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Previews & Release Schedule

JANUARY 2005 NEWS

January 30, 2005

    Games
    Konami has confirmed a new Castlevania title is in the works for Playstation 2. Titled Castlevania: Curse of Darkness the game will include an entirely new storyline and should be released in America around Fall 2005 (Q'3 2005).

    Preview
    Playboy: The Mansion probably isn't a game aimed at girls - actually I'm pretty sure of that. In this game you're playing the life of the sex god himself, Hugh Hefner. While the game has just been released in American Ubisoft still haven't confirmed a date for the PAL release other then Q'1 2005. Here's a preview of this very sexy game.

January 29, 2005

    Games
    Two high profile games have been given release dates in Europe (and Australia will presumably be on, or very near to their dates). The first game is Gran Turismo 4 which while still awaiting official confirmation is believed to be hitting the shelves on March 9th. The second game is Konami's highly anticipated Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater which will be released on March 4th. Konami are promising more bonuses for PAL gamers which will be announced in the coming weeks.

    Japanese retailers have announced a rather surprising new RPG titled Namco X Capcom! Yes, the game will combine characters and talents from both companies as well as over 200 characters from both companies games. Characters are confirmed to come from games such as Street Fighter, Darkstalkers, Ghouls n' Ghosts, Strider, Dino Crisis 4, Resident Evil Dead Aim from Capcom side; and from Namco Xenosaga, Soul Calibur, Valkyrie Dentetsu, Tales of Eternia, Tekken, Wonder Momo, Bravoman and Klonoa. The game is in development at Monolith. The game is expected to be released around mid-2005.

    Ubisoft have announced a deal with Sony Pictures to make games based on two upcoming animated movies. Here's the full press release:

      UBISOFT AND SONY PICTURES CONSUMER PRODUCTS SIGN MULTI-TITLE INTERACTIVE PUBLISHING AGREEMENT
      Licensing agreement to develop videogames based on Sony Pictures Animation CGI feature films

      Ubisoft, one of the world’s largest video game publishers, is delighted to announce that it has concluded an exclusive multi-title licensing agreement with Sony Pictures Consumer Products to develop and publish games based on Open Season and Surf’s Up, the first two feature-length animated films from Sony Pictures Animation.

      This collaboration not only represents Ubisoft’s first venture into adapting CGI films for the videogame market, but also the beginning of a long-term collaboration with Sony Pictures Animation and SPCP. It furthermore reinforces Ubisoft’s efforts to maintain a diverse catalogue that appeals to gamers of all ages.

      In the action-adventure comedy Open Season, Boog (Martin Lawrence), a happily domesticated grizzly bear, has his perfect world in the tranquil town of Timberline turned upside-down when he meets Elliot (Ashton Kutcher), a scrawny, fast-talking wild mule deer. When the unlikely pair find themselves relocated to the wild just three days before hunting season, Boog and Elliot must learn to work together and unite the territorial animals of the forest. In a rowdy, madcap battle they make the woods safe once and for all by turning the hunters into the hunted.

      The agreement between SPCP and Ubisoft also includes Surf’s Up, a “mockumentary” based on the groundbreaking revelation that surfing was actually invented by penguins! The Film is being directed by Ash Brannon (Toy Story 2) and Chris Buck (Tarzan), and produced by Chris Jenkins (credits include The Hunchback of Notre Dame). Surf’s Up and its videogame adaptation are both scheduled for release in US Summer 2007. CGI animation for both films is by Sony Pictures Imageworks.

      “The slate of films from Sony Pictures Animation offers tremendous opportunities to develop truly unique and entertaining games,” said Yves Guillemot, CEO of Ubisoft. “Our long-term agreement with Sony Pictures allows us to be part of the creative process from the very beginning, working closely with the animators and directors on the vision and tone of the games. We are amazed by the quality of their work and their stories which will no doubt enthral the public. Their films will entertain audiences both young and old – who we hope will relive their theatre experiences by interacting with the story through truly captivating games.”

      Ubisoft’s award-winning Montreal studio will be developing the games based on both Open Season and Surf’s Up, working in close collaboration with the production teams at Sony Pictures Animation to ensure the videogames are faithful renderings both artistically and narratively. The Open Season title will be released on all available formats in conjunction with the film’s debut in theatres, scheduled for September 29, 2006.

    This Weeks Releases
    Nothing. Zip. Nada. Keep on playing your Christmas pressies folks.

Review
Killzone came with expectations that were impossible to reach. A "Halo Killer" was never going to happen, but is this game still good? Well the graphics are pretty good, despite some frame rate issues, and the sound is superb, while the online gameplay rocks. But how about the gameplay? Here's our exclusive review with all the details.

Preview
Devil May Cry 3: Dante's Awakening is, somewhat obviously, the third title in Capcom's Devil May Cry series. The first game was brilliant, the second a major disappointment. This third game should make amends as the developers return to their roots. Here's the details and latest screenshots for you to enjoy.

January 26, 2005

    Games
    At this stage any information at all is welcome I guess. A quick check on the Office of Film and Literature Classification has turned up the news that Gran Turismo 4 has gone through the classification process and has been Refused Classification here in Australia. Oh no, wait, sorry, I'm so used to saying that these days. Actually the game has been given a G rating. Unfortunately Sony still don't have an Australian release date, but it's nice to know that the wheels are still in motion.

    What the hell is happening to the world of games developers? It seems like companies are buying the competition and the world is being turned. Hot on the heals of the news that Take Two has got the exclusive third party rights to make baseball games with the MLB license comes the news that Take Two has bought Visual Concepts, the developer of Sega's Sports titles for a reported $US24 million.

    Review
    Crash N Burn is a racing game, developed by Climax, which fans of the genre should check out. Eidos' racing game was released just prior to Christmas and includes some of the most intense racing and/or destruction ever seen in a video game. But is it really any good? Here's our exclusive review and verdict.

    Preview
    Midnight Club 3: DUB Edition is one very exciting game. But what's this, a racing game from Rockstar? You bet. Midnight Club 3 looks spectacular and is set to be to racing games what their Grand Theft Auto is to adventure titles. It's big, offers a tonne of car mods and is certainly work keeping an eye on in the lead up to an April release.

January 25, 2005

    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 4,200 posts in the forums. It may be quiet, but the good thing about that is the quality of the questions and answers, this isn't an area for spam posters. See you there.

    Review
    Crimson Tears is certainly a game the snuck up on us, we hardly even knew it was coming out before a review copy landed on our desk. If you like beat 'em ups then go do yourself a favour and check out this little known title. Capcom and Spike have developed a superb game that will keep you hooked for some time. Here's our exclusive review.

    This is Soccer 2005 is Sony's fourth soccer/football game on the Playstation 2. In the past the series has struggled agains the might of FIFA, and the gameplay genius of Pro Evolution Soccer. Having said that this game has a couple of unique features that the competition doesn't. But should you own this title? Here's our verdict.

January 24, 2005

    Games
    It's probably more interesting from the viewpoint of what Microsoft are up to, but a leaked memo from EA has suggested that Need For Speed: Most Wanted will be release on all systems, including XBox 2, in time for Christmas 2005. The game will move back to the series' roots apparently with police chases once again playing a major role in the game.

    Review
    Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon 2 was released just prior to Christmas and offered a game to keep gamers playing online over the Christmas break. The first Ghost Recon title on PS2 was quite disappointing in the way it dumbed down the gameplay from the superb PC game. You would very much hope this sequel could make up for last years title however I strongly suggest those interested check out our review now.

January 23, 2005

    Games
    Novalogic has confirmed that Delta Force: Black Hawk Down will be coming to the Playstation 2. The game is set in Somalia in 1993 and is currently in development at UK codeship Rebellion. The game, which is using the PC version for inspiration, will include 16 single player missions and 10 co-op missions. What is probably the most exciting news is that the game will support up to 32 players online! Online modes include Team Deathmatch, Deathmatch, Capture the Flag, Team King of the Hill, TAG, Attack and Defend, and Flag Ball. Expect a release around mid-2005.

    Liquid Games has announced a new Playstation 2 titled Sprint Car Challenge. The game will be released under the budget range for £10 in the UK. No word yet on if someone will pick the title up for an Australian release.

    Preview
    Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell Chaos Theory (to give this title its full name is actually the third game in the series. With only months until its release through Ubisoft this game is looking like the best yet in the series. Once again the game contains spectacular visuals which are highlighted in our first batch of screens, as well as online gameplay. Check out our exclusive preview now to get the full lowdown.

January 22, 2005

    Games
    ZOO Digital has confirmed that they will be publishing Alien Hominid. The game, developed by Behemoth, is a side scrolling action title which actually started as an Internet based Flash game. Needless to say this is one stunning looking title. As soon as it appears on an Australian release schedule you'll be the first to know.

    Activision has announced that they have bought out Vicarious Visions. The developer has worked with Activision in the past, most recently on Spiderman 2. The development studio is currently working on Doom 3 for XBox. With almost 100 staff members this is a key acquisition for Activision.

    Preview
    Atari Anthology isn't a game for everyone, that's for sure, but if you owned an Atari 2600 then this will certainly be of interest. This is retro gaming at its finest as Atari have bundled 85 Atari VCS/2600 games together and created a monster package. Here's the latest screens and info.

    Super Monkey Ball DX is one of those games that deserves to be in every gamers collection. One of the most original games in years is finally heading to PS2 after being a Gamecube exclusive series for the last couple of years. Fortunately we will be getting all the levels from the two Gamecube titles, plus more exclusive levels bringing the game to 300 levels in total! Check out this preview now.

    This Weeks Releases
    Only one new release this week but it's an awesome one. We've been playing NFL Street 2 here for a couple of days now and highly recommend this title:

January 21, 2005

    Review
    Metal Slug 3 probably isn't a game that many people would put at the top of their list. Many believe that the sign of a hardcore gamer is owning a Neo Geo. These day's however with the Neo Geo ending it's run in 2004 after an amazing 14 years you only need a PS2 to own one of the best games on that system. Released just prior to Christmas this is a near perfect port of the classic arcade game. Many rate this as one of the best side scrolling shooters ever. I agree. Here's our exclusive review.

January 20, 2005

    Games
    Atari Australia has confirmed that Yu-Gi-Oh Capsule Monster Coliseum will be released in Australia on February 25th while Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2: Battle Nexus will be release on March 11th.

    Preview
    Death By Degrees is an action title starring Nina Williams - yes, she of Tekken fame. At this stage of development, which is actually nearing the end with a release in late March hopefully, the game looks the part, and the storyline is pretty good as well. Here's our preview with the latest news and screenshots.

    Killer 7 was first announced in 2003 as one of the five Gamecube exclusives (along with Viewtiful Joe, P.N.03, Dead Phoenix and Resident Evil 4) and is finally about the be released - but also PS2 as well! The graphics and tone certainly set this game apart from the typical title. Check out our exclusive preview now.

January 19, 2005

    Games
    Although Argonaut Software sadly went broke last year there is some good news with SCi Games confirming that they are funding upstart developers Rocksteady Studios which is made up of ex Argonaut staff. Sci has bought 25.1% of the shares in the company as well as providing a £250,000 loan. These team were developing a game called Roll Call for Sci and it will now be completed in time for a 2006 release.

    Preview
    Constantine is only a couple of weeks away apparently and is shaping up very nicely as both a movie, and video game. This is the story of John Constantine, a man who has literally been to hell and back. When he teams up with skeptical policewoman Angela Dodson to solve the mysterious suicide of her twin sister, their investigation takes them through the world of demons and angels. Here's our preview with the latest screens.

January 18, 2005

    Games
    In what will have huge ramifications for Sega and Take Two, Electronic Arts have announced that they have secured the exclusive rights to ESPN for the next 15 years. Starting in 2006, and ending in 2020 the company has effectively shut out Sega's ESPN 2K series of games which have been highly praised in recent years. Combine this with EA's exclusive deal for NFL and it leaves Sega and Take two with some big decisions to make. Here's the press release:

      ESPN AND EA SIGN AGREEMENT FOR SPORTS GAMES
      Relationship to Integrate Content and Introduce New Sports Games

      REDWOOD CITY, Calif., January 17, 2005 – Electronic Arts (NASDAQ: ERTS) and ESPN today announced a long-term agreement for the development and integrated marketing of EA SPORTS games containing ESPN content. The relationship will include established EA SPORTS franchises -- which will be enhanced by ESPN telecast, print and online content – as well as new sports games to be published by EA based on ESPN media properties. Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

      The agreement gives EA access to ESPN programming, personalities and integrated marketing opportunities on ESPN television programming and other ESPN properties. The ESPN integration will appear in EA SPORTS console, handheld, PC and wireless games beginning in 2006 upon the conclusion of ESPN’s existing video game licensing commitments.

      “EA and ESPN have a shared belief that adding ESPN content will improve an already outstanding line of games,” said George Bodenheimer, President, ESPN Inc. and ABC Sports.

      “This relationship was created to benefit consumers who are passionate about sports games,” said Larry Probst, Electronic Arts Chairman and CEO. “EA SPORTS recreates the real life experience fans enjoy while watching or playing their favorite sport; while ESPN programming captures the look, sound and excitement of the sports they follow. Together, we believe we can significantly grow the interactive sports category.”

      The agreement is for fifteen years with an option to terminate after ten years under certain conditions and gives EA exclusive first rights to all ESPN content for simulation sports games.

    It has just come to my attention that Sony has renamed Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War to Ace Combat: Squadron Leader for PAL territories. The game is due out in Europe on February 18th, and in Australia on February 24th.

    Preview
    NBA Street 3 is due out in only a couple of weeks now so fans of the series had better prepare for more excitement. EA Sports BIG's NBA Street returns for a third outing with bigger and better graphics and gameplay then before. Check out our full preview with the latest screenshots now.

January 16, 2005

    Reviews
    World Rally Championship 4 was released late last year in Australia but didn't get reviewed before our Christmas break here at Future Gamez. This isn't a game you should overlook, however, as it combines the speed and pace of the sport, as well as the official license with all the teams and drivers. Here's our exclusive review.

January 15, 2005

    Previews
    Three previews for you today, all extremely impressive looking titles which are likely to top the charts upon release.

    EA have made boxing a very cool video game in recent years. Starting with their Knockout Kings series the sport took a hiatus before being resurrected in grand style last year with Fight Night 2004. This game is the fourth boxing title on PS2 from EA Sports and never has the sport looked better. Here's our exclusive preview.

    Pandemic Studios have been pretty busy of late. As well as Full Spectrum Warrior (on XBox, but soon PS2) and Destroy all Humans! they have this excellent looking action title out soon through LucasArts. This game is fast, frantic and looks simply fantastic. Check out the latest news and screens in this preview.

    Could Sonic Mega Collection Plus be the best compilation ever? We're not looking at just several games lumped together, but rather the creation of a legend with 17 games represented on this disc, including 4 non-sonic games from the era. Here's our exclusive preview with the latest screens and information.

January 14, 2005

    This Weeks Releases
    This will be a new feature/item in the site from now on. I will be listing the released titles every week on this news page, as well as a link to Games Warehouse who often sell the titles well below the RRP. If you are interested in purchasing any games I urge you to do so through Future Gamez as it helps keep this site running. Anyway here are the recent releases:

    Release Schedule
    Just a quick not to let everyone know that I have done a big update on the Preview & Release Schedule Page. Most Australian distributors have settled their release schedules for Q'1 2005, with some companies listing games through a majority of the year. With over 40 titles added, and about 20 date changes in this update it's worth your while checking it out. You may even want to check out some of our many new previews being added every day!

    Games
    Midway has confirmed that they will be releasing their upcoming action title NARC in America at $US19.95. They stress that it has nothing to do with the quality of the title but rather the changing gaming market which is seeing a reduction in full priced games being sold. The game is scheduled to come out in Australia through Red Ant, however it will be interesting to see what the OFLC makes of the drugs in the game.

    Square Enix USA has confirmed that Kingdom Hearts II will be coming out there in September and Final Fantasy XII before the end of 2005. No word yet on a PAL release for either title.

    One of the hottest games that Acclaim was meant to distribute only days before the companies demise was the hot looking racing game Juiced (click on the link for our new preview!). The racing game was hyped up considerably but never hit the shelves however the couple of early reviews were disappointing. THQ grabbed the rights to the game and rather then just release it have spend many months improving the game considerably. I asked THQ for a list regarding the changes and improvements. Here's what they replied with:

      Here's the list of changes since the Acclaim build -
      . Massively improved handling
      . Greater sensation of speed
      . AI improved
      . Tracks and overall graphics improved
      . Front end menus improved
      . Unlocking & career progression and difficulty curve improved
      . New music and intro
      . Redesigned arcade mode
      . Additional cars (4) and Tracks (up to 99 now)
      They've basically taken everything the press gave negative feedback about in the Acclaim version and fixed it.

    Preview
    Juiced is a game which was lost in the shuffle when Acclaim when bankrupt but is now back, much bigger and better thanks to THQ who have added much more development time. Better graphics, nicer front ends and one of the best racing games should keep fans of the genre happy - especially with online support. Here's a preview with the latest screens.

    Destroy All Humans! is nearing the end of its development cycle and things are starting to buzz... Could this be the funniest game of 2005? It's certainly shaping up that way as Pandemic put the final touches on this whacky alien invasion game where you do the invading. Here's our exclusive preview of this great looking title.

    LEGO Star Wars is worth a look. Trust me. Whoever thought up combining LEGO and Star Wars in a video game was either on drugs, or had a stroke of genius. This game should be tremendous fun with much more, and better, humour then that in the movies. Here's our exclusive preview with the latest screens and info.

January 13, 2005

    Games
    Electronic Arts have confirmed that they have grabbed the rights to develop games based on AFL (Arena Football League). The AFL has been running in America for some 19 years now and was seen as a possible alternative to other games companies when EA grabbed the NFL license late last year. Note: The AFL in America is not based, or linked at all, to the AFL (Australian Football League). As yet IR Gurus have still not announced a publisher for AFL Live 2005 which is still in development although we hear that a deal may not be far off at all.

    Preview
    TimeSplitters: Future Perfect is a game which has been previewed a couple of times in the past but with only a couple of months until release it was time to update the preview with the latest screens and info for this awesome looking (online at last) title. Make sure you check out our exclusive preview and screenshots now.

January 12, 2005

    Games
    Atari Australia and Konami have confirmed that their highly anticipated old school shooter Neo Contra will be released in Australia on February 28th, 2005. Get those itchy trigger fingers ready...

    Atari have also confirmed that both Suikoden IV and Shamen King will be released here in Australia on March 30th, 2005.

    Square-Enix has confirmed that Dragon Quest VIII will be coming to America, most likely sometime in 2005. Unfortunately the company is still considering the PAL release with no immediate plans to port it to PAL territories that is despite sales in Japan of well over 3.1 million units since its release late last year.

    Sega has confirmed that Altered Beast will be release in PAL territories in early 2005. The game, which Sega recently confirmed won't be released in America - at least at this stage, is a completely new game based on the classic arcade and 16-bit games. Australian distributors THQ have the game listed for release in Australia on February 25th. Expect more details soon.

    Preview
    Cold Fear may be just another action horror game to some, however the setting and the atmosphere created by the developers looks intense. One of the most amazing aspects of this title is the way the ship rolls and pitches as you move around creating dangers, not only for your character, but also the enemies. Check out our preview now!

January 11, 2005

    Hardware Sales
    Sony has confirmed that they have shipped 80 million Playstation 2's around the world as at December 2004. They achieved this figure some four months earlier then the original Playstation. By March 2005 SCE expects to have shipped 85,800,000 units!

    Preview
    Rugby 2005 isn't a game we're overly hyped up to play here. Last years Rugby effort from EA Sports was lackluster at best. Fortunately they heard the fans and look to have added new features and tweaks to the gameplay to make this a much better experience. Check out our exclusive preview now!

January 10, 2005

    Games
    According to this page on Amazon UK the PSP will be launching in that territory on March 18th and have a price of £179.99 (approximately $AU444). This price s much higher then the approximately $AU300 Japanese price, let's hope that Amazon have got it a little incorrect, or have only estimated the price. No word yet on the Australian date, nor confirmation from Sony on this date or price.

    Preview
    Brothers in Arms: Road to Hill 30 looks better every single time we have a look - not that it was ever bad to start with. Following a squad of soldiers for 8 days during World War II the developers have re-created one of the most amazing stories with stunning realism. Action fans should check out this preview right now - and then go pre-order the title.

January 9, 2005

    Games
    Capcom have confirmed that Killer 7 will be released on PS2 (and Gamecube) in Japan on March 24th. Expect a mid-2005 release here (hopefully).

    Sony has confirmed that they shipped over 1 million copies of Gran Turismo 4 in Japan in the two days following it's December 28th release. The game sold through over 660,000 units in that time. The American and PAL release is expected in the coming months, however only an "early 2005" date is being given. Sony also confirmed that they had shipped 510,000 units of PSP in Japan until the end of 2004.

    Namco has confirmed that Tekken 5 will be released on PS2 in Japan on March 31st. I was fortunate enough to spend a bit of time on the recently released arcade version while in New Zealand over the new years break and indeed it's an impressive game which takes the series back to the earlier (and superior) versions. No word yet on the US or PAL release dates.

    Activision has confirmed they will be releasing a game based on the upcoming Dreamworks CG movie Madagascar. The game will be released in May 2005 to coincide with the movie.

January 8, 2005

    Games
    Yep, we're back from hoidays so expect the updates to start rolling in tomorrow.


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