconds removed), GTAIII and GTA:Vice City. Remember also Shellshock Nam '67 was RC'd until that was overturned (not sure if Eidos modified the game worldwide though, all they confirm is that the game here is the same as everywhere else!). Finally the most infamous of all is Acclaim's BMX XXX was banned until all the nudity (which was no worse then a M rated movie) was removed.


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